Archive for the ‘family’ Category

Baby Vs. Baby The Great Comparison- October 17, 2014

Friday, October 17th, 2014

baby vs baby

Recently I squealed and hugged my way through an intimate crowd of old friends at a baby shower. I’ve known the mom-to-be since she and my sister were babies. I had my 11-month-old in tow. I was so excited to see my sister and nephew, who came to town for the affair. My nephew is 8 1/2 months old.  My mom was happy to have her two baby grandsons crawling at everyone’s feet.

Well, my son was at everyone’s feet. He was at their feet, playing with their shoes, on their purses, reaching for their cell phones, pulling up on their chairs and generally causing a ruckus, albeit an adorable ruckus. Most at the shower didn’t seem to mind him. My mom could help me  by holding him or entertaining him while I ate or played the shower games.

My nephew mostly sat pleasantly with my sister. He laid quietly next to her smiling. Yes, he can crawl too. He can also pull up. He’s about the same size as my son. But, he sat and mine squirmed.

My mom and her friend heard me quip to my son, “Hey, you see how your cousin is just sitting there? Why can’t you be like that?” My mom said, “Amy! You shouldn’t say that and compare them like that!” Her friend agreed. I felt my face get hot. I held my little guy tight against my flushed cheek. I whispered, “Sorry buddy.”

On the way home from the shower I had an epic crisis of conscience. How could I have done that to my baby?! Just because the cousins are close in age, it doesn’t mean they need to be compared. They are individuals. I need to watch the comments I make, even in jest. I need to talk to my sister about guidelines for how we will treat the boys equally but as individuals. I drafted a heartfelt blog post in my head as I drove.

I got home and told my husband what happened. I explained my intense shame and how I was damaging my son’s psyche. He said, “Are you kidding me?! Please! Amy, the amount of time you have spent worrying about this is too much. They are babies! He will never remember you said that.” True it’s not like we’re going to line them up and have them crawl race at family gatherings.  He laughed and hugged me. “Seriously. It was a complement to your sister on how sweet her baby is. Don’t sweat it.”

Here’s the thing. They’re both right. I need to watch what I say to my children. I need to understand that jokes and off-the-cuff comments can hurt. But, I also do NOT need to have guilt ridden meltdowns for every parenting faux pas I commit. Let’s face it, I know I will say or do something insanely insensitive and stupid again. Then I will write about it on the Internet.

In all seriousness, how do families quell comparisons between children close in age? Cousins, siblings, or even good friends with kids the same age. It’s very natural to compare. How do you either avoid it, or compare with compassion if that’s possible? 


Flower Girl Follies

Friday, September 5th, 2014

Flower Girl Follies

In recent weeks I’ve asked my 3 1/2 year-old daughter repeatedly, “What does a flower girl do?” She replied, “They throw flowers down the aisle before Aunt Tahlia gets married!” I was impressed that she understood this. Charlotte was extremely excited to be the flower girl in my step-sister’s wedding this past weekend. She knew she would get cake, get to stay up late and wear a pretty dress.

It takes time to recover from a family wedding. The preparations, scheduling, events and emotions are exhausting. I always feel like I need a vacation after a family wedding. Having your young kid in the wedding party? Psh! That’ll wear you out like nothing else.

We strategically timed meals and napping that day. She knew it was the big day. She said, “It’s my special day! I’m the special girl!” I hated to break it to her that her aunt was the special girl, you know, being the bride and all, but if the title of “special girl” got her down the aisle, I wasn’t going to argue.

Ivory and Guava Flower Girl dress by Nola Collection on Etsy. Fresh mini-sunflowers in her hair.

Dress from Nola Collection on Etsy. They were awesome! Great prices and selection. Loved them over the bridal shop dresses for sure!

I WISH I had someone filming her coming down the aisle with my phone. I’m kicking myself for not doing that. We have to wait for the videographer. I’ll have to tell you what happened in my own words.

It was a long walk down some steep steps for two little girls in poofy dresses. Charlotte and Kylee held hands and wandered down a brick pathway to the outdoor awning where the bride and groom were to say “I do.” They clutched their baskets, staring back at the smiling crowd, “Canon in D” coming through the speakers. We told them, “When you get to the bottom of the steps, you can throw the petals down the aisle.”

In hindsight there were two problems with that:

  1. We didn’t practice with petals at the rehersal. They have some fire code or something. The venue was particular about when you could throw petals.
  2. We used the wrong verb. We said “throw” instead of “toss” or “drop.”

The girls got to the bottom the stairs and stopped, though Pachelbel’s tune continued. They looked at each other. They looked down at the yellow rose petals still in their baskets. They looked confused as the adults dressed in matching dresses and tuxedos whispered “Okay! Throw the petals!” while playing a game of flower-dropping charades. They looked at us like we were insane. We were. We had not told these poor children exactly what to do. So as children do, they had their own interpretation.

Remember I said we used the wrong verb? Charlotte threw her petals. She threw them. She tossed them in the air with the the flair only a “special girl” can have. It was with the dramatics of a runway model or in her mind, a fairy princess, that she threw the petals and watched them fall. She threw the heck out of each one. Those flowers didn’t have a prayer. We wiped away tears of laughter as Kylee sprinted to her mom and Charlotte emptied her basket, one enthusiastic fling at a time. They were adorable little show stealers.

We danced into the reception hall to Taylor Swift’s latest pop crossover “Shake It Off.” Charlotte now refers to it as “the wedding song.” As the sun set she asked if she could finally dance. Dinner was over, the cake had been cut. I told her it was okay for her to take the floor.

She did. All. Night. Long. She wouldn’t even come off the dance floor for cake. The song didn’t matter. Earth, Wind & Fire, Garth Brooks, Iggy Azalea. Everyone. She even joined the crowd for her version of “The Wobble” and “The Cupid Shuffle.” She earned the little blisters on her feet. She saw other girls with their shoes off, she joined in.

We got in the car around 11:00pm, the latest she’s ever stayed up in her life. She said sleepily from the back seat, “That was really fun, Mama.”

I will never forget the looks on the bride and groom’s faces as they made their vows. I’ll never forget the fun and love at a great wedding. Most of all, I’ll remember my curly-haired flower girl in her poofy dress dancing until her feet hurt because she could. I watched her hoping one day she would have this much fun at her own wedding, as only “special girls” can.

Mother and daughter, bridesmaid and flower girl, all dressed for the wedding.

This is when my heart burst.


“Bridesmaids” Moment- August 12, 2014

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014

Our family is in the home stretch before my step-sister’s wedding. I pick up my bridesmaid dress from the tailor shop in a few days. I finally found my little flower girl some shoes to wear with her dress. Tahlia texted me yesterday asking about firming up a videographer. She has samples of the programs. She and my mom were recently discussing the order of service.

The couple has been showered and celebrated. It’s almost time.

I waited to order Henry’s suit until right at the start of August because, you know, the insane growth of 9 month-old’s. Oh, did I forget to tell you my son and my nephew will be MATCHING in these adorable suits?! I was so excited, I had to take some iPhone pics of Henry yesterday. I couldn’t wait. He is getting harder and harder to photograph.

Henry suit

This reminded me of a time this winter when Henry almost cost me a wedding dress. It was February. He was 3 months-old. I was quite a bit puffier and not overly anxious to try on bridesmaid dresses. Alas, it was for Tahlia, so I tucked Henry in the stroller, sucked in my baby belly and barely zipped up several dresses. We weren’t there for me, though. We had to find her dress.

IG bridesmaid dress edited

Tahlia tried on gorgeous gown after gorgeous gown. They all looked great on her. It’s ridiculous how stunning each sample dress looked. I was sitting to the side with my step-brother, their mom and our sweet friend Erin. Erin was feeding Henry his bottle. After debating the top two choices, it was unanimous, she found the dress. We were celebrating and being silly. I walked over to the stroller to stash his bottle. Tahlia was dancing around in the dress and wanted to “dance” with Henry. It was adorable. She took him from Erin.

My “mama senses” kicked into gear. I sniffed the air. I knew what it was. I turned and looked up as Tahlia grabbed him. It was like slow motion. I shouted, “Tahlia!!!! No!” She was holding him under the arms. Henry was headed for her hip covered with beautiful organza, or silk or some other fabric you only wear when you get married. I darted between the chairs to grab him just in time.

Bright orange liquid poop was soaking through the cute sock monkey outfit pictured above. This diaper disaster was less than an inch from the dress. Yep, I was less than an inch from being the proud owner of a sample wedding gown. I flashed to this…


You say, “Oh, but you could have just cleaned it and Tahlia could’ve worn it.” No, she’s so adorably petite she needed to order an even smaller size. Henry had to be a few ounces smaller after that unloading. Let’s just hope he keeps the suit clean until the family gets through pictures.


To Shining Sea- July 4, 2014

Friday, July 4th, 2014

h 4th 2014

c 4th 2014

I’m listening to the far-off sound of fireworks from our community fireworks show, praying they don’t wake my babies. Like many other parents of little ones, we celebrated America’s birthday this morning with a kiddie parade, hot dogs and ice cream. My 3-year-old helped me decorate her tricycle before peddling her way adorably down the main street of a nearby town.

It wasn’t today, but yesterday that I felt more patriotic than I ever had in my life and I’ve seen that one Budweiser commercial during the Super Bowl after 9/11 and watched fireworks over the Potomac while hearing John Philip Sousa Marches.  Charlotte got a new children’s book that had the lyrics of “America The Beautiful” on each page with impressive illustrations. We explained to her that the book was a song. Admit it, that song gives you goose bumps way more often than the “Star Spangled Banner.” When we were finished reading it she asked us to sing it to her. We are not singers in any way, but Greyson and I smiled at each other and began our rendition with “Oh beautiful, for spacious skies…”

Somewhere around “…God shed his grace on thee…” she grabbed both our hands and smiled up at us. In that small moment, during our off-key serenade, I had never been more grateful to have the freedom to be raising little Americans. Happy Independence Day.


Sacrifice- June 26, 2014

Thursday, June 26th, 2014

I’m feeling foolish as I write this. Foolish because my last post was begging for your advice about strollers as my brain was consumed with our upcoming travels. We had grandiose plans to take our family of four to a family reunion in Nebraska this weekend. Now that it’s almost here I’m a little embarrassed to say we had to cancel at the last minute. Why, you ask? The short answer, money.

money pic

So often money is a taboo thing to discuss. I figure I talk about my leaking boobs and stitched up lady-parts on my mommy blog, so why should I be ashamed of discussing finances? I don’t know, but money is a touchy subject for most people. It’s private. It shows how vulnerable we are. That’s funny for a generation of people who are putting every mundane personal detail of their lives on the Internet to say that money is the thing that most shows our vulnerability, but it’s true.

Don’t get me wrong. Technically our family could afford to go on this trip, but at the price of some real financial strain later this year. It was going to cost an absurd amount to fly, rent a car and get a hotel room. We didn’t want to put a ton on credit cards. You know, credit cards. The cards people our age got when they walked on campus freshman year with their school logo on it.

Here’s the thing, we REALLY wanted to go on this trip. Bad. We had talked it up to our 3-year-old. We told her how great the zoo was going to be and how she was going to get to play with 50 million cousins she’d never met. We promised aunts they would get snuggle time with our squishy 7-month-old. I planned outfits and did laundry. I made arrangements for friends to dog sit. We bought plane tickets. We were going. We had our hearts set on it.

That’s the problem. We had our hearts set on going and wanted to go. I’ve found that Gen X/Millennials like us typically get what we want. Think about it. We came of age in the 1980’s and 1990’s. People my age knew nothing but mostly peace and prosperity until the economic collapse five years ago. Growing up, I figured things would always keep getting better and better. No, seriously. I just assumed my parents would always make more money than they did the year before, ensuring great family vacations and my college tuition taken care of.

This is not to say our generation is not innovative and hardworking. We are. I’m proud of how hard my husband and I have worked for many years to provide a great life for our children. We have a nice home near a good school, two cars and enough for preschool and dance classes.

Now that we are a single income household, we have had to make some adjustments. Sadly, we didn’t adjust enough. We didn’t plan. If we wanted to go on this trip so badly, we should have planned for it better than we did. Yeah, we did have some unexpected expenses pop up, but if we had planned better, it wouldn’t have been a problem. We made the choice for our family to have me stay home with our children. We don’t regret that decision, but we’ve still been living life as we were a double income household. We didn’t sacrifice.

Staying home from this trip is our sacrifice. We are learning the lesson of our generation. We can’t have everything we want all the time. Now, we have to raise the next generation to understand the same thing.