Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Up at 4:30 a.m.???

Why?  Shouldn't I be sleeping peacefully alongside my infant daughter (who resfuses to sleep without mama)? 

I woke up for mommy and daddy time.  We have been reduced to waking in the wee hours in order to get quality time together.  And boy, do we need it.  I've been very crabby and yesterday, I, er, um stated my displeasure in a not-so-appropriate way.  It really is amazing how much just living life and not stopping to smell the proverbial roses takes out of a person.  Bill and I get caught up in making a living and we forget to make a life. 

So, we woke up and interacted (yes, that IS code) and then I got on the computer for mommy time (aka reading all the insane stories of women being hounded while NIP) and he got in the shower and got ready for work.  I feel better going about the day, but I am NOT a morning person so I'm not sure how the rest of the day will turn out. 

We may get a nap later, in between going to the park, eating, running errands, cleaning house, cleaning out the car, eating some more, etc.  When people see me, I must look frazzled because they say stuff like, "Wow, you look tired!" and "Is there a fire?"  Then, they start counting kids.  Yup, I'm tired and most likely, supper is on fire, so I gotta run!  Seven.  You can see them say the number again and again in their minds.  Sometimes, they even mouth the word 'seven' soundlessly as their eyes grow to the size of serving bowls.

Seven sounds like a large number, but seeing, and indeed smelling, really is believing.  Five of them are at or above normal-adult size so sometimes seven feels like thirty-five.  We drive a really long truck (thank you, Natalie) and we just barely fit.  There are a few of us who, unfortunately, are not fully grown into our odors and when you get them all in one place, it starts smelling like a skunk convention.  If you see us coming, you might think that a bunch of adults got together and went to the zoo.  Nope.  That's me and my five almost-but-not-quite grown kids.

Someone invaribly mistakes the younger ones as the children of one of the older ones.  Recently, IN ONE DAY, I had three different people ask me if Amelia was my grandbaby.  Wow.  I realize I've aged in the last 30-something years, but give a girl a break!  I'm just barely old enough to be the mom of a high-school graduate;  I am not ready for grandparenthood!

All of this ranting comes on the heels of a much needed mini-vacation.  Nothing too outlandish, just some time with our extended families.  But traveling with the kids, even just 'his' or just 'hers' (which includes a mixture of 'theirs') is a feat that is not taken on lightly.  I'm dreading it.  I've already packed the DVD player and the extra strength deodorant.  Six hours in a car and stopping at gas stations is not too appealing when you are going with four children.  There comes a point when you just jump in the car and go before you drive yourself  insane wondering if one will have to pee 10 minutes into the voyage or if the baby will scream her head off for hours at a time confined to her infant carseat.

We have a LOT of people living here, randomly, but still overwhelmingly at some times.  We make it work.  If you are fortunate enough to be on my friend's list on Facebook, you will see on my profile this quote from a recent visit to the grocery store:  "Yes I have 7 (seven) kids.  Yes I know about birth control."  I actually said that to someone.  Someone who was gawking at us when I was overly tired and overly stressed and overly annoyed with people gawking.

Therefore, daddy and I decided that with all the goings on around here, we have to have some us time.  It's difficult to have us time in the midst of teenagers who comment (un)accordingly.  It's also difficult to be 'alone' when your infant, otherwise known as 'the cling-on,' wants to nurse and snuggly and have mommy all to herself or ELSE.  I'm not too sure that getting up at 4:30 a.m. was a great idea because my eyelids are already starting to droop four hours later.  I might be a grouchy, tired mama later, but at least I still know how to 'fry that bacon up in a pan.'  (Yes, more code!)

Monday, May 24, 2010

BHG Magazine Suggests Throwing Breastfeeders in the Toilet

***There is also an apology available on the blog and at BHG's Facebook page***This has changed on the website.  It now reads "9 Commandments of dining with little kids."  They so graciously backspaced over the breastfeeding commandment.  The best I could do is a print screen, because the original link now goes to the "9 Commandments" article.  If you are as PISSED about this as I am, join this Facebook group and find out how to sound off!

"Stolen" from the Facebook page, Boycott Better Homes and Gardens:

Amanda - "Just because it's a 4-star restaurant doesn't mean their patrons take 4-star shits.  Their poop stinks as bad as someone taking a poop at McDonalds..."

Friday, May 21, 2010

I Blinked

This was written a few months ago and I wanted to publish it in recognition of Teryn's graduation last night. 

I've been doing a lot of 'spending quality time with' the kiddles lately.  The oldest will be graduating high school in May and it's made me realize that this is all so very fleeting.  Before I know it, I'll be a G word (ain't gonna say it, nope, can't make me!).  I am really proud of my #1 we (aka Teryn) and I'm hoping that she stays close to go to school and be a basketball star.  She has been offered several scholarships at some two year colleges and one at a university.  Let's hope she listens to mama and takes the scholarship at the university, which just happens to be close to mama and a warm meal and a free washing machine!!!

Thinking back on when I got pregnant with Teryn, I can't help but remember some epiphany I had just after her arrival.  I was 18 1/2 and scared to think that 'adults' had actually let me take this little life home with me to care for all by myself!  What the hell were they thinking?!?!?  And what the hell had I been thinking?  I mean, seriously, could I possible care for, nurture, protect, positively influence and otherwise raise this child alive to the age of 18?  That was how old I was and it seemed like an eternity. 

Needless to say I am shocked and awed that we're there.  She will be 18 in lees than 2 months and it blurred by, in a millisecond, the proverbial blink.  I get teary all the time now just thinking about how fast it's gone and how soon she'll be a grown up and doing grown up things.  Teryn played on a traveling basketball team last year, just before she turned 17 and I was a terrible wreck over it.  My baby...off to see the world.  They made it as far as New Orleans.  I held my breath the whole time.

I remember the little imp that started talking full on sentences at 9 months old.  She was such an adolescent even at the tender age of 2 when she would walk up to people and say stuff like "hey did you know my mom has a really wrinkly butt."  I also remember her struggling to read in the 4th grade and all the many hours in tutoring, vision therapy, and doctor's offices we spent trying to assure ourselves that our child was more than average. 

I remember racing to the E.R. one Thanksgiving night thinking she was choking and just knowing that she was dying in my arms.  She was so lifeless and her lips were tinged an eerie blue.  I'll never forget being made to stand outside while she got her X-rays because I was too hysterical and they needed to be able to work on her.  There was a feeling of relief out in that lonesome hallway and somehow I knew we would get a second chance. 

Teryn was fine;  her brain was not.  She was diagnosed with Benign Rolandic Epilepsy about 6 months later. She took meds and had several more scary seizures where she would go limp and convulse, then writhe as if in pain and pant until she would lose control of all of her bodily functions.  She would then "awake" and start freaking out.  We would hold her and calm her down and clean her up.  It was surreal, beyond scary and it took a toll on us all. 

The big seizures happened in the night;  the smaller ones were happening all day and we didn't realize it until she came home with an F in reading.  Turns out that kids with BRE can have break-through seizures that are so mild, they mimic symptoms of ADD.  We were told by the school officials to put her on ritalin and a tranquilizer to get her to sleep.  They knew about her seizures and when I mentioned that she might be having petit mals during the day and that her sleep was disrupted by the grand mals, they reiterrated the need for meds to "control and contain her behaviors."  We were also told that the school didn't remediate kids after 3rd grade and to just expect her to be on meds forever.  The principal said, "She'll just be average at best."

I was pissed.  How dare they say those things about MY child.  She was sitting at 4 months, walking and running at 9 months, speaking in paragraphs at 1 year.  Everyone always complimented us on how smart she was and how agile and athletic.  "When she grows up, she'll be a rocket scientist basketball star," they all proclaimed.  How could someone say that she would never be more than a fry cook or a dishwasher?  She was not average and I would prove it!

We took her back to the pediatric neurologist and he confirmed our suspicions on the petit mals.  Teryn's meds were changed and her teacher noticed an immediate change in her awareness.  Where she once seemed like she was daydreaming or unable to focus, she was now more alert, attentive and interactive.  We also got her into 3 hours of tutoring a week and 3 hours of vision therapy to help correct tracking and visual processing deficits that were a side effect of the seizures.

That all seems like a distant nightmare now.  It was nearly eight years ago that we started working with her.  It took Teryn five years to become grade level appropriate in reading and to catch up and surpass her peers and to leave all of the meds behind.  She had a rough freshman year after her father and I divorced, but she has since been an A-B student.  She will graduate with an ABOVE AVERAGE GPA and will go to college on a basketball scholarship.  I don't think she'll be a rocket scientist, but it won't be because she's just average.  She wants to study athletic ministery and be a coach and mentor to kids who want to play sports and keep to their faith.

As graduation approaches, I keep asking her if there's anything I can do to help.  I think she's just as much in denial as I am; these past 18 years weren't enough for either of us.  We both want more basketball games and algebra homework and staying up late on a school night to watch a sappy movie together.  I relish the time I spent growing this child and I don't want it to be over with the flash of a camera as she walks down that aisle to receive her diploma.  Now I realize that I want to be there forever, and it will not be nearly enough time to let her know that I am grateful someone chose her for me and let me take her home and protect and raise her.  I want her to know how proud I am and how very much I love her.          


Monday, May 3, 2010

Sorry, I'm Broke...

...and I really mean it!  I've got $12.34 to my name right now and 7 kids who need (and want) a bajillion things.  Sorry, I'm broke kids so you'll just have to live on sunshine and happiness!

Are you broke, too?  Really?  Then why the hell are you out there, complaining about being broke, and then taking your kids to ballet lessons?  You go on and on and on about how you can't afford diapers and formula but then tell me that you just enrolled baby in a Momma and Me gymnastics class.  I really love it when you tell me you've spent all day down at the Department of Human Services office trying to get them to give you food stamps, housing assistance, and utility payments and then light up one of your $6 per pack cigarettes. 

You're broke?  So why is it that my kids are over here eating bologna while yours are eating steak that you bought with food stamps because your husband got laid off and he is too good to go to work for some 'stupid, demeaning' $7 per hour job?  You beg to get some money to pay your car payment so that it won't get repo'ed and your kids can have a way to get to school, yet you were parked in said car at the casino Saturday night.

I only have this to say to you:  GET A JOB.  If you want ballet lessons for your kid, but can't afford to buy your own food, get a job to cover the food and the ballet.  You want to smoke cigarettes and go through a premature and painful death while driving up the cost of MY healthcare, get a job and when you get emphasema, pay for your medical AND your current living yourself.  Got your eye on the slots?  Then get a job and work and save your money by walking some places instead of always driving that car with the fancy gadgets and then take a little break at the casino.

I've got $12.34 to my name, but my husband worked for it.  Heck, I worked for it cleaning and cooking and making sure my kids know the value of a dollar and that they were fed with it.  If you want to complain to me about the weather, politics, the state of the state, I'll be more than happy to comiserate.  But if you want to bitch and whine about not having any money for the things your family needs and then tell me about your new iPhone...GO GET A JOB.