Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Clean your closets

This is a public service message from your local beat down, put upon, stuck in hell mommy of 4 to those of you finding yourself similarly mired in some sort of muck that makes any progress on any front impossible.

Clean your closet. Your closet reflects your state of mind and your state of  your life. That is my firm opinion. I cleaned my closet today, and you know what? My house was set free from eternal escrow bondage, my children were well, I'm making better eating choices (yes just one day) and I feel like a million bucks and I bet it's going to continue.

Next I need to clean my car, my purse and my dining room table. And then my life will be free flowing and successful as it can be. I just know it. Too bad it's another holiday weekend and I don't get another morning child free for a week. I'll figure it out. A few minutes a day will make progress. I'll see signs of change. I'm excited. Because I have been stuck stuck stuck for so long. I couldn't see what I was doing to stay stuck and I couldn't see any way out. I am not going to be stuck anymore. The house will sell, my new house will be found and purchased and I will find myself again.

I even found some sense of humor in the back of the closet while I was cleaning.

No, really, I don't think it's a coincidence. We'd been waiting on the results of a re-appraisal of our house for sale for 3 days. Suddenly we get it and it's better news than we had even hoped for. We will be getting a reasonable amount for our house and we will be free by the end of next week. Free to find our dream home and start a life where my kids have room, privacy, good sleep options, freedom to do crafts, run in and out of a house, and even help mommy in the kitchen.

I can't wait. It's going to be great, with the usual spots of pain in the butt. Moving is never easy. Finding a home is never easy, negotiating sucks, and we will have to spend more than we want to but it'll all work out.

I'm on my way! Oh I'm relentlessly cheery today aren't I? Hard to even recognize me.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The learnings

Over this complete hell of a Christmas week I have learned many things I think you could benefit from hearing. I had 4 sick children, too much to do, no nannies, The Flu and two pinkeyes myself, and too much family exposure. Lets see what we can take from this.

1. Get your freaking flu shot. It is WORTH IT. The flu is days and days of total destruction upon your personhood. And if it happens when you have no nanny and your other helper is sick? You're screwed.

2. Nobody really cares if mommy has the flu. Just get your arse out of bed and do your job.

3. The more you need a nap due to being on your deathbed with the flu the less likely your 4 children are to take naps.

4. Movies only distract toddlers, not 10 month olds.

5. The croup comes in many flavors. One is sneaky and practically silent.

6. When you put your baby to bed sounding like he's breathing under water? It's hard to sleep.

7. When you put the cold air humidifier on full blast all night, the whole room is soaking wet in the morning but the croupy baby sleeps like a.....baby?

8. Opening presents is only fun when you can see them.

9. Your daily evaluation of how you look in the mirror with receive a total upgrade after seeing yourself with tragic levels of pinkeye for a week. Just be lucky you can actually see yourself.

10. Vicodin and pinkeye are not friends. One dries out the eyes and the other....dries out your eyes.

11. If you screw with your pinkeyes too much you will end up with 2 black eyes. Think you have explaining to do in public with 2 pinkeyes?

12. Your kids don't care if you can't see when it's book reading time. Read.

13. Driving your kid to the Dr. with two pinkeyes is a bad idea. I'm pretty sure it's worse than texting, breastfeeding and watching a dvd while driving.

14. When the baby has finished barfing and you're talking to him soothingly and he looks at you and opens his mouth? CLOSE YOURS.

15. The baby has never finished barfing.

Monday, December 27, 2010

emotional reactions

I'm a very emotional person, I know that surprises you all terribly much. But I don't hold much back, well that's not really true, because I do actually censor myself a lot or else I'd have no friends or family left at all, but for the most part people know how I feel most of the time. This came about due to a childhood where I felt unheard and invisible, my reaction was to shout louder so maybe someone might hear. The less I felt heard the more I cried and yelled and talked about how badly I felt, hoping surely if I got dramatic enough someone would react.

No one really did. They just didn't have the capacity to see someone else's pain, they were too wrapped up in their own mental illness, alcoholism or narcissistic way of life. They were not going to take notice, and thank god I didn't do the final act I dreamed about: doing some dramatic suicide attempt so they could discover I was really in trouble and finally do something about it. Knowing my luck and circumstance, no one would have found me in time, and just look at what I would have missed.

But I have noticed that there are three kinds of people I run into who react to me totally different regarding my emotionalism. It's pretty easy to categorize them:

1. The over-reactor. This is the caretaker person who can't react in proportion to the problem at hand. A splinter in my finger is a code blue emergency that must be handled immediately with bandages, pain killer, ice cream, calls to the ER for backup, a police escort and possibly even a helicopter evacuation. This person drives me crazy because I then have to be all "my head hurts -butI'mreallyokpleasesitdown." My mom used to hear I had a headache and call me the next day to see whether my migraine had gone away. No, mom, headache. I'm fine.

2. The under-reactor. This person is pretty much totally uncomfortable with any display of emotion whatsoever due to whatever their upbringing where they were taught that stuffing their feelings waaaay down deep and showing nothing in public is the 'right' way to handle things and you should just pull up your big girl pants and get over it. Well I disagree. I respect that this is another way to handle your crap and sometimes I wish I could just shut the heck up but I also don't have some nuclear quality bomb growing inside me that might blow up on the wrong person and I don't need to be passive aggressive about my anger. I am healthier when I can express myself, I just think I could use a little calming down. I don't hurt people's feelings, I don't scream in the middle of the grocery store, I cry in my own home amongst family. That seems fair.

3. The just right reactor. This is my best friend. This person listens to my crap, lets me get it all out and moves on in her life without worrying too much. She knows I can handle pretty much whatever is thrown at me and just need to vent to someone safe now and then. Or all the time. Whatever. However, when I get down at the bottom of the pit and can't find my way out, she'll call in the national guard to get me out. She reacts when the time is right and she'll react with all due speed and force necessary, but she gets when and how the reaction is necessary.

We all have our own ways of dealing with life's curves, but sometimes life hands you so many lemons you get buried. When that happens I talk about it. I try to find someone who will listen. And if I feel no one is listening I lose my cotton picking mind. I just want an ear.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Yelling

I come from a family of yellers. One might not be surprised that having alcoholics for parents and loud family arguments kind of go hand in hand. It wasn't until I was 30 something that I put 2 and 2 together and understood why so many family dinners dissolved into screaming and fighting and crying. As a child I also couldn't figure out why the arguments always went so wrong; I was constantly misunderstood and consequently constantly defending myself. I developed a deep emotional wound that even the smallest misunderstanding could trigger and send me into paroxysms of explaining and apologizing until I would hopefully be 'let off the hook' by those I offended.

Exhausting.

My husband comes from a quiet family. Now admittedly, this may have been in reaction to their own family histories. Grandma on one side was known for dish throwing and temper, my guess is she wasn't quiet about it either. So her child naturally was drawn to a quiet person who dealt with their feelings in a calm way. Oh heck, my mother in law never gets above a 5 on the loudness meter even when at her angriest.

My husband chose me, however, so this aversion to emotionally demonstrative and slightly verbally intense women seems to skip a generation now and then. I instantly felt out of place in their house when I went for the aforementioned grandma's funeral, I was the bull in the china shop. My family would have feelings all over the place, including the good ones like funny stories about the deceased. Here I felt like I was in a monastery, which is emphatically not where I fit in.

However, I loved the peace and silence at times. I've written before about christmas in this family and how delightful a drama free season was (well, as drama free as it could be since my mom knows how to dial a phone,) and how I relished the safety of a home like that. Now it doesn't mean that people weren't thinking things I suppose but it sure seemed like a judgement free atmosphere and certainly no one yelled. Ever.

Except me. The funny thing is that I only have to raise my voice 2 levels to be accused of yelling by my husband. I often pause in confusion thinking, I wasn't yelling? You wanna hear yelling? But the main point of this essay is my feelings on yelling at my children. Good God, does anyone really WANT to yell at their children? There are long conversations in my triplet online group about our guilt that our triplets regularly push us so far with their behavior that we end up yelling at them. Half the time it has more to do with our tiredness or our being sick more than them really behaving any differently than usual, but those with children will agree that some days? Those kids are just full of terrifying ideas.

And they seem to hone in on when you're vulnerable due to some other trauma going on in your life and really sock it to ya that day. And you could have your best poker face on and be singing along with them when they decide to just say no to everything you say or ignore you or pick on a sibling until you are a roiling ball of rage with veins popping out all over while you shriek like some lunatic about what the heck is wrong with them anyway?

And when you're yelling you tend to say things that you really never meant to say. Things your parents used to say to you: "Why are you doing this to ME?" "What is your problem?" and "Why are you being so bad?" Those may seem minor but to a kid who isn't always sure that you love them all the time no matter what it can be poison. It can seep into their souls and convince them that there IS something 'wrong' with them. That there's some horrible side of them that makes them a bad child and that deep down inside there is some dark part of them that no one would love.

Or at least that's what happened with me, so I can't let it happen again. Mommy needs to take more time outs. Kids respect time out. Kids might learn something about being a grown up or how to control their own anger by watching mommy take a moment to calm herself instead of screaming whatever comes into her head. This, of course, is way harder than one might think. The rage is like lightening for me, one minute I'm handling the children calmly and rationally and the next the control line has snapped and I'm grabbing and spitting and yowling like a rabid cat. My own rage from childhood even feeds into the lack of control because I'm recognizing that I am not in control and my being their mother is not 'good enough.' Just like the way I was not in control as a daughter and never a 'good enough' daughter.

It's amazing and terrifying. I want to be a loving role model to my children and have a house of peace, not crazy drama like my own childhood. I am not an addict, so that's a step in the right direction, now I've got to get my rage under control. It is not fair to visit the sins of my father (and mother) upon my children. Thank god I'm already in therapy.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Just believe

I have never put too much stock in "the power of positive thinking." In fact, I remember that in high school I was certain that if I thought I was going to get an A I would curse myself into getting a C but if I thought I had screwed up I would definitely get an A. It sure seemed like my grades had little to do with my effort or self evaluation, so it made sense to come up with a superstition to get me through the anxiety of waiting to see what random grade would be assigned to my work this time.

I took that superstition with me in life and felt that if I ever got too excited about something or started to get my hopes up I would definitely trash any chance of it happening. I know a lot of people have small superstitions about saying things out loud and jinxing their luck but I took it further and recited the negative in my head in order to appease the gods and have a small chance of getting what I wanted. This all convinced me and others that I was a pessimist.

The truth is I'm an optimist. A brilliant therapist once said that what I was actually doing was thinking positively because I was thinking negatively in order to achieve a positive outcome. Well that blew my mind. I started to reconsider my personality type which had been sporting that pessimist label since high school.

When that whole "The Secret" thing came out and got on Oprah and everywhere I took a chance on it. Maybe I could change my life with the power of belief. Maybe I was dooming myself by thinking about what I didn't want to have happen instead of what I did. After all, hadn't I created the triplet pregnancy merely by stating to anyone who would listen in the 4 months preceding my fertility treatment that I was going to have them? Like hell I was going to go through fertility treatment twice people, so I declared to the world that my one time was going to pay off. And what do you know? So I knew it seemed to work.

And so I tried, I really tried. I created one of those dream boards. I went out and purchased poster board and magazines and cut out pictures of what I wanted and what I hoped to achieve. I meditated on it daily. And, while I haven't looked at it in a while, I'm relatively certain I did not lose weight, start exercising, or become the highest earner in my Partylite region. Hmmm.

It just felt uncomfortable, all that positive thinking. I kept worrying that I was ruining things by getting my hopes up. I kept wondering if every stray negative thought had ruined the whole set up. I eventually hid the stupid board so I'd stop looking at it. And I stopped trying so hard.

But when we got the offer on the house and the quick close was part of the package, meaning we would be free to write offers on our own future home immediately, I got excited. I declared to the world that I was moving in January. Be it January 31st at midnight or not, I didn't care. I was not staying in this apartment a minute longer. So then the anxiety set in. Was I setting myself up for disappointment if January came and went without a house? We aren't buying an 'ok' house, this is going to the The One. How can I find that in a month? Then there started to be problems with our own home, the inspection, and now the appraisal fell far short of the value of our contract. What was happening here?

Was I experiencing a comeuppance? Was this my punishment for getting my hopes up? Should I stop stating that I was moving in January? Did I need to make it more clear that I was not just moving but moving into my new house in January in case the wicked fates decided to throw an earthquake to make me move out of the apartment and into some kind of gymnasium shelter somewhere just to make a point? What am I supposed to do?

I am holding fast to the belief that I am going to find my dream home in time to move Jan 31, but it terrifies me. I know our home has been just waiting for us to be free to make an offer on it and I believe things happen the way they're supposed to but what if I'm supposed to spend 6 more months in this apartment? Good lord. That just can't be right. So, Universe?

I AM MOVING INTO MY NEW HOME IN JANUARY.

Prove me wrong.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Inside my head

Inside my head I am a hot 25 year old redhead with great shoes and some extra cash to spend on myself whenever I want to. I am a reasonable size, I am highly educated (Masters in Education), entertaining to men and women, and pursuing my passion for rescuing animals, knowing it's my life's calling.

Inside my head I'm a great writer, who has several book ideas, mostly autobiographical in nature focusing on my crazy mother and my hilarious journey to my current position in life, and one trashy romance novel I'd like to try writing, although the sex parts make me blush to write.

Inside my head I am a cool, calm mom, who has a particularly accurate intuition into her childrens' needs and a head for handling too much at once, key for surviving a multiples household. In my head I am fair to a fault, always put others first and easily forgive.

Inside my head on a bad day I am fat, wrinkled, tired looking, lazy, a boring writer, running out of money, wasting my education, without a calling in life, an impatient mom who yells too much and prefers her iphone over her children's attention.

Inside my head it seems to be black and white, good or bad but never just average. In life I am completely tolerant of almost any failing in someone else, barring animal or human abuse, but inside my head I have no tolerance for my own. I berate myself in a way I would never do to my children, beat myself up in a way I would never show, and belittle and mock my minute to minute actions like some cruel abusive husband to myself.

Inside my head there is a small dark cloud that on most days stays isolated in a non-critical zone but on bad days spreads like a toxic plume from a burning oil spill until it fills my head and my vision with images black and violent to my psyche.

Inside my head there needs to be some major renovation, because children learn from their parents and I will not saddle another innocent child with the mindset of an addict or an addict's loved one. That crap won't fly anymore.

You know, sometimes our children save us from ourselves.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Obligation

Throughout my life I have had a struggle with people feeling obligated to me without cause. It started with boyfriends in college. You know the kind of relationships where, because you live in the same building and eat at the same cafeteria, you basically move in together on day 2? Well I would just be cruising along in that style when suddenly it would all come to a crashing halt. The reason? The dude felt "obligated" to spend an evening with me when he should have been studying so now he has to break up with me so his grade point average didn't suffer. I didn't ask him to spend every second with me and if he had just said something he might have found out that I was completely willing to give him the space he needed, so how did this happen?

In the same vein, I've helped more guys dump me or not even start relationships with me than I could count. I've had these crazy conversations where they're dancing around the fact that they are not really sure if they should or shouldn't kiss me or make a move and they always ended with me saying "if you have to think that hard about it, it probably means that it isn't the right thing to do." And so it ends. Are guys really that unsure of themselves that they wrestle with the first kiss out of some obligation to the fact that they had been flirting with me for a few days? Good god, then what? After the obligatory kiss then how long are you required to date me before you have fulfilled your obligation?

The final straw was when a guy was living with me, the guy right before my husband came along, and we were struggling pretty intensely with our relationship. One evening he and I are talking through our problems and I'm saying, once again, that if you have to think that hard about it it's probably not what you're supposed to be doing (being with me of course) when he drops the bomb: well I just felt obligated since I am living in your house....

Really?  Um, don't do me any favors?

The thing is, do I really seem so weak and breakable that if you disappoint me I'll fall apart? Is it really better to pretend to me that you're interested or even keep living with me than to cut it off clean and move on so I can find someone who really wanted to be with me? What the hell?

This crap pisses me off. I do not require jack from anyone. If you want to give? Give. If you want to be with me? Be with me. But I am no frail flower. I have stood on my own two feet, quite alone, for many years. The real fact is that I have a hard time leaning on someone. My husband has to struggle to help me because I'm unwilling to accept it. I do incredibly complicated dances to ensure that no one feels obligated to do anything for me or even reciprocate something I've done for them. I bend over backwards to make people feel free to screw me over if its what they need to get by. So apparently I'm living in opposite world. The more I try to keep people from feeling obligated the more they feel obligated I guess. Or rather, the people I tend to come into contact with are intensely guilty people, the kind who manufacture reasons they have to do things they don't want to do for people who don't want them to do it.

And even knowing this? I feel guilty that they feel obligated to me. There's the irony. I feel obligated to ease their obligation that they shouldn't even feel. Perhaps I should change tactics and assume everyone has an obligation to me and the guilt cycle might end.

I wonder, are there guilt free people walking this planet? I haven't met one yet.

Monday, December 6, 2010

And then it happened

The day I wrote about selling the house, we got an offer. And the next day we got a ratified contract. We may actually have sold the freaking house.

We may actually have sold the goddamned, dead weight, chain around my leg, holding me back from beginning my new life, pain in the arse HOUSE.

Now I think that's funny. Was I supposed to blog about the lessons I'd learned in my long tenure in this stupid apartment? If so, would that I had done it a wee bit earlier so I could spend christmas in a new home? Oh how irritating.

In any case, I am now on the hunt for the dream home. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I am almost free of this crazy prison we call a temporary home. And that makes me completely crazy.

In fact, seeing the light at the end of the tunnel makes the tunnel feel like 100% of the crap it has been all along and I haven't admitted to or allowed myself to feel crappy about all this time. And so it hit me hard on the day after the ratified contract when I went to look at houses to buy and found not one with what I needed in it. And then I came home to sit in this uncomfortable place with all its problems and things that make life harder and I began to lose it.

And because I was already starting to lose it, it snowballed. The next day started terrible, stayed terrible in the middle and ended terribly. I tried to start over Friday and was defeated almost instantly. Saturday the baby started in on me at 4:20am. I had no chance to recover. I'm not sure what the formal name for it is but when you are losing your mind, there is this tendency for the world to keep kicking you while you're down. Or so it seems.

I hope to regain my balance soon, but it's tough. Knowing that I'm almost there but not there yet. And not knowing an absolute end date. Until I find our new home I can't make and end date and I am determined it's not going to be another 6 months but who can say when your dream house will appear? I have set my mind to the determination that I WILL be moving into our new home in January. That means I'd better work fast.

Anyone know of a great home for sale?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

An apology of sorts

I'm the child of an alcoholic. Actually two, but my mom was less obvious in her way until she got into pain pills. Then she was terribly obvious. But I was raised by a kind, gentle, friendly man who was a great success in life and generally happy until he drank too much. Then he got belligerent and argumentative.

My aunt is a lovely woman, I always refer to her as one of my favorite people in the world. That was always true and still is today despite what happens between us. I have never spent a lot of time judging people for their ways of coping with the pain life brings. Some choose God, some choose working themselves to death, some choose therapy and some choose addiction. My aunt became pregnant at an early age, married an abusive man, and in her early twenties had to decide between abuse and single motherhood of 4 children with a high school education. She then proceeded to help my grandfather through his old age until his death, my father through the loss of his son, then lose her own son to a stupid medical mistake and finally lose her best friend, my father, too early as well. I have the benefit of not being an addictive personality so I can't sit on my high horse and judge her decision to drink more each time a blow came. When she's sober she's wonderful. I love that woman. I wish I could be with her more often and I relish phone conversations and cards from her.

But I can't stand drunk people. I can't even stand my happy drunk husband when he's just celebrating in a seemingly appropriate manner. I get mad, uncomfortable, and close up. And put me with an angry drunk person who is someone I admire and look up to? I get mad.

And so I did, and I aired my anger here. And who knows if she ever read it or ever will. I hope in some ways she gets some of the message but not like that. I don't ever want to hurt her. She has never intended to hurt me and it's I who went in with unrealistic expectations of her and the situation. I knew her well enough to know what the risks were. I had no right to expect her to be a different person than she was. The problem was I hadn't ever been honest with myself about who she really was. And the childhood fantasy was finally over, nobody's fault, but over. And that's crushing. Add in my helpless feelings about my sick child and not being able to save my aunt from killing herself with the choices she's making and I felt doubly overwhelmed.

As for my cousin with the jerk husband? Who am I to judge a marriage? Many people might look at my marriage and not understand it. Everyone struggles in their relationships. Who am I to say what is and isn't worth it when someone will love you and raise a child with you? I am told he was in worse form than usual and who knows if he felt he needed to show off to me but whatever the case, I don't have the right to sit in judgement on that one either. I don't have to like him, but I have to suck it up if I want to spend time with her and I do.

Who knows, maybe I've burned these bridges. I hope not. Family is very important to me but I can't help my scars showing and my wounds bleeding in public sometimes. I happen to have a sharp weapon here in this blog and I have wielded it rarely and always with bad consequences. I like being honest but I have to be sure I'm ready for the results it may cause. And if I've hurt someone I love that's not ok. And if I spend hours feeling guilty then I know I've gone too far. At least I figure it out eventually.

And now it's off my chest.

Monday, November 29, 2010

A good list to have

Things NOT to do when trying to sell your house:

1. Believe it will sell quickly

2. Move into a tiny apartment with you 4 children because your house will surely sell fast if there are no children in it.

3. Pay lots of money to stage the house because it will make you hundreds of thousands of dollars more than you paid for the house. No really.

4. Pack lightly, like you were going on a vacation, because you'll only be in the apartment for 2 months max.

5. Don't bring the hand-me-downs for the baby because surely you'll have your stuff back in 2 months.

6. Put every decision and choice on hold because you'll be moving into your 'real house' soon and can do it then.

7. Continue to remember that every day you are in the apartment you are at LEAST 35 days from moving because that's how long it would take MINIMUM to get to closing if you got an offer on your house today.

8. Delay potty training your children until you are in your new house because you don't want them having accidents on the rental furniture or carpets.

9. Choose an apartment that is in the middle of a steep hill and the middle of nowhere so that any time you choose to walk your baby anywhere it involves an arse kicking climb and nothing to look forward to at the end.

10. Bother to even look at houses to buy since you can't buy them.

Please lord. Please sell my house and let me move into a real home. Please?

Sunday, November 28, 2010

slacker Sunday photo

Would you really mind if he were laughing AT you?

"Women" - B

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Mommy dreams

When I imagined myself a stay at home mom years ago it wasn't nuthin' like this.

Back at the (now I see I was young as hell) age of 31 when I suddenly wanted to have babies (after declaring to anyone who'd listen that it was never happening) I knew it was all I wanted to do. I was in between jobs anyway and I had such trouble finding my next occupation because there was this voice in my head that would interrupt every line of thinking saying "BUT I JUST WANT TO HAVE BABIES.'

And it would pause for a moment and then say, even louder.

"N. O. W."

Mind you I didn't even have a stinking boyfriend. That year I was back in the internet dating pool and was enduring the four seasons of weird boyfriends: too thin, too fat, too short and just plain ugly. Lest you think I am a mean old beeyotch, I really am not kidding. At the time I tended to date anyone who liked me first, so when it came to internet dating I didn't have to reach very high. Any man who approached me in a non whore like manner was in. You wanted to talk and walk on beaches and love someone forever? In. You're not married? In. You have a pulse and all of your appendages, even better!

So in the midst of this lack of choosiness I got to experience a wide range of the human male. And as I'm typing this I'm pretty sure my husband has turned off his computer and gone to sit in a dark room. Ah well. Blogging isn't for the weak of heart.

While I was dating the last one (just plain ugly) I started watching those TLC shows about birthin' babies. Oh good god, I got sucked in and all teary and sobby and when a close friend went and got pregnant on me and then showered me with all her pregnancy hormones it was all over for me I guess. I got the bug. I wanted to be pregnant. I hadn't thought through most of the rest of it, I just wanted to be pregnant. That's why I blame it on her hormones. I haven't ever and don't really like babies. Although my own seem to be above reproach, but that is now, not then. So it wasn't so much that I wanted babies as that I wanted to be pregnant and I was certain that if they would just pop out already 9 years of age I'd be fine.

Fast forward to the present, invitro assisted million children I possess and you'll see that I was ill prepared for stay at home motherhood. I was sure while I had the triplets gestating that I'd handle it myself. Heck I had cared for 400 plus sick animals all by myself on a daily basis, why not 3 kids?

Well, strangely enough it didn't work out that way. I am dependent upon not only my mother in law to come 5 days a week to my home, but also 2 nannies who cover 6 mornings a week. I've never admitted to anyone online how much nanny time I have, and the truth is that before I got myself all pregnant again I was weaning off of them and down to 3 days a week, but that pregnancy stuff isn't for the weak of spirit and apparently I suck at it so much I went right back to 6 days of help. And I haven't quit them yet despite my best of intentions. I mean to take my children back for whole days at a time other than Sunday. I really do. I just can't get it together. The very idea of managing the triplets and the baby 24 hours a day gives me palpitations.

And as I sit here on the cusp of a 4 day holiday with no nannies I start to hyperventilate. I surely never thought I'd dread 4 days of 24 hour childcare on my shoulders. I thought that I and motherhood would form a close bond. That I would thrive under the stresses and challenges of this new "calling" of mine just like I had every other job in the past. That I would sit at the end of the day and be happy that I was a full time working at home mom. That I would never wonder what the hell I was thinking.

What the hell was I thinking?

This mother stuff works for some ladies, and I don't think the solution is for me to get a job because I still think I want to do this, but I somehow have to make myself do it. When we get out of this ridiculous "temporary but is turning into a long term hell" apartment and into our forever house I do intend to take charge again. I am just terrified that I'm going to fail I suppose. That, when faced with fewer breaks and more face time with each child on a daily basis I might just turn into a superbly bad mom. I might figure out I'm no good at this. And I suck at being bad at something even more than I suck at anything else in this world.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The boring mommy blogger

A blog I read regularly wrote today about something completely different (doppelgangers, a typical thoughtful blog of his) but in the midst mentioned a friend who had become a mommy and then become boring and so he had drifted away from their friendship. He has mentioned parents becoming boring before and way back when I started my blog and found his, he used to read my blog, perhaps for about 5 minutes until he decided that I, too, was a boring mommy blogger. I think he enjoyed several of my non parental blog entries but then became disappointed as the majority of my posts were parental in nature. His rejection felt personal back then and still does now, almost 2 years later. I was certain I wasn't a boring mommy blogger.

But his criticism, which appears regularly in his blog posts, of boring mommy blogs really keeps me on edge. Knowing that for some reason my second pregnancy took the humor out of me far more than my first, I have worried over this blog a lot. I haven't been regularly funny, like in the old days, for a long time. I only have one commenter anymore (thanks The Mother) although I know many people still read. But do they not comment because they are disappointed in me too? I am disappointed in any case, I am a funny person. I started this blog to be funny about my crazy life with triplets and a crazy mom. My life is full of hilarious stupidity.

But, today as I read this other blog I wanted to tell this dude something: people evolve. His blog recently has  been more morose and serious. He has also lost some of his sense of humor, and I think the reason was revealed in a recent post about some sort of health crisis he is enduring. Or rather he's evolving as well, into a serious, contemplative writer rather than a silly, funny writer. Sure he and I both have our moments of brilliant hilarity, but they are fewer and farther between than they used to be. Does that make either blog boring? Well, I'm certain that he has lost fewer readers than I but no has had the guts to complain to me directly so I can only guess. It all depends on what you read blogs for. Triplet mom friends of mine still derive something from my honesty. Friends or readers who have crazy moms might. Or people with 9 month old babies. Who knows.

I guess I fret, as usual, about whether I am pleasing the masses. I know there are better blogs and when I have time to really write every day and concentrate on it I am sure mine will show it. For right now, this is what I do. I write when I get inspired. I write the best I can and I try to find the humor in it when I can. Thanks for reading.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

slacker Sunday photo

Eating the sprinkles is much more fun than decorating with them

Once you get the angry face it's pretty much all over for you

Friday, November 19, 2010

A sucker born every minute

I'm being taken for a fool. By a 9 month old. Everyone thinks I'm some old pro at this child rearing stuff simply because I have three older kids. Well let me disabuse you of that notion. Three at once not only is not the same as one baby at a time but it has the power to erase the memory of rearing said children mere days afterwards.

In other words I have no idea how to raise a kid. Still.

This baby has been a lot of fun because I've had the luxury of, well, babying him. So I rock him to sleep. You can't do that with three babies and it's such a great moment. At the end of the day I'd sit down and sigh with relief that the day was ending as I rocked and sang until he relaxed into my arms. It took 10, 15, max 20 minutes. Not a problem really.

This week? It's been taking 35-60 minutes. He sits and babbles and laughs and looks around and wiggles and then gets almost to sleep and then, pop! Awake again. Or he falls asleep and I lay him down and bam! Awake again. Wednesday night it took the whole hour, with three lay downs before the last one stuck. NOT. OK.

Like I have nothing better to do than fight with an infant over whether he's going to sleep or not? And this is happening with all the naps too. So 3-4 times a day I'm going to fight over whether a child sleeps now or later? I THINK NOT.

So now I have to figure out how to disabuse him of the notion that he has as much time as he wants to fall asleep. Or I have to start drugging him. Because when I hit the 30 minute mark, that cute, relaxing, loving moment with my son who can bring tears to my eyes just by laying there with his eyes closed snoring a little bit? Not so hot. I get mad. I have to leave the room sometimes I'm so mad.

Go. To. Effing. Sleep. Child.

I'm not a cry it out person, so that's not on the table, but I'm most confused about how to even get him to start falling asleep NOT in my arms. I imagine I'm going to spend a lot of hours hunched over a crib patting and rubbing and shushing a baby who wants to play instead. Or I lay him in there and wait an hour for him to get mad and cry himself to sleep while I run in and out soothing him on occasion. That's going to suck too. But the question is how long will it take? I have barely the stamina to let him cry for 5 minutes right now since he's also awakening at 5am or earlier and insisting on being paid attention to right. now. I need more sleep to handle a problem such as this.

Always the loop. I have a problem to fix that is causing me lack of sleep but in order to fix that problem I need more sleep so I can do the mean mommy routine. I'm just stumped, though, on how to even begin. I feel stupid asking for parenting advice but I'm at a loss. It's in his best interest to cut it out because once I'm fed up I'll make him do it. I did it with the triplets, or so it seems, because their butts go to sleep on their own just fine.

I just need a little more sleep. And a little less sucker tendencies. But he's so cuuuuuuuuute.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Times gone by

Well I wasn't planning on posting but then an old friend got in touch (Hi Jeanne, would you like some exposure?) and that led to me Facebook friending her and then I got all started thinking about friends from that era of my life (1990-94ish) and so I friended another friend who then linked me to other friends and so on and so forth so that through the magic of Facebook I am suddenly sitting back at Valley Mill Camp in the 90s.

Whew. What a time. There I was 18+ pretending to be a grown up, acting as a counsellor to impressionable young women. My first group of campers were 11-13 and I was way more scared than they on day one. Would they think I was cool? Would they like me? It was worse than high school. Thankfully, by the magic of just being a college student I started out with a large helping of assumed coolness and things went pretty smoothly. I remember a few of those first campers, I guess like teachers remember their students, but not all of them. Genna (Jenna?) and Eileen are names I remember. Narda and Hilary stayed at camp for years after, becoming counsellors alongside me and friends of a sort. But I had no preconceived notions of their futures. They were so interestingly different all of them. I wanted the best for them and experienced my first parental feelings I think, having to wipe away tears when they would do fantastic at the horse riding show.

Funny enough though, I was certain I never wanted to have children. I liked teenagers, hated babies and just thought it would never happen that my mind would change about the subject. I knew that part of the reason was that I was terrified I'd be like my mother to any children I might have. It didn't occur to me that right there at camp I was demonstrating otherwise. I was certain it was inevitable. It wasn't until years later that my therapist put the major reason into words for me: I had already raised a child.

My mother was obviously never capable of being a mom to me. She was the most important child in our family. Her insomnia ruled the house in the mornings, her depressions and highs determined how the day went and we all adjusted our selves and our lives around her needs. Every time we were about to depart on a family trip I counseled her out of her belief that it was a mistake to go. Every time she felt a distant relative had offended her I talked her through it. Present giving was about what she wanted us to like or what she might have wanted to receive at our age, not about what we really wanted. And there was no way to say you didn't want what she had given you, the rejection might kill her.

Somehow there was an unspoken rule that her psyche was so delicate we all had to tiptoe around her. So why would I feel parented in that situation? I was the parent, dad was oblivious, and only my brother and I grew up I guess. I always was a little older than my years. The death of my brother and the total deterioration of my mother sealed that deal.

So, I look on these women today who were children back then with me and am so proud, amazed and slightly self satisfied that perhaps I had a hand in who they've become. My proudest moment that first summer was when one of my kids called the other one "gay" and the second kid parroted back what I had been saying all summer "gay is not an insult." I hope that stuck. The next summer I learned from the kids to lighten up. I had been sticking the rules so hard down their throats that they told the boss I didn't like them. How horrifying. I loved them! So I learned some of the balancing act a parent has to do between rules and loving enough to let some rules slide. From my friend Jeanne, who started out as a peer but ended up as the boss lady the last two summers, I learned the value of not giving a crap what anyone thinks of you, whether it be on the improv stage (she is the best drama teacher ever) or on the dance floor. And years later, when she was my bridesmaid, we boogied down together without a care.

A lot of these lessons were not learned immediately, rather they percolated for years. Now I can see some of them becoming part of me and I hope that means that I taught those girls a thing or two also. Now I'm faced with the reality that 4 human beings are stuck with me for years, not just a summer, and I will determine a great deal of what they believe and who they become. I hope to heck they grow up wanting to parent because they want to be like me. I can only hope that they look back on my mothering with a laugh about the mistakes I made and a positive feeling about how I made them feel about themselves. Because I think they're neat as heck and thank God I decided to become a mother after all. Lord knows the world needs a few more people with my sarcastic sense of humor around.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Mommy's weekend away!

Oh I'm finally learning. I've been waiting all year for this weekend and I almost gave it up. After coming home from terrible trip number 2 I almost decided to hibernate. I thought I was cursed. I know, I know, part of it was bringing an infant along and this weekend is decidedly no infants allowed but I just felt like I never wanted to leave home alone.

But I'm doing it. In 36 hours my ass is leaving town. I'm going scrapbooking. I'm going to nap, eat good food, read books and/or magazines, listen to music, watch movies and scrap the hell outta some baby pictures.

Heaven. Cursed? I hope not. But this time I'll be a 2 hour drive from home. I can cut out early if it sucks but I've done this before, it would be hard pressed to suck.

I am so excited that I decided to go. Daddy is less so. For the first time I'm leaving him with 4 children, not just the three he's grown accustomed to caring for alone. The youngest, who has spent all week convincing me I've created some kind of monster who refuses to go to sleep in a reasonable amount of time, is all his. Bwah ha ha ha ha!

I wish him the best of luck with the kid. I have repeated to myself again and again that the kid will be fine without me for 2 nights and 2 days. I'm used to leaving the triplets, they're pretty big, so I don't worry about them having a disrupted routine really. But the baby has had a night alone with grandma twice. Never two. Never no mommy for 48 hours. It's about time I guess, the big lug.

So I take a deep breath and drive away. It is for my sanity. I hope to return fresh and ready to mother, blog, Christmas shop and give a crap again. Later!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

slacker Sunday photo


It's very important to arrange your pumpkins to her specifications. I'm just sayin'.


I tried to tell him pumpkin pie was worth waiting for, but he was starving. Because I don't feed him.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

And again

Silly me. I tempted fate. I claimed I had flown across country with my infant for the first and last time.

Dare the universe and usually you end up losing.

So here I go again next week. Flying to San Antonio to the bedside of my favorite relative, to whom I owe a huge debt, while she recovers from a surgery. That's the short story, here's the long one.

As many of you who read this and know me are aware, my father died of pancreatic cancer in 2008. He struggled for a mere 6 months before quitting all treatment and going home to die in November. 4 months before he was diagnosed I happened to have triplets. Leaving infant triplets at home alone with their father was really not realistic for most of the time, so I was able to visit twice for a weekend each. My aunt, his  little sister, was there for him. She spent weeks visiting. She attended doctor meetings, studiously taking notes. She kept him company in the hospital. And, in the end, she held his hand as he died, 8 hours before I arrived fresh off of Thanksgiving weekend.

I owe this woman for doing my job for me when I could not. I owe her a debt of gratitude I can never repay. I owe it to her to be there for her like she was for my father. And so I will.

Monday she is undergoing a femoral endarterectomy. And some iliac thing. You doctors understand. A possible bypass. Her left leg has no circulation, the right still might be ok, but they at least need to go in and scrape all the plaque off the inside of the left femoral artery. Which sounds disgusting. She has every risk factor on the list practically: lifetime smoker, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, inactivity and family history of heart disease. Bam, bam, bam, bam, bam. She is in so much pain right now but I think she doesn't know how in danger she is otherwise. Perhaps it's intentional on her part. In any case, after this surgery they say she needs 3 days in the hospital and 5 days off her feet at home. Her family lives near the hospital, so they can cover that shift. Once she gets home, though, all she has is a husband. A husband who neither desires to be nor is a caretaker.

So here I come to save the day. Yes, I like to save the day. I hope I can come and entertain her, feed her, clean her house and generally pave the way for her to have an easier life for a couple of weeks. I will only be there 3 days so I'd better work fast. But I love this woman as if she were my own mother. In fact I spent a great part of my childhood wishing she were. She is a lovely, gentle, genteel, southern woman with a tendency to drink too much and worry herself to death. I've spent a lot of time with her but not in the last few years, for obvious reasons. What I get out of this visit is time with her and a chance to do with her what I couldn't with my own father. She is the last repository of family history, recipes, names, funny stories and pride. I want to sit and absorb all I can because who knows when I'll get another chance? She is only a couple of years younger than my dad and he died 2 years ago.

This is going to be another emotionally rough trip but thank goodness I get to stay in her house and I don't have to tote the kid around in the heat and stink bug craziness. I hope the logistics being better makes all the difference. I hope that being aware that there will be some crazy emotional crap going on will also help. And good god, I hope the boy sleeps on the plane this time. Benadryl anyone?

Monday, October 11, 2010

The trip report

I know many of you have been hanging on the edge of your seats to hear about my trip to Maryland with the infant. Those of you who even knew I went that is. I think it's telling that the only photo I have of the whole weekend is this one:


Yes, that's my child chewing on the very common airport chair. 

It started out well enough. In fact I'm quite suspicious there was some kind of bait and switch thing my child did on me but I have no way of proving it. Truth serum only works on those able to form sentences. So, we headed out in the early morning hours of a Thursday to the airport. He slept in the car as I had hoped. He was great in the airport despite the computers breaking down and them having to hand write my boarding pass. Security, no problem. Bad decision to carry him to the gate after that combined with him choosing to roll off the changing table in the bathroom while I dug through the bag for a diaper shook me a bit, but I was more worried about him getting crabby in the waiting area. I am pretty sure we scared most of the waiting room into thinking they were getting on board a plane with a nightmare about to unfold, but I was not sure yet. I knew he was tired.

Thankfully, he fell asleep on take off, let me eat breakfast, awoke, and played and then fell asleep again on my chest for most of the rest of the flight. I was bored once I was done napping, and he left a foot wide swath of drool on my chest but that's better than frantically managing a screaming infant. I arrived on the East Coast in good shape, got lost like an idiot who hadn't lived in the area for over 10 years, but made it to the hotel and collapsed with my favorite chinese food. Folks, I got to sleep in a bed for 11 hours with only one interruption requiring my attention the whole night. 11 HOURS. 

What mom can say that? 

Well apparently you moms with one child. Or maybe one child with an ear infection, who missed his nap and is doped up on ibuprofen. Whatever. 

In any case, one might think that the cough cough sneeze barf that occurred mid-day Friday all over the car seat was a bad omen, but I had a great Friday. I ended that day thinking this one kid stuff was a breeze. This traveling with a sick infant to a place where the temperatures had soared over 100 degrees while maintaining the humidity of a steam sauna and harboring a plague of stink bugs from a foreign land was easy!

Right. 

Somehow the honeymoon ended Saturday. I started crying about 10 am. I had driven for over an hour to try to get the kid to take a nap in the car only to find him just as crabby as if he hadn't had one, found that he had a taste for dirty hay strewn about the floor of the infirmary where I was to spend most of my time cataloguing silent auction items, come to the conclusion that I sure as heck couldn't handle the heat in that area and then realized that this child was not going to let me get jack done without swallowing a stink bug or some foreign object requiring surgery to remove. 

Now for some information you need to understand my tears. For the last 8 years (I think ) I have been the savior of this silent auction. I  usually had the luxury of spending hours there in the 3 days leading up to the event and 12 hours on the very day of the event running the auction while the rest of the fundraiser went on around me. It is chaos I turn into control. I feel like a rockstar and am told how fantastic I am multiple times per day while I'm there. Meanwhile, I get to revisit one of my favorite areas on the planet, the green, leafy, wild animal filled woodlands of Maryland. The old houses, the stone walls, the winding country roads. I love visiting even if I don't get to see friends. But this year I found myself incapable of accomplishing what I come there to do. I couldn't save the day if that infant wouldn't let me work!

In any case, not to draw out a long and boring story, I still managed to make it work. With the invaluable help of some 12th hour childcare I was freed to make it work with the time I had left. It wasn't as much fun as usual but they apparently made 12k off the silent auction alone, so we'll call that successful. But I had spent a lot of hours driving around the Maryland countryside thinking. Thinking about my dad mostly, and how little he knew of what I knew. 

Did that make sense? My father didn't really take the time to find out what I knew. He was such an expert on everything that I guess it didn't occur to him to find out what I was an expert about, something a parent should really do. I think most of you will agree with me on that. I hope to be an expert on what my childrens' strengths and powerhouse skills are. I hope to be constantly amazed by what they know that I don't know. But then I'm the result of how I was raised. Maybe I'll err in the other direction and they'll think I know nothing. Whatever. But the result of all this thinking was not apparent to me until the day after I returned home. I hit full on mourning my dad again. The second anniversary of his death is the end of November. Apparently it's still raw, especially when I'm back where he and I shared such a love of the area and spent hours driving around together and now I'm driving around with MY kid in the car. Heavy. 

So, after an exhausting couple of days in the heat and bugs we returned to the airport with a sense of confidence. The flight shouldn't have been any different than 4 days before. Same time of day, same seats, whatever. It was Not. The. Same. 

This child would not sleep. He teased me with a short nap on takeoff. But then? When I was desperate for rest? Not a chance. I was physically exhausted from the day before at the auction, I was mentally exhausted from caring for an infant 24 hours a day for 5 straight days in weird circumstances, I was emotionally exhausted from dealing with dad stuff. I lost my COTTON PICKING MIND. I was bawling 3 hours into the flight knowing there were two hours left and this child was going to explode any minute and there was nothing I could do about it. I bawled and couldn't stop. I would slow down and then catch a glimpse of a flight attendant or another flyer and think how much they must have been pitying me and I'd start all over again. At one point the flight attendant just walked over and handed me a gigantic Snickers bar. That's how pathetic I was. 

Well whatever, he slept in the car on the way home. While I bawled a bit more. The worst he got on the plane was some loud talking and this yelly thing he does when he's mad. Who knows if anyone got irritated, I was in my own world of self loathing. But we survived. And I had to have some help the next day from the therapist to get to the bottom of all the grief. Knowing it was about my dad made it a lot better and maybe I can just ask my psyche to next time not hit me with a two ton load of misery on a public plane where I have an infant so I can't go hide in the bathroom, Ok? Thanks. 

So there ya go. Something I will never have to do again: fly cross country with an infant while bawling like, well, like an infant. That can go in my life book. Yippee. 

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Saturday, October 9, 2010

The real woman behind the curtain

I read somewhere once that women, on average, see themselves as 20% heavier than they actually are when they look in the mirror. I found that very interesting because, at the time, I usually found that I saw myself as thinner than I really was. I'd look at someone and think I was the same size as them and be shocked to find out they were one or two sizes smaller in reality. Of course, when you're only a size 10 you're doing ok regardless of how you look in your mind's eye.

Now I'm apparently average. I'm pretty sure I see myself as far, far worse than I actually am. I am, quite honestly, 50 lbs overweight. There is no denying that. But I have always carried a few pounds well hidden as I carry it in the waist. Up to a point that works for you. It's much harder to disguise a big butt than a bit of a tummy. Wear an empire waist and you're set. Stuff it all into some control tops and you're good. No one believed I was a size 14 when I was one. So, most likely, now that I am actually obese, I probably only look overweight.

So my challenge to myself tonight is to go find some good pictures of myself lately in which I don't look so bad. Because I have noticed that in some pics I don't look nearly as fat as I think I do. And when I find myself sitting in the nail salon waiting for my pedicure (oh yes, I do have some me time) while trying to hide my spare tire with my arms, I know things have reached a new low.

Let's see what we have:



Oh, ok fine, none of them are full body shots but let's go easy on the girl. If I didn't already know noses continue to grow your whole life I'd be more upset about the number of huge schnoz shots I came across in this exercise because I apparently never look at the camera anymore, just down at the kid with me, and that is not a good nose angle. In any case, I think these three pics should be shoved in my face any time I think I'm just plain ugly. Because I may be chubby, but my face is still ok. And if my face and upper body doesn't make me look like the gigantic blob I have in my mind's eye then I probably just don't look like one.

I just need to take my mom up on her offer to pay for my lipo. But honestly? After that c-section recovery? No thanks.

Monday, October 4, 2010

A bachelorette party

So my best friend Ellen's bachelorette party was this weekend.

Obviously in my younger, pre children days

I'm a bridesmaid in her wedding so I was instrumental in the planning of said event, but it was all about her. She wanted a wine weekend, so it was. She wanted penises everywhere, so it was. She wanted to spend the night in a house recovering from a day of drinking? Well, it mostly was. A cottage like hotel room. On which they used ridiculously exaggerating wide angle lenses to make it look like 9 girls could sleep in it. Only when you got there you found out the 'double beds' were built for 8 year olds. But I digress.

This weekend made me feel old. Old and out of touch.

Miz Ellen is 7 years younger than I. Her friends ranged from 7-15 years younger than I. They were thin and cute and smart and happening. I am none of these. Well I used to be smart, but then I used to be thin too. Most of that is just gone. I didn't know the music they played (very well, I mean I have heard Beyonce but I don't know the words) I don't really like wine so I had to pretend all day at wine tastings that I had a clue, I ran out of steam at about 4pm (seeing as how my infant had me up at 5am that was no surprise) and I am just not quite at the raunchy level of drinking through penis straws in public.

And I still let her near my children

I will do anything for that girl though. Even fondle a penis covered wand when she thrusts it in my face. Only once, but I will do it.

Now some of you may be remembering my bachelorette party. Sure, I got a lap dance from a drag queen with waaaay better boobs than I have, and yes, I danced in a cage AND on a stripper pole, but somehow one does lose one's inhibitions on one's day. Because this weekend I was feeling quite prudish. Or just old. Or I just don't like penises. I'm sure my husband is thrilled.

I'm sure you're all wishing I had pictures of my own party but somehow I don't have them on this computer. My friends are welcome to contribute but you'll have to just imagine me in a feather boa and a crown attempting to return the lap dance to my buxom friend on stage in front of everyone. Oh that seems so long ago. But I did learn something that night: I learned how to cut loose. I had always been very self conscious in public, even when dancing. And I knew I needed a costume to let it all go, but let it all go I did. I danced and stopped caring if people were looking, I laughed, I drank and I acted a fool and just stopped looking to see how people were reacting. And I was able to do the same on my wedding reception dance floor.

I can't say I've kept it going all this time, though. Having children out in public has given me a new self consciousness, the worry of how people are judging my parenting. And this weekend I felt very self conscious. I was the person who wanted to belong. I would love to be 30 again in some ways, but the truth is I wouldn't have fit in with these ladies even if I were 30. I'm a geek, a dork, the kind of person who would be at home reading a book or doing a sudoku puzzle in front of the tv. I'm not a wine tasting, party all day, penis gag gift fondling person. So whatever. It was interesting. It was a window into my best friend's life. She had a great time and that was my goal. I would have had to fall on my knife if she was unhappy with her one and only bachelorette party. So it's all good.

But god I've gotten old.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Finally, a cut

The Before J, B, A

The Waiting

The After A

The After B

The After J

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Sumthin's a changin'

For some reason, when I look in the mirror lately, it doesn't look as bad. A few weeks back I looked and saw actual ugly. I've never seen myself as ugly ever before, even all swollen up with a triplet pregnancy or sick from giving birth. I saw ugly, and it surprised me.

I saw a huge belly, saggy boobs, fat on my thighs where there had previously been none, stretch marks, brown spots all over my face and a tired, haggard looking woman. I'm sure you can't imagine why. But I didn't just look tired. I looked horrible to me. My nose was too big for my face, my eyes were just blah, my lips shrinking from their previously young and plump state and, of course, the bags and wrinkles. It just all looked bad.

Last week I made a decision. The only way this body was going to get better was if I just accepted it. Counterintuitive I know, but true. Fighting myself, beating myself up when I ate cookies to survive, starving myself (if I ever could), none of that was going to make me thin. It was time to accept I have a mom's body. I have an apple shape. This is what I look like. Sure, I'll wear Spanx and good bras and makeup, but day to day, this is it girl. Get over it.

And you know I didn't even really do much else besides have that thought. A couple of times I looked in the mirror and decided my belly didn't stick out that much. A couple of times I caught my silhouette in a store window and I looked like a normal person, fat around the middle and all. And last week my date night dress seemed to really disguise my stomach from the front at least. So I went out on a date feeling like I might look ok.

So the face looks good on good days. Certainly a smile helps. Good sleep makes the face look better too, and I've been eating better, so maybe the skin is happier, who knows. I still have brown spots all over, and bags, and the wrinkles didn't go anywhere but perhaps I'm looking a little less harshly. And today after getting ready for date night I thought, ok then, that's not so bad.

This is fantastic. I will take not so bad over ugly any day. Because a woman who walks around thinking she's ugly probably is to the rest of the world. She's not likely to be smiling. She's not glowing or shining or radiating or anything positive. So we're getting there. Perhaps people who see me now think I'm average, or think nothing of me, but I won't be ending up on the People of Walmart blog, thank god. And that's all a girl can ask for sometimes.

Maybe by October I'll think I'm kinda pretty?

Monday, September 13, 2010

Who is that woman?

Grandparents day. A made up holiday, sure, but there it was. Mom asked that I bring the kids to her assisted living facility so her friends could see them in person. I had no excuse not to. Truthfully, it turned out alright anyway. I thought the kids would cower behind my legs and not smile at anyone but instead they decided the activity room chairs were fun to climb on and chased each other around the room. Having the fat one along (R is now 27 lbs at less than 7 months of age) helped. He sat and provided the smiles and personality while the triplets burned off steam running people in walkers down.

But here's the thing, I heard it again. That refrain I have heard time and again and sort of sat in disbelief about for so long. The phrase "we just love your mother here, she's so great."

Who?

My mom? Enjoyable company? Loved? Easy to get along with? Um. Huh?

I don't mean to be mean, but I grew up with this person. I personally witnessed her getting enraged at cashiers at the grocery store when the computer had the wrong price for her item, accusing them of personally trying to cheat her, (thanks to growing up in Russia where they might just have been.) I personally have felt the impact of a poorly chosen tease of the woman with no ability to laugh at herself. I have doused the flames of her anger over slights that no one might have imagined they committed.

Where is this person I knew? Who is this person they know? Which one is the real her? Because I'm aware that my parents never saw the way I was to everyone else, I know we are all different with family than with others but I don't see how the ugly never shows through to her 'friends.' I guess she has a winning personality in there somewhere, and I'd love to be a fly on the wall to see how it appears. I'd love to find a way to think my mom's 'great' or find a way to love some part of her personality. I admire her will to survive that she used to have, I respect that she has every right to be as crazy as she is due to the circumstances of her upbringing, but like or love her personally? No. We would not be friends if we met on the street.

So I will remain clueless to this part of her. This person people want to spend time with. This person who already has a man wanting her company to restaurants and even the opera after moving in only a half a year ago. This woman who people 'love' and find endearing. And I will always wish I could see it too.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

slacker Sunday photo

His fatness enjoying a whirlpool spa.

A quiet moment, thanks to musical greeting cards.

Friday, September 10, 2010

My daughter, hell cat

I have this fantastic daughter, you see, who is a hell cat. Or is that hellcat? Tonight, when she didn't want to get out of the bathtub I gave her a choice: get out yourself or I will get you out.

That seemed fair, no? At least I gave her a choice.

I counted down from 5, which is what I do, and she still refused to exit the tub, even though it was empty of all water and she must have been getting cold. So I reached in and grabbed her skinny, wet self.

Enter hellcat.

That child knows how to throw every limb in two directions at once while simultaneously becoming limp like some passive protester at a peace rally. Being covered in a slightly soapy water film did not help. I threw a towel on her to get some traction and held her around the waist while she flailed. I don't actually know what to do in this circumstance. Letting go seems like she wins. Holding her down seems wrong too though. And this girl was mad.

Everyone else exited the bathroom and I let her go. She retreated to the wall, her side to me, just like a feral cat. And I tried to control myself. I really did. But I had to laugh. With respect! This daughter of mine isn't going to take crap from anyone. She is stronger than I ever was already. She is also a little wild, and I love that.

Now I have dealt with insane cats at the vet where I used to work. It took at least two vet techs sometimes to hold a cat still for a simple physical exam. I have dealt with feral cats in my cat rescue. Catching them was a game of the mind. You had to use surprise and outwit them so you could grab the scruff before they had a chance to defend themselves. I was not scared of them, but I respected them. If you stopped respecting them you got hurt. I am scared of her though.

Not really scared of her, just scared of doing the wrong thing. I'm not some lay down parent who gets walked all over, but I do respect anger. Emotions of any sort. And my daughter's anger? I recognize it. It is me. If I could have fought like a hellcat when I was a kid I would have. But it would have done no good in a family with people who didn't even see me. I screamed and screamed and no one noticed. And for certain no one ever thought to ask me why I was so angry.

So I asked her why she was mad. Tell mommy what you are so mad about. And do you know what she did? She walked back over to me, laid down and submitted for the diaper and pjs.

Just because I respected her. And stopped to ask her why she was mad.

I think I guessed right. Today I am a good mom.

Things that suck

I've spent weeks now, even months, not posting because I don't want to bore you with my whining. I don't want what used to be and was supposed to be a funny blog to become my place to bitch and moan. Well screw that. Don't read it if I make you miserable. Because the truth is I'm never going to get past this miserable if I don't write about it and the other truth is that usually even my miserable blogs have some funny bits. I can't seem to find the funny if I don't write about it. So here's to trying again to blog regularly and hopefully you all can bear with me while I work through this particularly tough time I'm going through. Just to recap:

1. My cat is dying of a yet unknown form of cancer
2. My crazy mom is still my problem and seems to be hitting the crazy stride again. It is fall after all and all of her suicide attempts have been between September and January of any given year.
3. My stupid house won't sell so I'm stuck in a teensy tinsy apartment with too many children and neighbors who apparently don't know how to close a door without slamming it and any number of noisy delivery trucks right during nap time.
4. I have too many children. Or rather, when they're all sick and whiny or not getting the aforementioned naps, I have too many whiny, snotty, pushing, shoving, hitting, hair pulling, drooling, crying and generally crabby children under the age of 3.
5. I can't potty train said children because I am in someone else's house with someone else's furniture and rugs. I'm quite sure they don't want my children having accidents on their rugs. Therefore I (or someone helping me) change an average of 20+ diapers a day, a lot of them containing poop.
6. I am fat because when said children are misbehaving, not sleeping or disobeying me I choose to keep from slapping them by stuffing my face.
7. I can't cook nice meals for myself or my children because the kitchen is directly across the hall from their bedrooms and any noise, no matter how small, transmits immediately into their sleeping ears and awakens them. Even the rustling of a plastic bag. Over the sound of a white noise machine. Even in the dead of REM sleep. And if I cook when they're awake they will dismember the couch stick by stick, nail by nail, while I'm not watching. They are that good.
8. I can't get a nap because the timing of infant naps and toddler naps shall forever remain vastly different. And the infant will only sleep 35 minutes at a time so by the time I fall asleep it's time to put him back to sleep. And drugging him is only justifiable when he has a runny nose. And that only really extends the nap to 45 minutes.
9. I am in an un-airconditioned apartment in an area that apparently reaches the 90s regularly. And thanks to global warming, reached 105 last week. Ever tried to make a toddler go to sleep when they're sweating gallons per minute out of every pore of their body? Not successful.
10. All of my life's possessions are in storage. Because I was only staying here a couple of months. So I packed for a vacation. And I'm serving a life sentence apparently.

Ok, that's it for now folks! Updates to follow!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Sorry folks

Life is just hard on a funny girl sometimes. You get problem after problem piling on you until you just can't see the humor any more. Today, one more thing: one of my cats has cancer. The one who's been with me for 15 years and drives me crazy regularly with her neediness so much so that I spend most of the day saying 'no piglet' 'leave me alone piglet' 'get off of me piglet' and so on. So much so that now I feel like a terrible mother for a new and exciting reason. I'm now going to be nice to her only because she's dying. I have not had the time she desires for years. I have not petted her enough, snuggled with her enough nor played with her enough for years. And the triplet excuse just isn't good enough.

I have never understood people who treat their pets as second class citizens. My cats are as important as my kids to me. However, when push comes to shove, the humans do win every time don't they? Obviously I adopted her long before I ever thought about having kids but doesn't that mean she should come first? She was here first. I committed to her first. She's just as helpless as my kids and just as dependent upon me.

I can't personally justify treating my cats differently. In a way I'm more responsible for them because I, alone, adopted them. They have no grandparents who could care for them and they can never speak for themselves no matter how old they get. They can't even throw tantrums (although they can do a hell of a job keeping you from holding on to them.) I am responsible for them in a way that is pretty much the same as to my kids. But when I neglect her emotionally, no one comes to take her away from me. She just suffers through it.

So I guess I get a chance now to spend some time with her, I don't know how long yet as they have not diagnosed the type of cancer she has, but some time. Only here I sit with 4 kids, a crazy mom, in a terribly small apartment with a house that wont sell with barely time to shop for groceries much less find a new house to live in, pay bills, take my 4 sick kids to the doctor and wipe my own butt after pooping, should I be lucky to have 5 minutes on the toilet to even accomplish that.

I guess I will just keep on putting one foot in front of the other.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Murphy's laws of too many children

1. Just when you get the baby to sleep a triplet will wake up. Especially if it's 3 am.

2. Once you get the triplet back to sleep the baby will reawaken or you just won't be able to sleep.

3. If one triplet awakens and screams for 10 minutes, no one will awaken......until you have gone back to bed and are juuuuuust falling asleep. Then triplet #2 will awaken.

4. When an illness descends upon the family each kid will get it 2-3 days apart so that you have a minimum of 6 days of high level whininess. Meanwhile you will also get the stupid cold but no one wants to hear you whine.

5. At least one child out of 4 is having a bad day EVERY DAY.

6. What one kid has, every kid must have. RIGHT NOW.

7. Even though everyone has one it's still not the one they want.

8. There's never enough.

9. If mommy's doing it, I want grandma to do it. If grandma's doing it, I want mommy to do it.

10. I don't care if I liked it yesterday, I don't like it today.

11. There are always more problems than you have hands to handle them.

12. At least one kid probably hates you every minute of the day.

13. Everyone on the outside thinks you're mother of the year.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

This is not a pity party

When you're raised in a family where the parents are a narcissistic alcoholic and bipolar who never had a childhood, you learn to take care of yourself.

Scratch that. You learn to take care of everyone else BUT yourself.

You tiptoe around the house trying not to set off the alarms. You roll along under the radar behaving yourself but for your back talk, which, for some reason, is mostly tolerated in this family. You may even scream and scream, literally, to be heard, but you wont be. But you don't learn that taking care of yourself is of prime importance. Because the whole family is about taking care of your sick mom.

And when your brother dies, and your mom falls apart - more - you grow up fast and take on more responsibility. And more. You collect friends around you who are dependent upon you. You attract needy people like flies and wonder why you're so tired all the time. And why you're depressed too.

And then you have a family of your own. You frantically run around (figuratively more than literally) trying to be everything to everyone. Sure, you get a massage now and then. And you do sit on your butt after everyone's asleep instead of doing laundry or cleaning the house. And you make your children crap for dinner instead of real meals, but in your mind you are constantly on guard. You don't know how to let them take care of themselves. Not even your grown husband. You are afraid to sleep train the baby, even though you did ok with the triplets. You are concerned you're messing them up for not having dinner with them at a table every night instead of eating later when it's quiet. There's always something you could be doing.

In theory, you have to run out of energy at some point. But in 38 years I haven't. I do take care of myself in certain ways. I am pretty good at fighting for a few minutes to myself even if it's at the expense of couple time. But I am afraid. Am I going to go so far in the other direction from my parents that I actually create narcissists in my own children? Will they learn that they have to take care of each other, me, their dad or grandparents and themselves in fair amounts? Will they turn into the opposite of me like I did my parents? Is it possible, in the first generation, to create a different story?

And when things come out of my mouth that sound just like my mom and dad like "what is wrong with you?" can they forgive me? Because nothing is wrong with them. They're just being 2. My mom watches them and shakes her head with the honest belief that something is wrong with them. I merely have a momentary thought of 'what has gotten into you' and I can see the difference, but can they? Will they think I think poorly of them because I do too much for them? Will they think I think they're stupid because I help them do things?

How do you parent well when you have not been parented well? How do you not go so far off the other end and create a whole different set of traps? Therapy is helpful, but when those kids have driven you to the edge of your sanity and you haven't slept in weeks and you just want to sit down and eat some damned lunch if they would just nap like they're supposed to......how do you not yell the things you grew up hearing at them? "Why are you doing this to me?" "I'll give you something to cry about" "Don't talk back to me missy!"

I know no one is the perfect parent but I'd like to be middle of the road. Is it possible?

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Parental fear

I was reading an article on post partum depression the other day and I came across a peculiar symptom they listed as a sign that you have it: fear of being left alone with your kid(s).

Um, I've been afraid of being alone with my triplets since they were 3 months old.

I started off with confidence. I was planning on being a stay at home mom anyway, so now I'd just be extra busy, right? After I finally got all three triplets at home I really wanted to try it on my own so I sent the mother in law home to Illinois and started in on my new life. I was practically fearless. I mean, what could happen?

RSV. That's what. For those of you without children, RSV is a typical cold for grown ups that can kill infants. It smothers them with snot. Days after the kids got home from the NICU they came down with colds. The fevers meant I had to get them checked and each time I took one to the doctor they failed the blood oxygenation test. In other words, they were not getting enough oxygen by breathing on their own. They all ended up in the pediatric ward for 3 days on oxygen and having the snot sucked out of them by this dastardly machine they have invented. It was a wee bit scary but under control I suppose.

So after they all got home from the hospital from that, my husband thought it was finally time for him to go back to work. Monday morning he headed out. We had a normal morning, except that it seemed like J went a little blue when I fed him, but I was sure it was a trick of the lighting. He was fine otherwise, and the blue was just around the mouth and his eyes were red but just for a bit.

Yeah I know.

So then it was hours later and I started feeding him again. This can't be right. He's looking all funny again. Red raccoon eyes and blue around the mouth. But RSV is only supposed to be deadly in the first 72 hours! What is going on? My parents were still in town so I called them to come stay with the other two triplets and headed off to the ER. At every stoplight I reached back and checked if my infant was still breathing. I hit every stoplight on the way of course. By the time I reached the ER he was grey. I got fastracked in you might say. His oxygen saturation was 85 or so. Not ok.

That was my first day alone with the kids.

But that wasn't all it took. After several days alone again it was time to bathe the kids one by one in the infant tub in the kitchen sink. It seemed that apparently the other two refused to be left alone at this particular juncture. Screaming ensued. Each time I'd exchange one kid for another they'd change places. the one being bathed was happy as a clam. The other two? Banshees.

Then they started the witching hour business. Have you ever had 3 infants screaming inconsolably at you for even 5 minutes? It is insanity producing. It actually makes you want to grab one and beat the other two with it.

I didn't have post-partum depression. I had post traumatic stress disorder. It's a wonder I don't have flashbacks today. It's a wonder I don't wake screaming in the night trying to swaddle my husband while binkying a cat and bottle feeding the table lamp.

So, being afraid to be left alone with your kids? Somewhat understandable. At some point I called my mother in law and begged her to come back. And then I told her she was never allowed to leave again. These days I try to work myself into some sort of calm state when I'm to be left alone with the kids. Last week when grandma had to head home due to being sick as a dog and I had to handle bedtime alone? It was a challenge I was kind of excited about. And the next night when I had to do baths alone? No problem. But the fear strikes initially. That old feeling that I have no chance in surviving the onslaught of triplets plus one on my own. And then I realize that I can and will be ok.

As long as I have a glass of wine.