Saturday, February 26, 2011

be vewwwy vewwwy quiet, im hiding from my family

Ok, I am going to come right out and say it. I'm fried. Burnt. Ready to freak the freak out.
It started out as a very relaxing Saturday, but I should know better by now. When you have 4 kids, relaxing leads to nothing but trouble. I spent the morning/afternoon working on my essential oil mixes and talking on the phone with cassie from not so average hippie mommy and the next thing I knew, it was 3:00.
From then it was madness. Shower, dinner, wegmans......a stop at the mountain to see the hubz and heartbreaker skiing, friend pick-up and then post dinner-dinner for those that were still hungry.....all with three of my kids.
I must have been out of my mind to think I could actually have some 'me' time while the kids played. I was trying to relax and have some fun with my friends at instinctual mamas where they were doing online contests and giveaways. Well, I guess it was not meant to be. Peanut destroyed the playroom and pip was in my face. Curlytop and his friend were so loud and I kept trying to ignore them, but it was no use. Peanut poured a box of staples all over and then beat the shit out of me. She pulled my hair and slapped me across the face so hard that I swore! Realizing that I was on the verge of losing it, I left the computer and took the girls up for a bath. peanut was terrible. it was really unlike her. she purposely tried to soak me and threw everything out of the tub. She beat her sister and jumped out of the tub and tried to run out of the bathroom. Finally, I had enough. I tried to put peanut to sleep but she was not having it, but then I heard hubz come home. I looked at peanut, kissed her and handed her to dear old dad.
That's why, right at this moment, I am hiding in my bedroom, writing this. I am savoring the silence. Enjoying the far away sounds of my kids playing, yet only enjoying them because they are far away.
Don't get me wrong, I love my kids, but right now, I need 5 minutes, before I have to re-enter my life.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

what the hell smells???

I have been very busy lately. I am starting a WAH business and have been buying supplies, and mixing oils while the hubz has been designing my bottle labels. We took the kids to office max for printer paper and then to the tried and true Chinese buffet. When we got home, hubz got busy on the computer while I worked on homework and baths. Hubz kept saying that he smelled poo, though it sounded more like (what smells like shit) and i, of course thought he had left a poo diaper on the changing table. After searching the room for the stench, playing the age-old game of 'what the hell smells?' we found out. Our dog, Stewie, had pulled a poo diaper out of the garbage and ate it. Well, he ate most of it. I caught him just as he was going back for seconds.
In the crate he went as I pulled on my cleaning gloves and sprayed and scrubbed the rug behind the loveseat where the little bastard had contaminated. I also crawled all around the house, sniffing the rug all aound the computer and everywhere else I thought I smelled poo. Finally, I was able to go to bed.
Today, after spending the day running all over creation, we returned home, and again I smelled poo. WTH? So, again, we all played 'what the hell smells' until Pip joyously announced that she indeed found the remainder of the diaper under the loveseat that Stewie destroyed last night. Needless to say, Stew went into his crate for a time out and this mama spent the evening shampooing the rug.
Oddly and unfortunately, as a mama of four, I found nothing strange about this situation. Don't judge me!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


I have not allowed myself to read the blogs that have been popping up in mama-blog-ville related to baby Maddie. I knew it was a tragic reality and I wanted no part of it because I am an extremely empathetic person and didn't want to know what happened. But, I am a sucker for adventures in mommyhood, and I read christy's blog today. What a tearjerker. I am dedicating my prayers to baby Maddie's family tonight and I hope you do too.
Cherish every minute you have with your children.Every moment is a blessing!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

the mom i have become (mushy version)

So I blogged about parenting from instincts. It was factual and I feel like that old fashioned tv know...'just the facts'. I was not happy with the message it conveyed because the facts do not justly convey how it feels to be an instinctual mama.
Here is how it feels in the best words that I can come up with at this moment:
It feels like :
my heart is walking around outside of my body x's 4. (stole the quote but it is true)
If I am not guiding my children through life, someone much worse may guide them instead.
If my children show an interest in something, I will do everything in my power to provide them with the means to explore that interest.
If anyone were to do anything to break their spirit I would kill!
Being emotionally present with all four of my children is like looking into the sun, its blinding and amazing and could destroy me.
I have to go beyond my own comfort zone in order to be the best parent I can be in the short time that I am the center of their world.
I can do anything if the end result will benefit my children.

The connection that I feel with my children is not weird, it is beautiful.

the mom i have become

I am an instinctual mama. I use my instincts to parent. It should be that simple but alas, it is not the way of the world.
I consider myself a work in progress, a woman of many talents, interests, and roles. My parenting is also a work in progress and I have not always held my current parenting philosophies.
In my early parenting stage I considered myself knowledgeable and loving. I read books, followed doctor's orders and was completely mainstream (with the exception of vaccine schedules, i've never trusted those buggars). I took my baby to the Dr. for every sniffle, and I weaned him at 10 months when I realized I was prego because a book said that my poor little fetus wasn't getting any nutrition if his big brother was drinking it all up :-p My second nursed awhile longer (14 months) and I made excuses and finally weaned him because he was over a year and people said he was too old. My daughter showed up two and a half year later and I was really coming into my own. Her birth was just as I wanted and I was really begining to use more natural ways of disciplining and treating sickness. I made all of my own babyfood. My boys and I were cosleeping, miss pip was riding around like a papoose on anyone who would wear her and I was laying the smack down on the pediatrician. By the time I delivered my fourth, I had personally offended 4 out of the 5 Dr's at my pediatrician's office. I was growing an organic garden and making babyfood to freeze, i was storing milk in the deep freezer, and babywearing, breastfeeding, and cosleeping like a real instinctual mama. I had evolved. There was no moment when I 'decided' to parent this way, I just let my instincts take over.
I have never felt more sure of myself. I have never felt stronger! The best part of it all is watching my little muffins thrive. Check out instinctual mamas blog to connect with other mamas who parent with heart.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

drama mamas

My life is nice. I get along with most people for the most part and I think I am a good mom. If nothing else, I can honestly say, I try my best. I try to do what I think is healthy and safe for my children. Lots of parents go to extremes to keep their kids safe and healthy and that's awesome. Then there are the parents who do things that are for the benefit of the reaction they get from others. I happen to have the displeasure of knowing some people who will put their children in danger (or lie and say they did) just to get a dramatic reaction. No matter how you handle the situation its a lose/lose. If you react with shock, you are reinforcing them by giving them attention. If you ignore them and they are really truly ignorant, you are missing an opportunity to educate them. There is no way to handle these people.
I truly feel lucky that I don't require drama to feel fulfilled. I can actually have a conversation with someone and not have to try to freak them out. I love the relationships that I have in my life and I love the opportunity to meet new people online on natural parenting websites. I would rather have a few minutes of meaningful dialogue with an old friend via Facebook or someone that I met online than spend time with people who do not value the blessings that have been bestowed upon them.
Vent over!

Friday, February 18, 2011

hoarding my own milk!

I am facing a major problem in my life right now. My youngest baby is 16 months old and I am no longer the center of her ever expanding universe. She climbs and speaks and plays....all without any assistance from her mama. When this realization has hit me in the past, I would think long and hard about it and then tell the hubz its time for another.
This time is different. I don't think I will have that discussion, I don't think I can. As parents, we are maxed out in all areas that matter. We can't afford more babies, but then again we can't afford the ones we already have! That is not what I consider something that matters. We are strapped for time. Time with the kids as a group, as individuals, and time for hubz and I as a couple. I never want my kids to feel overlooked and we manage just fine now, but barely. There is basketball, hockey, Spanish, theater, baseball, soccer, and friends to top it all off.
Herein lies my problem. I have never had to let go of my baby years. Today I went to work and left peanut home with hubz and she didn't drink one drop of my stored milk. She ate and drank people food and I still went out and pumped in my car.....wth? I don't have to worry about my supply because peanut only nurses a few time a day and at night. She eats a well balanced diet now and can have cow milk if she wants. Still, I pump....I have a terrible fear that someday, someone may need some breastmilk and I will be like 'right here, I have some right over here'! I think it all stems from the fact that when I'm done nursing and pumping, that will be it! No more babies in my house :-( I'm not sure I can handle that, so for now, I pump!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

cosleeping gone right

I got my first blog request.....kinda.....
Today a friend asked about my thoughts on cosleeping. I decided to blog rather than email because I have alot to say about it.
Way back when, in the day of Curly Top's only-childness, I had a huge bedroom with a crib across the room for the little bundle to sleep. I had a cradle in the living room for His Highness to nap, and I was all set to use them. Except, Curly Top along with my hormones had different plans.
I remember putting him to sleep in the crib on our first night home from the hospital. After the first few minutes of sitting, awake in bed, looking longingly across the room at that crib, I realized that I was having some serious separation issues. Once he awoke for his first feeding session (which lasted 45 minutes each, by the way) I tried to put him back, I really did, but we ended up sleeping in that rocking chair....for days this went on, until the hubz insisted I pump, give him a bottle to feed CT and sleep in my bed for at least a few hours. I couldn't sleep. I just missed CT so much that I couldn't relax without him. Then one morning, my neck was so stiff, my body so tired, that,I staggered over to my bed with CT in my arms and slept. We slept like the dead. We were good at it, it was perfect and things were looking up. At 4 months, we moved into a house that had a room just for CT. In went his crib and all of his things, and in went CT. Why, you might ask....well I bet if you thought about it you'd figure it out, but I'm gonna tell you anyway. Some well meaning mom told me how unhealthy it is to cosleep and told me about babywise.....yikes, I actually said it! I thought, oh Crap, I better go against all of my maternal instincts because this lady is older and wiser and has Triplets who sleep through the night! If her babies can do it them my baby is sure gonna do it too. I ended up spending my nights rocking CT in his room, back to sleeping in the rocking chair again because it was the was as close to sleep training as I could handle. I couldn't CIO, and cosleeping was 'wrong' so this was my mental middle gr. When he was 10 months old, I got prego with baby 2. I needed sleep, so we were back to putting CT to sleep in the crib, waiting for him to cry for me, then I would rock him in his room and put him back to bed once, then he would cry again around 4 and we would bring him in the bed.....poor baby must have been so confused! I also weaned him at 10 months when I found out I was prego because I thought I had to. I had no guidance from his Dr. but that's typical when it comes to breastfeeding. CT ended up drinking formula then cows milk from a bottle until he was 19 months because I felt so bad that I weaned him before he was ready.
When I was ready to deliver baby 2, aka the HeartBreaker, CT was 19 months old. The Heartbreaker was lovingly placed in a bassinett right next to my bed. CT's ritual was getting exhausting so he regained his rightful place between the hubz and me. I remember one night nursing Heartbreaker in my bed. CT rolled over and sleepy said 'josh josh baba', demanding that hubz get out of bed and meet his needs. Even he knew that I was busy and too tired to go downstairs to get him a bottle. Anyway...the four of us coslept for years, soon getting a king sized bed. There were no issues except CT had to be rocked to sleep for his naps and then placed ever so gently on the bed. Heartbreaker would nap in the crib or on the couch, anywhere really.
When Heartbreaker was two and a half i was expecting miss Pippi aka Pip. She was Jaundice so we stayed in the hospital for 5 days. While in the hospital, Heartbreaker developed rotovirus and was so sick! When we came home, we kept the same sleeping arrangements but with Pip in the bassinet. If you are trying to imagine the scene, by now we were a real freak show. Poor pip probably thought she was in an orphanage, there was so much action! Kids tossing and turning, newborns crying, parents waking up constantly, we were in rough shape. At this particular moment, my 12 yr old stepson decided to move right on in too! We were packin em in like sardines! Sooo, brief recap. Two adults and two toddlers in one bed. Infant next to bed, pre teen in other room. One empty room with unused crib and dressers.
We decided to make a bed on the floor in our room for the boys, dubbed 'the floor-bed', as in "i don't wanna sleep in the floor-bed, I wanna sleep with youuuuuuu". When pip outgrow the bassinet, she moved out of our room. She never slept with us and when I tried, she kicked and cried until I put her in her own crib. She slept through the night, and nursed once at 6 am and then slept until 9 or 10ish. Still, our nights were like a revolving door with the boys waking and wandering around all night. We would have to make room in our bed and once the fourth person tried to climb into our bed, one of us would take them and sleep on the floor-bed with them. One day, we decided to move the preteen into the smaller room, and put the boys in bunk beds in the big bedroom. Heartbreaker took the top bunk a curly top got the bottom bunk. The crib was dismantled and reborn into a toddler bed and pipi moved into the big room with her brothers. it was a crazy adjustment with lots of 'im scared''s and 'he/she's bothering me'. It was not the best scenario, but we had little choice. Somewhere during that year, heartbreaker gave up on the top bunk and started sleeping in the bottom with his bro. We also turned the small bedroom into a big Duggar-style clothes room with shelves and hanging space for all three of the kids' clothes thus eliminating the need for dressers. When pip was three I was expecting our fourth baby. We decided to keep the small bedroom for clothes and an extra bed for my stepson when he stayed over. We brought our fourth home after 5 days in the hospital for the birth,and subsequent jaundice and she slept in the bassinet next to my bed. When she was four months old, I moved her to a pack and play next to my bed because I wasn't ready to send her out on her own. I used the excuse that pip still needed the toddler bed and we had no room for a crib. Well, at one year, and partly sleeping in my bed, partly,sleeping in a pack and play, we made another sleeping adjustment. Pip was annoying her brothers so we moved her to her own room and set the crib up in our room. It looked cute, so much better than the pack n play! Peanut would kinda sleep and nap in there, she would wake up and get in our bed, and I'd think I should put her back in the crib, but would be too tired or she'd wake up. Eventually, I decided that we were going to purposely co-sleep. It would not be for convenience or by accident, but straight-up 'peanut sleeps and naps in our bed and the crib is now my robe hanger-co-sleeping!' It was a marvelous, wonderous, relief.
My boys are well attached, loving, cuddly individuals who are secure in the fact that they are loved. Pip is an independent spirit who is in-your face and demanding. At times I think I should reattach with her to give her more peace, but when I try to do skin-to-skin with her she freaks and runs around saying 'i got away, now you can't skin me'! She is amazing and has the greatest personality. Peanut is my last baby, I think, and I am holding her close. I feel an intense attachment with her and continue to nurse her well past my expected 1 yr cut-off.
So, I know this is an excessive, indulgent post, and I did not write it in one sitting, but my point is....I believe that the attachment formed during co-sleeping is irreplaceable. It can not be replicated, or made-up-for if you do not do it. There were times when, as a SAHM, and even when working part time, that I craved 'me' time. when this happened hubz would rescue me. When we decided together that we needed some 'us' time to watch tv and hang out together, we worked together to arrange the kids into an agreeable sleep routine.We spent many nights laying with kids, trying to get them to sleep, then running out of the room like the recess bell rang, just to watch a show together.
I think if you are co-sleeping in a family bed it is much easier than sleeping alone, in another room with your baby. if your baby is in danger of getting squashed or keeps everyone awake it is important to come to a compromise so that everyone is satisfied. try co-sleepers, floor-beds , crib in your bedroom whatever it takes for everyone to be getting a satisfying experience. if your baby won't sleep without you then you may have to sacrifice your social life, but if you can't always sleep with your baby it is important that they get used to sleeping with your partner so that everyone gets a break. Peanut prefers to sleep with me but will sleep with the hubz. There have been nights that he is the only one who can get her to sleep. Through successes and failures, we should keep working toward raising our babies to be well attached people. That's what attachment parenting is all about. The sad truth is this: my curly top is nearly 9 now! The time goes so quickly, they are only little for a short time, so please love love love the tiny humans because they grow into our future!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

who knows best?

Everytime I hear a mother talking about the good ole family pediatrician, I wonder if they too lie and manipulate them just like I do. I mean, yes the Dr has much more medical knowledge than I, but I know my baby and I am no dummy. I respect medical professionals and often seek their advice for validation for what I believe, but call me crazy, i think we are equal.
My beliefs are simple and go something like this:
1 I vaccinate on a predetermined schedule-my schedule.
2 I do not give my child medication except for high fevers.
3 if the aforementioned fever is caused my an infection that will not naturally heal, I give an antibiotic.
4 if my child even LOOKS sick, I do not vaccinate and I reschedule when they are feeling better.

When a doctor wants to disagree with my decision I will prevail even if I have to lie and say my child had a fever earlier that day in order to delay a vaccine.
Funny, drs don't vaccinate when a child has a fever........I digress...

Anyway, today we met an excellent pediatric allergist who validated my thoughts that my youngest daughter, Peanut does not fit the profile for an allergy baby. I knew this but an unprofessional, on-call, uneducated-about-breastfeeding-and-my-child-in-general pediatrician had me doubting my maternal instinct. She even had me thinking that Peanut was not thriving. I told the allergist the issues and said 'i just need your degree to reassure me that my baby is fine'. He was a good sport! He reassured me and also helped me to realize some simple truths.
Sometimes, the internet can drive a mama crazy with all the conflicting information. Sometimes books written by vigilanties with a specific beef can drive you crazy. Sometimes your 'go with the flow' hubz can try to convince you that the doctor knows nothing, and you can ignore him and get in your own head until you are bat-shit crazy and then said hubz will give up when he realizes you have lost your mind and sit back and watch the train wreck because its not really hurting anyone anyway.......................AND.....
Sometimes, mothers give up their rights and think that the doctor knows best, but this mama knows who knows best! I'm sorry I doubted myself....and I'm sorry for poor Peanut who was egg, dairy, wheat, gluetin, and soy free for a month for no reason at all...
BTW....I'm not the only mama who knows best.

Monday, February 14, 2011

the birth of Curly Top, a love story.

Reading the blogs of other mamas has me traveling down memory lane, a lane on which I hope to spend my elder years as my mind begins to fail me. I would travel this lane for all eternity if it would not interfere with the daily needs of my ever growing, ever changing family.
Today, memory lane travels through my early 20's, a time when I was living in a beautiful townhouse with my true love. I was 41 weeks and 3 days past my edd with my first pregnancy. This pregnancy was a pampered one, being my first. I did not bend, lift, or move much. I ate for two and became fat, full of chicken wings and my little bundle of joy. On this particular day, I was weepy and in dire need of some progress toward holding my 'overdue' darling. My husband and step-son spent an evening with me at the drive-in movie theater. We saw the scooby doo movie and then I went home to bed. I awoke at 6:00 am on Sunday, father's day, to be precise and my water had broken. We dropped my step son off at his mother's house and then stopped at Walmart because I needed some slippers for the hospital. Next, we arrived at the hospital and I was admitted. Looking back, it was a shabby hospital, but at the moment, it was heaven. We called our families and they traveled an hour to be with us and spend the day with my step-son so that he could be with us when the baby was born. I labored with a full house. For 11 hours we watched tv, socialized, and managed pain. I have fond memories of this time, my father-in-law slipping on my amniotic fluid, playing cards, the guys watching golf and me taking it all in, just so drunk in my thoughts of holding my baby. During transition, I asked for and received nubaine for the pain. It made me high and happy and then I vomited, but it was ok because this is what the books said might happen. Then at 7 centimeters I got an epidural that was so effective my legs felt like cinder blocks. I felt no contractions and no urge to push. When I finally reached 10 centimeters, everyone cleared out except the hubz and my mom and I began to push. Now, no one told me about childbirth. My bff/sister in law had two c-sections and my other two bffs had c sections also. I read that It was a good idea to push in a squatting position so I demanded that I be allowed to try and almost fell flat on my face because of the epidural. I remember that they turned the drip down and I pushed for 40 minutes. I remember the hubz praising me and cheering me on, I also remember my mother's face as I pushed her first grandson into this world. When he was born, I held him and nursed him immediately. It was hard and emotional and the single best thing I had ever done at that point in my life. Our immediate family came into the room and passed him around, grinning for the camera and deciding who he looked like. Once alone again, I showered, ate and got a ride over to my new room where I was greeted by applause from over 15 friends and family members. My baby was here and life was good.
There were booby traps, slight medical issues, and some post partum anxiety, but that can wait...