Thursday, December 24, 2009


I had big dreams for Christmas Eve diner. I blame my Grandma. Every year we'd all gather at her house in northern Wisconsin and sit down to a feast of Belgian waffles stacked two feet high, breakfast sausages sticky with maple syrup, 3 different kinds of syrup and toppings for the waffles, cookie plates mounded over with almond bark and peanut butter blossoms, cider so hot that if you tried it first you wouldn't be able to taste any of that other stuff. It was always a glorious revelry of food.
Tonight I attempted to recreate that feeling while putting my own twist on things. We didn't have any company so that was a big minus right there. With just the 4 of us it's just diner like we do every other night of the year. Then, I tried to get fancy.
I don't have a waffle iron. My kitchen isn't that big and I've never felt the need to drop $50 on a good one. That would buy a lot of yarn and frankly, I'd rather have the yarn. So, since waffles are out and I did pancakes last year, I decided this would be the year of Eggs Benedict.
Not only would I poach eggs ( a tickelish task by itself), I would simultaneously make hollendaise sauce. I also added to the menu Pig Candy(a highly unhealthy but totally awesome form of bacon coated in brown sugar and spices then baked until crispy), roasted potatoes with herbs, fruit salad (just to pretend to be a little balanced) and for an appetizer, crostini with soppreseta salami and provolone cheese.
I started prepping at 3:30 and things were moving along ok, I figured I'd have everything ready for 5 or 5:30 when we usually eat. I have the provolone and salami dressed, the crostini toasted and ready to go, the fruit salad made, the pig candy working and the potatoes ready to go into the oven by about 4:15 when my husband decides to take the Pudding to walmart with him for a little last minute shopping. I tell him that I'm hoping to have all this ready by 5:30 or so and he heads out the door.
While he's gone I finish the pig candy, put the potatoes in the oven but I don't start the eggs Benedict yet because none of it takes very long and all of it is supposed to be served as soon as it's finished.
5:30 Comes and goes and still no Dilbert is there. I call him and he says he's going to pick up cat food at the PetCo (the only place that carries our spoiled cat's special food). I figure that can't take too long so I assume he'll be there by 6ish and start heating up Canadian Bacon and boiling some water to poach a practice egg in. I also start studying my hollendaise sauce recipe. It says to put three egg yokes and a little bit of lemon juice in a blender and blend until smooth. Done. Then it says add 8 oz of melted butter that is still hot slowly while the blender is running. The Tyke is scared of the blender and so is insisting on observing all of this from my hip which makes adding things while the blender is running a bit tickelish so this is I think where I made my fatal flaw. I dumped 8oz of hot butter straight in there, let the blender fly and hoped for the best. The recipe then says to add two teaspoons of hot water to help thicken the sauce. This seems counter-intuitive but I figure the hot water will cook the egg yokes slightly and thus thicken things so I add away. It doesn't seem to be thickening as the recipe says it should.
While the blender is whirring away, I take the crostini and the potatoes out of the oven. It is now after 6 and still no Dilbert or Pudding. I put a table cloth on the table, the nice glasses, the angle candle holder. It's about then that I notice that the pig candy looks a little under done. It's supposed to be crisp, not so chewy. Hmmm...
The crostini are cooling on the counter, the potatoes on the the table, the Tyke still won't let me put him down because the blender is still going, trying to emulsify this crazy sauce. I poach the eggs and warm up the Canadian bacon, I toast the English muffins, still the sauce doesn't thicken. I add more hot water as the recipe suggests, teaspoon by teaspoon, still nothing. In fact it seems to be getting less thick all the time.
Dilbert finally gets home about 6:30. The potatoes are cold and slightly underdone, the Pig candy is mushy, the crostini are hard as a rock because they sat out too long and the sauce still won't thicken. I finally start playing mad scientist in the kitchen in a deluded attempt to save this sauce that has taken so much of my life already. I put it in a skillet on low heat. I don't know what I was hoping to accomplish by this but adding flour didn't help. I ended up making something that closely resembled a brick red roux that is used to make jambalaya but it didn't taste as good.
Dilbert lit the candle in the candle holder, poured me some sparkling cider and I burst into tears. I didn't really but I sortof wanted to. I'm not prone to bursting into tears but this situation felt appropriate. Three hours of cooking and the only thing that really worked was the fruit salad I'd made in about 10 minutes at 3:30. Tomorrow is Christmas morning and I am sincerely hoping that sleep improves my mood. Bah, Humbug!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


Every weekend my husband stays in his pajamas until I make him get dressed or we're going to head out to do something. I find this strange. Not that I'm adverse to lounge wear in any way. Some days my clothing more closely resembles pajamas than I usually care to admit but I always get dressed.
Today I decided to try it his way. It's the Tuesday before Christmas, all my shopping is done, the snow is too deep for the kids to go out and play in it and I have enough food in the house that I don't need to go to the market. In short, I can play hermit for the day, not get dressed and see what it's like.
I have to say I'm enjoying it. Two pregnancies and a chronic hatred of working out have ensured that anything without generous helpings of elastic never quite fits right so the stretchy pants are a real treat. I haven't had to hitch them up once today, this is kindof exciting.
I was on the phone with a friend who just had her third child a month ago. I told her that I wasn't leaving the house today because I was still in my jammies. She cheered for me. I'm not sure weather the lack of sleep is starting to get to her or if she's just a really big fan of lounge wear and hopes that it will soon take over the fashion world but she said, "I fully support your decision to wear your jammies all day." Perhaps she's just wishing that the little mommy voice in the back of her head that drives her to endlessly cook, clean and attempt to look pretty would be quiet for a little while so she could wear her jammies all day too. That little voice has been hog tied in the back of my brain since college so I guess a jammy day isn't such a stretch for me.
It's Christmas week everyone. Tomorrow is the day before Christmas eve. Here is my challenge to you. Get up early tomorrow, go to the grocery store and stock your house to the gills so that you won't have to leave it for anything necessary for at least a week. Then come home, put on your jammies, hog tie that annoying little voice in your head and sit down with a good book or your knitting and let the kids destroy your living room. Better yet, send them out with your spouse so that you can lounge around in your jammies and not have to make anyone lunch. Mommies of the world, break free from the tyranny of actual clothes, give yourself a lazy day and refuse to feel guilty about it.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

So much more than decorative

I've been watching too much Hulu lately. I admit this freely because my couch-potato hours are productive. I knit Christmas presents for those near and dear to me while I watch hulu and while my fingers are flying through my wool, my mind is free to ponder the things advertisers are attempting to tell me. Most of the time I find ads insulting to the intelligence but the latest Dove ad has me fearful of raising a daughter to be anything but a vapid talking head.
Dove's new ad features a little girl being bombarded with other advertising images and words. Hot, beautiful, sexy, these are things the little girl is being told she aught to be and she feels she is not up to their standard. Then we see this little girl taking some class about self esteem sponsored by Dove and then we see her say into a microphone in front of many people, "I promise to think of myself as a beautiful person."
While most people would not object to a cute little girl thinking of herself as beautiful, I do. While she was taking classes to learn how to think of herself as beautiful, what other enriching activity was she missing out on? She could have been finally cracking long division or figuring out how to do a layup or a pirouette or just spending time with her family. Instead she is told at these classes that she doesn't need to look like those people in the magazines, she's beautiful just the way she is.
And she is beautiful. But why is that so important? What is with our cultures obsession with beauty and why does everyone have to feel beautiful in order to be considered mentally healthy? If you don't think you're beautiful then you must be depressed or and the very least have low self esteem. What if you're not beautiful and you don't think you are? What if you know that you're not beautiful and accept that but know that you have value anyway?
That's the real thing we're missing here. Wouldn't it be better to teach that little girl that she has value that has nothing to do with her outward appearance? Beautiful or not, she is human and she is valuable. Einstein was no Adonis, Susan B. Anthony wasn't exactly fetching and my 8th grade English teacher bordered on homely but all of them made great contributions to the world that had nothing to do with their beauty or lack there of.
There is a great scene in "Little Women" by Lousia May Alcott that describes this beautifully. The oldest sister has been permitted to go to a party and there conducts herself rather disgracefully. She allows herself to be dressed and pressed and powdered and primped to a ridiculous degree and to the point where she compromises her own modesty. She comes clean to her mother who tells her that having fun at a party is all very well and good but that she wants her girls to know that they are far more than decorative.
Louisa May Alcott phrases it much more poetically than that but I can't find the book just now so go look it up if you like.
If my daughter knows that she is beautiful, that's fine, but I want her to regard that beauty simply as window dressing for what is underneath. Her beauty is decoration and I want her and know her to be so much more than decorative.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Crazy freakin people

Tonight was a rough night. By night I mean evening to those without children. By 5:30 my kids are usually fed and starting the long slow process towards bed at about 7:30. As I type this it is 6:50 and Dilbert is upstairs negotiating the Tyke into bed. A process that is not going well from the sound of things.
The children were unusally crazy tonight and Dilbert and I had inordinately short patience. I sat the kids down to a small snack at 4:30. This keeps them occupied while I tried to cook diner. While the onions were softening and the chicken was browning the Pudding began doing her drunken party girl impression. I repeatedly told her to calm down and not act so crazy but it didn't sink in until one of her wildly flailing arms connected with a glass sending it to shatter on our stone tile floor (I hate that tile for many reasons, this is one more reason). Now there's glass on the floor, milk on the floor, glass in the cat's bowl, milk in the cat's bowl, and my chicken is finished browning and beginning to burn slightly but I don't have the next thing ready to go in the pot because I'm on my hands and knees cleaning up the spilled milk and glass shards and trying to convince the Pudding to stay in her chair so we don't have to fish pieces of glass out of her foot. It was about then that I bellowed for Dilbert to come and assist me.
My dear sweet Dilbert is a very helpful man but is sometimes just a touch clumsy. He finished wiping up the milk on the floor then started bringing the cats dishes over to the sink to be washed out. The cats water dish looks a little like an office water cooler, a big jug inverted over the bowl. When that is dropped from the height of 4 feet, it creates quite a splash and a much larger mess than the small glass of milk does. Also, a mop, when repeatedly run into a full bag of garbage that is waiting for "someone" to take it out, will tend to break said bag of garbage, causing a bit more mess than was originally there.
At that point, Dilbert cleaned up what he could then took the kids to the other room so that I could return my kitchen to sanity. Once everything was mopped up and back in order we all felt a bit better. The Pudding asked me if I still liked her. That was a bit tough to here because you always think that your kids can see how much you love them. I told her that I always loved her and that her doing a silly thing didn't change that. I tried explaining it to her like this.

me: Sometimes mommy makes mistakes or does something wrong and you still love her, right?
Pudding: (silence)

So, I finally have the soup simmering, the kitchen is back in order and I head to the living room to let the floor dry out. The Tyke is playing with our home phone and the Pudding won't leave him alone. She kept trying to sneak it away even though I was right there to make sure he didn't call China. Dilbert kept warning her not to try it and she kept doing it. This should have warned us that diner was going to be interesting at best.
We get to the table and at first everything is fine. The tyke is playing with his rice and chicken. The Pudding is saying she doesn't like it but there's nothing unusual about that. Everything is normal, right? NO! The Pudding begins throwing a fit about not wanting to eat. This get's the Tyke upset and starts crying too. Chocolate milk is given as a reward for a bite of chicken and calm is returned briefly. Then the Pudding starts telling Mommy how it isn't which is not a thing we allow in our house. That went something like this.

Me: Pudding, eat your rice, it's very good for you.
Pudding: (Screaming) NO IT ISN'T, DON'T SAY THAT TO ME!

The Chocolate milk was taken away at that point.
Twenty minutes later she was in jammies, read too, sung too, hugs given, kisses received, good nights said and covers tucked in. The Tyke took a few more minutes but they are both now sleeping and I hope, for their sake and mine that they don't wake up until morning because I think I'm going to need that long to recover and be a good mommy again.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

To my brother, who now reads this blog

Yes, that's right, this one is for you.
My brother whom I'm going to call G.I. Joe (Maybe just Joe, it's faster to type) for our purposes here, is a complicated individual.
I always find it difficult to explain him to people who don't already know him. He's a very smart guy who usually didn't do very well in school. He's a studious guy who couldn't ever get his homework done but spent hours reading the Illiad just for fun. He's a funny guy but you might not want to meet him in a dark alley. He's both a Doberman and a kitten, but you never really know which one you're going to get.
He's returning soon from his third tour in Iraq. I am so proud of him for his service and I'm so glad that thus far he has come through unscathed. I'm also glad that the army has been a place for him to find success. He's always been a tough person to peg. He doesn't fit in the usual boxes that we assign people. When he was little, they put him in special ed but he was smarter than everyone else there. They put him in the regular class and he couldn't keep up. I'm glad he's found a place that fits him.
The last time we saw each other, I was pregnant with the Tyke and the Pudding was just barely two. We were at my mom's house and Joe took the pudding out in this little inflatable boat on the pond. I was so worried because she was so little. She sat there by his feet (his feet came up to her shoulders) and just looked around at the water and at Joe. He was so gentle with her. I couldn't hear every word but I could hear his tone. It sounded like he was very patiently and quietly pointing things out for her to look at and telling her about them. She still remembers that boat ride a year and a half later.
I remember other things about Joe that aren't so nice. I know he has a mean streak that is pretty easy to find. I know he can be violent and erratic and childish which makes his gentleness all the more amazing.
When Joe, the Bear (our youngest brother, he knows how he got that name) and I were all little kids, we had a rough ride. We saw our parents marriage fall apart, felt the violence and anger that came from that. We lost a brother, the Bear's twin, at only 4 months old. We did the divorced kid shuffle and learned to live as brother and sister with people who were not our brother or sisters and were asked to call someone mom who was not mom. We did all these things together and only we know how we got through them and lived to tell the tale, or not.
That is the great thing about having siblings, the thing that an only child has a hard time understanding. We have someone who went through the same hardships, the same ups and downs, the same weirdness from parents. While we may not have experienced it all the same, but we know on a biological level that we are the same. We are different branches of the same tree. Whether at Mom's house or Dad's house, we had each other as a constant. We know why we became the people we are.
Anyway, this is for my brother Joe. From one branch of the tree to the other, I'm glad you're who you are.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Our Family is growing!!!

That's right, our little family is one member larger now! We adopted Oliver two weeks ago and he's fitting right in. Pudding (pictured above) has taken to him like a duck to water and the Tyke loves him a little too much and rather roughly. The Tyke thinks the cat is endlessly fascinating but has not yet learned that hair pulling is not an act of love. He's rather bewildered when the Pudding reacts badly to his adoring advances and even more confused when the cat reacts the same way. Someday he'll figure it out. Until then I must be a constant mediator in all Tyke/Cat relations.

Friday, October 23, 2009

There's always a reason

My last post was bemoaning the fact that my son has forgotten how to sleep through the night. This one, tells you why. We discovered yesterday that poor Tyke has the Swine Flu as does the Pudding, Dilbert and myself. The kids seem to have the worst of it so far and now that we're treating it, are on the upswing. Dilbert went to bed at 8pm last night and seems a bit more perky this morning but he's still having a hard time. I probably have the easiest case of it but I figure that's compensation for having to take care of the other three.
We're looking forward to leaving the house again.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Sleepless in the Suburbs

The Tyke is having trouble sleeping. With the new cold weather we either have to put socks on him when he goes to bed or make sure he's covered by his blankets. He loves nothing better than to rip socks off and kick blankets away. Then his little feet get cold and he wakes up, and up and up.
Last night Dilbert and I took turns going in to put him back to sleep. Now, this morning we look like the walking dead. The exhaustion is tough to take.
Most times I don't really mind when the Tyke wakes up to nurse at night. It's one of the few times I get to cuddle with him without getting a knee or elbow in the gut. At night, he snuggles and cuddles and will lay down quietly while he nurses back to sleep which is a big change from the day time when he tries to crawl away and take the nipple with him.
At times I think he is just physically incapable of sitting still. He goes ten different directions at once and I really don't know how he has the energy after being up so much of the night yelling at Dilbert and I.
I'm going to go take a nap now.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

sleepless socks

So I've been working on these socks and I love them. They are cute and soft and beautiful on little feet. They are made from the Best Yarn in the world, Claudia handpainted sock yarn. I'd bought it a couple of years ago when I was first getting into knitting. I made a scarf out of it because I was still scared of knitting socks but even the scarf didn't really work. It was too thin and it rolled funny.
The scarf became a Pudding toy and thus, was nearly destroyed. I recently rescued it and began making the scarf into these socks. I've made two pair of these for the Tyke and the yarn is nearly gone. I know these won't fit him all that long but I can always use them for the next baby or pass them on to a friend.
The pattern is available for your perusal. Enjoy!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

The importance of good decision-making skills

When I was in college I was assigned a research project for an English class. I could pick the topic and so I chose the effects of divorce on adult children. In doing research for this (I got an A) project I discoverd the work of Judith Wallenstein Phd. She has been studying the effects of divorce on children since the early 70's and some of her findings mirrored my own life so closely that I felt slightly exposed handing that research over to my professor.
Dr. Wallerstein's work showed that adult children of divorce were gun shy, they had a hard time committing, they chose inappropriate partners, were more likely to divorce themselves and were prone to depression. As I read all this as a 21 year old college student fresh from a disasterous relationship with a highly inappropriate man I felt like I'd had the wind knocked out of me. Over and over the people she'd studied displayed the same poor judgement and and reckless behavior that I did. I know that most people at 21 make a sort of sport out of bad decisions but the people in the book and people like myself made those bad decisions, not out of a sense of fun or on a lark but rather out of a sense of need or fear.
We attached ourselves to people we knew would leave us because that is what is familiar. We stayed away from relationships that could become serious because we're afraid that we'd have to relive it all over again. We open ourselves up to only the most shallow interactions as a way of protecting the scared child inside.
Looking back now, it was in reading Dr. Wallersteins book "The Unknown Legacy of Divorce" (Hyperion) that got me thinking and making decisions about what I wanted in my life and what I didn't. In many ways, I have her work to thank for making me realize that all these bad decisions and poor judgments were within my control. I could choose to follow this legacy of failure and abuse or I could make better decisions than my parents had and give my children a safer and more comforting home.
None of this is meant as a judgment on my parents (my mom reads this blog, Hi Mom!). I understand why they made the decisions they did and I know that divorce was the best option available to my mom. I do not blame them for divorcing and in retrospect it the best thing for all concerned. I do occasionally blame them for getting married in the first place because that was (I'm sure they'd both agree on this one) a bad move on both their parts. But blaming them for this is silly because if they hadn't done that, my brothers and I wouldn't be the people we are so I'm not going to pass any blame around here.
What I am saying is that at the outset, I felt it was important to really think longterm and know what I wanted in a father for my children and in a husband for myself. If anything good has come from being the child of divorce it is that I've seen how wrong it can go when you don't look at a date as a potential partner. Instead you get lost in being in-love and stupid. I love my husband dearly, like the very air I breathe but when I looked at him across the table on our first date I wasn't thinking of a magical wedding at a villa in Tuscany or about how cute he was (though he is very cute). I was thinking about what he'd be like in the trenches. Would he be someone I could work along side with toward our common goals, in building a life, in raising a family. Would his be the face I'd want to see every morning for the rest of my life? Would he be the one I'd want to talk me through contractions while I birthed his children? Would he be the one I'd want to fight and compromise with on paint colors for the living room even though he knows I'm very artistic and his wardrobe before I met him looked like oatmeal? The answer to all these has obviously been yes and for five years we've been getting to know each other and building that life.
I grew to love him, I didn't fall in love. I liked him a lot but I didn't let myself fall in love because I knew where that leads. When I knew enough about him that I knew he wouldn't hurt me, I made the decision to love this man.

The best decision of my life.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

A wistful look back and a hopeful look forward.

It's coming, I know it's coming. The day that I'll have to clean out my office and say good bye to the program that I built from scratch. The Church has recieved resumes and are taking interviews sometime this week and next so there's a strong possibility that I'll be done by early November. This is good news. I know this is good news and I look forward to meeting my replacement and all that. I don't want to be working at this stage in my children's lives. I know that. I've made that decision. But right now it's hard to think about leaving that all behind me.
I was at Mini-Monet kids art group on Saturday and a little boy of about 5 was there. He and his little brother are something of regulars in that group and they are such fun kids. This little boy was especially gregarious today and had a lot of fun co-narrating the story with me. At the very end of the program, when all the toys had been cleaned up and the art supplies put away and his parents each had a foot out the door, he ran as fast as he could all the way across the room to give me a hug and a quick kiss on the cheek. I smiled at his mom as he ran back to her.
It's stuff like this that I'll miss.
Children like this little guy love so easily. They show up ready to like and be liked. As long as you don't do anything to screw it up, they will love you. All you have to do is be there and be interested in them. There are other kids that are harder to get to know, they are shy and suspicious. You have to talk softly and respectfully to them and really pull them out of their shells. You have to give them time to adjust to your presence. Love is precious in all it's forms and never more so than when it comes from a child. I will miss being loved by those kids.

In other news, I am very seriously considering homeschooling my children. Pudding is only three but I know she's a smart cookie and I have already been planning on teaching her to read as early as next year however we are now considering expanding mommy's pre-k into something more exhaustive. I'm doing a lot of research and trying to talk Dilbert into considering it. I'm glad I have two years to make this decision and get him comfortable with it. Anyone out there have any opinions to share on this? I'd love to hear it.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Roller Coaster

It's highly amusing to me to look back at my previous posts because it seems that I am forever riding the extreme highs and the low lows of parenting. My kids make me kids are so sweet...they're making me crazy again...but isn't that cute.
I've been riding a bit of a high lately so when I look back at my last post and see how frustrated I was with Pudding only a few days ago, I feel like I'm reading something someone else wrote. That's not the daughter I dealt with today, that must be some other woman's bratty kid having to be dragged out of preschool.
This week has gone much better, partially because I've bribed her. Today when I got to preschool to pick Pudding up, I told her I had something special in the car for her and if she came with me nicely she could have it. It turns out that she didn't really want the half a muffin I'd saved her from my own afternoon snack but by then we were already in the car and she didn't really seem to mind.
All this reminds me of Parenthood, one of my all time favorite movies. Steve Martin plays the father of three, soon to be four who has never really learned to enjoy the ups and downs and general crazyness of children. Towards the end of the movie there is a scene where their three year old escapes the clutches of his parents and manfully defends his big sister from the imagined threats of her fellow actors in her school play. The child wreaks havoc and stops the production. While many of the parents in the audience find this hilarious, one mother is red faced and tersely yelling, "He's ruining the whole play!" Over all this action the sounds of a roller coaster play.
This movie and that scene in particular make more and more sense to me the older my kids get. You can't control every thing they do. Some days they are going to embarrass you and some days they will make you so proud you feel like your chest is going to burst. Parenthood is not for the weak of heart and learning to deal with that small stuff (it's only an elementary class play, you're there to see the kids be cute) and find the joy in it is the difference between enjoying the ride and screaming your head off for someone to let you off.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

That Mom

Have you ever seen that woman in the mall or grocery store or Walmart, especially Walmart, the one with the bratty kid that she's having to literally drag out of the store. The kid is screaming, hanging limp or kicking their legs and the mom's jaw is tight, her lips pursed and you just know profanity is running through her mind. That was me today.
Except I wasn't at Walmart, I was at the Pudding's preschool. Pudding loves preschool, loves it so much she doesn't want to leave. She thinks I am coming to drag her away in the middle of all the fun and that all the other kids get to stay and play while she is dragged away by a mean mean mommy. At least, that's what I assume is going through her little head, with a three year old, its' hard to tell. She's had preschool for the last three days and here's how it's played out on each day at 3:15.

Me: Hi Pudding, did you have fun?
Pudding: no, I don't want to go home!
M: I'm sorry to hear that, but it's time to go. Look, everyone else is going home too.
P: I don't want to go hooooooooome!
M: Well, we'll be back tomorrow/next week, say good bye to your teacher.
P: NO! You go away, I'll stay here!

This little bit of loveliness ends in me grabbing Pudding by the wrist, along with her backpack and any accumulated art work and marching her out of there. She fusses, cries and occasionally howls on the way out. Most of the time she will walk along but if I let her go for a second, say to hoist the Tyke back up on my hip, she darts back towards the school and her classroom.

While I'm glad that she likes school so much, how do I fix this. All the other kids seem to be happy to see their mothers and march along next to them, telling them about their day. Why is mine the only one who can't say goodbye and demonstrates it so vocally.
Any advice out there mommies? I'm tired of being that mom.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Down Side of Something Good

It is a good thing that I'm leaving my job. My kids need me at home, I need to be with my kids at this stage of their development in order to feel good about the job I am doing as a parent. Leaving the job is a good thing.
But it breaks my heart to think about leaving some of the kids I've worked with. Chances are I won't see them again once I'm done and this makes me weep. The question arises, will my replacement be able to love them as much as I have?
You see, I've come to understand that my gift is understanding kids. Some people are good with computers, some can juggle, I can do this. Most adults lose this ability when they cease to be children themselves but for some reason, I've kept it. I'm good at connecting with kids. I know this isn't a totally unique thing but it's rare enough that I worry that the next person who comes along won't have it and these kids will drift away from the church and never know it's balancing influence as they go through the tight wire act that is modern adolescents.
I worry that my replacement will not see what a good heart Johnny has underneath all his baby macho bravado. I worry that they won't recognize the sweet nature that lies beneath some gut wrenching insecurity in Stephany. I fear they won't notice what a clear, sweet voice Jose has along with a giving heart.
Bearing with the stereotypical trappings of childhood, my kids can be obnoxious, annoying, hyper active, loud and numerous other silly things that kids do. But these things are not who they are. Each one of them is this passionate little ball of potential that just gets ground to mush in school everyday. The kids work and work but no one is there to really tell them what lovable and fascinating people they are. These kids are the children of immigrant parents who work all the time and do the best they can but Church has become this special thing because it is so different from home and school. Here, they hear about how special they are and how much they are loved by a compassionate and forgiving God. They believe this message when it's coming from me because they can see that I love them and see that sweet child underneath the obnoxious tween. If someone were there just keeping the peace and telling the story, I don't think they'd buy it.
My own children will always be my first priority, always. But it is difficult to leave knowing that they won't understand why and no amount of explaining will make it clear to them. They will think I didn't enjoy my time with them, or that I didn't like them enough to stay. Like I said, this breaks my heart.

Monday, September 14, 2009

A good day

I had a good day today. It was one of those days when I am not pulled in a million directions but can simply focus on my kids and my home and do a good job with both of them. I didn't feel the need to constantly tell the Pudding to quiet down so that I could finish an email or to chase after the Tyke to keep him from putting his fingers into outlets while I update the web site at work. Today, I could just be a mom.
The Tyke went down for a long nap in the morning. I think he's making up for the crazy weekend we had traveling to PA for a wedding. He slept for nearly three hours. While he was napping the Pudding and I baked bread and when she got board with that she went to play in the little nest she's built in the living room. She crawls up on the couch which, along with the rest of our furniture, is pushed into the middle of the room because we are slowly painting it. She has this little cave there with some of her dollies and blankets and books all piled up in a specific order that only she knows. I love listening to her play like this. She talks to her dollies and tells them stories. She disciplines them when they are naughty and says how proud she is of them when they are good. And she nurses them. That's my favorite. She pushes up her little shirt and nurses whatever dolly, duck or bear she is playing with at the moment. I love it!
It's times like this, when I can bask in the reflected glory of the fabulous little person she's becoming, that I feel like a good mom. She repeats my words to her "darlings." She repeats my stories to them too. I can tell if she's watching too much TV lately if it comes up too often in those stories. It's like looking in a mirror on my motherhood.
When the Tyke woke up, we fed him lunch together, a pear cut up and peeled. The pudding kept him entertained by jumping in place and they both thought that was so hilarious that they cackled uncontrollably.
Tomorrow she starts preschool and we won't have this much time together to play and be silly. She won't have the time to follow her imagination wherever it leads. I'm glad I didn't work at Church today.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

A Birth Commentary and Puddings Birth Story

The Today show, that bastion of journalistic integrity posted this on it's show a few days ago. Go watch it and then come back for my pithy commentary.
Ok, you're back!
How many of you are scared to death that babies all over the country are dropping like flies due to mean, scary midwives who make a woman labor for 4 days without drugs?
My heart goes out to this family. I remember how it is, getting that nursery ready for that sweet baby girl, going through all those pink and fancy clothes, feeling every little kick and looking forward to the day you'll meet her. If that day had never come for me I would be devastated and I'd be out for blood.
However, I was lucky, that day did come for me and my own sweet baby girl is currently sleeping upstairs curled up next to her favorite hippo after terrorizing the Tyke, Dilbert and me most of the day. I was lucky because my baby was born alive and mostly well. However, I can relate to the feeling that the mother in the video had of feeling betrayed by her midwife.
The first midwife I labored with, I loved. I'd seen her for most of my prenatal checkups and I felt I connected with her. I'd read the material that the practice put out about what their philosophy of birth was and the Midwifery model of care and all that and that's what I thought I was going to get. Well, not exactly.
I came in with just some little tickle contractions, nothing compared to the real deal (I know that now). They'd been going all day but we'd been prodding them along all day, walking for miles, stimulating things, all kinds of craziness to keep those contractions going. I came in at about 9pm with these tickles and she thought it was enough for me to stay at the birth center. Then at midnight when I'd dilated to 3 (I know women who walk around for the last month dilated to 3) she thought it would be an ok idea to break my bag of waters. Seven hours later and still no baby, she thought maybe I ought to go to the hospital for an epidural because I couldn't seem to relax and let the contractions do their work. Oh, and she wasn't coming, another midwife was going to meet me there.
All of this was pretty far from the procedures I'd expected and what I'd read about in the literature. I hadn't asked her enough questions and I hadn't done enough research myself to learn that pushing labor ahead usually isn't a good idea, if contractions stop when you stop whatever you're doing, they aren't the real deal and speeding up labor isn't usually a good reason for breaking the bag of waters.
If I'd done the research and known those things and felt confident enough in myself to say "NO!" when these things were suggested, I might have had a very different birth and my daughter would have been born with normal blood sugar and pink hands instead of blue ones. The Pudding was cyanotic when she was born which means she wasn't getting enough oxygen between contractions because I'd gotten my epidural so I could relax and she'd gotten a big ole' dose of Pitocin so that the contractions were too hard and too close together for her to get enough of a breath. I shudder to think what would have happened had labor gone on longer. I also hadn't been allowed any food once we got to the hospital so the Pudding wasn't getting any calories that she needed either. They gave her glucose water in the nursery to fix this which insured that the first three months of breastfeeding were hell because she had nipple confusion.
I trusted my midwife too much and myself not enough.
But life was merciful this time and I got to keep my baby despite my mistakes. And they were my mistakes, it was my baby in there and my body that things were being done too. None of it was forced on me, I consented to all of it. If I didn't know better, that doesn't change the responsibility. Those were my mistakes.
I realize I've gotten off track here with talking about my first birth. The biases in this video are plentiful and you can see them for yourself. My personal favorite was that the "expert" (How the hell do you get to be an expert about birth without having done it and thus being a woman?) suggested that women ask their midwives if they carry malpractice insurance or if they have a back up OB. Do you care if your doctor carries insurance? I don't. If they screw up bad enough for someone to sue them, it's their own affair if they're prepared for it or if they loose their shirt in a lawsuit. My midwife(with my second baby) didn't carry insurance and told me so upfront. She said that if I had a problem with her care or handling of any situation I should come to her first and then do what I thought was best for my family. Luckily, we were very well taken care of the second time around so we didn't have to worry about any of that.
Here's the thing, cord strangulating happen. There is very little that you can do to prevent them and in fact I believe it's about 1 in 4 babies are born with the cord around their neck with no adverse affects. It is a sad, sad thing when this happens to a family and my heart breaks for them but lets not confuse causation with coincidence. This baby could just as easily been still born at a hospital as at home. NBC took a families tragedy and exploited it to make all homebirth seem dangerous and the practitioners of such, irresponsible. Homebirth is not extreme, it's not inherently dangerous. Life is both and many times we forget this or try to blame it one anyone at hand.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Adventures in Parenthood

I love my babies. I think they are hilarious, wonderful little people. Today when Pudding drew a caterpillar and gave it eyes and a mouth I was ecstatic. When the Tyke pulled himself up on the desk next to where I was working and gave me that "Holy Cow did you see what I just did!" look, I was thrilled. But I have discovered one thing about my children. They turn into holy terrors after more than 45 minutes in a church office.
You see I had to go into the office today. I'm leaving town tomorrow, there were some loose ends to tie up and there was no way to do most of it at home. So, I get up early, I get showered, I get the kids fed and cleaned up and then bundle them into the car with a minimum of fuss. We're on the road by 9am, a personal victory!
At 9:15 we hit traffic and my babies hate traffic. We sat in traffic, stopping and going and hollering for 45 minutes and finally got to the church around 10. When we get into the church there are some things that must be done in the far flung parts of the building. I have to retrieve something from the Sunday School room in the basement, I have to drop something off in the kitchen on the 2nd floor, etc. So I figure we'll do all of this running stuff first so that Pudding will be only too happy to sit down and color after a while of this. And it works. For 15 whole minutes things are quiet and handled. Pudding draws her picture, the Tyke crawls about and pulls up on things and I revise some marketing material that has to be out today.
Then something switches in their little heads, right around the time that I'm getting to updating the web site. I'm trying to edit and make sure my text doesn't sound inane and someone is pulling on me and someone else is making a break for the hall way to go pester those happy people with nannies watching their bratty children at home.
I stuck it out for another hour with the kids getting progressively worse as time wore on. The Tyke had to be on my lap for most of that time or he'd start yelling. When he was on my lap he was lunging for the keyboard or the phone and calling very busy people on the intercom. Meanwhile the Pudding is watching me tell her not to open the door as she is opening the door and running down the hall way to play in the library with the very old, expensive and fragile books. She won't touch the kids wall, only the old and irreplaceable.
We made copies, we got copies where they needed to go. The Tyke tried unsuccessfully to crawl the entire length of the hallway chasing the Pudding to the library. He was only unsuccessful because I caught him. Pudding took a stubborn turn and simply refused to walk down the hall to the office so that mommy could finish her work. Oh, and all of this craziness is taking place in the office that adjoins that of my boss.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

In case there was any doubt

I was planning on going to work today. I was going to go into the office, set Pudding and the Tyke up with some toys and bang out a whole list of things that need to be done before this weekend. I got dressed this morning and got the kids dressed with this in mind. I fed them breakfast and said we had to hurry finishing it so we could go into the office. Then the Pudding showed her true three-year-old self and started pushing and shoving her little brother around, mewing like a cat when I told her not to and just generally being a brat. When I did the responsible parent thing and gave her a time out, all hell broke loose in her little mind and we hit full on tantrum pretty quickly. The work plans were scrapped.
This is why I'm leaving my job, so that I have the freedom to give my daughter the discipline she needs when she needs it so that she knows that certain things are just never going to be ok and Mommy is always going to be there to make sure the rules are enforced.
So for today, I'm working from home. I'll do some updates on the web site, come up with a flier, send a few emails, but that's about all. Today I'm working at home because I am needed more there than anywhere else.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Nothing left to say

Through the glories of facebook I happened upon a long lost ex-boyfriend whose breakup with me was particularly brutal. I was very young at the time which only made it that much worse because stupidity never really helps these situations.
Well, this person, shortly after our breakup 7 years ago, dropped off the face of the earth. I didn't know where he was, if he was still alive, I couldn't get a hold of him, he completely cut ties with me. He had resurfaced a year later with a few emails and a phone call but then he dropped off the face of the earth again.
Around the time I was meeting and beginning to fall in love with my husband, he resurfaced again but obviously nothing came of it and I've moved on. I married my dear Dilbert, had two beautiful children and we've built a life together. Still, every now and then, during a rare quiet moment I would look around online for this person. I never found anything about them, never really expected to. So when I came across his picture of FB, I felt like I'd been slapped in the face.
I don't really know why I did the search, I guess I'd always sortof wondered what happened to him. As uncomfortable as it is to say, at one point a very silly version of myself was in love with this person and even though he broke my heart, I'll always wish him well. Not well anywhere within a 100 mile radius of me but well nonetheless.
So, I found him and I sent him a message, we messaged back and forth for a little while, trading info on where we are now and what we're up to. We left the conversation open ended, saying that if either of us felt like talking again or becoming friends that would be ok. Neither of us has made a move thus far. I guess there is simply nothing left to say.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Surrendering to the Stereotype

The Tyke had his 8 month check up today. They weigh, measure, poke and prod him to make sure he's exactly where he's supposed to be which is something I already know. He's perfect but getting him and his sister in and out of the Dr.s office is not. Allow me to give you a rundown.
Of course the Tyke fell asleep in the car on the way to the office so getting him out of the car is twice as unpleasant because he wakes up when I adjust the sling around him. Pudding sprints into traffic the second her feet hit the ground and when I yell at her the Tyke starts to fuss. Off to a great start.
We wait in the waiting room for nearly half an hour while the Tyke alternately distroys my hair or ruins my shirt. He does this in the most loving way possible with cute little baby noises that mean "I love you, Mommy" and "I'm so happy you're holding me." Lots of fun.
While the Tyke is destroying me, the Pudding claims that she is tired and wants to snuggle up next to me and sleep. So there we are on the love seat in the waiting room, one on my lap, one next to me, probably looking like everyone's nightmare of motherhood.
Then we get back to the exam room. The Tyke is measured for height (29 inches, HUGE!) and head circumference. The nurse and I had to double team him for both of these. When Pudding was a baby, I always wondered what all the fuss was about. Then we weighed him which means no diaper (21.5 lbs!) and while the nurse had stepped out to find a watch and I was fussing with the new diaper, the Tyke peed all over my leg and onto the floor. This was mere seconds before the diaper was ready. This is one of the downsides to using cloth diapers, if you use the prefolds they do take a second to assemble and apparently this was a second that the Tyke didn't have. So, I clean my leg up and the floor, and my shoe and the nurse comes back in to take his pulse (that's what she needed the watch for). When she leaves I have a few moments with the kids during which the Tyke finishes the job of destroying my hair and spits up all over my other leg while he's giggling at the Puddings dancing. By the time the Doctor actually sees us, I feel like a dishrag.
Luckily our Doctor is a mommy too, she only works three days a week and totally gets how freaking insane mothering is sometimes. I told her that the Tyke was cruising around furniture and that he feel off the bed this morning (he landed on some laundry, he's fine) and she told me about her daughter rolling off the clothes dryer. It's silly but it makes me feel better.
On our way out I grab Pudding a sticker and we make it out the door. As soon as we hit the sidewalk Pudding darts towards traffic and I see myself as though I'm someone else. I see an overweight woman with a crazy ponytail hanging on by a thread, a big baby on her hip and a big purse on her elbow pulling out the scary mommy voice and screaming at a toddler bent on self destruction. I see this woman getting into a mid-sized SUV with a profusion of water bottles, Sunday School take home sheets and old Starbucks cups on the floor. I see her buckle her kids in and give one of them a talking too about running into traffic then I see her very firmly shut the back door. Before she gets into the front door I see her attempt to collect herself.
My formerly childless self would probably have judged this woman harshly. I probably would have thought something along the lines of "Why did you even have children if you don't enjoy them" or something ridiculous like that. The thing is, I did enjoy that little outing with my little ones. When I reread the things I just wrote, I know none of it sounds very fun but, asside from the darting toward traffic bit, I enjoyed the time with my kids. I enjoy seeing the Tyke progress up the growth chart and seeing how protective of him the Pudding is. I enjoyed how all the nurses Ooh'd and Aah'd over how beautiful my babies are. I enjoyed getting mauled by my beautiful little Grizzly because I know he only does it when he's feeling the love. Yes, I yelled at the pudding but to my way of thinking, she needed a yelling at so that she will know that darting into traffic is never a good idea and mommy is never going to think it's ok. So I guess I fit the cranky suburban housewife stereotype pretty well. I'll have to learn to be ok with that.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

With a little help from my friends

So my dear friend E! is here educating me on all things pop culture while we are eating popcorn, brownies and anything else that's not nailed down. We are great enablers!
So I wanted to show her my blog because I want someone to read this and so I know that I'm not writing for the vast internet oblivion but instead writing for an actual person to read and hopefully be interested.
Last week I signed my blog up for the Google AdSense thingy and my ads are now up. What is it that Google deemed appropriate for a blog on all things mother-ish? TROJAN's, Ecstacy, "feels like nothing's there."
So let me get this straight. My blog which is about having and raising children is a good venue to sell birth control? I've always thought my own sweet babies were a pretty convincing argument in the opposite direction but, perhaps I'm wrong. Oh well, go click on the ad, I get a fraction of a cent every time you do and you get free condoms so you won't find yourself "in the trenches" anytime soon.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Capatilist Medecine

My beautiful three year old daughter has a shiner. A full on swell-your-eye-closed shiner. It's turned so many shades of purple it looks like a revlon ad. She got this by climbing up onto her bed's headboard and crashing into her nightstand.
She isn't a terribly accident prone child so this is our first brush with serious injury in quite some time. I'm sure this will be good experience because her brother appears to be a bit of a daredevil. As soon as I got up there (I'd been in the basement while she was in her room) I iced it and called my husband. He's always a good one to call in case of an emergency as he tends to be very level headed. He thought it best to go to the ER so away we went.
I got there fully expecting to wait for half an hour before we were seen by anyone with any medical knowledge. I was mistaken. A triage nurse took a look at her almost immediately and then did a more full examination about 15 minutes later. We were taken to a room very quickly where we were seen by no fewer than 3 nurses and one doctor. They let me hold Pudding while they treated and examined her. She squirmed around and cried a lot when they put the glue on. (I tried to make that part fun. I told her they were going to glue her back together just like the Tea Pot, didn't work.) They gave her a sticker and a little bear and sent us on our way. The whole thing took about an hour and a half and costs us about $150. That's a lot and I'm sure they bill our insurance company a boat load but I was happy to pay that if it meant that my baby got attention in a timely fashion and didn't have to wait in a room with sick people for 3 hours.
Yes, this didn't turn out to be anything life threatening or even all that crucial. Dilbert and I were discussing later and we discovered that the glue they used would've cost us about $5 at walgreen's but on the off chance that she had had a concussion or some more serious head injury, I'm glad that this frivilous trip to the ER was an option. I'm very afraid that once Obamacare get's put in place (I'm not one of those conservatives who is optimistic at this point) that it won't be. I'll have to call some beaurocrat who will asses weather or not my baby needs the limited medical care they have to offer before I can take her in. Someone who has no skin in the game will be calling the shots.

A Generous Wife

I strive to be a generous wife. I try not to freak out when my husband is 15 minutes late home from work. I encourage him to spend time with his friends. I will even encourage him to go to a weekend long bachelor party at the Saratoga races. He was ready to write it off and not really entertaining the idea of going, I nudged.
I say this by no means to toot my own horn but instead to show the conundrum I've gotten myself into. I am going to stay here with two kids, one of whom looks like an after-school special on child abuse (more on that later) and the other hasn't been sleeping well, while he take a flight to Albany to drink until he passes out and stare at other people's boobies. I'm trying to be generous. I'm in for one hell of a weekend.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Take this job and...

I quit my job this week. To anyone reading this blog, that probably sounds very sudden considering that my last post was 6 months ago and was about going back to work. In the last six months I have learned a few things.
  1. I multi-task well, but only up to a point.
  2. Crawling babies and the church office do not mix well.
  3. 2 kids are not twice the work of one kid. It's more like all the snacks, laundry and energy of one child squared.
  4. For a ministry to continue growing, it needs time that I do no have any longer (see #3).
I love my job but I love being at home with my kids more. This is the only time in their lives that they will want me around this much. I try to remember this every morning at breakfast. I've just woken up, Pudding is being a three year old (i.e. awful) and the Tyke is demanding all my time and attention to keep him from causing himself serious bodily harm while he explores the laws of physics. During those mornings when I feel like I'm just barely keeping it together I remember, "They won't always want to sit and have breakfast with me. Someday when I am middle aged and they are young adults, they will rather go to IHOP with their loser friends than sit and have a nutritious breakfast with their boring old mother."
So, when my kids get busy building lives of their own, then I can throw myself back into the wonderful world of work but for right now, it is simply not the season.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Back to the salt mines

Sorry for the weird title, that's just something my mom always says when it's time to get back to work. I'm heading back to work next week and, like a 3 year old, I want to kick and scream and hang on to the door knobs to not have to go but such is not an option just now.
Financially I think we could get by without me working. Dilbert and I always have made sure of that because it's important to us to have our kids raised by their parents, not a nanny. But that extra money goes toward things like future college tuition and repairs on the house and other little things like that that I don't want to go without.
Also, I like my work. I run a Children's program at a church and when I came on, there was no program. Now it's up and running and growing and I don't want to see it fall apart. That was my passion and creativity and time away from my daughter that built it, I don't want to see that wasted.
There are some things I'm looking forward to. I taught a Sunday School class and I miss those kids, they are so much fun and I really enjoy them. I love hosting playgroup too and I'm looking forward to getting back to that. The kids are so much fun and their parents are pretty interesting people so I'm looking forward to getting back to that.
But then there are plenty of other things that I don't miss. Dealing with schedules and rules and people who don't want to follow either is not fun. Plus, I may have to lay some people off when I go back. Not looking forward to that at all.
As much as I love my work, I love being with my kids more. I want to crawl into the Tyke's little world and just stay there. I want to be able to flow with his schedule and not worry about anyone else. I want to have the time to let my daughter dawdle the time away without getting frustrated with her, a challenge anytime. I like being a mom and right now I don't feel the need to be much else.

But I know someday I will. I know someday it won't be enough for me to be a mom only and I will need something else to pour my creativity and passion into, which is why I got this job to begin with. Pudding was 18 months and didn't need me as much as she had so it worked out well for me to find an additional occupation. I know when the Tyke is that age, I will be so glad that I kept this job and have it to go back to. So, here I go...

Saturday, January 3, 2009

The Birth of The Tyke

So, he's finally here! The labor was only 8 hours long from start to finish and everything went very well.
I went to my midwife appointment on Tuesday morning (December 30th) and Peggy said it was time to think about doing some natural induction methods since I was 2 weeks past due and we were pretty sure on the dates.
At around noon Kim (the assistant midwife) came over and helped me go through the various things they do to stimulate labor. This included some homeopathic medicines, herbal tinctures, Castor oil, belly massage and a breast pump. This part wasn't much fun because you're taking these very nasty herbs every half an hour and then the Castor oil kicks in which isn't much fun at all. It was nice just hanging out with Kim and she really helped me stay on track with things which did get things going. She left around 3:30 and checked me just before she went. I wasn't dilated at all but there had been some "softening."
My mom and Pudding, who had been at the park for most of the afternoon, got back shortly after Kim left and I was starting to have light contractions and running to the bathroom all the time. Castor oil really does what they say it does. Matt got home around 4:30 and right around then I was starting to think this could actually be it. We'd had so many starts and stops with labor this time around that I was not really sure I should believe it. I called my doula Tara to see what she thought. She said she'd come by after she'd fed her kids and gotten them settled for the night.
Meanwhile I sat down to knit on our big chair with Dilbert there. We would chat between contractions and he would rub my belly to keep them going. I kept a heating pad on my breasts because Kim had said that that would sometimes help stimulate things and I was feeling cold all the time so it just felt cozy to me. During a contraction Dilbert would stop rubbing my belly and I would look in his eyes. Things were not very intense yet but I would have to think about staying relaxed and focus on my breathing. Dilbert was a big help because he didn't look worried once, that was a huge thing for me. He just looked so confident and calm that it calmed me down.
Dilbert had to head out for a while to get some prescription filled. His sinus infection was kicking his butt. I stayed in the chair knitting for a little while. Whenever a contraction hit I would make eye contact with a silly little ornament on my Christmas tree. Oddly enough, it helped.
Tara got there around 7 or so and things were starting to pick up. When Dilbert got back, we made the decision to bring Pudding to our friend Jenn's house for the night. Dilbert packed Pudding off to Jenn's house so she could have a sleep over with her buddy K. I sang her her baby song just before she left, it was kindof a bitter sweet moment because it was the last time I saw her as my only child.
After Pudding left, things started really getting down to business. I started to have to make noise through the peak of a contraction and we moved up to my room with just me, Tara and my mom. During a contraction Tara would rub my leggs and mom my shoulders to help me stay relaxed. I started really wanting Dilbert to be there and somewhere around this time we called Peggy to come too. Dilbert got there first and I leaned on him for a few contractions. Then we tried laying down under the covers so that Dilbert could hold my belly. I remember the heat from his hands feeling really good and it didn't work very well when anyone else did it.
Kim got there pretty quickly followed by Peggy and Desiree. They got everything set up and said they would get out of our way if I wanted them too. I told them I'd rather have them there, "lets keep the party going " is I think what I said.
Shortly after that I got hot all of the sudden. Tara ripped off the wool socks she'd put on me earlier and Dilbert helped me off with the silly yellow hoodie that I'd been wearing. I was pretty frantic to get them off. Soon the Castor oil kicked in (again) and Dilbert helped me to the bathroom and stayed with me because I was having pretty intense contractions and didn't want to be alone. That was a new phase of our marriage right there.
I stayed in there for a while because I just didn't want to get up. My mom said that it was great to see how Dilbert and I worked together through this part because I was really starting to loose it. I kept saying that I didn't want to do it anymore and that it hurt, I don't like it. Dilbert would tell me to look at him and tell me that I was doing great and that I was doing it and that it would be done soon. That would usually calm me down enough to stop screaming.
For a little while Kim came in because they needed to check the babies heart tones and she did the same thing for me. As good as she did, it was nicer with Dilbert because I could pull on him and not worry about pulling him over. I don't know how long I was in the bathroom but it must have been a while. After a bit the midwives said they should check me since we hadn't done that since Kim had been here earlier. At 11:05 ( they read the chart entry later) I was at 7-8 cm dilation.
The midwives got the birth stool set up (not really a stool, just a big metal frame that you perch on) and I moved over there.
This I remember being the hardest part. I was still whining my way through contractions, sometimes yelling, sometimes just saying, "I don't like this." When I got on the stool though everything felt even more intense and I started feeling like my body was pushing even though I wasn't trying to. Peggy kept checking and said that I shouldn't push yet but I simply couldn't help it. For a few contractions I kept the pushing to a minimum because I would pant my way through them but pushing was still happening though I don't think I told Peggy that. I was sortof roaring through contractions now and they were right on top of each other. I would yell as loud as I could and still wish I could go louder.
Finally at 11:30 they said I could push for real so I stopped panting and just let things go. The contractions spaced out some but they were so hard when they came that I didn't notice. One last big push and out he came with a big splash of water all over the midwives. That last sentence makes it sound easy but it was anything but, I seriously thought in the moment that natural childbirth was a stupid idea and the epidural was the way to go. However, I changed my mind very quickly because then he was there I could still feel my legs and everyone was telling me how good I'd done and that I hadn't torn much at all. I walked (assisted by several people) over to my own bed and got in while holding my baby whose cord was still intact. I laid down in bed and the midwives came over the check me out and massage the uterus (no fun). I discovered that I had a boy, no one told me that, it was mine to discover. The Tyke didn't seem much interested in nursing but he didn't cry much, just enough to let us know he was ok. We got him to latch on a little to help get the placenta out. That seemed to take a long time and I had to push really hard. When the placenta finally came out, I could see why it was so hard to get out, it was huge, bigger than the baby. The midwives said that when your nutrition is really good you get a big placenta like that and that it's very good for the baby. They told me I should be really proud of a placenta that big. It weighed nearly as much as the baby himself. The Tyke weighed in at 9 lbs 10 oz!
That was pretty much it. Peggy, Kim and Desiree tucked us in and headed out after fixing things up and Tara headed home to her family. My mom went downstairs and Dilbert, The Tyke and I snuggled into our own bed. Other than feeling sore and whatnot, I'm in good shape and The Tyke is doing so well. I definitely recommend home birth because the whole thing was so much more peaceful and I never remember feeling uncomfortable, people came into my space, I didn't have to go to theirs. It was good.