MG letters

Six

Six.  This is a hard one for me.  N and I stayed up too late last night, both getting a little weepy at the thought of our little girl turning over another birthday leaf. It’s gone so fast.

“Let’s have another”, he said with misty eyes and swelling heart.  “Yeah, I definitely want another one.”, I agreed.

No sooner had the words exited my mouth when he exclaimed, “This is a terrible reason to have another baby.”  “Yeah!” I agreed heartily.  And we laughed.  It was the good kind of laughter; a mixture of comic relief and relief that you don’t have to follow through on your intense feelings because you realize how irrational they are.

It does and doesn’t help that we are parenting her mini twin, 5.5 years behind her.  It is good for both nostalgia and gut checks alike.

Here are some things this year has brought us:

-a new smile (due to her frenulum being snipped) (and I like this one even better!  I think it makes her look even prettier to see her lip pull up all the way now)

-she prefers cutting up paper into a million tiny pieces and markers to playing with toys right now, it seems

-she loves to play school with Bea, and be an extra set of hands for Sib

-great listener award at school.  It’s true!  She tries so hard to follow the rules at school, it’s precious to observe.

-No loose teeth yet.

-still loves Stella

-very little illness this year and has tolerated dairy in limited amounts very well (low lactose being key)

-she is a very loyal and loving friend.  It seems the key for her is to find someone with just a bit of a stronger personality than her and she is all in, hook, line, and sinker.

Six year olds can tell funny jokes, read simple stories, write out their feelings, hypothesize about the future, and are really well versed in delayed gratification (especially if they have younger siblings).  They are still very affectionate to adults and they have a very strong sense of justice/injustice.  I love my six year old!

 

But I miss her little blonde head and the way she would say words incorrectly and we would not correct her because we found it cute (like “oat-me-meal” and “brock-a-mole” {guacamole}).  My heart physically hurts a bit when I think about the phases we have ended now that I used to enjoy so much (first babies, then Elmo, Thomas the train,princesses). Thankfully Stella is still a part of her bed but it is a rare day when she puts on a princess dress up.  She used to spend her every waking moment in one!  (I consider it a small victory for childhood that she chose a princess cake this year, given all options.  Shopkins almost won, but princesses narrowly edged ahead at the last moment.  Victory)

I remember after we moved away from our first house, I used to look back a bit wistfully and with longing about the life we had there together.  I used to leave that house just about every morning with her, whether it be to a play date, story time, or the playground.  My whole day pretty much revolved around her.

Now I feel similarly about the schoolhouse. She really grew up in that house and I feel a squeeze of sadness wondering if I spent enough time with her and enjoyed her personality enough in those stages, seeing as how little of it I get with her now.  Will she even remember life in that house?

She has lived in four houses now.  Five, if you count the 8 weeks spent at my parents’ during the beginning of school.  The change hasn’t worn on her too much, so it seems.  She’s used to it now. I’ve been pleased with her ability to make friends and even more so with her kindness and nurturing heart towards them.  Today I visited her school to eat lunch with her and she was able to pick one friend to join us.  It was a tough decision because she has about 4 good friends and none is a favorite.  Right now they are all equals, in a sweet, innocent way of kindergartners.  She ended up choosing one that has a food allergy.  I think MG was pleased with herself because she had brought treats for the class and a special treat for this girl, V.

She loves to save the day, remind and help her friends to follow directions, and laugh.  She does NOT like to be the center of attention.  When she told me about the class tradition of the student with the birthday standing on a chair and the entire class singing to him or her, she ended it with, “I think I might cry.”  “Why?”, I said, “Because you’ll be so happy?”  “No”, she said, “because I’ll be so nervous.”

She did not cry.

But her daddy did watching it..

My dad reminded me at the beginning of school, though these moments of growth are hard on us parents, thank God that she is healthy enough to attend school and that she is physically here and growing, just as it should be.  Yes, thank you God.  These moments of sadness are quick and sharp, but they are there, especially around birthdays.  But good things are always hard to say goodbye to, and year 5-6 was a good one; no, a great one.  She stayed so healthy, grew tremendously in her academics, made new friends and adjusted to a totally new life, and became a big sister again.  One for the books!

And definitely one of my favorite ones so far,

-smk

 

 

The Sick and the Sad

 

**ive just been doing a little reflecting on how far we’ve come in a year.  This was in my draft folder and I decided to publish it today to remember where we were and how our circumstances have changed**

There is nothing much worse than waking up to the sound of your 3 year old retching.

There is nothing more pitiful than realizing your 3 year old knows how to throw up all by herself and is past the point of even alerting you anymore.

Up until April of this year, mg had literally never thrown up in her three years of life.  She wasn’t even a spit uppy baby.  Oh how I dreaded the day of the stomach bug and did everything natural I could to prevent it.  I’ve gotten a stomach virus every year since being pregnant with her and the thought of getting it again, in all how att, keeps me awake at night. Some people are good with vomit and bodily fluids and the like (bless your hearts, nurses)  But as for myself, I just can’t and don’t.  And pray it doesn’t come out way.  Just the mere mention of those two words together and my palms start to get a little sweaty. I start to feel nauseous (sympathy belly) and I avoid that person like…well..the plague

I hope this isn’t too gross but there is something about vomit that is just so visceral.  I like clean, calm,control (I’m working on it, yall) and the norovirus threatens to wreak havoc on all of that.
But anyway, back to the story.  Just so we’re clear that I ABHOR vomiting…

Her first bout of it literally was one episode andfeeling great the rest of the day.  I felt proud of myself for surviving that.  I felt proud of her that she wasn’t scared when it happened (that is such a weird concept to explain to kids, huh?).  And amazed that a stomach bug entered our house and we all remained relatively unscathed.

Three months later, she picked up another stomach bug.  This one was easy to trace to a source and having been exposed we figured it was only a matter of time before one of us
succumbed.  She was the first to go down but once again it only involved getting sick once and great spirits prevailed.

Forty eight hours later I was starting to relinquish a bit on my bleaching and homeopathic remedies for bug prevention.  I thought we’d once again gotten off pretty easily considering and I felt my anxiety towards stomach bugs in general, lift a little bit.  Maybe this was God’s way of showing me I don’t need to fear (I literally do fear these things) vomit in the house.  By day 3 I was sure we were all clear.

So that’s why day 4 caught me so off guard when I woke up to a revisit from the bug, and the victim was once again MG.

And it happened again on day 5, and day 12, and day 18, 19, and 20 with good and bad days in between.  Around day 6 I started to come down with it and then Bea and N both caught mild versions around day 8.  So we knew it was a contagious bug but our guts (pun unintended) told us there was something bigger going on.

We visited her doctor a few times during all of the sick days.  At first they told us that it’s normal for kids to take a while to recover from bugs like these.  But then they too, started to grow more concerned, as the sickness stretched from a week, to two, to almost a month.  We followed their advice and began to cut certain food groups out of her diet: unfermented dairy, gluten, and raw vegetables.  This seemed to help, but it obviously didn’t cure.

We fell into a predictable pattern.  MG would complain of a stomach ache upon waking up but then would be seemingly normal throughout the day.  She would have a normal appetite and act completely fine.  Then early the following morning, she would wake up, throw up mucous, and then experience stomach cramping, diarrhea, and more mucous-y vomiting for the next three days.

The lowest point for me was once again, the middle of the night, retching, after over a month of sickness.  I begged N to take her to the ER (I was still breastfeeding Bea at the time).  I was sure that a different doctor needed to see her (and was pretty convinced she had giardisis which requires antibiotic treatment)

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He complied. And it turned out she didn’t have it. We were stuck again waiting.  Waiting for her to be healed, but knowing that until something gave, we probably wouldn’t see that.  We just didn’t know how to get treatment or answers.

All of the up and down was really grating on me and all of the sickness was really starting to make me panic.  Even N, the ever calm one, was staring to worry about our sweet girl.

Finally after yet another bout of sickness, her doctor told us to once again follow the diet (which we’d already been doing) but even more strictly.  If she gets sick again in the next four days, I will refer her to a pediatric gastroenterologist, she said.

So when MG did, the doctor immediately got us an appointment.

We didn’t have to wait very long to see this doctor and we were pleasantly surprised when she instantly diagnosed MG with “delayed stomach emptying”.  Basically after a stomach bug, your body produces a high amount of acid for some time while it regulates (can be up to six months later).  That seems to be the root of her stomach aches.  The mucousy vomitting is probably caused by her intestines which aren’t fully healed and are reacting to certain foods.  So for the next three months we were to put her on a low-acid, low-fiber, low-fat, no gluten, no dairy diet.  (so what is she supposed to eat??)  The doctor did say that processed dairy was okay, like cheese and yogurt.  This was all MG heard and immediately began asking me if she could have cheese.

OKay, why not, I thought.  If this doctor said it was okay.  So I gave her a tiny amount with her lunch that day.

Sure enough, the next day she fell ill.

Well, we strictly adhered to the diet from that moment on and she didn’t become sick anymore!  She did complain of stomach aches some mornings and we remedied those with a homeopathic heart burn medication.

I thought we were in the clear until this past week.  The symptoms starting showing up and like clockwork, she became sick in the early morning hours.  Something must have snuck into her food.  That’s all we can figure.  But it is discouraging, as now, three months later, it is another set back.  And it means she isn’t as far along as I was hoping.  The way the doctor described it, I thought it owuld be temporary condition, but now I’m starting to have my doubts.  We go back at the end of Nobemebr, so I guess we will know more then.

She had amazed me with her discipline and strength.  Said someone to her at a restaurant, “how about a grilled cheese or a cheeseburger?!”  “No I can’t eat cheese.”  She has only had one breakdown, and it was over fries.  Fries are okay in moderation but this was just a few days after an incident and we had to watch everything, including her fat intake.  She just looked at me with her hand pressed to her eyes (I suppose in a vain attempt to keep from crying) and said, “but I really want French fries”.  And then cried quietly and bitterly for about fifteen minutes.  That’s about how long she needed to grieve and then she was able to move on.

A few times she has slipped up (like in SS we were old they were going to eat a snack but someone served frosted cookes).  At home she asked if it was okay she ate one.  It broke my heart that she has to think about this things and can’t enjoy her childhood, gifted cookies and all, to the fullest.  It definitely is impactful though when she pays the consequences for getting off track.  And it helps us and others realize this isn’t something in our heads.  We really don’t know what the doctor is going to say in November.  Last time we left with good news but we’ve had a few bleak moments since then and certainly by now I thought we would be mostly in the clear. Until then, however, we forge forward and pray for the best.

I truly admire your strength and discipline, MG.  you will grow beyond your years because of this

 

,-smk

Four

Dearest MG,

During the wee morning hours of November 30, 2014, while you were still warm under your bed covers, you turned four.  Four. FOUR.

You’ve been anticipating this birthday for what feels like a year and the months that made up this year felt like only a few short days since you said, “Mama, we forgot to put o-on my cu-cake dress.“.  In fact, I think the last twelve days of my pregnancy with you felt like more time than this year has accounted for.

 

 

This year has been hard on all of us, MG, but certainly for you, being young enough to  not understand everything and old enough to not be forgetful.  Nothing has humbled me more this year than watching you endure cycle after cycle of sickness, all with a ready smile and a sweet disposition.

But this year also brought you many good things too.

You memorized Bible verses, swam in the ocean, learned the sounds to half of the letters of the alphabet, left pennies for kids to ride Sandy the pony at Meijer, made your first pie, rode a real horse, learned to ride your bike, traveled on an airplane, fell in love with dressing up, received your first haircut, listened to your first chapter book,  and won over the hearts of your Sunday School teachers, the old ladies at the grocery store, and friends from California all the way to Indiana.

You have experienced emotions from the depths of your soul to the heights of ecstasy.  You’ve cried a lot, but you’ve comforted too.  You’ve laughed quite a bit, and brought others into your silly jokes as well.

You learned that you were afraid of lobsters and spiders, wary of strangers, and confident at the dentist.

You’ve transitioned from little kid to preschooler with the hand of Stella (whose name has changed from Baby Jesus, to Aurora, to Rapunzel, back to Stella) at your side.

You’ve learned how to write your name, memorized the days of the week, and just about every Disney princess fact known to man (all the important stuff, of course).

Aside from a strong loyalty to Sleeping Beauty around the age of 6, I, personally, have never had a huge attachment to Disney.  But this year I teared up when you hugged 4 princesses because I knew that was the most special thing your heart could imagine right now. 

MG, three was a wonderful year.  I will miss it and all of it’s wonderful moments (the bad ones are already dim).  I can’t wait to see where four takes you.

All my love (and princess affection),

-smk

Three

 

 

 

MG,

At three,

Your memories are vivid and true.  You can recall things from 6+ months ago.

Your imagination is on fire:” look mom, here is a bird, can you pet it?”

Your sweetness and tenderness is very evident; especially towards your sister, dolls, and anyone that seems hurt or upset

You are sensitive, but you do not wear your heart on your sleeve

You are independent: you’ve conquered the entire playground, can wash your hands, repeat simple chores, can follow 2-step directions, and often say “no! {don’t help me} I can do it!”

You love to help: bake, assist bea, change diapers, get dressed

You mimic everything I do and say.  I love my little parrot!

You are very curious.  You often ask “why?” but do not always find our answers satisfactory.  You also have a very black and white view of the world.  I think this comes with childhood.  Any deviance from what you know to be true puzzles, frustrates, or upsets you.

This year: You began talking in complete sentences about 6 months ago.  You learned to use the potty and can now go all by yourself,  you sleep in a regular bed, you went to school for the first time, you learned to enjoy–or at least tolerate–the car, you gave up your paci, you learned how to work a sticker chart, you broke your collarbone and went to the dentist for the first time, you learned the meaning of obedience, truth, and listen.  Wow, year two was tough!

Your Loves: Caillou, grapes, apples, cute animals, babies, responsibility, “scary daddy bear”, the very hungry caterpillar and all books with repetition, pink, pink, pink, ice cream, “straps” and gummis, choice, your sister, cookie monster, play grounds.

I know this year has been hard on you.  Lots of change has come your way and we all know how much you love stability.  You’ve taken it well though.  You’ve impressed your father and I, grandparents, and friends with your tenacity.  You are going places, girl.  We are right here behind you cheering and clapping along with the rest of your family who loves you so much.  This year is going to be great.

[vimeo http://vimeo.com/80412261%5D

Love you, my three year old,

 

Two and a Half

So much has changed in 6 months.

It is hard to know even where to start.

Our MG has blossomed into a big girl and big sister right before our eyes.

 

MG,

At two and a half years, you are long and lean…weighing in at 26 pounds and lengthening out at 36 inches.  You are agile and nimble (to my envy) and have energy that comes from a source I long to tap into.

Your personality has really started to become fixed.  I think I am finally starting to have a grasp on who you are and a glimpse into the beautiful way God created you.  Right now the three things that stand out about you most to me are: Introvert, Nurturer, & Feeler.

Your introvert-ism becomes very apparent to me when I drop you off at the nursery or childcare.  You walk in confidently, but slowly, taking in everything around you.  The other kids don’t seem to notice you, they are busy in their own worlds of make believe.  I long to know what you do after we leave and sometimes I stick around just to watch you.  I never stay long enough to see you integrate yourself and it makes me sad.  But whenever I come to pick you up, you are always happy and engaged. 

I’ve also noticed that you like to play independently here at home and you are quite good at it.  Your happy place (at least for a while) is re-charging in your bed at nap time. 

Being an introvert, however, has fit you well.  Though you are quiet, you are not shy.  You are not afraid to be a leader when no one else seems to be filling that role.  You also have an engaging personality that you are quite willing to share with anyone who seeks you out.  This will serve you very well in life.

It makes me both happy and sad that you have an introverted spirit.  It makes me sad because I know that us introverts have a harder time being known by those around us.  But it makes me extremely joyful too because I know introverts well and I think it makes us kindred spirits.

MG, I’ve known for a long time that you are a nurturer.  You have shown concern and care over babies since you could crawl.  This is a trait that I am thankful has not left you.  As you have grown, it has developed into a beautiful and admirable trait that is effective and far-reaching.  I pray often for you that you will one day be able to have children of your own, whether they are grown from your womb or provided to you another way.  You will be a remarkable mother.

Finally, you are a passionate feeler.  You feel often and deeply.  You comment on the feelings of others “that dog is sad?”  “the baby is crying because he misses his mommy and daddy.”  “she is hurt?”.  I find myself attempting to reassure you often that you do not need to be concerned about me.  One of the tender moments I shared with you recently was at the chiropractor.  You didn’t understand why I was laying on the strange table with the strange lady pressing into my back.  I could sense your presence near me and hear your quiet breathing.  I reached out and you took my hand, all the while, I’m sure your eyes were fixed on me.  I looked up momentarily at you and you leaned your head into me and said, “I miss you, Mommy”. And then you planted a kiss on my lips.  We share many moments like this throughout our time together.  You observe and wonder and care about others’ emotions.

Sometimes your emotion wells up so deeply from within you that you do not know how to communicate it to us.  This is our greatest source of friction and an area that I passionately pray for you to resolve and understand. 

Your feelings are strong and deep and powerful .  They can and will be used for both good and evil.  I urge you to use them for good.  The good they have done so far in your short life have touched many souls…the least of which being your Daddy’s and mine.

We have spent two and a half years observing you and learning about you and there is still so much we don’t know.  We are so thankful that God gave us such a remarkable, sweet, tender, and passionate girl.  There is nothing about you that could make us love you any more or any less than we do right now. 

Continue on this gifted path with confidence and strength of that knowledge pushing you forward,

 

A Letter to My First Born

Over Spring Break, after much quality family time together, I realized that a dark cloud was hanging over me.  Before I could move on and fully embrace the new life and family that was to come, I had to mourn the one I was leaving behind.  

The grief surprised me, and although short-lived, it was profound. 

Out of that sadness came this:

Dearest MG,

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Though you ask questions all the time and wonder often about your little sister, I suspect that you do not realize that your life is about to change.

Change is good.  It brings us things like seasons and birthdays and new favorites.

But change can also be hard.  Especially for people like you and I, who thrive on our notions and routine.

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Once this change comes, there are a few things I will miss about our routine.  I will miss our easy mornings.  I will miss our leisurely, hour long baths.  I will miss your constant musings about Mayby.  I will miss our grab-and-go last-minute dashes out of the house.  I will miss giving you my full attention during our lunch time conversation.  I will miss our weekly dates to the doctor.  I will miss you giving Mayby kisses on my belly button every night.

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But I hope and pray that this change will bring about some beautiful things too.  That it will strengthen our relationship, that it will teach both of us invaluable lessons, and that it will deepen our love; both for each other and for the third member that will be joining our collective “Daddy’s girls”.

All I know is that when you came into our lives, we found places in our heart to love you that we never knew existed.  You opened our eyes in new ways to the world.  Something deep down and buried in our souls was touched.

 

You rocked our world but we never regretted it for an instant.

I can only imagine that there is room for more.  In all of us.

I love you, sweet girl.  You are and will always be my Big Girl, my first born, my perfectly-crafted  MG.