Thursday, March 31, 2011

Thank you for everything! And you're welcome, too!

My two year old is growing up. In fact, he's almost three.

And he is showing that he is growing up. Last week, he asked to help change Gizmo's poopy diaper. (And, remember, we know that when Bug says, "I hep you!" it really means, "Let me do it!") It was quite funny to watch Bug trying to wipe the baby's butt clean.

He also has started saying prayers. All by himself!! Ok...well, I do have to prompt him a little bit, after he's gone on and on and on saying the same things. ("Thank you. Thank you. Welcome. Thank you. Blue's Clues. Thank you. Play. Thank you."  "You need to bless the food." "Food. Thank you.")

The first prayer he said by himself, he kept pausing after every word, wanting me to repeat it. I don't know if that is because that's how we taught him how to pray. Or if he wanted to make sure that I actually understood what he was saying.

Bug is also learning how to count on his fingers. He has been (kind of) counting to 10 for several months now. ("One, two, three, eight, nine, two"). But now he is learning to hold up his fingers. And...just weeks before his third birthday, we taught him how to hold up two fingers and tell people his age. Usually, when people ask him what his name is, he'll hold up his fingers and say, "TWO!".

Hopefully, if we make a big deal about his birthday, he'll transition easily to holding up three fingers!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Inch Worm

Last Saturday (March 12th...for the record), at 6 1/2 months old, Gizmo turned into an inch worm.

It all started when I sat him down on the floor after nursing him. I probably needed to eat some lunch, or go pee, or wipe Bug's rear end for the 50 millionth time ("Poop, candy? Poop, candy?" He gets a piece of candy if he poops in the potty...which means he squeezes out a little bit of poop a gazillion times a day.)

Anyway, so I turned my attention away from Gizmo for a minute or two. And when I came back to him, he wasn't where I left him.


So I wait and watch. And he is busy going after the wipes container on the living room floor. Or is it the crayon? But he scoots his butt up into the air, and then he slides forward. Butt up, body forward.

My 6 month old is crawling! Like an inch worm.

But he is crawling!

I can't believe it. This kid is so chill and relaxed, yet he is soooo fast at growing up. He already has two teeth, and now this?!

The inchworm has now turned more into an Army crawl with some inchworm-like tendencies. Either way, it means that Gizmo now frequently has crayon breath.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Please Research: Postpartum Depression

She may seem completely normal to you. But inside, she's broken. Confused. Angry. Scared. Sad. Tired.

She has no motivation. She exhausts herself trying to get her daily chores done. She has trouble interacting with her kids as often as she knows she should. She knows her husband is sorely neglected. She can't form complete sentences. She feels that she has no friends. She can't sleep, even though that is all she wants to do. She gets angry about even the smallest of things. She often doesn't feel like cooking good food and sometimes doesn't want to eat at all. She feels guilty that she isn't well. She feels like she should be able to shake it off, but she can't. She has zero desire for physical affection. She doesn't show much interest, or take much time to enjoy, the things that she used to do all the time. She has headaches and body aches and heart aches. She's unhappy with the way she looks. And even more unhappy with the way she feels.

Sometimes she has good days. Days where she is happy and productive. But other days, she cries.

This is the life of a woman who suffers from Postpartum Depression (PPD).

PPD can happen to any woman. It can happen a couple weeks after the baby is born, or it can happen months after the baby is born (sometimes depression comes even a year after baby). And if it happens to you, don't feel as if you should have been able to prevent it. That will often make it feel worse.

Instead, start doing things that will make it better. This is definitely easier said than done, because those who have PPD have a hard time finding the motivation to -do- the things to help...even if they desperately want to get better.

First, you should tell someone, that you love and trust, how you feel. You NEED someone to be your anchor to reality. Ideally, this should be your husband. Make sure he doesn't go into "Mr. Fix-It" mode, though. Tell him that you need him as a sounding board. And help him know what ways you are comfortable with him helping (i.e. doing the dishes, making dinner, changing poopy diapers, practicing healthy living with you). You can also have your mother, sister, or a close friend be your anchor. Women, especially mothers, can often relate. They may have even suffered from PPD themselves. It might be hard to tell someone that you are depressed. It might make you feel ashamed or embarrassed. But once you feel like you don't have to hide your feelings any more, it will be easier to find ways to alleviate them.

Now you need to start figuring out how to feel better. This may seem like an impossible task. But pick something that you think seems easiest, and put your energy into doing it. It might help you find the energy to pick another thing off the list. Then another. And another. Until you find that you are back to feeling like yourself again. Here are some ideas for how to kick PPD to the curb:

-Focus on good nutrition: When you don't even feel like eating, or you would rather sit on the couch with a spoon and the sugar bowl, good nutrition can be really hard to fix. Start off by taking a vitamin supplement. Niacin, or Vitamin B3, is especially good for helping with depression. You can also continue taking your prenatal vitamins, these are really good if you are nursing. Then you can look into taking an herbal remedy for depression, such as St. John's Wort. Go to a health food store and find brands of vitamins that are minimally processed. (Or send your husband, because chances are you didn't feel like showering today...and getting out of the house may seem like too big of a task for you right now.) Once you start taking the vitamins, you might start feeling better. Whether it is a real effect or a placebo, it doesn't matter. You have your foot in the door of "better health". And now you can start eating better food. Cut out the junk foods and pre-packaged dinners. Eat lots of raw foods, fruits and veggies. Drink plenty of water. Minimize sugar intake. Try asking if your husband would be willing to cook dinner during the week, even if only on a couple days.

-Focus on light therapy: Fresh air and the shining sun can do wonders for improving mood. But getting ready and dressed for public (and getting all the kids dressed and ready for public) is not always easy. There are nap times and feedings and diaper changes to contend with. Or you don't have a car. And sometimes the sun -isn't- shining. Or sometimes it is too daggone cold. If you can't get out and about, try at least playing in the yard, if you have one. Or sitting out on a deck/balcony. At the very least, open the curtains and blinds to let the natural light into your house.

-Focus on exercise: If you can, combine exercise and light therapy and go for a walk outside. But if that seems too hard right now, try to find a quick and easy workout that you like...and just do it in your underwear at home. You could just put on some music that makes you want to move and dance around. If you have a toddler, it will be even more enjoyable, as those little guys love to dance.

-Focus on music: Like with exercise, upbeat music can help you get going. Put some music on, even without the plan to exercise to it, and see how it makes you feel. Or you can try calming, classical music that helps you relax.

-Focus on spirituality: Heavenly Father knows what you are going through. Sometimes, depression can put you out of touch with your relationship with your Heavenly Father. Rekindle that relationship. Work on saying prayers. Use God as your sounding board and begin by addressing Heavenly Father, then rattling off your list of woes. Finish by asking for help and expressing love and gratitude where you can manage it. Try reading your scriptures for 15 minutes a day...even if done in 3 minutes intervals (upon wakening, mid morning, after lunch, mid afternoon, evening). Or watch an episode of Veggie Tales and talk about it with your toddler. Sometimes it is the littlest things that will help!

-Focus on grooming: Wake up, eat breakfast, change diapers, nurse the baby, take a shower, change diapers, do hair, get the toddler a snack, do makeup. Whatever your morning routine -needs- to be, make sure to include personal hygiene. Make the time to shower, brush your teeth, put on deodorant. Make yourself feel as pretty as possible. Put on a bra and clothes, like you are going to go somewhere. Use soap that smells really good to you (not just something that smells ok, but find something that you -really- like). Wax or shave your legs and armpits. Go ahead and put on a movie for the kids, if it will give you time to take care of yourself.

Focus on cleanliness: This is not a focus on bodily cleanliness, this is for your house. Ask your husband to help you clean the house in the evenings. Then do what you can to keep it clean during the day. Make sure you keep up on laundry and dishes. Sometimes those chores that you -have- to do are the only ones that get done...because, let's face it, you need to do laundry if all your underwear are dirty! The task is to keep them from piling up. A week's worth of dirty dishes is a daunting task, and can aggravate depressed feelings. But getting the dishes done every day or having a freshly vacuumed floor can feel like a wonderful accomplishment!

Focus on hobbies: Remember those hobbies that you used to have and used to love. They seem dull now. So, remind yourself why you used to love them. Pull out your pen and paper and write some poetry. Or get out your paints and a canvas. Or your crochet hook and yarn. Get a new book from the library. Watch your favorite movie. Design a new ball gown. Shoot some hoops. Whatever it is that you used to do, find time to do it. Get the kids involved if you want. Or get them busy with something else (or down for a nap), so you will have time for yourself.

These are just some ideas for combating PPD. Like I said before, pick ONE of these and work on it. Don't try to do them all at once. It will not work. It will probably make you feel worse. But, picking one that especially appeals to you might make the world of difference. Get as much sleep as you can, and devote your days to getting better. You may not have much motivation or energy, but gather what you do have up, and put it to good use.

PPD is not healthy or normal (common...but not normal), but there are natural ways to make it better. These suggestions may not take all your troubles away, as PPD is often caused by hormonal imbalances that need time (and sometimes medical intervention) to be fixed. However, if you have thoughts of harming yourself or your child(ren), you need to get medical help immediately. If you feel like things are too hard to handle, and you haven't had any success with natural remedies, you are not a failure. PPD is a real illness. Just as you couldn't help it if you got cancer, you cannot help getting depression. But you can help get rid of it.

You are not alone.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Oon Arteeest!

On Sunday, we had a friend over with her kids. These kids are crazy when they are together. Fighting, jumping, wrestling, chasing, playing. Most of the time, we just sat on the couch and laughed. But, the rest of the time, we were chasing kids around trying to keep them out of trouble.

We had to contend with know...getting the right kids to eat the right food off of the right plate.

We had to lock doors.

We had to fish a whole roll of toilet paper out of the toilet. (And when I say "We" on this part, I mean the Hubby.)

We had to remove toys.

And just when you think they are settled down and being quiet.....(this is when seasoned parents know something is up) find them using marker to practice their art skills on the walls.

And doors.

And window.

And bed.

And glider.

And toy bins.

And their bodies.

I had to laugh when I saw it. Of course, you have to laugh at disaster sometimes. So, we got out the rags and soap and those supposedly wonderful Magic Erasers. We were able to get most of the marker off of the doors and window. We don't really care about the marker on everything else....except the wall. And that's exactly where we -couldn't- get the marker off.

The walls in our apartment have exactly -0.01% gloss in them. My father-in-law says that makes it easier to paint them after tenants move out...which they are required by law to do, I guess. I say it is so that the walls soak up everything and are impossible to clean. And that means little bits of our security deposit are being manipulated away by the glossiness-less of our wall. But, whatever.

So, because our walls are flat as flat can be, nothing we did took that marker off. Sure, it faded a bit. And smudged around a bit. And that Magic Eraser was able to remove a fine layer of paint. But the marker scribbles are definitely still there.

At least it was in the kid's room.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Stupid Scouts

I vacuumed today. Actually, I pretty much cleaned the whole house. The dishes are done, the toys are all put away, and the floor has been de-crumbed.

And, the reason for it all (apart from the house just really needing attention), I am ashamed to say, is to make my husband feel guilty.

You see, he is at Little Philmont for Boy Scouts today. And I'm jealous. Jealous that he gets to get out of the house today, and I'm stuck at home. Again. With no car. With two attention starved (they believe) boys. And my husband won't be home until this evening. Just like another work day. And it is supposed to be my Saturday. The day where I have a hubby home to help me take care of things...or take me on a date (which we didn't get last night, like I originally wanted). To give me the support I need so I don't feel like my head is slipping under water.

Usually, that help is to clean. Or to watch the kiddos so I can clean. But that hasn't happened for a while. Because the hubby is always too busy. And so I cleaned alone. AND took care of the boys. Just to show that "I don't need no stinkin' husband to help me!" But, really, I do. Because it's miserable here without him.

I know I am supposed to happily support my husband in his church callings (Scout leader). And I did sustain him. But sometimes all the support I can offer is to begrudgingly kiss him goodbye as he goes on another camp-out or another day long activity.

Blast those character building wonder-boys!

Friday, March 4, 2011

"Blue Book" mess

I can't believe this is only my 6th post this year. Honestly, I've been having such a hard time with the motivation lately. Well, other than getting dishes and laundry done. I've actually been getting pretty good at that. Although, I think I've been neglecting my kids to do it.

Bug is always begging me, "Mommy, wahss". (Which, if you didn't understand that, it is "Mommy, watch".) I hear that sentence in my head even when I should be enjoying a moment of silence.

I also get a lot of "I hep you!" ("I'll help you") Which really means, "Let me do it." Or "GET THE HECK AWAY AND LET ME DO IT MYSELF!" (I really have NO idea where he gets THAT!)

I kind of wish Bug would "hep" me write a blog post. Or something else that I can't seem to just water our one plant that is miraculously still alive. (Just an idea, if you want plants, but have absolutely no green in your whole body...let alone your a pathos plant!)

I do NOT, however, want Bug to "hep" me wipe his nose (by actually wiping the boogers on our back door).

And I do not want Bug to "hep" me with the leaving his "blue book" (his "notebook" from Blue's Clues) in his pant leg. Whenever he doesn't have pockets, he stuffs the book in the waistband of his pants. And my most recent laundry mishap is not discovering it until after it went through the wash.

Let me tell you something: a 2"x2"x1" cardboard book makes A LOT of cardboard fiber mess.

That load of dark clothes looked hopelessly ruined. There were fibers over every inch of every item. I shook things off as much as I could and ended up with a huge handful of soggy cardboard pieces. But the clothes were still looking pretty hairy.

So I ran the load again. And then I dried it. And cleaned out the lint trap.

Luckily, that worked to get everything mostly clean. Now there were only fibers in the creases of the shirts and pants.

But I must say, I have never felt more distressed with a laundry mishap than I did with that one. Not even dying my whites yellow could compare with how I felt when I opened the washer to those "blue book" mess.