Writing about my children has gotten harder as I've gone along, it feels like I can't find as much to say and this makes some sense since I haven't known the youngers as long or have as many experiences with them. Their lives have been more "normal" not completely "normal" but much more stable. I find I have more pictures I want to share of them though, and have to edit some out to keep it "fair". LOL
My third child, P, was born in December of 1998 at 41 weeks. I was again induced, as I was showing no signs of impending labor but she was starting to be big! This pregnancy I choose my healthcare providers more carefully, and deciding to go with a team of CNM (certified nurse midwives) based out of the hospital I had birthed my previous 2 at (also the hospital that had been a permanent fixture in my life- my mom was born there, worked there most of her nursing career and had given birth to my brother there) and felt comfortable with. I generally liked all the MWs, with differing opinions on each. They actually asked and cared about my birth plan. And the first thing on my list was an IV, having become too week with my son, I knew I would need it to enjoy my daughter after her birth.
After arriving at the hospital in the morning I was hooked up to my IV and Pitocin drip around 9-9:30 am, and things progressed smoothly and at a normal pace. My history of labor stalling out was known and watched but never stopped with her. Pitocin had a tendency of creating very strong contractions and without fail did the same in this labor, so like my other labors, I received a shot of morphine in my spine at about 6 or 7 cms dilated. Let me tell you I always wanted a non-medicated birth (and even fantasized about a homebirth during this pregnancy) but man morphine shot into your spine is like nothing else- I was giddy and itchy and happy to be in labor! lol P was born at 4:40 in the afternoon- just 7 hours after starting Pit and 20 mins of pushing. She weighed in at 8 lbs 10 oz and was 21 and 3/4 inchs long. With the exception of the cord being wrapped once around her neck (which never caused any issues) she was perfect. I held her immediately and she latched on the breast on her own- she was a natural!
She slept in a bassinet right next to our bed but usually ended up in with us at some point in the night. I held her whenever she needed and we continued to breastfeed for 3 months. At around 3 months, life took on a lot of lessons and the stress became too much, so I made the decision to wean her so I could concentrate on everything else. But we continued to co-sleep till she was 2.
Before she turned 1 she became an only child most of the time with her older siblings visiting on weekends and school vacations. I think this paved the way for some issues on where she fit (and still fits) in her role as a child in this family. The "loss" of my older children created a stronger bond between P and I. And made me more committed to being "attached" to her.
In September of 2000 we started a journey to San Diego, CA. We stayed in motels, at Campland on the Bay, and lived out of the back of our truck. The nature of people, even those with nothing, really does shine when a child is present. We were taken care of- told where we could get free meals, given "toys" for P to play with and fresh milk, fruit and burgers- just because of her. She was a magnet with her blond curly pigtails and big hazel eyes- we joked she looked more Californian than anyone else. We visited San Diego Zoo on founders day (I think that's why- but none the less it was a free day), we swam daily in the ocean. We hung out at PB, MB and OB- beaches in SD. We attended a drum circle with the Rainbow family. Really if it hadn't have been for the pain I was feeling missing my older children back home, and had they been with us, I don't think we'd have ever left- found a permanent place to live. But after 2 months without seeing them, I had to go back. P and I flew home and stayed a short while with my mother.
P was outgoing, loved to talk to everyone and never afraid of anyone. I was lucky enough to be able to stay home with her and be with on a daily basis until she was 2- I feel this is what made her as secure she was. And even when I did, have to go back to work, I committed my free time to her and the rest of her care was done by her father.
Right before P turned 3 she went from only/youngest to oldest/middle. She loved her baby sister. And for years they were best friends. Over the course of the next years family life pretty much stayed the same- with a few moves in between but life taking on a natural rhythm of it's own. P loved to play house, draw, and swim. Like my other children when she reached kindergarten she could write her name, identify all the letters and do easy math. I worked very hard to make a love of learning an important part of her life. (Feel the need to insert here that P's first "real" word was BOOK! :D)
We started to think about school options the summer before she entered kindergarten and knew that a traditional school may not be the best option. We found and enrolled her in a democratic/"free" private school- but very quickly that became the wrong option, simply the commute (by city bus) of 2.5 each way daily became too much for all of us. We transferred her to the local community public school and she excelled. By the end of Kindergarten she was doing 1st grade work and has continued to be a grade level above ever since- even gaining over summer vacations while most children loose. She has been in 8 different schools, mostly due to moves, since starting her school career. And next year will be an 9th- she will be entering that magical middle school years.
After 1o years of trying to make our relationship "work", her father and I split. I became a single mother to 5 children. (My eldest 2 had, in that time, came home and my 2nd son had been born.) We moved to a part of town that I'd never ever before considered living in, or if given a different option never would but as the case was, it was our only option. We struggled to learn our new roles- and find a new flow to life. P again went from middle child to oldest when visiting her father- taking on responsibilities someone in the single digits shouldn't.
P is 11 now. And like a lot of preteens, going on 16 or 21 as the day may bring. She's trying to find her place and herself. Friends and family comment on how they love the person she is becoming- a sarcastic sense of humor and with plenty of attitude to boot. She reminds me a lot of her older sister, R, but not so angry. Coolness is always a factor.
P is no longer that people person she used to be. She doesn't like to talk to adults, unless she's made too and then she needs constant reminding to watch how she is speaking to them. In her mind's eye she is equal and just as knowledgeable. We are especially working on this at home, along with respect for her siblings, both older and younger. It's a wonder to read her writings, and hear her speak of topics she has much info on. She retains EVERYTHING she learns.
She is a caretaker- always the second mama to the little one. She holds them when they cry and tries to fix their boo-boos when they hurt. A worry-wort, sometimes needing to be reminded that the baby needs to be able to fall to learn to walk or that he is really just crying because he's angry. That we are the parents and we need to be able to do our job.
There comes a time, I've noticed, when the cuddles and physical attachment slow become less and less. I don't know if this is a part of parenting and normal for others- or if its how I parent. Slowly there are less hugs, kids don't come climbing up on my lap to just be, and then they seem so big. I've noticed this is where we have gotten to, and I see it happening with my youngest daughter now, who's 8. I am deliberately trying to remedy that with all the children- my first step hugs and kisses whenever anyone leaves and at bedtime. (With the olders this is often when I go to bed! lol) But I want to continue to be open to them and for it not to be awkward for them to show this to their children. Or awkward for us.
P is my responsible one, but she is trying to walk in her older sister steps and I have learned some from R. I'm trying to listen to P, continue to talk with her (not at her), and be clear and set in my expectations of her, allowing for consequences both natural and self imposed to happen. We are hoping our journey with her early teens years aren't as difficult for her, and us, as it was with R.
P is P. Princess K of the Milky Way (as we sometimes call her- K from her middle name). In the book A Little Princess there is a line that say's something like "My dad says all little girls are princesses!" This is true. P is a princess and has dreams and talents to prove it!