Friday, October 16, 2015

New Favorite Quote!

"When a child is the most difficult to love is when a child needs the most love." -Dr. Laura Markham

I recently heard this quote and it struck such a chord with me.  There are some days that V is difficult to love.  Not saying I don't love her, don't mistake me!  I am saying she makes it difficult to openly and freely love her.

Days that I get phone calls from her school because she just can't behave. Days that I am exhausted and I still have to watch her as if she were three years old. Days that she can't keep her hands to herself, and will hit, touch, push, lick, or pick up her sisters when they are within arms reach. These days happen more often than the days where I can connect with her and enjoy her company. I feel forced into the role of a disciplinarian constantly.

I have had to learn new things about disciplining a child. This quote helps me to approach it at a different angle. When I am on my last reserve of energy and she is pushing every button possible, I wonder what would happen if I responded with love instead of anger.  I wonder if I modeled a different way of handling my  anger and frustration with her, would she would begin to use a different way of handling her anger and frustration with everyone else.

She has not been bringing home her spelling words. So we have not been able to practice her spelling words with her. I recently learned that she is failing every spelling test she takes, because she is not studying at all. I contacted her teacher and let her know that I am NOT getting the spelling list. She let me know that she is going to begin stapling it to the front of her homework packet every week so that we will make sure we get them. Due to her lack of practice she has been failing the spelling test and now I understand why.  She had a complete meltdown at school today when taking the test. The principal called me along with our little V and let me know what was going on. Because I approached this calmly and with love for the first time I could see that she was reacting out of fear.

I could see that she was afraid that she wasn't going to do well on this test because she had not studied hardly at all. That fear led to an anxiety and anxiety for her usually leads to a complete meltdown. The school did their best to intervene before it got too bad and in calling me and giving me a chance to talk to her.  I asked her to make better choices I told her how much I loved her and how much I knew she would do well if she just tried her best and I let her know that there was no reason to let this fear and anxiety lead her to making bad choices. I haven't received any more information from the school today so I hope that my words helped her. Only time will tell. This is an experiment in the making. But things would have to be better in my opinion handling it with love than with anger. I only wish I had understood this years before now.

As I was leaving for lunch today a coworker told me about a news story about a woman in New York City who threw a six month old baby out of the window of her apartment. The baby did not survive. I hate hearing things like this. I hate hearing instances where a parent's anger has led to the horrible acts of violence against children. I want to scream and yell at them.  I want to tell them,  "call me I'll take your child and I'll raise it before you do anything horrible to it".  Children are only children for a short while. It's heartbreaking to me that someone can destroy a childhood.  I wish I could stop it. I wish I could save every child in the world from everything horrible that could ever happened. I know our life experiences make us who we are today.  Maybe it is part of the master plan that we have to endure things to become the people that we are. But I hate more than anything in this world to hear about senseless violence against children.

I feel less like I need support and encouragement and using this blog.  I feel more like I need to take it in a different direction. Maybe I can reach someone who has a child with behavioral problems who needs an outlet.  A parent who needs someone to talk to who understands exactly what they are going through.  I've let my own imperfection stop me for long enough and I'm not going to do that any longer. I'm going to try to learn to embrace my imperfection. 

You aren't alone if you had a difficult child.  Never forget that.

Aunt TT

Thursday, October 15, 2015

It Is All Out There

I haven't blogged in months.  Actually...  I haven't blogged in nearly a year and a half.  I haven't blogged for a few reasons.

First, I honestly haven't had the time I have needed to gather my thoughts since our little Pippa was born.  I spend all of my time working, spending time with my girls, and trying to catch up on sleep.  I haven't been much of a housekeeper since Pippa was born.  I haven't been much of a seamstress.  I haven't been much of anything other than trying to be the best mom I can possibly be.

Breastfeeding didn't go as well as I had hoped, and I struggled the entire first year of Pippa's life to give her what I could.  It was no where near as much as I wanted, but I tried so hard.  I pumped as much and often as I could that first year of life (if I couldn't feed her directly).  I had to adjust my thinking from feeling like I was failing at one of the most important things I could ever do, to thinking that I gave it my absolute best, and that would just have to be good enough.  And since I am an over the top perfectionist (when it comes to me), that was harder than I could ever tell you.  That first year of Pippa's life a good 40% of my time revolved around providing her with the best milk possible, yet 70% of the time, she wound up with formula. 

I got a promotion at work.  Our controller left, and I was promoted to her position.  I have thoroughly enjoyed the challenge, and have been thankful that I am no longer feeling so stagnant at work.  I, again in my perfectionism, try so very hard to be the best I can be at work.  Which has meant longer days on average, and a whole new level of professionalism and dedication.

I have still been working at DQ's dance studio.  Last year I picked up helping with book-keeping there.  I love being in the studio and around all of the children.  I really enjoy watching them grow and learn new things.  I feel truly blessed to have the opportunity.

All of these things haven't left me much time for the little ones who are dearest to me, let alone the time it takes to gather my thoughts, sit at a computer, crank out a piece of my soul, proof it, and share it with the world.  But in my absence, quite a few have asked me when I will blog again.  I have had quite a few say they miss my ramblings.

Which brings me to yet another reason I haven't blogged much.  I feel so naked when I blog.  When I read older posts, I am reminded how much I bear my heart and soul to my readers.  It is truly all out there for even complete strangers to read.  It is out there for anyone to critique.  Just after Pippa was born, I began losing modesty about my body (everyone and their brother got to see all sorts of things), but developing a deeper modesty about my thoughts and feelings being in black and white on the internet.  I mean what if I wanted to run for President some day.  Just look at all the fun stuff I am giving my opponent(s) to sling at me!

Okay, so I will never be President, but you get the picture.

I would be lying if I said that I don't love differently now.  Having Pippa showed me a deeper facet of true love.  Every single time I look at her sweet little face my heart is so full it could burst.  I was terrified of becoming a biological mom.  I was terrified that I might fall into a trap of loving Pippa more than DQ and V.  I was terrified of having to take dance away from DQ to pay for Pippa.  I was so afraid I would become less of a mother to these two little girls who were entrusted to me.   I felt lost.  I felt scared.  I tried to put on a brave face and I tried so hard not to worry but every passing day of my pregnancy, I contunued to.  I worried about who and what I would become once Pippa was born regardless of how much I tried not to.

It has been 16 months since Pippa made her hurried appearance.  I have had 16 months of sheer exhaustion.  I am so forgetful some days.  I have to make lists, put things in my calendar, beg forgiveness of others when I forget something that was important to them.  It has been 16 months of zero time to myself.  Of fearing that all the photos I take of our newest addition tell others that I love her more than I could ever love DQ and V.  It has been 16 months of V taking things to a new level to acquire any shred of attention she can get.  DQ has never had patience with V, but I have personally witnessed 16 months of DQ having amazing amounts of patience with Pippa.  And at the end of all of this, I can honestly say it has been 16 months of my life where I have experienced the most joy I have ever, ever known.

When I originally started this blog, I did so to have some sort of support group.  I was a 30 year old who overnight became a mom to a two year old and a four year old.  Not only did I become an instant mom, but it wasn't really something I felt I was ready to have to happen at that point in my life.  I wouldn't change it for the world, but I just didn't feel ready.  I felt lost, scared.  I tried to find support and most of it was for grandparents raising their grandchildren, and I just didn't feel like I belonged there.  I felt like an anomaly.  I wanted to find my own place to vent these fears, frustrations, and accomplishments.

Now that I have carried life inside of me for nine months.  Now that I know the pain of childbirth.  Now that I have had this life experience, my feelings... my emotions have been multiplied tenfold.  I don't watch the news.  It is full of stories of children being hurt and killed.  It honestly still to this day brings me to tears to hear these things.  Children are so precious, they deserve our time, patience, love, and support.

I am not perfect.  I am still learning every single day what I need to do.  My patience with V has been so thin lately.  It is the same for M.  We have been lost in so many ways.  I recently found a Mom Conference through Amy McCready's e-mails.  I was turned onto her website by one of V's former daycare directors.  I have flirted with the idea of purchasing her Positive Parenting to help me be a better parent for my daughters.  This conference was free, and I haven't had all the time I have wanted to listen to all of the speakers, but what I have listened to has been very moving.  It gives me strength to feel like I am not alone, and there are resources other than plugging my ears and singing "la la la la la" at the top of my voice right along with our obstinate V.  I wish I had heard these words 6 years ago.

But we can't live in the past.  We have to keep pushing on into our future.  We can only change our futures.  So here I am.  Trying to get back into the saddle.  M thinks I should change my blog title.... add our little Pippa into it.  So very much has changed since I established this blog that I would really like to think about that for a bit.  I will try to write once a week.  Update everyone on how things are going in our busy, crazy lives.  So bear with me.

Thank you for your support.  I am eternally grateful to you.

Aunt TT


Wednesday, June 4, 2014

My Birth Story

Mommy is pretty tired.  So I hijacked her blog to tell you about my birth.  It all began on a Sunday.  Mommy and my big sis V cleaned house.  Mommy scrubbed the floors on her hands and knees to get me to turn around in the birth canal.  It worked.  In the evening my whole family went to a graduation party for an amazing young woman whom I cant wait to meet.  Once home my tired big sisters were put to bed.

Daddy wanted to watch a movie.  Mommy suggested some popcorn.  Daddy usually makes the popcorn for us.  He just has that special touch.  Mommy was relaxing in bed playing Solitare on her phone and snuggling with her big orange kitty Bombaata.  That is when I decided the time was right.  Mommy had her first contraction.  Ever.  It was a little bit before 10p.  Mommy breathed thru the pain and sat there trying to figure out if it really was a contraction or something else going on.

Mommy was in a state of wonder.  Could this really be it?  She walked in the kitchen and told Daddy that she may have just had a contraction.  Daddy said OK and asked her what they should do.  Mommy suggested they wait and see.

The popcorn smelled really good.  So Mommy and Daddy sat down to the movie, and started eating popcorn.  This was right at 10p.  I made mommy have her second contraction.  This one was pretty intense, and Mommy raced into the bathroom, afraid of making a mess.  She bore thru this contraction while Daddy downloaded a contraction timer.  Isn't technology amazing!

The next contraction was about 9 minutes from the prior one.  Mommy thought we would have plenty of time.  Daddy started racing around getting everything together.  Mommy texted Mamaw, who also thought we had plenty of time.  Mommy got in the bath tub.  She wanted to shave her legs before I made my big appearance.  Everything moved so fast from there.  Mommy's contractions were now 5-6 minutes apart, and very intense.  It was a little after 11p at this point.  Each contraction lasted between 1-2 minutes.  Daddy, Mamaw, and Aunt Trish made plans to get V, as DQ was going to assist Mommy in bringing me into the world.  Mommy was in so much pain she wasn't of much help.  Daddy handled everything.

Daddy drove 20mph over the limit on the way to the hospital.   Mommy breathed thru contractions, and tried to rest in between.  Once at the hospital Daddy ran in and left Mommy and DQ in the car.  Mommy wondered why he ran off and didn't help her out of the car.  Then Daddy came back with a lady following him with a wheelchair.   It was a little after midnight at this point.

Mommy was whisked away to triage, where a nurse listened to my heart beat, and put hospital bands on Daddy and Mommy.  They checked Mommy's cervix and told her she was dilated to a 5, and 90% effaced, then left her to continue to breathe through the muscle spasms that would bring me into this world.  They were so hard and intense.  Mamaw showed up, and offered to take DQ to the waiting room until they could move us out of triage into my birthing room.   Mommy told Mamaw at that point it wouldnt be much longer.  It was a little after 1a at this point.

Mommy suddenly felt the urge to push.  Daddy grabbed a nurse, and once the contraction was over was checked again.  Dilation was at a 6.5-7.  The room was finally done, and Mommy was put in a wheelchair.   Mamaw said she had never seen a nurse move so fast as the one pushing Mommy and I toward the birthing room.  The floors in the birthing room were still wet from having been mopped, the prior resident had just been moved out for Mommy and I to be moved in.  Mommy sat on the toilet while the nurses finished filling up the tub, then they helped Mommy into the tub.  The water seemed too warm to Mommy and the nurse, Danielle tried to cool it down.  Mommy kept asking Daddy where the midwife was because she really felt the urge to push.  Daddy sat on a chair outside the tub and Mommy used his arms and hands for support thru each contraction.  Daddy told mommy after my birth that the nurse seemed really worried that the midwife wasn't there yet.  Mommy says she had her eyes closed and was trying not to push thru a contraction, she opened her eyes, and the midwife was sitting next to Daddy.  Mommy was so happy to see her.  Her name was Neva, and she told Mommy it was now OK to start pushing.  She asked Mommy if a resident could assist my birth, and Mommy agreed.

Mommy remembers looking at the clock, and seeing it was 2a.  She marveled at how quickly it had gone so far.  Everyone kept telling Mommy she was doing a good job, to keep pushing thru contractions.  Mommy was on her knees in the tub, facing Daddy, and Mamaw says that in 3-4 good solid pushes after the midwife arrived, I was born.  They pulled me up out of the water, mommy climbed over my placenta, and sat on her bottom.  They laid me on her chest, and Daddy snapped my first photo.  Mommy was trembling in shock, and in complete amazement of my perfectly round head full of dark hair.  My big sister, DQ got to feel the pulse in my cord as they waited for it to stop.  Daddy cut me free of the organ that nourished me for 9 months.  Mommy remembers hearing Daddy say that I was born at 2:08a.

Everyone marveled at how perfectly formed I am.  They gushed over my good coloring, and how my head and chest had the same circumference.   A nurse helped Mommy to nurse me for the first time while the resident stitched Mommy up.  Mamaw took DQ home after everything was done. Mommy was sad to see her go so soon, as Mommy was clueless if anything she was doing from this point on was right or not.  She was especially scared of breastfeeding.   How would she know if I got enough?

I am now 9 days old.  In the first week of my life, Mommy found out the hard way that her milk production is a little low.  I lost more than 10% of my birth weight.  The doctors began mentioning hospitalization if I didn't start gaining it back, and told Mommy to supplement her milk with formula.  I cried a lot and wouldn't let Mommy or Daddy put me down.  They hardly slept for days, and Mommy worried I had colic.   I was just hungry.  I seem to have an upper lip tie that makes it difficult to suck/nurse.  The earliest I can be seen for this is 6/26.  So Mommy is just being patient with me, and continuing to encourage me to eat.  I have gained 5oz back from what I had lost.

We are all trying to get used to the changes I have brought to our house.  V hates it when I cry.  Both DQ and V always want to hold me, to help change my diapers, and to love and kiss all over me.  Mommy is trying hard to pay attention to all three of us.  She expected to bounce back from this quicker than she has.  This breastfeeding system she has to do makes it difficult to leave the house, and she wonders how she will do everything coming up outside the house that needs to be done.  She hopes we can get on the right track soon.  She apologizes for having to turn visitors away. She doesn't wear a shirt, and holds my diaper clad body to her bare chest for hours on end.  The experts tell her this will help with milk production.

Mommy and Daddy are so in love with me.  Mommy can't stop kissing my cheeks, and Daddy willingly gives up sleep to help Mommy with me whenever she needs it.  Mommy cried over my first poopy diaper after the hospital.  Daddy welled up.  They were so worried over my health.  I have really turned this household upside down, and they love every minute of it. It is time for my diaper change now.  Mommy will also want to feed me.  Life is so hard when you are a baby.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

My Challenge

There have been times with V that I have been challenged to the max. 

Seriously.  I have felt like throwing up my hands.  Screaming.  Running away.  Yes.  I have felt like running away from my own home.  This child that I adore so much has the ability to turn my house upside down.  If she wakes up in a bad mood, and wants to pick on her sister, torment the pets, or disobey every thing M or I ask of her, then it's on.  I have learned many coping mechanisms to minimize this, but it isn't a fix, and it doesn't change that she acts out frequently.  It doesn't erradicate that she has no relationship with DQ as DQ has no patience for her.  It is really bad some days.

During the really bad, I have called my mom crying.  She also has a child with behavior issues.  She can relate.  There are just some days that you feel like no matter what you do...  you aren't good enough.  You suck as a parent.  No matter how much love, and gentle guidance you pour into this child he/she can turn it into a negative situation.  You become exhausted from the constant manipulation.  From trying to stay one or two steps ahead of this deviously brilliant child.  A child who has vastly different thought processes, and whom you can not fathom why they do the crazy things they do. 

My mom and dad (and countless others who have heard my lament in raising a child with severe behavior issues), always tell me that we aren't given more than we can handle.  They assure me that with my gentle love and guidance that she will straighten up.  That one day this will all be a bad memory, and even something we will laugh about.  There was a time I would struggle believing in this.  I would get off the phone with them and cry a little longer thinking that they just have more faith in me than I ever will, and I don't know how I will continue with this lovely little girl that makes our lives a living hell sometimes. 

In the end of June of this year, I will have had custody of these kids for 5 years.  I have had five years to learn what they like and don't like.  To learn what their favorite colors, foods, clothes and toys are.  Five years to learn what they are afraid of, and what they have nightmares about.  Five years of therapy.... for me and them so that we can learn new coping mechanisms for everything they went through.  Five years of listening to them fight, with the occasional time that they get along and play nice together.  Five years of weeding through V's lies, and reminding DQ that she shouldn't be so bossy with her sister/friends.  Five years that my sister has lost... completely, and will never be able to get back. 

These five years have changed me.  I thought I was strong after getting out of an abusive relationship, and rebuilding my life.  I have to say that parenting a child with behavior needs... has made me even stronger.  It has sharpened my sense of humor.  I AM able to laugh about some of the silly things she has done over the years.  I have learned so many coping mechanisms, parenting skills, patience techniques, and discipline routines that I feel well equipped for the baby that I will give birth to in 40ish days. 

When it all boils down, and I look at the bigger picture....  I have to admit that although she has been my challenge, V has made me a better parent.  Because she has done some amazingly crazy things, I feel like I can handle anything this baby throws at me.  I am by no means a perfect parent, and I still make my fair share of mistakes.  But I am a stronger parent.  I don't know if V will ever pull out of this, and will ever be the person I think she has the power to be, but I do know that I have tried.  I have given her my all, and if she fails, it will be because she has chosen to because I have never given up on her, and I never will.  I just keep pulling her along on this crazy ride called life hoping that one day it will all sink in, and she will become the happy, well adjusted adult I know she can be.

So many people have commented on how far she has come.  How big of a difference they can see from a few years ago till now.  She has come pretty far, but I see that she still has a long way to go.  I am hard on her, and I hate that it has to be that way, but if that is what it takes to help her be the best adult she can be... then so be it.  She is hard on me too.  She is making me the best parent I can be.  She has given me new depths to my patience, empathy, love, and wisdom.  I am eternally grateful for the chance to be called mom by her.  For this chance to become a better parent for her, DQ, and our little E who will be here in 6 short weeks (or more/less). 

So to my little V, thank you.  You have given me the opportunity of a lifetime.  Whatever you throw at me, is just part of my challenge.  I will continue to rise to the occasion.  You're worth every minute of it my sweet little Judeus Maximus.  Every single minute.

Aunt TT

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Murder Porn

We don't have cable in our home.  We did for awhile, but our priorities changed from watching TV to raising two very active little girls.  To keep them involved in all the activities they wanted to be in - we made some small sacrifices.  One being cable. which I am proud to say we have lived quite well without the past 2-3 years.

Instead we have NetFlix, and restrict the kiddos to the Kids side of the program.  When they watch T.V., they watch something that we approve of (although sometimes M and I have different ideas of what we approve of).  

In a great many ways, I am happy we have done this.  We have more control over what our kids are exposed to.  They aren't going to accidentally see a commercial that is a little risque for their tender minds.  They aren't going to stumble across some premium channel programming and wonder what "Big Busty Blondes" is all about, because V is learning how to read, and DQ is quite proficient at it.  With everything out there that kids are exposed to, I am glad we have this minimal amount of control.

They do see and hear things at school still, or from their friends.  DQ was singing some song the other day, lyric for lyric, and I was shocked at the words.  When I asked her were she heard it, she said from a friend at school.  I told her it didn't sound like a very nice song, and she might not want to sing it.  She shrugged her shoulders.  Kids.  But at least I can be a little bit of a filter for the stuff she hears at school.  I try to keep an open and honest relationship with both girls, and encourage them to talk to me with any questions.  Hopefully this will get us through the teenage years.

I have been watching a lot of Murder Porn on Netflix.  At least that is what M calls it, because of the South Park episode making fun of this genre of reality T.V.  Shows like "Disappeared", "Behind Mansion Walls", and "Deadly Women".  One running theme I see in these shows is that most of the adults that grow up to commit these heinous crimes have had horrible childhoods.  Not all.  Some people seem to be born destined to kill, hurt, and maim others.  The majority, though had a very rough childhood.

One story that struck me really hard was the story of a woman who killed her friend's boyfriend because the boyfriend was abusing her friend.  She got caught by an innocent bystander after having killed the boyfriend, and "had" to kill this person as well to keep her crime quiet.  They then talked about the history of this woman.  At the age of 9 (DQ is 9!), this woman was doing drugs.  I immediately thought where could this child get these drugs, and how did the mom NOT know she was doing it?  They then touched upon the fact that the mom was actually doing drugs with her daughter.  By the time this woman was 13 years old, she was doing heroin, and was also a prostitute.  She actually turned tricks with her mother.  The person who was supposed to teach her right from wrong, and protect her, was the person (in my mind) responsible for her killing later in life.  Such a very sad story.

This may sound stupid, but what I gather from these shows is better parenting tips.  It is a very real reminder that what I do right now, will help shape the lives of these little girls.  That what M does right now will help shape their lives.  Watching these shows actually helps me to have more patience with V, because I can tell you now - she really knows how to push your buttons, and make you mad when you are trying to get her to do the simplest of tasks.

There is a fine line in parenting.  One that I don't want to overstep.  Although I believe in making sure my kids get the proper amount of discipline, I don't want to go overboard with that.  I want to make sure they also have the proper amount of love, self-esteem, imagination, and play time.  It is such a tricky tightrope to walk.  Especially with V.  She is so sneaky and impulsive that we have decided that she is not allowed to be alone at all in the house, and either M or I are standing over top of her constantly.  Unless she is sleeping of course.  That would just be creepy!  We have learned the hard way, that if we don't do this, bad things happen.  She either picks on the animals, her sister, destroys the walls in our home, her sister's toys, etc.  You get the picture.

So it is hard not to be oppressive with V.  It is sometimes hard to find the good to praise her for.  I certainly don't want to raise her to be someone who is in jail, or hurts someone else.  I want her to be happy, healthy, and live the very best life she can.  So I keep looking for the good, and praise her for it like no tomorrow, and keep disciplining the bad until it hopefully goes away.  And such is the life of a parent with a strong willed child.

Aunt TT

Monday, January 27, 2014

Pregnancy Fun

Little E is an active little girl.  For my friends who have not been pregnant, I equate the early kicks to gas rumbles in your intestines/stomach.  The kicks I am feeling now however, feel like a live fish rolling around in my stomach.  While watching a movie with M last night, she was going to town, and although I am glad to feel her move, because I know she is alive - that much movement for me was really difficult, and quite uncomfortable.

It felt like she was having a seizure.  Like she kept jerking uncontrollably.  It was actually making me jump each time she did it.  It was hard to focus on anything but the uncontrollable movements inside of my belly.  I laid the recliner back thinking that if I gave her more room to wiggle, she may calm down - but the jerks became more intense.  They almost hurt.  This lasted for about 2-3 minutes (but felt like 10 minutes).  Then she was calm again.

At bedtime she was wiggling - but no where near as bad as before.  I have felt her wiggle this morning as well - but none of that jerking feeling that I really don't enjoy.  With this being my first time pregnant, I don't understand what she is doing in my belly.  I don't know if that jerking was hiccups.... or if babies really can have seizures in your belly.  I'm trying not to worry, as everything else in this pregnancy has been normal, no reason to start having problems now.  E is going to be healthy, and happy, and I am trying not to believe anything else.

I've been working on the registry, which is so overwhelming.  There are so many things on the "suggested" list that you "need" for baby.  Being a first time mom to a newborn, I am not entirely sure what I will "NEED" for E.  I don't want to register for stuff that is unnecessary.  So this has been a work in process reading reviews on these items, and trying to decide exactly what I want.

I am doing two registries.  One through Babies R Us, and another through Baby List online.  I really like the one through Baby List because I can register ANYTHING I want from ANYWHERE I want, and am not restricted to one store.  I have registered some soap from a local soap maker that is all natural and gentle for baby's skin.  I have registered gift cards to Joann Fabrics as I will be buying lots of fabric to make the baby's bedding, drapes, and cloth diapers.  I have registered a few books on, that will help us with labor/delivery, and even early parenting skills.  Next up I hope to tackle the car seat/stroller ordeal, with the help of a friend of mine who has given me some tips.

I have a great many friends who have offered their gently used baby stuff, and for that I am so grateful.  I would rather use that than get something brand new.  I just hope I remember who gave me what, so when the time comes I can get these items back home to their owners.  Might see if I can magic marker their name on it somewhere so I don't forget....

I hit 22 weeks on Wednesday.  I realized we have about 18 weeks until E will be here (if I go full term).  Which is pretty crazy.  So much to do in so little time!  I need to come up with a birth plan.  We finally scheduled prenatal classes, which by the way are not covered under health insurance, and I had to cough up $60.00 more to pay for.  Ugh.  I should start thinking about and working on a hospital bag for M, little E, and I, just in case I go early, I want to be ready.  I need to arrange emergency child care for DQ and V for when the big day (or night) comes.  I need to figure out for certain who I want to have in the room with me during labor (and since I am having such a hard time choosing... just how many people I CAN have...). 

On a less manic momma note, DQ and V are finally able to feel E.  They both seemed to enjoy it.  DQ kept telling (and trying to show) everyone what it felt like.  V still reads to her often, kisses my belly, and says things like, "Hi little E, it's your big sister V.  I love you."  She's pretty adorable when she does it.  DQ hasn't tried to talk to or feel my belly much, but I know she will enjoy it when she can begin to see E's hands and feet pushing on my skin.

I am officially showing.  People are officially touching my belly, and commenting on how high I am carrying her.  I don't have much torso to begin with, so it is what it is.

The gender reveal party was awesome.  I am very happy we decided to wait and reveal the gender with our family and friends.  They all seemed to really enjoy it as well.

E is measuring a little bigger than 22 weeks.  I however am certain I am right about the conception date, and I was a 9 lb baby, so I'm thinking she should just be a big baby.  So I am telling everyone to buy 1-3 months (or bigger) if you find something adorable you want to buy for her.  I have a gut feeling she won't be in newborn clothes/diapers at all.  I could be wrong.  But I would rather her swimming in her clothes than being uncomfortable in them, and with her being a summer baby, as a friend pointed out, she won't have to have them fit tightly to keep her warm.

I have glucose testing in a few weeks that I dread, but know I have to do.  Will let you know how that goes.  Hoping that I am able to steer clear of being diabetic during pregnancy.  It runs heavy in my family, so if I have it, I won't be shocked, but hoping not to!

Hope your days are going well!

Aunt TT

Friday, January 24, 2014

For Nae

Yesterday at work, my phone rang.  It was an 870 number, and I only know one person in that part of the country.  My sister.

She has heard through the grapevine that I am having a daughter.  Last text I received from her, I let her know that I was pregnant.  Whoever told her that M and I are expecting a girl, also told her the name, because she kept gushing about how she loved it, and it was perfect.  She told me she knows this baby girl will be just as beautiful as I am, and kept saying how happy she is for me that I am finally experiencing this for myself.

She asked me to forgive her.  I asked her what for?  She said for not being there for me through this.  I told her that I miss her, but I know she can't be here right now, and I am not angry with her at all. 

She started crying.  I bit back the tears and tried to stay strong for both of us.  She told me how she loved that I was there for the birth of her three, and she would love to be here for this one.  I told her I would love for her to be able to be here, but I know it's just not possible right now. 

She kept saying over and over how much she loves me, and misses me.  I told her I love her, and miss her too.  I truly do.  I always thought she would be in the room with me when I gave birth, and it makes me a little sad to have to come to grips with reality that she won't be.  She can't be.  My sister was the only one of my siblings who stuck by my side when I divorced my abusive ex husband.  She was always there for me when I needed her, and I tried to always be there for her.  Words cannot explain the Grand Canyon sized hole I have been trying to fill by loving her children heart and soul since she left. 

She didn't ask about DQ's recent birthday (she turned 9 last weekend).  She didn't ask about how V is doing.  She didn't ask that I send copies of school photos so she can see them.  She didn't ask about how dance/karate is going.  I think it hurts her too much to talk about it.  She can't bear to look at the fact that she can't be part of all of this. 

She told me that if I ever need to reach her, I can on the number she called me on.  She said it was a friend's number, and that they will make sure she gets any messages I leave.  I think she really wants me to call and talk to her more often.  I feel awkward doing it on someone else's phone, and I never know what to say.  I want to ask her how she and her nearly 4 year old baby are doing, but words always fail me. 

I realize life is short.  Could be a blink of an eye and we could be removed from this earth, and things will never be resolved.  I really wish she had the means to have internet access or her own cell phone.  Although some of the stuff in this blog may hurt her a little, I think it would also be good for her to see how DQ and V are doing, and see the photos I post on here of our lives.  This blog is a little piece of my soul.  It would be good for her to see that, as I just can't communicate it to her the few times I have talked to her since she left.

If you ever read this Nae, I love you.  I miss you.  I thank you for giving me the gift of raising your two girls.  I hope that one day we can both work through our feelings and fears, and have some kind of relationship again.  I don't think you were a bad mother.  I think you made bad decisions, but ultimately, you made the best (and hardest) one you could for your children, and left them to be cared for by someone who would do what you felt you could not.  I wish you would have let me help you more, but I know that you are my stubborn Nae, and will do things as you see fit.  I wish you all the best in life.  I truly do.

Aunt TT