Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Mommy Neurosis

I think there is something in a woman's brain that just clicks into overdrive once they see that second line form on a stick. For every woman its different but for some women they transform themselves into completely new people. I've seen that happen before, a seemingly normal person becomes totally entrenched in some sort of extreme. Someone might eat McDonald's for lunch twice a week, then find out they are pregnant and they eat all organic and their baby doesn't have candy until he's 5 and a half and even then it was only by accident. For the record, that woman was NOT in fact me. I have no problem with candy, that is not one of my neurosis triggers.

You never know when it will hit, some people its as soon as that second line forms and for others its not until they have a grade schooler. After having a recent conversation with my mom and husband about car seats I was a little taken aback. I know that car seats are my issue. I know this about myself but in the course of this conversation my mom said with a smirk, "Yeah, that's ONE of your issues." Whao. I have more? I wonder just how crazed I seem. Of course some of the most extreme cases of Mommy Neurosis the mommy is completely unaware that what they are doing could possibly be perceived as 'weird'. So after that comment I started to try to think about what it is that I do that could be 'weird' or a wee bit over the top. I have never once claimed to be a perfect mother, far from it, but I do have a few hot button issues. This is what I've come up with:
Car Seats: I didn't start out this way and it wasn't until Colin came along that I really started to get crazy about them. Of course Raph was in a car seat from birth. I mean, you can't leave the hospital with your baby until they see you strap in that baby and carry him to the car for you. Do they do that everywhere? I think it came later when I watched one too many YouTube videos about extended rear facing car seats. I had Colin rear facing until he was over 2 years old and reached the weight limit on his seat. I begrudgingly let Raph use a booster seat (withOUT a highback) when he went to Yellowstone with my mom when he was 5. I know in some states a 5 year old doesn't even need to be in ANY sort of restraint (sheer madness!) but I was uncomfortable with him being in *only* a booster. I kept him in a full on 5 point harness until this spring and he was 6. Only reason he got to move out of the car seat was because we did the great car seat migration of 2010. Everyone moved one seat down and this left Raph without a car seat. He is in a high back booster but it still makes me uneasy. I'm trying to be OK with it but I just feel like he's so UNsecure. When we travel I nearly break out into hives if the car they are strapped into doesn't have the right latching system or they seem at all wobbly. How is it possible that an infant carrier is just as secure with a seat belt as it is in the base? Couldn't be, I don't believe it. The way I see it is this: Its not hurting them and its only helping them. Period. End of story. You can let your kid ride in the back of a pick up truck but my kids will be bungied in if nothing else is available. (Can you believe we grew up in a world where you could ride on a TAILGATE of a truck down a HIGHWAY?! Its a miracle I survived.)

Formula: Before I begin I will say this. I do not have a problem with formula per se. I do not judge people who use formula. I think in many instances formula is the BEST option for some people. I am not a nipple nazi who thinks formula is akin to rat poison. Quite the contrary. It is a very good alternative to breastfeeding. BUT, for me, I have issue with giving my kids formula. First of all its f*#^%&# expensive! I'm a cheapy so the thought of spending money on something my body produces is just crazy talk. I have always found breastfeeding very easy, and have yet to have any real problems (to date I have nursed a baby for a grand total of 39 months). Now, if it were problematic, too painful, insufficient supply, too restrictive of a diet for me, etc etc etc then by all means bring on the formula. Given that I have none of those problems I breastfeed.

Raph had formula a couple times in the hospital. Once right after he was born. I had complications in surgery and was far too weak to hold him and try to nurse. I fed him at the NEXT feeding when I was more lucid and not likely to drop him on his head. He had formula a couple times in the hospital but then nothing once we got home and I nursed him for 14 months. Colin only had some of the preemie weight gainer 3000 formula that they give babies in the NICU. He NEEDED nutrition before my milk came in. After my milk came in he did not have any formula and again I nursed him until he was 14 mo old. Heidi has never had formula. She didn't have any actual milk until she was nearly a week old and even then it was by feeding tube. My milk was in and flowing by the gallon so there was no need for any alternative source. So, given my history, I suspect I will nurse Heidi until she's around 14 months old and if I had to give her formula I would probably develop a twitch.

Food: I think I have good reason to be leery of food with my kids. Food could kill my eldest so unless you've had to carry around an epi pen do not judge me. Raph has all sorts of food restrictions. He is STILL allergic to milk, egg and peanut. Try to develop a well balanced meal around that...oh and he won't eat meat (except McDonald's chicken nuggets of course). Since I had all the allergy concerns with Raph I had a new tactic with Colin. He didn't have solid foods until he was about 7 months old. Even then I proceeded with extreme caution and he had zero high risk foods until he was a year old AND had allergy testing done. Consequently he has no food allergies. Cause and effect? I have no idea but I know I did everything that might possibly help prevent allergies and he can eat a peanut butter ball covered in egg whites and cheese and be just fine...well no that's not true, that's repulsive and he'd probably throw up, but I digress. Also, Colin had this weird thing where he would throw up foods with texture. He ate baby food for a long time, then refused any and all food for about a month when he was 11 mo old. He got over it but only after expensive testing done at the Children's hospital..naturally. Little turd.

Now, enter Heidi. She won't eat. Period. Only recently has she begun to consume actual food. Crackers and even a frozen waffle. We were elated, especially since she had an appointment for expensive testing at the Children's hospital. She was kind enough to start eating right BEFORE said appointment. That's my girl! Now because she isn't called High Maintenance Heidi for nuthin' she seems to be allergic to wheat. Figures. I got her to eat SOMETHING and she's showing signs of an allergy. AND prior to this I had started to relax my allergy fears and roll with it and even ::gasp:: let her have a high risk food like wheat! Ugh. Oh and one night she was sticky and covered in hives. Turns out Colin spilled some ice cream on the floor and she crawled around in it. So we have two potential allergies, milk and wheat. Could there be two more difficult potential allergens out there? I think not. Hopefully its a fluke and she can eat some Wheaties in cow milk. Until then we resume our regularly scheduled programming of extreme food phobias and a restricted diet. The good news, though, is that she eats sweet potatoes. Not the puree, but actual potatoes. She might end up with an orange nose but at least she's consuming an actual food!

Update: I wrote this post before going on vacation for two weeks and I'm only just now finishing it. On vacation we deduced that Heidi had an ill-timed stomach virus and is not allergic to wheat. I think. She is showing some sign of being allergic to something but I'm not entirely sure. Yesterday I did the unthinkable. I gave her COW milk from a medicine dropper. I did it just like they do at the allergist office when they do a milk challenge. Start with a wee drop, wait, few drops more, get the picture. I gave her half a Motrin medicine dropper of milk and nothing happened. I was so excited! Then a few hours later she was screaming in pain until she turned purple. She had a green liquid filled diaper and a severe diaper rash. Poor little honey (don't feed babies honey btw). I feel awful because I went against my gut and tried out a questionable food and now she is suffering. I'm making an appointment today for the allergy testing and will only give her fruits and vegetables until further notice. I hate allergies.

Sleep: This is another of my issues. I think this comes from Raph more than it comes from me. I'm not just throwing him under the bus, because it comes from him, for real. Raph has always been pretty rigid when it comes to his sleep needs. As an infant he would crawl to me and want to lay down for his nap if it was past 8:30am. Yes his first nap was at 8:30 in the morning. Don't get me started. He does not handle any sort of change well and certainly not changes to his sleep. At home this is no problem and naps are taken when they are needed and bed time is regular. Travelling sleeping arrangements are when it becomes problematic. I know my sister thinks I'm crazy but they MUST go to bed on time. My kids are not like hers. They will not compensate for a late bed time by sleeping in the next day. On the contrary, my kids wake up at their usual time or even earlier for some unknown reason. The end result is that I have to deal with enormously crabby children for the duration. Makes me want to run screaming in the other direction.

Yes he is wearing fogged up swim goggles and defying gravity while snoring.

I even went so far as to take Raph to a sleep clinic when he was a baby. Before you roll your eyes just know it was the best $20 co-pay I ever made. The Sleep Lady is sheer genius and I love her. I met with her with Raph's sleep journal and we talked for 2 hours about the nuances of Raph's sleep. At the end of our appointment I had a step by step plan to get him to sleep all night long. Prior to this meeting he was waking every 2 hours or so. That's fine for a newborn but there in no reason a 1 year old needs to wake that often to eat. Her plan, she claimed, would take a week to accomplish. She was wrong. He was sleeping all night in about 4 days. I told you she was a genius! And her plan did not require me to let him scream for hours on end. It was kind and logical. If she had told me to let him scream I would have gotten up and walked out of her office. We tried that and it made Raph terrified of his room. He would literally try to climb over my shoulder to get away from me if I even walked down the hallway towards his room. Crying may work for some but clearly Raph was not one of those babies.

Colin has been a better sleeper than Raph. I'm not sure if its a personality thing or just out of necessity. You can't drop everything for naps when you have more than one child. He was better about naps and could do well with skipping or short naps BUT he still needs a full night's sleep to function. He's got that rage that comes out if he's not well rested. Its ugly and I try to avoid it at all costs. He had plenty of issues learning to sleep all night, as do most babies. I honestly don't expect much out of the first year but after that its on. They MUST sleep well at night or Mommy might just drive off a bridge. We worked out his sleep issues once he got his ear tubes in and he's been great ever since. Even when he moved to a big bed. For all the trouble he gives me sleep is not high on the list.

See I'm not totally uptight, I let infants sleep on their bellies and with blankets and bumpers ::gasp::

Heidi has been the most adaptable yet. I suppose she really doesn't have a choice but I love her for it nonetheless. Today she's taking a morning nap (hence my updating of the blog) but yesterday she only took one afternoon nap. That's my girl!

Your kids might be a dream when it comes to sleep. More power to you but really mine are not. They eventually work through their kinks but do not do well if they are over tired. Instead of more sleep they compensate by extreme crabbiness and fits of rage. Which would you prefer? Coming home early or devil children? You decide if I'm crazy...I don't care. We all have our issues. No one is without some sort of neurosis. I think the main difference is how we let them rule our lives. If it interferes with our ability to be functional parts of society then you might consider some therapy. If its just some quirks and you are cognisant of them so what. No one is perfect and we all have to do what we think is best for our kids. Even if it leads to mild mockery from our families :)

Monday, June 14, 2010

All About Babies

This week's theme on I ♥ Faces is "All about Babies". I have baby pictures and lots of them! It was hard to choose but this one might have to be the one.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Double Trouble

This week's challenge on I ♥ Faces is "Play". I think the boys playing in the sprinkler fits the bill.

Friday, June 4, 2010


I just feel like I'm sputtering. I'm pulled in a million directions at once and just getting by most of the time. I think everyone has phases like that where they are in a blur of child rearing, shopping, interrupted sleep and social interaction. May was a busy month in our house. It just seemed to fly by and leave a path of destruction in its wake. June is pretty calm but I'm still recovering from May. The boys are out of school (the horrors!) and we are all home. The whining and fighting are not for the faint of heart. I swear all I say is:

"I can't understand you because you are whining."
"I'm not part of this fight so I don't want to hear about it."
"Stop tattling."
"Don't hit/kick/punch/suffocate your brother/sister."

I think this is the period of adjustment because they aren't used to being around each other so much. They don't fight all the time but when they do it can be explosive. That said, the bickering is just as annoying as the screaming. When they are sweet and hugging and playing nicely its sheer perfection.

I try to stay out of their fights as best I can because I don't want any part of irrational pecking. Plus if I intervened I wouldn't have time to do anything else, much less work on The Suzy Homemaker Plan. Speaking of that plan...I haven't started yet. I have paint swatches on the wall in my dining room and the paint buckets in the basement but how in the WORLD could I possibly paint two large rooms with all those kids underfoot. If it were just the boys it would be one thing but Heidi? She's into everything. I think this will require a sitter to come to the house while I work. I'm not an after hours painter. I paint with mad fury during the day and crank out a room in a day.

Once again I'm abandoning all logical flow patterns and flittering from project to project. (Yesterday Raph and I organized my recipes into binders with nice tabs and page protectors. Because, that's REALLY important.) I think, with the exception of painting over the color swatches on the wall, my little (read: epic) plan will have to wait until the fall when the boys are in school again. This summer I have to try to make it through as a SAHM for the first time without throwing unnecessary obstacles in my path. I read something the other day that I need to remember, "There is no extra credit for taking the hardest path possible." This is true. I don't need to set myself up for failure like that...there is plenty in my path already without adding more! You know, like getting Heidi to go to sleep by herself and stay that way until morning. Or keeping all the damn crumbs off the floor. That alone makes me feel lik Sisyphus.

I'm trying to get it together and fall into some sort of rhythm for summer. Its my only hope for survival. Otherwise its going to be like Lord of the Flies over here!