Happy Birthday to Us?

My oldest son is about to turn 8, and naturally he asked me about planning his birthday party recently. Thanks to my mother this boy lives for a good party. I told him we’d figure it out after I called the place to see if they had availability for his birthday weekend, and then I started thinking… It blows my mind that the 8 pound baby I gave birth to is nearly a decade old. I can still smell his newborn skin. My eyes well just thinking of the first time I held him and what it was like looking at every inch of him. It is every single cliche possible. It was the single happiest and scariest moment in my entire life.

His birthday isn’t only a big day for him, but it is an enormously significant day for me, as is typical for the birth of anyone’s first child. October 10th, 2009 isn’t only huge because he is my firstborn, but it changed every single thing in my life in ways I didn’t anticipate (outside of the obvious). I was 20 years clueless when I had him aka a Junior in college aka blissfully ignorant. Now the blissful ignorance thankfully did not include a fear or lack of knowledge on babies or their care or anything, thank goodness! I am the oldest of my immediate cousins on both sides, so I could feed and change a baby with my eyes closed, and I knew all the general info, BUT I was 20. Regardless of how bright or mature or independent I was or thought I was, I was still 20. All the things you’re “supposed” to do before having kids, all the lives you should have lived, I hadn’t. I was excited and fearful.

For his birthday, like I do for every birthday of my kids, I thought about what I wanted to post along with a photo collage of them on my social media. What I wanted to post was far too long for a picture caption, so here it is a little early…

 When I thought about what I wanted to post on social media for your birthday, the first thing I thought to say was that you were first real thing in my life that was mine. I thought about it for a second and realized that you aren’t mine and never have been. It’s actually very much the other way around.

The day you were born I became yours in so many ways. Everything I did and do still are for you, I gave and continue to give everything for you. From the second you came into this world you have been my greatest test, challenge, investment, lesson, accomplishment, happiness, sadness, struggle. Your birthday has so much more meaning to me than any old birthday.  It’s not only a big day for you, but for me as well. I didn’t try for you or plan for you, you just “came about” in a certain sense. I hate when people refer to it as a mistake though, because I could have made other decisions. You weren’t a mistake, you were a choice I made myself.

You changed the definition and direction of my life. You are the thing in my life that I didn’t know I needed.

Khalil Gibran said, “Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself. They came through you but not from you and though they are with you yet they belong not to you.”

He was right. Everyday you remind me how much of your own person you are. Even though you are only 8 years old, you are one of the most challenging individuals I have ever encountered. At every turn you show me what to expect and what not to. If I tell you up you say down. You never just do what I say, you question every single thing any person in your life tells you. This is a blessing and a curse. You have struggled in ways I couldn’t sympathize with from experience, but as your mother. Watching you struggle to learn how to talk because of your tongue tie related speech delay was so difficult as your mom. I saw how mean kids were, how frustrated you were by your lack of ability to clearly communicate what you were thinking. I see how that delay has affected your education and lack of enthusiasm for school, and even your diet (children with extended tongue ties and GERD tend to have diet problems). This was me and Daddy’s fault as we weren’t educated enough on the affects of a tongue tie and listened to the doctor’s for longer then we should have without getting a second opinion. Obviously we addressed this with both of your brothers at birth because of what we learned with you. That was a first time parent mistake, you are our experiment baby and we are sorry! (Don’t worry I was Mama and Papa’s experiment baby too since I’m the oldest.)

 

Even though are you challenging and have faced challenges, you are so sensitive and sweet, and that may be because of your struggles. Those challenges made your emotional intelligence something to be marveled at. You are so very special. You are kind and thoughtful in ways that even at 28, I am not. You are so patient with your brothers, your love, care, and concern for them is so wonderful to watch. You are the perfect older brother.

 

Because you are so kind and were an only child for quite a few years, you are great at making friends. Everyone in the park knows you and they’re always happy to see you and play with you. The parents are always telling us what a great kid you are. (We are so glad you aren’t one of the increasingly numerous nasty kids at the park!) You have more play date requests then any boy I know and you can find a way to fit in anywhere; even with the big kids who wait to play basketball with you. You have all kinds of friends too. Kids aren’t always nice to kids who are different, even if it’s that they are afraid or mean because they are unfamiliar with their disability. You never are, you don’t even question it and you always defend them. When the teenage boy you play with, who has Down Syndrome, wants to play basketball at the park you always make room for him on your team and always show him all the games you are playing on the court even if its not basketball. Watching you be so kind to him even though he can’t speak and seeing you defend him when the big kids make fun of him is one of the many reasons I am so proud to be your mom. It makes up for the times when I’m pretty sure you were put on this Earth to test my sanity. I so admire your incredibly kind and innocent heart. You don’t have prejudice against anyone. This shows me that Daddy and I did something right.

 

You ask A LOT of questions. You substitute common sense with questions. This makes me nuts! If it’s hard for you, you’d prefer not to do it, like school. It makes me sad that you have a hard time and don’t like it. I wish I could make this easier for you and that I had more patience when you’re throwing a homework tantrum. I promise I am working on that, and my patience in general.

 

Mommy and Daddy get mad at you a lot over silly things that we wish you did less or more of. Now you’re getting bigger and we expect you to do more or less of those things. I’d really like for you to clean your room and put your clothes in the laundry without me having to tell you 40 times. I wish you’d get off the iPad when I tell you to instead of running away to hide with it. I’d love it if you’d just go to bed at night without protesting and telling me you aren’t tired. You are the most “awake” person I’ve ever met. I could also do without the 65 conversations of what you’re going to have for lunch, but I could never do without you!

 

Every single day, whether it is obvious or not, I get up in the morning for you. I want to be better and successful for you. I want to see you grow and be happy and learn. I want you to have all the things in life I couldn’t. Actually I want you to have whatever and be whoever you want. I want you to see the world and I want the world to know you and how special you are. You won’t know or understand this for a very long time, but anything good Mommy and Daddy have or are is due in large part to you.

 

You turned my life upside down and inside out. We have weathered so many storms together, you are a trooper and a fighter, and the one of the happiest kids around. You are the greatest thing to ever happen in my world. It is my pleasure to watch you grow, even when you aren’t being a pleasure.

 

I love you more then you love Roblox.

 

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Hi, I’m an Athiest. How about you?

The title of this just made you judge me. I know it and I’m okay with it. Yup, I said it. I’m a Catholic/Buddhist (my mom is a non-practicing Catholic and my dad is a Chinese Buddhist), Catholic school girl atheist. Please don’t try to save me, preach to me, send me flyers, ask me to join your club and/or support group…I’m not lost or searching for any kind of recruitment or guidance towards the shining lights of your God, but thanks anyway!

I have been to every kind of religious institution; church, temple, synagogue, mosque, yet none have filled me with so much “faith” that I jump on the bandwagon. I have never gone to any of these houses of worship with a closed mind. I go, I listen, I observe, I absorb the cultural traditions, and I respect that I am in a room full of people who are dedicated to their religious convictions. In fact I love religious studies, I find all religion interesting, but I do not believe in it per se. I respect that you believe whatever it is that you believe, but do I agree with you? Not in the least bit! BUT I do know why you believe….do you know why I don’t? Well take a seat and give the atheist a chance, after all wouldn’t God insist you do?

Voltaire’s simple assessment provides you with one of the biggest reason why I am an Athiest, “Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.”

In the name of religion we shun our relatives, we blow things and people up, we have the Crusades, the Spanish Inquisition, the current conflict between Israel and Hamas, clergy who take advantage of children, and the Westboro Church. Religious institutions use their convictions to suppress women, to starve people of education, and to control and judge people’s individual lifestyles. Most of the so-called religious people I know are a bunch of hypocrites…you smoke and drink, lie, and have sex before marriage (all things I wouldn’t care about, but religion shuns), but you’re on your knees worshiping on your Holy Day of the week, so that makes you a better person than me? I don’t think so. Not to mention I find religious people to be the most unforgiving and judgmental people when I though religion was all about love and forgiveness. “God forgive me”, is a popular phrase out of the mouths of God fearing creatures, because if you do something not so favorable it is okay because God loves you and he will forgive you of your sins, therefore you are not a bad person, you are just being a flawed human, right?

The Vatican is one of the most secretive and richest institutions in the entire world, it’s it’s own city state!! But the clergy takes a vow of poverty? If everything they do is for the betterment of society why are so many things so guarded and secret? Fundamentalist Islamic organizations shame the true roots of their religion by starving their youth of education and making them believe that being suicide bombers is an honorable act, that the bombs full of shrapnel will blow outwards instead of blowing them up. Not only does this give people a wholly negative idea of a religion that is no more “evil” than any other, but these acts are in the name of the Almighty God. Does that make any sense? I thought God was supposed to be looking out for us, guiding us in the direction of goodness. Instead it seems that God is constantly judging us and not loving us in spite of who were are…

Can you tell me why you believe in a Higher Power? Most of the time when I question people they look at me dumbfounded, scrambling to give me some bullshit response about how in times of darkness The Lord has pulled them up, or “What do you mean? How don’t you?!”, yada yada…In truth people typically “believe” for the following reasons: 1) Someone else taught you to believe it and you practice more from routine than devout belief 2) You fear oblivion and the fact that Earthly existence is it 3) You say you believe when you really have no reason to, but are too scared to say.

In 99% of cases people did not stumble upon their love of God one morning, unless of course you’re a recovering addict or reformed ex-con of some sort looking for a new addiction/cause in the form of whatever religious group came to “save” you first… So can you tell me why God allows genocides? Does he not like those people? Is he too busy helping other people? On a near daily basis I am reminded of why I question God as I walk past a severely mentally ill man in the train station who sits there filthy, wearing tattered clothes, freezing if it’s cold or wet when it rains, but never begging, just talking to himself. It makes me so sick I have brought him food and drink on more than one occasion and NOT because God compelled me to, but because I have a conscience and seeing a human suffer that way makes me feel terrible…Lord knows he didn’t compel the two people who stand mere feet away from him handing out Jehovah Witness flyers…

In my opinion of what should be common sense, religion was created to explain the inexplicable at a time when science did not exist, when people were mostly uneducated and looking for guidance. Question: Why did that volcano explode? Answer: God must be mad at us, let’s sacrifice the town virgin!! Question: Why did Mary, the unwed young girl become pregnant out of wedlock? Answer: That’s right!!! She was impregnated, not by a man, but by God!!!

Who would have believed me if I used that when I was 20, unmarried, and pregnant? Can I retroactively claim to have been carrying the next Messiah? My oldest son’s name is Mateo which does mean Gift of God!! I’m sure my mother would have been much more understanding had that been the case! HAHA

It’s the year 2014, why can’t we accept that science is the reason for everything on this planet and beyond? That evil is driven by ignorance, that ignorance is a super power of it’s own leading megalomaniac people (who are basically ruled by their overwhelming insecurity) to become tyrants or radical leaders. Why can’t we accept that religious scripture is meant not to be taken literally, but metaphorically and anecdotally? Also, why can’t we see that we have progressed from Biblical times? Socially, technologically, and scientifically our world is completely different. We aren’t so ignorant anymore (ignorance isn’t really a bad thing, just a lack of knowledge). At the end of the day The Bible is just a book of stories from a time when women couldn’t even own property…do you still think it’s completely relevant? The Bible says we should not cut our hair and men should not shave their beards…does this automatically mean we are bad Christians since we obviously do both those things? Or are there things its okay to disregards and certain things that aren’t okay? If so, who is the deciding power in what we can ignore and what we must follow? Oh wait!! Ask me!! I know!! ANOTHER MAN!!! The Pope! He’s the one who deciphers between right and wrong because God Himself gave him the authority to do so, you know because you saw him come down and decree this.

Having blind faith in something is not a noble thing. I know that’s a huge thing that religious people use to describe the depths of their conviction, but I don’t see how blindly following anything is something to be proud of. It is in our nature as human beings to question things, to express our curiosity, it’s part of our learning process. How could you just say “yes” to everything someone preaches to you without examining it? The only other thing we follow blindly is love and that doesn’t typically work out too well either! Be driven by your morality and virtue as a human being. I consider myself a very spiritual and morally bound person and nothing good that I do has anything to do with God or my ultimate goal of heaven. Is something really good if you are only doing it for fear of being condemned to hell?

Blind faith usually means a lack of knowledge on the topic. Since you never question anything, you never seek to learn more about it. The thing is people’s blind faith or blind anything is really out of fear of the unknown. It’s easier to wear blinders and just go with it than to have to dig deep because you might uncover things you don’t like. Do you know how many so-called religious Catholic/Christian’s I’ve challenged to justify their belief system to me who can’t even give me a direct quote from Scripture? Tell me how not one could give me the Medieval history of the religion, meanwhile that is a time of huge change/development in the Church and a time period in which most of the a dictum that shaped our modern day Church were put into effect. I couldn’t get one person who could tell me about the Great Schism or the Council of Trent off the top of their heads. I even got a, “What the hell are you talking about?!” These people couldn’t talk me about the root of all their religious beliefs, but they could tell me that being gay is bad without missing a beat! So then it brings me to the point of being educated and why education is key and liberating. I guarantee if we were better educated as a whole you’d see the population of religious people continue to decline. The more educated we are the less religious we are and the less children we have. It’s an indisputable fact. But if you’re going to claim to be devoutly religious I need you to be able to educate me instead of the other way around. Don’t claim to be something you’re not, don’t pick and choose things to know or believe in. When you say you believe something say that with 100% certainty that you have taken the time to do the work! Don’t in the same conversation go on to me about your devotion to Christ and then when I ask you about your views on the papal hypocrisy of their many affairs and bastard children and bribery tell me that I have no idea what I’m talking about.

If I should have any label it should be that of a humanist. Dictionary.com defines humanism as, “a variety of ethical theory and practice that emphasizes reasonscientific inquiry, and human fulfillment in the natural world and often rejects the importance of belief in God.” That is in the simplest terms what I believe and how I live my life and I feel like it has served me well. Whatever I do, whatever choices I make I base upon how I feel it will affect myself and those around me, not on a patented response I should have because someone else told me. I teach my son’s to be good people because it’s the right thing, not because of God, and as a result my older son happens to be one of the kindest children I personally know. He has not suffered for the lack of Christ’s infusion in his life. Maybe you feel like your religion makes you make the right choices and that’s fine by me. I’m not here to bring you over to side of “righteousness”, I am here to hopefully help you understand why I believe what I do and to show you that being an atheist does not make you the Anti-Christ. It just makes me a person who makes choices, just like you. Whatever you believe is great and if God is what gets you through the day, wonderful!! But just please resist the urge to be a conformist because it’s easy! Having someone think for you isn’t the right thing, ever!

In fact get a last laugh from these two great Atheists, a writer and one of the greatest comedians ever. Another one of my favorite Atheists (Bill Maher quoted them a bunch of times):

“For those who believe in God, most of the big questions are answered. But for those of us who can’t readily accept the God formula, the big answers don’t remain stone-written. We adjust to new conditions and discoveries. We are pliable. Love need not be a command nor faith a dictum. I am my own god. We are here to unlearn the teachings of the church, state, and our educational system. We are here to drink beer. We are here to kill war. We are here to laugh at the odds and live our lives so well that Death will tremble to take us.”
Charles Bukowski

“Religion has convinced people that there’s an invisible man … living in the sky. Who watches everything you do every minute of every day. And the invisible man has a list of ten specific things he doesn’t want you to do. And if you do any of these things, he will send you to a special place, of burning and fire and smoke and torture and anguish for you to live forever, and suffer, and suffer, and burn, and scream, until the end of time. But he loves you. He loves you. He loves you and he needs money.”
George Carlin

Mom Must-Haves

It seems that everyone is having a baby everywhere I turn! I’m buying  a baby gift on a regular basis!!

When a couple finds out that they are expecting a baby for the first they are typically a little fearful and then ecstatic. Once all the excitement settles down you have to start avoiding everyone’s obnoxious, but well meaning advice and baby name suggestions. After that you are faced with registering for a baby shower and/or buying all things necessary for the little person who is going to come and take over your life. Researching all things baby can be soooo overwhelming! I am the research queen of the universe! When I was pregnant with my son I Googled the hell out of everything, read product reviews and consumer reports, went to stores to touch everything, and then made a decision. Needless to say this took me forever and a day…

If you are already a mother and a friend or family member respects your opinion they will ask for your advice from time to time when they are expecting a baby of their own. There isn’t anything quite as reliable as a mother who has already been there, done that!

Honestly, though, you never really know what you need and what is great, good, or bad until you have the baby and are using the products everyday. I over registered, registered for things I NEVER used, and got too little or none of things I actually needed. Once you get that scan gun in your hand its all, “OMG, that’s so cute!”, “OMG, I definitely need this”…STOP!!! You don’t need it and it might be cute, but it’s more than likely unnecessary!! Now three years into parenthood I am here to give you the list of Must-Have Items that have aided me in my journey:

-Stroller: I do a lot of walking and am a very petite woman and so is my mother who is my son’s caretaker during the day. I needed something sturdy, relatively easy to close, not too heavy, and of course reputably safe. This is one of the most important purchases you will make and it isn’t something you should skimp on. SPEND THE MONEY!! I swear by, live by, and worship Baby Jogger!! They are a little on the pricey side and as it goes with any luxury brand every single piece is sold separate. This brand is reliable, sturdy, has an amazing canopy that almost completely covers the baby (which is awesome in the summer!), and the biggest selling points are the large baskets and the one hand fold. The City Mini GT and City Versa have a 50 lb weigh capacity meaning you will not have to buy more than one stroller EVER!! (There was a recent recall on the City Versa, but for a small hiccup that has since been corrected and was on a very small batch of distributed strollers). You can buy the infant car seat adapter so you can fit any brand car seat on the stroller to use until the baby is six months old. Now you can avoid buying the “Snap and Go”! This creates such a great level of convenience when taking baby in and out of the car without having to disturb them. Also, if you have twins or children close in age the City Select is a God send and I believe in it so much that I have purchased the multiple children versions for two of my closest family friends, who now swear by them. Trust me they are worth the money!! Prices go from $300-$500, plus all the separate pieces. Graco Travel Systems may look and sound convenient, but they are bulky and heavy, and annoying, and take up your entire trunk if it even fits (which it didn’t in my small trunk).

-Car Seat: This is also an incredibly important purchase and definitely something you should look into reviews and consumer reports for. Luckily Graco has amazing safety rating and a great selection. Here is once place where you don’t have to spend a million dollars to have quality for your child! You can of course go with Britax or Peg Perego (and their hefty price tags), but luckily in this regard you can go with the good old trusty Graco!! When it comes to convertible car seats and booster seats Graco has a great selection and so does Safety First! My son has one of each booster seat and they have never let me down. Only downside to Safety First is that the straps twist once in a while,  but that’s a nuance.

-Baby & Kids Travel Friends Pillow: It is one the most highly rated Auto accessories that One Step Ahead offers and sooooo many parents swear by it! It is available in three sizes; 0-12 months, 1-4 yrs, and 4-8 yrs. It offers great support and avoids the head bobbing in the car seat that a lot of parent have to worry about. A must, must have at $14.95.

-Diapers: I love myself Pampers! They are soft, absorbent, and never irritated my sons (who has excema) skin like Huggies did. These were the only diapers I ever used after having tried many other brands. When you have a baby with fragile skin you need to be careful about what you use! Huggies is my least favorite next to Luvs, as it has these tight bands around the thighs that squeezed my very fat baby’s legs and they are also very rough and made him itchy and irritable. I do know quite a few moms who swear by the BJ’s Wholesale Club brand diapers. I have heard really good things about them, so they are definitely worth a shot!! Plus they come at a great price as well!!

-Wipes: Again, my son has excema so I need to check and read all the ingredients of things that I put on him. In the hospital they do not use baby wipes and most pediatricians ask you to avoid them as much as possible since they do tend to dry out and irritate the skin (most contain alcohol). For the first three months I never used a single wipe on my son. I carried around the ever reliable and fantastic Choose-Your-Size Viva paper towel in a ziploc bag along with a little squirt bottle (that they gave me in the hospital) of room temperature water. Quick, Easy. Painless. Once he was a little bigger I started using baby wipes from time to time and found that the Pamper brand gave his skin a terrible rash and left him kind of slimy (for lack of better reference). Huggies wipes weren’t terrible, but still irritate him a bit. Then my aunt saved me from my predicament and introduced me to the Kirkland brand of wipes (the store brand of Costco). Since then I have never turned back!! They are cloth like and the best I have found in three years!! For $29 for a case of 900 you can’t go wrong!!! Even though my son is no longer in diapers I still use them.

-Bath: When it comes to picking the perfect tub and bath products here are my picks:

From birth to 6 months pick up a Blooming Bath or a Puj Soft Infant Bath Tub. Both are for use in a sink to bathe a baby safely! The Blooming Bath is incredibly cute and plush, but has to be put in the dryer or hang dried afterwards creating a little more work on your end. The Puj is not plush, but easy to use, clean, and widely recommended! After the baby passes the six month mark I love the Dreambaby Deluxe Bath Seat! It keeps the baby in place safely, but leave plenty of room for you to be able to clean them. By this age they usually don’t like to lay down so it’s nice to use this. Once the baby is in the tub (by six months) you will need a kneeling pad or seat so your back doesn’t break during bathtime. I’m all about the 3-in-1 Sit and Store Tub-Side Seat from One Step Ahead. Incidentally, they have a ton of great products and are a place you must shop at!! You are then faced with bath products…Aveeno and California Baby all the way! No need to say anymore!!!

-Burp Clothes: My son had relfux until he was seven months old so I had to deal with spit up all day! All those thin little washcloth like ones were useless and soaked in two minutes. I went through them like nothing and it was so frustrating! Then a family friend told me that the Gerber Cloth Diapers were the true worthy burp clothes. Boy was she right!!! They are thick, absorbent and one lasted me most of the day before I had to toss it in the wash. Plus, the spit up never leaked through the cloth onto my clothes, which was a big bonus considering that fact that I had no desire to continually smell like ‘Eau de Vomit’.

-Changing Table: I know that the dresser/changing table is a space saver for a lot of people, but who ever said that changing a baby sideways was the right way? I always found it rather annoying and inconvenient and then I found the Badger Basket Corner Changing Table. Not only is this a great idea, but it is a space saver and storage space as well. You can’t go wrong with this and the baby is facing forward. This is a must have for sure!!! Especially for dad’s who are confused by the whole diaper thing in the first place! Bonus…the changing table comes with a changing pad, so all you need to do is buy cute sheets for the pad.

-Sleeping Gear: A lot of people swear by swings. My son was not a fan…if I put him it he screeched so mine was a huge waste of $200 and something I had to give away to someone who said it worked like a charm. A popular choice, a safe choice, a technologically cool choice, and the one I had and a lot of mothers love is the Graco Sweetpeace Newborn Soothing Swing Center. There are a million reasons to love it…you can plug an iPod into it, it has a bunch of great soothing sounds to pick from, the seat vibrates, and the seat comes off and you can click in any Graco infant seat on it. Then comes to cribs and such…that is really a matter of what style you like and obviously there are a million different cribs out there. Do your research and find one that works for you. A great place to put baby down to nap and a lot of people use for newborns before they put them in the crib is the Fisher Price Rock and Play Sleeper. With my own eyes I have witnessed what a charm it is, this is a must must have!! Also a up and coming trend that I will definitely participate in with my next child is a baby hammock. These are quite popular outside of this country and are great for fussy sleepers, colicky babies, reflux babies, and former co-sleepers. They cocoon baby, slightly elevate them, and naturally rock them simulating life in the womb. Some of them go up to 30 pounds! You can look into brands like Happy Hang Up, Kanoe Baby Hammock, and Hushamok. They are all shipped internationally and have great reviews and recommendations. I will most certainly be getting one for my second child!

-Other Miscellaneous Must Haves:

-Air Purifier/Cool Mist Humidifier: Get them, you’ll need them!!!!

-Diaper Genie: Yes, it is worth it and what it is hyped up to be!

-Boppy: Loved it and used it from the hospital until he could sit up on his own. He even used it after just cause he liked it.

-Bottles: My son was exclusively breastfed and NEVER once drank from a bottle, but I received a ton of the top brands like Avent, Dr. Brown’s and Tommee Tippee. I will have to return to work after having my next child so I have been looking into bottles and have come across one that will soon be released called Bare Bottle, go check it out at bittylab.com. It is made for breastfed babies to ease the transition and has revolutionary technology, I along with many other breastfeeding moms are already sold on it. It has taken 5 years to develop and is being released in February 2013.  I am already signed up for pre-sale orders and discounts and will definitely be purchasing at least 8 as soon as they are available!!! This bottle will be priced at a reasonable $14.99 each and will come in 4oz and 8oz versions.

-Soothie Pacifier: I was totally anti-pacifier, but in the hospital they ended up giving it to my son and he was hooked. I ended up loving them and he used them until he was three months old when he weened himself off of them. They are great and inexpensive.

-7Am Enfant Blanket 212 Evolution: This is something I had to have despite the $189 price tag. It pays for itself it is so good and comes in a bunch of great colors too. Like I said I do a lot of walking and my son was born in October so it started to get cold as soon as he came home. I had a JJ Cole BundleMe which was nice, but it didn’t cover around his head and only fit on his infant seat. So like I always do I started to research and came across this great find. Not only does it go from newborn to 4 years because it expands in size (which no other one does) but it went around his head and provided more warmth and weather proofing than any other one I had found. It goes from the infant car seat right into the stroller and can be used until the child is no longer stroller compatible! Now JJ Cole finally caught up and makes one exactly the same and just as good, but without the abundant color choices and it is only $120! It is called the JJ Cole Polar BundleMe. Scoop it up it is worth every penny!!!! Baby doesn’t even need a coat under here, just a sweater and hat which is awesome because it is not recommended that a baby wear a coat in the carseat. Keep this in mind if you have a winter or cool weather baby as they will not release you from the hospital with more than one layer of clothing on the baby or any kind of carseat cover. You will only be allowed blankets. Obviously once I left the hospital I immediately put on my JJ Cole, I never felt like it was a safety hazard, ever!

-ERGO Baby Carrier: Great choice and comes in great patterns and colors and has a lot of great accessories with it as well. Goes from newborn to 45 pounds!!

-Nasal Aspirator: In the first few weeks mine proved to be essential and the NoseFrida Snotsucker (gross name, great product) was a God send.

-Nail Clipper and nail files: Baby is usually born with thin, but kind of long nails. People are always afraid of cutting them, but you really should to avoid scratching. Since they are so thin at first you don’t even need to use the clipper, but simply file them down. I did this on a regular basis as baby nails tend to grow pretty fast from all the calcium they receive. I hate seeing babies in those creepy mittens because I don’t believe in the sensory deprivation. A tiny scratch on occasion never killed anyone, they are most certainly not going to claw their eyes out, and have no coordination, so please loose the mittens!

-Onesies: There is no such thing as too many!! Stock up when they are on sale while you are pregnant and always! They will become soiled a lot and you will use them under most outfits so always have a ton! I bought tons of Gerber white onesies, but my true favorite are the Carter’s white onesies because they was really well and don’t shrink like Gerber ones

-Bibs: Once baby starts teething or if they have reflux you will need these. I worship the Carter’s brand as they are lined with plastic in between the layers of fabric and obviously don’t leak through to wet babies adorable outfit. They come in different sizes and with cute phrases and designs. They wash wonderfully unlike most bibs and I bought them every time they were on sale and used them until he didn’t need then anymore.

-Medela Breast Pump: It is worth the hype. Especially if you are a working mom committed to breastfeeding. Get one!! Remember..breast milk is the best milk!!! These tend to be a bit pricey running from $200-$350 range, BUT make sure you check with your insurance provider to see if they cover it. Now a lot of insurance company’s are either paying for it in total or covering a decent portion of it.

-Beaba BabyCook 4in1 Food Prep and Blender: worth it, buy it, don’t be lazy! Making baby food of your own isn’t only healthier, but saves you a ton of money! Do it on the weekends during baby’s nap time or at night after they are out. You can make enough for the week and freeze it and send it to the baby sitters or daycare or if you stay at home its a good once a week project. It will literally slash your food spending in half and you will have the comfort of knowing exactly what is in your child’s food. Buy reusuable pouches like Go Fresh Baby or Little Green Pouch to store the food to go. You can also just steam them and then puree them in your food processor if you want to save the money on this little device. If you don’t care to make your own food go with Earth’s Best, Ella’s Kitchen Organic food, and Plum Organics. I still use them till this day and my son is three! I add them to his food since he hates veggies and he doesn’t even know its there.

-Protect-a-bub Classic Sunshade: It has 50+ UPF and completely covers the baby since most sunshades are short and do not provide UPF at all. With my extremely fair skinned son this was important. Every parent should protect their kids from the sun as much as possible!!! Don’t forget the Neutrogena baby sunscreen!! Gentle on the skin and great protector!!!

-Graco 4-in-1 Highchair: Love, like all Graco products it comes in a variety of great designs and is the highchair you can have through all stages, but most importantly it is affordable!!!

-Okkatots Baby Depot Diaper Bag Backpack: All you need to do is Google it and you will see exactly why this is the bag to have, especially if you’re not a first time mom. I made the mistake of getting a trendy, expensive one that didn’t have enough room to do anything besides look cute! This bag is durable, practical, and can carry everything you need!

What are some baby products you guys consider a must have that I don’t know about or missed? There is always something to add! I hope this helped some people expecting new babies and people who have new ones!! Just thought I’d put this together since so many people have been asking me about baby products…now I have it written down!

I Believe in a thing called Love…

“Love never dies a natural death. It dies because we don’t know how to replenish its source. It dies of blindness and errors and betrayals. It dies of illness and wounds; it dies of weariness, of witherings, of tarnishings.”

Anais Nin

How can you not love Anais Nin’s ever inspiring words?

Love. It is ever illusive, much sought after, and the greatest enigma of our lives. There are no words to explain love; romantic, friendly, familial, or otherwise. It is what it is. Inexplicable, extraordinary, all consuming, unceasing, and life altering no matter what the outcome.

When you’re romantically in love you think it will never end, you feel like you’re on top of the world, as if you can accomplish anything. So what happens when relationships end? Where does the love go? How can you go from having such passionate, genuine feelings for someone to being indifferent or hating them. This is not a ‘Sex and the City’ Carrie Bradshaw column, it’s an honest question.

We write songs about love, build the Taj Mahal, move across countries, quit smoking; we mold our lives around the people we love. Our significant others are what represent our faith in the goodness of the world in a sense. This is why when they let us down in one way or another we are so incredibly hurt. Inevitably we will disappoint one another and that is always hard to swallow. But what exactly is it that puts a strain on our love for one another or what ends it?
I am married to someone I love very much, but our love is not the love it was when it first began. We have had a very difficult relationship with ups and downs that are almost inexplicable. Ours isn’t something unheard of or unparallelled, but it hasn’t been the easiest. When I was a young, silly, beyond hopeful, and idealistic 17 year old girl and in love for the first time my husband was the greatest person on Earth to me. He was my favorite person to be around and at the time I could really call him one of my best friends as we had been genuine friends before we dated. I can say that we knew each other and enjoyed each others company outside of our romantic relationship. At first we were straight out of one of my favorite Olsen twin movies growing up (yes, I was a fan thanks to my best friends)…”It’s that can’t eat, can’t sleep, reach for the stars over the fence, world series kind of love”. I was young and innocent and that’s always how you describe first love. I was untainted, never had been disappointed, and incredibly optimistic. Then time passes and things happen…

Our rocky road is a totally different blog post, but in summation that’s what it has been. When your love for someone grows and evolves a lot of things grow from it. For me, as time continues it has been my commitment to him, my faith in him, fostered by my love for him that have kept us afloat. When it comes down to it a woman is the one ultimately responsible for maintaining relationships because being a nurturer is not in a man’s nature, so you have to put in the work. Don’t get me wrong the guy has to show you he’s present and treat you well and give you the things you want, but the fundamentals are put in place and maintained by the woman. That isn’t a bad thing though if reading that turns you off…that’s good because it means you set the standard. Your commitment has to be unwavering especially through rough patches because that’s when it really counts. These are the times that really test your limits and when you learn what your limits truly are. You can claim all sorts of things and makes statements like, “I would never..”, “If he/she ever did..”, “There is no way that I would deal with/put up with…”, but it means nothing until you are put in the situation because you can’t ever be sure what you will actually do. I am the first person to attest to the fact that I was the reigning Queen of the previously mentioned statements. Obviously I was clueless and had no idea what I was talking about…

So, then it comes down to the disintegration of relationships gone bad. Where do you draw the line and say enough is enough? When does your love “die” or stop being enough? I think that answer is different from person to person. Ultimately the demise has to lie in being deceived and disappointed as those are usually what cause irreparable damage. There is also a difference between loving someone and being a masochist. Regardless, there comes a time in some relationships when there is no repair. But, if you believe love is energy, like I do, then it can’t possibly die right? Maybe you just learn to love yourself more than the other person and so your commitment to being your best self supersedes your love for said person. Then there is also the ugly part of broken relationships that you have to contend with…the thought of hating another person who you once so loved is terrible, but sadly a result of having been badly hurt. We are only human and when people wrong you there is going to be resentment and sometimes (depending on the severity of the wrong doing) people will never speak again, go through bitter divorces, and do vindictive things to each other, and that is so sad to see or be a part of. Sadly, like everyone else I don’t really know the answer to when enough is enough, I think if any of us did we would all be walking around this planet in blissful relationships.

There is also an alternate “death” to a romantic relationship…falling out of love. How the hell does that happen? If everything in your relationship is as close to perfect as possible on the inside, how do you stop loving someone? I guess we grow and not in the same direction and subsequently apart, or maybe there is damage that we don’t see or acknowledge. Sometimes we can no longer give the other person what they need or they can’t give us what we now require. Maybe you even fell in love with someone else? Can that happen when you still love the person you’re in a relationship with? No right? Who knows…love is fluid and different for each individual person. I define love differently than you, then my husband, than my neighbor, and the lady sitting next to me on the train, so our perception and needs vary.

Basically, regardless of the outcome love should be celebrated, cherished, appreciated, and marveled at because we don’t know what tomorrow holds. Every single minute counts, every kiss and loving gesture means something. And one day all that might be gone, but it doesn’t make the time any less relevant. A spoiled love shouldn’t ruin you for the next one. We might not have a successful relationship with the “greatest” love of our lives, most people don’t, but the love is there, it always remains in the time and space in which it was. Don’t harbor resentment against former loves, appreciate what you had and all that energy you spend dwelling on the negative..take it and remember your time together for all the good times, even if they were few and far between. Be grateful that you had them because no matter what they DID teach you something, they gave you something you needed at the time, and the end of your relationship closes a door, but opens one too. Nothing has made me loose faith in love, I believe in it, can’t live without it, and if we didn’t need it, it wouldn’t manifest in so many forms in our lives. After all it’s what makes the world go ’round, right? A lot of songs tell us so at least…

Motherhood and the Workforce

My love for my son trumps anything and everything. There isn’t one thing in this universe that comes before him and his needs and my commitment to being a parent. Motherhood is the single most important job/responsibility/gift that I have ever had or will ever have in my life. BUT, I am a working mother and very guiltily love to work. Not only do I love to work, but I love my job, and I like feeling like I have something to call my own. Something that helps me keep my identity as an individual outside of my duties as a mother is important to me.

If I had to make a choice between the two I would drop my work in an instant! In a perfect world I would not have gone back to work until Mateo was in school, but in this day and age and economy I was not able to do that. I got to stay home for 15 months with my son and I am so incredibly grateful for the fact that I got to stay with him for the important first year. If I had missed that time in his life I think I really would have been broken up about it and I think our relationship would be different. There aren’t many people who are as fortunate as I was in that situation and I thank my lucky stars that I was given the opportunity to be with him as long as I was.

With that said, when I went back to work I cried everyday for the first month. I called my mother fifteen thousand times to see if he was okay, if she had fed him, if he was crying, if he was breathing, if he missed me, if I had been gone so long that he had solved the Rubix cube (haha). My mother would start to ignore my calls because I called that much! I was possessed by the thought of something happening to him when he was out of my sight. I also was obsessed with him forgetting me and thinking my mom was his mother or preferring her over me! [Thankfully that is not the case and my mom will be the first person to say that when his father and I are home he barely knows her, so crisis averted HAHA!] I had never (before going back to work) left him for more than three hours, as he was exclusively breastfed, so I was ridden with anxiety. Obviously my mother had raised two children to adulthood, but when it’s your child none of that means anything (on top of the fact that I became very anxious once I had Mateo). Another part of my incredible fortune was that my mother was able to stay home and take care of my son for me, which alleviated A LOT of stress and saved my husband and I a TON of money. If I had not been able to leave Mateo with my mother I have no clue how I would have survived the first month of work.

After my “transition period” back into the workforce I realized that I was glad to be around adults and talk about things other than laundry, dishes, nap time, diapers, and Yo Gabba Gabba. It was weird for sure as I felt like I was missing a limb, but liberating in a sense. That is when the guilt really started setting in…
The second I realized I was enjoying work I felt like a TERRIBLE mother! When I would get home everyday and Tommy or my mom or someone would ask how work was going I would just give my patented answer of, “Fine”, as I had no desire to tell anyone that I wasn’t exactly hating work anymore. The fact that I didn’t feel sick about being away from my son anymore made me feel awful. I still missed Mateo terribly and called to check on him, but I didn’t feel like crying anymore when I left for work and my anxiety subsided a bit. I had to figure out a way to stop feeling guilty as I knew I was working to help support my son.

While I was at work I would focus on my task at hand so I would not call my mother as much and kept calls strictly to breaks. It also helped a great deal that Mateo wasn’t crying anymore when I left for work and I didn’t have to hear him screaming “Mama” as I left. After a while it got so much easier and we got into a groove; I was less anxious, so Mateo was less anxious, and he knew that I was coming home at the end of the day. Now, 23 months after I returned to work there are still days where I just want to stay home with him and play and just be his mom and it makes me sad that I don’t have the choice. When he is sick it’s so difficult to leave him! But, mostly we have a great balance…I get to be a working, productive adult at my job from 9-5 and  then “Mom” during all other hours.
The struggle really makes you wonder though. As a woman you can’t have it all unfortunately. You either get to fulfill your career aspirations completely or you get to fulfill your maternal desires completely. If you can’t do one or the other completely you have to struggle to be somewhere in the middle doing both. This is what remains the hard part of being a working mother for me. As a man you can be off being Master of the Universe everyday, travel for your job, and still be the dad who tosses a ball around with your kid in your free time. When you’re a mom there is ALWAYS guilt, something you’re missing out on to do the other, and something that you are neglecting in order to be able to do the other. It makes me sad when my mom sends me pictures of my son playing in the park, or calls me so he can tell me some new thing he learned, or when she teaches him something that I didn’t have the chance to. These are the things I loose out on and I hate it!
Then there are the things that I am too tired/busy for…There are things that I know I could have done if I didn’t spend 10 hours a day gone. Mateo would already be completely potty trained, he would NOT still be sleeping in our bed, I’d have more time to get housework done, maybe some decorating, and Mateo wouldn’t be still be an only child. Finding a balance is a daily struggle that I have still not mastered. After a long day at work, coming home to cook, feed, bathe, and perform all my mom duties, having to do the nightly struggle of getting up a million times to put Mateo back in his own bed is a daunting task. In between the few hours I have to get all the aforementioned done I can barely remember to ask Mateo if he has to go to the potty until he’s telling me he is peepee-ing in his Pull-Up. If there were more hours in the day or I could clone myself (I’m looking into it…) maybe the laundry wouldn’t sit in the bags a few days after being done. Also, if I had the luxury of staying home and caring for my own children Mateo would have a new sibling already or one would be “baking”. Other than extending the day and cloning myself I know there will always be something lacking and that drives me nuts/makes me sad/sucks!
But, we are nearing the end! Next September my baby boy (who isn’t really a baby anymore) will be off to Pre-K and will not need my undivided attention (or that of anyone else) for at least 8 hours a day while he is off growing up and learning at school. This is almost unbelievable to me as I can swear to you he was just born, but it is also another thing that makes me sad about not being able to share every single second of his only “free” years. My mom always tells me to be grateful that I get to do both (work and parent) and I try to be grateful that I get to maintain my identity as an individual at a job that I love, but it isn’t always easy. Now I have to pencil in having another child and there goes another thing to add to my guilt train! I wanted Mateo to have a sibling that he would be close in age with, but at this rate the chances of that have obviously passed.
Everything goes by so fast! My precious newborn is now a “big boy” who is completely his own little person. He knows what he likes and what he doesn’t, he has favorite things, and routines without me. He’s old enough to tell me no, him and his dad do boy things together and have their own little relationship, he likes to take trips to see “Goo” (my aunt), he likes to call people on the phone to talk, he knows how to FaceTime!! As every day passes and he grows I know that I can’t get back the past two y ears where I have missed things, but I know as much as I miss in his Monday-Friday routine I have gained in my job. I love what I do, I love the people I work with and for, I have been promoted, I have learned a lot about business in general and the business I am in. I have also grown a lot as person and a mother because of the fact that I am a working parent.

So, at the end of the day…yea I’m sad I’m not the one making him breakfast and lunch, I’m sad he gets to feed the ducks in Kissena Park without me, goes to Chuck E. Cheese’s without me,  I hate missing him make little friends at the park, and I’m sad that I miss firsts and booboo’s and just him overall, but it’s okay. On weekends I stay in bed longer with him, we watch movies, we paint (his new favorite activity), we go to the park, for bike rides, we surf the net for shark and horse pictures, and I get to hug and kiss him and just be with him. Nothing will ever be exactly how I want it, but I’m fortunate in what I have. Mateo and I have an unbreakable bond, he’s my tiny soulmate, he gets Tuesday’s (Daddy’s day off) to have manly bonding all with his favorite guy on Earth. Tommy and I don’t get to spend every single second with him, but we have the comfort of knowing he is being well taken care of and we get to hear all about what he has done during the day when we get home.
At the end of the day I am first and foremost a mother, it is what most defines me, but I am also a proud member of the workforce!

Mommy 911

Image

WANTED

Mateo Sun Smith

Age:2

Height: 37 inches

Weight: 31 pounds

Wanted for the mass torture of the Estrella-Chin-Smith Household!!!

Don’t let the beautiful face above fool you!! HELP!!!! I have fallen victim to the Terrible Two’s!! I don’t know when it happened, I don’t know why, but I’m just letting you all know I might not survive it. One day Captain T.T. came and stole my sweet little innocent boy and replaced him with a tantrum throwing, screaming, hitting gremlin. I had heard all kinds of horror stories about babies morphing into these kind of little creatures, but had not ever experienced it. As the oldest grandchild in both sides of my family I have spent a lot of time around other children and not one of my relatives had ever suffered from a case of the Terrible Two’s, until my son…

Mateo is an incredibly loving, sweet little boy who loves to hug and give kisses, play with other kids in the park, loves animals, has a newfound love of babies, is Toy Story’s biggest fan, and his own biggest fan as well HAHA. He is smart, inquisitive, and always looking for a game to play. BUT in between all his precious moments is nothing but trouble.

I’m definitely not one of those parents to sit around and lie to you and talk about how perfect my son is; how he’s a genius, how he acts perfectly and only does perfect things, and my favorite of them all “My child would never….” (famous last words). I am alllll about the cold hard truth, so here it is…

Tommy and I, and my mother who is a saint and watches him during the day for us, are those people with the annoying kid. There is absolutely no getting around it, that’s us. Mateo throws tantrums on the floor of every place we are in when he doesn’t get his way, if we even think of saying the word no to him, or if he just feels like it, it seems. He doesn’t cooperate for a split second, says no to everything we tell him, and is just plain bratty. I think the word “No” holds no meaning to him anymore because we say it so much.

Does it suck? BIG TIME!!!! We are the King and Queen’s of Time-Out and the following phrases: “No Mateo”, “Take that out your mouth”, “Put that back”, “Do not even think about it!”, “Stop whining”, “Don’t you dare throw that”, “Pick that up!”, and “Do you want Time Out Mateo?”. There are moments that you’ll do anything, give him anything just so he can stop and behave for 5 seconds, but in that little minute you have to stop yourself. If we give in even once we’re setting a precedent; leading him to believe that if he acts bratty enough he will get his way. I do not believe in spanking even though a lot of people tell me it will be a cure-all, so thus far I have avoided the spank in favor of other methods.

If we were the kinds of parents who gave him whatever he wanted and let him do whatever he wanted I’d have to live with the fact that he acted so ridiculously, but we’re not. My mother is not the “spoil your grandchild” kind of person. She’s just as strict and organized with him as she was with my sister and I. This brings me to the whole nature vs. nurture theory. I was raised a certain way and acted a certain way because of it and because of my natural personality. My mom had us on a very strict schedule, we knew what we were going to do every day because it was the same as the day before. We got up, we ate, we played, we napped, we ate again, we played, we ate, we bathed, and we went to bed. We listened to our mother, she could take us anywhere because we always listened (besides little things like me throwing a tantrum for lip gloss in Rockbottom, my sister hiding in clothes racks in Sterns, and running away at the beach to chase a seagull HAHA), but we were essentially good kids. As we grew up my sister became very rebellious, but I didn’t and even though we were raised exactly the same our respective personalities emerged. When I hear stories about Tommy it’s very different. Everyone who knew them since they were born or young says the same thing…him and his brother were WILD! Now they were raised different than me and had a completely different home life/lifestyle so that was obviously a huge component, but I think personality counts too. So is Mateo just prone to naughtiness?!

We have tried what seems like everything with Mateo. I have even asked the pediatrician what we can do and they just tell me to keep doing what I’m doing and not to give up, that he has a “strong personality” and seems like he is going to give us a run for our money…how inspiring, right? The doctor did tell us that his delayed speech contributes a lot to his frustration and I understand that, but good Lord is it frustrating! There are days when we’ve been forced to go shopping with him that he will literally scream like he is being attacked the ENTIRE time. Even doing something simple can be difficult these days..going to the park he wants to be carried, not walk or go in the stroller, we take the bus and he wants to walk up and down the aisle so he screams when I say no, we go to the store and he wants everything he sees and cries when I say no, he won’t sit in the shopping cart, etc.

Sometimes I feel like we must be the worst parents in the world or our kid is just nuts, until I’m around other mom’s who tell me their stories of their “Terrible Two” that is either worse than mine or just the same and then I feel somewhat better. Are there mistakes we’ve made that contribute to some of his bratty behavior? Definitely. Are there days where I just might give him something he wants to prevent another tantrum even though I shouldn’t? Sadly, yes. Our next step is to begin the process of trying to be more disciplined with him, to get him on a extremely regimented schedule so as to not have too much time without something to do, to get him out of our bed and into his own, and to try and get him potty trained. I would love to wake up tomorrow and have all these things done, but that’s impossible especially as a working mom.

Everyone who has experienced similar situations with their children tell me it’s going to go as fast as it came, that there will be a moment where he just clicks into place, let me tell you I wake up every morning hoping that day is today! In the meantime we have to try our hardest. In the times where I want to pull out my hair, or just take a freakin nap and tell him to just sit down and behave for a second I always have to check myself and remember he is just a baby, there is no reasoning with him, because of his delayed speech he can’t communicate his frustrations, so we have to learn how to deal. Don’t get me wrong there are days when bedtime comes I’m glad to kiss him and put him to bed and just sit down or take a shower, but he’s my son and I love him and all we can do is work through this frustrating stage. Hopefully soon enough he will be less Gremlin and more nice boy, we’re working on it!

Welcome to the Blogosphere…

I thought I needed a new outlet. Something that’s just mine to let out all my random thoughts. Something that doesn’t talk back to me when I want to vent. Something that doesn’t scream “MAMA” at me…Describe me in one word? Impossible. I’m a million different people in one, but where do I begin? I think I’ll introduce myself bit by bit and we’ll start here…My number one priority, my main reason for being, and the thing that drives me everyday is my duty as mother, my son. I became a mother at age where all my peers were hitting the local bars that let underage kids in, vacationing on the Jersey Shore, in between studying for the millionth midterm for our junior year of college. I was 20 years old. People have all sorts of opinions/judgments depending on who they are and how they represent this so-called “feeling”, but they know absolutely nothing at all. When you find yourself in such an unexpected situation as I did, you learn that everything you knew/thought before is, pardon my French, bullshit. Everything I believed in, thought to be true, planned, went out the window. Oddly I found it humbling and grounding, it truly showed me that life happens when you’re making plans. I had to learn to just go with it, that I couldn’t live forever by “my” rules/written down plans. In my mind I was going to graduate college, get my master’s degree, become engaged to Prince Charming at 23, married at 25, travel the world, get a good job, buy a house, and then a baby by 30…and we all see how well that went…I had to learn to ignore all those judgmental idiots because the fact that they were judging meant they knew nothing at all, and ironically the people who were judging the most have the most for you to judge back, worse than anything I could have done, but that’s a whole other story… I was not the cliche teen screw-up. I was a straight A (sometimes B+ haha) student, honor society, community service, home when my mom said so. I, let alone my parents never expected this to happen. I wasn’t some kind of teen misfit, I was your everyday “good girl”. I had the same boyfriend from high school, I didn’t have a reputation (if you know what I mean), and I worked full-tme and went to school full-time. I was heading straight towards my goals, doing everything I thought I needed to do to get where I wanted to go within the parameter of my “plan”. Then BOOM, the bomb dropped and everything I thought I knew went straight out the window…February 22, 2009…the day life as I knew it ended…I had 8 months to figure it out. Fast forward to October 10, 2009 the day that my son, the love of my life, my greatest joy, Mateo Sun was born at 9:12 am at a healthy 7lbs 12oz. I was instantly in love, all the cliche’s about when you first see your child came true. It made it seem like nothing in the world before this day mattered, he was it. As I struggled with all the typical new mom things like getting the hang of breast feeding, not sleeping a wink, and the odd up an down emotions of the first few months I was loving it. I knew people were disappointed by my situation, I knew all the PTA mom’s from my elementary school were talking all their catty gossip that would get back to me, my old friends mothers would call each other to gossip, but I had to keep it all out of my head. Shockingly and not shockingly at the same time, people that had been a part of my life for eternity left and some stuck around. Most of my friends didn’t understand my new life, but the one’s that stuck by me are gems. I was sad for the loss of relationships, really sad actually. Sad that the people that I wanted to stick by me the most didn’t, but I had to move on. My new family was what I was about. I was not going to be that young mother who leaves their newborn baby to go out for a bar crawl on a Saturday night (nor would anyone related to me support that!). I made a committment to be a mother 100%. My son deserves to have the same parenting that I received from my mother. I was not and am not the stereotypical young mother. I raise my son, nobody else, I stay up with him at night when he’s sick, I breast fed him exclusively till he was one, I’m the one who makes him his health conscious meals, I’m the one he looks for when he’s sad, scared, or hurt. I’M his mother. I do the same things a 30 year old mom would do, I make the same new parent mistakes (like letting him sleep in our bed!!). I NEVER left him once till he was 9 months old. I didn’t return to work until he was 15 months old and it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. In a nutshell and I guess the point of this post is to show people that you can’t judge things you know nothing about, not everyone is the same, things like this happen to the best of us and you just got to grab hold of the situation. Is being a 22 year old mother the ideal situation? Would I be thrilled if it were my child? No way in hell!! But it is what it is and I’m happy and I’m still accomplishing the things I wanted in life, but with an extra passenger. I don’t get to pick up and go out for random night on the town, I don’t get to hit A.C for the weekend at a moments notice, I don’t get to sleep till 1 in the afternoon anymore, BUT I get to come home to the most beautiful face in the world at night and watch him grow and explore and become this inquistive, sweet little boy everyday. I am not a failure, my life isn’t a tragedy like some people like to label it, I am not a whore (I’ve slept with one guy), I’m the same person I was B.C. (before child), I’m Natalia just like I always was. My son has a father who adores him and who he adores just as much and our situation might be more complicated than the average, but we’re a family nonetheless and what’s normal anyway? The only difference is I have a different last name than my two guys until next July when we get married.
And I guess that’s it for blog post one, let’s see what pops up next. I think this so-called “blogatherapy”, like I decided to call it is going to work great for me.