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Monday, February 26, 2007

We've had the stomach flu. This is not something that I would wish upon my worst enemy. Both of the boys got a little sick on Saturday, though we didn't think much of it. They're still getting over colds and Matthew tends to get sick towards the end of one. But then, gradually throughout the day yesterday, I started feeling worse. It got to the point where I couldn't move without vomiting. (Not that you want the details, I'm just trying to paint the picture here). By the time Mike got the boys put to bed, he, too, was feeling queasy. All I can say is thank goodness the boys weren't sick and that both slept well during the night. Mike and I were so busy taking care of ourselves (or at least trying to survive), the boys would've had to fend for themselves. Both of them had flu shots, so we're hoping that that's what kept them from the misery. And we're sincerely hoping that this misery has come and gone. Yuck.

The strange delusions that occur when you're that sick can be a bit entertaining. With my book club, I'm currently reading a book on fundamental Mormonism and polygamy. One of my clouded thoughts last night was, Well, there's one good thing about polygamy: If you get really sick, there are at least three other wives to help look after your eleven children. And with Mike, I'm reading Eragon (fantasy -- dragon story; definitely a guy's book), so during his moments of non-lucidity, he found that assuming the position of using a bow and arrow, helped him feel a bit better. Odd.

On to another topic: it has been said that Matthew is "Mini-Mike" and Zachary, "Jenny Junior." Well, Zach is taking after me more and more. The boy can seriously dance! He's got baby moves like I've never seen. Last week, when some music came on the TV, Zach, stopped what he was doing, looked up and immediately started to shake and groove. (He specializes in the booty-shake, knee-bend sort of dance). He can even do the splits, though he's not very thrilled when his feet start to slip into that pose. He can definitely cut a rug though!

In addition to sharing my good looks and my intensely phenomenal dancing skills, Zachary loves the camera. He will stop mid-fuss and strike a pose and smile for the camera. I really don't know where he gets this. Really!

Monday, February 19, 2007

I had a moment of serious panic today. It was a VERY brief moment, but a moment, none-the-less. I was changing Zachary's diaper and looked down at his...uh...boyhood and there was something extremely wrong with it -- it looked...deformed. (This was that moment of panic that I was referring to). The moment came and went in a second when I realized that there was an uneaten Cheerio stuck to the end of his...boyhood. This is day two of discovering a whole, non-consumed Cheerio in his diaper. How these finger foods make their way down to the bum region is an absolute mystery to Mike and me. He's wearing the diaper -- which is snugly secured by two velco tabs. On top of the diaper, firmly snapped shut is a onesie. Over the onesie, he has on a pair of pants and a shirt. And when he's eating these vagabond O's of goodness, he also is wearing a firmly secured bib. I don't understand; it is an Unsolved Mystery of the Martin household.

Thursday, February 15, 2007


1. The mother should never bother changing clothes as her clean outfit will be immediately covered in a fresh batch of child related bodily fluids. Besides, every sleeve and pant-leg surface should be throughly used as a Kleenex before removal.

2. Save on laundering towels! Why bother bathing your children?! Just wipe them down from head-to-toe with a diaper wipe. (Save time and your back by not having to bend over the tub).

3. If child's outfit removal is necessary, use the pre-soiled item for a thorough nose-wiping before dumping it in the laundry hamper.

4. Night-time vomiting? Use a tarp instead of sheets on your child's bed. No need to wash, just hose it down in the backyard. This technique has the added benefit of watering the grass at the same time!

5. In addition to saving on laundry, carpet vacuuming and cleaning might as well be avoided until all children are 18 years of age and have moved out (or have been kicked out, whichever comes first).

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Happy Valentine's Day! I spent my day with my two favorite mini-Valentines...unwashed hair, in sweats, and covered in crustified baby snot. Boy, do I feel sexy! We've been hit with yet another cold (after a whopping two week break from snot-action!). We had to miss Matthew's preschool Valentine's party yesterday and have had to miss out on all sorts of fun play dates. But alas, 'tis the season and the way with these little Martin mucous machines. Matthew felt so icky today he put himself back in bed at 11:30am, I woke him at 3pm, he ate a couple of crackers, a couple of grapes, threw them up and laid back down on the sofa. Poor kiddo...he's definitely inherited my pukey-nature. (As a child, I used to have a monthly vomiting for no known reason). And poor Zachary is yet again a snot-dispenser. He screams the moment I come at him with a Kleenex. Matthew gets so upset at Zach's distress that I have to wipe his nose with a three-year-old beating on me trying to protect his younger brother.

In addition to the nose leakage situation, Zachary is demonstrating a new trend: he's becoming more and more like a puppy dog every day. His preexisting canine qualities include: chewing on my slippers, slobbering, piddling on the floor if left diaperless, and the latest, most shocking of all: biting. He TOTALLY bites -- gnaws on the table leg, chews on my pant leg if really excited, etc. I think we need to invest in some new chew toys and maybe obedience school.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Sunday, February 11, 2007

"What's the name?" "Abigail Madeline...Abby," we responded to the doctor. "Yeah, I don't think he's going to like that," Dr. Coe replied.

The room exploded in surprised and excited noise, though I still thought that they were joking. I thought of all of the pink clothes hanging up in the closet at home; it had to be a joke. Then Mike looked down and said, "Oh my gosh! It IS a boy!!" I will never, EVER forget that moment.

Mike claims to this day, that after his initial shock wore off, his first thought was, "Well, at least we don't have to pay for a wedding." Three-and-a-half years later, I guess I'm still working on overcoming the shock.

I prepared for the birth of our daughter for months and grew emotionally attached to this little Abigail in my womb. We received an entire wardrobe of adorable girls' clothes (size 0-3T) from friends who were done having kids. Like a kid on Christmas morning, I excitedly opened the boxes, carefully looking at each little frilly pink dress, the trendy flared and bedazzled Baby Gap jeans and the size 6 months bikini (who puts a baby in that?! OK, I figured I probably would just for the sheer ridiculousness of it). Included in the piles of baby girl clothes were the dresses that my mom had saved for me. Dresses that I'd worn as an infant -- pink bow glued on my head, shiny black Mary Janes on my feet that couldn't yet walk. Dresses that someday I'd put my daughter in.

Two days after Matthew was born, I came home from the hospital. I was postpartumly exhausted, a Baby Blues blubbering emotional wreck especially heartbroken that our firstborn was in the NICU -- full of tubes and hooked up to all sorts of machinery. Who knew when we'd get to bring him home. The first thing I did, like a mad woman, was to start pulling girly clothes off of tiny hangers. (I had, of course, already cut tags, washed clothes and hung them by appropriate size-grouping). I shoved and dumped clothes into boxes not caring anymore about size or organization or even neatly folding. I just wanted them gone and away. I honestly don't think that at that point I was sad -- despite how it may sound now. I merely wanted to purge any sign of the baby that we had expected, so that when we brought Matthew home, he was the one we'd be ready for. I definitely knew that I would never dress him in any pink and rarely was the boy in a gender-neutral yellow or pastel green. There would be no mistaking this baby for the boy that he was.

I was just telling Louise at therapy the other day that I've been organizing my maternity clothes for one of my dear book club friends to borrow. (Love ya)! I had the realization that I have no problem loaning those out, but a thought came to me: if I were to find out that Molly was having a girl, could I loan her the entire wardrobe of beautiful girls' clothes?! Sadly, the answer is no. I wish I could, but I know that seeing someone else's daughter dressed in the clothes that I'd planned to dress my daughter in would be too difficult for me. Upon learning that our Abigail was actually Matthew, a coworker who was also pregnant told our friend (who reported back to me), "Oh good! I hope that I have a girl, so that I can have all those clothes that Jenny got!" Needless-to-say, a couple of months later when Olivia was born, she did not receive boxes of clothes from me.

So, it goes without saying, that I'm apparently still dealing with all of this "stuff." That's the interesting thing about therapy, it opens up wounds that you'd thought had totally healed but were apparently just scabbed over. (Gross metaphor, sorry). Here are the questions I'm struggling with: Do I feel like my family is not complete until I have a daughter? And why, is that? Do I want a daughter so badly because I was expecting one and mentally preparing for one or is it for some deeper reason? Deep indeed, and I don't have answers. At least not yet.

I am so unbelievably grateful for the children that we do have, and I don't for a second want my boys to think that I would change anything about them. They are such beautiful, creative, intriguing little people. It is an absolute truth that you will never know how much your parents love you until you have children of your own. (As I type this, I just paused for a cuddle break with my snot-dispensing angel baby, Zachary).

To end on a lighter note...There is a VERY long list of reasons that having boys is wonderful. One of my personal favorites, is the fact that having sons pretty much guarantees the fact that I will never have to kill another spider. I have a feeling that Zach will be the bug-killer of our two boys. Today, Matthew was playing in his sandbox while I did some yard work. Suddenly, he let out a terrified, absolutely blood-curdling scream. I don't know if I've ever run so fast.
It was a worm...I little sand-covered, wiggly worm.

Not that I can't relate. I clearly remember standing outside our house, at the age of four, screaming and crying for Mom or Dad to come and get me. There was a slug on one of the steps leading up to the front door absolutely blocking ALL entry into the house. There was no way I was going to walk by that slimy, creepy thing. I still haven't covered this incident in therapy. It's on the list. But it's a LONG list.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Apparently Oprah Winfrey has been reading my blog. Topics on her show this week included: de-cluttering your life (hello! totally my theme right now -- see my Blog entry about being a cluttered linen closet), the keys to looking healthy and young (OK, I'm pretty healthy and young but the main idea: find your passion in life and make it a priority), and the secret to creating the life you really want (do you know "the secret?").

I've been thinking about those things a lot this week: what are my passions? what makes me happy? what do I want to be when I grow up? Today was Therapy Thursday -- hooray! And I discussed some of this with Louise. She reassured me that one of the main issues that postpartum depression presents is the "loss of self." Here you have this baby to take care of (and in my case, a toddler too), you're nursing, you're tired, you're busy, and on top of all of these standard Mommy-related problems, you feel completely detached from who you really are. And even though you know that ppd is a temporary situation, there is the constant underlying fear that it's not. You worry this new bummed-out You is here to stay and you don't know why and you definitely don't want her to overstay her welcome. Not that she was very welcome in the first place.

So, to counteract the ppd-bummed-out ME, I've spent this week in lots of Oprah-type-what-makes-me-happy analysis. It's been good...and fun thinking (and yes, making lists because list-making does make me happy) about all of the activities and things that fulfill me. Focusing on enjoying the moment and living in the present has made for a good week. Three-year-old Matthew playing and strutting around shirtless with his fireman hat on (looking very ready for the calendar photo-shoot, I might add) was one of those moments I couldn't help but thoroughly enjoy. And his referring to a photographer as a "cheeser" (you know, "Say cheese!") was pretty great too.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

I'll be the first to admit that I've been a little nuts lately -- or at least more nuts than usual. But at least I'm not completely crazy. Not to be too judgmental or anything, but there is a fellow Mom at Matthew's preschool who IS crazy. Nearly every time we've spoken, she's informed me (and re-informed me) that her son, Theodore, based on his birthday, should be in the older preschool class. That class, however, was full and she therefore settled on Theodore joining Matthew's "Almost 3's" class. She reminds me (nearly every week, lest I've forgotten) that Theodore is not only older than the other children (his birthday is 13 days before Matthew's) but far more advanced and is "ready" for the more mature group of preschool scholars. Now, OK, fine and good. I can accept the fact that Theodore is, indeed, eligible for the older group. I would even be perfectly agreeable to his being "ready" for the older group if he was actually "ready." But the fact of the matter is, every time that I've helped out in Matthew's class, Theodore is the weird kid. You know, the token odd child in the class (although let's face it, at 3 years old, all of the kids are a bit odd). But Theodore's been the one requiring the most hand-holding, scolding, reminding and general assistance.

Today was picture day -- our first ever school picture day. It was a special and stress-filled, hair-slicking-down, shirt-tucking-in, snotty-nose-wiping extravaganza of a day. Due to the excitement, most of us parents hung around class today. Once the photo shoot was done, the parents retreated out into the hallway where you can discreetly (noses pressed to the glass) watch your offspring's every movement while in class. Theodore's mom and I were amicably chatting outside (about...guess what! Preschool! And how Theodore needs out of this far-inferior group) when, she stopped talking, looked in the classroom window and with the zest of a fan at a soccer match exclaimed, "Yes! Theodore!! Good boy, throwing away your Tang Dixie cup!....Now, go push in your chair. Oh, no! Don't get side-tracked by the books. Go back to the table. Hmmm, we'll have to work on that." I'm all for applauding the skills of your child and all, but I do have to say that I'm growing tired of the parental-pressures that I'm privy to. Why can't our kids just be normal?! What's wrong with being an average three-year-old?! [Did you read my blog yesterday, by the way, about what a genius Zachary is? Oh, and of course we all know that Matthew is a musical prodigy...but I digress.] Anyway, peeking back in the window at preschool, I watched as Matthew did NOT throw away his Dixie cup nor did he push in his chair before trotting happily over to the truck table. Ms. Susan, gently herded him back to the required tasks -- dixie cup removal and chair-pushing duty. But boy! Was I happy to see just how NORMAL my son is.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Zachary is orange. Literally. His nose, especially just looks a little bit orange-ish. When I questioned Dr. Benda about it at his check-up last week, she said, "Ahh, yes. I noticed it right away. That's what we call the carrot tan as in beta carotene, carrot tan. Some babies, particularly when they're first starting solids turn a little bit orange while they adjust to their new foods especially sweet potatoes, squash, and carrots." Thankfully, Zach's orange-hue is concentrated on his nose, but apparently some babies turn orange from head to toe. As long as the whites of their eyes are still white (ruling out Jaundice), than it's fine and their fake-tan-look will fade over time. But in the meantime, I'll need to find clothes that will complement his orange complexion.

It should come as no surprise that Zachary is a genius, an orange genius, none-the-less. At nine months old, he is not only a skilled athlete (his specialty is gymnastics and is also semi-pro in the Olympic event the Speed Crawl) but he is also a talking prodigy. Last week, whilst I wrestled him into a diaper, Zach said, (and I DO NOT exaggerate) "hot." In shock I said, "Zachary!! Did you just say hot?" To which he replied, "Yeah." Now, I realize that most likely he had no idea that his noises were actual words that mean something, but come on, that's pretty impressive! Then, later that same day, while sitting in the grocery cart (near the yogurt and eggs, by the by), Zach for the first time looked at me and said, "Mama!" Now, if I could only get him to combine the two: "Hot" and "Mama" and we'll be good to go.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

I am like my cluttered linen closet. This is the analogy I came up with for myself at therapy on Thursday. I'm all put together on the outside (when the closet door is closed no one knows the chaos lurking within), however open me up and you'll find a complete clutter of covers and towels and dust clothes and sheets. Oh my! Louise also helped me realize that part of this Jenny, the Linen Closet, decluttering process includes the cleaning up of excess should [replace with a four-letter sh-word]. I should all over the place! I can't sit down and read a book for a few minutes, I should do the dare I contemplate a nap when we've got laundry up the wa-hoo; the boys are both napping, I should make the most of this time! I'm full of bull-should. I have the idea that fun or a break from work must be earned, and that I've got to get through my list -- my never-ending list -- before I can do something for myself. Apparently somewhere deep within me there is this philosophy that a cluttered house = a cluttered soul. Hmm! Interesting stuff. Louise asked how I would feel if, after dinner, instead of going straight to the dishes, I sat and had a cup of tea (knowing all the while the dishes were waiting for me). "Sit and enjoy the tea. Don't do anything list-making or guilt-feeling, just be by yourself with your tea." Nice thought. Although realistically? I would have the tea, I really would...while I did the dishes, talked on the phone, had Zachary on my hip, and put Matthew in time-out. Well, no wonder the poor kiddo is getting time-outs, he's doing whatever it takes to my attention. And my attention is constantly divided a bunch of different ways, so it's no surprise that I don't feel whole and that I'm always tired. The lesson (and it's a work in progress, believe me): is to embrace the present. Attempt to be solely focused on the task at hand and enjoy it. There is the belief that spiritual and personal growth come from the ability to live in the moment. Don't put things off and be only focused on the future, and don't constantly dwell in the past. Carpe diem, baby!

And speaking of baby: Zachary had his nine month check-up on Thursday. He is 29 1/2 inches long (that's 90th percentile for height) and weights 16 lbs. 14oz. (that's 5th percentile)!! The boy is TALL and SKINNY. So much so, that Dr. Benda wants me to seriously fatten this kid up. She even suggested adding melted butter to his food! Before we start feeding him daily Big Mac's, we'll push the healthy fats -- yogurt, avocado, cheese, etc. Zach is still not quite sure what to think of all these new and exciting foods, but he'll take to 'em like a champ eventually. Part of the problem is that the kid is in non-stop motion, he's burning every calorie he consumes. And since he's so tall, he's wearing size 18 month clothes, but so skinny, that he has literally jumped right out of his pants! (Must be in the genes...or the jeans...yuckyuckyuck).

The battle of the boys continues. The more mobile Zachary gets, the more territorial Matthew gets. Matthew doesn't want Zach to play with his stuff, but then is constantly harassing Zach and wanting to play with him. Just yesterday I had to say the following things, "NO! Matthew, do NOT flip Zachary over the elmo sofa." (Doh! Too late. Zach did a head first somersault off of it). And "Matthew! Don't put your brother in the laundry basket." I do have a feeling though that Mr. Rough-and-Tumble-Move-it-and-Shake-it-Non-Stop-Enery-Baby ZJ will get his sweet revenge on big brother. At nine months, he already does a pretty decent job of holding his own. It's only a matter of time 'til Matthew is the one covered in brotherly-afflicted bruises.