--We'll start with the most exciting news in our house this week: Lucas is potty trained! Potty training is seriously the bane of my existence. Why? I don't really know. It's not like I have a particular aversion to cleaning up messes from my childrens' nether regions; I've no trouble changing diapers. Maybe the difference is one can throw away a diaper, and a mess in underpants is not so easily disposed of. Maybe it's because potty training ties me up in knots made of anxiety and anticipation (not the good kind) and pessimism. Or maybe it's my fear of failing (like one accident makes me an unsuccessful potty trainer and mother).
But enough about my neuroses. Lucas is a rock star, basically. We had one semi-rough day, and after that, he started taking himself to the potty when he needed to go. I really can't take any credit for his success beyond taking the diapers away. Don't get me wrong; we still have accidents every now and then, but for the most part, he's good. Plus, he stays dry pretty much every night and through his nap.
|Underwear bums are the cutest.|
*DISCLAIMER: This doesn't mean I think my way is best. It worked for us, and that's what I care about.*
--Speaking of disclaimers, why do we feel like all of our parenting choices need to have disclaimers, in case someone else thinks we're judging them for doing things differently? Around Mother's Day there was a flood of OP articles on various sites praising stay-at-home moms for their efforts. While I'm always up for gratuitous praise for a (generally) thankless job, I thought it was excessive and one-sided. Plus, it brought out the haters: people who hate kids; people who think stay-at-home moms are lazy, self-centered (for making their husbands work so hard to support the family, because "no family can survive on one income in this day and age"), or whiny and entitled (because they expect recognition for a choice they made); people who are unable to have children ("they should be grateful they get the experience--I'd kill to be in their shoes!"); and the (mostly justified) single moms, moms who choose to work, moms who have to work, and single dads who deserve recognition too.
The point is, did I choose to stay home with my children? Yes. Is my job important? Yes. Am I more important, more valuable, more noble, more ANYTHING than any other parent who is just trying to make the best choices for his/her family? NO.
MY WAY IS NOT NECESSARILY THE BEST WAY!
I know that's not what these articles are trying to say, but when all you see is praise for stay-at-home moms, it's easy to assume the underlying message of all of them is "stay at home with your kids, or you're not a mom worth mentioning." I don't understand why there can't be articles about moms who balance their work/school with being an awesome mom, or about single parents who have to do the jobs of both a mother and a father, because both of those situations require just as much commitment and effort. Don't even get me started on the lack of articles about good dads.
This isn't even the only issue that gets moms finger-pointing and full of self-righteous indignation! I dare you to name one choice we make as mothers that doesn't incite fighting. I'm so tired of people assuming I think they're "doing it wrong" if they do something in a different way than I would do it. For future reference, for anyone who knows me, this is my mantra:
IF YOU'RE TRYING TO DO WHAT'S BEST FOR YOUR FAMILY, YOU'RE DOING IT RIGHT.
Seriously. If what you're doing isn't causing emotional or physical harm to your kids, I assume you're reasonable enough to make choices that will best benefit them, and I don't judge. Okay, I might judge for a second (because I think judgment is hard-wired into our brains, unfortunately) but I won't hold it against you, and I certainly won't say anything unkind to you. It's what I'd want people to do for me when the situation is reversed.
--In less ranty, soap-boxy news, we're still trying to wrap our heads around having a girl. We've known for two weeks now and it's still not any more real. It's probably because it's so far outside our realm of expertise that it doesn't seem possible. Cole and I both get a little thrill when we refer to the baby as "her" or hear the boys talk about and pray for their "baby sister." It's safe to say we're more than a little excited.
--In the same vein, the thought of having a girl FREAKS ME OUT. There are so many more things I've had to think about that never occurred to me. For example, I actually have to have a real discussion about modesty. That concept is pretty straight-forward with boys. With a girl, it's a whole different ball game. I have to worry about raising her in a world that objectifies women and tears down their self-esteem if they don't look a certain way or choose a certain path in life. I hate to admit it, but the world is still a much harder place for a girl than a boy. How do I prepare her for that?
--I started feeling baby girl move consistently in the last week or so. It's possible that I felt some movement earlier, but it was hard to distinguish. Plus, the only time I'm still enough to focus on baby movement without having children climbing in my lap is at night, and it usually takes 0.05 seconds for me to pass out. I started to worry a little bit about it, because I started feeling both Lucas and Matthew around 15 weeks. Maybe the little miss is just dainty. Cole says it's probably because she can hear her brothers and doesn't want to make any sudden moves to alert them to her presence. :)
--Oh, by the way, we do have a name for baby girl. Her name will be Hallie Jo Christensen. No, not like Halle Berry. My siblings and I lived in CA when we were young, and both sets of our grandparents lived here in UT, so we didn't get to see them very often. However, we lived near quite a bit of my dad's extended family, including a set of our great-grandparents, Grandma and Grandpa Tanner (incidentally, Matthew is named after them), and my dad's aunt and uncle, Hallie and Ken Hodnett. We frequently spent Sunday afternoons with them and they stepped in to fill the grandparents role for us. I don't remember a lot about my great-aunt Hallie, but I do remember always feeling like she loved us just as much as she loved her own grandchildren. Ever since she passed away I've wanted to name a daughter after her. Jo is my mother's middle name, and it's short and sweet and perfect for a little girl.
--Matthew is SO.NAUGHTY right now. He's most commonly referred to as "naughty baby" in my family because he seriously is trouble. He's already perfected the art of tormenting his older brothers. He'll watch them carefully, and when they're not paying attention he'll take their blankets or toys or whatever will get the most rise out of them and take off. Screaming usually ensues. He is going to be the child I have to worry about when I'm occupied nursing a newborn. He's extremely loving, though. His favorite thing right now is to give kisses. Sometimes, he'll even close his mouth for them! One of my favorite parts of the day is rocking him to sleep for his naps or bed, because he'll let me snuggle him. Most of the time he's "too big" to let me snuggle him. He's at that point where he stopped smelling like a baby and started smelling like a boy (anyone with sons will understand that little boys have a "smell"), which has made me a little bit sad. Now that Lucas is potty trained, our next task is to move Matthew to a toddler bed and then into his brothers' room before the baby comes.
|This picture scares me. Who gave that kid a knife?!? |
P.S. It's not real, obviously.
--Kyle is the most excited about his baby sister, probably because he understands what's happening the best. He's going to be the sweetest big brother to this little girl. He's kind of going through a bossy phase and gets pretty upset when Lucas doesn't follow his instructions. :) He still loves to draw and color and now writes words to accompany his drawings (little kid spelling is the best, btw). He's already a great helper and does an excellent job of fetching things when I ask him to (which is way more often than I'd like to admit).
--Cole and I are working our way through Arrested Development on Netflix right now. We've both seen many of the episodes, but we decided to get a refresher before watching the newest episodes. It's a great way to fill in the days when we don't have Hell's Kitchen, Master Chef, or Rookie Blue to watch (we live for Wednesdays and Thursdays!).
--Cole got a replacement door for our basement (after our last one was destroyed--Kyle accidentally locked us in the basement a couple of years ago and kicking it open was our only way out). Since our house was built in the 60s and I'm pretty sure our doors are original we realized they all need to be replaced. Fortunately, it's not too expensive and it will make our house look remarkably more modern and fresh. Unfortunately, no two doors are the same size so it will require some careful measuring. Maybe we should replace them one at a time so we don't get any mixed up. :)
|Before. Note the destroyed knob hole and photobombing Matthew.|
--I'm going to have to get a job to support my baby girl clothes habit. There are so.many.things I want/need to get for her.
--The weather has been nice lately, so the boys have gotten to play outside more. Cole busted out the water table a few days ago, and it's a huge hit.
For Father's Day we had a barbecue and ate dinner outside. It was fantastic. I made barbecue sauce from scratch (YUM) and we grilled turkey burgers and hot dogs, had watermelon, corn on the cob, and some fabulous baked fries with rosemary & parmesan.
Well, my kids need lunch, so I guess that's enough potpourri for one day.