16.11.06

Random bits of weirdness from this week.

After a sibling fight the Girl came running to me describing all of the dire means by which she had been insulted and concluded with, “He took my feelings away.”

My SIL came into the room with blue stained hands after a Tie-dying project. “I killed them, all of them, hundreds of little Smurfs, I rang their necks one by one and now they are dead.” [Imagine maniacal laughter in the appropriate places.]

The Girl again. “Mommy, there is a dinosaur in our house and it’s going to poop on you, and on the Boy and on me and on daddy and then these robots came and killed it.” [Said with wide eyes and intense excitement.]

15.11.06

Over Reacting

The Girl has a temper; she has strong screaming reactions to every hurt, every disappointment, and every irritation. Part of it is her age; she is not yet old enough to have learned more measured emotional responses. Part of it is her personality, her female essence even at this age, and her strength. I rejoice that she is so confident, so sure of her space and her boundaries that she is able to summarily reject any unwanted contact, physical and emotional, she will not tolerate violations. She also will not tolerate not getting her way. So it’s my job to teach her to have self-control, to be kind and generous and thoughtful, without damaging the strength that is in her, without violating boundaries that it is good for her to have. That should be easy right? I hear you all laughing.

I have vague memories of teaching her brother the same but they are hazy and distant. I remember forcing him to deal with me when he was having a temper tantrum, I remember that I would not let him rage alone. I remember teaching him to scream into a pillow if he was angry about things he could not change. I remember talking and talking and explaining to him that some things were beyond his control, and here were the choices he had, what was he going to do? It seems it’s time to start again with this one that she needs this from me even more than he did. I remember that it didn’t really make sense to him until one day when I was really impatient about something, and I was trying to get him to go to sleep. Without really thinking about it I just started hitting the bed next to me. Then I had to explain to my bewildered two-year-old that I was doing that because I was feeling angry and impatient but it wasn’t anyone’s fault and I just needed to release some frustration. That was the day I think that he understood that every one gets angry; they just make different choices.

So I am wondering if one of the reason’s the girl has been so high strung lately, besides the flu, is that I have not been the best model of how to deal with the complex emotions of frustration, rage, and disappointment. I’ve been a very good model of crying helplessly into a pillow, but it’s been a while since I’ve demonstrated much in the way of being proactive, or positive. I am by nature a pessimist. (Oh yeah, and I have pre-natal depression.)

One of the reason’s this is occurring to me is because the Genius Husband performed one of those classic services that are the reason it’s good to marry, and the thing we try to avoid for most of our marriage. He flashed a mirror at me and I didn’t like what it showed, but I knew it was true. He wasn’t an asshole about it, which is why I was probably able to listen instead of being defensive. I complain a lot, I am negative a lot, and I am crushed by the world, or more specifically, I am crushed when people let me down. I am the grown-up version of my almost three-year-old daughter’s collapses. The thing is, the wrongs are real, they hurts are real, the disappointments are real, I’m just not all that proud of how I have sometimes chosen to deal with them. So here I am, wondering just how to change, and how to model for the Girl the way I wish I were as I try to become that woman.

I’m going to start by trying to say thank-you to people more often, for the things they do for me. I am deeply appreciative of thoughtfulness. A thoughtful gift or hug at the right time can bring me to tears, but I’m not so great at communicating to that person how much I am grateful for them. I need to get better at that, if nothing else so that people don’t quit doing thoughtful things for me. I had no idea until two nights ago that for 3 years I have failed to communicate to my husband how much I needed him and how much he helped me the last time I was in labor. He had no idea; he thought I hated everything about that labor, because he’s only heard me say the things I learned that I’d like to do differently next time. How awful is that?

So anyway, goals for the next little while are to express gratitude, to not complain, and to try to remember that as bad as I feel, it’s not the end of the world, and I am extremely blessed.

13.11.06

This is the Flu that never ends….

Yes it goes on and on my friends.
Some people starting throwing up not knowing what it was
And they’ll continue throwing up forever just because…

This is the Flu that never ends
Yes it goes on and on my friends
I’m doing laundry by the bucketful, there’s vomit in my rug
My children won’t stop getting sick forever just because…

This is the flu that never ends
Yes it goes on and on my friends.
They’re acting fine at breakfast time, they’re cranky when it’s lunch
They spend the nighttime throwing up forever just because…

This is the flu that never ends….

This is a product of my sleep-deprived brain some time Saturday night as one of the children missed the puke bowl for the second time in less than half an hour. Seriously, wouldn’t you think that a child who hasn’t vomited or had diarrhea in more than 36 hours was better? Never again people, they are just waiting until you let your guard down to throw–up all over your bed after you’ve just reached a blissful state of dead to the world. They may be over it this morning, but every time I think that it comes back for another round. Happy times.

8.11.06

Will someone please bring back the housedress?

...and make it cool?

Do you remember housedresses? I barely do. My mother never wore one that’s for sure, but my grandmother did. I remember seeing them in the Sears catalogue as well and wondering what they were for, this was before I saw my grandmother wearing one in the mornings.

For everyone who has no idea what I’m talking about, they were like a wrap around dress. You stuck your arms in the sleeves and this little string went through a hole and wrapped around and tied together in the back. It looked like a dress, but wore like a robe. You wouldn’t leave the house to go to the store in one, but you weren’t totally embarrassed if the UPS man came to the door and you were still wearing nothing but a bathrobe, or pajamas, or even an African style sarong just sort of randomly tucked around yourself like a towel, hypothetically speaking of course.

It was kind of like the work outfit for a housewife.

I have never been a flybaby, but every so often I have read the FlyLady’s website and borrowed some ideas. One that made a lot of sense to me was when she tells you to get up, shower, and get dressed for the day, like it’s your job, and then you’re ready for everything. It makes sense because I am more likely to be productive and organized if I’m not still in a robe, and I feel better. Of course, I only wear flip-flops or slip-ons so I scoff at the directive to put on your shoes as well.

The problem I found with implementing this plan was threefold. First I have small children. They don’t like waiting for me to shower and get dressed before I feed them and attend to their various needs. They’re even less happy with this plan as infants. Second, I don’t like to get dressed before I shower; it feels gross and I don’t like to shower before I get a workout, because walking around sweaty all day feels gross too. Third, much of the work of keeping a house running is hard on clothes, I’ve ruined many comfy pairs of yoga pants with an accidental splash of bleach cleaner or peroxide or some other cleaner I’m using, and I get sweaty and dirty picking things up and vacuuming and scrubbing and cooking and… you get my drift. Many jobs require work clothes. With the aforementioned small children, one of whom needs to start his school work at 9 or he gets very distracted and slow and doesn’t learn nearly as well if we push the time back, my workout doesn’t usually happen in the morning as I would like it to. So what often happens, and has happened all week with the sick children I have around me, is that I get up, put on a robe, and go to work for my family, making breakfast, wiping bums, cleaning up puke, teaching school, wiping the sinks out, vacuuming the floor, reading books, etc. And 11:00 rolls around and I am still in my robe, and badly need a shower, and to walk on my treadmill, and to make lunch and unload the dishwasher, and I feel miserable. My friend told me that in India the women wear a work sari in the morning and then when they’ve finished all of the cooking and cleaning they go for a walk and then take a bath and change into a fresh sari for the evening. This sounds good to me, practical.

So my solution is to bring back the housedress. I could wake up in the morning and put that on, with a bra even, and go about my day not feeling like a total and complete slob.

So how about it? Is anyone out there a fabulous designer who could make something like a housedress cool to wear, and yet still practical and affordable, with out those big floppy sleeves that get in the way? I’ll buy one from you, promise.

6.11.06

One of those weeks

The boy is singing, “Sunday, Bloody Sunday” to himself right now. Once again the Genius Husband left his itunes running on the laptop after leaving the house for work, and my children have been getting their daily dose of classic rock’n’roll. He has no idea what the song is about, but he’s singing it.

That’s not what I was going to write about.

Ever have one of those days? Ever have a couple of those days in a row and realize it’s becoming one of those weeks? We are in the middle of one of those weeks or have we begun the second? The staph infection is slowly clearing up. We are very vigilant so even though new spots keep popping up we have been able to treat them right away and they go away before becoming a problem. That was last week, and so I was just beginning to relax and thing that there may be an end in sight to the laundry and the disinfecting, and the hyper vigilant parent mode I’ve been in.

Yesterday morning the Girl vomited all over the ground while we were at church, twice. I always carry a full change of clothes on Sunday because it’s a long day, so we managed to clean her up, and get her in the car, and take her home, where she vomited again as we turned into our street, all over herself and the car seat and the seat of the car. It’s still sitting on the patio waiting for me to figure out how to detach the liner and clean out the little crevices in the clips. She spent the rest of the day vomiting and listlessly laying on top of us. She wanted to go to bed at 5pm. She woke up at 8pm for an hour and went back to sleep. I spent the night soothing her back to sleep and emptying the bucket for next time. (The baby that I’m certain she got it from had been sick for several days last week, and his parents got it too. They thought he was better when they joined us for Shabbat, and then I got a phone call the next day telling me he had been throwing up again.)

Oh yes, and then right before I was going to get the bath ready for the Boy, I flushed the toilet because there was mystery poo in it, and it flooded, all over the floor. Three bath towels and several rags later, as well as the bath mat, the floor is clean and disinfected.

It was definitely one of those days. The girl is still sick; she went down for a nap before 11am. I still have to put germ killer on her rash, which stings and makes her cry, even though she is already miserable. I hope, against all hope, that the Boy doesn’t get sick next, or me, or the GH.

In the meantime I have to also contend with the fact that the GH’s company just implemented a new payroll system, which means we didn’t get paid on Friday, it skips to next Friday. Not a good week to not get paid since all of the bills are due. Let’s just say we aren’t getting anything nonessential this week.

My best friend is getting married in 20 days or so. I won’t be able to attend, or stand up for her as we had always planned and she did for me. Even if flying were an option at 8 months pregnant, which I would do by the way, I can’t leave the country until INS gives me paper work saying that I can. Unless of course I don’t want to be allowed to return to my children husband or home until after they’ve settled it all, which could be months or years.

On the plus side, the supplements that my midwife gave me to take are WORKING! I am tired, and not expecting relief soon, but I am not riding an emotional roller coaster right now, and I’m not feeling completely over whelmed and helpless, and I’m not experiencing irrational fits of irritation or breaking into tears at every setback. If there were a week for this to happen, this would be it, but it’s not. So I promised I’d share what they are, here it goes. She first gave me a high concentration of homeopathic sepia to take for a few days, and then once a week. I am also taking EPA-DHA, which I only know are fatty acids and fish oils that the brain uses. The other two are sam-e (S-adenosylmethionine), which I can’t pronounce, and L-5-hydroxy Tryptophan, which she told me produces serotonin and helps with that mommy brain thing. Don’t you want some of that?

Other good things: the Girl has amazing aunties who helped her get in the bath after her car puke. The Genius Husband made dinner while I was putting her to bed, and it was as usual tastier than what I had planned. He also made cinnamon flavored caramel sauce to put on top of ice cream with shaved Belgian chocolate. Sunday is treat day and we still had one well child expecting his ice cream.

3.11.06

Small Joys Friday

We went to SoupPlantation this week, my favorite buffet restaurant of all time because it has a really long salad bar, soups made from scratch, fresh breads and corn bread and flavored butters. (Unless you count Onami’s with their sushi bar.) That was fun, but what I remember it for was when I took the Girl to the bathroom after we ate. She stood listening to the piped in bathroom music while standing next to a wall. Her knees started to bend a little and she started bouncing to the music. “Mommy, I going to dance.” She announced.

I said okay, so she moved around a little bit, selecting the tile from which to begin her dancing. She stopped at one, and then looked up at me again, and said once more, “I going to dance now Mommy.” But apparently that one wasn’t good enough either and she moved around like this a few more times before finally she started to spin around in circles as fast as she could, which is what she thinks of as dancing.

When there is music, we should be dancing. That is a basic assumption of life for my children, and why not? Why not dance in the bathroom after washing your hands? Why not take a break from figuring out the sound the letter g makes all by yourself and writing it perfectly on your very first try to turn cartwheels in the middle of the living room, and jump up and down and announce loudly over and over again that you are so smart and you can DO IT! Why not celebrate every small moment that brings joy and happiness bring attention to it and make it an event?

Why not treasure every small pleasure and every moment that we are happy, printing it permanently on to our brains and marking the map of our life with the things that bring joy?

Which is why I am here today, and why I am committed to keeping Small Joys Friday a day of celebrating these things.

1.11.06

I am surrounded by yucky things.

It turns out that the strange bacterial rash that my children have is actually a STAPH INFECTION! My little girl has a staph infection growing on her cheek! I’m a totally calm, NOT! One by one all of their other little cuts and bruises have are in danger of becoming infected and some already have. The boy had a harmless looking hangnail on his finger and a scrape that he got this weekend on a knuckle, they are no both turning into oozing festering cesspools of puss. This morning I stood them both in front of me naked and applied oregano oil (Very strong, stings a lot, kills everything bacterial including staph.) to every tiny little nick and cut on their bodies to keep this thing from spreading. We are alternating with staphoccocal stagnia at night, if you care. The Boy is taking it bravely, not complaining about how much it must sting. The Girl cries at me for at least half an hour after each application that her owies hurt and she needs hugs. I feel for her, but I would rather she live with a little bit of pain now than spend the rest of her life with a gigantic scar on her face because we let it keep growing until it got to muscle tissue. (Yes it does that, aren’t you glad you are reading this from your computer instead of talking to me face to face? Even their grandmother had a back away cringe moment when I told her.)

Not only is this gross, I’m going out of my mind with sanitizing every surface that they touch, laundering towels and bed sheets, at the laundromat mind you, and trying to eliminate all possible places that this infection could find in my home to set up a permanent residence. My hands are chapped from the constant washing.

Then the Genius Husband brought in his tightly sealed travel mug that has been hiding in his car for the past week or so. I open the lid to find a genuine slime mold has taken up residence inside. It’s fluorescent green and it’s all over the inside of this cup. I read a book recently called Intelligence in Nature, and at one point it goes into the research that a Japanese scientist has done with slime molds to show that they actually have some kind of intelligence. They can solve mazes by changing their shape to fit the shortest possible route between two food sources. In the book it was fascinating. In front of me it is a disgusting green mass of infection and I am going to kill it dead with everything at my disposal, and then go and wretch, and disinfect my doorknobs and light switches again, just in case.

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