Thursday, March 20, 2014

A new turn in the road...

When my sweet little baby was just a wee thing, he would wrap his little fingers around his thumb of his right hand.  We thought it was so cute!  Who needs a binky when you can hold your own thumb, right? 

It got to be a bit concerning, and after some limited internet research, I diagnosed him with an "indwelling thumb," which is simply a condition where baby doesn't know how to get that thumb out.  But at about six months, we began to notice he was only using his left hand to reach for things or bat at objects held lovingly directly over his face by older siblings.  So to the doctor we went.  We didn't see our regular pediatrician and he certainly didn't seem worried about anything, but said therapy would be a good idea.

Off we went to occupational therapy, and at the end of an extensive assessment, it was deemed that Baylor would need therapy to get that thumb out.  We have enjoyed our therapy visits, and he has improved since we started going.  He can use his right hand and arm, but he will go out of his way to use his left!  At his 9 month checkup with our regular pediatrician, I commented that B was doing therapy for his hand.  And THEN came the shocking news - after a more thorough exam and finding that his entire right side was weak and not working right, my doc thought he might have had a stroke in utero (I didn't even KNOW babies could have strokes in utero!) and that we should see a neurologist.  Yes, I was scared and had no idea what was in store for us.

After waiting and waiting, we finally got into a neurologist at Primary Children's Medical Center, and after an HOUR appointment with a doctor whose name I associate with eggs (Dr. Benedict) she was pretty sure he'd had a stroke and ordered an MRI to determine what had happened.  I was so amazed at the level of her care and how long she spent with us.  She hosts an annual picnic for all of her "kids" and their families. I think this will be a great help for me throughout the years. She was so kind and one thing she said to me has really stuck with me and comforted me, "Nothing you did caused this, and you could not have stopped this from happening.  It was simply bad luck." I hadn't thought that I had done anything, though there were times during my pregnancy I would have happily had a vodka to knock me out and give me a good night's rest (yeah, right - I know!)....but to hear her reassure me was really wonderful.  Now with an official diagnosis, that dark thought has entered my mind, but I know I'm ok and this just happened.  That's all.

We had the MRI March 10, and B did great! Our time was at 11:30 a.m. and because of the sedation he had strict eating rules - we had a long night of waking him at 5 a.m. to feed him some solids, then again at 7 a.m. to nurse, after 7:30 a.m. nothing but clear liquids, then nada from 9:30 until MRI time.  What a stud - he hardly complained at all.  Sacrificing my sleep was worth it! 

We were happy to be greeted by wonderful nurses, and especially by my friend Tiffany (I work with her in our ward's Nursery!) who happened to be on shift that day.  She brought B a cute blanket and toy from her private stash of goodies for cute kids.  ;)  He loved looking at books, playing with his new cars and checking out all the cool stuff hanging on the wall.

The sedation nurse then came in and got right down to business. "First of all," she said, "He is FREAKING ADORABLE! (duh)  Second, I love his name!  Third - now I'll tell you what we're going to do."  Needless to say, she was great!  Baylor, however, did not notice her greatness, especially when she swaddled him tightly and inserted an IV into his hand.  He hurt.  :(  Hands down, the hardest part of being a mom is when you can't take pain away from your kids.  The Spirit whispered then to me so sing "I Am a Child of God," and I am so grateful that I listened to the prompting as he calmed down noticeably and so did I!  I knew we were in good hands and being watched over. 

Once the IV was in, we carried him to the MRI and recovery room, where they administered the medicine to get him to sleep.  Was I selfish that I wanted to hold him and wouldn't let his dad? :)  After about 5 minutes, he was out and they prepped him for the MRI.  He got sooo pale and looked so unnatural lying there - the nurse could see my concern and told me gently that they always get pale, but that they were monitoring him closely.  I felt better, but I still don't like to think about him looking like that.

Jason and I snuck out for a quick date to the cafeteria (hey, we get them when we can - but that was probably our most expensive 35-minute date EVER), and 3 bites into my sandwich we heard us called on the loudspeaker.  Oh boy.....Baylor was awake and screaming his head off.  Ok, his head was still attached, but he was ANGRY.  Would not take the binky. Would not take dad.  Mom - he quieted right down.  Can I just say how grateful I am to be a mom?  :)  He nursed well, then conked out again - and when they determined he was awake enough to go home, we headed home - but first we had to reward ourselves with some Banbury Cross donuts.  It was rough for us too! 

Our neurologist had promised to call with results, and she did 4 days later.  Turns out he didn't have a stroke, but one or more of the new arteries by the ventricles hemorrhaged, visible on the MRI by hemosiderin staining, a stain left behind after a brain bleed, even after the blood is reabsorbed into the blood system.  The damage looked old, and these kind of injuries usually happen with preemies born prior to 34 weeks.  He was not a preemie.  40 weeks.  So we can tell it happened in utero, and sometime before he was born.  Even though it wasn't a stroke, the damage has been done, and what officially happened is a "perinatal periventricular hemorrhagic white matter injury," which has caused "spastic hemiparetic cerebral palsy."  And now some education for you -

-Paretic/paresis means weakened
-Hemiplegia/hemiparesis indicates the arm and leg on one side of the body is affected.
-Spastic (Pyramidal) – Spasticity implies increased muscle tone. Muscles continually contract, making limbs stiff, rigid, and resistant to flexing or relaxing. Reflexes can be exaggerated, while movements tend to be jerky and awkward. Often, the arms and legs are affected.
Spastic cerebral palsy is hypertonic and accounts for 70% to 80% of cerebral palsy cases.  
The stress on the body created by spasticity can result in associated conditions such as hip dislocation, scoliosis, and limb deformities. One particular concern is contracture, the constant contracting of muscles that results in painful joint deformities.

Hearing those words, "cerebral palsy" officially said by his doctor hit me kinda hard.  I obviously knew something was wrong, but to hear it so pronounced was difficult.  My son has a disability.  It will affect him his entire life.  It's hard to hear and hard to think about.  It's hard to see kids his age and younger crawling, cruising around furniture and walking!  I don't know when he'll walk, but doctor says 100% of her patients walk.  It just takes time and loads of help.  My heart already aches for him when someone at school makes fun of him.  I hurt thinking about all the times he'll stumble and fall, because his right leg doesn't work so well.  I'm sad to think that he'll struggle typing, piano will be difficult - and sports will be a challenge.  I already hurt for him if he hurts later - as described in the educational matter above.  It hurts.

HOWEVER...... good news!   A lot of people with CP (cerebral palsy) also struggle with learning disabilities, but I am so grateful that his hemorrhage was not near the cerebral cortex.  This means his cognitive abilities will be OK!  He may or may not be a wiz in math, but the CP isn't the cause if he struggles!  Good news!  This could be so much worse - and I'm so thankful for THIS trial.

I am comforted knowing he has hundreds of people who care about him and will work with him to strengthen his weakness.  I am comforted knowing that he has an amazing cheering squad of 3 older brothers and 1 older sister.  Those brothers will probably beat up the kids who would make fun of him, and that might be worth a bad ticket at school. ;)  Those siblings will also be there to pick him up when he falls, because he will.  They already help him with his therapy goals, and it's heart warming to see Baylor doing a sort of army crawl towards his siblings.  He gets where he wants to be. He is an amazing roller.  He can sit up by himself now.  He feeds himself with that left hand.  We have a lefty - never had one of those before!  This may limit him, but I fully expect and know we will have a returned missionary, college graduate, wonderful friend and son and a champion! We are doing this!

Over and over again, this scripture from The Book of Mormon has popped into my mind, and I know with the help of our Savior, Jesus Christ, both Baylor and I will be strengthened - physically, spiritually, emotionally.  WE CAN DO THIS!!!

"...if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them."  Ether 12:27

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Day Before You Were Born

March 27, 2013

Dear Baby #5,

We were in Boston, Massachusetts July 28, 2012 when we found out you were coming to our home.  We were very excited and relieved to be pregnant again, after a heartbreaking miscarriage a few months prior.  It was a great loss for both of us.  But both Daddy and I knew someone was waiting to come into our family; a number of times we had felt your presence and actually counted our kids at the dinner table to make sure we had everyone.  We didn't, because we didn't have you!  I couldn't ignore that feeling, because that was exactly how I was brought into this world, 7 years after my next oldest sibling.

It's been an interesting ride these last 9 months.  I'm older than I've ever been....maybe that's why every time I'd throw up with morning sickness I'd also wet my pants.  Daddy would come in to check on me and shake his head sadly and say, "Oh sweetie, I'm so sorry!"  I would just laugh!  I don't think anyone in our home will miss the great toilet-plugging adventures I've had as a pregnancy side effect either... Please note, baby, that you are coming into a home filled with love and lots of humor! I'm grateful I can just laugh about experiences like that - and even share them on my long-forgotten blog.    Painful waddling will not be missed, neither will the "really fat feet and ankles" that have become a part of my life the last 6 weeks or so.   I will not miss sitting with my legs far apart because they simply can't fit together with this massive belly in the way, nor will I miss the consumption of, at minimum, 10 Tums per day.

I will miss, however, your older siblings gently rubbing those fat feet of mine or lifting my legs up onto the ottoman because they'd become too heavy for me to lift by myself.  I will miss feeling your frequent hiccups, along with your ability to rock the TV remote while it was resting on my belly.  I will miss your siblings talking or singing to you in my tummy, especially Cecelia saying, "Baby, I hope you're a girl!  But if you're a boy, I will still love you!"  Mendon has also loved singing to you, but I'm sure he will still serenade you in person!  You have very creative brothers and a sister who will teach you the ropes of living with the J family.  I will miss the "Expectant Mother" parking spot at Harmon's Grocery Store - they know how to treat a mommy right!  I will miss little moments when Lincoln has his hand on my tummy and gasps as he feels you move.  I will miss the song I'd sing when you got frisky in my belly (sung to "There's a hole in the bucket")  - "There's a head in my tummy, dear kiddos, dear kiddos..."

My little one, all that aside, tomorrow I will hold you in my arms.  Straight from heaven.  I never feel the Spirit as strong as when you little ones arrive.  I'm so excited to find out who you are - boy or girl!  If you are a boy, you will have great brothers to teach you the ropes of wrestling, playing swords and Legos, and a wonderful father to teach you how to be an amazing missionary.  I may be biased, but Daddy and I create some really handsome boys too!  If you are a girl, you will be doted upon by everyone in this family, even your oldest brother, who really wants you to have straight hair - if you do end up being a girl!  I'm so excited to welcome you into our eternal family, just the way our Heavenly Father wants us to be.

Little one, have a safe journey tomorrow. Thank you for teaching me extra patience, and thank you in advance for being a good eater and a good sleeper!  Please know that I love you forever and ever.   I will see you soon and be the best I can be for you. 

Love Always,

Thursday, March 1, 2012

I Sat. And sat. And sat.

To my few faithful readers,

I am so sorry I have neglected you this past month. I have thought of you, often, but have been on a personal hiatus from such things as blogging, putting laundry away quickly, scrubbing the kitchen floor, and other such mundane tasks. Blogging, however, does not belong in the mundane world; please don't be offended. I've simply been lazy! (There's some more refreshing honesty for you!) How do YOU get out of your slumps? I'm pretty much ready to try anything. And my family is again ready for me to try anything as well!

Another wonderful anniversary day down memory lane today; March 1, 2002. My first date with my husband. I don't think I was out of line for asking him out first; you'll recall in my previous post that he approached ME with that ridiculous pickup line.... But something inside of me changed that day and I could not get him out of my mind. So sorry to the guy who was my boyfriend at the time....but your pickup line of "Hi, I'm Brian," just didn't capture me like another I'd heard!

Jason arrived at the door, actually on time, and my roomie noticed we were under the mistletoe. (Wow - that could have been fun in the first five minutes of the date).... but he gave me a quick peck on the cheek instead and we were on our way. I thought his car was pretty nice (it was actually his roomie's), but tried not to think ill of a guy who really drove a purple Camaro! We headed off to a Grizzlie's Hockey Game where some of the Special Olympics ice skaters were performing during a period break. Let me just say - for a first date, this guy was pretty darn friendly! Already holding hands.........the mom of an athlete saw us in the elevator and asked us when we got married! I don't know how red my face turned!

That must have been an indication of how the evening would turn; I think we were both pretty hooked on each other by the end of our date. Following the hockey game, he treated me to dinner at The Old Spaghetti Factory where he introduced me to their spinach tortellini. LOVE THOSE!! Of course we engaged in very witty banter and conversation the entire night, and then came the much-laughed-about-now moment of our first date. This might be entirely too much information, but I truly believe it shows how much I truly liked this guy. He excused himself to go use the little boy's room. I sat.

And sat.

And sat.

And then I sat some more.

By this point I was seriously wondering if I was going to have to call my roommate to come pick me up. "Perhaps I was a little too witty for this man," I thought. "Perhaps he left me here because he simply couldn't keep up with me!" The server checked on me a few times with a very concerned look on his face. Yes, he checked on me at least three times.

FINALLY, the man of the hour returned. This time HE had quite the red face; I was just happy I didn't have to call and wake my roomie for a rescue!! Of course we didn't talk too much about those LONG moments during our first date then....but every year when we revisit our first date, we pretty much laugh hysterically at the most-memorable moment of that blessed evening. Ok, the making out after was pretty good too (oops, did I just type that out loud?!), but the potty break was much funnier!

Thank you for letting me share!

Now on to the current happenings. I am actually cooking dinner tonight. Wanna know what we're having? The EASIEST recipe EVER. I'm not even talking about cereal; ready?

Italian Chicken

4 large chicken breasts, cut into strips.
1 can Cream of Chicken Soup
1 pkg. dry Italian Dressing mix

Place chicken into crock pot. Mix soup and dressing mix. Put soup mixture over chicken. Cook on low 6-8 hours or high 3-4 hours.

I told you! Easy! And delish. My kids even eat it without playing the "I'm-going-to-eat-a-bite-before-you" game! What? You've never played that game? Let's just say it's a standard for my almost 2-y-o at this house. With my oldest we used to give each bite the name of a family member, and that was pretty fun. "NO! Don't eat Adam!" And then "Adam" would go on a journey to the stomach. We tend to be pretty creative with getting kids to eat at our house. Even with that game, my oldest never made it on the growth chart; if there were a growth chart for 8 year old boys, I doubt he would be on it still! But I tell you what, he's got the spirit and energy of an 80th percentile kid, all the way!

I used to date a guy who was 6'7". He still is 6'7", but I don't date him anymore, in case you were confused. For those of you who think I'm taller than I am, I'm not. I am a mere 5'4". I loved what he used to tell me though, and I've thought about it a number of times since then. "You may be only 5'4", but your spirit is 6'7"!"

I know some of us may feel at times that our spirits are small and we aren't as great as the next person who can seemingly do everything, manage everything, make everything look cute or fancy, and have kids who act appropriately all the time. At those times for me, I think about my spirit - and I tell myself, "CHAR! You have a 6'7" spirit! You can do this!" And you know what? It works! "Rise to the stature of your spirit , all ye downhearted, and you will be lifted up! (Charlene 3:27) :)

Enjoy your day!

p.s. If I get 20 followers on my blog, I may do a giveaway next week! You should be SUPER excited!!!

Friday, February 3, 2012

The pickup line that changed the world!

Beaver, Utah. Have you ever heard of it? Driven past it? Gotten some grub at The Garden of Eatin'? Yeah, pretty much a hole in Central Utah along I-15.

However, my visit to Beaver on February 1, 2002, forever changed my life. At that time I was the public relations director for Special Olympics Utah, and the Winter Games were held in this little town. (Let me just put in a plug for Special Olympics! Oh, how I miss those athletes who grab hold of your heart! Oh, how I miss those immediate friends I made. Go! Volunteer!!)

Anyway....there I was, photographing the Unified volleyball games. Unified Sports consists of one "peer" athlete (called a Unified Partner) for one Special Olympics athlete; bowling, basketball, volleyball and bocce are Unified Sports, to name a few. Following one particular game, I noticed one of the Unified players walking towards me looking.... let's Yes, he looked all "cool" and very sure of himself. As he got closer, he pulled out his "guns" (fingers) and said this line that forever changed me...."Hey! Need somebody handsome in those pictures?"

If I had been at the top of my game that day, I definitely would have said, "Why yes! Thank you for asking! I think I'll choose that tall guy over there!" But no...............I had no idea what to say, as I pondered on the fact that someone really cute had just approached me with a PICK-UP LINE!!!! I caved. I took about 30 pictures of him during his next game...we danced together that night at the athletes' Victory Dance.... And that pickup line changed my life.

This picture was taken the day we met....can you tell we were destined for each other?

I couldn't seem to get this guy out of my head. Obviously he was a good man. Who else would volunteer for Special Olympics?

Long story short, one month later to the day (March 1, 2002) we had our first date. I invited him. Two months later May 11, 2002 we were engaged, and six months to the day after we met, we were married in the Salt Lake LDS Temple.

As we just passed this 10-year meeting milestone, I wanted to share some things that help us find joy in our marriage and our childhood-raising journey together! They are not listed in order of importance, simply order of thought process!

  • LAUGH OFTEN AND DAILY. I still remember my first attempt at a turkey dinner. New to the whole turkey thing, I slightly overlooked the part of the cooking instructions that said cook x number of minutes "per pound." My first turkey was finally ready around 11 p.m. at night. We still laugh about that one!
  • COOK TOGETHER. Magic happens in the kitchen!
  • PRAY TOGETHER. Can't stress that one nearly enough. Whatever your religion or beliefs, prayer can never hurt!
  • GO ON ADVENTURES. Our adventures of late are adventures to the kitchen table to play a game and eat a quick bowl of cereal after the kids have gone to bed! But it counts!
  • FLIRT WITH EACH OTHER. Took the kids to Wendy's the other night. Girls sat at one table, and boys were at another. I can't tell you how awesome it was for my honey to "check me out" with his boys. Made me feel like a school girl again, and honestly, it felt pretty good!
  • BE SLOW TO BE OFFENDED. It's pretty easy to get offended, especially by your spouse. When you choose, however, to take the road less traveled and refrain from getting offended...wonderful things happen. Hearts are softened. Love abounds!
  • BE INTIMATE! Even a small touch can go a long way and be remembered for a long time.
  • FORGIVE, FORGIVE, FORGIVE! (that includes forgiving yourself too!)

So, my sweet pick-up-line guy, thank you for being confident (and thinking my glasses were cool) and approaching me with your guns blazing!

I'm also happy to report that I am still a mother and that my kids love me! So much, in fact, that I was just brought to a restaurant in the toy room and was treated to some cake crumbles, a jam & cheese sandwich with the jam on TOP of the sandwich and a Capri Sun. "Mom, this is for you, because you've been so nice to us lately!" THAT, my friends, is the sound of success. I enjoyed EVERY delicious, sticky bite!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Super Spy!

Though this is just phase 1 in a life-long journey (or at least 18 more years or so...), I gotta say - woohoo! So glad I checked out the itinerary and packed the right gear!

The last 2 days I've been playing super spy. I should find someone to make me a cape or something. Anyone? Anyone? (confession time - I don't sew.) But anyway....I've been spying on my kids. And it has been FUN! Right now I spy Little L dig (yes, literally dig) in our toy room for treasures. He is so immersed; talking to himself, making faces, creating the occasional sound effect of a machine gun, street sweeper, whatever he finds. Last night I spied Little M pull out all the books from his bookshelf and read to himself. This little boy, as you already know, is an animal lover. He will spend at least half an hour looking at his animal books and making all the corresponding sounds. We have yet to figure out what a camel says, so if you know, please let me know!

After school yesterday I spied Big Girl get Little M out of his crib after nap time. I didn't know they had such a system down, but she even requested his help to pull the side of the crib back up when he was free. Yes, I still have a drop-side crib. I don't plan to change that anytime soon.

Late last night, I spied my 8 year old sad. He seems to carry such weight on his little shoulders sometimes; it truly breaks my heart. His class at school is, shall we say, interesting? Yep, that'll do. Not the nicest or most-respectful group; even mother struggled when she threw an awesome Halloween party in that room. I seriously doubted whether or not to return for another party, but when you're one of two moms who comes to help............. He complains often he doesn't have a lot of friends and kids are mean to him. This coming from the boy who, at age 2, had all the kids on the playground organized and ready to play pirates! Also the boy who announced, probably the same day, that he had a girlfriend that he met at the park. Hmmm.....I had a few boyfriends from parks too. Genetic? :) We had a good heart to heart. So grateful am I that I will take the time to listen.

I have spied, too, a change in my family. I can't take full credit, but mothers make a home! It's not even Mother's Day, but I wanted to give you moms a huge SHOUT OUT for being moms!! My favorite quote on mothers comes from David O. McKay, former president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:

"The noblest calling in
the world is that of mother. True motherhood is the
most beautiful of all
arts, the greatest of all professions. She who can paint a
masterpiece or who can write a book that will influence millions deserves the plaudits and
admiration of mankind; but she who rears successfully a family of
healthy, beautiful sons and daughters whose immortal souls will be exerting an influence throughout the ages long after painting shall have faded, and
books and statues shall have been destroyed, deserves the highest honor that man can give."

Moms, you are INCREDIBLE!!! (and go spy on your kids, would ya?)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

I'm a MAN! I just can't do it!

This new mother kicked some major booty yesterday! Day one was a smashing success!!!!! I was busy folding laundry and cleaning up the living room after the kids were all asleep, and my husband looked at me in wonder and awe (ok, maybe not so much, but a little hyperbole never hurt anyone!) and said this: "I'm a MAN! I just can't do it!" (Meaning, he could not bend down to pick up one toy or book and HAD to hit the sack.)
I do have to give my man a little credit, however, for he puts up with 29 5th graders each day, and I think by the end of the day his exhaustion is just as real as mine. I don't tell him that, it might go to his head, but he really does so much for me and for our family. I'm so lucky to have him!
Anyway, back to day ONE. As I mentioned, it was great! The bigs got home from school, where the mother finally had a snack ready. They ate. They were happy. The bigs played with the littles. Daddy cooked my prepped dinner while I gave another piano lesson, we ate (well, most of us ate), then Family Night with my confession of failing as a mother and vowing to do better. I encouraged all the family to be their best selves, and for about 2 minutes, the actually listened! My best self is not being like Sarah or Suzie; it's being ME! I find myself so often looking at other mommy blogs and seeing perfect houses with perfect decor, tons of homemade crafts and scrapbooks, little projects for the kids, a constantly organized pantry, a clean toy room, etc., etc., and it gets me down. I cannot be them, for I am not. Neither are YOU, dear reader! So my advice today, is to be the best YOU. It really really works! My good friend has a quote on her blog that I LOVE. Here it is!
"You have within you, right now, everything you need to deal with whatever the world can throw at you!"
Isn't that so simply wonderful?!
After our little Family Night lesson, we watched Old Yeller, which we had just finished reading as a family and had the aforementioned scones for dessert.
We stopped the movie with 10 minutes remaining, the kids brushed their teeth and did their business in a record amount of time, finished the movie, said our prayers and went to bed. Seriously? An AWESOME day! (If you haven't read Old Yeller to your kids, do it!)
This morning, the bigs were ready to leave for school at 8 a.m. with daddy (they go to the school where he teaches), and I'm happy, no, ECSTATIC to report that they still loved their mother when they left for school!
Did I do anything "big" to deserve this change? No! I just changed a few little things, it didn't cost me a penny or much time, but it worked! Now Little L is upstairs quietly playing on a road I created on the kitchen floor out of painter's tape (I saw the idea here, but mine is much more simple, and so is my kitchen!) and Little M is playing quietly in the toy room. Sure, I let them watch too much TV this morning, but I got the rare shower out of it, and an extra 20 minutes of TV really isn't going to hurt so much in the long run, especially with a mother in the house!
I fully realize these 2 days were not perfect, but they were BETTER! And I know it may all fall apart at any second, but for now, it's working and I'm happy to share that with you!

Monday, January 23, 2012

The journey begins...

I've debated with three people about doing a more frequent blog than my family blog, which I updated almost two years ago. All three of my co-debaters seem to agree that I might have something good to say about being a SAHM (stay-at-home mom, for those of you, who like me, are in the dark as to modern acronyms), with a bit of humor, sarcasm and downright honesty. So, with those three (me, myself and I! hehe!), I begin a journey fo find more joy in my parenting journey and hope you will enjoy the trip with us/me!
As I sent my two oldest kids to school today, both scowling and furious at their mother, I realized something needed to change. No amount of prodding is going to make them hurry faster on a Monday morning. No amount of yelling (believe me, I've tried!) is going to make my little girl like the way I do her hair today, even though she loved it just yesterday.
The change, my friends, has got to be with me. Sure, I've tried to shake things up, switch around the routine, chore charts, stickers, etc., etc., but something ain't working, and I honestly think the something is me! Takes someone ready for a change to admit that, eh?! After the "big" kids (8 & 6) were safely at school and peace again reigned in the minivan, I tried something with my two "little" kids (almost 4 & almost 2) still at home. Today I acted like a mother instead of a crazed woman who hardly has any hair left because she's pulled it all out in a violent act of frustration towards her children. And you know what? It's worked!
Day 1 with the little ones has been a GOOD day! After giving a morning piano lesson, we took a trip to the local animal shelter - not to find a pet, NO THANK YOU! - but to find out how to complain about my new neighbor's dog who chose to bark all night long (really, ALL NIGHT!), and to visit a good while with the cats behind the glass wall. Do the boys love cats? Yep! Did they think I was pretty awesome for letting them look at them for so long? Yep! Was it easy for me? Yes! I finally cajoled my 2 year old out, M, of the shelter by promising that we'd go look at some horses.
Upon our journey home and as the garage door was opening, that same 2 year old started freaking out, throwing toys and doing his now-famous horse sound - aka raspberry blowing with his lips. Of course he was upset with me; I'd promised him horses and lied. It would have been really easy (well, kind of easy) to just deal with his screaming and tell him we'd see them another time. But no, today I was being a mother. So we went to see some horses.
My nephew is dating a girl who lives quite close to us, and her family has horses. I've met the girl only once (cute girl, btw!), and she said we could come anytime to visit her horses. I got brave. I pulled up to her house, full well knowing she was at school, and rang the doorbell. Complete strangers at the door, but her mom welcomed me and my two darling boys back to see the horses. Little M was in heaven. He had no desire whatsoever to pet the gargantuan creatures, but his eyes lit up as he watched the horses eat apples out of my new friend's hand. My big boy, L, was overjoyed as well and reluctant, but ok, to leave. Somehow we left with an invitation to come back anytime we needed to see horses, and most importantly, without any screaming or fit throwing. I had kept my promise, and I think I might have been a hero, if only just for a minute!
Lunch, the ever healthy dinosaur chicken nuggets and frozen peas. For some reason, frozen peas are a hit at my house! I fought it for quite some time, but as that mother today, I figured, what the heck! Frozen or cooked, they're PEAS and they still count as a veggie! And you know what? M & L ate EVERY ONE. Another success! Lesson noted: it does not always have to be MY way.
My attempt at homemade bread today left it flat and unyielding; so we're having for dinner what everyone should do with less-than-appealing bread dough - we're making scones! I've never made scones for my kids. Why don't I make horrible dough more often?! Then airplanes on mom's legs - the most excercise I've had for months - then nap and quiet playtime.
So far, a really awesome day. The before-school morning left much to be desired, but that desire turned into a real desire to make a change - by definition, the act or instance of making or becoming different. I feel confident enough from a good day with the littles that the bigs may just have something different upon their arrival home from school - a mother! Wish me luck!