Friday, July 31, 2009

Pay the Price

Today is the day. As much as I say I'm not connected, or this is not about me, it still involves me. People I care about. They are in my thoughts today. I wonder how they are, and what they are feeling. I wish I could do more.

I think of the person who this all revolves around. He will begin his 'new' life today. I know what awaits him. He heart cringes to think of it. My head swims with dread and disgust. I try with all my might to block it out, but the horrid thoughts and images creep in. But he's made his bed, now he has to lie in it, right?

I have always been so quick to judge others who have been in his situation. "Gets what they deserve!" But somehow, this is different. No not different, just 'connected'. Yes, as much as I and everyone else, hates it, he's done it, and now needs to pay the price.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


Where do I start?

2 things make me grateful this morning.
  1. This is a hard week for family and friends. Those who know the details know why. Those who don't, I'm sorry, but it is something I am embarrassed and ashamed of, and don't want devolve into details. Although is doesn't involve me directly, people have a tendency to judge and draw conclusions. It hurts, and it is raw. For me, yes. It has changed my perception of the world and people. It has changed the way I function, think, who I trust, and how I live. For the people who are directly involved, it has turned their worlds upside down. They have accepted and adapted, and humbly allowed God to hold them through it. Because that is all they can do right now. Hold on. But each day they get up, smile, and do what the day demands of them. They are grateful and thankful for what they have and the good this year has offered them. They are not angry or bitter as I would be. These people are some on the most amazing people I know! I am grateful to have them in my life. They have forced me to question myself, my values, and therefore grow as a person. Sometimes this is hard. It has been for me.
  2. I stumbled across another blog awhile ago that I read when it's updated. ( followed a link to another website today....a family who's small son, 5, is battling a brain tumor. I cried sitting in my chair staring at the screen, reading more and more details, and hurting more and more for this family. The pain they have endured for the last year, the decisions they have had to make, and may yet have to make...and yet this young mom, not to terribly unlike myself, is able to smile and find happiness.
So I am grateful for what I have today.
  1. For my family, strong and healthy
  2. Family and friends who I can call on
  3. For a husband who luvs me
  4. Children I adore
  5. A house that keeps me dry, that we own!
  6. The joy of working
  7. The freedom to work
  8. The option to work or not
  9. Parents who raised me strong
  10. My sons strong willness
  11. My youngest daughters independence
  12. My oldest daughters creativity
  13. My perdictable routine through out the day
  14. The food we eat
  15. My body, strong, that can turn that food into fuel and keep me healthy
  16. For the little friends that keep my children busy through out the day
  17. The ability to cook for my daycare and family
  18. For the outdoors that we will go and run and play in and burn off steam
  19. For the tears that teach lessons, and make joy sweeter
  20. For the wildest times that bring the quietest naps :)
  21. For meetings with support to look forward to
  22. For the husband that stays home with the wee ones and does the dishes
  23. For cool nights that let me cuddle up close to loved ones and sleep with a smile on my face
This is just a small start. I will keep a running list in my head. Because really, I have all things to be grateful for and nothing to complain about.

Monday, July 27, 2009

The 5th

It would appear I have the 5th disease. Yes you read that right. Not my kids. No not one of them. Me. After spending time with my little niece who was unbeknown to us contagious, I somehow picked up this unpleasant virus! Not the little people who played with her, hugged her, held hands ect....but myself, who I think, the only body contact I had with her was a hug bye bye on my way out the door.

So 5th disease is fairly unpleasant. It starts with general unwellnes. Kinda fluish without the puking. Then bright red cheeks. Someone told me I must have had to much cheeks were really red. I didn't clue in yet. Then bowel upset. This came after a day of more unwellnes, and feeling quit tired. But it hit my by surprise. I had taken the kidlets to the park. Oh great. Here I sit at the park and I have to go NOW! Thank goodness for those gross little porta potties....which followed with questions like "But Mommy, you told us never to go it there. Why are you going in there?" Which followed by giggles and laughing because mommy went in the yucky gross porta potty. They learn well:) But this part of the illness lasted all evening and well into the next day.

Well the week continued in general unwellnes, extrema tiredness which I could not figure out. (No I am not pregnant!) Headaches and low grade fevers. Tylenol worked for those things.

Funny, I noticed a strange lacy like rash on Thursday, which got worse on Friday, and by Saturday was everywhere. I went to bed and slept for 3 hours in the afternoon. More low grade fever and tiredness. Only when I woke up my joins were hurting. Fingers, ankles, and knees. Odd. Water retention?? I guessed...and drank more water. Didn't seem to help much.

Saturday turned into Sunday. Rash was disappearing, but the joints were hurting more. Hummm, couldn't figure this out. Oh well, groceries had to be got, and kidlets needed lunch. The day went on. More Tylenol did the trick. But not for more upset bowels. Thank goodness this time I was home. But again, this lasted well into the evening.

Then Sunday night I saw a post on facebook that my niece had 5th...'sorry if anyone else gets it'....hummm suddenly this started making sense. The lacy rash, and the red cheeks, low grade all made sense. Research on the Internet even said the joint pain was normal in adults. glad I know what I've got.

And it kinda made sense. I kept thinking to myself that it must be some virus, and a voice in my head kept reminding me of when my girls had 5th disease...

The joint pain was uncomfortable on Monday. I figured I'd call Telehealth for advice on what I can do about it.


The 'trained nurse' freaked out about the joint pain and slight swelling in my fingers.

"You need to go to emerg. now and have blood work done, and see a doctor! Do you have someone who can watch the children? You need to go now!" She was yelling at me.

Oh my goodness! What does she think I have? This must be serious! She's freaking my out! I must be really sick! She's yelling at me. I told her I can't just leave. ( I don't even have a working car at home right now!) She's telling me 'now!'

I finally hung up. Arguing with this women would get me no where. Put kids to bed, call husband, take a deep breath, and call daycare moms and dads.

Long and short of it, 2 hours after waiting in the walk in clinic, doctor concludes I have 5th disease. Not after looking at me like I'm a silly little girl for coming in. "But the nurse yelled at me on the phone and told me to get blood work..."

So yes, I have 5th disease. Sounds more dangerous and scary to say "I have the 5th" to people, but really its a nuisance, and unpleasant. But it should pass in the next 1-2 weeks and then I will be super duper, and I will be that much stronger. Until then, I will continue to feel yucky, and my joints achy. Hopefully, each day gets better and better :)

And hopefully its gone for our vacation to the Great Wolf Lodge next week.


Saturday, July 25, 2009

The Nudist

My son. Yes, my very small 19 month old son has figured out how take all his clothes off. First it was just this potty thing. When he was sitting on the potty he wanted is undies and bottoms completely off. OK. Then he had to have his socks off and his shoes if he happened to have them on. While he was sitting there one day he figured out how to take his shirt off.

Now, at any given time of the day, he will decide his clothes are to much a bother, and take them off. Then he proceeds to run around naked and laughing. I humored him last night. He ran around the house for an hour. Nude. Not a care in the world. He didn't seem to notice he was naked, and it didn't seem to bother him at all. He played. He sang songs in babyish jitter, and coincidentally used the potty on his own free will a few times.

So it would appear, that for now, my son is a nudist. The cutest nudist I've ever seen :)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Bye Bye SueSues!

I have been trying to get rid of those gross things for awhile. We had talked about going to "Build a Bear" and putting the suesues inside the bear...but she didn't pick up on that idea. About 2 weeks ago a friend came to visit and we got talking about it. She said she had discussed it with her kids ( a set of twins) first, and then made them look very unappealing. Pointing out that babies had them, and they were smelly, and they made their teeth funny. She said finally they picked a date, circled it on the calender and counted down the days. When the day came she said she ended up getting called into work, and wasn't actually there that evening.....but they stuck to the plan and chucked them anyways. What good kids.

So with all this is my head I sat down to talk to Grace. I told her what a big girl she was and that suesues were for babies. She was nodding and cuddling shyly into my side. A subject she really doesn't like talking about....and she knew where this was headed....I asked her if she would rather put her suesues into a "Build a Bear" or give them to Baby Zachary or put them in the garbage. She quickly answered in a shy quiet voice "Give them to Baby Zachary."

I explained that Baby Zachary was coming next week and this would be a good time to give them to him since he was a baby and suesues are for babies. She was hesitant to agree with me. I talked to her about how I understood this was really hard because she has had her suesues for so long and they helped her go to sleep, and comforted her when she was sad.

She was nodding and looking at me with these very vulnerable eyes.

"But you can do this!" I urged her. "And mommy will be here to help you, and daddy too. Instead of suesues and can think of happy things in bed, or mommy and daddy can lay down with you for a bit to help you settle down. You can do this!" I told her again. (This became a repeated phase over and over again.)

Finally she nodded in agreement. "OK Mama," she half whispered.

So we marked 'Special' days on the calender. One for the day we give the suesues to Baby Zachary, and another one 2 nights later, when we would go to "Build a Bear". She liked the idea of building a bear.

A friend had lent us a book, "Bye Bye Pacifier". We read this over and over. She enjoyed sitting against me and turning the pages. Taking it all in.

We started with no suesues at nap time. The first day she didn't nap. She was on her bed quiet, and then started screamed for the last 20 minutes of nap time. I was having doubts. The second day I reminded her how to fall asleep. Thinking about happy things and maybe singing songs. I insisted she keep her head on the pillow. Lo and behold, she feel asleep!

"Grace? Grace, wake up Hunny...Look, you did it!! Gracie you did it!"

One day turned into two...and the day to give them away grew closer. We counted the days on the calender. As the day grew closer Grace became more and more reluctant to talk about it.

The night before, I reminded her that this was her last night. Yes, she nodded that she understood. I tucked her in one last time with her suesues.

The next day dawned and she passed her suesues over to me before breakfast. I reminded her what would be happening later, when it was time for Baby Zachary to go home.

"I don't want to talk about it," she said.

"I need to know you understand Grace. Tell mommy you understand," I urged her.

"I understand Mama," she mumbled looking down at the table.

My heart was sad. Was she ready for this?

"And what happens in 2 more sleeps Grace?" I asked her

Her face turned to me, glowing, with the biggest grin ever. "We go to 'Build a Bear'."

She was ready.

After nap time we were all sitting around, everyone was waking up and rubbing eyes. I reminded Grace what would happening it a little while when it was time for Baby Zachary to go home. She was leaning against me. She looked up into my eyes and said "I want to do it now."

I just about fell off the chair.

"Are you sure?" I asked, very gently.

She nodded. I looked questioningly at Kristyn. She nodded and shrugged at the same time. I thought for a minute. I tried to put myself in her place. No one was really paying attention, so she could do it quietly and discreetly, and maybe she just wanted to get it over with.

She sucked on each one for a moment and put them all in a baggy. When she was done she went and gave them to Kristyn for Baby Zachary.

And that's been it.

Its been a few days since I started this post. She is doing really well. She has a harder time falling asleep then before, and sometimes I go in and talk to her about things she can think about or songs she can sing. But she isn't sitting on her bed screaming her head off, and she isn't exhausted from it all. And she is falling asleep, and sleeping all night long!

We have gone to 'Build a Bear'! She picked a calico kitty, and luvs it! She carries it around with her, takes the clothes off and then puts them back on, and even lets Angelina play with it a bit.

So I am very happy to say, we are a suesue free house!!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Finding Your Tribe

Following is an article I read/found in a old 'Mothering' magazine someone gave me. I luved it so much I posted it on facebook, but had to post it here too!

Finding Your Tribe: Feed Your Soul while Feeding Your Kids
By Teresa Pitman

Vicki and I are cleaning out her fridge. The vegetable bins have somehow warped and have to be jiggled out, revealing a slimy green pepper and a distinctly brown head of iceberg lettuce. Laughing at the disgusting items, Vicki holds open the lid of the compost bucket, and I dump in the veggie remains. A minute later my toddler wanders into the kitchen and tugs at my shirt. While I sit cross-legged on the floor and nurse her, Vicki washes out the bins and hands out crackers to her two children and my three year old. Then, with everyone fed and content for a few more minutes, we start on the next shelf of the fridge.

By the end of the day, when our husbands arrive, we'll have cleaned the bathrooms, vacuumed all the floors, finished a couple of loads of laundry, and prepared a meal for both families to enjoy. And tomorrow we'll do it all over again at my house.

I'm not exactly sure how Vicki and I first thought of this way of sharing our time. She had worked with my husband, and when she decided to stay home with her first baby, our friendship blossomed. My first child was born soon after, and we both discovered we were incredibly lonely.

The day Vicki brought her daughter home from the hospital she walked into the house and burst into tears. She was terrified by the thought of coping alone with this new baby. I, too, had my own lonely days with my infant son. My husband left for work, taking our only car, before I was even out of bed. The day stretched out endlessly in front of me--changing diapers, washing clothes, cleaning house--with at best the TV or radio as a substitute for adult company. During the cold Canadian winter, even getting outdoors was a challenge.

Vicki and I were spending hours on the phone with each other, but that didn't help. So we hit on this new plan--on one day her husband would drop her off at my house on his way to work. We'd spend the day together, doing housework and caring for our children, and then at the end of the day her husband would come back to our house, and both families would have dinner together. The next day, I'd get dropped off at her house.

The routine continued for several years as our babies grew into toddlers and preschoolers, and then new babies joined our families.

We did not do this every single day, of course, and some days were more productive than others. Sometimes we spent several hours lying together in bed while our babies nursed and older children played on the floor. We talked and sometimes cried. Other days we took the bus to doctors' appointments or to do some shopping.

We discovered that Vicki is a better cook, and I am a better baker. We developed our own categories of housework--I like "wet" work (washing dishes, laundry, washing floors), and she prefers the "dry" variety (vacuuming, sweeping, tidying). We complemented each other. And we always had someone to talk to, laugh with, hold a baby for a bathroom trip, give a hug.

When I read Jean Liedloff's book The Continuum Concept , I realized that we had formed our own, very small tribe. Spending our days together satisfied our need for adult companionship without separation from our babies, and working together made all the chores--even cleaning disgusting stuff out of the bottom of the fridge--more fun.

Eventually our husbands both found work in other communities, and our daily time together came to an end. But I had seen how important this kind of relationship is for me, and I deliberately tried to recreate it with other friends.

Not long after Vicki and her family moved, I was at a church picnic when I saw Lorna for the first time. She and her family had just arrived in our community. Something about the way she held her baby was familiar to me, and I went up and introduced myself.

She, too, was looking for a tribe, as she had recently moved away from her family. Soon my new friend Lorna and I got together every Thursday to bake bread (and sometimes other foods) for our families for the week. She had a bigger house and roomier kitchen, so we generally went there. We split the cost of the ingredients, and as our children played together (by then, I had three children and Lorna had six), we kneaded and shaped the dough. While the bread was rising, we talked and tended to other tasks. I often brought a basket of things that needed mending, so we could work together while we were waiting.

We were there when she miscarried her seventh baby, and she tended to my older children while I was giving birth to my fourth. I still think of Thursday as baking day, even though Lorna now lives hundreds of miles away.

My children are almost grown, but I still work with parents. The theme of loneliness is as strong and prevalent as it was when I sat crying on my bed with my new baby, wondering how I'd cope with no one to talk to. Certainly the desire to overcome isolation is one of the reasons why women return to work; it's a need easily understood by those of us who opt to stay home with our children.

We truly are social animals; we need to be with other people to feel good, whole, and happy. It's worth the effort to create tribes, however small and imperfect they may be.

Often we try to approach this problem by creating playgroups for our children. I think this has to do with our penchant for independence. We try to pretend that we don't need to be around other people, but we acknowledge that our children do. The result is often that the playgroup meets the children's needs, but the adults are still frustrated.

Create Your Own Tribe
In my experience, there are three important components in finding or creating your own tribe (however small) in our very nontribal society.

Spend a good deal of time together. Short visits are simply that--visits. Everyone is on his or her best behavior; there is a sense of one person being the host and the other person being the guest. The relationship is still distant.

I know that when my sister comes to visit with her children, the first day is inevitably awkward. Even when she tries to help out around the house, she doesn't know where to find things, and I feel uncomfortable thinking that I should be the hostess and not imposing on her.

By the second day, though, there is usually a shift. And by the third day we are happily working together and wishing we could live with each other all the time. What seemed hard on day one feels natural and enjoyable by day five.

You need enough time to experience the rhythms of the day. You want to prepare food, eat, and clean up, and then perhaps nap together--adults and babies alike. You need to experience both talking and comfortable silences. It doesn't have to be several days in a row, although I think that helps, but even one day a week will eventually give you that closeness.

If it's true for my sister and I, with our strong family history and connection, I think it is even truer for friends. We are not used to being in tribes, and yet we long for these connections; it is worth persisting until the awkwardness of the early days fades.

Work together. This is one of the big differences between having a playgroup and "being tribal." The purpose is not for the children to be "socialized" or have fun (although both of those things will happen), it is for you and your friend or friends to accomplish some tasks. The satisfaction of completing your work project--even if it is just cleaning the house or preparing a meal together--will strengthen your relationships and help you feel more like a functioning adult.

One friend commented to me that cleaning house with someone seemed "too intimate." I suggested she start with meal preparation. Invite your friend's family over for dinner and then just ask her to chop some vegetables, stir the sauce, or toss the salad. The food will taste better because you prepared it together.

You can do other projects, too, such as the baking day Lorna and I enjoyed. I live near an old-order Mennonite community now, and the women frequently come together to can foods, make quilts, and complete other large projects. In fact, the whole community will gather to build barns and bring in the harvest. Perhaps you and your friend can plant a garden, or you could have a "mending session," or a time when everyone brings unfinished projects--crafts, sewing, knitting, woodworking--to complete as a group.

How do you work with small children around? Other friends who have tried this say it can sometimes turn into one person watching the children while the other one works. This has happened to me, too, especially in the early stages when the children were still getting used to each other and a stranger's house. It also tends to happen with new moms, who take frequent nursing breaks and care for their infants.

But both of these impediments are temporary and improve over time. Slings and backpacks make it easier to work with a baby or toddler. There may be days when you feel as though you have not accomplished much thanks to a fussy baby or an older child who has had a difficult day. When this happens, remind yourself that life isn't about accomplishing as much as possible. It's about being together, working with and supporting each other.

Try not to be too picky. People who actually live in tribes are born into them. And I suspect that if we lived in tribes there would be people who we would get along with easily and those with whom we wouldn't mesh quite as well.

When we are looking for someone to be in our tribe, we are often searching for someone who will agree with us about everything, and we may pass by some wonderful people by doing that. Vicki and I were initially drawn to each other because we were both young, living a long way from our families, and feeling very lonely. That was about it. We had different ideas about many other things. Her first baby was weaned to a bottle at three months, while mine kept nursing for more than two years, for example. In our discussions about parenting, religion, and politics, we always felt free to respectfully disagree.

Respect, I would guess, is the key. It doesn't matter if one of you is a vegetarian and the other eats meat, as long as you can respect each other's choices.

Are there places to draw the line? I think we all have our own limitations. I know that I wouldn't be comfortable spending a lot of time with someone who spanks their children or is frequently angry with them. But I have been able to forge very good relationships with friends who had a different set of rules than I did.

Vicki and I now live several hundred miles apart. I have since divorced, and she's started her own business. Yet our friendship is unshakeable. All of our children feel the same way. One day Vicki's oldest daughter--now in her 20s--showed up at my front door with a friend. When I enthusiastically invited them in, she turned to her friend and said, "See? I told you she'd be happy to see me. I am like part of her family."

Teresa Pitman (44) is a full-time writer and has authored or co-authored ten books. She is the mother of Matthew (23), Lisa (21), Dan (19), and Jeremy (16). Pitman's most recent books are: Pregnancy and Birth: The Best Evidence (with Dr. Joyce Barrett) and Dr. Jack Newman's Guide to Breastfeeding (with Dr. Jack Newman).

Why I Do It

I have 3 kids and do home day care. Sometimes people me ask me why. Sometimes I wonder why. One reason is so I'm home with my kids. Another so I'm not paying daycare for 3 kids. Well today was another reason why.

I had a bad night. Goran was late, baby came to bed cranky, and then peed all over me! So the remainder of the night I was wet and cold. I finally dragged my tired peed on body out of bed at 6:30, figuring I wasn't sleeping anyway. I disturbed the baby, so he got up too. I headed to the bathroom for a shower and heard 2 more sets of footsteps behind me. Now I had a crying baby, and 2 preschoolers that I'm sure were not ready to be awake.

The morning passed uneventful, thank goodness. Daycare friends all wondered in the door, one after the other, until the house was full. We did the usual morning things.

We were eating lunch...or I should say, they were eating lunch, and I was running around, refilling soup bowls, passing out egg salad sandwiches, and making sure everyone had milk. Then we heard the sound of a truck on the street. It made all of us stop and listen. It was going much slower then normal, and was quit loud.

I went and peered out the window to see and called out to them, "Its just the street cleaner!" Wrong choose of words.

"Can I see Kathryn? Can I get up and see?!" One little boy shouted out to me. He was climbing off his stool as he spoke.

"Yes, yes, you can all go and see," I replied to the little eager faces that were still sitting and waiting to hear what I had to say.

"Truck, truck!" Bryan was shouting as he was clamoring out of his
high chair.

7 eager little faces, and 14 little hands were pressed against my front window, and door, as the street cleaner went by. They all watched quietly as it 'cleaned' our road. One by one they slowly turned away and headed back to the table.

As I was busy cleaning up and filling the sink, two little 3 year olds still stood, watching the street cleaner round the bend.

"Come on girls," I urged. "Lets go finish lunch."

"Bye bye vacuum cleaner," said one of them as she waved and turned away.

"Yeah, bye bye vacuum cleaner," called the other waving. "See you soon."

That's why I do it. For those moments, when the simplest of things make me smile. I am helping to mold them and become the people they will be. And I can say, everyone of them are great 'little' people already now.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

An Apple Under the Bed

"Mommy, there's a apple under my bed!" Gracie calls to me, running into the room.

"Well, get is out," I reply, a bit puzzled.

"I can't reach it," she starts to choke up and make raspy crying sounds. "I can't reach it Mommy!" More urgently that time.

"OK, I'm coming. Who put it there?"

Crying stops, and she says in a quiet voice, almost a whisper, "Me."

Oh kids.