state of the motherhood address, vol. 3

vol. 1
vol. 2

I just survived what I think was my hardest week of motherhood. Maybe tied with the newborn days. The jury is still deliberating.

Last I wrote to you, dear chums, Gracie was down with a stomach bug. I thought the worst was over and things would start looking up soon. They did, for about 24 hours. Then she vomited her breakfast down my expensive green sweater, and the downward spiral began. I don't know how to accurately describe the horror of the past 6 days, but all I could think was that it was like watching myself with morning sickness. Every bite of food came back up. Every sip of water. She was so weak she couldn't sit up and would barely talk.

I talked to the doctors office several days in a row, and they weren't too concerned (we were able to keep just enough fluids in her to avoid the ER) until she was up all night throwing up and then all day. I made her an appointment for that afternoon, and if it weren't for that, I would've rushed her to the hospital. She was getting more dehydrated by the minute, and it was terrifying. Little bodies can't handle 6 days of violently puking. She had lost so much weight she was practically skin and bones compared to last week. I got no sleep for several nights. I held her all day long for 6 days and washed the same few blankets and pajamas every couple hours. We ran out of groceries, and even though James stayed home to help, neither of us could leave because it was all hands on deck. Friends brought over some snacks and coffee to get us by, but I lived off stale granola bars and things found in the back of the freezer.

The doctor prescribed Zofran. If things didn't drastically turn around soon, she would need to go to the hospital for fluids and tests for "rare diseases"<---the doctor's actual words which terrified me. After taking the Zofran, she slept the better part of TWENTY HOURS. Twenty!! She would wake briefly to drink some water and then fall back to sleep a bit later. Once she woke up, she couldn't walk without falling over. Ever since, she's been keeping some bland food and water down and is slowly coming back to life. The pediatrician called and texted us the night we gave her Zofran to make sure Gracie was ok because she was so worried about her. THAT is a good doctor, and it also solidified that this experience really was as terrifying as it felt.

Of course, this all happened on Gracie's birthday week. She turned three yesterday! Her birthday was nothing like I imagined, but she was home and not in the hospital, and that's all that counts. James took the day off, and we planned to do some fun outside activity with her at some point. It poured all day long, but she was still getting her strength back so it was ok, though I know she would've loved to go outside. She's been requesting a strawberry birthday cake for weeks. I found a recipe I was so excited to try. I went to the store Wednesday night, and there were no strawberries and signs that due to inclement weather, there wouldn't be strawberries for awhile. I grabbed a box of strawberry cake mix out of desperation. Yesterday I was getting myself together to bake her cake, and the power went out. It continued to go on and off all afternoon, so the cake never got made. I'll make it up to her this weekend. Thankfully she's young enough to not have any birthday expectations. It's a good reminder that elaborate parties for young kids are for the parents and not the kids. Not that there's anything wrong with a birthday party! But Gracie still had a good day with her presents and the few visitors she had, and we had a little party with my family a few weeks ago. It doesn't mean I didn't have a good cry over how it all turned out. It was like her first birthday all over again.

I can't believe I'm the mother of a three year old. It makes me want to cry and laugh all at once. She is all hugs and kisses, always kissing my hand and saying "don't drop your kisses, mommy!" She is obsessed with the story of David and Goliath. She tears through her Children's Bibles, looking for pictures of Goliath. We've watched multiple children's videos about it, and she talks about it all the time. She adores Minnie Mouse. She asks for mac n cheese for every meal. I find her baby dolls and stuffed animals tucked into makeshift beds all over the house. She only wants to wear pajamas, and the clothes battle is so intense that she more or less lives in pajamas when we're home. When she does wear clothes, she will fight to the death on what she wants to wear. She's been doing this since before she turned two. If you ever see pictures of her in wild outfits, that's why. If her hair is a mess, it's because she refuses to keep a bow or ponytail in. We're just doing our best over here.

As a two year old, she went on plenty of road trips with me and is becoming a good little traveller. I weaned her last summer because I physically/mentally/emotionally couldn't do it anymore. Those nursing antibodies are legit, because ever since then she's had croup, an upper respiratory virus that left her with a FOUR MONTH cough, this horrible stomach virus we're all recovering from, as well as the normal amount of winter colds. She finally outgrew her red hat. She's gotten so much braver and more social, though she's still shy. For instance, on my birthday, we were having lunch in a coffee shop, and she stood up on a bench and started BELTING the ABCs. As loud as she could, just basking in the limelight. WHAT. Sometimes I'm like, how do I even parent you? There has never been a time in my life where I would want to stand up and sing in front of the world. I don't know how to relate to that.

Which brings to me this: I'm a little scared of the 3s. I know it's known to be a hard age, but that plus the strong-willed child I have is going to be the end of me. Being honest here. This is hard stuff. Two was hard, but also very fun. The difficulty level has been really amping up lately. I know the fun will too, but some of these phases are just tortuous. Having a toddler is hard. Dealing with public tantrums is hard. Discipling is hard. Being an introverted mom without a minute to call my own is hard. Saying the same thing over and over is hard. Keeping my temper in check is hard. Trying to figure out the balance between giving my child my full attention vs. letting her cry because I still need to do the dishes and make dinner is hard. I would not trade this life with her for anything, but the toddler years are not for the faint of heart.

newborn, 1 year, 2 year, and  3-year-old Gracie Anne

I just love her to pieces. She really is so much and keeps me laughing all day long. I'm so excited to see who she continues to become this year.

I'm so excited for bedtime.


  1. In my opinion, 2.5-3.5 is one of the hardest years - real intent in misbehaving comes in that third year. But they become real people then too and it's wonderful!

  2. Happy Birthday to your sweet girl... & glad that she was able to stay out of the hospital & feeling better. I mean, you GOTTA eat some birthday cake on your day. Glad she was able to :)

  3. Happy birthday to your darling (and healthy!!) baby girl!! She really does have such a special personality, which is both tremendously difficult and amazingly special - the two are not mutually exclusive. Many prayers for you both over the next year, and please do more "Gracie says" posts. "Don't drop your kisses, Mommy" is the cutest thing I've heard lately.

  4. I think your last two paragraphs sum up motherhood better than anything I've ever read.

  5. I am so glad that she's on the mend! The other day (Thursday, I think) I took my toddler to the park and you and Gracie came to mind and I said a prayer that y'all would survive, and then within 2 minutes we ran into a nice man and his dog-and he said his dog's name was Gracie. I thought it was a nice little wink from God that He was watching out for y'all (or maybe it was just a random coincidence-interpret however you want!). Oh man, everything you say about motherhood here is just so true! I've heard from friends at church that the 3s are so hard to go through, but that it is awesome to see one's little person grow and develop more. There are occasionally moments when I wish my husband could be a stay-at-home dad for like a week so he could see just how challenging and demanding this life is, and then maybe he'd be able to comprehend why I struggle to remember things that aren't written down or why I'm usually so wiped out when he gets home :P

  6. I'm glad she's getting better. Happy birthday, (not-as) little one!!! Honestly, I loved 3 but 4 has been my true challenge (also some of the sweetest moments so far). I LOVE that her fav story is David and Goliath! For some reason that just makes me inordinately happy. I really think she and Margaret would be the best of friends. I can so relate to all of your feelings about motherhood- the lack of time alone, the love + frustration, how it aches when they're sick... I get it. Good job, mama.

    1. Thank you!! I love that she loves D&G too. She went through a Jonah phase before that which I found hilarious too. I bet she and Margaret would get along so well! They seem similar. Thank you for your kind words <3

  7. So glad she's feeling a bit better now! And Gracie has always had the most epic hair.

  8. You are the best mom and you deserve a trophy for surviving that week.


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