The “safe zone” of pregnancy…

It’s a girl…or was a girl I guess…

They think she just stopped growing. But she was there, actually she still is there-everything that is “supposed” to be there is there- I have the picture as “proof”. The grainy baby shaped white “blob” against the black background. She looked just like the other ones. Just like the other “pictures” I saved (to some day make the kids each a baby book-like the one for my firstborn…).

Everything was perfect…but then it wasn’t. All the tests show positive right away (the pink plus signs, the two parallel lines, the word “yes” and the actual word “pregnant”) with the first drop… and continue to do so…even after…

There were no tell tale signs or bleeding and everything looked completely normal…until it didn’t.

I just never expected this…everything started like it did with my other beautiful healthy children. I have lost pregnancies before-when we were trying and then succeed…but then I ended up with a heavy bleed… but I have never been to a doctor’s appointment before where the baby had no heartbeat.

How could it be fine and all there and progressing and then not?

How could you go weeks and weeks expecting, hoping, planning- happy, excited, involved. And then the nothingness…

Lots of women go through this everyday-most before the “safe zone” of 12 weeks (1 in 4 they say), but many even further along, and then there are the few who have to suffer through the unimaginable devastation of stillborns and infant loss.

We went weeks, months actually still hoping, praying for a detectable heartbeat and growth-it was there-and then it wasn’t…

We planned room arrangements, a new car, we found out the gender…

Perhaps everything was planned prematurely but we were so close to the safety zone…

I ordered a “gender reveal” princess cake…
A cake we never picked up…

I had lots of hopes and dreams for this child…a child that will now never be…

You can argue that it was still a fetus, that there had been signs (for example there was no severe nausea in the first trimester like with the others). That there was no “baby” yet. That nature got rid of a “defected” fetus…

But try telling a pregnant momma that-a momma who has known about the pregnancy from week 5…

Then the bleeding started…so close to the second trimester and the safe week. The doctor even said light bleeding does not necessarily mean…

But I knew…

But hope is a funny thing…

I had borrowed a heart monitor from a friend…it was pink and promised that you should be able to hear your baby’s heartbeat from week 10 (but you could try from week 8). I felt pathetic trying to locate my baby girl’s heart on my own-when professionals hadn’t been able to at our last appointment…

The dread when you feel the ultrasound technician’s fear, worry and sympathy is excruciating. I like being prepared, and even though you can never prepare for something like this, I was in complete and utter shock and disbelief.

Anything but that…I just wasn’t expecting it – at all…

We were supposed to go on vacation. We had been excitingly packing…now this.

My doctor said not to loose hope-that it was still “50/50”. We planned to still go on the tropical “all inclusive” vacation. We needed it. I needed it.

We hadn’t told the kids yet (but I think our oldest might have been suspicious). We were going to tell them that weekend…before this happened.

There was no blood the day before our trip, we hadn’t told anybody…

A baby for Halloween THIS year. A baby coming with us home for Christmas-everyone who knew were excited…

I told my hairdresser the baby had stopped growing…that there was no heartbeat…

I might be walking around with something dead inside me…

I felt uncomfortable, down, awkward, sick, like a failure…

This is how being in “limbo” feels”.

She encouraged me to go, to get away, to think about something else (even though the thought of “her” were all consuming).

Everybody encouraged us to go…
The white, sandy beaches, the sun, the food the service- it would be good for me-for us.

The kids were excited, they packed their own little backpacks-everything was done and ready to go…

Then my body started to betray me- the beginning of the end of this journey started…

 

An adventurous week; difficult news

IMG_7161IMG_7160IMG_7162I can’t believe that we are back here…to the hematology department at Children’s Hospital. The flashbacks are acute and many.

I don’t know how they do it, I really don’t. I ache for them-these parents. I feel embarrassed to be here somehow and yet…I know I have to, we have to. Something IS wrong for real-just not as wrong, or as real as for most of these people here. The reality of what is going on on the third floor of this hospital for kids is devastating. I AM embarrassed to even feel sad because it seems I don’t have the right to somehow, and they don’t need my pity, and there is literally nothing I can do to help.

I praise these doctors for doing what they do, for pushing forward, for trying their very best, for smiling…
But the real heartbreak are these strong, brave little people who are just getting the toughest childhood imaginable…and their poor parents.

I have been dreading this appointment since my daughter was 18 months old. We found out when she was 11 weeks old, (just shy of 3 months) and cut her “tied tongue” to be able to breastfeed, that she had some kind of bleeding issue. She would not stop bleeding no matter what the tongue specialist, her pediatrician and the ER doctor did. She was loosing so much blood she had to have emergency surgery right away…

This tiny little preemie baby girl who had already been through so much in her very short life…
It was one of the worst days of my life. Seeing her bleed uncontrollably in the backseat when I rushed her to the ER is an image imprinted in my brain forever…

My baby girl was in surgery for hours, her little pale body and all that blood. Afterwards she was groggy and swollen in my arms. I felt awful. She wanted to eat so bad but was too hurt to feed. Seeing her in so much pain was agony.

We spent 3 days at Children’s Hospital before the 4th of July weekend and she still refused to eat. I didn’t sleep at all and was a wreck. Grandma and auntie were home with big brother because dad had to continue working (even though I’m sure that was extremely hard on him).

I remember the nurses trying to help squirting my pumped breastmilk into baby’s mouth with a syringe- it finally worked enough to get her off the IV. She was this little girl in a huge bed surrounded by rolled up baby blankets with wires and monitors…
It was utterly terrifying.

On day two we saw a couple of doctors from the hematology department. They drew a lot of blood to test our baby girl for a bleeding disorder. Since she was so tiny yet-still on the preemie scale, they couldn’t take too much blood from her little body-so we had to come back for a follow up.

The follow up was on the third floor of Children’s Hospital a week later. Baby girl had gotten her color back and she had finally started to nurse again. My mom was thankfully able to accompany us this time, having flown in on the 4th of July withstanding delays and cancelled flights. It was such a support to be able to lean on her as we entered what must be one of the most depressing places-full of sick-really, really sick kids.

My daughter had lost too much weight to be able to draw the required blood panel for the full spectrum of blood disorders so the doctor sent her home with a liquid that makes blood clot in the event of blood trauma.

The tests came back negative for any of the more severe blood disorders…and for leukemia. I have never prayed harder for these results..

Then again the unfairness of it all, seeing all the other kids and their parents. How do they do it? how do they live and breathe when their insides must be breaking.
These caregivers are incredibly strong that goes without saying but…these kids…I don’t have words, little superheroes who just deserve way better lives.

Hoping for them as I’m standing here at the hospital with my two (big brother is in school) happy, healthy (for the most part) children, is the same for them, that they will beat this, they will get better and this will all be a distant memory…

The reality though is a punch to the stomach and the embarrassment of even feeling like this when I’m fine and my kids are fine is raw and present.

This is the 4th time here seeing her hematology doctor. When we saw him when baby girl was 18 months old we still didn’t get to do all of her testing, because of her low weight. I was informed that in order to complete everything we needed to admit her to the hospital for a few days to monitor her while drawing the required amount of blood for the full panel of blood disorders. I declined these tests knowing that she didn’t have the more serious ones and signing papers that I declined treatment was really difficult-was I doing the right thing?

I promised (myself and her doctor) to keep a close eye on her, knowing full well that you can’t bubble wrap your kids (no matter how much you want to).

Fast forward until now, there is no more denial. Every time she bleeds from simple cuts and scrapes it is way too much- abnormally so. Her new pediatrician ordered more labs at her 3 year check up and testing confirmed without a doubt that our daughter does have a bleeding disorder. He sent us straight back here again…so here we are.

This has truly not been the best week..

IMG_5924IMG_6742

IMG_6743

The magical month of July!!

How come the magical and arguably the best month of summer July,no school; end OR start, no stress, (wait was the “no stress” part before having children!?) always go so fast?. It races away in a haze.

Our July doesn’t start great with illness and almost unbearable heat. We are trying to save by not turning on the AC as much in the house but with our many large windows framing the family and living room it creates a vacuum of heat and you can hardly breathe. The kids have swimming three days a week (and are making great advances-when they listen to the swim instructor that is) and no camps. I signed my daughter up for dance Friday mornings and have the nanny come entertain my oldest (or is it the other way around?!).

I’m keeping baby girl out of the pool the first week due to some “diaper issues” (those swim diapers are not really built for holding anything, now are they) and I’m trying to save our pool (and myself from a major clean up) and my daughter from embarrassment (she totally wouldn’t care) even though she is feeling better. She is very mad that brother gets to swim and very curious about the swim instructor. We (meaning my daughter) watch brother every lesson in full on swim gear even though only toes (and feet) can go in the pool. Every time my son needs to work towards a promise of a favorite thing in order to listen to instructions (since he doesn’t like most food the options are limited and pretty much narrowed down to “Subway” , frozen yoghurt (ice cream) or a cookie at Starbucks (don’t judge). I also promised him a small toy if he will swim by the end of the four weeks. His listening skills are improved by constant reminders but he tends to forget very frequently and has been known to do “his own thing”. The instructor who apparently used to be an elite swimmer gets very frustrated-seemingly much better at swimming than dealing with small kids.

All the lessons means less social time outside of the house, especially if you add soccer Mondays and dance Fridays but we are still able to steal some ice cream dates with close friends. By the end of that first week the kids are all feeling like themselves again and I am beyond relieved to be out of the bad diapers/added laundry (gross) trenches!

I finally think the leaking of various body fluids (I know major yuck! …oddly enough less so if you are a parent of little kids…or maybe not so odd considering the frequency of said fluids..) is over. I venture out to Target. With the oldest (still recovering somewhat) safely at home with daddy (watching football) , I bring the other two.

Since I am the youngest’s walking, talking food source (and since hubby is not quite comfortable with him yet) he is coming too!
He is all smiles so it clearly (almost…eh not fully) make up for the two year old’s whining.

I know she has been sick and all and that she is tired but come on…everything is “no”.
Are you hungry, tired, need diaper change, hug…new shoes? No, no, no!
She is in full on 2 year mode, and of course everything I do is wrong-and she complains about it-loudly!!

I’m barely hanging on as I scroll down my “iPhone reminder list” of stuff we really need (and you know a few… occasional extras) as my toddler is reduced to tears after not getting a new “Peppa Pig” toy! In my head I mentally repeat “avoid the toy aisle…always always avoid the toy aisle…even if it means getting creative with diversion strategies and round about ways to get to the things you want. Even if you need something in the aisle next to the toys- do not, I repeat, do NOT pass them!!”
No shortcuts parents-this is serious mental planning. Think I should suck it up and take the whining, crying, melt down, “tantruming”?
Let me tell you many of time-I have and let’s just say it’s so not worth it, but today she spied this toy and being in the mood she is in; its all over…

I briefly distract her with some new shiny shoes but let’s face it- they are no Peppa pig’s dream house substitute…
At least the full on drama tears have subsided into heavy sobs and violent hiccups, not (barely) facing this brave mama! But here we are back to full on tantrum tears (aren’t they the most fun “people are officially starring and judging” kind”). Wait, what the heck happened now???
Oh, I see who was the complete idiot putting “Doc McStuffin’s” Lego set amongst the shoes huh, huh??

It’s clearly time to escape this place before my perfect little angel of a baby boy wakes up too- not so perfect…and far from an angel.

It’s Sunday-therefore all lines are long. When we are up next and I think we made it, guess who wakes up…?

The not so sympathetic cashier ring up my items painfully slow as both my kiddos wail, scream, yell and cry in a potpourri of scorned, disappointed, ignored, hurtful (as well as hungry) emotions. They are clearly being unfairly treated (according to everyone but me. This is when the cashier holds up a pink and purple Peppa Pig set (well…you know…) with some suspicious brown stains on them. I match her disgusted look at first genuinely confused …until I look down at the cart…and the seat occupied by my daughter…

 

 

As the last trimester approaches…

When I got to take my son home from the hospital I felt like everybody was insane- they trusted that this brand new human being would be safe with me, ME?
Yes, yes, I had some experience and loved babies and in the back of my head I knew that you didn’t have to go school, get an advanced degree or a certificate in order to procreate or to take your offspring home but yet again, maybe there SHOULD be some requirements here!!!
And there was my instructional manual, shouldn’t they after all come with one? Wasn’t that my parental right? Where were the laws for this stuff?
And the mandatory classes?

I had a faint memory of some breastfeeding class that was optional (you heard me, optional) that I had slept through in my pain killer induced haze after he was born and therefore missed, like “okay, it’s optional to keep this tiny human alive with my body…or not”.

I looked down at my first born with wonder, did they really expect me to take care of him…you know FOREVER? It’s not that I didn’t want to, because even if I didn’t exactly felt that overwhelming unconditional, all consuming love the second he was born (im terribly ashamed to admit this) red faced and screaming- him (well, let’s be honest both of us) and with 18 brand new stitches in the worst place you can think of (me, definitely me) I did now already love him with all my heart. But it was because of that love I wasn’t ready to take him home yet, he was just born YESTERDAY after all (and he had already been poked and prodded so much I already felt like I had failed in the mother department). Why wouldn’t they let me stay for at least a week or two? (Or you know a year) in case something went wrong? I mean I hadn’t even gotten my real milk in nor had I mastered diapering his tiny behind…and oh horror, don’t get me started on the all essential “swaddle”.
At least keep us in this safe environment until you are sure we can make it in the outside environment (by the way what “car seat test- the nurse barely glanced at the thing, only checking that we had it- shouldn’t they at least arrange a “ride along”?)

I know many Moms have been talking (and indeed) writing about this very topic but you certainly don’t realize how real it becomes when they wheel you out after having delivered (such a fancy word for what it really entails) that (there is now way I will describe him as “tiny” here) human through what seems to be an impossibly narrow tunnel (breaking all sort of stuff in his way) and he is laying there in your arms. Wrapped up in blue and pink, naked and glorious and completely new and you feel such pride- like “I did this, I made him” (with some slight help but that couldn’t be further from your mind because YOU did this, no one else) and everyone around you smile and some congratulate you (as they should because you just popped out a human from your very body). It’s not special it happens everyday, every moment by most women but yet it is so very VERY special- life’s biggest miracle!!!
And even though it’s messy and ugly and long and hurts like HELL, you somehow want to it again and again! (And again- damn endorphins) and right afterwards (complications and all) you swear- with an angelic smile “it wasn’t that bad!!”.

Be careful what you wish for I guess…

Because you really don’t want to stay in the hospital and you really want to take your baby home with you when you leave.

Everything was different with my second born. Everything was different with my daughter! An even though everything turned out great in the end (and she is now the most precious, sweet, charming, funny, stubborn, determined almost 2 year old little princess), it somehow wasn’t fair. To leave the hospital in day two with a perfectly healthy (well minus a collar bone) baby is something every mother should be able to experience (worries and all). Because as soon as you become a mom, you step up to the plate and you become a MOM and you should be able to take responsibility for that life you created right away (multi-colored poopy diapers, sore nipples, no sleep and all). You should NOT have to be in the hospital for weeks and weeks without your loved ones (and air) for the last trimester of your pregnancy (without the ability to even go to the bathroom… or forget about a shower). You shouldn’t have to cry and worry that there is something majorly wrong with that tiny human inside you (or check her heartbeat with a huge band around you attached to beeping monitors) around the clock, or be wheeled the bi-weekly ultrasounds (scaring you more than informing you) or be forced to eat hospital food for a grand total of 39 days. You shouldn’t have to google diagnoses and conditions and treatments options for your baby before she is even born, or meet with social workers and psychiatrists and specialists or count the days she is kept in there with joy and hope but apprehension.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m thankful for catching the fluid around the baby being low in time, I’m thankful for our hospital stay, every shot for baby’s lungs, contraction stopping medicine and blood draw (well…) every nurse and Doctor and specialist and ultrasound but most of all I’m thankful for that little baby girl being able to hang on in there for as long as she did!

The relief when she was born alive and well (finally breathing) and perfect was naturally the best day of my life. Amazing!!!

What came after with the 16 days in the hospital for baby, the monitors, the trouble breathing and eating, the beeping machines and cables, the fear and the massive weight drop- to my life-threatening infection and added hospital stay were less than amazing but we MADE it!!!

We were amongst the lucky few- this I know! Looking around at the babies who were born much earlier and/or had it much much worse and their poor parents made my heart sink and my body ache. The NICU is not a fun place whether you stay days, weeks or months but some definitely have it better than others. We were lucky for sure and just thinking about what could have happened…

I’m almost to that dreaded week 29 in my current pregnancy and I’m hoping and praying that things will be great!
It is however bringing up a lot of feelings (how could it not). I know I might make it to 41 weeks this time, that every pregnancy is different, that I’m under the best possible care and that I’m taking all sorts of preventative measures. I will be fine and so will the baby! This I feel in my heart! – but that little, tiny doubt is devastatingly real…

I’m not writing this to be negative, to seem fearful or ungrateful or to throw myself a little pity party- I’m simply writing this to be real and to share with you what I am feeling as I’m approaching my last trimester with this baby…
imageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimage

Home for the Holidays

Hello, let me introduce myself; I’m …HUGE!

So we are back from our Christmas vacation in Sweden. Let’s just say that it was beyond nice to catch a break from reality and just be in the moment for a while. The moment of family, changed priorities and holiday spirit. Don’t get me wrong, it’s always difficult traveling with little kids and the days away weren’t completely free from drama BUT the added grown ups to help and the amazing service of home cooked meals, laundered clothes and set plans were so welcomed and such a huge help I didn’t even want to fly back!

Even the one bedroom (my all pink, “old romance” style girl bedroom) felt like a relief from our house with different bedrooms, beds, bedtimes and major bedtime drama. On this holiday we pretty much went to bed and woke up at the same time- together. There is something said for bed sharing even if you get little feet in your face constantly and have to suffer through major jet lag as well as stuffed noses and lack of nighttime sleep (you see I’d pick that morning sleep over night anytime).

My parents had skillfully crafted fun plans outside the house (per my request not to have my rather wild kiddos destroy my parent’s beautifully and meticulously decorated house, and mine as well as everyone else’s sanity) and let me say they did great (both my parents AND my kids).

At our Glögg (there is that word again…remember the spiced, hot and sweet traditional wine!?) mingle with extended family, uncles and aunts and cousins etc, people actually were surprised how (get this) WELL behaved our kids were (making a lier out of me…boy, shouldn’t I just be satisfied!??)

We enjoyed a Christmas food buffet aka “a real Christmas Table” complete with the traditional glögg (mulled wine), Swedish meatballs (commonly just known as “meatballs”), all kinds of herring, “Jansson’s temptation” (basically potato gratin with anchovies), cheesecake (nothing like the American counter part) with cream and jam and of course ham, cheeses, homemade hard bread, eggs with mayo and shrimp and all kinds of chocolaty desserts!

We also went out in the middle of the pitch black woods (next time we’ll make sure to bring some flashlights) in our search of the real St Nicolas. It was the day before Christmas Eve (which is the day we celebrate Christmas in Sweden) cold, dark and crisp and impossible to even see the person walking in front of you. On our way to find Santa my darling husband thought my dad was joking as he told us he had no idea where we were going. Except it was the truth and all part of the mysterious adventure. There wasn’t any signs anywhere and we were truly in the middle of nowhere. We joked that if this would have been where we live there would have been giant neon signs, stroller ramps, (or why not elevators), huge parking lots, fees for everything, souvenirs for sale as well as restrooms (or toilets, let’s call them what they are shall we!?) around every corner!
But this was truly worth every fumbling and stumbling in the darkness due to the excitement of the collective mission to find Santa. The chilled air held anticipation and our 4 year old’s excitement was palpable when we trekked through the deep woods, slipping on ice patches, roots and rocks only accompanied by the wind and the trees (oh and all the other people on the same mission). Our 20 months old wasn’t as upbeat (being carried as not to fall…and not by mommy) until she discovered the cozy cabins, the elves workshops, Santa’s sleigh and all the pretty candles that is!
we found HIM!!!

The old man “playing” Santa Claus (I mean Santa himself) is after all doing this year after year out of the goodness of his heart, only getting paid in candles!
This is one adventure I wouldn’t mind making a permanent family holiday tradition!

Christmas Eve came and went without a hitch with our very own Santa, baby acting as his very own elf, handing everyone their gifts (after the initial fright…well he did have to loose his beard…and tummy) and little boy extremely joyful about all the gifts and attention. Even the “dreaded” wolf dog (seriously), the one my brother lovingly “tricked” my parents to take care of (gave them a task during retirement after all) …behaved (he did have to go stay in the car for awhile…the wrapping paper and Christmas goodies were way too tempting). Everyone was cheerful and the warmth radiated through the house. I mean with three generations of opinions and wishes, two rowdy kids and two even rowdier dogs it’s not the easiest task. But we succeeded brilliantly!

Christmas Day was spent with extended family out in the true “country” where our son got to dig with a real tractor and operate a real crane- oh the joy. Just hanging with all the other boys (you can see how mama wasn’t part of that equation) while the girls did “girl things” inside was probably enough to keep him happy! Little girl was happily playing Barbies and “my little ponies” with my second cousin’s daughter and the adults got to talk and laugh about old times!

Other well -thought out activities included (to my husband’s excitement) an ice hockey game, shopping (actually for his work clothes), a Bamse (swedish cartoon) exhibit and the traditional family turkey dinner of course!.

Just like he got to go to the hockey game with the boys, sonny got to accompany his mom and grandma to the theatre. Even if the first act of Peter Pan was rather “expressive and theatrical” aka terrifying, the second act more than made up for it (as did the front row seats and all the candy). Overall a great evening as the snow slowly started falling outside!

Talking about snow, the kids were beside themselves as they had been waiting since we had landed. My son even had a presentation about all the snow he would play in in Sweden at preschool the day we left. Global warming didn’t help our case and neither did us begging the weather Gods but finally, finally the white fluffy stuff was here and the heavens were cooperating. There was enough for snowballs and half a snowman and tons of fun for kids and dogs alike!

We ended our perfect holiday in my homeland in our beautiful capital of Stockholm. The deep white snow was the backdrop for more adventures of the downtown “zoo” of Swedish animals, (only complaints from the two American “men” were the freezing degrees, despite borrowed Down jackets and last minutes purchased gloves… and a quick trip to the doctor with baby girl’s ears), museums, restaurants, cafes and movie night in my brother’s apartment. Him and his wife had orchestrated some great plans to round up our trip and as we left in the middle of the night in the cold, we did so with a smile!

Two years ago I was pregnant (about the same gestation) with my little girl and home for the Christmas holiday as well (my family joking that I’m always pregnant at Christmas!) and flying back to the chaos that is our reality is now bittersweet. We might move, there might be something wrong going on with this pregnancy and last time it felt like I hadn’t been back long after Christmas before being admitted to the hospital with preterm labor. I worry about the special ultrasound happening Monday, about packing up the house and all our other plans up in the air…

Let’s just say this, I’m happy and grateful about this holiday break from reality and look forward to someday introducing my country and all its traditions to my third baby!

 

Yes Sir! and old forgetful Mamas…

Of course it’s the cheery, “earthy” teacher and of course there is no lunch bunch- it’s FRIDAY!!

I’m mortified (I’ve never thrown on clothes so fast or waken my poor baby letting her tag along in pajamas and wet diaper) which I also tell the teacher as I run inside the now (almost) empty classroom. “I’m absolutely mortified”.

I did have a vision of my son getting sadder and sadder as his little friends left with their mommies one by one until he was all alone, abandoned and crying. That, however does not seem to be the case. Little man seems absolutely thrilled to be having some alone time with his loving teacher (probably nicer and a lot more patient than his mommy…and she would obviously have remembered him…obviously).

For heavens sake, I forgot my child, FORGOT!! I’m a horrible, horrible mom!

“Honey don’t be! You know these things happen”, looking like they most certainly DO NOT- not in her world (I’m feeling awful and ashamed and… Just horrible). “Just wait until you forget them when they are in high school” hmm, now, what does that even mean? Slightly confused I continue to apologize (which she lets me a serene smile on her “no make-up” face. “But we were having such a pleasant time weren’t we?” Turning to my son who smiles smugly “no lunch bunch today, it’s FRI- DAAAY mooom!!” Well, okay, hmm, could I be feeling any worse!?

I back out of the classroom hoping I’m looking remorseful enough, cranky toddler on my hip (who does not like being woken up roughly or rushed) and drag my son along. Performing a whole other walk of shame towards our car passing the perfect moms who are now (AFTER school) having perfects picnics with their perfect little offspring on the green grass, and the preschool office where the door is open and the director ask how I am? “Well” I respond “better now” as she chuckles, she is probably judging me too.
Not one of my finer mommy moments!

I take the kids to Subway and a little bit of shopping (for kids clothes only) to make (myself) everyone feel better. I still can’t let my son have a cookie before he finishes his sandwich however and when he brings up the “no lunch bunch” for the tenth time I have had enough. “I forgot, okay!? I didn’t know, this was the first Friday and I just didn’t KNOW” I can hear myself screaming and feel people starring at the mall food court. Well, I am being rather loud now, ain’t I, but I can’t seem to calm down so I only get louder “so there is no excuse for you NOT to eat your sandwich (which is just cheese-nothing else, not toasted) so just eat it or NO cookie- EVER!!!” I even stun myself and apparently my son, his reply being “Yes Sir!”

Gap kids has a sale for member only and I have calmed down as I make the honest promise to myself to be the “nicest mommy ever”… For the rest of the day. My little preschooler is being extra helpful (probably sensing an impending mommy mental break down) and runs around looking for his size “with a 4 on it”, then he looks for a 1 for the baby (no time to explain the whole month system). I even let him get some rather hideous buffalo socks! Before we pay he asks how old I am, with a grimace I half whisper “35”. “Why are you whispering mama?”
“Because mama is really old”,  he looks puzzled for a second then he announces that he will be right back. I see him from my place in line, scanning the racks of clothes, flipping the hangers, ready to abandon my place as soon as he wanders off but instead he comes skipping back handing me a dress in pink!

Size 3-5!

Perfect!

“Even old people need clothes mommy!”
Dang, isn’t he just adorable!!!

Sisterly Love and Adulthood

Last week we made (the long overdue) trip to see my little sister (in my eyes she is still 15…or more like 5…but she is not anymore..). So much has happened in her life lately and is seems like I’m missing so much. Actually we are missing so much in each other’s lives and I can’t help feeling sad about it. I mean I know that is what happens and that its natural and even a normal, healthy progression of life but it doesn’t mean it’s easy.

We were once so close and I now treasure those years that we both took for granted, looking back we seemed to have it all but of course we were then too young and dumb to realize that. We grew up close but with 4 and a half years between us, she was always so much younger. In our twenties however the gap wasn’t so big and we started enjoying the same things.

The moment my sister decided to extend her summer trip in the sun visiting me to actually starting school here and moving in with me was one of my luckiest! We had years of fun, bonding time that neither one of us will ever forget. Sure it was the heartaches and the lack of money and the exams and some hardcore studying (partying) and numerous disappointments but overall it was our years in paradise. Basically no responsibilities, we were in our prime, pretty, blonde, smart, tanned, carefree and overall happy. Our biggest problems included “when will that cute guy call?” “where should we go out tonight?” “how to ace the next test”, “what movie should we watch?” “this dress or that one?” and “what to eat for dinner?”

It’s not like we just fluttered around supported and without ambition and goals, we were both in school full time and we both worked having rent and bills and “hobbies” to pay for (with tremendous help from our parents of course). How lucky were we to have each other? Sisters who didn’t only love each other because we were family, but honestly best friends! We seriously were almost always on the same page and got along better than anyone could or would have expected. We made new friends, bought and sold cars, saved up for special shopping trips, spent holidays in a foreign country away from the rest of our family, lived on little, cooked for each other and helped each other out with everything from school work to nannying to being the “designated driver”.

I went from completing my Masters program to starting my journey towards becoming a doctor of psychology while my sister worked on completing her bachelor degree in business by both working at the school and nannying. I went from nannying to internships to actually small but legit psychology jobs. We shared everything from food to jobs to laughs and most importantly friendship (and in some cases boys… kidding…sort of…).

Now we have been a part for well over five years first surviving her moving back to Sweden for a while and then to a completely different state- very far away while I met my man (had to stay for this one…) here and put down roots-becoming an American myself and everything!

My sister has been here of course but when you work and is a horse and dog mommy (read that right: my sister is not a horse…) you have REAL responsibilities you all of a sudden can’t ignore, it gets more difficult to leave your life for constant trips back and forth. When you get married, get a house, a dog and kid(s) – forget about it. We haven’t missed the huge stuff like her moving into a new house, my firstborn’s homecoming, my bed rest as well as random celebrations of Christmas and birthdays but it’s not the same as seeing each other and being there for each other every single day!

I get sad when I know I’m about to miss some crucial milestones in her life (me being older I know I pretty much have the big ones out of the way!) I was devastated that it took us a year to introduce my sister to my baby daughter… but I know that is life. As an adult you have to work and be responsible and you can’t just drop everything at the drop of a hat. I appreciate my adult life, I really do(wouldn’t change it for the world) and as a big sister, I’m immensely proud of hers!

I’ve always felt some responsibility in being the older sister and before I had kids (and even now I must admit) I worry about my little sister a lot, and I think about her and I naturally only want what is best for her! I can’t believe she made herself into the strong, ambitious and beautiful woman that she is today. Quite the careers lady with a horse and a dog to take care of, a house and a huge white truck!

She had planned an amazing stay for us in one of  the coziest and most charming little village part of her big city, where she now lives. With boat and bus tours for the kids downtown, amazing restaurants, yummy ice cream and treats and endless entertainment. We really, truly had a wonderful time (even the kids “semi” behaved. Me and my husband joked that a couple of days are plenty and very much enough with our kids- maybe you will even still like them at the end of the stay!).
The constant diaper changes (and blow-outs), car seats and strollers, wants and needs, potty breaks (and potty humor), picky eating, toys and tantrums wear you down after a while (but it’s good practice guys!)

Asking my little sister if she was ready for babies (and don’t you just love mine!!? – as they were running like crazy at a rather fancy restaurant) she looked at me with a (very) hesitant look, taking her time to answer…
– well maybe, I think….it’s different when you have your own!

DSC_0337 DSC_0344 DSC_0349 DSC_0354 DSC_0363 DSC_0367 DSC_0376 DSC_0579 DSC_0582 DSC_0439 DSC_0447 DSC_0454 DSC_0473 DSC_0479 DSC_0487 DSC_0494 DSC_0530

17828_616520025044029_1987315922_n 40676_145473168815386_8094037_n 62811_154047311291305_6082571_n 301962_10150297008121916_1687738944_n 303848_10150769197320355_431873_n  1014325_10151751582342640_823027889_n 1234028_702483743114323_2047908670_n 10984032_10153109495987640_8597160373674388068_n
I just hope I can be there for her now as she embarks on the journey of “real” adulthood and all the huge and great milestones that lay ahead!

Love you Sis!

Ode to the Wipe (wipe wars)

You know the moment when you ask your husband to get a wipe and he turns into a confused alien life form without the ability to understand you…or you know, move!

You are feeding your precious newborn and she spits up all over you and it’s dripping done towards the couch and your fancy pillows and throws…and you yell for your husband (who by the way is already up on his feet, baby less and way closer to the much needed wipes) to get you some wipes!

First the confusion occurs “wipes?” “What wipes?”

“Eh, only the wipes we use everyday, ALL THE TIME” (stay calm, breathe, he will get them very soon).

Enter alien life form, head spins around, walks slowly around in circles, muttering inaudible.

“The wipes, the wipes, the freaking WIPES!!!” You can’t help yelling to emphasize the urgency here!

“Uh, where?”

“Uh” (you have surrendered to mockingly imitate which you really didn’t mean to but the baby is falling asleep and you rather not wake the monster…eh hmm little angel and you are pretty darn fond of those pillows…)
“Right there, right there, where they always are, right by you HURRY”

Confused expression, looking in the general direction of where I’m painstakingly pointing; “okay, okay, no need to yell! I’m going!” Walking in slow motion. It is brutally painful to watch and no matter how hard I’m tilting the baby in different angels and soaking spit-up up with my shirt sleeves (nice, I know!), the first pillow is now soaked (just one more thing to add to the to do list! Yay!)

“Eh, which kind of wipes again??”

“What kind, WHAT KIND???”

“Yeah, you know there are the purple or the blue”

“WHITE, WHITE, they are all WHITE and all the SAME!!!!” I’m already getting up, hoping against hope not to wake the baby, regurgitated thick whitish milk dripping down my black yoga pants (what? Gross?? Just pop out a baby and see what you are wearing or what mess is currently dripping done your stretchy pants!)

“No they do have different color on the outside, some are butt wipes, I thought…and some are…”

Getting almost stampeded by furious new mom with a frantically screaming baby on her way to her much needed wipes.

Getting them right in front of my husband who exclaims “oh those! I could have gotten those for you”, falters … slightly terrified at my expression…

“Well, I would have gotten them, no need to get so upset”…

This little anecdote is mean to make you knowingly nod your head…(not think b*tch to yourself) because the truth is you can change out the word “wipes” with almost anything I ask my husband to get fast!

I get it, I’m faster and better at finding things around the house, I know where I put things and I want them in a certain way but sometimes it’s comical (or it would be if it wasn’t so frustrating) how he (and now also my 4 year old) can’t find things right in front of him (them).

Wipes are an excellent example because they are so needed for everyday survival!

This is what I call “an ode to the wipe”

Wipes are indeed necessary items in any family with little kids. Sure they are a household staple but they are also under rated. Wipes are essential, no they are in fact crucial. They have a lot more functions than the most common “wipe butts” function. Think; drool, liquids, spit-up, vomit, sticky messy messes AND also include adult spills. They can be used for older kids as well, not just babies, they can also be used on and for dogs and their messes. They can wipe buggers, paint, apple juice, chocolate, little leaks, big leaks and even bloody noses and knees.

When I was a kid, we didn’t use wipes, not even for changing diapers. The only “wipe like” occurrence I can think of is the “wet wipes” we use to keep in the car on our European road trips.

Now when I forgot wipes at home (ahhh), am out of wipes or just took the last one, its a near disaster. I need wipes in my house (every room), car and purse almost as much as I need air (slight exaggeration but you know…).

Ever taken the last wipe, elbow deep in the century’s worse poopy diaper or as your toddler is a squirmy mess close to your light tan suede couches with chocolaty fingers?

You are in desperate need of a wipe (or several) as you get “spit uped” on, peed on (yes, really), spilled on, or when you bite your tongue so bad after being hit by a flying iPad (yes, this happened) so you are gushing blood everywhere.

No, this is not a wipe commercial…nor do I get any kick backs or incentives of any kinds to post this but come on, don’t you agree parents? wipes are a daily necessity (more like hourly…”minute-ly”).

The need for wipes (no, they are not just “butt wipes” as my husband calls them, they are everything wipes) do not stop once your babies turn into toddlers or even big kids.

Sharing wipes is caring. You need them everywhere, the playground, the store, the mall, the car, so when you are out…lets just say if someone hands you some, you are forever grateful!

I can’t believe I used to live and actually function without them in my life. I was wipe-less for far too long. How could I have missed the miracle of a simple wipe? I must admit, you need them waaay more with kids but wipes are not just for kids, they are for everyone.

Wipes are for everyone, everywhere! I don’t care how old you are even mommies and daddies..(I am a spiller myself!).even if you are not even a parent…you need them!

You are probably wondering where I’m going with this!

Nowhere in particular I most admit but to prove a point; more wipes to the people!

112 118 119 120 161 164 165 167 322 378 431 556 571 575

A pretty medium, slightly stinky, criminal mom!

I actually have to wait a while with this Target guy watching me (apparently I was planning on stealing several items…and told him about it…despite my cart overflowing of stuff and the clever cover of my two whiny kids).

I just want to get out of there-after I pay of course (I promise) and so do my kids. I get increasingly annoyed but I also kind of feel for the guy. I know that in his head, he is just trying to do what is right.

By now though, I totally feel like abandoning my cart (well I would take my kids out first) and just leaving. But ever the polite one, I stand there for what seems like forever until an older women with big brown hair jogs over (she actually is jogging, not walking, not running, jogging!). Ah, so what now? Do I explain myself? I sigh as one of my kids screams for ice cream and the other one is trying to (repeatedly) manage a suicide bungee jump from the red shopping cart.

I actually don’t have to explain myself since first the guy does it for me (emphasizing the word “STEAL” several times) and then the bouncy (I assume it is the) manager apologizes…to me.

I mean of course I’m not surprised but I still get relieved, maybe I can take my kids and leave now, AFTER paying for all our other items of course!

The manager lady explains that (insert name here) he always takes things too literally but that he doesn’t mean anything by it, he is just trying to follow the rules…he is really very sweet (and to quote Seinfeld) yada, yada, yada…

We make it out of there (without being arrested), and all I’m thinking is …

That we could all use some ice cream!

413 412 414 416 417 418 419 420 421

It all goes well and the ice cream does taste quite delicious until baby girl gets chocolate ice cream on her cute pink little jump suit…

A lot of chocolate ice cream…brown…stinky? Ice cream…

Except, of course it’s NOT ice cream, and of course we still have the cart with all the stuff (that we stole from Target…too soon? Ok, just kidding…) and of course this brilliant mama used the spare pants in the diaper bag at the last freaking poop explosion (sorry baby, not your fault…after all your criminal mommy is stuffing you with ice cream…should be illegal, okay, okay, I’m done!).

I decide that we first have to find our white rental car (whole other story trust me…I’ll give you a hint; brakes gave out…and up!) and then a restroom, in that order. Great plan because what would we do with all the stuff? Except baby is seriously leaky…and even strangers are starting to notice the smell (sorry strangers…and again, sorry baby girl) and of course I can’t find the dang car!

My son finds it for us, but unfortunately his mom is too dense to trust him, thinking “this car is too big to be the one we got…and how would a 4- year be able to find the right car anyways? (Only day two of driving it)”

Well, he could and he did…so while mommy wasted valuable time searching for a car her kid found…and found again, she (meaning me) could have avoided some serious leakage (on my own clothes included). Sorry Target, I’m just gonna go change this in your restroom… and then point me in the direction of the baby clothes please…
And oh I might need some of my returned clothes back!

Of course this week I’m right back at Target returning stuff. I tell the lady “no there is nothing wrong with the items but these (work-out pants) are too big, and this one (matching work-out bra) is too small (would have been worse the other way around which has also happened…trust me). As she takes the items back, my four year old turns his big brown eyes up to me and says “one is too large, the other one too small, that means that you are in the middle because you are MEDIUM mama!” (Where does he get everything from…and who taught him that?) Well, there you have it! I’m in the middle…and quite medium!

Big tough mama thug…

Last week returning some stuff at Target (what is it with that store…? You go in for one thing or return a couple items only, and it lures you in with its magical powers and $200 later…) my kids were the least of my problems.

So I’m browsing, realizing that I MUST (urgently need really) some stuff like sparking water (a necessity), baby food pouches (always), little cute, sparkling headbands (well, you know…). My big kid is in the cart trying to hold on to the increasing number of items (I’m really not trying to cover him with household must-haves, baby essentials and crucial clothing items here… but am struggling) and baby in the cart seat.

As I’m strolling along, kids actually behaving (mostly due to the small placating toy and unhealthy snack item-hey I’m human!) my son decides he is dying for some “green stuff”. The green stuff are these dried (and probably fried…?) salted snap peas that he likes to munch on lately. Slightly excited he didn’t ask for candy or cookies (the dreaded “c-words” along with chips and chocolate) I head over to the produce section (because ironically that is where they keep them).

While I’m there I might as well get some apples (naturally) and some veggies for taco night (but of course) and hey, there is the dairy aisle and aren’t we almost out of yoghurt…and milk…? Most certainly milk (can’t be sure because nobody really drinks that stuff but hubby). I grab some stuff (watching my son disappear slowly- only his blond head popping up out of the growing merchandise mountain…it’s not that bad, besides I’m now in the healthy food section…what’s more important than that?) but have to stop my shopping dance in front of the “green stuff”. A Target employee is blocking them and some dried fruit (definitely better than candy) and some interesting looking bagels (so cute and wheat…pretty sure they’re wheat…at least they are sort of brownish looking…better take a closer look…

I’m on a roll here (trying not to impersonate the shopoholic but hey, this is good) so I inch closer to the guy working by the stuff I need and announce in a loud voice “I’m just going to steal some of these and a couple of those”…

As I reach over his arms (he is arranging the “green stuff”) he loudly clears his throat…
You seriously won’t believe what happens next…

The employee asks me why I said that I was going to steal multiple items (wait…what???). I’m so confused, why would he think that?

The target guy stops me as I’m about to back away (this man is clearly not sane…) and announces “that he isn’t comfortable with my statement “to steal” (I can barely remember saying that as it is a saying and I now suddenly wish I would have phrased it differently, very differently) as I unfortunately laugh (wait, is this the same as joking about bombs in airport security…its not, right!?)

440. 438 439

Apparently that was the wrong reaction (but come on!!! Really??) because he looks incredibly serious as he starts talking in his walker talkie thingy (yes this happened!). He tells me to stay put while he calls a manager. I hesitate as I stand with my overflowing cart and my two (now) whiny kids. I take a couple of steps towards him trying to explain that really “can I steal some of these” is really an expression and I never (honestly) meant to steal anything (I know my kid took something from the grocery store so you might be on this nutty guy’s side too… but seriously I didn’t see it AND we took it right back…remember!?). He puts his hands up in front of me (like I’m going to attack him or something…major eye roll…is this happening??) and tells me to please step back and to sit tight (maybe I should sit down too…to take him literally…) but I guess I feel kind of sorry for him at the same time as I’m too polite (and frankly feel a bit uneasy) so I  just stand there with my children at our local Target waiting for a manager because I said that I was going to steal…(only me…)…

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 444 other followers

Follow drmamma on WordPress.com
%d bloggers like this: