Sunday, July 25, 2010

I have no idea who she got her strong will from...

The first time I realized that my baby had a temper she was three months old. From the time she was that little she absolutely hated any sort of sort, plush toy. H.A.T.E. While Kyle and I were getting ready for an outing, packing the diaper bag and putting on our shoes and such, we strapped Madeleine into her car seat and gave her a hard, plastic toy that made noise and lit up to keep her happy and distracted. When it came time to carry her car seat out to the car we decided to take her toy away because we are first time parents and don't trust anything that could leave a dent on our child during a car accident. As soon as we took the precious object out of her mouth she began to scream a scream that I had never heard before. I'd heard her hungry cry, her tired cry, her I'm awake cry, and her why'd you let that stupid nurse give me those stupid shots cry. This was different. It wasn't so much a cry as a pitiful shrieking. Kyle and I just looked at each other thinking, "Well, there is no way this is over the toy. She is only three months old. She can't possibly be having a temper tantrum." So, just to experiment, we handed the toy back. The shrieking stopped immediately.

Since we didn't want to be the type of parents that don't discipline our children, give them whatever they want because we are lazy, and have them grow up to be total brats, we took the toy away, carried her out to the car, and let the driving lull her to sleep. It was an interesting experience to say the least. I'd never heard of a three month old throwing a tantrum before. Our child is gifted.

So, flash forward to now. Our daughter takes after her mother. She is strong willed and that temper of hers, it's still there. Normally she is the sweetest, most docile, most wonderful child in the world but when something doesn't go her way all heck breaks loose. We are working with her on different types of discipline. Saying no, saying no and putting her in the play pen without her toys. After a while, she gets it. Yesterday we were getting her one year pictures done and she did not want that to happen. She cried for a bit, lied down on the floor, but eventually we coaxed her out of her mood with swinging hair and peek-a-boo and got some phenomenal photos of her. All worth it in the end.

However, the one thing she has not yet learned, and something I don't think we can or should punish her for, is her need to be on the go. I mean, the child does not want to sit still. Ever. Tonight at mass Madeleine had no patience for being confined to the pew. She wanted to get out, explore, have fun, knock over some hymnals. Kyle and I took turns chasing her around the back of the church. Someday we will force her to sit like a lady, but today she is just thirteen months old and doesn't understand. Having her at mass is always a blessing, even if I am relegated to the back of the church, because she is one of the biggest blessings in my life. If nothing else when she is with me, I am reminded of just how awesome God is and how amazing it is to be able to receive such a merciful and loving God in the Eucharist. I am confident that when I do He will fill me with the graces to be the best mother I can to my little monkey.

Being a mother is full of new challenges all the time, teaching them right from wrong and that veggies are good for them, and I know I am just beginning this journey. One of the things I love the most though is when I see her learn something I have taught her. When I say no and she stops, when I ask her to bring me a book and she does, it's just such an amazing feeling. I love being a mother.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Things I never thought I'd do as a mom... volume one

1. Pick poop off the floor with my bare hands. Granted, when I grabbed the little piece I thought it was beef, but still I cannot believe I did that. With out gagging.

2. Ordering a backpack to replace my designer diaper bag. With another kid coming I am beginning to realize that for long day trips or vacations a simple diaper bag will not suffice. So I'm getting one of those big backpacks to store everything. And I'm excited about it.

3. Eagerly trade birth stories with... well... anyone who has given birth. I used to be totally squeemish about anything body related and now, not so much. I still care a great deal about modesty but there is something about swapping war stories with a fellow mom that I will never get tired of.

4. Eating a piece of food that my daughter is feeding me with her grubby disgusting hands because it's just so dang sweet that she is sharing like that.

5. Getting pumped to trade in my wonderful little car for a minivan that can hold the double stroller and the groceries!

6. Homeschool. Before I had Madeleine I would never have considered it. Now it is the plan.

7. Love so incredibly much.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

St Mary Magdalene, pray for us.

Today is the feast day of my patron saint, Mary Magdalene. She has always been an important influence in my faith life. I identify with her, not because I ever had demons cast out of me, but because I have been shown great mercy by God and want to follow Him to the cross, be there for the Resurrection, and remain with him for all of my life like she did.

We named our first daughter Madeleine after her. When I studied abroad in Austria I traveled for a weekend to Paris and visited the Shrine of the Madeleine, a beautiful church in the middle of the city built in her honor. When Kyle and I had a five hour lay over in Paris while I was pregnant with Madeleine, we trained into the city for just a few hours to visit the shrine. Even though I wasn't able to go in I prayed for Madeleine outside of it. I did not know that I was having a little girl at that point but I knew that if it was a girl, I would be putting her under her patronage.

People always comment that we pronounce Madeleine's name wrong for how it is spelled. We pronounce it Mad-el-ine where is should be Mad-el-en. Well, to that I say that I am American. My family came over from England in the early 1600s. It is my birth right to butcher and bastardize other countries names and words especially since France kicked my Hugenot ancestors out of their country and shipped their Protestant butts over to England where they had to change their last name from Petite to Pettit. This is just my little revenge. And I like the pronunciation Mad-el-ine better but we like the spelling we have because it honors her patron saint.

So today, on Saint Mary Magdalene's feast day my daughter and I will be honoring our patroness by lifting up prayers for her intercession before the throne of God and by sharing pop tarts.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

I literally almost drove her to the church with her rubber ducky to bathe her in the holy water.

It is one in the morning. Madeleine went to bed only one hour ago. At midnight.

Every time I put her in her crib she screamed like I was torturing her, as she has been doing for the past week and a half since we got back from New Mexico. She just stands up and screams. And screams. And screams.

So I will get her out, feed her, cuddle her and usually within 5 minutes of cuddling her she is passed out cold in my arms which means she is not sick, she just has a terrible temper. Kyle and I have noooo idea where she got that from.

So now I have to figure out how to get her back to the sweet baby who fell asleep at a decent time in her crib by herself. I have no idea how to do that. I do know one thing though, if this is how it is going to be when we come back from vacation we are never leaving the eastern time zone ever again.

Also, I really wish I had a mom friend near me that I could meet for coffee and talk about mom things with, not just over the phone but in person. Someone my age in my state of life.

So my prayers tonight are please help me figure out how to help my sweet baby get back to a normal sleep schedule and can I please have a friend pretty please with a cherry on top. Thank you Lord for my baby and help me to be a better, more patient mother.

Quick, while she's distracted!

These past few days have been insanely busy. We'll start off with the three day trip to my parent's house, the midnight hospital visit as a result of the massive pain I am constantly in being pregnant, and two full days of recoup and cleaning. Not to mention Madeleine's Teething Adventures at Bedtime. I'd be absolutely exhausted if the constant agony in my back and legs wasn't forcing me to stay on the couch at almost all times. Of course, with that said, I am abundantly blessed to be expecting again so creating another baby is worth all the discomfort and stress.

The thing is, being on the couch isn't all that restful. Why? Because I have a one year old hell bent on self destruction, that's why. As I write she is pushing a table across the living room towards the gate. Probably to try to use for climbing. Joy of joys she discovered how to climb this week so I am constantly on full alert, pulling her off of the couch, the chair, the foot rest, the book shelf. The other reason she could be pushing the table is because even though she can walk unassisted she still insists on using a walker at all times and avoiding crawling whenever possible. Plus, as an added bonus, her table plays music so she can push a button and just dance while she pulls every book off the book shelf. I will never be able to complain that I have no entertainment around here. Every second Madeleine is awake is amusing.

And speaking of Madeleine being awake, it is 10:30 and guess who is showing no signs of being ready for a nap? It's MADELEINE!!! My little buddy loves staying up and just hanging with mom. We tried to wake her up early today but she just passed out on the floor so it didn't work too well. Last night she went to bed at 11:00 which was a triumph for me and left my husband completely frazzled. He usually goes to bed by 7:00 for work and so does not have the privilege of wrestling her under her sheets at night. When she does fall asleep though she is the sweetest thing in the world to watch. He eyes start to close slowly, she grips her blanket with both tiny fists, and starts sucking on her pacifier loudly. Sometimes she even snores.

With all the difficulties that come from being a parent of a one year old and 22 weeks pregnant, I really can't complain. Well, I have and I do, but I really shouldn't. Even on the most hectic days when I am in the most pain I am extremely happy. Everything I ever wanted from the time I could dream about my future has come true. I dreamed of marrying a handsome prince (I even named him Kyle in the stories I wrote) and having beautiful children. Kyle is my best friend in the entire world, Madeleine is the light of my life, and Juliette is going to bring even more love into our lives than I could ever dream of.

This past Sunday the readings at mass really spoke to me. The first one was about Sarah being blessed with a child, the second was about redemptive suffering, and the Gospel was about choosing the better part and living a life of prayer. This is what I got from it. I'm blessed to be pregnant again so I should offer up my sufferings and use this time as a time to just be in the presence of the Lord. It sounds like a good plan to me.

Well, Madeleine has ditched her table and is standing next to me smiling. My cue that she wants some mommy snuggle time. Yup, couldn't be more blessed.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Stupid Tooth! Stop Hurting my Baby

Well... I was all prepared to brag about how splendidly my plan had gone. Madeleine was in bed at 9:00 and went right to sleep. However, it was about 10:30 when she woke up again. Screaming. Loudly.

I called my mom at my absolute wits end, not because I mind her being awake but more because at that moment I was concerned as to why my little angel was unable to sleep. As it turns out my mom was able to pinpoint the problem exactly. Madeleine is teething.

So say some prayers for my poor, sweet baby. I hate to see her in such pain. I'm about to go grab her again and just take her into my bed for the night. When I was sick my mommy cuddled me and it just feels like the right thing to do.

For the LOVE of Mommy's sanity... go to bed!

We spent last week on vacation to New Mexico to visit Grandmommy, my husband's mother, who is living out in Santa Fe for the summer. She needed a grand baby fix so she lured us out of our New England hole with promises of a hotel with room service and a prenatal massage for the very sore mommy.

It was a fantastic week, you know with the exception of the NINE HOUR emergency room trip where I was subjected to lots of large needles and forced to watch LeBron James: The Decision until they finally decided that I did not have blood clots. (Praise God!)

But other than that it was a fantastic trip.

The problem with traveling cross country with a one year old is usually two part. Part One: They are difficult to deal with on planes. And Part Two- JET LAG.

Now Madeleine has flown over 21,000 miles in her lifetime so as far as one year olds go, she is a flying champ. However, it took her a month to adjust back after we went to Los Angelas in March so I should have been prepared for what awaited me when we arrived back home.

Monday- Bed time at 11:30
Tuesday- Bed Time at 12:00
Wednesday- Bed Time at 11:30
Thursday BED TIME AT 12:45

I'm not entirely sure how to explain this. I mean, I admit that we let her stay up later than normal in New Mexico because she couldn't fall asleep well in the hotel room, so nine or ten Mountain Time is like 11:00 or 12:00 Eastern time. Also, my husband is probably slipping espresso shots into her sippy cup for lolzies. There is no other possible way a one year old could stay up this late.

It begins around nine when I try to cuddle her and give her a milk cup to prepare her for bed. She usually smiles at me, chucks the milk cup clear across the room, and then climbs off my lap and begins crawling away from me as fast as she can.

I believe in letting a child cry it out, but after 20 minutes or so, when they are still no where near sleep, it just becomes mean. When Madeleine is tired, she will sleep. When she is not tired there is no force on earth outside of narcotics that will get her to go to bed.

My plan of attack for tonight is to give her hardly any nap time and end that nap time early. This has been the only proven method of success for me yet. Wear her out to the point of sheer exhaustion and she will be in bed by nine. And mommy will take a bath and reread Twilight. After one or two days of this she should be back to normal.

But it could prove to be ugly. Today my happy little lady might be transformed into a crying beast. But I have to remember, this is all for her own good. I can't be one of those parents who doesn't do what is best for their child because they are afraid of upsetting them. Those children turn into beasts, not just for an afternoon but for life.

At least tomorrow I should have my sweet princess back to normal. Oh yes, and my sanity.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Three years ago today

It seems almost impossible to remember life before Madeleine, let alone life being I was married to Kyle. My whole life before July 14th, 2007 was preparation for the greatest adventure of my life, becoming Mrs Kyle Behrend.

My house is filled with pictures from that day, the wedding video relives the sounds and sights, but what I remember most from that day was the feeling of peace that came over me as I pledged my life and love to my husband. People that think God has nothing to do with marriage have themselves fooled. Only God could have been capable of giving so much love and joy and then, multiplying it in these short years that have followed.

I got married at age twenty-one and thus began the never-ending barrage of comments about my life decisions. When I got married, when I had my first baby, now when I am having my second baby. What people don't understand, and probably won't understand until Kyle and I are celebrating our golden anniversary, is that we did not make the decision to marry lightly. We put in a lot of thought and prayer and ultimately entrusted our decision to the Lord. Since then, we have not looked back and we never will.

While we pray together every day we are far from saints and like all married couples we get in heated arguments and occasionally want to tear each others' hair out. The difference between us and many married couples is that we don't put ourselves first, or at least we strive not to. We recognize that the reason most marriages fall apart is that people are selfish and unwilling to compromise. Marriage doesn't work unless you put God first and your spouse second. When you are each looking out for the best of the other person and lifting conflicts up to God in prayer, the best thing for the couple will surely be the outcome. We care way too much about each other and our children to live any differently.

Marriage is not easy and that's why so many people give up and why it is so important to find a spouse who is as willing to work hard for the rest of their lives as you are. There won't always be mushy gushy feelings, there won't always be laughter, we have already experienced several tragedies in our short time as husband and wife. True love, love founded in Christ, ensures that through it all there will always be joy in the cross and a light to guide you through. And the beautiful thing about marriage is that while all people go through tragedies, I have an amazing partner with whom I can weather any storm.

Marriage is amazing. Kyle is my best friend, the only person who fully understands me and with whom I can be myself. I am blessed by the gift he is in my life and the love he showers upon me even in my cranky pregnant days. I am thankful for him giving me the gift of motherhood and for the wonderful father he is to Madeleine and will be to Juliette as well.

Thank you Lord for three beautiful years and hopefully many more to come.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Nananana POPTART

Today we are having company over to watch the MLB All Star game. The first guest was scheduled to arrive around 5:00 pm, and so when Madeleine woke up from her nap at 4:30 I changed her and got her into a pretty outfit. Shorts, a white shirt with red flowers, and a stupid red sun hat that served no purpose other than my own amusement. She looks like a baby Canadian Mountie. Adorable.

I fixed myself a chocolate pop tart to tie my pregnant belly over until dinner when, of course, my one year old (still miraculously wearing the stupid red sun hat) came toddling over yelling, "NANANANANA!" Which, loosely translated means, "WOMAN GIVE ME FOOD NOW!!"

Being the good mother I am I began giving her little bite sized pieces of pop tart to her absolute delight. She stood there as I dropped the morsels of goodness into her gaping mouth. Mother of the Year award. When I decided she had enough sugar for the moment I sat the plate on the table next to me. She crawled to the other side to find it. As she crawled over, I moved it to my other side. Back and forth she went and back and forth went the plate.

The poor angel, in her stupid red sunhat, eventually gave up her fruitless pop tart mission and took off across the room to destroy her bookshelf.

I wish I had it all on camera.

Rest in Peace Boss

Today a friend told me his dad laughed upon finding out that George Steinbrenner, principal owner of the New York Yankees, had died of a heart attack.

What the frick?

Love him or hate him, love the Yankees or hate them, he was a person with a soul and a family. It's a tragedy. It's sad that sports have become what they are now. People selling themselves for money and an hour long press conference (I'm looking at you LeBron), refusing to retire because it keeps them in the headlines (Farve...), and fans laughing about a death on the rival team (Red Sox Nation). I look at clips of the good old days of sports. You've got men in suits and women in hats enjoying a day at the ball park, Larry Bird in his short shorts, team pride, sportsmanship, lack of steroids. Can't go back too far because them you'll get racism and sexism but I swear there was a time in between those times, a golden age of sports. At least that's what I've read.

So Rest in Peace Human Decency. Feel free to make a mockery of the games I love. I will be here, rooting for Derek Jeter and praying I never find out he took steroids.

Also, Rest in Peace Boss. I'm praying you make it to heaven.