Thursday, August 29, 2013

Sweet, Sassy, And Six!

Some things in this life are just beyond comprehension. Like, how in the world is my baby 6 years old????

Yes, on August 28, 2013 Kate (Baby Cake) Fidler turned 6 years old. I can't wrap my mind around it. 

Didn't she JUST come home from the hospital?

Didn't she JUST learn how to strike a pose?

Didn't she JUST learn to play t-ball?

Didn't she JUST learn the most important food group?

Didn't she JUST learn how to dress herself?

And accessorize.....

Didn't she JUST sleep in her big girl bed for the first time?

Didn't she JUST smother herself in a jar of peanut butter?

Well, it's true. She is now 6 and spunky and sassy and sweet!

This girl has personality coming out of her ears. You know those people who it's always an adventure to be around them because you just never know what will come out of their mouths? Yep, Kate is one of those people. :)  The other night at church some girls made a comment about Kate knowing everything because she's the preacher's daughter. I could tell that it embarrassed Kate. While she will speak up sometimes, at other times she will retreat and be very shy. This was not one of those times. Right as I was beginning to think that she was going to hide under my arm for the rest of the night she said, "I wish y'all were my brother and sister so I could tackle y'all." For real. She said that. I didn't know how to respond. Because I was pretty sure I should encourage her not to tackle people, but as someone who has never been able to stand up for myself, I was also kind of proud. :)  Let's just all cross our fingers that I don't get a call from the principle saying she really did tackle someone.....

At six years old Kate would like to be a Vet, a Dr. or a dolphin psychologist. I, of course, am going to encourage the dolphin psychology route. I find that fascinating. Kate is doing very well in school, but she only likes lunch, snack time and recess. Right now she loves Doc McStuffins and Sophia the First. She also loves her Barbies and baby dolls. She quit dance last year because she's "already a good dancer". I thought we were gonna try again this year but she wasn't feeling it. She doesn't understand why she can't just do a solo without taking any classes. 

She loves to play, especially on the playground. When Eli was playing ball she spent many nights on the playground at the ballpark. And many of those times I would find her making sand angels. Just laid out, in the sand. 

Kate is such a cuddly, sweet, loving child. She still wants to sit in my lap, gives me lots of kisses and shows so much concern for others. At school there are two drop off locations. One for the big kids and one for kindergarten through 2nd grade called the "Kiss and Go" lane. Kate has shown me the reason for the name of that drop-off. She gets dropped off on the big kid side with Sarah and Eli, but while they jump out of the car almost before it comes to a stop, Kate takes her time. She gathers her backpack and lunch box. She gives me a kiss. She stops at the door to tell me she loves me. When she gets out she tells me she loves me again and to tell Daddy she loves him, too. I know everyone in line behind me is probably saying ugly things about us, but I'm going to soak up the loving as long as I can. :)

As I said, sometimes Kate can be very shy. But most of the time, Kate really likes to talk. She tells very elaborate stories. Nothing is ever short or to the point with Kate. You will get all of the rich details and you might as well just get settled with a cool beverage while she tells her tales. :)  I can't tell you how many times I've walked up on Kate with ladies from our church, deep in conversation. I've just come to accept that what happens in the parsonage is not going to stay in the parsonage while Kate is around. :)

Kate, there are no words for how happy you make me. How grateful I am that God surprised us with you. I can only imagine that He had as much fun making you as we have enjoying you. You are so smart, funny, talented and kind. You are turning from a too cute toddler into a beautiful little girl. Missing teeth have never looked so cute on someone! You are tough as nails and yet gentle and compassionate. I knew from the time you were born that you would be a fighter, and I was right. While your heart is sensitive, you are also strong and determined. You hang with the big kids and keep us all in our place! You will always be my baby and I may have a little bit of a harder time letting you grow up, but I also look forward to watching you grow. I especially look forward to the conversations we will have and the stories you will tell! 

Happy Birthday Baby Cake!

Friday, August 23, 2013

I Wish I Had Known

Today I had the opportunity to do something that I was so excited about. With my job I had the opportunity to visit some moms who just had babies in the last week. Once the babies are old enough they will come to our center, but for now I will make visits to check on mom and baby. For anyone who knows about my experience as a new  mother, this probably seems highly ironic. It is, y'all. Beyond the multitude of handouts I'm required to take on everything from bonding with your baby to the baby blues, I also took with  me lessons formed not from mastery of parenting skills, but from the good old fashioned file of "woulda, coulda, shoulda". Because something I've learned is that just about the time you think you are getting good at this parenting thing, BAM! Your child switches into a new phase that requires a whole new set of skills and a different kind of patience and more than likely, a new pair of shoes. Man their feet grow fast!

Even as I was writing that paragraph Sarah was strolling down memory lane about all the times I took her through Chick-Fil-A for breakfast and the one time I got her a slushie at Sonic and she stuck her straw all the way through the cup and covered herself and the jeep in slushie. And while I remember that event, I had to ask her. "I lost it when that happened didn't I?" And I mostly asked because I wondered if she remembered, but also because I feel like Emily now would so not be phased by an exploding slushie, but unfortunately, Emily then totally was. And yes, she remembers. She laughed about it. Maybe her therapist will one day find the humor in it.

Anyway, I know that I've been out of the blogging loop for awhile and as soon as I have a burst of energy that lasts more than 13 minutes, I'm going to do a mega blog about what has been going on in our lives. But mostly, to sum it up quickly, my babies are growing up. For real. Two weeks ago I dropped off a 5th grader, a 3rd grader and a 1st grader at their first day of school. They looked like this.

Sarah fixed all of their lunches and my participation was only needed to aid with ironing, and helping Kate tie her shoes and brush her hair. Grown, y'all. Sarah has a locker this year and decorating that puppy was THE DEAL around here.

So, back to my visits today. I have to say that with our baby days behind us, watching my kids officially become big kids, and anticipating the arrival of two new nieces, babies are making me feel all kinds of sentimental these days. I watched those newborns today squirm and suck and heard them make those cute little sounds newborns make. I talked with their mamas who were a bundle of anxiety and excitement and sadness wrapped in a big blanket of exhaustion. The pride and absolute awe that accompanies bringing a human being into the world. The overwhelming sense of responsibility and sudden fear of everything in the world, because now you have to take care of another human being who lives in this scary world.

One mom shared her fear of taking her baby anywhere in the car and I could totally relate. I will never forget driving Sarah home from the hospital. I was never as aware of other drivers and road hazards as I was that day. Didn't people speeding by know I had a brand new baby in the car? (Perhaps this is where the "Baby on Board" phenomenon started?) 

Another mom shared her sadness and apologized, not knowing why she felt sad when she was also excited about her baby. And I could also relate to that. Because despite 9 months of devouring every book, article, or brochure at the Dr.'s office that educated me on the baby's development and what was going on with my body, nobody prepared me for what would happen with me after the baby came. I stopped reading at that part. You know, the part where the baby was here. I guess I just assumed that if I survived labor, I would just snap right back to normal. My body. My hormones. My marriage. I really didn't get it. I couldn't grasp how life changing that new little human would be. 

Today, I discussed how it was normal to feel sad and anxious and how your emotions are beyond what you will experience at any other time of your life. I cheered on the mom who is nursing like a champ and comforted the mom whose relationship didn't work out the way she planned, leaving her to bring her baby home without her daddy. We discussed things they need like strollers or other resources. And I encouraged them to call if they had questions or needed to talk. 

But, because I was there as a professional I couldn't really tell them all the things I would tell a new mom. Things like:

*Don't wait for life to get back to "normal". This is the new normal. 
*This is your body now. This is your heart now. They've both been stretched in ways you never thought possible. Your body may eventually go back close to the size it once was, your heart never will. It has grown and will continue to grow. Sometimes it hurts. Most of the time it is the most beautiful thing you will experience in this life. 
*There's no right way to do this. Seriously. People (well-meaning people) will tell you differently. I'm convinced that in the same way God created our bodies to nurture our babies, He also gives us the insight and wisdom to know what is best for our baby. Even if what is best is asking someone else for advice or wisdom. Ask who you want to ask. Take what works for you and file the rest. It may work for the next baby. :)
*You think you will never use all of the diapers you got at your baby shower, but you will. And then some.
*Other people know how to keep babies alive, too. :)  It's ok to leave them for a bit so that you can have a minute to think or take a shower or sleep. You know, those things you totally took for granted once upon a time. 
*Things probably won't go how you planned. Not the labor experience. Not the going home experience. You may take super cute sandals to wear home only to realize you've been so pumped full of fluids that YOUR.SHOES.DON'T.EVEN.FIT. Your baby may sleep through their first photo shoot and puke or poop all over the family heirloom outfit they are supposed to wear. Your normally attentive significant other may have a freak out moment or not have any idea how to be there for you when your eyes and your boobs are both leaking and you want to punch him in the face even though deep down you know you know you still love him. (Hormones are SOMETHIN' ELSE, y'all!) If you want to plan, your best bet is to plan on bringing extra everything. Just do it.
*You will simultaneously adore the feeling of your baby in your arms and miss feeling them kick inside of you.
*Your baby will look different every day. 
*Everything will take 3 times longer than it used to. But you'll get used to it and years down the road you will blow your own mind with your ability to do things at the speed of light compared to how it used to be.
*You can't do it all. Nobody can, but there is no time when it's more important to realize that. 
*God chose you to be the mother of your child. Remember that when you begin to question yourself or try to figure out how somebody else would do it. Whatever personality, temperament, talents, and passions you have, use those. Don't spend your time pining after someone else's gifts or personality. Let them be their kind of mom and you be yours. (Totally still working on this one.....)
*Enjoy it. Seems simple. And yet also hard. Some babies are easy to enjoy. They sleep. They eat. They smile at strangers in the store. Some babies cry and never sleep and people in stores say things like, "Don't be pinchin' that baby", trying to be cute, but you want to pinch them because you haven't slept in 3 days and HORMONES, y'all. But seriously, I had one of the crying, no sleeping babies and before I had her a dear, sweet lady encouraged me to enjoy late night feedings because they wouldn't last long. She was right. I didn't always enjoy them, but I tried. And they didn't last long. That baby now wears the same size shoe as me and sometimes I wish I could still hold her in my lap and rock her, but it would crush my internal organs.
*And that's the thing. It won't last forever. The good, the bad, the ugly. Whatever it is, it's just a season. And in that season it feels like for.eva. Like you will be pumping in the nursing home when you're 90. Like you will never have a conversation with your husband that isn't interrupted or that you don't nod off in the middle of it. But for real, you will blink your eyes and your baby child will be in first grade and signing her name with hearts and peace signs.

*Things aren't really as big a deal as they feel. If I could go back and know one thing then that I know now (and there's a LOT I wish I had known) this is it. I wish I would've taken a chill pill. I wish I would have known that having a healthy, clean, well fed, loved on baby was good. I wouldn't have stressed about what outfit was supposed to be worn when, or what toy she needed or having matching outfits for family pics. 
Christmas Sweaters Gone Wild
*You are learning. Admit it. Everybody wants to pretend like they know it all when they get a job. Nobody wants to start a job and be like, "Hey, I seriously have no idea what I'm doing. Is there a policy and procedure book on this?" And guess what? There's not a policy and procedure book on parenting. There are 80 million books to give you advice and ideas and other people's experiences. The Bible offers awesome insight and wisdom on raising our children to love the Lord. But a step by step, play by play? Nope. You're writing this one! One chapter at a time. With lots of red pen scratches and pages you'll probably wish you could tear out. The character development in this story belongs to YOU. You might not recognize yourself in the end. And that might be a good thing.
*When all else fails, laugh. The things that seem like worst case, disaster scenarios will one day be your favorite stories. I highly suggest teaching your kids to laugh, too. Some situations just cannot end well except with laughter or ice cream.
*I fully recommend suspending your expectations for this season of life. Like for example, I used to strive to bring about world peace. After my first baby, my goal was to shower before 10 am. Okay, at all. This is a season of changing expectations.
*Rest in grace. Again, something I struggle with. I could give you a War and Peace size volume of my parenting mistakes. I want to stress about the mistakes I've made and how they could be affecting my kids now or ruin their life in the future. So, sometimes I just sit back and observe the fact that I have 3 amazing kids who are kind, thoughtful people full of compassion and joy. And they are parent proof. Josh tells me that all the time. Praise God. :) God's grace has covered so many mistakes in my life and I have to trust that parenting is no different. In my weakness, His strength is perfected. 
*In conclusion, one day you will watch someone else hold their newborn baby and you will not think about 2 am feedings or spit up or how you wore the same clothes for 4 days. You will think about the day you brought your own baby home and fell in love with every dimple, every hair on their head, and every sound they utter. And if they have brothers or sisters at home, you won't remember that you didn't have matching sibling shirts or signs made by etsy. Your heart will be full as you remember your 5 year old and 2 year old who dressed themselves for the special occasion and made a sign out of a Pizza Hut box. You will remember the sparkle in their eyes and the unconstrained excitement. And mostly you will remember feeling like your heart couldn't possibly feel any more love without bursting. 

Thursday, August 1, 2013

The Day I Realized I'm a Golden Girl

When I was in college I lived in a dorm full of young, energetic, fun girls. And...we liked to watch The Golden Girls. A lot. I can't explain it. It's pretty funny now to think of all of us fresh young things with time on our hands and the world at our feet gathered around the TV watching The Golden Girls. I think we related to the friendship and fun antics (and a little bit of the drama)  that occurs when a bunch of girls live together, no matter their age. We couldn't get enough.

I still love the Golden Girls. In fact, I share this sentiment-

So, I was watching The Golden Girls the other night (it never gets old), and it hit me....I've become Sophia!

Last week, I had surgery. It was an outpatient procedure, I went in that morning and left a few hours later. I won't lie, I was a little anxious, but I felt pretty prepared. I had done lots of Googling the night before. Which is why I was both anxious and prepared. :)  Anyway, I had worn my comfy clothes and taken off all of my jewelry. The nurse called me back and at the last minute, I decided to take my purse with me. I felt safer with it. I'm lost without it, y'all. 

It seemed like a perfectly logical thing to do until I was walking back into the pre-op area. Then I was all, what the heck do I do with a 40 pound purse? Thankfully, my nurse was super sweet and told me to just put it under my bed with my clothes. And probably cursed me under her breath when she had to push me and the bed and the 40 pound purse to the OR. 

After I changed into my gown and spiffy little hat (which I was super thrilled to realize matched my toenail polish) Josh came back to stay with me. There was some kind of compression thing hooked up to my gown that was making it all puffy. I couldn't stop touching it, it felt so weird. If I ever got to go to the moon I would probably spend the whole time playing with the gadgets on my space suit. Anyway, I mentioned that I had brought my purse and I didn't know why. Josh offered to take it back out to the waiting room. I thought about it. I couldn't part with it. I still don't know why. Maybe I should have asked the anesthesiologist to put a fresh coat of lip gloss on me after she stuck the tube down my throat. 

So, my purse went into surgery with me. When I woke up Josh was there and a male nurse. Of course I got a male nurse. Did I mention this surgery had to do with girl stuff? Right as I came to this nurse lifted my blanket and gown to check out things. Things you don't want stranger men checking out. Whoa! I was not prepared for that! Josh and I both looked at each other like, wha? Very awkward. And I realized that if I could have reached it and it didn't weigh more than I was allowed to lift, I might have knocked that nurse upside the head with my purse just from reflex. And that is something Sophia would do. :)

I can just imagine the dialogue in this picture: 

Dorothy: "Ma, why are you taking your purse into surgery with you?"
Sophia: "In case some male nurse tries to get fresh with me in recovery.  I'm from Sicily, you never go to the hospital without protection."
Photo Courtesy of Google Images