Archive for the Motherhood Category

This Bra Is Not My Home

Posted in Breastfeeding, Why you should maybe rethink the whole reproducing thing with tags , , on April 30, 2009 by Ms. Ex
How things work.

How things work.

A while back, I went to this legendary lady, Miss P, at J.C. Penney who measures and fits gals (my gals, in this case) for The Perfect Bra.

This mythical beast is one that doesn’t cause unsightly bulges, add inches to an already ridiculously large chest (why do they sell 40D’s with gel inserts???) or cause upward spillage.

It covers, it forgives, it loves you long time.  It costs a fortune, but you don’t care because it lifts and separates.

After Miss P is done telling you to strip and stand there all half-naked in the bad light and evil mirror of dressing room doom while she does something out there, you know not what, she returns with armloads of brassiers and proceeds to manipulate your flesh in ways I have never before experienced.  I wouldn’t necessarily call it good, either.

By this time, whatever you originally had in the self-esteem department is lying on the floor like so many bitten off hang tags.  There’s nowhere to go but up.

I did not previously realize there are instructions for putting on a bra.  Miss P applied the bra, for there is no other word quite as fitting, then pushed, pulled, stretched and jerked me into it.  This happened a multitude of times.  Did I mention Miss P is a spinster?  Interesting.

When she was finished all this manipulation, she made me demonstrate it. It’s her job to fit women, then make sure her little pets are in capable hands.  When she was assured that I had mastered this task, she loaded me up with said bra and I was on my way.

Now, I have to admit it was worth the humiliation.  They made me look different, better in my clothes, or something unidentifiable.

But I neglegted to tell her that the bra was going to be put through the rigors of a breastfeeding toddler.

The industrial strength monstrosities I ended up with are now tattered, threadbear, missing hooks.  They separate, but I’m not sure lift is still the appropriate word.  Perhaps suspend would be better.

I hoisted up the underwires so many times over the last few months that they are weak and poking out of their channels.  When little one says “milk”, the elastic tries to loosen itself.

Maybe if I wasn’t so cheap I could just buy a really, really good nursing bra.  But I’m so close to the end, I can’t bring myself to do it.

Besides, I have my sights set on something with a little more sex appeal, a little less functionality.  Maybe something a little less JM, a little more MM.

I wish.  Except for the whole overdose part.

I wish. Except for that whole overdose thing.

Finally! Scatalogical Saturday Has Arrived

Posted in Motherhood, Why you should maybe rethink the whole reproducing thing with tags , on April 24, 2009 by Ms. Ex

Some time ago, a strange gentleman, obviously not a native English speaker, was kind enough to offer to return to my blog for “Scatalogical Saturday.”

I understand he is indisposed at the moment, but perhaps they have wifi that reaches his cell.  I don’t know.

But in honor of his probable return at some future date, I bring you:  poop.

I have refrained from titling this post with that particular word, in hopes that the pervs who constantly found my “to pee or not to pee” entry will not find this one.

See, I deal in poop.  It’s the currency of motherhood, the end result of what moms do.  My little Beckett, who all day long says, “daddydaddydaddydaddy,” when asked, “Who feeds you?”  Replies, “Mahi.”  That’s what my name sounds like when emanating from a beautiful baby named after a morose playwright.

About the poop:  I am a princess!  I am not supposed to be wiping asses and shaking solids into the toilet!  This is not what Disney geared me up for with all those movies.  I mean, hell!  Even Cinderella didn’t have to touch excrement and she was a flouncing* slave!**

So today, daddy comes in with Beckett and tells me, “It’s a big one.”

*Sigh.*

I plunk him in the bathtub to strip him because there’s just no other way to handle these things.  Ethan, being the odd duck that he is, wants to see it, insists on seeing it.

“Oh my god!” he says, and runs off.

Seconds later, he returns with his camera.

“I’ve got to get this on film!”

I’m betting it will never make the Disney cut.

*Flouncing.  Come on, aren’t you tired of freaking?  And frigging is so last decade.

**I am so not a princess.  I’m not even like a baroness twice removed or anything.  I might be a courtier or even a eunuch!  Or maybe I’m getting my terms confused.  Anyway, just so you know, I accept the shit because…wait for it…it happens.

Clue Number One that Tivo has Taken Over

Posted in Motherhood, Why you should maybe rethink the whole reproducing thing with tags on April 23, 2009 by Ms. Ex

So we’re reading a bed time story last night, when Ethan decides he needs to go get something.

Me:  But I’m reading the story, and you’ll miss it.

Ethan:  JUST PAUSE IT!

Overheard at the Crib: Another Cow on the Lam

Posted in Motherhood with tags , on April 21, 2009 by Ms. Ex

Last night, I was informed that one of Grandaddy’s cows had gone to a better place.  Or not.

Ethan:  “One of Grandaddy’s cows died.  Um, I mean he went to God.  And now he’s in prison.”

Now that’s capital punishment.

Carnival of Play: Water Play Activities Part II

Posted in Homemaking Made Easy, Motherhood with tags , , , , , on April 9, 2009 by Ms. Ex

Children’s play is their work, and there is no reason it can’t be yours, also.  I have found some simple ways to include the kiddos in my chores, and this is my absolute favorite.

This is part two of my Carnival of Play post, inspired by Annie at PhD in Parenting.  Unfortunately, my floor-cleaning hasn’t happened in the last couple of weeks (don’t tell anyone) because I’ve been so busy, so there will be no pictures quite yet, but here is my super, secret, special way of getting my floor sparkly clean!

Sweep first.  Of course, one should know this, but if you clean house like I generally do, there’s a chance you might not.

Then gather together a bucket or basin of warm water, a bunch of rags and/or sponges, and a non-toxic cleanser of some kind.  You can actually use baking soda, or vinegar.  Mixing them essentially just gives you water and salt, though, so just use one.  I just use Seventh Generation free-and-clear dish liquid.

Dress the children (and yourself!) in something that you don’t mind getting wet.  Because friends, we are about to get wet.

Let the kids clean the floor.  Let them get soapy and wet and squishy and puddly.  Get that water on the floor, let them slide around on it (on their bottoms to prevent falls), let them squish the sponges and towels between their toes.  Have them “scrub” the floor with their cloths, and don’t worry about excess water.  But don’t let them have all the fun; get down there with them and slip around.  Experience the warm water, the bubbles, the silliness.

When you are finished, you will all grab a couple of old towels and push them around the floor until you’ve soaked it all up.  Maybe it will take three towels, or five.

In my book, an extra load of laundry is a small price to pay for a clean floor and two happy children.

I realize my parenting style is unconventional.  It’s not for everyone.

But if you need to work, and your children need to play, it seems like a pretty good plan to find ways to meet in the middle.

Happy cleaning playing, and while you are at it, check out these other excellent posts from the carnival of play:

Zero Tolerance Drug Policies: No Tolerance, Pleny of Punishment

Posted in Motherhood, The Soap Box with tags , , , , , , on April 7, 2009 by Ms. Ex

I got an unexpected call yesterday from a parent of one of my daughter’s friends.  He didn’t realize he knew me at first, he was so absorbed in his purpose.  It seems the city where I live  has a zero tolerance drug policy in its schools, which means if a student commits a drug offense, the student is expelled for 365 days and sent to an “alternative education” center.  I actually found it excedingly difficult to find out exactly what constitutes a drug offense.  Possibly, being under the influence, but it may require actual possession.

That’s not really my issue, anyway.  Here’s the thing:  two other friends of my daughter (not the caller’s child), along with one of their sisters, got high before school.  One child actually carried some into school with her.  Now, whether someone figured out that they were stoned, or someone told on them, or if a teacher saw the actual material, they got busted.

Zero tolerance.  Three hundred sixty-five days out of school.

The parent was calling to urge people to go to the school administration building for a hearing, in order to protest the severity of the sentence.

My feelings on this are mixed.  Yes, I do believe a year out of school is excessive for a first offense, especially for the two students who didn’t have any drugs on their person.

And I can’t help but wonder if being in an alternative school is really a good idea for a few kids who aren’t that bad.  I am not saying they are innocent at all.  In fact, I do think they merit some kind of intervention, and not based on this incident alone.

But if we want to save kids who might be making some missteps, do we want to make the same mistakes we make with petty criminals by sending them to spend time interacting with other kids who are troubled?  And, in light of a local report stating that this particular high school’s drop out rate is higher than the state average, don’t we want to prevent what seems like an open door to dropping out?  A year off track in their regular school might be just the thing that derails them permanently.

I haven’t decided yet what to do.  I can’t help but wonder if a little more parent fervor before this happened, about the choices these kids are making, might be more appropriate than the current action.

I don’t pretend that my daughter doesn’t make bad choices.  In fact, I know she does.  But I also make clear my position on those things, and the consequences, just as the school policy does.  She is old enough to know that when you choose certain things there is a price to pay.  I just hope she sees how dear that price really is.

Carnival of Play: Water Play Activities Part I

Posted in Motherhood with tags , , , , , , , on April 5, 2009 by Ms. Ex

Hi, all!  PhD in Parenting is using the month of April to feature a Carnival of Play on her blog.  She will link to posts all over the internet that explore fun activities, how play can be an important factor in children’s development, and how to incorporate more play into your life.  This is part one of my contribution; I hope you enjoy it!  Part two will arrive later this week.

Years ago, I worked in a public preschool for special needs children as a teacher’s aide.  I absolutely loved the activities they did, which were geared towards exposing the kids to sensory input and also calming them; although I already had a child, I had never heard of some of these activities.  I tucked them away in a corner of my brain for when I had more of my own to try them out.

Now here I am with two little guys (my first daughter is already 16!), and I use many of the ideas I gathered from that awesome school to keep my own wee ones occupied.  And I admit – I have some fun myself!

I have blogged before about Ethan and his high needs, and a few “special needs” as well, including mild autism.  His personality also tends towards the aggressive.  So there are many times I need a way to calm him down and get him centered again.

Water play works wonderfully, and the best place for that can actually be as simple as the bathtub.  While a water table can be well worth the expense (and some ingenuity might get it for you on the cheap)*, just a good old fashioned bath can be a great source of calm.    Something about hitting that water and being distracted by toys and warmth can take a child out of whatever  difficult place he is in.

I’m not talking about a quick dunk in the tub, either.  Here’s what we do:

I start by getting the tub only about two inches deep with water.  Then in goes the kiddo (or kiddos if they both want in) and the toys.  I gather together whatever I’m working on at the moment and bring it into the bathroom with me first.  It could be a book I’m reading, my laptop, some knitting – something to keep me happy, too, because we might be in there for a while!

The One Place They Get Along

The One Place They Get Along

Once the boys are in, I turn the water way down so they are still getting some pouring from the faucet.  They love to collect the water in cups, and just to feel it falling into their hands.  I turn it down very low so the tub doesn’t fill up too fast.  They enjoy playing with measuring cups and spoons, toy boats, big plastic cups, even cars.  Other ideas are squirt bottles, nasal aspirators, and bathtub crayons.  I pretty much let them have anything that’s not electronic or made of wood.

The absolute best, though, is the shaving cream!  I will often let Ethan spray some mountains of shaving cream onto my craft table and sit there playing with it.  I add food coloring sometimes, but not others, depending on how much mess I can handle at the moment.  Have you ever really stuck your hands into a pile of shaving cream?  It feels so good!  It’s amazingly soft and can be scupted or just spread around.  Get something that’s inexpensive and doesn’t smell too strong, because the scent can linger for a while.

I'm in my easy-to-hose-off outfit for this one.

I'm in my easy-to-hose-off outfit for this one.

Are you *seriously* taking a picture??

Are you *seriously* taking a picture??

This doesn’t have to be done in the bathtub, as you can see, but if you are not comfortable with big messes, then how do you stay sane with children? the tub is a great place for it.  It’s easy to wash up afterward, and it can be very soothing.

I will let my boys stay in the water as long as they are content.  This can mean anywhere from fifteen minutes to an hour.  I figure their skin will recover from the wrinkles, and it makes them calm and relaxed for a good while after they get out.  This is also why I say you should bring something to do, because it’s not safe to leave children unattended in the water.

Later this week, I will tell you my deep, dark secret:  how I keep my floor clean by using child labor.  Don’t worry – I’m pretty sure they have a lot more fun than I do when I clean it myself.

*Here is one idea:   If you have a train table with the removable top, buy a piece of ply wood that fits it and a container or wash tub that’s not too deep, like a dish pan.  Cut a hole in the plywood that’s large enough for the container, but not so large that the top will fall through (so look for a container that has a lip of some kind, or gets wider at the top).  Fill the container with water and voila!  You have a water table fully interchangeable with the train table.  You can also use any old wooden table from a thrift store.  Just cut out the middle or cut a hole in it, and probably trim the legs down to a child-friendly height.  If the table was cheap enough, you can leave it outside and not worry about it.  You could also fill the container with rice, sand, or beans for a different kind of tactile experience.  Happy playing!

99 Bottles of Blog on the Wall

Posted in Homemaking Made Easy, Mental Stability, Motherhood, People Are Idiots, Why you should maybe rethink the whole reproducing thing, Writing with tags , , , , , on March 31, 2009 by Ms. Ex

Interestingly, my biggest motivator and friend, Melissa, is also celebrating her 100th post TODAY!  I guess we both started taking our writing more seriously about the same time, only she was much more disciplined than I was for a while.  Then she started nursing school, and with four kids and a husband to take care of – let’s just say I caught up.  For now.

For my little celebration, I’m doind a round up of my favorite posts.  Mostly funny, I think, but I’ll let you be the judge.

Just keep it to yourself if you disagree, mmkay?

Dear God, Someone Please Stop Her

How to Leave a Party in Three Easy Steps

My Morning Routine

Not So Serious, After All

Top Ten Reasons to Only Go Places With Nice Bathrooms

Cleaning Tips for Real People

The Cow Call

Male Female Relations in a Nutshell

Cool Beans

P.S.  Thanks for all the love!

Out of the Mouths of Babes

Posted in Motherhood with tags , , on March 23, 2009 by Ms. Ex
Here, mommy, these are for you!

Here, mommy, these are for you!

This child, the one in the picture holding the weeds flowers that are the totality of my lawn, just asked me why there are lines on the Italian pottery bowl he is eating his pizza from.  They are meant to make the bowl look rustic, I suppose, or something like that.

I told him that the person who made the bowl put them there on purpose.

He said, “Is that what God told him to do?”

I am so grateful.  Between the flowers and the adorably simplistic view of a coma-inducing complexity, I remembered why I had children.

For my personal amusement, of course.

Postpartum Depression: My Story

Posted in A Bit on the Dark Side, Mental Stability, Motherhood with tags , , , , , , , , on March 20, 2009 by Ms. Ex

I finished my story, and posted it over on Blogher.

I’m not thrilled with it, just like everything else I do.  There’s more to tell, more to sort through, more to figure out.  I want to be able to tell you I am all better, but I’m not there yet.

PPD can disguise itself as normal parenting fears, irresponsibility, anger.  It can cause a grown up to behave childishly or irrationally.  And moms, of all people, are most likely to want to hide it, and to be capable of doing so.  We keep going, because really – we have to.

I can only tell you, if you are reading my story because you have one of your own – get help.  Tell someone you are not sure what’s going on, but you might be about to self-destruct.  Force yourself to ask for what you need, or arrange someone else to make sure you are getting it.  Friends won’t mind lending a hand.

They’d much rather wash your dishes than go to your funeral.

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