Prego my Eggo

November 20, 2009 at 6:33 pm (Parenthood, WJ) (, )

So here’s some news. Baby numero 4 is his (or her) way to the JaRuud house.

My head has been swimming for a couple weeks now, as has my stomach.  We haven’t told anyone but the kids and one friend, and I’m not one for secrets.  I feel the need to blab today.  Why not tell the whole internet?  And the few friends that read this!

This is the longest I’ve gone into a pregnancy (not far really, though- 7 weeks), without telling my family.  Why not?  Well, I guess I’m feeling a little teenage-unwed-mother.  Though I’m not unwed, and clearly I’m not a teenager.  Maybe I’m just feeling a little silly.  Three-quarters of my children weren’t planned!  Can’t you guys control yourselves?  I picture my mom saying the same thing as she did when I called her to tell her I was pregnant the first time:  “Whoa.  *long pause*  I better go get your dad.”

Here’s a looking-glass into some of the crazy brain twirling-

*A baby!  A sweet little ball whose curled up position shows me exactly the way he curled inside me.

-Oh, we can so not afford a baby right now.  Before I had babies, I was disillusioned into thinking children were not expensive.  I’d buy used clothes, used toys; our bottom line would barely be impacted.  Silly me.  Those kids actually eat!  They require a bigger car, a bigger house.  Clothes and toys are not the half of it.  When I was single my default I-don’t-want-to-cook-dinner was a slice of pizza and a beer from the pizza joint across the street for about $8.  Now that meal for us is about $40 (minus the beer for the kids), and it’s not across the street in Suburbia.  And our annual income is now less than when I was eating the $8 pizza.

*A whole new JaRuud person.  Judging by the lovely gene combinations Mark and I made with his siblings, he has a great chance of adding to the world in the wonderful ways of imagination, silliness, creativity, and happiness.

-How am I ever going to handle four such creative, opinionated, messy, LOUD individuals on a daily basis?  I’m having trouble with three.  Trouble might be the wrong world.  I don’t think anyone else would say I’m having trouble.  I get compliments on my kids all the time.  I do have a hard time feeling I’m doing a good job at this motherhood thing.  Adding to the load can’t help.

*Baby smells.  Breathe in.  Breathe out.  Calming baby smells.

-How in the world do those moms of 10 kids manage to be pregnant while raising the other 9 kids?  I am having serious trouble coping.  I am drained of energy.  I’ve agreed to turn on the television many more times than I’d normally.  My patience is way under par.  Mt. Foldmore is growing and I have zero ambition to tackle it.  The nausea has set in, and all I want to eat is bagels and cream cheese.  Fruit and veggies have been lacking in my kids’ meals because I don’t feel like eating them.  Thankfully Mark has picked up a lot of the slack, but I feel sooo guilty.  He didn’t sign up for this.  Intentionally.  Then again, neither did I.  Intentionally.  Back in my first pregnancy I kept a detailed journal every day.  In my second pregnancy, I intended to do another journal, and wrote a couple days.  This time I know I won’t, but it’s nice to refer to the first journal.  I wrote back then, “No one tells you beginning pregnancy is so taxing.”  At least I know this is normal for me.  I also know with that pregnancy nausea got significantly better at 9.5 weeks.  Just a couple more weeks then.

-Lurking is the thought:  This pregnancy feels a lot like my first one.  The one with twin boys.  I’m praying the similarity is carrying a male, not carrying TWO.

*Sibling relationships are amazing to witness.  Kids in big families bond like none other.  Learn to give like none other.  Four is such a nice even (and square!) number.  It’s been my favorite number, since high school, when I decided it should be the default guess on any math or science test if I didn’t know the answer.  I’m pretty sure somewhere waaaay waaay in the depths of my mind I knew this would happen, I knew this is right.  Greta won’t be the odd one out anymore.  All three are really excited.  Auden and Parker have known for a while that you need a part of a man and a part of a woman to make a baby.  For around a year that satisfied them, but one day recently Auden asked how those two pieces get together.  Boy how they laughed at my answer.  I asked them at dinner after I knew I was pregnant, “Do you guys think we should have any more babies?”  They got excited even then, “Oh yes.  Make one right now.”  I said, well that’s something mamas and daddies do in private.  “OK, we’ll go upstairs then!”  They meant us to make a baby right then, in the dining room.  I’m sure that’s where some babies are made, but none of mine!  We decided just the next day to tell them, and one said, “You made one ALREADY?!?”  Now they think we’re having a baby because they told us to!

*Maybe I will get to have the non-interventive birth I always wanted.  (Twins are a crazy birth experience, and Greta was a c-sec.)

-I am so done with baby stuff.  Bouncers, bottles, toys, gates.  We had a lot less of it than some families, but it’s pervasive.  Now it’s going to creep back into my house.  I don’t worry too much though.  Most anything, if I don’t want to let it in, doesn’t have to come back.  Babies need a lot less than they get, in terms of stuff.

*What I’m not worried is the baby itself.  We’ve got that part down.  Nighttime nursing, diaper changing, those tasks don’t scare me.  Wear the baby, sleep with the baby, sing to the baby, occasionally give it a bath, that’s all good.  I’m a lot more apprehensive about the year we have 7, 7, 4, and 1 year olds.

We’re adjusting.  We’re accepting.  Hopefully I won’t regret later announcing this in a less than 100% positive way for the whole world to see.  I’m being honest.  It’s hard for Heather not to be honest.  I think that’s why I haven’t told many yet.  I’m working up to an honestly positive spin on this.  A new baby.  A fourth baby.  I think it may be just the blessing, just the balance our family needed.  Exciting indeed!

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I know you’ve been on the edge of your seats

November 14, 2009 at 2:35 pm (Family, Parenthood) (, , )

average hours per day

I was glad I posted that I was going to keep track of my time for a week.  Otherwise I might have been tempted to be less than deligent about it. And I think it’s pretty fun data to look at.  But I’m a geek.  If you don’t like data, just skip this one.  Did I tell you I rocked all my lab reports in high school and college?

Take a look. One thing is pretty obvious, and I knew it before I started. If I want to free up more time each day, I need to get off the computer (I say, as I sit here with my laptop).

Here’s the nitty gritty of how I took the data and categorized:

I looked at a semi-normal “work week”, Monday through Friday, 10/26-10/30. Semi-normal because 2/3 of my kids stayed home sick at least one day from school.
A good portion of the time I’m doing twenty bazillion things at once. I counted the activity that was the more “productive”, somewhat arbitrarily. For instance, if I was folding laundry and watching TV, I called it laundry.  In the kitchen category, there’s plently of time that was spent putting on somebody’s shoes, mediating a squabble, or answering a phone call. I wasn’t that exact. But if I left the kitchen more than 5 min, I tried to count it.
I didn’t put sleep in the graph to leave room for the other categories, but it averaged 6.5 hours a night.

Here’s what some of the categories mean:

  • Kids (3.63 hours)- I was actually surprised at how high this number is. The time I was with the kids, but doing something else, like laundry or the computer, isn’t included. This is straight kid-mama time- talking to them, bathing, crafting, reading, playing LEGOs, puzzling, bedtiming, cuddling, and taking them to swimming lessons (the one regularly scheduled non-school activity every week).
  • Computer (2.93 hours)- I wasn’t so surprised at how high this number was. Mainly because every time I’m on the computer, I’m thinking how I’m wasting my time. Because there’s always a million other things. And work on the computer isn’t concrete.  How do I manage to spend 3 hours a DAY on it?  I’m not really sure, exactly.  I read email, send email, look up directions, recipes, read blogs, comment on blogs, put a few minutes into the Facebook timesink, pay bills, track if next month I’ll be able to pay the bills, and figure out why that guy in the movie we’re watching looks familiar.
  • Kitchen (2.77 hours)- This includes prepping 3 meals and multiple snacks, serving said meals, and cleaning them up. I separated out actual sitting down to eat.  I feel good about this number [Sounds like what they say on The Biggest Loser, right?  Hey, it’s a show about food.]
  • Preschool (1.23 hours)- We belong to a cooperative preschool, so this included time actually with the kids, to-and-from school driving time, a parent meeting, and some fundraising.  Most weeks I don’t spend quite this much time, but it does put things in perspective for me.
  • Eating (0.76 hours)- Meaning I sit for an average of 15 minutes each meal.  Not bad for a mama of 3, really.  Some days I loooong for the days when Mark and I lingered at the table, talking.
  • Mark (0.52 hours)- As with kidtime, this is straight Mark-only time. ‘Nuff said.
  • TV (0.52 hours)- I’m not sure what it says that this is the exact amount of time I spent with Mark, also.
  • Friends (0.45 hours)- Face-to-face, not on-line or phone.  I’d like to have more adult interaction, laughing, and support, but I recognize it’s hard to do right now.  Also, it can be built into preschool, park, kitchen, and eating, if I could just find time to arrange it…
  • Bus stop (0.43 hours)- I’m not much of a waiter.  Not the food service kind, the can-handle-waiting-on-other-people kind.  I keep telling myself it would be one thing if our bus stop was on a quieter street, so I could enjoy nature and my daughter while we wait.  Instead, it’s along a 5 lane highway, where I’m always afraid my daughter going to get run over, and where I can’t answer my cell phone because the cars rushing by are so loud.  It is a break in the day of housework, though, and a short walk.
  • Insomnia (0.40 hours)- Middle of the night, wideawakeness.  This was 2 hours all on one night.  It makes the next day a bear.  Once a week is about the yoush.
  • Grooming (0.30 hours)- Mark thought this choice of category name was hilarious. “Are you a pet?”  I just meant, showering, washing my face on the days I didn’t shower, putting on the rare application of mascara, plucking eyebrows.  Isn’t that grooming?
  • Cleaning (0.24 hours)- See, I told you this is my corner.
  • Other (1.55 hours)- Included resting, phone calls, organizing, packing/unpacking for daily outings, pet care, planning our lives out on the calendar, etc.

I plan to post on my plans to modify some of my days based upon what I found.  But right now, a 2 year old has woken up and brought me 23 books and counting.  I’m not joking.  So that will wait.  ***By the time I spellchecked, it was 31.  I counted.  See, all about the data.

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Targeting homemade

November 1, 2009 at 4:59 pm (Daily Criteria, School) (, , )

I’ve been trying not to get all riled up by one of the Northshore School District policies.   I’ve already decided that it’s not worth my time to fight the beast about it, but I still lay awake thinking about it one night last week.  So my final therapeutic measure is to blog about it.

The district won’t allow any homemade foods to be brought it for sharing.  On birthdays and special occasions, we are invited to bring in store-bought items.

On the one hand, this policy is more lenient then some schools with a school-wide nut-free policy.  I don’t have to worry about foods I send with my kids on a daily basis.  But at least a nut-free policy serves to protect kids from something that can harm, if the school has one of those kids with the misfortune of a life-threatening nut allergy.

A store-bought only policy for “treat days” doesn’t serve to protect anybody.  The bad-fat-laden, preservative-filled cupcakes that are the store-bought norm are not safe for plenty of kids with allergies.  They won’t get to eat them anyway.  Yes, its safety for those kids can be confirmed by a label.  I’d argue, though, that those foods are not really “safe” for anybody to eat. 

Homemade goods can be labeled also.  Yes, you’d have to trust the parents’ ability to label completely, and minimize crossover contamination.  If a child is really really allergic to many foods, he could choose (or be instructed) not to eat questionable items, or even all homemade.  He probably isn’t getting to eat a lot of the store-bought stuff either and is already used to needing alternate snacks.

I want to be clear- I know having a life-threatening allergy sucks, and I in no way want to make it harder.  I’ve happily dealt with bringing daily snacks to other schools that required no nuts, and I’ve made plenty of homemade foods for people who can’t eat nuts, or eggs, or dairy, or even wheat.  I just don’t understand why being allergic means you’d go more towards store-bought.  In fact, I know if one of my kids was allergy-prone, I’d be baking even more, to enable them to still eat many favorite foods safely.

Making homemade foods (and other non-food items) is truly part of our family’s core values.

 Homemade means to us:

  • More nutritious- and I don’t just mean our treats lack the “bad stuff”.  In a birthday treat, I typically still use at least partially whole grains, and utilize some “add-ins” that add extra nutrition.  And I promise, I do it so the kids don’t notice.
  • Quality time spent together making food
  • That the food maker cares about you
  • Cheaper- almost always, and often significantly
  • More individualized- last year for their birthday, the boys got a spider and a saber tooth tiger cake.  Their favorite animals.

        Happy Birthday P!  Happy Birthday A!

This post might read like it, but I’m really not a Nazi about not eating store-bought treats.  Writing this a day post-Halloween, I really have no room to talk about an abstinence-only policy.  We eat store-bought junk food plenty.  I just think this policy is non-sensical, and teaches kids a sad message.  That store-bought is better- a special treat for birthdays, when in reality it’s not even close to better.

So I told my husband I’d send in apples for the boys’ birthday.  He looked at me like I’d lost my mind.  I won’t, really.  I’m not going to ostracize them as the dudes with the crazy mama.  I’ll buy something sugary.  And I might even eat one.  I thought of something funny, though.  Technically, if we had the apple orchard I long for, and I dared to buck the sugar-trend and brought in our apples, they’d be homemade.  Uh-oh.

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