Saturday, August 19, 2017

On Showers

“Hasn’t this happened before?” Yes. Yes it has. My 15 year old son was supposed to be AT his Scout leader’s house at 3 am. The famous last words…

Me - “Will you be okay getting yourself up?”

Him - An emphatic, “Yes.”

3:23 a.m. I am scrambling through my sleep to find the source of the ringing. Not such an easy task since the cordless phone was invented. Sometimes I miss the convenience of knowing exactly where to run when the phone is ringing… at 3 am.  I stumble toward the sound and end up in the kitchen. My first thought is always to prepare emotionally for an emergency or a death.

No death. “Is Levi up?” I stagger downstairs and there sits Levi in a fully lit up bedroom with his clothes still all on looking like he’s not sure what planet he’s on.

“Yes. He is now. He’ll be there momentarily.” I assume that my child is feeling the same urgency that I am and will take 3 minutes to load up his gear and get into the car.

He looks at me with his vacant staring eyes, grabs a towel and walks past me upstairs to the bathroom.

“Are you taking a shower?!” I’m incredulous. He’s almost a HALF HOUR LATE to go CAMPING! Camping is about letting nature take over! Dirt, bugs, campfire smoke! 

It doesn’t matter. He must shower. So I wait sitting in my chair, the recliner I resigned myself to sleep in the night before because after I came home late from a meeting, picked up my oldest daughter from work, and listened to her work stories (okay, I may have also done some talking) I found that my two youngest children were in my bed, in my personal indentation. Who wants to carry two 43 pound dead weights to their beds at 11 pm? Well, not me, but I did manage to put on pajamas as part of my effort to turn over a new leaf.

I contemplate showers while I sit and wait, listening to the water as it makes its journey through the pipes to cleanse my tardy offspring. If it were me I would not have showered. I cannot stand the thought of people waiting for me. I feel an intense amount of stress and guilt. I hate it more than head grease or dirty underwear. And to be perfectly honest, I was exuberant when I read an article posted on the internet that claimed that over showering was stripping people of their much needed skin oils. So, when occasionally day 3 rolls around and I’m not feeling too fresh and my neck feels like an oily slip ‘n’ slide, I just smile. It is healthy after all.

It took 20 minutes for Levi to get out to the car laden with his camping/canoeing/fishing supplies. I was still in my black-and-white-3-sizes-too-big-polka-dot pajamas when we went tearing around the corner without even taking the time to put on seat belts (calm down, it was only around the block), almost sweating with the stress that my son was holding up the whole group.

Turns out a couple of Scouts not only didn’t wake up in time, but completely forgot that the epic canoe trip was even happening. They were presumably at home packing. All guilt washed away… like a warm shower on day three. 

Friday, August 30, 2013

I've Had A Baby, Shout "Hooray"!!!

I'm 37.  I'll be 38 toward the end of this year.  I have just given birth to my eighth child.  He was huge.  They were all "big" but he was huge.  12 pounds and 1 oz (1.5 to be exact) and 24 inches long.  Him coming out of me was traumatic...and dramatic (that's a story for a different day/different post).  My body doesn't really want to recover and my mental capacities are quickly diminishing with each passing day.  In a nutshell, I'm a basket case (is basket case one word? hyphenated? what in the heck does it mean?).

I suddenly have severe ADD, or ADHD or lost-my-mind-where-did-I-put-it-I-need-(a)-cookie(s) syndrome. I guess it's not suddenly - it's been coming on for weeks.  Make that years.  I have always gotten some form of postpartum depression so it's not a shock but it doesn't really make it that much easier.  A little, but not enough to keep it from swallowing me.

My husband has been helping out by doing all of the grocery shopping (let me repeat that ... ALL the grocery shopping) for many months now.  I have mixed emotions about that but, again, that's a story for a different day/post.  He feels a great need for our school-aged children to have something in their lunch bag besides a crappy self-made bologna or peanut butter sandwich and a whole peeled carrot (I'm a total cheapskate when it comes to school lunches AND I force them to make their own lunches.  Sorry, it's called independence and the whole carrot is their choice.  They are fully capable of making carrot sticks - you know the predecessor to the baby carrot.).  So he has gotten into the routine of buying them cheap sandwich-style cookies (you know, like Oreo's but not as crunchy) and Cheese-its.  Don't get me wrong.  I'm not opposed to sticking a cookie in their lunch when they're available (I've even been known to bake a few on my good days) but I don't feed them treats every day for lunch when they're home so I don't feel an obligation to do so when they are at school.  Interestingly enough,...I think it's HEALTHIER that way.

I've got to pull myself off the school-lunch track because that is not the purpose of this post...


I will probably gain 20 pounds just from sandwich cookies.  I'd probably eat less if they were too big to pop in my mouth whole (wishful thinking) but I go from the sink to the laundry room and my left arm shoots straight up and my hand dives into the plastic and comes out with 3 cookies...(plus one 'cause three are gone before I have time to acknowledge them).  Then I've got one in my mouth and I'm feeling the endorphins pumping through my veins and I keep walking to the laundry room and maybe even remember why I'm there once I enter.  Maybe.  Maybe I've forgotten and I need to return to the fridge area to jog my memory.

My dear husband gathered the family together a week and a half ago on a Monday evening and used a pamphlet on postpartum mental health to explain to our dear children ranging in ages from 14 down to 16 mo (not including the littlest one) how Mommy will be different for a while.  "Depression, anxiety, fatigue, loneliness...CHANGE IN APPETITE," these are some of the symptoms that he listed off and discussed with the kiddos while I sat next to him feeling  I didn't add much to the discussion.  We've been here before- after all, this is not my first postpartum experience.  So, why the insistence on having cookies on the fridge? We ALL know better!  Even (most of) me.

I have sane moments.  "I'm going to eat more healthfully for myself and my baby."  Green protein smoothie for breakfast, snacking on raw almonds and Greek yogurt sweetened with banana and wild blueberries, turkey roll-up stuffed with lettuce for lunch, stir-fry chock full of fresh veggies for dinner (because the whole family needs to be healthier, too. Right?)  Reality - sandwich cookies for breakfast followed by a quart of apple cider vinegar water because I feel guilty and I really need to get my bowels moving after a week of gut corking comfort/convenience food, sandwich for lunch (with creme filling, right?)...maybe more than one, followed by a green smoothie because I feel guilty for eating so many cookies, then for dinner I'll prepare something great (after all I cleaned the kitchen while powered by crunchy-creamy fuel!) while snacking on sandwich cookies to help me keep my focus and energy.  I'll eat a generous portion of dinner (x2) because I've already failed to the point of no-return and at least this is "real" food (it's probably tator-tot casserole).  It's a sad existence, a downward trend but by writing about it maybe
I'm "owning" it and maybe, just maybe the creative release will act as an antidote to the poison I have been repeatedly injecting myself with (figuratively speaking, of course).

Yesterday my 6-year-old boy came into the house from school, overheard me admit to a friend on the phone that I'd eaten all the lunch treats and fell completely apart to the point of crying himself to sleep on the couch.  So my dear husband went to the store last night and bought a lovely carton of sandwich cookies.  Thankfully it's Friday.  The school lunch sandwich cookie crisis won't happen for 3 more days...

My mom keeps giving me gas...

Sunday, November 14, 2010

My Dream Painter

I was perusing the painting how-to videos on YouTube this evening and discovered, much to my absolute delight, a painter who paints my paintings!  Let me explain.  For as long as I can remember I have looked up and seen tremendous beauty in the sky - clouds, sunset colors, vast expanse, even great granddaddy trees fall into the sky category.  I have ALWAYS wanted to be able to paint those amazing views but have lacked the skills. 

A few years ago I started drawing again (dabbled as a child and young teenager) and ended up working a little with oil, watercolor and colored pencil as well as the graphite.  Mostly I paint/draw faces, hands - people, but I still wanted to paint the clouds.  Someone told me that sunsets and sunrises painted are gaudy and tacky and I believed them (there are some pretty awful attempts out there) until I stumbled upon William Hawkins site.  Yeah!!!  Clouds in all their splendor frozen and magnified for all who view them.  And I have decided that I, too, will paint the clouds.  I can't possibly tread upon his territory because there are so many unique clouds and I will have my own stamp of personality upon my work.

So whether William Hawkins likes it or not (or even notices), he is my cloud mentor and I his humble fluffy cloud student.

I won't commit some internet crime by copying this artist's paintings onto my blog but I will post a link to his blog. 

Saturday, November 6, 2010

The Evolution of a Softie

My oldest daughter was a 'binkie" girl.  My young mother mind worried many hours over how I was going to wean her from it and eventually she "lost" it.  She really did lose and I just didn't make any effort to find it. When it did show up I carefully concealed it in a drawer to keep for posterity.  Most of my children haven't used anything except their fingers or thumbs and I am keeping those for sure ... but not in a drawer, don't worry.

Enter "Lou" (obviously not her real name and chosen, not for how it sounds alone but because we usually tag it onto the end of her real name and then it is cute) child number four of six.  There is technically no middle child in an even number, but if anyone has middle child syndrome it's her.  She was a baby when Mom was at her craziest, a wild toddler when Mom was at her most depressed, she doesn't accomplish any firsts and she's grown out of the cute pre-school age.  She didn't use a binkie, didn't use her thumb or two middle fingers, instead she found the love of a true friend in a life-sized Pooh.

The older kids were given a couple of these Christmas Pooh's complete with scarf, Santa hat and, of course, the iconic little red Pooh shirt.  When Lou was about 15 months she discovered her love of Pooh.  She wouldn't fall asleep without him.  Pooh was easily twice as big as she was and as she got older she would fall asleep on her back with her arms wrapped around this Pooh and wake up in pain because her hands were asleep.  Pooh became more important to her than food (I may be exaggerating here a bit but not by much).  Pooh became so filthy that I could not count myself any sort of a decent mother unless I snuck Pooh while she was otherwise occupied and washed his poor yellow Pooh fur.  Every time I did that it was a complete catastrophe.  "His ears don't feel good anymore!" she would wail.  I'd reply, "what's different... they're softer?  Cleaner?"  "They just don't FEEL right!."  Eventually, though, Pooh's ears would get back that knobby gritty feeling again and she would be content.

I came to despise Pooh - Lou could not fall asleep anywhere without Pooh which caused many a public tantrum but also this Pooh represented my inadequate mothering for Lou.  I knew that eventually Pooh had to leave.  It's one thing to be attached to a little bear but a 2 1/2 foot tall one?  They don't stuff into your purse very well.  Well, one day my "Rage Monster" had a confrontation with Pooh and his ears were removed with a pair of scissors.  Poor Lou was beside herself and when my fire had died down, I felt worse than scum.  I called my husband sobbing.  Lou was crying, I was crying and poor Pooh couldn't hear a thing.

We happened to have a small blankie that came with a Pooh Bear newborn gift set (my new baby was only weeks old, which could explain the "Rage Monster's" visit) and I was inspired to take those ears and resurrect them onto this little two-foot-square "Pooh Bear Blanket" and thus is was dubbed.  As it turned out the ears were not just her favorite part but the only part she needed to get her Pooh fix.  Another year or so and that "Pooh Bear Blanket" got so much love that I was afraid to wash it anymore.

The problem with the Pooh Bear Blanket was that it was so small.  She lost it frequently.  I made a rule that she couldn't take it anywhere but her bed.  It didn't matter.  Somehow it got lost many times a week and she cried and cried until I stopped everything and found it for her.  Then we went on vacation.  She lost it at the beginning of a two-week long vacation and spent an entire week without it.  I was overjoyed.  Turned out it was at my mother's house and when we stopped back by a well-meaning cousin came running up to Lou with this blanket.  I was so disappointed.  Then hours after we were on the road again, Lou wailed, "I left my Pooh Bear blanket!"  Whew!  She was habit free for months then ...

... my sister-in-law gave our 1-year-old son this small panda bear (except it was new at the time ... and clean).  Not 2 days went by before I realized that Lou's Pooh had been reincarnated in the body of this little panda.  Aggggghhhhhhhhhh!!!  Okay, so a year went by dealing with the exact same issues as we had with the Pooh Bear and the Pooh Bear Blanket  - dirty, lost, sadness, falling apart, etc...  Then Dad told her that she had to keep her bear in her room or she would loose it.  Well, after a couple of warnings she did lose it - right into the back of Dad's closet.  Now "Bear" resides in my relic drawer (along with my underwear and the "Pooh Bear blanket").

Poor dear got loved absolutely to death.  She started carrying him around with her fingers crammed into his pie hole.

The final chapter of the story of softie evolution (so far, she's only 7 after all) is that the day before her birthday her big sister came to me and asked if she could give Lou this bear she's been saving for her.  She was so excited because she'd been collecting bear clothes and accessories for this bear.  I didn't understand why she was asking.  I said, "of course!  Why are you even asking?"  Famous last words.  Had only a few months softie-free erased the pain of years?  Who knows?  But it wasn't until the evening after Lou's birthday party that I walked past her reading on the couch and realized what I'd done.  You don't need bear clothes and accessories to fulfill this need.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Who Is A Maker?

I make stuff ... a lot of different kind of stuff.  Edible stuff, pretty stuff, useless stuff, ... stuff.  Some would say that I have "talent".  Okay, so I have talent.  Doesn't everybody have talent?  I think YES!  There are people who will disagree with me, usually people who have decided for themselves that THEY have no talent, but I will disagree with them.

As children we are (usually) given opportunities to try our hands at many different kinds of things - bike riding, finger painting, writing, sandwich making, bed making, etc. - and when we make an effort to try something usually someone (sometimes ourselves) tells us what they think of if.  "Jimmy, that's fabulous!  You'll be an amazing artist someday."  Or how about this, "why can't you just color nicer like Sasha?  See how she is choosing pretty colors and staying inside the lines?" Okay, now Bobby (Sasha's counterpart) knows in his little mind that his coloring is ugly and that he's no good at it but Sasha is.    That, my fellow thinkers, begins a life of "I can't draw," or "I'm not good at this" or that, or whatever.  His fate is being decided at age 5.

As an adult is it too late for us to find and improve our talents?  I give you a resounding, NO!  If there is something that interests you, even if you've believed for your whole life that you cannot do it because once someone said something or didn't say anything, start trying it again.  You'll discover something marvelous if you do.  You've got gifts and pursuing your dreams, no matter how insignificant they may seem to others, will make you happier and better able to positively influence those around you. 

Make yourself a "maker" by making someone laugh, by improving your ability to juggle, by learning the art of baking, by learning cartooning, by learning to play the piano, by learning to bowl or make a bowl.  Be a maker and make yourself amazing.

Monday, February 1, 2010

The Answer

I'm a Mormon, yes, I am.  At a meeting Saturday evening we were edified by some great speakers.  My honey and I got to sit together, sans children, and just absorb.  The feeling was peaceful and I wished that I'd remembered to bring paper and pencil for note taking.

The biggest thing (now the only one I remember) that struck me was a scripture quoted from Proverbs.  The speaker (a wonderful woman that I've known for a few years now) was attempting to describe a "virtuous woman" using select verses from Proverbs that illustrated her point.  " not the bread of idleness."  Bam!!!  If you haven't read my previous post that "bam" will confuse you.  The "bread of idleness" most udoubtedly means the fruits of laziness, but for me at that moment it meant something else. 

Here is what I took away from that good meeting:

My perspective is narrow and needs to be broadened every day by doing, thinking and listening to good things like reading scriptures and uplifting articles and singing and listening to good music.  If I work each day to fill myself spiritually then I will not feel so compelled to fill my mouth.

My bread binges are an act of idleness and selfishness.  I can be better than that...I am better than that.

I made the most delicious bread last night.  Today it was soft and oh-so-good.  I've had one piece and not during nap time.  It's not much but it's a start.

Friday, January 29, 2010

The Daily Nap Time Dilemma

As you most likely know, I have six marvelous children.  While four of them are getting educated in one of our nations "Blue Ribbon" schools, two of them are hangin' out with Mom.  On a regular (decent) morning, we clean, we read, we play reading games on the computer or we go on walks or errands.  Lunch time happens around 11:30 and then, with great excitement, I send them off to find one nap time reading book and to go potty.

The nap time ritual has evolved through the years, but lately we end up on my bed with me in the middle so that each child can see the book.  I read, occasionally I sing, and then we close our eyes.  Nine times out of ten I fall asleep.  When I wake up I have this sense of freedom.  Computer?  Usually.  Book?  Sometimes.  What I feel like I should be doing is working on the creation of some great piece of art and sometimes that happens.  But no matter what I choose it's always accompanied by food.

Food is the great nap time dilemma.  I've eaten lunch, right?  I shouldn't need food and I understand that fact on a logical level.  However, my emotional mind craves love and relaxation.  For me that equals food...and more food.  If I didn't have this two hour window during the middle of the day where I eat like a cavernous beast, I would be in top model form.  Well, maybe not, but I would definitely be smaller around the middle...and the bottom, and the top.

I'm not terribly picky about what goes into my largest facial orifice.   It just needs to taste good and last longer than a couple of minutes.  I'm an awful good baker sometimes (sometimes not) and here I am in a house, mostly alone, with fresh homemade bread and soft real butter sitting on the counter.  I will not totally shame myself by admitting to how much I can down in one nap time session.  Let's just say it's a lot.

This is a conflict without a resolution, as yet.  There have been days and even weeks when I have overcome the beast within and even lost some weight.  I guess you could say that it was in remission.  But it keeps coming back.  If I get it figured out I'll let you know.  Until then...

...Sorry, went back in for another slice.