Category Archives: Motherhood

Yes, that is what it’s all about.

Waiting For SuperMom…

I’ve been waiting for the time to be right, hoping that I would know with unequivocal clarity.  Hoping that I would make it,  to be the best mom ever for my babes.  To be the Supermom that they deserve.   At the end of each day I sit, hoping that the next one will be better.  I  mistakes constantly. I pray that my children are strong enough not to be scarred by me, since I know that there is no way around them being hurt.  I’m just not perfect.
I fold laundry at 2am, I do dished a 4am ever so quietly, hoping not to wake the locals.   Then I sleep till 10am because I pushed too hard  and my body isn’t what it used to be.  So I feed them whatever I can get my hands on, and don’t make dinner until the last minute so the kitchen is a mess. Because I have to make everything from scratch. We have  various food allergies and housing upheaval. I have fibromyalgia, a herniated disk, a para-esophageal hernia that is going to require major surgery in a few weeks… A whole pot of crazy going on.

I spend my days trying to school them.  I love these days, but they don’t feel like enough for them, around my health and other needs. Each and every day I wonder if school would be better.   Not that I feel like a failure, but the thought is just always there. I am very aware that there are ways that school would NOT be successful, but then I worry about my inability to hold to structure and how it is affecting them.
My children are brilliant, and inspiring! Says-every-mom-ever. And I mean it!  They amaze me even more than they concern me. We are in a season of complete upheaval with construction on our home, changing our family budget, and getting health stuff taken care of.
One big change for our family happened about a month ago when we did send one of the babes back to school.  Over December we thought and prayed a lot about it.  It basically came down to this. Lucas needs clear structure and routine.  I am not very successful at either.  Lucas needs a full evaluation for insurance to pay for his therapy needs for Asperger Syndrome.  Insurance does not cover the evaluation which is anywhere between $2500 and $5000.  In public school he can be evaluated for free and provided the structure and support he needs.  Sounds like the perfect answer!!
It was still hard. So, so hard.  Lucas is the one I always keep with me. Mostly because he’s so much for other people to handle.  So dropping him off for others to care was overwhelming.  The school staff spent several hours over  2 weeks with us, in preparation for bringing Lucas in. They were wonderful.  We went over his need for support in the bathroom, and talked about his Sensory Processing Disorder. Because of his SPD, he is likely to be in pullups until he is 10-12.  The created a special plan and routine for him, based on what we suggested, with supervised bathroom visits and help with accidents. Their attention to detail for his needs was such a relief.  In his 504 plan for special needs, they also allowed him to have his chew necklace, wiggle seat and fidget toys.
Lucas has been there for a month now, and he is thriving. For the first time!  I can say he is thriving!! We still pick him up every Tuesday and take him to his OT appointments and he is in the middle of the evaluation process. In spite of my fears, it was absolutely what he needed.
Things come up with each of our children where we have to re-evaluate what we do.   We have to look at their needs. We put them above ours, and even above our ideals. We shift those ideals, as each process with our children changes the shape of our parenting; changes the priorities we thought we knew were “utmost” ten years ago.

I absolutely, despise the question “How do you do it all?”  Actually, even more than I despise the movie. The question is lame. No one really wants an answer. What they really mean is that you just have too much, way more than they would ever want. And it implies that they really have a clear preference for their own life.  Well, touche.  I prefer mine.
The truth is that NONE of  us do it all.  We choose in the moment, we grow with their needs. We stretch the muscle of our heart, the tissues of our brains… and they both ache and quake through the process.  We don’t do it all. Ever.  No one does.  Wed on’t have to.  We just have to do today.

I caught myself waiting again.  Waiting for something that will never happen. Something that doesn’t exist.  There is no Supermom.  I will never be her, and neither will you.  We have no cape and no need for one.  Who we are is who we are meant to be, and it is what our children need.   I mean, Edna said it and I agree.

Join me in putting the cape envy away.  Let’s put down our list of expectation. Of what we would look like if we were Supermoms.

The next few months look like climbing Mount Everest to me, and I don’t know how to do it. I just know, without a shadow of a doubt, that this sweet family of mine will make it to the other side… regardless of my lack of cape.

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Filed under All Posts, Family, homeschooling, Inner Sessions, Motherhood, parenting, Uncategorized

If My Life Came With An Owner’s Manual…

It would look like this.

And it would most certainly have, hidden somewhere between it’s well worn pages, one of these.

I used to be really organized, always on time, always wore makeup…That was soooo 2 kids ago.  I’ve had lots of ups and downs, typically congruent with pregnancy, but I was doing well for awhile.
Last year something unexpected happened. I got sick, and I re-injured my back. Not going to go into detail on that, other than to say that my usual ability to hold things together disappeared.  I was incapable of working, cooking, cleaning, teaching… of being me.  Over and over, I wished that I had followed through and made a User’s Manual for our house so that people COULD help. So that if I was in a car accident or otherwise unavailable all of the people who depend on me wouldn’t be completely lost.
Over the last two months I’m finally feeling like myself again and I think it’s time to do it. I’m making an owner’s manual for my life and my family.  I know many people call it a Home Management Binder, a Family Organization Binder.  I googled all of these and didn’t find anything that quite fit my style. So last week I decided that for the beginning of my new year I would make my own. And then I decided that I’d share them, which I’ve never done before. Maybe someone else out there is looking for something like mine and they can’t find it. And maybe they don’t enjoy playing around in Excel as much as I do… Yes, I’m that strange.

So I invite you over the next few weeks to get organized with me, starting today..

This is my binder.  I really wanted to buy a cute one, but sadly they are only available in 1 inch.  I thought about it. I really did. But I can’t see how all 6 of us and our daily “Dos” are  going to fit in ONE inch.  So, I bought this two inch in the prettiest color I could find, with a sad sigh.

 I bought one of those page turners so that it wouldn’t get as messy.  The idea is to NOT add more messy to life, right? You can’t tell from the photo but the colored tabs are my Monthly tabs.

 In each month I have a Monthly calendar and a weekly agenda.  Both I designed myself and are available for download.   I found some great ones online, but NONE of them were 2 page.  Also I must have cuteness in my life, like birds and trees. Take a look!

There’s just no way I can fit a whole month on one page, so here ya go.
MonthlyAgendaMomstinct

For my weekly sheet, I wanted something that gave me space to write scheduled items, but I needed it to be flexible. I also wanted a place to put my menu plan, without having to waste another sheet. Once again, it didn’t exist. So, introducing…
WeeklyAgendaMomstinct
Keep in mind that this is my first attempt at  sharing a free printable.  If you use them, please comment and tell me what you think! PLEASE. I really want some feedback!

After my monthly tabs, I have a simple tab sheet for each family member.

For Travis he can have his own To Do sheet and a scribble sheet for things he doesn’t want to forget.  (Those printables will be available tomorrow, so come back for them!!) For the kids, I have their weekly school agendas, chores, and behavior chart (that’s another post coming, too!). For the younger two, they have a Potty Chart that we put stickers on every time they go.  Nice. I know.  Sadly, it’s a big issue in our house.  Read these if you’re new to the blog and want a laugh at my expense. 😉

Urine In Contacts= Not a Good Substitute for Saline
Today- A Pathetic Tale of Miserable Hilarity and The Quest For A Shower
Extreme Potty Training Makeover
#8 Is it Possible That I’m Thankful for Food Allergies

Last, I bought pocket files for my binder, and sticky tabs to attach to them.  Why in the world has no one made these yet? Here’s a shot of my pocket tabs. First one holds the stickers for Lucas and Irie to use on their potty charts.

Now it seemed like every blog post I found on making one of these said something like “decide what tabs you want, and label them.”  Ok, I need a little more than that and it took me several tries to get it right. So, I will say decide what tabs you want, but here are mine as an example, in this order (after the month tabs and the people tabs).  I chose the order that I thought I would use most often.

Stickers/Stamps– So I can find them, because we use them often.
School– Homeschool papers, notes from classes, events fliers, etc.
Routines– Our Morning, School, Evening, Weekly routines typed up with directions/addresses and contact info where necessary.  For accountability and for babysitters, who happen to LOVE this.
Meals- Recipes I want to try, the rare coupon that we’re not allergic to,  What’s in the freezer (again for babysitters, when I’m on call I never know when I’ll have to run to the hospital!)
Home/Construction–  Notes on progress, ideas, budget, receipts, photos of designs and such… Someday this file will be much lighter…
Doula/CBE– Notes for the new program I’m putting together, receipts, contact info, paperwork to be filed
Gluten Free Rebel– All of the same type of stuff for my baking/cooking business HERE
4GiggleQuacks– My kids crazy idea in the works… HERE
Bills- I just like to leave this toward the end… But the bills go here and I have an amazing husband who balances them for me so this is HIS tab.
Receipts- For any others that need to be kept around, returns that need to be made, extended waranty…
Medical– I really don’t like this tab.  But it gets a good bit of use around here.  Sometimes it’s notes from the doctor, or magazine clippings to research.
Miscellaneous- Because there’s always something.

 So now it’s your turn. What tabs would you need? What’s missing?

Don’t forget to come back tomorrow to see what I’ve got for you to add to your User’s Guide for Life!

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Filed under Family, homeschooling, Motherhood, Purging Clutter, Uncategorized

Extreme Potty-Training Makeover

Oh, the things we do for poop…sigh…

On the surface I looked like I had the PT stage down.  Selah started wanting to sit on the potty at 15 months and by 18 months was potty trained.  I admitted to everyone that I hated it.  She was tiny. We’re talking about a child who walked at 9 months, but didn’t wear 9 month clothes until she was 18. It was a pain that she was so regularly insistent and had to be lifted on the potty until she grew.
She did backtrack for a few months out of pure confusion.  You see, when mommy was doing nothing but stand over the potty and puke for months, she assumed that she should switch to that method too. Obviously, it caused more accidents, not to mention awkward stares in public restrooms when people heard this tiny little chica and her perfect imitation of mommy’s upchuck.  Luckily, my morning stopped… the DAY Jacob was born.  Three days later she went back to full time panties and never looked back.
Jacob was a little bit more work. Unlike Selah, I did actually have to show some initiative and put some work into PTing him, but he was still in underwear before his second birthday.  Easy breezy. I knew it wasn’t the norm. I knew that I was handed two children who were blessed with an uncanny early awareness of their bowels. And anytime I heard someone say “Ask Talitha, she REALLY knows how to potty train ’em.” I’d cringe to my core.  I’ve readily admitted from the beginning that I am not a PTing genius and that one of these offspring of mine would eventually prove it.

ENTER Lucas into the scene.   As with my other kids, I started exposing them to the potty early but it was clear that this one had absolutely zero interest.  He was over two before he accidentally peed in it. He had absolutely no recognition of it, though, since he would readily pee on any chair, the couch, bed or person he happened to be sitting on.  at 2 1/2 i figured I’d done a good job at being patient and humble about my true inability to ‘make’ my kid take to the PTing.  So I started more in earnest. For about 2 weeks. Then stopped…. and that has been the cycle for the last year.
Now here we are at 3 1/2.  We have tried complimenting,  rewarding, timers, stickers, charts, calling grandma to brag, calling Papi at work, naked, clothed, strapping him to the potty in front of the TV, reading books on the potty, locked in the bathroom, staying home, going to IKEA as rewards, going for ice cream for rewards, chocolate, books, positive reinforcement, negative reinforcement… and unfortunately too much screaming, crying and hiding in the corner… from me, not him.  I expected him to take longer, and by that way I think I subconsciously meant ‘No way in hell past his third birthday.’
I keep thinking “Thank you Lord for this opportunity to learn humility. Have I got it yet?”  I have moments where I think that I’m losing my mind. That my brain cells are literally washing down the drain with the poop that I spray off of his underwear… again.

Frst of all, the kid clearly has a pattern. He doesn’t pee in his pants. He’s been pee-trained since last spring. It’s all #2, and he couldn’t care less. The child will walk around for hour, perfectly content to stink up the whole house and be uncomfortable. He’ll get rashes and still hide it. He’ll poop in his pants less than 5 minutes after I put him on the potty.  He.  Just.  Doesn’t.  Care.    Letting him run around the house naked was the closest we got to being successful. He would hold it and not poop on the floor, but would also go digging though drawers to find something to poop in. I had to hide every pair of underwear or pants from him because he would literally go find oen and put it on to poop in.  While he wouldn’t have accidents naked, he would wait until I was forced to put him in something to go somewhere, or he would wait and poop during his nap or at night. Not on the potty.

His pattern is  pretty predictable and I decided it’s time for me to manipulate it.  Every morning that I try to go to the Y after dropping Jacob off at school, he poops in his pants and the childcare staff there hate me for it. Aha!  So mid morning is pretty predictable, right?  He also has a fantastic habit of going in his pants right about 2:58 in the afternoon, right in time to make getting in the car and picking up both kids on time a logistical nightmare. Sadly, I’ve realized over the last few weeks of trying more consistently to get him poop-trained that this is a very consistent occurrence.
So on January 28th when the boy was officially 3 1/2, mommy decided to get extreme.  I know, it’s crazy. I went and bought a package of suppositories, drove to my moms house to retrieve my extra child gate and went home to crack down on the crap.  The next morning I headed straight home from taking Jake to school, put Eden down for her nap and headed to the bathroom with Lucas. I talked to him about being a big boy and pooping on the potty. I put up the gate in the bathroom door and sat ont he floor with him to read some books.  I was a little worried about using the suppositories to get him to poop. I’m aware that this is extreme, as is locking him in the bathroom naked.  But I finally decided that I had  to take the Austin Powers approach and say “Who does number 2 work for???”
I did use the suppositories twice a day for those first 3 days.  I thought long and hard about it first.  Many people have suggested Metamucil or some other laxative, but with the way those go through the digestive track iit can really cause a lot of abdominal pain and discomfort.  The suppository will take 1/2 an hour or more for the medicine to really desolve but often will give the urge to push it out long before that.  They are safe to use up to 10 days and I had no intention of using them that long. And they’re really tiny. Every time I gave him one we talked abut the medicine helping the poop come out of his bottom and he never seemed too bothered by it. He didn’t like it, but didn’t complain any more than eating broccoli. That’s healthy, right?  So here was the breakdown

Days 1-3:  Pooped at 10:45 and 3:02. Both times within 10 minutes of the suppository, with mommy sitting on the floor playing together until he decided he felt the urge and got on the potty by himself.

Day 4: Locked him in the bathroom both times for 15 minutes by himself first to play, telling him he had some time to try and see if he could poop before we used the medicine. Came back, used the medicine. Pooped within 5 minutes. Both times.

Day 5: Put him in the bathroom in the AM and he pooped within the 15 minutes without the medicine.  In the afternoon gave him longer, but still didn’t go. Used the sup. and he pooped before I was out of the bathroom again.

Day 6: BOth times played for a few minutes and then called me to come look at his poop in the potty.

Day 7 : miserable day, I missed both poop times and it was a disaster. Read about it HERE

Day 8: Even worse. He pooped his pants twice before noon, once being at Chickfila with a friend who at least has 2 boys herself and gets it.  The moms in the playground with looks of horror and their cute little toddlers did not.  I publicly apologize here for letting my huge 3 1/2 year old stink it up in there. I lost it and called a friend bawling like a baby because I’m just. so. over. it.  She advised me not to cave and put him back in diapers. To just chalk it up to a bad 2 days and get back on track. So I went home and decided to spend some special time with him just playing and not talking/focusing on it.  Put him in the bathroom after picking the older two up from school and he pooped like a champ. My hero.

We’ve had a couple of accidents since then but we’re doing pretty good.  My ultimate goal is to have him PTed for my lovely mother-in-law who is graciously watching him for the long weekend next week so that I can go to Illinois with my mom.  I think I may send the baby gate for her, but I think he’ll do it.

I’ve discovered the key is to not make a big deal out the accidents. This felt absolutely impossible with now nasty they were, until a wise friend said, “Just plan on the accidents and prepare for how you want to handle them, instead of focusing on avoiding them.” If I am expecting them, it doesn’t feel like a failure or a shock. I’ve stopped the daily wondering of if “we’re done” and just decided to focus on “we’re at today.” It just may take another few weeks of timing them to catch him.   I’ve stopped telling him about the crappiness of the poop. Meaning “See how stinky it is? And dirty? Doesn’t it feel gross?” He’s heard it enough. He gets it. I think I let it cross the line into being discouraging because I’ve said it too much. Instead for the last couple of accidents I’ve jsut said “Well lets go clean it up. Ib et you’ll make it to the potty next time.” I can see the relief on his little face that he doesn’t have to worry about doing something wrong. It’s done. We’re moving on to the next one to try and catch it…

So that’s where we’re at.  He knows I’ll use the medicine if I have to but he hasn’t needed it. Ultimately, his accidents have been when he’s playing especially hard or I’ve totally forgotten the time to remind him. HEck, yesterday he even went running in the bathroom on his own to go, and it wasn’t just pee! We’re getting there, one poop at a time.  But I can officially use this as proof that I am NOT the person to look to for potty training advice and tricks.  I can certainly now offer a more sympathetic ear and shoulder to cry on though. Seriously, as my sweet, loving mother said to me last week when I called her at my whits end, “Shit happens. you just gotta be patient with it.”  That’s the way it is.

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Filed under Family, Mom at Home, Motherhood, parenting, Uncategorized

How I Learned to Say Vagina From My Three-Year-Old: Something every parent should know

It’s amazing how many challenges come with parenting.  Before you have kids you think about the to-spank-or-not-to-spank debate and if you’ll stay at home or not.  After you have them you have to think about things like, well, vaginas and penises.  Actually, I wonder how many of you knew that it’s vaginae…

Well, there ya go. Learned something new? Let’s continue.

I grew up in a family where sex was not talked about.  Our bodies were not talked about.  There was this general air of “You’ll know…” and a book that was handed to you when you turned twelve.  About a month after receiving the book my mom would one day ask, “Now do you have any questions?”  Ummm, no. And that was that.
I started my sex education from a little boy in first grade who, while hiding with me in the back of my parents 12 passenger van, told me that if he kissed me with his tongue in my mouth it would make a baby. Interesting….
The subject of s-e-x is really no big deal in my family now. You might even say that it comes up too often over a big plate of Shipwrecks at family dinners. My parents changed and grew over the years as all of us will, and do. So I think my younger siblings got a completely different experience.  But still, I think that many of those in my ‘generation of parents’ had that experience of sex not being talked about and it really does affect how we look at our bodies and their sexual functions on a deep level. And it affects how we look at our children and our ability to teach them about their selves.
Travis and I had thought the whole thing through and decided how we were going the subject of private parts. We remembered the shame and confusion that a ‘Hush, hush!” approach had caused both of us and many of our friends.  We also weren’t naive enough to think that we could just raise our perfect little angels until they were 12 and THEN  have ‘The Talk”. Ok, seriously.  How many of you really didn’t know about sex until them.  Most of us knew just enough to be overconfident, confused, embarrassed but completely convinced that we were way past needing to talk to Mom and Dad about it.  Just enough to be dangerous.  While our parents were relieved to not have to spell out the details, many kids suffered from not having a real understanding and respect of their bodies. And many of us went on to ask all our questions from the kids who ‘knew’. Not so good.

It intrigues me how many parents don’t get the concept of shame that is almost always attached to these words.  We say things like “I just don’t think it’s right to hear that word out of a 3 year old’s mouth.” We teach our children cute little words like peter and who-ha thinking that we are keeping them sweet an innocent until it’s ‘time’ for them to learn the truth. Which is what, how to say vagina and penis? Do you have a problem hearing your child say ear?  I have a seriously uncanny phobia about feet. I didn’t teach my children to call their feet’ trotters’ so that I would feel more comfortable with what came out of their mouths.  I know a few people who do double duty, teaching their kids cute words AND the anatomical terms.  I guess that’s better. One friend has her daughter call it her ‘ninny’ which is absolutely adorable. I’m not gonna lie about it.  But I wonder if that is really helping or not either.  Aren’t you then maybe teaching them that their parts have these names that we don’t even say because it’s not appropriate, so we’ll say cute things instead, ok?  Don’t get me wrong. Part of me completely wishes that I could be ok with that approach. But my goal isn’t to get through the younger years of my kids being uninhibited with what they say to who, without them saying vagina in public. My hope is to someday have completely confident, secure adults who know who they are and have a safe, respectful and appropriate view of what their bodies are made for.  While a 3 year old doesn’t care what you teach them to call their vagina, when she’s 10 and aware of what her friends are saying there is an underlying awareness of not being ok to talk about it to mom and dad. I mean, I wasn’t even supposed to say the words….

Teaching Selah to use the appropriate words for her body seemed so simple, but I really did struggle with it at first.  I didn’t even realize how much shame I,myself,  had attached to the words.  I cringed and blushed the first few times I heard the word ‘vagina’ in her sweet little 2 year old voice. I had to cautiously work through my response and it was hard to do.  The more I went through the process, the more I was thankful that we were teaching our children to respect their bodies and be comfortable from the beginner. I had no idea what I would get out of the process.  My own shame and discomfort evaporated little by little as I watched my daughter in complete innocence grow more confident and secure with her body parts at 3 than I was at 30.  They’re there. They’re important and have a purpose. She learned an appropriate respect and boundaries without there ever being an issue of ‘don’t say that’!
And here’s the thing.  I am forever in awe and thankful for following what I felt was God’s gentle prompting to teach my children their bodies. Period.

I was completely unaware of the potential consequences of disguising body parts with play words, until the day that Selah told us that someone had touched hers. It something that every parent fears and prays that they never, ever, ever have to hear.  I’m just not even going to go into the extent of pain and crushing that can happen to your heart in 5 words from a precious, tiny child. She was 3 year old. It’s debilitating to face not being there in a moment when your child needs your protection.  I may share that someday, but not today.
We’re not the kind of parents who were going to brush over these things and ‘hope that she’ll forget’.  We went through the appropriate measures of reporting the incident to the police so our baby girl could get the counseling and support she needed to work through this. Waiting. Is. Not. An. Option. Even if you’re having a baby that week. It’s just NOT.
To make the report we had to take Selah to the Child Protection Agency so she could make an official  police statement.  It was….hard.  It was after Selah gave her statement that I realized how huge it is to teach your children their bodies.  The woman who interviewed Selah thanked me for teaching our daughter about her body, and was amazed at how secure and confident she was in talking about it.   Apparently one of the biggest problems that they deal with is the ‘play words’ that run rampant though our childrens’ vocabularies.   If she interviews a child who uses play words, they are not considered able to give a clear statement and it can be a very damaging setback in prosecuting their abuser. On the other hand, if you try to ‘fix’ it and teach them the real words after the fact then it is considered leading a witness.  As if the trauma of the situation isn’t bad enough for these children, imagine the helplessness of knowing that teaching them one word, the real word, could make of break the case against someone.  Our situation was different and we did not press charges for very specific, well thought out reasons.

Selah is fine. She’s about the most confident, secure seven year old you will meet.  We’re fine. We’re thankful for what we learned, even if we would never had wanted the experience for her or us.  This one is heavy today, and I know that.  But seriously, if you haven’t already… Tell. Them. About. Their. Bodies.

Edited to add: This is not meant to be a bummer of a post, but I do believe that good can come from circumstances that just aren’t.  I’m thankful and want to share with other parents what we learned through the experience. That whole God used it for good thing, ya know?

Amen. 🙂

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Filed under History, Inner Sessions, Motherhood, parenting, Uncategorized

Today- A Pathetic Tale of Miserable Hilarity, And The Quest For a Shower

Warning! This is not my typical day.  Picture me holding an egg. This is my normal well rounded day. Picture me cracking the egg over a disgusting pan of already burned grease that immediately makes it bubble and turn brown in it’s gross-looking-friedness.  That is today cracked of crazy amounts of lunacy.  Any questions??

Well then, here we go…

12:00am   Yes, the day starts here for a mom, not when the alarm goes off.  So…Eden finally goes back to sleep and Travis calls it a night. I decide that I have to make these muffins because I promised them to the kids for breakfast. I have laundry to fold anyway.

1:10am   Muffins are done, laundry folded. Sit down for five minutes to Defragment my internal momory card before going into sleep mode for the night.  AKA 5 minute Facebooking.

4:00am  Wake up.  Eden cries for 10 seconds and goes back to sleep. This is one of her usual times to wake up and nurse but since she was up and fussing from 10:30 to past midnight, I guess she could skip it. I go back to sleep.

5:55am Hear shuffling and banging coming from the kids’ room. Go check it out to find Selah has the nights on and is getting dressed for school. Convince her to grab her clothes and dress in the living room, turning the lights off and hoping the pthers stay asleep. Not holding my breath.

6:04am THe rest wake up. Change diaper on one, take pullup off another and put him on the potty, talk the other down from his low-blood-sugar panic and hand him a banana.  Start breakfast. Selah is dressed, looking for socks.

6:30 Making lunches for school, Selah is distaught over finding THE cool socks to go with her school uniform. The stripey ones. I tell her to wear tights. She wants her socks.

6:45 socks are found. Thank goodness!

6:57 Some sort of grizzly beast comes out of the bedroom with shoes on and his pajamas, offering valiantly to take Selah out to meet the bus. It’s a good thing, too because I’m still standing here in a t-shirt and underwear and the bus comes at 6:58. Mayb I can get a quick shower…

7:05 Get 3 younger kids dressed, dishes started, lunch finished for #2.

8:20 Suddenly realize that husband is still home, which means he’s expecting me to drop him off at the MARTA station. Right.  Put 2lbs of black beans on to boil before we leave. Start the ‘JAckets and Shoes’ process that we go through every morning to get these boys out the door.

8:37 turn off beans and leave them to rest, jump in the car and head to the preschool. Drop poor husband on the side of the road in the cold. He’s tough. He’ll survive. I don’t want to be late to the school.

9:15 Leave the school with the younger 2 and head to Carol’s house to pick up a few things.  I love seeing her face and letting the kids play for a minute. THis is going to be a great day, methinks.

10:00am Back home and lock Lucas in the bathroom with the baby gate. Our daily routine now, and it is again successful. Poop goes on the potty. I’m thrilled, it’s been one week today since his last accident.  Maybe we’re close to done with this! Could it be?

10:30am Do the dishes, start the beans boiling, and try to ‘Charlotte-proof” the house.  Dang that gurl is cute but she can get into anything and everything. Lucas is looking forward to playing with Avery but keeps calling him Simon. Whatever. He’s got the right family anyway.  Chadd has been showing up after 11om with the kids on Wednesday.  I think I can finally sneak in my shower now.

10:32am Tonya calls. Can she bring over the kids now?  Glad she called. Shower will wait and small children won’t complain that I’m stinky and my hair is “tore up”.

10:40am  Poor Tonya falls over the ‘Charlotte-proofing’ gate at the entry and Charlotte starts to cry. And Avery starts to cry… Uh oh.

11:00am Finish the dishes, finally. Start a big batch of Granola Bars, turn on a movie for the kiddos.

11:10 Restart the movie because CHarlotte turned it off and  the boys are protesting.

11:20 Restart the movie because Charlotte turned it off and  the boys are protesting.

11:30 Restart the movie because Charlotte turned it off and  the boys are protesting. Try to put Eden down for a nap, but Lucas is running up and down the hall. Avery follows.

11:40 Decide to stay in sight of the DVD player to keep it going for the boys.

12:15pm Get lunch ready carefully for all 4 kids. None of them will eat. At all.

1:30pm Still no one wants to eat. It’s really great food guys. Guys?  Try to put Eden down for a nap again. No-go. Start a load of laundry in the washer and sit down to watch the rest of the movie with the kids.  At least all of them are h appy and Eden is fine as long as I’m holding her or she’s nursing.  This girl NEEDS some sleep! Wait. Am I talking about her or me?

2:20pm Tonya and Chadd come for their munchkins. I’m so tired.  Must put black beans in freezer bags and out of my way.  And I totally have time to take a shower before I go get the kids. Right?

2:30 Walk into the bathroom to shift the laundry to the dryer and hopefully take this shower that has evaded me all day. Lucas is right behind me begging to go outside. Hold on, why is the rug soaking my feet? IS that water on the WALL? And every inch of the floor? And all over the top of the washer and dryer?

2:35pm Send Lucas out for a few minutes while I soak up the deluge. Apparently the wash mashing when psycho when I put that load in and I’ve not come in and had the door shut to keep Charlotte and Eden from toilet diving. I had no idea..

2:40 Call Lucas in but he’s hiding and doesn’t want to come. Very uncharacteristic of him.. I head to the fort and suspicion is confirmed. My accident free streak has come to an end. Oh crap. Yeah.

2:45 Lucas is standing in the shower where I’ve just hosed all of his poop off and I grab the nifty diaper sprayer from the side of the toilet.  It’s like the sprayer on your kitchen sink, but attached to your toilet so you can easily spray the poop off of cloth diapers. About twice the water pressure of the sink version. Very convenient and effective. But today, after several years of successful use with the sprayer, I make the mistake that so many have done. U press the button with it upside down and shoot my self straight in the right eye, knocking my glasses right off of my face and across the room. Ummmm….ow!

2:50pm Re-dress the Poopsmith, trying not to be angry with him, which is quite a feat of self control.  Take a towel and dry my ahir and face, walking gingerly around the bathroom to find my glasses because I’m completely blind without them… and I HAD to chose such a cool clear frame design. Thankfully, because my purple hair has ruined them and turned the ends purple, I’m able to find them.  I guess I can’t be mad at my hair anymore, now can I?

2:55pm Reach over to finally flush the toilet and it starts to overflow. You have GOT to be kidding me!  I fall the the floor and reach behind the tank to turn the water off in the nick of time, saving myself from mopping up the entire floor again.  At this point, getting a shower before heading out for the afternoon routine of picking the older 2 up from their respective schools is completely out of the question.  I’m stinky.

3:10 Wrestle #3 and #4 into the car, with Lucasaurus raging that his ‘Momma’s Skirt’ can’t go with us for the drive. It’s in the tub with a mess of towels because he had left it on the bathroom floor. Explaining that for a 3 year old to understand can truly take all of your mental capacity at times. Or, well, the little that I have left at this point.

3:15pm Pull up to Selah’s Bus stop JUST in time to see the bus wiz by. Luckily she saw me pull into the parking lot and stops.  As usual, get funny looks from people driving down Bankhead as my daughter runs toward me and trips on the sidewalk. She’s not the most greaceful of 7 year olds. But she’s cute. She fusses a little and gets in the van. The rest of the rush to Jacob’s school is uneventful. We make it on time and I don’t have the threat of $1 a minute hanging over my head today.  I think the day is getting better now.

3:50: Pull into driveway.  Seeing the mailbox reminds me that I forgot to put a check in the mail AGAIN. Get kids inside. It’s gorgeous out.  So glad Janet is coming by, but I think she may think I’m a loon after she sees my house.  She said she’d be here at 4:30. I can get a shower now.

3:53 Change Eden’s diaper, place her in crib and take her bottle away to fix the sucked in nipple for her.  Drop bottle all over the floor. Stop. Breathe. It’s fine.  Ask Jacob to bring a rag for the floor and he returns with my nice bathroom handtowel that was next to the sink. What the heck. I’m pretty sure that every towel I own is in the bottom of the shower right now waiting to be cleaned up. Which can’t happen until Travis gets home and figures out what the deal is with the washer. I use the towel.

3:56: Walk to the kitchen and ask where Ludini is, notice that the front door is wide open.  Uh Oh.  Run out the door and down the steps to find the wayward 3yo in the van with all the doors open.  Looking for gum.

4:10 Go in the bathroom and notice that someone didn’t flush.  Flush, nothing happens. Oh yeah. Turned the water off and still need to plunge. Oh Dear Lord, help me…

4:12 Look in the fridge for Margarita Mix. I wasn’t kidding when I called Janet and informed her that she is now coming over for Margaritas instead of coffee…. except that now I see the Margarita Mix is all gone.

4:13 Remember the Granola Bars are still in the oven.  Pull them out slightly burnt and already too cold to cut easily.  This is not going to be so easy after all. Knock on the door.

4:15 Send all of the kids out in the yard to play with Esther.  Laugh with Janet about the insanity of this day, as I sit and strategically peel tiny pieces of stuck on wax paper off of a million granola bars, one by one. I guess lining the pan with it was not the most genius idea.  Secretly hope that Jamet can’t smell me from the other side of the table.  Great visit.  Still. Need. Shower.

5:40 Start Dinner.

5:45: Selah runs into the kitchen “Mom!! That show is on!! WIth Dr Phil! The one I’m going to sing on when I’m 10!”  First time the TV has been on in the afternoon like this. I forgot the show existed. Who was it that told me they thought SAHM’s sit around watching soap operas all day?

6:09 Travis calls. Not going to be home till almost 7. He’s usually almost home by now. Don’t panic. Just because you have a baby wailing and pulling on your legs, a 1st grader needing help with homework and two small boys fighting over the Wii, doesn’t mean you have to lose it.

6:15 Give up on making dinner with the klingon attached to my calf. Run outside to grab my Sugar Tai out of the car and tie her on my back to finish dinner.  Get back inside to find a perfectly happy baby playing in the klingon’s place. Oh whatever.  Back to the black beans and rice for dinner.

6:52 Husband arrives, all children jump for joy.  Kids are fed. Homework and piano practice are done already. I hand him the ‘hold-me’ baby and crawl into bed for a short nap. Just. Need. A. Minute.

7:38 Husband wakes me up and I immediately panic. THAT was not 10 minutes.  I still NEED MY SHOWER!!!! And I’m about to go visit a client? No way. I head to the bathroom to find that Lucas is still in there waiting to take his pants off. I just go in and start taking them off for him. Oh glory be. He pooped in them. Again.

7:43 Change Eden and get her in PJS as Travis puts the Poopsmith in the bath.  I splash my face with water, put on a clean shirt and head out the door to Canton for a Post Birth Visit.

8:25 I’m heading up 75 and pass Barrett Pkwy. Wait a minute I should be on 575!!!

8:40 Visit Momma. Love that baby and her sweet, proud big sister!!

10:25 Heading home and don’t want to fall asleep. Ther perfect answer is to call Sunny in California. SHe answers and says “Hey, it’s late!” HA! I love her!

10:35 Suddenly realize that the reason I’m so shaky is that I didn’t exactly eat lunch or dinner. Jsut snacked on the burn Granola Bars.  Pull off next exit to find food because I’m feeling pretty desperate to not pass out driving.  Follow the signs to the right towards food.  Can’t believe that Wendys and McDs are my real options. Bleck!

10:40 TWO MILES LATER….Starting to wonder if these ‘fat’ food joints exist, telling Sunny on the phone where to send the helicopters to hunt for me, and I see them.  But there’s a Hardees! They do thick-burgers wrapped in lettuce instead of a bun. Not too bad!

10:43  Sit at the drive through waiting for someone to come on.Nobody.  GO back and look at the hours on the window again. Oh, it’s 11pm on weekends. Ugh.  HEad out of the parking lot but have to go right to the next light, do a uturn and then another uturn up the road to get to McDs. Wendy’s is nowhere in sight.

10:45 Order easily. Plain grilled chicken breast, small fries and a sweet tea. I should not be eating this. I’m weak 😦 Pull forward behind a big white truck at the drive through window and wait.

10:47 And wait…

10:50 And wait…

10:57 Truck pulls away with one drink and one bag of food after 12 minutes in front of me. This is a very bad sign.  I pull up and take the bag handed to me. The fries look disgusting. I ask if they have fresh ones. Kind old man in the window says I canmake you some, it’ll take 3.5 minute. No thanks. I’ll survive.

10:59 Pull away wondering why a sweet old man with shaky hands is working the drive through window so late at night. WOnder what his story is.  Grab the bag of food and reach in for a straw.None. Neither are their napkins. I have to drink from the cup(I HATE doing that!) and eat my soggy chicken and limp, cold fries with no napkins.  I’m not liking the polite old man so much, actually.

11:05 Done eating chicken, thinking I’ll count my losses with the fries and the tea. Call Sunny back to talk to me the rest of the way home.  SUnny stories always make me feel, well, sunny?

11:28 Pull into the driveway. I made it home without mishap!  Curl up on the couch in a ball with my head on Travis’ shoulder to completely relax into oblivion for a few minutes.  He’s my favorite place to be xoxo

11:40 Keep resting on my man, who is playing Super Mario Brothers on the Wii. If I wasn’t so worn out that my hairs even ache, I’d almost believe we were teenagers again for a moment.  WHo knew 16 years ago we’d still be vegging on the couch together shooting fireballs and flying with raccoon tails.

11:45 Finally… I’m in the shower.I can’t believe it! I made it before midnight.  But something is off. What is it?  Can’t quite figure it out…wait. I’m wearing my glasses IN the shower! Again! It’s official. I’m suffing from WOMS. (Worn Out Mom Syndrom).

11:50 I’m out.  Thinking how thankful I am for my time living in South America and learning how to take a shower in 5 minutes including shampoo, condition, shave legs, shave underarms and exfoliate the face. I feel so fresh and clean.

12:00 Realize that I can’t go to sleep with my hair wet and I’m NOT risking turning on the dryer to wake up the wee little whiner who still doesn’t sleep through the night.

12:05 Travis goes to bed and I get the bright idea to write down the day’s hilarity, just in case I want to read something funny tomorrow. Who knows? I mean, tomorrow could be a BAD day….

12:45 Goodnight!!!!!

12:47  Eden wakes up crying to nurse…

Disclaimer: This post was based on true events. All times listed are approximations and listed in MST(Maternal Standard Time). Please do not try to correct my time or description on this chain of events. Feel free to comment and tell me your favorite parts.  We can laugh together about it then.  All names have been changed to protect the innocent… Oh wait, I forgot to do that one….

 

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Countdown To Bedtime, Unexpected Gifts

It’s seven o’clock.  I’ve got a raging headache and an hour until bedtime.  The kids are on the  floor in front of me playing with a mound of jumbo sized LEGOs that their Popi had as a child.  If only Selah would stop slowly scraping the  aircraft carrier she has constructed across the ocean of my hardwood floors…

The LEGOs were an unexpected gift.  They came in a beaten-up pathetic box, at least 10 years old,  wrapped in cute paper with a bow.  My mother-in-law gave them to us, or back to Travis I suppose, at our baby shower when we were expecting Selah.  I remember wondering why she didn’t save them for a first birthday or something.  Why give them when they can’t be used for so long?   I think the pregnancy hormones must have clouded my mind, because I couldn’t wrap my “cloud” around what a treasure  those blocks were, which is so not me, because I tend to be obsessed with family nostalgia in most cases.  Because over time even that beat up box had value and became a treasure to me.

At times these LEGOS are the bane of my existence.  They liter my floors and get stuck under my couch constantly putting me on the defense for my perpetually bare feet.  All worth it for the joy they bring.  I wouldn’t give up that treasure for anything.  Although at the moment I’m quite relieved to say the aircraft carrier has been reconstructed into a skyscraper.  Thankfully, an immobile project.

It’s crazy how sometimes the things that bless us are the things we didn’t ever want in the first place.  I was not the happiest woman when I found out I was pregnant with Lucas.  I mean, there was no doubt that we wanted more children, but that soon?  I was actually too embarrassed to tell people for a few weeks. I couldn’t do it and look happy about it.  I’m an open book and everyone would know.  After those first few weeks I was fine and looked forward to the sweet little one. But I was saddened all over again when I found out that my dream of having a little ‘Lucienne Gaylene’ would not be coming true.  The sonogram very clearly showed it.  Yes, I’m admitting that I wanted a girl.  Something that many mothers feel but are ashamed to admit.  Then there are other mothers who can’t relate to any feeling of disappointment, so they fall into the camp of judgement.  It’s my truth. It’s how I felt.  But it is absolutely in the past and I wouldn’t change my little “Ruckus” for all the girls in the world.

So when Selah was 3 1/2 and Jacob was 18 months, little Lucas Gaelen was born.  Even the plan of a homebirth was a failure.  ,After months of planning and preparing,  c-section again.  But that’s where the disappointment ended.  He’s amazing. He’s the most joyful little man ever.  Our family needed him, and we needed him when he came.  It’s hard to even remember why I ever felt the way I did.  I never, ever would call him unplanned.  I prefer to say he was ‘unscheduled’.

Blessings come whether we expect them or not, and they come whether we appreciate them at first glance or find reasons why they aren’t perfect.  Thankfully, we are not the final deciding authority on what we “need”.   I’m so glad the planning wasn’t up to me!  I can’t imagine what my life would be like if I had had it my way.   It’s so easy for us to get frustrated when things don’t go the way we planned, but the circumstances of our lives make us who we are. I wouldn’t change any of mine. Ever. Lucas, aka Loudini, aka Ruckus Roo is a wild card in our lives that I will guard and treasure, thankful that I was chosen to be his Mama.

Ok, said little man is now terrorizing the LEGO village.  Off to save the natives.

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Unweaned….really

When I was pregnant with Selah, first munchkin of our tribe, I remember an old friend of my mother’s visiting for the summer.  Now this woman is one of the most outspoken, opinionated bold mommas you could ever happen upon.  Basically an older, slightly crunchier version of me.  At the time I was floating in the pool, gorgeous prego belly exposed to the sun.  Complete bliss.  She was interrogating me on my plans for how I would parent.  Would I have a home-birth, would I go back to work… and the inevitable… would I breastfeed? 

For me there was no question.  There’s no doubt that it’s the best thing for my baby.  I personally couldn’t imagine messing with bottles in the middle of the night when I can just break out the boob.  The idea of ‘running out’ of formula sounded like a pain in the butt.  No way, I’m way too lazy for that. Not to mention the fact that I’m seriously too  cheap to pay for formula when breast-milk is free.  I’m not judging anyone who chose differently.  For me it was never even a question. 

So, clearly the answer was an immediate yes.  Then the next question was “How long will you breastfeed?”  That one hadn’t really come to mind yet.  I thought about it for a second.  I have vague memories of this woman being the epitome of mother earth mixed with the whole “hear me roar” thing.  Super power mom.  I know she nursed her babies longer than I probably would.  So I asked how long she did.  She had 6 children (I think that’s right) but she said that the one she nursed longest she had to wean eventually because the dentist said his teeth were getting cavities.  I looked at her in shock…

Me: Well how old was he?

 Supermom: I think he was in first grade.

Me:  Are you kidding me? (insert dumbfounded look of shock)

Supermom: Well, How long do YOU think you should breastfeed? ( justifiably defensive at my rudeness)

Me: Well I hope I stop before her teeth rot out! (paddling off to the deep end with brain reeling)

Now I think of this exchange often.  First of all, I’m still embarrassed at my rudeness.   (K and L, please don’t stop reading, I love your mom!)  Sometimes I think I should carry around a shoehorn for how often I put my foot in my mouth.  Yes, it was a bit extreme but  was it really that bad to have extended breastfeeding?

I’m ashamed to admit that I nursed Selah to 9 months and then weaned out of laziness.  Not saying that  9 months is ‘too short’.  I just know in my heart that it was for me that I weaned her.  Even at 9 months I would often have unexpected leakage issues.  I was working part time and forced to pump in the car.  It was embarrassing.  One night a single guy at church pointed at my shirt and said “Um,  you’re ahhh, ummm..”.  When I looked down and saw the left side of my shirt drenched I knew then and there that I was done with it.  Selah was an independent baby and didn’t seem to care.  She’s not scared, although I wonder if the finger sucking issue is connected.  I’m not getting down on myself.  I just know that now I would do it differently.  I have to be honest and say that my judgement on Supermom caused me to overreact and fear being seen as an ‘over exuberant’ nurser. I didn’t understand it. 

  With Jacob we went to 15 months, mainly because of his huge list of food allergies.  It was quite convenient to always have something for him, ummm… ‘on hand’, so to speak.   So when, at 8 months, I found out Lucas was on the way I kept it up as long as I could.  At six months into my pregnancy the cramps I was having during breastfeeding started to worry my OB (having had both Selah and Jake on the early side, with preterm issues).  So we weaned and he never looked back.  Ironic is the hindsight.  Maybe if I had kept up the breastfeeding I wouldn’t have been pregnant for 42 weeks that time! Who knew…

So here I am.  Lucas.  Last month we got down to nursing once every couple of days.  I got irritated with the inconsistency, and the fact that my nips were starting to be tender.  I decided he was done.  And he didn’t protest much either.  I was a bit shocked that we went all the way to 18 months without even thinking about it being any different.  I thought about Supermom.   I could see it.  Just keep going and don’t worry about it.  Somehow doesn’t seem like a big deal now. 

Well, that was last month.  We went about 4 weeks without nursing and suddenly I’m faced with the fact that my child actually has become UNweaned.  Last week he got a cold and out of the blue he was begging to nurse.  No big deal.  It was probably soothing.  I know my body will still make milk for months.  So, nurse we did.  And it really isn’t a big deal. 

He’s back to nursing just in the morning when he wakes up.  I never offer to, but he’s asking every morning.  To be honest, I just don’t see the point in denying it.  I look at Selah who is in kindergarten, and Jacob at three.  Nope, I love me some Supermom but I still don’t think I can do that.  On the other hand, what’s the big deal? 

I think the only issue I would have is if breastfeeding is for your identity.  Trying to prove something.  Or some neediness on the part of Mom.  I don’t think that was why Supermom did it.  I think it just kinda worked for her and wasn’t a big deal. 

On the other hand, I have seen a mom make it a big deal.  Following her 4 year old around at the park offering to nurse at every turn ‘just in case she wanted it’.  I mean, if the child still feels a need for it, let them ask.  If mom feels a need for it….where does that put you?  Do you need that to be important? Is it your soapbox, your identity?   That kinda doesn’t sit so well with me…

As it stands, my unexpectedly un-weaned 19 month old is welcome to keep nursing for now.  With homeschooling, working from home and general mom and wife duties, he may just see it as his best opportunity for some peace with mom. Why would I deny that?  And I have to say, it’s the only time I get a glimpse of him as a baby anymore, rather than the toddler in constant motion.  So nurse we will. Till….whenever….

I think Supermom would be proud. 

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