Wednesday, April 30, 2008

My Kids are Geniuses

Well, not really, but sometimes they just blow my mind with the things they say (N) and the things I notice them learning (G).

This morning, D was watching Where in God's Name is Matt Lauer on the Today Show. Matt was in Laos. N was watching it, waiting for D to finish his cereal and turn on her kid shows. All of a sudden she said, "That is near China." Holy Cow! How does she know that? From watching Mulan, that's how. She recognized the distinctive physical features of the people and buildings and remembered seeing similar things from the movie. I am SOOOOO OVER worrying about her watching children's television.

(After N said this, I said, "Boy, Daddy, we have a smart girl, and then there's goober," focusing my eyes on G who was sitting on the floor playing. He looked up at me and grinned his slobbery, 2-tooth smile. "He can't figure out how to sleep through the night," I remarked.)

But then later on Goober G redeemed himself. I was fixing supper, and he was sitting on a blanket on the kitchen floor with his toys spread out around him. He kept slapping the floor next to him, but remained very content and quiet. After he had been at it for awhile, I realized what he was doing. He kept seeing my shadow move around on the floor and was trying to catch it. Pretty darn smart for a 7-month-old. Now the sleeping part needs some of his focus and attention.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Why I'm Not Going to Go Whole-Hog Green

I don't know if its my OCD or having been raised Catholic, but I am the type of person who feels a LOT of guilt and accepts entirely too much responsibility for things that are not my responsibility.

Like, global warming, for example.

There is a part of me that thinks I should venture out in the car only like 2 days a week to conserve fuel and minimize greenhouse gases and buy cloth diapers to reduce landfill waste and unplug every appliance or furnishing that is not being used at that moment in the house to eliminate the tiny blips of energy that are wasted just from having the toaster oven plugged in even though it may not be in use.

But then I think, "Why should I, little ole me, sacrifice when Las Vegas and NYC are lit up 24/7/365?" My plugged in but not on bedside lamp ain't hurtin nothing in the big scheme of things.

And if my city had some lite rail or subway that was a real, legitimate usable option, I would use it, but I'm not gonna haul both kids to a bus stop and wait 45 minutes or however long for a stinky old bus to take us to the grocery. Hell, I don't even think buses run in my end of the suburbs to anywhere other than downtown.

And unless every other momma in my city is going to stop using disposable diapers then why should I feel compelled to use cloth when I don't want to.

I know I sound childish..."I'm not gonna put away my toys because Joey's momma doesn't make him put away his toys." But I can't help it. If I allowed myself, I would take the entire weight of the world onto my shoulders, and the environment thing is just a slippery slope on which I would spend all my time fretting while everyone else would go on with their lives.

So I do little things, small sacrifices, small changes. Using cloth bags at the grocery, and recycling everything I possibly can, and not buying bottled water, and making big runs in the car rather than 8 million small runs to places I don't really need to go. And I can do this without driving myself bonkers or feeling guilty.

At some point, there will come a time for big sacrifices but I won't be the only one having to make them.

Why I Don't Want a "Real" Job

I checked out the website after reading about it in the paper...the SAHM whose blog earns her about $40,000 a month from advertising. Niiiice.

She is definitely edgy and witty and irreverent. A part of me is slightly envious of her acerbic writing, her ability to create a really cool website, and mostly of the shitload of money she earns as a result of the previously mentioned things.

But I couldn't do that even if I had the skill. Because what I lack is the drive.

I guess my medication really works because even though I think I am still a Type A personality, I am now a type a and everything that being a lowercase letter connotes, at least as it concerns doing things other than mothering.

For example, I am a guinea pig in this market research project whereby I journal online and am visited periodically to give my opinions about parenting and products/services related to parenting. I earn some money from this, which is great, but it is totally a pain in the ass at times. Last week was my home visit, and I felt like a total shit working on the research stuff while my mom played with N and G in the other room.

On the rare occasions when I have gotten myself into some kind of "paid" employment since having N, however loose a commitment that might be, I am gung-ho until I have to do the work, which obviously requires me to spend time not doing housework or being mom. And then I get all mentally squirrelly...feeling guilty and just not wanting to do whatever it is I committed to do and for which I am getting paid.

I just don't think I can multi-task motherhood...maybe because for me motherhood is all the multi-tasking my brain can handle. Adding an additional "job" onto that job just makes my brain implode.

Some people think the gal who created is a shit for making money off writing about her hubby and kid. But she is no different from celebrities who make money off publishing pictures of their new babies in People mag. They are all a little insecure if you ask me....have some issues with being the center of attention. Whatever.

But damn. $40,000 a month?

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Past the half year

G is 7 months old today. How in the hell is he already 7 months old? I guess I have adjusted to life with 2 kids, and it happened without a whole lot of worry or stress.

When G was first born, a mom with 3 kids, the youngest of whom was about 7 months at the time, brought us a meal, and I asked how she was able to do it. I just couldn't fathom having multiple kids, one only 7 months old, and fixing food for another family. And here I am, 7 months later preparing to take a meal to a MOMS Club member who just had a baby.

I certainly adjusted better to G than I did to having N. I have found myself wondering how much baby food he should be eating and when will it be time for Cheerios because I cannot remember anything about this stage with N, and with good reason.

When N was 7 months old, I was in the process of having a nervous breakdown. She turned 7 months at the end of September, and by early November I was on antidepressants and checking into seeing a therapist. So this stage of her life is kind of a blur to me. I do distinctly remember the day she started crawling because I had been to the doctor for my ductal yeast infection earlier that day.

And so here I am with G, who seems unlikely to ever move off his little chunky ass to roll around or crawl. But whatever...he is mostly happy and a champion sitter.

It is so much more relaxing with the 2nd baby. Sure, I hope all is well with him and definitely stay on top of his development, but I am not obsessing, not anxious about everything he does and doesn't do, and everything I do and don't do. And for that I am so thankful.

Friday, April 25, 2008

I'm Not Ready

Today was a milestone day for N. I wasn't expecting it. I wasn't prepared for it. It completely caught me off guard, and I nearly started hyperventilating when it happened.

She went up to her room alone to play alone and said, "Call me down when Daddy gets home."

This has never happened before, and it made me so sad. I nearly started crying as I was fixing dinner. I mean, I was really proud of her and excited for her because this seems like such a big kid thing to do....a good, healthy and normal big kid thing to do. But at the same time, I just felt weird and anxious and out of sorts inside. Thank goodness I have G because I think I was feeling something on the order of becoming obsolete. Like asking myself, "What is my role now? Am I not needed anymore?"

She has always played in the living room and, up until recently, wanted me close by, something which, at times, aggravated the heck outta me when I wanted to be getting work done elsewhere in the house. But lately she has been totally cool with me nursing G upstairs in his room (which I have to do otherwise he is too distracted by her and the tv and the light) and rocking him to sleep. And then all of a sudden, this "big girl playing in her room" event.

Am I weird? I'm wondering if I'm gonna need to check in with my therapist when kindergarten rolls around. Sheesh, if I can't handle her playing in her room without me, I don't think I'm gonna adjust to her being away from me for 7+ hours a day.

I hate it when my heart feels happy and joyful and scared and sad all at the same time.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

She says what?

Aunt J gave N some of her dance costumes from when she was a kid. This is a little slice of heaven for N. She can showboat all over the place.

Ok, so here are some of the things N says that I find funny:

1. I don't know where she got this from (oh, yes, probably me), but when she tells me what she calls things she adds "for sure."
  • "I call him Daddy, for sure."
  • "I call it an inchworm, for sure."
  • "I call it a creek, for sure."
It's like being on the set of Square Pegs all the time.

2. She loves cheese and has really gotten into nacho cheese dip, but she calls it "Dip Cheese and Chips, for sure."

3. After being out one morning and coming home tired, N said she was "homesick," I guess because she felt so tired and sick and was glad to be home.

4. Tonight I put her and G in the tub together. She always wants to wash his penis. This time, though, she started trying to tickle his penis. I tried explaining that certain parts of our bodies are private and other people shouldn't touch them. She looked at me very seriously and said, "But I like to tickle my vagina," her logic being if she likes to tickle her own parts then that makes it ok to tickle her brother's?

I can see I'm gonna have to start working more on private parts and doing certain things in her room when she is alone (tickling her vagina and nose-picking being the top 2).

5. Increasingly unusual names for her dolls and stuffed animals:
  • Nishellia
  • Varanga
  • Saranga
  • Earaessa
  • Necoey

Monday, April 21, 2008

Bratz...the place I never thought I'd go

Having another child in the house has really had an impact on my perfect parenting of N...snicker, snicker. And I have obviously not learned a thing in these last 4 years about saying what I will and will not ever do.

This weekend I let N rent a Bratz DVD, an act that raised the eyebrows of both D and my MIL. I didn't see it as being particularly revolutionary but then again I know my daily life with N and the conversations that go on in my head about said life.

A couple things to bear in mind:
  • When N was an infant I was so psycho about her NOT being exposed to tv, I would go into other people's homes and ask them to turn off the tv to keep my precious baby's brain from rotting before my very eyes and oozing out her ears.
  • Now, after therapy and meds, I have mostly gotten over the whole tv thing and let her watch a variety of shows including The Little Mermaid and Kim Possible on Disney Channel.
  • Prior to letting her watch Kim Possible, she checked out a KP book from the library and we read about her. This is one of the things I try to insist on as much as is feasible--we read the book and know the story prior to watching the movie/tv show.
  • There was a time when I adamantly said "No way will my child EVER, EVER, EVER have anything to do with Bratz-related toys." This was long before I had a 4-year-old who sees commercials for Bratz-related DVDs on tv on a regular basis.
  • N knows that she gets presents 2 times a year--Christmas and her birthday. She also knows that certain things, like Bratz and American Girl dolls, are for girls ages 8+. So I'm not completely feeding her to the advertising hounds.
On Saturday, she saw this Bratz Fairy Tale DVD so I let her get it. I figure she knows the fairy tales so how harmful can it really be? I did hear one of the Bratz girls say, "Loser," but that is the extent of anything inappropriate I heard. N one of the girls on the DVD look trashy or anything. Like space aliens with their big freaky eyes---yes, but not slutty in the least.

Now there are limits to the Bratz spell she seems to be under. The Mariah Carey-dressing Bratz girl DVDs will not come into the house (but notice I'm not saying ever).

All of a sudden she just seems to be "into" bigger girl things. She goes bananas every time she sees a Hannah Montana shirt in a store, even though she has never seen the show. The Disney Channel shows Miley Cyrus videos sometimes from which N learned how to flip her head like a rocker from Bon Jovi or Poison--real head-banging stuff. It is a little unsettling to see her show off her new skills and yet really pretty cute because she is only 4.

Well, I'm not gonna lose sleep over least not tonight.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

In a funk

For some reason I feel in a bit of a funk, and I'm not sure why.

We aren't going on a big vacation this year, so maybe that is the problem. I always look forward to a vacation. Should G decide to sleep through the night ever we might try to get to Indy but that will be the extent of our travels.

Maybe it is the weather. We've had little snippets of really gorgeous days followed by frickin' freezing temps. One day I am in a skirt and tank, the next day in long pants, winter socks and my jacket. Damn Ohio River Valley.

Maybe it is that summer fun adventures seem far away, even though they really aren't. I'm ready for the pool and spending more time outside.

Maybe I just have the Sunday blues. Like I want to do something but I don't know what I want to do. But now it is too late to do anything except go to bed. I don't even feel like reading Wow, I'm more blah than I realized.

Is this what boys do?

I am a little frightened. My nephews, ages 3 and 17 months, came over last night, and my house may never be the same. It literally looked like a twister had gone through my living room (I remember it looked like this once before when I had playgroup and there were about 15 kids occupying the same space). My basement still looks like it doesn't know what the hell hit it.

A friend was telling me about her 15-month-old boy digging the dirt out of a planter and launching baby wipes all over her family room within a time-frame of about 45 seconds. And then to see my nephews really put the fear of God in me.

So, so different from N. I don't know if I'm ready for prime-time.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Sound off...

Just curious...who reads this rag?

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Find Something Good to Say

One of my worst qualities is my ability to focus so extremely well on the negative. I read some of my friend's blogs and they just ooze love for their kids. I don't mean this in a negative way...I am, in fact, quite jealous. I know these moms get annoyed with their kids because they post their "episodes," but they also post really sweet, wonderful things about their kids pretty darn frequently.

Me....not so much. I mostly gripe.

So let me say something good about my kids.

Today, we went to Meijer to look at patio furniture set. D has been wanting patio a table and matching chairs with an umbrella for about, oh let's see, 10 years. And I have always declined because I simply cannot stomach paying as much for outdoor furniture as I did my basement sofa which gets use 12 months a year instead of the 3-5 outdoor furniture would get. And D doesn't even particularly like the outdoors (which he would say is because he's never had anything comfortable on which to sit so how could he enjoy the outdoors?).

So, I have decided outdoor furniture and an umbrella would be good to have picnics with N with, and D has decided that we don't have to have the top-of-the-line furniture. It seems new outdoor furniture may be in our future. Aha, a sale.

We get there, see it, like it. Find a stand-alone umbrella that we like. A purchase is pending. But, wait, we don't have a truck and Meijer won't let us purchase and then hold it until we can get my dad's truck. D is ready to leave and come back another day. I know that if we wait until tomorrow or whenever we can get my dad's truck, the furniture will be gone. This is the same dilemma we have every year. If we look at furniture, we don't have a truck. So we hold off on buying until June, and then everything except the most expensive or the crappy stuff is gone.

"Let's just get it," I say. We agree that N, G and I will stay at Meijer with the biggest box while D runs the other 2 boxes home. Then he will come back for the biggest box while N, G and I visit the baby and toy sections of the store. And this is what we do.

Now other kids who are tired and hungry would be crying and fussing and just completely undone, but my kids (on this particular day when all the stars must have been aligned perfectly), were wonderful. Very patient. G just drooled and giggled and smiled at every person who passed him in the cart. N played with some stuffed animals and waited ever so patiently. At one point she said she had to pee, so I asked the greeter to watch our cart while we visited the bathroom. N said, "But what about the box? Won't someone take it? Don't we need to watch it?" She was very intent on doing our job to the best of our ability.

Both kids were bushed because they were asleep by the time we got home...and deep enough in slumber to not wake up even when we carried them in the house.

I wish I could take credit for them being so good but I can't. I knew we were entering treacherous territory by keeping them out for so long under not the most fun conditions, but they were super.

It's a Wash

I remember a friend of mine telling me that her daughter went through a phase where she hated baths. For some reason, I think my friend said she was about 4 when this happened.

N is having the same issue, at least when I try to bath her at night. It seems like when I bath her late afternoon she is better about it, so we might just be having a tiredness issue rather than a bath issue.

Anyhoo, baths have turned into skirmishes between me and her, and tonight it escalated to the point where I yanked her out of the tub and screamed at her that she could just be stinky and I wasn't going to bath her--a bit of reverse psychology that failed miserably since she didn't immediately say "No, no, I want to take a bath." I felt instantly sorry for yelling at her as well as stupid because I had gotten her out of the tub which is exactly not what I wanted to do, and she was perfectly happy with being taken out of the tub. I wanted her to be clean. So I went back into her room, apologized for yelling and then hauled her ass back into the tub.

I never like to think of these situations as winning or losing because even if I "win" it usually involves making her cry or be upset, so it never feels like winning. And sometimes my "loss" isn't a loss but a decision on my part to let the issue go. Tonight was just weird. Usually the reverse psychology thing works on her but her refusal to bite made me have to rethink this strategy.

But the guilt, the guilt. I hate the guilt I feel when I yell at her. I hate the guilt I feel getting so frustrated when she doesn't cooperate with baths. I hate it and yet I can't help but want to knock her teeth out when bath could be sooooooo simple and fast if she'd just quit fighting me. So chalk one up for me being a poopy, irritable mommy today.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Guinea pig and other things

I am doing this market research project whereby researchers come to my home every other month to talk with me and watch me be a mom. There is also an online component that involves more or less journaling about my experiences as a mom. It is kinda cool to be a guinea pig, especially when no blood has to be drawn, and I do get paid for participating, but the online component has started to affect my blogging here on mood-disordered.

This week and last I have had to take 36+ pictures of my "life" and journal about them in preparation for the researchers' April visit. While I enjoy it on the one hand (and certainly can use the extra cash), it does get to be a little much taking that many pictures and describing how they pertain to myself and my kids.

Lord knows, I am always thinking about being a mom and stuff my kids do and choices and mistakes I make, but the work associated with this research can be a little stifling. I just get a little too much in my own head...and that is a scary, scary place to be.

Plus, after writing about myself for 2 hours I have no desire to blog here. I just want to go read a book and think about everything other than being a mom. I have been feeling like a royal bore of late--like I have nothing interesting to discuss--so maybe the over-self-examination is to blame.

Speaking of reading a book, I finished The Hunchback of Notre Dame last night. That is certainly NOTHING like the Disney version. Holy crap--how depressing. I won't be explaining to N how it differs from the movie she likes. She has been all over my book, looking for Qs, Es and Phs (Quasimodos, Esmeraldas, and Phoebus').

Since D has a haircut the night of May's bookclub, I am going to read either The Constant Gardener or Middlesex rather than the book our club selected for the month.

Now that G has started solids, I am wondering if I'm experiencing some kind of hormonal shifts affecting my mood. I just seem to be more irritated with N. Of course, it could be that she dawdles like crazy or says "Momma" before everything or ignores about 98% of what I ask of her. It is a toss-up.

This has been one long ramble--but that is how my brain operates these days.

What Tough Really Means

Awhile ago we visited a friend's house and on the way home N said, "That P is really tough." I was confused because P isn't a mean, especially "tough" person, at least to my way of thinking. When I asked what N meant about tough, she said, "She has a lot of food in her." Ohhhh, you mean fat.

Since then N has refused to eat tough carrots. My MIL, upon hearing N's comment, started talking about how they might be a little stale, but when I asked N to show me the carrot she didn't want to eat, it was thick. Or fat.

I thought it was cute, her little euphemism for fat. That was until yesterday when she and I and G were sitting on the couch together. N leaned over on my belly, raised my shirt a bit, flapped on my skin and said, "Your belly is tough."


Nursing Gollum

G has been making all of these weird growly type sounds lately--arghh, grrrr. The other night I was getting ready to nurse him and prior to latching on, he looked at my nipple and made this deep, gutteral sound that sounded borderline unholy. D said, "I think you are nursing Gollum."

Fortunately, G is way cuter than Gollum and doesn't have any hang-ups with shiny rings. Watches--yes. Eyeglasses--yes. Cords hanging from the wall--yes. But interest in shiny golden rings--no.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Whine, bitch, moan

I really have nothing to whine, bitch or moan about in the big scheme of things.

We don't have debt problems. My kids are healthy. Nobody is stalking me. I have no history of being abused or victimized. I am overall a person who is satisfied with her life.

BUT.... there is plenty I can whine, bitch and moan about in the little scheme of things, so here goes:

  • G-- did you not get the memo that babies your age might consider sleeping 5-6 consecutive hours on a regular basis? You are way fat, so I don't see that you need to nurse 2 times a night. And I know your teeth hurt but I simply cannot give you as much painkiller as you seem to need and want. I know you are a little man and therefore unable to tolerate even the slightest inkling of discomfort, but screaming from 3-5 a.m. about it only makes momma a wee bit pissy the next day.
  • N-- if you are gonna stay up until nearly 9:00 pm anyway, then momma is gonna reinstitute the daytime nap because I am tired (see bullet above which explains why momma is so tired). And is it a 4-year-old thing that makes one suddenly become a Chatty Kathy doll? It is very cute and I am listening, but could you please stop saying, "Momma," before everything you say. "Momma, why is that man sitting there in his car? Momma, I think I'm gonna name my doll Cocoona. Momma, where are my sunglasses? Momma, I ate a carrot." Since we both know my name is Momma, there is really no need to repeat it so many times. I promise, I AM LISTENING.
  • D-- I knew it would probably come to this but you are gonna have to choose between the Xbox and me because right now I am playing 2nd fiddle to a frickin piece of metal. May I remind you that I cook your dinner and wash your clothes and have given birth to your 2 children. And there are some needs you have that ain't gonna be filled that type of box.
Suffice it to say, everyone in this house is getting on my nerves right now.
Oh wait, I forgot 2 members of the household whom I never mention but who drive me bonkers as much as the other 3.

  • Gonzo and Shanks-- It really pisses me off when G has been fed, N has been fed, and D has fed you guys once and then you meow and holler at me for food when I AM THE ONLY BEING IN THE HOUSE WHO HASN'T HAD ANY FOOD AT ALL! You guys knew you lost seniority when N came along, and now G has pushed you even further down my list. But this meowing, especially on the heels of a all-nighter with G, makes me wanna skin you. As D said "Cat, it's the other white meat."
There, I feel better already.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

The dog borrowers and other highlights from my week

1. N is in love---he is very short, has 4 legs and is named Baker. He belongs to the neighbors caddy-corner to us in the back.

We borrowed him the other day so N could take him for a walk, and now everyday she asks, "Can we take Baker for a walk?" It was the middle of a flash-flood producing rain on Friday and she asked if we could get Baker. Uh, no.

2. G better cut this 2nd bottom tooth (the 1st one cut on Sunday) because he has been a pill most of the week. Between his tooth, getting his shots on Monday, and a stuffy nose, he has been Mr. Downer, at least with me. If we are out and he sees new faces, he lights up like the sun. But he saves his whining for momma.

3. We have finished our taxes--FINALLY--and owe Uncle Sam a bucket of money. While I am not excited to pay, I will just be glad to get the checks mailed. I am sick of this hanging over my head.

4. G has had rice cereal, oat cereal, applesauce, prunes, bananas, and tonight carrots. He is loving all of it.

God, is my life so dull that these aforementioned items are the "highlights." I'm just gonna go to bed. How sad.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Book-end doctor appointments

G in the stroller prior to taking our neighbor's dog for a walk.

N on the hillside after kite-flying.

I really know how to plan my week: G's 6-month well visit on Monday and N's 4-year well visit on Friday. No question as to how nuts I am.

So G is a healthy 20 lb, 6.4 oz and 27.75 inches in length--putting him firmly in the 90% on both counts. Received 4 shots and cried for about 2 seconds.

N is a healthy 42 lbs and 43 inches tall--putting her in the 90% on weight and the 97% on height. Why am I amazed that G is so large? His sister is a virtual Amazon. She got a finger stick for a blood count and peed in a cup. She also received 4 shots and cried for about 2 hours.

Unless N's CBC tells otherwise, I can assume I have 2 very healthy, mostly happy kids. What more can I ask for?