After rain comes sunshine!!!

After the appointment, I am completely drained. Driving home after an entire day at the hospital with our young daughter yet again in a bed hooked up to IVs, is like a fog. The baby boy sure hated the experience as well. But with no childcare available I had to bring him. What an absolutely exhausting experience. Entering the freeway I’m pretty sure I hit an innocent squirrel- just pile it on right (I really really hope I didn’t but am afraid I did).

This whole winter/early spring has really not been the best, as far as springs go. I have had better starts of years…
I know I’m an incredible lucky and blessed person so I try to look at the positives, and look forward. I really am!

My brother comes to visit in late spring with his family and his brand new baby boy (first time auntie over here holla!!!) and makes it to my littlest’s first Birthday party. We have a ton of fun, I haven’t seen my brother in so long and to see him as a dad is truly special. I have a busy schedule during the weekdays with my kids but we manage to meet up with my brother and sister in law for dinner everyday. We also grab the occasional coffe or lunch and make a couple impromptu shopping trips. We cook together, drink wine on the patio, share stories, splash in the pool and enjoy the kids-the sweetest little cousins!

Since my three kids all have birthdays in a row-the spring pretty much disappeared in some semi-chaotic (but totally fun) party planning and execution!

Our baby boy gets a big jungle celebration (just like his brother did when he turned one) with jungle music, decorations, cakes, cupcakes and fun gift bags! We have a bouncy castle, yummy sandwiches and tons of snacks…and bubbles…plenty of bubbles. Our baby loves himself some bubbles after all (second to food only). I can’t believe he is one, how did this happen? Stop robbing me of precious baby time already (why do the years get shorter not only the older you get but apparently the more kiddos you have?).

Our princess just wanted her birthday with family, a low key day playing with her new toys (first barbie and first lipgloss-did I mention the years are rolling by way too rapidly) and then dinner, ice cream and balloon animals (flower) at her favorite restaurant. Only three years ago, I was terrified that she would be okay and just look at her now! A smarter, more charismatic, pretty, little decisive three-nager you may never see!! The following day is a Minnie Mouse theme day, spent with grandparents and a BBQ and princess cake very fitting for our very special sassy girl!

Our big boy is turning 6 (did I mentioned somebody messed with the time..turning the dial onto rapid…I know I did and I know it’s cliche BUT how IS he six?). He has requested a “creepy crawler” party and the NAT (Natural History) museum gets to host us and 12 of his classmates plus six other friends and a handful of siblings. All these kinder kids were so great for about 30 of the 45 minutes planned lecture about lizards and snakes but then they decided (apparently telepathically) to hit the dessert table, run into the projector screen, and draw on the white board-all at the same time. No worries though, after a dessert break (having dessert before sandwiches) we got to pet some live (gasp) animals, play some games (competed crawling in snakeskin anyone!?). Then we sang for and had cake/s with the lucky six year old. Excitedly he told us after the party that he made “a new awesome best friend”. Thinking it was a classmate we asked him whom this might be as he proudly announced that it was the museum employee that had helped with the party!

Summer is fast approaching (what happened to spring? But as I said the winter months leading up to spring were arguably sucky…I will share but am just not quite there yet…) so moving on feels now kinda great!

We have some graduations coming up after all our birthdays! And then our summer can officially start!!

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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Christmas Magic

img_2766c1c91bc2-f84e-4545-ae8a-bdecc345a55c51db7a3d-a599-48be-bafd-f1b9ec9a0044img_2808img_2814img_2751img_2759img_2764img_2733img_27359da97ede-a66e-49f9-88e0-fdabc70f9a42img_2772img_2792img_2797img_2767img_2768So it’s Christmas and my oldest is really, really sick, poor guy. He has no energy and is burning up with an especially nasty fever (which is worrisome because we don’t know exactly what is the matter with him).

To top it off, our daughter has morphed into the spawn of… someone eh hm, NOT nice. In my silly naive mind I thought that the random displays of (what I now see was mild) tantruming behavior was IT for her terrible twos (I really thought it wouldn’t get worse). I considering myself lucky but also DUE for an easier two year old this second time around.

I clearly forgot that the worst year is NOT 2-3 but two and a half to three and a half and that the “treenager” (seriously) is way worse than the “terrible-two:er” and that it gets worse and worse (way worse before it get better). 2.5-3.5 is really a year of unnecessary parental exhaustion (read: mental breakdown) dealing with little kid-devils with their main mission being messing with your mind! They are so manipulative, calculated, smart yet evil at the same times as not making any sense…at all. They go from sweet and nice (still being “baby cute” and adorable) to needing an exorcist in a heartbeat.

The baby boy is still NOT sleeping through the night and seem to have been going back to the newborn stage of nursing around the clock and confusing day and night…

You know by now what no sleep DOES to this mama, I’m running on fumes, I need (need, need) my sleep!!!

This is the year that I of course have chosen (completely my own brilliant idea) to host Christmas! And don’t get me wrong I am excited, of course I am…

I want to show my in laws more of my traditions and customs and what I am used to celebrating Christmas growing up and I want to give that to my children as well merging my husband’s family traditions and the “American way” with mine and the Swedish!

To start it all off the stove top stops working and even if I prepped a lot of the food days before Christmas  (lots and lots of meatballs of course), I  still obviously need my STOVE and nobody can come out to fix it because, you know, it’s Christmas Eve…
And then there is a roof leak…in the kitchen. (Hi, welcome; don’t mind the precipitation…inside)…
We are late for church, unable to sit together with family and all three kids fall asleep during the ceremony.

Oh and I almost forgot, not because I’m a selfish, mean b*tch but because I literally have a million…at least a thousand…several hundred things to do (and mouths to feed, or so it seems) but my husband got into a little accident…

Well more of a “fender bender really” (yes the fender; is that what it’s called?? Got really really bent). I guess he had to urgently go get a really important (hmm, yes!) gift last minute (ya think!!??). Because you know he has so many gifts to take care of, so many names on that list, and so little time (read:me) and I just have EVERYONE ELSE (now there is a LIST). But all good, hubby is fine-the car not so much (we also just bought his car off of the lease…) but it didn’t exactly take away from the stress and chaos or add to the Christmas spirit!!!

It all turns out pretty great in the end with tons of Christmas magic with the help of family, Tylenol, many gifts, lots of hands to hold cranky babies and toddlers, an amazing Santa, a Croc Pot (full of meatballs, “prince sausage” and briskets) and a handy grandpa and tons of actually delicious food including great cold items (yes!) like smoked salmon, breads, crackers and cheeses and items that could go IN the oven like glazed ham and Jansson’s temptation (my very own favorite potato dish with breadcrumbs, cream and anchovies…minus the anchovies for me), lots of “glogg” (spiced wine) and yummy and decadent desserts curtesy of grandma!

After Christmas it’s hard not to feel slightly sad and kind of empty even as an adult. Christmas is truly a magical time of year especially for kids. But as a parent I think that you try to recreate that magic you felt yourself as a child. My parents sure bent over backwards to make sure all our Christmases were truly that, amazing, traditional and simply; Magical!!!

As a child I always felt low after holidays (vacations and summer breaks) and now I understand the anticlimax that follows Christmas for my own children. As a mom though you simply don’t have time sitting around feeling blue and as soon as school starts it’s go go go again!

This semester is way more serious than the last one – that becomes apparent right away! No more sweet, cuddly and forgiving teachers, no more “practice homework”, no more “volunteering is optional”. Spring semester in kindergarten here we come! Who is ready to dive in with us!?

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…

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!

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