Monday, March 28, 2011

Today Was a Plus!

It's amazing how sleep will affect a person.  After having a few rough days last week, our Bam Bam blessed us with a solid 8 hours on Friday night. I don't know if he was just as exhausted as I was or if the double swaddling worked, but he slept and so did we.  Thank goodness! He has yet to repeat that performance, but I am grateful he did it at least once. Yippee!

Today was a good day. Even though Hubby was back at work and I don't have my carpool this week, I managed to get a nap.  The kids and I had a good morning, despite the fact that Bug was sick and had thrown up all over sheets.  Fortunately she did it early in the morning when Daddy was still home and he was able to clean up the mess, throw the sheets in the wash, and change her sheets.  I don't know if it's because she might have another ear infection, a stomach bug, or something else. But it was just the once and hopefully no more.

I even managed to make it to the store to pick up cookies and juice boxes for Boogie's class to celebrate his birthday tomorrow.  When we got home, Bug took a nap, Bam Bam slept, and then we picked up Boogie from preschool.

I managed to get a nap in the afternoon and make dinner. The house still looks like a tornado went through it, but I'm still standing and in a good mood.  All I need to do is wrap presents for my favorite Boogie Monster, feed the baby one more time, and head to bed. We have a busy and fun day tomorrow!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Mama Needs a Nap!

I almost titled this post "One step forward, two steps back."  I haven't been able to get a nap the last few days and with the little consecutive sleep that I've been getting at night, I really really need a nap.  Last week I was able to get a nap after I dropped Boogie off at school. But no matter how hard I tried this week it wasn't in the cards. By yesterday I was totally exhausted, snappish, cranky, and fussing at the kids.  Of course my mind went to, "I thought I had a handle on this. I can't do this. What is wrong with me?"  What was wrong with me was the lack of sleep.

I received an e-mail a few weeks ago from a friend who also has a newborn.  I think it was about this time (postpartum) that she was feeling the same way. Her husband encouraged her to get a nap when her kids went to school and her infant was sleeping.  She said it made all the difference.  My husband also insisted on the same thing for me.  He knew there was nothing wrong with me except lack of sleep.

It reminded me of when I go running. It takes about a quarter to a half mile for me to hit my stride. When I first start I feel confident that I can run, but after a few minutes (and not quite warmed up) I feel that my stride is off and I'm wondering how I can run any distance at all and then it happens, I hit my stride and I feel good.  That's what the last few weeks have been like. I feel like I can do this, and then I wonder what was I thinking and then I hit my stride.  But as in every run, there's probably a hill and it takes a little more effort to keep going until you reach the peak and find a flat piece of road.  I hit my metaphorical hill yesterday and boy it was bad. I snapped at the big kids, I was frustrated, and I had no patience.  I was so tired I started crying.  I called my husband and he came home to give me a break and to take Bug to dance class. He suggested that I call my Mama's Helper who is home on Spring Break and ask her to come by today to watch the kids while I napped.

My first thought was, "I should be able to do this on my own. I shouldn't have to call Hubby or anyone else to help me.  I'm just tired."  But I did as he asked and I'm glad that I did.  Fortunately E. was available and came over this morning. I spent the next few hours resting and sleeping. I couldn't nap the whole time because I had to nurse the baby, but at least I knew my big kids were in good hands and I could concentrate on getting some rest.  They needed a break from me and I probably needed a break from them.

Getting more sleep put some things into perspective for me:  1) I need more sleep; 2) more sleep makes Mama a happy & more patient Mama; 3) asking for help is not a sign of weakness, it's sometimes a necessity, 4) I need more sleep; 5) I'm a good Mama; 6) Did I say I need more sleep?

Thank you to my dear Hubby for coming to the rescue last night. Thank you to E. for giving me a break today.  I'm looking forward to when Bam Bam sleeps through the night!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Almost Wordless Wednesday: Family Trait

The other day I caught my youngest sleeping with his hand behind his head. This is apparently a family trait.  Each of my kids do it and when I wondered where they got this particular trait, I woke up one night and found my husband sleeping in the same position. Definitely a family trait :)

Bam Bam with his hands behind his head last Sunday.

Buggy at 2 1/2 months old in the same position

Boogie in the same reclining position. Age:  2 years and 10 mos.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Made for Two? Nah...

These past 5 weeks I have decided that the world is designed for having two children, but can be modified to accommodate more than two.  I say this because I was able to juggle two kids on errands and I have two hands--one for each of them  My 4 year old would walk while my two year old sat in the cart.  I still had the cart basket to put in all my items.  Now that I have three kids, it takes a little more juggling to accommodate all three kids. Especially when one is an infant and another is a wannabe independent two year old.  My four year old is great and is a big help on my errands.

When I go shopping the infant carseat rests in the front of the cart where my two year old used to sit. Now I have to be more diligent in keeping an eye on her and making sure she doesn't run off.  Everything in the store is simply too tempting for a two year old to: a) stay nearby and b) not touch.

I'm grateful that the two of the stores I go to most regularly have modified a couple of their carts to accommodate all three kids.  I can put the baby in the top front part of the cart and there is an extension with two seats that my older two can sit in while I go shopping.

I do have a sit and stand stroller, but I've yet to add the infant bar so I haven't been able to use it for my youngest two.  I really need to add that infant bar so I can cart the two of them around when we go to the mall or any other place without a shopping cart.  Another thing I can do is use the new infant carrier that my mother-in-law gave me (thanks, Mom!). I can put the baby in it and have two hands free once again to attend to the other two kids.  By the time I have another baby (if I have another baby) my eldest will be able to do even more to help me :)

Fortunately, my oldest is very independent and can do a lot of things himself---like buckle himself in, or hold hands with my middle child so that she doesn't run off, or stay nearby to give Mama a hand.  It's a big help!

So while I think the world is designed for two kids (it takes at least 2 players for a board game, carnival rides usually accommodate just two people per car, I only have two hands, four doors on a car and then you have to go allllll the way to the back of the van if you want to add more people, most strollers are singles or doubles, etc) there are ways to modify the situation to make it more ideal for the parent who has more than two.

So my friends who are considering having more than two children, it's definitely doable to operate in a world that is seemingly designed for a family with only two kids ;)

Monday, March 21, 2011

Is It Any Better?

Today I ran into three different moms while I was running errands and taking Boogie to school. Each of them asked, "Is it any better?" Each of these mothers saw me just a week or two after having given birth. I must have looked really rough and sounded really, really tired (which I did and which I was).  Today I was out voluntarily with all three children. We were able to run only one errand before having to take Boogie to preschool, but we did it and I did it without my husband's help! It can be done ;)

I really think that things are so much better when you have more sleep.  I'm also mostly healed and can move around much better. Between the sleep and feeling better physically I am better able to juggle all three kids. Things aren't house is still a mess, I still don't have dinner on the table on time, and I would much rather hang out in my pjs for the day...but I'm able to get a shower, the kids are dressed and fed, I'm potty training my 2 year old, and I'm better able to work around our newest member's nursing schedule. So overall we're doing well considering I gave birth just 5 weeks ago.

So, yes it is better and yes, it is totally doable.  I just have to remember to lower my expectations for what I can do in a day and to give myself a break. Life is good!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The First Month

The first month of Bam Bam's birth has gone by in a fog.  I spent the first three weeks nursing, eating, napping and repeat.  I took full advantage of my husband being home and napped every chance I had.  I also tried to tuck away the guilt that I had about not spending as much time with my big kids.  Fortunately, they have made the transition very easy by giving me a break.

I recently read in one of my breastfeeding books that women really need at least 6 weeks to do absolutely nothing but nursing, sleeping, and eating when they have a new baby. Why? Because it's hard work having a baby, learning new routines, breastfeeding, and bonding.  I wish I had given myself a break the first two times I had babies.

My husband tried to make the transition as easy as possible by setting up the cosleeper and glider in our room. That way when Bam Bam woke up I didn't have to go very far to get him. Now that he's gotten very good side-lying nursing, we rarely have to get out of bed in the middle of the night. I scoop him out of the cosleeper and nurse him in bed.  My husband made most of the meals the 3 weeks that he was home on leave.  Thankfully friends and family have stopped by with meals and that gave him a break from the cooking. He didn't mind it, but he was almost as tired as I was because he was up helping me with the baby, taking care of the big kids during the day, and trying to maintain the house and run all the errands. At one point he said that he felt he was functioning in my domain and I think it felt a little off to him. He's used to having his own agenda on the weekends and getting the chores and errands on his own to-do list. The first 3 weeks of Bam Bam's life he was just trying to get the every day things done, forget about his own to-do list.  Hubby did a pretty awesome job taking care of all of us as we transitioned our away to being a family of five.

Last week Hubs went back to work. Fortunately he had the foresight to go in only 3 days and go in on a modified schedule. He went in an hour late and came home an hour early. That modification helped tremendously. I was a little nervous about him going back to work full-time this week and how I would get it all done. But it's been working out. We've been blessed by the meals that people have made and brought over for us, so I still haven't had to cook a full meal. I've been trying to schedule appointments for when Hubby is home so that I'm only taking one or two of the kids, but alas that didn't work and I had to take all 3 of them with me for a lactation consultation this week. But the big kids were great and now everything is working out on the nursing front.

I still feel like I'm functioning less than halfway, and I'm trying to give myself a break. I mean really, the baby isn't even two months old yet.  I'm slowly going back to cleaning the house and getting the laundry done.  I'm still trying to nap in the afternoons when I can.  And I found that I really can do more than I think I can. What I mean is I didn't think I could juggle the 3 kids while running errands or going to appointments, and I had to that at least twice this week already.  I need to give myself a little more credit. When I don't think I can do something, I usually can.  SometimesI think the best thing to do is to just jump in with both feet. So far so good.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

This Is Not a Fun Day. I Am Not Having Any Fun.

You know that it's going to be a tough day when you're 4 year old yells from his bed that his ear hurts and then continues to cry and yell, "My ear hurts!!" as he changes out of his pajamas and eat (not eat) his breakfast.  We were supposed to go to a brunch hosted by my MOPs mentor and meet up with my MOPs group.  But our plans went to the wayside as Boogie continued to fuss and cry.  So I called to cancel and then schedule an appointment with the pediatrician. Fortunately for me, she had an opening an hour later.

We made it to the pediatrician. I had all 3 kids in tow. The receptionist is super nice and is great with us.  She's known us since Boogie first started going to that doctor's office.  She knows all of us by name and treats us so well.  The tech greeted all of us and immediately started working on Boogs. While we waited for the doctor, the tech brought juice and crackers for the kids. I should have known Boogie was really sick when he insisted on brining Chester with us to the doctor's office and he refused the crackers.

I just saw the pediatrician last week for a weight check for Bam Bam.  We didn't think we'd be seeing each other so soon.  But I totally love my pediatrician and always makes me feel valued and willingly takes extra time with me when I need it. She answers all my questions and she's just plain wonderful!!!!

Anyway she checked Boogs and yup he had an ear infection. She decided to check Buggy, too, and yup she had an infection as well. So she immediately prescribed antibiotics for each kid.

We picked up our prescriptions and then headed home. I gave Boogie his medicine before we left because he was feeling so miserable, cancelled our carpool, and headed home to pick up some money so I could swing through a drive-thru for a quick lunch. After I pulled into our driveway I hear Boogie screaming and crying. What is wrong?!?

"Boogs, what's wrong, Buddy?"
"I throwed up! I throwed up all over Chester!"

Yup, he threw up. All over his clothes and in between the seats in the very back of the van.  I started the process of bringing in the younger kids. Left the baby in his carrier in the house and turned on the tv for Buggy.  I went back to figure out how to get Boogie out of the car without leaving a trail of vomit.  I grabbed a bunch of paper towels and some disinfectant wipes. I started wiping down Boogs. While I'm doing this he is crying and holding up his paper bag with his letter of the day sharing for preschool.  He says, "At least I didn't get my bag dirty."(It's so pathetic and sad)  And then he says the following over and over:

"This is not a fun day. I am not having any fun. This is not a fun day."  Then he stops and asks, "Mommy, are you having fun?"

As I look at the vomit all over his clothes and the seat, I say with a shake of my head, "No, I'm not having any fun at all."

Boogie: "Good, because this is not a fun day. I am not having any fun."(over and over again.  When I relayed the story to my husband over the phone, I just started laughing. Because it was really funny. It was not a fun day at all. It was so sad and so ridiculous at the same time).

I finally get him out of the van and stripped of his clothes. I put him in some comfy clothes and set him in front of the tv.  I go back to the van and finish cleaning it out pretty successfully. I load all the gross clothes and booster seat cover into the wash. I take a deep breath and eat some lunch before having to nurse the baby.

The rest of the day goes fairly smoothly. Buggy took a nap and the baby snoozed most of the day. Boogie listened to books on CD while I rested on the couch.  I look back over the info. on the Boogie's medication:  Side Effects:  may cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and/or itchy throat.  So Boogie wasn't more sick when he threw up, it was just a side effect from the medicine. Joy.

Fortunately, he's doing much better. His ear hurts much less and he's bouncing around as if he wasn't sick at all. He's been able to keep down the second dose of medicine.

Me? I'm exhausted. Can I sleep now?

Almost Wordless Wednesday: Sibling Love

Buggy and Boogie kissing Bam Bam

This is one of my favorite pictures of my three kids.  My "big" kids love having a little brother and often ask to hold, kiss, or hug their new little brother. My heart has so much love for my three little ones.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Wrestling Names

I grew up in the 80s when wrestling was big. I think then the organization was called WWF (now the "WWE").  My brother grew up subscribing to the magazines and going to several matches with my dad. I remember Hulk Hogan, Rowdy Roddy Piper, Junkyard Dog, Miss Elizabeth who married Macho Man Randy Savage, Andre the Giant, and well you get the picture.  The list could go on and on.

My dad and my brother wrestled around the house and gave themselves their own wrestling names. My brother was "The Flash" and my dad was "Dozer" as in bulldozer. I would try to join the fray. My name was Madame Moolah after the Fabulous Moolah.  I was a little disappointed because I didn't think she was as glamorous or as young as Miss Elizabeth. But the name stuck.

Now that my son is old enough to wrestle with his Lolo he was given his own wrestling name. At first it was "Headphones" but now he is "Anklyosaurous."  Bug has joined the game and is "ipod!" Hubby is "The Attorney General" and I am now "Mama Moolah."

What is your wrestling name?

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

On My Own

Hubby had to head back to work today. After 3 wonderful weeks of having him home full-time, it was time for him to go back to work.  I'm a little apprehensive as to how I will shuttle all three kids out of the house to take Boogie to preschool and to do it on time.  I also have to stop by and pick up the boys for carpool.  For me it's really trying to work around a nursing baby's schedule.  I can get everything done that needs to get done, only to be thwarted by a hungry baby who ate just the hour before.  So we'll see how it goes today.

I'm also not setting any expectations for myself except to get out the door with the kids dressed, fed, and ready to go.  As far as the house goes, I'm just going to let it be until I have the energy and the wherewithall to get it straightened (that may be a few more months)...though Hubby did a ton to straighten the house last night.  Dinner is going to be simple tonight: pancakes and sausages.  It's also the Shrove Tuesday. Usually we head to our church for pancake supper, but I think we'll just do it at home tonight and save my sanity.  

As far as errands and other things on my to-do list. They may just have to wait until the weekend.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Triple Teamed

Before Bam Bam arrived we were warned about zone defense.  We would no longer be man-to-man with our kids.  The kids would definitely outnumber us.  We finally got a taste of it just the other night.

Poor Bam Bam was congested and we pulled out our bag of tricks that we learned from the first kid. Hubby did the saline routine with Bam Bam, we elevated his mattress at an angle in the co-sleeper, we turned on the humidifier, and as always I nursed on demand. The first night was rough, and I was up every hour nursing. I expected it and hoped to get a reprieve the next day and get a nap in, but that didn't happen.

The next night he was still congested, but fortunately woke up every 2 hours instead of every hour to be nursed. Okay, I'll take it. Hubby and I had a nice routine. I'd get up to nurse and let Hubby sleep and then during the day he'd take care of the big kids while I slept, nursed, and ate. It worked for us until the kids triple-teamed us.

The second night that Bam Bam wasn't feeling well Boogie woke up three times. The first time he woke up, went to the bathroom, and then stopped by our room to smile and wave and went back to sleep.  A few hours later he woke up crying for Daddy. Having just nursed Bam Bam and trying to go back to sleep, I woke up Hubby to take care of it. By the time Hubby walked in to check on Boogie, Boogie was fast asleep.  About two hours later I was up again nursing the baby when Boogie woke up screaming and crying. He was overly exhausted and needed to pee.  So Hubby took him to the bathroom. While Boogie was crying he woke up his sister who started to scream and cry. Poor Hubby couldn't leave Boogie because if he did Boogie cried louder. I was stuck nursing a baby and couldn't offer any help. Finally Buggy's crying became louder than Boogie's so Hubby left him to get her and bring her into the bathroom because she needed to use the potty.  Ugh!

Fortunately I was able to finish nursing and offer some help. I walked Boogie back to bed and tucked him in. Hubby helped Bug use the potty and walked her back and tucked her in. By the time we finished the baby was ready to be nursed again. *sigh* We were definitely triple teamed. Hubby and I were left with less than 3 hours of sleep total that night.

We still haven't made up for any of the sleep we've lost over the last 4 days.  I've managed to get a 45 minute nap here and there, but I'm still a walking zombie.  Hubby isn't much better because he's been helping with the nighttime swaddling or saline routine for Bam Bam.

I know that it will get better as Bam Bam settles into a nursing routine, but right now he's not on any schedule and I feed on demand. I'm a little nervous as Hubby goes back to work tomorrow and I'll be left to fend for myself.  I know it will be fine. We'll figure it out as time goes on. I told Hubby that I hope that he didn't mind that the house will be messy for a few more weeks while I try to figure things out. He chuckled and said by the time I figure things out, it will be time for a new routine because Boogie will out of school. He's totally right, but eh, we'll get it :)

Thursday, March 3, 2011


Yesterday, I officially resigned from teaching in my local school system.  It was something that's been a long time coming. I've been on childcare leave for the last 3 years. This is the last year that I could take off before making my final decision to either go back to work or resign.  When I received my final paperwork, I knew that I would check off the box that gave my resignation. Even though I've been looking forward to this for quite some time, it was still scary to check off that box. It means that I am no longer employed and no longer tied to the school system. SCARY!

I received the paperwork just days after having Bam Bam. I feel like it's divine intervention. I do feel that it's God's way of saying that I can take this time to be a mommy and to say goodbye to my career for a while.  Not forever, but for a while.

For so long being a teacher was my identity. I knew who I was and I knew how to do my job.  Over the last 3 years I've been working on this new identity of being a stay-at-home mom.  It's a roller coaster ride. It's unpredictable, scary, fun, intimidating, exhilarating, exhausting, and the best job I have ever had.  Some days I don't think I'm very good at it, and other days I feel like I've completely hit it out of the park.  There's no other place I'd rather be right now.

I feel like I missed so much the first 2 years of Boogie's life while I worked. I'm happy that I took some time off to spend time with him that last 3 years and then to be around for Buggy and for Bam-Bam.  As a friend pointed, it's not forever. I could always go back if I wanted. But right now I have the opportunity to be totally selfish of my time and to do what I want. So I choose to stay home with the kids.  But I also realize that it's no longer my time and I don't get to do whatever I want. It's my kids' time and what I want to do is to serve them in this time.  So rewarding!  If I can raise them to be empathetic, helpful, loving, and kind people, then I've done a good job.

In the meantime I've decided to seriously focus on writing. I've received a lot of positive feedback from some of my posts.  I'm still in a "new" Mommy stupor and pretty exhausted, but as I continue to heal and get back into the swing of things, I'm going to start submitting some of my writing. Wish me luck!

Now when people ask what I do, instead of saying "I'm a teacher" I say, "I'm a Stay-at-home Mom."  It has a nice ring to it.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Lessons from Bam-Bam

Fifteen days ago I delivered the newest addition to our family.  I'm still adjusting to life with three, recovering from delivery, and trying to figure out a new balancing act just when I thought I had it all down before the arrival of our newest one.

From even before Bam Bam was conceived he was very much wanted. I knew after the birth of our second baby that I would want another.  That's why it was so hard to find out in early September that it was a possibility that we might lose him. With unexplained cramping and spotting, the doctor on call at Urgent Care on Labor Weekend told me what signs to look for because there was possibility of a miscarriage. At the time Hubby and I were both pretty stunned and then I prayed for grace and allow for God's decision with the life of this little one.  I was placed on restricted activity and then on medicine to stop early contractions.

Of course, Bam Bam was born right on his NFP due date at a whopping 9lbs 1oz. But throughout my pregnancy with him and the last 16 days he's been teaching me and family a few things:

  • Trust--things will not necessarily go the way that you had hoped.  Trust in your faith and trust that someone else is in charge.
  • Time--1There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven—(New American Version: Ecclesiastes 3:1) I had to trust that Bam Bam would come in his own time. I had to be prepared for an early delivery, just in case, but at the same time, know that he would come when he was ready.
  • Grace--To accept help from family and friends and to take a seat back.
  • Selflessness--My kids are phenomenal with Bam Bam. Boogie is so helpful getting things for me that I need.  He's also so understanding. One night I was helping Buggy so that she would stay in her bed (lots of nighttime wanderings from our little girl). I was in the big kids' room trying to comfort her and Boogie said, "Mommy, it's okay. You should go to Bam Bam. He needs you to take care of him."  I asked Buggy if she was okay with that and she said, "yes." She was willing to give up her own comfort for her little brother.  As a parent you learn selflessness as you think of your kids more than yourself. I think adding a 3rd child to our family is teaching my big kids the same thing. They are willing to set aside some of their differences with one another to help their new baby brother.
  • Flexibility--We are just learning to go with the flow. I'm also learning that having a "B" game or even a "C" game is okay at this stage. Maybe later I'll have my "A" game again ;) Or maybe not.
  • Balance--All I seem to do is nurse, eat, and sleep.  But as Hubby goes back to work next week I will learn how to balance and juggle our new family schedule. I'll let you know how this one goes.
There are so many more lessons, but this is a good list for now. Right now I'm learning to let go.  Let go of the house. It's not the way I want it to look, but it will suffice for now.  Let go of the tasks that I want to get's just not going to happen (unless we're all naked and then I'll have to do laundry).  Let go of all the things that I think should be done in lieu of things that have to be done (nursing, childcare, know the essentials). But right now, life is good and I'm content. I love how much my big kids are showering Bam Bam with love. I love how much leeway they're giving me since I haven't been able to do as much with them.  I love how much support my husband has given me. I love my new life with my newer, bigger family :)