January 31, 2011

Defining a Family

Mami got Thing Two a doll house for her birthday. I finally got around to putting it together and putting it out for Thing One and Thing Two to play with. While I was putting the pieces together Thing One kept saying "I want brother!" I was wondering what he was referring to. Once I put the doll house out Thing One raced over with Thing Two to play with it. This is the moment he picked the male figure and said "See, the brother"
What is funny is that I'm sure that the maker of the toy meant the male, the female, and the baby to represent a nuclear family (Mom, Dad, Child). That is the way I was viewing them. Maybe I was reflecting on the dynamic of my own family: Sarge, Mami and I. It was bitter sweet to me that Thing One did not see what I saw in those figures. I truly wanted to give my two children a mom and a dad under the same roof. Instead Thing One's definition of his family was a Mom, a brother, and a sister.

I have started to accept the reality of what I can give to my children as I look around and see that there are several definitions of family. Some are grandparents raising a grandchild. Some are partners of the same sex raising children. Some are single parents raising one or many children. Whatever the dynamic, I'm glad that Thing One was able to identify his own family better than I could. Whatever your definition of family, a child will most definitely know where they belong and how much they are loved.

January 28, 2011

The things we do for our kids...

Doesn't that look delicious?  Is this going to be about why I sacrifice being broke by getting Thing One his favorite that not so nutritious hotcakes and sausage from Mc D's?  EEEEEEEEEEEEEERRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR! WRONG!

This has everything to do about my tata's being pressed into one of these things and holding my breath, not because the technician asked me to, but because I was in pain and it literally took my breath away. I just turned the big 4-0 and I realized I hadn't had a "check-up" since the essure procedure two years ago after Thing Two.  I think it was safe to say that I needed to see my OB/GYN.

Right about the time I was 8 months pregnant with Thing Two, Mami had been diagnosed with breast cancer.  It was stage one breast cancer very survivable, but scary to say the least. We are lucky it was caught because Mami is vigilant when it comes to her appointments and health.  She opted for complete removal of the breast because a lumpectomy would not guarantee she would not have another tumor and it would mean weeks of radiation.  I know why she opted for that drastic move.  She looked at me with a big swollen belly due at any moment, dealing with a 15 month old baby and going through a recent separation from Big Cheese. I know she sacrificed her tata for peace of mind for me.  I know that's why she did it.  She says it was because she didn't want to go through the uncertainty of it all, but the first thing she said was that she didn't want me to worry. Mom's sacrifice so much for their children.

I helped Mami get through the surgery and the weeks of draining the wound and the fitting of her prosthetic.  I was drained emotionally and physically.  I thought of nothing but her and my two children.  What would I do without my Mami?  Would my children remember her if the cancer took her life? It was a long journey and 4 months after all this we were able to breathe a sigh of relief.  The cancer had been successfully taken and since then we have not had any re occurrence of it. Mother's sacrifice so much for their children.

So yesterday after taking Thing Two to her 2 year old check up I went for a mammogram.  As any mother would attest, the sacrifice of having to go through what we have to is worth any pain.  I want to be around to see my babies go to school the first time, to have the first boyfriend or girlfriend, to dry their tears after their heart is broken, to cry at their wedding, and to hold their children. So me being uncomfortable for a few minutes in order to make sure the same cancer that struck Mami has not somehow been passed to me, was worth it.  I know what it's like to not be able to share triumphs and heart break with a loving parent because of a disease.  I do not wish that heart ache on them. 

I will take care of myself, for them.  I will go out and exercise and take care of myself both physically and mentally, for them.  It's not that I no longer matter, it's that I matter to someone who needs me.

What have you sacrificed in the name of your children?

January 26, 2011

Music that make you go... hmmmmmm

The year 1987:  I was 16 years old going to house parties (Yes I KNOW…bad girl!) My hair was pumped up with the Super Hold white can of Aqua Net and I was rockin’ my bobby socks with heels along with the big fat belt wrapped around my long shirt and my too short skirt.  This song was always pumping while I was getting ready to go to the house party:
OH my youth! This reminds me of good times doing bad things. I could have been kidnapped, raped, etc, etc, etc…but I survived unscathed. It is always great to have those memories of the time when you were wild and young. Music always brings me to a fun memory of what I was doing when listening to a particular song.

Fast forward to my life some 20 some odd years later. Here I am single mommy to two beautiful impressionable children. I let them listen to a variety of music, because I love music. I even got a whole bunch of CDs from Rockabye Baby. My kids have been listening to since they were in the womb. I love the concept of popular music set for children. It drives me less crazy than listening to Barney singing “I love you” for the umpteenth millionth time.


So the other night while I was making dinner as usual I turn on Nick Jr. for the kids so that they can stay out of my hair long enough for me to finish. Yo Gabba Gabba was on and as I frequently do, I chimed in listening to what they were watching. What happened was I heard a familiar tune:
I was shocked, completely stupefied! There was nothing wrong with the choice of music or the episode, just one thing. I was brought back to me in that mini skirt at 16 out at a party drinking beer and pretending I was uber cool. Then it hit me, I’m a responsible adult, a parent! AAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!


The magic of this song is no longer a happy memory; it is the realization that someday I will have teenagers that will want to do the same wild things I was doing. I think this is the moment Mami was looking forward to when I was a teenager “You will see when you have kids” Thanks Mami.


Anyone have that pivotal moment when you realize you are now on the other end of parenting?

January 25, 2011

Simple Adventures

 

This giant grin from Thing One, you would think came from an adventure at Disneyland.  Oddly enough this grin was minus any animated character, complicated ride, or a whole paycheck worth of spending.  This my friends is a smile of pure joy from the most simplest activity. 
In this world of over exuberance and flashiness, "you must get the latest toy" it is the simple things that make a small child smile.  This smile was accomplished on a Sunday afternoon that I was minus a car because the darn thing was being worked on.  I needed to get a few small things for Thing Two's upcoming birthday party so I decided we were going on a new "adventure".  Our city has a local bus that can take you anywhere in the city for a total of $.40.  SWEET!  Children are free.  DOUBLE SWEET. 
I packed a back pack with snacks, diapers, wipes, and the bus schedule.  The 99 cent store is accross the street from the city park, and also where we would have to wait for the bus on the way back home.  I didn't expect both kids to be so happy and excited to get on public transportation. I normally am not excited OR happy about getting on public transportation. 
View from the bus.
We took longer to get where we were going and it took us longer to get home.  All Thing One could do would talk about the cars, the street, the people.  Amazing that the simple things we take for granted are big and great and exciting to a child.  We should all see things through the eyes of a child.  Maybe if we did we would encounter less depression and much happiness in the simpleness of life.  I'm glad I can experience these little moments through the eyes of my little ones. 
Next adventure...the subway. Where will your next simple adventure be?
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January 21, 2011

The Chupy (Pacifier) Chronicles

AHEM..*Stands in front of podium and adjusts microphone*

"Hi my name is Dooritos, I am a mommy who has let her child have a Chupy (Pacifier) until the age of 2"

Yes, I feel like I need to be in an 12 step program when taking away my last babies special Chupy.  Why does it feel like I have to let her go from being my baby girl?! UGH! 
  • First step:  Admit I'm powerless over the fact that my 2 year old needs a chupy and that every minute of the day has been overwhelmed with demands of this "Chupy".  When did losing a chupy put me in panic mode??!!!
  • Second step:  Making the decision to finally get rid of the Chupy and letting my 2 year old get a hold of herself and comforting herself without the help of said "chupy".
Day one of operation "NO CHUPY" Step One was realized on her second birthday.  When I thought, she's a grown little girl, she talks, makes demands, and really is no longer a helpless baby.  OH MY...she still has a chupy!!!!  Ok time for intervention....TOMORROW.  :)
Why hide this beautiful smile behind a Chupy?!

Her last time with her beloved Chupy. (or so I thought)

Day two of operation "NO Chupy" went something like this:
Me: "Good Morning Thing Two! How are you?" 
Thing Two: "I want Chupy"
Me: "No you're two now.  You are a big girl and big girls don't use a Chupy"
Thing Two: " I NOT TWO! I NOT BIG GIRL!"
Me: *Blank stare* SIGH

I ignored her request and we went on to Gymboree and our normal routine, without much fuss.  Then we drove home and Thing Two fell asleep in the car.  As I was moving her from the car to her bed she woke up demanding said Chupy.  Again I said no.  This is what occurred right after:
video

*SIGH*  She finally calmed down and I was more exhausted from the whole ordeal than maybe she was.  It could have also have been that I had been feeling sick and the birthday party the evening before had just wasted me away to an absolute stupor.  Grandpa Big Cheese offered to take the kids over night, and I gladly handed them over.  This is the part when we fall off the wagon.  I handed Grandpa Big Cheese the much acclaimed Chupy.  I wasn't going to have him go through what I went through.  "Just give it to her tonight, I will deal with this tomorrow"  The Chupy won that time.  I felt defeated and tired.  Tomorrow would be another day.

Day three of operation "NO Chupy" went a little better. We had already limited the Chupy use months ago to just nap and just bed time.  She occasionally found one and stuck it in her mouth during these months.  All day, no Chupy requests, thank goodness!  Then came bedtime.  Thing Two requested over and over her beloved Chupy.  Finally at about 11:00 pm she fell asleep Chupy-less.  RELIEF!  Then at about three in the morning I got a visitor in my bedroom.  All I heard was a small whisper "Mommy Chuppy".  Again explained she was a big girl and put her back to bed.  An hour later she found her way back to my room "Mommy Chupy.  I sleep you?" I needed sleep, so in she went to my bed while I slept for another 30 minutes just to be awakened by my lovely alarm clock.  I think this was the point when I met the step of making a decision to let God take over. GOD, please let me get through this!!!

Day four of operation "No Chupy" was splendid.  No chupy requests, no fighting her sleep, just sleep at a decent hour.  This was a great day!

Day five of operation "No Chupy", what happened to day four!!!!  Well Thing Two stayed up until 11 pm requesting, pleading, begging for her Chupy.  I almost gave in, but I remembered the day before and the success of that day.  She fell asleep and I got no visitor that night. 

Day six, my goodness I'm exhausted!  She's exhausted too, I can see it across her face.  That night not much screaming or pleading, just a simple question, "Chupy mommy?"   Again the big girl conversation was told to Thing Two.  This time after I finished I got a sigh and an "OKAY".  Wow, that was something I didn't expect. I think she reached the acceptance step.  Then I got a visit at two in the morning, "Mommy I sleep you?".  SIGH, from me this time.  OKAY.

Today is day seven, a week from the time we both have been going through this operation "No Chupy".  It a long road but I think we both have gone through most of the process.  Eventually we will get to the point where a Chupy is no longer mentioned, like that one family member that is never spoken about at family parties.  Today, we will have ice-cream and I will remind her what a big girl she is and how proud I am of her.

I'm still exhausted, I'm still going through growing pains, but it needs to be done.  She will be ok, but it's still hard.  I'm going to hate potty training her.

What challenges have you had with your children?  Have you felt like you have been put through it with them? 

January 13, 2011

Happy 2nd Birthday!







It was a beautiful Sunny day in Southern California.  I was a week away from my due date of January 20, 2009.  I kept thinking, wow she’s coming on a special day.  The first African American President will be sworn in on that very day.  On January 14, 2009 I left Thing One with my mom to a what I thought would be an uneventful doctor's appointment.  I was wrong, I was 4 cm dialated by the time I got to the doctor, no turning back now.  At 9:47 PM Thing Two made her appearance into this world, and nothing will quite be the same for us ever again.
My Muñeca (doll) has changed the family dynamic in so many positive ways.
  • She is the one who comforts her brother when she hears him crying when he is in a time out. 
  • She is also the one who shakes her head when he is doing something he shouldn't
  • She is the empathatic child who worries and says with a concerned look accross her face "Baby crying momma!" when she hears another child crying. 
  • She lights up a room with her mischiveous smile.
  • She makes Big Cheese, Grandpa Big Cheese and her older brothers a softer people.  She is the only girl in that dynamic. :)
  • She delights us in being a girly girl with dresses, and trinkets, and crowns.
  • I can see a glimpse that someday she is going to make a great mother by the way she cares for her dolls.
  • She can't keep a beat to save her life when she dances, but she tries and she is confident in what she can do.  That makes me smile. 
  •  She is confident and demanding.  She wants what she wants.  I call it focused and goal oriented, but really it's just a tantrum. 
  • She makes me want to be a better mom, to show her what her job will be as a parent in the distant future. 
My dearest baby girl, you mean the world to us, and we would not want it any other way.  You turned us upside down with the joys you bring into our lives daily.  We love you, Happy 2nd birthday!  




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