Next stop kindergarten- part 1

Yes my son is starting kindergarten, he is starting school. I mean real school, actual school- School School (I know, I know you get it). It feels big and he is not ready…okay I’m not ready. How could I be? And clearly he is not either. He is just a baby!

My parents have just left and we are running around like crazy, trying to get last minute things done. I order an extra nice backpack online (worrying if it’s nice ENOUGH or if dinosaurs are geeky or interesting or gulp; childish…?) the one my son really wants. I go out and get a tall star wars water bottle because that is what the “instructions” say “tall water bottle”- not Star Wars of course-but that’s cool…right? And so IN with the kids right now…(said no cool mom ever…)

Our first born is excited, but a little apprehensive too I can tell (or is it all my nerves?).

I leave the two oldest with the nanny and grab the baby and a trusted friend (who has done this all before) to go “back to school shopping”. The list is about a mile long of stuff and school supplies not only for your kid, but for other kids as well and the classroom…and entire school (and you know basically the whole community). I have never had to do this before (and can’t believe all parents do this…and I heard it gets “worse” the older your kid gets). I’m confused as well-what the heck is a 3 ring binder? A size what? double huh? , an A1 pencil a quadruple something something? This is not as straight forward as you might think, if you know what I’m getting at. Thank goodness I have help-I have to return half the stuff and go for round two (and here I thought I was doing pretty well).

I take all three kids clothes shopping (oh the absolute joy!). I want brands that are trendy enough, that says “we care about what we wear…but not too much”. “We are in the know…but you know very laid back”. “We are not cheap but not careless with money…not tacky or thoughtless but not wasteful and spoiled…not”…ah you get it by now!
This is exhausting!!! Not that I’m spending that MUCH time, energy, thought…or you know money! It not like I’m trying to impress anyone, no way…or am I?

We are new here, new house, new neighborhood, brand new location and school for all of us. Even though I care way less than I used to (it’s an ongoing struggle), I do care you know, a little bit…or less…more like a sliver. But who doesn’t want to be accepted and even we’ll liked? I mean my son now of course… And have to admit, I desperately want them to like him!
But it could only help to have (a super cool…who of course doesn’t use the phrase “super”…which was “super cool” back in the 90s where I come from) a well-like mom!

The “meet and great” with the class doesn’t go great. I feel like the kids are taller and more advanced than him (but come on they are supposed to be five…aren’t they?). I can tell he is trying though, because he is extra silly trying to make the other kids laugh and it’s not that is doesn’t work but it’s not like it does either…which makes my mommy heart so sad. I didn’t exactly help him, like my plan was either. I may have laid it on a little too thick with the cheeriness (remember, I was the mom being called rude by the preschool moms…I’m trying here). Except when cheeriness is not your “normal” (come on, I’m pretty happy and sweet) it come of a little…strange. Wait is that MY laugh? I don’t do fake…

I actually feel like the other moms seem nice. At least most of them (it’s like I’m waiting for someone to yell “just kidding, we don’t like your fake smile or your childish son”). They don’t seem snobby or stuck-up like I have been warned. Most of them have older kids and some of them have several (older kids in the same school). Two of them strike me as warm and genuine-they ask about the baby and talk about how happy he is and marvel over how my two year old was a preemie and now looks closer to three (yep: I used the preemie card-so sue me!). It’s just myself and two other moms who have “oldests” starting school. One seems friendly…the other not as much.

On the other hand one  of the boys is already making fun of my boy’s height (all in good fun, I’m sure…) and he gets pushed roughly down the slide by another one (right in front of me…but again they are all laughing-including my son). But just in case they don’t love him now- I know he can hold his own and that his sweetness and quirkiness will win them all over in the end.

I feel left out by the snack table (hey, I know it’s not about me…) with my little baby in the carrier and my bouncy two year old in hand. I feel like the other moms are already forming clicks. I’m running out of cheeriness, but at least my son seem to have found a friend (at least someone to talk to).

By the end of the meet and greet my boy actually begs to leave-well kid, I hear you, I’m exhausted too! We just can’t wait for school to start on Monday!!

 

A Back-Firing Baptism…

The sun is blazing on the outside patio where we have set up chairs, tables, decorations and balloons. Way too hot for comfort (especially considering some of the guests are young babies and others 80 year old plus) It’s probably to late to change all the stuff around outside now however, we are already running around in a frenzy. At least the food is set up inside with the perishables and cake within reach in the fridge. We are still getting ready and struggling with nap schedules (or lack thereof) when the first guests arrive and we haven’t even poured the welcome drinks. My hair is wet and then the baby has a blow out diaper all over his special outfit (just thankful it wasn’t his baptism gown passed down by generations).

The Godmother is late due to an oven fire (yes, I’m serious, she sent me pictures of the fire truck and everything). I have no other choice than asking the guests for help (obviously my parents are already helping and my husband is trying to juggle the two older kids). Unfortunately my mom has hurt her arm badly and can’t use it properly, but mind you, is still running around helping and setting up, but hurting and unable to do so with her usual speed and precision (pretty dang close though considering her arm won’t even extend past the elbow).

As I change little man, finding him a brand new outfit, more guests arrive. I have to ask our niece to pour the welcome drinks and mix my special mango/peach mimosas without me. Our daughter has what we call “a no nap” meltdown and runs around screaming in her diaper, refusing her pretty purple dress and even though almost all guest have arrived we are missing two very special guests…

We have invited my Dad’s cousin-whom I haven’t seen for probably more than fourteen years. When I first came here, I stayed with him and his wife and they helped me settle in to my University. My parents have seen them a couple of times through the years at family gatherings in Sweden and have gotten updated about each other through other cousins but with me being so busy and life just getting in the way we haven’t been able to see each other. He did help me with a few things I needed as a newbie in this country (including chasing down somebody trying to steal my bright yellow suitcase and co-signing my first apartment contract) and has been nothing but nice.

I just recently decided that I really should re-connect with him. I wanted my dad’s cousin (my dad is an only child so cousins became closer to him growing up-some more like siblings) to see me now-sixteen plus years after he dropped off a young, anxious girl at a school campus far, far from home! I wanted to introduce him and his wife to my husband and my three children- but even though he had confirmed that they were coming they were starting to get seriously late and everyone else had already arrived. The godmother/one of my best friends had even arrived leaving her husband and two sons to deal with their oven being on fire. She even managed to get here without a speeding ticket this time! (Inside joke).

I have known this girl for fifteen years and we have been through a lot, she is really the perfect and obvious choice as my little baby boy’s sponsor and Godmother! While we wait for our (elderly) guests (increasingly worried they have mixed up the dates…or worse) she wants to go over a little speech I asked her to hold for the baby (just s few words of wisdom really or a piece of advice for the future). She tells me she has picked a poem and I’m thinking perfect, what can go wrong?!

It’s a beautiful old poem of encouragement and strength and she did a great job researching and finding this…except…

it’s also the speech held at every 12 step program meeting…

Thanks to my parents, my hubby’s parents (his mom helping with the food and guests and his father performing the ceremony which he has been able to do for all our kids, which is so so special), our chosen Godparents and all our wonderful guests we are finally starting to get close to what resembles a baptism (despite some food order mishaps-almost poising said “wonderful guests”).

In the end the lost guests arrive- better late than never (and it’s great to see them after all these years and introduce them to my new family) the sun is excruciatingly hot (but most guests are able to eat inside -and the food is a hit) and the ceremony is just beautiful (the Godmother is talking straight from her heart instead) and actually everything is close to perfect!

There is really no time for devastation after my parents leave (the trip was way too short) because my first born is starting kindergarten…

Creepy crawlers, Indian Summer BBQs and a Baptism

Before we know it, August is here!
It’s still insanely hot (both outside and inside) so having a pool to cool down helps (minus the bees who apparently also want to cool down and drink the water). The kids have both benefited greatly from their swim lessons. The only downside is that they are displaying some risky behaviors their parents aren’t completely comfortable with. Water confidence has somehow translated in water UN-safety. My husband almost had a heart attack when baby girls went out (and then promptly disappeared) in the deep end and despite her safety vest went under…

luckily he wasn’t far away and was able to scoop her up rather quickly. She stayed on the side in the shallow end with her dollies for awhile after that (a day or too max).
The boy is insane, jumping and “swimming” in the deep end, flinging off his vest because he can (apparently) swim now-even though we require the vest on in the deep end at all times. If anything, I think we have to watch them MORE now. I’m terrified of that secondary drowning thing. Can you imagine? They seem fine and then they die in their sleep- your worst nightmare-literally! Even though I’m sure there must be more to the story…?

My first born is spending his first week of August at a local animal camp. It’s a rescue, hospital and shelter for all types of animals-and it’s right down the street. I’m hopeful that he will love spending time with and learning about different animals and sure enough he seems to be having a good time.
It’s hard to know sometimes since he doesn’t tell me stuff (is that already starting? Not telling your mom things… not even how your day was at the tender age of 5..?)

One of my friends who has her little boy at the same camp see a huge rattle snake in her yard and tells us about the horror. Since she lives in the same area as us my fear of these deadly (seriously) snakes comes back. I scan our yard like a madwoman every time I let the kids and our dog outside and I have nightmares about one of them getting bit. I drill them in “snake safety” (probably scaring them more than teaching them). My fear is not irrational however, they do come out in this heat and bites are not entirely uncommon-it does happen.
At a BBQ get together for our Neighborhood (complete with a huge bouncer, snow cones, pony rides and square dancing) a man tells us the terrifying story how a rattle snake bit him twenty minutes AFTER the head had been separated (with huge scissors) from its body. Freaking crazy is my reaction! Apparently this is completely possible. Another dad of a young daughter who will start kindergarten with our son, said that he had to save his kids from a rattlesnake the other week in their POOL. Okay, this is stuff nightmares are made of.

We also have friends over to the house for BBQs of our own. It’s so nice to sit outside eating with good friends, the warm summer breeze, the lush palm trees and the many hot air balloons flying by. Kids are running around the house which now really feels like a home and I feel completely satisfied and comfortable to my core- what a great feeling. I have such a great family, wonderful friends and our house is finally coming together. We have unpacked everything, decorated just enough to be able to live and with some added style (with my mom’s help and excellent touches), I have the kids on somewhat of a schedule, they have gotten “used to” the baby, his colic is basically gone and he is eating (great) and sleeping as well as can be expected (not so great still)!

Even though beautiful, warm and serene, August is the month of creepy crawlers, huge spiders, snakes and even scorpions. BUT, it’s also the month of baby’s baptism!

It will be a time of celebration and family! My husband’s dad will baptize the baby like he did our other two and he will wear the gown my dad wore when he got baptized as the other two did (the baby not my father in law!!)
My parents are both flying in and we have a hectic but fun packed week planned. The whole house is excited!!

We go to the beach, beautiful locations in our new neighborhood, coffee shops and yummy restaurants, outlet malls and even a sightseeing tour of our scenic downtown. We take the “bus that turns into a boat” touring the harbor and the kids love it. I’m sitting with the baby who thankfully sleeps for the first half of the tour-especially since my daughter is out of control and I’m worried about her falling overboard. There is a ton of bouncing, yelling and climbing going on. Luckily she calms down when we spy some dolphins and sea lions up close. Then it is baby boy’s turn to wake up very unhappy. My big boy sits with my dad and they seem to enjoy themselves. Baby cries are escalating but before we know it the now boat turns right back into a bus again and we drive back through the downtown (where I have a lot of fun memories from long ago-some blurrier than others…).

The kids are so excited to have their Swedish grandparents here, my big boy also knows it is the last hurrah before school starts, my daughter loves talking to my mom and do girl stuff with us while the baby really takes to my dad!
My parents go out to dinner with my husband’s parents and have a great time (me sitting up waiting with my tea and my babies like I’m their parent too). We are also treating my parents to a much needed night out at the theatre!

But the main even is Sunday’s baptism, which doesn’t exactly go according to plan…

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The magical month of July!!

How come the magical and arguably the best month of summer July,no school; end OR start, no stress, (wait was the “no stress” part before having children!?) always go so fast?. It races away in a haze.

Our July doesn’t start great with illness and almost unbearable heat. We are trying to save by not turning on the AC as much in the house but with our many large windows framing the family and living room it creates a vacuum of heat and you can hardly breathe. The kids have swimming three days a week (and are making great advances-when they listen to the swim instructor that is) and no camps. I signed my daughter up for dance Friday mornings and have the nanny come entertain my oldest (or is it the other way around?!).

I’m keeping baby girl out of the pool the first week due to some “diaper issues” (those swim diapers are not really built for holding anything, now are they) and I’m trying to save our pool (and myself from a major clean up) and my daughter from embarrassment (she totally wouldn’t care) even though she is feeling better. She is very mad that brother gets to swim and very curious about the swim instructor. We (meaning my daughter) watch brother every lesson in full on swim gear even though only toes (and feet) can go in the pool. Every time my son needs to work towards a promise of a favorite thing in order to listen to instructions (since he doesn’t like most food the options are limited and pretty much narrowed down to “Subway” , frozen yoghurt (ice cream) or a cookie at Starbucks (don’t judge). I also promised him a small toy if he will swim by the end of the four weeks. His listening skills are improved by constant reminders but he tends to forget very frequently and has been known to do “his own thing”. The instructor who apparently used to be an elite swimmer gets very frustrated-seemingly much better at swimming than dealing with small kids.

All the lessons means less social time outside of the house, especially if you add soccer Mondays and dance Fridays but we are still able to steal some ice cream dates with close friends. By the end of that first week the kids are all feeling like themselves again and I am beyond relieved to be out of the bad diapers/added laundry (gross) trenches!

I finally think the leaking of various body fluids (I know major yuck! …oddly enough less so if you are a parent of little kids…or maybe not so odd considering the frequency of said fluids..) is over. I venture out to Target. With the oldest (still recovering somewhat) safely at home with daddy (watching football) , I bring the other two.

Since I am the youngest’s walking, talking food source (and since hubby is not quite comfortable with him yet) he is coming too!
He is all smiles so it clearly (almost…eh not fully) make up for the two year old’s whining.

I know she has been sick and all and that she is tired but come on…everything is “no”.
Are you hungry, tired, need diaper change, hug…new shoes? No, no, no!
She is in full on 2 year mode, and of course everything I do is wrong-and she complains about it-loudly!!

I’m barely hanging on as I scroll down my “iPhone reminder list” of stuff we really need (and you know a few… occasional extras) as my toddler is reduced to tears after not getting a new “Peppa Pig” toy! In my head I mentally repeat “avoid the toy aisle…always always avoid the toy aisle…even if it means getting creative with diversion strategies and round about ways to get to the things you want. Even if you need something in the aisle next to the toys- do not, I repeat, do NOT pass them!!”
No shortcuts parents-this is serious mental planning. Think I should suck it up and take the whining, crying, melt down, “tantruming”?
Let me tell you many of time-I have and let’s just say it’s so not worth it, but today she spied this toy and being in the mood she is in; its all over…

I briefly distract her with some new shiny shoes but let’s face it- they are no Peppa pig’s dream house substitute…
At least the full on drama tears have subsided into heavy sobs and violent hiccups, not (barely) facing this brave mama! But here we are back to full on tantrum tears (aren’t they the most fun “people are officially starring and judging” kind”). Wait, what the heck happened now???
Oh, I see who was the complete idiot putting “Doc McStuffin’s” Lego set amongst the shoes huh, huh??

It’s clearly time to escape this place before my perfect little angel of a baby boy wakes up too- not so perfect…and far from an angel.

It’s Sunday-therefore all lines are long. When we are up next and I think we made it, guess who wakes up…?

The not so sympathetic cashier ring up my items painfully slow as both my kiddos wail, scream, yell and cry in a potpourri of scorned, disappointed, ignored, hurtful (as well as hungry) emotions. They are clearly being unfairly treated (according to everyone but me. This is when the cashier holds up a pink and purple Peppa Pig set (well…you know…) with some suspicious brown stains on them. I match her disgusted look at first genuinely confused …until I look down at the cart…and the seat occupied by my daughter…

 

 

Happy friggin 4th!!!

Hubby is scheduled to fly out early morning on the Fourth of July and I’m not going to lie- it sucks!

But we are not going to let that keep us from the fun-oh no!

We have a full day of celebration planned this year. We are going to a parade (have never seen a real live American parade before and am really excited!!) in our neighborhood and fireworks by the beach (love fireworks) and we are bringing grandma and grandpa (and hopefully uncle, aunt and cousins as well) along! I have bought food for a family BBQ and festive paper plates, cups and utensils as well as quite a few Independence Day decorations! I have also laid out matching flag colored outfits for myself and all the three kids! The weather promises to be warm and sunny but not too hot. Maybe we can swim in the pool and grandparents can take the littlest baby so that I actually get to cool down and splash around as well. I can’t wait to spend some much needed quality play time with my kids!

I’m in high spirits; baby’s first fourth- lets do this!!!

And then darling daughter wakes up with a fever and then an extremely runny (smelly, leaky) diaper….
Which after breakfast leads to another…and another…with the mood to follow!
Can you say; complete toddler meltdown!

So yeah, we wave bye bye to daddy dearest (oh yeah; thanks for leaving me Hun!) as I rapidly begin to understand that nobody is going to want to hang out with us on this very special day…

Holiday or not, kids get sick and there is nothing you can do about it. I cancel all our plans with friends as well as family. It’s all good, we will make it work, it is just the crankiness and the overwhelming loneliness I feel when kid number two starts throwing up…

I order in food, but right now I only have one kid willing to eat and that would be the one without any teeth!

Its not like I have time to eat anything anyways, I’m running around like a mad woman, and strangely enough the idea of eating while people around me (and on me) are vomiting (and dry heaving) does not seem that appetizing…

I stream YouTube videos on the tv and keep changing diapers, smearing diaper rash cream, wiping butts as well as tears and pushing fluids.

I desperately stage some photos in memory of this “special” day of all my little kiddos in their outfits (good thing my “fancy” camera snaps dozens of photos in seconds because there are no willing participants and especially my daughter will not stand for it) on the patio- which turn out more sad than funny (keeping up the facade right…or not).

I change them out of their celebratory clothes right after our private little (disastrous) photo shoot scared any nasty fluids will make the nice outfits filthy (the washer and dryer already working overtime).
Of course my toddler throws another tantrum wanting to keep her red, white and blue Tommy Hilfiger dress on…

Let’s just say I’m in for a long night…

The kind of night where in between nightly nursing session (and they are plenty) I have to change sheets twice (we are now out of sheets that fit our bed), wrestle as well as share said bed with not one, not two, but three sweaty, germy kids (good thing I love them). I also have one of them throw up as I brush their teeth-after having thrown up…Hate when that happens!

I’m laying awake in our big bed (that suddenly feels small and cramped) when all the kiddos are finally asleep listening to each of their individual breathing patterns, (one arm around my beautiful daughter and another around my littlest man, while my big helper sleeps by my feet…for some reason) listening to their little whimpers and snores and my heart fills with so my love that I can hardly stand it…

Yes, they are a handful, and messy and smelly and oh so loud but at the end of the day I am just so so grateful to have them! Grateful that they are here with me, healthy and happy and whole (even with a nasty stomach bug) . They are my biggest accomplishments; who would have knows after my degrees and my diplomas that being a mommy would make me feel so important, so proud and so extraordinary!

Hope you had a great 4th of July this year everyone-I did despite it all (I have to admit it was pretty bad…and sad). I had a holiday I didn’t expect, one that I didn’t see coming and I was all alone to handle it all. But I think maybe that we have all been there one time or another and anyways; isn’t that what us mothers do…? We care and we fix…and we handle!

Too late I realize there in the pitch black room (while my five year old is mumbling something about Star Wars and transformers in his sleep) that I forgot to cancel the swim instructor-scheduled to come first thing in the morning…

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Between a rock and a hard [head] place!

I drive as fast as I dare, freaking myself out when I’m allowing myself to think at every stop sign and red light. After I park haphazardly across two parking spots, I grab the kiddos telling them that we have to hurry to make sure big brother is okay!

I run with my littlest bumping against my stomach (still that stubborn belly looks about four months pregnant, seriously…) in his carrier. Baby girl’s little legs can barely keep up with me and I keep squeezing her hand to follow along, but it’s like she knows this is serious so she is not whining or complaining.

When I reach the camp site I catch my breath and it’s like I can’t breathe again until I see him…

Playing …

He seems fine, running around with his friends. I stop to ask the camp leader what really happened. The story is scary really. The rock that another boy threw on my son’s head looks huge. I close my eyes for a second, thanking God that he is okay.
His leader tells me he was dizzy after the accident and had to lay down, they also iced his bump for a good half hour. At least the boy throwing the rock didn’t mean to. It was truly an accident and they were just playing (dragons apparently…). I do have time to think (which I realize is a little nuts…but I always kind of go there…) “I’m glad it wasn’t MY son throwing the rock”…

The camp director had told me to call my son’s doctor just in case, (hopefully out of genuine care and concern not only liability) because the rock was so big and it did make him fall to the ground and made him groggy afterwards.
As I collect my son (and all his stuff), my two other little ones are being really good. As we are walking with his friend and her mom (and my friend) towards the car his legs does look wobbly and he falls down when trying to play with her on the top of the hill by the parking lot. He tells me that “everything is still spinning”…
And that would be my cue to call the doctor…
Better safe than sorry for sure!

Unfortunately his doctor is out of town but another doctor will see him as soon as we are able to come, they take head injuries like that very seriously (even though his bump isn’t that big-it’s not about the bump on the outside…). We have to cancel ice cream with our friends and head straight for the doctors’ office.

The new female doctor is completely serious and has my son go through a series of tests where he has to walk in a straight line, move legs and arms certain ways and follow her fingers with his eyes. He is acting tired and tells her he feels faint so she has him laying down and we all get to wait until he feels better. I guess I make a face like “really it can’t be that bad”… Because she gives me a stern look and tells me that my son has a concussion and that I need to be very cautious as well as concerned and as long as he is feeling tired, faint and disoriented we will have to stay in the doctors’ office.
I assure her that I’m taking my son’s condition very seriously and that I AM in fact concerned…its just that it’s really hard to just “hang out” here with two other little ones…

My two years old is hungry and cranky and I’m trying to nurse the baby while she is yelling that she want to go home. My oldest is uncharacteristically quiet, laying down, which does worry me.

Two hours, a tantrum, three poopy diapers and some random spit up and clothes changing later the doctor is finally willing to let us go. Before she does so I have to sign some papers basically promising to take him straight to the ER if he starts acting funny, to keep him still (hmm) for the next week (yup; not a problem whatsoever…) and the dangers of a second blow to his head (brain bleed…ok time to get on board with the scariness of the situation). I listen to the doctor and I sign, collecting my three very, tired, hungry and whiny kids (I’m exhausted myself).

Everyone is gone for the day, the office and lobby empty, dark and quiet. I take my son “potty” (an older woman pointing out as she leaves that maybe he is old enough to go to the men’s restroom by himself…soo not the time lady…) and change the other two’s diapers before we leave the building (hoping that they will not lock us in here while we are in the bathroom). Luckily we make it out okay and head straight for Whole Foods (aka “whole paycheck” I know) buying the kids ridiculously expensive snacks and juices as well as really yummy pizza!
My son is chatting away, teasing his little sister and tickling his little brother at the table we struggled to get to outside, stroller, pizza, groceries, kids and all…
I’m just grateful he is okay!!

We are now gearing up for a quiet and really restful (!) week at home-heading for the 4th of July with tons of fun plans before daddy goes out of town for work for another week…

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Right after

 

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The day after

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Super mom and hard heads…

I love having three kids, I always, always wanted THREE!! Didn’t I mention that before, no?

But seriously this baby is so dreamy it doesn’t feel at all like the other two (can I say that…?). Yes, I might be older and more sleep deprived and I have two older ones this time around, but it’s like he knows this (taking it easy on his mama) with every toothless grin. His smiles make my heart melt every time and he smiles way more than he cries. He is still only two months old but he is quite the charmer and so easy going. I’m not comparing here (would never) but…

When we are out and about our little (big) baby just tags along. His big brother loves to love on him (this is also the kid with major boundary issues..but the biggest heart..but baby boy doesn’t seem to mind/quite the opposite…more toothless grins) and his sister wants to change, clothe and bathe him (no I don’t let her…she is two, people!) -but mostly she wants me to put him down somewhere (no smiles here), so I can carry her instead!

Everywhere I go, I get compliments. It’s very flattering really, it’s not like I have an obscene amount of kids-I mean some people have four or even more (and seem to juggle them just fine). Those moms (and/or dads) are the true heroes (my husband is one of five for example). I go to Subway (sandwich place my oldest son is particularly fond of), nursing the littlest, while trying to break off a food fight between the older two and calm down the yelling (5 year old) and the random requests turned tantrums (2 year old). This mom comes up to our table and out of nowhere she tells me I’m amazing and that she only has ONE two year whom she can barely handle. It feels nice and kinda needed.

This is one of the things I love about Americans, their ability and ease of complimenting total strangers! I mean they so don’t need to.

 

 

At Ikea the other day (represent!) a lady totally gets out of her way to tell me I should get “the mother of the year award” (as I roll a cart full of stuff as well as my two year old, baby in the carrier, preschooler in one hand-ordering hotdogs, pizza AND ice cream; hey! Don’t judge!!). A Swede (and I am one) would never (never say never) do this and I really appreciate it!

Today I drop off at camp, even though my son has received his third and final warning-hoping against all odds that they let him stay (let’s just say we BOTH need him too) and this mom tells me I’m so awesome for getting three kids ready in the morning and for still being on time (kind of). I thank her, but she probably has no idea how much this means to me. A couple of nice words can really make a difference! (Thanks again nice camp mom with the Cali hat and purple yoga pants!)
The drop off goes smoothly to all our surprise but it’s not the usual girl checking us in! The guy who does gives me strange looks as I wait around, easing my way backwards towards the car, expecting them to call me back to get my little short delinquent any moment, but nothing! Yes!

Not so fast…

I’m on the phone Skyping with my mom once I’m back home with my two little ones, when an unfamiliar Arizona number pops up on my phone. I usually don’t answer weird numbers but as soon as I miss the call I fear it might be from my son’s camp.

As I listen to the voicemail-I’m filled with dread. It’s the camp director and she is telling me to come get my son right away…

Not because he is in fact kicked out or has done anything wrong, no… quite the opposite- he is the one who is hurt…

“It’s his head mom” I yell, “he got hit, he is dizzy and laying down, telling them his tired (tired…MY son?). I have to get him right away”. As I’m  running around, changing the baby (kinda had to be down), letting the dog inside and strapping two kids into their car seats, I fear the worst-he got hit in the head and I brought him there. I brought him to this camp. I brought him there even though he had three warnings and we were told three warnings meant that you are kicked out…
Maybe it was a sign…I took him anyways…
What if this injury is way worse than they told me…

lost boy and various leakage…

 

Talking about special moments, hubby and I have started our exercise regime again (they don’t call it “working” out for nothing).
Let me tell you, it is brutal. I’m so incredible sore after doing next to nothing and it’s just so disappointing!
On top of that I seem to have completely lost my abs. They are far gone, and I worked so hard to gain them back after our princess was born. I was actually in pretty good shape after becoming pregnant with number three…
Now he is sitting there in sister’s pink baby bouncer, happy as can be with his toothless grins, while we work out, so it is impossible not to think it’s worth it (a million times over of course).
If he would only sleep more at night as to not turn mommy into a day time zombie (read; for example only shaving one leg in the shower…twice in a row…and yes, unfortunately it WAS the same leg).

I’m worried about driving my kids around in this state of acute sleep deprivation but oldest has his adventure camp! That is going okay so far but I know it’s early yet and since it’s his first week, he is still charming everyone with his big brown eyes, blond (nearly white) hair, crooked smile and smooth talking (yep, he can charm his way out of everything – until you catch on). This is totally his honeymoon phase! (Camp leaders are still smiling…I’m not about to warn them but my insides are screaming “you just wait…” While on the outside I’m also smiling, thanking them for their compliments about my son…soaking it all in-while I can!)

Today after picking him up from camp (after an early morning of getting three kids ready and a couple of hours of just having two kids-both refusing to nap with me) I have the brilliant idea of taking us all grocery shopping! (Well we are out of numerous essential, you know such as diapers and…Apple juice…my kids are “Apple juice-oholics” shush don’t tell the perfect “no juice mommies” not even the organic, “only sugar from fruit” kinds).

As I pull up to camp, both kids are sleeping (of course they are). The older one crying hysterically when I lift her out of the car brutally waking her. She is naturally refusing to walk claiming her “legs don’t work” but I need to get her little brother. As I carry her around the car, I try to explain this to her, hmm, yeah to a two-year old! I was on time, even slightly early but now I’m getting late (of course I am).

I run, half way dragging my “terrible two-er” while bouncing my little guy in the baby carrier, out of breath towards my son’s group leader. How weird, why isn’t she smiling today?
“Yes, okay, I understand, we will totally tell him about this at home and about the seriousness of staying with the group, not running away and to listen to the group leaders, yes, yes, of course, yes!”
Well, okay, hm!
As I walk, a little less bouncy back with my little loves another mom start sniffing around me announcing that somebody sure is smelly (sigh), while another mom chimes in “smelly belly” (big sigh), “someone has made a poo poo” (huge…)
Okay, I guiltily start smelling my two youngest kiddos. It’s the littlest one and I have to agree it does smell nasty (for only eating breastmilk this guy sure both poops and smells a lot).

I trek over to the restroom, only finding the men’s (oh well, while at camp!)
Of course there is no changing table and the floor is well, really dirty. I can’t go back out there with mr. Smelly pants, otherwise I would have changed him in my car (but not ready for that particular “walk of shame” at the moment).

I put my poor baby Bjorn carrier down on the bathroom floor after having wiped it off (the floor not the carrier-that WAS clean) with a wet paper towel (this is not easy mind you with three little ones in tow, infant boy hanging haphazardly while I mop the ground (not nearly good enough). Then I put the sheer dinosaur swaddle blanket on top of the carrier and finally the baby (who is not happy about this development).

Its not only a stinky one but a leaky one as well (great!) and it ends up being impossible not getting it all over the blanket…
I ask my older son if he needs to go potty, you know while we are here and sniff my daughters diaper too- but no, all good there!

Changing this diaper would go much faster if the toddler isn’t screaming in my ear while hitting her brother-who yells for me to hurry up because there are people waiting (really…) and that I really shouldn’t be in here because this is after all the MEN’S restroom (reeeaaallly)- the only thing appeasing my daughter is “to fix my hair” violently while I’m down on all fours-at a dirty men’s bathroom at a kid’s camp cleaning up poop…
Well you get it, right?

Almost all the way back to the car my oldest announces; I have to go poop!
Very pleased with himself…

We go all the way back, now finding the Women’s restroom a little closer but of course he won’t go there-oh no!
Then we wait for what seems like a really long time. How I manage to keep the little ones entertained beats me-all I know is littlest boy gets some milk and girly gets extremely muddy at the same time. I start thinking about whether I have an extra towel in the car I can put her on..and how bad she will look at the store (read dirty and neglected).

All the way back at the car, guess who smells awful?

Checking her, something brown is seeping thru her pants…and it’s NOT the mud…

The car now smells terrible because I refused to trek back to that restroom again (or any other restroom).

At the store they are all getting on my last nerve. Typically sweet and easy going baby boy has had enough, now loudly announcing that he hates the baby carrier…grocery shopping (apparently) and life in general with desperate wails and heartbreaking sobs in between, only to gain enough energy for more wails! The older kids do not want to be in the cart but drive it! – need I say more??
Such good helpers!!!

I leave my oldest son with the cart to go down the aisle to grab some rice (the good basmati kind…you know not laced with arsenic), holding my girl’s hand and trying to bounce and ignore my miserable baby at the same time.

While picking the rice I hear a store employer’s concerned voice “I’m so sorry your mom left you, we will do anything to help you find her, don’t worry my poor, sweet little man”. I have time to feel sorry for the mom, the kid probably was being a brat and ran away from her or something and this store employer is laying it on thick guilting that poor mom.

As I turn around I see that it IS my son chatting with the store worker, tears running down his face and all…

I raise my voice (scaring my two other kids)
“But I’m right here, I told you to watch the cart so I could go and get rice…
I’m in the SAME aisle”….

My face red-hot, I grab my son, mumble thanks to the confused women trying to help him, leaving the cart.

As I get my bearings, retrieving the cart, because you know we NEED those things, my breasts start to leak, spraying milk right through my dress (and it is not black), dripping down the front while I’m trying to juggle three kids AND pay for our groceries!

Pool Parties and Preschool Graduations

The last day of preschool approaches and the “class moms” (including the one that called me rude about a year ago) have organized a graduation party. I was able to get back into their good graces by smiling more (no more bitchy resting face-it IS a thing people!) and by being more chatty, engaged and interested (even though I’m so not..). I got mixed results, but one being, the other moms at least greeted me and would even throw out a random question here and there, and take some interest in my pregnancy and then newborn (not AS interesting since labor went flawlessly…am I’m being mean and bitter now…?) I did it all for darling son of course. But then said “darling son” goes and tells his entire class (12 boys and two girls) about his birthday party and that they are naturally invited each and everyone of them!…except they are not, not one of them. He has apparently told them all the details of his Pirate Pool Party so that the next time his teacher (miss butterfly in the butterfly class…) tells me I’m such and angel for inviting the whole, entire class! (Yep…angel!!!) and the class mom’s twin boys are dancing and screaming “pool party, pool party, pool party” jumping up and down with glee!
I try to get a word in but am very unsuccessful. After the fact – meaning AFTER the party where not one of his preschool class friends attended/were invited (WHAT? I’m not friends with these parents, I don’t know them whatsoever, we have just moved…into another community and our son is moving on to another school in another part of town in the fall…and truly we have enough with a large family and his little Swedish friends! Wait…are you still judging??) I lamely tried to tell the class mom and the teacher as said son said he had the best party EVER (well, that is just awesome…but…) that it was mostly just close family…
“Yes mom was worried because SOO many people were invited so we needed TONS of food, two cakes and lots of stuff…we had like 50 guests…” Ooookay!
Back on the s*it list I’ll tell you!

Our baby boy is already seven weeks and almost two months old, where did the time go? My oldest is now graduating from preschool which I guess it’s pretty big! I can’t believe he starts school next year (even if it’s only kindergarten, we didn’t think he was ready but he has matured so much and has so much language now, maybe it’s just his parents who aren’t ready…). Big boy wears a cap and gown (even if the gown is just a small white sheet…or hmm table cloth, with a hole for the head). First ceremony of many, it’s a little silly I know but I actually like this kind of silly, I like how Americans embrace celebrations and (sometimes) go over the top, and as I look around the church at this, my sons preschool graduation, I sob with the best of them (to my defense you not only get extra emotional while pregnant but also while breastfeeding!…google it! The struggle is real). The whole family dresses up so nicely and we are immensely proud of our boy-even if he does keep his head down, starring at the ground both as he walks in and out, shouts in the microphone and keeps asking his teacher what he is suppose to say (instead if answering questions about his favorite things to do at preschool etc ” WHAT DO I LIKE AGAIN?” .

This preschool graduation party at a nearby park went “so-so” if you know what I mean. I was “politely” told not to breastfeed so close to the kids, completely ignored after having answered the question where our son would attend kindergarten, and got many eye rolls for various things. I even overheard some moms taking behind my back about how I think I am “all that” “, so catty and also so not true!

I wouldn’t even care (I truly evolved in that department…from caring what EVERYONE thought…) if it didn’t affect my son. Even kids this young pick up on these things…
I even have the audacity to ask one of the moms to keep an eye on my oldest while I change a particularly bad toddler diaper in the park’s bad excuse for a restroom while my infant hangs low from the baby carrier as I try to wipe and change his sister (not the easiest task mind you). Even though my 5-year old is in the same spot where I left him (unfortunately being a little rough with other boys, at least they are being rough right back) I still get more eye rolls.

As we leave the class mom with her mom pose yell out that they will probably never see us again now that we moved on to (dripping with sarcasm here) “bigger and better things”…
If my get away was smooth it might have been a good wrap up, but of course I have to stump my big toe on a picnic table (it freaking hurt) and then as I drive away I go completely over the high curb with my big new SUV…(very smooth)  Oh well, the kids thought it was cool (even if I almost had a heart attack and thought I hit something at the loud thump)…

We have such a long, fun summer planned ahead. Even if I know it will be a lot with a newborn and my husband’s busy, hectic work schedule meaning I will be alone with all three kids a lot, I know we will enjoy having those special moments together..

Clean bill of health, missed calls and appointments …

I have already missed a couple of phone calls and a handful of texts from my husband by the time I stroll baby and myself into waiting room number two on the fourth level. He is obviously worried that he will miss his next appointment and frankly at this point, so am I. I get called about fifteen minutes after my appointment time and sure if this takes less than ten minutes he could still make it…but somehow I doubt it. As I’m waiting in the room (slightly nervousness to see the “stupid” nurse, or rather the nurse I called stupid…several times…not knowing that she overheard, walking just a few feet behind me, again). I quickly text my husband to get to the fourth level parking and park his car next to mine to make the transition easier once I’m done (it will be worth the parking fee if he makes it back to work on time).

I hear the nurse getting my chart and telling the other nurse that she is ready to see me next. Great! Maybe we are in luck today and I will get cleared, and fast! I can’t wait to get back to “regular” life (well, you know as regular it can get with three kids five and under…) and for this to be an easy check-up without any drama, health issues or complications. It is about now my baby starts crying, well excuse me, wailing would be the more accurate term. The first nurse pops her head in the room to tell me that I am up next and to marvel over how huge my baby is! Since they are a speciality clinic for high risk pregnancies only, they are usually used to premature babies (meaning tiny, and he is definitely not that). Even though he is average in size they see him as ginormous being used to babies not fully cooked yet and I hear her telling the other staff how big he is, but also how cute! He would be even cuter if he stopped killing my ear drums, what do I do here? It’s kind of hard to feed him while you are laying basically naked on a “bed” legs  wide spread high up in the air…
This is precisely why I feed him BEFORE we left the car for this appointment.

I’m sure the next knock means nurse Stupid is ready for me…

But no, there she is again, the first nurse, telling me I have to pick the poor baby up, they can hear him all the way out in the waiting room. I try to tell her that he is fine, he has been feed and I’m really in a hurry, without sounding like the worst mom ever, but to no avail…
I can’t believe she is giving me the “always pick your infant up when he is crying speech” ESPECIALLY if he is under three months old…
“I’ll just be back after you have nursed him”…
“No wait, wait, wait, this will only literally take two minutes” (because my kiddos are fast eaters and you know, he HAS been fed)…

Two minutes obviously turn into twenty, I even go looking for the nurse (or anybody that can help me really) with my now perfectly happy , smiling baby! No one is willing to take a peak between my legs (hm, that is truly their job here and nothing odd mind you) to just give me a quick bill of health so I can get out of here and tend to my kiddos and release my poor (not so much) husband from his daddy duties. My hubby is naturally freaking out and have left another five-ten slightly hysterical messages on my phone. I quickly call him (under the huge “no cell phone zone” sign) in the little room to let him know that I haven’t even been seen yet!!
Well, now that was popular! He needs to call someone to cover his appointment but is still hopeful that he can make it for the end of it since he really apparently needs to make an appearance for this one!

I tell him to take both kids out of the car, to take the older one potty and change the younger one’s diaper while they wait for me to get done and then stay out in the hall- nobody want the two (three) of them in the waiting room!

Nurse “close your eyes or you’ll see it” finally shows up (she obviously saw another patient before me) and can you believe that the other nurse is telling her that I had a boy “you know she didn’t know what she would have, she didn’t find out until he was born!!…everybody was able to keep it a secret…” Really rubbing it in. I totally avoid eye contact and she is with me, ignoring the blabbering nurse who is no addressing how big my baby BOY is!

Since the examination room is so tiny we have an issue with the stroller. If I lay down on the bed with it extended we really can’t fit, two nurses, stroller and all and I’m not too excited about leaving my baby with another nurse. The two nurses in the room with us start rearranging the room as they apologize that they at so busy so that this is the only room available. I lay there completely naked under a sheet made out of tissue paper (that crinkles every time I move slightly) my legs pulled up to fit in the bed while they move stroller, chairs and the bed with me on it. They end up moving the desk and the chair out in the waiting room (I’m serious! …a couple of new missed calls from that husband of mine…and a text; they are apparently out in the hallways-kids running amok!)

When nurse “IT” is finally positioned in between my legs, the lamp she needs to see better doesn’t work. While the other nurse scrambles for a flashlight (you heard me), I tell her about the painful torn stitch and the excessive bleeding as well as having the bleeding come back after it completely stopped. She tells me she will look to see if everything healed, do a Pap smear and that it is absolutely not my period coming back since I just gave birth and I’m exclusively breastfeeding. She also gives me a heads up that if I get cleared, to not do anything (you know) without protection- since I’m refusing the pill due to the possibility of my milk going away. Because even if nursing makes it pretty safe (very safe actually) it is NOT a 100% and we are not ready for number four just yet…are we?

Here she is with a flashlight at the same time as my husband officially has missed his work appointment!

While I’m doing some pretty impressive yoga moves in the tiny room and finally gets a clear bill of health, baby starts crying again and as I meet up with the rest of my family, my husband seem close to tears as well…

It seems to be less about his missed appointment and more about having to take care of some pretty crazy kids…

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