...since we first met her face to face and fell in love!! A week of being able to kiss her anytime I want to. A week of nursing her, bathing her, running my fingers through her long, silky, black, shiny hair. A week of witnessing gassy smiles and responding to baby coos and cries. A week of, and two bags full, of dirty diapers and three loads of pink and purple laundry. A week of NO HEARTBURN, reaching into the bottom of the washer, laying next to Salvatore on my stomach, and seeing my feet again. But the best part has been...kissing her anytime I want to!!!
Salvatore, Valentina and I enjoyed this beautiful Sunday together. Sal took this picture of the wind and the local Jacaranda tree down the street.
We were visited many times by the neighborhood dog, who also tried to walk into the house when we turned our backs. Imagine how Benedict reacted to that!
Valentina slept and Salvatore wanted to check on her constantly. He has been very sweet with her and is always asking for her and helping me with her dirty diapers.
We also collected leaves from the front yard, enjoyed a homemade ice cream sandwich, and then Lolo watched our little angel face while Sal and I enjoyed a neighborhood bike ride! Felt so good to get out and ride a bike with my little guy! Evening came with more visitors, David and Flavio hanging our new TV in her bedroom, and a movie before bed. Things have been good, really easy and good, so far at home, but I have yet to have to go anywhere or attempt to leave the house with both kids alone. Tomorrow, I may visit the grocery store. Maybe not. It is a new day.
Suzanne and Sara came over tonight with meals and smiles and lots of love! Sara plays so well with Salvatore and knows exactly how to handle him. Valentina had a bath right before they arrived and slept most of their visit. We were also entertained with Play-Doh creations from Sara and Salvatore.
As I prepare to have your little sister, Valentina, please know how much we love you! I promise that we will all adjust to our new life with a baby and we will all be more blessed for it, just as I was when Brian came and David was when Fabiola, Mayda, and Lula came. I promise to be extra patient as you adjust and to say extra prayers when we all need them. Everything will be fine. We know that we are gonna be the only ones who remember the tough transitioning times, you will never remember.
We tell everyone all of the time how smart and wonderful you are, and everyone can see how CUTE you are! And now to brag about your artistic skills...I found his recreation of a drawing of a trash truck to be impressive! He has always been obsessed with trash trucks, especially since he can easily watch them on Thursdays pick up our trash from the living room window. He loves to know and say that the trucks pick up his dirty diapers. So, when we draw the trucks, we add the detail of the can being picked up and dumped in the back. Tonight, after a great dinner, playing soccer, and chasing bubbles in the front yard, we came in to draw. He drew this trash truck (WITHOUT seeing a recent one that I had drawn) and I was so impressed with his attention to details. Salvatore, you make us proud in so many ways and we know it will only get better!!! We love you sweet boy!!
Here are my stats: weight 152 lbs. and gained 27 lbs. Same with Salvatore, but I think Valentina will be larger than his 6 lb. 13 oz. birthweight. He came around 10 days early, she is already 3 days away from her due date. This time I have carpal tunnel and swollen feet. Was VERY NAUSEOUS both times, but his stopped in the 7th month and hers continued on. I ate more sweets and junk food with her. I could barely exercise with her. Wore high heels up until the day I delivered Salvatore, but stopped a few weeks ago with her. Had a much harder time working so long with Valentina, plus I also had a different position at school which forced me to walk far, lift, move and carry things that I didn't have to do before. Don't remember TOO MUCH complaining with Salvatore, but I sure complained everyday with this one. Truth is, I can't believe I really FELT SO BADLY. I chalk it all up to my age (35), the workload, caring for a toddler at home this time, keeping up with everything, etc. But knowing now what I know about motherhood, I am READY! Salvatore has been a mix of wonderful child and random, whiny two-year old, for which I am actually... grateful. Had she come 2-3 weeks ago when his new "terrible two phase" started, I probably wouldn't have handled it all so well. Now I know that he is acting the way he should as he continues to grow and learn, and with or without her, there will be challenges. So, after all of my complaining, I am now dragging my feet to try and slow this down. All in due time. All in DUE TIME!
While shopping at Target tonight, David was searching for clothes, so Salvatore and I took off in our own direction. I was letting him push the cart around and we passed through the "intimates" section...can you guess what he said?!?!?! While passing the rows and rows of bras, he spots a black one that does resemble one that I own and asks loudly, "You have this one, mama, right?" He then proceeded to find many more colorful ones that he liked and said, "You need this one mama (it was leopard)...and this one (lime green)...and this one (a training bra)." Thanks, babe, for being my personal shopper for bras.
Salvatore has a new favorite book and he wants to read it all of the time. It's called The Grouchy Ladybug by Eric Carle. It is now beating out Goodnight Moon. He LOVES to read the title to me and point to the grouchy face that she makes on the cover. Then he listens to each page inside, and we practice telling time, naming the animals and insects, and describing what they each do. He has two new favorite questions, "What is his/her name?" and "What does he/she/it do?" If I am too tired to answer his endless questions, then he makes ME ask HIM and he answers for me.
Here is a picture of him copying the "grouchy face" made my the ladybug.
And here is his "happy face" because he likes to remind me that he is not really grouchy!
With Valentina's due date around the corner and me being 80% effaced and 1 centimeter dialated as of yesterday, I don't know where we will be this weekend. So, I want to wish my own mother, Leslie, my Sita, mi suegra, Lourdes, my beautiful aunts, my best friend Suzanne and ALL OF MY WONDERFUL MOMMY FRIENDS a wonderful Mother's Day!!
"I'll show my children right from wrong,
encourage dreams and hope,
explain respect for others,
while teaching them to cope
with outside pressures, inside fears,
a world that's less than whole;
and through it all I'll nurture
my children's most precious soul!
Though oftentimes a struggle,
this job I'll never trade;
for in my hand tomorrow lives...
a future that GOD has made"
There is NO way to be a perfect mother, but a MILLION ways to be a GOOD one!!
I remember practicing for interviews while finishing my credential program at CSUF. Over and over again, the advice we all received was to NOT SAY that you "loved kids" when asked why you want to become a teacher. The other "big no-no" was to tell a potential principal that you got into teaching so you could have summers off. Duh! Anyways, the summer thing was no problem, but I was saddened to be told that I should not say that I LOVED KIDS. Of course, it was not the ONLY reason why I wanted to become a teacher, but I believe that teachers should LOVE all children, because you need and rely on that love when things get tough and don't turn out the way they said they would in the credential program! And as I watch Salvatore grow and learn and make both good and bad choices, I HOPE TO GOD that his teachers will LOVE him.
Well, being the rule follower that I basically am, I followed the "don't say you love kids" advice for my first interview in Fullerton. I did not get the job. When I applied at the Catholic school, I decided to speak from the heart and it was the first thing out of my mouth. I was offered the job within 5 minutes.
Teaching for 7 years has presented many ups and downs, and I have had some TOUGH kids whose stories you would not believe if I even tried to tell you. And I have been pushed to my limit, and pulled right back in, and have been sarcastic just for survival. But, deep inside of me, I STILL LOVE KIDS, and their families, and teaching.
Here is a card that I received from a special student whom I taught for two years. She lost her mother to cancer a few years ago, and I had to show a room full of students how to gently handle her situation and feelings. This card, first written by my student and then by her father, pretty much sums it up for WHY I TEACH!!!!
She was the most beautiful child up on the altar and I was very proud. SHE made me proud-proud to be her Godmother, proud to be Catholic, proud to sit with my family and hers, and proud of the person she already is and will continue to grow in to.
Sara will be ready to graduate high school by the time Salvatore receives his first communion, and she will be in college by the time Valentina is ready. And one day, I will be watching her walk down a church aisle as she receives the sacrament of marriage......whoa, slow down Shalimar!!
But today, she was still my little girl, connecting with God, and ready to move forward.