Motherhood & Parenting

Birth Stories Are Never Boring: Baby #1

I kicked this series off with the story of my latest baby girl, #7, born about six weeks ago.  (Click HERE for that one.)  Now it’s time to back up and start from the beginning.

First Pregnancy

My husband and I were married on the feast of St. Agnes, January 21st, 2006.  From the earliest part of dating, we both knew that we wanted a big family.  So once we were hitched, there was no waiting for such things as a bigger home or more income.  Nope.  In fact, we were renting a little craftsman-style house in Duluth, MN, and I was still finishing up my degree in Catholic Studies in St. Paul.

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This was the cutest house we’ve ever lived in.  There was a balcony off an upstairs back bedroom too.

It took us a whole month to get pregnant, and we were excited!  She was to be the first grandchild on both sides of the family.  Our first move was to move, literally.  We didn’t want to live in Duluth anymore, as it seemed to snow perpetually–something called “Lake Effect” snow.  (It’s terrible.)  And we wanted grandparents around.

So six months later we ended up in North Dakota.  (This is where my husband was born and raised.)  He promised me that on the western side of the state, it didn’t snow very much and was warmer.  I remember him saying, “Sure it’s warmer!  We used to golf in December in Dickinson.”  HA!  Our first three years here were record-breaking snow-fall years.

In any case, my first child was a dream pregnancy.  I could have been one of those pregnant models in those fake, glossy maternity magazines in OBGYN offices.  (You know, the ones that make every real mother feel terribly for having swollen ankles and stretch marks.)  I was able to run a few miles all the way up until two weeks before she was born.  I had zero problems.  You bet I felt great!

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Me.  Eight months pregnant.  Getting ready for my sister’s wedding.

And I had no idea what was coming, for I came from a small family and had never even held a baby until mine was born.  You could say I was about to have the shock of a lifetime.

Labor & Delivery

After arriving in North Dakota, settling down, and purchasing our first house, it was time to have a baby.

The night of November 13th, after my husband and I had just gone to bed, I suddenly felt a wetness all around me.  Naturally, I wondered if maybe I had accidentally urinated?  I had read that that could happen, so I went to the bathroom to check.  Then I yelled for my husband to go get that pregnancy book, so I could look it up.  This water didn’t smell like urine after all.

It was, of course, my “bag” of water.  Contractions began soon after that.  I did know enough that I’d probably have plenty of time before needing to go into the hospital, so I took a shower at 11pm, put my makeup on, and styled my hair.  Who knows how long it might take?  I wanted to look good.  (Vain.  Just vain.)  Then we drove to the hospital.

I had also read in some condescending pregnancy article that it was best to not have any drugs or medication, if possible.  So I decided to not have an epidural, or any other drugs.  I was going to do this all on my own and show all those other “weak” mothers how it was done.  (What a self-righteous prig I was.)

Well, it was a long, long 12 hours of sheer hell.  And I deserved every pit of pain too.  In the end, I broke down and had a dose of Nubain because I started to hyperventilate.  Again, I had no idea what to expect.

Thankfully, after tearing and with the aid of an episiotomy, Baby #1 was born.  And I was relieved.  What an experience.

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My dad holding her – both an absolute blessing from God.

The Worst Was Yet to Come.

I didn’t know, however, that the worst was yet to come.  Remember, I had no experience with babies whatsoever.  None.  I didn’t know that I’d be up all night.  I was used to my 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep.  I didn’t know that I’d have hemorrhoids.  I didn’t know that nursing a baby could hurt so badly – like someone with a knife slicing off my flesh and then burning it with red hot coals.  This mothering business was painful!

My own mother, God bless her soul, came to help me for a few days.  She was wonderful to have around, especially to hold the screaming baby for a few hours, so that I could sleep.  But she only stayed for a short while.  The night before she left, I remember bawling uncontrollably in my husband arms because I felt like I was living in a black hole, with no light at the end of the tunnel.  My life would forever involve a screaming baby and a terribly aching body.  I had a complete meltdown.

Truly, the next two months were very dark.  Looking back now, I can see that I was suffering from Postpartum Blues or Depression.  It was mentally, physically, and emotionally draining, but I survived it, mostly with the support of my husband.  He was just as clueless as I was, but was able to keep his wits about him.

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Lots of crying.  From her and me.

I learned a lot from this pregnancy.  Firstly, never again would I look down on any mother who would choose to have medication during labor and delivery.  In fact, I think it would have helped me greatly to relax, especially since absolutely everything was so new to me.  Secondly, I would never again scoff at any mother having difficulty with nursing, or getting up at night, or anything else related to motherhood.   It’s just downright hard at times.

Conclusion & Light At the End of the Tunnel

While this first pregnancy was awesome, easy, and glamorous, everything afterwards was not.  It was confusing, dark, and difficult.  Thankfully, I would never again experience that kind of postpartum darkness again.

And of course, it was all worth it.  Every bit of it.

Stay tuned for future additions of, “Birth Stories Are Never Boring,” as I attempt to relate Babies #2,3,4,5, & 6, wherein the pregnancies increase in difficulty, but where the labor and deliveries become a little easier!

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I couldn’t resist one more photo.  She was (and is) so beautiful.  And worth it all.
Motherhood & Parenting

I’m A Bad Patient

When I’m pregnant, I’m a bad patient.  Let me give you an example of what I mean.  The following is a pretty accurate account of how my prenatal appointments begin.

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Pregnant Mother.  Not me.  I could only hope to look this glamorous.

Beginning of Prenatal Appointment

A nurse enters the room and after checking my vitals, she routinely asks me, “Have you been taking your prenatal vitamins?”

“Nope.”

Glancing at me suspiciously, “And, why not?”

“They make me constipated,” I lie.  I just don’t like taking them.

“I see.  Have you had any alcoholic drinks during this pregnancy?”

“Yes.”

Clearing her throat, “How many, would you say, a week?”

“One or two.”

Incredulously, “And do you smoke, too?”

“No, but my grandma did with all 8 of her pregnancies, does that count?”

(Naw, I didn’t really say that; I just thought it.  I’m probably going to burn in hell.)

What the Point?

Now why would I say all that–the not taking prenatal vitamins and then willfully drinking a glass of wine during a pregnancy?  It’s not that I’m anti-vitamins, for I do think many people benefit from taking them, especially if their diets are lacking certain nutrients.  And it’s not that I think everyone should enjoy a glass of wine while pregnant either.

It’s just that for me, not having the one and occasionally enjoying the other make me a happier wife and mother.  We do not all have to be the same, for we are all wonderfully different.

As an aside, I did take prenatal vitamins with my first pregnancy, and maybe my second, out of fear.  I thought that if I didn’t, my baby would be born without a limb or missing half her brain or something.  Well, I’ve had six other children since then without vitamins, and they’re all very normal.

As for drinking a glass of wine, I’m just thankful that some doctors actually see the benefit of this.  Again, it’s not that I think it’s for everyone, but for me, one glass here or there has only ever done me good.

The Appointment Goes On

Back at my typical appointment, I further the dismay of everyone when I refuse the DTAP vaccine and the flu shot and regularly skip my appointments, especially at the end, when I’m asked to come in weekly.

Now if I had any real problems or concerns, of course I wouldn’t skip my appointments.  But weekly?  This is just too much.  Not only do I not want to step on their scale one more time, but how can anyone find time for this?  No, I have other priorities.  If I’m going to take time away from my children, it’s not going to be to sit in a waiting room for an hour.   I’m going to have coffee with a friend.  Or lunch with my husband.  Or anything else, if I can help it.

And that DTAP vaccine?  It’s not that I’m against vaccines.  It’s that I had that vaccine with my last pregnancy, and I don’t feel comfortable receiving it again in less than two years.  So, no.

And the flu shot?  I had Influenza A one year while pregnant, and yes, it’s really terrible, but I don’t like putting stuff in my body that’s not absolutely necessary for survival.  So again, nope.  I’ll take my chances.

But please don’t misunderstand me, if you like receiving shots, that’s just fine with me.  For as I said above, we are all wonderfully different and free to choose what works best for us.

My poor doctor though.  He puts up with a lot.  I guess I’m just a bad patient.

 

Motherhood & Parenting

Birth Stories Are Never Boring: Baby # 7

Birth Stories are just never boring, at least for mothers anyway.  Birth stories are also never alike.  Each one is unique, and it’s all a miracle.

Today I intend to begin a new series, as I will write the Birth Story of each of my babies, and since #7 is fresh in my mind, I’ll begin there.

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Baby #7 at her Baptism yesterday.  7 Days Old.

Pregnant With Baby #7

Now I know that many of you enjoy being pregnant, but I, however, do not.  Let me say it again, I do not enjoy being pregnant.  Man, is it difficult.  For whatever reason, usually around halfway through my pregnancies, my body decides to commence Braxton Hicks contractions every time I attempt to move.  These uncomfortable contractions, along with the cumbersomeness of a large, pregnant body, do not allow for me to exercise, let alone walk up and down flights of stairs or even walk out to the mailbox without pain.

In any case, it’s just not fun.  And I am always very glad when labor begins.

Emotional Breakdown

Last Monday, which was President’s Day, I was particularly fed up with my pregnant self.    That morning my poor husband, who happened to be home because of the holiday, received an earful from me lamenting my inability to do anything I wanted.  “I can’t go for a walk.”  Sob, sob.  “I can’t even bring this pile of laundry downstairs.”  Cry, cry.  “I’m going to be pregnant forever, and it will be winter forever, and the sun will never shine again!”  Hysterical, emotional, breakdown.  “I hate being pregnant!!”

I then stomped out of the room and put myself in Time Out, whereupon I apologized to my unborn baby and to God for losing it.  Deep down, I knew that all of those statements were lies.  Truly, I only wanted God’s will to be done, not mine.

I then prayed the opening line of the Apostles’ Creed.  “I believe in God, the Father Almighty.”  I stopped and glanced out of the window at the blue sky and thought about this Creator of Heaven and Earth.  God is a good God.  He knows what’s best for me, and His timing is perfect.  I prayed for the grace to accept His will, and I begged Mary to help me, and then I walked out of Time Out and apologized to my husband.

Labor Begins

A half an hour later, I noticed a trickle of blood.  Any amount of bleeding during a pregnancy is obviously not good, so I told my husband and called the hospital.  They immediately scheduled an appointment for me at the clinic, as I was 38 weeks and 3 days pregnant.

So, after we calmly told our children that Grandma was on the way over, we drove in.  It was about noon.

At the clinic, a Physician’s Assistant examined me and promptly sent me over to Ultrasound to make sure everything was ok.  Then she saw me again and decided I had better head over to the hospital to be monitored, as she didn’t know the cause of the bleeding because everything looked normal.

Since the PA was not overly concerned, and since we were hungry from having missed lunch, we decided to hit up Jimmy John’s first before going to the hospital.  At this point, we kind of knew that we weren’t going to be sent home, and furthermore, that the hospital wasn’t going to feed us.

It was while sitting in the drive-thru that I began to have a few minor contractions.  Nothing serious, though.  And nothing painful.  So we ate our sandwiches and filled the car full of gas too.

By the time we rolled into the hospital parking lot around 1:30pm, my contractions were a bit more regular, and when the nurse examined me, I was dilated to 3 cm.  So I asked her if my doctor happened to be around?  She said no, that he was on his way home from their satellite clinic a few hours away.  The reason I asked was because I knew that if he was there, he’d break my water, and we’d get this party started.  He, of course, knowing my history of early deliveries.

I then boldly asked her to tell him to drive straight over to the hospital and break my water.  She laughed, and then sent me over to Labor and Delivery, as she also thought I wasn’t going home without a baby.

Well, that nurse did tell my doctor, and he actually did drive straight over.  (He’s so awesome.)  He strolled into the room at about 3pm, ordered the nurses to get my IV hooked up, and said he’d be back in an hour to break my water.  Alleluia!  (I know it’s Lent, and you’re not supposed to say Alleluia, but really, that’s what I thought.)

At 4pm, he came back, broke my water, and real labor began!  I knew it would be quick, from previous experience, and it was.  I chose not to have an epidural this time and only requested a dose of Nubain, which is a drug that goes through your IV.  It doesn’t take away the pain of the contractions, but only makes you care less.  I can only describe it as making you feel a little “loopy” and more relaxed.

Well, it was intense; I pushed three or four times; and she arrived.  She would have come even sooner, but she was facing sideways, instead of down.  But she was perfect.  She is beautiful.

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Here we all are on Baptism Day.  Godparents are on the left.  I’m in the middle with the baby.  My family is on the right.  A glorious day.

About That Bleeding?

Later on I asked my doctor about that initial bleeding.  He said that for some women, as your cervix thins and dilates, your blood vessels begin to break.  I guess that’s what happened to me.

And one more providential thing…a Mass was celebrated for our family last Monday, February 19th, when our baby was born.  A good friend of mine had scheduled it last summer.  Coincidence?  I think not.

Stay tuned for more Birth Stories later on.

Life is Worth Living, Motherhood & Parenting

Mariah Carey and I: We Be Sleeping Through the Night!

Now I know that some of you grew up listening to morally questionable music.  (For those of you who didn’t, may God bless your sensible parents.)  Many of us, however, will probably spend the remainder our lives working on detachment from shady and disreputable music.

That said, I had an epiphany this morning.  So I took a Selfie, because I felt so good.  This is me below.

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Ok, fine.  This is not me.  It’s Mariah Carey singing at the Edwards Air Force Base in 1998.  (Image from the Public Domain.)

Perhaps you are familiar with Ms. Mariah Carey’s number 1 song, Emotions, from 1991?  Maybe you dismissed it as just another sappy, love song?  Well, it turns out, that Ms. Carey was actually writing a song about what it feels like to sleep through the night.*

Yes, that’s right, and to prove it, I’ll put the lyrics below.  (Click HERE for a youtube version of the song.)**

I know her song is about sleeping through the night, because this morning, when I woke up after having slept for five whole hours in a row, which is almost as good as sleeping through the night, I immediately heard her song Emotions come to me, as if from on High.  I felt like dancing!  I felt like David before the Ark of the Covenant!  To put it in her own modest words, “I feel good.  I feel nice.  I’ve never been so satisfied!”

Of course I immediately thanked God for the miracle of five uninterrupted hours of sleep.  And then, after Morning Prayer, I blasted that song for the goodwill and posterity of all.

I hope you all had a good night of sleep too.  And No, I didn’t drink a pot of coffee this morning.  I didn’t need to after sleeping that much.  I only drank two cups.

Abridged Lyrics for Emotions by Ms. Mariah Carey

You’ve got me feeling emotions
Deeper than I’ve ever dreamed of
You’ve got me feeling emotions
Higher than the heavens above

I feel good, I feel nice
I’ve never felt so satisfied
I’m in love, I’m alive
Intoxicated, flyin’ high

You’ve got me feeling emotions
Deeper than I’ve ever dreamed of
You’ve got me feeling emotions
Higher than the heavens above
In the morning
When I rise
You are the first thing
On my mind
It feels like a dream
I don’t know if it’s real
But I like the way I feel inside

You’ve got me feelin’ emotions
Deeper than I’ve ever dreamed of
You’ve got me feelin’ emotions
Higher than the heavens above

*Ok fine, this song is probably not about sleeping through the night.
**You’ll notice that I’ve attached the YouTube version of this song without the actual video, because for some reason, Ms. Carey forgot to button her blouse all the way.  Some people are just so scandalous.
Homeschooling, Life is Worth Living, Motherhood & Parenting

How to Survive Barfing Children, Ear Infections, & Other Nasty Stuff

Some of you may be wondering how it might be possible to survive sickness in your household and teach school all day?  Yes?  Then read on.

Since I am in the midst of caring for Barfing Children right now, I thought I’d offer a few tips of advice.  This is mostly to encourage myself and cheer on the rest of you, who may be suffering from this most taxing and exhausting dilemma.

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Crabby Baby.

8 Tips to Survive Barfing Children, Ear Infections & Other Nasty Stuff While Teaching School, Cooking for a Family, and Cleaning a House:

1.Don’t clean your house.  Or if you must, just make your bed and call it good.  Heck, your bed is probably still made from yesterday because you didn’t sleep in it anyway.  You were sitting in the rocking chair, holding a screaming baby all night.  I know it’s a big deal in this household to get a load of laundry done every day too, but I guess it won’t go anywhere, so that can be left alone.*  (See note below.)  The children can turn their clothes inside-out and wear them again, for the 3rd day in a row, unless of course there’s vomit on them…

2.  Put lipstick on.  This should go without saying.  Not only is lipstick fun, but it brightens everyone’s day.  Especially if you’re not in the habit of wearing it.  Your husband and children will wonder what came over you.  And when you look in the mirror, you will not notice the dark circles around your eyes, but will instead, be stunned by the awesomeness of Hot Pink Lips.  You might even laugh at yourself, which is good.

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Survival Gear.  Must Haves.

3.  Reduce school to a minimum.  This is a very good time to renew your subscription to Audible, purchase The Story of Civilization, and commence History Class.  When your children are finished with this, send the healthy ones outside for the remainder of the day for Nature Study.  If the healthy children do not want to do Nature Study, offer House-Cleaning 101, wherein all children scrub floors, walls, and toilets.

4.  Spend an extra amount of time styling your hair.  Why?  Because you’re sleep deprived and look like it.  There are statistics out there saying that if you look put-together, you will feel put-together.  Paul Harvey, the decades-long iconic radio broadcaster, used to wear a suit and tie every day for his program.  And his studio was in his house, where virtually no one saw him.  But he knew that his performance was always better if he dressed the part.  So, this morning, I dug out my curling iron and spent five extra minutes curling my hair.  Then, I sprayed it with lots of hair spray.  And yes, it made me feel better about not sleeping last night.

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Paul Harvey.  Great guy.  My dad was named after him, literally.

5.  Decide not to yell at your children.  You are going to have a demanding day.  Just face it.  If the baby was up all night crying, he’s going to be crabby and cry all day too.  So, your nerves are shot.  You will be seriously tempted to yell at your other children.  Just don’t do it.  This will take a tremendous amount of effort and a lot of prayer.  And in some cases, like mine, it will take a minor miracle.  See my post HERE on that one.

6.  Eat takeout or something frozen for supper. Eating Little Caesar’s Pizza every once in awhile won’t kill you.  In fact, it might save your sanity.  And I’ve found that those $4.98 rotisserie chickens from Sam’s Club are handy too.  The best part is, they’re hot and ready to eat, and I’ve done nothing to prepare them.  Someone I know gave me that great bit of advice.  She also said to top it off with a bag of baby carrots and a bag of buns.  Smart, smart woman.

7.  Spend more time in prayer.  Why?  Because you’re sleep-deprived and well, crazy from holding a screaming baby all night.  All sleep-deprived, crazy people need a lot of prayer.  I know this from experience.  The tricky part is making time to do it.  I suggest leaving your house and spending an hour in silent Adoration.  Hire a babysitter, call grandma, ask your husband to take sick leave…anything.  This hour of Adoration may be the only time you will get to sleep, until the illnesses go away.  And yes, sleeping in Adoration still counts as prayer.

8.  Drink More Coffee.  It’s a given that this helps, right?

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O Brewer of Buzzes!  O Terror of Yawns!  How I love thee!

 

Bonus Tip

I’ve also heard that having a teenager helps too, because then she can babysit.  Well, I’m working on that one.  But I’m afraid it’s still going to be two more years until that one becomes a reality.

*Note:

I have a friend who got a day behind on laundry.  So the next day, she washed and dried multiple loads and then carried them to her bed.  She made a nice, heaping pile and then promptly forgot about them until bedtime.  Well, what to do then?  Spend six hours folding them?  No!  She smartly remembered her clean bathtub and quickly deposited them there and pulled the shower curtain shut until the following day.  Then she didn’t have to stare at it.  Just an idea.

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This is an actual picture of my friend’s Laundry Solution.  Smart Woman.

 

Know of anyone else experiencing Sick Children?  If so, share these tips with them?

Book Review, Homeschooling, Motherhood & Parenting

Mere Motherhood: A Book Review

Are you exhausted?  Overwhelmed?  Feeling inadequate?  Did you yell* at your children today?

Have you ever heard of Cindy Rollins?  She recently wrote a book, and I think it’s the best thing that’s been written on homeschooling and motherhood in a good, long while.  I don’t remember the last time I couldn’t put a book down.  It took me about 24 hours to read.

And yes, I know I’m interrupting my series “A Day in the Life of a Crazy Fool.”  Don’t worry, I’ll continue with Part 3 later this week.

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Cindy Rollins.  Queen of Morning Time.

Her book is called Mere Motherhood.

Top Ten Reasons Why This Book is Worth Reading:

  1. Even though Cindy did not enjoy being pregnant, and feared labor and delivery, she had nine children – 8 boys and 1 girl, plus a few miscarriages.  (Birth stories are never boring to read about.  Click HERE for my mother’s account of me.)
  2. No, Cindy is not a Catholic, but she greatly esteems Stratford Caldecott.  (This man was a genius.  You should read him too.)  And she quotes Mary Eberstadt and Josef Pieper and G.K. Chesterton.
  3. She loves the Bible.
  4. She thinks everyone ought to thank God for Catholic hospitals and their pro-life stance.
  5. Her boys blew stuff up.  And started fires.  And wrecked 7 cars.
  6. She thinks Alfred Lord Tennyson’s poem The Charge of the Light Brigade is one of the best poems ever written, which it is.
  7. She admits that she’s made mistakes, like trying to live on a old decrepit farm, infested with rodents.
  8. All kinds of animals make an appearance in her memoir – rats, snakes, bats, mice, hawks…these things are also never boring to read about.
  9. She once wore jumpers, until her daughter pointed out that they’re not very fashionable.
  10. She takes on tough issues like puberty and spending too much time on electronic devices.  (Mea culpa.)
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If you need a good book, I highly recommend this one.

If you’d like more on Cindy Rollins, I’d recommend listening to her podcasts done with Pam Barnhill.  There are three of them: Episodes 1, 27, and 43.  They’re all great and can be found by clicking HERE or on Pam Barnhill’s website, which I’ve linked on my sidebar.  Once you’re there, click on Podcasts, then on Morning Basket.  Rollins also does podcasts for the Circe Institute, if you’re interested.

*If you yelled at your children, don’t worry, you’re not alone.  Click HERE for a post on that.
Homeschooling, Life is Worth Living, Motherhood & Parenting

The Latest Mess

Yesterday, while I was dutifully teaching the older children, Child # 6 did this:

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I knew something was going on because she was awfully quiet for about 20 minutes.  Looks like she had fun.

But really, tearing clothes out of a drawer is nothing.  Just nothing compared to what could have happened.  I remember Child #5 taking a tube of diaper cream during Nap Time and smearing its entire contents all over herself, the windows, the walls, and the door handle.  Now that was something.  That.  Was.  A.  Mess.  I wish I had a picture of it.

Anyone else have a Big Mess to share?  If so, please feel free to tell us about it in the Comments below!

By the way, “A Day in the Life of a Crazy Fool: Part 2” is still coming in a day or two.  Stay tuned.

Motherhood & Parenting

A Day of Not Yelling?

Today is Tuesday, and I have not yelled at my children at all.  So far.  Yes, I know it’s 6am, and they’re not up yet, but hey, I’ve got to start somewhere, right?

Last week I was listening to a great show on the Sin of Wrath, and it got me thinking that I should schedule a Day of Not Yelling.  And that’s today.  So, I came up with some tips for this special day.

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My son drew a picture of me yelling.  Flattering, no?

4 Tips For Not Yelling at Your Children:

  1. Begin the day with prayer.  Beg for the grace to be meek and patient.  For God will certainly provide opportunities to practice these virtues.  (Ugh.)  And we will need Him desperately.
  2. Drink lots of coffee.  After all, when I’m tired, I cannot think clearly, and so I yell more.  Therefore, if I drink an extra cup of coffee, I’ll should be very awake, and the day might go more smoothly.  (Just kidding, of course.)
  3. Make the decision to just not yell.  (Not kidding about this one.)  I’m just not going to do it.  Period.  (If you’re anything like me, this will take a lot of self-control.  And grace.  And prayer.  See Tip #1.)
  4. Let the consequences speak, not my loud rantings.  In the case of discipline, I agree with Dr. Ray Guarendi, actions really do speak louder than words.

 

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My other son drew this.  He says to note the baby in the background in his diaper tearing books off the shelf.  Can anyone relate to that?

 

Let me give an example of when I actually practiced the above-mentioned Tips.

Last week the three girls were happily playing house together in a fort they had made.  But then, Brother #1, obviously bored, rushed in and ransacked the thing.  Of course Sister #1 immediately jumped off the top bunk, ran after him, and tackled him.  She then held him down, while Sister #2 bit him, right on his bottom.

The result?  Complete Mayhem.  Crying.  Screaming.  And laughing.  (Brother #3 thought the whole thing was all very funny, especially the biting part.)

Well, I had a choice.  I could angrily yell and lecture away about any number of things – the inconsiderateness of destroying other people’s things, the irrationality of tackling and hitting siblings, or the inappropriateness of biting.  But they weren’t going to listen.  It would only be a waste of breath and time.  Besides, they already know that these things are wrong anyway.

Therefore, I knew it would be better to calmly hand out consequences, which I miraculously did in that moment.  So all those involved received one hour of Black Out.*  And you know what?  I felt pretty good about it all, even if they didn’t.

Conclusion

I’ve noticed that every time I do handle things calmly, I always feel better.  When I don’t handle things calmly, I feel terribly and struggle with black thoughts of what a terrible mother I am.

I’d like to say that I handle stressful situations at all times with grace and dignity, but that would be a big, fat lie.  Hence today’s Day of Not Yelling.  So I need to work on this.  How about you?

 

*Black Out:  A disciplinary action involving time spent on a bed with nothing.  No toys, books, or talking.  Just nothing.  It’s really boring.  And I find it effective.  I got the idea from Dr. Ray Guarendi.  Click HERE for his website that contains more ideas that your children will not like.
Motherhood & Parenting

It’s My Birthday: My Mother’s Birth Story

Today I turn 36.

 

I’m sure of this because I asked my husband, and he’s good at math.  I remembered I was born in 1982; he commented it was 2018; I said I couldn’t do the math, and he said, “You’re 36.”

 

Well, and here I was thinking that I was older.

 

Because birthing stories are never boring, I decided to call my parents to find out about mine, and my dad answered.  I asked him what he remembered about my birth.  The first thing out of his mouth was, “Well, there were five deer standing on the north side of the driveway.  It was snowy.”  And that was it.

 

So I asked my mother how it went.  You see, I am the Firstborn, which is always exciting because as you know, mothers and fathers have absolutely no clue what’s going on with Baby Number One.  And apparently I also offered some excitement for the little, rural hospital where I was born too.  For nobody else was having babies at the time, and those nurses were all bored and probably standing around the front desk smoking cigs.  In fact, I was the first baby of the year born there, and I had my photo taken for the newspaper.  This is my special Claim to Fame.

 

NewbornNewspaper
This is the actual newspaper clipping of my mother holding me.

 

My mother said that she and my dad went to a New Year’s Eve party a few days before I was born, where everyone kept asking her, “When are you gonna have that baby?”  Her response was, “Tonight!”  Well, that didn’t happen, but on the morning of the 2nd she awoke with a pain.  So, at 8am she waddled out to the car and off they drove, apparently right by five deer in the snow.

 

Now as my mother was saying this, I could hear my dad in the background adding, “That car was a 1980 AMC Eagle.  Silver, and quite a fancy one.”  Then my mother added, “Well, and we needed that car like we needed another hole in our heads.”  And he responded with, “It was one of the first four-wheel-drive cars made.  And was a good one.”

 

Anyway, I was born at 6:28pm, and my mother was happy because I was normal.  Evidently she was pretty worried about that because I wouldn’t come out at the end of all that labor, so the doctor had to use some scary-looking tool – a forceps – to yank me out, which left a scrape alongside my upper right cheekbone.  (Look very closely at the above picture for the scab.)  So, besides my head being cone-shaped, which took her a little by surprise, she was thankful and happy to learn that scrapes do heal.

 

And so here I am, 36 years later, mostly normal, even though I was bottle fed and diapered with cloth and safety pins, which my mother said was “crappy.”  (They couldn’t afford the fancy disposable diapers.)

 

KimAndDad
This is my dad holding me.  Notice his sweet hair.  It was permed.  Now that’s getting your priorities straight – nice cars and sweet perms, but no disposable diapers.

 

Happy Birthday to me.  And Happy Birthday to St. Therese the Little Flower; she was also born on January 2, but in 1873.

 

St. Therese, pray for us.