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Every time someone around me or very close to me has a new baby, and there are problems with the labor or the baby, I go into a frenzy. Why? Ten months ago Saturday. That's the reason. His name is Rowen Daniel Rodgers. And that's when he was born...almost ten months ago, this Saturday. It was the hardest thing I've ever had to go through, and the most heart-breaking. Premature, under-developed, not breathing on his own, possible pneumonia...I could go on. Not to mention touching him only once and then not being able to hold him for days on end, only looking at him through the glass incubator, etc...BUT, it all had a happy ending and sometimes I even forget it happened. Many mothers don't walk away as lucky as we did. They walk away empty handed..not just for two weeks. So it's only when a new baby enters my life, do I REEEEEAAAAALLLLLY start reminiscing and worrying and pacing...all for a baby that isn't mine. I wonder if this will last forever???

So to anyone with a new baby, (my sweet friend Court), especially those who may be struggling or having a hard time with the baby's health...please forgive me when I am a spaz. And yes, it will happen...I will be a spaz. At least until I don't cringe still when I look at the pictures of my son hooked up to the machines and tubes (which is why I posted a pic of him AFTER the tubes). At least until that sadness no longer creeps in when I remember every night I had to leave him at the hospital and come home to an empty bassinet. At least until my heart mends completely and fully. And yes, that will happen, too......someday :).


 
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        Have you ever accidentally hit a kid in the face? Yea, sounds mean. But I have....yesterday to be exact...and it was an accident. And it broke my heart. You see, I didn't see him coming around to my side and I swung my arm back and hit him right smack in the face. My little nephew Jake. Now for those of you who know little Jake, know he doesn't easily cry when wrestling, playing, etc.. Everyone knows that. So when it first happened, I put my arms around him and hugged him, expecting him to lift his head and smile. Instead, he cried. Cried in a way that told me he was hurt. I felt a sting of pain in my gut and my heart crumbled. And I cried. It was the way he sobbed silently in my arms. It was the way I knew it must've really hurt his little face to be slapped like that out of nowhere. So we both cried, and after a short moment, he walked over to his mom where she lovingly whispered to him, and I walked to my chair and wiped off my face, feeling guilty and sad. 
Now, I have to add something. I am not a big cryer when it comes to things like this. Kids get hurt all of the time. But, when I first came home off my mission, I moved in with my sister Shelly, and her family, and became their nanny. It was such a happy time for me. I got to know my 18 month old nephew Aiden, and I was there when Jake was born. I mean I was actually there when he was born- first one to see his little head crowning and everything. Anyway, I was a huge part of their lives. But then the inevitable, black, dreary day came. The day I got married and moved out. I remember packing my things, walking out into the living room, and preparing to say goodbye to this family. This family that I had fallen in love with. And there they were. Both boys. I remember pulling them into my arms and I couldn't stop crying. They didn't fully get it, of course, but I did. I knew it wasn't just a chapter of my life being closed. It was a chapter of their lives that I would never get back again. They'd get older, grow up, change...just like we all do. And I'd never have that moment with them again. I also remember telling my sister that I was afraid I'd not love my future kids as much as I loved her own. That's how much I loved them. 
       So, no. I am not the typical girl that cries constantly over things like this. But seeing Jake there, crying, because of something I'd done, accident or not, broke my heart. Will he think his aunt is a total spaz? Probably. Will he look back and think I cry over everything? Most likely. Will he wish it never happened because he's embarrassed? Absoltuely......poor kid. But one day, when he's older, maybe he'll have a nanny living there with he and his beautiful family. An emotional sister or niece, watching over his kids, dreading the day she too will have to say goodbye to his children she's grown to love. And maybe, hopefully, he'll remember me with fondness, and think of the times we spent together. Hopefully he'll have forgotten the day I accidentally hit him in the face and then cried like a baby. But if he remembers, that's okay too. Maybe someday when I'm old and sad, he'll hold me when I cry. And I'll tell him how much his parents loved him. 
And how much his aunt did, too. 

 
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No, I want that mommy. It took me a moment, but I realized what she meant...

I had just scolded Emma for something. I can't remember why, but it was a heated discussion. You know, as heated as it can be between you and your two year old. Anyway, I remember being really angry at the time, and I was not giving in. And I let it show. I must've had a very frustrated look on my face, I was extremely cranky, and she must've picked up on my tone, because she just stared at me. Big, blue, sad eyes. And then she burst into tears and said something interesting. "I want my mommy!" she bellowed. I was very confused, so I looked at her and said "I am your mommy". She just kept crying and said, "I want my mommy!". I was still confused, & slightly jealous at this mommy for whom she cried. So, again, I said, "I'm right here, Emmie". I didn't understand! Then, after a moment, very tearfully, she got up and pointed to a picture on the wall. It was a picture of Emma and I, and I was smiling and holding her close. "I want that mommy".  Ahhhhh. Now I understood. 

It was heartbreaking, and yet eye opening for me. She has cranky moods, gets fussy, screams and cries and takes her anger out on us. And then she gets over it five minutes later, and all is perfect again. In Emma's world when mommy gets angry, cranky, cries, complains and raises her voice, it lasts more than five minutes, and she thinks it's because she messed up. So it gets taken out on this perfect little two year old. A two year old who does not hold grudges. A two year old who loves me no matter what. A two year old who has done nothing wrong but be a two year old. That must be rough. 

So, maybe next time I'm ready to bite her head off, I should stop and take a look at that picture. Really take a moment and see that picture through the eyes of my daughter. 
...And maybe even try to be more like that mommy. 


 
It's going on one month straight with sickness going on in our house. Many cuss words have run through my mind lately, I shamefully admit. It's hard. One sick kid is bad enough, but a sick kid and a baby..... Now, I hope those of you who actually read this do not have struggling kids at home with high fevers, hospital visits every other day, etc.. Because my case would seem extremely small and insignificant. And believe me, it is small and insignificant. I'm just a big fat baby.

It's that flippin' cough. It's the suffering. I know, I know, when kids are sick, big deal, they struggle & then they're over it. But it's seeing them suffer that kills me....It's what I call the "in-between" time. You know the in-between time....they are slightly better, but definitely not healthy. Just sick enough for me to hover over the baby monitor at night. It's listening to him coughing and coughing, which eventually turns into a wheeze, which eventually turns into throwing up endlessly on the floor. And I'm sorry, but there isn't a flippin' thing they can do for a kids' cough?!! I mean come on. I'm supposed to let my child cough their way to a painful, missing voice and a vomit fest because Scientists find it unsafe. Oh, and the CDC. Oh, and the Doctor's who write the Doctor's Health Journal. Let's throw them in there, too.

That darn "in-between" time. Not sick enough to prescribe something for, but just sick enough to keep a germ fearing, stressed out mother close to tears. So, there you go. The reason I may sound cranky and unnerved lately. The reason my husband probably wants to curl into a ball in the corner and scream. My poor husband. He deserves a Nobel prize for putting up with me. Maybe I'll rub his feet & feed him chocolate while he plays his favorite video game. 
After I wash off the throw-up.


 
There I was, in Emma's room, comforting her by singing a lullaby song to her. Brahm's Lullaby, to be exact, which is her favorite song of all time. It had been a long two days...Emma with a fever, sick & not sleeping well, and mommy & daddy exhausted. So once again, I was trying to get Emma to sleep, while Dan was in the next room because Rowen, who was in pain from getting more teeth, was refusing to sleep as well. Imagine that. So, as I sang her the lullaby, I was thinking of several things. How it'd be another night of exhaustion, possibly more fevers, another night of Rowen in pain from more teeth coming in. And generally just feeling sorry for myself. And then, I heard it. I stopped singing and listened, as the sound of Dan humming Rowen to sleep caught my ears. The house was quiet, his voice was faint, and for some reason, in that moment, it was one of the sweetest sounds I've ever heard. Here I was, feeling selfish and sorry for myself, and for Dan as well. And there was my sweet husband in the next room, holding my son in his arms, lulling him to sleep. And in that moment everything was perfect. If I can just remember that when things are hard. If I can just remember the sound of Dan singing to him, comforting him, loving him. I think I'd come to find that things are okay. And maybe, just maybe, things are a little closer to perfection than they seem.
 
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It all started with a question. One simple question: How do I get Emma to sleep?  Many a mommy's gave their suggestions and opinions. However, one mommy told me something I will never forget. Something that stood apart from the others. Give her your shirt, she said. Now, Emma was a wee baby when this first happened, so I started with just putting it beside her, so she could smell me. Instantly, it worked. I thought I was the smartest mother alive now that my daughter was sleeping perfectly, while other women complained. I even suggested it to some, but none of them seemed interested. I can understand why, now. So there I was, basking in the glorious sounds of silence. No crying baby. No whimpering in the middle of the night. No temper tantrums. But after awhile, as she grew bigger, her "blankie comfort" started to turn into an obsession. She needed it not only to sleep, but anytime someone looked at her wrong & she felt insecure, when someone she didn't know knocked on the door, when she wanted to watch a movie. 

Sounds pretty normal, right? Well, eventually that shirt of mine wasn't enough. One day I left my beautiful silk robe where she could see it. It was all over once she touched that thing. "My robe!" she cried. "Soft!" I gave in and let her keep it as a new blanket, excited I could get my shirt back, which was strangely in mint condition (See? She loved it so much she took really good care of it!) The robe was now her favorite thing in life. But then things changed. I started noticing things. My shirts would come up missing. Dan would do laundry, and I'd search for hours for a specific shirt I KNEW was clean, and never find it. Then, my dresses started coming up missing. At some point, I thought I was seriously going crazy. So, I took action. I went into her room, and there it was. THE STASH.  My robe had turned into not one or two blankies, but she had NINE articles of my clothing. Dresses, shirts, robes.....I even posted the picture above to prove it. She only has four there. It must've been an off day for her.

I thought I'd begin weening her off my clothes. Cause you know, she can't carry them around forever. And I'm running out. So, yesterday I took about 6 of her "blankies" and put them in the hamper so I could wash them and restore them to their rightful place (my closet). I felt so proud to have outwitted her. She had NO idea I had taken them!! But about 2 hours later, she came to the table for dinner. As she ate, I noticed her left arm clinging onto something. Yep. That's right. She somehow made it to our bedroom, passed the baby proof door knob, & managed to go through our laundry hamper, and pull out the clothes. So, what did I do? Oh yeah baby, I'm smart. I took them and put them right back into the hamper, behind the baby proof door knob, behind the baby proof baby gate, and without her noticing. And guess what she was holding an hour later? Yep  :/

I don't know if she'll remember this fetish/obsession later on down the road. I don't know if I'm enabling her to depend too heavily on something. But I do know that she loves her mommy and daddy. And she loves everything about us. She doesn't see our insecurities, our mistakes, our flaws. If she wants to fall asleep smelling daddy on the shirt she's clinging to, or like the way my robe feels next to her, I'm going to let her. Because it won't last forever. And because someday, I'm sure I'll be clinging to her old shirt, and wishing I could smell her on it.  
 

 
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SO, I turned it off. The baby monitor. I know, I know, it sounds like I did it for some selfish reason, like..I don't know...sleep?  Nope. I turned it off for only one reason. A cough. You see, my baby coughs sometimes in the morning, probably his reflux, and it absolutely, completely, inevitably, extraordinarily FREAKS me out. Why? One word. pertussis. Better known as "whooping cough". You see? I hate it so much that I don't even want to validate it by capitalizing it. No capitalizing for you, my ugly little fear. I'm so deathly afraid of that disease that it haunts me at night. When Rowen was still very small (like, 5 months ago), I used to hold the monitor up really close to my face while he slept in his room. I'd wait and listen and wait and listen. For the horrible sound of a cough. When he was almost 2 months old, I heard him coughing at about 5am, and I picked him up, freaked out, woke up Dan, and rushed him into Urgent Care. The Dr thought I was insane....not exaggerating there. He really did. He even got smart with me at the end when I asked him if he really knew what he was doing when he said Rowen was perfectly healthy  :/ Anyway, it was the darn cough. One moment of coughing..which later was diagnosed as a side effect of his reflux.  Three days ago, the same thing happened. I heard him coughing, and I rushed in and woke Dan up and actually had a panic attack. It was small, but it was still there. Have you ever had one? Yeah, scary. But, turns out, he was fine. And he's had all his shots, so that should make me feel better, right? Yeah right.  

So, this morning, as he lay in his bed and coughed a bit, I rolled over and immediately drew the monitor to my ear and listened. BUT...this time, I took a deep breath, fought the tears, chills, throwing up, fought the pacing, fought the urge to crawl into a fetal position while sweating profusely...and YES, it's that bad sometimes. But, not this time. Instead, I simply reached over, took the monitor and turned it OFF. And you know what? It worked. And he was fine. And I actually fell back asleep.You see, most grown ups work on logical things, like spending less money, controlling their hormones, finding a job, learning to love others. That's what big people do. I on the other hand, in the land of fear, have to work on holding down the vomit when dealing with my son coughing.

So, there you have it. I'm a germ-a-phobe. But I'm proud to say that I'm doing better. And I'm learning. I'm learning that sometimes you're up, and sometimes you're down.... And sometimes.... you just have to turn off the monitor. 
And that's okay with me. 
 
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So, every night, probably to the dismay of every strict parent out there, I have been giving in to Emma when she asks me to lay next to her while she tries to fall asleep. I NEVER used to be that way- you know, the parent that lets her babies sleep in her bed until they're 5 years old (not that it is bad to do that, just was never my style). Anyway, I thought I was strong. But, I gave in once, and boy, it's messy now. Anyway, I'm learning a lot about my 2 year old daughter by doing this every night. It's kinda creepy. I mean, she's kinda creepy. But in a cute, kid sort of way. Let me explain. 

Last night, I laid next to her, and she thought I'd fallen asleep. I didn't. I wanted to see what she would do, since I left the baby gate down which usually keeps her out of the rest of the house for safety reasons. So there I was, asleep (riiiight...), and she laid there, too. Staring at me. At first I thought she was going to go to bed, because she rolled over and sat quiet for a moment. But no. Not at all. She quietly rolls over and faces me. Then, she reaches over and softly kisses my nose. Twice. Ah, so stinking sweet, I thought. Then, she gets really close.......and she licks my flippin nose. That's right. And laughs. Not cute! Then, when she's done laughing, she sits up and starts to tickle me. Now, mind you, she still thinks I'm asleep. And I know her well enuff to know what she's thinking. She's wondering how many things she can do to me while I sleep that I normaly don't let her do. For instance, we do not let her kiss us on the mouth. That's a bit weird for us. But thank goodness, she didn't do that. Instead, she went on an exciting search for my belly button, played weird animal games on my face, and yes, whispered strange sentences like, "I'm getting you mommy..."while laughing evily to herself. She even put her ear up to my nose so she could hear me breathing so it would tickle her ears. That was her favorite. I'm talking insane laughter from this girl. She also found "ouchies" on me (they did not exist, btw), and kissed them for me. When I almost couldn't stand not laughing (and freaking out, honestly), she covered me with blankets and whispered "You're so cold, mommy. I'll go get you more blankets".

Now, there were a few other weird things she did, but these were the main ones. I always knew she was silly. But let me tell you, this girl has an imagination we cannot imagine. It's crazy. And I know some of you are thinking, 'big deal, she thought you were sleeping...big deal, she was kinda funny.......'. But you have to understand, when our children think we are not listening or paying attention, THAT is when we see them, in all their little glory.

I saw her last night. This little girl. In her 2 year old world. Laying next to mommy. She could've jumped up and turned on the tv, snuck outside, played with her toys in the play area. You know what she did? She chose to stay with me. While I was "sleeping", and being as boring as boring could be. And I appreciated that. It touched me. She was being a free little girl. A silly little girl. And I hope she stays that way.