Friday, July 23, 2010

Participate in a Breastfeeding Study

Calling all current and past breastfeeding moms! An online friend of mine, Stacy, is working on a study of the cultural differences in breastfeeding. Would you be willing to share some anecdotal stories? Go here for more information. If you are willing to participate, you can contact Stacy at

That's all I've got for today. The Pumpkin and I are both home sick. Her fever is gone, but mine is still hanging around. How silly I am for thinking sicknesses would be confined to the wintertime. Why did no one warn me about "summer viruses"?

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Underwear at Night

At the risk of jinxing it, I'm going to post now about our recent nighttime potty training/learning. I'm going to skip the going-to-bed part of my nighttime stories, cause I'm not quite ready to write about what we are doing about bedtime yet. But there is more the nights than just bedtime...

The Pumpkin has been wearing pull-ups to bed for a long while now. The two weeks prior to this week, she was waking up with a dry diaper. Not only that, but she was actually using the potty and changing into underwear once she got up, instead of getting up and refusing the potty to just pee in her diaper as had happened previously.

Two weeks of not peeing in the pull-up seemed pretty consistent. So last weekend, we finally pulled the trigger, and she got to wear her underpants to bed! How exciting! What a big girl she is! You see how we talked it up. We'd even been telling her for months that at some point she would get to wear underpants to bed.

The weekend went great. She woke up dry, and we quickly took her to the potty once she came in our room. It was a smooth transition... which we of course did not expect to last forever. We knew that there would be middle-of-the-night bed wettings. It was just a matter of when.

Our first was Monday night. Remember, this was only the fourth night of underwear at night, so we didn't really have a middle-of-the-night plan of action. Or brain power.

The Pumpkin comes in our room just after 3 (3:04, for those who care), but stands in the doorway, upset but not really fussing. None of this is unusual, although she normally comes right in and into our bed. So Londo tells her to come on in to bed. She hesitates, but still doesn't speak. Again, not completely unusual. Londo encourages her to come on.

She climbs in bed, but just as she is lying down, I smell pee. As soon as I smell it, I realize the implication and grab her up, practically yelling, "I smell pee!"

Now she starts wailing and flailing, cause I was so smooth with pulling her out of our bed before she got pee on it and notifying Londo of the pee smell. Londo jumps out of bed, and we both remind her that she's wearing underwear and explain to her that she peed and we have to clean it up and get her in new underwear and PJs. She starts to calm down as I clean her up, and Londo gets the bed sheets off her bed and new undies and PJs.

As clean as I can get her with wet wipes and dry, Londo takes her back into bed while I run the peed on stuff down to the washing machine. There was a huge puddle of pee in her bed (thank goodness for waterproof mattress pads, am I right???) and all over her underwear and nightgown. She just peed it all out, as she would have in the diaper.

No harm done. Just disturbed sleep. (Oh, but I couldn't back to sleep for another 30 minutes, and then the Pookie woke up and I was up with him until 5:30!!! URG!) What's new in our house.

We talked about it on Tuesday, reminding her of what she should do in the middle of the night.

Tuesday night, she came into our room about 3:30. Londo and I now had a plan. If she wanted to come in our bed, she now has to use the potty before she does. So when she came in, Londo didn't think she was wet and told her she had to use the potty first. A little arguing, but she ended up going to the potty. But Londo realized that there was actually some pee in her underpants, though not on her nightgown. When I checked, there was also some pee in her bed too.

The good news was that it wasn't nearly as much as the night before. And she did go on the potty and had plenty to go. So she must have felt herself start to pee, stopped herself and then came into our room. I was taking that as a good sign!

Once changed into new undies and PJs, she went to bed with Londo. I put the sheets in the wash, and was able to get back to sleep pretty easily.

Last night, guess what? She came into our room about 2:30 and said, "Daddy! Daddy! I have got to go potty!" Londo took her to the potty, while I checked her bed.

DRY! Underwear, nightgown, sheets, everything! DRY!

And get this: After she used the potty and washed her hands, Londo said, "Okay, time to go back to bed." AND she went into HER room! She layed down in her bed and went back to sleep without anyone with her!

I'm really really hoping that things continue in this trend. I figure there will likely be more middle-of-the-night accidents, but she definitely does not seem to want to lie in it and is listening to her body! Huge wins, in my book! And at night in our house? I will take any win I can get!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

That Is One Mean Mommy

Sunday night, the Pumpkin and I were playing in her room with her dolls and dollhouse before bed. I was trying to get her to put the dolls to bed in the dollhouse and then go to bed herself. She was insisting the dolls weren't tired, and she wasn't either.

I had the "big sister" doll, and she had the "mommy" doll. This was the conversation the dolls had:

caramama as Big Sister Doll: Oh, Mommy. I'm so tired. I'm going to go up and go to bed now.
Pumpkin as Mommy Doll: No, you do not go to bed now.
caramama as Big Sister Doll: But I'm so tired. Can't I please go up and go to sleep?
Pumpkin as Mommy Doll: No, you cannot. If you go up, then a monster is going to get you and hurt you and eat you up! And you will be very sad!
caramama as herself, trying to stifle laughter: Oh, Pumpkin. Mommy's don't say that. Mommy's never say that to their kids!
Pumpkin as Mommy Doll: Yes I do! And the monster is big and scary and it will get you! So you better stay here with me.

I was really amused, and kind of horrified. So I quickly maneuvered the conversation down a different path. I don't even remember what exactly I said to get her off of that, but we soon were having the Big Sister Doll wash up for bed and the Mommy Doll read her books in bed, while I took over as Daddy Doll to put the Twin Babies Dolls to bed.

The next morning, she told the Pookie that he had to stay somewhere or a crocodile would get him. Yikes! Thankfully, he doesn't yet understand those words.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Oceans of Time

I watch my daughter run
in the surf, the waves
chasing her up the gentle
slope, wet sand clinging
to her legs, curls bouncing
behind her head, laughing
with every step. I watch
her, I see myself.

I look out at the ocean
stretched over the edge
of the horizon. The sun
sparkles on the water,
reflects its light and heat.
I hold my son against my hip,
I feel his weight and warmth.
I recall holding my daughter
on the same beach, in the same
sling. In another year,
he will be running along
side his sister, building
sand castles, searching for
seashells, discovering the
rhythms of the sea.

My mother held me on her hip
as a babe, looking out at
the endless expanse of ocean,
sand hot beneath her feet. I
ran with wet legs, sandy feet,
bouncing curls through the surf,
away from the waves. I played
on the beach and in the waves
with my sister and brother.
When I got older, I laid out
on towels, tanning in the sun,
chatting with friends and family.

Time stretches forward and
backward. My past mingles with
my present, with my future,
with my children's futures.
Like the tides, we will recede
from the beach and advance
again later. Like the ocean,
we are always changing,
continuously aging, yet
remaining overall the same.
The ebb and flow continues
in the timeline of my mind.

I watch my mother, I see
myself. One day I will be
relaxing in a beach chair,
reading a novel, helping
my children with their children,
participating in the vacation
as the grandma. I hold the past
and future in my mind like
snapshots in seashell-edged frames.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Question of the Week - How Many Kids?

There has been talk lately about how many kids people are having (see the talk in posts by Moxie (comments section), hush, Cloud, to name a few).

Though there are lots of answers on those posts and comments, I'm asking the question out right here for this week's Question of the Week:

In an ideal world, how many kids are you going to have?

I say "an ideal world" because of my intimate familiarity with infertility. I know there are some out there who want more and are having problems with conceiving and/or carrying another child or even a first child. BTDT.

But for the sake of pretend, let's say that fertility is not an issue. How many kids would you have?

My answer: Hmmm. My answer...

Well, before I had kids, I almost always wanted three kids. I was the youngest of three, as was my husband. I am used to three. I like the dynamics of three. Three is comfortable to me. And heck, if my parents had stopped at two, I wouldn't be here!

There was a short period of time when I was concerned that I wouldn't be able to handle three, and thought just two. This was still before I had kids, but after I years of dealing with recurring depression which turned out to be Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). At the time, taking care of just myself even with the help of Londo seemed overwhelming. But then I figured out that it was SAD and started light therapy during the winters. Life seemed a bit easier.

And then we had the Pumpkin. My vivacious, spirited, active daughter who had such problems with sleeping and requires so much energy. But who also gives back so much joy and laughter and love.

To be honest, that first year of her life, I thought the idea of having more kids was I-N-S-A-N-E! But Londo and I had always planned on having two, at minimum. And after the first year, I started to regain some of my sense of self and sanity and even sleep. I continued to be sure I wanted at least one more. Not knowing how long it would take us to conceive again, we jumped right back into it, and were very lucky that it didn't take long with some help from the specialists.

Then was the really rough pregnancy, during which I swore up and down that that was it. I couldn't do it again. It was too hard, I was too tired. I could not handle another pregnancy. Two was it! I was so 100% sure!

Then... well, then there was the Pookie. He was an easier baby, and I didn't dislike the infant stage so much the second time around. And there were some really sweet moments with two children, and I would say to Londo, "well, maybe three." And he'd usually shake his head and insist that he was done. But once or twice he said "maybe" and meant it. In fact, we both agreed that he would hold off doing something permentant in the way of prevention for five years after the Pookie's birth. Just to be sure.

Enter into the narrative the Pookie's 6 month growth spurt/sleep regression, during which he woke up every. freaking. hour! to nurse! I made my sister promise me that if I ever started talking crazy about having another kid to remind me of that time, that hell of a time with both kids waking in the night, feeling drained and OMG I just could NEVER do that again! No way! I was done! Two and through! (Londo remained steadfast in his stance of just two.)

And now? Since about the time the Pookie was 9 months old on? I'm back to wanting three. I think I'm crazy. I can't imagine doing it again. We certainly can't afford it now AT ALL (which is the main reason I'm not pushing the issue with Londo. Yet). However, I do think I could handle three kids once I'm through the pregnancy and first year, thanks to the medication that was so successful for me last year. Granted it would be harder to have three, but I just don't think it would be exponentially harder. Just a fraction harder. After all, I found going from one to two not NEARLY as hard as going from zero to one. Surely going from two to three won't be as hard, either. (Unless perhaps we are blessed with another spirited child!) (Also, Londo does not feel the same about this. Londo found it harder than I did to go from one to two.)

When I walk around and see other families with three kids, I long for a similar family. When I think about the kids when they are older, I think how nice it would be to have three. When I think of the kids grown, I imagine three kids and spouses/partners and grandchild! There is something about a family with three kids that feels so right to me.

That doesn't mean that we will have three. Londo is still pretty sure his answer is two. I love our two kids, and I will definitely be extremely happy with this family as it currently is. But I worry that I will always feel like I wasn't done. That our family should have had one more. I just won't insist on it at the expense of going to the poor house or Londo having a total breakdown (his threats to leave me are just a joke... but his having a breakdown might have some truth to it).

I may want three kids now, at this moment, but my two are fantastic and I don't want to miss a moment with them. So I will focus on them now, and give it another year or two to decide for sure with Londo. This does mean we have to keep all that maternity clothes and infant clothes and toys for a few more years. It will be nice to get all that out of the house. But I'm not ready yet to say that we are done.

What about you? Are you done with one? Two and through? Three and let it be? Four or more? Has your answer changed over time, especially since actually having kids? Is your partner in agreement? If you don't have a partner, would you be willing to have more on your own? In your ideal world, how many kids would you have, knowing what you know now?