June 30, 2008

I feel like I need to write something about what’s going on with me again, even though I don’t feel like it, purely because you have all put up with the boring ramblings about the kids and their sleep patterns a lot lately.

The problem is that I just don’t quite know what I need to write about me.  There’s nothing important going on, or anything remotely interesting.  I’m tired, like always.  I feel a little like I might be getting sick.  Shrug.  Nothing that really matters.

I’ve been handling this down time pretty well lately.  I still get into a funk every now and then, but it doesn’t last more than a few hours at a time.  I can feel it coming on and can keep it from overwhelming me.  I just ride the waves for a little while and then pull myself out of it.  I think I’ll probably be past this phase altogether in another week.

It helps that I’m reminded of how lucky I am regularly.  The boys have been crazy lately, making me laugh all the time (between screaming fits that is–their screaming fits, not mine).  Even BabyN has been getting into this whole silly thing and deliberately tries to make me laugh.  There are so many women out there desperate for one baby, and here I have two of the cutest kids ever.  I’m also blessed with an awesome husband.  It’s crazy to think I was at the point of settling for just about anybody willing to marry me four years ago, and now I’m married to the absolutely perfect man for me.

And ever since I was little, I never could figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up.  I always reluctantly returned to teacher as my future profession, while secretly I wanted nothing to do with any of them; I knew all I ever wanted to do was be a mom.  Now I have that perfect job.  I may not be perfect at it (which drives the perfectionist side of me crazy), but my kids seem to be thriving in spite of it.

But if I have everything I’ve ever wanted, then what is there to look forward to, to hope for?

That’s why lately I’ve been trying to determine what my passions are.  What is it that I’m totally passionate about?  How can I turn that into something to expand my horizons beyond just being a mom?  I know what I’ve been told from day one of being a mom, that I have to continue doing things for myself, but I’ve clearly ignored that advice.  I think getting myself out of this tiny box I’ve constructed around myself will help keep me from falling into the habit of self-pity again.

Of course, this is where I need some help.  I have no idea what my passions are.  I love to read and do so daily, but it’s just a passing hobby.  I don’t see how it helps me out of this problem, how it could give me something to really look forward to.  So far, that’s the closest to a passion I’ve discovered.  What are your passions, the aspects of your life (other than your spouse and kids) that you couldn’t live without?  How have you turned these into a way to keep from trapping yourself into the role of wife and mother?  Is there anything you’ve heard me say in the blog that you think I could turn into a passion?

Well-Timed Miracle

June 27, 2008

Well, eventually the headache did go away, long after the kids went to bed for the night.  It ended up being a pretty trying day.  By late afternoon when PJ hadn’t napped (after getting up early) and BabyN’s afternoon nap ended very prematurely, I was ready to lose it.  And I did snap when both of them started screaming at the top of their lungs over nothing.

The good news is that I saw it coming.  I felt myself going out of control, so I moved both boys to their room where they could scream without bothering me over it.  They were safe from the unreasonable anger I suddenly felt.  For the first time all day I had a few minutes alone, even if I spent it racked in guilt over the hysterical screams I heard from the next room over.

Five minutes and one phone call to M later, I was over it.  My head was still pounding and I still needed a nap more than anything, but I was in control again.  Of course, I spent the next half hour or so paying for those five minutes to recover; it took that long to calm down PJ who didn’t know why he was being punished for throwing a tantrum over a button.

When M got home, he was kind enough to give me ten minutes alone to cry off the stress of the afternoon, and we both agreed that since the boys hadn’t napped well, if at all, it was a good night to send them to bed nearly an hour early.  It was probably more for our sanity than their lack of sleep, though.

I fully expected a repeat today when BabyN woke me from an extremely light sleep at 2 this morning.  I had just barely gotten to sleep and didn’t foresee that happening again any time soon.  I knew that after so little sleep, I was going to be short on patience today, regardless of whether or not the headache decided to make a comeback.  When PJ was awake at the crack of dawn when BabyN woke up crying again, I knew my prediction had to be true.

I said a quick prayer as I closed the door to his room, leaving him inside and rescuing BabyN for his morning feeding.  “Please go back to sleep, just this once.  Please!”

Mercifully, he got quiet almost right away, even though I doubted he would sleep.  BabyN went right back to sleep after the feeding, and I couldn’t keep my eyes open either.

Several hours later, BabyN woke me up.  I was worried that PJ was upset after being awake in his room alone that long, but when I went to check on him, he was asleep.  Opening the door to his room didn’t disturb him in the least.

He continued to sleep until 11 this morning.  That’s quite a miracle!  I was right that he was in desperate need of sleep after yesterday, and I’m glad I made the decision to leave him in his room this morning, even if it was out of desperation.

So far today, both boys have been pretty well-behaved.  Although I suspect I still have a short fuse today from my own lack of sleep (even sleeping late didn’t help catch me up much), neither boy is testing it yet.  I hope they both nap well today too so that we can have a good start to our weekend without drama like last night.


June 26, 2008

I woke up this morning with what can only be a migraine.  It hurts to think right now.  If I can get it under control, I may show up to write something of substance later today.

Nope, No Babies Here

June 25, 2008

I think BabyN said the dog’s name yesterday.  We were playing with her, and I was telling him to say her name.  And he did.  It sounded almost exactly like how PJ says it.

I know that at only nine months, that sounds pretty ridiculous for him to say an actual word and understand what he’s saying, but I swear that’s what happened.

It appears as though BabyN does not currently have any language delays like his big brother.  Although even PJ’s delays aren’t as obvious these days.  I still only understand a little more than half of what he’s saying, but he’s definitely saying something with the rest of his babblings.  One of these days I’ll even be able to interpret them.

PJ is speaking in whole sentences or longer phrases most of the time.  It still astounds me to hear him tell me, “I wanna go bye-bye” or “Go get Gaga?” or “PJ hungry.”  His vocabulary is too large to count any longer, and he seems to learn new words daily.  He may say a word once or twice one day and then appear to forget it, only to bring it out of nowhere months later.

Lately PJ has also been showing me just how much attention he’s been paying to my lessons on the letters, numbers, colors, and shapes.  He can identify at least a few of each and will usually do so at the most random times.  For example, the other day he was coloring while his ECI teacher was here, and he not only repeated colors for her but specifically asked for the black marker one time.  He also correctly counted five apples on a TV show this morning.  He didn’t count up to five, but when they asked how many apples there were, he hesitated for a second and then loudly proclaimed, “Fi!”  Maybe it’s another coincidence, but I don’t think so.

Suddenly I’m forced to realize that I really don’t have a baby anymore.  My big baby is counting, naming colors and letters, and talking in full sentences.  My little baby is about to crawl and is trying to talk just like his big brother.  I love the new stages they’re entering even while I miss the stages they’ve already passed through.

But I think I’m going to enjoy the sleep that comes with having bigger kids for a while before lamenting the loss of my sweet little babies.

Oh, and speaking of the fact that I really don’t have a baby any longer, it might be about time to retire BabyN’s nickname, one that has stuck since he was in my belly.  Does anybody have any creative suggestions for names I can use instead of BabyN on the blog to continue hiding his anonymity?  I don’t have one that just jumps out at me, so I’m interested to see what all of you can come up with.

Pukefest ’08

June 24, 2008

I was hoping that this morning’s barf was an isolated incident.  It looked that way when he downed lunch withhout hesitation.  He took normal naps and acted normally all day.

But at dinner tonight, it happened again.  He was crying during dinner, which I attributed to being tired, and I had to sing to him the whole time to keep him calm.  He kept eating fine, though, so I assumed he was okay other than being tired.

Then the gag started.  I caught the first round of regurgitated peas in his bib.  When it seemed like he was done, I debated feeding him again.  Then round two started, this time down his front, minus the bib.  We started the clean-up, I changed his icky clothes and pulled him out of his chair so I could clean it.  Then while sitting on the floor in his diaper, round three hit.  I have yet another spot on the carpet for M to use his precious spot-cleaner on.

I threw away the rest of the peas.  I’d seen enough of them the second time around that I couldn’t have fed them to him if he’d wanted them.  Oddly enough, both PJ and I were done eating dinner at this point as well.

He checked out just fine at the doctor, though.  That’s the funny part.  I mentioned the puking incident, and the doctor brushed it off, willing to blame it on a reaction to some food.  He hadn’t had any new foods over the last few days, so I knew that couldn’t be the answer.  But since he was acting fine, I didn’t push the doctor for a more logical answer.

My suspicion is drainage.  I’ve had some worse allergy problems than usual, and BabyN probably does too.  That last round of barf was mucousy.  I tend to get an icky belly when it’s full of drainage too, so it makes sense to me that it could be making BabyN puke.

If it happens again tomorrow, I guess I’ll be calling the doctor back for advice.  I’m not sure what I can do to help control the drainage.  Is there any kind of allergy medicine I’m allowed to give him?  Until I know, I guess I’ll just keep offering small amounts of food every few hours.  He seems to be okay as long as I don’t pressure him to eat when he acts like he’s uncomfortable with it.

I guess the little bit of vomit I’ve actually dealt with today doesn’t quite make it a pukefest yet, but considering how little true vomit I’ve ever handled before (other than my own), this is definitely a huge deal to me.  I just hope I’m not jinxing myself for a REAL vomit-fest after calling this one.

Rough Morning

June 24, 2008

Today I got up a bit earlier than normal.  BabyN has a check-up this afternoon, right after lunch, and I wanted to make sure he got two meals in before his official weigh-in.  He’s been having lunch in the middle of the afternoon while PJ naps, which is definitely too late to happen before his appointment.  My only solution was to get up a bit earlier and feed him solids earlier in the morning so that he could be ready for a second meal at a normal lunchtime.

Well, the stupid dog decided she also needed to get up and eat earlier than usual, a good hour before BabyN was awake and ready to eat.  It turned out that I was forced to get up much earlier than normal after all, which we all know tends to make me a bit cranky (or totally insane).

Once BabyN was awake, things went pretty much as I expected–at first.  I had to leave PJ in his room awake for a few minutes so that I could quickly feed BabyN and shower (I still can’t shower while PJ is running around the house; he will end up hurting himself or destroying something without that supervision).  He was happy, though, and I knew neither task would take long, so I reluctantly decided that was my best course of action.

BabyN ate well and fast, even though he spent part of feeding time refusing to swallow, which is his new favorite eating game.  It’s so annoying.  Anyway, I cleaned him up and started gathering a few toys for him to play with in the bathroom while I showered and then started lugging it all into the other room while holding him with the other arm.

All of a sudden, without any warning whatsoever, my living room turned into a scene from Poltergeist.  There was vomit spewing out of his mouth all over both of us and the carpet for what seemed like an eternity.  It just kept coming.

When it finally ended, I just stood there stunned and disgusted for a few seconds before I could get my brain to process what had just happened and decide what I needed to do next.  I’m clearly unaccustomed to dealing with situations like this.

Eventually I decided to set him down on the floor while I rinshed off my hands and arms; I didn’t want to spread it any farther than it had already gone.  Then I grabbed some paper towels to get the majority of it off BabyN and put the dog out.  Yeah, I’m pretty proud of myself for thinking of that one.  I had a picture flash across my mind of the dog licking all of it up.  While I might have welcomed the help, that’s just too disgusting to witness.

I stripped him, cleaned him, and then attacked the splattered mess on the carpet and wall.  I was forced to do a quickie job because he was screaming bloody murder the whole time.  It was obvious the whole thing scared him a bit and was clearly uncomfortable.  (By the way, I never realized that having a cat during my single years would help with this whole parenting business.  I’m so used to cleaning bodily functions off the carpet that the vomit didn’t even disgust me.  It was just another stain.)

Then it was bathtime for the boy.  Again.  He’d just had one last night so he’d be clean for the dr. appointment today, but obviously he was in need of one again.  How exactly do you get vomit in your hair when you’re not lying down when it happens?  I still had spots on my clothes as well, but I knew they’d have to wait.  Fortunately the bath also calmed him down.

About the time I finally stepped into the shower myself, PJ started screaming from the other room.  If I hadn’t been covered in vomit, I might have just given up on cleaning myself and gotten him up, but I couldn’t handle going to the doctor’s office reeking of regurgitated banana.  So I took the fastest shower ever while feeling guilty that he was screaming from the other room.

Finally, a good forty-five minutes after I’d intended to get him up, I was able to get PJ out of bed.  He has obviously forgiven me and is fine, but I feel kind of guilty for how the circumstances worked out this morning.  He got the short end of the deal.

Oh, and BabyN is apparently fine now.  He ate a little more banana with PJ’s breakfast and seems happy again.  I’m hoping he keeps lunch down well too so that he’ll be a little heavier for his weigh-in this afternoon.  And I guess I can explain away his lower weight either way by this morning’s horrific experience.

Where was my friend who was supposed to come spend the night last night during all of this, you wonder?  (We’ll pretend you wondered anyway.)  She called and bailed on me yesterday afternoon.  I was too disappointed to write about it yesterday.  I was more disappointed in myself, though.  I’d let myself get my hopes up that she would follow through with our plans even though I know her tendency to bail.  I’m okay today, but boy did I wish I had some help this morning.

Observation or Revelation?

June 23, 2008

You know what I just realized?  I was reading through all of the new blog posts, and it suddenly dawned on me how different from me all of you are, both you whom I read and you whose blogs I stalk.  I know this shouldn’t be that surprising, but I guess thinking about having my best friend come over to visit today has got me thinking about all of that.  She’s practically my twin, even though we look nothing alike.  There are very few ways that we’re different.  It’s obvious that our numerous similarities are why we get along so well.

So why do I get along with all of you so well?  I mean, I have similarities with just about everyone I read in at least some way, but most of them are pretty superficial.  So we’re both mothers.  Is that enough?  Even when our parenting styles are totally different?  When our religious beliefs are on opposite ends of the spectrum?  Our political beliefs never coincide?  I have read so many posts from so many of you that I have refrained from commenting because I would rather avoid creating that kind of controversy.  On a PMS-y or argumentative day (okay, they’re pretty much the same), I could really get defensive about my opinions.

Yet despite all of the differences, I obvioiusly still feel some sort of connection to you.  It’s okay with me that we don’t necessarily agree on everything.  It would be nice if I could convince everyone to think like me, but I still like hearing about your opinions, even if I am totally opposed to them.  How boring would it be if I only bothered to associate with people who were exactly like me?

No point to this post, apparently…just merely an observation about myself.  It makes me wonder why I get so upset when people comment something that I don’t agree with, why I’m so nervous about saying something that creates controversy.  I obviously don’t want all of you to be exactly like me, or I wouldn’t read your blogs in the first place. 

Did I just realize that I’m a bit of a hypocrite?

The Most Important Meal of the Day

June 20, 2008

Mealtimes around here have started getting tough.  It started getting bad when BabyN needed food too.  It’s particularly bad when I’m alone to deal with it, like at breakfast.  This morning was a good example of how things go around here at meals.

BabyN decided to try something new while I was feeding him.  Instead of sitting there happily and quietly, anxiously awaiting each bite, he let himself get distracted by everything.  He would rock back and forth as I was trying to aim a spoonful of food at his mouth, which is how he ended up with food everywhere from his ear to his eye to his nose.  Then he decided that the spoon looked like a great toy.  He kept trying to grab it–while still rocking back and forth.  So now I’m avoiding his waving hands and trying to time it right to get the food in his mouth and not his hair.

Naturally he grabbed the spoon several times anyway, getting food all over his hands and arms and dripping some in his lap.  I got frustrated, of course.  Thank goodness I kept my cool head and remembered something we used to have to do for PJ when he hit this stage.  I gave BabyN a different spoon to play with to keep his hands occupied.  That’s the only way I made it through feeding him without having a breakdown.

Of course, while all this drama is happening, PJ is on the other side of the table eating his cereal.  It was the first time I’d tried pouring milk in it and letting him use a spoon to eat it.  He was having a blast and eating very well, so I was grateful I didn’t have to give him as much of my attention as usual.

Until he finished the cereal.  He saw the little bit of milk that was left and thought it looked like a great toy.  At that age, the messier its potential, the better toy it is.  I warned him several times not to shake the bowl, even if he was doing so gently, and he proceeded to repeat, “PJ, don’t shake it” while gently shaking it.

I would have immediately taken it away from him if I hadn’t been covered in baby food at the time, trying to clean up both BabyN and me.  I was seriously debating just throwing BabyN in the bathtub about then but didn’t want him to spread the mess before I had PJ under control and could start a bath.

So I kept scrubbing at his face and hands (and legs and high chair and hair, etc).  Then suddenly I glance over to PJ who seems giddy.  The change in mood happened quickly, so I suspected something was up.  Sure enough, there was Apple-Jacks-pink-colored milk in a pool on the table, dripping onto the floor and into his booster chair.  All over his white onesie.

Of course.

So as soon as I finished cleaning BabyN, I got to start on PJ.  Now we’re all three just a bit sticky from spilled milk and fruity baby food.  I would give us all a bath, but I need a bit of a break first.  I can’t handle the drenching I know I’ll receive from a double bath about now.

It seems that the hospital was negligent in their duties when they discharged me from the hospital with both boys; I managed to make it home without that extra set of eyes in the back of my head or the extra pair of arms.  I could have used all of them this morning.

Thank goodness tomorrow starts the weekend.  At the very least I will have help with tomorrow’s meals, and most likely M will get this fun alone for breakfast, as he usually lets me sleep late while he watches the boys on Saturdays.  Do you think I should warn him about what he can expect or just let him enjoy this fun the same way I did?

In Need of a Tranquilizer Gun

June 19, 2008

Yesterday, and so far today, have turned into THOSE kinds of days with PJ.  He’d been so much better over the last few weeks that I’d assumed the worst of the terrible twos were over.  Then yesterday came, and with it the tantrums and awful behavior.

He tested our limits at every turn.  What do you mean I’m not supposed to stand on the couch?  Throw food?  Throw footballs at Mommy’s face or slap Daddy with my clothes?  When have you ever told me not to hit my brother or kick the dog?

By the time dinner was over, we were ready for his bedtime–long past ready, actually–and it was still an hour before the usual bedtime.  It was the first time I was ready to spank him HARD as a way to convey my frustration and anger, not using it merely as a form of discipline like I have done in the past.  (I didn’t, by the way.)

You know what it reminded me of?  When I was in college, one summer I babysat/tutored a 10-year-old boy from my church.  He’d been a terror from the time he was young, and after babysitting for him a couple of times back then, I seriously wondered if they could possibly pay enough for quality babysitting.  I still tell the stories of babysitting him because they are so far-fetched as to be entirely unbelievable.

There was one morning from that summer when he was 10 that I got there before he had gotten his morning medicine.  Up until that point, I had questioned the validity of ADHD, a condition I was sure was overdiagnosed and couldn’t possibly really need medication; it was merely the result of bad parenting.

But in that half-hour before this kid’s medication kicked in, I finally got it.  Let me tell you, ADHD is real.  The kid ran in circles around his house the whole time, leaving a path of destruction behind him as he got into something he wasn’t supposed to and then abandoned it for something worse when I chastised him.  He was the real-life Tasmanian Devil.  By the time his medication kicked in and he was only difficult, I felt like I’d run a marathon.

There are days, like yesterday, when that is PJ.  The hyper takes over and there is no controlling him.  He can run into a wall or a table and hurt himself and keep running without hesitating a second.  He’ll just cry and rub his head on the run.  He completely ignores us when we warn him not to do something and ends up in time-out, where he throws a bigger fit.

Days like this are totally exhausting.  I can’t decide whether I’m an awful parent for letting him get like this or a wonderful parent for not just retreating into another room while he wreaks havoc on the house (and himself).

But then just when I’m about to give up and put him to bed an hour early or leave him in time-out the rest of the night, he climbs up onto my lap (or M’s) and snuggles in close to give us a kiss and tell us he loves us.  He’ll give the dog a hug and then lean into BabyN for a kiss.  I’m reminded that he isn’t a bad kid, just a spirited one.  He’s NOT like that 10-year-old with a real problem in need of medication.  He’s just your average, frustrating two-year-old who can pull a mood change faster than a PMS-ing mommy and prove that you weren’t out of your mind when you decided to take on this whole parenting thing.

How’d You Get Here?

June 18, 2008

I’ve been meaning to do this for quite some time and am finally getting around to it.  I don’t know about you, but I find it quite amusing to see what search terms bring people to my blog.  (That’s one great advantage of wordpress over blogger since they don’t make you figure out how to do this yourself.)  I thought I’d share some of the most common search terms today, especially the ones that make me giggle.

–afterthoughts: You’re not surprised?  Oh, well.  I’m just hoping it’s people looking for the store and not people googling me to avoid showing up in any greater detail on my stats (you know, to stay anonymous because I might know them or something).  I’m the first non-commercial site listed when you google afterthoughts.

–two boys in one room (or bed): That gets people to this post.  I highly suspect that this is not what they are looking for.  I’m sorry, creepy people, but my two young boys sharing a room does not have the homosexual undertones that you included in your search.  I can only hope that I’m misinterpreting this and instead encouraging other mothers of two boys to let them share a room.

–elmer fudd sounds: Why do people search for this?  Do they want an audio clip of Elmer Fudd speaking?  I’m sure this is not what they had in mind.

–throat is on fire (or frog in throat): Are they looking for a diagnosis?  Or a treatment plan?  If so, all I can say is GO SEE YOUR DOCTOR.  I can only offer sympathy.

–boobs full of milk (or milk-filled boobs): I really don’t think I have what they’re looking for here.  You see, I’m really not into posting pornographic pictures of my lactating breasts.  Just…ewww.  (By the way, I’m also in the top few hits for these searches as well–just behind Dooce, if you can believe it.)

–many different pregnancy complaints: I wish I had written down some of the more interesting ones when they were still on my blog stats page.  I guess I complained enough while I was pregnant to offer sympathy to women with any number of pregnancy complaints.  The ones on my blog stats page right now are “sore hips in third trimester” and “progesterone shots advice.”  Guess what, girls?  All those complaints (most of them anyway) are totally normal!  And if you don’t believe me, why don’t you ask your doctor instead of just googling it?  Or, if you’d rather, you can e-mail me, and I’ll look it up in my trusty What to Expect book and verify it for you.

–birth announcement etiquette: I think sometimes they’re looking for the etiquette to respond to a birth announcement too.  I’m afraid I’m not much help, since the post they find is looking for advice as well.  Since posting this, though, I have learned that there isn’t really a set etiquette for either sending birth announcements or responding to them, not like wedding invitations.  You send the announcements to people you think would be interested in knowing you’ve had a baby, and you reply however you want.  The new mother would certainly welcome a gift, but the odds are good that she’s forgotten everyone who got an announcement anyway in her post-partum haze and won’t miss a gift from you.

retile a kitchen floor: This is my absolute favorite search term to show up.  It’s also the most popular search term right now.  Why is it so funny?  Imagine that you’re a young husband wanting to impress his wife by retiling his own kitchen floor.  You don’t have a clue where to begin, so instead of going to Lowe’s or Home Depot for advice, you google it.  In the first five hits, you stumble into this page.  Go read it and you’ll see why I have to hide my evil, maniacal laughter thinking of a poor, unsuspecting young husband finding this by accident.  Bwahahahaha!  No kids for you!