Thursday, December 22, 2011

Bye bye pacifier?

Amber was ridiculously old when she finally ditched the pacifier. Seriously... she was 3 and a half. I never meant for it to get so out of hand, but there was always a reason we didn't do it. First, it was that I was pregnant and she'd already have the "trauma" of a new sibling soon. Then it was dealing with being a big sis. Then it was trying to potty train and didn't want to overlap or interfere with that. Then it was starting school (and continued efforts to potty train.) Then we were having another baby and it was just getting ridiculous. I worried myself to death about it, and when the day came that the last one broke, she gave it up herself. No screams. No tears. Not even a mention of it after she said it was broken and gone. You could have knocked me over with a feather. Now I swore up and down I REALLY wasn't going to do that this time around with Audrey. And there was the whole "going to be a big sis" thing going so I let her keep it till she got used to that (And boy, was that a rough time!). We started collecting it up every morning and after every nap, saving it just for "deaux deaux time," with eventual plans for total elimination. Then she kept getting ear infections--and the tubes/adenoidectomy, which caused ANOTHER infection--so she started keeping that sucker around the clock. She was SOOOO crabby, and I just wanted her to have some kind of comfort... I was getting sucked down excuse alley again. I decided her New Year's resolution was to give that puppy up. There were two left, both full of holes, and when they were gone, that was it. Little did I know that they'd be MIA today! It was rough going getting Audrey to finally lay down--she essentially cried herself to sleep--but she did it. The only problem now is actually finding the two missing ones before she does! I know she'll pop those suckers back in her mouth, even if we are paci-free for a while. I KNOW at least one is in the house, so it's a race to find them first!!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

It's been HOW long??

We were out of a "real" computer for several weeks, but NOW I have a beautiful new laptop on my kitchen table! Hopefully this will make it more likely that I update. And thanks to a nap and Dora the Explorer, I'm able to hop on here right now while I watch the "big girls" with half an eyeball...

I had promised an update after the next school party for Amber (which, sadly, was Halloweeen's party) unless things went tragically wrong. They did go wrong--with my computer. But all-in-all, she did pretty well. There was the class picture incident, though--it's where all the kids sat around the teacher on a blanket at the pumpkin patch. All the kids, that is, except Amber. She just stood on the side with her back to the camera. Yep, she's THAT kid. But I am fully confident that had I not been there, she'd be right up front and center cheesing it up for the camera.

I know this because when I "sneak" in and watch her at school functions, she is Little Miss Goody Two Shoes. I was late to her "Santa comes to school Christmas party" last week (due to a particularly nasty blowout diaper--Thanks, Stella!) She didn't see me walk in, and lo and behold, there she is sitting in her teacher's lap, beaming at Santa like she'd never done a thing wrong in her life.

Well, I suppose it's time for me to go... the hubs is home (and keeps talking) and the Dora is about to save the day again anyway. Here's hoping to be back soon!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Shall we hibernate?

Staying at home each day with the girls is not the world's most EXCITING job on a day-to-day basis, so I try to go out and do things. I have the girls in school half a day on Tuesday/Thursday. We belong to a Moms Club and try to have playdate with other SAHMs. However, every time I try to do something nice with other people and have some semblance of social life, I often wind up wishing I could just crawl into a cave and hibernate with my crew.

When I go somewhere with just me and the girls, their behavior is usually stellar. I mean, seriously... I'm usually so proud of how well-behaved they are and how they listen. But SOMETHING about going in public with other people--be it friends, family, school--makes Amber act like a she-beast. I suppose I should chalk it up to shyness--but it seriously ruins my day. I already have my hands full watching 3 girls, but when she starts up, I just DON"T know what to do. Sometimes it's refusing to walk and sitting down in the middle of the ground/road/store. Sometimes it's being ugly and mean to anyone who tries to approach her. It drives me CRAZY because she really and truly is a sweet girl. She is just do damn inflexible! Any break to the "norm" makes her start acting out.

For example, if I go to her school for a party or special day, she melts down. It's so WEIRD! She is GREAT when I'm not there--the teacher is forever telling me what a sweet girl she is, how well she listens to directions, what a big help she is, etc. And she's such a good girl for me at home, doing most anything I ask of her and being so kind to her sisters. But when "school world" mixes with "mom world," she flips out. She wants to be carried. She rolls on the floor. She won't participate in the class activities. She cries and screams. It's so damn embarrassing!!!

I know, I shouldn't let a tantrum ruin my day, but it just makes me feel terrible, as I know I come off looking like one of the following:

1. Push-over mom: If I cater to her tantrum, then I look like a wishy-washy mom who lets her kids walk all over her. Which in turn would likely cause MORE tantrums. She looks like a spoiled brat that does this all the time to get her way. WHICH SHE DOESN'T DO AT HOME. But who would believe me?

2. Crazy mama: I have to get mean. This could be picking her up and fussing at her, threatening to leave, walk off while she's rolling on the floor in hopes she'll get up and follow me, etc. I don't want to come off as a crazy, screaming mom, but I find myself growling at her or fussing at her for acting like such a fool.

So after the tantrum is over, she goes about on her merry way, not letting it bother her in the least. And I am left stewing about what a bunch of crazy fools we look like. I know it shouldn't matter to me what anyone thinks we look like, but I feel like a jackass. I just don't know what to do with this girl!

Well, tomorrow is her class Halloween party. She swears she will be "extra super happy" if I come, and I have told her she better doggone well not act like a hooligan when I get there. I could opt not to go, but I don't want her to be the only child whose mother doesn't make all these little preschool events. So here's hoping for the best... but I know the whole time I'll be geared up worrying she'll erupt at any given moment.

Tomorrow I'll have to update with the "results" of the class party. If not, then you'll know I went into hibernation with my crew.

Big girl bed #2

We officially now have only one child left in a crib. Well, technically, that one has never slept in a crib yet, but she's the only one left. We had to put Miss Audrey in a her "big girl" toddler bed unexpectedly yesterday. When I went to get her out from her nap, she had so much leg and lower torso over the rail, I know for sure she could kamikaze out of there. And of course, I was immediately gripped by "The Fear," as so appropriately named by the ladies of Rants from Mommyland (a favorite blog I read.)

As defined on their blog: "The Fear: irrational, all-consuming anxiety that something awful may happen to the little terror suspects (or their father). Sex offenders, drunk drivers, and enemy combatants among those who inspire The Fear. Results in statements like; "No you may NOT walk to the mailbox without a grown-up. I don't care if you are in High School."

The Fear is basically the way that I am always scared poopless that something horrible is going to happen to my children. So of course, my great fear at this point was that leaving the crib up for one second longer would result in my child possibly falling out and breaking her neck and killing herself. Likely to happen--absolutely not. But will I worry about it incessantly and not be able to sleep if my child is in that crib one more time--you bet!

So within an hour, the crib was converted to toddler bed. I guess I should be glad we made 2 years and 3 months still in a crib! So far, no big issues except that when she wakes up, she gets up and begins beating on the door. No more letting her just play in there for a few minutes after waking. When she's up, she's out!

Now, if we could just get Stella to sleep longer than 3-hour intervals at this point, we could move her fanny to the crib....

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Oh, they grow so fast...

Today was Amber's last day of school before her birthday on Sunday, so I offered to bring a special treat for the kids. So naturally, I was baking cookies and putting on frosting way past when I should have been in bed last night, but I digress...

When I woke her up this morning for school, I said "Good morning! Happy UNbirthday!" She sat up and stretched out her arms and said "WOW, Mama! Look at my arms how long they are! I grew FAST last night!" Playing into this, I told her to look at her pajama pants. The cuffs were pushed up around her mid-calves.

She looked down and saw how short they looked. When she looked back up at me, her eyes were wide with excitement! "Mama, I grew REALLY REALLY fast last night!"

The child was certain that because today was a "birthday" of sorts, she had grown overnight! She couldn't wait to run out and tell Jay to look at her and see how big she'd gotten. Then she proceeded to tell anyone who would listen how big she was now because she's growing so fast!

Oh, the sweet innocence... brings a smile to my face every time I think of it!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Theme Week

It appears we have a theme running around here this past week, and that theme has been "puke on mom" week. Lovely.

It started with Audrey climbing down the stairs on the swingset. She wanted me to hold her--how sweet! And then she puked all over me and herself. I stripped it down in the backyard and headed for the house. Hope none of the neighbors were watching but that was too nasty to stay in for one second longer.

The baby was coughing so much from her cold a few days later that she puked all over me and the couch at 2 AM. That was fun.

Then last night with the lights off I sat down in the recliner to rock the baby to sleep. My pants felt a little bit damp, so I wiped my hand back there to check it out. Doggie barf (which was identified by its Purina-rific smell). All over the butt of my pants (and the recliner!)

This morning Amber got up and threw up all over the floor. But I just feel a little left out here because it didn't ACTUALLY get on me, other than when I was washing her off in the tub. Just didn't quite hit that 100%. I'm a high achiever, I know...

But seriously--can we get some good health over here?!?! Since about 10 days ago, we've all had various combinations of the following: extreme diarrhea, vomiting, strep throat, ear infections, cold, and cough. My kitchen counter looks like a micro-Walgreens!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Living on the crazy train

So as brought to my attention today, it has been quite some time since I blogged on here. During part of that break, I was pretty much computer-less (unless you count the fossil in the back of the house which does not lend itself to blogging time with 3 children underfoot).

I guess when Stella was born, I stepped aboard the crazy train and that sucker hasn't made any stops yet!! Actually, I must have boarded when she was about 1 month old, and this is what life has been like in a nutshell..

1. Baby gets super fussy at 1 month old, and begin the reflux medication trials.
2. Husband has hemorrhoid surgery (and several followup visits)
3. Husband has second surgery because he didn't rest like he was supposed to after first surgery (cue major league aggravation and more followup visits)
4. Baby gets an upper GI, sees pediatric gastroenterologist.Yet another med.
5. Baby see second ped GI, and determination of milk protein intolerance is made.
6. Mama stops eating dairy foods. A little tricky, but good for the diet.
7. Husband goes to Virginia for 3 weeks. Takes laptop AKA lifeline to outside world.
8. Big girls start school and mama's guilt is through the roof every time they cry.
9. Whole family is sick with one or more of the following: Cold, cough, strep throat, chronic diarrhea, occasional vomiting. 3 doctor visits in 1.5 weeks.

And we're stuck at #9 right now. Good times. But whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger, right??

And I'm not meaning this as a complaining post--I really have to look at it more like humorous... and also so one day when I am totally blank on what happened in the first half of Stella's life, I can look back at this and say "OOOOH yeah! And I did it on no sleep, too, baby!"

Monday, August 29, 2011

Happy Katrina-versary?

Well today marks the 6th year since Katrina hit, and as expected, I haven't seen much in the way of publicity over this--and understandably so. In the wake of Hurricane Irene's destruction just this weekend, on top of the earthquake in the same area last week, I think it would be a shame to snub coverage of those folks in lieu of marking the anniversary of a DIFFERENT storm.

But this anniversary stands out to me a bit more because it's the first one where the calendar year lines up the same as in 2005--the first one where the 29th has been a Monday again. All last night when I'd wake up to feed Stella, I had the worst time trying to go back to sleep. My mind just kept racing back to the wee hours of THAT August 29th, when we were all hunkered down in our house, just waiting for Katrina to get there. At this point you knew it was too late to get out, so you just braced yourself for what you knew was coming, and I don't think our lives have ever been the same since.

This morning I was telling Jay about my rough night and he said "Well, at least it wasn't anything traumatic that you went through," comparing my experience to that of soldiers who watched people being killed. And true enough, we were quite lucky not to have suffered any deaths among our family and friends. Thank God for that.

But there is something profoundly shaking about watching the world you grew up in just start to crumble around you. And by this I don't just mean the infrastructure--I mean the crumbling of hope and of morality and general order. I'll never forget hearing people screaming for help from their rooftops in the middle of the night. I'll never forget watching people break into the CHURCH SUPPLY HOUSE down the road from us. And I'll never forget the fear we had that we just might not make it out of this alive and just how close we came to being the ones who would have been stranded on our roof should that levee have given way on our side!

However, this anniversary also marks some great things for me. Going through something like this helped me to re-evaluate what was REALLY important in my life and make that a priority. I was able to just let go of the "stuff" and be thankful for the wonderful friends and family I have. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think that six years later I'd be sitting here with three sweet little girls in my care. If it weren't for Katrina, I'd never have met my husband, and I'd never have these wonderful babies.

Though I'm sure not true for everyone, at least for me, the silver lining far outweighs the cloud...

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Getting so big!

Every now and then you catch one of the girls doing something more "mature," and you realize you've just witnessed them grow up just a teensy bit right before your eyes... It's a great feeling, knowing you're helping to shape them into the person you want them to be. And it's also a sad feeling, realize they're just one step further from babyhood.

For the last couple nights, Amber has started doing a lot of the things I would do for her all by herself--WITHOUT BEING ASKED--before bedtime. She took off her clothes, changed into some new underwear (we were skipping the bath because we hadn't even walked outdoors and I was pooped!), went to the bathroom, brushed her teeth, and got her room all ready for the "bedtime routine," including picking out a book for us to share in her rocker. She was so proud of herself, and I was too, of course!

She's even been pretty good lately about picking up her room (or Audrey's room, if that's where they've been playing). And she never ceases to amaze me how she will help out her sisters--putting in a lost pacifier, handing over a toy, getting a juice cup, etc. She really is a big help to me, even at three! Who'd have guessed? But most anytime I ask her to get something or do something for me when I'm tied up (or hooked up nursing), she generally does her best to help me out. It really does make me proud...

AND YET, why does the thought of her growing up make me a little sad?? I mean, we raise our children so they can be independent and self-sufficient. And we CERTAINLY wouldn't want to be wiping butts and filling up snack cups for the next 18 years, BUT it still makes me just a little bitty bit sad. I guess it's because I just love them so much for who they are RIGHT NOW and am enjoying the innocence and sweetness of these preschool years. And maybe it's knowing that once this day is gone, it's GONE and there's no going back.

I just have to remember that tomorrow will hold joys and surprises (and problems) that I can't anticipate, so I need to enjoy today for what it is and be excited for the promise of the future. When Amber was a baby, I could never anticipate how much I would LOVE her at age 3, so who knows what great things will be in store for us both when she's 4, or 10 or 16?

I think this is one of the paradoxes of motherhood--wanting your children to grow up into great people but still always yearning to keep them as your little babies!


Ok, so sorry to anyone who left a comment for any of the last few posts. Like a big dummy, I didn't think to check and now realize there were several on there I hadn't read before. BUT thank you for your kind words, and now I know to check comments more often!!

Is there some way to get an email notification when someone comments? That would be great if there was...

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Biggest Loser

It never ceases to amaze me how easily Audrey loses things. She loses small things, but it's the big stuff that gets me. For instance, she likes to sleep with two dolls, a stuffed duck, and stuffed monkey. AND I COULDN'T FIND ANY OF THEM. Seriously, how do you misplace FOUR stuffed animals? Well, you shove them into bags, ride-on toys, strollers, and the play kitchen.

This evening's missing item: a pacifier. This is a frequently lost item. We used to have a bunch of them but she lost a bunch and chewed through the rest. So I wound up having to buy 2 more, but one of those is now missing. I've found them in crazy places before--the pantry, the dog kennel water bowl--so who knows where it is. And I've looked everywhere.... wonder how many times she's going to wake up tonight looking for it :o(

Now, I know she's getting too big for the "nu-nu," but with all the stress of the new baby, taking that away was the last thing I wanted to do. Only in the last week or so have I felt like we're FINALLY getting past some of that (specifically, the sleep issue and resulting major-league tantrums), so I'm only remotely considering weaning her from the pacifiers at this point.

But I sure do hope I don't end up having to buy a couple more in the meantime--though it sure would be nice not to do the "Great Nu-Nu Hunt" before each nap and bedtime!!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Banshee problem solved?

Apparently the solution to the banshee problem was LOTS of sleep. At least, I hope that's the end of it...

Audrey was a good 2-3 hour napper during the day and almost overnight she started taking like 20-30 minute naps. AND night waking. AND getting up at the crack of dawn. So needless to say, she wasn't getting a whole lot of sleep for the last few weeks. And it wasn't for lack of us trying to get her to stay down. We did every little trick we could think of (or read about) to get her to stay down, but to no avail...

And like MAGIC on Thursday morning she slept like crazy. Woke up at 11, but was a banshee again (see previous post) and then napped again at 3 BY REQUEST! Well, I hesitated to put her to bed TOO early because I feared the early riser, but she went down by about 8:30 and slept till NINE this morning.

I saw the banshee rears its little head slightly around noon, and put her down again for a nice long nap. And like magic, no episodes today! I could SURE get used to this!!!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Late morning surprise

Audrey has been waking up around 6:15 or so pretty consistently these days. So when she and Amber both started sleeping past 8:00 this morning, I was stoked. Too bad I was up since 6 ANYWAY with itty bitty missy, but it allowed me time to keep reading the last Harry Potter book, which I could NOT put down!! Then 9:00 came and went. And 10:00, when Amber finally showed her face, Audrey was still sawing logs.

I took a quick peek into her room, trying to be sneaky so she wouldn't see me if she WAS awake and I could milk out a few more minutes of peace. It's dim in her room from the room darkening shade, and I was peeking around the corner of the closet... but I could have SWORN the kid was naked. "Oh no," I told myself, "she's just got on that light yellow pj that is looking flesh tone in this light."

WELL, when she finally woke up at ELEVEN, I went in to find her BUCK NAKED except for socks. All the animals and pjs and diaper were on the floor. Hoping she had just done this, I checked out the status of the sheet--sopping wet. Socks--could be wrung out they were so full of pee. Then I noticed that her hair was wet too :o( I guess she had been peeing in that bed all night and rolling around in it.


And of course she ratchets up her banshee yell (see previous post), making cleanup a complete nightmare. Good times.. We won't be wearing those jammies again, and if she wakes up like that again tomorrow, I'm going to start duct taping that diaper when I put her down...

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, take me away!!!

Home of the Banshee

I always said that the terrible twos actually begin with the "terrible second year." Audrey was always so laid back and easygoing.. as my dad puts it, "she was smiling since birth!" And she actually did start smiling at only a few weeks old and NO it was not gas... But I'm hoping that this sweet easygoing nature will make a comeback once we get through this rough patch.

I still have people tell me all the time "Oh, you just never see that Audrey without a big smile on her face!"

Well, let me tell you what.. she must be saving it up just especially for me. The tantrums this kid has been throwing lately are OFF THE HOOK! The sound is above and beyond regular screaming... it is DEAFENING! And it sounds like it's coming from way down deep. I don't know how the kid isn't shredding up her throat, but she doesn't even seem hoarse afterward.

Once she starts, there is no comforting her. We've tried holding her down, whispering in her ear, distracting her, and ignoring her, and I'm not really seeing anything slowing her down. Sometimes she starts up as a reaction to being told "no," as in "No, you have to change your diaper now before we do anything else because it's dragging on the ground behind you." But more often than not she cranks it up when you go to get her out of the crib. And sadly, these episodes have been lasting up to an hour long.

I guess she's just been hit with a lot right now--a tough age, a new baby, and trying to find her place as the middle child. But I just wish she'd do it a little more quietly...

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Amberisms of the Day

Apparently I'm not doing well with trying to write up lots of little stories, so at least I should jot down a few gems when I can or I am sure to forget them.

While changing Audrey's diaper:
ME: Ooh, little girl, this is stuck on you like peanut butter!
AMBER (eyes wide): But mama, there's no peanuts in it!!

and then later during said diaper change:
AMBER: Audrey, your diaper is stinking up all the air!

And because of diaper change we had a bath... and Amber was washing her own hair.
ME: Amber, you ready for me to rinse yet?
AMBER: No, mama, I still workin' on it...

And my fave:
AMBER: Oh, come on, Mama! You can do it! You're the best!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

What a Week!

I swore up and down that I'd do better with this blog, but it truly has been Grade-A crazy around here. And I swear, it never fails that when I have a spare couple minutes and think to blog, this stupid laptop is having internet issues. I sure did miss this computer when it was in the shop for a few weeks, so it's better than nothing, but it never fails to screw up in the 5 minute period I'm looking to use it...


Right now I'm getting a taste of "single parenting" while Jay is laid up. He had surgery on Wednesday and is not supposed to be doing any lifting or moving around, etc. So of course, he's been up and about quite a bit. Nothing compared to his usual by any means, but he definitely has not been laying down and resting as I think he should. So of course today he feels like poo. Uh huh. Why must some people (men) do everything the hard way??

On Wednesday we also had the Audrey severe reaction to ant bites fiasco. She broke out in hives and a rash and her little extremities were all swollen. So five prescriptions and a referral to the allergist later, she's doing much better.

Audrey has also decided to start using the potty. Maybe she'll be super duper easy?? That would be a pleasant change of pace! She doesn't use it consistently enough to take her out of diapers, but she's gone 4 or 5 times just today. It's getting a little aggravating with the constant trips back and forth to the potty, but if I don't have to go through what we did (and sometimes STILL do) with Amber, it'll be worth it. She looks like such a little peanut on the potty, though!

But the biggest achievement of the past week is that Amber is now paci-free. I know it's absolutely ridiculous that she still took it, but I kept finding reasons to postpone the "breakup"--Audrey was going to be born, Audrey was so reflux-y, trying to potty train, still trying to potty train, Stella to be born. There was always some reason to wait, and I dreaded the day they'd be gone forever. I started limiting her to bedtime only, and then I started eliminating them one by one. And when the last one broke, she just got rid of it herself. KNOCK ME OVER WITH A FEATHER!! And we've never heard another word about it... She was pretty crabby at bedtime because I think she didn't know what to do with herself in the bed without them, but never once did she ask for them.

It's been a tough week, but it's also been a great one! These little girls never cease to amaze me!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Fallout

The first few days/weeks of me with the girls by myself was going so surprisingly easy. Apparently the honeymoon is over.

First, Stella started up with the same miserable reflux that Audrey had. This is my worst nightmare come true. (Well, maybe not the WORST nightmare I could conjure up, but the worst one that didn't concern major illness, death, etc.) That first year with Audrey was HORRIBLE, and I just don't know how I could do that again with two other little ones running around.

Also, the 'big girls' are now starting up with issues that I KNOW are directly related to the stress of the new baby.

The lesser of the two: Amber has decided to un-potty train herself. She was wetting the bed pretty consistently for a week there, which she NEVER did before, even when we were potty training. But now she basically keeps refusing to use the bathroom. I will catch her walking around like a T-Rex or something trying to hold in #2 (which seems to be the biggest issue). Then when she absolutely cannot hold it any longer, she cries that the poop is "hurting her cute butt." No fooling--she's probably major league stopped up that point! And she will refuse to do ANYTHING on the potty unless you hold something over her head--like watching a show, going somewhere fun, getting chocolate milk, whatever. It's getting REALLY REALLY old to keep scrubbing little poop spots out of underwear on a girl that has been potty trained for months.

BUT the MORE annoying issue is Audrey's refusal to nap. She was a 2-3 hour a day napper before. And OVERNIGHT she started refusing to sleep. AND SHE IS DOG TIRED. She wants me to stay in there with her and rub her back or whatever till she falls asleep but I CANNOT do that with the other 2 and I WILL NOT start that bad habit. Oftentimes I'm stuck having to lay with the girls when we're not at home in order to get them to go to sleep and it is a ROYAL pain in the butt. I don't know how or why people do this on a daily basis. I mean, you spend half your day trying to get kids in the bed, and they wake up half the time when you try to get up and leave ANYWAY.

I put her in the bed with the same routine every single day, and she just screams and screams and SCREAMS. For hours. I'll check on her periodically so she doesn't think I've abandoned her, but that's old too. And if by some miracle she does fall asleep, it's never for long. I think as soon as she gets into a lighter sleep cycle, and realizes she drifted off, she's up screaming again.

And all this boils down to--MOM NEVER GETS A NAP FOR MORE THAN 10 MINUTES IN THE MIDDLE OF THE DAY. And I'm trying to cut back on the caffeine to see if it helps Stella any, so I can't even enjoy a coke or something to try to take the edge off the sleep deprivation. I seriously have not napped more than about 20 minutes during "naptime" since Stella was born because no one will freaking STAY ASLEEP and BE QUIET!!!

Yet, the worst part of the whole scenario is the ensuing moods. I have NO PATIENCE for a mood induced by someone not sleeping. Maybe it's because I haven't slept either... but I hate that I wasted my time doing the "before bed" song and dance for naught.

BUT, if we can get everyone in the bed for 8, perhaps there is a silver lining.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Bringing in the big guns

Two posts in one day--wow, I must have a lot of free time on my hands. HAHA!! It's just a rare moment of quiet here, though I can hear Stella squeaking so my time is nearly up...

Now I have someone lined up to help with the housework. This took a battle with my conscience, feeling as though I should be doing it all. But this weekend when the big girls were away, I spent the ENTIRETY of my "free time" cleaning. Seriously. Didn't even watch a TV show. And that's freakin' ridiculous because the house is STILL NOT CLEAN.

My tub has not seen the likes of a scrub brush since B.S. (Before Stella) and I just avoid taking a bath rather than actually clean it. There's so many other pressing issues--we need to have clean dishes, clean clothes, and food to eat, so there just doesn't seem to be time for "EXTRAS" like cleaning a big tub when you have a perfectly good shower right next to it.

So it's time to call in the reinforcements. I'm sure it will be awkward at first, having someone else doing the cleaning in your own house. I just can't take living n the mess anymore...

I've been taking the girls to do stuff OUTSIDE of the house every day because being stuck at home is more stressful--I am just surrounded by constant reminders of how short I fall from getting it all together. So if taking 3 kids under 4 out on the town daily is less stressful than being at home, then it is time to admit defeat!!! I just cannot do it all, and paying for these services is paying for a little shred of my sanity back.

Time to bring in the big guns...or big mops!

Sleep? What's that?

So Easy Street just took a turn onto Rip Your Hair Out Boulevard.

I really had been amazed how much easier managing 3 on my own had been than previously dreaded. Now granted, I knew the dynamic would change as Stella got more awake/alert/mobile, etc.

But seemingly overnight, my little sweetie started showing signs of the dreaded ACID REFLUX that we dealt with when Audrey was an infant. Audrey's first year is a complete haze to me, as I spent most of it in a sleep-deprived coma. Of course, I hadn't even HEARD of acid reflux in infants with her so I let it go on for weeks and weeks before calling the doctor out of desperation. I figured that all babies cried and all babies woke up during the night, and I would look like a nut calling in to the doc to complain about that. I just didn't realize that what was going on over here was BEYOND the norm until I had already not slept for about a month. And then you just never catch up...

So Stella started up with some of the SAME stuff last weekend, and we went to the doc RIGHT AWAY. Get the drugs in that baby, stat! Because dealing with 3 at once was doable with a little fatigue from getting up multiple times at night. But getting a few hours of sleep spread out over 100 little incriments is making managing "the crew" downright painful. I swear--I have NO patience when I'm this pooped and have been "crazy mama" all week. Poor girls--I try to keep The Rage on a leash, but internally I feel like I'm going to LOSE IT!

Now we have Zantac, so I pray to God that this cures what ails the child. She was SO RIDICULOUSLY EASY and then overnight became Needy Nelda--and seems to be in pain a lot--so please, PLEASE let this work.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Little Mary Mixup

Where trouble goes, Audrey follows...

My little Audrey Rose is the sweetest child. She is always giving kisses and hugs and often gives up what she is playing with to appease her less-flexible big sis. I swear, it floors me when Amber starts to screech because Audrey has a toy that she wants and Audrey HANDS IT OVER. In the midst of me telling Amber to wait her turn, Audrey just gives in to her. Hmm... maybe Audrey and I need to get on the same page when it comes to disciplining her big sis...

But my little Audrey Rose is also the queen of getting dirty and getting into things she shouldn't. I like to call her my little "Pigpen." I can be a mere two feet from the child and she gets into something RIGHT BEFORE MY EYES--something I didn't prevent because I NEVER THOUGHT SHE'D DO THAT!!

For example, while I was standing in the same room, she took a plastic chair and put it on the trampoline--and then proceeded to climb atop the whole mess. Never in my mind did I think she'd even COME UP with that, but that's Pigpen for you..

I have had to come up with a "BAN LIST" of things that Audrey is not allowed to have--a list that is constantly being updated. Of course, this doesn't include the OBVIOUS things she shouldn't have--like weapons and matches--but the "harmless" stuff she's made a colossal mess with.


1. Shredded cheese: Both girls adore cheese, and the shredded variety is probably the favorite. And if they sat and ate it at the table with a spoon, I wouldn't even mind that much. But Audrey likes to eat hers like she's taking a shot, and inevitably, half the cheese ends up all over the floor/table/dog/etc. When I had to scrape smashed cheese off the top of my sofa, this became the start of the ban list.

2. Fruity Pebbles (or similar cereals): Never again will I make the mistake of buying this cereal with its itsy bitsy pieces. She does to this what she does with shredded cheese. I hate walking across the kitchen and crunching.

3. Markers: I put these on the list a while ago, but became a softie and let her use them again recently. Then she totally took advantage and colored the entirety of her outer ears, face, scalp, and neck while I was feeding the baby on the sofa (and daddy was supposed to be supervising.) I don't know how she even got a marker that far into her ear, but it required several dampened Q-tips to get most of it out. Thank God we didn't have a doctor's appointment in the next couple of days.

4. Phones/iPod/remotes: Probably no explanation needed here. But she LOVES to take the batteries out of stuff and then attempt to put them back. And get mad when she can't. Not to mention I don't want the police showing up at my house for an inadvertent 911 call.

5. Non spill proof bubbles: I didn't realize the need for this one till this morning when she took a whole bottle of bubbles and dumped them out on the porch. And then walked through them and slipped and hit her head. Again this happened while feeding the baby and she was out of arm's reach. Then a few minutes later she got her sister's and dumped it on her legs, rubbing it in like massage oil.

I am sure there will be many updates to this list. Close contenders at this point are rocks and sand, which she continues to mouth and/or eat, but I hate to ban her from the sandbox. Just yet, anyway...

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Mall Meltdown

Well, the inevitable happened--our first public meltdown. I knew this day would come, so now I know we'll all survive the next time and be able to look back and laugh. One day. Maybe.

I decided to take the girls to the play area at the mall--our first "fun" outing with me + 3. I had taken them all with me to Stella's weight check at the pediatrician's office... but figured this would be a "step up" in the bravery dept. I thought the mall play area would be good because it was somewhat confined, but I'd still have to manage the getting everyone to and from the car without being run over, abducted, or any of my other great fears I have.

They did great! The "Dynamic Duo" played together and with the other kids so sweetly that I decided it would be alright if we also took a ride on the mall train. Unfortunately, the "loading dock" is on the other side of the mall by the food court, but we had nothing but time. It took us quite a while to get there, as the Duo was on foot with baby in stroller, but train ride went swimmingly as well. Everyone was in such a good mood, I decided to ALSO brave getting lunch at Chick Fil A. At this point, we were pushing naptime, and in hindsight, we should have gotten food to go. But instead we ate there, and then I got a couple little cookies for them to eat on the way home.

And I got a big case of premature excitation. In my mind, we were home free! We did all those things with NO meltdowns and were heading back to the car. This was beautiful. Why was I so worried?

WELL... when we got about halfway back to the car, Audrey got tired and sat down. No problem--I just picked her up with one arm and pushed the stroller with the other. We were seriously about 50 ft from the door when Amber declares she is too tired to walk any further and wants to be carried as well. Hmm... perhaps if mom was an octopus, I could have honored that request, but I was fresh out of arms at this point.

And THAT is when the howling began. If you didn't see this child, you would think I was sawing off her limbs with a plastic knife. It was RIDICULOUS. I tried to reason with her, but quickly realized you can't reason with hysterical. So I just kept walking... and eventually she'd get off the floor and run to catch up. She'd plop down and I'd keep walking and the cycle went on and on until we hit the car. Meanwhile, Stella started to scream because it was feeding time, and Audrey started to scream because the other two were screaming. It was classic.

At this point, I was felt ready to leave her little butt in Sears, drive away, and never look back. OH, but then I'd regret it later, so I put the howler monkey in the car.

We all made it home in one piece, and they all went directly to bed. It had all gone so well except that last 10 minutes when we were already heading for the door... it hasn't ruined me completely on outings with the whole crew. But I'm really hoping we don't get a repeat performance next time.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Why oh why...

Amber reached a charming phase this past week--the "WHY" line of questioning. This is a fun little phase where every tiniest thing I say or do is met with a "Why you do that, Mama?"

This is particularly poorly timed, as my level of patience is directly proportional to the amount of sleep I've gotten. And after a rough night, like last night--where 1.5 hours in a row was my longest "stretch" of sleep--I'm particularly strapped to not get snippy with the endless questioning.

It doesn't matter if she already knows the answer, she's going to ask me why anyway. This morning I sat down to feed Stella and she wants to know "why you feeding her, mama?" I try to turn it around and ask her back "well, why do you think I need to feed the baby?"--but I am doubtful this technique is going to save me from additional questioning...

I suppose I should be grateful, though, that she didn't start getting so inquisitive BEFORE I had the baby. I was dreading any line of questioning regarding how the baby got from inside mama to outside mama... wasn't sure how to answer that one!

Sunday, June 5, 2011


The day before I went into labor, I was seriously going down the slide at Kees park with the girls. I honestly just felt really, really good. Aside from being hot ALL THE FREAKING TIME and knocking over Audrey with my stomach all the time, I could actually forget from time to time that I was pregnant. I guess that's only fair since I felt like death for the first 20 weeks...

As I said in the prior post, I was on a big "carpe diem" kick in the weeks prior to delivery, thinking I'd be on house arrest for the better part of the next few months once I was outnumbered 3 to 1. So on Tuesday I was sliding at Kees Park, trimming the bushes in the front yard, and playing with the girls... Went to the doc Wednesday and he just advised me to "NOT GO OUT OF TOWN" but I was feeling so good I thought I might stay pregnant another month or so. Surely you'd have to feel lousy when you were about to give birth, right?

On Wednesday night I went to a moms night out at Bayou Ceramics, still feeling fine. And then I stood up to leave, and something was NOT fine. I had sprung a leak! I couldn't get to my car and home fast enough. I couldn't decide if I should go to the hospital or wait--didn't want another false alarm like I had with Audrey, when they basically told me the baby squished my bladder and I had involuntarily peed myself. LOVELY.

Still feeling great, so I opted to try to catch a little sleep and see how I felt in the morning. WELL, at about 3 AM, the contractions started, so I plopped my butt on the couch and watched TV while documenting the contractions. For about 2 hours they stayed 6 mins apart, so I decided to get all my stuff ready to roll and take a shower before waking anyone up. I DID NOT want to spend any extra time at the hospital than was necessary, and I hated to make people get up and come over in the middle of the night if it wasn't urgent. But by 5:30, I figured I'd better get Jay rolling and get over there JUST IN CASE. Because at this point, I still wasn't 100% it wasn't false labor. You'd think by kid #3 you'd have a better clue, right?

After a brief drive thru run to get breakfast at Burger King (because I knew they wouldn't let me eat once I got there) we made it to Cabrini. In fact, it was the real deal, and at 1:12 PM, little Stella Grace made her arrival on scene, all 5.5 pound of her! And it's a good thing she was a girl, because I STILL didn't have a boy name picked out. We had options, but I wasn't settled (and honestly, never had been even back to when I was in labor for Amber).

And to all those mamas who had their babies with no epidural, I don't know how you did it. I had the epidural all 3 times, but THIS time, it was not nearly strong enough. And by the time I realized we needed to amp up the meds, it was too late and she was RIGHT THERE. Holy mother of pearl... But thank goodness she came out quickly. Hats off to you that go it sans drugs. WOW.

New beginnings

Oh where, oh where has my little blog gone? So I knew it had been a while since I wrote anything here... but didn't realize it had been over THREE MONTHS! Shame, shame on me...

Perhaps trying to resuscitate this blog at the same time as bringing a brand new baby home from the hospital is not the best idea... but I figured that life is NOT going to be slowing down ANY TIME in the next 20 or so years, so I better just make the time to squeeze it in. I know I will be sad if I neglect to write about things and then forget them in the next months/years to come.

I already feel a little bit guilty because of how little I remember about Audrey's first year or so of life. Poor middle child--because you KNOW I had everything written down for Amber--all her firsts, growth at each doctor's visit, etc. I think I wrote down a few "firsts" in Audrey's baby book, but mostly I said "oh, I'll remember" and then promptly forgot.

So I am promising to do better by little Stella and the "big girls" from this point on...

In a nutshell, here's what's been going on B.S. (that's Before Stella, not bull s...):

1. Amber finally got potty trained. HOORAY! HOORAY!! We still have occasional accidents when she's too busy to be bothered, but at least I am not changing 3 butts a day!!

2. I was able to get back into playing and take several gigs. It was very, VERY hard for me to leave night after night for a few weeks there, but all in all, I think it was very good for us as a whole. I got to revisit being a REGULAR PERSON instead of just "mama" and the girls had to adjust to letting daddy do everything for them. And we're still reaping the benefits--it does my heart good to hear them insist that DADDY do something instead of me, as I used to be the go-to person for everything. And I think Daddy kind of enjoys getting top billing too :o)

3. After months of being in shock that I was pregnant AGAIN (and also sick as a dog), I was able to start preparing the best I could for mommyhood to 3. I actually liken the way I was acting to preparing for impending death. I realize that's kind of morbid and ridiculous, but I guess in my mind, when #3 got here, life as I knew it was OVER. So we went out and did stuff ALL THE TIME, making the most of every day. I really had visions of me being trapped in this house all summer, chronically sleep deprived and ready to lose my mind.

But you know what? It really hasn't been half bad... gets a little more hectic when everyone's clamoring for your attention or help at the same time, but generally, I feel MORE RELAXED than I did before. Which blows my mind. Perhaps it's because I have resigned myself to the fact that we're just not going to be moving fast and not to sweat the small stuff because I will LOSE MY MIND if I do. I'm sure I'll have many "blow a gasket" moments in the days to come, but perhaps it's just the relief of knowing that life has not come to a crashing halt because we have a new baby. I've been able to take them out by myself without a major disaster and the girls have adjusted pretty well to having to share mama with one other person.

Despite all my worries and concerns, things really have all worked out just fine... instead of feeling like my old life coming to an end, it truly does feel like a new beginning instead. I am excited to see these 3 grow up together, but I am also trying to take it slow and savor each little moment, as I know it will all pass too quickly!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Staying the course

So when I first found out I was pregnant... again... I figured I had a good long time for Amber to get potty trained. I mean, she wasn't even 3 yet at that point.

And NOW I'm getting impatient because I realize that #3 is going to be here in a short couple of months and this stubborn girl is still not doing her job. She's potty-trained one or two days, and then she falls off the wagon. I realize that going to swing and playing with Thomas the Train is very exciting and it's hard to tear yourself away, but for goodness sake I AM SO TIRED OF CHANGING TWO BUTTS ALL DAY!! Especially when ONE of those two butts has been semi-using the potty for well over half a year now.

So I get it into my head that I will just start making her wear regular underwear. I talk it up--she's all excited. (She's very into being "tall" and "big" like mommy right now. She's the only person in the world who thinks I'm tall.)

I figured we'd have accidents, but she'd be so upset by wetting her clothes that she'd get it under control ASAP and that would be the end of things.

OOOOOH, but no. I should have figured as much with that brick-headed child. Today was day 1 and we had 3 accidents. She made NO attempt to use the potty and could not have cared less about walking around with a "bonus" in her underwear.

I found myself getting REALLY PISSY with her. I know you're not supposed to make it a negative experience and be all supportive and do it on her timetable. But this is driving me CRAAAAAAZY!!!!!

But I am staying the course for at least a few days... she has GOT to do it sometime, right????? Though I have visions of myself sending her to her prom with a purse full of Pampers.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


Every time I turn around, this kid is doing something else to make me crack up...

The latest: speaking in various "tongues." And no, I do not mean in a variety of recognized human languages. Sometimes she speaks in elephant. Or snake. Or dog. But usually it's cat... and if you call her a "cat" at this point, she will correct you and tell you that she is AMBERcat. Excuse us.

The only word in the language of cat, apparently, is "meow." And who would expect anything less? Generally, she'll substitute "meow" for "yes," though it could be used in place of any word--one meow per syllable, of course. So instead of thank you, she might say "Meow, meow," with the same inflection as the regular words. And of course, any song can be easily changed into a kitty ode, simply by replacing each syllable with "meow." You should hear "Jingle Bells" in cat.. it's quite lovely.

And sometimes she will act like a cat--fake grooming herself or lapping up milk, but generally she just walks around answering you in "cat" as if she was doing the most normal thing in the world.

I have never heard of anyone else's kid doing this... When I asked her speech therapist if she had been doing this--as she will only meow when I try to work with her at home--she thought I meant talking in a high-pitched voice, still using English words. She was quite a bit more taken aback when I said she actually MEOWS in place of words...

At least Amber recognizes that this is really silly and laughs at herself all the time. She also said she won't do it at school because she doesn't want to get "a time out." I'm just hoping that she has a great imagination and will grow up to be a highly creative individual... But for now I just know for sure that she is a super silly kid!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Amber and the Spicy Shrimp

We went out to get some delicious seafood at Fant's tonight (and WHY didn't I know this place existed the first 4 years I lived here???) I had a pile of boiled shrimp on my plate, as well as some fried, assuming Amber would eat some of the fried ones.

WRONG! She only went for the boiled shrimp. "They're spicy!" I told her, but she dug in anyway. After one bite, she yelled out "SPICY!" but then kept going back for more. After 4 or so jumbo shrimp, she decided she was experienced enough to peel them herself.

I didn't think much of it--if she got some shell in her mouth, then surely she'd spit it out. What I DIDN'T think of was how much SPICIER the shell is than the actual shrimp...

Well, little Amber Claire took a bite and either got shell or got really close to some shell she left in there, and she went crazy! "SPICY SHRIMP!! SPICY SHRIMP!!!" she started screaming in the restaurant (though I only noticed one table to even take note of the fact that this kid was going nuts at the table next to them). The poor kid had tears rolling down her face, and I kid you not, she drank almost an entire styrofoam cup of water. She just kept sucking on that straw for about 2 minutes.

But did that stop Amber! Heck, no! She finished up that shrimp and came back for another after that! She was pretty miserable in the moment, but I'm glad she didn't let it ruin the whole boiled seafood experience for her!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Missing a mom gene?

As any parent would probably tell you about their own kids, I love my girls with all my heart. I couldn't imagine my life without the two of them in it! And of course, this lends itself to worry over their health and safety at all times. I SERIOUSLY don't know how I'd go on if something happened to either one of them. They truly are my life.

That being said, I just CANNOT get into this whole pregnancy thing. I mean, there's the excitement about a new kid coming... but I want that kid here now! Forget this 40 weeks of waiting--let's get the show on the road!!! And it seems like most women I hear about talk about how much they just LOOOOVE being pregnant. It makes me wonder--am I missing some mommy gene somewhere along the line?

I wish I did, but I just DO NOT enjoy being pregnant. I ABHOR the first half where I'm throwing up and feeling like a giant sack of poo (then again, who wouldn't hate that?) But beyond that point, I hate the toll it takes on my body--fatigue, sore feet, acne, swollen boobs, stretch marks. I hate that I look like a bus in sneakers at the end, and I hate the "don't look pregnant and just look fat" phase I'm in right now. And I hate being slowed down--I like to run around and play and get on the floor and all that other good stuff you can do with little kids, but my butt is always tired, strained, sore, or whatever.

I just really, really can't wait to have my body back. Maybe I'm not the only mom out there who feels this way, but I definitely think I'm in the minority. If we could speed up the process, I think that would help me greatly. Or maybe it's just that come May, I'll have been pregnant for nearly 2.5 years out of the last 4+. And if we factor in nursing, I've had a baby suckled to me either in utero or at breast since January 2007 (with the exception of about 4 months). I am ready for a break!!

The Miserable Cat Napper!!

I'm not one of those mommas that keeps their kids on a very rigid schedule, but we do have a pretty standard routine over here. I mean, one day Amber might take a midday nap at 1:30 and maybe it'll be a little after 2 the next day, but there's schedule.

And it drives me BANANAS when we get thrown off. That's when I know I will have to pay for it for the remainder of the day and possibly the next day. And THIS is what makes me hate nights away from home, though what option do you really have when none of your family lives in town? Even with a place of their own to lay down for naps and nighttime, the girls just DON'T sleep as well when not at home, and I know they are going to be little irritable beasts the next day or two. I don't want to be a schedule nazi, but good Lord, I seriously am ready to lose it after a few hours of these two whining and cranky.

However, my BIGGEST annoyance by far is the miserable cat nap in the car. I swear, if either kid falls asleep for even a couple of minutes in the car, it jacks up the rest of my day!!! Amber very, very rarely sleeps in the car, and I used to think this was a pain. OH NO. I'd much rather Audrey not sleep in the car either because it's not quality sleep anyway and she won't take a good nap later. I thought I had stumbled upon a solution--keeping her supplied with juice, food or toys while driving--but that didn't work either, as she'll fall asleep with any of those.

And the saddest part is that she is SO out of sorts when we get home that she just follows me around crying to be held. I'll give in to a point, but who can spend their whole day walking around with a 20-pound growth? By 3:15 today I just couldn't take any more, so I put the poor child in her bed and just had to let her scream like a banshee till she passed out. I was only going to leave her in there a set amount of time to give myself a cooldown.

I don't remember where I read it, but I know somewhere I had seen that it was far better to let the kid scream in a safe place than risk being hurtful to them because you had reached your breaking point. And it's sad for me to admit that I actually get to a point where I feel like I might hurt the kid... damn this temper of mine!!! I know it sound nuts to even have written this, but I think more people feel like this on occasion than would admit to it. You just have to get a break sometimes to keep your own sanity!!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Amber's Awesome Day

Though I'd really rather be crashing right now, I'm afraid if I don't capture Amber's day RIGHT NOW, it'll be forgotten.... and I might need to come back to this one day when she's driving me bananas and know "Yes, she's really going to be ok. This too shall pass."

First of all, she got up and got ready for school with NO FIGHTS. AND she even went to the potty before we left, which has happened ONCE this whole school year thus far. (She started using the potty again yesterday, and I hope beyond all hopes that this will REALLY be it since she's doing it on her own terms and not because I was bribing her). She got out the car with no struggles and was happy about going to class. Sometimes we get a "I want to stay home" from her in the mornings, not because she doesn't have a fun at school but because she's usually a grump in the mornings if being made to get moving before she's ready to.

But when I picked her up, the preschool director told me she was a "smart cookie" when she loaded her in the car, as Amber knew all the answers during circle time. Not knowing what they did during circle time, she explained that they were doing colors and shapes and Amber was popping off answers as fast as the teacher could ask. (I hope this is more socially acceptable in a class of 2's and 3's than it would be in grade school.) "She even knew OCTAGON!" Heck, I didn't even know the kid knew what an octagon was. This kid is just a sponge.

And when I got home, there was a note in her backpack that she stayed dry the whole time and even used the potty at school for the first time!!!! I am stoked--big progress for little Amber!

She played a little while and then ACTUALLY REQUESTED to take a nap because, as she put it, "I played hard today." What a hoot. And she did go down with no fight. She even got up in a great mood and STAYED in a great mood till bedtime, which she did with no fight as well. I couldn't tell her enough how proud I was of her--and she peed on the potty for the second day in a row (Still not on board with poop, but I'm just thrilled she's interested at all!)

I swear, on days like this, I could just eat that kid up. I mean, I love her all the time, but times like these just make me melt into a big puddle of mom-goo!