Lauren Wellbank

One mom and her struggle to survive until bedtime


Tag: Toddler (page 1 of 3)

The curse of the second child

My entire life I have heard of The Curse of the Second Child.  It’s like The Curse of King Tut’s Tomb, but with less carnage and more apathy.  At least, that’s my take…

I can remember overhearing parents talk about it when I was a child, myself.  Then, as I grew older and my friends became parents, I would hear them joke about it.

The second child just isn’t as big of a deal as the first… they’d say.

Don’t mind so-and-so, she just has second kid problems…

The theory was that you had already spent all of your excitement/energy on the first kid, so when the second one rolls around it’s just not that big of a dealContinue reading

How I finally found my mom tribe in a Facebook group

In 2014 I heard the term “mom tribe” for the first time.

Of my very few girlfriends, only a handful were what you would consider close relationships.  Even fewer yet were mothers.  I’d had no reason to be familiar with that term up until then, because before a cold morning in December, I’d had no use for mom tribes.

Just like most new moms, I struggled in the beginning.  I had questions, I felt inadequate, and I wondered more often than not if I was even cut out for all of this. Continue reading

Life after death, our new normal

There is a reason why people clean when they grieve.  I think part of it is a need to be doing something mundane and normal.  Part of it also has to do with wanting to be in control of something, anything, when everything else seems so profoundly out of your control.

The honorary hospice nurse

These thoughts are knocking around in my head as I spend two hours walking through my kitchen rearranging flowers and food and wiping down every surface I can reach despite the size of my ever growing belly.

I wipe, I rearrange, I cry.

That’s been my routine since I woke up today, in this, the first day in my new normal.

 

Continue reading

To my daughter on her final days as an only child

We’re snuggled up on the couch together as I write this.  Your head resting on my shoulder, your arms intertwined with mine.

You fell down earlier while running through the hallway.  I was busy pulling your old bassinet out of the bottom of your closet, as you ran up and down the hallway, yelling with glee.  When I reached you, big wet tears were already rolling down your cheeks and you were clutching your knee.

Photo by Darian Green

And then there were four

After I soothed your tears away you asked to get into your bassinet.  You’ve been too big for it for so long now, but you were still desperate to get back into it.  Instead I rocked you, and cooed at you, and told you about the days when you used to fit into it.  Pretending to suck your thumb with your eyes half closed you smiled, laughed, and said, “I a baby.”  Continue reading

Pregnancy and the horse latitudes, what the last weeks and sailing have in common

Have you ever heard the phrase horse latitudes before?  If you haven’t, don’t worry, it’s an outdated term with several different interpretations that the average person would have no call to know. The origins of the saying have absolutely no baring on what I’m about to tell you.  That is, other than to briefly explain what it is so that you can better understand where I’m at right now.

Lions and tigers and bears, oh my

The horse latitudes is an old sailing phrase that indicated that a ship had reached a location with calm waters and no crosswinds.  Of course, this was prior to the days of two and four stroke engines.  Are you impressed that I know that terminology, because you should be?  With no prevailing winds, large ships would find themselves stalled out in the middle of the ocean.  Supplies would begin to run short and sailors would start to panic.

The inhumane (and insane) fix for this often began with water rationing.  The animals on board, specifically the horses, would bear the brunt of this solution.  When the ships remained moored in the middle of the sea they would begin unloading their least precious cargo, the horses. This would both lighten their load and reduce the use of their finite resources.

Continue reading

Parenting is not about the wins, it’s about living to fight another day

I’m sitting on the toilet, pretending to eat a fake carrot as my toddler stands less than an inch from my bent knees begging me to keep going.

“Eat more, mommy.”  She says, and pushes the carrot back to my face.  Again I make the “om nom nom” noise and pretend to nibble on the tip.  “It’s ice-cream!”  She yells, reminding me that I can’t even eat a fake carrot correctly, because now it’s been transformed into a fake ice-cream cone.  Get it together, mommy, her face says.  Parenting is kind of your job.   Continue reading

Ten surefire gifts for any mom on your list this Christmas

Well, it’s Christmas week*.  I don’t know how that happened (time has lost all meaning since I became a parent), but it did.

wp-1479752905380.jpgIf you’re anything like me you are still adding last minute gifts to your Amazon shopping cart and praying frantically to the UPS gods that they make it here on time.  And if you’re not anything like me, and all your gifts are purchased, wrapped, and waiting patiently for Christmas Eve so that they can be placed underneath your Christmas tree, well… feel free to keep that information to yourself. Continue reading

On my daughter’s second birthday, a season of lasts

If I had known that it was going to be the last time, I would have taken our picture.  One of you falling asleep the way that you had every day of your entire life.  Your eyes were usually half closed with a happy smile playing around your lips, all of your focus on nursing.

Your hands were almost always clasped together, as if in some silent prayer.  Sometimes you would pull off to laugh, say something to me, or start singing me a song.  Sometimes you would just flop back, contented, and drift off to sleep.  No matter how it ended, it always started the same, just the two of us in our quiet routine.

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Lindsay and I nursing our babies right before my wedding in 2015, photo by Maria Kalitina

Yes, you were almost two, and I was almost five months pregnant, and I was so ready for this part of our relationship to be over, but you were not.  It had become both a physical and emotional strain on me in the last month of this pregnancy.  I would sit there with you, watching you drift off to sleep, and quietly hope that soon this part of our journey would be done.

And then one day, it just endedContinue reading

Ten surefire gifts for any mom on your list this Christmas

Well, Thanksgiving week has finally arrived.  I don’t know how that happened, it was summer about a week ago, but suddenly the leaves are all falling from the trees and I am staring down the barrel of making dinner for 20 on Thursday.

Between mouthfuls of what will hopefully be the most delicious bird anyone in my family has ever eaten, we will inevitably discuss Christmas and what is at the top of everyone’s wish list this year.

wp-1479752905380.jpgUsually, I wait until the last minute to figure out what I really want and hastily throw a list together that includes scented candles and socks (although, between you and me, scented candles are my jam).

This year, I am planning ahead, and starting my list early.  Today, even.  And as I make it, I realize this list may be handy, not just for me, but for any of the moms that may be on your list.

Allow me to present to you a surefire list of Christmas gifts for any mom on your list.

  1. A full night of sleep. One that is done in a large bed, with plenty of pillows, and covers to be distributed however we wish. Oh, and we’d like to be completely and utterly alone. I’d settle for six hours, but the real gift would be 20.
  1. Clothes. Personally, I am on day four of the same pair of pants. I have three that fit me right now, but apparently the other two are currently in the vast wasteland that I like to call the laundry pile. Maybe the mom in your life needs new work clothes, or maybe it’s yoga pants, but I’m sure that she needs an additional something.  And most importantly, something that fits.  For me, this year it will be nursing tops.  I can survive with the same three pairs of pants, but not the same two sweaters when the newborn comes.  Dear Santa, please bring me a shirt that lets me get to my boobs as quickly as humanly possible, with at least two back-ups.
  1. Laundry service for a month. We are only a family of three right now but I do about six loads a week.  Sure, the machines do most of the hard labor in this situation, but for every six hours of work they do, it means twelve hours of folding, hanging, and putting stuff neatly away in drawers for mom.
  1. A family photographer. The White House has a staff photographer that follows the Obamas around 24/7, so I would imagine that Michelle Obama is never missing from any Christmas morning pictures of the family opening presents.  Now, I know that I’m not America’s First Lady, but I am the first lady of this family.  And like most mothers, I’d like some shots of all of us together over the holidays.  A camera with a self-timer, a selfie stick, whatever it takes to be a part of those Christmas morning pictures, Santa!
  1. Snacks that are both delicious and healthy. No, I’m not talking about chocolate that makes you skinny (and if we’re doing big gifts this year can we please do away with the word “skinny”). I am talking about healthy snacks that are already made. As moms we are often running around making sure that everyone else has what they want and need. We often end up famished and grab the closest and easiest thing to eat.  This thing is rarely a bowl of freshly sliced fruit or cleaned and peeled veggies.  An unending bowl of guacamole that is always freshly made and never turns brown?  That would be the stocking stuffer to beat this year.
  1. Someone to do the dirty work. I am not talking about the temper tantrums or scrubbing toilets (but please see number seven) I mean poop and snot bubbles. Personally, I would like a week off from thrashing diaper changes that leave me, inexplicably, with poop under my fingernails. But maybe the dirty work for the mom in your life is spit up or changing a teenage boy’s sheets.  I’m sure we all have that one dirty job that we need a break from.
  1. A cleaning service for approximately one month. This one is pretty self-explanatory.  I’d like my month to be from Thanksgiving to New Year’s, or as I like to call, it “5 weeks of 5,000 messes”, but maybe that’s just me.
  1. A gift certificate for a Mom for Hire (and if that’s not a thing, it needs to be). This can be reserved for any time you are sick or hurt or are in some way unable to mom. It will be good for a surrogate mother for your children, and also one to take care of you, because sometimes a mom needs someone to mother them, too.
  1. A massage. There, this one wasn’t so hard, and it would easily fit into Santa’s sack. Mine can be given to me by my husband, but only if he suddenly possesses the hands of someone that cracks walnuts for a living. A gentle loving touch isn’t going to help these muscles.  I need someone to get mad at the knots in my shoulders.
  1. A way to freeze time. Or more accurately, a way to hold onto these moments. I know sometimes we mothers complain (and some of us way more than others *raises hand guiltily*), but we know how short our time with our kids really is.  Worse of all, the number of holidays that we get to spend with our kids under our roof is even further  I wish I could bottle this time, these feelings, these moments, and hold onto them forever.  Yes, even the high-on-freshly-baked-sugar-cookies-running-from-room-to-room-screaming-at-the-top-of-her-lungs, moments.  I want to hold onto it all, because some day they will be gone.

Happy Holidays!

When You’re a Mom, Nobody Cares That You’re Sick

Once, when I was about fifteen, I got very sick.  I had been feeling poorly for a few days before I finally told my mother that I probably needed to go to the doctor.  It was there that we received the diagnosis of a sinus infection coupled with bronchitis.  I was given a prescription and strict instructions to go home and take it easy.  And take it easy I did.  My mother spent her days making sure that I had plenty of OJ and watermelon (don’t ask me why, but I always want watermelon when I’m sick).  She ran out and bought me the good tissues, the ones that were two-ply and had lotion on them.  The absolute best part was that she made, from scratch, my favorite soup and served it to me in bed and with a side of saltines.

I got worse before I got better, but I did get better.  And I got better in the lap of luxury because she let me stay in her bed since my room was always drafty, and because that’s the kind of stuff mom’s do for their sick kids.

That was about twenty (Jesus Christ, twenty?!) years ago.  Oh, the good old days, when being sick meant a vacation from your life and a mom sized butler.

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Thanks to snapchat filters I don’t even look like I have strep throat and have had very little sleep.  I just look like a really sad panda instead.

Now, I find myself having to sit down and try and catch my breath because I just stood for fifteen minutes (apparently the absolute maximum effort I can expend).  I had to make myself chicken noodle soup because somehow I ended up with strep throat.  Strep throat which, by the way, I’ve had for about a week already and didn’t do anything about except suffer in silence, because I thought that what I was experiencing was jaw pain from grinding my teeth during the two to four hours of sleep that my tyrannical toddler allows me each night.

A toddler who, by the way, just does not give a single solitary shit that I’m sick.  She is too busy pulling my pants down while trying to get me to give her one of the carrots that I’m cutting up for the soup.  Not so that she can eat it, noooooooo, she wants to take a bite out of it and then hide the rest somewhere in the house for me to find later*.

If my mother were here she would be telling me to lay down, take a nap, or at least snuggle up under the covers and rest.

Instead I am with my daughter, and if she so much as sees me look at a couch/chair/anything that could be used to rest, she immediately asks me for something; milk, a cookie, a snuggle (alright, I gladly give into the last one).  But no, there is no rest for the weary… or the mother.

Being sick as a child relieves you of all responsibility.  You don’t go to school, you don’t go to your afterschool activities, you don’t really even have to do homework if you don’t send someone to pick it up for you (like a nerd).  You just lay around and let someone (mom) hand you whatever you need to eat, drink, and make sure the remote and tissues are within your reach.  You know what being sick is like when you’re a mom? It’s like every other day except you feel like you actually might die while you’re making everyone’s lunch.  And don’t get me wrong, you can ask your husband for help, and if he’s not sick he may actually give you some, but chances are that your kid is going to behave like an asshole and demand mom anyway because that’s what kids do.

When you’re sick as a child your mom usually calls and makes your doctor’s appointment, drives you there while you’re all safely snuggled up in the back seat wrapped in your favorite blanket, and she sits in the waiting room alternating putting the back of her hand on your forehead or cheeks and giving you kisses.  In other words, it’s all about you.  When you’re a mom, chances are you had to lock yourself in the bathroom to even make the phone call to the doctor (which hurt because you had to yell a little bit to be heard over the sound of your child frantically pounding on the door and screaming, “Mommy!”).  You have to get both yourself and your toddler dressed and into the car so that you can drive to the doctor’s office, where you spend the entire time comforting your damn kid who is now convinced that you are there for them and that they are about to get a shot.  If your child is anything like mine, you also have to hold them and bounce them throughout your entire exam as they scream at the top of their lungs while you get poked and prodded in all your sore spots.  Then, as a bonus, maybe they will scream the whole time you’re in line at the pharmacy window to pick up your prescription because they want crunchies.

And the number one thing the doctor wants you to do (right after drink lots of extra fluids), is now and always has been, to get lots of rest.  I’m assuming that he was able to hear my laughter above the sound of the screaming child.  Okay, doc, I’ll get right on top of that.  What part of this five minute glimpse into my life indicates that I’m going to be going home and taking it easy?

I guess the moral of this story is don’t grow up.  Stay young and cared for forever.  Also, thank your moms.  Because at some point they most likely had to take you to the doctor’s office when they were sick.  And like the saying goes, sometimes the cure is worse than the disease.

I love you mom.  Please come take care of me.

*I found the carrot three days later under the crib.

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