Thursday, December 30, 2010

These are a few of my least favorite things...

It has been awhile since I have had some time to sit and write- mostly because all of my free time is spent sweeping up pine needles from the Christmas tree (I miss our fake one) and rehanging the ornaments that Newman, our dog, knocks off with his tail every time he runs to the door to greet someone. I have also been spending more time attached to my "bovine-like machine" and have almost enough milk for Silas to make it through his first full day without me when I return to work. That is actually a proud accomplishment. Few things, other than the actual nursing and benefits itself, make nursing moms proud like seeing a nice, full container of expressed milk. As the time goes on, the amount drops and you feel as if somehow it's your fault and it takes you back to your newborn baby days: am I drinking enough water? Is it something I am eating or not eating? Is he getting enough to eat? Should I start with formula? I remember being a new parent and reading through every baby book I could get my hands on, desperately hoping that my ignorance wouldn't permanently mess up my child for life or have some grave consequences down the road. Being a parent sure makes you paranoid. I don't look at people the same way anymore. Strangers try to chit-chat with my kids and the first thought that runs through my head is, "are they going to follow me out to the parking lot and snatch my kids?" I've told Ella that if anyone ever grabs her that she is to do everything we tell her not to do: kick, bite, scratch and scream at the top of her lungs, "I am being kidnapped!" Yes, I am paranoid. I practice asking her questions like,"If a stranger pulls up with truck full of candy and asks you to hop in and pick one, what do you say?" Fortunately, she always knows what to say:). Thank godness of the Safe Touch Program. Ella has started to quiz Hanna too- "Hanna, what do you do if..." (Hanna responds) "Good job, Hanna!" As awful as it sounds, I think if anyone took Hanna, they'd return her promptly with a sign that says, "No, thanks!" OK, yes, that sounds harsh, and I will preface this by saying I love the child to bits. In fact, she has a sensitive side that is beyond belief. I cut my finger the other day and she was so concerned- she followed me upstairs, watched me dress my wound, kissed it better, and asked me several times that day if I was okay and if my booboo was better. Ella didn't even flinch from her activity, and Silas slept through the entire incident. She is a snuggle bug and loves to just be close to us. However, the kid has a stinker side (as shown in our Christmas picture)- she has an insane amount of energy and has no idea what an inside voice sounds like. I was doing laundry in the basement yesterday as she was running around upstairs. I found myself wondering if she was somehow part buffalo? She is physically incapable of making it through a half an hour tv show,  but could bounce endlessly on anything. Whatever happened to Pogo Balls? I remember having one when I was a kid- it had a blue top and bottom and the part your feet went on was bright pink. I have fond memories of bouncing around the driveway on it and I was so sad when the bottom bounced over something and got punctured. I also miss Hyper Color. Not sure why that ever went out of style. In my mind, it was pure genius. Perhaps someone realized that the chemicals were causing strange skin issues? Other things: leg warmers, fluorescent colored clothing, big bows in the hair, hair-sprayed bangs that stood a mile high,  french rolled jeans, these are a few of my least favorite things... and I will be thrilled if I never see them again in my life time (notice that stirrups were not on the list for the sake of not offending anyone). Barney is also on my list, but unfortunately, I am not getting away from him anytime soon. When my nephew (who is now 16) was a toddler, he used to have trouble sleeping and would wake up at odd hours of the night terrified. He had this huge Barney poster in his room and I remember telling my sister that I thought Barney was the devil in disguise and that was probably the root of Jordan's night-wakings. Seems reasonable to me, though now that I've had a couple of kids, I may adjust my theory slightly to include other possibilities (though really, I am convinced it was Barney). For now though, the "clean-up" song gets the job done and I will take it. No Barney posters for us though. Ever.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Wimpy, wimpy, wimpy...

That is definitely how I feel these days. I am going on day #3 of being completely sore. All from a less than a 20 minute workout a day. I have fallen into a love/ hate relationship with Lindsay Brin who creates these painful workouts. She is annoyingly perfect and I suspect that many people felt that way about her in high school. She is also from St. Louis so part of me feels like I have to be loyal to her. I tried her 8 minute workout and it seems effective in targeting my abs (sadly, the results are not as immediate as I would like... though I've only done it twice). My mom insists that it is a healthy ache. To me, it's a painful ache. Period. Lots of lunges, push-ups, planks, with cardio thrown in between each one minute set. To be honest, I couldn't tell you how long her downloadable workout is because I have never made it through an entire one- either because I was physically unable to peel myself off of the floor to continue or because Silas would wake up- to the latter, I often said, "Thank you, Lord!" Now don't get me wrong, I love a sleeping, quiet baby as much as any other new mom, but in this case, it was the lesser of two evils... I should note the evil I am referring to is the crying, not the baby himself... that would just be plain mean. Once or twice, Silas has laid on the couch watching me. I believe that if he could laugh, he would... hysterically. Eventually, he will learn to laugh, and when he does laugh at my attempts to keep up with Lindsay, I will make him feel incredibly guilty for what he has put my body through. Fair is fair. So I awkwardly try to follow along, sometimes shouting at her and calling her names. She goes through 10 1 minute exercises and suggests some cardio in between. I laugh when she says "only 20 more seconds"... she would be disappointed to know that I gave it my all for about 30 seconds and then collapsed on the floor and am just watching the workout, sometimes while eating a chocolate chip cookie. Somehow, even just watching it makes me feel healthier. If only mind over matter would work in this case. My guess is not...

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree...

The kids have spent half of the morning making over-sized paper ornaments for the tree. I am secretly hoping they will fall off and get swept up with the needles at some point, but it is keeping them busy so I won't complain (at least not out loud). That may be one of the toughest parts about being a parent... it has made me into a perpetual liar... "Oh, honey, that is the most beautiful bird I've seen!" "Mom, it's a fish." "Oh." And then finding some way to sneak it into the trash. I think everything my kids make is "special" but our house is small and there just isn't enough room to store or display their creation. Every now and then one of them will open the trash and say, "Hey! Why is my drawing in the trash?" No clue honey. "Someone" must have "accidentally" thrown it away. So I fish it out only to sneak it back in at a later time. My next house will have to have a studio space for the kids. Our dining room table is perpetually covered with paper, markers, crayons, etc. I clean it up about ten times a day, and ten times a day it gets recovered with stuff. There is no keeping up with these kids. A studio space would be nice. And a bigger living room for a big Christmas tree. And a gate around the tree so no one walks into it. And an automatic vacuum cleaner in the gate to pick up the needles since we won't be able to water it because of the gate. At the end of it, we'll end up with a Charlie Brown type tree that will require no work and no gate. Perfect.

'Tis the season...

As Ella says, "Chrismis time is hear". Ella and I ventured out to Home Depot to find the first ever, real Nichols Christmas Tree. I am not sure I knew what I was getting into. Dave and I had decided on a tree that was between 6-8' but closer to 8'. Ella and I browsed through the various types and decided on one. They ran it through the net and the man asked if I needed help taking it out to my car. Being the strong woman I think I am, I declined his offer and said I could handle it. Why I said that I am not sure. I couldn't even carry it over to the checkout place on my own, let alone drag it half way across the parking lot to my car! Someone must have witnessed me attempting to put it in the van, and after they recovered from laughing hysterically, they offered to help. In went the tree and we were set to go. Our friends from across the street were there as well, and having trouble fitting the tree into their mini mini-van. So I offered to take their tree home. Between the Home Depot man, our neighbor, and me, we managed to shove another 8' tree into our van... and then realized there was no room for Ella in the back. Priorities, priorities... Ella would have to hitch a ride home with someone else. My car was inundated with the smell of pine. Could be worse. Could be a poopy diaper? Actually, one summer the car reeked of something... after much searching, we located a sippy cup burried under a chair, filled with curdled chocolate milk. Thanks, Hanna. In addition to the smell of pine, it would seem that at least half of the needles loosened and had turned my grey floor carpet into a prickly green turf instead. The car seats were all wedged into the front seat and there was absolutely no visibility out of the side or back. Hmmm, should be interesting.

Made it home and after merely getting the tree into the stand, I am already regretting our decision to get a real tree. We'd been fine with our pre-lit Target clearance tree for years, until last summer, a large rodent took up residence in the box and decided to feast on a delicacy of wires and branches. Not to mention the poop that resulted from it. The tree went out to the dumpster this year. Pine needles are all over the floor. I sweep at least five times before realizing this will be my routine for the next month. Every time someone hangs an ornament, more needles fall. The tree is enormous for our tiny living room. Every time someone walks by, they inevitably brush by the tree, and more needles fall off. Watering it is pain, and the natural asymmetry of the tree bothers my perfectionist side. I was once told that beautiful people, the models, have perfectly symmetrical faces. Since mine is not, I will learn to bond with the tree over our imperfections. 

Diminishing returns... fact or fiction?

At this moment, I believe Dave just might be an angel. He took the girls out so I could have 45 minutes of peace and quiet. It's funny how being left alone with a newborn is considered peace and quiet. I guess its all relative. Silas will make these squirrel type noises and if feed or rocked before it escalates into cat shrieks, he is normally quiet. The girls, on the other hand, are going on day #3 of being at home and even though they've haven't been couped up (necessarily), they are definitely showing signs of cabin fever, especially Hanna. So, off they went to Dunkin' Donuts and they'll return with a large box of mini-saturated fat balls for me, and ring-shaped saturated fats for the rest. Yum. Of course I will completely overeat, more so than I already have been, and will feel completely disgusted with myself by the end of the day. Yet, knowing this, I'll still consume them as if the point of diminishing returns doesn't exist. There was a movie that came out years ago called "Seven"- I don't remember too much about it other than it followed seven people who died of one of the seven deadly sins... gluttony hit the closest to home for me (I guess compared to all the others, that one seems the least sinful, again, its all relative). There was a large man sitting in his kitchen eating and he was so large that he couldn't fit through the door frame. I've seen stories of people like this on TLC. They must have started somewhere and at some point decided it didn't matter anymore- if they were going to be big, they may as well just go with it. Of course, I guess genetics and medical conditions play into it for some, but there are also stories of people who have lost over 200 lbs by changing their diet and lifestyle. That seems to be the key, and yet, with much less than that to lose, I can't change my diet or lifestyle. Again, I will play the "nursing card". Nursing moms need those extra calories (though I am sure they shouldn't ALL come from Munchkins...) and carrying a growth around all day on you has to count as aerobic exercise. Holding the growth while nursing should count as toning. Therefore, I feel like I get more exercise that I did before having a baby. Excellent. Time to consume some of those extra calories.

Black Friday

OK, I'll admit it. I played the "nursing" card this morning. I browsed through the Black Friday ads and decided that most stores opened way to early for my sleep-deprived self to get out of bed at 5 am. Sooooo, I sent Dave out at 5 am to Black Friday shop for me. I painted a miserable picture: I leave at 4:45 am and the baby screams till 6:30 when I get back because he may have hit a growth spurt and be hungry all the time. Since I haven't pumped anything to store for such emergency outings, there is no back-up and he'd have to listen to Silas scream for an hour and forty-five minutes. Not exactly a fun way to spend the morning. On the other hand, some places were offering breakfast to early comers! So, not only would he be out ALONE without any kids, but he'd get breakfast and coffee as well. Everyone wins (especially me, I get to stay in my warm toasty bed)! And man, was it cold this morning. I did feel guilty watching him bundle up in his sweater and coat, but managed to return promptly to sleep once he left. One Thanksgiving, my mom, my sister, and I, decided to see what the Black Friday hype was all about. We woke up at 4:15, drove to Kohl's and witnessed a bunch of crazy people buying a bunch of things that weren't really good deals because Kohl's inflates prices to begin with (does anyone pay full price there? Ever?) and that they most likely didn't need in the first place, but just bought because it was a deal. OK, so that was us, but it really was anti-climactic. And to add to it, we were exhausted for the rest of the day. So, my plan for this year was better. I've begun to formulate a plan to convince Dave into making his Black Friday run an annual tradition. Sadly, the place I sent him to, at 5 am, had no Black Friday rush whatsoever. The place was empty and really, there was no reason he couldn't have gone say at... 10 pm because really, everyone who is into Black Friday shopping was out getting better Black Friday deals somewhere else. Oh well. I am only human. And I do make mistakes. But hey, at least he got to spend the rest of the day (and getting up at 5 am, it was a llllooooonnnggggg day!) with us:).

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The sound of silence... well, almost.

Silas had a great night last night- went down at 8 pm and woke up a little after 2 am. Of course, my body was ready for him to up way before then but I slept through most of the discomfort. I am oblivious to almost everything once my head hits the pillow... everything except the sounds on the baby monitor. Those for some reason can jolt me out of the deepest slumber. Almost like nails on a chalkboard... is it bad that I am comparing my baby's cry for food or comfort to nails on a chalkboard? Probably. But I still think it. Yesterday he was difficult to please, even when being held, which is rare (yet somehow, I managed to get this cute picture of him smiling... adorable!). He cried for most of my time at Sam's and I could feel people judging me- "Why doesn't that lady do more to comfort her crying infant?" "Why is she ignoring her son's cry?" If only they knew. I bet they wouldn't last half as long as I did. How about you come hang out at my place for a bit and judge me then?!? I pretty much ignored most of their glares and ended up with some comfy bedroom slippers- which were somewhat difficult to try on with the Bjorn strapped on, but I managed and emerged with the reward. At least my feet are toasty. It's rainy and cold here today. Ella and Hanna are home from school today... actually for the next three days. Being a teacher I always enjoyed the time off, but now that I am home for a bit, I wish schools kept kids on more days. Selfish, I know. But Silas and I have gotten into somewhat of a routine, and having them home throws a kink in it. Not to mention over-stimulation for the poor boy. I really just want the best for him. They've actually done well so far and are getting along. Just need to make it past lunch, then it will be "quiet rest" time for all. Somehow, Silas always misses that memo and remains awake. Today will be different. I will discuss the matter with him and convince him that it really is in all of our best interest that he rests along with the others. If need be, I will consider a bribe to make him understand the importance of rest. His body needs it, and as a caring, responsible mother, it is my job to make sure he gets it. Here's hoping to a quiet afternoon!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Over a month later...

I am tempted to post pictures of my post baby body, for two reasons mainly. 1. So all the people who say, "Wow, you have your pre-baby body back," will know how wrong they are, and 2. Because I want to be like one of those people who chronicle their weight-loss on the internet and actually achieve results that they can be proud to show off to the world. However, both of these reasons are not nearly enough to subject my readers (which at this time, amount to 0,  since I haven't shared the site with anyone... my thought... does anyone care??) to pictures of me sporting my post-baby flab. I have the best of intentions. I really do. I wake up each morning and tell myself,"Today I will eat better, and get some exercise in." Then the day hits and before I know it, the day is over. Where the time goes, I have no idea. It seems like my days are sucked up breastfeeding and changing diapers. And that is when the other two kids aren't around. Then its breastfeeding, changing diapers, and fulfilling the many requests of the kids... how much tape and paper can one child need? But then again, it keeps them quiet and occupied while I breastfeed and change diapers (did I mention that I do that a lot?) so I will start purchasing office supplies at Sam's Club. Silas is now up... you guessed it, time for a new diaper and a feed... welcome to my life!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Delivery...

Friday night, my mom asks if I am nervous/ scared about the induction. I tell her that I was really hoping to experience labor (a comment I later regretted!) and be able to do it sans the pitocin this time around. That night my dad prayed for a natural birth vs. having to be induced.

Saturday I woke up and took care of the kids- made bacon and eggs, etc. I started having contractions around 7:30 am, but nothing serious. Bacon is priority. At this point, contractions were 7-8 minutes apart but not bad. I had time. My dad wanted to go to the mall. Not a problem. I had time. So, off we went to the mall (I drove... all the while timing my contractions on my iPhone). We went to the Apple Store and while chatting with the salesman about a computer, the contractions started picking up a little and were now 5 minutes apart. I made a mental note to call my doctor sometime in the near future. I had time. At some point, the salesman told me my stopwatch was making him nervous. I assured him that I was fine, and if anything, there were enough computers that he could google "how to deliver a baby" and take care of it. He didn't seem comforted by that. Left the store- went to Eddie Bauer (it was too tough to walk by the store and not walk in- it has a vacuum effect on me), tried on some things, then got home around 11:15. I called my doctor and she told me to come in when I couldn't take it any longer. The contractions were getting stronger- I could take it, but didn't want my parents or kids to see me writhe in pain so I essentially kicked them out and sent them to Chesterfield. I decided to take shower and then reconsidered. Packed some last minute things and told Dave that we should probably head to the hospital soon. Standing by the steps around noon, waiting for Dave to finish packing a lunch for himself, my water broke. Now I was in for the fun part. And I was out of time. Dave drove like a mad man (after making sure his lunch was complete with a drink) to the hospital and I am nervously awaiting all the tickets that will come in the mail from the cameras. I was yelling apologies to people in between contractions. If we have more kids, I shall leave a banner in the car that says, "Pardon my driving. My wife is having a baby NOW!"

Checked into the hospital at 12:20. The lady at the Evaluation Unit smiles at me as I am hunched over in agony and says,"What brings you in today?" What?? Are you kidding me? I was somewhat rude to her. After inquiring about my height, weight, number of previous births, and a number of other questions I have no idea how I answered, she hands me a cup and asks for a urine sample. Somehow the fact that my water has broken, my contractions are so intense that I am sobbing from the pain, and that I am hemorrhaging seems to mean little to anyone there. Yes, I know they have seen it all, but seriously?? I sit on the toilet and just sob realizing that no one understands that this baby is coming now and pray that he doesn't end up in the toilet. At least there is a "pull for help" cord, which I use. The nurse seems annoyed when I tell her I can't pee and my baby is coming now.

I get on a table and am checked. 6 cm. "I want the drugs" I insist. And I want them NOW! I hear her get on the phone and tell someone, "Whenever you get the chance, can you run some stedol up here?" Lady, you misunderstood. It isn't "whenever you get a chance", it is ASAP! What is wrong with everyone? I ask again for the epidural and the contractions are so bad at this point, I can feel the pressure just about everywhere. My doctor checks a few minutes later, and... 9 cm. I immediate start to panic realizing at this point that there will be no relief for my pain, and that this baby is coming, without any meds. Crap. My doctor apologizes for not having me come in sooner, and for not being able to help with the pain. Easy for her to say. She isn't the one about to push a baby out.

I am wheeled quickly into the L&D unit and again, the same lady is now asking more ridiculous questions. I don't even know what she was asking, and frankly didn't care. There was too much going on. Once things are set up, I am checked again and told that he is right there and that I can push on the next contraction. Oh boy. Fun times. I tell myself that no matter what, he is coming, so I may as well give it all I've got, and get this kid out. Two pushes and Silas Alexander entered the world.

The Due Date...

Well the 30th came and went, and my doctor talked about inducing. The date was set for October 4. With Ella, my water broke and I was started on pitocin. With Hanna, I was induced, and again, got the pitocin. I was disappointed that I wouldn't (yet again) know what labor was like. I didn't want to be hooked up to an IV and confined to bed. From the first pregnancy, I had the image of bouncing (or rocking I suppose) on a birthing ball, taking a shower, walking around, etc... and that never happened. Desperate times called for desperate measures at this point!

The Beginning...

Silas' due date was September 30. Actually, it was the 28th but at some point I started telling people "the end of September" knowing that babies never really come on their due date. My first, Ella, was 10 days early, my second, Hanna was a week late and who knows when she would have come if we hadn't gone in and forced her out! Anyhow, doesn't get more "end of the month" than the 30th... count 40 weeks back, and well, it ends up being right around New Year's... oddly enough, two of my close friends were due at the same time as us... guess we all celebrated the same way:).