Thursday, December 31, 2009

party like it's 2009

This time 10 years ago, I was getting ready to head back to the Vermont Legislature to finish up my first (and only) term as a representative. The only thing on my mind then was figuring out where I was going to stay in Montpelier for the next few months, knowing that there would be several late nights as we planned out the historic Civil Union bill that passed that session. It seems strange to me to look back on that now, 10 years later, and think about how much has changed for me this decade. So since everyone else is doing a retrospective...

In the past 10 years I finished my term in the legislature, got married, had three kids, left two jobs, became a stay at home mom, sold a house, moved twice, added two sisters-in-law (Tim's sister and Aaron's wife) and one niece, gained 8 cousin-in-laws, and helped welcome 13 new cousins into our family. I've attended several family weddings and missed several others, which I will always regret. I skipped a few funerals because it was still too hard to go, even though it's been over 11 years since we lost my dad.

I spent a total of 12 days in the hospital following three C-sections, and countless hours awake with the boys. I've been peed on, pooped on, and thrown up on more times than I wish to count. I've "kissed it better" at least a thousand times. I've made about 200 meals that no one would eat. I've fake laughed at the boys' bad jokes, and really laughed at the good ones. I have spent hours crying over the guilt of being a mother and not knowing what to do. I have cheered Griffin on at about 50 baseball games while trying to keep the other boys from running onto the field. I have known the sadness of hearing that Henry needs extra help, and have felt the fierce desire to do whatever it takes to get him what he needs. I have burned approximately 30,000 calories chasing after the boys, and offset it all by eating their leftover chicken nuggets and goldfish. I've sent Tim 600 e-mails asking him what time he's coming home from work. I have been lucky enough to have spent over 3000 days as his wife, and am amazed everyday at what a wonderful husband and father he is.

This past decade was a monumental one for me. Over these 10 years I have gone from just being "me" to becoming "me plus". The world no longer revolves around me, but around my husband and three kids as well. This decade defined who I am, and who I will always be. In the year 2000, I was alone. In 2010, I am now a wife and a mother of three amazing boys. I know that all I have to do is look around me and know how lucky I am to be in this place in my life. This is the "me" now for every decade to come. And I am looking forward to every one of the next decades, years, days, hours and minutes.

Friday, December 18, 2009

The imprints of Postpartum Depression

So its been 19 months since the birth of my son Lennon and some remnants of the postpartum depression I experienced still rears its ugly head once in awhile.

Yep, I said it, postpartum depression, that three letter word that a lot of women don't want to admit to. Which I was one of those women at first.

I knew the night that they called to say I could come in for the induction that things were not right. As my 4 year old took my face in her little hands and whispered, "Mommy, I wish you didn't have to go" I knew things were about to change.

I don't know why but I just had this feeling that this little creature inside me was not going to make a normal appearance. After about 2 hours of pushing, they decided a c- section was the way to go. They drugged me up some more and whisked me away. I felt like I couldn't breathe and everyone else was just going about their day.

We had no idea of the sex of the baby so it was going to be a great surprise. But, I didn't think I was ready for that surprise.

As Lennon made his entrance I felt drained and not excited. I felt all the happy emotions disappear and a new Maria walked into my head and body. She wasn't happy, she wasn't anything..

We stayed in the hospital for the 3 days where I became visible sad. I think that my husband, Stephan, saw it, but didn't know what to say. I was angry and frustrated because I couldn't move without hurting. I didn't feel like I knew this little person like I did when my daughter Stella was born. I was numb.

We came home with a screaming, not sleeping and not really eating baby. The feeling of "oh my God what did I do" was an under statement. I was beyond that. I am not sure who cried harder or more during that first week...Lennon or me.

After several long weeks of screaming and not sleeping I remember standing at the window in our living room at 4am holding a screaming (not baby cries but screaming) baby just wishing I was anyone else but me. I looked out that window and just wanted to get in the car and run away.
People would ask about the baby and say "oh he will be fine", they had no idea. I didn't want to hear their stories, I wanted sleep! Oh and to stop looking like I was 6 months pregnant.
The doctor discovered that Lennon had bad acid reflux and put him on medicine. It worked almost immediately! Bang! He was better but I wasn't.

I went to my OB and she prescribed some anti- depressants. She kept saying "don't put yourself through this, take some pills to help". I stared at the pills and cried. I was afraid I was going to lose more of me. I knew deep down that I would come out of this fog, but really could I? Every morning and night had become one. There was no end of the day, "going to bed, see you in the morning" didn't apply to our lives. It was a continuous day with no end in the sight. Would the pills really make me have a night?

I decided that therapy would be the first step. I walked in, cried for an hour, walked out and did that again and again for a couple of weeks.

Then, one sunny day Stephan was at the gym and Stella wanted to go to the park. I hadn't ventured out with Lennon because all he did was cry. I looked at him, he looked at me and I said "I am taking you out". We got the snuggly, Stella got excited and off we went. We went for about an hour and actually had a great time. I walked home from the park and actually smiled. NO, I beamed! I got back that theme song that everyone has in their head when they have accomplished something (we all do right??). Maria was walking back in to my head singing off cue and dancing like Elaine from Seinfeld.

For some reason that trip to the park was monumental. I have no idea, but it helped me see that I could beat this feeling and start the war against PPD.

I still have days where his whine can send me back to that window staring out and longing for a new life, but then he smiles and shakes his booty. The bond I was searching for is a secret bond that him and I share. He will snuggle into me and just exhale. It's like he is saying "we made it mommy, you and me"

I was lucky, I was able to pull myself out of that dark hole but I still slip at times. And you know what, that is okay because its just temporary.

My heart goes out to every woman (and man standing there not knowing what to say or do) dealing with PPD. But you know what, you have to embrace it to fight it!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Losing My Religion

Twice a year I start to think about my kids’ religious education, or lack thereof. It usually happens in December, around Chanukah/Christmas time, and in the spring, near Passover and Easter. I was raised Jewish, but not very religiously. We celebrated most of the holidays, knew the stories, but we never went to temple or Hebrew School. My siblings and I all had Bar Mitzvahs, but they were performed by my father, not a rabbi, and were more about family and tradition and less about the Hebrew (my father wrote out my Haftorah phonetically for me). My husband is an atheist, although he was brought up Catholic. When we got married by my uncle, a Justice of the Peace, we never had a conversation about religion as it relates to the kids. When our first child was old enough to understand what was going on, we decided to light the menorah for Chanukah as a family, and go to my mother-in-law’s house on Christmas for tree decorating. In the spring, we travel to my mother’s for Passover.

But as the holidays get closer, I always regret that I’m not giving them more. Should I enroll them in Hebrew School? Should we go to temple so they can meet other kids who celebrate what they do? I end up giving in to the guilt - taking them to our local temple for the holiday celebrations. Each time, I find that I’m a fish out of water. I don’t know the songs, I don’t know the routine, and I don’t know any of the stories. Last time, my two year old stood up and yelled at the Rabbi to “Stop singing!”. I leave feeling completely overwhelmed and realize that being there doesn’t feel right for me or my kids.

Am I short-changing my boys by not giving them an official religious education? Maybe. But for now I’ll stick with the route my parents took - teaching them myself about the stories and traditions as it relates to our family - without professional help.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

With a little help from my friends

My first glass of wine since December 2007 - $8.  Mahi Mahi with pumpkin sage ravioli in a Vermont maple cream sauce - $17.99.  Spending a couple of hours with some friends after two tough weeks in the trenches of motherhood - priceless.

The dinner plan was hatched while trick or treating.  My husband and I took the boys out with two of our friends and their families.  We walked around having grown-up conversations while the kids ran from house to house. At this moment I realized that I needed an evening out.  My friends were enthusiastic, and our husbands, to my surprise, were more than encouraging.  "I wish she'd do more of that" said one of my friend's husbands.  "He told me last week I needed to go out more with my friends" said my other friend.  The date was set for the following Friday, and I spent the whole next week looking forward to that night.

We picked a restaurant that was not kid friendly on purpose.  We ordered wine and toasted to "ladies night out" -  not mom's night out -  because for those few hours we were just three women enjoying an evening together, and not there just because we were our kids' moms.  We talked about town politics, religion, and our parents and grandparents.  We debated about which job we thought was harder - the stay at home mom or the working mom - and the pros and cons of each.  And of course we talked about our kids,  but not in the context of the every day  "my kid is sick" or "my kid is driving me crazy", but more in the global context of how to raise good kids and how to be a good mom without compromising your own beliefs and values. 

We talked in a safe, judgment-free way that only friends can.  No topic was too controversial because we were there to support each other and not pass any judgment (ok, we did judge the parents of the kids at the table next to us because, really, who takes their three year old out to a fancy dinner past 8pm without expecting a constant meltdown?)

The hours flew by, and before we knew it, the wine was gone, the decadent chocolate pie was almost gone, and it was time to go home.  The conversation continued in the car and ended with the "we have to do this again soon."  I walked into the house feeling like a different person.  For the first time in two weeks, my panic attacks were gone.  The anxiety and overwhelming exhaustion I had been feeling were non-existent. It was my own personal therapy session, but instead of unloading my fears and issues to a psychologist on a couch, I was sharing my anxieties with my understanding friends at the dinner table.

Upstairs, two out of three kids were asleep, and I got to tuck Griffin in while he told me how he had finished "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory".  I was able to sit and listen to him with renewed energy and enthusiasm.  Tim told me the kids were well behaved and he was glad that I was feeling better.  I can't thank my friends enough for spending the evening out with me. All I can say is : when is the next "ladies night out"?

Friday, October 23, 2009

The long and winding road

One hour.  That's how long it took for me, Henry, Leo to walk a loop around our neighborhood today.  It's a walk that would normally take us 15 minutes, with both kids in the stroller and me in "exercise mode".  However, today Henry wanted to walk himself, and not ride in the stroller.  I had grand plans of pushing them around the neighborhood quickly, getting the workout I desperately needed in enough time to get back for the bus while Leo slept in the stroller. But it was a beautiful day, and we left the house with time to spare, so I let him walk.

We started out slowly and then moved to a crawl.  Henry stopped to pick up every purple leaf, and literally smell every dying flower along the way.  He stomped on an acorn, and then plopped himself on the sidewalk to examine what was inside it.  He peered through the neighbor's bushes to see what was behind them, and touched the ReMax balloon on a "for sale" sign at the bottom of the street.  I found myself checking my watch every five minutes, constantly saying "Henry, hurry up, we don't want to be late to get Griffin at the bus."  But there was no hurrying him.  He meandered up and down the street, asking questions about what the street signs said and stopping to listen to the birds "singing to each other".

As I was about to tell him for the 40th time to hurry up,. I stopped myself and just watched as he chased after "the biggest leaf I have EVER seen, Mommy!".  What was I hurrying him up to do?  We had plenty of time and Leo was quietly sleeping in the stroller like I planned.  What was the rush?  Tim and I had just spent that morning meeting with a child development psychologist, talking about working together to help Henry with his behavior issues.  The psychologist wanted to hold off on any testing until Henry was four, because he felt that Henry was getting help already in school and that four was a good age to do the kind of testing that he felt Henry needed.  I wanted the testing done now, so I could find out what was wrong and get the help he and I needed at home as soon as possible.  I was looking for some sort of magic - someone to tell me you need to do this, this and this and everything will be ok.  What the psychologist told me was that there was no immediate solution.  There was a lot of hard work that we needed to put in every day to be able to see the results we wanted, and that it was work that would be ongoing for a long time.

As Henry and I continued on our way, I realized that this walk was an example of what we needed to do as a family to help him and us all.  I needed to put aside the constant need to keep moving - whether it was on a walk around the neighborhood, or always running errands to keep him out of trouble in the house - and just put in the effort and time to sit with him and find out what makes him tick.  For that hour that we walked, things were perfect.  He listened.  He held onto the stroller when we crossed the street without having to be told.  He laughed and sang and left Leo alone so he could sleep.

We finished our loop of the neighborhood and stopped back at the bus stop.  He turned to me and said "Mommy! Can we do that again?"   I promised him we could.  If he was willing to put in the time, so was I.

Monday, October 19, 2009

You say it's your birthday

Dear Leo-

Happy first birthday to you! It's become a tradition of mine that I write a letter to my kids the day before their first birthday, so here is my letter to you. Well, I say it's a tradition, but I can't really remember if I wrote one to Henry. I think I did. I know I wrote one to Griffin, but I'm not sure where it is. (my confusion will unfortunately sound all too familiar to you as you get older, I'm afraid...) Anyway, I wanted to make sure I wrote one to you.

To say this has been an eventful year would be an understatement. You were certainly eager to join our family - you even tried to come three weeks early, but those doctors at the hospital made you wait a little longer. But even they couldn't keep you from coming when you wanted to - two days before your scheduled arrival you came into our life. You made an immediate impact on me, your dad and your two brothers. We were all drawn to you instantly and as you've grown this year you've brought us all closer together. I think your dad and I would agree that although we've had to play "zone defense" instead of "man-to-man" with the three of you, it has made us work better as a family and as a team (you will find as you get older that I LOVE the sports analogies!)

This has been quite a year of firsts for you. In addition to the usual firsts that happen in a baby's life, you've had a lot of new things happen to you. You were born with your first two teeth. You had your first airplane ride to California to meet your great-grandmother. You went to Storyland for the first time (this is our family place, so your first time is significant!) You were our first kid to be able to eat, well, anything, and consequently, you were our first kid to be on (and remain on) the growth percentile chart. We also made our first trip to the emergency room with you - thanks to a bump on the head after you fell out of your crib. I think your dad was hoping you'd be the first one to sleep in your crib all night long before the age of one, but unless you do that tonight, that one will have to remain just a dream.

Even though you are only one, you have grown into your own already. Your dad and I watched you this year, wondering if you'd be more like Griffin or like Henry. Your two brothers are as different as night and day. I always describe them as one kid who likes to avoid the puddles, and one kid who goes out of his way to jump in them (I think you'll be able to figure out who is who). We wondered if you'd take after either one of them. Truth is, even at age one, you are...well, you. You are your own individual. You have a distinct personality that is neither Griffin nor Henry, and it's not just about the curly hair. We can't wait for these next years to see what kind of boy and man you become.

Right now we will try to enjoy every moment. I love how you say "dada" every time your dad enters the room. I love watching you try to wake Griffin up when he's grumbling on the couch before school, and I love watching Griffin read stories to you on the floor. I love listening to you laugh with Henry as you both crawl around with cars on the floor singing the "Hot Wheels" theme from the Wii, and I love listening to Henry pretend to read you stories in his room. And I love how you grab me on the shoulders with your little fingers, giving me tiny squeezes for hugs and smashing your face into me for kisses.

I know these moments won't last forever. I know there will be a time, all too soon, when you'll be too big for all these things. But I will remember this year forever. Happy First Birthday Leo. Thanks for completing our family.

Love, Mom.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Uncharted Territory

First of let me start by saying, I realize that Sarah is only 4 and has only been in school for a little over a month. I also realize that she is very headstrong and has trouble listening at home from time to time. She is very chatty and very easily distracted. I think she could be called a trouble maker at home.
Having said that, she is a beautiful girl who is very smart and can be incredibly focused. She can write very well, she can do a 100 piece puzzle, she can color and stay in the lines, she is becoming quite the artist. She has an incredible imagination, creating games to play with Emma. She is incredibly active and loves to run, jump, dance and gymnastics. Her enthusiasm for things is bottomless, she can get as excited about a receipt as she can about a beautiful new doll. It's quite contagious. It can be pure joy to be around her. I love her with all my heart. All of these words and descriptions are mine and I'm not afraid to say that she can be quite a handful and sometimes I don't know what to do with her.
Her preschool teachers give out awards for good behavior every day. She was so proud of them! But then last week she didn't get one and she was very sad and cried in the car telling me about it. Then it happened again, to much talk during circle time. I just said "Try harder tomorrow and hopefully you will get one. It's up to you, it's in your control."
On Wednesday, not only didn't she get an award, she got a note sent home about her behavior, she was talking during circle, argumentative with her friends and she growled at another teacher on the playground. I tried talking about to her about it but couldn't quite get a straight answer from her about what had happened. I was upset, but figured she was having a bad day. Everyone is allowed to have one, I wasn't happy but thought it was an isolated incident and she would have a better day on Thursday.
On Thursday, I thought about her all day and sent all my good thoughts and wishes to her. I just didn't want her to get another note. When I picked her up she came running out with an award that said "Better day" I was so relieved. Although while Sarah was telling me about her day, I found out that she still had to sit in time out during circle. My heart sank a little. But she seemed so proud. So I let it go.
So this morning when we driving to school, I told her that if she had a good day and didn't have to sit in time out, when she got home she could have a treat. Not sure if this was the right thing to do, but I so desperately wanted her to not get in trouble today. She thought that was a good idea. So I left her feeling positive that she was going to have a good day.
When I picked her up, she came running out of her classroom and she said "Mommy it's a pattern, note, reward and note." (which I thought was very clever, but still my heart sunk). Today her note said "Talking to much during circle and not listening to Miss Lynne." I tried to talk to her about it, but strangely she didn't want to talk anymore.
I'm just not sure what to do about it. Do I do anything? Is she just becoming so comfortable there that she is acting like she does at home? It just hurts my heart that someone else is cross with her or thinks bad thoughts about her. I know this is a lesson that I need to work on for myself. She clearly loves school so these notes and time outs are not affecting her outlook on school. I'm so glad about that. Am I just projecting my own insecurities on to her? Am I worried that her behavior will reflect badly on our parenting? The answer is probably to both these questions. This is another thing that I need to work on for myself. Conversely, since she started at school, she has done so much better at home. She is listening better, her temper tantrums are way down and things are good around here.
So I'm going to continue talking to her about it, but are there consequences for her at home if she behaves badly at school? Or is to early, it is only preschool. I would like to give her positive reinforcements when she has a good day. I feel badly that already at age 4 she doesn't want to talk to me about it. I want her to be able to talk to me about anything, I guess this is yet another thing I really need to work on now so it doesn't get worse as she gets older. I just feel like I'm in uncharted territory, I don't know quite how to proceed. I don't want her to get labeled as a troublemaker and have that affect her great attitude toward school. She will always be my baby girl and I want the world for her. She is becoming her own wonderful self though and I think she will always be on the chatty side, that she did get from me.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

My daughter, oh she is 13...I mean 5

They say girls are made of sugar, spice and everything nice... did they decide to not mention that sassy, head strong and well something else isn't also in that mix??!!

Don't get me wrong, there really is nothing like a little girl (okay so my 16 month old son really does crack me up...)that is until they hit 5 and all of sudden you are seeing a preview of the teenage years. This is a preview through that I would like to fast forward through through!

My Stella Bella is amazing, kind hearted, fun to hang out with and really knows how to pull on my heart strings like a trained musician! Since the day she was born I knew she was going to be a force to be reckoned with. Gee...I wonder if it could of been the fact that after being at the hospital for almost 3 days that it took the doctor saying "this could lead to a c-section" for her to decide 2 hours later to come on out. Or could it have been when her prized stuffed animal "pengy" was lost at daycare and I decided that telling her that he went to the North Pole to help Santa Claus would be a good excuse for his disappearance. She responded with "whatever helps you sleep at night Mommy". Yeah she was 3... Oh and don't get me started on the sweater that she wore every day for close to 5 months during the dead of summer. She wore the damn thing to bed. Her teachers laughed that she would probably be wearing it over her ballet costume at the recital...could you imagine?? I really think the last month of "stripes" life, she wore it to piss me off!

All of this should have prepared me for the sassy 5's right??!!. I don't think anything could have prepared me though. Stella has always been an old school....I guess I was just hoping that meant she was an old soul at the age of 20. But nope, I think we are stuck with an old soul at the age of 13!

I know there have been many changes over the last year. New little brother, mommy crying a lot after new little brother was born, litte brother getting bigger and getting lots of laughs. Not to mention the biggest change of them all....leaving the bubble of Young Life (our daycare for close to 3 years) and entering Kindergarten.

From the outside she has put on a good show through these changes and many have said she has dealt with it all flawlessly. Underneath it all I think some of the talking back and sassy behavior have stemmed from those changes. Okay so maybe I just came up with that rational....

I sympathize with her, but let me tell you when she flips that hair, puts the hands on the hips and says "well Mommy..." I want to say "hey, where is that little girl that could barely say Momma.."

So you have the attitude and the eyes rolling and now throw in the things that come out of her mouth! (not bad words...well okay her first word was shit...but she used it perfectly and in the right content...back to the blog..) The other day on her daily progress report her teacher wrote "we are amazed with Stella's vocabulary". Okay, so you would think "wonderful, awesome!". Nope...we just looked at each other and said "Oh God, what did she say?!!"

During our Parent/ Teacher conference the teacher said "well you know she is a chatty cathy so we don't need to go over that..." I shrunk in my chair (not a hard task though when you are sitting in a Kindergartners chair) ready to hand over my Mommy card. She then expressed what a confident, bright little girl she is...at that point I was ready to hand over that Mommy card for a "way to go" punch. Oh and b/c she came out of my body (days and days...oh sorry already mentioned that.." I get to talk about me and not the fact that my awesome hubby deserves equal credit!

So I guess the ups and downs and the sassy attitude are just part of a 5 year olds make up and I need to just buck up and just deal with it instead of bitching about it...

On that note, I will go make that phone call to my parents and apologize once again for anything that I may have done as a 5 year old...heck for anything I have done over the last 38 years!

Just think though...there is a poor little boy out there just innocently climbing a tree or playing with his toys not even imaging that one day he will meet Stella Bella....he is in for an adventure!!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

How Facebook Saved My Sanity

How Facebook Saved My Sanity

Hi. My name is Alysia, and I am addicted to Facebook. I’m not ashamed of it. In fact, I’ll share it with the world. I don’t care what any of you Facebook “haters” think. I am happy that I am celebrating my one year anniversary on the website this week (yes, I know exactly when I joined). I am convinced that Facebook saved my sanity this year.

Like many people, I was a skeptic. A social networking site? Isn’t that for 20 year olds to share pictures of themselves drinking? I was a thirty-six year old stay at home mother of two, seven months pregnant with my third boy. I certainly didn’t fit the profile of what I though a Facebook user was. Do I want the world to know all about me? And do I want to know all about the world? A friend of mine convinced me to check it out. She had just come back from her 20 year high school reunion, and said how amazing it was to have connected with all these people again through Facebook. So online I went. Just to see.

And so began my entry into the world of the Facebook. Status updates, quizzes, profile pictures, “friending” people…it was completely mind-boggling and confusing at first. But I couldn’t turn away. My 20th high school reunion was being planned on Facebook. Over 50 people that I went to high school with (and who I hadn’t spoken to in 20 years) were in this group, and I “friended” them all. Friends of mine from college had profiles, friends I used to work with, members of my family…I couldn’t believe it. I “friended” everyone and e-mailed friends of mine who weren’t on Facebook to tell them they needed to be a part of this. Before long, I fit right in - taking quizzes, posting status updates, and sharing photos of my family with all of my new friends. I was sucked into this new world like a mosquito to a bug zapper.

In late October, about two months after I signed on for the first time, I had my third baby boy. I was not prepared for the complete isolation that having a winter baby in New England would bring. My first two kids were both spring babies, and as hard as those first few months with them were, we were still able to get out and go for walks, or go to the store or just be out and about . It was a particularly cold and miserable winter here in Massachusetts, and if I wasn’t at the bus stop, we didn’t go anywhere. I had groceries delivered so we wouldn’t have to all go out to the store. We didn’t go out for many playdates or have anyone over. It got worse when the baby got sick in February - I was so afraid of his getting any germs that we stayed tied to the house. I was going out of my mind, and so were the kids.

Enter Facebook. My daily “conversations” with my Facebook friends saved me. When I was having a particularly rough day, my friends encouraged me to hang in there, sharing their own stories of a tough winter. When my husband had pneumonia three weeks after the baby was born, they were there with sympathy. When the baby got sick with bronchialitis, they were there to cheer me up. When I had questions about his acid reflux or his continuous ear infections, they were there to remind me it would all be ok. When I was home alone with all three kids while my husband was away on business, they all chimed in with stories of their own about being alone, and how they survived. And I did the same for them. It was my social network - albeit a virtual one - that got me through those tough days. The best part is that most of these “friends” were just that - already friends. They knew me, and I knew them. We were rediscovering each other in a whole new way, helping each other out as if we lived next door. I never would have gotten through the winter and spring without them.

I have friends who live down the street, and friends who live halfway across the world. I have friends who have known me since I was five, and friends who I’ve just met. I have 36 members of my family on Facebook, including my mother, brother, sister, and sister-in-law. Friends I play Scrabble with, friends who I chat with late at night and early in the morning. Friends whose advice I seek out, and friends whose advice makes me laugh. Friends whose successes I help celebrate - new jobs, new marriages, new relationships, new family members - successes that I would not have known about without being on this website.

My brother the psychologist told me that he thought Facebook was the soap opera of our generation. At first I bristled at this - soap opera? What is he talking about? But his point is valid - soap operas provide a daily connection to people’s lives, usually in an exaggerated way that make the viewer feel better about their own (usually more boring) life. The shows give the viewer a story to follow, people to relate to, something to look forward to every day. For me, that was Facebook. It was my connection to other people’s stories, other people’s lives. Before signing on, I had lost my identity as a person. I was Mom to my kids. After Facebook, I was more social then ever. I felt like me again. People cared about my opinions. It felt nice.

It’s the end of summer, and I find myself needing Facebook a little less than I did before. We’re able to get out more, I’m more sure of myself as a mother of three now, and I’m not feeling as needy as I did last year at this time. However, I’m still on several times a day - posting my status update, commenting on my friend’s pictures, losing at Scrabble. With these connections, I’m a much better wife, mother, daughter and friend because I am getting the social outlet I need. I can do it at times when the kids don’t need me and I don’t even have to leave the house. I am looking forward to more years with my “friends” on Facebook, and maybe I can help them in the same way they did for me. I’m hopelessly addicted to it, and I’m a better person because of it.

Just don’t try to get me on Twitter.

Transitions

Transitions – I have been thinking a lot about them this week. With the changing of the seasons, it is hard not to. We have been doing a lot of transitioning lately, some has been hard, some not so hard. It is just hard when so many seem to be happening all at the same time. Ultimately I know that these are changes that most people go through and that they will all be for good. I just needed a few moments of reflection on some of them.
The most obvious and biggest transition for us is that Sarah is now going to school 5 days a week from 9:30 to 2:30. She absolutely loves it. She runs into her classroom each morning and sits down at the table to do puzzles or whatever table time activity they may be doing that day. She is so anxious to get started most mornings that she runs in and sits down without taking her backpack off. I stand in the door and remind her to go hang it up. She gets so engrossed with her activity that sometimes she doesn't even look up as I leave. This has left me with mixed emotions. For one thing, she has always been like this. She has never been a clingy child, much to my shgrin, but this is the first time that she has ever been away from me for so long. I sometimes wish she would just miss me a little bit more. On the other hand, it fills me with such joy and amazement at how well she is doing in school. She is certainly thriving and she never ceases to amaze me. She is making friends and learning new things all the time. She is going to be ready for kindergarten with no problems. She is so confident, she just runs into new situations full steam ahead. It fills me awe and I'm so incredibly proud of her. She could just miss me a little bit more.
Because of Sarah's new school schedule, another transition is that I am spending a lot more one on one with Emma. Although Em really misses Sarah sometimes I think that Emma is really thriving too. We have been going to the playground, the library, story time at the mall and at the end of October we start a Mommy and Me gymnastics class. I'm having a lot of fun being with her and doing these things. I wasn't really able to do many of these things with Sarah because we already had Emma. It is a bit lonelier that it was with Sarah though because she had a strong playgroup. I see Emma's confidence building as she starts to participate in the activities. She is talking a lot more and she also amazes me on a daily basis. We are working on potty training, so hopefully soon we will not have any diapers left in the house. And very soon we are going to take down the crib and get Em a big girl bed.
My girls have transitioned from being babies and toddlers into 2 big girls. No more babies around here, so we have been starting to give away baby things. When I first gave away a bin of 0-3m clothes, I cried and cried. Seth and I talked and talked about it and we both decided that our family was complete now. I love our life and yet I still feel a twinge when I see a little baby. I think about our baby that never was and how different our lives would be if he had lived. As hard as my pregnancies were, I really loved being pregnant and I loved having a little baby around. I know that I can't keep everything forever, we don't have the storage space and I know other people can put it all to good use. This transition has been especially hard for me, but we have given away the maternity clothes, the exersaucer, swings and bouncy seats. The last item we just gave away was our double stroller and the bucket car seat. We have transitioned out of baby mode and now have room for the big girl bikes and scooters and anything else they might get into.
Giving away these things is really what got me started thinking about all the changes that are going on right now. It is what made me realize that my girls are really growing up now. I no longer have toddlers in our house. I love our life. I love watching the girls play together and I love that they can walk and don't need to be carried all the time. Can't wait for Emma to be really potty trained, so no more diapers. This is such an exciting time with the girls, they are at such an amazing stage of life and I want to give them the best. I'm so proud to be their mother. They are 2 exceptional little girls and I can't wait to see what they do next.
These changes keep us moving forward and making our family better and stronger. I'm sure that next fall I will have more anxiety about the next set of transitions. Sarah will be going to kindergarten and Em will start pre-school. And who knows what I will end up doing. That is what is exciting about transitions, you never quite know what is going to happen. Life is good!!
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