Mia didn’t become a big sister the day Margo was born. She accepted her new role the day she found out we were having another baby.
All through my pregnancy, she’d ask about the baby, talk and sing to the baby and referred to herself as a big sister. She’d tell Margo everyday how much she loved her, before Mia even met her. She’d also talk about all of the big sister things she’d do for her like take care of her, give her hugs and kisses, read to her and share her toys with her.
Both Dominic and I had no doubts about just how amazing of a big sis Mia would be for Margo. We couldn’t wait to finally see the two of them together. It was actually because of Mia that we even made the decision to have a second child. I’ve always thought about having a large family, but it wasn’t until having Mia that I knew I would at least have 2 children. I knew that I had to gift her with a friend for life. I had a sibling growing up and I think I would have been so lonely as a child had my brother not entered my life. Dominic and I both knew that Mia would majorly benefit from having a playmate as well. And now, we’re at the start of raising sisters.
I’m not going to lie, it was a bumpy transition for Mia at first. Margo has a set of lungs on her that reaches ear-piercing decibels when she screams. The day after Margo was born, Dad and Mia came to visit us in the hospital. It didn’t take long for Margo to cry during their visit and it freaked Mia out! Mia booked it towards the door, hid behind the dividing curtain and just cried. She was scared and then didn’t want to go near Margo.
The photo below is actually from that encounter and was taken soon after we comforted Mia. We were able to convince her to pose for a picture but she wasn’t happy about it at all. For the next week, Mia remained uneasy around Margo, especially when she was fussy and crying (which was more often than not!). Once Mia realized that this is just what babies do (or at least our baby), then it wasn’t so scary anymore. It became the norm. And after weeks of dealing with a fussy baby, when Mia would see me or Dad become flustered over Margo’s crying, Mia would tell us, “It’s okay, guys. She’s just a baby. This is what babies do!” Thata girl, Mia.
After Mia moved past her “what-the-heck-just-happened-to-my-life” phase, the two of them have been amazing together. Mia has insisted on helping out as much as she can. She often requests to have Margo lay down on her bed with her so she can read her books. And just when I think it’s not a good idea because Margo’s been fussing for the past half hour, I’m proved wrong. Margo mellows out almost every time she’s near her big sister. She hears the sound of Mia’s voice, zeros in on her face and then doesn’t take her eyes off of her. Margo is infatuated with Mia, it’s so sweet. She peacefully listens to Mia read her stories….well, for as long as a baby can be entertained. This usually lasts for about 15 minutes, but it’s the most adorable 15 minutes of our day.
Mia also loves to help me bathe Margo. I prop her step-stool near the kitchen counter where Margo bathes and I put her in charge of pouring water over Margo’s body (slowly and gently) to keep her warm while I wash her with soap.
Mia also loves to accompany me when I change Margo’s poopy diapers. “Is it poop?! I wanna see! I wanna see!” It’s the most random thing, but she insists on checking out every single poopy diaper before I throw it in the trash. After she catches a glimpse, she takes off back to whatever activity she was doing before she was interrupted.
Anther common request from Mia is, “Can I pet Margo? Can I pet her hair?” Mia is also very helpful when I’m in the middle of something and Margo starts fussing while on her play mat or in her rocker or chair. Mia will try to calm her down by sitting next to her, talking to her, showing her a toy and giving her kisses. She always tells Margo, “Oh, you’re SO CUTE! I love you, Margo!” She also always tells Margo, “You came out of Mommy’s tummy. Yes, you did! Oh, yes you did!” in a baby voice.
Over the last 3 months, it’s been such a treat to watch this relationship grow between my girls. It’s been a slow and gentle one that has required patience from us all. There’s not a whole lot that they can do together physically, so Mia has taken on more of a caregiver/helper role with Margo than a playmate. I know that in time this will change, but hopefully Mia won’t completely lose her desire to care for Margo. I hope that as the two of them grow, they discover the benefits of having a sister and see each other more as a gift and best friend rather than just someone they can beat up and yell at :)
A few hopes and wishes for my girls as they grow together as sisters:
– I hope you always have each others’ back. Like a mini gang. Never let anyone talk crap about your sister, whether it’s to her face or behind her back. Personal defender for life!
– I hope you find a best friend in each other. Sure, you will argue and fight, have differing opinions and may just want to punch the other in the face at times, but I hope you two have a strong, sisterly bond that will never be broken. Bff for life!
– I hope to continue to save big on money by reusing Mia’s clothes that she grows out of for Margo! That’s right, hand-me-downs are big around here. I saved so much of Mia’s things which has made life so convenient, for now. As you girls grow to where you’re similar in size, when Margo finally catches up to Mia, I hope you two manage to maintain the same body size so that you can borrow each others’ clothes. Not having a sister of my own, I never got to experience sharing clothes with anyone but always thought it would be so much fun to “shop” in a sister’s closet. I bet it’s infuriating at times, especially when the clothing item comes back a little damaged after use…or when clothing starts disappearing because the borrower fails to not only tell you she’s borrowing them but also forgets to return them. BUT… imagine all of the money I’ll save over the years as you two grow up if one item clothes the both of ya! But seriously, double the closet, girls. Double the closet. And shopping pals for life!
– Of course, being sisters means there will be some similarities between the two of you. But…you are both your own unique person. I hope neither of you ever get caught up in constantly comparing yourself to the other. There is such a thing as healthy competition, so I think it will only be natural to want to “one up” or outdo the other. Maybe this will help drive and motivate you to always strive for your personal best. But please, know that I will never expect you two to be like the other, act like the other, nor will I love you like the other. My love will always be different and unique for each of you, but will never…ever run dry. I’ll love you for life!
– I hope you care enough about each other to tell it like it is. That is, if you two are open and honest enough to confide in each other in the first place…which is another huge hope of mine for you two. There will never be any other person besides your sister (and me) who will not only listen to every single detail about your problems (school, friend, boy, body image, financial, passion related…anything!), but will give you an honest response and/or solution. You may not want to hear what we have to say at times, but don’t forget that we’re blunt because we love you. Personal therapist for life!
– I hope to teach the two of you to do each others’ hair (ie ponytails, braids, pigtails, buns…) so that I’ll have one less thing to do each morning before work/school. Hello, personal hair stylist for life!
Like I said before, I don’t have sisters and therefore don’t really know the bond that sisters share from personal experience. I’m sure as I watch my girls grow over the years that I will realize so many more hopes that I’ll have for my girls and their relationship with one another. But at the end of every day, love is really all that a parent can hope for their children. And that’s what I hope for you two. Love each other like no one else, and you’ll never feel alone. You’ll never be alone.
As a recent mom of two girls, I’ve been feeling the weight of being a parent and responsible for the healthy upbringing of two beautiful little humans. I can’t help but to wonder: What will they be like when they’re older? What will their interests be? How will their personalities unfold? Will I do enough, say enough, show enough and be enough to allow them to be everything that they have the potential to be? Will my guidance, teachings and love be worthy of a hearty future for them?
There are so many values, principles, and standards that I want them to grasp and hold themselves to. All of these thoughts, and more (waaaaaaaay more), are common among all parents. But since I have this blog, here, I’m thinking it’s not a bad idea to share some of the wisdom I’d like to impart on my girls as they grow. Could be therapeutic, even. It’s like they say, if you keep a notepad by your bed and jot down all of the thoughts that keep you up at night (like errands you have to run the next day and ideas you don’t want to forget) then you’ll hopefully get to sleep quicker and be more at peace knowing that these thoughts won’t slip away from you. Well maybe jotting down my wishes and hopes for my girls will also allow me to rest a little easier because they’ll be documented and never forgotten. Also, God forbid that anything ever bad happens to me before my girls are grown, but if it does, my “lessons” will still live on after I do. My girls will always know of the things I wanted and hoped and dreamed for them and of just how much I love them. Sorry things got a little dark there, but it’s true that I worry about them growing up without their mama’s guidance. Moving on…
So I’ve been brainstorming, trying to compose a substantial list of these meaningful life lessons to bestow upon my girls. But I have to admit, I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed for two reasons:
1) How in the world can I possibly conjure up every single lesson, tidbit of knowledge, useful tip, word of wisdom, thoughtful insight or clever piece of advice that I want to teach my children, right here and right now?! I’m bound to leave something out. More like, pages worth of golden gems will surely be forgotten and left out. This is an impossible task for a Thursday evening, on minimal sleep over the past 3 months (hello, Mommy brain!) and during an unknown period of time while the girls are napping.
2) As I write this, I’m only 32 years young. I haven’t even lived half of my life yet (shit, I flippin’ hope that’s true!) so the idea of making a complete list at this point in my life is just silly. I’ve still got plenty more life to live and lessons to learn, myself. That’s right, moms don’t know everything. Although that would be a pretty sweet deal.
So, instead of writing out all the things that I wish to enlighten my children with, I think it best to turn this list into a series of them. I don’t intend to make them a usual or scheduled occurrence, just a random and whenever-I-please sort of thing.
With that being said, here goes my first set of “life lessons” I leave for my girls, Mia and Margo:
1) Drink a ton of water!
As you mature, you’ll learn how beneficial this will be for your skin, hair and overall health. But for now, at this young age, you’re learning how it’s used as a preventative measure in avoiding constipation and a “hurt peepee”. That’s right, we’ve recently dealt with tears while on the toilet in regards to an unpleasant #2…and…sometimes it hurts to pee after a day without enough water. Using these two occurrences as examples for the importance of hydrating one’s self have proven to be most effective in getting results.
2) Do kind things for others…
…whether they be your family, friends or strangers. Every single act of kindness makes our world a little bit better of a place to live in. And, when you do go out of your way for others, please oh please don’t ever expect a single thing in return. Not even a “thank you.” If the recipient of your kindness fails to thank you, that only shows their lack of manners. Doing good out of the kindness of your heart is the point, here. NOT receiving credit or acknowledgement.
3) Don’t let others take advantage of your kindness.
After offering the previous “lesson”, I have to also tell you that there are people who will take advantage of your kindness. You’ll find out who these people are soon enough. They’re the ones who pop up out of the woodwork, taking from you, using you, mooching off of your giving heart without ever giving to you of themselves…out of the kindness of their own heart. Show kindness to those who truly deserve it or are in need. The rest of them? Just give them nothing more than a view of you, walking away.
4) Be an advocate for good manners.
In a world where they seem to be slipping away, where their importance has fallen to the wayside in many homes, lead others by example. Uphold them for all to see and hear. Say “please” and “thank you.” Open doors for others (and if they don’t thank you for that, apologize to them for not sprinkling rose petals along their path as well *insert sarcasm here*). Say “thank you” when another holds a door open for you. Help an old, pregnant, or handicapped person carry their bags. Give up your seat while waiting at a restaurant, on a bus, in an office, etc. to another who looks like they could use a break (a pregnant woman, young child, the elderly, an injured person or an exhausted looking mom who spends hours of the day waiting on hand and foot to her children and significant other, etc). If you find a lost item, no matter its value, return it to the proper authorities or the owner. Say “excuse me” when crossing in front of someone in the aisle of a grocery store as they’re looking for which box of cereal to choose. If you bump into someone, immediately say “excuse me.” Manners make people feel good and using them, hopefully, reminds everyone that we should respect one another, no matter how different, if for nothing more than because we are all members of the human race.
5) You are unique. Embrace this.
There is no one else in the history of existence who is exactly like you. Just being yourself is adding something new and different to the world. But unfortunately, you live in a time where society wants you to act and think according to their mainstream ways…following trends, styles, diets, etc. Ignore all of that crap. Don’t buy into their bologna of what you should look like, how you should talk, what you should wear, what music to listen to, and what’s considered “cool.” Please, don’t ever change or hide who you are for another. And don’t ever let the world get you down for being different. Girls, follow your hearts towards your passions. Celebrate the mind and body that you were born with, they’re perfectly imperfect. Nourish your soul with how you see fit. Dance to the beat of your own drum. Just do you. Because an original is always worth more than a copy.
6) Step outside of your comfort zone.
It’s where all of the magic happens. It’s where you’ll discover something new about yourself, like how you handle pressure, stress, fear, envy, the unknown. Or maybe you’ll reveal a hidden talent or strength, uncover a new passion or interest, or learn a new skill, or even discover a favorite food. You may find yourself feeling awkward or uncomfortable, but I swear girls, it’s worth it! Don’t limit your challenges, challenge your limits.
7) Introduce yourself to Mother Nature.
Build a relationship with her and actively maintain it, whether you do so by hiking her trails or camping out in her depths. There is so much to learn about ourselves when we’re stripped of many of our possessions and smack dab in the middle of nowhere among the wild beauty of nature. Feel the breeze in your hair, absorb the sun on your skin, breathe in that fresh air, savor the sweet scent of life, listen to the peaceful sound of growth among the plants and the chatter among the wildlife, quiet your mind from the stresses of home, take note of the deliberate pace at which all is accomplished, allow yourself to find but a small place in her bosom, and allow her into yours. You’ll be forever changed.
*Enter huge sigh of relief, here!*
Margo Blue turned 3 months old today and Mama finally got her groove back! Well, that may be a bit of an exaggeration because things aren’t as smooth as ice over here. Maybe a baby’s bottom, though. Baby’s skin is the best, right? But compared to how the first 2 months went for us, things are great! After going through such chaos and screaming and tears and confusion and stress, I really can’t complain now. You can check out her monthly updates here.
This month, we really found a routine that worked for us. Both Margo and I have become accustomed to one another and to a daily groove. I have my list making to thank for that. Since Margo was born, I’ve kept a daily log of pretty much everything she does: when she eats, how much she eats, when she naps, how long she naps, when she poops and the consistency of each poop. Writing it all down has allowed me to recognize her own natural routine and when to anticipate every activity. This has helped me avoid meltdowns, excessive fussing, becoming overtired, or getting too hungry. This month, we were working like a well oiled machine. Dare I say, she was easy (again, compared to the first 2 months).
Our routine, in a nutshell:
Basically, we’d awake in the morning anywhere between 6-7am, feed and then stay awake for 2 hours from when she woke up. Feedings took up about 30 minutes, and the rest our time to kill was spent doing a combination of the following: changing her diaper, holding her on my lap, talking and making faces/smiling at each other, walking around the house (checking out her reflection in mirrors, the fish tank and the view through windows), reclining in her Rock N’ Play while watching some TV, sitting up in her bouncer, laying flat on her activity mat or giving her a bath if it was the evening. Once 2 hours were spent, she’d start getting a bit fussy and then it was time for a nap. I’d tightly swaddle her (bless you, swaddle blankets!), cradle her in my arms and “Sshhhh” or sing to her, pop a paci in her mouth and her sleepy eyes would roll around almost immediately. On average, she’d be in my arms for about 5 minutes before I’d lay her down. Then she’d be out for anywhere from 1.5 – 2.5 hours for the morning nap. Once awake, we’d repeat the above routine. Her afternoon nap averaged 2-3.5 hours long! She’d awaken, and we’d repeat the routine. Then she’d nap again in the evening but for only 30-45 minutes. The evenings were more difficult because she was fussier and needier then, and poor Dad would get home from work just in time to deal with it because it was then time for me to fix dinner. Hand off!
The only thing that we haven’t been able to establish a routine with is her night time sleep. She’d go down for the night anywhere between 8-9:30pm and would remain asleep for anywhere between 4-5.5 hours. She’d awaken for one feeding, go back down to sleep easily but then only remain asleep for about 2-3 hours. Because I was never ready to get to bed right when she did (hello, um, dinner clean up, dishes, toy pick-up, other child to put to bed and read to, and some “me” time to unwind) I’d only get 5-6 broken hours of sleep each night. I believe there were only 2 instances of uninterrupted sleep this month, once I got 6 hours and another night I got 7 hours of straight sleep. I miss my sleep, but have really become used to functioning with little of it. Sure, I’m not the sharpest tool in the shed or the brightest crayon in the box these days, but I get by fine enough. If any of you have advice on establishing a better night’s sleep…I’m all ears!!!
The other huge improvement this month was her feedings. She no longer screamed or cried during them! Such a life changer for us all. She still fussed a little, squirmed and needed an occasional break during some of them, but it was so very tolerable. She did spit up a lot, though. For most of the month, she was like a baby fountain. Formula would just pour out of her mouth after every burp and when we moved her too much after eating. I’d go through handfuls of burp cloths each day and would be covered in spit-up formula by the end of the day. What a smell!
Other quick details:
She started taking the pacifier regularly when she became tired and also during car rides. She’s much easier to soothe, now.
She eats 6oz of formula with each feeding, which are 3.5-4hrs apart.
She’s still wearing size 3 month clothes and size 1 diapers.
She stopped crying/screaming in the car, unless it’s feeding time.
She still sees the chiropractor but only once a week. She still sees her physical therapist for her torticollis, twice a week. She hates physical therapy and screams for almost the entire 20-30 minute session. So stressful, I can’t wait for our last one!
She’s “talking” more, making more unique sounds, smiles constantly at everyone, and drools a lot.
I went to the grocery store for the first time with both kids in tow. It was a success! I was nervous the entire time, just waiting for the moment when Margo would lose her shit. But it didn’t happen. She actually fell asleep halfway through. While walking out of that grocery store, I felt on top of the world! I wanted to shout out my triumph over the intercom, I wanted confetti to rain down on me and for the other shoppers nearby to start a gradual round of applause for me. In a perfect world, right?
Margo took her first dip in our swimming pool with Daddy and Uncle Chris. She loved it. Didn’t fuss a bit.
Margo gained more control of her neck. Her head isn’t as wobbly anymore. Guess I have to start calling her “Bobble Head” or “Bobbles”.
What’s with the word “bae”, anyway? Not gonna lie, I think it’s obnoxious. I had to look it up because I’ve been seeing it used so much lately and had no idea what it meant (since I’m now a mom of 2 and my current residence is under a rock). If I’m not mistaken, it’s short for “baby” or “babe” and is what the kids are calling their significant other these days. Puh-lease correct me if that definition is wrong because I would just hate to use it incorrectly. Seriously? Are the words “baby” and “babe” really not short enough that we have to shorten them even more? People are really getting more lazy and less creative these days. Anyways…I digress.
On to what I really want to talk about, which is explaining why I may not be chiming in here on the blog as much as I’d like to. I really do love blogging and it’s a priority of mine, but right now it’s taking a temporary back seat to getting my butt back into shape. I mean, it is a shape….it’s just not the shape I’d prefer at the moment. I used to do most of my blogging in the mornings while Mia was in preschool (3x a week) but now I’m using that time to exercise.
I’m 3 months post-baby and I’ve decided that it’s time to start shedding the baby weight. I’ve got an extra 5 lbs remaining after my most recent child and 15 lbs remaining from my first pregnancy. That’s 20 additional lbs after having babies. Unlike my first pregnancy with Mia, the latest one with Margo has left my belly stretched and loose. Because of this, I’m not sure that my body will ever get back to the way it was, pre-kids. I really hope that’s not true. I do know that dropping weight is going to be harder than it ever was for me. I’m going to have to be more disciplined and focused on my diet and on my level of physical activity. Pre-baby, I had all of the time in the world to dedicate to fitness but now my time is so limited with 2 kids at ages 3 years old and 3 months old. They require so much of my attention, it really is hard to find time for myself as well.
But…I’m sick and tired of feeling heavy and blob-ish and not fitting into the majority of my clothes. I know that my body is amazing as-is…it carried and birthed my two beautiful daughters. They were worth the changes that my body has undergone. But, I’m not content with just accepting the extra weight. That’s why I’ve already begun a workout routine.
Last week, I ran on my treadmill on Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning immediately after dropping Mia off at her summer preschool program. Margo goes down for a nap right when I get back home and stays asleep for anywhere from 1-2 hours. That gives me time for a 45 minute run, a shower and time to get ready to pick up Mia. This routine worked out really well last week and it’s what I plan to carry out from now on.
I can’t tell you how good it felt to run again. I really do love it. It’s so freeing, it’s therapeutic, and is such an endorphin booster. I always feel great after a good run. It’s also really fun to sing and jam out to blaring music over the speakers in my garage. No joke, my workouts sound like a full blown dance club in there. I can crank up the volume and get lost in the music, which helps pass the time and makes a 45 minute run feel like only 10. Being in the garage (my husband’s domain) doesn’t provide the best view of much. It’s actually really cluttered, dirty and overwhelming in there, but there’s not a room in our house to put the treadmill in where the kids won’t hear it during their naps…so I’ll deal with it.
Hopefully, I’ll be able to update you with successful progress on the weight loss front and I also hope I won’t fall too far behind with other life updates on the blog. Priorities though, right?
In case any of you care to rock out with me to your own workout routine, here’s my current “workout playlist” (in no particular order). I’m always adding and subtracting music as I increase my running speed. That’s because I run to the beat of each song that comes on. Right now, I do more power-walking than running but as I gain stamina and endurance I’ll include more fast-paced music to keep my running pace up. Enjoy!
In motherhood, there are some unexpected behaviors a mom experiences that she could have never prepared herself for. Probably because they’re pretty ridiculous, sometimes embarrassing and are most likely not her finest moments. But, one huge lesson learned in motherhood is that there will be times you’ll just have to laugh at yourself and at life, to keep your sanity in tact.
Below are 5 actual, true story moments that I’ve had or continue to experience as a mom. Can you relate? Please say, “Yes!” Check out my entire “You know you’re a mom when…” series here.
You know you’re a mom when…
1) …the thought of a family day/weekend trip sounds like a lot of work, rather than an actual vacation. Eh, I’d rather stay home and keep on point with my routine so I can get a few sporadic hours of peace, thank you! (May apply more to moms of newborns/infants/toddlers.)
2) …you’ve washed the same load of laundry multiple times over the span of a few days because you keep forgetting to dry it!
3) …you catch yourself cutting your own meal into bite-size pieces before taking the first bite. Hope no one else saw that.
4) …you often find yourself announcing in your home exactly what you’re doing and where you can be found, each time you move throughout the house.
5) …you’ve completely knocked out with a pacifier in your mouth. On this particular occasion, it was a cold night and I was warming it up for Mia when she was a wee one. Husband captured the evidence. #sorrynotsorry
One thing I’ve learned about myself since becoming a mom is how little I paid attention to the ingredients and materials that made up the products I used. Since having kids, I’ve suddenly found myself protecting them from things that I use or have used countless times. Suddenly, safety is a major priority. Nail polish is one of those items that just doesn’t make the cut, at least while my kids are so young.
But, I have to be honest. When Mia, my first born, became interested in nail polish around 2 years old…I didn’t think anything of it. I had always dreamed of the day when I’d get to paint my daughter’s nails for the first time. Such a mommy-daughter moment. So when she asked me if she could dig through my box of polishes and choose a few for me to paint on her, I absolutely said yes! She was her most calm and still when I painted her finger and toe nails. It was pretty impressive. And, they all turned out great and she loved her new nails. She’d tell anyone she came across all about her new, pretty nails and how Mommy painted them for her. So proud.
Well, my mom saw her nails a few days later and proceeded to bust my polish painting bubble! I got an earful on the subject of chemicals in nail polish and how they are too harsh for Mia’s sensitive and thin nails. She was totally not cool with my parenting decision to give Mia a little mani/pedi. I was completely caught off guard by this since the thought of chemical exposure never crossed my mind, even though now it seems so obvious that it should have. #momfail
Coincidentally, I received an email a few days later from Suncoat, a company that makes water-based nail polish (and other beauty products) that is chemical free. Safe for kids! I was shocked over the perfect timing for this collaboration. I was definitely down to sample their products. I was sent three of their nail polishes, colors of my choice, along with a little nail file. Mia was beyond excited to receive her own nail products in the mail!
Soon after receiving them, I was painting Mia’s fingers and toes. I’d say the main differences that I can tell between these water-based polishes and your traditional polish is that they’re a bit thinner in texture and they feel cold to the touch while blowing on them to dry. They definitely require 2 or more coats and they last for a few days on the fingers. The toes last longer. I also like how easy they are to peel off when you’re ready to remove the paint. The best part about them is that they’re safe for my kid’s nails and skin! No nasty fumes to inhale and no chemicals being absorbed.
I do recommend using non-toxic nail polish from Suncoat. There are very affordable sets of different colors available. And if you don’t have kids who care for painted nails, I think these make for a great gift idea for birthdays and other holidays or special occasions. Parents will thank you for taking safety into consideration and I think young kids will feel so “grown up” to own their own set of nail polishes.
*Note: I apologize for poor-quality phone photos. Have you tried photographing a toddler with a chunky DSLR camera while painting their nails?? I have. Ain’t doing that again.