Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Serenity now!

Quick! I just got the grouchy younger girls down for naps and I only have 20 minutes before the cyclone comes home from school! Hurry up and relax, Amy!..No, You're tense still...enjoy your break even more!! come on now, focus... Yeah, that's how it is in my world. I normally would zonk out on the couch and watch something mindless like Chopped and make fun of everyone's hair, but I have the heater guy hooking up the heating stuff in the basement and he might judge me. We are this close to having my dad's little suite done down there. The thought of that makes me dance for joy, in my heart, not in body because I am relaxing right now, dang it! I have had construction guys traipsing in and out of here for 2 months now and I am ready to lock the door and throw things at anyone with a tool belt. Here's what was stopping me before: they were doing all the work for me. So hey, when you get right down to it they are my little buddies...very expensive little buddies. But alas, heater-man is the last one, when he leaves this afternoon it is all up to me and my drill. I kind of know how to use my drill, I have named it Pete. Pete and I have a date tonight to hang curtain rods and perhaps a shelf or two in the kitchenette. I sure hope Pete is up for it because I frankly have no idea what I'm doing. Charlie does, but he wants to do other stuff, like work...gosh. (I love you dear, but your priorities are a hot mess). So yeah, home improvement projects, hmm. Not a good time to be had there. But I assume I will be happy when it is done. Honestly if it wasn't a choice between finishing the basement and having my poor youngest child living in my closet until her 12th birthday I would never have embarked on this adventure. Too much, you know...effort...and decision making. (Oooo, heater-man just came up the stairs, which caused me to bolt to the living room to intercept him in case he was all done and wanted a check or to ask where the bathroom was or something, but he was just going to his car for some more heartery-type things. Now that I am thinking about it, only one of the 20 or so constuction guys we've had here have asked to use the I'm going to be up all night figuring out the implications of that, great.)

Friday, August 10, 2012

Thursday, March 1, 2012

True cause of Zombie-ism

Good Morning! How did you all sleep? Great! Me? Thank you for asking but my nights have become a series of frustrating near misses with the sandman. Which is very sad because I really like sleep. Generally sleep is my favorite hobby. I wish there was some sort of competitive sleeping sport. I knew going in to motherhood that sleep would have to become optional. I just didn't realize how irritated I would be with anyone else who actually gets a full night sleep.

Last night I was up 6 times with various little girls and their specific issues. Little girl #1 was up because her sister was coughing too much and she couldn't sleep. After the third round of putting her back to bed I threw a blanket on the couch and told her to sleep there. Problem solved, I went back to bed. Then little girl #3 decided it was time to eat. Grr. What can you do? I got back out of bed and fed her because I am a saint and that is what I do. Finally I dropped back into bed and took a deep breath and closed my eyes in serene relaxation just to hear a little voice at my bedside murmuring something about bugs. Perhaps you remember Mia's recurrent nightmare about bugs? Somehow she has passed this nightmare on to little girl #2. Sisterhood is special.

After putting Eliza back to bed, again, the 3rd time (by now she was wearing her super hero costume) I just threw a blanket on the floor in the hall and told her to sleep there, Apparently bugs only like to sleep in bedrooms. Whatever. As I crawled back into bed again Claira realized that she was lonely and needed to burp some more so she summoned me with her remarkable lung capacity. I nudged Charlie and told him it was his turn. He grunted and started snoring again. So I dragged myself back to the nursery while envisioning what it would be like to stab Charlie in the eye with a fork. When the baby finally settled down I shlumped back to my room and threw myself back on my pillow with a dramatic flair that has taken me years to perfect. My clock mockingly informed me that it was 6 a.m. and I really should get up and hit the treadmill, because that is what a perfect person would do. I tell this imaginary perfect person where she can stick it and drift off to sleep once again. Then the alarm goes off.

Charlie, completely oblivious to the nights festivities bounds out of bed with enthusiasm and hits the shower while dropping a casual remark about how wonderful it is that Claira is sleeping through the night now. I think i threw a pillow at his head. Or maybe it was a fork. I can't be sure.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Lessons from the PICU

So, when I decide to have an emergency, I am not content to merely have one or two major incidents. Anyone can have an emergency c-section leading to a preemie baby and a painful recovery. I like to step things up a notch and have another child admitted for a rare random disease, just for the bonus points. As I was being prepped for my surgery my cell phone rang, and since I was on scared-out-of-my-mind auto pilot I answered it. Mia's pediatrician was calling to tell me that she needed to be admitted to the hospital IMMEDIATELY. My hysterical laughter alarmed both of us so I handed the phone to Charlie and let him deal with it while I went to my happy place in my head and started humming The Girl From Ipanima.

Long story short, Mia wound up on the other end of the hospital while Claira and I were there recovering. I guess she doesn't like to be left out of things. She somehow managed to get osteomyelitis in her hip. Honestly, who does that? So here's what I learned from that whole experience:

PICU nurses deserve hazard pay. NICU nurses are saints, I'll give them that any day. But the PICU nurses have to deal with the kids when they are old enough to fight back...and be bored...and try to escape. Not that my perfect angel of a daughter would do any of that. Mia very quickly learned that if she pushed the pretty red button on her bed, a magic fairy would answer and grant her every desire. Another movie? No problem. Mint brownies at 2 a.m.? Brilliant idea! New sheets and jammies because you managed to spill paint all over, again? Don't even worry about it, I am here to serve you. At least that is what Mia heard. I'm sure the conversation sounded a whole lot different from the nurses station.

Numbers are hard. Ok, put yourself in my place for a minute. There is a special code to get into the NICU, a special code to get into Pediatrics, and a special code to get back to my room, which is where I have to be in if I want my drugs. I know I could probably handle that for a short period of time when I am focused and wearing my own clothes. But put me in a hospital gown, ply me with hormones and sleep deprivation, and it was like they were making me do quantum physics in order to pass through any doors. After a couple days the nurses knew who I was and the tale of my improbable adventures in family health care were whispered in reverence in the hallways, so they would let me struggle for a minute trying to remember where I was and who I was trying to visit then they would chuckle and just buzz me in, shaking their heads in pity. OH! And the security bracelets! By my count I had 5 of them semi-permanently wrapped around my wrist by the time I crawled into bed that first night. As I am not a jewelry type of person that was a massive irritation.

Kids adjust pretty quickly to anything. Now, if I had to have a PIC line in my right arm with a tube leading to a medicine pump in a giant fanny pack around my waist and was told I would be wearing that for over a month, I would probably throw at least one or two massive tantrums...a day. But not Mia, she just shrugged, then figured out how to accessorize her pump with massive amounts of glitter and self-fashioned arm warmers. I kind of want to be just like Mia when I grow up.

And finally, mother-daughter bonding can take place in the strangest of circumstances. It's been a couple months but Mia still cuddles up with me and talks to me about how cool it was that we had matching IV's. And she would call my room phone every couple hours to see if my magic red button was working properly yet (she was very upset that the only thing the nurses brought me when I pushed it was more pain meds). She would call and we would discuss what we would order from the cafeteria for lunch, then when our food trays came I would call her back and we would talk on the phone as we ate. I have a lot of memories from that whole experience, but listening to Mia giggle on the phone as she figured out that she could make her bed go up and down will stay with me forever. And sitting in the chair next to her bed and watching her patiently show her little sister how to work the buttons to Eliza's amazement and delight is one of my favorite moments ever

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Lessons from the NICU

I recently spent some time in the NICU with my baby, Claira. She's just fine, but was a month early and had to be taught to do normal newborn things like breathe and eat. Luckily she was a quick study and got to come home after a couple weeks. I was delighted by that (and maybe just a twinge regretful since that meant I no longer had a room full of nurses to take care of her while I blissfully slept ALL NIGHT LONG. Seriously, when does a new parent get to do that?) (I also went out to movies and to dinners as much as possible during that two weeks. Does that make a horrible person? I know I should have spent all my time by my baby's bedside fretting and worrying, but that got old really quick, and my kids at home were not happy with that arrangement.)

I did spend some hours there every day, holding little Claira and doing whatever mom things the staff would allow me to do. Mostly I sat in my appointed rocking chair and observed. I learned great tricks from the nurses, such as a rice bag on a sleeping baby's stomach is magic, theirs were actually elbow length gloves filled with rice and sewn shut so that it looked like disembodied hands were holding the babies. Awesome, and creepy. Also, the nurses there are human and have to do whatever they can to make their day more tolerable. One nurse had a picture collection of babies with ridiculous hair (yes, Claira has the same male-pattern-baldness curse her sisters had, so she made the collection). One nurse liked to make molds of all the newborns hands as gifts to the parents, or more likely, it was a devious way to play in the mud while keeping a technically sterile environment. Hmmm...more disembodied hands...I'm noticing a theme.

I also learned some things about the other parents, and myself. First off, I am totally able to control myself and not point and laugh when the young parents of the infant in the next door bassinet sang I Can Show You The World in harmony at regular intervals. It was difficult, but I managed to keep a straight face, that is something I never thought I was capable of. Secondly, I learned that at some point parents are way too comfortable talking about breast pumps and bowel movements with complete strangers. And news of a good bowel movement can make cheers erupt through the whole nursery. Parenthood does strange things to a person.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Signs of a stroke?

I think my brain has finally broke. I have a secret addiction and I am so ashamed to admit it I can only talk about it here...on the internet where only my closest friends will read it. I've started to do crafts.

I blame this.

Apparently the postpartum hormone swing has lead me to glue gun abuse. And spray adhesive...that stuff is awesome. How come no one ever told me about it's magical powers? I almost feel the same way about it as I do my Shark steam cleaner, I practically get giddy when it's time to clean my faucets and I get to spray all the gross gunk out from under the tap and watch it fly all over the mirror...Sorry. I'll try to focus.

So, this new obsession is alarming on many levels. When Charlie came home from work to find me covering old diaper boxes with fabric and ribbons he immediately started calling a neighbor to watch our kids so that he could take me to the emergency room for my obvious mental breakdown. But, I explained to him that I was NOT crafting. I was simply getting around to decorating the house (yes, we've lived here over 4 years, what's your point?) since the magic decorating fairies were obviously not ever going to show up. (I'm calling their union rep.) This got him to put the phone and his car keys down, but he still eyes me suspiciously whenever he sees me attempting to make a roses out of bits of ribbon I find in the girls room as I clean.

Now here's my problem. I have no clue what I'm doing. It's like I skipped the multiplication table of the crafting world and skipped straight to mod podge algebra. So I need lots of advice. For Valentines day I have issued Charlie a challenge: Only homemade gifts, and only spend 10 bucks. Since the medical bills of our past couple months have started pouring out of our mail box I decided this was a reasonable challenge for us...well for me anyway since I have Pinterest. He has no clue what to do.

So, here's what I want to do. Decorate my bedroom (Yes the walls are still bare after years of being here, lay off man.) I want to frame sayings that are meaningful to us and hang them artfully above the bed. I know what those of you who know me well are thinking and no, I'm not a pod person, there are mushy sayings like "Eye you(that's how Mia used to say I love you and Charlie still uses it on a daily basis) but there are other sayings like "So's your face" which is an integral part of our ongoing courtship. The good news is that I do have a bunch of frames laying around empty because for some reason Charlie's students keep giving him them as end of year gifts, I guess a lot of mom's figure it's the only male-teacher-appropriate gift in their teacher-gift arsenal.

OK, so how do I go about this? Is there a computer program that makes pretty things? Do I go find scrapbook paper (and where would I find such a thing?...stop laughing, I told you I have no idea what I'm doing.) What other ideas can I incorporate? And where does one get vinyl sayings to put on the wall? And how does one put it on the wall?

Maybe I'll just make him a cell phone charging station out of an old lotion bottle.

Friday, August 12, 2011

It's a girl...again...Yay!!

I like my girls, at this moment Eliza has an old lady scarf perched on her head and is doing her best pirate impression, She's trying to say "Arrrgh", but since saying her r's isn't quite a skill she has yet, it's kind of more like "Awww", maybe she's a bashful pirate. Anyway, as I was saying, I love my girls. And we're going to have another one...oh boy.

I was absolutely positive this bun in my oven was a boy, my crazy old neighbor lady told me it was a boy before I even knew I was pregnant. She would come out of her house, in her night gown, followed by 13 of her cats and say in her trance like voice "your pregnant, and it's a boy", then turn back around and disappear. If you can't trust a prediction like that then what is this world coming to? Also, my doctor would listen to the fetal heart beat and spout off all the old wives tales that said that the slower beat meant it was a boy, and he's delivered a bajillion kids (Seriously, he's old, he wears a bow tie). So you see, I had it on pretty good authority Charlie was finally going to get a boy that would play in the dirt with him (my girls don't like dirt, Eliza gets up several times during a meal to wash her hands...I'll worry about that later.)

But then the ultrasound day came, with me on the table with that gross jelly all over me, Charlie and the girls trying to stare at the screen and pretending they knew what they were looking at and the doctor announced that we were getting girl #3. I breathed a sigh of relief because what on earth do I know about boys? Charlie laughed, because what else can he do? Mia's response? "Darn!" We all looked at her for a second and she said in her really disappointed voice "little sisters are too much work". Then we all looked at Eliza, who was busy trying to shove a latex glove into an outlet...she didn't really care what else was going on in the room. And I've mostly gotten used to the hormonal uncertainty that is the established mood at my home. (Do any of you remember a vignette in the old Animaniacs cartoon called Katie Kaboom, where the daughter of a family was all sweetness and light, until she got mad, then she made the incredible hulk look like a sissy and destroyed the house with lasers coming out of her eyes and tossing Acme bombs with abandon? Yeah...Mia...) hmmm. I guess I at least have the stuff for a baby girl already.

Let the fight over names begin!!!