The Evidence-Based Parenting Toolbox, aka: How Not To Lose Your Sh*t With Your Kids

Let’s start by talking about the broken neon sign that I discovered last night as I was ushering my kids into bed in anticipation of solitude and wine. This particular neon sign was given to me and my husband when … Continue reading

The Aha Moment That Turned My Gremelyn Around

Somewhere in the Universe, two storks were matching babies to mommies-to-be… Manager: “Cindy Adams gets a blonde girl. Betty Jones gets twin boys. Bet she quits making fun of cankles now. Renae Rose….give her one of those new experimental models.” … Continue reading

Baby Fever Like Whoa

I’m not going to say that’s the most ridiculous blog title ever (this is the Internet, after all) but it might be its second cousin. And odd appellation though it may be, it’s kind of perfect.

When people ask me “When are y’all going to have another one?!”- which is and has been rather often, since our Single Child just turned 8- that usually ends up in the conversation. “Don’t you have baby fever?”

“I have baby fever like whoa.”

As you can see, I am clearly quite the linguist. But honestly, the silliness of it is appropriate. I experience anamount of baby fever that is just… silly. I’ve been jonesing for more loin fruit ever since our not-so-little one was still wearing diapers and mumbling her own language. I always assumed I’d have my many babies (and I do mean many… I thought I’d have like 5 or 7 or 30 or whatever) between 18-24 months apart (you can’t see it, but I’m lol-ing at the idealism of my younger, stupider self). Yet here I sit, one beeb that will be a teenager in 5 years, and no other beebs to speak of. Five years ago I had a very early miscarriage, and almost immediately went on birth control, a decision that had many factors. I had the Implanon implant for two years, and really enjoyed it. No menstrual cycles to get hung up in, and no possible pregnancies to worry about. I had it taken out a little over two years ago, and pretty much from the moment I had the green light (with a few months hiatus in the middle) it was go-time. We’ve been trying ever since, but with no success. I hate to say it that way… “success”. Like we’ve spent the last decade building a firm foundation for a nationwide company and are now reaping the benefits. It’s not a complicated thing. Unsuspecting teenagers do it often enough that there’s a show or three about it, and in the olden days it was referred to as “falling” pregnant. I am super good at falling, you should see me. How hard can getting knocked up really be, right? Well, the answer is, “way”. It can be way hard. And it sucks.

Against my better logic, I take every pregnancy announcement and ultrasound upload on Facebook personally. If you’re my friend/ relative/ acquaintance from high school, and I’ve congratulated you on your fruitfulness within the last several years, I lied. And I probably made a snarky comment about you to the nearest person when I learned of your condition. Sorry, dude, just bein’ honest. I was not happy for you. Or at least, not at the time. (Probably not ever, but that sounds harsh.) And every idiot out there who engaged in the act of coitus and wound up pregnant, and laments about it or can’t take care of the offspring they have, or whatever, I hate them. Asinine, but also true. Why them? Why not me? God doesn’t think I’m doing a good enough job with the one I got? The Universe felt BootyShorts McSmokes-a-Lot’s genetics needed to be propagated more than mine? Have ya seen my kid? She’s effing adorable. And smart, and strong. What, the Earth doesn’t need another one of her walking around? It’s during existential diatribes such as this that my husband offers me a glass of wine, and I accept, because it’s not like anyone’s getting fetal alcohol syndrome up in here (I just pointed to my uterus).

I  take it to a dark place. I’ve gotten to the point that I can make jokes about it, I can be funny. I can even offer kudos to new mothers-to-be in person without spitting (much). But it doesn’t mean that every fiber of my being doesn’t cry out for a baby every time I see one sleeping or nursing or just being. Or every time I go to one of my mommy groups, and I’m the only one there without an infant or a toddler. It doesn’t stop me from buying that brand new olive green Moby wrap at a garage sale a few months ago. And while time has enabled me to not feel quite so “you’ll see the Lifetime made-for-tv movie about me and my craziness” when I buy something baby related and when inevitably asked if I have a baby/ am pregnant and say no with my big fake smile, it doesn’t keep me from feeling that one day I will actually go insane, carrying around an old cabbage patch doll and trying to breastfeed it. It doesn’t keep me from having to stop typing this several times to keep from getting tears all over my new keyboard. I don’t know if That Point is somewhere I’ll ever be. Maybe this longing, maybe my soul crying out for a baby this long will help me appreciate the baby I do have one day (soon?!), because God knows that as a young mother I took my first for granted. Or maybe it will just make me grow bitter and spiteful, unable to feel anything for any other fertile woman but contempt. Who knows. Guess I’ll just have to see.

We’ve made lots of really great lifestyle changes to up our chances of conceiving. I’ve cut out nearly all gluten and dairy- and honestly feel worlds better for it- as well as tracked my cycles for the last 8 months (they’re crazy, of course), trying to pinpoint the optimal baby-making times. I’m trying to lose weight, which should help, and I’m drinking red raspberry leaf tea daily, which has had a tremendously positive effect on my monthly cramps and the nearly constant ovary pain I was experiencing the rest of the month. There are other things we’re looking into as well, so hopefully we won’t have to go all the way to medical intervention. If we do, however, I’m up for it. Anything short of actually snatching a baby is pretty much fair game. I don’t care how clever and chic Orange is the New Black is, I am not tough enough for lady prison.

If what we’re doing works, you can be sure I’ll be back here gushing and sharing and making you all sick. If not, I don’t know. My post will probably be too salty for the likes of WMC. But hey, that could be fun, too. Motherhood isn’t all about nursery rhymes and loveliness. Sometimes it’s about f-bombs and wine, amirite? But hopefully, fingers and toes crossed, wood knocked upon, candles lit and prayers said, I’ll be back here writing a post entitled In Need of Sleep Like Whoa.

Because I had a baby. And it’s up at night. And I’m tired. Yeah, you get it.

posted by Anna Sites,
Whole Mothering Center Featured Blogger

Musings on Kids and Moving Stress

As anyone who knows us knows, we’ve had pretty much one thing on our minds lately: Moving. And not just moving down the block, across town, or to another part of our area, but out of state. Across a state, even. To New Orleans, Louisiana. It’s a massive undertaking and a huge source of stress for us all, in spite of the benefits of a new job, new town, etc. My husband and I can see past the problems of today and focus on the rewards of next week, and how much we look forward to a fresh start. But our four year old can’t. Shelby’s not yet developed the coping skills or understanding that she needs to really grasp all that moving entails, and how to deal with the bevy of emotions she’s experiencing. I know she’s happy about moving, because she tells me so. She’s been before, bought toys and treats there and done interesting things. I also know that she’s stressed, but not because she’s voiced her concerns, but because she’s begun wetting the bed frequently, something she hasn’t done in a long time. Children her age don’t know how to put stress into words, so it manifests itself into actions, behaviors and bad habits either new or resurfaced. It’s important to tune into your child and observe how they are coping with all that is going on, and see what you can do to help.

It’s well known that moving, as all major lifestyle changes, can take a huge toll on children. How can you help your child adjust to the move itself and their new home?

Before/During The Move:

Keep things as normal as possible around the house- routines, meals, bedtimes, etc. This makes children feel secure.

Be patient. Everyone is going through this, and your appreciate it when others are patient with you in times of stress.

Help your child label their feelings. Beyond the usual happy/sad, angry/hurt labeling you often do, help them understand that what they’re feeling may be excited, anxious, nervous, hopeful or lonely. Explain in age-appropriate terms what these things mean and give examples.

Use pictures, toys or books to help your child visualize themselves in their new surroundings. This helps them realize that the new destination is a real place, and can make it seem less scary as they become more familiar.

Make sure they know that you’re all going together (unless the move is due to a divorce or other similar situation). That their toys, clothes and other things will be there as well.

Talk to them often about how exciting a new place can be, but don’t get too much into all the details, you don’t want to overload their little mind.

Say goodbye to the house together before walking out the door for the last time.

After The Move:

Keep things like they were back home as much as possible. As mentioned above, kids love routine. Try to fix some of their favorite meals, make sure their favorite bedding is unpacked as soon as possible, etc. It’s all about making their home seem familiar as opposed to stark and new.

Keep them busy. I know you’ve got a lot on your own plate trying to get things settled, but keep in mind that a bored child can be an unhappy child. Take time to color, play, go for a walk, or do something fun together. The best thing would be to find a park, library or museum somewhere so that you can both be entertained and get to know your new community.

Help them deal with the absence of friends and family by having them write a letter or e-mail (with your help, of course), or make a picture to send to the folks back home. Join a playgroup to help them make new friends.

Be patient after the move as well. It can take several weeks for your child to feel at home in their new surroundings. Understand that they may long for the old days. Listen to what they have to say, and put them at ease as best you can.

The other day Shelby and I were watching TV, and she said “Mama, I don’t want to move to New Orleans anymore.” I was a bit surprised, as she’s been excited since day one. I asked her why, and she said it was because she didn’t want to have to eat bugs. I was even more surprised. After talking for a little while I realized she had seen something my husband and I were watching on TV about the new Insectarium in NOLA, where people can eat bugs in their special café. She thought that that was a common practice, and wasn’t having any of it! Sometimes our kiddoes get strange, and humorous, things in their heads. We just have to listen and understand that they see the world differently. While moving can make us just about lose our minds, we have to remember the effect it has on the little ones as well. We are our children’s best lifeline in all of life’s situations, and it’s up to us to make sure they have the information and skills to take what comes their way.

I have since reassured Shelby that no one will ever make her eat bugs, although we may one day convince her daddy to eat a cricket if we visit the Insectarium ourselves. She was down with that.

~AnnA

Read more from our wonderful NOLA correspondent at her blog: New in NOLA