Friday, March 23, 2007

The vomit finally hit the fan

Well, I was reading another post recently from "Where Boys Fear to Tread" that was entitled "You're Not A Parent Until You've..." and I need to add to that until you've been showered with vomit!
You would think that as the mother of nearly 3 children under three (number three being due in June) I would already have experienced a puke shower, but not until today. My two year old woke up this morning complaining that he "didn't feel well" but he just kinda rolled around on the couch watching Playhouse Disney, so I assumed he had woken up too early and would just require an early nap. Until he started slapping his lips together in that tell-tale my mouth is filling up with saliva and I'm about to toss cookies kind of way. I didn't want to scare him by rushing him to the bathroom because he has never thrown up before (other than the occasional bit during a dramatic crying episode from time-out), so I sat there and watched as he erupted into a chunky milky volcano all over me and the couch. My plan backfired, because as I freaked out, I upset him anyhow, so I should have just been preemptive and headed for the bathroom in the first place. Poor little guy. He hasn't thrown up since this morning, but the smells coming outta that kid could be used in chemical warfare, for sure.
I knew right away when my neighbor called to say "Well, we won't be playing outside today after all" that we were in trouble.
"Are your kids throwing up," I asked?
"Yep, they started last night," she responded despondently. At least we're in it together.
I'm still waiting for his brother to throw up, but so far, so good. We'll see what happens. Wish me luck!

Monday, March 19, 2007

Frustration, overload, and a desperate need for therapy

Okay, something has to give here. Maybe I need real therapy, maybe retail, maybe massage, but I need SOMETHING. Tonight I had a good heart to heart (read: fight) with my husband about the state of our union. Basically, he claims this happens every time I'm pregnant and that it's me, and I feel quite strongly that he is being a hard-core JERK. On the off chance that it IS me and I'm a crazy, hormonal pregnant person, I still think he should be the one to step up and quit fighting with me (read: apologize profusely and let me have my way) because I'm A.) a big, fat, unattractive pregnant person, B.) carrying his child, C.) caring full-time for his other two children ages 2 and 1, and D.) always right and rarely willing to apologize.
The most frustrating thing about having a "discussion" like this with my husband (besides the fact that he's out of town AGAIN and we are having it over the phone) is that he is silent through much of it. From what I understand, that is a trait he learned from his father and is not only counter-productive towards a solution, but makes me want to tear off all of my skin and run naked screaming into the street. SOME KIND OF RESPONSE would be better than the silence. I would rather really get into a good one where he calls me an insane bag of hormones with nothing better to do than dream up ridiculous arguments that leave him in a no-win situation than sit on the other end of a silent phone line. I am all for him thinking before he speaks and choosing his words carefully as long as the end result is him actually choosing some freakin words!
I usually end up feeling like a prisoner at the end, where he gives me some lip service about how he'll work on it and do I feel better now? Where do I go from there? I don't feel like it's solved anything (especially because we end up having the same "discussion" the next week) but I no longer have complaining rights and I am forced to give up, raise the white flag, forgive and forget (which I am completely incapable of doing anyhow) and move on until the next time I have had it with the little crap.
Sure, there is a crazy load of pressure on us right now. We are in our mid twenties, with nearly 3 children under age three, only a year and a half out of graduate school (translation- making ANY money), and living in an upper middle class suburbia where it seems not only is everyone 10 years older than us, but also making a heckuva lot more money. Add to that my pregnancy woes of heartburn, sleeplessness, sore back, and apparently hormones (did I mention a COMPLETE lack of libido, probably resulting from being a huge pregnant hogbeast), and you have a recipe for fighting.
Don't get me wrong; our marriage is usually REALLY REALLY good, and my husband is usually a SAINT. But there are times, particularly when I'm pregnant that I want to kill him with my bare hands, sometimes over nothing and sometimes over something quite specific. Generally, we laugh alot, we agree on alot, we genuinely enjoy each other's company and we love our kids more than anything in the world. We have been grossly blessed and should complain about pretty much nothing in our charmed little existence (which creates a whole new level of guilt when we ARE fighting and I feel like the world is a hopeless place even looking down from my ivory tower).
Am I the only one who feels this way? Does anyone out there (not that anyone but me will ever read this, since not even my husband knows the name of my blog) have these same guilty experiences? Maybe I am just crazy. Lord knows three little kids can do that to you, so at least it's not my fault. I just threw up a little in my mouth. Better go brush my teeth.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

We've been busy...

Whew, the past days have been chock full of playdates and warm weather that we have NOT wanted to waste inside. I swear that being outside creates different kids. Inside, my kids are bored, whiney, difficult, and did I mention BORED? Despite the bajillion toys they have strewn all over my house, and my feeble attempts to entertain them with sing a longs and various activities. Not only do they seem happier outside, but they become more tired for their naps which is just a serious bonus! Yesterday the boys were introduced to a trampoline. It had to be the world's safest trampoline, with padding all around the edges and over the springs, a tall zip-up netting and even the bars holding up the netting were padded. You know a trampoline is safe when you have 6 two year olds jumping at the same time and no one gets hurt! Sam couldn't keep his footing on it (but hey, at fourteen months he can't even walk spectacularly on uneven ground so it's understandable!) but belly laughed the whole time as the older kids bounced him around popcorn style on his tummy! Jackson loved it too, and since his jumping on the ground is more of a prance than an athletic jump, I imagine he felt something like an astronaut discovering a lack of gravity! But not only did they have a blast, they were SOOOO tired come naptime, there was zero battle and they took a long, restful snooze in the afternoon. I think we may NEEEEEED to add a trampoline to our swingset, sandbox, and motorized car backyard extravaganza. Today we invited all the kiddos on the street over for a morning playdate, and again, they went down for their naps dirt-streaked and exhausted. It actually gave me the energy to supply an afternoon activity of easter egg color sorting and dexterity practice switching eggs around in muffin tins, bowls, and egg cartons with the use of 4 pairs of tongs. Ordinarily this would be an idea I would plan, buy materials for, and assemble, but be to tired to actually negotiate when push came to shove and the boys would wind up watching "The Land Before Time" again for the 8 billionth time in a week. But not today. Two beautiful days outside NOT fighting with my kids and NOT listening to them fight with each other renewed this pregnant momma and let me PLAY with my kids. I think Jackson said "I wuv you Mommy" and "Tanks, Mom" more today than "Sowwy, Mommy" and it was a refreshing change from the past few weeks. Come on, Spring...don't fail me now!

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Survival of the 72 hour spree

Okay, so I know for some (read: MANY) moms, being home alone with your kids for three straight days and nights is no big deal, but I am not one of them. The thought of two nights is unsettling to me, but three goes straight to downright panic and mayhem. Perhaps the only thing worse than spending the three nights alone to do dinner, bath, and bed with our two year old, one year old, and my six month pregnant belly is when it's a surprise. That's what happened this week.
I knew Ryan would be gone for Monday and Tuesday nights on a business trip, and I managed to get through with the knowledge that Wednesday night, I would get a (albeit small) break from the routine and isolation. However, about 10:30 Wednesday morning I got a call from hubby that went like this:
"I have bad news."
Me: "What?"
Him: "I have a business dinner tonight."
Me: "You're kidding, right?"
Him: "No, actually I'm not. But I can just go for drinks and be home around 7:30."
Me: "Well, since you won't make it home in time for dinner with us OR to help put the kids to bed, you may as well get a free dinner out of it."
Him: "Okay. I'll call you later."

So, the light at the end of the tunnel became a dot, then a speck, then disappeared, leaving me in the dark...ALONE... with two toddlers and a six month pregnant belly. My hubby is back home tonight and helped bathe and put the kids to bed, but I strangely don't feel that relaxed. Maybe it's because tonight I actually had to cook and clean up dinner...I can't win.
Next week is a new week.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

I'd have killed them if they weren't so cute!

Tuesday, March 06, 2007
REALLY bad day!
Today had to rank among the top 3 bad days as a stay at home mom. For starters, Ryan was out of town, leaving me to spend about 48 straight hours alone with a 2 year old, one year old, and 6 months pregnant. To get the ball rolling, Jack woke up at 5:30 this morning, and desperately needed more sleep (as did I!). He proceeded to wake Sam up prematurely, sending us into the whiney, crying, morning from hell. We were planning to meet some friends at the mall around 9:45 for Mom's Club, and the boys were monsters getting ready, arriving, while I waited for my food, while we shopped, and finally quieted down on the way home. I could feel myself losing my patience with every cry, every complaint, every refusal to do as asked. I raised my voice, I was clearly exasperated, and I am NOT proud of the mother I was this morning. They took a decent nap and were so-so for the afternoon. It seemed like everything I asked them to do, they did the opposite. I could swear they were searching for ways to make messes, and just to generally frustrate me. It's like they know when there is no relief in sight for me and they join forces for some kind of cooperative operation of "kick her while she's down!" It felt REALLY good to put them to bed, but Jackson came out of his room once, and when I put him back down, he repeatedly asked to sleep in "mom's bed," which he has never requested before. That made me it because a.) he knows mom is a sucker and he better ask while daddy is gone, b.) I traumatized him with my bad attitude today and he needs some reassurance that mommy loves him (YIKES) or c.) he just wants to watch tv in my room.
After I came back downstairs from tucking him in the second time, I started to think, "Gee, it would be kinda nice to snuggle with him in my bed. What's the big deal." Then I started thinking about how when the novelty wore off, and I decided it had to stop, the whole thing would have been terribly selfish on my part, and I would be making him feel tossed aside and confused just for the sake of my own wishes. I'm glad I stuck to my guns.
The even sweeter moment came when I started thinking about how he would come wandering into our room in the morning, as is his normal custom now that he is in his "big boy bed" and I could hear his door close (he does that first before coming cautiously down the hall towards our room) and I could imagine him peering curiously into our room waiting to for our response. When I give him the motion to come on in, a huge smile breaks onto his sweet little face, and he runs into the room and closes the door behind him, declaring "I watch tv!" He half climbs, is half pulled onto our bed where he snuggles in between us, makes adorable comments like "Hi mom. You watch tv wit me? I wuv you mommeee." and watches his cartoons until Sam wakes up and our day truly begins. I couldn't help but think, "I can't wait until the morning when I can see him again." Throughout most of the day, I never thought that would cross my mind tonight, but then, that's what makes motherhood beautiful.


Thursday, March 01, 2007
Sam's growing vocabulary
When Jackson was learning to talk, I kept tabs on his growing language development, and the time has come to do the same for Sammy....Here's what he says:
Mommeee, Daddeee, doggie, tweet tweet, duckie, quack quack (kind of more a growl!), airpwane, car, hot, hat, milk (mil), wadda (water), cacra (cracker), mine, bear, no no, nite nite, yesh, pwee (please), daydoo (thank you), buhbye, choochoo, elmo, nose, ow, bite, bwe(grape- I have no idea why!) ball, book, -I'll try to think of the rest, but that's the generally repeated list.
Some of his painfully cute motions include blowing kisses, waving goodbye, putting his hands up in the air to say "where did that go?", leaning in for YOU to kiss HIM, clapping, trying to fill his own water cup at the fridge, washing his hands, holding hands, knocking on doors (which he is VERY good at) and his classic point and grunt.
This morning I actually got to hold and rock him with his head against my chest for about an hour. I can't remember the last time I had that kind of snuggle time with either of the boys, and despite the early hour and fatigue of pregnancy, it was precious. I can't believe how quickly my little Sammy is growing up!

Separation anxiety

Monday, February 26, 2007
Jack's night away and Sam's big day!
Last night Jackson spent the night at his buddy Jacob's house. It was the first time he has ever slept away from Sam since Sam was born, and I wasn't sure how it would go. I needn't be concerned...while we were leaving, Jackson was climbing up their stairs to head for the bathtub, saying "Bye Mom, Wuv you, tanks for comin'!" Apparently he did ask for me once and asked for Sammy once, but accepted that we weren't there and that he was sleeping at Jacob's house.
Sam went in for his "surgery" this morning at 6:30 am. It was PAINFUL to be up and about at that hour, but Sam was a trooper. He played happily ( and was really adorable in his little gown) until the time came to take him away. I cried a little as he reached for me and called "Mommmeee," but recovered quickly. He underwent general anesthesia, but the procedure was quick and he came through it very well. The nurses even commented that "they don't usually smile POST-op" but our Sammy sure did! He ate well and played all day, but looked for Jackson when he woke up from his nap.
I went to pick Jack up in the afternoon when Sam went down for his second nap, and he did his "Happy dance" when we met at the front door. He ran right into my arms and I got LOTS of hugs! As we were getting him ready for bed tonight, I said "Mommy missed you so much last night. Did you miss Mommy too?" He said, "Yeah, I gived Mommy wots of hugs wast night." I can't help it if I teared up looking at his empty little toddler bed, or if I insanely required that his monitor be on, even though he wasn't in the room. There was also much rejoicing when Jack and Sam reunited. They gleefully played together while I made dinner and each one seemed truly thrilled to be back in the other's company. I hope they are always so close.

The circus

Saturday, February 17, 2007
The Circus (isn't it always around here?!)
Today we went to the Circus! The Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus to be precise. It was the first experience of that kind for both Jackson and Sam, and they both loved it! I've been building it up with Jack for weeks, talking about going to the circus, visiting the website, and looking at pictures in books. Everytime I would talk about it, he would say things like "Gotta eat my peanut butta sanwich firs," or "Gotta put my shoes on firs." But this week we were counting down the days, and he said we would see "Scawy monkeys thewe." I'm not sure where that came from, unless "The Wizard of Oz" movie, but that's what he thought!
He was very excited as we made our way into the Richmond Coliseum today for the 3:30 afternoon showing. The beginning of the show was full of activity with elephants, dancers, loud music, and fireworks. The boys were enthralled! But not as enthralled as they all were to discover we were sitting next to Jacob, Jack's best buddy (besides Sam!) Throughout the event they spent time waving to each other and trying desperately to get each other's attention. They were great and watched with intensity. At one point, they were like little princes, sitting back (lounging) in their own seats, munching away on fruit snacks and sipping their juice boxes while taking in the show! We refrained from any circus paraphenalia- that stuff is highway robbery!- but maybe when they're older. All in all, it was a great experience for everyone and I can hardly wait for next year! Ah, they joys of parenthood- getting to be a kid again!

Big boy bed

Sunday, February 11, 2007
Big Boy Bed
Last night I tucked my firstborn into a crib for the last time. Sob. Yes, I teared up a little and I did take pictures!
Today we talked about his big boy bed and how we would have a surprise for him in place of his crib. So, while my mom and grandma played with the boys downstairs, Ryan and I dismantled the crib and stored it in the attic (for the next 3 months until we need it for Livi's room!) and put together the big boy toddler bed. We made a big production of the surprise and coming up the steps to open the door to his room, camcording and snapping pictures the whole way.
He was all smiles as he crawled into the bed for the first time, and Sam was equally excited with the surprise! We read his story and snuggled up for a few minutes before leaving the room and closing the door. We watched on the monitor as he checked out the room, climbing in and out of bed, and playing with his toys. At one point, I cracked up when I saw a tiny hand sliding out from under his door. He opened his door once, but when he saw me coming up the stairs, he slammed it shut again! After going in twice to talk about laying in bed and taking a nap, and two poopy diaper changes, he finally snuggled in and fell asleep. It only took about an hour and he slept for 2.5 hours!
Tonight we read his story in bed at his request, and snuggled for a few minutes before saying goodnight. He played for aabout thirty minutes before passing out!
We are so proud of how well he has transitioned to his big boy bed, even if Mommy wasn't so brave!

Musings on a changing family

Thursday, February 08, 2007
Musings on a changing family
Since finding out about our baby girl, Ryan and I have discussed the growth of our family more than baby names, much to the surprise of us both. We are both growing more comfortable with the idea that a family of three kids might be just right for us, but neither of us is quite ready to commit yet.
It makes me sad to think that this will be the last newborn I nurse in the night, and the last tiny diapers that I change. I mean, I didn't even plan to have kids until I was thirty, and the prospect of being DONE having them at 27 seems a little wacky!
There are so many things I want to cherish, but am afraid that being so busy with three little ones, the moments will slip away unnoticed and I will be left with older kids and longing for the sweet smell and snuggles of a baby or toddler. I will miss the open mouthed kisses and the very deliberate and exaggerated clapping of a one year old. I will miss the mixed up pronouns and shock each time my toddlers say something I didn't know they understood. I'll miss rocking them and reading stories, rubbing lotion on their babysoft skin. I'll miss hearing that soft call for "Mama" when a baby or young toddler needs a reassuring snuggle. I'll miss having kids that NEED a reassuring snuggle. I'll miss the delight of discovery, and the sheer joy in the mundane everyday things.
I know that there will be benefits too! Some freedom and independence...knowing that I'll have an empty nest at 45 years old. Being a fairly young grandmother. But I think I understand now the syndrome of having LOTS of kids. There's just something intoxicating about babies, and I'm not sure I'm ready to give up the addiction just yet. Only time will tell...

Don't mess with my brother!

Don't mess with my brother!
This morning we had playgroup at our house (for the second time this week!) and Jackson proved himself as a fabulous big brother!
Another child knocked Sammy down, and Jackson came running over. First he stopped to pat Sam on the head and comfort him, saying "It's nokay, Sammy." Then he marched up to the boy, stuck his hand in his face and said "YOU NO PUSH SAMMY. YOU NO PUSH SAMMY DOWN." After that, he walked back to Sammy to repeat the "it's nokay Sammy" mantra and help him up...I melted! Ah, if only these moments would last. Apparently it's okay for Jack to slug Sammy, but nobody else better mess with his brother.

It's a Girl!

Monday, February 05, 2007
It's a Girl!
We FINALLY had the big ultrasound today and, you guessed it, it's a girl! I think I'm still in shock at the idea of having a daughter. After two sons, I wasn't sure it would ever happen, and we're a little intimidated by the idea of adding female hormones to the household. But I'm already planning her wedding and dreaming up all the things we'll do together one day.
We told the boys they were going to have a baby sister, and Jack slugged Sam. So, as you can see, they're very excited and trying hard to welcome a girl into the family.
Jack did tell me when I woke him up from his nap today to go to the ultrasound, "You look pretty Mommy. That's coot (referring to my shirt), I wike it! I WUV you Mommy." Maybe I can quit girlying up my boys now. We'll see.

Ahhh, appreciation...

Wednesday, January 31, 2007
You're appreciated too
We have been in Charlotte for the last couple of days tagging along on a business trip with Ryan. The boys' schedules have been way out of whack, and they have had to put up with alot of strangers and strange places. They spent 4 hours in a car yesterday, then got a short night's sleep. We went swimming in the hotel pool and they took a quick morning nap. We met Ryan and his coworkers for lunch at Olive Garden, and then proceeded to spend 2 hours at the mall, where we chased the boys all over kingdom come with Sam spending more time wiping out and face planting than we spent shopping. But after finally reaching the peak of our frustration and scooping up the boys to rush them out to the car, Jackson decided to be the cutest toddler of all time. We put them in their car seats and pulled out of the mall parking lot. As we sighed and moaned and I complained about my pregnancy back and footaches from spending the day with the kids, we heard a sweet voice from the back seat.
"Thank you, Mom. Thank you, Dad"
Sweet, simple, unanticipated and unexpected, yet making every minute of our exhausting day worthwhile. It's so fulfilling to be appreciated. Finally.

The things we do for our kids

Monday, January 29, 2007
The things we do for our kids
So I swore I would not be one of those psycho moms who puts WAY too much stock into things like preschool, but apparently I have failed in my resolve. I was in a car (thankfully) from 1:30 am to 6 am this morning sitting in a preschool parking lot to reserve a spot for Jackson in a one day a week preschool class! How crazy is that? Wanna know what's crazier...I wasn't the first one there!
By 5 am the parking lot was full, and I'm sure the back half of the line didn't get spots. I was just glad we made a group decision to stay in our cars, but only at 4 am after a few people started lining up and the rest of us jumped out of our cars and ran to sit in the chairs we had set up to reserve our spot. Sitting in the 20 degree windy night would have been MUCH more painful than sitting in the car eating Doritos and chatting with my next door neighbor who went with me.
At 6 am, when the director opened the doors and told us to line up by car order to receive a number, I realized at least I wasn't the MOST psycho mom there. One woman actually came busting into the holding room loudly proclaiming, "OKAY, I WAS IN CAR 9, SO WHY AM I NUMBER 11!?" I explained that our car had two people in it and perhaps that was the case with another, but that didn't stop her from sitting in the back of the room with her arms crossed, chomping her gum and looking like a sourpuss!
It's pretty embarrassing when the PRESCHOOL director has to yell out to the group of PARENTS, "Let's not have any fighting. Work it out amongst yourselves!" Geez, I'm in trouble when my kids start sports!