Monday, April 26, 2010


Today a friend of mine asked for a favor: her son has to interview the parent of a child six months old or younger. Would I be willing to participate? Of course, I LOVE to talk about my kids, so I agreed. The questions were pretty good, and I thought it made for a decent blog, so I decided to post it:

What are some of the challenges you face as a new parent?
The biggest challenge with this baby is finding the balance between him and his 2 year old brother. James (no. 2) is so helpless and needs me for every physical thing he does. Walker (no. 1) sometimes has a hard time not having my complete attention anymore, so his emotional needs are greater right now. I find myself getting upset because I feel like Walker is taking away my attentions from James, or that James is requiring too much of the time I feel I should be giving to Walker. So making sure they both know that they're equally loved and important to me is hard.

Is it hard to adjust to having a baby around the house?
Not as much this time, no. When we had our first baby, it was really hard. I was nervous to leave him in a room alone, for fear he'd need me and I wouldn't be there. I found myself spending my days just sitting next to the bassinet wondering what I was supposed to be doing. SIDS was also terrifying to me (still is, really), so when he slept, I found myself checking him a million times to make sure he was still breathing. I do that with James, our second baby, but not nearly as obsessively.

What were your first thoughts when you saw your baby?
"Wow, you don't look ANYTHING like your older brother!!" With both babies, I had a preconceived idea of what they would look like, and neither of them looked even close to what I thought. Of course, they were much better. And then, after the "so you're the one who's been living inside me for nine months" moment, it was very surreal. I once heard it described as being like there was suddenly a giraffe in the room. Very accurate. Suddenly there was one more person in the room and I made that person. It was weird. But wonderful and amazing at the same time. It's hard to describe. And I never thought I could ever love someone as much as I loved this person who I had only just met.

What are some names that you thought you would name your baby?
I'm a big fan of family names. I think it's a nice way to remember where you came from. So if James had been a girl, we were going to name him Grace Evelyn, after our grandmothers. When we found out he was a boy, I jokingly said that we could call him Grayson. We seriously considered that, but my husband like the idea of naming him James Dennis, after our fathers. Now, regardless of what our next baby is, we have names all picked out.

Is it really as hard as the computer babies they give students at school?
I would imagine it's much harder. If you forget to feed the computer baby from school, worst case scenario, you're going to fail the class. If you don't feed the baby in real life, you're going to kill it. So maybe it's not that it's harder, but that the stakes are much higher.

If you could teach your baby one thing, what would it be?
Compassion. I want my boys to grow up being kind and generous to people just because they're people and they deserve respect. Now if I can just figure out how to do that!!!

Do you think if your child had been born with a handicap of some sort, you would still feel the same way about him?
I know I would love James just as much if he were handicapped, however I do think that my instict to protect him would be much stronger (which is hard to imagine, the instinct being pretty strong as is).

What has been the hardest thing to overcome with the new baby?
Guilt. My nature is to feel guilty about things, even when I have no control over them. So I have a tremendous amount of guilt that I can't spend every waking moment caring for my baby. I feel guilty that I have to return to work and leave my children with a stranger. I feel guilty that I have another child to care for and thus I can't devote myself completely to the baby when I'm home. I feel guilty that I sometimes want to just get in the car and drive around to have a few minutes to myself. I feel guilty that I didn't generate enough milk for the baby and had to switch to formula.

What has been the most stressful thing the baby has done?
James got a cold when he was two weeks old, which isn't that big of a deal in an older baby, but when they're that little, the doctors are extra cautious about their health (especially with H1N1 and RSV). So what was a case of the sniffles landed the poor little guy in Primary Children's Hospital for the day getting IVs and lumbar punctures. I suddenly understood the parents you read about in the paper who just leave the hospital with their sick children and take them home. I knew he needed to be monitored and that all the pain they were causing him was just to avoid a greater amount of pain later, but I just wanted to take him home and hold him and protect him from the things they were doing to him.

Have you ever felt overwhelmed by the baby and its needs?
Absolutely! Every single day. It's hard to not be able to come home and just sit on the couch and watch TV, or run errands, or even just run to the gas station for a beverage. Instead, you have to come home, change diapers, clean messes, make bottles, do laundry, bathe little ones, and get them to sleep HOPEFULLY through the night. Sometimes I just don't want to be the mommy anymore.

People tell you that when you have a baby, your life is over and suddenly your entire existence is about the child. It's hard to put my needs second to the kids' needs. My mom told me when I was pregnant with my first son that I was no longer going to be "Kelly," but rather "Walker's Mom." Completely true. Obviously, in order to maintain some sanity, you have to still have things just for you (a hobby, or a monthly girl's/guy's night out, etc), but at the end of the day, those things come a distant second to what your child needs. I don't think a lot of people think of that before they have kids. And if they do, it's still just an abstract idea that, when it becomes concrete, knocks you down and steps on your face.

But then the baby will smile when he hears me, or giggle and coo at me, or the two year old will hug me and say he loves me, and the other things don't seem like that big of a loss. Being a parent is the most thankless and yet the most rewarding job in the world.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

A Child's Prayer

Recently my sister (and next door neighbor) and I have been doing family dinners together. This way, no one has to cook all the time (though, I will freely admit, I have never had to cook once...she tells me it's one of the perks of my being pregnant, and I'm willing to take advantage of her generosity). Her daughters take turns blessing the food, Amaia doing it one night, Ella doing it the next.

When Ella says the prayer, she singles everyone in the room out and asks for a specific blessing on that person for something: "Please bless Uncle Travis, that his cough will get better." "Please bless Daddy, that he'll be safe at school." You get the idea.

Side Note: *****When Amaia was first learning to say her prayers, Chris and Connie had just gotten their first Chihuahua, Sofi. Amaia frequently prayed "...and please bless Sofi, that she won't poop in my room."*****

Two nights ago, this was mine: "Please bless Aunt Kelly, that she'll have her baby and we can all be happy."

Okay, so maybe I need to bring the whining down a notch.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

REPOST: The Little Fabric Tree

I know it's a little bit of a cop out to do a repost, but I just love this story, and I think at this time of year, for me, anyway, it bears repeating. I think the articles have long since been removed, but I had just read an article about a woman fondly remembering simple Christmases in her family and it sent me into a reverie about the true meaning of Christmas.

" many of us as children, or even adults, for that matter, would be satisfied with the Christmases the author so fondly describes? I mean, a homemade doll and a pair of new shoes as opposed to an iPod for everyone and months and months of debt?

But it made me think of my husband telling me about his fondest Christmas. His family was living in St. George at the time, I think, and didn't have a penny to their name. There was no money for food or electricity, let alone a Christmas tree with presents piled all around. Trav and his siblings put lights on a small, tabletop fabric Christmas tree his mother had made and decorated it the way you would a full blown 9 foot tall tree from the lot. Then he and his sister (the only two kids old enough to work at the time) pooled their money, went to the store and bought five dollar presents so the other kids would have something to open on Christmas Day.

I've never had a Christmas like that. When I originally heard Travis and his siblings remembering that Christmas, my heart just bled for all of them, particularly my parents-in-law. I can only imagine how they must have felt wanting to give their children the world but having to tell them that Santa won't be coming this year, oh, and PS no Christmas dinner either. Even though the circumstances are totally out of your control (ie layoffs, medical problems, etc), that would kill a parent.

But instead of focusing on the sad, depressing part of the circumstance, they ended up having the best Christmas in my husband's memory. He never talks about that time as being miserable, but rather about how they all came together as a family and made the best out of a crappy situation. He remembers playing board games and chatting with his family rather than sitting around watching football or the millionth showing of A Christmas Story or It's a Wonderful Life. And now I think of how proud his parents must be that their kids actually got the point, even at a young age. I hope I can instill that in our child.

My mother in law made all of us a fabric Christmas tree for our table top and it's the only decoration that Travis really gets excited about. It's not that he's a full blown Grinch (though "the term 'Grinchy' may apply when Christmas cheer's in short supply"), but I think it's the one thing that doesn't seem so...commercial to him. I think that, though he'd never admit it lest he lose Man Points, it reminds him of the true meaning of Christmas and I frequently catch him looking nostalgically at our table with the little fabric tree and remembering his favorite Christmas ever."

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

This one's for you, Jules!!!

Okay, so I'm a total blogging slacker. And it's not that I have nothing good to write about. Walker's as adorable as ever and the new baby is growing like a weed making his presence known any time I sit in such a manner as to squish his small home. Between work, Walker, the fatigue of pregnancy, home, Travis, and the holidays, I've let this little section of the internet fall by the way side.

Here are some things I've thought "oh, I should totally blog about that later" about:

  • Walker's new found acceptance of his "bruh-zer." He'll now pat my stomach lovingly or lay his head on it to say hi to his upcoming playmate. And, lately, he's taken to giving Brother puppy kisses. Yes, he licks my stomach. I'd feel really weird about it if he didn't giggle hysterically after doing it. I mean, officially, it's still a little creepy, but it's so damned cute!
  • While at a family function, Walker had the opportunity to interact with two newborns. I was somewhat apprehensive, but my mind was put at ease while watching W run from boy to girl, petting heads and giving sloppy kisses. The little girl began to cry and W rushed over, very concerned. Travis tried to continue the conversation and was sternly reprimanded by his son: "SHHHHH!!! Crying!" as if to say "Look, we're trying to deal with something over here. Could you pipe down??"
  • W's little personality is developing by leaps and bounds and we're considering (reluctantly) putting him into a day care that focuses on early education. He loves to play with Travis' cell phone (T downloaded an app that allows W to learn shapes) and is amazingly perceptive and observant, sometimes to a fault. He's a smart little bratsky, but we love him!
So I just realized that all of that is about Walker and now I feel like I'm favoring one child over the other, and maybe I am. It's just that how much can you really say about a kid while he's still in-utero? Baby's doing really well. No, no name has been selected yet, but we do have it narrowed down and hopefully we'll be making an announcement before his Kindergarten graduation.

The pregnancy's going swimmingly. Other than the normal aches and pains (Baby likes to hang out in the "bay window" a lot, causing my gut to hurt), I really have no complaints (though Travis will tell you that doesn't stop me...and he's right). The emotions of pregnancy are starting to take a toll. This is the part where I insert a public apology to my friends and family who bear the brunt of my mood swings. Particularly Travis, who has really been such a loving and wonderful husband, keeping his mouth shut when I'm being irrational even when I'm driving myself nuts. The other day, after I took something someone said (can't even remember now) WAY too personally, I was raving and ranting and he told me he was really sorry and was there anything he could do? "No, just give me 20 minutes and I'll be having a whole other emotion." Poor guy.

At any rate, that's life in the Tabbal house for you. Christmas cards were dropped in the mail this morning (yeah, I know...I've been really tired, okay??), so they should be arriving shortly. I hope everyone has a very happy holiday and I hope to see you all soon!!!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

I'm Pregnant with Son No. 2!!!

Giving us the thumbs up in utero.

As many of you already know (and most wish I would just shut up about it already), I'm having boy number two sometime around the beginning of February. I can't wait! Yes, it was somewhat of a surprise, but still, THRILLED.

After a doctor's appointment last week, my due date was moved up a week, putting me in the "yeah, we can probably see what you're having now
" zone, so I hastily scheduled an appointment at Fetal Foto and we found out Monday that Walker's going to have a baby brother. I was absolutely positive it was a girl, and thought for certain that I would be disappointed if it wasn't, but when I saw the tech pass over his "area" and caught a glimpse of the goods, a little jolt of excitement went through me. When she confirmed it, I almost cried. I'm sure I would have had the same reaction had he been a she. Really, I don't care. I'm just excited. Now for the daunting task of coming up with a name. Suggestions are welcome!

'Cause he's cool like that.

In other news, Walker's become quite the little chatter box. He'll talk in his own little language and then throw out real words at random. And there doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason to the words he can say. Among them: cookie, broke, Melmo (for Elmo), grass, bird, duck, juice, mommy, daddy, Unck (for his Uncle Chris), Lella (for Ella), and MaiMai (for Amaia). And he's spoken his first sentence! Some children say "I love my Mommy" or "I want Daddy." My kid? "Oh, it broke" after squishing a chip on his tray. And this morning we got sentence number two. While getting ready for work, we turn on the TV and let him watch a little something. This morning the selection was Sesame Street, to which he said reverently "I love Melmo." So freakin' cute!!!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Momversation: Why isn't just being a mom enough?

I love It's a panel of mommy bloggers that get together, pose a question, and then a few of them answer it in video form in the "episodes." I highly recommend checking it out (particularly the one about telling your kids where babies come from...even my husband laughed out loud at that one).

One of this week's questions got me into that "I'm over tired and think I'm being really deep" mood, so here are my thoughts.

The Question: Why isn't just being a mom enough?

I'll admit to having said "just a mom" and not really thinking twice about it. Never in a derogatory way, mind you, but more like "I really want to be just a mom."

But, watching this episode, it occurred to me that what I do in my professional life is my "Just A." I'm Just A Billing Clerk in a law firm. If I get hit by a bus tomorrow, sure there would be the token sadness from my co-workers, laments from people who really don't like me now and couldn't care less as long as I get their bills right and out in a timely manner, but once I've died a tragic death, "wow, she was an amazing person." But then they'd hire someone to replace me, remember my many downfalls and obnoxious behaviors and move on about their lives.

I get hit by a bus tomorrow, and no one will ever replace me to my son. I have a wonderful family who would, of course, step up and help out my grieving husband (who would remarry for the sake of our son, but always remember me as his only true love and mourn my loss until the day he dies). But when he falls down on the playground, my son won't look for the new hire mommy. He'll still cry for me. No one will ever kiss it better the way I do. And not that I'm the end all be all of mommy existence, but I'm HIS mommy.

How can that ever be termed a "Just A" in life? Being a parent is the only irreplaceable job in the entire world. There's nothing casual or unimportant in that at all.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Perspective Changes Everything

Last night I was nostalgically listening to MJ on my iPod and the song You Are Not Alone came up. It used to be that when I would hear "love songs" the love was always romantic love. but lately when I hear this song, it reminds me of my dad: me mourning him, even eight years later, and him reminding me that he's never gone away. So there I was driving along, stereo blasting, singing at the top of my lungs, and bawling my eyes out (very reminiscent of the Carpenters scene in Tommy Boy):

...You never said goodbye. Someone tell me why did you have to go...
You are not alone. I am here with you...I can hear your prayers. Your burdens I will bear...

And then I remembered when I was pregnant with Walker and the same thing happened with I Don't Want to Miss a Thing by Aerosmith. I only ever thought of that song in reference to a couple never wanting to be apart. But when I was pregnant, all I could think of was watching my baby sleep and never wanting to stop watching:

...I could spend my life in this sweet surrender...And then I kiss your eyes and thank God we're together...I don't want to miss one smile. I don't want to miss one kiss...

Tommy Boy again. And to this day, any time that song comes on, I think of my son and there go the water works again.

One last one: Heaven by Los Lonely Boys. When my Gram died at 93 years old, my uncle, her youngest, really wanted this song played at the service, which I thought was strange. Really? An upbeat kinda party song at a funeral? And then I downloaded it and listened to the lyrics:

...Save me from this prison, Lord...'cause only you can save me now from this misery...I've been lost in my own place and I'm getting weary...I've been locked up way too long in this crazy world...

Needless to say, we played this at her graveside as we released 93 balloons to celebrate her life.

Funny how growing up and changing circumstances makes you reevaluate even the smallest of things.