The Family Emergency Room

Hey blog family! I have had so much that I wanted to tell you but finding the time to actually get it out there is the problem.

When I first started this blog, Living in a Jungle, I was planning to give you a chronicle of my “crazy”life with my two boys. I had no idea that a year later, I would be adding another baby to the mix and would learn what a “crazy” lifestyle is really like! I am still planning to share my birth story with you guys but that will take a little time.

As for now, I wanted to allow you to come along with me in my journey from a family of four to five. When I was pregnant with Baby J, I researched blogs of mothers with three or more children to get a perspective of what this change would be like but, in my opinion, not many gave the nitty-gritty on that new adjustment. One website that helped me to understand this change the most was www.HavingThreeKids.com.

From some of the ones that I read, many said that going from two to three kids is the hardest adjustment…and from what I am going through now, I would seriously agree! Of course, it depends on the ages of the children but…I digress.

How I would explain this change is that it is somewhat like a family emergency room.There is usually a sense of urgency going on everywhere at all times:

Dukey: Mom, LJ (Poopy) won’t share this toy with me!

LJ: Aaaaaah, give it back!

Baby J: Waaah, waaah, waah!

This is all while changing a diaper so you’re rushing to get through it. Two seconds later, a fight breaks out and there’s screaming and weapons being thrown all over the room. At this time, you realize you have three choices: 1) holler loud enough to get their attention and make them stop or 2) try to maneuver yourself and the naked baby (hoping that he doesn’t pee on you) over to the fighting siblings and break it up, or 3) do nothing, let them scream and fight (hoping no one pokes an eye out) until they stop. I usually pick the third option, which often ends in the older two making up on their own and becoming best friends again.

However, just like in an emergency room, there are periods of tranquility when no one’s hurt and you’re just waiting for the ball to drop. Your kids are playing together quietly and happily and you’re able to sit back and watch them. When those moments come around, it makes those “crazy” moments of urgency seem insignificant (sometimes anyway, I will admit it does linger some days).

Even with all of that, despite the fact that I am always changing diapers, making meals, giving baths, wiping noses, helping with homework, or breaking up fights, I have never felt more complete and more needed.

Adding another child is a big decision that takes contemplating, but for me, I can say that it was a wise decision and a great blessing that I do not regret.

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Welcome Home Baby J!

Hey people! Sorry it’s been so long. I was extremely busy in the past month with preparing Dukey for kindergarten and preparing for the new baby. As you probably already figured out, I had him already. He was born on September 11 (lucky baby, huh?) at 8 lbs. 1 and a half ounces.

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I have so much to share about that, actually getting myself to go into labor, Isaiah’s first day of school, and adjusting to three kids under 6. Let’s just say that time is a luxury that I miss now and it’s a little challenging to manage it (yet imperative to do). So blogging, I’ll admit, will probably slow down until I get the hang of things and learn to manage my newborn, my one year old, and my five-year old.

After a week of handling things, I think I’m getting it and starting to have my own routine going so it shouldn’t be long before I am up and running like before.

Nothing Like a Sweet Treat!

They say that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. I don’t know about other women but I will say that the way to a pregnant woman‘s heart is definitely through her stomach, also!

After a long day at home with the kids while my husband is at work, sometimes the best thing he can do is bring a little snack for me to eat to help me enjoy that time to relax once I finally have it! I know that won’t be a great benefit for me after this baby comes since I will probably need LOTS more help for relaxation after endless breastfeeding sessions, cooking meals for me and my toddler while my older son is in school, and attempting to clean and maintain our house but, for now, it surely helps.

Yesterday was one of those days.  In the morning, I got up and cooked breakfast for me and my kids and then we walked to the market to grab something for dinner. By the time we came back, I was tired and really wanted to go to sleep but, of course I can’t sleep while Duke is up. I did that once and woke up to find his window blinds torn up and a picture that he had colored “hung up” on his wall with water.

I try not to let them watch too much TV so I let my Poopy (one year old) play in his playpen while I had my five-year old draw stuff until nap time. After all of that, it was still a repeat of the other day. However, this time, cleaning and making him exercise didn’t work. So I was left to spend the rest of the day feeling like a zombie and snapping at every little thing that went wrong. When days are like this, it seems like everything else around you starts to collapse and that was the case for me because I also stubbed my toe and burnt myself twice. I felt so miserable and tired. By the time dinner rolled around, I did not want to get up. But, surely God must have given me just an extra ounce of energy so I could use it to throw a little something together for dinner (Velveeta’s Cheesy Skillet: Chicken and Broccoli; yeah, I was desperate).

My husband called me on his way home from work to ask me if I wanted anything from the store, like usual. I couldn’t think of anything that we needed so I told him, no. When he got in, we all ate and I put the kids to sleep. When I came back down, he told me he had brought me some ginger snaps from the store. I started grinning like a Cheshire cat when he told me that! I ran to the cabinets and grabbed that bag of ginger snaps, laid some on a plate and poured myself a glass of milk to go with it….all of a sudden, I heard the angels singing!

Nothing like a sweet treat for a pregnant woman!

The sibling rivalry thing is no joke!

I remember as children when my brother and I used to fight. Sometimes we would go at as if we wanted to kill each other (and, literally sometimes would try!). You would never know it from looking at us because we were very close but I guess the differences in us just wouldn’t mesh at times.

Now that I have children of my own, I see how it is very different watching as a parent on the other side. As my youngest (for now) is approaching two years old, the fights between him and his older brother (five years old) are a lot more violent than they used to be. Toys are thrown (usually by the 2-year-old), blows are thrown (also usually by the 2-year-old) and mean words are said.

I try not to get involved and let them work out their problems alone so no one feels like I am taking sides and they learn to work through problems on their own. However, today my two boys were arguing about something while I was in another room for a few minutes. They kept going back and forth but I couldn’t really pinpoint exactly what they were talking about. All of a sudden, I heard…

“I HATE YOU”!

WHOAAA…WHAT?!!!

I called my older son Duke-y into the room where I was and asked him, “Did I just hear you say, ‘I hate you’ to your brother”? He gave me that guilty stare. Then, I explained to him that they are brothers and there will be times when they will argue, fight, and not get along. I said there will surely be times when they don’t like each other and that it is normal but I don’t EVER want to hear either of them say that word to each other. I told him to go downstairs and apologize to his younger brother.

I was still shocked that he had even said that and I was trying to go back and think about where he could have gotten that from. So many thoughts went through my mind in those quick few seconds. Will he have anger issues? Should I be worried that they will be arch enemies as they get older? Did my brother and I say things like that to each other when we were younger?

I stopped myself after a while and realized that I was overreacting because looking at my boys personalities’ and knowing their hearts, I can see that this was just a normal moment of sibling rivalry. There are moments like this and then there are moments when they’re apart for days at a time and can’t stop hugging each other because they’re so happy that they’re back together. I just have to do my best to direct their emotions correctly and pray that in the future they will be as tight as can be, just as I imagine!

Do you think I handled this situation correctly? How do you handle it when your children fight and argue?

 

Is a family of five the perfect fit for us?

Out of all my pregnancies, honestly, this one was the biggest surprise. The last thing I was thinking about was having another child at that time. I was working vigorously as an insurance/investment adviser and I didn’t notice much for about four months.

Because my family doesn’t believe in birth control, we have relied on natural methods in the past, more specifically, the “withdrawal” method. It worked just fine for five years until I got pregnant with my second son and again now when I got pregnant with my third.

With this third pregnancy, I’ve had many people, including doctors, ask me about our birth control plans for the future. Most people have thought it would be smart for me to have my tubes tied because they believe our family is complete with three children.

 

Being that I am an advocate of natural methods (no medicines, no chemicals, no preservatives in food, etc.), I try to avoid anything that will mess with the natural flow of my body. So most birth control methods are out of the question for me due to the added hormones. Not to mention, every time I turn on the TV, there’s a commercial about some medical defect or risks that occurred (or can occur) from someone using some new birth control. 

In the past, I was leaning towards Mirena since it was a one-time procedure and could last until at least the next five years if I wanted it to. But then, the commercials came and friends who took it told me horror stories of others that had taken it and had to get surgery because the device got lost in their stomachs. (Of  course docs say it is rare and doesn’t happen to many people but, uh)

…ENOUGH SAID for me. 

I am strongly opposed to getting surgery for reasons that are not serious and, to me, preventing the birth of another child is just not that important to risk my health for. 

With that said, I have been debating on whether to use Paragard or other natural methods altogether such as the Rhythm/Calendar method or Fertility Awareness. With the first one, it is still a one-time procedure and can last for up to 10 years with no added hormones. The other natural methods do require more regular monitoring so I’m a little nervous about those. 

I, honestly, still haven’t made a decision as to what I will do but I know whatever I decide, it will be the right one for our family. The “perfect sized family” can have many definitions for different families. Some may want one, some none, most two, and a rare few many. No one should be the judge of what size family is a good fit for you. That decision should be left to you and your spouse, only.

I will say that a part of that decision should involve whether you would be able to handle the responsibility of another addition to your family but again, that decision should be left to you and your spouse, ONLY.

Let me hear your thoughts? Should one give in to the pressures of what others think you should do for your family or should you stand firm for what your family wants?

 

A Little Alize Anyone?

With two weeks left until baby is due and three weeks until my oldest goes to Pre-K, my energy and patience is surely being tested. Although the baby has dropped and I feel a little better in terms of being able to breath and move around a little more, I still have two busy boys to attend to and nesting syndrome that is taking over me so nap time is extremely important to me.

I have been so busy trying to do whatever I can in these last few weeks to recap whatever we went over during the summer and prepare my five year old for preschool. So everyday that I don’t have prenatal visits (which is every week at this point), I have been taking the boys somewhere. So today we went to the library to stock up on some more books to read.

I was nervous from the beginning because it is always an adventure to keep my one year old quiet. He loves to bang toys loudly and you never quite know when he’s ready to play catch until it’s a little too late and, “oops, sorry he just hit you in the face with that ball? Oh no”!

Luckily, there was another mom there with her three children and the youngest was the same age so I figured if he acted up it wouldn’t just be him so I wouldn’t feel as embarrassed. So all the kids are playing nicely until the mom’s one year old smacks another little girl in the face repeatedly with the toy he’s playing with while the mom is talking to someone else. When her older daughter hollers to tell her about it, the mom apologizes to the little girl and grabs her son telling him it is not OK to hit.

Of course, he doesn’t handle that too well so he begins to have a tantrum. She takes him outside to cool down and put him in his stroller but that’s when my little one thinks, “OK, now it’s my turn to act out”. So he starts throwing a ball that he’s found. Not to a particular person; just anyone he lays his eyes on. Then, my five year old thinks it’s OK to join in and toss the ball high in the air and all over the place, running with his little brother in the library. Nobody really notices because all the kids are pretty much doing something in there so the people in there have kind of tuned them out.

After I finally got that situation together, I let them sit down for a minute to eat some snacks (which were raisins that I had brought from home) while I checked out the books I had picked out for my five year old.

Now I don’t know if I ever mentioned this before but I don’t drive because I am still trying to get my license (I’ll save that issue for another time) so going to the library was about an 11 block walk from our house. Not a big deal when I am by myself or uh, not pregnant, but today I would have killed for a ride home.

My five year old was getting antsy and whiny so I knew he was tired as well. My one year old had already dozed off in his stroller. So at that point, I am happily waiting to get home so I can put them down for naps and take one myself. Little did I know, it wouldn’t go that way…

When my five year old is told to take a nap it is not unusual for me to have to repeat that and threaten to remove some toys or something in order for it to stick to his head and actually see him follow through but today no matter what I did, he would not take his nap.

I was so freaking tired at this point and was ready to just get a way and drink something, ANYTHING to just relax. (What’s worse is I don’t even drink!)

In the past, he would get a quick spanking and told to go to sleep but since I don’t believe in spankings anymore, I had to be a little more creative. So I decided to make him straighten up the living room and dining room. I figured it was something I needed to get off my to-do list so why not kill two birds with one stone and tire him out, too.

Afterward, he was still ready to go so I upped the ante and decided to have him do exercises like he does with his dad but until he was tired. After he did jumping jacks, push-ups, and sit-ups for about 15 minutes straight, he seemed really tired so I told him to go back in his room and take that nap.

It worked!

I was so relieved and even my one year old went back to sleep. So I was able to take my nap after all. Dinner will be pushed back a little late and probably bed time too but hey, desperate times calls for desperate measures right? At least a pregnant and tired mama can now enjoy her rest! 😉

 

Is It Ever Too Late To Say Goodbye?

Today I went to my Aunt Lola’s funeral. After being in the hospital for a while she died at the age of 59. I didn’t know much about her except that she had 7 kids (5 of which, I spent some time with as a child) and was the type of person who would always say how she felt no matter what you thought about it.

Despite the fact that she lived over 100 miles from us, her and my mom never let that destroy their relationship. I would always remember her and my mom talking to one another for hours at a time or our families visiting each other as kids and spending time together. However, as I got older and began to do my own things, the times I would see her or hear her on the phone weren’t always as pleasant as I remembered as a child.

In my mind, she seemed bitter and depressed all the time. I didn’t think she liked me and on one occasion she showed her unhappiness in my husband and some of the choices I had made growing up. For that reason, I stayed my distance from her. I didn’t have any hate in my heart for her but I felt that we were two different people and could not communicate or get along because of those differences. I know now that a lot of that was attributed to the fact that my mom and I were also not very close as I grew up and sometimes when they got together, it would be to discuss me or my brother in a not-so-good light.

From what my mom told me, a few of her children and other close family members shared that same view of her and chose to stay their distance as well. However, during the funeral all of the good things about Aunt Lola came out and her children and close family members were forced to acknowledge and remember those things. As I listened to them, I felt disappointed in myself that I had wasted time and not gotten to really know her like I could have. The things that I learned in those few hours of her funeral showed me that, I had been wrong, we were very similar in our mindset and life paths. In those few hours, I gained the knowledge that what I gauged as dislike towards me and my choices in life were probably dislike towards her own, as well.

I realized that her children and other close family members would probably feel the pang of disappointment that I felt but ten times worse. Instead of being able to understand her and show her their love, some of them took the “back away” stance like me or even worse completely expressed their anger for her. Some of them had never got a chance to show her how much she meant to them and, in way, never will. From what my mother told me of their relationship, that was all Aunt Lola wanted from them and I’m sure they knew.

Someone at the funeral said that funerals are a blessing to the ones who choose to come because they see the wrongs and good things about someone else and they learn how they can use the time they have left to make theirs better. I agree wholeheartedly with that comment and  learned that it really is true that you never know when it will be someone’s last day and it’s important to make those moments before count. People know that and hear that all the time but we let pettiness and bitterness keep us from actually showing it.

So, from me to you, I wanted to share to those that are reading this that if you haven’t showed your appreciation for someone in your family or one of your close friends, now is the time to do it. Anyone can imagine that hurt and pain felt of losing a loved one but you definitely don’t want to add the burden of having to ask yourself, “Is it too late to say goodbye?”