< Things I Can't Say: February 2009

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Monday, February 23, 2009

Precious Sleep

What I wouldn't give for a full night's sleep these days.

Just when Cub was finally sleeping through the night, he hit the milestone of being able to pull himself up in his crib, though not the milestone of being able to get down by himself. Saturday night, no exaggeration, I must have gone into his room to get him down at least 20 times. It wouldn't be so bad if it were at the beginning of the night and then he eventually fell asleep and slept all night. No, he waited until I was sleeping and kept doing it all night long. I usually let my kids cry it out when they woke up as babies, but I can't do that if Cub is genuinely stuck.

Thankfully, he didn't get stuck last night. Instead, he kept waking up with what I believe is teething pain.

Around 4 am, Monkey woke up, yelling that he needed to go potty. Why he couldn't just get up and go is beyond me. He doesn't require my assistance during the day. But, I guess he wanted company at that hour.

Bear snuck into my spot in bed around 6 am, when I was in Cub's room, trying to get him back to sleep.

The Hubs, well, he sleeps through all of this, not even a pause in his snoring.

Gone are the days when I could hope for all three boys to take a nap at the same time, since Monkey will only nap if we do something extremely strenuous in the morning, like walk around the zoo three times(no, once is not enough to wear him out, despite the fact that it's a big zoo that we often go to).

I feel guilty that I'm fantasizing about going to sleep tonight already and it's just 8 am.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Comparing Children

Yes, I know, this is something that we are not supposed to do. But, I think that if we were all honest with ourselves, we all do it to some extent.

Where I'm the most guilty in this is comparing my oldest two. They are just shy of 17 months apart, so the things that the oldest was doing are still fresh in my mind.

When it was my first I was wondering about, I checked with books to see what was considered "normal." When he would roll over, sit up, crawl, walk, talk, etc. But, with my second, I rarely found the time to consult those books(and let's not talk about what it's been like with my third...but that's not my point today), so I just thought about when the oldest did those things.

It really wasn't a big issue at first. But, where I struggle is right now, with language acquisition. When my oldest was the age my middle son is now, he could speak like a, well, like a grown-up. In fact, he could hold actual conversations, explaining his thought process and emotions by the time he was 2. It just seemed normal to me to have a tiny little person who was able to do that, though I do remember people commenting on how amazing it was. But, since he was my first, it just seemed normal.

So, now my poor middle child is stuck being compared to that standard of "normal." Totally not fair. He's been subjected to two different speech screenings, since we were worried about a delay. I've consulted the pediatrician about it and read up on this. The pediatrician had to firmly tell me "You are comparing him to your oldest son and your oldest son is NOT normal. It's not fair to make that comparison." The speech therapists said that he's right on track, maybe even just slightly ahead. The research of done says the same thing: surprisingly, very little language is actually considered the norm for a child who is a few months shy of turning 3, and Bear is definitely ahead of that.

But, it still is in the back of mind the difference between the two. And it does worry me.

Bear is miles ahead of Monkey is physical abilities, though. You should see him throw and catch, trying to play with Monkey, who still doesn't get that you have to move your hands to catch or that you need to aim your throws. See, at least my awful habit of comparing runs both ways.

Ugh, I wish I could stop comparing my boys, but I just don't know how. To me, they are live examples of what "normal kids" look like, so much more real to me than what I read in books or even hear from experts.

Thursday, February 19, 2009


That would be "mind your own bidniz."

Monkey started karate recently. There's a small waiting area right outside of the classroom, with a big glass window for the parents to watch the kids. We made it to an early class and there were only two other kids in his class.

At one point, a few minutes before the class ended, I turned to give Bear a snack and when I turned back, I didn't see Monkey anywhere in the class. But, I did see one of the instructors gesturing a "come here" towards the corner, so I figured that was where he was. Not sure if he had a time out or what was going on.

Anyway, a parent whose child is in the class following Monkey's had just shown up with her child and asked her child, "Have you ever had to have a time out in class?" He told her no and she goes on to remark, "I've never seen anyone have to have a time out during class. That little boy must have done something really bad."

Okay, HELLO?????? Tiny little waiting room, only three other parents besides her in it, obviously the child she was talking about had a parent sitting right there where they could hear. How rude.

Btw, I asked the instructor why Monkey was in time out. Turns out, he wasn't. He was tired from doing all the jumps and told the instructor that he "needed a little rest over here."

Too bad the rude and presumptious parent didn't overhear that.

Multi-kid Shopping Carts

I try to go grocery shopping or any other kind of shopping when I can go alone or at least when one or two kids are somewhere else.

But, occasionally, I have to take all three.

If it's grocery shopping and I have all three, we go to the store that has a free child watch in it, where I can leave my oldest while I shop. Then, I try my best to grab one of those "car" carts that is basically a normal shopping cart with a little ride-in car on the front. Monkey is in childwatch, Bear rides in the car, and Cub is in the basket. Not too awful. And only three more months until I can put both the older kids in childwatch!

Even though I absolutely heart Super Walmart, I rarely go there with all the kids, since the one near me has TWO carts that can handle multiple children. So, when we do go there, Monkey walks, Bear sits in the basket, and Cub is either in the sling or in his infant seat in the big part of the car, taking up the space I need for groceries.

But, the other night, I had to stop in at Walmart with all three kids, just to pick up my contacts. It was getting dangerously close to bedtime and I wanted to do this as quickly as possible. As I was pulling into the parking lot, I noticed one of the multi-kid carts in one of the cart returns. So, I parked next to it and grabbed it to put the kiddos in.

Cub stayed in his infant seat in the big part of the cart- no basket seat on this kind of cart. The big boys went on the back part, which is this huge, obnoxious contraption where the boys are not only crammed in there, but they sit FACING each other. Whose idea was THAT?

Trying to push this thing, I was extremely grateful that I did not have to add anything heavy to the cart. Between the weight of my three boys, the infant seat, and the cart itself, it was easily 100 pounds, if not more.

Thank goodness that when we had to cross the parking lot into the store, cars stopped to let us pass. I don't think I could have gotten that thing moving again if I'd had to stop.

Though, having the boys in the cart was definitely easier than allowing kids who are tired to run wild through Walmart.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


So, in my last post, I was talking about how my body needs a break from the nonstop pregnancy/breastfeeding cycle. Yet, ironically, my period was due that day and didn't show.

And, seriously y'all, I'm like clockwork. Count 28 days from my last period and BAM that's when it's coming. Kind of nice since I can be all prepared- 28 days and pantyliner in place, no ruined undies 'round here.

But, I justified it not showing on Monday by thinking that well, I think my period started late at night the last time that I got it, so maybe I should really be expecting it on Tuesday.

Tuesday comes, but no period.

Starting to freak out. Yes, I know it's just a day...but I did mention that I'm like clockwork, right? I had fully expected that I would wake up Tuesday morning needing to make a dash to the bathroom. Nope.

Didn't even come Tuesday night, when I headed out for a kid-free night with the girls: 99 cent margarita specials and then a movie. Yes, I did in fact drink four margaritas, being in complete denial that my period could be late for any reason other than that Mother Nature decided to screw with me this month. You know you always get your period when you are out and about, trying to have a good time. To further tempt fate, I didn't even come prepared, no tampon to be found in my purse.

Still thinking that this morning would be the time, I slept fine last night.

But, when the baby woke up for a feeding at 6am and I still didn't have my period, I couldn't get back to sleep.

I laid in bed thinking about all my selfish reasons that I wanted a break from another pregnancy. I thought about all the practical reasons why we really shouldn't have a baby: money, space, needing new baby stuff(which would include a new vehicle), not feeling like I have enough time or energy for the kids I already have some days!

Then panic really set in: OMG, what if I'm pregnant and it's twins this time????

This is not as crazy as it may sound. My grandmothers on both sides of my family were twins and fraternal at that, which is the hereditary kind. (Um, no not each other's fraternal twins, that would be a twisted family tree...but I just wanted to clarify because you'd be amazed at how many people have asked me that question.) Anyway, we've always said that it will probably happen whenever we say that we are pregnant with our last child- that that will be when I'm pregnant with twins.

I was in a mild panic, mixed with a heavy dose of denial.

All sorts of crazy thoughts were going through my head. At one point, I think I even prayed a promise to God that I would never again miss the experience of having a little girl, that I would fully enjoy having all boys and never make a negative comment about not getting to have a little girl, if I could just get my period. I'm sure that one amused the Big Guy.

Ahhhhhh! Breathing a sigh of relief here, I did get my period this morning. I might even have to celebrate cramps this month, I feel so grateful.

Monday, February 16, 2009

I want my body back

No, this isn't a post about how I wish that my body looked like it did before I had kids(though, hey, I'd take it back!), it's something else entirely: it's my reason for not wanting to have another child soon.

In March this year, it will mark FIVE STRAIGHT YEARS of my body serving the purpose of either growing a child or nursing a child or both, with no break.

You can read the details here or just trust me that it's been 5 years and spare yourself the details by skipping down to after the dates.

March 2004-December 2004: pregnant with Monkey- I should have realized just how easy it would be when the only baby I was taking care of was one growing inside me

December 2004-July 2005: nursing Monkey, who shunned bottles, even bottles filled with painstakingly-pumped mommy milk.

August 2005-May 2006: still nursing Monkey and was pregnant with Bear. I really wanted to get Monkey to the year mark of nursing, never really dreamed that he would go well beyond this.

May 2006-June 2007: nursing both Monkey and Bear(now is not the time that I'll go into what I think about extended breastfeeding or the way that we handled it, but just a real quick aside: no I was not breastfeeding a two and a half year old in public.)

July 2007-September 2007: just nursing Bear

September/October 2007-December 2007: still nursing Bear, but now pregnant with Cub. I put September/October because I truly wasn't paying attention and didn't even realize until the middle of November that I was pregnant again. Talk about Mommy Brain.

mid-December 2007-May 2008- pregnant with Cub- wahoo, my body was just responsible for growing a baby! Well, and chasing around two toddlers, but that's beside my point today.

May 2008-present: nursing Cub

The plan is to nurse Cub until he's at least a year old. I allowed my other two children to self-wean and I am not sure what I'll do with Cub. I would feel guilty stopping him earlier just because Mommy wants a break from sharing her body with someone else, but, on the other hand, it will be over 5 years of sharing by then, so we'll see how I feel.

When people ask me if we will have another, my first answer to is to say, "No, not any time soon." And it's not because of how hard it is to have three little ones(though it is hard) or how expensive kids are(even though they are) or any other reason than this one: I want my body back to myself. I want to be able to go on a juice fast or a diet of salad and protein shakes or drink a coffee or a soda or 5 margaritas without having think about what the effect would be on a growing baby or on my breast milk. I want to get a full night's sleep, not disturbed by an uncomfortably large pregnant belly or an overactive bladder or a baby who needs to be fed. I've been a good girl and watched what I ate, drank, and everything that I did so that I could grow and feed healthy babies.

But, it's been five years and I'm tired.

P.S. Yes, I realize how whiny and unappreciative of the miracle of pregnancy/breastfeeding that I sound, but I'm feeling whiny today, so I'm going with it.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

An easy trick

I'm linking up an old post for Try and Tell Tuesday.

When it's cold and nasty outside and you get truly desperate to get out of your house with your children, you might get tempted to head to a fast food joint with an indoor play area for lunch.

I have to be truly desperate to do this, but it happens occasionally.

Let's not even talk about the nightmare that the play area can be, let's talk about the logistics of getting your food.

When I'm there with no reinforcements to help out, I have one four year old who, though he's pretty good at staying by my side when I tell him to, still doesn't have much patience or tolerance for standing in a long line and might take off for the play area or a table that looks like a good spot to sit or even the potty. I also have an almost 3 year old who definitely will take off for whatever happens to catch his eye...probably some kid's juice box that is sitting on a table across the room or possibly right out the door into the parking lot because he spotted a shiny penny out there. Then there's the baby, usually in his infant carrier. He's not really much of a problem since he can't get out...but he can start to fuss and annoy everyone around us, plus it's hard to have to hold that carrier. So, basically, I have the carrier in one hand and a death grip on my almost 3 year old, standing in a long line, waiting for "fast" food. Heaven forbid if I need to do something like reach into my pocket to pull out my debit card. Then, I have to figure out how to herd all of us plus a tray full of food to a table without losing any of the children, dropping our food, or knocking into people.

But, really, it's not that hard. The simple solution is this: order your food from the drive-thru before you enter the restaurant! You can decide what everyone is having while you are still in the car, do all the waiting in the car, and then shove everything that you need into one bag(with the exception of the drink for yourself...the kids should have juice boxes or sealed milk containers so that you can throw them in the bag). That way, you just have to bring a food bag in with you and the kids and can go find a place to sit right away.

I did this this afternoon with my boys. I even got my four year old to carry our food bag for us and my lemonade was wedged in the baby carrier so that I could hold hands with my almost 3 year old across the parking lot(4 year old holding his other hand).

When I settled us all into the table, another mom of three sitting nearby dropped her jaw and said to me, "I never thought of that!"

So, just in case there are others of you out there who never thought of this, there you go. It makes things much, much easier.

Though, if you have any tips on how to get kids to stop acting like zoo-escapees when they are in the play area after they are done eating....yeah...'cause I can't help you there.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Just conversation?

I understand that there are time when my family might seem like somewhat of a spectacle. Three adorable boys, all obviously pretty young. And sometimes we're a little on the loud side.

So, we might draw some comments or questions. A question that I hear over and over again is "Did you want your kids to be so close together?" though sometimes the question is phrased a little more rudely than that.

How do these people want me to respond? To tell them which of my kids is an accident or that we really didn't want so-and-so?

What difference does it make to them? These people who usually don't even know me or my family. And why would I share that with them? What would they think if I gave them some outrageous answer, like that all of our kids are accidents and that they are such a burden.

I was complaining about this one day to a friend of mine who only has one child and her reasoning for these questions is that people see my three and feel like they want to say something, just to make conversation, and they don't know what else to say.

Hrumph. I don't buy it. And I hate answering stupid questions.

For the record, in case you are now curious and wondering if the real answer is something shocking, it's this: Monkey- pulled the goalie and thought we'd just see what happened; Bear- used a fertility calculator to start trying when Monkey was 8 months old, just didn't think that it would work on our first try; and Cub- not really trying, but also not preventing.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

5 minute snippet of our day

I took the boys to Chuck E. Cheese today, aka hell on earth. But, Monkey had not seen his two best buds for a while and that's somewhere that is centrally located for our three families- we all technically live near the same city, but are still all about an hour apart from each other. So, CEC it was. I should add that one of the families only has one child and the other has two, but one who will not leave the mom's side. So, I was the only one with 2 runners and a baby.

I'm not going to go into a full description of our time there, as it would be way too long and probably give me a nervous breakdown if I actually had to think about all of it. But, I'll just give you a little glimpse by describing 5 minutes of our day.

I was holding Cub and talking to the two other moms at our table, while the big kids were off playing. I glanced around and realized that I didn't see Bear, so I got up to make sure I could find him. I didn't see him anywhere, but when I circled back around to our table, one of my friends pointed out that the curtain up on stage was moving...and Bear's head popped out. So, I rushed up there to find him behind the curtain, beating on the mechanical Chuck E., trying to get him to move.

Got him settled back out in the play area, happily playing the whack-a-whatever game. The other two moms got up to check on their kids and I had to nurse a cranky Cub...without my nursing cover, which is almost always with me, but I really sucked at planning this morning. Almost as soon as I got him situated and had myself sufficiently covered as best I could, Bear took off running.

Up on stage, the curtains had opened and Old Chuck was now singing and dancing. Bear climbed up and joined him, dancing his little heart out. I sighed, but thought "Oh well, at least I know where he is." I fed Cub for another minute to get a little more milk in his belly so that he wouldn't scream when I took him off, and then went to go get Bear.

As I was heading back to our table with the little boys, I hear the loudspeaker: "Attention wah-wah-wah, would Monkey's mommy please report to the wah-wah-wah, Monkey's mommy, thank you." Even with the wah-wah-wahs, I could understand that my oldest child had thought himself lost. Apparently, he chose the moment that I was off getting Bear down from the stage to return to our table and found no one there. So, he told another mom nearby that he couldn't find his mommy and she took him to an employee, and there you have it.

All that, in five minutes. I'm blocking the rest of it out and not going back there unless a. I can take only one child with me or b. 4 or 5 years have passed.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Laundry Mountain

Where does all the laundry come from?

Just when I think I might actually have it somewhat under control, there is yet another dirty clothes mountain in my hallway. I know that I have three small children, but it still seems rather excessive.

So, as an experiment, I thought I'd keep track of the dirty laundry today. Oh, and today was just an ordinary day: we were mostly at home, with just a short trip to the grocery store. No messy art projects or going to the park or anything else where you expect your child to get excessively dirty.

It actually started first thing in the morning. I was giving Cub his antibiotic(he ended up getting the same thing as Bear a week after I had Bear into the doctor's office), which he had loved(I highly recommend getting all children's medicine flavored, it's soooo worth the $2.99)...well, he had loved it up until this morning. He sucked down the first teaspoon worth, but when I put the half teaspoon in his mouth, he spit it right back out. Pink goo all over his footie pjs. Had they not gotten dirty, he would have stayed in them all day, as I put them on him right after his bath last night and I like to keep him in his pjs since it's so cold and he's still little enough that it looks cute, instead of like I can't get my kids dressed in the morning.

On to the next mess. I was giving all three boys breakfast and when I turned to give Bear another waffle, Cub grabbed the jar of pears that I had been feeding him and dumped it all over himself. The bib he was wearing would protect from the normal feeding mess, but this went all over his lap. Into the laundry went his bib and his romper. Oh, and my shirt since there wasn't any way to pick him up and change him without getting pears on me.

I avoided another piece of dirty laundry when he found Bear's water bottle that was filled with juice and got it all over himself, as he was in just a diaper, waiting for me to go get him a new outfit. So, into the tub and into a new outfit he went.

While I was taking care of that mess, Monkey and Bear managed to get their pjs messy- pjs that normally would have been folded over the side of the pack and play and worn again tonight; Monkey by dropping his bagel with cream cheese all down himself and Bear by reaching the honey that I thought was too high for him to reach, opening the cap, and trying to squirt some into his mouth. So, along with their pjs went my socks, since I stepped in some of the honey that was on the floor.

The next mess was Bear spilling milk down the front of his shirt at snack time. Again, it got on my shirt. Another shirt for Bear, but I left mine on, since I decided it wasn't too bad and we had already returned home from our trip to Walmart without incident, so no one was going to be seeing me anyway.

When Cub woke up from his nap, his romper was soaked with pee. Into the laundry it went. At this point, it was dinner time and I saved myself another mess by waiting until after dinner to dress him.

At dinner, Monkey spilled Bear's water cup and Bear immediately jumped out of his chair to splash in the puddle, getting his pants completely soaked. Close enough to bedtime, so into pjs he went. I managed to soak my socks cleaning up the puddle.

Then there was just the normal end of day changing into pjs for Monkey.

So, the grand total of laundry for today was: 3 sets of pjs, 1 bib, 2 rompers, 4 shirts, 2 pairs of pants, 4 pairs of socks, and then my clothes when I get ready for bed...if I don't fall asleep in them, anyway. Guess that's not too awful bad. I shudder to think what our laundry list would look like on the days when we get creative with art projects or go to the park.

How they sleep

When it's naptime and only Bear is in the big boys' room, he plays around and pretty much crashes wherever he happens to be. I've seen him curled up in a little ball in front of the closet door, laying half on his bed and half on the floor, and right in front of the door. Today, I checked on him to find that he had pulled out the majority of his and Monkey's clothes from their dresser and then fell asleep on top of them, with the sheet from Monkey's bed on his head. See his bed in the background? Perfectly fine, nothing wrong with it!

On the other hand, I thought this next pic was so sweet. After listening to them basically trying to do the other severe bodily harm for an hour or so, it got really quiet, so I went up to check and found them cuddled up asleep together in Bear's bed. I need to keep looking at this pic to remind myself that they do in fact love each other. At least, somewhere way down deep...and maybe only when they are sleeping. But, it gives me hope.