Sunday, October 02, 2016

I lied to my daughter

My kids know who Santa is and that if they want to get paid by the tooth fairy that they got to dig through my purse for coins. I have tried not to lie to my kids, but a few months ago when something in a box, high on a shelf in my bedroom, began to vibrate, I lied.

She said "what's that?"
I instinctively responded "a toy."
She asked to see it.
 I said "no, its for Christmas."
She said " Please can I see it? I wont tell anyone."
"No, its a surprise."

She has no idea what kind of surprise it is. Its the kind she'll figure out someday, sometime after she's married (I hope), in the middle of love making she'll pause and say "Oh MY. I just figured out what was vibrating that day in my parents' bedroom. All this time I was waiting for a remote control toy for Christmas."

Then, depending on her maturity and age, She will either by grossed out or impressed. Grossed out, because youngsters like to think sex is for the young. Or impressed because your grandparents still do it, and you hope, for their sake that personal lube is sold by the gallon at Costco.

I've always wondered why old people shop at Costco, its not like they have a small army to feed, but every Tuesday by 10:30 am there are lines of old couples checking out of Costco, each with 2 items in thier carts.One is the gallon of lube. The other is an item they picked up just to make it look like their only reason to go to Costco was not the lube.

And that, my friends, helps me to understand why people look forward to retirement and cruise ships.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

It's hard being a 10 month pregnant woman. Everything is sore. You're nauseous, but you can't eat, there is no room, yet you have heartburn and runs, and baby extends from your knees to your sternum. Then there is the sweating, always too hot with the internal heater heating your body ( the size of Godzilla) with enough BTUs that New York could become tropical.Your feet won't fit into your shoes nor your belly into maternity clothes. Every other step feels like a contraction and if baby moves or kicks the sensation is so big you can't breathe.
The baby belly is stretched so taught that your belly button disappears and when watermelon look at your belly they bow down in awe.

Then there is the changing of the hormones. It's kinda like pms, combined with cramps, multiplied by the work it takes to move the train engine size belly to do anything. . . Yes, I'm an ornery person trying not to bite your head off. Part of it is you can't sleep! For longer then it takes your kidneys to process an ounce of urine. And to move that pregnant belly out of bed 100 times every night, just so can pee takes some expertise in pre planning because of you move wrong in the slightest your extended, twisted and already sore abdomen muscles will send jolts of the most exquisite pain to the nerve center that you won't be able to move for another full five minutes- and on top of that you'll have to change your underpants, which at this stage of the game is nothing short of fun either.

Ok, enough with this pitty party, what I'm trying to say is that even though We feel like crap and the only thing we'd even dare go up in a beauty contest against is Thomas the tank engine, that we need your support. We need you to cuddle us and express to us that we are prettier than a train ( in fact I'd advise you don't you words like "train," "elephant," or "watermelon" when telling us how pretty we are.) rub our sore backs, bring us chocolates, and act like our watermelon, train size bodies turn you on, even though the chance of copulating around that thing drops every day. Baby us a little, spoil us a little. Pregnancy is not easy - we need your support

Sunday, February 07, 2016

Wild Things

This weekend felt like some pages out of "Where the Wild Things are." Where after wild rumpuses he wanted to be where someone loved him best of all, so he gave up being king of where the Wild Things Are and jumped into his boat and set off to sail for over a year and a day and into the night of his very own home where his found his supper waiting for him and it was still hot.

I came home to a loving family from what felt like far away across the world, to kids who cleaned my house and baked me a cake and gave me presents of dragons and bangles, and just had to hug me to death. Some would think I would be coming home to the wild things, but it felt as magical as the ending of the book always feels. "And it was still hot,"

Pregnancy secrets, we won't tell you in person

1. We bring an extra change of underwear to our exercise classes.

2. It still thrills us when our toddler falls asleep across our belly or on our chest.

3. Nothing fits comfortably, which is why we strip to almost nothing the minute we walk in the door. What fits where changes every minute of the day. Sometimes it depends on how to baby sit or if our breasts are going through one of their 10 pound moments.

4. You stink, the garbage stinks, the food smells either stinks or makes us drool. Fresh air can stink. I stink. Flowers stink, soap stinks,

5. Pregnancy makes you horny, and hungry, and horny and hungry, and of course tired. So all you want to do is pretend it's your honey-moon and eat, sleep and make love, over and over and over.

6. I love questions about parenting but hate about which kid is easier, boys or girls. In general there are a few similarities between girls that are different then boys, but each kid is so different, that I would have to tell you a detailed history of my child rearing days, and with 8 kids that would take all day, so I will just shrug and shake my head at you, unless, of course you want a day- long treatsie.

Wednesday, January 06, 2016

Pregnant with #8

Yesterday I heard this baby's heartbeat for the 1st time. It was good to have proof that the last 16 weeks of morning sickness has not been in vain. Being pregnant with #8 made quite a few people gasp, especially those who know we already have 4 with special needs. My husband and I, of course, have been wondering when should we get fixed and stop having babies. We knew we had to wait for after Arwen (she came #7, not #5, like we thought she would). And Arwen has been the dreamy, happy, cutie pumpkin that inspires us to smile and laugh at all the world holds. She is the child we wouldn't mind repeated. When she was born it didn't feel right to get fixed yet. 2 years later we could feel one was missing- the classic counting up the kids, and they are all there, but somehow one is missing. And sure enough over the full moon in September, we were horny little march hares and just couldn't get enough of each other without caring about birth control, when the time is right to conceive it is really really hard not to.

Yes, I have plans for my future. I am going to school full time in pre-med studies, pulling straight As. I am just your average almost 40, pregnant mother of 7, pursuing her pre-med studies, hoping to become a medical researcher MD at the Mayo clinic and revolutionize something useful and needful. Understanding autism would be fun, applying ground breaking research in neurology and dealing with the related fields of dyslexia and anxiety, but bringing dentistry into the new millennium would also be a worthy goal. Most likely, I will probably end up working on something that I can't even fathom at the moment.

When my first was born, I knew that I had found what I was born to do. I was born to do 2 things. First was to have babies (check, that can be counted as accomplished, mostly, I think), the second was to be a doctor or midwife. Because my first has autism, and required all hands on deck his first 12 years, I couldn't devote the time to continue my schooling until 13 years, and 5 kids, later.
So with all of this background and thoughts running through my head, I woke up this morning feeling like I want to have babies forever. Which, of course is a big cannon ball in the ships of logic. The advantage is, that I am mortal, and I assume I will follow a mortal course and nature will make it impossible for me to continue child bearing at some point. If I look at my grandmas: one had her last at 44 (thanks to birth control), and the other was pregnant at 50 (in 1956, and the doctors thought it was a tumor, until it starting kicking). If fertility actually declines as you get older (I haven't seen any personal evidence of that yet), then supposedly I should have less children in the next 10 years then in the previous.

So logic or feelings? Well logic has a major flaw. It has to have all the pertinent facts to draw a safe conclusion. Feelings, has a tendency to take into account, things we do not see or understand at the moment. And when in doubt, follow the path of love.

I like the simple things in life. The laughter of children, the work of daily living chores, the snuggling of a sleeping child on my chest, and a good bowl of beans while studying a physics text.

I dream of travel, of serving a mission in other countries and bringing clean water to villages. But I know happiness, no matter what circumstances you are in comes from within, and the life within me has the potential to bring me great joy.

Sunday, July 05, 2015

Our Week at Family Camp

Our Week Day at Family Camp

Last summer when my autistic son refused to stay at scout camp because he had to sleep in a tent and eat food made in their dining hall, I did some research and found they had a family camp with cabins we could sign up for. I was excited because then we could just bring Galen (our autistic son) to his troop everyday so he could join them in earning merit badges and doing all other fun camp things while still being able to sleep indoors and eat mom’s cooking.

So six months after we made family camp registration, our family packed up the van and spent 3 weeks in a national park-hoping camping trip (mostly in Utah and Arizona). We even got Galen into a tent (that took 3 nights) and hiking on trails. And two weeks after that we again threw our camping supplies in the back of the van and headed off to Family Camp.

We drove the 2 hours to the middle of nowhere, dropped our 12 and 14 year old scouts off to join their troops and continued down the road for the Family Camp. It took 25 minutes to get to the Family Camp from where the troops were staying, down a long and winding road. Then we met the director, handed our health forms over, all of which are supposed to be signed by a doctor. Did I mention that meant 6 Camp Physicals just for Family Camp?, Yeah, we are a family of 9.

Then we were directed to our cabin and told our cabin councilor would come along and share all the rules with us, and they handed us the paper wristbands that we were supposed to wear all week so that the Family Camp would know we belong there. Of course these wristbands are the kind used in water parks and fairgrounds to show you paid for entrance that day. We went to the fair on Saturday, and had wristbands just like this. My toddler chewed hers off in ½ hour.

We emptied our van into the cabin and I let my husband park the van and hike the ½ mile back into the cabins. By then I had already had to pull the knife that is part of the cabin’s supplies out of my toddler’s grip and turn off the stove. The stove’s controls were on the front, right at toddler level. Our cabin counselor came and ran down a list of things that makes camp more fun (an interesting euphemism for nicely requested rules. Of course our 9-year-old with a mood disorder saw right through that.)

Interesting things about the family camp cabins, they have a kitchen sink with hot and cold water, a couch that pulls out into a double bed and 4 bunk beds, but no toilet or showers or baths. The nearest facilities was an out-house down a little trail. When we were on our national park trip, our 4 year old, who we are currently trying to potty train, did a really good job keeping dry. We also managed to be close to restrooms with flush toilets and running water for each of our campsites, which he was constantly running off to, but whenever our bathroom stop included an outhouse or pit toilets, then he refused to use them and would rather go in his pants. Of course some of those out-houses looked like they would be happy to eat anybody under 8 , sucking them in in one swallow, to go swimming forever in the lake of urine and poo. So I could see why he would refuse.
It wasn’t a large surprize that the toddler’s diaper was nasty and leaked all over. I bathed her in the kitchen sink and started a dirty diaper bag (that we set outside the cabin for odiferous reasons).

After we settled into our cabin we hiked off to the lakefront and spent 25 minutes in an orientation of the rules, buddy system, buddy boards and boat cabin before we even set foot in the water. By that time, our 9 year old (with a Mood Disorder, and a learning disorder) was already throwing a fit because there were too many rules for him to remember. We had to keep on top of Clay (our 9- year-old) because he began throwing sand and rocks. But he eventually calmed down and went in the water, where he became unhappy because it was too shallow in the area he was allowed without passing any sort of swim test. His main complaint at this point was that he couldn’t even remember what he was supposed to do for his swim test. So he and the 4 year old, 2 year old and 7 year old all played in the shallow water.

I decided that because we could only take out any boats with someone who classifed as a swimmer, that the week would be more fun if I took a swim test, so I went and got my suit on. Upon my return I requested a swim test for both me and Clay. After jumping in the water and being shocked with the cold, I started the 6 laps that were required, but because I need to wear my glasses to see anything, I usually have to swim with my head out of the water. After 4 laps of the side stroke, surprised at how out of breath I was, I stopped to catch my breath. When I didn’t feel caught up in my breath after a short break, I gave up wondering if I played too hard this weekend  (if dragging kids to a parade and a fair and then packing for a camping trip is playing).  or was just out of shape. Clay didn’t pass his swim test either. He touched bottom too many times in his required 2 laps, he wasn’t very happy about that, but did try again, which he also failed. We cheered him for trying, and trying again, because that is a big accomplishment for Clay.

When the toddler begin to get shivery, we pulled the kids out of the water to head back to the cabin. One of the staff felt he had to tell us that Clay had been throwing sand and rocks, so we apologized, recognizing that they had no comprehension that not engaging the anger issues is often the best approach to defuse the bomb that Clay was becoming.  At no time did Clay pose a threat to himself or others, but he did pick on his siblings a little (we were on top of that too).

I checked the activity board, that afternoon they would be making postcards and offering swimming lessons for those who would want it. Tomorrow they would offer sailing lessons, (for those with swimming qualifications), an unspecified fitness class and another craft project. On Wednesday they would be doing more swimming and crafts and so on the rest of the week. So the scouts were doing archery, wood carving, riffle shooting, high ropes courses, video game design and the Family Camp does crafts and swimming, all with many rules to follow. Yikes. I started to miss the hikes and activities at the national park, that were parent led, and available whenever we wanted them, I also felt jealous of my scout boys.

We hung around the cabin through dinner time, made a nice spaghetti. But I bumped the stove when I reached grab and glass and it turned on and melted the  plastic bag that was on it. After dinner we decided to go for a walk and find the shower house, with laundry and flush toilets! About a block down from us and behind the row of cabins sat 2 shower houses and a brick storm shelter that doubled as a game room. My kids had fun playing fussball while I perused the bookshelf looking for interesting games and books. Finding nothing too interesting, I wandered over to the shower house and used the flush toilet in a little closet and looked that the layout of laundry facilities; 1 washer and 1 dryer in each bath house, and a laundry sink. The showers were tucked into the toilet closets, I am not sure if there was enough room to actually get in and out of the shower, I never had to try and find out for myself. We all used the flush toilets, but Reuben (potty training 4 year-old) refused to.

Before we made it to the lodge  Reuben was smelling stinky and and obviously wet himself, but I had neglected to bring the diaper bag on the walk, so we let him live with it until we got back. Down at the lodge the councillors were singing (yes, literally they sing activity announcements) about the religious meeting that was going to happen down at the group fire pit. We had just found a box labeled “yard toys” with badminton rackets and birdies with a net already set up.

Badminton was the most fun, teaching the kids how to serve, attempting to volley the birdie, even though the net was set up under trees and powerlines (and the birdie kept getting stuck in the tree, and knocked off its course by the power lines.) After badminton and time watching fish on the dock we wandered back to our cabin, and I had finally figured out how to get Reuben clean, because I felt they would frown upon us dumping a poopy bottomed boy into the lake (and they allow no access to the lake when the beach is closed). I realize we could wash him in the laundry tub, like we have often done at home, when he was smaller. So I got all the stuff to bath Reuben and we went back to the bath house (14th block of the day with toddlers in tow for those of you counting), and that is when I found out it only had cold water in the laundry tubs. So I double checked all the shower stalls to see if there was any chance of an actual bathtub, and ended up scrubbing the poo off the butt and legs of a 4 year old boy in a laundry tub, who was screaming, because the water was nearly freezing.

Some of the kids begged to go home, nothing new, we survived the last trip, and I didn’t let my optimism for it die no matter how hard they begged (and they learned to enjoy most of it too), but I had to admit to Mike, that maybe this wouldn’t work out, but we would sleep on it and see if we couldn’t get Galen to join his scout troop for some activities tomorrow (and maybe even for us to find something interesting to do). As the day finally waned we did our scripture study and family prayer and tucked the kids into their beds. Then we went to the kitchen/ living room, pushed the table to the counter and had just enough room to lay down our king sized air mattress that was so awesome on our last trip. The mattress set up with not even an inch to spare between the table, that was pushed up to the counter, and the couch.  We didn’t use the pull out of the couch because a double is just too small for the 3 of us.

I held off until the last rays of sun were shining before setting off on the hopefully last trip to the outhouse before morning. Then brushed my teeth and snuggled in for a well deserved good-night’s sleep.

Clay did come out of his bed several times to stand at the foot of our mattress, finally I woke up enough to ask what he needed, he said he couldn’t sleep. My bladder had awoken me, and I had already started dressing to go to the out-house again, and asked him if he needed to go too. He said yes, so we went. At this point the out-house that is snuggled off a short trail in the woods, might as well have been up a 50 foot climbing wall as far as accessibility was concerned,and there are no lights inside of it, so you better hope you have a flashlight. or you will be groping around in the spider infested outhouse in the dark. And there was quite some nice specimens of wolf and daddy long legs hanging around (literally) in there. That must have worked for Clay because slept the rest of the night.

Naturally, our toddler, who is still nursing refused to take to her crib and insisted she stay physically attached to me all night. And then the air mattress must have sprung a leak (at a seam most likely) because it kept deflating in the night, and it turns out that I wake up when my hips or shoulders press against a hard floor at night, of course moving off the air mattress to deflate it requires waking the toddler/baby, but the husband was already awake.  We re-inflated it 3 times. Then the toddler/baby and I moved up to the couch to sleep. The couch is only 4 feet long. At first the cushioning felt good, but then the crick in the neck and the cramping of the legs get you. I was up and dressed before 6 am. I had given up on sleep and also on this trip. We were not going to managed this trip if I couldn’t sleep.

So I made muffins, and packed up, and as the children got up they were mostly happy to hear that we were going home. By 8:30 we were finishing cleaning up and headed up to the lodge to let the staff know we would be going. They were just getting done with a morning meeting and made check out painless, handed us back the health forms, the ones that were supposed to have doctor’s signatures, and did a quick cabin check.

We then called our boys and troop leader to let them know we were not staying. Luckily, both the 12 and 14 year old scouts were having a great time.

After the 2 hour ride home, I put away the food and slept for 4 hours. All the kids crashed before 10:30 tonight, I look forward to more sleep. I don’t like to give up, I don’t do it easily, but while lying in my own bed, all that ran through my mind before I fell asleep was “There is no place like home, there is no place like home, there is no place like home.” And I clicked my heels together 3 times.

Living with a toddler

I'm trying to convince my 23 month old that she doesn't have to nurse *all* the time. "There is this thing," I tell her, "called a glass of water. It doesn't come attached to a sarcastic mother.

And why is it that she refuses to walk more then 10 steps should we be trying to get anywhere, but will run and run and run should we try to sit down and pay attention in church or go to a movie?