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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

18 Months

18-Month Stats
Weight: 24lbs 11oz - 25th percentile
Height: 33in - 50th percentile
Head: 47.5cm

Max is almost 20 months now.  There is just so much I could say about him and so many pictures to post that I have found this blog post to be quite daunting and have been putting it off for too long now.

- First and foremost, Max LOVES TRAINS! He is absolutely obsessed beyond words with trains. He makes me put trains on youtube for him about 20 times a day and loves Thomas the Tank Engine. Any kind of trains too: cartoon, real, subway, commuter,...
- He still loves vehicles and will correctly identify the sound of each one when we're out and sign it: train, plane, car, bus. We can hear the horns of the trains from our apartment and Max will make the train sign every time.
- He is so intelligent and learns super quickly.
- He knows how to put together all his board puzzles.
- He knows between 30-40 signs and will make up his own sometimes and stick with them.
- He opens doors (which is quickly becoming a problem).
- He has a speech delay, but can say 7 words: Mama, Dada (sometimes gaga), ba (ball), ba (bath - yes, they are different), bubuh (bubble), ba ba ba (banana), wawa (Yo Gabba Gabba, sometimes yaya). They are in no way proper words, but they are meaningful and we understand them and that is what matters.
- Our bedtime routine has become me reading books to myself, while he peers over my should every once in a while, while running in and out of his room. Often the same goes for singing time as well. Sometimes he'll sit on my lap or the glider chair while reading books and sometimes he'l cuddle while singing, but now that he's a full-blown toddler, he has a hard time sitting still for very long.
- He sleeps really well and will sleep about 12-12.5 hours a night without waking up and takes a 1.5 hour nap. It is beautiful.
- He loves any and all kinds of fruits.
- He hates any and all kinds of veggies except green beans and these super petite, skinny baby carrots.
- He tantrums a lot and they usually only last 10-20 seconds. He falls on his bum and then throws himself backwards, without any regard as to what he might hit his head on. He is super cute when he tantrums and I try not to laugh, but it's hard, especially since he can tantrum over the smallest things.
- He loves watching TV playing with the Kindle and we let him do both way too much.
- He loves his mama more than anything. If I am not home to put him down to bed at night and then the next morning is Bryan's morning to wake up with him, he will call out "mama" so many times, then cry when Bryan tells him I'm sleeping and usually ends up coming into my room to hold my hand while I sleep. If Bryan tries to read to him at night, he takes the book from his hands and gives it to me to read instead.
- He loves his daddy more and more each day. He loves to run to our room when it's time to wake Bryan up in the morning and get on the bed with him and give him sweet morning kisses.
- He loves being outside SO much and running around. We go to a playground probably 4-5 times a week, but he'll enjoy just running around our apartment complex. He tries to escape when we go to the car or from the car to our apartment and tantrums when he can't get away.
- He loves slides and is not afraid of going down the big ones by himself.
- He loves playing with the Thomas train set at Barnes and Noble.
- He only ever lets up listen to Yo Gabba Gabba music. He we are on our laptops, he demands that we play it and he especially demands it when we are in the car. And he only likes the songs by the Gabbaland characters, not the ones by any real band.
- He used to loves getting his teeth brushed and his hands washed, but he hates them both now.
- His absolute favorite song is "Wheels on the Bus" and has become the only song he will let me sing to him for bedtime.

Well, I guess that's enough for now. See? Too much and I could just keep going.

 The best shot I could get on Mother's Day

Monday, May 13, 2013

Mother's Day Talk

It’s funny what becoming a mother can do to you.  When my son was about 6 months old, my husband and I watched a movie one night.  In the opening scene, a mother is breastfeeding her baby at an outside café.  Long story short (and frankly a bit less gruesome), a shootout occurs and the mother is caught in the crossfire and passes away while her baby continues to breastfeed.  As a breastfeeding mother at the time, this affected me greatly and I started crying.  Not just silent tears either, so that my husband wouldn’t think I was weird, but uncontrollable crying; the kind where it’s hard to speak and even breathe.  I didn’t know where this was coming from!  The scene never focused on this mother and baby and perhaps I am even the only one to have noticed it happen, but it affected me to the core.  I was heartbroken, devastated.  Being a mother has caused me to be sensitive to things that others may not even notice.  Being a mother brings tears to my eyes and a smile to my face. 

            My own mother tells me all the time, “Now you understand how much I love you,” and I think to myself, “that’s not possible! It’s not possible for anyone to love their child as much as I love mine!”  Well, it’s crazy to think that it IS possible and not only that, but our Heavenly Father loves each one of us even more than I love my own son.  Another thing I often think is, “how am I supposed to have another baby and love him as much as I love my son, Max? Again, it’s just not possible!”  Our Heavenly Father has millions…billions of children and He loves each and every one of us the same.  How do I know that?  How do I know He loves me as much as he loves my husband or my son? My son, who’s only a year and half, who’s so pure in heart and probably closer to Heavenly Father than even I am?  I know it because I feel it every time I pray.  I can literally feel His love for me as I communicate with Him, and I know that same love transfers over to each of us. 

            Lately I’ve been finding myself telling me son, rather often actually, “I’m busy.  I’m busy.  Go play with daddy, I’m busy.”  But honestly, what could I possibly be doing that’s more important than my son?  I find that my son throws tantrums a whole lot more when he asks for my attention and I don’t give it to him.  I find that it’s when I’m on my computer that he decides to pull all the DVDs off the shelf because even at this young age, he’s desperate for my love and attention.  Now, I’m not saying that we need to give all our full, undivided attention towards our children every second of every day…that would drive us all mad!  But we do need to pay attention to the needs of our children every second of every day.  We know our children best and we know how much of our direct attention each of them needs in order to thrive.  Some children need more and some not as much.  Max is probably about half and half.  He does a really good job at playing by himself and at other times he just needs a really good cuddle.  So by paying attention to his particular needs, I know when it’s ok to do my own thing for a bit while he does his own thing, and I know when I need to just put down that computer, get down on ground level with him and listen to what he needs and play with him.

            There’s a song I love called, Just a Homemaker that states, “Every woman is a homemaker no matter what else she might do.  And if we don’t watch out the world convinces us that there are better things for us to do.  So remember this profession is the best thing you can be.  And if right now you have to add another one, remember this one’s top priority.”  And you know what?  It is and should be our top priority.  Our children are the future, as we’ve heard many times.  However, at the same time I have found that when I take care of myself first, then I do a much better job at taking care of my son.  I get to a point every once in a while where I just need a break!  I just need to go out and have an hour or two, or a night even, completely void of my baby.  And I used to feel really bad having these feelings and I used to push them aside, thinking I’m a horrible mother to have these thoughts.  But you know what?  I, and my husband too can attest to it, have come to realize that when I come back from my break, I am more kind and generous and more willing to serve my family and give them the love that they deserve.  Just because we are mothers, we can’t completely forget about our own needs.  Just as we know how much attention our children need to thrive, we know what we need to do for ourselves in order to thrive and be better mothers, and we can’t ignore that or feel bad about that.

            Max and I had a really rough start in the months after he was born and I had some really bad postpartum issues.  And these last few weeks as well, as he’s grown into toddlerhood and begun asserting his independence, to put it nicely, have been really rough on me.  I’m a stay at home mom and my husband goes to school full—time.  Our families are both in California and the only friends I have close by are the few I’ve made in this ward.  However, that being said, my husband and I only have one car, so Max and I are usually stuck inside with limited resources most days of the week.  Really, having a toddler, you can only come up with so many activities to keep entertained.  There’s another song that has always been a great comfort to me during my particularly tough times.  It’s called He’ll Come Home with You.  And it’s kind of long, but it goes like this:

She’d just gone across the street to see the neighbors
But as she turned to go back home the thought was there
Like a wave that rolls and turns, the loneliness returned
Leaving in its wake a feeling of despair

She stood looking at her house, each window lighted
And knew behind each light a child with many needs
“I just can’t go back tonight,” she thought, “I’ve given everything I’ve got”
Then looking up she made this silent plea

“Could I please come home tonight, for just a little while?
In the morning I’ll be ready to come back
But I’m tired of the strain, of the loneliness and pain
Could I please come home to find the strength I lack?”

Though the air was undisturbed, still she knew her prayer was heard
For she felt her loving Father say these words
“My child, you can’t come home tonight, for if you did it would be too hard to return,
But though I can’t let you come home, I will not let you be alone
Just give your burden to my Son and the light you need will come”

Then take His hand and as you do you’ll find His strength will carry you
You can’t come home tonight, but He’ll come home with you.

            What a powerful message.  I sometimes feel like the mother in this story, particularly on those days that just seem to never end:  Days when naptime feels like it should be bedtime already; those days where everything just seems to go wrong.  Where it’s the end of the day and you find you don’t even need to change into your pajamas to go to sleep because you’re still wearing them.  Days when the tv is your only salvation.  On those days I find myself asking the same question, “could I please come home tonight?, for just a little while? In the morning I’ll be ready to come back.” And always I receive the same answer, “My child, you can’t come home tonight, for if you did, it would be too hard to return.  But though I can’t let you come, I will not let you be alone, just give your burden to my son, and the light you need will come.”  You know the Footprints in the Sand poem where there are two separate footprints and then there’s only one and Jesus Christ says, “Those are the times I carried you”? Well, these days I just mentioned are the days we need to hand things over to our Savior, to take HIS hand and allow Him to give us the strength we need to carry through.

            In spite of all the hardships I encounter, I would not trade this profession for the world.  Being a mother is the greatest calling I could have possibly received.  Every time I look at my son, I realize just how blessed I am.  He is such a sweetheart and spontaneously gives me hugs and kisses all the time.  In fact, I find it quite ironic that when I got pregnant, Bryan wanted a boy so badly that I think he literally willed our baby to be a boy, yet Max is the biggest Mama’s boy there is. Heavenly Father has entrusted these precious little souls to us and the best thing we can do for them is to teach them the gospel and be examples of righteous members of the church so they have the best chance of returning back to Him one day.  I’m so grateful and lucky to have such a wonderful husband who loves and supports me and allows me to be able to stay at home with my son.

Brothers and sisters, and mothers in particular, this is my testimony that I leave with you; I know that when I get down on my knees and pray, Heavenly Father is right there with me.  He loves me.  I know he would never give any one of us a trial that is too hard to overcome.  I know that when we give our burdens to our Savior Jesus Christ, that His strength will carry us through.  That is why He lived and died…to take upon Him our burdens so we don’t have to go through this world alone.  We can’t go home tonight, but He WILL come home with you.