Friday, December 23, 2016

"Mom. I want Santa to bring me a baby sister for Christmas."


"But X-Man, you already have a baby sister."

"YEAH. ME!" Cinco is not amused.

"No, She's not cute. I want a baby sister. Babies are so cute."

"NO!" Cinco feels strongly on the issue. "I AM CUTE! DADDY SAYS!"

"Cinco is not a baby she's a girl. Maybe that bird can bring me a baby sister." Yeah keeping trying kid.

"X-Man, Cinco isn't a baby anymore, you're right. But she will always be your little sister, your baby sister. You don't need another one."

"I want a baby sister!"

"NO! THERE ARE LOTS OF KIDS IN THIS FAMILY AND I AM THE LAST!" Cinco is now kicking her legs rather hysterically. Baby and Baba are both doubled over in their seats in the car. Somehow Cinco's reaction is both ridiculous and totally predictable.

"No. I want a cute baby sister, who is so tiny and cute. And I can hold her." Ah, we're on to something. X-Man's visiting baby cousin is now officially toddling about, and completely uninterested in being held by X-Man.

Meanwhile, Cinco is bordering on hysterical rage. "NO! I AM THE BABY! Daddy wants it that way!" That's probably news to the father figure who was mentioned he would mind another baby or two. Maybe he and X-Man can work something out with Santa. I'm ok not being involved in this go around.



"NO! NO! NO! NO! NO!" Cinco is tantruming as completely as her booster seat will allow.

"YES!" At this point it's clear, X-Man is as interested in poking the beast as he is in actually getting the super cute baby sister.

There's a fine line to walk here. One that makes clear to X-Man that Santa is not going to be bringing him a baby sister, with or without the assistance of some weird Rudolph/stork hybrid. And also one that makes it clear to Cinco it's high time she gets a grip.

"Well guys, babies are very special....."

"Yeah like me!"

"Cinco, please don't interrupt Mommy when I'm talking. Babies are special, and they come to families when God wants them to. And that's why your baby sister Cinco is so special, and that's why you are so special. You came to us when it was the right time for you guys. When you were the right thing for our family. Ok?"


"Yes X-Man?"

"I want Santa to bring me a ukulele for Christmas."

I'm not sure that's an improvement.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Celebrate with me! Only ten more days until Cinco and X-Man stop asking me every morning "Is it Christmas yet? Can we open presents? Why not? We want to open presents!!!" Insert hysterical tears here.

From what I can tell, no one is overly impressed with 2016 and everyone is planning on upgrading to a new model year very soon. I certainly fall within this category. It's been a crazy time, there have been moments here and there that I think "oh I should blog this before I forget." But I've become so efficient in my old age, that I forget things without even blogging them.

Not that there haven't been highlights. Like within X-Man's first month of school, first month of any of our children's experience in a school, we'd been to the principal's office twice. Cinco has decided that we aren't all hopping to quite as promptly as she belives we should. I believe her exact words "Everyone needs to do what I want always." Threeanger indeed.

Around Halloween, it was the traditional Kindergarten field trip to a local pumpkin patch. For X-Man's sake, I accompanied him, he's an intense guy and without someone with five years of experience with him, it can be overwhelming for all the parties. We clambered on the bus and took our seats. I attempted a couple of selfies with my boy, remembered that selfies are dumb and settled back. X-Man looked across the aisle and noticed a row full of girls and yelled "hi duys!!!" (he is still working on making his hard g sounds). He caught himself and tried again "Hello ladies!" He threw in three blown kisses for good measure.

It did not escape my notice that he deliberately choose words that he could say clearly, or that he was puting the moves several young ladies at once. I admit that my first thought was "dear lord he will be written up for sexual harrassment three weeks into his time at this school." Truly that seemed par for the course. Two of the girls ignored him and one kept giggling and say "hi" back. I kept a lid on the sauve moves much to her disappointment.

That's my X-Man. Sweet, stubborn, charming and clever. He also has been dealing with several challenges, each of which makes life in today's busy world that much more overwhelming. Recognizing these challenges and determining the best path for him has been a time consuming process. It has also drained me emotionally. Completely. I can't fathom what he goes through daily, physically, mentally and emotionally.

He has been met with scorn and judgment, by those in positions of authority who should have been caring for him. They were quickly to label, but didn't realize what looks like tantrums in toddlers and non verbal children is often actually panic attacks. He is bright boy. Smart enough to know that he is not understood, that he's not fitting into the world as his peers are and people sometimes don't like him.

We started out the academic year in a private preschool. I had discussed with them his challenges and they claimed to be welcoming. Interestingly enough, I never felt comfortable leaving him there. For each of the five days that I did. Day six there was a misunderstanding with his "teacher." X-Man wanted to do something, she wanted him to do something else. I had explained that X-Man can get upset and almost hysterical when he thinks he's not being understood. It takes a couple minutes, but simply getting at his eye level and calmly explain to him that while you understand that he wants to do this, we will be doing that instead. What's essential is simply clarifying to him that you know what he is trying to say and that you are not denying it or ignoring it because you don't understand him, but rather because it's not an option at this time.

X-Man spent four years barely being understood verbally. He had at least two full years of knowing what he wanted to communicate and not being understood. It truly is a trigger for him if he thinks he's not being communicated with. And he panics, which with a non verbal child, often looks like a temper tantrum.

His "teacher" said she was fine with his needs. But it was clear to me that she disliked him from day one. And he told me his teacher didn't like him. Now X-Man is a hand full and a challenge. But he is a sweet loving kid who just wants to do well. He just struggles with processing what well is, and filtering it out of all the other sensory stimuli that overwhelms his brain. I am fine with structure and discipline when it comes to X-Man, he craves it. But I expect compassion as well. He's walking a much steeper mountain than most of us will ever experience. And I expect the adults I pay to assist him in learning to actually attempt to assist him, and not tell me "I think he has problems."  Because honey, we all do.

So that's how X-Man ended up in a specialized kindergarten classroom at our local public
school. It was bumpy as he tested the limits and figured out how serious they all were. But, as I told the father figure, these were people legally required to help him. But they are also very invested in helping him. And help him they have. He bounces out of his classroom every day bellowing "I did a gleat job at school today!" (he can't say his g or r yet)

Getting X-Man all the help he deserves, fighting our insurance to cover it, doing all the exercises at home he's suppose to, takes up most of my time. But when you see a little guy so motivated to improve and trying so hard, it's worth every minute. But those are minutes I don't have for blogging anymore. Hence the radio silence.

And that's fine with me. Because while this takes up so much of my time, it's really not my story. And I feel that it is certainly not my story to tell. X-Man deserves his privacy. I like to encourage others to learn from my mistakes, to seek out the help that is available and to advocate fiercely for their kids. But the details, those are X-Man's. He deserves to be seen for who he is. His challenges are not who he is. The warrior boy who chooses to smile, chooses to joke, chooses to try, deserves to tell his own story. In his own time. In his own words.

Meanwhile, X-Man yelling at me for not driving him to Santa's house....that's a story I'll share. Soon.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

X-Man was disinvited from preschool. Well, I don't know if that's really what happened, but an active little boy who already knew his letters and numbers and therefore got bored quickly, wasn't the right fit for a small room in a small preschool. So, he's off to kindergarten where there are four adults to the seven kids. Which is a better ratio than he would get at ok.

It's been an experience. I was worried about the seven hour school day. It seemed.....excessive. And in X-Man's mind it most certainly was. His teacher is sympathetic. Especially when he melt down onto the floor wailing "I'm so sleepy." So, we're doing the whole half day thing.

Half days are excellent because they give X-Man the opportunity to eat his heart out. Really. His teacher has started to swipe an extra breakfast for him because he is more than happy to join the class and eat breakfast. Again. Because I've made sure to feed him before school. But he goes ahead and eats second breakfast. But only after selecting his hot lunch option. It's not that I'm too lazy to pack a cold lunch for him. It's just that his cold lunch has become his elevensies. And post recess snack. In the four hours that X-Man is not at school, he's probably packing on a pound an hour. Although his teacher says that he is burning it off at a rapid rate. Which sounds quite plausible.

Part of the reason for the school's flexibility is the fact that I drop X-Man off and pick him up every day. A necessary part of this equation would be car keys. And this morning I most certainly could not find them. I had them last night. And they were no where to be found. I searched everywhere. I ripped apart the couch, searched the fridge, where I had put the groceries after coming home last night. I called the father figure, convinced he had taken them inadvertently. Because, he's done that before. Under X-Man's bed...nope. In the pockets of coats I haven't worn in the months....nope. In the dryer.....nope. I sent Baby, Baba and Mac out to search the car. Individually. Baby returned saying that X-Man said that the keys were in the rocket that was on the moon. Which was certainly helpful.

I was holding the phone, getting ready to call the school. It was hard to come up with a delicate way of saying "I lost my car keys....they were right HERE!!!!" But I was working on something as X-Man and Cinco stumbled into the house and announced "here they are!!!" The keys. They were in X-Man's pocket because he wanted to fly to the moon. He had actually explained all of this to Baby when in the car....and she listened as well as kids do.

We were twenty minutes late.

So even though I haven't been writing. Rest easy......nothing's actually changed.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

It may have not escape the astute reader's notice that I have not been writing much recently. This is due to many factors. First of all, this blog exists mostly to detail my children's exploits. They have been reigning in the crazy in recent months, dare I say, almost well behaved. Or, which is as plausible, they have determined it is better to be crazy without an audience. Furthermore, it is the summer. I always envision remarkable days of achievement and accomplishment, adventures and memories made. Rather, the summer becomes a long session soccer camps and swimming lessons and soccer tournaments. And the sinking feeling you were supposed to get a lot more done than you have.

X-Man and Cinco have spent the summer in a soccer camp. It was glorious. Mostly because, for the first time ever, X-Man was not only age appropriate behavior-wise, but he was the best. He was the most physically capable, the fastest and the most confident. All of which was to be expected since he was the oldest in the class. However, Cinco was nipping on his heals. She has definitely made the most of her years, quite literally, of hanging out on the soccer sidelines. She's looking like she should have a bright future on the field. She also paid tribute to her Italian heritage by flopping quite a bit.

I didn't think anything of it at first. Cinco fell down, but she's my kid. She's Baby's sister. Falling comes quite naturally. Baby scored a winning goal in a tournament years ago, after running out of her shoe. The ref looked perplexed and as if he thought he should probably blow his whistle, but Baby was on a mission. She scored, much to the chagrin of the opposing team's parents who were certain there was a trick play at work. Rather, it was just poor parenting as Baby explained "My MOM tied my shoes." She hopped back to the ref and held her foot up Cinderella style and then asked him to tie her other one as well. Just in case.

But two weeks into soccer camp, I noticed that Cinco had a strategy to flopping. It happened only if X-Man beat her to something AND (this is an essential element) her coach was near by. Her coach was a young enthusiastic young man who was very concerned each time she hit the ground. He'd help her up  and she'd hold his hand for the next few exercises. If he was paying attention to other students, Cinco would suddenly find herself on the ground. And if he didn't notice, she'd move closer and collapse again. Other girls in the class pick up on this trick as well, collapsing to the group if his hands were holding other students hands.

Eventually, I got annoyed with the whole thing and yelled "You're embarrassing yourself! Get up! X-Man's beating you!" This certainly had the desired effect for Cinco, she popped right up and chased down her brother. Then she stole his ball but at least she did it on both feet. Of course my outburst drew some attention from the other parents. They did not approve of my style. Or my dismissiveness towards any potential injury. But I didn't care. I'm a red blooded American who doesn't fall down and most certainly doesn't raise girls to need boys to pick them up thank you very much.

I was pleased that Mac, Baba and Baby all insisted on coming to watch the soccer camps. It was sweet that after years of being watched, they were all excited to watch X-Man and Cinco. And they did indeed put on a show.

During the course of typing this, I've had to institute the new, and extra cruel rule, of no tea parties on the stairs. Which apparently is the only plausible location for any festivities in the house. I also
nixed the whole cereal and milk at the tea party idea as well. Although honestly, it had moved passed the idea stage and was actually being smuggled to the stairs when I intercepted them. See what I mean about keeping the antics on the down low?

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

X-Man and I share a birthday. Of course we do. Because that’s what X-Man does, chooses a challenging way of announcing his existence. For the first four years, my little party crasher didn’t bother me. But this year, around 10pm the night before, I found myself annoyed by…..just everything. Mostly trying to assemble Lego mini machines for a cake that I still needed to bake. 
Followed the next morning with children who chose to air their grievances very loudly. And, the hardest part of all, I had to deal with a super excited little boy who was turning five. So clearly, the solution was to spend the day at a river. Because my children and open water… could that go wrong?

And it didn’t….really. It was relaxing and peaceful. It actually helped settled X-Man down. And he had a fantastic day. It cumulated with him hugging me and yelling “I LUFF MY BIRFDAY!!!!” after opening all his gifts.

The father figure took the children shopping for my birthday gifts. It was fun because they each picked things out for me that I loved and I see them in. Apparently as they unloaded their wares before the checker, she asked “Is your mom having a birthday?” So clearly they did quite well.
X-Man too got fun toys. One of his gifts was Candy Land; it was a mild disappointment when he discovered it wasn’t actually a box full of candy. But he recovered. He and Cinco have been playing well with each other.  But I did cringe when I heard X-Man bellow “Give me my color people!!!!”  Referring of course to the tradition Candy Land playing pieces.

It’s a new year so I decided to start working out with the kids. Baby and Baba are serious athletes and need to incorporate some speed and agility training into their routines. So I decided to participate in their new drills. So there were Mac, Baba, Baby and me running up a hill, forward and backwards. Duck walking up a hill, lips not required, bear crawling and frog jumping. Well, I didn’t frog jump. I’ve had five kids. It was not going to happen.

X-Man rolled down the hill repeatedly. Cinco simply sat at the top and every time I jogged up would “Can I watch My Little Pony on your phone?” Mac kept talking, until I pointed out that if you can talk you aren’t working hard enough,

Meanwhile, my legs were shaking. Like fall down shaking. I get that I haven’t been the best about 
working out this summer, although I walk three to four miles during soccer practices, but this seemed absurd. Also, impossible to hide from Baba and Baby, who were sweating but not quivering. I felt just a wee bit judged. Also, I am pretty sure Baba was contemplating how she would drag me to the car, while keeping X-Man and Cinco in check.  She’s a quiet thing but I think she’s been around long enough to know that she should have an emergency plan in place…..always.

I didn’t actually die. But my ego is just a wee bit bruised. I kinda thought I could hang with….MAC at least. Although the boy is on a swim team now. Apparently my fitness level is equal to X-Man. So I too will join in just rolling down the hill. This will probably come as a great relief to Baba. 

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

I wrote this for another site and was recently asked to reshare it.....which I do so happily.

We’ve lived in our house now for over a year. As we wrapped up the renovations, I got to focus on decorating it, making it our home. I had a vision and that vision included family portraits. Our fifth baby was old enough now that she looked like herself, still little, but not so babyish. Above our mantle would hang our family portrait. I knew the pose I wanted, rather artistic. My husband and I would be in the background, our five children in the forefront, the focus of our family.  

About the time that I decided I was ready for family photos, my friend Kristie had a special deal to celebrate her oldest son’s graduation from high school. I love Kristie and don’t see her nearly enough, not to mention she has a spectacular eye for light. So it seemed like a perfect choice to meet up with her and take some lovely family pictures.  The theme of the pictures was basically show up with clean faces. This was accomplished. Yes, my older son had a ripped shirt on. Yes my younger son was missing a button on his shirt, but over all they looked fairly cared for. The sun was shining, although it wasn’t as hot as many of our summer days had been. The breeze was dancing through, giving us all a gentle windswept look.  It seemed ideal, the perfect day.  The perfect day, the perfect setting up until toddlers were added to the mix. In my excitement to have truly special family pictures taken, I forgot that it involved my family. Namely my strong willed three year old and a toddler with the attention span of a gnat. It did not go well.  The odds were never really in our favor. If the three year old cooperated, the baby had to run towards the street. If the baby was sitting still, the three year old had to climb the tree…..right then. And the older children kept laughing at the littles’ antics.

Kristie handled it like the professional she is. Although I’m certain raising her own four, absolutely sweet children, helped. She was patient and understanding. She expressed delight in the absolutely age appropriate behavior of the little ones. She was supportive and helped me see the situation for what it was.  It is where we are in life. We are a family with little ones. Babies and toddlers who throw us for a loop. And they are so cute as the wreak havoc within our plans. And that’s what Kristie captured. Our life, now, frustrating and hectic and oh so beautiful.  It can be challenging to see the beauty in the moment sometimes. Especially when you just want them to sit still for a couple minutes. I had a goal, a vision and it just wasn’t going to come to fruition. And honestly, that’s life right now. My plans often go awry, just yesterday I was peeling screaming children off the bookstore floor. They wanted to sit and stare at the Thomas the Tank Engine toys, I wanted to pick up the book I ordered. But they’re still the size where I can scoop them up. They still can wrap their arms around my neck as they wailing in protest. And there’s something precious about that. It’s a special time, all too brief, just months out a decades long life.

These moments are fleeting. And they are more valuable than can ever be expressed. There, in that moment, I chose to let go of my plans and simply work with what we had. Because that’s what family life is about. Embracing your people, where they are in life, and moving forward. Or sideways, depending on what mood strikes the children in your life. But in order to have peace, to be able to take joy in the moments that come, sometimes unexpectedly, I had to make my plans fit my children, not my children fit my plans. Because these are my moments, my moments to treasure my children, and that means their personalities as expressed by their little toddler wills. Too soon they will grow, grow into well behaved children. Children, who don’t cry because they have to sit on grass, but rather for real pain, true sadness, hurt. And I dread that time. I’m scared for when they hurt for reasons I can’t fix. When I can’t dry their eyes by offering them my bracelet. So I chose to not be frustrated or irritated, at least too much. These are the good times. The happy times. These are my children, good and naughty. They have my heart.  

This reality was made more poignant by the presence of Kristie’s eldest son. He helped with the shoot, chatted comfortably, mostly about  college. He was leaving. Moving upward and onward, as he should. As all children will.  Kristie was so proud of her little boy, now taller than her. And she had every reason to be. And she tried so hard to hide those tears, as her precious little one spread his wings. Wings she formed, wings she nurtured, wings she so wanted to see him use. But it didn’t make it hurt any less.  As I watched the mother and son work together, I glanced over at my own son. He was trying to remove his shoes. Forcefully and with much passion. And I chose to accept and treasure. Because too soon, that little boy would be a man. A man who would take on the world with as much passion as he had for not sitting still in that moment. And that man would leave my side, and quite possibly invite another woman to his side. This will be wonderful when it happens, but it won’t change the fact that his little chubby hand will no longer be in mine.

So I choose to treasure these moments, even the moments of chaos. It's where our family is right now. We'll have the perfect family photos later, at graduations and weddings. When my littles are spreading their wings. I have them for such a brief time, and Kristie captured this brief time perfectly. In all its chaos....and beauty.   

all photos by Catch Me if You Can photography.

I wrote this two years ago for another site. I was recently asked to share it again......

My head hurts, the kind of ache that comes from too much coffee and not enough sleep. I should take advantage of this quiet nap time myself, but there's too much weighing on my heart.  A couple of weeks ago, a mother of two little boys disappeared. Tragically, she was found ten days after her disappearance, dead. She had committed suicide, to the shock of her family. She left her home, so that her husband and little boys wouldn't find her, and took the only escape she saw for herself. It is heart wrenching, disturbing and confusing. Any suicide, but especially that of a mother to little ones, is horrific. As a result, we tend not to talk about it. We whisper a prayer for the poor soul and then continue on to more pleasant things. The result is the pain, the evil, the darkness that so poisons the mind is allowed to fester away in private.

Truth is a powerful sunlight. It is frightening, however, to lay your soul bare, to honestly admit that all's not right in your world. It can lead to hurt on the part of those who love you. "How can you feel so alone? We are here for you." For those who don't struggle with depression, understanding and supporting can be too confusing. Everything seems so good, how can this not be seen and appreciated? Shake it off, buck up, make your peace with God and everything will be fine. Life is full of highs and lows.  If only it was this simple.  Those struggling with depression, already believing they have failed their loving family, keep their pain inside, so not to fail or disappoint further. The result, despite best intentions, is that the darkness and despair continues to fester. The crushing burden increases. 

I sat in the sun, mulling this over the other day. We were at a local theme park and I was watching my older children embark on a water ride. It was a beautiful day, filled with shrieks of laughter. Watching my older son, I remembered that he and his younger brother were the same ages as the little boys who lost their mother. It stabbed my heart. I could still feel the heat of his growing hand in mine. I could see him waving excitedly to me. With a catch in my throat, I thought "it could have been them." They could have been the little boys whose mother was lost to the darkness.  

See, I'm the mom who has thought, often, that my children would be better off without me. I'm the mom who has heard those voices telling me I am failing my children, my husband and all those I love. I'm the mom who felt utterly crushed by what seems like daily life, and I have heard  the voices of despair telling me to quit, it would be better for everyone. I'm the mom who felt like I could never love my children as they deserved. I'm a mom who has warred with the darkness and despair of depression.  And I'm a mom who was given the strength and the grace to seek help. To drown out those voices, and to know that I could not carry this burden myself. For me, my path to light was with medication and counseling. Part of that path was recognizing that what I thought and felt wasn't right, wasn't how it was supposed to be. But it wasn't because I wasn't trying hard enough; it was because my body was out of whack. 

It's sad that it is uncomfortable to speak about this more openly. It's unfortunate that so much gets swept up in the term "mental illness." It seems to me to be an inaccurate term, as depression is often caused by a chemical imbalance. It's the body not working as it should, a state not uncommon for most adults at some point. Sleep, diet and exercise can help, but all of these are often hard for mothers. It wasn't the "real" me that was "failing" my family. It was a distorted view, caused by some out of balance hormones.  Sounds so simple. And yet, this has taken me five days to write. I feel vulnerable, exposed, fragile. I was raised in a private family. We didn't share unpleasant news. We were discreet, which is a habit I truly appreciate in today's age of oversharing. But, there is a time to speak up. There is a time to share. There is a time to say "you are not alone." I struggle with depression. Medications saved me, and my family. 

I refuse to listen to the voices in the darkness that say no one cares and that I am weak. I refuse to listen to the voices of the darkness that say I should be ashamed and that others will think less of me. I refuse to listen to the voices of the darkness. I will speak up. I will stand up and say "there is hope." I will stand beside and say "judge me along with her." I will silence those voices of darkness. Because I heard the Voice of Truth. 

As I sat in the sun, in the middle of a forested area, I thought about the other mom. I watched the light dance off of some leaves, and thought of that other garden, so long ago. The first time the Voice of Truth was drowned out, ignored. Pain and suffering followed. If we are pursuing our vocations, our paths in the Lord's light, it isn't unreasonable to think that we will be attacked along the way. Will the serpent exploit our bodies; use our physical weaknesses to beat us down? Of course he would, any opportunity to twist our view of ourselves. He sees us as weak and worthless. And yet the Voice of Truth says we are fearfully and wonderfully made. All of us. We should be a mirror of the light and an echo of the Voice of Truth, sharing with each other the truth, fighting through the darkness. 

The words of a popular hymn replayed in my mind "But the voice of truth tells me a different story, And the voice of truth says 'Do not be afraid!'.....Out of all the voices calling out to me, I will choose to listen and believe the voice of truth." For the person struggling with depression, it isn't as simple as choosing to believe. But for those of us who are in the light, we should be sharing the truth, encouraging openness and honesty. Starting with ourselves, dispelling the darkness that allows despair to grow.

I was roused from my reverie as my children plunged down a steep drop and created a huge splash. Their faces were split with huge grins. They all yelled "Hi Mom! Did you see us?" And I was grateful, so grateful, that I was there, with them, loving them. Grateful for help, grateful for options, grateful for salvation. And in my gratitude, I resolved to be more open about my own journey so that there will be more mothers in the sun, laughing with their children.  

Rest in peace Jennifer Huston, and all those who were lost in the darkness. May you hear the Voice of Truth whisper in your ear "Come to me all who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest."    

Monday, May 23, 2016

I have no one to blame but myself. I’m the one who said he could push the shopping cart.

The evening began with a trip to X-Man’s preschool to admire their year’s worth of art projects. In order to avoid the family movie offering in the gym, I had told all the children that we would get ice cream afterwards. So we all admired X-Man’s work, he was able to explain it to us, which I guess is gauche when it comes to art, but otherwise I would have thought his footprint duck was a chicken.

The thing about Cold Stone Creamery is that they allow mix ins, candies mixed with the ice cream to make a delightful treat. And no matter what, all small people will ask for the bright blue cotton candy ice cream. And mix in something utterly hideous like m&ms. Not that the chocolate candy is hideous….but chocolate and cotton candy? Ugh.

Happily, both Cinco and X-Man bucked the trend, X-Man requesting chocolate ice cream and Cinco asking for….pink. Of course. Both had gummy bears mixed with their ice cream. And of course, both had to dig the gummy bears out of the ice cream they just been mixed in to. I was ok with that; it’s all part of the experience. I drew the line, however, at being introduced to each individual gummy bear…..followed by the consumption of the bear. X-Man added in some screams and “help me help me” while Cinco tried extra commentary but was unable to, due to cracking herself up too much.

We then headed to shop for curtain rods. The babies, as they are still referred to by their elder siblings, like to play in the elder girls’ closet. They tend to knock the closet doors off their runners, much to the annoyance of their sisters. So we were off to experiment with a curtain instead of doors.

We went shopping for curtain rods, so of course we ended up in the shoe section. But not before X-Man asked to push the shopping cart. He selected a half cart, and could actually see over the handle, so I acquiesced. X-Man has worked hard to mature and follow directions and I want to reward his efforts. Of course Cinco saw that X-man was pushing his own cart. I braced for the meltdown and demands that she too get her own cart, height requirements notwithstanding.

But no, Cinco had other plans. She wanted X-Man to push her in his cart. And X-Man willingly obliged. So we cautious proceeded on. X-man stayed near me and I began to relax a bit. Over the last few months, X-Man has been maturing and his behavior is becoming more age appropriate daily. As his ability to communicate has improved and his understanding of himself in space has strengthened, he’s able to truly be himself. And himself is delightful. But also….a four year old boy. A younger brother, with all the mischief that includes.

As we browsed the shoes,  Baba and Baby were helpful. Down to business and no nonsense, they quickly made their selections. Baba showed the savvy of teenager by pointing out that a pair of sandals that I was hemming and hawing about would fit her as well, and since she had outfits they’d go well with, I should but them and we could share them. Her arguments carried the day.

Meanwhile, X-Man and Cinco were chattering away. He was staying close by, not running amuck, so he lacked my full attention. It wasn’t until, arms full of shoes, I turned to the cart that I realized how he and Cinco were passing the time. The half sized cart was filled with shoes. From what I saw, things were going somewhat like this:

Cinco “I like dose shoes.”

X-Man “Dese? Otay.” Thump in the cart.

Cinco “and dose. I want does too.

X-Man “Otay!

Neither child was interested in returning the six pairs of shoes they had already selected but grudgingly allowed those who would wear the shoes to actually select their own. Mac still needed to be shod, so we headed to the children’s section. On our way, we passed a shelf filled with trinkets adorned with the ever present Frozen characters. Cinco observed “I like that Elsa necklace” X-Man, wised up to the situation, said nothing but just handed it to her. Cinco realized that this was a perfectly acceptable situation. She pointed to a set of Frozen socks, as into the cart they went. As I tried to quickly and painlessly find Mac a single part of non-ridiculous shoes in his size, X-Man found Cinco three pairs of Frozen crocs, in varying sizes, two necklaces and a set of socks. He also determined that Mac wanted another set of “cool” socks and threw them into the cart. 

I gave up on my shoe hunt when I heard Cinco begin to sweet talk X-Man into heading over to the toy section.

I want to look at the toys please big brother…..”  Do people actually fall for that? 

As I was subtly returning all Frozen merchandise, Baby announced she needed to use the restroom. I took a head count of those who needed to use the facilities and sent the older girls off while I finished deFrozening the cart. Three seconds after her sisters left, Cinco announced “I haft ta go potty.” I informed her that we would head over in just a few seconds. That was not acceptable for X-Man. He took off running with the cart. I yelled for him to stop and he shouted over his shoulder “It’s otay. Cinco hassa go potty. I be right back.” Cinco helpfully added “Don’t worry mom!

I’ve paid good money to help make him more independent and verbal.  I’ve gotten my money’s worth… yay….I guess.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Baby decided to take up lacrosse. She was exposed to the game before a soccer match. It caught her attention and she decided to take me up on my offer to expose her to other sports. So we jumped in, as in our area they are enthusiastically trying to build up a girls’ lacrosse team.

Unfortunately, we did not look before we leap.

Baby saw a lacrosse game. She saw a BOYS lacrosse game. She saw throwing and running and hitting. Oh boy did she see hitting. And THAT’S what she wanted to do.

Boy lacrosse players wear pads. Girl lacrosse players wear skirts.

Boys can hit each other. Girls can’t even throw the ball over each other. Which makes you wonder “why are you running around with that pink stick?”

Baby is unimpressed. She left the first practice and announced “IT’S NOT EVEN A SPORT!

We realized we were in for a bit of a surprise when we first went to pick up her stick. She had some options…, purple and polka dots. I believe there might have even been some butterflies. Baby was not impressed. The boys had black and white sticks. They also had deeper pouches so that they can hit each other without losing the ball. That’s not an option for the girls. But, it being Baby, she expressed her lack of satisfaction at check out. The poor clerk most likely regretted his question “Did you find everything you need?

It’s this spirit that is what makes Baby such an effective soccer player. After her third face plant, due to be shoved in the back by another player, her coach pulled her off the field. She passed his protocol and groused “I’d probably get a foul called if I didn’t get up so fast.” I think she’s right.

She’s my scrapper. At eight years old she was playing a soccer game and raised her hand to come out. Her coach pulled her and she took off running. She made it a respectable distance from the field and then vomited. She then trotted back over to her coach and said “Ok I can play again.” Her coach was dubious. After a while, and Baby’s nagging, he relented and put her in. She scored within three minutes but barely made it to the sideline before vomiting again. Her coach pulled her for good.

Leaving the game, Baby mentioned she didn’t feel well, so we made a stop at Urgent Care. She had a double ear infection.

That’s Baby for you. She doesn’t play sports with skirts.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Cinco is on a tear. She's running her own birthday countdown. She's indignant that it somehow managed to not be her birthday still. She's put quite a bit of effort into making it her birthday. She's tried sweet talking the father figure in the wee hours of the morning "wake up daddy, it's my birfday.....make me doughnuts." Stunningly, this did not work.

She's also tried barging into the office while I'm working, also in the wee hours of the morning, flinging open the door and announcing "today is my birfday I am having a party."  I don't know how she's going to handle the fact that Baba actually has a birthday before Cinco does.

I also have a feeling no matter what happens, Cinco's birthday will not  live up whatever fantasies she has concocted. But considering the threeager behavior she's been exhibiting, I'm ok with a knock down to earth.

In recent weeks, Cinco has decreed everyone's favorite color. Those who know me know that me and red go hand in hand. However, Cinco has determined that my favorite color in yellow. Daddy's is red and Cinco's is purple. And everyone else has color appointed by Cinco. But I don't care enough to remember.  That, and Cinco is nothing if not capricious.

Cinco's also taken to critiquing my wardrobe. "No mommy don't wear that." Now, I'm no fashionista, but I would think if my jeans and sweatshirt look doesn't warrent a second look from my tweens.....why would my two year old care?

She also has thoughts on my hair. Now, I have thoughts on my hair too, les accepting than Cinco's even, but I also have the thought that maybe just maybe children should be seen and not heard.  And really really maybe children should not say to their mother "mommy, I don't like your hair, it's scary."

She's enjoying full run of the house. Mostly because the father figure has yet to have his fashion or hair critiqued by the toddler tyrant. So he still caters to her every whim "daddy play my song and watch me dance. " So he hops to. He did draw the line when she demanded that he take a shower with her. But the line was a princess bubble filled bath with daddy singing to her.

I've heard of Italian mothers coddling their sons. But Italian fathers raising bubbly princess tyrants.....this is new. And alarming.

Monday, February 22, 2016

“Mom, you need to take me to the beach!”

“Really, is that so?”

“Yes. I go beach now.”

“Ok, have fun.”

“NO! You hafa take me.”

“you’re not even dressed…….”

Things change between baby #1 and baby #5. Baby #1 and I would have tried to figure out what the heck she was demanding, what triggered it and how I could satiate her desire. Baby #5 and I know she’s actually demanding that I drive her to the beach….and I don’t care.

Clothed now in a sparkly blue princess dress, the threeager returns.
“Take me to the beach now! I dressed.”

“What about your shoes?”
Exaggerated sigh…..and off she stomps.

She soon returns, shoeless, but with a plastic cell phone.
“Mom! Change my battery! I need to call daddy.”

“Oh, is he going to take you to the beach?”
“I dun know, I has to ask him. Fix my phone.”

“Mom! Daddy not take me to the beach!”

That’s a shock. I’d point out the rain, why ruin a fantasy? Not to mention it’s not really the rain that’s preventing me from making the two hour drive to the beach. Anyway, she is busy carefully collapsing on the floor to weep. Making sure that her princess dress fluffs outward, creating a sparkly blue circle of sadness.

Lacking a sympathetic audience for her tears, she rises.
“I want to go to Costco. Let’s go.”

Now that we’re in the realm of reality….It’s still raining. And we don’t really need anything from there…..wait a minute, how about I don’t need to go to some warehouse store because my near three year old deems it necessary. Am I really that close to losing my edge? Aw, who am I kidding I never had an edge.   

“No sweetie we don’t need to go to Costco. Not today.”

Fortunately the blue sparkly skirt of sadness is still fully functional. And so she collapses again. Weeping tears of abject pretend. At this point, she’s basically phoning it in. Did I ever fall for anything like this?

There’s an exaggerated sniffle behind me.
“You want some coffee mommy?”

“Yum, mommy always wants coffee.”

“Yeah, coffee good. So ‘licious.”

It should be clear that this is going somewhere….but I’m tired. And distracted. Probably setting myself up for……
“you take me to Starbucks get coffee and hot choclit me?”

She’s good. She’s master level good.

Monday, February 8, 2016

I just realized that I have a 34 month old who still uses a binky. In general, I find it absurd to keep counting months at this point, but it helps to point out how far I’ve fallen. All others were de-binkied by 26 months. Well, except for X-Man. He blew that curve during a temper tantrum about 20 months. He ripped holes in each of his binkies during one “nap.” And by “nap” I mean “containment session.”  He was still young enough that his Nana thought me mean to refuse to replace them.  Of course, life has taught me that X-Man’s tantrums were usually based upon frustrations due to our failure to communicate. So, pretty much X-Man’s Nana was right.

X-Man’s failures to communicate are fewer and farther between. This isn’t always beneficial. The other day Mac was kicking a soccer ball against a wall. It’s actually a way to develop skills, so I don’t tend to object, until the ball hits a window. Of course, X-Man just ended up riding his trike in front of that one wall. Mac was fairly competent at aiming the ball over X-Man’s head. This eliminated any fear from X-Man. He quickly got bored with the whole situation and wandered off. With his trike parked directly in Mac’s path.

Mac, a fairly reasonable soul, moved the abandoned trike.  He continued shooting his ball. This was the moment of danger and excitement X-Man had been craving. He screamed “You moved my bike!” “It was in my way” retorted Mac. X-Man emphatically pushed his trike back. Mac objected “Move X-Man!

And that’s when X-Man, six inches shorter than his brother and about four pounds heavier, planted himself and bellowed “FIGHT ME!!!!!

Mac, interested in surviving both his brother and his mother, declined said challenge and continued to boot the ball over X-Man’s head. The result was X-Man yelling even louder “FIGHT ME FIGHT ME FIGHT ME!!!!!!!” He still hasn’t mastered the concept that Mac’s ignoring him was Mac’s form of fighting him.

The screaming drew my attention. There was no way I could pretend I didn’t hear it. So I stuck my head out the door and asked “Why’s X-Man screaming?” It’s a routine question in our lives. They explained the situation, Mac moved X-Man’s trike, and X-Man was dissatisfied.

X-Man was also dissatisfied with my handling of the situation. Apparently me telling him to ride his trike somewhere else was not the option he was looking for. So he followed me into the house, protesting loudly.

And that’s how I came to be sitting on the living room floor cradling a wailing X-Man in my arms. A child who was despondent because his older brother wouldn’t actually fight him. I kept trying to clarify the situation, but no, there was no confusion. X-Man wanted to fight Mac. Mac wouldn’t fight X-Man. And I was experiencing yet another new in parenthood. 

Thursday, February 4, 2016

I got to watch a fight while dropping X-Man off for school. I briefly considered getting involved, but if two grown men want to act a fool, who am I to get in the way. Even if their cars are blocking the parking lot exit. I’ll just let them know that yes, they are the awesomest men to ever man. It’s a dead tie and you morons left your car doors open in the pouring rain.

Yesterday we found ourselves without hot water. Typically we find ourselves in hot water, so this was definitely a change of pace. After dinner, it was clear this wasn’t an issue of running the washer and dishwasher at the same time. So, kitchen cleaning was a challenge and bath time became a Geneva Convention violation. And it occurred to me that I could take this opportunity to be a good mom. I encouraged the big kids to tidy up as best they could, I told them we could turn something on for the littles and play a board game. I’m pretty sure I read that on page 57 of the Good Mom’s Handbook. Maybe not so much littles watching Netflix, but I didn’t need their assistance while trying to investigate the water heater, and determine that it hadn’t actually exploded. And then try to relay this information to the Father Figure, who of course, was out of town.

So we all got settled to play a board game.

We picked colors, set everything up and began.

The first problem was that the kids kept laughing. You can’t have fun if you are trying to discourage the littles from crashing the party. I mean, they’ve been living with these monsters for how many years now?

But, as I suggested it, it was completely ignored by my children. So, soon enough Cinco emerged. She was already angry because X-Man took all her friends. And by all her friends she meant “Lego Friends.” I might have to consider therapy for her even earlier than originally anticipated. X-Man wanted to watch the Halloween episode of Littlest Pet Shop, and the whole alternating option lost all appeal to Cinco as soon as it was X-Man’s turn to select.

So, already outraged, Cinco joined us. She told on X-Man, got no sympathy, and decided “I play too.” Her first move was to gather all the pieces off the board and announce “Dese MINE.” I forgot to read page 59 of the Good Mother’s Handbook, which says Do Not Place Board Games on Coffee tables. My bad.

We wrestled the pieces back from Cinco, who was temporarily mollified when she was handed a die. Trying to work with the completely rational two year old, I offered to let her role for me.  She threw the die under the couch, but at least it was a start. Until I tried to move.

There’s something you should know about me. I am always the red piece. There’s no reason to not be red. It is THE color.

So I moved my red piece. And Cinco collapsed crying. “NO! You dis one!” and thrust the green one towards me. That prompted outrage from Baba “No I’m green! Mom’s red.” Cinco yelled back “No you lelow.” This left Mac without a piece. Somehow as we all tried to explain to Cinco that we indeed had selected our own colors, she ended up holding them all again. She handed the appropriate colors out to each person. And Cinco was the only satisfied person in the group. I told them to move their pieces on the sly as we tried to distract Cinco, but she was not one to be fooled. So every roll was trauma filled.

Fortunately X-Man emerged to announce his episode was finished. And both ran back in a desperate attempt to select the upcoming episode. Cinco was due a turn and did not select a Little Einsteins episode with a train and so X-Man was crushed. And the only balm for his soul was participating in our game with us.

Again, I tried to welcome him to my team. X-Man, not being a control freak of a toddler, was comfortable letting everyone chose their own color. However, he felt strongly about holding the cards and reading them. Something I had been doing previously, as I actually can both read and speak. X-Man is certainly making progress in the speaking department yelling loudly “NO I DO IT!” And again I tried to mollify him with the die.

X-Man is older and wiser. So he knew how to roll the die. He carefully put it down on Mac’s turn. He made sure it was a six. Baby objected strongly and demanded a reroll. Mac obliged and rolled a four. X-Man then objected and carefully adjusted it to the six he had “rolled.” Mac happily acquiesced to 
X-Man’s demands. Baby did not object when X-Man “rolled” her a six as well.

He had a system. He cupped the die in both his hands and manipulated it with his thumb until he had the desired result. And the desired result, when it was my turn, was a one.
It’s shenanigans like this which have convinced me, along with his teacher and speech therapist, that cognitive delays are not a concern with X-Man.

X-Man was clearly Team Progeny. And his siblings were perfectly content with the set up. That is, until Cinco’s episode was completed and she reemerged. And panic commenced. First of all, X-Man had her die. Not cool. And people were moving the wrong colors!!!! Mac was trying to move his piece six paces and Cinco was trying to force a green piece into his hand. X-Man was horrified, because if he knew anything, he knew that red was supposed to be in the back. And everything was broken everywhere.

So actually, it was the quintessential family game night. There was cheating, crying and fighting. And somehow I came out the bad guy. Of course the father figure came home and discovered the reset switch on the water heater—who knew—and ended up the hero of the evening.

Of course.  

Monday, February 1, 2016

tasteful, in numerous ways
Scary Mommy is an interesting site. I think it intends to be funny and witty and probably succeeds occasionally. I did not find the article Your Facebook Life Doesn’t Fool Me to fall within either of those categories. I don’t understand the author’s anger at what her “friends” share, or don’t share, on social media.  It might seem odd, since I make a point to share an unvarnished life on my limited social media profile.  But, that’s because, in all reality, that unvarnished life is my domestic bliss.

We don’t have a right to anyone else’s life. We don’t have a right to their struggles. And we shouldn’t demand that our friends share anything more than they’re willing to. I figure that’s what makes it so much fun when people do share the topsy turvy antics of their kids.

There seems to be a loss of privacy in the world today. It used to be good form that you didn’t share the ugly side of life, the fights, the messiness, the chaos. Now, apparently, it’s letting down the sisterhood. Nothing stands out in a sea of dirty dishes, there’s nothing unique about an overwhelming amount laundry. We all have the consequences of life in our homes. And who wants to see that nonsense during their escapes from reality. The big wide World Wide Web is not the place to air your grievances with your spouse, your in-laws, and your siblings. It is the place to chuckle about the chaos cause by a tiny army you not only created but invited to live with you.

at a luncheon no less
The nitty gritty is just that. No one wants to see it. We live it every day.  People share that which makes them happy. For most people those are the happy things. The beautiful moments, the special times that make them tingly with glee. And they want to share with their circle of friends. And that desire is human, relatable and understandable.

Who doesn’t want to put their best foot forward? Isn’t that why we brush our teeth and our hair before venturing into public? We wash our kids’ faces before school and have “school” clothes… know, the unstained shirts and jeans without holes in the knees. Why wouldn’t it be the same for social media?

It does not make one a liar.

at least he knew to hide in shame
Yes X-Man is screaming at me right now because he wants to take a shower. He’s soaking wet, wrapped only in a towel, freezing, because he used up the hot water during the last shower he took. The only that ended ninety seconds ago.  And yes, it’s a struggle to work with an oversized four year old, who really ought to be playing linebacker for a pee wee football league somewhere. And yes, I’ve laid awake worrying that he won’t ever talk, won’t ever understand….won’t ever many things. 
this is why I don't bake.

But what mom hasn’t?

So we share the beautifully perfect photos, the crafts and cookies, the good times. To show that it’s possible to crawl out of the haze, it just for the moment. And for those of us who don’t do cookies or crafts…..we share well…..other things.

My life is good. It is well in my soul.

the start of my day

It doesn’t mean the father figure always picks up his dirty socks. Unless by always it is meant never. It doesn’t mean my children obey me immediately. Or ever. They fight. They ignore the rules. They don’t pick after themselves. They turn their noses up at my cooking. And the father figure is irritating. Especially when he doesn’t do what I want.

the day got worse
I enjoy sharing my kids’ exploits, because in general they make me laugh. One of my favorite social media experiences was sharing the destructive streak my kids were on one summer day. I laughed, maybe cried a bit, but laughed more and, more importantly made others laugh. But, I keep them in context. And I don’t share everything.

The thing is I share the things I want to share. I share the things that make me laugh. It’s a constructed image, at least in part, and that’s ok. They’re my family. They’re my kids. They’re my monkeys and dang it if it’s not my circus. But it’s mine to share.

And yours to enjoy. 
this was a good shot.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

This is a Princess potty seat. It is the bane of my existence.

First of all Cinco likes to carry it around and make sure that everyone acknowledges the princesses who adorn it. She also prefers that you recognize them and greet them before assisting her up onto the seat. Of course, this happens while she is dancing out her need to use the toilet. So it’s a rushed procedure, but one that she demands be acted out each and every time. Yes, it does require her pointing to each princess. And also the horse.

It’s not that she needs the seat. She is perfectly capable of using the toilet anywhere else without it. 
Cinco’s preference for it has only grown the longer she’s been potty trained.  The bitter part of it is that she can take herself to the bathroom by herself…..if she doesn’t use the seat. With the seat, it’s a bit too tall for her to climb up. I think that’s part of her master plan. Also, keeping X-Man from using it. It’s not that her older brother has any interest in anything that pink or that princessy. It’s just Cinco is so convinced of its awesomeness that she’s concerned someone might try to illicitly use it. So, she tends to charge the bathroom every time X-Man is heading in. This results in mass chaos.

X-Man tends to wait three seconds longer than he should to make a break to the bathroom. And his break for the bathroom involves him running while pulling his pants down.  Now, throw into the mix a desperate two year old, hastily trying to save her precious princesses from whatever indignities she believes X-Man will inflict on them. Two bodies hurtling towards one narrow door yields just the results you might expect. Crashing, weeping and yes…..spraying urine. It’s yet to occur to Cinco that X-Man doesn’t sit down every time he uses the restroom. So the hysteria could certainly be reduced, but then where would be the fun in that? Not to mention, X-Man no longer clutches his rear end while racing to the bathroom when needing to sit and use the potty, so I guess a girl can’t be too careful with her guesses.  

And can we take a minute here and talk about the absurdity of the message “Glamour begins with Confidence.” What does that even mean? And why is it plastered across something that the user cannot read? Even if super genius toddler was using it, super genius is still SITTING on it. How about, “being the only high schooler whose mother has to change her diapers will be super lame.” I’m not sure how this seat is supposed to build confidence, Cinco is incapable of using the potty with the seat, too tall, and unwilling to use it without, mostly because it is necessary to stand on it in order to reach the medicine cabinet thus pilfering through all sorts of interesting stuff. Good times.

Cinco has taken to carrying the seat around with her to make sure X-Man doesn’t even look at it. X-Man has taken to locking the door while he uses the bathroom. Neither of these are desirable outcomes. 

Monday, January 18, 2016

I’m wrestling with a behemoth of my own making. I’m trying to find space in my weekly schedule for two voice lessons. Both Baby and Baba want to develop their musical repertoire, which has been poorly served by me so far. It’s needed for sure, but I am stretched pretty thin. As X-Man’s schooling continues, and adding extra speech therapy on, the few remaining hours of the day not filled with work obligations for me, or schooling for the kids, are pretty much packed. Shockingly, the girls’ voice lessons instructor does not have a wide open schedule allowing us to parachute in whenever we see fit. Too many balls in the air, not enough hours to catch them.

This is chaos of my own creation. I try not to complain too much, I did this to myself. A helpful father, not the father figure, pointed said “this is all your fault, you had all the kids.” Well yeah, true enough. And spoken like a man.   Four kids in activities might just be the straw the breaks me. Well, more like a four by four.  While trying to arrange carpools, I get sympathetic comments from moms along with the comment “You’re such a good mom. Nicer than me.” I smile and desperately hope they are right. I do so want to be a good mom.

I’m fairly certain that the complexity of my schedule is not an accurate measure of my fittingness as a parent. I hope it’s not a strike against me. I figure it simply indicates when it comes to my children; my primary love language is acts of service. 

There’s an overarching theme to parenting these days. Maybe it’s due to social media, maybe it’s Pinterest. But mostly likely it’s just the human condition. We seem to assume that the more difficult something is, the nobler it is. The harder something is then the more superior it is. And if we make things harder for ourselves then we are better for it. This mindset seems particularly prevalent when it comes to modern motherhood.

Look at the modern trends and fads in online mothering. Cloth diapering. Baby wearing. Extended nursing. Co-sleeping. Unmedicated childbirth. Homemade baby food. Homeschooling. All of these are wonderful things. Not one of them makes one a good mother. The whole kit and caboodle won’t guarantee anything. Nor will the failure to practice one or all of these condemn your children to a subpar childhood.

Motherhood isn’t supposed to be martyrdom. Motherhood of itself is sacrificial. There’s no need to make it more challenging. Your children will do that enough for you.  Whatever works for your family, that’s enough. But weighing yourself down under a yoke that is overburdened with unrealistic expectations from an online presence won’t bring your children anything better. Suffering shouldn’t be the measure by which we judge something.

The measure of anything, but most especially motherhood, should be the love by which it if done.  When we think about what we owe our children, it’s not artisan steamed vegetables consumed while wearing hemp diapers. We owe them the peace and security that comes from a loving home, a stable home. And that peace, that love, that’s going to look different in every family. It’s going to look different child to child. It might take the form of a baby wearing mother who shares her bed with her babies. It might take the form of a mom who utilizes daycare disposable diapers. Maybe even looks like a mom who spends every night running to soccer practices.

It’s not about what we do. It’s about why we do it. The varying love languages and personalities make sweeping statements and general conclusions impossible about love. At least as it is manifested to the outside eye.  We all want the best for our children. We all want to give them the world. But we don’t all have the same abilities and circumstances, the same personalities. And so we can’t give the same. But that’s not a failing. That’s not being a lesser parent. And more importantly, that’s not denying your children anything. Motherhood by its nature is sacrificial. You give of your body, your mind, your heart, your energy. Motherhood is the hard path. Making it harder for yourself doesn’t make it better.

If your kids enjoy playing multiple sports, then have them play several sports. But having your kids in multiple sports doesn’t make you a good mom. If homeschooling works for your family, then embrace it. But don’t homeschool because that’s what good moms do. If exotic home cooked meals aren’t your gift, don’t force yourself into that mold. That path just ends in frustration and exhaustion. Give what you can to your children. Give yourself. Give who you are. Because that’s who they want.
All of this rambling doesn’t actually help me with my current predicament. But it’s my source of comfort as we look forward to another week of crockpot meals. Which is good because Cinco’s asking me when she gets to take swimming lessons. Also, she wants to be on the pink soccer team. Sign me up. Or commit me. It really could go either way.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

If you make jokes about my family size, let me spare you the trouble. See, I’ve heard them all. They’re not funny. And your timing is off.

I’m a little sensitive to the subject at the moment. I went to pick up a prescription the other day. It’s a prescription I’ve been taking for a while……also the reason why I’m not drop dead tired ALL. THE. TIME. Anyway, for the first time ever when picking it up the pharmacist asked me “You’re not pregnant are you?” Uh…..

The answer was no. I knew the answer was no. But I still ended up just a little flustered. Maybe after one surprise pregnancy that only occurred to you to look for after three Long Island Ice Teas, you become just a little twitchy at the thought of getting back on that ride. Then again, maybe it was the prescription I was picking up and the fact that they ask you to contact them if you get pregnant while taking their medicine. Because they want to know what happens. Good times.

My day continued onward. And to the doctor. I was sitting in the waiting room listening to the nurses discuss what they would do with their ten zillion dollar Powerball winnings, I shared my plans. Change my name, buy an island….let my kids keep the house. They thought this might be the plan for success.

Anyway, off the doctor’s room. As the medical assistant was reviewing my medical history he asked, and I kid you not “how long have you been pregnant?” I pulled myself together fast enough to answer “about 45 months.” It was his turn to do a double take. “No, I mean right now.” Yeah, that’s what I was afraid of “Well, about thirty seconds.” “So, you’re not pregnant? “ “Not that I’m aware of. But it seems like it’s something we should ask Siri as this point.” “Huh weird. Let’s check your blood pressure.

It was 160/90.  Last time it was that high…….I was pregnant.

The guy stepped out and popped his head back in. “I took a look at the computer out here and I can’t tell who checked the box saying ‘pregnant’ but it’s been checked since 2003. That’s weird.
Now, I have spent a good part of the years between 2003 and 2016 pregnant. But I am fairly confident I have not been pregnant ALL of those months. And not pregnant in the months since Cinco made her delightful debut into the world. But at this point I was flummoxed. And in came the doctor.

You’re pregnant? Congratulations! But we should talk about your treatment plan…..
Me “I’m pretty sure I’m not pregnant.
Med tech “Oh I figured out how to get it off your chart! Ok, that was weird.”

I still almost swung by Target to pick up a pregnancy test.
And I’m ready to rethink this whole electronic medical records thing…….