Thursday, January 17, 2008

Adventures In Parenting--Taking Pictures, Part 2


We have finally arrived at the portrait studio and they are ready for us, right now. We, on the other hand, are not ready for them. I get Darcy's dress on her and am grateful to see that the dress easily covers up the hole in her stocking.

Until this point, Reagan has been quietly sleeping in her carrier. The Burger King lady was amazed that Reagan never made a peep while we were there. "Now" is a different story. Since it is time to eat, she is beginning to peep. If I attempt to dress her without feeding her, the peeping will morph into caterwauling and pictures will be over. What to do?

Our friends at Sears generously offer the use of the other camera room so that I could feed Reagan with privacy. Four years ago, I would have never even considered feeding my child in public. Period. Privacy or no privacy. End of discussion. Not in any form of public. Ever. But here, on this day, I agree. I know in the long run, it will be easier and I will be more comfortable.

We move in. Literally. Between the bags (4 in all), the carrier, my jacket and the dresses the girls wore there, we needed a porter to get everything in the room and arranged. I find a chair and do what I do best: feed children. I try to be discreet, but Reagan does not want anything covering her face. She does not have to suffer this injustice at home. I do the best I can. Brian had the great and terrible task of watching the other girls which was like herding a basket full of kittens. I know it is great and terrible because I had to watch all three while he went to the bathroom. The balance of power could shift at any moment.

When it comes time to burp and switch sides, I hand Reagan off to Brian and in the interim, try to do something with Lily's hair with our new, expensive hairbows. When I purchased the hairbows, I did not examine to see what kind of barrette or clip was attached. I am now finding that it is the junkiest, crappiest barrette ever. Not the French barrette that I was expecting, but one that was going to be a pain to deal with. This thing was going to be a problem. All the curling of Lily's hair hadn't done much for the waves we'd hoped for, but they did give her hair some volume and it looked right nice down and to the side. Brian decides to try his hand with Lily's hair [he's actually better at half ponytails] and I take Reagan back for Round Two.

After Brian is chastised (by Lily) for pulling hair, it is unanimous to forgo the bow and leave the hair down. I'm ready to flush all hairbows, everywhere, down the toilet.

Reagan finishes and we begin the process of dressing her. Brian is holding her and she is wearing her adorable stockings and her diaper cover. Then the worst thing that could happen to a cream-colored dress, happened.

It started out with a strange sound....a cross between a gurgle, a rumble and another sound I can't identify. As soon as I asked, "What was that?" I was able to see what it was.

Out of her diaper, like a science experiment gone terribly wrong, was lots and lots of poop. It was just bubbling right out of the top. I guess with Brian's arm right there, it didn't have anywhere to go but up. And up it went. I jerked her diaper cover off, saved that from being ruined. I grabbed the cloth diaper that we use for burping and tried to "catch" it, so to speak. Except more kept coming.

And coming.

Finally, Mount Saint Reagan stopped flowing.

When we got there, the photographer was talking to us about what kind of pictures we wanted. She suggested "naked pictures" since this was Reagan's first official picture. She called it "Newborn Pictures". I vetoed Naked Newborn Pictures. Although, after this part of our adventure, I thought we were going to be forced to have Naked Pictures. I was scared to put her dress on at all. The stockings were ruined so she didn't get to wear her shoes, but the dress managed to escape all damage. We changed her on the floor. Thank goodness diaper bags come with little changing pads or someone (probably me) would have had to haul her all the way to the bathroom holding her out at arm's length. It was bad enough that we had to shove all the nasty things back in the diaper bag and carry it home with us. But thank goodness for that little plastic pouch. Those Carter's people are pretty smart.

Although, I think pooping so much put Reagan in a good humor and she was thrilled to have her picture taken multiple times. She even allowed them to capture some of her open-mouthed, gummy smiles. And miracle of miracles, there was at least one shot where everyone was smiling and looking at the camera at the same time.

We finally finished with pictures at 4pm. The waiting room was filled with people....waiting. We had thrown the whole operation off. Way off. Our whole day was shot, too. There was much to be learned from this experience. But hey, it's okay. After all, this was our first real adventure with three kids. I think the learning curve on this thing is pretty steep.

Adventures In Parenting--Taking Pictures, Part I

Before Reagan was born, I bought a fancy-pants dress for her so that she could have her picture made with her sisters. We have done this every Christmas since we started having children. As fast as Reagan is growing, much longer, and the dress wasn't going to fit. The dress was definitely too expensive to let that happen so I scheduled an appointment for Saturday at 11:15am at Sears, which is an hour away. I was so proud of myself: I had even remembered to pick up tights for everyone.

Brian and I made no plans on how to fix Lily's hair for the picture and so we were scrambling on Saturday morning. Hot rollers were out; Lily screamed that they were too hot. (They were pretty hot.) I got the curling iron out and curled all that hair, which remained curly for about 25 seconds. In the midst of playing beauty parlor, I realized that Brian and I had 45 minutes to get ready and drive somewhere that was over an hour away.

Brian rescheduled the appointment for 12:30pm. We might make it after all.

I had intended to make hair bows for the girls to match their dresses, but in the busyness of having a baby, I just didn't get to it. Darcy and Reagan had bows that would match their dresses, but Lily needed something for her hair. I knew of a children's boutique in town that would be open and would gladly charge me $10 or more for a hairbow. We stopped on our way out of town. Lucky for me, they were having a buy-one-get-one-free sale on everything in the store. I bought 2 bows. No time to look at anything else, but I'll be back before the sale is over.

We are loaded to the gills. We have brought all the girls' dresses with us, I have Reagan's diaper bag that is full of everything we could possibly need for her, another bag of hair stuff (water, comb, ponytail holders, hairspray), my purse and the bag the hairbows are in. We also brought the girls.

Finally, we are on the road...

At the halfway point, I realize that we are still going to be late. I place a call to the studio and tell them that we are having the worst time getting started this morning. Our appointment is rescheduled again to 1:30pm.

About this time, I ask Brian what Darcy is's awfully quiet back there. She's been busy...she has created a massive hole in her tights. Right in the thigh. I didn't bring a spare pair because I never believed anything like that would actually happen. I stare out the window wondering what else can go wrong.

Since there was no way in the world that we had time to make lunches to take with us, Brian thinks stopping at Burger King will make me feel better after this latest setback. He actually lets us eat inside. Don't we look wonderful, our little chorus line of girls holding hands with Brian and Reagan bringing up the rear. He finds a table and gets everyone settled while I scurry around getting drinks and our food together. We eat and quickly load back up. (Quickly, in this case, means it only took 15 minutes.)

We're back on the road...running late.

When we finally pull up outside of Sears, it's 1:40pm. Brian instructs me get out and take Darcy with me. I've got the diaper bag, my purse, 2 dresses on hangers, the "hair" bag, the hairbows and Darcy. Brian changes Lily at the car and brings her and Reagan inside.

To be continued....

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Political Observations From A Reformed Feminist

I watched portions of The Debate on Saturday. I don't usually follow politics, but Brian has such a huge interest that I must this season so that we'll have something to talk about. As a reformed feminist who spent my senior year of high school wearing a T-shirt that read: A Woman's Place Is In The House or The Senate, I am interested in what happens with Hilary Clinton. What I don't know or haven't figured out yet is if she is trying to fit in as man in this man's world and/or is she hoping to garner women's vote only on solidarity.

All that to say, I couldn't believe how unfeminine Hilary Clinton appeared wearing a black pants suit, green blouse and low heels. That's not what I would wear. I don't have a problem with the black, but how about a skirt? Suits with long skirts (with a modest slit to the knee) are feminine and yet, professional. I'm 5'10" and I'd be wearing 3-inch heels. I would want to look these guys in the eye.

Then I heard her speaking and she sounded like a mean, old bulldog snarling and barking at everyone. I told Brian, "Man, she is tough." This certainly was not some dainty woman. Then I remembered that she was a lawyer for years and years long before this. Those ladies have to be tough.

And the unthinkable happened....Hilary cried.

Yesterday morning, George Stephanopoulous and Diane Sawyer (or was it Charles Gibson?) had an interesting chat about Hilary's chances in New Hampshire. I don't think this is an exact quote, but "slim to none" was what I heard. In fact, Georgie-boy had a graph with a big red "X" on the next few states she was not going to win: Nevada and North Carolina (or was it South Carolina). Things were not going to turn around for her until Super Tuesday.

Later in the morning, I tuned into The View. This is not my usual fare, but I did get a commentary on Hilary's emotional display in a greasy spoon somewhere in the New Hampshire 'burbs.

It was pretty interesting. First of all, among the combatants, it was pretty universal that a man choking up over the rigors of campaigning would be labeled "weak". If being on the campaign trail is emotional and draining, well, that's just too bad. Nature of the beast and all. Live with it. Being President is tough work. But for a woman? Well, she finally showed that she's got a heart. She's really a woman. Isn't that wonderful? Women can relate to this.

Apparently, that's the case in New Hampshire because when all those women got off work and were on their way to soccer practice with dinner in a bag from McDonalds, they stopped off at the local elementary school and voted for Hilary. Because she understands what it's like to be a woman...blah, blah, blah. When the polls started turning for her, I called her victory as a result of the emotional incident. Then! I was vindicated on National TV by George and Charlie. Women came out in droves to show their support for a woman who is finally not acting like a man.

Brian thinks it's a political ploy, this crying. He's jaded and doesn't know the first thing about the emotional highs and lows that women go through. I'm taking the high road because I have been there. Not on a national campaign trail for President, but I have been overloaded and stressed and I have work. Now it wasn't in front of million of people and then replayed on YouTube, but it was humiliating enough.

But I have realized in the last year, God did not make women to hide their emotions or it wouldn't be so hard. If I am in a situation (like an office) and it's not appropriate to show my God-given emotion, then perhaps I'm not in the right environment. He made us emotional. It's okay. Really. How else can we be the heart of the home, like He intended?

First, we actually have to be at home not running the streets at every opportunity. What a concept!

Women are shirking their responsibilities at home and in the meantime, looking for validation that it's okay. But it's not and no amount of pandering is going to change that. The more we turn away from what God intended for us, the more trouble we have. If Hilary had been at home crying about the kids being out of control, or her burned dinner or being tired from taking care of 3 sick kids, her husband, her protector, would do just that: protect her. Or at least he should. Not leave the whole country to wonder if it's okay to a woman to cry, if it's okay for a man to cry and whether those tears were real or contrived and how that bodes for a Commander-In-Chief.

I have said before that since America doesn't seem to be ready for a woman anchor on the Evening News, then we're not ready for a woman President.

I fear for our families if I am wrong.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Six Weeks In

I am finding myself unusally frustrated today. I am very nearly sure that it is directly proportional to the amount of continuous sleep I am not getting. This is a fairly new phenomenom because Reagan was doing really well...up until Friday night when I realized she had caught her sisters' cold.

Friday was a very long started at 6am and it did not stop until 2am Saturday morning. After a call to the doctor on Saturday morning (a call that woke the doctor up...the doctors here actually return those after-hours phone calls), it seemed like Reagan was getting better. I think it's just a cold, not anything more substantial than that, which is a relief. Both Lily and Darcy were hospitalized for RSV before they were six months old. Reagan is still eating, albeit from a bottle, and the only coughing I hear seems to be a result of the drainage from her nose. She's been sleeping in her bouncy seat in her bed with the humidifier on and I've been attacking her nose with an aspirator before nearly every meal.

And I don't think it would be so bad if the other 2 weren't getting over their own colds and trying to kill each other and screaming bloody murder every time my back was turned. Right now, everyone is in their separate corners, including me. I could not take any more screaming and crying because one wouldn't let the other put her cookie in the oven. Or the fact that Lily was nearly concussed by a princess shoe for some slight that has yet to be determined.

I do have a schedule that I try to adhere to, but with an infant, it is downright impossible. At this point in time, utilizing FlyLady's 15 minute principles is ridiculous at best. I can hardly get Reagan changed in 15 minutes, espeically after she poops in the brand new clean diaper or spits up all over everything and I have to change her clothes twice in the process. That's usually the time that Child A will come running in tattling on Child B and in dealing with that, I realize Child B needs a spanking and a diaper change. By the time this is all finished, Baby C is asleep and is nowhere near interested in finished her meal. Rinse. Repeat.

On an up note, I am thrilled to death with myself for preparing dinner every night. Since December 1st, we have only been out to eat twice. Once for our anniversary and once to say goodbye to our babysitter and favorite waitress at Chili's. (How dare she move an hour away!) For our family, that is absolutely amazing. Brian and I have always been eating-out people. The main reason is....we are too scared to bring all the children out in public, especially in coat-and-hat weather. It's just too much trouble and not worth it. If nothing else, it has certainly served our budget well.

My next goal will be to do something with this house. I'm so busy giving emergency baths and keeping the blood flow and knots on the head to a minimum that I haven't gotten the chance to do anything but keep the kitchen clean in the last six weeks. Wait...I think I swept the kitchen once. It's a process, I think.