Welcome to Toddler-hood

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Ok I have to write this post fast. Holden is playing by himself nicely in his room, and it is only a matter of time before he finds a way to destroy something.

I thought toddler world began at age two.

False.

Holden is now 11 months, and it feels like we have been in this stage forever. The kid started army crawling at four months and full on crawling at five months. He was walking unassisted at ten months. I now understand why when I proudly told seasoned mothers how early Holden was hitting these movement milestones… they all responded with phrases like “Oh I am so sorry”, “You’re in trouble” or “Poor you”. I remember thinking “Why are you pitying me people!? I gave birth to an athletic prodigy!” 1458571_10151757142750824_509009564_n

I understand now.

By the time Holden was six months old I was longing for the days he just snuggled in my arms and cooed at me.

I mean how could a four month old will up the strength to attack a christmas tree? Seriously?

Now when people are telling me about their child prodigy’s movement milestones all I can muster up is “Just push him down. Do NOT let him get up. PUSH HIM DOWN.”

And then I cry. I may just keep my next baby in a swaddle all day until he/she is six months old.

With mobility came craziness, for example, by 9:15 the other morning Holden had:

Submerged himself in the toilet.. because the water in there is awesome.

Dumped all the baby cereal on the floor. (May the wrath of Zeus come down upon the person that put the cereal so low.)

Decided he wanted to feed himself… so he dumped yogurt bowl on his head.

While he was naked waiting for a bath, he picked up any item he could find and would slap his man parts on it or bang said object against himself. He plays the toy blocks like a drum if you catch my drift.

And then… he claimed his bathroom as his territory. He pooped on the floor.

After his bath, he decided it would be awesome to pull all his clothes out of the drawer. Because you know… despite my best efforts… the only time it is ok to put things away is when Holden decides it needs to go in the trash can or in the toilet.

All this before 9:30 am. I have to tell ya… on days like this I can get pretty tired. So tired that I have seen Holden eat some of his puffs Screen Shot 2014-06-24 at 11.50.53 AMoff the carpet that had fallen off his high chair earlier that morning, and I did nothing. In fact, I may have poured some more puffs on the ground for him so that I could finish doing my chores without being attacked or worry that he is drinking the toilet water.

Yes. I have fed my child off the carpet. Don’t judge me. People do desperate things sometimes.

We may have some crazy mornings like that one, but don’t get me wrong, Holden is an awesome kid. He is inquisitive, active, kind, ornery, and sweet.

10406991_10152138788075824_8379895507644947704_n 10462695_10152138788660824_4581260644770878493_nHolden spends his days wielding hangers, sticks, any long object… like a sword. I shudder to think what will happen when there is some strength behind his whacking of the “sword”. He gets so frustrated when his “sword” or what I like to call a “hanger” gets stuck on his diaper or on his foot, and he can’t get it free to whack things with it.  Screen Shot 2014-06-24 at 11.10.51 AMScreen Shot 2014-06-24 at 11.10.31 AM

He also gets very frustrated when he gets stuck under chairs, ottomans, and any other tiny place he decides to crawl under like a little mouse. These moments are hilarious.

He likes mud and squishing anything between his fingers. He loves to kick balls and throw them. He loves bubbles. He loves wheels. He likes to flip toy cars over so he can spin the wheels. He loves wheels so much that he takes off after any person pushing a stroller or in a wheelchair. His new thing is trying to roll off with other peoples strollers. And yes sometimes said stroller has a baby in it.

Holden’s first word is “da” for dog. God must have a sense of humor to allow my child’s first word to be dog. He sounds like he says “mom” or “dada”, but he rambles at everything. Only when he sees a dog will he consistently say “Da”.

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He loves his Daddy. I have never seen a child light up the way Holden does when Tay gets home. Sometimes it brings Holden to tears because he is so happy his Dad is home. Whenever Tay cooks breakfast Holden stands right by him.

He loves his Momma. If he has been playing away from me too long he finds me and asks to be held. Or if I am sitting 10419584_10152118721530824_3412618301591432108_nhe will climb up on the couch and throw himself on top of me for some cuddles and kisses. I may or may not have almost gotten a bloody nose from one of these cuddles.

I think I may have a toddler. I think I may be raising a rambunctious little boy.

And I love it.

Transition and Grief: The Mom Experience

559756_10151542658100824_1731661354_nTransition: a synonym for change

Being a mother has been the greatest transition of my life thus far. Nothing has changed my world more than being a mother. It changed my dreams. It changed my present. It changed my future. It changed me.

And that is ok.

But it didn’t always feel ok.

Why does no one talk about that? I have an idea… they don’t talk about it because it feels like a betrayal. A betrayal of your precious child(ren). I couldn’t even begin to express to you how much I love my son. It is one emotion that I can’t even begin to describe or I will start crying. It is completely all encompassing. So how could I ever tell someone that with becoming a mother… with that change… some of my dreams died? How could I ever say that becoming a Mom was/is wonderful, but sometimes the process hurts?

How awful does that sound?

But it is true.

I had everything planned out. I am a planner that’s what I do. I still do. I plan and replan my life over and over again. The funny thing is that no matter how hard one tries… you cannot control everything in life. After I graduated from college early, I was going to spend a year abroad as an intern and then I was going to go to law school.

Detour.

On the day I graduated from college I got engaged to the man of my dreams. Six months later we were married.

Best decision I ever made.

He had one more year left of college football so after we said our “I do’s” we loaded up my stuff, and I moved from sunny California to sometimes sunny South Dakota. Getting married and moving across the country to be with my husband… but not around anyone I really knew… was quite the adventure.

Change. Adjusting. Growing.

Almost a year later and I was almost done perfecting my law school applications. My personal statement was almost perfect, but I couldn’t quite press send without a few more adjustments. I never got to push send. Two pink lines and a tiny heartbeat on a monitor later…

Detour.

We packed our bags and headed back down to sunny California to be by family and have support while Taylor builds his career. On July 21, 2013 the most precious blessing entered our lives. And I was forever changed.

Taylor and I have always agreed that one of us would be home with our children so it wasn’t even a question that I would be staying home with Holden while my husband works and does his Master’s program.

So I found myself in an entirely different place in life that I had imagined myself being at this age. And it hurt. I couldn’t express it properly, but for the first time in a long time I felt very insecure. In the space of less than two years I had gone from being an aspiring, world traveling, professional student to being a stay at home Mom, and it was a lot to process. I guess being so young it was hard because the Moms I met that had babies were older and more established than me… and the people my age… who are in the building part of life… didn’t have kids.

It is a confusing feeling. Loving your baby.. loving motherhood.. but trying to ignore this whole other part of you that all of a sudden had to be put on hold.

I rode this wave of emotions for awhile until I finally confessed how I was feeling to an older Mom. And what she told me set me free. So now… I want to tell you… just in case you have felt this way too.

Grieve.

It is ok to admit that you feel a loss of some of your dreams. When the woman first said this to me… I felt defensive. I was so consumed by the idea that it was bad to admit that I had to give up some things as a mother. Within our culture, we are inundated with the idea that we can have it all… that everything is supposed to be about us. But we can’t have it all, and having everything be about ourselves is such an empty way to live.

After that first wave of feeling defensive, I realized that I was afraid to admit that some of my dreams and plans for my future were gone. I am a mother now so the way I had planned some things can never be the same.. and sometimes that feels like a death.  And fellow Mama… it is ok to acknowledge that… to grieve it even.

But… she told me… after you allow yourself to grieve it.. you need to move on.

You can’t stay stuck in your grief. Acknowledge the loss and let it go. I don’t know why it felt so freeing to have someone tell me it was ok to admit that sometimes it hurts that things had to change. Change hurts sometimes. But that doesn’t mean that the change isn’t the most wonderful thing ever.

A death to one dream only means the birth of another. Does being a mother mean I will never accomplish my goals? No, the path will just look different. Does choosing to stay at home make me any less ambitious? Not at all. I am just in a different season of life right now, and someday my children will grow, and I will enter another season of life. Change is constant. Me, my goals, my aspirations… they will all continue to change and grow.

So I did it. I cried. I grieved. I let it go.

And I felt FREE.

Transformation- Innovation- Metamorphasis: synonyms for change 

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