Thursday, December 30, 2010

Fighting A Case of The Whiny's

I am currently engaged in an epic battle with a case of The Whiny's. 

I realize that Jellybean does not possess the verbal skills that most children her age do.  This is a result of the ear infection that she had for so long, hindering her ability to hear and therefore repeat words.  And although she has recently used words like "pup" (up), I don't think she is yet capable of accessing those words on command.  When she wants picked up right now and emotions are running high, she doesn't always remember the word she wants to use.  Or maybe she can't even remember that there is a word to describe what she wants.  So her solution is to toddle around the house, whining nonstop.

Sometimes I understand what it is that she wants.  When she is whining at my feet with her arms up in the air, I know that she wants picked up.  When she is whining and tugging on her shoe, I know that she wants her shoes off.  But understanding is only half the battle.  If I give her what she is whining for, isn't that just reinforcing the negative behavior?  It's true that there are times when I cannot give in to her whiny wants/needs because I am in the middle of cooking dinner or cleaning up a mess; but there are also times when I simply refuse to give in because I know that giving in to the whining means there will only be more whining in the long run.

Even now, it might be too late...

The whining has become a habit.  Now I wonder if I should have been giving her exactly what she wanted before the whine ever grazed her throat.  That way, the whine would have never come.  And if the whine had never come, then it couldn't be a habit.  A daily, hourly, sometimes minute-ly (Yes, the whining has gotten so bad I had to make up a word for it!) habit. I just don't know if I can handle one more "WAH" without flushing my head down the toilet.

I'm all ears for any advice.  Please.  Oh God, please.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Happy Freaking Holidays!

We have officially made it through a major holiday weekend with NO trips to the ER! 

W. and I took Jellybean to the ER on Independence Day for an ear infection.  I took her again the evening of her birthday party (after the party) for a skin rash that was spreading quickly.  And, most recently, we spent Thanksgiving in the hospital.

So, to make it through this entire weekend without any hospitals, doctors, or issues whatsoever, is a merry freaking Christmas to me!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas Spirit

Sometimes I wonder what I could have possibly done to deserve such a great life.  I have made a few poor choices, yes.  Bad things happen to me, yes.  But every time things start to get bad, some way, some how, someone comes through to help me feel nothing short of blessed.

Each year at work, we participate in the Adopt-A-Family program.  If we can get six coworkers to participate, that means we can "adopt" a six-person family for Christmas.  It is all 100% anonymous through the Adopt-A-Family program.  We each pick a family member to shop for and then we all chip in on food for a big Christmas feast.  And although we don't know who it is we are helping that year, it has always been our first thought on Christmas morning that we had provided something wonderful for a family that otherwise wouldn't have it.

It was announced that this year we would not be participating because "times are tough" and not everyone can afford to spend the $30.  I was outraged.  Who exactly are times tough for around here?  We work in a government office where most everyone is severely overpaid.  I am a single mom who has not received any child support and even I was willing to let my bills pile up and set aside a few bucks for a family who has nothing.
I thought this was pretty much the opposite of Christmas Spirit...

...until I came into work this morning...

My boss and two of my friends at work called me into a spare office.  When I walked in, there were two large boxes of diapers and four pairs of pajamas.  Jellybean and I had been "adopted."  And it wasn't over yet.  Inside an envelope was cash for one month of my babysitter's fees.  Inside another envelope, were bill stubs that my friend had "stolen" from my desk and paid with a credit card.

I don't even know how to thank somebody for something this huge.  There is nothing that I can do that will top two boxes, four pairs of pajamas, and over $500 in bills paid.  How can I possibly show my appreciation?  Here I am every day--blogging when I should be working--and they are going out of their way to show me these extreme gestures of kindness!

For the rest of my life, I will be paying this forward.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Do You Believe?

This December, I have been battling Santa Claus in my brain.  The same jolly old fat man who brings such joy to millions, brings me only a sleighful of frustration this year.

Much to the dismay of my family members, I have been considering the idea of not playing the "Santa Charade" with my daughter.  I know, I know... but just hear me out...

The entire ordeal is a lie.  That's it.  You can rationalize it all you want.  Tell me it's not really lying.  Tell me that Santa is the *magic* of Christmas.  But, no matter how you look at it, it is still lying.  Sorry.  I don't know how I can preach honesty while telling my child that an idea as silly as Santa is truth.

I've always thought that Christmas could be magical without the lying.  We can still pretend that Santa is coming.  But would it totally kill the joy if she knows--up front--that we are just pretending?  Kids are great pretenders!  A child can be a princess, a doctor, and then a cowgirl, all in one afternoon.  And deep down, she understands that she isn't really a cowgirl;  but for a brief moment in time, she is totally content with just pretending.

My main hangup with the whole Santa Conspiracy is partially due to personal experience.  I was an only child, so in many ways my parents were also my peers.  So when they preached the value of honesty, I assumed it was a two-way street.  When my friends began telling me that Santa was a just a big story, I defended my parents' honor.  They would never lie to me!  We always tell the truth!

When mom finally did tell me the truth, I was devastated.  Not because Santa wasn't real.  Not because my toys didn't come from the North Pole.  But because it was a big joke.  I'd been had!  And to top it all off, I defended the liars to my friends...  Maybe it was because I had no siblings to share the experience.  I felt singled out.  I pictured my parents sneaking around the house, eating the cookies, putting on a big show.  All so they could "see the look on my face" when I believed the hoax.

And what else did they lie about?  The Tooth Fairy?  The Easter Bunny?  Jesus?  How could I be sure that Jesus was even real?  Well, if praying was anywhere near as affective as writing a letter to Santa, I wasn't going to bother with that.  And that is the main reason that I loathe the Santa Conspiracy.  It shook my faith.  I struggled with my belief for years after this.  How old would I have to be before they finally told me that He was a "story" too?

I understand that Santa, obviously, cannot compare with the One who died for our sins.  This is very true... in the adult world.  But in a child's world, in an American child's world, the two are very close in running.  The only major difference that a small child can truly understand is that we only worry about Santa's judgement at Christmas time.

So please, shed some light on this for me.  How did you feel as a child?  How have your children felt?

To believe, or not to believe...

Friday, December 10, 2010

Tubes

We went to the Children's Hospital to have tubes inserted into Jellybean's ears.  The doctors really try their best to make things fun for the little ones.  Even though Jellybean wasn't as aware of the situation as, say, a four or five year old would be, they still let us try on funny hats and play with the doctors' equipment before going into surgery.


















One thing I learned about my child, is that she does NOT sleep on medication.  Since she couldn't have any food or drink before the surgery, she wouldn't take a nap.  After all, who wants to nap on an empty tummy?  After the surgery--which took all of ten minutes--she woke up feeling pretty groggy.  The nurses warned me that she would be fussy until the anesthesia wore off, but then she would probably sleep for the rest of the day.  They were wrong.  Very, very wrong.  Not only did Jellybean not nap, but she wouldn't even go to bed until 9:30 p.m.  I just don't get it.

Alas, dear blogging world, we can all rest easy that this incident is finally over!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Feveral Seizure

About two weeks ago, Jellybean started getting a runny nose.  I figured, it's gotta be the teething, right?  The following Sunday, that runny nose turned into a yucky cough.  Uh-oh,we must be catching a cold.  So Monday after work, we went to see the doctor.  Just a touch of bronchitis, caught in time before it got bad.  A little antibiotic should do the trick.  So we went home.

Tuesday night, it was obvious she wasn't feeling her best.  But of course, teething combined with acute bronchitis will do that to a kid.  So she took her medicine and some Infants' Motrin before bed.  She woke up and fussed a few times throughout the night, but put herself back to sleep within minutes and all was well.
Until Wednesday morning.

I went in to get her out of bed around 7:30 a.m.--I was running late--and I saw her laying on her side, making strange motions.  As I got closer, my little baby girl in her purple Dora PJ's wasn't just moving strangely, she was jerking.  I picked her up, her eyes rolled into the back of her head.  I lost it. 

~~A bit of an intermission here to explain how God puts the right people in my life at the exact right time.  One thing I haven't been advertising publicly is that since we went to divorce court, I've been spending a great deal of time with one of my best friends from high school, a guy we will call Ant.  We have been close friends since we were 15.  Now he has full custody of two little boys ages 2 and 1, and an ex that is only slightly more useful than mine.  So we have a lot in common.  While the boys were at their mom's for the night, Ant came to stay with me.~~

I screamed for Ant, who later told me that he thought he was coming to rescue me from a spider.  All sensibility I had flew right out the window.  He very calmly took Jellybean from my arms, explained to me that she was having a seizure, and proceeded to take care of her while I ran to get Babysitter from next door.  I used Babysitter's cell phone to call the ambulance, because my brain was too scrambled to find my own phone. 

After a few minutes, the seizure subsided.  Ant ran outside to grab the ambulance that had missed my street.  They took us to the hospital, where Ant met us.  Everything happened so quickly.  She had to have an IV inserted, and got a dose of 1/2 milligram (I think?) of Adavan to prevent anymore seizures.  During her posticus (the phase after a seizure where one is "loopy") she was staring straight ahead and wouldn't respond to us.  I thought for a moment that she had gone blind.  They had to insert a catheter to take a urine sample.  When they came in to do a chest xray, she had another seizure.  When this was over, they had to give her a spinal tap so that they could obtain fluid to test for meningitis.  They gave her another 1/2 miligram of Adavan.  My head was spinning. 

I snapped at several doctors and argued with them about the spinal tap.  When the xray technician came back to finish the chest xray, I blew up at him.  I'm not really sure why, other than the fact that I was freaking out.  He left the room and a few minutes later, another technician came in to finish the job.  Somewhere along the way, blood was drawn for testing. 

My parents rushed up.  The doctors were preparing us for the worst.  He told us how we would treat meningitis.  He explained different types of seizure disorders.  For a minute, I wondered if Jellybean was going to make it.  The most horrifying feelings swept over me.

Hours later, we were admitted into the children's wing of the hospital.  Bright blue floor tiles and dinosaur wallpaper cannot take away the depression of staring at a hospital crib.  All the tests came back negative, and it was declared a complex feveral seizure.  They determined that she had some unknown virus, causing her fever to spike quickly, which can lead to a seizure.

Her fever spiked up and down for the next two days.  We spent all of Thanksgiving in the hospital, as well as the entire day before and a good bit of the day after.  We watched Dora's Super Silly Fiesta over and over.  For three days. 

Finally, they were ready to let us go home on Friday.  Of course, being the day after a holiday, the doctor didn't want to get his lazy ass into the hospital at 8:00 a.m. that morning like, you know, all of the nurses, aides and other employees did.  All morning I had been asking the nurses to call the doctor in so we could get permission to remove her IV.  It had been disconnected from the bag since Thursday, but they left the needle in her inner-elbow just in case they needed to get back to it.  They would not remove the needle without the doctor's permission.  The doctor would not get his lazy ass into the hospital.  The nurses would not call the doctor.  I gathered what was left of my mind from the past few days and I lost it again.  I told them that if they did not take that damn needle out of my baby's arm RIGHT NOW then I would be removing it MYSELF!

Ten minutes later, the needle was out and Jellybean was SO happy to have her arm back.  That's right... Momma knows how to get shit done.

By lunchtime, the doctor came in.  I asked him one more time to PLEASE check her ears, I thought something might be wrong.  He almost laughed at me as he walked off to grab his equipment.  He looked at her ears and said that there was nothing wrong.

We went home, and Jellybean was doing better, but that darn fever kept coming back.  So Monday morning, we followed up with our family doctor, who checked her ears and said they looked great.  Tuesday morning, I got Jellybean up and LO AND BEHOLD her ears are leaking a clear fluid.  Who could have seen that coming?  Oh yeah... me!

We went BACK to the family doctor--only because the ear/nose/throat specialist didn't have any openings today--who put her on an antibiotic.  Again.  By yesterday, the fluid had turned a yellowish-brown color, which tells me that the infection has probably been in that ear for some time.

I. Am. Pissed.  How can so many doctors look into a child's ear and not realize that it is horribly infected?  How can they just rule it out even though I tell them specifically?  WTF!?

She went to the pediatric ear/nose/throat specialist on Friday and we will be going this Thursday to have tubes put in her ears.  She will then have to have her hearing tested to see if we lost any hearing, which would explain why her vocabulary is so limited compared to other children her age.

And we will be switching doctors.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Supervised Visitation: Filling In The Gray

Most people assume that supervised visitation is for situations of abuse or child molestation. 

Not necessarily.

These kinds of programs are also appropriate when the non-custodial parent has a drug or alcohol problem or a psychiatric condition.  We opted for supervised visitation between W. and Jellybean to reduce the risk of neglect due to drug and alcohol abuse, and, as you know, I have always had concern for W.'s mental stability.

So every Wednesday I leave work early.  We drive downtown to the Safe House and sign in at 4:45 p.m.  We play in the Toddler Room until 5:00 p.m. when W. arrives.  I leave through the back, W. comes in through the front, and we never have to see each other.  They play and have dinner while under the supervision of a trained supervisor.  The supervisor is there to take notes on how well the parent interacts with the child, if he/she appears to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and to make sure that he/she isn't discussing details of the case with the child--which really isn't a concern, being that she is only one year old.

W. is required to pay them $15 for their services that day.  He is also responsible for bringing all of the food, juice, diapers and wipes that Jellybean needs throughout the visit.  Add these expenses to the cost of gas it take for him to drive all the way downtown from his sister's house, and this is coming out to be a $30-40 endeavor each week, which sounds expensive.  Before you feel too sorry for him, let me remind you that it isn't exactly cheap to raise a child on one income--I have yet to receive child support.

Supervised visitation with W. is the only way that she can have him as an emotional figure in her life but without the negative effects of being left alone in a questionable environment.  I am sure this will all be reevaluated at our next court appointment in February.  But W. still has a Drug & Alcohol Evaluation in January a possible Psychiatric Evaluation in February, and plenty of time to screw up in between.  So for now, Safe House is filling in the gray area for us.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Gray Area

Apparently, in the State of Ohio if children are involved in a divorce case, the parents are required to take a parenting class. While everyone else was moaning and groaning about it, I couldn't help but be intrigued.


Yes, the class is two ridiculous hours long.

Yes, there are other things that I could be doing.

But this class is for the better of our children. So, really, who can complain?

This class forced me to hear some things that I really didn't want to hear.  And I can stick my fingers in my ears and shout, "La La La!" all day long, but the lesson still rings true. What children don't need is to be put in the middle of a divorce case. What children do need is a healthy relationship with both parents. Since W. has told me--on more than one occasion, and once in writing--that he wants nothing to do with Jellybean, I have been hell-bent on kicking him and his entire nut-job family out of our lives. As much as I hate to admit it, this might not be the best thing for Jellybean.

On one hand, Jellybean deserves a chance at having two parents no matter how good or bad those parents are. If her dad decides not to be a part of her life, then that is something that she we will have to deal with. But if I kick him out with no chance of reconciliation, then it might not be in her best interest.

On the other hand, allowing my Jellybean to be a part of the neglectful and abusive atmosphere that comes along with W.'s family is clearly not a good choice. I certainly wouldn't allow her to be friends with people who carry on in this manner!

I am frustrated because my problem is not deciding between the right option and the wrong option; it's trying to figure out which option is which. There is no black-and-white in this situation--it's pretty much all gray over here. I am frustrated that W. can ignore Jellybean for most of her existence and even say that he doesn't want anything to do with her, and yet thinks he can just come back in and pretend it never happened.  But the biggest frustration of all is that I cannot protect Jellybean from both ends. She will either experience God-knows-what abuse in that family, or lose them altogether.

So what else can I do but lay it all in God's hands?

Monday, November 15, 2010

My Summer, Fall, and Reason For Lack of Posting…

I have barely posted in the past few weeks, which can cause one to lose readers. So if all five of you who used to read this are still reading… it’s been hell, let me tell you.

When I began to open my eyes to exactly how bad things had become with W., a good friend advised me to keep a journal. I have been journaling my ass off since July, and I am going to share a very small portion of that with you. What I have written below may appear to be a short novel, but it doesn’t actually compare to the 30 pages of information I have written down.

You will also notice that I’m using nicknames now instead of real names. You never know how ugly a custody battle could get, and I don’t want any of his family members doing a Google search on our names.

The following week was a typical week in my household.

Monday, July 12, 2010
I got up with Jellybean in the morning. Even though W. doesn’t leave for work until 8-9:00 a.m., I still get her ready and take her to Babysitter’s home (across the street from us) by 7:30 a.m. every morning because he won’t get out of bed.

After work I picked up Jelly Bean, took care of her, the house, and the pets, and went to bed at 10:15 p.m., never hearing from W.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010
My mom watches Jellybean on her days off, alternating Tuesdays and Fridays. Even though W. doesn’t leave for work until after I do, I still take her to M-ville once a week. I left at 7:00 a.m. and drove her to M-ville while he was still in bed.

My dad brought Jellybean home when I got home from work to save me the trip. My cousin JP came to visit with me and gave me the phone number of her psychiatrist to call and make an appointment for W. He finally agreed (last weekend) to see a psychiatrist for his issues. He agreed that he has a lot of mental problems to work out.

JP left when I was putting Jellybean to bed. W. came home around 9:30 p.m. I didn’t ask where he was or if/why he was working late because that usually just causes him to blow up.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010
I got up with Jellybean at 6:00 a.m. and dropped her off at Babysitter’s by 7:30 a.m. while W. was still in bed. After work I picked up Jellybean. When we came home there was porn left playing on the television. Even though she is still too young to know what is going on, I was disgusted that she had to see this as we entered the living room. I took care of her, the house, and the pets for the rest of the evening. W. came home around 9:30 p.m. again. I did not ask where he was or why he was home late. He was extremely grumpy and irritable when he first came home but after he ate was very friendly and we had a good evening together.

Thursday, July 15, 2010
I woke up late and had to rush to get Jellybean and myself ready while W. was in bed, so that I could get to work only a little late. He woke up enough to tell me that he needed gas money.

After work I picked up Jellybean, came home, took care of her, the house, and the pets. I took the dog outside sometime between 8:30 – 9:00 p.m. W. came home during this time. We talked for a while about nothing in particular and then Babysitter came out and we talked with her. While we were talking to Babysitter, W. started complaining about how our home is a “shit hole” and that my allergies make his life miserable, and he hopes that Jellybean doesn’t have them because it is so difficult for him to live with someone who has allergies.

Friday, July 16, 2010
I got up with Jellybean at 7:00 a.m. and got her to Babysitter’s at 7:30 a.m. while W. was still in bed.

I made an appointment for W. to see the psychiatrist for Monday, August 9, 2010. I made this appointment weeks advance so that he would have plenty of time to inform work that he would be off that morning.

I picked up Jellybean, came home, took care of her, the pets and the house, and went to bed at 10:00 p.m., never hearing from W. I woke up when he came home at 2:00 a.m. He told me that he ran into his ex-step-brother and was with him all night. I told him that I made his psychiatrist appointment. He expressed that he is afraid they will admit him into a mental hospital. I assured them that there is no way they will admit him unless he becomes dangerous.

Saturday, July 17, 2010
I got up at 7:00 a.m. and spent time with Jellybean. W. still wasn’t up at 8:00 a.m. and when I woke him up he freaked out because he was going to be late for work again. Jellybean and I spent the day at my parents’ house, had dinner there and Jellybean got her bath there. I rocked her to sleep and she slept during the car ride home. We arrived home around 9:30 p.m. I went to bed around 11:00 p.m., having never received a phone call from W., just a note saying that he was with his friend B.

I do remember him coming home sometime in the middle of the night, but I was half asleep and don’t remember much.

Sunday, July 18, 2010
W. was grumpy today but he did play with Jellybean for about half an hour before she went down for her afternoon nap. After we ate lunch, he fell asleep on the living room floor and would not get up until around dinnertime.

Monday, July 19, 2010
Jellybean woke up screaming at 3:30 a.m., so I got her a bottle and comforted her in the living room (so we wouldn’t interrupt W’s sleeping) while she fussed off and on until 7:10 a.m. At this time, I needed to get a shower for work so I asked W. if he would watch Jellybean and comfort her while I showered. He sat up but didn’t do anything for a few minutes, so I brought Jellybean to him. He said that he couldn’t take her right that moment; he needed more time to wake up. So I put her in the playpen and took my shower. When I got out of the shower, she was still crying in her playpen while he was sleeping in bed.

I didn’t say a word and just left him there to sleep. I took Jellybean to Babysitter’s. I got to work five minutes late.

After work, I ran errands and got groceries with Jellybean. We got home at 7:30 p.m. I unloaded groceries and put them all away. Fed, bathed, and rocked Jellybean to sleep. She was in bed at 8:30 p.m. I went outside and W. came home with his buddy and beer to drink. They drank their beer in the driveway. I went in at 9:00 p.m. W. came in at 10:00 p.m. and we went to bed at 11:00 p.m.

Over the next couple of weeks it was pretty much the same pattern. After he missed his psychiatrist appointment, it became very clear just how bitter things had become between us.

Monday, August 9, 2010
W. bailed on his psychiatrist appointment.

Thursday, August 10, 2010
W. came home on time from work, but brought two friends and a 24-pack of Bud Light with him. They drank in the driveway until Jellybean was in bed. When he came into the house we started arguing. He told me that he has changed for the better and wanted to know why I still had problems with him. I pointed out that he really hasn’t changed much, and while he may have stopped calling me names, he still stays out with his friends or drinking or smoking until Jellybean is in bed. He replied that he wants to spend time with Jellybean but doesn’t want to be around me. I am not stupid, I can plainly see (and so can our friends and family) that he is happy to spend time with me, but avoids any time—especially one-on-one time—with Jellybean, as I have tried on several occasions to get him to watch her or just spend time with her.

He told me that getting married to me and having a baby was a mistake. He started to go on about how if we didn’t have Jellybean then we wouldn’t have to “live poor” (meaning financially) and all of our relationship problems started when she came. He said that she didn’t help us in any way and that she was good for me but not good for him.

Friday, August 20, 2010
W. arrived home around 2:00 a.m., turned on the lights and demanded that we decide right now what we were going to do about Jellybean if we split up. I said that I assumed we would continue what we have been doing with Jellybean—me taking care of her by myself and him not participating. He told me that he wants her on weekends, to which I said “no” because not only do I work full-time and the weekends are my quality time with her, but I do not trust him to take quality care of her or to drive her safely. He suggested every other weekend or just a couple of days every week, and I questioned when this would be, since he doesn’t see her more than a couple of hours a week as it is now. He asked if I wanted him out of Jellybean’s life and I pointed out to him that I have been fighting to make him a part of her life since she has been born, to no avail.

Several times throughout this conversation I had to ask him to stop yelling so that he would not wake Jellybean. He said that we should get a divorce and stated several times that he “is not crazy,” although I have never called him that. He demanded that I sleep on the couch. I would not, so he slept on the couch. He has a very angry and violent attitude and I sat awake all night to make sure he wasn’t going to hurt Jellybean or me.

Saturday, August 21, 2010
He packed his things and moved out.

During the next two months, W. would go through the same cycle several times.

First, he would call or text me nonstop, telling me how much he loves me and misses Jellybean. It was during these times that, although I would not allow him to move back in, we would meet in a public place or allow him to come over for a visit with Jellybean and we would talk about possibly salvaging this relationship for her sake.

Then he would become very insecure, accusing me of not caring about him or finding another guy.

Shortly after the insecurity, he would become angry and irrational. This is when the random 1:00 a.m. knocks on my door would come or the phone calls in the middle of the night, demanding that I take him back right that minute or we would never see him again. When I refused, he would let me know that he would be out of Jellybean’s life forever and leave.

This “being out of our lives” phase would last MAYBE 24 hours. And that’s a stretch. It was never long before I was receiving the “I love you so much” texts. When I didn’t respond, phone calls would ensue. Then he would text me demanding to see Jellybean, and accusing me of hiding her from him, threatening to get a lawyer, etc.

Being that it is unfair to keep Jellybean from having two parents, this is when I would always give in and invite him over to spend time with her. Then the cycle would repeat. I am just as guilty for the repeat of this cycle as W. It’s difficult to read back through my journal and not want to reach back in time and slap my face. What the hell was I thinking?!?

The last and final straw is the weekend of her first birthday party. As if paying for and throwing a birthday party by yourself isn’t stressful enough, W. was fired that week. He found another job a couple of days later, but missed her first birthday party. Really. Who the fuck misses their child’s first birthday party? The only member of his family that attended the party was his sister, whom he is now living with. He didn’t even send a gift. Or a card. Or a note. Or call to wish her a happy birthday. Really. WTF?

When I informed him that whatever chances we had were absolutely over because he didn’t acknowledge her first birthday, he freaked. On Monday he told me that he didn’t want anything to do with her. Promised to pay child support but said (via text message, I have it in writing) that he never wants visitation.

The next day, he demanded to see her. Threatened to get a lawyer. Blah blah blah.

We went to court on October 26th and he refused the divorce, so now we have to wait until February for another court date. He agreed to pay child support, attend a drug and alcohol evaluation in January, and to only see Jellybean at supervised visitation at a “safe house” owned by the government where social workers can watch his every move. It sounds a little extreme, but I feel that when there are parents that don’t want to be parents, that is when things can go wrong.

Before and after court he called and texted me nonstop and even began calling and bothering my family members, until my lawyer sent him a letter asking him to stop.

So far I haven’t had to hear from him for two weeks and, let me tell you, it’s been wonderful.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Divorce Diet

I am happy to announce that I am back into all of my pre-pregnancy pants!  Yes, a few of them look like they are painted on, and also, yes, it took me almost a full year, and also, no, I wasn't exactly thin before I got pregnant... but let me enjoy my glory, damn it!

Unfortunately, the loss of poundage isn't due to my incredible demonstration of will power against cookies, cupcakes, and Cheetos, nor is it due to the fabulous gym membership that I have and use.  Because... well... I don't have will power OR a gym membership...  No, friends, I'm afraid stress is probably the main cause of all of this weight loss.  Some coworkers refer to it as the "Divorce Diet."

The strange thing is, I don't feel stressed out at all.  In fact, since my husband moved out of the house (about a month ago) I have never felt better.  There is actually less for me to do around the house now, as W. was more of a mess-maker than a helper.  He never lifted a finger with our daughter, so there are no changes in my life there.  And when he left, he took over $10,000 worth of debt with him.  So what is it that is stressing me out?

Whatever.  I guess if I am in a situation where I have to get a divorce after only one year of marriage, then I may as well look hot while I'm doing it.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Healthy...ish

For anyone who remembers (or cares) about my nutrition dilemma, I think I have figured out the solution.  See, Jellybean is in that awkward stage between baby food and table food; she loves to pick up mac-n-cheese with her fingers and eat it, but our doctor warned us against the preservatives that are in the cheese.

The solution?  Boil some macaroni noodles and toss out that bag of cheese-like-product.  Instead, mix in two jars of whatever kind of pureed veggie your baby likes.  For Jellybean, we used Gerber's Farmer Market Vegetable Blend. 

The look on her face told me she was expecting something a little different, but she got used to it.  I think since she is starting this food so young that it might be a favorite treat down the road when the picky-eating-preschooler phase rears its ugly head.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Made With Love By Grandma

Jellybean's middle name is special.  Rianna.  Not just a pretty name, it is also very meaningful.

When I was pregnant, W. and I lost two grandmothers.  "Ri" comes from my Grandma Rita, who we lost in May 2009 due to a long battle with diabetes and congestive heart failure.  And "anna" comes from W.'s Grandma Anna Louise, who passed away in March 2009.  There is a stupid joke on W.'s side of the family that the news of our unexpected pregnancy is what killed her.  Yeah, I don't hear any of you laughing either.

Jellybean would have been Grandma Rita's first great-grandchild.  And no one was more excited than Grandma Rita.  She even began to sign her emails as "G.G." (for "Great-Grandma").  Unfortunately, soon after we found out about the pregnancy, her health took a turn for the worse.  She spent the next few months in between hospitals and nursing homes.

Hospice had just helped us move her back into her home the day she passed away.  At four months pregnant, my belly was just starting to pop out.  If you hadn't been looking for it, you might not have even noticed the little baby-bump that was forming.  While Grandma was laying in her bed with her C-PAP still attached to her face, my mom grabbed her hand and laid it gently on my belly.  "This is your first great-grandchild, Mom," she said.  That moment is still so clear and so beautiful to me.  Three, almost four, generations held together with one touch.  She left us that evening, after only starting to crochet a white blankie for the baby-to-be.

When we went through her belongings after she passed, I scavenged her closets for any baby clothes that she may have sewn.  I was in luck.  We found several outfits she had made and attempted to sell on eBay.  Thank goodness they never sold.  These outfits may not be as fashionable as what you will find at Gymboree or Children's Place, but I have never seen my baby girl wear anything more beautiful.






















































G.G. would have been so proud.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Ode To New Motherhood

When the spare bedroom is no longer spare...


















...and your Coach purse hangs in the closet while the Pooh Bear diaper bag hangs proudly on your shoulder.


















When the phrase, "Check out that cutie by the pool," takes on a whole new meaning...
























...and thunder thighs are actually kinda cute.


















Girls' Night Out doesn't even compare to Girls' Day In...






















You stop feeling sorry for the people who are schlepping strollers and bag after bag of kids' stuff around the mall...

















...and you start feeling sorry for the ones who aren't.
















Because every day you get to look into beautiful, perfect eyes...


















...and when those eyes stare back at you with more love than any one heart can bear...


















...you can't help but wonder how you ever lived without them.

Friday, August 20, 2010

WIC vs. MAD

I don't qualify for WIC.

Which is, for some reason, absolutely shocking to other parents my age.  When I tell them that I don't get WIC their eyes widen, jaws drop a little, and sometimes they manage to utter, "Huh...?"  They can't seem to figure out how Jellybean and I aren't living in a cardboard box behind Burger King without government assistance. 

My family falls in the unfortunate category of making juuuust too much money to qualify for WIC, but also juuuust too little money to have anything left over after rent.  However, having no brothers or sisters, I do qualify for MAD.  What is MAD, you ask?  Mom And Dad.

That's right.  My parents buy Jellybean's baby formula.  Without me ever having to ask.  Although I am extremely grateful, I am also a little embarrassed.  When I come home from work and see a case of Simliac sitting on my doorstep I experience mixed emotions of relief and shame.  It isn't easy to admit that I can't take care of my daughter all on my own. 

"We don't do it for you, we do it for Jellybean," my mom tells me.  But I should be doing it for Jellybean. 

It's always the guilt that gets us, isn't it, moms?  I put so much effort into making sure that she gets good nutrition, regular doctor checkups, lots of love, quality time with me, quality time with all grandparents, and everything else all while holding down a full time job--and I will float my boat and say that I'm doing a damn good job.  But at the end of the day, I still need help.  By myself, I am unable to provide her with formula, a college fund, or even a father who cares enough to spend a little time with her.

So, I still need help.  I know how lucky I am to have parents like mine.  I know how loved I am.  You never realize quite how much your parents love you until you become one.  I look at Jellybean with so much love there aren't even words for it and think,  Wow.  This is how much my mom loves me...  So I suck it up and I accept the free formula.  They're doing it for Jellybean.  And, even if they don't say so, they enjoy being able to take care of me in this way.  Because that's what MAD is all about.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Motherhood: What Not To Do

Ever since I was a kid--even really young like six or seven years old--I had the idea of keeping journal or a running list of things that I didn't want to do to my children when they were older.  Even at that young of an age, I realized that my parents had long forgotten what it was like to be seven years old.  I knew (because they told me so often) that a lot of times they were doing something that I would understand better when I would become an adult and parent.  Still, I thought they could do a better job at helping me to understand things or trying to be a bit more fair.

I am disappointed in myself for never starting that list.  I think it would really help.  However, I am still very much in touch with my inner-child.  I have been told it is because I am still a child myself.  Whatever the reason, I am not ashamed to admit that my T.V. is usually on Nickelodeon, even when my daughter is in bed.  I cannot wait until my daughter is old enough to enjoy coloring, making beadie-buddies (does anyone else remember those?) and Play-Doh.  Call me immature, but I think these attributes are going to make me a better mom in the future.

So here is the beginning of the list, from what I can remember thinking about as a child.

Notes To Future Amie:  What Not To Do With Raising Children
  1. Don't laugh at their hairstyles or clothing choices, even when they're four or five and it looks really, really ridiculous.  I tried to braid my bangs when I was a child and my aunt and cousins laughed at my new do.  I was so embarrassed and can remember thinking that just because I was a little kid didn't mean that I couldn't understand when I was being made fun of.
  2. Approach the subject of crushes very seriously and do not tease or make a huge deal out of it.  It is especially embarrassing for a daughter to be teased about a crush by her father, and for a son by his mother.
  3. If I truly cannot keep a secret from my children's father, then don't promise them that I won't tell him.  Honesty should be the best policy for all ages.
  4. Don't lie.  Ever.  Be accountable for every word that comes out of my mouth.  Even if I have to tell them that I will explain more after I gather my thoughts or when they are older.
  5. Do not show signs of a low self-esteem in front of my children.  Being humble is one thing, but calling myself ugly in front of little ones who look just like me is not going to do much for their confidence.
  6. Sometimes kids really do forget why they did something.  Don't call a child a liar unless I have proof.
  7. My parents did not give me any chores at all.  Ever.  It has made me a very lazy adult.  I can not, for the life of me, keep a clean house.  There is a happy medium between making a child a workhorse and giving them no chores at all.
  8. Don't assume that just because I did something bad as a teenager that my teens will do the same.
  9. Don't tell a teenager that they have nothing to be stressed out about.  Schoolwork, after-school jobs, social issues, and trying to figure out your entire future is extremely stressful.  Just because they don't have bills to pay and children to take care of does not mean they are actually worry-free. 
  10. For teenagers, it is also very stressful to feel like an adult but to be under some one's thumb constantly.  Imagine, as an adult, someone monitoring my work performance, spiritual performance, relationships, friendships, nutrition, sports, etc. etc. etc.  While necessary, it is a genuine pain in the ass and I, as a parent, should be sensitive to that.
I know I had a lot more items I have thought about over the years.  I will try to remember to add them as I think of them.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Does This Baby Make Me Look Fat?

Yesterday I was super excited that a friend was coming to visit.  Most of my friends have moved away (temporarily, I hope!) for college and can only come into town a couple of weeks out of the year.  Buttercup is one of them. 

Last night, as we were gabbing on about this and that, she said the most dreadful sentence I've ever heard:
"So, Amie, have you lost any of your baby weight?"

WHAT?!?!?

I will have you know, dear blogging world, that I have lost at least half of that weight.  I am even wearing pre-pregnancy pants right now.  Who cares if they are so tight they look painted on?  They're on, damn it! 

Regardless, this was a wake up call.  Even though I have lost quite a bit of the weight, it is probably a good time to start looking into dropping the last twenty or so pounds.  I feel like if I don't lose it by Jellybean's first birthday then I might never lose it.  And people are going to stop looking at me like the chubby girl who just had a baby and start looking at me as the fat girl who had a baby and stayed fat.

So here are my goals:
a)  Figure out how much I weigh.
b)  Figure out how much I need to lose to get back to 145.
c)  Do it.
d)  Wait for Butterncup to get pregnant and await apology.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

And Speaking of Nutrition

Well, even though I have been asking about nutritious foods for my daughter... my parents decided to spoil her anyway with a creamstick.  I mean, what are grandparents for, right?  As aggrivating as it is to have parents that don't follow your rules, it did make some interesting photos...

"How was the donut, Jellybean?"

















"Ohmigosh it was SOOOOO good!"



















"But ohhhh I shouldn't have eated da whoooole thing..."

Monday, July 26, 2010

Nutrition Schmutrition

Jellybean's nine-month check-up was on Friday.  I am very proud to announce that Dr. Gray says she's in her twelve-month milestones already!  Insert smug, braggy momma smile here.

I didn't have an encyclopedia's worth of questions this round, just one simple inquiry about Jellybean's nutrition.  As in, what the heck am I supposed to feed this kid?  It seems Pureed Peas and Fruit Medley (or Fruit Melody as my mom calls it lol) just aren't cutting it anymore.  I thought that I was doing pretty well ripping up grilled cheese sandwiches and mac-n-cheese for her, but apparently preservatives are lurking in the delicious cheese just waiting to attack my baby's health at the first chew...

Those microwavable Gerber Graduates Lil Entres aren't doing the trick either.  Although Puffs and Lil Crunchies are still favorites, child can not live on snacks alone.  And isn't a strictly snacky diet just asking for bad habits later in life? 

So I ask, all three of you who read this blog on non-You-Capture-days, what is a momma to do?  Are frozen peas and canned green beans okay, or do they have to be fresh?  Will homemade mac-n-cheese using grocery store ingredients make the cut, or is it out of the question all together?

Monday, July 19, 2010

Onesies - A Great Shower Activity

Our baby shower was a year ago today!  Instead of those lame baby shower games that nobody likes, we had a pretty fun activity that was interactive, kept the kids busy, and gave Baby a sweet keepsake.  I bought a few packs of different sizes plain, white onesies and some fabric markers.  Everyone got to design a onesie for the baby to wear. 

I have tried to take pictures of Jellybean wearing these hand-decorated onesies, but there have been some incidents--Jellybean growing too big before I got the chance for her to wear it, Jellybean soaking the onesie in runny poo, etc.--and I have not gotten pictures of ALL of them. 

Here are a few, and it's always something fun to keep in mind for your next baby shower :)

This NB size is the one I designed.  Notice the phrase "Potty Like A Rock Star" written on the butt, lol.  No, I am not super-creative.  I actually ripped off this slogan from a pair of pants I saw at Dollar General.



This fabulous example of "modern art" was done by my three-year-old cousin Eva.  Not bad for a three-year-old, considering that those fabric markers are difficult to write with.  You can see on the back where she tried to write her name.



Another NB onesie, but whoever designed it didn't write their name on the tag, so I don't know who did it.


0-3 months.  My cousin is very artistic!  The date below the duck is the date of the baby shower.


 0-3 months designed by my husband.  As you probably guessed, he is a Chevy guy.  Sorry, Ford fans, you can see where you rank.

 3-6 months by my dad.

 3-6 months from a girlfriend of mine .

 Another ducky onesie from my cousin.  She must have been into ducks that day.
(3-6 months)


THE END!
(0-3 months by my husband lol)


Friday, July 9, 2010

I Find You Offensive For Finding Me Offensive

There are so many things that you truly don't understand until you become a mother.  For instance, how easily offended we are by the most innocent of comments made by others.

I've talked before about the stigma this culture has on young moms.  According to most of my friends and coworkers, you have to be absolutely off-of-your-rocker, banging-your-head-into-the-wall, out-of-your-mind crazy to actually want to have a child in your early twenties.  I haven't forgotten that Jellybean was an "OOPS baby," but an accident doesn't necessarily mean a mistake, right?  You wouldn't believe--or maybe you would--how many times people have asked me if I wish I had waited to had kids.  (I do not.)

"But, Amie, don't you find that there are certain challenges that come along with being a young mom?"

"Just the challenge of dealing with people who ask stupid questions..."

During a conversation with a coworker, she (is not yet a parent) said, "Well, obviously you wouldn't have chosen to be a mom at twenty-one."  Is it unreasonable to be offended by this?  I mean, isn't raising my daughter--therefore being a mom--my choice?

I remember when I was six or seven years old, I accidentally bumped the car parked next to ours with my mom's car door.  And the car owner was sitting in the car.  And she heard and saw everything.  She didn't get out of the car, she didn't even roll down the window, all she did was glare at me through the windshield.  My mom FREAKED. OUT.  on this completely innocent lady.  I pity the fool who looks at her child the wrong way...

One thing about being a parent, is we get the chance to be on both sides of this matter.  More than likely, you have been on the offending side of the conversation.  More than likely, feeling like an ass.

In some cases, I have even been offended when another mother was offended by me... I know, shut up.  My friend's daughter was almost two at the time and she slapped my newborn in the face with a baby doll bottle.  On instinct, I grabbed her hand just before she hit my daughter again and said, "NO," resulting in tears from her.  Her mother--who, might I add, watched the entire thing without saying a word--was offended by the tone of voice I used towards her daughter... are you kidding me?

I wonder exactly what it is about childbirth that turns this...

...into this...

Monday, June 28, 2010

Notes To Self

Dear Future Amie,

Eight months ago you embarked on a never-ending adventure. There have been good times and there have been bad times. The truth is that those chubby cheeks and deep belly laugh are slowly but surely pushing away the memories of labor pains and colic. Oh, how easy it is to forget how badly it hurts to walk up and down stairs for six weeks or the sleepless nights that come along with a new baby. And without a doubt, Future Amie, the day will come when Jellybean is more of a kid than a baby, and you will let your guard down and make the decision to embark on another adventure—life with two children. Although I haven’t the slightest clue on how it will work, having a newborn and a toddler at the same time, but such is likely to be the case.

The first time around with Jellybean was unexplored territory. You experienced so much for the very first time. But as time goes by, those little tidbits of information you picked up along the way may very well become a distant memory, like the pain and fatigue that come along with new motherhood. So I thought ahead to write you a note so that you can focus more on the joy of a new baby and less on wondering why you forgot so much.

• Use the nurses at the hospital. Use the heck out of them. When you had Jellybean and they offered to keep her so you could sleep through the night, you chose to pass, saying that you would not have the nurses’ help at home and you needed to get used to it. I am telling you, crazy lady, those are the last two nights of sleep you will get for the next two or three months so don’t you feel a bit guilty!

• Breastfeeding is good and don’t forget it. You almost gave up on nursing Jellybean a few times, but you should be proud that you stuck with it. It hurts so badly at first, but do remember how it gets better! Don’t pass on giving your other babies the same good start that Jellybean had just because you have two children now. (Also—don’t be afraid to call a lactation consultant. If she didn’t want to be called at 2:00 a.m., well, then her card shouldn’t say, “Call Me Anytime!”)

• Remember what Similac Sensitive did for Jellybean.

• Stock up on some nice nursing bras. Three or four simply will not do. You will leak and leak and leak, and don’t you remember how miserable it was to sit around in a nasty milk-stinking bra for two hours while you wash more? Forget about it! I’m talking twelve or more bras. Nice ones—don’t even bother looking at the price tag. It’s so worth it. And don’t forget the shields!

• Make W. help you. Forget the fact that you are on maternity leave and W. is at work all day. Screw him! You are at home 24 hours a day taking care of the kids, the pets and the house—and he even gets a lunch break! He will need to take Jellybean off of your hands every day when he gets home from work, no matter how tired he is, and should be up with the new baby at least every third night. You did, after all, take care of this new baby for the last nine months, and fair is fair.

• Make it a point to find your “golden ticket” early on. Running the vacuum cleaner, cranking up heavy metal, and the sound of the breast pump all calmed Jellybean down, remember? And don’t freak out when what used to be your “golden ticket” is no longer working. It may change a few times, and then change again.

• Making a schedule for a newborn is much easier said than done. Even if you do, by some miracle, get one set—chances are it will change next week. Go with the flow and don’t put so much focus on the clock.

• Finally, Future Amie, I must beg you to please, please don’t even consider another one until Jellybean is out of diapers.

Sincerely,

Present Amie

Thursday, June 24, 2010

I Know There's A Floor Under All Of These Toys...

My daughter's toys are an epidemic and they're taking over the world!  Okay, so really they're just taking over my living room.  But still! 

It is truly amazing how many toys we have accumulated in the past eight months.  At this age, she's only bringing her toys out to throw them on the floor.  And really, she's only eight months!  If she is so happy playing with an empty pot and wooden spoon, then why does my living room look like a Fisher Price outlet?  Somewhere under this sea of Little People and Weeble Wobbles (you know, the ones that don't fall down?)  is beige carpet that I haven't seen in weeks. 
We didn't bring this on ourselves.  It's the grandparents.  It's always the grandparents!  They are constantly bombarding us generously giving us toys for Jellybean.  Big toys, little toys, riding toys, crawl-through toys...  I've had it!

This weekend is the final straw... we are going to begin our journey towards the destination of a toy rotation!

Any tips?

Friday, May 28, 2010

9 Annoying Things Every New Mom Should Know

1. Just so you know, every woman who already has children will begin every sentence to you with “Just so you know...” Since her baby is all of eight weeks older than yours, she is all-knowing and her comments and advice should be treated as nothing less than Gospel.

2. Don’t even bother with discount diapers. Seriously. The $3.99 you save is no where near worth all of the cute outfits you lose when they leak. I don’t know how Luvs makes enough money to actually purchase air time for commercials, but live and learn and don't buy Luvs. Huggies or Pampers are the only way to go.

3. Don’t stock up on tons of Dreft unless you plan on using it until your child goes to college. That stuff lasts forever. When our daughter a week old we cracked open the smallest size jug they sell. She is now 7 months old and we’re still using the same jug.

4. If you thought your parents were intrusive before, just wait—it gets worse. There is something about becoming a grandparent that makes you feel the need to insert yourself into every. Single. Event.  Ever see that family at the zoo that has one small child and a posse of nine adults following her around?  That's us.

5. It takes your breasts way too long to stop producing milk. I stopped nursing when her first tooth poked through two months ago—sounds reasonable, right?—and these darn things still produce.  Oh, and hold on to that memory, they won't be firm again until you have another baby.

6. It’s okay to have that list of things that you aren’t going to do to your children when you become a mother, but try not to make a big deal out of it to others. Actually, never mentioning anything on that list out loud is probably your best bet if you aren’t looking forward to the big ‘ole slice of humble pie your family will be sure to serve you when you change your mind.

7. Three words: Dora. The. Explorer.

8. If you think dressing your little girl in frilly, pink dresses with pantyhose and big bows is going to make anyone realize that she is not a boy, you will be sorely disappointed. No human over the age of 65 is able to tell the difference between a baby boy and a baby girl. Even after you tell them your baby’s gender, you will still end up hearing something like, “He is so cute!  May I hold her?"

9. Ohmygosh, save all of your boxes! It will fight against every natural instinct you have to throw out an old box, but packing up the out-grown baby swing into an empty diaper box is so impossible.

So these are the the 9 most annoying things I have come across in the past 7 months, and as you can see, none of those things are the baby herself.  It's just the inevitable bullcrap a mother must put up with in order to experience the greatest adventure of her life. 

I will tell you it is absolutely worth it.  I won't tell you what I would like to say to my inlaws.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Failure to Ferb

It only took me three nights of mental preparation to attempt the Ferber Method for getting Jellybean to sleep in her crib.  It only took her zero nights to accomplish this.  That's right, she slept through the night in her crip.  On the first try.  Sorry, other mothers.

Truthfully, I was a little disappointed.  I was expecting to do something about the ordeal last night but she never gave me the chance.  She cried one time at 12:35 a.m. and stopped by 12:38 a.m.  Fine then.  If nobody needs me, I'll be in my bedroom getting my beauty sleep.  Or pouting.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Who's Side IS Time On Anyway?

When I was a small child, I remember thinking that growing up was something that happened overnight.  One day you wake up and you're a grown-up with a job and a house and you live on from there.  As I got a little older, I realized that growing up isn't something that happens overnight, but actually very slowly over time.  Every day you grow a little more and a little more for years, until life ends. 

But as I look at the pictures hung on the walls of my home, I come to realize that I had it right the first time.  Growing up may not actually happen overnight, but it sure does look that way, doesn't it?  Just looking at those pictures takes me back to the days of birthday parties and loose teeth.  The days of soccer practice and really big lollipops.  I remember riding in the car with my parents really late at night from Grandma's house on Christmas Eve.  While my parents were in the front seat worrying about speed limits and drunk drivers, I felt so safe and comfortable that I could just fall right asleep in the backseat, knowing that they would carry me to bed when we got home.  They probably realized back then how quickly time was passing.

Fast forward to me in the sixth grade, sitting on my bed talking to my best friend, Amanda.  I was telling her that I didn't like Heath anymore, but now I had a crush on Zach.  I remember Amanda telling me that she liked to look at Joe's butt.  We laughed.  We knew that we were growing up, but it didn't seem too fast.  In fact, it still seemed like it would be centuries before we were old enough to shave our legs, drive a car, or go on dates with boys.

But when I turned around, I was sixteen.  I ran to my car after my summer job so I could go home and shower before my boyfriend came over.  I thought it was total bull crap that we weren't allowed to go into my bedroom, but had to stay downstairs with my parents all evening.  My mom told me I would understand some day.  I do.

Then one day, just like I had imagined, I woke up and it was time to graduate.  A week later I had a job as a full-time secretary.  I got an apartment with my boyfriend.  We got pregnant, we got married, the baby came, I blinked and she turned seven months old.  What was I doing two years ago?  Driving around town with my boyfriend, chucking beer cans at mailboxes?  And now here I am, playing patty-cake and peek-a-boo.  It's hard to believe how quickly life changes.

In the mean time, the dishes pile up, the bed is unmade, and the same load of laundry I started yesterday is still in the washer.  But it can all wait until tomorrow because I'm rocking my baby, and babies don't keep.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Ferber Method (A.K.A. Let-Your-Baby-Cry-It-Out-Because-You-Are-Terrible-Parents-Method)

I am pretty strict when it comes to my daughter’s schedule. My husband has even gone so far as to call me (jokingly… I think) the Nap Time Nazi. Lunch at noon, nap at one, sieg hail! What can I say?... I enjoy sleeping through the night. And when Jellybean misses her nap, everyone is going to hear just how tired she is later.

I can still remember the first time she ever slept through the night. It was March 14, 2010—the happiest night of my life. She fell asleep in her pack-and-play in the living room, with the television on in the background. And since that day we have always put her to bed at 8:00 p.m., in the pack-and-play in the living room, with the television ON. Of course, teething, crawling, and other big milestones have kept her up through the night on several occasions. But the success rate of the 8:00-p.m.-in-the-pack-and-play-in-the-living-room-with-the-television-on procedure has far outweighed the rate of failure, so we haven’t messed with the system.

This evening, as we tiptoe around our sleeping baby and oh-so-quietly try to get a glass of water, a sandwich, or go to the bathroom, we are beginning to think that there might be some benefits to putting her to sleep in her crib. We have tried it a few times in the past, but it didn’t go over so well. So since then, the $559.99 crib has been put to excellent use by our cat, Dizzy.










So, at the fine age of seven months, I think it might be time to move my little bugaboo to her crib. We are going to try the Ferber Method, also known as the Let-Your-Baby-Cry-It-Out-Because-You-Are-Terrible-Parents-Method, or perhaps better known as the Get-Absolutely-No-Sleep-While-Trying-To-Put-Your-Child-To-Sleep-Method. For those of you who are interested in learning about this technique of self-torture, I will be sure to post our progress. (Or lack thereof.)

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Accidents Happen

Am I absolutely the worst mother in the world? In seven short months, I have bumped my daughter more times than I care to admit. But as long as my parents don’t know about this blog, I will admit these things to you:

The horrible things I’ve done to my daughter:

1. Bumped her head on the handle of the infant carrier while leaving the doctor’s at her two week checkup.

2. At about a month old, went to lift her legs up to change diaper but instead managed to slide her entire body upwards and bonked her head on the lip of the changing table.

3. At a few months old, turned a corner too sharp and hit her head on the door frame to her bedroom.

Noticing a theme here? It’ll be a miracle if she makes it to 3 years old without brain damage…

4. Passed out from exhaustion my first week back to work. With her in my arms. This one was the most serious, and resulted in a trip to the ER for both of us. The good news is that when I passed out I hit my head on the closet door (if you can really consider that good news…) and slid to the floor with her in my arms. She ended up landing in my lap, but we still had to go the ER. Three months old—baby’s first CAT scan! All came back clear for Jellybean, and I was granted permission to nap… as if.

5. During what was known in our household as the “Days of Colic” I fell asleep on the couch while I was holding her. She managed to wiggle the top half of her body from my arms and was hanging upside down off of the couch. That I woke up early is nothing short of a miracle from God.

6. While walking through the store, I handed her a toy without removing the piece of cardboard it was zip-tied to, and she cut her little gums while chewing on it. What was I thinking? Luckily, it healed fast. Now I rip the cardboard (AND zip-ties!) off of the toy before handing it to her to play with in the store.

7. About a month ago I put her down for a nap on my bed, surrounding her little body with pillows in case she happened to roll over in her sleep. Came back in to check on her 20 minutes later, only to see no baby on the bed and about half the pillows missing. Walked over to the other side of the bed and there she was, sleeping on her belly on top of a pile of pillows… PHEW!

8. Since she has been crawling, I will randomly be overcome with a strange feeling that sends me rushing over to see if she has something that shouldn’t be in her mouth. More often than not, she does. So far this past week I have removed a Dora the Explorer bandaid, a piece of foam from a slipper Tex tore up a month ago, an unknown piece of cellophane, and a dog toy from her mouth. It appears we are going to have to bump up our daily vacuuming to and hourly chore. I wonder how many things she has swallowed but luckily not choked on…?

So there it is. The confessions of an exhausted, unaware, completely paranoid, young mom. I can’t be alone here, right?

Monday, May 10, 2010

Dealing With Dora

If you have daughters of any age, chances are you have caught a few episodes of Dora Dora Dora the Exploreeer, who’s a super-cool ex—stop it. Even as young as three months old, Jellybean has been absolutely fascinated with this show. Like every other American mother, I began parenthood with the famous last words “MY child will not watch any t.v. Ever. What’s the benefit? There is none! Nope. No-sir-ee, no t.v. for my little bundle of joy.” Three months and zero showers later, I changed my tune. What’s twenty minutes of a little Nick Jr. so I can shower/sleep/poop…?

So now, at the fabulous age of six and a half months, Jellybean loves Dora The Explorer. Loves. It. My husband and I, however… not so much. I think he actually yells at the screen more when Dora is on than he does when the Browns play. “What do you mean Swiper swiped your flute!? All you had to do was say ‘Swiper no swiping’ and he would have just snapped his fingers and walked away!”
After much detailed discussion, my husband and I have decided that Dora may have ingested some funny mushrooms. I mean, just look how big her eyes are... That fact alone will tell you that something is not right. Her best friend is a talking monkey with boots—something that I don’t even want to get into—and during one episode she actually needed a map to find her own house! I think our favorite episode is when Benny the Bull is trying to build a house. He is standing with his head stuck in what is basically a bird house, he looks at the screen and asks, “what’s wrong with my house?”

As much as we despise Dora, we will continue to watch her every Saturday morning from 10:00 to 11:00 a.m., to please our Jellybean. After all, you have to at least try to be interested in what your children enjoy. Yeah, it kind of sucks when it’s Dora the Explorer or Yo Gabba Gabba, but we will reap the benefits when it’s time for Playdo and Disneyland…right?

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Young Moms

Some moms get all the crap.  Since when does age define how good of a mother you are?  I have news for you, people: age is just a number.  Age is the amount of years you have spent on this planet.  Age does not make you a better, wiser, or more capable mother. It is education, experience, and the love in your heart that makes you a good mom.

There are all kinds of moms out there.  Young moms, step-moms, foster moms, adoptive moms, birth moms, working moms, stay-at-home moms, moms that never see their children at all... maybe you are one of these moms.  Maybe you are a combination of two or more of these moms.  Who is anyone to tell me that I am less of a mother because I am 21 and they are 32? 

I may not be old enough to rent a car, but I am still capable of teaching her how to clap her hands, how to blow raspberries and how to say Mama.  I will still help her with school projects and yell at her to clean her room, just like any other mom.  I will tend to everything from booboos, to scraped knees, to broken hearts.  I will be there to help her with those very first steps until she takes those steps across the stage when she graduates. And I will be there still when she dives into motherhood.

A good mom is a good mom because of the love that flows from her heart.  This weekend is to celebrate us, ladies.  Whether you are related to your child through blood, marriage, or months of paperwork, whether you are home pulling your hair out or at work wishing you were home, whether you are 16 or 60, happy Mother's Day.