Glee-fully Confused

Saturday, December 31, 2011

I'll admit I am behind on the few shows that I do dedicate the time to watch.

I just managed to catch up on Glee and I am a little confused.

What is with the Judy Garland Christmas thing? It was like watching an old Nick at Nite Special. Did not love.

Another thing- aside from Rachel's greedy gift grabby behavior- I thought she was Jewish? Why is she hounding Finn for Christmas present? Why not have her teach Finn about Hanukkah traditions? This year Christmas fell on the 6th night of Hanukkah so why not take advantage of dual holiday celebrations?

why will they not sleep?

Friday, December 30, 2011

I officially would like to take back every single time I was a kid and did not want to take a nap or go to bed.

Now- as an adult- I am exhausted. I wake up tired. Go to bed tired. Just exist in a general state of tiredness.

The kids are obviously tired. Eye rubs, yawns, stretches, fussy moods, they are obviously in need of rest. Yet they resist.

I am not really big into strict schedules, but more into listening to a body's signals. Teaching them to listen to their bodies is challenging though.

What do they have against sleep anyway? What is so bad about it? There is nothing remarkable happening that they will miss, why the resistance?

Alone in a crowd

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Very rarely am I alone. There are usually 4 children orbiting around me closely. Chattering, needing something, asking something.

But in that, I get very lonely. Often, I spend a significant portion of my time feeling very alone. I think this kind of loneliness is worse than actually being alone because I am limited to what I can do. I can't read a book and expect to get very far with four kids, I can't go to the library and just be, I can't really do much that are some of the good parts about being alone.

Kids are kids, they are concerned with what they need at any given moment. This is typical kid behavior. Sometimes though, it would be nice to have an actual grown up conversation. It would be nice to actually, be heard, be listened too. Not have to repeat myself 50 times to get a child to do some request.

There has to be humor in here somewhere. There has to be. I will find it. Or will lose what remains of my mind. I may turn into the type of parent I do not want to be the crabby, snippy, mean, mama who yells and has no patience and see little joy.

Perspective, is 9/10 of reality right? Help me change mine.

Ammending the Christmas Dinner that wasn't....

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

I have received new information today- that I need to share regarding my previous post of "The Christmas Dinner That Wasn't"

Apparently, the invitation that was extended indicated that the gathering would only be dessert and coffee. This bit of information was lost in the message passing (remember the game "Telephone" from childhood?)

This information never reached my little branch of the family so we were entirely unprepared and the children unfed, and hungry. Had we been aware of the plans our preparation for the day would have been different.

I am very sorry for any offense I caused, it was unintentional. My post was a commentary on what happened from the information that we had been given. To my in-laws- I know that you adore the kids and take wonderful care of them- often times better than I do.

Hopefully, new ideas of how to spread information to family members regarding get-togethers will minimize or eliminate something like this from happening again.

The Christmas Dinner that wasn't

Monday, December 26, 2011

Admittedly, I am not up on Christmas traditions, but I thought that a Christmas meal- usually dinner was fairly standard. It usually including, turkey, ham, or a roast and then a variety of sides. I was wrong.

We were invited (read: expected) to attend Christmas celebrations at B's aunts home, about an hour away from our home, at 3pm.

We arrived, and visited, the kids played and were adorable in general. Soon Grandpa announced it was time to open presents. The kids raced into the living room, waited, ready to bound up to the tree to retrieve a gift when their name was called.

Gifts were passed and opened. The wrapping cleaned up. The family scattered. By this time it was nearly 6 pm. My kids were coming up to expressing their hunger, I asked one of the aunts, and the kids were given pretzels. Shortly, they made coffee and pulled out some cookies. My kids were still hungry so we held on as long as we could before making an exit. At 8pm we could wait no more, and we left.

We then proceeded to scavenge for food, as we were an hour away from home with overtired and hungry kids.

A few things I learned: ask, always ask- even if it seems obvious- ask. If I ever host Christmas- have a lot of food- even if it is at an off time.

****I have been given new information that I need to share- it clarifies what happened- there was a communication breakdown****


Friday, December 23, 2011

... and not those under the tree.

One of the best things my awesome group of friends has taught me and shared with me is to bring meals to people when they are recovering from something, or just having a hard time.

This was shared with me many times and I am deeply indebted to the wonderful people who shared with me. Now I am enjoying the ability to do it for others.

It is a fantastic thing to do for another family, and really if you are cooking for your own family it is not that much harder to double the recipe.

I am so so thankful to my amazing friends for sharing this gift with me. I am so thankful I can now share it with others.

Just reminding you......

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The other day I woke up really crampy. I am pregnant so aches etc are kind of normal.

As the day went on the crampy became Braxton Hicks contractions. Which I can do all day and not think anything of as long as they are not getting closer together, more intense, I will just ignore them.

These contractions got into a definite pattern. For long enough that it got my attention.

So I had a big bottle of water and used it as an excuse to sit down and relax. They kept coming. So I called the doctor. Explained that I was having contractions and I had four previous preemie births..etc. She said to go to L/D. Fab. I said as soon as I got child care arranged I would.

So I went home and had a few more glasses of water. The contractions slowed down considerably and became more sporadic. I called the OB again and gave him an update, and asked if he really wanted me to come in. That the contractions were more like little reminders every so often that I was still, in fact, pregnant. As if I would forget being 7 months pregnant with baby #45945800222.

Muppet angst

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

I must confess, I do not like the Muppets. In fact, I actively avoid them. They kind of freak me out.

A lot of people have really really grand memories of them- but I don't. I remember being really scared by them. I must have just seen them at the perfect developmental time to leave a lasting negative impression. I have no specific reason that I can recall that cemented that perception in my head.

Really I have tried to give them a chance, I have tried to watch them. But I cannot get past the mental block. I just get really uncomfortable.

Fraggle Rock is the same- lots of people my age love it- I avoid it. Something about the giant monsters living on the other side of the cave thingy- just freaks me out.

Are there any children's shows that just don't sit well with you?

Don't Cry (it out) please.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

I may get a lot of flack for this- and that is okay. I guess. What is popular is not always right and what is right is not always popular....

Anyway. I do not like Cry It Out (CIO) or sleep training for babies. It just seems so mean.

I am a mother. My job does not come with 'off' time. My job does not end when the sun goes down. My job is a 24/7 deal. Sure, I get breaks, that is what family and sitters are for. Sure, I get tired. Sure, I get crabby. But I cannot get behind purposefully neglecting my child's needs- physical or emotional.

Inevitably, I will mess up what I am trying to say so please bear with me. But when there is nothing left of me to give- then what? Being an attached and connected mother is about learning to recognize and respect my child's needs as an individual. It also involves teaching them to recognize and respect other people's needs- including mine.

Believe me I know what it is like to look at your child and want to scream, cry, and or beg for him or her to just for the love of all that is holy go to sleep. I know the fatigue that causes dizziness and forgetfulness. I live it. I understand, the motivation behind parents who think that letting their child CIO is better because then they can sleep and be better parents. I honestly believe that almost no parent looks at their child and thinks, "ok cool- this can really mess with your developing brain, I wonder how else I can screw my baby up?". I do not agree with the method of CIO though.

Two awesome bloggers who talk about it better than I can are MamaEve and Alternative Mama

The key has to be- that my kids are going to struggle with some things, that is okay. I can let them struggle and support them through that and remain attached and connected. Letting them suffer- that is an entirely different beast. Who would let their child suffer with a broken bone? Who would let a child suffer with a broken heart? Suffering is suffering, physical or emotional.

It is really hard to listen to a baby cry- there is a reason for this, it is an instinctive response. How often are we told to trust our instincts? Trust this one.

The babies learn to self-regulate from parents. They learn and grow through being held. Having their needs met. I would rather my babies learn that adults are there to take care of children and meet their needs than that the world is a cold and isolating place.

There is no evidence to support CIO as a good thing, and lots of evidence to support its negative impact:
We know now that leaving babies to cry is a good way to make a less intelligent, less healthy but more anxious, uncooperative and alienated person who can pass the same or worse traits on to the next generation.

~Darcia Narvaez Psychology Today

I think part of the key is to recognize that it is a relationship between a mother and child. No one is 'in control' of a relationship. It is a mutual thing.

Meet your child's needs. Physical and emotional.

challenging kids

Friday, December 16, 2011

Parenting my kids, alone most of the time, can be really challenging.

Each of the kids has his or her own personality.

Peas, has enough personality to go around for several people, and she can be very challenging. She is so intense, so passionate, so so much.

This is adorable and sweet when she is happy, but undeniably frustrating when she is upset or you are trying to get her to do something she is not so inclined to do.

For example, she is a snuggler. She loves to snuggle and cuddle. Literally, I think her body just needs that much stimulation and contact, it is very tiring for an adult though.

Last night, as she nestled in, I realized something. For some reason, that clearly, I do not understand, she picked me for her mother. For some reason, she was given to me. I do not know why, but that isn't my job. My job is to love and nurture her. To foster her growth and development so she can be the best that she can be.

This is a job that I have to take seriously. I may never understand why G-d chose me for her mother. But I do know she is special. She is sweet. She is energetic. She is who she is and that is pretty great.

SIT(s) down and enjoy yourself

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Hi! Welcome to my little corner of the Blogosphere! I meant to write this post the yesterday but thanks to a migraine not much got done.

A little about me:

I have 4 kids. I am expecting the 5th (!!) in the Spring.
My marriage is not my first marriage- not totally unusual but still something that influences me.
I am very short- like barely (not quite) 5'.
I am very active. I have to be busy or I go nuts!

Again welcome! I hope you like what you read- and forgive any errors- I rarely have uninterrupted time!

If you are so inclined follow me on twitter @almostsinglemom

Thanks for coming by! I will visit you in return- promise!

Why I WIll Never Be A Helicopter Parent

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

First- logistics. There are four children (soon to be five) and one of me. I simply cannot be hovering over every move.

Second- how are my kids going to learn independence and self-reliance if I am constantly hovering? Problem solving skills and creative thinking are learned skills and practice, makes perfect.

Of course I am not going to tell Peas to walk to school on her own, but I do encourage her to get her own water, etc. Small steps lead to larger ones.

This means, I let my kids make mistakes. I let them make messes. I let them skin their knees.

I help clean up, help them learn, comfort them, and move forward, but how can they learn if they don't make a few mistakes along the way? Obviously, if the learning curve for a particular mistake is to steep- I'll step in- like not letting kids play in a road or something, but for little things, they can learn by doing.

If and when they ever need me, I will be there. Because I love them I want them to be independent.

Holiday Treats

Friday, December 9, 2011

The holidays are almost synonymous with special treats and wonderful food. There are some food items that just make the holiday. Would Thanksgiving be the same without a turkey? No. Would Hanukkah be the same without Latkes? No.

As a child my mom would bake holiday cookies, and thankfully she always let me help- even though I am sure I was more of a hindrance. However, I remember making cookie cutter cookies at my little table with my mom and mixing up icing to decorate them with. I remember rolling crescents in powdered sugar and making thimble cookies.

This morning Peas and I made cookie cutter cookies. Well rolled them out and cut them out at least, we made the dough a few days ago. We will decorate them tonight, but for a few minutes I could remember my mother and making cookies. I hope that my kids will look back on it as fondly as I do.

Where is the snow?

Thursday, December 8, 2011

It is December 8th. I live in the Chicago area. There should be snow. Thus far, there have been flurries. Flurries don't count. I want actual stick to the ground, winter wonderland snow.

I hope it will happen soon.

There are snow withdrawls here! I love the season changes, I need them, but I actually need the weather featured in the season. Like this summer when we had 100 degree days, it was awesome. The blizzard last winter: awesome.

Now, SNOW please!

What is most important

Monday, December 5, 2011

Someone asked me recently what is the most important thing I teach my kids. Mentally, I started running through my list: reading? counting? speaking? potty learning?

None of them are the most important, sure they are important, but none of them jumped out at me as the absolute most important thing I teach them.

It hit me like Newton's Proverbial Apple, love. I teach them love. Teaching them love and compassion is the most important thing I teach my kids. At the end of they day, they know they are loved and cherished.

This knowledge shows in how they treat others. Princess is 7 but is more empathetic and compassionate than most adults, I am much more proud of this than her reading ability. Stinky, is sensitive and sweet, he wears his heart on his sleeve. Peas is passionate and loving, when I am upset or sick, no one can give hugs like she can. Even at 2 Pixie is understanding compassion. She sees when her siblings are sad and tries to make them feel better. She may grab stinky his trains if he is sad, or bring Princess her blankie, or hug Peas.

The Help

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Late to the party as per usual. But I read the book.

It is easily one of the best books I have ever read.

I was stunned that this happened so recently in history. I mean, I know about Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King etc, and I am cerebrally aware of the dates related to such, but reading about characters and lives made it much more personal to me.

Additionally, given the time period, if we had lived in the south my family easily could have been one of the families employing a maid. My sister and brother could have been raised one one. It is purely an accident of latitude that we were not such a family.

It is shocking that people could be so mean and cruel to another person, and that the very person-hood of African American people was called into question. It really showed me how little I understand of it. How little I know. It is easy for a white person like me to sit there and say that racism is no longer such an issue. It is easy for me to say "It was so long ago" but its not. It was the 1960's way too recent. It showed me a glimpse of 'white privilege'.

I understand that many critics took issue with the stories told in the book, that it glosses over some of the truly horrendous things that these people endured. Maybe so. Probably so. But it is a first step to opening a dialog and reminding people that this is still a huge issue. That it is not 'so long ago'.

In my opinion the heroine in the story isn't mainly, or only, Skeeter. Aibileen and Minny, the women who called attention to the circumstances, who literally risked their lives to tell their stories.

I would love to learn more about the topic. Most of all I am so proud to look at how far our country has come since the 1960s, yet there is still more work to be done.

Past halfway

Friday, December 2, 2011

I am now past the halfway part of my pregnancy (if one goes by a traditional 40 week time table- given my pregnancy history, I am within 3 months of delivering.)

This is my LAST pregnancy, so I am trying to enjoy it- lest it slip through my fingers.

I can feel my boy wiggling in my belly, flipping, and flopping.

Somehow there is some nagging feeling in me, that will not go away. The ultrasounds I have had so far look fantastic, but that anxiety is still there. I guess I feel like I have been so blessed with the other kids, it is my turn for something to go terribly wrong.