The Heartbeat

I knew I was pregnant for Kinley before the pregnancy test knew I was pregnant. I had a sinus infection. There I stood, with Chris and our seven-month-old Caitlin, in Target trying to get up the courage to mention the fact I had a sinus infection to him, wondering if his brain would calculate the equation so I didn’t have to for him.

It had been an excruciatingly difficult year, and the past month had just been unimaginable. I really didn’t want to have to spell it out for him right then. “Chris, I have a sinus infection.” Do you want something for it? No, I mean. I’ve only had a sinus infection one other time in my life. When I was pregnant for Caitlin. …Okay? I think I’m pregnant. Oh.

Needless to say, me, one who never gets infections unless hormones play a part, getting a sinus infection didn’t make a connection.

So we got pregnancy tests, two packs of two, and took them home. I took the test and waited for the three minutes, slightly impatient, hundreds of thoughts running through my brain.

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Non Traditional Student & Mom of two…

The post title should really say it all. I’m at the end of my first semester as a “non-traditional” student, meaning I’m an adult learner, not attending full-time on a typical class schedule, not alongside all those fresh-out-of-high-school students. See also this video made by a young mom. It’s a full day in the life of this mom with a few kids under 4 that gives a good picture of what I have to deal with…

Nope, none of that. I go to a college where most of the students are in their late 20′s to 50′s, many of whom have families and work full-time jobs. The school offers a few online classes as well as “group study” classes which

The school offers a few online classes as well as “group study” classes which is like a shrunken classroom setting with maybe 4-5 students, but most of the courses are “guided independent study.”

These are courses in which a professor assigns a textbook and the student pretty much reads cover to cover by the end of the semester, with assignments and tests in between. There aren’t such things as midterms or finals.. but there are 10+ page research papers for almost every course.

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One of those Bad Days

I am having a really bad day. I’m struggling to keep it all together. My thoughts are jumbled, my nose is stuffed and my eyes are puffy. There is too much noise in my brain. Today I am completely overwhelmed by Oliver.

When he has good days, they’re good, and he’s a great kid; so much fun to be around. He’s funny and snuggly and surprisingly sensitive to others. But when he has bad days, they’re bad, where he’s rough and difficult and aggressive. And today’s been…well, bad.

He’s so different from Julia. I thought I knew what to expect and then he came along and blew all that out of the water. I thought I was prepared for life with two kids. Fuck, I thought I wanted three kids, but I’m not so sure about that now.

I have days where I feel like I have this whole ‘stay-at-home-mother of two kids two years apart’ thing locked down and then I have days like today where I don’t know what the hell I’m doing, or what the hell to do. Continue reading

Keep a Positive Mindset at Crazy Times

Being pregnant and having my little girl all by myself taught me a lot of good things. The biggest of them is to remain positive no matter what.

“Pay attention only to what’s good and beautiful in life”.

This was taught by a Japanese friend. He told me that in Japan, back in the day, when the emperor wife was pregnant, she was taken to a beautiful palace, where she would be surrounded by beautiful flowers and the best healthy food and kept safe from bad news. The following video explains this attitude very clearly:

The Japanese believe that what the mother feels, the baby feels too, so they are actually taking care of the baby. Making sure the baby only has good feelings.

When I heard this story it made all the sense to what I already felt like it could be happening (the baby felling all that I felt). So I avoided anything that would make me feel sad, angry, frustrated or anything negative.

That meant that I would switch from bad thought to good thought when I needed. If I ever felt lonely or miserable for being on my own, I would recognize the feeling and then look for a distraction.

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Being Consistent with Discipline is so Hard

As a parent, you must know this already: you have to be consistent when educating your child, otherwise the lessons won’t stick.

There are two difficult things about being consistent with discipline. First of all the word “discipline” gives the creeps to many people (to me it does). But, hey, what is discipline anyway?

Second, well, it’s simply hard to be consistent.

I’ll go over these two points.

In Wikipedia, we find that “In its most general sense, discipline refers to systematic instruction given to a disciple. To discipline thus means to instruct a person to follow a particular code of conduct “order.” Usually, the phrase ‘to discipline’ carries a negative connotation. This is because enforcement of order – that is, ensuring instructions are carried out.”

“In the field of child development, discipline refers to methods of modeling character and of teaching self-control and acceptable behavior”.

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Children’s Bedroom Decor: More than Just Pretty Colors

When thinking about our children’s bedroom decor we should consider other issues beyond good taste, style, and pretty colors. It is also extremely important to cater for their safety and welfare. Any type of grand home decoration always requires extra care, and when it comes to our children’s bedrooms we should always ensure safety as well as fun.

The bedroom ought to be a place that exudes peace, so the child can always feel secure and protected. We can also decorate it with lots of vivid colors that add a positive vibe.

The chosen colors should depend on the activities your child likes and enjoys. If he or she is an overactive child, the colors should be crisp and clear; think of pastels (blue or green) to ensure a relaxing mood. If, on the other hand, the child is too quiet, decorate it with bold and warm colors like yellows, reds, and oranges. Leave aside neutral and muted colors in general. Continue reading

How To Put Your Kids To Bed Lovingly

Children are a huge blessing.  Between their sweet smiles, innocent eyes, precious hugs, boundless energy, and insatiable desire to explore and learn, it’s easy to love them so much. But we all know how temperamental and exasperating our kids can be when they haven’t had enough sleep.

The problem is, it’s not always such an easy task to get them into bed and asleep for the night.  In my experience, the best results have come only through a consistent and loving bedtime routine.

Here are a few tips for putting your kids to bed with love:

1.  Plan to eat dinner at a specific time each night.   Allow enough time to prepare the food, enjoy your meal together as a family, and complete clean-up without having dinner overlap with the evening bedtime routine.  An ideal time to sit down and eat each night is 5:30 pm.  Determine what works best for you and your family.

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Stop Complaining about your Job!

I have spent the bulk of the last six months on a constant job hunt.  I love my career, and I love what I do for a living, I have had plenty of interviews but haven’t had just the perfect opportunity come along yet.  It’s a tiring, exhausting, and mentally draining process. Between the emotional stress of job hunting, and the financial strain of managing my family on one income instead of two, well let’s just say I’ve had better times in my life!

There is nothing that is worse than being unemployed and job hunting, and listening to people around you complain about how much they hate their jobs! Between Facebook and well-meaning friends who call, it seems a day can’t go by without me listening to someone tell me how lucky I am to not be working because their job is driving them crazy like this woman with her MBA in Finance!

I am not lucky to not be working.  Frankly, what I am, is broke.  I would love to have a job, almost any job at this point.  What I do not want is to listen to anyone complain about their co-workers, their bosses, their long work hours, or how they think they’re going to start looking for something else because their job is just so bad they can’t stand it.

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Laughter is the best medicine

I’ve had a very uneventful weekend, which is just the way I wanted it! Yesterday I got to spend about one and a half hours playing with my 7-month-old niece while her big brother and mama did some gardening.

She’s the most delightful creature! I get so much joy from making her laugh and seeing her do all these new things she’s starting to do. She’s a very happy baby and spends most of her time smiling and giggling, and, let me tell you, it’s some of the best stuff for fixing a dull mood!

I’ve been experiencing a lot of anxiety and depression recently that has been very disruptive to my life, so much so that I took myself off to the doctor to figure out a plan for getting better, which I am now very slowly-but-surely doing. Anyway, my real point is that, during times when I have these struggles, I tend to isolate myself from friends and gravitate more towards family as they are my German net, my extra-support system and so on as you all know I came to America some years ago from Germany.

My niece and nephews give me a lot of joy and that’s what I need most right now; their giggles and fun. It’s a true pleasure to have such magical bundles of light in my life and I feel very lucky.

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How-To-Get-Sleep Tips For First-Time Moms

Many women experience problems with sleeping in the early stages of motherhood. Sometimes this problem occurs even before the baby comes, but it’s certain that it gets much worse after childbirth. This is a serious issue as in some cases it may cause postpartum depression, anxiety, and serious health problems. Fortunately, there are some specific things that can be done in order to help first-time moms deal with this issue properly.

Sleeping Together

Some women find it easier to cope with sleep deprivation by sleeping together with the baby. If the baby is still very small there’s an option of purchasing a bassinet that can be attached to a bed. That way, the baby stays in the same room and there’s no need for getting up in the middle of the night. But when the baby becomes a little bigger it’s recommended to share the bed. I tried to fight this, thinking that I will probably hurt my baby unknowingly. But after getting up from my warm and cozy bed for the tenth time during one night, just to give it his soother, I gave up. Besides, it is said that children who sleep with their parents have a much stronger and calmer sleep, which benefits both the parents and the children.

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