Sunday, July 22, 2012
"In a moment. I don't have enough hands right now." At this point I was feeding Jacob a bottle while reading a book to him.
"You need to try. You're a big girl. Big girls can do anything!"
Now the pressure was on... Surprisingly, I was able to hold the bottle under my chin, prop the book on my knee AND put Cinderella's tiny plastic arms through her blue sleeves. SUPER MOM!! I was the only one impressed by this act, of course. It is nice to know that Em has faith in me. Her words of encouragement have become my mantra lately.
July has been a bit of an emotional roller coaster. Jason and I celebrated a wonderful 7th wedding anniversary. My MRI results are in -- No new lesions! Then my mom's best friend passed away unexpectedly. I'm very sad for her family and for my mom. She was an amazing person and will be terribly missed. I hosted book club this month. I LOVE my book club and had a great evening with friends. Jacob was diagnosed with a mild case of chicken pox the same day. Deep breaths. Big girls can do anything.
Thank God for my little girl who reminds me to laugh even during times of stress. We were waiting in the exam room for Jacob's 3rd appointment this week (awesome) when she said, "Mommy, You need to think about my burp." Huh? Took me a moment... Then I recalled our conversation earlier in the week in which I told her she doesn't have to tell me every single time she burps. "You can just think it. Don't say it." Apparently she misunderstood. I giggled while trying to stop Jacob from wrinkling and shredding what was left of the exam table paper. Em used the tiny bits to make it snow and then the doctor walked in. Don't mind us, we're just thinking about burps and making a mess! Captain Destruction here is hoping you'll just ask us to leave and skip the whole pox check this time. No?? We tried.
Jacob looks a thousand times better than he did a few days ago. I got a lot done this weekend and even managed a dance in Old Navy with my favorite little girl to some ridiculous techno song. The last thing I want to do is make Em think she's wrong. If anything, I need to remember that she's absolutely right. Big girls can put on doll dresses while feeding a baby, make it snow in July, cope with a stressful month, and dance in public. The world will not end when my 4 year old announces a burp (again) or when she colors on the wood floors like she did this evening. I can handle it. Thank God for washable markers!
Monday, June 4, 2012
Why can't babies play with balloons?
What rhymes with sand dollar?
What are cars made of?
Others make me wish I could hit pause so I can a) look up the answer or b) think of something really, really good to say.
Where is Heaven?
What do clouds taste like?
What do clams eat?
I LOVE how inquisitive Em is. Lately she's all about stopping me mid-text to ask what a word means. She then finds a way to use it as soon as possible. What does tugging mean? Look! I'm TUGGING my shoes on! Kind of. Close enough.
The questions are getting harder. I do my best to praise the question itself, but she insists on answers. You ask such smart questions! Mommy, Are you going to tell me? What happens to you after you die?
Seriously!? Can't we go back to what clams eat? Let's stick with Google-friendly questions, shall we? She's a little Judgy McJudgerton when it comes to the answers, too.
What eats spiders? I'm not sure... Maybe birds? NO, birds eat worms. Maybe frogs eat spiders? No, Mommy, frogs eat flies! Of course they do. She told me to put her dolly in the middle of her door last night. Apparently I struck out on placement because she then used her hands to explain what middle means. Thanks, Dear. I THINK I UNDERSTAND NOW. Geez... And by the way, birds and frogs DO eat spiders.
It's comforting knowing I'm not the only parent who doesn't have all of the answers and at least I know where to look or how to buy myself time if needed. I recently had a meeting with a parent who told me her son had brain surgery as a toddler because "his oppcipital hole was too big, so his brain came out. Then the brain tonsils started wrappin' around his neck so they had to put more flesh in there to keep the oppcipital part where it's s'posed to be." Oh my. I'm guessing you don't know what clams eat either. That makes me feel better. She later told me her son "caught" his memory difficulties from two other family members who have the same problem. Who knew memory deficits were contagious?! Let's hope her son saves the hard questions for school. Just don't ask what happens after we die... I'm still thinking about how I want to answer that one.
Tuesday, April 24, 2012
For the most part everything has been going swimmingly (there's a word I don't use enough). My MS has been fairly quiet, although the injections have made my thighs look like I've been nailed by a flying baseball several times. At least they match. Work is as busy as ever as we wind down the school year. Jacob and Emily are doing great and growing up way too fast. Jason and I joke about starting them both on coffee and cigarettes to stunt their growth. It's a JOKE! Good grief...
I recently registered both kids for Parks & Rec classes in preparation for Summer. I realized that by the time Emily was Jacob's age she had already been in Kindermusik, Gymboree. swimming classes, and weekly play groups. Jacob is lucky if we go somewhere other than Em's preschool during the week. Bad Mommy! I don't need to go crazy like I did the first time around, but a little more to promote language development, social-emotional functioning, motor skills, etc. is probably in order. I really need to read to him more as well. Twenty minutes minimum daily for each kid.
Doesn't that make me sound like an awesome parent?? I'm glad I have you all fooled. We went for a walk with our neighbor the other day and he said to me, "You're a School Psychologist, right? So you actually know what you're doing?" I started laughing out loud. The only benefit of my training has been realizing too late that I've messed up. I end most days thinking about what I really should have done differently. A recent example:
Jacob rolled onto Emily's puzzle...
Em: "Jacob needs to get off of my puzzle."
Mommy: "Let's leave him. He's been cranky and he's happy now. I need a break from crying."
Em: "I need a break from him crawling on my puzzle."
What I SHOULD have said next...
"Hmm.. Can you find something else he might enjoy playing with instead? That would be a really sweet thing for you to do and then you'd both be happy."
(Insert rainbow and soft, uplifting background music)
How it actually went down...
Em: "Jacob needs to get off of my puzzle."
Mommy: "Let's leave him. He's been cranky and he's happy now. I need a break from crying."
Em: "Well, I need a break from him crawling on my puzzle."
Mommy: "Really? I need a break from you being sassy."
Em: "I need a break from YOU!"
This really happened. My 3 year old was suddenly 13 and what's worse, SO WAS I! At this point I stood up and walked out with Jacob in tow. You need a break?! You got it, Sweetheart. She was all tears and apologies when she realized I wasn't going to play with her anymore. We made up over a cookie. What have I taught my daughter?? It's perfectly acceptable to use your verbal propensity in a disrespectful manner, engage in power struggles, and cope with food. Awesome.
Emily is not the only victim. We have 50,000 toys in our house and none of them are ever within arm's reach when I need them. I tend to grab whatever is close and hand it to Jacob to buy me 3 more minutes of happy baby time when I need to finish something. Today alone he played with a Sharpie, a shoe, and a syringe. Just the plastic part -- No needle. I have to draw the line somewhere. This is my second child, so I haven't been on top of the research when it comes to Best Toys for Babies in 2012... However, I'm fairly certain a toxic marker, germ-infested footwear and disposable hypodermic supplies didn't make the list. There goes my nomination for Mom of the Year. Again. It should be noted that the baby in the picture is not my baby. I'm not alone!
So, Neighbor, that's great that you think Dr. Sears would give me a gold star for my parenting practices, but I think he'd more likely shake his head in disgust. I don't care. I don't like the advice he gives parents regarding vaccinations anyway. The upside is that I've seen some horrid parenting practices and overall, I don't think I'm doing a terrible job. I mess up. I think that's something good parents do. The bad parents are the ones who don't even realize they've messed up and don't consider what they'd do differently next time. When it comes to sassy toddler talk and needing to distract the baby for a few more minutes, there will absolutely be a "next time." Today I told both of my kids I love them, buckled their seatbelts, fed them nutritious meals, made them laugh, and read books to them. I'd say that's a pretty good parenting day. Let's forget about the whole Sharpie and syringe thing!
Monday, February 27, 2012
Today has turned sour on the parenting front, so I'm focusing instead on something I need to do while one child screams in his crib (YOU CAN'T MAKE ME NAP!) and the other yells at me from her time-out (I'M NEVER GOING TO STOP YELLING!) Fine. Stay in time-out.
Here's the routine for shots...
At some point in the evening I remember it's shot night and I whine about it.
Put kids to bed. At this rate I'm thinking 4:00 instead of the usual 7:00. That may change. I'm a little bitter right now.
Take my pile of Rebif-related stuff from the top shelf of the pantry and narrowly miss knocking the red biohazard bin. It's only a bin full of used needles that could come tumbling down onto my face. No big deal. And yet I still haven't moved it. Playing with fire here, I tell you...
Rebifers get a shot journal to record injection sites (we have to rotate), days / times, and reactions. I scan to find a place I haven't done in a while (as if the red splotches on my body aren't telling enough) and place a little x on the drawing of a person. Right thigh. Ugh.
Side note: The yelling has switched to a relationship status update. Apparently we're not friends anymore. (Sigh)
Back to shots... Heat (warm washcloth), prep the auto-injector, insert the syringe, clean the site with an alcohol pad, grab one of Jason's hands or the counter for a death squeeze, inject the medicine with my other hand, hold the needle in place for the longest 10 seconds of my life, swear like a sailor, remove needle, massage the area with a cotton pad to disperse the meds, continue swearing because it burns and I'm a baby.
Jacob had a flu shot last week and didn't even flinch. Who is this kid? You're making me look bad, Baby. At least give it a whimper! Even Emily remembered that shots hurt and was sure to confirm she was NOT getting a shot before entering the exam room. She reiterated this point with the nurse when she arrived. "Just Jacob. Not me today." That's my girl... She gets her control freak gene from me, of course.
I do the shots myself. Even the awkward left-handed-hip-at-a-weird-angle shot because I can't handle having someone else do it. See? Control freak.
Aaaahhhh... No more crying. Sleeping baby. Thank you, Jacob. Wait... It's too quiet. Time to go check on the toddler time-out:
"Em, Are you ready to be sweet?"
"NOTHING! I'm not doing anything!"
That can't be good... At this rate my shot may not be the low point of the day. 6:00 bedtime for sure!
Thursday, February 23, 2012
I was testing a student yesterday and used two CD tracks to administer auditory processing subtests. One of the tasks involves a man's voice saying words with missing parts. The student is asked to tell me the word the person is trying to say after they hear two beeps. Example: (Beep) rabbi_ (beep, beep)... (beep) chi__en (beep, beep)...
The boy I was testing yesterday was shocked by this. "He's saying A LOT of bad words! He's talking about a dirty chicken!" He was convinced the beeps were the same censor beeps he has heard on television. When you think of it that way, the audio recordings are tough to listen to without chuckling. This is particularly true if you're an eight year old boy! I spent the next 20 minutes trying to keep him on task.
I told this story to my husband last night. His response was, "What's the test called?? The Woodcock-Johnson? Now that's funny!" Apparently boys don't grow out of this.
I have to admit I was laughing, too!
Friday, February 10, 2012
Tonight she noticed something new... I was in the middle of changing Jacob's diaper when Emily ran into the kitchen then returned with her stepstool for a better view. She was stunned.
"What... is... that???"
Waiting for toddler comedy... This should be good.
Pointing and staring in utter confusion. Where's my camera?!
My friends and I have talked about this moment. What do you call it when they ask? Pee pee? Boy parts? My personal favorite: "Pieces and part?" A few moms I know used the accurate terminology. I'm just not cool enough to be OK with my kid using penis and vagina in everyday conversation yet. I went with the safe answer. "Those are Jacob's private parts." Emily was studying him at this point and then began to tell me her observations aloud while I finished the diaper change.
"My private part goes up and down like this." (Drawing imaginary line between her legs)
"His goes out. It's out like this." (Finger puppet. I'm bursting with giggles at this point)
"Yep. Boy parts and girl parts are different."
That was explanation enough... for now. I'm sure it's just a matter of time before the questions and commentary start rolling in. Likely in public, of course. This will be the next hot topic. Right now she's all about questioning bathroom behavior. For the record, I have no idea how many times her preschool teachers use the bathroom each day. I went with 5. Please don't ask me about their private parts!
Tuesday, January 31, 2012
Lately she's doing lot of "reading" as well. She was busy piling toys into a bowl on our coffee table when I told her to stop. Cue selective hearing: Toddler pretends Mommy said nothing.
"Em, I asked you to stop putting toys in the bowl. It's glass. You can put them in your grocery basket instead." (Insert smug smile for offering an acceptable alternative. Good parent.)
"No, Thanks. I'll just put them in the bowl." (Remove pat. You suck at this.)
"Wasn't asking, Doll... No toys in the glass bowl." (Boundaries are good.)
Em then picked up a blank piece of construction paper and said, "I have to. It says right here, 'Put the toys in the bowl.'"
"Oh, really? Read the fine print... There's an asterisk at the bottom and it says, 'Any bowl except Mommy's bowl.'" (What just happened here!?)
We then argued about make believe print because that's a totally normal thing to do. She finally took the toys out and handed a baby ring to Jacob. In her best British accent she asked, "Would you like a doughnut?" Because we're British. Wait... No, We're not. My 3-year old is having a cultural identity crisis AND hallucinations. Sweet.
If you can't beat 'em...
"Alright, Em. It says right here 'It's time to go to the loo.' Cheerio!"
Tuesday, January 24, 2012
"Mommy, What is that?"
"The green things. On your Pop Tarts."
First of all, I have never referred to breasts as Pop Tarts. I did a quick turn to hide the "green things" and immediately texted Jason to tell him the latest Emily-ism. Things are getting a little weird around here... Obviously.
Jacob has adjusted nicely to bottle feeding and is drinking the 50/50 formula and frozen breast milk combo we make for him each day. I, on the other hand, am taking a little longer to adjust to things. I'm trying to accept the whole can't-breastfeed-because-of-this-stupid-disease thing and find that I am CONSTANTLY reminded of how unhappy this makes me as my body thinks I'm still nursing a baby. Thankfully, there's enough humor in this house to keep me afloat.
My daughter is a riot lately. Yesterday she took her plastic teacup and told me she'd get dressed in a minute... "Just let me get my coffee first." I told her not to worry about the lump on Blue's chest. Old dogs get lumpy sometimes. She asked if we'll flush him down the toilet (apparently she remembers Sushi after all). The name game continues. I was Mrs. Pom Pom yesterday. Our dog is Rebecca. And then there's the fact that I've been wearing produce in my bra this week...
Something about wearing chilled cabbage leaves inside a bra helps to stop milk production. Who knew?? It's also really weird!! You can't actually see them since they're hidden under my shirt. Except for when I was chatting with our electrician and the pressure of holding the baby pulled my shirt down slightly... Just enough for leafy greens to poke out of my neckline. I quickly tucked them in and hoped to God it looked like fabric. Doubtful. Jason calls it PETA's Secret.
Hopefully I'll be done wearing cabbage and drinking gritty sage tea by the end of this week and my body will get back to normal. I'm finding new ways to bond with Jacob. Everything is going to be OK. Except for the fact that I'll never be able to look at cabbage the same way again. Or Pop Tarts!
Friday, January 20, 2012
Today I took both kids to Target in the pouring rain to get some party supplies for what WAS going to be my Mom's surprise birthday party. Unfortunately a friend called and started talking about it (despite being told he was on speaker) when my Mom was in the room. Surprise blown. Moving on. We were at Target to get a few things when what to my wandering eyes should appear?? A grown man with HORNS and a disc in each ear!
I've spent the last half hour checking out Google images of horn implants. This is a thing!! Did you know this??? This man purposefully had horns implanted in his forehead to make him look like the devil. In itself, a little freaky. Add to this a bull nose ring, face tattoo and 3-inch ear discs! Here we are in the wrapping supply aisle surrounded by Disney Princess gift bags, Sponge Bob wrapping paper and Devil Boy. Yikes! I danced around Emily to block her view (it's best not to have to explain what I don't understand myself) and tried to act completely nonchalant about the whole thing. Looking back, I think it's funny that I was trying so hard to act like this was nothing out of the ordinary. This kind of look is like a challenge to the general public. I dare you not to judge me... Good luck. Epic fail on my part! I even considered how I might take pictures with my phone to send to my Mommy friends with captions such as, "Our new nanny!"
I actually find Portland's freak factor somewhat endearing. I'm all for keeping Portland weird and I LOVE Portlandia. What was disarming about this was that we weren't downtown or in some hip district where this kind of thing is expected. I'm talking mid-day shopping in Suburbia. Devil Boy shops at Target! Who knew??
I was nursing Jacob tonight at bedtime -- my very last time nursing a baby -- and trying SO hard to focus and just be present for the whole thing so I could enjoy our special time together. When I'm stressed out, my mind wanders. A lot. I started party planning in my head. Stop that. Then it was my to-do list for the evening. Look at Jacob! Suddenly I was replaying my encounter with Devil Boy and thinking there is no way in Hell (oh, the irony) I would EVER let Jacob get horn implants! Luckily, my tendency to become distracted is on par with my procrastination habit. This morning was supposed to be the last time I nursed Jacob. The nurse came to make sure I remembered how to do my own injections, but I forgot to leave the syringe out to bring it to room temperature first. May as well wait until bedtime. But, really... What's one more day? So, now TOMORROW will be my very last time nursing a baby (promise). It has to be... It's a M W F shot with a required 48 hours between doses.
The beauty of this is that I get another chance to remain focused during my last time nursing. I will not think about the party. Or Devil Boy. I will focus on one thing at a time. By the way, I love Judi Dench. This whole focus thing is harder than I thought...
Saturday, January 14, 2012
I recently had to make a choice I found very difficult. I have less than a week left of breastfeeding. Jacob is 6 1/2 months old. My first MS symptoms appeared when Emily was about this age, but I was blissfully ignorant of what was going on in my body. The diagnosis process took a while and I was long done with nursing by the time my neuro slapped a label on my symptoms. This time was different. This time I had to choose whether to continue breastfeeding or stop so I can take the drugs that slow down my MS. What a terrible choice to have to make! How could I choose my health over Jacob's? WWGDD? (What Would Gun Daddy Do?!) I'm guessing he wouldn't agonize over this decision like I have.
I chose my health.
This feels utterly selfish and a part of me feels very guilty about this decision. I'm counting down to the last day I'm allowed to nurse and the sadness I feel about this is palpable. I'm having a hard time forgiving myself and have repeatedly apologized to Jacob as if he has ANY idea what I'm talking about. The part of me that knows it's the right choice realizes that by risking another relapse I could be giving BOTH of my kids a permanently disabled Mommy. I know this is the right choice, but I still hate it and I'm really going to miss nursing. Going back on my medication seemed like something SOOO far away. And suddenly it's here. Yuck.
I have friends who didn't enjoy breastfeeding or were unable to. I was lucky in that I have an abundant milk supply (moo) and have always found it to be an incredible bonding experience. I'm going to miss Jacob looking up at me while he nurses. I love how his little hand reaches up for my necklace and the other wraps around to my back. I'll miss the smile he gives me when he's full just before he tucks his face into my body then looks back up to smile at me again. What a flirt!
I am thankful Jacob will still get some breastmilk for a few months (and I'll finally get my freezer space back). I'm also trying to focus on the positives... No more nursing bras, nursing pads, shirts with easy access, NO MORE PUMP! That one should really count as 5 positives. I'm not typically the one giving him a bottle, so I'll need to figure out the best way to hold him while feeding him. Maybe I can even find a position that will allow him to give me that flirty smile I love so much.
Will I always think this was the right choice?? I don't know. I'm not 100% sure of all of the parenting choices I make, but I DO know that Jacob will not be getting a gun when he's 10. It feels good to be sure of something these days!
Thursday, January 12, 2012
"No, Mommy. My name is Alice."
"Don't call me Emily. I'm Sleeping Beauty."
Is this a common toddler phase that I don't know about? Emily has been changing her name almost every day. She changes our names as well. Yesterday I was Lavine (??) and today I'm Mommy Squirrel. Some days the names are longer than others (Jason was dubbed Snowflake Boa Rosebush Allison the other day). I'm not sure what Em has against boy names, but all of the males in this house have had very feminine names for the past month. Jacob has been Rapunzel, Mary, and Sally this week alone. It's not just a 5-minute game either. She's adamant we all go by these names all... day... long. She corrects us when we don't get it right.
For the past two days she's Elizabeth Alex Trebek (we may have suggested the last name). Her preschool teacher made a comment today that we must watch a lot of Jeopardy. We don't... We just like messing with our kid. I even had her answering every question with "What is..." at dinner. I think I'm hysterical.
Elizabeth Alex Trebek was doing everything except eating dinner (as usual). We often do "family bites" just to get her to eat. One of us says, "Family bite!" and we all have to take one at the same time. Brilliant, right? Em took it a step further tonight with "Family drink!" as she sipped on her chocolate milk. Jason was drinking beer and I was drinking wine, so this was essentially our first family drinking game. At one point she even said, "I'm still drinking" to imply that we should be drinking, too... It's like doing waterfalls in college all over again! We could really get creative and add the name thing if we wanted to (drink if you call someone by their REAL name). Dangerous.
I had a hard time getting the names right at bedtime tonight. Emily has a fantastic book Mimi made for her after Jacob was born. She made it on Snapfish and it reads like a children's book. There are pics of both kids as newborns with captions such as, "Mommy is at the hospital. Who is she holding?" The kids look so alike in pictures at that stage that it's actually difficult to tell them apart at times. I read the text the way it was written and Emily melted down because I wasn't using the right names. Seriously!? So I read the entire book about my kids, Elizabeth Alex Trebek and Sally. Even Mommy and Daddy were replaced (spur of the moment name changes). I'm Susie. Jason is Goldilocks. The last page had Jason and I laughing out loud...
"Together, Susie and Goldilocks and Elizabeth Alex Trebek and Sally are a family!"
No one will ever accuse this kid of lacking imagination!
Monday, January 2, 2012
10 minute wait... Happy, smiling, cooing baby.
20 minutes... Getting restless.
30 minutes... Cranky, hungry, tired baby is going to fill his diaper in a big way. Get ready.
My urologist has a tendency to make us wait while a nature show plays on a loop in the waiting room. I've seen the tiger chase and kill a monkey three times. I've seen the tuna school dart around the whale twice. I have no idea why they make us watch this other than perhaps they're trying to distract us from the impending discomfort of discussing bladder function with a stranger. If that's true, why do they then decorate each exam room with graphic models and posters of male and female urinary tracts?! There's nothing more awkward than waiting in the exam room surrounded by 4 large penis pictures and a few kidneys. They throw in the latest People magazine for good measure.
My doctor was running behind schedule a few weeks ago (big surprise). Jacob was tired, hungry, and not at all interested in hanging out in an exam room. I took him out of the stroller and danced around the room trying not to notice that this particular exam room has TEN posters (is that really necessary?) And then it happened. It's a familiar sound... It's kind of funny unless you're the one holding the baby. This exam room was maybe 100 square feet. That's not a lot of room for a noxious odor to travel. I figured I had perhaps 4 minutes to change this puppy before I had company in the room. I put my crying baby on the exam table (Go for it, Jacob... Show them why they shouldn't make us wait this long!) and began the 1-minute diaper change. Moms of boys everywhere have mastered the 1-minute diaper change out of necessity. If you want to stay dry, you move quickly.
I'm usually very prepared for this kind of thing. Except on this trip I forgot a plastic bag. And then I realized the diaper had blown up the back and out the left leg (Impressive, Jacob). I also forgot a change of clothes. I did a frantic search for anything I could use (while holding Jacob's legs in the air) to hold the mess of a diaper laying beside my son... Rubber glove. No. Should I open drawers? Too risky. Scratch the bag. I double diapered the bad news and set it aside. Thankfully, I had one of Em's shirts in my bag... a long, white ruffled number with smocking along the top. I rolled the soiled one piece in another diaper and buried it DEEP in my diaper bag.
FINALLY the nurse entered (apparently I wasn't doctor-worthy on this visit) and I quickly apologized for the diaper smell. God forbid she thinks I'm the one responsible for the deadly aroma in the room! She asked me maybe 4 health questions and told me she'd call with lab results in the afternoon.
FASTEST.... APPOINTMENT.... EVER. Then she turned to leave and said, "She's adorable." Um... Thanks? I have another appointment tomorrow morning. I'm anxious to see whether she asks about my baby girl... Or if she tells me to never leave a dirty diaper in the exam room biohazard bin again. What was I supposed to do with it?!