Friday, March 31, 2006

My vacation is almost here!

Melissa and I are leaving early in the morning for our very first Mama's Weekend Out (an extension from Mama's Night Out). Neither of us has ever left our toddlers for a night, so this is going to be quite the experiment for both of us. It's going to be a pretty short vacation, we leave Saturday morning and come home Sunday afternoon. Adding in daylight savings, we'll be gone a total of 33 hours. Hey, you have to start somewhere. Iris has never gone more than probably 12-15 hours without nursing, so honestly that's my biggest worry. The only thing dada doesn't have that I do is the boobies. I think she'll do okay, I mean, she's almost two years old so I hope that a day and half away from me won't kill our nursing relationship (or will it?!?!)

I'll let everyone know how the vacation was when I get back. I'll let you know where we stayed, how we got there, how cool the scene was, that kind of stuff.

Au Revoir!

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Today's prenatal visit

We had a fantastic prenatal visit today. I brought up the topic of homebirth with my midwife and, not suprisingly, she thought it was a great idea. Of course, every just keeps saying "whatever you would feel most comfortable doing!" (which is what she said) but she really just made it sound like a perfectly normal thing to do (which it is). She also said it comes down to where I'm going to feel the most safe having this baby. Some women prefer to go to a birth center because it feels more safe to them than being at home. I certainly felt that way when I had Iris. Having ended up at the hospital anyways, the birth center doesn't feel like that safe of a place any longer. I worry that I would associate the birth center with my last experience there. My midwife also said that I don't even have to really decide until I go in to labor! She said, well, prepare to have a homebirth, and if that doesn't feel right, we'll come to the birth center. As usual, I liked having a "back up" option. Last time it was the hospital. This time, it isn't (unless of course there's any emergency).

Sooooo . . . I think we're going to go down that road for a while. The road of planning a home birth. Sit with it. Live with it. Plan for it. Try it on for size and see how it feels. I'm actually getting MORE excited about it the more I think about it.

We also talked about getting an ultrasound. I was incredibly torn on this issue. Last time I didn't get one, and I felt very confident that was the right decision for me and my baby. This time, I just felt like I needed some reassurance, and we very, very much want to know the sex of the baby. So, I'm getting an ultrasound. I feel on the fence about it. I'm not dying for one, but I'm not completely averse to it, either. On the plus side, within a couple of weeks I'll be able to announce whether or not there's a little baby boy or girl on the way!

Almost everything about this pregnancy and preparing for the labor and birth is different. My midwife mentioned how happy I am now, compared to last time. I'm in a very, very different space about the whole thing this time. I'm more supported, I'm more sure of myself, I have the love of my family to rely on more heavily. It's quite wonderful, actually.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Yay!

I woke up to find two exciting things had occured with my blog over night. One is that my counter reached over 1,000 and two is that I got my first comment spam! Ha ha.

I put the counter on here several months after I started the blog, actually, but not that many people knew about it or were reading it. I also wasn't updating it very often. I still don't know who's reading these days, but it's pretty exciting for me to have such a high number of hits.

Oh, and I erased the comment spam. Unless anyone wants access to free porn, then I'll be happy to send along a name for you to contact. I also tried to "tighten up" the security on my comments, while still making them open to the public. I hope it's still easy to leave comments. Let me know via email if you're having any trouble. I did add an email address on my profile a little bit ago if you feel like using it. You know, to say hi, let me know about porn, those kinds of things (oh the barrage of mail I'm going to recieve now!) I also like friends and have a fragile ego, so any friendly comments are welcome!

Thanks for reading, I truly do appreciate it.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

101 Positive Principles of Discipline

I got this list off of the Greener Pastures message board that you can get to through Paxye's Rant

1. When/Then - Abuse it/Lose it Principle - "When you have finished your homework, then you may watch TV." (No homework - no TV.)

2. Incompatible Alternative Principle - Give the child something to do that is incompatible with the inappropriate behavior. ("Help me pick out 6 oranges" instead of running around the grocery store.) It?s a good idea to give two positive choices: ?Would you rather pick up the toys in one minute or two?? (?You choose or I?ll choose.?)

3. Extinction Principle - Ignore minor misbehavior that is not dangerous, destructive, embarrassing or an impediment to learning. (Look the other way. Play deaf.)

4. Satiation Principle - Allow the behavior to continue (if it is not dangerous, destructive, embarrassing, or an impediment to learning) until the child is tired of doing it.

5. Make a Big Deal Principle - Make a big deal over responsible, considerate, appropriate behavior - with attention (your eyeballs), thanks, praise, thumbs-up, recognition, hugs, special privileges, incentives (NOT food).

6. Successive Approximations Principle - Don't expect perfection. Acknowledge small steps in the right direction.

7. Encouragement Principle - Give encouragement as often as possible. Help child see the progress he has made. ("You got three spelling words correct. That is better than last week!" "Doesn't it feel good to be able to zip your own zipper, make your own bed, clean up your own spills?")

8. Logical Consequences Principle - Teach the child that behavior has consequences. If she forgets her sweater, she gets cold. If she doesn't do her homework, she faces the teacher's consequences. If her allowance is all gone, she doesn't get a ?slurpee?.

9. Anticipation Principle - Think ahead about whether or not the child is capable of handling the situation. If not, don't take him (expensive restaurants, church, beauty parlor, adult movies).

10. Preparation Principle - Let the child know ahead of time what he can expect. (You will be able to spend "x" amount of money on shoes and may have one drink at the mall.)

11. Follow through/Consistency Principle - Don't let the child manipulate you out of using your better judgment. Be firm (but kind)!

12. Choice Principle - Give the child two choices, both of which are positive and acceptable to you. "Would you rather tiptoe or hop upstairs to bed?" (?You choose or I?ll choose.?) This can be used with spouses. ?The garage needs to be cleaned out. Would you rather do it tonight or Saturday??

13. Humor Principle - Make a game out of it. Have fun. Laugh a lot. ("How would a rabbit brush his teeth?")

14. Wait Until Later Principle - "We'll discuss this at 5:00. We both need time to cool off and think."

15. Wants and Feelings Principle - Allow the child to want what he wants and feel what he feels. Don't try to talk him out of (or feel guilty for) his wants and feelings.

16. Validation Principle - Acknowledge (validate) his wants and feelings. "I know you feel angry with your teacher and want to stay home from school. I don't blame you. The bus will be here in 45 minutes."

17. Owning-the-Problem Principle - Decide who owns the problem - by asking yourself, "Who is it bugging?" If it is bugging you, then you own the problem and need to take responsibility for solving it. Or you can opt to not let it bug you (and let it go), such as in sibling quibbling!

18. I-Message Principle - Own your own feelings. "When you leave wet towels on the bed, the bed gets wet, and ?I feel angry?. I would like for you to hang them on the hook behind the door.

19. Self-correction Principle - Give the child a chance to self-correct. Stop talking, preaching, lecturing and give him space and time. Tell him you will check back with him later.

20. Keep It Simple Principle - "Friends are not for hitting,? "Time for bed." ?Remember the rules,? ?Gentle hands,? ?Walking feet.? Give the child time to obey.

21. Take a Break Principle - Tell the child to "take a break" and think about what he could do differently that would work better or be more constructive. Give him a place to go until he is ready to come back and behave more productively. (This could be a place that you have created in your home or classroom that is comfortable and quiet. A timer is sometimes helpful. The child can determine how long he might need to reflect, refocus and calm down.) The child is in control here. He can decide when he is ready to rejoin the group.

22. Bunny Planet Principle (adapted from Rosemary Wells) - Close your eyes and tell the children that you are going to the bunny planet. Ask them to tell you when they are ready for you to come back (when things are quiet and they are ready to make good choices). If you are at home, you might go to the bathroom and wait for behavior to improve. Take your telephone, radio and books. Do not come out until behavior has changed.

23. Put It In Writing Principle - If child can read, write a note to him, stating your concerns. Ask for an RSVP. Leave "I love you" notes in surprising places.

24. Modeling Principle - Model the behaviors you want. Show the child, by example, how to behave.

25. Demonstrate Respect Principle - Treat the child the same way you do other important people in your life - the way you want him to treat you - and others. (How would I want her to say that to me?)

26. Privacy Principle - NEVER embarrass a child in front of others. ALWAYS move to a private place to talk when there is a problem (especially in a restaurant, grocery store, classroom, shopping mall). Create such a place in your home. Sometimes sitting in the car to talk things over is a good idea.

27. Apology Principle - Apologize easily - when you goof, or "lose it." ("I wish I could erase what I just said." "You must have been scared by my reaction." "I didn't mean to hurt your feelings." "I was wrong." "I'm sorry." Apologize for your child ("I'm sorry he knocked you down"), but DON'T make your child apologize. (You might be making him lie OR think that wrong-doings can be rectified with an apology.)

28. Empowerment Principle - Develop child's competency, skills, mastery, independence. Encourage him to solve his own problems. Let him know that his choices will determine his future.

29. Availability Principle - Make sure that your child always knows where she can turn for help. If you aren't available, be sure someone is. SET ASIDE 15 MINUTES A DAY to spend together. Let her plan how the time is spent.

30. Positive Closure Principle - At the end of the day, remind your child that she is special and loved. Help her to look for something good - about the day that is finished and the day that lies ahead.

31. Don't Put the Cat With the Pigeons Principle - Don't place temptation in front of the child. (Don't leave the candy dish on the table if you don't want the child to have any candy).

32. Do The Unexpected Principle (Dreikurs) - React in a surprising way. Start doing jumping jacks! Clap a familiar rhythm ("Jingle Bells") - to relieve the tension and get some perspective. It is amazing how, when your head is cleared, you can think better and decide on a more rational way to handle this situation.

33. Use Actions Instead of Words (Dreikurs) - Don't say anything. When a child says something inappropriate or hurtful, instead of responding, let the words "hang in the air." Walk away. Take his hand and move to another place. Give him a chance to "hear" what he just said. Very often, he will make an effort to "self-correct" or apologize.

34. Partner/Co-worker Principle - Support your partner/co-worker?s handling of the situation. If you disagree, move away and let him/her follow through. Leave the room, if you are having trouble not interfering. Do not negate or undermine his/her method of discipline in front of the child. If you do, the child will lose respect for both of you. Later, talk it over with your partner/co-worker and let him/her know why you do not support his/her way of handling the situation.

35. Take Time To Teach Principle - Often we expect children to read our minds to know how to do things they have never been taught. Although our expectations may be clear to us, our children may not have a clue.

36. Human Principle - Remember children have feelings too - just like we do. It is in everyone's best interest to treat them as well or better than we treat other people for whom we are not responsible.

37. The Golden Rule Principle (Dreikurs) - Do unto your children what you would have them do unto you! Our children will (eventually) treat us the way we treat them. It pays to take a deep breath and think twice, so that we will tread gently.

38. Bite Your Lip, Take Leave and Stay Home Principle - There is no place like home. Children might be picking up on our high level of stress. The best part of wisdom might be to scuttle our plans and go/stay HOME! Sometimes we need to take a reality check on our priorities.

39. Talk With Them, Not To Them Principle (Dreikurs) - Focus on two way communication rather than preaching to children. Listen as well as talk. Parents and children continue to learn from each other.

40. Have Fun Together Principle (Dreikurs) - Children love to know that they bring us joy and pleasure. Lighten up and have fun.

41. Thinking Principle - Think about your options. Consider the outcome. Will it be positive? How do you want this to turn out?

42. Make A Sacrifice Principle - Sometimes you have to forget your personal desires (talking on the phone, watching a movie, doing your homework) and give full attention to the child.

43. Divide and Conquer Principle - Separate children who are reinforcing each other?s misbehavior. Put adult between 2 children in a restaurant.

44. Babysitter Principle - Get one.

45. Bag It Principle or PTP - Punt the Plan Principle - In the middle of something that is not working ? move on to something else. De-stress yourself.

46. Get Support of Another Person Principle - Ask someone else to help you reinforce the positive behavior.

47. Help Me Out Principle - Elicit the child?s support. Ask her/him to help you out.

48. Common Sense Principle - Use your common sense. Is this reasonable?

49. Change of Environment Principle - If the child?s misbehavior cannot be stopped, move to another room or location. (Go outside.)

50. Prompt and Praise Principle - Explain the expected behavior in a non- critical way and praise child as soon as the behavior occurs.

51. Blame It On The Rules Principle - ?Our school/family rule is to wash your hands before eating.?

52. Turtle Time Principle - Encourage child to withdraw into his ?turtle shell? to calm himself down, to think more clearly, to keep from reacting in a negative way.

53. The Timer Says It?s Time Principle - Invest in individual timers and give one to each family member when you go to a mall together. ?When the timer goes off, we?ll meet back at the entrance.? In a classroom, ?When the timer goes off, you will need to put away your books.?
54. Chill Out Principle - It?s no big deal! Don?t make a mountain out of a molehill. This, too, will pass.

55. Brainstorming Principle - Brainstorm with the child possible solutions to the dilemma, problem or predicament.

56. Hand Gestures Principle - Develop hand gestures which signify, ?Please,? ?Thank you,? ?More,? ?Stop,? ?Be Careful,? and ?Use your words,? and ?No.?

57. Pay Attention Principle - Keep your eyes and mind on what is happening. Don?t wait until child is out of control to step in.

58. Catch the Child Being Good Principle - When the child is exhibiting behavior that makes you proud, be sure to praise, thank, and call attention to it.

59. Sing Principle - Surprise the child by singing what you want him to do. Get in the habit of making up songs (with familiar tunes, i.e. "The Farmer In The Dell," "Jingle Bells,") and using words to describe what you would like the child to do.

60. Shrug Principle - Learn to shrug instead of arguing. The shrug means, "I'm sorry, but that's the way it is - end of discussion."

61. Love Principle - When in doubt, hold the child, hug him and tell him how much you love him.

62. Role-Playing Principle - Ask the child to exchange roles with you. Let him tell you what he would do if he were in your place. (Let him sit in your chair at the dinner table - and show you how s/he perceives you to be and to act.)

63. Thank-you Principle - Thank the child for doing the right thing - before he does it.

64. Frog suit Principle - Teach the child to "put his/her frog suit on." A frog suit protects the child from being hurt by other children's careless or cruel comments.

65. Whisper Principle - Instead of yelling, screaming or talking in a loud voice, surprise the child by lowering your voice to a whisper. This surprise often evokes immediate attention. It also helps you to stay in control and think more clearly.

66. Give Life To An Inanimate Object Principle - Tell the child that "the toothbrush is calling," or "the trash is calling that it wants to be taken out to the curb." Give your voice a believable "squeaky" tone to make it more dramatic (and fun).

67. Best Friend Principle - Elicit help from the child's best friend. Ask the best friend to see if he can encourage the child to "do the right thing."

68. Trust Principle - Let the child know - in many ways and often - that you believe that s/he has a good head on his/her shoulders and that you trust his judgment.

69. Remember Who Are The Grown-ups - Always remember that you are the grown-up and that you are ultimately responsible for the way things turn out. The child does not have your judgment or history of experiences and can't possibly be held responsible for the ultimate outcome.

70. Nip It In the Bud Principle - When you see a child doing something that is dangerous, destructive or embarrassing (to you), take immediate action. Don't let the behavior continue - hoping that it will go away. It usually gets worse, if the child knows you are watching and you are doing nothing about it. It might be that a hand signal is enough - or a "look" that means "stop." It might be that you have a code word, i.e. "red light," that always means "Stop - right now!" You might have to move toward the child, take his hand, and move him to another place. Give the child as little of your attention as possible. Refrain from scolding, preaching, threatening, fussing - or in any other ways - letting the child have your eyeballs and your attention.

71. Talk About Them Positively To Others - Let them overhear you speaking positively about them - bragging about their good qualities and actions - to others.

72. Stay Detached Emotionally - Try to remain objective - with your eye on the goal (self-discipline) and don't let the child "hook" you emotionally - in other words, don't take his/her behavior personally.

73. Teach Your Child To Speak Up To Bullies - Empower your child by role-playing and letting her/him practice speaking up (loudly, if necessary) to bullies. Bullies like cowards.

74. Establish Routines and Traditions - Children behave better when they know what they can count on. Establish traditions which they can look forward to and which provide them with fond memories and feelings of belonging and security.

75. PMS Principle - Always check out -prevention, method and source. Could the misbehavior have been prevented? Was the method of discipline respectful? What lay at the Source of the behavior - what was the child trying to tell you?

76. Make It Fun Principle - See if you can turn a chore into a challenge; a job into a game; a "must" into a "want to." ("I have hidden a surprise in your room. When it is cleaned up, you will find it.")

77. Institute Mailboxes Principle - Put mailboxes outside each child's room, or attach one to each child's desk. Write personal notes - suggestions, thanks, etc. and put inside child's mailbox. Be sure to have one on your desk - or outside your room - for their messages back to you.

78. ABC Principle - Learn to think in terms of ABC (Antecedent, Behavior and Consequences). What was going on before the behavior occurred and what happened afterwards - as a result of the behavior? Many times you can find patterns in behavior - and alter your behavior or the circumstances that may have led up to the inappropriate behavior. Also, you might need to look at what is gained by the behavior - what the child is getting as a result. (A child who is overly tired may throw a temper tantrum. In order to get him to stop, he may be given a toy. By changing the antecedent and/or the consequences, a temper tantrum may be avoided in the future.)

79. Collect Data Principle - Keep a written record of the frequency of inappropriate behaviors. Record the antecedents as well as the consequences. Look for patterns that may give clues as to possible reasons, situations and/or solutions.

80. Jump Start A Belly Laugh - Surprise everyone by teaching him or her to jump-start a belly laugh. Grab someone's hands and jump up and down together, saying "ho, ho" real fast, until you are genuinely laughing.

81. The Time-In Principle ? Every time you are near your child, give him a loving stroke or hug. This touching can be non-verbal. Think about it. Words never quite convey the message you want to give someone. However, touching is perfect. Children are less likely to seriously misbehave when they sense a deep love and respect on the part of one who matters to them. What you do is much more important than what you say. Have you ever noticed the way that parents kiss the heads of their babies ? and the contented look on the faces of both? We need to seize every opportunity to express our love and caring in non-verbal ways as well as verbally!

82. Nap Principle - Take a break. A nap usually puts everything in better perspective.

83. Write A Contract Principle - Sit with the child (after the emotion subsides) and together write a contract for future behavior. Be sure to let him/her have input. Then both parties sign the contract.

84. Let The Child Be The Teacher Principle - Let the child assume the role of teacher (or parent). Ask him to teach you a skill.

85. Get On Child's Eye Level Principle - When talking with the child, get down on his/her eye level and look him in the eye while talking softly to him/her.

86. Teach- Don't Reteach Principle - Teach your child the correct procedures and behaviors as soon as you have an opportunity. It is much harder to go back and undo a learned behavior. (A TV remote is not a toy - don't let a toddler play with it. Children need to know your expectations for entering your classroom and taking their seats - on the first day of school. Your child should not drive a car until he is legally old enough to do so. Laws are to be obeyed.)

87. Read a Book (or Read the Paper) Principle - Sit down and read. Take your attention away from the child who is behaving inappropriately. Read until you have both cooled off and can deal with the situation in a productive manner.

88. Who Cares Principle - Is it really that important? If not, let it go.

89. Make Up A Story Principle - Make up a story to tell the child - using another person's name - but giving an account of an incident which occurred in which the child was at fault. Ask the child what the child in the story did that was wrong - and what he should do differently the next time.

90. Stay Healthy Principle - Remember the importance of taking good care of yourself - physically as well as emotionally. Eat well, sleep well and get plenty of exercise. You will not only be able to cope better, but you will also become a good role model for the children you love.

91. Cueing Principle - Give the child a cue, such as a hand gesture, to remind him - ahead of time - of the behavior you want him to exhibit. For example, teach the child that, instead of interrupting you when you are talking with someone else, he is to squeeze your hand. This will let you know that he wants to talk with you (as you return the squeeze), and as soon as you can, you will stop your conversation and find out what he wants.

92. Connect Before You Correct Principle - Be sure to "connect" with a child - get to know him and show him that you care about him - before you begin to try to correct his behavior. This works well with parents too. Share positive thoughts with them about their child before you attack the problems!

93. Switch Gears Principle - When the unexpected occurs, look for a way to make the most of the situation. For example, if you have a long wait, suggest that each of you close your eyes and listen for what you can hear, or look around and find something you had never noticed before.

94. Third Party Principle - Tell a story about a particular situation which you are trying to resolve and elicit suggestions. For example, "There is a mom who would like her son to take out the trash. Should she (a) ask him to do it? (b) tell him to do it? (c) let him know the trash is full and needs to be taken out? (d) tell him the 'trash is calling'? (e) ask him to help her with the trash, or (f) other? What should the mom do?"

95. Other Shoe Principle - Look at the situation from the child's perspective. How would you feel if the "shoe was on the other foot?" What if the child was you and you were the child?

96. Think Of The Outcome - What is your intention? What outcome are you trying to achieve? Are you trying to help the child, or live through the child? If your intention is to teach a child something he/she can later use to help him/herself, then don't let your emotions or personal agenda get in the way. For example, just because you wish you had learned to play the piano and had never had the opportunity to take lessons, don't force piano lessons on your child.

97. Values are Caught and Not Taught Principle - Expose your child to role models who are passionate about their work. Take piano lessons yourself and watch your child absorb your love for music. Eat well and exercise, and watch your child imitate your example. Don't talk about it. Do it!

98. Allow Imperfection Principle - Don't demand perfection. Remember no one likes the "perfect" child, parent or teacher. With perfection as the goal, we are all losers.

99. Belonging and Significance Principle ? (Dreikurs) - Remember that everyone needs to feel that s/he belongs and is significant. Help your child to feel important by giving him important jobs to do and reminding him that if he doesn't do them, they don't get done! Help him/her feel important by being responsible.

100. Ask The Child Principle - Ask the child for input. "Do you think this was a good choice?" "What were you trying to accomplish or tell us with your behavior?" "What do you think could help you in the future to remember to make a better choice?" "How would you like for things to be different?" ?How about drawing a picture of how you feel right now.? Children have wonderful insight into their own behavior and great suggestions for ways to make things better.

101. Good Head On Your Shoulders Principle - Tell your child - frequently - especially as s/he reaches the teen years - "You have a good head on your shoulders. You decide. I trust your judgment." This brings out the best in the child and shows him/her that eventually he will be in charge of his own life and responsible for his/her own decisions.

These tests are so funny

I found this test over at the Peanut Gallery

Your Five Factor Personality Profile

Extroversion:

You have low extroversion.
You are quiet and reserved in most social situations.
A low key, laid back lifestyle is important to you.
You tend to bond slowly, over time, with one or two people.

Conscientiousness:

You have medium conscientiousness.
You're generally good at balancing work and play.
When you need to buckle down, you can usually get tasks done.
But you've been known to goof off when you know you can get away with it.

Agreeableness:

You have medium agreeableness.
You're generally a friendly and trusting person.
But you also have a healthy dose of cynicism.
You get along well with others, as long as they play fair.

Neuroticism:

You have medium neuroticism.
You're generally cool and collected, but sometimes you do panic.
Little worries or problems can consume you, draining your energy.
Your life is pretty smooth, but there's a few emotional bumps you'd like to get rid of.

Openness to experience:

Your openness to new experiences is high.
In life, you tend to be an early adopter of all new things and ideas.
You'll try almost anything interesting, and you're constantly pushing your own limits.
A great connoisseir of art and beauty, you can find the positive side of almost anything.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Follow up

I was thinking all day about the post I added last night. I especially was thinking about how important it is to demonstrate the kinds of behaviors for your children that you hope that they pick up some day. And I REALLY don't mean this to say I think parents all need to be perfect human beings when little eyes are on them. Mostly what I mean is that even when we aren't perfect, we can demonstrate to our children how to say "I'm sorry" or "I was wrong". I find myself using these words with Iris on a pretty regular basis, cause heck, I AM wrong alot.

As a young adult, I remember a really important moment I had with my father. My teen years were pretty rough, for all sorts of reasons. I had wonderful parents, but they didn't know what to do about the struggles I faced. They often made poor choices about how to "handle" me simply because they really didn't know any better, or perhaps were pretty scared. At any rate, one afternoon my father told me he was sorry. He was sorry for not knowing what to do and not handling the situation better. It was an incredible moment for us. We grew much closer.

I don't want to lose out on moments with Iris where I can grow as a mother and where my relationship with her grows, as well. I don't want her to be a young adult and have to muster up the courage to reconcile all the time we lost.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Sigh.

What a shitty weekend. I'm really worn out! The weekend, well, actually just Sunday, is my only day of the week to get any kind of rest. It wasn't happening today.

Not a terribly uncommon occurence, Matt and I got in a huge fight. I always made it a goal to never really delve it to personal stuff I go through with him on my blog (cause that will ALWAYS come back to bite me in the ass!) but I did figure that my inner thoughts make good blogging fodder. So, where do I begin . . .

It's really frustrating for me to get in disagreements with people. I truly consider myself someone who strives to get along with people, no matter what. I hate fighting and I hate to have conflict with people, but I'm not about to be bullied or taken advantage of, either. Especially now that I'm a mother, I consider it extremely important to avoid any unneccessary conflict and if I find myself in the middle of it, to keep it away from Iris. This is so fucking hard. Cause I'm a passionate woman. So if someone gets in my face, I am not going to back down. Sometimes the "get in my face" occurs when Iris is in the room and mama can't just shut her mouth. My absolute hands down number one thing I detest most about my mothering is not keeping my mouth shut around Iris when I am mad. And I can see it, I can see this vision of the perfect mama angel hovering above me, first whispering, then speaking normally, then SHOUTING at me to "SHUT THE FUCK UP ALREADY YOU'RE INFINITELY SCREWING UP YOUR CHILD!" but I can't, or else I just don't, and then I end up feeling like the worst mother of all time. Pretty much exactly how I feel now. The other hard thing for me about being a mama is that I couldn't care any less what a single person on this earth feels about me, except for Iris. Knowing that she hears awful things being said about me, and hears awful things coming out of my mouth is just about crippling. Obviously some day, well before I am ready, she will come to learn I'm not perfect. But I sure as hell don't want to be driving her to that conclusion any faster than she is going to get there naturally.

When this happens, some days I have the guts to talk to her, and tell her how sorry I am for acting the way I did in front of her. Other days I look at her and feel so horrible I can't even find the words so I try to be super mama and hope I'm erasing her memories of anger and replacing them with memories of stories and songs and hugs and kisses. Neither of these "solutions" quite feels right, however. The right solution is to not do it anymore. To put the same force in to protecting my daughter from what she doesn't need to be a part of as I put in to my anger.

Being a mama is hard work, huh? I'm sure this is no where near the hardest of it, but currently, this is my struggle. How to be the most perfect mama to her I can be in spite of being a screwed up human being. At any rate, I'm going to keep trying. I mean, of course I am. That's what I do.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

100 things about me

1. I am so jealous of everyone else's "100 things about me" list that I decided to create one of my own!
2. I am 6 feet tall
3. That didn't bode well for me in the boy department while in high school
4. Most of my clothes are black even though I don'particularlyly like wearing that color
5. I have one little girl named Iris and another baby on the way
6. I have a Portuguese Water Dog named Lily
7. Naming my child Iris and my dog Lily was not planned
8. I have a fat cat named Benjamin who is by all estimates about 16 years old
9. Benjamin was adopted at the Humane Society
10. I have a sister who is seven years older than me
11. I have a brother who is nine months older than my sister
12. They both have two kids each, two boys and two girls, respectively
13. My dream is to be a stay at home mom and eventually graduate to housewife status
14. Being a parent is much harder than I thought it would be
15. I am a much better parent than I ever thought I would be
16. It is going to be a long, long time before I get married
17. When I do get married, I won't wear a traditional wedding dress
18. Even as a little girl, I never envisioned myself in a traditional wedding dress
19. I have four tattoos, one on each upper arm and two on my back
20. I want at least two more, in honor of my two children
21. I love to read trashy magazines about fashion and celebrities
22. In college I was clinically depressed and suicidal
23. I am now the happiest I've ever been in my life
24. I plan to nurse my children until they no longer want to nurse
25. I plan to co-sleep with my children until they no longer want to co-sleep
26. Co-sleeping with and nursing my daughter are the most delicious things I get to do as a mother
27. It embarasses me to receive compliments
28. I am growing my hair out for the second time in my life so that I can donate it to Locks of Love
29. I have contemplated cutting it before it gets long enough many, many times
30. I miss my parents and wish they would call me more often
31. I am almost constantly jealous of my brother and sister for achieving so many things with their lives
32. My favorite type of food is Mexican
33. You can't really find good Mexican food in Seattle
34. This past summer I accidentally fell in love with Diet Coke
35. It's sooooo good with a fresh lime in it!
36. I had a pretty typical upbringing
37. Except that my parents divorced and then re-married each other
38. I was a vegetarian for 12 years until I got pregnant with Iris
39. Now I eat meat more often than I'd like to admit
40. I hope I can go back to being a vegetarian some day
41. My daughter has my last name and so will the new baby
42. I wish my home looked like a Pottery Barn catalog
43. I don't believe in God
44. The first boy I ever loved committed suicide when I was 16
45. I love to play Backgammon
46. I hate my job and spend most of my time just trying to look busy while I surf the internet
47. The summer when I was 22 I lived and worked on an organic farm
48. I would love to have three or more children
49. Since I don't ever want to be pregnant or give birth again, IÂ’m stopping at two
50. I hate recreational drugs of any kind
51. My boyfriend is a recovering drug addict
52. I'm scared every day of my life that he's going to start doing drugs again
53. I have a severe phobia of snakes
54. I'm mad at myself for spending so much money on my worthless college education
55. It's amazing that I graduated with a 3.0 GPA considering how little I even went to class
56. I know how to weld
57. I have memorized Dr. Seuss's ABC book
58. In high school I had dreadlocks
59. Since I'm a white girl with greasy hair, they didn't stay in very long
60. I tend to fancy myself a photographer
61. I own six cameras but they are all pretty crappy
62. Sex and the City is my favorite television show
63. I've been a bridesmaid twice
64. Cake and ice cream is my favorite dessert
65. I've never been out of the United States
66. I'm incredibly proud that my daughter has never had a drop of formula in her life
67. I plan to achieve this goal with baby #2
68. I wonder when I'll stop refering to the new baby as "baby #2"
69. I read alot of parenting message boards
70. I think dishonesty is the worst trait a person can have
71. It's hard for me not to hold grudges
72. I don't like pie
73. Brach's jelly beans are my favorite candy
74. Especially the black ones
75. I love to play Texas Hold 'em
76. I'm actually pretty good at it, too
77. For a short while I owned an orange and white 1975 VW van
78. I shudder when I think about it, now
79. I was born in Green Bay, WI
80. As a child Lake Michigan was in my back yard
81. I get really nervous if I leave the house without lip balm
82. I used to play on a kickball team, now I just sit on the sidelines and chase Iris
83. My daughter and I look nothing alike
84. This it TOTALLY annoying to me!
85. I watch way more tv than I'd like to admit
86. I have a degree in nutrition
87. You probably wouldn't guess it by looking at what our family eats
88. I can get pretty lazy in the kitchen
89. However, I made most of Iris's food when she was a baby, and today she is the most well-nourished of anyone in our home
90. I wish I had space so that I could garden and raise chickens
91. I met my boyfriend at a garage rock show a local rock club
92. These days I have very little time to listen to music
93. Probably because I watch to much damn television!
94. I cry when I watch tv shows about babies being born
95. My favorite month is October
95. I'm a Libra and a Snake
96. I can't stand camping
97. It is a secret dream of mine to homeschool my children
98. I once did the Danskin triathalon
99. My favorite thing about my boyfriend is how much he loves our daughter and how good of a father he is
100. My favorite thing about myself is how much I love our daughter and how good of a mother I am

Friday, March 24, 2006

Staying healthy

So far this year we've done a great job of keeping Iris as well as possible. Last year it seemed like she was sick about every third week. Usually nothing too major, but sick none-the-less. It was so frustrating.

This year, I decided my goal was to keep her as healthy as I could, and I'm so pleased it's working! Since a major stomach bug pukey thing in May, she's had a slight cold/fever thing in October for a couple of days, had a couple days of runny nose earlier this winter, and now today has a runny nose again.

So what I've been doing is this: breastfeed, breastfeed, breastfeed. Even though she was sick often last year, I really feel like BFing her is helping to keep her healthy. We also wash hands. ALOT. I didn't start my handwashing craze until we started the pre-school co-op this fall, and now we wash hands several times a day. And we don't use that Purell crap. It's nasty and dries hands and I don't think for a second it protects from germs. Handwashing, folks, that's where it's at! The only thing I use disinfecting wipes for is the grocery cart or booster seats in restaurants or the like. Which brings me to my next point, I wipe down everything she spends time in that likely a plethora of germy kids have touched. I also give her a multivitamin every day. Because we're nursing, and she eats so well, I only give her about half a dose. I also give her an immune booster called Thymactiv by NF Formulas. This is something we do a dropper full of every day, and up to three droppers a day when I know she has been exposed to something big or if she isn't feeling so hot herself. I wish I had the money to give her fish oils, as these have been proven to provide a whole host of immunity-boosting effects, but between the two supplements she takes, it's almost $30 a month as it is. Plus, what we're doing seems to be working!

I wouldn't normally make a big deal out of it, and I'm not trying to now, but having seen such a drastic change in her health from one year to the next has really forced me to take notice about the fact that something is obviously going well.

Iris's pediatrician says she loves to see sick kids, because when they get sick at a younger age, they have a stronger immune system when they are school-aged. I suppose I disagree. Iris can be exposed to germs, have her immune system process them and build immunity, without the germs totally knocking her out. I think there's something to be said by building immunity so a child can actually, um, I don't know, enjoy being healthy?

So, the system ain't broke, we won't be changing it. I hope it continues to work well next year when the new baby is here and so vulnerable to every little thing.

I was going to start my vent now about people bringing their sick children to places where they could infect other people, but I'll save that wrath for another day :)

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Why do I bother?

From the time I was pregnant with Iris, I have become a parenting message board junkie. I have found some boards to be decent at certain times, but overall my experience with them has been fairly frustrating. For some reason, I can't stay away from them, however. I'm like a moth to a flame! For a month I stayed completely away, and have since struggled to stay away from bulletin board issues that I know will upset me, but it's a losing battle. I wish I could just quit this addiction.

Every once in a while I decide that a particular message board is pretty cool, and I read it alot. This recently happened with one and although I never added any comments or started any thread, I decided my recent struggle with home birth vs. birth center birth was worthy of soliciting advice from what (I thought) were some incredibly knowledgable women about the subject. I couldn't have been more wrong. Okay, so it breaks down like this, I start a thread asking basically outlining my choices, thank the board so much for reading and responding, and then sit back and wait. The first responder basically says "I wouldn't want to drive, I would do the homebirth". The second one says "you need someone to care for your DD (daughter) while you're in labor". The third one posted a fairly unrelated story about her own birth experience, and then said "if you live in an apartment, where would you drain the pool?" At this point I jump back in and say that the pool would be drained in the bathtub, just like it was with a girl I know who had an apartment birth and that there would be plenty of people at the birth, including someone whose main job it was to watch Iris. Then the next poster quotes me and responds "you need to have someone there whose job it is to watch your DD (duh, I just said there would be) and then says, gee that's a tough call!" The last responder says "someone there needs to be dedicated to watching your two year old". I respond, again, saying that we had the child care situation covered, that really wasn't the issue. No one responded after that. Maybe I came off as too snarky. I was just pissed because not a single person who responded gave me anything real to consider, and most of the posts were about an issue that I had already expressed we had covered (the care of Iris).

I went on another message board and discovered someone else had asked this exact same question. The responses she got were so thoughtful and plentiful. I learned a ton more from that thread than I did from the one I made.

All in all, it's so dumb that I even care. And really, I don't. It was just my expectations, and was hurt that perfect strangers hadn't given me the same kind of thoughtful answers they seem to give every other person who post on that message board. See, it's so dumb!

I need to stay away, or at least stick with this other board that I've found to be much more helpful to me, and much more coming from my point of view. At least I wouldn't get my undies in a bundle over such stupid things!

My dear friend Melissa snickers in her head every time I talk to her about message boards. She rightly thinks they are silly, and serve to start mommy-wars and make mamas feel bad about themselves. She might be on to something . . .

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Oh. My. Goodness.

I just had to quickly post while I am still on the high from my first ever prenatal yoga class. It was SO amazing. I kind of expected to go there and work my booty and have to keep telling myself "suck it up wussy, this is good for me!" But it was about as far from that experience as possible. It was seriously relaxing, and calming, and a little bit of work, but like I said, I'm a wuss, and it wasn't too much for me. I gather most yoga rooms look like this, but it was a big room with three big windows and hardwood floors. Dimly lit with that nice soft music that typically pisses me off, but tonight I liked it. It was so nice to just have time for ME, which I really never get. Even at home when Iris is sleeping I'm doing something, like cleaning, or working on my computer, or watching tv. None of these things exactly "feed my soul" so to speak. I had no idea how depleted I was getting, and this yoga class opened me up to a whole new world of mama-centered deliciousness.

Now I just want to tell every mama I know, pregnant or about to be pregnant, or never going to be pregnant again, to try a yoga class. To do something really wonderful for their body and mind, cause mama's sure need it, and so does everyone else in her family!

I haven't done alot of yoga in my life, a little here and there. Several years ago in college I used to yoga a couple of times a week with a friend, but it didn't last long and I don't remember much of it. My brother-in-law used to be a yoga teacher, as well. He and my sister have showed me a few things throughout the years, but again, mostly I have forgotten it all. As I was leaving the class I was reflecting on how different I felt, and how life-changing it must be for people who practice regularily. I thought about BIL and how he's such a calm, centered, gentle guy. I often envy my sister's relationship because it seems so even-keeled (she considers it a little boring at times, but I say, at least you're not screaming at each other!) and I just can't help but think how much of his yoga practice contributes to that.

See what happens when I strike up conversations with people?

I've talked a little bit on my blog about the pre-school co-op that I am involved in with Iris. We're 3/4 of the way through the school year and I have yet to really get to know anyone, mostly due to my shyness but also due to the fact that I'm judgemental and automatically assumed I had little in common with the other parents. I'm the youngest mom there, the only one un-married, and our family makes what appears to be much less money than everyone else. See? I already grouped myself in to a seperate little class without any doing it to me.

Anyways, so the word recently spread that I am pregnant. Today is the most I've ever talked to people at school because they were all congratulating me, asking how I felt, etc etc. Iris and another child were playing by each other, so I was talking for a bit to his mama. She had another baby not too long ago and I was asking where she had him, kind of the normal run of the mill conversation fodder. Somehow I volunteered up that I was going to be taking hypnobirthing classes with this baby. I expected to get a blank look and a "what? like hypnosis?" type response. Much to my delight, she told me that she also used hypnobirthing with her baby! I was SO excited to find this out! It turns out she used one of the two women I am trying to decide between and it definitely helped during her birth. She had her son in a hospital, naturally, and he was over 10 lbs, I think. At least 10 lbs, anyways. We didn't have time to continue our conversation (kids to look after, after all!) but I can't wait to talk to her more about it. She's the first woman I've met in real life who has used hypnobirthing.

Moments like that also make realize that often times I put myself inside a bubble and cut myself off from the possibility of making friends or even just connecting with people.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

What to do, what to do

So I've been tossing around the idea of having my next baby at home. Now I'm in the process of making this decision, and I hardly know where to begin. Not actually having birthed at a birth center OR at home before, I'm kind of lost.

I LOVE the birth center that my midwives practice at. It's beautiful and all three rooms have cool hot tubs. That's about the most it has going for it. It's far from our home, almost an hour drive, depending on traffic. There also aren't any good accomodations for anyone who wants to be at the birth center and wait while I'm in labor. This concerns me mostly because I want Iris to be able to be close by, but there really isn't good space for her to be there for possibly hours. Also, at a birth center, you come home hours after birth, with a tiny baby. Obviously there's not much difference between driving a 24 hour old baby and a 5 hour old baby, but I just don't like thinking about having to do that.

Okay, so at home. We live in an apartment, for one. We have a downstairs neighbor and a neighbor on one side. My bedroom doesn't share walls with any other apartment, however, but I am sure I won't spend the whole time in there. I also don't LOVE being at home. I don't always feel the most comfortable here, but it is my home, and it's where all my stuff is, where all of Matt and Iris's stuff is, and most importantly, where the food is! Ha ha. We also have a tiny hot water heater that barely gets us through a normal day, let alone a labor and birth. I know if we rented a tub, we could heat water on the stove, but that would eliminate using the shower, and there would have to be hot water left for after the baby's birth. I also wouldn't have to go anywhere! Everyone would come to me! The baby wouldn't have to be transported for a long, long time if we didn't want her/him to be. It might be a little more expensive to have a home birth, as we'd have to rent our own tub, get our own supplies, etc. However, I don't know if we are charged less for not using the birth center facilities, so that might even out. Most importantly, Iris can stay home, and Matt and I can stay home, and we'll all just be HERE instead of scrambling to get everyone out the door. I guess I don't know for sure, but having Iris close by while I go through this labor and birth would be really wonderful for me. I also think that it would be great, if she wanted to be there, she could participate in the birth. Who knows, she may be more interested in watching Teletubbies!

I'm going to talk to my midwives in depth about all of this to see what they think. I am sure there are many, many points I haven't even thought about that I have to consider. Also, I need Matt to be fully (well, at least 75%) on board with that choice.

Sigh, what to do, what to do!

Monday, March 20, 2006

Here's a few other cute recent pictures

Coloring on the floor:




Showing off the shirt Melissa brought her from Puerto Vallarta:

You won't believe how much she loves this stroller!

See, here's Iris out on our walk this morning:



And here she is thoroughly enjoying her stroller:



Oh yeah, I actually got her to sit in it, too:



If you're looking closely, you will probably notice she's not even buckled in. I couldn't figure out how the damn straps worked, and she wouldn't sit in the thing long enough to even make it worth while. Sigh. I bought this fancy stroller for a little girl who would, apparently, rather walk than ride in luxury. Hmmm, maybe I can get her to push ME around in it?

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Winding down the weekend

After spending most of last weekend lying on the couch, this weekend seemed like pure mayhem in comparison. Matt's parents were here for a visit. We haven't seen them since Christmas and what I will always remember as the Great Baby Announcement Debaucle. They arrived Saturday afternoon and all seemed to be going well with everyone when I got home from work early Saturday evening. I was informed that Iris was pretty scared of Grandpa's cane. Fair enough, I thought, she may not have ever seen one, and it kind of freaks her out. No biggie. So we're all sitting around talking and eating dinner and pretty much just letting Iris entertain us. At one point I gave her a pen so she could color. After a few moments of coloring, she wandered over to the lounge chair and was about to start writing on the arm of it with the pen. Grandpa YELLED at Iris to stop and she just kind of froze and then turned around and fell in to Matt's lap and started clinging on to him. Now, Grandma was in the chair, Matt and I were sitting arm's length away, Iris was fine and well covered. It really upset me that he yelled at her so loudly, but I didn't know what to say or do in the moment. We just stopped and then shook it off and kept going with the conversation. It is so wierd, because at least one other time he has yelled quite loudly at her. It makes me incredibly uncomfortable and upset, but it happens so infrequently, and I believe with good intention (he really didn't want her to write on the chair) that it's hard to find the words to express to him why it's not okay. So, Iris spent the rest of their visit pretty scared of Grandpa. This morning we got in the car to go to brunch and he was in the front seat. Iris just freaked when I tried to put her in her car seat. She was trying to lean way over so her feet didn't even touch the back of the seat he was in. Grandpa and Grandma were just saying "oh, she's so scared of that cane!" but I really felt like she was just scared of him.
I was super nervous to bring up with Matt how Grandpa's actions made me feel, but in a moment I just blurted it out. I felt so relieved when Matt told me he shared my feeling about it, but didn't know what to do. I agreed that it was a sticky situation. It was interesting, because for Matt, it brought up emotions of times in his childhood when his father would react to him that way. We both believe that the topic should be approached sensitively with Grandpa, to let him know we appreciate that he is just trying to help, but let him we've got it under control, and that he doesn't need to raise his voice with Iris.
So, this afternoon I got a couple BIG treats. The first is we bought a glider and an ottoman so I can use them for when the baby comes. In fact, I'm sitting in it while I type this entry! It's SO cool. I was thoroughly, thoroughly impressed because Matt put the whole thing together. I was the forwoman, but he did all the work. He is about the least mechanically inclined of any man I know, almost to a fault. Seriously, he has trouble with hammers. I didn't really want him to put it together, because I was afraid it might get ruined, but he did it, and he did an awesome job! I was so proud of him! This afternoon we went to Costco and picked up a new stroller. I've been wanting a new one for months, a jogging stroller, then I found out I was pregnant and didn't know what to do about a new stroller. The only one we have is an all-purpose heavy-duty umbrella type stroller. Okay for everything, not great for anything. So, I finally decided on this stroller. It's quite cool. After I set it up Iris didn't want to get out of it. Of course, we just played with it in the living room, but tomorrow will be it's first proper spin out on the sidewalk.
Now we relax for the evening. Sigh. Back to work tomorrow!

Saturday, March 18, 2006

The cutest thing ever

I keep forgetting to blog about this!

Have you heard the song by James Blunt called “Beautiful”? It’s the dreamiest, most lovely song, currently playing just about everywhere. For a while Iris and I would watch videos in the morning after we woke up, and inevitably that video would come on. There is a line in the chorus that goes “you’re beautiful, it’s true” and I always thought that was the sweetest, so I would sing it to Iris. Once I just said “you’re beautiful” and Iris finished “it’s true” and now she says the whole thing by herself. Sometimes just spontaneously, which makes my heart melt.

Her father also taught her "rock on!", which is a hand sign in which you put your index and pinky finger up, while tucking your middle and ring finger and thumb in to the palm of your hand while saying “rock on!” (think mullet-haired head bangers at a Slayer concert). She’s getting the hang of it, and spends quite a bit of time trying to get her hands in to that configuration. One day, while riding in the car, we heard her in the back seat going “rock on!” and had finally figured out how to get her hands to comply. It’s hysterical and also very, very cute.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Time to post your comments, folks!

Okay, so I've been getting feedback here and there that people are interested in sending some comments along about my blog. Up until now I've been too big of a fraidy cat to turn the comments feature on for fear of (gasp!) hurtful things being said about the really personal things I write about. It's lame, I know, but that's me! It has started to occur to me that this was really silly of me, and I mostly likely miss out on some great words of wisdom more than I miss out on some asshole who wants to say something mean about me. Of course, if someone does say something mean about me, I'll cry for a while and then delete your comments. Hee hee.

I also plan on going back and activating the comments feature on my past posts, but that may take me awhile. So, if you've been dying to comment on a past post, your wait will soon be over!

In addition, I'm going to put add an email address I can be reached at.

I really do want to hear from people, as it's amazing to me that any reads my blog at all! Thank You!

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Strong-willed

It's been obvious to me for a long time that Iris is a strong-willed human being. As a baby she was never "high needs", but she has grown in to a much more independent toddler than I ever could have imagined. Firstly, I LOVE the fact that she's strong-willed. I hope it serves her well for the rest of her life! I hope she never takes shit from anyone, and will continue to question authority for the rest of her life much as she questions (and thus chooses to ignore) my requests to stop pulling the cat's tail and to not go behind the couch. I love the fact that she can hold her own in a group of children or adults, that I never have to coax her in to trying something new, or attempting to make friends, or basically be an active part of her world. I've always been a pretty big fraidy cat, and it's prevented me from doing alot of the things I wish I could. I don't think I exactly always followed authorities orders, but I certainly demonstrated "safe" rebellious behaviors. Who knows, maybe Iris will grow up to be an important leader who has everyone looking up to her because of her vigor and will.
Of course, right now she's 21 months old, and she's often times a handful. Scratch that, MORE than a handful. If I tell her no, she melts down. If I ask her to stop doing something, she does it even more forcefully. If I ask her to go left, she runs right as fast as she can. It's hard to deal with. At times I am a calm mama, helping her handle her urges even when they are going to run her right in to harm. At other times, I am a frazzled mama who firmly grabs her wrist and uses a voice much more stern than I ever thought I would use with my children.
Today Melissa and I brought Iris, her son, and the girl she nannies for to the library for story time. NOTHING I asked Iris to do sounded good to her. After realizing it was ridiculous to try and force her to sit through story time (I felt like I was saying: "you WILL listen to this story about sheep and you will LIKE IT!") we decided to take the kids out in to the children's area of the library so they could run around. I could barely turn around for a second before she was trying to scale the giant rock sculpture (on a side note, who designs a giant rock to sit in the middle of the children's area so they can crack their head's open?!!?) or trying to hurl herself off of the furniture. As we walked over to the DVD's she repeatedly smashed every computer keyboard she walked by. After the first one I said "no Iris, don't touch those, you could break them" and by the time she smashed the fourth one I just firmly grabbed her and dragged her away from the area. Grrrr. The struggle continued as we tried to check out books, then wrangle our way in to the stroller so we could leave. As we walked to the grocery store, Melissa and I wondered why some children can be told once, maybe twice, in a nice, thoughtful way to do or not do something, and they're cool with it. What do you do with children like Iris when NO amount of talking, or demonstrating, or re-directing will get through to them?
I have a friend through co-op named Shawn. She has one of those completely polite daughter's who practically apologizes when she looks at you wierd. Shawn is southern, and seems very proper and polite, and I honestly think it's in her daughter's genes to just be quiet and polite. The other day Iris was over at her house so Shawn could babysit for a few hours. Let me start by saying this house is a nightmare to me. It's full of plants, knick-knacks and fragile family heirlooms ALL WITHIN A CHILD'S REACH. Obviously her own daughter wouldn't even think to touch these items, but the first time Iris was there, she couldn't keep her hands off of them. So, this time when I was going to be dropping Iris off, I firmly reminded Shawn that Iris is very mischievous, and won't leave any of these items alone. Shawn assured me she was ready. When we got there, Shawn took Iris and sweetly pointed out where the toys were that Iris could touch and then gently explained that everything else was only for adults, and that Iris couldn't touch any of those things. I quietly laughed to myself, and told Shawn one more time that Iris would go after all of those breakables, and that she needed to be watched closely. I then left them alone, praying that I wouldn't owe Shawn about $500 for all of the items Iris would inevitably smash while Shawn looked sweetly on speaking in a calm, loving voice. Luckily, when I came back, everything was in tact. I was relieved.
So, the question remains, why doesn't this approach, the sweet, loving, calm approach, work with every child? Why, if it's the best thing to do, doesn't it always work? And what do you do with the children form whom it very clearly DOESN'T work? I will never, ever resort to spanking or yelling, but it seems that the times I get pretty stern with Iris are the only times she even remotely responds to me. Sigh. I feel like I'm stuck.

For now, I pick my battles. Melissa and I ate lunch with the three kids, and while they all screamed at the top of their lungs, getting louder and louder as they egged each other on, we just shrugged. We laughed and agreed that we picked our battles, and screaming just wasn't one of them. I love that she sees eye-to-eye with me on that one :)

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

It's baffling to me.

Okay, so I will start by admitting I'm naive. I get that. However, is STILL get baffled by people who can't shut up about parenting practices that I feel so strongly aren't in the best interest of their children. I've come across so many parents, in real life and on message boards, who basically brag about things like getting their child to sleep on their own (usually through cry-it-out techniques), not holding their baby too much, pushing early potty training, well bascially pushing ANYTHING a child is too young for. Last spring and summer I used to babysit for a family once a week, they ended up going on vacation and we just never really got in touch with each other again. Anyways, I would go over there and they would tell me how they got their daughter to sleep by putting her in her crib and letting her cry. It worked wonders! They had a really wierd closeness/distance thing going on with their daughter and it always wierded me out. Actually, any parent who has this kind of relationship with their child wierds me out, but I digress. Recently I babysat for them again and one of the first things the mother asks me is "is Iris potty trained yet?" I was like, um, no. She said they were having the worst struggles over it. This girl is three weeks older than Iris. I sort of laughed uncomfortably and blurted out "oh, we're too lazy to even start!" which was a total lie. We're not potty training Iris because she's not ready. It's pretty simple, actually. I understand that some children can be ready at a pretty young age, but if you're struggling with a young child over potty training, hmmmm, isn't that a pretty good sign they're not ready? Recently Melissa has been sharing tales of the little girl she nannies for, who is also young and being pushed in to potty training. I don't get this at all!
Okay, so back to my original point. It seems to me that parents with the philosophy that children need to be pushed to grow up and pushed to be independent like to talk about it. I have yet to be in a situation where a parent who was co-sleeping, for example, offered up out of nowhere "oh, my child is sleeping so well because we co-sleep!" I wished that happened. I also wish that when a parent proudly announces how their child is doing X, Y or Z because they were pushed in to it, I could say with equal pride how no, my daughter isn't potty trained, we prefer to wait until she's ready.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Okay, I think I'm done.

I'm done with being sick! Ugh! I am (hopefully) on the tail end of some sort of mysterious sickness lumped under the "gastroenteritis" category. Bascially what that means is morning sickness mixed with chills/hot flashes, light-headedness and sleepiness, combined with the "dreaded poo". Matt has turned in to super dad, bascially taking over 100% of household duties and toddler care for the past three days. He's my new hero!

I'm also done with work. I had to work on Saturday, very sick, because no one else was going to be there. I've never had to work this sick before in my life and honestly, it was the worst day of work I've ever had in my life. I felt like I was going to die. I work in a medical records office, and in the past few months two people who totalled 60 hours of work a week have quit. And not been replaced. As you might suspect, things are a little stressed and more than a bit screwed up in the office. So, I am trying to work while feeling like I'm going to die, all the while everything is a wreck. I was very much ready to walk out and never come back, seriously. It was the first time I've felt that fed up with this job, and it has been sucky for a LONG time. I took tonight and tomorrow night off of work so I can continue to recover.

I'm done with all the co-op crap I have to do right now! Done, done, DONE! I get anywhere from one to three phone calls a day that I have to spend time on, explaining how the co-op works, what people have to do to enroll, answering questions. I'm really tired of doing it.

As explained in my previous post, I'm done with my cat. Enough said.

I'm really done being pregnant, as well. I know most of my exhaustion is coming from being sick, but I just want to have ME back for even one day. I'm watching this show on TLC about this family named Duggar-- they currently have 16 children. I look at this woman, and I'm not in awe of her raising these kids, but rather that she carried them all in her uterus for nine months. She is by far a better woman than I will ever be, as I sit here and long for the day I go in for my tube-tying/breast lift surgery after I'm done having children :) Could I be a bigger wimp? Yeah, I don't think so, but I don't care. I'm not made to birth babies!

Okay, so now I'm done complaining.

On a good note, Matt has commented on how nice and positive I have been through all my the crap I am going through on the inside. I honestly try really, really hard to put on my happy face despite being sick/stressed/pissed off/tired/over-whelmed. I must say I think I'm doing a pretty good job of it! It's easier when Matt is here to give me a hand when I need it. Sometimes I get down on him because I don't think he's very good at helping out with family things, but if I've learned one thing from the past few days, it's that he can completely kick ass when it comes down to it. Knowing I have him there to rely on when I truly need it makes me feel a lot better about things.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Looking for a new cat?

I'm quickly nearing the end of my rope with my precious little fluffy. I've had my cat, Benjamin, for over ten years, and he is probably about 15 now. Once he was the best buddy I ever had, and now he's the bane of my existence.

You see, my sweet, sweet kitty pees on things. EVERYTHING. He has ruined two beds, several rugs, a couple of chairs, and now has his sights set on our living room carpet. I've worked my ass off trying to clean the carpet, but it still smells like we live in the center of a litter box. I've spent SO much money and SO much time dealing with this, and it's still a mess. I'd like to kick the little kitty to the curb (or pack his tiny suitcase, as my friend Melissa puts it) but who can I give a geriatric cat to who pees on everything? I am embarassed to even have anyone in our home, feeling that I have constantly apologize for the foul odor.

Our newest course of action is to try and get the landlord to let us rip up the carpeting in our living room. In trying to clean one of the areas of carpeting I discovered, much to my elation, that we have hardwood floors under our carpeting. Seeing that we have hardwoods in the rest of the apartment, it seems silly to me that we have carpeting in only one room. So, we're on a campaign to make that happen. Pretty soon poor Benjamin won't have a single soft thing to lay on and he'll spend the rest of his life of cold, hard floors. At least he won't pee on wood.

He spends a great deal of time locked in the hallway, and I am starting to think it might have to become his permanent home. I can't even put a towel down for him to lay on in the hallway, either, because he'll pee on it! Smart cat.

Sigh, so this is what has been consuming my energy. I think because I'm pregnant and incredibly sensitive to smells it is really, really affecting me. It's kind of messing with my head, actually. Living in a home with wafting foul odors 24 hours a day is enough to make a person crazy!

Friday, March 03, 2006

In case anyone cares

This is the computer I want:

Dell computer

It really is too bad that I know absolutely nothing about computers, other than the one I have really, really sucks.

Decisions in midwifery

So, I don't think I've posted much about it on my blog, but over the past many weeks I have gone through a huge amount of turmoil about what I want to do about my prenatal care and where I want to birth this baby. I had met with the midwives I had when I was pregnant with Iris, and they helped me feel more confident in attempting an out of hospital birth this time. For anyone who doesn't know, I was transferred in labor and ended up with a fully medicated, vacuum birth with Iris-- VERY far from the birth I had been dreaming of. So, I thought about it for a while, and decided to try and find midwives and a birth center closer to our home. My previous midwives practice very far away from where we live, and now that I have to consider my whole family's needs, it just felt way too far away. I attempted to meet with a new group of midwives, but I just didn't get good vibes from them while trying to get the appt scheduled (which they subsequently rescheduled twice) so I cancelled my appointment and settled on going with my former midwives. I must say, I am really happy about my decision. My first prenatal appointment yesterday absolutely solidified my decision about going with them, again.

It was a wonderful appointment. Matt met me there and was able to participate in the whole visit. We got to hear the baby's heartbeat! It was amazing, Traci put the doppler on my belly and immediately got the heart beat. It became very real for me at that moment that I was carrying another baby. Yes, my belly is expanding, and yes, I have all the physical (and emotional) symptoms of pregnancy, but getting the evidence of a living being in your tummy is pretty freakin' amazing. I could probably be pregnant a million times and still be in awe of hearing the heartbeat. By far the most wonderful part of the visit was chatting with both of the midwives. Heike was attending a birth in another room, but stopped in a couple of times to say hi to us. They are both so excited that I've decided to do my prenantal care with them. They were saying that the receptionist called Heike to tell her I scheduled my appointment, and then Heike called Traci, who was away on vacation, because they were so excited. It's not very often I get that sort of reception. Traci had told me that last time I was there I was Heike's "favorite" patient that year! Again, I am never anyone's favorite anything, so it felt so nice to be told those things. I am thrilled to be having my baby with these midwives.

Today I had a long coversation with a woman who teaches this hypnobirthing class. She sounded amazing, so I'm pretty excited to get to work with her. I kept giggling to myself imagining Matt going through these classes with me, but I know he'll do fine, because it's what I want. The thing that appeals the most to me about hypnobirthing is that it helps erase fear and helps the mother remain calm and centered in birth. Heck, she also claims that most of her patients have shorter, more pain-free births, so I'm game for that! Her classes are also private sessions, which works well for me. It will give Matt and I a chance to really get in to it and work with the instructor. Sigh. this whole birth thing is really coming together! Now I just need to find my doula. I called one this morning, haven't heard back from her yet. She came highly recommended by Traci, which is great. I want a doula who is VERY experienced in natural, out of hospital births. My last doula was so, so, so amazing, and was there for me through my insanely long labor, but this time I need someone more versed in natural childbirth. Someone with a few more tricks up her sleeve :) I also am trying to figure out a way to start taking prenatal yoga classes, so I can be a loose and limber yoga mama. How cool would that be?

Okay, next post: decisions in laptops! Yes, my two obsessions right now are finding the perfect birthing team, and finding the perfect laptop. Matt has given me the go-ahead to pick one out I like, so I'm taking him up on it!

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Be careful what you wish for!

I finally got my wish . . . Miss Iris is basically sleeping through the night. When she does wake up, she rarely needs my help to get back to sleep other than maybe finding her blankie for her or repositioning her when she flips with her head pointed towards the end of the bed. A little side note, she woke up last night and said "mama! hello!" like she was totally surprised to see me right next to her. Those sort of moments I don't mind waking up occasionally for.

Okay, so the down side of this? She's consistently waking up earlier in the morning. About 7:00-7:30 at the latest is the best I can get on most days. Today we made it to 7:45. Now, I know there are people out there who don't think that's so bad. And 7:00, in general, isn't that bad. But, she doesn't go to sleep until about 9:30. Not for lack of trying, of course, but that's her pre-set time, give or take 15 minutes. For those doing the math at home, it means she gets, at best, 10 hours of sleep a night. Of course, I wouldn't fret if she napped for decent stretches at a time, but no. I am lucky these days if I get an hour out of her. Again, with the math, that's about 11 hours of sleep a day. Yippeee! Hell, I think I need more sleep than that every day!

Iris is still sleeping in my bed at night, but napping in her own bed during the day. She is still having a hard time with Matt putting her down at night, and I fear that we're not very close to getting her to sleep all night in her own bed at night. For some reason, I think she's still more comfortable with me putting her to sleep, so I may have to take over her bed times in order to have the switch happen.

This morning at co-op I was telling Teacher Janice my daughter's sleeping woes, and of course she out did me. One of her sons gave up naps at nine months. Nine months! My god! I didn't ask, but I sure hope he slept about 14 hours a night :) I am very worried that Iris will give up her nap early. With the pregnancy, and the new baby coming, I need the girl to nap! Of course, once that time rolls around I'm sure I'll be bitching about getting two babies to nap at the same time.

I also pray for the new baby to be a good sleeper. Of course, I should probably be careful what I wish for! He/she may be a great sleeper, and a terrible breastfeeder! Sigh, wouldn't that be my luck?