27 November 2013

No Damsel in Distress

Today I got another "Oh jeeze, your that kind of a parent" stare when explaining to someone (after they asked) that I do not allow my daughter to watch Disney princess movies or play with barbies. This look is something I am used to at this point in my very short parenting journey, as I have come to understand that Kev and I have many parenting ideals that differ from mainstream society. 

I often times don't feel the need to explain the way I parent; However, the last few months have seemed like a constant barrage of questions and insulting comments. 

"You can't protect your child from everything."
"One little movie wont kill them."
"Your children are going to hate you."
"Why is your three year old rear facing?"
"You don't force your children to be vegetarian like you, do you?"
"Your children won't be able to handle the real world if you continue to shelter them."
etc, etc, etc......

While I know I can't protect my children from the world around them, I do know that during this short period of time while I can I plan to give them all of the necessary tools to face the harsh reality of life. And just because I can't protect them forever doesn't mean I need to ruin their innocence now.

One very real fact of life for my daughter is that many mainstream girl toys, TV programs and movies go against everything that I believe in. From the moment she wakes up in the morning to the moment she goes to bed at night, her very young spongy mind is soaking up everything from the world around her. She is learning her gender role from the models in her life, discovering her place in society from the people around her, and creating an image of who she is and who she is "supposed" to be by the images she sees.

I, as her mother, refuse to allow her to mold her self image from the unrealistic body types of Barbie, Bratz, and Monster High Dolls; and I will not allow the pitiful Disney Princess characters help to define her role in society. 

My daughter at only 3 years old is pure. She see's the body images of her mama, her grandma and her aunties and learns how to define these body figures from what she hears. To her, mama's stretch marks are beautiful, they are something earned from the hard work and dedication of growing life; not something to get rid of with creams and oils as shown in the commercials on the Disney Channel. She admires them, she runs her fingers over the scars and creases and always says how she looks forward to having "mama stripes" someday. While most of mainstream society and all Barbies have long flowy hair, Kaydence is seeing the beauty of short unruly hair in her mama.She is learning her role in society from the hardworking people around her. With daddy being home most of the day and mommy going to work, she sees that gender roles are not defined by the anatomy that just so happens to sit between your legs. She is learning to love her herself, flaws and all as Kevin and I remind her everyday how beautiful and intelligent she is. Her perceptions of the world and the people in them are all based on the real life in front of her, not the fantasy shown in movies and on TV. 

So, while I am fully aware that I cannot keep my little girl wrapped in the bubble I have made around her for her entire life; I will make damn sure that when someone finally does pokes their grubby little finger in that perfect little bubble, she will be ready to face whatever comes her way. So that when she finally does watch Cinderella, Tangled, Little Mermaid or Snow White that she is already aware of the real life gender roles (or lack thereof); So when society is highlighting her economic status she understands that she is already rich with love around her and  knows that money means nothing without it; So that when girls in school are wearing makeup at twelve years old and the billboards are showing size 0 models half dressed, she is already secure in the person she is; So that when she has kids someday and she finally earns those mama stripes, she wears them with pride. Because she has already been taught that life is nothing like what is depict in Disney Movies and her body image is not defined by what society deems "acceptable." She will have learned these morals, values, believes and self images well before Disney princess movies and Barbies were able to corrupt her vision and mind. 

My daughter will be no damsel in distress; no Cinderella, no Snow White, no Ariel. 

So all of you "Nay Sayers" who think I am over-protecting and controlling can take your Disney princess movies, Barbie Dolls and opinions and shove it! I've got this covered!

20 November 2013

{7 Weeks} with Baby #3

Today marks week 7 of this pregnancy with baby #3, and the first of my weekly pregnancy updates. I vlogged my pregnancy, labor & delivery with Kameron and I look forward to doing the same with this newest little Tatum Tot!

My first OB appointment is not until next Tuesday, so as of now I am making a good guesstimate as to my approximate weeks. Since my menstrual cycles lately are very regular, I feel confident that I am guessing correctly as to how far along I am.

So, onto the big question...Was this a planned pregnancy???

No. Kevin and I have had many conversations in regards to Baby #3. Having a third was originally never in our plans. We had always agreed that we only wanted two kiddos, enough to replace us and that was it! However, over the last two years Kev and I have slowly began to change our stance. Deciding that in a few years we would love to try for one more, when Kam was closer to the age of 4 and starting preschool. Since the kids birthdays are six months apart I thought that that a birthday somewhere in the middle of theirs (either April or October) would be perfect.

So, here we are two years before we wanted to start trying, with a due date only six days shy of Kaydence's birthday. So much for "plans" right?! :-)

I hadn't taken the news of my previous two "surprise" pregnancies very well. In fact, for both I cried like a baby and told my husband our life was over. He surprisingly handled the news of them well and seemed very excited from day one. I suspected I was pregnant this time on the fourth day of my (usually very regular) missed period. After the confirmation of a home pregnancy test, I knew that I wanted to announce this pregnancy, to my husband and everyone else, differently than I had in the past (i.e. no hysterical crying). So, I packed the kids up in the car and headed to the store in hopes of finding inspiration.

Hubby came home to this while I was passed out in the children's bedroom after putting them to sleep (foreshadowing of what was to come in the next week?).

For Kevin's Mom we invited her over for dinner than proceeded to take a picture of her while telling her on the count of three to say "Sunie's Pregnant...Again." Love the candid shots of her reaction :-)

Micheal thought we were joking, he wasn't buying it :-)

For the rest of our family and the world we did a "Cooking" Pregnancy Announcement Video. Click Here to watch; and a blog Click Here.

:: Symptoms ::
  • Nausea - Holy mother of nausea!!! This is new for me. I vaguely remember this being a small problem in my pregnancy with Kameron, but never have I experienced it this bad; and I am only 7 weeks into this journey!  Currently my biggest trigger is the smell of anything cooked. I can't stand the smell of cooked food! Needless-to-say, it has been a almond butter and jelly sandwich/cereal kind of night in our home for three days straight so far!
  • Fatigue - I was tired these early weeks with both of my previous pregnancies, but I think I am half comatose right now. Every night for two weeks I have fallen asleep while putting my kids to bed at 7pm and have slept through the night only to wake up and muddle my way through the day as though I hadn't slept at all! My energy levels are low and I can only hope that this phase will pass sooner rather than later so I can start running again!

:: Cravings ::
  • As of now I don't really have any cravings. I suspect the nausea has a lot to do with my lack of want for food.

:: Total Weight Gain ::
  • 0lbs! This is big for me. I am known to transform into a whale during pregnancy and I am working hard to combat the excessive weight gain this pregnancy. No weight gain is needed for the first trimester and so far so good! Hopefully, this extreme fatigue fades soon and the doctor will give me the all clear next week to start running again. Fingers Crossed!

Well, until next week...

14 November 2013

{Running for Two} Part 1

(Written November 11, 2013)

Yesterday I ran the National Veterans Day 11k. I originally signed up for this race three weeks ago as a way to get myself motivated and running again. I had been on somewhat of a hiatus, partly due to my busy schedule but mostly due to pure laziness. With that said my last run was a short 6.5 mile run on September 27th. Seeing as though I am only 5.5 weeks pregnant, yesterdays 11k would make it not only the first time I ran in over a month, but also my first run while pregnant. Since finding out I was pregnant 11 days ago I have been doing a lot of research in regards to running while pregnant. Everything has told me that as an experienced runner I am find to continue; I just need to listen to my body, eat healthy, stay hydrated and don't allow myself to become overheated.

So when showing up to the star line on race day I really had no clue what to expect. With this being my third pregnancy, I knew that being barely pregnant meant nothing. In fact, it is these first few months when my body is experiencing the most changes. So I had no expectation of time or even finishing for that matter.

So lets get some things straight. I am an average runner. I always finish right in the middle of all of my races. This is OK with me, I don't mind being average. I never run to be the fastest or to win; I run to participate. I love races, and while I very much dislike running with a partner, I do love the feeling of running in a crowd and being with people who enjoy this sport as much as I do. I enjoy the feeling of staring a race with an end goal in mind and crossing the finish line knowing I have achieved that goal.

Running is my niche. I am good at it and I honestly enjoy it. Yesterdays race only solidified these feelings. From start to finish running for two felt great. I couldn't even tell that it had been over a month since I ran, let alone that there were two of us on this race. While my mind was feeling good about this run my heart rate was screaming something different. I truly felt like a was putting very little effort into this run but my heart rate maintained a whooping 190+ bmp. This is outrageous considering my resting heart rate is a consistent 60bmp (a true runner's heart rate). I scaled back my running to what felt like the pace of a turtle and trusting my mama instincts...I kept going. Having experienced  a devastating miscarriage in the past, I felt confident in my instincts of knowing if something was wrong. I felt good and I knew deep down that baby was well also. I pushed through with ease, and crossed the finish line feeling wonderful.

Post race, I must admit, I was tired. Upon arriving home I was extremely fatigued and slept for 3 hours after a nice warm shower. The effect of growing life and running long distance was clear, I was exhausted!
My first OB appointment is at the end of this months around my 8 week mark. With my high heart rate I plan to take things easy, sticking with walks and the the elliptical until talking to the doctor in a few weeks. But unless told otherwise running for two feels great and I plan to continue throughout the remainder of this pregnancy.

09 November 2013

Halloween 2013

What were the kids for Halloween? 

Meet Little Bo Peep and her (not so lost) Sheep!

Dating Your Kids

Today I had some special one-on-one time with each of the kids. Something that Kev and I try to do often, whether it be taking one of the kids to the grocery store with us or actually making a conscious effort to do something special with each one of them. However, with the hustle and bustle of life it easy to get stuck in a routine. With mine and Kev's opposing schedules these days, it leaves it hard for us to create this much needed one-on-one time. So today was one of those days where I basked in the special time that I was able to create with each child.

Kaydence and I spent an hour at the Library, Kaydence's favorite place these days. We roamed the shelves of the children section sitting and reading books out-loud and adding more and more books to our ever growing pile to be checked out. Kaydence loves reading; but her love for books runs deeper than the words on the pages. I watch her as she smiles when we enter the library and my heart smiles as I watch my three year old run her hands down the spine of books; taking in their feel and smell unable to hide her passion for the pages of paper with stories that take her to imaginary places she'd never dreamt of. She has always listened intently to books and at three is moving into books well past her age level. With the growing age of technology I fear that paper books will someday become a thing of the past and I can see that books are more than words for my girl. She needs to hold, to touch, to feel, to have these paper copies and I make it my personal mission to make sure she will have and abundant collection of classics and new stories in paper versions to keep forever.

My sweet blue eyed boy has croup. His deep "seal" like cough breaks my heart. Kam, unlike his sister, is not a cuddly, sweet sick child. He becomes grumpy and fits become frequent when he is ill. Today I did all that I could to soothe him but he is just plain unhappy and it is heard in his raspy intake of air, his forceful coughs and his grumpy demeanor. So tonight, under the urging of my husband, Kam and I took some special one-on-one time. For the first time ever since having my son, I took a warm relaxing bath with him. I bathed often with Kaydence before her brother was born. It was something that was a part of our schedule. However, when Kam was born the added chaos of having two meant not only did I not bathe with the kids, I didn't bathe at all. I have taken plenty of quick showers with both of the kids, mostly out of convenience and time efficiency; but it wasn't until I sat in the bath tonight with my sweet, sick boy that I realized I had never done this with him. Bath time is his favorite. He could spend hours in the bath splashing, pouring, coloring and playing. As I sat laughing and playing with my sweet boy I realized that I had let to much time go by without doing this. So I soaked up every minute of this first for us, teaching him how to kick his legs when swimming, splashing water everywhere and and just relaxing; just the two of us.

I love these special one-on-one times with my kids. Time spent fully embracing each child and their individual needs and wants. With baby #3 on the way I want my kids to know how much I love all three of them equally but I also want them to know how much I love each one of them individually! It is easy to get wrapped up in the ebb and flow of life, especially when you have more than one child. However it is important to make sure that you date your children, because like your spouse these very different and distinct relationships need their quality time to grow and flourish!