Friday, January 12, 2007

We believe in being honest...

There are only three rules in our home. Yup, really. The kick is that those three create the others!

Our Rules:
#1-Listen and obey
#2-Follow Instructions
#3-Tell the truth

And yes, I know, #1 and 2 are a tad bit redundant, but hey, with this many little ones underfoot, redundancy is a way of life! And you see, with rules #1 and 2, when an instruction is given it should be followed.

With lovely rule #3, the kids learn that honesty is more important than winning, than making mistakes, than coming out better than someone else in whatever the situation.

In the quest for honesty, I have found there to be some roadbumps. You know that whole theory of do you tell your friend that her butt looks huge in those jeans and she shouldn't wear them, or do you just answer "yes" when she asks if they look ok and call it an insignificant fib for the sake of saving feelings? Well, I'm one who would rather have the truth. I'd rather have my husband answer me honestly when I ask him if my jeans look like they are fighting my thighs and screaming for mercy, or if a dress makes me look like I'm wearing two pigs that are fighting under a blanket-you get the idea. Most of the time that is.....

So what a wonderful learning opportunity presented itself when my darling 8 year old daughter felt the need to be honest with me the other day. Here I am feeling happy with myself...I got up two days ago, pulled on a smaller size of jeans AND zipped and buttoned them without sucking in AND was able to breath and move comfortably and not look like they were painted on. YAY! I put on a cute new shirt and thought I was looking good! Imagine my surprise when halfway through the day my daughter randomly says, "hey mom, you still look pregnant!" Well, thank you very much. After a briefing on why that is something that she should avoid in the future, especially with people other than me if she plans on living to see adolesence I took my vain self back to my mirror. Ok-so the kangaroo pocket on the front pokes out kind of funny. I still contest the looking pregnant bit though!

Yes-I still believe that honesty is the best policy, even if it means comments like that. It reminded me of the first thing that my 6 year old son after I walked in the house when arriving home from the hospital, having delivered baby #6 just the day before. "Mom, your tummy is still huge! It's not supposed to be any more because the baby is out!" Ah, out of the mouths of babes.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

I am not a Superhero - part 2

Superheroes don't get sick.

This dang cold has stuck around long enough! My baby is finally sleeping better and now I'm not.

Lovely. Enough already! Maybe it's just so I don't yell at my kids (I've lost my voice on top of it all), certainly their behavior the past few days has tempted that!

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

I am not a Superhero

(Reader be warned-this is a post of epic length. If you have anything you actually plan to accomplish toady, skip it completely. You can always come back if you acquire insomnia...)

I am borrowing the title from a Ryan Shupe and The Rubberband song that I was listening to last week. It's a song I've heard before, but had never paid much attention to, until I heard it on a day that made it all too appropriate.

You see, I am the one who is always on top of things. I don't have bad days (HA!), the house is usually clean, anytime we leave the house the kids have not a hair out of place and are often times coordiating in what they wear-especially at church, I still fit in the same jeans I wore before I started having children, and I bake like Betty Crocker. Add to that the task of homeschooling, a church calling, and an insane love of making the baby gifts that I give (bows, bracelets, towels, quilts, yada yada...geesh), dresses for my girls for special occasions, and matching pjs for my kids for Christmas, and, well, you see where this is going. I have created a certain image that I feel pressed to uphold. I know, I know, really it's a pride thing and I should just humble myself and get over it, but being one who typically doesn't back down from a challenge, I seem to have created for myself one heck of a challenge and don't plan to back down any time soon. Let's face it, women are strange creatures, and I don't stray far from that stereotype!

So when something obnoxious like postpartum depression rears it's ugly head, it really throws a kink into things. I've been working to fight it, I've been through this before and made it out without any permanant damage, so I know it's possible. It made for sort of a frustrating holiday season-it's hard to be jolly and cheerful and sing obnoxious songs when you'd just like to crawl back into bed and pull the covers up over your head, but you suck it up, pull yourself up by the bootstraps, and plunge ahead. By the time I found someone who had an idea of how to treat PPD without medications (Thank you Heidi-the queen of natural remedies! ;D Somone else who undertands my dislike of meds), I was finally starting to come around. After five good days in a row, I really felt like I was in the clear, much to the relief of my extremely patient husband! That was a week before Christmas, and the timing couldn't have been better.

Don't get me wrong, I was still functional, none of that scary psychosis stuff. No days of crying for hours and fighting to hide it (which did happen after baby #4), we still managed to do a decent amount of school, I put on a lovely smile for all the Christmas parties and still made nearly 30 dozen (yes thirty, that is not a typo) of my traditional Christmas cookies that all ended up decorated in my ridiculous OCD style (run Martha-here I come!). But geesh, it gets old to feel just generally crappy for that many days (weeks) with only random days of feeling normal.

Back to the point; it had been a few weeks, and life was coming along nicely. I figured that the PPD stint for this time around had come to an end. The hormones were finally bringing themselves back into check, I lost a few more pounds, and broke out a couple pairs of the smaller jeans. All is well in Happy Valley, right? So I thought. I guess I'm still more vulnerable than I thought. It's always the little things.....

My sister had her baby! No, no-don't misunderstand, this is wonderful news! All went well, I'm FINALLY an aunt, with a beautiful little niece to whom I can send loud, battery-operated toys! haha! Little Hallie arrived without incident, the labor and delivery went about as well as they can (although after needing a second epidural to fix the first one that didn't work, my sister might disagree), baby and mom are both in great shape! A little blondie weighing in at 8lbs 1oz, and 21inches long-the biggest baby our famliy has ever seen-and also one of the most beautiful!

Anyway! (there is a point, and an end to this I promise) We have all been anxiously awaiting the news of Hallie's arrival, as family typically does with any baby. I certainly didn't expect to be the first one called-in my opinion that honor should always go to the grandparents-but I did expect to GET a call. That's right-no one called me. I found out by default. I called my sister's cell phone to ask for ideas for her husband's birthday and he answered her phone. I was surprised that he answered and when he said "she's here", I assumed he meant my sister so I asked if I could talk to her for a minute. He clarified with, "No, SHE! Hallie is here!" Fearing that I had happened to call within a short time after her birth, I of course asked when she arrived. At about in over 12 hours before I had called. Hmmmmm, silly me, I thought someone would call and tell me! So I offered my congratulations, left word for my sister to call me when she was up to it, and then called my mom. When I called Mom, she said "hi, how are things? Oh, and did you know we had a baby?" NO! Because no one bothered to call me!!! To top if off, there was further, um, miscommunication later in the afternoon about finding out if I was able to visit the new family at the hospital, making the whole situation even yuckier.

I probably owe my mom and apology (Sorry Mom!), as I wasn't very nice about the whole thing-making a number of snide comments about me having been the only one of us kids who has actually HAD a baby before, you think maybe I'd like to know-especially after she told me that they had called her when they arrived at the hospital earlier the previous day. Did people actually think I would have run up to the hospital and stuck my face in the delivery room? Did they think I'd strap up my whole herd-including the one with a runny nose-and just barge in? Wouldn't it stand to reason that of anyone I just *might* be the most understanding of them all?

Well, to come full circle here-I learned last Friday afternoon that I am much more vulnerable than I like to think. The girl who just rolls with the punches isn't invincible. It really hurt my feelings that no one called to tell me that my sister had had her baby. I don't blame her at all-it was after 11pm by the time she was all cleaned up and put back together, and after a very long day, I'm sure she wasn't up to playing the phone tree game. But I did think that at least my parents would have called. At least they hadn't called anyone else either, so it's not like they slighted me or anything, but I still had a hard time getting past that all day. ALL day. I haven't been that emotional in a long time. I did suck it up and get through the day, and get everything done, but realized by that afternoon that maybe I wasn't all back to normal yet-at least as far as emotions are concerned.

All is well that ends well-I did get to go to the hospital to visit, I got a chance to hold little Hallie for a minute, and as anyone with a heart knows, nothing soothes the soul like getting to love on a perfect little being, so fresh to this world. But hey-note to all: People are excited about your new arrival-call and share the news. Decide on a calling tree of something, but share the joy! If the new parents aren't up for visitors, I don't know anyone who would be offended by being told that-certainly not someone who has been there many times over.

But hey, if my sister and her husband are brave enough to do this a second time in the coming years, I think my parents will call and tell people. At least, one can hope so!

And now that I've vented, I can break the spandex and my cape back out! WHEW!

Friday, January 5, 2007

Hair today, gone tomorrow

Well, I did it. I actually severed my security blanket. When your 8 year old child is brave enough to do something, it sets quite the precedent! So I finally (I say finally-she cut hers on Dec 23rd) went through with it. I bit the bullet and chopped nearly a foot and a half from my head! It's not the first time I've done it, but I found it harder to do this time-I guess I am getting old and finding comfort in the same-old, same-old. I suppose that is when it is best to be willing to consider a change anyway, no?

So, a new year, a new hair cut, and with any luck in the next couple of weeks I'll add a new pants size to that list too! I've found enough will power to get a decent start, down a pound and a half so far this week! That leaves me 7 pounds left to get to my pre-pregnancy self, and with any luck (or with enough effort I suppose) another five to get to my pie-in-the-sky goal. Ironic that my "new me" will be the result of trying to get back to the old me.....