Tuesday, June 30, 2009

A Hodgepodge Of Nothing

Today I was presented with the ever popular dilemma of what to write. And not for an abundance of choices, either. Last week I was struck with an inspirational lightning bolt that had me up until way past midnight drafting enough entries to last the entire week. Now I'm out, both of prewritten stuff and ideas. I have debated regaling you with stories of hom Sophie has learned to roll over, as well as discovered she hates rolling over. The hysterical crying that brings me rushing over to roll her back almost certainly ensures she will never actually learn how to roll herself from front to back. I also pondered using the excuse that my kids have been fairly under the weather for a few days, being regular layabouts, and therefore have not done their childish duties of providing me with blogable fodder. But blaming ill kids seems in poor taste. So I think I will just leave you with some photos - first of the sacks of potatoes my kids became yesterday (they are back to full speed today - thank goodness, and unfortunately), as well as the lovely bite mark Izzy left on Jack's arm. usually when I leave the room to get dressed the crying that results is from bumped heads - today it was attempted cannibalism. And Izzy seemed more upset than Jack did about teh whole thing - he must not taste good.

doing her best to look as pitiful as possible

not to be outdone by Izzy

immediately after the bite -
bad photo but you can almost make out the teeth marks

TWO HOURS later!!!

Monday, June 29, 2009


It is remarkable all the ways that people can say “so you stay home with your kids?”, and every inflection gives such a different meaning to those seven simple words. I have heard it uttered in amazement, in sympathy, in wonder and with scorn. I have been looked at like a hero, like a new and wonderful species of human, and like I am a drooling idiot. I have always wanted to be a stay at home mom. Well, to be totally honest, when I was three I wanted to be the Statue of Liberty when I grew up (before I decided it was too boring), and then a "gymnastic" (which I did, thank you very much), but after that I basically stopped answering the question because "have kids" was looked at with scorn. I am of the generation that was expected to go out and do things just as well as the men. To accomplish everything that the women before us fought for the right to do. We could grow up to be doctors or lawyers or astronauts, and we were expected to have those goals. Having no aspirations beyond procreation was deemed boring, or pathetic or a waste of the liberties so many girls today take for granted. But that's what I wanted. And sometimes I would admit it, rushing to justify it with how noble and important raising children to become responsible adults is (which it is), but mostly I would say "I don't know" to avoid the looks and dead silence my admission always left behind. And now that I have kids, I find there is a mixed bag in the reactions I get when I say I stay home with my kids. Moms who work tend to react either with envy, or like I'm some princess who is so pampered and spoiled that I never have to lift a finger in labor. I gently remind them that with daycare costing about $60/day (each) for three kids, working becomes the luxury. People who don't have kids react in one of two ways. The first group looks at me with pity that my world is so insular and I no longer have the freedom to do whatever I want, go wherever I want; that I am not out in the world being exposed to exciting and new things and making the most out of every minute. These are the friends who don't understand why you always want to plan happy hour two weeks in advance so you can secure a babysitter; these are the friends that you will lose when you have children and they don't (and honestly, these are the people who maybe shouldn't have kids. They're not ready). But what they may never realize and you will, is that nothing in the world will ever be as exciting and new as watching your child discover it for the first time. The magic of snow falling, the joy at seeing a dog or pointing out every. single. rock. on your walks around the block. That is a secret only parents know. The other side of the childless coin are the people who think being a stay at home mom is the most wonderful thing ever - because you don't have to work. These people seem to think that once you have kids and quit your job everyday is like a vacation. That you sit around relaxing and eating bonbons, or whatever you did on days off from work before you had kids. These women view staying home with kids as a sort of retirement, no more early mornings or deadlines, no more suits or briefcases. Well, I hate to break it to you, but you still have all those things. Your suits might be of the sweat variety, and you may have traded your briefcase for a diaper bag (which would appear to hold every necessity for a week long camping trip but in fact is just enough to get to the store and back), but the deadlines (when should he rollover, walk, speak?) are so much more important. Because being a mom IS a job, and it's one that never lets you have a day off. Unless you work for the Devil in Prada, your boss probably doesn't call you at midnight, or at 2am or 4 am, or all three, demanding food. Your boss most likely avoids vomiting on you, and probably never makes you wipe her butt (if she does, I suggest finding a new job). When you are a mom, you are enslved to a tiny little dictator whose every need must be met. By you. This person will accompany you on all vacations, outings, trips to the bathroom. He or she will wake you at all hours, demand immediate satisfaction of all complaints, and quite frequently be sticky, smelly, slimy or all three. You are expected to not only wait hand and foot on this person, but also are responsible for their personal health and safety - which they frequently actively try to sabotage. But you will never, ever, hold a paid position that is as rewarding as helping your children grow. Hugs and kisses are worth more than any paycheck. The pride of having someone complement your children on their good behavior, or watching as they accomplish something on their own for the very first time is better than any promotion or commendation you could achieve. The people who are jealous of stay at home moms because the "have it easy" are usually the women who most want to have kids, and they have yet to learn what it's really all about. They will. And when they do they will see that it is more work than they ever expected, and that it is more fun than they ever dreamed. Some women feel embarassed that "all" they do is stay home with their kids - like they should apologize for not having higher aspirations or more important things to do. I figure if a nanny isn't ashamed of their job, then why should I be? After all, I'm taking care of my own kids, and who better to do that than me? Just because I don't get paid doesn't mean I don't work. I am responsible for the people my children become, and there is nothing in this world that is more important than what our children grow up to be. I am proud to carry the title Mom.

PS: Happy Birthday hubby! Thanks so much for providing so I can stay home - without you I wouldn't even be a mom. I love you (even if you are all old now, ha ha)

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Sweet Sleep

So, you know that feeling when you are almost totally asleep and the rings or something else happens that jolts you awake? And you get that surge of adrenaline that makes yor heart just pound away, and then once you get over the initial shock you lay in bed waiting for your pulse to slow down so you can go back to sleep? That was my friday night. Not the jolt or the shock, but the increased heart rate keeping me awake. Combined with the lovely sensation of my mind racing and yet unable to stick to any one topic so it was just random flashes and jumping around. Totally not restful and I couldn't turn it off. Honestly, if I hadn't known better I would have thought I had been drugged. I was literally awake until after 5am, which was about 4 hours AFTER I tried to fix the problem by taking a sleeping pill. And my only explanation other than some sort of disorder is... sugar. Six years ago I discovered the dramatic effect caffeine has on me and I removed it from my diet (bye coca cola, I shall miss you). A bout a year ago I got so sensitive that even the caffeine in chocolate would keep me up if I had any after about 4pm, so I cut way down on that (not that I was constantly gorging on chocolate, but now I never have it after lunch and no more than one small piece). Several months ago I started having similar problems when I ate too much sugar close to bedtime, so I pretty much took processed sugar out of my diet, and when I do have it I make sure it is earlier in the day. So, what did I consume the fateful evening of the 26th? Greek yogurt with raspberries and about 1 tbsp honey. Hardly loaded with stimulants compared to the vast amounts of white cake I used to consume (ooh, yummy, cake. *drool*). But apparently even that is now too much for my delicate system to handle. Which all really sucks, I mean, I'm trying to eat better, but can't a girl have a little dessert at the end of the day? Especially one that's actually designed to be healthy - fruit and yogurt should not be taboo. I have said that I want to kick the sweet tooth I developed after Izzy was born, and I guess my body listened. Of course, I can't rule out the possibility my kids are slipping methamphetamines into my dinner. They can be sneaky.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Mommy And Me

I love my mom. We have had our share of confrontations, but I think that as I have grown up w have developed a pretty good relationship. But it isn't exactly how I would want it. I am very girly and pampered and enjoy things like shopping and spa days and going to the movies. My mom would rather fix things around the house than spend money of frivolous activities. In many ways we are very complementary - she would never want to stay home with three kids while I ran errands, and I would never want to go run errands while someone else stayed home with my kids; she loves to pack things up neatly and organize everything while I just wish I could give it all away and buy new stuff- but when it comes to hanging out and special mother-daughter time, we don't really do anything special because we don't have a common ground there. My mother-in-law loves to get pedicures with me and do spa things, but it isn't quite the same as doing it with your own mother. So sometimes I miss that. My daughter is a bridge. She loves helping my mom out in the yard, but she also begs to have her nails painted and wants to wear my makeup and high heels. And I know that when she gets older we will hav lots of fun going to the salon or spa and shopping together. Which made me realize that I am going to have to the mother-daughter relationship I always wanted - I'm just going to be the mom. And that revelation opened my eyes so that I can appreciate talking with my mom and our special friendship for the ways that it takes me out of my comfort zone and teaches me things, because I know I'll get to do more of the stuff I like with my own daughter. Besides, if my mom wasn't the person she is, who would I call when something needs fixing?


I was up until 1:30 am working on my new header. Because I have never used Photoshop before and I am pretty much inept at stuff like that. And the entire time, I left the tv on the Disney Channel. Sweet.

note: the banner uses photoshop brushes (the silhouette shapes- you didn't think I drew those myself did you?) I downloaded from here and here

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Wherein I Think I'm An Artiste

Because my other option was cleaning the entire house, yesterday I chose to follow my children around taking copious photographs until the cried and starting hiding from me. And because I am an artiste I took them all in black and white, even though with a little point and shoot camera they turn out all flat gray. That’s how I meant it to be, I tell ya, yes siree. I didn’t even feel the need to properly center the photos every time, because I am fancy. So here are the wonderful fruits of my labor and child terrorization - I’m sure galleries will be banging down my door any time now.

do you think this bowl of blueberries is worth cooperating?
good thinkin - as long as we keep eating, every picture will have our hand in our mouth or chewing in it

I do declare, this is the most fun I've had in ages

ooooooh, fingers!

whachu looking at, punk?

mommy says I have pretty eyes. gues the rest aint worth photographin'

I want you! to get the camera out of my face

yeah, I know. I'm cute. hear it all the time, ladies

is, it, could it be? a truck!

note the artistic use of curtains and gazing out the window

mommy bribed me to stand here. doesn't mean I'm going to look at her

fine. look - more artful curtain utilization

mommy will pay for all this later

Happy Is A Choice

I knew the day I met my husband that I would marry him. I carried that around with me for seven years, during which he regularly alternated between nice guy and jerky assface (sorry honey, but it's true). And finally, I came to the conclusion that I wanted no more to do with him because he wasn't ever going to be the man I knew he could be, and I was sick of dealing with it all. Then I got pregnant. So we got married. And to be honest, I was pretty unhappy for a lot of the first year we were married; he was still adjusting to this new kind of life with a family and having to be accountable to other people, I was stuck living somewhere I hated with someone I wasn't even sure I liked anymore. And I spent a lot of time weighing my options - but the thought of giving up being with my daughter all day so I could work some crummy job, begging a relative to take us in because I could never afford to take care of us on my own, fighting for custody and permission to leave the state, all seemed so difficult. And not really worth it. I decided that I would rather be a little unhappy as long as it meant my daughter grew up in a stable home. There was nothing so bad that I couldn't bear it to ensure her happiness. I figured that maybe my situation wasn't exactly what I had dreamed about, but instead of trying to find a way out, I would just do what I could to make it as close as possible. Which meant more children. So I got pregnant again. And an amazing thing happened. Once I was carrying my second, taking the kids and leaving my husband seemed truly impossible, so I just put it out of my mind. I concentrated on making the life I had the best it could possibly be; I accepted that the parts I didn't like were things I couldn't change, and I moved on without them. And lo and behold, they stopped bothering me. I was able to find the person in my husband that I had been drawn to in the first place (with the intense help of him being a wonderful husband who no longer bears any resmblence to an assface), and now I am happy with every aspect of my life. I have the children I wanted, a house I love, and a wonderful partner to share it all with. I'm even going to FINALLY get to leave Colorado! By ignoring the things I that made me miserable, and instead focusing on what makes me happy, I have found that the things I hated have changed themselves into things I love. I chose to make my life the best I could, and because of that my happiness fell into place. I am so lucky and so grateful.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Psuedo Wordless Wednesday

My daughter actually sleeps in this bed. Like this. I have no idea how she can possibly be comfortable with so much stuff on there with her, but every time I put it all away, she gets it back out.

Oh, Wow. You Look Really...Um...Great

When you are pregnant, everyone tells you how great you look. You can have pie smudged all over your face and shirt, mismatched shoes and you skirt tucked into your underwear, and people will tell you how beautiful you are. That you glow. Some of them truly mean it, because they are the people who are enamored of all pregnant women everywhere. These are the people who will just come up and touch a strangers belly without asking (although not me. I tend to look like I bite and even my relatives ask before touching even though they don't have to). Some of them are just terrified of pregnant women and the attendant raging hormones and will do anything to stay on your good side. Either way it is pretty great. And what I have learned, is that having three small children sort of works the same way. You can go to the store with unbrushed hair, in the same clothes you've been wearing for three days and no one cares. They won't go so far as to say you look good, but they will smile in sympathy and say "wow, you've got your hands full." And if you actually take the time to get dressed? Well, that is an achievement worth noting! then you will hear all about how great you look (downside- it's always followed with "for having three kids" because let's face it, you may look good, but you still look like you've housed three separate people in your body), and other lovely comments like "I don't know how you do it." I've even been told by total strangers that I'm their hero once they learn I've been taking care of all these kids by myself. It's great- like a 'get out of jail and walk around looking like a hot mess' free card. Which, let's face it, is deserved. Anytime I make it to the store in actual clothes rather than sweatpants is an accomplishment. And you can bet that the second I get home I'm back in my sweats.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Say What?

Isabelle is hysterical. Ten times a day she says something that is so funny or so clever and I just wish I had someone to tell about it. But I usually forget. So I have started writing them down, and I will be starting a regular feature of the amusing things she has said to me. I'm sure I will only get more fodder once Jack starts speaking clearly. Here are this week's gems:

after eating- "look mommy, I can wipe my hands with my tongue!"

when asked if she would like more little siblings- "yes. We need to get another big tummy for you."

after I told the kids how much I love them- "where are you going?"

To her baby Tad talking doll thing as we got ready for bed- "shhh, jackie and Sophie are sleeping." when Tad, on a timed response said "let's play"- "NO! I don't want to play with you!"

getting out of the bathtub, and no, I have no idea what this means- "why does the hair stick on it when the hot water makes me itch?"

Another mystery comment- "I love it! I love sandwich and pretzels and bacon."

To Sophie in the car- "You don't talk much, do you?"

After seeing her Rocket doll, which was very grudgingly given to Jack, under his bed- "Rocket, you're ok! Jack, you have to stop hurting Rocket, he's not yours."

at breakfast, which as usual was blueberries and waffles- "mommy, can I have more blueberries?" me "no sweetie, that's all for now." Izzy- "ok, Then it's waffle time!"

when playing on the couch (this is said EVERY day)- "c'mon, Jack! Let's jump off and hurt ourselves!"

And the highlight of my week:

after bumping into me getting in the car- "watch where you're going with your shiny new butt."

New Layout

You may notice I've done a little updating. This is my technologically incompetant attempt at making my blog a little flashier. Please leave a comment and let me know what you think.

note: this is the Rounders template, and I used this guide to make it into three columns

Memory Lane

When I started this blog it was mainly a forum for my many opinions on various television ads, shows, etc. (I started it because people, okay, mainly my parents would say "you're such a good writer and you have such funny things to say - you should start a blog. I think this was somewhat on par with telling fat people they have such a pretty face). I didn't spend much time talking about my kids. This was stupid, and now I'm wondering why I never thought I had anything to say about them, but regardless of my reasons, it also means that alot of special moments went undocumented by this blog. So I'm going to occassionally take the time to tell an old story, or share some old photos, to get out the wonder that was the past three years with my kids. My first entry is going to be one of the only videos we have of Jack as a little baby. being the second child, and having as nosy and pushy an older sister as he does, he got severly shafted on the baby video front. We have nothing of him rolling over, or taking his first steps, or doing any of the other mundane things we thought were so fascinating when we had Isabelle. But on one occassion, when Izzy was out playing in the yard with her father, I had the chance to take some uninterrupted video of Jack playing ball. He could barely sit up on his own (despite being able to crawl for over three months- he was kind of weird that way), but he absolutely loved to roll a ball back and forth. And to this day he still loves catch.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Princess Schadenfreude

I often sit with my baby Sophie on my lap while my other kids play amongst themselves. And usually at some point, one of the other kids will encounter a problem such as the toy they never knew they wanted has been looked at by someone else, or they have been hit with something or they leapt off the couch and were less than thrilled by the skull assisted landing, and of course they will run to mama. To cry and/or whine in my face. And Sophie will laugh. I don't know if she's just thrilled they are coming over (she doesn't laugh when they come over quietly), or she enjoys how loud they are being (she doesn't laugh when they are loud out of happiness), or if she just generally gets a kick out of their misery (I guess that should concern me?) but it's cute as hell either way.

she doesn't LOOK evil, but the cuteness could all be a clever ruse

By the way, Happy 5 months, little girlie! And happy 21 months to Jack! And I guess happy 3 years 3 months to Isabelle. Phew

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day!

To the two bestest dads I know. I did my best to find the most flattering pictures of you available. Maybe we should take photos a little more often.

back when we only had two kids. and a mustache!
in Hawaii. everyone wears helmets there.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Flashback Friday: I'll Give It A Try

When Izzy was still my only child, and she was just learning to speak as part of a conversation rather than just saying random words, her favorite answer to any question was "no." It was typically followed up by a yes if that was the actual answer, but her reflex response to any inquiry was to blurt out no before actually considering the true response. On one particular afternoon, we were out in the yard talking with the next door neighbor. We had only lived there for a short time, and didn't know her very well, so she hadn't had much exposure to Izzy. I will never forget the look on her face when she asked Izzy if she could be any cuter and Izzy replied "no." That perfect response, so precocious and self-confident (even if it was probably by accident) just exemplifies the wonder that is my Isabelle. Even if now she is so big and tall that it is hard to imagine that little girl anymore; even if now she is more likely to answer "I'm not cute, I'm Izzy," somewhere there is still that little girl who could not be any cuter.

Izzy at 18 months

In unrelated news, Izzy took the next picture all by herself yesterday. For real. My three year old is a better photographer than I am.

Sophie and I, through the lens of Isabelle's photographic talent

note: Me and technology are not so close. So when I want to try and be part of some magical online community and participate in a meme, I don't really know how to go about it. But I found this button, so I'm forging ahead anyway, even if I link back to nowhere and this whole thing is embarassing.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

If There's A Hair In your Food, It's Probably Mine

One admittedly silly but still valid reason for not going through any more pregnancies is the post partum hair loss. I don't know if this happens to anyone else, but when I am pregnant I really don't lose any hair at all. They say that the normal person loses 50-100 strands a day, and when I am pregnant I lose about 10. What this translates to, however, is that between about 2 and 6 months after I have the baby I shed like a pomeranian. My hair is all over myself (constantly finding it's way down my shirt and tickling me grrr), all over my kids, all over the floor; I have even picked MY hair off the CAT. No joke. That's when you know you have a problem. This issue is what led me to cut off all my hair after the birth of my son, which consequently led to a year of really bad haircuts, then one good one, realizing I can't get it cut often enough to keep it cute and short, and deciding to grow it back out again. Which inevitably means frumpy mom-hair for at least another year. Frumpy mom-hair that is still falling out in handfuls. Sexy.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

A Rare Second Entry

I don't usually post more than once in a day - if I use all my inspiration up at once then i'm left with days where all I have to say is uh, um, yeah. But my entries have been somewhat heavier in tone this week (whoa, I have deep thoughts, who'd've thunk it?), so I wanted to break it up a little. Plus, these pics are just too cute to keep all to myself!
trying to figure out how she ended up in this new contraption

this kid is ridiculously photogenic. he did NOT get it from me

looking like such a young lady. When did she grow up?

I Don't Have To Have A Gun To Respect The Second Amendment

I have never fired , nor even held, a gun that shoots anything other than water; not even a pellet gun. I disdain hunting, and I have never even seen a handgun in person. Any weapon you have in your home is a weapon that can be used against you, and I think it would be a wonderful world indeed if no one ever had or needed a gun. But I am opposed to further restrictions on gun ownership. If owning or having a gun is illegal, only the law abiding will be unarmed. People who intend to commit crimes with handguns are not going to stop because guns are now against the law. When you are breaking the law anyway, what is one more crime? People who intend to kill themselves, are not going to stop because they can no longer get their hands on a gun. Unless we restrict knives, cars, pills, plastic bags, and bridges too. Making it more difficult to obtain a handgun will only increase the number of illegally obtained guns out there. If it is more likely that you or a loved one will be killed because you have a gun in your home, well, that is the chance you take for your choice. But you still have the right to make that decision for yourself, and I will always respect that. Restriction is never the answer - education is. My objection over the insistence on further regulation of guns, at heart, isn‘t even about guns. It’s an objection to any increase in regulations at all. Protection of my health, my happiness, my safety, and that of my family is my right, and ultimately that makes it my responsibility. I am so sick of the government and whatever regulatory agencies telling me that I’m too stupid to take care of myself. That they have to constantly enact new laws to protect us because we are incapable of doing it ourselves. If I am going to risk driving around without wearing a seat belt, or using a lawnmower while wearing flip flops, well then, I am an idiot, and I deserve whatever comes to me. But at the end of the day that is my choice. I resent being told what I can and cannot do by people who don’t know any better than I do about the hazards in the world, and who really know nothing about me personally. We are choosing to allow the powers that be to treat us like irresponsible children, and all that means is that eventually, we end up acting like irresponsible children. There was once an intersection that was considered the most dangerous in Europe because of all the accidents that occurred there. They put up signs, and signals, and painted the street with warnings, and none of it helped. And then, I guess because they figured it couldn’t get any worse, they took everything down. No signs, no warning lights, just an empty, unmarked intersection. And there hasn’t been an accident since. Force people to take responsibility for their own lives and they will do it, every time. Continually attempt to protect them from themselves, and you will see them reach new lows of foolishness. Assume the worst and you will be given a country of fools who can achieve nothing for themselves. Expect the best and you will see talented, determined people rising to the challenge and attaining new levels of success. I am an adult and I demand to be treated like one - like someone who can make educated decisions about my own life. The issue of having guns in a home with children was the topic of discussion on the momversation this week, and I have read several eloquent essays on both sides of the argument. And that alone, is reason enough for me to oppose any further gun control - because both sides have valid points and everyone should be free to live a life in tune with their convictions.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Stick A Fork In Me?

When people find out that I had three kids in 34 months they usually stare in wonder. Many will ask if it was planned (it was indeed), and almost all will very clearly be thinking that I am crazy. And while my relative sanity is infinitely debatable, on this topic I truly feel I made the right decision. For my kids. They play together beautifully, there was no hard adjustment in adding a new baby because everyone was so young and just took it in stride, and it looks l ike they will all grow up to be great friends. But I'm no longer so sure this was the right decision for me. I don't regret it exactly, like I said before it is so perfect for the kids' relationships that I would do it again in a heartbeat, but what I'm finding now is that while I have the three kids I'd always planned on, I don't feel done. Not done being pregnant, not done taking care of little babies. Not emotionally, not hormonally, just not done. It's like I squeezed it all in too fast, and now I have years of childbearing ability ahead of me and nothing to do with them. I fully remember how uncomfortable this last pregnancy was - how miserable I was the last month, how things felt...stretched... in a way that was different (and thoroughly unpleasant) from my first two pregnancies. And I know that any future pregnancies will most likely only be worse - and yet I can't seem to give up on the idea. I look at my sweet Sophie and I can't imagine never having another baby to hold. I'm only 31, how can this part of my life already be over? But four kids? Five? That isn't really something I'd ever considered, nor does it even seem feasible - certainly not financially, but in terms of personal attention as well. No doubt the smart decision is to just never have any more, and I will be thrilled with the three I have for the rest of my life. And I feel greedy and terrible even thinking about having more when there are people out there who are struggling to just have one, but I'm just not sure I can spend the rest of my childbearing years feeling as devastated as I do now. I've always been someone who believes in a greater power and fate and following your intuition (not in a flower child, my clothes are hemp, kind of way- more of a trust your instincts thing) but this is not really an area where going with my gut feels safe. You can regret buying a funky outfit, maybe even return it if you keep the receipt, but it doesn't really work that way with babies (which definitely can NOT go back where they came from). But whenever I start trying to talk myself into accepting that I'm not having anymore children, because it makes sense and the ones I have are ridiculously fabulous and my life is basically everything I have ever wanted my whole life, I just feel crushed. And maybe this is simply a kind of post-partum depression and I just feel lost because I've spent the last three years planning exactly when I would be pregnant and when I would give birth and now that it's over I don't know what to do with myself, but what if it's not? I know that my husband and I will be able to handle four or five kids just like we can handle three, albeit with less space and money. And I know that if we stop now I will still live a happy and fulfilled life. I just don't know how to make the decision: with my heart or my head. The worst decisions in my life have always been when I've tried to force myself to fit into a role that didn't suit my true nature, and I have come to see that being a mother is my calling. I've gotten pregnant unintentionally and on purpose. I've given birth medicated, unmedicated and half medicated. And I've brought three disctinct, wonderful, entirely new people onto this planet. But how do you stop 'becoming' a mother and just start 'being' a mother? Shouldn't done FEEL done?

Monday, June 15, 2009

An Impossible Choice

I would like to start this entry by saying that I have not read the book My Sister‘s Keeper, nor will I see the film. I really have no idea what the focus of the story is, all I know is that it centers around a family who has a child in order to save the life of their older child who is suffering from a terminal disease. And I certainly do not mean this entry to be a conviction of anyone who may have made this choice - I do not have a child with a terminal disease, and I cannot presume to know what it would feel like to be in that position. But I have to say that the situation of choosing to have another child in order to provide a donor for a sick child makes me sick. Not because it is inappropriate - I cannot begin to fathom the lengths you would want to go to upon hearing that your child is dying, and I fully understand the desire to provide any chance for you child to live - and conceiving another baby who may be a genetic match is certainly a good option. But because I cannot understand, once you have held that baby in your arms, being able to go through with it. How can you continue on a path that will inflict multiple painful medical procedures on a healthy child, especially having seen the torment caused by the tests and treatments for your first child? I have held a baby down so a nurse could draw blood. I have handed my baby over to a nurse to be brought back for surgery, and I have seen my child, bloodied and sutured and swollen, after that surgery, and I could never, ever, choose to inflict that upon another one of my kids unless absolutely necessary. Certainly, saving the life of one child seems a valid reason for subjecting another to a certain amount of pain and discomfort. Especially if the child is old enough to be given the option. But breeding a child especially for the purpose of undergoing painful and most likely repeated medical testing seems horrific. Because in effect you are choosing one of your children over the other. How can the pain and suffering of any of your children mean more or less than the pain and suffering of another? How can it feel to know that the only reason you exist is to save someone else’s life? That your parents didn’t choose to have you for yourself, but instead because they couldn’t bear to lose the child they did choose to have. That your suffering doesn’t mean as much as the suffering of your sibling? I cannot imagine the feelings of inferiority and inadequacy that would come with that type of life. Could you ever feel that your parents loved you for yourself, or only because of what your cells can do? It is similarly unfathomable to have to watch each treatment options fail, and your child die, knowing there is nothing you can do. But creating a life whose only purpose is to save another seems needlessly cruel. And perhaps it isn’t. Perhaps it is a noble choice, and the child whose life was given over to saving their sibling will grow up knowing they have purpose. Having never had to make this choice, I cannot claim to know the thoughts that go into it, or the emotions experienced. All I know is that it is every parent’s job to shield their children from as much pain as they can - and that shield needs to be applied to all children equally. No one’s misery is any more or less important than another’s. Choosing to have a child to save another means making the decision that one of your children is more important than the other- easy when the second baby is still an abstract concept, but seemingly impossible once that baby is real and in your arms. I grieve for any family that must be put into this position, and I pray for the well being of any child who is sick themselves or sick because they are expected to heal another. No child should be faced with their own mortality, nor should any child be burdened with the responsibility of another’s life.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Be Nice

Yesterday a family came by to look at our house, and their little girl and mine got along famously. They were playing and hugging each other, and just generally being sweet and adorable. This is not always, or even usually, the case. When we go to the park, or the store, or just anywhere out in public, my daughter will say "hi" to the kids she sees. And almost universally they will stare at her like she just sprouted antennae. Their parents will just stand there, too, refusing to acknowledge a little 3 year old girl. It is astonishing to me how often this happens, and infuriating as well. Are people really this horrible? When someone is polite and friendly and greets you, respond, asshole! Especially when it is a child. My daughter is still young enough that the lack of response just sort of confuses her, but soon she will be old enough to realize that the people didn't fail to hear or misunderstand, they are just refusing to answer. And she is going to ask me why. And I'm going to have to explain that some people are just nasty and rude and they teach their children to be the same way and that she is better off not being friends with anyone like that because they are just sacks of meat wasting the air everyone else is breathing. And it really takes something like this - someone being inexplicably rude to a child, to really demonstrate just how far society has fallen from civility. People are so concerned that every kid get a medal or that no one feels like a loser in any given competition, but we can't be bothered to teach our kids basic manners. when you ask for something you say please. When you get it you say thank you. And when a charming little girl says hi or asks you your name you say something back. Cause if you don't her mother might sock you in the nose.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Moments Later...

... I was struck in the face by a red rubber ball.

Target achieved.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

But My Delivery Was Perfect

The other night my daughter was wheedling more chocolate covered raisins out of me with her big brown eyes and her sweet little “pleeeease?” and I was trying to retain a little bit of my dignity by explaining that she could only have a few because she really hadn’t eaten much dinner. I told her she was very lucky to get them, and that the only reason I was giving her more treats was because she is so stinking cute. To which she replied “no I’m not” quite strongly. And we teased back and forth a while, me saying yes she was and her denying it, until I asked why she didn’t want to be cute. To which she replied “no, I’m not stinky.” Oh. Right. I forgot little kids don’t really get gentle mocking and all the subtle nuances of the English language.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Lost In Translation

You hear a lot about the many different skills you gain as a mother: logistical planning, multitasking, (toy) hostage negotiator, animal husbandry, but one you don't hear much about is linguistics. I have zero ability with languages - my knowledge of Spanish consists of "hey I think that guy is speaking Spanish." And yet, from the very first night we brought our first baby home, I knew what her little gurgles and sounds meant. That night my husband must have leapt out of bed ten times - at every little sound - rushing to check on her. But I knew from the very beginning whether her grunts were of the sleeping sort, or of the "I'm awake and ready to eat but not quite ready to cry about it" variety. I can tell when "aaaah" means "can I please have some water" and when "aaaah" means "sing me a song." I can tell the difference between a squeal of joy and a squeal of anger, and I even sometimes know what is meant when "I want to hear the other song" can apply to any one of about twenty different songs. I have learned all the codes the children make up for things - like when Piggy is referring to the movie Toy Story (now called Woody), and I actually managed to figure out that when my daughter wants to watch "kelsey" she means Lindsay Lohan in Parent trap or Freaky Friday. What I can't do, however, is read minds. I cannot, for example, explain why my daughter will suddenly start to cry and announce that she hates dinner whenever I ask what she wants to eat. Or why she will ask for a specific movie, only to freak out when I put it on because she wants to watch something else. I also will never understand why she insists on telling me she wants to keep her clothes on, only to remove them all moments later. If this is the moodiness and hysteria we have at 3, I can only imagine what the breakdown in communication will be like when we hit the teenage years. Hopefully we will have grown out of the need the run around in only our underwear at that point.

Monday, June 8, 2009

I Hate When I Do That

So, you know when you feel really grubby and greasy and just can't wait to take a shower? And your kids, by some miracle are all sitting around watching a movie quietly, so you think you can slip away and wash without waiting for them to go to bed first? And then once you get in your room, before you've even gotten in the shower, they are standing at the babygate blockade to your room, shouting "mommy, can you get me something?" and "mommy, why are you in there?" and "mommy, why is that open?" and "mommy, gaa laa laa laa uck?" but you think, I'm already back here, dammit, I'm taking this shower!, so you get in under the hot water, and start to wash your hair, hoping they will just go away so you can relax? But instead, you start to just hear blood curdling screams and maniacal laughing and banging on the walls? So you rush your shower and get out, wondering what horrible things they are doing since it has now gotten quiet(like the time they took all the stuffing out of teh couch cushions, why aren't those things lined anyway?), and you halfway dry off and come back out in the living room where every one is now playing quietly and back to watching their movie? And you realize how stupid you were to think that you could ever take a relaxing shower while the kids were awake, and you vow never to try it again, but at least you remembered not to give them milk first cause the last time they poured it all over the couch? Yeah. I hate when I do that.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Why Bother?

This is what my house usually looks like:

I try to keep it reasonably neat, of course, but with two small children fighting against me, the toys all over wins out over having the toys in their bins. So I usually reserve my picking up for bedtime, when I am guaranteed the tidyness lasting at least through the night. But every once in a while, I just can't stand it anymore, and I clean up during the day:

Isn't it beautiful? It is so much easier to relax in a room that isn't filled with clutter. So peaceful. However, that peace is fleeting. If I bother to leave the room or turn my back for even a minute:

Serenity, gone.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

You're Not My Mom

Now that my eldest is getting into official playdate age, I am finding myself at a bit of a loss on exactly how to deal with the other kids. Or more specifically, how to deal with them while their moms are around. It’s easy when the kid is at your house on their own because you just treat them like one of your own kids when settling disputes or dealing with misbehavior (or you totally favor your kids over them, haha), but it’s harder when the mom is sitting right there. Personally I feel like if the mom is there than I should step back and let them deal with their kid, and I try to, but it gets hard when they aren’t disciplining their children in a way I would like. My kids are still very young, and as such any other kids who come over are young as well, and we are all at an age where new toys are super cool. So while my kids are bored of their toys and want to play with the kids, the kids often would rather ignore my kids in favor of the toys. And because often we are dealing with only children, sharing has not yet become a part of their play vocabulary. So we get a lot of taking toys away from my kids, or pushing my kids off of favorite toys when the new kid wants to see it. And while my natural response is to slap the offending newcomer for hurting the feelings of my precious babies, (which I obviously don’t do), I often find it awkward to reprimand that child at all. Which means that if their mom doesn’t do it, my kids basically spend the whole playdate trying to play with a kid who is either ignoring them or stealing their toys. And I end up so upset by the end because my feelings are so hurt on behalf of my children ( I won’t even get into the nasty kid who pushed my daughter when she tried to give her a hug and thank her for coming over - suffice it to say she will never be invited back), that I just want to keep them locked up and never expose them to the evils of the world again. And the funny thing is I don’t even really fell like it isn’t my place to say something. I mean, I don’t get super upset if someone nicely stops my kids from doing something wrong, and I don’t really feel that the moms would be upset with me. Frankly I’ve dealt with people who flip out when you say anything to their kids, and I’ve learned that you just limit any exposure to them and if their kids are walking into oncoming traffic, well, it isn’t your place to stop them. So the issue isn’t even in speaking to the kid. The problem is I just feel so awkward and uncomfortable doing it while their mom is watching. But I may be getting better. The other day I stopped to talk to another mom while out walking in the neighborhood, and her son was as enamored of the rocks lining the street as my daughter. And as I did my best to ensure that Izzy didn’t decide to try and play “catch” and start throwing rocks, I also didn’t hesitate to remind the little boy not to pelt any one either. And guess what? The kids obeyed, and the other mom and I didn’t end up in a fist fight. So maybe there’s hope.
On an entirely unrelated note - how do you introduce yourself to a three year old? I feel a little weird asking someone who can barely speak sensibly to call me Mrs Johnson - it has a lot of syllables, plus it seems so formal, like I should also shake hands, which rarely works, as most toddlers are lousy at etiquette. So I usually just introduce myself as Kate. And I’m fine with them calling me by my first name, up to a point. I feel like at a certain age (seven?), then respect and courtesy dictate that I be called Mrs. Johnson. Which is fine for new friends, but what about kids who have known me since they were three and are used to calling me Kate? And while I also sometimes just introduce myself as Izzy’s mommy, that doesn’t really designate me much of my own identity, and could be confusing (not to mention time consuming) if I start saying I’m Izzy, jack and Sophie’s mommy. Of course, this could be the most ridiculous problem ever, since we all know toddlers don’t listen to grown ups anyway.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Fun Is A Kid's Job

Yesterday my kids were playing with the sofa cushions. At one point Izzy turned to me and said "I'm going to build a bridge. It's going to be so exciting for you." And while I think she may have been a little incorrect in stating that I would find it exciting, she and Jack sure did. To wit:

I missed taping the first ten mintues or so, as well as the shrieks of glee and intense giggling that accompanied it, but I think you get the gist. They were still going another ten mintes later, albeit in a more silent, committed fashion:

I just love how they keep going and going like they are unable to stop - they no longer look so excited or really like they're having any fun at all, and yet they continue the game. So dutiful.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

That'll Show 'Em

Logic just doesn't apply to some people. Let's all take a moment and breathe a sigh of relief that this man will not be reproducing.

(thanks to fighting off frumpy for the heads up on this story. Your take was hilarious.)

Hi! My Name Is Judgemental

I think my backyard neighbors are bad parents. My opinion of this is based on two things: 1) she is routinely up after 10 or 11 pm, which to me seems unnecessarily late for a three year old. I know she is up this late because she is usually running around their backyard shouting, which serves to keep me awake, grrr. 2) when we first moved into our house two years ago (meaning the kid was 15 mo, the same age as our daughter), the first thing we did was put a railing on the deck so our daughter wouldn't fall off. That's common sense, right? Well, these people obviously did not think so, and I was treated to the sound of their child screaming several times a day after falling off because while she was playing on the deck her mother was inside. For months. And, while I am a big supporter of letting your kid fall once in a while so they learn to be careful, three times a day over three or four months (until it got too cold to play outside) seems excessive. She was probably unable to learn not to fall off the deck because of all the head injuries she sustained doing just that. But while I think these two things justify my opinion, that doesn't mean I feel good about being so judgmental. I mean, they may think I'm a terrible mom from whatever snippets of my parenting style they've seen. Heck, this person certainly thinks I'm terrible and they've never even seen me in action. And honestly, it doesn't bother me because I know that the truth is I'm a good mom. My kids are happy and healthy and well fed and reasonably clean. I have been complemented on their good behavior in restaurants, and if they don't live on an all organic, sugar free diet or get a bath every day I'm okay with that. Because it's more important that they know I love them, and that they always feel safe and taken care of than that I comply with a stranger's rules for parenting. And it reminds me that we should all try to cut other people some slack when judging. Except for the really bad parents: like people who don't even attempt to control their kids in public , and my backyard neighbors.

There is a fabulous word out there for women who harshly judge other's parenting styles. It is The Sanctimommy. (Take a minute to read the post at the link cause it's great). Also in regards to the 2nd comment (at the above link) about bed head - not that I disagree with the frustrations of seeing kids who have clearly never met a brush, and not that I don't understand parents who pick their battles and decide that tangled hair ins't as important as wearing shoes. But there is also a small percentage out there who have neither ignored the snarls nor given up the fight. My daughter constantly has "crazy hair" because she just has crazy hair. I brush it, I don't brush it, there is no difference. She has a weird growth pattern and some is really curly and some is only a little curly and it just goes all over. So please forgive us parents who are actually trying to groom our children but who may not be able to wrestle nature into submission. I am dying to get her into ponytails as a way of taming the beast.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Look At Me Go!

I want me the BeBeLove USA triple jogging stroller. Now, before you say "but you do not run. Or jog. Or really even walk quickly," hear me out. For my first child I had a regular stroller. And we would take walks all around our neighborhood, typically starting out on the sidewalk, then having to backtrack when it suddenly ended for no reason in a field, and then finishing our trip in the street. And it was fine. When my second child was born, I got a lovely collapsable double stroller which had eery feature I wanted in a stroller, but also had tiny little wheels which made it nearly impossible to push over anything that wasn't perfect concrete. There is nothing even close to smooth concrete in our current neighborhood, so this made taking walks a little cumbersome and I decided to upgrade to a double jogger. The second I got it I knew I loved it. It rolled so smoothly, and pivots so easily - it is really a joy to push. But I said, ok, that's it, no more strollers for me. I figured when my thrid was born my oldest could just walk along with me. But then we arrived at that place, and I learned two things. The first is that while I may not walk particularly quickly, I do walk faster than a three year old. This is primarily because I am taller, but it may also be influenced by the fact that I don't feel the need to stop and inspect every rock, weed, flower, tree or bush on our route. the second thing I learned was that I kind of like running with the stroller. Somehow, pushing the stroller makes an extremely unpleasant activity a little fun. I think it is partly because I try to make it as smooth as possible for my riders and therefore there is no terrible jarring to my knees, and partly because I can lean on the stroller a little. I don't know exactly, all I know is that I find myself wanting to go out and do it. I also feel that while I would never just run 100 yards (which is about as far as I can maintain a pace) and then slow to a walk and repeat over and over until I could run the whole time on my own, I don't feel at all stupid doing it with the stroller. Because I can pretend I'm just doing it to entertain my kids rather than because I'm in embarassing physical condition. And because kids are a built in excuse for any ridiculous behavior you might want to engage in. So now I feel like I may actually need a jogging stroller for, gasp, jogging. Or attempting it anyway. And now my decision to just stop with my double seems premature because I most certainly cannot jog with a three year old - first off she won't even try to keep up, and second, when I attempted to run a little ahead and then circle bck to her, she kept shouting "mommy, you're getting too far away from me" when I was more than ten feet in front of her. So, my plan to simply use a double stroller has failed me. My new plan is to find a triple stroller at a garage sale or on freecycle. Until then I'll probably stick to my life of sloth. You gotta embrace any excuse not to exercise, you know.