Tuesday, November 29, 2011

I don't want to keep up .... and yet

I've been struggling a little bit with things over the past few days. Unfortunately, it may be all whine because I think at the base of it all is my sleep deprivation caused by the inability to get Little Man to sleep for more than five hours at a time during the night. Coupled with an unexpected part of potty training being middle of the night calls from the room next door of "I have to pee", I'm starting to fall apart a wee bit. I've tried for quite some time to not let the lack of sleep get to me and have focused on getting through the day without any real downtime by myself (save some time first thing in the morning when Big Love takes the kids so I can try and scrape the crust from my eyes).

But it is our finances that get to me. We live on a modest salary and for the most part I am proud of how I've been able to make that work for us. (I know damn well that we are better off than many but for some reason I am still frustrated.) Ever since Little Man has been with us it has been harder to stay within our budget and I don't really understand why. With one car, no cell phones, mostly cloth diapering and maybe going to a fast food restaurant once a month, I just don't know where it goes. Then my brain starts to move into a place where I fear that if we ever had to do with less we'd be screwed and I become afraid that our situation will never improve. That I will always be counting every penny we spend, trying to keep our monthly spending within our means and never being able to save any money for anything! (The ability to save enough for airfare to visit our family is a bit of a joke right now.)

What gets me on top of this is envy. I am so envious of people who don't have to worry about things as much - or at least give the outwardly appearance that they don't. I get jealous of the gifts my brother in law sends to my house for me to then ship to him for my sister's Christmas present. They are beautiful and, in my world, very expensive. By the time he pays for the shipping he will have spent on this one gift, as much as I will spend on all three members of my family combined for Christmas. I hate being jealous! It's stupid! I would never dare to wish for something that costs more than $100 if it would only be used by me. There's just no point because we can't afford it.

The cry in my head goes out that THIS IS ALL STUPID! I have a healthy family, a roof over my head, food on my plate, all our bills are paid and I still can't be fully happy. I really don't want big expensive things. The Jones' don't really matter to me. I only want it to be a little easier to save a few nickels at the end of the month. To feel like we are getting ahead and that one day we'll be able to retire and not become a financial burden on our children. I know that the small amount we spend at Christmas on our family is a good lesson to teach them - that it is not about draining the bank accounts. There are children near us that do not get anything and I want to be able to give to them as well.

My stupid brain. How I desperately wish I could have a few nights of decent sleep. I know that would help. I can't even seem to get them if I pray and beg for them. I will try to be happy with what I have. Maybe one day I'll get there.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

All smiles and snuggles

Little Man is great. Despite the fact that he likes to wake me up twice a night to eat, he doesn't make my life more difficult at all. He's not fussy and seems to be quite content watching what other people are doing. He's old enough now that if I haven't been holding him for awhile and he gets fussy, he squeezes me a little extra when I first pick him up. I love it.

And yet I wonder .... so many moms talk about how their little boys become devils. Seems to me, from what I heard and the little bit of time I spent with my nephew, he was very much like this. And then he became the devil as perhaps little boys are wont to do.

As I sit here and type this, my little boy is lifting his bum high into the air as he tries to figure out how to crawl. He does quite well getting to where he wants. Then he finds a little toy Smurf, lifts it up and smiles. In a few months, I'm wondering if he is going to be throwing it across the room and breaking the window rather than just trying to eat it.

For now, I'll go and smother him in kisses because he can't run away from me yet!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Grocery Aisle Dancing

Sweet One wanted to come grocery shopping with me this afternoon and since that is usually the norm, I was ready to go. We only needed one stop (I had an hour of shopping yesterday without any kids with me! Miracle of miracles!) to grab a few more items and so we went to a small, locally owned grocery store. The average shopper here is often using their cart as walker. It's almost a joke that they have one Senior Citizen parking spot when only one spot in the parking long isn't used by a senior.

Have you ever seen Little Bear? It's an old school kids program put out by Nick Jr. and based upon a children's book series written in the 50's. My friend loaned it to us and unfortunately, Sweet One loves the DVD filled with nine minute stories. In one of her favorites it has a repetitive song that any preschooler could compose consisting of things to do. I'm not a hundred percent sure of the lyrics, but this gives you an idea:
Little Bear, Little Bear sing a song,dance along,touch your toes,wiggle your hips,do back flips,fall to the ground ...
Sweet One loves this and will do it over and over. And today I learned that she even loves to do it in the grocery store! Asking her to stop spinning and walk so that she wouldn't crash into other people's carts was of no use. Luckily, these old people loved watching her. "She's just dancing." They maneuvered around her moment of "fall to the ground" better than they can steer their vehicles in and out of the parking lot! One woman particularly enjoyed my comment of, "stop spinning you crazy kid!" (I did say this with good humor and I was in no way using an annoyed voice.)

One of these days all I'm going to get is rolled eyes and "Mom! You're embarrassing me!" when I'm out grocery shopping with my little girl!

Note: I was motivated to share this story after reading All & Sundry. Is imitation the best form of flattery? I don't know. But I was smiling about her dancing six hours later and thought I'd go for it. Luckily, the only thing I was missing after my shopping trip was cold leaf lard. Partially due to the fact that I don't know what the hell it is!

Lightning Wish List

Today is the first day that I become almost obsessed with watching the lightning deals on amazon. I have a small list of things I'd like to find at great prices which include: a Kitchenaid Food Processor, a 32 or 37" TV, and a printer (because this new computer is not working with our old printer). A fairly modest list but I'll still be watching until all this lightning mania is over. Also add to that a few Christmas gifts for my kids.

But there's another reason why I watch the deals so much - because it blows my mind some of the things that are out there that people buy! And sometimes they come with a huge price tag and I have no idea why people would ever have need of some of the weird things that pop up, but it is good for a laugh from time to time.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

My best friend's birthday was on Wednesday and for the first time since I have known her, I was unable to hear her voice as I wished her a Happy Birthday. She has a job that makes her travel and, unfortunately, she was traveling on her big day. I hope she got the email I sent into the abyss that can be the internets while her card makes its way to her by land.

I still sometimes wonder how we both made such a big move five years ago and ended up only 8 hours of driving apart. I absolutely loved going to visit her in that fancy Canadian city. Sweet One and I took the train up there once and there were other trips to visit that I will never forget. Not being in the same time zone anymore kinda sucks ass.

I hope she was able to find a few moments to enjoy despite starting a work trip that day. And I hope that her hubby celebrated her day (or will once she is home) in the wonderful way they do.

If things work out as Big Love and I are wanting them to, we'll be moving to a bigger center in time for Sweet One to start kindergarten and I can only hope that it will end up putting my friend and I closer together.

Happy birthday, dear friend. You are an amazing person, friend and auntie. I'm pretty sure you know all the other blubbering I am capable of when I think of how much you mean to me, so I'll spare you for now! (And I'm sorry for sucking and not getting you your birthday present yet!)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


When I've been striving to do something but never finding the exact words, it is wonderful to come across them in someone's FB status. And I shall aim to read this to start each and every day.
The real purpose of life is love. Love is our very essence, the all which created us and is us. This day I will work to remove that which blocks my love from flowing freely. I will learn to love myself and I will liberally share my love with others. I will be kind, understanding and compassionate. I will make love a daily focus and priority in my life, and I will try to fill every moment of my life and yours with love. I will tell you how much I love you as often as I can. - "Principles of Being" by Austin Vickers

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Letting go and moving on

Three and a half years ago I made a decision to cut my father out of my life. I had struggled since my teenage years with his emotional abuse and his complete inability to take responsibility for his anger. He phoned at Christmas for the first few years and I took his phone call but other than that, the only communication we have is when I send him his birthday card and Christmas present.

There are moments when I wish I could have made a different decision but for my own mental health I had no other choice. Having children has only made my decision stronger as I do not trust him around them. Big Love and I decided to state in our will that my father is not allowed to be with my children unsupervised, even if I am dead.

I know I have tried to post about this in the past but was never ready. I went back into my drafts to see what was there and this is what I found. I am ready now. By posting it, I hope to let go more.

September 4, 2009
If I've ever understood the idea of an albatross around my neck, it was him. Casting shadows of anger and sadness through everything I did. I hope that one day there will be so much sunlight and the shadow will be obliterated. Without being able to do this I will not be able to find my own path. Without being able to find it, how will I ever teach Sweet One to have the courage to find her own?

His anger may have defined my past but it does not have to define my present or my future. There is a little girl asleep in her crib and she will wake up with the biggest smile on her face for me. Me! Of all the people in the world, I am the lucky one who gets to be her mother. To help her have the best childhood she possibly can and to watch her grow into the woman she will one day be. This is the present and future that matters. 

I hate it that there are moments where I am sucked into the past where I did not feel free to be who I am. I was afraid that I would anger him and that would result in being screamed at, with hisspit accumulating on my face ... or worse. "Because it stung good" was the reason there was a foot long, plastic shoe horn hanging in the utility room. His inability to deal with anger or confrontation is why I still get sick each time of think of it - my stomach turns, I get dizzy and my chest tightens. At the age of 31 I no longer want his anger to have such power over my life.

The bookends to our visits were often a bottle of wine and huge amounts of anxiety. The person to blame was always me, or so he said. The last time I was voluntarily in a room with him he directed the conversation solely to my husband. When I tried to be involved his reaction was one of annoyance. After my sister and brother had joined us neither Big Love nor I were involved in the conversation. My husband is a man of few words but when I heard him say, "That was bad," I knew it wasn't all in my head. As I left the house it was final - I was done. Done being the one to blame and done putting myself in a position where I would leave feeling like shit.

Almost ten years ago I mentioned in passing how I got a lot more beatings than my sister or brother. His response was this : "When i0t's your first child and you're at your wits end, what do you do?" Me? If I ever feel like I am too angry to react in a respectful manner to my child I will leave the room. Take some responsibility for my own actions and then return to finish dealing with the situation. But a complete lack of responsibility in any relationship he has is MO. Three years before his second marriage failed he told me that if it were to end, it would be the fault of her daughter. Really? A stepdaughter can decide whether a marriage is a success or fails?

And so each day I do my best to let go of the hurt and the anger that is left. My father will never truly hear what I have to say. I have tried so many times to get him to hear me since I was just a wee child and it has never worked. But I refuse to let him blame me. I refuse to allow the kind of violence his anger can produce to be near my daughter. One day down the road it is possible that I will let him in our lives but not now.

Prior to becoming pregnant I spent months grieving for a little girl who was wounded from her father's violent outbursts. No matter what I did it was never good enough and if I pushed him far enough he would scream until his spit covered my face, or even worse, beat me until I screamed in agony and humiliation - unable to sit down because of my burning ass. Recalling them immediately makes me sick to my stomach as the little girl inside of me desperately tries to hide.

There are moments in my mothering where I feel overcome by anger but I am proud to say that I do leave the room. I have never hit my daughter, nor will I ever. I have yelled but never directly in her face and I always apologize. I still have a ways to heal my own wounds but I know I can get there. There are moments when I hold my children and I feel sad that he does not know them. But quickly after this thought, I try to figure out how anyone could ever harm a child and I know my decision is the one that I needed to make.

It was good for me to read this post this morning (and the link in the post). To help me understand that I am not alone in my struggles with this relationship. While we all get to a difficult place in different ways, it all sucks. But we don't have to let it continue ... we can do better for our own children.

Perhaps one day I will allow him into our lives, but not until I know he has taken some measures to deal with his issues and his anger. But he is a child and behaves as one in many situations. So I'm not expecting any miracles any time soon.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

It won't last forever

Efedents and Poka nots! That's what my days are made of. Or as the rest of us say, elephants and polka dots!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Sometimes you just have to back off!

I've been wracking my brain trying to find something that would strongly motivate her to poop in the potty or to just trust what others have been telling me, that she'll figure it out when she's ready. I'm not very patient and I just wanted this stage of things over and done with. But my attempts to persuade her turned me into a rabid asshole and were also unsuccessful.

I just didn't understand why she wouldn't do it. She knew when to tell her poop to return whence it came and she was completely capable of running to a hiding spot and taking care of business.

As pretty much every other day, we were across the street playing at our friend's house. Grabbing at her butt once in awhile, we asked Sweet One if she wanted to go home and poop in the potty. "No, thank you!" she tell us in the most cheerful of voices. (If there's anytime good manners can grate on ones nerves, it is this!) A few moments later she is beelining it to get underneath the slide in time. Her favorite place. And just as quickly as she disappeared, she returned requesting a bum change.

And what's a little salt in the wound? She repeated her performance about twenty minutes later!

My friend suggested that I back off completely for a few weeks. No prompting and no encouraging. Just let her be. With only my sanity at stake, I wondered if it was just what we needed.

Every day we'd go without a poop, I'd get more anxious about dealing with it later on. Every time she'd show signs of needing to go, I'd be stressed out and disappointed before I even asked her to sit on the potty. Something did need to change. And indeed it did when I least expected it.

Big Love didn't return her to training pants after the second bum change and so Sweet One was hanging out with a bare bum. She started grabbing at it a bit like before and the only thing I did was make her wash her hands. My chest was getting tighter wondering how things were going to play out, but I made myself keep my trap shut.

Little Man and I were in the living room, Big Love was doing dishes and Sweet One was doing her own things. I'm not sure what it was. The next thing I knew, Sweet One announced, "I did it! I pooped in the potty!" I wasn't sure what to think and as I ran to the bathroom to see what was going on, I was also looking on the floor to make sure I didn't step in any droppings. But sure enough, there was poop in that there potty!

My daughter pooped on the potty with no prompting from anyone. It was her decision and her very own accomplishment. I didn't really have anything to do with it and I think it is better this way!

Now if you'll excuse me, there are no cold beer in the house and so I'm going to watch Terra Nova instead. (And I promise that I will not type the word poop in this here blog for awhile.)

Monday, November 7, 2011

Beef Roast - Take 1

While I do enjoy cooking I don't have a huge passion for it. I aim for healthy food that is tasty and I try to make different things because eating the same thing over and over gets really annoying! These days, it is more difficult to get supper made when I have kids getting fussy, melting down and demanding more attention at the same time! We rarely eat out especially when having two wee ones makes it impossible to sit and enjoy our meal.

But all that aside, there are a few dishes that I want to learn to make well. I guess their sort of like my holy grails of cooking because so far I have not been able to make one to my liking. A juicy, flavorful roast beef accompanied by yorkshire puddings is one of them.

Just before our vacation I bought the October issue Every Day with Rachel Ray and really like it. I've made a few recipes and they turned out good so I thought that I give her method of making a roast a try. (And I've since got myself a two year subscription. It seems like a nice replacement for the chatelaine and Canadian Living magazines that are just. too. expensive. to have sent down here. I miss them very much, especially at this time of year when they're coming out with all their holiday baking issues.)

When I was at the grocery store I noticed that a bottom round roast of Angus beef was on sale and so I thought that it should work. I even asked the butcher guy because, frankly, I'm a little clueless on which cuts are good for roasts. Especially because the States uses different terms than Canada. I had forgotten that recipe stated to get a rib roast and when I got home I was talking with a guy whose family raises cattle and he told me that bottom round was just another word for rump roast. Good lord, I know that the ass cut doesn't make a nice roast for how I wanted to cook it.

But I got it started anyway. After 15 minutes on 475 and another 15 on 375 there was no moisture at all coming from the roast, so along with my parsnips and carrots I added a cube of beef bouillon dissolved in a cup of water.

In the end, I did manage to get it medium rather than well done but it was tough and the flavor was lacking. I had no time for Yorkshire Puddings. It looked much prettier than it tasted.

An extra, completely unexpected bonus we did encounter was that Sweet One ate her roasted potatoes and the roast! She hasn't eaten beef like this EVER!

I'm thinking that next time I need to not cheap out and just spend some money on a rib roast. We'll see how that works.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Crappy Mothering

I've been struggling over the past few days. I desperately want Sweet One to be potty trained and seem to be completely devoid of patience.

The biggest problem is when she says, "Get back in there, poop!" Seriously? A kid who can feel her poop on its way out and then commands it to stay inside can't just decide to go and put it where it belongs? I was feeling like things were coming to a head Sunday night when Sweet one spent over an hour crying due to her discomfort. I started getting my hopes up that eventually she would decide to go and it would be that moment. The moment the switch flips and we finish the process of potty training.

But nothing happened that day. And so the next I spoke to another woman who had gone through this with her child. Her instructions were to basically sit the kid on the potty and make her go. Well, to make a long story short, we had two days of some screaming, hitting and biting that resulted in some success. She was proud of what she did and I got optimistic. But on the third day we ended up with me running into the kitchen screaming and Sweet One throwing her potty across the room. Not something I am proud of. I was so frustrated and cried while I held my 7 month old baby boy. Sweet One didn't like it that I was crying and told me so by slapping me across the face.

I want to relax and calmly wait for the day Sweet One decides to go in the potty for this. As the doctor once said, and my friend recently reminded me, 'you can't make them go poop in the potty'. Well, for a brief moment I thought I could .... and then I learned how completely wrong I was.

This morning I went to the moms group and sat at a table. Three other women were talking about potty training and I am not alone. Sometimes the words I need to hear aren't in the formal 'lesson' that we hear at these meetings but in the conversations that surround me. "It's probably one of those things where in 6 months I'll be wondering why I got so worried about it. It just isn't worth it."

So I will try hard. I will listen to those around me who say that one day it will all click. She'll just decide to do it. And I desperately hope that I will stop feeling like I am failing as a mother because Sweet One isn't potty trained yet.