Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Gotta Have A Gimmick

So here’s the thing.  With pretty much every pregnancy of mine, somewhere towards the middle to end I get the itchy feet.  Not literally.  I’m not over here hopping around with Athlete’s Foot or anything.  I get antsy.  Slowly, the physical things I can put myself through diminish.  They become fewer and fewer until it’s all I can do to get out of bed and go through the motions.  That’s the bitter end usually.  As that starts to happen I start to develop delusions of grandeur.  Usually this involves running.  A 5K, 10K, marathon, whatever.  As I dream of this, though, there is a voice in the back of my head reminding me “dude…you hate running.”  I mean, it’s whispered but I can still hear it.  Yes, it’s true, I hate running.  I really want to like it, though.

This time, however, as I am a day away from being 18 weeks, the itch has begun but it’s not running I’m thinking of.  Usually I don’t start to think of things I physically can’t do until…well, I physically can’t do them.  There’s not really anything like that yet.  Almost at the halfway mark and I’m still working out every week.  Maybe not as many times as I was six months ago, but I’m still there doing Zumba and lifting weights. 

People still can’t really tell that I’m pregnant, which is actually kind of disconcerting.  I rant on this a good bit because I don’t really understand it.  With all of my other pregnancies I started out weighing between 150 and 160, overweight by medical and statistical standards.  I would gain very little weight, have an average size baby, and two weeks later weigh ten pounds less than I started.  It was a great thing.  My body seems to have the innate ability to use everything I have already in stock before it starts requiring outside inventory.  Every other time, though, I was showing by now, and that’s even with having been overweight.  My mother insists that I was not overweight, but I’m 5’4.”  That is not tall enough to comfortably weigh 160 unless you can also bench press 160.  I could not.  Sorry, I was overweight.  I’m ok with it, you should be, too.

A year ago I began recording my weight and measurements, started using MyFitnessPal to log what I was eating and keep track of the calories, and I started to lose weight.  All it took was a conscious effort and it started happening.  When I started doing that on August 19, 2011 I weighed 152.  When I got pregnant in May of this year I weighed 132.  Granted still ten pounds shy of my goal, but I’m not really sure even now what that might’ve looked like. 

The point is I weighed about 20-30 pounds less than I usually do upon getting pregnant.  I needed to prepare myself for what my body might be about to do.  Surely, I wouldn’t gain such minimal weight this time around because there wasn’t excess laying around for my body to use.  I figured I’d start gaining weight pretty early on and start showing a lot sooner, this being my fourth and all.  Oh, life, you continue to teach me that I really don’t know crap.

I have kept recording my measurements every month and I let my doctor’s office watch my weight.  As of my last week’s appointment I have gained 16.5 inches and LOST two pounds.  WTF?  If you understand that, then please explain it in the comments.  So I’ve gotten bigger and yet I’ve lost weight.  See why I’m so baffled?  And to top it off, I still don’t need maternity clothes and most people have no idea that I’m pregnant.  Though I believe I am now at the point where it looks like I’m just getting chubby.  Everyone’s least favorite phase of pregnancy.  So maybe, just maybe, I’ll be showing my Thanksgiving.

I know it sounds like I’m just bitching and that the women who gain 50 pounds would love to have my problem.  I asked the doctor last week if my weight was anything to be concerned about.  My weight has been the same up to last week where it dipped slightly.  His answer made me recall that this guy is a hippie.  He said he wasn’t worried and then he said he’d tell me the story of one of his favorite patients.  He said that this woman got pregnant and started off not feeling well so she lost 70 pounds.  Not 7, SEVENTY.  He had to clarify that number.  Meanwhile I didn’t think I had misheard him, I was just noting that she had seventy pounds to spare.  He said then she started to feel better and she gained 140 pounds.  So in my head I’m thinking, so she actually just gained 70 pounds total.  He went on and said that you’d think that severe weight loss and then gain would have hurt the baby, but she had a perfectly healthy seven pound baby.  So my inner monologue is commenting that she must’ve still had like sixty pounds to lose.  I know that’s not why he told me that, but it’s just where my head goes.  So clearly he’s not going to worry about my paltry little two pound weight loss.  My body is totally efficient, perhaps a little too efficient, but it takes care of itself pretty much without my knowledge or consent.

I realize I’ve gotten off on quite the tangent here.  I’ve written a post within a post.  It’s postception.  Enjoy your two for one blog entry!

Annnnnnyway…

My crazy thing I’m planning for my fourth and final pregnancy?  Nope, it’s not running.  It’s burlesque.  Let me just clarify briefly here, that Cher-Christina Aguilera movie that came out a few years ago?  That is not burlesque.  That’s just a big flashy movie that people didn’t watch.  Real burlesque roots go back to the turn of the century.  Wait…two turns of the century?  Not this last one, the one before.  It has enjoyed a revival in the last twenty years thanks to entertainers like Dita Von Teese.  Even if you don’t know burlesque, you know who Dita is.

Burlesque troops have sprung up in key places like Vegas, New York and Texas among others, resurrecting and reinventing burlesque.  Sadly, Atlanta has not really taken up the call to burlesque.  It’s not the hub that Austin or Dallas is, though it really could be.  Burlesque is comedy, and music, and of course, girls.  Have you got where I’m going with this yet?

I know that you’ve probably never even heard of someone saying that after they have their fourth child they’re going to embark on a career of scantily clad dancing.  Don’t worry; I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone say it either.  So I’m the first!  Hard to equate this with running 26.2 miles, isn’t it?  It’s challenging in so many more ways.  Not only do you have to be in pretty good shape, you have to be creative, you have to dance, you have to have confidence, and most importantly you have to be able to accept your body.  That’s the great thing about burlesque.  Some of the best performers are not the rail thin, socially sought after forms.  These are girls that have a little something to them, and their confidence in that makes them so much more awesome.

I know also that a lot of people are probably going to be terribly disenchanted and unhappy by my admission of what I want to do, maybe even disgusted.  That’s ok.  I’m not doing it for them.  I’m doing it for me.  Every (or at least most) mother knows what it’s like to have to put yourself last.  Not because you want to, but because it’s what has got to be done.  At my house, everyone eats before I even think about feeding myself.  Kids, husband, whoever.  Kids get clothes and shoes first.  Necessities are first, wants are last, and Mommy’s wants are dead last.  If we don’t do it, no one will.  Trust me, too, when I say that I will not see my kids go hungry or cold just so that I can have those new giant ostrich feather fans.  We have to put ourselves first sometimes, though.  Do I intend to make this into a career?  Only if it does it all by itself.  I’m not about to slap on some pasties and go looking for an agent or anything.

I know this will probably be looked down upon, kinda like some people sneer at the people with a bunch of tattoos or multicolored hair.  I do hope, though, that someone might be able to see this as a positive thing and encourage it. 

Of course there’s always the chance that this is just something to content myself with while I’m pregnant.  Heard about me running any marathons?  Yeah, me neither.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Damn You, Otis Spunkmeyer

So school is in full swing, yes?  Have you been hit with the first fundraiser of the year yet?  Well, it’s coming, baby.  School started the second week of August around here and we the first fundraiser has already come and gone.  One primary school received the materials on the FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL.  Damn, that’s a tad early, isn’t it?  And what were they selling?  Cookie dough.  Tubs of cookie dough.  I hope I’m not the only parent that saw this and said “…why?”

I remember getting the catalogs for fundraisers when I was in the third or fourth grade.  I didn’t ever really pass them along except for the sporadic half-hearted sales pitch to a grandparent.  It was usually a Sally Foster fundraiser and the items for purchase were shiny foil wrapping paper bedecked with snowmen, sometimes some candles, and of course the tins of little chocolate teddy bears and peanut butter cups.  There was always a little flip-through of samples of the wrapping paper so that you could see what you were paying $38 for, although they didn’t tell you that it didn’t come on a roll and that it was about six square feet of paper folded into a square.

I can remember going through the catalog and circling the tins and boxes of ‘gourmet’ chocolates that I wanted.  There were usually those peanut butter cups that just never did taste like Reese’s, chocolate covered pretzels, chocolate covered peanuts, maybe buckeyes, and those chocolate turtles.  They just looked so good surrounded by holiday d├ęcor on their cut glass pedestals.  Sadly, though, when they finally came 6-8 weeks later they were sealed inside their plastic bag inside the tin, each about as big as a silver dollar, and there were only eight of them.  It only left you to wonder, what did I (my mother) pay for this?!  And they were gone before the first commercial of Xena: Warrior Princess.  Sigh.

Throughout my school years I saw a few different fundraisers, even fewer that I actually participated in.  In middle school band the big money maker was always the candy sale.  Once a year or so each band member was given a cardboard briefcase with an assortment of chocolate. To be sold at one dollar a piece.  I don’t think any adult saw just quite how dangerous this was.  You’re giving a bunch of 12 year olds one hundred candy bars and telling them to sell them.  Not once on the box or the paperwork does it say “Do Not Eat Your Fundraiser.”  Generally, that’s how the majority of this gets sold.  Perhaps those in charge knew EXACTLY what they were doing.

We were given this haul to sell, presumably door to door.  I know of very few people who ever did that.  Your biggest sales demographic was in the cafeteria.  After having eaten what they could of that day’s soy burger, your classmates would turn to you, the peddler of the only known REAL food in the room.  Once word got out that the band was selling candy again, kids would come at you as though you were a crack dealer.  Hands full of spare change were offered up, crumpled dollar bills, and occasionally tens and twenties as well.  Then the school passed the rule that you couldn’t sell at lunch so it was back to eating it all yourself.  Except for the Zero bars, those were the ones you either ate last or not at all.

High school band fundraisers started to get a little weirder.  Once our band partnered with an independent candle maker.  For just five dollars you could have a candle that reminded you of Christmas snow, a rendition of a Victoria’s Secret perfume, or your Grandma’s apple pie, provided that she ever made one.  Around Valentine’s Day we had to volunteer to sell heart-shaped fudge in an abandoned corner of the mall.  After I graduated, they started hocking cheesecakes and then, of course, the cookie dough.  The same damn cookie dough they told my kids to sell just a few weeks ago.

My niece goes to the same school as my boys and word had gotten to my mother about the cookie dough sale.  She demanded to know why I had not asked her to buy some as I stood with my hetero life-mate perusing razors at Wal-Mart. Uhhhh…I don’t know?  Actually, I did know.

When each of my sons brought home the order forms for the cookie dough I told myself right then that this was not something I was going to do.  Why, you ask?  Why would I not take advantage of the opportunity to help out my kids’ school?  Well, friend, I’ll tell you why.  Because I’m not going to ask, let alone insist, that anyone buy a product that I myself would not buy.  I would not pay $16 for a container of dough that would make just 36 cookies.  That’s $2.25 per cookie, as my handy calculator tells me.  Just…no.  I can make them a lot cheaper than that.  Granted, they would not have the Otis Spunkmeyer brand of approval, though.

My mother then informed me that it was the grandparents’ job to buy from these fundraisers.  I countered that I wasn’t about to try to convince her to buy two pounds of raw cookie dough; it’s inane.  I won’t do it.  I went on to say that when they sell something that someone might actually want I will get in on it. 

That’s the thing, too.  If you work in an office setting, you will eventually be accosted by a coworker whose kid is selling something.  I always hated the kids whose parents did that.  I wouldn’t ask my mother to do that; I felt like it was cheating.  I was under the mistaken impression that this was something we were supposed to do by ourselves.  No, no, the real goal here was to sell as much of that crap as you possibly could, no matter who was asking strangers to buy it. 

I never want to be the parent who starts sentences with “My kid is having this fundraiser at school…”  Maybe that makes me a bad parent.  I remain firm, however, in that I will not advertise a product that I myself would not buy.  Unless there is a great deal of money involved.  For me.

  Has your child already been given fundraiser paraphernalia?

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Stylin' and Profilin'

What is your Mom style?  Ever thought about it?  Of course you have, because magazines are always displaying pictures of celebrity moms and outlining their style.  Are you the soccer Mom?  Are you the cool Mom?  Or are you the dreaded yoga pants Mom?

I am none of these, though I feel that I may fall more closely in line with the soccer Mom than any other.  As I was looking at one of the afore mentioned articles online today, naturally I started thinking about how I dress, or rather how I dress when I show up at my kids’ school.  Most often I am dressed for work and that for me entails jeans and usually some type of solid color tee.  That’s me, that’s how I dress.  It’s not that I wouldn’t like to dress nicer, but since I work in a warehouse m the position doesn’t really lend itself to a wrap dress and heels.  If I can’t climb up into a forklift wearing it, I’m not wearing it.  Hot, I know.

I would like to start wearing nicer clothes but there are so many reasons that I can’t that it’s not even funny.  Firstly, I can’t afford to just go buy nice, new clothes.  If I get to buy new clothes they had better be functional and they had better last.  Next, why am I buying these clothes?  Just to wear when I pick up or drop off the boys at school?  Seriously.  That provides its own comments and I won’t enumerate them.  Lastly, even if I did for some reason come up with the money to buy nicer clothes , the first impression window has closed.

You know what I’m talking about here.  I’ve already seen these people daily for over a month now, longer in Sully’s case, and they see how I dress on average.  If I suddenly show up with my brood wearing a pencil skirt and a button down, maybe even with jewelry God forbid, they’re going to wonder what’s up.  Perhaps not out loud or to me directly but they’ll wonder.  What has prompted the wardrobe change?  Job interview?  Funeral?  Lottery winnings?  It would just seem a little odd to now all of a sudden change my whole style. 

To be honest, I wear what I’m comfortable in and because it suits my lifestyle presently.  If somewhere down the road I no longer work somewhere that requires the use of a pallet jack then maybe I’ll get the opportunity to dress a little nicer.  Hopefully it won’t seem out of character. 

Really, though, if I did win the lottery I’m pretty sure I’d be wearing the same kind of clothes, just maybe have a few extra pairs of jeans and some non-holey sneakers.

Monday, September 10, 2012

This. Is. Craverland.

Today there will be more than one post up for your perusal, if all goes according to my plan.   The first one is now, obviously.  The second will probably be this evening.  It’s a special day and you’ll learn why later.

So I thought I’d do a little state of the union here in Craverland.   DeathMetalMommyville, if you will.  It is a time in which I am profoundly glad that I’m sure two-thirds of my kids will not remember.  Things are…stressful.  Not really so much for them, but there’s no way that it doesn’t affect them somehow.  Connor and Sully go to school every day, and Connor is never happy it’s the weekend as there is no school.  Sully is progressing and Connor gets in trouble about weekly for fighting.  Sigh.  He’s four, he doesn’t get it.

Lily is bouncy and happy and getting funnier every day.  She even had two successful trips to the potty yesterday sporting her new Hello Kitty panties, which she insists on taking off while she’s sitting there.  Lily is not a problem.  The problem is what to do with her.  I can’t afford daycare and there is no longer anyone to watch her at home during the day.  Dave has gotten a job (that he is doing completely awesome at, might I add) and so has Uncle Sean, Lily’s second favorite man o’ the house.  They work at the same place and pretty much the same hours.

Much as I hate it, I had to ask my parents to watch Lily all last week and they did it because they are fantastic grandparents and knew that I would probably have a nervous breakdown if they didn’t.  Oh, it’s coming.  However, I may have found someone to watch her who does not charge as much as all the other daycares.  She was formerly a nanny to a doctor and she lives a few houses away from us.  It’s just the paying part that I worry about.

Since there is no one at the house during the day that means there’s no one to pick the boys up from school either.  After school care is offered at the school and is a lot of fun for them.  However, it also costs money.  About $35 a week for them both.  I remember there being after school care when I was a kid, but I had no idea it cost money.  Why would I?  Money is not something that occurs to a kid and that’s probably for the best.  I don’t want my kids to be aware of our money troubles at all because I don’t want them to worry.

I can remember being in elementary school , and my sister informing me that our parents were not doing well on money at all.  After that I constantly worried about it.  I didn’t exactly know how to worry about something like that because it was a number game to which I did not have the numbers.  My head just worried “we don’t have enough money.”  I never want my kids to think like that, even if it does happen to be true.  That’s the parents’ job to deal with, not the kids.

On top of all that, I can never seem to make headway on any chores.  There is so much laundry that I don’t think it is actually possible for it all to be clean at one time.  I really don’t believe it.  Our dishwasher hasn’t worked in months so now I’m the dishwasher and, sorry, I don’t do it every day.  Yes, I know that’s awful, but I’m rarely home!  When I am, the kids are, too, and they need to be attended.

So, no, the dishwasher is no longer functional.  It gets better.  Saturday night I went to toss a couple of grilled cheesers together for supper and noticed that when I went to ignite the burner on the stove it wasn’t clicking.  I could smell gas, but nothing was happening.  I looked up and noticed that the clock on the oven was off as well.  None of the appliances plugged into the power strip on that wall were working.  Of those, the oven and refrigerator.  Of course, the two main appliances aren’t working.  I had to call Dave where we was working at the track in Woodstock and tell him.  He told me to flip this switch, unplug this, turn this off, reset that, plug it back in.  None of it worked.  A breaker wasn’t tripped either.  He said he’d look at it when he came home.  That’s usually about one o’clock Sunday morning.

We didn’t have a lot of food to begin with but now what little we had, we had no way to cook.  Scared yet?  I put the kids to bed and went to sleep myself.  I awoke some hours later to banging around in the kitchen.  I almost got up to tell whoever it was to keep it down, but just went back to sleep.  I had to get up once after that to get Lily some milk.  It wasn’t until the next morning that I noticed the refrigerator was now plugged up half way across the room.  Dave had moved it to a working outlet.  We’ve figured that it’s the outlet that needs to be replaced, as things work when plugged up other places.  Just one more thing to add to the list headed “Things That Make Me Want to Kill People.”  That’s Dave’s list.  Mine is entitled “Things That Make Me Cry Harder.”

Another fun little occurrence is I believe my wallet has been stolen.  Luckily there was no money in it.  Why would there be?  But it does leave me driving without a license, so I’m driving very…let’s say cautiously.  Another word is slowly.  Incidentally, I recently heard a few people discussing the ridiculous things you have to have to get a new license now.  Six forms of ID?  Really?  Well , one was my license…so that’s out.  Birth certificate?  That costs money to obtain.  Naturally.  I’m really just hoping that one of the kids grabbed it off the table and absconded with it, to be found at a later date.

At times I find myself stressing about who’s going to watch the new baby when the time comes, as well as Lily.  I try not to think far into that, for fear of hyperventilating.  Like I don’t have enough to worry about already.

Speaking of new baby, Connor has insisted the whole time that it was going to be a boy, but all of a sudden now he says it’s a girl.  We’ll know in a few weeks.  I am a few days shy of 17 weeks so that ultrasound is coming up.  I’m starting to wash what maternity clothes I think might fit me.  I still don’t really need them yet, but just in case.  I’ve been taking my measurements once a month or so ever since, well, ever since last August really.  I just haven’t stopped and now they’re going up.  I have increased about 16.5 inches all over since the beginning of June, and as luck would have it, mostly in favorable locations.

The trade-off here is this time around I’m a good bit more emotional.  I think that’s mostly due to current situations and extra stress levels.  However, in any other way it’s just as though I’m not pregnant at all.  Except for the dizziness and oddly low blood pressure at times, nothing’s much changed.

So that’s what’s going on here.  How are things with you?

Don’t forget to check back this evening for a bonus post!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Come On Ride the Train

There comes a time in every parent’s life when he or she must consider the inevitable.  Potty training is the inevitable.  It must happen.  And unless you’re one of those nuts who claims to practice elimination communication, you get very excited at the thought of not having to change diapers anymore.  However, your heart stops and you have an anxiety attack at the thought of prompting that eventuality.  Why?  This is the process of taking a child who has never known anything but relieving himself in his pants and prompting him to all of a sudden do it somewhere completely independent of himself.  And to top that off, that place makes a very loud noise when you’re done, or, if you’re at Wal-Mart, sometime in the middle of the act itself.

There are books, blogs, videos and probably a lot more resources to help you potty train your youngling.  From what I understand there is also a dance and a DVD that goes with it.  I’m only going by hearsay on that one as if there is a specific choreography to flag someone as to needing to go I don’t want to know.  Wouldn’t it be a better use of your effort to teach the kid to poop where he’s supposed to instead of teaching him some 16-step terpsichorean dance step?  Just a thought.

Currently, I have one child trained and two not so much.  Connor was potty trained within about two weeks of starting it.  That’s not to say there weren’t some pitfalls and interesting places that were chosen to be just as good as the toilet.  I say it took two weeks.  It actually took two weeks from the time I instituted the policy.  He had been going numero uno in the potty for a while, but simply wouldn’t stay for a twosie.

I took to the internet for help.  I read on a blog about another blog who had helped her potty train her own child.  To my shame, I cannot for the life of me remember the name of this blog or its owner.  I feel so bad about that.  At any rate, what she suggested was a sticker chart.  Once the sticker chart was full, your child would receive a formerly agreed upon prize.  I knew nothing about sticker charts so I just made my own out of a piece of paper, a ruler, and a pen.  Now I know that there are websites almost solely dedicated to these things.  Oh, well, mine was free.

I bought some foil star stickers and laid out the plan to Connor.  Every time he successfully used the potty he would get a star on his chart.  After it was full, some 16-20 stars later he could have a pet fish.  That was our accord.  I really didn’t think it would work, to be honest.  I figured Connor would be too smart and willful to let a little something like a blue star sticker to conform him.  Turns out, he wasn’t.  I could not believe just how excited he was to earn those stars.  He was so excited, in fact, that he completely forgot about what the end result to filling the chart meant.  So I didn’t feel the need to remind him.  He finished his chart, was potty trained, and never got a fish.  To be fair, he also never asked about it.

Leading up to the institution of the sticker chart were numerous incidents out o’ potty.  I don’t want to call them accidents because they weren’t.  You don’t intentionally remove your pants to poop in the doorway and call it an accident.  Then not only did you defecate in the hallway, you lied.  One faux pas at a time please.

The only incident that I feel compelled to note, or even remember, happened one evening just inside the doorway to Connor’s room.  I don’t know how he managed to do this, but it seems as if he just decided to mount the wall for this particular deuce.  I didn’t see it happen so the sheer mechanics of it are mind boggling.  (For the record, this is kind of gross, but you are reading a post about pooping in the potty so you really should have seen this coming.)  It was a normal elimination as far as one goes except it was partly propped on the wall.  I had to get Dave to verify what I was seeing.  The phrase ‘chocolate banana’ may have been mentioned.  To this day, I have no clue how he did this, but it is the only time I distinctly remember.  It was kind of weird.

We didn’t buy any fancy potties that sing when you flush them or use them or however that works.  We did buy the little potty seat with the yellow ducks on it that sits on top of the regular potty.  I just think that having to transition from a little potty on the floor to a big one is too much.  Start on the big one, just adjust the size so they don’t fall in.  Nobody likes a wet tushie.

PeePaw even made him a potty stool so he could reach better.  It was blue and had a picture of a tow truck on it with Connor’s name.

I don’t think Sully is ready to potty train yet.  Dirty diapers still just don’t seem to phase him.  I will probably give it a try with Lily soon since she is a girl and a few months away from being two.  The only interest she has shown in any potty is splashing in the water and tossing things into it.  I don’t believe a sticker chart would register with her this early.  Maybe if I gave her new shoes.

I know this, though I really, really hope to have at least one of the diapered kids trained by next February.  Because that’s when we add a new size diaper to the pile.  Newborn.  Three kids in diapers.  Ever done it?  I have.  If pressed, I’ll do it again.    The only thing is you can’t have a regular diaper bag.  You need a diaper duffel bag.

Anyone training their kid or thinking about it?