May- Heather’s Brain Download

May 30, 2011 at 8:13 pm (AJ, Family, MJ, PJ, Twins, WJ) (, )

May is always crazy busy in the JaRuud household.  Three birthdays and Mother’s Day, all with requisite multiple celebrations, meals, present purchasing and opening, card making, and general merriment.  Add this year our life shift to me working again, and it’s a wonder I’ve made it through with a smile on my face.

We went camping this weekend near Blewett Pass.  I went late and left early, leaving truly 90% of the camping work to Mark.  I wouldn’t feel comfortable sticking him with that all the time, but it was really nice to arrive to camp with a tent set up and leave this morning (to go to work) with only my clothing bag and no kids. 

People keep giving me sad looks when I tell them I have to work on Sundays.  (So far anyway) I feel no such dissapointment.  Case in point: on weekdays I get up at 5:45, spend over two hours getting myself and four kids ready to leave, and drive an hour to drop off kids at three different places.  Today, I was able to rise a full hour later, 100 miles away from work, and still arrive at the exact same time.  And then I just work four hours.

I tried to get Willa to sleep for a nap and bedtime yesterday in a tent.  Her apparent reaction:  “Mama, what the hell- what is this place?  Where’s my bed?  Why is it cold?  Why is it light out?  You think I’m going to sleep here?  Uh unh, no way, no how.”  I’d nurse her and nurse her but she’d startle awake when I tried to stop no matter how asleep she’d seemed.  I wasn’t successful until I put her in her familiar carseat.  My theory- with my others, especially the boys, I always nursed them to sleep and we traveled with them all over carnation.  They never cared as long as they had me.  Willa hasn’t nursed to sleep in quite some time.  She hasn’t seemed to need it, and sadly, I’m just always needed elsewhere.  She nurses and then I leave her awake, and if she’s sleepy, she’s asleep in minutes.  But this means, she’s less attached to me and more attached to her own bed.  It makes me a little sad.  I’m going to tell myself it’s just who she is and try to lay off the mama guilt that I can’t do as much for my fourth child as my firsts.

I’m just happy to nurse her at all.  Last weekend, from Friday through Tuesday, she went on a nursing strike.  SOOOOO not fun.  I felt like I was a first time mama with a newborn again, which no confidence we would ever get the breastfeeding down.  No sleep from trying to nurse, getting bitten, and then pumping at all hours of the night.  Without the help that often comes with having a new baby.  No, instead, I was trying to juggle a family birthday party and full time work and houseguests and… and… and.  Yes, I’m fully aware all of this may have actually caused said nursing strike.  It turns out I had all the right instincts about what to try, and she finally came around just after I took her to the doctor and determined she was medically fine, no ear infection or other problem readily apparent.  Same logic applies as that this weekend we put up tarps to (successfully) avoid it raining.

What I wanted, during the nursing strike, was somebody to understand my plight.  Mark was helpful and fed Willa bottles when I was frustrated, but he didn’t seem to get how awful it was making me feel to keep offering such a sensitive (physically and emotionally) part of me and getting rejected.  He kept saying “Poor Willa” and I wanted somebody to say “Poor Heather!”  Actually my mom did and I’m grateful for that, but I was a wreck; I seemed to need it hourly.  I have treasured the “extended” nursing the other three and I have shared, and I was NOT going to give up easily.  My naturopath actually told me “at ten months, maybe she’s done with the boob.”  Numerous books and google searches will tell you, a baby will almost never self-wean before 18 to 24 months.  I honestly wonder if I should be thinking about switching doctors… is that crazy of me?  It was just such a blatantly false piece of information, and I’m glad I didn’t trust it.

Friday before camping was the boys’ “friend” party.  For the first time, we forked over the cash to have it outside our house.  It was a fun, but I’m not sure if it was truly worth the money.  It doesn’t feel like we created the memories that we have past years at home.  Though the boys came home happy, neither has mentioned a word about it since.  Yes, we had more kids than we would’ve at home, but other than that… I think maybe next time if I want to spend money on a party I’ll use it for a house cleaner beforehand.  Or afterward!  But check out the giant squid cake we made!  (I have many more birthday pictures but I can’t find the cord to download them.  Grrrr.)
Squid cake

Yes, our cake “plate” is a Rubbermaid bin lid.  And yes, I’m well aware it is a major phallic symbol. 

For their birthday, their class made them “birthday books”, with well wishes and what-I-like-about-you’s from each classmate.  Two of Auden’s gave me pause- “What I like about you is that your brother is Parker.”  “You are lucky to have Parker as your twin.”  While I agree with the latter, it makes me worry a little about their twinship and being in the same class.  (In their current program they have to be in the same class.)  It’s wonderful to have somebody to do the things you don’t know how to do, but it can’t last forever.  Right now Auden reads for Parker and Parker makes friends for Auden.  It’s been fascinating to watch… my own personal twin study.  (I know it’s not really a study with an n of one- just anecdotal.)

How glad am I that I have another day to savor before we all go back to school and work?  Very!


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Mother’s Day

May 9, 2011 at 4:54 am (Parenthood) ()

My fam really did up Mother’s Day this year.  My first as a mama of four.  I knew it was going to be good when Greta started saying, about last Tuesday, “I just can’t wait until Mother’s Day!”  Either that, or the girl just loves a holiday.

By Friday she really couldn’t wait, and gave me her handmade creation from preschool.  Then she fretted that she didn’t have anything to give me on actual Mother’s Day.  Parker and Auden followed suit with their school creations, and I opened my two homemade bird magnets.

Today, I received two sweet cards, brunch, a shell necklace thoughtfully imagined and made by Auden, a certificate from Parker for making my bed, a toot, a puppet show, and a pair of pants.  Yes, toot means fart.  Greta knows just what I like.

Not to imply that Mother’s Day is just about gifts.  I also got to take a walk with Greta while she peddled her trike (I’m a big girl!) and do some gardening with A&P.

I love my life.  No, really, it might not always look it, but I do.

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Ten Things Thankful: Newly Working Mama Edition

May 6, 2011 at 4:58 am (Gratitude)

The end of Day 4, Two Parents Working.

Some parts Hard, some parts okay.  Here, the positives. 

Ten things I’m thankful for this week:

1. Prep work Part A: the emotional part.  We spent A LOT of time talking about going to all-day preschool/daycare with Greta.  Talking up the new school, explaining how her days would go.  Saying good-bye to her old preschool.  Her old teacher was SO supportive to her and me, giving her a special good-bye that gave her* “closure”.  At times I wondered if I went over it all TOO much.  But so far, I’m thinking it worked.  She doesn’t seem traumatized at all by seven hours with almost strangers.  Kind trustworthy strangers, but strangers nonetheless.

I can almost see her processing the change.  She spent time over the weekend jumping on our small trampoline, and chanting with each jump.  Bye Abby, Bye ‘Lena, Bye…… all the names of her old preschool friends.  Over and over.  It was like she was trying to put it firmly into her brain, adding the physical part to it.  On Monday she still called her old school “my REAL school”, by Thursday she was calling it “my old school”. 

Prep work Part B: the preschool choice.  After I accepted a job, I didn’t agree to start until three weeks later.  In that time, I toured four in-home daycares, and three daycare centers.  I was starting to wonder what my problem was, rejecting all these places.  Finally I found a place that 1) treated the kids respectfully at their level, 2) had what I thought was an appropriate curriculum (aka no flash cards or cookie cutter art projects.  Plenty of room to create and play and imagine.), and 3) didn’t cost an arm and a leg.  And bonus: meals are included.  Though I did NOT feel like taking my girls anywhere this morning, I did feel (a little) better after I left Greta playing homemade playdough 1:1 with a teacher she likes.  All in all, it was SO WORTH not settling for the first six places.

2. My GG girl.  She has been trying so hard.  Trying to be a big girl.  Trying to stay dry all day.  Trying to make friends.  She comes home just wiped.

3. Greta’s been SUPER cuddly when I get home.  And Lord knows I love a good cuddle.  And I tell myself it’s just because she misses me, not that she’s traumatized by her new experiences.

4. Willa.  Whether she’d be herself no matter her birth order, or whether her 4th kid status has already left her resigned to the dregs of parental attention, she seems fine with hanging out all day with some other babies and a nice lady.  She’s happy to see me, but she doesn’t cry when I go.  She’s not taking a bottle well, and she’s nursing extra at night, but at least she’s getting the nutrition she needs.

5. The Lactation Room at work.  NOT easy to figure out where it is, not pretty, but a private room with a locking door and an outlet.  The lactivist in me is not terribly impressed, but it’s a start.  The first step in increasing awareness about the need for lactation rooms is somebody who actually utilizes it.

6. The twenty or so old colleagues from my last job that I’ve run into at my new job. (They were hired after we all got laid off from our last company.)   They all seem pleased to see me, and have made me feel welcome.

7. Leanne, the lady Willa’s staying with.  (She’ll move to Greta’s preschool once she’s walking.)  I appreciate she’s accommodating taking her for only a few months, and she loves babies.

8. That it seems (for now) that it really will be fine to never be available to come in before 9am.  I explored the option of before-school care for A&P, and it would be an extra $8000 a year.  Not an expense I need right now.

9. That my boys are (sometimes) trying to help the “girls” (including me) with this transition.  Unfortunately Greta is not always willing to receive that help.

10. Last but not least, my wonderful husband, who works eight to ten hours, handles the kids’ pick-ups, makes dinner, and even still reads bedtime stories.

*I first typed this “me closure”.  I guess I needed it too.

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