December 23, 2012

This is motherhood.

The other night I was getting The Geel into her pajamas when she grabbed a comb and insisting on combing my hair.  I sat obediently on the floor and watched her concentrated expression as she tried to "tame my tresses," which are so short she basically just kept shoving the comb into my hair, twisting it around and yanking it straight up.  I just stared at her face and a million thoughts ran through my head:  how I hadn't really wanted her, how I had to teach myself to stop thinking about what should have been, how I tell her constantly "I love you" in what began as an effort to convince myself that I really felt it MORE THAN I felt like we made a huge mistake, how I can't imagine my life without her even though that was not the case for a long time, how she is SO sweet and loving and clever and embodies joy.  Every.  Day.  I found myself crying.

I cried that cry that comes over you when you feel the unbridled and overwhelming love of parenthood.  I cried that there were days that I denied myself that feeling for her and I cried that I can finally, honestly say that I no longer think about the life we would be living without her.  Somewhere along the line, I have discovered that there is no "we" or "us" without her.

Now, I don't mean to cheapen this moment, because it was (for me) somewhat profound.  I had spent a lot of days thinking about the things we would be doing if The Geel wasn't here; and to be still for a moment, watching her just be and realizing that I couldn't remember the last time I'd had those thoughts, was a pretty big moment for me.  But the reason the title of this post came to mind was what happened in the next moment.

I wiped my eyes, took the comb from her and pulled her to me to hug and squeeze this beautiful little creature that had just unwittingly overwhelmed me.  And then I was unwittingly overwhelmed by something entirely different:  the stench emanating from her rear.  While it was obvious what the issue was, it occurred to me that while I was basking in this motherly glow, crying simultaneously with small regret and great joy, that my gorgeous, wonderful, joyous baby girl was simultaneously combing my hair and dropping a deuce.  I found myself laughing.

For The Geel, it was just another moment in her day filled with snacks and sippy cups, whining and tears, toys and baby dolls, giggles and silliness, and many, many hugs and kisses.  Nothing profound or momentous  for her--just something to do, something to explore.  A comb.  Mommy's hair.  Another dirty diaper along the way.  Babyhood.

And so this is motherhood:  Overwhelmed by something profound, then the moment passes.  Overwhelmed by something so much more pedestrian but requiring no less attention--and as that moment passed I was simply thankful that I had stopped to let her comb my hair before I had changed her diaper and put on her pajamas.
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December 10, 2012


I feel the need to put out an update on this situation.  Although I am quite positive my post did nothing to ruin the reputation of such a fine retail establishment as SEARS (since my hordes of followers are not protesting at their local SEARS in solidarity with my laundry plight), I do want to be fair and make it known that they have tried to make good.  Kinda

If you haven't read 1-800-F-MY-LIFE, you're gonna want to catch up before reading any further....

So today The Sarge tells me he can smell the fun waiting for us when the SEARS repair man opens the washer on Wednesday.  He wanted to clear the mountain of laundry out of the laundry room so the guy has room to work, and he can already smell the moldy, mildewy stench emanating from the machine.  Nice.  I just hope that the machine is worth using once it's back in working condition.

I do have to report, though, that SEARS has made some minor effort (after an hour-plus-long phone call from The Sarge) to make things a little better.  They offered us a gift card to help make up for any of the clothes that may not survive their untimely incarceration in our defective machine.  They also offered us some compensation for laundromat costs.

Now we won't receive that until after the repairman has completed the repair.  Since they have an allowance per week, they want to make sure the problem is solved before they cut a check.  In other words, there's a chance he may not fix it and we will have to add another week's worth of compensation.  In which case they need to think about sending me a big enough gift card to buy a new washing machine.  

If there is a silver lining here, it's this:  the people I work for have an office in their home (where I go to work) and they have graciously let me use their washer and dryer to do a few loads throughout the week to hold us over.  As grateful as I am for that, I can say for the first time EVER in my life (and I don't say this lightly) that I CANNOT WAIT to be able to do all of my laundry.  Here.  At home.  In my own washer.
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December 3, 2012


I used to work at SEARS.  It wasn't a terrible job by any standards, except that to work a commission-only job (Appliance Sales) part-time in a floundering economy just wasn't worth it, so I moved on to greener pastures.  I do still patronize the joint, however and was more than happy to buy my high efficiency washer there almost three years ago.  I even bought "the beef."  Our "insider" term for the Master Protection Agreement that you can buy (that lasts 3 or 5 years) and covers nearly everything including some acts of God, but adds a cost that is prohibitive to a lot of folks.

Being one who abhors waste of any kind, I was sure to use my agreement to get the allotted annual preventative maintenance checks every year so far, and I have even used it a couple of times for actual necessary repairs that arose.  It has more than paid for itself.

Late last night, I got an error code on my washer.  Google tells me it's a clog or something to do with the pump.  Some fix-it website suggested pulling off the front panel and manually disabling the door lock--which I am unable to attempt lest I void my warranty by "opening up the unit."  I try (as also suggested) unplugging it, waiting (while it's supposedly resetting the computer panel or something) and plugging it back in with no change.  The door is locked and the wet laundry is locked inside.  This is when technology sucks.  I obviously would not have had this problem with the old top-loader.

Early this morning I dial 1-800-4-MY-HOME to set up a repair appointment.  The nice lady listens to my story, looks up the error code, orders a part that will ship right to my house to wait for the repair man.  Then we try a few troubleshooting things which consist of unplugging it, waiting and plugging it back in to find the same red light indicating that the door is locked.  So I am resigned to wait for the repair man--who will be coming in 10 days.  10 DAYS?!?  10 DAYS!?!?!

Now, I'm sure SEARS thinks I can just rent a U-Haul, head over to the laundromat with my mountains of dirty laundry and sit there eating bon-bons while reading my latest book club pick, watching the spin cycle and daydreaming about running away with Matt Damon--EXACTLY how I would do it at home on any given day.

What they fail to realize is that I hardly have time to get my laundry done while it's in my own home!  That between the 5,000 things I forget (daily), the 400 chores that never get checked off my list, my three kids, two jobs and a partridge in a f'ing pear tree ('tis the season) I don't have ONE second to even fantasize about Matt, let alone lug my unmentionables to that 'mat for a wash and whirl.

THEN at about noon, it dawns on me that in 10 days (10 FREAKIN' DAYS!?!?!?) when Mr. Repairman gets my washer open, I'll be dealing with what will quite likely be a moldy/mildewed and rank-smelling load of laundry.  Nice.  Can't wait for that one.

Well, since I can't do any laundry for 10 days, perhaps I'll use all this free time to accomplish all the little things I never seem to get done:  like eating bon-bons, reading my book club picks, and daydreaming about Matt.  And a different kind of wash and whirl.

See the rest of the story here.
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November 22, 2012

The 5 Stages Of Weaning.

Denial:   I don't need to wean her just yet.  This is so healthy for both of us. It's completely normal that my eighteen-month-old not only asks to nurse,  but tells me when to switch sides. And informs me when "I done."  And it's such a wonderful bonding experience, I totally love it.  Still.

Anger:  What am I,  a prize-winning sow? WTH is wrong with this kid!?  She still doesn't sleep through the night!  I can't do this sh*t anymore!  I'm gonna cut her off cold-turkey.  I. AM. DONE.

Bargaining:  How about a cookie; wouldn't you rather eat a cookie?  Do you want to watch TV?  Let's read a book first,  then do nur-nurs.  Don't cry!  How about mommy just holds you? How about I hold you and you hold the cookie?  Ok,  mommy will let you for just one minute.  I'm putting on the timer.  Ok, two minutes and mommy gets a cookie.

Depression:  OMG, this kid is never going to wean.  I will never again have a night of uninterrupted sleep.  Why can't she be easy like my other two?  This is so not fair.  I want my boobs back. 

Acceptance:  I guess I just can't force the issue--she'll eventually stop when she's ready.  It's not like she'll still be nursing when she's in kindergarten.  She'll get bored of it soon.   This too shall pass.

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Happy Thanksgiving, not-so-super people!

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November 20, 2012

What Slim does with his free time....

Slim saved his birthday money to buy a tablet.  I am pretty vigilant about making sure he's not puttering around the interwebs, stumbling upon something unsavory on YouTube (he likes to look for Lego Star Wars videos and such).

Guess I should have been a little more discerning about the kids drawing app I let him download.  And perhaps a lock on the fridge is in order....

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October 29, 2012

The Sugar (Part 1)

Moo has Type I Diabetes.  I'm not sure how this fact has eluded the Confessions thus far, but I guess I don't have a whole lot to say on the topic in general.  It is very much ingrained in our daily lives, of course, and yet life just rolls along without much incident as far as the disease goes.  I can't figure out how something that drives me nuts multiple times a day and has a good bit of "control" over some of the function of our days has become sort of ho-hum and so mundane.

Our "journey"  (that sounds so euphemistic, but "nightmare" might be a little extreme) began exactly three years ago today.  Moo had been symptomatic (unbeknownst to us) for probably about a year--hindsight is so enlightening.  The problem was (aside from the fact that I pretty much don't worry about anything--to a fault sometimes) Moo would complain of symptoms that were isolated, seemingly "normal" and I felt always had a reasonable explanation.  Sometimes she would come home from school with a  headache (I would think she had a long day, or just needed a snack), or she would be moody (7 going on 17, anyone?).  Occasionally she would complain about her vision, but she was literally sitting in the dining room 20 feet away from the counter telling me she couldn't read the microwave clock while she was chewing her dinner.  (I tried it--the 1/2-inch high numbers on the LED clock on the microwave are not too smooth at 20 paces while jawing a mouthful of mac 'n cheese.)

Anyway, the big tell was when she started getting up to use the bathroom EVERY night.  Sometimes twice.  Sometimes THREE times.  We refused water before bed and still she got up.  I was still pretty much clueless, but The Sarge's spidey senses were tingling.  His brother is a Type I diabetic diagnosed thirty years ago when he was four years old.

Now, just a brief education for you:  Type I diabetes is not considered to be hereditary, so we did not immediately jump to that conclusion.  And one might think that having someone in the family with it would have given us a leg-up on the recognition factor, but The Sugar is quite a bi-polar animal.  The Sarge remembers being drilled on what to look for if his little brother started acting funny or looked unwell.  He remembers him passing out quite a few times.  In general, low blood sugar is a pretty serious concern for a lot of Type I diabetics.  What we were unknowingly dealing with was the opposite end of the spectrum--and not uncommon for undiagnosed Type I's.  Moo's blood sugar was through the roof.  (Now about those spidey senses....)

October 27, 2009.  The Sarge was insistent that something was wrong.  I felt that whatever it was could be dealt with at Moo's annual well-check, scheduled a few weeks from then.  I actually said, "If you really think there is something wrong, then you call and get her an appointment sooner."  He actually did.  It was for the 29th.

I was less than thrilled because for starters, it was Trick or Treat night in our town.  Also, the appointment was for 2:00 pm so I had to take Moo out of school early for it.  We got to our family physician's office and went over the issues (symptoms), she asked a lot of questions, drew some blood and had Moo pee in a cup.  Then we waited.  And waited.  And waited.  for about 45 minutes.  I was not particularly thrilled about the wait and I was starting to get a little weirded out.  What the hell could be taking so long?

Never in a million years would I have guessed that the doctor would come back in the room and say "I suspect your daughter has Type I diabetes."  The Sugar.  Seriously, I thought we were going to get a pamphlet, go home, and maybe come back in a few days for a follow-up visit.  I had no idea.  I think it took some time for the shock to wear off.  Neither of us started crying until we were in the car on the way to the Emergency Room.  And I think we were both mostly crying because it was then--on our way to the hospital and some scary unknown new normal--solidly sure that she wouldn't be trick-or-treating that night.

~Part 2~
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October 21, 2012

Give me Sanctuary.

Got to relive some glory days the other night at a reunion for the club where me and The Sarge met.  Had it not been for Sanctuary, there would be no Moo, no Slim, no Geel, no Confessions.  I had been thinking about a lot of things leading up to Friday night and several times wandered around to how much things have changed.  I decided to list a few on the way there:

Sanctuary Reunion, it'll be good to go back. 
5 things that are different tonight:
5. Driving 4 hours just to be "in the area"
4. Leaving the kids with the sitter. 
3. Driving up with the other half, instead of the old crew. 

2. Knowing there will be no 3 am breakfast at the diner later.
1. Trying to remember all the "stuff" (cash, ID, directions, etc.) Are we old enough for Alzheimers already?! wtf?

5 things that are the same (about the old days, and decidedly different from my everyday life now) :
5. Makeup.
4. Having a drink.
3. Changing in the car on the way. (OK, it was only my boots, but thank God I remembered to bring that other pair. When the hell did i get to be so practical?)
2. Pleasure/Fashion/Style vs. Pain (see above-that first pair of boots was killing me before i even got there)
1. Dancing my ass off to some kicking music!
See you all on the floor!

The Cult - She Sells Sanctuary

Of course there are more things.  I mean, the fact that I posted this (1)on the event page on (2)facebook, (3)in the car (4)on the way there, from my (5)smartphone is it's own self-contained list.  

A few other things occurred to me after the fact.   For one thing, talking to or at or over three kids and the TV quite regularly--with the "occasional" screaming rant thrown in--doesn't even come close to a few straight hours of conversational yelling above the din of a nightclub full of many loud people and extremely loud music.  There was a minor snafu involving the weather that postponed the 9:00 pm start time to 10:30.  In just that hour and a half, before we even got upstairs to get the festivities underway, I was talking so much to various friends, old acquaintances and familiar faces, that my throat was bone dry and sore before I ever stepped out on the dance floor and worked up a sweat.  And speaking of sweat, it became clear to me halfway through the night that I should have trained for several weeks before attempting to dance like I used to three nights a week with no problem.

Some things stayed blessedly the same.  Like my many-years-long friendships with my crew.  Although we live kinda far apart, and our respective Lives have pulled us in different directions, it was such a GREAT feeling to see them and know that there is still some love out there--no matter the distance.  We talked like old times, danced just like back in the day.  There was a comfort in the old familiarity between friends.

That was by far the best part of the night.  Other highlights include not breaking anything or pulling any muscles, not getting any emergency calls from the sitter and not drinking enough to get a hangover.  Good times.  They most definitely were Friday night as in years before and I think everyone who went would love to do it again.  As for The Sarge and me, we didn't "close the joint" this time, but if there is a next time, I'll train harder and stay longer.  It was our first real night away from all three kids.  Give me Sanctuary, again and again.
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October 4, 2012

A letter to my former would-be babysitter.

Dear Composite of Several Recent Babysitter FAILS:

I suppose when I casually told you that I didn't care what you did as long as my kids were safe, that you took that to heart. A little too young and childless for that kind of sarcasm, I guess. My bad.
Let me start over. Let me say first, thank you. Thank you for taking time out of your young, and childless and relatively carefree life to take responsibility for the only things in this world that I would kill to protect.

Not only is it important to me that you are a responsible human being whose care for my children should closely mimic my own (without crossing a line that would incite my natural maternal paranoia that you are a psychotic lunatic kidnapper) but also that you understand the fact that I consider this your job and expect you to treat it as such--be on time (and don't tell me two days before you start that you can't watch my kids this summer--despite the fact that you told me you would, two months ago), look presentable (keep the Daisy Dukes at home--I don't care how fucking hot it is out, I have central air) and unless you are legitimately ill (not hungover) and/or puking (not hungover) and/or contagious, show up. My kids will survive a sniffle, they are in the public school system.

As I see it, you have two basic duties: one, keep my kids safe and two, play. The first should go without saying. The second, well, I thought it was fairly obvious. Since you don't have to fold clothes, vacuum, run errands, pay bills or do any of the things I am constantly barely finishing, what else could possibly eat up your time with my precious little darlings? Put your phone down--really, that text to your BFF about Tommy's new skank can wait until you get home--sit your ass on the floor and make the baby a goddamn block tower she can knock over, just so you can build another one. Read a book. Hug a babydoll. Sing the Itsy Bitsy Spider, and damn it, do the hand motions and putting a little extra finger-wiggling in that rain.  Play Monopoly with the older two or bust out the crayons and coloring books. Whatever! PLAY! If I could afford to, I'd do it all day every day.

I can't possibly make you see that years from now when you have a "real" job and you’re punching a clock and paying taxes and wondering where the last ten years went, you will finally truly appreciate the job this is now. Show up, play with some kids, feed them, don't let them kill each other, don't burn the house down. (Oh yeah, and DON'T fall asleep on the couch when you're responsible for an inquisitive one year old.) Big responsibility for sure, but you'll never have another job like it. In the "real world" work is not often "play" (unless you are so lucky as to have a career at something you truly love and are passionate about). And no one will hug you just for showing up and being fun.

So for now, I won't miss you, and I'm probably lucky that these things didn't work out. In the end, I do believe that despite the shitstorm of stress I am operating in between dragging the kids to work with me some days (thank God I can!) and slapping together a patchwork babysitting schedule with duct tape and bubble gum and good Mommy friends, my kids will be better off not having known you or been in your company long term. For all the crappy attitude and slothfulness they will not witness, I will thank myself.

Good luck, and good riddance.

(Not-So-) Super Mom.

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August 10, 2012

Hope this.

(Well, Mediocrates, I hope I get this out in time.......)

Step 1: Write a blog post about hope & publish it on your blog.
Step 2: Invite one (or more!) bloggers to do the same. 
Step 3: Link to the person who recruited you (me, in this case) at the top of the post, and the people you're recruiting at the bottom of the post. 

Melanie Crutchfield will be holding "Closing Ceremonies" around August 10 and will gather up little snippets from people that wrote about hope, so make sure you link back to her as the originator of the relay.


When I think about hope I inevitably think about desperation. Desperate people hope, and not always in the most dire of situations.  I could be desperate for a drink and hope that my kids didn't drink all the lemonade.  Pedestrian, I know, but true none the less.  We hope and hope and hope day in and day out about the big stuff and the small.  Right now I hope I will finish this in time to be a part of this blog relay about Hope.  

I could go on for days about the things I hope for daily.  It is a never-ending and ever-changing and all-encompassing (big and small) list of things.  The small stuff comes and goes (like lemonade) but the big things seem to hang on, of course.  No one hopes for a cure for their disease and then doesn't think about it again the next day, or hour or minute.  That kind of hope lives in you and consumes you and you become it.  

Some of the big things for me right now?  
  • I hope my husband gets a certain job he's been after. He has a decent one now, but this one's better and he deserves it.  We struggle and I juggle two part time jobs and the full time mother-of-three gig.  It's doing, but the other job would make a world of difference for us. 
  • I hope that our freakin' house sells so we can get a (slightly) larger one with enough room for all of  us.  
  • I hope we can get Moo's diabetes under control soon.  She's okay, but we could be doing better with it.  It's a disease with no cure, so it's all "one day at a time" and shit, but it just sucks sometimes that we never get a day off.  Chronic.  Hate it.
  • And of course there's always the big:  I hope the good, fun, educational stuff I sometimes do with my kids, outweighs the crappy, losing-my-shit, bad mommy episodes that I should be ashamed to admit to but know we all have.  That's there a lot--or maybe it just seems like a lot lately because it's summer.  
Anyway, hope.  It's always there.  Sometimes it's a disease, sometimes it's lemonade.  Sometimes it's a blog.  Hope you liked it. 

I fear it may by too late for me to invite anyone but I will add a link or two to some of my favorite blogs.

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August 5, 2012

The Thrill Is Gone--Part Four of The Crib Chronicles

(If you're new here you might want to catch Parts One, Two and Three first.)

This post is way overdue.  My bruised pride has prevented me from writing it thus far.

The Geel is back in the bed.  The crib is gone and when I think that, somehow B.B. King's The Thrill is Gone pops into my head, and it is.  It was a beautiful time we had but it's over.  I can't exactly pinpoint where it went wrong (I blame the crappy babysitter--that's a whole other post-to-come) or perhaps the night I tried to run out and catch a movie with some girlfriends (curse you, Magic Mike).  I'm not sure even Channing Tatum's gyrating groin was worth the agony of defeat.

How it ended was that a couple weeks ago I put her in her crib for the night and she screamed.  Now she had cried before but always a sort of tired whiny cry, and never for longer than 15 minutes at most.  Usually if she cried it was five minutes or thereabouts and she would whimper and go to sleep.  This particular time she started crying hard and screaming.  I sort of knew it was over.  I stood by the door with my back to her and tried to see if I could wait her out.  Wasn't happening.  The screaming was getting worse, and I have to hand it to The Sarge, because his tolerance for that kinda stuff is ZERO, but he just let me do it my way.  He had witnessed the magic and he had been sleeping back in the bed and I suspect he really wanted it to work despite his asinine paranoia about the crib.

So eventually I just picked her up and brought her to my room and nursed her to sleep.  The good news is that she since being back she hasn't been scrambling over the edge and repelling down the side nor has she been attached to the teetas all night using them as a pacifier (the two main reasons I was hellbent on getting her in the crib: safety and lack of sleep.)  

Truth is I don't mind her being in the bed.  Moo and Slim both co-slept until they were roughly 2-years-old so The Geel was actually on the young side around here for moving on to independent sleeping.  But I have to admit I'm a little disappointed.  I feel kinda like EPIC FAIL here and I did enjoy having the bed to myself even if I like the snuggly stuff and waking up next to that cute little face (when she's not roaring, moaning, and groaning--this kid is NOT a morning person).  There was a little thrill of success going on.

So I'm not thrilled to have her back but it's ok.  I think she's a little happier overall and I feel good about that.

The thrill is gone
It's gone away for good
Oh, the thrill is gone baby
Baby its gone away for good

Someday I know I'll be over it all baby  

The thrill is indeed gone, but I'm already getting over it.
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July 13, 2012

yogurt, man. it'll make ya feel good.

Damn! a whole month since I've posted.  (As if that's shocking.)  I'm slack-a-lackin!  And although a few posts are in the works, this is all I've got today....

Any questions?

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June 28, 2012

Sleeping with the enemy. - Part Three of The Crib Chronicles

So the saga continues.  I added subtitles to my original "crib" posts.  I wanted to title them Part One and Part Two and Part Three of the "Crib Chronicles Trilogy" because that seems to be the hip thing to do these days--write a trilogy (a la 50 Shades of The Girl Who Played With Hunger Games)--but I am not entirely sure that this is the last I have to say about all this.  Anyway, let's go back a bit....(great, now I need a prequel title....)

I have co-slept with all my babies.  Moo and Slim made the transition to their own beds in different ways, but without much fanfare.  As with a lot of things so far, The Geel is different.  This time, although I love snuggling up with her, I have found the need to sleep "train" (I really despise that word) her and get her into the crib.  While the cosleeping goes on, The Sarge (being a pretty light sleeper) usually sleeps elsewhere.  This time he has taken up residence on the couch.  (This was an especially PITA situation during the Lice Incidents of 2012.)

So for thirteen months now, he has slept on our couch and it has gotten pretty freakin' old.  Suffice it to say, we are all over it--not least of all The Sarge.  So when he left for his AT for the National Guard, I thought it was the perefect time to make the transition--he's not here to be disturbed by any blood-curdling screaming during the night (of which there was NONE, thankyouverymuch!) and he gets to come home to his bed!  Win-win!  So imagine my surprise when while lying in bed the other night (our first time in over a year, I might emphasize) he says, "I don't like her in there all night by herself."
Dumbass might be harsh, but I certainly was doing the mental facepalm when I heard that line.
HUH?!?  What I wanted to say at that point was this:  Honey, if you'd care to take your ass back out to the couch, I'd be happy to bring The Geel back into bed with me and risk her precious little life every morning as she repels off the side our bed.  And although I appreciate your opinion on the matter, since you don't really do anything in the way of helping me put the baby to bed, and since you don't have any alternatives to my "method," I'll not be considering your feelings in the matter and I'd thank you not to shit all over my way of doing it.  Or something along those lines.  But what I did was lie there in the dark and think about what I was gonna write in this post.

In reality, I kinda get what he's saying.  For those of you who never co-slept with your babies, it does feel kinda weird to just lay them down in a crib by themselves and leave them there.  I mean, I keep joking with him that this is what "normal" people do with their kids, but I do get what he's feeling.  And I'm certainly not saying that there is anything wrong with co-sleeping or crib sleeping, but right now, I honestly feel that she is safer in there.  We had gotten to a point where she was nursing so much at night that I wasn't sleeping enough at all, and therefore could barely open my eyes in the morning while she (being an early bird, like Slim) gets up at the crack of dawn trying to crawl off our pillowtop mattress by herself.  (Which, btw, she is pretty darn good at.  The mattress is as tall as she is and she quite skillfully backs herself down off the edge and grabs the comforter to slow her slide off the side.)  So until she figures out how to climb out, I believe her to be much safer in her crib.

Now as far as the matter of MY return to restful fulfilling sleep?  We're not there yet--which I'm sure is fodder for Part Four.  She still wakes up multiple (some nights many multiple) times a night to nurse, and although it's only been a few weeks, and the nursing does go rather quickly, and she goes back to sleep quite easily, I'd thought she (and I) would get much longer stretches of sleep by now.  I mean, a few nights she has gotten a three-hour stretch in at the beginning, but then has woken up every hour afterwards.  Every. Hour.

So we still have some kinks to work out, but I'd like to think it's working well enough so far.  Even the dog is happy--now that The Geel is out of the bed, The Sarge let LuLu back in.  Win-Win-Win?

~not so fast....~
The Thrill Is Gone--Part Four of The Crib Chronicl...
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June 18, 2012

Confessions of a (Not-so-) Super Wife

I met him at a club where we used to dance.  We'd both gone for several years but had never really run into each other before that night in June.  I had been watching him dance for a while when I decided to approach him at the bar (with what could be one of the corniest things that ever left my mouth:  "I was watching the dance floor and you were absolutely the most interesting thing on it.") <gag> that was painful to write

Soooo, anyway, we talked the rest of that night and I realized by the end of the night that I didn't really like him very much.  It wasn't anything specific, just didn't get any kind of spark or anything.  Of course, after a night full of cheap gin and tonics and 2 am small talk, I'm not sure what I had expected.

About six or seven months later we started "officially" dating.  That was 14 years ago.  Marriage, three (unexpected) kids, a dog, a few states later (and not necessarily in that order) and here we are--wedded, parenting bliss.  Or something like that.

For being a man who never thought he would even have kids, The Sarge is a pretty great dad, and I think we're a good team.  He's the strong arms, straight backbone and discipline, and I'm mostly the squishy parts (in more ways than one).  His military background and my laziness sometimes make for interesting, um, discussions, but I prefer to think of it as one of the many ways we compliment each other.

He is a history buff and can (for example) tour the battlegrounds at Gettysburg and give Moo and Slim a full run down of every battle, which commanders fought which and what direction they were marching across the fields.  I am of more use helping them with their math homework.  (I am actually excited that Moo will have some Algebra next year. Bring it on!)  He is the one to make them sit and do their homework everyday as soon as they walk in the door.  I take them to auditions for plays.  He likes to plan for any and every possible eventuality.  I sometimes forget daily repeated tasks (and have been known to run out of work screaming expletives, realizing that I forgot to leave on time to pick up the kids at school.)  Like I said, we compliment each other.

One thing I never really tell him is that I appreciate our differences.  I think it is virtually impossible to realize such a thing in the middle of any "discussion" over those differences; and like most people, I have a hard time saying I am wrong about a good many things, but sometimes I am. Discipline is necessary, history is educational, planning is smart.  

Happy Father's Day to The Sarge.  Today, you can be right.  Tomorrow.....well, that's a new day.....
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June 14, 2012

More crib notes - Part Two of The Crib Chronicles

The love affair continues...

Night #3:  Why the hell did I wait so long to do this?  Wtf?  Is this my baby?  She is "down for the count" in minutes with hardly a peep.  I think the earth shifted on it's axis.  What else can I conquer?  (besides the laundry--which btw, I DID CONQUER today beyotches!!)  Is there a powerball drawing I missed tonight?  I'm on fire!  Bring on Night #4.....

So the rest of Night #3 wasn't too bad. In fact, this whole process has been WAY easier than I thought it would be.  I feel like I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop. What's the catch? Am I being punked?  The hardest part is the sleep interruptions and even they wouldn't bother me so much if it weren't for the freakin' Zyrtec I have to take that makes me feel like a zombie the whole next day (minus the face eating).

Night #4 went smoothly. This is almost not worth writing about. <yawn>

Night #5:  So far, not-so-good. Cried for about 15 minutes going down tonight. Seemed to forget what the drill was here. Or maybe she was getting bored and wanted to give me something to write about. Ugh! Not anticipating a good night.....

......aaaand not so bad.  She seems to be on a kind of schedule.  She wakes up around midnight, 2 am, 4 am and then after 6.  I can live with this for now.  At least I know what to expect.

Night #6:  Zonked before I even laid her down!  Shweeet!  All went well until the frackin' dog started barking her knob off!!  She heard the neighbor's dog fart and went into attack mode! Needless to say, The Geel woke up, but went back down without a hitch.  
Sleeping Beauty (and Alice, the baby)
I think it's safe to say this is under control, and I won't continue to put you to sleep with tales of putting The Geel to bed.  Unless anything noteworthy happens, this is the end of these crib notes.  

~that's what I thought....~
Sleeping with the enemy. - Part Three of The Crib ...
The Thrill Is Gone--Part Four of The Crib Chronicl...
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June 13, 2012

Crib notes - Part One of The Crib Chronicles

Last night (this would have been June 9th) was the first night that The Geel slept in her crib.  All night. (okay so I brought her into my bed at 5 in the morning--it still counts!) In a totally separate room.  By. Her. Self.

Now it started as most nap times have been going:  some crying, a little back-patting--but it didn't last too long.  She was out fairly quickly and I danced down the hallway.  I may or may not have done one of those little jumps and clicked my heels together.  (Okay, I didn't , but that's what I felt like.)

Now at nap times I had been bent over the crib patting her on the back or just keeping my hand on her back until she falls asleep and I can walk out hunched over like Quasimodo because I can't walk upright for another 20 minutes.  (My rationale was that I wouldn't start patting until she would be tired enough to close her eyes when I lay her down--I was still using the Supernanny-lay-the-kid-down-no-eye-contact-no-talking-no-back-patting technique.  Sometimes she went down right away, sometimes it took 26 tries.)

I knew that methodology was not going to cut it for bedtime.  I remember sleep-training Owen with some Sleep Crazy Lady Method.  Sit by the crib for three nights, sit halfway to the door for three nights, sit at the door, stand on your head by the door, sit just outside the door with your thumb in your get the idea.  There just happened to be a plastic tote (that has been filled with cold-weather clothes and not yet been put away) sitting by The Geel's crib.  This first night I just plopped my ass down on that tote and stared straight ahead--or I may have turned my back on her and caught up a few games of Words with Friends on my smartphone, either way, I was NOT engaging The Geel.

I just had this feeling that it would work,  Sounds weird, I know, but I just felt like she was gonna get it, she was gonna figure it out.  She kind half-heartedly tried to stand up, she definitely cried a little but even that was half-assed.  When I finally left the room I ran down to the garage to get a folding chair--that tote was not gonna survive a whole course of the Method.  During the night she woke up 4 times so I scooped her up, sat in my trusty folding chair, nursed her briefly and put her back down--without a peep.  That's the part I thought I would have all the trouble with--the "putting-her-BACK-in-the-crib" part.  Not a peep!  I walked out of the room and blissfully went back to sleep in my own bed.  By. My. Self.

Night #2:  She went down WAY easier which kinda scared me.  I was a little anxious about what the rest of the night would hold, but she only woke up three times last night and made it until 6:30 am!!  Then I brought her into my room to try and snuggle up and get a few more minutes of shut-eye myself, but she was up for the day.  This whole thing is going a lot smoother than I anticipated.  Maybe The Sarge will be "off the couch" by the end of the week.....

~to be continued~
More crib notes - Part Two of The Crib Chronicles
Sleeping with the enemy. - Part Three of The Crib ...
The Thrill Is Gone--Part Four of The Crib Chronicl...
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June 12, 2012

What's in a name?

I caught this post a few days ago from Daddy Knows Less and it occurs to me that I have no suitable moniker for my baby daddy.  I'm not sure how I may have referred to him in posts (certainly not my "baby daddy") but I feel like he should have some significant name.

There are some things you should know about him so that you get the whole picture.  My husband is a former Marine and currently in the National Guard.  Between being in the military and having a touch of the OCD, he's kinda a neat freak.  Me, on the other hand, well, let's just say that opposites attract.  I like to organize things, but I'm not always necessarily very neat day in and day out.  No "Domestic Goddess" here.
The joke around our house is that he will clean the toilet, and I'll fix it.  The joke-within-a-joke is that due to that OCD thing I mentioned, he won't really clean the toilet--that's my job, but truly it's the only job I have to do.  He vacuums, dusts (I DO NOT dust) and does all the yard work (which he truly does love).  The laundry is shared and the kids empty the dishwasher.  Whichever one of us cleans the kitchen after dinner (probably more me, but it usually depends on who cooked and what kind of mood The Geel is in after dinner) loads the dishwasher and washes anything that can't be loaded.

What else you should works his ASS off every day!  When he's not at his "day job" as a firefighter, he works some days for the Guard.  During mowing season he has his own lawncare business busting his ass in the sweltering summah heat, kicking grass and taking names!  (That was one of my ideas for the business name but he wanted something a little more, well, business-minded).  Anyway, my man is no slouch!

I think the most appropriate name I can come up with is The Sarge.  He made it to the rank of Sergeant while in the Marine Corps and he is now a Sergeant in the Army National Guard, and he frequently tries to run our house like a military post.  Good thing I'm around to flub that shit up!  
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May 27, 2012

What a difference a year makes.

I can't figure out why or how I have let Geel's first birthday slip past this blog unannounced.  She is, in fact, the reason I started this whole thing.  Well, really, if you boil it down the real reason would be me and The Man's lack of trying hard enough not to have Geel.  But let's not split hairs.

I would love to say that I haven't written anything before now because we were having some nice quiet family occasion.  The truth is we ran around like nutjobs driving four hours away to have a party with extended family since we moved so far from them.  So I really just did not make the time.  We did have a quiet after-dinner celebration on the night of Geel's birthday:  a mini ice cream cake with one candle and just the five of us, quickly followed by the notary lady who came to our house at 7 pm so we could sign our refi paperwork.  Woo Hoo!  I'm not sure if I was happier for that or for my baby girl turning one!  I mean, Sally the notary is helping me save $300 a month.  Geel is costing me WAY more.  You do the math.

Anyway, this year--as I often say to everyone, especially those about to have their first child--is the longest and fastest year of their life.  And mine, consequently.  And although this is the third time for me, it still holds true.  It is hard to believe she is one.  It is hard to believe she is walking, and talking (like a one-year-old) and learning so much every day.  I can literally see her brain getting bigger every time she discovers something new.

I think because she has Moo and Slim (and BabyFirst TV) to mimic every day, she seems so much smarter and advanced than they were.  She says actual words--not articulately, but she has a measurable vocabulary that she uses and adds to daily.  Dada. Mama. Juice. Cheese. Shoes. Bye-bye. Night-night. Ball. Apple.  That one I am particularly proud of.  A-ppuh.  Two non-repetitive syllables.  I love it.  She has turned me into the parent I never wanted to be--the look-what-my-incredibly-smart-baby-can-do parent.  I am annoying, and I don't care.  I talk about it all the time but not really because I think she's so much better than any other kid.  I mostly bring it up because I am incredulous.  I want to compare notes with other parents because I can't believe she can really do this shit!  I want to make sure I'm not going crazy.

But even with all of this brilliance happening I cannot escape the haunting thought that there are times when I wonder what I would be doing if she wasn't here.  My mom has said to me multiple times this past year, "I'll bet you just can't imagine your life without her now."  I think the first time she said it I kind of laughed it away and bit my tongue.  But the truth is that I can and sometimes I do.  Even now.  I would be lying if I said I didn't wonder some days, how much easier some things would be without her here.  More income.  Fewer expenses.  More time with Moo and Slim.  Less laundry. More sleep.

I mean, I have no illusions that my life is crazier or harder than anyone else's.  My kids are healthy (for the most part), my husband has a good job, but we have struggled since The Geel arrived, since I cut back significantly on working outside the home.  And I have since juggled re-entering the diaper zone, three part-time jobs (outside-the-home and concurrently) and our finances.  Even though I KNOW that all that is WAY easier than dealing with things I know other moms do--chronic and debilitating illnesses (their own and their children's), no job (serious financial turmoil), home-schooling (a breed of self-torture I will never inflict upon myself) and any other unexpected calamity life can throw at any one of us.

I have often been told (and occasionally thought) that The Geel must be here "for a reason."  Not that I could figure out what THAT was.  I think I have been waiting this past year to be hit over the head by something that laid it all out for me, that showed me "the reason" with bells and whistles, lights flashing and choirs of angels singing.  More often, too often I am thinking that she is the reason for so much else:  why we don't go out to eat anymore, why we couldn't take Moo and Slim back to Disney (as we had planned), why I should cancel my data plan and the cable we shouldn't be paying for, why we should be living with so much less and maybe be grateful for what we already have.

Fact is, The Geel did not ask to be brought into our lives.  She was not inflicted upon us and though she may have been unintended, she was no accident.  In all of her tiny brilliance, with all that she is learning every day, she is teaching us something far greater--that we have room for one more, we have love for one more, we have more to learn ourselves and with her, our family has more.
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May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day to ME!

Nothing profound going on here--just another day in paradise, but with some perks.....

Breakfast in bed!  
some of my gifts

pink piggy nails  :)

I had hoped that at some point I would have time today to write something profound on this of all days, but I am happy just to know that my kids love me so much.  They are actually the ones who created this tradition of bringing me breakfast in bed and I so look forward to it every year.  This year, of course, my little co-sleeper got to partake with me, but Moo and Slim accounted for that with some yogurt and a baby spoon for sharing.

I was given some wonderful cards, gifts and "coupons" for chores, and Moo set up a Spa for me in her room.  I was treated to a spine walk, a neck massage and foot soak (icy cold, but it certainly woke me up!  made me think that I need to take this girl to a pedi of her own so that she can learn a few things before next year....) and painted toenails.  She even had some scented lotion and music playing.  This kid is good!  (Although I wonder if it had anything to do with her later request for a guinea pig, which ended in tears)

So as I wrote this I have to confess that the bliss had ended.  I was interrupted by people at the door fundraising (on Mother's Day!?!?), a fight with Slim over his donation to aforementioned fundraisers, a waking baby (although she was asleep in her crib--small victories!!), and spilled coffee (left within reach of aforementioned baby--totally my fault).  And so I leave you with this:  

Pick your battles and count your blessings!  Happy Mother's Day!
♥ ♥ ♥

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April 24, 2012

Welcome to my crib...

The crib.  A seemingly normal household furniture item for those with babies.  Not in our house.  I co-sleep with my babies.  Please spare me your eye rolling, cringing expressions.  I am NOT--by any, ANY stretch--some crunchy granola, neo-hippy organic, berkenstock-wearing Earth mother.  Not by a LOOOOONGSHOT.  I'm just lazy--too lazy to formula feed and lug a bunch of crap around everywhere and too lazy to get up out of my warm cozy bed in the middle of the night to tend to a crying baby.  They move out when they're ready to make it through the night without me.  Or more specifically, without the boob.

I have a love/hate relationship with our crib.  We have had it for ten years now and it has gotten far less use than it probably should have in a house with three kids.  When Moo was a baby (and co-sleeping) I McGuyvered the crib to the bed by removing one side, raising it up on bricks to meet our pillow top mattress height, wedging pillows on the far side of the crib mattress so as not to lose the baby down "the crack," and strategically zip-tying it to the bed frame.  I loved the crib then.  Moo would fall asleep and I could shift her into the crib and she slept well in her own space there.  Of course, she was (and still is) my best sleeper.  Eventually she moved to a big-girl bed and we packed the crib away.  Enter Slim.

Slim is not a great sleeper and hasn't been since he was a newborn.  I McGuyvered the crib once more, but he would never sleep on his own in it.  I could never scooch him that far away from me and into his own space without him waking up in  minutes.  He slept best glued to my side all night.  After many months I gave up on the crib-as-sidecar setup and put the fourth side back on and tried to "sleep train" Slim.  This actually seemed to work for about a week until one night he screamed for 90 minutes straight.  Screamed.  We ended training and opted for peace and quiet.  And sleep.  Needless to say the love affair had ended.  I packed the crib away the next day.

And now we have The Geel.  Just turned eleven months and it's taken me until just two weeks ago to rearrange Moo's room to make room for the crib.  We don't have the space in our master bedroom for another round of McGuyvering so that was out of the question from the start.  I was so determined a year ago that this would be different.  She would be in her crib right away!  The Geel had other plans.  

She is by far my worst sleeper.  She would not sleep on her own at all and not for lack of trying.  I swaddled tightly, tried the Sleep Sheep, classical music.  Nothing worked.  She slept great--on me or daddy.  I slept many months with pillows propped under each arm so she didn't roll off of me in the middle of the night.  Daddy filled in for naps occasionally, but even those were not great.  She slept 20-30 minutes AT MOST.  This got a little better (30-40 minutes) around 5 or 6 months, but nothing to brag about.  

Did I mention that the majority of these naps took place ON me?  It made it impossible to DO anything.  I would have to wait until she was in a deep sleep--which, if she got there at all half the nap would be over by then.  Then I'd usually have to do some contortionist move to try and gently lay her down without waking her up.  I don't have any hard fast statistics about how successful I was at this, but suffice it to say that a 50% success rate would be generous.  If it did work I would hurriedly run around the house switching laundry (always!) or loading/unloading the dishwasher (in slow motion--don't want to make too much noise) or whatever else needed to be done at any given time. 

Now the crib is back.  First of all, Geel goes to daycare two days a week.  I know she naps there, although when I see nap from 11:00 am to 1:50 pm written on her little daily sheet, I wonder if they even know who my baby is.  The first two days of the "New World Order" were a little rough.  She didn't cry a whole lot (definitely no screaming--a great success by my measure) but she didn't sleep at all either--which left me with a zombie baby the rest of the afternoon.  

The third day she went to daycare.  I decided to grill the daycare women about technique and tried to get them to give up state secrets.  They told me they put her in her crib, cover her up, pop in the binky and she's off to la-la-land.  Sort of.  If she stands up and cries a little they lay her back down and pat her back.  Really?  I've seen that a million times on Supernanny.  I can handle that!

Day Four went rather smoothly.  She hardly cried at all and every time she stood up I just laid her back down (being super careful not to make eye contact or talk at all--Jo Frost would be proud!), covered her up, popped in the bink and after about 4 or 5 times she drifted of the sleep.  Day Five was even better!  Had to go back in ONCE and she was out in under four minutes!  Day Six got a little hairy.  I think I went in about 25 times.  Could be that she wasn't as tired as I thought or perhaps she was overtired.  Either way I was confident she would go down and she did eventually.  

So we still have a few bumps in the road.  It's just the beginning of this latest journey with the crib.  Obviously we don't want to rush things.  We wouldn't want to rush into anything too heavy--like putting her in there to sleep through the night.  For now, I'll take it slow, but I have to confess:  I think I'm falling in love again......

If you want to see how this story really ends, you might want to check out

Crib notes - Part One of The Crib Chronicles

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April 21, 2012

Author, Author!

I've always considered myself a writer.  In the evolution of my identity growing up, it is the one thing that has always been.  I definitely remember when I wanted to be a doctor, a lawyer, a bio-medical engineer, an actor.  I wanted to be a Mom.  I wanted to be childless.  I wanted to be a wife.  I wanted to remain single.  One thing I never "wanted to be" was a writer--because I just was.

Now, I have at times specifically wanted to be a novelist, a playwright, and I briefly flirted with the idea of journalism.  I imagined that I would write wonderful short stories for magazines and be "Published."  These specific writing jobs never materialized, and there really is no job title for someone who furiously scribbles poetic rants on napkins.

My past as a writer is immortalized in many notebooks (for some reason I was always drawn to steno notebooks) scraps of paper and napkins, backs of receipts and the like.  My present?  Wrapped up in my brain.  I write constantly--in my head.  If I had time to sit and write all of the things I ramble on about to myself, I'd truly do nothing else--but it mostly gets swallowed up in the churning whirlpool of daily life with three kids, a dog and a couple part-time jobs and laundry (it really is it's own job all by itself.)

When blogging became de rigueur, I wanted no parts of it.  Writing was such a private thing in so many ways.  Partly because it was so raw and partly because it was so melodramatic I'd be mortified if anyone read some of the things I wrote.  I roll my own eyes reading some of that crap!

The other problem was that I couldn't imagine that anyone would want to read what I wrote and I just didn't feel like putting myself out there for that kind of rejection.  I think writers are like stand-up comedians in so many ways.  The best material is the crappy things in life, and we crave the attention of an audience so badly it overshadows the fact that we should probably be embarrassed like normal people.

So basically I'm doing this for the attention.  Well, not really, but kinda.  I always did like people to read what I wrote and I always appreciate feedback and constructive criticism.  I'll take Simon over Paula any day.  Tell me what sucks and maybe how you would fix it--don't get sloshed, read my shit and tell me my outfit looks good.

My biggest problem is that sometimes it takes me forever.  Who has time for this every day?  I don't like to read many blogs but I do enjoy a good "Punch" from Jen.  She's funny and it seems effortless.  (And she's courting minivan manufacturers.)  I want to be her.  Not in a Jennifer Jason Leigh Single White Female kind of way.  More like a "I-have-time-to-sit-down-with-my-thoughts-and-write-something-funny/entertaining/thought provoking-today" kind of way.

I keep promising myself that I will take more time, make more time, to sit down and do this more often.  (Which shouldn't be difficult considering that I average less than one post per month.)  So what, if anything, does this have to do with my super parenting?  Nothing really, except I will brag that both of my literate kids are excellent writers.  Or maybe I need to change the name of my blog.
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