Like Tena’s husband, my son is also a stay at home dad during the day while his wife works. Since his regular job is in the evenings, it makes sense for him to care for my granddaughter while he is home and save on childcare costs. I couldn’t be a prouder mother! I think it is wonderful how dads today are taking charge and being such an instrumental part of their children’s lives.
In my day, if dad stayed with the kids (even for a short time), it was referred to as “babysitting.” As a result, my son has a much closer relationship with his daughter while nourishing his care giving side.
Although he knows firsthand how tiring it is, he considers himself lucky that he gets to spend so much time with his daughter and cherishes every minute of it. And of course aside from his daily childcare, he is doing the laundry, cleaning and whatever else needs to be done.
They are out and about town everyday for fresh air and visiting with neighbors and friends. My granddaughter is a big hit at the local coffee shop (it’s not unusual to find her behind the counter with the owner) and they can’t miss a stop at the newspaper stand to say “hi!” Even the mail lady knows my granddaughter. As a result, at 15 months old, her social skills are already developing as she doesn’t hesitate to approach children at the playground for a baby talk chat.
Living the urban life in San Francisco brings to mind an ancient African Proverb: “It takes a village to raise a child.” My son, who is very outgoing, takes his daughter everywhere and enjoys all of the attention she receives. To say he was a proud dad would be an understatement.
And just a quick note about our latest Skyping adventures – grandma got to see her precious granddaughter walking. Yippeee!!!
Sharon became a first time grandma in February of 2011 and had the pleasure of celebrating her granddaughter’s first birthday in San Francisco where she lives with her oldest son and his wife. Sharon welcomes the opportunity to spoil her granddaughter after having raised two boys. Sharon is an avid lover of the arts and has dabbled with oil painting and enjoys interior decorating as a hobby. She is the Customer Service Manager for Step2.
Along the long, windy, path of motherhood there are many unexpected turns. Most of the unexpected things I have encountered along the motherhood path, to my chagrin, have been in my heart and my brain. Take the following for example…
Crash, Boom, Bang
You know what I am talking about. Once you hear that sound of crash followed by a cry your heart drops to your knees, your nerve endings prickle, and your hair follicles turn on end. There is nothing worse than that sound.
Once you have had one experience of hearing this thud followed by the cry, everytime you hear such a sound a head jerk and heart flip occur quite often and can be caused by any of the following: any household thud, an unexpected splash in a pool, the sound of something dropping, breaking or bumping – even the sound of an ambulance when your children are home and you are away takes on new meaning. I am wondering, at what age are they when this stops happening?
Growing up and out of things
Mommy heart flip-flops are also caused by things that indicate how fast your child is growing up. My youngest, Brady (a.k.a. Grizz) did not fit into one of my favorite matching outfits. My baby was too big for an outfit I thought was huge not just a year ago. How could this be? I looked at him in the crib last night and once just 21” long; he is now over 42” tall. It’s almost a magical bittersweet dilemma of all mothers – how fast their children grow.
Last week I found myself sitting with Ryan on his last day of preschool watching the slide show for the year. For me, there is no way to not feel a pang of sadness along with joy at every milestone. Does this ever go away or does it get worse? It’s going to be an interesting summer, preparing for pre-k, digging for worms, playing in dirt, riding bikes, staying up late, watching the games, sleeping in, swimming and growing up.
I am loving this path of motherhood and wondering what I will encounter next! I don’t know what’s more unexpected, what happens or how I feel about what happens.
About Sara S.
Sara is an on the go – down to earth Momma, married to a Marine and the mother of two get dirty wild and crazy, play in the mud boys. She loves Michael Jackson, dancing and spending time with her family. She is honored to be able to teach her little guys about the world around them, about kindness love and the human spirit. For fun, she loves to make jewelry, shop, ski and spend time outdoors getting dirty with her boys. Sara is a Sr. Product Manager at Step2.
Before having a child, I was never the person who thought I knew a lot about babies. In fact, I was very afraid of babies and would not hold anyone else’s bundle of joy until they hit the four to six month mark. It isn’t that I didn’t have an appreciation for their wonderful baby smell or touch but my assumption around their fragility far outweighed any benefit I would get from opening my arms to a precious little one.
I didn’t dive into a lot of research before having my son either. I figured that my motherly instincts would kick in and common sense would carry me a long way. Then, my son arrived, and quickly I have learned that common sense and motherly instincts do not outweigh the power of on-the-job training when it comes to being a Mom. Some of these are rookie moves I’m sure, but I bet there are at least one or two others out there who can relate to this list of lessons I’ve learned over the last ten months (please tell me I’m not alone).
1. Don’t feed your baby in a moving car
After a particularly long doctor’s appointment (2.5 hours) at an office that was 35 minutes from our home I decided to give my son a bottle. While you are probably trying to picture this, let me set the stage. My husband and I were having a Driving Miss Daisy session – him in the driver’s seat and me in the back seat with our son. About ten minutes into our drive home, he started crying and wouldn’t stop (my son, not my hubby). I couldn’t bear to hear him cry knowing it was from hunger…so, I got the bottle out of the diaper bag, put it in my shirt to try and warm up the bottle that had been sitting on an ice pack, and then gave it to him.
Luckily, I didn’t give it to him until we were close to our house because he immediately started to spit up. He was in his car seat and there was no way for me to get him out to keep him from choking. My husband quickly pulled off the side of the road, ran around the car, and got him out of the seat to pat his pack. It was dramatic and horrible and could have been avoided completely.
2. Keep testing different diaper creams until you find one that works
I was very apprehensive about using petroleum based protection for my little guy’s toosh. I had heard of a very appealing “pink” colored product that works wonders. So, that is what we used. At first, it was great, no diaper rash at all. However, after a few months, a dreaded diaper rash developed. I continued using the pink stuff. The diaper rash worsened and got very red (which happened to be muted under the layers of the pink stuff). I continued to use the pink stuff. It went on like this for a several weeks with days of relief in between.
Finally, I gave in and used a petroleum based product and he has not had any issues since. Looking back, I wonder if he had some sort of allergic reaction to the zinc oxide in the “pink” product. I’m sure it is wonderful for some but I wish I would have switched sooner.
3. Use the safety belts on your gadgets
OK, so this one is particularly mortifying. Until our son was about seven months old, he slept in his swing every night. He was next to impossible to get to sleep and once he would fall asleep, we tip-toed through the house like a cat burglar to keep from waking him. Strapping him into the swing for safety was not even a consideration. The swing was deep, he had several heart surgeries and wasn’t wildly mobile (or so we thought), and once he was in the swing, he was asleep for the night…until, the one night he wasn’t.
He had started to cry a little bit and since my husband stays at home with him and I go to work in the mornings, he typically takes care of him overnight. In this instance though, I didn’t hear my husband getting up to see what was wrong. As I was groggily trying to wake up, I heard my husband (coming from the bathroom) yelling, “oh my God, oh my God, oh my God”. Thud…silence…screaming.
Our baby had flipped himself out of the swing and onto the floor. Thankfully, his dismount was executed with the style and grace of an Olympic gymnast. He managed to do a full 360 degree rotation and go from his back in the swing to landing on his butt on the floor. He only cried for about 15 seconds so I’m sure he was just scared, though not nearly as scared as we were. In fact, not only do we always use the safety belts on all of his gadgets, he no longer sleeps in the swing.
Now that I’ve shared all some of my Mommy mistakes, and I feel like I definitely should get the “worst parent of the year award” I am reminded of some things I do right. Like getting the text message below from my husband and deciding it is time to call it a day and head home to my beautiful family!
Tena and her best friend (and hubby) had their first child in July, 2011. Their little guy has a congenital heart defect and he is one tough little cookie; don’t ever think about calling him sick though – “his plumbing is just different.” Tena is an animal loving vegetarian and is excited to teach her son about compassion and the importance of volunteer work. She secretly hopes her son will be left handed like his momma. She is the Online Marketing Director for Step2.
While I personally deem myself a mother already, even though my little peanut has not yet exited my womb, I didn’t expect others to acknowledge me as a mother until my baby girl arrives (yes, we recently found out it’s a girl and we are overjoyed!).
So I was brought to tears yesterday as my first “unofficial” Mother’s Day began. While in the back of my mind I had hoped my husband would recognize the “holiday,” I was not expecting the onslaught of Mother’s Day wishes that were headed my way.
Text messages from old friends, my cousins, my boss, coworkers, my husband’s guy friends (which I still cannot believe!), Facebook wall posts, and gifts from my husband and my mother. It felt like my birthday (if this is what Mother’s Day is like every year, I am pretty pumped!).
After having a rough night sleep on Saturday, between the baby having hiccups just about every 2 hours (I like to think it was her way of saying “Happy Mother’s Day Mom!”) and a few bouts of leg spasms, my husband greeted me in the morning with my first “Happy Mother’s Day.”
As the day went on, we celebrated with our families and my mom gave me a beautiful figurine that reminded me of her mother, my grandmother, that will reside in the baby’s nursery.
While the physical gifts are great and very much appreciated, I look forward to the day where my baby girl will look into my eyes and call me “mom.” That will be the greatest gift of all.
Just a few more months until I meet my little princess and, to me, that will be my first real “Mother’s Day.”
Ashley is expecting her first child in early September 2012 with her high-school sweetheart turned husband 3 years ago. Together they have a lab named Peak whom they adopted during a ski trip in Denver. She loves all things fashion and cannot wait to start shopping for her little one’s wardrobe. She is the Social Media Manager at Step2 and you may have recently communicated with her if you’ve chatted with Step2 on Facebook or Twitter.
I personally don’t know any other parents my age in my situation, but I’m sure there are a few out there. All my friends that I graduated with are experiencing “empty nest syndrome.” But with 4 children, ranging from teens to 30′s, I on the other hand, have not had the opportunity to experience this syndrome quite yet.
I have two teenagers at home – ages 14 and 16. My oldest daughter, age 34, is married and has a 3 yr old son, my grandson, who calls me “Nonna.” They live about 2 ½ hours away, a term they lovingly refer to as the “buffer zone.” My oldest son who is 20 just moved out 3 months ago, I sometimes wonder if he’ll be back.
Statistics show 85% of college grads move back home, aka boomerang kids. I don’t know if he’ll return, as he seems pretty happy living on his own. After all he doesn’t need to answer to mom or hear me nag him about cleaning his room, taking out the garbage, feeding the dogs, etc. I’m in the process of re-doing his room into a guest bedroom. I’ve always wanted a guest bedroom.
There have been many changes from the mid 70′s when my first was born to the late 90’s when my youngest was born. Here are a few:
70′s – When I gave birth via c-section to my first born, I was in the hospital for 7 days (that was the norm). Five of those consisted of a liquid diet only. Believe me when they brought that tray of Jello, broth, & hot tea on the fifth day, I started crying……I was sooo hungry. The good news was once I left the hospital I fit back into my pre-maternity jeans.
90′s – My doctor encouraged me to have my next three children by regular birth, which I did. I was in the hospital a total of 3 days, if even that. I chose my meals from a menu. It took months to fit Into my pre-maternity jeans again.
70′s-Right after I had my oldest, the nurses whisked her away and I didn’t get to see her for about 12 hrs. Back then they had a nursery where you and other members of the family could view the babies from a large window. The nurses took care of the babies for the most part. They feed, changed and bathed them. The mothers concentrated on getting better and relaxing.
90′s – The baby stayed with you the whole time. You had to feed them, change them and get up in the middle of the night when they cried. That was a rude awakening. I kept wondering when that nurse was coming to take the baby so I could get some rest!
70′s – Fathers were confined to the waiting room until after the child was born and then they could view their newborn child from the nursery window.
90′s – Fathers were expected to be with the mother from the time you entered the hospital and stay to coach the mother through her labor and hold the baby as soon as it’s born.
70’s- Breastfeeding was something only the “hippies” did. I breast fed which meant they brought my baby to me for feedings only and then she was whisked away again. I had to either go down to the nursery to see her or ring the nurse to bring her to me.
90’s – Breast feeding was encouraged and strongly suggested.
In the 70′s I had never heard of ultrasounds, amniocentesis, birthing rooms, water births or hypno births. We were not required by law to have our children in a car seat. When I brought my oldest home I held her in my arms, heck I don’t think I was even wearing a seat belt. As my daughter got a little older, 3 or 4 she sat in the front seat and the seat belt was my arm going across her chest if I had to make a sudden stop. There were times when she was standing up in the front seat. Now that I think back of that it scares me to death.
Today the law requires all children to be in a car seat/booster until they are 4ft. 9 in. Due to my Italian genes and my husband whose family is not what you would call on the tall side either, my youngest was barely 4 feet tall in the first grade! I remember taking him to soccer practice when he was seven, one of his friends came running up to the car to meet him and when he saw my son was sitting in a booster seat his friend looked a little puzzled and asked “Why are you sitting in a baby seat?” I went home, took the booster seat out of my car, put in on the garage shelf and never put it back in my minivan again.
One thing that never changes is I still worry about my children and would like to be able to keep them safe and happy whether they are 14 or 34. I will say having children later in life keeps you active and young at heart!
About Sara R.
Sara is a mother of four. She has two daughters – Jamie age 35 and Taylor age 16 – and two sons – Justin age 20 and Christopher age 14. She is also a grandmother of one – Andrew age 3. She lives in Mantua, Ohio with her husband Bill. She has worked at Step2 for the past 12 years (before that she was a stay at home mom for 9
My 6 year old son, Alex, will tell you he wants to be Batman when he grows up. He will state this matter of factly, clearly, without humor or apology. For him, he is presently Batman-in-training. He is logical, practical and realizes that a 6 year old cannot be Batman. This makes me the future Batmom I suppose. The fact that Batman’s parents met an untimely demise, has not escaped me. But, as a friend told me, it took that tragedy to make Batman who he is. “Your son,” she wisely said, “has already stated he is Batman (at least in training). So, no worries.”
My Batman is not armed with grappling hook, batarangs or a utility belt full of tools. My Batman is armed with his wit and disarming smile. A smile that, until recently, was cavity free.
I’ve been taking Alex to the dentist since he was just a little Batman, perhaps two or three. Every visit has been stellar and I’ve walked away feeling the pride that only a cavity free visit can bring. I, Batmom, have successfully supervised tooth brushing and flossing. The reward, no cavities.
This most recent visit started off as usual. Alex behaved like a champ and the hygienist did her thing. I smiled.
The dentist came in, looked at Alex’s teeth and nodded. My smile brightened. I gathered my belongings ready to exit with another successful visit under my belt.
Then, the bottom began to drop out. “Well,” the dentist commented “he has a hole in his tooth.” “See here?” She said pointing to a spot on his x-ray.
I felt my smile begin to falter. “A hole?” I commented slowly. My mind was spinning with the thought of a hole in a tooth. What did it mean? What was wrong with my son? What had he done to get a hole in his tooth?
And then the dreaded word popped into my head. Cavity. Was she talking about a cavity? She couldn’t be. Surely she would have said cavity.
I swallowed hard and casually asked, “A hole? Do you mean a cavity?” I waited for her to say “No.” I waited for her to laugh at my ridiculousness. Without skipping a beat she brightly said, “Yes. A cavity. We will need to put a cap on his tooth. We don’t fill baby teeth.”
My smile fell away. A cavity? A cap? There would be no hiding a cap. A filling could go undetected by other mothers (yes, I really did think that). But a cap? No way.
“Oh.” I stated as my mind frantically searched for other solutions so that I could hide this growing horror. And then the solution popped into my head. “Well, you can make the cap the same color as his other teeth.” I stated as if this were fact.
“Nope.” She stated matter-of-factly as she prepared to exit the room. “The caps are silver for baby teeth.” She then told me to stop by the front desk to schedule the visit and that she would see me soon. She waved happily to Alex and exited.
“I’m getting a cap!” Alex proclaimed as I smiled weakly and ushered him toward the reception area to schedule his visit. “A silver cap!”
I later shared this story with a good friend. “I’m pretty sure Batman doesn’t have any caps!” I lamented miserably. She smiled and stated, “Well, he does now!” And we both started to giggle.
Tiffany is the mother of a curly haired six year old boy who wants to be Batman when he grows up! When she is not engaged in an intense light saber battle, watching Transformers (cartoons and movies), asking her child not to jump from the top step or being told, “you’re playing action figures the wrong way, mom” she contemplates how wonderful it would be if her child were a twin or triplet. Tiffany is the Human Resources Manager for Step2.