Monday, March 30, 2015

Weekend Realizations: Water Park Edition

Over the weekend our family took a trip to a water park we haven't been to in 7 years. We like water parks because it is something the whole family can enjoy. We have visited many over the years, probably twice a year. It has been over 9 months since our last water park trip, and my how times have changed! I realized many things this weekend, many of which came as a surprise to me.

1. Packing day has many ups and downs.
   Thursday I spent the day packing, grooming and taking my son to his therapy appointment. I  woke up super excited. I was at a low when my car repair place called to tell me that on top of the $1300 in repairs out poor van needed, we also needed tires. I stood in the shower shouting I HATE MY LIFE!! I had to rush through showering and shaving because of course they called just as I was standing naked ready to jump in. I was back up to a high around 2 PM when I realized I had finished packing! WOOHOO. I was back to a low when I came home from karate and shopping to a bunch of kids begging to add Minecraft to yet another device and a husband walking out the door to go on a break down call for work, and then I discovered the kids shut down the computer (which they never do) when I has 30 tabs open. I had to do bedtime alone, put away groceries, find a missing sock and a pair of shoes. and try to find all the tabs they closed on the history after they went to bed. I did not sit down until 1245 AM then waited up for my husband until 315 AM at which point I gave up.

2. Shaving for swimming is work.
   Not only do you have to shave your armpits and legs, but you need to shave your pubic area and thighs. It is no small feat, especially if you haven't shaved since January!

3. Travel with children still sucks even when you are going to a fun place.
   There was much fighting, whining, asking when we will be there etc. It's enough to give parents a nervous break down. The trip home was ten times worse than the trip there. I wanted to toss the kids in the ditch.

4. Eating out is expensive.
    We only ate out for dinner two night and we brought food for breakfasts and lunches in our room. It's a good thing because we still spent about $100 each night! I had a litte Deja Vu because we ate at the same build your own pasta buffet as we did 7 years ago. We paid for 5 kids and 2 adults. Last time we paid for one kid and 2 adults. 2 of the kids were free and the other 2 were still in the belly! We paid over double this time around even though the same people were eating (if you count the 2 belly children)!

5. I eat more often when I have nothing better to do, and I like it!
   In my usual everyday life I eat twice a day and never until at least 2. On this trip I ate every time my kids did.

6. I am willing to drink water in extremely dry conditions.
   In my everyday life I do not drink water. I drink coffee pop and alcohol, but not water. I despise  water. This place was drier than the Sahara Desert. I downed water like I was dying of thirst, and I probably was! We all ended up losing our voices and getting dry coughs.

7. I do not enjoy swimming or water slides.
   I camp out in the lazy river, hot tub, or on a chair reading. My kids think I'm weird.

8. The mirrors and bright lighting in hotel bathrooms are not forgiving.
    Seeing your reflection in the mirror while sitting on the pot is not the picture of yourself  you want to experience. Believe me, look away.  I discovered stretch marks and cellulite I was not  aware of and I am  much fatter than I thought. I discovered wrinkles, facial hair, and white hairs I  was not aware I had. On a positive note, when it completely turns white, I will have Elsa's color hair, I hope, since I only found white and no grey hairs.

9. Taking all school aged kids places is actually quite relaxing.
    I used to think trips were more work than fun, but the tables have turned! Hallelujah! I no longer  need to help anyone with their clothes, food, or baths. I no longer need to watch them the entire time they swim. I get to do what I want. Mostly sit in the hot tub or read. Night time in the room is the same. They entertain themselves while we parents enjoy more downtime. Although we never did make it up to the bar & lounge. :(

10. Unpacking is easy!     
Yep, I said it, please don't hate me. I really do not mind unpacking. It takes me an hour and does not require the level of thinking that packing does, which I totally despise!

There you have it folks! Did you discover anything new on your last trip as a family?

Friday, March 20, 2015

Who Made You The Facebook Police?

So I have this Facebook friend who constantly picks apart every single thing I post, on my own page, mind you. I can completely understand someone requesting you not to post certain things to their timeline, tag you in certain things or not to do certain things in comments on your posts. This person is so picky about that I have completely stopped tagging her or posting to her timeline, and when I comment it is one or two words. Mostly, I just like her things. I cannot, however, understand when they tell you how to run your personal or business page. It is, after all, your page.

I felt like I was the only one this happened to, so I asked around. I found out many people do not know any self proclaimed Facebook Police. They told me to delete her, but I am bot going to do that. If she cannot handle what I post she can delete me. She claims she is just trying to help whenever she brings anything up.

 Many others also said they did have Facebook Police.
These people were most often:
ex husbands
in laws

The posts they had problems with contained:
kids photos
out-dated phrases
too many links
complaining about family
depressing topics

The ways they went about letting the person know they did not like the activity were:
asking a family member to tell you they did not like it

I find this ridiculous. If you don't like something either comment on the post or scroll past. I think it is pretty cowardly to address the person in private instead of in comments for everyone to see. If you have a good point why hide your opinion. If you are too scared of what might happen if you comment you should not be saying whatever it is about the post at all. Think before you jump all over someone for what they do on their own personal page. No one is making you be anyone's friend or follow anyone's page. Delete them if you do not like what they post. I should not have to censor what I post on my own page because it may offend someone. Delete me if you don't like my posts. End of story. I do not need to explain myself to anyone.

This sums up how I feel pretty well.

So, do you have any Facebook Police in your life?

Monday, March 16, 2015

Minecraft Ruined My Child

I have a twelve year old. He is the oldest of five kids. He has always been a very calm, mild mannered, self-motivated child. He has so many good qualities I just love. He follows the rules, doesn't talk back, does what he is asked, and does his chores and  homework without any prompting. Sometimes I don't even notice he is around because he doesn't ask for much, entertains himself and is very quiet.

When he turned twelve he was allowed to get Minecraft. I never allowed him to get it before because I believe there are so many free apps and games to play I don't allow paid games or apps. He saved his money and asked to purchase it. I had heard how good it is for imagination and creativity so I did online research, and ultimately allowed it.

I began to notice that anytime he was not doing homework or chores he was on that game when he was home. He did nothing else for entertainment. He has never liked sports. He did try football but did not enjoy it. Now however, he did not even have any interest in TV or movies any longer, even though before he got the game there were a few shows he enjoyed watching. He used to enjoy reading, but hadn't picked up a book since getting the game either.

When I told him he needed to stop playing he would just sit and stare at the wall, or go to sleep. He did not play with his siblings, read, watch TV, build with Legos, play outside, or ride his bike. I started to get the feeling he was addicted to that game. It was all he thought about or talked about even if he was not playing.

I did not want to limit screen time. I never had a screen time limit growing up, but I still chose a lot of other activities to fill my time, so I assumed once he got bored of the game he would start doing other things again once the newness of it wore off. Five months later that still had not happened. I needed a plan to get him off that screen sometimes and doing other things. But how?

I tried reminding him for weeks that if he did not find other interests I would need to start placing a limit on screen time for all the kids, even though none of the others over do it and they all have other leisure activities they enjoyed.  After weeks of reminders, I placed a limit on screens for everyone and he is the only one that has any problem with it. I find him playing when I said not to and I promptly take the device away. The other kids do not do that.

Our lives have become HELL over here since this limit has been put in place. After two weeks of limited screen time, he still just sits and stares, plus he whines, asks why he can't play, tells me how mean I am and asks constantly what time it is and what time he is allowed to eat or go to bed just so he won't need to just sit there anymore. I have tried making hundreds of suggestions of activities he might want to do, but none of them are good enough because they are not Minecraft.

Yesterday I had him read many articles about why too much screen time is bad and why limiting it is good. He logically understands why, but he still does not like it. I believe he is addicted to Minecraft. The reason he is addicted is because electronics are designed to produce little dopamine rewards in our brains as we interact with them. It makes perfect sense then, that all other activities, after experiencing this, pale in comparison. It all seems boring now, because it isn't giving him the dopamine shots he was getting during game play.

I am really not picking on Minecraft alone, really any game can be addicting, I just have never seen it myself. My son's poison is Minecraft. Another kid's may be another game. I love Minecraft as far as video games go because it is better than a lot of them out there. I just don't like how addicting it is and how much my son plays.

I read that once a child is addicted and limits are newly placed on screens it can take months before children can enjoy other activities. I hope not, because this is a horrible way to live for the entire household. It would be so much easier for me not to have limits. In fact I wrote a blog about The Benefits of Screen Time two weeks ago! This would not help my child, however, therefore, I am going the harder, yet more beneficial route.

I learned the hard way, limit screens before it gets out of hand.

Is your child addicted to a particular game? Do you have screen time limits or do your kids get to play as much as they want to?

Friday, March 13, 2015

Worst Case Scenario

Ever since I can remember I have been a worrier. Everything that happens, I always go to the worst case scenario in my head. I do not know why I am like this. It could be because I had a lot of family members die as a child, my mom was in the hospital with internal bleeding when I was young, and I also have anxiety.

Logic always tells me I am being ridiculous, but still, my mind goes there.

Any sort of  danger, injury or illness equals imminent death.

The roads are icy...we're gonna go off the road, freeze.... and die.

My baby has pneumonia... she's gonna stop breathing...and die.

A kid hits his head... he's gonna get a brain bleed...and die.

My husband gets infected knee bursitis...the infection is gonna spread to his blood... and he's gonna die.

I have a toothache... I need a root canal, or infection which will spread to my brain and I will die.

A kid has a fever...It's meningitis...she will die.

I have a mouth sore...It's cancer...I'm gonna die.

I have a sore throat... It's cancer...I'm gonna die.

My husband has a bump on his tongue...It's cancer...He's gonna die.

I have a pain in my ribs...It's a tumor, yep cancer...dead.

Then there are minor things I blow up to be worse than they are.

A kid is puking. Everyone will get sick and be violently puking for weeks. We are going to miss everything we have going on.

My head itches....It's lice, all of us surely have lice, we won't be able to get rid of it and we will have to burn the house down.

My elbow hurts... I have tennis elbow.

My wrists hurt...I have carpal tunnel.


I have diarrhea...
It's a stomach virus,
everyone else is gonna get it too.

Someone in my child's class is sick...they will get sick and all my kids will get sick also.

Money is tight...we're gonna be homeless, living in a tent and starving.

My husband is late...He got in an accident.

The van is making a funny noise...we're gonna get stranded.

The van is pulling to the left... I have a flat tire.

The washing machine is acting's gonna break down.

The water pressure is weird...we need all new plumbing.

The heater smells weird...the house is gonna burn down while we sleep.

When my kids do something wrong it is an indication that the behavior will turn into something much worse.

Stealing a brownie...Stealing cars.

Lying about stealing a brownie...Lying about doing drugs, having sex, bad grades, etc.

Disobeying by stealing brownie...Disobeying and sneaking out of the house.

Screen addiction...Drug and alcohol addiction.

Problems with schoolwork...Flunking out of school or finishing but messing up at work, and getting fired. In either scenario, the child will end up with no job living in my basement into their forties.

See, I'm really good at this worst case scenario stuff!!!

Tell me, what worst case scenario do you imagine?

Monday, March 9, 2015

I Hate My Baby: A Postpartum Story

October 2002:

After 1 1/2 hours of pushing, an emergency vacuum extraction and a broken tailbone, all I can say when they tell me it's a boy is "He's out!" several times.

I spend an hour getting 43 internal and external stitches.

The nurse hands my this tiny human with a cone shaped head that I do not recognize. All I feel after a 22 1/2 hour labor (6 of which I were in the transition phase), is relief that it is over. I don't feel joy or love.

After a short while I hand the baby off to my husband and I cry myself to sleep. I feel empty and sad. I wish I could have made it the nine more days until my due date. I loved pregnancy so much I didn't want it to end.

A few hours later I attempt to feed this boy. He will not have it. I feel like a failure. I am exhausted and in pain.

A lactation consultant comes in to help me for every feeding to help me but nothing works.
I pump after every failed feeding attempt. Nothing comes out.

One day old:

As I sit in the tub to find some relief for my pain I cry. I cry because this is so hard. I cry because I must be doing this wrong. I cry because I ruined my life. I decide I hate this baby. It is not frustration, sadness, or general malaise. It is pure hate that I feel, then the guilt.

What kind of mother hates her baby? Aren't I supposed to feel some sort of immediate bond for this little thing sleeping in the other room? I am so messed up in the head!

I still can not get this child to eat. I am mad at him. I continue to pump after every feeding. Still, not a drop of any thing is coming out. I am told it can take up to three days and not to worry. I still hate this baby.

Two days old:

I am still pumping and still nothing is coming out. The baby still will not latch on. I am a total an utter failure. What the hell did I do to my life?

I am told the child is developing jaundice. He needs some formula. I am causing this because my body won't produce any milk! I am a failure. Why did I decide to ruin my life this way?

I am taught how to syringe feed him so that I do not make matters worse by introducing an artificial nipple. It feels unnatural and stupid! It pisses me off to have to do it. "EAT FROM ME, BABY!" is what I want to scream at this little person that I hate.

Wow! What kind of psycho mother has these thoughts? I keep them to myself.

Three days old:

I am going home with this baby I do not like at all. In fact, I hate him. Why did I choose to become a mother. I am no good at it. I am frightened he will never eat and will die. Maybe that would be better than all of this, though. I feel as if I have been hit by a truck. I have low energy from little sleep, low iron, a lot of pain and this struggle with feeding. He still will not eat from me. Will he ever? What am I doing wrong? Why are they letting me take him home?

I syringe feed then pump every two hours around the clock. I still have nothing at all coming out. Why won't by body cooperate? I despise this whole process.

Four days old:

My husband goes back to work and I am alone with this child I hate. I don't even say his name. I never have. I am scared what will happen while I am alone with him.

A sliver of hope appears when I start to finally produce two teaspoons of colostrum every pumping. Maybe I really can produce milk for him. Now to get over the hurdle of getting him to take the breast. I try every feeding but still nothing.

He cries a lot. He can feel my stress but I cannot calm my anxiety. I still hate this child and wonder what I did to my life. He probably knows I hate him.

I gaze at him sleeping, trying to feel something, anything, but hate for him. Nothing. Only hate.
I hate this baby that was so wanted.
I hate this baby we planned for.
I hate this baby I waited for the first 6 years of my marriage.
I hate this baby I loved and was excited for my entire pregnancy.
Why? Something is wrong with me.
I realize at that moment I have not spoken one word to this child since he was born.
Not a word. It feels weird and uncomfortable when I try so I stop.
What kind of mother does that?

I am just getting through each moment and trying to make him shut up when he cries.
Nothing works. He is hungry. I know it, but my body just isn't making enough for him.

I attempt to wash dishes and when he starts to cry I stand at the sink frozen and I cry thinking "not again". I do not want to go pick him up.

Five days old:

I wake up fully engorged with milk. I pump and get four ounces! I can not believe my body is finally doing what it is supposed to. I have a wave of joy come over me, but still no love when I gaze in my baby's direction. He won't nurse.

I go to the clinic for a baby checkup. I see a pregnant lady and say to my husband loudly "sucker, she doesn't even know what's coming.." and I laugh and laugh. My husband is embarrassed and hushes me. My boobs kill. My doctor is encouraging about me continuing to try nursing. I tell her I am giving up if he doesn't nurse by two weeks and switching to bottles. She supports that decision.

I have a lot of people in my corner but I still feel so alone. I hold my baby all day everyday on the couch and continue to try to nurse and bond with this creature I created. Still no love, and I haven't told anyone how I am feeling. I pretend everything is great. I fear they will take him away or put me in a mental hospital if I speak up.

Seven days old:

The day that changed everything. I got a visit from a public health nurse that helped me show this child how to nurse. I was told to pump until my milk lets down, put his face up to my breast and hopefully he will taste the milk and start sucking. He is wailing. I have to forcefully push his face into my breast and after five minutes of wailing he actually latches on and starts sucking. I can not believe it worked. I want to jump up and down with joy. That nurse saved me from my despair. Maybe we can actually do this, my sweet baby and I. Maybe I really can be a mother, and a good one!

Over the week the nursing gets better and better. by two weeks old we are professionals!I look at my baby and realized I really really love him more than my own life and I cry with relief. I talk and sing to him and show him my love in every way possible.

One month old:

I tell my husband I want lots and lots of babies. This boy has taught me so much and I now know I can face anything and that I was meant to be a mother! We go on to have 4 more babies, including twins, over the next five years.

Year after year I have grown to love this boy so much more than I ever dreamed possible. Today he is twelve and my pride and joy. A first born always hold a very special place in a mothers heart!

I wrote this story because I know I am not the only one that does not feel an immediate bond with her child. I din't know that back then and I felt like I was the only one. I want those other mothers that feel no immediate bond to know that they are not alone and that eventually they will love their child more than they can even imagine. Please share this with anyone you think may need encouragement that things do get better, better than they can even imagine! 

Friday, March 6, 2015

No, I'm NOT Smarter Than a 5th Grader!!

I spend a lot of time helping children with homework. Usually, it isn't a problem, because I am pretty smart, and they are all 12 and under.

Every week my 10 year old daughter gets a math packet that is about 40-50 problems. She does the packet on her own, skipping over the ones she needs help with. Most of the time she only has a few problems she needs help with. I can usually help her, but sometimes not. In which case I text people a picture of it, and if they don't know, I put it on Facebook.

For example these ones, from in the fall:

It's really not all that horrible since she only usually needs help with a few problems.

For a very long time, I didn't need to consult anyone if she needed help with a few problems here and there. I could always figure them out. Until a few weeks ago when she needed help with several questions.

It was late (like 11 PM late, too late to be thinking late). I was tired, and she hit's me with this one:

I was totally at a loss. I texted 3 sisters. No one could help me. I asked Facebook friends. No one replied. Then one of my sisters looked it up (thankd google) and texted me to figure out the whole square area, then subtract area the non shaded area for the answer. After that my daughter did it in two minutes, since she knew the formula to figure out area of a triangle ( I however, did not). I texted my sister that we got it and thanks.

When I was done, and was finally going to sit down my sister texted me about how I got the answer. Now, a math problem that didn't even belong to her kid was making her crazy. I tried to explain on text, but it wasn't working. An hour of texting later, she called me and I verbally explained. She understood and I got to finally sit down (AT 1215 AM)!!

Fast-forward to last Sunday. I get home from on overnight trip to see my sister and her band LOLAH play. It was a late night. I get two hours sleep. I drove 3 hours home had a bad headache and stomache ache (bar food, drinks, and little sleep anyone). My daughter informs me shortly after I walk through the door that she needs math help. Turns out, she needed help with 21 out of 45 problems! WTF??? Today this happens?? KILL ME NOW!

I was able to help her with most of them. Except these ones:

Ok, I will not tell you how these ended up being solved, because I really am not smart enough to explain it. See the 9 I wrote on the top one, I was wrong. Disregard that stupid 9. It should be an 8. See I can not do 5th grade math!

I spent 5 hours helping the girl with these 21 problems. The ones above I texted and posted to Facebook. Several people tried to help, but gave wrong solutions. Do you know how many people gave me correct solutions? ONE! Do you know who she is? A MATH teacher/tutor! She was the only person that know how to solve these.

These do not seem like 5th grade questions to me, or, apparently, any other adult I knew, since no one could do them!

I absolutely LOVE helping my kids with homework, I am good at it. But math at this age? No thanks! Anytime I hear my girl ask me sweetly for help with MATH, I start to sweat and my heart starts beating super fast! But who could say no to this face?

No really! Could you??? SUCH a cutie!

Needless to say, math is really not my favorite thing at this age. Before this, I had no problem helping her. My son, who is a 6th grader actually has easier math than she does. How is that even possible? I have no problem helping him. 5th grade math though? No Thanks!


I figure, I have 7 yrs of having school kids behind me and 12 yrs to go. I feel smarter already and I haven't even helped with high school homework yet! Just imagine how smart I will be twelve years from now!

How about you? Are YOU smarter than a 5th grader?

Monday, March 2, 2015

Dad in Charge

On Saturday I went up north overnight to see my sisters band LOLAH rock out. Dad stayed home with the kids for over 24 hours alone.

It always makes me nervous when I leave him in charge because he does things so much differently than I would and I worry about the state of my house upon my return. This time it wasn't so bad, just a gigantic fort taking up the entire play area in the basement, which he tore down last night. He also had no idea how to do my daughter's math so I dealt with that for five hours last night. All in all though, he did a fabulous job.

These are the things he does differently than I do them.

-No yelling. I yell, because I need them to do stuff. He doesn't need to yell because he doesn't have       them do anything.

-No chores. Either he does everything or leaves it for me to do.

-No cleaning their rooms. Again, he leaves it for me to nag them about.

-No bedtime. It's a free for all and they get to stay up as late as they want. Yesterday my kids slept very late so bedtime was a nightmare!

-No food battles. They just eat whatever they want to, including cereal for dinner if they don't like         what he makes.

-Special snacks. He gives them things I don't like hot cocoa and entire bags of candy or chips, even if   the didn't eat a thing at dinner.

-Entire cans of pop. I always make them split 3 cans between the 5 of them on weekends. He gives       them their own.

-Late night movies. He will let them start a movie at 9 or 10. The latest I allow it is 8 on weekends.

-Builds forts with them. I find this hard work and it's just not fun, so I just don't do it.

-Plays differently in general. He builds Legos, plays with  Playdoh, plays tickle monster, zombie       tag, hide and go seek and video games. I do not do any of these.

He is just generally more lax with rules and gives them many more choices. It isn't the way I would do it, but I let him do it his way. Hey, whatever gets me time away, amiright?

What is different when Did is in charge at your house?