Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Oh...By The Way

I am fully aware that, as of late, I have been a tad whiny. Maybe even a bit of a downer.

I've never been one of those glass-half-full kind of girls, and I have never handled change well.

But every time, and I mean every time, I rant or whine or complain in a post, someone out there reaches out to me.

I initially started this blog to vent about stupid shit in my world. I had to re-think that very quickly, seeing as how most of the stupid shit that happens to me happens at work, and blogging about your job is a big no-no.

The thing I love the most about blogging, other than getting things off of my chest, is the support I receive. I get comments and e-mails and phone calls from strangers and family and friends, letting me know that I am not alone.

I am not crazy.

I am not unusual.

I am OK.

The things that I think, the things that I write, others understand.

And that? Is awesome.

So in case I forget to mention it, THANK YOU. Thank you for caring. Thank you for the ideas and the encouraging words. They really do mean the world.

Moral Dilemnas

Being a mom is a lot like walking a tightrope. While trying to juggle at the same time.

There are so many responsibilities pulling you in different directions.

Samantha pulls me one way, Workaholic another, Charlotte a third.

And then my emotions/hormones pull me in an entirely different direction.

Everyone always told us how easy we had it with Sam. From what I remember, she was a delightful child, and at 7 1/2 weeks, started sleeping through the night. That soon translated to 12 hours, and happy during the day, with a few naps. I attribute this to the E.A.S.Y. routine, which I am trying my damndest to get Charlie on. I often don't remember the hard times I went through with Sam, so why should everyone else?

***On a side note, Sam has definitely become her own person, and she isn't sure about this new little attention-stealer. For example, just now, I was trying to put Charlie to sleep. I feed her every 3 hours, she is up for about an hour, and then she must sleep. So I swaddle her, give her a pacifier, and sit quietly with her in her room, which used to be Sam's room. In that room, since we moved in, there are vertical blinds that go to the floor. Sam never once touched those blinds in the 19 months she lived there. Now?? When I am trying to sit quietly with Charlie, she comes in and pushes the blinds aside. Which makes all kinds of racket. And wakes up the previously almost-asleep Charlie. When I told her not to do it, she collapsed dramatically on the floor and USED HER TOES to move the blinds ever so slightly. ARE YOU KIDDING ME???

So Charlie has gas. For a long time, we thought she was crying a lot because she didn't poop. But now, I realize it is gas. For another long time, we thought her gas was due to formula, or my parent's well water. We now realize that isn't true. It doesn't matter if she has all breastmilk or a little formula, her gas will knock you on your ass, it is so foul. It is painful, and keeps her from being able to fall asleep, and considering I am trying to get her to sleep every 3 hours during the day...well...let's just say that I get frustrated. To say the least.

Which brings me to another point...I told my pediatrician a long time ago that she had the most awful smelling gas on the face of this Earth. And I was told that is normal. Today, I was told, "THAT IS NOT NORMAL." Are you kidding me??? Of course it isn't normal, but we could have started diagnosing this issue weeks ago!!

Last night, after both Workaholic and I spent what seemed like forever trying to comfort Charlie, Workaholic convinced me to do a test. Give her only soy-based formula for at least 24 hours. No breastmilk. As excited as I was about having to walk downstairs to prepare a bottle in the middle of the night, I agreed. Something wasn't right.

And knock-on-wood, so far, so good. I know I have proclaimed victory here before, so I'll try to be a little more subdued. But she has only had the Enfamil ProSobee since bedtime last night. Her gas wasn't smelly in the middle of the night, and she has had much less. What she had this morning wasn't nearly as foul. And?? And??? She pooped!! After only 4 days!! I did talk to my pediatrician, and she got me to thinking about formula versus breastmilk...which is what I mean by being pulled in different directions.

Everyone knows that "breast is best". I sort of don't mind breastfeeding. It can be quite annoying, seeing as how I don't actually know how much food Charlie is getting, and if I do give formula, I have to pump. Or if I will be out all day and have someone else watching Charlie, I have to pump. Or if I want to get a good night's sleep and she only ate off of one side, I have to pump. So let's just say that I don't LOVE breastfeeding like many moms do. I do it because it is best for the baby, it saves me money on formula, and I am lazy in the middle of the night.

But Charlie seems to have a problem with my breastmilk. And there is a good chance that the root of the problem is the lactose in cow's milk. And the only way to test that is for me to NOT EAT DAIRY. My pediatrician said that even testing it for 72 hours would give us an idea if that is the problem. So in addition to all the annoying aspects of breastfeeding, now I can't have milk, or yogurt, or cheese. And I also must check the ingredients of prepared food to make sure there isn't whey or some other crap in there that is considered cow's milk.

And here is my problem. Am I a terrible person if I would much rather just put Charlie on a soy-based formula and stop breastfeeding if cow-based lactose is the problem? Because if that is the problem, I can't eat dairy. At all. NO CHEESE. NO CHOCOLATE MILK. I am not sure I can do it. Does that make me a terrible mom? I am good at breastfeeding...but I am not sure I can handle such an adjustment. All of the "breast is best" advocates out there proclaim how it is such a personal decision, but once you quit breastfeeding, I feel like people look at you cross-eyed. So do I take the looks or go hungry? Amber Page even recently wrote about this very same subject!

I told you I am on a tightrope.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Happy Birthday Kabo!!

Eleven years ago today, my baby was born. Well, my first baby.

I'm not sure if I've mentioned it before, but I have a dog named Kabo, and we also call him The Fonz. He is a Golden Retriever, and he is the best dog that ever lived. Seriously. Just ask anyone who ever met him.

My senior year of college, Workaholic and I found a dog roaming his apartment complex. We had it for a week before finding it's owner, and in that week, Workaholic decided that a dog wasn't that big a deal, and we should fulfill my lifelong dream and go get one. So I looked in the want ads in the paper (because no rescue group in their right mind would adopt to me) and went to visit the first one that had puppies.

There were only three males left, all blond. They were huge, obviously not the 8 weeks that the newspaper had advertised. But I didn't care, I wanted a puppy. While his two brothers clamoured all over Workaholic and me for attention, Fonz went and peed in the corner. He was also the smallest, so we decided to take him.

Seeing as how we weren't sure we were actually going to get a dog, we had no supplies. So we went straight to Petsmart and stocked up. $100 later, we headed back to Workaholic's apartment.

I wasn't allowed to have dogs at my place, so Fonz would have to live in a small, two bedroom apartment just off campus along the Wabash River. It was a large complex with lots of other dogs. At the time, two other guys lived there, so between the four of us, Fonz got plenty of attention. I'm not going to lie, he did get crated so we could go to the bar a few nights a week. And he generally slept on a pile of dirty laundry. He was an adorable puppy.

I never did formal obedience training with him as a puppy, I just took what I had learned from books and TV and winged it. I was THAT GIRL (as my nephew says) who rollerbladed with her dog on campus. We went for off-leash walks in the wooded parks surrounding West Lafayette, where there were signs everywhere that said, "All dogs must be on leash". It was there where I taught his recall skills and trained him to come to a certain whistle. (The first time I whistle, he has to come back within eyesight of me, the second time he has to come all the way back.) I took him to visit friends on campus, as well as my roommates, who otherwise never saw me. I also took him to my parent's formally no-dogs-allowed-inside house, informed my mother that he was an "inside dog", and then he promptly peed on the floor.

As he got older, I realized I had little control of him (as he is/was a tad....what I like to call, high-energy) and took some classes, and he earned his Canine Good Citizen award. (Workaholic still says I cheated, but I say it was earned, fair and square.) We took agility classes, and I finally got him to jump off the end of the pier at the lake a-la dock dog style. When I was pregnant with Sam, I wrote this post about what he meant to me, because someone kept telling me how Fonz would no longer matter to me once I had Sam. It really pissed me off. My dad has taken him duck hunting, and the shotgun didn't faze him. He was the first one to realize, even before me, that I was pregnant with Samantha.

Now, at 11 years old, he is still young at heart. He still wiggles and wags just as hard as he did when he was a puppy when someone new walks in. He can run circles around most dogs half his age (and does!) and can swim all day if he wants. He will lay outside for hours, surveying his domain, waiting for someone to come for him to greet, or a stray coyote to try to dare to enter his yard. He never leaves the yard (and that is any yard where I am at, not just the yard at our home) unless he has a good reason, he only barks for a good reason, and he poops at the very back of the yard so I don't have to clean it up. If I tell him to go lay down, he does, and if I tell him to move, he does. When we are out on the lake, he can hang out all day with everyone and you don't have to worry about him running off...he just digs for rocks and visits his friends, and occasionally will check in with me. He LOVES to swim and go for walks and rides in the car and boat, and he loves each and every member of my family with the same reckless abandon that he has when he sees snow.

I just can't convey the awesomeness of my dog. For example, right now, my back door is open. It has been all day. He comes and goes as he pleases and I don't have a fenced-in yard and I don't have to worry. He won't leave me. He doesn't wake me up in the morning and he checks on me at night before he assumes his position on the floor next to my bedroom door. In the middle of the night, you will find him sleeping outside the girls' rooms. Right now, he is laying next to me, waiting for me to make the next move. He is the ultimate dog.

I love my Fonz. I guess that's all there is to say. That, and HAPPY BIRTHDAY KABO!!!

Dock Dog Video

Monday, September 20, 2010

Happy Birthday To Me!!

I went to bed last night with a feeling of trepidation. I have every night lately, as I am not sure how the wee hours of the morning are going to go. Workaholic took all the feedings on Friday night, and I got a solid 9 hours of sleep, which made for a pretty good day on Saturday. So last night, I drifted off to sleep hoping my kids would give me a good birthday present and sleep in. Turns out...they did! Charlie slept from 10pm until 4:30am!! In celebration, I leave you with memorable days from the past 32 years.

32 years ago today, I was born. I pissed off my sisters and dad right off the bat by coming after only 4 hours of labor. Dad didn't get to read his magazines, and my sisters didn't get to spend the night at their friend's house.

28 years ago today, I started my annual tradition of asking for a puppy for my birthday. It would be 17 years later before I got Fonz. (and not on my birthday!)

25 years ago today, I had my first birthday party with friends. That's all I remember about the day.

15 years and 11 months ago today, I got my drivers license. My parents practically tossed me out of their car into a 1984 Oldmobile Cutlass Ciera. I rocked out to Metallica on my way home, and am pretty sure I blew out the speakers, if they weren't already blown.

11 years ago today, I took 17 shots for my 21st birthday. I could've done 21 if some asshole hadn't bought me a cement mixer. Also on that day, Workaholic gave me my Claddagh ring. It is still the prettiest one I've ever seen, and I wore it on my left ring finger until we got engaged. I still wear it on my right ring finger.

10 years ago today, I went out to dinner with my parents at Kelsey's Steakhouse. I had closed on my first house 3 weeks earlier, when I was 21 YEARS OLD.

9 years ago today, I celebrated at The Neon Cactus and got really, really wasted.

2 years ago today, I was pregnant with Samantha and went to a fineral. It was hot, but a beautiful day otherwise, kind of like 9/11.

I don't remember what I did one year ago today. And to be completely honest, when Workaholic kissed me good-bye this morning and wished me happy birthday, I had forgotten all about it. But so far, it is as good a day as I could hope, and I am looking forward to the rest of it!!

I leave you with a picture of me when I was...younger.

Friday, September 17, 2010

A New Day?

If you click on over to my About Me section, you will be able to read 50 Things About Me. I wrote it one day when I was bored...I won't go into where exactly I was at the time.

So I was reading them last night, wondering if I needed to update them, and I got to the last one.

#50. I really, really want to be a stay-at-home mom.


This is an interesting one. Considering I was looking at these to see if I needed to change them, I am at a crossroads.

Every day is harder than the last. The weather is getting cooler, but I don't even notice because I hardly go outside.

Samantha has taken to emptying every cabinet and drawer and wipe container that we have. She likes to throw her diapers all over the room. And I am tired of picking up after her...worse yet, I am tired of trying to get her to pick up after herself.

She also has decided that she doesn't like to wear a diaper. And she knows how to take them off. She did this last night in bed, after taking off her pajamas, and peed in the bed. Luckily I decided to check on her, otherwise I would've had a much larger mess on my hands this morning.

Speaking of this morning, it came pretty fast, considering Sam slept with us for only the second time ever last night. After the first time, I swore there would NOT be a second time. Once she fell asleep, it went OK, until she got up 2 hours earlier than usual.

I am ALL about trying to get Charlie on a routine, but she isn't cooperating. And my immediate goal for the routine to succeed is getting Charlie to sleep through the night, or at least through one of the night feedings. So far it isn't working.

Workaholic has been crazy super busy lately. So he hasn't had time to install things like baby gates or cabinet locks, things that I didn't care if I had until I stayed home. All day. With a toddler. Who has a ton of toys but refuses to play with any of them.

I've started to romanticize my job, and fantasize about someone else raising my kids. (I'm talking daycare here.) When I was working, I felt so guilty that someone else was doing my job by raising my kids. But now I wonder if I can even do it. Just trying to figure out what to serve for lunch, and how I am going to do it with a baby who generally chooses to scream at lunchtime, is a struggle.

And while I was writing this, my 20 month old stood 10 feet from me, took off her diaper, pooped on the floor, and clogged a Toto toilet with who-knows-what. (Toto claims you can flush a tennis ball down their toilets.)

The thing is, I know that I have it much better than many people. Many people don't have family or friends around to help them. Many people don't have the money to put food on the table, much less deciding what to cook. Hell, many people don't even have a roof over their heads. Knowing this just makes me feel worse. Because I am struggling, but I feel like I shouldn't be. I have the exact same problems as millions of other people out there. Knowing that doesn't help. Believe you me, I wish it did.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Mom of The Year Award

And today's Mom of The Year Award goes to...ME!!

"OH gee...THANK YOU! I didn't even try!!" ***

***By didn't even try, I totally mean that I didn't look outside when dressing my kids for the park. I didn't go onto www.weather.com to see what the temperature was outside while dressing my kids for the park. I also didn't look at the temperature-reader-thingy that we have hanging on our back porch to see how warm (or cold) it was outside while dressing my kids for the park. I was much more concerned with having diapers and bottles and sippy cups and snacks. At the last minute, I did throw in a hat for Charlie.

Let me just tell you what it IS like outside today in Northwest Indiana.

Temperature: a balmy 74 degrees
Wind: from the north gusting at 24 mph
Wind Chill: -150 degrees

We decided to go home when Sam's lips turned blue and she started pointing at the parking lot and saying, "Go! Go!"

I tried.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

One Month!!

Today Charlie had her one month appointment. I wasn't going to go at a month, but with the pooping...well...I wanted a doctor's approval for whatever I was going to do.

And get this...she weighs 9 lbs 8 oz!!!! That means that she has gained almost 3 pounds in a month, and she gained over 2 pounds in 20 days!! To say that my doctor is pleased is an understatement. ("They" say that babies should gain 1/2 to 1 ounce per day after birth. So she gained 34 ounces in 20 days. Overachiever.) And here is what she said about the pooping, because I know you are all dying to know...

1) If Charlie wasn't gaining weight, she would be concerned about the non-bowel-movement. OK...that's not a problem.

2) If Charlie wasn't having a lot of pee diapers, she would be concerned about the non-bowel-movement. Again...not a problem.

3) Charlie is supposed to have this freakishly distended belly, apparently babies are supposed to look like Budda. Again, no problem.

4) Charlie is considered an exclusively breastfed baby, since she gets less than 10 ounces formula a day. So it is OK for her to go 5 days without...going. (Of course, she said 5 days after I told her it was always at least 4 1/2 days.) So I guess the not going is...not a problem.

5) Charlie has wicked bad gas, so we are switching her to Enfamil Gentle Ease, and hopefully that will help with the crying. And the screaming. And the not-sleeping.

6) Charlie probably wakes up at night because she is hungry, see above for the weight gain.

Basically, I have a normal kid. With normal problems. My mom keeps reminding me that everything was not easy with Sam right off the bat, she cried a lot too. And we would just put her on the bathroom floor. Not kidding. I guess we need to do that with poor, neglected little Charlie.

A girl I know recommended a product called Infaskin. It is said to do the same thing for babies that Activia does for adults. Or something like that. It really helped her son, and I am all about helping my kid. We'll see how it goes...I'll let you know, in case someone else has issues with gas and pooping and crying and did I mention the gas and the crying?? And the not pooping? (And...yeah...I didn't ask my doctor about the Infaskin. Because I was afraid that she would tell me no. And I don't like to hear the word no.)

So here are Charlotte Mae's one month stats...

Height-12 inches (60th percentile) ***Oops!! I meant 21 inches!

Weight-9 lbs, 8 oz (50th percentile)

Head-14 1/2 inches (60th percentitle)

We are so proud.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

It Happened...Again!

Charlie pooped!! And yes, if you are wondering if I am going to post a blog every time my newborn poops, well...there is a very good chance.

This time, it had been 4 1/2 days, before that it was 4 days. And this time, we had to "help" her again. The crying was just getting old, and you could tell that she was really uncomfortable. I did it all by myself, with emotional support from my mom...and then she held her while Charlie grunted and worked her abdomen, and then she changed her diaper, and now she is holding her while I type this. Also this time, it was like toothpaste...and I am pretty sure newborn poop isn't supposed to be like that.

My question to you, internet, have you ever had this problem with your newborn? We do go to the doctor on Tuesday, and I have heard of adding a little extra water to her bottles. She get mostly breast milk, and a couple of bottles of formula a day. But I am wondering what other people's experience are...and what your doctors have told you?

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Writer's Block

I am taking a tip from The Pioneer Woman today, and posting even though I don't really feel like it. And to celebrate that fact, let's talk about some other things I don't feel like doing.

1) Writing thank you notes. I have three left to do, and they WILL get done, but I'm just not in the mood right now.

2) Chasing Sam into my bathroom to quit her from putting on my deodorant and lathering herself up with my night eye cream...that costs $17 a jar. I'd rather just yell from the bed.

3) Calling the vet to make Fonz an appointment to get his teeth cleaned and lumps removed. Scheduling appointments is so exhausting.

4) Unpacking the double stroller I just bought. I got it on clearance at Target, and it is ugly as sin, but with it, I can take both kids places. Which maybe is why I don't want to unpack it. Because...

5) It's gorgeous outside, but I'm not in the mood to go out...even just to take a walk around the cul-de-sac.

6) Wake up Charlie when it is time for her to eat. It's important I do this, supposedly, for her routine. Which is not working out for me at night, considering she got up 3 times.

7) Make dinner. Yes, I am already avoiding it.

8) Put the pictures from my camera onto my desktop. Because it is in the basement, and that is just so. far. away.

9) I'm too lazy to post 10 things. How sad is that????

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

I Lied About Poop

I was laying (lying?) in bed the other night, thinking about this blog and how I needed to write a post, and I realized something. Internet...I LIED TO YOU. Yes, it's true. I didn't mean to, but it just happened. In my last post, I said that the past 3 weeks have been an eat, sleep, poop cycle.

Yeah...that's a total lie. Because Charlie doesn't poop. It was first 2 1/2 days, then 3 days, then 4 days. Each time she did, we celebrated like it was New Years' Eve. (OK, maybe that's a lie too.) But it did make us very happy, and it also made Charlie pretty darn happy.

***Side note: I just had to take a break from writing this because SHE POOPED!! And it was only about 30 hours since her last poop! Lord Have Mercy!!

Since the pooping has gotten better, so has Charlie's temperment. Currently, she is actually laying underneath one of those infant entertainment thingys. She sat in the bouncey seat long enough for me to take a shower, and she actually napped in her swing. It's truely amazing folks. (We aren't going to talk about the ride home from the lake last night...one that included approximately an hour of crying/screaming. But she did sleep good-6 1/2 hours straight!!) And today, The E.A.S.Y. schedule has worked. Let's hope tonight goes well too.

And now...the obligatory cute picture of my youngest daughter.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Swaddling Rocks!!

The last 3 weeks have been an eat, sleep, poop cycle. It’s been exhausting, because Charlie gets up the requisite 2 times a night, and she seems to want to start her day before 6am. Which is really just not cool with me.

I’ve been trying to get her on the E.A.S.Y. schedule. It stands for Eat, Activity, Sleep, You. Basically, in 3 hour increments during the day, Charlie eats, then has a few minutes of awake “activity”, and then goes to sleep for 1 ½ to 2 hours. While she sleeps, I get my “you” time. (Which lately I’ve been using to play bubbleshooter online. Real productive use of my time.) I was able to get Sam on a routine when she was young, and it worked out great for us.

The biggest challenge lately for me has been to get Charlie to go to sleep. I swaddle her, and she calms down, and then gets pissed, like REALLY PISSED. She screams and is angry and generally exhausts herself until I can get her to drop off to sleep. It’s sooo tiring for me, and I usually wind up exhausted and sweaty and stressed out.

Last night, I was just so frustrated, and I remembered friends telling me that their daughters didn’t like to have their arms strapped down when they were swaddled. I thought I’d give it a try. EPIC FAIL. She was still upset, still crying, and NOT SLEEPING. Time for another tactic.

When I had been wrapping her, I would try to cross her arms across her chest, and then strap the SwaddleMe on. It would work, except her little fists would wind up by her face and she would be struggling to get her fingers in her mouth. I didn’t think this was THAT big a deal, she was still wrapped up pretty tightly. How little did I know.

After the Epic Fail of “arms out”, I decided that Charlie needed to know who was boss. My mom always called the SwaddleMe a straightjacket, and didn’t like “strapping Sam down.” I was always very insistent on it, and it was time to get tough with Charlie. I unwrapped her, put her arms down at her side, and wrapped her as tightly as I could. No shit…the kid was asleep before I could even pick her up off of the bed. Who knew that having those little fists up by her face was such a distraction?? And…AND…she slept from about 11pm to 5:30am. SCORE!!!!!

I did the same thing today, twice, and it was been working out great. This routine thing just might work!!