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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Peaks and valleys

Just as on Twitter there is ShitMyDadSays, my mom also parlayed advice and information to me throughout my childhood and early adulthood, though admittedly, without the sarcasm and black humor.  Most of the advice she gave me stuck, and a lot of it I will pass along to my children as they grow.   Among the most frequently offered were the following:

"Get an education before you get married or have children."
"I will not take care of any babies if you get pregnant as a teenager."
and
"Life is full of peaks and valleys."

This last one pretty well sums up 2009 for me, particularly the last 12 weeks since M was born.

M's birth was the peak, the highlight of the year.  It was also the beginning of a downward spiral into a valley of illness which my family has been trudging through for a long while now.  Viral pneumonia, pink eye, strep throat, double ear infections in all three kids, and RSV are the biggies since Thanksgiving.  This doesn't include all the little 2-day viruses that have hit all of us at least twice.

But I know that eventually we will get out of this valley and back to a peak.  It may be sometime in May 2010 when all the nasty viruses depart for cooler temperatures, but it will come.

I have been trying to find something positive about this whole experience, and I've come up with little.  There's just no two ways about it:  Illness in one's kids really, really, really sucks.  But I have found a couple snippets of silver lining in the dark clouds.


  • M is not nursing well, so I now have a fabulous load of  breastmilk in the freezer.  I normally hate to pump, but it is a welcome relief given M's small meals at the moment.  My stash is ample for days in the coming months when I want to get out for some "Mommy Alone Time."


  • D and I are in the battle together.  There is no way I could have handled all three sick kids by myself, so it has been a blessing that D has been off work.  He always takes this time of year off, and usually I am sick of him being around after day 2, but not this time.  Having 3 sick kids makes me realize how much I need his help.  
  • M and G haven't been wheezing or experiencing labored breathing.  They are full of mucus, but it is coming out.  Though gross as heck, the RSV could be much, much worse. 

I am hoping that this is as low as this particular valley goes.  Though it could always be worse, I am beyond ready to get outta here and see me some peaks.  Hell, I'd be fucking thrilled with an extended plateau.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Cracking

I told D moments ago that I feel almost as low now as I did when I had my breakdown in 2004.  N was diagnosed with strep on Saturday, and today M was diagnosed with RSV, which means G probably has RSV as well since he has similar symptoms.  This is the cherry on the top of the illness cake we've been eating since mid-October.

Today has been a nonstop whine fest by the boys.  Crying, fussy, clinging to mommy.

While driving to pick up M's prescription for his double ear infection I came to understand something I thought would go away if I had 3 kids....if I had some backups.  I thought that I would eventually not fret as much about losing one of my kids.  But the truth is I could have 10 kids, and the thought of losing any of them would send me over the edge.

All of this illness, coupled with the "normal" worries of an infant dying, has taken hold and is making me come slowly unglued.

All of the crying and whining and fussing has lodged itself in my head so that even when I am in the shower, the sounds of water rushing my ears, I still feel like I can hear them crying, whining and fussing.

But the thought of hearing silence sickens me at the core.

I am hoping for a reprieve.  Soon.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Cherishing moments

I am trying to notice little things about M's babyhood because he is my last baby, and there are so many things I forgot to write down with N and G were infants.

Like the sighs M makes as he's nursing in the moments when he's not actively suckling.  That "huh-huh-huh" breathing sound.

Like how wonderfully sweet it is when M looks up at me while nursing and breaks into a grin, detaches himself briefly and then immediately re-latches to suckle once more.

Like how intensely M studies his hands now that he has discovered them.  I can see in his eyes he is trying to figure what in the dickens is making those darn things keep moving.

Like how a tiny little poop or fart is preceded by the loudest grunts and snorts.  I think I'm going to be changing one heck of a diaper but there is only a little skid mark.

Like how strange the smell is of a breastfed baby's poop.  D says it smells like buttered popcorn....kind of salty and sweet.  It doesn't smell good exactly but it isn't horrible either.  Distinctive, I guess.

Like how hard one has to work to ensure that every roll is dry after M's bath.  His legs are just a series of neverending creases from fat.

Like how nice it is that M has started to notice things beyond himself, making him less fussy and more easily distracted.

I was thinking tonight how blessed I have been to have 3 easy-going babies.  No colic, no undue fussiness.  There is so much for me to cherish.

Too much

Too much stuff in the house now as a result of Christmas.  Virtually every update on Facebook was about how everyone doesn't know what to do with the clutter.  Hmmmm, let's not shop as much at Christmas.  I know.  That's just crazy talk, isn't it?

Even though I cut back, it really makes no difference because the kids got a total of 15 toys/gifts on Christmas Eve from family members, plus more on Christmas Day from Mamaw.  And we haven't yet celebrated with my family due to all the rampant illness.  D's aunt sent us $50 to buy the kids something, and I think that something may end up being savings bonds.

Too much illness.  We spent yesterday afternoon, the entire afternoon, at the pediatric acute care center where N was diagnosed with a double ear infection and strep, and G has a slight case of croup.  M is congested, so when he cries it is the kind that makes no sound.  I hate it.  I am over my stomach bug that made me see entirely too much of my bathrooms on Christmas Day (and reminded me just how shitty, and I mean that literally, it was for my dad to battle ulcerative colitis for 20 years).

Too much food.  The sweet kind that I need to stop eating if I want to lose my pregnancy weight.  I'm certainly in no great hurry to lose it, but a mountain of cookies is just not a good thing.  (Ok, it's a GREAT thing.  What am I talking about?????)

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Guilty as charged

Based on the guilt I'm feeling about what I did on Christmas Eve, I don't think it would be possible for me to kill someone or commit adultery.  I simply wouldn't be able to live with myself.  My conscience would eat me alive.

I know this because this minor sin I committed is bugging the hell outta me.

Ok, here it is.  I'll spill.

I took the kids to the family Christmas even though N had been running a fever.

I know, I know.  I shouldn't have.  I would want to poke the eyes out of someone else who did this.  I would want to say to them, "Why the fuck didn't you stay at home and not expose us to your germs????"

But the idea of my kids not being able to see my husband's family and open presents, especially after having not been able to see the same family members at Thanksgiving when N, G and M were all sick, just felt so unfair.  When N started feeling poorly on Wednesday afternoon, after overhearing me talk about what we would do Christmas Eve if she was still puny, she began crying and said, "Will I be able to go to Mamaw's?"

It broke my heart to think of her not being able to celebrate, even if she wasn't at 100%.  She was so, so excited for Christmas this year.

And I couldn't allow G to go with his Daddy while N and M and I stayed at home (since M has to stay close to the boobies at all times).  That would be really mean to do to a 5-year-old.  (With G waking up sickly on Christmas Day, this tactic wouldn't have worked anyway to save anyone from germs.)

So my selfishness is biting me in the butt because now I am worried to death and fretful that those who attended will come down with something brought over by N.

It's only a small bit of what I deserve.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Dear Mary

This year I have been thinking a lot about the Christmas story.  About the real Christmas story....not the one with Ralphie.

What follows written by me will not be as good as this, but I hope you read it anyway.

Ahem.  Ok.  Here goes.

Dear Mary,

I have known the Christmas story my entire life---the angel appearing to you, the trip to Bethlehem, the stable, the manger, the shepherds and the kings.  But for the first time, this year, I think I really understand it in a way that has never before been possible.

You see, this year I had my own unexpected announcement.  No angel came unto me proclaiming me with child, but I felt utter surprise and apprehension when I learned I was pregnant.  You and I accepted our news, didn't we, despite whatever misgivings we may have had.  I know I felt fear and uncertainty and the wonderment of "How did this happen?"  And I think you probably shared these feelings too.  We were both unprepared for what God had in store for us.

And so we carried our babies, our boys, feeling them kick and poke and grow over the long months.  You knew you would deliver a son, while mine remained a mystery until he was born.  But we both felt the overwhelming joy and delight that comes with bringing a healthy child into the world.  There is no greater miracle.  Nothing in life that proves there is something greater than us mortals.

We, as mothers, have much to treasure and hold dear to our hearts with the births of our sons.   With any child who blesses our life.  Whether angels herald it or not, the birth of one's child and the unconditional love one feels for that child can and does bring us to our knees.

Now the tale of your son's birth is well-known, the most famous story told, but at the time, to you, his birth was just a simple human undertaking.  What nature and God intended.  As was my son's.  Just as you did,  I will watch my son grow and develop and become a toddler, a boy and eventually a man.

This Christmas I am so thankful for my "surprise son," the one I didn't plan.  The one who humbled me and makes me realize that I need to trust that all will be well when the unexpected happens.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Dear ___________ (insert idiot's name here) letters

Dear Lady in the White Truck,

Please note that my parking space is only 4 spaces away from the second Kroger parking lot, which has a million empty spaces in which you could park.  Please also note that I am packing many groceries and a sleeping baby in a carseat, so I'm not going to move any faster.  You are a complete idiot to be blocking traffic for my spot, which ain't great to begin with.

Have a Merry Fucking Christmas, Dumbass.

Carrie


Dear Man in Kroger,

Why the hell are you here if you are just going to stand there in the middle of the aisle, looking lost?  Please go find your wife, ask for the car keys and go sit your ass down where you will not be in my way.

P.S. Watch out for the lady in the white truck blocking traffic.

Carrie


Dear Lady in Kroger with the Mile Long Shopping List,

I have a baby with me therefore I want to get my stuff and get the hell outta dodge.  Please move yourself and your cart out of my way.  If you want to ogle the bean section all evening, be my guest, but I got better things to do with my time.

Carrie



One of these things is very similar to the others....

Before we begin this, let's revisit photo comparisons from 2007. 
And here's some more.    

And now for the 2009 edition of
Can You Tell We're Siblings?


Monday, December 21, 2009

Goals for the new year

I saw my friend KL's Facebook update about what she wants to accomplish in 2010, which got me thinking about what I'd like to accomplish in the coming year.  It is a probably a little sick and definitely geeky how much I enjoy goal-setting.

So without further ado, here are some of my "goals" for 2010:

1. Save $10,000 in M's 529 plan.  We have put this amount in the other kids' 529 plans within their first year, so we want to do the same for him.  

2. Save enough money to get new flooring on the main level of our home.  I've got some saved, and I'm gonna have people give me some estimates of how much it will cost.  This will likely be something that gets done closer to the start of 2011.  I saw some shirts on sale for $5 at Old Navy, but I am trying to remind myself of all of "big"wants I have for the coming year and putting the kibosh on spending for "little" wants.  

3. Purchase a new mattress.  Our mattress is almost 12 years old and has nice little permanent indentations of mine and D's bodies.  That puppy needs to go.  

(I feel a little shitty now that I see in print all of my materialistic desires.  I foresee having to tell myself repeatedly that I am allowed to get some new stuff and am not being careless since we aren't going into debt to do anything.)

4. Wean M.  I don't have a timeframe in mind.  I'd prefer a year, but we'll just see what happens.  I have to wean him before I can begin my next goal in earnest.

5. Lose all pregnancy weight and get firm.  I cannot stand exercising while nursing because the slightest little jolt gets my milk a'flowin.  So once I wean M and am getting ample rest....because I hope to heck he is sleeping at least 8 hour stretches by then....I want to get myself in shape.  I never had time to get myself in shape after G because a month after I weaned him I was pregnant again.  And it was winter.  I need the nice weather and sunshine of spring to get motivated.

6.  Take some small day trips next summer.  We don't go on a big vacation, like to the beach, every year.  N wants to go to Mammoth Cave, and we think G would enjoy a Day with Thomas.  We've talked about Kings Island as well.  

Geez, that seems like a whole lot of stuff to do.  I feel quite certain #5 will be the one that is hardest for me to accomplish.  Mostly because of time or the lack thereof.  And some of these things are to some extent out of my control.  Because if D loses his job (heaven forbid), then obviously 1-3 are postponed indefinitely.  

I'm glad I've got 10 more days before I have to start really thinking about this stuff.


Saturday, December 19, 2009

What I do on Christmas

First, I enjoy seeing my kids open their presents.
Then, I eat a big breakfast of egg/sausage casserole and gourmet muffins.
Finally, I spent the remainder of the day flipping out in a futile attempt to find new homes for all the stuff that has become a part of my world.

It seems this year my organizational anxiety has come early.   Perhaps this is because for the past 2 and a half months, I have been living in the baby-induced world of crap just flung everywhere.

Basically the first year of a baby's life is a near constant rotation of baby items throughout the house.  There is a crib, but for the first four months baby sleeps in a bassinet or bouncy seat or swing or some combination of these.  There are at least 2 baby carriers either in the car or in the main living area.  There are receiving blankets in every room in case one needs to lay the baby down.  Pacifiers are littered all over, as are burp cloths.

And once the baby outgrows this early infancy stuff and begins sitting up, you breathe a sigh of relief that you have your "house back," but then out comes the teething toys, the exersaucer, the johnny jump-ups, and the never-ending parade of plastic playstuffs which lasts until.....

Well, I don't know how long it lasts.

Since M doesn't have his own bedroom, I don't have the luxury of dumping junk in his room.  His clothes are in a laundry basket in my living room.  His diapers and wipes are on top of my dresser, and on top of a bookshelf in the living room.  I can barely get my laundry done because most of my baskets are being used for daily storage of baby-related goods.

But back to Christmas.  Sorta.

Today I cleaned everything off the dining room table, which had become my work-space for MOMS Club binders, N's school book orders, Christmas card preparation, bill payment, etc.  My to-do area is now in the kitchen, at the desk, where it should have been all along.

N and I also cleaned out all the Halloween candy from the pantry.  And by cleaned out, I do not mean we ate it all.

Awhile back I bought an Ikea storage cabinet from my neighbor, with baskets in it for storing the kids' toys in the basement.  It was missing two baskets, so last night I called and begged her if she could scrounge around to find them (ya know, since she doesn't have enough to do with getting ready for Christmas).  Because I am preparing to convert a whole bunch of living room toys into basement toys, as any new stuff will become living room toys.

I know that one day I won't have kid stuff strewn far and wide throughout my house, and I suspect I will kind of miss these days.

Naaaaahhhh.  I will most certainly miss their childhood--the innocence, the laughter, the cuddles-- but not the stuff everywhere.

Of course, I will then have to address the fact that I have 10 trillion baskets and nothing of mine to put in them.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Infidelity

All this talk about Tiger Woods has me thinking about infidelity.  Well, him and the wasteland that my and D's marriage goes through after the birth of every child.  


I don't think I'm spilling any secrets when I say that 1. lack of sleep, 2. breastfeeding hormones, and 3. two other kids to care for makes one barely interested in vocal communication and totally disinterested in coitus.  And I'm talking about the male part of the marriage equation here.


Suffice it to say, a new baby makes both partners in a marriage feel under-appreciated, tired and stressed, all of which are feelings that might make one think the grass is greener with the non-lactating cows in the other pasture.  


I don't think D is a guy who would stray.  Primarily because infidelity takes some energy, and D is a very low energy kind of guy.  Plus, I really believe he loves me and our family.  And he has some inkling of how badly it would hurt when my frying pan comes in contact with his nuts.  


That being said, I could totally understand, especially now, how a little fling would be very appealing to him.  I am a frumpy housewife and mom.  My upper body is totally off-limits to him, as it always is when I am nursing.  And he could have at my lower body but we are both terrified of getting pregnant and having a 4th child.


More important than the physical, though, is how dramatically our communicative intimacy dissipates with a new baby.  The only thing I have to talk about is my boobs, shitty diapers, and drool.  He has other things to discuss but I am so tired from being with kids all day that I tend to zone out.  Or I am in a hurry to get 5 things done in the 50 second window of quiet that I have in my house only once a day.  


But this wasteland passes.  As the baby gets older, sleeps better and we get into a routine, our marriage recovers.  Or at least it has the last two times, so I'm hoping things continue as they have.  


One of my favorite songs is U2's Between a Man and a Woman, and the reason is because of these lyrics:



I could never take a chance

Of losing love to find romance

In the mysterious distance

Between a man and a woman.

I think about these lyrics whenever I read about someone having an adulterous relationship.  Romance is fleeting.  Love is steadfast.  

Tiger should have been listening more to Bono.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

This I know is true---about breastfeeding

Even though I am nursing kid #3 and should have "this" down, I need to just accept that the breastfeeding rules don't always apply.

For example, the general rule is that if breastfeeding hurts or causes discomfort, it is due to a bad latch.  In my case, breastfeeding discomfort is due to the fact that my fucking right nipple is retarded and won't heal. Leftie is brilliant and 98% healed.  Dumb-ass righty is being a PITA.  I keep checking M's latch, and it is fine.  Three lactation consultants have said it is fine.  He is getting tons of milk in him...so the latch is fine.  But nippy just hasn't toughened up yet.

I can understand why many, many women stop breastfeeding, especially if they experience anything like what I experience.  But I tend to like challenges, and so I keep doing it.

Plus, I can't help but feel proud, looking at Chunky Monkey M, and knowing that I got him that way.  I did it!!  Not something from a can.  And knowing that every time he nurses he's getting thousands upon thousands of good antibodies.  I feel like I can safely go to the mall without spazzing off that he is catching every little bug that comes our way.

And I am lazy.  I don't want to mess with bottles and heating stuff up.  Too much preparation.  I don't even like to pump for an occasional bottle because it is too time-consuming.  It is so much easier to just unlatch by nursing bra and get 'er done.

At this point, I don't think I'll be getting my wish for non-sore boobies for Christmas.  Well, a non-sore leftie.  C'mon righty!!!  Get with the program!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Hello. Goodbye. Hello. Goodbye

This weekend was crazy-busy for us.  True, it doesn't take much activity to qualify as crazy-busy for this family that never goes anywhere on the weekend, except for Mamaw's on Sunday nights for supper, but this weekend did even ME in, and that's saying alot because I like to get out and about.

Saturday morning was Breakfast with Santa at the clubhouse in my parents' neighborhood.  We arrived promptly at 9:00 and were able to get into the grub before everything got cold and picked over.  N eagerly sat on Santa's lap, informing him that she wanted her two front teeth for the 25th.  Santa wisely replied that he would have to check with his dentist elf.  Hermie, I guess?




I guess N is showing Santa him her dental needs...


G even sat on Santa's lap.  He just responded with "Uh-huh" to whatever Santa said.
Santa:   "Do you want cars?"
G: "Uh-huh."
S:  "Do you want trains?"
G: "Uh-huh."






I had a highlight and haircut at 1:00, so shortly after arriving home from breakfast I had to turn around and leave again.  I am soooooo loving my new color.  I was finally able to explain exactly how I wanted my highlight (chunky).  It is my Cruella DeVille color.

Upon returning home from the salon, I had to turn around again to head to Kroger to pick up balloons, flowers and dessert for dinner at Papaw's house.  All the great-grandkids visited Papaw on Saturday night to celebrate his 85th birthday.  Papaw lives in a tiny little house with a wood-burning stove.  With 6 adults, 2 teenagers, and 4 kids under 6, it was a sauna.

Sunday proved only slightly less hectic.  I fixed my corn pudding for the family Christmas party, went to Kroger again to pick up items for dinner fixings for the week, and then we drove out to my mom and dad's house.  All of this by 12:30.

Every December my cousins on my mom's side of the family get together to eat, catch-up on each other's lives and play "Dirty Santa."  G skipped his first daytime nap ever.  He did really well.  No tantrums or crying fits, but he fell soundly asleep in the car last night on the way home.  And today he fell asleep at noon.

By the time last night rolled around I was wiped completely out.  Next weekend is totally free of any activities or engagements.  D can go buy me some tires.  I can stay home with whomever happens to be sick.  Because this weekend was the first weekend in 9 weeks that everyone had been well.  That ain't gonna last.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Morbid musings

After I have a baby, I go through a period of obsessing about death---both the baby's and mine.  With the boys, this obsession has been manageable due to my medication, but I still struggle a bit.

My sensitive nipple skin cracks like the dickens when I'm breastfeeding.  At 9 weeks out, my right nipple is still a mess, while the left one is about 93% healed.  Even though my skin has done this 3 times (with every child), I have to spend quite a bit of mental energy convincing myself that this cracking is not an indication of cancer.  And that it will heal eventually.

Sometime after the first of the year, D and I will have to meet with a lawyer to update our will, so I have been thinking about what will happen if I die before D while the kids are still young.  How would he handle it?  Would he discipline them consistently?  What in god's name would he feed them (since my hubby's culinary repertoire consists of grilled cheese and......grilled cheese)?  The truth is if I died, I would be dead and could do nothing about any of this.

And then there are my worries about M, primarily, "Will be succumb to SIDS?"

After G was about 6 months old, I purchased some cute return address labels personalized with caricatures of us.  Now that there are 5 of us, and I am working on Christmas cards, I have been wanting to get some new ones made.  But my brain kept thinking that if I order the new address labels with M on them, then he will probably die (since he is not out of that 2-4 month highest risk of SIDS window).  I have to give myself this big long talk and tell myself the following:

1. The chances of M dying of SIDS are pretty slim, like 1 in 1,500.
2. Even if he did die, my least concern would be these stupid labels.
3. The labels have no causative effect on M's health or life.  Ordering new labels is not going to jinx M.

This afternoon I ordered the labels, but it has taken me weeks of this same internal conversation to finally get the determination to just do it.

Once M gets to 4 months or so, and definitely by 6 months, these musings will subside.  And once I stop nursing and my breasts go back to whatever normal will be for them, I will stop fretting about my skin.

The first months of postpartum life are challenging enough without my brain making things more stressful and worrisome.

Photos of the kids


Yep, we are nerds.






Is he developing a weight problem or is it me?


I know I'm biased, but he sure is cute.


Thursday, December 10, 2009

I probably shouldn't like this as much as I do....

But I can't help it.
It is such a good show.

I'm talking about the PBS show, The Electric Company.

Everything about it is catchy.
The theme song.
The beat-boxing tunes.
The featured guest in songs and sketches like Wyclef Jean, Jimmy Fallon, Pete Wentz and Whoopi Goldberg.

I admit to even dancing to "Slide and Drop," which is just awesome!

Oh yeah.  And it's fracking educational too.

Love it.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

OCD and anxiety symptoms--past and present

When I was finally diagnosed with OCD and Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) in 2005, it was my "Aha!" moment.  So many feelings and thoughts and experiences finally made sense to me.  I had just thought I was terribly weird.

While my symptoms as an adult were fairly severe, requiring medication and therapy, the ones from my childhood were manageable.  Weird--definitely.  But some of them even had some benefits.

For example, I recopied my notes in school over and over and over.  If I made one little mistake, I would tear out the page in my notebook and start again rather than just using White-Out.  Yes, I used a lot of paper, but I also memorized my notes because of rewriting them repeatedly which made for excellent retention and test scores.  I started this in 7th grade and continued it throughout high school.  I stopped doing it in college.  

The strange ones....well, I'll just list them:

1. I would type letters with my toes in the air.  So if I was laying on the couch watching tv, I would get a random word stuck in my head, like potato.  And then my toes would "type" as if an invisible typewriter was under them, the letters of the word potato over and over and over.  I still catch myself toe typing letters.

2. Chronic hand-washing.  Still have this, although it comes in very handy in the winter, especially with H1N1 floating around.

3. Hypochondria.  Only since getting on my antidepressant have I been able to not think that every little thing is cancer.  I spent most of my life having my mother, and then my husband, look into my throat and answer the question, "Do you think it's cancer?"  Nowadays, I still catch myself wondering whether a minor ache is cancer, but I can usually talk myself into a rational explanation of the symptom.  

4. I went through a phase where I would read every comic strip in the newspaper, even the ones I didn't like, because I felt that if I only read my favorites, the other ones would get their feelings hurt.  (Yes, I recognize that comic strips are inanimate objects, but we are talking about OCD here.)

5. General obsessing.  I distinctly remember being a pre-teen and having a boyfriend.  I tried calling him (and this was in the days before answering machines).  I would let the phone ring literally hundreds of times.  And then I would keep calling over and over and over.  Probably 50 times.  I could not just let it go.  And this was not a one-time event.  Every time I didn't get an answer I would do this.  This obsessing was even worse when I was waiting for someone to call me back.  I simply could not stop obsessing over when the other person was going to return my call.  

6. When I was in high school, if I was out late and didn't take a shower before bed, I had to change my sheets the next day otherwise I could literally feel the dirt and grime on my sheets.  I was unable to sleep on sheets if I hadn't bathed prior to sleeping on them.  

7. Checking the door.  My parents would be in bed, long asleep, and I would get up and check the doors.  Multiple times.  (As an adult, I used to do this with my car.  I would walk halfway across the parking lot and have to walk all the way back to check.  Another thing I would do is turn my car around and redrive the same route I had just come, thinking I had possibly hit someone with my car but didn't feel the impact.  I have wasted many minutes of my life worrying that I'd hit a pedestrian and driving in circles until I felt certain that I had not hit someone.)

8. Irritable bowel issues.  My worries took their toll on my colon.  I would experience bouts of diarrhea whenever my anxiety got out of hand.  Which was often.  Since I have been on antidepressants, my bowel issues are a thing of the past.

So, yes, more or less, I was like Monk (although I can't speak for Monk's bowel habits).  

When N was about 7 months, I developed the following symptoms and was put on Zoloft 50 mg:

1. Uncontrolled crying
2. Excessive guilt and feelings of ineptness
3. Inability to eat
4. Insomnia or waking from sleep with panic attack (heart palpitations, sweating, shaking)
5. Obsession with death/dying

When N was 14 months, I began having intrusive thoughts about me stabbing her with a knife, throwing her down the steps, or molesting her.  And these weren't just occasional.  I would have streams of thoughts like this throughout the day.  Suffice it to say, I got into see a psychiatrist immediately because I knew this was not normal.  It was at this point I was diagnosed with OCD and GAD and told that I required 4 times that 50 mg Zoloft dose.  When Zoloft caused stomach upset, I was switched to Lexapro 20 mg and have been good ever since (thank the gods)!

In my case, I have never been diagnosed with depression because any depressive symptoms I have are because my OCD and GAD become out of control.  If those are under control, I do not have feelings of sadness or worthlessness.  

So that, in a nutshell, is my experience with OCD.  I'm sure there are other symptoms I had as a kid that I just can't recall right now.  Somewhere I read that OCD has a lot to do with memory failures in the brain.  A person with OCD can't remember unplugging the curling iron which therefore leads to the checking, rechecking, etc.  









Monday, December 7, 2009

Goofy things you probably don't want to know about me

Right now my kids, for the most part, think I'm all that and a bag of chips.  But one day, they will think I am the biggest dope on the planet.  And then, when they have children of their own, they will think I am all that once again.

My mom had me when she was 35, and as a kid, I always thought she was so old, as all kids do.  But now that I am 36, I realize how young she was.  She was probably pretty cool in her own way, just as I am cool in my own way (stifle your laughter, people).

I have been thinking about things I do or think that make me unique that my kids might want to know about me.  Some of these things D didn't even know about me until I told him yesterday.

1. I never, ever, ever, ever wear Dockers-style khaki pants.  Or navy blue pants.  Ever.

2. In the fall, winter and spring, when I wear pants I like to wear silly socks that are brightly colored and have things on them like skulls, cats, flip-flops, bagels, and the like.

3. I will not wear tennis shoes with jeans.  Ever.

4. I didn't really put it together that maple syrup comes from maple trees until D told N today when she was eating her pancakes.  I just thought maple described the flavor....not the syrup's origins.

5. Until a few years ago, I thought the space shuttle returned to earth vertically, as in it came back down the same way it went up.  I didn't know it landed like an airplane on a runway.

6. I am naturally brunette, so #4 and #5 cannot be blamed on being a blonde.

7. I have never had a cavity.  And I hope to remain a cavity virgin for the rest of my life.  (There is something to be said for OCD when it means you brush and brush and brush and brush and brush.)

8. When I was a kid, a "friend" convinced me that I had a boyfriend, but I never actually met the boyfriend.  We went together for a couple months.  Somehow I just believed that this guy I never met liked me and was mine even though I never saw him, spoke with him or received a letter from him.

9.  See #6 again but apply it to #8.

10. I thought I wanted to be an ob/gyn until I had my first biology lab, then decided I couldn't survive endless years of lab work.  Too tedious.

11.  When I was 19, I traveled to England/Ireland and Wales.  During that 10-week trip, I sent a Dear John letter to my boyfriend at home and got engaged (ring and all) to a guy on the trip whom I'd had English classes with.  The engagement lasted 4 weeks, but he didn't officially break my heart until we were stateside again.

12. Two weeks after I turned 21, I was kicked out of Cardinal Stadium during the St. X/Trinity game for public intoxication.  I was hungover for 5 days.

13. Since that time, I have never had hard liquor straight.  No vodka, no whiskey, no rum, no tequila.

14. I tried smoking in college, but it made me edgy.  And, lord knows, I am edgy enough without adding to it artificially.

15. I have smoked pot once in my life.  On that England trip in college.

16. When I was a kid, I used to bite my nails.  I also got repeated strep throat infections.  My pediatrician told me biting my nails might be causing me to get the strep.  I never bit my nails again.  (Now I just pick at them.)

17. I drink about 3 glasses of skim milk a day.

18. I got my ears pierced when I was in 4th grade.  As an adult, I developed an allergy to various metals and haven't been able to wear posts in years.

19. I would have gotten a tattoo in college or shortly thereafter but my skin is so sensitive, I figured I'd have complications.

20. I thought about going into the Peace Corps after college but was scared of all the diseases I might pick up in Africa.  And I didn't know how I'd live without my allergy medications.

21.  Part of my OCD is hypochondria.  Surprised?

22. I have a lopsided uterus which explains why all 3 of my kids have had torticollis as infants (yep, M has it too).

23.  One of my favorite lunches to eat at home is Campbell's tomato soup and a tuna sandwich.

24. I love falsetto singers.

25. If I had any desire to change my name, I would name myself Eleanor.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Rage against the machine

I have been feeling an overwhelming sense of fury directed mainly at my husband, and I have come to the conclusion that it is time to move on.  He hasn't done anything wrong, really.  He does what probably 92% of all men do, and that is let their wives handle most everything related to the home and childcare.

As a stay-at-home mom, I accept that this is my job---handling the kids and home.  But having a newborn makes this "job" a shitload harder.  The nursing, the early morning wake-up calls, the near constant holding and doing the "settle baby down dance."  With the holidays, it just means more and more and more for me to do (I am Santa, after all).  So I'm buying and wrapping and sending and returning and writing.

I find myself thinking, "After 3 kids why doesn't D know to do x, y or z?"  But the dumbest thing is that after 3 kids, I am still expecting D to have learned to it do x, y or z.  He hasn't, he won't, and I am an idiot to think that this time it will be different.  I am as bad as all those women who marry thinking their husband will change now that he has a ring on his left hand.

So I need to just accept that this is the way it is and get over it.
Easier said than done when I am upstairs cutting coupons, nursing, making N's lunch, and dusting simultaneously while D is downstairs playing an X-box game.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Why I am a dumb-ass

I try.  I really do.  But then I could kick myself for becoming the type of spastic mom I don't want to be.  I did this last year, too, but the pregnancy brain and the post-partum, lack of sleep brain made me forget what a bad idea it was then, too.

I decided it would be "fun" for N to make our Christmas cards, so I purchased some flat notes and envelopes and told her she could draw pictures and color them, and I would draw some pictures that she could color as well.  I say I want them to be her creation, but then I start realizing that I want them to look a certain way once I see her have at it.

(This was completely done by N.)

For example, on one she used markers, and by markers I mean dried out, nasty looking, dull as shit markers.  So I encouraged her to color over the markers with crayon to make the color more vibrant.  That went over like a ton of bricks.

Overall, she is doing a good job, and I am just biting my tongue in half when she scribbles her name a thousand times all over the pictures of angels and presents.  As if the intended recipient isn't going to pick up on the fact that they were done by our resident kindergartener.

On one she drew a snowflake.  When I asked if she was going to have room to write Merry Christmas she just put an "M C" on the note.  Because whomever we send this to is going to know what M C stands for.  Obviously.  They would be thinking their own abbreviation:  WTF?  (So I went in and wrote "erry hristmas" in the best way I could.)  And then I let her sprinkle glitter all over it.


Tomorrow morning, I am going to attempt to take a picture of all 3 kids in Christmas shirts/sleepers in front of the Christmas tree to send with our homemade cards.

And then I'm going to write a delightfully short "newsletter" of what we've done this year.  And by that I mean bitch about how hard it was to be pregnant, take classes, care for the kids, and now be a mom of 3.


(My amazingly artistic angel, colored by N.)

Ta-Da: The "After" Mantel

I know you've been waiting with bated breath for the unveiling of my new and improved mantel.  So here goes:



As I mentioned, I wanted to keep the wreath, so I selected the Christmas cones in gold.  And I purchased snowmen stocking holders.  Mine and D's stockings are each held up by a pair of snow-people (a male and female).  Each of the kids has their own individual snowman.

It is nothing fancy, but I didn't want it to be really busy.

Oh, and here is the tree in our dining room.  We had our big evergreen outside our window cut down this past spring, so I am able to have a decorated Christmas tree in the window that people can actually see.  We put all the kids' special ornaments on this tree.  Surprisingly, G has not yet toppled it on his head.  But there is always tomorrow.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Christmas decorating challenge (my cheapness AND laziness)

I am no good at decorating for Christmas. It has always seemed a tremendous waste to me because it is only up for 3 weeks or so. Even more wasteful than decorating itself has been spending any money on decorating for the holidays. But when I mentioned in my last post that I was wanting to do something with my mantel, my friend KB challenged me to a mantel decorating extravaganza. She, too, has been wanting to do something to her mantel, so we are going to post pics of what we come up with.

Today I shall post my "BEFORE" picture:


With Nana watching the boys, I was able to venture out to do a little shopping, and I was able to get everything I needed to decorate my mantel. I like it, but I'll wait a couple days to post the picture (to keep my increasingly small readership on the edge of their seats. Where'd ya'll go, by the way?).

I thought I wanted to keep the wreath for two reasons: 1. My MIL made it for us when D and I first got married, so it has some sentimental value, and 2. I hate to not use perfectly good stuff. But at the same time, I thought that if I saw something that I really loved that would be perfect, I would consider buying it. I used to hang the wreath it on my front door, but N found a Santa face made of yarn at Papaw's house that her great-grandma had made so we have that on our front door now.

While at Garden Ridge, I did find some cute wreaths, one I liked even, and they were on sale at 50% off. However, the wreath I liked (not loved) was $49.99, so even on sale it was $24.99. Now had I not had a wreath at all, $24.99 is a good price. But when I already have a wreath, and I wasn't head-over-heels for the one I saw, it was no-go. Frugality beats all.

I debated not getting the things I ended up purchasing so that I could check other stores, but since I really don't like to shop and my ability to get out and actually browse by myself is extraordinarily limited, I just went ahead and got 'em. If I am lucky enough to get out after the holidays and find other decor I like as much or even better, I can always get it to use for next year. Plus, it will be way cheap. And I totally love way cheap.

Mine and D's stockings are the ones we've had since childhood, so I opted to do the kids' stockings the same way. I spent a whopping $1.99 on M's. I really liked the ornate ones or cross-stitched ones at the stores, but, again, why toss stockings that do their job just fine?

Stay tuned for more pics of the After mantel, as well as my half-ass way of doing the basement Christmas tree.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Keeping up with the kids

I have been doing a piss-poor job of noting things in the kids' journals. Gee, I can't imagine why?

Anyhoo, I thought I would jot some things down here because my fingers type faster than they write, and I can print a copy for their journals when I'm done.

JIB-JAB
Nana and Pa's friends in Ohio made a Jib-Jab disco video using pictures of Nana and Pa's faces (Nana and Pa Disco). The kids go bonkers when I play it for them. G laughs like a crazy person. The other night, both kids kept waving at the screen, as if Nana and Pa would wave back. N said, "Nana can't dance like that. She's too old." When I told Nana, she got a major kick outta that.

EXPLOSIVE VOCABULARY
Every day G says new phrases, which can be hilarious. Last night driving home from Papaw's we were looking at the Christmas lights. At one point, G didn't see any houses with them and he said, "Lights, wey are you? Wey could dey be?"

I know I've mentioned this, but that boy lurvs Target, or as he calls it, "Taryet."

This week, G has been telling me what he is doing as he is doing it. For example, he has been telling me when he is going poo-poo. When he is crying, he says, "I kai-yin."

When you ask him what Santa says he replies, "Ho, ho, Mehyee Kissmas to all."

The other night he was doing "This Little Piggy" on his own feet. Four of the toes stayed at home, and the last one went "wee, wee, wee." None of them went to market or had roast beef.

LEARNING A WHOLE NEW LANGUAGE
N has been picking up all sorts of new and colorful words from kids at school. No curse words, but some DEFINITE attitude. It is truly a lovely stage. Snort.

In addition to the Papa Rocksy song (Lady Gaga's Paparazzi), she does this little ditty:
"Boom chicka mow mow. That's what my baby says." Not having cable, I thought these were dirty porn lyrics, but they are from the show Phineas and Ferb, so G-rated, I reckon.

Oh yeah, and M is trying to coo.


Monday, November 30, 2009

It's a wrap

Ahhh, the end of November. Hopefully the end of my family's sick spell. The end of blogging every single day for NaBloPoMo.

This morning N went back to school, and D went back to work, and Mommy did a little happy dance that my life is back to "normal."

So far today has been good. Especially since it started out with a friend bringing over a chocolate cake since I had complained about not having good chocolate around the house on FB. (The Fonz loves you, T!!!! You rock, but you know that!)

G had his 6-month appointment with the ENT, and then we headed to Target for diapers. Back home for lunch. I was able to wrap some Christmas presents since both boys are napping at the same time.

I don't have very many Christmas gifts to buy, what with being done with the kids and nieces and nephews. So maybe this week I will be able to tackle the remainder when Nana comes over. I need a bunco ornament, 2 secret Santa gifts for D's family, gifts for my parents and my MIL, and, finally, a gift for my family's extended Christmas party.

Wednesday is H1N1 shot day at N's school, so I will be going there for that to hold her hand (or hold her down) when she gets the shot (which I'm going to request given her persistent cough).
I let N decorate the basement with Christmas decor this weekend, and it occurred to me that most of the Christmas stuff I have are things I have been given. Not things I have purchased on my own. Heck, truth be told, most of what is in my house has been given to me. It is hard for me to buy whatnots because I can very easily talk myself out of them.

Anyway, I have been thinking that maybe I should purchase a couple things for my mantel, some Christmas decor I really like. But then the uber-frugal monster in me thinks it is sorta stupid to spend any money on decor that will only be up for 3 weeks or so. I hate having these internal battles.

I am planning for D and I to purchase a new mattress very soon after the new year. We've been sleeping on the same one for 11 years, and it is so humpy when I lay M on it, his head is usually higher than his feet.

This post has been quite random, but now that I'm not stewing over sickness and being cooped up, I've just got so much to plan and think about......

Which feels really nice.






Sunday, November 29, 2009

Angels among us

I have some really, really good friends. A whole slew of them fixed meals for our family after M was born, and by that, I mean friends brought meals over for almost an entire month. I didn't have to worry about cooking until November rolled around, which was very much appreciated especially given all the sickness in my house and my infected incision.

Two friends have been especially wonderful to me, and I think of them as my angels.

My neighbor H is a stay-at-home mom of a high schooler and a son who just started college. One day we ran out of orange cheese (cheddar), so I called to ask her if she was gonna go out during the day if she would pick up some orange cheese for us. She brought over a chunk of orange cheese that she had at home and still fetched us some sliced stuff later in the day.

The other day, after having read about being stuck in the house again with sickos, she called and said she was going to the grocery and what did I need. I told her a gallon of organic skim milk and a fifth of vodka. She brought the milk and by declining to buy the booze prevented me from getting totally wasted and having my children taken away by CPS. She is always looking out for me.

And then there is KB, whom I have known since I was 14. Her sister, KL, and I have been dear friends since freshmen year, but KB and I have become more friendly since our oldest daughters are a couple of months apart in age.

KB, in addition to bringing us a meal after M was born, emailed me and asked if she could bring over some library books and dvds to help us weather the housebound crazies. And then she let me vent for a few minutes on the front porch when she dropped everything off. She also gives me all her old magazines so that I have something to do with my brain while nursing or watching the kids play. Ya know, for when seeing Thomas the Train go around the track for the 11 millionth time doesn't thrill my intellectual mind.

I always knew female friends were important, but since having my kids, my mom friends have been my salvation. I have my husband and mom to listen to me, but my husband has never been a mom, and my mom hasn't been in the "trenches" for a long time (long enough to forget a whole bunch of shit). But my mom friends live it everyday.

Their support has meant, and continues to mean, so, so much to me.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Needs being met?

Let me just preface this by saying that D already said to me, "So have you blogged about how pissed you are at me?" I don't yell or scream, but there sure ain't no hiding when I'm not happy about something.

Last night D stayed up until 1:00 a.m. playing Xbox games. My problem isn't with his playing games. My problem is that at 7:24 in the morning, I am "expected" to deal with all 3 kids while he stayed in bed (eventually he got up but it was after I had nursed M, gotten G up, changed his wet sheets, gotten myself dressed, and gotten 2 baskets worth of laundry ready to go downstairs.)
I mean, I was tired too and would have liked to have stayed in bed, because even though I went to bed a little before 10:00, I was awoken at half past ten because G was crying. And then I was awoken at 1:00 to nurse M. And then I was kept up until almost 4:00 am by M who wouldn't fall asleep. Sometime during the night I also dealt with N who had a coughing spell.

But to be perfectly honest I think I'm mad at myself as well because as I was getting up dealing with the kids and regular life (because I never get a weekend), a part of me wants to coddle him, thinking to myself that I ought to try to be quiet so he can sleep. I shouldn't turn on the bedside light because the glare will bother him.

I know D works hard and needs down time. Most Saturdays and Sundays, when G naps, I spend time with N (and now M) while D watches movies or plays computer games. So that is a couple hours per day most weekends. And then in the evenings, after the kids go to bed, D has tv or gaming time until he comes to bed. I don't demand "couple time" or expect him to sit with me. I try to be a pretty easy wife. I know him well enough to understand that he uses his games to decompress.

I guess right now, given that I am sleep-deprived and on almost 7 days inside with sick kids, I am just so tired of giving. I give to my family all.the.time. Feed them, wash their clothes, nurse them, change their diapers, prepare their food, pay the bills, call the insurance company, buy the toilet paper and toothpaste, make sure there is toilet paper in the bathrooms, buy groceries, purchase Christmas presents, and on and on.

Sometimes I'd like for D to say, "Hey, go lay down and rest. I'll man the ship." Even if I choose not to rest, it would make me feel good that someone, for once, thought of my needs. Without me having to ask it or demand it. I need someone to understand that I need to decompress regularly too.


Friday, November 27, 2009

Letter to the Queen Bitch of Sickness

Dear Queen Bitch of Sickness,

While I should probably thank you that you haven't visited really serious illness upon my house, I have to say I am really fed up with these low-level yuckies that keep invading our family space.

In the 7, yes 7, weeks since M joined our crew, we have had the following illnesses:
  • N sick 3 times--2 respiratory viruses and 1 viral pneumonia (along with sinusitis)
  • G sick 3 times--2 respiratory viruses and 1 pink eye
  • M sick 2 times--fever and pink eye
  • Me and D sick 2 times each with respiratory viruses
I can appreciate that you and your germ legions are just trying to survive. Aren't we all? But I really need for you to go find some crows or snakes to sicken instead of my family. I just ordered a bunch of used DVDs to get us through the winter, and we've already watched them to the point where we have memorized all the dialogue.

This morning's visit to the doctor with all 3 kids in tow will probably run me in the low $400s, what with the kids not having reached their deductibles this year. And the med costs for this week are standing at $150.

So, please, would you kindly just go fuck yourself???

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Certainty

This Thanksgiving Day, I am grateful for certainty.

In my life there have been very few things about which I have felt certain. I expect many people feel similarly. I was certain I wanted to marry D and certain that he was a decent, "nice" guy who wouldn't hurt me. At twelve years of marriage and almost 15 as a couple, I know my feeling of certainty was right.

Career-wise, I didn't feel certain about anything until 1998, when I decided to get my MAT and become a middle school teacher. I loved teaching and someday I will get back to it. I feel in my heart I was meant to help kids learn.

Regarding children, before D and I married we didn't know if we wanted ANY kids, or if we did, we only wanted one. About three weeks after delivering N, I felt certain I wanted 3 kids. Illogical? Yes. But there it was.

And so we had G, and I still felt like I wanted another child. Maybe when G was 2.5 or 3, I could beg, plead and badger D into agreeing to conceiving another one.

But then M came along. An unexpected gift.

And now I feel certain that I am done with my childbearing. And I am happy about it. Even if something were to happen to one of the kids (god forbid), I am done.

Yesterday, I put up all of the 0-3 month clothes, since M was busting out the seams on them. I felt no sadness, no pangs of longing or grief. I felt relief to know that at some point relatively soon I will be passing along these clothes, having more empty space in my closets.

Moving onto the next stage of our life as a family, even though M will be an infant for quite a long time yet, is something I am finally ready for.

For certain.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Another day

Of being in the house. N is still feeling punky, and I feel pulled in 3 different directions.

She wants to snuggle and cuddle. G wants me to play. M wants to be held and nurse. Unfortunately, I cannot do these things at the same time, and most of the time a certain 7-week-old monopolizes my time. I wish I could make him understand that I can't hold him for 14 hours a day, but he just don't get it. G has been acting out a bit, I think due to being cooped up and having to watch M monopolize all of mommy's time.

Last night I made a wine shop and grocery run with M to get out of the house. Partly to avoid the pre-Thanksgiving rush and partly to rebalance my psyche.

Tonight M will accompany me to meet a friend for coffee. This is one is totally for my sanity.

I feel like such a wuss but being stuck in the house is no fun in general. Being stuck in the house due to illness is simply miserable.

Is it almost spring?

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

One hell of a day

I love my kids beyond words. I also profoundly hate being stuck in the house with them for many days in a row, which is what is happening now that N has been diagnosed with sinusitis and bronchitis. It doesn't take me very long to start going bonkers.

After watching The Wiggles and The Smurfs over and over again, I got desperate. One of the songs on the Wiggles' dvd is Six Months in a Leaky Boat and features Tim Finn, so I began my quest to relieve extreme boredom by researching Tim Finn and the song, which inevitably led to looking up the history of the Wiggles and the backgrounds of the members. Good god, you know you've reach pathetic when you research the Wiggles. I know more about Murray, Jeff, Anthony and Sam than I care to.

When I wasn't uber-bored, I was uber-frustrated. M kept fussing, and G was just being a 2-year-old pain---screaming, not knowing what he wanted, and pestering his sister and brother. I called D and asked him to come home for lunch, but OF COURSE, he had a lunch meeting. I think men plan lunch meetings just to ensure that their SAH wives have no choice but to not get a reprieve during the day.

We hadn't put up the pack-and-play, and weren't planning to because it takes up so much room, but I finally broke down today because I need a jail for G. I was wrestling with that contraption while G and M screamed. Fortunately, N seems to know when she is sick that momma is about 27 seconds from insane so she usually treads pretty lightly.

When D came home he was given instructions to occupy G. He is now dealing with all of them so that I can have some blogging therapy. He knows I don't do well with sick days. Hell, he would blow his brains out after half an hour of this shit.

Can't wait for tomorrow.


Monday, November 23, 2009

Quest for shoes

I rarely ever buy clothing or shoes. I did purchase two pair of yoga pants at the end of my pregnancy with M, but that was a matter of survival. The last two weeks of pregnancy require desperate measures, people. I think the last pair of shoes I purchased was in 2007, when I was pregnant with G.

However, having 3 kids now, 2 of them ages two and under, has made me even more cognizant of how quickly I need to be able to move to prevent the toddler from hitting, sitting on or painting the baby.

I can't even mess with velcro straps on shoes. I need slip-ons. The above cosmetic job took all of 23 seconds.

I had ordered a pair of skimmers from L.L.Bean but was terribly disappointed. They felt hard and inflexible and were promptly shipped back.

After asking FB friends where they had purchased comfy shoes, I headed out yesterday to Dillard's and checked out the brand names they had recommended. I began trying on various pairs and quickly realized that part of the discomfort is because my feet have apparently stretched out as much as my midriff.

I had N with me so I couldn't putz around, although I'm not a putzer anyway. I walked in and said, "I want slip on shoes that are extremely comfortable. Don't care about the cost or brand. Go!" Within 15 minutes I had a lovely and uber-comfy pair of Merrell brand shoes and was eating cinnamon pretzels at Auntie Annie's.

Now that is the way I like to shop.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Infant obituaries

Even when I don't have a newborn, I hate seeing obituaries for babies in the newspaper. (Yes, I read the obits. And, no, I am not 82-years-old as some people think you have to be to read the obits.)

This morning I saw that there was a 9-week-old baby girl who died, and that makes me so sad. And worried.

They never say whether the infant died of SIDS or some genetic disorder. Whether the baby had been in the children's hospital. Usually, they only say that it was an infant and don't give the specific age at all.

I'm certainly no fan of the newborn/early infant stage, and the threat of sudden death is one of the reasons (in addition to the sleepless nights, uncomfortable breastfeeding and general neediness of the wee babe). I feel much more relaxed as the baby moves towards that half-year mark.

I must admit, and I am a bit ashamed to say this because it seems like I am feeding on other people's misfortune, but even though reading the infant obituaries makes me worry, they also somehow put my mind slightly at ease. Because I know infant deaths are pretty rare, so my mind "reasons" that if I see that a baby has died, chances are better that my baby won't.

I don't dare delve into the psychological depths that would explain how reading infant obituaries makes me feel relieved and worried at the exact same time. There is, after all, a reason I am psychotropically medicated.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Thankfulness

This morning N and I did a wee bit of the Give Thanks. Walk. for St. Jude's Children's Hospital. It didn't take me long to feel tired given my early morning parties with M, and N wanted to jump in the inflatables instead of going around the walking track multiple times. It was a good morning for a 5-year-old, all things considered: Krispy Kreme doughnut, coloring book, and jumping in an inflatable. We stopped in to visit Papaw at his home and Mamaw at the tennis shop afterwards.

Doing the walk, plus next week's holiday, has me thinking about all the things for which I am thankful, but I have been trying to think of all the little things, the subtle things that often slip by when one starts counting their blessings.

1. This week when I went for my 6-week postpartum check and overheard a doctor talking about Clomid, I was thankful that I was able to get pregnant with my 3 children easily, without needing hormones and drugs and tests and technology. I am thankful I didn't have the worry of infertility.

2. I am thankful my parents stressed a strong work ethic, frugality and budgeting, and education as they were raising me, and I hope I do a halfway decent job of passing these values onto my children. In the midst of an economic crisis, it eases my mind to know we have savings and aren't in debt.

3. I am thankful that I have my mom's "youthful" genes. When folks say I haven't aged (much) since high school, and my pregnancy pounds slip off fairly easily, it helps me from feeling frumpled and funky, which is easy to do as a stay-at-home mom since I have no reason to brush my hair, put on makeup, or wear nice clothes that will become poop, puke, and piss-stained.

4. I am thankful that my OCD doesn't involve hoarding. I hate clutter. Even though obsessing is a real pain, at least I can keep that to myself. My children will learn the benefits of neatness and organization, which I think will help them in the long run.

5. I am thankful that my husband has low wife standards and doesn't balk about my non-sexy underwear and pajamas, my middling cooking skills, and my grouchy moods.

Of course I am also thankful for the BIG things: my family's good health, our home, and the fact that we are only modestly disfunctional.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Why I stay at home

I have been a stay-at-home mom for almost 6 years now, and during that time I have come to a number of conclusions about this "job."

First of all, it is really, really hard. Not a logistically hard balancing act that working mothers face, figuring out who picks up whom and when and who takes off work and when. Staying at home is a tedious, mind-numbing hard---spending all day with children, trying to find something to entertain them for all of the 20 seconds of their focused attention, listening to them fuss and whine and yell, "Mommy," and show great impatience. It is emotionally draining and mentally dull.

Secondly, the decision to stay at home has more to do with the mom and her need/desire for control than anything to do with the children. My nieces and nephews all go to daycare and have since they were 12 weeks old, and they are all intelligent, well-balanced, decent children. Daycare has certainly not been detrimental to them in any way. I like to think I engage my children, offering them unique opportunities and helping them learn, but the truth is, they would be far more stimulated at daycare....especially the younger ones since they don't have my undivided attention. I don't have a "plan" for our days, a routine in which they learn their letters, colors and numbers. G and M will likely be in preschool before they begin to grasp these concepts.

The reason I wanted to stay at home and have stayed at home is because I cannot stomach the idea of someone else being with my kids all the time. I want to be the first one to see them smile, coo, rollover, crawl, talk and walk. I don't want to have to have quality time with my kids; I want quality time and crappy time. I don't want to miss any parts of their childhood because I won't get any of this time back. Honestly, I couldn't tolerate the guilt I'd lay on myself for being away from them every day. When I look at M at 6 weeks of age and think of having to leave him all day, it just breaks my heart. I know plenty of working moms likely feel this way, but they are able to disengage, and I know I would not. I would be even more of an emotional mess than I already am.

Plus, it would piss me off highly that someone with much less education than myself and no real vested interest in my child (as in having given birth to them) would tell me when I should put them on a sippy cup or potty train them so they could move up to the next "room." I want to make the decisions about my children's development. All the decisions, even the stupid ones that make no difference in the long run.

When I first started staying at home, I was a lot more judgmental about women who chose to work, but I have decided that my decision to stay at home is not selfless. It is selfish, really, because I am doing what is best for me, emotionally and psychologically. And that is what any mother has to do to be a successful mom---do what is best for her, what gives her happiness, because to do otherwise is going to make for an unhappy mom and, therefore, unhappy kids.

Some friends and family have suggested I put G in a PDO so I have some time alone with M, but I can't even do that. He will go to preschool in 2011, when he is 3 (getting ready to turn 4), but nothing before then (I don't think). Even though he drives me nuts a lot of the time, I want to be with him....for better or worse.

My children will spend most of their lives not wanting to be with me, so I want to savor these times when they do.



Thursday, November 19, 2009

6 weeks

Yesterday I had my 6-week postpartum check. Incision is finally healed and infection free. Nipples....well, I'll let you know if and/or when they heal up. Uterus is back to normal.

And I got the go-head to "resume sexual activity." Does every woman chuckle when her doctor gives her the thumbs-up, or am I the only one who has ZERO interest in sex? Between being sucked on 10 times a day, lugging an infant and toddler around, and not getting much sleep, I do not under any circumstances want to be touched in anything even remotely resembling a sexual way.

Fortunately I don't have to worry about turning down my hubby because D is on the "I do not want a 4th child" plan and has become a monk until his vasectomy. I did get the name of a urologist, so sometime in the spring I figure we can go in for his consult, and he can get the boys snipped around March (when M is 6 months old).

Emotionally and mentally, I am feeling better about adjusting to this new life as a mom of 3. I am venturing to playdates if they are at someone's home. And I can manage taking G and M to the grocery or other quick errands. I'm still not up to taking all 3 of the kids out by myself, and I suspect I won't be until M is weaned or walking.

But at least I feel like I can cope. And even manage to sweep the kitchen periodically too.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Crazy ass dreams and other stuff from this morning


  • This morning I dreamt that I was having an affair with one of my Economics professors from college. D somehow found out about it. I was wracked with guilt. Somehow I managed to also get a parking ticket that cost $120 from parking in a gravel lot while having said tryst.
  • After waking, I got G out of bed. I was wearing a nightgown a friend handed down to me that shows cleavage. He touched the top of my decolletage and said, "Too big." Some boys would disagree but whatev.
  • Got some smiles from the newest kid on the block. I think it was genuine because he kept doing it over and over. It's a good morning when you are greeting with faces like these.





Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Disciplining toddlers

Here are the things I know for sure about raising and disciplining children:

1. You pick your battles because unless you do everything can become a battle.

2. You tap into unknown reserves of patience you didn't know you had.

3. Your monthly budget for alcohol increases tremendously.

Every so often I peruse a parenting book, searching for something to help me manage the newest "challenge" my kids throw at me. And what I find is that even if something sounds good, sounds like it would really work, if it doesn't jive with my inherent nature, I'm just not gonna do it.

For example, I am not a rewards person. I do not have the patience for stamps, stickers, suckers, or promises of what-nots from the Dollar Store. There are lots of parents, and by this I mean moms, who use charts and rewards to discipline their children or potty-train them. And while I've tried to do this, I am never consistent about it, and therein is the problem.

So what I've determined for myself is that I am ok with the parenting philosophy of, "They will do it when they are darn good and ready."

For example, I began introducing the "potty" concept to N when she was 2 and started becoming interested in the potty. I bought her a potty and let her sit on it in front of the tv or on the deck when we were outside. I asked my pediatrician when I should potty-train, and she said, "Don't bother until 3," and so I didn't. N was fairly quickly pee-pee potty-trained, but it took her until she was 4 to poop on the potty. I tried promises, bribes, whatever. But I inherently do not like the idea of bribing kids to do something they will do on their own in good time irregardless. Although I sometimes wondered, I knew she would not graduate from high school in pull-ups.

I did, however, get very sick of her pooping in her underpants. So eventually she and I came to an agreement. When she had to poop, I would put her in a pull-up, which meant she could do her business, and I wouldn't have to scrape poop out of her underpants. A win-win. And eventually, she did poop in the potty and never looked back. But our little "poop in the pull-up" arrangement saved both of us alot of headache.

I know parents who potty-train by taking their children to sit on the potty every 10 minutes. I can only speak for myself but I've got better things to do than visit the potty every 10 minutes for god knows how many months. But that is me and my choice.

Another thing I am not good at is demanding that G say he's sorry if he hits another kid. I think it is kinda dumb when parents ask a toddler to do this because we all know that toddlers are about this close to cavemen. They might say it, but they certainly don't mean it or understand it. And so my philosophy is to tell G that "we don't hit because it hurts." I ask him to give the other child a hug or something along those lines. But any attempt I might make to rationally explain the Golden Rule to G is a waste of oxygen.

I also don't subscribe to the notion that toddlers should "learn" that some things are off-limits, like the DVD player. I certainly don't want G screwing with everything in my house, but I also don't care to spend every waking moment of my life watching him like a hawk and fussing when he messes with my DVD player (or priceless vase or whatever). So I have made my home completely child-proof. If I don't want him destroying it, I have gotten it the hell out of his way. I have accepted that my house doesn't belong to me for the foreseeable future. And that is ok because I don't want the hassle of trying to keep him away from various untouchables.

I pick my battles....for my own sanity.

And so that is my advice for any parent of a toddler. Determine for yourself what you can and totally cannot tolerate. And then parent accordingly using ideas from books or friends or whatever.

Oh, and increase that booze budget.




Monday, November 16, 2009

The big little man

I noticed while scrolling through my blog posts that I haven't written too much about G. It has only been a little over a month, and the middle child is already getting short shrift.

So here is what he has been up to----



Pics of G from Halloween night.
ABOVE: His 1st choice of costume--Mr. Monkey.
BELOW: Enjoying his spoils!


Being 2. A loud, mischievous, often frustrating 2-year-old. He weathered a cold and ear infection for 10 loooooong days, most of which was spent listening to him scream "Nose tuffy!"
This morning I put him in a pair of chino-type pants, which are gonna require a belt to fit properly. Do they even make belts for 2-year-olds? Anyway, when I changed his diaper after his morning poop, I decided to put on better fitting pants. When I returned from upstairs with the new pair, I found G's diaper on the floor and got to witness him running around the kitchen yanking on his penis and giggling.

He is so super sweet to M. He is always leaning his head on his brother, giving him "lovings." I really hope they become good little buddies to each other as they get bigger.

His new favorite DVD is Baby Einstein Neighborhood Animals. I thought I was sick of the movie Cars, but now I'm begging to watch Lightning McQueen. No more flipping baby animals, please. I borrowed a bunch of Baby Einstein DVDs from my brother to help liven things up....for me.

When we first started watching Neighborhood Animals, G kept saying, "Watch Baby Assho," which we assume was his initial attempts at saying Baby Einstein or Baby Animals. Or his disguised hateful musings on his little brother? Anyway, it was funny as heck. I was bummed when he started saying "Baby Animals" correctly.

He is going through a refusing to eat anything of any nutritional value stage, which I am totally loving. NOT! He is on the all-carb diet. I know other children do this and manage to survive to puberty so I am trying not to worry too much. I did purchase some Horizon Little Blends yogurt which blends fruit & VEGGIE puree into the yogurt. Both G and N lapped up 2 containers each yesterday. It is expensive but totally worth it if it means they get some sliver of fruit/vegetable and vitamins.

One thing is certain: G is his own little man. I got too used to having N as an obedient, easy-to-please toddler. Raising G often makes me want to bang my head against the wall. Or his.