Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Prayer for Patience

Caleb is at a stage in which he has more energy than I do. This is very very bad for me! I love that he is in a good mood nearly all the time but does he really have to run around the house yelling "Mum-bee Mum-bee" all the time?

He's not a high energy child and I'm very blessed with how mellow he really is. But he's still a toddler and toddlers love to get involved with everything. He loves to help cook dinner, sweep the floors, play puzzles with me, wrestle, and he even enjoys helping me go to the bathroom (he loves to flush)! Sometimes I think that having a nap would help. But of course this is always right after he wakes up from his so I can't go down for mine.

Have you ever heard the saying that you can't wait until those sweet little lips say "mama," but once they do you wish he had never learned it? That's precisely the stage that Caleb is at. He always wants to talk to me and he always has something "interesting or exciting" to show me.

For example:
"Mum-bee, mum-beeeeee! MUM-BEEEEE!" "Yes darling?" "Kitty!" (as he points to the cat sleeping on the chair). "Yes Caleb, that's a kitty."
2 minutes later:
"Mum-bee, Mum mum mum-beeee, Mum-beeee!!!" "Yes Caleb?" "Kitty!" (as he puts his finger in the cat's ear) "Yes Caleb, kitty has ears too."2 minutes later:
"Mum-bee? Mum-bee? MUM-BEEEEE!" "Yes Caleb, it's still a kitty!" Caleb responds with a high pitched "wow" "Yes kitty says meow."
2 minutes later...
I think that you get the picture!

I know that it will only get "worse" when he learns the word "why?" To be perfectly honest, there are times when I just throw up my hands and ignore him altogether. I think that's the natural human response. Most moms I know are very good at blocking out loud and annoying noises. I have to remind myself constantly that although I have known for YEARS that kitties have ears, and kitties have sharp teeth, and kitties sleep on chairs etc. apparently this is all news to Caleb. I go back to the mantra of "put yourself in his shoes." I also go back to my familiar old saying that "patience is a virtue." Although I have adapted it into a very short prayer that gets repeated regularly (sometimes many times in one hour!) "Patience is a virtue Lord, that I'm in desperate need of!" Even just that simple reconnection with God gives me enough patience for another round of "mum-bee."

"Yes Caleb, kitty woke up. Maybe he woke up because you're poking him. Can you please be gentle with the kitty?"

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Motherly Love - It's not always instant

Pregnancy was very surreal to me for the first number of months. It was hard for me to wrap my mind around the fact that there was a little person growing inside me. That the little feet that kicked my tummy would one day be the same little feet I'd play "This Little Piggy" with.

I won’t talk here about how my birth experience and how it was completely not what I wanted. I won’t complain about the fact that I had an unnecessary cesarean section. I had my son in my arms after about an hour and he was healthy and I was quickly recovering from the surgery. My husband and I had a boy named picked out before I even got pregnant with our son. Jeremiah. I was so excited that I told the nurses in the O.R. about Jeremiah, the ones in the recovery room, and the ones that brought me up to the hospital bed where I would first officially get to hold my son. My husband came in the room carrying that little bundle, placed him in my arms and said, “Honey, I’m sorry…… Um…... He really doesn’t look like a Jeremiah!”

And so began my journey with this little stranger. He was the cutest baby I had ever seen. A lot of the nurses would poke their head in the room just to get a look at him. He even got the “Cutest Baby on the Ward” award (that constituted of a smiley face beside our room number on the whiteboard which signaled nurses to come meet us). I loved him right from the start. He immediately took over residence in my heart. Caleb was my angel and I would do anything to keep him from harm. I was totally in love with my little man.
Not quite. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I didn’t love him. He was my child after all. I knew even while I was in labour that I would love being a mom and would want many more children (my husband told me that we should probably wait a while though, smart man). I just didn’t have that “maternal bond” that people always talk about. I looked at him and saw this adorable little baby and wondered why I didn’t love him as much as I thought I should. Truth be told, there were times I thought of him kind of like a pet. You feed a pet, you make sure it gets exercise, you snuggle with it and you have a love for it. The nurse poked his heel for blood tests and then commented about how great it was that I was so calm with my bleeding and crying child next to me. After I got home, people always commented on how calm of a mother I was. “You’re not like most first time moms who come running as soon as their baby cries.” Little did they know what I was feeling inside.

I longed to have that passionate, undying love that a mother feels for her child. I wanted to cry when he cried (I tried actually, it didn’t work) and feel pain when he felt pain. I wanted that closeness and connection with my son. I wanted to feel that infamous “motherly love;” to have that much talked about “bond.” But I just didn’t. I thought something was wrong. I blamed it on the c-section. I have read about the fact that certain hormones are released during a vaginal birth that promote bonding. They weren’t released for me. A friend told me that it was okay to “mourn” for the type of birth that I had but then I had to move on. She had an unplanned cesarean too. I felt so guilty that I didn’t love my son the way that I thought a mother should.

On the outside, I was a very good mother. I fed my son when he was hungry, changed him when he needed it, snuggled with him around the clock, sang to him when he was awake, and stared at him while he was sleeping (unless I fell asleep too). A lot of moms stare at their child because they just can’t get over how amazing their little miracle is. I stared at mine for two reasons: he was so adorable I couldn’t take my eyes off him, and I was looking for some sort of special connection with him.

I had an epiphany after about a month: I had never loved as a mother before so it would make sense that I didn’t know how. It was really that simple. It sounds silly but it all came together for me at that moment. I had a sense of relief. I talked to people about this and discovered that I wasn’t alone with these emotions. It confirmed to me that bonding is not just hormonal (although I’m sure hormones help). Bonding is something that is learned and needs nurturing. So being a typical Canadian who has access to the internet, I searched for tips on how to bond with my baby. The biggest thing that I discovered was to follow my gut. Or my “mother’s intuition;” the intuition that I thought was missing from me.

I also read a paragraph in The Baby Book about how the first 3 months of being a mother are about getting to know your baby. Yesterday during Coffee Break (a Women's Bible study I attend weekly)we talked about a passage in Philipians. In Philippians 1:9 it says "And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge." Paul is talking in particular about the Philippians learning more about God and through doing so, they will draw closer to Him. One of the moms there made a really good point. She mentioned that this works the same way with children. The more you get to know them, the more you love them. I am so glad that, instead of spending the first months of Caleb's life trying to fit him into MY life by trying to make him follow MY routine and My ideas about how parenting should be, I spent time getting to know him.

I also believe that this knowledge of my son gives me much more confidence in myself as a mother. As Caleb gets older and goes through all those wonderful toddler stages, I can always go back to asking myself, "why does he do this and how would be the best way to deal with it?" I think that a lot of times it's easier just to ask the "how to deal with it" part of that question and forget to figure our children out. I may go "against the grain" with a few of the parenting choices that Adam and I have made, but I know what's best for Caleb because I know Caleb best. It doesn't (usually) bother me when people give me all sorts of "advice" because I can feel confidence in the fact that they just don't know Caleb as well as I do. They are probably giving advice that has worked for themselves or someone they know. With a different child and a different parent-child relationship. I'm not saying that I don't take advice from people who hae been there and done that. I am, however, saying that I'm not bothered by the "helpful" hints to get Caleb to sleep through the night, or sleep in the crib, or wean, or a number of other things. I know that I'm doing what's best for my son and that's the part that matters to him.

Anyway, the jist of this post is that a great bond is something that you need to work on. And keep working on it. Wouldn't it be wonderful if you knew your teenager the same way that you knew your infant/toddler?

Friday, March 5, 2010

Quirks and Anecdotes

So having a child really changes your life. Before you're married and settled down you talk about "the good ole days." Then you get married and talk about your adorable cats (don't laugh, I know many people who do this!). Then you have children and your topic of conversation changes once again. So I'm going to take this entry to tell you some of the cute things that Caleb does and says.

He is currently eating uncooked spaghetti, which he loved and I have given up the fight on this one (there are worse things he could be eating).

He often will put on either his touque or Adam's an pull it down over his face and run around the house yelling "RAWR!" Sometimes he runs into walls while doing thing. He thinks it's hilarious.

A few days ago I told him I needed to go to the potty so he came with me (he usually follows me everywhere) and proceeds to plunk his "Little People" in his little potty (that he doesn't actually use so it's clean). He then signed "potty" and waited till I finished. I started washing my hands and he handed me the Little Person to wash her hands too. (Now if only he would realize that he can use the potty too!)

The aforementioned Little Person is a little girl in a red hat and a yellow rain jacket. He calls her "daddy," because she has glasses like daddy does. I get the Little Person holding flowers and a lunch kit, because the lunch kit is a diaper bag.

He doesn't call me "mama." He calls me "mum-bee." Sometimes if he's searching the house for me he just yells "Bee! Bee!"

He has recently learned to put his boots on. So he puts on his boots, touque, and usually a mitten on and then lets himself outside into the snow. He has also done this in only his diaper. He also knows (as of the last couple days) how to unlock the deadbolt. (I have an escapee problem in my house)

He has tried to run over his banana with his ride-on toy.

The ride-on toy does wheelies already.

He doesn't do the full hand grip on his spoon that most toddlers do. He holds it prim and proper, like an adult.

He tried to blame the coloring on the wall on my friend's 5 month old baby.

Caleb has an incredible ability to hear a truck or tractor from 4 miles away. For example, there was a siren in the distance last night as I was nursing him down (we live about 1/4 mile off the highway and I had to strain to hear it). I thought he was nearly asleep. All of the sudden he pops off and says, "Truck." He has only ever heard sirens on a movie or on a toy police car.

He also knows the instant the tractor is started on the farm and feels the urge to put his boots on to "help Papa work, tractor."

He communicates in complete sentances (sometimes). Half signs and half words.

Some of the less common signs that he knows: work, tea, potty/toilet, diaper change, brush teeth, color, sleep, and friend.

He thinks all babies need "milkies" and "diaper changes."

He has 4 teeth on the top, two on the bottom and four molars. It his been this way for about 7 months. Though it seems that a couple days ago he finally got in his canine teeth.

He has no comfort object other than his mom and dad. I'm glad that he's attached to people and not a thing. Makes my life easier, you can't leave a person behind at a friends house and they don't have to go through the washer.

So anyway, those are few things that I find adorable about my son. There are lots more and he just gets cuter every day. Even though there are times that it can be frustrating to be a 24/7 mom the good moments are more often and more memorable. I think that sometimes when you become a mom you are told about all the hard work that it is and how you'll never sleep a full night again. I like to welcome people into motherhood buy telling them it just gets better and better all the time.

Final cute thing: Adam is due in the house any minute. Caleb has taken styrofoam plates and plastic popsicle handles out of the cupboard and arranged them on the floor near the doorway. I asked what he was doing and he said, "cook, daddy, work" He's making his daddy supper for when he comes in from work. What a sweetheart! Now to stop him before he eats the plates!