Sunday, March 29, 2009

why, oh, why did I ever listen to dr. phil?

I like to think of myself as a relatively intelligent and educated individual. No, I do not understand much in the way of math or science, but I do know a fair bit about literature. I often display some common sense (though, I just as often probably display a lack of common sense as well, but who doesn't, right?). I can get many clues on the New York Times crossword puzzle, especially if it is a Monday--the other day I even got the word "porcine" right! I was proud!

Despite all this, I have fallen for advice that was unwise. Back when I lived in Chicago and we could get reception on our TV without paying for cable, I indulged in watching Dr. Phil after I got home from work. In my defense, Bil was living in a separate town at the time while I was finishing up the school year at the high school where I taught. I was basically alone with Danny (who was an infant) from 3:00 until the next morning when I went to work. So, to fill the silence, I watched way too much trashy TV. I even watched reality shows, which I actually seriously dislike. I still think of shame of the hours I spent glued to America's Next Top Super Model. Please don't judge.

OK, back to Dr. Phil. I should have known better to follow any of his advice, but at the time, I was even more naive than I am now. I mean, I actually thought that when the time came to potty train, I could follow his protocol, which promised results in one day. Yes, in 24 hours, I too could have a fully potty trained kid. I am totally considering suing him for false advertising. Instead of monetary compensation (which I do think I deserve) I would only want him to take both my beautiful children for a week and return them fully potty trained. Not too much to ask, is it?

But this is not really the advice that I rue listening to. No, that advice comes from the weight loss book he wrote years back. I don't even remember the name of it, but yes, I did purchase it with my hard-earned money. I bought the hype that he could vanquish my weight problems for good. I should have known he had no idea what he was talking about when he said that once you got used to skim milk, 2% doesn't even taste good anymore. Yeah, as if. Just like frozen yogurt tastes better than real ice cream. What kind of dream world is he living in, anyway?

Oh, right. L.A. Do they even sell full-fat dairy products in L.A.?

I know I am rambling here, just stay with me. One of Dr. Phil's pieces of advice is that once you lose weight you should get rid of the clothes that are too big. He claims that if you don't have "fat" jeans to fall back on, it will help keep you from gaining the weight back. So, after Charlotte was born, I lost quite a bit of weight--all the pregnancy weight, plus at least 20 pounds more, so much of my clothing was too big. So, what did I do? I purged my closet and got rid of most of my big pants and shirts, feeling proud that I was guaranteeing that I would never weigh that much again.

Then, the week after that, I had a fun weekend where I fell off the Weight Watchers bandwagon, never to reembark again, and I gained back those 20 pounds. Lovely. I then got pregnant and put the whole weight loss thing on the back burner, while enjoying much in the way of full-fat dairy products. The baby needed lots of calcium, right?

So, now here I am about 8 pounds left to lose to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight. Not too bad--I am actually doing better with this weight loss than with my other pregnancies. The problem is, that even though I have shed a lot of the baby weight, I still cannot fit into most of my clothes, even the biggest sizes in my closet. I am still wearing maternity pants, but the shirts are just too big, while my regular shirts are too small. So, basically, I am living in my maternity sweat pants and Bil's t-shirts, which is fine until I want to leave the house.

The worst part is that I remember some really cute clothes that I gave away, per Dr. Phil's instructions, that would totally fit me right now and get me through this phase. I so do not want to shell out money for a pair of jeans in a size that I am determined not to fit into in another month. What was I thinking? Why didn't I just pack the clothes away with my maternity jeans? The only thing I can blame is my own hubris and stupidity.


The only thing for me to do right now is go eat the last chocolate chip cookies on the counter and worry about this later. I don't really have anywhere to go anyway, right?

Friday, March 27, 2009

booby trap

I just got back from the third doctor's visit since Tommy was born, which was slightly less than two weeks ago. They have been weighing him in every few days to monitor how much weight he is gaining, since he not only lost a lot initially, but was very slow to gain any weight back. Also, he went almost a week without a bowel movement. The culprit? My inadequate milk supply.

While it is incredibly disappointing, it is not surprising; I had to supplement with formula for both Danny and Charlotte as well. In the end, I quit breastfeeding both of them within the first month, which looks like what might happen with Tommy as well.

I have tried everything, and believe me, I have gotten advice from everyone imaginable. With both the older kids, I pumped between all the feedings in a very painful attempt to stimulate more milk supply. After pumping several times within a 24-hour period, I would have yielded less than half an ounce of milk from both breasts combined. I have tried letting Tommy feed off me all day long, but he still wasn't gaining weight or pooping, so I had to supplement in order to keep him healthy. With Danny, I even tried this little device that you hook up to the breast so that the baby gets milk and formula all while sucking on the breast. It was a lot of work and didn't ever seem to help with my production.

After reading many books and websites, I realize that the experts don't really believe that a woman could have an inadequate milk supply. Rather, the inadequacy lies in what lengths the woman will go to in order to make more milk. They advise staying in bed for 24 hours with the baby at your breast at all times. Obviously, these women don't have more than one child at home. How in the world am I supposed to nurse constantly? I already feel like I do, but you know, once in a while, I need to put Tommy down so I can get lunch or dinner for Danny or Char or so I can pick Danny up from school. Sometimes I even put him down, so I can (gasp!) go to the bathroom alone or eat a meal. And that doesn't even take into account how exhausting it is to nurse so much. Yes, I do occasionally doze off while nursing, but I never get really good sleep that way, and I am already sleep-deprived enough.

Anyway, the weigh-in went really well today. Tommy has gained about 5 ounces in the last few days, so I was instructed to continue doing what I have been, which is giving Tommy a bottle after every breastfeeding. He has been downing his bottle each time, which is still more evidence that he isn't getting much breast milk. The problem is, he seems to be sucking much less vigorously when nursing and I feel like I am making even less milk than I was a couple of days ago. Another problem is how time consuming feeding has become. I spend almost an hour breastfeeding and then at least another 20 minutes with the bottle.

I find it interesting how fraught with potential guilt this whole feeding issue is. Of course, I have always had a pretty overdeveloped sense of guilt, not sure why, but as my mom keeps telling me, as long as the kids are happy and I am doing my best, I should let go of the guilt. Probably, I should channel the guilt in a more productive area. Instead of feeling guilty over things I can't really control, I should direct it to the areas that I CAN control, like my short temper with the kids and Bil...

Monday, March 23, 2009

Monday Mumbers

Just when I thought I would never post again, for lack of anything interesting to say, I read Kia's Monday Mumbers post and thought I would join in the fun. Here they are:

The most hours of consecutive sleep I have gotten all week.

The number of days it has been since I have had more than 2.5 consecutive hours of sleep.

The number of newborn diapers I have changed this week.

The number of hours I have spent with a baby attached to my boob in the last week.

Number of times I have screeched when Tommy latched on. Yikes! This kid has suction power rivaled only by a Kirby vacuum.

The number of times I have snapped at Bil or the kids.

The number of times I have broken down crying for no explicable reason--sometimes they have been happy tears and sometimes tears of rage or sadness. Gotta love hormones.

Nights I have woken up sweaty. Thanks again, hormones.

Pounds I have lost since last week. I knew I should have joined Weight Watchers last Thursday. Imagine the applause I would have garnered at this week's weigh-in.

The number of months pregnant I still look.

The number of people who have asked me when I am due after Tommy was already here.

Loads of laundry I need to do to catch up. Tommy will soon be going naked if I don't get off my duff.

Times I have wondered what in the name of everything that is holy have I gotten myself into? Who was I kidding thinking I could handle THREE kids?????

Number of times I have gazed lovingly at my kids and thought how lucky I am to have them.

Number of hours I have spent cuddling Tommy and not even feeling guilty about all the chores that are going undone.

Number of times in the last 2 days that Charlotte has begged me to wake up Tommy. Apparently, he is just not doing quite enough to entertain her.

Number of huge fights I have instigated with Bil this weekend. It was all my fault, but I totally blame the hormones.

Monday, March 16, 2009

the baby stats

Thanks to everyone who sent their congratulations. And thanks for all the prayers for a safe and easy delivery! I really appreciate all your support.

I just woke up from a much needed nap and as it is almost 11pm and is way too late to return any of the several phone messages that I have neglected, I thought I would post while waiting for Tommy's next feeding. I am hoping that we will not have a repeat of last night; he would not sleep unless attached to my breast, which made for very sore nipples and not much sleep for me.

Anyway, here are all the vital stats on our sweet baby:
He weighed 7 pounds, 12 ounces, was 21 inches long and was born on March 14 at 3:30 am after about 8 hours of labor. (For any of you who are as nerdy as my husband, I should point out that Tommy was born on Pi Day: 3-14. Bil was hoping he would be born at 1:59, but I couldn't accommodate him.) His hair is very dark; I can't tell what color his eyes are as he keeps them closed most of the time and they are that in-between newborn color.

As for gory labor details, I don't really have any. Bil already shared how my water broke at home and then gushed in the ER admitting room, sending all the hospital workers into a tizzy. It was pretty comical. I think they all seriously thought I was going to pop the baby out right there on the floor. Do they not realize it usually takes at least a couple of hours? I hadn't even really begun labor at that point, but they were so anxious to get me upstairs that they had Bil check me in while someone wheeled me to Labor and Delivery.

I was only mildly impolite a few times during labor, for which I am grateful. Luckily, I held my tongue and avoided some possible embarrassment. At one point, I did tell one nurse to quit touching me; every time I had a contraction, she wanted to check my cervix, and if there is anything that distracts from relaxation breathing, it is having a hand shoved up inside you. When the doctor finally got there, he also spent a great deal of time with his hand in my cervix, but, unbeknownst to me, he was actually moving Tommy's head, which was caught on my pelvic bone. I am so glad I didn't scream the obscenities that were on the tip of my tongue, because once he finished with me, Tommy came out in 3 pushes. And since I have to see this doctor again, I am a bit relieved that I showed some self-control.

So, there you have it, the very condensed version of my son's birth. I am really happy to be home, but also anxious to get onto some sort of routine. Bil is home this week and my mother and sister-in-law will be here this weekend. Then, my mom comes next week. Hopefully in all that, I will manage to get some sleep. Well, I am being paged, the insatiable boy has awoken!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Operation "Jiffy-Pop" not gone as planned, but a roaring success nonetheless..

Hello loyal Pancakers, this is Bil, and I bring word.

Last night, (Friday) we were all packed for the hospital, halfway bedecked in a stylish array of comfy around-the-house sweats and t-shirts, ready for operation 'Jiffy-Pop' to roll. Patty made dinner-- some scrumptious salmon patties on English muffins-- but surprisingly, she didn't feel like partaking. I didn't think much of it, our eating schedules have been really out of sync from each other lately. We talked about putting the kids to bed early, and Patty set the all-important timer that indicates the start of teeth brushing and subsequent story reading. Earlier in the day, she called me at work and we chatted for awhile, having what would be our penultimate What-have-we-done-this-is-the-last-day-we-will-only-have-two-kids venting and nostalgia session. As we sat revisiting this particular thread, we fried our dinner on the stove top and toasted the English muffins, creating a furtive duet of tasty scents. I don't remember exactly what happened (I think the kids distracted me for a moment) but I turned to face Patty as she was clutching her pants, slightly red in the face, asking me if I saw the pool that was collecting on the floor.

Fortuitously, we had a babysitter lined up already for Operation Jiffy-Pop; a short phone call later and our children had supervision for the evening. Yessssss! I excitedly shoved one of the delicious salmon patties into my head-- with three mint-dark chocolate three musketeers following close behind-- as I hurriedly picked up this bag and that bag, opted for a thermal shirt instead of my heavy winter coat, checked the digital camera for battery power, dejectedly plugged in the battery charger, hung the tire-swing for our suddenly bored daughter to play with, and looked frantically around for the important items I set somewhere randomly while I was distracted by children and chocolate.

Patty, on the other hand, was unruffled, even altruistic throughout what I saw as the onset of a terrific ordeal. Driving through a thick storm of my jabbering words, I realized I had auto-piloted straight to the hospital, even though I promised Patty I would stop and buy her a thick chocolate shake (without the cherry) from Steak-and-Shake as a consolation dinner. She put me at ease immediately, no, food was of no immediate interest to her. We walked together into the ER reception, holding hands in the chilly night air. I recalled our first date, and our first time holding hands during a particularly nasty Illinois winter... I had offered to hold her hand while we trekked across some nasty ice patches that littered the ground in Wicker Park. No sooner had I taken her hand to safely guide her through, when I suddenly wiped out-- my butt smacking the ice with a damp, echoing thud. We both laughed really hard that cold night, and we still laugh about it sometimes.

Her water burst a second time in the ER reception, inciting a mild riot over the spontaneous generation of a small body of water, which ended in the spontaneous generation of a well-groomed nurse proffering a wheelchair coach, all while we were waiting in line just behind a woman who literally looked as blue as Shiva. Patty, in her altruistic way, offered to let the two boys behind us (meek, sickly-looking little boys, both suffering from the same bout of gastroenteritis that our Charlotte did the week before) go ahead of us, but nobody was inclined to accept her offer.

It would be several hours later, before Thomas would be unleashed upon the world, and hours more still before Patty would receive her promised milkshake without the cherry.

I have to say, I really enjoyed the time together with Patty during the delivery. It was one of those times where we were, thankfully, and for the most part, left alone to contemplate the ponderous machinery of our united universes. I will leave any remaining details for my beloved Patty to expound upon as she sees fit. Being stripped of dignity and modesty, (as only a delivering mother understands,) I can only tactfully, and safely leave to her what choice bits she will ultimately cook up for you, her loyal and hungry Pancakers.

Suffice it to proclaim our Thomas is among us!
Gurgle with Glee! Go forth and thrash! Hip Hip Hooray!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Oh baby! an update

I went to the doctor Wednesday and discussed some options with my ob/gyn. Apparently, although I am at my due date, my cervix is not cooperating, which isn't much of a surprise since it didn't cooperate with the other two kids either. Since I needed some form of induction with both Danny (I was finally given pitocin after 18 hours of labor) and Charlotte (they gave me prostaglandin gel in my cervix since my water broke, but I didn't start labor) the doctor says I will likely need some help with this baby as well.

As this is the case, he gave me the option of coming in to the hospital this weekend and being induced. And I jumped at that like a dieter snatching a proffered donut. I am pretty convinced that even if I wait a week beyond my due date, I will still have to be put on pitocin, but this way, I could arrange babysitting and all that. Plus, I am so impatient to meet this little guy and frankly, I feel like the skin on my abdomen is about to burst, so I don't see how he can grow anymore without splitting me open like a really overripe watermelon.

So, I will be going in at midnight tonight and will hopefully have the baby by tomorrow morning. The doctor said I should be able to sleep tonight and then they will turn up the pitocin tomorrow to get the labor really going. Of course, that is what he said when he gave me the prostaglandin for Charlotte. He thought I would have hours to sleep before labor really got underway; many women still need pitocin after the prostaglandin. Instead, Charlotte was born within three hours. So, we shall see.

I am really, really excited and totally, completely nervous. I vacillate between euphoria and terror, with a couple of hormonal crying jags thrown in when I thought Bil wasn't being supportive enough. Poor Bil. I think I want him to seriously pamper me, worship me, and indulge my every whim. I sort of think I deserve it, though, right? I mean, without me, he would not have the beautiful kids he has, and besides dealing with me and my moods (which is no small feat, I'll admit) he didn't have to do a whole lot that wasn't pleasant.

I think I resent the fact that he gets off relatively unscathed, while I will be in scathed in ways he can't even imagine, both physically and dignity-wise.... For those of you who have not been through labor and delivery, suffice it to say, that all your dignity flies out the window as soon as it all starts. You lose control of everything: bodily functions, your sanity, even what comes out of your mouth. It is like you become a completely different person who is leaking all kinds of alien substances and who is practically homicidal. Well, at least that's how it is for me. OK, maybe that is a touch extreme....but not too much!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

my kids are crazy

I seriously think my daughter is bipolar. She just spent the last hour crying for no apparent reason and whining and getting upset over things like her banana breaking in half and dropping a miniscule piece of cheese on the floor. She had just woken from her nap and definitely woke up on the wrong side of the car seat. And for some reason, it took her a lot longer to recover than usual. She was totally starting to drive me nuts.

And now? She is running around the family room, smiling brightly while singing the Tigger song over and over quite happily. I have no idea what cheered her up, but I am seriously beginning to suspect that there is something wrong with her. I don't know anyone whose mood can change so quickly and inexplicably.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

false alarm.....and other stuff

It has been drawn to my attention that my previous blog post title was misleading. Sorry about that! It never occurred to me that people would read it and think I was in labor. I wasn't trying to trick anyone--that would take some clever thinking, which I am just not capable of right now. I can barely think at all as it is. When I do go into labor, I will probably not be anywhere near my computer, but will have Bil post after the baby is here. I'm thinking at that point, I will be even less coherent than I am now, so blog posts, I am assuming, will be few and far between for a while.

Maybe it is the aftermath of our ER scare this week, but I have been feeling very grateful for my kids and how much they make me laugh and smile.

**Yesterday when I was using the bathroom, I glanced at the wall by the tub and noticed that Danny had written something there. I bought the kids bath markers a while back in an attempt to get Charlotte more in the mood for baths. They love the markers and have written all over the walls. The marker ink drips a lot, so the wall looks really grisly and garish, as if the words were written in blood. The word that Danny had written was "Subway" with the "s" backwards. I think we have been eating out a bit too much this week.

**The other day when I asked Charlotte for a hug, she said "sure" and as she was hugging me, she said really sincerely, "Mommy, I am really proud of you."

**This afternoon while Bil and I were vegging on the couch the kids came into the family room sporting really interesting footwear. Danny was wearing my foot brace (the one I have to wear now, along with my orthotics because of my plantar fasciitis) and Charlotte was tripping around in Bil's shoes.

**This morning Charlotte, as usual, woke up before Danny. She ate her breakfast and played a bit. Then, she decided it was time to wake up Danny, so she went into his room and climbed into his bed. The problem was, he was actually sleeping in my and Bil's bed. Charlotte spent a good 5 minutes in his bed looking frantically for him under pillows and blankets. She refused to believe me that he wasn't there, and kept crying out, "Danny, where are you?"

**When Charlotte got home from the hospital the other day, Danny was so happy they actually hugged for several seconds. Charlotte even stroked Danny's hair in a very maternal way. They then spent the next hour playing with the balloons that Danny had picked out for Charlotte.

**This morning Charlotte came up to me and said she wanted to kiss the baby. She then kissed my belly. Later she covered my stomach in zerberts.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

breaking news!

This just in! Here's a front-page headline of our local newspaper:

"No One Immune from Job Loss"

Thought I would share that with you in case you had been living under a rock and didn't realize that any one of us could be affected by the rise in unemployment. I am so glad I pay for my local newspaper's subscription, otherwise I might have remained ignorant of this vital piece of information. As if I need a reminder.

After reading this post, my husband pointed out some other front-page articles that you might enjoy. One headline read:
" may be good for you!"
Of course, in a town where there are boil orders every week, that may be front page news after all. We sure live the quiet life don't we?

Another great series of articles featured a hog farm dispute between the farmers and the neighbors who said it stank. The neighbors want to shut it down and they are still in court trying to figure this one out. Seriously. They have called in experts to testify whether it smells bad enough to be a hardship on the neighbors. Personally, I just don't even see how there is a dispute here. Hogs stink. How can you argue with that?

Here's a good headline for those of you who adhere to normal grammar and spelling rules:
"New Fedex in Town Employees About 100 Workers"

I think I actually get more amusement from the bad writing and ridiculous stories than I do news. But, as there are few entertainment options here, I guess it is worth it.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

motherhood rites of passage: the er visit

We just got home from the hospital this afternoon after having spent about 36 hours there. Tuesday morning, Charlotte started throwing up again. I took her to the doctor's but the medicine they gave her didn't help. That night she threw up about every hour or two and I finally took her to the ER around 4:30 AM. It was horrible! Between watching them poke, prod and stick her with needles and listen to her cry and beg for water (they wouldn't let me give her anything to eat or drink since she was throwing up so much) it was a nightmare!

They finally got her on IV fluids and moved her to a pediatric room, where the kind nurses allowed us to give Charlotte Gatorade, which was an enormous relief. They kept her overnight for evaluation and more IV fluids and to make sure she was done with the vomiting. I cannot tell you how grateful I am that she is doing better. She was so lethargic and glass-eyed. She wasn't talking at all and barely moved.

I think she is definitely getting her spark back. Bil just went to the bathroom to take a much-needed and well-deserved bath. Charlotte ran to the bathroom when she heard the water running and tried to get in with her pjs on (have I mentioned that she totally loves baths again. I have no idea what changed her mind, but I am grateful). Anyway, I just heard her say, "Hey Daddy, are you naked?" Yes, she is back to her old self, I think.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

10 things my kids will never hear me say

I have recently read a couple of hilariously funny blog posts based on this title and thought I would join in the fun. Here are some things my kids will never hear me say to them.

1. I'm totally just kidding when I say I want you to actually poo and pee in the toilet, rather than on the floor, in your underwear or anywhere else the mood strikes you. I just love all the extra laundry and carpet scrubbing, not to mention the humiliation that arises when people realize neither of my children is fully potty trained.

2. Please insist on coming to the store or on errands with me, even when your dad is home and willing to take you to the park. No, I don't need any alone time. Ever.

3. Come on in. I am just using the bathroom, but I was really getting lonely in here, so I'm glad you stopped by.

4. I love being a short order cook. If I make you something for breakfast, something you requested, by the way, don't feel like that in any way obligates you to eat it. Just keep asking for different meals; I love cooking so much, I won't mind.

5. Sleep is really overrated. Please feel free to wake me any time of the night for any reason whatsoever. Can't find your special blanket lying in your bed next to you? Just scream for me. I'll find it. Forgot to take one of your seven Care Bear dolls to bed with you? I'm the one for the job of finding it. Woke up and don't feel like lying there alone anymore? Climb into bed with me and while you are at it, make sure you elbow me in the eye and kick me in the gut. That just makes me feel that more loved and needed. Also, if I happen to actually have the opportunity to lie down on the weekend, please take that as a sign that I do not want to sleep, but would actually rather play with you and listen to you scream at me, "Mommy, wake up. No sleeping."

6. Nope, that decadent, expensive hazelnut truffle that I have been craving all day wasn't for me. I totally expected you to lick the entire thing, take a couple of slurpy bites, then spit out what you had eaten and leave the rest for me to eat. That is exactly why I bought them.

7. Go ahead, wear your pjs to school. I don't at all mind that your teachers will label me the worst mom in the school.

8. I live to serve you. I will drop whatever I am doing at the moment to cater to your every whim and fancy. Don't ever try to get your own drink of water, even though you are completely capable of doing so (which you proved just a hour ago). By all means, scream and nag at me to get it for you. This is especially fun when you wait until I finally sit down to eat my meal.

9. When you dump all of your toys on the floor for no other reason than to make a mess, I think it is so delightfully clever of you. I especially like it when you dump your cars in a high traffic area, such as the kitchen, where I relish the challenge of navigating the room without stepping on one and killing myself.

10. I do not need personal space. I have no boundaries. So feel free to jump on me, wrestle with me, pull my shirt up in public to display my "belly bean," pull my hair out as you try to put barrettes in it, climb in my lap while I am eating, climb on my shoulders when I bend down to pick something up, and never take no for an answer. Never quit touching me. Ever.