Parenting

Appreciate The Rainbows

Appreciate The Rainbows 150 150 rebekahrosler

Last Week I got hit by a car.

Obviously I’m fine if I’m sitting here writing this.

But, yeah a goddamn car backed into me. We were both at fault I suppose, though I did have the light. Truthfully that’s irrelevant. In the grand scheme of things – getting hit by a car ends in one of two ways.

I walked away. And walked towards something, in that moment.

What you hear – or have seen in movies – is all true. Everything comes rushing over you.

Perhaps its the adrenaline, maybe just the overwhelming emotion of what could be – or could have been.

What I know now to be true, is that nothing matters in life besides the moment.

We are always waiting for something. The weekend. The raise. The house. But rarely do we actually take the time, in the moment, to appreciate what is immediately in front of us.

I’m hardly trivializing dreams and wishes and wanting. I went through infertility treatments so I absolutely appreciate desires and disappointments.

But even in the hardest of times. There still are the moments. The hot coffees. The new Love. The first day of summer. The puppy noses. The beach. The mountains.

It’s so easy – I’m the biggest offender – to get swept up in ‘what the future holds.’ But that second a car strikes you, you realize that the future is uncertain. And planning and wishing too much probably won’t allow you to live the absolute best life you can live – right now.

I don’t suggest getting hit by a car. It really sucks. But I do recommend sitting. Breathing. Meditating. Whatever you need to do – to ground you for a moment. To make it all come into focus. To make it all clear.

Also, maybe, and this is me saying it ‘outloud’ so I have to be accountable, but maybe – it’s worth putting down the phone more frequently than we (ok, I) do. And be present among those you love. The dog. The partner. The kid.

Yourself.

Social Media does not help us live our own lives well. It creates jealousy, longings, desires based often on fabrication. Let me tell you. No bank accounts have enough in them. No marriage is perfect. No children are always angels. Sure, the beach from ‘that angle’ is pretty wonderful – but we have no idea what happened right before or right after that image was captured.

It’s time we’re all kinder to ourselves – we need to try desperately to truly appreciate what we have. Sure it could be better. But it also could be so much worse.

Today is truly first day of the rest of your life.

Pause. Love. Breathe. Dance. Sing. Sit.

Appreciate the rainbows.

Daddy, Penis, Harper, Vagina, Mommy…

Daddy, Penis, Harper, Vagina, Mommy… 150 150 rebekahrosler

I know as a mom of 3 and a 38 year old woman, it’s pretty much expected that – no – I do not have my 18 (or 21, or 30…or even 35) year old body.

I also know we are supposed to be comfortable with that. “Your body is incredible” “you carried these babies, it’s really a miracle”.

Blah blah.

I mean. Yeah. I get it. It’s for sure true. But, I looked pretty good at 18 (and 21 and still 30). And this thing that flops over my pants (pants that I basically need a clamp to pull/zip up) is just not my favorite. Nor are the Grandma arms. And what the hell with my feet? I need an entire new shoe wardrobe.

Sure, our society sets unrealistic expectations of what women should look like. Period.

I get that – but I’m also only human and still suck my stomach in any time I walk by a mirror. And pick up my chin so the second (and third chins) flatten, just a tad.

I wish I could say I’m at peace with my new (“beautiful”) shape. But I won’t.

Ain’t true.

Let me be clear. I am eating chocolate chip cookies for breakfast. Doritos as a snack. Whatever handful of, whatever’s available for lunch. Hopefully some version of a chocolate bar for a treat. (It is Cadbury Cream Egg season afterall.) And definitely some ice cream throughout the day. So. I certainly cannot cry “poor me”. But, I can still be annoyed that – no, shockingly, breastfeeding DOES NOT melt the pounds away. And this is likely my new normal.

All this is just to say, I obviously don’t care THAT much or I would do something – anything – to change my behavior.

A salad from time to time, or a veggie for a change.

But. Nah. Bagels and Cheese are just too damn good.

I guess it all became more apparent with a recent realization from my ever loving – pretty verbal – 2 year old.

We are not of the mindset of teaching our kids that genitalia have cutesy or hush-hush names.

They are penises and vaginas.

Apparently Nathan had been keeping this one from me for a while. But then it all came out.

Kids say the darnedest things, eh?

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My Kid Is Full Of Shit

My Kid Is Full Of Shit 150 150 rebekahrosler

Yeah. No. I’m serious. She really is.

For the last two months she’s been telling us, on repeat her “vagina hurts”. And I know this isn’t funny.

And In fact it’s really sad.

When your kid is hurting – and you can’t fix it – or figure out the problem – it hurts you, possibly more than it hurts them. But I think I’ve said and heard the word Vagina more in the last two months than I have in 38 years. And obviously, I have one.

We’ve gone to the doctor five times on this matter. And each time they’ve taken tests. Checked for infections. And they’ve all come back negative.

Put diaper cream on it. If that doesn’t work try cortisone. If not that. Bacitracin.

No? Vagina still hurts?

Nothing’s worked.

Finally we took a trip uptown to a pediatric urologist. I told Harper I was breaking her out of school for some Mommy Harpy time.

This had the luxury of being true. But hanging out at Weil Cornell for a full afternoon was likely not what she had anticipated.

After a few hours. Some ultrasounds, X-rays and a lot of stickers we learned of the culprit.

My kid is full of shit.

Apparently she is so blocked up with stool (for the last two months?? ?) that it’s affecting her in more indirect ways. Which is obviously heartbreaking.

So for the next two days Harper and I will be home. Having extra special Harper Mommy time. Regrettably – this actually means: Bowel Cleanse.

We will be sitting on the toilet for 48 hours.

It’s really amazing. Before you meet your significant other you think ‘I need to look my best.’ Then you get engaged and start letting things go, just a bit. Then you live together and obviously bodily functions occur – that starts normalizing. But once the kids come EVERYTHING is out the window.

I’d venture to say 9 out of 10 conversations are about poop or vomit.

Needless to say – ultimately all that matters is my kid’s health.

Last week Harper and I Celebrated and Honored International Womens Day by attending the largest gathering of Moms at the UN. While “in session,” she had to poop.

So, what do you do when you’re in one of the most important places in the world?

No brainer.

Behind the Mask

Behind the Mask 150 150 rebekahrosler

This may sound dramatic. It does even as I write it.

But, it’s real, from the depths of me.

I am not strong. I am not tough. In fact, today, I am crushed.

They are five months young.

How can I send my two tiny babies away every day?

How can I have someone else raise them morning, noon and evening? Why can’t it be me? They need my warmth. My love. My heart.

People say “you know it’s good for them.”

Do I?

This isn’t about them.

This is about me.

I can admit that.

Until I had my own I didn’t understand the pull another human can have on your entire soul. Being separated from them already seems too heavy a cross to bear.

I’ve been in denial.

Haven’t organized the milk they’ll need, milk my body creates, every day. In bags. With dates. Frozen for months. In preparation for this day. So someone else can give them sustenance.

Haven’t filled out the required forms (a reminder call from daycare prompted me to accept, the time has come). Don’t know where their crib sheets are. Didn’t even bring the forms to the doctor that need to be turned in – in order for them to start. (Which will now be an expedited $50 each).

It’s 9:30 the night before they leave me – and nothing is prepared. I am not prepared.

It’s just not fair.

I pride myself on being the strong one. But right now, I can’t breathe or pick myself up off the floor.

I know it gets easier. I’ve been here before. But that doesn’t make me want to walk them through those doors tomorrow in my arms, and leave empty handed.

My heart is broken. My breath is short. I want to hold them tight now and forever.

I don’t want to go to sleep. Sleep brings the day I’ve been dreading. They leave me tomorrow, and there is no stopping time or turning back the clock.

This is me. Torn apart. Heartbroken. Behind the mask.

The End

The End 150 150 rebekahrosler

Today is the last day I will ever be on maternity leave.

It’s the last day I will wake up to my sole role in life being: Mom.

The last time my entire day will be about simply taking care of my babies – and nothing else.

Sure, there will be weekends, and sick days, and vacations. But maternity leave is just different. And today is the last day of it for my forever. Five months and 14 days of captured memories and moments.

Often times people say the end is bittersweet. But right now, I’m finding this ending is just bitter. My babies are 5m old. And I’m simply not ready to go.

My leave with Harper was 3 short months, I certainly wasn’t ready then. But I knew there would be more. More babies, more newborn moments, more bonding, more breastfeeding, more leave – so the end wasn’t really the end.

The air is different today.

This end signifies other ends. They’re getting older and will be starting solids soon. This means a decrease in my supply. Which means my breastfeeding days will be numbered. I have just spent the better part of the last two years attached to a mouth, or a machine, to provide sustenance, nutrients and bonding for my three babies.

Of course I’d love to have my body back – if that’s even possible – but this end, I will take very hard. I’m not there quite yet.

Their newborn clothes have been packed away and given to friends. We will never be needing them again.

38, these days, doesn’t seem old. But to have something be forever done, absolutely- feels a bit overwhelming. Nathan and I just signed and notarized a life changing document.

We will be donating our last remaining embryo, to science, officially.

So when I say over, I mean, over.

Seeing the ads and pictures of newborns flooding my screen gives me pause, makes my heart skip a beat, and I tear up. That will never be my reality, my life, again.

I sit here on this last day considering my journey. How I got here. Who was along for the ride. The metamorphosis, the transformation – the incredible shift that took place in my life over the last three years.

The doors are gently shutting behind me today and when I wake up tomorrow a new chapter, nay, a new book, begins. I’d like to say I’m prepared. I’m ready. It’s for the best. But, then, I wouldn’t be honest.

Today will be full of deep breaths, baby cuddles, and many, many tears.

I have no clever parting words. I’m simply not ready for it all to end.

Babies and Chemicals

Babies and Chemicals 150 150 rebekahrosler

Judgement free zone here. Right?

FML.

Besides the fact that the babies gave up sleeping this week, I felt like things were lightening up a bit. Harper’s tantrums were less frequent. I got on a scale accidentally and wasn’t horrified by the number. I’ve been working on a project with a friend that I’m SUPER stoked for. (Stay tuned).

All in all, I was feeling good.

Then, this morning happened.

Nathan had to get to BK early to move the car. Which is fine. I can totally handle dressing two babies – popping them in the stroller and still manage to get a 2yo to school by 8am.

Yeah. I can definitely handle that.

The addition of a 20yo cat peeing on the wall. And the 3yo dog peeing on (through…) the carpet, on the other hand – I did not bake into the equation.

It was only 7am though. I could still manage to clean it all, get H to school, and to an exciting/important/fun meeting I had planned.

Ehhhm. Nah. I can’t.

By 7:30am I had two babies face down in the carpet (yup, dog pee carpet) laying in their own vomit. This, while I had the swiffer, natures miracle, resolve, 10lbs of baking soda, a vacuum and a toddler with one rain boot on, next to me.

I tried to clean. Used a mop. Some powder. Some spray. And not surprisingly – because I’m me. I managed to stain the wood floor – in my brand new rental apt – a nice shade of black. In more than one location.

Sweet. Luckily Harper was right beside me holding paper towels and a bottle that may as well have been hydrochloric acid, while licking her other hand.

Somehow over the course of the next four hours the situation remained exactly the same – except the toddler now had mandarin orange juice dripping down her chest and all over the (same) carpet, and crusty cream cheese on her face. Needless to say, the four loads of laundry piled on the kitchen table (since Monday), the three loads still in the basket from last night, crying pukey babies, urine emanating from…everywhere – nothing was getting done.

So, I called my Mom.

The toddler opened the door to let my dad in, but much more exciting – to take a shit diaper to the garbage chute. And I let her. Still wearing (only) one solitary rain boot.

The next 45 minutes proceeded to include one of her epic tantrums. You’d think it was in response to me stopping her from using chemicals to clean piss.

Nope.

She didn’t want to put on pants.

I guess we’ve all been there.

After pinning her down on the bed. Holding her with all my weight. I got underwear. Pants and a shirt on. But. NO. Not that shirt. Fifteen minutes more of screaming bloody murder. Until. Wait. Oh. Ok. Yes.That shirt.

Ultimately she would only go to school if I wore her on my back. But with no coat. Babies, by the way – still crying and mostly covered in spit up.

After the red behind my eyes turned a warmer shade of pink I was able to get her to school – only 4 1/2 hours late. Teeth and hair unbrushed. Definitely unfed and 45 mins past lunch. She was absolutely the dirty kid today. Hands down.

And of course. Parent teacher conference was (apparently) today. But as she’s 2yo I can say, with some conviction – it was cool if I skipped this one.

Sorry kid.

Babies asleep in the stroller I could definitely get home now and finally clean and still make the second half of my meeting at 3.

After a quick stop to get a six pack of Guinness – returned to the stroller. Four wide motherfucking eyes staring up at me. One bottom lip trembling.

I called it, right there.

Now, I’m home. the two babies finally decided to sleep. But only on me, of course. So the chemicals, the stain, the laundry – and the pee, are just going to have to wait.

Not making my meeting.

Not eating lunch.

If only I had a super duper bendy silly straw.

Cause, damn. That six pack of Guinness in the fridge is definitely not drinking itself.

TGIF

Lord, Give me Strength

Lord, Give me Strength 150 150 rebekahrosler

I had truly felt like these last five months of multi baby parenting hadn’t been that challenging.

Sure the sleepless nights leave me and Nathan a tad short tempered. And yeah maybe the addition of two more children (in daycare) and a move (to a bigger and necessary apartment) add some strain on the wallet. And ok, colicky babies who spit up 38x a day requiring daily trips to the laundry can be a bit tiresome.

But all in all, I felt like I was really rolling with it.

Then a switch flipped in my perfect little girl. Either she just turned 2 and that’s what happens. Or she wasn’t really letting on how much the new babies were affecting her. Either way she went from the poster child for why you want more children to the main reason people go on birth control.

I’ve been feeling defeated. And sad. And questioning – honestly, how am I going to do this for the next 18 years. I used to walk by people who would say “Lord, give me strength”.

I would smugly look at them and roll my eyes. Come on now. It’s not “that” bad.

Well. Now I know. It sure as shit is.

Side Note: you stay at home moms are true super heroes. I honestly believe it’s the hardest job in the world.

I digress.

This past weekend took the cake, when we had no less than 11teenmillion tantrums.

Nathan came over to me one night, kissed me and said “you’re doing great.”

I cried. Because no. I’m not.

I was dreaming of beach vacations. And how THE HELL can we ever go away. Who will take 3 babies so we can go somewhere – anywhere – ever again?

I was feeling sorry for myself.

Then yesterday. On a day off from daycare. KILL ME. I decided, hey, why don’t I invite all of Harper’s BFFs over. (Mostly boys). To my apt for a party. I can totally manage this.

And you know what. I did. And Harper had THE BEST time. And she was sweet. And well behaved. And it was so special to see her so happy with her friends having fun.

Then with zero time to get there (after a Bloody Mary or two) Harper and I ran across town to catch the last showing of Sesame Street Live. Something I never thought in a million years I’d be excited by.

(And let me tell you. After seeing shows at the Garden since about 1990 – the Sesame Street experience is a shock to the system).

But when that little girl saw Elmo on the stage in front of her – the smile on her face, the look of total adoration in her eyes. The last few weeks all faded away. And in that moment absolutely nothing else mattered.

It was short, too short. If I could have simply watched her face for the whole show – that would have been enough.

On our walk home I picked up the makings for Ice Cream Sundaes and treated this girl to the surprise I had promised her weeks ago – a plan thwarted by a little incident involving a potential attempted murder.

We got home. I whipped up a sundae that we shared. And all was right in the world again.

Of course then my parents who were babysitting had to rush home. And I was left with a toddler cracked out on sugar, two babies with dirty diapers and boobs that needed to be pumped hours before. But it didn’t matter. Because these kids. My loves. Were all with me. Snot. Poop. Sugar high. And all.

Lord, give me strength, to remember that moments pass, the bad and the good – and to be present with each of these babies. Because before I know it life will look very differently.

Horses and Glaucoma

Horses and Glaucoma 150 150 rebekahrosler

About four years ago for Passover, when Nathan and I had just gotten engaged, we went to visit my family abroad.

At the time my niece Ella was 6, and I adored her. I had always said that I never wanted to be a mother. I simply wasn’t maternal. I didn’t know how to cook or clean (still don’t). But more importantly I would never get on the floor and play pretend. I don’t have an imagination. I simply cannot/will not be silly. I just don’t have it in me. And that’s ok.

But my niece – well, she was the apple of my eye. I’d do *almost* anything for her. (Truth be told I’d take a bullet before playing pretend).

We were all hanging out one night before Seder and Ella was on the floor playing with her My Little Pony. She said “Auntie Bex, come play horsie”.

Sorry kid. Not happening. That ain’t me.

So everyone else played with her, including Nathan – not even family at the time.

Finally it was simply my turn. I didn’t fly 6000 miles to see her – to not spend quality time together.

So I did it. I got my ass off the comfy couch and got on the floor, glass of red in hand, obviously.

This would take liquid courage.

I had her horse. And she had…who the hell knows. And we played. She said stuff that wasn’t real (I hear this is called “pretending”). I tried to follow along. Then it was my turn to “pretend”. So my horse introduced itself to her doll/toy/character/whatever.

“Hi. I’m a horse. And I have glaucoma”.

This, my friends, was my first experience with pretend. And if it isn’t clear to you, it was clear to everyone in that room that night.

I failed.

Fast forward. Marriage. Babies. The whole nine.

This brings me to today. And my brood. I have about 47 children now. And though I still don’t cook. And if you ask my adoring husband I sure as shit can’t clean. But. There was a shift. There had to be a shift. You see. When you have a million kids, something has to change.

Last night it happened. It took 25 months (some may say 38 years). But I did it. I pretended. How can I say no to my sweet good natured non temperamental perfect 2 year old, who doesn’t make me question become a mother every fucking day? Maybe it’s art mimicking life, I can’t say for sure. But what I do know is I got on the floor with my kid and there were no eye diseases involved.

We played pretend. Kind of.

If you ask me, I pretty much rock now. (And god knows, filled my quota).

PS – don’t let this robe fool you. I hadn’t showered in days at this point. I just had so much puke on me, I assumed terrycloth would be my safest bet. Super absorbent.

Ice Cream, SuperHeroes and Murder

Ice Cream, SuperHeroes and Murder 150 150 rebekahrosler

So, I know I’m biased. But I think my kid is pretty cute, subjectively speaking of course.

Sure, she also holds traits akin to the devil. But aesthetically, she’s kind of adorable.

A couple weeks back we had her 2 year check up. My parents came down to watch the twins. And I had a plan in place. We’ve had no special Harper Mommy time since the babies arrival. So I was going to take her to Baskin Robbins after her doctors appointment, get her ice cream and spend time, just us.

I kept telling her I had a surprise for after the doctor. I was probably more excited than she. Let’s be honest. I was going to take a cute picture, we’d both have ice cream cones. She’d be tucked away in her 7am Enfant blanket. Social Media swoon worthy. And, of course, more importantly. We really would get to have quality time together.

We went to the Doc. She was a champ. She didn’t flinch when they pricked her finger. She got her yellow bandaid. Requested a second. The rest of the appointment she let them poke and prod. And as a departing gift, probiotic samples.

We were all very pleased.

On the walk to Baskin Robbins I kept reminding her I had something special planned. I was smiling to myself. Also, very aware of the many people passing us, noticing her. I kept thinking. Hey, maybe I should get her an agent – this kid should model. An unusual amount of people are really taking notice. Could be on to something! I’m not above making money off my kid, in fact, this is brilliant. I even started considering who could help her career take off. NYC rent and daycare ain’t cheap.

I had a couple stops to make along the way. But I could manage. After-all, I have three kids now, I got this.

So I picked up a Keter Bath ring for the babies. The door man asked if everything was ok.

Psht. Yeah dude.

I picked up a surprise Radio Flyer tricycle for Harper’s party the next day. Ok that may have been a bit of a stretch to carry home.

But, com’mon I pushed two babies out of my vagina in ten minutes – superhero status over here, amirite?

Best. Mom. Ever.

We had a couple blocks to go. And so many people were staring at her. How did I never realize before how much attention she got?

My excitement began wearing thin for our continued outing, though. It was cold out. A little rainy. Realized I’d eaten nothing all day. Parents were texting asking where I was. That damn bike and bath ring were heavy. But, ahead lay Baskin Robbins. And a – soon to be very – happy 2 year old.

Eyes on the prize.

I got us in – how are stores in NYC so stroller unfriendly?

Checked out the flavors. Turned her stroller around to tell her what we were doing, couldn’t wait to see her light up with my awesome mom plan.

And. her. face. was. COVERED IN BLOOD. Streaks from corner to corner. More blood than face. It looked like someone was murdered. Obviously at first I was beyond freaking out. OMG. What the hell happened to her?? Then I realized after 30 seconds of “OH SHIT WHAT DO I DO?”

A) she got a finger prick at the doc. Her band aid came off, and I definitely don’t have a back up (turned out I did, but only found that out this morning).

B) those people were not staring at her because she’s the next Giselle (I’m so out of touch I don’t even know who is “in” right now) they were staring because they thought her mother tried to kill her. (Also, why did no one stop me?)

C) it would likely be frowned upon for me to take a picture of this moment. Right?

D) she better not get blood on this expensive AF bunting.

Needless to say our Mommy Harper time was cut short. But not before having a very challenging conversation with the guy behind the register confirming that no, at Baskin Robbins they in fact do not have Carvel ice cream Cake for tomorrow’s party.

I grabbed as many brown paper napkins as I could. Wrapped them around her little finger and explained to her, in no uncertain terms – do not let this touch your blanket (excellent parenting, I know). I wiped her face off as best as I could. Grabbed two chocolate chip cookies – because I had to deliver – and ran as fast as I could (carrying a bath ring and goddamn tricycle).

All in all. That sucked and I think I owe my kid some ice cream – and probably an explanation.

My 2 Year Old Broke Me

My 2 Year Old Broke Me 150 150 rebekahrosler

Today. The tiny dictator won. I, on the other hand, very much lost.

I feel like for the most part I have pretty solid handle on this multi-child-parenting-thing.

But today my two year old broke me.

I don’t even know when it started.

Was it when I rushed to pick her up from school last night – juggling the double wide stroller, the dog and my brand new phone – which immediately met its fate when hitting the concrete?

Was it when I realized there was not a crumb of food in the house for her (or for us for that matter) to eat for dinner? So she ate cheese, puffs open from last summer (or was it two summers ago?) and a Flintstones vitamin for her well-rounded meal?

Was it at 3 AM when all three babies ended up in bed with us and refused sleep for the duration of the night?

Maybe.

But more likely it began this morning.

It started with the usual tantrum where only I’m allowed to put her coat on. and shoes. and brush her teeth. and take her to the potty. and read her elmo. From there this tiny 21lb 2ft tall waif turned into into a 300lb world wrestling champion. It took two 40 year old adults to wrangle her into the carrier on Nathan’s back so she could get to school in time for breakfast and Nathan to work in time to not be fired.

Nope.

She won.

We lost.

We couldn’t even get one leg in that fucker.

I screamed, while wearing a robe, and a single sock “I’ll bring her to fucking school.”

Nathan yelled “nice mouth” and stormed off.

Clearly our finest moment.

The next hour and a half sucked hard. Details don’t matter just know there was a lot of poop a lot of tears a lot of cheese and a qtip involved.

This is all to say for those of you are watching – since we all watch and judge and take a look in our own mirrors. I do not have my shit together. This is not easy. There is a hell of a lot going on behind the scenes.

Alas, it’s Friday and on Friday you can start drinking at 6:30am. I think I read that somewhere.

But first, you must excuse me – I’m off to Trader Joe’s to buy that little jerk some cheese.

To learn more about my services, let’s talk. I offer a 15-minute, no-obligation phone consultation to determine how I can help you navigate your motherhood journey.