Wednesday, December 29, 2010

And then I lost it

So what was to have been 2 weeks of Christmas break has really been almost 3 weeks, since there was a snow day on the 13th (and N was home sick anyway), N stayed home again on the 14th, and then there were two more snow days on the 16th and 17th.

D has been off work almost 2 full weeks.

In the last 29 days, M and G and I all had some kind of highly unpleasant viral thingie, and N and I both had strep throat, resulting in 2 and a half weeks of being stuck inside with someone feeling cruddy.

And due to the busy nature of December, my social group that meets for dinner didn't meet, and I wasn't able to go to bunco because of an ice storm.

I am beyond thrilled that this year, unlike last, everyone was well on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

But now I would like a slice of nice normal life again.  Please and thank you.

N is to the point that she has admitted aloud that she is bored and ready to go back to school.  G is plum sick of having to share me, his space and the television with not only M but N (and Daddy.)  D has been helpful, but I am tired of asking him to do this, that and the other (my fervent prayer every day is that one day he will just do it without being asked or reminded---but who am I kidding?)

At least in the summer, we can escape to the it a park, a pool, a playground.  But in 30 degree weather and cloudy?

I had a game plan for tomorrow and Friday but learned today that both of those have fallen through, so now I'm scrambling.

It was this scrambly, panicky mood that led to me throwing a Grand Mal fit and demanding that D, N, G and M go upstairs and leave me the hell alone.  I had just had it with G hoarding toys away from M;  M screaming in disgust at having toys taken away by G; and D standing there doing whatever he was doing while the boys had at it as I was trying to take down the Christmas tree.

Internally, I was trying to think of options for the next couple days, to keep everyone somewhat sane (especially ME), while listening to G and M fuss and holler which meant I had to stop what I was doing (removing ornaments) since D was standing there (possibly checking his iPhone, but I can't say for certain) but not dealing with the boys, which pissed me off because goddamit I'm fucking tired from having
1. bought the gifts
2. wrapped the gifts
3. put up the tree and all other Christmas decorations
4. taken the Christmas pic and ordered copies
5. mailed the Christmas cards
6. purchased and made the food for Christmas morning
7. AND been concierge for my tribe for the past 14 days without a goddamn break (since I'm not getting my 'Mommy Completely Left Alone Time While the Boys Sleep' since N is here).

Seriously, the last thing I want to have to deal with is taking down the tree, boxing all this shit up and still having to contend with kids while I'm doing it.

(Deep breath)
It really is a Christmas miracle that it took me this long to rant.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Picture(s) of the Day(s)--December 24th and 25th

Um, someone is a little excited by the Justin Bieber doll.  

He's a kuato now.  

If you're happy that tomorrow's Christmas, clap your hands!

The gang in our jammies.  

Books from Mommy & Daddy (and a jaunty cap from Santa)

More books......

I can nurse a baby and open Christmas presents (and balance a 3-year-old on my knee).  

My girl got me a bookmark.  Does she know her mama or what?

G's present to me (a charm bracelet).

G already stealing toys from M.

She makes the best present-opening faces!

My little fashionista. 

Christmas?  Huh?

Engrossed in his toys.

It snowed enough to make Snowman Santa with Nana and Mamaw.  

(Sing to the tune of Frosty the Snowman)
Santa the Snowman
Was a jolly, happy soul.
With a lava rock mouth and a formerly operational blinking red nose
And 2 eyes made out of brussel sprouts.

G knocking Santa Snowman down for the 3rd and final time.  

Who knew she would be just as excited to have 2 Justin Bieber dolls?

M trying to slay me with his cousin's Star Wars lightsaber.  

We survived, and I managed to hold off re-organizing everything into bins until the 26th.

Picture(s) of the Day--December 26th.....A tradition

Every year I buy the kids an ornament so that when they fly the coop they will have a nice ornament collection for their own trees.  When N was little, I sometimes let her pick her own, but I have yet to let G do that because......well because I don't take him and M anywhere there might be something breakable.  I mean, I'm not that nuts.

This year I choose ornaments that show something they like or are into:

N is a complete shoe freak.  She has more shoes than D and I put together.  Seriously, she could almost give Imelda Marcos a run for her money.  

G is a car/truck freak.  If Imelda Marcos had been into cars/trucks, he could have given her a run for her money.

M isn't into anything per se, but when I saw this monkey, I knew it was perfect since M's sidewinder crawl was gorilla-like, and we dressed him as a monkey for Halloween this year.  

Last year I found these ornaments, which were perfect for our new family of 5:

N's ornament

G's ornament

M's ornament

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Things I've remembered/realized in the past couple of days

1. I seem to have forgotten that my mom had a speech impediment when she was a kid, which has me wondering whether such things can be inheritable given G's difficulties?  I would assume so, since most everything else can be.  She could not say "J" when she was a kid, so her brothers Jimmy and Joe were "Shimmy" and "Show."  And she could not say the "Tr" sound either.

One of the funniest stories she tells is how she and her brothers would play a game whereby they would count the cars that passed by their home, with extra points the bigger the vehicle.  Apparently, one day a huge line of trucks came rumbling down the way, and my mother started screaming with excitement....

"Shimmy!  Show!  The FUCKS are coming!  The FUCKS are coming!" 

2. Sometimes I feel like we live paycheck to paycheck, which is completely absurd.  I have no clue how difficult it is to live that way.  I think because I squirrel away money into various accounts (from which it is not allowed to escape), my checking account looks pathetic.  It only appears like I've got $150 to last me 2 weeks.   (And then I remember that, duh, I made a donation to the state's public television fund and the zoo, adding up to $145....which explains where a nice chunk of the paycheck went.)

In discussions with friends about private/public schools, I often find myself saying, "We can't afford private school," but I have realized that this, too, is not accurate.  We could afford private school if it was a priority.  Instead of funneling money into a "Home Improvement" account or a "Fun" account, I would funnel it into the "School Tuition" account.  As my parents did when I was a kid.  

The truth is that we could afford certain things by sacrificing, as most people can.  It is simply impossible to have it all at the exact same time.  (Unless you are Paris Hilton or someone of her ilk.)

3. Yesterday at the mall, as I was waiting in line at the Starbucks kiosk, I noticed a mom with 4 kids standing behind me.  Her two oldest boys were standing completely still, just waiting patiently, while the younger two kids were doing a St. Vitus dance.  N and G were over by the fountain, with instructions to stand there and wait.  What they were actually doing was running around, chasing each other around the fountain, with N perching herself on the ledge on occasion and G dunking his arm into the water to try to touch the pennies.  M was throwing a fit trying to get out of the stroller.

I asked the smaller of the boys standing behind me how old he was, and he said ten.  I began talking with his mom about the age at which children can stand still.  She said age eight.  So N still has a little over a year to go.

It was nice to know that at some point my kids will be able to stand still in public without me having to repeatedly say, "Stop moving.  Quit running around.  Don't mess with that!"  That at some point the entire mall won't know the names of my kids because I won't be hollering them in a vain attempt to get N and G and M to stop, wait, whatever.  


N said that at one point, she overhead a woman say, "She's got her hand's full" about me.  This may have been when M was walking away from me to the right as N was walking 100 yards ahead of me as I was packing a crying G in my arms (who was upset I wouldn't wait in a line of 50 people to see Santa), as I was trying to push the stroller.  

I am really and truly one of those moms now.   A mom with her hand's full.  
Is it weird to feel a little proud? 

Monday, December 20, 2010

Picture of the Day--December 20th

I took my car in for a recall, oil change and tire rotation and walked with the kids over to the mall to waste away a couple hours.

After buying a bag of Starbucks coffee at the kiosk, purchasing $5 shirts/pants for the kids for next winter at Old Navy, buying them pretzels and Icees at Auntie Annie's, and giving them pennies to throw in the fountains, we went to Claire's Boutique where N did this:

A few tears and hand squeezes, and then she did this:

And has spent every opportunity since looking at herself in the mirror.  

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Picture(s) of the Day--December 19th

Wow!  I've done a bang-up job with this picture of the day for the month of December.  Strep throat for mom and N, stomach bugs for mom, M and G, and 3 snow days in 19 days.  Do I have good excuses or what?

Anyhoo, back with the program (for the moment).

Christmas cards from friends and family line the entrance to our home.  

A free homemade coloring page to leave on Christmas Eve courtesy of N.  

Musical Beds

We have a fun game we like to play in our house with the kids.  It is called Musical Beds.  Here is how it goes:

Buy a crib (A) and put firstborn in it.  

When firstborn gets bigger, convert crib (A) into daybed/toddler bed option. 

When second child comes along, put firstborn in mom's old twin bed 

and put 2nd child in firstborn's crib (A).

When unexpected 3rd child comes along and 2nd child is still sleeping happily in crib (A), purchase a used crib (B) from a friend and put it in your bedroom, since the 2nd child is happy in his room and 3rd child sleeps in carseat for 5+ months of his new life.  

Break used crib (B) when trying to move it into 2nd child's bedroom so that 1st child and 2nd child can share a bedroom since 3rd child now wakes up at every little move mommy & daddy make.  Breakage results in purchase of crib #3 (C), which you don't take a picture of because you have 3 kids now and keep playing musical beds.  

When it becomes impossible to read to 1st & 2nd children in mom's old twin bed, convert 1st crib (A) into full-size bed.  Now that used crib #2 (B) has been fixed, 2nd child sleeps in it.  Third child sleeps in new crib (C) purchased after crib #2 (B) broke.  

When child #2 is well over 3-years old, discover that you don't have the conversion kit to transform used crib #2 (B) into daybed, so move crib #3 (C) into shared bedroom and convert into day/toddler bed.  

And then move used crib #2 (B) into 3rd child's room.  

 This game is something straight outta Dr. Seuss.  
Sorta like "Up, Up, Up With the Fish."

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Harpy wife

There is no definitive way to prove that I am the world's worst wife, but sometimes I wonder if I am in the top 10.  (Bear in mind, I have never watched any of those 'Housewives of Witchita' or whatever shows, so I don't really know my competition.)

Last week D was telling his co-workers about how he intended to take 2 full weeks off over the Christmas holiday until I said something on the order of, "I think we need to rethink you taking 2 weeks off."  That can't make a person feel good, but, I swear, it is less about him and more about my schedule being fubared for 14+ days.

It's like having a nonstop weekend.  Five days of the week, I have a regular routine: N goes to school, D goes to work, the boys and I do our thing, they nap in the afternoon, I have some much-needed "Mommy refresher time," we pick up N, the kids go ape-shit for 3 hours as I try to pull some kind of dinner together, D comes home to witness the insanity, we haul their asses up to bed.

But then the weekend comes and this is the routine:  The kids generally wake up way earlier than normal, D stays in bed and sleeps in, the kids are all discombobulated knowing that Daddy is home and school is out (which means N is home and therefore G has another person with whom to compete for attention for 12 hours of the day), the tv shows are all different because it is the weekend, I can't do my 'normal' thing because places have different hours or no hours or every place is crowded because everyone is off work and going to those places.

One of the biggest issues I have when D is off work stems from the fact that D isn't home 40+ hours a week so therefore doesn't understand "Mommy Windows of Opportunity," (MWoO) which means that if we are gonna do something involving a drive in the car, we have to be in the car ready to roll at no later than 9:45, but preferably 9:35, so that we can arrive by 10:00, eat a snack somewhere between 10:45-11:00, leave the facility at 12:00, return home while shaking the baby's foot to keep him from falling asleep, get everyone in for a quick cheese sandwich, put the boys down for a nap, followed by mommy collapsing in a heap.

We simply cannot wait to leave the house until 10:30.  The MWoO is long since closed which means we will be stuck in the house until tomorrow morning at 9:35, assuming we can get our shit together.

And D kinda wants to and expects to lounge around in his pajamas for longer than what a MWoO will allow, which brings me ever closer to an aneurysm.  Because as much as I understand that he needs "downtime" and time to relax, my blood pressure goes through the effin roof if a MWoO is missed.  Because if I don't get out of the house, it means I am stuck inside not getting to relax or have downtime.  I mean I could, right this second, take clothes out of the drier and fold them.  Or take the clean dishes out of the dishwasher and put them away.  Right this second.  There is never any downtime for a stay-at-home mom (and probably working moms, either....but I can't speak to this).   When D is not at his job, he is off-work.  When I am not at my job.....oh fuck, I'm always at my job even if I'm not at home because I always have the kids with me.

For the most part, I try to keep a lid on my frustration with it all, but the lid is levitating from all the pent up steam underneath by the time 5-6 days have passed.  I realize that I am fussing at the kids because I am aggravated at D.....not because he did anything wrong, but because his presence (and that of N by day 5) is just a kink in the normal daily operations.

To preempt my lid popping off or D having to forego extra days off, I sat down with him tonight with my day-planner and laid it out:  "These 3 days, I'm doing x, y and z.  You get down time.  These 3 mornings I am going to the dentist and exercise classes by myself.  And these 2 days are family together time (which means MWoO dear husband, so be ready to leave at 9:35, please)."

I am such a joy to live with.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Highlights (and lowlights) of the week

ONW (Operation Night Weaning) UPDATE:
It has been about a week since ONW began.  The first two nights M fussed a bit, but he quickly realized that 1.) Momma was not going to pick him up and nurse him, and 2.) he could survive Momma not picking him up and nursing him.  Last night he slept from 7:00(ish) until 7:30 this morning....without once needing me to help him settle.  And his daytime nap has gotten longer too.  I felt so well-rested today after last night's solid chunk of sleep I even hopped on the treadmill and took a mile in the afternoon.

that mile is not going to help when I have a super-fantabulous neighbor who 1.) offered to have N help her make cookies this afternoon while the boys napped so I could have some downtime and then 2.) sent N back some 3 hours later with 3 bags of cookies in hand.  What a Christmas gift!!!!!  HAC knows the upcoming 2 weeks of family togetherness may kill me, so having N home sick from school Monday and Tuesday, and then school being canceled today and tomorrow due to ice....well, that was just someone shitting on my cake as opposed to putting icing on it.  One day when my kids are older, I fully intend to do some kind of niceness for a mom with young kids like HAC does for me on a regular basis.  I told her she and her husband must live next door until M is 10.

has ruined the psyching myself out that I had intended for today and tomorrow in preparation for the next two weeks.  And N was so bummed because with school canceled tomorrow so to is her class party.  Not a good way to start a vacation.
Mother Nature is kinda being a bitch right now.

the documentary was simply wonderful.  I watched it on Netflix and found myself appreciating M so very much.  Offering him extra kisses and snuggles in a vain attempt to slow down the process of him turning into a little boy.  It is truly amazing how a baby changes in a little over a year.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Why is it that? children often smell like butt, even when they've just been washed the day prior? soon as the worst sleeping child becomes a slightly better sleeping child, the best sleeper starts becoming a royal pain in the ass and waking us up multiple times a night?

.....when I can get my children to do a cute craft (an idea I stole from Midwest Mom) that we hang on the front windows they then delve fully into their creativity and produce weird napkin drawings that they also hang on the front window?


......I am sometimes completely unable to understand G but he is totally clear and intelligible when he sings after supper, "I need a cookie.  I, I need a cookie to looooooooove" a la Justin Bieber? takes my mom almost running out of my house to relish her freedom after watching the kids for me for most of today that I realize staying at home with kids, especially in winter, can truly make you bat-shit nuts?

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Raising sons

I feel like I have a harder time "raising" my boys than I do my daughter, and maybe a lot of moms feel this way since as women we don't have an intuitive sense or understanding of what our sons are all about.  I don't "get" the taking apart of everything to see how it operates.  I don't "get" the inherent need to push, shove, crush, or generally take down whatever is in the way.  I don't "get" the inability to sit.still.for.even.30.seconds.  It is all foreign to me.

And as much as the boys baffle me, their father baffles me even more.  I don't "get" how he can remember all sorts of minutiae related to programming and work, but he forgets to buy his mother a gift card at the hair salon while he's there.  I don't "get" the appeal of playing violent Xbox games for hours and hours on end (if left on his own, which he rarely is these days).  And because he is a grown man, and I tend to have higher expectations of him than I do the boys (since they are young children), I become frustrated by these things that make him a "typical male."

And so I do what a lot of women do and think, "Men is dumb."

My friend REW shared this post on Facebook, and it really bothered me because I would be a big fat liar if I said I didn't think at least a couple of these things fairly often (specifically:  "Men are scatter-brained," "Men don't help enough around the house," and "Men don't spend enough time with their children.")

And as a mother of sons, I feel like I need to be their champion.  And I can't very well be this if I tend to think "men is dumb."

Maybe I'm stupid, but I feel like I don't know where to begin with this challenge.  Read Raising Cain again?   Is it enough to love them and guide them and simply accept that I'll never "get" them and I might often think what they do is actually dumb?  Does that qualify me as a bad mom?

I'm still chewing on the answer to this one.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Speech issues

Yesterday I took G for a free developmental screening through our local public school system.  For a while now, he has had some issues with being intelligible when he speaks.  As D sometimes says, G is a "mushmouth."  Words run together, and there are times that I have to ask him to repeat himself again and again and again.  And then still ask him to show me what he's talking about.

He passed 4 of the 5 categories, but failed the one with pronunciation/intelligibility.  We will have him fully evaluated to determine if he qualifies for services.  The speech pathologist seemed to think he has some definite issues that he is unlikely to outgrow.  Given his history of ear infections, congestion, and current hearing loss due to the holes in his eardrums, it's no wonder his speech is a little wonky.  Plus, he can't purse his to make a kiss, a pucker.  I knew this from his kisses on my cheek, but it didn't dawn on me that this could impact his ability to make certain sounds (like q or r).

His vocabulary is great, and he was able to do most of the 4-year-old skills she asked of him, so that made me feel better.  I'm not overly worried about him, although the speech issue coupled with the fact that he's a boy makes me a little apprehensive about how he'll do next year in pre-school.  (Actually the boy "issue" in and of itself, makes me nervous about how he'll do.  Boys are just so.different from girls.)

I tend to feel sorry for G a lot of time.  Poor guy.  Sandwiched in the middle.  A boy.  Who's 3.  And with speech challenges to boot.  Dang.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Report on Night 2 of Operation Night Weaning

M went to sleep a little before 8.  Woke up around 12:30.  Hugged/snuggled without picking him up.  Laid him back down.  Woke up around 3:30.  Same routine.  Woke up at 7:30 only because G marched into M's bedroom yelling, "Momma, where are you?"

The next generation of great writer...

I try to send a little note in with N whenever she takes her lunch to school.  The other day I sent in an acrostic poem using her name.

She loved it and has been writing poems like it ever since.
Here is the one I found in my pajama drawer from her:

Cares for everyone
Awesome at loveing
Runs not much   (This is my favorite line)
Rock'n out
Everyone loves her

I have decided that this is the perfect way to introduce her to quatrains, cinquains, haiku and others.

She's brilliant, I tell you.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Report on Night 1 of Operation Night Weaning (and other things M related)

It went surprisingly well.  I think I was up with M 3 times.  Each time I leaned down to hug him, snuggle a bit.  And then I laid him down saying, "Night, night."  I kept my hand on his back a few minutes until he settled.  There were no massive screaming fits because I never picked him up.

He slept around 3 hours between each waking until the 3:30 a.m. one.  After that he didn't wake again until 8:30.  Nearly 5 hours of uninterrupted sleep is a Christmas miracle in my book.

Some things that M is doing 14 months:

* He finally brings me books to read to him.  He is pretty picky...I can't just pick up any old board book.  But he does like to sit in my lap and be read to.

*He knows that ducks say "Cack, cack," because every time he sees a duck--in a book, on tv, in real life-- he says, "Cack, cack."

*He says "Maow" for cat.
*He says "No" uber-clearly.  And uses it completely correctly.  Like when I'm trying to wipe food off his face.
*He says "Bow" for "Wow."
*He walks 90% of the time, so I guess he is officially a toddler.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Operation Night Weaning

N weaned from night-time nursing at 4 weeks of age.  She just started sleeping 8-12 hours a night, every night.  I didn't know how super effin easy I had it with her.
I can totally see why they say girls develop and mature so.much.faster. than boys.

I was able to wean G from night nursing at 10 months.  I was able to pick him up, hold him for a few minutes, he would settle down, and then go back to sleep.  He still woke up 2-3 times a night until he was 14 months old and had tubes put in (at which time he started sleeping 12 hours a night, every night).

And then there is turd.  I mean M.
At 14 months old, he has slept 2 times through the night.  And he still night nurses.  I had started letting him sleep in bed with us, thinking he just wanted to be close to me.  But he quickly realized he had an all-night open bar laying right next to him.

I am tired.  And I am tired of being tired.  So I am weaning him from night-time nursing.  He can suckle as much as he likes during the day, and he usually does 3-4 times.

But I have reached the point where nursing him at night and being woken up so much is making me resentful.  And I don't like that feeling.

Stupidly, I feel sorta like a bad mom.  Guilty.  Whatever.  And it is completely unjustified thinking.  I have given it way more than the ol' college try.  Fourteen months of night-time nursing is effing OUTSTANDING.  Some babies don't get fourteen nights of night-time nursing.  And I'm still happy to daytime nurse him until he is ready to wean.

I have decided it is time to partially reclaim my body, reclaim some semblance of rest.  Time to parent him to sleep, learn that he really can be comforted by someone other than mom and something other than my breast.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Picture(S) of the Day(S)--Dec 4-7--Sickness rules my roost

G started feeling crappy on Saturday.  

Followed by me later in the day on Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday....
Still waiting for a return to normalcy.
Just pretend this picture counts for Sunday and Monday when I felt at my worst. 

The boys cleaning my table with baby butt wipes.  (Clean ones, to be sure.)

Friday, December 3, 2010

Picture of the Day--December 3rd--Putting up the basement tree

The problem with only choosing 1 picture is having 3 very adorable kids.
So here are 3 pics of the day...

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Picture of the Day---December 2nd---One down

Tonight N and G helped me put ornaments on the tree in our dining room.  This is our special ornament tree......with ones from mine and D's childhood and all the ornaments the kids have been given.  Every year I buy each kiddo an ornament, so that by the time they leave the house they will have a nice set of decorations for their own trees.  

Picture of the Day--December 1st---A New Tradition

My friend K does a Picture a Day blog in December, and I am totally stealing her idea.  (I hope she doesn't mind.....)
I'm going to do two today since I'm starting a day late.

The start of something new.....

I saw this at Meijer and thought it was really cute.  Every night I add 2 pieces of candy to the next day; N and G take turns opening the door and each gets a piece of candy in the a.m.  We began on December 1st.