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Triple Fail

           So it’s come to my attention in the past few days that I am both a horrible wife, and mother. Turns out I’m not even doing so well with the baby I have in my belly, which should be fairly fool-proof as long as you don’t drink a lot of alcohol, shoot up some drugs, or jump on a trampoline.

            Let’s go through each thing and I will tell you how I am failing miserably at every one of them.

            Horrible wife: I am so sore and tired by the end of the work day that I am inevitably bitchy and useless by the time I get home. Now that Kyle is at home all day with Kaylee, it should be my job to come home and cook dinner or at least be able to help cook dinner, clean up afterwards or give him some kind of break from taking care of Kaylee all day. I can’t do any of that. I have been so crampy and sore this past week it is all I can do to get out of my chair and get my own supper. When Kaylee goes to bed, I need to go to bed too. That “golden hour” of time with just me and Kyle does not exist this week. It instead has to go to me lying down in bed moaning and groaning about how I’m so sore by 9:00 I can’t even lay down without hurting.

            Horrible mother: I can’t pick up my baby. Kaylee had a bad night at the beginning of the week when she was really tired and that makes her really clumsy, so she fell down a lot. I had to keep bending over to pick her up, and even though that wasn’t a work day, by 7:00 I felt like the baby was going to fall right on to the floor I was so sore. What mom can’t pick her baby up? I told my doctor about the cramping and of course she says, “You just have to not pick her up.” Yah right! She suggested getting a little stool for Kaylee to step on so that she is able to get to me instead of me bending to get her, but when she’s fallen down and is crying because she’s hurt that is not going to work.

            I also can’t change poopy diapers, or clean up baby puke, because it makes me puke. Last night she threw up a little bit in the hallway and started crying (it was waaaay past her bedtime) and Kyle was hanging up laundry so he couldn’t help, and I literally had to walk past my crying baby because I could not physically bend over to pick her up one more time.

            And the worst part of last night that made me cry myself to sleep? I had to change a dirty diaper last night because Kyle was busy doing the laundry, and Kaylee would NOT stay still. I was SO SORE I honestly don’t even think I should have been down on the floor, but hey, what’s a mom to do? So I am trying to hold her down, and I completely lose my patience. I yelled at her, and I gave her a little tap on the leg twice trying to get her to stay still. Didn’t work. She was crying so hard by the time I was done changing her she was sobbing to get her breath and her face was all spotty. Great parenting, right?

            We went upstairs after that to put her to bed and I was literally almost weeping with gratitude at the idea of lying down. We got up there, and there was laundry all over the bed. Kyle says, “You need to watch her for a minute,” because we both know I can’t bend over that many times to put the laundry away. I started crying again. At this point, at not even nine o’clock at night, I was so sore I could not watch my daughter for five minutes while he put the laundry away.

            Kyle was also grouchy at this point, and started shouting at me about something (though it was so insignificant that I can’t even remember what it was now) and I started bawling again. So instead of  having the happiest ten minutes of Kaylee’s whole day when she plays with us on the big bed, I threw a fit, kissed her on the cheek and left Kyle to deal with her while I went downstairs to cry.

            Bad at growing my baby: I was crying so hard by the time I got downstairs I started having really bad cramps, and I felt like I couldn’t catch my breath. I started feeling pain in the pelvis region and my back started cramping too. As upset as I was with Kyle and at myself for not being able to do any damn thing, I had to go back upstairs to lay down before I went into full-fledged labor. I am SUCH a bad mother and wife that I am putting the baby in my belly in jeopardy by not being able to handle every day life.

            I cried myself to sleep last night.

            I do not know how I am going to continue to go on for the next 17-ish weeks. I am only going to get bigger, more uncomfortable, and more tired. I absolutely cannot expect Kyle to look after Kaylee all day and all night on top of doing laundry and taking the dog outside by himself, but that’s what I need to happen.

            I can’t put the baby in my belly in jeopardy because Kaylee needs picked up and I can’t give Kaylee the love and attention she needs because I need to think of my health and the health of the baby. I can’t be a good wife because I am already giving everything I have to my two kids – AND I’m failing at that.

            So if you’ve ever thought you were a bad parent, doing a bad job of being a good wife, or suck at being pregnant, I hope you feel better about yourself after reading this because I can guarantee you aren’t failing at all three things as badly as I am.

          “HOW ARE YOU SO STRONG!?” is something I hear my husband shouting over Kaylee’s temper tantrums multiple times a day.

            It’s a legitimate question, in my opinion. How is it even possible that neither one of us can successfully hold down a twenty pound baby? I often think I would have better luck holding down a bucking bull on steroids with a waving red cape in the background.

            Mind you, it’s not like Kaylee makes it easy. The very minute she suspects that you are about to change her diaper or her clothes, devil baby comes out. She immediately tries to escape the room by either crawling or walking, whatever she thinks will be fastest at that very moment. I have actually seen the little devil start walking, have Kyle get close enough to catch her, and then seen her drop to her knees to crawl at top baby speed because she knows she can go faster that way.

            Once we catch her, the fit is on like Donkey Kong. The first thing she’ll do is “fake cry” which is making the crying face and sounds without any actual tears. Very few things are more obnoxious. Then she will throw her head backwards trying to wiggle out of your grasp (which will only land her head first on the floor, but luckily she hasn’t experienced that yet) and twist her little body any which way. At this point she is already beyond calming down.

            We try anyway. We have tried distracting her with her favourite music video on tv, Elmo, giving her toys, giving her food, and giving her things she isn’t allowed to have (like cell phones or tv remotes) but she will have none of it. She is fully focused on throwing her fit.

            So we lay her down on the floor and she arches her back and kicks her feet and swings her arms around while we get her bottoms off to change her and take off the old diaper. She sometimes calms down by now and realizes she’s been out-smarted. I would say that happens about 20% of the time. Those times are glorious. If she hasn’t calmed down, the worst case scenario is that there is something brown in the diaper. Then it comes down to trying to hold down freakishly strong devil baby with one hand and trying not to smear said brown substance all over the carpet with the other hand. Not so easy to do, let me tell you. The worst thing she does in this instance is try to roll over while you’re holding her feet up in the air. She is strong enough now that we can’t hold her still with one hand, so you have to abandon the wipe or diaper that is in your hand so she doesn’t crawl away once she gets on her stomach. Best case scenario is that it’s just a wet diaper, and then it can be whipped off without any further problems.

            Getting the new diaper on is probably the hardest part. In the last year, I estimate I have changed roughly 2200 diapers, and I have yet to figure out how to do this one handed. I simply cannot get the diaper flat under her bum with both tabs sticking out nicely for easy access. Instead, I shove the diaper underneath, pull one tab out (while holding down her legs), pull the other tab out, and then push her legs to the floor. Pull the front of the diaper over her, which usually takes two or three times because she doesn’t sit still long enough to get it done properly the first time, and then secure the tabs. The fight has almost been won.

            All we have to do at this point is check to make sure the elastic is turned out on her butt cheeks so the diaper doesn’t leak, and wrestle her pants back on. If she needs socks and shoes on too, it’s an entirely different battle.

            So far I haven’t decided if the worst part of this process is that it does and will happen every day for the next year or so, or that whenever I complain about it my mom says, “She’s not like that at my house!”

            Why can’t pregnant people drink again?

Image           

            Saturday was my little girl’s first birthday. Today is Tuesday, and I don’t think I’ve recovered 100% just yet.

            To all of you BTDT (been there done that) moms: is there a way to do a birthday party successfully without needing a week to recuperate?

            I figured out beforehand that having the 20 people in our house or in our yard would both be a disaster and a lot of extra work because we would have to actually clean our house. So we decided to host the party at a restaurant. Read: no pre-clean or clean-up afterwards. Golden, right?

            It still wasn’t that simple. I am flabbergasted at the amount of work that still has to go into a party (for a one year old!) when it’s not even at your home. First we had to find invitations. Kaylee loves Elmo so I thought we would go with that theme. Well nowhere in our city had Elmo invitations (I know, crazy, right?!) so I had to search for them online. And one of the biggest pitfalls of living in Canada is the international shipping. After three days of searching online and balking at all of the shipping costs, I caved and bought 15 invitations and eight party hats for $25. Fail.

            Invitations all got sent out, and then we waited for the RSVPs to come pouring in. Other than the people I saw on a regular basis that gave me a, “Oh yah, I’ll be there!” I didn’t receive a single RSVP. Awesome. The RSVP date approached and passed, and I still had to post on Facebook to see if people were coming or not. I invited 37 people and 20 actually came.

            I managed to score some Elmo decorations from a lady in a group that I’m a part of on Facebook, which actually saved us a bundle! We only had three kids coming to the party, and I am a loot bag mom, so I went to the dollar store thinking I would spend $10 max on toys and candy for the loot bags. I came out with an armload of stuff that amounted to more than double what I wanted to pay. Fail number two.

            Then we went to the party store to get some balloons, and the fool that I am splurged on not one, but two foil balloons for Kaylee. My reasoning at the time was that there was a really nice Elmo balloon that matched the invitations I sent out (which obviously everybody at the party noticed…) so I obviously had to buy that one. But it didn’t say Happy Birthday or anything on it at all, so I had to also buy the Sesame Street balloon that did. $16 for two balloons. At this point, I had clearly already lost my mind. Fail number three, and the party hasn’t started yet.

            I can’t really complain too much about the actual party. Of course on that day Kaylee decided to have her morning nap late, and then did not want to nap in the afternoon before the party. Me and Kyle both tried for about an hour and finally gave up after she may have slept for half an hour. We were both sure that the party was going to be a disaster because of a tired, cranky baby and her tendency to scream which I posted about earlier.

            My job was to go to the restaurant half an hour early to decorate, and it turned out I only had my in-laws offer to help. I was warm and sweaty by the time we were done, but I have to say that I was impressed by what we accomplished and it did look really good.

            People didn’t show up on time (except for Kassidy and Jessica, who can always be counted on to be on time thanks to Kassidy!) but that was okay because it gave me a little time to cool down and chat. I had ordered these big appetizer trays for everybody to munch on while people showed up, and even though I ordered them two weeks in advance they still were not ready for 4:30 like I requested. Irritating. Kyle’s job was to dress Kaylee in her birthday tutu and get her to the restaurant for 4:30. He showed up at 4:45, which was quicker than I expected. Daddy win!

            As it turned out, Kaylee was tired and cranky, and she was overwhelmed by all the people in the strangely dim-lighted room. So I got to hold on to her while everybody snacked and then ordered their meals. Kaylee was getting even more restless at this point, so I thought it would be a good idea to open some gifts up so that she would have some new toys to play with and amuse her.

            We started opening gifts and she got clothes, clothes, and more clothes. Which OF COURSE are appreciated and really helpful since she doesn’t have many clothes that fit her at the moment, but I really just wanted to find her a toy to play with to stop the fussiness. Turns out she got a puzzle, some cars, a microphone, an Elmo (which she couldn’t hear talking over everybody else talking so it wasn’t nearly as interesting as it is now at home), and a play kitchen which could not be played with at the restaurant. Thankfully the puzzle kept her entertained until dinner arrived.

            She ate her supper and we ate ours without any issues. Then it’s time for cake, or in our case, cupcakes! Our friend Chaylyn made us Elmo cupcakes which were absolutely perfect! Her and Kyle got a couple candles stuck in the cupcake for her and we sang Happy Birthday for the very first time to my baby girl! Honestly, she seemed scared by the sudden outburst of song (and I actually understand that. Not knowing what’s going on, a spontaneous song in the middle of a restaurant sang by a bunch of people who can’t sing should be startling) but she loosened up once she saw the cake and the Elmo candle.

            Mommy fail number four? I sang, “Happy birthday dear Elmo.” Yes. While singing Happy Birthday for the first time to my baby girl, I did not say her name. I said Elmo. It’s almost as bad as Ross saying, “I, Ross, take thee Rachel,” to Emily on Friends – except I’m the one that gave birth to AND named Kaylee. So I suck more, hands down. I bet Kyle got it on video too. *head smack*

            Then we got to witness the “wonderful” experience of a one year old eating cake by herself. I know everybody else who watches thinks it’s hilarious and entertaining, but do you know why it’s so fun for them? Because they don’t have to clean her up. They aren’t the ones who have to deal with a cranky one year old in the midst of a sugar-high and try to wipe off her hands and face when it is already one of her very least favourite things to have done. She put up a gallant battle, but in the end, we persevered. (I fully expect you to be applauding us as you read this, since nobody at the party itself seemed to recognize the victory for what it was.)

            Everybody started clearing out once the bills were paid, and I am sad to say that I didn’t even get to say goodbye or thank you to at least half the people who made an appearance. Come to think of it, I didn’t greet half the people who came either because my hands were full with tulle and a one year old. This is my main complaint with the party.

            How do you take care of your child and do the hostess duty? Is there a way to do both without running around like a chicken with its head cut off? Does it get easier as the child gets older? I’m thinking positively here and thinking my arms won’t be full of Kaylee this time next year. Although, I will have a nine month old. Damn. I’m also thinking that while it may get easier as the kids get older, they make their own little friends and then you go from having 20 adults you can’t converse with to 10 screaming children you can’t shut up or keep clean, am I right?

            Something tells me I will never enjoy throwing birthday parties. Tell me I’m not the only one?

            Regardless, my baby is now a year old, and even if she won’t remember the party at all, at least we have some pictures to show her of the awesome decorating we did, the delicious and fabulous cupcakes Chaylyn made, and some video Kyle shot. I can’t believe she’s already a year old and her first party is over and done with. The party may have been a pain in the ass, but I’d do it all over again for her because I love her more than anything… sanity included.

            Happy birthday baby girl!

Screaming

            Oh, the screaming! People tell me it’s a phase, and I sincerely hope for my sanity and the health of Kaylee that it is a phase that passes by quickly. I know people say all the time that raising boys at this age is harder because they’re little monkies and get into absolutely everything, but I think the girls can hold their own in the high-pitched scream department alone.

            This is my life:

            “No!” Scream. “Don’t touch!” Scream. “That is not for babies!’ Scream. “Get off of the stairs!” Scream. “Time to change your bum!” Scream. “Time to put on your jammies!” Scream. “Get down!” Scream.

            And as if that’s not bad enough, there are also the screams that seem to come from absolutely nowhere. Last night we had some running around to do at the mall, and I swear every 5-10 minutes a completely random, yet blood curdling scream would come from my beautiful little girl. People always stop and laugh or shake their head with a smile on the way past us, but I gotta tell you that as the mother who has heard it 2500 times in the last two hours she’s been home, it’s not too funny anymore.

            As a matter of fact (and of self preservation) we were picking up some candy to refill the candy jar at work, and I fed Kaylee not only one, but two suckers. Yes. She is not even a year old yet, and I just kept feeding them to her. By 7:30 at night, I would feed her firecrackers if it kept her from screaming.

            (Okay, I’m exaggerating, but you get the point.)

            We ended the night by putting her to bed at her new bedtime one hour earlier than her previous bedtime, and the hour of peace and quiet with just me and Kyle is beyond relaxing. I can’t believe we didn’t think of this sooner! If any of you out there put baby to bed and go to bed at the same time, I highly suggest the hour earlier bedtime. It’s golden.

Who knew three minutes could be so painfully long?

            That’s how long I had to sit there and look at (but try not to look at) the blinking clock on the digital pregnancy test I just took. This is the third test in two days, and even though the second one looked kind of positive, I’m not the kind of person who is okay with kind of. I had to know.

            My eight month old daughter Kaylee was oblivious to the anxiety I was feeling over those three minutes. She was happily playing on the floor, getting into anything and everything she wasn’t supposed to be. My husband was upstairs putting laundry away, and the minutes were ticking by.

            I kept telling myself the chances of a positive pregnancy test while exclusively breast feeding and using contraception was monumentally low. Maybe the last test was a false positive. (That can happen, right?)

            Part of me didn’t want to see what the result was. That way we could continue living our lives the way we had been for the past eight months. We were finally in a good routine with Kaylee and it felt like this is the way it had always been and would always be.

            The other part of me already knew.

            As I peered out of the corner of my eye for the millionth time in those 180 seconds, I noticed the clock had stopped flashing. There was clearly a three letter word on the screen. I reached over and picked it up.

            Yes.

            Yes, I’m pregnant. Yes, there is a baby growing inside of me. (Again.) Yes, my children will be less than two years apart. Yes, we will have to survive on half of my regular pay for another year. Yes, my eight month old is technically a big sister right now. Yes, I have to endure another pregnancy less than a year after my first.

            So many things were whirling through my head with that one word I honestly felt like I couldn’t take all of those thoughts in and breathe at the same time. If I remember correctly, I shouted, “Oh my God! Oh my God!” to let my husband know the three minutes were up. Being a man, his returning question was, “What?!” At least he was coming down the stairs at this point.

            “It says yes.”

            “It says yes?”

            “It says yes.”

            I hold up the test so he can see it. Plain as day. Yes. That’s when I realized I wasn’t breathing. I started taking in air in huge painful gasps, and I started crying. I put my head in my hands and just wept. Kyle did the man thing again and asked the question with the world’s most obvious answer, “Are you okay?”

            Really? Do I LOOK okay? I am crying. Again, obviously not happy tears. I am wailing with my head in my hands, trying harder than I have ever had to try to get air into my body. All I could do was sit there and try to catch my breath, while my wonderful husband did all he knows to comfort me, namely patting my back saying, “Everything is going to fine!”

            I told him to go away. He couldn’t undo me being pregnant. He couldn’t carry the baby for me for the next ten months. He couldn’t magically make more money so this would be possible. He couldn’t fix it.

            I sat there for a few minutes, slowly trying to get it together. I immediately recognized that there were only two things in the world that could possibly make me feel better: Kassidy and Jessica. My two best friends since eighth grade.

            I sent text messages to both phones simultaneously saying: EMERGENCY! Drop everything and get over here RIGHT NOW.

            As I sat and waited for their responses, I think I had stopped crying at that point. I had stopped thinking about it. I wasn’t going to say anything else about it, and I wasn’t going to think about it again until my two best friends were there saying all the right things.

            It turns out Kassidy was in a bordering city about a half an hour away, and Jessica had to have a  fight with her boyfriend and throw all her belongings in her car in order to get to my house. Regardless of this, they were both at my house sitting on either side of me within that half hour.

            We went over some of the positives that we could think of. Having two children close together means they’ll be friends growing up, and that we would be done having children early in life. We already have all the big baby stuff bought. The new baby would just need some new clothes. The grandparents and families would be overjoyed considering I swore we were only having one child. Our children would both be grown and out of the house by the time we were 45.

            None of these things made me immediately feel better, but some were positives. I didn’t know how I truly felt about the situation until Jessica bravely said, “I know you probably don’t want to hear this right now, but if you don’t want to have a baby you don’t have to have it. There are other options.”

            I could feel mama bear wake up inside of me and bare her teeth at Jessica. I know she meant well, but that was not an option. I didn’t even have to think about it before I answered, “I could be living on the side of the street in a box and I would still have this baby.” Then an equally horrible thought entered my head.

            What if something goes wrong?

            What if something happens to this baby before it is born? What if I miscarry? What if the baby is stillborn? All I kept thinking about is that if something bad happened to my baby, I would ALWAYS remember the moment I looked at that pregnancy test and know that I wasn’t happy. In that moment, I didn’t want the baby. If anything ever happened to my baby, it would be my fault because I didn’t want it.

            Thirty minutes ago I thought nothing could be worse than a positive pregnancy test, but now I knew that nothing could be worse than not having that positive test turn into a healthy baby in ten months.

 

            Well that all happened in March, and I am more than happy to report that today is August 14th. I am twenty weeks and three days pregnant. My due date is December 29, 2012, only four days after Christmas! We have had three ultrasounds so far. The first one was for dating purposes since we didn’t know when my last period was, then the two that women usually get during their pregnancy.

            During ultrasound number three the technician told me our baby was not being shy, and that she was able to tell me the sex. I was thrilled as I had been told previously that they no longer would tell. She said we are having a baby boy! That’s the moment I really fell in love with him.

            Just the past week or so I am starting to feel some strong movements. I am getting kicked periodically during the day, and they are strong enough now that I have to stop what I’m doing until he’s finished because it’s just plain distracting!

            I had to come back to work as a receptionist for an accounting office a few weeks early from my maternity leave to ensure that I get enough hours to qualify for my next maternity leave, which I am hoping will start around mid-December. I’m already using positive thinking and convincing myself (and hopefully our baby!) that he will come early like his sister. In fact, a little earlier than she did would be even better! I do not want to be in the hospital on Christmas!

            Adjusting to life back at work hasn’t been as difficult as I expected it to be. Kaylee is in my mom’s care during the day so I don’t have to worry about her all that much. The biggest adjustment has been coming home after a full day’s work and preparing dinner. I got used to having the full day to do that at a convenient time for me when I was off, and prior to that Kyle was working nights so he would make dinner before work. Now it’s up to me! Worse still is that my back is so sore by the end of the day (well, by lunchtime if we’re being completely honest here) that the last thing I want to do when I get home is stand up for another twenty minutes peeling potatoes… The joys of being a pregnant working wife and mother.