About Me

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WE HAVE MOVED TO A NEW SITE!!! http://www.mommyhood-shivonne-costa.squarespace.com/ As of June 18, 2015, this is our new location. Please come join us!! I started blogging the week I got married. I thought it would be nice to blog the full first year, you know, to cherish those memories and share them with my family and friends. Little did I know, it was going to be my greatest coping skill for the craziness that comes with marriage! I found writing to be a fantastic way to reframe an ugly marital spat into a humorous event, allowing me to smile at the situation by the end of the post. And now, I am honored to share my struggles and joys of fostering, adopting, birthing, and raising 4 beautiful children. It's my hope that others gain laughter and new ways to see their own frustrating life situation through my writing. Because I love to write! PS, look for me on Facebook - "Mommyhood-Shivonne Costa"

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Perspective - Feeling The Hard Feelings

     Tonight my husband took the kids. I think he knew that I needed a break. I think he knew this because when he came home last night, I handed him the crying baby and yelled, "I NEED A BREAK!" A clever man, my husband.
     In the first thirty minutes of my freedom, I ran around and flitted from chore to chore. I washed the lid to the garbage can. I cleaned a spot on the carpet. I dusted the stairs. Feeling rather unfulfilled, I quickly gave up on my "cleaning spree". I had put off the sad things long enough. It was time to work on the music for my grandpa's memorial service. Rather, it was time to finally take the quiet moments alone I've needed for over a week to grieve his passing. That's the thing with having children. There's usually not time to do the healthy things, like grieve. Or exercise. Or sleep.
     It struck me as odd that I had to schedule in my tears. But then again, I have to schedule in bathroom breaks and boom boom time with Hubby, so I suppose scheduling in tears is inevitable. So, I sat at my piano, staring blankly at the words I'm supposed to sing, the notes I'm supposed to play. I allowed sadness to sit next to me as we sang a mournful duet. I felt the hard feelings and then left them on the piano keys.
     Allowing myself to feel things for more than a few minutes always brings my heart back to Isaac. Sometimes it seems that all things bring my heart back to my little boy. And when I look at my wall of pictures, I feel all the hard feelings all over again. Every day. And it makes me think to myself, Will there ever be a day when I don't have to be so brave, when loss isn't part of my every breath? 
     I was talking to my mom on the phone earlier this afternoon. We were talking about the memorial service and how my aunt was traveling all the way from Florida to be there to remember her father. My mom was telling me how excited my aunt is to see her daughter. In fact, my aunt said that she missed her daughter so much that she actually craved the times her daughter woke her up in the middle of the night, just to talk.
     At this, I guffawed out loud. Because in my life right now, sleep is more precious than food, and it's darn near close to water! If someone wakes me up, there better be severed limbs and blood. In fact, my big kids know better than to knock on my door in the middle of the night unless things are coming out of them. That's why I go straight for the bucket and mop each time I hear the faint tap! tap! on my door. If it's not puke, pee, or blood, it'll wait until the sun is up above the trees. Sure, I'll listen to your dream.... if you can remember it 6 hours from now. And feel free to tell me that the train woke you up last night. As long as you're not waking me up to tell me. And God help the child that shuts the bathroom door too loudly at 2 a.m. and wakes up a baby! (Or if your husband farts a fart that feels like an earthquake and wakes the baby through two closed doors..... Seriously, change your diet or move out. I don't care which, but ain't nobody got time for that!)
     After hearing my hearty laughter, my mom went on to explain that it was all about perspective. She said that as children grow and get closer to leaving the nest, a mother's perspective changes. She's long past the days of midnight feedings and changing wet sheets. She's almost hoping that her babies still need her enough, want her enough, to knock on her door in the dark hours. Sleep is no longer the biggest need, as it is replaced by the need to still be needed.
     I thought about this perspective change long after our conversation had ended. I thought about it as I stared at my wall of pictures and as I snuggled my sad self up against Isaac's pillow. Will there ever be a day when I don't feel this pain in my heart? Probably not. I can't imagine ever going a day without missing the loved ones I've lost. But perhaps, in this too, there will be a change in perspective some day. Maybe just as a mother's need for sleep changes, perhaps my need to have my little boy in my arms will change. Not go away. Never go away. But change. Somehow.
     In losing my grandpa, I'm able to see the end. He needed to pass on, to leave his illness behind and to meet up with his true love in heaven. It's a loss that I can feel painfully, but one that I can understand. However, Isaac's loss is still a mystery and is, therefore, still so hard to accept. I don't see the end. I don't know the whys and the why nots. My perspective is still so limited - so circumstantial.
     One day.... one day I'll know the answers and see the end. It'll all make sense and I'll be able to breathe a big breath that doesn't require an ounce of courage. Until then, I plan to keep feeling the hard feelings. After all, I'm not the only one. God feels them, Hubby feels them, my family feels them, my friends feel them, and you other Mamas and Dads out there feel them. We all have loss and need to be brave. Thank you for feeling with me and reminding me that I'm not alone.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Murphy's Law

     It's been a Murphy's Law kind of day. Quite literally, everything that could go wrong, did go wrong. I should've recognized the day for what it was early on when I awoke with a twitch above my eye and a pounding headache. That should have tipped me off. Maybe it's my eternally optimistic outlook that kept me holding out hope that the day was still salvagable (giggling with sarcastic derision over here).
     Senor Cranky-Pants began his pitiful whimpers early this morning. Although fine while I was holding him or giving him my undivided attention, the little bugger felt it best to use his independent time devoted to the fine art of screeching. He did this all morning, all afternoon, and all evening... that is, until my husband came home. Then the mischievous diaper-wearer put on his sweetest face and cutest grin to lure Daddy in, making him think that Mommy had made it all up. And that's fine.... just fine. I'll give him peas for dinner. That'll show him.
     For those of you that follow me on Facebook, you got the gist of my day (again, I apologize for my rantings). But for the rest of you, allow me to elaborate. It was a day of errands. My son is having a sleep-over on Friday.... that means I will have starving 8-10 year-old-boys running around my house, scavenging for chips and pop and birthday cake.... birthday cake that is John Deere themed.... that I have to figure out how to make in my non-pinterest fashion. Therefore, I needed supplies and lots of them! I was also in desperate need of an oil change (or so the screen on my van kept screaming at me each time I put the vehicle into park), and I have been using old make-up that was giving me an orange glow (foretelling of the afternoon's hair drama, to be sure) so I wanted to make a quick stop at Rite Aid to get new foundation. Easy peasy.
     Because I am sleep-deprived and utterly brainless, naturally, I locked my keys in the van during our very first stop. The sweet elderly woman watched patiently as I went through the phases of panic and realization while I stood in line at the cash register, ripping my purse apart in search of the missing keys. In the meantime, my baby sat on the rug in front of me, trying to shop-lift every candy bar in arm's reach. I put his lootings back and we sprinted to the van. Sure enough, there were my keys, sitting neatly in my cup holder. I had obviously taken the time to remove them from the ignition and then must have decided that they were too heavy? Too jingly? Too bulky? Why I placed them in the cup holder, I will never know. But there they sat.
     I snuggled my little one against the cold as we made our way back into Rite Aid to formulate a plan. Thankfully, my father-in-law was able to save us by bringing me Pat's spare keys from our home. That left us stranded for less than an hour and without having to pay a hefty locksmith's fee. So, we took the opportunity to browse the over-priced shelves of the store (and spend more money than we'd intended). Luckily, we ran into one of my old clients. Not only was I able to expose my small child to the poor man's halitosis, he was also given the opportunity to be fondled by tobacco-stained hands. Wyatt didn't seem to mind, though. (I think he was just excited to see someone with even fewer teeth than himself.)
     It was after this rather germy encounter that I decided a bathroom break was in order. I pushed little Wyatt in the cart to the restroom, only to find that the cart wouldn't fit through the doorway. Hmmmm. I assessed the Ladie's room and found no baby seat, nor was there a changing table to strap him to. Crap. (Literally, there was crap on the floor.) The only thing left to do was to hold him while I peed. Shoving my scarf, purse, and purchases into basin of the pedestal sink, I proceeded to single-handedly line the toilet with paper and undo my pants. Feeling proud of my accomplishments thus far, I did my deed and went to reach for the paper. It then hit me that the rest of what needed to take place was darn near impossible with just one hand. Wyatt, deciding to take some time practicing another fine art known as smacking me in the face, made this balancing act all the more precarious. I wiped (sort of) and pulled up my pants (mostly). But the button proved to be too much for me. I was just gonna have to leave my pants undone until I got back to the shopping cart outside. I was also going to have to douse me and the little one with hand-sanitizer because I wasn't even about to drench us both with a hand-washing fiasco.
     Luckily, there was another woman outside the door waiting to use the restroom, so my undone pants didn't have to go unnoticed.
     My father-in-law arrived and the day was saved (except you and I both know that's not true of a Murphy's Law kind of day). Nevertheless, we were off to the dealership. Baby and I were nestled into a comfy waiting room chair, just getting engrossed in a rousing game of Candy Crush, a much-needed break from this hectic day. And that's when I heard the familiar grunts and smelled the familiar aroma. I looked at Wyatt and he looked at me. He grunted again. I felt suddenly warm.
     Sweet Jesus. The diaper bag!
     Obviously, I had left the bag in the van because who knew that my baby was going to explode in the 20 minutes it was going to take to change my oil?? I ran quickly through the garage, frantically looking for my van. Of course, it was the one up in the air on the lift. I explained the situation to the young kid backing away from my smelly baby and he more than readily agreed to fetch my bag for us. I hustled back to the service lounge and straight to the bathroom.... where there was no changing table to be found.
     The warm, wetness was creeping up my little guy's back as he cooed happily, seeming to enjoy my frantic dilemma. As I barged back into the lounge, an employee asked if there was something he could do to help me. Was there? I don't even know.... did he have a shower or a washing machine, perhaps? No. But he did offer to clear out the employee lounge so that I could change Wyatt's diaper on their couch instead of on the dirty bathroom floor.
     What a sweet man. Although, I fear he now regrets his offer, as Wyatt has recently found his penis. And, as all boys do, they can't resist the urge to give it a lil squeeze and tug each time it's exposed.... even if it's covered in green poo. I tried to grab his poop-glazed fingers, I really did. But I just couldn't get them in time. He had already finger-painted the back of the couch a lovely shade of olive.
     I changed his clothes, his diaper, and scrubbed the couch as best I could. All I kept thinking was that I was skipping the rest of the errands and going home. This baby needed his nap and this mama needed some alone time! And that's what we did.
     Upon our arrival, I put a sleepy Wyatt into his crib. I needed to unwind and prepare for my job interview the next day. So, noticing my ever-graying temples, I decided that some much-needed primping was in order. I opened up my box of Warm Chocolate colored hair dye and began methodically applying it to my head. And that's just about the time that the screaming began. I carefully removed my stained gloves and clipped my hair back before retrieving Sir ScreamsALot from his crib, plunking him on the bathroom floor with some of his best friends (Alligator, Singing Dog, and Froggy). I reapplied my gloves and got back to the task at hand. That's when I noticed that Wyatt had made a few new friends... he had his hand and face in the potty chair, played with a dead ladybug, and full-on licked the base of the toilet all while I was trying to get those dang gloves back off.
     For the love!!!!
     Knowing that part of my hair had already had dye on it for at least ten minutes, I recognized the urgent need to quickly apply the dye to the rest of my hair before there was a serious problem! I flushed the bug and removed all movable toilets from Wyatt's reach before reapplying the now sticky gloves to my hands. I had lost track of where I was on my hair-dying journey so just started straight up dumping dye onto my head and massaging it all around, silently cursing the fact that Wyatt learned how to army crawl this week and was currently wriggling around between my feet and pulling himself up on my legs as he screeched.
     I didn't mean to step on his fingers, but there was seriously no where to move and hair dye was dripping everywhere! My baby looked at me with large eyes before he took one huge breath and screamed with all his might. I had to blow in his face to get him to breathe while I removed those dang gloves yet again and scooped him up. I sang some songs, ticked some toes, and kissed some fingers. Finally, all was right with the world.
     But only for the baby. Because in all the chaos, I realized that I had forgotten to look at the clock. How long had the dye been on my head? Shoot! I had no idea. We rushed back to the bathroom and I hurriedly shoved my head under the bathtub faucet. Wyatt chewed on my big toe and attempted to pull off my sock as I scrubbed my head clean and prayed that I didn't develop any chemical burns. Dripping and exhausted, I surveyed the damage. Hair dye had stained the counter and the sink. My shirt was basically ruined. Wyatt had ingested more foreign germs today than I ever thought possible. And my hair..... oh, my hair.
     Even before I dried it, I just knew. Ten minutes later, my fears were confirmed. My scalp was orange... even more orange than my old make-up. But that wasn't the only problem. I had apparently missed an entire section of hair during baby commotion, because what I now have is an orange scalp, followed by very dark brown layers on the right side, light brown layers on the left side, and light brown tips all around the bottom. It's as if Helen Keller herself had done my hair.
     I tried moving my part over to the other side, hoping no one would notice. Just then, the kids arrived home from school. Taylor took one look at me and said, "Hey, Mom? Why is your hair really light on that side and really dark black on the other side?"
     If the 7-year-old notices it, surely the woman interviewing me tomorrow will, too.
     But there was nothing to be done about it now, was there? The directions say that it is imperative to refrain from re-dying one's hair for 24-48 hours. I would just have to smile and wear a fancy hat tomorrow. Or hope that my interviewer is Ray Charles.
     So, we did homework, ate dinner, and managed to all stay alive until the husband arrived home. Despite Wyatt's previous chucking of his juice and flinging of his food, he greeted his Daddy with an innocent smile. Husband, seeing my crazy hair and even crazier expression, took the kids away from the house for several hours to let me finish my errands in peace.
     I put on my pajamas and then went to the store to get the rest of the birthday party supplies. Why, you may ask, did I put my pajamas on before going to the store? Because I have an orange head, that's why. I can't think of a better day to shop in my pajamas than a day when I have an orange head. Graciously, the kind people of Giant Eagle didn't seem to judge me for my appearance. They must have children, too, I decided.
     And you know what else I decided? I decided that I needed to press my face against the cool glass of the bakery window, that's what. Each delectable item seemed to be begging me for a home, so how could I, as an adoptive mother, resist giving a lost creation a home? I just couldn't do it. So, I chose a beautiful little thing to be mine. Picture it.... creamy chocolate fudge, topped with chocolate mousse, topped with whipped cream, topped with shaved chocolate and a cherry, all sweetly tucked into a dark chocolate bowl that was shaped like a large, delicious egg. It was breathtaking. A little piece of Heaven to save me from this Hellish day.
     The bakery boy knew it had been a Murphy's Law kind of day. That's why he gave me the spoon. He knew I wasn't going to be able to wait until I got home to eat my special treat. He knew I was going to run through the parking lot like a woman on speed and sit in my cold car in the dimness of the parking lot lights, eating my chocolate egg. And he was right.
     I carefully removed the egg from it's to-go tub and savored the first bite. And Friends, I just can't even tell you how amazing it was. There are no words. It was the only way to end this day. The only thing that could possibly right all the wrongs that had happened. With each bite, I could feel myself giving in to the idea that orange is actually an awesome color. I could also feel the chocolate egg shell start melting on my hands......
     I tried to savor less and shovel more, attempting to beat the melting-chocolate-clock. I don't know if I squeezed too hard in my attempts to switch hands, but my egg shell cracked. Shattered, is a better word for it. And the remainder of my gooey, creamy, fudgey goodness dumped all over the front of me.
     It's not like I was surprised. I should've seen it coming, just like the eye-twitch from that morning warned. So, I did the only thing left to do.
     I licked my shirt clean in the parking lot of Giant Eagle.
     I could tell you about falling with my groceries in our mudslide of a driveway, and then dropping the bag with my eggs once I finally made it inside. But what's the point? I have an orange head, my baby licked a toilet, and I sucked on my shirt today. Really, what else could go wrong?

Friday, February 6, 2015

A Pinterest Mom, I Am Not

     A Pinterist Mom, I am not. Sometimes this bothers me. When I see pictures of children that have combed hair, for instance, I wish that maybe, just maybe, I put a little more effort into my mothering. My kids notice, too. Just yesterday, my soon-to-be 9-year-old came home elated (yes, elated) and raving over the lunch that I'd packed him. "Mom! Seriously, that stuff you made me was sooo much better than what you usually pack for us!" Oh, you mean when I mixed a can of fish product with mayo and mixed it (haphazardly) then slapped it between two slices of your $0.88 white bread? I didn't even cut these sandwiches in half (nevermind the fancy diagonal way, but I didn't even cut it down the center, THAT'S how little effort I put into this "fantastic" lunch). A kid who likes this sandwich is a kid that's tired of the orange marmalade that was on sale and is still sitting in our fridge.
     And Facebook is the absolute worst place to peruse when feeling like a non-crafty, PB and J-packing, patched-clothing parent. This morning, I saw a picture of a stunning solar system created by a girl in Cameron's grade.... hand-crafted and complete with all the planets in their rightful places around the sun. It was beautiful. You wanna know what we turned in this morning? A blue ball. We found it in our yard. We named it Neptune. We taped a string on it so it could be hung up in all it's blue glory. And it was less than stunning... that is why I'm not a Pinterest Mom.
     I like to blame my lack of creativity on the 9-month-old that insists on being held, and on the dogs that need to be taken care of, and on the dishes (oh, the never-ending pile of dishes) and laundry (oh, oh, OH the never-ending pile of laundry), and even on the bigger kids' regular homework that takes some children 20 minutes to complete but seems to take mine 10 times that long. (This time is usually filled with tears and tantrums and missing assignments and flashcards and arguing.) I also like to think that the great Unpredictables of life play a HUGE role in my lack of ingenuity.
     Like lice. Yes, lice. When your daughter gets lice, even tuna sandwiches get put on the back burner. Or when your dog (or dogs) need to go to the vet repeatedly (and for lots and lots of the dollars you should be using to buy stock in canned fish products). And when your toilets stop flushing because your septic tank is inevitably full when it's -15 degrees outside and you have a house full of guests coming in two days. These Unpredictables get in the way! They stifle my ability to Pinterest in such a real and annoying way!! But in all honesty, even before all these silly excuses (you know, pets and children and husbands and such), I knew deep down that I was never going to be a Pinterest Mom.... I just don't have it in me.
     That's why I make cookies from a package. And they're super delicious! (Why do you creative people even bother with homemade baked goods when there are literally bags and bags of deliciousness being sold at your local grocer for $1.59 and all you have to do is add water and an egg? I mean, think of the number of bird houses that could be built and dresses that could be sewn if you stopped baking all these crazy cookies from scratch?) That's also why my kid's birthday present looks like it was wrapped by a 6-year-old. A Pinterest Mom would've known how to gingerly wrap a soccer ball without tearing the paper or going for the obvious gift bag cop out. This is also why half of his presents are wrapped in Happy Birthday paper, whereas the other half are donned with left over Christmas wrap. And why my children have hat hair, even when they haven't worn any hats that day. And why my son saves his shower gel for "special occasions" instead of deciding that every day is a day to be clean.
     So, with one final nod of admiration to all of you Pinterest Moms out there, I relinquish my maternal merit badges. You are the rightful wearers of the badges, the amazing beings that deserve the trophies, the impeccably-dressed, hair and make-up ready women that I wish I could be but know I will never become. Thank you for showing my children that there is another way... that they can be more and do more, if they so choose. But for the time being, I'm going to put on my yoga pants, enjoy me some pre-packaged cookies, and hope that Neptune's string stays attached.