A couple of blogs that I follow that have recently brought up the issues regarding bulling and harassment around the gay issue in schools. There have been four known suicides of boy’s in the last month who struggled with this first hand. Lesbian Dad talked about it openly this morning, referring to the responsibility of not only the schools and administration to put a stop to it but for the gay community to share with these youth that things do get better. I normally am not emotionally drawn into these issues but being a lesbian who has two boys that someday will have to face these issues either from having a Mom who is gay or their own individual journey, it breaks my heart.
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In these moments, I would like to put my boy’s in a bubble not exposing them to the heartaches of this world. Yet I know that my job is not to shelter them but to educate them about acceptance and tolerance. Teach them that there are adults in their world besides me that they can trust and who love them exactly as they are. However, mostly how to love and accept themselves, a journey that many of are still traveling into adulthood.
I wish there was an easy answer. I wish my children could stay innocent and unscathed. My hope is that 10 years from now when they are entering adolescence the level of acceptance and tolerance will have grown. Moreover, if not my hope is that they will have a strong foundation and a unshakeable sense of self. I know big dreams!
Life has been a bit busy the couple weeks with lots of medical stuff and just living.
It was decided after a CT scan which showed enlarged adenoids and thickening of his sinus walls that Reese should have his adenoids out which happened this past week. He also had some blood work drawn which showed that his body did not respond to his pneumococcal vaccine. It is as if he did not get any of them. So they gave him another booster and he will have those titers drawn again in a few weeks. And if that wasn’t enough he had an allergic reaction to some chocolate pudding that he has had in the past which landed us in the ER this past Monday night. The poor little guy never gets a break. For some reason he has had to negotiate the majority of the medical issues since birth.
What has come up for me in a big way between the medical stuff and a couple other instances is what being a single parent is really all about. It started when they were tiny and crying at the same time. I had to pick who to respond to first. Figuring out if it was pain, hunger etc and then deciding what the priority was. It has shown up when on the playground and they run in separate directions, quickly triaging who is at the biggest risk for danger. Now it’s balancing physical needs and emotional needs. There is no quick answer or “right” answer. Much of it is going with my gut and saying a prayer.
What has also changed is that we lost a much-loved babysitter this past week. She has been for over 1 ½ years and the boy’s adore her. I felt safe leaving them with her even if there was an emergency and we even have tentative plans for her to stay overnight with them. I remember being a nanny when I was in nursing school and being told that there is no greater gift than having people love your children and keep them safe. I have to agree. She is planning on visiting and possibly doing some weekend coverage for me. But it won’t be the same as having her here 2-3x/week.
This leads to my other issue. I have to find someone to replace her, which has been challenging at best. I have someone I think who can do a meeting for me once a week, but I really need a bigger pool to draw from. I use my babysitters for meetings, extra work shifts and many other things. So right now, I am feeling like my world is getting small and that I will not have enough help. I am reaching out and letting people know that I need child care, I have sent out lots of responses to craigslist ads, now I wait. I don’t feel like I can hire just anybody who has experience with children. They need to be competent in an emergency, be able to keep the boy’s safe when outdoors and have similar values and I do. So it’s been a process.
The difference today is that I go to the place of being overwhelmed and thinking I am going to be dealing with all of this forever, but I only stay there for a few minutes. Then I remind myself that I am taken care of and I try and find the gratitude and gifts in all of it.
I am grateful to have many people in our lives who love us.
I am grateful to have two beautiful and loving children.
I am grateful that no matter what I am taken care of.
Sleeping together the afternoon of Reese's surgery...
This week we went to a new allergist for Reese. I was not happy with the bedside manner of the first guy we saw when he had his first reactions, he seemed very turned off by my level of education around food allergies and my lack of willingness to just “go along” with his suggestions. The second guy I like personality wise but he was not up to date on the latest testing and such. I was about to take him to Boston Children’s Hospital where he is also followed for his seizure history but there was a 4 month wait for the next appointment. Then one day we ran into one of the Early Intervention specialist that he used to work with, she was sitting with another Mom who’s partner happens to be an allergist that is new to town. I called later that day and got an appointment 3 days later.
Reese has a history of peanut, tree nut, egg, corn, coconut and sesame allergies. The peanut has cause an anaphylactic reaction on 2 occasions. The others have caused rashes and GI upset. I had re-introduced the egg and corn last summer after he a I tested negative for them. I thought we were in the clear. He seem to be tolerating them fine, however, he did have these occasional hive episodes and chronic sinus infections. But I didn’t correlate them with his allergies. Until the skin testing they did this past week. Corn has reared it’s ugly head again and she thinks that has been a contributer to his sinus infections and the hives. That was not what I wanted to hear.
Peanut, tree nuts and sesame are fairly easy to avoid in the allergy world. There is corn in EVERYTHING!! Think corn syrup, corn flour, corn starch, corn oil, and the list goes on. I have not been able to wrap my head around it completely. So slowly I am going through our food and putting aside what he can’t have. Going forward I will buy only food that he can have. I am only starting with obvious corn, the list of corn derivatives is long and overwhelming. Chances are since he has not had big reactions to corn then that is all I will have to watch. I hope so.
Wish me luck. This week he has lab work drawn and a CT scan of his sinuses and adenoids. The poor guy doesn’t know whats going to hit him!
essay writers for hire
I hear people in recovery share about how they no longer know what they enjoy doing or what their preferences for food or really anything are when they first are getting sober. I also hear mothers share that they have forgotten who they are and what they enjoy doing. Interestingly enough I fit into both categories.
I found out I was pregnant with the boy’s 2 weeks before I celebrated my 1 year anniversary in sobriety. I do not think I had really developed a sense of self yet. Then I became distracted by/obsessed with a high-risk pregnancy, preemies and then single motherhood with twins. The books I have read, magazines I subscribed to, music I downloaded etc. all changed to be child or parenting centered. All of these informative and enjoyable but none of it for pleasure only.
Recently I wrote a blog post of the 30 things I will do this summer. I did include a few things on there that are just because I like to do them. However, even looking at that list most of the items are centered on the boy’s and becoming a better parent. I did put on there to read books for enjoyment, write more and learn about photography, which are all things I enjoy. But beyond those and swimming I don’t really know what I enjoy to do. My new goal is to figure out what I like to do, just because I enjoy doing it. Not because someone else will enjoy the results or because it will be good for me.
This morning I took the boy’s to the YMCA and I put them in the childcare so I could go swimming. I have loved swimming as long as I can remember. Something happens when I am underwater and in the zone of doing laps. Nothing else matters and the weight of the day is gone. I have had many conflicting feelings about putting them in the childcare, which has prevented me from utilizing that part of our member ship more. I am fearful because they are not a nut free zone that Reese is going to go into anaphylaxis while I am in the pool. I also struggle with how many hours they are with other people taking care of them, despite the fact that they love playing with “friends” and new toys. So like usual the problem is me and my fears. We have an emergency plan in place for Reese and the boy’s are having fun. I am the only tortured one and I am doing it to myself. I guess I have more soul searching and letting go to do. Luckily it’s progress!
p>Someone recently asked me what a typical morning in our house looks like. Besides the normal coffee, breakfast, getting dressed here are some pictures of a few morning activities:
getting into trouble!!!
learning new things!
This was part of Wordful Wednesday!!
Well we’ve made it another six months! So much has happened and yet things seem status quo.
Health wise, knock on wood this has been the longest stretch of health in our house. Reese had tubes put in his ears at the beginning of the year and he has been ear infection free since. His language has exploded, it is clear now that his speech delay was directly related to the amount of fluid he chronically had in his ears. Other than a few colds, rashes and splinters that needed removing the pediatricians have seen significantly less of us.
Developmentally both boys are growing in leaps and bounds. They are both putting multiple words together and frequently I have to ask for moments of silence. The are perpetual balls of energy that are always looking for a new adventure. We frequent many playgrounds in the area throughout the week and I am looking forward to the wading pools to open in the next couple weeks for the summer. Recently we took a trip to the beach which they both still talk about, I am hoping that this summer will bring a few more trips to the ocean. They just finished a 6 week session of swimming lessons where they both did great. The instructor was very impressed at how quickly they acclimated to the water and picked up on some of the basic skills. I am looking forward to sharing that activity with them as they grow. We have started the process of potty training and have had some success with it but I don’t think diapers/pull-ups will be completely out of my life/budget for a few more months.
Some great news that we received last week is that both boy’s got a spot in the towns preschool starting in December when they turn 3 years old. They will be going two mornings a week which I think will be really good for them and me. We visit the family center in a local town and they really enjoy the activities and other children.
As for me, toddlerhood has brought with it a level of energy that has forced me to dig deep physically, spiritually and emotionally. Which has caused me to grow in ways I didn’t even know I needed too. It is harder work than I could have ever imagined and some days it leaves me wondering why I would want to do it again tomorrow. But I wake up the next day and then I find out something else about myself that I didn’t know I was capable of learning and then I continue to grow as they continue to grow.
p>The writing prompt I chose over at Mama Kat’s Writing Workshop this week is:
Who are you giving a timeout to?
The honest answer would be depends on the day. Time outs came into our lives last summer when the boy’s were about 20 months old and it was becoming clear that they needed some clear consequences for their actions. Mimzy and I decided that in order to be consistent we would go the “Supernanny” route and at first, it seemed to be helpful. Now I am not so sure. I will be truthful and say that I have not always been on the bandwagon. Sometimes I am a true believer and sometime it just does not seem to be working. It has been suggested to me that possibly the boy’s pick up on my lack of confidence in the time out process therefore it does not work for me. In addition, I wait until I am good and fed up with their behavior until I utilize it, instead of being matter of fact about it and taking the emotion out of it. At that point, I really need the time out not the child.
I have been doing a bit of reading lately and found that part of my problem is the underlying idea behind time outs that I have. I perceive them as punishment and abandonment. However, one of the books I read suggested that it was a regrouping time for both the child and the caregiver. That if we give time out no more life than that, and then we are actually giving our children a life skill that will be quite valuable through adulthood. I know that I have never had that skill up until recently and even now I under utilize it especially in my parenting.
As always, this writing assignment has given me some food for thought. Maybe giving time outs a different name and practicing how to give and take space before the situation is emotionally charged would be in everyone’s best interest. My goal going into being a parent was to guide my children not rule them and for some reason until now time outs has felt bad, so now I can hopefully take a different path.
The question of the week over at Multiples….and More this week is:
What is the best and worst advice you have ever received on raising your multiple’s?
When I first found out, I was pregnant with twins I read anything I could get my hands on regarding pregnancy with multiples and multiple infants. I went to mother of twins meetings and in my case read a lot on being a single mother by choice. I wanted to breastfeed so I went to Le Leche League meetings and went to a birthing class specifically for parents pregnant with multiples. I felt in some ways I was in an elite club and in some ways I was.
After the boy’s were born, I found that the advice that was coming in my direction was overwhelming at times and I was reminded that it was because people cared not because they were being judgmental. In fact, I fired a pediatrician for giving too much parenting advice. I wanted her to stick to the medical advice I did not want advice on how long to let my child sleep in my bed or whether or not refusing a bottle was a problem. So instead of getting upset every time I had to interact with her I got rid of her. Now, we have a great pediatrician who sticks with the medical stuff and reminds me to “go with my gut” when I have parenting questions.
I have gotten lots of great advice since becoming a mom but the two that stick out are:
- Some days may seem long but the years will go by fast, so enjoy the moments.
- You can give them all the “things” and discipline in the world but what they will remember is whether or not you always loved them.
As for taking advice, there is a concept in recovery that I utilize which is “take what you want and leave the rest”!
Mama Kat’s Writing Workshop:
I never imagined that I would be grateful to know what my weaknesses were. Pieces of my character I was ashamed of, could not talk about and thought I had no control over. When I hit the lowest point in my life just a few years ago, the gift of sobriety came into my life. However, a gift I had to work at to keep and the biggest part of that job is learning what my weaknesses are and becoming willing to let them go. One would think that letting go of weaknesses or defects would be exciting, I have found it to be quite frightening. These defects have also served as my coping skills when I did not have healthy ones and it takes practice and gathering of evidence to start to trust the new ones.
The dance looks something like this:
- Become aware of a weakness or coping skill that is no longer serving me
- Start to see it glaringly throughout my life
- Become willing to let go of that behavior
- Starting kicking the crap out of myself for continuing to behave this way despite knowing that it’s not serving me
- Have someone remind me that it is only through practice and awareness that these things change
- Start to see a new, healthier coping skill that might replace this one
- Practice the new one a few times with success
- Revert back to the old one, then get angry with myself again
- Find myself repeating the new behavior more and more
- Realize that it’s been awhile since I’ve done X,Y or X, but remember that old tool is always ready for me to pick up if I want it
The biggest challenge has been finding patience with me, especially when those behaviors involve my parenting. However, there is a saying in recovery “progress not perfection” and if that is the yardstick then I am doing pretty good!
The Question of the Week over at Multiples…and More! is:
Do you believe in Mother’s intuition?
I found this topic to be quite thought provoking. I do believe that as I have developed a relationship with both of my children that I have gained some “intuition”. Part of that is spending 24/7 with them and knowing every inch of them. Part of it I believe is a bond created throughout the pregnancy/birth process. Now that is not to say by any means that Mother through adoption or surrogacy does not have that same intuition, I have heard that there is just a bigger learning curve.
There have been times when I have known that something is just not right, long before the ear infection is diagnosed. I knew before the ultrasound that there was more than one baby; I was just praying it was not more than two. I am frequently awake before they wake up in the middle of the night when they need me. I am not sure if that is intuition or coincidence.
What is definitely becoming intuitive for me is when I know what to do as a mom or when I need to ask for advice or help; knowing how to explain a difficult situation or feelings at a child’s level; knowing when I need to take some time for myself and many other situations that I could name.
I am sure that did not gain these skills because I birthed children. I know that developing a conscious contact with something greater than me and trusting that, has invited that level of intuitiveness into my life. My job is to keep that connection open……