Life

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There are days when I feel like I am completely content with my life and others where I feel the innate need for change – Not in my family dynamics, but in my personal (career) path. You see, when I had Emma, my personal priorities shifted aside – by choice – but now that Emma is almost 3 and I am more in tune with the role of mommyhood, the workings of it, and what we can and cannot live without, I feel like I am ready to make some changes in other aspects of my life, keeping in mind that being Emma’s mom is still my #1 priority. Lately, that need for change has intensified – There are many things I want for my family and many things I want for myself and I know that they will eventually flow flawlessly together, but for now they won’t so I am trying to figure out the mechanics of it all so that everyone (including myself) is happy. Change is difficult and scary, but at times, necessary, and I think it is time for me to be bold enough to make some moves. I want to pursue my creativeness and embark on a new career path – I now know that it is essential for my soul. So fingers crossed, this year will be the year I pursue what I am passionate about, and what better inspiration and motivation to have than my daughter — EMMA.

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Being Memorable

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A friend posted this quote on Facebook from her webpage www.projectbond.com and I loved it – 1) Because I know that I can be a pain to deal with sometimes and my family and good friends still love me (memorable people), and 2) because it inevitably made me think of Emma and how memorable I hope I can one day be to her.

As parents, we worry so much about our children, we want to give them so much, but maybe what we worry about most are the material things we can provide rather than what is really invaluable – love and time. And sometimes it is the most simple things that produce/leave the most powerful impact. Once I became a mother I realized even more how grateful I am to have such wonderful parents, and how invaluable they are to me. They are definitely memorable to me, they will forever be, and that is how I wish Emma views me one day.  

When you love, you love deeply and unconditionally and when you have children you love beyond words, beyond life. That is why every morning when she wakes up, every time I drop her off and pick her up from school, every time I put her to sleep, every time she calms down from a tantrum, every time we stop “arguing”, every time we make up after she disobeys me, I tell her how much I love her. She already knows – “more than the whole world.” I love her –  the good, the bad and the ugly. That’s what being a mom is about – right?

Raising a Toddler – Funny Moments

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I didn’t own a cell phone until I was 18 and even then, the one I owned was pretty crappy. It definitely did not have any applications or challenging games – it didn’t have internet – Period. The most it did was take photos and it I think it had flash. I’m sure there were already better cell phones out there, but mine wasn’t one of those. The point is, when I was younger and we sat at the dinner table, my parents did not have to worry about us texting our bff’s, browsing the internet, or checking our friend’s lives via Facebook, etc. Nowadays, that seems to be the norm, but I didn’t think I would have to address it with my daughter until she was at least 14 years old…

My husband recently gave Emma an old cell phone. It is virtually useless but Emma likes to pretend it works and in her mind she is always calling people, speaking to them and I don’t know what else she thinks she is doing when pressing all the buttons. I know she sees my husband and I with our phones and knows that we can not only speak to people on the phone but also look at pictures, shop and read on it, so she is obviously imitating. I always try to leave my phone on my bed when I get home and while I am with Emma, to avoid looking at it since it has become a reflex – it is addicting – and actually spend quality time with my daughter.

On Sunday, Emma and I sat at the table to eat lunch, she took her phone with her and I didn’t think anything of it. We were eating and conversing and in the middle of lunch she picked up her phone and started to “use” it. I almost laughed but held it back because I know that this is not something I want her to do on a daily basis (See the pic. FYI – if not obvious enough, she drew all over the place mat). I never thought I would have to tell my 2-year-old to put her phone away, but I did, and I had to make every effort to keep a straight face. I also had to be persistent because she wasn’t going to give up easily –  she finally let it go when I told her “Put your cell phone down or I will take it away from you.” I guess she really values her cell phone…. Hmm….

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I am glad this didn’t turn into a tantrum – disaster averted! Because anyone who has children knows that toddlers can be extremely stubborn and as parents we have to carefully pick and choose our battles.

Baby

So my sister is now 5 months along in her pregnancy and she is having a boy! Both she and her husband are ecstatic and so am I, although I admit that I was hoping for a girl so that Emma could have a playmate. However, Emma will be the big girl now – 2 younger boy cousins. Maybe mommy and daddy will give her a sibling soon (emphasis on maybe).

Going through the stages of pregnancy with my sister is nice and her bump is finally beginning to fully form. From what I recall, during the next three months is when the belly really starts to grow – what seems to be – exponentially every day. In giving advice to my sister, I am trying to come up with the essential things needed when you have a baby and this is what I’ve come up with:

  1. Patience – I know this is not an object/item, but I think all parents will agree that this is the most essential thing that is needed when you embark on the journey of parenthood. I would say love here as well, but I don’t want to be redundant, since it is kind of a given.
  2. Diapers – This is what everyone always says, and they are right. You need to have at least 2 at hand when you are changing the baby – One to change him into and the other to use as a shield against potential and common accidents.
  3. Hand sanitizer – probability that people will actually wash their hands before touching your baby – 50% – so it is better to be prepared.
  4. Several onesies as the baby will likely only wear that for the first month or two.
  5. Swaddles – They bring comfort to most babies. I loved that Alex and Anais ones – I still use them on Emma when it is warm because they serve as a light cover.
  6. Aveeno eczema cream and diaper cream – As a baby Emma had several heat rashes and the Aveeno cream helped. Also, I would put a small amount of the diaper cream almost daily, just as prevention.
  7.   Lots of burp clothes – for other people to use and for you to have at all times while burping the baby.
  8. If breastfeeding – Medela pump, lanoline cream and ice packs to ease the pain at the beginning stages.
  9. Dry wipes, to clean them in areas that you might not get to during bath time – neck, behind the ears, butt if they have a rash etc.
  10. Humidifier – to help congestions. Emma got sick at 3 months and it wasn’t pretty. The humidifier helped.

 

It seems like mommyhood also helps in giving you a lapse in memory as I KNOW there were other things I found essential during my first 3 months of motherhood, but I can’t seem to think of them now.

What are your tips and essentials?

Am I a Good Mom?

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I obviously love Emma more than words can express, but lately I don’t feel like I am the best mom I could be. I don’t even know what being the ‘best mom’ would be, but I do know that my patience with her is running low these days and that I am relieved when my husband gets home and I get some time off. I know a lot of it has to do with my lack of sleep, as my patience dwindles. But part of me is also tired of her running my life/dictating my movements. She cries if I am not with her/by her side all the time. I need to shower, cook, clean up a little, etc. So I definitely need to do things that don’t allow me to be stuck by the hip to her. I love her so much, that although I try to set the rules, I notice that she has managed to manipulate her way around them and gets away with things. She must have mastered this while she was sick. This week I’ve tried to compromise and negotiate with her but nothing seems to work, the fact that she constantly refuses to do things that need to get done is frustrating. I try to always talk to her about things, explain to her why I ask her for things or why she needs to do something and lately after returning from vacation, everything I hear from her is a scream, a cry, a tantrum. When she behaves I feel like it is the most amazing gift ever!

Yesterday, after trying the talking route and it not working, I ended up screaming at Emma and just plainly screaming at the air -out of frustration – which gets her even worse; and even though I know this is the effect it brings, I couldn’t help it. I don’t want to go the screaming route – I think it’s unhealthy for both her and I. I need to figure out how to better deal with her attitude and tantrums. I also need more sleep…

This is how I feel –

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Is it terrible that I feel like I need a break from my daughter? Do other moms ever feel this way?

Having a Sick Toddler

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Going on vacation is awesome but coming back sucks:

  1. You are back to your regular routine/no more slacking/ no naptime
  2. You no longer come back to a clean, well made bed, or have breakfast, lunch and dinner made for you… Instead, you have to unpack, do laundry and various chores around the house..
  3. You are jetlagged and someone usually gets sick

This time it was Emma. She started feeling a little sick the day we landed and it progressively got worse and evolved to bronchitis. Since she was congested and wanted comforting, she woke up several times a night. I was jetlagged and had to return to work so once again I feel sleep deprived – It didn’t help that it was daylight savings on Sunday and we lost a very precious hour of sleep. I am pale and have purple circles around my eyes – yup, my tan totally vanished – Figures, it only lasted two days.   In addition, as a parent you tend to feel helpless at the sight of your sick child, at least that how I felt, especially when Emma refused the medicine and/or soup and I had to come up with creative ways to have her drink/eat it so that she could actually recover… Thank God Emma is better – not only because she is well, but because we can put order back in the house. She is our little princess but if she was to be sick all the time she would reign the house. Fortunately, today she was able to return to daycare/school – she missed her friends and teachers.

This is what it feels like when you have a sick toddler –

  1. Somehow all the rules that have been established at home are discarded – your toddler has become a dictator
  2. Whatever your toddler wants, your toddler gets. If God forbid you don’t give them something on command they will have a tantrum, and when they are having a tantrum while they are sick you actually feel the need to comfort them.
  3. They will take over your Bed – Emma already claimed it. I might find her name written on it one of these days.
  4. By the time the sickness is gone, the parents are exhausted and run down which can easily lead to someone else being sick in the house (I hope not).
  5. You have to re – train your toddler – to sleep in their own bed, to actually eat, to clean up their mess, to go to sleep and wake up at a certain time, etc.

Yes, one of the many joys of parenthood!

Vacation

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Vacation is always something I long for and love but of course, it is always way too short – just like every weekend. We just got back from the Dominican Republic and had a great time! I wouldn’t say it was a relaxing trip since my husband and I were constantly running after Emma but she had a blast, and so did we.

Our mornings consisted of me waking up early and trying to get everyone ready to go grab breakfast and start the day (yes, that includes my husband). It is incredible how my body clock is already programmed to wake up by 7:30 a.m. no matter how tired I am, and as Mommyhood will have it, I can never go back to sleep. The hotel offered a very good selection of food for breakfast, which made Emma and I very happy campers since breakfast is our favorite meal. However, I pretty much had to gulp my meal every morning as Emma was immediately antsy once she was done eating and constantly insisted “It is time to go!”

We bought a kids float for Emma so she was very excited to “swim” by herself in the pool. She loved us pushing her around and having us pretend we were going to get her. She also loved going to the Beach and building castles, although what she loved most was destroying them. She was a little afraid of the ocean because of the waves and would only be in the water for a very limited amount of time so we spent most of our time in the sand and pool.

At night, the hotel always had shows and then played some music. Every single night Emma managed to stay up until midnight – she would not want to miss a show and when it was over would take us up to the stage to dance with her. It is amazing how kids have no inhibitions when it comes to doing things they want to do – Emma is extremely shy when she encounters other people, but apparently not when it comes to dancing…

On Saturday we decided to take her on an excursion to “Oceanworld” where she was able to touch, hug and kiss a dolphin. At first she was a little frightened, but frankly, that is how she always is whenever she tries something new. Regardless, she did it – at her own will – and even fed the dolphin with my help. We also saw some bird, sea-lion and shark shows. She liked them so much that she is still talking about them. I know that I could have taken her to see some bugs under a rock and she would have been thrilled, but I am glad I took advantage of this opportunity as it was also my first time interacting with a dolphin. Since she will likely forget this experience, we purchased the video.

On this trip I was also determined to get some color so I could stop looking like a zombie on a daily basis. After spending most of the trip in the sun and having applied a lot of suntan lotion, I can happily report that I was able to get a base color to start off this summer. Inevitably, I still look tired – because I am – but the tan helps a bit.

Tips for vacationing with a toddler –

1. Carry coloring pencils/pens, books and flash cards to entertain your toddler. Emma spent a good amount of time on the plane coloring in her little notebook.
2. Download their favorite movie on your phone and/or computer. This saved us from a lot of potential disasters. Yes, it made me feel a little bad to use it as a gateway to keep her entertained but it helped a lot when she was cranky and we had to get our luggage, pass customs, etc… In all honestly, I think you should download 2 movies or a couple of episodes that can keep your child entertained. It will make certain things less stressful.
3. Always carry an extra pair on undies and/or dry bathing suit to change your toddler into after they leave the pool/beach as they will likely fall asleep on the way to the room.
4. Constantly keep them hydrated. Emma drank tons of water.
5. Continuously put sunscreen on your child as their skin is very sensitive. I used an entire bottle on Emma for the duration of the trip (5 days).
6. Give up on the fact that your toddler will go to sleep at their usual time. Even though you are vacationing, so is your child, and that means that they will likely sleep less as they don’t want to miss a thing. I can’t tell you how many times we took the stroller with us and didn’t use it because Emma would refuse to go to sleep. She outlasted us every night. Nonetheless, she did take a nap every day and I took full advantage of it and slept along with her.
7. Find something that gets their attention and use it when they refuse to do certain things -A couple of times we saw lizards roaming around on the trees so whenever we needed Emma to do something and she wasn’t cooperating, we would tell her there was a lizard and that we had to go look for it. She would fall for it every time, although I know that past a week it would get old; so be creative.