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Church and Preschoolers

A year ago, I was nine months pregnant (exactly) and attended Christmas Eve church service with a 17-month-old. I refused to go, but Daddy J insisted. It was annoying then. Everyone kept asking me if I was ok. NO! I have pelvic girdle syndrome, I’m hot, I’m huge, I’m sick of people asking me questions, and my toddler is being an asshole. Ugh.

Fast forward to A1’s Sunday School play.

The play was cute. A1 was an angel, and she did a good job. Then, we had to sit through the service.

A2 is almost one. She is a pain when it comes to sitting still. She is the poster child for the “go go go” baby. She squirms. She cries. She makes noise. She acts up if there isn’t a boob in her mouth. I can never pay attention to the service. It’s annoying and embarrassing.

I really despise going to church now. It isn’t fun. Coffee hour is the only good part. I can finally have an adult conversation—WITH ADULTS!! We stay for a short time, and then we have to leave. I feel like a contestant from Survivor who has just left the island, sunburnt and wasted from days of starvation. I lived!

It was much the same as Daddy J’s alumni concert. I don’t think I can take them to any location that isn’t Walmart, the grocery store, relatives’ houses, or anywhere that has distractions for kids.

My AIL was stupid enough to ask if we brought toys. Yes, we bring fucking toys. I’m pretty sure her behavior won’t change.

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Diapers suck.

I’ve been changing diapers for two and half years, perhaps not as long as some; however, when you wake up to a toddler’s pee soaked sheet and pajamas every day, you get sick of it real quick.

Let’s also mention that I change a nine month old’s diaper all day long. My other favorite task is emptying out diaper pails Fucking Disgusting!

The difference between today and yesterday is both kids peed through their clothing and A1 chose to grab her bath crayons off the dresser, scribbling all over a white sheet…that I just changed yesterday. Thanks a lot, small fry.

You may have seen from previous entries that my attempts to potty train her weren’t successful. She never stays on the toilet. She runs around bottomless and pees on the floor.

You can also factor in an infant who won’t freaking sleep train at all.

48 hours of suck.

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Attack of the Other Mom

Some of my readers who know me IRL probably wonder what inspired my two-part, autobiographical posts.

Here is an indication of how my latest interaction with this young mom went:

I always love Rage Against the Machine when I’m angry. Here’s what happened:

I played with M and A1 after scarfing down my dinner. I prepared her plate. She sat in the chair, and I told her about all the food. She got up from the chair. I picked her up and decided to sit her on my lap. There was no high chair upstairs and they certainly didn’t have a booster seat like mine at my PILs’ house. I put some macaroni salad on the fork, and tried to give it to her. She protested. I told her to take a couple of bites. She started to kick, scream, and have a giant tantrum on me. The bitch My SIL comes over (after my husband apparently informed his family at A1 already ate something before we left, while I was getting ready for this bullshit family event) and the following conversation occurs:

“He said he already fed her a bunch of stuff, so…” She randomly said.
“We’ll, she has to eat something.” I figured a bite or two would suffice.
“Well, you don’t have to force feed her.”
“I’m not force feeding her.”
Then she laid this on me in a snide tone:
“You are force feeding her.”

Oh, no you didn’t.

“I think I know what I’m doing, sweetheart,” I said in a direct tone, looking her straight in the eye. “I have two kids, not one.”

This isn’t the first time she’s spoken like this to me. Then, of course, because no one heard her say that, everyone kept telling me, “She’ll eat when she’s hungry.” I then had to proceed to tell everyone that I didn’t want to discuss it. This includes my 91-year-old GMIL. Do NOT go there with me.

I love hearing a little girl who continually drops off her daughter to avoid taking care of her accuse ME of abusing mine.

I let this woman be in my bridal party. I let her come to my bachelorette party. I made her A1’s godmother. This wasn’t because I wanted to, it was because I was forced to. Because I’d have to hear about it for the rest of my life if I didn’t.

How can she just sit there and criticize me about that after she complained that A1 looked skinny when she was an infant? How do we deal with these characters in our lives?

This is why mothers need to support each other. No one should be bait at a shark fest. Whatever problems we’ve had with each other should have checked at the door. Whatever problems she has with what I post online, do with my kids, or anything else should NOT be called into question by texting my husband about it. She is a crazy gossip who gives decent people absolutely no credit. She bullies and embarrasses people to make herself look good.

This is something I will definitely take into consideration. We moms need strategies when dealing with Other Mom. It is harder when it is family.

Stay tuned for more advice about this. I will be speaking with my therapist soon. Given the history I mentioned in the “I Support A Woman’s Right to Choose” series, this will be a challenge.

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An Open Letter to My Body

Dear Crapeas Corpus,

Now is not the time to get sick, nor is it ever, if I can help it. I can’t have diarrhea and take care of two kids. I can’t have a headache and feel like walking death, either. Please cease and desist. Ain’t nobody got time fo’ this.

You must lay down until Daddy J has to mow the lawn, which is a one or two hour affair. Then it’s time to clean the nurseries. That laundry won’t sort itself, either. Time to get better and get it in gear.

Let’s do it to it!

Signed,

The Brain

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Don’t Sleep, Just Drive the Car

This week has been great—don’t get me wrong. We had fun at VBS, and so did A1. Unfortunately, A2 was still awake several times last night, and our basement renovation resumed this morning at 7 a.m. sharp. Ain’t nobody got time fo’ that!

I am not a morning person, but have adjusted for the kids (such is life). Sleep deprivation isn’t the best thing for anxiety, depression, or PPD. It makes me wish I could Velcro A1’s toys to the table, so she doesn’t throw a fit every time one falls on the ground, and make her understand that no, I will not share Sister’s food with her while she ignores her own.

Daddy J and my uncle-in-law (UIL), Uncle J, are the supervisors/foremen for this project; the first phase of which involves shelving. They are constructing 2×2 foot shelves to hold our 16-18 gallon storage bins. This will be convenient when it is done—fully finished and quiet down there.

Running drills and pounding hammers aren’t lullabies for toddlers. I moved A1 to our room in the PnP, and she is still awake. A2, however, fell asleep an hour ago, and I will awaken her in a little while. I think I will push her to an hour and a half nap, so I can maybe get some rest myself. We’ll see about that.

Noise absolutely pisses me off when I’m tired. When we have contractors over here, and I wake up to hammering, my first thought is, Man, I can’t wait until they leave. Build quickly, guys! I’ll enjoy the finished product when I get some sleep.

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Go the $&@! to Sleep

There are some moms (usually grandmothers) who make a big deal out of a baby not sleeping through the night (STTN), as if it’s the parents’ fault. It’s not.

They say, “Give them a bottle”, or “Put cereal in their bottle.” This has only worked 50% of the time with A2.

She started teething at 3 months. As you know, the first tooth has broken through. Waking up in the middle of the night comes with the territory. She is up three times a night—once at 11, once at 1, and once at 3/4:30. Part of me is tired of this shit. My first child STTN at four weeks. What gives?

I’ve started to use a nap schedule, and had success today. A1 used to be put down three times a day for an hour per nap. Now, she takes one three hour nap.

I always have at least one child with me. This would be fine if I had a good night’s sleep, but I usually reach the point where I say to myself, “Ok, enough. They need to nap, so I can nap.” I usually end up net surfing on my phone or watching TV, because I’m a zombie.

I can see why the book “Go the F—- to Sleep” was written. I think this is the battle cry of exhausted, exasperated parents. I think it’s a plea for sanity, which would make all of us parents lose sight of what really matters.

Then we pray for the strength to go on, because you have to peel yourself from your mattress the next morning, the first cup of coffee and excitement for your toddler’s activities fueling the day. This holds true until 2:30 or 3. Five Hour Energy wasn’t kidding; this feeling is real.

It is important to remain optimistic while looking through the bleary-eyed lens (or lenses, since my contacts can get pretty dry if I sleep in them on occasion!). I love my kids enough to keep going. They need the care.

A2 has passed out in the swing. Other than the chimes it plays, I hear nothing. This is as close to quiet as it gets, and sleep sounds like a great idea about now…

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Let’s Just Pee Everywhere.

A1 has had several accidents today, and this is fine…I guess. My problem is I’m just not fast enough to stick on the toilet when she pees, except that one time. She also pees every time I turn around, and I don’t know until she says, “Mama!” or I just plain see a puddle on the floor. Needless to say, I can’t wait until bedtime. Furthermore, do toddlers ever understand you when you say, “If you have to go potty, tell Mama and Daddy, ok”? I only say it 500 times.

Day one. Woo.

UPDATE: This method of chasing her around sucks. My mother suggested putting her back in training pants and seeing if she goes on the potty while wearing them. Hopefully I’ll catch a break somewhere.

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The Burden of Lists

I was diagnosed with ADHD when I was four. That was 26 years ago. A have a very close family member (name and title withheld) who has Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Another very close family member enables this person’s crap. Not cool. Not cool at all.

When I first had A1, I was told to put her on a schedule, and I did. As with most new moms (and some veteran moms!), my own schedule went out the window. I have completely lost sight of certain things now that A2 is here. Sweet Brown’s famous one-liner is now my motto: “Ain’t nobody got time fo’ that!” This is because Mama J feels like she ain’t got time fo’ anythang,

Back to the origin of the post—lists. I’ll make this succinct.

When I lived with my parents, my mother, a former SAHM, was Grand Master Listmaker. This is fine, if you’re a neurotypical (NT) or don’t have anxiety, which makes everything overwhelming. I also have documented (while I was still in school and a part of the special education system) math disability. Multi-step problems, like algebra or those dumb ass story problems about Jimmy being nine years older than Bob, who is 6 years older than Tommy, then how old is Dick? problems make my brain shut down.

This is partially true with the myriad of thoughts in my head. When I put them on a list, I feel relegated to the stupid thing. It is bad if I don’t finish them. I have failed. &c. This certain family member made me feel like a failure for being unorganized (no, it’s not my mom). “Organization is the key”, “Failing to plan is planning to fail”, “I’m not always right, but I’m never wrong” are the mantras this person fed me. This is incredibly damaging to children. This is why I have fits of rage when I have anxiety attacks sometimes.

So, yes. I hate lists, and I think writing them sucks. Why am I discussing this topic? Because it’s practically necessary that I make lists of other things I must do, aside from child care, to fulfill my duties.

In addition to dealing with ADHD, anxiety, depression, and social anxiety (<——not as much as in the past), I have postpartum depression. PPD is a hellhole. I've had certain people who've kicked me when I've down, and one of them (who is only related to me by marriage) tell Daddy J, "You'd better hope your wife doesn't get PPD." (She also was diagnosed, by the way. Isn't she special?)

It gets easier with time. It is hard to have people who may know me on here who will now know this. I always hope, in many circumstances, that I am not judged in real life. ND problems—they are awesome.

I am going to write a dreaded, yet scary list that I will try to follow. Everything is fine, everything is fine, everything is fine….

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The Unofficial Choir Member

I made the choice to take the As to Daddy J’s alumni choir concert. I was hoping to give you a glowing review of my experience. I can’t even tell you how long it lasted. I have no clue.

A1 was fine at first. She had three books and my iPhone. She played with a few Fisher-Price apps and flipped through the books. She even clapped for the choir once. Then, all hell broke loose. I had moved her and A2 to my lap. The Elmo Loves You book fell to the ground. A1 whined, “Elmo!” and wouldn’t accept her Touch and Feel Farm or Zoe and Elmo Go to the Zoo. Going to my former college’s chapel has never seemed like such a bad idea.

I tried to placate her after another tantrum, but the condescending assholesold couple in front of me turned partway around and said, “Take her out, please” in this dumb ass we’re-trying-to-enjoy-the-show way. Yeah, because I never tried to do so before I was married, attending concerts while I lived on campus.

I tried to leave. The door is heavy. I am carrying a squirming toddler in one hand and a chubby six-month-old in the other. I felt almost hardcore that I could carry them at once. I sat down, and of course, A1 kicks up again, and I am forced to take her out of there. It was during one of the pauses the choir director (who is a condescending jackass) takes to give a dissertation about his inspiration for the song at handspeak. I walk A1 to the back. She has a tantrum on the floor. I am still carrying the baby. I eventually walk them back and try to open the stroller. The gentleman in the front-facing partnership says, “Do you need help?”. I lost it. “YES, I DO! SET THIS UP AND HELP ME PUT HER IN THE STROLLER.” Fucking idiot. I guess he saw the baby in my arms and got the damn point. He couldn’t figure out the DuoGlider, because he’s 80. He, myself, and another kinder, gentler woman, who I wish would have sat by me, brought my things into the hallway. I was pretty mortified. I still am.

We sat in the hallway for the duration of the concert. A high school alumni of mine, whose wife was also singing in the choir, was there with his four-year-old. She was a sweet little thing. That was a bright spot, as was the lady who showed her kindness. Otherwise, it wasn’t fun.

I figured A1 didn’t want to sit still that long. Suddenly, when the audience clapped, she put her fingers in her ears. It was too loud, and she was overstimulated. A2 didn’t even cry once. I then realized that it was a mistake to bring her there at this age.

I’ve declined dance recitals and all sorts of events similar to this. Now, I will continue to do so until the kids are 10 or so.

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“Can She Talk?” *facepalm*

Father’s Day was a great day. We ended the visit at my parents’-in-law’s (PILs) house by walking around the block. I had the DuoGlider and the As in tow, of course. We stopped at a friend of the family’s home, and showed them the kids. Apparently they’d asked my MIL if we could stop by sometime. Everyone was pleasant, and kept telling us how beautiful our children were, which was nice. A few people asked how old A1 was. I told them she will be two next month, since I’m sick and tired of giving her age in months (23 1/2… I’m sure everyone gets the point by now). Then, I hear it. I heard it through Daddy J from MIL, perhaps few another person or two I cannot remember at present, and definitely from my inner voice: “Now, is she talking?”

*mental facepalm.*

I constantly worry about A1 talking. Yes, she talks. Does she talk in front of other people? Not always. That used to be a big, fat “no”, but now that she spends more time with M and some of our other family members, she has come out of her shell a little bit. What resurfaces my worrying is any comment someone else makes about it, because it reinforces my anxiety. Thanks a lot, people.

What do I say? “She talks, but she has to warm up to people first.” “She’s shy.” (I hate that one, but I never have a slew of canned responses prepared, because I don’t want to broadcast my fears.

I had developmental delays as a child. Long story; future post. In short, I fear A2 may encounter some of the same issues as me. So far, she isn’t showing any signs, but when I see M talking more, it bugs me, because I am home all the time with her and A2, so why won’t she show other people what am amazing kid she is?

M shines all the time, especially in front of people. She sings. She dances. She pees on her potty. She asks me if A2, aka “Baby”, is having fun. A1 does all of that stuff, except for peeing on the potty (we are still working on that, which is fine). I see favoritism when it comes to M. Is it intentional? Maybe not. Is everything (kids videos played) geared to her likes and not A1’s? Yes. Did M mark her territory and pee on A1’s potty? Yes.

As I often do when I am unsure, I researched. I read an article with a side illustration (complete with bullet points) about introversion and how to address the introverted child. This is fabulous, but I think the key idea is to accept the introverted child for the person he or she is.

When I was a kid, I met shy toddlers. I always figured it was because they were little and always wanted their moms. It never offended me in the least. Now, every preschooler must talk. Pardon me while I call MENSA for more details on this matter.