Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Bunnies and Butterflies

I remember when Natalynn was born. Well, I wasn't there, but my mom told me her brother (my uncle) called her and said something like "She's here!" and told my mom that the labor was rough, ending in a c section, but Natalynn and her mom, were okay. My mom had tears in her eyes telling me she heard Natalynn crying in the background. Being a mother and also being pregnant with my son, this brought tears to my eyes too. I was so so happy for my Uncle. And very much looking forward to seeing and meeting Natalynn.
I did meet Natalynn when she must have been about 3 months old. She was a happy, easy going baby. The proof is in this pic, baby Han totally pissed off and baby Nat, suckin on her thumb like it ain't no thang.
I didn't see Nat again until her first birthday. But I did see lots of pictures online. And one thing was for certain, her eyes were something to behold.
I remember feeling like I wanted to get her a really good present, since she probably had a lot of baby doll stuff, I searched and searched and settled on a toy piggie bank, that sang when you put the plastic coins in it. She was so adorable at her party. She laughed, played, had an awesome cake to smash, and it didn't even phase her that so many people were passing her around and loving on her.
Sadly, I didn't get a chance to meet her again.
On March 22, 2009 she passed away.
This is the part where you are asking yourself "what the flip? why?"
I suggest you google her name "Natalynn Lea Miller" and find out.
I wanted this post to be about Natalynn and not about any details pertaining to her death or about the impending trials related to it.
When I learned she passed away, I felt sick. I thought I was going to pass out. I couldn't even cry, or breathe, or even think.
Soon after finding out I talked to my uncle on the phone.
I still remember the pain in his voice, and the way my mind raced trying to find the right words to say. I quickly realized, this was a situation not like any other, there were probably no right words. I told him I loved him, and that he was not alone in his grief. Of course his grief and heartbreak, are something I can not fathom,  but I know how it sounds. I heard it in his voice telling me he loves me, and to hold my babies close.
Services followed soon after, and it was the worst week ever. Not just for me, but for everyone who loved her. But in that week I learned a few things about Natalynn, and thanks to her dad, and someone who was very close to Nat, I find out more things all the time.
She loved goldfish crackers and called them fishy crackers.
Her favorite song was "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" she had a toy guitar that would play it.

She loved to dress up and dance and she also loved making crafts!
Her preschool teachers that came to her service said they often wished they had a whole class of Natalynns, because she was so sweet and well behaved. She had many friends. And really liked school.

She said when she grew up she wanted to be a dinosaur ballerina. WIN.
And did I mention she had the most beautiful face ever??
She was a lovely child.
Simply, lovely.
Natalynns most prized possession was her stuffed bunny that she carried with her everywhere. In the last pictures of Nat, she is in her dads lap, posing with her bunny. Those pictures are on my cabinet in the kitchen and I look at them several times a day. It makes me happy to see Natalynn. I try not to think of how her life ended, but focus on how she lived and who she was.
My Uncle told me that shortly before she passed, she was in his yard chasing a butterfly. It would fly away a little, and she would give up chasing it. Then it would fly back and she would chase it again. On our drive to the funeral service, our car was swarmed with butterflies at a stoplight. My Uncle laughed and said "Oh, Natalynn would have loved this!"
Now every time I see a random butterfly I think of her. I see her face in the stars, and in a clear blue sky, almost but not quite, as beautiful as her eyes, I hear her when my girls are laughing or singing. And sometimes when I drift off to sleep, I like to imagine the things she might have done today, if she were still here with us.
We miss you princess.

If you suspect a child is being abused, want to find out more info on preventing abuse, keep in mind that the cure to child abuse is prevention. This is a great website to find out more info and there is a hotline to call:Child Help
If you are having a parenting problem, or need support REACH OUT FOR IT. You are not weak or incapable! People want to help you. Here is a website of resources that can help including hotlines:Parent Support
If you are a victim of abuse, suspect or know that a friend is, DO NOT JUST SIT THERE. Go to this website for help: Futures Without Violence
For further reading on how to keep your kids safe without moving into a cave, I highly reccomend this book. It has plenty of resources and ways to effectively communicate with your child on how to protect themselves without scaring the crap out of you. If you read one parenting book, make it this one:Protecting the Gift

 Bookmark this page for future reference. Share the post with anyone and everyone who loves a child. The cure is in the prevention.
Hug your babies.

Our Natalynn

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

My Dark Side

People often ask me "How do you manage 5 kids?" or they say things like "I have 2 and I am going apeshit...I don't know how you do it." You know what I say in response? "Yea, this whole having kids thing just was so easy I decided to be a Duggar, but without the religion or disgusting casseroles." That's right. I fucking lie. This may come as a shock to you, since I am so honest on my blog and my facebook page. But what I say on line and what I say to your face in person are two different things. Why? Because I don't want to scare well meaning people who are just trying to make conversation, or are nosy as fuck and don't really care (I bet these nosy fucks are addicted to reality tv as well...I am not a reality show..stop asking me if all the kids have the same dad, when am I getting my tubes tied, and how much money I make, like this is some episode of MTV's true life: I hoard children.)

The truth is. I struggle. Hardcore. My house is a wreck right now for example. I have been telling myself for months that it was okay and everyone who enters the domain is going to forgive me because I just had a baby. It hit me yesterday though. I didn't just have a baby. The baby is nearly 9 months old. Soon, he will be crawling. This terrifies me. His little hands and knees and mouth are going to come in contact with the floors, the walls, the toys, the microscopic cracker crumbs in the corner, the dead flies on the window sill, etc. I told myself when I was pregnant with him, that I could organize and clean everything when that nesting instinct kicked in around 7 months, just like I did when I was knocked up the previous times.

Except I never made it to 7 months pregnant.
The other thing I realized is that my house is so bad right now, if Nate Berkus showed up, he would have to get the folks on Hoarders to come bring their dump trucks first. I honestly don't get it. I have no attachments to items. I throw shit away all the time. I am constantly doing laundry. Constantly cleaning up someone, or someones mess. And still. This place is a hovel.

Also the other interesting twist to my dilemma, is that I have OCD.
Now I know that everyone feels like they have OCD at times, and when I tell people this they usually come up with some OCD-like symptom to make an example of how they too have OCD. Your color coded book collection, your obsession with vacuuming in a specific pattern, your awesomely famous way of making your bed, are all something to behold. But you are probably fine.
Here are my examples of OCD (not to say I am proposing that I am the only one that suffers this bat shit crazy way of life, my OCD folks out there will want to high five me for telling it like it is, because half of this shit is not talked about because it is so absurd)

~I can tell you exactly how that stain got there, because I cringe ever since it happened. Every stain on the carpet. Except the one under Sprite's desk. I smelled it. I think it is milk. But she hates milk, so I can't be sure.

~I always ALWAYS buy the second item behind the first item displayed. The first one has been touched, and therefore, is disgusting and not as fresh.

~If I see a cluttery mess, I have no problem throwing it all away. Unless it is truly valuable and unreplaceable.

~I feel guilty about going to bed. I berate myself about dirty dishes as I drift off to sleep.

~I have a physical twitch if I touch something greasy. My eyes water. I wash my hands repeatedly every time I touch something oily. Also static makes my eyes water. If I see a balloon, my fucking eyes water. Just thinking about the crackle sound in the clothes that come out of the dryer, makes me tear up.

~If I can't do something that I really feel needs to be done. My whole world crashes. This happens every day.

~I can't decide anything. Therefore, I hate shopping. I have to have a pre set list, or I will stand in the shampoo aisle for 30 minutes. I will walk circles in the clothes department if I am just browsing and do not have an actual need. I have to know EXACTLY what I am there for so I can narrow it down.

~I can't park my van unless it feels right. I will circle a parking lot 20 times looking for the spot "that feels right" and I am a checker. I repeatedly lock and unlock my doors, repeatedly look in my purse to make sure I have my keys before I leave the car un locked. I keep it un locked in case I lose my keys. This makes zero sense. But "it feels right."

~If my handwriting changes half way through writing out my uber specific to do list. I start over.

~My house and my environment hold my self worth. I will tell myself that I am a fat lazy heffer as I walk by a cluttery mess. I have been in years of therapy so I just repeat to myself that my house can burn down in flames and we could get a new one. But if I went down in flames, people would be traumatized for life.
I am worth more than my house.

~I can't eat left overs. It is not new. It is not fresh. It feels touched.

This is just a small snap shot of the things that I often deal with. The rest of it, I have learned to manage. But right now, this whole OCD and house situation is driving me banana sandwich. It is holding me back from going places, literally and metaphorically, and frankly, I am sick of it.

So, instead of climbing in my bed and saying "fuck this shit in the neck," I am going to do what I have done countless times to set my shit straight. I am going to keep telling myself, that despite my un organized everything, I am a fantastic mother. Despite that cake batter that is on the ceiling, I am not worthless. And despite having desperately low self esteem, The Biff thinks I am fucking wonderful.

If I keep doing this mix of pumping myself up and actually taking steps to achieve balance, maybe when Nate shows up, I will actually let him come inside.

For the people who have actually been to my house. I apologize. Instead of getting ready for your visit, I was doing this:

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

What are we going to do with Moo?

Last summer when I was pretty much bleeding everywhere trying to keep Jedi in my baby hotel I also thought it would be a great idea to potty train Moo. She was about to be 4 and since I had been changing diapers for I dunno, 10 plus straight years, I figured I deserved a break before a new poop butt came to town. This was difficult. Moo is difficult. I know this because I have successfully potty trained 3 people and although it was never easy (I lie, Han potty trained in 3 days when I told him Caillou does it too, and once he saw his poop in the toilet the first time, he was sold) it was always successful.
I bribed the shit out of her. Literally. I told her we would get a unicorn pillow pet. I gave her countless amounts of candy and gum and cookies and lip gloss. I even once told her I would take her to Disneyland. I immediately took it back when I learned how expensive Disneyland was, but it didn't matter because she just didn't give a shit. At least not in the toilet she didn't.
My final bribe? School. School is something she knows about and I can imagine in her mind, its probably pretty awful, or Han wouldn't be throwing some Cybil like fit every other week complete with chucking bowls full of cereal at my head because he doesn't want to go. But school, I promised her, would be fun. They might even have a toy horse there! Maybe even a book about horses!! "We have books and toys bout horses. And we can stay inside to see it" she said. Good point. But you are going anyways.

Few months went by, and little Jedi couldn't dock himself on the baby hotel for very long and I ended up having him when I shouldn't have. Once the hootenany of getting settled in the Nicu was over and I regained my strength, both physically and mentally, I was back at bribing Moo to please for the love of all that is fucking holy, to stop shitting in her pants. Eventually she did. And as of right now, she pees her pants about 3 times a week. Why? Who the fuck knows. Who the hell knows why kids, especially her, do half the "for no reason" things they do. Well, I am sure there is a reason but right now, as with everything else that Moo dislikes or does, it is about control.

Raising her, if that is even what you call it when your child just gives you the "bite me" look any time you correct her behavior or suggest something cray cray like going to the store, or maybe not eating an entire jar of salsa, is like that old Bill Cosby joke. Where he tells his kids to give the baby whatever she wants, and when they complain he says, "She has my stuff too!" He continues on about how he doesn't care about justice, he cares about quiet. And it is funny as hell to me, but sadly, it is true. We give her what she wants, when she wants it. If someone doesn't, then I will. Why? Because for one. She looks like this:
Cute, right?

And two, well she is the baby.
But, she is the baby that needs to go to school and do fun things not involving making up disgusting sandwiches, like mayo, peanut butter and cheese, or pretending to be a horse on roller skates for 2 hours. Sure those things can be fun, if you are on drugs especially I am sure, but she needs to be around other kids and do other things besides that. And since I am in a hobbit hole with Jedi trying to keep him from catching the Mexican flu, I signed her up for school.

She lasted 4 days. Or two weeks in preK time. As much as I worried about her being nice to others and not saying things like "I do not know you. And I don like you." or not being able to share "She look at my horse!! No!! Tell her stop!!" and also making friends, you know, without me, I guess I didn't worry enough to fucking prepare her.

I mean, I did the good mom thing, and bought some first day of preschool stories, and also talked it up excitedly telling her the things she might do and that there would be friends and games and songs and stuff. But it was to no avail. The first day of school, Moo threw fits and told the teacher she wasn't her mom. (Since when does it make a difference if someone is her mom, she doesn't listen to me either...told you she cray cray) and on the second day she took off her shoes and threw them. Why? Who the hell knows. Teacher said something about her being disruptive and not listening to any directions.
By the 4th day, Moo had managed to throw such a huge fit over who knows what, that the teachers couldn't let the class go outside for recess. I was told that although Moo understands what the teachers want from her, that she is having a hard time actually doing what they say. Needless to say, I am not going to have her suffer, or cause such a disruption that other kids resent her for taking away their precious 15 minutes of fresh air. So she is staying home.
Do I feel like I failed her in preparation for this 2 1/2 hours twice a week adventure?
Um, yea.
Do I feel like this whole dislike of people, and rules, and dislike of expectations put upon her is just in her nature?
Um, yea.
So now what do we do? Who the fuck knows.
I am looking into other preschool options recommended by friends and also trying to encourage her to be a little more open to the idea of leaving the house and maybe even going on a few play dates. (I'm dreaming big here people). She really is a wonderful girl. She keeps me up late watching He Man marathons, followed by Bravestar.She cries if she sees her brothers or sisters upset. She loves stripey sweaters, glittery shoes and vests. She talks like a Dr. Seuss book and is skeptical and blunt. "Who dat girl wearing dose boots? She not a cowgirl. She a liar. She just has boots but no pony" and it is hard out there for a girl who just wants to do what she does, and doesn't like to be told she can't.
I should know. Because my biggest challenge with Moo isn't that she is hard to figure out or discipline.
It is seeing this, in everything she does.
I feel you Moo. I feel you.