>Regrets and checklists

>To begin with, my sweet middle son, Carson, will turn 7 in just 3 days. I can’t believe this and still wonder where the time went. I’ve been posting his baby pics as my profile on Facebook for the past few weeks and seeing them takes me back to the exact moments those picture were taken. I want to go back to those moments and kiss his baby cheeks one more time. Since that’s not possible, I grab him as often as I can and steal some from him. He only fights it sometimes. I have read a lot on middle children and heard other people who share that spot in their families mention what their life is like. Often they feel left out and unimportant. I have made it my goal as a mother to avoid him feeling like this and want, more than anything, for him to grow up knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt that he is cherished by his parents. I believe at his current age that he DOES believe this. One interesting thing I have noticed that is true about all I’ve read about middle-kids is that he’s hard to buy for. Of course, buying him a book is easy, as he is our LOVER OF BOOKS! (This is a picture of him asleep with light on, book in hand, taken last week.) But to go to the toy store and buy him something, your guess is as good as mine. He’s a 7 year old boy… almost anything will do as long as it’s from the “boy” aisle. But to know exactly what he would want is quite difficult. Now, our other two are EASY to buy for. Hayden loves skateboarding stuff, Bailey loves Toy Story stuff. The good thing about sweet Carson is that he’s pleased with anything. Even if we buy him something he wouldn’t have chosen for himself, he is thankful and will play with it happily.

I’m guessing that in the “birth order” concept, he will remain the “middle child” even though technically he AND Bailey will be middle-“childrens.” (That’s for Michelle and Mikaela.) Any of you who have more info on 4 kids, especially three kids with a HUGE time space between the first three and the 4th, comments are welcome! 🙂
My next month will be spent focusing on Bailey. He will be turning 6 in March (on Parker’s due date) and I want to honor him and look forward to having his little face as my profile for a few weeks. Of course, the month following that will be all-about-Parker month as we all get to know who this little guy is. I look back on the other boys’ babyhoods and can see particular traits that they had even then that continue to this day. Hayden has always been an athlete, an an achiever, and on the go. Carson has always love books and enjoyed being all alone. Bailey has always loved being with his family and at home. To this day all of these attributes ring true! Funny story about Bailey… he still loves to just be at home. I had yet another doctor’s appointment Thursday and he had had just about enough of our running around last week. (PWOC, doctor’s visits, midwife visits, unit coffee, etc.) As I was instructing them to all get their coats on Bailey started to whine. “Why do we have to go again?!? Can’t I stay here?” “Why no, Bailey, you are 5 years old and I cannot leave you at home alone.” To which he replied, “you can just lock the door.” He truly wanted me to leave him at home and lock the door. Funny kid! I say all of that to say I’m looking forward to spending time watching Parker to see what kind of person he will be. Will he love activity like Hayden, peace and quiet like Carson, or the coziness of home like Bailey?
Also regarding Parker and his first few months, I want to remember more. I loved having 3 babies in 34 months and would go back and do it all over again, the same way, if I were given the chance. I love how close they are to each other, in age, but also as friends. However, I must say there are things I missed that I wish I had done better. Here are my regrets:
  1. I had a crappy camera during the first 2-3 years of their lives. I am highly disappointed with the quality of the pictures I have of those years.
  2. I was a poor photographer at that time. Not much can improve this other than experience, so I can’t really kick myself about this one, but the pictures I DO have could have been better if I had known a little more about photography and had a better camera. (I often joke that my sons will enter marriage with three gifts from me: 1. A Dave Ramsey FPU class under their belts. 2. A good camera to start taking great photos of their new lives together. 3. A set of Pampered Chef pots and pans AS WELL AS tutorials-by-mom on how to use and care for them. These were things I wish I had had at “Marriage: Day 1.”)
  3. I would have napped more. I don’t remember much at all of Carson’s first year of life. I was SO tired. I had a 2 year old, a new born, and was pregnant. He didn’t learn to walk until I was in the hospital having Bailey and my mom and dad walked him up and down the hallways. I had just been too tired to do much for him. Plus, now I remember how uncomfortable it is to bend over while preggo. So, thankfully he has a neat story of how his Nana and Papa taught him to walk at 13 months in the hallways of Gaston Memorial Hospital.
  4. I would have cooked more. I was NOT a willing learner until they were a bit older. I did the basics but didn’t apply myself as I should have and therefore we spent too much money on eating out and eating quick-fix meals. I have learned the value in cooking from scratch (or at least mostly from scratch) and feel now that I am contributing to our financial future rather than draining it.
  5. I would have done the finances for our family and taken that stress off of Matt years earlier. (Deployment made that a requirement and I have seen that I can handle money wisely and can actually make Matt’s life much easier by simply removing that task from his to-do list.) I would have also learned to use coupons earlier.
  6. I would have kissed the boys more. Like, hundreds of times a day. I can’t tell you that I didn’t kiss them that much, but I would go back and make sure to get as many in as possible. Those baby faces grow up and become kid faces too fast. And I love some big-kid hugs, don’t get me wrong, but there’s something special about baby-kisses!
  7. I would look at them more. I might start crying here, just thinking back on those years in our Ferry Road house… They were years I treasure and I think it makes Mary’s “pondering” make sense to me. We had major struggles there, learning how to be married, how to be parents, how to manage a home and finances. We hated how small our house was and dreamed of expanding it to “fit” us better. Now I look back and think that the size of the house really doesn’t matter. I could go back and live in it again and be just fine. Well, maybe if our family was just as it was then… not so much now with 6… I might want to expand it a little. But I would tell myself not to let the size of the house be such a major annoyance. Our memories of that place are all so special and I really do treasure them.
With all of those things I regret, I want to try to avoid those regrets with Parker. I want to take a lot of pictures, some of them being really good. (Some are destined to be “just capture the moment” shots, but I do want some that I can frame.) I want to nap when I can so I can be alert and rested when he is awake… even in the middle of the night! 🙂 I want to cook smartly, so we can eat healthful meals and at the same time, I can help us meet our financial goals (DEBT FREE, HERE WE COME!). I want to kiss him every time I see him and I want to look at him with eyes that already know how fast this time will pass. (I almost don’t want to wish away the next 5 weeks while he’s still safely in my womb because I know as soon as he enters this world he’ll start growing up right before my eyes.) And I want to treasure the now, this moment, each moment, knowing that before long it will be something I can only ponder. I want to experience it and enjoy it IN THE MOMENT.
Even with so much going on, my mind is actually starting to settle. I am getting more and more things checked off my list. You know… those things you really want to get accomplished before a baby arrives. Just a few of these items included:
  • Getting the nursery completed. We did, black-out curtains and all.
  • Finding treats for the boys to open while I’m in the hospital: Today I spent an hour in the BookMark today buying those wonderful items!
  • Packing my suitcase: Partially done. (The toiletries that I use on a daily basis are still in the bathroom, but I have a post-it note on my mirror for Matt just in case we end up in the hospital and he has to come back later for my stuff.)
  • Stroller/Car seat put together: Done, though not installed. I am waiting until after Mom and Dad get here so we can actually pick them up from the airport. Once Parker arrives we’ll have to take 2 cars to get all of us somewhere. But, Matt will be able to come back and get the car seat while I’m recovering.
  • Hebammeespredsturde: (If this is misspelled it’s because the midwife has poor handwriting… I’m trying to write what she wrote down.) This is my “midwife appointment.” We met together and I gave her all of my medical history. She took notes and created a file, called Gravidogramm vorhcinder. (Again, if this is misspelled it’s because her handwriting is illegible.) “File” would be so much easier! I was able to tell her what I wanted during labor and delivery (EPIDURAL) and ask specific questions.
  • Baby shower: Now, let me say, this was not on a list of things I had to do or at all expected, but it was something I received anyway. The Wiesbaden Chaplains’ Spouses’ group gave me a surprise shower last week and blessed me with a high chair…the last of the baby things I still lacked, along with other baby necessities. That was SUCH a fun night!
  • Getting a 2nd refrigertor: Yesterday a HUGE one became the newest addition to our family!! NOW I JUST NEED TO START COOKING! (Hard to see in this picture as small as it is, but Hayden is standing beside our almost-7-foot-tall fridge that fits perfectly in our laundry room. I didn’t even have to put it in the basement!)
We have four and a half weeks until Parker arrives. I pray that he turns in the right position (he’s sunny side up right now). I pray I can keep my blood sugar levels under control (they’ve been all over the place this past week). I pray my ketones go back down. (They had been at 0-5 for several weeks but the past 4 days the numbers are up in the 40s and 5os). I pray Parker waits until at least 12 March so my parents will be here for the festivities. (And because I really don’t know who I would call in the middle of the night to take me to the hospital or to watch my boys so Matt could be with me in delivery. I will say, I’ve had plenty of people offer and in a desperate situation, I will call them.) I pray I can deliver Parker safely and don’t need a c-section. I pray they will give me my epidural. (I have been assured that as long as I come in at the right time in my dilation process AND the anesthesiologist is available, I will have it… same as in the states, but still, praying for those two things to work together for my benefit.) I pray I can do better at listening to the boys (that’s another story for another blog, but let’s just say I’m tired and I really have to force myself to focus when they start telling me about yet another skateboarding trick that I really couldn’t care less about… just writing that makes me feel like a horrible mother…). I pray Matt is able to adjust to the gloomy weather of Germany. I thrive in it. Matt, not so much. I pray that my three older sons know without a doubt that though I will be spending mucho energy and time on our new baby that I love them fiercely! In fact, I’ve been trying to prepare them by saying, “I’ll have to spend a lot of time with Parker, feeding him, holding him, changing him. But just remember, when YOU were a new baby I spent the same amount of time with you.” Hopefully it’ll stick and no one will feel neglected.
If I were better at updating this on a weekly basis, these posts would not be nearly as long. However, I refuse to put a stipulation on myself. I am learning how to say “No” to certain things, even things I enjoy or feel obligated to do. I’d rather do what I can and when I can than set rules for myself, feeling guilt when I can’t meet those demands. SO, I update when I can and it’s usually a slew of words. That’s what works for me. And if you’ve made it this far in the blog, then you are probably not too annoyed with me and won’t complain about the length of this post! 🙂 If you were annoyed, you would have stopped reading long ago.
I hope to update again before Parker comes, sharing the latest and greatest events in our lives. Until then, tusch! (pronounced “chuse” said in a sing-songy voice… that’s for Matt)

Oh, and Happy Valentine’s Day!

(PS Sorry for the poor quality of pictures. I’ve been pretty lazy about getting my real camera out lately and have been relying on my iPhone. A bad habit I must break NOW!)

About Jennifer

"Yes, they're all mine." The answer to the question I hear most often.
This entry was posted in Discussing debt, family, parker. Bookmark the permalink.

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