Wednesday, September 27, 2006

It breaks my heart

As a mom, the hardest thing to bear, is when your kid has something bugging him, and feels they can't tell you. Like Harry going to school today. There was something wrong, but he wouldn't tell me. And when we finally got to school, he decided right then and there, that no force on earth could make him go to class. I begged and pleaded with him to tell me what was wrong, I took him into his class. He finally let me go, but I am now a mess here at home. What is wrong? What is bothering him so much that he doesn't want to go to school today?

I hate this. You know it really doesn't get easier the older they get. It just changes.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Another post about my kid

Since I have refused to potty train Chilly, thanks to the advice given here, and the fact that I AM lazy, tired, and sick of cleaning poo; Chilly has thus decided to train himself. My only demand is that he not wear pants if he pees in his underwear.

See that is how kids work. When I was all hot on getting him to, he had no desire, when I decided it was better off to not do it at all, he starts.

But I am happy, because he is starting to get it. Not just the potty training stuff, but the fact that he is growing up.

Maybe I should start demanding that they not pick up the toys, not eat their dinner, or take a bath.

Friday, September 22, 2006

She made it seem easy

She never once complained about getting up early. Or getting her children out of bed. There was always a warm breakfast waiting. Lunches were always made, or the lunch money was tucked neatly beside the plate. The laundry was always folded and put away. And she made the beds. Garbage out on the curb by 6 am. All this at home, and then she went off to work. She was prepared, she was scheduled. The house ran smoothly. Dinner was always at 6, and she always remembered to put out the meat to thaw. Even when she didn't want to cook, there was always something nutritious. The family sat around the table for dinner. Kitchen dishes were always washed, floors were always vacuumed. She went to the grocery store every other week, and that was it. The kids had nap times, bed times, which were ruled with an iron fist. She dropped off and picked up, and never, ever forgot picture money. Doctor visits, county health department for shots. She went to church on Sunday, she taught lessons, and organized relief society socials. She did her visiting teaching every month by the 15th. She quilted. Cross-stitched. She canned peaches and made jam. She sewed Sunday dresses, and had birthday parties.

She made it look so easy.

Was she the typical super mom? She must have had a time turner to get all that done in a single day. She didn't have a nanny, and her children really didn't help out that much. How did she do it. I don't' know, I don't think there was an option of NOT doing it. She just did it. Every day.

She made it seem so easy.

And now that I am all grown up, I struggle every day. The laundry is a burden, the lunch making is a chore. The dishes pile up, and my mopboards are disgusting. The dusting doesn't get done, and I always forget the meat.

I feel like a failure, I don't' even go beyond my own home for employment, and yet, I cannot keep up with my domestic duties. How did she do it?

I have a dishwasher. A super capacity washing machine. I have cool little gadgets that can mop and sweep at the same time. I've got disposable toilet cleaners. Prepackaged food. I've got a husband who helps, and half as many children.

Of course, in the 14 years that I remember, I never did see her smile. So maybe accomplishing all these feats didn't really make her happy. Maybe she fell into bed every night as exhausted as I am. Maybe she had sleepless nights with sick children. Maybe she did have heartburn and indigestion. Maybe she resented her husband for just doing his one job, and not having to worry about keeping the family together. Was it any wonder that she would just leave? She'd take the car for a ride by herself. She must have hated the ironing, or the dishes. She had to have relished in summer vacation. She must have gotten burned out. Bored with doing the everyday menial tasks. Did she regret having her children? Did she yearn for a life without the drudgery?

But I never heard her complain.

Is my generation a bunch of spoiled brats?

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Fall has arrived at our house

Chilly and Harry have the first cold of the season. Blech! So now my moral dilemma... To drug or not to drug.

I generally apply to the whole "healthy" thing. I know a cold is just a virus that will play out in 5-7 days. A runny nose or stuffy nose is just an annoyance really, and good handwashing and keeping the kids out of the drafty backyard, canning more peaches to rehumidify the house, and plenty of liquids, probably will do as much good as any medicine will.

But I am also lazy. And sometimes it is just easier to give them a shot of over-the-counter-knock-em-out-cold-medicine. They sleep. I sleep. The house stays clean.

All is well with the world.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Rules to remember while on a field trip with 1st graders

I'm not a grumpy mom, honest. I tend to think of myself as a fun mom, who likes to try and catch bugs, who spends time outdoors, who takes her kids for "hikes". I just wanted to say that, so the following post doesn't...Well...Seem like it is all about me. 'Cause it really is not.

Harry's first grade class had it's field trip to the Ogden nature center. Do you know this place? Probably not if you aren't from around here. I visited this place when I was in elementary school, and it was really cool. They showed us animals, they had us do fun craft like things, and they took us out and around the grounds to see what we could see. Granted, that was something like 20 years ago, but still, I have fond memories of the place.

I didn't think I'd be able to volunteer. I mean, Chilly isn't allowed (no preschoolers should have been the first sign), so I'd have to find a babysitter for who-knows-how-long during a school day. So I put down that I WOULDN'T"T be able to attend, and sent back Harry's signed permission slip. This was about 2 weeks ago.

Fast forward to yesterday. I picked up Harry from school, and he asked me if I was going on the trip. I told him "no, I have to stay home with Chilly", he asked "well then daddy will be there!" I told him that daddy has to work, like most people, on Thursday, and that he wouldn't be able to go. And then Harry burst into tears. He mumbled something about having to stay home then. What?

So the first item on my list is...
1. Don't tell 1st graders that they have to stay with their parents during the field trip. This can easily be construed as "if you parent comes, then you can too", thus upsetting the child who's parents are not actually going.

So after trying to calm down Harry, I made a call. To my mom. She stays home, usually, and maybe she could watch the three year old, while I went to the nature center. Called, done, cool!

So off we go, the next day to school. I've got a lunch packed for both of us, seeing that I wasn't going to pay for a field trip school lunch. I remember them. I still have nightmares. Anyway, back to the story. We are at Harry's classroom, when I realize that for 25 kids, there are about 7 or 8 mom volunteers. I thought that was pretty good odds. Only one had tried to buck the system and had brought her 18 month old, I mean kid. And then I notice that I am the only parent with 5 kids to my name (that I am responsible for) while the other parents have like 2-3. What?

2. Don't let the pregnant, hormonal woman, be in charge of more than 2 kids unless they are angels.

These kids were not. I could tell. They were the kind of boys that I don't let my boy play with. Not because they teach him bad words, but because they know how to build dynamite. You know this kid. You might have one. If you do, I'm sorry. But I suck it up. I'll be okay.

So off we head to the bus. Man, it has been a long time I have ridden a school bus. I figured about the time I want to go into actual labor, I find a class going on a field trip and bounce along with. Seriously. I don't get car sick, but for some reason, I got bus sick.

3. Don't heat the bus to 110 degrees when you have 75 first graders aboard. They don't' like it, and neither do the moms.

We arrive to the nature center about the time my bladder, and the rest of my organs had finally settled somewhere in my furthest of nethers. And then we walked. It was a cool little path with interesting bird houses. Fun, some were really cool. And we arrive at a really neat building where the kids were ushered onto a rug and told to sit still while they talked to them for about 45 minutes.

4. When you have 75-80 first graders crammed into a classroom with interesting things, don't talk to them about seeds. They don't care. They want to see animals, they want to walk around and look at the snake and the tarantula. They will not sit still for your entire presentation, especially when you toss around words like "field ecology" explaining the specific definition of the words, broken into Latin.

After that we learn about prey and predators, and although my Harry (yes, I am bragging here) knows these terms well having independently studied dinosaurs for years now, understood the terminology, and the skull specifics for each. Most of the kids couldn't hear, didn't care.

5. Bones are cool and all, but let the kids touch them. Or find ones that they can. And when explaining something way over their head, like ocular chambers, don't stay silent until and answer comes up, otherwise we will be there all day, listening to really odd responses.

And then it was off to the wide open field, where they played predator and prey by camouflaging themselves and hiding. Which takes me right into..

6. Letting first graders run and hide could prove disasterous. You know, they might not want to be found later.

And then we go to a kid size mouse hole. Or a tunnel that someone dug. And the kids got to crawl through. Did I mention it was dug in loose dirt? Did I mention it was kid size? Most of the kids came out looking like they had belly slid down a hill of dusty dirt. The kids loved it, basically because they got dirtier than most mothers would allow.

And then off to the classroom where they got 4 minutes to see the snake, and the turtle, and the tarantula. And then off to catch bugs.

Another open field. A bunch of nets. hmmm

7. When working with children and nets, just think of anything else they can use them for, and they will., especially if it involves something like building dynamite. Okay not really. Most of the kids just got a good bonk on the head.

So the catch of the day, a squished grasshopper. Wow. And off trudging back to get our backpacks and off to lunch.

Remember the frustration of the morning trying to make sure that everyone got a lunch. Well apparently we missed one, and one little girl didn't have a lunch. At all. I saw that she wasn't eating, and I caught the teachers eye. We sort of made a lunch for this little girl out of my meager pb&j, and the diabetic teachers lunchable.

8. Don't take the child's word when they tell you they each have a lunch, check each backpack for proof that they have something to eat while away from a food source during a meal time.

After our lunch, the teachers had plenty of time. I guess. The kids were running wild, and the teachers were looking back and forth at each other, wondering what was next. How about a walk? So the kids line up, and off we go. We trudge through brush and weeds, they almost got knocked over by a rabid deer. We hiked through thistles and briars, over gigantic grasshoppers, and rickety bridges. It was about a mile. Honest. And at the end of our one way trip was...ta da...A tower of stairs so they could look over the field. The kids loved it. The teacher were a little concerned about liability of someone being pushed off. Oh and then...

9. When with children, prudence tells us to have restrooms accessible at least ever hour or so.

Just imagine about 75 1st graders all holding themselves walking the mile back over rickety bridges and grasshoppers the size of my neighbors dog. A few of the boys excused themselves while they disappeared into the brushes. But I was concerned, having seen the rabid deer out for blood. So the mile hike back to the place that had a bathroom, and bathroom breaks for all 75 kids, took about 10.5 hours. Well, it honestly felt that way. Especially since...

10. Make sure the field trip location doesn't plan on watering the weeds during a time that you will be needing the area as a rest stop.

Now I do want you to remember that the distance these kids had all walked from destination to destination was easily 3 miles! They were tired. As we finally said goodbye and trudged past the bird houses, back to the bus, the kids were exhausted. And we all know how happy exhausted kids are. Back on the bus, and back with our internal organs bruising themselves on our pubic and rib bones. Back to school we go. We made it back, only to find the classroom locked, and the teacher tardy.

So see, I have a reason to be tired. A reason to be grumpy. It isn't that I am not a fun mom, but C'mon, a field trip like this could easily wear out the toughest of moms.

Of course the best part of the day was when Harry, getting ready for bed, told his daddy about all the cool stuff he had learned that day, and about how much fun he had. And he gave me an extra big hug telling me thanks for coming with him.

11. Children might get board, tired, and sick of the field trip, but ultimately, they really do learn. And it really is worth it.

Monday, September 11, 2006

How is it?

How is it that two people can come together from basically the same geographical area, be raised by basically the same set of morals and values, and still have completely different families.

And not just mildly different. Off the charts.

Now if you are me, and are from my family, the things that big d's family does, it is like you landed on an alien planet. So completely foreign to me. Does it mean that I don't like them? NO, it just means that I am lost in confusion and frustration. This frustration that I occasionally feel with big D when we have our own misunderstandings. However, it is different when it is a whole family, against, say, 1 person.

Now if you are big D, and are from his family (who I think are all nutters) and are involved with one of my families "issues", you seem to handle any and all problems with the ease of a politician. Or perhaps, say, a mute. How he does this, I cannot say, but he does. And it is only on the car ride home from said problematic issues that I can even get a simple "Ugh" out of him.

There are just differences in they way we communicate (less ketchup throwing with the inlaws) to the way we share our problems (way more sly at the alien planet). And then there is us, the newly formed family of 9 years, who have both shed our previous families skin and are making a go of our own.

And that is the problem, we can't side with either, which makes me terribly moody at family functions, and dh, again, a mute. So when something comes up that is BIG, like life changing, in our families, at the same time, and we are both in the throws of it, do we revert back to our roots, or do we climb out of that trench and come to even ground, which we have built up for our own family? I ,personally, tend to revert back to the tossing of objects, which, dh objects too. And he, well, although his work responsibilities have somewhat tripled in the last few months, well, he tries to take the time to help people understand. Occasionally he will send out an email stating his concerns. Not because he is angry, or "wants to throw ketchup", but because it is the most efficient way he can possibly reach the whole family at the same time.

Now since it isn't my family that is going through this specific set of problems,I probably shouldn't comment. Although no one has ever really asked me about my opinion, occasionally I feel the need to state it. That is just how I was raised in my family. In fact, as I am finding, I probably should keep my nose out of the whole problem completely(which is what I am not doing right now) and keep on making grandbabies.

So that is the trick really, is time to get involved or stay silent. Either way, I run the risk of offending someone.

Friday, September 08, 2006

My Midwife

When I was pregnant with Chilly, I knew something wasn't right. Every time I went to my Dr. appointment, I would come home sick, tired, worried about something. I dreaded going in to see him. Don't get me wrong, I love my Dr. He is kind, jovial, and a bit nutty. Plus he is L.D.S. which was a big plus in my book. He delivered my first baby, and he did a fantastic job, I only had a couple of stitches! He was cool with my natural childbirth choice and all that. But I usually came home feeling icky.

I came home after my 24 week appointment (or somewhere around there) with the news that I probably had gestational diabetes, or that I would develop it soon. Because Harry had been over 9 pounds. I felt fine. I had no symptoms. The ultrasound that we had done the previous weeks showed a healthy baby.

So I got up the gumption to go and find a midwife that would accept me as a patient at such a late date. And I did, I found one, and I haven't looked back since.

My first appointment with Chris was a test. To see how much I liked her, to see how well she "worked" with our personalities. Big D included. She was so layed back, relaxed. She told me that she had 9 babies, each over 9 pounds, and she never once had GD. She even told me that she honestly believed that GD was a very unlikely disease for me. All my worries went out the window, and so did big D's. Little did I know, that she was conducting the same test about me! About my beliefs, my diet, my goals, my desires.

And then the day came, and although I was initially concerned with NOT going to a hospital, it totally felt natural. It was a blessing to see her in my bedroom, the most intimate setting in my house, totally at ease with showing my naked behind.

So this time, when I was having problems conceiving, who did I talk to? And who found out before most of my family? Yeah, no big surprise. Because a midwife is like a friend. Or a close Aunt, or grandma, or even mother. She treats all of you, and in so doing, she becomes much closer than any MD really can.

I went to my appointment today, a little worried, not because of all the weight I have thus far gained, nor all the unhealthy foods I have managed to keep down, not even the lack of movement from the imenent I have felt thus far. or even the pinched nerve that has been causing me daily excrusiating pain. Or my blood pressure which surely has been elevated due to family drama. None of that was on my mind as I crossed the parking lot to the office.

I had been to see Chris 2 times in this pregnancy thus far. With the first I was really worried about hearing a heartbeat, which we did hear, and the second time, I was just taken back from her blunt manner telling me that I was off a week. She just seemed, I don't Sort of grumpy, like she was having a bad day. So I had been sitting there stewing on this recent behavior for 5 weeks. I had spent the last 5 weeks wondering if I was doing something different, or if she had changed from her easygoing manner, to someone more business or dr. like.

As I walked into the tiny clinic, with my fears in my gut, I was greated by the fact that there was laughter coming from the room where she sees people. Laughter and smiles. I chose my seat carefully because I didn't want to hurt my already sore back. I sat there for 10 minutes listening to the ease in which she gave this mom to be advice about excersing. She talked to her abut sex, about pushing out a baby, and about traffic. random, I know, but it was sweet talk to me. When this other mom to be left the clinic, she had a smile on her face, and a bounce in her step, which, I assure you, is difficult when you are 9 months pregnant.

My turn. I peed, she took my test strip and told me it was fine. She asked my weight, she took my blood pressure, she measured my belly, she exclaimed she hadn't seen a belly look this wonderful all day! She told me I was beautiful, that my weight gain was excellent, that my blood pressure was amazing for what we were going through. And then we talked. See that is what she does. Not only did we talk about how I was feeling physically, but how I was feeling emotionally. How did I feel. well I was worried, I was a little depressed, emotional, hormonal. that sort of thing. And what did she do? She didn't perscribe any drugs, or give me any shots, she didn't scribble anything in her notebook. she looked at me and listened. NOt just with her ears, but with her heart. She explained some exercises for my back, she showed me some too. We talked, and we laughed.

See that is what a midwife does. She takes the time to take care of you, the whole you. She knows that a healthy baby needs a healthy mom too. That the most important part of a relationship between a baby and a mommy is love and trust. She teaches moms to trust in thier bodies and to love what is happening to them. To look upon pregnancy as a chance to touch divine.

She also introduced me to some associate midwives that will be practicing with her, and we all talked for much longer than any of us intended. When I finally left the office, with a hug from all three, I left so much lighter and confident than when I went in. There is no drug that can do that. There is no shot that can give me the knowledge that I can do this, that I can bring this baby into the world. That the best gift I can give my baby, is to love me, and to be happy with my life, my choices. To care for my body and my soul, in any way that I can.

That, dear readers, is the essence of midwivery.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Today...only 9 years ago

I married him. Big D. And although we have had some ups and downs, I still love being with him. No really. When other girls are serious about their nights away from the spouse, I still enjoy every moment we can squeeze in. We are nuts like that.

As for the time, I can't really believe it has been that long, or that short. Although I am glad it has. We sure have grown and not just in pant sizes.

So here is to you sweetheart! Thanks for making my life complete. Sounds cheesy huh? Oh well, you know what I mean.


Friday, September 01, 2006

The cost of raising kids...

is immeasurable. And so varied.

I think we always assume the financial costs of having kids, and the ultimate responsibility of sending them to college with handsome billfold and plenty of quarters to call home. Does Hollywood give us this ideal so we can feel horrible when the actual college fund is in fact a missionary fund? Na, not me. But it is true. Kids cost money. Babies start out costing money. You have to buy that first pregnancy test, and of course, two or three more, just to be sure. And then they have all those darn appointments with Dr.'s or midwives, each one taking more and more spare change out of the coffers. And then the baby gets here, and you've got diapers and wipes, and clothes and underwear, and that is just for you! And it really doesn't get any better the older they get. Soon you've got preschool and kindergarten snacks. You've got the unexpected expense of replacing the front room carpet. Pretty soon you're paying for designer jeans and year books, and like, car insurance! It never ends.

And then you have the mental costs of raising children. The late nights, early mornings, the puke fests, the who-gave-my-child-this-deadly-sickness phone calls. The questionable play dates with friends you haven't met yet, and the dread when pulling into the driveway to find your child naked and running down the street. The pretend play that is so adult boring, and the never ending picture book reading. Followed shortly by the weird music and TV shows. The feeling of being out of touch with "cool" or whatever word it is now days.

But the cost that is hitting me most is the emotional heartbreak. The growing up factor. I watched big D and chilly playing in the pool the other day, and realized that chilly didn't want to or need to be with me. He isn't attatched to momma anymore, in fact he had spent the entire day without a hug or kiss from me. He was happy, and as I watched his face beam with admiration and adoration for his daddy who has suddenly become the coolest person on the earth, my heart ached a little bit. My little chilly who came into this world on my bed, who nursed just seconds after escaping from my defiant cervix. My sweet chilly who spent more time attatched to my hip, walking on my feet! His constant need for hugs and loves, has been silenced and he has grown up just a little bit more over the summer. I feel left behind. He got what he needed from me. He is happy, content with himself.

I know I should be enjoying this respite, for in a few short months it will begin all again, with the birth of yet another dependent. Another helpless newborn that will need my constant attention. But in some ways, just this short glimpse into the future of motherhood's hardest task, seems to have sobered me up to the fact that my children are not mine, that they are growing up, and it will be faster than anything I will experience. A few years ago, that thought would have cheered my postpartum soul! During the throngs of a newborn and a toddlerhood, but this new perspective has given me determination to enjoy all that I have right now.

like I said, the cost of raising kids is immeasurable. The joys are great, the sadness is real. But I guess that is the great circle of life, right?