If you have ever been on one of the local ‘yard sale’ or ‘residents’ facebook pages, you will undoubtedly seen the (almost daily) posts asking for photographer recommendations. And if you ever took the time to see the responses….well, there are a TON of photographers recommended. When we first moved back to Greenville, I used to take time to look up the photographers that were mentioned. Sometimes I would see names that I recognize, but more often than not, I wouldn’t recognize a single name. There are THAT many photographers in the area. When I was first building my business here in Greenville, I will admit, …Read More
Continuing with my blogging catch-up with a sweet girl born back in April… The mom, Kris, has been one of my best friends since the 5th grade. We roomed together at Clemson. She was the maid of honor in my wedding. We have experienced so much together, and one of my favorite things has been seeing her become a mom. I had only done a handful of newborn sessions when I photographed Kris' first child, Hutson, in 2011. We had just come back from France and were living in SC for a few months before moving to Oklahoma. I am so thankful that we were once again living in SC when Kris had her second baby, a sweet baby girl named Adeline.
Birth photography was not for Kris (which is completely fine, it isn't for everyone!), but she did ask me to come to the hospital the next day and document the first time Hutson met his new baby sister. It brought back such sweet memories of when Matthew brought Jacob to the hospital to meet Elizabeth.
With the exception of my sister's epic 8-day-long newborn session, Adeline's 4 part session holds the record. It was really because I wanted to spend as much time as possible with Kris while she was on maternity leave! Part 1 was the hospital. Part 2's focus was Adeline. Part 3's focus was Hutson and Adeline. Part 4 was family pictures. It was great spending so much time with this wonderful family.
It has been YEARS since Kris and I have lived close to each other, but we definitely have one of those relationships where we can just pick up right where we left off. Love you girl!
Today you started Kindergarten!
We have been trying to get you pumped up about starting kindergarten for weeks. I took you to pick out new school shoes. And you chose some lovely lime green, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle shoes…that light up…
We went to ‘meet the teacher’ and saw your classroom. We went to the store and chose special treats to go in your lunchbox. We bought a new water bottle and used my Cricut to put your name on it. We even bought new Ninja Turtle underwear! Last night we read “First Day Jitters”. Made a list of all the things you were nervous about and all of the things you were excited about. Drank ‘jitter juice’ to take away your jitters. Made special ‘first day of school cinnamon rolls’.
Took first day pictures….
We were READY! Right???
But, through all of it, you would whisper, “but, Mom, I’m a little scared…”
I know Buddy. I know you are scared. I know the feeling that’s deep down in your tummy, because I always felt the exact. same. way. at the beginning of every school year.
Ready or not, the first day of school arrived. We were told that kindergarten parents could walk their student in the first day. We parked and immediately saw our neighbor, who is one of your best buddies, so you and Brian got to walk in together. I think that helped a lot!
I could tell you were nervous walking down the hall. But you acted so brave.
I remember last year when I dropped you off for the first time at Six Mile Elementary for 4K. I choked up as I watched you walk all by yourself into the cafeteria, alongside much bigger kids. You told me later that you were really scared and that you said to yourself, “this would be a lot easier if my mom was here with me”.
Well, today I got to be with you.
We walked into your classroom, found your cubby, hung up your book bag, learned where to put your lunchbox and folder, and got a name tag. I could tell you were nervous and scared.
Much too quickly, I knew it was time for me to leave. I knew you weren’t ready for me to go. I wasn’t ready to go! But, I gave you one more hug and left.
After helping a little boy that was lost in the hallway, I had the chance to peek in your room as I walked past. You were quietly playing with play-doh at your table. No tears. From either of us! That is a first day success!
This afternoon I couldn’t wait to get you from the bus stop and hear all about your day. The first thing you told me was that you saved a fruit snack in your lunch box to give to Lizzie. I love your heart, sweet boy.
When we got home, you said, “Mom, I was really scared, but it all turned out great.”
I’m proud of you, Jacob.
I wrote this letter to Jacob almost 2 months ago, but could never post it. Embarrassment? Mommy shame? Not sure. I think I was hoping that it would be therapeutic to write it, weather the storm for a few weeks, and look back and laugh at those hard weeks. Well, 2 months later, and.... it actually is a little better. Most days. But, has our consistency paid off? Maybe. Some days (many days) it feels like we are really winning the battle. Some days it doesn't. Three steps forward, one step back. Either way, I feel it is time to post this. I know some people will judge me and my parenting. But, this isn't for them. It is for me. And, if one other mom out there reads and it and feels not so alone because her toddler is doing the same thing, and she feels just like I do, well then, that is fine by me.
December 19, 2013
First, I would like to say that I love you. I love you more than life itself. My love for you is so intense that sometimes when I look at you, I have a hard time breathing. Remember that.
I know you aren't reading these letters yet, but perhaps when you are 30 and in therapy, because your mean old mom made you spend (what seems like) every day of your third year of life in timeout...you can read this letter and know that I love you.
Or, when you have a three year old of your own (and if, like your father is finding out, stubborn, strong-willed, little boy apples in this family don't fall far from the tree...), I will give you a reassuring hug, pat you on the back, hand you this letter, and oh-so sweetly tell you, “Payback is a bitch, isn't it, My Love?”
Lately, being your mom has been, hmmm...what is the right word? Challenging? Difficult? Frustrating? ... Exhausting. You turned three, and decided that obeying Mommy and Daddy wasn't so great after all. That digging in your heels and playing “Let's Have a Power Struggle” was the way to go. That flailing around, going boneless, hitting, pulling hair, biting, and having a complete and utter melt down was a good idea. That pitching a fit meant you were going to get your way.
It isn't the way to go. It isn't a good idea. And you don't get your way.
When are you going to figure that out? We have never given in. Not even when it meant holding you for 10 minutes as you spiraled further and further out of control. Not even when I was mortified to carry out a screaming, hitting, biting toddler from Hobby Lobby because I wouldn't give in and buy you candy when we were checking out. Not even when it meant canceling play dates at the park because you pitched a fit moments before walking out the door. Not even when I had to abandon a cart full of groceries at Walmart because you decided to have a Level 10 melt down/full out toddler tantrum in the middle of the produce department (complete with screaming “nooooooo!” at the top of your lungs, trying to hit your sister, and attempting to throw items- like the gallon of milk- out of the cart). Not. Even. Then.
You don't win. We don't give in. We can't. We love you too much to let you pitch a fit and get your way. We refuse to let you turn into spoiled, self serving, brat.
You are a smart kid. I am just waiting for our consistency to pay off. For you to learn that we are the parents and you are the kid. You must obey us. Trust me, little one, it would be a lot easier on everyone if you would just go ahead and learn this life lesson. Please?
Unfortunately, you haven't learned yet. Instead, you turn into a little monster that I don't even recognize. You make me question every parenting decision I have ever made. After all, a good mother would never have a child that acts this way, right? A good mother, would have a child that loves her, and her child would never want to hurt her by hitting and pulling hair. Right? A good mother would know exactly what to do to get her child to correct the bad behavior without a time out or spanking. Right?
But, unfortunately for you, Jacob, you didn't get that mother. You got me.
I know these big emotions must be scary for you. They scare me. Your outbursts are so intense. And, as fast as they come, they are over, and you are back to my sweet Jacob, who hugs me and tells me that he loves me.
I know this is “normal”, or at least hundreds of other moms on tons of message boards across the internet are searching for the same answers as me. I know. I have read them all. And, I know that “the experts” tell me how lucky I am to have a strong-willed child. “Strong-willed children are more likely to resist peer pressure as adolescents”. And “strong-willed children grow up to be motivated, go-getter adults”. And “more company CEO's were labeled as 'strong-willed' as children”. That is all fine and dandy, but right now, being the mom of a strong-willed child is exhausting!
You are not a bad kid. In fact, I think you are pretty awesome. And, there are good days. This week, we had Two. Whole. Days. with no tantrums and no time outs. And then there are simple little moments, like today, when I told you that yes, you could get some grapes out of the fridge, and you so sweetly said, “wow, thanks Mom! That is very kind of you!”. Or, the way you spontaneously will hug me and give me an unsolicited “I love you”. But lately, a lot of the time, it just seems if days and moments like that are few and far between.
We will get through this. I know we will. And, I can promise you this: your dad and I will win this battle. Like, I said, we have to. So dig in your heels if you must, little one. But, my love for you makes me even more stubborn than you.
Remember, I love you. I love you. I love you.
September 10, 2013
You are six months old. How can that be?! Didn't I just bring you home from the hospital last week??
What a sweet baby you are. Not an easy baby, mind you. But, a sweet baby. You have quite an opinion about things, like being put down. Or anyone (including your daddy) taking you away from me. But, your smile lights up my world. And your little laughs...oh my! One of my very favorite things to do is get you up in the morning. As soon as you see me, your whole face smiles. Your arms start flapping and your legs start kicking. You start pumping so hard, it is as if you can hardly contain your excitement to see me. What a way to start my day!
Since the last letter I wrote to you at two months old, you have changed so much. You are sleeping through the night (yay! Woohoo! Thank you!). This has only been happening for about 3 weeks now. I nurse you to sleep around 7:30, and you sleep til about 7am the next morning. Ahhhhh... Your naps are much better now too (for the most part). You (usually) sleep for about an hour in the morning, and your afternoon naps range from 1.5-3 hours. But, it has been a lonnnng road getting here. You were the queen of the 30-45 minute nap. You were also waking up every 2-3 hours all. night. long. It got to the point that you were so exhausted, but nothing I tried would get you to sleep. I was so desperate that I would have gladly rocked you to sleep and held you for an entire nap, if that meant you would get some much needed sleep. But, you fought it so hard, even with me holding/rocking/bouncing/swaying with you. You wouldn't sleep in a swing. You wouldn't even sleep in your car seat when we were driving. Your dad and I finally decided to let you cry it out. Did I mention you have a very stubborn streak? Man. It was heart breaking. But, I knew that we were doing what was best for you, because you finally started getting the sleep that you needed so badly. Now, you go down for naps without a fuss, pop your thumb in, and it is off to dream land. And you wake up so happy. I love to hear you cooing in your crib after a nap or first thing in the morning.
You have also started trying a few foods. So far you have had infant rice cereal and infant oatmeal, avocado, and sweet potato. It is kind of anti-climatic to feed you new foods. I wait for funny facial expressions, but you take it as if you have been eating it your whole life. I think you are going to be a good eater like your brother.
Speaking of your brother, I love, love, love to see you two together. Your daddy jokes that in your world I rank #1, Jacob #2, and then him. And, I think it might be true. You love your brother so much, and he loves you! He loves for me to put you in his crib, and he will cuddle with you or read to you. He even shares his Lovey with you (that is HUGE). My heart just about bursts when he says, “Elizabeth, I love you!”. One time he looked at you, grabbed your hands, looked you in the eyes, and said, “Elizabeth, I like you JUST the way you are!”. He loves to give you hugs and kisses. But, child, you are already learning to be tough. Because Jacob's “gentle” is the standard two-year-old-boy's idea of gentle. I think you will be able to hold your own. And, oh, how he can make you laugh. He can get you to giggle like no one else. It is another one of my very favorite things.
Happy half birthday to my sweet, cuddly, giggling, often clingy, precious baby girl. You have brought so much joy to our lives in the past six months. What a blessing you are!
Just for fun:
Jacob and Elizabeth
Top: Mommy/ Bottom: Elizabeth