Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Welcome Mat

Here's my new WordPress site. With my very own domain name and everything! I'm all grown up now.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Parenting Isn't Hard?

I read this article a couple days ago on Blogher and had been mulling it over ever since- the title is the same as that of my post, minus the question mark. The author is a mom who has one child, aged two months at the time of publishing. I'd rather not recap the whole thing, so if you want to get what I'm talking about, maybe click on over and at least skim through it. The comments section is interesting, too!

I agree with the general gist of what she's saying. I think people do disrespect children's essential personhood quite often, myself included. No, they don't have the same rights and responsibilities as adults, but they are human beings and should be treated as such. They shouldn't be interrupted when they're trying to explain themselves, they shouldn't be jerked around and manhandled unless their bodies are in imminent danger, they shouldn't be screamed at for unavoidable accidents, they shouldn't be berated for being hungry or needing a bathroom at inconvenient times, etc.

I have to remind myself of this all the time; it's especially easy to be empathetic now, when I myself am often hungry or need to pee with ridiculous frequency. But my requests are always respected, whereas a kid pops out of bed saying they're hungry despite having had dinner and a bedtime snack would probably be snapped at and sent back to bed, right? People trust me that I know my body; people often think kids can't be trusted to know what they need, or that they're trying to be manipulative.

But the thing is... sometimes they are. And as the caretaker or parent, sometimes you just have to feel it out and listen to your instincts, not your emotions, whether those emotions are ones of pity or guilt or frustration. You have to know the kid, and know the situation. This is something no outside observer can do. So some passer-by might think you're being way too permissive, or way too harsh, and either way they might be right depending on what transpired in the moments, hours, days, and YEARS before the five minutes they happen to be witnessing.

That's why I personally felt some of the content of the "Parenting Isn't Hard" manifesto was a little judgmental and simplistic. Yes, some things, beating your kids or calling them awful names, are always inexcusable and wrong. Other things, such as angry impatience with childishness, or a seeming overreaction to one act of misbehavior, well... maybe the parent IS a jerk who acts like that all day long and never interacts lovingly with their child. Or, maybe they've been putting up with misbehavior all day long and trying their best to correct it and redirect it and stay positive and they themselves are hungry and tired too and they just snap a bit. It's not anything they're proud of, but none of us is our Very Best Self all the time. It doesn't make us abusive parents.

I also found the "is this how you'd treat another adult?" rationale a little weak. I used to spout this example all the time, myself- before I had kids and actually realized how unfair it is. Because see, another adult wouldn't wake me up every morning by calling, "Mom, come WIPE me now!" Another adult doesn't whine because his little brother got the bowl he wanted, dither between the remaining choices for thirty seconds, and then, just as the cereal begins to hit the bowl, change his mind and want the other one. Another adult (hopefully) isn't demanding and oblivious to others, doesn't burst into tears at the slightest disappointment. An adult doesn't gripe and moan every single day as you are trying to help them get through necessary routines such as hair brushing or shoe tying.

Adults are in general far more polite and rational and easier to be around and interact with, so no, one doesn't usually feel the mounting impatience, the urge to yell at them to settle down or to hiss in frustration when they spill their third drink of the day after being repeatedly asked to be careful. And the adults that DO still act like kids, the ones who leave giant messes and talk loudly at all hours of the day, with no respect or awareness of the needs of others? You complain about and avoid at all costs, right? Because that crap is exhausting! It's rude! It's considered antisocial! And sometimes, despite our best efforts, despite knowing that these are children and it is our job to slowly civilize them, we still get worn down and feel unappreciated and disrespected and sometimes we do not treat our kids as we would another adult. Are these our proudest moments? Nope. Are we embarrassed by them, especially when other people witness them? You bet. Am I an abusive mother because I have on occasion steered my kid's shoulder just a little more firmly than necessary?

Well, you tell me. If you read the article, what was your take?

Edit: I also found this piece on Blogher in response to the original article, and really liked what she had to say.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Honey Badger Don't Care! And Neither Does Baby.

Hey! That ticker down at the bottom says our baby girl will arrive in approximately ninety days. And, I would bet at least fourteen less than that, though who knows. Maybe these progesterone shots will work SO darn well that my cervix will stay closed up like a tomb until thirty nine weeks. I keep dreaming of this, though I'm also trying to mentally prepare myself that bedrest is still possible, that these shots don't guarantee anything. I don't want to be devastated if I go in for a thirty or thirty two week check up and find out that my body has begun the early labor process and that the little munchkin has settled into zero station already, just like her older siblings did. And at least I have the comfort of knowing the bedrest would in all likelihood work to prevent a premature birth. It seems like as soon as I get horizontal and get the baby off my cervix things always settle down. So there's that. But just please, please, please, dear fetus o' mine, not before next weekend and not before my baby shower!

And not before I get this house organized. Here I am, a week from the big Third Trimester of Craziness, three weeks from the point when I went on bed rest in my last pregnancy, and I have done nothing in the way of nesting or preparing save for the few baby dresses and onesies hanging in our closet (with the tags still on.) Oh, wait, that's not true. I did... register. Which I said I wouldn't do. But then I was at Babies R Us to look at yet another cosleeper thing (the kind you actually put in the adult bed with you, but it's like its own little bed within the bed?) and as I wandered around, I was getting a little overwhelmed thinking about what I needed to remember to stock up on and what might be nice to have this time around. And then I thought, well, what the heck. Give me the little clicker. If nothing else, it'll be an online checklist for myself to remind me that before we bring this kid home it would be good to have some new burp cloths and newborn pacifiers, and that I really want one of those little eight dollar foam bath pad things because every baby tub or seat I've ever had was a giant space sucking pain in the butt. Also, it was totally fun to scan things. Eli was very impressed with my clicker.

But I have yet to even make a real LIST, you guys, not one single list of Things To Do Before Baby and Things To Clean Before Baby and Irrelevant Things To Panic About Before Baby! Every other birth has warranted multiples of such lists floating around the house and my brain, and this time I just keeping thinking, "Eh, plenty of time to get to all that." Except now there's kind of NOT, not with the trip and potential bedrest and the fact that I'd prefer to do stuff like cleaning out my dusty, disorganized cupboards before my belly gets ridiculously giant.

On the other hand, I can always do that after she comes. Or never. The baby doesn't care! That's my new motto.

Oh and PS Jameson's cold is back, or he has a new one, or his allergies are going crazy or some such shite. Remember when I said I was gonna burn all the things? Yeah. That formerly white-ish couch is first on the list. The amount of mucous in this house is just unreal. (Heh. Shoulda had that as the title of this post. That's grabby right there.)

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Happy Wednesday To Me. Seriously.

How did I not know about this website?! I am so happy right now.

Pinterest, You Are Drunk

Seriously. Please to enjoy, if you haven't already. Particularly entries in the Reasons You Are Still Single and Trying Too Hard categories. Oh, and this one, which adorably details one perky housewife's cleaning schedule in such excruciating and unfathomable detail that upon reading, I instantly wanted to stick my head in my (not spotless) oven. And I even normally like cleaning and do it fairly regularly, but... who dusts their ceiling fans and steams their grout WEEKLY??

My guess is it's the same lady who pinned this picture.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

That's A Lot Of Reasons

Well, Easter seems to have cheered me up a lot, and having some out of town people coming into my house got me back into cleaning mode a little bit (also forced me to fold and put away the PILES of laundry sitting around.) We all know having a clean-ish house helps one's mood enormously. Still haven't hung those pictures, but at least my room is dusted and I have clean sheets! I also have children's candy baskets to sift through sneakily. (For yes, while I'd like to think that the Easter-related lift in heart is solely based upon spiritual refreshment, I do imagine the little treats laying around the house have something to do with it too.)

Unfortunately I forgot that a day of toting around laundry baskets and vacuum cleaners can really wreak havoc on pregnant hips and abdominal muscles, right? Up until now I had been gloating about how this pregnancy's been pretty kind to me in terms of joint pain, but then yesterday evening I realized that's probably just because I've been a lot LAZIER during this pregnancy than any other. Heh.

Other reasons for increased perkiness include but are not limited to:

-The fact that the boys are mostly recovered from their ten thousandth snotty nosed cold this winter, and the germs from said cold have been cleaned from the furniture and clothes. Also? SO HELP ME this had better be the last round of it or I'm just going to give up and BURN everything like they did in the old days after scarlet fever epidemics. Do you hear me? I WILL BURN ALL THE THINGS.

-We have found a couple of teenaged girls (one of whom can drive herself here, can I get an amen) to help us out this summer. It sounds a bit indulgent and all, especially when we're already shelling out money to add on to our house, but here are the sobering facts: come July, I will have a brand new teensy baby nursing round the clock, plus our backyard will be all torn up and unusable. So unless there's someone to help me entertain/occasionally drive the older kids to the pool and playground and such, poor Addy and Eli are going to be watching a LOT of TV.

I want to feel like I can do it all myself. But... there's just no way I'm going to be up for my usual SummerFun! routine of schlepping everyone around to picnics and pools and zoos and play dates and ice cream parlor trips multiple times a week. Er, not that kids HAVE to have that, obviously, but they at least need to play outside and get some exercise and interaction, and, as I said: entire backyard will be unusable/dangerous construction zone. Because did I mention we're also regrading the yard back there, since we're digging everything up anyways? It's been a hollowed out, swampy mess for a long time, but no longer!

The other reason a babysitter is kind of crucial for us is that Jim is planning to do a lot of the inside finish work on the addition himself, which means even when he's home, he won't always be available to help me. So the babysitter who can help out on nights and weekends is going to come in very handy, I imagine. I only hope our chaotic household and my sleep deprived, hormonal, saggy stomached self doesn't scare her off having kids forever! Ha ha, just kidding! Mostly.

-Speaking of construction, it is tentatively slated to begin next week. Next week! What the what. I kind of can't believe it's actually happening. Of course, some snafu or another will probably come up with weather or building permits or equipment breakdowns or something, so for the moment I'm adopting an I'll-believe-it-when-I-see-it attitude to prevent unwarranted giddiness, but still. The ball is steadily rolling.

-Okay, this is a big one: next weekend we're actually going away without any kids for two nights with some friends of ours! We rented a house in southern Michigan near a bunch of wineries and little artsy towns and we're just going to relax and hang out, pretty much. It's kind of an anniversary present for both of us, since theirs is April fourteenth and ours is May fifteenth. We had, before having surprise babies and building additions put a dent in our budget, been planning a longer vacation with them this summer, somewhere a little more tropical and exciting, but at this point I'm just happy this trip is happening at all.

-Lastly, I found out my sister and mom are throwing me a baby shower! Isn't that so so nice, for a FOURTH baby? I'm especially excited because with my first baby, I ended up on bed rest after all the parties had been planned. So the out of town one got cancelled, and the one we did have was held in my living room while I laid on the couch. Still sweet of course, but different than I had imagined. I haven't registered or anything this time, obviously, since it's not like we need much of the big stuff (plus FOURTH BABY, greedy much?) but since Addy was born in the fall and this baby will be in the summer, I suppose we could technically use some supplemental clothing items despite having already had a girl baby.

The best part, though, is that this shower will be all about celebrating the baby herself, and how excited we are for her arrival, despite all the surprise and commotion in our lives right now. At my other shower (for Addy) we didn't even know the sex, so it felt a bit like a give-us-a-gender-neutral-baby-item-and-in-return-have-a-slice-of-gender-neutral-cake party! Not so this time. Flowers and fun colors and a pink and white checkerboard cake all the way. And not a single boring-but-practical registry item for someone to feel obligated to buy even though it's no fun!

Also, I'm telling you what, even if I AM on bed rest again for this one, I will sit up long enough to attend this party, I don't even care. I've done this laying around business enough times that I'm not so terrified anymore of breaking "the rules" a little here and there.

Friday, April 06, 2012

Litmus Test

Here's how I know when I'm tired vs. when I'm maybe a little depressed: I don't feel like dusting, and I don't feel like rearranging or decorating. Even when I'm tired, those things still sound like fun and I usually find a way to do them, even if general housework is suffering. And my house? It is dusty. Especially the bedrooms.

I'm not someone who buys a picture and takes two months to get around to hanging it. Usually it happens within an hour of getting home from the store. But I have had two little coordinating canvasses for my bedroom (which my sister found for five dollars apiece at T.J. Maxx- that WAS a fun day) sitting in a corner for almost two weeks and I just have not once felt motivated to get up and hang them.

I am really not liking these progesterone shots the longer it goes on. Either my pain tolerance is getting worse or my hips are becoming covered in scar tissue and there's just no good place to stick a long needle anymore without it hurting. Each one seems to be sucking more and leaving more lingering pain. But worse than that is that I'm pretty sure the extra hormones are what's responsible for destroying my coping mechanisms the last few weeks. You guys, I cry all the time. I cannot stop crying about stuff. Some of it makes sense, but a lot of times it doesn't at all, and it's just getting annoying, frankly. Also, once it starts, I seem incapable of shutting it off and snapping back to normal. I just... I really dread another ten weeks of this. That's all.

Sunday, April 01, 2012

To Whom It May Concern

Dear Jim and world at large,

someecards.com - I hope having an unborn fetus in my womb doesn't turn you off

Dear Me,

someecards.com - Sorry you're due during bathing suit season

Dear Robert Pattinson,

someecards.com - I wish the cast of Twilight had to fight in the Hunger Games

Dear Kids,

someecards.com - You won't be this cute forever
Might be time to improve your sucking up skills a bit. Just sayin'.