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Here are a few excerpts from my personal journalings. I shared the first excerpt as a WhatsApp status to friends and family, then decided that continuing in the habit of sharing my journaling might a) encourage some other young mothers also in the raising-littles stage, and b) encourage me to write more in a time when taking time to write feels like a luxury.
Feel free to share your own stories in the comments. I’d love to read them.
August 25, 2022
(This original Whatsapp post was accompanied by an idyllic picture of the children in our double stroller on the walking trail at the park, with Hadassah eating an ice cream cone.)
Do not be fooled…this was not a chaos free trip. The ice cream machine at McDonald’s was being cleaned so we resorted to Burger King. We were a cacaphony of disgruntled children for most of the second half of the walk. Hadassah alternated standing up in her seat and dragging her feet on the ground. At the playground Noah demanded to be fed while Hadassah bolted for the van (and her little potty) three times (we’re officially potty training this week) – twice with a poopy diaper (did not venture out of the house in panties, thankfully). Noah screamed all the way home.
I was reminded today of the ups and downs of motherhood.
I was encouraged by how Hadassah had more trustworthy moments with Noah…while at the same time I had to discipline her 4? 5? times for scratching him intentionally or sitting on him in his swing.
She had no accidents today…until I told someone that and she promptly pooped her pants. Still way better than the last two days!
And then there were the random hugs. The sweet kiss on the lips before bed. (She was on a kissing strike for awhile.) The sweet way she held Noah. Noah’s big grins in the bathtub. The constant 1- and 2-word commentary on our day. How thrilled she was to get “nummy” ice cream.
They’re made in the image of God…with a hearty dose of earth. Aren’t we all?
Wouldn’t trade it.
September 2, 2022
At the park and she pooped her panties with diarrhea twice. Why I thought raisins were a good snack… We are now wearing a diaper.
She stayed dry while shopping though.
I was feeling somewhat frustrated, and then I felt bad, so I asked her for a hug. And without reserve she runs toward me with arms wide open, adorable grin on her Hadassah face. Worth it. Every bit.
And then she swings around like a monkey on the playground! I showed her how to do a rather difficult section of playground and instructed her to only do it with Mommy because she wasn’t big enough to do it by herself. And of course she proceeds to do it on her own, and I was happy to see how careful she was. I know some day I’ll probably look back and be sad that my babies are gone, but it’s so fun to see them growing and learning new things and being so pleased with themselves. And not gonna lie, I enjoy not having to be quite so vigilant about every little thing. I like independent children. But I’d be sad if they were too independent.
September 3, 2022
Today motherhood was…leaving the house a mess and the toilets moldy in the interest of spending time with my children. Noah chortling. Hadassah sweetly giving him his nippy in the stroller and going, “Shhh.” Endless conversations with a toddler about deer noises on the porch for the flowers (a sonic deer repeller) and bug noises (cicadas) and how they’re different. Watching my toddler blow bubbles in the moonlight into her brother’s face, and his smiles at her, and spotting stars. “Twinkle star.” Giving baths, and nursing a tired baby who went right to sleep, and a toddler finally worn out from the day’s activities. Running on too little sleep and again trying to do housework after 10 pm while the hubby is working nights. A long nap. A helpful husband and a morning family outing. Exhaustion. Sweetness.
September 14, 2022
[Wednesday evening] prayer meeting was set to start at 7:30pm. That meant we had to leave at 6:30. Ryan wasn’t due to get home until 6:15 at the earliest, which meant that I should probably have supper ready early, get the kiddos ready, and feed Noah so I’d be free to drive while Ryan ate on the way to church. After several weeks of teething toddler and being stretched thin and feeling inadequate, being in control of something (driving) sounded appealing. As did handing the responsibility for all of the requests arising from the back seat to someone else while having some quiet time with my headphones, an Agatha Christie audiobook, and the road.
I popped a freezer casserole into the oven at 4:40 thinking I had plenty of time, but of course it didn’t bake as fast as I thought it would. (How would I know…it had been an experimental conglomeration of stuff to use up pre-Noah, of course.) This meant that supper got pushed later than hoped for and I grudgingly abandoned all hopes of cleaning up the dishes before church. While Hadassah finished her dessert, I ran upstairs to get changed. Grabbing a church dress for Hadassah I ran back downstairs…to find Hadassah gleefully stomping around on the dining room table instead of confined to her high chair. This kid is a monkey. I removed her play dress (smeared with the remnants of supper) and probably instructed her to go potty, since that is my undying refrain these days. Poor Noah had been abandoned to the pack and play and was making his objections known, so I decided to feed him while Hadassah attended to business. No sooner had I gotten him latched on than Hadassah escaped out the front door and started trucking off to the neighbors’…wearing nothing but her underpants and a mischievous grin. Noah was quickly unlatched and unceremoniously dumped back into the pack and play, much to his chagrin. Thankfully Hadassah was doubling back to our house by the time I got some shoes on to protect my hosiery. She came inside, I reattached my long-suffering son, and to occupy Big Sister I instructed her to find her backpack in the kitchen so we could fill it with some baby doll supplies to play with on the 45 minute drive to church. She disappeared to the kitchen. A short time later I realized that all was quiet – too quiet. Still feeding Noah, I decided that ignorance is sometimes bliss, and I needed some bliss. By the time I put two and two together, I heard the dreaded announcement. “Poos,” she said, and ran for the bathroom, only the underwear were already off and she was dunking them in the toilet. Yep, there were chunks on the floor. There were smears on her legs. I peeked around the corner at the kitchen and saw some smudges there too. It was approximately 6:28. Ryan was not home yet. Noah was thankfully nearly done eating. His dinner was just going to have to be a little shorter than usual. He was again abandoned to the pack and play while I carried Hadassah gingerly upstairs to the tub and washed her down – definitely not for the first time that week. As most times happens, it worked out. Ryan came in the door just as I was getting Hadassah dressed. I combed her hair and she occupied herself trying on shoes while I cleaned up the floors in bathroom and kitchen. We buckled into the van. Ryan ate. I drove. Hadassah narrated. We prayed. Ryan drove home. I cleaned up the kitchen at 11 and got to bed after midnight because I wanted to write down the circus for posterity. And that is how we got ready for church.
There were also precious moments.
Hadassah and I sat together on the porch – she drawing (remarkably legible) balloons, me writing out thank you cards for baby gifts.
Hadassah saw a bowl of food scraps on the porch, so she picked it up and started trucking off for the woods. I went with her to supervise…and because I was curious. On the way she grinned up at me and spouted her typical “sentence” made up of disjointed words. “Dump. Deer. Woods. Helper.” Which roughly translates to, “I’m going to dump this in the woods for the deer to eat. I’m a big helper!” (1: In an effort to keep her from eating nasty rotten hawthorn berries on the sidewalk, I told her to throw them on the ground for the birds to eat. Now she thinks that anything thrown on the ground outside will be consumed by some animal. We see a lot of urban deer. They like to eat my flowers, so we have a sonic repeller on the porch that makes a frightful noise when it senses movement. Which leads to another common sentence: “Deer. Noise. Porch. Flowers.”)(2: Hadassah likes to be a big helper. If I fail to commend her for some action, she will remind me. “Helper!”)
Later I was snipping beans for supper and Hadassah could hardly wait for me to be done. As soon as I finished she took off with the bowl of bean ends, equipped with her new snow boots from Grandma, dress caught hilariously in her undies. Off to the woods she went again!
September 21, 2022
Tonight motherhood looks like golden clouds in blue sky, smelling grill smoke on our walk, pushing Noah in the stroller while Hadassah toddles along behind with her baby doll, wearing her butterfly dress. The doll is wearing a cute floral dress from Grandma. Sometimes she gets dropped on her head, sometimes Hadassah tries to carry her on her shoulders like Daddy does, and sometimes she rides in the stroller.
There’s a breeze, and my heart is full. The smell of weed is in the air, at least that’s what I think it is. An innocent Mennonite doesn’t know what weed definitively smells like, but I’ve heard it smells like skunk, and this smells skunky.
Hadassah is distracted as usual. After a while I’ll make her ride in the stroller so I can actually walk. Then I’ll have to keep a close eye on her and Noah, although maybe the baby doll will help keep her occupied this time so she keeps her hands to herself.
(Hadassah pulls on the door handle to someone’s vehicle) “Das, that’s somebody else’s car. Come.”
If I’m lucky I’ll get to listen to my Agatha Christie audiobook.
Last night Noah was sleeping lightly so we ended up on the guest bed together. Hadassah woke at 6:40. I got her out of bed at 7 when it was obvious she wasn’t going back to sleep. As soon as I got up Noah woke up even though he wasn’t ready. We did our typical morning stuff, although this morning I actually managed to clean up the kitchen and comb my hair in good time. Noah took a longish nap so H and I worked on some sewing projects downstairs and I actually got the nursing slits fixed in some old dresses. When Noah woke up at 11 we went to the new big Goodwill on our exit right off the highway. I found some fabric for sewing projects. Then we went to Aldi. Got back around 1, ate lunch, then H took a nap from 2-5. Noah took two naps within that. I was tired but forwent a nap in the interest of putting groceries away, making an actual supper that didn’t come from the freezer, tidying the sewing room, and cutting out a dress for Das. Took a walk after supper and talked to Sonja and Carla, and now am inside. Ryan is putting H to bed, Noah is wriggling on his tummy on my lap and slobbering on my dress, and I have dishes to do.
September 26, 2022
Well, I knew it would happen someday. We went on a walk this morning, had lunch, and then I put Hadassah upstairs in her bed for a nap. She hadn’t pooped yet. She was in panties. You see where this is going. While I was feeding Noah downstairs she pooped. I knew I should probably check on her, but I waited a little too long. By the time I got up there things had spread. I plopped her in the tub, give her a bath, put the poopy mess down in the washer to soak, changed her sheets, got her out and got her dressed, all while poor Noah was crying in the swing downstairs, his meal half finished. But it’s okay. All I can do is my best, and trust God to take care of the rest. I pray that she soon learns how to poop on the potty.
September 27, 2022
It was a day. We started out the day with the typical poopy underwear situation. Later, while I was getting Noah’s jacket on to go on a short walk before lunch, Hadassah slipped out the front door. Usually she just stays around the porch, or opens the doors on the van and plays in there. Not ideal, but not life threatening. I was in the house for no more than 2 minutes getting Noah ready and situated in his pouch on my chest before stepping outside. What do I see but a neighbor lady (whom I had waved to but never actually met) coming up our short dead-end road with Hadassah straggling behind. “She was in my yard,” the kind woman said. “I’ve seen you out walking so I knew where she belonged. My name is Bianca, by the way.” I thanked her profusely, and then realized where she lived. Down our road and ACROSS another. Granted, that one isn’t super busy, but busy enough. I thoroughly chastised Hadassah, my heart thumping with adrenaline, and as the little miss ran ahead down the sidewalk, I repeatedly thanked God for watching over her.
Later, after lunch and naps, we had a diarrhea mess in the undies that warranted midday baths. Noah needed one anyway, and I frankly just wanted a place to keep Hadassah contained for awhile. She likes baths. On this particular day she discovered the joys of purposely peeing in the tub, and she also made herself useful washing Noah for me.
Later, Hadassah disappeared to the basement while I was picking up toys in the living room. I don’t usually like her to wander around down there by herself because my sewing stuff is down there, and while there’s nothing life threatening, she gets into things she shouldn’t. But I can’t always be running after her, so I finished picking the toys up before investigating. She had gotten into a bottle of (strong smelling) lotion and had it smeared on her hands, the ends of her long sleeves, and in her freshly rinsed hair. Lovely.
While I finished cleaning up that mess, I turned around to find her up at the dining room table that I had just set for supper – with a steak knife in her mouth. I know most mothers probably think their child is busy, but I think I have grounds to prove my case. Despite keeping after Miss Hadassah, I had a fairly productive day. I was able to work on sewing a play dress for Hadassah (made out of a thrifted pillowcase and curtain), wrote out envelopes for birth announcements, did some computer work, folded laundry, and gave the dirty kitchen sink a facelift while Ryan took the children out running in the double stroller. There’s nothing like motherhood to make you feel like you have a full time job.
September 28, 2022
Just got both of the children buckled into the van to run some errands this morning, and I feel like I ran a marathon. Also pretty sure it’s nap time now. And it’s raining.
Well, that’s it for this edition! I thoroughly enjoyed reading back through memories from going on 5 months ago and am thanking God that Hadassah is fully potty trained and fairly reliable in that department now. She also gets along much better with Noah and is just more responsible and trustworthy in general, although still very busy!
The pictures in this post are several months old as well, because that’s just how my blogging goes these days…haha.