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.

img_5770

3-5 = 35

Before you get after my math there in the title, let me explain. Remember the challenge I set for myself back in December? The one where I would do the yoga at least 3x a week and the meditation at least 5x a week for approximately 3.5 months? Well, that time frame has suddenly come to a lightning quick end with today, my 35th birthday. Ca-ca-crazy, huh?

Even crazier (awesome)? I did it! With the exception of two bouts of illness, I kept on track and rocked the heck out of this self-care routine and I am so, so glad I did. Getting through the holidays and starting a new semester while also starting a new business on top of momming meant the start of 2017 was intense. It would have been pretty easy to spiral into a giant stress ball, and truth be told, I probably still did a bit on some days. But the challenge and the accountability calendars kept me going and kept me tending to ME in the midst of all the others, which, as you all know, is incredibly important.

 

You have to have your own back. And you have to do whatever it takes to keep you having it. For me that was totally the tracking system. As visual as I am, these were essential reminders and motivators over the last few months.

Side note? See all those Wednesdays I skipped in February? Bad idea. Wednesdays are honking busy days for us – short day of school, after school church stuff, one of my lecture nights on campus – and I felt like I was dragging myself into most Thursdays that month like “I did it! I survived!” which is good but not the best approach. So even though I didn’t practice one or the other every Wednesday in March, I tried to do at least a little more preemptive care because whoa – hectic overload in February. I don’t know that I would have noticed this pattern/bad habit if not for the calendars front and center to display it.

What happens from here? Well, I think I’ve got a new challenge in mind, but I’m still figuring out the specifics. It will definitely still include as much meditation as reasonably possible, and yoga too, of course, but as the weather improves, I’d like to start including some walking and other strength training in there too. That way, even when I run into days when it’s hard to find time to roll out my mat, I can still get some good in that’s just for me.

Ahhhh, 35. You came faster than I ever could have imagined by wow, do I think there is great potential for you to be the most transformative year yet. But yes, stickers are still totally going to be needed, because some parts of a person never grow up!

 

 

Stage Five Clingers

I’m not sure what’s floating through the air this week, but holy moly cow, suddenly ALL of my children have turned into Velcro Babies! What gives?!

Now, with the actual baby (can you still call an 18mo a baby? ‘cuz I am.), this sort of makes sense. We’ve been out and about around new-ish people more in the last week than the last few months, so perhaps that is part of it. He’s a happy and friendly little guy but you can tell there’s a little bit of stranger danger happening, as he likes to view new faces from the safety of our arms and collarbones/necks. I mean, that’s fine. I get it. He’s also been crashing and bashing like crazy lately, so maybe he’s clingy because he’s sick of ricocheting off of furniture and walls and doorways? I don’t know, but yesterday went off the charts where he would NOT let me put him down nor could I sit down with him in my arms. I’m sorry. I may still be calling you a baby, but you are NOT a newborn!! This is not fair!!

It’s the other children that are leaving me a bit baffled. They are crawling on top of me and clinging to me at rates that I haven’t seen in ages. All of them! The crawling on top of people is not exactly new – they do it to each other so often that I frequently tell people I birthed a litter of puppies over the course of 6 years because they like to roll around on top of each other so much. But adding Mama to the mix? Well, that’s a little different.

img_5703

Now, make no mistakes about it, I love the extra snuggles. “Mama, hug?!” might just be my favorite phrase ever to hear any time of any day. But it’s the fact that they seem to think they need to be with me ALL. THE. TIME. – even when they are doing their Kindle time – that’s getting to me. You see, it’s my Spring Break week and while I’ve enjoyed the nights off, I don’t really feel like I’ve accomplished much because it’s hard to hear yourself think when a Little or two is next to you playing Kindle while you are trying to work (or relax). It is this form of clinging that I’m not sure I can handle. Not unless I order some headphones for all of us. That would actually help a ton, but seems a little excessive, don’t you think?

So – for whatever reason – we seem to have a case of the Spring Clings. The cuddles I’ll keep. The all-the-live-long-day proximity? Eeeeeh. I might continue (to try!) to pass.

WTH (have I kept all these clothes?)?!

Since I can already tell, perhaps I should warn you – this is going to be one of those posts…one that skips around a bit and touches on everything from organizing my house to airing out body image struggles. Now that last bit is something I’ve written about here before but haven’t updated on in quite some time, and today feels like the day for it. So here goes.

In the grand scheme of things, body image and self-talk have improved. When I have bad days, or rather, bad moments, I’m able to be more gracious with myself and talk through them in a more kind and compassionate way. That doesn’t mean, however, that I don’t let the supposed opinions of others still creep in from time to time. This mostly relates to my belly and the fact that I’m still convinced that I could look pregnant just about any given day and that other people must see and wonder about that, too, but oh, well. I think you all know by now that if I had news like that to share, I would.

The times that I have struggled the most with feeling dissatisfied have been on several teaching nights when I’ve pulled out old dress pants, assuming I could wear them again.

Um, wrong.

The first time this happened I was all WTH is going on here? My jeans fit. I feel pretty good most days AND I’ve been doing the work of the consistent yoga and meditation practices which typically helps keep these monsters at bay. So why do these pants make me feel like this (never mind why my pants have any power at all….)?! And then it struck me: I have not bought new dress pants since Harrison was a baby. And even then, just a pair or two, which means that ALL the rest of my professional wardrobe exists from the days of pre-childbirth, and in some cases, even pre-married life!

How had I not realized this before? Because my adjunct life has been so spotty, taking several full semesters off, and even half of the semesters that I have taught in the last 5+ years have actually been while I was pregnant, so I was wearing maternity stuff anyway, not trying to fit into pants that once hung on hips that hadn’t yet carried a baby (or four).

So why the heck have I kept them? Two reasons, I suppose. For one thing, who wants to buy new pants when you have a closet full of perfectly decent ones? For a second, who doesn’t delude themselves into thinking Oh, sure – those will totally fit again someday! ?

But the time came, today, when I said enough. After a second pair of pants tried last week to sabotage all of my progress, I realized it was time to quit hanging on to pants and meet myself (and my hips) where I am now. This morning I went through my closets and pulled out all the pants with those pretty littles 6s on them and said, Nope. Maybe I’ll fit in that size again someday, but there is nothing wrong with my shape or size as it stands now, and I will set some money aside so I can find pants that actually reflect that feeling and belief. Numbers on tags be damned.

img_5612I came up with a stack big enough, including skirts and few tops and – gasp – the dress I wore to my undergraduate graduation, to fill up an entire jumbo diaper box with stuff. My plan is to take it all to the Career Closet at the YWCA so other women can have access to the same goods I had when my full-time career required such garb, and it is my sincere hope that they feel as confidant wearing those clothes as I once did.

As for me, well, this work continues. I don’t want my pants to rule my perception of self, and I’m making strides there. Cutting ties to what once was is a positive action for me. Because there is nothing – nothing – wrong with this body and what it and I have done together. I will strive to cover it in pieces that help me honor instead of doubt that. And if it means freeing up some space in closets, well all the better.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What Do You THINX?

OK, friends. I wanted to just put this TMI-related question on Facebook, but I guess I’ll keep it slightly more private-ish (ha- nothing on the Internet is private) by using the blog instead. And let’s be clear, I’m really just talking to the ladies out there. Why? I’ll give you two words: Feminine Products.

I need some help. I really want to move away from disposable products, for a number of reasons. In that spirit, I bought (when I was still pregnant with Trumy) a menstrual cup. I’d heard a lot of good things about them and one of my best friends is a huge proponent, so I thought, sure! Yes! Let’s do this!

But then, when my cycle came back, I was not interested. It seemed like too much work.

When it became clear that my period was going to keep coming each month (boo? yay?), I continued to drag my feet. For months. And then, finally, at the very end of last year, I watched some tutorials and begrudgingly gave it a whirl.

It wasn’t a raging success, but it wasn’t a total disaster, either, and I’ve been told that there is a bit of a learning curve, so I was still kind of down with the idea, at least in theory.

And while I’ve tried it a couple more times since then, you guys (women), I just can’t do it. I don’t know if this is me physically or mentally or what, but I am STRUGGLING with the darn thing.

So my next reusable product that I am eyeing is period underwear, specifically Thinx (which you can learn more about at Shethinx.com).  Way less learning curve, just more laundry. I’m already drowning in laundry, so what’t the big deal there?

img_5595
This has zero bits to do with the post; it is simply just me, tonight. 🙂 

All of this leads me to my question and the reason for this post -do any of you use this kind of product? Do you have reviews or recommendations? It’s got to be a HECK of a lot easier than the cups, but is it worth the investment?

I’d love to hear what you think or what your experience has been. And feel free to PM me because I get it – TMI all over the place with this one!

I Still Wonder Every Day If We Will Have Another Baby

This morning, in my FB memories, a baby bump photo popped up; after all the belly watches we have done in the last eight years, this is not a rare occurrence. What was crazy to me about this one though, was that it was a sizeable Trumy bump and it said TWO years ago as the date. How is that even possible?!, I wondered.

But it is, because yesterday TJ hit the 18th month mark, just like that! And yes, we are still nursing which continues to be, on a daily basis, a world record for me, which I am quite proud of. I can’t help but wonder, however, if this new record is why I find myself every month still not pregnant and questioning how I actually feel about that.

Can I get pregnant nursing? Yes. Lincoln is literal proof of such. But twice (for both RL and TJ to make appearances), I had to be done. We had tried for months (and months) while I was still nursing HD and LT but it wasn’t until they gave up the boob that I was able to actually get pregnant. So is that what is happening again here? Maybe. Maybe not. A lot has changed and a lot is going on in our lives right now.

For one, I’m staring down 35 like none other. I’ve also started my own business and taken on WAY more work outside the home than ever before. To say that my body has shifted with hormones and stress levels since the last time I tried to get pregnant is a gross understatement. This is totally uncharted territory.

And then it comes back down to the question of do we want this or are we good? I mean, duh. I know we are GOOD. We are way blessed with our four beautiful and healthy children. They work me up daily but they also fill my heart to bursting with love on the daily, too. Am I really ready and willing to add more strain to our situation knowing that, if pregnant, I could feel miserable or even better, get super super sick again like I did with all the others besides Truman?

And what about nursing? For reasons I’m not really able to articulate, I’m not willing to kick Trumy off the boob like I was with the other boys. Also, that’s not entirely true. I didn’t kick them off; I just jumped at the chance when they showed signs of stopping which I clearly have not done this time around.

img_5472Today we had Truman’s 18 month check-up (our normally happy baby hated it, as you can see) and it struck me that for only the second time, I was taking a baby to one of those and I wasn’t also pregnant with the next. The fact that I’m noticing that, much less struggling with a little bit, answers my question of Will we or won’t we? for me, but in 10 minutes, I might take note of the independence that all of my children are gaining each day and be grateful for it. We are seriously close to being light years away from stages of sleep and naps and breastfeeding that are really hard. There would honestly be a sense of relief in that, you know? But then check in with  me tonight or tomorrow and I’ll be back to hoping that I don’t get my period this month.

I share all of this for a couple reasons. One, I know some of you are wondering. This is the time when we are usually announcing another Little Welschie on the way, and it’s not like I’ve kept our indecision quiet thanks to the blog here. But I also share it because I have to think that I’m not the only one who has been in this limbo or felt like a crazy person for being here.

I so thought I would know when I was done. I hear people say that a lot. So if I don’t know, I must not be, right? Or maybe I’m just in denial and that ship has sailed. I share this not to belittle the blessings we have already been given but to say that, once again, knowing what is right and was is not as a parent continues to be a learning process.

We Are Living in a Toddler’s World

And it is a scary, scary place. Actually, for him, I think it is quite fun and entertaining, but from the standpoint of the person mostly responsible in the day-to-day for keeping him from a) hurting himself and b) destroying every blessed thing in sight, we are are struggling.

Am I alone in thinking that with each new stage of independence/mobility, a different side of the personality comes out, too? I have a feeling this will continue all the way through parenthood (i.e. when they start to drive, leave for college, etc.), but it certainly rings true in my world in The Tunnel as of late.

Now that Trumy is officially upright and mobile, and trust me it’s not walking – it’s running – I feel like most of my time spent with him when he’s awake is an even split between feeding him (he’s growing so much lately, it seems) and keeping him from danger. I’ve had friends tell me in the past that their kiddo was a wrecking ball as a toddler and the image always made me chuckle a bit, I thought sympathetically, but nope – I did not truly understand that term until now.

The biggest problem is that what TJ thinks of as danger (nothing) is not the same as what I see as danger (um, everything?). Let me give you some examples:

He LOVES to climb up on anything he can and even when he’s on the floor, he’s got my img_5405crazy long arms that LOVE to reach up and pull whatever they possibly can from any and all tables and counters and surfaces. This means no ones’ cups or plates are safe if left too close to the edge of the table when he is loose, and don’t get me started on the piles of school papers that he keeps spreading all over the kitchen floor before I get a chance to deal with them.

He LOVES to get into the bathroom where he inevitably sticks his hand in the toilet if someone was forgetful enough to close the lid (*ahem* everyone but me) and also LOVES to get up by the sink to mess around with the sink itself (which, let’s face it, probably isn’t the cleanest spot) and/or the toothbrushes.

He LOVES to throw shit down the laundry chute. In the last month I have found so many toys and books and shoes and food items mixed in with my laundry; while it makes life a bit more interesting when doing the wash, it is less cool when it involves a sibling’s shoe that is MIA before school the next day (or three days later and we still haven’t found the thing).

He LOVES to throw shit in the trash, too. Now, that wouldn’t be such a bad deal if he actually restricted himself to putting trash in the trash, but oh no. A toddler’s mind is not wired that way, and mostly he LOVES to put whatever he wants in there (and sees nothing wrong with trying to retrieve things, either).

img_5338He LOVES to rip things. Dang it. I have always been so lucky in the past when it comes to kids and books, but No.4 is giving me a run for my bibliophile money because he KEEPS. RIPPING. PAGES. No, Baby!

He LOVES cords. And turning off power strips. And basically any other manner of electronic thing he SHOULD NOT BE TOUCHING.

So, OK. I’ll stop there. Not all of that is dangerous, but it does feel very Wrecking Ball-like, and it is wearing me out. Literally. My back and my right shoulder are sore from all the scooping up/retrieving of him that I have to do in any given day to keep him away from these (and other) potential hazards/problems.

Obviously I am thrilled with his walking and his development. And I even don’t mind the mischievous grins on his adorable little face when he’s pulling this crap, at least not most of the time. But I am questioning just how far I can go before this 4th Kid wears me down into the Oh Just Do Whatever You Want Stage.

Considering that he’d ransack the house and hurt himself in the process means that even once I’m there, I still can’t let up on the vigilance.