Tuesday, April 24, 2012


Jo has been a lot to handle recently.  It seems to come in waves, and this one has been a complete tidal wave!  She has started to cry about everything again, and has become very defiant and difficult.  Jimmy and I are at the end of our ropes with how to deal with her and how to help her be the happy little girl that we know she wants to be again.

Ever since she was tiny, Jo has suffered from growing pains at night.  Usually she gets them after a day of a lot of running or walking.  Yesterday was a rainy day, and we were all going stir crazy (and it was only 10:30AM!) so I decided that rain or no rain, I was taking the kids out of the house for a while.  So, I bundled Jesse up in blankets and a hat, and put the rubber rain boots on Jo and Gabe and plopped them all in the stroller (Gabriel in one side and Jo and Jesse sharing the seat on the other) and off we went to the park at the end of the street. 

Once there, I encouraged the kids to splash and run and make a mess in the puddles, which they did without too much prodding from me.  At first, of course, they splashed and then looked at me, thinking that they would be told to stay out of the puddles, but since they had on their rubbers, and we were only here to go home they soon caught on that they could splash away!

Then, when they were sufficiently cold and wet, I bundled them back home and decided to bathe them both to warm them up and clean them off at the same time.  But Gabriel has begun to scream during the entire bath time, and besides, they are too old to bathe together, so I put them both in their swim suits and made it into a fun game, instead of a boring bathtime.  Soon, they were both in the water, warmed up and scrubbed down.

So, yesterday was an active day for Jo, and at about midnight, she woke up crying that her legs hurt her.  Jimmy got up and rubbed them for her and she eventually went back to sleep, but she did miss some good sleep time.

Since I figured that she would be tired from lack of sleep last night, today, after she came home from school at 1, I told her to get go up and rest for a while in her bed.  She went without a fuss at all, and when she woke up, she was happy, jolly and in good spirits.  We ate dinner, went to the park, and she was back home and in bed again by 8:30, with no tears or defiance.

In addition to that, On Sunday night, she went to bed at about 6:30 and slept through the whole night.

Does that mean, then, that perhaps her bad attitude comes from lack of sleep?  But she usually sleeps from 7:30 PM to 7 AM, with no nap in the middle.  Usually, if she naps during the day, she wakes up cranky and has a really hard time going to sleep at night, and it starts a vicious cycle of her staying up too late crying about not being tired and then needing being over tired the following day.   But she also, if she is sent to her room for bad behavior, will inevitably crash and sleep for at least an hour.

So, do we let her sleep during the day and move her bedtime back (Please, no!  I need my quiet time after they are all in bed!!!)?  But she's almost 5 years old?  Is this normal for a 5 year old to need/want so much sleep? 

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

American Cheese

I was out the other day at the grocery store with a friend of mine and I needed to get some cheese.  American cheese, to be exact.  Now, I know that American cheese is one of the worst cheeses on the market, but I had a hankering for a grilled cheese sandwich with American cheese, so American cheese it had to be.

I told my friend what I was looking for and she said, 'here it is, right here!'  But I told her that I didn't want that cheese because it was individually wrapped, and I wanted the kind that was sliced but not individually wrapped.

When she asked me why, I told her it was because I don't like all the extra trash that individually wrapped cheese produced.  I am perfectly capable of peeling my cheese myself, thank you very much, and I don't need each slice individually wrapped!

She was a bit incredulous.  'It's all the same', she said.  'No, it's not', I replied.  If I buy that cheese, then all that plastic will just be in the landfill and I don't want to be responsible for that.  I want to do my part.'

She rolled her eyes and tapped her foot impatiently while I hunted down the not-individually wrapped American cheese that I was looking for.

And that got me thinking.  Do people really not get it?  Do they really not care?  I mean, in the stores, there are entire aisles of items that are made entirely for the purpose of being thrown away.

Paper Towels
Plastic Trash Bags
Plastic Food Storage Bags

The list goes on.

Then I got to thinking:

Is this an American thing?  I mean, it is Americans who are the wasteful ones?  Who is it that is using and tossing all of this stuff?

I have an interesting ummm...hobby, I guess you could call it.  As I drive around town dropping people off at their various locations, and I see something on the side of the road that looks remotely decent, I will pick it up and haul it home, go through it and if there's anything worth anything, I toss it in the shed til the shed gets full and then we either donate it or have a yard sale.  You would be amazed at what I find!  Whole rolls of wrapping paper that still have their plastic on them; huge trash bags full of clothes, some of which still have the tags on them; baby and kids toys galore; bikes; strollers; lamps; dressers; tables...you name it, I probably come across it.  Anytime we really need something, it's usually just a waiting game til it shows up in someone's trash somewhere.

And who are the people who throw these things away?  What are they thinking?

How can people make the conscious decision to put things in the trash that are perfectly good still?  Do they think that the trash just disappears?  Does it just vanish in their minds?  Don't they see that they are hurting their own children by what they are doing?

We had a yard sale last weekend and we made about $100.  That's not really much money, but when you figure that most of the stuff in the yard sale was stuff that I got out of people's trash, I don't feel too bad about it.  I was a bit annoyed when this guy came up and said, 'what, do you have a daycare or just spoiled kids?'.  I wanted to tell him that I found all the toys in the trash, but he was buying a few things, so I didn't really want to let him know he was paying for someone's trash, so I just smiled and took his money.

The kicker was this:

A boy and his dad who live around the corner from us came to the yard sale.  I had 2 plastic ride on cars in the sale, a blue one and a red one.  I had already sold the red one for $3, but the blue one was still there.  The boy turns to his dad and says 'Hey dad!  That car looks like the one that we just threw away and ours was missing the top part, too!'

Wanna guess where I got those 2 cars?  ;-)

Yeah, they bought some stuff, too.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

A Difficult Transition

I must admit that I think that I am having a harder time with this whole change in the family set up than anyone else.  Jo and Gabriel are doing fine with the new baby and haven't really seemed to notice that I just happen to be around more now that I quit my job.  I guess that's a good thing on many levels.  It is nice that they are secure enough in me and Jimmy and in each other to not fall apart over the arrival of the little one, and it is also nice to know that I was enough in the picture for them that they aren't really noticing that I am around more than I was when I was working full time. 

Elizabeth has transitioned well to being homeschooled and Jimmy has been doing really really well at work without me there, too.

I, however, am having a really hard time!  I seem to not be able to accept the fact that even though I am home now, that doesn't mean that I am going to get anything done.  But the thing is that even before I quit, I told Jimmy that he needed to understand that all because I am home does not mean that I am going to be able to do a lot of things and keep up with everything all by myself because my primary job and goal while I am home and he is at work is to school and care for the kids, and he is/was ok with that.  He agreed and said that it SHOULD be that way and that yes, that was my new 'job'...NOT to just stay home and be a housekeeper. 

So, what is my problem?  I am having a really hard time letting go of the pressure to always be productive, and I mean productive in a tangible way.  If all I get done in a day is cut 30 fingernails and 30 toenails, bathe 3 kids, wash one load of laundry and hang it out and cut the brush off only one part of the fence, I feel as if I have gotten nothing at all done.  But then, when you look deeper, you see that I have also fed and soothed and played with 3 kids under 5 years old, one of whom is only 2 months old, as well as monitored and coached a teenager through the day, everything takes on a different light, and I feel like perhaps I did indeed accomplish something. 

But I feel like I must always be moving forward.  I have a hard time sitting with Gabriel til he sleeps (ARGH!  He keeps just getting out of his crib!  Any suggestions for keeping a 2 yr old in his bed at nap and bedtime????) or sitting and just rocking Jesse while he nurses and snuggles.  It raises my blood pressure to see Elizabeth sit idle, and I often feel trapped by Jo, Gabriel and Jesse's constant need for attention. I see so many things that need to be done and I feel frustrated by my inability to finish any of them.  I have never done this before! 

I feel like I need to learn to breathe again. 

I was thinking about this today right after I lost my cool with Elizabeth because she was reading a comic book while the frozen groceries melted on the floor in the kitchen while I had to sit with Gabriel for an hour because he wouldn't stay in his crib even though he was tired and really needed a nap.  In a daycare for 2 year old children, the ratio of adult to child is 1:5.  That means that one adult is supposed to be able to care for 5 2 year old children.  That's all.  Care for them.  In a daycare setting.  A place that is set up for childcare and where the kids go home at the end of the day so that it can be straightened and cleaned.  Unless it is an in home daycare, these child care providers worry only about the children that they are watching.  They don't do laundry or grocery shopping or doctors visits while they are trying to watch 5 children.  They watch 5 children. 

Now, I don't have 5, but I do have 4 and one is very small and one is fairly large.  The oldest one does help with the younger ones, but she still needs direction and supervision (i.e. who would think that I would have to tell a 14 year old child that the food needs to be put away BEFORE the comic book is read?  But I do.  So, I have to add that to my mental list of 'things to do'.)  And yet, with these 4 kids to watch, I still have unrealistically high expectations of myself. 

Does anyone out there have an suggestions on how to cope with the transition from being a full time working mother to being a full time stay at home mother? 

And does any one have any suggestions on how to keep my toddler in his bed?  (The tent will not work because he will pull it down and rip it up.  This child can climb anything and is strong enough to push down and pin his 4.5 year old sister to the floor.)