Be Careful what you wish for: Part 2

D4AA3B48-AFEF-42DA-B129-E4CBD66AFFE5So I actually need to back up a little bit in order to tell the full story. A week or so before my iron infusion I got sick (like really sick, 104 fever, chills, aches, sore throat, ears etc. “doubly” fun when you are hugely pregnant) a couple of nights before my infusion and stress test I felt like I couldn’t breathe (literally), my fever was at its highest and I was hot and cold and shaking. Not being able to breathe actually got to me as I was struggling sitting up in bed propped up by pillows.

I even (embarrassingly enough) recoded my own shallow breathing on my phone (mostly to share with my mom but potentially the doctor. I felt a little like I was overreacting (being Swedish and all) but I was actually scared. I ended up pacing the house for hours that night not being able to even sit up in bed because of the shortened of breath and pressure on my chest.

I called my mom a little “panic-y” in the early morning (afternoon in Sweden). She wasn’t concerned until I told her exactly how freaked out I really was. She diagnosed..heart attack or pneumonia and voted for a doctor’s visit.

Luckily I got an appointment the very same day (they probably considered my pregnancy as well) and luckily it wasn’t my heart (but since my mom is always right) it WAS pneumonia. I had to do an x-ray which is always scary while pregnant but they completely covered my huge bump with that heavy protector blanket and let me know baby would be fine (actually the illness is way more worrisome for the baby than the x-ray procedure). I was so sick that I even had to cancel two stress tests for baby and I .

When I went to my iron infusion that rainy winter morning, I was still  sick. I had to disclose my pneumonia diagnosis to the receptionist as I checked in, despite having been on antibiotics (3 days in and feeling  better). They immediately gave me a mask (making me feel self conscious and like a giant threat amongst all the moms-to-be in the waiting room area).

Fast forward to the week later. I had just been released after my 48 hour stay in the hospital STILL feeling feverish, achy and under the weather, complaining to my mom that my antibiotics must not be working (5+ days and I felt like after some progress I had gone backwards to feeling worse again. I have this issue with antibiotics too-might be since I’ve had a “few” doses in my life, where they sometimes don’t work or I’ll have to switch to a stronger kind, stay in them longer or double the dose). My mother wisely told me that the antibiotics only works for bacterial infection not viral ones…

Anyways, back to what happened after our Skype call. I hang up with my mom and feel instantly better after all the venting (as always) and put our 21 months old down for his nap.

Something wakes me up and it all happens EXACTLY like like last time, a huge fish of water streams down my legs and into the carpet (sorry TMI and about to get worse) as I run towards the tiled bathroom. I yank down my maternity pants and underwear and proceed towards the toilet but something is different…

Something is not “exactly like last time”, something is off and I have feeling that something is not good…

Not good at all…

Be careful what you wish for…

At 35 weeks after an iron infusions at the hospital I walk straight over to my doctor’s office for my regular stress test (third THIS week-3 times a week every week after 30 week gestation).

During the test, baby doesn’t cooperate at all. His hear rate is all over the place (I have to turn around, walk around, sip cold water then orange juice) and towards the end I start getting contractions so strong they are (literally) off the chart. They feel just like labor contractions and my heart is racing (just like my baby’s) as the doctor on call enters the stress test area.

This baby is not ready yet, I was hoping for at least 38 weeks (and I so wish I was 38 weeks pregnant right now), even though I know babies aren’t really ready until 39 weeks (and not fully cooked until 40 weeks).

I find myself yet again with the big orange envelope, back at the admittance desk at the main hospital. They fear preterm labor once again and have no other choice but sending me back to the hospital.

Things go much quicker this time (probably due to my recent visit-and updated information). It’s not like I like spending all my time in this place but I keep finding myself back here…

As I’m waddling towards the familiar elevator I try to breathe “IN; last pregnancy, OUT; last baby” and as not to seem ungrateful I pray that the baby IS and WILL be okay! I love this little one and can’t wait for this last pregnancy to be over and to be able to hold and cuddle our baby boy!

Buut not until it’s safe obviously!

Stay in there a little longer I tell him as I hold my ginormous tummy, waiting for the nurse to put me in a wheelchair and wheel me over to yet another hospital room (at least they are all private). If I can hold on for at least another month or so, so can he…?

And so the process start yet again as they prep the IV, draw the blood, give me the steroid shots for baby’s lungs (ouch!) and give me (with huge difficulty because of my “impossible veins”) the anti-contractions medicine (brown and burning and slow moving) more known under the name “puke” .

Trapped in the big bed in the regular (very sexy-not) green hospital gown under straps leading to monitors I feel like I spend waaay too much time like this!

They want to monitor me and baby for preterm labor for at least 24 hours.

My contractions subside, baby is looking great on the monitors, steady heartbeat, great movement. No leaking, blood or pain!

As I’m about to get released the contractions pick up again, earning me another 24 hours away from my kids, my family, my dog, my house, and my life.

Luckily the contractions subside yet again and I’m finally being released under stern promises that I will come back the very next day to see my doctor and EVERY day until I give birth, which (hopefully) could (should) be several weeks. I promise to come back if I show ANY signs of preterm labor (including leaking, bleeding, strong contractions and/or lack of fetal movement).

It has been such a tough pregnancy so far and I’m so ready to be over and done with this but I know I need to hang in there. I know this baby depends on me, I know he is not ready and if I (we) have made it this far…

It has been tough at home as well with two kids transitioning into a brand new School and with one kid approaching the age of two.

Back home it’s hard not to stress. The kids are feeling my stress as well as their own with all the changes happening around (and to) us and I’m fearful the baby in my tummy will be affected as well.

After a tear-filled School drop off and a mid morning tantrum, I decide to call my mom to vent. In the midst of all the chaos I complain to my mom through the computer; “I’m sooo huge”, “I have soo many aches and pains”, “I’m terrified my cyst might burst”, “I’m scared I will have to have a c-section”, “All I want is to know for SURE baby is okay and healthy”,  “I’m worried my kids won’t settle in to their new school”, “I’m anxious my third child will regress even more when the baby comes”…

My mom is calm, realistic and reasonable as always (with just the right amount of “mom”, “support”, “strength” and “push”).

Most of all I’m telling her that I am just so ready to get this baby out of me like RIGHT now…

But I know I have to hang in there for at least a few more weeks…or will I??

Be careful what you wish for…

An adventurous week; difficult news

IMG_7161IMG_7160IMG_7162I can’t believe that we are back here…to the hematology department at Children’s Hospital. The flashbacks are acute and many.

I don’t know how they do it, I really don’t. I ache for them-these parents. I feel embarrassed to be here somehow and yet…I know I have to, we have to. Something IS wrong for real-just not as wrong, or as real as for most of these people here. The reality of what is going on on the third floor of this hospital for kids is devastating. I AM embarrassed to even feel sad because it seems I don’t have the right to somehow, and they don’t need my pity, and there is literally nothing I can do to help.

I praise these doctors for doing what they do, for pushing forward, for trying their very best, for smiling…
But the real heartbreak are these strong, brave little people who are just getting the toughest childhood imaginable…and their poor parents.

I have been dreading this appointment since my daughter was 18 months old. We found out when she was 11 weeks old, (just shy of 3 months) and cut her “tied tongue” to be able to breastfeed, that she had some kind of bleeding issue. She would not stop bleeding no matter what the tongue specialist, her pediatrician and the ER doctor did. She was loosing so much blood she had to have emergency surgery right away…

This tiny little preemie baby girl who had already been through so much in her very short life…
It was one of the worst days of my life. Seeing her bleed uncontrollably in the backseat when I rushed her to the ER is an image imprinted in my brain forever…

My baby girl was in surgery for hours, her little pale body and all that blood. Afterwards she was groggy and swollen in my arms. I felt awful. She wanted to eat so bad but was too hurt to feed. Seeing her in so much pain was agony.

We spent 3 days at Children’s Hospital before the 4th of July weekend and she still refused to eat. I didn’t sleep at all and was a wreck. Grandma and auntie were home with big brother because dad had to continue working (even though I’m sure that was extremely hard on him).

I remember the nurses trying to help squirting my pumped breastmilk into baby’s mouth with a syringe- it finally worked enough to get her off the IV. She was this little girl in a huge bed surrounded by rolled up baby blankets with wires and monitors…
It was utterly terrifying.

On day two we saw a couple of doctors from the hematology department. They drew a lot of blood to test our baby girl for a bleeding disorder. Since she was so tiny yet-still on the preemie scale, they couldn’t take too much blood from her little body-so we had to come back for a follow up.

The follow up was on the third floor of Children’s Hospital a week later. Baby girl had gotten her color back and she had finally started to nurse again. My mom was thankfully able to accompany us this time, having flown in on the 4th of July withstanding delays and cancelled flights. It was such a support to be able to lean on her as we entered what must be one of the most depressing places-full of sick-really, really sick kids.

My daughter had lost too much weight to be able to draw the required blood panel for the full spectrum of blood disorders so the doctor sent her home with a liquid that makes blood clot in the event of blood trauma.

The tests came back negative for any of the more severe blood disorders…and for leukemia. I have never prayed harder for these results..

Then again the unfairness of it all, seeing all the other kids and their parents. How do they do it? how do they live and breathe when their insides must be breaking.
These caregivers are incredibly strong that goes without saying but…these kids…I don’t have words, little superheroes who just deserve way better lives.

Hoping for them as I’m standing here at the hospital with my two (big brother is in school) happy, healthy (for the most part) children, is the same for them, that they will beat this, they will get better and this will all be a distant memory…

The reality though is a punch to the stomach and the embarrassment of even feeling like this when I’m fine and my kids are fine is raw and present.

This is the 4th time here seeing her hematology doctor. When we saw him when baby girl was 18 months old we still didn’t get to do all of her testing, because of her low weight. I was informed that in order to complete everything we needed to admit her to the hospital for a few days to monitor her while drawing the required amount of blood for the full panel of blood disorders. I declined these tests knowing that she didn’t have the more serious ones and signing papers that I declined treatment was really difficult-was I doing the right thing?

I promised (myself and her doctor) to keep a close eye on her, knowing full well that you can’t bubble wrap your kids (no matter how much you want to).

Fast forward until now, there is no more denial. Every time she bleeds from simple cuts and scrapes it is way too much- abnormally so. Her new pediatrician ordered more labs at her 3 year check up and testing confirmed without a doubt that our daughter does have a bleeding disorder. He sent us straight back here again…so here we are.

This has truly not been the best week..

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The Year’s First Play Date!!

IMG_4388IMG_4400IMG_4404IMG_4287IMG_4327IMG_4348IMG_4372IMG_4367IMG_4373So the first play date is off to a great start. Read lost shoe(s), wrong colored dress (too cold for a dress, pick your battles?), last minute “I all of a sudden have to poop for a very long long time…can I have the iPad” and yet another nursing session despite the previous one being less than twenty minutes ago.

And we’re off, only twenty minutes late- great job mama! Only three out of three crying (gold star)!!
I’m glad people are waiting for us, sigh! (These people are most likely super mamas-of course they are-with super well behaved kids- and they are never late to anything…)

Today is one of those random school holidays that nobody has ever heard of- at least I haven’t. I think the teachers just need a break-and I don’t blame them at all, quite the opposite in fact, but it makes it a little (a lot) difficult on the parents (mommies mostly, who are we kidding here…?).

I think maybe you are supposed to jump for joy on school holidays. “Yay, a whole day (days/week… I mean, seriously “ski week” is coming up…) to spend with my precious offspring-my greatest wish come true!!!!”

I know that I’m being unfair here, I should be thankful to spend more quality time with my oldest (at least I could pretend better, beaming gratefully and nod with the other moms agreeing that a free day off of school to spend with your “little one” is the greatest blessing ever). But it’s not about my son really, (he is pretty great MOST of the time), it’s that I have two more kids (in quite difficult ages) with different demands and schedules (and I’m not the best at changing plans and schedules- being inflexible and all…).

Like I said, I really try to embrace this (these) school holiday (hmm). My son is actually (dare I admit it) my best behaved child at the moment (no; really). The littlest one is mr. Whinny, crank monster lately, extremely demanding, loud and wants to nurse around the clock…and my daughter’s requests and tantrums when they are not being meet, are just getting more ridiculous by the minute. Soo, back to my oldest; at least you can TALK to him, and reason with him (well somewhat) and he is starting to understand consequences…

He is growing up, my little man-my first born (insert beaming, teary eyed, proud mommy moment here; but for real this time!!) Amongst his nonsense (as in makes no sense what…so…ever), he all of a sudden makes a lot of sense, like he knows things I never knew he did, he senses things, he listens (about 20% more than before-which probably means he NOW listens about 20% of the time) and he remembers everything (although he always has-I swear even as a baby I understood that this one was special (I know cliche it sounds- but it’s so true!). He is still as full of energy as ever, can never sit (not even stand) still, usually up to no good with that gleaming look of mischief in his eyes, so darn cute and I swear a heart of gold that one!

Anyways, I know I went on and on and ran away with that one…my point is that amongst my three adorable, lovely kids he might just right now win the spot of the loveliest…except…

When he uses his “school scissors” (bought especially for school projects and homework by his loving mother) to cut huge holes in his brand new “work out pants” (bought by his not so lovely- and hysterically un-athletic mother who forces him “to finish what he started” – meaning “hoops”- no idea at first that it was basketball, and tennis- which he despises most days-but to be fair to his poor parents who paid good money for these after school/extra curricular activities; loves other days). Maybe that is why the nice, brand new “work out pants” got sliced…

All I know is the same child who begged to get out of “hoops” is suddenly having a meltdown that he can’t play today.

This morning I had to load all three kids in the car in acceptable clothing (and it’s cold too) to take them to sister’s dance. She is of course extra grumpy and doesn’t want to wear her brand new long sleeved ballerina dress (short sleeved in the laundry…and did I mention how cold it is) and wants her mom to watch her dance but not her brothers…

Anyways, I call the mom who organized the play date and apologize profusely-luck has it they were late too, not as late of course (only “two kid late”-not “three kid late”) but still!

The play date starts out nice enough, a little chit chat, the boys seem to get along. But soon baby wants to eat and I hate leaving my oldest playing without me watching (but hate asking the other moms to, even more). I tell his in my stern mommy voice…to behave, and take the youngests to the restroom.

Of course the girl refuses to potty, in the middle of potty training and all, and only wants to use her pink princess potty at home…and baby has a disgusting, leaky diaper and there is nowhere to change him but the cold, hard, dirty stone floor.

When we are all done, all heck has broken loose since my oldest has proceeded to pour sand all over the heads of his friends (to be fair it wasn’t unprovoked or malicious and I’m pretty sure he thought it was part of the game)…

It’s just simply time to say good bye!

My daughter disagrees, she wants to swing…and lets the whole park know!!

Next up is Panera because this mama is starving and this restaurant is not only nearby but convenient and kid friendly and near the grocery store Trader Joe’s where I need to buy specific, approved snacks for the oldest’s snack and lunch for school.

Little girl barely makes it to the bathroom but sits down like a good kid but unfortunately soaks her “big girl underwear” AND pants with pee in the process (do you know how difficult it is to help a 2 year old potty with a big, unhappy 9 months old strapped to you in a baby carrier…?? Just checking).

I’m not sure what to do (while “mr. No school today” is screaming about a cookie- and being specifically starving for a cookie…) but then have the brilliant idea to put an “old” (as in “she is out of diapers, not used eww) diaper on her instead of the wet clothes she obviously can’t wear. I’m so lucky I found one of her old diapers in the diaper bag.

Not lucky…or brilliant…NOT at all…

She has a very short dress on, and I can barely take her to the car with her bare bottom hanging out, let alone the store for the snacks we desperately need (I’m being honest), but after all that talk about “no diapers”, “finally big girl undies” and “being a big girl” I get it, believe me I get it…

But she doesn’t get me…at all…

So the boys and I wait it out. Some ladies come in the restroom to offer “helpful” advice…but apart from making sure she doesn’t hurt herself…we let her be.

At one point I sit on the toilet to breastfeed baby boy because he starts wailing, apparently starving…AGAIN.

And then we eat, and go to the store- in a diaper (two counting baby’s) and minus a “no cookie meltdown”,  we are all smiles!!!

Drop off Disaster

I prep my oldest son even before we reach the school parking lot. He knows by now how to buckle and unbuckle himself and how to stand ready (hunched over) by the back “lift-gate” (we have been practicing). Okay, so maybe that needs some further explanation…
As you all know, I have three kids and we TRIED to put them all next to each other in the backseat of our new (oversized) SUV. Heck noo, did NOT work…
The oldest two were fighting like crazy, which made me frustrated and scream way too much. I was also worried about the tiny (okay not so tiny) baby back there.
After weeks best described as catastrophic, we had the brilliant idea to put the oldest in the third row!
It was a bit tricky with the big stroller and all the other baby stuff (car seat adapters, extra toddler seat and what not) but we made it work. We also had to teach our oldest to buckle himself. The problem is, I didn’t WANT him to be able to open the back liftgate on his own (way too dangerous). So every time he (we) went out of the car, I had to open it for him.

So back to the dreaded school car line…

As soon as we are on school property I yell for my son to unbuckle himself and to prepare with his backpack and such, for me to come open the back for him.

We have arrived early enough so that there won’t be a lot of cars…there still IS, but we are amongst the first in line (pat on back).

As we approach the green “drop off zone” I slow way down and then come to a complete stop in front of the school, I put the car in park (and apply the parking brake for good measure) and open the door…

As soon as I do this, cars (people of course but you know what I mean…) start honking (these are moms and nannys and the occasional dad, mind you) and by the time I’m in the back of my car there is also yelling (I’m not kidding).

When my big handsome boy jumps out with his backpack, I feel so proud of him but of course the moment is completely ruined by even more severe honks and yelling ( “hurry up”, “come on”, “unbelievable”, “must be a new mom”, “she will make me LATE”)…

As I rush over to the driver seat, a school “representative” runs after me screaming “this is NOT how we do things”.

Yet as I see my son struggle with his huge backpack I feel an urge to go help him out, to go steer him in the right direction, to show him the gate and his classroom. I swollow hard and manage a wave to the car behind me as I speed off away from the school parking lot.

Theoretically I know he knows where to go and that he won’t be lost (or gasp “stolen”) but I can’t help the moment of “mommy panic”.

As I drive off I feel sad and disappointed. Well that didn’t go according to plan! I almost want to call the school to make sure he made it to his classroom safely. I feel worried and stressed. I have to call my husband to relay the fiasco…
Well, that’s it!!! I will NEVER ever expose myself or my son to that car line EVER again!!!

The frazzled, slightly lost and confused new mom…

As I slowly walk away from my brand new kindergartener’s school, feeling empty and a little lost, baby boy starts crying on cue!

Nothing like a gut wrenching hunger scream to take you back to reality. I quickly realize that all three of us (it does feel like I’m missing one) have to go all the way back to the car so I can feed the baby before the “coffee with the school moms”. So we start walking…

The restaurant across the street is beyond full of mingling mommas. My little daughter is trying to hold on to me for dear life as I try to maneuver her and the baby in the carrier .

There is hot coffee, giggling mamas and their legs everywhere- my two year old daughter is basically being swallowed by the crowd. I don’t think this is the place for me and my young to be right now. There are no other kids here and I come to the understanding that these moms are older (not that I am exactly young) and so are their kids. I challenge myself to talk to at least three different moms. They all seem nice but very different from myself and not quite what I’m used to. I try to introduce myself, give a compliment and ask a question. The planner in me feels like I’m checking off a check list not being genuine or trying to make friends. But I do want to be genuine and I do want to make new friends. I try to get out of my comfort zone and not think “I have all the friends I need”. This is not only for me but for my kids-my oldest and the other two following him! It just feels like this crowd has a secret I’m not in on … but I should make an effort to find out what it is. Some of them are very cold and stand off-ish but I must say, most of them do seem warm and approachable.

I make my rounds and manage to talk to three different woman- all of them with older kids, their youngest being in kindergarten. Not a lot of babies or toddlers beings seen or talk about diaper brands (organic, cloth or *gasp* plastic) or potty trading tips being heard. It makes sense now that they all seem to know each other since they have other kids in the same school. I feel like a lot of new information is being thrown at me and I feel totally unprepared, unpolished, and frankly like I’m left out of some “perfect manicured mom’s club”. I am that frazzled new mom who makes the mistake of bringing her smelly, whiny little kids to a classy event. Except my littlests are totally behaved (AND they smell delicious…at least I think so but I might be biased…then I remember the leggings) and I thought this was a “come as you are, casual coffee after drop off thing”…

I’m officially exhausted after discussions school safety and security as well as the kids cafeteria menus and meal plans with mom number 3 and have to excuse myself (who am I kidding? She is so bored by my input-or lack thereof she is already seeking a more gluten/dairy free, pro huge fenced in/gated school mom after a couple of sentences from me even if I’m totally pro healthy eating and school safety!)

Trying to avoid my little girl getting trampled, our little gang (feeling totally misplaced) head for the door.

For the first couple of weeks, we are supposed to walk our brand new school kids to their classroom and drop them off and walk to their classroom to pick them up. More seasoned moms with older kids get to pick their kids up by car-stopping (more like a rolling stop) by the side walk.

I oblige and walk my son back and forth with his little sister and little brother for weeks. I park at the church the first two weeks but get by week three that if I’m early enough I can snag a parking spot at the actual school, and I won’t get stuck in the line of cars dropping off and picking up (that lines up around the school’s back parking lot-sounds confusing? That is because it is!!! The school itself call drop off and pick up “an organized chaos”…)

After the initial weeks of a lot of walking a baby who just wants to eat and sleep and hates the in an out of his car seat and a hysterically grumpy (worst little morning person ever…gets it from me…very proud) toddler who is forced to walk in a rush several times a day…my oldest son and I decide to be brave…

We decide this on the same day as our very first kindergarten play date and we are both very excited…until we are actually stuck in that school line of cars at drop off…

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…

 

 

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