Monday, January 5, 2009

Being a mother and head gashes.

Sorry for the gruesome picture, but for some reason this head gash on Sage's head has caused me to do a lot of pondering on motherhood for the past few days. It all started on Saturday night at 8pm when Shane put Sage in time out which up until this happened was his crib. It wasn't long before we heard a crash, a thud, and a healthy wailing from Sage. I ran into the room only to find Sage's head matted in blood. (head wounds are infamous for lots of blood.) To our surprise, he had managed to climb out of the crib and land on a train set below. We dropped Avery off out our trusted neighbor below us and took him to the instacare not far from our house. The poor kid needed one stitch and four staples to close the wound. This was no easy process and it took two parents, two nurses, and the doctor to hold him down. (the picture looks wet because of the neosporin.) Holding Sage down was heart wrenching. He laid on an exam bed under a very bright fixture spot lighting him with three strangers pinning him down like a straight jacket with his own parents betraying him! (Okay I'm a little over dramatic, which doesn't happen very often, but I could see it all in the look he gave me.) He kicked and wiggled and screamed the entire time which in a way made me glad. I was very glad that he just didn't give in and succumb, my heart really would have been broken then because that is completely opposite of Sage's character.

Sage has been very difficult in many ways because of his stubborn fiestiness. He was so hard as a newborn, especially following his sister who was the world's easiest baby to care for. I've definitely had both ends of the pendulum in my children. One day as I was in the midst of several clogged milk ducts, mastitis for the second time, ear infections in Avery, zombie like state due to lack of sleep, dealing with drama that goes a long with being YW president, (you get the picture.) A friend asked how I liked being the mother of two children. I knew I was in no position to fake a response so I said something like, "I'm not gonna lie to you, it's really hard." Her response to me was "Really, all my friends say it's even easier than one." Of course my heart sank even further because now I'm thinking, "what some people find this easy?" and I just wondered how I could ever have more children.

But like everything, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. But first, another flash back to my growing up years. I lived in a neighborhood where 5-6 kids was average for a family. People who had less were either not LDS or medically unable to have more children. I had teachers and priesthood leaders teach in Sunday school and YW's that "you should have as many children as possible, wait for no reason at all, and don't use birth control." (I swear I'm not making this up.)

Several months after Sage was born I sat in Stake Conference and listened to a broadcast from Pres. Hinckley which was being transmitted to all the stakes in the Salt Lake Valley at the same time. The message that sticks out most from that broadcast and pretty much any other talk I've ever heard from a general authority was this: Pres. Hinckley reminded everyone listening that God commanded us to multiply and replenish the earth, but he didn't put a number on it. It's a decision between married couples and the Lord and we should not judge one another for the number of children we choose to have. Yes, it was definitely one of those moments I felt like he was speaking directly to me. A huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders. He continued to council women and mothers not to complain about their lives but to be an optimistic and positive influence...something I also needed to hear. Having said this, I just want to note that I'm totally aware that there are many woman out who are completely able to take care of multitudes of children and do it happily and successfully. I'm just not one of them, and I know that about myself.

Motherhood is hard but then you have moments like what happened last night that make up for so much. Now that we know Sage has the ability to climb out of his crib he's slept in Avery's trundle bed until we can get him a toddler bed. Because I am so determined not to fall into bad sleeping habit like when Sage was a baby, I was adamant that neither Shane not I be in the room while Sage is learning to adjust to his new bed (as per doctor's advice.) Of course he screamed and cried for a very long yelling our names and tugging at our hearts. Before long we heard Avery singing him a lullaby. Shane and I cracked open the door and saw Sage climbing into bed next to Avery while she put her arm around him and sang him her own version of a goodnight song and they fell asleep snuggled next to each other.

Any and all temper tantrums? forgiven
Waking up at random hours during the night? forgiven
Sage picking on little boys he doesn't know for no reason? forgiven
Throwing food on the ground instead of eating it? forgiven
Multitudes of children? I'll leave that to the pros. Don't get me wrong; I'm not done, just not multitudes.

Watching your children become people and develop their personalities is very rewarding as a mother, but not as rewarding as watching your children play with each other, love each other, and look out for each other.


J Black said...

This is a heart tugger for all moms- thanks for putting it so well. It was also surprising for me because you've always seemed like a mom who rolls with the punches (or should I say falls and gashes?) of motherhood so well without complaint. It definetly takes a well grounded, mature couple in our culture to recognize their optimum parenting conditions, regardless of what surrounds them.

Chandi said...

Very well said, Carrie. I understand you completley. I have had the same thoughts and the same enlightening moments.

mom/caryn said...

Well lived. You handled the ER trip with great equilibrium.

Also well thought out and bravely stated.

The choice of "To bear, or not to bear" more children needs to be decided between a husband, a wife, and the whisperings of the spirit. To them. Not to a mother or mother-in-law or neighbor or ward authority speaking from the pulpit.

It's so gut wrenching to hold your little one while his eyes plead for you to scoop him up and carry him away from the scary people who are pinching and sticking him.
I've been through that horror so very many times. Especially with Dallin and Chandi. The most tender memories are of how quickly they forgave me for my part in the pain they experienced. How tightly they clung to me for comfort. The nightmare of watching them look at me with such confusion became sweet through their willingness to forgive me.

Children are God's greatest treasure!

erin said...

THat silly ol' Sage went and did himself a number. Carrie you are doing good. Don't let people tell you how many kids you should have but I think one more is perfect :). I mean you make darling little ones. :) IM sorry you had a little scare and im glad he didnt get too hurt.

Lynley said...

C'mon Carrie, you just need to be more like those women of the 50's. (ha ha)

I'm learning to not get too busy to "smell the roses" with my kids. Next, I"m working on: "Carpedium", "Less is More", "A Mother's Work is Never Done", "Keep it Simple",......

Jeffrey Stott said...

I know exactly what you mean. Oh wait. Sage is a fighter, I feel like I actually got to know him over the break.

Jenna said...

The first memory of my life is looking up from a stretcher and feeling very scared and not wanting the shot that someone was trying to give me. I remember dad and uncle Vance were looking down at me. Come to find out when I was 2, the cousins and I were playing in a little kiddie pool, drinking the water we had all peed in. As a result we started getting soars and had to be rushed to the hospital. I wonder if Sage will remember his first experience there.

I enjoyed reading your reflections, Care-bear. I have found myself trying to fend-off the January, post-holiday blues and unfortunately they usually manifest themselves in a critique of my parenting and short-temperedness with the kids. I like Pres. Hinckley's reminder that we need to be optimistic and appreciate how truly amazing it is to be a mother to these little ones, even the stubbornest of them (Lincoln).

I still think you ought to have at least 4 kids, after all, you are young and fertile.

Jenna said...

Forgot to say that I loved the picture of Avery and Sage and your comment at the end. It really is the best thing to see your own love your own.

Trina said...

Carrie, thank you, I'm so impressed with the woman you've become. Your children are very lucky to have you. You should have 10! Just kidding! I know what you're saying. I wanted to stop too, but Heavenly Father had other plans. It can be so overwhelming.

Trina said...

And then when they grow up to be amazing young adults and parents, you wish you would have had more.