Aidan, Family, Fatherhood, Finley, Motherhood

Life Changes

To say my life has changed these past six weeks is an understatement. I have had to relearn how to care for a newborn, while chasing after a rambunctious toddler. As if that wasn’t enough of a challenge, add in Nathan starting his new job as a principal. While Nathan works a nine hour day, my day consists of about 20 diaper changes, 10-15 toddler tantrums, 8-12 feedings and lots of snuggles between the two boys. I have never felt so exhausted, yet so happy in my life. While this season has been filled with lots of changes and we have had to quickly adapt to them, our family continues to be blessed. In the span of one month our lives got a whole lot crazier.

We all seem to be handling the changes differently. Nathan as always, handles anything thrown his way with ease and grace. He is such a wonderful father to our boys and has been a big help to me around the house, despite working a new job. Aidan is 100% toddler. He goes from being extremely affectionate to his little brother, to wanting anything Finley is using. Aidan is definitely having to learn how to share toys and mommy and daddy’s attention. While it hasn’t been any easy adjustment for him, he is an amazing big brother to Finn and absolutely adores helping his “bubba.”

Out of everyone, I think I have had the hardest time adjusting to all the changes in our little family. Since I am a stay at home mom, I am with the boys 24/7. It has not been easy trying to balance raising a toddler and a newborn, while trying to keep the house running. I have had to change the expectations I have always set for myself. Rather than keeping an immaculate home and having a gourmet meal on the table, my focus is making lasting memories with my boys. I have also had to learn to be more patient with Aidan, as he adjusts to these changes as well. Each day has its own personal challenges, but I know God would not have given me anything I couldn’t handle.

While these changes haven’t been easy, they have been full of adventure and joy. Our family has truly been blessed these past six weeks. I am one lucky woman to have three such wonderful guys in my life. I cannot wait for Nathan and I to watch our two little boys grow up and see all the other changes God has planned for us!

Love and blessings,

Molly

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Aidan, Fatherhood, Motherhood, Parenting

Toddlerhood

If I thought life had prepared me for raising a toddler, I was sorely mistaken. The bullying I faced in middle school, is nothing compared to the 18 month old bully who lives in my house. The sweet and smiling baby I used to rock to sleep has morphed into a tiny dictator. When he isn’t screaming to get his point across, he is throwing himself on the floor and flailing as if swarmed by bees. Aidan has taken up the bad habits of biting and head butting when he is mad. When you correct him and let him know his behavior is not appropriate, he laughs in your face. As a mom, I feel as if I am failing about 95% of the time. I’m aware this stage in Aidan’s development is perfectly normal, but I have so much self doubt whether or not my parenting is effective or not. I do not want to raise a child who thinks screaming and biting is the way to get what he wants. Nathan and I realize Aidan is still very young and that changes in his behavior will come with time, especially as he learns to communicate better. Each one of us is still learning how to handle situations, whether we are 18 months old or 27 years old. I am doing my best to remain patient and calm as I teach our child how to correctly respond to his emotions. Easier said than done, right? I think I would rather wrestle an alligator with my hands tied behind my back, than handle my son’s tantrums most days. Now to say my child misbehaves 24/7 would be a falsehood. He has good days and bad days. Most of the time he is a playful and loving child who wants to curl up in your lap to read or dance with you to the radio. Aidan is also very affectionate. He loves to give kisses and hugs, especially when he knows he has done wrong. Aidan participates in our daily prayers and loves to help with chores. He is learning at an alarming rate and as he grows his behavior will continue to improve. This season of challenges will pass. I just have to remember to be patient with him, as well as myself. Nathan and I are still trying to figure out this parenting thing. By the time Finley gets to this stage, hopefully we have some tricks up our sleeve. To all the parents struggling at any stage in your child’s life, remember it is all trial and error. As long as you are a part of their life and are making an effort to teach them right from wrong, you are not a failure. Sometimes we just need a reminder that we are doing a good job as a parent. I know I do!

Love and blessings,

Molly

Aidan, Fatherhood, Motherhood, Parenting

Child Resilience and Mommy Guilt

Let me tell you about my brave little man. Aidan is the most resilient child I know. When he falls down, he picks himself up and tries again. Aidan is almost 10 months old and has never had a serious injury, despite all the mischief he has gotten into. This all changed yesterday. 

Nathan, Aidan and I went to the library to check out some new children’s books. In the children’s section, they have a play area filled with toys, puzzles, pillows, legos and more. While I was picking out books, Nathan and Aidan were playing with all of the toys. I soon joined them and we played with Aidan for a few minutes, before he took off to play independently. Let me tell you, this child of ours loves to play and keep busy. He goes from one toy to the next. 

Aidan crawled over to a table with lots of little toys attached to it. Nathan and I sat on the couch and watched him play. He was giggling and talking to himself as he explored. While he played and we watched, Nathan and I started up a conversation on expanding our family. We were in a deep discussion when Aidan turned towards us and tried to take a step. When he took that step he fell into the table and hit his mouth on the way down. I have never heard my baby boy scream so loud. We rushed over to him and I picked him up. It wasn’t until he was in my arms that he opened his mouth and all this blood started pouring out. My sweet baby boy had busted his lip when he fell. 

Aidan cried for a few minutes and then calmed down as we took him into the bathroom to clean him up. Luckily, all four of his teeth were fine and he hadn’t bitten his tongue. His poor lip was swollen and both of us were covered in his blood. After we cleaned him up, I took him out to the car while Nathan gathered our books. 

While we were sitting in the car and Aidan was playing in his seat, an immense wave of guilt washed over me. I could have prevented my son from getting hurt, if I had been paying better attention to him. I shouldn’t have been talking, instead I should have been next to the table and playing with our son. How can I even consider having another child, when my son is getting hurt right in front of me? I felt like the worst mom in the world. As I wallowed in my guilt, Aidan looked up at me and patted my face and smiled. This little boy had just had a traumatic experience and here he was smiling and loving on me. 

Nathan returned to the car and saw my face. He knew right away that I was feeling guilty for Aidan’s accident. Nathan looked at me and said, “this is not the last time our son is going to get hurt and if this is the worst that happens to him, we should consider ourselves lucky.” He made me realize that I cannot be one of those parents who hovers over their child 24/7. Our children are going to get hurt on occasion and this accident was no ones fault. 

Aidan has already forgotten about the incident and has been his happy self since. He is very resilient like his father. It was very difficult to watch my son get hurt, but I am slowly realizing that as he is learning to walk and explore this won’t be the last time he gets hurt. While I still feel guilty for my son getting hurt, I know it is not because I am a bad mom. Accidents happen all the time with our children, we just have to continue to teach them to pick themselves up and try again. I have also realized, I am going to make mistakes as a parent, but like my child I need to learn to be resilient and forgiving of myself. 

Molly

Aidan, Creating Memories, Fatherhood, Motherhood, Parenting

Finding BalanceĀ 

Over the past two weeks my son has learned to crawl and pull himself up using furniture. This of course means he is exploring every nook and cranny in our house. I love that he is so inquisitive and wants to learn. I do not love all the bumps and bruises he gets as he does so. As a new mom, I am trying to find a balance between being too over protective and allowing my child to be independent. I do not want to become one of those helicopter moms, but I also don’t want my son to get hurt. Does this mean I allow him to roam the house alone? Absolutely not. It means, I watch him as he explores and plays independently, because I want him to learn how to problem solve and recognize cause and effect. While I have thought about getting him a helmet and bubble wrapping the furniture, I have decided to go a different route. Rather than child proofing my house, I am going to child proof Aidan. While I still have outlet plugs and cabinet locks, I am not going to put away my pretties. Even at 8 months old he understands when he is doing something he shouldn’t be. My husband and I are teaching him early on, what he can and cannot play with. I do not want him growing up feeling like he is living in a museum. Even from an early age, Aidan has shown interest in how things around the house work. I do not want to take that desire to learn and explore away from him. While we will not allow him to get into any dangerous situations, by giving him independence at this age we are helping nurture his love of exploration and adventure. I hope as he grows older, this thirst for knowledge evolves. Nathan and I look forward to joining Aidan on all his adventures. One is never too old to explore and learn!

Molly

Aidan, Fatherhood, Motherhood, Parenting

Parenting Advice: In One Ear and Out the Other

From the moment you share the news you are pregnant, you become bombarded with unsolicited advice. Family members, friends, neighbors down the street and even the cashier at Walmart all feel the need to tell you the right way to raise your child. If you are anything like I was, as a soon to be mom, I was writing down these tips in my phone and saving them for later. The moment I had my son, I was up late reading every parenting article and thinking back on all the advice I had been given. A month and a half later, after reading and hearing so many opposing opinions, I looked at my husband and said, “screw it, we are going to do it our way!” Each parenting article contradicts another. The rules of raising a child change every couple years. My best advice is the advice a good friend of mine finally gave me, “do what is best for your child and ignore what others say about it. If what you are doing works for you and your family, who cares what anyone thinks.” She is a pretty smart cookie. As soon as I started listening to my gut and recognized what worked best with my son, motherhood became a whole lot easier and much more enjoyable. I never thought I would be trying homeopathic remedies or random tricks I thought of at two in the morning. What has worked for my son could be the complete opposite of what works for another baby. Who would have thought an adorable six pound little lad would make me question everything I had ever known. (Or thought I knew!) 

I remember my idealistic dream of my son sleeping peacefully in his bassinet for a few months before we transferred him to his crib. Did I take into account that my child would be a terrible sleeper and only sleep when he was on me? No, I did not. After a month of sleeping on the couch, with Aidan sleeping in his pack and play for 15 minute increments, something had to change. When you are as sleep deprived as most new parents, you will make choices you swore you would never make before your child was born. Enter co-sleeping. For two and a half months our little man ended up sleeping in bed with us. While many articles and the Pediatrics Association do not recommend bed sharing, many families all over the world do it. Nathan and I agreed before kids, we would never allow them to sleep with us. That changed pretty fast, when Aidan would only sleep if snuggled up next to me. We ended up loving it, especially because we all got the sleep we needed. When the little man started to wiggle around and roll from his stomach to his back, it was time to transition him to his crib. This was not an easy venture and once again I was dealing with advice on how to sleep train. A few people told me not to let my son cry it out or he would be emotionally damaged when he is older. Aidan’s pediatrician said to transition him by allowing him to cry and checking on him every few minutes. Once again, I had to do what worked best with my son. Aidan will not be emotionally damaged or have trust issues, because I chose to use the CIO method. After a week of letting him cry during naps and at bedtime, he finally learned to self soothe and put himself to sleep in his crib. (Hallelujah! I was no longer sleeping on the edge of the bed anymore!) My son turns six months in a few days and we are still learning what is best for our child. I will always be grateful to those close to us who give us advice, especially when it works. I do not and will not be made to feel guilty for doing my own thing. Nathan and I are good parents and while we will make mistakes, we have to do what is best for our son and not what is expected of us. This post isn’t to put down those who have given us advice, just to let other parents know it is okay to do it your way. Don’t worry about what the articles say, they change day by day. Who cares what worked for Susie Q down the street. Trial and error is the best way to figure out what is successful for you and your children. Don’t ever let anyone judge you or make you feel bad for how you raise your child. As long as you aren’t leaving your child in the car or letting them play with fire, you are a good mom and dad! Your children will turn out just fine. My little goober has so far. I will get back to you when he is in his teenage years. So forget about whether solids before one is “just for fun,” or allowing your child to scream for five minutes, while you finally shower is damaging. Parenting is challenging and as soon as you figure out how to solve one issue, five more pop up in its place. You will figure out this parenting thing, or at least learn to fake it like I have. Remember, as a former student of mine use to say, “do you boo boo!” 

Love,

Molly