Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Self Worth, Explained to a 5 Year Old

Teachable moments, huh? Every parent has them. How about the moments that yes, are teachable, but bring you to tears, sting your heart, and take every ounce of your being not to turn into a heap of sobbing pregnant rage? That was my day yesterday. Well, the last few days any ways.

Micah, our oldest, is proving to me more and more why I want to get rid of cable television. His little brain is all of 5 years, but he is a sponge that soaks everything up. He is a very auditory learner, and can memorize almost anything word-for-word and spit it back to you like a parrot. Documentaries, animal facts, OXY-clean commercials, you name it. He absorbs everything, and lets me know which products are supposed to be "the best," which foods are "deliciously nutritious," and what games "need 2 to 8 players. That's us, right?" It is literally driving me crazy. We limit television in our house, but I have started to have to put the commercials on mute because I can't stand being in Publix, getting the cheap Ultrabrite tooth paste, and having my son tell me, "Mom, get the Colgate because it makes my smile sexy." HE IS FIVE.

We have been talking quite a bit in our house lately about making healthy eating choices, what goes in to our body, exercise, and the like. With me being pregnant and planning a completely natural, intervention-free birth with a midwife in a home setting, I am trying to be as conscientious as possible (while still allowing my self a little freedom, of course) as to what me and my family are eating. Obviously, halfway through my third pregnancy, my body is changing shape rapidly despite only a 3 pound weight difference in 20 weeks. When you already have extra shock absorbers covering your valuable goods, you don't always have that cute, pregnant belly. You have more of a... well, I affectionately call her "Kanga." Like kangaroo. As in this: When I am not pregnant, she is the pouch that my babies were grown in, and hangs around waiting for another baby to be put in to her kangaroo pouch. When I am pregnant, that pouch mostly fills in, with some wiggle room at the bottom that will all eventually be hacked off when I am done having children, and Jose and I are snot filthy rich with not a care in the world. Until then, she is "Kanga," and is more than welcome to, ahem, hang around.

Two days before, I am on the floor doing prenatal pilates-like stretches. Micah joins me on the floor, and I am doing a butterfly stretch to warm up. Micah can easily put his feet together, touch his butt, and push his knees all the way to the floor. I can get about 5 inches away, and my knees don't go all the way to the floor. Micah proceeds to inform me that it's because I am fat, that my fat bunches up and gets in the way. That he is skinny, and a boy, and is better than me at it because he is skinny, and a boy. 

"So boys are better than girls?"
"Oh really? What are boys better at?"
"Pretty much everything. We are faster, we are stronger, we stay skinny. We have better jobs."
"Girls can be fast and strong and skinny. And there can be boys that are too fat. Girls can have the same jobs as boys, if they want to. And God made boys and girls different. Some boys are good at some things, some girls are good at other things."
"Girls are better at just staying home."

Well, he does have a point for our family. The woman, in this case me, is much better at managing our house than Jose, the man. But I know that is not the case for every family.The next day's conversation was even worse for me. I was wearing low rise maternity pants. I only have 2 pairs of maternity jeans, that get rotated out. One is high (that I love), and the others are low, and I loathe them.

When you have a cute belly, the low rise ones are great. When you have Kanga hopping around, you are better off being comfortable and wearing the high ones. That morning I had no choice. I popped on the low rise ones, and away we went.  Getting in to the car, my jeans were falling off while I was trying to get into the car.

"I hate these pants!"
"Why Mommy? Are your legs to fat for them?"
"Micah, why would you say that? They are falling off, they are not to small."
"Well, you're legs are really fat. Maybe if you were skinny you wouldn't have these problems."
"You're right. But don't you think I am okay the way I am?"
"No, you're fat."
"So because you are skinny, are you better than me?"
"That's not true. God makes people in all different shapes, and sizes, and colors. That doesn't mean that any one is better than anyone else. It means they are different. What if someone had one leg instead of two, is one person better than another?"
"The person with two legs."
"No, Micah. Not better or worse. Both people, just different." 

After dropping him off at school, I called Jose on the way home and burst in to tears at the conversation we had. Already a pregnant ball of mushy hormones, this just threw me over the edge. So many things came rushing back to me that have taken me literally years to deal with, and I am still dealing with (another blog for another day about my body and my acceptance of it). Am I really of less value? Does being overweight make him see me as less of a mom? Does he really think handicapped people aren't of worth? 

The answer to all of it is a resounding "NO." After talking to Jose, settling down, and talking to Micah more when he got home, we worked through a lot of issues on color, size, shape, and handicap. We also talked about what is shaping his idea of what is good and perfect- the media- instead of what should be, which is what God says about us.

We are fearfully and wonderfully made. We are of value. We are individuals. We are unique, made for a purpose, and not made to please anyone else aesthetically, but made to please God with the way we live.

Taking care of your body is part of that. So is taking care of your mind. And this week, we will be taking care of our minds and saying goodbye (and good riddance!) to cable TV.

What do you do in your family to ensure that your child knows we are all created equal? Loved? Of value? And do you monitor their media intake?

Friday, May 18, 2012

Naming Wars

Let the games begin.

What's in a name? A lot, in the Molinuevo household. And it seems to be getting harder every time.

The first time around, naming our son Micah Ari was so easy. We always said we wanted a boy named Micah- we liked less common names. And that was before we even got pregnant.  We liked what it meant: Micah is Hebrew for the fair and just one, and Ari is Basque for the lion. It reminded us of who we want him to end up being like: the One who knit him together. God decided it was time for Micah to make his appearance in the world, even though we thought we weren't ready at all, and we knew his name pretty much instantly. Also, he was named for his grandfathers- Michael Allan, and Miguel Angel. Same initials, and practically same first names. Easy enough, he practically named himself.

Levi Mateo was also fairly easy. Going into our ultrasound with him, I was convinced that he was a girl because my first and second pregnancies were pretty different feeling. Now I look back, and think maybe my body was adjusting to being pregnant much easier because I had already experienced it. Jose and I had discussed names a little bit, and girl names were something we fought about. I wanted a girl named Genesis, he thought I was a crazy hippy. He liked names like Olivia and Ava, and I thought we moved past 1800.

Boy names were a common ground for us. Levi was one we liked from the get go. Levi is a Hebrew name (we have a good little Jewish sounding family going, don't we?)- stemming from the tribe of the Levites, which was the priestly tribe of the 12 tribes of the Israelites. Following tradition, we named on meaning BIG time. Levi means joined in harmony; attached.  We prayed that he and Micah would not have any major jealousy issues upon his arrival, as they are four years apart. We also prayed that he and Micah would become best of friends- attached to each other, in a harmonious way. They are a great match for each other- they play together almost all day, and Micah rarely gets in trouble for bossing or being too rough. Levi adores everything Micah does, and already tries to emulate him at only 15 months old. He is also VERY attached, like his name suggests, to my hip. Levi's middle name, Mateo, is Spanish for his father's heritage. It means gift of God, and is a variant of the English name Matthew. We believe that each child we are blessed with is truly a gift from above, and though we were not trying at the time to conceive, we knew he was to be treasured.

This time around is proving to be no piece of cake. I admit- I am attracted to everything girly this time around. Names, clothing, colors. I am emotional. I have zits. My last two pregnancies, I had crystal clear skin. I have hardly thrown up, compared to my other two pregnancies. I actually feel like eating. So I am kind of suspicious that there are a different set of chromosomes making a home my warm, cozy uterus.

That being said, I thought Levi was a girl, so I don't want to get my hopes up and not have given a lick of though to boy names. Jose and I have the lists narrowed down, and have been letting Micah (5) help us narrow down. The following are our boy/girl considerations for first names.

Boy Names/Meanings we are Considering:
  • Ben: son of my right hand (This is very close to the Spanish word for come here, ven, which could get confusing, me thinks.)
  • Eli: uplifted, ascend
  • Owen: born to nobility, young warrior
  • Liam: determined guardian (Micah says this name is girly, we say no)
  • Luca/ Luka: bringer of light
  • Noah: peaceful, restful (This could be a MAJOR plus!!)
  • Gavin: white hawk
Girl Names/Meanings we are Considering: drum roll, please...
  • Abby: father in rejoicing, joy of her father
  • Addie: noble and serene
  • Amelia/Emelia: hard working
  • Cosette: victorious people, or little thing, depending on the language. 
  • Fiona: pale and white, beautiful (Hah! My kid!) 
  • Leya: loyal
  • Lucia/ Lucy: bringer of light
  • Maren: sea
  • Marlee: high tower (A contraction of Marie, my middle name, and Lee, my maiden name)
  • Norah: light  
 There were so many other names in the running. For a boy, we hit a high of 17 names. Girls trumped that with a high of 27, and many more that didn't get written down due to an automatic veto from the other spouse. For instance, I love the name Emerson for a girl, and Jose thinks it sounds like a cow's name.

There's also the issue that my mother's side has a 3 generation naming tradition, in which you name your eldest daughter after your middle name. My grandmother was Eva Sue; my mother was Susan Janece; I am Janece Marie. We both don't like the idea of having a Marie- it means sea of bitterness. YUCK. Plus, it's antiquated. We talked about changing it to Mári, (pronounced Mah-ree in Spanish), but here in the USA people will end up just saying Mary. We talked about a Marisol/Maribella/Marianna kind of thing, but at that point, it's changing the name so much it's not worth it. Sooo....we are bucking the tradition.

Wednesday, we have a chance of finding out what naming side of the fence our newest pumpkin in the patch will sit on. If not, we will be having a surprise, eek! I don't know if I could handle that. On a serious note though- please read through and leave your comments/questions/concerns on any names we picked out. Potential middle school nicknames that we aren't thinking of (Jose said no girls named anything with Max, because of Maxi Pad). Things you like. Things you don't. Names you think are worth considering that we might have overlooked. Because we are honestly searching and seeking out that quintessential, perfect name that is eluding us.

Let the games begin.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Preggo Update: 18/19 weeks ish!

Our baby's approximate size: Nearly 6 inches, roughly 7 ounces.

How Far Am I: As of today, 18 weeks and 4 days

Baby's Gender: We *may* have a chance of seeing this on May 23rd, at our ultrasound! If not, surprise :)

How Much Weight Have I Gained: +1 As of this week Tuesday, 1 pound and that's all so far! I have plenty of reserves, so I am not too worried about my weight gain.

Cravings: My other pregnancies, I never really had cravings much. It was all about what I could keep down. This time, it's mostly about good, clean food- LOTS of fruit and veggies. The occasional bowl of ice cream. Nutella (when is that not a craving, pregnant or not?!), and pizza from Mellow Mushroom are also up there on the list. Drinking lots of water, some milk, and not much else.

Baby Movement: Feeling his or her little swooshie movements for a few weeks now, and last Thursday I felt the first "Hello, I am a baby and you ARE really pregnant" kick. I am feeling it more and more frequently every day, but not strong enough that any one else could really take notice without being way to close for my comfort.

Body Changes: If you didn't know me well, you would probably have no clue I was pregnant. You would just think I had some bad habits. If you know me well, you can tell there is a belly starting. There is no denying it's there. No real pictures yet to put up- it's not a cute enough bump too yet!

Sleep Habits: As long as the kids aren't scheming against my sleep plans, I am getting around 7-9 hours a night. I usually drink a lot of water in the evening because I have realized that chasing kids around all day, I have forgotten to drink. That means I have to wake up almost every morning around 4 or 5 to pee, and hopefully the animals/kids/boogy men let me go back to sleep.

What Micah (5) /Levi (15 mos) Think of the Baby: Levi has no idea what is happening, but we are pretty sure that when the time arrives he will be one jealous sucker. He has had nothing but mommy pretty much every waking moment, with a few exceptions. It's going to be an adjustment. Micah, on the other hand, is stoked. He goes back and forth now between wanting a boy, a girl or both at the same time (I had to politely tell him to get that idea out of his head). He has informed me that he does NOT want to be there during the birth, just see the baby after when it's clean, because having babies is "gross, Mom."

Baby Prep So Far: I have started going through our diaper inventory, and making a list of upcoming needs. I am going to make a registry list on the site that we buy our diaper stuff from so that people who want to get me something have no question as to what to pick up. We have also started considering vehicle options, since there is no way our current vehicle will hold a booster seat, a forward facing car seat, and an infant car seat. We might as well join the 7 passenger club now, and keep it for a while! Other than that, there is not much prep to do yet. Levi will eventually move in to Micah's room, but I can imagine that won't be until after the new baby is here. And now, for a new category... 

Birth Prep: So much has changed in my mind during this pregnancy. I have goals, I have ambitions, I have a real vision of what I want birth to be like. I absolutely adore our midwife, Jyl; you would think I don't because every time I see her my BP jumps about 15 points. I have white coat syndrome- ridiculous, since I am a nurse, and even more so since we meet our midwife at her house for our appointments and there is nothing white coat about it. Jose and I have pretty much figured out why I have such a jump in my BP when I see her- I have such a fear that something is going to go wrong, that I will "risk out" of having a home birth, and then have to see the doc who delivered Levi and basically traumatized me in to wanting to ever go through birth in the hospital again. At home, my BP is generally at least 10 points lower than when I see her. So what am I doing to combat this? For one, lots and lots of prayer and meditation time on scriptures having to do with power...not having fear...trusting God...God's promises....etc. Secondly, I am reading positive birth stories constantly, and reaffirming to myself that birth is normal, natural, and not an emergency.  I am studying child birth books like Ina May's Guide to Childbirth and Spiritual Midwifery (both fantastic reads, by the way, if you want a natural birth). Jose and I are watching birthing videos of women and husbands birthing at home with their midwifes and having good out comes. I am so ready to surrender to the power of birth, and I know that God did not make my body a lemon; he made me with the ability to have a perfect, natural birth no matter what pushy MD's like to tell you otherwise.

Name Ideas: Cosette. Adrienne. Norah. Celeste. Amabel. Stella. Darby. Fiona. Harper. Hannah. Hattie. Lucia. Maite. Marlee. Tessa. Scarlet. Doggone it, I can't get girl names out of my head (premonition, me thinks?). English, Spanish, or otherwise. It's so hard to think about names when you are not sure what sex you are planning on. I have a running list of girl names that gets added to daily; there is really only like 3 names I like for a boy so far (Gavin, Ben, Beau, and possibly Liam). I told Jose if we have a surprise we should pick a gender neutral name that could go either way, and I don't think he thought that was too cool of an idea. Usually I am such a planner, but this time we are reversed!

Plus Sized, Nursing, and Pregnant: Ahh, plus sized...maternity jeans are hard to shop for. You already feel like a lard being pregnant. And when all Ross carries are size M maternity pants, you decide to just call it a day and wear one of the pairs you have had for the last 2 pregnancies. I might as well figure out that I am going to be pregnant more times than this, and just invest in the nice, Motherhood Maternity stuff.

As for nursing, HOLY COW. Well, more like POOR PREGNANT COW'S TEATS. In the beginning, breastfeeding hurt. Let's not be shy or candy coat it. But after the first 3 weeks, it was completely fine. Pain went away, skin healed, lovey dovey nursing moments and bliss all around. Now, however, is a completely different story. You know when you get your lovely visitor once a month, and your boobs kill you for a few days? Take that, multiply it by 10 (seriously, your progesterone levels are crazy compared to a period), and then add in the factor that you are probably nauseated and on the edge because you are, well, pregnant. I have never felt such an aversion to being touched or nursing. Thank God that he has basically cut back to twice a day, and at that, he nurses for maybe thirty seconds a side, and is done. He had "weaned" for 5 days and I did a victory dance, until his molars started coming in and he started wanting to again to make his mouth feel better. Jose had to work 4 nights in a row, slept during the day, and quite frankly I could not take the crying any more so I let him. I have just put limits on it so that it's not so hard on me or him. He may quit all together, or quit and restart like he did, but I am playing it by ear and going at his pace.

Sunday, May 6, 2012


It's funny how sometimes Green Day can get you thinking... 

I walk a lonely road
The only one that I have ever known
Don't know where it goes
But it's home to me and I walk alone

Sometimes, you go through life and it seems as though, whether by choice or circumstances around you, there is nowhere else to turn but solitude. What is solitude?
1.the state of being or living alone; seclusion: to enjoy one's solitude.

2.remoteness from habitations, as of a place; absence of human activity: the solitude of the mountains.
3.a lonely, unfrequented place: a solitude in the mountains. (Taken from
Solitude can be somewhere you end up or somewhere you choose to go. For me, it is a little of both based on where I am at in life right now. 

It's also not what some people think. Solitude does not mean isolation, or lonely. Yes, the place you are in may be lonely (for example, uninhabited); it does not mean that the person experiencing solitude is lonely. More often than not, solitude is sought out from the craziness that whirls on around us constantly. 

Downtown St. Louis, life flying by
Even Jesus sought out solace frequently. On the night of his arrest, he went to Gethsemane, to a garden of olive trees. Overcome with the turmoil in his heart, he sought out being alone with his Father.
 Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.”  He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled.  Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me." Matthew 26: 36-38, NLT, The Bible
 He took a time out, by him self, to seek quiet time with God and sort things out. He prayed three times- well into the night, while the disciples who were supposed to be staying up with him slept- and when he was finished, he woke them up, and said it was time for him to be turned over. 
The oldest olive tree in the garden, 30 AD
In the book of Thessalonians, we find that the church at Thessalonica had been  meddling in each others business, and Paul encouraged them in this way:
 "Make it your goal to live a quiet life, minding your own business and working with your hands, just as we instructed you before.  Then people who are not Christians will respect the way you live, and you will not need to depend on others." 1st Thessalonians 4:11-12, NLT, The Bible
As a society, we have become so wrapped up into he-said-she-said garbage, and have lost sight of taking care of our own business. Follower of Christian teachings or not,  the above quotation really strikes a chord. So much of time time, we forget what life is about: not the latest gossip, but tending to your own issues, your own marriage, and learning to live in a way that people respect you for what you are about. 

On a night where so much is swirling in my head about new lives coming in to the world, job issues, broken families, quarreling, when I will catch up on my house, the bills that need paid, the bills that quite frankly won't get paid, and on and on and on... I will choose to turn to solitude. I will choose to take my cup of tea, turn off my phone ringer, take my book of choice to bed, and read until my eyes are bleary. I will choose to consult with my Creator, Confidant, and Counselor, rather than wallow in my troubles. 

After all, when I take my solitude and am confident that God has everything under control, I can be a woman who "always faces tomorrow with a smile." Just what I am aiming for, a Proverbs 31 kind of woman.