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Feb 14 2013

True Love is Spending Valentine’s in the Hospital with My Ex and His New Baby

By at 8:02 pm

hospital waiting room

When I was a kid in school, I was really into Valentine’s Day. I’d analyze each valentine my classmates sent me, searching for hidden romantic meaning (“He wrote ‘Love’ instead of ‘From’! HE LIKES ME!”). I’d be eager for Valentine’s Day every year, because this would FINALLY be the opportunity for the imaginary suitor of my dreams to show himself and make some grand gesture with roses, a boom box serenade, poetry or all three.

It never occurred to me that I’d find real love in knowing I’d be spending Valentine’s Day evening in the lobby of a hospital, sitting and waiting for my boys to visit their father, step mom and newly-born little brother. Those are my plans for this evening, and I’m surprised to find that they’re the best plans I’ve ever had.  Read the rest of this entry →

Feb 11 2013

I Remembered Why I Love My Children

By at 9:54 am

mother hugging son“How are you and the kids doing?” my husband Uri asked me on our phone conversation three days ago.

He’s been abroad at a learning program in Israel and I’ve been home with the kids now for five days with three more days to go. “I’m really exhausted and feel pretty irritable and snappy at the kids,” I proceeded to share with him. “I guess I’m overwhelmed and haven’t had any patience for whining, crying, or sibling rivalry.”

“I’m sorry,” my husband said empathically; I knew after this exchange that he was probably feeling really badly for being way. Read the rest of this entry →

Dec 17 2012

Sandy Hook: Three Different Kids, Three Different Discussions

By at 4:03 pm

three different kidsNormally the one to talk our kids through the milestones and tragedies of life, I found myself in the odd, and rare, position of being out-of-town as the tragedy in Connecticut was unfolding. From a thousand miles away, I could not hold them. Nor could I really talk to them from that distance.

Arriving home late Sunday night, I had no idea what, if anything, they knew about Sandy Hook. I didn’t know if they were afraid. Or sad. Or anything. What I did know is that I wanted to control the information. I didn’t want to leave anything to chance.  Read the rest of this entry →

Dec 11 2012

Yep, My Son is Definitely a Boy

By at 1:05 pm

toy truck

My son loves garbage trucks. Every morning, without fail, he keeps his eyes peeled. When he finds one, he says, Mommy, Ga-bage Tuck! Watch it?

Having raised three girls before him (and another girl after), this vehicular fetish is a bit new to me. The novelty of his request is a big part of why I am so willing to indulge my waste-dump-loving little man whenever possible. Plus, I never tire of seeing his wide, saucer eyes light up as the stinky garbage cans get dumped into the truck and crushed by…whatever that crushing thing is. Read the rest of this entry →

Dec 10 2012

The Other (Better) Side of Divorce

By at 2:41 pm

broken heartMy parents separated over 18 years ago and since that time, my younger brother and I have seen three marriages between them and one more divorce. We’ve gotten six step-siblings, lived in seven houses, and many times struggled with finding a place in our parent’s new world.

We were told all the right things, things that you don’t understand at 4 and 9. We never thought it was our fault or that we had caused the marriage to end. We never considered that we were capable of breaking apart our family. We were 9 and 4 and had parents that loved us as much as any parents have ever loved their children. They were parents who would have died for us without blinking, parents who went without to give us things we didn’t need. They were great parents, but they couldn’t figure out how to put aside their anger for one another, their hate, and so even though they would have died to give us life, they never figured out how to live to give us something greater. Read the rest of this entry →

Dec 5 2012

How My Toddler’s Adjusting to Life With Two

By at 9:55 am

My toddler is slowly but surely adjusting to his new baby brother. I try hard to foresee battles before they ensue and we’re slowly getting back to our old dynamic. I’m getting used to taking two kids everywhere and I’ve realized that a fully capable toddler and I did just “run in” to stores where as a toddler, newborn and I take HOURS to simply leave the house in one piece. There is no “running in.”

At our baby’s 1 month visit, my toddler also had his 30 month appointment. My husband was with me and it was easier to just do both at the same time. Our toddler loved all of the attention he got and admittedly two minutes of the appointment was spent examining the baby and 45 minutes was spent discussing Big Brother’s adjustment. Read the rest of this entry →

Nov 28 2012

Ten MORE Tips for Life With Two

By at 2:03 pm

tamara reese life with two

Earlier this week our editor Debbie Kolben asked for some advice dealing with her daughter’s adjustment to being a big sister. Yesterday Carla gave her ten tips, and here are ten more.

Oh Debbie, I am so sorry you’ve fallen prey to the toddler-who-received-a-sibling-torture. It’s horrible. I wrote about it last month when I was still buried in a toddler shit-storm on a daily basis.

I’ll be honest, the first few weeks I was like, “Hey he likes his baby brother, this is good, we’re doing GREAT” and then? My worst parenting lows. I could see no resemblance of my sweet firstborn. He was a monster and I had nothing but negative feelings towards him. I felt like I was always yelling or kvetching at him. He refused to listen to me and would do NOTHING that I asked. The tantrums were horrible. Meals? WORSE. My angelic boy who was my entire world was gone and I cried wondering if our relationship was changed forever. Read the rest of this entry →

Nov 16 2012

Confessions of an Obsessive Fertility Tracker

By at 12:22 pm

I have some OCD tendencies. I try to embrace them and not drive my husband crazy, but I enjoy only moderate success on that front.

My OCD tendencies extend to stockpiling (please God dont let me end up on Hoarders in 20 years), organizing stuff, and fertility tracking. Unbeknownst to me when I started tracking my fertility (and trying desperately to have a second child), there is a whole community of people who obsess over every detail of their cycles too! We have a whole online support group with fertility tracking tools, message boards, and even our own jargon. My favorite is POASaholic for people who cant stop peeing on a stick. People like me.  Read the rest of this entry →

Oct 15 2012

My Third Child Started Kindergaten (and I’m Over It)

By at 10:13 am

Adam's three childrenI recently sent my third child off to kindergarten. My only girl, my last baby, looking all grown up with her hair in a ponytail, wearing a backpack, clutching a lunch box. And I’ve got to admit, I’m feeling kind of… bored by the whole thing.

When my oldest went off to preschool for the first time, I read the handbook they gave us like it was The Holy Grail, terrified of making a mistake (oh, no, did I build the wrong kind of art smock?) and veering his entire educational future off-course for want of sewing ability. I attended every parent meeting and curriculum night. I volunteered for field-trips and saved his “report cards.” Read the rest of this entry →

Oct 4 2012

Two Isn’t So Bad, Really

By at 4:13 pm

You know who’s screwed Jordana, you are!

black and white photo of tamara's sons

Via Tamara Reese

I had a lot of fears about my firstborn’s reaction to a new baby. We did everything we could to prepare him and I believe much of it was a success, particularly the “big brother” books that we read at ad nauseum. We’ve been especially diligent at pointing out what Big Brother can do that baby cannot.

That being said, it’s been a rough month over here.

My firstborn, now 2 and a half, refused to eat our first week home from the hospital. He’d pick at the occasional carbohydrate here and there but showed his displeasure through exerting control over what went into his mouth. That passed and now mealtime is accompanied by tantrums and food throwing. Yay.

And then there’s sleep. A first he went to bed at a reasonable hour and then had a nice 4 a.m. wake up where I was trying to juggle two crying boys. The past few weeks, we put him down for bed and he stays up in his crib until well past midnight talking, screaming, playing, calling for me and claiming to have poop in his diaper (which turned out to be true only once).

The only upside is that he’s still in a crib and hasn’t attempted to climb out (knock on wood).

Read the rest of this entry →

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