Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Permanent party, sans slumber.

Yes, it's been two weeks, a very busy two weeks. Carla and son are still co-housing with us. Sunday we celebrated his second birthday with a little party. Invited the neighbors across the street who have fallen in love with him, and some friends from who hadn't seen them since they first left town four months ago. My friend Kate and her son were also here to visit and for the baby shower we hosted at my mom's the same afternoon as the birthday party! We had a full house that night, and it took an extra two hours to get the four boys to stop running around the living room and settle into bed. I suppose the cupcakes and fruit snacks and various candies had something to do with it.

We woke up the next morning (yesterday) and packed up for another party -- the annual Not Back to School swimming party we celebrate with our homeschooling group. First we had to go to Target for various accesories the three of us moms needed. A bathing suit for Carla, maternity wear for Kate, a new hat and earrings for me. The kids got popcorn and a preztel. And then we headed to the party for pancakes!

Last night was the third session of my childbirth class, and it was great. Every week gets a little easier. I've had plenty of prep to do, which has made for some late nights. That, plus the baby shower planning and party errand-running, has pretty much taken up every spare moment.

In the meantime, I've been checking my yahoo groups again. Maybe because when I'm this busy I need to zone out and read other people's stuff a little. Maybe because I need support to stay at my best under stress. Even when we do get to bed on time, we've had various maladies traveling the house and interfering with everyone's ability to rest. First it was a stomach bug, and then a head cold. The local heat and smog have made the latter even worse for Cute Boy #3 who also has asthma to run him down. Combine that with the diaper rash that generally follows increased nasal drip. Carla hasn't slept well in weeks.

Then again, it's all relative for the mother of a co-sleeping toddler. Most of the time we hardly notice the night nursings, the sweaty head nestled in our armpit, the drool drenching the sheet under our back. It's quite beautiful -- especially when they wake up quietly in the morning, go find a toy or a brother or a friend to play with, and let you sleep in.

The rest of the time -- when the 2-year-olds start the day with a yelling contest, and the 3-year-old insists I get him MILK to go with his whining -- we just brew the coffee a little stronger.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Are we in Utah?

I started to post last Friday with the good news, but computer time has been short -- our prayers were answered and my friend's husband was ordered by the court to return their son to her. God is good! So for now our house is home to three small boys, two mommies and one daddy, whose foremost concern is that somehow he's getting less sex now that he has two "wives" -- and that's not counting the third, who claims to live across the street but is always here when he gets home.

I think I've benefitted the most from the current arrangement, since Carla likes to cook and do laundry! The boys have also been quite happy to have another playmate around, although my secondborn has had some issues with joyful aggression the last two days. Not sure if it's the stress of having the whole house rearranged along with more people living here, or if it's just teething and getting ready to turn two. Trying to get him to understand that other people DO feel physical pain, and that it's NOT okay to cause it. Tough to do with a child whose personal pain tolerance is quite high.

We got the bedrooms repainted just in time to move both the big bed and my 3-year-old's twin into the old playroom. We still have a family bedroom, and they'll have to wait for their new bed. Our kitty, Emma, has shown signs of stress both from her bedroom being moved and the boys tormenting her more than usual. Now I have to go to PetsMart and get some cat stench remover for the carpet. UGH.

* * * * *

I finally started my first childbirth preparation class last night! I stayed up until 1 a.m. the night before getting all my stuff together and going over my outline, which I ended up mixing all up anyway. I woke up feeling ready and happily anticipating the evening. And then my stomach started cramping.

Spent most of the afternoon in the bathroom, and had to send Scott to Kinko's to make some last minute copies for me, and to the drugstore for anti-diarrheal medication, which I would never take normally. I SO did not want to have to cancel or reschedule at the last night.

My stomach was fine for the duration of the class, thank God. My brain on the other hand -- well, I think I hid its deficiencies moderately well. Though I spent all day today thinking of things I should have explained better and wishing I'd had more props. Thankfully the class is just two couples -- one of my best friends and her husband, who are having their second baby and invited me to be their doula, and my midwife's brother and his wife. So, I don't think I can screw them up too badly with my lack of teaching experience. But I do have a lot of work left to do for the rest of the classes.

This is the moment when I wish I were more choleric and less melancholy -- my perfectionism is keeping me from being able to commit to a finished outline. I'm even starting to wonder if I should have gotten my certification through a different organization. Birth Works looks really good, as does Birthing From Within. Renowned midwife Ina May Gaskin is on the board of the first I'm using her "Guide to Childbirth" in my course, as well as art and writing exercises from Pam England's "Birthing From Within." But I can't make up my mind...

Sunday, August 08, 2004

This crazy life

Just as I'm cleaning up the paint cans, brushes and roller on Friday, after completing the boys' new room, I get a phone call from a very good friend of mine. Her husband (whom she left a few months ago) has filed court papers against her and taken her son away from her that morning. The papers are full of lies that will not be able to be substantiated, but the hearing date is not for another four weeks. In the meantime, mother and nursing toddler are separated without visitation. I can only imagine how completely devastated I would be should my boys suddenly be taken from me -- it is my worst nightmare. Even to think of it is emotional trauma. Please pray for this situation.

While we wait for new information and signs of hope, somehow daily life must go on. Shock and anger threaten to take over -- but meals still have to be served, the dishes still have to be cleaned, laundry must not be allowed to pile too high. These things we still have control over. They are somehow comforting in our helplessness. I have commitments to fulfill for the homeschooling co-op; I have details to complete for the childbirth preparation class I begin teaching in one week; I have baby shower invitations to address and gifts to purchase.

And my boys need me. They need my undivided attention, my hugs, my smiles, my patience. Perhaps I need to give those things right now even more than they need to receive them.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Painted the bedroom closet tonight. Scott's installing a new closet organizing system tomorrow. Maybe when this house is back in order I'll have time to blog again...

Sunday, August 01, 2004

Yes, I use cloth diapers.

At yesterday's birthday party, the subject of cloth diapers came up -- and no, I was NOT responsible. Okay, my blue-eyed baby was wearing his "My mom may be crunchy, but my diaper's not" t-shirt, so it's possible this was some influence. Nonetheless, once the subject became the center of a conversation, I was happy to join in, explaining that, Yes, indeed, cloth diapers are alive and doing better than ever, and if the party's Token Pregnant Mama is interested in more information, I even know a local diaper maker!

A couple hours after the party, I was talking to a friend via telephone, and she brought up the subject again (yes, really, I had nothing to do with it!), saying she wanted to use cloth diapers with her next baby. I expounded on the wonders of wool soakers, pocket diapers, all-in-ones and unbleached Chinese prefolds, and she quickly realized she'd need the entire pregnancy to shop!

Then, (without even looking!) today I found yet another webring to join, this one for bloggers who use, what else? And I promptly added it to the list at right. So, I guess it's time for a cloth diaper post.

Here's my spiel (and don't ask Scott for his, he doesn't change enough or wash enough diapers for it to count). Do you use real plates or paper plates for dinner every night? Why? Whatever your answer, the same goes for diapers. (That said, I do have a close friend who uses paper kitchen goods frequently, but ALSO cloth diapers. I suppose it's her contribution to make up for the extra trees. ;)

We use real plates and real napkins for almost every meal. They're just nicer, plus it's better for the environment and our grocery budget. I'm not a cloth napkin Nazi -- we do have paper towels handy for when they're more practical, and we use paper plates and napkins for big social functions, just as we have disposables handy for long trips or stressful weeks. If I didn't have a dishwasher, I'd probably use paper more often, just as I'd probably use disposable diapers if I lived in an apartment without my own washer and dryer (we don't have a diaper service in my town).

Plenty of sites out there explain the actual or imagined environmental differences. The disposable diaper makers would have you believing that it would be BETTER for the planet if everyone stopped using their dish- and clothes-washers and started using disposable everything. This makes no sense to me. Get an energy-efficient washer and a clothesline, if you're that concerned, and don't use so much darned detergent! It's really not that complicated.

Besides, would you want to wear plastic-covered paper underwear for three years out of your life even if they did seem to keep you feeling dry? No one looks forward to having to wear Depends. When I'm old and incontinent, I hope my diaper-making friend will still be around to sew up some beautiful, soft waterproof panties that I can wash alongside my clothes in the retirement home laundrymat.
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