Parenting lesson #3: You are embarking on a new phase in life that many see as an invitation for unsolicited advice and judgment.

They certainly look like a fun way to pass the time …

As with everything else, not everyone will agree with you when it comes to parenting.  And it seems like more so than in any other occupation, family and strangers alike feel the need to voice their opinions about the job you’re doing.  It’s possible there’s nothing else we do in public that’s as judgment-inducing as how we deal with our children.  When you have a newborn and you’re already nervous about being out, inevitably some little old lady will tell you that your baby – who is in a fleece sleeper and covered in blankets – is cold.  When Eliza was four-weeks-old and I was dealing with feeding issues, my mother-in-law came to visit.  I had just fed Eliza and she was crying.  My MIL said, “Do you think she’s hungry?  Why don’t you just give her some formula?”

I wish I could say that these unsolicited remarks end at some point, but they do not.  It happened to me Wednesday while traveling alone with the kids, and I know it will happen hundreds more times.  After spending 1 1/2 hours driving to the airport, and the next 1 1/2 hours going through security and traipsing the kids across the terminal for 3 gate changes, I was already spent.  Honestly I was just thankful I hadn’t lost my kids in an elevator or bathroom.  But the wait wasn’t over.  There were storms that were keeping our plane circling above, and in the end, our flight was delayed an hour-and-a-half.  When your kids are at the past-exhausted, giggly, we’re going to hit each other because it’s funny mode, you can only do so much.  I decided that getting them some exercise on the moving walkways was a good way to expend energy and pass the time.

Once there, I felt a little like perhaps this wasn’t the best decision.  I didn’t want to be in the way of people hurrying to make their connections.  I did a decent job keeping the kids to the right so people could pass on the left.  Regardless, there was one older couple traveling with a single female companion, and they all huffed and puffed as they walked around us and threw me disapproving glances.  Then the single companion said to my kids after passing them, “Children, hold on to the railing!”

In some ways, it’s entirely annoying that others – especially strangers – do this.  I am not perfect and I might not always make the best decisions, but I would appreciate it if people assumed I have thought through what I’m doing.  Were my children in danger of falling?  I don’t think so.  Were they in the way of others?  Perhaps a little.  Did their presence on the moving walkway hinder anyone?  Maybe by a few seconds.  But honestly, if you’re a stranger and you want to help a parent, sending dirty looks at her is not helpful.  If this woman had looked at me and said, “Do you need some help?  Would you like me to hold their hands and help you get through the walkway?”, I would have known she was concerned for their well-being, not trying to chastise me for what she thought was carelessness.  There’s a part of me that wishes I would have reacted how Greg would have reacted, which would have been by saying, “Yes, and kids, remember not to speak unless spoken to.”

I really hope that regardless what stage I’m in with my kids, I give others the benefit of the doubt, and if I really want to be helpful, that I’ll offer actual help, not judgment.  When I see a woman holding her baby in one arm and feeding her toddler some candy with her other while loading groceries into her car, I’m going to offer to strap her baby into his car seat or load her groceries, not shake my head at her for giving a toddler candy.  Because I’ve been there, and I don’t want to forget what it’s like to live that tough moment.

This parenting journey is hard, with lots of twists and turns.  Sometimes what we need least are these opinionated naysayers.  But if we can laugh it off, and perhaps take any bit of truth from these incidents for the next test, it’s all part of the experience – the wonderful, challenging, beautiful experience.

Parenting lesson #4: Your to-do list will never be the same again

If you’re a mom, it’s more like 10 or 10,000 things

There is nothing that will re-prioritize your life like having children.

Your to-do list expands overnight when you’re pregnant and you feel the pressure to read the countless books there are on hosting your little human parasite, birthing it and taking care of it.  Once you have the baby, your to-do list is almost entirely decided for you.  You never know how much time you’ll have before the baby needs you, so you have to decide whether to take a nap (as everyone advises), do laundry, eat something, do the dishes, write thank-you notes, or somehow try to feel like a normal person by talking on the phone to someone or e-mailing.

When I went back to work, the weekends became a juggling act of errands, going through mail, and trying to have “family time.”  Personal, pre-children projects like scrapbooking (laughable!) weren’t even in my “top 200 things I want to do list.”  When I quit my job five months later, my priority became figuring out what to do with an 8 1/2-month-old who couldn’t have a conversation.  Then I found out I was pregnant.  Of course, our biggest to-do list item became getting our personal wills done, as the thought of the government deciding what to do with our parent-less child would have been an overwhelming one without pregnancy hormones in play.

When Zach came along, my priority was surviving.  My to-do list was to -NOT-die, and not accidentally kill or maim either of my children from lack of sleep.  Honestly, the first few months of Zach’s life are a complete blur.  I wish I had started blogging then, but even the idea is ridiculous because, well, when could I have done it?

And here we are, with a 3 1/2-year-old and a two-year-old, and things seem a bit more manageable, but now my to-do list has more weighty items on it, like teach the kids to swim, figure out how to build Zach’s character, and research where we should send Eliza to kindergarten (because that decision is, scarily, a year away).  And of course, the scrapbooking from pre-baby days has fallen off the list, because it’s never going to get done.  I’ve come to terms with that.

The thing is, having kids pushes a lot of things you thought were important in life out of the picture.  And kissing them goodbye in return for newborn cuddles was a really tough pill for me to swallow.  I like control and I like thinking about myself.  But what I’m coming to realize is that I’m just beginning to understand what’s really important, and our kids are showing me that.  I am sitting here trying to think of what my normal, after work to-do list was like before we had kids, and I can’t even remember (maybe planning home improvement projects?).  I think that is more evidence that a lot of it didn’t matter; it isn’t lasting.  What’s lasting is leaving a legacy of children who will love others like we love them, and care about others like we care about them.

So if your to-do list is currently diaper-changing, spit-up cleaning, and round-the-clock feeding, hang in there; it will change again pretty soon.  Perhaps not to something easier, but at least, in my opinion, to something more rewarding.

I’m forever changed, and I wouldn’t ever want me – or my to-do list – to be the same again.

Parenting lesson #2: Friends don’t tell you what it’s like to have a newborn because they can’t.

Zach, all swaddled in the hospital

“Why didn’t anyone warn me?” I wondered to myself over and over in the early days with a newborn.  How could having a baby be so hard, despite attending breastfeeding and infant care classes?  How could two educated parents be so clueless?

The answer, I have come to realize, is three-fold.  For one, friends did reveal the truth to me to an extent, and so did the birth and baby books I read.  But like anything that’s hard (like training for and running a marathon, or making it through medical school, I imagine), people can’t fully make you understand it with words and warnings.  Going through it yourself is the only way to truly “get it.”

Second, when I was struggling, I wanted to talk to others who had struggled.  Crying on the phone to my childless friends about being tired, feeling trapped and not producing enough milk just wasn’t as comforting (or baggage I wanted to unload on someone who was hopeful to have children some day).  I needed to talk to people who could relate, who could promise me I would come out the other end of the exhaustion and struggle.  I think this means that we don’t get the real scoop before having a baby.

The third reason is that I have a few friends who have had their babies and everything has been dreamy – they had easy labors and deliveries, their babies were perfect little eating and sleeping angels, and for these friends, life was just beginning.  (Haters.)  Every family’s experience is so different, even from child to child, that trying to warn people about how bad it could be doesn’t make sense.

All of that said, there are some aspects of becoming a parent that are universal.  So, if you want to know what to expect (no matter what), here’s what I can promise:

1. Bleeding: I was left in wonderment at how I was supposed to think missing 8 periods was so glorious when, once I had Eliza, I got all 8 missed periods in a row (and then some).  Having a baby makes you bleed.  A lot and for a long time.  I’m talking about gelatinous clumps in the first 24-48 hours that make you wonder if you’re going to lose all your blood.  (And you can’t use tampons.)  The good news is that you get these really cool disposable net panties from the hospital or birthing center that you can throw out along with the elephant-sized pads you are provided.  This is one of the reasons many postpartum women are anemic, so it’s important to continue taking pre-natal vitamins for the first few months, even if you’re not breastfeeding.  (As a side note, my friend who just had a C-section was under the impression that she wouldn’t bleed because when they went in after the baby, they’d get that out, too, along with – in her dream world – a few pounds of extra stomach fat.  She had no such luck.)

2. Pain: Whether you have a C-section or a vaginal birth, there is pain after expelling another person from your body.  It’s not like the baby comes out and you prance out of the hospital like the sugar plum fairy.  They wheel you out in a chair for a reason.  And healing takes time, too.  You might be on acetaminophen, or you might get heavy duty drugs.  If you get heavy duty ones, they might be powerful enough to make you forget that you are wearing the aforementioned netted panties.

3. hormone changes: Some hormone levels drop instantly after a baby is born, and some take a few months to normalize.  Almost all women experience some form of “baby blues” (isolation, fragility, and crying) for the first couple of weeks.  If you are one of the few who doesn’t, you’re also a hater.

4. Engorgement: Whether or not you end up nursing, your breasts will assume you are.  Thus, you will experience engorgement, which can be described as a burning hot pain along with super rock-hard breasts that have filled up with milk.  If you don’t want to nurse and you express the milk by pumping, your boobs will keep making more milk, so you just have to suck it up and let them leak and cause pain for a few days.  If you are nursing, you will go in-and-out of engorgement as your body tries to figure out how much milk to produce to meet your baby’s needs.  It’s really awesome when your newborn starts sleeping longer stretches (like 3 or 4 hours) but your boobs wake you up anyway because they’re engorged, anticipating a feeding.

5. No exercise or sex:  At the time when you’re in physical pain and hormonally imbalanced, when a good surge of endorphins would certainly help, you can’t exercise and you can’t jump your husband.  The truth is, for the first 6-8 weeks, you won’t really feel like doing either anyway.  (And if you thought you didn’t want your breasts fondled during pregnancy, it’s a whole new ball game if you’re nursing, seeing as you could leak or spray milk at just about any time.)

6. You will be able to see your vajayjay again, but you’ll be sorry you looked past your flabby, gelatinous belly to peek at it: No further explanation is needed.

7. Eat, sleep and poop:  Granted, your child might not do them in that order, and the frequency of all three ranges from child-to-child, but for the first 6-8 weeks, it’s really all they do.  Then they add smiling to the mix.  (Yeehaw!)

8. Eating is the most important:  Oh my gosh, a newborn’s stomach grows from the size of a marble to the size of a walnut in the first week of life.  Then the growth spurts start.  The old saying, “Let a sleeping baby lie” is detrimental to your child’s health in the early days.  You have to wake them up to feed them sometimes.  They must eat at LEAST 8 times a day, but it’s normal for them to eat as many as 12.  For several weeks.

9. You will fear the baby is not getting enough to eat:  It is unnerving to be responsible for the survival of another human life, and not knowing how much a child is eating and only being able to gauge it by whether the thing is peeing and pooping can be anxiety-inducing, especially for type-A folks.  Your pediatrician and/or lactation consultants can help you, so don’t be afraid to ask.

10. You will be afraid you are going to hurt the baby: On our first pediatrician visit with Eliza, Kathy, our lactation consultant, was hurling our baby around as if she were Gumby, bending her into different poses and manhandling her.  She was trying to show us how sturdy our love bundle actually was, and that it’s pretty hard to hurt them when they’re so nimble.

11. Exhaustion: Because of 1-9, you will be more tired than you’ve ever been in your life.  (Thanks Dana!)

12. Love overload:  Yet despite all the above, it is impossible not to be in awe of what God has created through you and another person.  There is so much warmth inside on an entirely new level when you nurture a newborn.  There’s no way to recreate it and bottle it up, because if I could, I would, and then I’d sell it on eBay and become a bajillionaire.  And I believe you still experience this, regardless of your level of postpartum depression (it just might be more in moments than all the time).

There you have it.  And I’m sure I’ve forgotten a lot because I’ve read that some of those hormones make you forget how hard it can be.  (Please feel free to fill in my gaps by commenting.)  To the childless, consider yourselves warned.

Parenthood lesson #31: If you never learned how to S-P-E-L-L, you will now

I’m pretty sure I had this argument with someone as a kid

Perhaps in this day and age of spell check, you don’t really need to know how to spell to write.  It is a required skill, however, to communicate in code around your kids.

Here’s an example of how spelling can come in H-A-N-D-Y.  As background, when kids use boobs to eat or pacifiers to soothe themselves, it’s easy to keep them sucking on an airplane during ascent and descent to help with ear-popping.  Once they get a little older, I’ve found that lollipops work like magic.  On our way back from California this week, Zach finished his lollipop too quickly, but luckily Eliza fell asleep (for the first time on the 5-hour flight) with a half hour left to go.  Thus, I gave Greg her remaining lollipop to give to Zach.

When we landed, Eliza woke up and began one of her world-is-ending screaming tantrums.  I looked at Greg and said, “Do you have any more of the L-O-L-L-I-P-O-P?”

Of course he didn’t.  And of course a masochistic man nearby said, “That spells LOLLIPOP.”  (“Really???” I said to him.  Luckily, Eliza missed the reference and I managed to calm her down.)  But at least I was able to inquire about it without having to say the word.  These days, I spell a lot of words.

“Is it okay if they P-L-A-Y?”

“We have B-A-N-A-N-A and I-C-E-C-R-E-A-M.”

“That’s S-T-U-P-I-D.”

“Oh C-R-A-P.”

And on and on it goes.  I remember my parents doing this.  I remember spelling out words with my older brother in front on my younger brother so we could communicate about playing together without our third wheel figuring it out.  I think the lesson to learn here is that if your children don’t want to practice their spelling words as they get older, you can tell them if they do, they’ll be able to figure out your code-speak.

Of course, by then, we’ll have to come up with different ways to say things, like ice cream will become “the frozen bovine delicacy.”  And I’m sure it won’t take long for the kids to figure out our code language.  But then it will spur on creative thinking.  So if you never learned, start working on your spelling now.  You and your kids will benefit.

What I would say to my favorite friends about having a baby

Two things that will get you through just about anything.

One of my best friends is getting ready to have a baby.  I sent her a card recently, and she said I could share it on this blog.  What I wrote to her in the few minutes I spent writing is what I would say to any close friend who’s about to have her first baby.  The front of the card says: “A cup of coffee and a good friend – ” and the inside reads: “Two things that will get you through just about anything.”  And here’s what I wrote:

Including having a baby.  (And go ahead and indulge in the caffeine, even if you’re breastfeeding.  You’re going to need it.)

I purposely didn’t buy a baby shower card because we’re beyond that.  I’m not going to be all sappy and tell you babies are beautiful.  I mean, they are, but they’re not.  Newborns are energy zappers that look like, in the words of Bill Cosby, lizards when they come out.  No doubt you are embarking on the toughest journey of your life.

But I can honestly say that more than any journey so far, this one will be the most rewarding, often in ways that are immeasurable, so don’t even try to compare it to anything else.  Having a baby and then nurturing it as the source of its survival and understanding of love and life is … indescribable.  Parenting is messy, and challenging, but I wouldn’t go back to the way things were before – not even for a billion dollars.  (Okay, maybe I would for a billion, assuming I could still have babies sometime in the future.  I could do a lot of good for a lot of people with that.)  Let’s say a million.

Creating another life that is half you, half (fill in the blank), is a miracle.  It is awe-inspiring, God-affirming, and love-multiplying.  I am here for you always, even in the middle of the night.  (Especially in the middle of the night, as those can be the loneliest and toughest times.)  Once you’re a parent, being awakened from the depths of REM sleep is amazingly doable.  So enjoy every minute that you can.  It will seem like just a distant memory not many months from now.  And when you need to cry, allow it.  When you need help, ask for it.

As in all things, God knows what He’s doing.  Welcome to the greatest faith-stretching exercise.  “Children are a gift of the Lord.”  Psalm 127:3

Parenting lesson #27: the extent to which things go wrong is directly proportional to how unrealistic your expectations are

On the days when everything has to go right for your plans to work out, inevitably just about everything will go wrong.  And if I really think it through, most of the time it’s my fault for expecting too much of myself and my kids.

Yesterday, my plan for the day was to get up, run, shower, feed the kids and get ready, go to our 10 a.m. music class, then, assuming Zach was hanging in there, head to Chuck-e-Cheese’s to meet up with a friend, get home for naps and build my lasagna for dinner, then once they woke up, head to the mall to hit up Old Navy’s sale with my Groupon and Gymboree with my Gymbucks, and finally go to the grocery store to pick up essentials and dessert fruit before hosting our friend and her son for dinner.  (Lovely, Zach just spilled a bottle of hot pink nail polish on the floor.)

The day, of course, did not get off on the right foot because Zach had a nightmare and spent two-and-a-half hours awake before finally falling to sleep again.  Instead of sleeping in, he woke up ready for the day at 6:15 a.m.  I knew he would need a morning nap or we’d never make it.  So after the morning eat and get dressed routine, I put Zach to bed at 8:30 with my fingers crossed that he would fall asleep.  At 8:45 he was still making all kinds of noise, so I checked on him and discovered he had taken his large morning poop.  Great, now he could sleep.  Well, he didn’t fall asleep until 9:15.

At 9:45, I made the decision to wake him up and go to music class anyway.  As a caveat, the only way to explain this is to say I am my father’s daughter.  When I was a kid and McDonald’s had its 29-cent hamburgers and 39-cent cheeseburgers for a limited time and a 10 burger limit per person, my family would pile in our minivan, my mom would go through the drive thru, and my dad, older brother and I would each get in a separate line inside.  We would head home with 40 hamburgers and cheeseburgers to freeze.

So, back to my music class … this class is $25 for the two of them and 45-minutes long, and because I don’t like wasting money, I couldn’t imagine skipping it so little man could make up his missed nighttime sleep.

Off we went.  Of course, Zach couldn’t really be peeled off of me because he was a hot mess.  When I did put him down, he proceeded to throw a temper tantrum that consisted of lying face down on the dirty tile floor, pounding his fists on the ground and kicking his feet.  I left him there, but noticed he had brown stains on the back of his shorts.  I checked him and realized his diaper was leaking.  Let me begin by saying this was a complete mystery to me, seeing as he had already taken a huge dump, and he hadn’t leaked out of his diaper in this way since he was at best 3-months-old.  So of course you understand why I did not have spare clothes.  (When you’re prepared, you never need them.)  And my diapers and wipes were in the car.  I agonized for 10 minutes over what to do, whether to just hold him and wait it out until the end of class, or risk leaving Eliza inside alone and run to the car.  I finally decided to head to the car as the leakage escalated, so I indicated my situation to a friend so she could keep an eye on Eliza and left to decontaminate Zach.

While cleaning up the blowout, I noticed a man sitting in his car in the parking lot, talking on the phone.  It seemed strange.  So when I decided to leave my purse in the car to avoid having to carry it and my koala baby, I took my wallet out and hid it in the center console.  I went back into the class with Zach in only a diaper and t-shirt.  I’m generally beyond caring about judging, especially on this day in this moment.

We finished up class and it was 11:15 by the time we left.  I decided to take a detour to the mall then, because it was only a few blocks away and I figured I could find some pants for Zach in the same amount of time it would take to go home and get him fresh ones before heading to Chuck-e-Cheese’s.  So off we went.  For the 10 minutes we were in Old Navy shopping, Zach was a mess.  He didn’t want to stay in the stroller after I put some jeans on him to make sure they fit, and I figured at this point that he was not only tired, but also hungry as well.  So I was in a hurry.  I got to the checkout line, ready to get the heck out of there.  Everyone was staring at me, in part because they had to scan pants that Zach was wearing as I explained that he came in the store without any, and in part because he and Eliza were running around playing with balls.

I stuck my hand in my purse and did my usual wallet search, only to realize it was not there.  Instantly, my memory flashed back to the parking lot where I moved it to the center console to hide it.  My wallet was a 5-minute walk and elevator ride away in the car.  If you are a fan of the movie, “A Christmas Story,” that moment was sort of like when Ralphie drops his pan of  lug nuts while helping his dad change their flat tire.  “Ohhhhhh … fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuddddddgggggeeee.”

I smiled at the clerk, asked if he could hold my stuff, and took screaming Zach (in stolen pants, essentially) and questioning Eliza (“Mommy, where we going?  Where are my pants and fancy shoes?”) back to the car, realizing it was noon and there was really no way we were going to make it to Chuck-e-Cheese’s.  I finally made it back to Old Navy to pay for the stolen pants Zach and the few other things I wanted to buy.  I headed, defeated, to the food court and fed them.  They were actually a little better after eating, so I spent my Gymbucks (while Zach continued to fuss) and then booked it the heck out of the mall to get them home for much-needed naps.

The good news is that Zach didn’t fight his nap this time and Eliza wanted me to cuddle her.  I lay there thinking about the lasagna I needed to prep, but the thought drifted off as I succumbed to sleep.  An hour later I woke with Eliza in my arms and moved to my own bed, where I slept another hour until Zach woke me.

In the end, my friend came over early and brought what I needed to complete the lasagna.  I’m just out of some staple foods and we missed Chuck-e-Cheese’s.  But looking back, I know I had doomed myself from the start.  With the kids in tow, errands take exponentially more time with potty and diapering breaks, and pauses to explain why we’re not buying the Hello Kitty lunchbox at the checkout line.  And kids also don’t need seven activities planned to fill up their days.  Music class and Chuck-e-Cheese’s in one morning is a lot to ask of them.  Parenthood teaches you flexibility, because plans can only be so set when these little people are so needy.  And I also learned to be sure I always have spare clothes for both kids in the car.

Today I’m taking it much easier and I have only one social item on the agenda.  And it’s already a better day, as – knock on wood – the nail polish spill is the only mishap so far.

Mommy confessions

Earlier today I spoke to a friend who’s known me 90% of my life.  She said she had a breakdown after reading this blog one day, feeling stressed because she realized she would soon have to start making her own baby food, thinking it would be too much, wondering how I do it with two kids when she has one.  It’s interesting timing, because yesterday I was thinking I should tie up loose ends and come clean about a few things.  I think it would be easy for someone to read parts of this blog and think somehow I have super powers or my children do things like go to bed without a fight.  (Actually, tonight is one of the nights Eliza went right down, but Zach is still up and super ornery, sitting on Greg’s lap next to me trying to contort himself into a position from which he can watch back episodes of “30 Rock” with us.)

The truth is I mess up quite a bit, and constantly wonder if what I’m doing is the right thing.  So, to be sure you all understand I am real with you, here are my current “mommy confessions”:


1) I’m not sure I would call it caving in, but I did not, in the end, force Eliza to eat her macaroni and cheese with peas and carrots (from my last post).  What happened was she was so tired (and hungry) that she fell asleep sitting up on the couch.  I took the opportunity to heat up some leftover matzoh ball soup.  When I came back to the couch, Eliza was awake and she wanted my soup.  Now, I had tried to get her to eat this soup before with no luck, and as it had carrots and celery in it, I considered it an even trade with the macaroni and cheese.  She ate it up.  She was so hungry that she probably would have eaten anything.  And her eating habits have been much more, shall I say, cooperative since then.  But I technically did not stick to my guns.

2) I haven’t spent time planning meals to cook for Zach in probably three weeks.  Part of that is because we were on vacation, but part of it is because I’m too tired.  Maybe I’ll get on another baby food cooking kick tomorrow or the next day.  But I highly doubt it.

3) I haven’t started teaching Eliza how to sort laundry yet.  Today she wanted to “help” me fold sheets, and after about 2 1/2 minutes of her messing it up, I quickly cut her out of the process so I could just get it done.  Sometimes, it’s just not a teaching moment.


4) Sometimes when I need a bottle I just rinse out the one I used at the last feeding with hot water.

5) I don’t always remember to wash Zach and Eliza’s hands before they eat.

6) I let my kids eat off the floor at home and sometimes in public.  When we’re out, if one of them drops food on the ground (like a sandwich or something I can’t easily replace), I check to see if anyone else is watching.  If someone is, I say, “Oh, we have to throw that away now because it’s dirty.”  But if there’s no one around, I just give it back.  Of course, if it were, say, a raisin, I would throw it out no matter what.  It just depends on how valuable the item is.


7) I’ve driven Zach to and Eliza from the mall – that is 25 miles away – without having them buckled in their car seats.  They were IN their seats, just not STRAPPED.  I always double-check this now.

8) I’ve driven Eliza around for an entire day without her car seat being strapped into the latches.  Now I never put the car seat in the car without latching it in immediately.

9) When Eliza was about 5-months-old, she was on my bed and I went into the closet for a minute to hang up a few things, and she rolled off.  Thank the Lord she was okay.

10) The morning we left for the beach trip a couple of months ago, Zach fell down our entire flight of basement stairs.  (These things always happen under stress.)  I was trying to get last-minute laundry done, so I carried a pile to fold upstairs and forgot to close the basement door.  At the same time, Eliza woke up.  So I dumped the laundry in the sun room where Zach was sitting happily on the floor, and I went upstairs to get Eliza.  She, of course, needed to pee, so I reluctantly took her to the bathroom.  When she was finishing up, I heard a “thud, thud, AAAAAAAAAAHHHHHH” and immediately ran downstairs.  He was at the base of the basement stairs, screaming his head off.  I couldn’t stop shaking afterwards, and praise God he was alright.  I even had the pediatrician check him out to be sure.  But I think out of everything that’s happened, that was the worst.

We all have our shortcuts and shortcomings, and we all make our mistakes.  I think being real with ourselves and each other helps us accept our humanity and realize we’re not alone in this journey called motherhood.  I will be the first to say that it’s okay if you don’t make your own baby food.  Sure, it’s healthier, and pretty easy, but I probably negate all the good nutrition I get them by letting them eat off the floor.  Sometimes we’re just getting by, and that has to be enough.  I hope you can share your confessions, too!