Archive for the ‘The In-Laws’ Category

Lots has been going on.

The Monday before Thanksgiving, I started to seriously consider taking Max out of his preschool. I don’t want to get into detail as to why I feel this way (too long and rambly) but just know I witnessed several different dynamics and actions in his classroom that I do not agree with. It really boils down to the fact that the preschool he was at had a mode of operating that isn’t compatible to the realities of children.

The same day that I started to feel strongly about Max needing to change preschools… a nature mama friend, H, said she was thinking about starting a preschool in her home. H met a woman who was interested in teaching and who is a friend of a friend, thing. In other words, connected to the natural parenting/earthy/healer-type community. Talk about things falling into place. Today, just a week later, I met with Max’s new teacher at H’s house. Max will be going to a very dear friend’s home for preschool Mon, Tue, and Wed from 8:30 am – 2:30 pm. I am so relieved.

I took Bella to her first acupuncture/NAET appointment yesterday morning. Dr. L seems to really know her stuff, is kind, honest, and in general a warm person. In other words, she gave me good vibes. At this point, I am doing everything within my powers to help Bella and it is time to move into the next realm of help. I left Dr. L’s office feeling relieved, understood, and hopeful that she will be able to help Bella.

Admittedly, I am not convinced that NAET will help. No amount of personal testimony will convince me of it’s ability to actually cure a person of their allergies. This is one of those things that I need to see/experience to believe. I do, however, have personal experience with acupuncture working to relieve severe pain by controlling the inflammation in my joints. Bella will be receiving Chinese herbs through my breast milk (I will be taking them), acupressure (needles are not used on babies), and NAET therapy. I have also been a strict bitch about my diet for the past 2 ½ weeks. Controlling what I eat helps her skin but she is still itching.

My father in-law (whom I get along with very well) is building a swing set with a slide, deck, and sandbox in our back yard. He is the kind of builder who is very meticulous and goes all out so this is going to be quite a little playground for my children…

Hal battling the wasps on our porch. They are relentless in claiming their territory…

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The play space isn’t completed, yet, but the swings are set up so today the kids got to enjoy their new play space…

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Okay, sometimes it really is hard to pick just one…

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Max is really into doing puzzles. He can do a 48 piece puzzles all by himself!

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Hanging out by his finished work:

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Bella looks like she is going to love books, too.

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Look Ma! I’m standing!

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Deep Thoughts by Michelle Harmon:

Sometimes when you think a person is a little crazy it turns out that they are. Then, you know it is necessary to build a fence around your yard – one made of pretty stone.

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Hal leaves for work this morning and I sigh to myself, “welcome to my personal hell.”

Last night and this morning I have felt hateful and sad.

Yesterday, at Max’s 3 year checkup his pediatrician took a look at Bella when I was changing her diaper and stated, “she is the worse case of eczema I have ever seen.” Thanks, I didn’t feel bad enough already. And I actually like my kid’s pediatrician.

Bella is still scratching all the time. She will clear up, I’ll eat two bites of anything, and she will flair up all over her body. I hate this. I am starting to feel desensitized to her suffering. When I change her diaper I try not to pay attention to how uncomfortable she looks as she scratches viciously at her skin. When I do pay attention it makes me cry.

Doctors are just useless. I set an appointment for Bella to see an acupuncturist. This acupuncturist is also a NAET practitioner. Not that we have the income comfortability to go the natural route – but what little extra income we do have, I’m willing to spend on healing Bella’s skin.

I know that her skin condition is a symptom… not the actual problem. My pediatrician, an allergist, and other doctors are well-meaning but have NO CLUE as to how to build my little girl’s immune system. They want to prescribe lotions and creams but don’t even address the fact that her immune system has broken down and needs some help to repair. Grrr. This is so frustrating.

I bought Bella a butt-load of cute clothes today. Three pajamas and three outfits is my definition of “butt-load.” I am not a clothes/shoe/or jewelry shopper AT ALL but I do find it fun to shop for my kids.

I drank a little alcohol yesterday. My SIL’s boyfriend is a bartender by trade and mixed up some fancy drinks for us. I used to be able to down quite a bit of liquor back in the day but not any more. My glass was still practically full when I left my in-law’s house yet I felt a little buzzed from the five sips I took. It also seems like alcohol no longer peps me up. I don’t really enjoy drinking any more.

I started writing this post in the morning after Hal left for work. I’m finishing it up at 9pm at night. I feel much better now than I did this morning.

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A garnderner’s mind…

All of last week I took the kids to MIL’s house while our main bathroom was being remodeled (pictures will come later when its completed on Monday). There are a few things that I really love about MIL and her house. She is a gardener. Her back yard is like a giant jungle that seems to make no sense what-so-ever (but if you know MIL on a personal level, as I do, the yard makes perfect sense). Upon opening your eyes to the fine print on the assorted trees and flowers, you can see an array of completed and unfinished projects, foods ripe for the picking, and pathways that seem like enigmas of the mind. Her back yard is like a labyrinth… with purpose.

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I wish I knew more gardeners on a personal level because I’d like to see if their gardens are intimate projections of their internal lives.

When I go into MIL’s backyard I feel two things… peace and fear.

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When I go into MIL’s backyard I see two things… beauty and chaos.

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I really like MIL’s back yard and so does Max.


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This post is about Saturday.

Breakfast: banana
Lunch: hummus, corn chips, white pita bread, carrots, green bell peppers, rich delicious chocolate cake
Dinner: two sandwiches made with millet (gluten-free) bread with hummus, salad mix (a variety of veggies), and avocado
Snack: home made French fries

I cheated big time today. Living wheat-free is tougher than living without soy or dairy. I had no idea! I ate several slices of pita bread before it even dawned on me that I was eating wheat. Then the birthday chocolate cake, oh my, I couldn’t pass up that home made (scratch, baby – not from the box) goodness. Max loved it, too. Good choice of birthday cake, Banyan!

We are really poor right now so we can not afford to by Max’s friends birthday gifts. However, I don’t like to arrive without baring a gift of some sort. I like teaching Max these kinds of generous giving traditions. I also like teaching him that gifts don’t have to cost money. We made his friend, Owen, a robot bank and when it came time for me to think about what we should get (or do) for Banyan’s birthday, I let Max decide.

I got down on my knees, looked into Max’s eyes and explained to him that today is a very special day. Today is the day that Banyan was born! And we are going to celebrate his birthday, today! Now, we can’t afford to buy a gift for him, but mommy thinks that you can pick out a gift for him yourself. Would you like to give Banyan one of your toys?

Uh huh. He said with his eyes wide open and mouth forming that little smile it often bares.

Okay then, that would be very nice! Go into your room and pick out a toy for Banyan. I was anxious to see what he would pick. I expected him to find a toy that he isn’t too fond of and wouldn’t mind parting with. Project much, Michelle?

Max picked out three dinosaurs. His dinosaurs are his FAVORITE toys. I know this because he tells me all the time. I went over with him how he would be giving these toys to Banyan and that we would no longer have them in our home. I did this without trying to push him into the opposite direction of his choice. He told me each time that he was okay with giving these toys to Banyan. We decorated the wrapping paper and wrapped the gifts together. He was very excited.

As we were leaving the house Max was poking around my stuff and then said to me, “You got the dinosaurs, mommy?”

“Oh my!” I said, “I left them upstairs! Thank you for reminding me, Max, good memory!”

He has shown no signs of missing those dinosaurs. And they were really cool dinosaurs, too. I am so proud of him for being so genuinely generous.

*edit* He did ask about those dinosaurs, today, but was content when I reminded him of where they were. Oh, and I also let him know that he will eventually get new dinosaurs.

Banyan’s birthday part was awesome. It was held at Red Bug Slough. The kids played on the playground and we all went hiking through the woods on a bug hunt. I had a moment where I was like, “Oh my god! I am out alone with both of my kids AND keeping track of them! I CAN do this!” It was great. Though, I wasn’t really alone. I had all my sister friends there helping me.

There are no bugs in here, yet, but a really nice miniature (temporary) home for some lucky bug:

Max refers to that stick in there as “my poop.” All Liz had to do was point out that it looked like poop and he was all over THAT joke.

After the party, we were so close to Liz’s house that I couldn’t pass up a quick visit. Max loves Liz, too. We were there for a short while when Max abruptly cut the visit short. He was playing with Liz’s cat’s strawberry kitty cozy (not the exact one in the link but something similar) – putting it on his head for laughs and such. Ten minutes later, viola! Max is scratching his face and eyes while simultaneously puffing up like a red strawberry himself. He is allergic to cats! Well, not too surprised, so is his papa.

He cleared up within minutes of getting back into the car for the drive over to his Lola’s house. Once we got to my MIL’s, I gave Max a bath and spent about 1 ½ hours just hanging with the in-laws. MIL was very happy to see Bella’s skin healed. We talked and laughed and she doled out our share of the vegetables she bought for us from the flea market. As I was getting ready to leave she slapped a bill into my hand and said, “the lotion works, its worth the money.” She told me earlier that she would help pay for Bella’s lotion which cost close to 50 bucks ($130 if we didn’t have insurance that helped pay for $90 of it). I thanked her and then looked at the bill. She gave us $100! I looked at Grandma with tears starting to form (I get emotional when people are surprisingly generous) and thanked Grandma, too. Grandma said, “We love you, Michelle, and we really want to help you guys out however we can.”

Wow. I feel like I can be pretty petty sometimes. Yes, its understandable considering all that has been on my plate this year. But damn, I think I learned that being petty – even in the face of difficult times – really is not worth my energy.

I drove home with Bella in the back, the groceries in the front, and 100 bucks in my pocket that would help pay for the things our family needs.

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This morning when I blinked, Max poured out my Aveda hair product into the toilet and trashed the bottle into the can as well. Then, he transferred a bottle of Burt’s Bees Apricot Baby Oil into a coffee mug.

I realized early on that today was going to be one of those days. This was before 10 am. “One of those days” means I try to ignore him unless he’s being nice or wants to play with me. I spent most of the morning folding laundry and some of it playing with him and his dinosaurs.

While I was nursing him down for a nap (that he didn’t take), I decided that today would be the last day I nurse him for a nap. Tomorrow, I’ll read him a few books (like we do before bedtime at night) and lay with him until he falls asleep. He is almost weaned! The last nursing time to go will be the one first thing in the morning.

My MIL is coming soon to take Max to Jungle Gardens. While he’s with her I’m going to get the house cleaned and make some food for the week. I’ve been having issues with hunger. I mean, when I get hungry it comes on so sudden that I feel sick. I’m not eating as much as I normally do because of my food restrictions (no dairy, soy, eggs) so I need to have easy, already-made food on hand. And fruit. I don’t mind these restrictions because it forces me to eat healthier. It will just take some time to get use to preparing food in bulk so it’s good-to-go in the fridge.

Dear Max,

You will always be an awesome kid in my book, but… since you were such a tart this morning, I thought it would be shweet to post this picture…



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Thursday, is my day to pack the kids up and spend the day with their Nana (great-grandma). While I’m sitting, relaxing, watching TV about other parents, and nursing Bella, Max and Nana spend time playing together. She turned 86 in December and she’s still up and kicking. Hal is her favorite grandchild – even though we can’t get her to admit it (we’ve tried), EVERYONE knows this to be true. And since Hal is her favorite, so is Max. I think she probably favors Bella over my BIL’s baby girl, too. She also treats me like her own.

BUT, if there is one thing I am not going to let happen, that is to let Lola (Hal’s mom) play favorites with my kids. When they are both older the rule will be, you take one of them, ya take em’ both! I don’t want Bella or Max to grow up thinking Lola favors either one of them over the other (even if she does).

Speaking of taking one of em’…, my MIL offered to watch both kids so Hal and I could go out to eat Sunday night! This is a big deal because Bella’s not taking a bottle, yet. MIL knows this and is still willing to take both of them for a couple hours. I am happy to say that Bella can go for 3-4 hours without nursing (so unlike Max who had to be surgically removed from my nipple just to take a bath). I’m going to provide a bottle of mama’s milk for Bella in hopes that MIL can get her to take it. Keeping fingers crossed that Bella will take a bottle this weekend!

Both the kids are sleeping right now so I’ve gotta run. I’m in the middle of watching, Angel. Oh, I finally bought batteries for my camera so will be starting up the “picture a day” theme, again. Yay!

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Woke up this morning, ate breakfast, went outside to set up Max’s new pool. It is not as big as it looks in that picture. Anyway, he played outside for a couple hours (skin loaded with sunblock) while Bella slept in her playpen that we originally bought for Max when he was a baby (he has sat in it maybe a total of 2 times). Hal and I have ambitious plans for our back yard. We stood outside for a while talking/fantasizing about the additions and landscape we’d like to add. We want it to be kid-friendly and party worthy (for both adults and kids). Slowly but surely it is getting there.

I sat in Max’s kiddy pool to play with him – and it was fun! Kids + water = good times. Hal’s brother called this morning to invite us to a b-day party for one of O’s kids. It is to be held at the beach and sounds like a great time. Only, he just told us about it today – the day of – which I hate. He has a tendency to mention stuff in passing without any real details then spring the final plan on us the day of, expecting us to be ready for take off.

Hal and I have to plan for these kinds of events. We are not so spontaneous that we will forgo Max’s nap, guaranteed food fare for ourselves, and the subsequent sanity that follows when having these two things in place. I’m going to try my hardest to explain this to R the next time we talk – better yet, I think I’ll tell O (she seems to comprehend these things much better).

After play time outside, I bathed the kids, we ate lunch, and now Max is taking his nap. Hal is upstairs holding Bella and watching the Brit version of The Office. When Max wakes from his nap, we’ll go over to Hal’s folk’s house for dinner.

Speaking of Hal’s folks, I decided that every weekend I would just come right out and ASK my MIL to take Max on Monday. I asked her already and she said, yes! She’ll even pick him up – which is awesome. She loves having him – especially when it is only for a 3-4 hour time period (lucky for me, that is all I need for my own peace of mind).

I was drinking a Pepsi out of the can today and Max kept trying to steal it from me. I asked him if Lola (grandma) lets him drink caffeine (he calls all soda “caffeine”). I was happy to hear him say, No, but surprised to hear him say, wine. I said, “Oh? She lets you drink wine?” “Just a little bit” he said.

Oh boy.

I know what he is talking about, though, because I was there once when she let him “try” her wine. There was a very small amount at the bottom of her wine glass and he grabbed the glass exclaiming, “little bit in there!” Then drank it down. No one stopped him. I was just surprised that he seemed to like it.

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Max made it through the night at grandma’s! He went to sleep at 10pm and only woke up once, at around 2am. It took my MIL an hour to get him to go back to sleep. He kept crying for num-nums and mommy (breaks my heart). To help Max get back to sleep my MIL let him lay on her chest!!!! Which is really awesome because that is how I comfort him if he wakes in the middle of the night. I think he probably just crawled on top of her and she went with it. She also got him some soy milk and water when he asked for num-nums. MIL is really a fantastic grandma. At 5am, he was up and rearing to go and of-course MIL was wiped-out. So, Nah-Nah (Max’s great-grandma) got out of bed to play with him so MIL could get a few extra hours of shut-eye. Over-all, Max did wonderfully and I am so proud of him. I’m also very happy that my MIL is so thoughtful of his feelings and in how she cares for him.

I, on the other hand, didn’t enjoy the night without him as much as I envisioned. Even Hal was a little sad at the emptiness of our home. On his drive home, Hal said he started to feel sad because he knew Max wouldn’t be there for him to see when he walked up the stairs. It was really weird for the both of us.

At around 10pm, when I was ready for sleep, I was like, okay, where’s my son, time to go to bed. All was good with not having to get Max ready for bedtime but when I was ready for sleep I needed him there like I need my favorite pillow.

The nice things about Max being at grandma’s was that we didn’t have to feed him or get him ready for bed so we were able to sit on the couch while eating dinner and dessert. We also were able to watch an entire movie uninterrupted by the waking child in the next room screaming for mommy. The movie watching, actually, is getting easier as Max is sleeping better at night. However, since I still have to “put him to sleep” by being present in bed with him I usually just conk out, too, which makes it impossible for me to get up and watch a movie.

It was also really nice to actually sleep next to my husband… you know, in the same bed. We have three beds in our room… one for Hal and the dogs (full size), one for Max (a twin that he doesn’t sleep in yet), and the one Max and I sleep in (a full size). It’s like a little commune but it works really well because as you can probably guess, we have a huge bedroom. I hate the dogs sleeping in bed with me because they stink up my sheets and get in my way at night. In fact, I won’t be sleeping with Hal regularly even after Max and Bella are in their own beds until we are able to get a king size mattress – just so the dogs don’t get in my way so much.

This was a big step for our little family. I’m glad we are “warming” Max up to sleeping over at grandma’s way before I go into labor. I kept wondering how is he doing, is he okay, does he need me? Stuff like that – every time I woke up to pee. If I were in labor and it was the first time Max was at someone else’s house during the night, my labor probably would be adversly affected by my concerns.

It was exciting to pick Max up this morning. Though, it made me a little sad that when I walked into the door it almost didn’t even phase him. He just kept playing catch with Nah-Nah and running around like the wired wild-child he is. No kiss. No hug. Nothing. *sigh* My baby is growing up.

Overall, I’d say everything wen’t really well with Max staying with grandma.

He’s upstairs in bed right now sleeping. I just love that little guy so much.

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I just got home from dropping Max off at my MIL’s for THE NIGHT. I have been so looking forward to this evening since it became a reality about two weeks ago. It was two weeks ago that I decided we are ready to try this. Max is completely night weaned and sleeping through the night. My MIL is okay with him sleeping in her bed or her sleeping in the guest room with him. This is comforting because that means there is actually a shot that he will make it through the night without freaking out. Now, the thing is, will I make it??? I’m feeling a little sad about this moment of recognition that my baby is growing up. I mean, he is still my baby, and you know he always will be but… this is not only going to be his first night without me but also my first night without him! My heart hurts a little.

It is also important to let Max stay over there sooner rather than later because when I go into labor he will be spending that time with my in-laws. We all thought it best to break him in slowly so that when the big day/night arrives, he will be used to being over there at night (if need be – it would be so great if I labor in the daytime and Bella is born before night). If we have to go pick him up in the middle of the night, tonight, no-big-deal. I did, however, make it clear to my MIL that he needs to have been crying for at least 2 hours before she should call. I really want her to make every effort to comfort him and only call us as a last resort. I’m pretty confident that everything will be fine and even if he does get a little homesick I’m almost certain that she will be able to comfort him. They are very close.

So, what will Hal and I ever do tonight??? It’s our first night alone in TWO YEARS ONE MONTH AND 6 DAYS.

I had a great day with Max. It’s always fun to go out to lunch with him to Whole Foods. He gets pizza and I get a sandwich and we both sit outside and eat together. We’re usually there for about 1 ½ hours because we take our sweet time eating and talking. Today, I ran into my editor and we chatted it up for a while before she had to dart off to an important meeting. The mommy magazine that I write a natural parenting column for is growing fast. I don’t get paid to write for them (though, they do have a goal of one day being able to pay their columnist/contributing writers) but I don’t care. Believe it or not that isn’t why I do it. I just love sharing my thoughts and thinking, Wow! Someone is actually reading this! It’s really quite an honor.

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It’s been a while since I’ve recorded some of the great things Max is doing these days. As he is getting older and more communicative he is turning into a really cool kid. I think he is going to be a “charmer.” You know, the kind of guy that women love to do things for because of how cute and charming he is. Oh boy. However, he sure does know how to make me laugh. Charmer.

* The other night he started “petting” my num-nums. He would pet one, look up at me, giggle, then continue petting it. He did this several times in a row. At one point he looked up at me and said very warmly, “I love num-nums,” then kissed the very tip of my nipple. This may seem weird to anyone who has never experienced a relationship with a nursing toddler, but I assure you, it is the sweetest expression of Max’s love for both me and his original source of nutrients and nurturing that he could ever give.

* I was holding a toy ball that Max wanted but I didn’t want to give back to him because he was throwing it around the house. It was a heavy ball that if thrown hard enough could break something. After crying for me to give it back to no avail, he tried a different approach. He looked at me all sweet and innocent-like and leaned in for a big kiss. As I was moved by his cuteness and leaning towards him to plant a smooch on his lips, he quickly snatched the ball out of my hands running away while laughing at his accomplishment – and my gullibility! I eventually got that ball back but not after laughing for a few minutes and chasing him around the house.

* Last night when I wouldn’t let him nurse (he rarely asks anymore), he softly asked me if he could pet num-nums. Of-course I didn’t let him. Then, for some reason, he thought that I would let him kiss num-nums so asked me if that was okay. HA! I wasn’t falling for THAT trick again. When I said no, and called him a little stinker, he started laughing. It was like he knew he was being sneaky and was busted!

* Side note… I wish I could look inside my belly and see Bella right now. She is moving so much that my skin is poking up and stretching out. She also responds to my touch. I can feel her little foot right now! She presses on my tummy when I press on her foot.

* Max makes a lot of fart jokes. Need I really say more about this?

* The other day Bossman started reciting “Goodnight Moon,” out of the blue. He also likes to sing along to songs he knows while making the correct hand gestures that either papa, myself, or Barney taught him.

* He LOVES to dance.

* Max speaks in full sentences, now.

* If I have my shirt up and Max sees my belly he yells out, “BellaGrace!” and runs over to touch her womb. He also likes to blow farts on Bella’s home – she likes it and I bet she too is laughing.

* When Max gets loose while naked, he’ll run through the house laughing and yelling, “Naked boy! Naked boy!” He then inevitable squats and takes a leak on the carpet. Not my favorite thing he does but it is funny.

Next weekend we are going to let Bossman stay the night with Grandma and Grandpa. I hope he can make it through the night because it will be the first time in over two years that Hal and I will be able to sleep in the same bed! We are also excited to have privacy and no responsibility for the night.

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