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Why Do I Do What I Do?

25 Jan

Most of you know by now that I started my masters degree about three weeks ago (if you follow me on Twitter you’ve been hearing about it a lot).

Understandably, people are generally shocked when I tell them this. Yes, I have three children under three – one with special needs, a husband who isn’t quite a year out from a kidney transplant, and a full-time job as a social worker.

I know. I’m insane.

But honestly? I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I have always known that I wanted to go into Anthropology – well, since I was about 11 at least. I fought it for a long time because my parent’s told me I was insane (they were right), that there were no careers in that field (they were wrong), that women couldn’t make it in science (also wrong, but they were only speaking from experience at the time, in their defense). Once I got to the university level (after completing an AA and an AS at a community college) I also knew that I wanted to go to grad school and that I wanted needed to get at least a master’s degree, preferably a PhD. I have also, always, more than ANYTHING, wanted to be a mom.

You wouldn’t believe how many people honestly believe that a woman cannot have all of these things.

Really?

Watch me.

Granted, I did not intent to have THREE children – at least not right now. Alex and I agreed that our goal was ONE child and that we would discuss more after that, but one was the goal. probably to stop there, but maybe more after college or in grad school.

I probably don’t have to tell you that life doesn’t give a sh*t about the plans we make. I tried for one baby and – I am thrilled to say – I was blessed with three. But that doesn’t mean that I want to give up on my dreams. On what *I* feel that *I* need to do in my life. (Of course that doesn’t mean that there won’t be, and have not been, times when I have to put my own goals on the back burner to care for my family – I was not in school while Lennon was having surgery, for example.) Sure, it may take longer to get it done, and I am fine with that. But I don’t see how being a wife, a mother (even a mother of three) should prevent me from being ambitious.

Does that make me a bad mom?

Are my children going to be scarred for life because I spend my Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays away from them studying 9 months out of each year?

OR, are they going to feel empowered, that they too can go to college. Can go to graduate school. That they can follow their dreams no matter what else they may have going on in their lives?

Time well tell I suppose.

I won’t deny that it takes a certain kind of “crazy” to choose the path I’ve chosen. That and a very supportive family. My husband stays home with the kids while I work and go to school – hats off to daddy’s who potty learn and play tea party! And both sets of grandparents take turns watching the kids on Saturdays so I can study and write.

I am also one of those people who can’t handle not being busy. I am very, very driven. To a fault (just ask my poor husband who I am forever barking orders at and wondering why he can’t keep up?!). Before I had children to fill my time I would often be working two jobs (one full and one part-time) and going to school full-time.

So, why DO I do what I do?

Because I want to. Because I can.

What do YOU do?

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How to Wash Cloth Diapers in Hard Water

14 Dec

When I first decided to cloth diaper I was told that I had to use special, gentle detergent on the diapers or they would irritate my baby’s skin.

Okay. Fine. I’ll use Dreft, I thought.

BIG mistake.

My daughter Evelynn immediately broke out in a NASTY diaper rash.

And so began my several month long quest to find something that worked for us on our diapers. I had no idea what I was in store for.

First, you should know, most of our diapers are Kawaii baby (or very similar).

The first thing I did was strip my diapers. The liquid Dawn and then rinse, rinse, rinse in HOT water works well for us as far as stripping goes.

Then we tried every different detergent under the mutha-fracking sun and nothing seemed to work.

I tried fancy cloth diaper detergents, I tried pure & free detergents, I tried Rockin Green…no matter what I did we had problems.

Either the diapers would stink coming out of the wash (when I used cloth diaper detergents) or they would have to be rinsed 7 or 8 times to get all of the soap out (free & pure detergents) or they would smell like ammonia when my kids peed in them (no matter what I tried).

After a whole lot of trial and error and a whole lot of research on the internet I finally found out that our problem is hard water. And then after a whole lot more research and a whole lot more trial and error I finally found a system that WORKS!

I did finally get the Rockin Green to work for me and I like it, but I like Country Save even better only because I can buy it locally in a health food store and I’m not so great at planning ahead to order the Rockin Green off the internet before I run out. Plus, I think Country Save works just a TEEEEENY bit better.

If you have hard water you *must* use a detergent made for hard water (Country Save, Hard Rock by Rockin Green, etc) on your cloth diapers OR you must add a water softener such as Calgon or Borax.

This is what I finally found that worked for us.

(I have a top loading machine. If you have a front loading HE machine you’ll have to adapt this.)

1) Put the diapers in the machine, crank it up to the setting with the MOST amount of water and rinse

2) Make sure your water is set to HOT. And I mean HOT. (I turn my water heater up as high as it will go before I wash my cloth diapers.)

3) Change the setting to the lowest amount needed to just barely cover the diapers and add soap (if you have hard water you need to use EXTRA soap. I know everyone says go easy on the soap with cloth diapers but if you have hard water, use about 1/4 more than you normally would with cloth diapers.)

3) Allow it to agitate for a few minutes and then stop the machine.

4) Allow the diapers to sit in the soapy water for a few hours. Yes. HOURS. It takes the soap at leat 30 minutes to start to work and even longer the harder your water is. I usually try to wash my cloth diapers at night so they can just sit overnight.

5) Switch the machine back to the highest water setting and fill it up with HOT water.

6) Rinse.

7) Rinse again.

8 ) It is usually better to line dry your covers and dry the inserts in the dryer on high. I’m not going to lie though, I usually dry all of mine together on low. Your diapers will last longer the more you can avoid the dryer, however.

So that’s it. After months of tearing my hair out trying to find something that would work for us and the solution turned out to be pretty simple. My diapers look and smell awesome now and I am one happy momma!

I Am A Worrier.

23 Nov

 

And unfortunately, un-mother-humping-fortunately, ladies and gentelmen…I am all-too-often correct when I start to obsess.

So now. Now I am trying REALLY hard to believe that there is nothing wrong with my son. I am trying really, really hard.

This is a list I stole from here.

(8-12 month milestons)

Movement Milestones

  • Gets to sitting position without assistance
  • Crawls forward on belly by pulling with arms and pushing with legs
  • Assumes hands-and-knees position
  • Creeps on hands and knees supporting trunk on hands and knees
  • Gets from sitting to crawling or prone (lying on stomach) position
  • Pulls self up to stand
  • Walks holding on to furniture
  • Stands momentarily without support
  • May walk two or three steps without support

Milestones In Hand and Finger Skills

  • Uses pincer grasp
  • Bangs two cubes together
  • Puts objects into container
  • Takes objects out of container
  • Lets objects go voluntarily
  • Pokes with index finger
  • Tries to imitate scribbling

Language Milestones

  • Pays increasing attention to speech
  • Responds to simple verbal requests
  • Responds to “no”
  • Uses simple gestures, such as shaking head for “no”
  • Babbles with inflection
  • Says “dada” and “mama”
  • Uses exclamations, such as “oh-oh!”
  • Tries to imitate words

Cognitive Milestones

  • Explores objects in many different ways (shaking, banging, throwing, dropping)
  • Finds hidden objects easily
  • Looks at correct picture when the image is named
  • Imitates gestures
  • Begins to use objects correctly (drinking from cup, brushing hair, dialing phone, listening to receiver)

Social and Emotional Milestones

  • Shy or anxious with strangers
  • Cries when mother or father leaves
  • Enjoys imitating people in play
  • Shows specific preferences for certain people and toys
  • Tests parental responses to his actions during feedings (What do you do when he refuses a food?)
  • Tests parental responses to his behavior (What do you do if he cries after you leave the room?)
  • May be fearful in some situations
  • Prefers mother and/or regular caregiver over all others
  • Repeats sounds or gestures for attention
  • Finger-feeds himself
  • Extends arm or leg to help when being dressed

Developmental Health Watch

Each baby develops in his own manner, so it’s impossible to tell exactly when your child will perfect a given skill. Although the developmental milestones listed in this book will give you a general idea of the changes you can expect as your child gets older, don’t be alarmed if his development takes a slightly different course. Alert your pediatrician if your baby displays any of the following signs of possible developmental delay in the eight-to twelve-month age range.

  • Does not crawl
  • Drags one side of body while crawling (for over one month)
  • Cannot stand when supported
  • Does not search for objects that are hidden while he watches
  • Says no single words (“mama” or “dada”)
  • Does not learn to use gestures, such as waving or shaking head
  • Does not point to objects or pictures

The ones crossed out are things he does not do. Ever. (He is almost 13 months now, by the way).

He will not use sign language. He will not talk. He will not point to objects when named. He will not look at objects when named. He will not make exclamations such as “uh oh” or “oh no”.

SOMETIMES he will wave “bye bye” (but MOST of the time he will not). He will USUALLY clap when everyone else does.

He WILL turn to look when his name is called. He WILL bounce to music.

He can hear.

*(Updated) I know that this is quite possibly nothing. I am *really* hoping it’s nothing and that I am just overly paranoid because I have another child who had a suspected issue that DID turn out to be a problem. A big problem.

I know a lot of children don’t talk until two or older and that it can often actually be a sign of intelligence as long as they are not delayed in other areas (which he is not).

But something in my mommy mind just will not stop gnawing away at this. Know what I mean? I think it’s the once burned, twice shy effect.

The Sickness & Prematurity Awareness

17 Nov

Last Friday I was sick. Like, stomach flu, call grandma down to take care of the kids because I can’t get out of bed, sick.

That lasted for about a day and then it turned into just a head cold.

And then Nolan got a runny nose (Saturday).

By Sunday morning the twins were sneezing.

On Sunday night we decided to go out to dinner in another city, we live at high altitude and had to go down the mountain. While on the way back up Lennon suddenly became hysterical and started SCREAMING that her ears hurt. Uh oh. We u-turned and headed down to Urgent Care. Yep. Double ear infection. Just on a whim we had E checked – one ear was infected.

Antibiotics were started that night.

On Monday I had to leave work early because Alex was starting to feel sick. When I got home the girls were watching cartoons. When I gave them a hug “hello” I noticed that Evy was “panting” rather than breathing and that her ribs were retracting. Uh oh.

I asked Alex if he had noticed that she was having a hard time breathing (she has asthma, both of the twins do but Evy’s is WAY worse – which is funny because she was always the better breather in the NICU). He said that he had given her a breathing treatment earlier and that it had helped. I gave her another one right then and it didn’t do much. So I gave her a steamy bath. No improvement. And by this time Lennon was starting to “pant” as well.

SO, we packed the kids up and headed down to the Emergency Room at about 8pm on Monday night.

I honestly thought they would give her a steroid shot and send us home.

Nope.

Both girl’s 02 saturations were around 90 (Normal is 97-100, MAYBE a teeeny bit lower if you are really sick. Prolonged low saturations can cause brain damage.). They ended up giving both girls a dose of steroids, a gigantic shot of antibiotics in the thigh, and 5 (yes FIVE) breathing treatments. Lennon’s 02 finally went up to 95 at about 5:30am but Evy’s was stubbornly sticking around 91. Crap.

So they admitted her, gave breathing treatments every 2 hours, and put her on “blow by” oxygen (which means they put oxygen on at high concentration and just pointed it towards her face rather than strapping anything to her which she would then just claw off anyway).

By Tuesday night she was ready to come home.

I had to take Lennon in yesterday to get her 02 re-checked. It was at 95 but she was wheezing badly and so they almost admitted her then, but she improved after yet another breathing treatment (which we had been doing throughout the night at home as well) so she’s gotten to stay home thus far.

So last night everyone was finally at home. Breathing treatments for the twins every four hours around the clock, monster doses of antibiotics, steroids and various other goodies.

They said it was pneumonia. I am shocked that it came on that fast!

Nolan, thus far, seems fine. Just a cold.

Just a cold for me as well.

It will be interesting to see what happens when my newly-transplanted husband comes down with it.

Since November is Prematurity Awareness month I wanted to use this moment to point out that this was just a common cold. My 38 weeker has it and he is fine. Snot-nosed but still in high spirits and causing trouble. My 30 weekers, on the other hand, got knocked on their asses.

This is the life of a preemie. A chest-cold (something most kids get TONS of and it hardly slows them down) can kill them. And my kids are in great health for preemies.

Ode to Tiggy

2 Nov

Evelynn is in love with Tigger.

In. Love.

She has a Tigger stuffed animal (actually, she has two that we wash and switch out when one gets too gross) that HAS to go EVERYWHERE with her. She calls him “Tiggy”. For her birthday her uncle’s girlfriend tried to get her a smaller one to carry around with her and she looked at it like it was an alien and hugged HER Tiggy protectively.

She does, however, love anything else Tigger. (She has a pair of Tiggy socks that we have to pry off her feet to wash them.)

All of this and, oddly enough, the child has never seen a Winnie the Pooh cartoon.

None the less, I would like to dedicate this post to Tigger or, as he is known in our house, Mr. Tiggy. Thank you for keeping my child happy, warm and (in her world) safe. Thank you for sopping up tears and, sadly, vomit on occasion. Thank you for never complaining about the boogers and the urine or the fact that my child has loved the stripes right off of your neon orange body.

The other day we took Evelynn to Disneyland on a mission to find Tigger. When we finally found him she, litterally, cried tears of joy.

And who did she dress up as for Halloween?

It was really cute. She kept knocking on doors and yelling “Tiggy treats!” instead of “Trick or Treat”.

I love that silly orange creature. Almost as much as she does.

Protected: The Way It Is

22 Oct

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If you don’t have anything nice to say…

4 Oct

…don’t blog.

Which is why I haven’t been blogging much lately. And I’m sorry.

And it’s not that everything is crap and I have nothing good going on to talk about – cause I totally do!

My three precious miracles are adorable and I am enjoying being a mommy and spoiling them more than words can say.

But every time I sit down to blog my mind drifts to dark places and I want to use it as a soap box to vent my frustrations. And I just don’t want to do that.

But I’m still here. I still read your blogs and don’t comment as often as I should there either.

As soon as I can come up with a nice post about cute, fluffy bunnies and prancing unicorns I’ll be blowing up the blogosphere with my brilliant commentary on life in general.

In the mean time I’ll be dealing with this:

Don’t. Ask.