Friday, April 30, 2010

Snip and tuck

Ok, I wasn't in the room, so I don't know if anything was tucked, but things were snipped today.  Hubby is "recovering" in the basement.  How bad can it possibly be, though?  His X-box, not having to contend with the kids, narcotics for pain.  And I'm trying to leave him alone and be nice.

I'd say it is almost a little slice of heaven for him.

He knew he would get no sympathy from me when I suggested the other day that afterwards we could compare scars.  Mind you, I appreciated his anxiety over the "Friday procedure" and knew it would cause discomfort.  But I've made my mental list of all things reproductive with which he and I have had to contend throughout our relationship.


  • Pap smears every year since age....18, I guess.  Nothing like having your innards mangled by a speculum.
  • Birth control pills every single day and all the moodiness/nausea/loss of libido that ensues from those.
  • Morning sickness 3 times....the longest bout lasting a full 11 weeks.  The others ranging from 4 - 7 weeks.
  • Being induced with pitocin and laboring unmedicated for 8+ hours.
  • Having my clitoris tear during delivery (I kept saying I felt myself tearing to the doctor and she was like, "You're fine."  Yep, my perineum was fine.  The upside was SOOOOO not).
  • Numerous ovarian cysts when coming off birth control in an effort to conceive G.  
  • Having an excruciatingly painful external cephalic version performed on me to try to get G out of breech position.
  • Cesarean section to deliver G when ECV didn't work and 6 weeks of recovery.
  • Cesarean section to deliver M and 6 weeks of recovery.  
  • Infected c-section incision following birth of M, requiring lancing of nice pus bubble.
  • Enduring bleeding and cracked nipples 3 times for up to 3 months while getting breastfeeding established.


  • Two little incisions on his testicles requiring 2 days worth of pain pills.

Yeah, no sympathy from me, baby.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Good god, the rage

This afternoon and evening would have won me the "Mom most likely to have CPS called on her" award. God, it was terrible.  I was terrible.

This has been a pretty rotten week.  M ran a high, high fever on Monday, Tuesday and part of Wednesday.  He was lethargic and didn't want to eat his solid food, so I had increased his nursings.  And he wasn't sleeping or if he did sleep, it was on me or only with me.

So in addition to my hormones being all over the map (due to introducing solid food 3 weeks ago and now increasing breastfeeding again due to M's illness), I have been sleeping poorly due to my extra bed partner.  And G has been waking up repeatedly during the night and won't settle down until he's seen me.  Sometimes I wish I wasn't so in demand by the young men in my life.

Hormones a mess and having a negative impact on my mood--check.
Lack of sleep and its negative impact on my mood--check.
Stress of sick child--check.
Inability to have 2 minutes to myself all week--check.

When N came home from school, she hadn't eaten any of the carrots I'd packed for her lunch, any of the Fig Newtons I'd packed and only some of the pretzels.  And, of course, she was complaining about being hungry.  So I told her she had to eat her carrots, at the very least, before she got something else.  And so this led to what I call "The Badgering," the incessant asking for whatever it is I've just told her she can't have.  "Can I have a yogurt?"  "Can I have a yogurt?"  "Can I have a yogurt?"

All the while, I'm trying to get M to eat some solid food and G to eat his snack before it got too close to dinner.

After eating her pretzels, 3 of her 4 carrots, a yogurt and some Fiber One cereal, she asked for a slice of cheese, and I just simply lost it.  Why?  Who knows?  Because of the aforementioned stressors of the week?  Because every single day she does this snacking frenzy, as if she hasn't eaten in 6 weeks, and I am constantly running back and forth to the fridge or pantry to get her something to eat?

So blow-up #1, and I feel terrible about it.

I thought it would do us all some good to go for a family walk together after supper.  D suggested he pull N and G in the wagon.  But G wanted to push the Little Tykes Coupe and threw a fit when we told him no.  When he finally decided he was ok with the wagon, he fell and scraped his knee, so I went into the house to fetch my bandage bag.  When I returned 2 minutes later, he and N are out of the wagon and he's trying to pull it.  Knowing that this will mean a snails' pace walk, we told him he could ride but not pull the wagon.  Fit #2 ensued.

I picked him up and starting carrying him thinking that some distance and distraction would settle him down, while D pushed M in the stroller.  N was complaining that she wanted to take the wagon because her legs were tired (this from the girl who minutes before had asked if she could play in the backyard after our walk).  I told her she could forget playing outside after the walk if she was so tired she had to sit in the wagon (which she's too big for anyway).

By this point, I am carrying a screaming, crying G and walking next to N, who is being mouthy and complainy about having to take a walk.

And that's when I lost it.  COMPLETELY.

I grabbed both of them, hauled their asses back to the house and put them to bed.  All the while, remarking that I do plenty of stuff they want to do, but they can't even take a walk around the neighborhood without complaining.  When it's something momma wants to do, we've all got to chime in about how sucky it is.

I go to McDonald's, and birthday parties and Chuck E. Cheese for them.  I watch High School Musical and the Wiggles 3 trillion times because it is what they want to watch.  I spend the end of every visit to Target with a tour of the toy department for them.  I don't want to do it, but I do.  And without complaint.  Yes, I am the grown-up, but I sure as hell get tired of sucking it up when no one else does.

I was absolutely enraged, and I probably scared G to death because he is not used to this.  N gets tongue lashings on a fairly regular basis because she is at the stage where she has an opinion on everything but hasn't learned the art of keeping it to herself.

And even when I was full of rage, ready to knock both of their heads together, I felt so, so guilty and awful for feeling so blasted angry at them.  It was my night to read to them, so I was able to calm down, apologize and snuggle with them in bed, but it did little to ease my feelings of guilt and shame at behaving so atrociously.

In the morning, the kids will be fine.  Over it.  Ancient history.  But I'll be suffering for awhile to come.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Saving speculation

Yes, it is 2:52 a.m.  I have been up since a little after 1:00 a.m.  First it was the baby to nurse.  Then it was the toddler to be rocked/comforted (he's been going through an "I'm scared" phase.  Then it was the baby, unable to settle down and nursed a little bit more.  Then it was the baby again to burp and spit up.  Then it was the toddler again to put Aquafor on his nose (a routine from when he has a cold that he has decided is an every night and, apparently middle-of-the-night, need).

So I'm very wide awake.  And thinking.  Because that's how I roll in the wee hours of the morning.

Now that we have our wills done, I am turning my thoughts to saving for the kids' college education, and I feel the need to get some insight from parenting friends (so pay attention those of you who read this rag!).

Let me say here that whenever I blog about finances, I have 2 main thoughts--First, D and I are very, very fortunate that he makes a good salary.  Second, I probably come off as a "richie rich" of some sort because he makes a good salary, but I really try to be very frugal and under no circumstances do I consider myself or feel wealthy, even though in the grand scheme of things and compared to millions of people throughout the world, I am.  

Each of the kids has a 529 plan, and our routine has been to fund each child's plan with $10,000 in the first year of life.  Still working on that for Baby M, but we should be there by the end of the year (barring unforeseen circumstances).  My parents have been very generous to give money for the kids' plans as well.  

But beyond that, we haven't instituted any kind of routine monthly savings, primarily because all of our beans have been going into funding that initial chunk that we front-load.  

With the prospect of getting M's funded by year's end, and knowing that there will be no more babies, I am wondering how to save from here on out.

Like, should I do an automatic sweep of $50 a month into their respective 529 accounts?  Or should I put $50 a month into their savings accounts at the bank and then when I've got a sizable chunk ($300-400) write a check to the fund (including piggy bank money as well)?  

Or is $50 a month enough?  Should I hit it harder, if the budget allows?  
Or am I trying too hard and can slacken off a bit to $25 a month per kid?

Instead of making an extra house payment a year (as I had decided to do in order to pay off the mortgage early), should I take that money and divide it by thirds to put into the kids' 529 plans?  My gut tells me to do the mortgage simply because if we have the house paid off by the time the kids go to college that frees up a nice chunk of change every month for college expenses.  

And all of this thinking about saving makes me wonder how other families save in general.  

We have a very loose budget that goes as follows upon payday:
1st paycheck of the month:  
1. Save approximately 63% of it (which is 32% of our monthly income) in our various accounts (for taxes, home improvement, medical savings, fun, etc).
2. Pay any bills with what is left.

2nd paycheck of the month:
1. Pay mortgage.
2. Pay life insurance
3. Pay any other bills

Anything left is used for groceries, gas, and other sundry items.

This system seems to work ok, since we pay ourselves first, pay bills next, and then whatever is left is used for whatever we need to buy.  And so if we don't have a whole lot left, we just don't buy a whole lot of extra beyond groceries and gas.  

But it makes me curious as to how much other families save for things like eating out or clothes or entertainment.  Do they budget $40 a month for eating out?  Or $60?  How much do they budget for clothing per month or per year?  Is their budget specific, with amounts budgeted for haircuts, school lunches?

How do families save or budget for future expenses like orthodontia?  (I'm already starting to stew over this one.)  

Right now I've got probably too many bank accounts:  Taxes/Insurance/Repairs account, Medical Savings account (for when our FSA money runs out), Home Improvement account, Fun account (which probably should be renamed Vacation account, but it also pays for summer camp and My Gym classes, etc), Christmas Fund account.  Plus the checking account.  

So my 3 friends who read my blog--would you like to share some saving/budgeting ideas you have?  Email me privately if you prefer.

I truly get my jollies thinking about bigger and better ways to save.  

Thursday, April 22, 2010

The phrase I hate to hear

"We're getting a divorce."

I just cringe to even think the sentence in my head.  But last night, the dad of one of N's classmates said it, and so I've had it running in my head on an endless loop.

I don't know this parent well, really at all.  The mom and child had been over to our home for a couple playdates, and she and I had talked but we weren't confidantes by any stretch of the imagination.  I knew there were some issues, perhaps fairly serious issues, but the divorce thing still throws me.

Those kids.  I just hate, hate, hate it for the kids.  I'm 36 years old and would be devastated if my parents divorced.  I don't think a person is ever prepared for their parents to not want to be together as a family.

Hearing those words is like hearing that someone's child has leukemia.  Most of the time I can live in la-di-da land, thinking that everything is running smoothly.  But when you hear about situations like this, it brings it home that THIS, TOO, COULD HAPPEN TO YOU.....or me, that is.

I always wonder if the couple has been in therapy or sought therapy.  How long have they been having problems?  What was their relationship like at the very beginning?  Were the issues that determined the split the same issues they had not worked through earlier in the marriage?

Lord knows, I don't know anyone's business like I know my own, but I often have the impression that couples don't spend a whole lot of time working to save their marriage.  It often appears that the couple splits up and before very much time has passed, each person has moved into new relationships.  And I often wonder if the individuals had invested half as much time into their old relationship as they are in their new relationship, would the marriage have lasted?

Of course, some relationships can't be salvaged.  Some relationships probably shouldn't be salvaged.

And I wonder what exactly was it that split the couple up?  Money?  Sex?  Infidelity?  Just plain old tired of each other?

When I was a teen, I used to look at my parents' marriage and think, "I never want a marriage like theirs. It isn't romantic."  And now, into the teens in my married life, I think, "I see why my parents' marriage wasn't romantic."  Romance is fleeting.  It comes and goes.  My parents are friends, partners.  And the foundation of that is much stronger than romance or sex.

Love is such a fickle beast.  It changes.  It is complex.

And I have to wonder how much of a role love plays in keeping a marriage together.  It is there and needed, for sure.  But sometimes I wonder if the couple has to both place a really strong value on the act of marriage itself.  Not the love part, but the promise part.  The commitment part.  The "putting up with stuff" part (and I don't mean abuse or addiction or things of this nature).

A friend of mine recently went on a date with someone new, and I couldn't help but momentarily wax nostalgic about the thrill that was going out with new people before I married.  But I quickly remembered the stress, the anxiety, the disappointment when things didn't work out as I wanted.  The worry that the new guy in my life would find me weird or disgusting or boring.

The understanding that, warts and all, D stays with me is a powerful thing.  He chooses to be with me rather than seek something newer and nicer, that gives better performance (D once had a Corvette that he rubbed with a cloth diaper in loving strokes, so I think the wording is appropriate).

I cannot imagine what divorce is actually doing to this couple/family I know, when it is tearing up my heart just thinking about it.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

3rd time down this stinkin' road

At least this time around it only took 2 nights before I finally went, "Oh yeah!  I'm having insomnia because it has been almost 3 weeks since M started solid food."  Unfortunately, my system is very sensitive to changes in my prolactin levels....the breastfeeding hormone.  And when my prolactin declines, so does my ability to sleep.

I'm back to taking Unisom to help shut my brain off at bedtime.

And the insomnia is a bellwether for other unpleasant emotional changes, like increased anxiety and anger. All due to starting baby M on cereal.

It is amazing what my brain forgets.  Like all this unpleasantness associated with slow weaning.

It makes me feel like I'm going crazy again, makes me feel waves of the sadness, the worry, the guilt, the "it's never, ever, ever going to feel good" again.

So I'm trying to just deal.  Take my Unisom.  Blog it out.  Let it pass.
Since I've already seen these signposts before.  Twice.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

His influence

This damned stomach virus is on it's way out, but it has left me with a big case of insomnia and an insane craving for a cheeseburger.

So I'm writing instead of lying in bed thinking and tossing endlessly from left to right and back again.

Before I got out of bed, I was thinking a number of things related to my marriage:

1. I didn't know jack shit when I got married at age 24.  I don't think most people even begin to understand themselves or life until they hit about 29.

2. I can't believe how different a person I am almost 13 years later.  Some of this is the effect of time.  Some is the effect of medication and 2+ years of some good therapy.  Some of this is having my kids.

3.  Given #1 and #2, I am astounded on an almost daily basis that D and I are still married.  And pretty content with it.
I say pretty content because I only know how I feel.  Since D doesn't keep a blog, I can only guess that he is fairly content with our life together.  He hasn't left yet anyway.

4. Do other couples not share things like D and I don't share?
For example, we don't share a last name.  And we don't share the same toothpaste (we each have our own tubes).  We don't share bath towels....eva.  We don't share a laundry basket---he puts his clothes in the baskets in his closet, and I put mine in my closet, which means when he brings his laundry downstairs, it is almost like he's bringing it to a laundromat.

But we do share all of our financial accounts.  Even though both of us know who's in charge, right dear? ;)

5. And finally, I began thinking about some of the ways in which D has had an influence on me in the past 12.5 years.

A love of Sci-Fi/Fantasy--
Technically, a former student got me to read a sci-fi book called Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card.  I loved it, which made me think that D, who had long been a sci-fi enthusiast, might just be on to something.  And so I began to wade my way through D's sci-fi/fantasy collection:  the Dune books, the Lord of the Rings books.  Eventually there were sci-fi/fantasy books that I turned D onto, like His Dark Materials trilogy.  And so now D and I have a pretty nice his-and-her collection of sci-fi/fantasy books.

A love of ethnic food--
My parents were not big ethnic food eaters and still aren't.  Dad is strictly a meat-and-potatoes bland diet dude.  So it was D who introduced me to the joy of eating spicy foods, and together we kinda started eating more ethnic foods.  You will rarely find us eating at an Applebee's or other American cuisine restaurant.  If only I had inherited some kind of cooking gene that made the idea of cooking ethnic foods palatable.

A better appreciation for enjoying spending money--
My parents are savers.  Like crazy, insane "never enjoy spending money on anything" savers.  D's dad was a "spend money, enjoy doing it and even go into debt for things you want" kind of guy.  Somewhere along the line in our marriage, D and I have come from the far ends of the spectrum to a middle-ground.  He sees the benefit of saving, which I have always liked to do.  And I have gotten better about spending money and not stressing over it constantly (some of this is very likely the effect of my meds too).

A better ability to be alone--
D is the kind of person who needs quite a bit of alone time, down-time.  I knew that when we married, but never having lived together I didn't really get it.  So when we became husband and wife, I was like, "Hell, I'm by myself."  And I have never been good at entertaining myself (gee, I wonder where N gets it?).  So at age 24, I had to start learning how to entertain myself.  I got my Master's degree, became a teacher, and then we had kids (which I find fills up all those minutes of "don't know what to do with myself" time).  And now I blog and scrapbook and fool around on Facebook.  I can do things alone now, like go shopping, which I never wanted to do alone in my early twenties.  So I guess thank goodness for a husband who liked to lose himself for hours playing computer games.

Ok, Tylenol PM is  Yawn.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Shameless (ful) flirt

I don't often express sympathy for my husband, but he deserves it for numerous reasons.  No, not because I reorganize things constantly so he has to relearn where everything is.  And not because I am a bleh cook.

It has to be hard to live with a woman who is a flirt.

As a woman if I'm a jabber-mouth with other women I am just friendly.  But if I am a jabber-mouth with men, then I am a flirt.  Sexist, yes, but that's the way the bread is buttered.  And I am a talker, or typer, since much of my communication in this stay-at-home mom life is via FB and email.

I think it was in high school, or perhaps freshman year of college,  I got together with some friends to celebrate one of our birthdays.  We stopped at Kroger to pick up snacky foods, and while waiting in line I somehow got into a conversation with a cute guy.  I distinctly remember my friends saying something on the order of, "How do you do that?."

Another memory of my inherent flirtiness was when a coworker planned for people to go to happy hour in an attempt to hook me up with D.  D and I did talk a little, but I spent most of the evening flirting with Jose, the husband of one of D's coworkers.  D just sat across the table from me and listened, I guess.  Jose and I just went back and forth, yada-yada-yada.  So D knew what he was getting into.  One of us has to be the talker, right?

I don't think I'm a smarmy kind of flirter.  I think anyone who "flirts" with me knows that I'm all talk and no action.  I wouldn't dream of jeopardizing my marriage and family.

Still, I suspect if the shoe were on the opposite foot and D was the flirter, I probably wouldn't take it in stride, as I think he does.  Course, he doesn't talk much, so he could be bothered.  Until recently, I didn't know it bothered D that I didn't wear my engagement & wedding rings.  I've been wearing them daily ever since.

I reckon I'll soon find out if he's got a problem being wed to a flirt.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Getting my ducks in a row

I have contacted an attorney about updating our wills.  Our current ones only list N, so we've got to get the boys in there.

It doesn't freak me out thinking about my will.  What gives me anxious palpitations is not having a current one and all the legal ramifications of that for my children.

There is one little piece that has me stewing and that is how to divide what little jewelry I have amongst the kids.

I have my engagement ring from D, a ring-guard with 4 diamonds that is soldered to the engagement ring, and a soon-to-be-mine mother's ring with sapphire, amethyst, white topaz, and pink tourmaline.  And then I have a diamond pendant necklace and a white gold sapphire necklace.  Oh, and there is also an antique ring setting that belonged to my grandmother.

So my initial thinking is I'd give the jewelry to N because she is my only daughter.

But then it seemed like it might make more sense to give my engagement ring to G because he is the oldest son.  And then he could give it to his wife (if he marries).  But then what about M?  Do I give G the engagement ring, and then give N and M a smaller ring and necklace to help balance it out?

What if G gives the engagement ring to his wife and they split up?  Then my ring isn't really in the family anymore?  What then?

What if G doesn't marry, but M wants to give his intended the ring?  How do the boys settle that?

What if N doesn't marry and would like my ring to be her right-hand ring?

I don't really want them to sell it all and split the money because there is some sentimental value in having a mother's jewelry.  Or at least there would be for me....

Maybe I should have them remove all precious stones, divide the stones among them equally based on their monetary value, and sell the gold and then split the money evenly?  But this would be a pain, so why not just tell them to sell and split the cash?

For me this is the biggest problem with having a will made---taking preparation and planning to an all new, really anal-retentive level.  I'm a control freak even when I'm dead.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Papaw Chester

All of my grandparents were deceased by the time I was 18.  My mother's dad died when she was only 6 months old, and my dad's dad died when I was around 3 years old.

I did know both of my grandmothers, but by the time I was getting old enough to really appreciate them being in my life, they passed.

D is fortunate that his grandpa, his mom's dad, is still living.  Papaw Chester is a spry 85 years young.

Pictures below:  Papaw with his first great-grandson, G

He cooks the family (and by this I mean at least 8-9 of us) dinner once a month, and when Papaw cooks, he goes all out.  He'll fry fish and chicken, as well as have corned beef or meatloaf.  And there then are the side dishes:  mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, green beans, macaroni & cheese, slaw, a green of some kind, biscuits, cornbread.  And 2 desserts to boot.

Papaw and N planted carrots together in the garden last year.  

In addition to the monthly family meal, we see Papaw every Sunday over at D's mom's.  We go for breakfast or dinner, and Papaw comes to spend time with the great-grandkids.  Papaw is nuts about his great-grandsons.  He adores all his great-grandkids, but for him there is just something special about the boys.  He can't wait to get his hands on M.  This past Sunday, M fell asleep in Papaw's arms for well over an hour.  I don't think the grin left Papaw's face the entire time.

Pictures below:  Papaw with his 2nd great-grandson, M.

I love it that my kids get to see their great-grandpa on a regular basis.  Papaw weights the family--gives us balance, depth.  He is the roots of the great tree.  It is a profound thing of beauty to see young children with the oldest and dearest of a family.

Watching Papaw enjoy his family gives me a sense of peace, a deep feeling of joy.  I learn so much from seeing him take everything in.  None of us knows when our time will end, but older people know that there time really is increasingly limited.  They are so much better than the rest of us at savoring the small moments, the ones they love.

Pictures below:  Papaw with his first great-grandchild, N. 

I try to get generation pictures of D, the kids, D's mom and Papaw every so often.  Four generations together.  It is a beautiful thing.

I always say that part of the reason I married D is because he doesn't like sports.  Now, going on 13 years in his family, I'd have to say part of the reason I stay is Papaw Chester.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

A Ya-Ya Fairy Tale

Once there was an attractive, smart, and witty girl named Carrie.  Despite all the wonderful traits she had been given, there was one thing two things the gods hadn't blessed her with:  ample bosoms.  She had spent much of her childhood reading Judy Blume's Are You There, God?  It's Me, Margaret and practicing bust enhancing exercises.

Fortunately, as she grew more mature, she realized that her small bosoms weren't such a bad thing.  Sure, she could use 2 bandaids as bras, but she never had to worry about a backache.  Her lack of cleavage never seemed to prevent her from meeting young men.  The man she eventually married happened to be more of a "Derriere Dude," so life was good.  She was content to be in maybe a B cup if it was a good day.

Still, there was a small part of her that always wanted a little more junk under the hood.

When Carrie had her first baby, she experienced all the normal mammary changes of new motherhood, but kept on purchasing the small cup sizes she had gotten used to her whole life.  Eventually, 6 or so months after weaning her daughter, Carrie's breasts shrunk down to the size of raisins.  "Ah well, " she thought, as she watched the dream of large who-haas float away.

Later when Carrie's second baby came along, she was able to once again fit into those small cup sizes in nursing bras.

However, something magical must have occurred upon the conception of baby #3.  Was it that Carrie had barely weaned child #2, and so her breasts had never had time to shrink back down to pee-wee size?  Was it that the gods thought they'd do something special since they'd freaked Carrie out with a surprise pregnancy?

When Carrie's 3rd child was 6 months old, she decided to purchase a brand new nursing bra and was properly fitted.  GREAT SCOTT!!  It was a day that would live in infamy!

Not a size A or B.  Not a C.  Not a D.  A size E!!!  An E!!!  Carrie didn't even know what the saleslady was talking about, so puzzled was she by this large size!

Carrie knew that eventually the gods, as they always do, would take away this great gift because gods are fickle that way.  But until that time she would revel in the excitement and joy that was a big pair of hooters.

Friday, April 9, 2010


Sadly about 93% of my daily adult interaction comes from Facebook.  I check friends' status updates and make comments.  It gives me a break from the constant din of "Mommy, mommy, mommy" and an endless loop of Caillou.    

I have this ability to get "discussions" going on FB, even when I didn't necessarily intend for that to happen.  I'm not sure what that says about me.  These discussions give me plenty of things to think about and ample fodder for blogging.  They also sometimes give me anxiety because I stew over whether friends think I am a royal ass.  

A recent discussion on FB has me thinking about how often I judge others and what types of activities, decisions, actions I make judgments about.  

Everyone is judgmental to some degree; it is simply human nature.  I'm not sure what the sociological purpose is.....make ourselves feel better, foster closeness among similar individuals??

So I have been thinking about what behaviors I judge and why.  Lots of them concern parenting simply because that is my grind.  I think I used to be a lot more judgmental prior to my meds.  My tendency to obsess wouldn't allow me to make a judgment, say "Oh well.  None of my biz," and then let it go.  I'd hang onto the judgment, and it would fester.  

Ok, so here are some choices I make judgments about--for better or worse:

1. Piercing babies' ears.  (I tend to think it is a little wrong to subject a child to cosmetic pain before he or she can voice any kind of opinion other than a cry.  I've learned that a cry generally means, "I don't like this shit.")

2. Circumcision of baby boys without being fully informed (like you should have to watch a video of what is done) of the procedure, its benefits and risks.  (As in, doing it just so the boy will look like the daddy, which is sorta similar to #1.)

3. Rat-tail hair, especially when on children.  (I'm sorry, but I just think this is a really awful hairstyle.  I seriously have to question the mental capacity of anyone who thinks this coiffure is appealing.)

4. A mullet.  (Same as above.)

5. Allowing one's kids to drink soft drinks before the child is 5 years old.  (I can't see any legitimate reason for giving a child a soft drink unless you are in the middle of a desert without any other source of liquid.)

6. Failure to spell correctly or follow the basic rules of grammar in email or on Facebook.  And by this I mean it is difficult to gather meaning from the email or FB comment because it is such a linguistic mess.  (It suggests to me that you "is dumb er jus laze.")

7. Posting jokes or negative comments about Hispanics on Facebook.  (If you wouldn't dare type it about a Black person or a Jewish person, don't do it to Latinos.  It still makes you prejudiced.)

8. Emailing political or religious email unless you are 99.9999% certain the intended readers are totally on board with whatever it is you are saying.  (I never thought Barack Obama was the Antichrist, nor do I think Mexicans are the downfall of the US.)

9. Medical professionals who smoke and/or are grossly overweight.  (I generally have a hard time correctly using the term ironic, but I think this might be it.  How can patients take you seriously?)

10. Failure to breastfeed at all or giving up because it cramps one's style/takes too much time/doesn't allow one enough "down" time.  (Breastmilk is priceless (in my book), and to not give it to your child because it's too much work/hassle suggests that you aren't really prepared for just how much work being a parent really is.)

11. Having multiple children with multiple partners or worse, not knowing which partner fathered one's child/children.  (There are certain occasions when one should be a little judicious, and who thou screws should be one of those.)

12. Thinking Sarah Palin knows what she's talking about. (She has chutzpah and can work a crowd--I give her that.  But she rarely makes a valid point and uses facts and/or evidence to back it up.)

13.  Spanking.  (It has the potential to escalate into something potentially dangerous and suggests to a child that it is ok to hit someone else  I can think of nothing scarier for a child than the prospect of being hit by one's parents.)

I used to judge women who opted for drugs 20 seconds into their labor pains, but I don't anymore.  (I just pat myself on the back for being induced and going natural--surely I'll get a blue ribbon in heaven for that.) 

I used to be more judgmental about sending children to day care, but I've gotten over that too.  I still think it is best when a child can be cared for by his or her mom or dad, but I know staying at home isn't in every parent's best interest.  In my case, staying at home was more about what was best for me than for my kids.  I wouldn't have been able to handle the guilt if I couldn't be with them.  

So, yes, I am judgmental.  I do judge people's choices about their children, but that doesn't correlate into I think they are bad parents.  It means I value different things and would have chosen differently.  

And on a personal level, I would never, ever try to make someone feel badly about a choice she made.  Because I know most of us are just doing the best we can.  

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Rip-roarin' time

I took all 3 kids to the zoo yesterday by myself and didn't think a thing of it until later in the day when I realized what I'd done.  Apparently, I have gotten used to being a mom of 3.  Yeah me!

And we were at the zoo for almost 5 hours.  During Spring Break.  With a zillion other people.  I'm amazing and stupid at the same time.

The biggest bust of the day was the new dinosaur exhibit.  I think the pictures say more about how well this went over than anything I could come up with:

I make them hold hands when we are in a store, and now they seem to grab each other's hands all the time.  So sweet.  

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Boobs on the brain

The recent media report about the benefits of breastfeeding, coupled with my own breastfeeding relationship with M, has me thinking a lot about the "girls" and what they do.

On Sunday, we introduced M to rice cereal since he will be 6 months old tomorrow.  Perhaps because he is my last baby, this milestone has not been as "exciting" for me as it was with his older sister and brother.  Where before I saw solid food as the opening up of the world for my child, now I see it as an eventual closing of the door to breastfeeding, the end of a chapter in my life.  And that makes me sad.

My breastfeeding experience has been at times extremely difficult, and always totally worth it.  It is amazing to look at the rolls of fat on M (and G and N before him) and know that my breastmilk did that.  Breastfeeding my children is one of the things of which I am most proud.

From the get-go, I have been a breastfeeding nazi.  I did not, under any circumstances, want to give my children formula for a number of reasons.  The cost for one.  Why pay for something I can produce for free?  Plus the fact that formula is not what nature intended for babies to drink.  Would I rather my baby be given stuff produced in a factory full of ingredients I can't pronounce or my own milk?   Since my OCD brings with it tons and tons of health- and germ-related anxieties, the idea of not giving my babies breast milk that is chock full of antibodies was simply intolerable.

This diehard approach to breastfeeding has been a blessing and a curse.  My determination to do it made me just plug on through all the difficulties I have experienced in my breastfeeding career:  severely cracked nipples, nipple eczema, a ductal yeast infection, mastitis (at the same time as the yeast infection).  Whenever I have had a time when I felt like throwing in the towel, I read in the breastfeeding books I own about all the benefits of breastfeeding to steel my resolve to just keep going.  Get over the hump.  I'm pretty good at persevering when I believe strongly in something.

But this determination has, at times, brought with it considerable pressure and anxiety that I've brought on myself.  Breastfeeding failure means personal failure.  If I stopped nursing before trying everything under the sun to preserve the breastfeeding relationship, then I simply wouldn't be the kind of mom I wanted to be.  I would have let my children and myself down.  I'm not exaggerating when I say I would have been (and still would be) devastated to stop breastfeeding prior to 6 months or a year.

Clearly, in 36 years of living, I have yet to learn how to be gentle with myself.

And unfortunately, I tend to think everyone else should have as crazy high standards for themselves as what I do for me.

Monday, April 5, 2010

The floor--AFTER

If you need a reminder of how it used to look, go here

The cats were all up in the new floor biz.

The other evening one of the cats upchucked in the dining room on the new floor.  It was almost a joy to clean it up.  No fuss, no muss.
I've got a neck ache from staring down at the wood as I walk around.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Lest you think I am really a heathen

Today is Easter, and when I checked FB this a.m., there were many updates related to Jesus' resurrection.  Being brought up Catholic, I know fairly well the story of Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection.  I think it is a powerful story of despair, of fear, of faith, of hope, of mystery.  And I wish it meant something deep and profound to me, but it doesn't.  I have always believed in a god/higher power/something greater than all humans, but Jesus as the saving son....well, I just simply don't believe it.

On holidays, I have my moments when I think, "Am I doing a disservice to my children by not bringing them up in any religion?"  I hope I am not.  I can't help but think it would be far worse for me to half-heartedly take them to services or try to encourage them to believe in something that means little or nothing to me.  Kids know when their parents are full of shit.

In today's USA Weekend, there was an article about spirituality, and it made me feel a little better about my situation.   Because despite my inability to believe that Jesus died for my sins, there are some things I strongly believe in related to the spirit.

Like, I believe in treating others the way you want to be treated.  Helping the less fortunate.  Showing humility.  Forgiveness.

I believe in savoring the moments of my life as much as possible.  In reflecting on my actions in order to be a better person.

I believe that if you listen closely to your own heart, life will move you in the best direction.  I believe that the closest I have ever been to god is when I carried and gave birth to my children.  I expect the next times I will be as close to god is when I am with a loved one when he/she dies or when my grandchildren are born.

My hope is that by living my life trying to be kind and helpful and reflective is enough.  

Saturday, April 3, 2010

That's my secular girl

Tonight we all went to my parents' house to celebrate a very casual Easter (hell, everything my family does is casual).  And by all I mean me, D, N, G, and M, as well as my brother, SIL and their 3 kids.

Before we ate, my 5-year-old nephew R was asked to say grace, which is tradition in my parents' house.  (Note: My brother and his brood are a mass-attending family, as are my parents, and if you know me in any way, shape or form, you know that we are not.)

R said grace very well, and we all said, "Good job, R" after he had finished.

Not to be outdone but having forgotten the before-meal prayer she learned in preschool, my dear girl N said, "Can I say the Pledge?"

And so she recited the Pledge of Allegiance very well, and we all said, "Good job, N."

Dinner commenced.

We are such a heathen family.

Friday, April 2, 2010

The spousal scapegoat

Even with his dumb-ass-ness, I have been thinking lately how glad I am to have D as my husband because he is a wonderful scapegoat for me. Especially as it concerns religion.

D wasn't raised in any religion, and I was raised Catholic.  He only rarely attended a church with his mom, and I attended mass every week of my childhood.  (Every.stinking.week. and sometimes more than once if there was a Holy Day of Obligation.)

Over the years I have sometimes found myself, when asked why our family doesn't practice a religion, saying, "Well my husband wasn't brought up in any religion so I'd have to take the kids myself blah, blah, blah," as if it is D's fault that I, or we, don't attend church.

But the truth is, I don't want to practice any religion.  And I'm glad D is the way he is and doesn't expect me to be religious or attend services or attend Bible studies.   Because I would feel stifled.  And angry.  And that wouldn't be good for our marriage.

So even though he buys the wrong lawnmower and opens the dishwasher at all the wrong times, I don't have to do things I don't want to do, believe in things I don't want to believe in, just to keep peace.

The other dumbass

When D saw the title of yesterday's blog he asked me if it was about him.  I said, "Surprisingly, no.  It's about me.  But I may write one about you."  And so here it is.

His most recent dumb-ass episode had to do with the dishwasher.  Our deal is I cook, he cleans up.  Given this, it would seem that he would start the dishwasher when he notices that it is full of dirty dishes.  But that rarely happens.  So in the evening, after my glass of milk, I usually turn it on so the dishes can dry overnight.

In the morning, it is not uncommon for D to open the dishwasher of now clean dishes, see it is full, and proceed to put a dirty spoon in the utensil tray.  Which makes me OCD head want to explode.

The other morning I couldn't stop the words before they flew out of my mouth when I saw that he had done this.  "WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?" I asked.

So two nights ago I wrote a big honking note and taped it on the countertop:

The dishes in this here washer are clean.
If you open it and put a dirty dish in you are an 

He said we need to get a dishwasher with a lock, but somehow I think if those are available they are probably intended for children.  Not husbands.  But whatev.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Sorta a dumbass

You would think since I'd been around this block twice already I would have an inkling of what the fuck I'm doing.  But I don't.  I might as well be as dumb as I was 6 years ago when I was new to all this.

Part of my problem is that I simply cannot remember what N's and G's babyhoods were least most of the specifics.  I remember that N started sleeping 8-12 hours a night at 4 weeks, but I don't remember what her daytime naps were like.  And I remember G didn't sleep through the night until he was 14 months old (save for those 5 times when he had ear infections), but I don't remember when he stopped nighttime nursing or what his naps were like either.

I've been bitching about my inability to find footed sleepers for M in size 12 months since I didn't have any in G's box of old clothes.  After a week or so of this, I finally remembered that I had the exact same problem with G---hence the reason he has all 18 month clothes.  Duh.

And for all my writing and journaling I've done for and about the kids these last few years, I left out all this minutiae which would be so helpful to me now.

Ya think that Dugger lady has a better handle on it since she's at 19?

One reason why I love my little boy

I'm going to let the pictures do all the talking.