Monday, February 27, 2006

At Least It Took 9 Months

Last week S. got a cold. He was a crab-ass; still is, but is a bit better. At least today he wanted mommy not daddy, which was good considering daddy went back to work. Anyway, he was kind enough to share it with tater tot and I. We are so grateful! This is the first cold the tot has gotten ever! It is kind-of ironic since tot has gone everywhere with me. He has had to go the church's nursery, tumbling class, stores etc. S., being the firstborn child of a former teacher and recovering-germaphobe, never left the house! Well, he did go to my mom's house, but that's about it. When he turned four months old, in March 03', hubby's company was having a 'Fat Tuesday' lunch where spouse's were invited. Hubby wanted very much to show off his firstborn in the flesh. I had recently been switched to my third and final drug for that bout of PPD, and I felt a bit better, so I felt I 'owed' it to him. We went, and you know the result already, don't you? Yah, S. got sick! So I just laugh when I think back to how sheltered S. was and he got sick earlier than the tot who has been exposed to everything.

The tot getting sick this late in his first year also confirms my belief that genetics have the most to do with when and how sick a baby gets. My brother's children were breastfed and then supplemented when my SIL went back to work. Both of my children were bottle-fed, as in formula. I know some of you probably are shuddering hearing that, but it's true. I am also not going to lie to you and tell you it was because I was taking anti-depressants, which I was, but I had never planned on breastfeeding. I am the only one of my friends not to. Anyway, my brother's kids and my kids are all healthy, as were my brother and I as well as our respective mates. My niece and nephew have airborne allergies, but both my brother and SIL have them, so I sure that's why they developed them.

I want to tell you I am not anti-breastfeeding. Quite the opposite. I feel like I do about SAHMs and working moms. You do what you feel is best for your family, and I will support you. Unfortunately, I have not been given that same consideration. When S. was 8 weeks old, a cousin of Jeff's asked what S. was eating. I told her formula. Her response,"Didn't you even try to breastfeed?" She was very judgemental. I kept explaining and explaining. Now I am completely comfortable in my choice as I have raised one healthy child, so I would have told her where to go now, but back then I was still a new mom who needed support and not judgement. I feel like calling this woman, but I won't because it just doesn't matter anymore. I just hope that all the new first-time moms just learn to trust themselves. If you are having a hard time breastfeeding, but you're determined to give it your all, DO IT. If you want to quit, it's okay. If you don't want to BF, don't just because people make you feel like a horrible mother if you don't. If you LOVE BF, my SIL has with every child, that is great. REALLY.

It has taken me 3 1/2 years and two children to feel completely comfortable telling people how I chose to feed my children. I don't hem and haw when asked why I chose it anymore. I tell it like it is. Most people are fine with this. And if they're not, too bad. Women need to be supported, not vilified. And if I see a woman pulling out a bottle of formula for a two month-old child during tumbling class, I won't gasp and ask, "Aren't you breastfeeding? Don't you know it's best for the baby?" I promise to defend that person as I wish someone would have done for me. Oh, the nasty glares I got that day, and I was struggling with PPD. Yah, judging me really helped! Oh, and if you pull up your shirt in public to feed your child, I will NOT be offended. I mean, come on, a woman is feeding her child! If you're uncomfortable, just look away. I have seen most of my friends and family members' nipples, and when they're being used to feed a baby, it's natural, not dirty. And now my rant is over....

Friday, February 24, 2006

It's Always the Mother's Fault

It seems like when my son is mad or upset with his daddy I get the brunt of it. S. has been acting out lately because my hubby is never home. When I called J. yesterday, my son said this to him, "Mommy go to work. Daddy stay home!" Of course, my husband LOVED hearing that. I mean his son prefers him more than me. My therapist said that was a pretty smart thing for him to say. He obviously understands that one of us has to go to work. Yah, but he wants his daddy. It still hurts a little, because he was always a mama's boy.

I told hubby yesterday that when he got home he had to spend quality one-on-one time with S. He really needs. Hubby did, which was nice. Fast forward to today. While tater tot was taking his morning nap, I did a craft with S. He loves that. He loves the attention. It usually makes the entire day better. Today, however, it did not.

I make it my mission to get out of the house as often as possible. Usually we have obligations, but today we did not. I really needed to get my Clinique makeup since I am almost totally out of it. I used to love shopping, but since #2 son arrived, I have not. Actually, tater tot is the better behaved one now. S. has always, always been a good shopper. He LOVES going out and people watching. He also loves sharing one of Auntie Anne's pretzels. If he was good, we'd get one, and he was always good. Not today. I should have known it was not going to be a good outing when S. took his coat off after I put it on him and said,"I NOT wear a coat!" And you know what? I didn't make him. I told him he would be cold, but I didn't make him wear the coat. I figured he would have the natural consequence of being cold, which would probably work better at getting him to wear his coat the next time than me yelling at him. Know what? The boy was cold. He did not like it one bit. He assured me he will be wearing his coat next time. We'll see. Anyway, S. can now undo the belt in the stroller, but I haven't been putting it on him for some time now because he has never tried to get out. Today he was pulling clothes off of their hangers, kicking clothes---you know kicking white pants with his dirty shoes! He was just out and out rebelling. We did not get a pretzel because I will not reward bad behavior no matter how much I myself would have loved one. S. of course, freaks out. He's yelling,"I NOT A BAD BOY. I WANT A PRETZEL!!!!!!!!" Yes, people were staring. Now I was very specific about the bad behavior that caused him not to get a reward. I also told him that him screaming like that was also a reason he wasn't getting a pretzel. It didn't matter. I decided it was time to leave.

I tried talking to him about his missing his daddy. That did not work. There were time-outs and more time-outs. I am physically exhausted! My son will probably be in therapy some day, and complain all about his mother. It's always the mothers' fault, isn't it? The dads can be son of a bitches, but the main blame will lie with the mother. All I know is that his father will be home for the weekend, and S. is all his. ALL HIS.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

As Promised Way Back in January.....

I promised back in January to post some pictures. Here they are from left to right: Tater tot is crawling! The infamous picture of S. holding Tot's hand on our way back from our visit to the fertility clinic, and Dr. S. our RE who helped us to conceive both of our boys. Yes, S. would not let me take a picture any other way. He HAD to kiss his brother. Yesterday, Tater Tot had his 9-month check-up. He is healthy, and weighs in at 20 pounds and measures 29 inches in length. I love my boys!

My Norwegian Baby

Yahhhhhh!!!! I can finally post pictures again!
This outfit is one that I bought from Hannah Andersson. I love one piece outfits because of their ease and versatility. Unfortunately, as the spring line has arrived, and my boy has gotten BIG, I can no longer find any at the more reasonably priced stores. I found this one at H.A. and I bought it, and I love it, as does tater tot. It is so soft! I will not be purchasing anything in that price range for a while, though. We'll just have to keep washing this one over and over.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

The Mommy Wars: Fact or Fiction?

This morning I had the television on, and the woman--can't remember her name, who wrote the book 'The Mommy Wars' was on Good Morning America. Now first off, I do not like the inflammatory nature of her title. I could tell this was going to be a woman who felt she knew what was best for women. Let's just say that after the interview I determined my initial reaction was dead on.

This woman said that children whose mothers stay home receive no benefit from it. Huh? Come again? That's like saying that working mothers' children grow up to be career criminals; it's simply not true. No benefit. She said that NO RESEARCH has shown a benefit, and we all know how research shows all the truths. She never did cite the source, but I would bet if one shelled out the money for her book one might find out the source. Now before I go any further here, I would like to tell you that I am the daughter of a working mother, and I believe I turned out pretty well. Mom and I were very close, and to be honest I was very proud of my mother. It was more common to stay at home in her day, but she initially chose to work. My mother did stay home for the first three years of my life, and then she worked part-time because 'she needed to be with some adults', even though she loved us very much. So, please note that I am not anti-working mother just because I chose to stay home.
This woman also said that stay-at-home mothers were unfulfilled, and that what we do are repetitious tasks, the same things over and over. Okay, yes on some days I feel unfulfilled. I have been honest about that. And yes, I do perform the same tasks such as diaper changing over and over. That's life. There were also some repetitious tasks that I had to perform when I taught school. Were those tasks more meaningful because I got paid to do them? Not to me. I wanted to ask this woman a question after she made that statement. If I am not home to take care of my children, then someone else is doing those tasks. Are they happier, is their job of taking care of my children, more meaningful, more fulfilling because they get paid?

The scene then changed to an interview of two SAHMs and one working mom. The initial question was already seemingly meant to pit the SAHMs against the working mom and vice-versa. The question? To the SAHM, "What do you think she, working mom, is missing out on?" Kudos to the SAHM who did not care to answer that question. The SAHMs did mention that pre-school and kindergarten teachers whom they spoke to can always tell the children who attend daycare. As a teacher, sometimes I could, and sometimes I couldn't. The working mom and research say that eventually that advantage of moms being home levels off. Okay. Then the working mom talks about the kids she sees whose moms stay at home. She talks about how 'clingy' they are, and how they have huge separation anxiety. Well, this SAHM's children have never had separation anxiety. It's to the point where my older son says good-bye to me as I leave. I actually am a little hurt that he and tater tot have never seemed to care when I've left. My brother and SIL both worked when their oldest was born. He had HUGE separation anxiety. My brother stayed at home with child #2. She had HUGE separation anxiety. So I think it's an individual thing.

The thing that bothers me the most about the supposed 'mommy wars' is that women like this, in my opinion, are creating them. And I truly feel people who are judgemental are not comfortable completely in their own choice, and they attack someone else's as a result to prove they are doing the right thing. I see this all the time with the whole breast vs. bottle debate. I'm not going to go there tonight, though.

I never had intended on staying home. In college I remember saying "Why would anyone go to college only to turn around and stay home? What a waste!" (My husband would also say to me that we were still paying my student loans and I wasn't even working! I think he was kidding.) I also would tell my mom all the time,"It's quality time, not quantity." I believe that sometimes that is true, but sometimes my sons just like to know I'm in the same room as them. I also frequently would say,"A happy mommy is a good mommy." That one I still believe. Funny how things change once I actually had a child, huh?

I do plan on going back to work. This woman says I can basically never make up for lost time. That I'll suffer from lower pay, etc. I am a teacher. If I take five years off, I'll work an extra five years to earn my full pension, assuming the state of Illinois does not borrow from teachers' pensions anymore. I hate to disillusion this woman. I will not suffer a huge loss of pay, because that would assume that I made a decent salary to begin with, and I didn't! Plus, teachers' salaries have a cap on them. I can only make so much, and then that's it, no matter if I do a fabulous job or not.

I am so tired of people pitting women against women. I don't see men doing this to women, and I certainly have never seen another man argue about another man's decision to return to work.

I believe staying at home was the right decision for my family. You make the decision for yours, and I promise not to talk about you behind your back. Deal?

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Finding Myself in the White City

This past Saturday was my hubby's work party. This year the party was held at the Museum of Science and Industry in downtown. Unfortunately, the Auto Show was going on at McCormick Place, so traffic was a bit heavy, but we made it on time. I promise to make this history lesson short. The Museum of Science and Industry is the only original building left over from The World's Columbian Exposition in 1893. All of the buildings were yes, white, and it was a testimont to new inventions and cultures. The Museum that we were at was used to hold the art that was flown in from all over the world. The building lay in disrepair until it was determined that it would be rehabbed and now it houses inventions and testimonts of the advances made in the world. Now these buildings from the Exposition were never made to last, so it's pretty cool to see one that did. For any of you readers of history, there is a book called, Devil in the White City that is supposed to be very good. I, however, have not read it. I should, yah, in my spare time.

At any rate, I had so much fun at this party. I have always wanted to attend a party at one of the museums. We have been there several times as the parties were being set up, and loving museums and all, I thought it would be loads of fun to be at one. Also, being in the museum after hours... I know, strange thought. Hubby actually said to me that we needed to take the boys to the overnight party at the Field Museum. Now THAT I won't be doing. I told him that he could take the boys. Now that I think about it, maybe that would be fun. Who knows?

For once I actually wore the right thing and hadn't obsessed about it beforehand, so that was good. I always laugh at these parties because you can always tell the women who are married to wealthy men. It always involves fur, and although I don't go as far as PETA does, I LOVE me steaks and leather bags, but I hate fur coats. I would never yell at someone who was wearing one nor would I throw red paint on them or don my naked body, but I just don't like it. Anyway, we got a private viewing of the U-505 submarine. This is the sub. that we captured from the Germans during WW2. They renovated the sub. since some genius thought leaving a metal submarine outside for the past 40+ years would be a good idea. It wasn't. The exhibit was awesome! The overhead lights were turned off and just the lower, cocktail-like, lights were on. There were waiters with appetizers and wine, which I immediately grabbed, these events always make me a bit nervous, walking all around. Then we ate dinner in the main atrium, and it was so good. Hubby's new boss was at our table, and I really like him, very personable. He also went through infertility treatments to have his three children. Yah, twins who are now 11 years old and another sibling. I also knew and liked everyone else at our table. I talked to the women, and not just talk about the kids. I made a huge effort to find something else to talk about. You know, I am not just a mom. It is a good idea to 'get away' from time to time.

What made this evening so good to me was the feeling that I had. I felt like myself, the one before infertility and kids. I felt capable, I felt semi-interesting. I was wearing a dress and make-up and my hair was curled. Now I hate wearing dresses, and we were told we could wear a pant-suit, but no way! I never get dressed up. I wear pants to church and jeans on weekdays. I actually enjoyed wearing a dress. And thanks to the parking garage, I never had to go outside in the 2 degree weather. My dress was sleeveless, and I wasn't even cold, not even in that ancient building! I am always on the warm side and have been ever since S. was born. This makes me happy since I detest being cold.

On the way home, I looked at all of the tall buildings and I longed to stay in one of the fancy hotels like we used to do. I didn't want to go home. Usually, I alway look forward to getting home. Not that day. I wanted to spend a night with my husband, doing naughty things and sleeping in. I was okay leaving my children with someone overnight. Yes, my children have never spent a night away from one of us. If my mom were alive, believe me, we would have left them by now, but she's not so we haven't. My brother and SIL have offered several times, and I think we need to take them up on it.

It felt so good feeling like an adult, like a useful member of society. It still does. I have said that I am open to part-time employment if the right thing popped up. Last year I was still having problems leaving the kids with a non-family member. Not so much anymore! I do not want to work full-time for a long time, though. I do enjoy spending time with my boys, being 'Mommy'.

Of course, when we got home we had some 'adult fun', but the thing that made it great was just the closeless. I felt like we bonded again too. I felt like a couple, like 'us' again. Not just S. and tot's mom and dad. No food to prepare, no feeding of children, no changing of diapers or reminders to use the potty. Just time for the both of us. Being a work party and all forced us to get out and actually 'try' to look nice. The time together was so nice. J. let me sleep in until noon the next day. Yes, noon! It certainly felt like old-times and sometimes you need that. Now excuse me as I go and prepare my family's meal. I have a Vacation Bible School Leader meeting tonight at church and the children need to eat. A mother's job is never done.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

The More Things Change, the More They Stay the Same

My hubby's sister is coming into town this weekend. They are going to meet for coffee one morning and discuss how our not talking to J.'s parents has affected her and her marriage. She says it has been negatively impacting her marriage as her husband and her are at odds about the whole thing. She told my hubby that she would not go back and tell her parents or her husband what was said. This is where I have a problem. I agree that what is said between the two of them should not be mentioned to their parents. However, I believe that she should talk to her husband about it. J. and I discuss everything. I mean not every single thing, but something big like this, we do. We don't have secrets. She and this man have been married a year and a half and already are having major issues. This is her first marriage, his second. Don't get me started on why he says his first wife and him got divorced. You know, if they are having major issues over J. and I not talking to his parents, then what are they going to do when THEY really have major issues to work out. Because we all have had issues to work out in our marriages. My husband and I are determined to work through everything in our marriage. We love each other very much, but don't always agree. That's where the work part comes in. Anyway, her husband is the one who wouldn't come see our kids on Thanksgiving because he is angry at us. Yah, being a Godparent was really important to him. (I'm laughing sarcastically here.) J. and I have never told them what went on. It's not their business. Our contention is it is between us and J.'s parents. We will not put any one in the middle. All J. has said to his sister on this matter is to remember there are two sides to every story. Period. Now my family knows about it because they were THERE.

J. apologized to me a few months ago. He said he always used to use me as an excuse as to why we weren't going to be attending say... dinner and such. Nice, eh? I appreciated very much that he told me that. It explains a lot. However, these people would have been a problem in our marriage regardless.

It has been three months since they have sent any letters to us. No communicado at all. Our marriage has been the best it has ever been since we have stopped playing their games. That's sad, isn't it? I don't know what the future holds. I do know that our relationship with them will never be the same again. It will never be good; it just won't. I mean they have the whole extended family upset with us. Remember no one would send us even a simple Christmas card, so who knows what venom has been spewed about us. How is that going to help things.? I know people don't change, not when they are this old and not when they have acted this way for this long even AFTER many discussions with them. It's their way or the highway. Well, I choose the highway. The scenery here is just so much better.

***I am okay guys. I just miss my mom terribly. Thank you for all of your comments. I will post about that soon.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

A Grand Day Once Upon a Time

Four years ago today, we found out we were having our oldest child. What a great day that was!

Friday, February 10, 2006

Out of Nowhere...

in the middle of the day, I start feeling depressed. The ironic part about this is that I had just told me therapist last night that I felt great. That I actually had very little PMS this month, as compared to the last two months, and things were good despite not being able to swallow( I am feeling much better and can swallow now!) Then smack! I miss my mom. I actually was shedding a few tears, and instead of going into the other room like I normally do so that S. won't see me cry, I told him I was sad. That it was okay to be sad sometimes. I told him that mommy misses her mommy. Then he said to me,"You be okay mommy, while patting my back and giving me a hug, you see her tomorrow?" He looked at me like he was asking a question. I told him, "No, S. Mommy's mommy is up in heaven with God, so I can't see her tomorrow and that's why I'm sad." I showed him pictures of my mom, so he might understand a bit, you know, that I am sad because I miss a person. I told him that when my mommy left this earth he was the one who could always make me smile; that he's a special boy, and he is. Then I realized the guilt I felt over that. That he would have this huge burden of knowing someday that only he could make me smile. I then remembered worrying about him being an only child and losing us, and how he'd have no one to go through that with.

It was just a tough day. Some days I feel like a two-year old when I say this, but,"I just want my mommy."

Thursday, February 09, 2006


I have so much to say, but right now all I can say is I am sick. As in strep throat, wait for two hours in the urgent care waiting room with a million germs just flying around the room sick! Where did I sit? Next to the teenager who broke his foot. I was pretty sure he wasn't there due to a contagious illness. I hope he doesn't come down with strep. I was very careful. Course, he doesn't have two energetic boys to take care of, so I'm sorry, I had to be selfish.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Slippin' and Slidin'!

That's how we spent our Saturday night. We have had the mildest winter here in Illinois that I cannot really complain. However, I can complain about cooking. I hate it! I really do, therefore the weekends are no cooking days. Out we went on Saturday night in the cold. It was mildly snowing, but we didn't think that was a big deal, because it usually isn't. We did notice that it was a tad slippery on the way to pick up our food, but no big deal. I have 'traction control' and ABS brakes! They'll save us! Yah, right! On the way home it was very slick. When we made the turn into our subdivision we turned a bit longer than expected, but J. was able to correct it quickly. However, at the stop sign closest to our house, the car in front of us slid and almost ended up in someone's front lawn. ( I thought to myself, 'I am SO glad we don't own a house on a corner lot!' Nice, huh?) And then we went to stop and found that we couldn't! It must have only lasted a few seconds, but I found myself saying,"Guys!", like anyone could do anything. I was very scared. We had hit a patch of black ice, and we just kept sliding. Hubby was able to get us righted again, thank you God, and we made it the block to our house.

It is things like that that make you realize what you have. Tater tot had been screaming the entire way home that night, and yes, I'll admit it, it was really getting on my nerves. We couldn't do anything for him, because we knew no one should take off their seat belt. Safety first! When we made it through that patch of black ice, I reflected on how much my boys, yes all three of them, mean to me. They are my everything!!! I'll need to remind myself that when S. does another one of his 'things'. Oh, I am now in my hubby's bathroom because it is right off of the family room. That way I can keep a close eye on my boy. So far, so good. I do not like hubby's bathroom at all! I'm sensing a re-model here. Ah....what mothers will do for their children!

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Now It's BOTH of Them, and Going Back Into the Classroom!

Both of my sons have been downright cranky today! Tater tot has two teeth, and is about to sprout two more on top. S. just doesn't listen, and I don't know what to do. I thought that when he pooped on the potty today without me reminding him or asking him continually, that today was going to be a better day. Alas, no. Tater tot does not like me out of his sight, and now that he can move---roll around---he does not want to be placed in the play pen that just a few days ago he loved. We haven't been able to use the bouncy seat or swing for weeks. But the play pen or exersaucer he loved. Not. any. more. So as if having one pain-in-the neck child wasn't enough, now I have two. I do feel bad for Tot as I know teeth coming in just can't be loads of fun, but I cannot sit with him the whole day. Besides, S. wants me to also be with him constantly. Good times. When does preschool start???

***I also have a question. What is your discipline strategies? S. has been in so many time-outs and has had so many of his treasured items taken away, but he just hasn't cared a bit. I even took him outside today thinking he might have cabin fever, I DO, and let him run around on his own, our yard is fenced in with a lock on the gate. What did he do? He picked up piles of hard dirt, and threw them at the windows. The first time I heard that BOOM! sound I about jumped. So back inside. Anyway, I am at a loss of what to do. Has anyone ever swatted their child on the bottom? Please help! I asked my son if he wanted to go to daycare. Yah, I really am that frustrated!

Onto tomorrow. I am going to my niece's school tomorrow to be a guest reader. It was supposed to be my brother, but he unknowingly scheduled my younger niece's birthday party that day with two other neighbors' children who have also just turned four. My older niece, second grade, thinks my brother is coming anyway. Wait until she sees me. I am excited. I'd rather read to a group of second graders than deal with my older son right now. My brother is going to be watching my two boys plus helping to run a birthday party full of 4-year old little girls. I can't believe we came from the same mother! He has patience galore, and he actually was the one who told me he believes in the occasional spanking. And he is a great dad, his children well-adjusted and not in fear of him. I just don't know. I don't know what to do. I do know that I am going to enjoy my return to the classroom tomorrow. My niece will be so surprised, we have a great relationship. At least someone will be happy with me tomorrow!