Life with the Wild Things

Just another mom of 2 boys in a house full of energy!

Mommies need a support group January 19, 2012

Filed under: Family,Motherhood — jdkihlken @ 8:09 PM
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I started this blog because I really believe that mommies need a support group.  Weekly meetings (virtual or real) where we can let it all out.  All the stuff about being a mommy.

Lately it has felt like the mommy things have been pulling me further and further from center.  Between work, the kid’s school, the kids, the kids’ activities, and the list keeps going, it has felt like I can’t quite balance life the way I did in the past.  So… I started looking for books to read to help.  Organization books, inspirational books, anything.

I am currently reading two books.  Smart Martha’s Catholic Guide and Handbook for Catholic Moms.  Yes…I guess you can tell I must be Catholic.

Both of these books have been very helpful.   I am remembering what is important and what isn’t.  I’ve noticed that 2012 is shaping up to be a much less stressful year.  Not because work and the kids changed, but because I am changing.

I am not spending 2012 yelling all the time…that was 2011.  Out with the old in with the new.

One theme I noticed in these books and other ones I have picked up recently is that having girl friends is really important.  Sometimes I think we forget that we need to spend time with our friends.  It’s very therapeutic.  So my original idea that a support group helps moms may not be that strange.

We need to take more times for lunch together.  We need to set aside time to talk to each other.  Our best allies are other moms who have gone through what we are going through or who are currently going through the same things or just other moms who understand.

 This week I had lunch with a dear friend…my son’s best friend’s mom.  She has turned into one of my very best friends.  This weekend I am going to go to a Pampered Chef party with my son’s 2 best friends’ moms.  That is 2 times in 1 week that I had some girl time!!  I am so proud of myself…this from the woman who spends all her time working or with the wild things.  I very rarely take time away from the wild things…my babysitter is laughing so hard right now I can hear her from across town.  So it isn’t from lack of an amazing babysitter and 2 wonderful back up sitters or a great husband who offers to watch the wild things that I don’t take time away from the wild things.  It is just me.  Something about me…my need to be that perfect mom.  That mom that is always there taking care of everything.

Instead of being the mom on the right.  I am going to strive to be the mom on the left!  A good mom.





Life is too Short – Enjoy it while you can November 3, 2011

Filed under: Family,Motherhood — jdkihlken @ 11:00 AM
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My dear friend Keasha sent this to me today.  I felt it was worth posting.

Too many people put off something that brings them joy just because they haven’t thought about it, don’t have it on their schedule, didn’t know it was coming or are too rigid to depart from their routine.

I got to thinking one day about all those people on the Titanic who passed up dessert at dinner that fateful night in an effort to cut
back. From then on, I’ve tried to be a little more flexible.

How many women out there will eat at home because their husband didn’t suggest going out to dinner until after something had been thawed? Does the word ‘refrigeration’ mean nothing to you?

How often have your kids dropped in to talk and sat in silence while you watched ‘Jeopardy’ on television?

I cannot count the times I called my sister and said, ‘How about going to lunch in a half hour?’ She would gas up and stammer, ‘I can’t. I have clothes on the line. My hair is dirty. I wish I had known yesterday, I had a late breakfast, It looks like rain’ And my personal favorite: ‘It’s Monday.’   She died a few years ago. We never did have lunch together.

Because Americans cram so much into their lives, we tend to schedule our headaches … We live on a sparse diet of promises we make to ourselves when all the conditions are perfect!

We’ll go back and visit the grandparents when we get Steve toilet-trained. We’ll entertain when we replace the living-room carpet. We’ll go on a second honeymoon when we get two more kids out of college.

Life has a way of accelerating as we get older. The days get shorter, and the list of promises to ourselves gets longer. One morning, we awaken, and all we have to show for our lives is a litany of ‘I’m going to,’ ‘I plan on,’ and ‘Someday, when things are settled down a bit.’

When anyone calls my ‘seize the moment’ friend, she is open to adventure and available for trips. She keeps an open mind on new ideas. Her enthusiasm for life is contagious. You talk with her for five minutes, and you’re ready to trade your bad feet for a pair of Rollerblades and skip an elevator for a bungee cord..

My lips have not touched ice cream in 10 years. I love ice cream. It’s just that I might as well apply it directly to my stomach with a
spatula and eliminate the digestive process. The other day, I stopped the car and bought a triple-decker. If my car had hit an iceberg on the way home, I would have died happy.

Now …. go on and have a nice day. Do something you WANT to… not something on your SHOULD DO list. If you were going to die soon and had only one phone call you could make, who would you call and what would you say?  And why are you waiting?

Have you ever watched kids playing on a merry-go-round or listened to the rain lapping on the ground? Ever followed a butterfly’s erratic flight or gazed at the sun into the fading night? Do you run through each day on the fly? When you ask ‘How are you?’ Do you hear the reply? Have you ever rode a motorcycle through the country on a twisty road on a cool bright day ?

When the day is done, do you lie in your bed with the next hundred chores running through your head? Ever told your child, ‘We’ll do it tomorrow.’ And in your haste, not see his sorrow? Ever lost touch? Let a good friendship die? Just call to say ‘Hi’?

When you worry and hurry through your day, it is like an unopened gift … Thrown away … Life is not a race. Take it slower. Hear the music before the song is over.

‘Life may not be the party we hoped for… but while we are here we might as well dance!’

Enjoy this day.  I plan to!


Stages of Motherhood – Part 4 November 2, 2011

And then you transition from Preschool Mommy to Kindergarten Mommy.

The average person would think Preschool Mommy and Kindergarten Mommy are the same, but the rest of us know this isn’t so.

Kindergarten Mommy now has homework and class projects.  It’s the transition from singing the ABCs to knowing the ABCs.  It’s that foundation for reading.  With reading comes knowledge.  With knowledge they can take over the world!

It’s a very scary thought!

There are still tantrums, but Thing 1 is learning to tell you more about what he is feeling and what he needs and what he wants.  He can’t tell the difference between needs and wants, but his vocabulary is growing so much.

Of course, remember this is all about him.  No one is going to ask you what you are feeling, what you need, or what you want.  Remember that ended the day you peed on the stick and the + sign came up.

You are now trying to balance the homework and after school activities.  Oh yes…the activities…because kids that have a sport, music, or other passion don’t do the bad things in high school.  (Personal note here: That better be the case or I have wasted a lot of precious time waiting for practices, games, and swim meets to end!!!)

So the activities…what will Thing 1 do?  My Thing 1 played football at this age but then realized that was outside where it is cold or hot…heaven forbid.  So we found tae kwon do.  I must say depending on the sport it can help at home.  Tae Kwon Do has taught us both discipline.  I learned that even with a self diagnosed case of Adult ADHD (my doctor friends just leave that alone I am vicariously living my doc dreams through you) I can actual sit for an hour.  Thing 1 learned that Mommy can actual sit still for an hour.  Oh no, that isn’t it.  He learned discipline and ways to control his own ADHD.  Thing 2 learned that he would rather participate with Thing 1 than wait for him to get out of class.  I am sure there is another lesson in there somewhere.

Of course after an attempt at football by Thing 1, Thing 2 could not be out done.  Thing 2 took up soccer and tae kwon do.  Because hey if mom can balance one activity for the first kid, what is two activities at 5 years old for the second one??!!

So, you have the homework and the afternoon activities and your work.  Now that Thing 1 is in Kindergarten and learning to read and getting home later because of activities, Thing 1 starts to point out McDonald’s and Chic-Fil-A, etc on the way home.  Why can’t we stop there?  Comes the whine from the backseat.  How do you respond with Because Mommy’s hips can’t take another night of fried fast food!  We live 30 minutes out-of-town.  On the quick way home we pass approximately 15 drive thrus 4 nights a week.  By the time I get home I can’t remember if that is whine or WINE.

You finally get home, finish the school work, and then its time for flash cards, sight words, reading a bed time story and practice writing your name, oh no, Thing 1’s name.

By 8 something you finally pull up the covers to do the nightly tuck in.  Then the dance for 15 minutes of no more water, no more potty, no more getting out of bed.  At this point you are missing the crib and those other sleepless nights.

Sometime after 10 PM with the school uniforms washed and the remnants of the day washed off of you, you fall into an unmade bed.  Peace…

Then it starts over.

But the best part of the Kindergarten Mommy is when Thing 1 is learning to write and says How do I spell I love Mom?  And then you remember this Stage, too, is well worth Motherhood.  Because no matter how tired, how drained, how wiped out you are, seeing I LOVE YOU MOM in 5-year-old hand writing melts you.


Stages of Motherhood – Part 3 October 17, 2011

The next phase is the Preschool Mommy.  You finally made it through the Terrible Twos just to find out that someone forgot to mention the phase continues into the threes.  Now it is time for new milestones.  Preschool and Potty Training!  Oh Yes!  The fun is really beginning.  Everyone has advice on how to get Thing 1 to go to the potty.  Since I have boys, I have no idea how you moms of girls get them to use the potty.  But my favorite suggestion is the Cheerios in the toilet.  The little boys try to pee on the Cheerios.  And we are potty trained!  Well, it wasn’t that easy.  But it wasn’t too bad.  The advantages…no more diapers and pull ups.  The disadvantages…you now have to stop at every bathroom you pass so Thing 1 can check it out.  That 30 minute shopping trip now takes an hour.

Now that potty training is complete, it’s time to start preschool.  They would not take Thing 1 until you could check that box that said Potty Trained.  But, you did it.  It’s as much your accomplishment as his.  So it is off to preschool.  Even if you have been sending Thing 1 to daycare since you finished maternity leave, preschool is a little different.  Oh my gosh and the choices.  You have to get Thing 1 into a great daycare so that he is ready for KIndergarten so that he excels in elementary school and then blows throw high school and finally gets into the college of his choice so he can have the career of your…oops…his dreams.  Or at least that is what everyone makes you feel like when Thing 1 is born.  Get in to the best preschool to lay the foundation.

You go to interviews with preschools.  You are on waiting lists for preschools.  It is more stressful than that horrible class at 8:00 in college that your advisor said you have to ace or you aren’t graduating.  Finally, you are in…oops….Thing 1 is in.  August rolls around and it is time for the first day.  My Thing 1 went to a learning center from birth to 4.  So for him it was a matter of changing from the baby building to the preschool building.  Luckily my Thing 1 had gotten into 2 amazing schools…preschool at a great learning center and then a parochial kindergarten.  That meant he paved the way for Thing 2 to get accepted into the preschool program at Thing 1’s parochial school.  Yes!  Much less work to get Thing 2 in.  But…oh no…this means Thing 2 had to have the dreaded FIRST DAY.  Depending on your preschool, you are purchasing the first uniform, first school supplies, all the first.  You are documenting everything about this special day.  Thing 1 gets to school that first day and…  I want to leave with mommy.  Then you are pulled in two directions.  You want Thing 1 to love preschool, but you are secretly smiling that Thing 1 still needs mommy.


With preschool well underway, you start to see ABC and 123 in your dreams.  You sing wheels on the bus as you go through your day.  It’s like you are going to preschool again.  But…what is better than the thought of cookies and kool-aid at 2 PM.  Oh if your grown up life could be like your child’s day…maybe you wouldn’t be so stressed.

By the time preschool ends you are still so amazed at how much THing 1 has changed.  All the new words they know, the conversations they have, the friends they make…it really is a great time.


Stages of Motherhood – Part 2 October 12, 2011

The next stage is the Toddler Mom.  Up until now you could contain Thing 1, but now Thing 1 is mobile!

Oh yes, Thing 1 is on the move.  And you better get to a gym because now you are going to be moving more than you ever have before.  But, it will be fun.  Thing 1 is becoming more independent.  This is when the realty that Thing 1 will leave you one day hits…or at least it hit me.  That’s when I realized…I better have a life that doesn’t revolve around baby.

Now you have traded bottles for sippy cups, high chairs for booster seats, rear facing baby seats for forward facing.  Lots of changes…

Then the babbling starts and that leads to talking.  And it is so sweet Ma Ma, Da Da…that is when you realize that 1. you better watch your language, 2. you better watch how you talk about others.

There is nothing funny (to other mothers) or humiliating (to you) than when your precious little Thing 1 babbles babbles babbles and then says S!@#.  Oh yes!  Those of us it has happened to give you a little sympathetic smile, then giggle all the way to the car leaving Wal-Mart because we remember it happening to us.   My advice, if Thing 2 says the ugly word in public, turn to Thing 1 and say I can’t believe you taught him that.  My Thing 1 has taken the fall many a time for that!  He is catching on that he is helping mom out of an embarrassing situation and I believe he will expect payment for that soon.

Or…how about when your adorable Thing 1 looks at someone and starts babbling, but the only clear words Thing 1 says sounds like….mama said your mean, or have bad hair, or what ever ugly comment you made in anger and wish you could take back for saying in front of Thing 1.  If you have a Thing 1 and 2, that is a hard one to blame on Thing 1 when Thing 2 says it.

So that covers the mobility and talking.  The big milestones.

It’s time for Thing 1 to move to the toddler bed or twin bed or whatever bed you move him to, just out of the crib.  You tuck cutie pie into the big kid bed, read fifteen stories, read Goodnight Moon for the 1 millionth time, snuggle Thing 1, say the good night prayers, finish the 1 1/2 hour bed time routine of trying to get Thing 1 to stay in the big kid bed all night.  You finally get to fall into your bed and sometime around midnight… you realize some how there are hands and feet in your face and back.  It takes another hour to realize that Thing 1 is mobile and can now make it to your bed any time he wants.  Oh yes!  Thing 1 can’t get from the living room to kitchen without knocking over everything on the coffee table and end table, but he can operate in stealth mode at midnight.

And even as you snuggle in close to Thing 1 because you know he won’t do this forever…you think about how tired you are going to be at work tomorrow…and sore from the knees in the back!


Support Group Meeting Number 1 June 13, 2011

Filed under: Support Group Meetings — jdkihlken @ 10:06 PM
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God, Grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the Courage to change the things I can, and the Wisdom to know the difference. Amen.

I remember this prayer a lot from when I was a teenager.  We said it a lot at home.  It had a very special meaning to me then.  But, over time, I have forgotten this prayer.  Then, something will happen, and out of nowhere, I hear it in the back of my head.

I wonder if all mothers think about this prayer from time to time.  I wonder if my own mother said this prayer about me when I was a teenager driving her crazy.

In Wal-Mart tonight…after Xander was at an all day sports camp and JT was with Emily having a Sitter and Me day, and both boys went to swim lesson, and I worked my ___ off at the office, this prayer popped in my mind.  I found myself repeating it line at Wal-Mart the same way I say the rosary.  Praying that I could regain control of what I can actually control and let go of what I can’t control.

The boys were wired for sound tonight at Wal-Mart.  A day full of activity only energized them more.  Then there were only 3 lines open at Super Wal-Mart that weren’t 20 or items or less.  I mean really, when you see I woman dragging 2 growing boys through Wal-Mart at 8 PM do you think the 20 or less aisle is going to work.  NO!  It isn’t.

Standing there growing more impatient as the woman in front of my had each fake flower rang up individual and the boys bouncing off the cart at record speed asking can we have candy 20+ times….I heard those words in my head.

I will remain calm, I will not yell, I will not throw things from my cart at the woman in front of me.  I can only control myself.

I will have a glass of wine the moment I walk through the door.


Xander’s big birthday June 8, 2011

Filed under: The boys — jdkihlken @ 9:45 PM
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8 years ago tomorrow I walked into my regularly scheduled ob appointment and was admitted to the labor and delivery floor of the hospital within 30 minutes.  By that afternoon my entire life changed… for the better…I think.

On June 6th, Tommy worked the night shift.  I was used to being home alone.  He came in sometime during the early hours of the morning.  At 4 AM on the 7th, I was sitting at my computer playing Tetris.  Tommy came out of the bedroom to ask why I was up.  I told him I had been having contractions most of Friday (not bad), but they were getting to be inconvenient by Saturday at dawn.

June 7th, I waited until a reasonable time to call my mother who was in New Orleans at a convention.  I say reasonable I had been up most of the night so it was probably 6 AM.  We talked several times between then and mid morning.  She started making the trip to Shreveport.

My mother was pulling into the drive way by the time I told Tommy I needed to go the hospital.  Mom hopped in our car and off we went.  They started checking us in…only Dr. Taylor had not sent our paperwork over because my due date was June 21st and I had not had any progression that would indicate Xander was coming soon.  The nurses hooked me up to all the machines to check my contractions.  They checked how much I was dilated and effaced. And then the nurse came in to talk to me about the difference between Braxton Hicks contractions and real contractions.  Let’s just say at this point I am willing to deliver the baby myself to get out of the pain.

The hospital packed us back up and sent us home with the suggestion that I take Tylenol for the pain.  WHAT!!!!

At home, I lay around making everyone miserable.  Since I knew I had the appointment on Monday, we called the family and told them to be prepared to come to Shreveport that week…that we were having a baby.  I called work and let everyone know this had to be it.

June 8th I can’t remember if we went to the hospital again on Sunday.  Tommy would probably say yes we did.  It is a blur now.  It seems we made at least two trips to the hospital that weekend.  Every time I was sent home.  Of course I could not lay down at home because it hurt my back so bad.  I couldn’t sit up because I would double over in pain.  It was the worse few days of my life.

Finally Monday June 9th arrived.  The doctor’s appointment was for 9 AM.  We went early.  Dr. Taylor hooked me up to all sorts of gizmos.  And we discovered that I truly am the most controlling person in the world!  My due date was June 21st.  I had it in my head that Xander would not come until June 21st.  I had that long to get ready.  Only Xander was coming, but my body wasn’t letting him come out!  Dr. Taylor called it a dysfunctional labor.  WHAT!!!  Who does that!!!  Who can control something to the point that a baby is making his way out, but their body won’t let him come out until the calendar says so!


By 9:30 AM they have me in a hospital bed with a drip to move the labor along.  By 3:18 PM Xander made his way into the world.  He didn’t cry at first.  He had swallowed fluid on his way out.  The labor and delivery nurses and the nursery nurses were amazing.  They didn’t miss a beat when he didn’t cry.  They flew into action.  Within minutes he was in the nursery with oxygen and a line for antibiotics.  The nurses at Willis Knighton Pierremont are amazing.  We are so blessed to have them in our City.

My mom was with Tommy and me in the delivery room.  My dad made it from North Mississippi just minutes after Xander was born.  Tommy’s parents arrived that evening.  My sister, Mama Rose, and my Nona  made it that afternoon.  It was perfect timing on Xander’s part.

Then Xander taught me the first lesson of motherhood.  You aren’t always in control and even if things don’t happen as planned, everything will still work out ok.

Since he was on an IV and oxygen, I couldn’t nurse him or hold him until the next day around lunch.  I was obsessed with the books saying you have to bond with your baby immediately after birth.  Babies must latch on right after birth to be successful at nursing.  WRONG!  It turns out waiting till the next day didn’t affect his ability to bond with me or nurse (which he did for nearly a year!).

Xander and his little brother still teach me Mom Lessons everyday.  Tonight they reminded me that running through a sprinkler on a hot Louisiana night beats cleaning out the garage.

I am blessed.


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