October 29, 2012

Throwing Firemen

I've been trying to teach Daughter to stand up for herself.  I've been telling her that she doesn't have to let people be mean to her.  She has a history of allowing other kids to be mean; biting, kicking, pushing her, and she keeps on playing with them like nothing happened.  This has been her attitude since she started playing with other kids.

I kind of felt bad but at the same time did a little happy dance on the inside the first time she stood up for herself.  We were at a mommy group and Daughter was playing on one of those scoot along toys and a boy came up grabbed the handles, dumped Daughter to the ground and started riding off on it.  Daughter sat on the ground with a pouty lip for a moment then got up, walked over to the boy on the scoot toy, looked at me over her shoulder, hauled off and pushed the boy right off the side, jumped back on and rode away with a smile on her face.  Outside I went over to her and told her that neither one of them could play with the toy now if they couldn't be nice to each other but inside...I WAS PROUD!  She finally didn't just get a confused look and go off to find a new toy!

Now I guess I wasn't really proud...that may be the wrong term but I was happy that she wasn't just sitting there and taking the other kid pushing her around.  I started trying to explain that pushing, hitting, kicking, throwing things were not acceptable ways of standing up for herself.  I told her that from then on she needed to stand up for herself with words.  I said, "Just say, 'you're being mean and if you can't be nice I don't want to play with you,' and walk away."  Now, that is so one of those 'do as I say not as I do' moments cuz I probably would've pushed the kid off the scoot toy too but I'm supposed to be teaching her to behave better than me!

More recently there was a incident with another girl biting Daughter.  Daughter screamed and looked for me to do something about it but I can't reprimand the other lady's kid so I told Daughter to do the whole you're mean walk away thing.  She didn't listen.  In fact, she went right back to playing with the little girl as if nothing happened.  I was upset cuz I saw this as a total backslide.

This past friday though Daughter apparently decided she was done playing the doormat.  She was playing with a couple of other kids when the little boy apparently kicked her.  Daughter screamed an Amazon war cry and hauled off and throw a hard plastic fireman toy right at the boy.  After this she says, "Stop being mean or I'm done playing!"  I'm sorry but yep, now I was proud and I might have had to hide a giggle or two!

October 27, 2012

Proud Mother of Three Little Angels

That's right... proud mother of THREE.  You've been introduced to Daughter and Son but you are going to be introduced to MJ now.

Before you read this you need to know that this is either very brave of me or very stupid of me.  I'm putting the worst day of my life out there for everyone to see.  Judge me if you need to but I feel compelled to tell my story to maybe help others out there that need to know they're far from alone.

My due date was July 6 of 2011.  MJ was born February 19 of 2011.  I was only 5 months along.  On Valentine's Day, happy day of love, I went in for a routine ultrasound expecting to walk out with pictures that I could show everybody of the healthy baby in my belly.  I was joking with Him that I was going to find out the sex and not tell Him cuz he couldn't come with me to the ultrasound.  I had Daughter with me so she could see "her" baby and feel a bond to her little brother or sister that was growing in my belly.  Instead, I found out that day that the baby I was carrying had a heart that was too big.  After five days of knowing that my baby was probably not going to make it, I held MJ in my arms and cried my eyes out to a point that I couldn't see through my tears.

I was 5 months along when I lost my MJ so everybody knew I was pregnant. I couldn't hide the fact that I no longer had a pregnant belly or fool people into the idea that I already had my baby.  I was forced to face the fact that I was no longer pregnant every time I saw someone who knew me.  I was forced to see my non-fat belly every time I looked down.  I was asked at the grocery store, at restaurants, at random places everywhere, "Oh, did you already have the baby?", "Where's the newest family member?", "I thought you were pregnant?"  Yep, everyday in so many ways it bashed me in the face that I gave birth to a beautiful baby that I didn't get to bring home.  Walking out of the hospital after giving birth without a baby in my arms and knowing that all the dreams I had for that child were now just....gone...that's the loneliest I've ever felt!

I tried to deny it but I was slapped in the face with it anytime I did anything outside my house.  I tried to hide myself away but my mom, my husband, my friends wouldn't let me.  I cried so constantly that my eyes being red and my face being puffy became normal.  I tried so hard to pretend that this just had NEVER happened.

We decided to have MJ cremated and I remember going to pick up the ashes and sitting in the parking lot at the funeral home crying in my truck.  I found it so hard to even open the door.  It wasn't a sunny day but I wouldn't take my sunglasses off...even inside...and I hate those people that wear sunglasses inside!  I'll never forget them handing me this tiny box and thinking, "that's it...this is all I have for a lifetime of dreams and wishes I had?"

I had crazy thoughts.  Thoughts the normal me would never think.  I remember one day my mom brought me and Daughter out to lunch just to make me get out of the house.  It was February and winter was so on.  Looking out the window that we were seated by, there was a pier out into a very large lake.  There was ice over the pier and the wind was churning up big waves.  I remember thinking, "If I walk out on that pier, I would probably slip on the ice and plunge into the water.  Those waves are so big it'd be hard to swim back to the pier and it's so cold maybe I'd freeze to death before I could even drowned."  Yeah...that's not normal.

We held a memorial because it wasn't just my immediate family that lost MJ.  Grandparents lost their grandchild.  Aunts and uncles lost their niece or nephew.  Nieces and nephews lost their cousin.  I went shopping for food for for the memorial with my sister and had my first public meltdown.  I was grabbing food and pretty much throwing it into the cart and getting pretty pissed cuz I had to consider what everybody else expected.  I was pissed that at this time in my life I had to think about what other people wanted.  No, no please...how can I ease YOUR pain at the loss of MY baby!?!?  I was bitching to my sister about how I had to get goat cheese and special bread for my mom and how Him's family expected dinner more than snacks and what would a memorial be without a cake?  Seriously, do you people think this is a fucking party!?!?  After throwing everything everybody else wanted into the cart, I went to the checkout lane.  The cashier asked, "How are you doing?"  HA HA HA MELTDOWN!  "Just fucking great!  It's a spect-frickin-tacular day!...I'm sorry...it's been a long day and I could really use a nap...in a padded room."  The cashier may never know how perfect she was for me that day when she answered, "I could find some nice young men in clean white jackets that would love to talk to you..."  I laughed so hard and I needed that more than I even knew.

I remember as people started showing up for the memorial, I walked outside and found a place to hide.  I heard people calling for me, looking for me but I didn't respond.  I crouched to the ground and cried.  I was still hiding inside myself and trying to pretend it didn't happen and this damn memorial was making it so painfully obvious that I really had to face it!  My sister-in-law came out, walked right over to me like she knew all along where I was, lit up a cigarette and said, "So...this really sucks..."  I laughed.  She just stood there for quite a while just smoking her cigarette and being there.  She turned to me as she put her cigarette out and said, "Everybody is inside whenever you feel up to coming in."  She may never know what that meant to me.  I told her thank you but I don't think those words carried enough weight to make her realize how great it was that she was just there.  She didn't try to cheer me up, she didn't push me to talk about it, she didn't tell me I had to accept it, she didn't offer up one of the cliches people use when they don't know what to say.  She was just there.  Sometimes, that's exactly what a person needs.

People say such stupid things to a grieving person.  This too shall pass...really? I didn't know it was a kidney stone!  They're in a better place now...the best place for my baby is in my arms so piss off!  Don't let this happen again, I don't know if we can take it...oh but it's been such a party for me! COMPLETE WITH CAKE!  Isn't it better that it happened now rather than after you knew them?  Don't tell me I didn't know MJ!  I felt MJ kick me.  I had heard MJ's heartbeat.  I had pictures of MJ.  MJ wanted Burger King for every meal.  MJ didn't like it when I ate first thing in the morning.  Don't know if you know this but as soon as a woman knows she's pregnant there's a bond with that baby and the dreams and thoughts about the future start the moment she sees those two pink lines.

I will never understand why a mother that loses her five year old child can grieve and talk about the child she lost yet a woman has a miscarriage and she feels too ashamed to talk about it as if she caused it or something.  An abortion is such a terrible thing cuz you're killing a baby but a woman has a miscarriage and she just lost a pregnancy not a baby.  For some reason unknown to me it's more OK to grieve in public because your dog died then because you lost your unborn baby.  You probably know a great deal of women that have gone through losing their baby and you don't even know it cuz those women were too ashamed to talk openly.

Once I started opening up and talking about losing MJ, I found out how not alone I was.  I found out my grandmother, my mom, my mother-in-law, my cousin, a high percentage of my friends, a whole ton of people I knew had miscarriages and they had just never talked about it with me.  I was unwillingly welcomed into a secret underground sisterhood that included so many women!

One of those women gave me the best advice I got throughout my grieving.  She told me, "You know how everybody keeps telling you you need to go through the grieving process and sooner or later you'll accept it?  I always thought that was the dumbest thing cuz I thought acceptance meant being OK with what happened and I was never going to be OK with what happened.  I figured out 'acceptance' was actually the point you reach where you realize you can't change it, this is now a part of you like it or not and nothing you do will ever make it go away...not even pretending it didn't happen."

I waited a while before trying to get pregnant again and I remember all the way through my pregnancy with Son I was so scared that in an instant it would all be ripped away again.  I had a long and trying pregnancy with Son too.  I had terrible morning sickness at the beginning to the point I was dehydrated and had to be hospitalized.  I almost had a heart attack at 5 months along, was hospitalized and put on heart meds.  At 34 weeks along I went into premature labor and ended up on bed rest.  Every time something happened I would think, "This is it, this is where the bottom falls out."  I even had a hard time getting excited about the idea of taking a baby home at the end of it all cuz well, that isn't how the last one ended.  I was scared.

Still I can't think about MJ without tears in my eyes.  Even as I write this I've stopped several times cuz I needed to walk away.  Even with Son being born perfectly healthy, I still grieve the loss of my MJ.  I have come to the point of accepting that I didn't get to bring MJ home as a part of my life, I stopped hiding, started owning it as a chapter in my autobiography but that doesn't mean it no longer hurts.  Whenever I think of MJ a sad smile crosses my face because I know for all the pain I have felt at losing MJ, I take comfort in knowing all MJ ever felt was love.

Another amazing woman said to me shortly after Son was born, "Now you're the proud mama of three...you just don't get to hold one of them right yet."

October 18, 2012

Little People In Dark Hallways Scare Me!

Lately Daughter has felt that her bedtime is too earlier...apparently.  We do the bedtime ritual of potty, brush teeth,  three stories, potty again, hugs and kisses, prayers, lay down, lights out.  It's been that way since she was about six months old and it's been good...until recently.

She would sit in her room, in the dark, playing, singing and then it would turn to yelling that she needed to pee again or she needed water or she wanted to say she loved us one more time.  Basically anything that stalled bedtime.  Bedtime stayed around 8:30pm but sleep time stretched to about midnight.

About a week ago we went through the whole ritual and I came downstairs prepared for the stalling to begin and I heard...nothing!  I was cautious about celebrating cuz we all know what happens when you celebrate too early.  About an hour later though with no sound coming over the monitor...I started celebrating!  YAY!  That phase had ended!  I went and took a very relaxing bath with tension releasing bubbles.  I had a glass of wine on the edge of the tub that became empty too quickly.  I even got to shave my legs without a toddler asking twenty questions about why I would do that.  Now, relaxed and sleepy, I brushed my teeth and set off up the stairs for my fabulously comfortable bed...BEFORE MIDNIGHT!

I commonly go up the stairs without turning on the light especially if Daughter is asleep because I don't want the light drifting into her bedroom giving her reason to start playing twenty questions in an attempt to stay awake.  I reach the top of the stairs and out of nowhere a little person attaches their arms around my thighs.  In a sleepy relaxed state this scares the absolute shit out of me and I automatically try to back away...screaming!  I grab the door frame at the top of the stairs barely saving myself and the little person from falling head over heels down the stairs.  My foggy brain is trying to figure out what horrible thing I did to the little person community to the point that they would send a stealthy little person ninja to my house to shove me backwards down the stairs, breaking my neck and making the whole thing look like a terrible accident.  No police officer would believe that a little person ninja did it!  Through my terrified scream I hear the little person screaming and it finally hits that I recognize that scream.  I struggle down the hallway with the little person still attached to my thighs to the light switch and sure enough it's Daughter hugging tightly to me.  You know how when adrenaline drains from your body when you think you're in danger and realize you're not so your screams are replaced with hysterical laughter?  Yeah, that happened.  Daughter's scream became laughter quickly too.

"Honey, what are you doing sitting in the dark in the hallway?"
"I got bored sitting in my room in the dark..."
"We put you to sleep two hours ago!  Have you been out here that whole time?"
"No, I sat in bed for a while but then I got bored and came out here."
"You never said anything?  I never heard you over the monitor...do you need something?"
"I didn't say anything cuz you and daddy told me to be quiet so I sneaked out of bed and sat here waiting for you or daddy to come up.  I didn't want to scream cuz that's not quiet."  Good reasoning?!?!
"Honey, we put you to bed and said be quiet meaning GO TO SLEEP!"
"Oh...well that's not what you said."  Again, good reasoning!?!?
"OK...well I'm going to sleep now and I would really appreciate it if you crawled into your bed quietly and went to sleep."
"OK mama."
I went and tucked her in, gave her another hug and kiss, continued on to my room and fell asleep dreaming of little people trying to kill me.

That was about a week ago...totally related, Daughter has given up naps so bedtime really does mean sleep time again.  There have been no little person attempts on my life since then.

October 15, 2012

Drunk vs. Toddler

I never knew my job as a bartender was preparing me for motherhood...until Daughter reached toddlerhood.

There are far too many similarities between a drunk adult and a toddler!

  1. They both speak unintelligible gibberish and expect you to understand it.  There are made up words in drunk language and in toddler language and if you ask either what they're trying to say, they get mad at you that you even asked! Cuz obviously, "mumble jumble ali baba" meant I need another drink, to toddler and drunk person!
  2. They're both incredibly well versed in tantrum throwing.  Tell a toddler they can't have something they want and step back.  Tell a drunk person they're cut off...ditto!  I have actually told a cut off customer or two that they were "throwing a tantrum a two year old would be proud of!"
  3. They both can give you 101 reasons that you should give them what they want.  And when they give you these reasons, they are very sure that they are very convincing reasons even though 100 of them are said in the made up language.
  4. After the convincing reasons are not convincing enough, then come the threats.  The threats themselves are differing, drunk person threatens to never come there again and toddler threatens to scream and wake up her brother but threats nonetheless.  Stomping and yelling go hand in hand at this point too.
  5. Sometimes the only response that can work with either is, "Because I said so!"  Whether the question is, "Why can't I have another drink?" or "Why can't I eat candy for lunch?"  
  6. The reasoning of "Because I said so!" is usually again met with the tantrum throwing, stomping and threatening but this is usually the point that the bartender/parent has stopped paying any bit of attention to the drunk person/toddler.
  7. Putting on a smiling face and speaking in a calm voice in the face of the tantrum thrower is usually met by anger from either too because they were looking for you to respond with yelling of your own and worry over the threat.
  8. When you tell drunk person/toddler that it's time to go, the behavior is the same too.  The tantrum throwing, yelling, and threatening continue usually followed by forceful removal.
  9. And the best thing you can do for either sometimes is find them a safe, warm place to pass out and hope they wake up in a better mood!   
  10. It's usually this point where the bartender/parent goes and has a drink for themselves!
I guess I should go and thank all the people I cut off over the years for teaching me how to be a parent but that probably won't happen...

October 12, 2012

How Important Was It?

I assume you've all seen the "It Can Wait" campaign commercials about not texting while driving.  Well, I almost became a part of a commercial yesterday.

I know I can't even talk and walk at the same time without finding myself tripping over a small crack in the sidewalk, ending up face planting on cement and breaking my phone (It's actually happened!) so I don't even attempt to TALK on the phone in my truck.  I know a lot of people talk on the phone in cars every day and even though I don't think that's all that safe, that doesn't require them looking away from the road to read and type while still trying to navigate through 75 mph traffic.

SO, to the mother in the white Audi...REALLY?

I was driving home from my mom's house yesterday when a white Audi next to me swerved into my lane.  I hit my brakes to avoid hitting her.  The woman driving was holding her phone in her right hand, texting.  She looked over at me as she overcorrected, went over the rumble strips and raised her hand with her phone in it as an apology.  At this point I see the two carseats in her backseat with the two smiling faces of young children.

Instead of hanging up her phone when she almost ran another vehicle off the road, she just switched lanes in front of me and slowed down to five mph BELOW the speed limit...as if slowing down will make it all better, as if when you run someone off the road at a slower speed maybe you won't kill someone just severely injure them?  AH YES...that's better...now I get it!

Since I was pinned behind her now, I watched as she hit the rumble strips on this side, overcorrected and almost hit the little Accord that was now next to her as they laid on their horn.  STILL, she didn't put her phone down.  SERIOUSLY?  Two near accidents and you still think your text is important?

Now if you want to text and drive out on some rural road when nobody else is around and the only things you could possibly hurt are wood fences, some trees and YOURSELF, have at it.  When you're on a major highway through a largish city with two children in carseats in your backseat and the black truck you almost ran off the highway is carrying a three year old, a three month old and a mother that's currently giving you a death glare...put your damn phone DOWN!

Whoever you were talking to about whatever you were talking about better have been REALLY damn important for all the lives you put at risk!

I could even understand that you don't know me and therefore don't care about my life or my children that you put at risk but next time you need to decide whether or not to answer that text, please do me a favor and glance in your rearview mirror.  Those two children riding in carseats in your back seat, putting all their trust in you getting them wherever you're going safely?  They're only safe right now because the drivers around you were paying attention.  Maybe next time you can't look up from your text you'll be next to someone else that's also texting!  Don't let your TEXT be more important than your KIDS!

October 11, 2012

Giving is Great But That's MINE!

Him and I have done our best to raise Daughter with compassion for those less fortunate and a sense of charity and we've done pretty well as far as we can see.

Last winter every time we passed a guy in front of a store ringing a bell with a red bucket, Daughter would turn to me and hold out her hand.  She would gleefully drop the money into the bucket and smile.  I would beam with pride that my daughter took such pleasure in helping others.  I'm sure when the buckets come back out this winter Daughter will remember in an instant and wait, hand out, for the money to drop in.

Right before Son was born we had decided we needed to get rid of some things including some of Daughter's toys and we needed to get the baby toys back out for Son.  Daughter happily went through her things deciding which to hand down to her brother and which to give to "the other kids that don't have this stuff".  She would've given her whole playroom away if I hadn't reminded her that we weren't running out tomorrow to buy her more toys.

Yesterday a couple of guys from a local church came around to collect canned goods for the local food pantry.  Daughter followed me into the kitchen and wanted to bring the food out to the waiting guys.  She could only carry one can at a time but after Him explained to the guys about how we're trying to teach our daughter about giving, they waited very patiently as she brought them several cans one by one.  She turned to me when we had said goodbye and asked why we didn't give more.  I told her that we do need to keep some food for us to eat with a smile on my face.

Later at night we were sitting in the living room and Daughter turns to me and says, "We didn't give them any of my spaghetti-o's!"
"I know honey. I didn't think you would want to give them those.  We gave them some veggies, fruit cocktails and lots of soup though."
"But we didn't give them any spaghetti-o's?"
"No honey..." I say with a questioning look on my face.  I was wondering if she wanted me to chase these guys down to give them some spaghetti-o's just to make her happy.
Then Daughter looks over at the TV and says, "Good cuz those are mine."

GREAT!  She's good about giving as long as it's not something she wants.  I can't wait til she realizes we're not just putting paper into those red buckets!

October 9, 2012

You Can't Pick Your Child's Friend's Parents...

We had a "Sanity Squad" meeting recently and the subject of friend's parents and parent's friends came up.  Sometimes your best friend has a rotten child and sometimes your child's friend has a terrible parent.  What can you do in either of those situations?

One of my friends brought up a situation where her mom's best friend was very critical of her as a child.  She picked on her about her ears, calling her "Dumbo" to a point where she's still so self conscious she never wears her hair pulled back and she refuses to wear hats.  Another one of my friends brought up how one of her mom's friends would constantly reprimand her for something even though her own daughter was doing the same thing, justifying it with, "My daughter probably learned it from your daughter!"  One of the other girls said that her best friend's daughter and her own daughter have been best friends for their whole lives but now she's not so sure they can hang out anymore because the mother let the two daughters do a lot of things that she herself would have never let her daughter do.  It sucks cuz sometimes a friendship has to be broken for love of your children.

The whole conversation started because they knew I have been dealing with my own issues when it comes to Daughter's friends.  There is this girl that Daughter is friends with.  I'm not a huge fan of the daughter but I'm even less of a fan of the mother.  This little girl has bit Daughter, pushed Daughter, hit Daughter and constantly steals anything Daughter is playing with, whether we're at our house or her's, screaming, "MINE!"  No kidding at all, the only two words you can understand out of this girl's mouth are no and mine.   Yet, no matter how much I dislike the daughter, the mother is worse.

Daughter met this girl on the playground and they seemed to like each other.  The mother came up to me and we had a decent conversation.  The mother brought up having play-dates for the girls.  I thought it was a good idea since the girls got a long well enough.  So, play-dates were set up.

Now, the fun begins! (Since you can't hear my voice, I'll let you know...that was sarcasm!)  The mother started in almost instantly about Daughter being on the small side for her age.  I know Daughter is small but what's wrong with being a petite girl?  Her doctor says she's perfectly healthy so I don't worry.  I left it alone.  Then came the attacks on Daughter's ears...they do stick out a little but they're cute and if you ever call my daughter Dumbo people will start referring to you as "Wired Shut Jaw Lady". The mother asked me if I had considered plastic surgery so that Daughter won't be picked on for her ears as she gets older.  No I never have, I considered raising a confident daughter so that something like that wouldn't bother her much and she would tell rude people like you where to shove it if they brought it up.  Of course, I didn't say that whole sentence, just the part about hoping that she's confident enough not to be bothered.

If you have more than one child, you might have dealt with the regression of the older sibling.  Well, I did.  Daughter became more whiny and clingy for about a month after Son was born.  During this time, we had a play-date with this mother-daughter duo and she informed me that I should have distanced myself from Daughter before Son was born so Daughter wouldn't have been so shocked when my universe stopped revolving around her.  She told me that this is how she dealt with her daughter when she was pregnant with her son.  She said that she forced her daughter to give her alone time. This was why her daughter understood that when she was with her son her daughter needed to leave her alone.  Yes, that's brilliant!  Not setting your children up for sibling rivalry and feelings of animosity at all!  (Again, note the sarcasm!)  I just said that I'm trying to make it through this phase and I had heard it happens a lot.

Yep, I either kept my mouth shut or tried to calmly guide the conversation away from blowing up.  I knew my fuse was already lit and if I let myself go it would be ugly.

Several people told me to try to address it calmly by having a conversation.  I did this, simply stating that I was uncomfortable with the way she talks about my daughter especially in front of my daughter and her reply was, "Well, sometimes the truth hurts."

We had to cancel a play-date a little while ago when Daughter and Son were sick (I was really broken up about it...again...sarcasm!) and I never called to reschedule.  The mother recently called me and wanted to set up another play-date.  I really thought about letting her have it, telling her everything that I thought about her and her daughter, unloading all of the witty things I had come up with and ending the conversation with, "Sometimes the truth hurts."  Instead, I said, "I know I can't pick my daughter's friends but I can pick which friend's parents I want to spend time with." and hung up with a smile on my face.  For some reason she hasn't called me back.

October 8, 2012

Silence is Deafening

I often wish that I could have some peace and quiet.  There's ALWAYS someone in my house yelling or the TV is on or Daughter is singing or Son is screaming or some noise of some kind.  There is silence only when everyone is sleeping and then I'm asleep too and unable to enjoy it.

So when Him announced he was going to take Daughter with him to run some errands yesterday...I thought to myself YIPPY!  Some peace and quiet!  I thought about how I used to really enjoy being alone in my house.  I thought the silence would be so wonderful.  Him and Daughter left and Son went down for his nap about ten minutes after they left.

Then I heard....NOTHING!  It was amazing!

I made myself a real lunch and got to eat it while it was still hot.  I watched The Closer series finale that had been sitting on my DVR for two months unwatched.  I laid down on the couch and read a few chapters out of a book.  It was wonderful.

And then...I sat there.

I realized I had no idea what to do with myself if no one was running around needing me or making noise.  WHAT!?!?  How did this happen?  I know I used to do a lot of things before my house was overtaken by my children.  I used to spend whole days by myself in my house doing things but none of the things I used to do were coming to mind right then.  The silence was actually annoying.  I couldn't believe how much I missed the sound of Daughter running throughout the house and bashing toys around in her playroom.  The silence was not as great as I thought it would be!

About an hour later, I heard the truck pull into the driveway and I went outside.  Daughter came running up to me with a huge hug and started telling me all about what they did while they were gone.  She ran inside, went straight for her playroom and started banging dishes around in her kitchen.  Then I heard Son talking on the monitor.  Him came in and turned the TV on to watch the race.

And I started thinking I really should have enjoyed the silence a little more.

October 5, 2012

Making Fun Out of Yelling

I recently read a post on BloggingDangerously.com called The Luckiest Mom.  It cracked me up.  It's all about how she yells at her children too much so she tries to work in "good" yelling.  Yelling things like, "I'M THE LUCKIEST MOM!"

I have realized I yell at Daughter too much too.  I really don't yell at Son, cuz well, he's three months old...he doesn't do anything too maddening yet.  Overall, Daughter really is a great kid.  She's very helpful with her brother, almost too helpful sometimes.  She's really good about playing by herself quite often which helps me have a little down time here and there.  And yet, there are the other times.  She's really good at pushing buttons until I'm at my breaking point.  She's awesome at yelling so loud and so much that her poor brother can't sleep causing me hair pulling happiness when he's overtired and all he can do is scream.  She challenges me at every corner on anything I tell her to do.  Punishing most of the time is pointless because she finds a way out of it.  Put her in the corner for time out and she spits on the floor...can't leave her in time out cuz her spitting causes more reasons for yelling.  Send her to her room she screams for about two minutes and then I hear her laughing and she's playing with her bedding making it into some fort or something...where's the punishment in  having fun?  She is so maddening sometimes that I just finally explode and yell at her!  At these points I often sing, "Just keep swimming, just keep swimming..." to myself and it brings a smile to my face for at least a few seconds.

After reading The Luckiest Mom post, I thought 'Heck...I can do that!'.  So I started grabbing Daughter's face and yelling, "I LOVE YOU!" every time I was near that breaking point.  At first, she was shocked into silence by this and then, as it happened more, she started yelling, "I LOVE YOU TOOOO!" back in my face.  It would make us both giggle and we'd hug and she's run off to play and I would keep all my hair.  I was in love with this new turn around!

We recently had to go to the doctor and Grandmama went with us.  In the truck, Daughter yells out, "I LOVE YOU!"  Grandmama looks at me, a little shocked by the loud announcement of affection, so I explain.  Grandmama, now knowing what's going on yells, "I LOVE YOU TOOOO!" at Daughter.  We all break into giggles.

At the doctor's office, Daughter is playing with this other little girl who was about her age and they're having a great time.  The little girl's name was called to go back and see the doctor.  I watched as my daughter grabs the little girl's face, goes nose to nose with her and yells, "I LOVE YOU!"  First shock, and then...oh, the giggles from the three in my family and the stares of WTF? from the rest of the waiting room made my whole day a little brighter!

Yes, I think "good" yelling has improved my happiness in life with my children!  A big thank you to Kit at Blogging Dangerously for the hilariously awesome idea!

October 3, 2012

Going Out Screaming, "I LOVE ME!" and "You There...YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL!"

This post is a little heavier than some of the other ones I've written so, sorry, you might not be laughing as hard at my life as usual.

Seeing as how it's Bully Prevention Month and due to the AWESOMENESS that is Jennifer Livingston standing up to bullies on the evening news, I've been thinking about bullying and confidence a lot.

I have been told by female ex-employees from the bar that I influenced them to understand that you can stand up for yourself without being a bitch and yet when a time calls for it, whip that bitch card out and let someone have it.  Women as a whole seem to think that we have to be pleasant and accept twenty roles at once and burn ourselves down to a nub just to keep everybody happy.  We have to smile and look the other way when that guy at the bar makes remarks about us being a dog or too fat or not having big enough boobs or whatever!  Yep, smile and pretend you didn't hear it.  Go home, look at yourself in the mirror, hear all those comments running around in your head and feel bad about what you see?!?!  Feel bad about who you are as a whole cuz of some moron's comments!?!?  BULLSHIT!

I've been a target many times.  I have been called fat, unattractive and told that I was obviously stupid cuz I was "just a bartender".  I have had many of my own 'look in the mirror and hate what I see' moments.  I won't pretend I'm above it.

I'll admit, my own daughter has heard me belittling myself.  I say things like, "I need to put on make-up before I go out in public so I don't scare the small children.", "I need to lose some weight.", "I look horrible in this, I need to go change."  It makes me sad to think of what I'm passing on to her.  I really need to quit!

What I'm getting at is, I really think we women need to be better role models for our own daughters and young girls everywhere and stand up for ourselves...stand up to the bullies in our own lives.  Stop looking in the mirror and hearing those hurtful comments.  Look again and think of the compliments you've been given over the years.  Don't swallow your pride when some jackass makes a hurtful comment about you or your friends.  Put them in their place!  Call them out!  SCREAM, "I LOVE ME!"

In response to Bully Prevention Month, I say we go out and make Anti-Bully comments to each other.  Go out sometime this month and when you see some woman with beautiful eyes, TELL HER.  A beautiful smile, TELL HER.  A killer outfit, TELL HER!  You can be the bright spot of sunshine in some one's bad day!  So I'm issuing this as a challenge to the readers of my blog...however few there are...we can make a difference!  I want you to go out and give that compliment.  Then, I want you to share your compliment and their response as a comment at the end of this blog post.  Now get out there!  Go see the beauty in each other!  Go be some one's ray of light! GO BE ANTI-BULLIES!

October 2, 2012

"Sanity Squad" Signal

I want a "Sanity Squad" Signal.  Like the Bat Signal only better.  It will shoot out a beam of light letting J and A know that I need them to come over, kidnap me, have Jack and beer handy and a plan of totally un-mommy outings of debauchery at the ready.

I will have to really think about how to design that though cuz the Bat Signal has a bat.  A signal that just had "Sanity Squad" written out would be too boring.  Maybe handcuffs shooting across the sky in lighted glory would be fitting.  "Handcuffed at home!  Come kidnap me!"  Take that Mr. Grey, I don't hide mine in a red room of shame...I shoot 'em across the sky IN LIGHTS!

If I had said signal, it would be used tonight!

Checklist for the approved use of the "Sanity Squad" Signal:

  1. Not enough sleep for me, Daughter or Son: I'm guessing Daughter used to wake up a lot during the night but she would roll over, find binka and go back to sleep so, if you've been keeping up with my posts, you know she no longer finds binka when she rolls over.  Last night she would wake up, not find binka and start whining. I'd go comfort her and then walk straight into Son's room cuz now he needed to be calmed from being woke up by Daughter's whining.  About every half hour, press repeat.  Not enough sleep? CHECK!
  2. Daughter pushing buttons:  I tell her not to yell...two seconds pass...yelling.  I tell her to eat and I hate it when she breaks food into minuscule pieces supposedly to make it easier to eat only to leave almost all of her food still on her plate and now inedible dust so...what does she do?  HA, you got it!  I say don't try to sit on your ball...not only does she try to sit on her ball, she falls, bashes her face into the floor and without taking the chance to cry, cuz I know it hurt, springs up and says, "I did what you told me not to!" with a defiant smirk.  Pushing Buttons? CHECK!
  3. Son doesn't get his morning nap: Son normally takes his morning nap around the time that I get Daughter lunch.  If Son doesn't get his morning nap, there's little hope for the rest of the day.  I bring Son upstairs, put him in bed, turn on the monitor, tell Daughter that it's lunchtime and then nap-time.  Screaming Daughter says, "I DON'T WANT TO TAKE A NAP!  IF I DON'T EAT LUNCH IT'S NOT NAP-TIME!  I DON'T WANT LUNCH!"  Good deductive reasoning daughter o' mine and yet...WRONG!  But the screaming woke Son up.  No morning nap for Son? CHECK!
  4. Daughter fights nap: Now I have an overtired Son that is screaming.  I calm him down enough to read Daughter stories.  Son and I head downstairs so his screaming won't keep Daughter up.  Silly me!  I thought she'd actually try to take a nap!  No she shouts and whines and screams about never getting what she wants cuz I didn't make her lunch.  Remember that part where she yelled at me that she didn't want lunch..yeah, me too!  When I get up to her room and remind her of that, she decides she needs to pee...no, she needs a drink...no, a teddy bear to cuddle...no, her blanket (that she kicked off) back on.  Stalling and fighting nap? CHECK!
  5. Trying to sooth Son out of screaming cuz he hasn't been allowed to sleep:  Think about it...how pissed are you when someone continually wakes you up when you just wanna sleep?  I say from experience...PLENTY!  So Son and I cuddle, him screaming at the top of his lungs, little face crimson red, for a good 45 mins until, due to pure exhaustion, he passes out in mid-scream.  Son screaming?  CHECK!
  6. Daughter only takes a 30 minute nap after a full hour of screaming: SERIOUSLY!?!? CHECK!
  7. Then bring back the button pushing...CHECK!  And the whining (cuz she didn't need a nap at all!)...CHECK!
And now that the day's checklist has been met and the day isn't even over...if you see a big pair of handcuffs lighting up the night sky...it means IT'S MAMA'S NIGHT OUT!

October 1, 2012

The Great Binka Battle of 2012

I remember it like it was yesterday...because it was.  Binka was down!  A gaping hole in her side.  There was no saving binka and now I had to deliver the news to the little girl that was looking forward to napping with binka that afternoon.  This is going to be a hard announcement to make.

Binka-a.k.a- paci, pacifier, binky, pipe, soother...she had been with Daughter through all kinds of good times and bad and now binka would no longer be able to be there for her.

I admit, I am not normally know for my soft qualities but when it comes to my kids...I'm a pansy.  The whole "cry it out" method seems crazy to me.  I can't imagine, as a mom, being able to hear your kids screaming and not immediately wanting to soothe them.  I mean, obviously there are times that their screaming goes ignored or results in me turning on them and saying something along the lines of, "QUIT IT NOW OR I WILL LEAVE EVERYTHING IN THIS CART AND DRAG YOU OUT BY YOUR EAR!"  But when they're crying cuz they need soothing?  I'm right there to rock them, cuddle them or sing to them.  Because of this, I have let Daughter hold on to binka WAY TOO LONG!

When she was born, in the hospital they gave her a Gumdrop binka.  Daughter took to that binka like a long lost friend.  We had to order them from an online store cuz nowhere around here sold them and that was the only binka she would use.  That was still WAY easier than I figured taking it away would be.  Daughter was never spotted without it from birth til about two years old.  Around that time we stripped it from daytime use unless she was in the truck.  Then it was just easier to drive without her crying/screaming in the backseat...don't want a distracted driver do you?  Slowly we got rid of it in the truck making her go short trips without it and going for longer and longer trips without it.  We got it down to just at nap-time and bedtime and we were planning on going to just bedtime soon and then down to no binka.

But then, binka got wounded and the wound was big with pieces falling off (HELLO CHOKING HAZARD!).  We had to let binka go earlier than planned.

I was reading nap-time stories to Daughter yesterday and she had binka in her mouth.  She kept coughing and finally she was covering her mouth with one hand and holding binka in the other.  I notice this laceration in binka with pieces of the silicone hanging off in little shards.  I grabbed it and told Daughter that binka had a big hole in it and she was choking on pieces of it.  I proceeded to tell her that binka was broke and she couldn't use it anymore.  OH THE CRYING!  I cuddled her and sang to her and rocked her and Him let her say goodbye to binka and I laid in bed with her til she turned to me and said, "Mama, go downstairs now.  I wanna go to sleep and I can't with you in my bed."

Instant self high-five!  This was WAY easier than I had imagined it would be!

You should never self high-five until you know that you actually deserve it.  Hit the bottom of the stairs and the screaming starts, "I NEED BINKA!  MAMA I NEED YOU TO GET ME A NEW BINKA! I WON'T GO TO SLEEP WITHOUT BINKA!"  I had such a hard time staying downstairs...I could hear her WITHOUT the monitor and I was slowly having my heart broken.  I kid you not, I almost went to the store and bought a new one!  And then, there was silence.  No self high-five yet...I learned.

After about fifteen minutes of silence I sneak up to her room and sure enough, Daughter was passed out for the first time ever WITHOUT binka!

WE WON THE BATTLE!  I'm still hoping we win the war!