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Thursday, March 29, 2007

Oh no! What is the World coming to? A headline today at reads: "Trump has 50 percent chance of losing hair." Wow. Well, I suppose if that's the breaking news for the day, things could be worse.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Aside from an early morning, butt-kicking run with my neighbor/running buddy, Andrea, my quality “Me-Time” for the day was spent in a chair at the dentist’s office. Since when did 45 minutes of teeth-scraping torture become a brief (and sadly welcome) vacation from the chaos of my life?! And tonight, the chaos in the chaos of the Martin home reached a whole new level – a decibel level, that is. Zachary has become a screamer. Not really a sad screamer, more of a I’ll scream because I can and for no apparent reason kind of a screamer. Do you know that kind? I hope you don’t. It’s loud, UNBELIEVABLY L-O-U-D…and shrill…and painful. Matthew, quite some time ago found a good use for the “Martin Ears” (one could call them large-ish) – he literally folds them over to block out loud noise that he doesn’t care for. Apparently the Ears aren’t even enough for Zach’s screaming, so Matthew has combined the Ears with another philosophy, “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.” So, alas, tonight while attempting to make dinner over a chorus of high-pitched, blood-curdling screams, I found myself daydreaming back to my moment of peace in the dentist’s chair.

Now, if you’ve been actively following along with the Saga of a Stressed-Out Mama, you’ll know that I’m really into the self-help, self-discovery, self-medication (my preferred legal stimulant being caffeine, of course), Zen voyage that I’m taking right now. I’m trying to discover the true essence of Jenny – to fully connect with and embrace the Jenessence. So, in the middle of the screaming chaos in my kitchen, I found myself automatically traveling to the world of self-help. My thoughts went as follows: OK. OK. They’re screaming. Matthew’s got a cold and doesn’t feel well, he didn’t nap today, he’s screaming because Zach is screaming and Zach is screaming because he’s teething and because he’s turned into – God help us – a Screamer. A bunch of howler monkeys on crack have taken over my kitchen. They’re STILL screaming. I can’t seem to get them to stop. When do the parents come home to take care of these crazy children, so I can go back to my house? Right, crap; I’m the parent. No longer the babysitter, I’m the parent; I gotta figure this out. OK, what did my latest self-help book tell me? Right. “When you discover yourself in fight or flight mode, that means that you are stressed.” Um, duh. Obviously I’m stressed right now – they are screaming, SCREAMING! “Stop your stressed-out self-talk and ask yourself, ‘Is my self-talk leading me towards or away from my goal?’” My goal right now is to make them stop screaming! OK, maybe this self-help crap really is just a bunch of hoo-ie. Who am I kidding anyway? Maybe I’m being bogged down by all this self-help stuff. I’m in a self-help rut. I should write a book, The Self-Help Book for When You’re in a Self-Help Rut. That’s catchy. OK, but that doesn’t help the fact that they’re STILL screaming…

And so on. Welcome to my life!

Saturday, March 24, 2007

I’m so into the whole self-help, therapy, Yoga, New Age-y growth and personal development thing right now that I think we’re all a little scared. (Although FEAR is merely Mother Nature’s way of telling us that there is a problem. We must listen to our “Self-Talk” and within ourselves clarify our desired outcome so as to work through the “fight or flight” response.) Again, I’m pretty into this stuff. I may have turned a bit into a brain-washed mini-therapist. I find myself, when chatting with friends, asking them, “Well, how does that make you feel?” And “Why do you think you responded that way? What is going on inside?” This is either: a good thing and I can provide my people with a bit of their own (unsolicited) therapy OR the jig will be up soon, I’ll get called out on my new counseling tendencies and mocked like there ain’t no tomorrow. I am open to either option as I have no control over the response of others, I cannot change the world around me only my response to it, and I must recognize when my expectations aren’t met and move on….Yes, one could easily say that I’m obsessed with reprogramming my outlook on life. I recently learned that it takes 8-16 times of hearing something for it to truly saturate your sub-conscious thought and become a natural response. So, I guess I’m trying to get that 8-16 doses as quickly as possible.

Let’s take a look at my book collection right now, shall we? I once was a believer in the only-one-book-at-a-time philosophy. Somewhere over the last couple of years, I’ve slowly evolved into a multi-book reader. I’m currently reading a parenting book, a book with Mike (a fantasy, sci-fi type that I’m really not that into, but shhh, don’t tell), my book club book for the month, a “fluffy” read (right now, a Coffeehouse Series murder mystery), a self-help audio book (Stress Reduction Workshop for Women), a writing book – Pen on Fire: A Busy Woman’s Guide to Igniting the Writer Within, and I start every morning with my cup of coffee and Daily Meditations for Women Who Do Too Much. Oh, and there’s a copy of Runner’s World Magazine in every bathroom lest I forget to bring a book with me for a one of my brief moments of me-time. (Look, I’ll take it wherever I can get it). I’m discovering that there is never enough time in a day to do all that I want to do and read all that I want to read. (Not that this is a Woah! Discovery, Ahh-Haa-Oprah-Moment by any means). So, what am I to do since I cannot change the amount of time in a day? I have to prioritize and make time. (It’s Saturday morning, and I’ve been up for an hour while the boys are all still in bed…I’m on the right track, though that sleep thing sure is good).

A year ago, right now, I had way more than enough of that in-bed, DOWN-TIME. Last year, on March 24th, I’d already been in bed, in the hospital for 12 days. TWELVE DAYS! (And I still had another 37 coming my way). I am definitely not desperate enough for down-time to want to relive that hospital-arrest situation nor will I ever be. And even during the experience, I recognized that there would come a day where a good book in bed would sound like a welcome respite from the craziness of Mommyhood. But 49 days of down-time? I don’t think so; no thank you. I’ll take my current lack-of-time over the too-much-time any day.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

We finally did it! We broke the Martin-field-trip Curse. (Historically, we've always been sick -- or something! -- and don't get to partake in the field tripping festivities). But, finally, FINALLY we have conquered!

Yesterday, on the way to preschool, Matthew started asking about our kitty Mistletoe. He wanted to know what she was doing in Kitty Heaven, if she got to ride on a Kitty Heaven teeter-totter (anyone know the answer to that one? 'cuz I sure don't), and most importantly he was very eager to find a way to visit her up in Kitty Heaven. I informed him that while we can't visit her, we can look at pictures and tell stories of her. Matthew then asked, "When do I get to go to Heaven?" "Uh...we go to Heaven when we die," I responded. I held my breath, anticipating the next inquiry. Sure enough, my three-year-old in the backseat exclaimed, "I want to die and go to Heaven!" Little did I know that this wish would actually be granted during his preschool field trip.

As we set out, the seven three-year-olds held on tightly to their colored rings on the walking-rope. (Yes, it's like a fancy, colorful leash). We made the long voyage to the -- drumroll, please-- MACHINE SHOP!! (It's less than a block from the community center, but with seven three-year-olds, we could have summitted Mount Everest for all the effort it took). At any rate, we reached our anticipated destination, and were met by Mr. Steve -- Park Maintenance Man. Mr. Steve had FOUR tractor/lawn mowers out in the middle of the yard including TWO John Deeres! The kids got to climb all over them and sit in the driver seats. Boy, was it ever exciting! Really, it was as if the field trip was designed especially for Matthew...Matthew who wouldn't leave home without his John Deere hat and John Deere tin lunch box full of John Deere trucks and tractors. The child had definitely died and gone to heaven!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Play dates should be a fun and stress-free time for Moms. (Oh, and the kids should have a good time too). On Friday afternoon, we had the pleasure of hosting my ppd pal Patricia and her lovely kiddos: Maxime (3 ½) and Olivia (1). Patricia and I always have great conversation – swapping post partum depression war stories and tales of therapy – tips and pearls of wisdom that we’ve gained from our respective therapists. We enjoy sitting with our Diet Pepsi’s (one form of the caffeine addiction of the stay-at-home Mom of 2007), watching the babies play (keeping Zachary from pulling Olivia’s full mane of brown hair), and checking in on the bigger boys (usually playing pretend dragons or pirates or playing with Matthew’s multitude of trucks). Play dates should be a fun and stress-free time.

Patricia and clan had only been at our house for about 40 minutes when I announced, “Hmmm, the boys are a little too quiet, I better go check on them.” I went into Matthew’s room and walked into a wall of stink. Maxime was no where to be seen, and Matthew was just standing in the middle of his room, staring at me like a befuddled deer in headlights. “Wha…?” I started. Matthew cut me off, pointing to an unfortunately familiar-looking brown object on the floor, “Maxime went poo-poo on the floor!” he declared. “Uh….Where is Maxime, Matthew?” “He’s hiding in the closet.” Okay, then. I walked back out into the living room. “Patricia-dear. I’m sad to tell you that your day just got a lot worse.”

Turns out that wee Maxime – who has been fully potty-trained for quite some time, has decided that this new poop-dropping technique will be a special method for attention-getting. Poor Patricia has no idea what to do about it, except clean up the aftermath. So, unfortunately the rest of our play date was cut short while she and Maxime spent their time scrubbing down Matthew’s room and toys. (The place has never been so clean, I might add).

Later, when I was filling in Mike on the Ca-Ca Crime, he asked, “Was Matthew reprimanded?” He made the point that while Maxime was obviously the one that made the REALLY bad choice, Matthew was an accomplice. He knows full well that poo-poo belongs in the potty and not on the poo-brown carpet. A very good point, indeed. Patricia feels strongly that Matthew was merely an innocent bystander – a victim of the heinous crime.

Friday, March 16, 2007

By the by, just a note: Last Monday, the 12th was the one year anniversary of when I went into the hospital to keep Zachary cookin'. I've started re-reading my blog from that time and 're-living' the experience has been interesting. One thing I find fascinating: when Zach was still in the womb I often referred to him as a 'monkey' and that he'd be too busy 'swimming laps' for the nurses to monitor him properly. Boy, was that a foreshadowing of our little busy boy!

This time, last year, I'd already been in bed for four full days. It blows my mind, looking at the calendar now and all of the things that we have planned between now and April 30th...that last year I was in a bed for that whole time. March 12-April 30th IN the hospital. That's a L-O-N-G time to hibernate in a bed, in a room -- a room with ugly wallpaper boarder, I might add. At least this Spring I get to see the tulips come up. I missed them last year. I missed so many things last year.
Therapy Thursdays have definitely become my favorite day of the week. Man, do I look forward to that hour of talking about myself! Last week's session was perhaps a record-breaking waterworks display. Right when I think I've got things figured out, and I'm doing so much butter -- wham! -- I hit another low-point; the postpartum depression demons creep their way back into my soul and wreak havoc. I was SO frustrated. It was very helpful to have Therapist Louise remind me that what makes ppd different from common depression is that it doesn't just constantly linger; it comes and goes. This can be good because you are able to enjoy life, but it also means that when you find yourself in another ppd funk it's even more upsetting.

So, last week at my exhibit of emotion, I made a request, really a desperate plea. Louise NEEDS to get better quality Kleenex in her office. While I understand that they must go through LOADS of Kleenex in that place what with all the ppd ladies coming in, they should make an investment towards the cause. Wiping your snot-tear-soaked face with sandpaper is not a pleasant experience. Quality Kleenex must be worked into the budget.

Another Kleenex issue that I joke about with Louise is the fact that the box is placed discretely on the side table. We both pretend for a while that I'm not going to need it, and then inevitably shortly into the session, I just place the whole box next to me on the sofa. (No, it's not a brown leather sofa and I don't lie on it like some may think. If you must know: it's a green upholstery-type and I sit -- sometimes shoes off and cross-legged if I really want to get comfy).

Yesterday, when I arrived at Louise's office, I was pleasantly surprised to discover the Kleenex box waiting for me on the sofa. That was only the beginning of the surprises: Louise informed me that she had a chat with her supervisor regarding the crappy Kleenex, and from now on, they will only purchase the fancy-shmancy soft stuff. So, rest-assured, should I die tomorrow, I have made a difference in the world -- well, at least a difference to the noses and faces of the sobbing ppd visitors to the green couch. And to top off the excitement of the Kleenexy developments, apparently that box acted as a security blanket, and I had my first ever tear-free session!

Monday, March 12, 2007

Why does the computer hate me so? I had composed the most exceptional Blog entry of my life only to have it magically disappear. Of course, I can’t prove that it was as phenomenal as I claim it was, so you’ll just have to take my word on it. Since I used up all of my Blog-skills on the aforementioned missing entry, you’ll just have to settle for this mediocre one.

Life after the stomach flu is fab. Anything after a stomach-curse is amazing. I’d say even a toothache or a hangnail would be a walk in the park after doing the Toilet Tango. Somehow the boys were all fine – thank goodness – after a couple of days while I continued with the Diarrhea Dance for an entire week. (I’m sticking with the dance-themed analogies here, can you tell?).

Before I knew it, we found ourselves on a Tuesday morning (i.e. Preschool morning) while I still suffered the wrath of the Tummy Twist. I was bound and determined that Matthew would NOT miss preschool. He was perfectly fine, and he’s missed so many classes thanks to the frequent visits from the Snot Fairy; I just couldn’t let my Belly Boogie cause another absence. I had us all dressed (even semi-groomed); we were ready to get in the car, garage door open and everything, when I finally had my moment of sanity. Throughout the morning departure routine I must’ve run to the bathroom ten times to partake in my Paunch Polka. I asked myself: Is this really wise? While I keep a change of clothes in the car lest Matthew have an accident, I don’t have spare undies for me. Do I really want to show up to preschool having pooped my pants?! [I acknowledge that in civilized society Potty-Talk is rather taboo, but as a parent you have no choice but to be fluent in the language and fully embrace body function. So, please bear with me. We all poo; let’s accept it and discuss it like adults]. I decided then and there that I didn’t want to be the Mom about which the other preschool parents would explain, “Yes, that’s Matthew’s Mommy – she had an accident. No, not WITH her car. An accident IN her car.” So, in the end, Matthew didn’t get to preschool that morning.

Finally, last week after a three-week hiatus, Matthew made his grand re-entry to the Almost 3’s classroom. The kid was like a celebrity. Hey! Who is this Matthew kid?! He’s pretty fun. And since it was a beautiful day, we went straight to the park after preschool. (Yeah, two outings in one day! Pretty adventurous, huh?) After letting him swing for a bit in the baby swing, I wore Zachary in the front pack while we followed Matthew around the playground. Now, I am very used to people openly staring at Zach. How could they help themselves? He is RIDICULOUSLY cute after all. However, on this particular park excursion, I noticed that people seemed to be eyeing him quite a bit more than usual. It wasn’t until we got to the car that I discovered the cause for so much curiosity. Zachary had a big ‘ol piece of Wagon Wheel (cracker-type finger food) stuck to the side of his cheek. The flesh colored food looked very much like some sort of abnormal mutation growing out of his face. Oh well, you can’t be the cutest baby at the park EVERY time.