Tag Archives: #penguinlife

I don’t know what you’re first words were, oh well!

Blasphemy! I know, I know! I am a terrible mother. I am not saying that for pity of martyrdom, but seriously, there are key childhood, key baby moments that I just do not have the answers to. But my dear penguin, before you take to the therapist couch just yet and carry all of my baggage with you ( Vera Bradley or Tumi please), please know I have very solid reasons for not knowing some of these answers.

Maybe it’s turning 40 this past year. Maybe it is because she just went to her first dance (daddy-daughter dance) and then I saw pictures of the eighth grade dance on social media and immediately thought “ahh, I can’t take it, that’s next. And then the prom”. Or maybe it’s the People magazine article I read on the opioid crisis among young adults and that sent me tumbling down another rabbit hole all together. But anyhow, I saw this beautiful advertisement on Zulily for one of the chalkboard milestone fill ins that are so popular these days and I started thinking, “I don’t know the answers to those questions “.

The parent fills in X for age, then other answers such as “I can ___”, “My favorite toy___”, and “My favorite foods___”. Oh my did I start feeling like a failure. I immediately asked Tommy for answers and went into a diatribe of “was she going to end up with an empty, or half filled baby book and just a box of keepsakes from her childhood like he has in a closet of his married home”!?!?!? Yes! I spin out easily and fast. Clearly these meds are not working. Which he did mention, have you started the new hormones? I digress.

Tommy , your daddy my dearest love penguin, says your first words were something of the “da-da-da-da” nature. Leaning towards “daddy”. I do not disagree. I am sure even at just a few months old you knew who would be the calmer of the two of us. Please know I have a good reason for not having these answers.

I truly do not remember exactly when you took your first steps. I was too busy trying to protect you from hurting yourself when you did.

I am not sure what you favorite foods were. I only wanted to feed you the healthiest and the best and whatever had the least like-ability you wouldn’t choke on it.

I do not think you had a favorite toy because I did not let you sleep with anything. I did not let you sleep without being held for the first two weeks of your life and then after that you slept without anything close to you, on a breathing monitor with a video monitor. I did this because I was scared of something happening while you slept.

So, no I don’t have all the answers from your baby days. I don’t know all of your first. There were days I was so anxiety ridden with something happening to you that those days led to sleepless nights. I’ve just tried to protect you since the day you were born. I don’t have the answers because I was too busy loving you.

*Disclaimer: I do not insinuate that parents who do know the answers love their children any less. This is my blog. My thoughts.

Bathroom stages according to the penguin

The Penguin and I were discussing a certain bathroom event and decided we needed to come up with a term we would both be comfortable using. I could have used the proper terminology, sure but, but that would lead to a whole other blog post. Agreeing on a number system, she then broke down the entire number codes for me.

#1-peeing

#2-poohing

#3-diary (diarrhea)

#4-throwing up

#5-diary (diarrhea) and throwing up

#6-peeing, diary, AND throwing up

There you have it peeps. The decoded bathroom numbers according to an eight year old.

#parenting, #motherhood, #reallife, #thebelleandthepenguin, #pottyhumor

So glad I’m not missing this

Who knew Chick-fil-A could be a fine dining experience? Take a Penguin with you and you will see. Despite the intermittent play breaks it still takes her a good thirty minutes to even eat her food. Plus she must decide the difficult decision of keeping her treat or turning it in for ice cream. There are list involved sometimes.

During one of these visits while she pondered life across from me, I just couldn’t help but smile. Smile and thank God for this opportunity that my husband was giving me to be a stay at home mom with her. I was immersed in her conversation while at the same time so delighted not to be at a workplace. I could feel the freshness and weightlessness of the genuine moment we were sharing.

“It’s weird I like these cherries, I mean , I didn’t always like them.”

“Okay, and then what happened?”

“But, I drink cherry coke, and that’s cherry…..so, I don’t know”

I’m just smiling from ear to ear.

She flips her hair.

“Was my hair like this when I was five”?

Then I just laughed and was so thankful I had not missed a moment of what just happened.

Of course, dreams come true my dear child

 
As we were taking a bath tonight, I made the water turn purple and the penguin giggled with delight as she said, “Mama! You’ve made all my dreams come true!” For a brief moment I thought not only was this a bit dramatic, for which I smiled because that’s ‘all me’, but also I thought how I wish it would always be that simple. But then she paused and looked up with my blue eyes and asked, “do your dreams always come true mama?” There was no hesitation as I smiled back and said “of course they do my Penguin “. 

The world is not always nice and she will learn on her own sooner than I would like. As long as I can, I will make her dreams come true and more importantly, I will continue to teach her that her dreams will come true.

Turtles & Sewer Pipes, not the kind named after artist

Really, this is a typical morning for us. I truly cannot make this up. My precious Penguin has my active mind that just goes and goes, and this is what she came up with the other morning after using the restroom.

I’m standing in front of the mirror brushing Penelope’s nest on my head as she comes over and we begin this conversation:

P: I figured it out

SB: Figured what out?

P: Where all the water goes when you flush the toilet.

I give a confused look her way….

P: It goes down the drain into the pipes down below where the turtles are.

 So, in my mind I’m thinkin ninja turtles. I don’t mention this thought, I just assume she saw it on tv or talked about it on the playground.

SB: The turtles?

P: Yes, and the wipes you flush too.

SB: Very confused now…What do the turtles do with the wipes?

P: The people that sell them get them out. They get the wipes off of the turtles 

Realizing we have passed Donatello and the pizza at this point..

SB: There is a turtle store down there?

P: Yes, the turtle store is there. And when you go buy them they make sure the wipes aren’t there.

SB: Okay. Smiling on the inside because I just had a conversation with myself. 

We quickly switch stations, keep up!

P: Wow, the sandman visited this eye last night!

#southernbelleoncaffeine

My Holiday OCD is having to be tamed


I understand this might not make sense to some. I also understand some people probably don’t see me as having any OCD tendencies seeing the way I live now, with the laundry in piles and all, and I get that. However, those of you that are skeptics would be interested to find I have quite a few quirks that I’m sure a psychologist would love to figure out. Most of these I do keep within some type of ‘control’, or I had to adapt to having a penguin almost seven years ago. 

One of the biggest ones has been my holiday OCD issue. Before the penguin was born, I had holiday rules that had to be followed or my mind would just explode. Not just your run of the mill don’t-put-Christmas-out-before Thanksgiving issue either. There were no clothes to be worn except for that holiday, no movies to be watched, no food to be ate. One did not watch “Charlie Brown The Great Pumpkin” outside of the month of October, or occasionally the network would throw me off course and save it for November. All of the sacred Christmas movies were saved for December only! 

Then the penguin was born. As she got old enough to watch movies, one of her favorite groups to watch was “Frosty the Snowman ” and “Rudolph the Rednose Reindeer”. In ANY month. It took me a lot to get used to. I actually tried to talk her out of it. 

Now, I look down and find myself in July wearing Halloween socks. Gasp. What was once unheard of is just pure survival because the Halloween socks are the ones I can find clean. I just find it amusing that I’ve changed that much all because of my penguin. The best thing ever. The love of my life. I am still holding a strong front against wearing Christmas socks though.

Is her kindergarten my eighth grade?

Always reach high my strong willed child


Eating solid foods. Crawling. First steps. First words. Just a few milestones a parent looks forward too and remembers about their children. I have the pivotal one coming up that starts in motion the rest of her life. I know that may sound dramatic, even for me, but as I think about it, I don’t know how else to explain the importance. Kindergarten. Then I realize, my mini me, the almost 6 year old version of myself, sees kindergarten as I saw starting eight grade. And, that makes me sad. And, that makes me excited.

Starting kindergarten for me was no big deal in this rural southern town. At least I don’t remember it being an issue. At that time there was no choice where you went, if you lived in one county you went to School A, if you lived in the adjoining county you went to School B. I already knew many of the children I would be in school with, either from daycare/preschool or church. It didn’t hurt that my daddy was principle at the middle school at the time either I guess. So for the next 8 years (1st grade-7thgrade and kindergarten) I went to school with the same children. Even if we moved up a grade we only went to a slightly bigger school with children who had been at our old school the previous year. There was no anxiety about not knowing the lay of the land. No anxiety about a sea of new scary faces. Until the end of 7th grade. At that time, 8th grade was at the High School, which meant I had 4 months between me and an entire school with 4 whole grades of new people. Older people. Some, like the juniors and seniors, we’re so much older our paths had never crossed paths in other schools before. Scared? I spent the summer outlining reasons why I should be homeschooled. I did not want my independence and free spirit that my class since kindergarten had been accustomed too, to become the punch line for lunch room mean girls table talk. I also knew I didn’t ‘look’ the part. I didn’t particularly want to, and further more I knew I never would. But, of course I made it through high school. I have some bumps, bruises, and scars to help me remember, and that’s okay.

What if, when my precious, free spirited penguin looks at me and says “mama, I am a little norvous about big school”, she feels the same anxiety on some level? I know it seems I’m reaching deep for this one, and yes, it’s perfectly normal for a child to be somewhat apprehensive about a new school. Stay with me though. She has only been to daycare/preschool and church with the same group of children. Now, in the same rural town I grew up in, there are two private schools to choose from which have become quite popular among the parents. My penguin knows that some children went to a different Pre-K and come to her school for after school care. She realizes that not all of these ‘friends’ of hers, and children who know her ways are going to be going to school with her in a few weeks. To top it all off, I have to keep reminding her of all of the horrible things that don’t happen in kindergarten. No changing clothes just because you dribbled water on your shirt at the water fountain (yes, I know we have some ‘issues’), no going to the bathroom on a moments notice which   also means you can’t have ‘accidents’ because you can’t change clothes. And….no naps!!! So yes, my all the world’s a stage, aka her stage, penguin is standing in front of this milestone with quite possibly some of the same apprehension I had about high school. 

It’s okay baby penguin. I know more now and I know what I should have told myself then. That works out well for you since you were made from my mold. I’ll guide you as the older version of yourself and I will teach you and love you like only your mother can. We’ve got this. You. Me. Together. Let’s jump over the milestone ready to see what waits.