Month

September 2015

THAT Conversation With My Son Took an Unexpected Twist

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I had THAT conversation with my 7-year-old the other day. You know the one… how do babies get out of their mommies?

Our drive home always takes us past the hospital my youngest son was born at, and some days we shout out, “There’s Joey’s hospital!”

That’s exactly what we did the other day, and then everything changed when Ben, my 7-year-old, said, “Mommy can babies be born any place besides a hospital?”

Innocent enough question… so I thought.

Here’s what happened next:

Me:” Yes, babies can pretty much be born anywhere, they don’t have to be born at a hospital.”

Ben:” But then how do they get out of their mommies tummies, since they have to be cut out.”

(Point of clarity: I had two c-sections, so my boys have always seen my scar and they know that’s how they got out of mommy’s tummy. Apparently Ben assumed, innocently enough, ALL babies get out that way.)

Me: “Not all babies have to but cut out of their mommies.”

 Ben: “They don’t?? Then how do they get out of their mommies?”

Oh God. I started sweating at that question. I wasn’t expecting that zinger. So, do I tell the truth or go down the path of least resistance? Yeah… I decided to tell the truth.

Me: “They come out of their mommy’s vaginas.”

 Ben: “They do?!?” This was said with a look of horror on his face. “What do they look like?!?” Again, the kid looked like he was about to faint.

 Me: “The babies or the vaginas?” (I was hoping he’d say babies.)

 Ben: “The babies.” (Oh thank God he said babies!!!)

 Me: “They look like all other babies who come out of their mommies tummies.”

 Ben: “Aren’t they covered in poop?”

 Me: “No. They come out of the vagina, not their mom’s bottom.”

 Ben: “Well, they’re connected, so wouldn’t they have poop on them?”

 Me: “Ben, vaginas and bottoms are not connected.”

 Ben: “Uh, yes, they are. “

 Me: “You have a penis and a bottom, and they’re not connected. Neither are vaginas and bottoms.”

 Ben: “So babies don’t come out of vaginas covered in poop?”

 Me: “No, honey, they don’t.”

Joey (3 years old): “Why we keep talking about ba-ginas?!”

Yeah, good question.

I had no idea when Ben asked his innocent question it would turn into an anatomy lesson.

I’m sure some of you might think I took the conversation too far, or that I didn’t need to be so detailed in my descriptions, but I want my kids to have the right age appropriate information, and I want to be the person to educate them.

So, this was NOT the conversation I expected to have with my 7-year-old, and let me tell you I was sweating bullets when we were having it.  I really wanted to tell him that other babies come from storks, but I just knew that wouldn’t fly (no pun intended) with Ben.

Hence, the honest conversation about where babies come from.

The conversation wrapped up like this:

Me: “Ben, are you glad you had to be cut out of mommy?”

Ben: “YES!!!”

I bet.

It’s Monday!

 I would usually dread Monday morning, but I have a confession I’m ecstatic! The kids have been sick on and off for about a week and I can’t wait for them to go back to school so I can have some peace and quiet! (Thank you first week of school for sharing your germs with my children and ruining my glorious 1st week free of children!) However today is the start of a new week and everyone is healthy enough to go back to school! So I will enjoy the quiet while I can and maybe even enjoy doing the loads of laundry that have piled up from sick kids! Oh! Did I mention I’m loosing it! It’s Tuesday ladies…. I just realized I have lost a day. – Nicole Cook, Idaho Falls, ID

Confession: I Didn’t Love My Baby Right Away

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An embarrassingly honest picture.

It was the night I, and the entire city of Boise, had been waiting for. Just for different reasons. Boise State was playing Oklahoma in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl in what would become known as one of the greatest college bowl games of all time.

By the 4th quarter I was sure those stomach pains weren’t from the bean dip. I was in labor with my first baby. By the time we got to the hospital I was beyond ready for my epidural. Unfortunately for me, the nurse informed me I had to wait an hour to see if I was progressing before she could admit me.

I wanted to grab her by her lanyard, pull her right up into my face and tell her, “If I’m not in labor, I’m DYING. There’s no way I’m going home tonight!”

Three hours later I was dilated to an eight and only then did I finally get that blessed needle in my back sent straight from the Gods of childbirth. I thought I was home-free! In the final stretch! Almost there! Then, it all came to a screeching halt.

After 17 hours of labor, a failed epidural and a baby that refused to come out straight I started pushing…and pushing…and pushing. I pushed for three hours and the nurse hadn’t even called the doctor yet to say I was getting close.

Until I puked.

That little bundle of joy decided the pressure of me throwing up was all she needed to make her way out- without the doctor’s help.

It was finally over! I didn’t care that I would need a million stitches following the 9lb 2 oz baby. I was ready to hold my precious love! She was placed in my arms, I looked down at her and… nothing. No swell of love, pride and joy. In fact, I distinctly remember my first thought was, “I hope that’s not really what her nose is going to look like.”

From there the next 24 hours were a blur. I said all the right things. “Isn’t she beautiful?” “I love her so much!” “I want to hold her all the time!”

What I was really thinking was “What is wrong with me?” “Why did everyone lie to me about what this feels like?” “I’m going to be a terrible mom!” “I’m so tired- take her away so I can sleep!”

I didn’t hate my baby. I didn’t even dislike my baby. She just didn’t feel like my baby. And no one had prepared me for this lack of feeling.

The love and bonding didn’t hit all at once but somewhere around day four I remember crying on the couch because the love I felt for her was so overwhelming. I instantly wanted to have 12 more babies just to capture this feeling. I knew there was nothing I wouldn’t do to protect her.

I did love and bond with my baby, just not right away.

In retrospect, I had just been through 20 hours of labor, pushed for three hours and puked out my baby. I had so many stitches I couldn’t sit up straight for 10 days and my nipples were bleeding from all the nursing! I think I was just too exhausted and traumatized by the birth process to feel anything.

While it only took a few days for the strong bond to develop I’ve since learned that not bonding immediately isn’t uncommon. It’s just one of those things we don’t go around announcing to mother’s-to-be.

“Just so you know, I totally didn’t love my baby right away. So don’t be alarmed if you don’t either.”

But it is something we should talk about! One internet poll of new moms reports 69% experienced “love at first sight” with their newborn, while 31% did not.

If I had known I wasn’t a freak of nature I wouldn’t have been in such a panic. Worrying about my feelings probably inhibited my bonding even further. If I had known it was normal, I would have given myself a break and allowed the bonding to happen.

And FYI baby #2 and baby #3 were completely different experiences. After smooth labors I did experience baby “love at first sight.”

 

 

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Another honest picture. There are really no good pictures of me until two days later.

10 Ways Being a Mom is Like Being a Bartender

1. You spend an inordinate amount of time on your feet, standing at a counter.

2. You listen to everyone’s woes – the whining, the crying, the unintelligible mumbles.
3. You break up fights between belligerents who will not listen to reason.
4. You wipe down that counter you’re standing at – many, many times a day.
5. You’re the keeper of all the good stuff and your patrons are not above begging, bargaining, or flirting to get what they want.
6. People get distracted, miss the counter and spill their drinks. You clean up.
7. You get yelled at if their drink is not the exact, crazy-specific way they ordered it. (“But I wanted the OTHER KIND of orange juice!!!!”)
8. Often there is a lot of very loud fun happening around you. At least they look like they’re having fun. You’re at work.
9. Those around you are prone to sudden bursts of affection and unexpected declarations of love.

 

10. It would all be easier just to call them a cab and send them on their way.

An Open Letter to the PTO Mom Who Shunned Me

The word Guilt written with a pencil on white paper. An eraser from a pencil is starting to erase the word guilt.

If you can name a way to be a crappy mother, I’ve probably done it. It started before my kids were even born. I’m convinced that if God wanted me to be in pain during labor he wouldn’t have invented the epidural.

I never co-slept or carried my baby in a sling. I used disposable diapers. I bottle fed. Hey could I help it if my boobs don’t work? I fed my babies inorganic store bought baby food, fed my youngest peanut butter at 10 months, and let all my kids eat sugar before their 1st birthday. I watched as they ate dirt and told them lies about how the ice cream truck only plays music when they are out of ice cream.

But probably the worst thing I ever did as a mother, was go back to teaching school when my oldest daughter went to kindergarten. I wanted to stay home with my kids, I really did. But it was while I was searching around in the couch cushions for loose change so I could have $1.50 to buy celery for a church function, that I realized that one educator’s salary wasn’t cutting it for my family. If anything can bring on the mom guilt, it’s not the realization that you are going to need to hire a babysitter. It’s not even the realization that you might miss a class play. The thing that really gives you the most guilt about being a working mother is the stay-at-home mothers who let you know you suck.

Picture this…It was my first day back to work after five years staying home with my kids. Because my principal was a mother as well, and a generally awesome lady, she gave me permission to take an hour off to register my daughter for kindergarten. When I went into the school as a brand new, guilt-ridden first time kindergarten mom, I was surprised to see a zillion tables set up full of mom volunteers trying to get other moms to volunteer. It’s kind of like a yearly contest of seeing who can be the superest of super star volunteer moms. Not to be outdone by all the stay-at-home moms that I completely envied, I quickly went over to the table where two of my neighbors were looking for PTO volunteers. I thought, ‘Hey, I know I’m busy and I work full time, but I can do it all. I can teach and totally rock the PTO!’ so I wrote my name on their paper.

My first neighbor who I will politely call Bambi to protect the not-so-innocent, looked at me and said, “Oh, you can’t be on the PTO committee, you are a working mom!” Surely, in my guilt-muddled state, I heard her wrong! “I think there are probably some things I could do,” I said. “I could make phone calls, or send treats. I think I could help out.” My second neighbor, I’ll call her, Candy, said, “No, we have our meetings during the day while you’re at work. I think you better not be part of the PTO,” and she crossed out my name. SHE CROSSED OUT MY NAME!

I sat there stunned! That was the first time in my life I realized that sometimes we as mothers put other mothers down to make ourselves feel better. I’m pretty sure if I could have lived inside her head right then, I would have heard this internal dialogue, “I totally think it’s unfair that I have to look through my couch cushions to find $1.50 so I can take carrots to a church function to go with your celery when you get to go to work every day and don’t have to worry about such things. So to make up for my suckiness, I’m going to say something mean.”

There were things I could have said and maybe should have said, but I didn’t. If I had said those things it would have really been me silently saying. “It is so unfair that I have to go back to work when really I’d rather be home with my kids going through the cushions in my couch trying to find $1.50, so I’m going to say something mean back to cover up my suckiness.” I held the tears until I got in my car. Then I cried all the way back to work.

This year…13 years after my oldest went to kindergarten, and my neighbors told me I couldn’t join the PTO, I finally got over it! I have spent too many years having mom guilt over being a working mom. I have spent enough time resenting it and wishing I had the luxury of staying home. But this year I walked into the school on a summer day, long before I was on the clock, to begin preparing my classroom for 20 third graders who I would soon come to love as my own children, and I felt a rush of joy. I felt like I was home. I was so happy to be at school and I finally came to know that this is where I belong!

Oh, I still have a hard time getting celery to church functions. Now it’s just because it’s hard to find time to get to the store, get dinner on the table and make it to church on time…I’m a working mom. My own kids love me, 125 third graders love me, my husband loves me, and that’s enough for anyone!

Sometimes, for just a split second, I forget I’m the mom. Tonight I was reading an interactive Batman book that responds when you say key phrases. My kids said we should answer wrong to see what he would say. When the voice said, ” Where did Joker hide the diamonds?” I instantly responded “Up your butt!” My kids faces were so shocked and then I have never seen them laugh so hard! Whoops!! I will never live that one down!

Raising Five Boys- But THIS was a First

11992274_10154134957348356_1383904369_nAs a mother of five boys I can honestly say there’s never a dull moment in our house.

On one particularly eventful day I was feeling exhausted, burnt out, overwhelmed and DONE! Ladies, I was literally watching the clock praying we would all make it alive to bedtime. Finally the golden hour of happiness had arrived.  To say I was more than ready for this day to be done is an understatement.

While tackling the hooligans into busting out our nightly routine I realized I hadn’t seen my 3-year-old, Matty, in a while. Most people assume if your child is quiet they are up to no good. With this sweet lil’ man of mine  you just know silence with him is NEVER a good thing.

So I called out for Matty and he came in hesitantly to my room with a funny look on his face.

“Matty, where are your pants? More importantly where are your undies?”

He replied “I not know Mom.” Then he turned to run from me and when he did I saw what I feared most- a poop smear on his hinny. My OCD tendencies kicked into over drive. So naturally I took a deep breath and reminded myself to stay calm.  I asked him again, “Matty honey, you’re not in trouble but where are your undies bud?”

He then smiled and replied “Mom I took care of it!”  This reply made me nervous.

“How did you take care of it sweetie? Can you just show Mommy so I can help you please? Seriously Matty, it’s okay you had an accident but where’s the poop buddy?”

He thought about it for a quick second and replied “No I gots it taken care of.” 

At this point I started to feel like I was about to explode. My house was trashed, laundry everywhere, the kids were running amuck and I was starting to smell the poop but couldn’t find it anywhere and Mathew kept repeating that he “took care of it.”

I walked down the hall and the poop stench got stronger as I heard the dryer going in the laundry room. I thought to myself “That’s weird. I didn’t put a load in and Lord knows I am the only one who does laundry in this house… ” That’s when it hit me. NOOOOOOO! NOT MY BRAND NEW DRYER!

I opened up the laundry room door to find my worst fear confirmed. There, inside my beautiful new dryer, were my sons loaded poopy underwear. With tears welling up I opened it to find it was everywhere. HOT, MELTED POO WAS IN EVERY CREVISS OF THE DRYER. That’s when I  lost it. I went downstairs and gave my husband the “you better come save your children” look and he took over bedtime so I could literally bleach every inch of my new dryer. How’s that for a “crappy” end to a day? 

Motherhood is one of the most humbling experiences… especially if you are me. After almost three hours of scrubbing I had calmed down and went in to kiss my sleeping boys goodnight. When I kissed my stinky pickle Matty he opened up his eyes and said “Mommy I’m sorry. I was trying to wash it. I was trying to clean up the poop- not melt it.”  I acknowledged his efforts and asked him if next time he could just show me where the poop is and we can take care of it together.

 

Role Reversal

courtesy: Kris Millgate/www.tightlinemedia.com
courtesy: Kris Millgate/www.tightlinemedia.com

I’m loud. I’m impatient. Those are the two reasons I don’t golf, but my son wants to golf. He may be the only person I know that is louder than me. He’s also impatient and we both have painfully short attention spans. We are not what you call a ‘greens’ dream team, but here we are with clubs and a cart on a late summer afternoon.

I chose our tee time for a reason. Idaho Falls offers Big Hole Golf for beginners every Saturday at 4 p.m. and when the kids come to play, the better golfers stay away.

The holes are double the usual size, but the green to get there is still the usual forever distance. I’m on swing 10 of a par four and I’m only halfway down the fairway. The hit and miss is killing my muscles. The hit hurts my arms when I slam into the ground. The miss messes with my back when I swing myself into a knot.

“You have to bring your arm up high and swing really fast so your ball will fly,” my son tells me as he sends a ball sailing with his driver and I dig up another chunk of sod.

I’m not issuing any rules or being bossy on the course. My son is and I’m letting him. He loves hacking at the ball, choosing clubs with his eyes closed and off-roading the golf cart through the rough.

Since I’m not playing parent, I try his approach and find golf really is fun. Hacking at the ball makes me laugh. Choosing a random club keeps play interesting and driving in the rough is certainly a more exciting ride. Reversing roles with my son is a great idea and he loves playing the grown up while I pout about my terrible score.

The next time your child wants to try something new and you don’t know how to do it, try it right along with them. You don’t have to be a know-it-all to enjoy it all.

Your Weekly Confessions Sept 1-6

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Everybody gets a baby wipe bath tonight. I’m like Oprah, “baby wipe for you, you, EVERYBODY gets a baby wipe!”- Lerin P.

My daughter wouldn’t come out of the McDonald’s play place one day, so I yelled up there that the play place was covered in boogers. (Which, let’s be honest, it probably was.) Side note: Boogers are my kryptonite, my kids have grown up watching me be terrified of them. They freak out when there is a booger on their own finger and scream for a tissue. She came running down and we went home. 😉 She has been weary about entering play place ever since.- Tawni B.

It’s back to school time right? Which means first day of school with the fun chalkboard that tells the dates and details of the year, the first morning photo session with their well picked out outfits, new shoes and weepy eyed mom behind the camera…right?! Um nope! This mom went back to work with them…didn’t get up on time because I’ve never done mornings, forgot Robert had no clean shorts so wash cloth cleaned his “best” pair, ran around frantically while my girls did each other’s hair and then sent them outside to take plain photos of each other. But at least we remembered the photos! This is a step up from the years I made it to school with them but forgot the camera all together. The kids have asked a few times where previous years’ photos are. I’ve had to explain they were lost in a flood. We won’t mention the flood happened a few years before these supposed first day photos happened.
So this year…blurry, some eyes shut, no cute chalk board or banner, mom hurrying them to the van to get to work on time instead of tearing up photos are much better then the previous no photo at all (or the few faked the next day in the same outfit.)-  Nannette T.

I sent my daughter in my room to watch a movie on my iPad so I could watch Bachelor in Paradise on the family room TV. -Tami N. 

I spent the last day of their summer break (after 3:00 when I got off work) up in my room sad that they are all growing up and going to new schools this year instead of taking them to do something and celebrate.– Heather C.

Peeing With The Door Open (And Other Things I Swore I’d Never Do)

20150904_091855-001I was a total backseat mom, before I had kids. If not vocally, I was in my head. I would see the horrendous things other moms were doing and swear to myself that when my perfect child came into the world, I would NEVER bribe them with fruit snacks.

I’ve only been a parent for 22 months and 2 days and here are a few things I swore I’d never do. And I’m eating my words, just like my toddler is eating those bribery fruit snacks I buy in bulk at Costco.

1. Pee with the door open.

I always thought, let the kid cry at the door! Geez lady have some pride! Pride? Doesn’t that go out the window during labor, never to be regained?  For the record, I also shower with the door open and sometimes she’ll just stand there holding the shower curtain open staring at me. That’s the worst.

2. Flavor my kids milk.

After I stopped nursing a few weeks went by and I realized I should probably still be giving my toddler some whole milk or something! I tried giving her milk in a sippy cup and she about gagged! So after a couple weeks (okay maybe a day) of trying I bought some chocolate Ovaltine and never looked back.

3. Let her watch Barney.

I thought she would only watch the shows that don’t drive me crazy, like Sesame Street. But when you work from home, a little more TV is needed! I draw the line at Calliou. That kid drives me nuts. You’re four and totally bald? Grow some hair and stop whining!

4. Go a day without showering.

Need I say more? It happens. Get over it.

5. Make my kid talk to people on the phone. (Before they can talk.)

“Say hi to daddy!… (squeak). I think she just said hi to you!” Let’s document this on video and put it up on YouTube!

6. Food Bribery.

I’ve covered this but let me just say the first thing my daughter says when we walk into Target is “popcorn!” Isn’t shopping SO much easier when the child is contently munching on popcorn? And when we’re at Wal-Mart I’m not above cracking open a new bag of Goldfish that I will pay for at the checkout. (If she doesn’t dump out the whole bag out in front of the bed spreads.) Don’t worry, I used my foot to shove them all under the shelves.

7. Stage things for photo ops.

“No, I swear, she put on that chef’s hat and just climbed herself into that big soup pot! Isn’t she SO cute!!!” “Oh no! I just caught her putting bright red lipstick all over her face! What a stinker!” Come on, every mom needs a picture like that. What am I going to do, wait until she does it herself and risk ruining my carpet?

8. Let my baby drink caffeine.

What kind of monster would let a one-year-old drink Dr. Pepper? That is just wrong! Ugh, fine, one sip. Okay fine… have the whole dang thing. I’m sure she had enough in utero to last a lifetime.

And when my baby turns three and still has her binky and isn’t potty-trained I’m sure I’ll have another list of things I swore I’d never do!

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