In Others' WordsIn Others' Words

Friday, November 30, 2007

Working Towards Unemployment

My job as a parent is to work myself out of a job.

That's an excellent piece of parenting advice. I credit it to a writing friend, Brenda Nixon . Brenda offers Daily Discipline Tips, a weekly e-mail newsletter. Several months ago, she sent out one titled "My General Parenting Philosophy." Here's one thing she said:

In your daily discipline, ask yourself if your teaching also includes
lessons on self-reliance so your kids will one day be able to get on in life without you. They can be butterflies, but the cocoon has got to go.

As I read what Brenda had written, I nodded in agreement.

Sure, once a mom, always a mom. I'll always turn and look when a little child yells, "Mom!" in the grocery store.

But I don't want my children to always be little kids. I want them to grow up and be adults. I want them to have their own lives--and to pursue their own dreams.

Yes, I want to work myself out of a job. I hope my kids hear me cheering them on, telling them to live their lives out loud. I also hope they know they are always welcome back home. No advance notice required. But at some point I realize they'll all be visiting.


Truth be told, with the blessing of my late-in-life child, I'll be employed for a few more years!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

I'm Glad That's Over

Kids know how to do "sick": fast and furious.
One minute Christa was up and at 'em. The next minute, she was sicker than the proverbial dog. She even waited until bedtime to get sick--and she waited until Dad was on parenting duty. I was downstairs working on an article when I got the "Honey, you might want to come up here," call. And by the time I vaulted up the stairs, my husband had already cleaned up the mess.
What a guy.
It was not a good night for any of us, but Christa was the most wretched of us, to be sure. She spent most of the night either getting sick in a blue plastic bucket or waiting to get sick.
"No hands, no hands," she moaned when I tried to rub her back. I just wanted to try and make her feel better.
She wanted none of that.
Christa couldn't keep any medicine down, so there was no stopping the course of the flu bug. Rob fashioned a bed for her on the floor of our bedroom with blankets and lots of towels, with the blue bucket nearby. And then he lay down next to Christa, insisting that I take the bed for what was left of the night.
Like I said, what a guy.
Christa spent yesterday in recovery mode: laying on the couch, watching Christmas movies. She wanted me to sit with her and rub her feet or hold her hands. That's what we moms do.
And today she is back to school, all better.
Rob and I could use a nap to recover from Christa being sick, but that's not an option.
Oh, well. I am just thankful that my daughter is back to her normal, healthy, smiling self.
Thank you, God.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

A New Tradition for this Late-in-Life Mom

My son missed decorating the Christmas tree this year--for only the second time in his life. And for the second time, we sent him a photo message. Only this time, we included his new wife in the message! Woo Hoo!

Motherhood looks different for me these days.
I'm very actively parenting a first-grader.
I'm sharing my computer with my 19-year-old daughter, who uses it for her college papers.
I chat on the phone with my 21-year-old daughter who lives 15 minutes away--and drops in for visits or calls to arrange lunch dates.
I IM (Instant Message) my newly-married son who lives in New York with my "daughter-in-love." I've been known to call him at work too--sorry, Josh!--and to hand the phone off to his littlest sister who has an important question like, "So, Josh, when are you and Jen coming home? And how are China and Munchkin?" (China is their dog and Munckin is their kitty.)

This past weekend the girls helped Rob and I decorate our Christmas tree. Each child as their own box of decorations that Rob and I have contributed to through the years. If you looked inside the boxes you'd see their tiny Turkish lamps from our military tour in Turkey. Their faux candy sticks that remind them of the ones we always bought at Cracker Barrel restaurants. Their soccer ball ornament (Amy) or karate kid (Josh) or kitten ornament (Katie Beth) or crystal rocking horse (Christa.)

This year was a bit sad because Josh's box of ornaments was missing. We'd loaded it on the U-Haul along with the rest of his stuff after the wedding--and then he and Jen drove off to their obscenely over-priced-but-what-else-do-you-expect-for-New-York apartment.

That was the plan when we began the ornament collections: The kiddos would take them when they established families of their own.

I am just not sure how it happened so fast.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

A Question About Breastfeeding

Yesterday I posted news of interest for moms. Several women commented on the article that said if new moms wanted to lose weight they needed to get more sleep. They're comments were along the lines of "Ha!"

However, no one commented on the article about some moms in Australia breastfeeding their children until they were 7.

Here's a recap:

A study of 107 women in Australia found that some women continued to breastfeed their children up to age 7 because the children enjoy the taste of breastmilk, the comfort it brings, as well as the sense of closeness to their mother. Some women were feeding up to a dozen times a day and one woman was feeding three children at a time.

Some pyschologists question the appropriateness of such extended breastfeeding, expressing a concern that there is too much physical and/or emotional dependence created between mother and child.

Here are my questions: What's your take on this? Is this extreme breastfeeding? Is this a MYOB (Mind Your Own Business) issue? Is this a wonderful bonding experience for mother and child?

Thoughts, anyone?

Monday, November 26, 2007

News of Interest for Late-in-Life Moms November 26, 2007

Here's the latest news for moms:

Want to Lose That Baby Weight? Get Some Sleep.
Women who want to lose the extra weight they gained during pregnancy should get more sleep, according to a study of prenatal and postnatal health at Harvard Medical School. Researchers found that mothers who slept five hours or less a day when their babies were six months old were three times more likely than more rested mothers to have kept on the extra weight at one year.

AMA Wants Doctors to Encourage Mothers to Donate Umbilical Cord Blood
The American Medical Association adopted new guidelines for how physicians should discuss with their pregnant patients about donating their babies' umbilical cord blood.
"Umbilical cord blood stem cells are useful for some therapeutic purposes and as a potential source of stem cells," board member Dr. William A. Dolan said in a statement Monday. "Physicians should be prepared to discuss cord blood banking options with their patients during pregnancy."

Some Australian Women Breastfeeding Children to Age 7
A study of 107 women in Australia found that some women continued to breastfeed their children up to age 7 because the children enjoy the taste of breastmilk, the comfort it brings, as well as the sense of closeness to their mother. Some women were feeding up to a dozen times a day and one woman was feeding three children at a time.
Some pyschologists question the appropriateness of such extended breastfeeding, expressing a concern that there is too much physical and/or emotional dependence created between mother and child.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

A Few More Thoughts from Erma Bombeck

  • It takes a lot of courage to show your dreams to someone else.

  • Marriage has no guarantees. If that's what you're looking for, go live with a car battery.

  • My kids always perceived the bathroom as a place where you wait it out until all the groceries are unloaded from the car.

  • My theory on housework is, if the item doesn't multiply, smell, catch fire, or block the refrigerator door, let it be. No one else cares. Why should you?

  • Never have more children than you have car windows.

  • One thing they never tell you about child raising is that for the rest of your life, at the drop of a hat, you are expected to know your child's name and how old he or she is.

  • Sometimes I can't figure designers out. It's as if they flunked human anatomy.
  • Somewhere it is written that parents who are critical of other people's children and publicly admit they can do better are asking for it.

Ain't that the truth?!?!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

The Day After The Day After Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Day was busy--good busy.

Yesterday--the day after--was deliberately planned to be not busy. The most activity I was involved in was sitting in a movie theater with my husband and caboose kiddo, eating popcorn, sipping soda and watching Enchanted. Great movie, by the way.

Today--the day after the day after Thanksgiving--will be busy, busy, busy. We will decorate our house for Christmas. The Christmas party for my husband's practice will be here, at my house, in just two weeks.

Let the "Deck the Halls" fun begin!

Rob's enlisted our two oldest daughters to help with putting up the lights. Of course, we didn't do this when the weather was a balmy 70 degrees. Nope, we waited until it was nice and wintry and cold in Colorado. I'll stay inside and keep an eye on the hot chocolate and marshmallows.

We'll have "White Christmas" on the tv while we decorate the tree. It's tradition. And each kiddo will have their box of ornaments. Each Christmas, Rob and I add a new ornament to the collection. The goal is that when a child marries, he or she has a nice assortment of ornaments for his or her first Christmas tree.


That happened this year.

My son Josh got married and his box of ornaments got loaded on a U-Haul last May and carted off to New York.

When Rob and I started that ornament tradition, today seemed so far away.

And here it is.

One box of ornaments is gone from my home.

One of my children is grown and has started his own family.

That's what we planned on.

And I've got that happy-sad feeling we mother's get on day's like today.

Friday, November 23, 2007

A Childlike Faith

Sometimes I wish I kept my relationship with God as uncomplicated as these children do.

Thursday, November 22, 2007


“I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.” ~ G. K. Chesterton

May you have many reasons to give thanks to God today.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

A Song for All Moms

I posted the link to "William Tell Mom" a while ago. Now that I've figured out how to post a video on Blogger--Ta Da! Here's the video for your viewing pleasure.

With thanks to my son Josh and my daughter, Amy, who helped me figure out all this techy-stuff.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

A Reason to be Thankful for Late-in-Life Motherhood

Christa wanted to run an errand after school yesterday.

"I need a wallet," she told me, "so I can keep all my dollars in it."

Christa had just organized her purse, which meant she'd selected one from her stash and then put a photo of her cousin Caroline in it. Later, I added a little pink mirror, a notepad and some tiny pens.

Then I told Christa I needed a few things at the store too. She took out her notepad and pen, offering to write down my list.
  • Wallet
  • Comb
  • Butter
  • Rolls
  • Chicken Drumsticks

    Not a long list. Then, Christa said, "Wait, we need one more thing." She wrote another item on the list, and showed it to me:

  • Floers for mom (Flowers for mom)

I am so thankful for my caboose kiddo. She remembers to buy me "floers" just because she knows I love them.

Here's the funny thing: When we went to the store, Christa left her purse in the car. "I don't want to look too grown up," she told me.

I'm okay with that--I'm in no rush for her to grow up.

Monday, November 19, 2007

News of Interest for Late-in-Life Moms November 19, 2007

In the news:

Vaccines Cut Disease Deaths by 99 Percent

Vaccines for 13 illnesses, most given in infancy and childhood, helped cut disease deaths by 99 percent, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
The study also reported that the number of cases of most vaccine-preventable diseases is at an all-time low.

Breastfeeding Cuts Food Allergy Risk

Research shows that breast-feeding for the first three months of life appears to help prevent children from developing food allergies.

Nicotine Byproduct Found in Babies of Smokers

Babies of smokers have levels of the nicotine byproduct cotinine that are five times higher than babies of non-smokers, researchers report.

Brain Development Found to be Slower in Children with ADHD

Children and teenagers with ADHD have developmental delays of up to three years in some regions of the brain, according to researchers at the National Institutes of Health's National Institute of Mental Health.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

"Just Because" Mom Quotes

There is no real rhyme or reason to today's quotes . . . they just tickled my funny bone.

"Any mother could perform the jobs of several air-traffic controllers with ease."
~ Lisa Alther

"My mother had a great deal of trouble with me, but I think she enjoyed it."
~ Mark Twain

"It would seem that something which means poverty, disorder and violence every single day should be avoided entirely, but the desire to beget children is a natural urge."
~ Phyllis Diller

"My mother's menu consisted of two choices: Take it or leave it."
~ Buddy Hackett

"You don't really understand human nature unless you know why a child on a merry-go-round will wave at his parents every time around - and why his parents will always wave back."
~William D. Tammeus.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Saturday's List for Moms

Every Child Needs:
  • At least one adult who is a positive role model
  • To feel accepted
  • Recognition
  • A sense of belonging
  • To feel safe and secure
  • Some control over his or her environment
  • Social interaction skills
  • To accept responsibility for his or her behavior

~Leah Davies,

~ Excerpt from Lists to Live By: The Third Collection

by Alice Gray, Steve Stephens and John Van Diest

The one thing I would add to that list? Every child needs to know that God loves them.

What do you think every child needs?

Friday, November 16, 2007

The Benefits of Being a "Repeater" Late-in-Life Mom

With thanks to my friend, Janet, here is one mommy-come-lately’s quick take on the advantages and disadvantages of having a “caboose kid.”


Seeing life again from a child’s point of view
Making sure family vacations happen with fun side trips
Rediscovering playgrounds and fast food restaurants with play areas
Acquiring lots of fresh anecdotes for writing projects


Getting used to noise and a messy house again
Struggling with energy and strength issues
Dealing with being mistaken for the grandma

~Excerpt from Baby Changes Everything: Embracing and Preparing for Motherhood after 35 by Beth K. Vogt

Thursday, November 15, 2007

The Laughter of Children

I used to have a small, pastel-colored pottery jar. Etched on it were the words: The Laughter of Children.

I'd originally seen one at a friend's house and commented on it. SA few weeks later, she surprised me by giving me one.

I loved that jar. Sometimes I would take the little cork lid out of the top and pretend I heard echoes of my children's laughter flowing out from that tiny pottery jar.

  • My son's laughter as he and his dad wrestled in the living room.

  • My daughters' laughter as they giggled in their bedroom at night, instead of going to sleep.

  • The kiddos' laughter whenever we played a card game. I don't know why UNO produced laughter--it just did. At first, little giggles. Then, outright uncontrolled gales of laughter that overtook the whole family.

  • Sibling laughter that dissolved into tears whenever we watched old Dick Van Dyke tv shows or Jerry Lewis/Dean Martin movies.

  • Christa's laughter whenever her older siblings play with her--fueld by her outright, delighted joy.

When my first three children hit the teen years, my husband and I adopted a plan to maintain good relationships with our children. One of the things we did was to laugh with our children as much as we could. 'Cause if you're laughing with someone, you can't stay angry with them.

Well, one day that pottery jar got knocked off the counter. It broke into too many pieces. Irrepairable. I've looked for the past several years, but I've never found another one.

Tonight, I heard my two daughters giggling upstairs in Amy's bedroom. Katie Beth moved out of their old bedroom more than a year ago. She was just over visiting. How odd to realize my daughter comes to visit.

I remembered how, when they were younger and giggling and talking way past their prescibed bedtime, I warned them to"Be quiet. Settle down. Go to sleep."

Tonight I just enjoyed their laughter.

The laughter of children.

Something to be treasured.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Where Have All the Parents Gone?

I'm just thinking out loud here.

It's Thanksgiving Feast time in Christa's class. I'm helping make calls to the moms (or dads, I'm really not picky) to have them contribute to the feast. Chicken legs instead of turkey, because it's easier for the kiddos to eat. Mashed potatoes. Dessert. You know, those sorts of things.

Only problem? It's hard getting hold of any of the parents.

Where is everybody?

I'm on Day #3 of calling. I've called families at least three times before reaching someone. I had one parent call me back. (Thank you, Izzy's mom.) I still haven't contacted all the families on my half of the class list.

I've called during the day. I've called early in the evening. I've called later in the evening.
Again, my question is: Where is everybody?

When I do reach a parent, she (or he) is always glad to help. That's not the problem. The problem is reaching someone.

I'm beginning to think everyone else is just as busy as I am. I am beginning to think everyone else is too busy--just like I am.

And if the parents are too busy, the kiddos are too busy.

Our habits become our kiddos' habits.

Busy parents make for busy kids.

Like I said, just thinking out loud here. But, I think I'm on to something. I'm calling people--and nobody's home.

Are we spending too little time at home with our children?

Just wondering.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

To Whom It May Concern

Christa's first grade teacher encourages letter writing. The class has a "mail box" and each student has a personal mail "cubby." (Why are those little rectangular slots for papers called "cubbies?")

Most of Christa's mail has consisted of invitations to birthday parties or letters from her girl friends saying, "Can you cum to my hous? If you can, pls call me." The paper is usually decorated with some lovely colored picture of a rainbow or butterfly or a horse.

Yesterday Christa came home with not one, not two, but three letters from boys in her class. All three boys wrote that they liked her. Of course, one boy wrote that he liked everyone in the "clss," so I'm not sure how seriously to take his note. None of the boys invited her over to their house.

"I don't know why the boys like me," Christa said.

"Christa, you know you are too young to have a boyfriend," I reminded her. "You can be friends with these boys. That's it."

"Okay, Mom."

"You're not flirting with these boys, are you?"

"What's that?"

Let's just say I'm relieved she didn't know what fliring was.

I confiscated all the notes from the boys. I also decided I'm not going to do anything about it--for now. But if any more notes come home from boys who are declaring that they like my daughter, I'm going to talk to the teacher. I'm all for encouraging kids to write letters. But shouldn't they be writing about something else? Like what they did during the weekend. Or where they're going for Thanksgiving break. Or why they hate gym class. Or what they want for their birthday . . . something else besides liking each other.

It's only first grade. That boy-girl stuff will happen soon enough.

Monday, November 12, 2007

In the News November 12, 2007

News of Interest for late-in-life moms:

U.S. Rate of Infant Death Dropping, But Still High
Despite improvements, the U.S. ranks among the worst modernized states for infant mortality, according to the Center for Disease Control. In 2004, the most recent year for which statistics are available, approximately 7 babies died for every 1,000 live births before reaching their first birthday.

Pill Slightly Raises Cervical Cancer Risk
International researchers report that women taking birth control pills have a slightly increased risk of cervical cancer. According to a report in the British medical journal The Lancet, women who took the pill for at least 5 years had nearly double the cervical cancer risk than women who had never taken the pill.

Early HRT Protects a Woman's Heart
New research presented at the American Heart Associaton (AHA) annual meeting finds hormones pose heart issues for women.
One study reaffirmed that hormone replacement therapy (HRT) started earlier in a woman's life helps protect against coronary artery disease.
A second study found that women taking oral contraceptives run the risk of developing more arterial plaque in the carotid and femoral arteries

Celebrity Late-in-Life Parents: Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony
Jennifer Lopez, 38, (finally) confirmed that she and her husband, Marc Anthony, 39, are expecting their first child.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

A Poem by Erma Bombeck That Says It All


I would have talked less and listened more.
I would have invited friends over to dinner even if the carpet was stained and the sofa faded.
I would have eaten the popcorn in the 'good' living room and worried much less about the dirt when someone wanted to light a fire in the fireplace.
I would have taken the time to listen to my grandfather ramble about his youth.
I would never have insisted the car windows be rolled up on a summer day because my hair had just been teased and sprayed.
I would have burned the pink candle sculpted like a rose before it melted in storage.
I would have sat on the lawn with my children and not worried about grass stains.
I would have cried and laughed less while watching television-and more while watching life.
I would have shared more of the responsibility carried by my husband.
I would have gone to bed when I was sick instead of pretending the earth would go into a holding pattern if I weren't there for the day.
I would never have bought anything just because it was practical, wouldn't show soil or was guaranteed to last a lifetime.
Instead of wishing away nine months of pregnancy, I'd have cherished every moment and realized that the wonderment growing inside me was the only chance in life to assist God in a miracle.
When my kids kissed me impetuously, I would never have said, "Later. Now go get washed up for dinner."
There would have been more "I love you's".. More "I'm sorrys" ...but mostly, given another shot at life, I would seize every minute...look at it and really see it ... live it...and never give it back.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

What I Hope I Taught My Kids

I'm spending the weekend in the mountains (woo hoo!) and don'tcha know I left my Lists to Live By books back home? So, there's no easy way to share a nifty, already compiled list with you. It's going to be a do-it-myself version.
I started thinking what kind of list I'd make. Then I started thinking of all the things I made sure I taught my children (3 three adult ones and the caboose kiddo). Then I thought: what do I hope I've taught them?
Here goes:
What I Hope I Taught My Kids
  1. I taught my kids to brush and floss their teeth. I hope I taught them to focus as much on what came out of their mouths as on what was in their mouths!
  2. I taught my kids to make their beds. I hope I taught them to pursue dreams that make getting up in the morning worthwhile.
  3. I taught my kids to eat their vegetables. I hope I taught them to enjoy veggies too--and all sorts of different foods. And I hope I taught them to be thankful for all of it.
  4. I taught my kids there's always room for one room at our kitchen table. I hope I taught them to invite people into our home who don't act like us, look like us, think like us. It'll make for a more interesting dinner discussion.
  5. I taught my kids to ask for forgiveness when they made a mistake. I hope I taught them to forgive someone when they are brave and humble enough to ask for forgiveness.
  6. I taught my kids what I believe about God. I hope I taught them that they could trust me--and that I trusted them to grow in their faith--separate from what I told them.
  7. I taught my kids to love old movies and root beer floats and books and music. I hope I taught them that I'm eager to discover what they love too.

What have you taught your children?

What do you wish you'd taught them?

Friday, November 09, 2007

Sharing a Late-in-Life Mom's Story

One of my favorite parts of writing my book Baby Changes Everything: Embracing and Preparing for Motherhood after 35 was telling all the different mommy-come-lately stories.

Today, I'll give you a glimpse inside the book and share Susie's story:

Susie and I met when we both lived in Florida and attended the same women’s Bible study. Pregnant with her second child, Susie was also my husband’s OB patient.
When Susie was seven months pregnant, her husband, Mark, an Air Force pilot, was killed in a plane crash. With an unwavering faith in God, Susie soon became the single mother of two young boys.
Within two years, I rejoiced as Susie fell in love and married Pat. Her son, Zachary, was then four years old and Alex was almost two years old.
“Pat and I decided that we were very happy with the challenge of two boys. That was quite enough kiddos, thank you!” Susie said. “We were not planning on having any more children.”
But, as the poet said, “The best laid plans. . .”
“I went to the doctor to be sure my home test was not accurate. Much to my surprise, I was, indeed, pregnant!”
Susie found out she was going to be a Mommy-come-lately when she overheard a conversation between her doctor and a resident. Sitting in an exam room, Susie heard her physician say, “Oh, this is going to be fun!”
“Immediately, I knew they were going to tell me that the little stick was pink.”
At thirty-eight, Susie struggled with the challenge of redefining what her life would look like once the baby was born. At that time, her sons were independent nine and eleven-year-olds.
“I was just getting into the days when I had more freedom—looking toward the possibility of taking on more ministry opportunities during the day while they were in school and having lots of extra time for non-mom endeavors,” Susie said. “I struggled with the reality that I would be back to naptime schedules, lots more time at home, and having a baby strapped to my hip.”
As her pregnancy progressed, Susie was excited to feel her baby kick and move.
“I hoped I would be a more relaxed parent this go-round and take more time to really enjoy each stage. The big question was whether I would have the energy to stay on top of everything. Maybe I need to invest in a motorized scooter and a bullwhip,” she said with a laugh.
Susie felt catapulted into a higher risk category—and at twenty weeks, an ultrasound detected cysts on her baby’s brain that were a possible marker for Down syndrome.
“We were given the options of seeing a perinatologist for further testing, as well as to consult with a geneticist. After much prayer and talking with a family friend who was a physician, we were confident in our decision to have a 3-D ultrasound, but not amniocentesis,” Susie said. “The point was made that unless further testing would change our decision to have the baby—which was never an option—or give us more peace, there was no need to have a test that could put our baby at risk.”
The ultrasound revealed that the cysts had resolved and that there were no other markers for Down syndrome.
“Even though I think I’m in control of my life, anything can happen. I’m thankful God reminds me daily, ‘I know the plans I have for you. . .plans to prosper you and not to harm you. . .plans to give you a hope and a future.’”
Susie wondered how her husband, Pat, would handle labor and delivery, saying, “Pat does not have the stomach for anything medical. Much to my relief and delight he was a great coach through labor—although he did stop at McDonalds on the way to the hospital. All the while he was ordering I was contracting and breathing, breathing.”
Piper, a healthy baby girl, changed the family for the better.
“Life with Piper is so much fun. We call her the ‘JFB’—the Joy-Filled-Baby. Her brother, Zach, will often get her when he comes in after school, take her to his room, and just play with her. Her other brother, Alex, loves to make Piper laugh. He enjoys being the much older, strong, macho brother. Piper goes in every morning to wake Alex up. She crawls on top of him and playfully slaps him in the face until he wakes up.”

Thursday, November 08, 2007

The Heart of an Older Mom

Motherhood surprised me again at 41. You might say it ambushed me--laid me out flat physically and emotionally for quite a while.

I'm thankful to say I've recovered from my initial shock. I gratefully embrace my mommy-come-lately life.

My caboose kiddo's coming up on her 7th birthday. Some of you might think, I certainly hope you're used to the idea by now! Those of you who've read my book Baby Changes Everything know it took some time for me to wrap my brain around this about-face in my life. It's all there in the chapter titled "Everything's Back to Normal--Except Me."

My entry into the mommy-come-lately club provided yet another opportunity to prove the resilience of a mother's heart. I dealt with the unexpected return to breastfeeding and baby-rules-the-day (and the nights!) with some kicking and screaming. And then I fell in love with my daughter. Christa expanded my heart--and she continues to do so each day we spend together.

Speaking of a mother's heart, I came across two news stories this week. One talked about how older moms are a greater risk for heart attacks during pregnancy. The study, which was published in 2006 in Circulation, the journal of the American Heart Association, stated pregnant women over 40 have 30 times the risk of a heart attack during pregnancy than women who are under 20.

So I talked this not-so-great-sounding news out with my physician-husband. Here's some things to consider:

  • This study compares the proverbial apples and oranges: those at highest risk (over 40-year-olds) with those at lowest risk ( under 20-year-olds.)

  • One of the study's conclusions was that, even though pregnancy increases a woman's risk of heart attack, it is still "a rare event in women of reproductive age," occuring about 1 in 17,000 deliveries. (With thanks to my husband for doing the medical math.)

The second article was a bit more positive about late-in-life motherhood. Why Women Who Wait Until Their Thirties 'Make Better Mothers' discusses a study extolling the advantages of being an older mom.

It echoes what some of the moms I interviewed said: I'm glad I'm an older mom. I'm calmer at this age. I've accomplished some of my goals. I'm more ready to be a mom now than I would have when I was younger. I'm a better mom than I would have been in my 20s.

Go ahead. Debate that if you wish.

I know I didn't love my first three children less just because I was a young mom.

A mother's heart--and her love--is ageless.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Late-in-Life Mom News

I always celebrate when another woman joins the Mommy-Come-Lately club--whether she's a celebrity or not! The latest inductee: CNN news anchor Nancy Grace!

Nancy Grace Gives Birth to Twins

CNN news anchor Nancy Grace, 48, and her husband David Linch are the parents of twins. Doctor's induced labor on Sunday, November 4th, two months before Grace's due date after she developed fluid on her lungs. She gave birth to John David, who weighed 5 pounds 1 ounce, and Lucy Elizabeth, who weighed 2 pounds 15 ounces.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Loves Me, Loves Me Not

I was most definitely a good mom one day last week.

I'd surprised my caboose kiddo with a gift she thoroughly enjoyed. "Thank you, Mom! Thank you, Mom!" Christa said again and again, punctuating her gratitude with hugs and kisses.

I was glad Christa liked her "sprizzie" (aka surprize gift.) I was glad she was so grateful too. Later that night, she leaned over, gave me yet another impromptu kiss and said, "Thank you for my gift, Mom."

"You know, you've got to love me when I say no to something you want," I told her with a little laugh. She agreed with her own little smile and another kiss.

But I was only half-kidding.

My daughter--all my kiddos really--love me when I'm the "Yes Mom." And I like to say yes to them. One of my favorite authors, Chuck Swindoll, said if he had to do it over as a parent, he would say yes more often to his children. His reason? There are so many times we have to say no to our children, we should look for opportunities to say yes. My children may not believe this, but I tried to remember Swindoll's admonition to say yes more than no.

But I hope my kiddos love me when I'm "No Mom" and when I'm "Yes Mom." I hope they love me for who I am, not for what I give them. I don't want to be "Monetary Mom"--the one who opens her wallet and says I love you with cold hard cash.

Loves me, loves me not?

I hope my kiddos know the answer to that question whether I'm saying yes or no, whether I'm hugging them or disciplining them, whether I'm indulging them a little bit or having to say, "Sorry, not this time."

Monday, November 05, 2007

News of Interest for Late-in-Life Moms November 5, 2007

Here's the latest news headlines:

Breastfeeding isn't Such a Drag on Breasts
According to a study by a group of plastic surgeons, women shouldn't blame saggy breasts on nursing. The main factors affecting sagging were: age, smoking status and the number of pregnancies a woman has had.

Autism "Epidemic" May Be All in the Label
Experts believe behaviors associated with autism were common 30 to 40 years ago. However, the recent surge in cases seems to be caused by an increase in special education services for children with autism.

Cervical Cancer Vaccine May Protect Older Women
Gardasil, the vaccine for preventing cervical cancer in women 9 through 26, may offer protection for women up to age 45, according to Merck, the company that manufactures the vaccine.

Without Enough Sleep, Children Gain Weight
Research suggests that insufficient sleep negatively affects preteens' metabolism, along with their exercise and eating habits, causing them to gain weight.

C-section Raise Risk to Mother and Infant
A study finds Cesarean deliveries have twice the risk of complications and deaths for both infants and mothers when the fetus is in the normal, head-down position. However, if the baby is in a breech position, the benefits of a cesarean outweighs the risk, researchers reported.

Study Finds Abortion Linked with Pre-term Births, Cerebral Palsy
A study published in the Journal of Reproductive Medicine found abortion linked with pre-term births and cerebral palsey. The study involved physicians from both the U.S. and Canada who examined data from more than 4 million births.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Thoughts on Motherhood

With thanks to one of my favorite mom-writers, Erma Bombeck:

  • It is not until you become a mother that your judgment slowly turns to compassion and understanding.

  • Never lend your car to anyone to whom you have given birth.

  • No one ever died from sleeping in an unmade bed. I have known mothers who remake the bed after their children do it because there is wrinkle in the spread or the blanket is on crooked. This is sick.

  • Somewhere it is written that parents who are critical of other people's children and publicly admit they can do better are asking for it.

  • The art of never making a mistake is crucial to motherhood. To be effective and to gain the respect she needs to function, a mother must have her children believe she has never engaged in sex, never made a bad decision, never caused her own mother a moment's anxiety, and was never a child.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

What Does Your Child Need Most?

I love books. I also like to make lists. Imagine my delight when I discovered the book series Lists to Live By compiled by Alice Gray, Steve Stephens and John Van Diest. Books+Lists=my kind of fun read!

Here's a good list for all moms to keep close at hand:

What Does Your Child Need Most?
  1. Hugs
  2. Patience
  3. Acceptance
  4. To feel important
  5. A sense of belonging
  6. A sense of humor
  7. Home--a safe haven
  8. Common sense
  9. Prayer
  10. Laughter
  11. Routine
  12. Firm boundaries
  13. To know Mom and Dad love each other
  14. Freedom to fail

~Elisa Morgan and Carol Kuykendall, from What Every Child Needs

Friday, November 02, 2007

Late-in-Life Mom Reality Check

I realize I am now part of the "Sandwich Generation"--and I am a Club Sandwich.

Reality struck as I sat in the cardioligist's office with my mother-in-law, trying to digest a rather unpleasant diagnosis. Hers, not mine. I also watched the clock because I had to pick up Christa from school by 3 p.m.

Truth be told, my mother-in-law is an amazingly independent 89-year-old woman. But with just a few brief phrases from a specialist, some medical questions marks now loom in her life. "This is a bit of a shock," she said as I drove her home. For this stoic woman, that is the closest I've ever seen her to panic.

By this time, Christa was in the car, so I juggled the needs of my 6-year-old with my mother-in-law's. Chatted about Christa's day in first grade while discussing my mother-in-law's tests scheduled for next Tuesday. And I also thought about telling my three older children--one who lives across the country with his new wife.

Older children.
Caboose kiddo.

A Club Sandwich in the Sandwich Generation.

This is not a complaint. This is a reality check. A "Welcome to your world" moment. It may take me a while to adjust. But I will. And so will my husband, who is even more affected by this news. This is, after all, his mother. We'll figure this out together--all of us.

That's what families do.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

My First Official Thankful Thursday

So long, Grateful Days (Fridays)! Hello to Thankful Thursdays.
The actual day isn't important. The focus on gratitude is.
I am thankful for:
  • waking up at 4 AM this morning (you read that right!) because I had some quiet moments to myself
  • but I am even more thankful I woke up at 4 AM because that meant when my daughter Amy wandered downstairs about a half hour later to finish working on a college paper, I was up too. So, we had some time together. And I was able to tell my still-sleepy daughter that I love her and that I like her.
  • the same daughter who brought me some candy corn flavored taffy. (She works at The Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory. I don't do chocolate. I like my sugar with just a little color added!)

May your day be anchored in gratefulness/thankfulness.

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