Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Adventures in Toilet Training

At not quite 22 months old, M said to me enthusiastically, "I want to pee on the potty!"  Really?!?!  I was thrilled.  Our diaper budget was about to be cut in half.  Half the amount of diapers being changed on a daily basis.  Half the amount of diapers going into landfills, because I really can't get on board with cloth diapers no matter how much I want to do good for the environment.  I know.  I know.  Please don't persecute me for this.  Like breast feeding, this is a personal decision.  My children have very sensitive behinds and it takes very little to set off a small diaper rash.  Just ask the babysitter who has not been asked to return because she didn't feel diaper changing was part of her job description.  It took all week to clear up the redness.  Additionally, the way this one boy can void?  All I would do is wash diapers and really, isn't doing excessive amounts of laundry also bad for the environment?  But I digress....

I promptly propped M up on the toilet and held onto to him as he clung to me for dear life to keep from falling into the porcelain abyss.  Of course, with all this clinging and holding, he wasn't really relaxed enough to have produced anything.  So the next day, M and I hopped in the car and drove to the BIG Babies R Us (not endorsing in any way) to select a pot sized for his behind.  M was in such a cute stage at that time (since, he has developed a serious case of the Terrible Twos, a topic for another post) and he referred to himself as "this little boy".  All the way to the store I heard him in the back seat saying, "This little boy is riding in the car." Once there,  "this little boy" and I picked a suitable potty for peeing.  Nothing fancy although it does resemble a regular john with a lid that you can close.  We brought it home and excitedly opened the box to remove the object d'art.  M took to it immediately.  Every time we turned around, he wanted to "pee on the potty".  For 3 days, he was awesome.  He asked to go.  He went every time he sat down.  He was a rock star.  My husband and I grinned at one another smugly, both thinking, "We are the BEST. PARENTS. EVER!!"

And then...

Let's pause to remember that if M was not quite 22 months old, that made C not quite 8 months old, which means he was still taking a bottle.  On the third evening of M's awesome potty use, baths had been completed for the evening and I was giving C his last bottle for the evening.  The hubs was not home for whatever reason so I was on my own.  I could hear M in the other room talking about pooping on the potty.  Hoping I wasn't hearing what I was afraid was happening, I finished C's bottle and headed to the bathroom.  And there was M in the middle of a mess.  Poo everywhere.  In the potty, on the potty, on the floor, on him.  I was less than thrilled although I tried to remain positive and applaud his efforts.  It was difficult and I am human.  It was the end of a long day, and they're all long when you are home alone with 2 little boys.  As I hastily tossed M back into the tub for another bath, I told him over and over again how "happy I am that he tried to poop on the potty all by himself.  Really, I'm so glad you want to do this.  I just really wished you had waited for Mommy.  But its a good thing that you want to and you tried all by yourself.  I just really didn't need  to mop the floor tonight.  Or give you another bath.  But really, that's OK because it's more important that you want to use the potty.  I just really need to hurry and get this floor cleaned up before C crawls in here and I know he's coming so you have to hang out in the tub a little bit while I clean the floor.  But I'm so glad you tried.  I didn't really need the extra work tonight since Daddy's not home but you tried and that's great."  You get the idea.

Well, so did M.  The next day, there was zero interest in the potty.  And for the next several days.  I was so discouraged.  And wallowing in guilt as I blamed myself for probably discouraging his initiative for such a skill.

Since that fateful evening, there have been glimmers of hope that he may be ready for another go at it.  There was the month or so that he used going potty as  delay tactic for going to bed.  There was the morning he awoke with a dry diaper so I enthusiastically ushered him to the potty where he promptly emptied his bladder.  Looking in the pot, he said excitedly, "Its yellow!!"  "I know!!", I replied mirroring his excitement.  "Its beautiful", he said breathlessly.  "It is!", I confirmed.  The next few mornings, even though he woke with a wet diaper, he could be enticed to make yellow in the pot.  After a few days, this too grew old.

Soon, one by one, the other kids in our playgroup were starting to use the toilet.  M was intrigued.  He was allowed to go with some of them and watch the action.  And this was good for him I think.  He started showing interest in wearing underpants so we rushed out and bought some.  We also bought some books, "The Potty Book for Boys" and "No More Diapers for Duckie".  Sadly, playgroup disbanded for the summer at the end of May so the peer pressure is longer there.

On a whim one evening after his bath, I sat C on the potty thinking M would have renewed interest if he saw his little brother using it.  Much to C's surprise and my amazement, he actually went!  I screamed, "You went pee pee on the potty!!"  C just screamed excitedly and M ran in to see what was going on.  He yelled, "I'm so excited!!"  although I'm not really sure if he knew what he was excited about.  Despite his excitement, M was not motivated by his brother's feat.

One morning, at my suggestion after our usual argument of "I don't wanna get my diaper changed"/"Yes but you need your diaper changed or your butt will get sore", M decided to wear underpants.  He didn't even have to wear his shorts over them so he could see them.  We chose a really cool pair with cars on them.  I frequently, like every 1/2 hour, reminded him, "Now you're wearing underpants today so you have to pee on the potty".  My mistake was not taking him to the bathroom or asking him if he had to go.  After lunch, I reminded him once again, "don't forget, you're wearing underpants.  If you have to pee, you need to use the potty."  Approximately 30 seconds later M came to me, "Mommy clean up."  "Clean up what?", I wondered.  "The water", he told me.  Sure enough, not even a minute after my last reminder, he had gone on the living room floor.  Thinking that perhaps he would mind wet underpants, I left them on him while I first cleaned up the floor.  Then I changed him into another cool pair of underpants, these had MONSTERS on them.  About 2 minutes later, and that is no exaggeration, it happened again but this time in the kitchen.  "I think maybe today we are done with underpants", I told him.  We went back to the diaper.  Two weeks ago,  he/we decided to try the Great Underpants Experiment again.  This time, in my infinite potty training wisdom, I decided that this time we would put shorts over the underwear.  Certainly wet shorts would be uncomfortable enough to get his attention.  Oh how wrong I was.  We went through 4 pairs of shorts and 4 pairs of underwear before I finally admitted, he's just not ready.  It's that simple.  He's. Just. Not. Ready.  No matter how ready the hubs and I may be.

So for now, the pot is stored securely in the closet to take the pressure off.  And multiple times a day, as I listen to him lamenting, "I don't wanna have my diaper changed!", I resist the urge to tell him, "I wouldn't have to change your diaper if you would use the potty" as I have time and again over the past month.  I am trying the no pressure approach for a bit.  Coincidentally, the hubs and I are also shopping for a preschool for M at this time.  At the top of my list is the one who will assist with potty training.  A little peer pressure never hurt anyone when it comes to social graces.

As for those books?  He reads them.  He doesn't live them.

As for me?  I still can't help wondering if perhaps my mini-rant during those early days might not have curtailed his enthusiasm for the potty.  I am told boys are harder to toilet train than girls.  And I am told that frequently there are starts and stops.  And I am told that many times, if interest and success is shown as early as M did, it often goes away.  So I am trying to let myself off the hook a little bit.  And watching closely for signs that maybe, just maybe, M will be ready to pee in that potty someday soon.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Enter Granny

Over the years, I have often wondered when it is that a woman makes the change from Victoria's Secret Sexy Little Things teeny tiny silk and lace string thongs to Granny Panties.  Is there a progression? Is something triggered overnight? Or is it a specific age she reaches that she realizes comfort over cute?  Today, as I was folding laundry, I realized, I have reached that point.  The Grannies far outnumber the Sexy Thangs now.  And really, isn't now, after the birth of two beautiful boys, when I have a few extra pounds hanging around and I am exhausted all the time, isn't that when I need to feel sexy?  Not when I actually thought I was, when I was all tight and toned and stuff?

As a single woman, I had a huge selection of Sexy Thangs to wear but let's face it, we all have had Granny Panties hidden in our underwear drawer for laundry day. Never for date night though!!  But there comes a time when they become your go-to-drawers instead of your last-resorts.  Even the Hubs has noticed the change in my wardrobe and questioned it.  So I decided to look back at my underwear history and see where I took that turn down Granny Lane.

It definitely was after my wedding day, when my underpants were small and lacy.  So lacy in fact, that my bracelet got caught in them in the ladies' room right before the wedding when I went for a quick visit before taking the plunge.  So small that I was afraid if I yanked the bracelet free I would rip a crucial bit of lace and they would fall to the floor as I walked down the aisle.  So there I was, minutes from my nuptials with my wrist stuck to my drawers, pondering my options.  Did I mention there was no one else in the ladies' room?  This really is a mental image worth taking the time to conger. A bride, in her beautiful lace A-line gown hiked up around her waist, perched precariously on 3 inch strappy heels with her hand up her skirt, unable to move, perspiration forming on her perfectly made up face, trying desperately to free herself before a search party is deployed to the ladies' room.

It didn't happen during my pregnancy with Baby #1.  I pulled on my Sexy Thangs day after day, not minding a little traveling in parts unknown because the waistbands tucked nicely under my bulbous belly and the creepage wasn't nearly as annoying as larger pants rolling down at the waistband.  

Then, I was scheduled to deliver Baby #1.  One of my BFFs visited me at home to help with a few last minute reorganization of our apartment and happened to notice my opened bag packed for the hospital.  Following the list from The Girlfriends Guide to Pregnancy, I had placed a pack of Always UltraThins in my bag, knowing I would need a little "protection" after childbirth.  My BFF laughed and laughed.  "You don't really think you're going to use THOSE do you?" she asked.  I mumbled my reply, "Um, I guess not.", embarrassed by my rookie mistake.  

Two days later, I was off to the hospital to welcome M into the world.  Anyone who has ever delivered a child naturally or via C-section knows that you don't have a shred of dignity left after the experience.  (It's a good thing those babies are so precious as to make this stripping of your dignified-self worthwhile) That's why its so easy to expose my underwear drawer to the world now.  Having unloaded my bundle of joy and been wheeled to my own private room, I got my first visit from the nurse.  Just when you think you have no dignity left to lose, just know it can always got worse.  My nurse was a sweet, sweet woman only doing her job, which I can only describe as one of the worst in the world.  She dutifully sprayed my behind with warm water to clean me and then deftly slipped the world's most unsexy underpants on me as I fought to contain the waves of nausea that wracked my post-anesthetic body and tried to move in a way that didn't causing searing pain to rip through my abdomen.  Then she put the largest pad I have ever seen into place.  I was appalled!! Was that really necessary?  She laughed and said to me in her lilting Jamaican accent, "We call these Mommy Diapers.  The babies get diapers and so do the mommies!"

I healed from M's birth and went about my life, which included my Sexy Thangs, although some more Grannies were starting to creep into my repertoire.  And poof!  I got pregnant again.  Nothing about pregnancy #2 was comfortable so I experimented with all different types of underpants.  Nothing worked so I just dealt with discomfort for several months.  There are unpleasant things that happen to a woman when she is pregnant, specifically when she coughs, sneezes or laughs too hard, that she must account for and more coverage than the Sexy Thangs could provide became necessary. I will not go into further detail here because I know everyone knows what I am talking about.  And I really do want to leave this post with a teeny tiny bit of my dignity intact.  

The day came when C was born.  This was also the fateful day that my Sexy Thangs made way in the underpants drawer for the ever growing collection of Granny Panties.  Once again, in a most undignified way, I was cleaned by a dutiful nurse performing a most unpleasant of acts.  I was once again fitted with giant mesh panties and diapers.  But this time there was a difference.  In my collection of disposable mesh panties, I found a little treasure...more substantial mesh panties that were so comfortable I debated trying to put them through the wash and use them as regular post-pregnancy underpants.  I didn't.  Even Zombie Moms have limits.  

Looking at the contents of my underwear drawer, I realize that the Grannies have taken over.  I am going shopping with a BFF tomorrow.  A stop at Victoria's Secret may be in order.  After all, there is another date night in my future. 

And for those of you still wondering, I yanked the bracelet free from my teeny tiny lace panties, and to my surprise, the pants were very sturdy.  It was the bracelet that broke.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

The Milestone

C reached a milestone this week.  It was very exciting.  For weeks, we have been watching as he has hoisted himself up on his hands and knees only to flop back down of his belly from the exertion.  And then he starting rocking back and forth on his hands and knees, not really going anywhere.  Well, except that one morning when he nose planted into the hardwood floor.  He was cranky the entire rest of the day.  He must have actually hurt himself.  Or just been angry and frustrated for not being able to do it yet.  I have NO idea where he would get that trait from.

The hubs and I often joke that M is his child, from his looks to his sleeping patterns to his personality, and C is mine for all the same reasons.  It should be noted that I get extremely angry and frustrated when I am unable to do something that I think I should be able to do.  A very good friend can attest to an adult temper tantrum when she once suggested that perhaps I wait for a man to help me assemble a barbecue grill.  She beat a hasty retreat up the stairs to our apartment.  We did laugh about it later that night but I think I scared her a little at the time.  And, as an aside, yes, I did assemble the grill...all by myself.

Back to C.  It was playtime after dinner for him and before bath.  M was eating animals crackers from his snack cup and he thinks its funny to try to feed C things he cannot yet have.  M had dropped his cup and was playing on the other side of his room.  I was composing a text to the hubs complaining about M and his habit of feeding C when something caught my eye.  I looked over and there he was, crawling!  Actual across the room crawling.  I screeched and pointed, "He's doing it!! He's doing it!! M he's crawling!"  It wasn't very fast and sadly, I had to take his motivator away from him when he reached it-M's cup of animal crackers, but he did it.  And he was so proud of himself.  I was lucky enough to have the cell phone in hand so I quickly switched it from text to video and captured that moment.  I was so proud of myself!

I love to watch my boys accomplish what they set out to do.  I stand back and watch, resisting the urge to reach over and help them, knowing that it is more important that they do it themselves vs. doing it "right".  And when they do succeed, its cause for celebration for them and for me.  I am in the middle of a reading The Optimistic Child by Martin E. Seligman, Ph.D.  The good doctor cautions against helping too much, allowing your child to rise to a challenge.  In doing so, you are teaching a valuable lesson in failure, perseverance and self-esteem.  I agree with this point of view.  Without a failure or two, C would not have known the exhilaration of success after hard work.  I am so proud.   :)

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

A Lesson or Two in Slowing Down

All my work life I was forced to constantly be looking toward the next thing.  As an activity director in a nursing home, where I started my career, it was always, "what are we doing next?" as soon as one activity was wrapping up.  When I moved on to marketing, I was always looking to the next deposit, the next move in and the next sales call.  And then, when I made the move into administration, it was going from one crisis to another, never having time to sit back and relax and enjoy the seniors, who were the reason I pursue that line of work to begin with.  

Then I had children.  And my mind is never quiet, always thinking about what needs to be done; the dishes sitting on the counter, that next load of never-ending needing washing, the list goes on and on.  But I was recently given two very valuable lessons in slowing down and enjoying my children's childhoods.  And the lessons were given to me by the very children I was staying home with so I wouldn't miss the little things.  

One of the things you hear over and over and over again when your child is born is "enjoy it.  It goes by so quickly".  "Sure it does," I thought.  How could changing diapers and sleepless nights possibly go by quickly.  How right everyone else was and how wrong I was!! Here is M, almost two years old somehow, yet I swear he was just born yesterday.  He's sleeping in a toddler bed.  He's had his first sleepover with Nanny and Pop-pop.  He's growing up so fast.  And C.  He can now be set on the floor and he can sit up by himself, and propel himself all around to get to the toys he wants.  How on earth did this happen?  I KNOW he was just born.

I have found myself saying to the hubs at least weekly (but probably more frequently) "I don't want them to grow up too fast but it will be nice when..."  And it's true.  It will be nice when there are no bottles to wash.  But I don’t want them to grow up too fast.  I don’t want to miss anything.  And I still have so much to learn from them.  Which brings me back to these valuable lessons in slowing down. 

I decided one gorgeous day to take the boys for a walk outside.  We have a long driveway and, when taken at a good clip can be a bit of a workout.  A quarter mile long one-way, you have an uphill way and a downhill way.  I was barely able to walk back up one day when I was pregnant.  Thinking this would be a god way to get a little exercise and get the boys some fresh air after lots of rain, we set off…at not such a fast clip.  The first stop was about three feet into our walk to examine a stick.  The stick came with us.  The next stop was to see an acorn.  The acorn was given to me as a gift.  The next stop was a yellow leaf.  Treasure of all treasures!!  Also given to Mommy for safe-keeping.  Our quarter mile walk continued this way all the way down the drive.  I got very little exercise, but I rediscovered many of the wonders of nature.  Although I do see that I am going to need to brush up on my knowledge of nature in order to continue our excursions.  The total tally from our walk was 2 sticks, 4 acorns, 1 yellow leaf, a few red leaves and a red berry I was afraid to let him touch, not knowing what it was.  Also multiple answers to questions regarding “wotta noise” and identifying various nuts, leaves and sticks.

My second lesson came a few days later.  C, a notoriously poor napper dozed off on my lap for his morning nap.  I usually take morning nap time to do various minor projects around the house; fold the load of laundry from last night, sweep under the sofa, answer emails, etc.  It was so nice holding my usually restless baby while he slept soundly and peacefully for a change.  I decided to let him stay there.  After all, he would only be asleep 30 minutes or so.  Well, he slept.  And he slept and he slept and he slept.  Two hours later, he stretched, rolled over in my arms and grinned up at me.  A grin that only comes from a rest inducing nap.  But something else happened too.  I slept.  I dozed on and off while C slept in my arms.  Not the twitchy dozing of a mother who is holding an uncomfortable newborn, which is the role I assumed early in C’s life.  But real power naps with a quick check on my quiet, contented child.  And I felt peace.  And refreshed myself after nap-time.

So yes, I am looking forward to my boys being older.  Some things will be easier, and some things definitely will not, but that's OK.  And I am so excited for when we can lie on our backs and gaze up at the clouds and talk about all that we see up there. 

For now, I am learning to slow down and cherish every moment of joy and wonder they bring me, and they experience.  I adore this time with them, even though it is the most difficult job I have ever and will ever have.  

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Surviving a Natural Disaster

This week, we encountered an unpredicted and unprecedented earthquake on the east coast and a Category 1 hurricane.  Prior to children, my earthquake response would have been, "WTF was THAT!?!? Cool, an earthquake!"  After kids, it went more like this: "WTF is THAT?!?!  Where are the boys!!??  M GET IN HERE NOOOOWWWW!!! Stay close to Mommy."  Dialing the hubs.  Can't get through.  Minor panic.  Dialing the hubs.  Can't get through.  Minor but growing panic.  Dialing the hubs.  Whew! Got through. "Did you feel that earthquake?  Scared the crap out of me! No we're fine.  I kept the boys near me.  Something fell in the other room but I haven't gone in yet to see what it was. OK. 'Bye"  Calling the landlady because I NEED to talk to someone who just felt was I felt.  Finally wandered into living room to see what fell; my laptop on top of my glasses.  Uh oh.  Earthquake damage.  Well, we did have actual earthquake damage to the well that has rendered our water unfit to drink still.  But everyone is safe although not quite as secure as we were before 5.9 hit the east coast.

Enter Irene.  Now, please don't get me wrong.  I know some areas had actual flooding, major damage, outages and even some deaths, but the media coverage of this storm in our area was complete hype and overkill.  But, since we have small children, we prepared.  Normally, hurricane preparedness for me would involve finding out where the party is, wine, snacks, maybe a new sexy nightie for the hubs and I in case we can't get out and maybe some board games.  About 2 hours total time of getting ourselves in order.  OK, yes, the computers and cell phones would also get fully charged.  But for Hurricane Irene things were very different.  Our most recent hurricane in this area was Isabel and her impact to my life was pretty significant.  But as a single person, easy enough to deal with.  So, with this experience in the forefront of my mind, we began preparations for the impending doom that would be Hurricane Irene.  Having worked my entire career in senior healthcare, especially after the disaster of Hurricane Katrina, emergency/disaster preparedness is something I know well.  We filled the bathtub with water.  We filled ziploc bags with water and stuffed our freezer full.  We took full inventory of our candles and flashlights.  We purchased lots of non-perishables.  We already had plenty of bottled water since Tuesday's earthquake.  Both cars were gassed and ready to go if necessary.  Both cell phones, the iPad and both laptops were fully charged.

With preparations finally completed, we waited.  And waited.  And waited some more.  Then it started raining.  And that was about it.  Until 10:00 pm when we finally heard wind blowing.  But up until that point, Irene had shown us little more than a normal rainy day.  We kept the TV on The Weather Channel, alternating with a local channel, to get the latest developments.  Of course, we missed the mooner on The Weather Channel.  That was the most exciting thing that would have happened here during the storm.  We did hear a tree or two come down in the night but by morning light, we were no worse for the little bit of wear and tear we encountered.  We didn't even lose power which is significant in and of itself as in this house, we lose power if someone sneezes too hard.

But a week of natural potential disasters made me think hard about how ready are we really in the event we have to leave and leave quickly.  No quick exit can be made from our apartment.  We live in a third floor walk up; 5 flights.  Add two small children, one of whom can walk the steps if you hold his hand, and things get slowed way down.  In the event of a quick evacuation, we are screwed.  Enter (dah dah dah dah!) Zombie Mom!!  In my undead little brain, I am devising an exit strategy that will be much quicker than President Obama's from Afghanistan.  A back pack full of diapers and other bare essentials so I can grab it from the closet and slap it on my back, while keeping both arms free, one for each little boy.  Unfortunately, there is a major flaw in this plan (which I will execute before week's end).  M's duck.  Duck duck is a 7 inch stuffed duck security blanket.  He can do without any of his other animals.  But not Duck duck.  Duck duck was missing for 45 minutes one day at nap time.  No nap was taken until he was recovered in the pantry behind several baskets.  The hubs made the mistake of putting Duck duck in the wash too close to bedtime.  No other animal would do.  Even the other regulars that share his sleeping space.  It had to be Duck duck or it was clear there would be no sleep for anyone that night.  After that evening, we began the search for a second Duck duck, just in case the unspeakable was to happen. Well, apparently Duck duck is a one of a kind.  We have looked EVERYWHERE they carry Carter's products.  And there is no duck to be found.  So, should we ever have to leave for fire, earthquake or tornado, a fully stocked back pack is a great idea.  But I will still need to take the time to locate a certain feathered friend.  Or M may never sleep again.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Did you know...?

Did you know that they make countertop dishwashers?!  It’s amazing to discover what you don’t know and I am constantly reminded of these things now that I have children.  Did you know that the volume of a toddler’s voice is directly connected to the sleep cycle of the infant in the crib?  Did you know that even though a toddler has a limited vocabulary, they can still manage to talk all.day.long.?  Did you know that a second c-section heals quicker than the first?  Maybe out of necessity so you can care for both children.  It doesn’t matter why.  It just does and that’s a good thing.  Did you know that a colicky baby will eventually grow out of it and the smile that you discover afterward is so much more precious than you ever thought it could be?  Did you know that you can teach a child to sleep better? 
But the biggest “did you know” I have discovered is something that my OB should have discussed with me well before I delivered my second child.  Did you know that when you get your tubes tied, it’s not as easy as you think it will be?

Allow me to explain in the most delicate way possible without being way too personal or gross.  I became pregnant with C when M was between 4 and 5 months old.  I barely had time to breathe a sigh of relief that I was no longer pregnant.  My regular cycle had resumed just long enough to know when I was late.  In my many prenatal visits to the OB, we began discussing birth control options for the future.  The hubs and I knew we only wanted two children and we knew that we had to act quickly given I was over 40 when I got pregnant with M.  Since we were pregnant with our second child now, we decided to go with a permanent birth control option.  As I spoke with my doctor, he thought a tubal ligation was the way to go.  I was in agreement.  When I asked about how things would be affected, he told me that my cycle would resume just as it always had.  A man should never be the one consulting with a woman on this procedure. 

The day of delivery arrived and because of the sensitivity I had with the first pregnancy's spinal block, I was given an extra sedative this time which knocked me out nearly completely, although I hear from the hubs that I would start talking and end up snoring mid-sentence.  I was also in surgery much longer with C than with M, mainly because of the tubal.  I had some other minor complications recovering from the surgery including my temperature dropping and not going back up on its own, vomiting from the anesthesia (again) and a spinal headache (brutal).  But they were not that terrible.  I was discharged home with my new son and began the task of settling into my new life.  I had the usual recovery from childbirth and my body began the task of settling back into its monthly routine.

But did you know that when your cycle starts up again, it comes back with a vengeance?  I mean PMS like nobody’s business.  Cramps like I haven’t suffered from since college.  And the duration?  Holy cow!!  I had never EVER been incapacitated, for lack of a better word, for so long.  Never.  Having been on the Pill for many years prior to meeting the hubs, my cycle had shortened to 2 days tops.  Even after I stopped taking the pill, it stayed that delightful length.  Cramps were minimal and PMS nonexistent.  But about 2 weeks prior to my second regular period, I felt myself coming unglued.  My anxiety level was at such a height that I couldn’t handle both my boys crying at one time.  When one would start, I could barely take that but then the other would start and I found myself pointing at the second offender and saying in not such a quiet voice, “And don’t you start too!  I can’t take it!”  After two weeks of not recognizing or even being able to stand myself, there was one final incident where I found myself in front of the medicine cabinet questioning myself.  I immediately grabbed my cell phone and sent a message to my counselor requesting the earliest appointment she had.  I also called my doctor and reported feeling out of control.  I got an almost immediate appointment with both.

Here’s what I have learned:  it is common, yes common, to have this happen after a tubal.  Really!?  Don’t you think that is something a doctor should tell his or her patient who may be considering such a procedure?  I had chosen a tubal ligation because it is permanent and non-hormonal.  Being guilty of self-diagnosis, I had decided I was suffering from post-partum depression.  The Internet can be a dangerous thing because you can find enough information on any infliction to diagnose yourself with it.  I was sure I needed an anti-depressant.  After meeting with my shrink and telling her what had happened, she recommended an anti-anxiety.  Then I had my consultation with my doctor. This time I got to speak with a woman.  She is the one who said that the tubal is the root of all evil.  At least mine.  She recommended that I go back on the birth control pill.  Her thought is that leveling out my hormones would help with my anxiety and depression.

Well, she was right.  I have been taking the Pill again for one month.  It is amazing the difference in what I feel and how I handle everything.  I am no longer feeling out of control.  On a scale of 1 to 10, before the Pill, I was daily a 7 in the anxiety range and 10+ when things escalated.  Now, a 7 is my highest point.  I am relieved to be feeling so much better and when I feel the time is right, I will share my PPD journey here.  But for now, I will just caution women, that while I am sure the tubal is a beneficial procedure in that it is a permanent form of birth control so there is no worrying about unexpected news, please ask way more questions than I did.  Be specific.  And don’t accept a man saying, “Things will go on just as they always have.”  The woman doc in my doctor’s office says that your period will come back stronger and meaner than ever, every time.

Isn't it funny that I opted for the tubal ligation to avoid a hormonal form of birth control and I am now taking birth control pills anyway.  

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Post Baby Work Out

Finding time to exercise since C's birth has been a bit of a challenge.  I was a terrible pregnant woman and considered a trip up and down the stairs exercise.  Well, multiply that by 2 years and you have the length of my exercise hiatus.  Two years of no ab work.  Two years of no running, no Buns of Steel, no horseback riding-he is also way out of shape-and no lifting heavy objects like bags of horse feed.  So my fitness level and my shape have suffered.  My size used to be a perfect little 4 petite, although at the time, I was hard on myself and how I looked anyway.  Now my once 6 pack abs are shaped more like a bowl of jello.  My buns of steel are more like buns of jello.  My once strong arms can only lift jello. And I have underarm wings!  No kidding!  I waved at my son the other day and felt something flapping back at me.  When did this happen?!?  How did this happen?!?  Oh yeah, those two years straight I was ginormous with child.  M loves it when I pull my shirt up and pat my flab for his entertainment.  The hubs tells me he thinks I am sexier than ever.  I, however look in the mirror with a more critical eye.  That's a muffin top.  And a dimple is not cute on that cheek.  And the dress I was planning to wear for our upcoming fall wedding season?  Let's just say if you can picture Mrs. Wiggins from the Carol Burnett Show, you have a very accurate image.  Not pretty.

So I have devised a way to sneak exercise in throughout my busy zombie mom day.  I am only about 15 pounds from my pre-M weight but I am miles form my pre-baby shape.  Here are a few of the exercises I have incorporated through my day:
The Baby Bicep Curl:  Pretty self explanatory.  Take the baby (the toddler protests this move too much) under each armpit and curl him up to your face and back down again. You can give him a smooch on the forehead for extra fun.
Infant Ab Roll: Lie on your back on either a large bed or on the floor with your knees drawn up, shins parallel to the flat surface you are on.  Place said infant on your shins, carefully of course, with his head and arms above your knees.  Hold onto his hands and curl your knees toward your chest and, at the same time, raise your head and shoulders off the floor, pulling them toward your knees.  To keep baby entertained, make faces at him as your faces draw closer together.  Funny noises also work.  Depending on how long your legs are, the toddler enjoys this move.  We have trouble with this one.
Tiny Tot Tummy Trimmer:  Take either child and hold in a cradle hold and twist at the waist as far as you can go to both sides.  For added intensity, hold the child away from your body and get an arm workout as well.  Faster gives the child a better ride and you a better workout.
The Rock-A-Bye Baby Sumo Squat:  Another endurance move performed by holding baby on either shoulder and rocking side to side to get the little darling down for a nap.  This move is repeated at least 2 times a day.  Intensity can be added by bending your legs into a squat with each rock of the baby.  The lower the squat the higher the intensity.  And by holding baby, it becomes a weight bearing exercise.

Peek-a-Boo Calf Raises:  This move will require some of you taller moms to raise the mirrors in your house.  Fortunately for me, I have the stature that requires no redecorating.  Choose a mirror anywhere in the house and make sure the baby is facing it.  Standing, raise yourself up on your toes so that baby can see his reflection in the mirror.  After he sees himself and reacts, lower yourself back to the floor.  Repeat until you your baby stops reacting to his reflection or your calves are burning.  Your calves will probably give out before your baby does.  I have found saying, "Baby!" "No baby!" pumps up the fun factor and making baby laugh will increase your ability to keep going long after the burn starts.
Son Shoulder Press:  This also works with a daughter.  It can be done standing, sitting or lying down.  Hold child securely around upper body and under his arms and raise above your head and down again.  Again, a great opportunity for funny faces, smooches and goofy noises.  A word of warning from experience, whatever you do, do it with a closed mouth, especially if your child has just eaten or is teething.  Otherwise, you may get rehydrated in a most unpleasant way courtesy of your loving child.
The Toddler Trot:  Not to be confused with The Diaper Dash, The Toddler Trot is performed by running around with and after your toddler as he plays.  This exercise is an endurance move, happening all day long at different speeds.

The Diaper Dash:  Unlike The Toddler Trot, The Diaper Dash is a sprint.  Think intervals occurring several times throughout the day but not continuously.  Its a quick dash to catch an active toddler long enough to get his diaper changed.  This move requires not just quickness but agility and timing.  This is an all over body workout that will improve lung capacity, fine motor skills and will aid you in learning those quick turns and twists used in football.
The Diaper Derby:  This move happens daily too.  It is when both boys need a diaper change and you have them lined up.  Its more like a pro-wrestling move when you are tag-teamed by the bad guys, you will find yourself flipping the child over, trying to catch flailing feet while staying out of range and doing a 180 to perform that trick all over agin.

And of course, with the proper amount of training, you will soon be ready for the Obstacle Course:  Basically, this involves navigating your child's chosen place of play while carrying your second child and trying to prepare a meal for at least one person.  This move will require agility, endurance and an amazing amount of self control to not say something a well versed toddler should not hear or repeat as you slide on one of the hundred tupperware lids strewn across your kitchen floor, balancing a child in one arm and a plate in the other hand, and usually a bottle in the baby hand, while remaining upright.  When you can successfully master this move without uttering a single word of profanity, you are a fit Zombie Mom.

While having incorporated all these moves into my daily routine, I am still mourning the loss of my pre-baby body.  I adore my children and given the choice between them and that unscarred, stretch mark free pre-baby body, I would choose them every time without hesitation.  But I would really like to fit into that awesome dress again.  And my teeny tiny pre-baby bikini that mocks me from my dresser. Sigh.  I guess I should be satisfied that I am a mom of two beautiful boys, 43 years-old and still able to pass the pencil test.