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I love my children, I really do, but

… at around 4pm, everyday, I am ready to gouge my eyeballs out with a wooden butter knife. Oh, and by the way, a friend brought me back a set of wooden butter knives from Sweden recently and they are the best butter knives eva. Those Swedes are serious about spreading their butter. However, I think I’ll just use the set for plucking out my peepers.

I can not believe how incredibly boring my life can get. I think I have a new appreciation for the term, “4:20pm.” Seriously, I have never felt boredom like this before.

I guess being mindful means admitting boredom.

Good thing everything is temporary.

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What the HELL are you suppose to do when BOTH of your children need you at the same time???

Max was having a major meltdown this afternoon at the same time Bella was dieing of hunger, or so one would think if they could hear her. I couldn’t let Bella sit in her swing, on the floor, or in her crib (I tried all three) when she was crying hysterically. And I couldn’t get away from Max who was clinging to my legs [crying hysterically] as I held Bella. He was really tired because he won’t nap until he’s tired enough to fall asleep standing up.

Max kept screaming, “Put Bella down! Don’t feed Bella! I don’t want Bella to be hungry! Lay with ME!”

His world as he knew it was crumbling. He had just gotten out of a time-out for hitting me several times, I took away two of his toys (yes, permanently) for throwing them and hitting his bedroom door with them, and he had to get out of the tub before he was good and ready because he was purposely throwing water onto the floor – which, is already so water damaged we have to replace it and fear falling through the ceiling every time we have to use the toilet. I was pretty calm and collected during every one of these issues. Whew.

As I stood there trying to devise a plan to get out of this new mess, I felt a rush of silent laughter flow through me. In that moment my world slowed down and I thought to myself, Crazy! This is just too strange to take it seriously! I bet every woman in the world with more than one child goes through this.

I had an inner giggle. My kids were too out of control for me to loose control. I still tried to reason with Max, who was inconsolable unless I agreed to do exactly what he wanted (dump Bella) and I held Bella – who was just content being held and stared at Max in bewilderment. When I finally was able to reason with Max (yes! go perseverance!), all three of us sat on the couch and Bella nursed ferociously while Max practiced his “Bella cry” and cried/screamed himself to sleep next to me.

I snuck away to write this post because it was just too funny for me to let this one get lost in my memories. Then, just for fun, I snuck back upstairs to snap a shot of my two babies taking their 6:30 pm, nap:

We are on day four of Max being “high-need.” I have resolved to working my schedule around him and his needs a little more. This means cleaning less, staying home more often, and making certain he is eating very healthy (which is why I’m avoiding the in-law’s right now).

I have noticed a certain instability in his mood when he eats too much sugar and processed foods. He, as the rule, eats pretty healthy. However, there was one day this past week, the first day he starting becoming seriously demanding, that I was too exhausted to care and fed him macaroni and cheese, a cheese sandwich, chips, and chocolate. That night was HELL. I had to help get him to sleep when normally, Hal can do it. It was 11pm when he finally fell asleep.

I’ve been on the floor playing with him a lot, going outside with him, reading less of my favorite blogs all at one time, reading more to him, trying out some art stuff with him, and not buying chocolate for us him.

For a while, he was able to just hang out and find his own way during the day. Right now, he needs more guidance.

Preschool starts August 20th. I’m hoping it is just what he needs right now.

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Breakfast: Oatmeal (enough for two people) with 1 tbl of flax seed oil & some sugar in it.
Lunch: Lentils (protein) that I made yesterday.
Snack: French fries and tater tots, hummus (protein) & carrots, and a small bowl of Cocoa Krispies
Dinner: Black beans (protein) with onions & garlic.

The tater tots and hummus had soybean oil in them. I’m not sure at this point of how strict I need to be about by-products. I’m keeping an eye on em’ just in case. And as you can see, I had a total carb-need attack this afternoon between lunch and dinner. Tomorrow, I’m heading out to Whole Foods to see what treats I can get for days like this. I also have a very good friend who eats a lot healthier than what I am eating (a lot of raw dishes) so I’m trying to gleam some healthy food snacks from her recipe box.

We have been using the steroid cream on Bella’s tough spots, the prescription lotion all over her body and some antibiotic cream when her skin oozes (which its not doing any more). It is working! I have a feeling her skin will be at 100% tomorrow and we’ll be able to bring the daily skin regiment down to just the lotion!

Look ma, no gloves!

After Max did some finger/hand painting I threw his arse in the pool! We had a pretty busy day.

Hanging out on the porch…

This is what we are watching…

I always hug and kiss on Bella as much as possible when I have her to myself. Whenever Max is with us he insists that Bella is his baby and hogs all the kisses and hugs! Notice how Bella is keeping her eyes on her big bro.

Around 5 pm I gave Max a bath. Afterwards, as I was lathering his skin with lotion he fell fast asleep. Of-course, he’s wide awake right now at almost 9:30pm, in his room playing with papa.

And yes, I realize I’m a photo ho! At the end of this year, I’m going to turn this blog into a book. Not because I think someone will buy it.  Heaven’s no!  I’m printing this out because it is a part of our family lore.

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I’m going to start recording what I eat. Part to make sure I’m eating well and part because I don’t think I will be able to look back on this time in my life and believe I actually ate this well.

Last night:

Dinner: Canned baked beans, brown rice, and a salad the same as what I had for lunch today.

Today:

Breakfast: Oatmeal with sugar and grapes
Lunch: Salad made with spinach, romaine lettuce, carrots, purple onions, cucumbers, celery, a mixture of sprouted beans (for protein), & balsamic vinegar dressing (Paul Newman’s). 1 tbl of flax seed oil added.
Dinner: Lentils (protein) with cut up carrot and celery. Spiced just right, which for me means salty. Brown rice.

Today, for the first time, I felt really good all day. I enjoyed my kids more today than I have since Bella joined our family. I looked at Bella and actually thought I could have another one.

I felt like, I don’t want this to end! I want my kids to stay this age forever!

Hahahahaha! Even I have to laugh at the absurdity of that sentiment. However, its nice to be in the flow of things.

I just love these kids so much.

Please slap me now. Hard.

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I’m usually pretty good at drawing boundaries with other adults (and really good at doing it with my children). However, with adults I tend to lack the same gentle approach as I use with my kids. I shouldn’t though, because many adults are emotionally very much the same as a child. Usually not their fault, I should add, but the fault of bad luck, bad parenting, and okay, maybe a little bit their fault for not doing the work of maturing.

I’m good at recognizing when someone is asking too much of me. I’m very aware of how much I have to give to others and (eventually) stop others from taking more than I have to give. However, I’m not adept at drawing the lines before getting to that point of no return.

Two recent friendship break-ups come to mind. I’m not going to get into the sordid details (boring anyway) of what went down, but never-the-less, I felt these two individuals were emotional vampires. And while I don’t regret putting/allowing (it was mutual) an ocean of space between us, I regret how I allowed it to happen. I have a lot to learn about setting boundaries with other adults and the ol’ MIL will be my first “test subject” in how to do it gently.

She is a person I can not escape from. I can’t decide to NOT be her daughter-in-law because she is insensitive and judgmental. And I will see her [hopefully] for a long time to come because I have children with her son. The only thing I can do is to do the work of setting boundaries with her. I want to do this gently because it is very important for me to preserve a positive relationship with her and set a good example for my children.

Now, how the hell do I do this???

What has been suggested to me is to not engage her in conversation when she approaches any subject with a negative judgment. I’ve been practicing body language and verbal tone in the shower, “Yes, we too would have liked Oscar to die in our arms at an old age.” “Yes, I can assure you we have a wonderful pediatrician and we are doing everything we can for Bella’s skin.”

Michelle, you don’t have to defend your choices! You don’t need to go into detail about ANYTHING. You don’t have to explain yourself. You CAN put your hand up (like, talk to the hand) slowly, gently, and without attitude to give a strong message. You CAN gently put your hand on her shoulder. You ARE a strong woman, Michelle, and you CAN project that message without offending. Michelle, DON’T forget her limitations, again – she will only disappoint!

How am I doing?

This is not going to be easy. I want to learn.

And now I bomb you with the photos I took today and ultimately, my inspiration to become a better person…

Who needs a teething ring when you have a big brother???

Who needs a mobile when you have a big brother and a robot?

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What a day.

Yesterday was a much better day in my house.

I gave myself permission to come off of seizure watch with Oscar and was able to *relax.* This inevitably led to an enjoyable day with Max. As much as I’d like to blame my frustrations (including his first spanking) on his toddler behavior, I know good and well that the frustration I experience comes solely from within. It comes from my inability to manage feelings of anger, sadness, and stress. I’m working on it, though.

We got along like old times because I was able to give him more attention (which is all he ever wants from his mama). We played with his toys on and off all day and outside in the pool for about two hours – sans the baby monitor which I had previously been plugging in outside so I could keep an ear out for Oscar. We kept so busy that Bossman didn’t want to take a nap. I felt a tiny bit bad about not checking on Oscar every ten minutes but I knew how he was doing – and it wasn’t good.

Oscar had been having petite mal seizures regularly since Monday afternoon. The medications he was taking should have totally stopped his seizures as well as the pacing around the living room – had he been epileptic. He was afraid of us all day Tuesday, Wednesday and today. It was as if he didn’t recognize us. Yesterday, he didn’t bark when Hal came home from work. Today, Hal and I took him to the vet and let him go. He lost control of his bowels after one of the many seizures that he had on the drive to the vet. I lost it as the doctor (who was also crying) put him to sleep then administered the second dose of meds to terminate his life. Hal couldn’t be in the room for the second dose. So yeah, we are pretty sad right now but I know we did what was best for Oscar.

We are sending his body to Texas A & M University – College of Veterinarian Medicine. And as I have heard others say before, but never thought I’d have a reason to say it… I hope that our loss helps someone else. The doctor who is in charge of this research was so beautiful and kind over the phone when I spoke to her about Oscar. She will be sending us the results of the work they do on him and his ashes after he is cremated.

There are two upsides to our loss… 1.) I will be less stressed-out everyday and 2.) We know for certain Bella has a dander allergy because her body flared up with eczema while we were at the vet’s office. We put two and two together because we remembered that after Oscar’s first major seizure, when he was urinating everywhere, her skin started to get badly out of control. It was noticeable because we *thought* we had it under control when this happened. Time to have the carpets cleaned. With any luck, her skin will heal up quickly.

R.I.P Oscar. We love you.

 

 

To end this on a high note… I took Max and Bella to Mote Marine this morning. A friend of mine with a son Max’s age helped me get around with both kids.

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Yes, Max got his first spanking yesterday. I asked him where he put the toilet paper that he was using to clean out his nose and he looked me dead in the eyes and said, “I threw it in the toilet.”

“Good boy.” I proudly said.

Then I went into the bedroom, looked into the crib, and saw toilet paper draped over Bella’s face and going into her mouth.

I tanned his hide and made sure he understood why.

*I hate that I spanked Max and never want to do it again. Disciplining has been a huge struggle for me with him because of how strong willed we both are. I’m looking for better ways to deal with my own frustrations so that I can better guide him to “good” behavior.*

BUT…

In the middle of the groaning and moaning about the realities of my life I always feel the need to stop and count the blessings that crop up or linger around. In no particular order:

My paternal grandmother made these two fantastic quilts for my kids:

The horse one was sent to Max after his birth and the other for Bella after she was born. I hate that I *think* that I’m not crafty enough to do art like this. I want to be. My mom and paternal grandmother are both very crafty – so I do have it in me. Maybe once my body isn’t in constant pain (mainly my hands) I’ll learn how to knit, sew, and quilt. Hey, I’m still young – I’ve got lots of time to learn.

I can’t wait to lay these new quilts out on my kid’s beds.

This next wonderful part of my life is what makes me feel like I can and will survive the next year… and that is my relationship with my husband. Even though we have both felt the stress of parenting while poor – we have manage to stay supportive of one another. We don’t fight, we talk. We make one another laugh. We don’t argue over petty things, we keep the disagreement focused on the “real” issue at hand. We don’t blame one another for our personal sufferings, we acknowledge each other’s feelings and perspectives. Okay, I admit it… I do blame him sometimes but he lets it go in one ear and out the other. He understands that I’m “venting.” And if I get out of line – I admit it. Anyway, I really like Hal as much as I love him – and that means a lot.

The third good in my life… I have a couple of friends that I can call any time. And they call me, too. We support and value each other. I feel lucky to have these women in my life when so many people have trouble connecting beyond superficial interaction.

Then, of-course, there is my kids… they are both happy (I have no idea how or why – but they are), healthy & full of life and love…

and that’s all she wrote.

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