Monday, September 29, 2014

The Toy Dilemma & Wildflowers

I realized early on the more toys, the more chaos…the more chaos, the more cleaning…the more cleaning, the less time spent together…less time spent together makes for a sad mama which makes for a sad baby.

Don’t get me wrong we have toys, well we actually have more books, puzzles and stuffed animals (oh the stuffed animals we have!!) But I really try to limit the amount of toys and toy paraphernalia that we have.  We rarely buy toys for Lars.  He gets enough ‘crap’ from birthday, Christmas, Easter, Valentine’s Day to last him a good while. I generally will go through about every month or 2 and purge if needed.  I put away toys that are too young and could be used for a future baby.  I donate toys that I don’t feel Lars plays with or is interested in anymore.   Most of the time, a week will pass and of course…guess who’s asking about the minuscule sized plastic tiger that was at the bottom of the toy basket.  But we move on. 

A few weeks ago I donated a bin full of what I will continue to call ‘crap’ and included was an oversize animal floor puzzle.  Lars hadn't played with it in a very long time.  It was literally collecting dust.  I didn't even think twice about tossing it in the donation bin.  Sure enough, 3 days later Lars was in tears searching for the puzzle.  I felt awful.  It wasn't like other times where I can just tell him that the toy has found another home and that we have plenty to play with.  He was legitimately sad.  Several days passed and Lars was still upset. 

Puzzles are something I don’t mind having around.  Books, puzzles, art supplies, music instruments are OK in my book as long as they have a home when put away and are used.  Needless to say, I purchased a replacement puzzle and all was right.  That was the first ‘toy’ I had purchased for him a while and not shockingly at all….he was delighted!

Books… those are another story.  I just recently donated more books than I would like to admit to.  Lars’ love for books is untouchable.  So both Bob and I would always pick up a book at the thrift store, or the dollar book store or the grocery store for Lars and before we knew it we had way more books than ever necessary for a 2 year old (hence the recent donation).  We kept Lars’ favorites along with any that had sentimental value and donated the rest.  And now, Lars checks out several books a week at the local library and he loves it and so do I! It’s perfect.

I desperately attempt to keep the toy situation under control and simple.  I don’t keep any toys in Lars’ room.  He has a cubby for some books in his closet and keeps a few stuffed animals in his crib and that’s it.  It’s sort of the same idea as Bob and I not having a TV in our bedroom.  Lars’ room is mainly a place to sleep and wind down.  A lot of times he will ask to get in his crib with a few books and will ask us to leave.  I wanted his room to be a place where he felt comfortable to be alone and to be quiet.  They toys stay in his little play area in a toy box and a little shelf next to the office.   If that toy box or shelf begins to get overwhelmed….it’s time to purge.  I’m not going to create more storage for the ‘crap’. 

I definitely get pulled in when I’m out and about and see things that I just know Lars would love.  But honestly he would probably love it for about 2 days and then it gets stuffed somewhere.  I want Lars to value his toys, books, puzzles.  I want him to enjoy them and appreciate them.  I feel when we have stuff piling up or stuffed away there’s no appreciation and Lars is overwhelmed.
It can be a struggle to keep things to a minimum when he has such a big family that loves him so much and he gets so much hoop-la throughout the year but I hope we can continue to stay on top of it and teach him to value the luxury of having toys.  

We spent this Sunday at the Lady Bird Wildflower Center and I was so very impressed.  I can't believe it has taken us this long to visit.  It's incredibly beautiful and really geared towards kids a lot more than I had thought.  We all had a lovely time and will be going back soon! 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Her complaints are my triumphs (reasons why I had a child)

Several times a week I see articles on my Facebook feed listing reasons why someone is choosing not have children.  They don't bother me at all.  I read some, I don't read some, I find some funny, I find some annoying. 

There was a particular article that listed 8 reasons why this woman was choosing not to have children. They are all valid and I’m glad she’s figured out that children aren't for her but I wanted to explain how I saw those reasons differently. 

I didn’t think I wanted kids growing up so I get where she’s coming from.  Obviously, things changed for me (thankfully) and I was really interested in how her complaints were actually some of my favorite things about having a child and being a mother.  This post is in no way shape or form trying to persuade people to have children (that clearly does not need to be done) but just a point of view.

Complaint Number 1) Children are expensive.
Everything is expensive. (just kidding, but seriously everything is expensive).  Having a child most definitely added an extra expense to our previous 2 person family but by no means did it put a strain on our lives that was completely unmanageable.  We waited until we felt financially capable to take on some extra expenses.  And when people total up how much it cost to raise a kid for 18 years…that’s a load of shit.  You can’t look at things that way.  If we all totaled up how much we spend on groceries, or coffee or hair products or alcohol or dog food for 18 years, it would all be shocking!  We have certainly had to find ways to cut cost (i.e. accepting hand me downs, buying at thrift stores, limiting toys and other hoopla, not eating out…) but that’s life...making changes and adapting.  We try to keep it simple.   In fact, having a kid has helped us to appreciate and understand simplicity even more than before because you know what makes Lars the happiest?  A cardboard box, or a bowl and some wooden spoons, being outside or dressing up as different animals in our clothes.  Simple.

Complaint Number 2) Interest:  not interested in the myriad awful things that come with childbirth and childrearing. Vaginal tearing, hemorrhoids, constipation, labor contractions, pinkeye, mucus, vomit, diarrhea, butt-wiping, public meltdowns, Dora on repeat, Terrible Twos, teenage rebellion, giving up my individual identity.
Let me tackle the lady parts first and if this is TMI then just breeze through this part.  I had a completely natural vaginal birth and my lady parts are perfectly fine and look just like they did pre-baby and perform all the necessary duties it’s supposed to... dare I say a little better than before baby. The idea that birthing a baby leads to some monster of a vagina is complete nonsense.  And, it’s childbirth people, not torture.  No need to be a big ole wuss about it.  And, all these side effects (hemorrhoids, constipation) aren't guaranteed.   A baby isn't the end all of your body. It’s just not.  Will things change?  Maybe….maybe not. .  But it’s not like you lose all control over how your body looks post baby.  I would be more concerned about my body changes as I age than what it’s going to do when pregnant.  Dora is only on repeat if you let it be on repeat.  Terrible twos?  I have family members that act worse than my 2 year old. It’s easier than having a puppy.  Teenage rebellion….I’m not there yet but it should be fun, right.  Your individual identity?  You will lose it if you let yourself or you can opt for yet just another trait: friend, daughter, sister, lover, wife…Mother.  It’s a quite the addition if you ask me.

Complaint Number 3) There are 153 million orphans on the planet, why add another mouth to feed?
Once you become a mother, nothing in this world pains you more than knowing there’s an unwanted or mistreated child out there…nothing.  You imagine your child not being wanted or loved or fed and it’s almost unbearable to think about.  If there were a way I could change that, I would just like anyone else.  But the fact is  I’m not adding another orphan to the planet.  I’m adding a wanted and much loved child to the planet.  A child that I am responsible for, that I pay for, that I love and feed.  Selfish some may I say.  I say it’s the most selfless thing one can do.

Complaint Number 4) Sleep or lack there of.
Well, you got me there.  I have no explanation on that one.  Just head down and power through.

Complaint Number 5) The world is messed up
The world has always been messed up.  It has never or never will be perfectly peaceful.  I wish that every day but I don’t think it’s a realistic view. I don’t think just because the worlds messed up that we need to completely give up and stop raising loving and compassionate human beings and let the world go deserted. We (parents) are not oblivious.  We’re aware of what goes on in the world….I mean how could we not be.  It’s slammed in our faces every second of the day.  But there is goodness in the world and I’ll even be so bold to say that I contributed to that by bringing a beautiful soul into it.

Complaint Number 6) The Emotional Roller coaster
Nothing will make you sob (like an ugly cry sob) than hearing your baby say I love you for the first time, or when you think about just how quickly they are growing up.  So, emotional?  Well of course.  Every emotion and even new emotions have reared their head since I reared this baby.  Granted, I probably would have told you I was on an emotional roller coaster before kids too.  Isn't life an emotional roller coaster…kids or no kids? Having kids heightens emotions and brings about an emotion that is bigger than you.  The love I have for my son can’t be contained within anything.  It’s indescribable.  There is not a word out there in the English language that sums up just how much he means to me and how much joy he brings me every second of the day.  I never felt pure joy on a daily basis until I had Lars. 

Complaint Number 7) it’s a 24/7 job in addition to any other work
It’s not a job.  Last I checked or any other mother for that matter, I’m not getting paid to be a mom.  Work?  Yes, absolutely but the majority of the time it doesn't feel like work or a job or a tired commitment.  It feels like a privilege.  It’s fun and exciting.  It’s challenging and rewarding.  It’s better than any job I've ever had or any work I've ever done.  If this is a job then it’s the coolest job ever!

There’s not a number or a message in the world that would make me regret having a child. I get that children aren't for everyone.  It’s a big undertaking.  But for me it was and has been the most wonderful, freeing and loving experience of my life. 

This is my 'job' 

Monday, September 8, 2014

Vacations in a row

Well we are all vacation-ed out…if that’s possible.  We just got back from Galveston and the weekend before we had a spontaneous weekend getaway to San Antonio.  We had so much fun and aside from the fact that Lars got sick the last few days in Galveston, he was a real trooper and managed to stick it out. 
I thought I would share some funny Lars-isms from vacation

Lars: Are we going back to the hotel, mama?
Me: Yep!
Lars: is the room still available?
Me: Ummm…I hope so.  How do you know what available means?

Lars: My swim diaper is bothering me
Me: But Bubba you don’t have a swim diaper on.  Was it bothering you earlier?
Lars: It was squeezing my big penis.
Me: Should I buy bigger swim diapers?
Lars: Yeah….

Me: (playing the would rather game while driving) Would you rather toast or apples?
Lars: apple….PIE!
Me: Smart boy.

Me: (while traveling) Hey, Lars look at all the pretty clouds over there. They are so dark and peaceful.
Lars: fake snores
Me: Oh, am I boring you?
Lars: fake snores

Nana: Lars, lets get back to the condo and see if Poppi David caught any crabs.
Lars: Does Poppi David have crabs?

Lars: (walks behind a chair and toots) HEY I HAVE THE TOOTS! 

couldn't leave without a couple of hermit crabs 

These are from our weekend in San Antonio

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