Saturday, July 12, 2014

One Month Home: Learning About Being a Parent

Handsome Little Man is
such an "old soul"
As our learning curve has spiked in the last few weeks, I thought I'd share some of what we are coming to accept as our new "normal".  We have been home a month now.  I never dreamed I'd actually survive this month.  They say it gets better, so I'm holding onto that!  It's been good.  Really, it has.  I feel as though it has not been as "hard" as it has been completely exhausting.  Somehow, I manage to get up every morning.  Somehow the kids are fed, clothed, bathed, played with, loved on, taken on walks, disciplined in love, and are growing and learning.  I guess this is God's grace played out in a real life situation.

Ok, so some things we've learned, along with some random observations:

Coffee.  We thought we were addicts before, but now?  I think I've tripled my coffee consumption since the kids came home, and there is no signs of that decreasing in the foreseeable future.  The 25 pounds of coffee beans that we brought back from Ethiopia aren't going to last very long at this rate.

Philip and I accidentally talk to each other in kiddo-talk.  Simplified vocabulary, "kitty" "potty" and "yummy" are now liberally sprinkled through our adult conversations.  Dangit.

We talk about poop.  A lot.  We rejoice over various stages of poop.  Firm poop is now Facebook worthy, despite my friend's criticisms. I have tried to be positive and not share that we are, again, dealing with poop issues.  Shhhh.

The music we listen to needs to be more carefully filtered.  We are opposed to Jayce and Anya singing along to "Coal Mine" before they are two.  Zac Brown, however, is acceptable in any form.  ???  (Well, he should be.)

Morning snuggles with Jayce are the best ever.

It's refreshing to be "the parent".  I don't have to worry about someone else dictating my choices.  Obviously I'm dong the best I can, and obviously there are times I need advice.  (Ok, I often need advice.)  However, if I want to pick up a cheerio off the floor and put it back on their plate, that's my call.  If I want to boil the toy that has fallen on the floor, that's also my call.  It's nice.  Philip and I agree that we could never do this with someone else's kids.  It would feel too threatening.

Nothing is more important than spending time with the kiddos.

First Otter-Pop from the
neighbor girl next door
Forget "prego-brain", this "Mama-brain" is even more spacey.  I seriously can't remember anything.  at. all.  I'm lucky my head is attached or I'd leave it laying around somewhere.  For example, I have gone out to the car several times without my shoes on.  The kids are fully clothed, with shoes and socks.  The "put shoes on" task was mentally checked off when their shoes were put on, so surely I don't need to think about my shoes anymore, right?  Yeah, I could barely walk after I walked barefoot to the park on hot asphalt.  ::Mama fail::

I am even more grateful for my husband, and I depend on him more than ever.  His patience, enthusiasm, endurance and resourcefulness is crazy.  I love him so much!

You can never pack enough snacks.

Our definition of "dirty" has changed dramatically.  Now, if it's just a little food, it's still clean.  Or just a little pee.  Or just a little dirt.  Or just a little slobber.  Poop, however, is always dirty.  Yuck.

You don't need a gym when the kids discover how "fun" it is to make you do crunches when they are standing on your abs or sit-ups when they are flopped on your chest.

I have had to evaluate my priorities, and choose wisely.  At least, I have to choose.  Since I only have maybe two hours a day to myself, during nap, I cannot do everything I would want to.  Nap?  Blog?  Movie?  Time with Husband?  Cook?  Clean?  Laundry?  Read?  Garden?  Jog?  Chat with a friend?  Yeah, I can't do it all.  A lot has slipped through the cracks, mostly housework.

The aspect that has suffered the most is my time with God.  I have not yet really figured out how that is supposed to work yet, and how to do that in a way to show the kids it's importance.

Baby Girl "painting" in the bath tub with
shaving cream and food coloring
All of a sudden I have things in common with friends that I never hung out with before, and all of a sudden, I'm different than friends that I've been close to for years.  I'm really grateful for everyone's confidence in me and willingness to bail me out in a pinch.  Especially my Mom.  She's been amazing.

I find myself evaluating whether friends' kids would be a good influence on my kids.

Calling someone back within a reasonable amount of time is....  um...  a thing of the past.  Sorry.

A tank of gas lasts, like, 2 weeks now.  We don't really go anywhere during the week anymore.

It's hard to get used to finding such tiny clothing in my laundry pile or other places in the house.  Then, there were tiny helicopters in my shower.  Wha??  Oh, yeah.  I have kiddos now.

I am eternally glad that we brought home two kiddos instead of one.  They don't really "entertain" each other, but they are a source of comfort for each other.  They are beginning to interact more and it's both a relief and kinda fun to watch.

Baby girl all giddy that she has
a pretty dress for Auntie Grace
and Uncle Jonathan's wedding
I love how "boy" Jayce is, and how "girl" Anya is.  I actually kinda marvel at how God designed them. No one needed to "teach" Jayce how to "fight" with a sword, play with cars, make "little boy noises" or be protective of Sister.  No one needed to show Anya how to snuggle a doll, be dramatic, or prissy.  The "boy" stuff just isn't as interesting to her.  How cool is God?

The mere presence of coffee in my day, whether I actually have the presence of mind to drink it or not, can lift my spirits!  Though, forgetting to drink it results in disaster.

All social activities revolve around nap time.  Pity the poor person who angers of the gods of Nap.

Jayce wiping Anya's nose this evening.
She wasn't thrilled
So, this week Jayce learned to crack eggs.  He wiped down the table, set the table, wiped sister's face while she was eating with a piece of tissue (three times!) and decided to wash my dish for me.  He didn't play in the water.  He was legitimately washing my dish. He and Anya also got their first piece of mail!  Jayce needed a little help to know where to start, but once started, he unearthed the letter pronto!

Pushing a stroller is hard work!  It seems to increase my workout by at least half.  What before might have been an easy 3 1/2 mile walk all of a sudden becomes a drenched-in-sweat-look-like-crap experience.

I'm not a fan of being hit on by creepy guys while pushing a stroller.  I don't know what the attraction is.  I'm not a fan of being hit on by anyone, really, but it's unnerving in the above circumstance.

Being a parent is.....  unlike anything I've done before.  Obviously.  I don't really feel "stressed" by it, but every muscle in my back and neck is tight.  I don't feel pressured to live up other others' parenting ideals,  but I feel overwhelmed by my own.  My kiddos are the best in the world, I can't imagine any other small folk fitting into our family so perfectly.  
A safe place to be
 I must admit, I miss quiet evenings with my husband, not being exhausted, lingering over coffee, and actually eating.  I miss being able to work out, being at the store for as long as I want, and taking my time waking up in the morning.  But, it's not about me, and these are small things to give up for the privilege of raising two of God's most perfect creations.  We are loving watching them grow and develop.  Every day there are new things to marvel at and laugh at and beat our heads against the wall about.

Look at how they have changed in the last 5 weeks (from when we took custody):


And now:

1 comment:

  1. I dub this the best new parent blog ever. You hit the nail on the head. The poop talk.. the poop obsession... the poop absolute disaster we just avoided by one millimeter last night on the drive home. The Mama brain... I am hoping it gets better, because it's challenging to live so compromised. I think it's worth it, though. Amazing husbands and seeing them rise to the occasionss... they are SO HOT when they come through for us. Time.... time alone... time with God... time when our brain functions on just one level at a time... amazing, beautiful clear-headed moments. I am hoping to have a morning Bible time soon.... after breakfast? Before? Hmm. Dicey.
    And then this line: All social activities revolve around nap time. Pity the poor person who angers of the gods of Nap.

    I am still laughing.

    Well done, Anna. Love you. You're doing great.