Thursday, February 18, 2010

I'm not sleeping anyway...

It’s the sort of thing that I am afraid to say out loud, fearing that I will jinx the progress we’ve made somehow. It’s the baby. She’s been sleeping through the night…four nights in a row now. I know, 4 nights out of 18 long months of not sleeping is not exactly progress. I know. But God, she is finally sleeping. And it’s nice. Every morning I wake up surprised because she hasn’t been up screaming at some random hour. I’ve heard her whine a bit a few times, usually to throw out the blanket I rudely cover her with, since she sleeps with her blankie crumpled beneath her, but she is not up and screaming for me to “meer!!”

You want to hear how this came about? It’s simple really….I just stopped going to her. I know, right?? Hub started going in, and telling her firmly that it was sleeping time. He did not pick her up, made her stay in her crib, and talked to her. And when she asked for me, he told her that I was sleeping, which seemed to bewilder her, like “Mommy sleeps?? What??” But she took it from him and laid back down and went to sleep several times over. There was one night when I went in and tried to do the same, and all hell broke loose, but when Hub came in she settled right down.

So yeah, 4 days. I’m sure now she’ll get some horrible virus that throws this all off, but I’m taking these 4 days and running.

Not that I’m sleeping anyway. It’s The Olympics; they always do this to me. I don’t even care about them, but I end up getting sucked in, and watching, and staying up way later than I should on a work night. The big kids stayed up with us last night to watch the women’s skiing, and the speed skating relay (I was just watching Apollo’s beard…I mean WTF…and why does the camera only focus on him?), and while I crept out of the house at 7:20 this morning, having been up for more than an hour already, they were still warm and snuggled in their beds. Jerks.

Bud had a TKD test last night (first stripe of his blue belt) and we brought Liv, and she was a terror. There was another baby there, just a few days older than Liv, and that baby did not stuff handfuls of Goldfish down her mother’s shirt, did not scratch her mother’s face or try to pry her mouth open to get her gum. That baby did not scream at the injustice of being corralled to one small area. That mother did not miss her son getting his award because she was removing her baby to the lobby where she could be entertained by finger painting in the steam that had accumulated on the exterior doors. That mother surely does not have sore arms from holding her baby tight to stop her from flinging herself on to the floor.

But she is sleeping, so I won’t complain.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


I can pinpoint the exact moment in time when I became a chicken, and it was not, as some might expect, the moment I pushed out my first baby (although having children has inexplicably altered my ability to ride anything that spins). No, I became a chicken on mild day in March 2003, when Hub, my brother and I all went snow tubing. It was a rather warm day, close to 40 degrees, and we’d talked about going for some time. This would probably be our last chance of the season, so off we went.

The warm air had made the slopes a bit slushy, but it was still fun. Not too fast; I would say just right. As the sun went down though, the temperature dropped and that top layer of slush turned to ice. I was starting to get cold anyway, so I decided to take one more trip down and then I was going to go to the lodge for some french fries and cocoa until the guys were ready to go.

I could feel the difference in the snow as the lift pulled my tube to the top of the hill. Definitely slicker. I could see the tubers going down the hills to my right, screaming their heads off. At the top I was warned to go down on my belly so I could control the tube with my feet—a warning which I ignored. I started down the hill on my bum and could feel the difference in speed. I bounced higher off the bumps. It was exhilarating and so fun…and then I flipped. I flipped completely over and landed with my head stuck in the snow, ostrich style. It hurt like a mother, but I had to get up and get back down the hill because other people were coming. I was scarred for life.

We’ve been sledding a few times since then, but the kids have been small and content to go down baby hills with Hub. Hub has also built hills on our front lawn for the kiddos in the past and that has worked out just fine. When he called on Saturday and suggested sledding at a local park, I was ok with it—I would at least have the baby to hide behind. Plus the zipper on my down coat had broken, so all I had was my wool coat. So sure we could go. He would deal with the big kids and I would handle the baby.

Until of course, Bud asked me to go down with him. And how do you say no to your pleading first born? So I said yes, and down we went in the new tube we bought him for his 6th birthday. I was petrified and probably would have peed my pants if I’d had time to think about how scared I really was. It seemed like an eternity until the sled stopped moving and the adrenaline and sheer terror pumping through my veins was probably the only thing that got me back up the hill, instead of laying at the bottom and crying. I hated every second of it and Bud found that to be very amusing.

The kids did end up having a blast though, going down with Hub and each other. Lucy was too scared to go by herself, but Bud went down a good 10 times solo. He’d have gone 50 more if we’d have let him. Liv was content to be pulled around in her sled and conned all of us in to taking a turn. We stayed longer than we planned, until dusk had settled in. My terror aside, it really was a good day.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Stirring up Controversy

One of my friends, pregnant with her third and final child, posted to facebook last night that she found out that she was having a boy—her third boy. She had something like 30 comments, and I went in to add my congratulations. I was infuriated to find people actually offering their condolences to the fact that it was not a girl. People actually saying “I am so so sorry you will never have a little girl…”, or “you poor woman in a house full of boys..” I mean, seriously people. So I went in and offered my sincere congratulations and excitement and got the hell out of there.

Now I don’t know if she is harboring any resentment, but I started thinking about the assholish things that have been said to me during my pregnancies. I’ve heard it all from “the perfect family” after Lucy to “give your body a rest already”(from my own mother), and have even heard that I am contributing to over-population. I get stares and looks of sympathy when I am out with all of my kids, and on the occasions where I also have my 2.5-year-old niece, I actually get comments of “I am soooo sorry”. I always hear “Wow, you must have your hands full.”. I do. But I deal with it. And I chose this handful.

When I get in moods like this, I start getting spun up about every injustice that was ever thrown my way. Like the bitch in the restaurant bathroom last summer who actually said out loud how nice it was for me to use soap as I washed Lucy’s hands. This was sarcasm of course, since I didn’t use soap; that commercial stuff tears her hands to shreds. I have a gentle moisturizing hand sanitizer in my purse for such occasions. I didn’t say anything to her then…but I wish I would have, because seriously—what an asshole, but I’ve spent many a night coming up with what I should have said. (The jerk store called, and they’re running out of YOU!!)

In an attempt to redirect though, I started thinking if there was any time that I may have been insensitive without realizing it, like those poor misdirected shlubs who left comments for my friend. I remember a time when a friend brought her new baby in to work; he was a few weeks old. I gushed how cute he was and squealed that he was just! so! tiny! To which she snapped “he’s a baby, he’s supposed to be tiny. At the time I was taken aback, because clearly I meant nothing. I found out later that her son had some growth issues and she was sensitive about it. Duly noted. I didn’t mean anything by it, but to her, it meant EVERYTHING.


Here’s something I’ve caught myself saying a few times while visiting friends in the hospital, with their tiny 6 or 7 pounders: “She’s just so cute! My kids were only this tiny on the inside! I wouldn’t know what to do with such a tiny baby!” I don’t mean anything by it, but if we changed it around, if someone had said to me about 10lb 2oz Newborn Bud “Wow, he is huge! My kids were his size when they were 4-months old hardy har har..” I would probably have been infuriated. (not that we didn’t get comments about his size, but whatever)

So I guess the question is, who’s the asshole now. Clearly, it is me. It’s probably been all of us at some point or another. Do we all just need to shut the hell up about the age, size and gender babies of others? We just might.

I think I’ll be going with the standard “He is just darling.” from here on out. It’s safer that way.

Monday, February 8, 2010


I slept well on Saturday night, dressed warmly in thermals and a fleece. The baby didn’t wake up, and neither did I. I fluttered in and out of consciousness around 8am as the kids started waking and making noise. They were laughing, entertaining each other and entertaining the baby who was still in her crib. I thought to myself how nice it was to not have to be out of bed the very second my children were awake, and shut my eyes again, my head buried in my pillow.

After a few minutes Hub got up and was dressing at the end of the bed. I could hear the girls starting to bicker, so I stretched and opened my eyes. As I started to sit up, I caught something yellow from the corner of my eye and before I knew it, there was my son, his Halloween mask on, screaming “BOO!!” right in to my face. I screamed and sat up straight in terror, not quite certain what was going on; not sure whether to laugh or cry. He’s lucky that I didn’t push him over. He was pleased to have gotten me. I…well, I was recovering.

This is six.

Six is a weird age. He’s like a full fledged kid, unlike Lucy who is 4 and still clings to a bit of the baby-ness. He’s a kid, who gets on the bus in the morning, and goes to Tae Kwon Do in the afternoon. He has homework at least 3 nights a week. He can read more than just 3 and 4 letter words, he can get himself a snack, and he can call me every morning when I’m on my way to work, just to say ‘have a good day’.

He’s a bundle of gangly arms and legs, extra long toes, always dirty fingernails and a mix of permanent and baby teeth. Some days, he tells me that he loves me more than anyone ‘in this whole house’, and other days he tells me that he doesn’t like me much at all.

He’s my only boy and the most loving of all my kids. When sitting with me, he subconsciously twirls my hair in his fingers, just like he did as a nursing baby.

Six is a constant reminder that he is growing up. I can accept it; but I don’t always like it.

When I got out of the shower this morning and walked through the living room, I thought that the blanket on the couch looked a bit more rumpled than I’d left it. Sure enough, out popped his boo-screaming head.

Six got me again.