Panic! At the Library: A Tale of Dinos, Naps, and Fiction

In the weeks following my loss, I have made an effort to try and stay busy with the kids. In doing so, I have rediscovered an old love: the library.

On my drive to this magical place I daydreamed about my kids quietly thumbing through picture books as I sat cross legged next to them immersed in a book of my own.

Peace.

Quiet.

Escape.

Library.

All things I needed in my life.

Except who was I kidding? And what imaginary children was I envisioning?

On our first trip, we were all in awe of the kid’s section. I had never been to such a magical place. My boys excitedly ran around and pointed at all the teddy bear and pumpkin decor. We all squealed with delight when we realized that they had a toy section with dinosaurs and puzzles. Books, dinos, and happy kids? Sign me up. I only spent about half the time there chasing the boys through the book stacks so overall we were doing pretty good.

Every so often I would sneak a peak at the adult’s section of the library, daydreaming of being alone with those books. But today was a day for the kids, so we played and attempted to read in the big hot air balloon that was the kid’s room.

Take Two.

I was having a rough day, and Holden had just woken Hudson up from his nap. Irritated and not feeling like being home, I made the bright to decision to load them up, un-napped, and head to the magical place called the library. “For toddlers, they did decently well last time… why not?”

Why not? HA.

Hudson started crying the moment I got him out of the car. That should have been my sign. But like the Xena Warrior Princess that I am I continued on.

Who wouldn’t want to take two cranky toddlers to the quietest place on earth? I did not care. I needed to find a book for myself.

The kids darted for the kid’s room as soon as we entered the library. I looked longingly at the stacks of books. Somewhere in there held a novel with my name on it. I couldn’t wait to disappear into its pages.

These thoughts were interrupted by Hudson screaming at the top of his lungs. Someone had stolen his dinosaur. Panic ensued as that child started screaming. The silence that engulfed the library was now filled with sounds from a horror movie.

Quickly the other mother and I separated our screaming toddlers and gave each other the “I am so sorry” glare and our kids the “I will destroy you if you don’t be quiet” glare. It is an interesting procedure, tying to silence a screaming child without uttering a sound yourself. Kids really need a mute button, but I digress.

After this incident, nothing I did could get Hudsy to calm down. The kid just needed a nap, and I, in my determination to get a book, was ignoring the signs.

In my effort to calm Hudsy, I had lost track of Holden. While trying to tried reading Hudsy a book, I was interrupted by the sounds of Holden methodically taking books out of the bookshelf and throwing them on the ground. He was in search of a “racedar book”.

I could no longer ignore that we were the worst library attendees. Ever.

So I did what any mother would do. I took a deep breath, I picked up some kids books, and headed for the main desk. My kids started to sob. Why would they want to leave this magical cave of silence where they could hear themselves so well. I had interrupted their growling and roaring contest. Bad Mom.

As I was desperately dragging my children to the front, I saw that the library had some fiction they had featured on the wall close to the desk. The heavens parted, and I knew this was my chance. I desperately began to look at covers. I almost started to look for descriptions of the books when my kids started to play with the ropes in the library line. Time was of the essence, and I knew I had to move fast. I grabbed a couple novels that either had cool titles or cool covers.

Like a ninja, I practically threw the kid’s books and my newly chosen books at the poor lady, all the while grabbing my kids off of the ropes.

The whole time she was trying to do her thing I was desperately trying to silently scare my children into obedience. I have never willed fire out of my eyes before, but at that moment I wished that my children could see dangerous things in my eyes.

Finally, we were checked out, and I made a dash for the exit like a thief in the night.

Never again.

Later that night, I sat down to enjoy the books I had grabbed. It was then that I discovered that I had accidentally grabbed some highly pornographic erotic fiction.

I hope that the librarian got a nice giggle out of that in between checking out “Big Boys Use the Potty” and “Diffendoofer Day”.

Lesson learned: Next time Mommy wants a book for herself she is going to go by herself, or she is going to buy herself a kindle.  

 

Miscarriage: A Marriage Letter

Dearest Tay,

The other day I stood at our open refrigerator, staring blankly at the neatly arranged meals you made for me, and I began to sob.

I have cried a lot this past month.

You and I, we never knew there were different levels of crying. Last month showed us what it is like to grieve and cry from the deepest recesses of our hearts.

There is a cry that comes from deep within the soul. A cry reserved only for the bereaved. It takes you out of your body, and you wonder who it is who is making all these sounds.

And you wonder how to comfort them. But it is you.

Miscarriage.

A word that sticks to the top of my mouth like peanut butter, dries me out like a mouth parched for water, and pierces my soul in a place I did not know existed.

A word you and I share.

A loss.

A trauma.

A baby that was ours.

A tiny hope, a little spirit, a piece of you and me.

You and me.

We survived.

It is a pain that takes you to a place where there are no words.

Thinking back and attempting to tell the story feels like falling. Falling and grasping for the words, but all that is left are colors and feelings. Even now, I struggle to put my thoughts to pen. Sometimes there is only darkness.

But in the darkness you were there. You and my Jesus.

And somehow, amidst the pain, I felt as if I was being carried… as if I was being hugged. The Lord tells us He is close to the broken hearted, and oh how we know that is true. He was there, but He also gave me you.

You.

Going to work. Picking up clothes. Washing dishes. Bathing kids. Making meals. Grieving. Holding me. Loving me.

After a week of all of this, you sent me out that day wanting me to have time with a friend. Wanting me to have time for me. And I came home to swept and mopped floors, folded clothes, clean sheets, and happy kids.

So when I saw that you had cooked and shopped and arranged my food for the week so I would not have to worry.

I broke.

Because..

You.

Kind. Caring. Selfless. You.

Amidst your own pain, you have carried me when I could not walk, and I will forever be grateful.

I love you.

Forever Yours,

Shelbi

 

— Miscarriage is not often talked about so I will be writing a miscarriage series as I process through my thoughts and feelings. This will not be every week. I will still be posting my funny stories and life as we know it in our home. I am just hoping that I can bring some hope, some companionship, and some understanding to those who have experienced this type of loss. Love you all so very much <3

 

 

 

For the Love of School- A Tale of a Flying School Bus

My oldest son is now three and has been asking to go to school.

This request is strange to me because for as long as I can remember when I try to teach him his ABC’s and 123’s, instead of repeating after me, he makes loud vomiting or choking noises.

He would much rather take apart all his toy cars and play on his “pirate ship” in the backyard. So, instead of the school that he is clearly not ready for, I put him in a weekly church program that he loves. They send home memory verses and some coloring or counting activities to do. “Here’s his chance to have school,” I thought.

Wrong.

When going over our memory verse he has started panting and breathing heavily like he has just run 10 miles and is exhausted.

When we go through his little booklet to read and count, he pretends to be a variety of animals so that he doesn’t have to participate for longer than he desires.

At one point he knocked his dry cereal off the table, became a dog, and pretended to bark and clean it off the floor.

My husband says Holden gets his love of school work from him.

The little booklet would only take *maybe* ten minutes with cooperation. Ya ok, so much for wanting to go to school.  But still, he continued telling me he wanted to go to “dool”.

“I do not think school means what you think it means bud. If you want to go to school we have to try to learn to count and not pass gas in response to someone showing us how to.”

Then one day the light bulb went on for me. I finally realized what my little imaginative son was talking about when he asked to go to school.

He was watching “The Magic School Bus”. Once again he asked to go to school, and as I looked up at that school bus flying in the air, I knew what to ask. “Holden do you want to go to school or do you want to ride the school bus?”

“YAAAA!!”

“Ride Dool Bus!!”

“Ride flying Dool Bus!”

Now the world makes sense.

There won’t be any preschool for Holden this year. We will continue to work through the pretend and the growling and the bodily functions to try and learn according to his interest level at home. And you know what? I’m enjoying having my boy here at home running around pretending to be a lion or a bear, dissecting toy car parts, and sailing the seas on his playground. Because if I am honest, I am not ready for him to go to school yet either.

Now I just need to find a flying “dool bus”. 

A Story of the Fight

I sit in my backyard and watch little legs move as fast as their owners can will them. Growls, roars, and grunts fill my ears.

Today my boys are a knight and a ninja turtle.

One is garnished with a shell on his back, no underwear, and a sword in his hand, while the other stands in his diaper wielding only an old broomstick.

The squinty eyes, scrunched noses, and little glares tell me they are prepared to battle.

The ninja turtle starts across the yard, raises his sword, and releases his warrior cry. Three year old Holden the Mighty takes off in a full sprint towards his target, his one year old brother Hudsy the Fearless.  Hudsy, a whole year and a half, holds his ground with his broom stick in the air, roaring back as he waits for his brother’s first attack. It comes, and Hudsy is surprisingly able to hold his ground. Both of the warriors yell and roar at each other as their respective weapons clank together. Eventually, Holden is able to hit Hudsy’s broom out of his hand. Holden immediately sprints away, and raises his sword high. His victory chant carries throughout the backyard. It is a guttural roar that is indecipherable to all but his little mind. He has won. He begins circling the yard and throwing his sword in a fit of joy.

Hudsy, undeterred, retrieves his broomstick, and stands again. The next battle will begin again shortly.

This is what much of my day looks like.

I watch their little minds turning as they explore, fight, and play pretend. It is fascinating watching  passion, aggression, and joy all fused together in tiny 14516384_10153809218755824_2092126855747553608_nbodies. This is who they are at their purest form.
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Two little warriors.
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Furthermore, I am astonished at how much of their little personalities I can begin to decipher as I watch them play pretend. Holden is passionate, aggressive, but cautious. His attacks are swift and precise. He will retreat quickly if things are not going his way or he thinks he is going to get hurt. He is smart and calculated and will act accordingly. You have to earn Holden’s trust. Once you do, he comes out of his shell and overwhelms you with his kindness and love.
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Hudson has absolutely no fear. Not only will he stand his ground as a massive three year old charges him, but when that three year old runs away from him he will go on the offensive. Hudsy will never back down. In all areas of his little life, with loving others and with play, he jumps in without apprehension or fear of consequences. He is aggression without fear. He is love without boundaries.
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I watch my two little men play and pray that I can help funnel and filter these strengths as they grow older. I want them to be allowed to be rough and tumble boys mixed with the sweetness I know and love.
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I want them to stay secure in their warrior spirits.
So often our society tries to suppress little boys and make them and mold them into little beings that they are not. I don’t want to do that. I want them to be well behaved, but I want them to be free to be themselves too. Right now I am able to shelter them and help them grow, but each day brings us closer to them stepping outside, slowly but surely, from this Mamma’s watch. But for now I am content to watch the epic battles they create.
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I watch and pray that my little warriors will always fight.
Fight for Truth.
Fight for Justice.
Fight for Love.
Fight for Faith.
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I watch them, drink them in, and I promise to fight to0.
Fight for Joy.
Fight Complacency.
Fight for Love.
Fight for Truth.
 .
Fight to Thrive. 
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But that, my friends, is a story for another day.

Holden Turns “Free”: A Mom’s Letter

Dearest Holden, 8fcdd1d49c6a71baeacc6c2641d19c30

Last week you had your birthday.

You turned three.

It is a surreal feeling to feel like time has gone by so fast yet it seems like you have been here forever. Wasn’t it yesterday that Mommy and Daddy sat traumatized in a hospital room staring at the most beautiful baby ever?

With wide eyes we wondered what in the world had just happened, and finally we understood why Fathers used to just sit in the waiting room until the whole shabang was over.

I am still amazed by you, and sometimes, if I am honest, we still have some horrifying moments. Like when you decided to change your own diaper and got its contents all over your bed, but I digress.

You, my son, are my initiation into the world of boys.

You are all that is energy, rough and tumble, kind and sweet, fast and slow, soft and loud, inquisitive and impulsive. The way your little mind works is so fascinating. You can figure out how to put things together, how to put sentences together, by sound you can recognize and name different motorized vehicles, how to destroy and create, without me ever sitting down and showing you. You observe and listen to everything. A wonderful trait that has taken us to some interesting places, my current favorite is your newfound vocal interest in body parts.

“Mommy what is this?” You ask a million times a day. And when it comes to body parts, I admit that sometimes I have no idea what to say.

Do I tell a three year old the correct anatomical terms?

I try to do my best, but I never know if I explained things correctly. Like the day, after you asked me about a million times, we discussed why Mommy’s chest was different than yours. And later that day, while we were at Target, you decided to grab your Momma’s chest and loudly declare to the general public that Mommy’s chest was for milk and was a baby’s “ba-ba”.

How about your constant need to have your pants off and repeatedly telling me about your boy parts? What is one supposed to do when their son takes a marker and colors his entire manhood purple? Yes, you did that. COLORED EVERYTHING.

And it is very important that Mommy knows about all your bodily functions. “Mommy I toot.” “Mommy I pee!” My favorite is after you use the public restroom, you emerge from the stall triumphant, throw your hands up in the air, and announce to the world “I PEE!!!!” multiple times.

I treasure all these conversations, even the embarrassing ones, because one day you will be a grown man… and boy do I look forward to teasing you.

So today you are three and tomorrow, or a lifetime from now, you will be thirty, and I will treasure every moment because I treasure you: my brutally honest, perfectly innocent three year old boy.

 

Love,

Mom

A Tale of Taunting

My children taunt me.

They know when they are not supposed to do something. They know what irritates Mommy. f93592a01088caeddf80f3c1d055be38And somehow this makes that action even more enticing.

For example, my kids have an obsession with peanut butter. They hunt that jar down like it is candy. Holden is the retriever. He can find said jar, move any chair, and climb up and get the jar. He also always picks a knife as his utensil of choice to dig the peanut butter out with. He then shares with his brother. So sweet. I find them in different hiding places all over the house. Cuddled together with a jar of peanut butter and a knife.

I often think that my children really live a life envied by most men. Peeing outside, a woman to bring them drinks, and watching TV naked with a jar of peanut butter.

It is the good life.

Well one morning I decided to try and read in the other room while the kids watched their morning cartoons. I needed some time to just not be touched and figured it was so early, they had their drinks, and all would be well. I sat in quiet enjoying the quiet hum of their TV from afar.

It was glorious.

Until Holden came up to me to ask for something…

And he was covered in peanut butter.

It was all over his shirt and face.

WHERE IS HUDSY!?!

I ran to the family room and sure enough there was Hudsy, smiling, and covered in peanut butter. It was all over his head and torso. As a bonus, it was also all over the couch, pillows, and blankets.

Hudsy just smiled at me and offered me a bite off the knife. I didn’t even take a picture I was so horrified. Currently, I am still finding peanut butter smears around the family room. Suffice to say, the peanut butter jar now rests on top of the fridge.

In defense of Holden, King of peanut butter stealing and recon, the King of defiance with a smile is Hudsy.

The other day we were out in the backyard playing. I was on one side of the yard with Holden 60f18e24d9ec0c8247e2d94add98a98eand Hudsy was off in the distance on the other side. Hudsy starts to waving an object at me.

What is he waving?

I stare trying to adjust my eyes so I can see. The kid is smiling from ear to ear.

He slowly starts to put said object in his mouth than right before he puts it in he pulls it away and laughs. He repeats this again laughing the whole time. He actually looks pretty darn cute doing this, but what the heck is that he is holding?  That is when I realize what it is.

IT IS DOG POOP. MY CHILD IS TAUNTING ME WITH POOP.

He has eaten dog poop before so he knows this is a major “no no”.

And yet here he is waving his defiance in my face and stuffing his face full of dog poo.

I like to think this memory will always serve as an metaphor to what defiance really is. Doing what you’re not supposed to do, despite warnings, and really just hurting yourself by putting dog poop in your mouth. I will have to hold onto this gold nugget of wisdom for when the kids get older.

But for now, I wash mouths out with soap and pray against disease… And scrub peanut butter off every surface of my house.

Life is in the Blooopers

I feel like if my life were a movie, most of the movie would be the blooper reel.

Scene 567649: Shelbi is sittiing down in her home enjoying Bible study with her friends. Children can be heard indistinctly playing in the backyard. Lovely. Shelbi suddenly hears son yelling for her. She gets up and walks towards the call. She walks into the kitchen.

Son has pushed kitchen chair up to the counter and proceeded to dump entire jug of apple juice on his head. Children can be heard clearly now screaming and running loose in the backyard. The fences have them contained. Baby has face pressed against sliding glass window crying for someone to let him in.

“Mommy, look my haircut! Mommy look!” Apple juice everywhere.

End Scene. 

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Scene 809356: Shelbi takes her sons to a play area in the middle of the mall. She sits and watches her sons play. Baby needs some attention so she takes her eyes off oldest to attend to the little one. When she looks up she sees her oldest taking off his pants and stripping down in the middle of the playground. This is oldest sons newest past time: stripping. Apparently pants are now a nuisance when it is time to play. Her son is now naked in the mall. Awesome.

End Scene.

hXGtYfh

Scene 896731: Shelbi is enjoying time visiting with her childless friend. They are deep in conversation. Her baby walks by. The smell of poop lurks in the air. Friend makes a face. Shelbi ignores and keeps talking. Baby walks by again. Shelbi still ignores. Baby sits next to friend. Friend cannot contain herself and asks if Shelbi is going to change diaper. Conversation ruined. Diaper gets changed.

End Scene. 

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Scene 098732: Shelbi is sitting downstairs enjoying a moment of not being touched. Dare we say all is peaceful? All is well. Is that quiet she hears? Shelbi rushes to look for children. Shelbi finds both in upstairs bathroom. Oldest child is sitting in the sink, fully clothed, toothpaste tube squeezed out, and has the water running. He is brushing his teeth. He is soaked. Youngest is throwing everything that he finds into the toilet.

“Mommy teeeeeth!!”

Peaceful moment is over.

End Scene.

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My life is about constant interruptions of what would otherwise be a peaceful, angelic scene.

I guess life is in the blooper reel. And now that I think about it, the bloopers are always my favorite.