Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Ressurection Time

This time of babyhood is the toughest for me. 5-6 months, when the baby isn't on solids yet, but is ravenous, add to that the 4 whole other young ones who need their mommy and the fact that we don't live near family and you get the perfect crap-storm of "WAAAAAAHHHH!" And this past week was terrifically awful since Mariana decided that this through-the-night sleep schedule isn't really working for her anymore.

And then yesterday happened.

Mariana woke up at 1AM, and I was tapped out. I just couldn't nurse her and I was out of pumped milk. I asked Scott to give her formula. When he put her back down I heard her cough, but I was tired and I fell back asleep. When she woke up she was coughing again. There she was, cheerful as can be, covered in vomit and poop. So I cleaned her up and nursed her and 10 minutes later she vomited again. I took the kids to school, started some laundry, and midday sat down to my blog to tinker. There is this thing that tells you where people come from to get to your blog, like if it's linked on Facebook. I clicked a link I didn't recognize. It was a graphic porn site. (Luckily, I think this is fixed and it's a fishing type mechanism that isn't reflective of an actual link to my blog on a porn site.) I picked up the girls from school, they ate a snack and started homework while Molly and Paul played and I began to fix dinner. Molly was supposed to have her first soccer practice that evening. All at once I heard a really loud thud and crying. Molly came out holding her head. When I took a look I saw a gash, and inside the gash, her skull. Next came interruption of Daddy's very important meeting, loading all the children into the car without having had dinner, trip in rush hour in the rain to the ER, Daddy bringing Molly in, a terrible trip home complete with the punishment of kids being sent to bed immediately after dinner.


1. Mariana's puke was not indicative of an allergy, but of being overfed because 6 oz of breast milk is much less dense than 6oz of formula.

2. The porn thing alerted us that our computer filters are NOT as refined as they need to be and I was the victim rather than one of our innocent kids.

3. Molly's practice was cancelled due to weather so she didn't miss it. Her injury was not as bad as it could have been. She has a Daddy that she wanted to take care of her, and he did.

4. Even though I was upset with the kids I stopped and got them cookies because I was given the insight to see this was tough on them too.

Though it's been a very hard week for us, I know God is here in every moment walking along side of me, sometimes dragging me in the right direction because in my heart I want that. My dad was telling me of a man he knows who is suffering greatly right now. This man is a good man with a deep and resounding devotion to the Rosary and the Eucharist. Dad relayed how when St. Teresa of Avila was being challenged she said to God in frustration: "If this is how you treat your friends, Lord, no wonder you have so few!" and how that reminded him of this poor man suffering.

Many times I've felt that way, but not today. Today I remember it isn't God who is doing all this to us. You see, I believe in Satan as a real being, and I believe he's a desperate sort. Time and time again when things are going rough, but my spirit isn't broken, they get worse. But this does not come from God, who is Goodness, it's someone who is angry he can't beat God. It's a tantrum being thrown because Satan sees us getting up after being knocked down over and over again. His fury is only intensified when we have the gall to use the very cross we're crumbling under as a crutch. I've noticed this pattern time and time again. When Scott goes out of town, it hits the fan at home. When the kids get sick, the weather is beautiful and when they are well again, it's bad.

While I don't think Satan is orchestrating the weather or illnesses in a direct way, I hear him whisper to me how unfair things are and tempt me toward despair. Why wouldn't he be enraged when I just let go and build a horrific messy fort in our living room on those stormy days? How dare I just make do with the circumstance? How could I?

Simply put, I can't. My secret is that I do give up. I'm not so tough, and I know that. It's relying on God that makes the insufferable okay. It's God who gave me a sense of humor about the ridiculousness of raising children. It's God who gave me sisters and friends who have shared experiences. It's God who gives me a community to rely on. It's God who points toward the putting back together and not the tearing apart. It's not the death, but the Resurrection:

Monday, August 27, 2012

No More Doctor Google

This is where I admit my Hypochondriac Mother Instinct is more difficult to curb because of the extra chromosome. Mariana had a bad few days. It started Thursday night when she cried, for no reason, for an hour and a half until Scott pulled in the driveway. Once Daddy was home to witness, she promptly fell into an angelic sleep leaving me to look spectacularly bedraggled. I wonder what it looked like for Scott to pull up to his home with his wife outside looking like 6 kinds of hell while the baby looked like faeries gathered to create a perfect baby figurine. I was outside because Paul was screaming, "MOMMY WHY IS MARIANA CRYING? TELL HER TO STOP! FIX IT! SHE NEEDS A DOCTOR!" And the girls sang the refrain that usually cheers their sister, "Mari-ana, Mari-mari-ana!" to the tune of "Alluette" over 1,000 times only increasing our household stress by a million.

So. Yes, that happened Thursday night, and then again Friday evening. I also have been suffering, with saintly fortitude, seasonal allergies that I have refused to medicate (except at night with a single Benedryl) in case a drop of medication sullies the milk I feed my sweet princess. And have I mentioned that no one in this god-forsaken house sleeps anymore? My bed is infested with humans, most of whom smell like sweat and bad breath. (Not my husband, of course, he smells like masculinity and devotion.) At any rate, is it any wonder the siren song of Doctor Google was calling to me?

I am happy to report I did NOT Google Mariana's symptoms which were; crying, screaming, day-time wakefulness, irritability if not carried constantly, and pooping in her diaper. I just knew Dr. G would return with ALL IS LOST, THE APOCALYPSE IS UPON YOU, TAKE COVER, WRITE YOUR WILL and POSTPARTUM PSYCHOSIS AS MANIFESTED BY INCESSANT GOOGLING. The strength of my will is astounding, I know. However, by Sunday morning, she was my sweet baby Mae again.

Though she didn't sleep much last night, which is probably a symptom of Hating Your Mother.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

One Moment

I am nursing Mae right now. She woke up in the middle of bedtime and Scott is out. Her hunger turned to fury as I took just an extra minute. I fed that fury when I changed her dirty diaper before nursing. She eats constantly it seems. She's so hungry, but solids are forbidden just yet, and so she eats like a newborn again, though she still sleeps at night...mostly.

I sat down to feed her and she attacked her meal, taking big gulps that audibly plopped into her stomach. Her arm still flailed with some kind of furious sign language expressing displeasure at having to wait. I considered her will, how strong it seems, how she insists on success and perfection. I get the feeling she's none-to-pleased with our new PT arrangement that calls for more exercise. I imagine her thinking, "I can do all this, why must I work at it? Snuggling and food are way better!"

She calms and begins to stroke her cheek with her fist. "That's better." I coo. Her middle finger slowly rises up. I giggle. "Stinker. You lovely, sweet sasspot." She sighs and drops her hand. A truce.

It's easy to forget the world in these moments. There is only this time with this perfect person and our synchronized thoughts. There is the overwhelming urge to commit this to memory-the smell, the feel, the warmth of  her. There is no special insight, only a desire for this bit of heaven last, and the voice from within whispering, "Enjoy."

Friday, August 17, 2012

The First Week of School

My first born. Seriously.
And the Crown Prince.
This is my second born.
This is my third born, kindergartener.
Can you guys believe my mom hasn't died from all the Cute up in here?

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Endless Summer

August 10 -
As I told my friend, Audrey this morning, I feel as though I've been asked to jump on a treadmill already going 8 MPH.

We returned home Sunday night. Scott, my Knight in Flat Front Pants, flew up to help drive home. Maria kindly let us go out and kept the kids. We were able to watch my brother, Nick, play a little at a bar. Nick didn't pick up the guitar until he was already an adult. Now, in his forties, he gets a few gigs a year. It gives me hope that I may be able to learn a new skill and improve what I've taken interest in. But much of that will have to wait, because, you know, raising babies and all that.

Being back in Ohio was pretty great, other than missing Charlotte so badly. She, of course, had more fun than ever before, and I was so happy she got that. Charlotte needs her space from the family, and I understand that. I too need space at times. I am glad she could go with extended family and just be, and I'm thrilled it was to a nature oriented place, which is what restores Charlotte's soul best.

Kate also had a good time in DC. She did spike a fever, which made me feel the anxiety clouds were hovering. But, she was was in the care of my mom and my aunt, who is a nurse. I trusted they could handle everything. It turned out she has a canker sore on her tonsil, which has always causes some kind of over-reactive immune response from her. She's still not eating normally, but is no longer feverish--Praise God.

We discovered something interesting about Molly. I kid that Molly is more special needs than Mariana at times, but in reality it is no joke. Molly's dietary needs are confounding and we struggle constantly with trying to figure out what on earth she CAN eat. (I won't go into detail because I really don't want to right now.) Anyway, she's always been a bit lethargic, and we discovered a B12 deficiency was probably the culprit. She really really blossomed! I loved watching Molly become positively bouncy at my sister's house!

Paul is the same, and I thank God for that every. single. day. He is such a light for our family, and keeps us laughing and is a reminder that life IS good.

Mariana received a lot of love in Ohio and lots of threats of kidnapping. (In our family the threat to eat or kidnap a baby is the highest complement.) For me it was edifying to watch as my family adored her. Sometimes there is a seemingly "Bless your heart." sentiment that comes across when people interact with her. It was sweet to watch her just be loved with no conditions. Not that that has never happened yet, it just didn't happen at all in Cincinnati.


We met Nora face-to-face in Ohio. I was very nervous on the way. It felt like a blind date almost. I wondered what it would be like to be in the presence of such a gift, such an obvious God-sent love letter. It was, in a word, normal. She is darling and tiny and has funny little noises. Her eye was giving her a hard time, which was familiar to me since Kate went through a lot with her eye. Aleisa and William were themselves, if a little more tired than I last saw them. Leis talked about the coming week being difficult to imagine, and I understood as much as I could. Mariana was a giant and far more cheerful than she had ever been the whole trip. I wondered, later, if perhaps the presence of God just cheered her up a bit. I'm certain all those prayers have thinned the layer between heaven and earth wherever Nora happens to be.


August 14/15
I truly have no time for this post, but I have something on my heart that wants to get out. I've hit a tough point for me. We had Mae's PT evaluation. The PT said nothing I didn't know, she was realistic in her assessment that Mae as a whole person is doing beautifully, however, in breaking down individual skills there are lags. Small things here and there that need to be worked. I spent the evening digesting this, stressed to my max because of all the start-of-school chaos that must be put in order. The word is fear. I am scared I am not going to be able to do all of this. It isn't just Mariana, it is all of it. I know that scheduling these evals for this particular week was bone-headed. But this is our life. We have 5 children. There is never a perfect time for these things. I adore my children, and I want to do what is best for each of them. The looming question is; Can I do it? 

The tricky thing about needless anxiety is how it twists your thoughts up. Of course I can not do this. It never has been up to me to do it. For one, these are our children, mine and Scott's. For another; these are His children. I have to, above all, communicate with God on how to proceed with all my duties, allow him to inspire in me a good sense of priority, and live it out intentionally. I see more and more how much this is leading me to communicate with Scott, to pray for Scott and to give Scott more space to order his life as well. These are things I've known in the recesses of my heart, but have had trouble grasping them and seeing them for what they are: a map to peace.

I've had light shed on some of the causes of my anxieties as well. I have the desire for Mariana to be something she may not be. Because she has been doing so well, I've been attached to this picture I've painted of the future. I was completely unaware of my attachment, but even as the PT said things I already knew, I felt a sadness come over me. I can only liken it to when your first child does something wrong on purpose for the first time. Whether it's a lie, a willful disobedience or a physical assault, it's almost always a surprise to see your firstborn misbehave of his own free will. It is hard to see imperfection in our perfect little loves. Of course, this only serves to inspire us as parents to love our children more, and guide them toward a higher standard. But there is a bit of grief that can't be denied when it is time to buckle down and start the discipline. (And yes, we will be disciplining Mariana. Her head wants to go one direction, and we must train her muscles to hold her head in neutral.)