Monday, April 28, 2008

I feel like I'm back in school

And I'm failing math, yet again.
There's a reason I'm and Arts and Sciences kind of gal. There's a reason I always took English, speech, drama, and history. There's a reason I have degree in Broadcasting and Journalism.
That reason is . . .
The bane of my existence.
I have fought through math problems ever since I can remember.
And they just don't get any easier.
I'm sitting at my new job and there is math involved, and I'm near tears and ready to quit.
All because 2 plus 2 to me involves x's and y's and a lot of other crap.
And I keep reminding myself that I have three children to help through the horrors of mathematics. I have to be like Indiana Jones, guiding my kids around the perils and pitfalls of math.
They'd better come equipped with a utility belt and a better guide, 'cause mama's going to get them in trouble, for sure.
I feel like I'm in school again, staring at a math problem that just keeps growing and growing and turns into the big hairy green monster below my bed.
And my daddy can't chase this one away.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Why wouldn't I?

Why wouldn't I vaccinate my kids?
There are studies linking it autism, death, and all sort of sundry things. But there are an equal if not greater number citing the preventative quantities and discussing the traditional minute side effects.
I understand that my children could have an allergic reaction and die. I worry about it every time I have an injection given to protect them from communicable diseases.
I also worry about every child that isn't vaccinated coming near my own.
Its selfish, I guess, for me to wish that every other parent would vaccinate their child in order to protect mine. but that's just the kind of mama I am.
I have read more studies and articles than i care to admit. I have discussed it with my pediatrician, my husband, my friends, and online.
It shocks me when I talk with my pediatrician that she tells me that so many parents come in armed with half understood "Facts" and when she tries to discuss it with them, they won't listen.
My thoughts are I pay big insurance premiums so I can take my children to an expert--how stupid would I be not to consider her expertise?
I am an educated woman, but no doctor of pediatric medicine. My pediatrician has been to school and specialized in pediatrics. She stays current on vaccines and treatments and that is what I pay for her to do! I pay for her to tell me what she recommends so that i can make the best, informed decision for my children.
But other parents seem to only pay those high premiums to tell their pediatrician's that they are wrong. Don't throw away you money on insurance, just send it to me.
I don't think parents should do everything a pediatrician recommends. Its your child, and you need to make the best decisions you can. But why even go to a doctor if you won't listen to their recommendations? How logical is that?
My other concern is the fact that we are a transient society. Even though i live in a relatively small city and the chances of my child coming into contact with one of these diseases is small, I feel fairly certain the people on that plane with the man sick from TB thought the same thing.
And look where that got them?
Vaccinate or don't vaccinate--your choice. But do me a favor? Keep your unvaccinated kids far away from everyone and everything, including my own kids, just in case.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

When is enough enough?

When is it time to back quietly into your corner, lay down your arms, and attempt to make peace?
I'm the first person to jump into the fray. (It's fun and I love a good argument. Okay, it doesn't even have to be good, just fun and dirty!) I will back a friend, defend a cause, and hold a grudge until the cows come home. (Where are they coming home from, by the way? Does anyone know?)
I've left friendships and areas because of differences. I've been on both sides, both defending others and defending myself.
It gets old.
So I'm officially calling a truce.
The people involved will know why.

Potty training times two

Well, not only am I now faced with the daunting task of trying to finish potty training Bug, Boo has jumped on the porcelain throne and declared that he must "Potty, mommy."
So I now have two little boys to get out of diapers and pull-ups and into underwear.
I haven't spent this much time in the bathroom since I was pregnant and puking every five minutes just for grins and giggles. Oh, happy times.
Right now, I could almost wish for uncontrolled vomiting.
It's a competition. Who has to pee the most. So I'm trudging along, wondering if its a legit potty call or a deliberate ruse. Afraid to ignore it, tired of giving in.
And Punk's joining us in the potty, either nursing or just refusing to be put down and miss all the fun.
How many people does it take to potty train a child?
In our house, a village. I'm sending out invites to friends and family to come stand over the toilet with us as Boo strains and farts just to produce a few drops, much to his delight. And every time he drains his lizard, he gets so excited he loses all sense of purpose and we have to start from scratch again.
And Bug, the old pro who won't cross the finish line, has to perform acrobatics to remove the occasional soggy pull-up, involving throwing it in the trash with his foot while perched precariously on a stool and clutching a toilet lid. And heaven forbid he get distracted. That involves a mop and a very grumpy mom muttering all kinds of choice words and dire threats under her breath while congratulating him on a job well done.
Leads me to all kinds of jokes about men and there aim.
So if you're looking for a little fun, I'll shoot you an invite to stand around waiting on the plop plop sounds of success.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Now I Know What Love Is

I'm a fairly practical woman. I'm a fairly calm mother. (Well, mostly.)
But I'm still confused by why people choosing to live child free have such an issue with those of us who are not.
Specifically, a message board I went to had a thread about how ridiculous it was for a new mother to express that she now understands "what love is."
Motherhood is a life changing experience, for good, ill, and everything in between.
While I love my husband (most days), it is a mere flicker compared to the all encompassing passion I feel for my children.
The difference? My husband is a grown man, and, although I would lay down my life for him, he is capable of caring for himself.
I would run into a burning building get to my children. I understand why mothers can lift a car to free their babies. There is a visceral, tangible bond between a mother and child that defies all logic. It is a bond that was created before the mother even knows she is pregnant, and it will continue until the day the mother dies.
I will love my husband all of my life. I chose to marry him, to devote my life to him, and to make a family with him. Our choice.
Our children are gifts given to us. As such, we have the responsibility to love, nurture, and care for them above all else.
Many of the child free couples discuss how having a child destroys a marriage because the "mombie" does not place her husband and her marriage above her child's welfare.
Any marriage that cannot adapt and survive children wasn't much of a marriage to begin with, in my opinion.
A couple should expand to make room for a child while still holding onto their marriage. A marriage bed has to be able to include children--it has to grow and mature and change in order to survive.
Any marriage that does not grow will become stagnant and die.
With or without children.
I have looked at my babies, mud covered, teary eyed, and annoying, and realized exactly the depths that I would plummet to get to them. I would die for them without a second thought. So yes, becoming a mother did allow me to know exactly what love is.
It's selfless. It's painful. And it's worth every minute.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Children or No Children?

It's a decision we all face. Should we have children or not?
For some women, the choice has been made before they were even old enough to decide for themselves.
Obviously, I've chosen the child route. As the mama of three living babies and one angel, I've obviously not chosen the career-oriented, wealthy, well rested route.
But I respect the choice of any woman who has. Its her right to choose.
But her right to choose ends, as a famous quote when her fist collides with my nose. Or in this case, my kids. Then I'm going to be one irate mommy, all over their butts demanding a apology and money for plastic surgery.
If someone doesn't want children, its best they not have any. Seems simple enough to me. If a person doubts or doesn't want to devote the rest of their life to another person, I'm okay with that. Don't have kids. Parenting is not a job you can resign from. It's a seemingly thankless task that you will have for the rest of your life.
But, eventually, you're thank you will arrive in the form of adult children who get an inkling of everything you did for them. (But its a long time coming and if you're in it for the thanks, you'd be better off getting a dog. They live a lot less time and are grateful for everything.)
But even if a person is childless, children are a fact of life. They are everywhere. They are necessary to the continuation of the human race. (Think Lion King and join me in singing the Circle of Life)
I agree that kids and some restaurants are a bad mix. And that kids throwing a fit in public is unpleasant for everyone--specially for the embarrassed mom. (I've lived it-- it really is a mortifying, sink into the floor kind of moment.) There are places I won't take my kids, and i try to time our outings to the time of day when my kids are at their best, but sometimes, there is no good time and groceries have to be purchased.
But I don't understand people who say they hate children.
How can you hate them? What have they done to you?
Just because your chose not to procreate, don't turn your choice into a hate filled tirade against an entire people, albeit a group of small people.
Look at the children and adults in training. Hopefully, they get good training, but sometimes management just isn't up to the task. That's not the child's fault, but the fault of the parents. Dislike the cause, not the result.
Look at the mother as a person. I am a college educated woman. I work full time and come home to put in another full day before bedtime. I not only have the care of myself to be concerned with, I have three other people who rely on me for everything. If I fail, its not just me that I fail. I have to look into my children's faces and know that I failed them as well. I will always choose with my children's well being in mind. I will always be divided between work and home. I will always be a mother.
Parenthood is a choice. We choose to try to conceive, to not abort, to give up for adoption, to raise and love and worry and weep. Some choose not to try, for whatever reasons. But it is a choice, and that is a freedom granted every person, large or small.
And when my children snuggle close and tell me they love me or reach for my hand to hold, their small fingers grasping mine in perfect trust, I know I chose rightly.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Do you believe in ghosts?

I do. I even think I have a few spectral visitors.
I'm pretty sure they are family because they love tormenting my husband.
We bought my grandparents house. When the hubby was over here late one night before we moved in, he swears the room got cold and he felt like someone was watching him.
He also thinks someone touched his neck.
Being a strong, manly kind of guy, he ran like hell to get me.
Waking me up, he babbled out the story, whereas I told him it was probably my grandpa and to hike back over there and apologize for being rude.
He did.
That was experience number one.
After my miscarriage, while hubby was deployed to Cuba, I had a pretty frequent visitor. It flicked the lights, moved things, you know, normally ghostly activity. It was a man who stood in my hallway and most often got the brunt of my angry, post lost rages.
That was number two.
The boys are always talking to and watching someone in their room. They seem happy, so i don't stress too much.
Number three.
When Punk was born, Bug told my mom, a friend, and my husband that his grandpa had been there and just passed through the ceiling.
nice to know daddy made it to his baby granddaughter's birthday. I should have known he wouldn't miss it.
And last weekend, while hubby was up late painting, someone kept passing by the room wearing a brown flannel shirt. My grandpa normally wore a ratty brown flannel shirt around the house, so I figure he was checking out hubby's painting skills.
He didn't run this time, though it was a near thing. You see what I mean about myf amily tormenting him? They love it!
I'm pretty open to things that go bump in the night as long as they don't wake me, the kids, or break anything.
I figure my family was always there for me when alive, why would death make a difference?
And they're just kind of nosey, dead or alive!
So what do you think? Got any great ghost stories to share or just think its a crock of crap?


I am Handy Mom!
(Stop the perverted thought right there. I know what you're thinking and just want to ask you to think about your mother right now. Kill the urge? Good!)
I have successfully installed a new lock, doorknob, and door jam thingee on my screen door.
I am mom. Hear me roar.
(Now I will strut away, grabbing my crotch and spitting. Then I'll come back and clean up the spit.)

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Just call me Bessie.

I'm officially a milk cow.
I produce too much milk for my baby girl to eat by herself, so I'm farming out my services (and my Ta Ta's) to make milk for other babies.
I am a huge breastfeeding advocate. If you choose to feed formula, no judgements here. But as for me and my kids, we use the breast.
With my first, who mutilated my breast with his freakish latch, I pumped for a year, worrying about every ounce and every pumping session like the fate of the world rested on it. In some ways, it did. My baby boy had to be fed.
With my second, i nursed for five months, pumped until a year. By the time he was three months, I had enough in the freezer to feed him until his first birthday with a few pumps a day thrown in.
With this baby, I make enough milk to feed triplets. Punk is a good nurser, but doesn't eat that much pumped milk. She's a fresh from the tap kind of gal, she is! So I have extra. Over 3000 ounces already between my house and my mom's, and we're thinking of branching into neighboring freezers when we run out of room.
It's ridiculous.
I have so much milk that could be used by other mommies, how could I hoard it or, worse yet, pour it down the sink because Punk can't eat it all?
My pumped milk will be pasteurized and tested to insure its safety before its given to a premature or ill baby.
It's my own personal labor of love.
My babies have had the best. I'm just honored to be able to help another mother give her baby the best as well.
For more info, check out:

Monday, April 14, 2008

Just a step away from college, marriage, and kids

My boys are growing up.
(I've forbidden Punk to grow up, so I'm covered there. Surely she'll listen.)
But my boys have gone from chubby little lumps of flesh to active, interactive children. They became people, but I'm not sure when.
This weekend, my little people moved into bunk beds and they love it.
No, love is too wimpy a word.
They are stalker obsessed with their new beds.
Bug sits on the top bunk grinning stupidly/happily at me.
Boo lays in his bed reading a book--or at least looking like he's reading. That's when he's not trying to scale the ladder to get to Mt. Bug.
And we moved Punk into a crib and out of the cradle in our room.
So for the first time, we all slept last night.
Safe and snug, like bugs in . . . our respective beds.
But it suddenly feels like my boys are just one step away from declaring a major, getting married, and making babies themselves.
And while I'm excited by each new development, I'm saddened by all the ones we're leaving behind.
How do you do it? How do you let them grown up when all you want to do is keep them little forever?
How do you start letting go, in however small of increments, so they learn to stand on their own chubby little feet?
In my case, when they pry my cold, dead fingers off.
Sounds like a healthy mother/child relationship, doesn't it?

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

A twister! A twister!
So last night, my beloved husband woke me up at 2:30. Not to whisper sexy words or to even tell me to quit hogging the bed.
He called to tell me to grab the kids and take cover, there's a tornado bearing down on out asses like a pregnant mama honing in on the last chocolate eclair.
In other words, fast, furious, and unreasonable.
So I pulled on my pants (who really want to die in panties and a tank top?) and put the kids in the hall. The boys slept. The baby decided to die on a full stomach. That's daddy's girl. Always thinking with her stomach.
So as I watched the news, wondering how I was going to hold all three kids securely and knowing Bug would be wriggling out of my grasp to watch the show, I found myself humming the song from Wizard of Oz. You know the one. Where the witch is riding the bicycle and Dorothy's house is spinning and spinning and spinning?
Yeah, I thought we were going to be in that house for a while last night.
Love the movie. Don't want to be in it.
I found myself thinking about those news stories of children surviving being thrown into a tornado while their mothers died in it.
I'm okay with that.
I'll stand there and face down the storm to keep my babies safe. I'll pee my pants while I'm at it, but, dribbling and wet, I'll stand firm.
Because that's what a mama should do.
I remember my own mom driving through hell trying to reach dumb me, at home, in the living room with the dogs, watching the roof of our house peel away. Save the damned dogs--wasn't a smart thing?
And all she could say to me later was she had to reach me.
That's what a mama should do.
Thankfully, the twister detoured and made its way toward some other worried mama's home. It dissipated before it did anything, thank the gods.
So i wet my pants for nothing.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

A little boy's ears

I often forget that my boys were once babies. It's easy to do. They don't look like babies, or act like them except for those temper tantrums and the occasional snuggle. We get so caught up as parents in the next developmental stage, we forget how far we've really come.
Most days, Bug is a little boy in my eyes. I can remember the feel and weight of his infant self, but it is buried within a tall, leggy preschooler with a brilliant mind and smart mouth.
But I occasionally get the parental reminder of who he used to be.
We went to the zoo today. and, like many parents, left halfway through because of our oldest's behavior. Arriving home, we were frazzled and irritable, wondering if the light at the end of that seemingly endless tunnel really was a train and would it please just kill us now.
Bug curled up on my lap to watch a movie. Half asleep, I curled around his familiar form, tucking size ten feet in between my legs to keep them warm, his head heavy upon my breast, one hand under his chin, the other on my face.
And I caught a glimpse of his ears.
Now, i know every mark and scar upon my son's body. I can spot a new injury at one hundred paces and be demanding an explanation from my husband before I even get a good look.
But I can't remember the last time I looked at his ears.
When he was born, they were nearly translucent. The light would shine through them glowing red and ethereal.
They had bright red blood vessels coursing through them delivering oxygen and nutrients to those small, fragile appendages.
I used to sniff behind them for the last remnants of his baby smell, which faded shortly after his second birthday.
Today, looking at them, I noticed the fragile red veins a the tops, the light still just making it through the shells.
And it made me smile, remembering those ears on an impossibly small body, held snug in my arms. At one time, his legs didn't hang over, his body didn't weigh enough to make me grunt when picking him up, and he fit perfectly in my lap.
Now, my arms and back ache when I carry him. His legs fit snugly around my waist, his arms firm around my neck. And he still fits perfectly in my lap, because its changed to make room for Bug an his siblings.
Being a mom is hard, and some days I forget how far we've come. And exactly where we came from.
All it took was a little boy's ears to remind me.

Friday, April 4, 2008

I've officially become older than dirt
On the Today show, my favorite pre-teen crush, New Kids on the Block, just announced their reunion tour.
I now know I'm older than dirt.
It's a sign of a personal Apocalypse when my youthful crush is having a reunion tour. It means I've grown up, grown old, an now join the racks of women throwing their panties at Mick Jagger, Steve Tyler, and KISS.
I feel a bittersweet longing to be thirteen again, passionately in love with Jon and wanting to settle down and marry him, spending our lives touring the world.
It's like catching a glimpse of the girl I used to be before I grew up, married, and had my babies.
It's sweet and sad, and listening to their music reminds me of a time years ago when I had the freedom to dream the impossible dream for myself. Now I dream of a full night's sleep and a good future for my kids.
Strange how things change.
But seeing them again, oh that was wonderful. I could remember how young they were when I first discovered them, and find myself looking at the grown men with a woman's eye instead of a girls. Although my rose colored glasses are still on, they just have bifocals in them now.
I still know all the words to their songs. my dear husband, knowing how his insane wife still clung to a childhood crush and being the sharing kind of man he is, bought me a CD that i still listen to when nostalgia hits. And I'll probably buy their new CD, just for old time's sake. I'll curl my bangs and spray enough hairspray on them that they defy gravity and good sense. I will roll the ankles of my jeans up and put on my swatch watch and my bangles. I will allow myself to be transported back in time.
And when I'm done with my trip down memory lane, I'll return to my real life of dirty diapers, laughter, tears, and one hell of a promising future.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Surviving the plague

The night before I started my new job, I was struck by the plague.
Not the nice, sweet bubonic plague. No I got the one that turns your bowels to water and makes you vomit in a projectile fashion every hour all night long.
I actually was sitting on the toilet vomiting in the bathtub at one point.
Then I had to scrub and disinfect it, because that's just the OCD gal I am.
So I started my new job hoping I wouldn't shit my panties and running out of the room every few minutes to handle the lingering plague.
What a first impression I'm sure I made!