Back off, mom!

We stopped at a park today while I was touring the state of Minnesota to eat some Subway and burn some energy. After we filled our tummies, we went to play. Nick encouraged Ollie to try to walk across these:

Apparently I’m paranoid. But I do know better. I was hovering. He was clinging for life, scared to try to move from one hanging platform to the next, and I was instructing, cheering, reaching out…

And Nick said “Back off, mommy. You need to let him do it.”

I shrunk away, knowing he was right (must let that preschooler discover he can do things instead of instilling doubt in him!), but still just wanting to help so much.

And you know what? He made it. He did it, all by himself, which prompted me to jump around like an idiot in the middle of the park and then bust into a quick rendition of “We Did It!” from Dora. Wow, how my life has changed.

Anyway, play resumed, and I quickly found myself at the top of a platform that Ollie was climbing to. I rushed over to get this shot:

I’m not kidding you, as the shutter clicked, he was saying “You need to back off mommy and let me do it myself!”

It’s a sad day.

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No Sleep for the Next 18 Years

People say it all the time, and it doesn’t click.  I mean, I guess you think “Oh, sure, because they’ll wake up a lot when their babies, and they’ll be sick sometimes and you’ll stay up through the night, and when they are teenagers you’ll be worrying about them being out late…”

But it still doesn’t quite sink in. 

Ollie has slept through the night well.  When he doesn’t, I know there’s a reason why.  That’s not the problem.

The problem is that my son is 2, and some days I just don’t know what to do with him.  I feel like he might be one of “those kids” that you see in the store and go “Why doesn’t that parent DO something?”

This is where the lack of sleep comes in.

Half the time I’m awake because I’ve done everything I can think of, and I either am looking for new ideas online or racking my brain.  Then there are nights like tonight, where I’m just mourning the loss of the bond we had before he became so independent.  I’m sure that this will happen more often than once as he grows up, where I sit and look at pictures of my little baby boy and think “What happened, and how do I get it back?”

I can’t get it back.  I know I can’t.  So the next question is “How do I make this good, despite how hard it is?  How different it is?  How EVOLVING it is?”  Because it is always evolving. 

Perhaps I need to take solace in the fact that we started off rocky, with lots of screaming and unhappiness, and a lot of a very strained mommy desperate to do anything to make her baby happy.  Then things changed for a while, and we were so close, and he was happy (once he could run around), and I was happy, and things were just good. 

Now it’s not that things are never good, and it’s certainly not that I don’t love him, because Iwouldn’t be sitting here with tears streaming down my face if that was the case.  It’s just that as he challenges me and as he acts out and learns and does things that (from what I understand) normal two year olds do, I feel as though our days are flying by, and so much of it is wasted with time outs and talking-to’s and “Please don’t do that” and stress and pain and hurt.  I’m sure the mommies of older kids reading this are going to say “You have so much more to come”, and maybe I do.  So then, mommies ahead of me, how do I make less time about the negative and more time about the positive?  How do I catch just a little bit of us, happy, playing, having fun, and less challenging?

Perhaps things will get easier.  Summer will come, there will be more playing outside and fun things to do.  Emmie will become mobile, and we can all play together.  Walks and parks and fishing and camping and swimming and fun.  Maybe my problem isn’t that my son is two, or isn’t that I have a very difficult time with the toddler attitude, but that it is February.  After all, I usually spend the entire month of February blaming everything that isn’t good on cabin fever, simply because it is February, and I think everyone has had about enough snow and cold by that point.  I call February the “crazy” month.  Everyone gets a little nuts.

When it comes down to it, it may be February, he may be two, I may have too much going on, and he may be getting his molars.   But what I know for certain is I just want to be a good, good mommy, and want to always do the right thing for him, and sometimes I know I don’t.  I don’t know all the answers.  I don’t know the perfect solution.  But I hope someday he knows that I sat up at night trying to figure it all out – just because I love him that much.

Things I Regret As a Mommy

When Ollie was little, he spent a lot of time screaming his head off.  Seriously.  And I spent a lot of time trying to entertain him, or at least get him to stop screaming, especially at night.

So many nights, I would sit in Ollie’s room, holding my baby, singing along with the same old songs over and over again.  Mostly stuff I was hooked on from So You Think You Can Dance that season. 

I never did that with Emmie.  I guess I didn’t need to, but it still makes me sad.  I feel like I flaked out on her.  I don’t have any songs that make me go “Oh, remember when Emmie would scream and scream and scream and this song always soothed her?”  Or “Ohmygosh I played that song a bazillion times in the car on the way to and from town just to keep her from screaming until she threw up”.  And yes, that is exactly what I could say about her brother.

So here, I thought I would share some music with you!

“No Air” –  This one was the magical one, the one that worked without fail, and I immediately burned multiple CD’s and had it on my iPod. 

No Air – Jordin Sparks

“Boys With Girlfriends” – He found this one soothing, too. 

“Breathe” – I listened to this song heavily around the time that a friend died, too, so it brings a lot of emotion and memories back.

“Bleeding Love” – Another SYTYCD song.

Bleeding Love – Leona Lewis

“Mercy” – This one always kind of confused me, with it’s hard beat, but he had always seemed to like hard, strict, strong beats. 

Mercy – Duffy

It’s The Little Things…

I have had a hard time with Emmie getting older.  It’s hard for me to realize that she’s 10 months old, and that she’s trying to walk and doing all sorts of toddler-ish things.  I don’t know where time went.  Even in my dreams she’s little baby, not even crawling yet.  I think I lost a couple months.

This new skill, though, is one I’m super excited about.  Is it a huge deal?  No.  It’s not first steps, nor is it first word.  But eating out of a lid-covered snack bowl.

Big girl now!

 

There she sits, happily feasting on crackers that she pulls out of her own bowl all by herself.  She doesn’t make a mess and is as happy as a clam.  She mastered it immediately, on the first try.

I’m also kind of happy that there is one thing that Emmie could do before Ollie, even if it is just eating crackers from a bowl.

I Almost Did It…

I need to apologize to all pregnant women out there.
I almost committed a “felony”, as far as I was concerned when I was pregnant.
Tonight, we at dinner at Acupulco. (I want to go to there. Num num num num num.) Anyway, hello pregnant waitress who stops by our table to ask how old Ollie is. I turn to look at her, and there’s that perfect little basketball like bump just inches away. And I just wanted to reach out and touch it. Touch that little baby. And do the whole cooing-precious baby-wanna cry thing that all expectant mothers hate, when random strangers all of a sudden invade their privacy and feel no shame in placing their hands all over your abdomen. (Which happens to be a place that in my experience no woman is ever happy to have anyone touch, especially without consent, because – am I right ladies? – this is the one place that always needs the most WORK.
I managed to keep my hands on my own baby, but inquire politely about hers.
I decided right then and there that midwifery would be AWESOME, because I could touch baby bellies all day long and no one would mind or think I was a crazy “stranger”. And even if they did, it’s my JOB, so pfft.
Anyway, after a long day of shopping, Nick, Ollie, and I arrived home around 9. I quickly shedded Ollie’s layers except his onsie, changed a diaper, and managed to lay him down just in time for him to wake up and decide to start crying. Ug. So I get him all situated, mobile on, and sneak from the room. He cries for a bit, then stops. Then cries for a bit, then stops. He does this for HOURS. This is what happens whenever his bedtime schedule gets messed up. Nick and I stayed up watching a movie, and when we decided to head to bed, I was picking up pillows off the living room floor when Nick went to turn Ollie’s lamp out. He whispers “Come here!”, which immediately startled me. I wasn’t sure what was wrong, but I went trotting towards the partially open door, and the sight inside was soooooo precious.

At some point he not only managed to roll over, but turn himself sideways in the crib, too. The picture quality isn’t the greatest because I didn’t want to use the flash and wake him up. Nick rolled him over and repositioned him after I had my fill, and then we shook our heads and chuckled on our return down the hall. We love that kid.
It was a long, boring day for him. He gets EXTREMELY bored in the car lately. He’ll start screaming and you’ll change his diaper, give him a bottle, do everything you can think of, and he’ll appear fine. You’ll return to the driver’s seat, and the screaming commences. And it will continue until either you go so far that he can’t fight it and falls asleep (Trust me, it’s quite a distance!), or you return to the backseat. He’d much rather converse all day then ride in the car. The poor guy didn’t even get any solid foods today. I’m just not sure how to do the whole baby-food-on-the-go thing. But he gets cranky when he doesn’t get his solid foods.
At one point the old trick work. I busted out “No Air” by Jordin Sparks, and his hysterics paused for the song, where he listened quietly, and then resumed his screaming as soon as the last note died.
I find it fascinating that I, sitting in the driver’s seat, can merely pick a song on my iPod, press play, and soothe my child without touching him, making eye contact… virtually doing anything! Music is amazing. Unfortunately, I need to broaden Ollie’s “comfort” songs, because there are only a few. (And Nick hates them all.) “No Air”, “Mercy” by Duffy, “My Love” by Justin Timberlake, “The Garden” by Mirah, and “Boys with Girlfriends” by Meiko. All songs that I was listening to quite a bit in his first month.
Anyway, my brain is mush and I’ve been yawning so hard my eyes tear up for HOURS. Goodnight all.

Oh For Cryin’ Out Loud

So earlier I wrote what could easily be published as a novel. I was releasing emotions, I was expressing opinions, and I was kind of down.

Then, for some crazy reason, I get a pop up that says “Are you sure you want to navigate from this page? If not, hit cancel”. So I hit cancel.

It takes me to the dashboard.

No worries! Blogger autosaves my drafts, right???

WRONG.

Apparantly this particular blog was not worth saving. (Although it’s autosaving this one.)

You know how you call someone, and you are talking, and you finally just go off and start going on and on about something, only to find out that one of you lost your signal and you’ve been talking to no one for 5 minutes? Then you feel all unresolved, and you debate whether it’s worth the whole deal again or not, but you didn’t actually get to vent, so you are still not satisfied?

That’s how I feel.

So I can remember some of the things I covered. I was expressing feelings. I remember that. So I’ll start there.

I’m feeling down tonight. Perhaps it is that I’m exhausted. Perhaps it’s because a certain real estate agent feels the need to make me feel inferior and like I don’t work, even though I’ve outsold this person two years in a row. Maybe it’s the fears about going back to school. Stress over a math test (never EVER a good thing for me.). The doubts that run through my mind about Ollie and if I’m doing a good job as a mom, and what the effects of him always being with me are. For some reason I’m terrified that we are together too much. Will I be one of those moms who bawls when he starts kindergarden? Or will I have to fight to not home school him for my own selfish reasons? Am I creating a “clingy” child? He goes everywhere with me, and if he can’t, I don’t have much use for it. (Makes going to school a little harder…) Will I ever be able to leave him without feeling like I might throw up?

I know the answer to that question. Eventually, yes, I will be able to leave him. I was even that way with Nick. When he went back to California to get his stuff, he was gone for a month. When he got back, he moved into his apartment in Brooklyn Park. I went down to visit from Duluth. I didn’t go back. I couldn’t. The thought of being away from him for who knows how long made me feel like I was going to die. Would I have actually died? Probably not. But it was worth it. A distance relationship for two years would not have been pleasant. Of course we were both young and stupid. He insisted on going to “the best” welding school, only to discover that he hated welding. I was happy at UMD… when he was around. If he would have gone to school in Duluth/Superior, I think life would have been good, and I think we both would have college degrees right now. Then again, I kind of think that teaching music is not for me. I find those who do it because their parents make them or they want to go on a band trip more than infuriating. I take it a little too seriously to be teaching it, I guess.

School is terrifying, but I’m motivated. I have so many different reasons to be. From the severe lack of money and hope of money in this household, to the economy, to wanting Ollie to have a way to go to college, to wanting Nick to be able to farm, to wanting to change the world (I always have that goal…), to loving women’s rights, to being passionate about choices during labor. I could go on and on. Not that I hate real estate, but this market is going to be down for a while. I might as well do something like go to school with some serious federal grants instead of sitting on my butt waiting for the day years from now that I can effortlessly make money in real estate. And sure, it’s not all about money. But I’m not going to lie – I had such a large negative amount of income last year it’s pathetic. This year will be better, because I am not paying RE/MAX $1,500 a month in fees, but it’s still pathetic.

Yet I’m terrified. I’m terrified that I’m not smart enough. I’m worried that time will be an issue. I’m not patient, and have to be careful not to overload myself like I have in the past. (You know I was taking 26 credits at UMD? Yeah…) I’m worried time will get away from me, and a six year degree will take much longer. I’m worried about getting into nursing programs. I’m worried about getting a job. Let’s say I get in with a hospital, but am the only midwife. That’s quite a burden to take on… on call 24/7. And can I really give proper care when the full moon comes around and everyone starts rushing into the hospital? (Any midwife will tell you that a full moon sends women into labor… I’ve read it like 6 different places now, besides the fact that it happened with me. I was the start of a string of 18 women to give birth in less than 3 days during a full moon. It was INSANE.)

That’s the hard part about being a midwife. In Cambridge, anyway, they stay with the woman the entire time they are in labor. What do you do when you have more than one? I should ask Rhonda. I’m sure they’ve had more than two in at a time before…

I’m also concerned that I won’t like it once I get into it. But I’m trying to figure out the worst part. Amniotic fluid isn’t scary. Nor is blood. And once you’ve been through labor, it’s all so minor and normal, you really don’t care that if it was a flesh wound, you’d probably be dead by now. (At least that’s what I kept thinking when I was in labor. Not sure how I lived through that!)

This career path could mean so much for this family. I would get to do something awesome that I want to do. Nick would get to farm and be home when the kids got off the bus. Ollie and his siblings would have money for college. And maybe, just maybe, we could afford to keep the thermostat above 55 degrees. (Ollie’s room is always 72, and whatever room he is in is kept warm, too. It’s just the rest of the house that’s freezing ass cold.)

Well, even though this wasn’t as in depth or as long, I feel better. Besides, I just found 41 infected cookies on my computer. Fantastic. Some of them appear to be from those survey/ad things to get more bingo credits. Lesson learned. A few of them are from blogs and statcounter… which pisses me off. WTF is statcounter doing giving me infected cookies? Not sure about the other ones. Some may be attempted theme/ringtone downloads for my Blackberry. Stupid forums.

So I need to be more careful. Will do.

I have to pee. Goodnight folks.

My God, I Am Lucky

I am reading birth stories on www.unnecesarean.com. Having nothing to compare my birth to really, I had no idea how lucky I was until I started reading all these birth/midwife books. Now I’m horrified.

I’m reading Mason’s birth, which is currently the second story on the RSS feed. Some of the little things that I guess I didn’t even consider were really important to me now that I read these stories. When given her epidural, she had to lean into the nurse. Her husband couldn’t move at all, and was not allowed to touch her. I leaned into Nick, which was so nice. His smell, just HIM… it was so comforting.

Not being allowed to eat, too. I didn’t have much. I think I had some crackers and some soup. Big whoop. But still, not having eaten for hours and then getting induced, which usually results in a LONGGGGGGG labor…. how can they possibly expect a woman to deliver her baby vaginally if they have her absolutely famished? Probably not going to happen.

Because she was on a pitocin drip, she wasn’t allowed much freedom. Not even to sit in the bathroom for very long. I was all over the place. Hallways, tub, toilet, birthing ball, pacing… here, there, everywhere. And all of you women who have labored know how good it feels to sit on the toilet during!

But what really, REALLY makes my heart bleed is this:
“I felt very ashamed as I was wheeled down the halls, and by the nurses’ station. I couldn’t look any of them in the eye. I felt really embarrassed, even silly. I was totally numb, I felt like a beached whale; like a cow going in for the slaughter. They knew why I was going to the OR. I was going because I failed as a woman.”

Now I’m definitely not going to sit and preach to everyone that they should all give birth naturally, and that if you don’t you are a failure, because that is CERTAINLY not true. Any of us who have had something in labor (or afterwards!) not go the way they hoped/planned can relate to this, though. I felt this way when my midwife suggested an epidural for me. Just because I had stalled at a 9 for like EVER, I was a failure. (Of course, I’m blessed. An OB probably would have “sent me in for the slaughter” too. And no lie, Ollie was a big dude.) I also felt this way because of the failure in the breastfeeding department. But we, as women, should NEVER EVER feel this way, be made to feel this way, or have a reason to feel this way. And yes, not everything goes the way you plan it to – it never will. But when NOTHING goes the way you plan it to…. I can’t even imagine.

I talked to a friend the other day who was asking me about my labor. She’s pregnant with her second. Had an “unnecesarean” with the first. She said sadly “I really wish I had been able to do a normal delivery”. I said “Why don’t you this time?” to which her response was “my doctor won’t let me. It’s not safe.”

Oh, ladies. It may be true, it may not be safe in her situation. I don’t know all the details. But generally speaking, most women do just fine with a traditional birth after a c-section. Research VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean.). My mom is a perfect example. Rose was an unnecesarean – a pretty common story where they induced labor because she was “overdue”, her heart rate dropped, and they had to do an emergency c-section – and Gus was a natural birth. My suggestion? Talk to a midwife. Susan and Rhonda in Cambridge do VBAC’s constantly.

Like Peggy Vincent, the author of “Baby Catcher” says. Doctors think that labor is abnormal unless proven otherwise. Midwifes believe labor is normal unless proven otherwise.

Well put, Peggy.

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