Wednesday, February 28, 2007

M2 W3 D5: Weight Watching

That's it. I've had enough of being fat. I've joined Weight Watchers.

I suppose an explanation is in order. First off, you need to know the background. I was a thin child and a thin teenager. I stand about 5'3". In high school, I weighed about 115 to 120 pounds. I wore a size 6 to 8. And I ate and drank whatever I wanted while doing little physical exercise.

Then I went to university. Between Freshman 15, birth control pills (worst idea I EVER had!), overeating and a metabolic change, I put on 50 to 60 pounds in 4 years. It was completely depressing.

After I had A., I lost 30 of those pounds. But they've been steadily creeping back ever since my pregnancy with Little I.. I have no extra weight from the pregnancy with N., since the HG made sure everything I did eventually gain was water and baby and placenta.

On Sunday, the Hubby managed to get to a computer with a webcam at basic training. Let me tell you, he looks HOT! He hasn't looked this ripped and lean since high school. (I know exactly what he looked like in high school because we started dating at 17.) GO, HUBBY, GO!

I, however, do not look anything like I did in high school. I know I never will: three pregnancies and three rounds of breastfeeding in five years have an undeniable impact on the body. Heck, even the Cesarean scar is going to affect how I carry weight around my middle for the rest of my life. I'm never going to be a teenager again, nor would I trade my kiddos for the chance.

But I want to look better than I do now. I want to look like me again. I want to be able to find clothes that fit. I want to feel strong and healthy and in control of my eating habits. I want to fit into my "skinny jeans" I bought after I shed all that weight with A!

Two days in, and I'm doing all right. I don't feel deprived. I'm allowed the occasional indulgence. And I'm learning a lot about portion control.

Maybe Hot Hubby will come home to Somewhat Hot Wife. (NB: The Hubby loves me just the way I am, and I know it. Heck, he loves my body best when I'm pregnant! This is for me.)

PS. The doctor says my infection is gone. Here's hoping she's right.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

N. learned to clap today!

To Al's Toy Barn, and beyond!

M2 W3 D4: Antibiotic Carousel

My kidney infection is getting better. There's only one problem: I keep reacting to every antibiotic the doctors put me on.

The first doctor put me on Suprax on Thursday. By Saturday I was so dizzy and nauseous I threw up. Off to the ER I went, my friend M. driving my Bratmobile and her husband S. watching my kids.

The doctor there changed my meds. He put me on Sulfatrim. I immediately improved, and was able to go to Mass on Sunday, and have a normal Monday.

But last night, I developed a cough and a rash -- two serious side effects to the new drug, according to the insert that came with it. Plus, you need to drink a lot of water while on sulfa drugs. I thought I was over my water aversion from HG. Guess not. Drinking a whole glass in a few minutes set me off again -- more puking. I can't even look at water today.

So I called the clinic, but the only appointment they had was 11 o'clock. I'm not dressed yet; the baby howled all morning. There was no way I would get there on time with all three kids. So I scheduled an appointment for tomorrow, during MFRC child care.

I wanted to talk to a doctor today. Should I stop the drugs? What do we try next? What would be better for breastfeeding? Much of the liquid I drink goes to my breasts; I can't deal with something dehydrating like the sulfa.

My own doc isn't in the clinic today. I just wish I could talk to her.

So I'm not taking the sulfa today. Watch, the infection will come right back. Sigh.

Friday, February 23, 2007

For the Hubby

M2 W2 D7: Feel rotten

My kidney infection is getting worse, so expect light blogging for awhile. Prayers appreciated!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

M2 W2 D6: Treats and tricks

I have noticed a pattern. A. punishes me every time he gets a special food treat.

I'm sick today. I have a kidney infection and needed to see the doctor and go on antibiotics (I hate antibiotics, and if you breastfeed and have ever had thrush, you know why.) The children spent the doctor's appointment at the MFRC (have I mentioned lately how much I love the MFRC staff? These women are my rock.) Afterwards, I realized I had zero groceries and was too sick to go shopping, and the boys were snackish. We picked up some Timbits.

I ordered pizza for supper tonight; I was just too sore and tired to stand at the stove and cook.

After supper, A. was acting up. I corrected him. He proceeded to tell me he hates me and I never do anything nice!!!!

I sent him to his room because I was this close to hitting him.

After I calmed down, I went to him and calmly informed him that I have noticed a pattern; all of his major tantrums and general treating-mommy-like-garbage moments have happened after he has had a treat (usually a food treat, but sometimes an adventure.)

So I am not buying any food treats for a week. Nor am I baking.

He was extremely upset, but c'mon. In what world are you rewarded for walking all over someone? Not in this world. If he is going to treat me like garbage after a treat, there won't be any treats for awhile.

I'm done. The parenting experts may be shocked, but he's got to learn he is not some prince and I am not the cook, maid, butler and nanny. He treats me like sh*t, he loses a privilege.

I did tell him I loved him and always will, treats or no treats.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

M2 W2 D5: Mommy and me

I took A. out alone today, just the two of us. It was the first time we've been alone for an hour since the Hubby left.

He loved it. He smiled and laughed and talked my ear off. This is the A. I remember.

At one point he said, " You like to listen to me, don't you, Mom?"

The poor little guffer. I wiped my eye, smiled and said, "I love to, little buddy. Tell me some more."

He was an angel the rest of the day.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

M2 W2 D4: Happy Birthday to me!

Tomorrow I will be 30 years old. Since my birthday falls on Ash Wednesday this year (gosh, bad timing or what?) my girlfriends took me to dinner tonight. (Stacer, I had Dai Ching!) Then we went to D.'s place and had cake. That's two birthday cakes baked by D. in two years.

I thank God that I had a better birthday this year than last; last year I was receiving IV fluids and praying my baby and I would live through my pregnancy.

So in 30 years, I have achieved the following:
  • being born on Cape Breton Island;
  • a high school diploma, graduating #1 in my class;
  • a university degree, graduating magna cum laude, in the top ten of my program;
  • being found by Christ (the most important thing in this list, by the way);
  • landing a job with Big Crown Corp;
  • marrying my high school sweetheart;
  • winning a national reporting award;
  • giving birth to three wonderful, beautiful children;
  • surviving hyperemesis gravidarum;
  • holding one baby in my womb for ten weeks, before she joined the angels and saints;
  • making wonderful friends and enjoying wonderful family.

What a completely blessed and fortunate life!

Monday, February 19, 2007

Month two, week two, day three: My housework and Mother Teresa

"The miracle is not that we do this work, but that we are happy to do it." -- Blessed Teresa of Calcutta

My housework is attempting to make me a saint. And I am resisting mightily.

The saints fascinate me. They are my friends and role models. I love to read their works, especially women saints. The thing I love most about them are their humanity, their faults and failures, and watching in awe as they rise above them through Jesus.

One thing that distinguishes the saints from the rest of us is their attitude towards the trials, both great and small, in life. Saints see onerous chores and heroic deeds in the same light: as an opportunity to serve Christ and grow closer to God.

For example: Saint Maximillian Kolbe, imprisoned in a concentration camp during the Second World War, had an aura of peace and serenity as he was starved and abused. He achieved the martyr's crown by offering to take the place of a father who was selected for the gas chamber. These are acts of heroism.

Yet Saint Therese of Lisieux was canonized for her "Little Way" -- her decision to dedicate every task she did to Christ, his Kingdom, and the conversion of sinners. She washed floors for Him. And she is a doctor of the Church (BIG Catholic deal) because of rendering each small domestic chore to Him.

The lesson from this: God cares more about why we do our deeds than the deeds themselves. The tiniest things done with great love make Him supremely happy.

So, back to my house: I hate getting to my housework. I hate trying to figure out what needs to be done and when I will have time to do it while cooking and caring for three small people. I put off fridge-cleaning and floor-scrubbing and laundry folding for as long as possible.

However, once I get to a task, I often find myself enjoying it. And every once in so often I'm given the immense gift of being so immersed in it, so happy to be doing this necessary task, that I can actually think of Higher things, and be happy to do it.

That happened last night, as I scrubbed my kitchen floor with an old-fashioned scrub brush. Down on my knees, the constant anger and annoyance I carry with me now, that feeling of being overwhelmed and exhausted, left me. It was just me and that scrub brush and my Creator. And I could understand why He values these repetitive tasks that bring no glory. After all, listening to our rants and raves and prayers and tears , the billions of us crying out to Him, must be extremely repetitive.

"Help me."
"Please let him live."
"Cure my sister."
"Forgive me."

So repetitive, yet so important to us, and so cherished by Him.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

For Stacey and Trevor

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.
If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.
If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.

It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away....
Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

1Corinthians 13:1-8 & 12-13

Congratulations to you both upon your engagement. Stace, you'll make a beautiful bride. Trevor, welcome to the family!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Month two, week one, day six: Princess Potty, the Super Brothers and Jaws

First some funny stuff, then something decidedly unfunny.

I think I should buy one of those itty-bitty baby potties for Baby N., because she seems to have this potty-training thing licked. One small problem: she has decided her car seat is the throne. Every time I sit her in it between nine and ten a.m., she has a giant, five-alarm, grunting-with-satisfaction poop. And she always seems to do it just as I finish dressing the boys in snowsuits and assorted outdoor gear.

We went to the family centre this morning (after Princess Potty was changed and reinserted in the car seat, of course.) When we arrived, a child A. knows from playschool was there with her sibling and mother. The child wouldn't leave N. alone and kept saying, "MY baby!" I was dealing with this politely yet firmly; Little I. thought not firmly enough, however. "No, my sister, you can't take her away! Leave her alone or I'll hit you!" he yelled.

I took him (and the baby) aside for a time-out so he could calm down, explaining no one would ever take N. away.

A little while later, the same child and her brother were snatching toys from my boys and just getting in their faces. The boys had enough, and reacted as a defensive team. I managed to catch the Super Brothers while the aggression was still imaginary (shooting webs and rockets from their hands). I gave them a time-out and got them to vent their angry feelings with words. I moved their toy away from the other two children.

The other two followed them, and their mother, sitting on the coach, did nothing to hinder this and did not redirect them out of an obviously bad situation. Instead, she lets them start again and says, after nodding at my kids, "Boys are always worse, aren't they?"

"NO," I say firmly, "my boys rarely behave this way and when they do I discipline them. And I make them leave the other kid alone."

I picked up the toy again and moved the boys a second time, and sent her kids to play with something else in the kindest voice I could manage.

Imagine! She sits there doing nothing while the four children squabble and then accuses my boys of being the instigators after her kids follow them around hounding them. Grrrrr. My boys are by no means angels but they are well disciplined for poor behaviour and are usually kind and respectful.

On the way home, A. piped up with his opinion: "Mom," he said with finality, "that kid was invading our family privacy." I think he meant his personal space, but still funny.

Now for the unfunny thing: Little I. bit the baby tonight. We were all sitting together, all three kids in my lap, laughing at an e-card my brother's kids sent us for Valentine's. N. and Little I. were patting each other's faces (a favourite game) when I hear the baby scream in pain. There's I. with his teeth clamped on her finger. "Stop!" I yell. He let go, but there was a dent in her finger; she was sobbing. "No biting! No hurting! No biting N.!"

He spent the next 20 minutes on time-out; I know it was long but it was either that or I was going to lose it and spank him.

He looked cowed by my reaction; he couldn't explain why he'd done it, and neither can I. He was being held. We spent lots of time together today. I didn't yell at them today. I just don't get it.

This now means I can never let her out of my sight, even in her swing or Exersaucer. He might hurt her.

Lord, I think I need a child psychologist around here. Sigh.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Month two, day four: We can work it out

A. and I seem t be settling back into our "new normal." The angry outbursts have ended for awhile. He is telling me how he feels, and is asking for paper and crayon to draw how he feels when we're having a disagreement. It's a beginning; I'm glad the stress level has dropped somewhat.

Baby N. is having a dispute with her own mouth. Her very first tooth is fighting its way through her bottom gum. Princess is not amused. She whined and moaned her way through yesterday evening, shoving cold teethers in her mouth and giving me a reproachful look that clearly said, "Well, aren't you doing to DO anything? I'm in pain here!" Some Tylenol soothed it enough to allow her to sleep.

Her Royal Highness is highly resentful I won't let her teethe on my nipples. Ouch!

Sunday, February 11, 2007

One full calendar month: Clean bathroom

I am the owner of a shiny clean bathroom. It does not have toothpaste smeared on the sink or hairspray on the mirror. There are no stray hairs on the floor. I am so happy I could dance.

I decided I needed a change from folding freakin' laundry every night after the kids go to bed. That and it was so gross in there I was avoiding going to the toilet. After all, it hadn't been fully cleaned since the Hubby left. (YES MOM, I scrubbed the tub down after the poop incident. And I've been spot-cleaning the sink.)

A. and I had a good day today. He behaved very well at church, at home and at Grandma G.'s. It was nice to have a mental break from the War of the Oldest Child.

The Husband called today. He had the day off, so we got to talk for a full hour. He's having a rough time. His main superior has decided to scapegoat him. Basically, everything C. does is wrong. No one gets treated worse. His master corporal met with him at the end of week four and tried to guilt him out, and C. basically told him he was giving 120 per cent, and if that wasn't enough, then kick him out.

He's still in. And his attitude now is he can only do his very best. If that's not enough, it's not enough.

I think that is a great attitude. I know he'll make it through.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Month two, day one: It got worse.....

Yesterday was so awful I can only do a list:
  • A. told me he hated me and wished I was dead because I wouldn't let him watch a favourite program after a major bout of misbehaviour.
  • I received an enormous, unexpected tax bill I can't afford to pay, and can't call Revenue Canada until Monday because they're closed.
  • I didn't get a wink of sleep last night because the children took it in turns to wake up. So A. would be up, and I would just get him to sleep when I. would wake up. As soon as I would settle him, N. would wake up. The cycle repeated all night long.

G. came this morning at eight to pick up the boys for the day. I called her at seven, crying. All the children have been awake since six am.

I just want to run away and never come back, to be honest. It's a good thing I love the little buggers more than life, or I think I would!

I'm going back to bed.

10:19 p.m.: The children are all asleep, and I am sitting here feeling as if I've been to the spa. Megan and I went to lunch today, since the baby refused to nap. She gave me a bunch of skin care stuff from Bert's Bees. So I have now cleansed and exfoliated and toned and moisturized. I smell like citrus and almonds and carrots. I think this is the most relaxed I've been in weeks.

Oh, baby's awake.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Week four, day five: Mr. Big Stuff

My oldest child put his foot on the path to school today. He had his kindergarten-readiness screening.

Getting to the screening was a bit of a challenge: my minivan froze up last night and wouldn't start this morning. I had plugged it in, but one of the children mistakenly pulled the plug out of the socket. Add that to the -38C weather and the Bratmobile wasn't going anywhere.

So I called my friend D.'s husband J.. D. is out of town and J. is alone with their oldest son. He dropped A., Baby N. and I off at the public health unit, then took Little I. and his own son for Timbits. Thanks J., you saved my neck!

The nurse weighed and measured A. She checked his sight, hearing, speech and comprehension. He passed it all with flying colours.

Then she gave him his booster shot (diphtheria, tetanus, polio and pertussis -- it's called the quadracel vaccine.) A. was NOT happy about that, and almost refused a sticker. He changed his mind once he saw the one with the big truck on it.

Funny, even though he had a needle, A. seemed very happy about the visit. He was well-behaved the rest of the day. He was cheerful and helpful. He is happily snoozing right now. I only just figured out why: for 45 minutes I paid almost exclusive attention to him. Baby N. was there but she just sat in her seat like a puddin'.

He got to be the centre of attention. He was praised for his efforts in a concentrated way. And he was comforted and fussed over after the shot.

This clinches it. Next Wednesday I am dropping I. and Baby N. off at childcare and taking A. out to do something for an hour. I bought a trainer cup for N. today -- I'm hoping I can teach her to drink breast milk out of it before then.

The Hubby called today, sounding exhausted. He said today was the very worst day he's had. He didn't want to get into it, just wanted to talk to the children and to hear some light and funny things. He said it made him feel a bit better.

He says he is NOT considering quitting in the least, but he feels one of his superiors may have taken a personal dislike to him. I just wish I could hug him tight.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Week four, day three: The floodgates burst

Poor little A. finally opened up to me about how he is feeling. It was more like his floodgates burst open.

We had a good day today. After I put the boys to bed, I sat on the floor with a book until I. fell asleep. Then, just as I do every night, I kissed A. on the forehead, blessed him and said goodnight. He cheerily replied good night. I went to do laundry.

Ten minutes later I heard him sobbing and saying, "Oh no, oh no." I ran into the room -- had he wet the bed? -- and found a little boy with a broken heart.

"Mommy, I miss Daddy so much! I'm so sad for my Daddy. I want him to come home. And I'm sorry for being bad. I miss my Daddy. And my guardian angel is sad for Daddy too."

"A., it's okay to miss Daddy. It's okay to cry and be sad. I miss Daddy too."

A's skinny little body, so tense as I held him, melted.

"It's okay?"

"Yes, but it's not okay to be mean to Mommy or I. or Baby N. It's okay to be sad or even angry about Daddy going away. But you need to say it with words."

"Okay, Mommy."

So for the next 10 minutes he poured his little heart out. We talked about the fun things he's done with his father, he things we wished Daddy had done with him since he left, what he'll tell Daddy the next time he calls.

I stayed in the room until he fell asleep; he told me he was scared to sleep without Daddy in the house. I tried to reassure him; I told him I would always be in the house while he slept -- and if not me then Grandma G.

I'm glad this happened. It cleared the air between us. And he now knows he can tell me about his feelings, no matter how negative.

Here's hoping his behaviour improves now that he got that off his chest.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Week four, day two: Failing A. and failing Christ

For the past week, I've felt I am failing my oldest son, A. Oh, I have been taking care of his bodily needs. I have been caring and affectionate. But A. is reacting to his father's absence and the change in our life in typical ways, the three Rs, if you will: rage, regression and revenge. And I have not been handling it well at all.

A. has always been the sort of child who is easy-going, fun, affectionate and eager to please. He likes to help, dotes on his younger siblings, and goes with the flow. At least, that used to be the way he behaved.

Since The Hubby left, he's been having fits of anger and frustration. He's thrown tantrums (at five!). He's teased and tormented his younger brother. He threw something at the baby the other day, although he did not mean to hurt her, and tearfully rushed to me to confess his wrong when I asked what happened. He loudly misbehaved in church. He refuses to eat foods he enjoys. He refuses to dress and undress himself in a timely manner. He's been talking back.

He is doing things he knows annoy me, such as winding himself and his brother up before bed with a sound he makes. It sounds like a laugh, but it's really a fiendish, nasty, mirthless squeak that means, "I'm being as bad as I can and I want you to know it." I hate that sound.

The stress of all this makes me want to vomit.

I'm generally a no-nonsense kind of mom. I try to say what I mean, mean what I say, and do what I say I'm doing to do. Tantrums and public misbehaviour means we go home NOW. I try hard not to yell or to guilt-trip. But A. has been testing me on so many simultaneous fronts that I am losing my cool. I am yelling far more than I like.

In church the other day, I asked him if we needed to leave, and he said he wanted to go. Well, there goes my usual consequence to poor behaviour! I was stumped, until my friend G. suggested that before we leave the house, I calmly explain a consequence to poor behaviour on top of leaving. So we will now leave anyway, and the consequence will be the TV does not get turned on for the rest of the day.

I have used this at bedtime once (the consequence to purposely misbehaving on the way to bed is now no story before lights out) and it worked very well. But honestly, I don't want his obedience to be based on the stick. I believe in consequences that are reasonable, simple, and practical. This fits, but it still feels like a punishment rather than discipline. Perhaps I need to make it clear that if he misbehaves, we won't have time for a story.

But the reason I feel I am failing him the most is I know the main reason why he is doing this: we haven't been alone together, just the two of us, since November. I have alone time with Little I. when A. goes to play school. (Alone except for the baby, but she's still a bit of a nonentity when it comes to playtime.) But I never have time when I. is away and A. gets to be the centre of attention.

We used to do that all the time before I got pregnant and sick.

I'm going to try to fix that this week, if I can. I'm going to ask a friend to watch I. and maybe baby N. while I take A. on a short outing, just the two of us. And I'm going to try to do that at least once every two weeks.

What makes this all sting even more is I am failing Christ. Every night when I go to bed, I ask Him to make me holy. Holiness is just another word for loving others the way Jesus loves us: completely, despite our faults and failings and the way we hurt Him. So I have been asking for opportunities to love those who are hard to love, and here is my son, the first child born alive from my body, who is driving me up a wall. And instead of embracing the moment to love him totally while disciplining firmly, I am ranting and railing at him. I am not really forgiving him after an annoyance or slight. And I feel I am not really giving him what he needs right now; I'm either too firm or too soft.

I'm not looking for parenting advice here in this forum; my mom and G. have already gotten lots of phone calls and will probably get a few more, and I trust their advice. I just needed to vent. Now that I have, I think I need to hit a confessional booth before Mass this Sunday.

A., if someday you read this, I'm really sorry, although I've said that already. I'm trying my best.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Week three, day six: We've got a floater!

Today bit.

This morning I realized I'm going to have a very hard month financially. Hubby got paid, but his pay stub says one amount and the deposit we got in the bank account was only a third of that.

He told me last month that his first two paycheques will probably be smaller than what he is actually owed, and the third will be normal plus whatever was missing before (payroll snafus at the training facility.) I thought it would be half his pay, and I could live with that. It was a third. And I can't call him and warn him to go talk to the payroll people. I have to wait for him to call.

If he talks to payroll we'll be fine. If not, I'm worried. (and NO, I don't need money, my lovely friends. If the going gets tough I'll let you know. Right now I'm ok.)

Little I. was needy and tantrumy all day.

(Warning to HGers: GROSSMENT)

Then tonight during the boys' bath, as I was shampooing Baby N.'s hair in her oh-so-cute sink tub, the happy, splashy bath sounds from the big tub ceased. And then A. let out a wail.

"Mooooom! Little I. pooped in the tub!!!"

I wrapped the just rinsed baby in a towel, plopped her unceremoniously on the floor (crying ensued) and sprinted the three steps to the big tub.

It contained two wet boys, a dozen bath toys, and five pieces of brown, smelly poop. The poop was busily dissolving in the warm water. The stench was horrendous, like someone had turned a toilet into a Crock Pot.

Little I. had the strangest expression on his face, as if he was thinking, "I know that's mine, but I have no idea how it got out of my body and into the tub."

I pulled the boys out, threw them on a towel and chucked their toys in the sink. Amidst howls from the baby, I scrubbed out the tub, called my mom for advice, rinsed the tub like mad, filled it again and threw the boys back in.

Then I dressed the baby and plunked her into her swing, still screaming. I washed and bleached the tub toys and sink, washed the boys, and sent them to get pajamas.

I picked up the howling, angry baby. She took one furious look at me and then puked all over me and the floor, missing herself entirely.



Finally got the boys in bed, baby calmed down and asleep, bathroom cleaned and bleached and living room rug spot-cleaned. And now the laundry I was going to fold tonight is still sitting untidily in four baskets in my living room.

Notes to self:

  1. Little I. is not ready to be potty-trained, as he seems unable to tell when he needs to go vs. when he's farting.
  2. If Little I. ever gets constipated, sit him in a warm bath ALONE for awhile.
  3. Bathing the baby while the boys had their bath seemed like a good way to multi-task, but was a very bad idea.
  4. A. deserves a medal for being willing to get in the bath with Little I. at all. This is the second time he's pooped in the tub. Hubby handled it last time, thank goodness!
  5. Any ounce of glamour you may have thought you still possessed is a pipe dream. Let the delusion go.