I was reading a fellow BLM's blog the other day and it got me thinking about how I parent Bee. In my mind and my heart Bee is my 3rd child. She has two older brothers and though they do not reside with us, but in Heaven, they are still a part of our family. I became a mother the day we found out we were pregnant with Ty. Now, though I've been a mother for a very long time, I've not always been a parent. I am a first time parent with Bee and a lot of what I do makes me wonder.
I do have a lot of hopes and dreams for Bee and want her to become the best person she can and know that she is surrounded by love and support no matter what but how does my parenting affect her? How do I parent Bee? Would it be different if the boys were here? I'll admit, Bee is pretty spoiled with a ton of love and affection and she will never have to worry about being hungry or cold. I like her to have nice things (though I am NEVER willing to pay a nice price for them so most of her things are second hand) I will admit, I have a shop for Bee clothes addiction. I just simply cannot resist. The girl has a basket full of shoes and of course, her feet have yet to grow since she was born (seriously, she is going to be in 0-3 month shoes until she is one!) She has headbands galore (though she often does not wear them, only when we go to special places) She even has a hat for every season in a variety of different colours. That being said, Bee's clothes, hats, headbands and shoes are all that define her gender (and no I'm not saying she is a "girl" I know some girls feel they are more boys and I'm cool with that, I don't judge) But for me as a mom right now in this moment, she is my little girl, pink frills and all. If she so chooses at a later date that she feels more comfortable as a boy, again, we will love her and support her no matter what.
Anyways, everything else we have we bought or received in preparation for the boys, so it's either gender neutral or boyish (per society standards, even though I am totally okay with Bee dressing in some of her brothers clothes, mostly pj's) so when we found out we were having a little girl I had to shop and I feel the need to continue to shop and there lies one of my problems. I can't go out without getting something for Bee. I feel this urge to buy, to buy her those cute green jelly sandals, to buy her a matching hat, to buy her shirts that match her cloth diapers so on really hot days she'll still match. I do it because I can. I do it because I've waited so long for her. But would I have been like this if the boys were here? Even though she is not a boy, would she still be spoiled like she is or would she get all hand me downs and goodwill clothes, which we still do, but I have also bought a few things and by few I mean a lot. Would she have the best sippy cup, the softest blanket, the best baby led weaning food there is, would I do that all for her had the boys lived? Or do I do it because I've waited so long, and now that I have the chance, and don't know if it will be my last, I have to do it.
I want Bee to have it all, I want her to have every chance possible in life because I know life is not guaranteed. I want her to be able to take swim classes and music classes when she is older, (listening to Fred Penner and Sharon, Lois and Bram are good for us at the moment) I want her to have cute shoes, I want her to match (though that's more my OCD than anything) I want her to have the best products (at discount rates) I just want to spoil her to pieces but without her knowing!
Ever since the boys died, my husband and I do not place any importance on material objects. We know they do not matter and we know they can all be replaced (expect the boys things, those I do care about because those cannot be replaced) We want Bee to experience the world, we want her to grow up and become a laid back person. We want to share our materials don't matter motto, but for me right now, I need her to have those cute shoes, I need her to have the matching hat because my grief needs to be replaced with joy and no I know material objects can't ever come close to the love, affection, kindness, caring loving little girl that she is and provides me with so much joy, but the girl can look cute while doing it and oh did I mention, I am sick of people asking what HIS name is when I am out in public, I mean come on, boys don't have those eye lashes!
I wonder if I would have be done with cloth diapers and wipes by the time Bee came around. I always intended on doing cloth with Ty and Jacob but not cloth wipes, that was new. I wonder if I would have spent weeks researching the best baby products, health and safety wise and spending more money on bath products to make sure they were as natural as they could be. I wonder if our eating would have changed to more local and organic. I wonder if I would still be eating at McDonalds, the occasional time (I will never eat there again) A lot of how our life has changed is because of the boys. I had and continue to have tremendous amounts of guilt over what I put in my body while pregnant with them. Its not like it was horrible but we ate unhealthy food and used very chemical based products. Of course I contribute it to the boys being unhealthy and ultimately dying. But had they lived would Bee only be getting the best of the best? Would I work harder to make sure everything I eat that passes through my breastmilk is the highest quality it can be. Would I make sure any products that touch my body or hers were rated 0's and 1's on the EWG website for health? Would I care that the next car seat we are getting is made of steel or at least I hope the next car seat we get is, they are so pricey and with two vehicles, wow! Would I have even discovered Baby Led Weaning?
Would I have been as terrified about SIDS to the point she wears a breathing monitor while she sleeps so if she stops I know. I feel I parent Phoebe very delicately. I parent her like the miracle she is, like the very precious life that she is because I know it's not guaranteed. Sure the matching shoes and clothes don't matter much, the adventures we take her on, the memories we build, the love and support that she feels is whats' important but for me, right now, because I can, she will have matching shoes and outfits. At times I will parent her like she is my first and only and other times I will parent her like she is one of many, there will be a balance and honestly, the material things are more my want and need then hers because honestly, what purpose does a 6 month old have to wear shoes? Given, I put them on most of the time to keep her amber teething bracelet on or to keep her socks on so they do serve somewhat of a purpose for us. I wonder if I would have even discovered amber teething necklaces had the boys lived, or would I have just given them Tylenol because I didn't know any different. I have become very natural, organic and free from chemicals in my parenting as I possibly can and I don't know if I would have been that way had the boys lived.
All I do know is that Bee is my world, she is my life, she has brought so much joy and happiness into our lives and no matter what she wears or if it matches or not, the love and happiness she provides us is priceless. Speaking of priceless, check out her first masterpiece.
Titled: Peacocks in Pansies
A Phoebe Faith Original
I think I have a little artist on my hands!