Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Dehydration: The Untold Plight of Mothers Everywhere

Everyone knows the old wisdom about new moms and sleep.

Sleep derivation is the most common side effect of becoming a new mother. Pregnant women and parents of new borns hear it all of the time, "You'll never sleep again!"

And that's true, for a few months.

But unless you have just a terrible sleeper, by the time your child is a few months old you will eventually get back to sleeping for 6-8 hour stretches.

But what they don't tell you, what people never talk about, is the dehydration.

If you're preparing to welcome a child into your home, be prepared to suffer through years and years of a life without hydration.

It starts before your baby is even born, with frequent trips to the bathroom. That little soccer player is practicing dribbles on your bladder and you are lucky to retain so much as an ounce of water between your hourly bathroom breaks.

Then, once you deliver the baby(ies), they suck the life out of you. Literally. You have to drink gallons of water to keep your milk supply up to their constant feeding demands. For every ounce of water you drink, your baby is going to be sucking two out of you. (That's not entirely medical but based on my experience nursing four kids, I'm going to say that it's pretty close). You can NOT get enough to drink.

And that's just the first year. You might think it's all water and coffee from here, but you're wrong. You're just so, so wrong.

Because, let's be real, there's not a mother on the planet who actually gets to pour and drink an entire cup of hot coffee. Snagging sips of luke-warm and cold coffee between diaper changes and food spills is your new norm, if you're lucky.

But let's forget the coffee, since, although it is the elixir of life, it'll technically dehydrate you and this post is about the unspoken maternal struggle of dehydration.

Your kid is one, and you've stopped breastfeeding. Think you're gonna finally be able to enjoy some refreshing water in peace?

Bless your heart.

Your kid is one now, which means he can and will pull up on any surface in your house. Which means your cup is not safe. Anywhere.

The coffee table, which would maybe be the obvious choice to you since you're hanging out with your kid in the living room, is also their favorite cruising surface. If you put a drink of the coffee table, they will knock it over.

What about tall tables, you ask? You mean the one that has those nice, long legs your kid can shake like a maniac? Yea, sure, put your cup there. But they're going to knock it over.

Your drink is not safe.

"Well surely after they don't need to pull up on things to get around they won't knock over my cup?"

No, they might not knock it over (they totally still will). But with their new found dexterity comes to freedom for their grubby little paws to be open and available to lift said cup and guzzle down whatever beverage you've poured for yourself. I dare you to leave your cup unattended while there is a three year old in the room. You'll come back to an empty cup and a hydrated toddler.

Meanwhile, your skin is parched and your mouth is like sandpaper due to years and years of dehydration.

Is it any wonder with conditions like these that when we do get a chance to quench our thirst, we reach for the wine bottle instead of the water bottle?!

Which, of course, doesn't do a lot in the way of re-hydration.

So new mothers everywhere, you have been warned.

You might want to register for a spill-proof water bottle...and a corkscrew. 


Tuesday, December 2, 2014

We get it, you don't do Santa. Now go away and leave us heathens alone.



It’s December 2nd and you know what I’m already sick of?

All of the self-righteous people posting about how they “don’t’ do Santa.”

Now, now. Before you get your panties in a wad let me just say, whatever your family’s decision, whether to do the whole Santa thing or not, is completely your choice and I would never judge someone for deciding what is right for their family.

What I will judge someone for is deciding they’re doing the “right” thing by taking Santa out of Christmas.

Again, calm down. I am a Christian. I believe the reason we should celebrate Christmas is because it is the day we celebrate the birth of the Savior of the World.

Look, my family bakes monkey bread in a Bundt cake, slaps a couple of candles on it and sings Happy Birthday to Jesus. I get it, it’s weird.

We all have different ways of keeping the holidays.

My problem is not how you choose to celebrate Christmas, it is the fact that you think you’re somehow above others because you told your 3 year old there is no such thing as Santa.

These are just a couple of the issues I have with this:

Firstly, you’re not consistent. If you say you want to take the commercialization or anything that detracts attention away from Jesus out of Christmas, why are there gifts under your trees? Are you listening to non-religious carols while baking Christmas cookies? Sorry,I don’t remember that being a part of Mary and Joseph’s trek to Bethlehem. I hope you don’t have any of those pagan stockings or Christmas lights. That’s right. You probably don’t because you celebrate Christmas closer to Christ’s real birthday, which definitely was not December 25th. After all, December 25th is just an agreed upon date chosen by the church that (to quote one source) “reflects a convergence […]of concern about pagan gods and the church's identification of God's son with the celestial sun. December 25 already hosted two other related festivals: natalis solis invicti (the Roman "birth of the unconquered sun"), and the birthday of Mithras, the Iranian "Sun of Righteousness" whose worship was popular with Roman soldiers. […] Seeing that pagans were already exalting deities with some parallels to the true deity, church leaders decided to commandeer the date and introduce a new festival.” Maybe you should let your kid write an essay on that instead of lay out cookies for that bad, bad Santa Clause.

Another problem I have with people thinking they’re doing the “right” thing by taking Santa out of Christmas is this:  I don’t get why you think it is a bad thing to allow your kid to spend one month out of the year, for 6 years of their childhood, believing in the magic that the idea that Santa inspires? You don’t want them to be disillusioned when they find out he is really just you? You don’t want to lie to them or you want them to understand the real miracle of Christmas? Okay. Have you had the sex talk with your four year old? ‘Cause last time I read my Bible the virgin birth was kind of a big part of that story.

Look, our kids grow up a lot faster than you and I did already.

Kids are trading sex for pain killers in their middle school bathrooms.

Eight year olds are committing suicide because of bullying.

Do you really htink you’re doing them a favor by telling them that Santa is a phony?

Why don’t we just give them this, just for the few years they’ll believe in it? Any 7 year old knows how to Google, they’re read all about the myth of Santa on their own at that point. What’s a few years of holiday magic in the grand scheme of thing?

Santa represents the spirit of giving that this holiday inspires.

Is he God? No.

Is he more important than the birth of our Savior? No way.

Should our emphasis at Christmas be on Christ and all He did for us? Of course.

But I don’t believe the two must be mutually exclusive.

We can teach our kids about Christ and let them believe, for this short, special time in their lives, that they are the recipients of gifts unearned….

Oh, wait. That’s salvation, not Santa.

Anyway, I guess I won’t be sending you an invitation to my Easter Egg Hunt next spring.

The last thing I’ll say is that even if you’re not self-righteous and you really just feel like it is the right decision for your family, you’re deluding yourself when you say, “Oh! We don’t do Santa but I’ve told Little Jimmy not to say anything to the other kids at school!”

Let’s be honest: Little Jimmy is the one that is going to ruin Santa for my kids.

And when he does, I will judge both of you for it.  

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

10 Ways to Enjoy the Holidays

As many of you know, I write a weekly blog for our local newspaper. 

This week, I wrote about choosing to be thankful at Thanksgiving instead of focusing on what I don't have. 


While all of that is true and I am trying to have a positive, thankful attitude, this is the other side of how I'm really feeling:



Holidays can be stressful on anyone.

Whether you’re attending a big family gathering where your creepy cousin Earl will be in attendance or schlepping it 3 hours away with your brood of young kids to sit in awkward silence at your in-law’s house, here are 10 sure fire ways of surviving this holiday season…as long as you don’t have to drive anywhere.

Riesling
Pinot Baco

Chardonnay

Sauvignon Blanc

Zinfandel
Syrah
Pinot Gris
Merlot
Cabernet sauvignon
Pinot noir

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Last Post before D-Day

This will probably be the last blog I write before I go into labor with the boys. I keep hoping they'll make their debut early but even though I'm dilated and like 50% effaced, they're hanging in there...the stubborn cusses. If I knew my neighbors better I'd start galloping up and down our road while eating pineapple or something but they already throw us weird looks as it is so I'm just going to sit here and sulk that these boys apparently want to hang in there til the last possible minute.

It definitely doesn't help that everyone has been prepping for this birth like its our first rodeo. Don't get me wrong, I really appreciate all the help and warm wishes and prayers, but when you're ready to go into labor, you never actually do. I think I jinxed us the day I started the nursery...although, come to think of it, that was D's suggestion so I'm gonna blame that on him. Also, my father-in-law just left after staying with us for a few days in case I went into labor and had to book it 75 miles to the hospital where my specialist would deliver me--which was basically money in the bank that I wouldn't go into labor. So while, again, it was really nice having him here to help out with the girls, it didn't make my pregnancy any shorter.

I really wanted to savor this pregnancy, I really did. I knew once finding out I was pregnant that it would be my last go-round and I was determined to enjoy it. Alas, I'm not built in such a way that an alien invading my body (much less two of them) is cause for celebration. I mean, it's been nice cramming whatever the heck I want down my gullet, but even that has gotten old the last few weeks. Turns out you can't really enjoy a McDonald's splurge if your stomach is being wadded into a teeny tiny little ball by 2 squirmy little bodies.

And they are squirmy. At the hospital I've been going through bi-weekly NSTs and the nurses always marvel that the boys are able to move around so much...just another reason I'm considering grounding them when they come out--Momma can't sleep when the babies are performing their own special in-utero acrobatic show.

It is nice that I can kind of tell their personalities already though. Baby A is a sloth and I rarely feel him move. On the ultrasound you can see he is jabbing a lot, but instead of on my bladder and lungs, hes kicking and punching his brother, who always has his butt in Baby A's face. Baby B literally falls off the NST monitor 15 times in 12 minutes because he is kicking and wiggling so much. Thankfully, at this last appointment they were both head-down, so we're hoping we can avoid a c-section.

One question I get a lot is how we plan on telling them apart. A lot of people go the route of, "Oh, well I'm sure you and D will be able to tell, but how will other people know which  one is which?!" Um, hello people. I'm the chick who spent the first EIGHT MONTHS of my second kid's life waiting for her to turn into her older sister. You really think I'll be able to tell which twin is which simply by looking?! Not gonna happen.

Today I bought these...which I'm hoping will help for a while anyway. Do you think the nurses and doctors in the hospital will judge me if I pack them in my overnight bag?



And on top of that, we're not gonna do matchy-matchy on their clothes. I mean, my mother will be DEVASTATED to learn that her grandson's will not look like they stepped out of a Twins-R-Us catalogue, but if for no other reason than my sanity, I will be dressing my kids as differently as possible. I still haven't ruled out dressing one in only blue and the other in only green or brown. I'm sure that might impact their psyche or development or something, but at least they'll know their own name when it comes to discussing things with their therapists.   


Friday, December 20, 2013

The Great Santa Debate

Man! I just wrote an article for our local newspaper about how to deal with the question of Santa and your kid. It was a topic suggested to me by our editor and while definitely a worthwhile to explore, the fact that this is such a hot topic amongst Generation Y parents might say more about my generation and our obsession with trying to not warp our kids or ruin their capacity to have have faith than it does a real, thorough look at how to explain Santa....IT'S SANTA CLAUSE, PEOPLE!! Do you know anyone at work who believes in Santa? Or better yet, anyone in middle school that still believes in Santa? I think the fact that we take it all so seriously is just another woeful indicator of the helicopter-style that is becoming more and more a trademark of this generations' parenting. 

Aren't we over-thinking this a bit much?! I mean, were any of your lives ruined because you found out Santa wasn't real? Side Note: If I find out your kid is the one who tells mine that Santa isn't real, I'm spitting in your egg nog. I'm not joking. (Oh, and kids under 10, if you're reading this Santa is totally real, I'm just bitter because I get lumps of coal in my stocking).

Anyway, writing the article, which I totally stand behind and believe, got me to thinking about some of my own childhood memories of Santa-Christmases past.

Up until we were in 4th, 3rd, and 2nd grade, respectively, my sisters and I would all pile-up in one bedroom on Christmas Eve. We slept in the same room so that we were all aware of when another one was about to make a mad middle-of-the-night dash to the living room to try and see if Santa had come yet (because 5 AM just wasn't early enough). I'd like to say we treated this time as a reflection on all the blessing we had and that we spent the time bonding and singing Christmas carols to one another...but, no. It was a time of tense waiting and barely concealed hostility (especially aimed at our oldest sister Linz, since she was the one who would typically try to break out of jail and get a sneak-peek at our Santa swag before anyone else).

Turns out the suspicion was well placed. One year, I think it was probably Christmas 1991, we had a Santa Swap-Up. It was 5 in the morning and we were all going through our piles that Santa had left when Brat, my younger sister, noticed she had two Beast (a la Disney's Beauty and the Beast) Barbie dolls.

"Mom, did Santa accidentally bring me two Beast dolls?!" she asked confusedly, her red hair a mess around her freckled, 4 year old face.

"No, that's weird. I thought each of you had a Beast doll on your piles. Robbin, do you have yours?"

I only nodded in response because I was wallowing in blissful happiness in a mound of Matel-Pepto-Bismol-Barbie pink.

"Linz, is yours on your couch?"

With her back turned toward my parents, clutching two Cabbage Patch kids in her greedy little hands, my older sister (7 at the time) goes, "No. But he brought me these two babies instead, I think." 

As an adult I understand the look that passed between my parents. As a child, it was all lost on me as I started organizing dates for Belle and Beast to go on.

"Uh, Linz, that Beast doll was on your couch and that baby that you're holding was on Brat's."

Without missing a beat or bothering to turn around, Linz responds "No it wasn't."

Again with the looks between my parents. "Um, Linz, I think it was. See how each baby looks kind of like each of you? Robbin has a blond one on her couch. Why would Santa give you a brown-haired baby and a red-haired baby and then give Brat two Beast dolls?"

"I don't know! That's what he did," she responded, still obstinately not looking at my parents and marching the dolls over the mounds of other toys she had yet to look at.

"Linz [instead of "Linz" her full name was used here, but I'm not gonna write that down for fear of retaliation], that baby was on Brat's couch. Give it back to her."

"No it wasn't! It was on mine. He gave it to me and I'm not going to share."

What followed was my oldest sister being dragged into my parents room for a Come-to-Jesus chat at 5:30 in the AM. There were some tears involved but eventually Brat got her baby and Linz was "forced" to take to Beast doll.

To this day Linz will swear she did not sneak out of our bedroom while Brat snoozed on guard duty and do the swap, even with video-graphic evidence that proves the contrary, but...ahem, Linz? The jig is up. We know Santa Clause. And she told you to put that doll back where you found it. 

Friday, December 6, 2013

Joys of a Twin Pregnancy: Three

As I waddle uncomfortably into the home stretch of this pregnancy, I realize there are still a few joys of carrying twins that I haven't full covered. They are as follows:

1) A new understanding to the saying You can never be a "little" pregnant. You are either pregnant or you're not. I've heard this a million times and I agree wholeheartedly. Most of the time you hear this after the question, "How pregnant are you?" So, sure. You can't be a "little" pregnant; you can however, be doubly pregnant! With twins you get twice the number of Braxton Hicks, twice the morning sickness (which will come back with a vengeance during your third trimester btdubs) and oh, yes. You gain more weight. For most women I think it's only 10-15 lbs more but when you're already 35 lbs heavier than when you first got pregnant, every ounce is felt on your swollen cankles.

2) Preferred seating anywhere you go. Now, a lot of you might think this is common in singleton pregnancies too, but besides one or two occasions, I can't really think  of a time when I got preferential treatment just because I was pregnant with my girls. But, besides the obvious fact that I've looked 9+ months pregnant for the last two months, I notice a lot of people eying me suspiciously and a little nervously when I'm in public because of the spectacle my huge belly makes of itself. What?! You mean it's not normal to see EIGHT distinct bumps travel across your gut? For the unwitting stranger I'm not 8 months pregnant with twins, but I'm about 10 months pregnant with an octopus monster that will come out thrashing madly and hitting anything in it's path. So yea, people give me a wide berth when I'm out and about.

3) Achieving goals. Specifically, weight-related goals. So many moms stress out about getting back into "pre-baby" clothes. I remember after the birth of my first I was disappointed that it took four whole months to get back into my pre-pregnancy clothes. With my second I accepted the fact that it would take a little longer to get back into my size eights, but I still kept my eyes on that particular prize. This time around? Dude, I'll be stoked to get back into my maternity clothes.I am HUGE. I outgrew maternity clothes about a month ago and since then I've resorted to sweatpants and my husband's shirts, whenever possible. And I know a lot of women are probably thinking, "Oh, that's not so bad. I wear so-and-so's shirts to bed all the time!" Well, good for you. Do you wear his L-Tall t-shirts out to the store? And when you're wearing them, do you still show that sexy 4 inches of "midriff" that isn't covered by the panel on your maternity pants and where your husband's shirt wont reach? No? Just me? Great.


4) I have a new (if somewhat limited) range of motion. Not only am I huge, I am also extremely awkward. Honestly, I just tried moving my left arm across my body so I could sit my coffee cup down on a table at my right, and I couldn't make it happen! No joke! I have one kid stretching out his body like he's getting ready for the high jump across my rib cage so any lateral movement is pretty much out of the question. As is bending over to pick up the girls crayons for the 235,434th time because Mr. Sprawl-and-Flex is laying on top of his brother, Stretch Armstrong who is alternately curled up in a "V" position and laid out like he's lounging poolside at the Wynn in Vegas. You think I exaggerate? Even my seasoned doctor was shocked at the positioning and sheer movement of these kids.

5) No-stress naming. This part comes only after you have stressed about it though because silly you, you undertook naming you twins with the same gravity you did your singleton. I was there for a while, I wanted meaningful names; names that said something about who I dreamed the boys would turn out to be. Rookie move. 'Cause I've figured out I'm carrying two kids, and they can be grateful that I've lugged them and their huge, acrobatic selves around this long. I fully intend to feed them and dress them and love them and all that jazz, so I honestly don't care anymore what their names are. My favorite suggestions so far have been Bo and Luke (Dukes of Hazzard) and unless the husband comes up with something different, that's what we're going for.

We hopefully find out on Tuesday next week if we have to deliver these kids earlier than expected because of their kidney issues. If so, we'll still have a couple of weeks to get the naming thing down. And I have two more weeks so I'd imagine I'll put on about 15 more pounds between now and then. And then I'll have them. And I'll never, (Oh, Lord, please!!!) never be pregnant again.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Oh...

And I hate this b*$#h.

http://shine.yahoo.com/parenting/mom-under-fire-post-baby-body-selfie-215700858.html