Tag Archives: Mothering

Mom Confession | Showering

I made very few 2016 resolutions. One was to take better care of myself. I’d like to make eye contact with my dentist when he asks how often I floss. I’d like for my eyebrows to not look like my entire Junior High existence. I’d like to shower more often.

Normally, I shower when the kids are asleep. But my non-stop-wanna-die nausea started on December 7. Showering after bedtime went out the window, because I was basically vomiting, wanting to vomit, or sleeping off the vomit. I’m still sick. Sick out of my mind. But I’ve been showering at least every other day. Last week, I showered three whole days in a row. It was like the clouds opened up and angels sang.

Self-care changes so much when you take on the title of Mother. Before children, I didn’t even think about showering. It was a beautiful part of my everyday life.

Last night, I actually had a dream that Liam Hemsworth came to my house to watch the kids while I showered. Then he made me chocolate chip cookies. He also tried to make out with me, but I said, “Um, no. Those lips have touched Hannah Montana.”

Anyway, my actual plan, since exactly zero Australian men are knocking down my door, is to put Adelaide and Bess down for a nap and put Graham in front of Mario.

I still only get a few minutes. Because Graham plays about 6 minutes before he has a life-or-death question. “Were you a kid once? How do rockets work? Am I always gonna like ham? When will Adelaide learn to walk? Why doesn’t God get rid of cancer? Why can’t I have flying powers? Will Bess always be short? Why can’t we have a horse? Do you have to clean your mom hole?”

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I Get Groped Everyday

Jealous? Don’t be. It’s not ideal. Everyday is a bit much. And the places it happens. Well, it’s embarrassing. Grocery Store. Library. Post Office. School. My mom’s house. I’m just minding my own business, and a hand goes into my shirt to give me a squeeze.

“Adelaide, please don’t touch Mommy there. Those are Mommy’s.” She doesn’t listen. She laughs as she sticks her hand all the way into my bra. I’m lucky if I can get her hand out before I lose a nipple. People staring. People chuckling under their breath.

Oh the joys of raising a neuro-disabled child. I get groped everyday.

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And Now For The Talent Portion

“Mama, what’s yours talent? You know how some peoples dance or sing or make fings wif art? What’s your talent? Do you even got one?”

Weighty question from a kindergartener. Can I call him that if he’s ‘done school’ fewer than one dozen times this year? We’re still getting into the homeschooling saddle. I shouldn’t even use that phrase. I’ve been on a horse once. Horseback riding…definitely not my talent.

I have no answer for Graham. He is wanting to hear that I excel at something. I sing well enough to blend in at church. I quit the clarinet almost two decades ago. I don’t paint or sew or act.

“Graham, I can’t think of anything. What do you think?”

“It’s not makin our house clean. I know dat.”

I’m 32. I love my husband and my children. I love them well. But I definitely do not have anything I could showcase at the Mrs. Missouri pageant.

“Is there anything you think I’m good at?”

Grammar. But I’m fond of ending on a preposition just to stick it to the man.

“Reading. You’res good at reading books to me.”

I’ll take it.

I’m officially claiming ‘Good Reader’ as my talent. From now on, I needn’t worry about my legacy or lack of accomplishments. I am a good reader of children’s books. Tonight, that’s good enough.

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MetaCircus

We were the circus at the circus. Christopher Nolan’s got nothin on us today. It was Circusception and I’m cringing thinking that people are loading videos from their phones onto their social media sites and my kids are the soundtrack.

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Three screaming kids, who couldn’t even enjoy watching the fire department bathe some elephants. That mama elephant in the sun. She was weary and worn down and covered in dust from traveling. And I literally dragged Adelaide’s wheelchair through those same rutted out fields. Almost dumped my little girl when her chair went into a hole.

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Kids were giggling at those elephants, as the fire fighters hosed them off. Graham fell on a stick, after I said, “Do not jump.” Blood trickling. His screams were louder than the commands from the elephant trainer. Adelaide crying. Graham screaming, as I attempt to make a band-aid from some gauze and a little girl’s sock.

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Spectators trying to escape everyday lives by watching those dusty elephants turn and turn and drink and turn. And those phone cameras are all out. Kids posing adorably. Moms smiling. And my three kids are screaming and I can’t get to the van fast enough. I’m literally going as fast as I can. Dragging a wheelchair through a rutted out field. As weary as that mama elephant, and in desperate need of a shower. To wash off the field and the mom failure.

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Because three dozen people are uploading their happy videos, and the Ballew Circus is in the background having a meltdown. And mama wasn’t excluded. At least the elephant sulked in silence. As I mumbled things under my breath and regretted leaving the house today. Loaded my hysterical crew into a vehicle parked between two perfect moms. One nursing, while her toddler silently sips a cup. The other ushering happy preschoolers. And then there’s us.

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And I know deep deep down I’m not supposed to take everything so personally, but I wonder how they parent differently than I. What magic training and handling did I miss? Or are they just as dusty and weary, but know how to hide it behind big tents and cotton candy and glittering costumes.

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My Weekend: Confirming I Am 32 Years Old

I did several fist pumps when I found my Olay for Sensitive Skin bar soap half price. I’ve never seen Jersey Shore, because I’m too pale and don’t use hairspray, but I bet they would’ve been proud of my moves.

I talked with not one, but two people, about how I switched our family from Charmin to Cottonelle. Those ripples made Graham more independent, and saved his Ironman boxer briefs from an incinerator.

I squealed when I saw my favorite cotton panties marked down at Big Lots. My mom dug through four displays to find two packs. I bought her a Sonic drink.

I didn’t watch the Emmys. But I can tell you how Jake defeated Lord Fathom and the Strake by using the green emerald and believing in himself. Thanks for that pep talk, Captain Colossus…maybe you should start giving Red Carpet advice. Because I did see Heidi Klum’s yellow disaster.

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I had a hot date with Inspector Lewis, Detective Sergeant Hathaway, and the clean laundry pile that outgrew Laundry Chair. Complete with, you guessed it, an unconscionable number of underwear.

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Music For A Quickie…

…workout. Seriously, if you thought this was some sort of newlywed mixed tape, you will be ghastly disappointed.

When I have a very short time to get in some cardio dance, I go to my tried and true videos. They are high energy, super fun, and I couldn’t even tell you who half the artists are. Because my knowledge of pop and/or club type music is almost non-existent.

But it’s the closest I will ever get to being in a club when we use this playlist. A club where I am Tina Fey from Baby Mama and Graham is my Amy Poehler. Constantly shouting, “Stop framing your face!”

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And children are crawling under feet and I’m trying not to trip on toys. So, not really like a club at all. More like trying to work out in a Toys R Us.

Without further ado, I present to you Lyndse’s Quick Refit Revolution Playlist. Enjoy.

Just a short and sweet way to get in some fitness. While wearing my pajamas. And hoping the kids across the street don’t see me.

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The Hypotonia Prop

Adelaide has hypotonia. It was the first word I recognized from our useless first neurologist. He muttered it under his breath, scribbled it on a napkin, said she wasn’t that far behind, and told us we shouldn’t even start therapy until she was at least 15 months old. The man scribbled our visit notes on a napkin. Unreal. And then tried to charge us $491.

But I saw the word hypotonia and clung to it. The nurse anesthetist had said the same word just days before when he told us her MRI would be sedated and she would need a breathing tube. A breathing tube? “Sorry, why does she need a breathing tube?” “Well, because she’s hypotonic, her airway will collapse under the anesthesia. Her muscles can’t handle the weight of her head.” They ended up just holding her head and using a mask, but were ready to insert a tube if she needed it. I memorized that word ‘hypotonic’ and looked it up as soon as we were home.

I was disappointed to learn that I already knew it. Our pediatrician had used layman terms with me: low muscle tone. But when I kept hearing professionals say ‘hypotonia’ I took notice, and did the only thing I could do as we waited for our second neurological opinion. I joined a Facebook group. And I met my first Facebook special needs friend.

Every special needs mom has them. These women who start as profile pictures. But then they start answering your questions on a page. And then they send you private messages. And then you become friends on Facebook. Years go by as you celebrate one another’s milestones and grieve one another’s tough days.

Kelly from New Jersey was my first. Adelaide and Cam both had hypotonia. They both had big brothers. They were both amazing fighters. Kelly and I connected right away and were Facebook friends in just a matter of months. She was there, a private message away, when we got our polymicrogyria diagnosis months later. I found out I was pregnant. Then she found out she was pregnant. We both gave our hypotonic daughters sweet baby sisters. She’s been there through insurance nightmares and genetics dead-ends and encouraging me on the days I want to quit. Quit, what? Everything.

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I took a photo just days before we learned that Adelaide had serious issues. I was trying to prop her up on the couch. Make it seem like she was able to sit. Not actually lying, but being as opaque as humanly possible. Hiding the growing fear that my baby wasn’t just slow to sit. No, she couldn’t roll or hold her head up or stand on my lap. Almost nine months old, and she still had the strength of a small baby. And I propped her up. And took a dozen photos before getting one that looked ‘normal’ enough for Facebook. I wasn’t yet in any groups. I hadn’t met Kelly. I was still in the dark about everything. And I posted a photo that not one person realized was staged. She fell over four times. And I hid it all.

After her diagnosis, I continued to prop her. But everyone knew. I had been blogging for almost a year. Still learning to share my heart on Little House, but at least able to be transparent on Facebook. She fell once and I took only two shots.

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In one year, I had mastered the Hypotonia Prop. This skill you never want, but learn quickly. This ability to feign something for just a moment. But your fellow Hypotonia Moms know it. They know she still can’t sit. They know how to use that couch groove. They know to say “She’ll sit someday. I know it. Cam is always proving doctors wrong.” And that’s why I laugh when people say Facebook is a waste of time. Because it’s often my lifeline. Connecting me to anchors all over the country. Starting with one in New Jersey.

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The Melon Chronicles

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“Mommy, I want more watermelon.” 

“Bess, you are eating cantaloupe. Can you say cantaloupe?”

“NO! WATERMELON!”

A few days later…

“Bess, I have watermelon for you!”

“No, Mommy, I want peaches.”

“You can’t eat peaches, Bess. You are allergic to peaches. They make you sick. Eat some watermelon.”

“No, Mommy, I want peach melon.”

“It’s called cantaloupe, and it’s all gone. Please eat your watermelon.”

“NO! PEACH MELON!”

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Grahamism: Penguins

“Mama, I love you for lotsa weasons. One is dat you decowate da living woom so pwetty all da time wif pitchers of us, cuz you loves us so much. Anovver one is how you let me eat Gweek yogurt whenever I wants it. And da last is mine bed. You let me use mine Chwismas penguin sheets all da time, not just at Chwismas. You knows I love dem wif mine animal bwanket. You are such a gweat mom for letting me have dem all da time. Cuz you care more bout me feeling special, cuz I’m yours favewit boy.”

Excuse me while I sob in the corner.

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On Being A Single Income Family

“How do you make extra money? Every stay-at-home mom makes extra money. You can’t just have all that fall on your husband, right?”

Crickets. I never know what to say. And then I need to step away and breathe. Because I’m not sure how our personal finances became a topic in the clearanced party supplies endcap.

We are a single income family. There is a lot of pressure on me to somehow make money. Not from Dave. No, the pressure comes from society.

Everywhere I turn, I’m being told that staying home with my kids requires a side job. I need to be bringing extra $$$ into our house. The world says it because they want us buying more things. The Christian community says it because the Proverbs 31 woman sold things.

And it works for so many women. I know very few SAHMs who aren’t selling a good or service. And many moms who work outside the home, in addition to raising kids, sell something on the side. And they are successful and happy! I love that for them!

But where does that leave me? A person who isn’t good at selling things? I sold cosmetics and skin care for five years, tutored, ran an eBay business, and did some freelance writing. All those things came to an end. 

So we are truly a single income family. Dave’s check is direct-deposited every other week. There is nothing else. And I receive so many messages asking how I’m going to make extra money for us and I have zero answers.

So many of our new friends here at Little House think I make income from this blog. But I don’t. I think it’s great when others do, but our blog doesn’t provide any money for us. It’s just a source of catharsis and a place to meet so many awesome people.

I know my limitations, and I know I can’t do parties, catalogs, or get-togethers. I don’t make anything or bake or possess a marketable skill. I cleaned houses in college, but I can’t even get my own house clean at this point. My degree facilitates tutoring. But few people pay for tutoring now, because they can get it free through schools and after-school programs.

When I mention to Dave that I am praying about how I can bring more income in, he reminds me that we always planned on being a single income home and he doesn’t expect me to attempt anything else on top of caring for our kids. But we never planned on Adelaide needing so many things. She doesn’t go without needs, but I sometimes get caught up in the wants.

Do I want a side business for the needs or the wants? Not entirely sure. I used all my freelance writing money from the summer to buy a wheelchair ramp, homeschool curriculum, and then sent goodies to our sponsor kiddos. It was fun to have money off the books.

I don’t even think it’s about the money. I think it’s a heart issue, if I am totally transparent about it. I think I desire to make money for our family, because I think what I do as a mom isn’t good enough. That even though I’m raising little humans who need me, I’m not doing such a hot job of it.

If I was making money, I could point to it and say, “I made $70 this month!” If I point to my house, I say, “Turn off the lights, Dave. I can’t even look at this mess.” When I point to my kids, I think, “They deserve so much better. A cleanish house, fun activities, and a meal worth eating.”

I guess it often comes down to heart issues for this mama. The world around me says, “Do more. Make more. Help your family more.” and I feel like, “I can’t even do the basics of motherhood.” If only I could figure out how to make money off all my issues. Maybe I could offer my ramblings to Christian counselors who are writing books and need a case study. I could call my side business “A Penny For Her Thoughts”… ; )

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