Thursday, July 16, 2009

The time has come, the walrus said, to talk of many things

The past few days have not been very good in the Jedi house. I've come to expect Mondays to be extremely difficult, but when it hits on other days it's somehow harder. SkyWalker has been doing his best to get my attention by being a wild crazy naughty boy. He did the same after the Princess was born but I attributed it to other things. He's still very affectionate and wonderful with his sisters, but he's taking it out on me. He's doing bad things, I yell and yell and yell, he laughs when he's in time out and completely disrespects me. I don't have enough time/mental power to devote to him, Vader has worked late every day and has taken work home and has spent VERY little time with us, he doesn't have preschool anymore. There are so many reasons, but in reality these are just excuses. When it comes down to it he's treating me the way he is because I am allowing it. I have somehow lost my way. Somewhere in the lack of sleep and the desperation that comes with fitting a newborn into our lives, I have given up. I've become the nagging cajoling "don't do that again!" mother who is not listened to and is instead laughed at. It's particularly hard when I know that he is such a good boy and this is just not normal for him. He needs structure and I haven't been giving it. 

But that's all over. 

We hit rock-bottom (I hope) on Tuesday when lots of tears from multiple people were shed. Wednesday morning I had a bit of an epiphany thanks to MetroDad (who you really should be reading if you don't already) and then spent a lovely 2 hours at the beach with friends, watching my children play with my mother's helper and being so good, and listening to Chewie snore in the baby bjorn instead of scream, and I realized what I have to do. 

I have to get myself back. If I think for a second that I can't do this--that I can't parent 3 children--that I can't parent a 4 1/2 year old--then he's going to feel it and freak out. He needs reassurance that yes, Mommy actually is in charge, even if he claims otherwise. I've already implemented some new tactics, both philosophical and um, practical, for lack of a better word. In the interest of brevity (ha ha) and because I like lists:

1. Good behavior jar-- I have two little jars (I believe they once held chicken bouillon cubes in them), one for each child. It's mostly for SkyWalker, but the Princess wanted one too and it's good for her as well. When they do something good they get a bead in the jar. When the jar is full they will get a chance to pick a ticket out of another jar for a reward--special treat, alone time with Mommy, extra TV. I'm not specifying what they have to do to be good--my neighbor is doing this but with specific behaviors--not getting out of bed, not hitting, etc--but I really want to focus on overall behavior. Bringing his dishes to the sink gets a bead. Doing something nice for his sister gets a bead. Sharing. The number one thing is listening and doing something the FIRST time I say it. That is ultimately what I'm trying to get to. I'm doing the random reward so that he doesn't just always choose M&Ms. We started for real yesterday and he has over 15 beads already. 

2. Ignore the bad--I really need to focus on the GOOD behavior and ignore the bad. I cannot reinforce it by yelling and repeating myself 20 times. Time out doesn't work for him anymore. Threats don't work. He's looking for attention, I have to give it to him for being good, not for being bad. Even if what he is doing is terribly embarrassing or annoying or he's been told a million times not to do it, I have to not react. Yelling is the worst thing to do. I have to just say "Please don't do that" and then walk away. 

3. Solitude-- I get up at 5/5:30 every morning so that I can have some me time. I have to continue that but I also have to make sure it's ME time. It's not enough to have physical solitude because they are sleeping. I need to have mental solitude as well. That means instead of reading babycenter message boards or researching 6 week growth spurts or potty training or whatever, I need to do something not kid-related at all. My goal in getting up so early is to start the day with a clear head but I really haven't been doing it. So from now on when I get up after I eat breakfast and check my e-mail (I can't give that up), I need to sit on the couch and read a book. That's the only way I ever truly get out of my own head. I need to be engrossed in a book and just relax with a hot cup of tea. No exercise, no cleaning. No pressure. Just some nice quiet solitude. 

4. Quiet time/nap time--I had wanted to do the treadmill in the morning once Chewie is upstairs in her own room, but I don't think I will now. I think I will aim for doing it in the middle of the day when I need that pick me up. I'll shoot for 3 days a week, but once again, no pressure. Some days I will have other stuff to do and that's okay. I don't need to lose 50 pounds, I just want to be healthier in general and have more activity than before. 

5. Leave the crazy behind--our really rough time is after nap and before dinner. When we're really having a hard time I need to change the scenery. Put Chewie in the baby bjorn if she's awake and take them all outside, or to the library, or to a park or call up a friend. Some of this may also be SkyWalker getting bored and needing to burn off steam. I need to give him the opportunity to do so. We have to get outside and if that means dirty dishes and unfolded laundry then oh well. I need to get back on track with my kid and that's more important right now.

I have just yawned 3 times in the last minute and I think that's my cue. Getting up at 5 am for my solitude is important, but so is going to sleep early! 

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Monday, July 13, 2009

Monday Monday

It is 8 pm and all of my children are sleeping. This would not have been shocking 7 weeks ago, but today it is. Perhaps it was because Chewie got all of her screaming out between the hours of 5-7 that she was able to fall asleep nicely tonight. The other two were upstairs in their beds at 7. Yeah. 7. It's Monday.

Mondays are always so hard for us. Vader goes back to work. He goes food shopping after work. The jedi and I are left alone all day long and by the end of the day we are not very nice. Today was better than most--we had a playdate this morning with a mom & toddler we had never met and both of my children were nice and sociable and well, normal, and that started the day out well. I managed to use the treadmill during nap/quiet time and did a whole mile. It took me a whole 17 minutes to do that mile, but hey, that's more than I've done before. And I ran some of it again. Just to see if I could. Not a lot and not fast because I'm really *not* a runner. I am lucky I can put my feet in front of one another just to walk. Anyway, I got a total of 20 minutes on the treadmill and that was good. After that it all kind of went downhill. Chewie started screaming, woke up the Princess, SkyWalker left quiet time after less than an hour. They all bugged me. Chewie needed another nap as I was making dinner but cried off and on through most of it. SkyWalker mashed up his hot dog and vegetables instead of eating them and the Princess quickly followed suit. When I was feeding Chewie right after dinner the other two were messing around in my bedroom and ran out with Chewie's pacifier--the Princess has been stealing them for weeks now--but what really annoyed me was that they went under the bed with it and probably got it all dirty so I now have to sanitize it. Again. And once again SkyWalker just went NUTS and refused to listen. At all. I put Chewie down when she was done and dragged SkyWalker up the stairs (yes literally) and threw him on his bed (once again more for his attitude and behavior towards me than for anything else) and told him he was going to bed. He laughed and then realized I was serious and started crying. Chewie was screaming by that point so I got her and the Princess, gave them a bath together while SkyWalker asked "Am I going to get a bath?" I completely ignored him. Completely. He didn't listen to me, I didn't listen to him. The Princess answered him "No, you're not" (yes that is a direct quote). It seemed to finally sink in and he started to speak in a more calm and respectful manner and we all read books together before bed at 7. 

I think he is getting bored to a certain extent--while Chewie is doing a basic routine, it's not quite as predictable as it will eventually be. Sometimes she wakes up early and that throws things off. Particularly if she wakes up because of sibling noise and then gets overtired. I've been giving her the first nap in her swing in the kitchen but I think I need to move her to the crib so she starts the day out with an uninterrupted nap. If she gets overtired from the get-go, we're in for a crappy day. Anyway, so because I am often tied to Chewie's needs, I can't just drop everything and do whatever SkyWalker wants me to do. And even though we had a playdate and spent time outside this morning I guess it just wasn't enough. I'm actually thinking of scheduling some after-nap playdates since that seems to be the worst time for us. 

We have a busy week ahead of us and I'm hoping to tire them all out into behaving! The Princess is so ready to be potty trained but we're going to LI soon and she has her next ultrasound the first week in August so I think I should wait before I take the diapers away. But she is so ready. Potty training with pull-ups is just not the same. SkyWalker continues to stay dry--we continue to have dinner before 6--and have Daddy help him pee at 10. It would be so nice to just have one baby in diapers. Although the Princess will be in them at night for a while. Actually, who knows with her? She's always surprising me.

I should really go to bed now but I'm kind of waiting for Vader to get home. I have a hankering for an ice cream sandwich. I have to replenish the calories I burned running/walking on the treadmill.

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Friday, July 10, 2009

Walking on sunshine

I'm not sure how much time I will have. So rather than the long-winded blathering paragraphs you are used to, I'm going with the lists. I'm not sure if blathering is a word but I'm going to continue to use it because I'm a grammatical rebel. 

I love:

1. that my son has been dry 5 nights in a row now. Vader gets him up at 10 and that's it. The difference? I've made sure we eat dinner before 6:30, preferably before 6, even if that means we're already eating when Daddy gets home. 
2. that my youngest just fell asleep with her arm out of the swaddle. Perhaps she won't get as addicted as her older sister did. 
3. fun relaxing playdates with no drama. 
4. that I have become someone who looks forward to and enjoys playdates and can honestly say I have friends who are not just on the internet.
5. that I am becoming a morning person and getting up at 5/5:30 every day. 
6. that all 3 of my children are upstairs and I am not. 
7. that I reorganized my tupperware and glassware cabinets and pots and pans cupboards. 
8. that I am wearing my skinny shorts and have not done any regular exercise yet. I know. I just lost all my friends. 
9. that the sun is shining and the sky is blue. 
10. that SkyWalker and the Princess both sang Twinkle Little Star to Chewie at naptime.

And now I'm going to do something productive for the rest of my nap/quiet time. (No, Mama doesn't nap. What's the fun in that?)

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Friday, July 3, 2009


The Princess is embracing being a 2 year old. Quite well. One minute she is all smiles and amazingly cute and clever. The next minute she is having an all-out breakdown because of a shoe. Or some minor thing that is the end of the world to her. Sometimes I have no clue. It's been great fun. Really. 

I have been embracing the insanity. Really. Examples of my recent insanity: 1) I am thinking, seriously thinking, that I can avoid the baby jar route when Chewie starts eating solids and that I can just puree my own. I was afraid I couldn't because all we eat are frozen vegetables, but guess what? Unless you're getting fresh vegetables from your own yard or from the farmer down the road, frozen is actually BETTER for you. Amazing. I no longer have to feel guilty about giving my kids frozen peas. Anyway, so I can totally use frozen vegetables and puree them for Chewie. This is insane  because it goes against my true laziness and why would you start with the 3rd kid?? But it's cheaper... we already have the frozen veggies and I really don't want to have to go to Price Chopper to get the jars because Wal-Mart (where Vader does the food shopping) doesn't carry a good selection of Beech-Nut and that's what I prefer. 2) I am also seriously thinking about starting potty training--no more diapers training--with the Princess soon. I potty trained SkyWalker when the Princess was just 3-4 weeks old and it was the hardest craziest week ever. And here I am thinking of doing it again. Insane. But the Princess is further along than he ever was... it speaks to her "I do it!" attitude right now... and I'm stuck at home most of the time now anyway. I might as well right? Insane. 3) We went to a local farm stand and got some strawberries and the Princess picked up a tomato. Damnit if it isn't the best tomato I've had in a long time. So much better than the store-bought tomatoes. So now I am thinking that I should grow my own damn tomatoes. A) I am lazy. B) I know nothing about this stuff and C) I don't even like doing stuff like that. Who am I? Insane!! Although I did see some infomercial for a tomato growing device that you can hang upside down on your patio. Looked easy enough. 

I will be 34 in just a few days. I'm not quite sure how this happened. I swear I'm still 18. Besides that whole 3 kids thing, I really don't feel like I'm in my 30s now. And I'm IN them. Almost in the middle of them. I don't think I like that. It's funny, you spend so much time when you're a kid wanting to speed up your life, wanting to be older, to just get on with it. And then one day you wake up and you're in your damn 30s and you think how the hell did that happen? And you want to pause time, stop it, enjoy every moment. Because you know every year, every day, every moment is just one more closer to, well, you know. And who the hell wants to be closer to that? 

On a lighter note, if you're interested in books you should read my book blog. And if you have a google account you should follow me. I've always thought more people should follow me.

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Thursday, July 2, 2009

Ramble On

It's funny, when your time is split into 2-3 hour chunks it goes amazingly fast. I close my eyes and it's a week later. We've been working really hard on our routine. And by we I mean me. Chewie has been on EASY (the baby whisperer) since I brought her home--I nursed her, changed her diaper to wake her up a little, and then put her down to sleep. Eat, Activity, Sleep. The Y is supposed to be You time, but with 2 older kids there is no You time. She's starting to be awake longer... and thus is now able to get overtired and then have to scream herself to sleep. Joy. In addition to the sudden and random blood curdling screams brought on by gas, she also enjoys crying in her sleep. I am so glad I got that video monitor because I would think that the Princess was sitting on top of her. Oh no. She's completely asleep. Crying. I do think she's been overtired and that I've been misreading her cues a bit and feeding her when she just needs to sleep. Ah well, tomorrow is a new day. She'll be a month old tomorrow and all things considered she's doing really well. I do remember with the Princess that I thought she would never go longer at night and settle into a routine, but she did her first 7 hour stretch at 7 weeks old, followed shortly thereafter by ALL night long. So I have hope. 

My routine has pretty much remained the same. I get up at 5:30 every morning. Pump, eat, check the internets, shower if I can, sometimes do laundry, and enjoy the quiet. Lately the quiet has been interrupted by either a crying Chewie or a wandering SkyWalker who says that 6:45 is "close enough" to 7. I hope to add some treadmill time in the morning as soon as Chewie is sleeping upstairs in her crib. It's one thing for me to leave her in the co-sleeper while I'm in the kitchen and the dogs are still sleeping in our room, but I don't want to go downstairs and be too far away (the co-sleeper is attached to our bed with one of the sides off so that I can "roll over," and pick her up to nurse her. But I discovered I can attach the 4th side while it's still attached to our bed so it functions as a bassinet. It's safer for me to leave the room.) 

It is almost my bedtime. It is also almost my birthday. My son thinks I need a bicycle for my birthday. 

I am fading fast right now so I leave you with this: I frequently tell SkyWalker that he needs to eat his meat and vegetables if he wants to grow big. Whenever he's eating or drinking something he'll ask if that will help him grow big. He really doesn't eat a lot of meat so I'm constantly telling  him that's what he needs. At bedtime tonight we were all in the girls' room and I was feeding Chewie, as usual, Vader was teaching the Princess how to do math on her fingers, and SkyWalker was sitting on the floor with me. He asked me what tomorrow is and I told him that Chewie was going to be 1 month old tomorrow. He asked if she was going to get bigger and I said that she was getting bigger everyday. And he said "from your breastmilk and meat. Your meat milk. Haha. The meat in your milk. Haha." 

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