I was doing this…
And to celebrate, this weekend we did this…
Just another happy home looking to spread the love
Just back from my second IUI. We’re back in the land of hopeful. Here’s the stats this month:
And that picture up there is from the office. I was so surprised to see it when we walked in. We go to a very big, medical, research clinic and while there are catheters, ultrasound machines, and sterile syringes galore, it’s quite out of the norm to see fertility statues lying around. I had to grab a picture because I just love the juxtaposition of the goddess surrounded by surgical gloves. I’m not entirely sure that I believe in things like fertility statutes, but hey, we’ll take whatever we can get.
A May baby? Maybe…
Subtitle: How to help a child through the loss of a pet. And how they help you.
As you know, we said goodbye to one of our cats last week. We knew it was coming and one of our biggest concerns was how we were going to help Sprout deal with the loss of his friend. Well you know what? It was a thousand times easier than I anticipated.
The best thing we did with Sprout was prepare him. When we could tell Mickey’s time was running short, we began talking with Sprout about the fact that Mickey was old and getting sick. Short, direct, honest, matter-of-fact conversations about the fact that when animals get very old, they die. At first Sprout protested but with a couple of days to process, he accepted it without much sadness and could speak about it in the same matter-of-fact way we presented the idea to him. We believe in God and heaven and those concepts are already familiar to him, so he quickly came to accept the idea that Mickey was going to heaven to be with Bubby (A’s mom). Part of this preparation also included telling him that mommies might cry and that it would be okay to be sad.
So on the day of Mickey’s passing, Sprout was prepared. It happened while I was working from home and the kids were at daycare/school (a blessing I’ll be forever grateful for). We were able to deal with the logistics and mourn his loss ourselves before having to address it as mommies. When Sprout came home that afternoon, we chatted about our days as usual and then I told him that I was feeling sad because Mickey went to heaven. Again, simple and honest, but no details needed. Sprout asked a couple questions (“Is he going to come back?” “Are you going to miss him?” Is Lilly [the dog] going to die?”) and we proceeded with our routine as usual.
Part of this routine is that Sprout gets the mail, so he marched off to complete his task. In the mailbox, he found a card addressed to him from Mickey. It was a thank you card – for all the chin scratches and love and companionship. Sprout loved it and it sealed the deal for him that Mickey was indeed in heaven and that he was still as happy as ever. The card closed by reminding Sprout that Mickey would always be close by in his heart. And that was that. No tears or anger, just acceptance. Of course like all foster kids, he’s a pro when it comes to loss, but we were impressed by the calm and mature way he dealt with everything.
In the days since I’ve been checking in with Sprout about how he’s feeling and if he’s missing him, ect. And the answer is always the same, “I miss him, but he’s in my heart.”
And while I guess you could say that the above is about how we helped Sprout with Mickey’s passing, the truth is that he help me so much more. If that amazing little man wasn’t in my life I would surely have thrown myself into bed, pulled the covers over my head, and let myself fall apart. I can be very dramatic like that. But how could I possibly do any of that in the face of Sprout’s calm, mature, poise?
Whats the saying? “He who teaches children learns more than they do.”
My goodness. That is so true.
After a fantastic weekend of fun, family and friends, Sprout and I were winding down in a snuggle on the couch. He got quiet and furrowed his brow when he asked, “Do you like being my mommy?”
Kids have a way of asking these questions when you least expect it. I couldn’t answer right away because his words had taken my breath. Instead I kissed him on his forehead and breathed in the smell of his freshly washed hair.
“I like it more than anything else in the world. Being your mommy is the best thing I’ve ever done.”
“Do you like it more than chocolate ice cream?” (his favorite)
My favorite childhood song popped into my head so I rocked him and hummed…
You are my sunshine, my only sunshine
You make me happy when skies are gray
You’ll never know dear, how much I love you
Please don’t take my sunshine away.
This time it’s about the kids. I read this post yesterday and loved it. LOVED.
The distinction between raising children with high self-esteem vs. high self-efficacy is a subtle one, but I find it very important. Would it be nice to have a kid who likes himself? Absolutely. But, it’s even nicer to raise a child who believes in himself.
Nancy’s suggestions for how to raise a child with self-efficacy (Provide Kids with Reasonable Responsibilities, Model Problem Solving, and Allow Kids to Make Decisions) are great ones that we try to practice every day, and here are a few more I wanted to add:
– We let him struggle and we let him lose. As Nancy calls it, I’m not a believer in the “everybody gets a trophy” philosophy. Handing him success is not preparing him well for adulthood. Allowing our children to feel the pride that comes from working hard and overcoming is an important gift. Not to mention, if we swooped in and helped him at every struggle, the only message it would send is that he isn’t capable. That he needs help and that he can’t succeed on his own. So yeah, when we play games, I play to win and sometimes do – he doesn’t deserve anything less.
– Love is unconditionally given, but praise isn’t. A few months ago Sprout noticed that his classmates could write their names. So he started scribbling some lines on paper and would say “Look Mommy! I wrote my name!”. My knee-jerk reaction was to respond with a “good job honey!” and go on about my chores…but that wouldn’t have been doing him any favors. So I stopped myself. I did commend him on wanting to write his name but was honest that those markings didn’t quite look like letters. I sat with him and taught him and helped him practice and practice and practice.
Last Tuesday when Sprout was done coloring a picture, he flipped it over and very slowly pulled the crayon across the paper. I’ve never seen him concentrate so hard. When he was done, he lifted it up to show me with a “now THAT’s my name!”. And it was – clear as day. He got a well-deserved “good job!”…and I also cried. I couldn’t help it – I’m just so proud of that boy!
– Instead of telling him, I’ve begun asking him why he’s special/capable/kind. For the longest time, we had a mantra for Sprout. A series of statement we would shout when he was scared or whisper into his ear at bedtime. It included things like “You are safe! You are strong! You are special!” This was a tool developed by our attachment therapist and it was great for him at the beginning, but now we’re ready to push it a bit. Instead of telling him he’s special or strong or smart, I ask “What makes you special?” “What makes you smart?” Let me tell you, the gems that will come out of your child’s mouth are amazing. Here are a few things I’ve heard recently:
– “I’m kind because Mickey’s sick but I can still make him purr.”
– “I’m capable because I run fast.”
– “I’m special because I’m brown and have race cars”
– “I’m smart because I asked the teacher for a new seat when my friends next to me were talking during circle” (true story!)
Tell me that’s not worth it.
We’ve known Mickey’s time was coming for a couple weeks now. He had lived a happy and lively 19 years and it was clear he was getting very tired. Although we had bitten the bullet and made an appointment for our lovey man to be put to rest tomorrow afternoon, I was heartbroken and still struggling with the decision. Well, proving that he really is the sweetest most loving cat, Mickey saved us from being the ones to make that call. Instead, he passed peacefully in my arms at home this morning. I held him and I kissed him – I thanked him for the joy he brought to our life – and I told him it was okay to go.
He was our first baby. He moved with us from apartment to apartment and into our house. He saw us get married and then welcome children. He saw us grow up. He was amazing and he will be so so missed.
Enjoy that eternal perfect sliver of sun sweet boy.
I’m self-conscious about a lot of things. My weight, my looks, my 401k, my complete inability to make small-talk or a good cup of coffee. But one thing I’m not at all self-conscious about it my ability to be a good mom. I’m good at this gig.
And I’m willing to bet that unless you beat your kid or feed them dirt, you are too.
But why don’t all the good moms know how good they are? One of my friends on fb recently made a comment along the lines of “Does any mother ever feel good enough?!” What I wanted to reply was: “Yes, and you should too”, but I was intimidated by the chorus of “Of course not”s and “No mother ever feels good enough for her kids”.
What’s with the epidemic self-doubt in mom world? I know that self-consciousness is nothing new to women in our society, but the moms in my circle seem to have caught it particularly bad. It’s so sad to me the number of women in my life who spend more time questioning themselves than they do admiring their happy and healthy children (success!).
Of course there are days when I screw up, I don’t know what to say or do, I lose every shred of patience and poise, but I know that all of that is still encompassed within the definition of a good parent. Even when I’m tested to my very limits, I know that I’m good enough. And you should too.
Enclosed in this post is a big thank you to Sprout and Rosebud without whom I wouldn’t have this newfound confidence. It’s so nice to be able to pack away the insecurities for a bit.
Thoughts on this? How are the moms in your world?