Having children can strengthen your marriage

Last night my husband wanted to rock the baby to sleep. At first I resisted, she won’t fall asleep for you, If we rock her to sleep too often she’ll stop sleeping through the night, she won’t sleep as well, my mind rifled through reasons. Still I relented because of the absolutely adorably pleading look in my husband’s eyes.

As he rocked her I gave him hints on what usually works to get her to sleep. In no time he was proudly holding a slumbering babe. I expected him to put her in bed, but he didn’t want to. “Just let me sleep with her tonight.” He wanted to put a bed-roll out and sleep by her all night. I lovingly laughed at his request and found a middle ground. “Let her lie on your chest for a couple of hours and then we’ll put her in her own bed, so she can still sleep well,” I told him.

Over the course of the next two hours hubby fell asleep on the couch with the fruit of our labors nestled on his chest. I watched them sleep (ever vigilant that he not roll over on her) and felt such an immense love for both of them – my beautiful daughter and her loving father.

Baby and daddy sleeping

This was taken a few months ago, but it sums up pretty well what I'm describing.

As I watched them I remembered a good-bad piece of wisdom I was given several times while I was pregnant. I know it’s an oxymoron, but maybe you’ll understand once I tell you what I was told. I was told that having children ruins marriages.

This was in essence a horrible statement, but if I were to say that it is completely untrue that would discount the experiences of those who shared it with me. It’s a good statement because it’s good for young idealistic people like me to understand all of the possible consequences to major life events. When I heard this statement I became determined that not only would my baby not ruin my marriage – she would make it better.

And so, as we near my daughter’s first birthday I can see that I love my husband more than I ever have before. I see that through our daughter our marriage has become stronger than it used to be. Our mutual love for her has enhanced our love for each other and taught us better how to cooperate. As we work together to make our home heavenly we become more heavenly ourselves, and in turn, our marriage becomes more heavenly.

We went into this marriage with the attitude that we would always give 110 percent to make it work, but now we have this extraordinary reason to each give 150 percent.

May I just say that marriage is wonderful? Well, marriage is wonderful – and children make it even better.

 

Squid Soup

For those who don’t know my sweet husband is kind of like alphabet soup. He is currently a CNA, EMT, and LPN. He will soon be an RN. A year after that he will most likely add a BSN, and he plans to go on to get either a DO, MD, or DNP. If you can’t tell already he’s in the medical profession and planning to stay in it. It’s a long haul, but it’s one that he loves and it’s very rewarding.

This all may seem pretty unrelated to soup, but it’s a necessary introduction if I’m going to tell you the story of what took place after one of his clinicals.

Hubby works hard, often going from school, to work, and back again. And no day does he work harder than on his clinical days. He has to drive 45 minutes to and from the hospital on top of an all day shift with very few breaks. For this reason – along with the fact that I seem to be infinitely more productive when he’s not home – I try to make dinner special on clinical days. I usually plan ahead and have it hot and ready for him when he gets home.

On this particular clinical day I decided I would pack up the baby in the stroller and walk a mile to the local Hispanic market in order to get some extra special (and on sale) ingredients. I marched to the market with three dollars in change rumbling in a stroller compartment. Once at the store I purchased two bollos (big rolls) and one seafood mix bag. These were all things I had purchased before with raving success.

When I got home I made what I lovingly like to call squid soup. It changes every time I make it, but it always has a Mexican seafood mix in it – basically a pre-maid bag of oysters, shrimp, squid tentacles (chewy but good), and fake crab. It took a lot of time and effort, but I was sure it was worth it as I smelled my creation.

Hubby got home after the mix had been simmering on the pot for two hours, just long enough to let the flavors really meld. We said our prayer, and sat down to eat as my hubby told me about his day in the operating room of the hospital. We both began to eat when hubby stopped and picked up something textured, green, and attached to a squid tentacle.

“That,” he said, “is an organ.” And he visibly swallowed back what I’m guessing was what he had already eaten of the soup.

“Just take it out, it was probably in there by mistake,” I told him. I guess the rest of this is pretty predictable. The super on sale seafood mix had more than just a few squid organs in it, and even though my hubby dutifully picked them out and ate his bowel of soup I was crushed. How selfish of me right? But I had spent SO much time and energy on that soup. The entire time I was walking home from the store I was envisioning my hubby’s delighted response to such a special and exotic meal. But after spending all day in the OR looking at live organs he just couldn’t stomach eating squid ones – not that I ate them either.

Over the course of the week I ate the rest of the left-overs myself knowing that my husband wouldn’t. I’m not gonna lie the squid organ soup was actually pretty tasty but man did I get sick of it. Still, I learned a couple of very important lessons. 1) Don’t buy seafood mix when it’s super on sale at a Hispanic marketplace and 2) if your hubby is kind of like alphabet soup don’t serve him organs of any kind – or else you will have to eat the left overs.

“skirty” feelings – hee hee

I got some new shoes the other day. A friend of my cousin’s gave her a bunch of her old shoes and I was lucky enough to fit into some incredibly cute ones! One pair was bohemian orange, and I knew it would match perfectly with an old skirt my mother bought me just before going off to college. And since I recently lost those last two pregnancy pounds I knew it would fit.
As I put it on, memories of starting college at BYU-Idaho rushed through my whole body. They were the kind of memories where you don’t just remember them – you feel them. I remembered how excited, nervous, and lonely I was those first days at college, but at the same time how excited I was to wear my new skirt. It seems silly when I think about it, but it hasn’t changed, today I’m excited to wear my “new to me” shoes.
I remember I was the first girl to arrive at my new apartment and I was all alone. I arrived on a Saturday, and the next day – Sunday, I got dressed and ready with the skirt. It wasn’t the first time I’d worn it, but it felt like it was. The skirt is brightly colored and in my hometown in Utah, it would have been considered the latest fashion.
I walked to church ready to meet new people and enlivened by the spirit of Ricks. As I was walking I heard some girls start to giggle. I turned around quickly, hoping they could be new friends, and smiled at them. They laughed harder and one of them choked out, “Nice skirt!” in a thick southern drawl, they continued their giggle fest until another said, “You look like a moovie staar!” her long nasally voice giving extra emphasis to the words movie star.
I was mortified. They were making fun of me and my new skirt. I turned red in the face, and quietly said, “Thank you”. Then I turned around and marched to church without looking back, although I couldn’t help but hear their raucous laughter.
The day wasn’t all bad, one of the girls in my ward would turn out to be a life-long friend, and I tried my hardest to ignore those girls, who I ran into a few more times. I defiantly kept wearing my skirt, refusing to let them dictate my fashions and I soon discovered that there were those who would love me for me – even if I did get teased for being the Utah girl.
And even though I can’t look at my skirt without remembering my second day at school, I can definitely wear it without worrying about what people think. Because I still think it’s a totally cute skirt! And though I’m still influenced by what others think of me, I’m outgrowing it – Little by little. Need proof? OK, here’s the skirt. I’ll post a picture online. Ta Dah!

Dancing in Wal Mart

baby with yellow flowersMy husband and I were walking down the grocery isle in Wal Mart. The baby was in her car seat in the main section of the cart and she had just woken up with a big smile. Oh how I love that smile! Nothing fills your soul like the smile from a sweet baby.

That smile has great influence over me. I will do all kinds of things to coax it out from its hiding places. In this case, I forgot that I was in a very public place surrounded by people, and I began to do a little dance as I wiggled my fingers above my baby, chanting “I’m gonna tickle! I’m gonna tickle!” in a high sing-songy voice.

The baby laughed and cooed and my husband chuckled. Wanting more of those sweet baby sounds I continued my dance. My husband’s chuckle turned into a full out laugh, and I realized he wasn’t just laughing because of how cute the baby is… at the same moment I realized he wasn’t the only one laughing. I looked up and saw that almost everyone within 20 feet of me was laughing. On the other side of the isle two middle aged men were copying my movements as they laughed and several women were quickly turning their heads so as not to appear as if they were staring.

Oh dear, I thought, I’m putting on a free comedy improv. “They’re mocking me!” I told my husband, “No, they just think it’s cute.” he told me. “You’re a fun mom.”

Then it hits me. I may be a cool fun mom now, as I dance in a crowded grocery store for my baby, but in a few short years I will be the so not cool mom who forgets from time to time that free comedy improv doesn’t illicit the same coo and giggle it used to.

Oh well, I don’t have to think about those days yet. All I have to think about is how to make my baby smile and laugh, because I’ll do all kinds of things to see that smile.

What have you got?

Have you got a pair?

Have you ever pushed out a watermelon while breathing in deep breaths?
Do you know what it’s like, to waddle every little step?

Have you ever cried with your baby, as your baby cried at you?
Have you become an expert, on the different shades of poo?

Have you picked gum from hair, kissed bruised knees, and wiped away big tears?
Have you disciplined, and let things go, and calmed their little fears?

When the sun goes down do you wake up oft’ to check on sleeping eyes?
When the sun comes up does waking, take a couple tries?

Do you feel your heart will burst, inside your momma’s chest
When your child does very well, and aces his last test

Especially when the test, is not the school test kind
But the kind the world won’t know, the kind that’s undefined

They’ve chosen right, they’ve fought for good, they’ve learned their lessons well
And though you aren’t perfect, you’ve helped them to excel.

When you stand, do you rock, with nothing in your arms?
Do you worry, about the day, when you must come to terms

With the fact that they grow up, and leave their mother’s nest
They’ll no longer sleep so soundly lying on your chest.

There’s more you’ve done, the list won’t end, But I’ll stop and ask you please
Remember that you’ve got a pair

A pair of ovaries!

Dedicated to all mothers- but mostly to my mother, love you
Mom!

A good baby

She screamed and cried and groaned. Her tears are so big and her cries are so pleading. It must be hard to be a baby, unable to really relay your fears, unsure of how to control your body, completely dependent on others to take care of every want and need. The doctor told us our daughter is a little bit colicy, although I don’t think we really needed her to tell us. We are pretty well aware of her preponderance for fussing. My in-laws keep bringing up my husband’s infamous cousin who, “cried for a year straight”, if you’re reading this you know who you are :). I understand the connection but it doesn’t make me feel any better, ‘You mean this could last how many more months?’ Is what I feel like saying.

I think what I hate most of all is when people ask me if she’s a good baby. I know that they are meaning to ask whether or not she cries a lot and I don’t know what to say. Of course she’s a good baby! No baby is bad. So she cries, that doesn’t change the fact that she is the most adorable, loveley, sweet person I have ever met in my life. I know it isn’t meant to say that she is bad, it’s more a question to ask how I’m doing and I’m grateful to the people that care. I just don’t know what to say. Truth be told I think she is starting to move on past the crying stage. She seems to cry less and less each night, but it’s still hard.

Tonight she only fussed for an hour. I lay down next to her and stroked her arm as she cried. Then she looked into my eyes and was quiet, she smiled, and reached out to grab my face. It was by no means a gentle caress. She reached out and grabbed hard, getting a little hair in the process, but it was one of those moments when you know for certain that if this little person could talk she would be saying, “I love you too mom”. And suddenly it’s all so worth it. The crying, the fussing, even the occasional screaming is all worth the eternal reward of being connected to this person that you love and that loves you. She fell asleep soon after, and I watched her doze. I love you my darling. You can always cry on my shoulder.