Monday, June 24, 2013

Won't you be my neighbor

Our poor, sweet neighbors and the one sided conversations that they are subjected to at 6:00 am on a Sunday. 

"No feet on the dogs, Caches."

"Caches, please don't lay on top of Abner."

"Gentle with doggies eyes."

"Lilly doesn't like fingers in her nose."

"We aren't going to play with your bouncy balls in the car right now." Cue meltdown

"Can mama please just have a sip of coffee, then she will help you pick up poop."

"Yes, poo poo!  Let's pick it up! We don't touch poo poo.  Cache, that's a no touch!  Hey, please don't touch poo poo.  Seriously!? I'm getting the scooper right now! NO! Not with your feet either!  CACHE! Come on!"

Cat shows up.  "Please don't chase the kitty.  Just let her go where she wants.   She doesn't like her tail pulled."

"Yes, a snail.  Gentle touch, just with your little finger."

"Can you please pull your pants back up."

"We potty inside, doggies potty outside."

Dumps dog water bowl on himself.  Screaming, or melting, depends on who you ask.  "Come over here and I will help you take your shirt off.  Okay, pants too."

"It's kind of cold to be naked, dude.  Let's go get some clothes."  Not happening

"You want popcorn at 6:30am?"

"HEY!! Cory and Kate are trying to sleep!  Quit banging on the fence!"

Sorry guys, just trying to prepare you for children some day :)

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Toddler problems

At breakfast...

"Are you all done with your peach, Cache?"


I walk over to the trash can and drop in the remaining pieces from his plate into the bin.


"What's wrong?"

Now running to the bin with such enthusiasm that you'd think I'd thrown away his very soul.

"Oh, you weren't all done with your peach?"

"NO!" As he is opening up the trash trying to dig out the juicy pieces mixed with coffee grounds and god knows what else.

"Cache,  I will get you a new peach.  Once something is in the trash, it stays in the trash."  A statement I make at least 8 times a day.

"I need dat, I neeeed dat!"  And he cries as he continues to try to dig the peach out.

"We don't eat from the trash can (also said multiple times a day).  Mama will get you a new peach."

"NO!  I need dat, I need dat!"  With the saddest cry EVER!

"Okay baby, you go sit at the table and mama will get your peach out of the trash for you.  Go sit, now close your eyes."  I grab a new peach and cut that thing open in one second flat, carving out two new pieces.  "Keep closing your eyes, I almost got it."  He sits whimpering, "pech, pech"

Feeling rather victorious I say, "Here you go.  Mama got your peach out and cleaned it off for you." 

"I no want dat."  And walks away to play with some blocks. 

Of course you don't...

"No eat out tash, mama."

...and then I changed my name and ran away

Friday, June 14, 2013

A monster inside

He quickly stopped crying and looked up at me, eyes full of tears that had not yet fallen on his perfect pink cheeks; he was terrified.  This was not the mama he knew to be gentle and kind.  Always there for him when he was hurt or sad, no, he didn't know this mama very well, this mama was filled with rage.  He continued to search my face for the loving mama with whom he is familiar, and when he couldn't find her, tears began to stream down both our cheeks.

You won't find a chapter in any of your parenting books about this, you won't hear it discussed by mothers at the park on a sunny day while children giggle and play, you probably won't even talk about it to those closest to you, though you likely have experienced it a time or two.  It is a dirty secret of parenting, it is anger, it is real, it is raw, and it is scary!

 Anger:  An emotion related to one's psychological interpretation of having been offended, wronged, or denied and a tendency to react through retaliation

I never knew I had so much anger inside, a temper, until I had a child.  I remember hearing about shaken baby syndrome and thinking, "Why would you shake a baby!?  A baby! Who would do such a thing!?"  And then one night Caches wouldn't stop crying. Hour upon sleepless, screaming hour past.  This was nothing new, no, I was accustomed to the hours of screaming and the sleepless nights, but for some reason, that night I reached a limit that I was not yet aware I had and I became so enraged that I had to put my tiny baby down and walk away.  Only I didn't want to walk away, I wanted to shake my baby, like really shake him,to  hurt him.

Then there was the time in the car, I can still remember that day clearly though it was over a year and a half ago.  Cache was in complete meltdown mode, choking on his tears and gasping for air through the screams.  I had only been driving for about three minutes and I was only about two minutes from home.  He always cried in the car, always.  Anyone who has ever ridden in a car with a screaming child knows the feeling.  Trapped, anxious, helpless.  I spoke calmly first, but then something inside me snapped and in an instant my sadness and anxiety turned to anger.  I pulled into a bank parking lot, my fists pounding the steering wheel as I yelled so hard that my throat hurt, "WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME!?  WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU!" 

Or the time when after hours of rocking and nursing and singing, sleep was still far from sight.  I knew he was tired, I was exhausted, and all it took was him pushing me away, his tiny hand in my face for me to lose it.  I firmly put him on the ground, "I'M DONE! I DON'T KNOW WHAT YOU WANT FROM ME!" I yelled, as I walked out slamming the door behind myself.  I stood at that slammed door, fell to my knees and began to sob. 

Sure parenting is difficult.  There is the whining, the demands, the dumping of an entire bag of rice on the floor, the fingerprints on freshly cleaned cabinets, the throwing of freshly folded laundry onto the floor, the crying, the sleep deprivation, and did I mention the whining?  It is all par for the course, we all experience it, but for me, when it all becomes too much I yell.  But why?  Why do I yell?  I so often default to wondering what is wrong with him.  Why is he so fussy, why can't he just calm down, what's the big deal, why won't you just sleep!?  But in reality, it has nothing to do with him, he isn't the problem, it is what is wrong with ME!

 Anger: An emotion related to one's psychological interpretation of having been offended, wronged, or denied and a tendency to react through retaliation. 

I am the grown up here.  I am supposed to be the safe place to land, the one to defuse stressful situations, the one who has her shit together; I'm the mama for god freakin' sake!!  I am the one who is interpenetrating the wrong doing, it is my own past experiences that are triggering my present anger.  My child isn't doing anything wrong, though it is far easier to point the finger of blame than to own it for yourself. 
I think the trigger for me is not being able to fix a problem that I should or potential could fix, if only he'd let me.  We mothers so badly want to save the day, to solve the problems, to soothe the sadness, to find the missing marble, to make it all better!  We are the mom, we are supposed to fix everything! Only sometimes we can't, it is not our problem to fix, and that is hard.  For me it's really hard.

And so I am working on the snap.  I am breathing deeper, I am taking more calm moments and small time outs when I feel the anger creeping up inside.  I will not let the anger win, no, I will not be ruled by my tongue which can sometimes be sharp.  I will not be controlled by my out of control self.  I will stop the cycle of anger that has thoughtlessly been passed on.  This is not a battle of me against my child, this is a battle of me against myself.  It is my own anger, I own it and I will tame it. 

With every passing day my son is becoming more keenly aware of how I handle life's stresses.  He is watching, he is listening, he is taking a mental note.  Even when I think he doesn't notice, even when I bite my tongue, he feels my anger.  He knows that I have a breaking point, he knows the darker side, and he deserves better.  He is worth the extra effort to say, I'm sorry.  He is worth the extra energy it takes to breath deeply and say no, I will not be angry.  He deserves the very best of me, and you know what, so do I. 

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Video killed the radio star

Caches does not watch any television, nor does he play with any type of electronic device.  Of course he has seen the television on and he has looked at pictures on my phone many times, but no, he has never sat down and watched television, and he won't be doing so for a very long time.

At first I thought babies and toddlers not watching any television was fairly common, but apparently the cheese stands alone.  And the gasps, oh the gasps I have encountered when I tell people that he isn't allowed to watch television.  They almost out number the gasps I hear when I tell people that he STILL isn't sleeping through the night, almost.  Oh the horror!  This poor kid really is doomed isn't he.

Sarcasm aside, I really am shocked at the amount of television and other media that very young children are exposed to.  And I'm sorry if this offends you, no disclaimer this time, I just don't understand why kids are watching so much television!  Okay, that's a lie, I have a good idea why, I just don't agree with it.

I have been told that it is educational.  My kid learned A B C from watching X Y Z.  Sorry but it was proven years ago that there is no such thing as "educational" television for children under the age of two.  Their young brains simply can not retain or comprehend what is going on. What is likely happening is that you are pointing out colors, numbers, the alphabet, etc. to your child, like all parents do, and amazingly enough, YOU are teaching them these things!  There is absolutely nothing, not one single thing television can teach a young child that you cannot.

I have been told that he will just love it, it is so relaxing for my son or daughter, they just zone out.  It seems that way because when children watch television they are so overstimulated by what is going on that they go into a kind of hypnotic state where they look relaxed but in reality their brains are overwhelmed with stimulation.  So maybe your child seems intrigued by the show and what is being discussed, but in reality they are likely just in a television induced trance.  Of course if that is what you are going for then great, mission accomplished.

This is one I get a lot.  But what happens when he goes to school and all the other kids know who Thomas and Dora and Spongebob are, and he doesn't.  Well, I'm not exactly sure how I will handle this situation if and when it arises.  He might get made fun of, he might tell me I suck, or he might not care at all, but it certainly doesn't worry me enough to allow him to watch television just so he knows who the characters are. 

And while I'm no a roll, I also have a really hard time with the amount of advertising and brain washing, yes I said brain washing, that is associated with television watching.  Young children are extremely influenced by what they see in the advertisements on television, heck even older children and adults are influenced by commercials.  Don't agree?  Explain to me then why it costs MILLIONS of dollars to advertise a product for just seconds of commercial time during the Super Bowl.  Probably because advertising on television doesn't work, right?

Okay, the television your child watches doesn't have commercials, great.  But they still make toys, party supplies, books, and clothing.  And slap their sweet little character faces on stickers, cups, bedding, and food like products full of garbage that are marketed directly to your child.  I could go on and on about this topic, but I will spare you.  If you are actually interested in the whole consumer kids movement there are plenty of resources you can check out for yourself.  I promise you will be disturbed.

On to the next question I get.  How do you get anything done?  I cook, clean, crochet, sleep, read, etc. when my kids watch a show.  I do all of those things too, I just have help, and I use the term loosely.  Okay, I don't crochet or read, and I definitely don't sleep, but there is a minimal amount of cooking and cleaning each day.  This one I actually really do understand.  Putting on a show so you can get a few things done uninterrupted does make sense, I am just personally not comfortable with it.  I see it as a gateway drug.  One day Caches is watching Sesame Street so I can cook dinner and the next he asks to watch for just a few minutes while I shower and before you know it he is asking all the time and it turns into a constant negotiation.  I'd rather have zero.  There is no negotiation with zero.

Now before you send out the angry mob to my house, or call me a crazy hippie who is totally out of touch with reality, let me clear something up.  Caches will watch television some day, of course he will, I am not totally insane!  I understand the desire to fit in with peers, the entertainment value, the social connection that television and movies provide AND the blissful silence that can occur when a kid is totally enamored with a show. I get it, I'm okay with it.  I also know that television isn't going anywhere and that it will be a constant part of our lives with children, fine.  But for now there are about a million other things I'd rather my not even two year old be doing with his time.  Including trying to poke Abner's butthole, trying to catch flies and staring at a pill bug for 45 minutes. 

*Okay I lied about there being no disclaimer.  As always, PLEASE don't feel like I am judging you if your kid watches television,  I'm honestly not.  I know we all have different ways of doing things and I am perfectly and lovingly accepting of that. 

Saturday, June 8, 2013

A note of thanks

Just wanted to post a quick thank you to everyone who reached out to me upon hearing of my miscarriage.  I can't tell you how much the personal stories, the emails, the flowers, the chocolates, and the support meant, and will forever mean to me!  

This was an emotional journey like none I had ever experienced before, surprisingly emotional in fact, but I am at peace.  I know there is nothing that I or anybody else could have done to change the outcome, I truly believe our bodies know what they are doing.  I trust my body now more than ever. 

Just in case you are curious, and I know you are.  I have been doing weekly blood draws for 13 weeks now to follow my HCG levels down to zero and quite frankly, me and my shot up veins are over it.  Since reaching a level of 7 my numbers have dropped only one point per week, ONE!  So when I went in last week I was confident that it would be my last. 

Cue the lab calling to tell me that they lost my blood.  You wha!? How do you lose someones blood!?  Like lost it, lost it?  Or misplaced it?  Mislabeled it?  I can't imagine a tube of my blood just floating around with someones lost sunglasses and car keys, but perhaps it is.

So in I went one more time with a smile on my face, but so help me if I have to go one more time it will most certainly NOT be with a smile!