28 May 2011

March

These two. They save me every single day from what could possibly be a very boring life.

Our budding chef

Everything's better in boots

Being a baby is very serious work


Thankfully Lent is over, and he is back to napping (reluctantly)

(Houston winters are the best. This pic is from February.)

08 May 2011

On Motherhood: Loneliness

Young motherhood is a lonely time. There are incredible husbands and fathers, there are millions of women doing it at the very same time, there are play groups, there are girls nights outs, but ultimately, we do it on our own.

No one but you understands your own child. We relate, we empathize, we listen, but we can't really understand.

No one understands the very real challenges we currently face. Not our dear friends, our family, and sometimes not even us. We handle it as gracefully as possible, but there are things that cause me to cry and worry into the night. There are times when I doubt the spiritual promptings and confirmations I've received because well-intentioned friends say, "It's not that bad" or "I don't see anything wrong" or "You're a good mother; it will turn out just fine" or "I don't know why you're worrying about that" or "That's perfectly normal" or "This too shall pass" or... "Your kids will grow out of it" or ...

(And I am most assuredly guilty of uttering or at least thinking all of these statements in regards to other mothers)

No one understands the constant struggle it is to give another child what they need when your other child has more needs than any 20 people can physically and emotionally meet. The guilt that comes along with that, the occasional resentment, followed by the shame and regret for harboring such feelings.

I watched Parenthood for part of the first season. In one episode, Max was recently diagnosed with autism. Hattie (the older sister) is asked to be patient and understand that this particular situation is about Max. Hattie retorts with something like, "It's always about Max. It's always been about Max. Face it. Ever since he was little, everything has been about Max."

This scene haunts my mind several times a week. I can't remember if that's exactly how it went, or if that's what my brain has spun it into, but it doesn't really matter.

Perhaps there are women out there saying, "Yes. I do understand. I am going through/have gone through the same thing." To which I reply, "No. No, you haven't."

I don't respond that way out of disrespect; I recognize I am not the only person in the world to have two children. I am, however, the only person in the world to have my two children.

You see, motherhood is very individual.

There is no one like me, who responds exactly like I do. Another may have similar feelings, but our life experiences are different, which ultimately affects how we process things. The same goes for my children. There may be similarities with other kids; that does not mean they are the same.

If I had twins that were just like my Mimi, I truly believe twins would be easier (as does my husband). And before any of you mothers with twins scoff, saying, "You have no idea how much work it is to have twins!" let me stop you right there. Because you. are. right. I have no idea. Just like you have no idea what it is like to have an anxiety-riddled two-year-old.

And that, in essence, is my point. We can look at the lives of other mothers, assess what they are doing right and doing wrong, and decide what would be "easy" for us and say "I wish I had that." But we don't really know.

Based on my limited understanding of what I think twin Mimis would be like, the physical work of twins appears easier than the emotional work of our current situation. I don't know if it is easier, nor will I ever know.

In General Conference, Elder Holland (?) said perhaps we need these children just as much as they need us. When I heard that statement, with my baby attached for a feeding and my son running around like a maniac throwing train tracks and screaming for strawberries, I said, "I already know that. I know this is what I need to develop long-suffering, charity, and all the other Godlike attributes. But it's haaaaaard."

That's not to invalidate what was taught. My challenges are tailor-made for my specific spiritual needs. And realistically, when my head is clear and I can step out of myself for a moment, I do indeed love this stage of our life, just as it is, challenges and all.

So during this Mother's Day season, my present to myself is to STOP.
  • Stop judging my situation against other mothers' situations.
  • Stop caring that other people may be judging my situation.
  • Stop doubting my decisions. I follow the Spirit and I know it.
  • Stop being embarrassed or apologetic because of my "strange" choices.
  • Stop forgetting that there is, indeed, one person who understands. That is one of the many purposes of the Atonement.
  • Stop viewing things so short-sightedly and underestimating the eternal partnership with God: motherhood.
I think that's a pretty good start. Happy Mother's Day.

Motherhood: An Eternal Partnership with God

04 May 2011

Birthday Wish List

I turn 29 this month. I asked Patrick to do this for my birthday:



He said he may not have enough time to pull it off.

Sheesh, I lose 55 pounds and I still need to wait for my husband to be able to use me as a kettlebell in a Turkish get-up.

What's that? You hadn't heard?

Yes, I've lost 55 pounds since August and weigh less than when I got pregnant with Jonas, so I'm a much lighter kettlebell now. With no PCOS symptoms.

Paleo rocks my world.

(PS My husband is still quite strong, even if using me in a Turkish get-up is not part of our future)

02 May 2011

Yonder Way Farm, from the Perspective of a 2-Year-Old

Jonas remembers everything. So much that I need to be extremely careful about following through with everything, as consistency is probably at the top of his values list. If I tell him at 8 am that we will water the plants after his afternoon nap, he bursts through the door at 3 pm, blurting "I water plants now" before I can even say, "Hi Jonas, how was your nap?"
If I tell him we are going to a friend's house (who lives 40 minutes away) and decide to take a different route halfway through, he starts whining because he thinks we missed our freeway exit.

When we visited a local bookstore for the first (and only) time, after passing it a month later, he told me which books he read and the bookmarks that he found interesting. He even named the place the Library-Bookstore By Da Hippo Park (there is a hippo at a nearby playground).

Jonas knows when you keep promises, and when you break them, even if they were made months ago.

It's really very hard to keep up with, but I thought I was doing a pretty decent job.

Which is why I was utterly, completely, totally floored when he recounted our last farm experience to me. Back in November, we visited a local farm to see where our meat was being raised and to meet the farmer. Jonas wasn't really saying much more than a few words then, and he hasn't said anything about the farm since we visited.

Two weeks ago I mentioned we were going to the farmer's market, which he mistook to mean the farm.

In his words:
A farm wif a cow an a cluck an a oinky

an I saw da cottadoos (cocka-doodle-doos)

an da trackers

An I ride m' bike

An da chickens

an da gobble gobbles

an I fay wif my cars

wif da chickens
 

Da big oinkys run
 

an I fay on da fayground
 

Der was water
 

an I frew rocks in da water

an I was skirred (scared)

an I fell down

and it was mud and dirty

an I fayed on a tracker

an Mommy an Daddy an Jonie an Baby went home

I'm not kidding. This is the story he told me, in this order, which happens to also be the order in which all of the events conspired. Five and a half months ago. That's genius, right?

It is as if he's bottled up all of his life experiences in his mind, just waiting for the moment when he his language abilities match his cognitive abilities. His mind is always racing, and when he can share as much as he so clearly wants to share, we may very well have a little chatterbox on our hands.

The things he didn't say that I'm sure he would have if he could get all the words out:

Mimi was adorable, as usual, and got lots of sunshine.
 

She spent most of the time in Mommy's and Daddy's arms 
 

or sleeping in the stroller.

Some boy tried to take m' bike

So I took it far away from him

The farm itself is phenomenal. It's clean, it's grass-fed and organic, and they're everything I look for in a farm. They process their chickens on-site and welcome anyone to observe or even participate if desired. Their beef and hogs are processed by a local family-owned business that is also very open-door with their facilities. If you are in the area and need some quality meat, Yonder Way Farm also delivers to pick-up groups around the city.

And best yet, visiting is a fun, memorable experience (as Jonas can attest).