When my first born Evan was a baby, I had a really hard time nursing him. My milk was slow to come in and he was a hefty 8 pounder who seemed to constantly want to eat. However as a new Mom I was determined to figure this out. I made several trips to the lactation consultant, spent hours with Evan trying to get him to latch on, applied lanolin on the few moment my boobs were on a break and did my best to eat healthy and keep pumping to help get my milk to come in faster. After the first few days at home with him and a diagnosis from the lactation nurse that Evan had a "Barracuda" latch technique and that I would just have to suck it up, I remember vividly standing in the shower hugging my sore and raw tender breasts and crying because I knew that a feeding wasn't far off and it was the absolute last thing I wanted to do. Not wanting to nurisng Evan was an emotion I was not prepared for. I dread when it was his time to eat, I started favoring the bottle and on the time when I did get Evan latched on it hurt so much that I can't honestly say that I spent more time staring up at the ceiling counting to ten to help take my mind of the pain, then I did staring at him cradled in my arms. Where was all this in the "what to expect when you are expecting book" There sould have been a chapter on why I just wanted to run like hell when Evan began his hunger cry. I was a new Mom for only a few weeks and already I was a failure. Of course eventually I realized that wasn't the case. I firmly believe God saw a moment to intervene and stepped in with giving Evan a milk allergy. I was no longer able to give him my breast milk and he was put on a Hypoallergenic formula fed through a bottle and in a nut shell problem solved. I sat back and relaxed a little and firmly believed that I would nerv have another moment of feeling like I was a failure as a parent again. That is until Ryan, my second born turned 3. The past few weeks have been a challenge with him. He has more energy now at 3 than he did at 2 if that is possible. He is constantly trying to keep up with Evan which means lot's of frustration and lot's of temper tantrums. In typical 3 year old fashion he doesn't like to share, he thinks everything is his and he has learned anew trick which involves taunting his brother and instigating trouble where ever he turns. Now before I go on any further, let me clarify. I love this little boy. I love every ounce of him, I would lay down my life for this kid. But there are days where I find myself not looking forward to spending time with him. Just to even type that makes me feel like a big failure than I did not being bale to nurse Evan. This dawned on me yesterday while I assumed the position of standing in the middle of the kitchen massaging my temples while counting to 10 so I could figure out the best way to handle how to handle Ryan who is in front of me on the floor throwing one of his famous tantrums. I know this is a aprt of the deal. Toodlerhood/ early preschool years are full of changes for these little guys and when you have an older brother who seems a second faster than you are and is able to communicate better than I can see why it would lead to lot's of frustration and anger. I just don't know how to handle it anymore. I am your classic case of woman on the egd of a nervous break down if I hear Ryan scream yell of whine any more. Where did my sunny and bubbly little boy go?? I see glimpses of him from time to time. Especially when he is sleepy and he wants to cuddle in my lap. yup, that is him. But how do I hep him get through this phase. How can I be patient enough for him and learn more tolerance because quite frankly I am running out. The familiar feelings of failing one of my boys creeps and and surrounds me. It probably something I need to squash and just get over myself but my challenge with Ryan lately is leaving me tired, frustrated and I will just be honest - depressed. Once again where is this in the "What to expect - The Toddler years." So I do the best I can.. On some days I have more tolerance than others and I do my best to explain to Ryan why he can't have a certain toy or a certain food (usually cookies). I do my best to react fairly to every situation and try and encourage Ryan to feel good about himself even when he is in the throws of acting out. I praise his energy and love his enthusiasm on everything even when I am bone tired and using safety pins to keep my eye lids open. I hug him probably more now than I did ever before because I want him to know that no matter how mad I get with him or how frustrated he can make me, I love him unconditionally and always will. I hope deep down he knows that. And I hope for myself, even deeper down that I will realize that I am not a failure. I am just a Mom, hanging on with both hands through this storm of parenthood, glimpsing at moments that really do remind me, this is the ride of my life.
For Spring break this year, we ventured to Sebastian Florida for a week with Chris's folks. The trip served two purposes. One, Chris had business in Orlando and since his folks live about an hour from their we decided to turn it into a family adventure to let the kids see "Geema" and "Papa" I was too happy about this since it meant I would have help with the kids while Chris was at his conference, and maybe, just maybe I might be able to sneak away by myself to the beach kid free.
The week was wonderful. A solitude beach day did not happen but I was able to join Chris for two days at his resort in Orlando. So sitting pool side with my book and a cold beer was not quite the beach, but darn close enough. Poolside Bliss, my view for a day of peace...
The kids loved seeing their Papa and Geema. I really think a change of scenery for them as well as a change in routine was desperately needed. As a parent I am so focused on making sure their schedules and routine's are solidly in place, but as they get older I am realizing that shaking things up a bit works too. And in fact it's quite fun. The boys got to go fishing with Papa, helped him around the yard with watering plants and feeding the birds (including a sandhill crane).
The famous sandhill crane
They also got to participate in a Hermit crab race (I thought I had heard everything until that was announced at a local restaurant). So yes, after we ate we walked over to the "race table" and the boys picked out two crabs each for racing. It was hilarious, silly, unexpected, something we would have never done in Charlotte so it was downright perfect. Hermit Crab race...Too funny!
We were also able to spend some time at our favorite hang out spot in Sebastian. A place called Capt Hirams Resosrt. It's a hotel, marina, sandbar restaurant and giant tiki bar all wrapped into one. It's true heaven. They make awesome cheeseburgers and conch fritters, have ice cold beer and usually some one strumming a guitar amongst the swaying of the palm trees. When I die, I want to be buried there. Hehehe... It's just a great place to be. Chris relaxing at Hirams.
Our journey of course was not with out hi-cups. Our first error in decision making occurred the night before we left when too tired to pack (we will just knock it out in the morning was our naive attitude) we also weren't intelligent enough to realize that the entire eastern seaboard was also on spring break. This did dawn on us around Columbia, SC where the stop and go traffic became more and more frequent, along with the RV's, packed down SUV's and min vans just to name a few. Then right around Brunswick Georgia, it happened. The dead stop traffic jam on I-95. No cars were moving. We sat their for a good 10 minutes before realizing we weren't going anywhere. We were indeed screwed.
The funny thing about being dead stopped on I-95 with a hundred strangers is that they really aren't strangers at all. After engines were turned off and people got outform their cars, friendship emerged. Chris quickly made friends with another "Traveling Dad" who had the same "God help me" look on his face, that Chris shared. Come to find out he was traveling with his family of 3 kids, his wife and his mother in law from South Carolina to Orlando for a week at Disney. It takes a lot for Chris to give a male stranger a big support bear hug, and a "I love you man" chant but this was one of those moments. A bro-roamncce on I-95 formed right in front of my eyes. It was quite sweet. The car behind us, one of those smart cars a Toyota Prius (or something along those lines) where an older couple who's sunny outlook of their journey also to Orlando was still written all over their faces. "we aren't stopping until we see Mickey Mouse" was their statement. They were kid free, and their car looked way to clean so I only smiled at them from afar. I have since lost my ability on how to relate to anyone who doesn't at least have two week old french fries on their floor board. The SUV in front of me was the same family where Chris and befriended the Dad. The mom was hanging out of the passenger window waving me over. The boys were oddly obliviously to the traffic stop, and were happy coloring. I wandered up one car to say hello to this lady. As I reached her two medium sized heads popped out of the back window and began grilling me on where we were going, why was I wearing long sleeves and do I know who Batman is? I pegged the boys at about 7 or 8, older than mime but just as talkative. While the boys grilled me and I made small talk with the Mom I noticed the Mother in Law in the back of the SUV doing needlepoint and keeping an eye on a sleeping baby in the car seat in front of her. This indeed look like a full yet fun crew. Lastly I realized that despite their reputation of being nice guys, truck drivers are indeed buttholes. Okay, maybe not all truck drivers, but the one we encountered certainly was. I guess I can't blame him, everyone knows he has a scanner and CB radio and probably has information on how long we are going to be stopped and what the cause of the back up is. I saw several people go up to his window and walk away shaking their heads. Through the window I could see his annoyed face and a cigarette dangling from his mouth. He looked tired and cranky and word began to spread not to bother him. Come to find out from 3 cars up (yes gossip can travel just as fast on I-95 as it can in a local high school) that there was an accident at mile marker 17 and the reason for the backup was because everyone was getting out of their cars and therefore causing the police to hold up traffic until the accident had been cleaned up. I than heard the truck driver honking it's horn and yelling out the window for everyone to get back in their cars. I guess he blamed us bored folks for wandering about for the long hold up. I would like to argue that it was the sea of stopped vehicles in front of us that was causing the back up but he was bigger than me so I did not bother. After about a 45 minute stop traffic did indeed resume. When we passed mile marker 17about 5 minutes later no sign of an accident was there. Hmmm... It was a great mystery. But quite the experience all the same. The rest of the trip down was long, tiring and well, long... What normally takes not quite 9 hours took us 11. Spring break traffic, construction and countless other stop start stop start traffic jams made for quite the long journey.
But made it we did, and the week was great. We got home in time for Easter Sunday and it was a great way to end a week of Florida sunshine, traffic friendships and most importantly routine shake ups which when all is said and done was my favorite part. Well okay the cold beer at the sandbar was my favorite part. But the smiling happy boys was a close second.
Hot stuff. Ryan does one of his many tricks. Cutie!! Yup, he is part of THIS family for sure.
My nephew is nine months now. Hard to believe. I have been sitting for him one day a week and it's been wonderful because Evan and Ryan have gotten used to him and understand that he is their cousin. Jackson thankfully has put it with them groping at him, trying to talk to him and in Ryan's case trying to constantly hug him. I would say that out of my two boys, Ryan has taken to Jackson the most. He loves to see him and be around him. he shows off for him, helps me feed him and is always trying to kiss and hug him. It's pretty darn sweet. The funny thing is Ryan just seems to have a knack with him, and other baies in general. He has a little soft spot for them. Makes me think that one day maybe he will work with or help kids. Remains to be seen. Evan loves his cousin too, but is defiantly the "Older" kid. he has other things to do and stays buys doing his typical Evan projects. I am so glad they all get to be close and can grow up together. We are all so very lucky.
On April 4th the neighborhood I live in suffered a pretty tragic incident. I was not there at the time. We were on our way to Florida when my friend and neighbor called to tell me about a horrible car accident that took the lives of a Mom, her 3 year old daughter and a teenage boy. I ma not sure why I am writing about this. I did not know any of the victims. I did see Cindy (the Mom) jogging from time to time but never got to meet her or her daughter. She was just one of those people in our neighborhood that I figured I would meet at some point in time especially since she had a small child. I do very vividly remember seeing her for the first time power walking when she was very pregnant. I was behind her but remember her because she had extremely long long brown hair which i admired as it swung back and fourth and she was out and athletic at that stage of pregnancy which just somehow made me think she was pretty cool. In her death I am learning she was a former teacher, a very proud and devoted Mom and a choir director at a near by church. I didn't want to get to know her this way, but I have and I like to think that she and her daughter are together in heaven basking in his glory despite their abrupt and early ending. The teenage boy lived for about a day and died at the hospital. He lived in South Carolina, not far form me and from his photos and tributes on facebook he looked like a great kid. good looking popular, young... It just doesn't make much sense. But then again many things in life never do. I have lived in Riverpointe for over 3 years now and I can not think of one time when I have been pulling out of our entrance to cross 4 lanes of traffic at 55mph when I realized that we so desperately need a stop light there. The sad thing is many of us who also live her all knew this was coming. We just didn't know when... Sadly it has taken 3 deaths to finally take getting a stop light there seriously. I am not going to way in on the politics of city and county budget, traffic laws and why a light has been on hold. I am not going to berate the driver of the car that caused the accident from a very poor decision to drag race. Although he did survive the accident his life has ultimately changed for ever. he has to live with 3 lives gone on his conscious. I don't think I would wish that on anyone. I decided to write about this because for the last two weeks when I pull out of our neighborhood with extra caution I cross over a circle drawn on the pavement by the police which was the point of impact. Every day I drive over this for one reason or another and I find myself shaking my head at how quickly life can change. There is a man out there who lost his wife and only child. There is a family out there who has lost their teenage son and brother. So many people effected. Our community is just heartbroken. I write this because I want to focus on hope. I want to think that hope will get everyone who has been hurt by this to a better place of healing and closure. Even the ones like myself who is hurting over people I never knew. The crosses are gone now. The drawings in the road are still there along with some skid marks and torn up grass in the median. I know that every time I pull in or out of my neighborhood I will think of what happened and try very hard not to play the "what if" game. What if it were me...what if it was my best friend, my sister, anyone... Because the truth is it was somebody and it didn't need to be. So I cling to hope that lessons have been learned, drivers will be smarter and maybe one day a traffic light installed. In the mean time, when I cross over the drawing in the middle of the road I will send up a prayer to three people in heaven who have touched so many.