Monday, May 30, 2011

Keep putting one foot in front of the other...

I found a preschool program for Ian that I really liked (6 special ed. kids, 6 regular ed. kids, 1 teacher, and 2 aides), and he started shortly after he turned 4.  I didn't tell his teacher much about him because I wanted to see if I was thinking that things were worse than they really were, or if he behaved differently when he wasn't around me.  It only took about 2 weeks before his teacher approached me with that worried "I'm going to have to tell you something about your child, and I hope it doesn't come as a shock to you" look on her face, and told me that Ian was angry and defiant and was having trouble taking turns, sharing, and following directions...I told her that I knew, told her what we'd been doing about it at home, and thanked her for talking to me about it. 

FINALLY, about 9 months after we had moved, Ian seemed to adjust, and his behavior finally toned down.  That was SUCH a hard 9 months;  it didn't help that Husband's job sent him away for weeks at a time twice during this period.  Ian was SO ANGRY.  It was SO HARD on me that one of the 2 people I spent most of my day with spent the day telling me that I SUCKED ROYALLY at my job yelling at me, arguing with me, and defying me at every turn!  I knew motherhood was supposed to be hard....but THIS hard?
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David turned out to be a climber...

...and another smart boy!
Handy...

Dandy....

Notebook!  (and beloved milk cup)
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Memorable Ian moments:
*I said something that irritated Ian, so he leaned over and rubbed his nose on my hand.  I asked him what he had just done, and he answered, with a straight face, "I wiped my nose on you because you looked like a Kleenex."
*Ian came downstairs and said, "Don't open my door, Mom;  I don't want you to look in my room."  I asked him why and he said, "I'm not going to tell you what I did in my room."  We made our way upstairs, with him still telling me NOT to look in his room.  I finally told him that I was going to look in his room, and, in a sudden burst of bravery, he flung the door open to reveal!..............what looked like the usual mess to me.  Then he pointed to the tiny pieces of what had been a perfectly usable eraser moments before and said, "I made it into thin pieces...with my teeth."
*All in one day, Ian:  drew on a cabinet with a crayon, purposely peed in the litter box located next to the toilet, and dumped the pieces to all the puzzles all over his room.  I did manage to catch him just as he was starting to use a 5 pound bag of flour for a hay-bale.
*I sent Ian to his room, and he was mad about this, so he grabbed one of his shoes on his way.  He threw it at me, and it went through the open bathroom door and landed right in the middle of the open toilet.  SWEET JUSTICE Er, bless his little heart.

Memorable David moments:
*We had been having some luck putting David on the potty as soon as he woke up.  One morning I tried this, but after 2 stories and no pee-pees I brought him back to his room.  While I was getting his clothes ready, he went and stood in his closet and pulled the door closed...and peed all over the floor.
*David liked to do whatever he saw his big brother do.  One day Ian put too much food in his mouth, which made him gag, so he threw up in the kitchen garbage can.  Then, for a while, every time David came into the kitchen, he would cough, run over to the garbage can, open the lid, stick his head in, and cough some more.
*We were driving home from church, and Ian wanted to stop and get a treat.  I reminded him of a bag of candy we had gotten "for his brother" (for his birthday) the day before.  A split second later, David said, "OH!", and I could see the little wheels in his head turning as he figured out the HE was Ian's brother, so he must have some candies at home!
*David got stuck in a toy bag and immediately started to shriek, his usual response to anything that frustrated him.  The he stopped, and I heard a little voice coming out of the bag saying, "I stuck, Mama."

Saturday, May 28, 2011

The bathroom: there must be a homing device hidden on me somewhere

I have been tempted, more than once, to get a timer, pencil, and paper and keep data on how long I am in the bathroom before someone finds me and starts knocking on the door and/or talking to me. 

Even in a house with 2 1/2 bathrooms, it did not take more than ONE minute before I would hear:
"Mom?!  Where are you, Mom?  Are you in there?  Can I come in?  What are you doing in there?" from the 4 year old,
"POUND, POUND, POUND....Oooouuuh?" from the 1 year old,
"Doing My Best, are you in there?" from Husband,
and the FINAL INSULT:




"Scratch, scratch....Meow?"

Surely Mom is trapped!  MUST! GET! HER! OUT!

Friday, May 27, 2011

The Behavoiral Pediatrician and Moving Again

As Ian got older we noticed that he would become very agitated when there were  bright lights or loud noises, and he was really bothered by scratchy clothes and tastes and textures of foods.  We bought sunglasses for situations where there would be bright lights.  We bought ear muffs for loud noises.  We adjusted to the fact that he was only going to wear certain clothes.  We also adjusted to him involuntarily throwing up at the table when he put some bite of food in his mouth that had a texture that bothered him. 

We, and everyone he talked to, also noticed that he had advanced verbal skills;  the words he used and the way he used them correctly, were way above his age.  By the time he was 2 1/2, he could have a conversation with anyone, using complete sentences and vocabulary that should have been over his head.  People were always so surprised when they talked to him, but I didn't realize how unusual it was until years later when my other kids got to be that age, were speaking in 3-4 word sentences, and WE could barely understand them, let alone anyone else.

When Ian was 3 years old Husband and I went on a short trip, and Ian stayed with my mother.  When I called to talk to him, the first thing he said, very earnestly, was, "I don't miss you, Mom."  Broke my heart =(.

Also around this time, I took him to see a Behavioral/Developmental Pediatrician because he was WEARING ME OUT.  At the end of our visit the doctor said, "Well, I really hesitate to label children this young, but he definitely has some issues...he has a behavior pattern with anxiety, oppositional defiance and aggression...and I think he would benefit from play therapy."   It was frustrating to still not know exactly what was going on, but it was a GREAT RELIEF to learn that Ian's behavior was not caused by my parenting skills (or lack thereof, as many people thought), and that I was doing everything *I* could do to help him.


When David was about 9 months old, we had to move across the country for Husband's job.  Ponder that for a moment:  driving across the country for about FIVE DAYS with a 3 1/2 year old and a 9 month old strapped in their car-seats.  Oh, it was bad.  Ian's behavior was OFF THE CHARTS as he tried to deal with the changes in his life, and David slept even worse than usual.  I was pretty sure, about 2 days into the trip, that both boys were sick, so we stopped somewhere to have them seen, but they doctor said he just couldn't tell and we'd have to try again in a few days.  When we got to where we were going, we took them in again.  Both boys had ear infections, and David had to have a chest x-ray to check for pneumonia (NOT FUN trying to hold a screaming baby down so he can get an x-ray!).

David never liked being on his stomach either, and was using furniture to help him walk around by the time he was 10 months old.  He babbled a little but was mostly content to point and grunt (or screech, LOTS OF SCREECHING).  He ADORED Ian and always wanted to be playing with him, but Ian was not so keen on this.  David walked by himself shortly before his first birthday! 
Whatcha got there, brother?

Are you SURE you don't want to play?
David started what turned out to be a 3-child-tradition of acting like his birthday cake was made of poison he wasn't sure what he was supposed to do with his birthday cake.
You want me to EAT this?!
We discovered around a year old, that David was REALLY EASY to put to bed for the night if we would tuck him in with his favorite blanket and puppy and give him a sippy cup of milk (this turned out to be a BIG MISTAKE);  he would drink the milk, roll over, and go to sleep.  I would go into his room before I went to bed and fill his cup back up and put it in his crib so he could find it when he woke up in the night.  We were desperate for sleep, so this was really wonderful....until he started waking up in the night wanting another milk refill, sigh.  (A year or so later, when Husband got tired of a little person pattering into our room in the middle of the night with his cup in hand saying, "Moo (more) oke (milk), Daddy!" he decided to break David of this habit cold turkey;  this resulted in David sitting in a corner, shrieking like a wounded animal and throwing his cup, which had been filled with something nasty water, at Daddy....more than once.)

As we settled into our new place, Ian switched from TRACTORS, TRACTORS, TRACTORS to FIREFIGHTERS, FIREFIGHTERS, FIREFIGHTERS!  He wore his firefighter hat ALL DAY LONG, insisted his name was "Firefighter", wanted his clothes/dishes/blankets to be RED.  He WAS NOT ever getting married or going to college or anything because HE WAS GOING TO BE A FIREFIGHTER!

Moving was a really hard change for Ian, even though we had done our best to prepare him for MONTHS in advance.  He frequently threw screaming tantrums, seemed very angry, and often yelled at me. 

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Home With Two Boys: Starting My Collection of Parenting Books

By the time we brought David home, the nursing agony had started again.  More toe-curling, involuntary gasping in pain, wanting to cry whenever the baby needed to eat, but it only lasted for 3 WEEKS this time (still a LONG 3 weeks, but better than 3 months!)!  David slept SLIGHTLY better than Ian had, taking short naps during the day, but sleeping for 2 or 3 hours at a time at night.  We tried the whole "Teach the baby to sleep through anything by keeping him in the main living space where all the noise is" thing, but, around 3 weeks old, David (and the 3 after him) started not sleeping for longer than 30 minutes at a time unless he was being held.  Also at this time, he, too started the nightly scream for hours each evening.  I tried restricting my diet again, mainly dairy, and it seemed to help a little.


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Ian watched David cautiously, trying to process this big change in his life.  He held the baby occasionally, and gently pushed him in his baby swing.  It wasn't long before Ian said, "I'm cute too;  can we take the baby back to the hospital?"  He eventually adjusted to the fact that David was going to stay, but, especially as David got older and wanted to be doing everything Ian was doing, he treated David like a mosquito his mother wouldn't let him squash.

Ian playing a song for the baby.

Ian continued to be very active;  fighting nap time but falling asleep every afternoon between 4-5 if he stopped moving for any period of time.  About a month after David was born I was walking down the hall thinking "Why does it smell like baby powder again?" and I quickly discovered that Ian had climbed up to the new spot I had put the baby powder and was finishing dumping the rest of the bottle (CURSES on baby powder and stupid vacuums that shock people who are only trying to clean up giant messes!).  Also that week he:  dumped water all over his bed, emptied the contents of 6 shelves from his closet onto the floor, poured buckets of water out of the bathtub on to the bathroom floor, wrote on himself with a pen one day and a permanent marker another day, stood on a stool in the living room and peed on a box of baby wipes immediately after sitting on the potty for 20 minutes, threw all the blankets off my bed onto the floor within 5 minutes of me making the bed, took all of the clothes out of his dresser and threw them down the hall.  This is what I mean by "busy".  I had friends who would call me when they were trying to squash baby-hungry feelings to hear what Ian had done or said lately;  they always hung up THANKING THEIR LUCKY STARS much more content with their baby-less situation.

Ian was VERY hard to motivate;  he wasn't interested in earning candies/stickers/toys, he did not care if dinner, going to the park, watching his favorite TV show, or playing with his favorite toys was dependent on him putting his clothes away, picking up his toys, cleaning up a mess he had made, etc.  It was about this time that I started collecting, and reading, parenting books:  The Difficult ChildThe Strong-Willed Child, Raising Your High Spirited Child (Those were nice for letting me know that it WAS NOT my imagination;  my child really was a challenge.), Dare to Discipline,  The Power of Positive Parenting, Love and Logic (I really like the Love and Logic idea, but it took some time to be able to come up with logical consequences for everything, and they did not cover what you are supposed to do when you give your child choices "A" and "B" and the child picks "Q", or what you are supposed to do when your child is seemingly unaffected by any consequence.), Bringing Up Boys (I believe it was this book that clued me in to the fact that it is a MIRACLE that any boy lives to see adulthood)...you get the idea.  I was so discouraged because I felt like Ian was constantly fighting me and didn't actually like me very much;  he seemed much more attached to my mother than to me.

It was around this time that I remembered a little essay(?) I had read once called Welcome to Holland.  (Go read it;  it's short.....)  When I had first read it, I had thought that it was a great way to explain coming to terms with something you weren't quite expecting.  But as I lived each day with Ian, I thought, "Expecting to go to Italy and ending up in Holland is one thing, but how are you supposed to survive adjust when you are expecting to go to Italy and your plane is hijacked by terrorists and you end up in war-torn Ir@q?" 
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David turned out to be a sweet, happy baby (I'm sure it helped that he was latching on correctly so he wasn't hungry all the time!).  He did the nightly scream for months, and he didn't sleep through the night for a year either, but he liked to be held and snuggled, and would also be content sitting in his swing or playing with some toys.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

A Startling Observation

I recently changed from nursing br@s back to regular br@s, and for quite a few days afterwards I kept being startled when I would see SOMETHING (it would take me a minute to figure out what it was) out of the corner of my eye, seemingly RIGHT UNDER MY CHIN, whereas I had become accustomed to seeing something that seemed more....down around my belly button area.

Need a Laugh? This Post Is For You: Truly, I Couldn't Make These Things Up....or The Revolution

I don't often have time to write a Christmas card (see what sort of thing I am dealing with every day below), but one year the card almost wrote itself:

Place:  My house
Date:  December 19, 2008
Time:  About 4:45pm
Cast of Characters:
            Mr. Independence-9 year old boy
            Mr. Liberty-6 year old boy
            Little Miss Freedom-4 year old girl
            Mr. Easily Persuaded-2 year old boy
            Mother England-Mom
            Father England-Dad

            The children had been playing a little too quietly in the toy room, when, all of a sudden, they burst out of the room shouting energetically, while Mr. Independence thrust a paper at me that said, “WE DoN’T HAVE Any REpRESeNeTIVES!” (translation:  We don’t have any representatives!)  (Later in the evening I found a note on my pillow that said, “IT’S NOT FARE!”). 
As I was reading the paper that had been given to me, Mr. Independence and Mr. Liberty carried the easel out of the toy room, into the living room;  on the chalk board side of the easel was written:  “Independens for all childrun!”  (translation:  Independence for all children!)  Little Miss Freedom and Mr. Easily Persuaded were dancing around yelling, “Freedom!  Liberty!”
Then, Mr. Independence, quoting FROM MEMORY from the Declaration of Independence, said:  “You know, Mom, ‘Whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it becomes the RIGHT or DUTY of the people to alter or abolish it’!  {Mr. Liberty} and I are looking at you and dad as the British government and the kids as the 13 colonies, and WE WANT INDEPENDENCE!”  As he was telling me this, he continued moving various items into the living room and informed me that he was going to be giving a speech.  I asked him if he could postpone his speech until Father England arrived home from work so that we could get it on video.
Father England arrived home shortly thereafter, and the speeches began.  I took notes.  Here is the short version of Mr. Independence’s speech:  “We come here in the name of independence!  That freedom might live among all 4 kids of this house.  WE WANT INDEPENDENCE!  If polite protesting doesn’t work, we’ll put up something like the Boston Tea Party!  Who votes for something like the Boston Tea Party?  Say Aye! (Mr. Independence-Aye!, Mr. Liberty-Aye!, Little Miss Freedom-Aye!, Mr. Easily Persuaded-K!  Mother England-Nay, Father England-abstained from voting)  I demand independence for all the kids in this house, that me and {Mr. Liberty} have independence in this neighborhood 2 blocks South, 1 block North!” 
(The point was brought up here by Mother England that the colonists did not declare independence WHILE LIVING IN ENGLAND, to which the revolutionaries replied nervously that they had no plans of moving out of the house.) 
Then Mother England replied, “Since we are quoting the Declaration of Independence, it also says, ‘When in the course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation’, so you need to declare the causes which are impelling you to the separation.”
Mr. Independence looked a little taken aback by this, but continued, “It’s not fair that you and dad have lots of independence and me and {Mr. Liberty} have very little!  Your kids are growing up and they want more independence;  lots and lots of it!  Patrick Henry’s parents gave him a rifle at the age of 8!  They lived at a different time than we did;  yes, I know.  Me and {Mr. Liberty} HATE DOING THE CHORES!  We think they are UNFAIR!  We do like living in this house in some ways, but we do not like it when it is muddy and our parents restrict us from going in the mud.  Another reason is we highly disagree with certain things:  having to get our chores done by 6:00pm to have dinner!  We could use a little change with that stinkin’ 24 space behavior chart!  We like the privileges but not the extra chores!”
As Mr. Independence was starting to repeat himself, the floor was given to Mr. Liberty for his speech:  “Just to remind you, the whole meaning of the speeches is to GET MORE INDEPENDENCE!  We need more independence!  Abraham Lincoln said that ALL people should be free!  We need a lot of independence as we grow up, A LOT!  One more very important reason:  we want to leave the house whenever we want, play the computer whenever we want, leave the neighborhood whenever we want!”
The floor was then given to Little Miss Freedom:  “We come here to grow up!  We don’t want to do chores or use that up and down chart!”  (The "up and down chart" is our behavior chart.)
Mr. Easily Persuaded had not prepared a speech for the occasion. 
Mother and Father England informed the revolutionaries that they needed to present a Constitution before we could vote on the independence proposal.  Mr. Independence didn’t think things needed to go quite that far, but Mr. Liberty looked quite excited about the prospect, and they both disappeared.
Shortly thereafter, the revolutionaries reappeared, wanting dinner.  Father England informed them that anyone who wanted to eat would need to grab their allowance and a coat so that they could walk to the grocery store to provide their independent dinner.  At this point loud cries of “We don’t want independence!  We didn’t know what it meant to be independent!  We want to be DEPENDENT!” were heard, but Father England stood firm and escorted the revolutionaries and their allowance up the street to the store to procure dinner.  The enthusiasm of the revolution appeared much dampened upon their return an hour later. 
We are still waiting to be presented with the new Constitution.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Better Luck This Time? Labor and Delivery #2

Three weeks before my due date, something woke me up around 4am.  I couldn't figure out what it was, so I went back to sleep.  But I would just get back to sleep and something would wake me up again!  I finally figured out that I must be having contractions (remember, I hadn't really had any non-Pitocin contractions the first time), but they weren't very painful, and I was sure they weren't very close together, so I figured that these must be the contractions I had heard so much about that come just long enough for you to call everyone on your list to tell them that you're in labor, and then they stop, so you feel like a FOOL.  I woke my husband up to tell him what I thought was going on.  He wanted to time the contractions, but I assured him that they were FAR APART.  He timed them anyway, and we discovered that they were actually 5 minutes apart.  I was still not concerned because they were NOTHING like the contractions I had experienced with the Pitocin, so I got up and took a shower, fixed my hair, and eventually called our person who was going to stay with Ian until my mom could get there.  I, however, was still not convinced that this was actual labor and I was almost certain it was going to stop at any time. 

By the time we left for the hospital (which was about 2 minutes away) at 5am, I was starting to want to smack my husband whenever I would have a contraction.  The contractions were finally starting to hurt as much as the ones I remembered from my first labor, and I couldn't bear the thought of going through HOURS of that misery, so as soon as we walked in to L&D, the first words out of my mouth were, "I am ready for my epidural!"  The nurse smirked a little and rolled her eyes, and sent me to get changed.  I told her that I felt like I needed to use the bathroom, but she said she would like to check me first.  She checked me and said, "How badly did you want that epidural?"  I responded, "There's a reason I asked for it as soon as I came in!!!!!"  She said, "Well, there's no cervix on this side, and only a little on that side;  I don't think there's time."  I said, "GET THE ANESTHESIOLOGIST!"  He came right away (THANK ALL THAT IS HOLY!) and said that if my water broke there wouldn't be time for the epidural to work.  I told him to GET A MOVE ON THEN. 

The epidural worked quickly, my water didn't break, I was fully dilated, but the baby wasn't dropping.  My beloved doctor arrived, broke my water, and, after 3 sneeze-like pushes, Baby #2 was born at 6:37am with the cord wrapped firmly around his neck (The moment when the baby's head was out and the doctor said, "Oh stop pushing!" was a moment I was VERY GRATEFUL for that epidural!!!!).  The doctor had to cut the cord to get him out, and he wasn't breathing, so, once again the baby was whisked off before I could hold him.  THREE WEEKS EARLY, Baby #2 weighed 7 pounds 14 ounces and was 19.5 inches long. 

I COULD NOT BELIEVE how good I felt!  I laughed and laughed because I couldn't believe THAT WAS IT, and now it was over!  I would have gotten up and gone home right then if they would have let me.  I did not feel like I had just been run over by a bus!  I had heard of women who had given birth and then immediately looked at their husbands and asked when they could do this again, and I FELT LIKE THOSE WOMEN!  If my pregnancies, labors, and deliveries could all be like THAT ONE, I could have LOTS of kids!

While they were checking the baby out anyway, I asked them to check his mouth, since I DID NOT want a repeat performance of my first nursing experience.  No tight frenulum!!!!  When they finally handed me the baby, I again waited for that magical bonding moment, and again I thought, "I know I just watched you come out, but you don't seem familiar..."  This time I made sure they didn't take the baby before I nursed him, but this hospital had rules about taking all of the babies to the nursery at certain times, and I DID NOT APPRECIATE the times they took him and didn't bring him back for hours. 

We had worked harder on the naming issue this time, but we still hadn't settled on anything.  This time when I looked at the baby, a name did pop into my head that seemed just right, and we were very excited to have picked out the name on THE FIRST day, instead of having the poor boy being called "Baby Boy Best" for two days.  For the purposes of blogging, I will call him "David".

Ian was brought to the hospital to meet his new brother.  He seemed excited that he could now see and hold the little person who had been "the baby in Mama's tummy".  In order to bribe him make this a positive experience for him, we had a present there for him "from his new brother" that he was quite happy about.  (Also, when we brought David home, we brought a new "brother" for Doggy too, a little stuffed puppy that matched Doggy.)

We left as soon as they would let us out this time because I really did feel good, I couldn't sleep at the hospital, the food was awful, the nurses were surly really busy, it really PISSED ME OFF irritated me the way the nursery kept taking the baby, and I just wanted to be home.
I am TOO CUTE FOR WORDS and so tiny compared to my giant brother!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Processing

Hey!  I got so distracted by all the fun on Twitter! setting up blog stuff my interesting story, that I almost forgot about the free therapy part of this blogging endeavor!  We all know that therapy isn't cheap so I'll try to remember that part from now on =).

From the time the deathly nausea started during my 1st pregnancy until....I don't even know how long...I was just sort of stunned;  I had a hard time processing that something I had looked forward to for SO LONG and had wanted SO BADLY was turning out to involve so much suffering!  Once the pregnancy finally ended, it took MONTHS for my body to recover from the 2 1/2 hours of trying to get a stuck baby to come out.  My mother-in-law had told me, while I was pregnant, to let her know what she could do to help once the baby was born because she'd be happy to do whatever I needed, but she wouldn't know what that was unless I asked her.  I was SO EMBARRASSED, about a week after Ian was born, when I had to call and ask her if she could come wash the dishes because we didn't have a dishwasher, Husband was working long hours, and I couldn't stand up long enough to wash them myself =(.  I was very grateful for her help, but I could not believe that I couldn't wash my own dishes!  Right about the time I was practically delirious from lack of sleep, and the post-partum hormones were in full swing, we moved hours away from all of our friends and family (ie. all our help and support).

Looking back on it now, I can see that circumstances combined into a no-fail recipe for post-partum depression, but I couldn't figure it out at the time.  I felt like I had failed the first quiz of motherhood when I didn't INSTANTLY bond with my baby.  I had NO IDEA what an impact lack of sleep could have on a body (seems like I read years later that waking someone up every two hours all night long was a form of t0rture/mind c0ntrol);  millions of people had had new babies that hadn't slept, and all of those people had survived somehow, right?  Nursing "wasn't supposed to hurt" if I was doing it correctly, and it was AGONY for months (FAIL!), so I couldn't do that right either!  I was surrounded by mothers with babies, and all of THOSE MOTHERS could function somehow;  what was wrong with me (FAIL!)?  I loved my baby SO MUCH and spent my days feeding, changing, burping, rocking, snuggling him and he was STILL SCREAMING (FAIL, FAIL, FAIL!);  what was I doing wrong?  I had babysat, been a nanny, worked with children, and NONE of the children I had come into contact with had been like my child.  I eventually got to know some of the other mothers and asked about their experiences, and there was only one other mother whose baby also spent most of her day screaming;  it was nice to know I wasn't the ONLY one.  It was such a hard time, and I was so discouraged.  Ian didn't end up being the only person who cried a lot at our house (although I didn't cry nearly as loudly as he did...).

The older Ian got, the more I just couldn't shake the feeling that he didn't seem to like me very much.  How could he not like his mother when he wasn't even a teenager yet?  EVERY! SINGLE! THING! was a battle with him.  If I said "blue" he would say "green".  It didn't matter what it was;  if I told him to do something, he WAS NOT going to do it!  CONSTANT opposition;  I didn't know how badly that could wear a person down either.  I had to prepare him for EVERY! SINGLE! TRANSITION! in his day (there are MANY, MANY transitions each day!), or he would have a HUGE fit.  (If I never see another parenting book or behavior/incentive/sticker chart again IN MY ENTIRE LIFE, it will be TOO SOON!  As you were.)

I was so grateful that I was able to enjoy my 2nd pregnancy more than my first!  That pregnancy ended up being the only one, out of FIVE, that was anything like what I'd been expecting/hoping for.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

What Two Boys Can Do To a REALLY NICE Bedroom...

For Ian's birthday one year (8th? 9th?), I gave his room a "makeover" (He really liked the show "Extreme H0me M@ke0ver".).  (One of his brothers was moved into the room with him not long after.)  I got him out of the house for two days and did it without him knowing =)!  I took pictures because I would have bet money had a sneaking suspicion that his room wouldn't stay spotless and organized and SOOTHING TO LOOK AT for long.  Here are the before-he-was-allowed-into-the-room pictures:
Note:  He has a bedroom door in this picture.  Not long after his brother moved in this room with him, I had my husband take the door off because CERTAIN PEOPLE thought it was OK to be nasty to each other behind closed doors.  That was over 2 years ago and they still haven't gotten their door back.  Some people are SLOW LEARNERS...

The organization!

The beds neatly made!

Everything in its place!!


Sigh.  It was so beautiful.  Now, BRACE YOURSELF! 













Here is what it looked like tonight:
Oh, the mess!  The destruction!

SERIOUSLY?!  We haven't learned by now to PUT TRASH IN THE GARBAGE AND NOT ON THE FLOOR OR WHEREVER IT LANDS WHEN IT FALLS FROM OUR FINGERS?!  Ahem.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

More About Ian and Pregnancy #2

For Christmas, Ian received a LARGE stuffed dog;  he immediately, strongly attached to that dog.  (He actually still sleeps with "Doggy" and he'll be 12 soon.)

At 18 months we took Ian to the nursery at church;  he was THRILLED to go, and when we came to get him later, he told us to go back so that he could stay there. 

Ian never really babbled as much as I expected him to, but by the time he was 2 years old he could talk to an adult not from our household, and that adult could understand him.  Also around this time, we noticed that he would become VERY INTERESTED in a certain thing, like tractors;  for months and months he would be very focused on any sort of TRACTOR and NOTHING ELSE.  We had noticed that Ian was very strong-willed (but isn't every child strong-willed?), and around this time we also started noticing that he was very defiant, especially towards me. 

I had started getting the feeling, some months earlier, that there was another little person who wanted to join our family, but I was SO SCARED!  I hadn't forgotten how awful my pregnancy had been, and I was really worried about being able to take care of Ian if I got that sick again.  But I'd talked to many women, and some had said that they had had morning sickness really bad the first time but that it hadn't been so bad in subsequent pregnancies, and some said that they only got sick when they were pregnant with a boy, and some said they only got sick when they were pregnant with a girl, so I tried to cling to the hope that it would be different if I got pregnant again. 

I had taken a pregnancy test as soon as I thought the egg might have been fertilized the day before my expected period many, many, um, several a few times, CERTAIN that I must be pregnant.  Ironically, the month I finally WAS pregnant, the days of my monthly cycle had slipped my mind, and I was a week late by the time I looked at the calendar! 

I waited fearfully for the constant, severe nausea to start...but it never did!  I felt yucky in the mornings and evenings, but I could still function!  I could stand and walk!  I could still eat and drink!  I decided that if THAT was morning sickness, I could absolutely survive!  And it didn't last as long as it had the first time!  (Of course, with this pregnancy I had a doctor who actually would have DONE SOMETHING to help me if it had been like the first time...)

Ian was very excited when I got pregnant and we started talking about "the baby in Mama's tummy".  He INSISTED it was going to be a sister named Baby Elizabeth.  I was happy to go with that and dusted off my list of girl names and got the girl crocheting out again.  (Imagine our surprise when the ultrasound tech put the wand on my stomach and it was IMMEDIATELY APPARENT that it was not going to be Baby Elizabeth after all!)  As my tummy got rounder and rounder, Ian enjoyed patting it and giving kisses to the baby.

Ian had a really hard time with changes and transitions (time to go home from the park, time to stop playing and do something else, etc...), so as soon as I knew I was pregnant I started talking to him about what would happen when the baby was born.  We passed the hospital often when we went out on errands, and every time we would drive by I would say, "There's the hospital where Mama will go when it is time for the baby to come out of my tummy.  You might wake up one morning and Grandma will be there!  Grandma will stay with you while I'm in the hospital, and she will bring you to visit me..." 
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Once, around this time, when Berenstain Bears Learn About Strangers was Ian's favorite book, I walked by his room to hear him saying, "Never ever, ever take a blue scoop tractor from a stranger!" in the most serious voice.  I laughed and laughed!
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I could always tell when Ian was sick because he would come sit on my lap;  it was the ONLY time he would sit on my lap for any period of time.  He was a VERY BUSY boy!  One day I was walking down the hall, and I heard something I had never heard before:  Ian was laughing, and it was a sound of PURE JOY.  I rounded the corner to find him, and his big stuffed dog, sitting on his dresser, with a large container of baby powder, and he was delightedly shaking it ALL. OVER. THE. ROOM.  (FYI:  When one is already in a REALLY BAD MOOD about having to clean up half a container of baby powder, it DOES NOT HELP one's mood when the vacuum cleaner repeatedly shocks one during the clean up.)  He also delighted in clearing a certain bookshelf EVERY. TIME. HE. WALKED. BY. IT.  And dumping the bag of crackers all over the floor.  And dumping all of his toys in a big pile.  For some reason, he acted surprised every time I insisted he clean up whatever glorious mess he'd just made!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Ian's First Year: More Clues

It didn't take long, between the screaming, unhappy baby, the nursing agony, and the lack of sleep before I felt like I was losing my mind.  I would spend the day doing everything in my power to soothe, comfort, and love my baby, and he still wasn't happy.  I was so discouraged by the end of the day because I had spent the whole day taking care of this baby who wasn't happy no matter what I did.  I started crocheting granny squares to make blankets for a local women's shelter because I could do that while I was holding Ian.  Then at the end of the day, I could at least see something concrete that I had accomplished that day:  my little pile of squares.  Since he wouldn't nap for longer than 30 minutes at a time, I had a hard time getting things like laundry, cooking, and cleaning done.  I talked to other young mothers about my experience and how discouraged I was feeling, and they all looked at me in surprise as they told me how much they ADORED motherhood, talked about how wonderfully their babies were sleeping, and suggested I try all the things I had already tried. 

I clung desperately to all of the milestones that were supposed to mean BETTER SLEEPING:  doubling his birth weight, starting solids...I forget what else--the only things that ever made him sleep longer were immunizations.  I was SO EXCITED when it was immunization time because he would sleep for 3 whole hours at a time at night and take a 1-2 hour nap during the day!  Once or twice he slept for a 6 hour stretch at night, and I was AMAZED how much better I felt the next day (even though my chest would inevitably wake me up before the baby did).

(I also clung desperately to "it tooke 9 months to gain the weight, give yourself 9 months to lose it" and "br****feeding helps you lose weight".  Um, FAIL.)

It helped my frame of mind considerably when he reached the 3 month mark and started making eye contact with me and smiling when I would smile at him.  He had such a cute round face and hair poking up everywhere!  (Sorry, we didn't have the digital camera yet =).)  He DETESTED being on his stomach (We actually took pictures of the TWO times he was on his stomach without crying), and he cried whenever I put him down;  he would not play with his toys, and he insisted that I hold him all the time--NOT for interaction with me and cuddles but to have a better view of the world. 

He was interested in standing from a very early age (3 months old), and he quickly learned that he could walk around while holding onto furniture, but I was still a little surprised when he was 8 1/2 months old and he let go of the couch and walked across the room by himself.  I just couldn't help thinking that a person that short WHO WAS STILL A BABY should not be able to walk yet!

When Ian was about 11 months old, Husband had to go away for an eternity 4 weeks.  So, during that time, I was the only one getting up with him every 1-2 hours ALL NIGHT LONG.  I had never realized how MENTALLY draining it was to have a baby who never slept;  because I am apparently THICK-SKULLED for some reason I never managed to squash the hope that THIS would be the time he slept longer than usual....By the time Husband returned, I knew I was going to be even more crazy if I didn't get some uninterrupted sleep soon, and Ian was about a year old, so I was ready to face the "cry it out" method:  I was no longer worried that he was waking up at night because he was hungry or uncomfortable.  It was an ugly week or so, but by the end of it he would sleep through the night!
I have such a cute face and one poky tooth!

One evening, while trying to fix dinner, I turned around and saw this:

Heaven forbid I should sleep in my crib!

The chubby baby cheeks and hands just begging to be kissed!

My mother thinks I am indescribably adorable when I am asleep!



On his first birthday, Ian was wearing size 18-24 month clothes and size 5 1/2 shoes (BIG BOY!), er, moccasins.  For some reason we hadn't really put shoes on him until then, and when we tried he kicked his feet and screamed.  I wanted something on his feet when he went outside;  thankfully I had a friend who knew how to make moccasins and she made a little pair for him.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Is Something Wrong Here or Am I Just REALLY Bad At This? (Nursing and Sleeping Issues)

I'll give you a hint (I wish someone could have given me a hint at the time!!):  Ian did not turn out to be a typical baby/child.  I'll try to remember to bold the clues;  usually the things that made me think that I must really suck at being a mother, when, in reality, they were clues to what the real issue was.  When I go through all of this in excruciating detail, it is because blogging is EXCELLENT free therapy I hope that someone else who is having a similar experience will read this and find it helpful somehow.

We brought Ian home from the hospital, so excited that he was OURS and we actually GOT TO KEEP HIM!  He cried a lot, and wouldn't sleep for very long.  During the day he would sleep for 30-45 minutes at a time, and at night he woke up EVERY 1-2 HOURS ALL. NIGHT. LONG. FOR. A. YEAR.  I finally gave up on the futile job of trying to sleep woke up the first morning that we were home with him, and I was so tired that I HONESTLY COULD NOT REMEMBER WHAT WE HAD NAMED HIM!  I remember sitting there, trying to remember, going through the (short) list of names we had made before we went to the hospital (which didn't help me because the name we picked wasn't on that list...).  His name finally popped into my head, but I couldn't fathom how I could NOT REMEMBER that!  (I also couldn't fathom how it could get to be 5:00pm and I was still in my pajamas.)

By the time we got home, the nursing agony had started:  toe-curling, involuntary-gasping pain EVERY TIME HE LATCHED ON, which was, of course, every time he woke up crying or was otherwise inconsolably unhappy.  (Remember how I was so excited when my water broke because I was sure they physical suffering was almost over?  Um, not so much.  The nursing agony lasted for THREE MONTHS.  I cried quite a few times when it was time for him to eat again.

Day 3 or 4 or 5 I was sitting on the couch when I suddenly noticed that my shirt was all wet.  I was surprised because I hadn't given much thought to that whole "milk coming in" thing, but I had sort of figured that I would just wake up one morning and it would be there.  It made me laugh that I was so surprised when it had just "come in" in the middle of the day.  I hoped that Ian would be happier now that there was actual milk, but no.  I didn't realize that he wasn't latching on correctly (THANK YOU, FRENULUM you bastard!), so he wasn't getting as much milk as he would have liked.  (My amazing shoot-the-milk-out let-down reflex ended up being a blessing here because at least he was able to get something!)  I was QUITE AMAZED (and in pain) when my normally, er, orange-sized chest was suddenly sporting two CANTALOUPES!

At Ian's 2-week check up he was furiously screaming, as he often did, when the doctor walked in, and the first thing the doctor said was, "Well, he's a demanding baby, isn't he?"  I was *SO OFFENDED* (HA, HA, HA, HA, HA! Oh the hindsight!) that he would say such a thing about my PERFECT baby! 

I became concerned when Ian wouldn't have a stinky diaper for DAYS ON END (there was a good reason that his first food was PRUNES), and he would become INCREASINGLY CRANKY as the days wore on, but the doctor always said, "Oh, b*****fed babies just use it all and sometimes don't have stinky diapers as often."  He always gained weight and measured big on the charts, so the doctors never concerned themselves with things like the lack of stinky diapers, the nightly 4 hour screaming session, the sharp-sounding, explosive gas, the frothy, dark green diapers he would eventually have...they always said, "Oh, it's colic.  Some babies get colic.  He'll grow out of it."  I decided that what colic ACTUALLY means is:  "I'm sorry.  I don't have the time or inclination to figure out why your baby is SCREAMING IN PAIN for HOURS EVERY DAY."  I searched the Internet for any helpful information, but all I could find was that he might be lactose intolerant.  I tried changing my diet, but it didn't seem to help.  I would dutifully nurse him on each side for 10 minutes, switching back and forth until he seemed to be finished, just like all of those CURSED STUPID WORTHLESS baby magazines instructed.  Just recently I read an article that mentioned all of the symptoms he had and said that those things could be due to the baby getting too much fore-milk and not enough hind-milk.  DING, DING, DING!  The article mentioned that one way to take care of this problem was for the mother to pump a little from each side before she nursed the baby so the baby would get less fore-milk.  Sigh.  Oh HOW I WISH I would have know that at the time!  But I had tried pumping, to see if it would be any less agonizing than nursing, and I'd never been able to get any milk out, even when I was certain the milk was there.  I felt bad at the time, and I STILL feel bad, that he was so miserable, but my ONE comforting thought was that I never just let him scream;  I would put him down and walk away for a few deep breaths, but I didn't listen to all the people who told me to just "let him cry it out" and "he'll learn if you'll just..."  I comfort myself with that thought now when I wish so desperately that I would have known what to do to help him at the time.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

PSA: Crappy Day Present Tutorial...or How The Crappy Day Present Came To Be

EDITED at the beginning because I finally remembered and at the end to offer suggestions for more generic CDPs and links to examples.


*As I was thinking about it, I remembered that, during high school, I used to bring Crappy Day Presents to my friends on days I knew they were having (or were going to have) a Crappy Day!  One of my favorite things to do was to bring a cheerful bunch of helium balloons, a supportive note/card, and their favorite treat and leave it in their bedroom for them to find when they came home.

Shortly after Ian was born, we had to move (BAD, BAD timing!).  One of my best friends came over before we pulled out, handed me a brightly decorated/beribboned gift bag, and said, "Here.  This is a Crappy Day Present (CDP) because this is a really Crappy Day!"  There was a box of tissues, some chocolate, and I don't remember what else (Who can remember anything past "chocolate"?). 

During the long drive, I had a long time to remember (brain damage from pregnancy and sleepless nights and all that) how wonderful this Crappy Day Present idea was.  I am the kind of person who will be out shopping and see the PERFECT thing for someone I know, and I will excitedly buy it, or maybe I have just learned how to make something new, and I can think of someone who would love it...but then I get frustrated because their birthday or Christmas seems EONS away and I want to give it to them FIVE MINUTES AGO!  Also, I like to do things to try to cheer my friends up or be supportive when they are having a rough day, but that gets trickier when you've moved across the country from the people you want to cheer up, so I decided that I would still be able to do this:  send something IN ADVANCE so that it is on hand when the next Crappy Day happens!  Also, just having something on hand to look at and wonder about can improve a Crappy Day because you can think "Well, if this day gets TOO bad, I'll just open a CDP!" or "This day really sucks, but someone loved me enough to get me a CDP, so maybe I can make it!" or "Is this day really so bad that I want to use one of my CDPs?" 

So!  If you are this kind of person, or you just want to randomly brighten someone's day, READ ON...(This is partly taken from a really long comment I left at Swistle's.)

These are the suggestions I would have for a person wanting to do Crappy Day Presents for someone (you can absolutely modify any of this to fit your situation):

Step 1
a.)  Think of what you are good at--shopping, painting, card making, crocheting, knitting, organizing, sewing, baking, playing with children--ANYTHING you are good at, and keep that in mind during the rest of the process in case you can use something you are good at to help with your Crappy Day Presents.

b.)  Then, think of any helpful piece of information you might have about your person (we'll assume your person is female):
*Do you know her favorite color or treat or movie?
*Does she have dogs/cats/kids?
*Have you noticed she brings/orders a certain thing for lunch quite often?
*Has she ever mentioned that she has a cow/sunflower/apple/rooster/americana/bird theme in her kitchen/living room/bathroom?
*Has she ever mentioned that she likes to bake/read/do crossword puzzles/take bubble baths?
*Has she ever mentioned that she really needs a new set of measuring cups/kitchen towels/muffin pans, etc....?
Think of ANYTHING you know about your person that might help you pick something out. 

c.)  Then, think back to the things you are good at, and see if you can think of a way to use what you are good at to find something that goes with the things you know about her; if you thought she would use them, you could make little "coupons" that can be redeemed for something you can do: babysitting her kids, running to the store for milk/eggs/bread, a loaf of fresh bread, a batch of cookies, a batch of soup, dinner for her family some night so she doesn't have to cook, cleaning a bathroom, ect...be creative! 

d.)  *Insert encouraging voice* I know this next part could be HARD, but this process could also involve GOING SHOPPING to find the right things.  I know, I know!  It's a sacrifice!  But it's for THE GREATER GOOD, so, do what you can do. 

Even if you don't feel like you can think of anything amazing, I can't imagine that anyone wouldn't be cheered up that someone cared enough to bring her a bag/basket/box of brightly wrapped, mysterious little packages! 

Step 2
a.)  Once you have gathered together some things you think your person will like, get out your wrapping supplies and any froofy things you have been saving for some occasion that never seems to come up (stamps, stickers, ribbons) and apply them generously to your gifts!  (Think how fun it is at Christmas to see a cheerful pile of brightly wrapped presents under the tree.)  If you'd like, put a little note in the present telling why you picked that thing for her.

b.)  Attach some sort of note or tag to your present(s) so your person knows what to do with it (them).  I have two different tags I use, depending on the person.  For someone I am not really close to, such as the lovely lady at the post office or my favorite nurse at the doctor's office, my tags say:  "This is a “Crappy Day” present!  Open it the next time you are having a CRAPPY day, and know that you are appreciated for all you do to make the world a better place!" and for family members or close friends the tags say:  "This is a “Crappy Day” present!  Open it the next time you are having a CRAPPY day, and know that you are loved!!" 

c.)  If I have a bunch of presents to give someone all at once (usually this happens when I'm sending a box to someone far away;  I figure if I'm sending a box, I might as well FILL IT UP!), I try to label the tag for the appropriate level of crappiness:
  • Minor—“Life certainly can be blah!”
  • Moderate—“Why is everyone around me *SO* IRRITATING?!”
  • MAJOR—“If people don’t *WATCH OUT*, HEADS MAY ROLL!!!!”
Step 3
Deliver your package and enjoy the knowledge that you have made someone's day a little less crappy!

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This can be a really involved process if you are trying to distract YOURSELF from YOUR life's stress like that sort of thing, or you really could just put a present in a brown bag, staple it shut, and hand it to your friend saying "Open this the next time you have a Crappy Day."  Whatever works for you!
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EDITED TO ADD:
It is usually around Step 3 when I start to PANIC, and I think, "This was a REALLY STUPID idea!  She isn't going to like any of these things!  I should just wear a sign that says 'I AM A DORK'!"  I try hard to ignore the nasty, demon voice to persevere and deliver/send the present anyway, but sometimes the voice wins.

Also, Life of a Doctor's Wife asked about more generic CDPs, so I thought I would add some information about that:

I think for generic CDPs you could do some of the same kinds of things you would do for teacher presents: some sort of candy, a cute mug, bath stuff, candles, cute little notebooks/notepads...check Swistle's posts on teacher gifts for more ideas because that's all I can remember at the moment =).
What else? You could wrap: a container of brownies/cookies with instructions to open that package first...a gift card to somewhere to eat with instructions to take herself to lunch...a cute reusable shopping bag...a CD of your favorite cheer-yourself-up music...a cute necklace, bracelet, pair of earrings...The Blue Day Book by Bradley Trevor Greive...if you email me with whatever information you have about your person, I will try to tear myself away from my sweet, obedient, precious children, um, abandon my much appreciated efforts to keep the household running email you back when I get a chance!

Even if you don't manage to pick out her VERY FAVORITE candy or candle scent or whatever, I would think it would make her feel better just to know that somebody cared enough to try! And never underestimate the power of LOTS of cheerfully wrapped packages, even if the packages only have little things in them! I'm usually one who puts the cookies in a ziploc bag and presents them to someone that way, but I have a friend who is REALLY GOOD at making things look nice (for example, she puts her cookies on a festive-looking plate), and I've decided those little things really can make a difference in the cheeriness factor of the gifts!
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It can be a good idea to read the following post and print it out for yourself or the person you are giving CDPs to =)!
The Rules For the Opening of Crappy Day Presents
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Crappy-Day-Present-Receiving Etiquette


Link to Crappy Day Package example #1
Link to Crappy Day Package example #2
Example of a Crappy Day Package #3
Example of a Crappy Day Package #4
Example of a Crappy Day Package #5
Example of a Crappy Day Package #6
Example of a Crappy Day Package #7
Example of a Crappy Day Package #8


Links to Other Examples of Crappy Day Packages/Presents

I Don't Remember Talking About Pitocin in Lamaze Class: Labor and Delivery #1

I woke my husband to tell him the happy news and we called the hospital.  I don't remember what they said because I was too busy thanking my lucky stars that this pregnancy was almost over!  We went to the hospital within about 2 hours of my water breaking (I SHOULD HAVE STAYED HOME LONGER!), and I wasn't having regular contractions (although I was dilated to 3cm).  They made me stay in the bed since my water had broken (that was their procedure for avoiding a prolapsed cord).  *I* was thinking that if the baby's head was not allowing any more fluid to come out that there wasn't much chance the cord was getting through and that gravity might be helpful in this situation, but their solution was Pitocin.  I figured that they had my best interest at heart (WHY would I think that?!), and was still so excited about the thought of NOT BEING PREGNANT anymore and getting to hold my new baby that I didn't argue.  They gave me a lot of Pitocin VERY QUICKLY, and, within minutes, I was having really intense contractions that were right on top of each other;  I would have 3 or 4 right in a row with no break!  My poor friend whose hand I was squeezing was afraid I was going to break her hand.  I thought I was going to die in the HOUR AND A HALF before the anesthesiologist showed up.  I could have KISSED HIS FEET once that epidural took effect!  This was at around 6:30am, and by 10am, I was ready to start pushing. 

The doctor (the only one from the practice that I didn't like, of course) came in when I started pushing and then disappeared....for THREE HOURS.  The baby crowned after 20 minutes but WOULD NOT COME OUT, and the doctor was nowhere to be found (seriously, there was not another doctor in the whole hospital?!).  I pushed for 2 1/2 hours longer trying to get that baby out, and not half-hearted tentative pushes, but GET THIS BABY OUT SO I DON'T HAVE TO BE PREGNANT ANYMORE pushes.  (Let me just mention here that trying for 2 1/2 HOURS to push out a baby who is stuck makes for some VERY UNHAPPY lady parts in the weeks to follow!)  When the j*ck*ss doctor FINALLY came back, he used forceps and the baby came right out, all 8 POUNDS 8 OUNCES and 21 INCHES of him (Thank Heaven he was 2 1/2 weeks early!).  Oh, and he did have LOTS of hair on his pointy cone-head (apparently being stuck is NO FUN for the baby either), just as the ultrasound tech had said. 

Baby was purple (and VERY MAD) so he was quickly whisked off.  I was VERY PISSED a little irritated that after all of my suffering and hard work, I was the LAST person in the room to get to hold him.  But someone FINALLY handed him to me, and I thought, "Hey, wait a minute;  where's my tiny newborn?  This baby looks about 2 months old!" and then I thought, "I have waited for you for so long, and I know I just watched you come out of my body, but you don't look at all familiar..."  I waited for that magical moment when I would look into the baby's eyes and have that immediate, overpowering feeling of love and bonding that I had heard so much about...um, not so much.  I did soon love him and bond with him, but it wasn't that IMMEDIATE thing I'd heard so much about (Thing that made me think I might be a bad mother #1).

I spent the next hour snuggling and sniffing and marvelling over MY PRECIOUS NEW BABY!!!  And when the nurse came in and said it was their policy to take the baby to the nursery after an hour, I was too stupid inexperienced to argue with her.  So they took the baby BEFORE I HAD NURSED HIM.

Edited to add:  Right after they took the baby, someone came to move me to another room and told me to HOP in the wheelchair.  I COULD BARELY MOVE.  The epidural had worn off and my body was letting me no in NO UNCERTAIN TERMS that it was NOT HAPPY with the treatment it had received the previous few hours.

Needless to say, by the time they returned him to me he was quite ready to settle in for a nice, long nap, and I spent the rest of the day trying desperately to get him to wake up and eat.  He WAS NOT INTERESTED in waking up, and soon the nurses started telling me that if I couldn't get him to eat they were going to have to start an IV because his blood sugar was low (Thing that made me think I might be a bad mother #2).  I was eventually able to wake him up a little, but he seemed to be having trouble latching on (Thing that made me think I might be a bad mother #3).  Different nurses and the lactation consultant came and tried to help, but this seemed to only make him more mad (did I mention that he just generally seemed REALLY PISSED?).  NOBODY EVER CHECKED THE BABY'S MOUTH.  (About 9 months later he yawned at a doctor's appointment, and the nurse said, "Wow!  His frenulum (thing under his tongue) is really tight;  does he have trouble eating?"  I wanted to WEEP thinking about the THREE MONTHS of nursing AGONY I had endured...)

In between trying to wake the baby up to eat, I would look at his precious baby face and wait for his name to pop into my head because that is what everybody had said would happen, right?!  No luck.  The day before we had to leave the hospital, my husband went home and got the baby name book.  We searched and searched and finally found a name we liked, that also had a meaning we liked.  For blogging purposes, I will call him "Ian".

This Is Not Exactly What I Was Expecting: Pregnancy #1

As soon as I was old enough to understand what a pregnant woman was, I could hardly wait until it was my turn to do that!  It was FASCINATING:  a tiny, perfect, little person growing inside the woman's body, feeling the baby bump around inside her tummy, a precious, soft, warm, fuzzy, snuggly baby at the end!  Fast forward an eternity more than a decade, and it was MY TURN! 

The day my period was late, I took the pregnancy test in the store bathroom--TWO PINK LINES!!!  I was THRILLED....for about two weeks, before the constant, severe nausea started.  I had heard about morning sickness, of course, but had crossed my fingers and hoped I would be one of the lucky ones who "never felt better" than when she was pregnant (HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA...Joke on me #1).  The only way I could explain it to people so they could almost understand was to say, "You know how when you get a stomach virus or food poisoning, and you are so nauseous, but you really don't want to throw up, so you lie there, miserable, for a long time, but you come to that point where you are leaning over the toilet begging God to either kill you or let you throw up?  THAT is what I feel like EVERY MOMENT I AM CONSCIOUS."  I could barely eat or drink.  I tried the ginger, saltines, peppermint, eating something before I got up in the morning, etc.  I was VERY PUT OUT with whoever had decided that this misery should be called "morning" sickness, instead of "all-day-wish-you-were-dead" sickness.  After about six weeks of this I had my first doctor's appointment.  I asked the doctor if it was normal to be excruciatingly nauseous all the time, and the doctor said, "You are pregnant.  Pregnant women feel nauseous." 

Someone told me that they had gotten Vitamin B shots when they were pregnant and it had helped with the nausea, so I asked about that at my next appointment.  The doctor was happy to give me the shot (he couldn't bring this up himself at my LAST VISIT?!), and it was HEAVEN...for a week.  I went in for another shot, and that one lasted about 3 days, and the last shot didn't do anything =(.  I wanted to WEEP every morning when I had to get out of bed and go do my student teaching because standing/moving made it worse.  I BEGGED my husband to smother me with a pillow to put me out of my misery, but he wouldn't do it.  Every day I wondered how a body could feel so awful and not just DIE from the misery, I LIVED for the 12-13 week mark when the "morning sickness" was supposed to go away, but it didn't start getting better until I was about 22 weeks.

Of course, as soon as I found out I was pregnant, I started making my list of girl names and crocheting cute girly things because, what else would I have?  (HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA...Joke on me #2).  At the ultrasound we learned it was going to be a boy and that he already had hair (who knew they could see hair on an ultrasound?).  Then the naming fun began in earnest.  My husband leaned towards really unique names and I leaned towards names that wouldn't make our child hate us some day more traditional, or at least main-stream, names.  We really couldn't agree, and everyone said that once we saw the baby we would "just know" what his name should be so, like fools, we believed those with more experience than us and decided we would worry about that at the hospital.

I did manage to enjoy weeks 22-30 (hooray!), when I could feel the baby moving and I was obviously pregnant but didn't feel like a beached whale yet.  One day I was feeling my belly and felt the baby's poky elbow or knee or something (a rare occurrence), and, as I rubbed it gently, I felt him pull away with a "don't touch me" kind of vibe;  I thought that was a little strange and but figured it must have just been my imagination (HA, HA, HA...Joke on me #3)! 

The last 2 months of pregnancy the usual discomforts started:  I started getting puffy (at one of my doctor's appointments, the doctor who was pregnant with TWINS looked at me and said, "Wow! You're even puffier than I am!"), felt so large and cumbersome (I had a new understanding of the scriptures which said that Mary was "great with child", and I felt IMMENSE SYMPATHY for her), had to use the bathroom every 2 hours all night long...until about week 36 when the baby dropped and I then had to use the bathroom every 45 minutes all night long...One night, 2 1/2 weeks before I was due, I woke up around 3am thinking, "No, I just used the bathroom 30 minutes ago;  I should still have 15 minutes left..." and, an instant later, my water broke.  I don't think I had ever been happier in my entire life!  My first thought was, "Hooray!  The misery is almost over!"  (HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA...Joke on me #4), followed quickly by, "Hooray!  This is labor FOR SURE, so I don't have to feel silly calling everyone and then not really being in labor!"   

Jumping In

I've thought about starting a blog before, but I just feel like I'm so behind!  A blog would have been great when my first was born, but that was almost 12 years ago...I keep thinking that I don't need ONE MORE excuse to not clean up around here THING to be behind on, but I've really enjoyed the blogs I've read.  It's interesting to get to know people, it's nice to know that I'm not the only one experiencing a certain thing, I really want to name more babies but since I'm not having anymore I'll just have to rename the ones I already have, and sometimes I even learn something helpful.  (Most helpful thing I've learned:  the all-day-long-please-kill-me-now-deathly-nausea is NOT "morning sickness", it's called "HYPEREMESIS GRAVIDARUM".  See http://www.helpher.org/.)

So, here I go!  I'm going to jump in anyway, even though I'm behind =)!  WARNING:   I seem to write with lots of smiley faces and exclamation points, but this is in no way reflective of how happy or peppy I am...I'm afraid happy and peppy got beaten down LONG AGO!  I am a mother, and my main focus at the moment (and for the past 12 years) has been raising my children, so if you aren't interested in pregnancy stories, birth stories, baby stories, and kid stories, with the occasional something else thrown in, this may not be the blog for you, and I won't feel bad if you stop reading =).  If you are interested in those things, or you, too, are another mother doing her best, I hope you enjoy reading my story and that it helps you deal with the demanding little terrorists at your house in some way!  Now, if you want to find out what happens when a young man and a young lady get married and have 5 kids, read on.....