A Couple Things

December 31, 2007

Ooh, I can’t believe I missed a day of blogging for no good reason.  Time to play catch-up.  Briefly, here’s what’s been happening the last few days:

1. PJ is sick, for the first time ever.  He’s had a couple of days where he felt less than great in the past, but nothing that counted as a real illness.  But now he’s either having the mother of all allergy attacks or he has a cold.  Poor kid.  I wish I could just make it go away so he can feel great again.  He acts like he feels okay most of the time he’s awake–other than asking for “sleep tight” repeatedly–but he woke up miserable several times last night.  Add in BabyN’s reversion to numerous nighttime feedings, and I didn’t get much sleep last night.

2. A few weeks before Christmas, M and I discovered that we’d lost a lot of files and pictures from two years ago, including all of PJ’s newborn pictures.  Needless to say, we were upset.  Since then we’ve gotten copies of the pictures my parents have and the ones we gave my in-laws way back when.  It appears as though we’ve gotten all those irreplaceable pictures back.  As a result of the scare, though, we’ve been researching better ways to back up all these pictures.  M found a place online that will back up to 150 gigs for only $50 a year, so he signed us up.  And we’ve been uploading all our pictures (13 gigs worth) since then.  I’ve been avoiding using the computer so that everything will upload faster (the program just runs in the background and gives up some of the bandwidth it’s using for anything else you’re doing).  That’s really why I avoided blogging yesterday.

3. Totally unrelated, but could you guys be praying for M’s boss’s daughter?  If you remember, she’s the one that was born about a month ago, delivered on their kitchen floor by her daddy.  He called M a few days ago asking for some information related to insurance stuff because they were refusing to cover treatments on the newborn who was in the hospital.  M didn’t feel it was appropriate to ask what was going on, but it sounded serious.  He says this guy never gets upset, but he was on the verge of tears at the time.  We haven’t heard anything from them since and may not until M returns to work on Wednesday.  I’m worried about that little girl.  I can’t imagine how I would handle it if it was one of my own babies.

4. And while we’re thinking of that all-too-memorable birth story, here’s something quite funny.  I keep getting hits for “how to retile a kitchen floor” since that story.  I laugh every time I see that because I’m sure that’s totally not what they expected.  It turns out that post comes up as the fourth hit on google when you search for the phrase.  Hilarious!

Yes, I Can Be Petty

December 29, 2007

I’m fully aware that the story I’m about to tell is kind of silly.  It will sound stupid and childish, but I just can’t let it go.  It all started shortly after Thanksgiving when M and I were brainstorming gift ideas for the family.  We wanted to make my parents a new family calendar since they still had the one my brother made them for 2006, even though all the dates were wrong.  I didn’t have very many pictures of the rest of the family, though, and I couldn’t bear to have it be all about my boys.  So I ran it by all my siblings first.

First, I sent an e-mail asking whether any of them were already planning to make one.  For about a week, I didn’t hear a thing.  I was about to give up and make one with the less-than-ideal pictures I had when I finally heard from my younger brother.  You might remember my rant about him and his wife after Thankgiving (remember the alcohol-and-PJ incident?).  His e-mail said that all of a sudden they too were planning to make a calendar for my parents but he supposed it would be okay if I made one too.  The tone was essentially a challenge.  I refused to take it and replied saying I wouldn’t step on his toes with the calendar idea.

I still wanted to make one, though.  I decided to go ahead and ask my siblings for some pictures so that I could make my parents some sort of memory book or something with all the family pictures.  I never got a response from anyone–no pictures, no apologies for not sending any, nothing.  I resigned myself to making them something kind of cheesy but was disappointed in the gift.  I still really wanted to make a calendar for them.  I went back and forth about my final decision just about daily, even making one online several different times and not getting the guts to order the final product.

When we left for the trip last week, the cheesy gift I’d ordered for my parents hadn’t arrived yet, so we went with basically nothing for them.  I felt horrible that we were such bad children to have nothing for my parents when they had so much for us.  Then we came back through their town on the way home, spending another night with them.  I noticed almost right away that in place of that 2006 calendar was a new one–all about my niece without even a mention of her cousins or aunts, uncles, etc.  I was shocked at their selfishness to assume my parents would put up a calendar featuring just one of their four grandchildren.

I think my mom was a bit offended, too.  She caught the glance I gave M when I saw it (I couldn’t help the reaction) and immediately reassured us that they had several places they needed calendars if anymore showed up.  Right then I knew I would be making them a calendar after all.  M totally agreed.

So we told my parents that they lost one of the gifts we had ordered and that it had to be re-ordered and would be delivered to them; that’s the calendar.  The other cheesy gift we ordered will get to them tomorrow when my sister drives from here (where they spent the holidays) back to my parents’ house.  In the end, they will end up with extra gifts from us–all featuring the whole family as much as possible.  I still hate that I had to use my own sub-par pictures of the other family members because of the lack of participation from the rest of my family, but at least I have pictures of them at all.

Oh, yeah, the best part: My brother had made a point to check everyone’s birthday and anniversary to include them on the calendar.  All except PJ’s that is.  It was a glaring error to all of us, and M and I are doing everything we can not to read anything into it.  (We’re paranoid, what can I say.  Do they think he doesn’t count because he’s sort of illegitimate since he was conceived two months before we were married?  Is that a jab at us?)  I’m seriously offended, regardless of whether it was a careless error or done on purpose.  You’d be proud, though–I didn’t take it out on them by leaving them out of our calendar in any way.  Somebody’s got to be the bigger person.

It would be nice if it didn’t always have to be us.

Trip Overview

December 28, 2007

We’re finally home, and I’m exhausted.  We’ve had four days devoted to travel over the last week.  My wonderful husband did the majority of the driving too.  He deserves the video game break he’s getting right now.  The boys are getting pretty good at traveling now too.  Today I only had to crawl into the back of the van long enough to pump a bottle of milk for BabyN and feed it to him.  Every other leg of the trip I spent in the back for a much longer percentage of the trip.

Both boys seem glad to be back in their own beds, even BabyN.  It’s crazy to see how much they have grown in the last week.  BabyN has proven he not only recognizes M’s and my face but those of his grandparents and even his bed.  And of course PJ does.  He starts jabbering about the kitty as we drive up to my parents’ house now (one of the only places he sees a kitty) and heads straight for the toys as we enter the house.  They are both more social now than they were last week, too, with several new words for PJ and lots more babbling for BabyN.  It’s amazing how much a little visiting can encourage them to grow.

I have one really great, yet frustrating, story to tell from the end of the trip, but I think I’ll save it for tomorrow.  I have a small kitchen to set up for Santa–he has one more late visit here–before I go to bed tonight.  Then if I have extra time, we have four new Wii games to break in.  Fun times!

Christmas Milestones

December 26, 2007

I feel like I’ve been gone forever, and it’s only been half a week.  It’s been busy, though, between the two Christmases and all the traveling.  Right now I’m enjoying my last Christmas gift, a night away from the kids while their grandparents watch them.  M and I are in a free hotel room for the night, after a double date with his brother and SIL that was paid for by Christmas gift cards.  We also drove his parents’ car the half-hour to get here, so it’s on free gas.  Not bad, huh?  I almost feel bad for taking advantage of them like this.

But they love watching the kids.  I think they feel honored that I was able to tear myself away from BabyN for the night and leave him with them–my first night away from him.  Honestly, it’s killing me.  A large part of me wants to rush home to be with him again, or ask the grandparents to bring him here.  But then I’d disturb his sleep and feel guilty for it.  Instead I’m suffering silently.  I haven’t even called to check on the boys yet.  I don’t think I could handle hearing an update–either good or bad.

Oh, and BabyN has hit several milestones while on the trip.  He rolled over from his back to his belly on Christmas Eve. Then he started teething yesterday, complete with low-grade fever, diarrhea, difficulty eating, and fussiness.  Maybe it’s not so bad that someone else has to deal with that tonight.  If only he weren’t so giggly and sweet the majority of the time still…

PJ also hit one wonderful milestone on the trip here on Sunday: he puked for the first time.  He was quite the spitter as a baby, but he never actually puked, especially not once he started eating real food.  He was bored in the car, though, and tried experimenting to see what would happen when he stuck his fingers down his throat.  He found out.  I ended up changing his icky-smelling clothes in the car about an hour away from our destination, hoping and praying the smell wouldn’t waft to the front seat.  On the bright side, he hasn’t tried the fingers-down-the-throat trick since then.  And I discovered that I have a stronger stomach about puke than I would have expected.

The visit with the in-laws hasn’t been nearly as stressful this time.  Either they’re getting less annoying or I’m getting more used to them.  But I’ll still do my share of ranting when we get back home.  It looks like we’ll be back Friday after another overnight stay at my parents to split up the trip for the boys.  You can expect more regular posts probably starting on Saturday.  Sorry for the delay!

Oh, Yeah

December 22, 2007

What I forgot to mention in yesterday’s short-and-to-the-point post is that as usual I will likely be posting more sporadically over the next week while we’re out of town.  But don’t worry; I’m sure I’ll be collecting all sorts of great in-law stories to tell.  The first has already happened.  My FIL unintentionally ruined a surprise for M.  One of the gifts my parents wanted to get him was out of stock everywhere until Thursday when I happened to run across it online.  I ordered it immediately and had it shipped one-day, which they said should get there ON Christmas Eve.  Well, it got there yesterday instead.  And I had it shipped to my in-laws so he could have it on Christmas.  But I didn’t get a chance to warn my in-laws it was coming first because it shipped so fast, so my FIL called M to find out what it was.  M in turn checked my credit card (off-limits for him this time of year) and saw how much I’d charged on it.  He knew by the price what it most likely was.

The big surprise was that he was getting a present there, not the gift itself, which was on his list.  So by discovering he had something waiting for him, it was ruined–and more that he just had to do the research to figure out what it probably was.  (And no, I’m not confirming whether or not he was right about his guess, in case he decides to stop by here between now and Christmas.)

Minor drama and nothing I can blame my in-laws for.  That’s just my stupid luck.  Anyway, check back after your holidays to see what great stuff happened while we were gone.  I’m sure there will be lots.

Short and Whiny

December 21, 2007

I wish I had time to write something real today.  I really do.  But we are trying to get out of town tomorrow for our Christmas trek to the in-laws.  That makes lots of work for me today, between doing laundry, packing, wrapping presents, and the like.  Oh, and you can add to that two fussy kids who won’t sleep.  They were both up with the sun this morning (after two–yes TWO–middle-of-the-night feedings last night) and have wanted my full attention all day.  My lack of sleep is causing me to have a short fuse, which a hyper toddler and fussy baby are finding out all too well.  I’ve just got to hope that M does indeed get home early from work today like he expects.  I need the help!

Holiday Whining…Already

December 20, 2007

I am so sick of the family drama already this Christmas season.  My mom is calling me every day trying to figure out about presents for everyone.  She’s having a real problem getting presents for M, and she’s worried he’ll be disappointed when we do our Christmas with them on Saturday.  Of course, if she remembered the kind of crap (because that’s really what it is) that his mom gets him every year, she’ll know that even one personal gift is light-years better than what he’s come to expect.

The reason she’s so worried about disappointing people is that last year she feels like she disappointed my newest SIL, who returned every single one of the presents my mom got her.  Suddenly after that, my mom feels some huge pressure to please everyone, now that she sees it isn’t necessarily a given.  And it’s become my job to keep her grounded.  I have to keep reminding her that Christmas is about family.  We’re all grown-ups; we won’t cry if we don’t get what we asked Santa for.

But already she has had to scrap her best ideas for presents for my brother and SIL (yes, the ones I don’t like much right now) at the last minute because somebody else bought them the same thing.  They are also the only ones she had to mail, so she didn’t have time to replace the big gifts and sent checks instead.  So she’s sure they will be disappointed.  I don’t want to tell her that they’d probably be disappointed even if she bought them each a new car.  It wouldn’t be the same car they would have chosen for themselves.  (No, I’m not bitter.  Why do you ask?)

The same brother and SIL are also causing other problems this year.  My parents got a calendar several years ago with pictures of the family on it, and my mom loved it so much that she left it up this year even though it was out of date.  So of course I wanted to make her a new one this year.  I e-mailed my siblings to see if I could get some pictures from them too, to make it more balanced with pictures of all of us, and so that we could make it a family gift to them.  Nobody offered to help.  The only response I got was from my little brother who said that he was already planning to make them a calendar.  This was two or three weeks ago.  Yesterday he e-mailed asking me M’s birthday for the calendar.  He hasn’t even shipped my parents’ gift yet.

I’m irritated because I know my brother was not planning to make a calendar for my parents, and it will not be representative of the whole family.  He stole my idea–the idea I was going to share with everyone anyway–to use it for himself.  I wanted to make a calendar for them anyway but didn’t want it to be focused on my boys, so I had to scrap the idea when I didn’t get any help.  I had to settle for a second-best gift, and it irritates me.

The worst thing is that all I can do is inwardly seethe about it all.  I can’t call out my brother for his selfishness, and I can’t mention it to my parents.  Our family simply doesn’t talk about stuff like that.  So there will be this undercurrent of dissatisfaction around Christmas this year, and it all filters back to my brother and SIL.  I can’t exactly say I love what my SIL has brought to our family.

Coming to Terms

December 19, 2007

Something is wrong with PJ.  I can no longer ignore the problem, like I’ve been doing for nearly a year when I first suspected it.  PJ is very behind in his language skills.  Even giving him those two months back, he’s probably close to six months behind.  His vocabulary is very limited, under fifty words and phrases, and he only adds another couple of words per week–on a good week.  I can rarely get him to imitate something I say, but the only phrases he will say he picked up from hearing me and M say them repeatedly (like “sleep tight” and “see you in a little while”).  He does not put words together, except for those phrases he mimics.

When we went to the doctor for his two-year check-up, I fully expected to be advised to find him help, but the doctor only asked one question about his language: Do you understand about half of what he says?  Considering he doesn’t even try to talk that much, out of frustration I suppose, at the time I was understanding close to half.  But that half was made up of about five phrases or words.  And things haven’t exactly improved over the last couple of months.  PJ is getting farther and farther behind, and it’s starting to worry me.

PJ was really behind in all his physical milestones, not sitting up until about 9 months, crawling until after a year, and walking at 18 months.  I slowly grew accustomed to him being on the very tail end of normal–no, acceptable–for all those milestones, and that’s why I kept trying to convince myself that he would catch up with his language skills too.  As soon as I’d start to worry again, he’d visit my parents and suddenly have another language explosion (meaning he’d add another word or two), and my mom would convice me he was doing fine.

No longer.  He’s behind, and he’s not getting any better.  Despite obviously understanding much of the language (he can follow fairly specific, detailed instructions), he cannot articulate it himself.  Many of his tantrums come from not making himself understood, which frustrates me and M too.  I think I’ll see if I can bring it up with the doctor when we’re there in January for BabyN’s next check-up.  I don’t think PJ is going to get any better without help.  We’ve already delayed it too long.

After the Fact

December 18, 2007

I’ve been keeping my mouth shut about the development of the last few days for fear of jinxing it.  I’m breaking the silence now because apparently I somehow jinxed myself anyway.

 BabyN slept all the way through the night for two nights in a row.  And by “all the way through the night,” I mean all the way through my night, not just his eight-hour stretches he’d been doing that ended shortly after I fell asleep.  He would go to bed around 8-8:30 and sleep until 6:30-7:00.  That’s maybe earlier than I’d normally get up (by a lot), but I’ll take it.  It means I got at least six hours of sleep at a time.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t expecting him to sleep so long either night, so I went to bed late, giving up my chances for a really, really good night’s sleep.

Last night, though, we were back to a 3:30 AM feeding.  Fun.  On the bright side, I figured out what helps him sleep such long stretches.  It’s been on the chilly side around here lately, so we’ve let it get pretty cold in the house at night.  M started worrying it was too cold for the boys, especially the big one who won’t sleep in his bed as much as on it, and changed our thermostat to heat an extra two or three degrees.  And let me tell you, those couple of degrees make a  huge difference.  I slept worse from the heat and BabyN obviously did too.  PJ didn’t seem to have any problem with the cooler temps, so I think I’m going to have M change it back tonight.

BabyN should also sleep awfully well on our Christmas trip we leave for on Saturday.  Both my parents’ house and Matt’s tend to keep their houses quite cool at night.  And I’m hoping that a little more practice with twelve-hour nights will convince BabyN to sleep that long every night, regardless of the temperature in the house.

The Truth

December 17, 2007

M unintentionally let on yesterday that he had read the blog again.  He was worried that something was wrong that I wasn’t telling him, so he checked to see if I’d blogged about it.  And while it does bug me a little to leave BabyN for that one night, it’s not eating at me.  So I’ve been evaluating whether there really is something bothering me.  I don’t know that anything specific has been causing the mood, other than hormones, but there is something that’s been bothering me.  So M, this one is for you, in case you happen to stop by and read again.

I hate that I’m so bad at this housewife thing.  My mom did a great job at it, and I’d almost even think she likes to cook and clean for other people.  But I can’t pretend that well.  I hate housework and I hate cooking.  I’m awful at both, and I don’t like repeatedly trying things that I repeatedly fail at.  You can only throw out so many home-cooked meals before you just give up and make nothing that didn’t come out of a box.

I want to be good at this.  I want to be like my mother was for me.  I want us to be the ideal family that you just don’t see anymore, the one who eats all their home-cooked meals together at the table while discussing the events of the day, the one who goes to church every Sunday morning and is looked up to as a good Christian family by others, the one who puts even the Brady bunch to shame.  I want us to be the family I grew up in.

But I don’t know how to take us from what we are to that kind of family.  I know it has to start with me doing things I detest doing.  I have to stop letting M take care of me the way he’s been doing.  It means sacrificing my own comfort and things I like.  I think I’m too selfish to do that.

So instead I keep beating myself up over my own selfishness, and I make these great plans to start being a better mother and wife and housekeeper, and then I let my selfishness win out yet again.  And the cycle continues with the ensuing guilt.

This has been bothering me since we got married.  Although I was able to excuse myself from some of the guilt while I was pregnant and truly could not do everything I wanted to do, now I have no excuse.  So M, it bothers me that I am not the person I want to be.  And no amount of reassurance from you is going to make me feel better about being the burden on you that I really am, or take away the guilt of being so weak to give into my selfishness every time.  I guess you can feel better that it really isn’t you, it’s me.