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Top Ten Things I wish I had known about little boys…

Things I wish I'd known - Jenna - April 11, 2012

1. That stink will not go away no mater how much you wash, scrub, clean, or spray.

2. They destroy just about everything they touch….they usually don’t mean to it just happens.

3. They can eat more than the largest band of locust

4. They are really good snugglers

5.At age 4 Dad achieves rock star status with no effort at all, and you will be left holding a sippy cup & a blanket wondering what the heck just happened.

6. When they are sick or hungry or hurt aka when the going gets tuff…..only mom will do!

7. Did I mention they stink

8. Peeing inside the perimeters of a toilet may take up words of 30 years to master

9. They will only learn to be gentlemen if you teach them

10. Underneath the dirt, grime, smell, and footballs are little hearts that will always have a place for their first love…Mommy!

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Things I wish I had known…babies are the easy ones

Things I wish I'd known - Jenna - March 26, 2012

It seems from the moment that you announce you are expecting the advise starts rolling in. ” oh all the sleep you will loose” ” I hope you are going to breast feed.” ” let me tell you all the diaper$ and wipe$ really add up” ” oh the stretch marks” “lets not even talk about your sex life” ” “your money & your time will never be yours again” Ahh yes all this wonderful advise that came my way when I announced I was going to be bringing a new life into this world. Yet know one, not one single person bothered to inform me that babies are the easy ones.

It’s true. Either all my friends were just scared of hard work, because lets face it babies are about 99% manual labor. Feed, change, rock, repeat. Or they were trying to save me from some truth they had learned but didn’t want to admit. This truth ..that in comparison to shaping someones spirit, personalty, and morals, babies are actually easier.

Lets recap shall we…. they hand you this warm, sweet mini version of you & your husband that you are now responsible for. Yes it is terrifying at first to have to be 100% responsible for keeping this little being alive. (if you had seen my house plant collection you would be nervous for my children too) but soon you get the hang of it o,r at least memorize the on call number to your pediatrician so you can reassure yourself you are in fact doing it properly . You can even measure your success based on height, weight, and the ever  popular compare your kid to others test. Yes you are tired, and may not be as fashionable as you once were (no spit up is not the new it accessory for spring) but as long as your child is growing and clean you are pretty much mother of the year.Despite all your baby sign language, breast feeding, & playing Mozart as long as you are meeting some basic needs your baby will thrive & do well.

Now fast forward 8 years. You have a moody 2nd grader trying to find his way in life.  The manual labor is really pretty minimal. He sleeps all night, can get himself a drink or snack. He can read so spell talking with your spouse no longer works. He can use the bathroom all on his own, he can tie his shoes, ride the bus, swim, ride a bike, do almost anything with out your help. However he does things like break rules, lies, test your patients, tries to be sneaky, beats up his little brother (ok, not really beats up but more than picks on)

So now instead of having to feed, change, rock repeat, you are responsible for discipline, shaping, moral teaching. You must let him learn & grow but keep him close  & safe. You now have to entrust his care & education to  a group of people, and a teacher that spends more time during the week with him than you. You have to help him through the tough parts of being a kid, being in school, friendships, competition, and growing up. When you catch him on the roof after he was caught up there last week & promised not to do it again, You have to now choose a proper punishment, give a grace filled speech that will shape his moral development all while holding on to his heart and letting him know how bad it is to be on the roof. Yes I think babies are the easy ones.

You see I am not one to shy away from hard work so manual labor really isn’t that big of a deal to me. You just do what you need to do to get it done. When you are done with physical work at least you can see the fruits of your labor. Right there in front of you..clean house, clean baby, folded laundry done! Zip Zap mom of the year! But this big kid thing is so hard. I never know if I am doing it right. I spend most the time worrying over how I have shaped my older son, what sort of therapy he will have to undergo when he is grown to fix all that I have messed up. oh babies are the easy ones! I spend a large amount of time thinking things like, did I do that wrong, or could I have said that better, I was too hard on him, I let him get away with too much, Is it this hard for everyone? You see when that little ball of sweetness grows into a smelly  toothless little boy figuring out he has is own will, and opinion often times separate from yours that is when the real work begins. Where was that advise?

why didn’t someone tell me to just enjoy the quiet smiles, the coos, the time when life revolves around you. yes it’s busy, and sleepless but it’s not the hardest part. It’s not guiding them, shaping them, having to discipline, or let them learn life’s lessons. I have no idea if I am doing this right. All I can do is pray that I am coming close to what my big kids needs. There is no bench mark, no gauge to measure if what you said sank in, or if something you did today will be the one thing he remembers & hates you for  or loves you for later.

So I say give me a fussy, baby that I can sooth and have evidence that I did a great job when they are happy & sleeping peacefully in my arms over having to guess as to whether I did a good job or not based on the expression on an eight year old’s face. Yes I say babies are the easy ones. While eight year old’s can be pretty great they are defiantly a lot harder on my heart.

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Things I wish I had known…..

Kids & Family - Jenna - March 12, 2012

Make time to stop the world for your kids, even if it is only for 15 minutes……

First off let me say welcome to my new installment of posts called ” Things I wish I had known” This special series of posts is a compilation of tid bits that I am learning from my season of mothering that I wish I had known from day one.Some are silly, some are fun, some will make you cry and some will make you smile. Some you may not agree with and want to leave a disagreeing comment, it’s okay I am a big girl I can take it. For the most part these are a reminder to me of the things I hold dear, and wish I had done better or am learning to do better as we speak.  I am in no way an expert so please take me lightly, but should you be blessed by one of these lessons feel free to shower me with ego boosting comments!

p.s. Please don’t leave comments about my spelling and grammar (mother) I know it sucks! My heart is in the right place, my brain…well that’s another subject!

Okay on to snuggling!

When my first son Tanner was born my entire life changed. Everything outside my sweet brown eyed baby boy was just some how less important. I lived in a blissful fog where everything revolved around my son. Of course I had work, a home, a husband, dogs, and myself to care for as well, but some how with the one baby this all seemed manageable. I always had time to meet his every need right when he needed me to meet it.

A large part of my job as Tanners mom was our snuggle time. To say my first born was a bit of a Velcro baby would be an understatement. Any naps required a snuggle or a rock as an infant, and this grew into a beloved nightly ritual that involved 12 songs, a long snuggle, 10 books, and me eventually falling to sleep in his toddler bed. Considering there is 5’10” of me to curl into a toddler bed you can imagine that this was a sight to see.

This went on for about 4 years blissfully unchanged, until one day in June 2007 when we welcomed our second son Wyatt home. Even though I had desperately wanted by little Wyatt, and was 100% ready for him to join our family. I had a deep fear that there would not be enough of me to go around. And sure enough I found out very quickly that it was much harder to live the what ever you want when you want it lifestyle with two babies.

During this same time our family experienced a financial downfall and I now had a two week old baby and a four year old, facing having to do all I could to pull in an income. As you can imagine my time was less and less. I had to figure out how to juggle it all, and still give to my sons the attention I felt they needed. A large part of what I prided myself on, and of course what would be the first to slip in my hectic time was my ability to stop and connect with my kids when they needed me no matter what To stop the world for them. For my little ones this was a full time job in it’s self and with my busy life, the demands of an infant and  a toddler. I learned after a small mental colaps….That I had to give up some of my old super mom ways. Especially when my need to have that 2 hour snuggle caused me great stress, and guilt, because it was getting harder and harder.

The entire time I was trying to get the full time in, I was wondering about work, or laundry, or the baby would cry ect. ect. How was I going to continue to do this?

So I put all my demands on paper and realized that I had a long list of things I couldn’t or wasn’t willing to give up. So I had to modify . I decided I was not going to give up on connecting with my kids at night, but I simply couldn’t  pull them into my lap all day long at every turn. I couldn’t play all day, nor could I know spend 2 hours putting them to bed in the name of snuggle time. So I had to cut myself some good old fashion slack, and down size.

I say cut myself some slack, because how many of you know that at least 75% of our parenting is based on our own expectations of being a good parent, instead of what our kids are showing us they need at the time . When we parent that way we leave ourselves open to guilt and let down. You see while my baby needed that time, He really didn’t need two hours to feel secure, loved, and special. But I needed the time to make up for what I had done wrong that day, or to fill that spot in my soul that told me to make sure I lingered there with him and showed him I cared.

All mommy guilt laid aside I began to shorten our routine. I still spent time lingering with him, taking him in and loving on him, because I really feel kids, especially mine need that time to connect, and wind down. To stop everything for them even if just for a moment and catch up.
However I began to implement some routine that I knew would take no longer than 15 minutes in case that is all I had to give. A book, a devotion, a prayer, 5 minutes of snuggle, and a well laid kiss good night. Now with three kids there are times that this is all I have to give. There are also times when I fall asleep in their beds all snuggled and I love those days. But no matter what is going on we stop and snuggle before bed even if it is for just 15 minutes.

The point is that your babies will only be babies for so long, and you need to take the time to snuggle them. To stop the world for them if only for a moment and let them know they are loved and safe and secure. But if you can’t spend  2 hours doing it . it’s okay! Now that I have an eight year old that is going 100 miles a hour I realize how quickly they grow . I am glad that I held fast to my snuggle time, however modified it has become from the days when I had more time. Each of my kids today loves this time, and I end up finding out so much about them when the world is still and quiet. There are times when 15 minutes and our base routine is all they need, and days when I just have to call in all extra help from Dad to make sure I can linger with on or two or all of them even if the house is falling down around us.

I really bellieve that all kids can be blessed by this type of stopping the world for them parenting, especailly in this busy time we live in. However I am a busy mom also, and I am hear to tell you I wish I would have known that I can still stop the world for my kids and touch their hearts even if I only have 15 minutes sometimes and that is enough. It may not be two hours but it counts and they remember the time it happened not how long it happened for!To this day my 8 year old knows when it is time to snuggle and tells me it is his favorite part of the day. One time I felt compelled to ask him if he was okay when some times we only got to snuggle for a little while. Do you know what he said..”you realize I only learned to tell time this year right”

It just goes to show it is not the time so much as long as you meet their needs for the day and they feel satisfied with the time they got from mom. It could be five minutes or two hours but it’s more about doing it than keeping track of the time on some mothering score board.

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