Thursday, July 31, 2008

Vacation and An Interview

Hello All!

I'm currently on vacation but brought my computer with me to get some school work done!

For those of you interested in PPD related issues you can check out my interview over at Sharing the Journey.

You even get to find out my real first name! (I know that's thrilling!)

I'll be back to regular posting and reading within a week or so!

Hope everyone is having a great week, I know I am!

Enjoying the sand and sun!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Rest In Peace

For those of you who are not aware, Professor Randy Pausch passed away today from complications resulting from his Pancreatic Cancer.

Randy gave the Last Lecture at Carnegie Mellon University about achieving your dreams. I encourage all of you to watch it and read his book.

Take his words to heart.

Hug your children, your loved ones, your friends, everyone and reach for your dreams.

I'm Sorry, I had to do it.

First, I must apologize to Her and Her. The pictures below are examples of purchases I made today. I had hoped to get photos of my children's feet inside the purchases photographed below but they both fell asleep and I was not waking them to get pictures of them. If you had seen how cute my children's feet looked in the below purchases you would wholeheartedly understand why I had to make the purchases I made.

I hate Crocs. I LOATHE them. I don't care how comfortable you say they are. I don't care how good they make your feet feel. I don't care how much padding and cushioning you put into them during the winter, I think they are plain out ugly. Maybe their comfort really does outweigh the ugliness. Maybe, but I don't think so.

That's why a little part of me died inside when I purchased my children the items below.

We were at the mall in search of the book that doesn't really exist at the bookstore that doesn't really exist and I realized that my kids really don't have "flip floppy" types of shoes for the beach next week. As much as I would have liked to have purchased bona fide flip flops for my toddlers I know better. My son doesn't really like things infiltrating his toes. (Weird, I'm well aware) And my daughter takes every opportunity she can to rip her shoes off her feet and fling them out the car window or door. ( I cannot count how many times I've had to stop in the middle of the Shop Rite parking lot and run back to my newly vacated parking spot to grab a sandal or sneaker that just barely eeked it's way out of the car before the automatic door could stop it!) So, basically flip flops- out of the question.

I ducked into the local Payless Shoe Source and perused, very briefly, the womens' size 11 rack. (Don't laugh, two pregnancies KILLED my feet!) And then moved into the toddler section. I knew what I was after and it took all I could to hold back the vomit and pick up the Crocs off the shelf.

Now, the Cars ones I think are pretty darn cute! My son LOVES them! He wore them from the moment we got back to my parents' house. Although we did have to remedy the minor fashion faux pas that pop-pop committed- no crocs with socks, ever! The boy says they are comfortable and they stay on his feet pretty nicely. I'm happy with the purchase. Really. Kind of.

As for the pink could take them or leave them. I found these really cute navy blue ones with hot pink and yellow and purple in them. I know it sounds odd when I describe it but they really were the ones I wanted. They didn't have the girl's size. It was either the above offenders or Dora Crocs. I'm sorry, it was enough that I was buying Crocs there was no way in hell I was getting ones with friggin' Dora on them! But when I put these little pink and white plastic shoes on my crazy daughter I just could not help but smile! Her feet looked so cute! So cozy and petite. Just so adorable. I immediately had visions of her in her little pink bathing suit and white hat walking along the sand in her little pink Crocs.

And they were impossible for her to get off! Victory was mine.


The Crocs stayed on for all of maybe 35 minutes. We were sitting around talking while the kids were playing and my daughter saunters in to the living room where we were and lo and behold she only has on one pink Croc. The other one? She had it on her hand as if it were some type of puppet.

Victory, as always, was hers.

Yes, I purchased Crocs for my children. I'm not proud of it. It upset me and I am sad that they now take up residence in my house. But my kids feet just look so cute! And they'll come in so useful! And the pink and bright red will show up so much better in the Shop Rite parking lot when I frantically search for them.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

My Specialty

One of the classes I am currently taking is called Orientation to Professional Counseling. Basically, it's like freshmen orientation except for counselors. We've been discussing different counseling issues and how go about getting licensed and where we want to end up 5, 10 and 15 years down the road.

The main assignment lately has been to focus on our specialty. I feel like I'm picking a major all over again. I entered into counseling for a number of reasons. I worked as a rape counselor during college and it was something that was important to me. It still is. Helping others is important to me. It is something that I feel I'm good at and that I enjoy. Trying to narrow down my specialty has been difficult yet easy all at once.

My original thought was to do family counseling and focus on women and children. I wanted to have that office where kids could come and do play therapy and we could talk and work through their own feelings and emotions. I wanted to work with families in crisis. I never want to see kids suffer. I want to be able to help families heal themselves.

That hasn't changed.

As I've gotten more involved with PPD awareness and working to get out the word on the MOTHER'S Act I've found that the work is rewarding to me. I've found that there is an extreme need all over our country for women to be able to reach out, wherever they are, and get the help they need. I was able to reach out to my OB and get help. She referred me to counseling. She got me started on medication. When I went to search for therapy in my area- groups, individual, whatever- I was hard pressed to find much of anything. I did find a therapist that I loved. I never found a support group, which is what I was hoping for.

The need is there.

I don't know about other states. I don't know how it works in PA or GA or CA or anywhere else. In NJ, I received a questionnaire roughly 10 hours after having given birth to my second child. It was a joke, in my opinion. Plain and simple. I was too afraid to answer the questions honestly. The nurse was not compassionate. I did not feel like this was important. I circled what I needed to circle and handed it back. No one spoke of it again. No one spoke of the fact that PPD symptoms don't generally materialize in symptomatic mothers until roughly a week or so after giving birth. No one spoke of the overwhelming sadness and apprehension that can overcome a woman and her family when PPD is present. No one spoke of anything.

This bothered me. I live in a state where one of our former governors has a wife that survived severe postpartum psychosis. She came out and spoke of it. She spoke of her fears. She spoke of wanting to put her child in the microwave. She spoke of the support her husband gave her. She spoke of the lack of support that she received. She is working to help other women and families get help. I could not understand why all we had was some ridiculous questionnaire. Why wasn't the questionnaire given to me at my 4 week check up with my ob? Why couldn't my pediatrician have given it to me when I brought my daughter in at her 2 week weight check? Why wasn't someone thinking about this logically?

Last week I found out that I have a family member who is in an institution for an action she committed against her child during her postpartum period. It really upset me. It frightened me. To think about it still does. I've stepped away from the issue and not asked questions about it because it's sad. It's so hard to talk about. It's scary for everyone. The questions need to be asked and they will be to the person I know understands why I need to have them answered.

When I found this out it was almost as if the switch flipped in my head. I reached out to a friend who is a PPD advocate in GA and we discussed, confidentially, the situation. We talked about my feelings surrounding it. We talked about why it bothered me and everything surrounding it. It was then that I realized where I needed and wanted to go with my career and life.

I have an incredible choice to make about what direction I want my counseling to take. I have had incredible experiences with women who have survived PPD and come out better on the other side. I have had experiences with women who were afraid to talk about their PPD experiences, who suffered through them alone. That should never be the case. And I believe that I have the ability to make it so that it is never the case.

For the most part I sealed up my specialty this week. I am fairly certain that I want to work with women and families dealing with pregnancy and postpartum issues. I want to make sure that down the road women are not handed a 10 question survey about their feelings that really cannot be significant or reliable. I want to make sure that women have the resources that they need to reach out and ask for help. I want to make sure that people recognize that they are not alone or left on their own when they walk out of the hospital with their child or children.

The MOTHER'S ACT goes to the Senate this week. It is an important piece of legislation that is just the beginning of where we can go with PPD support. I said in my last post and I'll say it again, PLEASE contact your legislators. Get the word out about how important this is. Help other women and families out there. Share your words. Share your experiences. Help others to see that it's ok and there is help out there.

When I approached my OB for help I took the first step towards recovery. Now, I want to help others to take that step as well. For a long time I struggled with how I could help other women and families. All along it was staring me right in the face.

*I've chosen to open up anonymous comments again, at least for this post*

The MOTHER'S Act is Getting Some Action! Help a Girl out!

From Sharing the Journey

This is important! I've talked about my experiences with PPD on here and I have more to talk to about because I just do. Please read below and contact your legislators!!!

Ladies! (And gentlemen!)

Get those advocate attitudes revving!

The MOTHER’S Act is set to see action THIS WEEK in the Senate.

So pick up your phone, email your Senator. Let them know that supporting the MOTHER’S Act is a brave first step towards battling this illness that affects thousands of American Families each year. Give these families a voice!

Here’s a clip from what Susan Dowd Stone, immediate past President of PSI has to say:

Today, America’s mothers, infants and families have reason to be encouraged and to reach out to their state senators to again request their support of The Melanie Blocker Stokes MOTHERS Act in its final push to passage.YOU HAVE BEEN HEARD and this morning, Majority Leader Reid introduced a package of bills called Advance America’s Priorities Act which now includes The Melanie Blocker Stokes MOTHERS Act. Senators Robert Menendez (NJ) and Richard Durbin (IL) have been working very hard with Majority Leader Harry Reid and Chairman Edward Kennedy to pass this legislation.
These initiatives will be considered over the next week.

Your renewed advocacy and attention is especially welcome RIGHT NOW! We need to continue make it deafeningly clear how important this bill is to women and families all across America. The online petition in support of The Melanie Blocker Stokes MOTHERS Act has been reintroduced and we invite your signature and call to your state senators office. If you wish to write a personal letter, this would also offer welcome support. By clicking on this link you will be connected to the petition and information on how you can reach your senator and sign the petition.

We are almost there!! After years of unfathomable and needless suffering, American women may finally get the relief offered through increased research into the causes of perinatal mood disorders, better education of healthcare professionals to identify and treat these disorders, and grants for programs and services to help women to recovery. Thanks for the tremendous efforts which have brought us to this point and your steadfast participation in this final effort.

Monday, July 21, 2008

A Mess of Meanderings

It's 11:42pm right now and as I sit here and write this post I should be sitting here writing a response for one of my classes. But to be quite blunt, I just don't give a shit.

It will get done.

I'll submit it tonight before I go to bed but right now I just don't care. I hate this class. The professor is awesome. She's super nice and interesting but damn if she doesn't SLAM us with work every friggin' week!

So what do I do instead of writing about a case study...I blog.

I really have nothing specific to write about. Last week I was all wordy and ready to write. This week I want to write but who the hell knows what about!?!

Let's start with a plug....I've been reading this site for a long time. Since my son was born or just after it. The woman who runs the site is incredible. Seriously amazing. She has been so helpful and comforting. She is incredibly knowledgeable about PPD and all things surrounding it. She and I were talking tonight and I just wanted to share her with all of you! Check her out. Check out her info on PPD. And share it with all of your friends and family, it's too important not to!

Sharing the Journey

Moving on to words that have come out of my children's mouths in the past few days....

My three year old likes to watch our GPS from his backseat driver spot. He tells me when we miss a turn. He lets me know that I'm not following the "highlighted route". He shares all of these little tidbits about where we are as we're driving in between Backyardigans numbers. Today's little tidbit? I decided not to follow the GPS at one point and I heard from the backseat, "Mommy, you didn't turn. The driving thing said turn."

"I know where I'm going honey. I don't want to follow the map right now."

"But mommy, it said TURN."

"I know but it's ok, it will tell us how to go."

"Well, mommy, only if you're REALLY sure. I don't want to get lost."

Silence. Then backyardigan singing from the way back of my van!

Our daughter's newest phrase- "I did it."

She says it when she finishes all her food- which is always!

She says it when she sneakily climbs up on the couch and settles into the cushions.

Today, we're sitting in our friendly car repair shop when I quietly asked, "Who pooped?" Knowing full well it was my three year old child who refuses to separate himself from his own feces!

My daughter looked up from the magazines she was destroying and said, "I did it! I poop!"

And finally on the line of bodily functions the one that sent friends of our over the edge this weekend....
Last Thursday morning we were in bed and our son came into our room, as usual. He had watched some TV and was hanging out and I heard him to say to my husband, "I have to go potty."

He can very easily get himself into the bathroom and ready himself to pee and do the deed. My husband rolled over, peered into the bathroom and told him the stool was there and he could go.


Then I hear from my husband's side of the bed, "I am never going to get to the potty if I don't stop peeing on the floor."

Those are not the words you want hear followed by the steady stream of urine hitting carpeting! Needless to say, the husband bolted out of bed and got the boy into the bathroom fairly quickly!

We leave for vacation this weekend. I cannot wait. This week though is C-R-A-Z-Y. I have a ton of crap to do including pack and clean and write a research paper on beginning a private counseling practice. I can't wait to get in the car and start driving but all the crap leading up to that....not so much fun.

Has anyone else seen this Cool-Whip in a can?!?! What the hell is that?!? I'll tell you what it is, Reddi-Whip! Cool-Whip comes in a tub and is best consumed frozen. Reddi-Whip comes in can and is best consumed by spraying directly into your gaping hole of a mouth.

I have major insomnia. My friend the paramedic is convinced it's because I've been working out at 11pm at night. He says I may be exhausted but I'm getting all my systems going and then my body can't relax for awhile. Maybe he's right. Personally, I'd rather go to bed at 2am than get up at 5 to work out.

And those workout DVDs....not only do they make me feel completely and totally fat and out of shape but I look like Elaine from the dance episode of Seinfeld:

Speaking of TV, have you seen Hopkins?!?! You must if you have not. Have a tissue or a case of them with you. INCREDIBLE.

I went to the movies by myself the other night. It was great. Definitely doing it again.

We went to a wedding this past weekend. Extremely fun. It was an outside wedding on a golf course. The sprinklers went on just as the Maid of Honor was making her way down the aisle. It helped more than anything else. It was like 110 degrees out.

There is so much random crap bouncing around in my head right now. I could go on all night.

Ok, I'm done. I have serious stuff, too. I just can't decide if it should be shared.

I hope you enjoyed this mess of meanderings through my brain. I promise something better might be coming.

Friday, July 18, 2008

The Me of We

When my husband and I first got engaged we were wrapped up in planning and getting ready and registering. I was an excited bride to be and I loved all of the excitement.

I was very centered on me and how this was my wedding and my registry and my planning.

My mom pulled me aside one day and straightened me out. Shook me out. This wasn't just about me. There was no more I or me. There was we. There was our wedding and our day and our registry and most importantly our marriage. There was I and there was the husband and we were individuals but we were together now. She wasn't talking about abandoning myself and my identity but rather recognizing that I needed to learn how to be a me within a we.

That day, for the most part, the me and I talk ended.

Today, the boy got his first "real" bike. It has training wheels. It is not a trike. It is not primarily plastic. It is a bike.

My parents bought him the bike and my dad and I put it together at their house and the boy tested it out there, too. It was nice. I loved seeing how happy he was. I loved that he rode his first bike on the street where I grew up. I even teared up a little bit.

I hated that my husband was not there.

My husband works very hard. He works two jobs to help us attempt to make ends come closer to almost meeting. He works late nights. He works weekends. He is no different than some of your husbands or some of you who work just as much, or more! As a result of all of his work he sometimes misses out on things. As a result of his work sometimes a lot of things fall on to my shoulders.

Today, I used the words I and my and me more than I have in a really long time!

I talked with my dad about my toilets leaking. I talked with him about my prospective trip to Lowes or Home Depot to fix my leaking toilets. I talked with my mom about what I needed to pack for my vacation. I put together my son's bike. I took pictures as my son rode his bike for the first time. I complained about my bills and my dissatisfaction with housing in NJ.

Everything was about me. And it wasn't.

I'm not upset because I have to go to Lowes and deal with the toilets. I'm not upset that I'm packing for the FAMILY vacation. I'm not upset that my dad and I put together the boy's bike or that I took pictures. I'm not upset about it for the reasons you may think.

I'm upset because my husband did not get to experience it.

I LOVE that I have pictures of my dad holding the back of the boy's bike as he rode down the street. I'm pretty sure we have a picture where I'm on the bike and my dad is behind me.

I'm perfectly fine with the fact that tomorrow the kids and I are hitting Lowes and getting us some new toilet parts.

What I'm upset about is that tonight, when my husband came home and sat down to do school work, I had to show him pictures of the first time his son rode on a bike. I had to regale him with stories of the day that he wasn't a part of because he was working.

I felt bad for him.

I felt like we were back in the beginning days of our engagement where everything exciting was happening but I was focused on the me of it all and not the we.

Should I have waited to put together the bike? Maybe but maybe not.

The boy still needs to learn how to ride a two wheeler. The girl still needs to learn how to ride a bike, period.

Should I let my husband handle the toilet issues? I could but then we'd still be paying out the ass for water and we'd only be working off of one toilet!

He'll get to install the new mechanisms all on his own.

Should I allow the vacation packing and getting ready to fall on him?

No. End of story on that one.

Today was not an intentional slight towards my husband on my part and I don't think he even batted an eye when I told him everything. He certainly did not say anything about missing out. I just felt bad when I shared this milestone with him. Kind of like when I called him at work one night to tell him the boy had taken his first steps. THAT did not go over well! Luckily, Dada was his first word!

I guess what I'm saying is that sometimes I feel bad for the husband. He enjoys his work. He loves his family. Most days he would rather be home with us and experiencing all of this but he works very hard to make new toilet parts and a home in NJ possible. He sacrifices a lot of his me and I things and time for we time. And for that I am grateful.

I am also grateful that he gets to stick his hands in two of our three toilet tanks and fix them and then replace our shower heads and faucets! (See how I used the OUR there and not the MY!)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Trash Picker

See the red head in the above picture? That's my preemie. Or she was a preemie.

She's cute, isn't she? I think so.

She looks pretty innocent here.

She's pointing to her belly. I had just asked her where her belly was.

She's smart.

She's got a personality on her that is just too much!

You know all this. I've shared all this before.

What you don't know is this....

She picks garbage.

She eats garbage.

When I say garbage I don't mean junk food. I don't mean chips and dip and soda. Although, she does enjoy a good chip and dip platter.

I mean literal trash.

She reaches into the garbage can and takes it out and eats it. Or tries to.

We do our best to keep garbage out of arms reach.

We keep the can in garage.

Her brother leaves the door open and she finds it.

We keep the can covered.

She learned it open it. Much like she's learned to open the toilet and play with the water in the bowl.

We put the can on our kitchen stools.

She pushes the stool until it falls over.

The only place that's safe from her little arms, legs, and hands- the counter.

I keep my trash on the counter so my daughter won't eat it.


Today, I forgot. Today, we woke up and I forgot that the can was still on the floor in the kitchen.

The girl noticed right away!

I didn't notice until an old banana peel, an empty juice box sans straw, two strawberry "tops", and a wadded up diaper ended up on my coffee table.

She's fast!

She was "reprimanded" after I swallowed the vomit that had welled up in my throat from the knowledge that my daughter had gotten into the garbage- again!

"That's yucky! Don't touch! No! YUCKY! EW!"

Then she looked at me, smiled this devilish grin, and rolled her eyes.

My almost 16 month old daughter rolled her eyes at me!

Then she grabbed the old banana peel out of my hand and walked away.

I am in so much trouble.

** Ironically enough, the girl's godmother- my bf- ate garbage, too! Granted she was drunk and it was on the top and "fresh" and it was part of a dare. It was still garbage!!**

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

My Strength Comes in Shamrock Form

I came home the other day and my son had drawn all over himself with a pen. My husband greeted me at the door and I said something to the effect of, "Oh wow, buddy, you drew ALL over yourself!?! GREAT!"

My husband looked at me and sheepishly said, "Ask him why he drew on himself?"

I did.

The answer, "Mommy, I'm strong. Strong boys have tattoos. I have a tattoo. I'm strong!"

Apparently, one of the gentlemen at my husband's softball game the night before had a conversation with my three year old about tattoos. This man had tattoos up and down his arms and my son said something to him about them. It appears that the man told him that tattoos = strong.

My first reaction to this was to be upset. I'm not sure why. I have a tattoo. It's not visible but I have one. When my son sees it I very quickly cover it up. When he asks what it is I tell him nothing. Something struck me as I was getting dressed this evening. I'm not ashamed of my tattoo. I'm not ashamed of the fact that I have one. It doesn't bother me. It wasn't some impulse move on prom weekend- as it had originally been planned years ago. I chose it. Why do I hide it from my child?

On July 24th I will be celebrating my first anniversary of my last radiation treatment. Last July 24th I had a dose of radiation that killed my thyroid, the tumors that were growing on it, and any possibility of disease. The experience was not a fun one.

A few weeks before that last treatment one of my oldest friends took me to the tattoo parlor where she had all of her tattoos, except one, done. I walked into my appointment with the full knowledge that this was going to hurt but it was what I wanted. I had been sitting on the idea of getting a tattoo for years. Since I was about 14. Prom weekend down the shore was the closest I ever came- I was short $30. Now, I was 27 years old, I had just gone through a horrible pregnancy, terrible health problems, a premature birth, job drama, and a bunch of other little things that put me out on the other side stronger but more than a few times made me question if the other side was ever going to come. I was getting a tattoo.

My friend had made the appointment. She told the artist that I wanted two shamrocks and the ICHTHUS fish in between them. The fish was to be hot pink, the shamrocks green. There was meaning behind it. Everyone I told about the tattoo I also told about the meaning. The shamrocks symbolized my two kids. The fish was my faith. Short of tattooing my friends and family all over my back, this was the best way I could think of to represent what had helped me make it through the past year. My support. My strength.

I made it through one shamrock. I couldn't take the pain. Part of me felt like a total and complete wimp not being able to make it through the rest of the design. The other part of me was proud of myself for making it that far. My friend couldn't believe that I didn't finish the design. All she kept saying was, "You've been through childbirth- TWICE!" I didn't care. It hurt and at that point it just wasn't worth it for me. I had my shamrock. I was happy.

I love my shamrock. I love my tattoo. I am proud of it. Yeah, I wimped out, I didn't finish the whole design. But I sat there and I had the shamrock I wanted put on my back and every time I catch a glimpse of it in the mirror it brings a smile to my face. Every time someone happens to catch a glimpse of it and asks me about it, I enjoy telling the story. That tattoo, as trashy as some people may think it is or as silly as they may think it is, is symbol of my strength. I didn't really realize that until my son met me at the front door and relayed his softball game conversation to me.

I am strong. I have been through the ringer. I had been at the end of last Summer and I guess it just wasn't done. I don't know why I was in a car accident or why I had to have shoulder surgery. I don't know why my son had to have the surgery he did and the life threatening complications. I don't know why we had to live on that children's ward- I mean I do but it's futile to ask why my son had to be part of the 1% who experience that horrible reaction to surgery. I've spent a lot of time asking why. I still do. I know there are no answers, there may never ever be. I'm not always ok with that. But I am strong. I know that and I am ok with that.

I have this tattoo that I got as a reward for myself. I got it as a way to symbolize my support from those around me. I got it as a way to remember what I had gone through and who was there with me. I got it so that I never forget where I've been and what I'm capable of. I thought it would be the closure to the bad pieces and the opening for the good. In a lot of ways, it was closure but I guess I had some more learning to do and more things to experience. The good is coming, I feel it. Or I hope that's what I feel. Those same people have been with me this past year. My faith has helped me immensely. I have drawn strength from everywhere I could and most days it was more than enough.

I am strong and I have a tattoo to prove it. I may have to finish the design and if I do, I cannot wait to show my son.

You Like Me, You really like me

Laskigal over at From the Cheap Seats gave me this

and I love her for it! You should definitely head over there and read her words and look at her adorably cute son! She is a former teacher, too, and has so much to say and share! I love reading her and I am so honored that she shared this award with me.

I would, of course, like to pass it along.

To Bunchy who makes me think and be thankful and cry. She makes me laugh and shares fabulous stories that inspire conversations. She is real and honest and I am so glad she stuck around.

To Mom Gone Mental who I love because she has the ability to talk about anything and everything and do it in a way that makes me hang on every word. She is funny and friendly and I enjoy reading about every topic she shares.

To LatteMommy because her words are more powerful than she realizes. Her kindness is unending and she shares the right amount of humor with the perfect amount of serious.

To Momo. Momo understands my love of John Denver. She knows how to tell a story that can make me laugh or cry and she has this incredible kid who has amazing superpowers. Her words are moving and that's important.

And Finally to the BinghamBabe. I look forward to her posts and her comments! She always has something to share that I can relate to and I can feel. She is interesting and funny and wonderfully talented and I really enjoy her words.

These are not the only bloggers that I enjoy...take a look at the blogroll....there are so many that I enjoy and check daily, if not more! I encourage you to check them out and show them some love! We all put our words and feelings out there for everyone to see and for that I think we each deserve an award!

Monday, July 14, 2008

What's Good for the Goose

I am a planner. A Serious planner.

You can ask anyone who knows me, I plan. I plan months in advance. I plan years in advance. I don't like when plans change but I've been doing SO MUCH better at rolling with the changes.

When we invite people over for a party or BBQ or dinner or whatever, I plan for weeks in advance. Seriously, I do.

I plan the food. I plan when I'll clean. I plan what time certain things need to be done by. I plan it all. It almost never goes exactly according to plan, but at least I have a rough outline of how I want things to go.

A few weeks ago we were invited to some friends house for a BBQ. Nothing fancy just a backyard, Sunday evening type of gathering. Friends enjoying each other's company. The party was supposed to start at 3ish.

Yesterday was said BBQ. It was a really good time. We had a lot of fun hanging outside, before the rain came. We had good conversation. Pretty good food. Good drink. And just a really nice time.

We arrived around 5:30 and figured that the party would be in full swing. It was not. Actually they were still cleaning and getting ready. It was weird.

It was not awkward. We felt very comfortable. We offered to help and do whatever we could to help them get ready. There were one or two other people there with us so it wasn't like we were alone. It was just weird. To me.

I started thinking about it last night. Our friends not being ready for us to arrive did not change the fact that we had a good time. It did not make us want to be there any less. It did not change our opinion of them.

Then I drew a connection.

I do things so differently when we have a party. Not better. Not worse. Just differently. People still have a good time. They still come back. They still enjoy themselves.

I also do things differently as a mom. I don't do the same things with or for my kids that other moms I know do. A friend of mine used to give her baby a bottle in bed to help him fall asleep. I don't do that. Does that make her practice better or worse? No. It just makes it different. Another friend won't drive beyond a certain distance alone in the car with her baby. Driving with my kids is a necessity for me. We're just different.

Our mothering practices are so different and varied. We take in information from the different moms and dads that we've encountered in our lives. We take in information from our doctors, our friends, the "experts" books, and of course, the well-meaning strangers. We take all of that in and process it and then we do what we feel is best for us. And while it may not work for everyone else, if it works for us we keep doing it.

My son is still working on potty training. It KILLS me that this kid is still crapping in his diaper but there is something holding him back from being ready to go in the potty. We work on it. We talk about it. We sit on the potty. We're getting closer. Some parents may be horrified that my almost 3.5 year old son is still in pull-ups and diapers but right now it is what works for him and us. I hate it but I have given up to it.

My daughter just recently started taking the pacifier again. She was off the bottle by 11.5 months and the pacifier followed shortly after. I finally had to accept that maybe, just maybe, I should have given my preemie daughter an extra month or two of sucking. She sucked her arm. She sucked her clothes. She sucked her tongue. I gave in about 4 weeks ago and now she sucks on a binky. When it's time for nap, she gets a bink and she sleeps peacefully. Maybe I'm nuts to have given her back the bink but it's what works for us.

Yesterday, we went to a party that was done drastically different from how I would have done it but it was just as enjoyable and fun. Everyday I do things that are probably drastically different from how other moms and dads do it but it works and my kids are thriving. In the simple act of going to a friend's BBQ it was reiterated to me that what's good for the goose is not always what is good for the gander.

Now, to just remember that.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Saturday Sundries

I was going to do a randoms post and tell you about the lady at the supermarket today who had just come from riding her horse- I hope- and had some major ass sweat. I'm sorry I don't go to the supermarket with my ass sweat showing.

Then I was going to talk about the guy in the too tight bike shorts and terribly sweat soaked shirt that attempted to PUSH the exit door open because he was convinced it was the in door. Forget about the giant DO NOT ENTER sticker in bright red!

I was also going to tell you about trying to purchase a bike for the boy. See, he really wanted a bike until he spotted the hot pink Barbie Cadillac Escalade Power Wheels. Then he wanted that. And he refused to exit it. We finally distracted him with a Backyardigans DVD offer.

I was going to share that when I walked into the bathroom today in my tank top I actually scared myself. I looked in the mirror and my eyes were immediately drawn to my shoulder. "What the hell are those horrible pink marks all over my shoulder?!?" Ran through my head. For the two seconds before my brain actually kicked in I thought I had some random rash or The Pox. Turns out it was just my scars from surgery. I guess my brain got fried yesterday too.

And finally I was going to share that my pediatrician is encouraging me to potty train my daughter. Yes, my 1 year old previously preemie daughter. She asks to go potty. She tries to take off her pants and diaper. She knows what she's supposed to do. My three year old isn't even potty trained yet!! Her words, "Just think how nice it would be to get to the end of your Summer and be done with diapers?!" My response, "True, I could use the money to buy the Valium I'll need after a summer of dual potty training." I guess we're potty training!

Well, look at that..I shared all of that and now I can talk about what I was thinking about last night.

I was FREEZING last night. On the way back from the beach we went to the husband's softball game to hang out and watch them play. It wasn't too warm out but it wasn't cold either. I was SO COLD.

We drove home. I was icy.

We arrived home I put on sweatpants and a long sleeved t-shirt. I was frigid.

It was the sun burn.

Anyone else ever get that? Where you're soooo sun burned that you're actually freezing? I was HOT to the touch...burning, if you will. But I could've wrapped myself in a faux Down blanket and still not get warm enough. This was only the second time I've experienced it. I don't know if there's a medical term for it. Experiencing it last night made me think of the other time it had happened.

I was a Senior in high school. I had become friends with a girl who, if you had asked me freshman year "Who is the least likely person that you think you'll be friends with?" She would've been on the short list. K and I became friends around Junior year and were pretty inseparable. She and I, and a third friend, did everything together. We really were closer than close- almost like sisters. She didn't have any sisters- just 4 brothers. I didn't have any brothers- just 1 sister. We were a good combination. Even sitting here writing this I have only really great memories of my times with K.

ANYWAY, I had gone down the shore with K and her brothers and her mom. We were staying at Her house down the shore- there were family connections between K's family and also we went to school with her step-granddaughter. The house was being prepared for a total remodel but it was GORGEOUS and HUGE! It was GREAT!

We spent our days on the beach and our nights on the boardwalk. Well, K and I decided that we wanted to get some really great color. Unbeknownst to K's mom we bought ourselves a bottle of Hawaiian Tropic tanning oil.

FYI- NO SPF in Hawaiian Tropic Tanning oil. Actually, it does exactly the opposite of SPF.

We greased ourselves up and headed out to be our beach chairs. We sat and read and talked. We watched the waves and K's brothers play. We even went in the water a bit. And of course we continually greased ourselves with oil.

And then we fell asleep.

It was bad. We didn't realize how bad but it was bad. K's mom finally woke us up so we could head back to the house to shower and have dinner and go out for the evening. I can't pinpoint the exact moment that I realized I had turned myself into a fried chicken but I think it was right around the when spray of water needles from the shower hit my skin.

It was horrible.

K was just as bad. Actually, K was worse. K had fair Irish skin. We were the color of tomatoes mixed with a bit of raspberry. K's brothers thought it was hysterical. K's mom didn't say a word because she knew we had learned our own lessons. And we said hurt too much.

We went out that night for some rooftop mini golf. People thought we were the weirdest individuals ever. There was me in my shorts- I didn't have any pants- and my 4 layers of shirts and a hooded sweatshirt (hood on) and a scarf we dug out of the back of K's silver bullet station wagon. Then there was K. Shorts- no pants either- 3 shirts, a sweatshirt and a jacket her brother loaned her. God, we were so cold. We shivered our way through mini golf and the boardwalk. Our teeth chattered as we sat on the porch back at the house and talked well into the night. Our hands shook as we watched movies and played games and joked around.

Everyone laughed at us. We laughed at us. We went back to the beach the next day, with SPF 15. We were cold for a good two days. Our burns grew into fabulous tans. Part of me would say it was well worth the cold but not because of the tan. K and I made great memories that weekend. We had stories to tell for a long time and it was always something we came back to. It was always something her brother would bring up to us when the timing was perfect and we were feeling full of ourselves. It was just a really good time. It still brings a smile to my face to think of us, two stupid idiots red as red can be bundled up and playing rooftop mini golf.

K and I grew apart in college. She was hard to lose, but it was what she needed. She and her family went through a lot. More than I think anyone could imagine. She needed to break from her life here. She was gone from NJ. Still is. We've begun to grow back together a bit. We're in similar places now. She's married with a gorgeous little girl. She's close with her family- all of them. Things are good. We talk regularly more and more often and I cannot wait for the day when we can come back to this story. When we can talk of this time at the shore and begin again on the laughter that brought us so close together.

Genius, I am not

We went down the shore yesterday.

It was fabulous.

There is something about the shore. Even the drive. I get such a "feeling" when I drive over the Driscoll Bridge and realize that I am just moments from the beach.

I just love it.

The more time I spend down there the more I long to move there.

But anyway, we went to the beach.

The kids were covered in SPF 4000 so they can stay nice and pasty white. Like their father.

I, on the other hand, forgot my SPF 6.

I don't wear anything higher than a 15. Ever.

My friends all had SPF 4000, as well.

What did I decide? I decided that instead of putting on SPF 4000 and getting a teeny tiny bit of color I was not going to wear anything.

On the beach.

In the blazing sun.

For hours on end.

Genius, I am not.

Burnt, I am.

It was worth it.

Totally worth it.

Thursday, July 10, 2008


Stream of consciousness....
n., pl. streams of consciousness.

  1. A literary technique that presents the thoughts and feelings of a character as they occur.
  2. Psychology. The conscious experience of an individual regarded as a continuous, flowing series of images and ideas running through the mind.
I've been doing pretty good for awhile. Why do I allow stupid shit to get me down? I have these two great kids who can frustrate the crap out of me, yet they make me laugh and smile more than anything else. I have a great husband who, even though he has his shit head moments, is a good person who loves me and our kids and my family very much and he works very hard to make sure we know that. I have some really great friends who are there when I need them and when I don't. We may not speak every day but when we do we simply pick up where we left off and it's good. I have a job that I like, although I could do without a few co-workers. My kids and my family have their health, finally, as do I. Why do I pick up the little crap that I know shouldn't bother me and let it?

I'm not talking about being unhappy with my life. The parts that I don't like I'm working on. I'm finishing my degree. I'm trying to do more for me while still doing all for my family. (That sounds realistic, doesn't it?!?!) I'm trying not to take so much so seriously. I'm moving past the year(s) of crap that I've, we've, had recently. I'm trying to forget about the bullshit. I'm trying to get out of the murk that was the experiences of the past year or more. I'm really trying.

Some days it's just too hard. And I'm down.

I don't think I'm depressed. I think I'm a little sad but really it's only been tonight that I'm feeling this way. Last weekend I was feeling a bit nostalgic and that made me a little sad but I pushed it aside and move beyond. Tomorrow I will wake up and my son will be staring at me asking me to put on Noggin and my daughter will be sleeping in, as usual. Tomorrow, I will dress my kids and myself. Tomorrow, I will-unfortunately- put on a bathing suit. (SO not ready for that!!) Tomorrow, I'll head down the shore and spend the day with a woman that I never imagined would be my friend, let alone one of my closest. I never thought she liked me. Tomorrow, we'll spend the day at the beach and we'll be with our kids and another mom or two and we'll enjoy ourselves. I'll come home and be fine (and tan, I hope). The day will, hopefully, have been great. Tomorrow, I'll wake up and I don't think I'll be sad.

But I don't know.

Will I allow myself to get down tomorrow, too? Will something set me off and make me think that there is something wrong with me? (Not physically) Will I see something or talk to someone who will make me feel like I'm being left out? Sometimes the uncertainty of tomorrow drives me nuts. Sometimes it excites me.

Some days I don't think I'm nearly as strong as people seem to think I am. I've felt this way for a long time. I felt like this in high school when one of the girls I was friendly with went for the guy that I liked and that liked me.

"It's Mountain Momma, she'll be fine!" The whole group of my friends talked and planned behind my back. And then they were a couple.

I felt like this just before college started and the person who was my youth minister tried to get me to forgive another teen because "Mountain Momma, you're more mature, you understand these things, you're sure of yourself. You're a leader, people look up to you." What would people have thought if I did not confront the fact that this other teen, this "friend", had talked about me and everything I ever shared with him in confidence? I eventually came to forgive him but not until after he had sufficiently played the victim and I was ostracized.

I've felt like this a lot. Like the feelings I have are minimal compared to everyone else's. The emotions I experience don't matter because everyone else's are more valid. Like it's ok to talk about me behind my back but it's not ok to share what was said when it all blows up.

I feel like I don't belong here. I'm not talking about the blogosphere. I feel like, some days, I don't belong anywhere and most of the time I'm ok with that. Because I know who I am and that's what is important. But sometimes I need to belong. Again, not talking about the blogosphere. I know I will find where I belong, eventually, but does it have to take so damned long?!?!

I know there are people who read my words and will read these words and get some sense of satisfaction out of the fact that maybe I'm not all that confident all the time and I'm sad and lonely sometimes. Whatever, I feel sorry for you at least I have the courage to "say" them.
I know there are people who read my words and will read these words and will be worried or upset by them. Don't worry, I'm not on the edge. Just letting it out. Wishing it all could have been different- the experiences, not me.
I know there are people who read my words and will read these words and will be surprised by what they say and what they express. I guess I'm a little surprised, too. Writing it all kind of scares me but I felt it was important to get it out.
I know there are people who read my words and will read these words and will say, "I know just what you're saying." Or at least I hope there are....well, ideally I hope there aren't but I know I can't possibly be alone.

I don't know where it goes from here. I've actually considered compromising myself and a little bit of my integrity and my feelings and then I remember and I think of things and I stop myself and slam my head into the wall to wake myself up and call a friend. I don't know how to make myself belong. Maybe I'm trying too hard. Maybe I just need to let it be.

I have other thoughts in my stream but I think I've rambled enough for tonight.

Monday, July 7, 2008

A Post for the Sake of Posting

Not much to say tonight. I'm avoiding work. I have a case study to conceptualize and I barely understand the word conceptualize at this point!

The husband is home with us for the next two days. Someone may not make it to the end of the two days!

Our little preemie is seriously little no more! We found out today that she is FINALLY out of the teen percentiles! She made a huge jump to the 50s and 60s! YAY!

One of my bfs is away on vacation this week and it's weird only talking to her once or twice a day!

I'm amazed at my husband and his friendships. Men and friendships are so different from women and friendships. It's just amazing to me.

I have a friend who is going through some really difficult things right now and I ask that you keep them in your thoughts and prayers.

I lost my random train of thought.

Oh well.

I'm writing over here and over here now. Check them out if you have time!

That is all.

Good night.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

The Good Days Always Seem to Follow the Bad Ones

Thank you all for your anniversary wishes! We had a really nice evening! Dinner out, spent time talking and just being was perfect!

As part of my parents' anniversary gift to us they volunteered to take the kids from Friday night until Sunday. It was a wonderful gift. I felt kind of bad handing the kids over for that long even though they volunteered. I didn't let that feeling stop me.

Friday night, after a day of parade watching, bbq eating and playtime inside away from the rain, the husband and I drove home. Without our children.

I really hoped for a good night for my parents. I hoped that my kids would sleep past 7am for once. I hoped my son would magically be ok with separating himself from his own feces and start pooping in the toilet. I hoped that my daughter would forget the word 'no' for just one day. I hoped that my kids would be the absolutely perfect angels that I know they can be- occasionally.

Meanwhile, we got home, watched some tv and headed to sleep. The husband rose the next morning-quite early- for work and I slept in. I slept in for the first time in probably 3 years. When I did finally awake I sauntered downstairs, turned on the TV, changed 'Little Einsteins' to the Food Network and vegged. I spent the majority of my day on the couch in my pajamas. I did some school work. Watched a movie. Tried to get a haircut and realized that I had no vehicle so I gave up that goal. Talked with some friends. Relaxed.

And I missed my kids.

Yeah, I bitch about them. They are a HANDFUL. They are not bad. They are not evil. They are not terrible. They are a three year old boy and a one year old girl. They are totally normal and completely wonderful. They take all of my energy and patience and give me all of their love. The test every inch of my being on some days and on others they make me want to have 3 more just like them.

Being without them on Saturday was nice- don't get me wrong. It was great not having to change poop or worry about getting anyone to the potty. It was fabulous to not have to worry about anyone climbing on the couch and accidentally falling off. It was wonderful not having to watch Noggin all day long.

Being without them on Saturday made me a little sad. It was disappointing to wake up and not have a three year sitting next to me in bed smiling at me. It was a little sad to walk down the hall and not have a little red headed face greet me with arms up in the air begging to be picked up. It was hard to not hear 'mommy' at all on Saturday.

Sometimes the bad days are really overwhelming and they make me just want to walk away and maybe not turn back. Most days the bad days just make me want to lock myself away for a few minutes. This weekend I got to walk away for a bit and for that I am beyond grateful. I'm grateful because I did get a break from my kids. I got to enjoy a day and a half all by myself. I got to shower without having to worry about someone screaming or waking up- TWICE! I got to enjoy my wedding anniversary with my husband. I got to go out to dinner and not have to worry about paying the baby sitter when we got home.

I am grateful because I got to see how great my kids are and how much they make my life worth living. I got to see what I'd miss out on if they had never come to be. I got to see that the bad days are always followed by good ones and they always outweigh those terrible, no good, days!

Thanks Mom and Dad, you gave us such a great gift!!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

The Greatest Party Ever Held!

Five years ago today the husband and I were married.

I woke sometime between 4:45 and 5:15 am to get my hair done. My bridesmaids flooded my childhood home and everyone- well almost everyone- had their hair done and ate some breakfast. I fell asleep in my poofy slip, my purple button down shirt, and my done up hair on my parents' couch. The photographer got some great shots!

We left early. I was NOT going to be late to my wedding. We took pictures in my town. We stopped and said hello to family members who happened to get to town early and stopped to grab something to eat. Then we took a tour through the two surrounding towns because we were SO early.

Finally, the church. I took a few pictures with guests who were arriving. Apparently, my soon-to-be husband was contemplating ordering some Domino's with his best man and the pastor of my church. It was getting late.

Finally the wedding.

The wedding was beautiful. It started late courtesy of an organist that shall remain nameless. I was given away by my dad and we walked up the aisle to a trumpet fanfare (thank God the organist didn't show!). It was the hottest day of the year and the church had no air conditioning- well, they did it was just broken. The pastor gave a beautiful homily on points to a successful marriage- there were 423. No, seriously, I think there were 7 but we were already so late it seemed like it took forever. We exchanged rings. I made my husband put his ring on the wrong hand because I can't tell my right from my left. Then we kissed and the wedding- the important part of the day, the part that made the rest of it all possible, was over.

And it was really all just beginning.

The pictures. Oh, God, the pictures. There were tons of them- just as I wanted. It was so hot. People were melting. Our poor flower girl, I thought she was going to curl up under a tree- had there been any- and fall asleep. Just about every picture you could imagine was taken. I have the 580+ proofs to prove that. Now, it was time to eat.

The party.

The party began at the reception hall that I really didn't want at first and I am so glad we chose, i.e. my parents and future husband talked me into. All we really needed was the cocktail hour and a DJ. There was a seat for everyone in the cocktail hour. There was enough food for everyone to have 4ths and my parents even took a ton home. There was a vodka luge, I never sampled it. I spent the cocktail hour with my new husband and one of our groomsmen eating in the back and then my maid of honor and I attempted my only visit to the toilet. It was interesting.

The party continued.

We were introduced as a married couple and came in to some Van Halen. We danced to Etta James. Then my dad and I danced to Paul Simon. We watched photos of ourselves and our lives and our families up on TVs all over the room. We laughed, we cried, we surprised everyone with our gift of photos through the years. We visited each and every person, we took pictures, we laughed some more. I did a few shots with my grade school nurse, my high school CCD teacher, the priest that heard my first confession, the woman who drove my carpool and whose son was the first boy to ask me to marry him, the brother that took me to Ireland, and the pseudo older brother who I still think does not believe I'm married with kids! Then we danced.

And the party continued.

We danced and ate and danced some more. We did not throw cake at one another. We tossed the garter and the bouquet. We did the electric slide and the chicken dance. We had such a good time. We ended the night with "New York, New York" and then we went to our hotel to enjoy time with our friends. We were not allowed to drink in the hotel bar because the bartender did not believe that the woman in the giant wedding gown and all of the girls in matching red dresses and guys in matching tuxes were over 21. We drank in our suite. We enjoyed the night some more and then we went to bed. The morning came.

And still the party continued.

We had breakfast with family before we left on our honeymoon and they left on a much deserved vacation. It was perfect. The whole thing was perfect. It was an excellent beginning to a party that has not stopped. I highlighted the best parts of the wedding experience. There were downtimes to the party. There are always downtimes to any party. I don't need to highlight, I remember them and I try to put them aside. There are downtimes to our marriage. I do not need to harp on them and remind myself of them over and over again. We work on them and we try to work through them. That's what this is all about. It's about friendship. It's about love. It's about commitment. (The letters we had engraved on the inside of our bands- FLC.) It's about work. It's about the good times and the bad times. The good times outweigh the bad times. We enjoy them more! Duh!

Five years ago today I married my husband and we began the party that would carry us through two children, countless struggles and endless joys. I never had doubts about marrying my husband. I never questioned whether he was the right one. I still don't. (Although I didn't want to move out of my parents' house!) Five years ago today I stepped into a white dress and put a ring on the wrong hand of my husband and I have not looked back. We partied like rock stars that night and people still talk about it as the best wedding they've been to. They still talk about the fact that we looked so happy and really epitomized what love and happiness should look like. Five years ago today I took the first steps into the life I have today and I had no idea what lay ahead just that I would have my friend and my love by my side.

And the party still continues today and for that, I am grateful and blessed.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008


If there is one thing I've discovered since becoming a mom it's that I know just about everything about knowing nothing! Each and every single day I discover something new and learn something brand new about being a mom and about having kids and about everything else there is to know.

And then there are the days when I learn absolutely nothing and know absolutely nothing and feel absolutely crazy.

I'm on the fence about which kind of day today was.

I adore my children. I've stated that countless times. I think, at this point, it goes without saying. Sometimes, though, my kids make me so FREAKING nuts I want to scream. And then after I finish screaming I want to lay on the couch in my pajamas and curl up under a blanket and watch George Clooney on ER without anyone playing Dora the Explorer music or imitating the WWF and tackling their sibling.

Some days are really great being home with my kids. We play. We go out. We laugh. We have fun. And then they go to bed and it's quiet.

Some days really suck ass being home with my kids. We fight about why we can't have chicken nuggets for breakfast, lunch AND dinner. (Some days I ignore this fight and they do have them for all three and I don't care! They have other food interspersed!) We scream. We cry. We don't go out. We sit in time out for long periods of time. We take extra long naps and extra long showers. We watch TV. We fight over dinner and dessert. We fight over why we can't have another bath even though we've taken 3 in the past two days. And then they go to bed and it's quiet.

In both of those types of days I learn. Or at least I like to think I do. I try to. I want to. Sometimes I don't.

Today everyone was home. The husband. The kids. Me. We were all home together and it was nice. For awhile. We went and did things. The kids were good. They had fun. We ran errands. We went to the zoo. It was fun and it was productive and it was good.

Then we got home.

I was afraid my son's new medication was making him hyper. Apparently, it's him not having his medication that's making him hyper. And nasty. And grouchy. And cranky. And LOUD. I forgot to give him his meds before we left this morning and then I forgot again when we got home and then I just didn't want to talk to him so I let the husband deal with him.

He was off the freaking wall today. My son, not my husband.

You would have thought we gave him uppers of some sort. He bounced outside. He bounced inside. He bounced into the refrigerator 43 times. He bounced into the garage to try and get juice boxes about 19 times. He bounced upstairs. He bounced through the living room. He bounced so much that my husband finally took both kids upstairs so that I could allow my head to come back down to it's normal size and prevent explosion. Then he bounced back downstairs for dinner and it began again.

Maybe my fuse is just short because I haven't been sleeping well. Or maybe I'm just cranky because I hate taking summer classes. Or maybe I'm cranky because I was out in the heat for most of the day and I didn't have coffee and we were walking through a smelly zoo. Or maybe, just maybe, I need a little break from my kids. Maybe....

The boy would not eat his dinner. He BEGGED for macaroni. I made him macaroni. He BEGGED for a big fork. I gave him a big fork. He BEGGED for more cheese. I gave him more cheese. Then he started playing with the curtains. Then he started playing with his sidewalk chalk, inside the house. Then he started dancing around the living room. Then I started to explode.

I stormed over to the table to see how much he had eaten. Not much. I was about to explode. Seriously. Ready. To. Blow.

I stopped.

He stopped.

"What's the problem?" I knelt down next to him.

"I don't want macaroni." He whined slightly louder than my ears generally liked.

"You asked for it. You begged me for it. Why don't you want it?" I was calm. Kind of.

"I want you to feed me."

"What?!?!" Amazed that my child, who has been all about the 'I can do it myself!' With the implied bitch right after it, wanted me to feed him.

"I want you to feed it to me. It's too hard for me." And then he blinked those GIANT brown eyes with the mile long eyelashes on them at me.

"Oh. Ok. You know that babies have to be fed. You're a big boy. You can do it yourself. You do it yourself really well! Do you still want me to feed it to you?"

"Yes, please."

He said please how could I possibly refuse?!?!

I fed him. He ate almost the entire bowl of macaroni. I let him play in between bites. I gave him goals and rewarded him for meeting those goals, "GREAT JOB! You ate three giant bites of macaroni! You get a big hug and kiss for that!"

I stopped.

Sometimes I think that it's me. My kids are good kids. They really are. They are trying to adjust to being home with me all the time after having been with other kids their own age three days a week. Sometimes I think it's that I need to adjust to being home with them and I'm not doing such a great job at it. I don't give them a chance and I don't give myself a chance. Does my son bounce off the walls and off everything because he's bad? Nope. He doesn't do it because I'm a bad mom, either. He does it because he's learning to adjust to being home all the time. He does it because he's a three year old boy!! My fuse is short because I'm still trying to figure out how to deal with two very active kids who don't sit in desks all day and take notes when I speak.

I'm learning. Today I learned that sometimes even the boy who says he can do it himself wants me to do it for him. Today I learned that when I stop and bring myself down to where he is I get a lot more done than when I expect him to bring himself to where I am. Today I learned that I have a shit load to learn.

My kids are really good kids. I'm a really good mom who knows very little about a lot of things but a lot about the little things.

And I'm willing to learn.

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