An Open Letter to O: One Whole Year

Dear Oliver,

Well, we made it. You are officially a year old. This means that your father and I have survived your infancy. I am pretty proud of us. I mean, come on. It is sort of a big deal.

Your actual birthday was fairly unremarkable. I mean, if you don’t count that I burst into tears no less than 30 times. Because, as you probably will know by the time you read these letters, I am a total sap when it comes to you and your sister. L helped your cousin and your Aunt Amanda make cupcakes with a nauseating blue frosting so that the mess would be substantial enough to be photo-worthy. (Success!) You ate spaghetti. And by “ate spaghetti”, I mean WORE SPAGHETTI. The mess was epic. It was a good day.

We had your birthday party this past Saturday. You wore a shirt that said, “If you mustache, I’m one” and we baked your birthday cake and fashioned it into the shape of a giant mustache. Because…you’re practically a man now, little dude. Your sister has already stolen all of your new toys and/or lost the pieces to them. Honestly, it took longer than I had anticipated.

20140616-163934.jpgYou are a little madman right now. Once you started really crawling, you didn’t stop. It took you a really long time to realize that, if you want to go somewhere, you could just hoist your little self up and get going. But you have mastered it. And you are FAST. I put you down in one spot and I turn my head for a second and you are gone. Almost always trying to shut yourself in a room so that you can scream at the top of your lungs for me to come and rescue you. Or, you know, trying to pull shit out of all of the outlets in the house. You are a sneaky little shit. But you are learning so much new stuff every day and you are so proud of yourself when you figure things out. It is hard to believe that in a year, you will be the age your sister is now and running around and talking and singing and doing all sorts of little kid stuff. It is also hard to believe that one year ago, you were just a tiny little meatloaf. All brand new and delicious. And, while you are still totally edible, you are just so big now. You are growing up so fast. And I can’t figure out why it is all so shocking to me. I just watched your sister grow, so quickly, from a baby into an honest to goodness little kid. And it was terrifying. And beautiful. Just as it is with you. But still, every time I look at you, I wonder where the time has gone.

I wish and hope so many things for you, my dearest boy. I hope that you will grow to be the kind of man your father is. Loving, kind, generous, selfless and hilarious. I hope that you will realize the value in all people. (Even some people that you have probably heard me say some not so good things about. Because that will happen. And, for that, I am sorry. Because even those people have value. I just may not know what it is. I don’t know everything. Except that…Yes, I do. I am your mother.) I hope that you are nice to your sister. I hope that you know that you two are so loved and such a gift to your father and me. I hope that we show you that enough. I am going to do my best to make sure that I do. And I am going to do my best to be an example of humility for you and L.

I can’t wait to see who you will become. But at the same time, I wish I could push a pause button sometimes just to hold on to these moments that are flying by too fast. You are a beautiful little soul.

As always, my little love, you are the light of my every day. You make all the other nonsense worth it. You are the love of my life. I hope you know that always.

Here’s to another wonderful year and so many more to follow. I love you. I love you. I love you.

To the moon and back,

Mom

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The Times, They are A’Changin’

I want to write about L turning two. I really do. But it happened so quickly that I can’t even put any of it into words. I can’t believe that I have a two-year-old and in a little over a week, Baby O will no longer be a BABY. He will be ONE. And I will be the mommy of TWO EFFING TODDLERS. How did this even happen?

Things with O are progressing just as they did with L. He didn’t have much interest in getting around on his own until just a couple of weeks ago. It seems like a lightbulb went off inside his head and he suddenly said, “Hey. Wait a minute. I guess if I want to get from HERE to THERE, I need to get on this shit.” And he did. He isn’t walking yet, but he is really trying. Like, if you try to put him down on the floor into the seated position, he hurls himself backward in protest. Sitting is NOT COOL, you guys. Not cool at all. So he crawls and opens cabinets in the kitchen and knocks things over and rips paper things apart. And, even though I seriously JUST DID THIS with L, I had forgotten how crazy babies are when they are just starting to explore their world. Holy shitballs. I am in so much trouble.

L is a sassy little thing. And O is on the move. There are tantrums and loud crashes and Play-Doh eating (purple is the favorite). There is the bumping of little noggins and the fighting over toys. There’s transitioning from formula to whole milk and solids only. There’s potty training looming on the horizon and just SO MUCH NEW STUFF.

I love that, in the near future, the kids will be able to enjoy (or not enjoy so much) each other’s company. They will be able to play together at a more even level and they will learn from each other. I am so excited for all of that. But man, it sure terrifies the shit out of me. I remember that short time when I only had the one kid. I remember how difficult I thought it was. And now, present me wants to go back in time and slap the shit out of past me for ever complaining about it. Because SHIT JUST GOT REAL. I have definitely eaten my words. Definitely.

Currently, O just annoys the piss out of his sister. If he reaches for a toy, she instantly grabs it from his hands. Generally, he giggles at her and picks up a different toy. But occasionally, there are meltdowns. Sometimes, he gets angry when she snatches things from him and screams like he is being stabbed in the temple. Sometimes, the fact that he reaches for another of HER toys angers L so much that she screams like SHE is being stabbed in the temple. Sometimes I scream like I am being stabbed in the temple because all of the screaming is just too much to bear and well…if you can’t beat ’em…

L’s tantrums stem from everywhere. She isn’t as bad as some two-year-olds I have seen. But she definitely is a drama queen. Yesterday, she had a coronary because O was eating a cracker. So, I gave her a cracker. Then she screamed more. Because she did not want a cracker. Today, she is obsessed with her juice cup. If there is no juice in her cup, there is a meltdown. If I take the cup to refill it so that there will BE JUICE IN THE CUP, there is a meltdown because she is not holding the FULL CUP yet. It is challenging. And sometimes I do want to run away from home. But mostly I think that a good pair of ear plugs would be sufficient. Well…maybe.

The other day, a friend attempted to do a Cake Smash photo session with O. And HE was the one having an epic meltdown. Because it would definitely be too much to ask that BOTH of my children be in a good mood at the same time. This is pretty much how it all went down.

This about sums it all up.

This about sums it all up.

 

 

An Open Letter to My Daughter on Her Second Birthday

Oh my dear Lilah,

TodaSecond Birthday Party May 17th, 2014y is your second birthday. I am in tears right now just thinking about how quickly the time has passed. I wouldn’t have mentioned that because it makes me seem like a total sap, but I am afraid it will make it hard for me to type. So, for that, I owe an explanation.

Two years ago today, at 7:22 am, we welcomed you into our lives, our hearts, our souls, the world. I remember when they placed you into my arms for the first time so vividly that it feels like yesterday to me still. I remember the look on your father’s face when he saw you for the first time. It was a combination of horror (because, he did, after all just have to watch HOW you came into the world in the first place), joy, fear and total bliss. It was the most amazing moment of our lives. The moment we became parents for the first time. The moment we would forever remember as the moment we started living for someone other than ourselves. You changed our lives forever. And I thank you so much for that.

Without you, little one, I would have never known the joy of parenthood. I would have also never have had to stay awake for 37 consecutive days either. But I can overlook that. (Until you are a teenager. Because that is when the payback will begin. Just sayin.) You have enriched me in ways that I can’t even put into words. You have made me a better person all around.

Parenthood is hard, little one. It is not for the faint of heart. It is exhausting and thankless and, honestly, the pay is total crap. There are no breaks and your bosses tend to be one third of your size, very vocal and super demanding. But said bosses are also super cute and give the best hugs in the world. So, maybe the pay doesn’t suck THAT bad. Hugs are pretty awesome. It is hard to explain how much being your mom has changed me. How much more I appreciate everything. A hot cup of coffee. A solid hour of doing nothing at all. A beautiful day. A big, toothy grin. A belly laugh. You have made my world more beautiful. You have given me something for which I can never repay you. You have turned my world from the drab black and white world I used to live in, to a vibrant, colorful, beautiful place. And, even with the crappy pay and the sleepless nights and the diaper changing, I wouldn’t change one thing about it. Because you are my whole world.

I am so, so proud of who you are becoming. You are polite and sweet and totally smoochable. For now, I am the center of your universe, as you are mine. And I know that this time is so fleeting. I know that you will continue to grow and to need me less and less as you transition from a toddler to a child to a teenager and then an adult (holy shitballs, I am going to be OLD when that happens…) and I just hope that you never have any doubt in your mind as to how grateful I am to you. How much I love you. How much I cherish every small thing you do. (I don’t really cherish the tantrums…but, I assume these will eventually stop. Cheesus, help us all, I hope they stop.) I hope that you know that I will be your biggest fan forever. I will support you and love you no matter what. Even when you are 16 and have a horrible attitude and want to date that guy with all the face-piercings and A Flock of Seagulls hair. Yes. Even then.

I hope that you read these letters someday and they not only show you how much you mean to me, but I hope they help provide a better understanding to you of why I might have been so protective at times. Or why face-piercing guy isn’t allowed to EVER go into your room. (EVER.) I hope that you get a better understanding of me, not just as your mom, but as a person who was once not a mom. but a person who never even knew she wanted to be one. And is so incredibly happy that she became one.

I love you, my first born. You are the best thing that ever could have happened to me.

To the moon and back,

Mom

 

What I Want Her to Remember

So, in less than a week, my daughter is turning two. It is really surreal to me that she went from this little, helpless meatloaf to this walking, talking, running, beautiful ball of chaos and energy. And it couldn’t be more amazing to have seen her become the little girl that she is now. When she turned one, I was pregnant with my son and I was emotional and crazy and thinking that she was no longer a baby was so bittersweet to me. She was growing up so quickly before my eyes. She was no longer interested in being held and cuddled and I was no longer the center of the universe to her. There were things to explore, things to see, things to destroy! She was starting to become a little girl. She was a person.

Looking back, I guess that the progression from meatloaf to little girl wasn’t as quick as it seems now. After all, my son is almost one now and I am going through all of the same things with him, just minutes it seems, after I have experienced them with her. They are both such wonderful babies. I mean…kids. Because, they aren’t really babies anymore, are they?

I’ve always been really scared of not being enough as a parent. Terrified, even, of not being able to be a good role model for my little girl. I want so desperately to raise her in a way that she will be respectful. Not only of other people but of herself. I want her to know her worth. I want her to see the value in other people and to embrace differences in those people and to know that all of these differences are what make people special. What makes them beautiful. And I want her to see beauty. I want her to experience moments in life that take her breath away. I want her to be able to sit back and have those moments without hesitation.

There are so many things I want for her. So many things I want to teach her. And so many things I know she will teach me. I am still terrified. Every day, as I watch her grow, I think about the things that we will face in the future. All the questions she will have about life and people and (gasp!) boys. And I hope that I am enough. I hope that she will come to me. I hope we will have the kind of relationship that I never had with my mother but am starting to build in my thirties.

I made a list, a while back, of things I wanted to tell my son. And I have had a running list of things that I want to tell my daughter and I just haven’t gotten it right. What are the important things that I want her to remember? There are so many. SO MANY. So, here goes, in honor of my baby who is no longer a baby.

  1. Be true to yourself. There will be times in life when people will want things from you. They will pressure you. Don’t let them. Stand your ground always. I know that telling you this could bite me in the ass someday. But, even if I don’t agree with you, if it is important to you, it is worth it.
  2. Know your worth. Don’t ever let anyone try and belittle you. You are amazing. You are so amazing that there could only be one of you. Remember that.
  3. You are beautiful. Don’t spend your time obsessing over the size of your thighs or the number on the scale. In fact, don’t even use a scale. Look in the mirror and know that you are exactly as you are supposed to be. Everyone has flaws but those flaws make you perfect.
  4. Be nice to other women. Women can be a tough crowd. They can be critical and ridiculous, but most of this, I believe, is a result of their own insecurities. Know that you might be the victim of this, but also know that you don’t have to perpetuate it. Be the kind of woman who lifts others up.
  5. Be the kind of friend that you want to have. You will make a lot of friends over the course of your life. Some of them won’t be very good to you. You can’t help that. But you can surround yourself with people who deserve to be around you. And you can be the kind of friend that you want to attract.
  6. Don’t take your family for granted. This one is hard to remember. Your parents and grandparents love you more than you could possibly understand. But we won’t be around forever. Don’t let yourself forget that nothing is more important than family. You can’t go back once they’re gone.
  7. Volunteer. There will come a time, probably when you are a teenager, when you will think that your time is too precious to be spent doing anything other than what YOU want. You will be wrong. Make sure that you make yourself of service to people who need you. Your time is the most precious gift you can give. Believe me. You will thank me later.
  8. Dance. Just dance.
  9. Find something you love. I hope that you will find a passion. I hope that, whether it is skiing or singing or underwater basket weaving, you love something. And you do it with your whole heart.
  10. Love. You are going to fall in love dozens of times. It will be magical and wonderful and exciting. And sometimes it will break your heart. But don’t let that stop you. Love with everything in you. It is worth it.
  11. Stay away from girls named Tiffany. Seriously. No good can come from a friendship with a Tiffany. (Examples: here and here.
  12. Be fearless. Wear red lipstick even if you think it makes you stand out too much. Apply for a job you aren’t qualified for. Ask that guy out. Jump out of that plane. (Okay…maybe not the thing about the plane but just because I will NOT be fearless about you doing that.) Whatever you do, know that you will ROCK THE HELL OUT OF IT. And then rock the hell out of it.
  13. Be gracious. Always.
  14. Fight for a cause. Stand up for those who cannot stand up for themselves.
  15. Know that your mother thinks you are the best gift she was ever given. You made her a mother and you changed her life. Forever. There is no better thing in the world than you. (And your brother, obviously.) Just know that I will love you forever. I will support you in everything. And I don’t care if it turns out that you want to ask the GIRL out instead of the GUY. She’d be lucky to have you.

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An Open Letter to Baby O: Eleven Months

Dearest Oliver,

Yesterday was my second Mother’s Day as an actual Mommy. It was also the day that you turned 11 months old. Your father had to work so he was not able to spend the day with us, so we spent the day with your Grandma and Papa and you were an angel. You and your sister (read: your grandma) bought me a bottle of wine and some lilies because flowers are what you are supposed to get your mother and wine is the only thing that keeps your mother from pulling all of her hair out after she has spent five hours trying to get you to go to bed. So, it was only right. The flowers are beautiful. The wine is gone.

I just can’t believe that you are almost a year old. It really doesn’t seem like THAT long ago that you were still kicking around in my belly and keeping me from sleeping. Well…I mean…you are still keeping me from sleeping but it is much louder now that you are out. SO LOUD. You have definitely got some lungs on you, kiddo. Even when you’re happy, you are the loudest kid ever. EVAR.

I am about to start trying to get you off the bottle, which I don’t think will be difficult because the only thing, so far, that you will not eat, is mac and cheese. And I don’t understand that, because I think you missed the chapter in the handbook about how, as a baby/kid/anyone in the world you are supposed to love mac and cheese. I am hoping you will get there. Because MOMMY loves mac and cheese. And I plan to make it a lot. And not always the homemade kind. Sometimes it will come from a box and you will eat it. And you will LIKE it. Because it was made with love. And margarine.

You are pretty much too big for all of your clothes right now. I don’t understand how you are so giant. You came out of me a whopping 6 pounds, 8 ounces and now you weigh a pound less than your sister! I am hoping that once you start walking, you will stop growing SO fast and you will be able to wear your clothes more than one time before I have to send them over to your cousin. (Seriously, kid, this is getting expensive.)

We just took our first family vacation last week. We went to the beach to visit your Auntie Fish Head with Grandma and Papa. You didn’t care much for the beach. But you really hate being in a stroller so I always think that it isn’t the outdoors that you hate. Just not being able to run. You seem to want to be free! Belts and things really piss you off. It was a short vacation, but it was the first one and it was really nice to get out of the house and have some new surroundings and some time with your daddy. He really hates that he has to miss out on all the new things that you and your sister are learning every day. And, he’s working on changing that.

I am working on getting your birthday party planned right now. It has been a bit difficult for me because your sister’s party is this coming weekend and I want to just get through it before I start planning for the big FIRST BIRTHDAY party. I am sure it will be wonderful though. There are so many people who love you kids and I am so lucky to have so many wonderful people in my life who support and love us all.

As always, you are my favorite little boy. You are adorable and smart and your giggle is just THE. BEST. THING. EVER. I am so lucky to be your mom. I don’t know where I would be without you. I love you, my beautiful little man.

 

To the moon and back,

Mom

 

Yes, I Said, “Rad Swag”.

Okay, so I couldn’t wait. I went ahead and decided to start taking entries for the FIRST EVER BROKEN CONDOMS BLOG GIVEAWAY today instead of May 1st. Partially, because I am taking a mini-vacay with the little family for the first time since we were a family of FOUR and the first time I have been away since I got married in 2012. And I am SO EFFING EXCITED that I felt like I might not remember to remind you wonderful people to head on over to my Facebook Fan Page, “Like” Broken Condoms Blog and enter by clicking the Giveaway tab to win some rad swag! (Yes. I just said “rad swag”. Please don’t hold it against me.) So, anyway, starting right now, you can head on over and enter! The contest will run until L’s SECOND (holy shitballs) birthday on May 19th and you must be a resident of the US to win!

Thanks for reading, ladies and gents!

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La-di-da-di…Learning to Potty

So, a few months ago, my mom bought L a training potty. And it sings when the kid goes to the potty successfully. I am not terribly excited at the prospect of another noisy gadget for these, already ridiculously loud kids. But it was a nice gesture. And it meant that I didn’t have to buy one.

The thing literally sat at my mom’s house, never touched, until about two weeks ago. And then I put it in my car and left it there until three days ago. I don’t want to potty train. I think we all know how smoothly sleep training has gone. (Read: How much I have threatened to kill myself over the past two years due to bedtime/naptime battling.) I feel that this is going to be a disaster. I have been dreading it since I MADE this baby. And as fond as I am of the idea of only having to change ONE person’d diapers, I am even more terrified of trying to make this happen.

So, I put the training potty in the hallway next to the bathroom because I couldn’t think of anywhere to put it, seeing as my living room is in a constant state of TOTAL DISARRAY, and I expected to ignore it for as long as possible. And then today, L woke up in a great mood after her nap (a rarity these days as she is battling an ear infection/separation anxiety and a nasty case of the Terrible Twos) and walked with me out into the hallway, asking for juice. I walked to the kitchen to realize that she wasn’t behind me. When I retraced my steps to find out where I had lost her (read: what she could be quietly destroying while I was distracted by her request), I found her sitting, fully-clothed on her potty. She was smiling as big as she could and making a “sssssssss” sound. (Seriously? Not so subtle.) So, I asked her if she wanted to “go pee-pee on her potty” and she said, “PEEEEEEEE-PEEEEEEEEE! YES!”

I took her shorts and diaper off and she sat back down. She did not “pee-pee on her potty”, but she did continue to make a “ssssssss” sound. I can only assume that this was a simulation of peeing. And that’s fine. And I seriously hope that this means she is ready and that this is an indication that this will not be the terrible process that I have envisioned in my head for the past 23 months.

I know that this is a big step! I know that it is exciting and everything! But holy shitballs, I don’t wanna, you guys!

Do you mommies (or daddies) have any tips for a reluctant potty trainer?

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this is not exactly right.