Monthly Archives: April 2009

For My Next Trick, I Have a Complete Emotional Breakdown

First, a little background:

Every year, Sean takes each kid to his office for a “birthday with Daddy” excursion. Since Noah’s birthday fell on the same day as a major, mandatory securities training meeting this week, Sean took him in on Monday instead. As a result, we skipped school on Monday.

Monday night, Caleb puked. Tuesday morning, Noah puked (twice).  I never puked, but I spent the next two days SICK (ok, I was only SICK the first day—by yesterday I was just sick). Since I was having trouble performing complex tasks like consuming food and sitting up during that time period, we went two more days without doing school.

Needless to say, I started off the morning feeling really behind and determined to make the most of our day today. I was grateful for the fact that Sean’s grandmother was coming over this morning and would be able to keep the other kids occupied while Noah and I really hit the books. And the fact that she was bringing along a two year old cousin-ish person (Sean’s cousin’s son—first cousin once removed?)? Hey, I wasn’t going to complain.

Noah, however, was.

It didn’t matter to him that we were way behind. All that he cared about was that his brothers were getting to play with someone and he wasn’t. And, after and hour and a half of doing school and offering numerous warnings to pay attention, it became abundantly clear that he hadn’t paid attention to a single thing I had taught him. I told him that I was done wasting time and sent him to his room (with the understanding that we were NOT done with school for the day).

People, I have never before seen a child manage to break blood vessels around his eyes from a temper tantrum. But I saw it today. As I told Sean’s grandmother, it is probably a good thing that we live in a neighborhood with decent spacing between the houses. Otherwise, people might wonder about me. You just wouldn’t imagine that a kid could scream that loud for that long without some form of beating having occurred.

Without going into any more details, let’s just say that the rest of the day revolved around arguing about school. Which was finished approximately half an hour before bedtime.

Good times.

Of course, I have three other kids, too.

That means that in between the fighting about school, I got to fight about naps, fight about bowel movements (seriously—do you think that Activia would work for a preschooler?), and be peed on. Twice.

To round out the parenthood festivities, I got to sit in the hallway rocking a sleepwalking/crying four year old who would only be comforted back to immobile sleep with several rounds of the ABC song (while my husband stood there laughing at the ridiculousness of the situation).

But, hey, if I get through tomorrow, I get a nice, relaxing weekend, right?


Unless you count the second family birthday party for Noah that we’re having on Sunday.

Oh, or if you want to take into consideration the fact that Noah’s birth family is coming for a visit on Saturday. On one and a half days notice (and, really, that half day consists mostly of the time that I will be asleep tonight…). And as excited as I am to see them again…AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!

I can’t think about that right now. If I do, I’ll go crazy. I’ll think about that tomorrow.*

I’m approaching the point of stand-naked-in-a-cornfield-screaming-while-simultaneously-laughing-maniacally complete emotional breakdown. And anyone who has been to my house knows just how accessible a cornfield is.

On second thought, maybe I should spare the scarecrows the emotional damage (and my mother the embarrassment—it is a re-election year, after all) and just go to bed. After all…tomorrow is another day.*


*No, my middle name isn’t Scarlett (although I did name my dog after her), and I’m not from the south. But who can resist a great literary reference in the midst of a panic attack?



Filed under Daily Life, Homeschooling, I think my head might explode, Kids, open adoption, Parenting

25 Weeks—Restless

Before I get into what is making me restless, let’s have a little discussion about hormones.

Last week, I was speaking to the husband of a friend who just recently became pregnant after going through some fertility procedures. I asked him how far along she was now—fully expecting him to not really know since he is, after all, a man.

“Well, let’s see,” he thought, “she’s a week and a half away from the end of the first trimester so…10 weeks or so?”

It turned out that, in his mind, he wasn’t counting how many weeks ALONG she was, just how many weeks she had left of hormone shots from her treatments. (I found this out as he danced a small jig to celebrate the mere thought of her finally being off of them.)

Of course, I understood. She had already told me that they seemed to be effecting her emotionally in a less-than-pleasant way (not that you would ever guess it when you are around her).

I resisted the urge to tell him to just wait—the real pregnancy hormones can do plenty of stuff on their own (heck, not all of which will disappoint him!).

The other night, as we were eating dinner at the picnic table in the side yard, Sean was telling me something (don’t ask me what—I don’t remember and it doesn’t matter in the slightest). I looked at him, looked at my plate, and just couldn’t help myself. I picked up a grape and held it, poised for him to get the picture.

He did. I threw. He missed.

He caught the second one, though.

I laughed hysterically as he chewed his grape and looked at me, perplexed.

“You know, dear, the hormones are doing some WEIRD things to you this time,” he said.

“Ah, but are they bad things?” I asked.

“No, no…Not bad at all. Kind of entertaining. But weird.”


When I became pregnant with Caleb, my grandfather was battling terminal colon cancer. He needed a lot of help as he went through chemo and the effects of his disease, so we all spent a lot more time at his house.

I remember sitting in his living room in the evenings, when he would prop his legs up in his recliner, and watch as his legs would involuntarily jump and twitch. It frustrated him so much. Not just because his legs kept moving, but because they kept FEELING like they needed to move.

I could totally relate.

My first two pregnancies were karma’s way of punishing me for laughing at the concept of medication for “restless” legs. It really seemed like an incredibly dumb concept. But those first two pregnancies? Wow. If I didn’t have a total aversion to taking medication when I’m pregnant, I may just have been begging for those pills. I was so grateful when I didn’t have restless leg issues during my last pregnancy.

I don’t know why I was surprised when the restless legs started up again the past week or so.

So far, it definitely isn’t as bad as it was at its worst in the other pregnancies. It’s only forced me out of my chair to walk around and stretch once so far. But, well, there’s still a lot of pregnancy to go. I’m hopeful, though, since this is the first time that it has waited until this late in the pregnancy to start (with Caleb, that was my first sign that I was pregnant…my legs kept feeling like they needed to twitch).

So, if you drive by my house in the middle of the night and see the lights on, you now know why. I’m restless*. Or, at least, my legs are.

25 weeks

I think this could have more to do with how quickly my belly is growing than the 1 1/2 pounds of baby in there.



*Don’t worry, there’s always enough for me to do around here with the extra time. For instance, I had to stop part-way through writing this to clean up Caleb puke (my second puke cleaning of the day—the first coming from a dog). Lucky me…Sean made them homemade snow cones with concentrated RED kool-aid after dinner. Thank heavens the kid managed to only puke on his bed.


Filed under Daily Life, pregnancy

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Filed under adoption, Daily Life, Homeschooling, I think my head might explode, Kids

Covert Operations

Roughly a week from now, my oldest son is turning six years old. This does, to some extent, freak me out (how the heck has time gone by that fast???). But we won’t talk about that.

About a month ago, Noah started telling us that he wanted a pet for his birthday. Never mind that we have three dogs and a ferret. After all, the ferret is off limits for the kids due to his ability to draw blood. And the dogs? Well, Noah explained to me that those belong to Sean and me. After all, the dogs all came before any of the kids. So, obviously, at the age of almost-six he has developed a decent sense of logic (darn it!). He wanted something that was HIS.

Preferably a cat.

This is the part where I silently sang praises to the rogue actions of Sean’s immune system that cause misery in the form of itchy eyes and a runny nose whenever he’s in the same room with a cat. Because, honestly, the last thing I need is a cat.

Besides, they secretly kind of creep me out. I don’t understand the draw of owning an animal that seems intent on expressing the fact that it is too good for you.

So, I apologetically told Noah that it just wasn’t possible to get him a cat. And it’s ALL DADDY’S FAULT.

Of course, that didn’t change the fact that I’m a sucker at heart. And I can remember being that age and feeling the same way. Somehow, when you’re little, the family pet isn’t the same as having a pet of your own. I called Sean (aka: Mr. Heart of Stone) and told him about Noah’s birthday wishes. I quickly pointed out that I had no desire to be responsible for another mammal but, well, what would he think of a lizard?

To my amazement, Sean was ok with the idea. I took the most flack from my mother, who thought that the dogs and ferret were enough for me to have to take care of, especially with a fifth kid on the way. Which is logical and fair enough. Of course, I could also respond to that in two words—guinea pigs. Because when I was that age and wanted a pet of my own (as did my older sister), my parents looked past the fact that we had two large dogs and two cats and got us guinea pigs. Which are noisy. And poop a lot. And have sharp teeth, should they choose to bite you. Which makes them a lot more work than a lizard (even if they did eat food that didn’t have to also be fed…). Moving on

I took Noah to the pet store and asked him what he thought of the leopard geckos. And that is why, for the past month, I have heard constant reminders that we would be buying him a gecko for his birthday, because that is what he wants the most—even more than an iPod.

As fate would have it, one of our local pet stores is having a sale on leopard geckos right now. My parents agreed to lizard-sit until Noah’s birthday next week. So, last night, before going to church, I bought a gecko.


I had already set up the terrarium the night before, which ended up costing a lot more than the stinkin’ lizard (no small part of which was the need for additional living quarters and food for the crickets it will live off of). It seems to be doing pretty well so far.

This morning, I fed it three crickets and was fascinated by how easily it caught them. My boys are going to think that it is the coolest thing EVER (a fact that was confirmed by the flock of Cub Scouts that surrounded me at church last night asking what it was, what it ate, why it has holes in the sides of its head, if they could touch it…).

So, for the next six days, I have a secret. Well, assuming that none of those Cub Scouts spill the beans on Sunday (I’m counting on the age difference to save me on this one).

I’m not sure which one of us is more excited for his birthday to finally come.


Filed under Daily Life, Kids, Parenting

He Pees Like a Super Hero

So, you know how I mentioned that Caleb suddenly got inspired by suckers and went a whole day without an accident in order to earn one last week? Well, the next day, he insisted on earning another sucker. And the day after that? We ended up going to Build-a-Bear for the long promised “Three dry days” elephant.


How appropriate is it that his “independence” was symbolized with an elephant?


People, it has now been almost a whole week and he hasn’t had a single accident. The kid is even waking up dry in the morning.

I am elated. And, honestly, a bit annoyed.

Let’s face it, any kid that can go from consistently peeing in his pants every time to NEVER peeing his pants with the flip of a switch has obviously had the control to do it for quite some time now. He just didn’t want to.

How the heck did two mild, compliant people like Sean and I get such a stubborn kid?

Oh, yeah. That’s right. We’re not.

Whatever. At least he’s doing it in the toilet now. Or, at least, he usually is. He has already decided that trees are much more convenient than trudging up the hill when he’s playing outside. As long as he doesn’t start running out the back door and DOWN the hill when the urge hits, well, I can live with it. After all, our back yard is pretty secluded—it isn’t like the neighbors are going to actually SEE him watering the plants.

This morning, however, he decided on a new method that I don’t think I will be living with.

As I was drying my hair today, Caleb came running into the bathroom proclaiming that he needed to pee. Off came the pants. Up went the toilet seat.


The kid stood, facing the toilet, on the edge of the bowl, grasping the edge near the back with his hands. He performed the entire bladder emptying in that position. Not at all missing the appearance of what he had just done, he grinned at me and said, “Mommy, I stood like a spider!”

And honestly, folks? That is just what he looked like.



Filed under Daily Life, Kids, Parenting, Potty Training

If Life Were a Musical, We’d Sing About Fat Fingers

Sometimes, people, the contents of my subconscious completely defy explanation.

As the sounds of children getting out of bed started to fill my house this morning, I awoke from a rather vivid dream. I was at the house of one of my IRL bloggy friends.

Her husband was explaining some of his feelings about fatherhood—in a show tune.

Specifically, he was dancing around the house, looking mildly like someone out of West Side Story, singing about how he didn’t want his daughter’s toys overtaking the “man space” in the garage. This, he explained melodically, was because his fingers were to big to remove small toys from narrow spaces.

Yes, people, I’m a total whack job.

When Sean came out of the bedroom, I told him about the dream.

He didn’t exactly react as I might have expected.

He just shrugged his shoulders and said, “Yeah, I could see him doing that.”


Filed under A Scary Look into My Mind, Just for Fun, just plain bizarre

Everybody Has a Price

I have mentioned, off and on over the past months, my struggle to potty train Caleb. At just over three years old, he is officially the latest of my children to potty train. I have tried praise. I have tried candy. I have tried Build-a-Bear. The past week, I have been reverting to the “mean mommy” approach that finally worked with Noah (taking away things he’s used to and loves—like all beverages other than water—if he refuses to use the potty). Improvement has been marginal, at best.

Yesterday, we ended up spending the evening with my little brother and his family. Drew and his wife have just started working on potty training their two year old daughter.  They decided to motivate her by giving her Blow Pops as a reward for peeing in the potty. Every. Single. Time.

There are random suckers floating all around their house. My sister-in-law confided that she enjoys getting to “clean them up” (apparently, a love of Blow Pops is a trait she and her daughter share). My brother just laughs that his daughter will be diabetic by the time she’s three.

But it’s working for them. She’s telling them when she needs to go potty.

And the really crazy thing? It was apparently working for Caleb, too. This morning, he told me that he was going to use the potty all day, and then I would give him a sucker (I’m impressed—barely three years old and already smart enough to know that there was no way he would finagle a sucker for each individual success).  I told him that that sounded like a fair deal and that, if he could go without any accidents until my doctor’s appointment this afternoon, I would buy him a sucker on the way home.

He spent the whole morning running up the stairs yelling, “Gotta go! I can’t have an accident!” any time the urge hit. And he stayed dry.

On my way home from the doctor’s office, I stopped at a gas station to pick up a sucker. Much to my delight, I found one shaped like a pacifier (shhhh…don’t tell that I still let him have one at bedtime—the kid is so good at melting my heart). I wish you could have seen his face when I gave it to him. Mouth open. Eyes wide. Then, a HUGE grin. To him, it was the coolest thing EVER (and I got major mommy brownie points). Even after it was gone, he stayed dry the rest of the evening.

He has informed us that, tomorrow, he wants Twizzlers.

I can live with that. And, if he stays dry the next day, I will follow through on my promise of an elephant from Build-a-Bear.

But the day after that? So sorry kid, it just becomes an expectation.


As I already mentioned, I did have a doctor’s appointment today. I also had my follow up ultrasound.

She is still a girl (yes, the tech double checked after I told her that we already have four boys).

Better yet, she appears to be a normal, healthy girl.

The echogenic spot is still on the heart, but that was no surprise. They told me last month that it wouldn’t go away (and that it doesn’t indicated any type of problem or defect). Her bowels, though, looked completely normal. And that is what I had been praying for. No echogenic bowel=no reason to assume that there is an increased risk for Down Syndrome. Her growth is right on target, too. This time, no doctors came in wanting to explain statistics or encourage me to get an amnio. I was told that the doctor was satisfied with what he saw and that no further tests or ultrasounds were recommended.


Of course I know that there are no guarantees that everything is perfect and normal. There never are.  But everything looks as perfect and normal as I could ask for with the technology available.

I’m satisfied with that. And very, very grateful.


Filed under Daily Life, Kids, Parenting, Potty Training, pregnancy