Saturday, April 30, 2011


There is "parenting" which I guess covers everyday life with kids? There is "mothering" which people seem to view as a warm and endearing term. There really isn't anything for fathers. Fathering just makes me think of "you just wait until your father gets home". But "daddying" almost has a playfull sound to it. A lot of times that's what "daddy" is. Daddies can be more relaxed and playful. In our house I stay at home, so "daddy" is the person they beg to call on the phone or they excitedly run to when they hear the door. 

Of course my hubby has made me swear to never blog about him.  Actually, if I followed his wish, which is to never talk "about" him, then most might single I'm a single mom. Ya'll will have to be sworn to secrecy, otherwise I'll have to tell him there is some other crazy woman with 6 kids, only 1 boy, who had the same thing happen to her.

We joked about it long ago, that it's not really "babysitting" if it's your own kids. My hubby never "babysits". As a stay at home mom, though, my life revolves around the family so it is second nature for me to make sure everyone is taken care of. He on the other hand has to switch gears more than once a day. He starts off the day as "daddy" because he gets the school aged kids up and to school. Then he works 9+ hours during the day. He rushes home to be "daddy" again.  I say "rush" because Monday through Thursday evenings are full here.

Some days he comes home ready to do the running around. Some days he forgets he has running around to do. Some days he gets to be the home body. Mondays are Girl Scouts and he prefers to be the home body on those days. This Monday I decided to leave the baby because she has been so cranky out (even in the car) past bedtime. I took my son with us though so we could hang out while the girls had scouts. That left daddy with the baby and toddler.

Once I returned and all the chaos, of getting the kids quickly into bed late, was over we sat down to chat. In talking I learned what they had done after dinner but before bath. Daddy took the babies on the trampoline. We have a 14' enclosed trampoline so there isn't a fall risk. It's big enough that the toddler isn't really heavy enough to cause too much issue for the baby. The toddler loved all the attention of daddy up there with her. The baby loved the gentle motion of the trampoline. Apparently he even put some balls up there and the baby loved crawling around after them. He said he would roll a ball and baby L would chase it but because it was slightly lower where she was the ball always, eventually, rolled back to her.  They both just thought this all was hilarious.  The baby and toddler spent the evening laughing and having fun.

I guess I get too caught up in every day things, sometimes, to think of fun stuff like that anymore. I never would have thought to put a pre-walker in the trampoline. I remember when the big girls were smaller and I would go to a moms' night out. I would come home to the girls fingers and toenails painted. My sweet husband spoiled them while I was gone. Usually I leave for moms' night out, or out with just 1 or 2 of the kids for a special time, and I hope I'll magically come home to housework having been done by some "elf". I come home and let out a sigh because the house looks the same (or worse) as I left it. There is always evidence or a story of what they did while I was gone though. That is much better than any cleaning that could have happened.

Sometimes mothers can really nitpick over the way daddy does stuff.  Have you ever heard of the "daddy but pat"? I call it this because I've talked to other moms who had the same thing. Daddy had a way of patting a diapered but that somehow quieted, or even putting to sleep, the baby. It was a much faster rhythm than mommy would dare. In our house daddy swaddles better too, he's not afraid to do it too tight.  He's also better at burping because he's not overly gentle about it.  Mommy thinks daddy's too rough but baby thinks daddy is just perfect.

Daddies do things differently than moms. Men and woman aren't the same. Daddy can do a lot of the jobs mommy does.  But daddy will never be mommy, there are times that only mommy will do. Sometimes though, mommy may need to take a few lessons from daddy.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

A real talk about cloth diapering

This is not going to be a paint it perfect, happy go lucky post that people on either side of the fence are going to like.  I am pretty sure noone will really like this post.  However the real truth is going to be here, or at least the truth in how I see it.  Oh, and there will be poop talk so if that is too much information for you then stop reading now.

Let's talk cost, the #1 argument is cloth diapering is cheaper.  Cloth diapering can be pretty cheap.  With a bare minimum of prefold diapers you can probably get away with about a dozen.  If you shop around for sales or buy used you can get diaper service quality (because anything less is a waste of money) or chinese prefolds for about $1 each.  Flat folds may be cheaper but not everyone can fold flats.  I suspect that just as some people (like myself) fail at swaddling, we also fail at flats.  I am good at Origami so I don't think I'm the problem :-)  If you fold and manipulate the diapers you can probably get away with only 2 sizes of prefolds over baby's lifetime.  That comes to about $24.  Going with a cheaper brand, sale, or used you can get covers for about $8-$10 a piece.  Going with a one size cover you can probably get away with only 2 sizes.  In those 2 sizes you can get away with about 3 covers, 1 to wear, 1 to wash, 1 as a spare.  That comes to $60.  Assuming you buy laundry soap cheap, in bulk, or in some other economical fashion, don't add a bunch of junk, have a front loader and hang dry you are only spending about $0.20 a load.  With the above amount of diapers you are washing a load every other day.  So that is about $0.80 a week.  You will spend about $85 over 2 years to do the laundry.  They say cloth diapered babies potty train easier and faster, so maybe around 2 years old?  That comes to $170 total, for everything, for 2 years of diapering.

Since that was the cheap cloth diaper version let's do the same for disposable diapers.  If you coupon and shop sales you can get newborn diapers for about $0.15 a piece.  They say babies go through 100 diapers a week or 10 diapers a day in the first 3 months.  Now let's be realistic, do first time moms even stand over baby while they are sleeping and wake them up to change their diaper that now has maybe a teaspoon of pee in it?  Instead let's go with 8 diapers a day (this is only an average as it will be more in the beginning and less toward the end, this assumes breastfeeding which creates more diapers typically) the first 3 months.  That's $1.20 a day or $108 for the first 3 months.  After that we'll go down to 6 diapers a day for the next 21 months (we'll assume this baby trained at 2 too because mom was really motivated to stop buying diapers).  But with less diapers in a pack the price goes up to about $0.16 each.   That's $0.96 a day or $605 plus the original $108 equals $713.  To some of you that sounds pricey, you could probably manage a weekend away for that.  To those of you buying formula that may not sound so pricey.  If you average that over the 24 months that only comes to about $30 a month, or a cheap dinner out.  Either way it is $543 more than the cheap version of cloth diapering.

Not everyone is cloth diapering for the money savings.  In that case the total can be a lot higher.  If you want to go with the adorable and super easy pocket diapers or all in ones you are looking at $18 or more each.  When money is not a big object you may have enough to only wash twice a week.  That's $576 for newborn diapers and $432 for the one size diapers to last the rest of their diapering (more if you buy specific sizes).  Now you are up to $1008, well past the cheap disposables and you haven't even calculated in what it costs to wash them, the cute wet bags you buy for the diaper bag and house, or the fancy sprayer you install to make it easier.

Of course there are so many more options.  Brand name disposables without a coupon, with the more average potty training age of 35 months, comes to close to $2000.   Gdiapers  can cost $2200 or more.  Cloth diapers can be done cuter than cheap and cheaper than the most expensive cute, easy option.  Really cloth diapers are a range and can go everywhere in between.  Though, then again, people can buy generic disposables or use coupons without a sale so they can be a range too.

Is disposable diapering easier?  Of course it's easier because noone follows the instructions.  The instructions on every package of disposable diapers says you need to flush solid contents.  When people's disposable diapers leak they just assume it is par for the game of diapers, or maybe it's just a fluke.  When baby has diaper rash they buy a cream, change them more often, and/or call the pediatrician.  Noone assumes it is the chemicals in the diapers.  Noone assumes it's an allergy to the diapers.  Noone considers that the lack of airflow is creating yeast problems.  Since people either don't have problems or don't consider the diapers to be at fault for the problems, and when they do they can switch brands, disposable diapering is easy.

Is cloth diapering just as easy?  I personally have not had as many diaper rashes when I use cloth.  If I am using disposables and have a resistant rash I switch to cloth and it quickly goes away.  That's not to say that a baby can't be allergic to the detergent you use (but just like you can switch disposable brands I'd think you could switch detergent brands).  Or baby won't get a rash if you don't rinse the diapers well.  I also don't have anywhere even close to the same number of leaks in a cloth diaper as i do with a disposable.  Actually, when we are doing pictures or a special occasion I have been known to put a cloth diaper cover over my disposables to have more of a guarantee  that we won't ruin the outfit.  All in one cloth diapers are so easy you just stick them on and off just like a disposable diaper.  You do not "have to" have a special diaper pail, etc.  You can toss them in a plastic garbage can and then into the washer and it does the rest. 

I don't know that I can say they are as easy though.  I already do about 14 loads of laundry a week.  If you add 2 loads of laundry a week (the least amount cloth diapers add) that makes 16.  That doesn't sound nearly as dramatic as it does for someone who may only have 2 kids and do 4 loads of laundry and does diaper laundry every other day so it doubles their laundry.  But adding 2 more loads of laundry bumps me over the 2 loads a DAY mark.  That is not easy. 

Now let's talk about poop.  I am sure cloth diapering is easy for very regular babies who may have bowels of steel or be formula fed.  My 2½ year old isn't even breastfed anymore and she still doesn't always have nice solid poops that I can just shake into a toilet.  We won't even talk about my 80% breastfed (the other 20% being experimental finger foods) baby's poop.  Needless to say we would most certainly need to install a sprayer.  I would then need to use the sprayer.  Otherwise I am making a mess rinsing or dunking.  Or I am leaving very poop filled diapers to later be swished all over my washing machine.

If you don't know how I feel about environmentalism you should read my Earth Day post.  Everyone thinks that someone else will take care of the environment so the 1 person (or family) they are, won't matter.  Just like 365 Starbucks cups or water bottles (or even worse, both) a year is several trash bags full, just imagine how many bags over 2000 diapers a year takes up, even if you roll them up into nice little "packages" (in which case you can't even fill up a trash bag because it weighs too much).  Now if your baby uses formula, baby bottles, jarred baby food, bottles of baby soap, etc that is a LOT of trash.  We aren't even getting into the big stuff.  Yes, environmentally and wallet friendly people will buy their stroller, high chair, etc used then sell it again.  These things don't last forever though, they end up somewhere eventually.  They end up in some trash pile, maybe in a separate pile than last years television and cell phone models but still a pile somewhere.  Almost every baby needs a carseat too, you can pass it down to the next baby but you aren't supposed to buy those used.  Carseats only last 6-8 years depending on the model so they all end up in the landfill.  The cloth from cloth diapers is already breaking down by the time they are eventually trashed, if you are using them till they are really worn or passing them onto someone else who will.  Does anyone know how long it takes plastic (like in disposable diapers) to decompose?  You aren't the only one who doesn't know.  The first plastic water bottles still have not fully decomposed.

Baby's health is probably a toss up.  If you think the chemicals in disposable diapers is bad you can find ones that are chemical free (though Tushies Diapers are the only ones I know of).  If they started studying the effects when they first started using chemicals the long term studies would only just now be coming out.  I mean disposables didn't come out until the 1970s and those first many years didn't have that stay dry chemical gel.  People can argue that disposables also keep their skin dryer since it wisks away the urine into some gel behind a stay dry liner.  Cloth diapers could be argued to be better for skin because they breath better.  Disposables may be more comfy since there is so much less bulk.  Cloth may be more comfy because they are natural cotton and softer.  If you really want to get picky we can talk about carseat safety, I do have to loosen the harness a little to fit cloth diapers.

So what is the right answer?  Does it really matter?  Who said babies were easy anyway?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Our Autism Awareness

It is Autism Awareness month. People are lighting it up blue for awareness. People are walking to raise money for Autism. I want people to be aware of what Autism really is.  I haven't come out with our story or posted anything like this before.

We are right in the midst of everything Autism is. Yet I sometimes feel like we don't have a right to call it "Autism". I feel that what we are dealing with isn't really "Autism". I feel this way because, at times, my daughter is referred to as "high functioning" or "mild".  She wasn't even diagnosed until she was 9. She can play with other kids. She can speak in paragraphs. She is in a regular classroom.

It may just be that some of the awareness that is needed, though, is about the spectrum. Autism disorders are developmental disorders, not mental illnesses. Just like there is a range of IQs ranging from mentally handicapped all the way up to genius there is also an Autism range, called a spectrum.  All the disorders in this range can also be referred to as Pervasive Developmental Disorders (PDD). PDD-NOS (not otherwise specified) I don't want to say is "milder" because the severity of symptoms can be just as intense. However they don't have to have as many symptoms to be diagnosed. People view "Aspergers" as a high functioning Autism when really the biggest difference in diagnosing is just a lack of ever having a speech delay, so just as many symptoms could otherwise be there.  All the way to severe, classic Autism.

I am not an expert on Autism, Asperger's or any other PDD so I don't want to go into depth because I don't want to give you wrong information. I want to tell you a brief version of our story. I want you to know why my daughter (and so many others) wasn't diagnosed until she was 9 (and some so much later).  I am not sure how many other people have a misconception about what Autism is. I thought Autism only referred to children whose speech was very limited. I thought Autistic kids didn't interact much. I thought Autism was a disorder that included not being affectionate.  Autism can be all that and more.  Or Autism can not be any of that.  My daughter loved to snuggle and give hugs. My daughter talks a lot and interacts with everyone in our house. Nowhere in the diagnostic criteria for Autism is there anything about affection specifically.

How did my daughter end up diagnosed with Autism? It was actually with the mention of Asperger's that we took her for an evaluation. We knew there was an issue from the time she was 2 years old. Because of my misconceptions I never even looked up Autism.  We realized she wasn't going to outgrow the issues so had her evaluated by the school district at 3. With the information we were given we thought she had a developmental delay she'd outgrow. When the school was removing her from special ed because she was caught up, we had to find help elsewhere. We were still having issues at home.  We read books and websites on everything from auditory processing disorders and sensory processing disorders to obsessive compulsive disorder and oppositional defiant disorder. We looked into allergies and had her tested. We did food diaries and diets. No changes.

We couldn't get into a child psychiatrist so we tried a counselor.  The counselor said she needed to be evaluated first. We couldn't find a psychologist who was taking new patients so we started calling blindly out of our insurance book. The one we saw thought she needed more discipline and to be spanked.  We finally got a child psychiatrist to see her, he diagnosed her with ADHD. The school didn't agree. Things eventually improved with the addition of a non stimulant ADHD medicine.  We had already learned she could NOT take stimulants.  When that medicine stopped working things went back.  Bipolar Disorder was then added as another diagnosis.  Remember, psychiatrists deal with mental disorders usually.

We had the school do a full psychological evaluation and we were questioned about Asperger's. Since that was never mentioned before it was soon forgotten. Still having issues at home though, we took her to another psychiatrist for a 2nd opinion. This doctor also mentioned Asperger's and recommended an evaluation.  Being mentioned twice in 1 year set something off in our heads.

The problem with the evaluation is cost. Had we known it was what she really needed we would have done it from the start. We thought what they did was stuff we could get elsewhere, covered by insurance. The Developmental Pediatrician within 2 hrs of us was not on our insurance. It ended up costing many hundreds of dollars to be evaluated. That was actually cheap because we had so many evaluations from the school through the years that we were able to share with them instead of them having to do.  She was diagnosed with Autism, not Asperger's, because she previously had a phonological speech delay. If that wasn't enough her diagnosis was solidified by the school district and Department of Disabilities and Special Needs.

Most days are consumed by the frequent problems. Low frustration tolerance, explosive temperament, inflexibility, impulsiveness, etc are all issues we deal with. The more heartbreaking issues become overshadowed. The social issues are there though.

When you repeatedly get asked questions about her development things start to really stick out. My guess is that she was not even 2 at the time of my first memory. I remember her being at the playground with kids she knew well and her refusing to slide down the slide because the other kids were on the playground. She wouldn't even go back down the stairs because they were there. I had to go lift her down. I remember her being so excited about playing soccer when she turned 3 and then refusing to even go on the field because "people will look at me". I remember her at 3.5 standing next to me for nearly 2 hrs at the playground because she couldn't play with so many kids around.  I remember her at 4, hiding under the bench during open house at her dance class.

There were other issues too though. I remember her actually running away and hiding when she was in 1st grade and the girls in her brownie troop tried to encourage her to stand up in front of them to present her stuffed animal for their mock pet show. That same year I noticed that her social issues went past just the "shy" symptoms. I sat with her and some "friends" at school lunch and watched everyone interact.  That day I saw that she completely missed it when they were sarcastic.  I saw them change topics and her get stuck.

Don't get me wrong, things can be worse but she does deserve some privacy. Things can be normal too. She played with her older sister and her friends in our backyard. She went to regular Kindergarten and did perfectly fine. By Kindergarten she even played on the playground (though with only 1 other child). She got on the honor roll in 1st grade. She got into the gifted program in 3rd grade. She could do extracurricular activities if you found the right situation. She loves to be helpful. She loves to give hugs. She has a high vocabulary. If you saw her out you may never even take a second glance at her. Other days you'd take a second glance and decide she was just a brat, not that she had Autism. She really doesn't mean to be rude, she doesn't even know she's being rude. 

Now that 1 out of every 110 children are being diagnosed with Autism it is really drawing light to Autism.  When you are not effected by Autism it brings light to the word Autism, to the fact that there are kids effected by Autism.  It doesn't necesarily shine a light on what Autism actually is.  Autism can be severe, there are children who can't even speak.  However, knowing what else Autism actually is could help a child somewhere be diagnosed and receive help sooner.  New TV shows have started to shine a light on what Asperger's actually is.  TV shows like Parenthood, where he too was not diagnosed until he was school age.  People should know though that Autism is not always that much different.  In some cases it is hard to see the difference between Asperger's and Autism.  Autism isn't always a severe case you see on an after school special.  Right now, Autism is on the rise and Autism has no cure.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Earth Day on Good Friday

How coincidental that Earth Day falls on Good Friday this year. I started thinking of a way to celebrate Earth Day. Yet Good Friday is not really a day of celebration, it is quite a solemn day. In thinking of what Good Friday is about I realized how much the two actually have in common.

Good Friday is about sacrifice and suffering. In today's society people view "going green" as a sacrifice. It's all about what one has to give up. "Going green" can mean giving up the convenience of plastic grocery bags, plastic sandwich bags, juice boxes, and individually wrapped snacks. "Going green" can mean giving up time.  It takes more time to wash cloth napkins and reusable water bottles.  "Going green" can mean giving up ease. The ease of commercial cleaners. "Going green" can mean giving up comfort. The comfort of 75 degrees on the a/c instead of 78.

In suburban America any sacrifice is considered suffering. People don't think about God's sacrifice on a daily basis. People don't think of Jesus's suffering on a daily basis. People don't think of what Mary gave us. People don't even think of the suffering happening today, around the world. There are children, right here in our country, who are still being beaten. There are families, right here in America, without homes. There are whole villages around the world that are starving. It really makes the 2 minutes it takes to wash and fill your water bottle seem small.

Society is concerned with the here and now. Jesus's suffering is the past. The destruction of the Earth is in the future. Society isconcerned with what they see. Everyone else drives a big SUV. You can't see the ozone. Everyone else uses plastic bags. You can't see the animals it kills.

God gave his only son. God also gave us this one and only Earth. Now that Lent is ending you will be going back to whatever you gave up.  Your New Year's resolution may be long since forgotten. How about this Earth Day you don't celebrate. Let's remember others' sacrifices, sacrifices for us. Let's make our own sacrifices, not just for Earth Day, for every day.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

A week in Facebook

The question came up of what I do in a week.  It is true, currently we have 3 in Girl Scouts, 1 in dance, 2 in soccer, 3 in Catechism, 1 in horseback riding, plus after school activities (that just result in me picking her up from the school later).  Those things I just consider to be regular scheduled programming.  That's not what really happens.  It's the other stuff that happens in the week.  Since I have all my friends and relatives on Facebook, and I can easily post a quick update on the mobile app, I tend to do the extra stuff on there.  I thought it would be interesting to look back on my week though and see how I did.  Here is my week according to Facebook statuses (or is it status, dang I was blogging to improve my grammar and I'm stumped on this one, teachers?).


Though this did not happen on Sunday, that was the day I got the pictures uploaded to Facebook.  Yes, that is a toothpick, impaled in my teenagers toe, straight through.  What a way to enjoy the weekend.
‎2 carts later I can feed the kids this week and got $0.35 in fuelperks. I will learn to coupon this month — at BI-LO.
At 10:47 am I checked in at the grocery store.  Yes I spent $350 (you get $0.05 in fuel perks per $50 spent) to feed a family of 8, and we didn't need diapers and we don't use formula or commercial cleaners (the pricey stuff).  That would be why I need to learn to coupon.  I have since clipped the coupons and stored them, not to remember to use them.  That will be no small feat since I took 3 kids 4 and under with me on that grocery trip.  The good news is with fuel perks it brought my gas down to like $3.17 or so a gallon but I was only able to get 20 gallons (the max you can get with fuelperks, I have a 26 gallon tank)

looking for a infant/toddler toy you can put things in but is not a doll stroller, grocery cart, push cart, wagon, wheelbarrel, or bucket
At 1:57 pm I was apparently not done spending money because here I am shopping for toys

thank you to everyone who bid for Evan, I recognized a lot of names. from our hearts to yours hasn't announced an official total but my daughter came upstairs excitedly around 930 (before the last minute bidding) to tell me that current bids were over $3600. but more importantly there are over 700 "like"ers of the page thinking of and praying for Evan and his family, I hope that can be a small support to his family
At 9:27 I mobile posted the expected success of the benefit auction for a sweet little boy who passed away just as the auction was getting ready to start.

Rolling for Autism Awareness
At 5:10 I shared the event we would be participating in.  Bowling for Autism Awareness.

i see how the kids view me, J4 said he's the knight and I'm the big mean fire breathing dragon
At 5:14, well I guess the post says it all.  Baby must have been cranky that day because only 1 of these was done on mobile so that means I spent several posts sitting at the computer.

At 5:34 I even got a blog post finished and shared, yep I was definitely at the computer too much that afternoon.  Now that I think about it though, that was the afternoon hubby flew out of town for a 10 day business trip so who can blame me?

we appreciate all our community helpers. today we thank the man who pumps septic tanks
At 3:20 we were finished getting our septic pumped and since I have a son I got to watch the whole thing, fun

At 5:03 I posted pics of the kids at hoping to win a discount on their future haircuts.  Snip-its is pricey but we go for Facebook Fridays when there is a discount because the kids love getting a treat, bow, and nails done afterwards.

you must have to be accustomed to rush hour to drive in it b/c I'm ready to kill someone
At 8:01 am while completely stopped on the interstate I posted from mobile.  Luckily things started moving again quickly, though it was never a consistent speed and lots of people that should have taken driving lessons.  It was nothing compared to the tantrum I had to endure once we arrived at the psychiatrist appointment we were going to though.  Of course she chose the time I had to bring her (and the 3 littlest kids) to her appointment by myself to behave so poorly.  Usually if hubby will be out of town I reschedule her appointments but she really needed her medicine adjusted so I decided to take her myself.  Now that is exhausting.

sorry new jersians but the car in front of me just gave me a *great* impression of ya'll
At 7:41 I was not impressed with the out of towner in front of me in carpool line.  There are 2 lines that pretty much need to merge together in order to keep both lines moving.  The people in the primary line very nicely let 1 car each in front of them so it is like a well choreographed dance or shuffling of cards together.  The car watched a dozen cars in front of her do it only to about hit the car in front of him, he followed that closely, just to make sure me (or anyone else) didn't get a turn to go.  Then once she was out she speed off going about 50 through the school zone.  People like that are the ones who put these children at risk, for what, 30 extra seconds.  We all know about first impressions and the only thing I could see about her was her New Jersey license plate.  OK, I'll stop typing about it or I'll start to say not so nice things.

At 1:15 I posted a picture of my little princess who insists on wearing dresses or a tutu (or frequently 2 with the dress) every day now.  She also likes her sunglasses and pacifier upside down.
At 4:22 I posted pictures of the great playpen at the Y.  OK, it's really for some sort of extreme dodgeball?  Never seen it in use.  But if it weren't for the fact the big kids can climb out and the baby would eat the dirt, that sure would make a great playpen.

you should not watch the weather channel if your husband is near Tulsa, OK
At 9:22 there were tornados hitting OK and that's where hubby was on business.  We are very thankful none hit near him.  Our prayers go out to the families that were effected by the tornados in several states.

At 6:04 am, oh my goodness, what was I doing up so early?  Another effect of hubby traveling.  Anyway, I shared my link to Groupon, a group buying site I am totally addicted to since I have gotten memberships to museums at 50% off, kids play space admissions, food, etc

At 10:16 I managed to get another blog post done and shared, a review of a funny Catholic, homeschooling mommy written book

how many "why"s does it take to get to "because I said so"
At 1:10 J4 went from driving me crazy with "mommy mommy mommy mommy" to "why why why why why"

if you have a headache and have been running around for hours then you are bound to remember that you forgot to pick up the one thing you can't put off (the pharmacy) as soon as you pull in the driveway
At 2:33 I pulled in the driveway after having already run to the ATM, Walmart, and the school where I watched one's bunny parade then ate lunch with another.  Only to remember I forgot to run to the pharmacy to get my daughter's prescription and with only 1 pill left I had no choice but to pull right back out.  The kids were not happy that we pulled in the driveway but they weren't able to get out of the car.

according to J4 you don't don't don't bite your friends but you do do do bite your big sister, especially if she was super duper duper mean
At 7:59 PM J4 informed me of this when I reminded him we don't bite our friends, he wasn't too happy that I did not agree but S6 wasn't too happy to have been bitten (which is a very rare occurrence in our house).

That's it.  I am surprised there wasn't more about hubby being out of town.  Of how hard putting the kids to bed by myself was.  Not even any mention of me having trouble sleeping without him home or the rising early to get the kids to school.  Though I really don't like to complain so I guess that's why.  I am certainly happy to have him home though.  This week is a light week since it is spring break.  Next week will hit full force as we deal with end of the year IEP reviews, soccer tournaments, fundraisers, field trips, dance recitals and end of school stuff.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Age of Reason

There is no age quite so fun as 2.  By fun I certainly mean interesting, adventurous, and sometimes trying.  Two year olds'can talk, walk, and start to seem like little kids.  Yet a 2 year old is more like a baby than a child.  They haven't quite mastered the English (or any other real) language.  They get frustrated when they have something to say and they can't quite get it out.  They get frustrated when they do manage to say it but you don't seem to understand or agree. 

Speech isn't the only issue with a 2 yr old.  Society in general is an issue for 2 yr olds.  They don't know the rules of society, manners, respect, etc.  Even when they are told the rules they can't quite grasp why they disagree with their natural desires.  Since they don't grasp that, it makes it all the harder for them to learn and remember them.  I am having a grand time at a restaurant, why can't I be so loud?  I am hungry, why can't I eat a snack in this waiting room when I can everywhere else?  Why do I have to walk indoors when I can run outdoors, besides if I can run outdoors how come I can't run in the parking lot?

2 year olds have so much to learn and here we are to teach it to them.  We can inform them that we should use walking feet indoors so we don't run into anyone.  Or we can just demand they walk.  One of those choices will help them to be able to eventually translate that to other situations.  Repetition will help them to learn the consistency in certain societal rules.

At what age are children able to translate that?  In other words, what is the "age of reason"?  Around age 7, give or take based on intelligence and maturity, children can finally "reason".  That means that children 6 and under tend to be impulsive.  Asking a child under that age to be able to consistently make those decisions is asking them to do something that is not age appropriate, not possible.  Would you ask a 2 year old to read a book when for most it is not age appropriate?  Would you punish a 6 month old for being unable to walk?  Would you allow a 3 year old to cross the street by themselves when they don't have the depth perception to judge car's distance safely until around the age of 8?

I am not saying you shouldn't teach a toddler the "rules".  I am just questioning the expectation that they will remember every time.  I am wondering why so many people think they can reason with a 2 year old.  When a 2 year old has trouble sitting still for longer than the age appropriate 6 minute attention span, despite frequent reminders, things like "please sit down and be quiet, you are embarrassing mommy", "if you don't sit down you won't get ice cream later", "i know you know how to behave" are all just you trying to reason with a 2 yr old.  2 yr olds can't reason.  They may look and start to act like little 10 year olds but they are really just babies still.  If we weren't here to help them they wouldn't eat (at least not well), potty, or sleep (well not before they just collapsed from exhaustion).   That certainly sounds a lot like a baby.  You wouldn't set a sharp knife in front of them, tell them not to touch it and then just hope they listened.

When it is beyond their ability would it not be better to help them?  Some people view that as bribery.  When you give a child a new toy or snack to get a few more minutes out of them.  Some people view it as babying.  When you carry the child because they run when you let them walk.  Some people view it as giving in.  When you let the child explore your purse because you're asking them to sit for a lot longer than 6 minutes.  I view helping them as a good model of caring and respectful behavior.

Some studies have shown that grown dogs have the mental capacity of a 2 or 3 year old.  In other words, dogs don't have the ability to reason.  Then again I don't see people trying to reason with their dogs.  Or maybe there are people that do, I'll have to look out for the person lecturing their dog with "please don't bark so loudly, I have a headache and besides you are going to disturb the neighbors"

Friday, April 15, 2011

"Bless Me Father For I Have Kids"...ain't that the truth

After reading Susie Lloyd's other book, Please Don't Drink the Holy Water! there was no question that I'd have to read Bless Me, Father, For I Have Kids.  Susie is a Catholic, homeschooling mother to 5 daughters in the first book, 6 plus a son in the 2nd.  That does not mean the whole book is Catholic or the whole book is homeschooling.  If you are a mom you will find this book funny.  You only need 1 kid, not 7 to find this book funny.  Of course if you happen to have 5 daughters it may just be funnier knowing it (all of it) happens to someone else too.  However if religious references will upset you I wouldn't read it.  No, it is not ALL about being a catholic mom but there are references throughout most of the book, even when it's not the topic at hand (and there are only a few places it is the actual topic).

Every mom can relate (and if you can't consider yourself lucky) to the discussions on baby names.  If you still think the book may not apply to you because you only have 2 kids in your non Christian, suburban home where you go off to work each day, then just read the names of some of the chapters.  "Never drive faster than your guardian angel can fly" you'd think says it all but I was rolling on the floor when I actually read the chapter.  "The Perfect Family: a fairy tale" may have a few more players than your family does but everyone wants a glimpse into the bigger family.  "Don't poke the big cat" is not about what you think it's about (and you will relate to this one, and you don't need to have ever owned a pet).  "Of Birds and Bees" is what you think it's about but it won't make you blush.

I have to say that I probably laughed more in the first book because there wasn't a single sentence I didn't laugh through.  This one has a little more filler to it.  So if this is a great book (and it is) then the first must be outstanding.  It is an easy read for any mom because you can put it down (not that you'll want to), you don't have to follow along to a story line, and there is nothing to learn.  It is just a good hearted, light, quick read that will certainly cheer you up.  It will leave you feeling less alone no matter what your burden of the day is.

Monday, April 11, 2011

When your bed's a public spectacle

If what you thought when you read that title was x rated, you are reading the wrong blog. When people hear about our bed they want to see pictures like it's a public spectacle. Usually they want to see out of a curiosity or because they want to copy the idea not because they think I'm nuts (which is what you'd think).  They don't because even parents who don't regularly share their bed or won't admit to it, still occasionally do for their own sanity.  I am sure there are people out there that can survive on 2 hours of sleep or get up at 2 am for the 6th time since they laid down. For me, 6 hours of sleep is really pushing it. You do not want to see me on less sleep than that.

When S6 was born we had a small house. We had such a large age gap the older kids were in school. I didn't want either to have to share a room with a baby that might wake them in the middle of a school night. S6 stayed in our room, at first in a bassinet but she quickly outgrew it.  I had heard about people using a crib 3 sided (aka sidecarred) to make their bed bigger. When she outgrew the bassinet I tried that. She was already laying with us when she woke up to eat anyway. This was the best thing since baby slings. She was close enough I could just roll over to get her when she cried and stay in bed to feed her. Why didn't I do this with the other kids (who did sleep in our bed from occasionally to daily)?

As everyone says, they will never leave your bed, she didn't. J4 came along and she was still in it. I tried a bassinet. I tried a baby hammock. Eventually I just added another one of the sidecarred cribs.  You heard me right, I have a queen size bed that is sandwiched between 2 cribs. S6 has moved to her own queen bed (because she still wants someone with her so if we have to lay with her we have the space). I did learn though that "they won't ever leave" is untrue.  J4 loves his racecar bed now and will only sleep in it. A2 sleeps in one "sidecar" because I am just too lazy to put her to bed in her bed (which she also loves).  Baby L sleeps in the other sidecar (or, more frequently, cuddled up with me).

It's interesting when hubby travels.  To be able to attend to both sidecars I am sprawled across our, now very empty, queen size bed.  Remember S6 likes someone with her (she has been a horrid sleeper since day 1, long before the cosleeping habit).  Sometimes my teen will lay down with S6 when she goes to bed.  Sometimes I put J4 to bed in her bed just so she knows someone is there so doesn't wake up.  Other times she comes in somewhere between 10pm and 6am.  Usually when she comes in hubby goes and lays with her.  When he is gone I can't leave A2 and baby L to go in with her, so she weasels in wherever there is space in sidecar or bed. 

Feel free to tell me how my kids will never sleep alone. Let me remind you, I have a teenager. She hasn't slept in our bed in quite some time. She has grown up way too fast. She could easily put me to bed since I am too old to make it past 9pm. I am not worried that any of my children plan to take me to their college dorm (though I wouldn't mind going).

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Let them be little

Yep, I let my kids be <gasp>  little kids. When a kid is a bit cranky I do the same thing I do for a baby. If they're potty trained I probably don't need to check their diaper. Are they hungry, low blood sugar can make anyone cranky. Are they thirsty?  dehydration can make anyone moody.  Do they need cuddled, everyone needs a hug and a smile. Do they need some fresh air, it does the body wonders and the change of scenery can change a mood. That's right folks, I don't punish crankiness.

I also let my kids play in puddles, even if it's a mud puddle. You should have seen the looks, comments, and shock that occurred at the park today. People were quickly rushing their kids away from the puddle. Don't even think about it, don't go by the puddle. I would have thought that maybe it was the radioactive rainwater that people were worried about. Except that this has been happening since before I was even a mother. I remember doing nanny work in college and seeing mothers rush their kids from the puddles.  I looked and inspected the puddle but never could find what crime it had committed.  I knew with all the fuss over the puddle that my kids would soon find it. Sure enough, they found it. They then put rocks in it, found sticks to stir it and made a lovely stone soup.  People were not too impressed with the fact I let my kids play in it though. Oddly enough, the kids came clean and their clothes made it into the wash just fine. They had a great time, if that matters.

If you don't like them getting wet in puddles you probably wouldn't want to watch them play in the rain then. Oh how we love a warm, thunder less rain. If it is at least a moderate rain, it is such fun to go out to the gutter (since we live on a hill) and let the water rush over our bare toes. It's a fun way to "roll" the ball too, if someone stands at the gutter at one end of the driveway and puts the ball into the water to rush down to the other end of the driveway.  This also works well with leaves, Crocs, etc.

Not only do my kids have a sand table for playing in the sand but we have a Mud Pie kitchen. Yes, complete with a mixer to mix the mud with. Sorry, I own a bathtub and washing machine so I just don't take much issue with messes.

Another thing people seem to take issue with is noise. It is perfectly OK for an adult to speak loudly, especially in the middle of a restaurant or when attached to a cell phone. A baby is not allowed to squeal in delight. An adult can scream at a sports player or team while watching a game outside (or heck, many even inside). A child shouldn't yell when they are excitedly playing outside though. You'll have to excuse me if my kid is yelling at the park, I don't see a reason she shouldn't be allowed to.

My autistic daughter rode in the stroller until she was 6, she loved to block out the world with the canopy.  She was known (and still is) to wander away.  Besides, you really don't want to see her when she gets overstimulated.  She looked just like any other 6 year old so I am sure you thought her quite lazy when you saw her riding.  You probably thought her quite rude too, when you asked her if she was too big too ride and she didn't even acknowledge your existence much less answer back "yes ma'am".  My son is HUGE, he is over a head taller than some kids his age and the same size as his older sister.  You probably thought he was 6 too when you saw him riding when he was 3.  Luckily you didn't ask him if he was too big to ride because he probably would have growled at you since he was pretending to be a dog that day.

I am not sure if the way my kids have been known to dress is their own sense of fashion or a lack of fashion. Having seen some of the designer clothes out there, I think it is their own style. Yes, that is my daughter in the dress at the park (playing in the puddle). Yes, that is also my daughter with 9 ponytails (haven't you ever heard of the Pokemon, ninetails). The ponytails rival her sister's dozen flowered clippies lined up along the hair near her forehead. My son dresses himself every day, he is very proud of himself, even if those 2 shades of blue clash to most people. Most importantly, rain boots go with everything (rain or shine).

It's OK if you don't agree. We can just agree to disagree.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

UFOs-Unfinished Objects

that's much better

fine, if you take away my binky so I will smile
 then I not only won't smile but I won't even look

Or in this case they've been duds.  It has been one of those months.  Lot's of crocheting to do, but lots of oops going on.

It started off well, I really wanted to try out one of the sling photography props.  It turned out so cute, but no pictures, at least not of my kids.  Baby L LOVED it when I finished it and was happy as could be but no extra hands to take pictures.  The next day I had extra hands and baby L wanted nothing to do with it (I think it messed with her ears because it turns out she had an ear infection).  It is now available in the auction at From Our Hearts to Yours , though my niece had to model it for the picture instead.

I then moved on to a crown.  I saw it on Ravelry and I couldn't resist, it was so cute and I thought would be perfect for a 1st birthday.  So far so good.  Except again my baby wouldn't cooperate.  The best picture I got doesn't even show it's a crown.  So again my niece is modeling it for the auction.

I really really wanted to do matching loafers for the crown so I started on the cutest pair I saw.  They would never stay on her feet so I didn't even do the match to the pair.  The next pattern I tried I could not for the life of me get the ankle to line up.  I was beginning to feel like I haven't been crocheting forever.  So I scrapped the loafers and ended up going with faux croc style sandals.

Auction items got put on hold while I whipped up an adorable summer hat and bootie set for a baby shower gift.  Luckily they turned out lovely.

Back at the auction I started having more issues with those knots I talked about.  A giant pile of yarn looked like a lot more than it actually was because it was such a mess.  So when I got 1/4 of the way through a Kindle cover I realised that I had nowhere near enough yarn.  That got unraveled and my daughter made it into cup cozies for the auction.

The last thing I ended up making was a water bottle holder and reusable bag set.  The water bottle holder was great because it fits disposable or my daughters big Kleen Kanteen or even the babies'.  The bag was so cute, a perfect small size with neat little handles.  Looks can certainly be deceiving.  I started to add produce and ran out.  My sister started adding produce, 6 apples, 6 oranges and some grapefruit and there was still room.  It turned out to be a cute big or little bag.

Now I am back to failing.  I tried to use up my pale pink yarn by crocheting a bunny hat for baby L but the ears turned out too stiff and I ended up with a plain, almost bucket like hat.  I just finished a hat like the one I made for the baby shower though, it was too cute not to have one for my own little girl.  Now I am going to try a pastel easter egg look hat, I just can't decide if I want a hat or bonnet.  Then if I manage to get all that done before Easter I will go back to the bunny.

I have plenty to keep me busy because I really want to use up some of this stash.  Itty Bitty Designs on Facebook shared the link to these free patterns today and they are all soooo cute I know I have to do a couple.

Now what to do with this pile of duds.