22 September 2008

Waving White Flag Now

Here is what I am up against.

After numerous attempts to get the kids up and moving for school, I resorted to the timer. "If you're not dressed in 5 minutes, no soccer practice tonight." What ensued can only be described as miraculous, since no one who is as tired and immobile as my children were could possibly object with such force and vitality, were it not for some supernatural force moving within them.

They made the 5-minute deadline. Completely dressed, to the shoes. Tied. And then, I had to have an argument with One Son that went something like this:

Son: "It's impossible to get dressed in 5-minutes, mom."

Me: "But you did!"

Son: "But it's not possible. You can't ask us to do that, it's just impossible."

Me: "But you did it! In less than 5 minutes!"

Son: "It's impossible, mom. Don't ask us that again."

A variation on The Sky is Blue, No, the Sky is Green repartee.

And this: After voicing my profound displeasure at how long it took the boys to settle down the night before, and in true parent overdrive, driving home the point that if they go to bed too late they will have trouble getting up in the morning, I said the following: "I am not saying this to be mean or to make you miserable, but you really need to settle down at night when we tell you to!"

Son: "You want me to be miserable?"

For every parent that thought they would never utter "WHAT DID I JUST SAY!" in righteous indignation, I tell you that particular goal is a pipedream.

21 September 2008

But We Made It On Time

Yes we did. We made it to Mass on time today, no small feat for our family of seven, and not a common occurance either.

Today it was our turn to do donuts. This entails buying 6 dozen donuts in the morning and setting up the hall downstairs, getting the coffee started, pouring the juice, loading the trays, etc. Given the extra stop, we had to leave especially early.

We made it! And upon arriving at the church, here's what I discovered. First, the baby's shoes were not, in fact, underneath her car seat, as I was sure they were when I was getting her dressed. Second, my oldest son's jeans were filthy. Ground-in grass stains on both knees. Nice. And third, I had forgotten to put underwear on my three-year old. She was wearing a lovely dress and some too-small tights...and no skivvies. No biggee, right? She was wearing tights, after all. Well, too-small tights have a tendency to ride to the floor, which hers did quite a bit, being as how she was extra-squirmy in the pew.

And the fourth thing I discovered is that it is hard to be prayerful when you are preoccupied with the possibility of your child flashing the nice older couple sitting behind you. The specter of your lovely offspring pulling a Britney Spears in the House of God is just too distracting.

However, everything remained decent. Plus, after much searching and tossing things about, I did find a pair of shoes for the baby. And I don't think anyone looked at Sam's knees.

Everyone ate the donuts and we made it home. A successful Sunday morning.

16 September 2008

Thyroid Disease: The Good Ole Days

Shortly after my third child was born, I started having some strange symptoms. I shook all the time, my hair fell out in clumps, I was constantly starving and ate more food than I could believe, and I had a bunch of other strange symptoms that would be even stranger to post about. But the most amazing symptom of all: I did not need to sleep.

Having a weeks old infant, plus two active little boys, most of these symptoms were easy to explain. Hungry all the time? It's the breastfeeding. Hair falling out? Hormonal shift. Shaking hands? Your totally stressed out, lady!

And I didn't even really think about how much sleep I wasn't getting, since the baby was waking up every few hours anyway. But the symptom that really bothered me was the shaking. Every morning I would tie the boys' shoes, and wonder why my hands were trembling and why I couldn't get my body to be at rest. I eliminated caffiene, no small thing if you know my coffee addiction (yes, even while breastfeeding -- send critical emails to mindyourown@itcouldbeworse.org). But without the coffee, I was still shaking like the last autumn leaf left on the tree.

Time for medical intervention. Turns out I had Graves Disease, a form of hyperactive thyroid disease. It was completely treatable, and after being on medication for a few months (it took awhile), my hands stopped shaking and my eating habits returned to normal.

What do I miss about Graves? Never needing to sleep. I could use that particular malady right about now. Eating an entire box of chocolate biscuits in one sitting. Eating 2 super burritos in one sitting. Eating pretty much everything in sight, and losing weight anyway.

It didn't occur to me until being diagnosed that the amount of energy I had was not normal. That zipping around on 3 or 4 hours of sleep was not just "baby-high." I think Graves Disease is the biggest reason why the 12-hour road trip we took to Portland when Lola was 2.5 weeks old went so smoothly. Not needing to sleep frees up an amazing amount of time you otherwise waste; I got phenomenal amounts of stuff done.

Which leads to my current nostalgia for my days of disease. Given that homework, dinner, and the evening routine took me until 9:55 tonight, I found myself wistfully wishing for my hyperthyroid to return. Just think how much I could get done!

There are alternatives: I could become a meth-mom. I hear they plow through their to-do lists like wacked-out Energizer bunnies. But then I'd have meth-mouth, and that's just gross. I could "just say no" and shorten the to do list, but then the kids would wear dirty socks, people wouldn't eat, and the nice electricity man might find our address on his job list for the day. He would be bringing his big clippers. I could GET ORGANIZED.

I dunno, it seems so much easier to just get a disease that allows me to eat endlessly, never gain weight, and stay up all night.

When I got pregnant with Elizabeth, my doctor told me that the Graves disease would take a little hiatus until after I delivered, but then would likely come back. This was supposed to be a life-long condition. No such luck. It never came back. I am stuck having a regular old need for sleep, gobbling up precious hours of my day.

But here's hoping it returns someday! I will enjoy those days before the meds kick in to their fullest.

15 September 2008

Life is Too Short for Pleasantries

Apparently, Elizabeth thinks so.

Today, I was cuddling with her, and finding her so adorable I was melting. I took her little face in mine and said: "Elizabeth, I love you so much, honey. I love being your mommy."

Her response? Well, she smiled ever so sweetly at me, tipped her head to the side and said, "I would like to get a new mommy, though."

So I asked her which mommy she would get, and sure enough, she had one in mind: "I would get the Castillo mommy." This is a family we are good friends with, the same family Elizabeth always expresses a preference for when she is in trouble. But now, she'll take them even when surrounded by the love of the mother who bore her.

Thankless job indeed.

10 September 2008

Today's Task

Note to self: Figure out a way to celebrate Tallulah's birthday instead of marking the end of the two hardest years of my life. They are one and the same, so this is no easy task.

She is not helping, having hurled herself into the terrible twos with a ferocity I can only liken to sheer madness. I am a seasoned mom, with four other kids, but the tantrums this one orchestrates, complete with Sybil-like outrage, leave me completely flummoxed. Getting her in her car seat these days leaves me shaking, sweaty, exhausted and yes, even bloody. She scratches my hands like she wants to rip them off of my wrists while I am trying to fasten her buckles. She pulls my hair so hard that my eyes water and I have to muster great self-control not to scream (at least when we are in public). She bites. Hard. Often.

Of course, at daycare, she's an angel, so she saves her vitriolic venom for me, I guess.

And I'm supposed to make a birthday cake for this little piece of work?????