Tag Archives: fun and babies

first, second, third

Transformer-mom: first, second, third

First, second, third – this post is not about these brave moms who bring children with a very small difference of 1-2 years. My reality is different, I had had the time to taste the essence of motherhood with every child for a few years. And my way of accepting and rejecting has been changing dramatically as years flew by.

First things first

First child – take him, somebody, let me sleep. Please, I want to sleep. I want to do some shopping therapy. Make money. Blog, go out, be stylish, slim, pretty and fresh. Will my baby ever grow up? I want to do everything except being the 24-hour mom. This new mom uses every opportunity to sneak, evade and crawl away to get some fresh air. I look for nannies, private kindergartens, after-kindergartens activities – then I realize I want to be a good mom and it frustrates me even more. A vicious cycle with only one way out – understanding what I really want from life.

First child – there is so much hidden meaning in these two words. Lots of emotions, expectations, disappointment, frustration and joy. Rushing about between trying to be an ideal mom and wanting to escape to the nearest moon from the hassle. Asking myself – was I conscious when I made the decision to thrust myself into this spinning-wheel? Looking at the wheels of the stroller (pun intended) when walking and thinking that I must be somewhere on that wheel: being smashed and crushed every few minutes, getting up just to be crushed once again in a never-ending series called parenthood.

Middle Finger

Second child. O.K., this is hard. It is the hardest thing I’ve ever experienced. It’s not even close to what it felt like with the first one, when I could get some morning sleep and afternoon nap. I can’t handle this. I can’t handle two small creatures running, shouting, breaking things and driving me insane. All I can do is look out of the window and feel jealous of the young girls who can go shopping hands-free. Yoga doesn’t help: I still don’t like the way I look and I am not calm. NOT CALM AT ALL! I still want to make money, to look good, to have enough sleep, to have some time for myself. I want to stretch time. But it is impossible. And I’m going totally insane. It’s amazing I can still function, smile, talk, run tasks and even make some money. I spend sleepless nights sending energies into the monitor, pretending I’m making a career. Time cannot stretch beyond itself and even the horrible sleepless nights spent in working end. And I’m a sponge. No time or energy for the two sweetest individuals who crave my attention. The feeling of guilt is far behind me, I did what I felt the right thing to do at the moment. But…

Third time is magic

Third child – what a blessing! Every moment is a gift. How come I am so relaxed, confident and happy? Where do I find the time to blog, to take care of myself, to have enough sleep (ehhh?…) to look good and feel even better? I wish I had started with the third one right away. Is it the timing? The age? The experience? Life conditions? Different environment? Or is it me and my inner world, having changed so drastically, that handling three of them plus a million of other tasks seems almost a routine pleasure?

 

losing weight after birth

Losing weight after birth

 

Losing weight after birth and getting back to “jeans of my dreams” is an ambitious goal of almost every mom. There are these lucky slender amazons who had never gained weight in the first place, but this post is not about them. The author of this blog is a mom who bargains with every gram of her body, trying to scare them (the grams) away in the most natural way. So, here are three proven techniques for how to get rid of excessive self. These methods do work only if you have the full intention for them to work. No magic potions, no dried bats and no spells. Only work with one’s consciousness and some physical activity for dessert.

Set timed goals and objectives

Just “keeping it in mind” is not enough. A mom needs to have specific goals in terms of dates and numbers. Then, she should try to stick to the goal while keeping with her convenient lifestyle as much as possible. Losing weight after birth is a challenging task that requires some form of compensation for every small achievement. For example, every time my weight goes 0,5 kilo down and does not come back on the following it’s a good reason to celebrate another milestone. For example, I buy myself a piece of cloth that now fits me well: it creates an enormous incentive to keep on the weight-losing track.

I say no quick diets, yes to sensibility

Some people can get very serious about it. Can I live like that? Not yet. But I’m getting there.

I never touch sugar, cheese, bread…
I only like what I’m allowed to like. I’m beyond temptation. There is no weakness. When I see tons of food in the studio, for us and for everybody, for me it’s as if this stuff was made out of plastic. The idea doesn’t even enter my mind that a human being could put that into their mouth. I’m like the animals in the forest. They don’t touch what they cannot eat.”
Karl Lagerfeld

Source: http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/tag/dieting

Most of the girls have more or less tried diets in their teen-hood and I am no exception. I still remember these depressive hungry evenings when all my thoughts were concentrated around a loaf of bread. From today’s life position I see it as the most pathetic and the least effective way to lose weight. Keeping one hungry only means that she will compencate it to herself later and probably, will gain the same weight she lost in an unfair battle.

Sensibility and harmony in everything is the gift that comes with age, experience and awareness. It does not only refer to weight, but embrasses every life sphere. However, since right now the painful (cross line) topic is weight loss I will concentrate on that.

So, what does it mean, a sensible diet?

That means I am not rejecting but replacing. “Yummy” things go away and other things come instead. It sounds simple but it is not. How does a mom convince herself, that this very piece of amazing, shiny chocolate cake and this little cup of coffee next to it are not on today’s menu? How do I keep my hands away from favorite things that bring me from size S to S++?

Once the favorite things stop being my number one choice. Forever.

It is achieved by inner conversation and persuasion, by understanding and loving oneself. A bar of chocolate can be replaced by honey, figs, bananas and so on. Yes, I know it’s not fully interchangeable at the beginning, so a mom can come to some agreement with herself, and reduce the amount of chocolate and cookies she consumes by replacing the rest with honey and fruits.

Sports and fun

By sports, I mean all the fun things that mom likes to do that involve physical activity: dancing, walking, running, child-lifting, swimming. Anything works, as long as it is done on a daily basis. A fitness club twice a week is not as good as a 30 minute walk every morning. A swimming pool (how many moms have the luxury to go to the swimming pool every day?) once a week is not the same as 15 minutes of intensive stretching and push-ups done with joy (who said joy? OK, then without the push-ups).

The most important thing about losing weight after birth is let it happen in its own pace. It might take a year. Every mom, eventually, wants this weight to go away forever. This is why quick diets will not work here (not to speak about the danger of losing milk).

To lose weight forever means to be in peace with every extra kilogram and let it go when the time comes. The sports, the balanced diet and the targeted goals are something, that should accompany mom all the way through, with no relation to children, work, success or failure. An after-birth era just requires a bit more attention and concentration, but the general formula – goals, diet, sports – works for all times, good and bad.

third child

How not to spoil the third child?

This article is for parents whose children outnumber them by 1. Or, in other words, parents with three growing heirs. Turning the third child into mama’s boy or papa’s girl is easier than it may seem. No matter how busy and tired the parents are, unfortunately, they still find options to spoil the youngest offspring – their third child.

When number three comes into the world it changes the family life in its unique manner. The first child crushes mom’s familiar world into pieces of happiness, fear and other mixed emotions. The second child brings in this feeling of “now we are a big family”. A different mixture of emotions and, in a combination with the first one, a lot more pressure overall. The third child, however, comes into a calm laguna called experience. Mom and Dad are a team of Special Forces. Neither sleepless nights nor the hectic routines are able to really spoil the day. The big question is now, how to manage the entire team? How to stay afloat with the older kids’ activities, homework, conversations?

Depending on the age differences, older kids can help or become an unbearable burden. Either way, the third child has the highest chances among the other kids in the family to become the infantile little mama’s boy or girl.

I see two ways to prevent that from happening:

It’s not only between the mom and the third child

The new little creature draws a ton of attention (not sure attention is measured in tons but proportionally to its weight, the amount of noise the baby creates around itself is huge).

Remember, that the older kids are still kids . If they are under the age of 15 they are still young children (even if they pretend to be the coolest and most independent creatures on earth). They watch their mom doing all sort of things.

It’s not about what I say to them (how much she loves them etc.) but more about what I do: the mimics and expression on my face, the gestures of my hands or in one word – body language.

What is the constant thought that helps me balance the hugs-and-kisses between all the kids? The idea, that they are still very young and might be jealous. The idea, that this jealousy might reduce their appreciation of the new creature and life itself.

My solution: I let them, the older kids, do the hugs-kisses work. Sing, talk, change diapers, put to sleep, feed – they can do it all. I only let them. My role in this scenario, is to watch and supervise.

Spend enough time with the older kids

Yes, I know it sounds like sci-fi, and it’s quite impossible to keep on with the same routine in the first months after birth.  The phrase “getting back to normal” sounds awkward to me, so I won’t use it here. Instead let’s say, that after some time life is settled into some new form of normal. It happens naturally, but still requires mom’s attention.

Whatever relates to the kids’ education, homework and intellectual activities should be continued just the way it was. Not only after-school activities. Habits, that used to take place before the birth of the third child: book-reading, word games, creative time. The “educational” life of the older kids should stay pretty much the same. If, before, it used to be natural (we sit and read together, no one is disturbing), now, it’s a task to complete:

  • catch the quiet moments,
  • put on hold all other business,
  • organize the older kids,
  • ignore the desire to fall into the bed and die fatigue and
  • just do it.

Sit all together and read some book, as before. Take out colored paper and cut shapes, as before. You get the idea. The older kids should not feel unnatural freedom in this sense, and the little one will slowly get used to the fact that she, sometimes, may enjoy the freedom – meaning, not eliciting the attention of the entire family after a single squeak.

This is the healthy balance that creates healthy dynamics. It teaches the teens, the toddlers and the newborns how things are run in the house. Mom’s attention and energy are precious assets that must not be wasted. This is what kids should be taught from the very beginning, in a loving and caring way of course. This is what the author of this post is trying to master.

mom and children

How to allocate mom’s attention between several kids

 

Having many kids around means mom needs to allocate her time, energy and attention between them efficiently. By efficiently, I mean, that each kid will feel loved and appreciated in their own unique way. Some kids love to talk to their mom, asking questions and listening to long lectures. Other kids like to play and construct, build and create things – being together in the process of making stuff. There are also kids, who just need long hugs and flows of energy without too much other activities going on.

One of my kids is the talking kind. We exchange a few thousands words per day and it does not seem to be enough. I find myself being exhausted of these conversations but,on the other hand, I realize, that this is the way of my kid to get their share of me. Any other ways won’t work as well.

My other kid is the hug-and-play kind, who chooses to stay close while I work, cook, read or knit. Talking is less of a priority, which gives me more space to concentrate on other things while sending rays of mom’s energy at the same time.

Is it that simple? Well, not really.

The interesting part begins when all the kids are tearing their mom apart sitting together each trying to get her unique attention – and my role here, as I see it, is to be able to quickly switch from one kind of attention to another.

The competition for mom’s attention does not end regardless of the kids’ age. I guess it’s something that lasts all the way through and never actually stops, maybe until full adulthood. Not sure I will still be running this blog when I get there, but if so, I will let you know.

Ta-dam! A newborn joins a family with older kids

Every time a new child is born into a family with older kids, mom needs to reallocate her attention, so that the change will not be so drastic. Quite a challenge, I should say. The competition is tough, each sibling is trying to prove himself as best of everything – especially when it comes to helping mom with the newborn. The balance is so delicate here, that I weigh almost every word that comes out of my mouth. Praising one child too much might mean hurting another. Judging or criticizing actions or behaviors might be interpreted in the wrong way given the sensitive circumstances.

Having thought about it for a while I developed my strategy of not simply praising but creating a system of roles and niches.

A winning niche for every kid

Here is a situation from real life:

An older kid helps mom by staying next to the newborn while mom is taking a shower. The middle kid does not really find a way to help and feels being out. Mom creates two niches: the older one is the “top-nanny” while the middle one is the “top-messenger” (delivering messages and items such as diapers, napkins etc. when needed). With this strategy every kid fills a niche where they are on top – beyond feeling appreciated, now each knows exactly what duties and responsibilities are expected of him.

As a bottom line – the delicate balance of attention is not subject to formulas or rules – it’s an ongoing process, a changing strategy, something, that requires live reaction. From my own experience, the niche strategy works best. Each kid fills a space where they feel kings. Each kid is a small rules of its sovereign virtual territory of rights and duties, expectations and rewards. On top of that, of course, there is the great mom’s appreciation, spraying ike an air-purifier above all. 

What matters when choosing a baby name

 

Jason scratched his head. “You named him Festus? You know that in Latin, ‘festus’ means ‘happy’? You want us to ride off to save the world on Happy the Dragon?”
Rick Riordan, The Lost Hero

http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/tag/names

What, in your opinion, are the most important name attributes?

  • The way it sounds?
  • The historical meaning?
  • The ethnic origin?
  • The number of syllables?
  • The compliance with the last name?

The author of this post thinks, that the most important thing is the association, that you, the parent, personally have with the name.

It can be the most adorable set of vowels and consonants, but if I know someone evil, unattractive, mean and unsuccessful carrying the same adorable set, I will probably refrain from this choice.

Does it sound stupid? Maybe, but this is the reality for the author of this blog and she is trying be on the right side of her intuition, common sense and information she gets in the internet.

There are (too) many ways today you can find sources of different names.

Names websites:

Hundreds of websites interpreting a name, a nickname, a variation of a name or a nickname and so on. Even when you narrow your search to the most specific options (“native american origin, female names, 2 syllables, starts with M”) – there are either no options given at all (the search was, probably, too narrow) or there are some two-three really weird names, that you don’t like.

Name forums:

With more human touch, name forums is where people (future moms, mostly) exchange their sympathy or antipathy for specific names, asking for advice or opinion and sharing thoughts. The downside of this way of choosing a name is, that there is not a lot of practical information on a specific name (e.g. its historical meaning), but rather the biased opinion of an undisclosed female, which, in some cases, can be nice nonetheless.

The good side of using name forums is, that you can get some information about nicknames and other versions of the name you had in mind – something you don’t always find on names websites.

What if you don’t want to use the internet?

At least at first stages of first rough choice (e.g. the first 5 optional names to choose later from).

I would do a traditional paper brainstorming. Take a pen and a piece of paper and write down all the names that come to your mind and make you feel good. Names of friends, literature heroes, movie stars (though I would be careful about that), ancestors (I would be even more careful about those ones) or names you might have wanted for yourself, have you been given the choice at your birth.

I think this nice and simple method open options that do not exist on the web, since they come from your own “field of information” (which is based, of course, on the reality you live in, but still – it’s something that has gone through your system and has not been taken fully and directly from outside sources like the internet).

Here is an interesting thought though, which is related to any choice, including that of a name.

“We seldom realize, for example that our most private thoughts and emotions are not actually our own. For we think in terms of languages and images which we did not invent, but which were given to us by our society.”
Alan W. Watts

http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/tag/names

Do brainstorming but be careful about associations with the ansestrs – you don’t always want your baby to repeat the same life as your great grandfather (no matter how magical figure he might seem to you – you don’t know all the details, plus, every person is unique).

Avoid celebs and famous people – naming your baby after a super star (I don’t mean a new galaxy or a supernova) doesn’t seem like the best idea, because the fate of living public people is way too unpredictable. It’s not the same about deceased kings, writers, philosophers and so on. Though I, personally, would refrain from naming a little new individual after anyone at all.

So what is the bottom line?

Use your imagination but don’t give your name a weird baby – sorry, your baby a weird name – she’ll have to live with it her entire life, remember?