Archive for September, 2011

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ARRRGH! International Talk Like a Pirate Day

September 19, 2011

September 19

International Talk Like a Pirate Day (ITLAPD) is a parodic holiday created in 1995 by John Baur (Ol’ Chumbucket) and Mark Summers (Cap’n Slappy), of Albany, Oregon,[1] U.S., who proclaimed September 19 each year as the day when everyone in the world should talk like a pirate.[1] For example, an observer of this holiday would greet friends not with “Hello,” but with “Ahoy, matey!” The holiday, and its observance, springs from a romanticized view of the Golden Age of Piracy.

The Wikipedia article has much more information.

I know a few pirates.

Today is DH’s birthday… he’s my favorite Pirate!

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Writing Workshop: This Too Shall Pass

September 15, 2011

Okay, no fair. I already posted on 3. An inappropriate time to laugh (Writing Workshop: Laugh It Up).

So I’ll tackle 5. Advice to new mothers.

Except I’ll tackle from this point of view: with your first, you’ve never had a newborn, you’ve never had a toddler, you’ve never had a grade schooler, and you’ve never had a middle schooler… And with your subsequent children, you’ve never gone through that stage with THAT child.

To the new mother who doesn’t know if the child will ever stop crying: yes, she will. And you will survive. Will the child ever sleep through the night: yes, he will, and yet you may still find yourself never getting a full night’s sleep without a little Unisom no matter how old he is. The thing to keep in mind is that most often everything you go through with a child is a stage or developmental milestone. Some of those things can be silly and enjoyable—how many times have you nodded your head in agreement when someone says, “All those presents and all she wanted to do was play with the boxes?” Others can be more challenging and frustrating. T1 was in full-blown I’m going to challenge you and freak out when you give me chores to do, etc. at 8 1/2 years old! I thank God for her teacher who could guide me through this stage and gave me pointers on how to redirect T1’s normal and natural inclinations to push boundaries at home (she would never dare do it at school) because she felt comfortable enough to know I would still love her.

And just when you think you have finally come to the light at the end of the tunnel and you actually like your child again, another new stage and frustration will pop up.

With the subsequent children I would caution mothers not to get too comfortable. T2 had a box obsession at pretty much the exact same age at T1. Cute. Got the pictures to go along with it. But with the more trying things… All those things I mentioned going through with T1 at age 8 1/2, T2 decided to start that at 7 1/2. Sometimes I feel sorry for T2 because when I recognize a “stage” I look at her and say, “Oh no. You need to ask yourself if you think your sister got anything positive out of doing this when she was your age. I’ve been through this before and I’m not going to put up with it for long from you. I’ve already got the t-shirt.”

At other times, T2 forges her own ground and stages. T1’s follow the rules and please the teacher attitude makes her a dream student. T2 has totally different motivations—she needs to know what’s in it for her. The Preschool teacher wanted a conference because she didn’t think T2 knew her vowel sounds. Turns out, T2 just didn’t want to answer the teacher. Repeated that little number in kindergarten for her report card—only had to give the teacher 2 words that began with the letter R (had done this for the previous 4 letters) but wouldn’t till we told her she couldn’t go to 1st grade without telling the teacher what she knew, and spit out “Oh all right, Reggie Rooster!” Imagine her disappointment when she didn’t get to go to 1st grade the next day.

Right now at Back to School Night, DH and I had to talk to both of her teachers and her enrichment teacher about how “boredom is the enemy” and all three of them have said in the four weeks of school they have already seen that she is ahead of all her classmates (even though she is one of the youngest). I’ve had a 4th grader before, but none like T2.

I think the only thing that got me through some trying times, not knowing if there was a light at the end of the tunnel, was a “Reset Button” attitude. No, you can’t repeat the day (and I’m not sure some days you’d want to do that) but you can start fresh the next day. When I put the children to bed, I have my down time. Scrapbooking, vegging in front of the TV, playing games on FB… anything to put my batteries on a charger and not think about the day. Tomorrow is another day. Maybe tomorrow will be the day the stage ends or the child just wakes up in a more cooperative mood. It doesn’t matter—with a little sleep and not dwelling on the day before, the chances you’ll have a better day go up exponentially.

The other thing I learned is that your daily attitude is a choice too. I was going through a particularly rough patch with T1 and T2 was just along for the ride. As I’d fling open my bedroom door and scream (oh, yes, it would get that bad) at them to stop fighting or pick up their clothes strewn all over the hallway, I was thinking that I had woke up in the bad mood and was taking it out on them. It was becoming almost daily. Then one day I lay in bed and I listened to the number of times they were shouting at each other, all before 8 AM, and I counted the number of times I would have yelled, “Stop it now!” That morning I had an epiphany and I shared it with them as we met at the front door to leave.

“I’ve been listening to you all morning. Because you got up before you were called, you woke me up from MY sleep X amount of times. You were shouting at each other, singing way too loudly, dropping things, slamming things, shouting at each other again, and fighting in the bathroom. Any other day, I would have been screaming at you and thinking I was waking up in a bad mood and taking it out on you. Guess what? When you woke me up before my alarm, I was happy. I felt great. And the more I listened to you, the madder I got. You guys are setting the tone for the day, not me. If you want to have a screaming momma, keep it up. I won’t feel guilty any more. It is time you start thinking about your behavior before the crack of dawn! You can’t get along, don’t leave your rooms till you’re called or just accept that you will be punished for the rest of the day.”

Our days got better after that wake up call. And I do make an effort that if I wake up in a bad mood, I try not to take it out on them. Oh they still have their doozy mornings and we have a reminder talk, but generally the tone of the day starts better, even if it goes down the drain later. That’s when I look forward to my Reset Button.

The Prompts:

1.) Locked out.
2.) Write about a time you wanted to disappear.
3.) An inappropriate time to laugh.
4.) A time you hurt a friends feelings.
5.) Advice to new mothers.

If you want to know more about Mama Kat’s World Famous Writing Workshop, click on that trophy over there…

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Dare I Hope?

September 14, 2011

DH took me to my appointment with a specialist today. I think it was so meant to be that I delayed in calling for the appointment and that he couldn’t see me for three weeks. In that time my knees took the brunt of the mystery pain. I was able to go in to this appointment with full-blown swelling and a great deal of pain–proof that it wasn’t all in my head!

And as he drew out 5 cc’s of white blood cells it definitely wasn’t all in my head.

It may actually be in my genes. Everything from the chest tightness, the hand, the back & neck (not sold that the foot was ever part of is) and now the knees may be caused by a disease known as psoriatic arthritis. Psoriasis. Yes, it runs in my family–grandmother, mother, me apparently, and my sister. It turns out that my mother and my sister have both been diagnosed with one of the 5 forms of the disease.

It is a chronic condition but it does not have to be progressive if I respond well to treatment. My sister has not had a recurrence in 10+ years.

There are certain triggers. Interestingly, ibuprofen which I take liberally for inflammation and pain from work outs, can cause an outbreak. It could be why I am feeling a great deal of pain through the prescription strength NSAID I am currently on.

Stress. Just like stress can make the psoriasis flair, it can cause the arthritis inflammation to form. I would say last November I was stressed enough to trigger this. So part of it may be “in my head.”

Asymmetrical psoriatic arthritis can cause inflammation of the lungs and aorta (the chest tightness and difficulty breathing), it can attack small and large joints on either side of the body but rarely both sides. If I hadn’t had the hand already with both knees (though the pain and location in each knee is different) I would say I had the symmetrical form.

Both my mother and sister had the form that goes after the spinal column. Earlier in the summer I was having it in my spinal column as well and this would fit with the asymmetrical form.

I had more chest x-rays and more blood work. We’re going to 100% rule out Lyme. They will analyze the fluid for gout crystals. (This too can run in the family but usually not before 60–I did point out to him my mother was in her 50s–okay, I’m far from my 50s but at this point I say anything is possible. After all our family, including me, has gall bladder problems in our 20s, well before the accepted 40s.) He is ruling out a few other auto-immune inflammatory disorders too between the fluid analysis and blood work.

And he had great bedside manner. I did not handle my one experience with a cortisone shot for bursitis very well and I was not happy to be getting fluid drawn or the shot. He explained everything and even joked, “I’m wiping the area with an alcohol swab. Last time I checked, no needles are used for this part.” He had a gentle hand and I survived.

I will feel great for a few days because I’m back on steroids. I can still do E.o.t.T. as long as no cardio for a while (just 20% of what I’m used to–a brisk walk) and as long as I follow the rule “if it hurts, stop.” I’ll step down the steroid to get to the lowest possible dose that keeps the pain manageable and the inflammation away. I don’t want to be on the steroids for a long time due to the side effects of weight gain and messing with blood sugar levels. But we reevaluate in three weeks after all the results are in.

Dare I hope? At least I can be comforted that we took another step forward and I’m blessed to have doctors who believe me. I know God, the Great Physician, has had a hand in this and is working this for His will. I am comforted by this too.

I am just so grateful that even though I had to wait for this appointment, DH was still home to take me. The drive is easy but it was almost an hour away. And, well, I didn’t need any more stress…

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Birthdays and Anniversaries: New Perspectives

September 12, 2011

Today T2 turns 9. Wow. Where did the time go?

When T1 turned 9 I cried, realizing that we were half-way through raising her. I realize that with T2 as well but this birthday is different.

I used to dread her birthday. Her birthday was a reminder of so much sadness and loss. You see, I had antepartum and postpartum depression with her birth. I never got to nurse her like I did her sister; I never got to bond with her in that special way. Yes, she got to bond with DH in a way T1 didn’t, and we later formed such a strong bond that it really didn’t matter, but I still regret not being able to nurse her.

And her birth marked the beginning of the three-, almost 5-, year destruction of extended family and friends relationships. Her birthday was a sad reminder of what I could never get back.

But something changed in 2009. You see, about a month before her birthday DH almost lost his hand in a horrific workshop accident with a router bit. In those three seconds our entire lives could have changed forever. I know God was with him and spared him the horrors of amputation and severed nerves. I stood with him while the PA stitched his fingers back together–31 stitches in all. I stood with him as the orthopedic surgeon gave us the best news we could have ever heard–no nerves were completely severed and his hand was functional.

You tend to start living one day at a time, grateful for each morning you get up.

We were also waiting for Cousin IT’s arrival that year. New life. And a change and healing in many relationships. It reminded me that I still did not like infants and no amount of drugs or therapy was going to change that. And I was okay with it. It wasn’t something to regret any more. I could enjoy T1 and T2 for the beautiful and happy young women they are growing into and know that our family was complete.

I posted on FB that at T2’s slumber party in 2010–the first I’d let her have–she and her sister had actually been the worst behaved! But it was nice to have them and DH to complain about. Having so recently celebrated one year since DH’s accident, I didn’t see her birthday as an anniversary of something lost any more.

I did tell DH that if he hadn’t wanted me to throw him a surprise 40th birthday he could have found a less drastic way to get out of it.

Sadly, it was in November last year, just about the time I started this blog, that I was dealt another betrayal, another loss. And it smacked of earlier losses and betrayals. It has been the stress I have been dealing with for months now, perhaps the cause of my mystery illness and pain.

I’m glad T2’s birthday is a happy reminder of what I do have. Today is a good day. I struggled through E.o.t.T. but even that is a gift rather than the Torture I used to call it. T2 is an amazing young woman, incredibly loving, imaginative and smart, and a joy. I thank God for giving me exactly what I needed in that beautiful 9 lbs. 2 oz, 21 inches, bundle of love. Every day with her, T1, and DH is precious and not to be wasted.

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