Tuesday, January 25, 2011

I generally agree with the statement, if you don't have anything nice to say then don't say anything at all. That's why I haven't blogged in a little while :) Not that I always get that right. Clearly I've blogged angry, frustrated or very opinionated things. Life can be hard!

We have been in a tough spot regarding Evangeline's social security number. A certain person was supposed to send in the paperwork within days of her birth and it didn't happen until she was 6 weeks old (Jan 10th). Because we don't have her social we've been unable to get her DSHS health insurance (I know this sounds strange, but trust me, it's true). We've also been waiting for the reimbursement from my health insurance company for half of the midwife fee I already paid cash for. Turns out that hadn't been sent in either :( Then I started working on our taxes and realized I can't send in anything until we have Evie's social. I also was told by the pediatrician's office that in order to bring Evie in again I'll need to pay cash since they still have not been paid for the first 2 appointments (which circles back to having no social and therefore no insurance). ALL this because someone failed to do their job correctly.

I'm usually a pretty 'on top of it' kind of person. I don't like procrastination and sloppyness. I feel that if you commit to do something, you should do it, and if you don't plan on doing it let those involved know. SO, when something like this happens and my family is out literally thousands of dollars and cannot take our youngest to the doctor despite the fact that she's been up screaming for 3 nights in a row....it's maddening. Beyond that really. I can't even describe how angering it is! I am thinking and praying on the best way to deal with the situation to find resolution. Evie's social came yesterday (2 weeks after it was sent off for). I spent 45 minutes on hold with DSHS to add her and was told that I had to do an application. I responded, "I was told I specifically had to just call with her social and she would be added like her sister." The worker said, "Well whoever told you that must've thought that you had DSHS insurance for yourself." UM, no, I have never had DSHS insurance for myself. I wish! We don't qualify. Again, someone not doing a thorough job left me in the lurch. So I go to the website and tried literally 3 times to apply but the website server kept going down. I called DSHS again and waited another 10 minutes to be told I'll need to mail in an application and they have no idea why the website isn't working.

I feel frustrated about it because I should've had Evie's social 5-6 weeks ago and then she would've been added to insurance within her first month of life. Because of it getting sent in so late I am now scrambling and trying to get her covered asap so I can take her to the dr. Also, Costco has been holding a prescription for her for literally weeks (it should help with her tummy) since we can't afford to buy it without insurance.

Craig and I have a running joke about 'if something can go wrong, it will'. This kind of stuff seems to happen to us a lot. People make commitments and flake on us and I get stuck picking up the pieces. It makes us skeptical of people and their ability to follow through because we've been burned so much. Last fall I had switched insurance companies to save us money and it ended up being over 2 months of back and forth crap because people flaked and weren't doing their job. That time we were out hundreds of dollars. As a matter of fact we were told late October that a gift card to Azteca and somewhere else (Silver City I think?) was in the mail to make up for the issues....hmmm, we never received it. See what I mean? People are so shady! Some things just happen and are no one's fault. For instance, we traded in our Nissan Sentra for our 2001 Durango a month before Eliana was born. Well, in the following year it was in the shop every single month and sometimes 2x a month. I was stuck on the side of the road with a smoking and dead vehicle when Eliana was only 11 days old. It had to be towed and I had to wait with my newborn on the side of the road in late October. The Durango has been in the shop almost 20 times in the 2 1/2 years we've had it.

 In the 5 1/2 years we've been married we've faced a lot of hardship. Craig's son being taken out of state and then the court battle for visitation (not to mention the nightmare with child support), Craig's accident and the ensuing financial devastation, infertility treatments, Craig getting laid off, etc etc etc. A lot of that stuff was completely out of our control and we just had to hold on and go along for the ride. So when stuff like this happens that is completely avoidable it makes me crazy over the insanity of it. People don't follow through and yet they have no consquences for their actions. They still get paid for their job, whether or not they did it at all or did it right. Yet my family majorly suffers.

Sometimes it's like, can't someone just do their job right and not screw us over?! I know this all bothers me an extra dose because I am so organized. It's in direct opposition to my personality to just flake out on people.

I am praying DSHS reads the letter I put in with our application and someone sharp and on top of things will get it going quickly for us so my sweet baby will finally have insurance. And I guess I won't hold my breath for the gift cards that insurance company promised!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Operation Michelle Duggar

So, somewhere between my last post Sunday night and Monday morning I decided that I'd try to kill Eliana's bad attitude with kindness. I don't mean giving her everything she wants and allowing bad behavior, but  rather trying to set a positive tone in the home, praise her for everything she does right, and take time out of my day to make her feel special.

I think Michelle Duggar is a great example of a gentle, Godly mother. Say whatever you want about the number of kids they have, but there's not much negative you can say about the way she parents. She gets on eye level with her children and speaks the discipline in so soft a voice it's almost a whisper. This causes the children to have to stop, listen, and take her seriously. And what a positive tone she puts into the whole household by not yelling and losing her temper. And she has 19 kids to do this with! I think it takes more work sometimes to stop ourselves from getting angry and deal with things kindly, but the payoff seems so great. Eliana has been gentler, kinder, less needy, and much happier. Instead of barking an order or demand, I've been quieting my voice and gently making my request of her or letting her know the answer is no to whatever she asked. I've been enlisting her in helping me with things even more than normal, too. She loves to be a helper. She calls herself Mama Elly :) Today she sat on the floor with my nursing pillow and her shirt lifted up to nurse her baby while I was nursing Evangeline. SO cute!

Earlier today Evangeline was struggling. Didn't want to nurse, didn't want to be Moby'd, didn't want her paci....it was frustrating. I had to talk myself through it in my head to stay calm since while Evie was screaming Elly was also asking multiple times to watch Dora and read her Dora book. I wanted to yell, "Not now Elly!" But I told her we'd watch Dora another day and that I'd be happy to read to her. She crawled up on the couch by us while I was bouncing the screaming Evangeline and we read the book. Eventually Evangeline calmed down and I was glad that I kept my cool and didn't take it out on Elly.

Granted I'm only 3 days in on trying to stay more positive and it's really about taking it one hour at a time, but I'm trying, really trying, and I think that's what matters. I want Eliana to feel special and needed in this home, just like how I want to feel. Because I'm the one home all day with the kids, it's up to me to set that tone in the home.

So, thank you Michelle for setting a good example of gentle mothering! And no, I don't want 19 kids :)

Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Crying Chronicles

Eliana is in bed, Craig is posting stuff to sell on Craigslist, and Evangeline is asleep in my left arm. I would post a pic of her passed out but I'd have to include the huge amount of my cleavage showing, too. And this isn't that kind of website :)

My dear, sweet, gentle, never has to be disciplined Eliana has entered a new phase. This new phase has left me bewildered, exhausted, frustrated, and wanting to cancel all obligations to mommy groups I have made. I am trying to live one day at a time and not do anything drastic to my schedule (yet)......but wow. My day is filled with her constantly saying, "uppy uppy uppy mommy.....upply please?" The please only comes in to play when she is feeling nice. Sometimes I oblige and I pick her up. Often I ask if she'll join me and the baby on the couch. Sometimes I am all 'uppy'd' out and need 2 seconds without a child in my arms. In those particular times Eliana cries, whines, almost screams, follows me around while doing the aforementioned, etc. It's unpleasant to say the least. When she's eating at her highchair in the kitchen (with daddy) and I'm feeding the baby on the couch she says, "mama bum bum?!", which means, "I want you to come sit in here next to me on your bum bum." Of course I tell her no since I'm feeding baby sissy and then she cries so hard she starts choking on her food and refuses to eat at all. This. Is. My. Day. Over and over like Groundhog Day.Unfortunately this is not the only crying in my house. There is also the nearly 6 week old Evangeline. She cries usually because of gas or because she is tired and fighting it. Nevertheless, it's still crying. A lot. It's probably compounded by Eliana's constant crying and my reaction of stress, which my little baby can totally sense.......ugh. Deep breath, deep breath!

I guess I thought Eliana would skip over the nasty phase I've seen other kids take a trip through (and sometimes live in for a while). She has always been very sensitive and gentle. The only discipline she ever needed was a slightly stern voice and she'd recoil from her behavior and we'd all move on. Now she is bossy, pushy, stubborn, and sensitive in a different not-so-nice way. She's needy and of course it's usually when the baby also needs me. With kids everything is a phase. This is our consolation, right? I know that someday she'll be 16 and probably wearing too much eyeliner and a skirt I deem too short and I'll miss this phase.....but right now I miss the Eliana of 2 months ago.

I don't want to put negative attention on her bad behavior and encourage it all the more because "negative attention is still attention" (saw that in action with my step son since negative attention seemed to be all he knew). But at the same time I don't want to ignore the bad behavior and show her there's no consequences for it. She is still sensitive and needing affection from mommy and I know that, it's just getting clouded in the whining and crying that I am quickly losing empathy for. I'm comforted by so many kind posts on my facebook comment by other moms whose kids have or are behaving this same way and are Eliana's age also. At least she is not alone!

Evangeline is a big baby. She will be 6 weeks on Tuesday but seriously could pass for 3 or 4 months by size. I put on a size 3 month hoody today that Eliana used to wear and it's too short already! She is wearing size 3-6mo BabyGap pants today. Why am I telling you this? Not to brag about my amazing milk (hehe), but to say that because she is so big I forget that she is still a newbie. She's very alert, smiles and 'coos' all the time, can hold her head up and look around, and then put her size into that and I forget how new she is. That makes me forget to give us all some grace through this hard phase. It's crazy to think that 6 weeks ago she was still in my belly! Eliana was my baby and I had 12 hours at night without a child needing me. So much has changed so quickly and I feel like we've had Evie for so long that I have to keep reminding myself that I have a newborn. The busy-ness of life picks up so quickly that it's easy for every day of the week to get filled up with stuff and places to be and I get overwhelmed. I should be saying no to obligations, wearing sweats, and watching Angelina Ballerina all day with Eliana, and telling people if they want to see me they're gonna have to come here :)

Being a mom is ........everything you never think of and don't even think to think of. Before having kids I had no clue that:
You must feed and calm the newborn and get the 2 year old busy before you go pee (unless you plan to hold the newborn and have the 2 year old standing there watching).
You must feed and calm the newborn and get the 2 year old busy before you can take a shower/eat something other than whatever your 2 year old is eating/ fold laundry/ respond to emails/ call a friend/ do ANYTHING etc.
You will wait anxiously to hear the unlocking door that signals hubby is home from work and you have help....and can now go number 2 in the bathroom with the door closed!
Kids cry in pairs. If one is crying, the other one probably will, too.
You will get pooped on and barfed on pretty much every day, this is why most mothers with newborns look sloppy. Who wants to get their Alfani blouse covered in watery baby poo? And why bother with a fancy hairdo when it will get spit up in it? (And who are you kidding if you think you have time to do a fancy hair do!)
And on and on and on this list goes.

A few days ago a friend of mine who is not married and does not have children, came by for a visit. Of course Evangeline was having a heck of a day and cried almost the whole 3 hours! As I was sitting on the couch chatting I felt something warm down my front and on my legs. Yes, she pooped ALL over me and the couch. Awesome. Eliana was needy as is her new usual but I bribed her with Dora and Angelina Ballerina. Once I got Elly down for a nap and got the baby in the swing I made Craig's lunch and coffee for the next day, got dinner in the crock pot and switched over the laundry. My friend's comment was, "Wow, you seriously never have a break or time for yourself. You either have the kids or have to do things around the house. Wow." It was rather validating. See, I'm not crazy, this is a hard job! :)

This is a long blog, which ironically those of you with little ones may not have time to read! haha.

I'm grateful for friends who empathize and allow me the grace I forget to give myself. A few more months and life will be a lot easier for us (I pray!) and hopefully I'll remember to be the one giving out the grace to a friend who needs it.

And as followup to other blogs:
Evangeline is nursing great but I still have a jet powered stream of milk and she gags and chokes. Maybe why she's so big? :)
I am still down 35lbs from having Evangeline. It's like my body remembers my starting weight and stays right about at it. I'm also thinking the M&M's, Swiss Rolls, and potato chips aren't helping me lose any more weight. Darn you stress eating!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Food and Sleep...two of my favorite things!

I have been having some major cooking withdrawls!

I really enjoy trying to cook new things, letting my brain go wild in the kitchen, and having a super yummy made-from-scratch kind of meal. BUT, with a newborn that's tough. Sure Craig can hold her and I can start cooking, but her nursing is not on any kind of a schedule yet so it's very unpredictable. Some days she'll eat every 2-3 hours and some days it's like my boob is out ALL day and she's frantic to eat every hour. That makes me nervous that I'll have 4 pans going with different stuff in each and something in the oven and 2 things being prepped on the counter (which is so fun, I love multi-tasking in the kitchen!)....and then the inevitable will happen; I'll need to nurse the baby for 10-20 minutes and there goes everything. It was like this with Eliana, too. I had to take a break from culinary creativity for a little while and then when I got to do it again I had so much fun. We did sleep training with Eliana at 4 months and she has pretty much slept 12 or more hours a night ever since (except when teething or sick). Her bedtime was 7 or 7:30 so I had the evenings free to cook! Usually I'd have one week of lots of cooking and fun in the kitchen and then another week of cereal and eggs for dinner, then back to a week of good cooking and so on :)

I would like to try sleep training with Evangeline at 4 months also, so we'll see how she does. It will be tough since the cribs are in the same tiny room. If Evangeline wakes up at 6am, there's a good chance she'll wake up Eliana, too, and that will really suck. I keep dreaming and thinking if there is any way for us to be out of this house in the next few months but I just don't see it being possible at all. We tried to sell for about 9 months in 2010 and had zero offers. We've tried to refinance 3 times to get a payment low enough that we can rent it out and live somewhere else but we keep running into 'value' issues. Basically a lot of people on our street have foreclosed or done a short sale and that makes our recent 'comps' look really bad. If the homes on our street are selling for $150k, why would the bank value ours at $190k? So unfair. We've never been late or missed a payment ever, but we are penalized by the people who have. Sucky. We are stuck between a rock and a hard place. Every day this house feels smaller and smaller and Craig and I are battling the frustration with having no where to walk and constantly tripping over toys, nevermind having 'personal space'. There is only 763 square feet in this house and it's now being shared by 4 people and all their stuff. We just want out! Anyway, I will keep praying and trying to hold out the trust that God knows our needs and will provider a bigger/different place for us. SOON PLEASE GOD!

As far as sleep training.......what is it, you ask? For us, it's pretty much the Cry It Out method (CIO). I know this can be very controversial and a lot of parents are strongly opposed to it. I don't feel that it's my job to change anybody's mind about it, I simply see how well it has worked for Eliana and I can't argue with that. It takes about a week usually and then it's smooth sailing. ~Added later-A friend's comment on this post reminded me how important the bedtime routine is. Eliana has done the same thing every night and that is huge. They need to know what to expect and I think that helps there to not be any argument about it. Now at 26 months she gets in her jammies, does her vitamin, flosses and brushes her teeth, has a drink of water, and then we pray, sing Jesus Loves Me, and off to dreamland she goes! As a four month old it was jammies, vitamin, nurse, then pray, sing, and bed.

The other key is to put them to bed early enough. A 4-6 month old child should be getting around 12 hours of sleep at night. And unfortunately, putting them to bed at 10pm doesn't necessarily mean you will get to sleep til 10am. With children- sleep begets sleep. A good daytime nap/s means they will sleep better at night and putting them to bed BEFORE they show total signs of tiredness (rubbing eyes, cranky, etc) is key. When we wait too long and put Elly down at like 9pm, she sometimes cries and usually won't sleep in as long in the morning. BUT, if we put her down at 7:30, she goes right to sleep and sleeps til 9am :) Just like the adage that by the time a baby cries she's already past the point of hungry, the same goes for tired.
I also don't allow her to wake for the day early. As far as I'm concerned anything before 8am is too early! She can whine and cry and settle down to sleep a little more, which she does. I know she is getting sick or teething if she starts waking up too early.

So, you do your nighttime routine, then put the child to bed drowsy but not totally asleep (otherwise you're training the child to only fall asleep at the breast). Baby then will start to cry and you just leave them :( This is the hard part. It was SO hard the first night. I felt like a horrible parent. No one wants to hear their baby cry. BUT, I wanted her to learn to self soothe, which is an important life skill, and also to learn to sleep through the night. I knew she wasn't hungry, didn't have a dirty diaper, and her room temperature was good. She just needed to go to sleep. The first night she cried for about 50 minutes and then it was total silence. For. 12. Hours. WOW! The next night she cried about 35 minutes and then again slept through the night. The 3rd night she cried 20 minutes and each night was less until eventually around 6 days she went to sleep peacefully with zero tears. Occasionally she'd cry during the night and I'd let her calm herself and go back to sleep. I will also add that Eliana never used a pacifier. Of course if she was sick or teething I went in immediately to calm her.

After getting the deep sleep her body needed she would wake up happy, smiling, and in a good mood. She started looking forward to bed and going to sleep immediately. What a blessing! Even today at 26 months she'll tell me when she is tired and she sleeps great. Another part of learning to self soothe is to stop swaddling. Elly's dr recommended we stop swaddling at 4 months as part of the sleep training. And it worked! Babies shouldn't need to be swaddled at 10 months. The startle reflex is gone and they need to have freedom of movement. I also don't believe that babies NEED to nurse at night past about 4 months (very thin or underweight babies are a different story). I think it's a comfort and habit thing and about being close to mommy and feeling that security. As a mother it's your decision to continue night feedings or let baby CIO until they no longer have that habit. I'm not judging on it, I think it's a personal decision. I'm not totally decided on what I'll do with Evangeline. Eliana was such a high needs baby with colic and GERD that by the time 4 months came I needed space and I needed peace! I held her nearly 24 hours a day during the colic and at least 8 hours per day was blood curdling screams. I was happy to have her sleeping and away from me for the night. Evangeline is a different story. She's mostly a typical baby and pretty easy going. I may not want her away from me all night starting at 4 months. We'll see.

There are many who want to continue night feedings for months (or years) and there are many who enjoy having a family bed. I don't think that's really our style. Evangeline has slept in our bed every night so far, but I'm hoping around 3 or 4 months she'll be in the bassinett or crib. I want my bed to be a peaceful and romantic place for my husband and me and I want my children to have peaceful, deep sleep in their own space. But again, we'll see how that plays out :)

Well, since I'm typing about sleeping of course Eliana's nap is a bit of bust. Only one hour :( Better go get her....