Thursday, August 29, 2013

Baby Registry

I just spent 3 hours with an INCREDIBLY tolerant Blur at Babies R Us today, crafting a registry for Mambo #5. Seriously, the registry I created looks utterly asinine. I literally looked for the style of clothing I wanted and needed for this child, in the sizes appropriate for the seasons of that expected size. If you saw that registry, I will just apologize now. There's no way to just craft a generic list on there. So I have to do it here. Hopefully they allow me to add a link into the comment section of my registry so you can come here and read the honest details. And if you do make a purchase with the intention of gifting it to our family, please make sure the cashier notes the registry with the purchase. In the event that we get duplicates or this boy outgrows a size too fast, BRU allows items to be exchanged for a year, provided it's unopened/new w/ tags etc. This applies to ANY item, whether I've added it to the asinine looking registry or not. So, give the cashier the registry number or our name so they can attach the items to the registry.

No, I do not want, need or expect one of each size of items I scanned.
No, I do not want, need or expect every thing to be brand spankin' new with tags.
No, I do not need the EXACT items chosen (with only small exception but that will be addressed).

Yes, I welcome 2nd hand stuff in useable condition, barring items with safety recalls.
Yes, I welcome any and all sizes of diapers, wipes, and clothes.
Yes, I plan on boobing this baby too. (Hence the nursing tops, but I'm picky about the access of them)

So, here are the specifics on clothes/sizes/seasons, listed according to size order:

Newborn: I know babies don't stay in the NB size long. I feel comfortable with the amount of stuff I have in that size.

3 mos: it will be cooler temps, so long sleeve onesies, and pants are welcomed. I reaaaaally loved the snap front onesies that a friend gave me with Clone, and in the event of a blowout diaper, they are incredibly helpful to disrobing squawky baby without getting poop in the kid's hair. So, the more snapfront, the merrier mama is. Sleepers/creepers/sleep-n-plays have always been a go-to item for cooler months, as well as this size baby.

6 mos: we're heading into warmer temps in Florida at that point, so short sleeved stuff is perfect, and a couple pair of pants for those cooler days or at night make the onesies versatile. Since it will be warming up, a couple pairs of shorts (denim, khaki, black, blue - the basics) can sorta dress up a onesie if we're feeling a need to do more than just a onesie. Again, snap fronts are mama's friend.

9 mos: Blazing. Hot. Summer. In. Florida. The kid will likely be found in diapers at home, and that's it. A onesie for bed or going somewhere. Bibs to catch the drool but, is it shameful to say I still have some bibs from the older kids? I need to go find them. And my older kids were walking by 9 months the latest. Speshul Snowflayke Speed Racers.

12 mos:  we're heading back to cooler temps, so pants and long sleeves, or just onesies, pants and a couple lightweight jackets will do well. Unfooted creepers are helpful for little feet to grip the floor. Footed sleepers are lovely pajamas.

18 mos: Florida winters are short, but for a native, not nice. Again, long sleeves and pants are lovely things, and by this point, the kids are helping dress themselves, and often proficient at UNdressing themselves when you least want them to do so.

So, most of the clothing questions answered, let's address the other stuff:

Nursing tops: I plain and simple don't do pull aside, or drop cup, styles without some other secondary layer to cover my chest. I am not comfortable exposing that much of my chest to that point, and it's entirely personal preference. I had a couple Japanese Weekend surplice sleeveless tops with under-bust access when nursing Blur, and thinking I was d-o-n-e having kids, I donated them and that's the one thing I lament. Those tops were awesome for complete discretion, and no requirement to don one of those drapes that scream like a WW2 bomb alarm to alert the world that you're boobing a baby. Plus, my kids refuse to keep the cover over their heads anyway.

Diapers: yes please, every size. I'm not brand specific or preferential. I do not object to store brand butt covers either.

Diaper wipes: oh lord, if I had space to store a pallet of those, I would. When Blur was a small baby, I had been given a bunch of those adult wipes and they were HUGE by comparison to the baby wipes (which have shrunk 2 inches in both directions since my first 2 kids were still pooping their pants btw). It was awesome to not worry about possibly touching the yuk. They were like 10x10 or something really ridiculously gargantuan. But regular baby wipes are not going to get handed back to you.

The swing: Oy, that one in the registry is pricey! I am absolutely, unequivocally not actually asking for THAT one. One like it from a second hand source is great too. Blur hated the back and forth of the swing after a while and would reach out and grab the leg to stop moving. Kid was talented like that. But we also had a travel swing for her in that tiny hovel where we lived, so space was premium. She could reach the leg to stop the swing. I'd like one that can swing in either direction, which is why I scanned that astronomical monster.

Rocking chair & ottoman: I scanned that mac daddy model just because I could and it was comfortable, and it is a recliner too. I'll have to fight to keep the Devildog out of it, but as many nights as I've sat up with a complaintive baby, myself needing sleep, and said child not wanting to be anywhere but my chest...this is where my logic was in scanning it. It's just so I can avoid as many visits to the chiropractor after sitting up with the complaintive spawn on my chest. Would I welcome a standard rocking chair and ottoman? yes, absolutely. Devildog was able to rock Clone in the one that was given to us. Since that hovel was tiny, and we never used it, I then gave it to a former coworker with 2 little boys, who'd confided in my sister that she was wanting a rocking chair. We were able to sneak it into her car at work one day and she was ecstatic.

Pretty much all the other odds n ends I scanned were things we've used before but blessed others with previously, so having replacements would be awesome. Dishwasher baskets, changing pad, etc - if you can find a cheaper one, or have one in your own closet, no hurt feelings if you give that to us.

There's also a VIB card attached to the registry. If you're flummoxed...I don't blame you. You can do a gift card amount on the VIB card of your choosing. If you can afford $5 and that's it, so be it. I am incredibly grateful for any generosity given in our direction. There's the bonus that BRU will match 10% of the amount added to the VIB card, so it's kind of like free money.

Edited to add: And if all else fails, there is always the option of a gift card to some place nearby that offers takeout or delivery. Once my MIL and MamaX3's mom goes back home, we're looking at needing fast meals, and me needing one handed food for things like breakfast and lunch or middle of the night when both mom and baby are hungry.

Monday, August 26, 2013

In my own way

That's exactly the spot where I'm standing: In my own way. As in, I'm impeding my own travel.

This year, I have been feeling pulled towards leadership as a Thirty-One consultant, and have an incredible leadership team willing and able to nudge me, train me, encourage me, and kick my butt when needed. I made sure that I chose an upline that would be unafraid of holding me accountable, and R.L. has done exactly that. I wasn't thinking about a position of leadership when I enrolled. As time progressed, I saw that path as the one I was being called to take though.

And in the last several months, I've also impeded my own progress. Call it self-sabotage if you want, because ultimately that's exactly what it is. In examining my situation and reasons and motivation etc, I have admitted to myself and R.L. that I am afraid of succeeding. My wiring is towards worst-case-scenario, and I have a habit of expecting the other shoe to drop. This is in part due to history of our life, and crap heaping at points that break the line holding the tent. Another part is the negative voices I've heard pretty much my entire life, and I'll just attribute that to the family history of depression - along both sides of the trunk. Double whammy for the bonus, right? I am not prone to the same levels of despair that some people experience, because I apparently got enough feisty energy to keep chugging through funks. Along with that, came this big ole suitcase labeled "Fear of Success", that I've been dragging along with me since CHILDHOOD. And that joker has no wheels on it either. It's truly an OLD bag. Quite honestly, it really *is* an utterly asinine bag to be carrying. It's ugly, it doesn't always close all the way, there's always stuff sticking out of it to get snagged on branches and lamp posts and other people as I drag it, and the handle broke in such a way that it won't completely separate itself from the bag nor will it hold well with airplane tape or zip ties. And it's got my name allllllll over it. 

I earned the registration for National Conference back in the first quarter of the year. If I hadn't, I don't know that I would have gone to it, despite the statistics reporting that attendees come home and do more business, grow bigger teams, and promote to next levels of leadership in the months following the event. By the time National Conference rolled around, I hadn't held an in-home show in over 3 months, but managed to scrape up some kind of sales every month but one (goose-eggs for sales numbers is disheartening, to say the least). I was also pregnant with #5, after failing to rebuild my body over the 3 years following the previous pregnancy. I was just in a bad place physically, mentally, emotionally, to the point of contemplating the decision to continue this journey, despite my desire to get away from the merchandising job of almost 10 years, help my husband go back to school, and still maintain some kind of flexibility that I've enjoyed. I'd already bought the plane tickets, booked the non-refundable hotel, earned the registration for free, and not being one to just throw away money, I went to the convention. Exhausting, exhilarating, extremely beneficial.

We were graced with speakers and trainers who shared their story, their ideas, and their inspiration. Gloria Mayfield-Banks included in her presentation, that long, inspiring, kick-my-fear-in-the-face, quote from Marianne Williamson:

 “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."

Gloria told of how she was able to come from a violent situation, escape it, find joy and love and passion in her life, and then go on to simply stroke a check one day for a child of theirs to attend college - in its entirety. The lady at the reception desk in the financial office attempted to point Gloria and her husband to the financial aid department, and Gloria looked at her and said "No ma'am, I just need the number."  GOOOOOOOSEBUMMMMPS! Then a few days ago, a friend posted that quote on her newly-minted-as-a-grownup-ish daughter's timeline on crackbook. She wasn't the only one who needed to read that.

It's insane that I think I am both inadequate and powerful at the same time, but I flounder on the sidewalk like a fish trying to cross the road between lakes. I know where I'm supposed to travel, but I'm meandering on a random scenic tour, apparently hoping for some magical results, or just expecting that shoe to drop. And then I was sitting in the pew yesterday at Mass, and Fr. Jhon was celebrating this time. He's newly appointed pastor for our parish, and so far, I have loved his homilies. He's right up there with Fr. Mike the canon lawyer history buff who weaves 3 periods of time into the same message. Fr. Jhon played that youtube video produced by Volkswagen, about that Swedish subway platform where everyone took the escalator till a piano was installed along the stairs. Fr. Jhon then went on to say that as humans we are lazies, and that we need to quit using the escalator. He can teach us what we need to know, he can tell us which direction to travel, but ultimately it is we who must do the work, and the walking. We need to use the stairs and put in the work. We need to get out of our own way and go where we are supposed to travel. We won't do anything but wander the desert till then.

And I was sitting there thinking "gee Trish, you've only been hearing the SAME message for weeks now. Get out of your own way already. How much longer are you going to just dawdle around and make things inherently more difficult for yourself?" Talk about smacking me in the face - a LOT lately.

Failure is knowing what you're supposed to be doing, and still not doing it. And failure in that manner sucks monkey butt.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Honing In and Helping Out

When Devildog got fired from the retail job, (meepmeep! tire tracks don't wash out of clothes by the way) I told him "Go to school" and he resisted with the same LAME excuses he'd been using the last 10+ years. It was October, and I told him he had time to keep looking for a job while he got things started for the Spring semester in January. Nothing came of the job search, but he did get his butt to school. He went to school through the Summer, and into the Fall. Then started that 4th semester but things got crazy, and it didn't happen. But he did get a very part time job. He chose nursing as his focus of study, which I find ironic and amusing. After a MAJOR injury, and much of his childhood spent in doctors' offices, hospitals, etc, and he hates any proximity to any of it.

But I see it in him. It's his calling. He is a natural born leader, and always has been. The Marine Corps honed that trait, Home Depot put it to use handily till someone lied to cover their own misstep, and he is prone to taking charge elsewhere. It's a different dynamic at home, because I'm here with my own way of doing things, and there's wisdom in the compromise.

He has related a story of an incident on the softball field where a pitcher got lasered with a ball coming back from the batter, right smack dab in the temple, splitting his head open to the bone. There was blood gushing everywhere, and Devildog jumped in, taking charge, calling for ice, putting pressure on the bleed, talking to the guy to keep him awake, and down from a panic because every heart beat sent more blood surging from the wound, risking his consciousness and potentially the opportunity to see his children grow. EMTs arrived, crediting Devildog with giving them a live, conscious patient to transport. Devildog came home from the game that night, a little shaken and worried for how things would result for this guy.

Several months later, the pitcher was working a service call - at the full time job Devildog landed a few weeks after I enrolled to sell Thirty-One. In any case, he saw Devildog and stopped to say hi to him. There's a massive scar, nerve damage, some other brain injury type things, and the gift of being alive and seeing his wife and children every day. And there was a sense of pride the day Devildog got a personal update from this guy. It took a couple days because of our crazy schedules, but he told me about the encounter, and I could see and sense the pull he has to pursue this goal.

At the first ultrasound appointment in July, he was enthralled, not just as a new dad, but as a guy who took Anatomy & Physiology with the intention of going to nursing school. He was naming off the parts the ultrasound tech was labeling for the reports going to the doctors, and parts not being labeled. He was totally fascinated by the images of blood flow, and little tiny human parts, and the magic glimpse into a secret world that the ultrasound machine provided. I was watching my mini-human, as a mom. I was watching my husband as a wife who knew she had to make things happen for them both.

Fast forward a few weeks to the follow up ultrasound to check that choroid plexus situation, plus fetal echo because they like to pick on the old broads who breed. Here he was again, just completely like a little kid who loves trains visiting a train station. I mean it was so uber cool to watch the valves of the heart flicking in response to the blood moving through them, and the pulsing of the heart, and the ductal arch, and the red and blue of the blood flow on the magic screen. But for Devildog, it was even more evident that this was more than just cool stuff for him. This, was unequivocally, his calling.

He has said he needs to go back to school, and I absolutely agree. The timing for our lives has never been all that convenient for anything, so here we go with a few more years of Semper Gumby soon. I want for my husband to enjoy his job and love what he does. He's not at that job right now, and the only thing keeping him where he is, happens to be a lot of overtime pay, insurance because I'm pregnant with our 5th child, and sheer adult responsibility. In turn to him feeling called to go to school, I feel compelled to do what ever it is I need to do to help him get it done. I know this means a lot of sacrifice for all of us. I know this means a sort of geographical single parenthood. But I survived being a Marine's wife, setting me up to be able to navigate that kind of journey. Semper Gumby it will be, and a lot of eyes on the eventual prize. I can't say I'm entirely excited about this whole idea because I know it's a lot of work. But there are lots of wise quotes citing opportunities looking like work, so I'm just going to trust that between God, us, our support network, and lots of work ethic, we will get through this challenge and emerge on the other side with something awesome.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Originality and Humor

When questioning the fertility and family size of folks who have more than 2.8 children, you are encouraged to avoid the same. trite. comments. every. single. body. else. has. used. before. you.

Seriously. It's lame. We live in a circus of our own, with our own brands of chaos. If you're going to waste our time with the same junk as everyone else, save your breath. It takes a lot to entertain us, given our own spawned clowns and elephants. It's the one common vent amongst parents of larger sized families.

The family of four kids I have doesn't really feel that large to me. But, I got lots of crap when I was pregnant with Blur. So you can imagine why I felt a need to just keep this fifth one off the radar completely. I was mentally and emotionally starting to come around to the idea of surprise #5, and then my husband outed me on Facebook with a post of an ultrasound picture. He missed the memo on my non-online-disclosure decision. I'd intentionally kept it off my primary page, and only shared in closed groups and private messages where I knew I'd have supportive, or at least funny, commentary.

And in that 21 week scan, we learned this baby had bilateral cysts on the choroid plexus. It's a normal variant, provided there are no other variants like the long bones being short. Thankfully the long bones were measuring normally, if not a week ahead of dates. (It explains the incessant craving for dairy, there was some bone growth & ossification happening.) So we had to do a follow up today. The cysts remedied themselves. The fluid was apparently just extra buildup in some hormonal surge and extra time was needed to reabsorb it. I don't have to go back to get that monitored. Then there's the issue of my "advanced maternal age" prompting things like needing a fetal echo done. Yep, heart is fine too. Everything is where it should be and functioning properly and well.

Since my husband outed me, I figured I'd post my own picture from today's scan. Apparently, I'm not stalker-worthy material and some folks were unaware of the story, and that surprised a few more folks. And then visibly, the belly is winning the race now, and it's darn near impossible to hide the belly, unless I don one of Omar-the-tentmaker's frocks. So, I'm getting comments in person too.

Here, let me just answer all the questions and save folks the trouble of asking. I want to spare you the trouble, and also spare you the dirty looks you'll get, plus the tone of voice, and sharp responses of which I'm capable of providing. Because like I said: It's lame, and it does nothing to entertain me. And it's just not funny. I'm easily amused, but the same questions just don't do it for me. Step up your game already. Be original and humorous. Give me something I haven't already heard.

Are you ready for it? Here goes:

1. Yes, we know what causes it. We've had 21 years of practice. We're damn good at it. We like it. We're married to each other, so we're SUPPOSED to be doing it with each other, not someone else. It's not wrong to actually LIKE your spouse. We've worked a lot of years to get where we are, and we like where we are. Don't be jealous that you can't get in on our party, ok? Just go get your own.

2. Yes, we have tv, cable, dvd's, etc and we utilize them. We actually have multiples of each. Oh, ANNNND we have computers with internet access, plus smartphones. We have friends. We have access to entertainment. And we have access to each other - you know like I said up  there^ in that spousal thing.

3. Yes, *I* am Catholic, but my husband is not. Our inter-faith marriage is always a work in progress, and we don't follow any one strict tenet versus another. Ours is an interesting dance of sorts, melded together the last 21 years with a lot of compromise after a lot of trial and error. Apparently, I'm a better Catholic than I thought I was, though. And apparently, I'm the kind of Catholic girl the Southern Baptist boys like. Take that as you will.

4. Yes, we've heard of birth control, and condoms, and at some points, we HAVE utilized a variety of all of them. I don't have to share this topic with anyone outside of my husband, I am not going to share the details of why, how, etc of what we do in that regard. I don't say a word about your decision to do permanent sterilization, hormonal birth control, barrier methods, etc. Be respectful of what we do, just like I'm respectful of what you do. In short, I stay out of your uterus, you stay out of mine.

5. Yes, everything OBVIOUSLY functions just normally, nothing is broken, so please tell me what is there to fix?

6. Yes, I have my hands full. I have a head and heart full too. The van is full. The house is full. The garage is full too. Our lives are full. How is yours? Is it full of good stuff or just junk and drama and crap?
There are people who completely ache and pay lots of money to ATTEMPT to even get a tenth of what we have. I'm truly and completely blessed, while my heart breaks for those who long for the simplest part of my life, and some may never have it. Don't tell me the obvious, because somewhere in earshot of your comment is someone else who you're insulting in the opposite manner, by reminding them of their empty hearts and arms. And there are those who have suffered the losses of 4, 5, even 8, or 12, or more babies and pregnancies. They are so grateful to have a baby make it into this world, while forever mourning the loss of those who grew wings before seeing light of day. They happily bring as many into this world as they humanly can. It hurts and it stings and it drives the knives deeper, while you twist them. Do you still feel brilliant saying that one?

7.  No, I don't know how YOU do it with just one, or two. Seriously, I need balance in my life, and I need my own interests and hobbies. I don't know how you can helicopter- and lawnmower-parent a completely normal child who has zero no neuro-challenges and come out the other side with your dignity and sanity intact, or theirs for that matter. I delegate stuff to the kids to do, as they become independent and capable enough to handle things. I've blogged about that before. Simply put, it's my job to create independent people who can function outside of me, and handle the hiccups of life. I have my own interests because one day those buggers will fly the nest and I don't want to be that mother-in-law that gets ranted about on the internet. I want my children and their families to feel like I respect their adulthood, and parenthood, and I will do my best to allow that by knowing my place in their world and not encroaching where I do not belong. I blessedly have a fair selection of wise in-laws who may not agree with how we do things, but they know it's not their family or household.

8.  No, I didn't realize that we didn't need to have any more kids. Thank you for telling me that. I didn't realize I was still 6, and asking for a second dessert an hour before bedtime. Last I checked, we are well beyond age 18, and still married to the same person after all these years. If I have my wits about me, we have kids who are 20 and almost 19. So unless there's some strange science or miracle, I think we are qualified to decide what my husband and I need, or don't need. I think your words simply speak of your own insecurities, and lack of time spent with us and getting to know us sufficiently. We are raising our kids in a manner that rivals most any other way modern parents do nowadays, and we've got one who was trained for management at his job as soon as he graduated high school, and another about to head off to MCRD Parris Island for boot camp. The Marines don't take *just* anybody. Our oldest daughter has life skills her peers can't fathom, and a perspective they won't achieve till they're much older. Our preschooler is articulate, funny, well-adjusted and capable of handling things kids her age still have a tantrum over happening, and she's fiercely independent. But they're still capable of being kids. We haven't robbed them of anything. We've sacrificed our own self-serving desires to give them what they need. We have indulged in some things, because we need balance and they need to see us doing our own thing, chasing our own goals and dreams, and they need to see us sacrifice for the greater good or to achieve those goals. Despite the fact that I'm running headlong toward 40, and I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up, either.

9. Yes, they were all surprises. No, we didn't plan or try for any of them. They were all not in our radar at the times they appeared on it, and now we can't imagine that radar without them there. Then they brought friends to the party, who we mistreat just the same as we do our own. I have birthed and borrowed children, and never imagined this many people would call me Mom. I'm just glad I didn't have to change all of THEIR diapers, or potty train them.

10.  No, we don't know if we're done yet. We thought we were done with the last 5. No, we don't know if we'll have any more. Every time we have thought "done" and laid plans of our own, another mini human comes along and mucks up the plans. But it's cool. We make pretty babies with brains and a sense of humor. And they think it's pretty neat that mom & dad ride motorcycles. Well, dad does, mom's just good at dropping them and then getting pregnant again.
One other side note about the variations of these questions: Again, when you're asking a parent of one, or ten, about the number of kids, you're insulting them. And the ones who only have one or two who like previously mentioned, utterly ACHE for more kids and can't attain that are once again stabbed by your words. Why must you be so intrusive? Don't be offended if one of us snaps back with "Why? were you looking to hire me as your surrogate, because I don't know if I'm the one you want doing that. I might not want to give up a child to be raised by twits like you."

11.  No, I'm not easily offended. I married a Marine and had a bunch of children with him. When you have that combination, you recognize when God laughs at you (in my case, it's almost daily since the early 1990s), and you learn to live by that other Marine motto: Semper Gumby. If you think you can offend me, you can, but it requires extreme stupidity, lack of consideration and forethought, no sense of humor, and downright intrusive and demeaning foolishness. I am not sure you want to test the mettle of this Feisty Irish Wench. Some of the things slung at me verbally by strangers, meant to offend, really didn't do that. I've survived a number of things, including two teens at once - and one was a daily test of my faith and ovarian fortitude. I have reasonably thick skin, and some of you will be lucky I don't have him with me when you open your mouth.

So, please, I absolutely encourage you to get creative when you see me or my larger-family cohorts. Ask us something we have NOT already been asked. Or for poops n giggles, maybe say something encouraging to the mom whose day is shot because of that series of wackadoodle events instead of "well you chose to have that many". Yep, we ultimately did. Someone has to combat the stupidity of the world, and it may as well be us, because YOU are sucking at it.