Tag Archives: Parenting

It’s All About Perspective

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MTHFR.  No, I’m not trying to curse, although I’ll admit that mother ****er has slipped from my mouth on more than one occasion.

MTHFR, unheard of by me until a week and a half ago now takes on a new, unpronouncable meaning:  Methylenetetrahydrofolate Reductase.  I have it.

At the end of July Dave and I found out we were pregnant again.  After having our first two pregnancies end in miscarriage earlier this year, we chose to keep this one relatively quiet.  Weeks of all-day morning sickness passed, and in mid-August we were able to see a very small baby at our first ultrasound.  We were elated!  This was more than we had ever seen with the other two, and although they couldn’t hear the heartbeat (the technician said it was too early) we had scheduled another ultrasound for two weeks later.

Unfortunately, God had other plans for us again.  Within a week of the ultrasound I started spotting, and on September 4, we had our third miscarriage at 12 weeks.

Dave and I were exhausted.  We are blessed to each already have children whom we love with everything we’ve got.  With that said, however, we would love to have a child together, a child who can bask in our love and enjoy a life where mom and dad love each other and will share the rest of their lives with each other.  No split custody, no hard decisions to make on holidays, no absentee parent.  We decided to give our emotions and my body a break and cease trying for a bit, however before my doctor would put me on birth control he wanted to run blood tests to see if there was a root cause for the miscarriages.

So, three weeks ago I had 24 vials of blood taken.  24.  And the results came in positive except for one test which showed I have the MTHFR gene mutation.  I looked it up on the internet (and honestly still don’t totally understand what I’m reading), and basically it means that my body isn’t absorbing folate.  With folic acid so crucially important to a developing fetus, this isn’t good.

This Monday Dave and I went to my hematologist appointment.  For me especially, the time waiting in the reception area shared by oncology put everything in perspective.  Here we were, fretting over why we couldn’t keep a pregnancy, and we were surrounded by patients in all stages of cancer treatment.  Bandanas covered their heads, sores  were hidden by bandages, and the wear and tear of chemo was written all over so many of their faces.  I felt suddenly…  Fortunate…

While we may not be getting what we want, Dave and I aren’t being dealt what we don’t want.  We’re healthy.  Our children are healthy.  We’ve got a roof over our heads, food in our cabinets, and a job to pay the bills.  Dave’s college education is very successfully underway and courtesy of the U.S. military/government, and our cars are running.

And our house is full of love.  Lots of love.

So while I may want to have a child with Dave, I don’t need anything.  I am blessed with everything I need to live a happy, peaceful life.  For that I must remember to thank God each and every day.  He will give us what we need, when the time is right.

“Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for him to act.” ~Psalm 37:7

Thing 1 and Thing 2

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From time to time I’ve been asked why I refer to our boys as Thing 1 and Thing 2 on my blog or on Facebook.  While at first it was to protect the boys from the social media stalkers of the world, the reasons go a little bit deeper:

1.  Yes, the base is to protect them from the social media stalkers and potential kidnappers who could possibly harm them.  Do I have a real concern of this happening to them?  No.  However should someone try, it will be harder to lure one of my boys to the car by calling them “Thing 1” or “Thing 2” rather than his real name.  We have taught them about Stranger Danger, however who knows what would happen if presented with a bag of their favorite treats.  These two are too priceless to take the chance.

Things 1 and 2 with Coolest Dad Ever

2.  I share my birthday with Dr. Seuss.  While it would be easy to ignore this, I LOVE Dr. Seuss and will draw influence from him wherever possible.

Thing 1 and Thing 2. Buy your copy of Cat in the Hat at Amazon.com!

3.  Calling the boys Thing 1 and Thing 2 allows me that extra half-second to remember their real names.  Yes, I only have two boys.  But once in a while I still stumble over who I’m talking to or about.  Thus, I allow myself that Thing… 1 moment!

4.  The boys, although complete sweethearts, can trash our house in less than an hour.  They can get home from school to a clean house, and within a half hour we can find homework strewn across the kitchen, game controller cords laced across the living room like a laser maze, and coats and shoes thrown on the floor as if their attempt to a make a fort out of them collapsed.  That’s not to mention the clothes they leave on the floor in their bedroom and bathroom, the dirty dishes they leave on the table as if we have a waitress, and their speedy movement (Thing 2) or mouths (both).

5.  They can aggravate the heck out of us, but we still love them.

Don’t Point!

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As a child, I was taught not to point.  I was told it was rude, but honestly, I never understood why.  No, I didn’t like my sisters sticking their fingers in my face (if it ever happened I don’t remember), but for the ease of pointing out something in the distance, I couldn’t understand why sticking out my index finger was such a problem.

As a parent, I’ve had to teach my boys not to point.  Pointing has never really been an issue with Thing 2, however with Thing 1…  Well…  When he started pointing it was with his middle finger rather than his index finger.

“Look, mommy!” he would yell in the middle of somewhere public.  Simultaneously his middle finger would pop up and point across a crowded restaurant or grocery store.  I would get the look of distaste from grown-ups all around me, and a raised eyebrow indicating they were wondering what other select gestures I had taught my son.

None, people.  Those select gestures are all him.

Pointing really wasn’t an issue in my house for the past couple of years until…  We got Beezley.  A trailer park treasure, Beezley is trouble all the way.  Upon finding him on the counter a few months back, Dave pointed at him and directed him to get down.  His direction was answered by a swift swing at his finger and a refusal to move.  Over time Beezley’s distaste for Dave’s pointer finger has increased to the point (no pun intended) that he will leap feet off the ground in effort to claw it.

So for all you parents trying to teach your children not to point, show them this video.  Tell them not to point or the kitty with claws may get them.

School Age Kids and Saturday Mornings

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The last two years has been a bit of an adjustment for me.  Even outside of how my life changed marriage wise (separated, divorced and then re-married), and career wise, I didn’t expect so many other changes and adjustments.  Most specifically, I’m talking about Saturday mornings.

When I had my boys, I quickly realized that sleeping in was a thing of the past.  Six a.m. breast feeding sessions turned into 7 a.m. rattlings on the crib, and later one or both of them climbing into bed with me.  As they got older, they learned to get up and turn on the T.V. and fix themself a bowl of cereal.  With the hope of one of Dave’s all-star breakfasts, however, it’s hit-or-miss as to whether or not they will take the cereal or knock on our door until we wake up, in hopes of french toast or omelettes.  Yea, our Breakfasts with the Beatles are THAT good.

In the past year we have had the biggest change to our Saturday mornings.  This one is probably the hardest to adjust to…  Sports.  While waking up and stumbling to the kitchen to get coffee and relax on a Saturday morning is one thing, having to set the alarm to make sure we’re at the field early enough is an entirely different playing field.

Our Saturday mornings have turned into another workday morning.

Instead of asking, “Do you have your shoes, homework and lunch?” I find myself repeatedly asking, “Where are your shinguards, uniform and cleats?”  It’s exhausting!  While I appreciate the fact that our Saturdays are ours after the games are over, I know I’m not alone once we get to the field.  Sitting in our lawn chairs, we’re surrounded by parents who look beat up.  Our massive thermoses filled with coffee should have an IV into our bloodstream, and as our kids sweat it out on the field, we struggle to stay warm on the sidelines.  With our pale faces and bags under our eyes, we look like a sad group that’s been up all night drinking rather than a segment of the population that could just use a nap.  Or a vacation.

So here I am at 9:03 Saturday morning.  My coffee is next to me on the desk and the air is cold thanks to a night of rain and thunderstorms.  But the game is still on.  And I’ll be on the soccer field sidelines in less than an hour, cheering Thing 2 on and hoping for a win.  However when the game is finished, the day belongs to the parents (she says with a sinister laugh).  There’s laundry to be done, a sink full of dishes and trash to take out.  Well…  OK.  Maybe Saturday afternoons don’t belong to the parents either.  Maybe they belong to all the chores and tasks that weren’t done during the week.

Here’s hope for Sunday.

Un-Perfect Parent

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Before I start criticizing other parents, I have to share…  I’m not a perfect parent.

I…

  • Let the occasional cuss word slip in front of the boys
  • Play Monopoly with Thing 2 on my Kindle just so I don’t need to pick up the mess

Fruits and Vegetables

  • Don’t always serve fruits or vegetables with dinner
  • Will tell the boys they can play on the PS3 if they let us sleep longer
  • Have overflowing laundry baskets waiting to be taken care of

    Rated R

  • Let the boys watch rated-R and scary movies

Hide and Go Seek
  • Will play Hide-and-Go-Seek with the boys, then take a little longer to find them just for a few extra minutes of quiet
  • Am a push-over and will let them have second desserts

With all this said, however, I/we support our children in Every.Single.Way.Possible.

Thing 2 likes to ask me, “Mommy, what should I be when I grow up?”  My only response, thanks to my parents, is “Whatever you want as long as you are happy and it’s legal.”

Seriously.  How can I/we NOT support our children and their dreams and ambitions?  When it comes time for them to graduate high school (attending/graduating high school is NOT a question, unless they become a superstar before then, at which point private tutors will be hired), I can not deny that yes, I will push them in the direction of college.  However…  If college is not for them, that is their decision, not mine/ours.

Just recently I have met a really great young lady, in her very early 20’s, who is in college out West.  During the course of conversation, it came out that her parents don’t want her to go to college, so they are making it as difficult as possible for her to go.  For example, they purposely turn in the FAFSA forms late so she doesn’t qualify for aid and can’t get student loans.  Yes, I’m serious.  And because she’s not yet 23 she can’t file independently.  I want to drive 1,000 miles and smack them.

I don’t care if you have money to put your kids though college.  If any of ours were heading off to college next month they would be on their own (financially).  We could/would send them monthly allowance, but beyond that, our assistance would be co-signing on student loans.  But we would do that.  Without a doubt, we would do that.

Between Dave and I, our oldest is about to be 13.  This gives us 5 years to prepare for what she wants to do post-high school.  In the meantime, we have 8 years and 12 years before Things 1 & 2 will be old enough, and that many years to have any say in their lives.  We can control our kids’ curfew when they’re old enough to go out without us, have a say in whether or not they can drive, and try to have a say in who they date (but I only plan on having a say in that if the age difference could get either of them in trouble).  Beyond that it’s our time to support and nurture them.

In the time that has passed since I left Turtle (the name we have given the boys’ dad), I have been amazed by the progress our little family has made.  With Dave’s help, the boys have become much more responsible, respectable young men.  Rather than have to think about what we can’t do because of their bad behavior, we now look forward to what we CAN do as a family.  It’s all a matter of respect, both given and received between the four of us, and we’re a happy, healthy family unit because of it.

Family Picture

Pool Safety

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Before I dive in, I hope all my American readers had a happy and safe 4th of July holiday.  Dave, the boys and I had a great day complete with a half day at the city pool, fireworks (that were actually just smoke stacks) at home, and then a quick fireworks show in our town.  We’re all a little burnt (out) but it’s back to work/school/daycare today.

On to today’s topic…  I don’t watch the news.  I can’t stand watching all the negative reports revolving around the poor economy, murders and car accidents.  I like being a positive person, and the news is in instant downer.  As mentioned earlier, last night I took the boys to our town’s fireworks presentation which left something to be desired, so I turned on the Macy’s Fireworks Spectacular when we got home.  It’s an incredible show, and you know that must mean something when you’re watching from TV.

The boys went to bed after the show was over and the 11 o’clock news came on.  Dave was working on homework and I was playing on my Kindle and out of reach of the remote so I let the news stay on.  As is typical, it was a 1/2 hour downer, however it helped me with today’s post so I suppose I can’t be too upset.

Pool Safety

As I said, Dave, the boys and I spent half the day at the city pool yesterday.  We have a great pool, with two, 3-story waterslides, a fountain play area, a diving board, and another little pool for the babies.  The boys know where they can go, but Dave and/or I are always in the pool with them, watching out for their safety. 

With that said, last year we were in water about 4-foot deep and Dave noticed a little boy, probably not any older than 3-1/2 trying to keep his face above water.  He couldn’t touch the bottom, couldn’t swim, and was alone.  In his bouncing off the bottom to stay above the surface, he was taking himself deeper and deeper, which isn’t hard to do with all the people and the current.  I didn’t see the little boy until he was flying out of the water in Dave’s arms. 

It took us 1/2 hour with the lifeguards’ help to find his mom.

Even worse, she hadn’t even been looking for him.

Back to the news…  A three-year-old died at a nearby town’s public pool yesterday.  My prayers are with the boys friends and family, please don’t think they’re not.  However I have to question how something like this happens.  Where were the parents or caretakers?  Who wasn’t watching him?  While these pools have lifeguards, it is ultimately the PARENTS responsibility to be their child’s lifeguard(s).  Lifeguards are NOT babysitters, and are watching over HUNDREDS of swimmers on a normal day, not to mention the 4th of July. 

I’m appalled by the moms who get to the pool, get their little kids in the water and then turn their backs on them.  They bury their heads in their books, or turn away from the pool completely to sun their backs on the lawn chairs.  Parents like these make me wonder why we shouldn’t have to have licenses to have babies.

Please don’t get me wrong.  I feel horrible for any family who has lost a child due to drowning.  I can’t imagine the loss they feel.  However to all the parents who think of lifeguards as a babysitting service…  You’re absolute morons.  Get off your butt, swim with your children and keep them safe.  Please.

Little League Baseball Bull****

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It’s hard for me to believe that it’s been over fifty days since I last wrote on my blog.  I must admit that a main cause for the absence stems from the fact that my work days have been filled with…  Work!  My planner and monitor now each have a Post-It with the word “Focus” written on them.  It’s not that I wasn’t focusing before, however I was allowing the temptation of what I wanted to do overtake the need to do what I was (am) being paid to do.  Strangely, I rarely find myself counting down the minutes until leaving time, and my work day and week often fly by.

Many evenings and Saturdays in the past month-and-a-half have been filled with little league baseball.  Dave and I took on coaching roles for Thing 2’s team and the experience has been anything but dull.  In a league that is supposed to be teaching the children good-sportsmanship, the basics of baseball and an overall love and appreciation for the game, we find it amazing how other parents and coaches can become monsters in the ball-park.

Our team had a record of 1-13-1 in the regular season.  It was dis-heartening to the coaches, parents and kids that we did so poorly, especially considering how close many of the games were.  When the tournament came around, however, we won the first two games.  All of a sudden we went from the back of the field to tied for first.  The opposing teams’ coaches were pissed.  They walked onto the field planning to beat us and as soon as we got ahead became ruthless.

For example, we have  an autistic boy on our team.  He has made TREMENDOUS progress this year, and is now responsible for many runs and RBI’s.  Unfortunately he gets upset when he gets an out, and has sat out for innings after an out due to his upset state.  The board of the baseball league has been aware of the situation, and has told us since the beginning that it is our responsibility to teach him, work with him, and also watch out for the safety of all players.  And that is what we have done.

Unfortunately opposing coaches aren’t always sympathetic, especially when they are losing.  I must mention that our league is for 6-8 year olds, a far cry from the competitive high-school teams.  This is the first year a lot of these kids haven’t played tee-ball and is still parent (coach)-pitch.  So, when our special needs player is having a rough inning, it should be no-big deal to have him sit out and put the next batter in.  The other coaches want us to take an out, however.  It’s appalling to me that they can be so obsessed with the game and winning that they won’t give another team a break, as we would do for them.

You’ll be happy to know that Dave and I have been the cool coaches this year, both temper-wise and  fun-with-kid-wise.  I’ve worn my baseball cap inside-out with the kids in effort to turn the game around, and at yesterday’s game we wore eye-black with our team to try to intimidate the other side.  Yesterday, however, the game was babysat by league officials due the tremendously bad temper of our opposing coach.  One of our other coaches removed himself from the game before he was tempted to punch him.  Yes, it was that bad.

We entered yesterday’s game, our third in the tournament, ready to play the team who ranked #1 after the regular season.  We did NOT enjoy playing them the first time due to their jack-hole of a head coach.  Dave and I have already decided we will not let our boys play for him…  EVER.  After three innings we were miraculously ahead of them, 11-4.  (or some score like that).  It felt amazing.  With each run we earned, however, the other coach became more of a prick.  He yelled at his players, broke the rules, and targeted our autistic player claiming his batting style was illegal.  Our players became increasingly aware of the tension, became stressed, began messing up on plays they should have made, and…  We lost.  It sucked.

Our game got a lot of attention.  A lot.  Especially when parents and coaches (Dave and I excluded) began fighting.  And you know it got attention when you go out for dinner and the people at the next table (who weren’t even at our game) are talking about it.  But they weren’t talking about us.  They were talking about the prick of a coach on the opposing team and how out-of-line he was/is.

Sigh.  I feel like I’ve given this guy too much of my attention, and I’m somewhat tempted to delete this entire post.  But I won’t.  For all of my readers who are little league baseball coaches, remember what the game is about.  It’s NOT about YOU.