Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Younger Boy’s Behavior

Younger Boy has always seemed to have a hard time leaving behind the “need” to be the baby. I wasn’t sure if part of it was because Jane and Jolie continued to baby him even after he was old enough to be independent, if it was because Jane had a baby and he was envious of the fact that him mommy had a baby that got to live with her and he didn’t, or if it was a combination of the two. I would assume it’s a combination. He’s been the one who had the hardest time bouncing back after a visit with Jane. In meaning, after he came back he took the longest to snap out of the undesirable behaviors he had since left behind.

When he started kindergarten he really started showing signs of maturing and leaving behind the “need” to be the baby. He even bounced back quickly after staying with Jane overnight. However, as of the last month or so I’ve notice he’s been in rare form. And by rare form I mean he’s been challenging, frustrating and almost completely irritating to one that gets a limited amount of sleep as it is.

Don’t get me wrong, I understand that he is 5-years-old and just a little kid. I’m also aware that I’m exhausted and perhaps my patience isn’t as strong as it once was. These behaviors are somewhat new, while some are old behaviors with a new twist. I think the issue might be somewhere along the lines that Younger Boy is no longer the baby in our home and a possible struggle with now being a middle younger boy.

When Baby J.C. first came home he was rather excited and was still on somewhat good behavior for the most part. And as time passed I noticed that his behavior was sliding. Younger Boy and Middle Boy have always been at it. I touched lightly on it in the last post. I think it’s a clash of personalities. Middle Boy is very much self-centered and Younger Boy will not put up with the way Middle Boy treats him. However, Younger Boy has been getting more aggressive with not putting up with Middle Boy. I’m not sure what else to do outside of the continuance of the “Treat others as you want to be treated,” “Be kind to others,” and “Hitting, biting and hurting our brother is not OK.”

The straw that broke the camel’s back was when we went to do our family photos and Younger Boy was the one who was acting out. The photographer spent more time trying to get Younger Boy to smile and cooperate than Baby J.C. It occurred to me that perhaps Younger Boy is at a point that he’s acting out to get attention. And last night he purposely stuffed far too much food in his mouth and then gagged and threw it up. This behavior isn’t new but usually I’m able to prevent it from happening.

Later that night we had a talk, mainly me being completely frustrated and explaining to him that I wasn’t OK with his behavior lately. I’m always curious to see how Younger Boy’s growing up process and view of how things are is because he was so young when Jane left. I know with him being young we can definitely still work with him on behaviors. Just this morning I made sure to reward his good behaviors by thanking him and pointing it out.

I guess that’s all I can really do at the moment. He’s still learning, and testing what he can and can’t get away with as he gets older, in addition to learning more about himself. The positive outlook is that this morning he was back to being on good behavior and not causing any major problems. That was a refreshing start to the day. I hope this post made sense. I’m really tired and am not entirely confident that my thought process is working correctly.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Exhausted

Hi everyone, I wanted to drop in since I think it has been forever since I’ve written anything. I’m trying to remember to at least come on and read what all of you are writing but even that is trying lately. I’ve been exhausted and a lot has been going on. I’ll try to update really quick and painless. I’ve learned that even though I may feel like I’m Super Woman who can do everything – caring for a new baby, a family of 6, a cat and working is my limit. In fact, it’s probably over the limit, but since it has to be done I’m managing. It helps that we’ve been teaching the boys to be more independent because they’re able to do more for themselves and help us out more.

FH got a New Job
And this means he now works Saturdays, which means that I need to stay at home and hold down the fort. We had our first Saturday this past weekend. Baby J.C. had decided that going to bed before 3:30am three nights in a row was perfectly acceptable and by Saturday I could not get out of bed. Luckily, Older Boy is able to help do things like get breakfast going for his brothers. Unluckily, Middle Boy and Younger Boy have really been going at it lately. And their poor choices in behavior + a cranky me = no fun times for anyone.

Middle Boy & Younger Boy
I’m not sure if it’s now the battle of the middle brothers or what now that we have a baby around that sucks up a lot of energy. But they have really been going at it. Middle Boy will try to boss Younger Boy around. And Younger Boy just will not have any of it. This results in someone getting mad, someone getting hurt, someone crying, and then I go up there to ask what’s going on and then suddenly both of them are crying because they know they both made a sad choice somewhere in there. This leaves me exhausted without even putting effort into it.

New Baby = Extra Energy
I’m not going to lie. I really enjoy it when Jane or Jolie takes the boys overnight. It’s not that I don’t want them here, but it’s a nice break. Even with them being more independent there’s still extra effort in having them here. And a break, even if it’s just overnight is really nice. I get frustrated sometimes because I’m learning how to care for a baby, and yet I’m still expected to be the full time mom for the kids. I think sometimes I’m upset that I’m not getting to experience this first time baby experience kidless or without the pressure of having three other children to care for. It’s hard to drag my butt out of bed to get the boys to school some mornings, especially the ones where I go to bed after 2am and have to wake up at 6am. It is absolutely draining.

Baby J.C. has changed a lot for me. Little things like me continuing to have to cut out caffeine and cow’s milk, and big things. I never imagined one could love someone so much. I’m still left breathless when I watch her sleep. But she definitely takes up a lot of energy … Especially if I’m up late into the early hours of morning because she has bad gas or got too over stimulated that day.

All in all, things over here are good.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Not Covering Up For Her Anymore

There was a post I made about not covering up for Jane anymore when it came to the kids. I can’t remember when but I remember writing about how I was no longer going to cover up for Jane if she cancelled. However, I’ve only applied it to times that the kids knew they were going to be seeing her and she cancelled.

Well, FH and I have pretty much decided that perhaps it’s time that the boys were indeed aware of their mother’s choices. We’ve been trying to protect them from the heartache by not telling them when they’re supposed to be seeing her because she cancelled so often. It just seemed easier to make it a pleasant surprise.

To her credit, she actually did see them every week for a good portion of 2010. However, as of last month the old Jane who pulls out any excuse in the book to cancel has returned. She has either cancelled or tried to cancel a majority of the times she was supposed to see them. FH told me that he’s ready to let the boys see who she really is. And now that they all are a bit older I think that it is time to start putting it back on the calendar for them to see when they’ll see her. And if she cancels, then she cancels and they’ll know about it.

**EDIT: I just wanted to add in that we have no intentions of making a big dramatic production of it with the boys. I was reading through some comments I just wanted to clear that up. It's frustrating enough to us to have plans changed, especially since it's our date night when she sees them. And the whole reason we stopped telling them when they were going to see her was because she would go for weeks at a time cancelling on them. But, frankly I'm tired of trying to diffuse it for her. I owe her no favors. And I do appreciate the suggestion of not using the word "cancel" and in saying "you should call her to talk about it" if they want to know more.**

This comes after an angering experience from the last time they slept at her house. Older Boy told us that they slept on the floor this last time because Jane’s guy slept on the queen size pull out couch that they usually sleep on. FH was especially angry, and I don’t blame him. We send the boys over expecting them to be in a good environment (or at least as best as possible knowing their habits). It makes me wonder if we ought to send sleeping bags for them so that they’ll at least have something warm to sleep in. I don’t want to encourage them sleeping on the floor when there’s a pull out bed, but I don’t want them to end up on the floor with just a blanket either.

I guess we’ll just have to wait and see how it goes down this week when they go over to her house for Thanksgiving. This year is her year to have them and she’s taking them (all 3 boys!) Tuesday thru Thursday evening.

Having Baby J.C. have given me a whole new perspective on parenthood and on the choices I make as a parent. And I know we can’t protect our children from all the heartache in the world. I just never thought I’d have to protect my children from heartache caused by someone that is supposed to love them unconditionally and fight for them. I think having Jane as an example of who not to be has helped make me a better mother to both the boys and to J.C.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

What’s the Point?

Jane’s mom Jolie has asked us if she can have the boys a few weekends during the month. This is completely fine with us, but we told her we’d prefer to plan it out each month instead of trying to stick to a schedule of the first and third Saturday of the month. It just seems easier that way since we’re a social family.

This last week I picked the boys up from Jolie’s house. The four of them were outside waiting for me. The boys were playing ball. I got there and Jolie and I greeted each other. I think for the most part Jolie likes me as a person and has been impressed on what I’ve done with the boys so I’m not really intimidated by seeing her. I do have an issue with the conditions of which they live in (It’s a real petting zoo in there and really smells like one.) I asked the boys if they were ready to go and they said yes. Then they started taking off toward the car and I said “Wait a minute. Come say goodbye to Grandma Jolie.” One by one they came back and gave her a hug. She affectionately gave them hugs and kisses back and said she’d see them on Wednesday.

Once we got home FH asked them if they had fun. We got the half-hearted “yeah” from Older Boy and Younger Boy. Middle Boy told us “Not really.” When asked why not he said “Because we didn’t get to play video games.”

It got me wondering about what they thought their visits were all about. Perhaps it was really naïve of me to think that they would be excited to see their grandma and mom. I’m not from a divorced family but I was always excited when I got to see family members growing up. I also have wondered what these visits meant to Jolie and to Jane.

A couple minutes later I called the three of the boys down for a quick chat.

Crys: I wanted to know what you think the point is when you go to visit Jolie or your mom?
Older Boy: To get to do extra stuff.
Middle Boy: To play video games and watch TV.
Younger Boy: *Blank Stare*

Side Note: I’m not going to lie that it bothered me that was what they thought the point was. Later on when I talked to FH about it he said that he probably contributed to part of that. But I honestly think that both FH and Jane have contributed to it. Jane doesn’t really do a lot of visiting with them. They go over there and all they do is play computer/video games or watch movies the whole time. Sometimes during the warmer months she will bring them to the pool or the park, but that’s a rare occasion. Since video game playing time has decreased significantly since I moved in FH put a focus that they can go play video games at Jane’s.

Back on track: I told the boys that the point of their visits with Jolie and Jane was to spend some time with them and to see them. That yes they got to play video games and watch TV while at their houses but the point is to spend some time with them since they don’t get to see them all the time.

I then put Middle Boy in the other person’s shoes because it seems to be the only way to get him to understand lately.

Crys: Middle Boy, how would you feel if Grandma Jolie said, “I didn’t have a fun time visiting Middle Boy because I didn’t get to play video games.”
Middle Boy: It would make me sad.
Crys: Well, then perhaps that is something you should remember the next time you go over for a visit.

I realize that I can’t make Jane and Jolie visit with the boys instead of herding them over to play video games and watch TV. I also realize that I can’t make the boys want to visit them either. But, I can at least plant the seed of though that maybe there is more to visiting your family members than just playing video games.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

5 Years Old

Younger Boy turned 5 years old last Wednesday. I can’t believe that he is now 5. His growth really makes me stop and think about just how much time and effort and love I have invested in my new life as a stepmom.

He was 2 almost 3 when I first moved in. He was still in diapers. He needed an adult to dress him. He definitely didn’t know how to read, write or spell. And now he’s 5. He can read, write, spell, add, count, dress himself, handle having responsibilities and he can wipe his own butt. He’s grown up a lot in the last 2 years that I’ve been living here.

I was a little bit irked that his mom didn’t call to wish him a Happy Birthday. So I’m going to pretend that she graced him with love and birthday wishes the following Saturday when he went over to celebrate his Aunt’s birthday and spend time visiting with her.

I was absolutely thrilled for him though that he received a couple of phone calls from his other Aunt and grandmas for his birthday. By the time my mom called to sing him the Birthday Song his face was glowing and he had the biggest smile on his face. I decided to bask in that instead of dwell on the ickyness that Jane hadn’t called. I don’t know why I thought she would considering she didn’t call either of the other boys on their birthdays either. I guess I’m just still frustrated that she doesn’t treat her kids the same. It bothers me more because I get hung up on hoping the boys don't notice she doesn't treat them the same either. And then I feel the pressure to put even more effort into them to make sure they don't notice she doesn't treat them the same. And that can get exhausting.

We celebrated the weekend before with a little get together with some of our friends and family. It wasn’t the kid-filled party we had anticipated but we all had a relaxing time hanging out. He wanted a Lego party thus I put some effort into trying to make a fabulous Lego cake.


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Now That I’m A Mother

Now that I am a mother I’ve had a new wave of frustration as an Instant Mother. It’s not that I resent the boys’ presence. It’s not that I no longer want to care for them or take care of them or nurture them. It is more that I have definitely found myself even more frustrated at times with the reality that their mother doesn’t take an active role in their lives.

I lightly touched on it in my last post. As a first time mom I’ve had people telling me to get a lot of rest, to relax and to sleep whenever possible so that I can recover as well as keep my sanity to balance off my new sleep schedule. I can maybe get an extra nap in once in the morning right after I drop the boys off at school and before I have to pick up Younger Boy OR in the afternoon right after I drop Younger Boy off at the after school program and before FH comes home from work.

As a mother myself now I get frustrated that Jane isn’t here to help take care of the boys more often. I’m frustrated that the only time she wants to see them, talk to them, be a part of their lives is if she has a day off from work. I think a part of it is that I’m here trying my best to be the best mom I can be to a newborn, and the best instant mom I can be to three kids that aren’t mine and it is draining me.

Don’t get me wrong here … as I said above I haven’t had a change of heart for the boys, but now that I’ve actually gone through the whole experience of labor and midnight/3am/6am feedings in the same night experience I just get kind of pissy that a woman who birthed three kids gets to have such a rule over my schedule once a week and on the holidays when I’m doing all the work and she’s not even trying to wish them a good night or anything.

To her credit she did offer to put the boys on her health insurance plan while FH transitions between jobs. Allegedly she doesn’t get charged anything extra to have children on her benefits plan. I’m hoping this means that their coverage will be decent still or perhaps that we won’t need to use it until FH is off of his probation period at his new job.

If she were perhaps more consistent with her visits and not consistently trying to get out of seeing them perhaps my anger wouldn’t be on the verge of blossoming. But with my lack of sleep lately I’ve been getting rather irritated in having to be up and going all the time when all I want to do is sit back with my daughter and relax and do nothing … or sleep.

In other views … Baby J.C. has a smile that melts my frustration and anger away. Luckily for me she’s been more smiley each day that comes.

Friday, October 22, 2010

A Little Selfish

J.C. is about two weeks old now and life has definitely been changed. I’m glad I’m on maternity leave because I think it will take me another week or so to get into the habit of waking up at 6:30am so that I can function before I have to wake the boys up to take them to school. And that means no matter how many times I do or don’t wake up during the night my morning responsibility is to make sure the boys get breakfast and to school on time.

I’ve felt a little selfish though lately and I’ve had a hard time sharing … although I do share because, I can’t very well not share when the boys live with us 24/7.

I’ve felt a little selfish because I’m a first time mom with instant kids and I’ve felt very flustered with that at times. I’ve had to set an alarm on my cell phone so that I’ll be sure to be awake when it’s time to pick up or drop off Younger Boy from kindergarten. I’ve had to one-handedly put together lunch components while holding a baby in the other hand. And I’ve had to share her and FH with them. I think that was hard because I really harbor the moments when it’s just me, FH and J.C. I’ve had to remind myself that there are three other people that are a part of this family – even when at times even some of them don’t act like it.

And it’s not out of dislike for the boys. I think it’s just me realizing that my situation as a first time mom isn’t typical. And that is frustrating at times.

So to deal with it, I’ve learned to soak in time alone with J.C. I’ve learned to soak in the special moments that FH and I have together with J.C. I’ve also learned to make sure to remind the boys that they get to be a part of her life too. Older Boy doesn’t need the reminder and I appreciate that he’s always willing to help out with her and to kiss her goodnight without us having to tell him that he can.

Middle Boy is in charge of gathering up the diaper bags every night and Younger Boy still talks about her all the time. But the two of them tend to walk past her at nighttime without a kiss on the cheek. I’m not sure it it’s just forgetfulness on their part because she’s usually sleeping or if they’re waiting for permission to kiss her. I always feel a little silly having to remind them to kiss their sister goodnight.

Anyway, that’s the main thing I’ve been learning to deal with lately. For the most part having a baby in the house hasn’t been nearly as impossible as some people have made it sound out to be. She sleeps well and isn’t a crying poopy mess all the time. I also now have that connection with a child and it is amazing. I also now cannot imagine how or why Jane would not want the boys to be a part of her life. It makes even less sense now to me. Luckily I’m totally over trying to make sense of Jane’s actions.

I didn't know that such a little person could make me feel so happy and warm inside. And as much as I have a hard time sharing, I feel even more happy watching Older Boy playing with her. That's love that is heart melting.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

She’s Finally Here!!

“It is the nature of babies to be in bliss.” -Deepak Chopra

I wanted to stop in and update everyone. The fabulous news is that there is a stinkin’ cute baby girl in my home.

I had a 20 hour long labor with only 2 1/2 hours of pushing. It was definitely a full day effort. If you look at the day I started with regular contractions though it was about 40 hours of labor. Baby J.C. was born at 8:28pm on October 7, 2010, at 8 lbs 5 oz 21 inches long.

It wasn’t a fun labor (not that I expected it to be.) I had a 102.7 fever and unfortunately so did the baby. She was in the NICU for the first 2 or so days, and I was visiting her every two or so hours to feed her and spend some time with her. We both were on watch because we had to have our temperatures stabilized and normal for a 24 hour period and we had series of antibiotics. She was finally able to stay with me in my room on Saturday night and we finally came home Sunday afternoon.

I’ve been slowly recovering and trying to get some strength back. J.C. is doing good though. F.H. and I make a really good team when it comes to taking care of her and sharing responsibilities. Luckily he was able to take the week off so that he can help out around the house and we have bonding time with her.

The boys are absolutely in love with her. They look at her with such wonder. They haven’t been able to do a lot with her considering she’s a baby but we’re trying to think of ways that they can be more involved in her care. The most precious thing though is watching them all give her a kiss good night before they head on up to bed. Especially Younger Boy whose face absolutely lights up and glows whenever he gets to see her or talk about her.

I’ll hope to be back sooner than later. It kind of all depends on having the energy and moment to spare. I hope that everyone is doing well!

Baby J.C. a couple minutes old.

J.C. all snuggled up and sleeping.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Baby Update

The Baby Update is that I'm still pregnant and am at 41 weeks today. Saying I'm uncomfortable is a bit of an understatement, but I'm trooping through it. I had a doctor's appointment and a stress test done yesterday to check on how the baby is doing. The good news is that the baby is doing fine. In fact, she was so active that we had to wait longer so the nurse could get the numbers she needed to let us go. The baby either kept moving away from the monitor or she's kick it off and we'd need to readjust. I have a feeling I'll have a handful of little sass on my hands.

The other good news is that I'm at least starting to open up. Last week my cervix was still closed up, but I'm about at 1 cm now so that's at least progress. Keep us in your thoughts and send us some labor-ific vibes. My friend put it fabulously as imagining the old Mervyn's commercials where the ladies are standing outside the doors saying 'Open! Open! Open!'

I'll keep you all updated!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

The Boys and the Baby

One thing a lot of people ask me is how the boys feel about the baby. It always catches me as odd considering that for the most part we've been functioning as a rather healthy family unit for the past year and a half ... almost two years. However, I do know that some people just don't get it and I can't really hold that against them. Even I'm aware that blended family life isn't for everyone.

But as far as I can tell the boys are excited … especially Younger Boy. All of the adults that work with him at the school all already knew about his younger sister and her name. It was rather touching to me that he was so excited already.

Anyway, considering Jane had another baby two years ago I wasn’t sure how the boys would react to having a baby in the house. Older Boy has had the experience of having a preggo mom and new baby in the house. Middle Boy may or may not remember what life was like when Younger Boy was born. And Younger Boy is only aware of what life with a baby is like from the few times he was welcomed over to stay the night/weekend with Jane.

Their brother Trevor is now 3 years old, and they see him once a week (if Jane doesn’t cancel) for about two hours. From what they’ve told me, when they do stay the night over there their time is focused around whatever Trevor wants and doesn’t want to do. One time I was informed they watched Kung Fu Panda about 15 times over the weekend because Trevor really liked the movie.

I’ve been trying to have the boys involved with as much as I can. They help me with chores around the house. I talk with Middle Boy about all the possibilities of what she will be like because he likes to wonder aloud a lot about what she might be like. I’m rather glad that Younger Boy is older now because when Trevor was first born he had some baby envy – but who wouldn’t expect that. Especially when this new baby gets to live with Jane and get all her attention and Younger Boy has to have FH and I fighting for him just to get some attention. But from the amount that he talks about the baby I think that he is truly excited.

I was sure what Older Boy’s reaction really was until a couple of days ago when he asked if he could feel her move. She had chosen to take a nap at the moment so I told him I would let him know the next time she was going nutty in there. Luckily it happened Friday morning and at first he lightly put his hand on the baby belly. I know she’s big enough that even Nasty Cat can definitely feel her but a little pressure doesn’t hurt if you really want to feel some movement. So I pushed his hand down a little harder and she moved up toward his hand. He had a sparkle in his eye and a smile on his face and I felt one of those warm fuzzies inside.

Will their opinions change once a crying, pooping baby is actually in the house? Possibly, but it’s nice to know that they already love her and are excited to have her here to be a part of the family. I’m three days past the estimated due date right now and they’re already making a little poll of their own to guess which day she’ll finally decide to stop being stubborn and make her grand entrance.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

She Doesn’t Treat Them The Same

Some of you may remember from last year, but I got rather furious when I came to the realization that Jane only put effort into requesting the boys’ presence last year for her other son Trevor’s birthday. (For those that are new Jane had a new baby not too long after the divorce/I moved in. It’s been cause for some issues here and there.)

After talking with Jane’s sister Allison I came to the realization that not only was the effort made just for Trevor’s birthday but that this effort was made solely for Trevor. His birthday was yesterday, which was also my due date by the way but I’m still pretty preggo today.

Anyway, this year’s gripe/realization … I think it’s still pretty stupid that Jane doesn’t treat all her children the same. It’s beyond her constantly asking for the older boys and leaving Younger Boy out. She treats Trevor completely different from how she treats all three of the boys. For instance, she makes a big deal about making sure to take/request Trevor’s birthday off from work. Yet, we have to plan in advance just to try and get her to take time off to spend with the boys over summers, for holidays, etc. And she doesn’t even bother trying to take the day off from work for any of the boys’ birthdays. In face, we always have to prod her ahead of time to find out what her day off will be and when she plans on celebrating the boys’ birthdays.

I’m not as furious as I was last year. But it was most disappointing to come and realize that the injustice of how she treats all of her children is much more than I first though.

I’m glad that we at least treat them all the same when it comes to their birthdays, in additional to realizing that the way we celebrate may need some tweaking as they get older in age.

Baby Update: As you may have guessed I’m still pretty preggo. My due date was yesterday but I have a feeling that perhaps the baby didn’t want to share a birthday with Trevor … also that she’s probably about as stubborn as me so she’s going to come when she feels like it instead of when someone tells her too. Hopefully though, she’ll be considerate of my comfort level and will come sooner than later. I know it can’t possible by comfy in there considering she’s growing bigger each week. Here’s to hoping she’s not that stubborn.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Proud of My Husband

I guess a positive and a downfall is that I’m always looking for the positive in people - except for the likes of Kobe and Derek Jeter. Otherwise, even in Jane I have some faith in to one day be a decent human being.

She actually had set a new record for herself this year. She was consistently seeing the boys for a dinner date once a week. She had even been taking all three of them overnight about once a month or so. It got to the point that I stopped wondering when she was going to cancel on them because I really figured that maybe she had grown up a bit and started to grasp that Motherhood responsibility thing.

Then two weeks ago she cancelled. She didn’t give a reason, she just cancelled…the day of. Then last week she called up FH trying to cancel. At first her excuse was that they were having car trouble. And I’m very proud of FH because he said “No,” and said that even if she didn’t come the boys were still going to go visit at her mom’s house. Then she tried to throw in that her ear had been bleeding the night before. FH again said ‘No, we have a date night planned.”

Low and behold, when we got to Jolie’s house there parked out front was Jane’s car. We were pleasantly surprised (actually shocked) because we figured she was just going to be a no show.

We had a fabulous date night but then she really pissed me off again when she asked FH if Older Boy could come stay the night on Friday. And Middle Boy could come too if he wanted. And again, Younger Boy got dissed with no invite.

FH called her back later that night with the message that perhaps she ought to take Older Boy and Younger Boy this weekend, and to relay more info involving Middle Boy’s medical bills (that’s a whole other post).

To her credit she actually called back a day or so later and said it was fine with her if Younger Boy went over there instead. It still pissed me off, but at least she was willing to take him.

Anyway, I’m proud of my husband. My husband two years ago might have been willing to bend over and let her have her way without argument. But he’s been standing up to her lately and I like it.

Baby Update: As of right now that little baby is still trying to kick her way out. She hasn’t quite figured out that is not how you get out of there. I’m 38 weeks and oh so ready to be done. I’ll keep you all updated on whenever I actually leave to go into labor. The due date is September 29th so basically she’s coming whenever she’s good and ready.

And for those who enjoy a good visual, and aren't a friend on Facebook, here is the baby bump at 38 weeks.


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Day 730 – I’m Still Here

Seven hundred thirty days ago I moved in with FH and the boys. I jumped into a world I had no idea about. And 730 days later I still sometimes question what the hell I was thinking. However, on Day 730 I came to a conclusion while reading another stepmommy blogger’s post.

It wasn’t necessarily that it was one of those posts that I could relate to because I had written it, but it was about a topic that gave me an “Aha” moment.

I know I’ve written about it before but Jane doesn’t pay child support. This is just the agreement that came from their divorce. Thus, from the moment I moved in my paycheck that used to support just me and Nasty Cat was now supporting three kids that weren’t mine, and me and Nasty Cat.

The only thing we’ve gotten Jane to help put money toward is out-of-pocket medical expenses because their papers say that they have to split those. Otherwise, all other expenses fall on us. I know I’ve mentioned that Jane doesn’t have that most fabulous paying job, but paying for a family of 5 isn’t cheap. It was one of the reasons I became a PartyLite consultant when I found out I was pregnant because if a family of 5 isn’t cheap then a family of 6 isn’t going to be any cheaper.

Back to the point, I get frustrated with Jane because she is absent, treats her kids like crap and is still loved and adored by them. But the light bulb that came on in my head is that I realized I’m really, really damn angry that I’m here paying for the kids while she doesn’t pay jack.

I can’t really be too angry with my husband for making the mistake of marrying her and what not. We all make mistakes and I’m sure he faces that reality every day. But I think a part of that bitterness that I’ve been unable to really tackle down is the fact that I’m paying for it, literally paying for it too. I don’t mind paying for my own mistakes but having to get stressed out due to lack of funds or not be able to pay for something for me or the baby because I’ve spent the rest of my money on the kids really frustrates me.

It frustrates me that I have a hard enough time saving up money as it is because it’s all going toward supporting my family. Which normally and realistically what happens anyway, but as a stepmom it's a bit different I guess.

I hope that makes sense. Don’t get me wrong, I love my boys and wouldn’t take back my choice for the world. But it is just very frustrating that I’m doing all this work and sometimes it feels like I'm not appreciated. As a stepparent I don’t have any legal rights. I don’t have that bond by nature with them. And I feel like I’m constantly being scrutinized and compared to Jane by them.

I guess I am happy that I was able to pin point this. Being full of anger and frustration and not knowing why is mind blowing. And now that I've figured it out I can start working on my attitude toward it and trying to find my way to balance out those frustrations.

But today is my two year mark at being an instant mom. I’ve come a long way, and I know that I alone have made a big difference in the boys’ and FH's lives. And for being able to be that difference I really am glad and proud. And I’m still here.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

He’s A Big Boy Now

If I haven’t mentioned it we’re now living in a three bedroom townhouse. Older Boy has his own room is absolutely ecstatic about it. Although I think he’s still trying to grasp what having his own room means. (Like being able to tell your little brothers to please leave or not allow them in at all.) FH and I discussed maybe getting him one of those “Keep Out” signs for kicks and giggles.

This means that Middle Boy and Younger Boy are sharing a room. They have the bunk beds in there. For the past two years Middle Boy has been the king of the bunk beds, as in he has the top bunk. However, there have been some new developments.

Middle Boy fell off the monkey bars at school and it resulted in a wrinkle fracture or bubble fracture. I’d never heard of one before and apparently because children’s bones are still rather flexible the stress from the fall caused his bones to sort of flex or bend. In other words he has a bump on his bone. He has on a sort of ace bandage cast, although it’s more a brace for support from what I’ve read. Luckily it hasn’t caused him much pain and he hasn’t had any pain killers since the day of the fall. Combined with his ability to still torture and pick on Younger Boy and run around with his cousins I feel he will make a full, quick recovery.

Due to the fact that he has this cast on his arm though FH and I decided that it was time for Younger Boy to graduate on up to the top bunk. He’s bigger and Middle Boy was in kindergarten when he was able to graduate up to the top.

I’m not sure yet how Younger Boy feels about this change, but if he’s anything like my sister and I when we were little he’s excited. I told him that he gets to sleep up there now because he’s a big boy. He seemed pretty pleased with that. Both FH and I have kept an eye on him climbing up and down, especially in the mornings when he wakes up. Today is day 3 of sleeping on the top bunk and he’s still doing really good and looks confident when he does it. Here’s to hoping that he will continue to do well and not have any nasty falls.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

It Feels Strange

I’m not quite sure how to word my current feelings so I guess I’ll just explain what I can.

A while ago FH had told me about an e-mail he had found from Jane to her guy (this was before the divorce was finalized and all that jazz. I almost want to say it right after she had said something about wanting to get divorced.) Anyway, in this e-mail she mentions that all she’s ever wanted in life was to have a little girl and to live out in the country.

As you may recall, Jane now has four boys, and I’m having the little girl.

Yesterday we picked the boys’ up from Jane. She had called Sunday afternoon to inform us she had Monday off. Not being ones to miss out on a night alone we suggested she take the boys that evening. Anyway, on the way into the house I noticed a small gift bag that looked very much like a gift for a baby. I looked at FH and he said that Jane had gotten it for the baby.

After the boys went to bed I opened it and looked through it. She had sent over some rather nice things. Baby onesies (not the cheap brands) in the colors I had indicated on my registries that I wanted, baby toys and some baby essentials like wash and powder. I looked at FH and found myself thinking aloud that I wished she put this type of effort into her own children.

To back up a bit, she recently sent Middle Boy home with some new packs of underwear. Take note that Middle Boy is a wiry, skinny little stick that is wearing size 6-7. The underwear was size 10-12 and size 14-16. Luckily Older Boy just fits into the 10-12, but we’ll have to see I guess if he’s going to be willing to wear dragon underwear when he’s able to fit into a 14-16. Note Older Boy is a wiry, skinny stick that needs slim jeans too. Also, all the clothes she’s ever bought the boys are two-three sizes too big. Older Boy came home in a shirt that fit him like a dress (well down to his knees.)

Anyway, in response FH made the comment that it would be kind of weird if Jane kept buying our baby things because it’s a girl.

Many of you may remember that I try very hard to put a positive spin on things to save myself the ickyness of suspicion and stress from Jane. So a part of me keeps reminding myself, “Oh, that was a very kind gesture on behalf of Jane.”

The other half though is kind of pissed that she did go to the trouble of doing such a nice thing for the baby when she does jack squat for her own kids. And the other half is horrified that maybe FH might not be too far off in wondering if she’s going to push her baby girl dreams onto our child since she doesn’t have one.

Then there is still that other little voice in the back of my mind that’s been nagging at me: “She’s going to be pregnant again anyway, especially once I have my baby and the boys do nothing but talk about their little sister.” Her youngest boy is going to be 2 years old this year. And if she keeps in tradition she’s due to get pregnant again sometime this year or next.

Anyway, I guess I’m still trying to feel it all out. It makes me somewhat uncomfortable though that there’s an underlying plan on her part. She’s not exactly a selfless and considerate mother/person. I think I’m more pissed off because I’ve seen what she provides for the boys and here she is spending decent money on our child.

Friday, September 3, 2010

School Has Started

School has started! And this year they start 20 minutes earlier then they did last year. This means that we all have to wake up earlier. Luckily for Middle Boy, he’s a pop out of bed, awake, morning early bird. Unluckily for Older Boy, Younger Boy and myself we’re sleep in until at least 9am, you’d best not wake me, where’s my coffee, I can’t believe I’m up this flipping early non-morning persons.

It’s been about a week and a half now and we’ve all managed to get a routine down. I drag my butt out of bed around 6:30am-6:50am. I wake the boys up around 7:10am. They make their beds, get dressed, come down and eat dinner. I’m meanwhile putting their lunches and snack together. The goal is to get out the door at 7:30am to get them to school around 7:40am. This way Older Boy can walk Younger Boy to his kindergarten class and still have time to make it to his class line and socialize a bit (wake up a bit more).

Considering I’ve cut out the coffee for now and I haven’t slept well through the night in months I’ve been majorly dragging butt. Thirty-six weeks pregnant is exhausting. Everyone keep telling me I have no clue what I’m in for because I’m going to be waking up even more during the night. But considering I’m waking up about 5-7 times during the night as it is I’m hoping that maybe I’m just getting in good practice for nightly feedings and diaper changes.

On a different note, Younger Boy is really, really excited to finally be at school. He’s in the morning class so I pick him up at 11:25am. Luckily, he was accepted into the after school program from 1:40pm to 6pm so he’s able to come back and socialize and play some more with kids his own age. It’s a blessing, in my opinion, but a pain in the butt trying to juggle between meetings at work.

His after school program teacher though was having trouble keeping him focused. Considering he’s a kindergartner (and an excited kindergartner at that) FH and I figured he’d have to work on learning to focus more. But she asked us the other day for tips.

She mentioned she had tried bribing him with “You can be in the front of the line” and some other mumbo jumbo. Basically we told her that in addition to being super excited he was probably testing her on what he could get away with on his scale of Jane-who-lets-him-do-what-he-wants-and-bribes-with-toys-and-goodies on the left and me-who-enforces-structure-holds-him-accountable-for-his-actions-and-challenges-him-to-find-things-to-do on the right.

He tried pulling the sad, blinking back tears that weren’t there yet trick in front of us when we called him over to have a chat. His teacher mentioned that the face scared her because she felt bad, so I demonstrated the resistance to it and got results. Perhaps I’ve just had more training in working with children and behavior between being an instant mom and working in the childhood development centers all those years.

The good news is that she reported to FH the other day that she found that if she gave him a task to focus on he was much better instead of going wild.

I’m hoping that with time Younger Boy will get used to being in a class environment. And that in a couple of weeks I’ll go into labor, because I’ve been really, really patient.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Memo to Nasty Cat – Don’t Get Too Comfortable

Memo: To Nasty Cat
Dept: Cats
From: Crys
Subject: More Changes

Nasty Cat, I want to acknowledge that you have been a pretty good sport with all the changes we’ve undergone together in the last two years.

You’ve been very tolerant with the boys, other children who come to visit the house and even with FH. You’ve also been very good, for the most part, about the constant moving every year to a new home. I feel your pain on not enjoying it all the time, but I appreciate it and I wanted you to know that I appreciate it.

I know that you too are very excited and looking forward to tomorrow (Wednesday, August 25th) when the boys go back to school. And I do mean all three boys will be going to school for a good part of the day. Younger Boy will be going to kindergarten so that means that he will only be gone for part of the morning, but no worries he will eventually go all day too.

With this said I think it is time I inform you that I am now about 35 weeks pregnant. I know this really means nothing to you at the moment, but to me that means that in a matter of weeks I’ll be giving birth to this little baby. I’m not sure if you’ve ever experienced a baby before. I’m not sure what your life was like before I brought you home from the shelter. But a baby is a whole new thing for both you and me.

I know so far your main experience with this baby has been when you try to cuddle up around my suddenly large stomach and you get poked. I know it's confused you. There you are, napping on my lap when you get a swift poke (kick) to the head. FH and I really didn't mean to laugh at you, but the look of surprise and confusion on your face was priceless.

With my experience with babies they like to cry, and poop, and sleep, and eat … a lot. In some retrospect a baby’s life is very similar to how you spend your day.

I know you’re aware that we’ve acquired some new furniture. Like the chair on wheels contraption and the other lounging chair with the handle. We’ve been trying to set these out so that you can see them, get used to them, and realize that their not yours.

In closing – the baby is almost here. And that means that life is about to get all kinds of crazy again. I thought I ought to at least try to give you a heads up since it’s about to be you, me and the baby all day.

Just so you know, I still love you a lot and you’ll always be my kitty. But you’re going to have to learn how to share me. Oh, and you can have total rule over the boys’ rooms while they’re off at school.

Kind Regards,
Crys, House Co-Director

NOTE: I'm attaching a photo of you trying to sleep on my lap with the baby to help remind you that you have already sort of become a part of the baby's life. She knows who you are by your purring and I like to think that maybe she already likes you and her poking at you is her way of saying "hello."

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Feeling A Little Guilty

Well, I’m glad to say that we’re moved out of the old apartment and are in the nice bigger townhouse. It’s not the permanent place, but it’s more fitting. Older Boy now has his own room which is a big deal. Middle Boy and Younger Boy are sharing a room and will just have to work harder on getting along. And the baby will have her own little nook in the master bedroom with us. She even has her own closet which is already full of clothes, blankets and diapers.

Can I also tell you that at 34 weeks I’m so ready to have this baby? I’ve been trying so hard to be patient because all I want is to have her already and get it over with. I’ve also been trying hard not to think too much about the whole birthing process that is in the very near future. Gah!

August has been crazy busy which is probably how it passed by so fast. It’s also been a relaxing time because the kiddos have been at one place or another. This week Older Boy and Middle Boy are staying with Jane for the week and we have Younger Boy here with us. He spent a weekend with Middle Boy at her home the first weekend of the month.

I’m feeling a little guilty because I don’t have a longing, missing feeling for them. I know that FH misses them like crazy. But I’m currently enjoying the quiet and less chaotic times. I’ve also been feeling rather disconnected from the boys. Even with Younger Boy I’ve felt disconnected lately and have been working on feeling that attachment to him again.

I’m not sure why. I think it might be a combination of being pregnant, them being gone, the looming reality that life is about to get even more chaotic, and me really enjoying some peace and quiet work days.

I guess that’s just the life of a stepmother though. I don’t care for them any less. I don’t love them any less. I don’t desire or wish the best for them any less. I also don’t loath them coming back. I’m just not missing their presence at the moment. It’s a sort of limbo … or perhaps it’s my way of trying to cope with the reality that more huge change is on the way.

I honestly look forward to a day when perhaps life will be a little more set and not so many new, big changes are happening all at once. I know change is unavoidable, but this is A LOT of BIG change happening all at the same time.

Monday, August 2, 2010

To Hope or Not Hope August Is Speedy

Dear August,

I’m rather torn about you. On one hand I would love if you went by slowly. You see, this week all three boys are at home. And it’s only Monday and I’m already going nuts.

But then next week all three boys will be off to Oregon and Southern California. And then the week after that we may or may not only have Younger Boy at home. (You know, if Jane actually gets her shit together and asks for the week off like she was supposed to do a month or two ago when we first decided on dates.) And then the week after that school starts!

Yet, I’m really miserable in the department of baby creating right now. I’ll be at 32 weeks sooner than later and am apparently the size of a hippo. People keep asking me if I’m sure I’m not having twins and last night was the first night that sleep just wasn’t happening. I don’t know if I’m up for a month and a half more of sleepless nights like this. Or perhaps this will actually be the last month of normal sleep I have before the little blossom arrives.

We’re also in the middle of moving…Which I am not a fan of … especially because I can’t do anything. But it is a bigger apartment and not only will Older Boy finally have his own room but I will once again have a washer and dryer in the unit.

So you see, I would love more than anything if you went by as quickly as July did, but at the same time something tells me that I really ought to cherish your presence. So please don’t be offended if one minute I hate you and the next I love you. If you need to point blame you can point it at the crazy preggo hormones.

Thank you for hearing me out.

Kind Regards,
Crys

Thursday, July 29, 2010

He Has An Infection Where?

I like to think that considering I am the full-time at home parental figure in the boys lives I have a good grasp on what’s going on with them. But sometimes I find myself questioning my instincts when Jane makes statements about the boys’ health.

For the most part she’s full of hot air, but I think I second-guess myself because I still feel all new and shiny as a parent. Although I’ve come to understand that just because the woman has given birth to four children doesn’t make her an expert at motherhood either.

The latest incident happened last night. FH and I picked the boys up and FH informed me that Jane had informed him that Younger Boy has an infection on his penis.

Considering I was home with the child ALL DAY and didn’t notice anything different about his potty habits, nor did he complain to me about any burning or hurting when he went to the bathroom I was confused. I know Urinary Tract infections are not pleasant and would only assume that they’re not pleasant for the male folk either.

My gut told me that Younger Boy had told her that his penis hurt because that’s his latest new thing. “Penis” and “Butt” and randomly talking about them at great lengths is the latest trend in the world of Younger Boy. A couple of weeks ago while playing with Legos Younger Boy looked up at me and said:

YB: There are thorns in my penis.
Crys: *Silent with shock, then confusion, then I dared to respond with* Oh yeah? And how did thorns get in your penis.
YB: *Nonchalantly* There were thorns pushing on my penis. So now I run away from them.
Crys: Oh, OK. Well, good job then.

The child has also randomly yelled out while in the shower, his room, or while sitting on the toilet the following:

“Don’t step on my penis!”
“Ouch! That hurts my butt!”
“Don’t step on my butt!”
“Ouch! My penis hurts!”
“Ouch! My butt hurts!”

In which it is usually followed by a lot of laughter and then a repeat of the statement through the laughter.

Now, to the non-knowing person a statement like that could lead to many crazy thoughts. We’ve tried to talk to him about it … about not saying things like that unless it really does hurt…but he’s four-years-old. And apparently to this four-year-old boy it’s damn funny. So are the words “poop” and “fart.”

Back to the story, I informed FH that was my assumption. We even asked Younger Boy if his penis hurt and he said no.

At home we took a look and saw nothing unusual. Again, Younger Boy said that it didn’t hurt. And then he went to the bathroom without incident and took a shower. And this morning there has still been no complaint. And trust me, I’ve asked.

I guess I should be thankful that 1)The child does not have an infection and 2)Jane didn’t insist on rushing him to the emergency room as she likes to do for non-medical emergencies.

But it irritates me when I second-guess myself because of something she says.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Choosing A Consequence

I like to think that I’ve come a long way when it comes to getting upset with the boys’ behavior. I may still raise my voice when I’ve discovered they’re doing something undesirable, but I’m learning to raise my voice to inform them they’re doing something undesirable, walking away to calm down for a bit and then coming back to talk to them about it.

Since I’m the one that’s home all day (working from home has its pros and cons) I’m the one that usually gets to encounter these issues. But, it’s really nice when FH is home and we can handle them together. I was so proud of us I thought I’d share a recent experience.

Younger Boy and Middle Boy have this habit of not staying on task. Which I guess is a habit for a lot of people, including myself sometimes. But when we ask them to clean up their room or to put their clothes away we expect them to do so. We’ve found many an occasion though where it takes them an hour or longer to do the task because instead of doing what they’re supposed to be doing they play around until they notice one of us peeking around the corner and then they jump back to what they’re supposed to be doing.

Well, I’d finally had it one day. I caught them playing with toys twice instead of putting their clothes away. I went in pretty hot-headed and informed them that I was most disappointed and angry that they were playing around instead of putting their clothes away. The raised voice sure let them know that I wasn’t joking around and they immediately got quiet and started putting their clothes away.

I asked FH his thoughts on letting them choose their own consequences of either “no TV” or “Go to bed early” for three days. He thought it was a pretty good idea. When they were done, and I had cooled off I called them into the room. In a calmer voice I re-said the bit about why we were upset with them not doing what they’re supposed to do. Then I let them know that they would get to choose their own consequence.

FH and I were fairly surprised with their choices. Middle Boy chose “no TV” and Younger Boy chose to “go to bed early.” And they behaved for the most part the rest of the day.

I’ll have to keep an eye out on whether they stay on task since, but I think letting them choose their own consequence was a good move. If anything it seemed to be better well accepted by both boys.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Where Legos DO NOT Go

Younger Boy learned a fun lesson yesterday. He and Middle Boy were playing in their room yesterday when I heard Younger Boy shrieking “Get it Oooout!!” I heard Middle Boy trying to calm him down and offer to help pull it out. Then I heard Younger Boy shrieking “It’s stuck in my nose!”

At this point I thought I’d give them a couple of more minutes of problem solving. I also started mentally going through my mind of where the tweezers were at.

After about another moment of Younger Boy shrieking “It’s stuck in my nose! It won’t come out!” I finally decided to walk over. As soon as he saw my shadow in the hallway he came running out. And in his left nostril was a white, round cylinder lego. Keep in mind that Younger Boy is 4 (almost 5) and still has those small little nostrils. Just the perfect fit apparently.

Now, I had to try really hard not to laugh because it was just too funny.

Crys: How did a lego get stuck in your nose?
YB: It’s stuck! It won’t come out! It’s stuck forever!!

This is the moment when I see that by crying his snot was slowly dislodging the lego. I assessed that it was not an emergency and I quickly went digging in my purse to find my camera. This is probably one of those moments when my younger sister would yell at me for looking for my camera. I did the same thing to her after she got locked out of the house and in her drunken state was taken down by a bush. It was worth the moment. I promise.

Anyway, I found my camera and snapped a photo just as the lego piece fell out of his nostril. It’s classic.

As soon as it popped out onto the floor this look of relief and amazement washed over his face. And he looked at me.

Crys: So Younger Boy, do legos go in your nose?
YB: No.

P.S. If you have WordPress then you might have noticed some comments from someone named "OfCatsAndKids." That's me. I kept forgetting to log out of there. So just an FYI to all of you who may be confused as to who this new person is and why they say stuff about what is going on in my blog.

Monday, July 19, 2010

It Was Just A Thought

I’ve discovered that the bigger this baby grows the harder of a time I have doing rather normal things like bending over, getting up from the couch and painting my toe nails. Considering my feet are swollen half the time and I’m now in flip flops and barefoot a good majority of the time nice looking toe nails have been my latest obsession.

In my past life when I was a single, career-girl with a cat I used to frequent a nearby nail salon. I didn’t even care if I couldn’t understand the women who seemed to talk more to each other while doing our nails than to us. However, after I became an instant mother, who shares her paycheck to provide for her new family and a cat my trips to get my nails done have become almost non-existent. In fact, the last time I did have a manicure/pedicure was when I flew out to Michigan for a friend’s wedding last September. It was by far the best manicure/pedicure ever.

Recently I attempted to paint my toe nails. I was successful in getting color on them, but not very successful in getting that fabulous polished look. I looked at FH and for a moment considered asking if he would help me. However, I dare not tread on his masculinity by asking that of him. I’m still trying to convince him that it would be a nice gesture to come home from work with a frozen yogurt topped with fruit in hand (it’s my one craving.) That has yet to happen, but I still have a couple of weeks left.

I later informed him of the idea that I ought to teach Middle Boy or Younger Boy how to paint my toe nails. I received a really fabulous look at that thought. But I didn’t really get an objection. The Pro is that someone else could help me paint my nails … for free. The Con is that it would probably look about as good as if I had tried it myself … or worse.

Maybe I’ll just try to save up for a trip to the salon. But it’s not a completely bad idea. Right?

Friday, July 16, 2010

I Get The Good Stuff

Younger Boy started his pre-Kindergarten prep camp this week. It’s two weeks long but this is his first taste of a school-like setting and he gets to play and do stuff with kids his own age.

His teacher told me that he has been one of the happiest children there and always sings the loudest and is always just so excited and happy to do things. I told her that he’s been asking me for about a year and a half now when he gets to go to school so he’s just so happy to be able to have something of his own.

He’s so excited that on Tuesday when his school was cancelled for the day (a body was discovered in the park next door) that the poor child about cried. I felt horrible, even though I know it wasn’t my fault. I didn’t dump the body there, geesh.

Yesterday though it hit me … I may not be his “mommy” but I sure as heck get to enjoy the little things by being his “mom.” I was the one who got to see his face light up with excitement when I picked him up because he was just so excited to tell me about his day and about all the thins he did. I’m also the one who gets to hold his hand and be a part of this new chapter of his life where he starts school in the fall. And I’m the one who got to be a part of all this preparation for him to start school in the fall.

Sometimes I get hung up on the lack of child-mother bond with the boys. Or sometimes I get hung up on the fact that I’m not their birth mother. So I’m trying to really soak in all the good stuff that I do get to be a part of. And I try to give myself credit because a lot of this good stuff wouldn’t be happening without me being a part of their lives…mainly because a lot of it didn’t start happening until I became a part of their lives.

I also remind myself that she might always be their "mommy" but she has continuously made the choice not to be their "mom." And that I'm the one who has continuously, despite the nasty moments, made the choice to be the one that is here for them, to nurture them, to help guide them and love them and experience life with them. I get to be the difference in their lives. And isn't that what all people want? To make a difference in at least one person's life in a lifetime?

And I think that’s really something to be proud of and thankful for.

Baby Update: I’m at 29 weeks now, and so many people keep telling me that I look like I’m going to have this baby in August instead of in September. Which I promise I don’t mind the baby coming early I just would hope it would be a health 2-3 weeks early instead of a whole month early. I do know that I wish the little blossom would stop wedging her foot underneath my ribcage. She also really enjoys kicking me on the right side of my rib cage. I’ve been joking that she’s trying to get hers in now…it makes sense to me. Ha ha.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Suction Cup Experiment

The other day the three boys were outside playing while I was working. Younger Boy came up the stairs bawling.

Crys: What’s wrong?
YB: Middle Boy is killing all the lady bugs and there aren’t going to be any lady bugs left.

Awww, it was cute and heartbreaking at the same time. I gave him a hug and suggested that he play up here so avoid any more tears or further issues between him and Middle Boy. Soon FH arrived home from work and the other boys came inside. That’s when I heard FH ask Middle Boy what happened to his head.

FH: What happened to your head?
MB: Nothing.
FH: There’s something on your head. What happened to your head? Did you bang it on something?
MB: No. Nothing.

I turned around to see Middle Boy doing the classic *Looking anywhere but at you because I’m hiding something* act. I also saw three big round bruises on his forehead. I thought perhaps he and Older Boy had been head butting and Middle Boy didn’t want to get into trouble, which is usually the case when he’s lying and not telling us what happened.

I called him over to me.

Crys: What were you guys doing out there to get that on your forehead?
MB: Nothing.
Crys: Well there’s obviously something on your head so you were doing something. And what have I told you about lying?
MB: It’s not OK.
Crys: Yeah, and you’ll get into more trouble for lying than you would have if you had just told the truth. Now, there is something on your head, how did it get there?
MB: We found some cups and we stuck them on our heads……….*insert mashed together story*

FH talked to Older Boy while I was talking to Middle Boy and he was able to get a better more accurate story. Apparently Middle Boy and Older Boy had found some suction cups and they thought it was good fun to stick them on their heads.

What they didn’t realize was that they got some ridiculous looking bruises out of (what I'm calling) “The Suction Cup Experiment.”

I tried some warm water and vinegar to help fade the bruises but I think the application might have been done too late because not all of them faded.

Lesson Learned by Middle Boy and Older Boy – Suctions cups stuck on your skin will leave a bruise and bruises take time to go away.

Below is a photo of Middle Boy’s forehead and the fabulous bruises he’s sporting for the next couple of days.


Thursday, July 8, 2010

Karma Comes Back Around

Hello everyone. My name is Crys, and I have a pretween. What is a pretween you may ask. Well, it’s that age range from about 9-11 years of age. You know, before the child is a tween. The very, very beginning of tweendomhood. I could only assume it’s like a toddler learning to walk. The child takes one step to feel it out, then another step and another and then the child falls flat on his or her padded diapered butt. And the child looks to see his or her mother’s reaction. If it’s a look of horror the child cries, if it’s “eh, you’ll be fine” then the child may push back up onto wobbly feet and try again.

Except with a pretween it’s not learning to walk. Its learning how to have an attitude with ones’ parents and seeing just how much of an attitude can be flung. It’s desperately trying to break free from the stigma of being a *gasp* “child.” Its wanting to be old enough to be left home alone, yet without considering the responsibility of having to be responsible when you’re left home alone. It’s also when the child is still oh so very unsure of what is going on and may want to leave a bit of a grip on childhood (without claiming to it) because responsibility is scary.

At least this is what I’ve observed with Older Boy. Earlier last year (around his ninth birthday) Older Boy informed me that he doesn’t like playing with toys. I told him “OK.” He wanted books, clothes, money or gift cards. I tried to spread the word but unfortunately only a few people got the memo. Same thing around Christmas. Some people thought they were being clever by getting him more older kid toys (like a magic set). However, Older Boy put focus into such toys for about a day to a week and then he was done with it.

My mom discovered that drawing supplies were the next way to go with him. Yet, it possible to receive too many sketch pads when you’re a growing and active boy. This past couple of months I’ve observed him testing the waters with responses like “Whatever” and “I don’t care” and “Sup.” The day I heard him greet his grandma over the phone with a “Sup” was the day that it dawned on me that “Oh no, he’s becoming a pretween.”

It was around his tenth birthday a couple months ago that I noticed that it wasn’t just him, but that his other 9-10 year old friends also had the same water-testing “I don’t care” attitudes. Sometimes they just didn’t care and other times they had to revert back to the unsure “Ask your mom … Ask your dad ….” I’m pretty sure I heard “Welcome to the Jungle” playing in the background that day.

I already informed Older Boy that if I ever ask him to make a choice about something and he answers with an "I don't care," then I'm going to make the choice for him and I'm NOT going to care about what he thinks of that choice. He has since then not replied with an "I don't care." If only my mom had said that to me she may have saved herself a few headaches.

I think that I ought to be paid a stipend to deal with the child transition from child to pretween. And then maybe double it for the tween to teenager stage. I’ve only been doing this instant mom thing for almost 2 years and at the moment I can’t have a good stiff drink to cope at the moment. First it was the potty training, then it was the learning to read/write tantrums, then it was being pregnant and now it’s living with a pretween. I’m learning that this having kids stuff means that life will always be interesting. And that having other people’s children makes life never, ever boring.

My mom posted on her Facebook wall a copy and paste meme about “Daughters Week” or something like that and “Post this to show how much you love your daughters.” My mom posted a photo of us and wrote “These are my two most amazing blessings!!!! My life would be so boring if I didn't have them in my life!!! I am so grateful for these two beautiful and independent girls!!”

I’ve also concluded that karma comes around for all kinds of actions. And that your kids’ actions might have something to do with the karma you deserve for your actions as a kid. And that sometimes in life, you get to deal with the karma of other people who decide that being a parent is too much work.

I’m hoping that karma from my childhood will be nice to me since I’ve decided that other people’s children are too wonderful of an opportunity to pass up.

Preggo Update: I’m at 28 weeks this week. Hello third trimester. And hello swollen feet and “everything” gives me heartburn. I was most disappointed to find out that a handful of Raisinettes was actually the devil in disguise. I’m hanging in there though! It’s just around the corner!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Boys PLEASE use the Poop Light!

Perhaps it’s because I grew up in an all girl house and my dad, the only male, was all about turning on the fan and lighting the “Poop Candle” when doing Number 2. Perhaps it’s because when I did live in the all boy household in college all the boys religiously used the “Poop Spray” that sat above the toilet (sometimes there were two to choose from). Or maybe it’s just that I thought that most people would prefer to do something about the fragrant smell that happens with doing the Number 2. That’s why bathroom fans, poop spray and poop candles were invented, right? They’re all labeled “odor controlling” devices of one kind or another but we all know what they’re really for.

Well, my naïve self became aware that maybe it was just me when I moved in with FH and the boys. At our old bathroom we had a fan that automatically turned on when you turned on the light, I placed two types of sprays in there also. I’m almost convinced I was the only one using them. I also tried to educate about perhaps leaving the fan on and the door cracked if it was an extremely stinky one. Our bathroom was nestled on the far side of the apartment and didn’t have a window. Not only that, but the litter box was in the bathroom so that combined with human smells could really fill up the apartment. In this current apartment there are two switches. One is just a light and one is a light with a fan. I thought it would be obvious but for some reason the boys insisted on just using the switch for just the light when they went in there.

LUCKILY this bathroom has a window, but that doesn’t always help. I finally had enough of being bombed one day and I put up this sign to help make the right decision:


Unfortunately for me, I’m pretty convinced that Younger Boy and FH are the only ones who can read in this house. Although, Younger Boy does like to leave the bathroom door open when he uses the bathroom so I’m not always sure how much help using the light with a fan switch works. But I award an E for Effort.

I write about this now because now that I’m pregnant I have that super-sniffer attached to me. And now that its summer and we just don’t have central air our apartment can be most uncomfortable on a hot nasty day. I wonder if putting duct tape over the “Just the light” switch will help. I think it’s worth a try.

Edit: OK Ladies. As soon as I published this I sprung into action. The "just light" light switch is now taped in the Off position with Duchess Purple duct tape. It is no longer an option. I also wanted to add in that I think the only reason Younger Boy even uses the "Light with fan" switch is because it's labeled with the word "Poop" and we all know how much the child enjoys the word "Poop."

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Aww – He Cares About Me!

Not that I doubt any of the boys care but I’m always so touched when they show it. I guess it’s a part of that “I hope they like me” thought I’ve always had since the first day I met them a little over two years ago.

I’m 26 weeks pregnant today and I’m just growing and growing. I can no longer pull off squeezing into over-sized jeans and my regular shirts. I’ve, for the most part, replaced all of my every day wear with maternity clothes. Except for my sleepwear because my pj pants can still stretch enough and sit under my stomach, and I’m in the market for some new tank sleep tops.

It was this past weekend and the five of us were finishing up a tasty breakfast. I had on pj pants and a tank top and my stomach was sticking far out. Younger Boy came up to me with a look of concern on his face. He scratched his head and asked:

YR: What is happening with your tummy?
Me: That is where the baby is growing.
YR: Oh. My baby is growing too.

Awww! I felt so special that he was concerned for me. His baby, of course, is the imaginary baby that is currently growing in his stomach. He has told me on numerous occasions that he is feeding his baby because he knows I have to feed my baby.

Since he’s still at home with me for the most part until his Pre-K camp starts he’s been very helpful. He helps feed Nasty Cat lunch and dinner, he helps me pick up things that I’ve dropped and just am not about to crawl under a table to retrieve, and just this afternoon he helped me tuck the tag of my shirt in.

Isn’t he just precious? You know, when he’s not busy bossing his brothers around.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Memo to Nasty Cat - Summer Vacation II

Memo: To Nasty Cat
Dept: Cats
From: Crys
Subject: Summer Vacation Again

Nasty Cat, I think it is time that I inform you that until all of the children are grown, out of high school and off to college or to live the rest of their lives that both you and I will have to suck it up for three months out of the year for this horrendous time period called Summer Vacation. Unfortunately for you and me the boys’ school is not year round – With this being said, welcome to Day 3 of summer vacation 2010.

Trust me when I say that the extra hours of whining and crying and yelling and playing are no comfort to my ears either. My excuse, at least, is that I’m working a full time job and actually having to concentrate is a bit troublesome when my focus is ripped in half by a wail of “I’m telling!” or “I Don't want to play with you!” I’m still, however, trying to fully understand what your excuse is.

You do nothing productive around this house on a daily basis. I’m aware that your nap times have been interrupted. And in Cat Land I have come to understand that not only is this a crime, but pure cruelty and unacceptable behavior. Perhaps you should try to do something with yourself to get through the day. I’ve heard fly catching is a wonderful sport and snack. I know you may not want to hear this but Fat Cat highly enjoys fly catching, and we definitely do not have a shortage of flies.

I also have a problem with your irritation with me. I’m sorry I did not consult you about the packaged deal when I first started dating FH. If it helps, I myself was not fully informed of what life would be handing me. However, I’ve managed to survive about a year and 9 months of it. If I can survive it then surely you can survive it too. Besides, I think you enjoy having some of the extra hands to pet you. I can also say I truly believe you enjoy having a bunk bed and a lofted bed in the home. [Please note Photo A]

I’m also aware that perhaps the fact that my stomach is growing bigger each week may not leave you the desired amount of space on my lap, and that you’re no longer allowed to knead and lay on my stomach. To this I say “Get over it.” My growing stomach is the least of your troubles. In a couple of months we’ll have a crying baby on our hands. This will be the next big challenge you and I will face together for the first time.

In closing – I will hand you the same advice I lent you last year. Suck it up and enjoy the time as it is before our little blossom of a baby arrives. You may even enjoy the boys more when the time comes.

Kind Regards,
Crys, House Co-Director

Photo A - I personally have snapped a photo of you enjoying Older Boys lofted bed where you can sleep in a high up place and not be disturbed because no one knows you're there unless we climb the ladder to look for you.

Monday, June 14, 2010

I’d Had Enough

This is a follow up to this post in which I was frustrated with Jane not giving us an answer as to which days she would be taking the boys for their summer weeks with her. Jane was supposed to call FH as soon as she had gotten her schedule last Sunday. I told FH that I would bake a cake if she actually did. Needless to say there was no cake baking last week.

Around Thursday and Friday I had enough … specifically because the following week (this week) was one of the weeks that Jane had said she would possibly be taking them. I nagged (and oh how I nagged) FH to call her at least once a day until she either picked up the phone or called back. My theory was that if she wasn’t going to call us then we were going to irritate the living heck out of her until she called back to make it stop.

FH finally got a hold of her Saturday morning. As usual I sat nearby to quietly listen to the conversation. I have excellent hearing and can usually hear the other person on the other line, even if I’m not the one on the phone. The initial jist of the conversation was that Jane just couldn’t get any extra days off soon. Her job already had to rearrange her schedule so that her and her guy weren’t working the same shifts and basically they weren’t inclined to give her any more special treatment considering everyone else at her work was putting in requests for days off too. Thus, the phone call ended with the agreement that the boys would be seeing her for their usual dinner on Thursday and no other summer dates were agreed upon.

Which led to this conversation:
Me: Does she have the dates I wrote down for her?
FH: Yes.
Me: Can she not find them or is it probably she’s just too lazy to go look for them?
FH: She’s probably just being lazy.

FH asked if he ought to call her mom, Jolie, about having the boys over for Jane’s time. My answer was “No, they’re her kids and this is her responsibility.”

Which is the point that I had had enough of the bull poop. I dug in my purse and pulled out the list of dates in which I left details of which boy was available on which days to go over and spend time at her home. I told FH that he needed to call her back with these dates and get an answer from her (with the silent point that he wasn’t getting off the phone with her until something was decided upon. And I’m sure he knows I would have nagged him to call her back again if the deal wasn’t sealed.)

I’m happy to say that the task was at least accomplished. Jane and FH decided on dates that she would take the boys in August, with the plans that Jane would put in requests with work to get them off since they were far away enough that she just might get them off. Although it’s not the full two weeks, I will be happy that’s she’s taking Younger Boy for a weekend and Middle and Older Boy for a week. That’s better than nothing, right?

Now we’ll just have to wait and see if it actually happens, or if she pulls what she did last year and cancel and not attempt to reschedule.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

My Towel is Up High

Do you remember Younger Boy’s Toilet Bowl Water Games from last month? Well, I have an addition. It seems to me that the majority of my grand adventures with Younger Boy thus far have revolved around the toilet.

Today I was walking from the kitchen to the work desk when I noticed Younger Boy crouched down in front of the toilet … wiping the toilet bowl down with the very same towel I informed him last time was used only for wiping your hands after you wash them.

*smacks head on wall*

As soon as he saw me looking at him in horror he popped up fast and went to go replace the now (or for all I know already) soiled towel back on the towel rack.

*smacks head on wall again*

I have no idea what he was wiping. Considering it was the front of the toilet I can only imagine he was trying to clean up the sprinkles of urine boys oh so often leave on the sides of the toilet bowl.

I managed to stop him before he replaced it. I informed him again that the towel that hangs there is only for wet hands. I have since Lysol wiped down the towel rack, the toilet bowl and everything little dirty hands can touch in the bathroom.

I’ve also made sure to replace a towel that hangs up high on the back of the door for myself (and FH if he so pleases) to use. The problem with this is that sometimes that towel somehow ends up on the towel rack next to the other towels and I have to remind myself to replace it.

I remind myself that my potty training days are not over just yet.

Baby Update: I’m 24 weeks today. Things are still going really well with my pregnancy. I’ve been making sure to do some Wii Fit Plus and Just Dance so that I can get some form of exercise in there. I’ve also started to feel the baby kick more often. It’s the strangest feeling I’ve ever felt. It reminds me of the scene in Aliens when the alien pops out of the stomach. I’m waiting for the baby’s kicks to become hard enough that others can feel them. Because with that said, I’m secretly waiting for the day that Nasty Cat is sitting on my lap, curled up next to my stomach, and for the baby to say hi with a little nudge. I’ve been amused with Nasty Cat’s reactions to me being pregnant. He’s not happy that my lap space is growing smaller and he has to wait for me to lie down to get any room. He’s also given me some strange and concerned looks when I’m reading out loud from one of my kid books and it’s just me and Nasty Cat in the room. Just wait until she’s born Nasty Cat. He he.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Video Game Junkies

I mentioned a while ago that before I came into their lives all four of my boys (including FH) were ruled by video games. There were Nintendo DSs, a Wii, a Playstation 2, a regular old school Nintendo … I’m pretty sure that’s it.

I’ve worked pretty hard to try and encourage more playtime, outside playtime, creative playtime, reading and anything that doesn’t involve the TV or video games. It makes me sad sometimes, and a bit astounded, how easily a TV turned on can suck the boys in. I’ve noticed it’s mainly Older Boy and Middle Boy though. Younger Boy isn’t as easily pulled into a turned on TV as his older brothers are. I like to think that my influence has something to do with it.

It won’t even be anything intriguing. It could be a commercial or one of Younger Boy’s little kid shows. If the TV is on I can guarantee that Older Boy or Middle Boy will stop whatever it is their doing and will be staring at it, mouth slightly open, and all thoughts of whatever it was they were supposed to be doing are gone.

Back on topic, I’m fully aware that when the boys go over to Jane’s all they do is watch TV and play video games until all hours of the night. That’s why every time we pick them up they're exhausted and falling asleep. Any overnight adventure at Jane’s will surely result in a long nap the next day. It’s irritating, but what can you do?

FH told me that he had a conversation today with Older Boy.

The jist of it was that FH told Older Boy that he doesn’t mind that he plays video games over there since he doesn’t get a lot of time to play over here. (My sidethought is that I don’t mind the fact that they want to play video games. It’s just I wish they’d learn some self control when it comes to playing them.) Anyway, Older Boy told FH that he’s getting bored playing them because he’s played them so much. It’s a step forward, right? At least until Jane brings home a new video game for them?

Maybe next time they go over I’ll suggest to Older Boy to maybe bring a book and his drawing pad. In case he wants to read or draw.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

I Have No Sympathy For Her

So I couldn’t find the post about how after the bullshit that Jane pulled this past Christmas we drafted up a Holiday Schedule (since one hadn’t been established at the time of their divorce.) But if some of you remember we did. And in that both FH and Jane signed off that the boys would spend two weeks with Jane during the summer at some point.

Being the organized person I am I looked through the boys’ summer schedule and made a list of weeks that would work for them. Due to the various summer camps there is only one week that all three of them are available. However, due to the fact that Jane and her man only have one car that fits 5 people and that they’re already taking up 3 of those chairs it would be easier to send 2 of the boys over anyway.

Some of you may remember how last summer Jane left Younger Boy out and only wanted the two older boys over. Well, in my planning I made sure to detail which of the boys were available and when to try and prevent that from happening again.

FH brought the list over and Jane mentioned that two of the weeks seemed appealing to her. One week she would have Younger Boy and Older Boy near the beginning of summer and then one week she would have Middle Boy at the end of summer. This was apparently all pending on her man’s possible new work schedule.

FH reported to me that Jane hadn’t quite answered our question of what weeks she would be taking the boys because her man would be going back to school (Good for him I guess) and would be working Wednesday through Sunday. Which would leave Monday and Tuesday open (if she has the days off from work.)

A bit flustered I asked FH what that meant and he replied that he didn’t know because Jane was playing the “Poor me I have to pay bills and stuff now” card. Except, I didn’t care about her new responsibilities that as an adult and a mother she ought to be partaking in anyway and I wanted to know what days she’ll be taking the boys for their summer days with her.

One thing that still irks me the most is feeling that I can’t make any plans for myself or my family because she’s not responsible enough to ask for time off to spend with her children. If I thought it would help matters I’d ask her myself so that she couldn’t give any of her “beat around the bush” reasons that FH tends to just take from her. But I know better thus I will allow FH to be the one to get the information.

And because I don’t care anymore I’m pretty set on just blocking out those two weeks she said appealed most to her and planning around them. That way if she at least takes them for the Sunday evening through Tuesday evening they’ll already be blocked out.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m all about the boys spending time with their mother. In fact, if it hadn’t been for my pushing she probably wouldn’t be seeing them the once a week for 2 hours as long as she doesn’t cancel as it is. But with a baby on the way, a new part-time business, my own family to look out for and care for, and summer plans to be made I have no sympathy for the woman who doesn’t put effort into trying to see her kids unless we literally call her up and tell her she needs to take them for “this weekend” or “that weekend.” We gave her multiple weeks through out the summer. She’ll just have to pick which ones she wants us to block off and we’ll go from there.

Besides, the boys themselves have a list of all kinds of things they too would like to do this summer. Including spending time with friends and visiting with other relatives. It's not like I can tell them "Oh sorry honey, you can't make any plans until your mother figures it out."

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

New Candle Lady In Town

Some of you may remember that one of our biggest issues in being a family of five is financially related. Jane doesn’t pay us anything when it comes to the care of the children. She’s not required to based off of their divorce papers.

This is one of the frustrating things for me. I am THE caretaker and provider of the children (in addition to FH of course) yet I just don’t have those legal rights. I’ve learned not to dwell on it because it only further pisses me off when she pulls one of her demand tantrums. Luckily they’re rare and few in a year.

Last year FH tried to pick up a second job, but the hours and the pay just weren’t worth it. And I was going absolutely stir crazy being home with the boys all day during the weekend. In January and February I tried looking for a part-time serving job. I waitressed myself through college and made some pretty decent money. However, when I discovered I was pregnant I knew that waitressing was not in my future.

Enter Partylite Candles. I had hosted a party last year and I had kept in touch with the consultant. My sister in law ended up hosting a party last month and that was when I decided that I ought to try being a candle lady. That and I didn’t have to put any money down on the table to start off so that was a big plus in my book.

So for the last two weeks I’ve been working furiously to get parties scheduled, my personal website up, and take care of my family. All the while making sure I’m taking care of me and our little lady in waiting.

I’m really excited, mainly because I’m hoping this will give me a chance to get out of the house more often. Ever since I started working full time from home I’ve become a sort of hermit. I love work, and when work is in my house I just don’t leave it as often. And I’m hoping that we’ll be able to use the extra income to save up to put a down payment on a house. Because this little two bedroom apartment just isn’t going to hold all six of us for too much longer once the baby is born.

So wish me luck! If you would like to check out the website feel free to contact me (there is an e-mail link on my profile). And now that I’m more settled in I hope to be on more often. 2010 has definitely been a hectic year so far, but I have faith that I’ll get a better grip on it all eventually.