Just Ask. And Then Let Them.

I tell myself a lot of stories in my head when it comes to asking for help. I’m not good at it. I don’t need to do it; I can handle this myself. If I ask someone for something, I will be in debt to them and feel guilty until I can go above and beyond to repay them. This and so much more runs through my mind when I’m in a tight spot or in need of assistance. Do you ever tell yourself similar stories, maybe surrounding different issues?

Since I came into motherhood, I have had to work on this. A lot. When you don’t live in the same city (or state) as family, and you have Littles, you are inevitably going to need help from others. Sometimes a lot. The concept of a village is no joke, and in the 7 3/4 years (the 3/4 is very important to HD these days) of being a mom, I have been fortunate enough to meet and surround myself with some of the best and most caring helpers out there.

And yet, still, I sometimes don’t know how or when to ask for help.

Yesterday started out as one of them.

In my defense, I did not know what was coming for me yesterday. Now that it’s over, I’m still not entirely sure what came at me, but it turned out to be far more intense than what I anticipated when I got sick before breakfast yesterday.

Since my initial OB appointment, I’ve been taking a little medicine before bed each night to curb the nausea and help me get some sleep. All safe. All doctor approved. Since I’ve been feeling better for the last week and a half and Wednesday marked 13 weeks, I decided that night not to take it because I thought I was past all that.

When I hardly slept, had a raging headache, and then got sick at 7 a.m., I thought otherwise. In fact, I thought I had made a very stupid mistake and was being treated to some really crappy morning sickness in return. Yesterday was HD’s first day of summer vacation (read: my first day with all four kids home) and Ben’s last day of finals, so I knew I just had to suck it up. I was stuck, sick, at home with four kids all day and that was just that.

Except then I continued to get sick. Nothing stayed in my system. By mid-day, I was so wiped out that I knew I was either in the middle of the worst morning sickness flareup EVER or had the stomach flu. But I still didn’t reach out to anyone because Ben was at least able to come for a few minutes to throw lunch at the kids (anyone else use that expression?) and then it was crash time for me and the baby during afternoon nap (which turned into extended screen time for the Big 3 which might have been just as good of a start to summer vacay as if Mom had been upright and functioning). So we were surviving. Mostly.

After Ben got home for good post-testing, I crawled into bed with the computer and reached out to some mamas in town to see if they knew about anything going around that I might have caught. From there, bless their sweet hearts, we parsed my situation and ruled out the morning sickness entirely, and settled somewhere between potential bug and potential food reaction. I was all in favor of diagnosing myself with something that wouldn’t spread to the rest of my family, and by that point in the day I was at least keeping Gatoraid in me for a little bit before getting sick again so I thought things were improving.

And then they went downhill again. Frequency and intensity of sickness increased and had it been just me at stake, I probably would have just toughed it out. But by the afternoon, every time I’d run for the bathroom, I kept thinking about this tiny baby growing in my belly and felt so bad for the wild ride s/he was being given. So after Ben got the kids down for the night, we called the answering service for my OB’s office and got a return call from the doc soon after that. He was very reassuring that Baby was undoubtedly fine, and that it was really just up to me on how I felt on whether or not I should go up to the hospital for fluids. I mean, at that point, I hadn’t kept anything down in over 12 hours for more than 30-45 minutes at a time, and couldn’t remember the last time I peed, so we decided going in was probably a good call.

Not only was it absolutely the best thing to do for my body, it gave me another opportunity to know just how willing my people are to step up when I just ask for help.

With some quick phone calls and later messages, we had people here at the house to hang with the sleeping kiddos, a friend to sit with me at the hospital while Ben ran up to school to get his tests to grade (so he could stay home and take care of me/the kids today), and eventually, thanks to the beauty of social media, lots of well wishes and prayers from all of you as you learned about the day and the situation. And don’t even get me started on the ridiculously awesome care I received at MLH – they always go above and beyond and if I start writing about that, I won’t stop.

img_6228At one point, Ben and I were sitting there in the room, waiting for the fluids to start working their magic (which they totally did, by the way) and I told him I was glad we didn’t decide to wait overnight to see how things went. He looked at me and told me point blank that he was very glad I had come in because he knows how much I tend to push through and that I had already done plenty of that yesterday as it was. That sounds like false humility when I read over it, but it’s also just witness to my stubbornness and my “I don’t need to burden others”ness which he sees.

Which is crap. And I need to keep reminding myself that that story is crap. Of course I need others. Asking them for help is not burdening them; it is allowing them to be part of my life, to be there when I am vulnerable. I very much need all the people who reach out and help, or offer to help, and show that they care. I can be as tough as I want, but I still can’t exist in a vacuum, sick or not. I am very lucky to have such good support and I hope my friends know how much I appreciate them, even when I don’t always reach out to them when I should.

As for the health front…I got to come home at 11:30 last night and crawl into my own bed where I collapsed and thankfully slept without getting sick the rest of the night. I woke up today with a headache that has persisted even now, but have kept down all fluids and dry cereal that I’ve had so far today. I call this a major win, especially compared to yesterday.

Going in was the right call. Asking for help and being willing to take that help was also right. It always is, for all of us.

Your people love you. Let them.

Tunnels, Light, and What’s that Smell?!

You guys. It is here! The end of the biggest year ever of adjuncting and, ta-da!!!! My final grades are entered! I did it!!! Do I currently sound like an over-sugared 5yo who just found out she gets more sugar? Yep, and I’ll own it because this year was a PUSH and after all that we are not only at the end of an academic calendar, we are also at the point of making the LAST PAYMENT on our debt snowball!!! Yeah, I think I’ve earned all the !!s and imaginary cartwheels I can muster right now because this year+ of effort has been intense and deserves a moment of recognition.

The other incredible news? I am starting to feel human again! And two weeks ahead of schedule AND without taking my B6 anymore. Can you believe it?! We were so caught up on Saturday morning with soccer games that I totally forgot to choke down my pill and since I still felt fine-ish by noon, I decided to just go with it the rest of the day. And then I didn’t take any yesterday either, or this morning, and I am totally still standing. WhooHoo! I had honestly gotten so gaggy every time I tried to take one that I wonder if they were starting to be counter productive. Whatever the cause, since I’m no longer feeling quite so face-dragging-on-concrete, I will totally take it (and again do imaginary cartwheels). Side note: ironically, last night, after approximately 30 hours of feeling better-ish, I had a massive attack of heartburn. Ahhhh, growing a human – it is never dull!

img_6035-1Also, never dull? Life with toddlers. Trumy had a heckofa time of it last week with a cold that turned into a nasty cough and then, on Friday afternoon (of course), a spikey fever and then seemingly better over the weekend and then last night at bath a Do-Not-Touch-My-Right-Ear most likely ear infection. Took him in this morning (after I got HD out the door and RL dropped at preK) and sure enough – infected! But now we’ve got meds and he’s got the first dose in him and is taking a late morning nap and hopefully all will be back to his table climbing, snack mess making, normal self very soon. And all this before 10:00 today! I realize this entire post just sounds like a big ball of self-congratulations, but seriously. I feel a little bit like Wonder Woman to have handled all this already today.

Less than wonderful, however, is the unknown smell coming from my kitchen. I mean, I get that my housekeeping standards have been less than stellar lately, and maybe it is just my uber/pregnant nose being sensitive, but something in my kitchen needs to be found and removed. IMMEDIATELY! But I’m not that much over my queasiness to feel brave enough to go searching and eliminating, so I’m not really sure how this is going to go. Can I somehow avoid the kitchen for the rest of the day until Ben gets home and I can put him on the task? LOL. Nope. Not an option. But dang – what the heck happened in there? Is it the the trash? The sink? Heaven help me (and hire me a cleaning service for a month, please).

Minus the cleaning fail in the kitchen and the fact that I’ve got a kiddo on meds (but hey, at least he can also now be on the mend), I feel like things are coming up a bit rosy for the Welschies on this Monday morning. We’ve been in some dark, long tunnels in the last weeks/months/year and suddenly it seems like there might just be light at the end of all of them. Incredible!

 

Can’t We All Just Get Along?

11 Weeks. Today I am 11 weeks which puts me 1 week away from bump pictures beginning and still 3 weeks away from feeling human again. Here’s what I’ve learned about Baby No.5: with said baby, one feels (and looks) very pregnant for a very long time (and this little gem of wisdom from someone who still has 3/4 of the way to go!). And of course every single second of it – the upset tummy and disturbed sleep and holy-mother-of-never-have-I-been-so-tireds – is worth it. But do I dare tell the truth and say that somehow some of these seconds seem to last hours? As in 14 weeks, much less 40, feels light years away still and I am continuing to struggle a bit with our day-to-day.

Now, of course, our days have been rather extreme this entire school year what with all the adjuncting and business starting and eventual new-human-growing, so I’m trying very hard to give myself some space and grace around the fact of this struggle. I wouldn’t expect anyone else to fly through these months with a constant smile on her face and 100% of her shit together, so why do I kick myself for being human, and especially right now? It’s unnecessary. I still haven’t had a chance to write about the awesomeness that was our Sunday workshop with Lora McCarville via Grounded Sky @ Prairie Loft, and I promise that is still coming, but I mention it here because it helped remind me that this – this crankyness, this tiredness, this holding on for dear life – is an extenuating circumstance. In fact, some things are already lightening and brightening.

For one, my semester is in its final week. I have some stacks of grading to tend to yet, but the end is NEAR. VERY NEAR, and I have learned that this double-nights-a-week business is not for me. While I’m thankful for where the elbow grease got us this year, I am not looking to do it again anytime soon.

In another move to lessen the demands, I made the call to offer less yoga this month. That may seem like an interesting choice to some for a growing business still very much in its own infancy, but if I can’t model self-care and self-preservation with my own life and career, then what business do I have in teaching these things?

The one place where conditions could still improve (besides my tummy which seems to get most cranky between 9-10 p.m., making my attempts to go to bed peacefully very interesting) has to be with handling all the momming that must continue, especially in regard to the one who will no longer be the baby by the end of this year. Yes, when I ask, “Can’t we all just get along?” I am specifically talking to this dude: the one who both refuses to leave my side and wants to do All The Things on his own. img_5951How is that even possible? How do you get a kiddo who is 100% committed to both clinging and independence?! And because language skills are still slow coming, the amount of fussing and whining and other forms of communication add to the draining factor of chase me/don’t put me down/chase me/don’t put me down/chase me/pull me off this piece of furniture/don’t put me down/chase me/get me a snack/not that snack/retrieve me from some place I should not be/don’t put me down/chase me/don’t put me down/don’t sit down either EVER. Yep. Not joking. But that on loop and welcome to my days (with just one of the Littles!).

As far I as I know, there is no cure for Tired Mommy + Rambunctious Toddler, so we’ll just keep chugging along, hoping some sort of balance comes soon. There are just a couple weeks left in the school year and then I’ll have my co-pilot back to help (actually, take over, at least in the mornings as I am planning to teach a 5-week summer class) AND best of all, I’ll finally cross the 14 week mark and be in that blissful second trimester stage of functional human again.

Return Coming? 

So apparently when you are face-on-concrete tired and nothing sounds good except for peanut butter sandwiches (and even then) and mochas, you know you are in trouble. And I will apologize right now for typos in this post because our laptop died two days ago leaving me to blog with my thumbs on my phone, and why it can recognize AYFKM but not Thanks instead of Hanks is beyond me. 

So, another week, another update. Still feeling on the verge of running for the bathroom all the time but must be faking it at least some of the time in public because a friend told me over the weekend that I looked well (& I may have laughed in her face which wasn’t the most kind response but it was my gut reaction because Face. Concrete. Etc.). All the effort it takes to do the running around is getting me though and I continue to be my less than shining self at home. PPM still here. And then Guilty Mommy shows up because I feel like I  am doing nothing to take care of myself and so of course I am a crazy (thanks, phone), cranky mess. I know there are small steps I can take and should take and here’s hoping I actually take them because it feels pretty unfair to my entire family for this to continue much longer. As in, must find boot straps. Now. 

And enter coffee. Yes, it’s back. My chai is disgusting to me and I can’t seem to drink a regular cup of tea for the life of me these days, but coffee with milk and chocolate? Yep. Bring it. But again, sitting here kicking myself doesn’t do a whole lot of good. I just need to take it one cup/day at a time, knowing that if I can just get through the next couple-few weeks, I will in fact feel human again and I won’t be drowning in laundry and dirty dishes (*snort* yes I will, but at least I might actually feel up to doing something about it), and won’t be so snappy and snippy. At least I sure hope that is the case. Oof. 

PPMS

So at the end of last week, afterI shared my previously written post, I thought things were actually on the ups. I mean, come the weekend, I survived our first Saturday Soccer Morning Shenanigans (we are coaching two kids on one team while a third kiddo is on a different team and naturally everything happened at the exact same time on far opposite sides of the field space for round one) AND Easter festivities on Sunday and was actually feeling OK. Not quite so much face-on-concrete, which is nice, you know? I was all Heck yeah, this B6 is working! 

But then the week came and I have been huffing and puffing my way through the nausea and back to waking up for hours on end during the mid-to-early-morning part of night and just Blergh. I’m not doing so great. Like any other human, I get cranky when I’m behind on sleep. When you add in the “nothing sounds good to eat and that I’m having a hard time swallowing water much less my little vitamin that’s supposed to keep me from urping” factor, I am not a terribly pleasant person these days. I never am in the first (and last, and maybe middle) part of pregnancy, and darn it – my oldest two are definitely old enough this time around for Pissy Pregnant Mommy* Syndrome to stick in their little memories.  *Note the use of my non-preferred mom name there, although I get called a little bit of everything by my children, including “ma’am” which is pretty funny. I’m using it here because I’d like to think this is my evil twin mom persona and therefore should not contain the actual word “mama” in it. Have I mentioned that pregnancy makes me both cranky and crazy?

So anyway. Interesting week around here. Back to more of the face-across-concrete to get through the daily routine, not to mention the finishing of a semester in adjunct world and the maintaining of a new business and a house and yeah. Don’t get me wrong. These are all wonderful blessings. Even the extreme exhaustion and 24/7 icks in my tummy are good because I know every single day brings me closer to not only 14 Weeks when I’ll start to feel human again, but also to meeting this newest sweet peanut and while I obviously would give back the tireds and the tummy troubles, I wouldn’t actually trade this opportunity for anything in the world.

And, to be fair, not all has been lost this week. In fact, today, Lincoln and I had the sweetest darn moment when he was helping me clean the house (because I had to, people, NOT because this was anywhere on my actual list of wants or even priorities) and I thanked him, mid-load of carrying crap from one room to another, and he responded, “We’re a great team, Mommy!!!!” (see, he’s one who “mommy”s me a lot and therefore I don’t hate it, but you know a name’s a name, and I just like “mama” better), which melted my cranky heart right to puddles (and even, almost, made up for the massive fit he threw later in the day when we had to return an overdue library book that he very much wanted to keep forever and ever and always, apparently).

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Zero bits to do with the post, except that it’s a great shot of Lincoln showing off the bird feeder he made this week at preschool. Again, heart melted. 

So it will probably go for the next 5-30 weeks. We’ll have our moments of crankiness and we’ll have our moments of sweetness, and somehow we’ll get from one chore to the next and one week to the next and not all will be lost. Not even when I’m at my crankiest and my craziest, because we are in fact all a very good team.

Hiding No More

I haven’t blogged in a long time. Well, only once in the last couple-ish weeks, which for me that is a very big stretch, but as it turns out I have a very good reason for my quietness – mainly, the fact that I am growing a whole new person right now (and also because I am so damn tired and can’t stay awake during the day so who has time to blog, but that is a direct result of growing said tiny new person, so we’ll just leave it at that).

Yeppers – as I’m sure many of you saw on the good old FB, we are expecting Welschie No.5 in November (Yes, the kiddos are excited! Lincoln was mostly excited to eat his cookie, but you know – still excited!). img_5814And yes, by some people’s standards it is early to share that news, but we’ve always been early tellers and are you kidding me? Between this being the 5th and the fact that I am still nursing the 4th a wee bit and have to eat to function as a human being myself, there is no hiding this belly for another four-five weeks. No way (and that’s OK – glorious, even!). But because I have been trying to hide it for the last few weeks, my writing has dipped because I am so accustomed to writing about what is happening in my life right this minute, and that’s hard to do when you aren’t telling very many people what’s actually going on with you.

Not that some of them probably didn’t guess (so help me sweet baby Jesus if anyone actually says to me ‘I thought so’ and glances at my belly as saying it. I don’t care if my tummy did give me away but there are ZERO circumstances in which I actually want to hear that it did. OK? OK.). I had a bizarre number of social engagements in the last few weeks, all of which involved the option to have a drink, and for the one particular friend who saw me at all three, well, upon hearing the news this week she said, “Well I know you’re not a big drinker, but I did wonder if something was up!” And my yogis? Oh my gosh – I felt like they could totally tell right away too, because yoga pants are stretchy but not miracle workers, plus I instantly stopped doing certain moves/got super winded while talking and yeaaaaah – all those things.

But now the belly is out of hiding and I can go back to writing and instructing and all the things as a normal mama-of-5 to-be. WHOA. I’m not sure how many people will find that to be a normal thing, but we are so excited and can’t wait to meet him/her. I also can’t wait to start feeling a little bit better because it’s hard to be raising 4 and growing 1 more and doing all the others jobs I have at home and outside of home and be so low on energy. I’ve started some supplements that I hope help calm the 24/7 queasies (no really – my tummy has been waking me at all hours of the night the last few weeks not to actually get sick but to lay there and wonder – for hours – if I might), and – to amend the earlier statement from above – Truman is now done nursing. He chose not to crawl in my lap Wednesday morning for his normal wake-up feeding and I didn’t fight it. Today we skipped it too, so that show is now closed and I think that will also help how I am feeling on a regular basis.

Also, as a random side/end note – reading back over this today (I wrote it probably a week and a half ago-ish?) shows me just how cranky and defensive I get during pregnancy, not to mention the first trimester. Oof. But, reality, so there ya go.  A little blog with a whole lot of truth.  img_5828

Consequence

You know those parenting moments where you’re not sure if you are punishing yourself or your children? Chalk this one up in that column because my kiddos have officially lost Kindle, and quite possibly for the rest of the week, if not longer.

I found out this morning, shortly before HD’s pick up for school came, that the reason he and his siblings have been playing soooo nicely and soooo peacefully and sooooooooooo long downstairs in the morning post-breakfast is because they’ve been playing Kindle instead of just playing. AYFKM?!

OK. Some back story. A lot of mornings, they do have their hands on a Kindle but it’s for music only. They are my children, HD especially, and Spotify is going pretty much always for one of us during any given day, so sure – music in the morning is fine by me, even when it means I have to listen to the same 5 KidzBop songs 10,000x. Whatevs. But they aren’t supposed to be playing anything on the games side and not even messing with the device even, just letting it play.

You see, contrary to what some people believe who hear him speak (because it is the No.1 thing he talks about ALL THE BLESSED TIME), Harrison is NOT on the Kindle 24/7. We have set times when playing Angry Birds/games is allowed and it is limited. Again, you wouldn’t know that based on how much of his conversations his levels and the games tend to carry, but I promise you. It’s not Free Reign over here.

So imagine my BLERGH when they told me – all on their own, mind you – what they’ve been up to the last three mornings. Not exactly a happy mama, I kept my cool and told them I would think about and discuss with their dad their consequence, but they would likely be loosing Kindle. They were proud of themselves for not lying when questioned, I think, but since they already know the rules, I’m not sure that’s really a victory or a source of pride.

Not three minutes later, HD followed me into the kitchen and started talking about how he wouldn’t care if he lost Kindle because it’s not like the new level opens up today. That’s tomorrow and so and so on. Now, in his defense, it was 100% sass-free talk. It was merely matter of fact statements. Ones that just happened to tip me over the edge, though, and now no, he will not be having Kindle today or tomorrow and possibly not until next week. I’m not nursing Truman as much during the day anymore (actually, not at all during the day – just once when he wakes up in the morning), so I no longer need Mommy’s Little Helper to keep the children occupied during that late-afternoon post-school feeding. And they need to know that the rules are the rules, even when they make it way harder for me to get sh!t done during their waking hours. Dang it.

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