altarflame: (excellent)
I got up, did a lot of whirlwind cleaning, got the kids up and dressed and fed and nursed and all that, and then G (nanny) came over. I had a plan for her "shift" (it is a shift, why am I using quotes, why does that word feel so weird?) today. First I took a shower/bath with Elise; our roman tub has a portable shower head in it, so I sat while she stood and it was some cute fun. Got us both dressed, and came out to find G drawing pictures and stamping and tracing hands and other things, with Ananda, Isaac, and Jake, while teaching them silly songs about fish with pockets to put their stuff in. Made myself a quick egg on toast while listening in as she included Elise and then talked and laughed with her about how totally surreal and bizarre it is that she does things SO SIMILARLY to how I do them, with me in the background making an egg for myself silently - it's just bizarre.

Did a little research, made a list of school supplies we need for this year, took it over to Spellbound Books, with A and A (only). They played with their friends there for about half an hour while I browsed and confirmed what I wanted with the mom/owner lady. I feel really good about where we're going, school-wise, I want to make this whole big detailed plan for the first time and maybe we'll stick to it, even! Ha. But, some of the things I'm excited about are a cd of the actual poets reading their poems - Robert Frost, Langston Hughes, many others, and there is a read along book. The readers that I picked out, from Abeka. Story of the World activity guides. And other things. Lots of other things. We ended up going with RightStart math after I found out that Saxon Math, which I'd planned on, was going to be $850 per kid. Seriously. I laughed out loud when I saw that online.

Got back, and G, Isaac, Jake and Elise showed me the dance and song they'd coordinated while I was gone - SO FUNNY AND COOL. Elise was even getting into it, I could die. Checked in, nursed Elise, talked with G some more, went back out - ALONE - made a couple of phone calls, inquired about YMCA membership, got stuff for our lunch, and came back. They were all playing board games. She left, we ate, and then went over to Kristin's to pick up my long-neglected belly cast.

I realized recently that I've been avoiding Kristin and all PATH people all summer because I'm ashamed of myself and uncomfortable about how I'm...I don't know...not doing well all the time. PTSD in general. I don't want to deal with telling my AP mommy friends or my homeschooling group that I've hired childcare help, am in counseling, and can't sleep at night. So I just haven't. I'm really glad I did, with Kristin, today, though - we just had the best talks for a couple of hours, and all the kids had a blast with her kids and her pool (throwing things in and fishing them out when they bobbed to the edge). We made plans to go back and swim on Saturday, after we go up to Miami and have lunch with Grant.

She's also organizing a co-op for chickens and I cannot WAIT to have chickens!!!! They're like $1.50 per bird this way (plus transport), it's insane, and you get all females still as chicks, so they imprint to your family and property and will neither peck you or run off, when they're older. We have to wait til our fence is done and then plan the chicken run around the garden, which has yet to be in the ground, but she hasn't found enough people yet anyway. So hopefully the timing will work out.

I talked to Dama on the phone and found out she is still coming down here, she just had some temporary glitches with paying for the plane tickets because someone stole their account info online and, thusly, her vacation money. So it's just temporary and not some awful thing, which makes me really happy. They're really coming!!! My kids have been writing her kids a TON of letters, I have two sealed and stamped ones sitting right by my arm right now...and wouldn't it be awesome if we had chickens by the time they got here? Chickens, Dama! I'm getting emails now with subject lines like "Bawk bawk bKAWK!" full of pictures of chicks that look like they're made of fluffed out teased wool, or that seem to have hair rather than feathers, all kinds of fascinating ornamental whatnot.

The AWANA kick-off party was tonight, and that was a mixed bag...Dropping Isaac off was a half hour long affair of tantruming, panic, indecisiveness, etc. He is a lot of work. There was a time when I'd try to explain how I did everything right, but I'm over it. They all had a great time in the end. And I had a really productive grocery shopping trip with Jake and Elise while they were in there. They are both always so good and easy to take out.

I've had someone emailing me for info about Nancy because they want to vbac with her, and just talking about how amazingly supportive, helpful and WONDERFUL it is to have Nancy during pregnancy, labor and even a transfer situation just made me warm all over.

So I've got my belly cast hanging in my room. I've got a date for Saturday, a visit from out of state friends tentatively planned, lots of general stuff on the agenda for the next couple of days (like therapy tomorrow, while G is here with the kids, and then Shrinky Dinks with A and A once I'm back, and game night Friday) and all our school things on their way. I've got a house stocked with food and kids who went to bed at pretty good times. My children just had a nonstop fun fest from waking to sleep, with only chores to break it up. I'll take it.

I had a weird moment this morning when I felt like the settlement has altered my life so completely that I can't even see it from the inside. I was sitting in the giant bathtub in this house I own with my baby, while the nanny played with the other kids. And was like, huh. What the hell is this nonsense :p But then I had another moment, talking with Kristen about how I feel and all I've been dealing with, that I was just blown away that the money is gone and yet I'm going to be living this for a long, long time. She is one of many people who think I was crazy to accept the sum that we did. Which I may as well just say was half a million dollars. My mother was making me crazy, she was so adamant that I deserved millions - and I understand where she was coming from. I had days in the ICU, I nearly died after a month of pain and fear and lots of doctor visits, I was separated from my 6 month old baby who needed special home therapies for a week and a half...and then unable to lift her for weeks, when I returned, which made re-bonding awfully freaking hard. But...Most "retained surgical instrument" cases in the Massachusetts area only get like $250-350k if they go to court - we were told this by multiple, unaffiliated attorneys, and saw it ourselves when we looked up headlines and case histories. You only get a million dollars for dying (no thank you). And, lawyers take like 40%, when you go to court - after YEARS and years of appeals. Whereas we got it all, and very quickly. AND, I wasn't really trying to get rich off of the damn hospital, I felt like the sponge thing was an honest mistake and they treated us - medically and as humans treated us - very, very well otherwise. I would still reccomend that hospital to people. I didn't want to destroy that awesome OBs career because the scrub nurse screwed up. It was an emergency situation, they saved Elise's life, all that. I just wanted to be able to seek counseling, and live with Grant's business killed by the whole affair, and stuff like that. So we got what we wanted...

And yet I have a whole other major surgery hanging over my head to fix my belly, since that bowel resection. I choose every single day, when I wake up - do I want to spend 10 minutes squeezing into this crazy thing and deal with wearing it all day and have to dress around it to hide the weird straps, and be that much hotter in the heat...or do I want to have a very bad back ache, hasten herniation and be asked when I'm due everywhere I go? Bah.

I had some sort of inexplicable epiphany today, wherein I suddenly looked in the mirror naked and thought I was sexy. That has not happened in a LONG TIME. I feel sexy fairly often, without being able to see myself, because I have a really great husband that seems to genuinely think I am, and caters to/reassures my insecurities, and so I can be uninhibited with him in the moment. Sometimes, wearing my big support thing with the right clothes over it, I see myself and think I look good, but I think it's a ruse. I like my face, my hair, my style. My boobs. I have a reeeeeeeeeally hard time with my body, though. My belly has become "my body" for me, it's all I see or something...Could have something to do with the many many scars, the messed up texture, the assymetrical hanging, the fact that my daughter abruptly stops talking and rushes out of the room if I take off my shirt, out of fear from seeing my wounds being gauze-packed so often? :/ Not to mention how, when I turn sideways, this crazy lump protrudes out all disfigured - a hard ball of muscle that there is a dip down behind. *shudder*

Anyway, yeah, I still had the assymetrical hanging and the scars and the texture today, but they were in the context somehow of my exaggerated hourglass figure, and all soft and nice, just didn't seem disgusting. It just seemed like my body, it seemed "ok". The lump was there, but I have more control over those muscles than I did a few months ago, by far, and so it doesn't seem to just be some dead jutting disconnected mass. It's...maybe something healing? Slowly? A girl can dream, anyway.

I went out without wearing my thing and thought I looked good, and have been trying HARD to build up my posture and practice keeping my ab muscles engaged (which over YEARS can pull a severe diastasis back together...mostly...sometimes). It's very difficult, I couldn't even feel them TO engage not so long ago. Tomorrow might be a whole different story where I just can't find the perception I had today again, but this has been good, so again...I'll take it.
altarflame: (Time is coming for me.)
I had to meet a termite guy over at the new house this morning for an estimate on tenting. While we were there, the lawn guy I was also supposed to call happened to show up (he lives a couple of houses away and saw someone was home). Rarely have I seen people that could better be described as "characters".

The termite guy had his Terminex polo's collar turned up, copious oversized gold jewelry on, and was an Italian named Tony. If you can hear the following in his intense Sopranos voice, it will be better:
"Listen, I can't compete with Shield, but we ain't Shield, see? Terminex is Terminex, not Shield, Terminex has been in business since 1920, Terminex is in every state, every city, we're nationwide. Shield wasn't around in 1920. Once that tent comes off, what have you got but a guarantee? We can do a guarantee - " etc.

While he was measuring my house, Al the Lawn Guy pulled in. I'd only previously heard of Al from Grant, so I just pictured him as some generic faceless sort of young guy with a lawn business. Al is actually a retired man with a beer in his hand, a large German Shepard hanging out of the back window of his old car, and his shirt unbuttoned down to his belly button to show his extremely copious silver body hair. He talks in what I'll call "loud going-deaf guy voice", and the first thing he wanted was to know if he could get an advance of $20 or so in cash because he needed gas. When Mr Tony Terminex walked up with the estimate papers filled out and started to talk to me, Al actually got between us and (as is his default) yelled, "Hey, I was here first, you mind waiting for our business to be over here?" He apologized when I quickly stepped in and said Tony was actually there first, but for a second there I thought they were going to scrap on my porch. Apparently the yard work really is done well.

Ananda, Aaron and I sat around in the barren tv-room-to-be after they had gone, hungry, thinking how nice it would be to call room service like at the Westin. The Westin Diplomat, with it's maids, and pools, and beeeeeeeeeeeeds.....

Perk: I was wearing a brand new outfit that I feel good in.

We ended up going through Farm Stores (drive thru convenience store) for lunchables and waters - not exactly the brunch of champions but it was getting desperate - on our way to BJ's.

Where I ran into another, uh, character.

We have this...religious group...down here...that I know through a variety of connections both past and present, that is relocating out of Florida en masse to avoid a statewide, devastating flood that their leader has been predicting for awhile now. I've only heard this second-hand through the aforementioned connections; it's big news in a small town when a major place is going out of business because the owners are fleeing from impending doom. But then today I run into this nice middle aged lady who is a part of that group and I used to see in their business...

"Oh hi! Oh look at you, are these all yours now?! Wow, you look like such a great mom, the kids are so beautiful - they're going to need a good mom to make them smart for this future we're expecting. I hope you're teaching them CPR, and lots of first aid. They're going to need a lot of CPR and first aid."

*blink blink*

"There aren't going to be any ways out of this, I've been dreaming about it. We're trying to get out as soon as we can, it's hard to sell ______ with the economy the way it is now, as soon as we offered it up the market crashed and it could be any day, we're really worried - the dreams, you really need the CPR, these floods are going to be so severe..."

I noticed Ananda starting to look nervous and extricated myself...she was actually yelling after us as we walked off, but there was just no. polite. way to get out of this conversation - I tried. *sigh*

We got a lot of good stuff, including a bonsai to keep on the dining table. I'm tired of flowers dying. And it's good to have a meal plan for the next few days again, so we don't get stuck eating lunchables from Farm Stores. It's really satisfying, shopping at BJ's and getting bulk so it actually lasts a few days, I LOVE how they're starting to stock a lot of Kashi and Nature Valley snacks and more organics (eggs, milk, yogurt and some produce and juice regularly!) We quit shopping there altogether for about a year and a half because we just couldn't buy anything we'd normally buy there. Not so anymore.

So. Treats in the BJ's parking lot (600 lb gorilla ice cream sandwiches between cookies - that brand is incredible all natural stuff, and so tasty, the ice cream sandwiches are even handmade). Came home and all helped unloading and then cleaning out the van, including vaccuming, it was a big job. Kids watched a movie with Patrice and Nadia, who had shown up, and I made shrimp and lobster we had bought scampi style in the oven for the boys and I, while Elise and Ananda devoured oversized packages of blackberries and blueberries. I discovered a new LJ I really like - [ profile] lapsedmodernist. She's more liberal than I am, only one baby, and has (to me) cryptic and uninteresting userinfor, but a LOT is public and her photography is amazing. And we share a certain big business angst, and she is just really interesting all around, with some hilarious comics, good videos, interesting articles, all that jazz. Answered LJ comments, talked on the phone with my sister, got Elise down for a nap, and then -

Went to Publix (still in new outfit I feel good about!) for the rest of my grocery list all by myself, while Grant Sr sat with the kids. This is a weird new thing. He doesn't mind at all and actually acts kind of offended that it took me so long to "allow", but I really didn't want to add to the load since he and Teresa always have Mindy's kids. It just seemed like he was doing enough for us without childcare. Though Isaac responds pretty well to him and the rest of them are easy - when I came back he was smoking on the front porch with the door cracked so he could peak through at where they were all playing. There were only minor characters at Publix; free sample ladies hocking wines, all over the store, and my cashier who asked me if I'd remembered to buy water.

"Did you remember to buy water, I said?"
"Um, no...Is there a hurricane out there?"
"Oh no! I just always try to remind customers of things they might have forgotten, because I usually forget something."


As soon as I walked back in the door and started putting THOSE groceries away, cue screaming. Ananda let Jake up on her bunk, Isaac got mad and pulled Jake down from the top bunk by his leg, laughed at his misfortune, and then ran out to tell me Jake was hurt with a big grin. *deep breath* This is the third incident I can recall where Isaac has actually intentionally harmed Jake in a way that could have ultimately resulted in death, if not serious injury. The first time he lept onto his belly with an angry face, knees first, when Jake was a little baby. The second time, he fed him about half of a bottle of homeopathics one by one until we found him and flipped. I'm choosing not to count malicious hockey-stick to the head incidences. Jake is alright, you can see some small marks on his lower back but he calmed quickly...but I had to call my mother for moral support and it was one of those times that I had to send Isaac to his bed mainly to get him out of my sight before I beat him senseless. Since then G and I have had "stern talks" with him and are trying to collaborate on some kind of lasting punishment - he still just seems to think it's funny that Jake fell and got hurt, he can't even manage shame at his own actions, let alone empathy :/

Anyway...we packed up a little bag and I put my hair up with my cool scarf and we started walking to Spellbound Books for Open Mic night. Last night was Game Night and I saw my old friend/acquaintance Daniella, who was newly blond and newly Christian and said she was going to be there to sing a song she wrote about God and her daughter. Shaun was supposed to be coming to play, too, and my sister was talking about going. So off we walked, and it was feeling good to walk far even though the sky was half gray...right up until we ended up stranded under the roof of my old OB while a massive thunderstorm raged around us. For half an hour. It's the outdoor roof, the office was closed (Thank God, I so don't want to deal with anyone there). I called Shaun and Laura to see if either was close enough to come pick up my keys from me and drive my van over, but neither were, so we waited for Grant to get there - which wasn't too bad, it was around the time he gets off. They're good at amusing themselves, anyway, and so I took some pictures.

+8 )

Grant was in no mood for chasing toddlers around a bookstore and I was in no mood for going home, so we went up to Target. Took back some things I needed to and got a couple of things I'd been meaning to. The way there and back was a long conversation about how frustrating it is to know there is no break for me, unless *I* break - if I'm hospitalized for surgery, help will materialize. Otherwise - ? How he feels the same way. If I'm at Publix shopping by myself, that's still an errand I don't even feel like running, with my cell in my purse in case anything happens, and I rush the whole time to get back soon. There is no REAL break, there's no way to simply not be a mother for an hour. How bizarre it is to love each child so much and enjoy being with them so much, and feel so blessed and laugh at their antics and hug them everyday, and still feel like you're drowning in the undertow even as you're sad that it goes by so quickly. Balance, I guess, highs and lows...How are we supposed to raise all of them well, give them everything they deserve, and find time for me, and time for him, and time for us as a couple, and do everything that needs to be done on the house and make all the money that needs to be made, and keep this house's interesting to me that everything can't happen at once, it's simply impossible, and yet the days continue to pass and we find our way through - it's interesting to analyze and figure out where our priorities lie, and what falls by the wayside. G and I definitely don't sleep enough, it's never clean enough, we're absolutely disgusting about appointments, meetings and coorespondence outside the house. There is always reading and nursing and conversation and patience, there is usually very good food and plenty of affection.

I'm sure I had more to say but it's also almost four am - this is the first time I've seen this time in almost a week, I've been doing really well with going to bed earlier...
altarflame: (Time is coming for me.)
We've been making and receiving dozens of phone calls because we were supposed to close on the house on TUESDAY, which turned into Wednesday, and is now "Hopefully Thursday? Or...Friday?" because - I'm not kidding - the title company this bank that owns our house uses lost our deposit. Our $22,000 deposit. There is plenty of proof that we gave it to them and nobody is trying to say we didn't, but for's missing. So our real estate attorney is going all livid and flipping out about how ridiculous this is, and - hopefully tomorrow? Or Friday? Either way it has to be at night or during a long lunch or something, because Grant's going back to work tomorrow.

Once we knew, on Tuesday, that nothing was going to happen, we spent the day down at the beach. It was wonderful. Elise was KILLING ME DEAD walking around with her poochy belly and her fat butt, in her little one piece bathingsuit, with her curls and, just, I was dying. The tide was way, way out when we got there so we were able to walk really far on the sandbars, and we had brought this little inflatable mini-boat thing that Jake and Isaac could both sit in, with rope for pulling, and Elise had her little baby boat thing (one of those rings with a seat and a back). We were out for a long time in the ocean, stopping sometimes to sit and nurse and splash and find shells and run around, Aaron was hilarious, it was a great day, great ride in the van, great food. The kids tried to outdo each other picking up litter before we left.

I got a bunch of errands done today, with A and A, and then had some time out just Aaron and I for the first time in a long time. We had lunch at Casita Tejas and then went to Speed Demons and played air hockey and ski ball and galaga and things for awhile, it was fun. I gave him all of my tickets and he traded them in for parachute men.

There was a big thing earlier when Grant stepped on a bee that Isaac seemed scared of. Aaron's been stung twice in the past couple of months. But he (Aaron) was SO upset that Grant killed this bee - "It just seems like if a bee isn't stinging you or threatening you or going to sting you or anything, and you just step on it, that just seems so, so, so mean to me. He would still be living." It dominated the afternoon's conversation, and then long after AWANA as we were eating dinner there was a lightning bug in the dining room. I called him out to see it, and he was so excited, and carefully moved it to the back porch...where it flew up into Grant Sr's new bug zapper we'd forgotten all about :/ Poor Aaron. I care not one fig for bugs, but I am so moved by his love and respect for life in general and how much he cares about everything. He makes me feel as though I'm wrong for not caring about bugs and can learn something from him.

Isaac did not go to AWANA. He started throwing a big screaming fit we could see from the van where we secretly watched, with Ms Jessy, his Cubbies leader, because he didn't want to go (all of a sudden, when he'd been eager all day and week and loves it every Wednesday and had just hopped eagerly out of the van to meet up with them and go inside...) It went on for a minute while G and I debated whether we should intercede (he used to do this every dropoff, and then be fine within 5 minutes), until Ms Jessy led the group a little ways away and left another volunteer assistant there to "Reason" with Isaac (ha). Within 30 seconds she saw it was futile - he was making bird motions with his hands and hopping around, and red faced by then - and she tried to pick him up and carry him towards the group, when he started flailing and howling and kicking the hell out of her, which is when Grant jumped out of the van and ran over there. Volunteer Assistant bolted as soon as Daddy arrived, let me tell you. Isaac came grocery shopping with us (and Jake, and Elise) in a sniffly but mostly calm way, and then got a "talk" and a lack of the sparkling strawberry water everyone else had with dinner...

I really don't know what to do with him sometimes. If Ananda or Aaron had acted that way, I would have been LIVID. I might have smacked to get attention. There would have been immediate loud talking - which actually got their attention - and they would have been standing in a corner (because they would stand in a corner) or laying in bed for a nap (because they were acting like they needed a nap). My dissapointment would have hurt their feelings.

With him, this sort of thing is routine, though. There is no shock in me, just a weary sigh. When I've snapped and smacked Isaac in the past - VERY rarely because I don't generally believe in smacking - he's either laughed right in my face or smacked himself harder and THEN laughed. I really think we could only get in a smacking contest that ended in a beating. He cares not about my dissapointment. He SEEMED upset when I told him that poor girl who was helping Ms Jessy probably has bruises from him, and he hurt her, but you can't really tell. He was really uspet about not getting sparkling strawberry water, and it was only the "you won't be at the dinner table with the rest of us if you melt down again, either" that kept us from another tirade. There was a tirade I've ommitted from here in between those two, about goldfish crackers, that he rode out in his room where Grant sent him.

I would have been far more shocked at Jake acting that way, and would have probably come down on him harder, too, and two. I worry that Isaac is bipolar and we'll find out down the road, or that he'll just always be a miserable adult, all sorts of things. He's so intense, it's totally different. I was telling G earlier that I worry a lot about wanting to hold him to the same standards I hold the other kids, but not feeling as though he can be in "big trouble" every hour of every isn't fair to him or possible for me, and though I hate to admit it, there ARE times that I do something differently than I would have with the others, with him, just to avoid a fit. I try not to make it obvious. But he makes me freaking tired.

He at least came out into the ocean with us at the beach. Every other trip we've had to leave someone on the shore with him (Laura or Shaun if not G or I), but this time he did well and was proud of himself.

Sidenote: I saw a commercial for bipolar meds earlier, one of those laughing on the beach things with the voiceover, and the voiceover after talk of hope and help and living life again went into the side effects. She actually said things like, "if you experience ________, contact a doctor immediately because these could be signs of serious and potentially fatal side effects. If you have trouble using your muscles, discontinue medicine immediately because this can be permanent."

Do people really call for more info after these sorts of warnings? I guess if it gets bad enough you take what you can get? I mean damn, I'm afraid of the hormones in birth control pills and won't take sinus medicine while I'm nursing, how do you leap hurdles like that?

One of the errands I had to run was following up with a police report because of our fraudulent bank charges.

Police Woman: How old are you?
Ananda: Seven about to turn 8.
PW: And how old are you?
Aaron: Six about to turn 7.
PW: Why aren't you kids in school?
Ananda: We're homeschooled.
PW: Oh, I see. I'll be back in just one minute.
(PW walks off with our paperwork)
Aaron: She has a gun.
Ananda: It's just a stun gun or something.
Me: No it isn't, it's a real gun.
Aaron: Hey, Mom, I read "Closed Weekends" off the window.
Me: Wow, you can read backwards now, that's cool Aaron.
Ananda: (smug) If I wanted to, I could just make the words spin around in my mind and then I could see them the right way. Or I could just read the reflection over there in that glass, that isn't backwards.
Aaron: It says "Copps Unit" and "Monday Thru Friday" too.
Me: Very good.
Ananda: (note of hysteria) I could read that if I wanted to!
Me: Do you know why police carry guns?

That last line is momspeak for, please let's change the subject this is ridiculous.

The thing with Annie is, she CAN READ. She just has to try. And she's not used to having to try, and she hates trying. The only thing she's ever really dug in her heals about with me and fought tooth and nail about, is reading - reading aloud to me especially but also reading work in workbooks. And I don't usually push much, I take it at her pace, I work it in naturally. After looking into prices and availablity for all the school things we are planning for next year, I decided to go ahead and order some A beka stuff for her now - I think we're going to go seriously intensive with what is really review of basic phonics and grammar rules and spelling and things - meaning not a lot of TRYing - because I'm hoping and believing that by the end of it, she'll have some more confidence and this won't be AS big of a "thing" as it is now.

Moving is a big catalyst for change in a lot of ways, for us. Grant has wanted to do woodworking for years now, and has done little things, but now he can have a shed full of supplies and make it happen. And now that he has a "regular" job with actual days off, I can write like I've wanted to for years. He came home with a fire safe for important documents. That's something we always could have had, but never thought of before. Like how I could have cleaned out old stuff, but didn't. Lots of things like this. We're "saving" the new linens we bought for the new house, and I'm not even sure why. And we're changing our schedules. Starting now, though, in the midst of all this changing. I'm actually taking the plunge beyond my normal "We need to get back to waking up between 9 and 10, not at 11" and saying "We're waking up at 7:30 every day from now on", for the first time. We're planning zoo camp and VBS for A and A this summer and preschool for Isaac in the fall, and I'd really rather none of those things were a family-wide masochistic burden to accomplish each morning. Church would be nice, too.

Goodbye 3 am, I'm not sure I'll miss you...
altarflame: (growing up together)
Jake and Elise have been doing a lot of simultaneous nursing, lately. Also, we pulled the cushions off of the loveseat and moved them to the office for something the other day, and ever since then the now-deeper-and-springier loveseat is their trampoline. It's the perfect size and they laugh HYSTERICALLY.

Earlier today, I heard crinkling in the hallway and looked down there - they were hiding around the corner, being totally quiet, sharing candy that Jakey somehow stole off the counter.

I look at them sometimes, when say she is in the swiveling recliner and he's spinning it and they're both laughing, and I honestly cannot BELIEVE my good fortune to be watching this story unfold again.

Have I really been so blessed that I get to have a tiny twosome AGAIN? A SECOND girl-boy pair to grow up partners in crime, and everything else? It makes me feel like there isn't enough room in my chest for all this love.

It also makes me feel bad for Isaac. This is what I wanted him and Jakey to have together, and they are together sometimes - they jump on the trampoline just the two of them, and will be sharing a room soon. But over all, it's just very, very hard to get along with Isaac :/ I could never tandem nurse them at the same time, because Isaac would beat on and scratch and poke Jake the whole time. Anytime they play now, Isaac is either whining and crying about the way it's going or he's lashing out and hurting Jake. I think he is going to have to grow up as the ultimate middle child.
altarflame: (Default)
Well well well.

Financial advisor highpoints:

-I now understand how and why long term investing is safe, but short term investing is risky, and thus that a 34 year variable annuity would be pretty much a sure thing, whereas a 1 year 5% interest bearing money market account would not be.
-We're getting life insurance - well, he is for sure, for me it depends on what the rates will be based on my previous...experiences. I've wished we had life insurance for a long time, but it's something we never got around to.

Financial advisor lowpoints:

-This is a man who is on his second marriage and freely admits he was not around while his son was growing up, because he worked so much, but that he got wealthy that way and now has an estate for his son...which is completely ass backwards from my own priorities, and it showed in every point of the conversation. He also didn't anticipate us wanting to tythe, and generally talked about "people our age" a lot and acted very condescending, albeit (I think) unintentionally - that part is probably related to him teaching college part time, I guess.

-His main deal was being very adamant that we HAVE to invest at least $100,000-$150,000 in our retirement. I mean really, I asked him if there was any smaller amount he could suggest as a minimum to invest now such that it would have time to grow, and he said $100,000 is the least that's worth doing. I just can't imagine that's true. Investing something significant in a retirement fund that we can add to as time passes - that makes sense. I can see the value and importance there. Something like 10-25k. But $100,000? $150,000? He kept saying we have this once in a lifetime opportunity to do this, but we sure do have an awful lot we could do with this money to improve our next 3 decades of life, rather than the 3 after that (which may or may not even occur, and won't feature dependants), you know? I realize this will seem immature to some people, but at 26...I mean how do you make a decision to say, we're going to get a small house, we're going to keep driving one vehicle, we're not going to give back to any of the family and friends that helped us or put the kids in any unnecessary enriching activities - we're not going to pay off all of our current debt or write or travel or anything. We're going to put as much as we possibly can in a vault to grow slowly for the next 34 years so that when we're old, we won't have to work.

Whatever, you know? I'm glad we had the meeting. I think some good did come of it - he got me thinking more seriously about investing for retirement, even if we won't do as much as he suggested, and the life insurance apps have been submitted, so those are good things. I wish he had been more willing to talk about home buying, but that seemed to be very peripheral to him - he said "real estate is not an investment, real estate is a roof over your head". ? I hear him, but...I don't know. If you can leave it to someone when you die, and the value changes over time, and you can sell it for a huge amount of money down the road - if you insure it against damages just in case - I mean, that seems like an investment to me, but I've never claimed to be someone with a lot of background in investing. Financially, anyway.

The check actually came this afternoon. "In Full and Final Settlement of all Claims", it says, which I irrationally fear on some level means, "You are going to cash this, and then die from further complications, and it's got nothing to do with us when that happens". It's burgundy and I joked that it's because it's blood money.

I was actually incredibly depressed after I got it out of the mailbox. Just like...this is it. Here we go. It makes me sick to my stomach in a way I don't know how to explain; all of this is just so big. Prioritizing things is so huge right now.

Speaking of which, I would like to say to all of you advice-laden peeps out there...I'm not really asking for your advice. If you're someone I know and love - or at least know of and respect - I will always really value and consider what you have to say, and if you just have good points, I'll at least hear you out no matter who you are. Comments are allowed because I like commentary. But I felt in my last entry like some people thought I was expressly asking for advice, and I'm not. I'm dumping in my journal, because it's cathartic for me and I like knowing it's being communicated to whoever's reading. I'm going to continue to dump in my journal and to share and to allow comments, but, I don't know... I'm sure that we can't please everyone. I know there will be times when (the general) you think we're being stupid. And that's ok. You just go on thinking it to yourself ;) The last thing I want to deal with is some idea that I have to censor myself over the coming months and years so that we don't seem frivolous to people - because, hello, when you've been broke and struggling for your whole life and get a huge chunk of money dropped on you after the worst year EVER, you're gonna do some frivolous stuff! Hopefully interspersed sensibly between responsible stuff.

Anyway...I spent the whole evening depressed, crying sometimes, just miserable like the wind had been knocked out of me. There's something really invalidating and infuriating about this check being the apology or fruition or whatever-you-want-to-call-it, of what I went through last Fall. And something very overwhelming over how to best divide it up, now that that whole tale is done and I'm supposed to move on. I've gone to work and brought home a paycheck in the past: I feel now as though I earned this money, through pain and suffering and struggling and fear. It is below minimum wage.

Grant is so good. When I feel like that, I am less patient with the kids, I avoid phone calls, I refuse to call anyone else. But talking with him is just like it always is. Like thinking inside my own head. When Elise was in the NICU we couldn't stand to talk to anyone else, sometimes, it just felt like such work to communicate...this has been one of those nights that he knows me so well and loves me just as I am to such a degree that I can't help but be terrified of what I'll do when/if he dies.

My kids did help, too. Well, ok, not Isaac, Isaac had one of his full on episodes - he actually scared the hell out of both of us thrashing and screaming and kicking and howling like an insane was a fit brought on by being woken up after falling asleep in the van, but triggered more specifically by being told no, he couldn't have any peeps right then. It was 15 minutes or so of solid full throttle violence and shrieking $#@)(*@!!!. And we don't yell at him, or do anything to intensify it - G did have to restrain or remove him a couple of times, but that's it. I thought he was going to knock a door off it's hinges on more than one occassion, and it makes me really frustrated to see Elise and Jake confused and upset by the way he acts...He was shaking, with bright red ears for quite awhile afterwards. We tried to give him a ton of affection and talk about reacting and feelings and all kinds of stuff...he was cute and articulate the rest of the night. O_O

Elise was a grinning, ticklish bundle of joy, though, fat and happy in my arms, Jake has been talkative and affectionate, and when I went in Ananda and Aaron's room to read to them before bed, they had set up a reading area for me and cleared their mess out of my way and prepared a basket with books they'd like me to choose from. They atually said, "We wanted you to know how much we care about you and that we think of you."

We did not go to Jacksonville as planned, largely because we have gritted our teeth and decided that the ranch is possible, but it's not responsible...we can get it, but we get it with the assumption that although our yard is always a little overgrown and strewn with kid things, and we can't keep up with the laundry, we will somehow be able to maintain 5 acres and a pool with pleasure. And the assumption that because we can buy it, we can afford it, when we don't have a riding lawn mower or a lifetime supply of pool chemicals or a big old maintenance fund or any of that exactly standing by. I mean, we really could maybe get it and be just fine with it and be happy as heck. But maybe we could also get it and end up in foreclosure, or selling it out of desperation, or having it be rundown and getting ratty around us.

Mostly there are too many things it would preclude.

I cannot drink enough water these days. I feel like a glutton for water. We keep a case of bottled waters in the back of the van and I drink one on the way to wherever we're going, sometimes all at one shot.


Mar. 25th, 2007 10:59 pm
altarflame: (Default)
I am losing my damned mind from Isaac. Grant walked out the door to go pick up pizza this evening, and he started screaming and yelling because he had wanted to go, too. He's better enough now that we don't have to bend to his every whim, but nuts from getting everything he wanted for days while he was sick. I went to him, I tried to soothe him, and he slapped me in the face. I've never, ever had any of my kids slap my face out of anger or malice. I've had babies just learning to control their arms wave one such that it did, but come on. This was ridiculous, especially when I'm bent over him talking soothingly as he screeches and howls over freaking NOTHING - it was very intentional. So I took him and put him in my room (where stupid PIRATE DORA was playing, we brought in a little tv of fil's off the back porch and put it in there for him while he was sick because none of us could take it in the main part of the house anymore) and told him he could come out as soon as calmed down, and shut the door. He proceeded to throw himself into the door repeatedly, kick it, punch it, etc, all while howling and screaming nonstop. After a couple of solid minutes of this I went and told him - very calmly - that as soon as he stopped crying, he could open the door and come out. But he had to stay in there as long as he was flipping out. Left, flipping out continued. I waited almost 5 full minutes before I went back in, carefully opening the door so as not to knock his violent little ass over, and repeated the same thing - adding that it wasn't fair for any of us to have to listen to all that racket, and that if he kept it up I was turning off Dora and the light and he would be throwing a fit in the dark. Left, shut the door, fit continues.

Eventually Grant got home and got him to calm down.

Likewise last night he came out of his bed for Grant. Grant was working in the office, with Jake in his lap. So I led him back to his room, talking soothingly, telling him I would get Daddy for him and he just had to wait a minute. He was shrieking and howling in the hallway, I had to carry him. Whatever, I did, with him thrashing his legs and throwing his head around. I'm 38 freaking weeks pregnant, WHATEVER. I set him in his bed and he acted - literally - as if it were a pit of hot coals. I mean these panicked, frantic, escalating screams, he banged his side into the rail of his bed and threw his head into the wall. I was trying to find a way to touch him or grab him as he landed on the floor and flung himself into a new wall, acting possessed. Finally I went and got Grant and said, Isaac is hurting himself, flinging himself into walls and shrieking continuously for you. Again, a couple of minutes later he was alright after Grant had talked to him. Albeit choking badly and gasping and squeaking for air. Grant came out telling me all he could think was "It's your own fault, fool." (though he hadn't said anything like that to him). None of my kids have ever thrown violent fits. I don't even understand it, it's something I would have thought kids with "extreme problems" did.

Neither of us have ever been so stretched thin or worn out by a child. I'm scared, sometimes, of how I don't even really feel guilty for being outright sick of him...I just feel like anyone would be, and I get bonus points for not even beating him. When I got back from the Blessingway last night, the first thing I heard when I walked in the door was him whining. The whole time I told Grant about how it had went, we were dealing with interruptions of whining, punctuated by tantrums when we said things like "Yes, I'll get you some juice in just a minute" (rather than "Yessir right away!!"?). I felt bad for Grant, thinking how a huge part of my "break" had been a break from Isaac. But, hey, he usually gets to go to work, so I deserve it...

I don't want to set up some self-fulfilling prophecy for him. I don't want to ever expect him to be awful, or lead him to think that he is. I've given him hugs and kisses today, I've sat with him in my lap and tickled. I've watched him do his new stunt with the riding toy about a hundred times, clapping each time. But I've also wanted to throttle him, and I am freaking tired, and we leave in like 2 days. There is a LOT of stuff to accomplish around here in that time. He makes me long for tranquilizer darts. Ah, sweet tranquilizer darts...

A lot has gone wrong today. We couldn't go to church, because Isaac and Jake are both recovering. Grant was uncharacteristically grumpy and irritable while we ran errands. We got to Jo-Ann's for this yarn I need for scarves like, minutes after they closed. I kept realizing it had been too long since I ate, again, because I was feeling so nauseus, again.

BUT - Nancy called and we had a WONDERFUL conversation. I really feel comfortable with her, even if I get scared or need to lean. I always felt like I had to have this front up with Shari, because she didn't believe in me so if I didn't, I'd be out of there in a hot second as it was only my determination making her feel obligated to help at all. With Nancy it's not like that at all.

And, we sold my car finally, which is really great and desperately needed. We had to pay out of pocket, of course, for Isaac's doctor visit and prescription earlier in the week, and Jake was really needing a new carseat before we went out of town. His current one is just falling apart all over (it's been passed down from Ananda, to Aaron, to Isaac, to him, and in the beginning my mom got it for like $12 because she worked at Target where it was in an open box in the back). During the last round of laundry, Aaron's comforter finally just fell to pieces, too, and now the stuffing is out more than in all over. Medical bills, carseat and blanket later, we'd spent over 300 unplanned dollars, all in the week before leaving town. So yeah - $500 and a freed up yard where the car's been sitting forever is nice.

One other super good thing - I can finally feel Elise's position clearly, since this afternoon, and it's perfect (butt on top on my left).

Shaun also came over and did a cool science experiment with Ananda and Aaron. And I took Kristin some extra (big sized) prefolds I had, for Naja, and she gave me two pairs of hand painted baby girl pants and a custom hat! REALLY cute stuff.

! Last night I sat down to clean up our huge chest of every kind of blocks, and Aaron came up and sat behind me and started rubbing my back. I eventually put my head down on the bench that the chest sits underneath and just zoned out. He must have done it for 15-20 minutes straight! So sweet. I told him it felt really good, but he didn't have to keep going if his hands got tired. He said, "I know your hips are crooked, and that baby is heavy." He seemed really proud of himself later, like, "You're sleepy and comfortable now, all because of my massage." :) Maybe he is more prone to this sort of thing because me giving him deep tissue massage whenever he starts really wigging out SID-style is fairly common.

Since I've started this entry, the power has flickered and automatically restarted my computer, Jake has unwound and strewn around an entire skein of yarn I was working with, pulled most of the baby toys I just cleaned up back off the shelves in the living room, and spilled a full cup of water I had on my desk all over the tile, and Ananda has asked for (and received) a cough drop. Aaron just went through asking me if had an entire grocery list worth of food items he could snack on (no, no, no, no, nonononononono we're out of everything - get some grapes, or crackers, sheesh!). It is so bedtime.
altarflame: (Default)
Today was EXACTLY what I needed!

Let me preface this by saying that Isaac got some severe and terrifying croup a few days ago, and we have spent this week going through a wringer of worry, fear, irritation, frustration and exhaustion. There was a whole night that neither of us slept because we were too afraid he would stop breathing. And it's viral, not something antibiotics can treat (you know it's bad since I took him to the doctor...) A major thing about it that has been making us insane is, he can't get freaked out. He can't throw a fit or start crying, or his larynx swells and his breath gets extremely hoarse and high pitched and he starts choking badly. So...we've spent over four days catering to The Tyrant's every whim, rather frantically. Even with us scuttling to accomadate him in every way, there've been quite a few scary crying jags. He has whined pretty much continuously; at the doctor's he was screaming bloody murder, thrashing wildly and choking and squeaking. Grant was holding him outside the door, and the ped asked me, "You have a lot of trouble getting medicine into him?" "How can you tell?", I replied, and he laughed a lot. Grant and I are both starting to go squinty eyed, longing for him to be better again so we can say NO YOU CAN'T! about anything at all and make him deal with it :x He has such an insane lot of totally unreasonable demands. And he's been watching Pirate Dora (the explorer) for the entire time - night and day, endless loop, KILL ME NOW. We KNOW YOU ARE THE FREAKING MAP, STFU!!!
Anyway, then last night Isaac was finally sleeping relatively well, and Jake got a mysterious stomach bug and puked the night away. He was waaaaaaaaay easier to deal with, only crying when he was overwhelmingly nauseas and ready to throw up, and clingy. And HOT. Poor guy. But on the heels of croup, we were just so spent, the both of us.

So this morning it was EXTREMELY difficult for Grant to get me out of bed. Going to my prescheduled belly casting seemed like a chore, albeit a necessary one because I've really wanted a belly cast. Little did I know that Grant was trying to rush me out the door and discouraging me from eating (totally weird...) because it was actually a surprise Blessingway. Melanie was at Kristin's house, and my sister showed up, too. They had copious lunch and decadant desserts ready for me, and a spa style bathroom set up with salts, homemade soaps, and towels set up by Kristin's huge, awesome tub for after I was done with the cast and needed to clean up.

It was really great. It started off rocky, because I sat on this seat while she started the first part of the cast, and all of a sudden out of nowhere got REALLY nauseus and dizzy...I could barely talk to complain about it, and sort of registered that they all looked pretty worried before I lost consciousness. Three times. Each time I would come around in a hazy way thinking, Whoa, I blacked out, and then be under again. Whenever I was semi-coherent I was sure I would puke - there was a bucket standing by and I remember at one point I was leaning back on Kristin with Melanie holding a cold rag on the back of my neck and my nausea pressure point (inner wrist) in her other hand, with Laura standing there with a bucket, but it was just surreal. Finally I layed down on the ground/floor (we were on Kristin's patio, big and private but still outside) and the cast crumpled off of me and I started to come around enough to feel embarrassed and focus my eyes. Sheesh man. I think it was a combination of major sleep deprivation, inadequate food today, sitting totally still and upright for a prolonged time with all this weight of unsupported breasts that I'm not used to, and hot weather + really cold strips of wet plaster on me.

Anyway after a few minutes of talking I got up and put on a bra (I'd been in just pants) and ate some of the wonderful food - Laura made me picadillo and black beans and rice and whole wheat crepes with fresh fruit filling and homemade whipped cream, and Melanie brought this INSANE awesome chocolate mousse cake with brownie base and a layer of dark chocolate ganache on top (!!) that went SO WELL with Kristin's extreme amount of overripe organic strawberries...yum man. After I had eaten like a pig pregnant woman and went to the bathroom and talked for a little while, they got out gifts. Each of them had a seed for me, that represented something - like Melanie chose a sunflower seed because sunflowers have SO MANY SEEDS :p and Laura gave me a spinach seed, because of Popeye and knowing I can be strong. And a bead, that I can wear on a labor bracelet. Melanie also got me a warm maternity shirt and knit me a scarf, for Boston, and brought a picture frame for me to put that first "just born" picture in, and a candle that had already been burned some, to remind me of all the women who've birthed before me. Kristin made me a sitz bath for after birth, completely from herbs that she grew in her garden.

For awhile there that nasty feeling lingered in the background ready to overwhelm again and I was afraid I just wasn't going to be able to do the belly cast at all, which was pretty dissapointing. But then we tried again with me sitting on the floor, tailor style (way better for my circulation) leaning against a wall with a pillow, and I had no problems at all. I really like the way it came out, though it's still "blank" and rough of course. Kristin is amazing, too, you guys should check out the amazing sKiLlz I'm getting for free here at her site - If you go to the belly gallery, there is this one Where the Wild Things Are one that is *out of control*.

So then I went to the bathroom for my spa bath (alone) and as I stood there in the mirror I was struck by how, for some reason or other...I felt totally ok with my naked body. Somewhere in the midst of 3 other moms memorializing my pregnant glory (and all having to stop to whip out an imperfect boob to nurse someone at some point), and being taken care of and eating together, and looking at all of the different casts Kristin had already made...I just felt completely fine. With my saggy lower belly, with my huge herniated tree stump belly button, with my boobs that are no longer precisely where they were when I was 18. It was really peaceful and amazing. And I got in and scrubbed my moisturized-by-so-much-olive-oil skin down with homemade calendula soap, and then sat down in the HUGE tub and filled it up with several spoonfuls of these amazing homemade bath salts that smelled so good. And sat there for time out of mind, alone with the water noise (the tub probably took half an hour just to fill up) and thought about the fainting thing. I was really glad it happened, in retrospect - because I've never been in a situation like that, where I have some kind of difficulty and supportive, understanding people help me through it and then I go on about my business. It made me feel so good about birth - it wasn't "OH NO SHE BLACKED OUT, RUSH HER TO THE HOSPITAL" they just helped me through it - cold rag, physical support, laying down, juice, food. Then we went on about the belly casting. That's how I want my birth to be. I talked to Elise about it.

And when I came out we did a birth circle, with Ananda (the only child I'd brought along, who'd been happily watching or hanging out the whole time). We took one (very)long piece of yarn and all wrapped it around a wrist, with room for tying, and the promise that none of us would take it off until Elise was born.

By the time I left, I'd been there for SEVEN HOURS (and had no idea that much time had passed). Grant never called or anything, at home with all the boys including two recovering sickies. Annie was feeling special, it was raining lightly and I felt so freaking good. SO GOOD. And there was a package waiting for me!

I have a couple of people to email and one to call - I will do it, either (even) later tonight or tomorrow afternoon.

altarflame: (Just the six of us...)
What a lot of day!

We got up, got everyone ready and fed, and went to this new church that recently opened up down here - Christ Fellowship. It was kind of incredible, just in that there were 20 greeters spread out every 5 feet to guide you to where you were going, tables of cuban pastries, juice, coffee and so on set out everywhere, and a REALLY extensive children's program. Ananda was building with play-doh, watching a funny play, and dancing and singing along with other 1st and 2nd graders. Jake was being pushed around outside in a giant 6-seater buggy, fed cheerios and playing with toys with a bunch of other 1 and 2 year olds. And Isaac and Aaron were in 3 to 5s, where Aaron colored, had goldfish crackers and watched Veggietales as Isaac WAILED AND SCREAMED LIKE A MANIAC the *entire time*.

Before dropping the kids off at their respective places, I had to fill out forms, get cooresponding stickers for parents and child to wear (with numbers) - G took 2 and I took 2 - and they gave me a pager that would go off if they needed me. Halfway through worship, I was paged because Jake was upset and they couldn't calm him down. He was fine as soon as he saw me, and once he clung to me for a moment he was ready to go back in and play more.

So I peeked at Isaac. I saw that people were continuously trying to give him a snack, entice him with art supplies or distract him with jokes. NO WAY IN HELL. Isaac is the reason we haven't gone to church - any church - as a family in almost 2 years. He won't sit through a service at all, and has always acted this way in a nursery setting. We kind of decided that now that he's 3, and can understand what we tell him beforehand well (like that we're right down the hall and will be back for him soon), and would even have his brother in the same room, he just has to get used to it.

I had an attendant go in and bring Aaron out, and begged him to be nice to Isaac. I peeked through the door's window and saw Aaron offering him a seat, trying to give him a hug, handing goldfish towards him...all met with slaps, howls and backing away as if Aaron were the devil. Aaron can't take much of that and quickly went back to coloring with the faraway look that is his version of hands over ears. I think he was already a bit dazed from listening to it that long, anyway.

Then Isaac saw me looking through the glass. Cue A-bomb level tantrum as he struggled to get out the door past 2 attendants, screeching, scratching and shrieking. Because Grant had the sticker that matched his, and he looks nothing like me, and Isaac was pitching such a fit, they had no idea I was his mother and acted really weird about me trying to say it was ok and just grab him from them. Finally we got it sorted out, and I tried to hold him, squat and talk to him, anything. He was ok, EXCEPT that anytime any of them came over to offer him his coloring page to take home, or give him his snack now that he was calm with me in the hallway, or what have you, he started in with the fit again. *sigh*

The leader of the kids' program says that next week they're going out to the playground. He SEEMS to be hyped about that, and bringing his dinosaurs with him, and is saying things like "I missed you at church and I was crying, but then you came back!" so I have hope...

The worship - what I got to attend of it - was pretty cool. For those who know what I mean, it was like a good lot of camp songs followed by a premium Rex bible study. Grant loved it and I anticipate us returning. I missed communion, though, and talk of Lent, and wish there was some way to combine these two opposing "Types" of Christianity that I am drawn to.

Back at the ranch after church, Shaun came over, Grant whipped up a whole lot of yum (whole wheat angel hair pasta mixed into olive oil, garlic, onion, chicken, mushrooms and roma tomatoes, topped with fresh and powdered parmesean - mmhmm) and we watched Smallville. Then G took A and A outside, they cleaned out the van, and we went to a birthday party we'd been invited to.

En route, some fool ran a stop sign and we had to slam on the brakes mid-intersection. Apparently Jake's shoulder straps in his carseat have gotten loosened up, because he hit his face on the big plastic bar thing that goes down in front of him :/ He has a swollen cheek now, and kept popping off to tell me his mouth hurt while he nursed :( I feel so bad for him. He's good when he's not thinking about it or putting pressure on it.

The party was for the little boy who is part of the family who hosts the PATH chess club, so we knew people and it's a familiar place. He asked for donations to the The Heifer Project in leau of gifts, since he is a self-described spoiled only child with rich parents. I got to sit and talk to TWO women who had only homebirths (4 for one and 3 for the other), who are also park leaders, and are all about my birth plans, and the bonus is that rather than giving me most peoples' response about what an insane, over the top hassle going to Boston for a month must be, they were very, "What an awesome experience for the kids!!" It was a pool party with a Spongebob theme. And I tell you, my bathingsuit just keeps getting smaller and smaller as the months pass O_o The kids seemed to have a good time - the three bigger ones were mostly in the pool with Grant while I sat up on the deck with Jake chatting, or in the rented bounce house. Otherwise they were busily stuffing their faces with the abundant fruit, cheese, veggies with ranch for dipping (gag), and chips and salsa (I swear Aaron and Isaac cleaned out the whole bowl...) They had one of those pull-apart cakes, too, that consists of a bunch of cupcakes frosted on top as if they were a single solid confection.

Leaving there we headed to Wild Oats to get yellow dock, because this morning I scratched a mosquito bite and thin, pinkish orange blood went everywhere for far too long. Damn platelet bs $*&@($_()###!! etc. At least I know how to get them up again now. Hopefully I'll have a scab to pick in two weeks to see how it's working :p While at Wild Oats, I got a small bowl of their vegetable soup and a little bag of organic dark chocolate covered almonds (I ate nothing at the party) for the ride home. Bliss.

So we got back, and the bathtub and toilet started spontaneously backing up...septic tank junk. We're going to have to run a snake through to try to find the clog - EWW. This is where I don a hairnet and whistle innocently with my hands in my pockets...anytime I take a shower G gets HANDFULLS of hair out of the drain, lest the tub fill up to his knees and overflow while he showers. G Sr, who has his own bathroom, was like "I wonder what the clog could be - maybe one of the kids flushed a toy?" and I just exited stage left while they discussed it.

Dinner was stir fry on brown rice, with homemade flax banana bread for dessert*.

Tonight's agenda includes Little Miss Sunshine with a giant bucket of popcorn, once the kids have brushed their teeth and been read to and are in bed. Tomorrow, Grant serendipidously got ANOTHER one-time Key West job offer so we're heading down there. I'm hoping to catch up with my Aunt Michelle while we're in town; I haven't seen her since Laura's baby shower.

*recipes )

Over and out.
altarflame: (uh-puh-GAH!)
Annie: Can I take a shower?
Me: Ok. Go in there and take off your clothes and I'll come start the water.
Annie: I know how to turn on the water.
Me: And turn on the shower part?
Annie: Yes.
Me: Alright...get it started I guess and I'll come bring you a towel and get you shampoo in a minute.
Annie: There are already towels hanging in there, and I can get the shampoo.
Me: You CANNOT reach the shampoo!
Annie: Oh yes I can, Dad let me get it last time!
Me:...and the conditioner?
Annie: Uh-huh.
Me: And you know which is which?
Annie: *Smacks her forehead* Mo-om!
Me: *sigh*

What the hell is going on around here? Last week I found out she can reach the kitchen sink faucet and the paper towels WITH NO CHAIR OR ANYTHING. O_o Highly suspect.

Aaaaaaaaanyway. Isaac has done this deal again where he acts increasinly, shockingly good for a couple of weeks and we think that maybe he's "outgrown his tyranny", and then as soon as our guard is down he lets loose full throttle again. The fun thing about it is that each time this happens, it is a NEW AND IMPROVED form of tyranny - he really keeps us on our toes, it's great. For instance he spent the entire first year in "Do not sleep, ever" mode, and then most of the second in "Climb counters, scale cabinets and dump out contents of anything you find" mode, with just a short reprieve in between wherein we thought he might be alright, after all. The into everything stalled, relaxing us but then giving way to violence and cruelty - basically beating the other kids with anything he could find, diving onto them from whatever was available, screaming in Aaron's face knowing it would make him upset, and so forth. I think the worst things involved hockey sticks to heads and lunging into Jake's belly until he threw up while I ran to get a clean diaper. That stopped after a few months and we've all been kind of watching him out of the corners of our eye, thinking, "Maybe he's just...getting better."

Ha! Phase 4 of his plan to destroy us is "Whine and throw fits ALL DAY LONG".

I'm really not kidding. He's always woken up either screaming or whining, and generally throwing himself on the floor (from mornings and naps) but it generally STOPS after 10 minutes to an hour. It doesn't stop anymore. It lasts literally right up until you're getting his flailing, howling, moaning, kicking self back into bed to sleep again. At least he still sleeps?

There are moments when he's jumping on the trampoline and laughing, but they're interspersed with whining and laying down and yelling. There are times when he's zoned out watching tv, but he comes out of it seemingly unprompted to start scrunching up his face and moaning about something as he stomps towards me from the living room. At least 3 times during every meal Grant or I get to the point where we're raising our voices and threatening him because he's making sitting at the table unbearable (the food's hot, it's cold, it's spicy, it's not enough, it's too much, he wanted a spoon/fork/something else, his drink is gone, his drink isn't right, Aaron's sitting too close to him...)

I told him the other day, "Isaac, nobody likes whining" and he said "I like whining! I LOVE whining!" in a hurt tone, like what are we all, crazy? Whining is great! Then a few nights back I was trying to settle him down for sleep and he was screaming and whining and crying about every damn thing - cover him, get him water, he has to pee, his toes are cold - and of course he can't just SAY any of it like a normal kid, it's all this drawn out pewling bs, punctuated by howls. Finally I said, "ISAAC! I am going to leave if you don't hush. I'm serious, this is it, I am leaving and NOT coming back if you don't stop whining and freaking out RIGHT NOW." He actually sniffled and scrunched up his face and had some shuddering breaths and calmed down for a minute. I sat on the edge of his bed and offered to read him a book. He asked, "Can you just leave?" "What? Why" I asked, and he said "Because I want to whine and freak out more." I was so fed up by this point that this flabbergasted me and so I left the room and he commenced to beat his mattress and shriek until he felt better.

I just don't know about this one.
altarflame: (After the kiss)
Getting out of here to my class was kind of stressful. Grant was dropping me off so he could take the kids to his mothers while I was there, so we had to get everyone out of the house and G ran a little late, not knowing I had planned on him getting here early so that I could get a notebook on the way, etc etc. But the class itself was good, took a bunch of notes, standard strange variety of people that you get in a night class, teacher is passionate about philosophy...very detailed and straight forward syllabus. I still have to get the book, I'm glad we don't need it until after the next class.

I had the thought while he was lecturing...he said that philosophy started in Greece, in the midst of all the Greek mythology's heyday - that people saw "Gods" everywhere, that every force was personified for them into something to worship, and every phenomenon needed something divine to explain it. Like Love, as Aphrodite, and the ocean being Poseidon, and Demeter's daughter Persephone being stolen by Hades causing the seasons...I know all of those stories from middle school. Anyway, philosophy sprung up as a subversive thing - a way to explain withOUT Gods. He defined it as "asking and answering fundamental questions in a rational, naturalistic way". He talked a lot about philosophy being rational, rather than religious. The obvious converse being that religion is irrational. I suppose it is. I wonder if there could ever be a way to get him to understand that that is the beauty (Mystery) of it.

We almost got in an argument because he said I was wrong, when I said that the answer to any philosophical question is going to be totally subjective. He said that though it's not cut and dry - it's also not subjective, that philosophers have to come up with a valid and rational argument that will sway most people to their way of thinking, to answer any question. But really, when you're talking about something like, "What is art?" ...I don't think "most people" will ever agree.

ANYWAY. Got picked up, ate pizza Grant had picked up, drank OJ, proceeded to feel very very ill from all that sugar. From a diabetic standpoint, pizza and OJ is pure death. I felt extremely overwhelmed when we got home, realizing simultaneously that Melanie is coming over tomorrow afternoon with Aaron's friend Eli, and there is NO WAY I can have the house clean enough by then, and that Isaac's bedding was still in the freaking washer because I forgot to move it over this afternoon (it was peed on accidentally last night). He was being extremely intense, too, while I passed out strawberries and talked with everyone, like leaping at me and then laughing when I asked him to stop, climbing on me while I talked to Ananda and then slapping when I asked him to get down for a minute. Even when I was nursing him and talking with him, he was popping off to argue with every nice thing I tried to tell him and..I don't know, I feel bad but I am so done with nursing him. Yesterday he only got morning boob, I managed to distract him with books come bedtime. Today it was both. But geez, I just...It's like nails on a chalkboard for me. Every second is so tedious. And I actually feel violated sometimes, by the sense of entitlement he has, like when I'm sleeping in bed and he thinks he can just come climb on top of me and wake me up by latching on. I wonder if it's a physiological thing, like my body knows it has enough demands on it and that he is past 2.5 now and would really be alright without it. He is doing really good with only peeing in the potty for the past few days, aside from middle of the night accidents every now and then. He still asks for a diaper to poop, and is wearing one out. His attention span for longer books has increased, too, and he's getting to where he'll eat a wider variety of things again, finally. Grr, it gets hard to pick out the positive details sometimes. Grant has started calling him DECEPTIVELY cute ;)

So I was ready to rip my own eyeballs out, with him making me nuts, the house a mess, feeling so sick and bedtime routines pressing down on me like death. Grant is amazing, he is so good, there are not words for it. He put Isaac to bed, then took Jake to the store to get *things to make me for breakfast before I get out of bed so I'll feel good*. While he was gone I smacked myself into action and read to Ananda and Aaron, though I did skip out on the laying with them, and ended up not getting in there to pray together until she had fallen asleep :/

I feel a lot better now, though. G brought me pickles...I know it's a cliche, but damn did half a jar of Claussen pickle spears sound like just what I needed. Kids have all been out for a couple of hours. And now I have a high protein, zero empty carb meal plan for tomorrow, all stocked in the kitchen, and faith in my future self to "Get the house taken care of by afternoon when Melanie arrives".

NOEL HAD HER BABY!! Housepoet Noel. At home in the water. Her water'd been broken for 24 hours before contractions were even picking up into active labor, so her midwives were talking natural induction, but she really put her foot down and stuck to her guns. This story thrills me. After my experience with Jake directly followed by Babyslime's experience with Jericho, last year, I really am aching to see everyone around me have healthy babies. Naturally. More than anything I think that Babs having this new baby sometime soon, at home unassisted, and then my sister having my lil niece or nephew at the birth center, will give me a new level of faith in myself. I know it's silly and things shouldn't hinge that way, but I have never previously witnessed any natural birth or known anyone who went through one, and it improves my grip on reality with the situation. A lot. My mother and her mother had ONLY c/s, as did the two other pregnant women I knew growing up. And ya'll know my history. Even the moms that I know online who've managed to have vaginal deliveries in the past few years have all done it in hospitals and on doctors' terms. THat is still awesome, please nobody get offended by that. I just know a hospital isn't even an option for me unless I have an emergency and NEED a surgery, so those stories aren't doing much for my sense of empowerment.

Alright. Off to watch tv with my amazing man, and go to bed. He kisses so well. He's so beautiful. He gives the best hugs, and smells so good, and I am so completely satisfied to think that we're MARRIED. Wed. Until death. I love it :D
altarflame: (uh-puh-GAH!)
You hear that echo?

Isaac is totally out of control again. There are times when, though I love him, I honestly don't like him. There are times when it's hard to keep myself from slapping the shit out of him. This is a strange and unique thing for me that I never feel about any of my other children. I cling to the fact that it happens to Grant, too (who also never feels it towards any of the others).

Situation from last night and some ranting about when he wakes up )

Today started out pretty well. He was quiet (for once) when he woke up and came into my bed, so as not to disturb Jake. I nursed him and he dealt with it, when it was time to stop (after 30 minutes, granted). I offered him various breakfasts that he was not interested in, he did take a muffin and then leave most of it on the table. He helped me clean up the living room very well, was acting nice to everyone. Then he ran in his room to pee on the carpet and act like it was cool - he does this very intentionally, it's not a bladder control thing - so I had him go get a towel and made him clean it up himself. I thought it was an isolated act of tyranny. Then when Annie was coloring, he started grabbing crayons and throwing them, and when Aaron was coloring, he kept trying to color on his picture. Screaming and arguments. Pushing Jake down, scattering a bin we had cleaned up, etc - they were all obvious cries for attention so aside from making him fix his messes and apologize to people I tried to give him some more attention and it seemed to sort of help for a little while. Even though, mind you, he at this point had been nursed more than Jake and talked with more than all of them combined - the others all amused themselves all morning.

Then came naptime. He was tired, it's approximately the same time everyday, we have a routine, etc. We get in there though and he wants to get in the bed alone, but won't get in. When I start to put him in he goes limp, thrashing and screaming. I stick him in anyway and he wants a drink, but refuses it. I put it back, he screams for it. I tell him too late, he says cover me up. I say lay down, he says no-oh in a sing song. I say, no really, lay down Isaac, he says No again and starts acting like he's going to climb out. I say, ok, I'm leaving, cover yourself. He yells no no no cover me and acts like he's going to lay down and says he's sorry so I turn to cover him and he pops up again laughing at me, and I SLAP THE HELL OUT OF THE SIDE OF HIS HEAD before I even realized what I was doing. Like I was standing there thinking, "I just hit him. Geez, wtf?"

He was shocked and aghast and layed down and I covered him and came out here to think about it. He did not cry a whole lot or freak out or anything. And it's not like I left marks on him or used a closed fist or something psycho like that...I am shell shocked enough by tyranny that I was thinking, amongst feeling bad for snapping in anger like that, at least he's quiet now :x I called Grant to talk about it and then went to lay down with Jake to get him down for a nap, so I could do school with the big kids. Isaac starts bursting into my room. Just enough to open and slam the door, or run by it yelling. So Jake obviously will not nap. I start getting mad, go out and talk to him, demand that he get in the bed, tell him he better be in the bed when I'm done, etc etc.

Jake goes down easily then in the quiet, like he always does.

I go out and Isaac is waiting for me. In their room, on Aaron's bed. When he sees me, he looks right at me, says "Pee Aaron's bed" and pees all over Aaron's bed.


I am a total loss. None of my other kids would DARE to do the things that he does. Annie or Aaron would also be horrified and break down, if I yelled at them the way I sometimes do him. They would be showing lasting trauma from a slap upside the head, too. Isaac laughs at me most of the time when I get mad, feeling that he's won by getting a rise out of me. I honestly believe Grant and I have done very well with him, most likely the best we could. I am afraid that BEFORE he is a teenager, I won't have any control over him at all.
altarflame: (All Four)
Jake is wonderful. He's perfect. He's my whole heart sometimes. I'm head over heels in love with him to such an extent that I just can't explain it. He smiles so much, he is so cuddly. The hair at the nape of his neck is getting thick enough to curl just a little, and I can run my fingers through it. He makes inarticulate sounds full of consonants often. He adores avocado, steamed sweet potato cubes and rice puffs, but also really likes strawberries, plain brown rice, shredded chicken, pears and crackers. And above all, nursing.
He also loves Grant, LIKE CRAZY. Somehow what I'm trying to get across to you isn't coming through here clearly enough - MY BABY ROCKS. He crawled all over me, laughing and teasing, for a couple of hours today as I watched Food Network and Grant played outside with the other kids. I changed him and left him naked, and he discovered his penis. It confused him greatly; Has this always been here? It's not a toe, it's not my belly button - where the heck did it COME FROM?

Ananda is starting dance camp tomorrow. She's doing a week session of their "mini camp"; so she'll get half hour classes in jazz, hip hop, tap and ballet, and then lunch, and then some acting and singing stuff. Shaun is paying her way as her (late) birthday present. I am SO excited for her - and she is really excited - but I can't help but feel like I haven't ever left her in the care of strangers BEFORE. I don't drop Ananda off for hours. Particularly 45 minutes north of here. I keep thinking of silly things like, "What if she can't get ziplocs and tupperwares open, at lunchtime? Will she just sit there hungry because she doesn't want to ask anyone? She has trouble with her tights, and they have to change clothes, and I won't be able to help her any..."etc But I know it's a rite of passage to deal with those kinds of situations yourself. I remember (overnight, as a teenager) camp being SO HARD the first night - I was freezing and didn't get any sleep, I was pissed that they separated me from my friends and I didn't know anybody in my cabin, and then they woke us up WAY too early for "Weird" breakfast...but that ended up being one of the greatest things to ever happen to me.

I don't know if I've ever talked about it in here, but I am SO NOT one of those mothers who puts their kids in dance classes. Like, I was totally against it at first. I grew up hating girls who took dance classes. I was too goth for that, too rock, too mature, too *not white*, too poor, etc. But Annie was putting one finger on her head and twirling in a circle, spotaneously, at 18 months old. She was spotting all the ballet videos at the library, begging for them, and then standing entranced doing them along with the tv instructor for a solid hour, when she was only 3. And she is like me - clumsy, no balance, not motivated to do things that Aaron does like skateboard or ride bikes - but she does dance. And she does it well. And she even does it IN FRONT OF PEOPLE. This is the child who does. Not. Perform. So, it has become increasingly important to me as she gets older to facilitate this for her. And of course since we homeschool it's good for her to have a structure activity/good social outlet.

For the next week I'm going to be trying really, really hard to get babies napping while she's in school, so I can have an hour or so each day for Aaron. We've already talked about it together, and he's excited. Board games, uninterrupted schoolwork, reading together, cooking together, jumping on the trampoline just the two of us, whatever.

His pirate party got postponed until next weekend due to guest availability issues. But I think we'll be able to make it cooler, since we have more time.

Isaac is a Tyrant again. Perhaps it will just always come in phases, or maybe we dropped our guard? I don't know, but...damn. He is not AS mischevious as he was before, doesn't eat as much, and is not acting out in violent ways the way he used to. But he's back to thinking it's hilarious if he can make me mad, throwing fits about everything under the sun, and now he NEVER STOPS TALKING. All day long. In the van it's "Car car, see car, red car, bye car! Mama, bye car! Mama, bye car! MAMA BYE CAR MAMA BYE CAR!!" "Yes Isaac, I saw the car, it's gone now, calm down." "Blue truck, blue truck, blue truck, see truck see blue see truck mama blue truck" "Wow that is a blue truck, I understand. Let's be quiet for a few minutes." (I turn up the radio just enough to hear it.) "Too loud too loud too loud too loud too loud!" (x infinity) Luckily this wave of tyrrany has coincided with a new level of cuteness. His face is changing again and, well...he is cute enough to see another day. Strangers are stopping us to exclaim about how insanely adorable he is, again.

He seriously throws himself on the floor screaming over everything and nothing for the first hour that he's up in the morning, and after his nap. Every day. GET A DAMN GRIP, MAN! Life is not that bad...*sigh* This is if I'm reading to him, if we immediately offer food, if I try to lure him into an activity, if we ignore him, if we turn on the tv, if we go out - there's just no getting around it, it's like "how he wakes up".

I am on fire to write. I got about 6 new pages of Cracked done last week. I am so totally really meeting my goal of having it done by the end of the summer. I think I'll be ahead of schedule. I have all kinds of writing goals and timelines in my mind, but I've run out of time for this right now. I miss some of you guys a lot! Dama come back from vacation, Heather come back from not livejournal, wherever that is, Noel your wedding was beautiful. Poppy read my journal and comment on it more often! :p And so on.
altarflame: (I getting big)
The other afternoon I had a moment's peace after a really hectic morning...I had made a pot of oatmeal for breakfast and baked for tea and gotten our tray ready, and cooked a lunch I can't remember and changed a bunch of diapers and done some nursing...I'd made Annie brush her hair and made her and Aaron get dressed and done a lot of dishes and laundry and just basically all the things that keep me busy everyday. I had the babies down for naps and had just finished recorder lessons outside. Babies still sleeping and big kids riding bikes on the sidewalk, I settled into laying out on the blanket crocheting and it just felt so ridiculously good. I was in a total state of peace, thinking how warm and sweet it was to just lay there in the sun with nothing to do and feel the breeze. All of a sudden my life seemed so good that I was bursting with gratitude and praying something along the lines of "Lord, I don't know if this is somehow bad to say, but I just can't imagine heaven being better than this. I am totally in love with the life you've given me. There is no way to say Thank You enough." And there were rays of light busting out from behind the clouds, and when I came in the house seemed so clean and rhythmic with the washer, dryer and dishwasher all going and babies napping and everything smelling like laundry...

It occured to me that day that if a person can learn to really love hard work, and relish struggling, then they have got it made. There is no way that you can feel satisfaction from effort and savor a struggle to do something or to understand, and not be happy in your life. And that made me think about how all these rich celebrities need so many drugs to get through the day, and about how it's really this idea everyone has that they should get to retire early or that it sucks to get out of bed before you're ready to or what have you, that makes them on the Real World, the MTV show - I watched it the other night because it's set in Key West this time so I recognize all the places and many of the people...and, well, MTV gives those people every material comfort and a lot of spare time, knowing that that is the recipe for gossip, tension and general unhappy drama. I don't think you can be Paris Hilton or Tara Reid and not be perpetually bored with everything and a little depressed all the time.

I have spent a lot of my life sitting around in my bedroom miserable. It's good to have worthwhile things to do with my hands, my mind, my time. It's good to see results from my efforts - yummy meals, clean spaces, wonderful children, finished dolls, all that sort of thing. And it blows my mind how it's so easy to complain about how things are hard, when you can just look at it another way.

Likewise, baby-tending is also very perspective-based....I think sometimes how I hold Jake basically all day long, either in a sling or my arms, and I am always thinking he is such a good baby because he hardly ever cries and is always smiling. And I sleep with him at night, and he sleeps through except for maybe 2 nursings that I barely come up from unconsciousness for. How differently would I feel about him, if I was trudging across the house to a crib twice - or maybe many more - times per night, and if I was setting him down and getting pissed all day long that he won't sit on his own?

Totally off topic, but Isaac the Tyrant...I have to tell you guys some things about him. On the way to our campground, in the van, he stole this stick Aaron had. He was sitting in between Ananda and Aaron in the third row and started hitting them in their faces with this stick, so they're yelling and complaining trying to block him, while Grant and I are threatening and cajoling and pleading with Isaac and he just keeps hitting them and finally Grant is, like, growling at him to KNOCK IT OFF AND PUT THE STICK DOWN NOW. Isaac grinned all cute and threw the stick at Jake, who's rear facing up in the second row. Grant turned back around ready to burst and mumbled "Little asshole..." and I just busted out laughing hysterically. Which made Grant laugh. Honestly, neither of us ever imagined referring to a (barely) 2 year old as an asshole. But yeah, that's how he is.

Last night I asked him nicely to get away from the garbage. He shook his head and smiled and sing-songed "No-oh" with a tilt of his head. I got firm and told him louder to get.away. He looked right into my eyes and plunged his arms into the garbage up to his elbows and as I came over angrily he started laughing hysterically, pointing at me and saying "Mad! Mad!" with glee. Like seriously he could barely get the word out around his giggling.

I'm telling you many people would have beaten him by now.

And last, I updated [ profile] textile_junkie today. My first three mermaids, and another fairy. I'm using the money to fund homeschool supplies and trips, so buy them up!
altarflame: (I getting big)
Before I say anything else: Jake was 3 months old on the 11th :) As of the 10th, he was 25.5 inches long and almost 16 pounds! That puts him at the 100th percentile for weight, and off the charts for height o_O The boy is huge. He's wearing all 6-9 month clothes already, and medium diapers and covers. Yesterday he wore a footed sleeper that Isaac wore just a few months ago. I mean, Isaac was RUNNING AROUND wearing it! Jake is so big. He also rolled over yesterday, belly to back, and regularly lifts his chest up with his arms when on his belly, now. And LAUGHS, if you tickle him right! I have several people on my friends' list who have smaller babies and commisserate together about the moms who "obviously lie" about how ahead their babies are...I don't know what to say about that. I don't think Jake is superior. Just big. It's sad, in a way, because I barely got to use all the newborn diapers I bought or custom dyed shirts I ordered in 0-3 months. I wouldn't even know how to hold a 6 pound newborn, and he's already left that new infant feeling in the dust.

His head still smells awesome, though :D ...Moving on to my "real update" -

I'm still sick. It keeps mutating into new forms of sickness. First it was a very high fever, then a sore throat and headache, then a sore body and no energy, now I feel like I'm choking on muccous and I'm dizzy everytime I stand up. I threw up for the first time, this morning. Ananda is better, Grant is better except that he's coughing like crazy and feeling bruised internally at this point, Isaac is mostly better. Aaron halfway got it for about 6 hours, got better, but seems to be regressing...and Jake is still unscathed (go breastmilk!).

I keep getting hit with this desperation, this "I can't!" that I haven't felt in over a year. Last time was when Isaac was on his 8 or 9th month of never letting me sleep at all, ever. And of course I can, and I must, and I haul myself back up and push on, but...It's getting to where I can imagine not doing that.

I'm entertaining fantasies of weaning Isaac, of Jake eating solids one day, of dropping the kids off somewhere for awhile, of taking a class, of ANYTHING. I hate feeling this way, I've done so well for so long. Maybe I'm just getting hit with postpartum depression. Maybe it has something to do with starting my first pp period. Maybe I'm just sick.

I was laying there last night, patting Jake and talking to Grant, and telling him that in a very real way "it" can all seem like Isaac )

Having done so much laying around nursing sick babies, I've re-read Insomnia and The Nanny Diaries, and am currently (re-)reading poetry by T.S. Eliot and Ally Sheedy. I've also watched a History special on canonical christian scripture and a bit too much VH1. And listened to all these stupid Alito hearings on NPR. And read Ananda some more of The Horse and His Boy. I haven't absorbed this much non-internet media in years.

Back to my regularly scheduled gatorade and cough drop guzzling. What IS IT about gatorade that goes down so smooth? It's the only thing on my raw throat that doesn't feel like gravel going down (including water). Grant too.
altarflame: (I getting big)
This morning Grant thought I was awake and I thought he was home, and we were both wrong. When I did wake up, it was to Isaac - who he had let out of bed - smearing something on me.

An hour later I had scrubbed him and myself - including his hair, and his butt, and in his ears - mopped the kitchen and entryway, sponged the dining table, and I still had carpet to clean and bedding to launder. Thank God Ananda's paints are washable. As it is there are still bright blue Tyrant Prints in the hallway right now...

I had him on the trampoline at dusk this evening. Him and Aaron. Ananda is sick today and was in the house napping, and Jake just naps all the time as a way of life. He was in just a diaper, and as the sun set it got a little cold, and then people started setting off big illegal fireworks a block over...Aaron loved it, but they scared the hell out of Isaac. He didn't want to go in, but did want to cuddle up in my lap. He kept making alarmed grunts and shaking his head no when things boomed. By the time the fireworks were over, it was full dark and all the way cold, but he was completely wrapped in my arms and legs and not wanting to move. I realized that I sit with Ananda, with Aaron, with Jake - just SIT, reading or watching tv or talking about things - for long periods all the time. But that NEVER HAPPENS with Isaac. Periodically when he's nursing, but even then, he is pulling my hair out and throwing a fit if I need to get up. But this evening he was just...chilling there. Hanging out with me. It was so nice, I started talking to him about all sorts of things the way I always do the others, but so rarely with him...Eventually I got uncomfortable, and rolled to the side to lay down with him in the crook of my arm, on his back. I thought for sure he'd jump up at that point. But he didn't, he stayed there and even snuggled closer. It was so nice. I asked him, "Are you sleepy?" and he nodded. I had Aaron run and get us a blanket, and he was so happy to feel it around him. He immediately flipped onto his back and gestured for me to pull it up to his shoulders.
We looked at the stars (he says "stars" very well) and the clouds and Aaron ran around, jumping on and off, running in circles around us...he ended up wearing his lit up Spiderman mask and shooting big foam darts out over the safety net most of the time (we really got WAY too many presents...), and curled up with the cat the rest. And Isaac just layed there and - you aren't gonna realize how big this is - he fell asleep. Curled up in the crook of my arm outside at night. Gradually, after a lot of time just staring and sighing and *holding my hand*. It was the sweetest thing ever. When he woke up, he sat up with the blanket wrapped tight around him for awhile, just looking around. I was in total awe.

He's so wonderful when he's ill or terrified.
altarflame: (that nutball...)

He's getting over being sick. His nose ran all day Sunday, and then all yesterday and into the night he had a sore throat. It was the first time I had nursed him after bedtime/gotten him out of his bed in the night in months. We just layed on the couch together. He dozen in and out, with a handfull of my hair. He's been very sweet to me, slowed down some from illness. All cuddly and hardly into anything. How wrong am I for really, really enjoying this?
altarflame: (Isaac smile)
Today is the freaking PITS. I don't even know where to start, my ranting will get too long. Suffice to say Isaac is having the same day he was having the last time I ranted, except that today he's getting into the garbage every few minutes and pouring out every drawer and bin he can get his hands on over and over again.

He's healthy, he's happy, he's cute. He's pretty bright and very affectionate. But he also has a horrible temper and no sense of boundaries at all. It seems kind of sensationalist to say that a 19 month old is "completely out of control". But damnitt he pays NO ATTENTION to anything I say to him, even if I yell or clap my hands together. The only way to get him to even pause in anything that he is doing is to physically stop him. I am seriously considering some baby gates (though they would only work with a bedroom, our house isn't set up for baby gates at all) or even a playpen (I've never even HAD a playpen...)

You can't leave him alone for a minute. Like, literally, a minute is far too long. If he ISN'T in the bathroom with me while I pee or outside the door screaming, I WILL come out to find him digging in the garbage, standing on top of the dining table, dumping something out everywhere, etc. Yesterday I spent most of the afternoon clearing his drag-and-drop clutter from the living room, the hallway, my and the kids' bedroom, and then vaccuming (that's all the carpeted areas of the house). It took so long because he was continuing to drag and drop the entire time I was doing it. Finally as I was vaccuming the last room, he ran out and I was just relieved. But in the time it took me to finish Aaron's play rug (the kind with roads and a city all over it), Isaac brought me a steak knife that he got out of the dishwasher. I almost started crying.

I almost started crying again today. I called Grant on his cell even though he had just ran to the grocery store around the corner, to tell him I was going to have a nervous breakdown. I was forcing the kids to clean up their trashed room (that I just had spotless and vaccumed late yesterday), even though Isaac made the whole mess, and Aaron had already been crying twice because Isaac just kept running in there and undoing everything he tried to do. Which was really, really frustrating to me, as I was trying to hang up clothes and had already had to stop 6 or 7 times to get Isaac out of the freaking trash.

I've always favored pro-active over reactive parenting, and tried to anticipate things, plan ahead, etc. But I feel totally incapable of keeping ahead of him, especially right now (when it's hard to get up, I'm not as fast as normal, and I'm hormonal to boot...)

There is no way to adequately childproof this place for him. We have latches on the "dangerous" kitchen cabinet, and glass stuff up high, and outlet covers. We don't use the bottom 3 shelves of the pantry or the fridge door at all, and have removed all of our dvds from the living room after having to put them all back up on the rack twice a day for a month. There is a strict "bathroom door stays closed" rule that only gets accidentally broken rarely. But like the kids' room, I can't really put anything up high enough that he can't manage to get it, or they won't be able to, either. I can't suspend the garbage from the ceiling. I can't guard my pile of folded clothes while I go to run and sop up something he spilled, so he tears it all up and throws it everywhere while I'm out of the way. He DEMOLISHES Ananda's dollhouse every single day, it's part of her bedtime routine to go all over her room and the house getting the furniture and reassembling it.

Does anyone have any suggestions here? Short of tying him up or beating him? Because I've already thought of those options. Maybe I can start using his little feeding chair for timeouts and it will form a pavlov-style connection that will make him want to eat less...

ETA - He is not trying to get attention the only way he can...He's still nursing on demand and I sit down with him and read to him frequently throughout the day. Grant also does roughhouse-style play with him at least a couple of times a day. His attention span for books is improving, as well, and he's still learning new words and sometimes amazes me with the "conversations" we have - so I really don't think he has any actual comprehension or hearing problems, either. He just ignores me whenever convenient. We go out often enough that I wouldn't think he's bored out of his mind - we were just in a forest-y park where I let him pick up leaves and flowers and explore independantly for an hour, yesterday afternoon, and he was out running in the rain with the other two, the day before that. We take a walk with the stroller just about every day. SOIDGJ:OFJ"IOPJKM":LH}_+)_(#%
altarflame: (Isaac smile)
Good grief!

I love him. He's adorable. He is a tyrant. He is lucky that I love him, and that he is adorable.

Ranting and Raving )

May 2017

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