Wednesday, September 29, 2010

I'm in a dark mood so this will be a dark, if ironically an enlightening, post.

I spent the last week at my family's place. I went to help my li'l sister out with her new baby because her hubby was leaving to Denver for some job training.

Visiting my family is hard. I love them so much and when I'm living in my own world I enhance the good things I miss. When I'm with my family then I'm also confronted with all the hard, and I regress to what I've been trying to leave behind in myself.

This time was especially hard because I hadn't balanced myself from the three-week stay in July when I went up for my brother's graduation. Because of reverting back to my former self I've been raging against my little family and myself, but BuggaBoo is getting the brunt of it for the sin of being a willful toddler. He has taken to tracking my moods, asking me dozens of times a day if I'm happy, and if I answer otherwise he starts crying.

So today The Hubby took the children out for a long walk and I tackled the kitchen, listening to music cranked way up (sorry, neighbors). Today must be "ballads about horrible relationships" day on Pandora, and that got me thinking about my parents and their marriage and how we were affected. Two songs in particular really hit me hard, "Love the Way You Lie" by Eminem and Rihanna, and "Bad Romance" by Lady Gaga. And, please trust me, they may be rap and pop songs and the Lady Gaga song may be mostly frippery, but they at least started the thoughts rolling around in my head.

My parents don't have a very good marriage. It's the elephant in the room we're not supposed to point out. So while doing the dishes I was ruminating on how my siblings and I have a hard time in our marriages and sometimes with our kids. We want to have different experiences in our family but we don't know how because the omnipresent example was how our parents interacted with each other an us. We know what we want to be but we don't know how to get there.

And then I realized that my parents' relationship has nothing to do with us. Let me say that again, with caps: IT HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH US KIDS. My parents' marriage was about them, their individual relationships with us had to do with us. If we had never been born or had been different people it would have been the same between them. We never had the power to control their emotions, actions, or reactions. No matter how good or bad we were they CHOSE to have the marriage they have.

I am not laying blame at the feet of my father and mother. Just in the way that I can not control their actions they cannot control mine. And also, just in the way that I do not know how to act because of their example they do not know how because they never had a good example, either. My father never learned how to show any emotions except for happiness or anger. Even the anger he could not show as a child, but learned that the fear of anger can make a child comply, that the strong (his father) use that technique, and so that how he handles us. My mother did not learn how to react to a frontal attack because her parents did not act that way, her mother uses guilt to mold her children. And so my mother will use guilt with us. And this is how they treat each other.

So, what do I do? I am breaking the spirit of my son because I don't have myself under control. I feel the rage creeping up wanting to take over, wanting me to hurt my child. I abuse him emotionally but stopping short of physically doing so, but just barely. What is it about this small, beautiful child that makes me so angry? That makes me want to harm him?

Honestly, there is nothing about HIM that MAKES me do anything. Just as I do not have control over my parents he does not have control over me. I am trying to excuse myself by saying it is his fault. It isn't. It isn't my parents' fault. It is mine. As my brother said this last week I am an adult now, what happened as a child is done.

So, I am writing this out for me, to be able to look back and remember that I said this: I am owning my problem. This is about me, I need to find a way to fix it. I don't know how yet, but I know why and when. Why, because I love my babies and The Hubby and I don't want to hurt them. And the when is now. This starts now.

So, Mom, I know you're reading this. Stop feeling guilty. No, you're not perfect. Neither is Dad. But Dad and you didn't do this to me. I am doing this to myself, but no longer.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Twilight: The Nursing Years

So it's official, I live with two vampires of the milky variety. Between the two of my chilluns I've been sucked dry, mostly of my emotional sanity. Don't worry about my milk supply, I honestly think I could support triplets.

Doozer is teething/growth-spurting/mastering the new skill of pulling herself up. This leads to nursing and holding marathons. She usually sleeps long stretches at night, but because of the aforementioned reasons she is staying latched on nearly the whole night with a 1-2 hour break in the early morning.

BuggaBoo is driving me crazy with the nursing. I'm torn about this, because when I dig down deeply I know that I love our nursing relationship, but his lack of patience is wearing me thin, thin, thin. He had been eating a lot of solids a few days ago, horking down as much food as we, the parents, do, but now he is back to mostly nursing. I'm afraid to cut him off, however, because his vomiting episodes usually follow a nursing marathon.

To show you how stressed I am, here this is: Although I am a strong believer in child-led weaning I have thought about weaning BuggaBoo completely. But it's not time, his nursing need hasn't been fulfilled yet. Nursing is the most important thing to him, he'll will choose it over almost anything. He will choose it over cookies, ice cream, and frosting, which are his favorite desserts.

As more evidence I'm going to relate our night-weaning experience. When I was 3 months pregnant with Doozer BuggaBoo was about 20 months old. He was still nursing every hour or two at night and staying latched for 15-45 minutes at a time. I was exhausted from growing a new baby and decided to night-wean the boy. Our agreement was he could nurse to sleep and nurse in the morning (loosely, after 6am) but that was it. Well, it was a month of screaming and crying and holding my breasts and touching a mole on my chest (he always touches it while we nurse) and going crazy. But after the month he was night-weaned and would ask to nurse at night about once a week, which I declined.

So by the time Doozer was born he had been night-weaned for six months. He still sleeps with us on a twin bed next to our queen. Well, it started when she was born and still continues to this day: BuggaBoo hears Doozer nursing and asks to nurse. He cries when I say no. Still. It's not every night, but it's often enough to be annoying.

So, to sum up the whole story, even if I were to wean BuggaBoo right now it would be absolute hell for the both of us because I'm still nursing Doozer and he would feel (rightfully) hurt every time he saw her nurse.

So we plug along. I don't do much in the way of housework. I'm feeling pressure from some about that because doncha know that a clean house is the good mark of a mother? I feel all touched out by the end of the day, and being touched by anyone else *coughTheHubbycough* gives me the skeevies. Oh, heck, even the kids touching me gives me the all-overs. I usually can't take a bath without one or the other in there with me, nursing away and splashing water all over the book I happen to be reading at the time (I try not to take library books in with me).

But the worst part of it all is I often feel like I've cheated BuggaBoo, that we had Doozer too soon for his needs. If it was just him then we could nurse whenever, without having to share or wait or scream. Nursing wouldn't be a battle of the wills, it would be me and my baby. Sometimes I feel Doozer could have waited.

Which then makes me feel guilty, because I LOVE this little girl, and I'm so happy she's here so then I think if BuggaBoo wasn't around so much then I could just have a relationship with her, and she's being shafted because BuggaBoo can't leave me alone.

We mothers are great about bringing on the guilt trips.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Because You NEEDED to Know

Okay guys, I love sushi. I can eat a lot of it. A. Lot. Several rolls. But I would like to let ya'll know that homemade brown rice cucumber-avocado rolls are soooooo much more filling than their white rice counterparts that you find in restaurants. So if you want to go for the whole grains and use brown rice you can totally try my recipe out, which was inspired by Susan at Fat Free Vegan and Jennifer at Vegan Lunchbox/Shmooed Food.

1 cup short grain brown rice
2 Tbsp amaranth (it makes the rice "gluier")
3 cup + 3 Tbsp water

Throw it all into a rice cooker, let the appliance do it's thing. Use your favorite sushi rice flavorings (the above links have good ideas). Roll some sushi. No, I don't have pictures.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Pass the Chalk

BuggaBoo has become quite the artist. He is loving his chalk, both outdoors and in.Because of the best daddy in the world BuggaBoo has a huge chalkboard in our kitchen, created with some blackboard paint. Very cool stuff, we'll need to take pictures sometime.

Anyway, back to the budding artist. All of this kinda started with his obsession of adding eyes to everything. Here's his first gallery. Surface, asphalt; medium, washable chalk.

"Circles and Triangle and Cute Little Toes"


"Three Fish"


"Ring Around the Chalk Pile"

"Concentric Circles with Foot for Scale"

The artist himself, age 2.5 years

The hand that created it all

The little sister, who burbles,

and laughs,

and who can't


sit still.

And the Mom.

And a sighting of Bigfoot.


Wednesday, September 8, 2010

More Witty Remarks From the Boy

(We enter the scene with BuggaBoo, Doozer, and Mommy watching Daddy play "Heroes of Might and Magic 5", a fantasy game...)

BuggaBoo: (seeing some minotaurs) What are those?

Daddy: They're half bulls, half people, they're called minotaurs.

BuggaBoo: Are they like cows?

Mommy: Yes, they're like cows.

BuggaBoo: I'm talking to Daddy.

Daddy: Yes, they're like cows.

BuggaBoo. Oh. (to Mommy) They're like cows, Mommy.

Mommy: Oh, really...

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Very Quick Update

We went to the pediatrician today for Doozer's 6 month appointment, everything is doing well. But I just wanted to let ya'll know that BuggaBoo's ultrasound came back clear, so as far as we know right now there isn't a "structural" reason for the vomiting.

There is a college of naturopathy in Portland, you're able to see three student naturopaths for $20 (or so we've heard). They're overseen by their teachers, so it's a good way to get quality naturopath care for not a lot of money. I think we'll take BuggaBoo there next to rule out food sensitivities.

So, there you go. That was a quick update, wasn't it?

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Momma's Marine

I stumbled across this picture today and found it beautiful. Look at that mother's face, she adores her son. She is so proud. I hope all mommas can look at their children this way, no matter their age.

Now, go love your babies.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Pop Quiz: Bike Etiquette

Our car is fixed now, but it was broken down for a while. This was really no biggie, we often walk where we want and we also live near a MAX stop But we decided to take this time and get our bikes in running order. We've started biking more, but I'll save all that jibber-jabber for another post. This time I want to quiz those motor vehicle drivers. Yes, you, this test is for you. It's multiple choice, so it should be easy. All questions are asked from the driver's point of view.

1) You're coming up on a four-way stop and so is a bike. You'll stop first. What do you do?

a) Encourage the bike to go first, because that's polite.
b) Remember that a bike is a vehicle, too and the bike rider is probably waiting for you to go because it's your turn and they don't want to have to put their foot down.
c) What bike?

2) There's a bike in "your" lane. The rider is trying to stay to the right as much as possible, but there is oncoming traffic making it hard to pass. You

a) Don't slow down and just whiz on by, that stupid bike shouldn't be on the road anyways.
b) Slow down and wait for oncoming traffic to let up before passing. Also realize that the bike rider knows you're there and will try to accommodate you as soon as possible.
c) What bike?

3) You see a bike hauling a trailer. You

a) Assume the trailer is empty, they all are, and don't act any differently.
b) Assume the trailer has children in it and understand the parent might be nervous and so you act accordingly.
c) What bike trailer?

4) You see the bike with the trailer. You decide to rev your engine at it while going by because

a) It's funny! And it'll teach that rider a lesson for taking up *your* road.
b) You want to terrorize little children and cause them to scream and cry until their mother can stop and calm them down.
c) What bike?

5) You see a bike rider and they have their arm held out at a ninety-degree angle, hand up. This means

a) Even though their hand is stationary they're waving at you. How nice! Wave back or talk to them out your window.
b) They want to turn right. Remember, you had to know hand signals to pass your driver's test.
c) What bike?

6) You're pulling out of a parking slot from the side of the road. You are near a farmer's market, a place generally known to attract pedestrians and bike riders. You

a) Pull out without looking. Everyone should get out of your way, even other cars.
b) Look! Know that during this time of the week and day there will be increased traffic of smaller vehicles.
c) What bike? I didn't even see them when they pulled back in front of me after having to swerve around me.

7) You see a female rider wearing biking shorts. You should

a) Give her the up-and-down. That's why she's dressed that way, for attention.
b) Realize that she's wearing that get-up to reduce chafing.
c) What rider? I missed it?

All correct answers are "b". If you answered "a" at all you need to pick up a bike law manual from your local DMV. If you answered "c" I might yell at you while riding.

I know it will cause my mother to worry, but all of the previous situations have happened to me in the last two weeks. And I live in one of the most bike-friendly areas of America. Sad times.

Preserving: A Way of Life

Today I bought two boxes, about 22 lbs, of peach seconds for $16.00 at the farmer's market. I have been trying to snag some all season but they're always sold out or I walked there without a wagon. This time I brought my bike and trailer. Still, it was two trips, one to buy the buggers and another to leave the kiddos with The Hubby and pick up those peaches.

Tonight those bruised and somewhat *cough* moldy beauties are being transformed into peach butter using my favorite method, overnight crockpot cooking. I would have taken pictures but:

1) I was trying to do this with a toddler and baby in tow and
2) I'm pretty un-squeamish when it comes to how many bruises I leave in my fruit, but maybe someone would take offense to it. All the moldy parts were cut out, scout's honor.

Speaking of having babies and trying to preserve food I often think, "How did the pioneers do this? And preserve enough to eat all winter?" The answer, they didn't. They all starved to death and we are descendants of an invading alien tribe.

Actually, all joking aside, I think they enlisted more help from their little ones than we modern parents do. I'm sure at 2.5 years old BuggaBoo would have some pretty important jobs on a frontier farm, including taking care of his little sister. But I wonder if they really had a childhood? I'm not saying our way is better or worse, just different. We have the luxury of allowing our children to be children.

Anyway, back to actually making the stuff. I first cut out pits and bad spots. Then I just cut them into smaller chunks and throw them in my blender, skins and all. Then I put them in my crockpots with spices and cook them on low all night with the lids propped so the puree can reduce to a butter. For more detailed instructions click on the link above.

I chose to make butter this time around rather than jam because I didn't want to be boiling substances around Doozer (she was on the counter in her Bumbo and she has quite the reach), so I'll process the butter tomorrow when The Hubby can help me out. Also butter doesn't take pectin, so it's that much cheaper to make. Also also I don't like to use a lot of sugar because of The Hubby's diabetes and with butter you can get away with not using a lot of sugar. I do have some no-sugar-needed pectin (thanks Mommy!) but tonight I just wanted something tried and true.

So if you want, sometime this winter come on over and I'll cook up some amazing fluffy pancakes and dollop some peach butter on top. If you can handle the fact that it was made with bruised fruit.

Friday, September 3, 2010

It's the Small Things

Okay, enough gloom, here's a quick rundown of little events that have made me happy.

Yesterday, I dumpster dived food.

Okay, it wasn't in the dumpster, it was in a pile behind my favorite grocery store. But it was technically expired and free. I scored three boxes of organic spinach, four boxes of organic spring mix salad, a bag of organic arugula, two bags of organic salad mix, two containers of organic herbs, several containers of pre-cut watermelon, and three perfectly good mushrooms.

I whipped up some coconut butter, and it wasn't hard!

Using this recipe from Coconut Mama I made some sweet coconut butter, which is like peanut butter. She uses 2 cups dried coconut in her food processor, I used 3-ish cups in my blender to be sure I had enough butter to clear the blades and still move around.

Seeing Doozer love food so much.

It's a little heart-paining for me because I wanted to exclusively breastfeed for a year, but Doozer has been demanding solid food since she was 4.5 months old, I finally gave in at 5 months. She loves bananas, homemade hummus, curried chickpeas, and berries.

She does not like spinach or rice. She'll try to eat everything, even contraband items like peanut butter and wheat and soy. Heck, plates of food on the ground are her strongest motivation to crawl. It's truly a joy to see her discover food.

Making and eating some truly amazing gluten-free flat bread.

And it was quick! And chewy! And bendy! A total of 20 minutes to mix and bake and then BAM! Some really yummy bread. I found the recipe over at Gluten Free Gobsmacked, but replaced the sorghum flour with teff flour and made my own millet flour and replaced the potato starch with cornstarch. I also didn't use milk powder or replace it with anything. Oh, and I only did salt as a seasoning, but I'll be sure to try out other spices. I'm craving some good caraway bread, so that might be next. BuggaBoo loved it and kept asking for more bread. When I put it away he was so sad because he thought it was all gone.

Well, that's all I could think of right now. And reading over the list does make me feel happier, maybe I should do this more often. DO you guys have anything small pleasures to report?

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Sick Little Boy

This post will lack literary sparkle, my apologies.

BuggaBoo has been sick. He started vomiting the 25th and didn't stop until the 30th. This is the fourth time he's had a vomiting episode in four months, the last one was the first week in August. Each episode is characterized by the fact that he can't keep anything down, not even breastmilk or Pedialyte.

Friday night we had to take him into the ER for a bag of fluids and some IV Zofran. He weighed 26 pounds with clothes and shoes on, which he usually weighs 27.5 pounds naked. They also pulled a vial of blood because BuggaBoo had petechiae on his chest and neck, which can be a sign of platelet problems. Thankfully they were a result of his forceful vomiting. While we were at the hospital Doozer started throwing up, she stopped the 31st. But this is the first time Doozer has been sick with a stomach thing.

So we took BuggaBoo to his pediatrician Monday to see what we could find. His weight was up to 28 lbs clothed. The doctor found it to be an interesting coincidence that the vomiting episodes started after BuggaBoo swallowed the bobby pin. Also, the blood work from the ER noted that his bilirubin levels were slightly elevated but his liver enzymes were normal. So now we begin to test for things.

BuggaBoo had an x-ray on Monday which was clear. He fasted and went in for an ultrasound on Tuesday. They looked at his stomach, intestines, liver, gallbladder, pancreas, spleen, kidneys, and bladder. We'll get results in a few days.

So right now we don't know what's up. Hopefully it's just monumental bad luck. All I know is I hate it when my baby looks like this: