Wednesday, June 30, 2010

A Breath of Fresh Air

I was seriously claustrophobic yesterday.  It was super hot, the kids had issues, and we were trapped in the house all day.  DC has been experiencing one helluva heat wave and it had gotten to the point where I was forgetting what fresh air felt like.  Today things changed.

My husband and I woke from a solid nights slumber at a very respectable 7:00 am.  After getting the little guy ready, I went to check in on the babe expecting to see my vibrant little girl back in the saddle after yesterday's illness.  Not so.  I found vomit in the bowl next to her bed and a disheveled babe.  She proceeded to throw up into the nasty bowl within a minute of me walking into her room.  My heart sank as I realized it was going to be another rough day. 

I got the little guy downstairs for breakfast while the babe chilled out in our bed watching Special Agent Oso.  I decided to head out with my husband to pick up the paper.  The little guy and I stepped out the front door and stopped in our tracks.  Oh My God.  A PERFECT day.  The air was crisp and clear.  The sun was shining and the sky oh so blue.  A light breeze caressed our cheeks (I'm not joking).  And just like that, my outlook changed.  Even though the babe was still under the weather, and we'd be confined to our house all day, we could open the windows and turn off the ridiculous air conditioning.

It was still a long day with a seriously unhealthy amount of television viewing, but the fact that we had fresh beautiful air drifting through the house made all the difference.  I felt like nature was trying to clean us all out.  At 4:30 pm I decided to get the kids outside.  After sitting/sleeping/watching TV/ being stuck to the couch all day, I managed to get the babe outside to check out our vegetable garden.  She was psyched to see all the little tomatoes and cucumbers growing.  I decided a walk around the block was in order and as I put the kids into the double stroller, who did we see walking down the street towards us?  My lovely husband, to our surprise, had come home early to be with his kiddies.  And that, my friends, was like a breath of fresh air.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010


By 7:00 pm, I truly felt that I had earned my pay check for the day. 

The only member of our family who got any sleep last night was the little guy.  The babe managed to pick up a stomach flu somewhere and was up all night with various issues, including vomiting, being too hot (otherwise known as a fever), not wanting to be alone in her room, and having sore legs.  I think my husband and I were up with her at least 10 times.  It felt like we had a newborn.

Needless to say, the babe wasn't going to school so I had both kids at home, all day.  One child was drained, wouldn't eat, and was generally out of it and grumpy, and the other had severe diaper rash and a constantly poopy diaper.  It was a very long day.

By the time my husband came home I was toast (mentally, physically and emotionally).  We sat down to eat our dinner and catch up on our 60 Minutes viewing.  We watched a story about David Axelrod (Senior Advisor to President Obama) and his daughter's battle with Epilepsy.  It made me cry.

I broke down and told my husband how hard it had been to keep cleaning and changing the little guy's bum/diaper and how at one point my son was so distressed I had started crying along with him.  I then held my baby for 5 minutes while he calmed himself down.  Now imagine what it would be like to watch your child have a seizure. 

Here I was crying over diaper rash and whining that I hadn't gotten any sleep because the babe had been throwing up all night.  And here are David Axelorod and his wife struggling to raise a daughter with Epilepsy for the past 28 years.  On a side note, Susan Axelrod and a few other women in similar situations started an organization, CURE (Citizens United for Research In Epilepsy), to raise money for research into the disease.

I know I talk about this a lot, but I realized YET AGAIN that I need to try and keep things in perspective.  We are so lucky to have our health (knock on wood) and are blessed to enjoy such stability in our daily lives.

While it tears me up to see my daughter throwing up or my son whithering in pain because of a raw bottom, it could be so, so, so much worse.  I'm glad we caught up on our 60 Minutes viewing.

Monday, June 28, 2010

The Bum Bum

$16.00 for parking
$20.00 co-pay for doctor's office visit
$79.99 for 2 different diaper rash creams not covered by insurance

Helping my baby boy not have an excruciatingly painful rash on his bottom? know the answer to that.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

The Band Aid

I have never been one who is able to hide things with my face.  I would make a lousy poker player.  If you want to know how I feel, just look at my face and you should get a pretty good idea.

Right now I feel clean.  I've just come down from a hair washing, leg shaving, moisturizing kinda experience, and it feels awesome.  Especially after a day filled with lots of activity including 2.5 hours at the park with both kids and 1 hour at the pool with just the babe.

Back to my face.  The babe saw my face as we were working on her bubble blowing/swimming technique at the pool.  A Band Aid floated by my face and I just about lost it.  I am not good with that kind of thing.  Despite the fact that I am exposed to a lot of grossness on a daily basis, that was just too nasty.  I had already witnessed numerous kids with snot hanging down their faces, hair and dirt all over the floors in the change room, and a few strange little black things floating by in the water, but a Band Aid?  Come on.

I don't want the babe to be like me.  I want her to blow these things off.  But she saw my face and knew that a floating Band Aid was definitely not a good thing (especially as she had swallowed more water than I'd like to admit).  I'd even told her before we left that she couldn't have any Band Aids for any of her "owies" because we were going to the pool and they would come off.

I know they use a lot of chlorine in the pool, so I just have to reassure myself that we didn't catch anything by hanging out there for an hour.  I've forgotten what public pools are like, or maybe this one just isn't being kept very clean, I don't know.  

But at least I know both my daughter and I had the full scrub down at home before bed, and that will just have to do.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Summer Is Summer

Sometimes our trips to the library produce real gems.  Sometimes they don't.

Luckily we found a few great books on our last visit.

My recent favorite is a book about summer.  I love this one because it really hits the nail on the head.  It's called "Summer Is Summer" by Phillis and David Gershator with illustrations by Sophie Blackall.  Short and sweet, you almost think you're missing something on the first read through. But the more I've read it, the more I have come to appreciate its understated beauty.

My only problem with this book is that it mentions watermelon and ice cream on the same page.  The illustration is of a couple kids eating these summer treats.  Only problem is I'm reading it to my daughter who can have neither.  This past week we found out the babe is allergic to watermelon. 

What?  Watermelon? Yes, watermelon.  On Monday I gave her some watermelon after her fish stick dinner and she broke out in a rash on her face and developed some hives on her cheeks.  I thought she had developed an allergy to Pollock.  Then on Wednesday we had watermelon as out after school snack, and again, she broke out in hives and an itchy face rash.  So there ya have it, we are off melons of any kind now.

Summer is summer at our house, but just a little different.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Honk Honk

Admit it, you're tired of reading about the babe's behavior issues.  It's OK, I'm tired of writing about it.

So tonight I have a short story for you instead.

Yesterday, as we were getting out of the car after our park adventure, I accidentally bumped into the horn and it let out a big honk.

The babe looked at me and said, "But Mama, why did you do that?  No one did anything bad."

Smart kid, that one.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Happy Half Birthday!

My darling son is 1.5 today.  Despite all the chaos this week, I just wanted to mark this special occasion.  I cannot believe my baby boy is so old. 

Last week the kids and I went to a music class in our former neighborhood.  We visited one of our old parks before class and it brought back so many memories.  The babe and I used to frequent this park when she was the little guy's age.  It was one of our special places.  And now another few years have gone by and there I was was, bringing 2 babies to the park instead of just 1.

The thing that hit me the most was that this was the park the babe and I went to at 6:30 am the day I found out I was pregnant with the little guy.  It was a weekend morning, and it was my husband's sleep in day.  The babe woke up early that day so I took advantage of the situation and took an early morning pregnancy test. When it came up that I was pregnant, I just didn't know what to think, or do.  So I packed the babe up and off we went to the park.

The emotions of that morning came back to me last week as I stood in the park with my children.  A stranger complimented them saying they were both beautiful.  And indeed they are.  Sometimes a trip down memory lane can help you remember that you are where you always wanted to be.

Good Day?

I was super nervous as I drove to school to pick the babe up today.  Would I be having another "meeting" with the babe's new teacher?  Please, please, please let today be a good day.

I entered the school and the babe was already waiting for me.  She ran to me screaming her happy "Mama!"  Then she told me she was a good girl at school today.  I looked up to scan the various school official's faces.  They checked in with the babe's teacher who was busy with some other kids.  She nodded and said that they had had a good day.  The babe was good.  I was happy.  So off to the park we went to celebrate.  Yes, it was literally 100 degrees Fahrenheit, but we needed to play on the monkey bars, dammit!

Things went mostly OK (I did receive some attitude from the babe about my pushing technique on the swings) and we had a good 'oll sweaty time. The air conditioned car ride home was a big change from yesterday's.

I felt good and was psyched to tell my husband about the babe and her behavior.  And things WERE good until 15 minutes before my husband got home.  The little guy hurt himself (AGAIN) and I went to help him out (he was screaming in pain and bleeding, after all).  The babe started screaming, "I'm JEALOUS!!!!" and when I told her to calm down and that I was helping her brother she proceeded to throw a few things at me.  They were inconsequential, all except the last one...a large purple "Little People" car that smashed against my foot.  I screamed in pain and in shock and dragged her (while carrying the crying and bleeding little guy) to the stairs where I left her to scream and generally freak out.

Last night had drained the crap out of me and I was so looking forward to getting through today without any drama.  But alas, my husband came home to a bad situation.  And again, the babe was put to bed without any stories, chats, or anything special at all.  We explained the situation to her and left her to go to sleep.  We didn't hear a peep out of her and she's up there in dream land right now.  When asked if she knew why we were so upset with her, she had the right answer.  I just don't know how we are supposed to accelerate the development of the part of her brain which tells her to stop before it's too late.  I know it takes time, but her automatic response seems to be physical, and I just don't want to deal with it anymore.

Tomorrow we will continue to work on USING OUR WORDS and GIVING OUR MESSAGES.  Hopefully our persistence and attempts at patience will pay off.  Because if every week is going to be like this week, I don't know how we'll manage.  I just have to remind myself that this is just a phase and the challenges of parenthood will continue to change.  For now, I remain grateful for my family because at the end of the day, it is not that bad. 

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

She's Come Undone

It's been a rough few days here at Casa Ryan Jyoti.

A little back ground.  The babe's school is divided into the 10 month and 11 month programs.  Last week the 10 month program ended and the 11 month program kids (like the babe) had a few days off.  They were back at school this past Monday in consolidated classrooms with a change in the teaching line up.  The babe is lucky because she kept one of her best teachers while also acquiring a new teacher.  The babe has changed classrooms but many of her friends are still with her in the 11 month program.  Sadly, the babe has hurt 2 of her close friends in her class this week.

Yesterday I left to pick up the babe and was expecting the usual drill.  Except it wasn't.  I was told that the babe's new teacher wanted to speak with me.  My heart started thumping and I felt like I had been called to the Principal's office.  I knew it wasn't going to be good news, and it wasn't.  The babe had bitten one of her friends.  The bite did not break the skin and they did not suspend her.  So there I was holding onto the squirming, whiny little guy, while trying to figure out what happened, and trying to hold an appropriate conversation with the teacher.  I gotta tell ya, it was hard to keep it together. 

We had our last soccer practice after school so I decided it was important to finish up that commitment and deal with punishment when we got home.  We talked about what had happened in the car ride and I felt we had made some progress.  Soccer was great (a substitute coach made a huge difference) and gave us the fresh perspective we needed.  I felt that my husband and I had gotten through to her by the end of the day.

I had pretty high hopes for today and didn't expect to see the babe's teacher coming down to talk to me again at pick up time.  But there she was, wanting to talk to me about the babe's behavior.  Apparently the babe was hitting one of her friends today, and didn't stop when the teacher got involved.  Not good.  I was told the same thing again.  The babe needs to work on using her words and to communicate her "message" instead of using her body.  And again, I am sitting there trying to hold the squirming little guy, while holding an important conversation with the babe's new teacher.  Oh, and yes, I'm trying to keep it together again. 

The babe was there for the whole conversation this time.  I started asking her some questions but she wasn't really listening to me.  I then asked why she wasn't paying attention to me and she told me that what I was saying was "boring."  The teacher is standing there watching and asking the babe to listen to my message, and I am just sinking into the ground.

Things got worse in the car ride home.  Despite the fact I was armed and ready for a trip to the park, I had to cancel this venture as it no longer seemed appropriate.  The babe was not happy with this and proceeded to cry and scream the whole way home.  She then threw her water bottle to the front of the car.  The bottle hit the gear shift and the car went into neutral.  Then she took off her shoes and threw them at me (one at a time).  And then a few toys from the entertainment basket I keep between the kids car seats.  Seriously, what was I supposed to do?

We made it into the house in one piece and I explained she was going to be punished.  No TV, no dessert, no bed time stories.  The next 3 hours were filled with many highs and lows.  I kept trying to talk about what was happening at school and to figure her out.  Just when I thought things were on the up and up, the babe bit her brother's wrist because she was angry at the fact I wasn't going to let her "wash" any more dishes.  Needless to say I was in shock.  After all the discussions we've had about not hurting other people and using our words to communicate our message, it felt like nothing was getting through to her.

When my husband got home and I gave him the down low, the babe was punished; left in the stairway to scream and cry.  It was really rough and I just focused on getting the little guy to bed.  My husband gave the babe a bath and put her to talking, no stories. It was so hard and she fell asleep still doing that snotty nose/shake thing you do after you've been crying for a long time.  It breaks my heart and I am at a loss.  I hope the message has gotten through to her now.

The thing I don't understand is that we were doing so well.  Since the biting incident last month, we had been on an upswing.  We were enjoying our time together and I thought we were past all this garbage.  But the time off last week, combined with me leaving last weekend, and starting in a new classroom with one new teacher this week has apparently thrown her back into her multiple personalities.  One girl is the sweetest, kindest most intelligent and considerate kid.  And the other is just a mean, physically aggressive psychopath.  Days like this make me question my parenting abilities and leave me with a twisted stomach and tightened jaw.  It sucks to feel so helpless. 

I am going to keep trying to help the babe use her words and give her "messages," because I really don't know what the alternative is right now.  I just went up to check on her sleeping, and it's amazing how peaceful she is now.  She's my baby girl and we're going to sort it out. 

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

More Poop Stories

I can't help but share this gross story. 

After we were done running our errands this morning, I popped upstairs with the little guy for a much needed diaper change.  I get into the job, and of course there is some poop in there.  The little guy starts kicking me and then grabs his crappy diaper and flings it up by his head.  Yuck.  So I grab the nasty diaper, get his bum cleaned up and into a new diaper. 

I look at the changing pad when I sit him up and see a poop streak.  Then I look at his shoulder and see another poop streak.  Then I smell his hair, and yep, you guessed it, poop streak.  So off we went for a full bath and hair wash (too bad last night was hair washing night).  I got him all cleaned up and walked back into his room to grab some fresh clothes.  Guess what I almost stepped in....yep, poop.  So that also got cleaned up.

We finally made it downstairs for lunch.  After a small hang out/digestion session in the living room, we went back up for nap time.  As I was changing his diaper again, he started pushing.  I got a good view of the log that was stuck in there.  The next few minutes were similar to giving birth.  The poor kid grunted and pushed and I helped him along by rubbing his tummy and singing songs.  It finally worked.  The little guy had managed to get out a grown up size poop.  I can not believe that was stuck in him and am sure that it would never have come out if he had been sitting in a diaper.  Sometimes you just need a little help, I suppose. 

Monday, June 21, 2010

It's All Good

In last night's post I mentioned I was happy to come home to my family after my one night get away.  But I forgot to mention I was also happy to come back to my life in Washington, DC.  For the first time, I was not sad to be leaving the Big Apple, and that is a big deal.

When I moved away from NYC as a single childless professional 7 years ago, I figured I'd only be in DC for a few years, if that.  I knew I wanted to move back to New York, and that DC was just a temporary situation.  I would never have guessed I'd end up married raising 2 kids here. 

In the years since, I have missed New York.  And after my many visits back, I would long for it and wish I could be living the life my friends had continued living there without me.  That is unhealthy, but it was the truth.

DC started to grow on me once I had my children here.  It became their birthplace, and that is something pretty special.  It now feels like my home, and I appreciate all the amazing things it has to offer (not that I take advantage of all of them).  It still has its issues, but it really is a whole lot easier to raise a family here than in the Big Apple.

I suppose that I now see things through the eyes of a Mother, and since I haven't travelled back to my old home much in the past few years, I had never realized that I actually am in the right place now.  Living in the big city comes with a lot of sacrifices and challenges, and it also costs a boat load of money.  I love our huge lawn and the fact that I can see the stars and hear the crickets at night.  Yet we are only five metro stops from my husband's office downtown.  Five stops doesn't get you far in New York.

I will always miss NYC and it will continue to have a special place in my heart.  And somewhere down the road it would be very cool to live there again (without small children and with lots of cash), but for now, I have a blessed life here in DC, and I'm grateful for it.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day!

I am back from the Big Apple.  It was an amazing whirlwind adventure and I loved it.  But I also loved coming home to my awesome husband and 2 little love bugs.  We all survived the separation, and I am eternally grateful to my husband for supporting my mini get away.   

The fact that I was able to take off on Father's Day weekend says a lot about my husband.  He isn't into all the formal occasions of life and isn't really bothered if celebrating happens on the day we've been told to celebrate or not.  That said, he certainly got to celebrate being a Father this weekend!  Hanging out with a 3.5 and 1.5 year old with no back up for a nice chunk of time will definitely give you a chance to immerse yourself in your parenting role!  

Like a Christmas stocking, I left out one of his presents to open at midnight.  My husband wanted me to chose a PlayStation 3 game that we could both play together.  Thoughtful and bonding, right?  So I am now tasked with learning how to play World Cup Soccer and I will be pretending I am in South Africa for months to come.

I was happy to give him the babe's newly framed art from her November art show as his "prettier" gift this evening.  The babe whipped out her home made card and a little tie shaped book mark she had made for him at school.  We also have a tradition where we send each other emails from the kids yahoo accounts with photos attached.  I attached a shot of the babe holding a Happy Father's Day sign she made, one of the two kids together with the sign, and one of the little guy grabbing the sign while trying to run off.  All very cute.  Next weekend there will be sleep ins and some yummy meals to make up for ditching him for 26 hours. 

So I'd just like to take this opportunity to thank my amazing husband.  When you get married, you really have no idea what you're in for.  And if you have kids, you REALLY have no idea what you're in for.  You just hope and pray that together you can navigate through all the joys and heartaches of parenthood together.  And so far I am proud of everything we have accomplished and our developing abilities as co-parents.  The man I married is a great Papa, and for that I will be forever grateful.  I love you, honey! Happy Father's Day!

Friday, June 18, 2010

The Big Apple

My dear family, friends, and dedicated readers,

It's been a long week.  The babe has been off school since noon on Wednesday and the kids and I have had to find numerous ways to pass our days in a fun and peaceful way.  I am proud of the babe for being so awesome and I am proud of me for making it through without any major meltdowns.  And now on to my reward.

Tomorrow I will be getting on an Amtrak train to the most awesome city in the world.  Yes, I, Christine, am going on a one-night get away all by myself.  My amazing husband will be watching the babe and the little guy while I am gone (thank you, thank you, thank you!). 

My old friends are having a bit of a reunion and I am so glad I'm not going to miss it (again, thank you sweet husband).  I am so unbelievably excited to see everyone and to meet their new babies (it's amazing what can happen in a few years!).  The last trip to NYC by myself was when the babe was the tender age of 1.5.  But I suppose I wasn't really by myself as I unknowingly had the one week old little guy secretly stashed in my belly.  

This is the kind of trip I gave up when I became a Mom.  When you don't have family to help you out, it is pretty rare to get the opportunity to leave town without your kids.  But the kids are getting older, and my husband and I have gotten a bit better at this parenting thing.  So off I go.

I'm not sure about my computer access during the 22 hours I will be in the Big Apple, but know that I will check in with you as soon as I can. 


Thursday, June 17, 2010


My son loves his Papa.  He says his name numerous times a day while my husband is at work.  In fact, the little guy saw a father at the park today and started saying "Papa" over and over.  It is sweet and very touching.  His voice really is like that of a little angel.  I adore it.

What is not touching is the fact that he will not say "Mama."  I am pretty sure there was a time he would say it, but he has since dropped it from his extremely limited vocabulary.  I ask him to say "Mama" and he replies with "Papa."

Not to be particular or anything, but I play a pretty big roll in this kid's life and the fact that he won't say my very simple name kinda bugs me.  I keep trying, and I keep getting "Papa."

As long as he isn't saying many words at all, I'm not going to let it get to me.  But once my little boy's vocabulary starts to grow, I'm going to be expecting a whole lotta sweet Mamas to come my way.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Opposite of What I Mean

How much sarcasm is appropriate in a house with 2 little children?  This is a question I've been asking myself lately.  I can be a tad on the sarcastic side at times, and it has never been a problem with my kids because they never noticed.  The times have changed.  The babe seems to catch me quite frequently and has no problem calling me out on it.  She's been asking me questions about my comments and clearly gets that they are not an accurate portrayal of the situation at hand.

I'm pretty sure it's a bad thing to be sarcastic in front of toddlers and preschoolers.  But there are so many times when it is my immediate reaction to a situation.  I have been trying to reign it in as I have failed in explaining the concept of sarcasm to the babe.

Most definitions of the word seem to agree that sarcasm involves saying the opposite of what you really mean (which stumps the babe), and using irony in a rather cutting fashion (which sound plain old mean).  Some definitions go on to say that it is a marker of annoyance (I'll admit I am annoyed quite a bit).  After looking over multiple definitions, it's pretty clear I should start biting my tongue and leave the sarcasm for when we're all a little older and wiser.

I have done a good job at dropping my swearing and I think I can drop the sarcasm as well, at least until 7:30pm.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

My Clover

I have so many complaints about my day, but I am in the mood to share a happy part.

At 3:05 pm, the little guy and I made our way out the door to pick the babe up at school.  I usually lock up and hold his hand so he can make it down the 2 front steps.  Today, after helping him down, I decided to walk off and see if he'd follow.  I made it down the long path to the car and turned back to see him messing around with some clovers near the front door.  I told him to come along and he started doing his very cute "fast walk."  It was so sweet to watch my little love bug making his own way down the path with all his flashy mobility.

He then showed me something in his hand.  It was a clover flower.  It made my heart melt when he started holding it to his nose and blowing on it as if he was trying to smell it.  He'd take a big reverse whiff and give me a huge smile.  I found the fact that the little guy didn't know how to smell the clover, but still got a huge kick out of it, pretty entertaining.

I got him in his car seat and managed to convince him the flower was for me.  I was pretty sure if I didn't get it back from him he'd eat it on the way to school.  So he gave it to me and I felt warm and fuzzy that I had received the first flower my son will ever give me.  And that's my nice story of the day. 

Monday, June 14, 2010

Food, Food, Food

When I was an undergrad student at Concordia University in Montreal, Canada, my roommate (the lovely Katy over at A Mama Being) and I used to spend $60 a week on our groceries.  We'd each chip in $30 and head to the store together with a calculator.  We didn't splurge on things like Tropicana Orange was always frozen, from concentrate.  Times were tight on our student budgets, but we always managed to have yummy, although quite processed, foods.   

Now that I shop for a family of 4, things have changed.  Every day I am tackled with the following questions:
  • What's for breakfast?
  • What's for lunch?
  • What's for dinner?
Providing this many meals daily gets overwhelming at times, especially when the kids don't eat what we do most of the time.  Even if I prepare a dinner they can have (allergy friendly that is), they rarely eat/enjoy it.  I made Shepard's Pie last night and they didn't even want to look at it.  The little guy just pushed it around on his tray and kept pointing at the hot dog I had microwaved as back up (my mistake for having the back up option displayed on the table!). And the babe had to be fed, bite by bite (in the form of an airplane, train, car, etc.), by her father.

I try and use fresh produce as much as possible, and stick to whole wheat add ons.  I rely heavily on veggie dogs, soy nut butter/jam, and organic chicken nuggets (which cost a boat load) for the kids.  All the choices I make at the grocery store always seem to end up costing an arm and a leg.  Organic is great, but pricey.  Getting meats and fish that are not tainted with a gazillion poisonous chemicals costs money.  And, as you probably well know, it can really get overwhelming when you go to the grocery store as much as parents do.

My days of $30 a week for food are long gone, but I am trying to think of ways I can trim our grocery bills down.  We are blessed we can spend more on our food than I was able to as a student, but sometimes I wonder about whipping out the 'oll calculator and trying to stick to a shopping list a little more than I do.  At the same time, I have accepted that healthy food costs, and the cost is worth it when you consider the alternative.  Our diets are so intrinsically linked to our health.  I am convinced that it's best to get in front of potential health problems while also setting the kids up for a lifetime of healthy eating.  In the end, our health is really the most important thing we have.   

So I suppose I will continue to keep our garden growing, look for the sales, try and buy bulk, and use everything that I purchase.  If you have any tricks of the trade, feel free to share!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The Weekend Date

If I ever need to remind myself of what it's like to hang out with a great kid, I just have to go on a Mama/Babe date.  It's not that she doesn't have her moments of greatness at home, but there's something different about her when we're out together without her Papa and brother. 

We had another awesome outing today and I was so happy to spend time alone with my daughter.  While we were driving to the Goodwill, I happened to call her "sweetie pie." She then asked me if I could call her that every day, and I said I'd be happy to.

I love it when it's just her and I, and so does she.  Her behavior is exemplary, and I almost forget how absolutely nuts she can be at other times of the week.  She just likes having me all to herself and I suppose I am embracing the fact that one-on-one time is a critical component of being the Mother of 2 kids.

The success of our recent adventures has made me wonder what it would be like to take the babe on a weekend train trip to NYC.  But I'm getting way ahead of myself.  I'm just basking in the relief that she can be a "normal" kid sometimes, and that we can have those Mother/Daughter moments you see in the movies (not that I want a "normal kid" or to have my life reflect the movies!).

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Breaking Point

Some days the kids are just whiny and annoying, like today.  I had hopes that we'd have a smooth day that would involve watching some World Cup soccer.  By the time the US versus UK match was on, the kids were melting down, despite the fact they'd just woken up from naps.

I was cagey, frustrated, anxious and needed to blow off steam. It just gets to a point where everything rubs you the wrong way.  My observant husband suggested I go for a walk.  So I threw on my flip flops and left the house with no destination in mind.  I recalled a house for sale that I wanted to walk by, so off I went.

On the way, I passed by a house with 3 younger girls and a Mother fighting (in French) on their front porch.  I couldn't help but stare at what was, I'd guess, the ultimate breaking point for this Mother.  She was screaming and grabbed one of the girls by the pony tail and yanked her head back.  I'm sure she was holding herself back.  They didn't even notice me walking by as the situation was obviously so intense and all consuming.  The Mom managed to direct all the girls inside, and as I walked by I heard the front door slam hard and the Mother's continued screams inside.

As parents we are tested in so many ways, every day.  Parenthood puts us into the most annoying and frustrating situations and sometimes we just can't keep our cool.  It is like a volcano that just has to erupt.  It feels good to let it rip, but we usually regret it once the lava has spewed everywhere and we're left to clean up the pieces.  But we can't always be perfect.  And I will be the first to admit that most folks on this block have seen me freaking out at my kids as I try to heard them to the car or back into the house.  We aren't always at our best, and that's the reality of it.

Anyway, I felt so bad after walking by this scene that I decided on the spot that I was going to go home and get the kids into their UV protective swim wear and turn on the sprinkler.  The kids were nuts when I got home, but I got them suited up and we hit the outdoors with a burst of excitement.

It was the best thing we could have done.  They had an awesome time and I got to sit on the porch and watch them play together.  A moment of bliss in an otherwise annoying day.  Hang in there day can be perfect, and neither can we.

Friday, June 11, 2010

I Like No Answers

Relief, relief, relief.  That's what I felt this morning after I met with my Rheumatologist.

I left for my appointment expecting some answers, and the only answer I really got was that nothing showed up on my MRI.  This is not a bad answer, but doesn't fully explain why as I type this entry, the joints in my hands are stiff and sore.  But I don't really care, because he said the MRI, the blood tests, and the X-Rays are not showing anything wrong (other than a slight case of anemia).

The doc said that it could be my hormones adjusting after all these years of pregnancy and breastfeeding (my initial theory), or it could be the beginnings of Osteoarthritis.  I am going to go with hormones adjusting, thank you very much.

I have a list of things to be on the look out for, like funky stuff with my eyes, weird white patches on my skin, and another thing you don't really want to know about.  All these issues are directly related to autoimmune diseases.  But other than that, I'll head back in for a check up in December.  Now that's good news for a Friday!

If any of you know of anyone who has experienced joint stiffness/pain after child rearing/weaning from breastfeeding, feel free to share their stories because this is something you don't hear about that often, and the medical community doesn't seem to be very "in the know."

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Babe

Every day provides me with numerous stories to share.  But I can't share them all because I don't have time to write them, and you don't have time to read them.

If you had asked me last night what I would be writing about today, I would not have said that I'd be gushing about how awesome, sweet and smart my daughter is (needless to say, we didn't have a good day at Casa Ryan Jyoti).

But here I am, about to share some of my daughter's awesomeness with you.

This morning we stopped off at the mail box (about 2 blocks away) on the way to school to send Grandpa's Father's Day card.  The babe loves putting the mail into the mail box, so I make an effort to involve her when the post item is something she worked on.  We dropped the card in and as we were getting back into the car, the babe shouted, "Look, Mama, it's the water truck going to our house!"  I turned around expecting to see a garbage truck or some other random truck, but indeed, it was the water truck.  And it was indeed OUR water truck as they were scheduled to come by this morning (we recently upgraded our drinking water as DC is not known for its quality tap water).  Not bad for a 3.5 year old.

Then on the car ride we were talking about the babe's old babysitter and how she'd be coming over in a few weeks because of Mama and Papa's 5 year wedding anniversary.  She asked if she could come out to dinner with us, I said no (and explained why), and then she asked me if I was going to wear a dress?  Apparently I should wear a dress because that is what you should do for wedding anniversaries....oh, and it should apparently be white.

And the last super sweet story occurred after we parked and the babe was picking random items up off the ground before getting in the stroller with her brother.  She picked up part of a leaf and said, "Look Mama, a maple syrup leaf."  Now how freakin CUTE is that???

I love my kid.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Potty Talk

For some reason I can't stop talking about bowel movements and bums this week. 

First off, a story from yesterday afternoon.  For some time our Tuesdays have revolved around activities; the little guy's music class in the morning and soccer for the babe in the afternoon.  Yesterday was our last music class for the season and we are in the process of doing make-up soccer classes for all the rainy days we've missed. 

We had another gorgeous day and I was actually pretty psyched for soccer.  I had everything ready for 3:00 pm when I leave to pick up the babe; the multiple drinks, the snacks (including some lovely cut up grapes), the ball and shin pads.  I just had to get the babe changed at home and have everyone hit the potty/diaper change one last time.  As we got close to the soccer field (later than expected), the babe started complaining her tummy hurt.  After a beautiful parallel parking job, she informed me she had to go poo.

As soccer is held at one of those nifty parks without a public bathroom, we drove off to the closest McDonald's for a potty trip (I figured they owed me after the Shrek glass recall).  I got both kids out of the car (even though the babe kept asking why we couldn't just leave the little guy while we went in), to the bathroom, and got the babe on the toilet.  She sat there (and managed to touch every gross public bathroom thing possible) and only let out a little pee.  She then declared, "I don't have to go."


So we wash up, head back to the car, get buckled back into the car seats, pack up the stroller, and head back to the field.  "My tummy still hurts.....WAAAAAAA...," I hear in the back seat.  "Let's just try playing for 10 minutes and then if you want to leave, we can," I reply.  She agrees, but then keeps on complaining.  "FINE, do you want to go home and rest?" I ask.  The answer was yes.  So I turn around and we drive back home (it's close to 5:00 pm at this point).  She cried all the way.  In fact, I almost considered taking her to Children's Hospital in case her appendix was bursting or something.  But I sucked it up and we made it back in one piece.  The babe got changed, lay in her bed with her pacifiers for a few minutes, and came downstairs to declare that she was fine.  So much for soccer.

The other bum related story has to do with the little guy.  The poor kid has some pretty wicked diaper rash.  The problem is that he keeps pooping these little smudgy poops and I am constantly having to change him to avoid the situation getting worse.  This causes him so much pain he's been wailing, kicking, screaming and doing anything he can think of to try and stop me.  It is breaking my heart and I'm not sure what to do.  The skin is broken in a few places and I'm using some serious diaper cream, but I really think he just needs to stop pooping constantly so his little bum can heal.  Thoughts and suggestions are more than welcome!     

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Clock Keeps Ticking

I actually finished a book last night (Twenties Girl).  It was one of my silly escapism books that I like to indulge in.  It usually takes me a really long time to read these ones as they are always in addition to whatever parenting book I am struggling through, along with whatever my book club is reading.  And considering I don't read as much as I want, it is exciting for me to finish any book.

The thing that made me nostalgic about finishing Twenties Girl was the fact that my book mark was a breast pad, still in its original wrapper.  In fact, I found a whole box of them in the little guy's closet yesterday.  I was on a spring organizing/cleaning/sorting mission and kept coming across baby items (itty bitty blankets, spit up cloths, etc.) that I just don't need. 

And it got me to thinking; it's already been over 3 months since I weaned the little guy and I am never going to breast feed again.  After breastfeeding my 2 kids for a combined 27 months, it has already become foreign.  When I saw a few women nursing their babies at the park yesterday, I was touched by how tender, yet distant it seemed to me.

I get sentimental when I think about moving on, as much as I look forward to it. I admit I am attached to all the baby stuff and am sad when I move outgrown outfits and random items up to the attic for storage.

My kids are growing up so quickly and I am only now beginning to understand what people mean when the say it all happens so fast.  As much as I can still see them as the babes they once were, they really are both their own little people now, and I am having to navigate these relationships with a respect that didn't used to seem necessary (I don't mean that I didn't used to respect them, only that they really are "people" now).

I am so happy with our family, and so excited to watch my babies grow (in fact, the babe turned 3.5 yesterday!), but they will always be my little ones, no matter how big they get. 

Monday, June 7, 2010

Saving 30 Cents

Today was a glorious day in Washington, D.C.  A perfect spring day.  So perfect, I took the little guy to the park in the morning, and both kids to the park after school.

Per our routine, the kids stripped off their park clothes when we got home.  We all cleaned up and changed into our comfy "home" clothes.  I grabbed a diaper and one of those one piece outfits for the little guy.  But when I went to put on the diaper, the sticky tab on one side broke off.  Well, I'm not going to waste the whole 30 cent diaper because of a broken sticky tab.  So I pulled the outfit on over his head and went downstairs to find some tape.  And yes, I proceeded to tape up one side of his diaper (not very well, apparently).

After dinner the kids were watching our new Baby Signing Time DVD (thanks, K), when the babe came into the kitchen to complain that the living room was smelly.  I replied that it was probably just her brother's bum.  This kid seems to poop non-stop and the babe has gotten pretty good at letting me know when he stinks.

So I walk into the living room and am struck by a pungent odour.  Then I see the poo smeared diaper lying on the ground and the little guy walking around with a wet lower half.  It hits me like a ton of bricks.  He took off his diaper, and peed and pooed in his one piece outfit and has been walking around climbing and sitting on things.  And yes, that is a little bit of poo on his hand.  I suppose he could have been painting the walls with poo, so it wasn't as out of control as it could have been.

Off we went upstairs for clean up time.  I took off the outfit and found poo caked on the inside.  By the end of the day, this kid just stinks.  By the end of today, it was beyond's like the stink had moved in to stay.  To make matters worse, the babe managed to do a #2 while I was working on project "clean up little guy."  I have to say, it was a poop fiesta.
Apologies for the grossness of this entry, but being a Mom can be pretty gross.  I had a number of things I could have written about today, but for some reason, this was the nugget I wanted to share.  I'm sure I'll switch gears tomorrow!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

The You Know What

This may be something I shouldn't talk about, but it's something all mothers of boys have to deal with.  The little guy recently found his you know what.  I'm not sure what you're supposed to call it on the Internet, but you know what I'm talking about.

Bath time is about the only time it's out there.  So the little guy has been enjoying getting to know this new body part and he actually thinks it's pretty funny.  The fact that it cracks him up cracks me up.

Although when I took off his clothes and diaper for bath time tonight, he reminded me of what he can do with it.  Before I had a chance to grab him and put him in the bath he managed to pee all over the floor in his room.  That didn't exactly crack me up.

I know this is the beginning of a new thing, and since I've only ever dealt with a little girl, this is going to bring up some new issues for me.  I don't even want to think about potty training.  Luckily I have a husband who can provide guidance when guidance is needed! 

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Shrek Glass Recall

We never go to fast food places with the kids.  In that way, food allergies have been a blessing in disguise.  My kids just don't understand what a Happy Meal is.

However, a few weeks ago, after we all picked up soil at the gardening center, we were driving back home and made an abrupt decision to pick up a cold drink at the golden arches drive through.  They just happened to be selling Shrek themed glasses promoting the new movie.  I got a huge rush of nostalgia as I remembered the days my family used to collect themed glasses from fast food restaurants.  I convinced my husband we should get one for the babe.

It seemed like a lovely Puss in Boots glass. Very solid and a nice addition to our rather uninspired glass collection.

Then I get an email from my husband yesterday with a link to an article.  There is a recall on the Shrek themed McDonald's glasses because the paint contains a carcinogen, cadmium, which can cause bone and kidney problems in children.  REALLY?  Is anything safe?  I just wanted to get my kid a Shrek glass for crying out loud.

So I suppose that will be hitting the garbage.  That's what we get for breaking down and supporting the evil empire.

Looks like we have Rep. Jackie Spier (D-CA) to thank for this recall.

For additional information, contact McDonald's at (800) 244-6227 or visit the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Friday, June 4, 2010

A First

Today I had my first MRI. It's just like on TV, except on TV you see the person in there for a minute and then they move on to the next scene.  In reality, half my body was in the tube for 40 minutes.  I was not allowed to move.  I was in a "superwoman" position on my stomach with one arm above my head.  It was the longest 40 minutes I've experienced in some time. 

I wasn't going to get into my recent health stuff on this blog until I had more information.  But I've now been to 3 doctors appointments, had blood work, x-rays, and now an MRI, and I just felt like sharing.

When I started weaning the little guy in January I began to notice some hand stiffness at night, usually when I was up to check on the kids or go to the bathroom.  I thought it was odd but expected it would clear up when my hormones got back to normal.  The weaning was a gradual process and was all wrapped up in March.  At this point my hands were so stiff at night I could no longer make a fist after periods of inactivity.  So I called our family doctor.

He told me it could be the beginning stages of osteoarthritis.  He did some blood work and the tests came back negative for a host of issues including lupus, Lyme disease and rheumatoid arthritis.  My doc told me to keep on eye on it and let him know if it got worse or if my hands started to swell.  I was also instructed to take Advil.

A few weeks later I decided that was not a good enough answer.  So I went to a Rheumatologist/arthritis specialist.  The new doc has put me on a whole bunch of ibuprofen as the original medication he chose was making me seriously nauseous all day.  He's now run a bunch of blood tests and x-rays and has not come up with anything (although apparently about one third of rheumatoid arthritis cases don't show up on blood tests).  So he sent me for an MRI.

I had not been overly concerned about the MRI until I saw the machine and was told what would happen over the next 45 minutes.  And the reason I have to share all this is because of the crazy thoughts that ran through my head as I lay immobile in that loud, cold, scary tube.  I worried they would find something that will affect my ability to be a Mom.  I worried that the scans will lead to more tests and eventually to some bad news.  I worried that I could have a disease that is going to get worse and worse until I can no longer take care of myself, let alone my kids.

I know as Mothers we all have these worries.  But today, lying in that machine, they all came exploding into my head.  When a tear escaped my eye I realized I had to pull it together.  So instead of worrying, I focused on trying to relax and thinking about the mocha I was going to treat myself to after I got the hell out of the tube.  And you'll appreciate that I paid for my mocha treat with the money I got back for returning my crappy dishwasher detergent.

I guess I will have to keep you all posted now...that's what I get for sharing.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Mother Earth

I care about the world my children will live in after I am gone.  And I care about the world that my grandchildren will live in after I'm gone.  You get the picture.  But when you look at the current state of affairs, it is rather disturbing (do I have to mention the words oil and spill?).

We are teaching our kids to respect the earth and I try to make environmentally responsible choices every day (although diapers are my downfall).  We don't use water bottles, we try to shop and eat responsibly, and we put in a solid effort when it comes to recycling.  One day we will get it together and make the composting thing happen as well.

But today I broke down and returned to my hard core unfriendly dishwasher gel.  I have been trying to make it work with the environmentally friendly dish detergent but keep ending up with a load of pretty dirty dishes. That doesn't seem so good for the planet considering how much water that thing must use in a cycle.

I guess I'm wondering if any of you have any good tips to share on how us Moms can be kinder to the earth?  I like easy that real Moms can fit into their lives without much difficulty.  And does anyone know why environmentally friendly cleaning products are so lame and do you have any good recommendations for stuff that actually works??

In other news, I set up the sprinkler in the front yard this afternoon and let the kids at it (it was super hot and humid).  It was the little guy's first time in a sprinkler and it was definitely one of those priceless moments.  I guess we wasted a good chunk of water on that adventure. Whoops.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

We're All Canadian, Eh

Today is an exciting day.  Not only is it my 1 month anniversary of blogging EVERY DAY (yay me!!!), but my kids got their Canadian citizenship certificates in the mail this morning!

Although in my heart I have always known they are Canadian, it is pretty cool that the Canadian government now knows that they are Canadian as well.  I feel more at ease knowing it is official.  There's a sense of relief having that critical paper work taken care of. 

It took me a while to get my act together, but I'm glad I did it (and that it only took 7 months to process).  And right in time for Canada Day on July 1st.  So here's to my family of Canadian citizens!!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The Peaceful Slumber

I know it's Tuesday, but I wanted to share a little nugget of our weekend life.  It is something so simple, and yet so special.

At my bed time (around 11pm), after I've gotten ready for my slumber, I call my husband upstairs to say good night (he always stays up later than me). 

During the weeknights we check on the kids individually, but there's something about weekend nights that encourages us to enter the kids rooms together.  We stand over their beds and stare in awe.  We fix blankets, find pacifiers, ruffle hair, give kisses, and pat legs, together.  It's amazing we don't wake them up. 

Our munchkins are so perfect, peaceful, and sweet.  It melts my heart.  The fact that my husband and I were able to create such masterpieces is truly awesome.  I don't know how we pulled it off. 

I go to sleep with a yummy, happy, "in love" kinda feeling.  Because sometimes you're just in love with your family, and it's a beautiful thing.

I owed you some positive blogging, so put this in my account for those days I have to let it all hang out!