Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Another One Bites the Bust

I have nursed all my kids and at one point in time or another all of them have bitten me. It's normally resolved when a.) I jump in pain, b.) in a stern voice I say "No biting!" and c.) they cry because I've never spoken so harshly. This however is not the case with Vance. Sure he's startled when I jump two feet as his teeth clamp down on my nipple. Yes, he looks like I just killed the dog in front of him as his bottom lip sticks out and he begins to cry. Yet after he latches back on, he is biting again within 30 seconds. This behavior has made me contemplate weaning him, something I've never done since all of my kids have weaned themselves.

I would like people to believe that I nurse and have nursed my children because it is so great for their development and that it makes them healthier and smarter. Actually those were my reasons for Jace, however once I realized the benefits it afforded me, my motivation was selfish. I am a lazy mom. I hate to wake in the night. I hate to wash dishes. I always forget to restock the diaper bag. I don't like to exercise. So when I realized that I could just pull the baby in bed with me to feed and sleep at the same time, I became a fan. The fact that there were no bottles to wash, made me never regret the decision. I was grateful that even though I may have forgotten the pacifier and baby toys, I could always nurse the kid quiet. The way the pounds would drop off me like leaves in the fall made me practically an advocate for breastfeeding. Now there is Vance, making me question my nursing choices, and apply salve to my bruised nips.

So what's a mom to do? Even before the economy took a dump I refused to pay $20 for a can of formula. I could pump, but then there is the time involved with standing in the bedroom with my equipment for 20 minutes three times a day. A whole hour a day, where the little ones run a muck while I shout at them from behind closed doors for what they are doing or about to do - sounds like a bad idea to me. So then I heard that goat's milk is the closest milk to human milk and could be given to infants. Evidently the milk is healthier than cow's milk and would be beneficial to the whole family. My interest was piqued. I began the research, thinking I could buy a nanny and save us a whole lot of money, since we go through 4 gallons of milk a week. Although I had never had a milking goat the memories of raising sheep made me a bit giddy inside. I approached Brian with my request, and in typical Brian style he never gave me a diffinitive answer. I took this as a yes and began searching Craig's list and furthering my goat-milking research. I found the momma goat and her baby for $100, that equals around 20 gallons of milk, five weeks of milk buying.

Then like all my great plans they started to crumble around me. A friend of mine told me goat milk doesn't taste anything like a cow's milk and tastes rather gross. I heard I'd have to milk twice a day and the amount varies as does the time from a quarter to a half gallon of milk in anywhere from 5 to 30 minutes. That barely covers our breakfast. My hopes were being dashed. I was beginning to think if I won't milk myself, why would I want to purchase a goat and milk it. I'd have another mouth to feed, have more poop to clean up after, and have to buy food for every other week. I've decided that I am going to tough it out, literally, or I am going to break down and pump. After all my mom always said, "Why buy the goat, when you can get the milk for free?" Actually she said "cow" and used it in a different context, but the point remains true.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Breaking Up is Hard to Do

Jace is feeling better, but is getting frustrated with his limitations and his itchy brace. Last night he cried because he won't be able to play and ride for at least a month. I think it was a combo of not enough sleep as well as being fed up with his lack of mobility, the rash developing in his armpits didn't help either. I think the cons are beginning out weigh the pros. Sure mom has been making him cookies, running to his every call, writing his homework, he has control of the television, and his sisters are leaving him alone, but he can't get out of bed without help, can't dress himself, and today he asked me what he would do when he had to poop. It doesn't take long for the fantasy to fade and reality to set in.

This photo is Jace's actual x-ray.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Romanticizing the Bone

My best friend, Jen Parks, broke her arm in the second grade and although I felt bad for her, I was jealous of her new found status. With her concrete-hard arm she was the center of attention; students and teachers alike. It happened to be her right arm and she couldn't do her homework or classwork like the rest of us, someone did all of the writing for her. Her cast was covered with signatures and drawings, a child's version of having a sleeve tattooed, and just as cool. In my seven-year-old mind it seemed as if the perks must have outweighed the pain. I never was so "lucky" to have broken a bone, although I tried on several occasions in hopes of getting out of homework. Thankfully, my children have never had any bones broken either. A somewhat selfish relief, since I don't deal well with emergency situations. Even Jace whose interests lie in extreme sports, has never sustained anything worse than a sprain - that was up until yesterday.

Yesterday the call came, a call from Jace crying, thinking he had dislocated his shoulder. I hung up and tried to spur the other children into action so that we could pick up Jace from his friend's house. Brynna stepped up; brought the dog in, grabbed her homework, and ushered Ryleigh to the truck since she was the only other one completely ready. Vance and Keely had no pants or shoes. I quickly located some and headed out the door. Jace's friend, Sam, lives three country blocks away, and when I arrived Jace was waiting out front covered in dust with tears streaming down his face, his helmet still on his head, holding his right shoulder. I knew this was the real deal and we were off to the doctor's. I called Brian to tell him what was going on and he asked if I looked at his shoulder, to which I replied, "no." He thought if his shoulder was out of socket I should put my knee in his armpit and pull his arm and put it back into place. I kept driving. I can't believe I've been married to this man for 13 years and he thinks I would or could ever do such a thing.

We arrived at the doctor's office and in accordance with Murphy's law as I unbuckle Vance I smell poop. Jace had stopped crying and just sat there with eyes closed so I quickly changed the little man before I got everyone out. We first headed to the Urgent Care. Brynna was relishing her role of being in charge of the younger girls and ensuring they didn't run out in the parking lot. As we crossed the street in front of two waiting cars Brynna led the way with her arm outstretched "halting" traffic. We got inside and as I waited in line I was told by security that because he was 11 we needed to head to Pediatrics. At this point Jace couldn't walk anymore, as it hurt too bad. I grabbed a wheelchair and with a baby on my hip and three in tow, I pushed Jace across the medical campus, trying not to be bitter that the two guards sat and watched me struggle and never offered to help. When we got to Peds we signed in and the waiting began. The kids were awesome. Then after 40 minutes Vance began to fuss, I had no pacifier, no snacks, no sippy cup. Can you believe I have had five children and don't have a well-stocked diaper bag? I can't. So I stood and rocked and bounced and walked and swayed. Jace seemed to settle again and his pain level decreased. He moved from the wheelchair to a normal chair so he could dangle his arm. Then, the domino effect began with Keely having to use the bathroom, followed by Ryleigh. I left Brynna to watch over Jace and I took the three small ones to the restroom. After Keely used the bathroom and touched every foul surface in there we headed back to the big kids. (Yes, she washed her hands.) Five minutes later she had to poop - of course. The bad thing about potty training is that you can't tell them that they don't have to go, because the next thing you know you're sloshing poop filled underwear in a toilet or throwing them in a trashcan, which by the way I didn't have extra with me. We headed back to the bathroom, where she just fondled her porcelain friend without pooping, peeing, dripping or even farting. Frustrated we rejoined the older two; Jace and Brynna had done fine. They finally called us! Back in the room they took vitals, gave him a pain killer, removed his shirt (not a fun time) and put a hospital gown on him. Keely washed her hands several times in the doctor's sink and made huge puddles on the floor for me to clean up. They sent us to X-ray. We had to wait but not very long. It was however, long enough for Keely to pull her pants and panties down and do a spinning "moon" dance. Trying not to laugh and wrestling her with Vance still in my left arm I was able to get them up. Poor Jace began laughing at the site and ended up in tears from the pain. They called his name, but I was unable to go back with him since I had all the kids. Thankfully it was very quick and we were headed back to Peds. We waited 10 minutes in the lobby, where Keely spit on the fish tank and 10 different chairs before I caught her. Visible pools of saliva were in the center of each one. How could she have that much spit? They called us and we waited another 20 minutes for the doctor to come into the room. I hit the lollipop bowl twice to keep the kids quiet and Keely away from the sink, it worked.

Up until this point, Jace had not been able to remember how he had gotten hurt, he only knew he was riding a bicycle on Sam's BMX track. With the painkillers starting to kick in, he began to recall the details. He was on the bike trying to jump a double but didn't have enough speed. He made the first jump, not the second and flipped over the bike with it landing on top of him. He said when he got up he lifted his arm and heard something crack. I felt woozy just hearing the story.

The doctor came in and told us that he had broken his clavicle, and he would need a brace. Off to Orthopedics. Again, Jace was tired and sore so we found a wheelchair and Brynna pushed him. The tech who put the brace on was great and joked with all the kids and printed out the x-ray for Jace.

After a total of three hours at Kaiser, we were done. Jace was still in pain but was on the phone with friends reaping the status and bragging rights that go along with a broken bone. He filled them in on how he didn't have to go to school for the rest of the week, that he has a picture of the broken bone, that he can't write for a while, and that he doesn't have to take a shower for a few days. Ahhh, the mind of a child - why was jealous of this list when I was younger? To add one more perk I took the kids to get a Frosty from Wendy's. As everyone said "thanks", Jace said to his sisters, "You're welcome I broke a bone so you could get ice cream." What a good brother to share the benefits of a broken bone with those with intact skeletons.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Going Around the Block

The block has struck me again. The block that seems to weigh down any creative ideas, it rests on me not allowing anything witty or pithy to emerge. Sorry. It has been not only crushing my imagination but also presses on my thought process in general. My friend Tonya wrote the other day asking me to blog so she could know what was going on in my life. Our blogs are really the only link we have to know the comings and goings of our long-distance friendship. I figured today I would press forward, past the cumbersome block, and update everyone.

We have been battling a cold virus, that began with Jace followed by me. My inability to control my kisses while around Vance led to my poor little man getting the crude. Ryleigh has no doubt learned her self restraint from her mother and contracted it from constantly kissing Vance's face, regardless of my shouting. Since Ryleigh and Keely share a room, it was inevitable that she caught it too. Fortunately, Brynna is borderline OCD with hand washing and only touches anyone younger than her if she is commanded to do so. The cough and snotty nose has hung around the little ones like a sloth in a tree, but thankfully the fever has passed and their energy is back. Okay, honestly I'm not so thankful that the energy is back but I am glad they feel better.

Vance has a total of four teeth now with a fifth one emerging. I always love it when the top two teeth begin to pop through and my little babies look like a mini David Lettermans. Since getting the cold Vance no longer sleeps through the night, so I have begun to accessorize with the ever chic black "bags" again. Although he is mobile and wiping my floor with his version of crawling, he has only pulled himself up on things a few times. The doctor said she would be concerned if he didn't start by 10 months, however I have not called because I know he can do it he just doesn't have to since everything is handed to him or he is lifted to get his desires.

Keely has begun to speak a lot more. Not that I understand most of it, but at least she is trying. There are a lot of things I don't understand about Keely, her speech being just one of them. Her desire to shove items down her pants and into her pajamas are another facet. The other night she put her jammies on by herself and when I saw her right leg was twice as large as the left my investigation found two gloves, a pair of dirty socks, and a lego. I felt like a magician pulling things from a magic hat wondering when it would stop. This isn't the first time and I'm sure it won't be the last. Before the weather turned cold I found a live beetle that she had put in her pajamas hanging out in the top of her diaper. She's an odd one, but we love her.

Ryleigh is doing well, nothing really to report except for the fact that she is growing up too quickly. She is copping a diva attitude, which I attribute to an excess of Hannah Montana. She constantly needs to be reminded of her attitude. I keep her in check with, "Four-year-old-Hannah-Montana-wannabe say what?'' I don't really say that, but if you have ever watched the show then you would have understood that and possibly laughed.

Brynna has begun her own blog, entitled Bryn's Blog, she has even learned to correct her own misspelled words with the spellchecker. I cracked up the other day as she wrote about the book she is reading for school which included the line, "she goes on a trip to a castle with her friend the douches." She meant to type duchess, misspelled the word and picked the first one the computer offered. I helped her correct it before it posted. If you have a chance you should check out her writing and leave her comments, she loves that.

Jace has asked me to home school him next year. Brian and I have been discussing it and weighting the pros and cons but I think we might give it a try. California offers a public homeschooling program where all of the curriculum is free and after speaking with several families who use the program it seems like the way to go. I am intimidated to say the least. Part of my fear is that I am beginning to fall into the large family stereotype; long hair, lots of kids, shopping at thrift stores, meal planning, church-going, desires a nanny goat and chickens. I even own a jean skirt but if I ever put it on with a pair of Reeboks and jump into a 15-pack van, someone please intervene.

Hopefully my next post will return with some semblance of a storyline, but until then this is how our lives look when being squeezed out from under a writer's block.