Thursday, August 30, 2007

It's interesting where the emphasis lies.

This story has been going around the breastfeeding community as of late:

Applebee's, woman in dispute over breast-feeding

In this report, there's no mention of money. In the mom's own original words, she made this comment:

I left a message for Senator Tom Buford and the next day he called me back. I asked him what recourse I had. He said "If you take them to small claims court you could get up to $1,500.00" .... "if you take them to a higher court you may not even get enough to cover your legal fees." I told the Senator I was not interested in money.

Yet in Linda B. Blackford's article, a representative for Applebees is quoted as saying,

“I note with interest that she had a copy of the statute with her....”

While reading about the topic on other websites, I came across the comment (I'm paraphrasing),
"Obviously she wanted attention. Who brings a copy of the law with them to a restaurant?"

Um...Hi. That would be me. For years, I've carried a copy of my state's breastfeeding laws with me in my diaper bag.

Why would I do such a thing? Am I trying to provoke someone? Actually, quite the opposite. I'm trying to feed my baby in peace. I carry the law with me so that, should someone harass me, I can show them the law. That way, hopefully, the issue will resolve quickly without a confrontation. Because, after all, who would continue to break the law once someone specifically shows you that you are doing so? (In my best Dr. Evil voice) Hmmmm...

I also think it's odd that the fact that Mrs. Ryan has specifically refused to seek any monetary gain is not pointed out. The focus is on the fact that she had a copy of the law. Once again, Hmmmmm....

Job titles for mom

My sister and I are in the process of listing all the job titles that would cover the jobs moms do.

Amid psychologist, nutritionist, fashion consultant, vet-tech, unlicensed practical nurse, chauffer and teacher (among others); I came up with


Okay, folks, feel free to jump in. We wound up with a huge list, but of course we didn't write them down. Think about what you do every day and tell me what job titles you think are accurate.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Rethinking learning and a great school day

I just finished reading In Their Own Way by Thomas Armstrong, PhD (although the copy I got from my local library is the 1987 edition. This is the 2000 edition. I can't testify to the differences). I LOVE this book. It really focuses on students labeled with learning disabilities (which the author argues don't really exist. His theory is that there are just different types of intelligences and the school systems only teach to two of the seven which leaves all others behind), but there's a wealth of information for all parents--both those who school at home and in the school system. Homeschooling is briefly mentioned, but the focus is on working with a school system. Still, there are many great ideas for teaching to the different types of intelligence.

One thing that's pretty interesting is that the author specifically tells you to avoid filing your child away into one focus. He points out that children may fit the description of one more so than any of the others, but you can most likely find other focuses that fit your child as well.

When reading through the 7 learning styles, I found myself in a number of them. It's an odd sensation to read the descriptions and about one thing, think, "That's me exactly," but in the same topic, there will be something that I never did. For so long, we've been taught, "You're this or that." To hear that we can fall into a number of different categories is very interesting and pretty eye-opening.

The differences in the way my kids learn prompted me to delve more deeply into learning styles. When schooling the older kids, I noticed Girl2 could not figure out most of the answers on a clock worksheet. Yet when we play with the toy clock, she can give accurate answers. I found another sheet that gave the digital time with a blank clock. Rather than writing down the time based on the position of the hands, it gives the time and the student draws the hands. She got nearly all of them right on her own without a meltdown (she's VERY hard on herself and flips out easily).

Oh, oh, oh, that's another great part of the book. I never realized how much the brain shuts down when children are stressed. It tends to be a vicious cycle with Girl2. She works herself up even before she tries. So even if it's something she knows, she'll already be too freaked out to give an answer. So I get annoyed and she then gets more stressed. The book, though, features several simple breathing and visualization exercises to help kids teach themselves to calm down. I've tried breathing exercises with Girl2 in the past, but usually without much luck. I actually tried the visualization with her last night and found that works really well. With her sister, though, not so much.

Inspired by the book, I decided to mix things up a bit today. Instead of just thinking up lists of nouns, verbs or adjectives, we acted some out. First we played a verb charade game where one acted out an activity and we had to guess. We kind of made it up as we went along. When they wanted to add sounds, we did. When they wanted to use their toys as part of the act, we did. Then we acted out nouns. If they acted out or guessed the wrong type, we used that as a chance to review the difference. We even tried to think up the appropriate word that would go with that opposite guess (i.e. if they acted out "Rocking" a baby while we were doing nouns, we talked about how "Mother" would be a noun that would do that action). Then we made up a song about verbs (to the tune of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star: "I like these action words; singing swinging those are verbs." We changed out the actual verbs every few verses. The kids got to pick which ones we put in the song).

From there, they asked to play the addition card game. I made that one up from Arthur's Tower of Cows game and I've been surprised by how well it works and how much they like it. I only printed the number cards, not the rest of the game. All 3 of us draw cards and flip them over. They range from 1-4 and they have pictures of the number of cows on there, so they work as manipulatives. There are lots of ways to use the cards. The kids tell me which numbers are the greatest and which are the least. They put them in numerical order. They add them up. They add different ones and tell me which sums are the greatest and the least. Today, on their own, they started adding 3 digits. Granted, the numbers are simple, but still, I'm impressed that they can do it and that they WANTED to. A few days after we first played the game, we were all in the car and we randomly asked them to add different numbers. When we asked for 3+3, Girl2 gave us her answer immediately without having to count on her fingers. When we asked about it, she said, "I remember that from the cow game."

During that math game, I noticed the kids were getting hyper, so after playing for a while, I suggested one of the Leap Pad reading DVDs. They're watching that now. I could tell they needed to calm down and I figured that would help.

Some days, homeschooling wears me down. I was so tempted to put them in the school system this year. Some days are just awful. Then we have a day like today and I feel wonderful about homeschooling. It's so neat that I can tailor the day to suit them. We can make up our own games. I can find a different way to approach something if I see them struggling. When they're too revved up to focus, we can either run around to burn off the energy or do something calming to bring them back down. Plus the school day never ends. There's no bell at 3 o'clock, so they never think learning is over. They've asked to "do school" at all hours. I think that's pretty neat.

I'm so glad I found that book. It has given me a whole bunch of ideas for how to teach to the different intelligences. And let me tell ya, it's SO much easier to find what works for their particular focus rather than trying to use what works for me or what's readily available (which actually tends to be one in the same). I think the book is a great resource for any parent and/or teacher. I highly recommend it. I'm having a much better day as a result of reading it. :-)

Sunday, August 26, 2007

My OB saved my life.

My OB saved my life. My OB almost killed me (and my children). This was all during the same pregnancy.

Katie's comment on my OB/Midwifery post got me thinking. I, too, can say an OB saved my life. Problem is, it was the OB who put me in danger in the first place.

First and foremost, I must say that OBs do have their place. They do save lives. Often, though, they create emergencies or make situations appear as though they are emergencies when they are not. Midwives are trained to calmly assess. OBs are trained to provide medical interventions to correct the problem or the perceived problem. Often times, there are circumstances that doctors consider high risk whereas a midwife does not. This isn't because midwives are blind, but rather because midwives are trained to recognize and treat challenges very early. They want to keep you in their care and the only way to do that is to keep you low risk. OBs typically don't have that focus on prevention because there's the idea that they can treat whatever comes along. Granted, there are situations where OBs can provide care that a midwife cannot. I'm not denying that. If a situation like that occurs, a midwife is trained to recognize it quickly so that the mother can either transfer to an OB's care or can be taken to the hospital. Midwifery is not opposed to obstetrics. They can actually work hand-in-hand if need be.

The Midwifery model of care includes preventing challenges (aka "complications"). They have diet guidelines to keep you healthy. They provide tests to check for problems (although these are typically far less invasive and far less often than the tests required with an OB). That way, they can help you come up with a treatment or, if necessary, refer you to an OB if one can better complete your care. That, however, seems to be fairly rare and in those cases, you may be able to continue seeing the midwives for some or all of your prenatal care. Midwives typically have access to standard medical treatments (medications, labs, etc), but many are also extensively informed on more natural alternatives which have been used and proven for centuries. You won't be denied a necessary prescription drug, but she may recommend either an alternative or a natural treatment that compliments the prescription. Although, typically, with midwifery, the final decision is yours.

The Obstetric model of care is that anything can be treated. You will be tested repeatedly during your pregnancy. Although, there is very little preventative medicine. If the problem continues, you may be given a prescription. If it persists, you may be given a number of different prescriptions and most likely more tests. If those don't help, there's bedrest. If that doesn't help, there's always induction. If that fails, there's always a c-section for mom. If it's too soon, well, there's the NICU for the baby.

For those women who truly have a higher risk (and the OB model of care considers many patients to be "High risk" even when a midwife might not consider them so), OBs are fabulous. Please don't think I'm taking issue with women who are truly high risk and who seek an OB's care.

I will leave you once again with this fabulous quotation:

"Midwives see birth as a miracle, and only intervene if there's trouble. Obstetricians see birth as trouble, and if they don't intervene, it's a miracle." Gentle Birth Choices.

Aug 30th edit: I have edited portions of this post as a result of recent on-going discussions/information.

Friday, August 24, 2007

My google hall of fame

I have the first-ever inductee into my google hall of fame.

Someone actually found their way to my site by searching for

how going pee inside a spaceship

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Cut me baby, one more time.

Pardon me while I rant.

Pregnancy is generally NOT a medical event. It is a normal natural state. Giselle featured a fabulous quotation a while back.

"Midwives see birth as a miracle, and only intervene if there's trouble. Obstetricians see birth as trouble, and if they don't intervene, it's a miracle." Gentle Birth Choices.

That's it exactly.

I just don't understand why more people don't consider midwives as their first route when pregnant. Why do we automatically turn to OBs? Obstetrics is a science. It is very useful if a problem develops. Midwifery, however, can PREVENT many of those problems. Studies have shown that planned hombirths with a midwife are safer than hospital births.

"Midwife" literally means "With woman."

I found this definition of "Obstetrics" to be very interesting (italics are mine):

1819, from obstetric (adj.), 1742, from Mod.L. obstetricus "pertaining to a midwife," from obstetrix (gen. obstetricis) "midwife," lit. "one who stands opposite (the woman giving birth)," from obstare "stand opposite to" (see obstacle).

I've been particularly disheartened with all things baby-related lately. I want to change the world. I want to help make this a gentler, safer, easier place to live. That's quite literally my job. I don't do this because I think I'm right. I do it because I've read the research. I have the education. I see the evidence every day. Yet there are those who, for whatever reason, won't ask for help or accept it. I mourn for them, not because they're not doing what I think is right, but because I know they could have a different experience.

I surround myself with like-minded people, so I've been privileged by the fact that many of my friends have used midwives and planned homebirths. Still, I see so many people having OB-attended hospital births that range from sub-par to horribly traumatic and I just have to wonder why. Every single woman that I have known who had planned a hospital birth in the past 6 months has had a c-section. All have been instigated by hospital interventions. Why? Why do we let this continue? Why do we as mothers make the choice to put ourselves and our babies in danger by birthing with an OB in a hospital?

We don't realize the consequences of surgical birth. When a doctor induces a mom at 38 weeks, he doesn't tell her that there's a 50% chance she'll wind up with a c-section. He rarely (if ever) tells her that full-term is 37-42 weeks. I've heard horror stories of doctors threatening mothers if they go to their due date (40 weeks) much less beyond it. I've known mothers whose OBs threatened to abandon them if they didn't agree to an induction no later than their due date.

Mothers often see c-sections as just another choice. Why? Because doctors often portray it as such.

How many OBs truly review the risks of surgical birth beforehand? How many women know that a c-section increases their risk of future stillbirths? How many are told that a primary c-section is more likely to kill that child? How many are told that a c-section makes fertility problems more likely? How many are told of the possibility of future physical ailments for the mom as a result? How many are told that mothers who delver via c-section are more likely to suffer cardiac arrest and hysterectomies (among other complications)? How many women are told that babies born via c-section are less likely to be able to breastfeed and are more likely to have hearing and breathing problems? How many are told that women who have c-sections are more than THREE TIMES more likely to DIE as a direct result? "Unnecessary cesarean delivery constitutes a threat to the future health of mothers and babies who undergo major surgery..." You can read a brief overview of the major risks here. Another list of risks can be found at this Mayo Clinic page.

Why don't we choose midwives from the start? Even aside from c-sections, there are greater risks and greater restrictions when we birth in a hospital setting. Why must so many people have a negative hospital experience before they seek out something different? It doesn't have to be that way. We don't have to force ourselves to suffer. Why won't more women take that stand? In this culture, we're willing to assert our right to flavorful junk food, but we're not willing to insist on a safer setting for ourselves and our babies. Why?

The fun and adventure that is food shopping with children

Shopping with my three has ranged from exasperating to baffling to "Oh, dear L-rd, PLEASE have mercy on me."

This woman, however, has me beat.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

What should every child learn to do before turning 8?

I came across this article today and I'm intrigued.

44 Things Every Kid Should Do Before Turning 8 *

What would you add to the list?

*Please note that I do not endorse the magazine which featured this article. I find much of their information to be outdated, wrong and/or horribly misleading.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Screw the Girl Scouts! Motherhood has better badges.

Through an older post at the Motherwear Breastfeeding Blog, I found these merit badges: Mama Merit Badges. I want some!

Here's a list of my very favorites:

Tantrum (I really just love the story of the kid who wants to catch a lizard and tape it to the wall)
Shopping (How about doing your monthly grocery shopping at super Wal-Mart with 3 in tow? OMG, I swear she's psychic...or maybe she reads my blog)

I have no clue where I would put those things, but I WANT THEM.

Monday, August 20, 2007

We're here. We're queer. Get used to it.

Okay, so um...yeah...I'm not gay. Although, hopefully, the homosexual community will forgive me for stealing their slogan for my own use.

I am, however, here. We all are.

Thus far, my coping mechanism has been to just not discuss anything of weight. Don't think too hard about the 10 year anniversary he blew off simply because he was in a bad mood. Don't ask him any questions for which I know full-well he won't have any answers. Stop expecting him to come home with flowers in an attempt to make up for the anniversary debacle (although I still haven't mastered this one). Overall, I just try not to think about it.

And I suspect he's been poking his head in here which I wasn't expecting. I figured he had lost the link a long time ago. Note to the world, but especially my dh, If you say, "Well, the other day you said, 'XYZ'," then make absolutely sure that I actually SAID, "XYZ" and that I didn't just post about it on my blog in a message where I detailed my plans to leave you.

Whoops. That's a bit more bitter than I had planned. Sorry.

Still, if he actually read that post about leaving and I still don't have flowers or kind words or any sign that he actually wants us to stay, it's kind of baffling and painful.

But, I'm not dealing with that shit. I'm doing everything I can to keep my ass here at least until I can meet with the therapist again. That means not thinking about this stuff too deeply and not over-analyzing anything. I will not wallow. I will not go fucking least not in the immediate future.

I will, however, go in the other room and watch the Colbert Report. I will take an Ambien so I can quiet down the demons (because ticked off is one thing, but ticked off and grumpy from lack of sleep is a whole 'nother beast). And at least for the next few days, I will post stupid random shit that doesn't dig too deep into my head. So if you want a break from the drama, you're in luck. I will be locking the drama llama up in my basement where I will occasionally pop in and beat the shit out of it with a wooden club when the need arises.

But for now, I'm getting more lemonade and watching some TV.

Pinwheels for peace

We're planning on making these next month: Pinwheels for Peace

Here's how they explain it:

Today’s students are bombarded with television images, video games, and magazine articles/newspapers that give importance to conflict and war. Violence has become commonplace and accepted as part of our society and, for some students, it is a way of life. It is our hope that through the Pinwheels for Peace project, we can help the students make a public visual statement about their feelings about war/ peace/ tolerance/ cooperation/ harmony/ unity and, in some way, maybe, awaken the public and let them know what the next generation is thinking.

This is not political. Peace doesn’t necessarily have to be associated with the conflict of war, it can be related to violence/intolerance in our daily lives, to peace of mind. To each of us, peace can take on a different meaning, but, in the end, it all comes down to a simple definition: a state of calm and serenity, with no anxiety, the absence of violence, freedom from conflict or disagreement among people or groups of people.
--the Project

There are patterns on the website and everything. I think we'll try to recycle some pretty paper of some sort and cover our front yard in pinwheels.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

and now that I am leaving,
now I know that I did something wrong 'cause I missed you.

I'm still here.

After I posted last, I printed directions to where I'd be going and wrote down the phone numbers of the people there.

Went about my usual morning stuff figuring I'd decide later about leaving.

Kept The Boy up from his nap for two extra hours while I tried to decide (wanted him to nap in the car if I decided to go). Eventually opted to put him down, but I packed a bag for us all after I did.

I decided to stay. I can't explain it. I should have gone, but I just can't stop clinging to the idea that something will change. I'm an idiot because dh has shown time and time again that it's not something he plans on doing. Still, I hope.

Sometimes it seems like he wants to. Most of the time, though, it seems like he just wants to ignore it and keep going with blinders on.

I was leaning towards leaving this morning when the girls started telling me about all the husbands they were going to have (Girl2 says 200,000). I got annoyed with them and said, "No, you have one husband. You get married once and you stay that way." As soon as I heard myself say that, I knew I wanted to stay and try to work this out.

Dh has the next two days off. I'm delusional. I keep thinking that in all that time, surely he will say/do something different. Logically I know he won't, but I can't give up on him.

I'm here and I'm feeling like I'm insane. I want to leave so badly, but then I can't do it. I go back and forth and I can't make up my mind. I want to stay. I want to work this out, but it feels like I'm the only one. Dh is willing to put in a bit of effort, but not much--certainly not enough.

So I'm here for now, but if this keeps up, I'm either going insane or I'm going away.
Yeah, it's Shabbat. Yeah, I don't usually post on Shabbat. I know. I wish I wasn't posting on Shabbat.

Stuff sucks. I'm trying to decide if I should head out of state this morning and stay away for a while.

So if I vanish, know I'm alive, just not around.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Random link Wednesday

There's oh so much I should write, but instead of tackling any of that, I'll leave you with this:

I Do Dog Tricks

Type in a trick (stand, speak, sit, etc) and he'll do it. Make sure you try, "Kiss." That's my favorite.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Therapy, updates, babies and prayers

September 17, 2007 edit:
Since people have been finding their way here by googling, "Can Jews have c-sections," I figured I'd clear that up. Yes, we can. No, it is not the ideal. Please note that I am not a rabbi. Please consult your rabbi for specific information regarding halachah.

Childcare showed up late. They got here right around the time we should have been arriving at the doctor's office. Then we found Map Quest's directions were stupid--as usual. So it took longer than it should plus we passed the office and had to turn around. We got there late.

Luckily, the therapist was running late, so she never even noticed our tardiness. Whew.

The appointment went well. She wants to see us individually before she sees us together again. With the kids and dh's work schedule, that's going to prove to be difficult, but we're gonna try to work it out.

In other news, a friend is in labor. All was not going as planned in her homebirth. Last I heard, there was some hope, but it looked like she was going to wind up with a repeat c-section. I cried when I heard that. I wanted so much better for her. She has done everything right. She deserves better.

When I talked to her, I tried to get across that her body may have reasons that we don't understand. I want her to know that a healthy baby is NOT all that matters. Pregnancy and birth matter. She did everything she needed to do during this pregnancy. She cared. She was an active participant. That is important. This time, she went into labor on her own. She got the chance to labor in the birth pool with her older son. That is important. How this child comes into the world is important. She has done everything she could to provide a calm safe entrance for this child. I'm glad hospitals are available for medically indicated c-sections. I just wish hers wasn't one of them. I know that's very much not what she wanted.

I'm wracking my brain to try to find a way to make this easier on her. I can't take away the emotions she's going to feel, but hopefully, I can use my experiences to help her.

I'm still holding on to the last shred of hope that maybe, somehow, she can still have this baby safely at home. Yet at the same time, I'm hoping and praying for the strength and healing she'll need if that doesn't happen.

She's not Jewish, but I am, so I said this prayer for her:

Mi sheberakh avoteinu mekor habrakha l’imoteinu
May the Source of strength
Who blessed the ones before us
Help us find the courage
To make our lives a blessing,
And let us say: Amen.
Mi sheberakh imoteinu mekor habrakha l’avoteinu
Bless those in need of healing With refuah shleima:
The renewal of body,
The renewal of spirit,
And let us say: Amen


We needed to leave for our appointment 5 minutes ago. The friend who is supposed to watch the kids is nowhere to be found.

Oh shit!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

An update on the chaos that is my life in under 25 words

Awful night. Better day. Therapist appointment tomorrow. Finally found someone to watch the kids. Will update tomorrow.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Give me a freaking break!

I usually don't post on Saturday as it's Shabbat, but damn it, I need to vent.

I called Military Onesource. I played phone tag with a therapist for 2 days until I finally got in touch with her. I got an appointment for Monday (dh's day off). But now I can't freaking find anyone to watch the kids so we can go.

Now WTF do I do?

Friday, August 10, 2007

I seem to have misplaced my dignity, but I know exactly where the poop is.

Prepare yourself. This entry deals with potty-training. If you don't have kids, this may seem like one of the strangest things in the world. There is no way to accurately explain how much your conversations change once you have kids. Elimination (whether it be in diapers, potty chairs, toilets, clothing or all over the floor) regularly becomes a topic and it usually doesn't even gross you out in the least. Ah, the joys of parenthood.

The Boy pooped on the potty today. He later tried to pee on the potty, but it was still in the sink after being washed out from the aforementioned pooping. He grabbed himself and walked quickly in the direction of where the potty should have been, but was not. He left a line of small puddles in his wake. But hey, I'll take what I can get (and I'll mop up what I can't).

His sisters are being wonderful about this. Girl2 informed me, "I'm excited to potty train him all by myself." They both sat there and read him books to keep him entertained on the potty. After he pooped, the sisters cheered for him. Girl2 gave him hand sanitizer (my son is strange. He LOVES hand sanitizer. He even created his own sign for it.). We all danced around the house together in a conga line singing, "You pooped on the potty," which was met with grins, laughter and giggles from sir poops-a-lot. When they cheered for him, he stomped and clapped too. Having twins is harrowing when you're trying to potty-train two toddlers at once (by yourself when your husband is deployed), but it's so worth it when they grow into not one, but TWO bigger kids who actually want to help and do so quite well.

I often say, "Your dignity is delivered with the placenta." I also think there's teeny tiny print somewhere in those adoption forms that also notes that your dignity will quietly slip away in the night. I'm often heard singing, "Where oh where has my dignity gone? Oh where oh where can it be?" I can tell ya one thing, it's nowhere near my house today. Even if I had any shred left, I'd gladly trade it if it meant no more diapers to buy/wash.

I'm lame, but this is my idea of quality time.

The Parents Bloggers Network wants to hear about how families play together. I got to thinking about it and realized I'm pretty lame and this might make me seem kinda lazy, but hey, here's what we do.

Around 4 or so in the afternoon, I tend to just get exhausted and exasperated, so I round up the wee ones and head into my room. I lay down and they play on my bed. They ride on my back and I'll shake back and forth usually pretending to be a car. The kids even yell, "Go go, Gadget car." No, they've never seen Inspector Gadget. I'm just a dork.

The other day, The Boy even sat on my back and yelled, "Go go!" The big kids love it. It's their chance to play, but they also see that their brother is learning from them. He yelled that because he heard them do it. They're also taking that time to teach him to jump, pretend he's a train and be all around obnoxious, but very cute while doing it. He adores his sisters and just loves the attention. They love the thought of having a potential partner in crime. I can just imagine what they must whisper to each other in the night, "Dude, we managed to destroy 80-year-old heirloom book cases, shove stuff up our noses and eat through DVD boxes when there were only two of us. Imagine the havoc we can wreak with three."

They also like it 'cause it's time with me. I don't even have to do anything other than talk to them, but they lap it up. They just love being on my bed (or in a train, or a space ship or whatever my bed is to them that day), bouncing around and chatting with me.

When they were tiny, my very favorite part of the day was the morning. Let me tell you, I'm a night person and I have insomnia, so you know mornings had to be extraordinary if they were my favorite. Back then, The Boy slept with us and when he woke up, I'd sign, "Milk," and he'd get super excited. I LOVED his huge grins with the chubby legs and arms flailing. So we'd call the big kids in while the baby nursed. They'd climb in bed with us. We didn't know an exact date, but we knew dh would be leaving before too long, so we really clung to that time. We never did anything other than hang out, but I loved it. It was the whole family together.

When dh deployed, our mornings became even more important to me. Even if I was utterly exhausted because I didn't get any freaking sleep, when I saw the kids cuddling together and heard them giggling, it made me feel a bit better. I'm not saying laughter is the equivalent of a Mocha Frappacino with an extra shot of espresso, but it helps.

The Boy moved out of our bed before his first birthday, though (his choice, not mine). So now the only time I get to cuddle with all the kids is in bed in the late afternoon.

I don't have to plan anything. I don't have to stock up on supplies. I don't have to do cartwheels to keep them entertained. We're all just there together and I like it that way.

Now the disclaimer:
This post is brought to you in conjunction with Parent Bloggers Network & EA’s Wii-Boogie, a family gaming experience. Shake it. Sing it. Create it.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Another benefit of breastfeeding:
Breastmilk contains sanity

I've been feeling kind of numb. I haven't left the house. Haven't been to the gym in over a week (remember, I was there every day, 6 days a week and I usually go nuts if I have to miss even one day). I haven't felt much like dealing with the kids. I haven't done any school work with them (although, in an attempt to shut the bigger ones up, I gave them some work sheets to do by themselves yesterday).

So, today, I am especially grateful to be a breastfeeding mom.

When I got The Boy this morning, he immediately signed, "Milk please." I sighed because I really didn't want to. Reluctantly, I sat down on the couch, turned on the t.v. and nursed the baby. I was initially ignoring him and just flipping through news channels (I don't like Larry King in the evening hours. Why the hell does Headline News think I want to see him and his outdated guests in the morning? Dude, your channel is called "Headline NEWS." News is right there in the title. Quit showing all these idiotic commentators and their ridiculous shows and just give me my freaking news).

Then, I happened to get a whiff of the top of the baby's head. Luckily, he had a bath last night, so instead of that day-old spaghetti smell, it was that sweet baby scent. I closed my eyes and breathed him in. I noticed it calmed me down and made me feel better.

I turned off the t.v. and continued to sit there and sniff my son. For some reason, he wanted to nurse for a while and he asked to switch sides a few times. Normally, I would have been annoyed, but today, I didn't mind at all.

While nursing him, I noticed his sisters were playing pretend with their stuffed animals. So I started asking questions and talking to them about their pretend ice cream party with the 4-year-old panda bear and the 19-year-old giraffe who is training to be an astronaut.

When The Boy was done, he got down off the couch, flashed me a big grin and walked away.

A little while later, I said the Sheheheyanu quietly to myself so as to thank G-d for giving me the gift of breastfeeding and for allowing me to recognize the quiet beauty and serenity in the moment, in the act, in the children, and in myself.

G-d bless Kristin Henderson

She's the inspiration behind the title of this place, she's a military spouse, she's a fabulous writer and she has a wealth of resources for veterans and their families.

If any of my readers are military family members who need help, if you know someone who does or if you want to find a way to help, please go here: Take Action, Find Resources. Also, in the back of her book, While They're At War, you will find a comprehensive list of resources. By the time you get there, you will have read a fabulous book too.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Lack of sleep, old writings, familiar problems and Military OneSource

I got 30 minutes of sleep last night. Same shit with dh. I'm recognizing more and more signs of PTSD. I tossed and turned as everything ran through my head. Finally, after 3 hours, I decided to get up and just write it all down.

Last year, the therapist suggested I journal about the situation. I mentioned that I blogged about it, but she suggested I journal it privately with no intentions of anyone else reading it. I did just that and I remember that it was a bit of a release. So I thought maybe if I wrote down everything I was thinking/feeling last night, maybe I could finally let it go and get some freaking sleep. I wrote for 2 hours straight. I felt a bit better, but when I went back to bed, I still couldn't sleep.

I remembered where I kept last year's journal, so I searched for that and did my writing in there. I was surprised to find only one entry from last summer. Although, in there, I found something that is very very true even now, a year later.

I miss him...I miss knowing what to expect. I miss being able to say with certainty, "He would never do that."

Yeah, it's the same thing now.

Lots of things raging through my head and heart right now.

One thing I kept writing, thinking and worrying about is the fact that last year, when I asked him to get help, he was willing to cut us off rather than do that. He chose his silence over his family. I still don't understand. He has no problem with therapists. He's not the type who fights tooth and nail to avoid them. I never in a million years dreamed he'd be willing to go without contact with us rather than just talk to someone.

So now what? It's obvious this marriage isn't going to last without outside help and I so desperately want this to last. I love my husband like crazy. I know he's still in there somewhere. But the last time I asked him to get help, he opted to shut us out rather than do that.

I called Military Onesource. They set me up with my therapist during this whole fiasco last year. Since dh is no longer active duty, though, I didn't know if they could help him. They said they can for 6 months after separation (he's still in that window), but he would need to call. He won't do that. So I asked about couple's counseling. That I could set up and so I did.

We shall see where we go from here.

It's really interesting that the signs are getting worse a year later--9 months since he came home and 3 months since he separated from the military. Don't ever let anyone tell you the "war" ends with the homecoming. It just means you have whole new battles and your home becomes your combat zone.

When he was deployed, he could look forward to coming home. Now where is he supposed to feel safe?

Monday, August 06, 2007

It's a Boy
and it sucks to be him and everyone around him.

Satan Spawn is here. It's a boy. I should be relieved. The pedophile dad only likes little girls.

But while it seems this child won't be molested or raped by his father, I'm afraid it will be just another case of history repeating.

The dad was abused by his father who was abused by his father... and so on and so forth.

So yeah, now there's a whole new little person to fuck up and send out into the world where he can unleash the destructive forces handed down to him by his great grandfathers.

Yes, I know there's a chance he'll be able to overcome it, but, looking at the grand scheme of things, I know it's not bloody likely.

Being the optimist I am at heart, I'll continue to hold out hope that he can overcome his upbrining, but until I see some proof that it might actually happen, I'm gonna continue to rage inside, resist the urge to throw up and cry in bed at night.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Thank G-d for the sane ones.

We have established that my family is nucking futs. This is not news. I've been aware of this fact pretty much from birth.

Sometimes, all the dysfunction sucks the energy right out of you. You just want to bury your head in the pillow and scream or better yet, shake the screw-up in question and scream directly at them...loudly....with speech full of expletives.

So, thank G-d, every once in a while, you get a little beacon of hope. On occasion, you're reminded that there are family members who posses both sanity and common freaking sense.

It gives you hope for humanity. Maybe tikkun olam is possible. Not everyone is cruel and idiotic. Some people are genuinely nice and smart and sweet. And you know what? They actually give a damn about others and live their lives to reflect that.

I was reminded today that I have someone like that. That helps pull me out of the funk that is my family drama and say, "Hey, we're not all certifiably insane." That gives me hope. It also makes me think, "There must be a G-d and He must like me. We've got a fairly normal one. That's a miracle if ever I saw it."

I love my family. Even if I don't agree with the decisions, I try to be there for them to the best of my ability. Knowing that there's a drama-free zone, though, is a lovely thing. Knowing that someone came out of this primordial ooze that is our family as a genuinely good person gives me hope.

But my kid did it first (and in cookie form)

So, Kristen and Mom 101 think their kids are so cool with their pens, crayons, and dirty minds?

Well, ha! My kid can one-up them.

Not only does my kid paint phallic symbols, but she bakes them too.

And I have proof.

Top that!

Friday, August 03, 2007

Parents say the darnest things

Today, The Boy insisted on taking a naked anatomically correct boy doll out with us. Of course, all of our anatomically correct dolls simply must be naked. It's an unwritten rule.

So The Boy carried his naked penis-laden doll in one hand and a cheese stick in the other.

It was at that point that I made this announcement:

"Honey, please don't rub cheese on the baby (pause) and please don't lick it off."

Bunnies, booze and sex

Kamrin left this wonderful comment:

"Bunnies are cute, but booze is better!"

Make sure we add, "Sex" to the list of things that inspire happiness.

Don't know if we're getting anywhere on the issue, but there was actually indoor sports being played in our room this morning. With 3 kids (including two who continue to get up loudly at the butt-crack of dawn), any action before 10 pm is a very rare occurrence.

Which is a shame 'cause it's one hell of a way to start your day. Plus it helps when dealing with the continuing lack of sleep. Once the kids are up at 2 or 4, even if they go back to sleep, I'm up for the day. I swear, I'm gonna stop taking Ambien and just give it to the freaking kids. It would probably work better that way.

But hey, I got no sleep, but I did get laid.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Need a happy fix?

I can't venture into a liquor store with the kids, so this will have to do.

Look, bunnies!

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Too pissed off and exhausted to think of a clever title.

This fucking sucks! I'm so fed up and so exhausted.

The big kids aren't sleeping well. They wake up for random reasons at insane hours (2 am on Sunday-Monday night, 4 am for the past 2 nights) and they're up for good by 6 at the latest. Once they're up the first time, I have a very difficult time falling back to sleep. Even when they do, I can't. I'm fucking exhausted.

Today was fucking nuts. I had way too much shit to do and bunches of stuff went wrong. The boy just went down for a nap 20 minutes ago. I need to get him up right about now 'cause we have got to go out. When left on his own lately, he's been napping for 4-5 hours I know he needs more sleep and he's not getting it. I have to keep cutting his naps short. Shit! We ALL fucking need more sleep and we're not getting it. I'm just so fucking tired of this shit.

I wanted to ask dh to call in yesterday, but I didn't 'cause I knew he wouldn't and honestly, I couldn't stand it if I specifically asked and he didn't even consider it. So I said something along the lines of, "I wish you could stay home." HE FUCKING IGNORED ME.

Yeah and the same shit continues. Nothing I say/do makes any difference. Lots more I want to say here, but I think he might still occasionally read this and I just don't want to get into some stuff.

I'm feeling horribly unattractive, unappreciated, over-extended, burnt out and just fucking exhausted.

I tried to figure out what it is that I need to feel better today. What I want is some damn attention. I want SOMEONE to acknowledge at least a portion of what I do. And no, I'm not fishing for compliments from you people. I want someone, but I also NEED dh to acknowledge me. I would damn near kill for flowers, a card, a sweet word or a stupid trinket--anything of the sort, but it doesn't happen. The only thing he has given me is Starbucks and that was once. While I appreciate it, that's not exactly what I'm looking for right now.

I feel like I'm getting depressed. I know part of it is that I haven't had enough sleep, but damn it, some of this shit has been going on for a long time. And I don't really fucking care about the reason right now. All I care about is that I'm sitting here crying and miserable.

AHHHHHHH. There's so much I want to write, but I'm already late picking up the girls. I haven't even woken The Boy up yet. I just want to go to bed. I'm seriously considering just getting a damn hotel room, taking an Ambien, and getting some glorious uninterrupted sleep. Problem is, when dh is off, I want to be with him. When he has to work, there's no fucking way he'll take any time off so I could do that. I've considered just taking off in the night and not coming back until later the next day. I kinda wonder, though, if he'd even notice or if he would just assume I was in one of the kids' rooms and head to work leaving the kids alone. I can't take that risk. And besides, honestly, I don't think I can do that to him. Sucks since I can't say the same of him towards me.

And now I'm off to run out the door to be late for yet another fucking thing today.