The second child is One today

Not a cupcake with a candle. No cake, balloons, streamers.

Nothing really, except a trip to Target today to get her first (yes, FIRST) pair of proper walking shoes. White, velcro strapped, with just a little silvery glitter.

Neither of the kids are feeling so great. We all have what I’m calling a micro cold.

No worries. We’ll do the proper birthday thing, albeit low key, this weekend.

She doesn’t know she’s one. She doesn’t know about birthdays or any of those things we are SUPPOSED to do. She just knows that life is good, she is happy and healthy, and now what a brand new pair of sneakers feels like. (Not as good as bare feet.)

🙂

Zoey ended up with my photo prop for Maddie’s little session. It’s all good.

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Motherhood = tired

Here’s one of me and the baby from awhile back… It’s one of my faves because I look tired, and she’s yawning. You know how when you are a kid, and your parents say “How was school today?” and you always answer, “Fine.”

Now that I’m a mom, whenever my mom asks me on the phone “how are you?” I always say, “tired.”

Click on over to see all the stunning “motherhood” pics from Iheartfaces this week!

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Mom’s perspective

This could be one of my favorite images of my girls.
It makes that knot in my throat tighten, you know?
I love how Maddie’s feet are dirty. I love how Zoey is dancing up there on the hill with her arms all loose and ribbon like.
Oh, and the light…
In one shutter click, there it is. Them.
Maddie climbing her way to the top of that hill, to be with big sister.
Big sister already up top, totally in her own world.
I don’t need to see their faces.
I can see their hearts.

More below. (You didn’t think I would only post one, did you?!)

And just a couple moments from this morning…


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I HEART FACES — Soft and Sweet photo challenge

It doesn’t get much softer, or sweeter than my Zoey, on the day she turned five, with her abuela and a handful of kittens…

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I Heart Faces Weekly Photo Challenge – Wind

When I saw the next theme was “wind” I knew right away I wanted to post this image. It was a day where I took both girls to the park to attempt a photo shoot with lots of props. Bright yellow Gerbera daisies. Pretty blue dresses. The light was amazing. But alas, dealing with a fiver-year-old and 10-month-old, alone, with your creative vision doesn’t always work out. (Never works out, really.) So instead I came home disappointed. Imagine how happy I was to realize my best images were the real ones.. These of my daughter blowing bubbles into the wind. They were shot long after I’d given up on the themey kind of session I’d hoped for. It seems that honesty always prevails…

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Reward Chart

MOODY. Bratty. Wailing. Complaining. WHINING. Angry. Frustrated. Loud. Stomping, kicking, hitting.

Crying.

Can I just say WTF?

I’m trying, people. I’m really trying to be a good mommy. The kind that stays level and doesn’t raise her voice or say things that don’t make sense in the heat of the moment. The kind that doesn’t simply give in to the psychosis and succumb to the madness. I want to deal with meltdowns in proper ways. Ways that make me reflect later and feel proud. Ways that make her feel better and saner.

But often I do succumb to the madness. I become a monster with her. She raises her voice and I raise mine louder. She says crazy things, then so do I, dammit. She lashes out and I grab her by the arm.

Learning opportunity? Um..  Suuuure. Let’s talk about how to deal with our feelings. Let’s think of other ways to cope with anger and frustration. Count to ten. Deep breaths. Try to do something else. Pause. Time outs. Take things away. Make it quieter. Reward. Punish. Punish. Punish. Reward.

Anecdote: The night of her birthday I stayed up late making cupcakes for her classroom birthday celebration. I don’t bake. It makes me feel nervous and inadequate. At the last moment and after a second trip to get extra baking supplies, I realized the school policy is that food should be store bought. Oh God, I thought. I emailed to the teacher and had a panic attack about sneaking in illicit homebaked goodies to the school the next day. I snuck ’em in anyway and the whole thing was a great success. (See photos here.) So anyway, we get home after school and she’s in that touch and go stage. Pouty, fragile, frustrated, etc. And then, while I’m paying a wee bit of attention to her baby sister, I get an angry “MADDIE, MADDIE, MADDIE! All you care about is MADDIE! You don’t love me at all!”

Calmly, I told her that she was confused. I was certain that she must not love me. I outlined the reasons. “I took you to the beach. I made you a beautiful birthday card. I made cupcakes and brought them to school for you. I snuggled with you. I took you to the movies. I sang you songs. But still you are so mean and have such bad behavior. Surely, you must not love me.”

Quietly, she disappeared. A few moments later she produced a folded card with “Mom” written on the front. Inside, scribbled illegibly, “I’m sorry.” She gave it to me with big soggy eyes and a quivering bottom lip.

What does all this have to do with a reward chart? Nothing really. Except that I’m struggling to walk the line between her growing up and battling for independence, and her childish need for simple reassurance that she’s a good person and that she’s loved. Nothing reassures a five-year-old that they are loved more than a piece of paper taped to the door and stickers, I guess.

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First steps…

Sigh. Our baby girl is almost 11 months. Yesterday, she figured out how to stand up by herself. A few moments later, she was taking her first steps!

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