Monday, September 20, 2010

A Discussion of Flaws

For some reason, I feel compelled to write about one of my character flaws. Not that I couldn't fill a book with them all. But I had to rethink the title. At first, I was going to call this Character Flaw-No. 1. But I didn't want to send the message that I believed this was my Number One Character Flaw, The Worst of a Long, Bad List. Clearly, not writing thank you notes is no one's Worst of a Long, Bad List. It's just the first one I've felt inspired to discuss.

Thank You Notes.

I don't really understand this lack of courtesy on my part. Like the road to hell, I am full of good intentions. And it's not that I'm not thankful. I am very thankful. There are amazing people around me doing amazing things for me. But I have a hard time following through with my feelings in the form of a note, addressed, stamped and mailed. Not to mention I tend to pour my little, coal black heart into my thank you notes, as if I were charged with convincing someone exactly how thankful. I really strive to make them meaningful. And as a person who owns her own papercrafting supply business, I also feel as if I should send a card made by my own hands. Which I never do. Another problem I have is with elapsed time. Once I have failed to properly thank someone in a timely manner, I think it's too late to thank them at all. So a lot of the time, my gratefulness just stays in my coal black heart.

It's pretty embarrassing because there are some people who do pay attention to whether or not they received a thank you note. When you don't send them, those people often rethink whether or not they want to send you a gift or do you a favor ever again. Oh, how sad. Sometimes, they don't. And why should they anyway?

I did a poor job sending thank you notes when Lily was born, so I was too embarrassed to send birth announcements when Darcy was born. Not to mention that we were a displaced people group at that time as well. And since I didn't send announcements out when Darcy was born, I didn't do it when Reagan was born. Or Joshua. Oops. Lucky for me, some people knew we were having babies anyway, without an announcement.

I do like to receive thank you notes, and I do read them. I figured out years ago that everyone needs to feel loved, needed and appreciated. This one flaw aside, I really do consider myself a thoughtful person. I'm wondering if this is a big enough flaw to remove "thoughtful" from my list of positive traits?

As usual, I'm in the red with my thank you notes. (That's finance/accounting speak: I owe others.) But this time, I actually did hand make cards to send. The delay in this case was my inability to get the fullness and thankfulness out of my heart and onto paper. But however late, I'm going to go ahead and send them. I'm still very grateful and want those people to know that I haven't forgotten their kindness.

I'm going to do better. I really am know. Except for this.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Slow News Days

I've been having a slew of slow news days. Or else I am just uninspired.

Running here, there and yonder has left me tired.

Listening to my children alternately scream, wheeze, sneeze, cough and argue with each other has left me very tired.

Knowing that Brian is going to be home full-time for a while now, that I like. But I'm still tired.

I did attend Session 3 of the Love and Logic class. Now only if Brian and I could get it together to attend one of the 6 at the same time. Probably too much to ask. Although, implementing today's lesson could go a long way in ending some power struggles with some of my more strong-willed children: giving choices. As a general rule, I don't like putting the smack-down on the kids. I like it much better when we can all get along. I like it when I ask them to do something, and basically, they do it. That doesn't happen all the time. But giving choices, that makes them responsible for things, instead of me. And I like that.

I'm a fan of people being responsible for themselves. I think that's why I feel guilty about every little thing. I take responsibility for stuff that doesn't even concern me. That's probably just as bad as the people who refuse to accept responsibility. They're being enabled by someone like me. I want my children to learn at an early age that it's important to do your very best at whatever you do and to accept responsibility for whatever you do. It's a hard lesson and I'm not a good teacher.

In other news, I hope to finish 3 quilts by October 1 to send to the quilter. One of them has not even been started. I'll probably have a week to bind them all before Christmas. I think it can be done.

A smart person would have gone to bed about an hour ago...

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Baby For Sale--Motivated

We've always been very lucky, fortunate, blessed, graced, what have you, with the kids. All kids were great nursers. Not one second's worth of trouble there. The babies slept through the night very early on, thanks in part to our dedication to sleeping through the night. I'm a fan of a loose schedule, but not for the reason many books suggest.

Several back-to-back years of parenting babies and reading books and trying things first one way and then another and talking to other parents who have done things first one way and then another, has brought me to this realization: I'm a fan of a loose schedule. Who knew it could be as easy as that little thing? Certainly cuts down on the husband/wife drama at 3am. We didn't have our own way of thinking with our first baby. We just read a book, decided it sounded like a good idea and followed it verbatim.

Oops. Still dealing with the ramifications of that.

Anyway, without a loose schedule, how else do you get more than one child to nap at the same time? Or how do you address the real point of the schedule: Mom's nap.

But luckily, we never had fussy babies like some people do. Seemed like each baby was more easy-going than the last. Then, of course, the girls became toddlers. One definitely tougher and more strong-willed than the last. I don't know where they get that from.

But Joshua is charting new territory for me. That of Screaming Baby. I thought at first he was deathly ill or an invisible person was actually cutting his throat with their sharp, invisible knife. Because beginning about last week, he would scream and scream and scream. Not fussing. Not whining. Those, I can just about tune out. At least that's the rumor. "Mama can't hear you when you're whining." But I began to notice that anytime he was in his high chair and I moved out of his eyesight, however brief, he would start in. Sometimes that only meant he was facing the table and I was behind him at the refrigerator. Sometimes, all I have to do is get up from my chair. The result? High-pitched screaming. Wailing. Gnashing his 4 tiny teeth together.

With Brian gone, the Witching Hour of 4-5pm became the Witching Afternoon/Evening. I would serve dinner, then start bathing kids, leaving Bubba in his high chair with a snack while I got the girls bathed. He never stopped screaming until I got him out of his chair.

Then he was fine.

Or I would put him in his bed, praying exhaustion the reason for his ire. He would then stand there or even lay there and scream until I rescued him.

Once released, he was fine.

I took him to the doctor last week. After a long wait and a short visit where I hoped for some easy identifiable, minor medical reason, I was told he was fine. Great. It was the worst possible answer: it's his personality. Right before my very eyes, he was changing from that of a sunny, happy, thrilled-to-be-here, 4th child, only boy pleasure to a set of screaming hot cross buns. Mama. Just. Can't. Have. That.

What to do?

I thought about what I would do if one of the other kids wanted to have a throwdown screaming fit. Everyone over the age of 2 knows screaming and whining and crying is okay at our house. But has to be done in the bedroom. As soon as the urge to throwdown passes, they are welcome back to GenPop. I decided we could do that with Bubba, too. Unfortunately, it's not always convenient to put him in his bed. Like this morning. Trying to get the girls ready and out the door for preschool was not a good time to put him in his bed. He had to stay in his chair and scream.

I'm very fearful of this screaming stage. It's very painful for me to stand there and listen to him scream, but the last thing I want to do is to create a big, spoiled monster of a boy who grows into a spoiled kid who thinks the world (and everyone in it) is there to serve his needs. An entitled boy who turns into a selfish, spoiled monster of husband with a wife who going to be cursing me later. And I think it all begins here. Joshua Peter (Bubba Gump) Welch has to learn here and now that I, nor his sisters, or his dad are here to serve his purpose. He is just one of 6 people in this group. Sometimes, Mom has to get up from the table. Sometimes other people's needs have to come first. Sometimes, you're just gonna be sad. But if you want to scream and cry about it, you gotta do it in your room.

Otherwise, Mr. Hot Cross Buns, as the rhyme suggests, I'll sell you "one a-penny". I'm motivated.

Friday, September 03, 2010

My Future New Boots

I love shoes. I really, really do. But I have a pretty large foot and since I'm the mother of 4 children, all of whom I have carried in my body, my feet are even harder to fit than they used to be.

All that aside, I want these boots. The burgundy pair.

I was very nearly panting over them. Not "panting" as in putting pants on so I could run out and buy them. No. I was breathing hard. Downright lusting. I told Brian that if I weren't married, I would definitely consider buying them a drink.

They're expensive. Yes. But I could wear them in the rain and keep my feet dry. If I could have these boots, I would even wear them to bed. Unlike my kids, when I buy a pair of shoes, it could actually be a life-long relationship. Oh, I really, really, really need these boots.

Oooh, maybe I can use my commissions from my best scrapbook-selling month ever to buy the boots.

Whatever it takes, gotta have those things.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

The Opposite of Rockin': Melting

The opposite of rockin' is probably melting. As in melting down. Just like the kids do!

A cold dared to invade our home. In and out, like a thief, taking with it, my happy, well-adjusted children. Oh, a sly cold, indeed. Making itself known while Brian is out of town and there is only me to do Every. Single. Thing. A diabolical, evil cold that left me with a baby who has cried very nearly non-stop for 3 days. A cold that entered 4 lungs rendering them wheezy and requiring generic steroid prescription that doesn't taste "dood" and breathing treatments.

Something must be very wrong with my sweet baby boy. I am so tired of his whining and fussing and crying; I would gladly sell him cheap. Real cheap. I just do not respond well to screaming that goes on and on with no discernible rhyme or reason. Like now. He's been screaming in his bed for at least 20 minutes. Not fussing. Not whining. Full-on screaming. He is teething and he does have this cold issue, but I don't seem to be able to make it better for him. Is there anything more frustrating that that?

Reagan is not feeling like herself either. She's obviously feeling froggy because every simple request from me gets an automatic "no", either verbally or she just stands there silently begging me to do something about it. When I get up to oblige, she begins her screaming frenzy. I love it when everyone screams at the same time. This morning we had the Screaming Trifecta. I can't think of a time where we've had more than 3 screaming and crying at one time, and only a few times where there was 3. Today, one of those mornings. Let's see, it was Bubba, Reagan and someone else. Oh yeah. Me.

I was very frazzled this morning trying to get everyone ready for school appropriately dressed with lunches made and where they needed to be on time. It did not help matters that Bubba only wanted to scream and Reagan made a very large puddle in her bed and therefore needed an emergency bath wherein she emptied the whole bottle of soap in the tub with her. Not really her fault since I'm the one who left it tubside the other night. Trying to get Bubba to eat when screaming was on the menu...just an exercise in futility. Of course I was irritated when Reagan spilled her whole cup of milk on the floor mere seconds before we all had to leave. I'm not gonna lie: it's still there.

Last Wednesday did not rock either. I usually reserve my meltdowns for Thursdays. In fact, for the last 5 years, Thursday is known far and wide as Meltdown Thursday. Wednesday cannot become the new Thursday. There is really no room for it there. Wednesday has its own set of problems. It is not tough enough to handle weekly meltdowns. Only Thursday.

I'd write more, but someone is still screaming...