Carry On!

Whew! Has today been tough for everyone, or is it just me (and a friend who texted me halfway through the morning)? Things were getting along swimmingly and then at six thirty, Hula Girl decided to come out of her room to use the restroom. I kind of forgot she was in there, and at seven, Jonathan found her… with Vaseline smeared ALL OVER HER FACE. Then when he told her to go back to bed and wait for her sun to come up (on her Gro-Clock), she spent the remaining time with her light on, out of bed, cutting paper into a million tiny pieces all over the carpet, her bed, the furniture, and so on.

Breakfast was rife with complaining. “My pancakes are too hot! Now they’re too cold! I want more honey on mine! Go get me a vitamin! You forgot to give me another pancake and I’m still hungry! When will it be done cooking? I want MORE orange juice! I don’t like strawberries! I wanted mango! My chair is too far to the left!”

Schoolwork was completed with much chagrin. I took a stand on proper letter formation during copywork. She was writing a “u” with a line straight down from the middle for a y (see pic below). This is NOT correct. Here’s how that conversation went:

  • Me: Oops! Honey, you formed that “y” incorrectly. Why don’t you look at mine and try again?
  • HG: Oops! Silly me, okay! I’ll try to make mine match yours.
  • Me: Oops! You did it again! It seems like your hand muscles have been practicing the incorrect way to write it. Please stop writing and trace my “y” on the next page so you can learn to do it properly.
  • HG: But I ALREADY KNOW HOW TO DO IT!
  • Me: Oh, does yours look like mine? No? Okay, let’s try it this way. Trace mine a couple times and then try it on your own.
  • HG: NO! My hand muscles are sore!
  • Me: Yes, I understand. When we try to learn to do something better, it takes a few times before our muscles get used to doing it properly. Did you know Daddy went to the gym the other night, and his muscles are sore today?
  • HG: He did? He has sore muscles?
  • Me: Yep, and he LIKES having sore muscles. It shows that he’s been working hard. Let’s see if you can work hard and earn your sore hand muscles.
  • Then we made a few funny faces at each other, just to ease the tension. Next, she traced my “y” and wrote her own a few times.
  • HG: MOMMY! I DID IT!!! I WROTE Y WITH A TAIL THE RIGHT WAY! I LEARNED HOW TO DO IT AND MY MUSCLES ARE SORE BECAUSE I WORKED HARD!!!!!
We made game-show

We made game-show “Ding ding ding!” and “Buzz” noises when we looked at the top two and circled or crossed them out. The bottom row of y’s are her own. This was hard-fought, my friends.

I normally wouldn’t make a mountain out of this kind of molehill. But proper letter formation is a must when learning to write in cursive, which will be in a couple years. It also slows a kid down when she has to pick up her pencil just to form another part of the same letter! She’ll thank me someday, but until then…

After that small triumph, the rest of the day was miserable.

Hula Girl told me to SHUT UP today. I have one guess as to where she heard that: “The Dream” in Arnold Lobel’s Frog and Toad Together. She has not ever heard anyone say it out loud except for in that book, which we happen to have as an audio book. Apparently she decided she had had enough of me talking to her while I did laundry, so she went storming into her room, slammed the door, and yelled at me. Oh, my.

I calmly went in, sat on her bed with her, and explained to her that our family doesn’t use words like that. I told her that they were unbecoming of a young lady, and that she would have a consequence for saying them to me. She spent quite a bit of time in her room, cleaning and so forth, and then she came out for lunch in a happy mood.

It lasted all of four seconds.

She made her PB&J, with permission, and then I gave the kids some peas on the side. I turned to cut up some apples for them, and I heard a pea hit the floor and Hula Girl yelled, “Pea fight!” I took the peas away, and she ran after me, grabbed the bowl, and spilled them all over the floor. Her next move was to scream and cry and tell me that I had hurt her. How? “You held the bowl when I wanted to grab it and you hurt my fingers.” Oooooookay. Then she tried to hit me, which I blocked while saying, “I won’t let you hit me.” Then she hugged my waist and bawled while I rubbed her back and said, “You’re having a lot of big feelings today and you’re misbehaving left and right! Something must be bugging you!” And all she did was cry.

After lunch, which was very short, I put Hula Girl right to bed. I read her some poetry about self-discipline, table manners, and finally one about perseverance.

God gave me the poem about perseverance as an answer to a desperate prayer I’d prayed earlier in the day, during which I begged God to show me how to show her my love. After reading the poem to her, I was able to tell her that I would ALWAYS persevere in my love for her. I told her that no matter what she did, no matter how poorly she behaved, no matter what words she spoke to me, I would always love her. I told her that I love her more than she will ever know until she becomes a mommy herself someday. I told her that I was thankful that God let me be HER mommy, because SHE is exactly the daughter I need. She cuddled up onto my lap and told me she was glad to be my daughter. I was happy to reply that I was beyond thrilled to be her mommy.

It doesn’t matter how hard this gets. I don’t care how many times she hurls insults at me. I am her mommy, and I’m going to show her grace and love. I’m going to fight to show her Jesus in me. I’m going to win, because that is my mission as her mother. She must know she is loved and treasured and that Jesus is her loving, gracious savior.

Here’s the poem I read to her, but more to myself, which steeled me and gave me strength:

Carry On!

by Robert W. Service

It’s easy to fight when everything’s right,
And you’re mad with thrill and the glory;
It’s easy to cheer when victory’s near,
And wallow in fields that are gory.
It’s a different song when everything’s wrong,
When you’re feeling infernally mortal;
When it’s ten against one, and hope there is none,
Buck up, little soldier, and chortle:

      Carry on! Carry on!
   There isn’t much punch in your blow.
You are glaring and staring and hitting out blind;
You are muddy and bloody, but never you mind.
      Carry on! Carry on!
   You haven’t the ghost of a show.
It’s looking like death, but while you’ve a breath,
       Carry on, my son! Carry on! 

And so in the strife of the battle of life
It’s easy to fight when you’re winning;
It’s easy to slave, and starve and be brave,
When the dawn of success is beginning.
But the man who can meet despair and defeat
With a cheer, there’s the man of God’s choosing;
The man who can fight to Heaven’s own height
Is the man who can fight when he’s losing.
   
      Carry on! Carry on!
   Thing never were looming so black.
But show that you haven’t a cowardly streak,
And though you’re unlucky you never are weak.
      Carry on! Carry on!
   Brace up for another attack.
It’s looking like hell, but – you never tell.
      Carry on, old man! Carry on!

There are some who drift out in the desert of doubt
And some who in brutishness wallow;
There are others, I know, who in piety go
Because of a Heaven to follow.
But to labor with zest, and to give of your best,
For the sweetness and joy of the giving;
To help folks along with a hand and a song;
Why, there’s the real sunshine of living.

      Carry on! Carry on!
   Fight the good fight and true;
Believe in your mission, greet life with a cheer;
There’s big work to do, and that’s why you are here.
      Carry on! Carry on!
   Let the world be the better for you;
And at last when you die, let this be your cry!
      Carry on, my soul! Carry on!
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10-Year Reunion

I have had several friends from outside my high school tell me that their 10-year reunion wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. They said, “It was weird,” “no one showed up,” and “I hope the next one is better!”

I agree on all counts.

Not because of lack of effort by the planning committee. Those guys did a great job. None of them still live where we went to high school, so everything was planned long-distance. They even had a website set up for all the rest of us to register and learn about the event. That was great.

But I think the folks who didn’t show up should have shown up.

We have known each other since at least third grade, on most counts.

There were only 93 people in our graduating class. We missed the rest of you.

Most of us are/were still friends on Facebook and we’ve been able to track almost everyone pretty well since graduation.

And I went to school with a lot of really nice people. They do interesting things, they’re living good lives, and none of them are awful or mean! They just didn’t come, and I was bummed out to see the lack of attendees.

It was really fun to see some of the people who were there. A lot of us have children around the same ages, so meeting everyone’s kids in person was great! (Hula Girl was particularly taken with a pair of sisters- she followed them around and held hands with them. Adorable.) Some others don’t have kids yet but are doing really interesting things with their lives, so it was really fun to get to know their stories a bit more in depth. I thought it was nice that we weren’t all reminiscing about the good ol’ days- we have moved on. I also loved that our spouses are all so sweet and many of the husbands had a fantastic time together playing pool.

I don’t know. It was a mixed bag for me. On one hand, it was great seeing people. On the other, it was sad not seeing some other people. But overall, I was surprised at how little there really was to talk about. The culprit? Facebook.

I think Facebook ruined our reunion. Since we’re all still “friends” we kind of already know what’s going on in each other’s lives. No one really needed to attend the reunion to find out what their high school classmates are up to. We already know. We know who has what job, who lives where, who is married to whom, who has children (and we know the names, ages, and first-time-using-the-potty dates of all the kids as well)!!! There is nothing to discuss. Here’s how an actual conversation went:

Classmate: “So, you just moved into a house.”

Me: “Yep.”

Classmate: “Do you like it?”

Me: “Yep. It’s nice having a house.”

Classmate: “Good.”

End of conversation.

Seriously. That’s the only thing that classmate and I said to each other. After 10 years of not seeing each other.

Thanks, Facebook.

After the reunion I went through Facebook and cut out over 150 people from my “friends” list. I realized that the person I spent the most time talking to that evening was the only one of us there who doesn’t have Facebook. It was nice to have an actual conversation. (Sorry if you were one of the deleted folks. I just figured I’d rather have actual in-person friendships. If you still need to contact me, my phone number hasn’t changed since high school. And you can always re-friend me on Facebook.)

And can I rant about one thing?

There is one girl who, since sixth grade, has not liked me. I don’t know what I ever did to offend her. Seriously. We’ve never been rude to each other, but she has always been cold to me. Like, she has always intentionally turned her back on me and has never once started a conversation. And it did not change at the reunion. From the moment she and her husband walked in to the moment Jonathan and I left, she did not even make eye contact with me at all. Not even a cursory across-the-room “Oh, hey!” Our husbands got along great, by the way. I had nothing to start a conversation with, so I didn’t go and make the first move. I just thought it was so strange and silly that still, after ten years of life experience, she chose to give me the same treatment she did in high school. Guess we’re not meant to be besties!

Anyway. All this to say that if you weren’t there, you WERE missed. I especially missed the soccer girls and KATIE. You would have made the evening 10 million times better, Friendy-Friend. Oh, and BETHANY, where the heck were you? I SO wanted to meet Ella.

My advice? Before attending any high school reunion, un-friend ALL your classmates on Facebook at least a year in advance. At least you’ll be interesting then. 🙂

 

Oy, Today.

You guys. I just have to take the opportunity to say that today is a nightmare.

Lots of stuff going on that I had under control but suddenly found out wasn’t in my control at all… but it’s now up to me to fix it. (Wow, that’s vague and confusing.)

And then Hula Girl is tired and cranky and… three. For those of you without children, here’s an FYI- “terrible twos” are a flipping walk in the park when compared with the “curious threes.” Ever read a Curious George book? That monkey is three. Except somehow everyone always thinks his bad choices are cute in the end. Scratch that from reality. No one thinks those choices are cute, nor do they produce an “Aww”-worthy ending. Ever. Just sayin’.

To top it all off, I am finally giving in to the fact that my son is not a big sleeper. Yes, it has taken me 11 months to admit it. The cause? HE SKIPPED HIS MORNING NAP. Hula Girl NEVER skipped her morning nap. She didn’t even skip her afternoon nap until she was like 15 months old, and then I just stuck with it and she kept napping twice daily until 18 months old. I have never ever in a million years imagined that my second child would ever skip a nap like that. The average age for dropping to 1 nap (in the Babywise community, anyway) is 15-21 months. I was hoping for at least 15 months with him… but he rarely sleeps full naps twice daily anyway. He just needs less sleep. And that is just NOT cool.

Ramble ramble grumble grumble. Today stinks.

Catching Up

It’s officially fall here, folks. Today’s high was 54°. When Hula Girl and I went outside to play on the swing, the wind chill was 36°. Yep. Chilly.

I wish I had posted on Monday. We had a perfect day on Monday. Perfect. I loved my children like mad because I didn’t even have to think in order to get through the day. Hula Girl was on best behavior, she was well rested, and I enjoyed spending every moment with her. Gelato slept well for all his naps and was cooing and smiling up a storm. Ah.  The good ol’ days.

Today I was struck yet again with how very sporadic the early baby days, weeks, and months can be. As soon as we hit our “groove” in the earlier part of this week (hey! We beat the 45-minute intruder!!!!!!), today was crazy because Gelato is now experiencing Wonder Week 8. Basically, his sleeping, eating, etc., are going to be “off” for a few days because his brain is experiencing a huge developmental leap. So yeah. We had a perfect little 3-hour schedule happening for a few days… and today he ate every 2-2.5 hours. It’s not like his naps were short, either. That’s what kills me. With the 45-minute intruder, I felt confident letting him fuss or helping him get back to sleep because I know a 45-minute nap is just not long enough. However, with his naps today, I had no justification for trying to let him/help him fall back to sleep because each time he’d been sleeping for over an hour and a half. That is a decent length for a nap! So when he woke early, I went ahead and got him. We ended up adding a feeding and a nap today. Ugh. SO not my favorite thing.

Also, because of Gelato’s unpredictability today, Hula Girl’s schedule shifted. She didn’t get roomtime until 5:00 this evening… and that was just crazy. She needs her morning roomtime in order to make it to lunch happily. I have made it my personal goal to ensure she has roomtime in the morning tomorrow.

Can I just put another little complaint out there (in the hopes that some of my BW mom friends will chime in)? I have been doing everything by the book since Gelato was born. I made sure we got full feedings. I woke him every three hours during the day, every 5 hours at night. He was on track- sleeping 5 hours at night during his fifth week. Then he regressed during his 6-week growth spurt and we haven’t seen a nighttime stretch longer than 4 hours since. Some might say that I should drop the “dreamfeed” (his 10 p.m. feeding that I wake him for) but even if I do that, he still wakes around that time. And after his late evening feeding (around 10ish) he consistently wakes every three hours afterward. Feed him at 10? He wakes at 1 and 4 a.m. Feed him at 11? 2 and 5. He is so stuck on eating every 3 hours!!! So I try letting him sleep. He’ll wake at 10:30 or 11:30. And wake every 3 hours after that. BAH. By 8 weeks, he’s supposed to be able to sleep 7-8 hours at night. If you ask any pediatrician, babies can “sleep through the night” (general definition of that is about 6 hours) by the time they’re 12 pounds. My kid passed 12 pounds about 2 pounds ago… and here we are. Awake every flipping 3 hours. What am I doing wrong here?!!??!?!?!?!?! Vent over.

On the bright side of things, Hula Girl is getting funnier and funnier and more sophisticated in her conversational skills lately. She has started giving out step-by-step directions. “Here, I will show you. First you… Then you….” So funny to hear her describing things like how to put her blankie in the proper corner of her crib! It’s also a great experience to finally have a child who is able to express every thought she has in her head so that I can actually understand her the majority of the time. Some of her thoughts are supercute due to the fact that she’s two and can’t conceptualize things yet. For instance, yesterday we were talking about how my grandma turned 90. I said, “Isn’t it amazing that Great Gramma is 90 years old today? Do you think you want to be 90 years old someday?” She said, “Yes! I want to be 90 years old. And Great Gramma will hold me!” So I guess 90 years old is actually destination where your loved ones will wrap their arms around you and hold you. Hm. Might not be too bad after all!

Gelato is developing in his own little baby way. He has discovered his little hands and is perfectly content to sit and suck his knuckles all during his waketime. He’s learning to laugh and to use his consonants. He’s good with /g/ these days. He also likes to squeal, coo, and gasp. But his laugh is the best. I also enjoy his willingness to just sit and stare into my eyes while smiling his gummy little baby smile. He knows his Mommy. And I love that.

Something else I want to make note of for my own future reference (as if I could ever forget) is the differences in the ways my children smell. I swear their scents match their personalities. Hula Girl has always had more of a “sharp” smell to her. When I nursed her I could smell her sharpness mingled with the smell of the milk. However, Gelato has more of a soft, fresh smell. I have also not noticed the scent of the milk when I nurse him. That’s probably because he gulps it all down faster than I ever imagined possible.

Jonathan and I have gotten into Grey’s Anatomy. We just finished season 1 tonight. So far, it’s an okay show. Nothing to write home about. But we will continue to watch, because we are deprived of the ability to actually leave the house much. Here’s hoping it gets…better?

Well, it’s 10:00… time to do the dreamfeed. Let’s hope we don’t do another feeding at 1 and 4! Maybe my littlest man will surprise me!

7 Weeks Postpartum Visit

I was scheduled to go in for a 6-week visit, but due to recent car issues, I had to reschedule my appointment. So Gelato and I went today.

First of all, my OB’s office has not changed. They called me back an HOUR past my appointment time. PTL this was my very last appointment with them. I am sick and tired of waiting in the waiting room so much. (They could really use a sprucing, too. The wallpaper is soft peach, seafoam green, and cream. Like my mom’s living room… when I was five. That’s 1990, folks. The art on the walls is faux Monet-style waterlily art prints. The whole thing is just a washed-out pastel blah. )

Aside from the interminable wait times and the drab decor, today’s visit was fine.

I had to bring Gelato with me since I still haven’t pumped any milk to start getting him to take a bottle every once in a while*. He was kind of fussy, but nothing a little walking around and letting him lie on the ground (on a blanket!) for a while couldn’t cure. He was also very chatty with the nurse. She was quite taken with him. I think she wanted to keep him. 🙂

*I promised myself I would do that this time around so I wasn’t so tied to the baby… but I just plain don’t feel like it. I have to scald all the milk that I pump before freezing it because I have extra lipase in my milk. Basically, it breaks down the milk proteins faster than it should and so my milk ends up tasting like soap and smelling like a rusty can. It’s not “spoiled” per se, but really… what baby wants to drink that?! So instead of pumping, then scalding, then cooling, then freezing, I just don’t. But I really need to. Maybe I’ll start doing that this weekend. It’ll be much easier when Jonathan’s around to Hula-wrangle.

All was fine with the exam. I have been cleared for all activities. I told Hula Girl that she and I will go outside this weekend and pull out all the weeds that have sprung up in the front of the house, around the mailbox, and in our pumpkin patch. Actually, I will be pulling all the weeds while she plays nearby. The weeds have WICKED burrs that are the size of marbles. No joke. And yes, we’ve been too busy to pull them, so yes, we’ve ended up with a few in our house. As a rule, we don’t wear shoes in our home, but still… these crazy stickers get tracked in and when they get stepped on, massive tears flow freely.

And the biggest news: my weight loss! I am back down to 6 pounds less than my 6-weeks-pregnant weight. I can zip my size 0/1 jeans, though not comfortably. This probably means that I still need to lose about 10 pounds to be at my ideal weight. But the goal is a lot closer than it was at this point in my postpartum period with Hula Girl. I blame the elimination diet. And the toddler.

Well, there ya go. All is well. Except now Gelato’s been awake (aside from a 20-minute car nap) for three hours straight. Thank you, OB-Who-Can’t-Keep-Track-Of-Time. Hey, you win some, you lose some, right?

Pre-admission Appointment and Who’s my Pediatrician!?

Well, it’s official. I can’t hold the hospital responsible if someone steals my jewelry while we’re there.

Seriously, I had to sign a document releasing the hospital from responsibility for my valuables while we’re there to deliver Gelato. I think that’s just silly.

I also think it’s silly that we even had to GO to the hospital in the first place- after all, I could have just signed everything in a packet and dropped it off, or e-signed it on the hospital’s website, or something! But no, we had to go in person do get it all done.

Okay, so now that you know I was grumpy to begin with, let me elaborate on the redeeming aspects of the visit this morning.

First, the nurses were all very nice. I mean, they kind of have to be- I’m ginormously pregnant and it’s their job to make me want to feel comfortable so that THEIR jobs are easier (who wants to deal with an irrationally upset woman in labor?!).

Secondly, there were literally like only 12 people in the whole entire birth place. Including three babies in the nursery (gotta love the little spread-eagled kiddo with sweet shades basking in the jaundice lights). Now, I understand that things could get crazy and busy in there, but today it was very calm and quiet. We like that.

Third, they did just remodel the whole unit. That equals nice-ish rooms, albeit still not as nice as the one where Hula Girl was delivered. The rooms are also equipped with new technology, including waterproof wireless monitors. No more being confined to the bed for fetal monitoring! I am actually VERY excited about this since I was stuck in bed on my LEFT SIDE ONLY for 17 hours before Hula Girl came out. Being able to move around freely will be grrrrreat!

Another thing that I learned is that hospital policy allows for a heparin lock, which releases me to move freely as well. No being tied to a bag o’ fluids 24/7. Score.

Some of the things that aren’t like a huge deal to me, but might make natural labor better are jacuzzi tubs, showers, birthing balls, squatting bars, and brand new beds that can accommodate many different positions in each room. I was also pleased to learn (prior to this visit, in conversation with someone…can’t remember who) that many of the nurses at this particular hospital are very supportive of natural birth techniques and will be very open to hearing my opinion about things. So that’s nice.

So, all in all things went well. Then we had this conversation with Kim, our admission nurse:

Kim: Who is your pediatrician?

Us: We use [certain pediatric group].

Kim: Oh, they don’t have privileges at this hospital.

Us: Oh. Um, so what does that mean?

Kim: Well, when he’s born, he’ll be seen by [Dr. So-and-so], who is the hospital pediatrician. Then when you leave, we’ll transfer his records to [certain pediatric group] so they can do all the follow-ups as necessary.

Us: Okay. Does [Dr. So-and-so] do the circumcision, then?

Kim: No, he doesn’t handle circumcisions. Who’s your OB? Oh, [Dr. Dipsy], she doesn’t do circumcisions, either. Most pediatrician’s offices handle circumcisions nowadays.

Us: We want to have it done before we leave the hospital.

Kim: Well, [Dr. Someone Else], who’s part of your OB’s group, does circumcisions. You’ll need to contact your OB and ask about setting that up while you’re still here.

Us: Okay.

So after that very long and confusing conversation happened, I felt really frustrated. I had specifically called and asked my pediatrician’s office about delivering at this particular hospital and made sure that they DO have privileges there. They said they do have two doctors with privileges at the hospital, so I don’t need to worry. By the way, I am still not loving our pediatrician’s office… we are probably going to switch… I am researching that right after I finish this post.

I decided to give the pediatrician’s office yet another call after we left the hospital. Here’s what that conversation was like:

Receptionist Girl: Thank you for calling [pediatrician group]. 

Me: Hi, I just left my preadmission appointment at [hospital] and I am somewhat confused. The nurse mentioned that [pediatrician group] has no doctors with privileges at [hospital]. Is that true?

Receptionist Girl: No, [Dr. T] and [Dr. G] work there all the time. Let me double-check. Yep, they both have privileges at [hospital]. 

Me: Oh, okay. So how do I make sure you guys get called when my son is born? The nurse said they’d just call the in-house pediatrician there. 

Receptionist Girl: I think they’ll just call us. 

Me: The nurse said they wouldn’t. 

Receptionist Girl: Well, I think they will when they realize they can. 

Me: Um, okay. So then do [Dr. T] and [Dr. G] do circumcisions?

Receptionist Girl: No, neither of them do. 

Me: So how does that work, then? I want my son circumcised before we leave the hospital.

Receptionist Girl: Well, another doctor, [Dr. E], does the circumcisions. 

Me: But [Dr. E] doesn’t have privileges in the hospital? 

Receptionist Girl: I’m not sure. 

Me: Okay. Thanks for the information. Bye.

So yeah, I’m going to be finding a new pediatrician. Like, now.

Update- I now have an appointment to meet with a new pediatrician Monday at 4:45. 🙂

How did this Week get so Busy?!

I like to keep Hula Girl’s and my weeks a nice healthy mix of busy and not-so-busy. Therefore we have days where we are going from the moment she gets up until the moment we return home in time for roomtime, lunch, and nap, and other slower days where we take our time getting “ready,” going outside, and playing with all her toys on the living room floor. But suddenly this week became GO TIME. I do feel really bad when weeks happen to be full of activity. If you ask Hula Girl what is her favorite thing to do, she will automatically respond, “Play toys.” She looooooves sitting down/crawling around in the living room making her ponies eat hay or go for a run, or building stables for her ponies with blocks, or setting up the bowling pins and knocking them down an infinite number of times. She also loves to listen to music while we play so she can stand up and bop to the beat whenever she feels the need.

But not this week. This week will be full of busy busy busy. We have something going on every single morning until Friday! Quite unusual. I am actually kind of glad that it’s happening now, because then maybe Hula Girl will actually appreciate and enjoy all the time we’ll be spending at home when Gelato is little.

Yesterday we ate breakfast out on the patio because it was raining!!! and it felt nice and cool for once. Then we went for a little walk (Hula Girl actually ran the entire time, with her mouth hanging open and her little voice yelling, “AAAAAAAAHHHHHH! Mommy, look at me! I’m yunning!!!!!!). After that, we piled into the car and went and met my mom to do some shoe shopping. We returned home just in time for roomtime, lunch, and nap.

Today we will be heading out right after breakfast so we can get to Lowe’s* and pick out paint for Gelato’s changing table (my dad has built changing tables for both of my children- how great is that?!). After Lowe’s, we’ll be heading to the library for weekly storytime. Hula Girl has really started to interact with a few specific children at storytime, and many of her friends have new siblings. It’s really fun for her to be able to see the baby brothers- she is so curious about them!

*Quick anecdote about Lowe’s: The other day I said something to Jonathan about having to visit Home Depot for something. Hula Girl piped up from the living room floor and asserted, “Not Home Depot, Mommy! Yowes!!!!!! YOWES!!!!!!” Haha. 

Wednesday we have to be at the hospital at 10 for our preadmittance appointment. I just don’t understand the point. I mean, really. I could fill out the stupid paperwork and email it to them. Why do I HAVE to visit? I don’t necessarily want or need a tour. Sure it’s a different hospital from where I delivered Hula Girl, but hey, it’s a hospital. And my kid’s coming out there regardless of whether I think the accommodations are, well, accommodating. So really, making me drag my two-year-old to the hospital for (what will be for her) a very boring time is just plain silly if you ask me. Rant over.

Thursday we have to be at my OB’s office for our 37-week appointment. Remember when I told them I couldn’t do 3:40 and I reminded you that they are late every single time I go for an appointment?  Well, yesterday I get a call from someone in the office asking me if I could do 3:40 instead of 9:10. Apparently I have been double-booked with a new patient, so my appointment is going to take longer than normal. G.R.E.A.T. So I plan to bring Hula Girl’s ponies- we can surely have a grand old time making them tour the waiting room, right? I’m sure we’ll have enough time to really get to know the ponies individually and be able to throw them each a personalized theme party before I’m even weighed.

Ah, but Friday… glorious Friday… we are staying in our jammies all day long. So say I. 🙂

I’ll have another post later today detailing Hula Girl’s language funnies!

36 Week (dis)Appointment

This week’s visit was full of… extraordinary events. I don’t mean extraordinary as in, “Wow! This is amazing! I’ve never experienced anything so wonderful in my entire life!” I just mean extraordinary in the proper sense of the word: out of the ordinary (and I’d like to add that it was slightly unpleasant, too).

Of course, we did have the ordinary 20-minutes late appointment. I always arrive 10-15 minutes early because that’s the way I was raised. It’s good etiquette to be slightly early for appointments. So today we arrived at 9:45 for a 10:00 appointment. Today “we” included Jonathan, Hula Girl, and me. Hula Girl and Jonathan dug right in to the toys in the waiting area and Hula Girl started getting lessons on using her “inside voice”… again. Oh well, at least the other patients in the waiting room thought she was cute. Anyway, we sat there and kept a busy 2-year-old entertained for 35 minutes before we were seen. This is NOT an extraordinary event in this particular office. I hate that- I mean, really, I understand if an office is running behind every now and then… but every single time I visit (which just so happens to be a LOT during pregnancy)??

However, things turned extraordinary quickly after we were called back. First, I hopped on the scale… and thought to myself, “Hm, that can’t be right.” So I said to the nurse, “Did I lose weight since last time?” She said she didn’t have that exact info in her hands but that it’s common for women to lose a couple pounds toward the end of the pregnancy. Okay, cool.

Next she took my blood pressure. I said, “What is it this time?” (You’ll remember it’s slowly creeping up… it started at 100/56, then went to 100/58, then 100/60.) She said it was 100/70. I was like, “Wow, it jumped a bit in two weeks! I’m surprised.” So she took a glance at her sheet, and decided to check it again. Yup, it was really 100/60. So, I’m still alienesque, Jenn.

Then we waited another 15 minutes to see the OB. 15 minutes in a small exam room with a 2-year-old isn’t super fun, especially since that toddler doesn’t want to sit and read like we had planned. Daddy came up with several ways of entertaining her, such as putting her on her tummy on the stool and spinning her around. I suggested they wash her hands, which was well-received. Fortunately when the doctor came in, my slightly stern lecture about sitting quietly with Daddy and listening to the doctor was effective.

The first thing the doctor did, of course, was have me lay back so she could measure my stomach and listen to Gelato’s heartbeat. Both went well. My stomach (meaning, Gelato) is growing well. His heartbeat was right where it should be. Hula Girl thought it was cool to listen to his heartbeat.

Next, the doctor checked to make sure his head is down since I have been having so many contractions. All clear there, too. He’s riding upside-down now and his head is somewhat engaged in my pelvis.

After a couple of other tests and procedures (ahem, the group B strep test-if you don’t know what it is and how it’s done, good for you!), I sat up and we talked about her wishes as far as when to contact her, and when to head in to the hospital. This was a frustrating conversation for me. She said that she’d like us to just go in to the hospital without even calling her first if the contractions get to be 3-5 minutes apart for more than an hour straight. I told her that I had been having several episodes like this but that I was pretty sure it wasn’t the right time (obviously I was right-I’m still ginormous). She then just changed her explanation and said that I should just head in to the hospital when I thought it was the right time. She told me to trust my instincts… after all, I’ve done this before. I agreed with the trusting my instincts part, but I felt irritated that she’d tell me to just go when I thought it was right. I mean, actually, NO, I HAVEN’T done this before. I never felt contractions with Hula Girl. They induced me and then pressured me to get an epidural so that I didn’t feel anything. So no, I’ve never gone into labor before. At least not that I could feel. She just kind of laughed that off again and said, “Well, you’ll know.” Um, okay.

Anyway, when that conversation was over, I decided to ask her about my weight loss. She didn’t mention numbers, but by that time I had remembered how much I weighed last time. And I have lost 4-5 pounds in two weeks. And that’s not exactly what we’re shooting for. She gave me a very stern look and told me I need to be eating small meals all throughout the day. I told her that I do, but that my diet has changed drastically recently. She then asked for an explanation, and I told her that I’m doing the elimination diet, cutting out all 8 major allergens. “Why?” I pointed to Hula Girl and told her that she had reflux, eczema, and constipation as an infant and that the only thing that worked was the elimination diet, so we’re getting a head-start on this one, just in case. She seemed to accept that as a reasonable answer, and then reminded me (again,very sternly and in a school-marmish fashion) to eat protein. I asked her if she raised range-fed turkeys in her backyard because that’s pretty much the only place I can get protein outside quinoa and beans. She told me to drive an hour away to Whole Foods. Oh, okay, sure. Will do. NOT.*

The last thing to make our appointment extraordinary (and slightly unpleasant) was our check-out with the scheduler. She informed us that not only would my OB be out that day, but that the only other available OB had only one available opening, at 3:40. Just FYI- that’s right at the end of Hula Girl’s nap time, which would mean that I would have to wake her about halfway through her nap in order to get us there on time. I sighed, said, “Well, okay…” and then she miraculously produced an opening at 9:10 instead. So we’ll do that. Next Thursday, 9:10, 37-week appointment, all by myself with an OB I don’t know and a 2-year-old I do know. Sounds like an adventure, right?

*I should note that I am going to try really really hard to keep my weight up. I just went and bought a bunch of beans this afternoon (protein). I will also be cooking several things in advance so it’s not like a huge major kitchen effort every time I feel hungry (which, by the way, is really often). And one last really big thing is that Jonathan’s going to bake some allergen-free oatmeal cookies just for me. What a sacrifice I’ll be making when I have to choke THOSE down, eh? Let’s just hope this all works and that Gelato miraculously doesn’t have reflux.

A Great Book and a Really Stupid Pediatrician

… and I am LIVID right about now.

Let me explain some background information before I delve into the tale.

I am kind of a brain-development-research junkie. I love the human brain. I love the way it works. I love reading research and studies and articles that reveal more about the brain. I especially love studies on babies/toddlers/kids because that’s my whole entire life. I am here, raising my own kid(s). When I’m not here, raising my own kids, I will be in a classroom, teaching kids. I even mentioned to Jonathan that I’d like to volunteer in a hospital, rocking the babies in the NICU (do they let you do that anymore?!). It’s what I do, it’s what I’ve done. In fact, the majority of my jobs over my lifetime have been nannying/babysitting/camp counseling. I just can’t get enough of kids.

One of the most recent (and in my opinion, best) books on the topic is Your Brain on Childhood: The Unexpected Side Effects of Classrooms, Ballparks, Family Rooms, and the Minivan by Gabrielle Principe. Her book details the reasons that several things in our modern society are… um… not ideal for babies and kids. I can’t say that I totally agree with her complete reliance on (and numerous references to) our brain’s “evolutionary history,” but the modern-day research she cites (she cites over two hundred studies throughout her book) more than makes up for the lack of credible history.

Her main themes in the book include parents’ affinity for pushing children toward excellence to the point where parents will believe any claims made by toy manufacturers as long as it makes the loud annoying shouting toy sound “educational”; society’s obsession with building proper “self-esteem” rather than allowing kids to realize they’re not actually as great as they think they are (entitled, anyone?); ease with which parents set their children in front of the television either to educate their children further (learn a new language!) or to occupy their children while the parents relax (or work); our country’s educational system, which is one of the worst in the world, which keeps getting worse; perceived “normalcy” of organized sports and activities for kids, beginning in infancy; and the lack of the great outdoors in our kids’ childhoods.

Okay, let me hone in on one of these topics. TV. Here’s a direct quotation from the book that pretty much sums up my own opinions on the topic as well:

We listen to the American Academy of Pediatrics when they tell us to put our babies to sleep on their backs, buckle them into car safety seats, slide them into bicycle helmets, and slather sunscreen on their skin. Yet when they tell us that children under two years should have no exposure to television, we completely ignore their advice.

There are MANY studies that have been performed which prove that any television exposure causes physical changes in an infant’s brain. Now I might be taking this too far- but don’t the words “physical changes in an infant’s brain” seem to be similar to the words “brain damage?” Neural pathways actually form in different parts of the brain, causing permanent physical changes, which short-circuit other pathways which are in charge of necessary functions of the brain. For realz, I am not making this up.

Even before reading this book, I had heard that there were some thoughts that TV viewing is associated with ADHD and such. Gabrielle Principe, however, actually downplays those theories in light of the other research. Sure, she cites the study “…which found that for each additional hour of television watched by a child under the age of three, the likelihood of an attention problem by age seven increased by 10 percent. So a three-year-old who watches three hours of television per day is 30 percent more likely to have attention problems than a child who doesn’t watch television.” But ADHD has not been PROVEN to be caused by television viewing. But she also makes it clear that because of a reflex that is innate in all humans, the orienting reflex, a baby who is near a television will have no choice but to pay attention to it. This will deprive the baby of learning the skill of attention- she will not be able to focus, truly focus, on anything else until the TV is off.

OKAY, so there’s the background- you now understand at least some of my reasoning behind our family’s decision to just sell our TV at a yard sale a last summer. (Don’t get me started on commercialization, violence, and skewed media. I have done my research there, as well.)

But today’s visit to our pediatrician’s office was the trigger. Hula Girl went in for her 2-year checkup. I will do a separate post on that. We have not seen this particular pediatrician before for a number of reasons. First, she’s brand new to the practice. Second, we’ve only visited this particular office twice before- once for Hula Girl’s 18-month checkup, and once for Hula Girl’s ear infections. We saw different doctors/RNs each time. No biggie. Third, we don’t get sick. We have no reason to have a particular doctor. 🙂

So we meet this lady, who is in her sixties, who introduces herself and says she’s living here to be near grandchildren. Great! I thought, She’s going to have a lot of empathy and be really good with Hula Girl!

Um, not so. My first clue was when she wouldn’t let me even talk to Hula Girl to explain what was going to happen. See, I like to prepare Hula Girl before going to the doctor. This morning we talked about how the doctor would be touching her head, tummy, legs, etc., and would be asking Hula Girl to open her mouth and such. Well, the doctor asked… and then when I tried to say, “See, it’s just like we talked about!” she kept talking and talking and raising her voice to talk over me. Back off, lady. I am trying to help you out by allowing MY KID to feel comfortable around you!!!! To no avail. Hula Girl clammed up and would NOT participate. Shocker. She eventually had to pry Hula Girl’s mouth open with a tongue depressor. Um, if she had just given me 3 seconds to speak softly and calmly to my daughter, that would never have happened. I wanted Hula Girl to get a splinter so I could sue for malpractice…

Then it happened. She looked at Hula Girl’s knees and said, “I like seeing knees that are bumped and scratched like this! It shows that the kids aren’t spending too much time in front of the TV.”

To which I responded, “Well, we don’t even have a TV. If the AAP is going to say, ‘No TV under three!’ then we’re going to listen.”

She said something like, “Well, those guidelines aren’t really feasible for anyone anyway.” (Um, hello? I just told you we don’t have a TV. And you’re saying it’s not feasible for anyone. Open your ears.)

She went on. “You know, there are two really good programs that I love for kids this age. Signing Time and My Baby can Read.”

I was trying to be casual and not ruffle any feathers… but I had already lost respect for this woman and her opinions. So I said, “What do you think about the numerous clinical studies that have proven that viewing Signing Time is directly related to speech delays in children?”

Her response (classic, btw), “I don’t really believe in those studies. I mean, my four-year-old grandson, who has a speech delay, has been watching Signing Time since he was a baby. It’s really good, too, because it helped when he was younger and couldn’t talk at all. He could sign things like ‘milk’ and ‘more’ so it cut down on the frustration levels.”

Did you catch that? Her four-year-old grandson, who has a speech delay, has been watching Signing Time since he was a baby. Um, isn’t that what I said the research shows?!!?!?!?!?!?!?!? But she doesn’t believe in the research?!Open your eyes, crazy lady. Your grandson is a statistic!!!!

I chose not to point out that my daughter, who has never seen TV (except in 4-minute clips of Elmo during illnesses and post-surgery), also signed pre-speech. In fact, if we really want to get technical, she signed DURING speech, too. She can do BOTH. And what else?! I taught her. She didn’t have to watch a stupid program (even though the lady’s voice is “so beautiful,” according to the pediatrician we saw today) to learn these things.

Okay, so recap:

1. The pediatrician we saw today thinks the AAP’s guidelines are meaningless.

2. She doesn’t believe in clinical research findings that are replicable and reputable, even though…

3. Her anecdotal evidence PROVES the research.

?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!!??!?!!?!?!??!

Needless to say, we will not be visiting that pediatrician EVER again.

Whew!

I was ready for naptime today.

I had my OB/GYN appointment this morning. The card on my fridge reads “Tuesday, March 20, 8:20 a.m.” Jonathan likes to go to all the appointments with me. He is really involved with his children. My mom usually comes and watches Hula Girl during appointments so that she doesn’t have to sit and be bored in the office. However, my mom also works on Tuesdays, so she wasn’t able to watch Hula Girl today. That meant that Jonathan took some time off work in the morning so that he could be here with Hula Girl when she woke up, to get her ready for the day and feed her breakfast. We figured that I’d be out of my appointment by 9, so he would have plenty of time to get to work by 10.

Ahem. We figured wrong. I showed up, signed in, and the normal receptionist was not at her desk. A different one was there, but she said, “She’ll be back to check you in in just a minute.” Okay. Then she decided that she could actually just do it herself. She looked through a folder for my paperwork and then looked on the computer screen for a schedule of the day. I wasn’t in the folder or on the screen. What?!

The first receptionist came back and tried to find me. I still didn’t exist. But then they pulled out my file and found that I was scheduled for an appointment last Friday. Um, that’s not what my card said. Furthermore, since I didn’t show, I was going to be charged a fee for a “No Show”. At that point, I said, “Um, the card on my fridge says my appointment is today. At 8:20.” And the first receptionist said, “Well, the doctor has a well-woman check scheduled at that time. We can put you in at 8:40.”

Fine. I’ll stay an extra 20 minutes.

8:40 rolled around, then 9:00, and finally 9:20. Seven other women were called out of the waiting room into the back while I waited. Seven. I went up to the desk and said, “I’m sorry, I must be having a pregnancy brain day. Did you say 8:40 or 9:40?” She smiled at me and said, “8:40, but of course we have to get in all the patients who were scheduled and who were here before you.” I had to bite my tongue at Snarky Receptionist Girl. Then I told her, “Well, my husband will have to bring my daughter by on his way to work then. Please let him know that he is free to come find me when he arrives. I’m sure I’ll be in an exam room by then.”

So I called Jonathan and told him to bring Hula Girl over since I would certainly not be ready to leave anywhere near on time.

Finally I was called back, at 9:35. I was weighed (ugh, pregnancy makes you gain weight at a crazy rate), and then the nurse took my blood pressure. She apologized for the confusion with the appointment and made it clear that the person who was doing the scheduling was let go since she had a habit of scheduling appointments but not writing them in, and then just trying to remember all of them at the end of the day. Apparently I’m not the only one whose appointment was mixed up.

After the nurse left, the doctor came in and checked the baby’s heartbeat. Everything’s good. I told her that I could actually see Gelato moving around in there, which I thought was weird for only being 20 weeks along. She thought it was great and said, “You’ve got a feisty one!”

I left the office and met Jonathan and Hula Girl in the parking garage. We swapped cars and then Hula Girl and I left to go to storytime. We didn’t make it to the 10:00 one, but we did make it in time to see some of our friends come out as we were heading in to the 10:30.

Hula Girl did not participate as she normally does- she was much quieter and clingier. I thought it was quite weird. Then I realized she’d been up kind of late last night. We put her to bed at 7:45, but she talked to herself until almost 9. (It is common for kids her age to start staying awake long into the night and generally does not signify anything is wrong. However, it does mean that parents need to be sensitive to their lack of sleep and try to make up for it in naps and early bedtimes.)

By the time we got home from storytime, she was throwing mini tantrums left and right. And then… it happened. The tantrum of tantrums. Over what? Stuffed animals.

Hula Girl has specific “upstairs toys” and “downstairs toys”. We rotate them frequently so that she can have a new set of toys to play with in different areas of the house, but she knows that most downstairs toys stay downstairs and most upstairs toys stay upstairs. Today, however, she decided that she wanted to climb upstairs to independent playtime with all of her downstairs stuffed animals: moose, tiger, elephant, doggie, Valentine Bear, Pooh Bear, teddy bear, and Elmo. Instead of having her struggle and fall down the stairs, or hand me all those silly things, I told her, “Why don’t we leave most of  your animals downstairs to rest and wait for you. You can take one animal and Mommy will take one more.”

She was not okay with that idea. She kept trying to climb the stairs with this huge load of plush critters and when I’d pull her down again she’d get madder and madder. Finally she threw them all down and flopped on top of them, screaming her lungs out and crying the hugest tears imaginable. This lasted for about 2 minutes until I picked her up along with her two favorites, Pooh and doggie, and carried all three of them upstairs.

When we got to her room, she fell down on the floor and screamed and cried some more. I got very involved in watching the wind whipping the scrubby grass outside. It was so interesting that I even forgot that Hula Girl was there until she calmed down. 😉

We had no further meltdowns between independent playtime, lunch, and nap. But I am beat. And it’s only halfway through the day!

*I was talking to a new friend of mine, Chelsea, who is also pregnant, at storytime. I told her we were late because of the scheduling snafu. She said she’s experienced the same thing at that office, and that they’re generally really slow anyway. We both mentioned that we’d considered switching offices due to their really really slow staff and long waiting room times, but we both know that there’s really no other choice in this area. So, here’s to always scheduling on a day when my mom is free!

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