Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Here We Are Again

Have you seen that You Tube video going around Facebook about the real meaning of the Semisonic song Closing Time?

If not, here you go.

Watch This

So, now we're all on the same page.

February 3rd we decided we (I) had had enough of the whole carrying of the fourth child thing.  I mean, he was supposed to be early.  He was so low, I was really dilated, it was past the 40 week mark.  It was February.

He had been in there long enough.

It was time to go in after him.

Smoke him out.

It was closing time.

So a few short hours after Pitocin (I have no idea how to spell that drug, but you know what I mean,) started the smoking out process, and a few good pushes, we have....

Maxwell Keith

aka... Max.

8 lbs 4oz.  21 1/4 inches.  Lots of tongue sticking-out-ness.

He's pretty great.

He's also a newborn.

Remember newborns?

If not, let me fill you in.

You fill your days nursing them, changing their diapers, snuggling and smelling their sweet heads and forcing them to love you. They go wherever you go and sleep a lot (mostly while you hold them.)  They are the cutest, squishy, miraculous examples of your heart physically existing outside of your own body.

They are love.

Then at night they can turn on you.  They can be cruel.

They suddenly hate you and only sleep in 20 minute increments or while being held while you walk around.  You will think they are as asleep as a human can possible be without approaching death and then you spend 10 minutes extracting your body from theirs so they can lie down alone while you sleep and they will wake up screaming as if you threw them in their bed and blew a rape whistle in their ear.

WHY oh WHY is it like that?

We have also been thrown in to the world of reflux again.

It's not a fun place to be, so we're working on leaving it.

We have been to the chiropractor, we've taken probiotics, and we have reflux meds.

It's getting better.

I think.

Really it could turn at any moment though because that's the newborn sneaky way.

(My back up plan is to start using meth.  I think it keeps you up for a long time?  Maybe?  Or maybe I'm supposed to be doing cocaine? Regardless, there is surely some drug that can help me out and create new, bigger problems to distract me from the exhaustion and screaming.)

The truth is that I'm not such a great newborn Mom regardless of the situation.

Reflux just makes me even more insane.

I like a full night sleep.  I like time by myself.  I like order and productivity.  I like being dressed and functional.  I like typing with two hands instead of one like now because the other is holding a nursing baby. I like working.  I like seeing my friends.

I used to like my husband.

My very round-about point is that newborn life makes me feel trapped and unproductive and one-dimensional.

Yes, I realize these are the days.

Yes, I should cherish these moments rocking him and snuggling.

Yes, I will long for these days in the future when he won't even want to be near me.

Yes.  I know.

This is my fourth.  I know how this whole gig plays out after these first very difficult weeks.  I know my life will resume a new and probably better way.

It's still rough.  Still leaves me feeling drained and longing for my former sense of self, for a little more freedom.

He is still the best surprise I never knew I wanted, even if he really jacks up life for a while.

So...if you need me, I'm probably at home doing this.

Trapped, but at least trapped under this.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

My Husband Works A Lot, Thank Goodness

If you've read my blog for a while, you know that my husband works a lot.

He used to work even more than now, but he's still gone quite often.

He doesn't travel out of town, but he does leave early for work most days and rarely makes it home in time for dinner, bed, and bath.  He used to have to go to work on weekends from time to time or be on the phone quite a bit even if he was here physically.

It's something that has been difficult in the past for me to accept.

I used to cry while serving dinner because I felt so profoundly disappointed that he wasn't here.  I resented it being challenging for me to plan anything due to his schedule.  I thought I was being punished every night at bedtime as I tried to put one, then two, then three little kids to bed by myself.

You know what made it all worse?

Other people's pity or outrage over my husband's work.

I can't tell you the number of comments I have received from other moms about how they would never "allow" their husbands to work that much. Or they didn't understand how I could handle his absence. Or the questions about my assumed rage over the entire situation.

Don't get me wrong, I also have had a lot of friends over the years who simply said, "it's hard to have a husband who is gone a lot, do you need anything?"

Bless those people.

You know what honestly made it all worse?

Me.  I'm not innocent in fueling some of those comments with my venting or straight up complaining.

As we all know, staying home with young kids can be lonely, physically and emotionally draining, and thankless.  There is very little allure in the areas of financial reward or immediate personal satisfaction.

I struggled.  I still struggle, just not as often.

Remember when I wrote this a long time ago about seeing him go off to work?

I still feel that pang of jealousy from time to time.

I also used to fill that martyr role really well.  Remember this martyr post?

I'm sure I still have my martyr moments, just thankfully not as often.

But honestly, as I am about to have my fourth child and I have gotten a lot of questions about how much Alex works and how I'm going to survive from friends over the last 8 months...I feel absolutely zero negative emotions about my husband's schedule.

Do I prefer him to be home than at work?

Of course, but here's the husband is amazing and I wouldn't have him do his job any differently.

He has a powerful work ethic.  Maybe it's partly his first generation American thing, maybe it's the awesome job his parents did raising him, or maybe it's just him, but he takes his job to provide and to do his best very seriously.

I am grateful for that.

I'm also grateful that I don't struggle with getting my husband off the couch, working a lot seems to be the preferred tendency to me.

I used to have this perception that if he worked a lot then our children were surely going to be psychologically damaged and in need of therapy to know how to love.

They may in fact have those challenges....but it won't be because of Alex.

I assume it will be due to technology because that feels like a good thing to blame for issues these days.

Whenever I feel a pang of frustration at his schedule, I remember conversations with my friend Kathryn, who also has a husband who works a lot.  She's always had the right attitude about it. She's always known what it took me years to figure kids are being raised in a wonderful family by two wonderful parents.

My kids have a father that gives them a powerful example of working hard, who also takes them camping and to church.  A Dad that spends hours building pinewood derby cars with them or letting his daughter paint his toenails.  He explains football and supply and demand.  He reads Harry Potter and Fancy Nancy whenever he can.  He has spent countless hours hustling from important meeting at work to important Christmas program back to important meeting so that his kids can see his pride in them for their 5 minute performance.

My kids also have one whole parent who is ALWAYS around.  They never have to suck it up when they don't feel well because no one can stay home with them. They never miss participating in something because of their parents work schedules or financial limitations.  They know that every bit of what they have is because both of their parents work hard.

They are never without clothes or shelter or the little things

My kids live a luxurious life.  A safe, loved life.

And so do I.

Every family has to figure out what works for them, what their goals are, what their kids need.

There is no joy in comparing....whether to feel envy or to criticize.

I am so grateful to be done (mostly...I'm still HUMAN people!) with worrying about my inconveniences because I have a husband who works hard.  We come first and we always will....besides, I can't imagine how else I would want it all to be.

Other previous posts you might like along these lines are here and here and here.

Monday, January 19, 2015

The Questions, The Waiting

You can't be 38 weeks pregnant without frequently being asked how you are doing. 

(Or if you've lost your mucous plug, which I will never understand being asked by people I wouldn't have on my emergency contact list.  That seems like a personal and gross question, right?  My answer to that is always no by the way.)

So, here's my answer to the how am I doing question....I'm totally over being pregnant, but I'm fine.

A little too fine.

I don't even feel that uncomfortable.  I don't feel huge.  I can walk around without too much discomfort. I am sleeping ok other than waking up to pee frequently. 

I can tie my shoes!

(If poised in the appropriate position.)

I know you are probably assuming I am super grateful about this.

Are you crazy? 

I am, of course, convinced that this lack of discomfort and gigantic size must mean that there is something wrong. I'm spending lots of time wondering what could be the cause of this issue. 

Why don't I feel horrible?  Why do my maternity shirts still mostly cover my belly?  What sort of problems could be mounting in my belly?  Why doesn't it feel like he's about to fall out when each time I go to the doctor she talks to me for no less than 10 minutes straight about how fast I better get to the hospital because he is so very low? 

I searched back and found that I wrote this when I was 38 weeks pregnant with Stella.

Apparently I was really uncomfortable last time...more fuel for my fear fire. 

I do still feel the same longing for a cocktail.  I can not wait to be able to drink a glass of wine without guilt or order a fancy cocktail at a restaurant. 

I mentally feel tapped out with the whole pregnancy thing.  I found out I was pregnant back in May. 


That feels like an eternity ago.  So many holidays and changes and seasons have passed and I am still growing this human.  Surely the time is up?

Intellectually I realize that I will deliver this child soon, but a big part of me (not my stomach surprisingly) really thinks I might be pregnant forever.  I really, really hope I am wrong.

This would be a very awkward way to live the rest of my life. 

I have been trying to enjoy the time with my other three, enjoy these last days without newborn life.  I know it will be difficult to have time with each of them as soon as this baby arrives and consumes me. I know I'll miss them in a strange way. I'll be near them but slightly absent from our normal routine and I know a part of me will long for that normality amidst the chaos that comes with a new baby.

You know what else makes me sad?

Diaper bags.

After 28 comments on a Facebook question regarding recommendations, and multiple personal emails of suggestions, I have decided I am too cool for a diaper bag.  I assume this isn't a shock to you, but given that this is my fourth child I just can't do a formal diaper bag. 

It has taken careful consideration and MUCH online shopping to decide that I need multiple, very expensive bags.

Given my great need, I'm still looking. 

I'll be sure to report any major decisions as soon as I have reached them.

I do feel I should repost all the suggestions people gave. I really loved a lot of them.  I even put several of them in shopping carts on a variety of websites which I will probably never, ever return to again. I'm really good at online shopping without committing to the purchase, it's a talent.

Other current concerns? 

My Netflix show selection for after this baby is born is weak.  I'm still accepting advice on shows to have ready to fill the empty hours of nursing and baby holding when my brain won't function well enough to read or recite poetry to him to increase his intelligence. 

What?  I recite poetry all the time to the other three.

Well, not so much poetry, but we listen to really thought provoking music in the car that reminds me of poetry.  It's really more like rap music, but it rhymes just like poetry.  I even found an NWA song without cuss words and have now exposed my children to the joy of rap from the late 80s.  Clearly I'm doing a good job as Mom. 

I did read an article that suggested I have a labor play list to have playing while I deliver the baby.  Is this really a thing?  How many songs do you have to put on it?  Is this like a mix tape for my baby? 

Is it OK to hope your baby is delivered during Uptown Funk?  I can't stop playing that song lately so it feels like it might be so familiar to the baby that it might make him feel more comfortable when he arrives.  I wouldn't want him to feel out of place.

Seriously, how catchy is that song though? 

I dare you not to dance while listening to it. 

Please report back if you can do it.

Seriously, report back.  I'm losing my mind just waiting for this baby, anything not baby related is very welcome right now.

11 days and counting. 

Stay tuned.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Four Eyes

A few months ago Cole came home with a vision screening form.

If you have never seen one of these it's because your child has passed their vision screening.

Or, you were ahead of the game and recognized that your child had problems seeing without the public school becoming involved.

Or, you might be neglecting the take-home folder.

I believe Cole's form resided in that folder for at least three days before I realized it was something I was supposed to notice. This is one of my biggest fears post baby - if it takes me three days now, I assume after the baby I'll never notice pieces of paper meant to spur me to action.

People repeatedly asked me, "did you know he was having trouble seeing?"

We had no clue.

Cole has been sitting approximately 2 feet from our 52'' television for the last few years.  So naturally Alex and I had been very concerned with his...hearing.  That's right, we never once thought of his eyes.  We logically assumed he had some sort of issue hearing because we're very intuitive parents.

Once I got him to the eye doctor, who surprisingly was not concerned about his hearing when I mentioned how close he sits to the TV, there were several aspects of Cole's eyesight issues that were addressed.  The doctor spoke to me like I had actually been around my child for the last year or so.

As you can imagine, it was pretty insulting.

For example, she suggested that I knew his eyes crossed when he read for more than a few minutes. She also alluded to how frustrated and tired he must get by the end of a school day after having to strain all day....which I had noticed but had obviously attributed his inability to behave exactly as I ordered.

Needless to say it seems Alex and I had missed a few "signs."

Perhaps we are in need of some type of parenting goggles?

You know who else missed it?  Aiden.  This might seem obvious, unless you know that Aiden isn't interested in letting anything about Cole's inadequacies go unnoticed.

During Cole's eye exam, Aiden was appalled that Cole was mistaking "s" for "b" or unable to guess a letter at all. 

I had to repeatedly remind Aiden that he couldn't tell Cole what was on the eye chart.  He was beyond control, continually blurting out the correct answers whenever Cole gave a moment's hesitation.

Finally he agreed to be quiet but couldn't resist poking me, rolling his eyes, and throwing his thumb in Cole's direction with a, "oh my Gosh he is blind!" expression.

There was even some holding of his head in his hands while he shook it and looked at the ground.

How could HE have missed this issue for so long?  We have come to rely on Aiden's critical skills in the analysis of all of us.

Aiden also felt it was important to inform the doctor of how exactly Cole found himself in this most unfortunate position of horrible vision. 

"He gets his bad eyes from our Dad. He has a lot of my Dad's traits and I have a lot of my Mom's.  Like, my Mom and I have normal width feet and Cole and my Dad have really wide, square feet. Cole and my Dad have really little teeth and my Mom and I have bigger teeth.  And my Dad has to wear contacts so Cole got his horrible eyes, but my Mom and I can see just fine."

I swear I haven't brainwashed Aiden in to thinking he scored genetically by favoring just really seems like it because we haven't been able to figure out the positive things Alex contributed yet.

Kidding, of course.  For the record Alex does contribute a LOT now that they are here.

(Stella also looks identical to him so he does make a beautiful little girl.)

After 2.5 hours, yes TWO AND A HALF HOURS, at the eye doctor I was told that Cole has VERY poor vision.  He is very far-sighted, has a stygmatizm and definitely needs glasses all the time.  She actually couldn't believe he had gone this long without glasses.

The doctor felt the need to repeat her disbelief about our missing his eyesight troubles many, many times.

I can't describe how confident I feel about taking on another was almost as big of a parenting boost as when I straight up forgot to pick up Stella from school.

Didn't even think about her.

I think I'm totally going to rock this Mom of four thing.

After a tedious week and a half of waiting for his glasses to arrive, we picked them up and Cole went from looking like this...

to suddenly looking like this...

I mean, is there anything cuter?

As of today he also is missing both front words for that level of 7 year old adorable.

I must admit my stomach flipped and my eyes filled with tears when he put them on at first.  His glasses are so thick his eyes are these adorable, huge, brown circles.  I immediately worried about him being teased and simultaneously wanted to hug him because he looked so innocent and sweet.

Watching other kids react to the glasses though has been inspiring.  No one, that I know of, has been unkind in any way.  When I've heard kids ask him about them they are more curious and factual.

One of his friends said, "Your eyes look really big!"  I cringed when he said it, but he wasn't being unkind he was just observing and Cole wasn't offended at all.

One of his friends' big brothers also taught him to punch anyone who calls him a nerd.

This was less helpful, but it was done in a super sweet sort of way.

We had to amend that advice after Cole practiced on Alex's stomach, but I think we're all good now.

After wearing the glasses for a month or so now I will say Cole is MUCH less likely to fall apart after school.  He doesn't seem as perpetually exhausted and he is owning the glasses look.

The whole thing does make me wonder though...what else am I missing that my children need and I'm just ignoring?  You think one of this has some sort of disorder or missing digit I've just not noticed yet?

Don't tell me until after the baby arrives please....I'm anxious enough.

17 days and counting!