Tuesday, January 31, 2012

It Says, "Use Your Imagination."

My little girl has an incredible imagination.  Or she's a compulsive liar.  Jury is still out.  Yesterday she told me she saw a pink dog.  Upon further inquiry I learned she saw it while taking an orange bus to "um...  Town...  Berry Town" with our dog, Blue.  Riiiiight.

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

PETA's Secret

"Mommy, What is that?"

"What, Doll?"

"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

The Devil Went Down to Target

I'm a little all over the place today and attempting to write while watching a Bond movie...  Bear with me. 

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

Decisions, Decisions...

Some parenting decisions seem so easy compared to others.  Sometimes I hear about the choices made by other parents and think, "Really??"  I work with a kid who told me this week that his parents bought him a gun for Christmas.  A REAL gun.  He's 10.  His Dad was considering Christmas gifts and thought to himself, "I don't know...  Legos??  Maybe a video game?  I've got it! I'll get him a .22 caliber!"  That seems like such an easy choice to me and yet...  Gun Daddy had no problem with this decision.  Maybe he didn't think at all and maybe the choice he made doesn't bother him in the least even though others (including myself) might judge him for it.

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

Emily's Name Game

"Call me Ariel."

"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

Diaper Drama

The hospital seems to have a laxative effect on Jacob.  It never fails...  I check Emily into the hospital childcare center (toddler in exam room = bull in china shop) and take Jacob with fingers crossed for a short wait before seeing my doctor.

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?!