Sunday, December 28, 2008

This is not what I signed up for

There are few parenting tasks that are as hard as administering medicine to a child who doesn't want to take it. Michael's RAD has reared its ugly head once more which means I have to use the big guns - the nebulizer and albuterol. Not only does the albuterol make him wired beyond belief, but he has once again developed a huge aversion to the nebulizer again. There's nothing quite like pinning a 40lb/45" preschooler who is half a step away from complete hysterics while keeping a mask on his face for the ten minutes or so it takes for the albuterol to completely vaporize. Thankfully, his respirations aren't that bad but he's having retractions so skipping it isn't an option and I have no desire to make a late night visit to CHOP if his respirations get high which they have a history of doing.

Because misery loves company, Alex is steps (ha) away from walking so I have the joy of a milestone driven sleep regression on top of the white noise of teething. I hate the triteness of the phrase, but This too shall pass has been my mantra. It won't always be this intense and in the grand scheme of things this period is just a drop in the bucket. Unfortunately, that provides little comfort while I'm in the thick of it and ready to sell my soul for sleep and time alone.

We had a fairly quiet Christmas with lots of pictures which I'll get around to posting at some point. John got me Lego Batman for my Nintendo DS and has been working hard to make sure I get some time to actually play it the past few days. Michael loves his WALL-E and EVE action figures and his Matchbox car case is seeing a lot of use. Alex has a new to him walker/ride-on car which isn't seeing use as a walker yet but he's been having a lot of fun playing with the gadgets on it.

Peace has descended on my livingroom for the moment, so I'll take my leave now.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

I have a month's worth of knitting,...

Christmas is next week, I have a half a pack of cigarettes, two children and am chronically sleep deprived...

All that's missing is a cool soundtrack and "unnecessary force"

In all honesty, several presents will be given on Little Christmas because barring time travel (and how I wish I could do it), it's just not possible to do.

In other news, Alex is topping the scales at 20lbs and is just shy of 28" - not too shabby considering three months ago we were looking at a possible feeding tube.

Kids are asleep - knitting beckons.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Monday, December 01, 2008

Crafts Update

Even with all the tumult, there is still knitting being done.

Finished Items

Michael's Sherwood Sweater

Michael's Sherwood Sweater (complete)


Adapted from Knitty's Sherwood Sweater pattern - rewritten to accommodate a larger gauge and to make it a seamless raglan.
US Size 10 Needles
Cascade Eco Wool

This has actually been done for quite some time, I just haven't had the camera and him wearing it in the same room at the same time - I still don't so you'll have to settle for the perennial laying on the carpet shot. This is my first sweater (well 4th if you count baby ones, but I don't), and I've learned a lot from it. I have to work on my k2tog decreases - individual ones don't matter that much, but a whole bunch of them in a line left a little ladder gap that I'm not too crazy about. I won't even show you the underarms - one of them is done on the wrong side and while a mistake of this magnitude would usually eat me alive until I ripped it out and did it correctly, but I'm sure no one will be examining them that closely so I'm not sweating it. All in all, it pointed out some places where I need to improve my technique and I got a sweater he'll be able to wear for at least two years out of it.

Mittens
Michael's Mittens (complete)


Original Pattern
US Size 4 and 8 Needles
Pattons Classic Merino

Michael's needed these for the longest time and while I had these intricate colorwork ones planned, time was of the essence since the cheap gloves we had for him just weren't cutting it anymore. I guessed my gauge and just tried them on him several times while knitting to get the size right.

Snowman
Snowman Ornament (complete)


Original Pattern
US Size 1.5 and 3 Needles
KnitPicks Bare Fingering Merino
Davidson Co. Domy Heather

I've been working on several things to put up in the Knitty Keen Etsy shop and this was knocked out over the past few days and I have to say I'm absolutely delighted with the results.

On Going

Swallowtail Shawl
Swallowtail Shawl (in progress)


This was started as part of a knit-along over the summer and has sat untouched for months. I only have 3 more rows of the Lily of the Valley chart and then the peaked edging. With luck, I'll have it done for my mom for Christmas

Even Elf Chicks Need to Keep Warm Scarf
Even Elf Chicks Need to Keep Warm Scarf (in progress)


It's at least doubled in size sine I last took a picture of it. There is an ever so slight chance I may have it done in time to wear before Spring.

Yes, I do take pictures of them

Although not nearly as often as I should. Here are some shots from last week when we braved the snow flurries to walk to Starbucks so I could get my coffee ('cause there is very little that will prevent us from making a coffee run).


11-25 Braving the elements

11-25 Michael again

11-25 Michael

11-25, Alex


And this last one is courtesy of Michael, who insisted on taking my picture...

11-25, Mom

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Just a little note for Kylie

Who decided that she would pass a little judgement on my 8 week belly pic. My knee-jerk reaction was to delete the comment, but I think it deserves to be read.

"why are you so big and the shape of your belly is messed up man ? i would HATE to have that."


Well, Kylie, you are certainly entitled to your opinion of the shape of my belly, but I could really care less that you would "HATE" to have it. While there are times that I am not in love with my body, it has given birth to two babies, struggled with smoking, and is currently nourishing my second child (which I will take a stab and say that would be another thing you would "HATE" to have considering what pregnancy and breastfeeding have done to the shape of my breasts) and that's nothing to sneeze at.

If you are willing to open your mind (which I am again taking a stab here and guessing not since you left neither email address nor homepage with your comment), you can take a look at The Shape of a Mother to see what real women look like, women who are not the perfect shape and decided to lift up their shirts and show the world just what their bellies look like.

So Kylie, get a fucking clue, mkay?

Saturday, November 15, 2008

It's raining

And it's coming down hard enough that I can hear it banging against the front windows. My mind and spirit have been through the wringer the past few days (didn't include bidy because that's pretty much always going through the wringer) and I'm just exhausted. I think we are all going to get a bit wet and brave the rain because I need to get away from the house and this computer.

Note to self - get slicker from my mom so Michael can stay dry on these trips.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Turning a Corner

Well, I hope I am.

I'm slowly settling into a routine with Alex and his feeding - as long as I am super vigilant about taking my fenugreek and blessed thistle, there is a definite flow and it's one that I can live with having dealt with the alternatives a few times over the past several weeks.

I am still not the parent I want to be to Michael, but I try my hardest to be every day. Although I feel like I'm spending way too much time apologizing to him, he's accepting of me as I am and I still get lots of, "I like you, Mom" which in Michael-speak means a hell of a lot more than a simple, "I love you."

I did remember it at the last minute - but my 9th wedding anniversary was last week. I still can't believe I've been with John for 11 years and married for the last nine of them. Most of all I can't believe how incredibly blessed I am to be able to share my life with this man and raise children with him. Life almost never relents, but we've been making the effort to maintain our relationship - granted dates are always with at least one kid in tow, but it's something and we'll have real couple-time again soon.

Last but not least, my mind is starting to overflow with ideas once more and I actually am able to put aside time to do something about it. Currently, I'm busy knitting prototypes and items to sell, but in the near future I'm going to really concentrate of self-publishing some of my patterns and get my act together and actually finish my perennial Knitty submission. Keep your eyes open 'cause some changes are on their way.

Kids are both asleep and John is off from work so I can take myself and my knitting up to Starbucks for some quality time with my I-pod. TTFN!

Friday, November 07, 2008

Dusting off the needles

I've been knitting pretty steadily over the past two weeks, trying to fine-tune some of my toy patterns and to build up a stock for the Knitty Keen Etsy shop which has been sitting dormant for the past year and almost a half. More work needs to be done, but I hope to have some stock up by the end of next week. If any knitters out there are interested in doing some testing for me - drop me a comment and I'll get back to you. The earliest I'll have stuff ready for testing will probably be just before Thanksgiving since it takes a bit of time to format a pattern.

Feeding time

The CHOP feeding evaluation went pretty well. The doctor commended me for being on top of things and it looks like we've ruled out both malabsorbtion and a mechanical/physiological reason for his feeding problems. I was able to coax him to take a few sips from a medicine cup so we are trying to do that twice a day which is very slow going. I've also been fortifying his purees with some powdered formula which hasn't phased him and makes me a bit happier that at least some of his calories have more nutritional oomph to them. The feeding team feels that his GERD is really playing a large role in his nursing behavior, so there is probably an endoscopy in our future which scares me a bit because of my last experience with a sedated test.

Not much else going on - lots of things to try, but only so much time and energy to do them. I feel horrible for even writing that, but I have my own limits and Alex definitely has his so I'm not going to drive us 'round the twist trying to everything at once - been there, done that and the only thing that results is stressed-out mom and kid so I'm not going to borrow that guilt this time.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Mad Dash

I got a call when we got home from the park and they have an an opening at the CHOP Feeding Clinic tomorrow morning. I have to fill out an eight page questionnaire to bring with me. Just trying to tell myself that this is not all in my head, I'm not making a mountain out of a molehill. Hopefully, I'll get some advice and maybe a few answers tomorrow morning.

VOTE!

The husband and I have done our parts, now we just have to sit back and watch (and pray).

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Bite me, sports fans

Seriously folks, I'm really happy that the Phillies won. I didn't even watch the game for fear of jinxing because the one game I went to they lost spectacularly and the one pennant game I watched on TV they lost as well, so I thought it safest to hedge my bets and do my part for the home team.

Seeing as how I did my part - the drunken yelling out in front of my house at fucking 1.30 in the morning was something I could have done without - especially since the episodes of drunken yelling or the damned firecrackers always occurred the moment I got my sick baby to sleep causing him to wake right back up.

I've always had a soft spot in my heart for baseball fans, but you are fast approaching the disdain and sometimes outright disgust I reserve for football fans (so says the woman, again awakened by all night partying to the dulcet tones of "E, A, G, L, E, S, EAGLES!"). I like baseball, I enjoy keeping track of who is ahead in the various divisions and I look forward to going to a game next year and then taking my kids in another year or so. So baseball fans - let's not be assholes, OK?

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Trying to lower the pedestel

Anyone who knows me can tell you that I hold my self to some crazy-high standards - standards that can only be achieved by an amount of effort that few people are even remotely capable of achieving. My most recent foray into the land of, "It's my fault because I'm not doing enough," has led me to the fact that once again I have to take a good look at the difference between what I can and am doing to what I think I *should* be doing.

No matter how many times people might say it, I have a huge blind spot when it comes to realizing that I do I hell of a lot for my kids. I put together a post about Alex's most recent issues and put it on a private board where I'm a member. My main reason for posting it there and not on Mothering is because I couldn't deal with the likely barrage of well meaning tips for increasing my supply. I dread pumping and trying to find the time to do it. If I wasn't suffering from chronic sleep deprivation and didn't have Michael, yeah, maybe I could make it work - but the couple of days I did manage to do it were awful, I felt way too stretched and considering Alex nurses at least ten times a day there just isn't the time. My emotional state is already raw due to the fact that I am not getting the down time that I need to be functional - evidenced by the fact that I've had a cold for 6 weeks. Hell, a few weeks ago I was ready to wean Alex cold turkey - something that would most likely result in several days worth of screaming, because I was JUST THAT DONE and there wasn't anything more that I could give. Obviously, I worked past that - but the dream of not breastfeeding any more is still there at times.

So here I am. I'm trying to do the best I can with too little sleep and an emotional bank that is so overdrawn it's ridiculous and I have the gall to feel guilty for not doing more. Alex is getting half of his calories from Gerber Puffs, arrowroot cookies (the evil ones with HFCS), cheerios, and jarred baby food and I am learning to be OK with this - it's not optimal, but it's what he'll do and he's at least gaining weight. Michael is finally agreeing to eat more than just fruit and goldfish crackers so his meals have been pepperoni and monterey jack cheese, fish sticks and french fries or *gulp* chicken nuggets - and to be honest I'm thrilled that he's willingly eating protein. Michael goes to preschool three mornings a week and I try to take the two of them out to at least the park once a week. I've managed to cook enough the past few weeks that we haven't had to order takeout because I was so wiped, there have actually been leftovers to fall back on. I've helped Michael make birthday cards for my mom and his uncle, helped him make a leaf garland out of construction paper and yarn, and taught him how to play tic-tac-toe. I finished three knitting projects and have started making frogs to sell in my Etsy shop. Most days, I've been able to do at least a quick straighten in the living room and kitchen.

So no, I'm not doing all that I want to do and I'm nowhere near doing all that I think I should be doing, but seeing it written down and considering the sheer size and force of my situational depression, it's not all that shabby.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Same old song

I had a glorious week above the situational depression haze - I cooked, I did crafts with Michael, my cold was almost totally gone, and I didn't need to complain about life because everything was tolerable. Then I missed a dose of fenugreek two days in a row, started doing before and after weights again and literally watched my supply go down with each nursing session while his irritability increased, finally realized that the spots I was seeing on the disposables every second or third change were uric acid crystals, and the icing on the cake - I'm sick again.

I called an LC at Pennsy and probably sounded like a raving lunatic who weighs her child every 5 second and spends way too much time on Google - in my defense I do neither of these things, well I try to keep the Google-ing to a minimum lest I go completely insane. At first the LC was pushing for me to just call my ped and get an appointment (probably also thought I was a bit crazy for thinking that I was going to be sent to the ER for mild dehydration, but with my luck I know better having been there so many flipping times in the past nine months and the fact that I was home alone with two kids). We were talking a bit and I mentioned how he refuses to take anything in a bottle even when obviously hungry and she asked about a sippy cup - yeah have four and at least six different bottle nipples. I also told her about the GERD and the laryngomalacia. Her tone changed slightly from, "this is a hypochondriac mom who spends too much time on the internet" to, "maybe there is something here after all" and she gave me a name and number to call over at CHOP to have him seen in their feeding clinic.

I just want this to end - I got a week's breathing space. Yeah, probably about a third of Alex's calories were coming from solids but that's better than the half it is now. Because of all the supply issues, he won't tolerate staying with John so I had to turn around and head right back home as soon as I got off the subway in town yesterday. Consequently, I was not able to go to Jersey yesterday and get the fabric for Michael's Halloween costume and had to ask my mom to pick up some stuff for me to make him a pumpkin and further realize my limits and take her up on the offer to make the damned thing.

The dehydration thing is really bugging me, especially since his output is on the low side to begin with and in hindsight the uric acid crystals have probably been showing up a lot more often than I realized so I will most likely be spending a chunk of time at the ped's tomorrow where I have no idea what they'll do since he can't/won't take anything from a bottle, sippy or syringe. GAAAHHHH!!!! Breastfeeding was supposed to be easier dammit - I'd take washing ten bottles a day with a flipping q-tip over the heartache and self-doubt this debacle has caused. Yes, there is no guarantee that he would not have had the same if not more problems had he been exclusively formula fed and yes there are aspects of breastfeeding that I love and would not trade for the world, but the fact that every time I build up some self-confidence in my ability to nourish my child something comes along and rips it to shred is getting really old.

There is a cup of coffee downstairs waiting for me. Sorry to disabuse you of the idea that no news was good news. Knock on wood, at least it's not a complete train wreck and damn it those words better not come back to bite me on the ass.



ETA: Just so you know, my fears of being sent to the ER stemmed from the fact that I was waiting for another diaper with uric acid crystals and it didn't appear until 4pm - just in time for my ped's office to close and for them to pawn me off on the ER.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Oh sweet alchemy

I somehow managed to cube and brown 3lbs of chuck and saute a couple of onions so I could get some stew going for tonight's dinner to the sweet music that is overtired children. I got everything into the oven at 5.30 and pulled it out for a peak at 7. It definitely could have passed muster at that point, but seeing as we hadn't put anyone to bed yet, I decided to let it cook a bit longer. When Alex was finally down, I pulled it out just after 8. Stew does not even begin to describe what I pulled out of the oven - that magical brown sauce where the onions have completely merged with the broth and beer (alas only lager this time, I didn't have any stout on hand), bite-sized chunks of meat that just dissolve in your mouth, and the heady aroma of thyme.

Seriously, something magical happened in my oven tonight. I love a dish that gets better the longer you cook it. It's also so versatile - as long as I have meat, onions and broth I'm good to go. I've made it with non-alcoholic amber beer, lager, and my favorite - red table wine. I've had it turn out equally well with chuck, top or bottom round (because sometimes you have to use what's on sale). It's one of those dishes that I can sit back and tell myself, "man, I did a great job on this," and I have to thank my inability to plan ahead enough to use the crock pot to make stew for it. Yes, more often than not we are eating around 9pm, but it's so worth it.

Now for cherry pie and vanilla ice cream.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Crafts Update - Swap edition

There has been knitting going on, precious little, but it has been happening. Unfortunately, I have not taken the time to actually take pictures of anything in progress, so instead I'm going to show off my recent magic yarn ball swap. You've already seen the temari ball, but here's the rest of the package I sent out this morning...

Temari Side View

temari2


Unwrapped
mboy_sending


Ready to go
mboy_sending_wrapped


My Swap Package
mboy_recvd


So, so many goodies - a lovely selection of teas, four balls of the KnitPicks Kettle-dyed sock yarn, a project bag, some options cables, note cards, and a book mark.

Lunch and family beckon - hopefully I can get a full crafts update up over the weekend. TTFN!

For your viewing pleasure


temari1

At long last after so much life got in the way, I am sending off my magic ball of yarn swap package to my ever patient swap partner. To make up for being so late with everything, I made her a Temari ball. I haven't made them in ages and I forgot how much fun and how satisfying it is to see one come together.

Who knows, I may actually make myself a few this time 'round (yes - friends, family and even extended family have one but I don't).

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

How 'bout some cheese with that whine

Went to my family doc for the URI that just keeps giving and now am the proud owner of some nasty broad-spectrum antibiotics which will hopefully prevent my URI from turning into the pneumonia it so wants to be and will not add thrush to my nursing woes. Seriously - I've been sick for going on three weeks now, and because of circumstances beyond my control I'll probably be sick for another two at least 'cause stay-at-home mom + four year-old + baby who won't take bottle + low supply = mom who still gets sleep in 90 minute intervals at night who can't sleep during the day because she's the primary care-taker.

John came home from work early so I can get some more rest today and also brought some of the good probiotics from Whole Foods for me to start downing so I can keep the foul spectre of thrush away. Not that Alex would put up with it, but it's be so nice to just pack to boys off to day care for a few days while I just slept and slept so I could knock this bug out rather than pumping myself full of ibuprofen to achieve some level of functionality and prolonging what should be a week long illness into a 5 week hacking cough ordeal.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Just a heartbeat away

I've refrained from expressing any really overt political views because this really isn't that type of blog, but this is so much more than not knowing how to spell potato.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Hmmm

I'm allowing myself a little glimmer - he's up to 15lbs 12oz which is a good 6oz gain from two weeks ago. I'm just starting to smell of maple syrup and I've managed to get a few pumping sessions in while remaining sane. Still refusing the bottle, but I'm going to pick up some different nipples over the weekend and see if anything changes.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

This is not new

Call me strange, but watching the 6ABC Action News every evening is a daily ritual for me - somehow just having it on makes even the most horrendous day a little more bearable and best of all it does not involve nicotine, paying usury (but oh so worth it) amounts of money to Starbucks for coffee or leaving the house to get the first two things when I'm in an antisocial mood. As you can picture, this is something I do every day. No matter what, the turning off of children's programming for the news comes as a huge shock to Michael complete with screaming, teary tantrums. Frankly, the turning off of children's programming for anything is met with huge protest (yeah, we watch way too much TV - but seeing as how I'm clinging to sanity by the skin of my teeth I'm cutting myself some slack), but the turning on of the news which happens every day bugs me to no end. I start giving him warnings after 4:00 and ask him what time it is and what does mommy do every day at this time to no avail.

Right now he's sulking in his room because I wouldn't give the TV a "rest". Call me mean, but watching the news in relative peace is almost worth it.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

If you can't say something nice...



My life is starting to look like it's being written by a writer who was fired from a soap opera for being too melodramatic. Rather than bore you with the details, ejoy the monkey hitman.

Friday, September 19, 2008

To Whom it May Concern

I do not know who the hell I pissed off, but enough is fucking enough all ready.

Sincerely,

Jenn
one beat up woman

PS: Oh and to the resident I just spoke to on the phone - if your practice is now doing well woman care, then you better sure as hell expect to get the occasional phone call from someone who is not pregnant but is still having a problem serious enough to warrant a call at 8:00pm on a Friday evening - telling me to take Tylenol and then hanging up, ya know there aren't even words for it.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

I have my work cut out for me

Talked to the GI and the celiacs panel was negative but she's really concerned about his intake as am I. I have no strong opposition to supplementing or formula, the problem is that my kid does. I'm breaking out the herbs and my double electric pump to see if I can get things going and praying that that will do the trick. He wanted nothing to do with the RTF formula I have by bottle or dropper, but maybe he might be more accepting of expressed breastmilk. I'm going to give myself through the weekend and the beginning of next week, then I'll look into getting an SNS and getting some professionals involved.

This just brings back the nightmare that was pumping after each feeding for Michael when he was an infant, except this time I'll have to find time to do it with two kids. The saving grace is that Alex is a lot more accommodating now than he was months ago and is happy sitting on the floor playing with stuff for 15-20 minutes at a time which will give me time to pump. I'm also going to pop on over to Jan Andreas' site to convert one of my bras to a hands-free pumping one which should make things a little bit easier.

Wish me luck because I'm going to need it - now I just have to make sure to keep things slightly balanced so I don't burn out, because trust me that potential is sooo there and I've already stepped over my limits several times this past week and it ain't been pretty.

Now we wait

I just sent in Alex's pretty abysmal nursing intake to his GI and I'm hoping that I'll get a call in the not too distant future from her so we can see what needs to be done next. I'm going to start the blessed thistle/fenugreek regime tomorrow and then do some more weights on Friday to see if there is any change - I may need to keep the scale for a bit longer than I anticipated.

My sister M came over and took Michael over to my mom's house so I can get some down time and Michael can be the center of attention for a bit. I feel so bad for him right now - he's not getting nearly enough attention from us and is in full-on sibling rivalry mode when John has the baby. I think I'm going to be falling back on family for a while so they can give him the attention he needs while I work on rebuilding my reserves.

Alex is asleep, so I'm going to relax for a bit and probably lay down myself since I know it's the Motrin keeping me going right now and I'll have to pay back for that soon enough.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Uncle!

Now I'm sick - not just feeling like crap sick, but full on malaise, light-headed, dizzy and fever sick.

I really didn't mean to kill those puppies in a former life.

Quiet Time

I definitely could have gone about this better, rather than the terse bordering on barking responses I gave Michael, but I have instituted a quiet time in the house. Alex is napping and Michael has to stay in his room until I get him, probably around an hour. He was a bit upset, but I managed to give him a hug, apologise for being short, and give a little explanation of what's going on. Yeah, I could have used the time Alex is napping to do something special with Michael. The thing is I am way too overdrawn on energy to even think about doing something like that and Michael is still stuck in the "any attention is good attention" feedback loop - not a pretty situation. Hopefully and hour of quiet will allow me to get my shit together so I can be at least the mediocre mom I know I can be, rather than screaming harpy mom.

Off for some naan and chicken biryani.

Would it be too much to ask?

For me to not have to deal with the latch from hell on top of everything else that's going on? Two new teeth, stressing about intake, bad latch to accommodate new teeth (and probably trying to make his gums feel better) which results in hamburger and poor milk transfer. It ain't pretty folks. As if every feeding wasn't already wrought with enough stress, now toe-curling pain and wanting to gnaw my own skin off can be added to the mix.

Ah, good times.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Trying not to read too much into things

We saw the GI on Friday for Alex and did a blood test for celiacs and I rented a baby scale to see just how much he's getting from nursing. The past twenty-four hours aren't looking too good - he took in just over half of the maximum you'd expect and about two-thirds of the minimum. I will say he's just cut his second top tooth and for him today was a pretty horrendous nursing day - one which has left me very sore. Even with that factored in, I'm pretty sure my supply is playing a role in his slow weight gain. I'm going to keep records for the next twenty-four hours and see how things look and then start the herbs and do some more weight checks to see if there is any improvement.

I'm trying really hard to stay out of the "this is my fault" place. I will say there is some strange contradictory information on KellyMom, and trust me I've been reading it all day. One place says a woman's output is 24oz and has a handy calculator script to figure out how big you should make your child's bottles based on that number. They also link off-site to several places that say a baby's intake should be between 2 and 2.5 times their weight, which results in *very* different numbers. Color me dazed and confused.

No more computer time for me tonight - I'm off to see if I can do anything about my sore breasts - baby teeth are flipping sharp.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Paranoid Much?

First off, Michael went through the night without a coughing fit so we headed that one off. Prednisone is DONE! The ped we saw on Friday has started him on a daily dose of Singulair as a prophylaxis so we can avoid things getting to the point that we need steroids so I have my fingers crossed.

Now that boy the elder is taken care of, boy the younger has decided that he wants in on the action. On part of the ped's advice, we increased his solids (always given after nursing, no way am I cutting out high calorie breast milk for low calorie carbs when my kid's gaining less than two ounces a week, can't believe she even suggested it). There were some changes in his bowel habits (sorry for the TMI) and after a few days it began to worry me a bit since it was such a drastic change and it was looking like nothing was being digested, and these were purees. I called the GI on Monday and we have an appoint on Friday afternoon. I've been trying to convince myself that I'm just being super paranoid, but the fact that the doc called me back herself does freak me out a little bit. We have an appointment at the end of the week and not a, "Bring him to the ER now" situation, so that's a bit of a relief. We have cut way back on solids and things are settling down again so that's good. Obsessive person that I am I flit from "I'm blowing things way out of proportion" to "I have been systematically starving my kid and or hurting him with my reluctance to go on an elimination diet" which is such a fun, happy place to visit. I told John that I plan to have all of my talismans in place on Friday - my cell, i-Pod, and DS all fully charged and at least three knitting projects. Frankly, I really doubt something is that serious that they'll keep us, but I'm hedging my bets all the same.

Of course the poor guy is working on all four front top teeth at once - the left-most tooth broke through yesterday and the other three are only days away. Sunday night Michael climbed into bed with me and turned on the radio so I got to listen to Bob Schaefer interview John McCain which meant that I did not fall asleep until well after it was over. Then last night Alex was up with the teething at least four times. I got *most* of a dose of ibuprofen in him tonight, so we'll see how that works.

I'm going to take myself, my atrocious run-on sentences, and dodgy punctuation downstairs to spend a little time with the husband who is also sleep deprived and not a little worried about his wife and kids. 'night all!

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Prednisone Redux

It's almost painful seeing how much this medication changes Michael. Yeah, it turns him up to "11" and since he's close to 10 as it is, that in itself is difficult, but he's been a wreck emotionally all weekend. I'm going to see how tonight goes, but I may need to keep him home from school tomorrow and *gulp* do an actual breathing treatment again since I'm not happy with how his cough is progressing between the prednisone and the ventolin. Frankly, just writing that means I should call the ped and have him checked out. Fingers crossed that he sleeps through and the coughing fits stop.

Man oh man do I ever hate this drug. At least with the grape flavoring he'll take it without to much of a fight, but I'm sure on some level he knows it's responsible for making him feel all out of sorts and that is contributing to his reluctance to take any of the medicines.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

I Heart TSR

And no, I am not referring to the publishers of the original Dungeons & Dragons to geek minded.

My knitting group sent me a bunch of lovely notes and a Starbucks gift card. Thank you so much guys - it seriously made my week.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Demanding my village

I have decided that I can't do this alone anymore and I need some damn help. I left a message on my mother's answering machine saying that I need help from her and my sisters and to please call me. It's time for my family - who live 15 minutes away!!! to pony up and start putting their money where their mouth is. I'm stretched way too thin and there is only so much that I, S and my husband can do to help - hell I even have H offering to help out with Michael and I've only met her in real life twice and she lives almost an hour away (not to mention having 3 kids of her own).

I can no longer pretend that I can do this on my own - I am missing my kids growing up and I'm not doing it to them any more. Every few months there is always talk of taking me shopping or taking Michael for a few hours - well I'm going to start scheduling it and I'm not going to back down even if I get the whole "grumble, grumble, grumble" attitude. In an emergency, my family is assembled in a heartbeat - but soul crushing situational depression apparently doesn't count.

NOT ANY MORE.

Someone has to be at the bottom of the chart

Alex only gained 8oz in the past 5 weeks. His height for weight percentiles have stayed pretty steady, so the ped isn't too concerned. I am freaking a little bit - I'm pretty sure Michael had at least 5 pounds if not closer to 6 on him at this age. Did a little bit of smiling and nodding about solids advice and vitamin drops. I just have to let this go. His output is good, he's nursing 8-10 times a day and eating solids 2-3 times as well. He's meeting milestones and the picture of health.

Yeah, trying to convince myself a bit there.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Just burned

I am just burned the fuck out. That is all.

Monday, September 01, 2008

This should be pretty

Well, my latest project in Noro Silk Garden Sock definitely is, but the week isn't shaping up to be.

Alone time today was a bust. I was way too wound up to even think of leaving - all I'd be doing is waiting for the cell to ring telling me I needed to come home. Anyways, Alex woke up not 10 minutes after I finished writing the last post and then another twenty minutes after that. Not much of a nap, but he doesn't want his arms swaddled anymore and wants to nurse until he's sleepy, but suck on the pacifier and pet/squeeze by breast or arm until he falls asleep so we've got this learning curve to look forward to all week. He's also a little stopped up from solids and his top teeth are slowly coming in 'cause you know misery loves company. As if this wasn't enough to be going with, he has a repeat weight check on Wednesday. I know he's gained weight - it's a question of how much. Anything over a pound and I'll be ecstatic.

Not to be outdone by his brother - Michael has been nursing a cough for the past week which has finally crossed the line from little cough to full-on unproductive-if this goes on for more than a few days we'll be in prednisone hell-kind of cough. He's now getting some guaifenesin in addition to his ventolin and I am praying that it will be enough. I'm kicking myself for not being as on top of it as I could this past week - I only gave the ventolin for a day or two when it first started and it almost disappeared for a few days so he didn't get anything then. If anything, I need to talk to his ped so I can get some sort of regimen going for when the cough starts.

Well, I have dinner waiting for me downstairs and then I'm off to bed. Hopefully both of them will sleep better tonight (frankly, anything would be better than last night), but I'm not holding my breath. If it's really bad, I think I may ask John to take a sick day to help me because I'm not sure if I can keep my shit together after several nights of crappy sleep. Who am I kidding - it's been close to a year since I've had a decent night's sleep, but the past few days have been a bit more heinous than most.

I've been doing a little more thinking on the whole, "You'll miss it when they're older" sentiment, and I think the thing that pisses me off the most about it, is that I want to be able to savor those moments now and my reserves are so damned low that I am missing them. More to come - when I can write coherently which may mean that you are in for quite a wait.

TTFN.

This message will self destruct...

in 3, 2, 1

I'm off - boy the younger is asleep, boy the elder is at my mother's and the husband is shooting things on the laptop downstairs. One stop to grab my knitting and the nintendo then I'm off to Starbucks.

Please God, let him sleep

Friday, August 29, 2008

Deep Breath

I have a very hard time purchasing things for myself that will make my life significantly better when I have not only the skills but the materials at hand to make the item. Of course, the missing piece in that equation is TIME - and that my friends is something that is significantly lacking (just look down at right-hand side bar, note that I have not updated any knitting projects or my de-cluttering goals since January).

A thought began brewing in my mind as we went to the zoo this morning. It further percolated on the trip home and I came *this* close to completing it. Then I made the phone call to John, complete with lots of pregnant pauses and rushed comments like, "I can sell something" or "No, I have the fabric and I can make one myself - it's too expensive." Finally, I just told him I wasn't going to get it and hung up. He I'm sure just shook his head and went on things while the two halves of my psyche battled over making a purchase.

Well, I said the hell with it and bought the damned thing. Wanna know what it is?



A Beco Butterfly carrier in Espresso. It was on sale for a great price and being able to pop Alex on my back with relative ease will be a God-send. I have a Sutemi Gear carrier that I used with Michael, but it was difficult at best to shimmy Michael around to my back and he had several pounds and a good inch or so on Alex. I put Alex on my back in the Kozy by myself yesterday and while I can get him up there OK, for him to be really secure I'm going to need someone with me to help which really defeats the whole purpose. Lastly, yes I have some lovely bone colored linen and a beautiful piece of hand painted fabric from Helen to use to make my own Mei Tei, but folks I have trouble making the time to eat so pulling out all the stuff necessary for a sewing project ain't happening anytime soon.

My fervent hope is that he'll fall asleep in it with relative ease and I can pretend that I'm just wearing a 16lb back pack while I knit or play my Nintendo DS for an hour at Starbucks. It'll be here by the middle of the week - I'll give an update then. Oh and if you want to get in on getting one at the sale price (most are around 30% off) better do so soon because I think the sale prices end on Sunday.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Not quite what I had in mind

I am counting down the days until Thursday when Michael will resume going to school three days a week and everyone can get a break from each other. I was getting precious little down-time before and now I'm not getting any. I decided to try and sneak out after Alex was asleep the other night and I got a call not twenty minutes after I left the house that he was awake and screaming. I've been snapping at the husband and then there's that whole insecure misreading everything he does as some sort of expression of anger or frustration towards me or my actions thing that is just oh so productive. Seriously - everyone needs a break from each other (well almost - Alex apparently can't get enough of me). I'm hoping that when we have the structure of school three mornings a week it will settle down a little bit.

I know this won't last forever, but it's really kicking my ass right now. Everyone needs so much from me and the strain is really starting to show because there is no respite for me. I think one of the hardest things to deal with is that I now have to bring Alex with me to my therapy appointments - which means I am paying my therapist $25 bucks to coo at my child while I juggle him so he doesn't flip out all while the things I really need to talk about with her are forgotten until after I leave. Frankly, I am strongly considering postponing them until October when John will be off every other Thursday and I can wing not bringing Alex with me to a daytime appointment.

I'd never agree with something as trite (and not a little smug in my opinion) as that treacle sentiment of "You'll miss these days when they are older," but what I will admit is that there are little bits of both of their growing up that I am currently missing because of how hard everything is right now. The, "You'll miss these days," sentiment is very dismissive to just how much energy is required to parent a child - it's boils childhood down to toothless smiles and belly laughs with no acknowledgement of frequent night wakings, colic or whining. Mothers are sold a bill of goods and all of us drink that kool aid at least for a little while. Where's my Hallmark card for changing my clothes for the third time in a day because the baby has spit up on them, or the one for preschooler having a screaming melt-down because the seat he wants to sit in on the subway is occupied?

I'm going to stop now because there is something that I want to really write about the bill of goods we are sold as mothers and it's very important to me - just right now my brain is mush and I really should be in bed, so I'm actually going to take that advice and go to sleep.

'Night all, more incoherent ranting to come...

Gotta love it

"Answer to me, Mommy (last name)! Answer to me, Mommy (last name)!"

Said by Michael this morning because I wasn't giving him and answer as to why we cannot bring sticks home fast enough.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

So lovely

We took the train out to Chestnut Hill this morning and had the most lovely time. Alex was little fussy, but Michael listened, held hands, did not have a meltdown when he was told it was time to leave the toy store or the playground, and all in all was a great kid to be around.

We are slowly getting more and more moments like these. I'm sure later on one of them will kindly remind just how hard this parenting two kids gig can be, but for right now I'm just going to enjoy the relaxing feeling.

Off to snuggle with boy the elder...

Monday, August 25, 2008

If they gave gold for effort

I'd definitely be getting one. I had to re-chart the sleeve because ya know I can't do anything easy like follow the pattern and gauge. That slowed things up considerably because I needed tiny graph paper and math - then Alex decided that I needed to come home NOW and so ended my dreams of Ravelympics glory. Frankly I got the body done and half of one sleeve - not too shabby considering I have two pretty intense kids.

I'll post pics later today - I'm off for coffee therapy.



Pictures!

My swatch
sherwood_swatch


The body of the sweater
sherwood_body


Sleeve chart
sherwood_sleeve_chart


Half a sleeve
sherwood_sleeve

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Final Sprint

I have to frog back several rounds on Michael's sweater for the Ravelympics, do both sleeves and finish the whole thing by Sunday at 11:59am. I have dinner to cook, a baby who is all about mom, a husband and a four year-old. The only thing in my favor is that I am not wearing sunglasses.

I think I'm going to go for it. Wish me luck!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Evolving beyond the need for sleep

I am not sure what is up, but boy the younger decided he was not ready for bed earlier and is currently trying to scale my body so he can smile and coo at the laundry basket behind me. Whenever I let him stand up he gets this, "HHey, this is sooo cool!" look on his face.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Just a piece of advice

If I haven't seen you in several years and you know about Michael, please don't act all surprised when you find out I have a second child. It's pretty damned insulting to me, my family and most especially Michael because I know it's all about teh ebil Autism you are thinking. Maybe there's a reason why you have not been a part of my life for the past three years.

This has happened several times when we've bumped into members of my old mother's group the past few months and it really cements it in my mind that it was for the best that I am no longer involved with them.

The grass is always greener

Michael: I want Bear toothpaste (The fluorescent blue Oral B Little Bear training toothpaste that I happily tossed the other day).

Jenn: But you have your new strawberry toothpaste (the Tom's of Maine John picked up to replace it)

John: He told me last night that he didn't like it

Jenn: He used it fine for me the other night.

Michael: I want Daddy Toothpaste!

John: Can we?

Jenn: As long as you think he's not going to like it.

Michael: I like Daddy Toothpaste! Daddy Toothpaste is delicious! (said with a head-splitting grin and so much belief it's practically oozing)

John puts a dab of our toothpaste on his brush. Michael puts brush in mouth and makes to most fantastic sour face ever. He removes brush from mouth...

Michael: All Done!

Jenn: But you didn't finish brushing your teeth.

Michael: I want Strawberry Toothpaste. (holds brush out happily for the previously scorned toothpaste).

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

My open window

Just a quickie because I should be in bed.

After a very rough start this morning where I questioned my abilities to be a mother to two kids who seem determined to skate within an inch of my limits I had a wonderful afternoon. Alex devoured a rice rusk and played with some cereal before I decided to try and put him down for a nap - and he slept for an hour and a half. I spent the whole time not daring to actually start anything for fear that he would wake up. After he woke and nursed again I managed to make Michael some pancakes and we all had dinner - Alex made some faces at the broccoli I tried to give him, attacked and devoured two rice rusks and made a good effort to get some Joe's O's into his mouth (doesn't quite have a pincer grasp yet). After we had eaten I got Michael dressed and we went for a walk. Got home about 7, Alex asleep by 7.20 and Michael asleep by 8pm. I just finished nursing Alex after his FIRST wake-up since he fell asleep - an almost unheard of occurrence (10.30 - woo hoo!).

On a nursing front, his latch is greatly improved and I still smell strongly of maple syrup. I'm going to give it another week and start a slow taper off the herbs and see what happens.

This I could live with. Please let me not have just jinxed myself.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Be careful what you wish for

When I was pregnant, I used to say that I would be secretly pleased if the baby refused bottles. Now, it seems that I have my wish. I'm praying that it's not as dire as it would seem. From the looks of it, he is rejecting the formula and not necessarily the bottle itself. It's a new to him formula - this would be the forth time he's gotten it, and the last time he got it he vomited all over the place from we think a stomach bug. I think we are going to go back to the original one and see if that works. Pumping is an option, but considering he eats on average every 90 minutes during the day and every 3-4 hours at night there is precious little time to pump and when I do get a session in I get very little so it takes me a week plus worth of pumping to get enough for me to go out for a couple of hours in the evening.

I'm trying really hard to see a bright side to this - frankly all I want to do is cry.

Antisocial

Today was Michael's field trip to the zoo. We've been rather stretched in the sleep department for the past few days so that was count one against the trip. Count two is that I am going through a very antisocial phase where I dread being put in a position to have to talk to other people. I have a tendency towards this to begin with - sort of a love/hate relationship. I get desperately lonely sometimes, but it's extremely hard for me to make new friends. I'm very good at hiding it. When I've confessed it to others they are always surprised, but when I fill in the gaps then you can see it. One of the biggest things is eye contact - it's almost physically painful for me to make eye contact with people at times, even with all the training I've given myself to overcome it. So going to the zoo with parents of NT kids on a day where I don't want any interaction with the outside world is pretty much the definition of torture for me.

Since I did go out into the world today, I'm going to tune out tonight rather than go to my knitting circle because I desperately need some down time with the ipod cranked and some knitting to keep my hands occupied. I'm about 1/3 done the body on Michael's sweater for the Ravelympics and I might actually get it done. The mystery project is going - I'll probably put an hour or so into it tonight as well. Life calls, so I must dash. TTFN!

Thursday, August 07, 2008

As if there wasn't enough going on right now

Team Rosie's Ravelympics

I am bowing to the siren call of the Ravelympics and discounted yarn. I want to knit the boys matching sweaters for Christmas and had settled on a yarn (Cascade Ecological Wool), but not a pattern yet. I checked in the other day to see a new post on the Rosie's Yarn Cellar blog saying that not only were they "sponsoring" a Ravelympics team, but they were offering a 15% discount on yarn. Some hurried sleuthing later, I've settled on making Sherwood from Knitty. The only fly in the ointment is that Rosie's only has two skeins in a few colors of the Eco Wool, not the three that I would really need to get two sweaters so I'll only be doing Michael's right now.

So let's see - the perennial Knitty submission (which is going in this year, dammit), all of my regular knitting, 17 days to knit a sweater for my Michael (which to be honest really is closer to a woman's small), and two high-maintenance kids. I am insane and I have the papers to prove it.

On the good side, I smell of maple syrup and Alex is nursing well again, he is napping in his bed, and I actually got 7 hours of broken sleep last night with a nice three-hour chunk thrown in so things are about as well with the world as they can be right now.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Sleeping

I came into our back bedroom to surf for a few minutes before putting Alex to bed and he just laid his head on my shoulder and drifted off - if only he fell asleep this easily all the time.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Wow - a two-fer!

John is in the room right now giving a bottle to Alex because he would not settle down after nursing and drifting for forty minutes (and don't forget gnawing - his latch degenerates very quickly when he's comfort nursing). John came in with the bottle and I told him, "No" - kind of goes against the whole purpose of smelling like maple syrup for the foreseeable future. After he drifted off again for the umpteenth time, started to chew on me and then startled himself back awake I tearfully gave him to John and came out here to share it with the world.

He really nursed beautifully all day today - I have no idea what is up except that for some reason I'm not enough for him right now.

Man, this sucks.

Tuning In

Life sucks on many levels right now - don't get me wrong, it's beyond fantastic in a whole host of ways, but the situational depression is still kicking my ass. I suppose you could call it PPD in that it is occurring in the postpartum period, but its root causes are not changes in brain chemistry (other than those wrought by sleep deprivation). It's due to two pretty intense kids with pretty intense needs - needs that I would only have a mild amount of difficulty meeting if I was getting more that 6 hours of broken sleep a night. Besides that, none of those big major depression symptoms are present right now, so as awful as it might feel at times, it's nothing compared to past experiences.

Now that I've rambled on about depression, I am going to make the effort to rejoin the wide world outside of my house and the knitting circle I escape to every so often. Here's hoping that "fake it 'til you make it" works on a sleep-addled brain.

TTFN!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Wait, haven't I been here before?

Just got back from the boys' well baby/child visits and Alex has only gained 19oz in the past two months nicely halving his weight percentile. I've been crying about it off and on for the past hour because I feel like it's my fault - the ped however is taking a much calmer approach and is having us come back in for a weight check in a month since he's still on the charts (~6%) and his height for weight cluster still looks good. Frankly, FTT isn't even on the table since he's hitting all his milestones and other than the crankiness from teething (I'm expecting the top two any day now), he really is doing wonderfully. He was really spitty over the weekend and the ped is inclined to think he had a bit of a stomach bug which caused him to drop a bit. For my own piece of mind I'm going to start the fenugreek/blessed thistle/3-4 litres of water/nurse-nurse-nurse regimen to see if his disposition improves. I've been suspecting some supply issues for the past week, but for the most part he has seemed happy once let-down happens and will pop off and smile and talk to me when he's done (oh and bite too - can really live without that one). Maybe if I can give myself a little boost with the herbs, things will even out again.

Michael, aside from the new mild asthma dx, is healthy as a horse and practically skin and bones despite the amount of food he eats - 43.5" and 44lbs. Have to take him out for the full audiology test in the next month that I've been avoiding for going on two years now - not looking forward to it.

Oh and Michael was complaining the whole way to the doctor's office about how he wanted a shot like Alex was getting and even after Alex got his he was still complaining that he didn't get one.

Eerie quiet is pervading the house so I need to go see what is up - Alex is sleeping for once but I'm sure Michael is getting into some mischief or another and besides that there is my vanilla creme frapachino w/peppermint syrup waiting for me - it's like drinking a mint nonpareil - I strongly suggest you go to your local Starbucks and have them make one for you, it is truly heavenly.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Just feeling a little lost

So many things rambling about my head these days - anger at the way autism is treated in this country and all those negative images being seen by my son, how so much money is thrown at research but not nearly enough is given for treatment (and this is true of so many conditions), feeling trapped at times, loosing touch with people because I can't muster the physical and emotional energy to seek them out, and how much typing one-handed sucks.

Just a bit blue today - have to get myself together and take the boys out for a bit. I'm pretty sure Alex is starting a growth spurt so no knitting group for me tonight, but maybe I can escape to Starbucks for some quality time with my DS and my crack Civilization Revolutions.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

We have...

A tooth!

The second one will probably show up in the next day or two so he'll have both his bottom front teeth.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Vacation snapshots

Well, no pictures yet...

I am so happy we are here! I have not been to this part of the jersey shore in at least 12 years and it's been 4 years since I've seen the Atlantic Ocean. Words fail me as to just how much it means to me - the ocean is a mere two blocks away!

I took the kids down to the boardwalk for a quick visit so John could decompress. Michael talked me into heading out onto the beach. He was so happy. The shoes came off and he kept dropping down to touch the sand and to make "sand angels" The actual ocean really spooked him and he wants nothing to do with the water, he kept whimpering about it until we left to head back to the hotel.

Right now, the kids are asleep and we have a bucket of fresh caramel popcorn that is still warm. Lift doesn't get much better than this.

Oh wait - it does, Michael pooped in the toilet for the first time today!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Only in my world

On the night before vacation would I be spending the last moments before going to bed uploading a disc of Sarah Vowell's Assassination Vacation into iTunes so I can put it on my iPod so we can have it playing on continuous loop in the hotel room while Michael sleeps. Since I spent many, many nights camped out on an air mattress sleeping next to him I chose something that I wanted to listen to and Sarah Vowell got the most air time. For easily the past year he's been listening to Assassination Vacation exclusively and demands that we "put Sarah on" each night before he goes to bed. So yes - anything you might want to know about the Lincoln, Garfield or McKinley assassinations - I'm your gal and Michael probably is too.

John, who has been doing night time wakings for at least the past year, says I have a lot to answer for.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Random happenings...

Never, ever tell anyone how happy you are that it's 7pm, the kids are both asleep, and the husband isn't due home for two hours. Five, count them, five times I had to go back into the room to get Alex back to sleep - and these weren't just pop the pacifier in and bounce him in the amby trips but full on have to nurse for ten minutes EACH FLIPPIN TIME.

Slacker mom moments - Michael turned four two weeks ago and Alex is now five months old. Where did the time go? I did make up a photo montage for Michael but I kept having to tweak it to get things right and I just gave up after the umpteenth time, it'll get up at some point. It's a good thing that Alex looks almost exactly like Michael at this age - the disturbing lack of pictures chronicling his infancy won't look so apparent. But Alex has all the hand knits so it does balance out.

Wore Alex in the Kozy that H lent me and I'm not completely sold. My lower back is very happy with me, but the straps kept creeping closer to my neck and putting pressure on the exact wrong spots on my shoulders. Alex also does not seem to be a big fan of it and only tolerates it. We'll see - after the vacation I'll probably design my own with wider, more wrap-like shoulders and see how that works for us.

Two weeks ago I bought blue semi-permanent hair dye (yes - I aspire to be *that* mother) and have not mustered the gumption to use it. I think tonight may be the night.

Vacation prep continues. Not much else doing. I'm off to try and knit for a bit before bed. 'Night all.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Vacation Countdown

On the 25th, we will be leaving with my best friend and her family to go on my first vacation in four years. We're just starting to talk about what we are going to do and need to pack, when I remembered - MUSIC! Back in those days of $.99/gallon gas and when cigarettes were $2.50 a pack we spent hours just driving around in my Ford Tempo listening to mix tapes. Here's just a sampling of the mix that I'm starting to make for us...

  • Jane says, Jane's Addiction

  • Blue Cars, Dishwalla

  • Hell, Squirrel Nut Zippers

  • Devil's Haircut, Beck

  • Laid, James

  • I Kissed a Girl, Jill Sobule

  • A song by Garbage from Romeo & Juliette that I can't remember the name of but I remember that it was one of S's favorites

  • Female of the Species, Space

  • Peaches, The Presidents of the United States


Seriously - this vacation is going to rock!

Sunday, June 08, 2008

At long last - Craft Update!

It's a quick one 'cause I should have been in bed a half-hour ago.

Jitterbugging Monkey from the Toe-up


toe-up_monkey2



toe-up_monkey1


This is my version of Cookie A's Monkey Sock from Knitty rewritten for toe-up, magic loop, and with a gusset/rounded heel/shortrow heel flap. I just can't seem to do things the easy way. The next time I come up for air I'll post my pattern modifications.

Green Thread Sock

green_thread2



green_thread1


Yet another Cookie A. Pattern - her Red Thread Sock. John bought me the pattern for Mother's Day. I like it, but not quite as much as some of her other designs - M1P are a major PITA to do. Once I get to the cable lace on the cuff I should be happier. I haven't added it to my Ravelry notebook yet, but I'll probably get the stats up there sometime this week.


Elf Chicks Need to Keep Warm Too

elf_chick1


This is in fact the Woodland Shawl lace pattern done up as a scarf in some of the Kureyon Sock that John got me for Christmas. It's my first *real* lace pattern, although I'm sure my Green Scaley Sock has to count for something. The pattern itself is quite lovely, my picture of it under the glare of an incandescent bulb however is not.

I have a few other things in the works - a bucket/sailor hat for Alex that I'm planning on knitting up in some Debbie Bliss DK cotton and a cotton bag for Michael that I'd like to have ready for our trip to the shore at the end of the month - we'll have to see about that.

There is oh so much more going on, but my two-handed computer time is very limited (hell, one handed isn't happening all that much either), so posts will continue to stew about in my brain. Needless to say, "I still aten't dead!"

Monday, June 02, 2008

I'm at CHOP, it must be Tuesday

Alex has a ton of doctor's appointments this week. This morning we had his 4 month well visit - 24.25" and 13lbs 11oz. Tomorrow I have the distinct pleasure of waking up at 4:45 to nurse him because he has to be NPO for his upper GI at 8.15 - I'm sure the other people traveling to University City by bus are just going to love us. I', praying that I can keep him asleep in the pouch or sling for most of that so the screaming will be kept to a minimum. After the Upper GI we are heading across town for La Leche League and then we get to go back to CHOP for his GI appointment at 12.40. On Thursday I get to do it all over again since he has an ENT appointment at 9.30 and I have my therapy appointment in Center City at 1pm.

Wish me luck.

My Future's So Bright...


shades

Enjoy!

Friday, May 30, 2008

Let me count the ways...

that I loathe prednisone.

Michael has to do a 5 day course of it because two days of ventolin did nothing for his unproductive cough. So I have to deal with the joy that is my already very active, very much four year-old amplified to eleven on this most evil drug.

I think some neat gin is in my future.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Stop the presses

I have finished a sock!

Granted it's only one sock and I started it back in February, but 'tis done and the ends woven in. It's been a doozy of a day, so pictures haven't been taken yet and probably won't be up 'til the weekend at the earliest.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

At least something is happeneing

Just found an update - you can check it out here.

Portillo was reassigned out of the classroom at the district offices on Friday, as soon as Schools Superintendent Michael Lannon heard about the incident, Karst said. She said it could be up to two weeks before the district's investigation on the matter is concluded.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

What kind of world will my son grow up in?

Especially one where this is allowed to happen. Here's just a little nugget -

Melissa Barton said she is considering legal action after her son's kindergarten teacher led his classmates to vote him out of class.

After each classmate was allowed to say what they didn't like about Barton's 5-year-old son, Alex, his Morningside Elementary teacher said they were going to take a vote, Barton said.

By a 14 to 2 margin, the class voted him out of the class.


WHAT THE FUCK WAS THIS TEACHER THINKING!?!

WHEN IS IT EVER APPROPRIATE TO FUCKING VOTE A KID OUT OF CLASS!?!

WHY HAS THIS WOMAN NOT BEEN FUCKING FIRED - OH WAIT, IT'S BECAUSE THE KID HASN'T FORMALLY BEEN DIAGNOSED - HAVE THE IEP IN PLACE, BUT NO FORMAL DIAGNOSIS SO OF COURSE HE HAS A MEASURE OF CONTROL OVER HIS ACTIONS AND IT MUST BE ON PURPOSE!

Michael already gets looks for some of his behaviors. I already deal with some of the aftermath of the likes of Jenny McCarthy and how when she found out her son had autism and wasn't the indigo child she thought all of his behaviors became reminders of how he was damaged. I have to deal with the "Oh, he doesn't look autistic..." like that isn't a fucking charged observation - why don't you come on out and tell me that I am wrong about him and tell me I'm the piss-poor parent you think I am? CHOP who keeps sending me letters asking me to participate in a research study, one that will only serve to figure out what I did wrong during my pregnancy and to do genetic work-ups on me and Michael that won't do one whit to provide support for families coping with this but will find some sort of prenatal test, 'cause eugenics is always the answer. All of those fucking organizations like Autism Speaks - which surprisingly has no adult autistics on their board - and paints autism to be a death sentence. That the only reason for not killing yourself and your autistic child is that you need to be there for your neurotypical child (this is actually in their video - and no that woman wasn't fucking brave for saying it).

I'm too fucking mad to even write coherently any more. My kid will grow up in a world that thinks his condition, the way his brain is wired, his very being is a disease, that he is frankly less than human because let's be realistic - when you see those images on Autism Every Day, that's what they want you to see. Every time you see a puzzle ribbon, you think of all those poor kids who have no inner life because of their autism. Was I jumping for joy when we got Michael's diagnosis - God no. It was hard to let go of my dream child and accept who he was - something many parents don't have to do until much later if ever at all. We worried about how well he would be able to function and about what we could do to help him be the person he wanted to be. A few months ago, I really started to worry about how accepting the world would be of him - almost every image you see of autism is a negative one and the fact that so much money is being poured into research - money that is not going to help the families who are living with it but in research to "prevent" it. If you think that isn't the case, then you are deluding yourself - genetic research isn't going to get a kid speech therapy or a family respite care. As if the media protrayal of autism isn't bad enough, now I have to be on the lookout for teacher's who want to vote my kid out of class because he's different - and the best part is that because this kid wasn't a different race or in a wheelchair there will be a lot of people who think that this is "OK". And you know what - IT FUCKING ISN'T!

I'm becoming more and more incoherent, so I'm just going to break it off here.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Squee!

This has been an interesting day. I got a detention from the powers that be for mouthing off and I have to say I'm pretty proud of it. We all had a family nap this morning and I think I'm finally figuring out one of the missing pieces of the puzzle with regards to Alex's napping - he needs to be bundled up. I put him in one of the fleece sleep sacks I have and tried to nurse him to sleep for a nap and of course he woke when I put him in the Amby bed (still getting the hang of transferring him). I decided to head upstairs and pop onto the computer so I had him sort of on my knee - his back to my chest and my arm across his chest under his arms. He actually fell asleep in that position for and slept for a good 30 minutes or so - I think the sleep sacks are going to be the way to go. I'll have to track down some cotton ones for next month when the weather starts getting warmer.

Last but not least - I got to go out for my knitting group tonight! I made the decision while I was nursing him to sleep at 6.30 and low and behold he stayed asleep! I've missed my group so much and getting to hang out with them without that little bit of guilt that is always involved when I leave John with both of them was great.

A crafts update is in the works, as are long overdue pics of the boys. Lots more to do tonight so TTFN!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Just a couple of fun things...

Check out this retelling of Thomas the Tank Engine by way of the Bolshevik Revolution...
The Really Revolutionary Train

I wish I had a link for it, but someone on one of John's boards put forth the theory that Sir Topham Hat is in fact a necromancer who binds the souls of children into trains and other vehicles on Sodor. If you have ever had the misfortune to actually sit through an episode of Thomas the Tank Engine, you will agree with me that this notion is not too far fetched.

And here's this lovely chestnut - Scamming the Scammer, The Tale of the P-P-P Powerbook. The fake powerbook he sent is truly a work of art.

As much as it sucks, and man does it ever, I am going to head to bed now at the same time as Michael because Mr. Man the Second was partying all night long last night and many allegories were made between my life as it is now and The Prisoner. I'm not feeling quite as bad today thanks to the boy's uncanny ability to stop just shy of pushing me over the edge (and I really mean just shy). John got a lead on an Amby Bed to see if we can help Alex sleep better and me regain some modicum of sanity.

All right - off to bed I go. 'night all!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Only I

... could have this strange half-dream.

Last night John and I watched the beginning of one of the This American Life episodes on Showtime. We only lasted a few minutes before realizing that it was way too depressing for us to watch and decided that we really didn't like the format. It was the first time that either of us saw Ira Glass, the host, and we both agreed that he didn't quite fit our mental picture. We ended up watching John Waters instead.

Fast forward to waking up at 2am to nurse Alex. While I was nursing him and half dozing in the chair I had this half dream where my life that evening was an episode of This American Life on NPR and Ira Glass was narrating it - it was very realistic, I could hear the sympathy in his voice as he described how I had to wrench myself out of bed after only being asleep for two and a half hours, my yearning for three or more hours of contiguous sleep and knowing that my day would most likely be beginning at 5.30. All fit into the normal radio format for the program.

Very, very surreal.

Off to bed - 'night all.

How cool is this?

Over on Ravelry, the Koigu Baby Surprise Jacket I knit for Alex is the 7th most favorited one and is loved by 46 people! Seriously - how neat is that?

Saturday, May 10, 2008

I really should be baking a cake...

or at least knitting, but instead I'm here posting.

Alex's Christening is tomorrow and I have to make marinated mushrooms (the Cooks' Illustrated recipe - it's to die for and not the slimy, salad dressing drenched ones you usually see) and a carrot cake (also Cooks' Illustrated - the whole thing gets done in the food processor). Maybe it's the whole second kid thing, maybe it's because my husband worked today and then went straight from work to go out for dinner and a movie with his friend not fully realizing that this is the day before a major event (in his defense he did ask me several times if it was all right, I just didn't feel like explaining to him why it might not be the best of ideas to do this on this specific day so I can't be too mad at him), or maybe it just that I am bone tired, on my own all day and the last thing I want to do is get dressed up to go to Jersey tomorrow and all the hullabaloo that that trip entails.

I've been feeling very slacker-ish recently - actually it would be more precise to say that I've been feeling a lot more introverted. Michael's class had a Mother's Day thing on Friday that I bailed on at the last minute. A few things in my defense - it was pouring rain, Alex was *very* spitty that day and not a little bit colicky, and it wasn't one of Michael's regular school days so I would be bringing both of them over (two buses or a bus and a 5 block walk). The last classroom party we went to back at Halloween put both Michael and me into sensory overload - I don't want to even imagine what it would do to Alex. The other thing that had me more than a bit gun shy was having to nurse Alex there (a very real possibility given his mood that day). I think I've been doing very well on the whole NIP front - I've been working very hard on just concentrating on the fact that I'm feeding my child and nothing more. This had been going well for me until I started to nurse Alex in a waiting room at CHOP and had a nurse run out to tell me that they had a room where I could nurse if I wanted. Firstly, it was phrased as a question - something to which I could have just smiled and said, "No thanks, we're fine here." We had just finished his GI appointment and he was cranky from the exam so we had to go through the whole suck-suck-suck, pop off and cry for a minute, suck-suck-suck thing which always puts me on edge. When this practically out of breath nurse spurted this not-really-a-question question to me all in one breath I was so taken aback that I just humbly unlatched Alex, gathered my stuff and followed her back to an empty exam room where I had to spend not a few minutes calming both me and Alex down so he could eat. Needless to say, my NIP confidence has been a bit shattered by this. Not, and I do repeat, not that this is a valid reason to ask anyone to not nurse - but it is downright impossible for me to be a discrete nurser. I will most likely never be one of those women that you walk up to and never realize that she is breastfeeding. I have huge breasts (even with Alex being three months old they are still bigger than his head), I can only comfortably nurse in the football hold, and I have a fussy eater so a few pop-offs and screams are pretty much guaranteed per feeding - oh and my areola are a good 3" in diameter, no way they aren't showing. I can't even imagine being able to nurse him in any other position unless he's the one actually holding my breasts in place since their shape and direction seem destined for football hold unless steel struts or a third arm are somehow involved in the process. We did go out two more times since then and I did nurse him at John's library which almost doesn't count as NIP since he's got my back there. I also nursed him at a playground - oh and a great big "Thank You" to the other moms/nannies who just watched Michael run out the gate while I was calling for him to stop while I was nursing his brother who was doing his best "scream at the breast because this should be as uncomfortable for mom as possible" performance, your apathy was great appreciated and if your intent was to discourage us from visiting that playground you can sleep secure in the knowledge that we most likely will not be returning. Yeah, not bitter about that in the least.

Ranting aside, it's going to take me a bit before I get my sea-legs back, so to speak. Before I would try to time outings around nursing simply for logistical purposes - Michael has poor impulse control and his auditory processing isn't the greatest so he does not respond well to verbal commands (even less so than a typical 3/4 year-old) so nursing has to take place in an area where he's fairly contained. Now I have to contend with the spectre of the not-really-a-question question - nursing somewhere I think is safe only to have the rug pulled out from under me. There is more to say on this subject but I'm starting to become incoherent and it's getting late so I'll end it abruptly here.

In other, nonparenting news I am two pattern repeats away from finishing the first of my toe-up monkey socks, the ones that I cast-on for just after Alex was born. I also have blown through all 16 volumes of Fullmetal Alchemist a most excellent manga and I just finished the first novel I've read in ages - Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman. I bought myself a new summer wardrobe on Thursday - a size bigger than I want it to be, but now I have clothes that fit and look nice on me so I can hopefully start feeling betting in my skin. I also ordered a solarveil sling from Sleeping Baby Productions. After a lot of measuring, I figured out that my Zolowear really is a bit small for me so I'm hoping the extra length in my SBP sling will help me with learning how to nurse in it.

All right - it's 11pm, and I have a cake to make. 'night all.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Survival Mode

I really need to learn how to start cutting myself some slack. There is a big reason why I'm not comfortable in my skin right now and why I'm less than half the parent I know I can be - the parent I want to be is so far out of reach right now it may as well be in another dimension. I'll have those few blessed moments of all being right with the world and the second I actually think the thought, "Hey, I'm really getting this parenting two kids thing down," one of them will kindly remind me that I don't have anything under control. I suppose this is just going to be life for the next several months - needed alone time being kiboshed because the babe was up all night, Michael very calmly telling me that he can't hand me the receiving blanket next to his hand because he's playing, snapping at the husband because he wants to help but needs to be micro-managed, crystal-shattering wails and shrieks and let us not forget poop and spit-up.

There are also the giggles, milky smiles, Michael telling me "I like you, Mom!", the quiet in the house when everyone is asleep and it's not 2 in the morning, and successfully stepping back and asking the husband if we can start over. It's only been three months despite the fact that it feels much, *much* longer, and I still have a lot of learning to do. I'm going to knit for a bit, have a hard cider and then go to bed. Tomorrow will be what it will be, I just have to try my best and you know what, it will be good enough because despite what I might think, my best is pretty damn good.

'Night all!

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Yeeouch!

Alex naps very little if at all during the day so he nurses a lot. This in itself is not a problem, but towards the end of the day he is doing a lot of comfort nursing and his latch gets progressively worse. His reflux symptoms also seem worse towards the end of the day as well, so there is a lot of pulling off and arching - pulling off by turning his head away from me with my nipple still in his mouth. The icing on the cake is his new comfort thing - he kneads my breast with his fist, sometimes pulling my nipple out and most painful of all he'll grab a small handful of breast and just dig his fingers in and then pull my nipple out of his mouth. The nursing necklaces I have don't seem to cut it - they aren't quite long enough and he doesn't like holding on to them the same way. He'll sometimes take my finger, but my oh so lovely G cup breasts still require support while nursing and there are many times when I just don't have a free hand to give him a finger to grab on to. Swaddling isn't working either - he gets very upset if he doesn't have access to his hands. Needless to say, my breasts are killing me right now.

I'm hoping the Prilosec that is being compounded for me at the pharmacy will provide him some relief, but other than that I don't know what to do. If anyone has any suggestions, please feel free to share.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Time Line

  • Last Week
    Dragging feet about making appointment for next two vaxes, realize that Zantac Rx is coming up for renewal so most likely need an appt for weight check as well.

  • Over the Weekend
    Decided that I'm still on fence about vaccines and the fact that Alex is coming down with a cold is reason enough to hold off on them. Do the math and don't think the increase in meds based on his weight increase from last time and the very small change we saw in symptoms is worth coming in for a weight check, especially since we'll be seeing the GI on the 6th and I've already decided that it's time to try something stronger.

  • Monday Morning
    John calls the ped's office for a refill on Zantac - leaves a voice mail on their prescription refill line.

  • Monday Afternoon
    Realize that it's 4 pm and haven't heard anything from office. Call the pharmacy and nothing is there yet. Call the ped's office and there isn't a damned prompt for "Speak to a person about a non appointment issue" so I just stay on the line until someone picks up. Talk to person and they have no record of John's call, although someone may have already taken the information from the voicemail line. She takes my info to be safe, noting that we only have two doses left and it's "not pretty" when he misses a dose.

  • Monday Afternoon, 15 minutes later
    Triage nurse calls me back and double checks all of the info. Says she'll take care of the refill right away. Get kids fed and start bed time. Have horrendous evening with Alex so picking up his meds is the last thing on my mind.

  • Tuesday Afternoon
    At 4.45, gather up the kids to walk down to pharmacy to pick up rx. Two techs search the place from top to bottom and can't find the rx. The double check the computer and nothing was called in. I ignore the "Please do not use your cell phone" signs all over the place to call the ped's office, trying to keep Alex happy in the stroller since I wore him in a bad position for a good mile in town and my back really isn't happy. Get the damned after hours line. After hours representative tells me that they put a hold on the refill pending review by the doctor because he hasn't had an adjustment in his dose in a month. I tell her that no one told me this, she responds by telling me that it's an office issue and the office is closed. I respond by asking her what I'm supposed to do with my screaming child in the morning, then thank her for her time and hang up on her. Storm out of pharmacy.

  • Tuesday, Early Evening
    Flirt with idea of going up to peds office since I'm almost positive they are in fact open and seeing patients, but decide not to since I will lay into whatever poor soul is working there and do not relish the thought of combining cranky, hungry kids and righteously indignant mom. Get a hold of John on his cell and share the story with him and anyone who happened to be standing on my block at the time - remarkably without swearing. Get kids in the house, try to nurse Alex but Michael is understandably bouncing off the walls and hungry - have to unlatch Alex a few too many times so then starts the hour long scream-a-thon that is interrupted feeding and GERD.

    John gets home and we decide against showing up at the ped's office at 8am demanding someone's head - he'll call them since I've had enough and if I come up against anyone lacking in customer service skills, heads will roll. John makes the call to after hours to find out what they can do and while he's on hold there our specific ped calls my cell phone first and then our home phone to say that she will calculate Alex's new dosage based on his curve and call it right in.


We are still going to call the office in the morning to speak with the office manager and will be sending a letter outlining our experience to the office manager and a few higher-ups since they have been bungling calls for several months now. One of the things that pisses me off the most is that I worked as an answering service operator for six years (and was a damned good one) - at 5.15 on a weeknight in a multi-doctor practice, there are still people there. If someone called me that distraught you better bet after I told her that the office had put a note on her call at the very least I'd take her information and see what I could do, in fact I'd probably put her on hold and try to patch her through to the back line of the office seeing as the office screwed up and believe you me the service always knows what offices have a habit of doing these things. I would not stupidly repeat the line about the office being closed and it being an office matter.

Now that I've spent the past thirty minutes spewing this vitriol - I have dinner to make and then manga to read. besides, I have a strong suspicion that I hear Alex cooing from our bedroom so a repeat of last night may be in order.

Monday, April 28, 2008

I wasn't ready for him to learn this yet

Alex had his three month growth spurt last week which meant I was not the best of moms to either of my kids - getting your sleep in 1 hour intervals will do that to a person. Between the hell that is extreme sleep deprivation and my poor little man's reflux issues, Michael has definitely been getting the short end of the stick and I've been trying desperately to break the cycle of any attention equals good attention. We went out on Saturday morning to one of the local playgrounds so we could get out of the house and Michael could play for a bit. They were having a flea market to benefit the playground, so I took a quick look around to see if maybe I could find a truck or car for Michael. I lucked out with finding this past year's Hess truck - a monster truck with a pair of motorcycles in the back. It makes some awful noises which was my objection to it back at Christmas time, but they let me have it for $5 so I got it for him (and thankfully the batteries have just died).

We then went into the playground. It was an older group of kids - my guess is that most of them had parents involved in the flea market. One of the boys zoomed in on Michael and his flashy toy. They seemed to be playing well enough together (i.e. the older kid wasn't being too manipulative), so I sat down with Alex to have some of my coffee. Then I saw this kid rev the monster truck up and launch it at Michael's face. I ran to get Michael (only a small split in his lip, thank God), and this kid told me a few times how it was an accident. I was comforting Michael and trying to explain to this child that even if it was an accident, you don't throw things at someone else's face and the Michael was hurt. He protested once more about it being an accident and then ran off. The part that bothers me the most is that even with my agreement that it was an accident and the fact that I could have been screaming bloody murder at him with some choice swear words and I wasn't - there was never an "I'm sorry" to Michael. Michael was really hurt and told me so after the boy ran off. It was the first time I saw a crack develop in his innocence and it was all I could do to not sit down and cry with him too.

Michael calmed down after a bit and resumed playing. I had to step in once again when an older child's version of playing was rollerblading away with one of the motorcycles. After that intervention, the first child came back and Michael started whimpering, "He hurt me," every time he saw him which just broke my heart. At that point I just gave up and packed us up to head for McDonald's for lunch - a day for it if there ever was one.

I think we'll be sticking with weekday park visits for a while. The worst part is that we were just starting to break the negative attention cycle but this lovely trauma pushed us back into it again. Lots and lots of deep breathing and reminders that he still needs a lot of loving even if I'm tapped out from coping with Alex and his GERD. I'm counting down the days to May 6th when we see the GI at CHOP and praying that I can get Alex some more relief. The spitting and the no-naps thing I can cope with, it's the screaming fits that I want to get rid of because they are the hardest for both me and Michael to deal with, not to mention the pain Alex must be in to scream like that in the first place.

Off to have dinner - then it's Fullmetal Alchemist and to bed.