Success or failure?

Since giving birth to Spencer (11-2009), I haven’t been using a formal birth control method.  We have prevented pregnancy using condoms and other means.  And, then last year, we decided to try for another baby-it didn’t take much trying.  We had sex once, and viola-I was pregnant.  In the months between Spencer’s birth and now, I started to experience menstrual migraines.  The migraines did not occur every cycle, mostly every 3rd or 4th cycle.  But, when they occurred, it was always on the morning before my period.  I typically would wake with one.  They are debilitating.  I can not function.  I usually end up vomiting.  Hubby is forced to stay home from work.  

We decided that after the miscarriage that we were going to be done having kids.  2 adorable boys was enough for us.  I was trying my hardest to accept this.  I quit doing Stroller Strides, I started to give away all my baby gear and clothes.  I felt satisfied and happy.  I was doing my best to live each day and appreciate my family.  

The migraines coupled with my attempt to put my childbearing years behind me… I decided to get a Mirena IUD.  From memory, I never had migraines until I was unprotected by birth control. My logic was that the birth control hormones were helpful. I had an IUD after I had Elliott and loved it.  I had always had great luck with Depo Provera.  Though, all of the research indicates that birth control often causes the migraines–I read that to indicate birth control PILLS.  I was going to take my chances.

Man O’man the IUD insertion was painful.  She didn’t need to do anything special to insert the IUD since it was the last day of my period.  Apparently, during your menstrual cycle, your cervix is open slightly making the IUD insertion easier.  My cervix DID NOT like the sneak attack.  I cramped for 6 solid weeks, and had a ton of spotting.  Having the IUD was wonderful. I felt balanced and happy for the first time in a LONG time.  I loved the hormones that it supplied.  I gave me exactly what I needed to feel normal again.

Then one day, around 8 weeks ago, I decided I was ready to start trying again.  I gently broached the topic with my hubby.  He was luke warm about the idea.  I explained more about how I was feeling–the ‘incomplete’ feeling, the longing for another child, the way I see our family in 10 years, etc..  And he agreed!  I got the IUD out the next day.  It was the most expensive experiment ever ($1300 for the IUD and insertion).  

This is our first month trying.  And, since I am not getting any younger (I will be 38 next month!), I have been going crazy neurotic with ovulation tests.  I have done all of the ‘right’ things this month.  We will see what happens–though it is not in my nature to be patient.  Somehow, when the pregnancy test is negative, it feels like I have failed in some way.  Let’s hope we succeed.  


The void

I have, for the first time in 5 years, free time.  Both of my sons are sleeping soundly and consistently.  We are into a fun routine that includes pre-school, sports and swimming as well as play dates and downtime. 
They both are able to dress themselves (at their own speed), though they don’t!  They can vocalize their needs and often times help themselves.  And at the least, they can help me serve and prepare meals as I have put all of their dishes and cups at a height they can reach.
My wee lad is potty trained, and has recently started taking control of when he needs to use the toilet.  Which means, I don’t need to remind him as often.  He even takes his own pull-up off first thing in the morning! 
They can access all of their toys and games, some select art supplies and books and magazines.  The backyard is available to them.  They play together most of the time in harmony ( I should whisper this, lest I jinx it).
This has brought about some new feelings for me.  As a Mom, who doesn’t work outside of the home, I am not as depended on as I once was.  My older son will be starting Kindergarten in a few weeks, further freeing up my time.
I will soon have 3 short mornings a week where my younger son will be in pre-school and 5 days a week where my older son will be in school.  This is something I have looked forward to, however, now that it is upon me I am floundering.
What the hell am I going to do with all of this free time; all 12 hours a week?!?!  I will most certainly want to volunteer at my sons school.  I still love to exercise and workout.  I love reading.  But, I need a hobby.  Or two.
I want to love gardening.  But, honestly, I hate bugs and getting my hands dirty.  I also want to be more crafty-but whenever I am presented with free time, I never feel like crafting.  I also own a sewing machine and all of the sewing essentials.  But, again…i never sew. 
I have been reading a book, Women, Food and God.  It keeps saying that once we give up our obsession with dieting and food, that we can focus on the real problems in our lives.  She claims that if we focus on ourselves, that we will solve the emptiness that we so often fill with food. 
Perhaps if I had some hobbies that I loved I wouldn’t feel the need to fill my voids with food?

Wheat Intolerance

I subject myself to torture.

On purpose.
Every few days.
It could easily be avoided, but I lack the self control to get a handle on it.
I have a wheat intolerance that causes severe abdominal cramps, pain that causes me to double over, and gas. Oh, and if that wasn’t enough add in chronic constipation, heartburn, and bloating. Couple these with pregnancy and you have a recipe for a very grumpy human being.
Yet I still eat wheat knowing full well that I will be in pain as soon as the food hits my lower intestines. I suspect that because the reaction is delayed that I tend to ‘overlook’ it in favor of the instant gratification of the flavor on my tongue. I have compared my ‘problem’ to drinking too much, having a horrible hangover the next day, swearing you will never drink again, and then doing it all over-again and again. The cycle of self-abuse (is there such a thing?).
The short story is that I have always had digestive issues. Since I was in grade school, I have suffered from unexplained tummy aches, constipation, and overall intestinal distress. When I started college however is when it really seemed to spike out of control–I was often in constant pain.
I saw a doctor on campus who said I had IBS, and put me on meds to help regulate the peristalsis of my intestines. It helped with the constipation, but not the with the pain or other symptoms.
Then, about 4 years ago, I met Elizabeth. We were coworkers and friends and she convinced me to try giving up gluten. I gave it a try and after just 4 days I was totally pain free. After having abdominal pain most days for decades I couldn’t believe how great I felt. I remember it like it was yesterday–feeling healthy and pain free for the first time.
So, why do I still eat wheat products–here are a few examples: bread, rolls, pasta, pastries, bagels, crackers, cookies, cake, baked goods, brownies (my personal favorite), Golden Grahams cereal, graham crackers, most cereals and cereal bars, soy sauce, pita bread, couscous, licorice, many candy bars and some ice cream…wheat flour is in practically every prepared food on the market.
I cook at home with frequency which helps to curb my appetite for these forbidden things. But, what about when I travel, or when I am not at home, or when we eat at someone else’s home? Yes, I need to plan more. Yes, I need to have more self control. Yes, I need to be more prepared when I leave the house to resist the temptation.
But what I really want right now is for my tummy to stop hurting from the french roll I ate at lunch.
If you are curious about wheat or gluten intolerance, or want to find some great wheat and gluten free recipes look here, and here.

25 things, or how I over-think everything.

1. I have moved over 50 times. But, I have lived with my husband for the longest of any single place.

2. I never wanted kids until I met my husband. Something about finding my perfect companion changed my mind. I love being a Mom to my 19 month old son and now want 2 more children.

3. Breastfeeding my son for 15 months was the most rewarding, empowering, self sacrificing thing I have ever done.

4. I have a short attention span, and have trouble staying focused. I am easily distracted.

5. I never wonder what the future holds. I just trust that it will work out as it should. It always has.

6. I am extremely impatient. I have a hard time waiting for anything. Which makes #5 difficult.

7. I hate surprises and I hate being scared (think: Halloween). I don’t see scary or horror movies.

8. I only applied to one college and got accepted. I cried when I got my acceptance letter because I would so shocked and proud that I didn’t know how to process the overwhelming joy. I am the first person in my family to attend and graduate from a 4 year college. My niece is applying this year and my Grandmother went to Secretary School. 

9. I love the outdoors, but get very agitated when my hands or clothes are dirty.

10. I have never had a traffic ticket or a DUI. But, I have been pulled over more than 10 times.

11. When I was 14 years old, I ‘borrowed’ a car from a friend, who ‘borrowed’ the car for someone else. I kept the car for a month until a 3rd friend got it impounded.

12. My sister and I have a bond that I can not explain. No matter what she does, not matter what I do-and there has been A LOT-we will always be there for each other. No questions asked. 

13. I have dyed my hair since I was in 6th grade. But, 2 years ago I decided that I wasn’t going to subject myself to the patriarchy any longer and I stopped dying it. I feel better emotionally, but looked better before.

14. My brain is very literal. So, please, say exactly what you mean or I will misunderstand you. I don’t get jokes easily and I nit pick language and word choices. But, sarcasm I do understand.

15. A week before Thanksgiving 2008 I was laid off from my job. While I mourn the loss of my income, I love being at home.

16. I occasionally struggle with my self esteem. Some days I feel confident and attractive, some days not so much. But, what I have learned is that no matter how I feel the most important thing is how I act. 

17. My home and work area need to be clean and tidy. However, my car hasn’t been washed or vacuumed in months (perhaps years). 

18. I had a lovebird as a pet when I was in grade school named Peaches. I loved that bird to death. Literally. I was a negligent 8 year old pet owner and didn’t feed it often enough, and I suspect it died from starvation.

19. I follow 38 blogs and 27 people on Twitter. Yes, I need to get a life of my own.

20. I weigh myself –just about every day. Except when I know that I am gaining weight–and then I avoid the scale and go into denial. The denial stage is happening now.

21. I don’t mind sharing my experiences, feelings, or thoughts with people. But, I feel like my privacy is being invaded if people ask me direct questions about my feelings and I don’t know the answer.

22. Being a Mom has put me out of comfort level more times than I can possibly count–and my son is only 19 months old. 

23. I once interviewed for a job at a car wash and the interviewer asked me if I wanted to be his ‘assistant’. I asked what the job entailed and he said minor office responsibilities and sex with him a few times a week, but assured me it was a well paying position. I declined the job. 

24. I hitchhiked with another girlfriend to and from Santa Barbara when I was 14 years old.

25. I am very competitive, but don’t mind losing.

Positive thinking or manipulation?

2 thoughts regarding the title. The first is in reference to an issue my boss was having with another employee. He needed to tell her something difficult and I think he told me to get a feel for the delivery of the news. We talked a bit about my thoughts, and subsequently I suspect he refined his delivery, and hopefully today he will be successful delivering the news. The news was bound to hurt her feelings, but depending on how he delivered it…it just might go over well.

The second is our daycare provider; this gal is very clever in her wording. I don’t want to imply that she is lying or manipulative. I don’t feel that way at all. I love this gal, and think she is awesomely wonderful. I feel exceedingly lucky to have found her. But, she is smart in her phrasing and it got me thinking about perspective and positioning. For example, I asked her how she knows what my son wants/needs (food, a nap, a change of scenery), long before he can speak. And her response was, ‘he lets me know’. Now, the first time around, I didn’t think anything of it because I am so accustomed to being around adults who can clearly articulate their needs and wants. But, then when she said it again, I realized she meant that he vocalized himself by either crying or fussing.

As a Mom, of course, this thought is distressing. I never want to know that my son cried, or was uncomfortable in any way. But, by positioning it the way she did, she eased my worries, without me even realizing it. She acted as if his cries were his way of communicating, his way of telling her what he needs. Which (light bulb) they are! Remembering back to Dr. Sears’s books, all of them say that crying is your babies’ way of communicating.

I may sound naive to all the seasoned Moms out there, but this was a timely reminder to me. I have been getting frustrated with Lil E when he cries, especially when it is in the wee hours of the morn’ (he still wakes up at least once a night, but more often two to three times). But, remembering that his cries are his way of telling me he needs something, his way of communicating to me his feelings brings me some comfort. And more importantly, they bring me the patience I need.

Can positioning then and the idea of positive thinking be linked? If you look at a situation and can interpret its meaning in a positive way, aren’t you really just positioning it in a positive light? Some (pessimists) may even threaten that you are manipulating the truth. To me truth isn’t static, since truth is based on perception, personal feelings, and experience.

Money vs. social consciousness

I want to be the type of person who buys only organic fruits, veggies and grains. The mom who provides nutritious snacks with no trans fats, low calories and no HFCS. I want to make my own organic baby food, and cook more meals at home. I want to be environmentally aware of the different types of plastics, know about each ones harmful effects on the substances they come into contact with, and eliminate them from my repertoire of household effects. I want to eat only free range, grain fed, hormone and antibiotic free meat. I want, I want, I want…

If I only had the budget to accommodate all of my desires. Instead I buy organic when I can, shop at Whole Foods when the checking account and time allows for it. I try and eat at home and cook as often as possible. I am making more of a conscious effort to buy foods that are healthier, lower in sugar and fat, and more nutrient dense.

I feel guilty though when I can not shop or eat organic, or be as aware and socially responsible as I would like. I berate myself when I can not live up to my expectations. I often have to remind myself that I cant always get everything I want, and that I often have to make sacrifices and say no.

So, today I am trying to come to terms with the financial limitations of staying home part time with my boy. I get to spend more time with him, I get to be there for more of the firsts. I get to spend evenings laughing and playing with him without feeling rushed. And, after he goes to bed, I get to relax. It is certainly worth the trade off when I sit down and think about it.

Blips and Beats

Excuse the randomness of each item here, but I am sleep deprived, kinda depressed at my lack of success with breastfeeding and have a major headache.

  • thank you to those who have posted comments and suggestions, as well as friends who have emailed or called with advise. I really appreciate hearing your thoughts, and can use all of the options and variables that are out there. Often times I know that the answers are out there, I just need to explore all of the variables and being a new parent, I am treading new ground daily.
  • I think I have set myself up for personal failure (the worst kind, in my opinion). What I mean is that I thought that parenthood would consist of XYZ (see below for examples), and I had a plan of attack for what I wanted. What I neglected to understand was that children are human beings with their own ideas and plans for what they want. Duh!
  • For example, I thought I would have a vaginal, natural childbirth. Apparently Elliott had a different path in mind (or I wasnt strong enough…that is another post).
  • I thought I would baby wear (my kid wont go into any sort of sling for me (we have 4 to chose from)…and will only go in for my husband. I still try almost every day). This makes me sad, because I think that he wants to be held more, but since he is sleeping so much, I often put him down and try and get things done around the house. This is a catch 22 of course…if he wants to be held and comforted and I am putting him down all the time, we arent bonding in the way I hoped and he in turn doesnt get the confidence and feelings of love that he needs. But, if he wont let me sling him, I am forced to put him down occasionally at least. Again, I need to forgo my own needs in favor of his more often. Guilt over being too selfish…it never ends.
  • I wanted to breastfeed for as long as possible. But, the way it looks I might not last 6 weeks, and may resort to part-time pumping. (heartbreaking and of course, I feel like a failure for not being strong enough to persevere and find a solution). Elliott gets so much comfort while at the breast. How can I take that away from him? But, how much more pain do I have to suffer, when there is another option. Again, more guilt over being selfish.
  • On top of my own personal feelings of failure, I feel horrible for thinking ill of people who didnt do all of the things I mentioned above. Before I had Elliott, in my head, I judged people who didnt breastfeed, baby wear, etc. Dont I feel silly now.
  • Parenting is hard. How in the world do women have a gaggle of kids? I can barely manage one.
  • I stole the title of this post from a CD my husband put together while he was in a CD Club.
  • Could this breastfeeding problem I am having be Thrush? His tongue doesnt look white, but the other symptoms are spot on for me.
  • I dont have time to talk on the phone for long periods of time, and I think I am alienating myself from friends and family who are far away. When Elliott is sleeping, I want to sleep or do chores, or use the restroom, or check email, or eat. I dont want to talk on the phone. Which doesnt help my relationships that are far away. Please dont take it personal. This time I have home with Elliott is so short, that I want to make sure I am present with him as often as possible. I dont want to be on the phone, and not give him my undivided attention.
  • In spite of all the parenting woes, I still want to stay home from work full time. I cant imagine leaving my little man in the hands and care of anyone else. I dont even like to let anyone else hold him for very long. I feel very protective over him. But, financially know that it is impossible to stay home. I dont even know if my employer will let me work part-time.
  • By not staying home and I prioritizing correctly? After reading this post, I wonder if we need to bite the bullet and realign our priorities more in favor of what is most important (our family unit) to us. The fact that the decision is so difficult, makes me bitter again. Prioritizing a family shouldn’t be so difficult especially when $$$ is the motivator for our decisions.
  • Elliott is thriving, in spite of my boob blunders. He weighed in at 12 lbs and some change yesterday at the BF Support Group. He is gaining about a pound a week. I am very grateful to have a baby who is gaining weight so well. It is a mixed blessing.
  • I thought I may have torn my incision. It was red, leaking some fluid and had a couple of drops of blood. I had it checked though, and the midwife said it was healing nicely, and she thought that a piece of skin just grew lightly over it, and tore back.
  • My good friend had to put her 3 year old dog to sleep over the weekend, and I am very sad for her and her hubby.
  • Sorry to any of those who I have depressed or whose day I ruined with this rambling depressed post.
  • Have a great Hump Day.

Poetic Justice?

I am a very literal person. I like to know what people are saying, and similarly I like to be understood. I rarely mince words, and like to know where people stand and I like them to know where I stand. To achieve that feat, one must be versed in the language and able to articulate yourself clearly. There is also a more subtle thing at play often in language and conversation, and that is assumption and intent. When you aren’t clear about something, often times you assume that a person means something, when in fact they don’t mean that all.
The reason for this rant, is that yesterday I was reading an article about an ATF agent who went undercover with the Hells Angels, and now fears for his life. A few years ago my book club read a book about a similar scenario however a different outlaw motorcycle gang was infiltrated– the Mongols.
My dilemma is this-when is it OK to not follow a words true meaning, to lie and deceive and to digress from a words true intent. I realize what a naive questions this is-given the immorality of the gang members actions, etc. However, does that make what the undercover agents are doing right?
By going undercover, we are asking these outlaws to trust us (the system). Now, these folks are already a distrusting and skeptical group-so that isn’t an easy request. Over time, the undercover agents build that trust brick by brick, slowing grow relationships, and one of the undercover guys actually reporting a feeling of kinship and true acceptance.
Then after we have infiltrated their minds, families, and connections using deceitful words and fake actions–then they are exposed and brought ‘to justice’. I don’t know what the meaning of justice is, but I can assure you that these gang members will never trust another sole for their entire lives. Additionally they will pass on the inability to trust, the skepticism of the ‘system’ and an overall disdain and (further) disregard for human life.
Now, again, I understand that the outlaw motorcycle gang members are criminals, often times violent criminals with actions such as rape, child abuse, and spousal abuse under their belts. However, they are still human beings.
While I feel bad for the ATF agent who now fears for his life…where was his common sense when he went undercover and saw what these criminals were capable of. Where was his long term planning for his kids, family and safety…? Hmm, sounds like he got burned the same way the outlaws did.
Since I don’t feel that true justice is being served in a scenario like this, perhaps this is what they call poetic justice? You decide.

The Acceptance of Powerlessness is Power

At my book club last night, we discussed the book Running with Scissors. All three women gave the book a thumbs up. But, it brought up a questionable interpretation of one of the main events that occurred in the book, as well as a running theme throughout the book.

There is an excerpt regarding a 13 year old boy who had his first sexual encounter (ever) with a man who was 33. During our discussion, 2 of the 3 gals described the scene as a rape. While one person only saw it as rough sex, but consensual. After some discussion, it was also noted that the man was a pedophile (by default because he was so much older than the boy) and used power to control this 13 year old boy into continuing his highly dysfunctional, but satisfying sexual relationship with him for 2 years.

My confusion comes in when I try to imagine how 3 people, so similar in age, socio-economic status, race, etc. can have such different opinions about a topic. This is what I love and hate about this book club. Three people-three very different opinions about the same topic.

I certainly appreciate the fact that these gals are confident enough to express their feelings, although very different. I also appreciate the perspective that I gain by listening to each one, thinking about what they said, and then having a chance to reformulate my opinions with the receipt of new data.