Monday, September 26, 2011

To: The Universe Re: Grievances, Commendations

Dear Universe,

I greatly dislike the phase "it never rains but it pours" because it is so darn true. Always. For reference, here's what you threw my way in the last forty eight hours:

-a four year old who ran laughing away from me in a department store, and stayed lost for a half an hour, to the point that I had all the employees helping me look for him, had other employees watching the door to make sure no one was absconding with a wily looking four year old, and an older sibling who was weeping in terror, sure her brother had been kidnapped or would be lost forever, doomed to wander the clothing racks of Kohls eternally. That was fun. (We found him in a mens' dressing room, fyi, playing with a Christmas toy he had first snagged from a table REALLY REALLY FAR from where I first lost sight of him.)

The worst of that situation was actually that he just flat out refused to apologize to me or listen to my very stern lecture on the car ride home. He was clearly not getting it, what a big deal what he had done was and how he could never do that again. (This is something that has happened before, btw. More than once.) So I finally had to ask Jim talk to him instead, since he wasn't listening to me, and I really really loathe being that mom who's all, "Just wait til your father gets home!" My motto's always been, "If it happens on your watch, it's your problem." But what could I do? I just felt very strongly about getting across that we don't run away and hide in public places. It's kind of one of those hill-die-on issues, right?

-a kid who woke up screaming in the night with sudden ear pain, and had to miss school YET AGAIN today while I fussed around for six hours with the doctor's office trying to either get an appointment or simply get a prescription called in.

-the joy of being awake all night with said child, who didn't sleep from about twelve thirty to four thirty. The baby then woke up to nurse fifteen minutes after THAT, and then, just as I was finally drifting off to sleep, I realized that above all the rain outside, I could hear rain falling INSIDE, and flung open the linen closet door to discover that it was leaking again. A lot. All over the place. Including on my head. It was a long night.

-Jim stayed home from work today to deal with the roofing repair people... who never showed up, even after being called three times. *bangs head on table in frustration*

BUT. Here's the happy thing that almost evens out all the sucky. I met with my old doula Saturday just to get some general guidance for my upcoming birth, and she asked me to consider joining her when I get certified! This is exactly what I was hoping for, and I am so excited to have someone to learn from, and to be brought alongside a professional doula who already has an established business and a name in the community. What a gift, not to have to just jump in by myself, starting from scratch with putting together a business and a website and building a reputation for myself. It's certainly a big responsibility, since she's basically sharing with me her own good name in the community and trusting that I won't do anything to tarnish it. So that's weighty, right there. I'm so touched to be trusted that way.

It just feels like everything is coming together with this doula thing, and that this was totally the right time in my life to pursue this path. I'm so happy I finally found a passion, and a way to offer something meaningful to the community someday while still for the most part remaining an at-home parent. Every time I think about how it's all working out I just start grinning like an idiot. Call it luck, call it God's plan, call it fate, whatever. I call it awesome, and I am so thankful!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Lots of Topics. Take Your Pick.

I don't even have anything specific to post about today, but I can't stand leaving that horrific BARFING post up any longer. I mean, what if I died in a car accident today and the last thing I published on my public blog was about throwing up on my own shoes? *shudder* What a way to go.

So I guess I'll just ramble about something or other for a few paragraphs... Um, Halloween! Two questions: What are your kids going to be? Are you going to make their costumes? And will YOU dress up, too?

Whoops, there were three, weren't there? My answers are: Addy wants to be a cheerleader or a cowgirl. We're still undecided on that, but I'm rooting for cheerleader because we already have that costume. Eli will be either Batman or a dragon, and he got both of those costumes for his birthday, so we won't have to buy anything new for him for sure. (Are you sensing that my kids are really into costume wearing in their everyday life?)

Don't know yet about Jameson. We have a Tigger costume that both the other kids wore when they were his age, but he is totally different in size than either of the other two were (Eli was really chubby, and Addy was really small- the costume totally sagged on her- but Jameson is more just thin and long, not tiny in general) so I don't think it's going to fit him right. Any adorable ideas for one year old costumes? I thought about dressing him as a dragon-slayer, if Eli does indeed opt for dragon, but then that seemed awfully... involved. And I am nothing if not uncreative and lazy about such things. Which brings to me to my answer re: whether or not I will make the costumes, which is a big fat NO. As for whether I will dress up with the kids, just depends on my mood that day, honestly. I have before (once as a cat, and as Sarah Palin, last year :) ) but it was pretty spur of the moment.

And hey, as long as I'm not writing anything creative or funny or touching, or, my specialty, humiliating, I will ask anther question! At what age do kids usually transition from a morning and an afternoon nap to one long afternoon nap? Jamie is still very hit or miss in this area; some days he's not tired until one or two, but other days he's falling asleep by eleven and I have to put him down.... BUT then he won't nap at all in the afternoon, which, weirdly, means a horrible bedtime because by then he's overtired and miserable. It's awfully hard to try to plan errands and library trips and so on when I never know when the kid is going to be asleep!

Oddly, I worried about his napping LESS when he was younger because he would always fall asleep in the car, so if he hadn't napped yet, I'd just take off for the store and he'd be out by the time we got there, and then remain asleep in his car seat for at least an hour or so. Ah, memories. This is no longer the case. He hardly ever sleeps in the car anymore, and if he does finally nod off, he inevitably wakes up furious during the transition into the house, and won't go back to sleep but is then grouchy and fitful for at least an hour. So car sleeping just sucks, now, and I'm always playing loud music and shoving toys and sippee cups at him to try to keep him awake until we get home.

You know what does NOT suck anymore, though, and which I keep meaning to do a big Gratefulness Post about? Eli does not. have. accidents. anymore. At least not on a daily basis, and never of the horrifying number two variety which was killing me slowly just a scant six months ago. Gosh, that seemed like it would never end, and then there was the constant leaking and multiple underpants a day, every single day, and now... now it is over. At last. Thank God. We've also noticed that he's actually using the bathroom less often and pees a lot more at a time, and we're wondering if maybe his bladder just finally caught up in size with the rest of his body? or something?

It makes me feel bad for ever giving him grief about it, if he really couldn't control it. I mean, I didn't give him MUCH grief, don't get me wrong. We certainly didn't punish him or anything. But one senses, after awhile, that people are tired of cleaning up your pee and rinsing your underwear. One catches that drift, I would think, after hearing sighs and muttered grumbles for months on end. So, if anyone's still stuck in that technically-potty-trained-but-never-quite-making-it-to-the-toilet-in-time phase, let me say: I don't think there's any magic trick to fix it. You just have to grin and bear it until it's outgrown, and try not to give your kid a hard time about it, because they probably can't help it.

Also, once they outgrow it, be sure to celebrate with new Transformers underwear.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Gag Me

I've always said that the one gross part of parenting that I've never gotten used to/gotten over is throwing up. It just freaks me out, and I hate most of all that usually when your kids are throwing up, it means the whole family is more or less sick and so YOU are feeling kind of queasy, too.

Well, I think this weekend may have officially gotten me over throw up. First I went to my friend's bachelorette party, and it was awesome and fun UNTIL I decided to try a shot for basically the first time in my life, after having had quite a bit of wine and a few tequila sunrises over the course of the previous several hours. Usually I'm such a lightweight about alcohol that I have a no-doing-shots-ever policy, but I think what happened here was that I was JUST drunk enough to think maybe it would be fun!

Was. Not. Fun. I don't even want to describe it all, it would be too embarrassing, but let's just say there's a pair of suede boots that need dry cleaning, a club floor to which I owe a new mop, and I may also send my friends Kelly and Beth an I'm-so-sorry-I-threw-up-in-your-bathroom-SINK care package of Lysol wipes and Febreeze. (In my defense, I was on antibiotics, which definitely makes you more likely to get sick while drinking. But I apparently drank just enough that I FORGOT I wasn't supposed to drink too much. Nice. Also, the sink? There was someone on the floor of the bathroom- that's right, I'm not the only one who can't hold her liquor- and I was afraid of tripping over her on my way to the toilet, so I apparently just stumbled to the nearest receptacle of any kind.) It was a night of humble pie, let me tell you, as I have always been quite proud of my ability to drink just enough to have fun and not enough to get wasted or throw up. Sigh. Guess I can take that off my resume.

I was then horribly hung over all the next day, and then even into the next, which seemed kind of excessive until my KIDS started throwing up and I realized that possibly not all of my achy-ness and nausea was due to the weekend's unsavory activities. Yes, that's right, I returned home from a night of vomiting to... two more days of vomiting. And it turns out my kids aren't any better at finding a good spot to throw up than I am. I feel like I'm caught in the world's longest hangover, and I hereby vow, before the Internets and everyone, to never again as long as I live do a shot.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Sweet Spot

Jameson (Jamie, Jamers, Jamie Boy, Jamie James, etc.) will be one in just two weeks. One year ago to the day, I was released from bed rest just in time to celebrate my birthday the following day. And then I spent the happiest two weeks of my entire pregnancy doing birthday stuff (presents!) cleaning and nesting, snuggling the older kids and doing last minute baby shopping. I still smile remembering that time- SO different from the end of my first two pregnancies, when I was counting down every minute, so miserable and ready to be done! Physically I was still quite uncomfortable this time, too, of course, with swelling feet and heartburn and constant contractions, all that fun stuff. But by that point I just expected it, and I knew not to think I was in labor at every twinge, so I tried to just go with the flow. I was so happy, and so mellow, that I could hardly even wrap my head around it when it was, in fact, time to have that baby!

Jamie has totally entered my very favorite stage of babyhood, possibly even of childhood thus far in my experience: from about ten months to about eighteen months. Still completely a baby, with nommable cheeks and chunky thigh folds and all that, but with so much blossoming personality as well, and just enough independence (can crawl/walk around! can feed self a cracker! can hold a cup!) to make those times when they DO want to be held and cuddled that much more special. But, again, still totally a baby in terms of size, so those special holding times aren't too taxing on Mama's arms yet. And and AND- sleeping through the night, most nights! This might be the best part. Babyhood is so much more enjoyable on a full night's sleep, amiright?

He's crawling everywhere, pulling up constantly, and occasionally squatting on those wobbly little thighs and ever so slowly rising to a stand all on his own. When this happens, he looks around in bewilderment, almost as though his muscles are propelling him upwards independent of any conscious mental decision. Which I suppose very well may be the case. Bodies are often doing things without express permission from the brain, in my experience. For example, despite being back to pre baby weight, my body seems to have slowly sculpted for me, as an early twenty-seventh birthday/ welcome to your late twenties present, a matched pair of dimpled saddlebags. Thank you, aging genes. Clearly you know best.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Frame of Mind

So I know most of you long-time readers are aware that I'm kind of a clean freak. I'm sure you also know, without my even saying, that it is very hard to maintain a home's cleanliness levels to standards pleasing to a clean freak when three small kids spend the bulk of their time in said home. They even EAT in there, for frick's sake. (They keep rejecting my suggestions to eat outdoors for every meal. WHATEVER.) So, how does one survive the daily defeat of trying to clean up even as people make messes all around you? How does one lower their standards just enough that they do not become a resentful and miserable slave of a housewife?

I have two tips, both somewhat new found and both of which have proved enormously helpful to ME, anyways. Tip number one: read Biting the Dust and discover all about the crazy cleaning habits of yore, as well as some pretty crazy things people still do today. The book is both hilarious and informative, particularly in the chapters talking about how consumerism and ads really fanned the flames of housewives everywhere to out-clean each other (you know, back before feminism and the discovery that we could do things OTHER than clean our houses, if we wanted.) It really made me reconsider how certain standards came to be the norm, and who is really benefiting from all this cleaning fervor (hint: not housewives!) I think the main thing it changed for me is my use of the word "need" as relates to house chores.

I often say fretfully things like, "Oh I need to mop so badly!" But, what constitutes a need? Do I just mean that the floor looks dirty to me and so I WANT to mop it (or for someone, anyways, to mop it)? Do I mean that the baby is crawling around on the floor so it NEEDS to be germ free at all times? And if so, is that even possible?

Which brings up the other important issue the book addresses, namely, our modern obsession with killing the germs in our homes and whether this is necessary, harmful, or even attainable. Example: does the toilet bowl NEED to be sanitized? Is someone DRINKING the toilet water? Or is just that we don't want to look at smears or smell nasty odors? As long as we're practicing good hand washing habits and not constantly sticking our fingers in our mouths, does it really matter that much if every surface and every light switch has been Lysol-wiped religiously? Or, if we have small kids who very likely are not always practicing good hand washing and very likely ARE sticking their grubby hands into every orifice of their bodies and then all over every item in our house, is it even possible to hunt down every germ, anyways? Should we still try?

It's just a very thought provoking read, and really helped me relax about all the things I think of as "needing" to be done regularly. I came to the conclusion that each house has it's own comfort level of cleanliness/tidiness, and housekeeping is all about keeping it at that level. But it is literally impossible to have the entire house entirely clean at any one time. As soon as we're done wiping something, the dust begins to accumulate again, so... there's no point in striving for perfection, I guess is what I'm saying.

A few days after finishing the book, I had another epiphany, while happily dusting my living room late at night after the kids were in bed. (Yes, happily. I love putting on a good movie, getting out the Pledge, and really taking my time. Whatever. Don't judge.) It occurred to me that deep cleaning is basically my hobby. It's the thing I like to do when I have some free time, just to mellow out and kind of clear my head, all while feeling productive. I hate rushing around trying to cross things off lists, but I love to just kind of... zen clean, I guess is how I'd put it. Wipe hand prints off picture frames, dust bookshelves, scrub down every nook and cranny of the shower. This is deeply satisfying for me.

So, that's how I'm looking at cleaning from now on. It is my hobby, something fun and productive to do with my free time, but something that is not necessary for anyone in the house to carry on with their daily routines. Dishes, laundry, grocery shopping, picking up toys? Kind of necessary. Scrubbing the floors? Not necessary. NICE, especially to me, but not necessary, i.e. not something I should rush around trying to fit into my day, or should feel guilty about if it goes undone. It's just my hobby, no more or less virtuous than scrap booking or coin collecting. It's something I do if I have the time to sit down and enjoy doing it well, and something I just don't do if I don't have the time. Obviously, since I enjoy it, I do make the time frequently, but again, there is no inherent VIRTUE to it, or necessity.

I realize this might not work for every personality or household. Some people hate cleaning, but also hate messy houses, so they still clean just as much as I do, but grudgingly. Other people hate cleaning and don't care about mess, but the people they live with DO care, so there is an uneasy balance of who is obliged to does what and how often. This would suck, clearly, and you have my sympathy. Also, my ears. Tell me all about it. Also, tell me what things you consider to be NEEDS in the realm of house chores.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Kids, Lately

Jameson would like to remind everyone that in just nineteen days, he will be one year old. He would like more jars of carrots, please, preferably of the Earth's Best variety.

Eli would like to thank everyone for his awesome birthday presents, and the gorgeous cake, which we just finished up a few days ago. He would also like to assure everyone that he is surviving his new found alone time during the day JUST FINE, thankyouverymuch.

And THIS one. Sniff. This one is setting off for her first day of school in the above, and returning, below, flushed with happiness. Literally pink cheeked. (She's also returning with mostly uneaten lunches, but we're working on that. One thing at a time.)

Monday, September 05, 2011


I am going to tell you right now that this is a touchy subject. I read this article today about twin reduction- aborting one twin because while you want to be pregnant, you only want to come out with one baby, not two. The whole concept gave me chills, even though I've always said quite honestly that the idea of carrying, and then caring for, twins terrifies me. But the article was extremely thought provoking, touching on lots of the blurry ethical lines being crossed ever since reproduction stopped being seen as a mysterious act of God and became something very much within our own hands, provided we have the money and determination.

While I can say without doubt that I would never reduce a twin pregnancy simply because twins are not my ideal, I have much less idea of what I would do with, say, the option of IVF. Is the whole thing creepy and against nature? Or a marvelous gift- even a miracle- for those otherwise infertile? What do you do with leftover embryos? Do you only implant one at a time so that you don't chance a risky multiple pregnancy, even though then your odds of conceiving at all might go down? There are so many questions, and I guess I'm just very thankful this is a bridge we never had to cross. Though I suppose really you could say that my use of Clomid to help conceive Eli, or our use of ultrasound to check on our fetus's health, not to mention the option of amnios or other prenatal screenings- all of these are playing God to a certain extent too, aren't they?

What do you all think of fertility/science related issues, from birth control pills to selective reduction? Are we playing God, or is this just another medical advancement, like organ transplantation or antibiotics? How far would you go, if it seemed like your only chance to be a parent?

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Thus Far On This Lovely Sunday Morn...

...I have:

-changed two poopy diapers.

-emptied and sanitized diaper pail.

-emptied and sanitized Frog Potty, which Eli still enjoys using occasionally for peeing (don't ask. Whatever helps him not have accidents, I say.)

-nursed the squirmy baby.

-fed the squirmy baby cereal.

-poured three bowls of cereal for two kids.

-took Addy's temp and realized she is running a fever, two days before HER VERY FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL.

-convinced her of the importance of resting and drinking fluids today, put her back to bed.

-unloaded/reloaded dishwasher.

-swept kitchen floor.

-wiped disgusting counter top.

-made coffee.

-put lunch in the crock pot.

-threw load of clothes in wash.

-attempted to unload dryer and realized that at some point a child threw a ballpoint pen in there and ink stains are now covering everything that was drying, including Addy's soccer uniform and my favorite skirt.

-googled "how to remove ink stains;" found very little hope of removing them.

-checked email and found out that my doula workshop has been cancelled due to low enrollment and that I will in fact have to wait until the November classes, which are ten days before my client's due date.

I think it's time to go back to bed and hope for better luck tomorrow.

But seriously, I need some advise now about this doula workshop thing. (Also ideas for removing ink stains, if you have any.) Here are the only three possible scenarios that I can think of:

~I put off going to the classes until next year, to ensure that I am there for my friend if she goes into labor early, and thereby give up using her birth as a credit towards my DONA requirements (you have to have attended the workshop before you can start counting births towards your official requirement.)

~I go to the workshops and risk the possibility of her having the baby while I'm gone. I would feel so disappointed both to let my friend down AND to miss out on one of those hard-to-get pre-certification births, of which I need three before I can become an official DONA doula.

~I am relieved of all choice in the matter by my friend going into labor several weeks early, and I am able to be there to help her but unable to count her birth towards my DONA requirements because it will occur before I attend the workshops. BUT I at least still get to go to my workshops, and guilt free at that, since she will already have had the baby.

Friday, September 02, 2011


Thing the first: Eli had two very fun birthday parties, both held at our house on consecutive days. Which means that this week I refused to mop or scrub or sometimes even to vacuum up piles of cracker crumbs off the carpet, because I had used up all cleaning energy preparing for said parties. I had also stupidly planned the family party for the day AFTER the kid party, which meant I basically cleaned for a party, had kids grimy up the house, and then had to clean again for the family gathering. Just very poor planning on my part.

*I was hoping the will to clean up would return by the weekend, but yesterday Mother Nature abruptly announced my return to the land of the fertile, if you catch my drift, so I'm mostly just feeling the will to lie around with a heating pad. Boo.

Thing the second: I wanted to post pictures from the parties, including the awesome cake my sister made Eli, but my camera and/or the computer is refusing to cooperate with the downloading of the pictures, so just suffice it to say there was much fun had by all. The weather was beautiful, we all hung out on the (freshly stained by yours truly) deck, ate a beautiful football cake, played with a giant foaming bubble gun, met my brother in law's new girlfriend (yay!) and admired: a new football helmet and jersey, football guy action figures, Transformers toys, a new Batman costume, and a new football, soccer ball, baseball bat and mit, etc etc.

Then on his actual birthday, Tuesday, his Neena and Aunt Laura and I took the kids to the zoo for one last hurrah, and to Ruby Tuesdays for lunch, including a birthday cupcake. If I were Eli, I would have declared it the best birthday ever, but of course in the days following the Weekend of Partying, he was just a little worn out and overwhelmed and behaved far more like a three year old than a four year old. Isn't that always how it goes.

Thing the third: Addy's kindergarten screening went very well, and today at two o'clock they will post teacher lists. FINALLY. I can't believe they put it off to the last minute like that. Apparently too many people were trying to switch teachers or request to be in classes with certain friends, things like that, so now they just don't even tell you who you've got until the weekend before school starts. Nice. We also got the bus situation sorted out, too (she and her friend down the street will ride to school with me in the mornings, but she will ride the bus home, since it's a much shorter trip for her in the afternoon.) All that's left is orientation day, and then we just have to... drop her off at school. Without us. For HOURS. Gah.

Thing the fourth: The last of my doula books are finally in, thanks to several inter-library loans, so I can uphold my honor code! Whew! I also had an informal meeting with my first doula client a couple of days ago, during her one hour glucose screening, and it went really well. She is an ideal candidate for a doula, as her husband is a first time dad and very nervous about the birth, so I feel like I will really be of use. I still have so much technical stuff to learn, though! I can't wait for the workshop!

Thing the fifth: Jameson has run a fever the last few days, and though he's no longer got a temperature, he is and has been SO. CRANKY. Especially during the night. He was like a newborn, only wanting to sleep on my body, but also like an eleven month old, wanting to flop around and change positions a gazillionty times. Ugh. Between that and ye olde return of the menstrual cycle, I am feeling in a VERY SPECIAL MOOD TODAY.