Tuesday, April 28, 2009

How Does 10:00PM Come So Quickly?

By the time I get my kids in bed, it's nearly 8:30PM. Very rarely are they both actually asleep by 9:00. Then I have about an hour before my goal bedtime, 10:00. One hour of quiet. Just one hour. I have so much to do! I have to clean up after the two hurricanes that went through my house during the day. I have to make sure the dishwasher is running, change my clothes, brush my teeth, wash my face, go to the bathroom, check my email, say my prayers, read my scriptures, find my glasses, find my book, straighten up my room, go back upstairs and get a glass of water, climb into bed, go back upstairs and take my vitamins, get back into bed, get out of bed to say prayers with my husband, get back into bed, go back upstairs and make sure all the doors are locked, get back into bed, go check on the boys, get back into bed, set my alarm clock, get out of bed and set out my running clothes for the morning, go back upstairs and get my iPOD off the charger and set it with my running clothes, get back into bed...oh, it's midnight. I'll just read one chapter of my book...

Saturday, April 25, 2009

The Guilt Trip...

As my husband is racing out the door to take his motorcycle to the track, I say, "Gee, I wish I could just take off anytime I wanted to and do something fun."
He stops in his tracks.
"Honey, you get to..." he trails off.
I wanted to say,"When do I get to? Seriously, name a time?"
Instead I say, "You go and have fun, but don't complain to me if I want to just take off sometime."
"That's not fair. I let you go out."
LET ME?!! He's just digging himself into a hole now. I thought parenthood was about teamwork, right?
I'm not really trying to make him feel guilty, I just want him to understand.
How often do I get to just stop at the gas station on a whim and go inside and get myself the super-sized Diet Coke that I am craving without having to unbuckle two young kids and take them kicking and screaming inside because Social Services will take them away from me if I don't. Then I'd have to buy candy and drinks for them because it's not fair that mommy gets a drink and they don't. Then a buck turns into five dollars! I can't afford it! I have the same problem at a drive-thru. I can't win.
Yeah, I've given this a lot of thought.
Being a mom comes with a little cage that you get locked in to with little cell mates that are totally dependant on you. So many times I need to just run somewhere and do something but I put it off because I can't muster up the energy to find two extra pairs of shoes, wrestle with surprisingly strong little legs to put the shoes on, change two diapers, remember to pack two more in my bag, etc. Just to unload them from the car and wrestle with them while I do one quick little errand that turns into a hair-pulling mess.
So, yes, sometimes I feel trapped. My cell mates are delightful for the most part, and I enjoy my little cage (I wouldn't have it any other way), but the lack of freedom tends to get to me. I don't even get to use the bathroom in private!
Thus, I sigh, "I wish I could take off any time I want to and do something fun."

Friday, April 24, 2009

Sick Momma

I am ashamed to admit that it is a gorgeous day today, but my kids have been in front of the tube playing, destroying, tormenting, and all but burning the house down while I have been pathetically trying to catch up on some housework I have fallen behind on. I have tackled the mountain of laundry I haven't touched in (gasp) over a week. The pile was eminating a certain something of an odor so foul I couldn't stand be in my room. As much as I wanted to curl up in my bed amongst all the filth and just pretend the world didn't exist today, being the mother that I am, I had to get up.
Who suffers when Mom is sick? Everyone. Nothing gets done. No one gets fed. My kids weren't dressed until noon. They didn't have lunch until 2:00PM. As I am trying to do the laundry and keep them out of trouble, my desire to flop on my bed and sleep grows and grows.
I can suck it up, but I have been trying to fight this sickness for the past few days. I thought I had it beat, but I had to surrender today.
What is a mom to do with her kids when she feels too miserable to do anything? Is it normal to feel guilty for being so sick? The guilt is beating me down more than the illness. I should be patient and smiley and play with my boys no matter how miserable I'm feeling, right? Sorry, I'm rebelling today.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Surviving Marriage... literally

I almost lost my husband yesterday. Actually, I did lose him. He knew right where he was, but nobody else did. What was supposed to be a fun day snowmobiling turned dangerous. He was able to call me and tell me he was okay, but his father, who was up on the mountain with him, didn't know where he was.
I could dedicate this post to how stupid men are. That they don't take necessary precautions, they think it's wimpy to be prepared, etc., but I won't.
I knew my husband could take care of himself. He has been trained in wilderness survival, he was in the army, and he's a doctor. I knew he could take care of himself. I was just hoping he would be out of there before dark.
He got out, he was safe, but we did have to call search and rescue to find his dad. They found him, and he was fine.
This whole experience sent me reeling! Seriously, I tend to worry myself into a frenzy, and I panic, and basically have an anxiety attack. Not good traits in the wife of an adventurer, which is what my husband is. Also not good traits in a mother of two boys who are destined to be just like their father.
My mother-in-law was cool the whole time. She wasn't worried until it got dark and we had to call search and rescue. Then she sort of got some worry lines in her forehead. She was mostly mad.
So, I had about six hours to think about what horrible things could happen to my husband and what I would do without him. I'd probably shrivel up into a ball and die. Basically. It made me wonder if I was too dependent on him. Is that a bad thing to depend on someone so much that I don't think I could survive without him? I would have to for the sake of my children, but I think I'd really need my mommy.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Vaccinations and Autism


This is such a sensitive and controversial topic, but it's the one I get asked about every time I tell someone that my son has autism. "Do you think that his vaccinations caused it?"

First of all, I have not found any scientific evidence that proves that vaccines can trigger autism. My husband is a med student with access to all the findings (i.e. medical journals, studies, etc.) on autism, and he has not found any evidence anywhere that suggests vaccines can cause it. I'm not saying they can't, but I am saying WE have not found any proof. If anyone out there reading this has any from a reliable source (not Jenny McCarthy), feel free to send it to me.

Second, I did hear that a certain preservative in some vaccinations may have been a trigger. That preservative has since been removed from vaccines, and still there has been no change in the rate of diagnoses. This preservative has caused panic among parents and they have taken their kids off of all preservatives and gone completely organic. If that works for you, great. I, personally, have a hard enough time getting my child to eat let alone force all natural foods that taste like wood down his throat.

Third, it is my belief that certain babies are not ready to be given four vaccinations at a time. To me, this seems like a shock to their little immune systems. When people ask me my opinion of whether or not to get their children vaccinated, I say, "YES, but your baby doesn't have to get them all at once." I think parents should be careful. If the birth went well, and the baby is healthy and strong, he could probably handle the four shots at once. However, if the baby is premature or underweight or had a traumatic/complicated birth, maybe they should spread out the vaccines.

Fourth, I do not believe in drug company conspiracies. I DO NOT believe that vaccines are a ploy from drug companies to make money. They make our society safe, they keep our children alive, and they keep disease from spreading.

Fifth, I believe vaccines are a gift from God.

Sixth, I know with all my being that vaccinations did not trigger MY son's autism.


How is my new schedule going? Not well. I crave the structure of a schedule, and it's just not happening. Currently, we are living with my parents while in transition to a new home. Keeping things structured around here is nearly impossible. My husband has such a random work schedule, and my dad doesn't get home from work at the same time every day, and my little sister is in college, so she's very unpredictable. Growing up we never went to bed at the same time every night and we never woke up at the same time in the morning. I know this drove my mom crazy and she tried to set rules for us that we just rolled our eyes at. There were five of us, so that was five different schedules she had to work with. Not easy. I only have two kids, and they are very close in age, so it shouldn't be too difficult to put them on a schedule. It shouldn't, but it is. Boo.
When we lived in our own place, I had the day set up in a series of routines. In his more serious stages of autism, Cory thrived on predictability. Anything out of the ordinary threw him into a funk that usually resulted in uncontrollable tantrums. We had to keep everything familiar and structured. I was terrified whenever we had to try something new. As Cory started to improve, we were able to be more flexible, but for a couple months there, we didn't really go anywhere. I was too afraid of how Cory would react and how people would react to him.
We had a morning routine, wake up, breakfast, watch Sesame Street (this was the only TV he was allowed all day) while I got ready for the day, then he would get dressed, and we would play or go somewhere until our lunch routine. We had an afternoon routine, dinner routine, and a bedtime routine. I had a chart with pictures that would show him what we were doing "NOW" and "THEN". He didn't really care about the chart once we got the routine down. We still have these routines, but they are more sporadic and unpredictable which is why I want a schedule!
I feel that dinner is a very important time for structure. It is the best opportunity to meet together as a family. I would love to have dinner at the same time every day, but in this house, it's horribly difficult.
My kids are usually starving by 5:00PM. My dad doesn't get home until 6:30, and who knows when my husband will grace us with his presence. Stupid sick people coming in at the end of the day... stupids. Naw, I just wish my husband had a little consistency in his schedule.
Anyway, dinner at our house usually goes from 5:00-7:30. I have to feed my kids around 5:00 or the world will end, but I want to eat with my husband, and he doesn't get home until late. Boo. No win.
Suggestions anyone?

Why do I try?

Right now I'm listening to the soundtrack of Twilight. Maybe it will inspire me to be a best selling author.

Not likely.

I promised my son I would take him to Chuck-E-Cheese if he pooped in the potty. After about two months of waking up to him asking me if we were going to Chuck-E-Cheese that day and still changing his poopy diapers, we finally got to go!

We were in Ikea looking at some lovely home furnishings when I notice my son being very quiet, eyes watering, and redfaced. I asked him if he was pooping and he said, "Mommy, look at something else."

I told him that if he held his poops inside his bum until we got to a bathroom, and he pooped in the potty, we would go to C-E-C for dinner. He said okay and grabbed his bum. So, we ran around the store until I found a restroom and he did it! I was so proud of him! After he told his daddy and his gramma on the phone, we made our way to C-E-C. I was already exhausted and had a headache, so I wasn't too excited to go, but I had to keep my promise. After a few hours of popping tokens into machines, I smelled something awful.

Cory pooped his pants.

Why do I even try?

Saturday, April 11, 2009

What Really Works...

I have vented quite a bit on here already, so I guess I should write something positive! Matt and I have been trying a new discipline technique that Cory's teacher told us about. I get so sick of telling Cory to do things over and over with no results. I've tried bribes, I've tried threats, I've tried counting (i.e. If I get to ten, you're in trouble! ONE... TWO...), I've even tried--I'm ashamed to admit--spanking. Boo. I never thought I would be the mom who spanks, but I have resorted to it when Cory has put his own life or someone else's in danger. So, it's only been a handful of times, but that's a handful too many. I hate it. Never again!

The method is this:

First you ask your child to do something by saying "please". For example, "Please go get your shoes."
If there is no response or a negative response, say, " You NEED to go get your shoes."
Then if he refuses, you physically make him do it.
So, you would stand him up and walk him to his shoes and make him pick them up and take them back to where you were.
Kids hate this. They hate to be physically forced to do something. It's annoying to try to make them do it, but it works.

After three days of trying this, I haven't lost my temper at Cory, and I just have to ask him to do something once. I love it! Give it a try. Tell me if it works for your kid!

Going a little bit Psycho...

When that unfortunate time of the month comes around, watch out! I get hungry, bloated, paranoid, and mean! I literally can't stop eating because if I do, I get a headache, and if I get a headache, I'm even more irritable! My poor husband puts up with it, but he gets tired of me snapping at him. Like today, I'm so bloated everything I eat makes me run to the bathroom. So, I have one of my emergencies, and I don't have time to lock the door (TMI, I know). I'm in the bathroom and I hear the doorknob turning, and I yell, "DON'T YOU DARE COME IN HERE!!" In my meanest voice. Matt yells back, "You don't have to be so mean about it." OH yes I DO! Seriously, if it's not Kevin crying at the door, it's Cory banging on the door, or it's Matt asking me what I'm doing. I can't get two minutes to myself!?! No.
So, I have to go a little bit crazy in order for my husband to realize that I need some time alone. That all the screaming rings in my head until I'm ready to lose it. I have to make him fear for his life and the lives of our children before I get some alone time. I have the crazy look down. Seriously. I can't use it very often or he might catch on, but when I do use it, I finally get a few minutes in the bathroom to myself.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Why IS it so HARD?!

In the spirit of a recent post by my friend Jennie, I ask the same question: why is it so hard to lose weight? I have been trying for months now to lose some poundage ever since I moved back home from med school. Once we were settled, and Cory was doing well in school, I figured it was time to take care of myself again. So, I enrolled in boot camp. After two sessions, I was down almost two pant sizes and in the best shape I've been in since having kids.
Well, my knees rebelled on me, and I had a hard time running anymore, and then the holidays came. Bleh. So, my New Year's resolution to get back on track hit, and so did Kevin's terrible twos. No longer wanting to go the child care at the gym, what was I to do? So, on to my parent's rickety old treadmill with a broken console and so loud you can't even hear your iPod through the head phones. Well, I've been doing it. Trying to diet as well, which is really hard living in my mom's house surrounded by all her yummy food. I've lost only 10 pounds since the new year, and that's only if I weigh myself first thing in the morning. Bleh. Three months and 10 pounds?! Not cool. My clothes still fit me which makes me so discouraged. All around me, my friends are shrinking. I have one friend who recently lost 115 pounds! She looks awesome! My sis-in-law just got the best time for a woman in the 5K she ran, and she looks amazing. I have several others who are sharing their weightloss triumphs with me. I'm so jealous. So, what's wrong with me? I'm hungry all the time, running/walking three miles a day and lifting weights killing myself like I did in bootcamp. My mom says that I've grown into my "womanly physic". Whatever. Please tell me I'm not doomed to look like this for the rest of my life?!!

My Marriage: The Quest for Understanding

I don't understand my husband, and he doesn't understand me. My husband is 41/2 years older than I am and many more years more mature. In fact, his first impression of me was that I was really immature. I guess that's why it took him 3 years before he asked me out. I needed to grow up a little.
Matt is the perfect man. In fact, if he didn't have me weighing him down, he'd be whisked up into heaven. He's GORGEOUS, smart, HANDSOME, funny, SEXY, responsible, FIT, honest, and just plain better than the person I thought I was marrying. I had no idea what I was getting into when I married him. I knew he was awesome, but seriously, I had no idea.
So, what's the problem? There really isn't one except that we are two different people trying to share a life together. That's no different than any other marriage, I guess. As much as I know my husband, he still eludes me. Like:

How can someone who took orders from an ugly army officer for 6 years, not understand why his fairly good-looking wife is upset that he didn't put a diaper in the diaper bag like she asked him to?

How can someone who woke up at the slightest sound while patrolling in Iraq sleep through a screaming baby?

How can someone who has been through nearly four years of medical school not understand PMS?

How can someone who has worked 15-hour days not understand how tired I am at being a mom 24/7?

Still my husband is perfect.
He admits that these are things he needs to work on, and he tries. I'm just impatient that he doesn't do it already!
The big issue now is getting used to each other. My husband has been gone for most of the year doing externships for med school. I have missed him so much, and I have waited so long for him to come home, that now he's here, I don't know what to do with him. Do you ever feel like your spouse is in the way? Don't get me wrong, I LOVE having him home, but it's hard to get used to having someone around that has been gone for so long.
When he got back, the first thing he did was rearrange the bedroom to his liking. He has every right to do that, but now I can't find anything! So, I spend the whole day frustrated with him, wondering where my stuff is, texting him for the answer, and getting more frustrated that he can't text me back because he's in surgery! How dare he work hard every day for a secure future for his family, right? No, that is so not what I'm saying.
Isn't it true that we blame our spouses too much? That we take things out on them because we know we can? It's wrong, but it's in our nature. This is one reason why I'm doing this blog. So I have a place to vent besides my husband's face. Still, if I am going to have something in my way, I'm glad it's so pleasant to look at.

The Terrible Twos

My Kevin turned two a week ago. Born to be my comfort in life, Kevin has always been so mellow and delightful. He rarely cried as a baby, ate like a pig, and slept like a hibernating bear. He was the poster child for perfect babies... until now.
I don't know what happened, but my Kevin has turned a 180. He no longer sleeps on schedule, or at all for that matter. He whines about eating, he cries over everything, and he is such a grouch! He's like me when I'm PMSing. I have a little shadow that constantly pulls down my already-hard-enough-to-keep-up pants. I'm weighed down by an extra 30lbs that I am not strong enough to carry all the time.
This lack of sleep and all the tantrums have put me in a foul mood. I've decided that my kids need more structure. I sent out an email to most of my girlfriends with kids to find out what works for them. The best response came from my friend Val who has a whole blog devoted to scheduling her kids. I think that kids should be on a schedule. Structure is very important to kids, but I don't think it should be a rigid regimen. I like Val's blog because the schedules offer structure along with flexibility. I'm planning on implementing the following schedule:
7:00AM Wake up work out and shower
8:00AM Wake the kids of they aren't up already. Have breakfast and get dressed.
9:00AM School/TV time (Cory has school two days a week) I finish getting ready for the day and do my chores. Yes, I have chores for myself.
10:00AM Independent play time. (The kids play in either their room or the family room by themselves)
11:30AM Pick Cory up from school/Lunch preparation, lunch time, clean up
12:30PM Sibling play time (The kids play together outside or in their room.)/ Run errands
2:00PM Quiet time (Read stories, attempt to put Kevin down for a nap, or watch a movie)
4:00PM Cory's work time(Cory has worksheets or educational computer games. Kevin likes to watch or color)
5:00PM Dinner Prep, Dinner, Clean Up
7:00PM Bath time, pajamas, brush teeth, say prayers, read books
8:00PM I put Kevin to bed, Matt puts Cory to bed.
10:30PM Go to sleep!

Think I can stick with this? I dunno, but I'm gonna try for sanity sake.

Autism: Our Story

I can't talk about motherhood without talking about autism. My 3-year-old son was diagnosed shortly after his second birthday. While autism is something I have a hard time talking about, I am willing to talk about it.

I guess I should clarify our situation by saying that Cory does not have classic autism. He has what is called Pervasive Development Disorder. This falls under the umbrella of autism, but he doesn't have all the symptoms of autism. Cory stopped speaking shortly after his second birthday, and when I say stopped, I'm not exaggerating. This was a child that since birth developed ahead of his peers. He was crawling, walking, and talking faster than the other kids his age. I sensed something was wrong, but it wasn't until my med-student husband expressed his concerns that I started to panic. I took him to our doctor who said it was normal for a child to withdraw a little at the introduction of a new sibling. I didn't buy that explanation at all. Our second child, Kevin, was already six months old! Why would Cory withdraw now? Our doctor told us to come back in a month if he didn't start to come around. Well, he didn't. All he wanted to do was sit and stare at the TV all day. I know what you're thinking, "typical kid." No, Cory would push the rewind button on the DVD player and watch the same scene from Finding Nemo over and over again. It was enough to drive me insane! He started lining up his toys instead of playing with them. He refused to play with his friends. His tantrums were more than I could handle, and his screaming made me want to kill myself or the people who had the audacity to say anything about it.

It was around this time that I watched an episode of Oprah about autism. She had Jenny McCarthy on there talking about her son who was recovering from autism. I couldn't stop crying as I recognized all the symptoms she described. I was devastated.

When we become parents we are instilled with this hope that we are making the world a better place by bringing so much love into it. My son was the embodiment of love. He was so beautiful and cheerful and full of light that I had no doubt that heaven existed and that there was a higher power who loved me enough to give me such a precious gift.

When Cory started having all these symptoms, I felt robbed. I wanted to hate God for taking the light out of my son, but I couldn't. From the depths of my being I knew that all was not lost because my son still hugged me. That connection was what gave me hope that I might get him back.
I guess I was in denial for a little while because I thought that since he did hug me, he didn't have autism. I had heard that children with autism didn't like physical contact, so I made it a goal to constantly hug Cory. This was probably the easiest goal I've ever set for myself to achieve. I would even wake up in the night with this urgency to hug him for fear he would stop letting me. I would take him out of his crib and hold him for hours while he slept. Sometimes he didn't like this, but I didn't care.

After talking to a friend of mine who had children with developmental problems, I looked into a program run by our school district that would send teachers to your home to work with your child. I called them up and had someone come in and screen him for autism. I hated this woman right away because she, in the nicest way possible, informed me that my son did have all the signs of a spectrum disorder. Boo. I wanted her to tell me it was just a phase or that I was just a bad mother that needed some training.

I made another appointment with my doctor with the sole purpose of getting a referral to another pediatrician who specialized in developmental disorders. I really dreaded doing this, and I prayed really hard for the courage to tell my doctor that I wanted to see someone else. You see, I HATE confrontation. Hate it. I really liked this doctor and I felt we had kind of become friends. I valued her opinion and expertise, but I knew her expertise was limited in this situation. I wanted to die as I walked into that office.

As I did, I heard the receptionist on the phone talking to what sounded like a doctor who couldn't come in the office. I listened as the receptionist assured whoever was on the other end that she would call the scheduled patients and reschedule.

I sat down in the waiting area with a little tinge of hope that it was my doctor who couldn't come in, so my dreaded confrontation would be delayed. Sure enough, it was my doctor who couldn't come in. Her daughter was sick, so would I be willing to see another doctor in the office? WOULD I? Yippeee!! I could easy ask a different doctor for a referral! My prayers were answered!

Still, I had no idea just how well they were answered until I met the substitute doctor. This doctor just happened to be someone who specialized in childhood development and had been a child therapist before going to med school. She knew exactly what needed to done to get the ball rolling. Most of all, she listened to me. What should have been a fifteen-minute visit turned into an hour and a half. She whipped out questionnaires, fliers, brochures, all sorts of reference materials. She set up appointments with a diagnostician and an autism specialist. She gave me the phone numbers of programs that could help Cory, and support groups for my husband and me. It was a miracle.

I think because my prayers were answered that day, I have my son back. Cory still has a lot of challenges to overcome, but he has come so far. I have my son back!

The First Post

Welcome to my new blog about surviving all things in life, but most of all, MOTHERHOOD and MARRIAGE! I am a stay-at-home mom of two boys, wife of a med student, and hmmmmm, what else? I guess like so many other moms, being a mom and wife is my identity. Is it my sole identity? That's a question I struggle with everyday. It does sound a little cliche, but it's true, and I really don't mind all that much. I've always wanted to have kids, so it's a dream come true. I guess I just didn't realize how hard it was going to be. Hard but worth it.
I have a lot on my mind all the time, and I feel like I just have to get it out or I'll go crazy! Since I don't have the time to get together with my girlfriends and talk it out, this blog will have to do. I'm hoping this blog is not going to be a "woe is me" or "I am such a victim" or "I'm so unappreciated" whine fest. While some posts may have that tone, I am hoping this is a place where we can swap advice and help each other make it through the best years of our lives.