About Me

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WE HAVE MOVED TO A NEW SITE!!! http://www.mommyhood-shivonne-costa.squarespace.com/ As of June 18, 2015, this is our new location. Please come join us!! I started blogging the week I got married. I thought it would be nice to blog the full first year, you know, to cherish those memories and share them with my family and friends. Little did I know, it was going to be my greatest coping skill for the craziness that comes with marriage! I found writing to be a fantastic way to reframe an ugly marital spat into a humorous event, allowing me to smile at the situation by the end of the post. And now, I am honored to share my struggles and joys of fostering, adopting, birthing, and raising 4 beautiful children. It's my hope that others gain laughter and new ways to see their own frustrating life situation through my writing. Because I love to write! PS, look for me on Facebook - "Mommyhood-Shivonne Costa"

Monday, October 29, 2012


     Why do babies wear clothes? Is it really just because us adults think that those little outfits are "sooo cute!", or is there really a purpose? Because I'm seriously considering taking all of Isaac's new clothes back in exchange for pairs of long socks and a baby Snuggy. This kid poops like it's what all the cool babies are doing and he's desperate to fit in... and as SOON as I change his diaper and get all the snaps done back up on the 45 layers he's required to wear, I hear the familiar gruntings of the second bowel movement begin. At that point, I'd be willing to buy stock in ugly Snuggies just to avoid the hassle of finding said snaps in the dead of night, working by the small glow of the baby monitor. Which brings me to my next point...
     The nurses lied. They should be punished. It's just not right to tell a brand new mother of an infant, "Oh, your baby sleeps through the night like a champ!" Two words, medical professionals of a hospital that shall remain nameless: You Suck. What they should've said? "Your child sleeps through the DAY like a champ... in fact, you'll probably think that he's in a coma, but at night, I'm sorry to tell you, he's going to be wide awake and ready to party." (All are welcome to join for tonight's party... Lord knows I'll be up. BYOB = Bring Your Own Bottle... or boob, depending on your feeding preferences). I brought up two bottles with me, figuring that we'd probably have two feedings in the night and then a couple of diaper changes. Well, I was sorely unprepared when Isaac wanted to eat FOUR times and then pooped continuously throughout the night. And it was also rather unfair that the little nugget refused to look alive at all during the day time, but then wanted to coo and explore and be all cutesy and fun at bedtime... those nurses told me to make nighttime feedings very businesslike... (suit and tie??) no monkeying around, no cooing, no baby-talk. Well, ya know what? That's just not fair, NOR is it possible! I couldn't refuse his cuteness at night anymore than I could wake the sack of logs up during the previous day!
     And so today, poor Cameron and Taylor have a very harried mother on their hands. I smell funny, look greasy, and the house is a disaster (because lets face it... when you drop something while you're holding a baby, it's just way easier to leave it on the floor than to try to pick it up!). So, for tonight, I will bring up FIVE bottles... four filled with Isaac's formula, and one HUGE one filled with espresso for Mommy. 

Friday, October 26, 2012

Baby Isaac

     At the exact same time that Taylor was being adopted, baby Isaac was being brought into this world. It's almost poetic how things work out, isn't it? The beginning of two new lives all within the span of a few moments. The adoption went beautifully. Taylor was beyond excited to have everyone in one place specifically for her (the mommy side of me is having to remind the therapist side of me that this is NOT narcissism, but an average 4-year-old complex!). Cameron, however, was less than excited, rightfully speaking. The poor kiddo can't grasp the legal system any better than I can.... "When will it be my turn?", "Why does Taylor get to be adopted first?", "Why can't I be Cameron Costa?", "Does this mean that I'm going back to my old family?" How does a mother answer such questions? I don't truly have an answer for any of them. All I know is, that little boy deserves his moment. He NEEDS to have a day where everyone comes together for HIM... where he is the center of attention and where he gets to feel secure that he never has to leave our home, ever. (Well, until he's out of college, anyways.... THAT will be another conversation.)
     And then there's baby Isaac. It's amazing to have only 1 day to do the whole "nesting" thing. It's even more amazing to feel 100% connected to a child that you only just came to know about, whom you never met, and that may or may not be with you for more than a few months. Yet, here I am. The perfect picture of connectedness. Perhaps this week of adoption and babies being born has done something to my motherly nature, but estrogen is pouring out of me like a waterfall at this point. If I'm not crying over something, I'm checking on the kids as they sleep every few minutes... and the fact that I've turned into a hugging and kissing machine is another issue altogether!
     But, due to numerous legal and court issues (as well as ridiculous drama by all involved in this process), we were unable to see Isaac at the hospital until today. He was born addicted to opiates, so they are keeping him for observation. We were told to expect him home on Wednesday. And then Wednesday came and went, and we were told Thursday was the day. Thursday morning, after we paced the house 50 times, straightened the same towels on the racks for the millionth time, and even made whoopy to kill time (all 6 minutes of it), we received a phone call telling us that he wouldn't be home for 1-3 more days! UGH!!!! The anxiety of waiting was more than we could handle... so I promptly went back to work to distract my racing thoughts and aching heart. No one would give us information on if he was ok, and the hospital was treating us as if WE were the bad guys (because OBVIOUSLY the opiate-abuser in this entire situation is blameless...). Finally, this evening we were able to see him for the first time..... and he is beautiful! The nurses reported that his symptoms are much better and that he is one of the best babies they've had. I'm afraid that I monopolized most of the time with him (sorry, honey!) but we will get to go back tomorrow and spend some more time holding him.
     Things that I've learned in my short period mothering a newborn: 1) Swaddling is a lot harder than it looks. 2) Babies have even more gas than I do, and beating out a girl with IBS is pretty hard to do! 3) Circumcision is gross. 4) Babies smell like Heaven. 5) And I hate having an empty cradle next to my bed.... Hopefully, our new little fellow will be home Sunday.... and hopefully, all of our hearts will be protected as we enter this journey with new baby Isaac.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Family Changes

     An early-morning post is rare for this Mama.... but since I woke up 5:15 am, contemplating life, love, and family, (and since this is the only time my house is still enough to think straight) I decided that I'd send my contemplations out into the internet's abyss.
     Today, we adopt my daughter. MY daughter. It still seems so scary to think that 7 months ago, it was just my husband and I, with our 3 dogs and crazy basement-cat, living our lives and thinking we probably wouldn't have children. And then seconds later, not just one, but TWO children arrived at our home. And it's taken all 7 months (and it will take at least another 7) to figure out how this works.... how to be a family, how to love a stranger fully and completely, how to resolve conflicts with people that are not yet rational and that are short enough to kick your shins. In these 7 months, I have waivered. I have doubted, friends. I've questioned my abilities as a mother, wondered if I was skipped over in God's great handout of maternal instincts, and pondered the permanency of adoption. All of this questioning, wonderment, and pondering has left me at this one place....
     I am happy. Sure, I'm frazzled, forgetful, disorganized, and usually very tired. But peace has settled in the midst of it all. HOPE has found its place in my heart. And love has found its place in my arms. Today, Taylor will become my forever love. Qualified as a mother or not, my fear is being trampled down because this girl is MINE. She's ours. And she's exactly what I need in my life. Her spunky, no-nonsense personality has a way of tip-toeing on my last nerve and breaking down the walls of my heart at the same time. At this very moment, I couldn't be happier.
     Which brings me to the next big change for our home. The next reason that I found myself lying wide awake in the dark of my room, thinking about where to go from here. At this present moment, Cameron and Taylor's mother is being induced to give birth to her fifth baby..... and our family will be the recipient of this precious new creature. There are many details that are still unknown. Paternity testing? If the father is found, will he want the baby? If he doesn't, will his family? Will baby boy's mother get him back just after I've attached to him? Will I attach to him? What if it's not a "him" and I just spent $500 buying things for a "him" after getting the news last night? What if I'm never the same again after meeting him? What if that's a good thing....?
     But, in the middle of my contemplations, I found myself sitting in the shoes of my children's mother. Her shoes have taken her on a difficult path through life. Yet, even through her trials and errors, I believe she loves her babies. And today, she gives me, another Mommy, her only daughter. For keeps, no take backs. The papers will be signed and her role will finally end. On the same day that she's forced to part with one child, she gives birth to another, only to pass that one on as well.
     Over the months, I have felt many things about this woman... but right now, sitting in her shoes, I feel a deep sadness for her loss. So, as we rejoice today in the expansion of our family, I also say a prayer for this Mommy that is grieving. May her memory fade enough to let me in, and may her heart be comforted by the fact that she will always be the first "Mommy" that my children ever loved.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Fall Cleaning

     It was a phenomenal weekend. Plain and simple, it was the weekend that I needed to feel like me again. That is, as a woman and a person.... not a wife, not a mother, not an employee, not a taxi-driver. I re-found my soul, the core of who I am, and it felt amazing. With the fellowship of friends and an awesome church service, I was refreshed and rejuvenated. What's better yet? I found my kids to be much more tolerable (dare I say enjoyable??) in the midst of it! Now, it obviously helped that my mother-in-law had the kids for Friday evening and most of Saturday (three cheers for patient relatives, right?).... maybe we all needed some time apart. I sometimes forget that they may get just as sick of me as I sometimes feel of them! My husband always says, "How can I miss you if you never go away??" Maybe he's onto something. (Just don't tell him I said so.)
     I knew it was going to be a great day as soon as I woke up. This has nothing to do with my parental psychic powers and everything to do with the fact that when I came out of my room this morning, my children were cleaning their rooms. (I feel the need to pause for effect to let that set in for a moment....) THEY WERE CLEANING THEIR ROOMS!!! And I'm not just talking about making beds and shoving toys into their closets. Oh, no! When I cautiously peered into the first bedroom, I saw both kids sitting in the middle of the room, adorned in nightgowns (yes, my son wears an over-sized nightshirt to bed half the time... I can't seem to break him of this, but that's a post for another day), garbage can between them, and they were literally spring cleaning!...in the fall. Now, you have to understand, this is truly a big deal. I suffer from borderline OCD (self-diagnosed, yes, but I'm pretty sure there's merit to it... just ask my husband). And with this "mental illness" of mine, I have the tendency to, oh, freak out on occasion when the kids make confetti with their coloring pages and then leave said confetti all over the floor. Or when Cameron insists on keeping garbage in his room because NOTHING can be thrown away without a crying fit. Or when Legos get left in the patterns of the carpet, waiting to shove their grooved tops into unsuspecting tootsies.
     So when my kids smiled at me and said, "Good morning! We're cleaning our rooms and throwing away garbage!", you can imagine the sweet, sweet joy that coursed through my veins. It was like the spike of coffee mixed with the calmness of sleepy-time tea. Exhilaration meets Relief. Euphoria at its finest. But the best part wasn't even that they were cleaning.... but they were HELPING each other clean. There may or may not have been angels singing (I'm pretty sure I heard the opening chords of the Hallelujah chorus coming from under the bed....), but Lord knows I sure was! Well, right up until the part where Taylor decided that her room was clean and that Cameron was more than capable of cleaning his own room without her assistance... you know, since he did such a nice job on hers. I reminded her that it's rude to have someone help you and then not help them in return. So she said it's not that she didn't want to help, it's just that she realized she's still pretty tired. I enthusiastically suggested that a nap after church would be just the ticket for her drowsiness.... and then she decided that she really wasn't too tired to help him afterall. Good choice, little one, good choice.
     They may not be my blood, but I was all too aware when they picked up my bad habits (darn nail-biting and fear of those pesky spiders....). I should've known that the bad, as well as the good habits, can be passed on. Especially when those habits are as neurotic and obsessive as mine. If only this worked on husbands....

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Cry Till You Laugh

     So, I've decided two things. First of all, you mommies and ladies out there rock my face off. Seriously. My "monster day" left me feeling broken and weak.... and then the rallying of encouragement, prayers, and advice that you poured out onto this tired gal was exactly the healing balm that I needed. I once heard it said that if someone gives you their two cents, you should pay them back with a nickel because one should never forget interest or gratuity. Well, you ladies are all worth your weight in nickels and I love you to pieces. Whenever you need someone to be a lending ear, shoulder to drench, or phone to scream into, you just let me know and I'll be there in a heartbeat!
     The second thing that I decided was this.... The next time I need to take a time-out to cry, I'm not going to feel badly. Why, you may ask? Well, because everyone else in my house cries on a daily basis, that's why! This enlightenment hit me tonight somewhere around the third crying fit I was forced to endure, courtesy of the short people that live down the hall.
     "He won't let me pick my own grapes from the bag!!" WAAAAA!
     "But I don't KNOW how to do my homework!" WAAAA!!
     "I have to play by MYSELF?!?!" WAAAA!!!
     "I wanted spaghetti, not chili!" WAAAA!!!!
     "But I changed my underwear last week, I don't WANNA do it again!" WAAAAAA!!!!!!!
      But to think, I felt distressed for sobbin' a little when I had an all-out emotional crisis. Well, at least I was wearing clean underwear when it happened. But I think that tears are a sign of good parenting (bear with me on this one). Afterall, if someone's not crying, then no one's learning a lesson, right? And in this house, education is highly important, so I make sure that we all cry at least 3 times a day... in fact, you can plan your meals around our family's emotional break downs. Sometimes we even throw a 4th one in for good measure at bedtime.... it helps everyone sleep better when they just get the tantrum out of the way. And no, my husband doesn't "cry" per say, but I know him.... I can see it. He's just cryin' on the inside.
     Sometimes (I hate to admit it... scratch that, no I don't), a little part of me feels a teeny bit of satisfaction when they cry. I smile to myself as I say, Ahhh.... I'm not the only one miserable right now....! I guess it's just nice to know we're all equally frustrated, tired, and on the same level of basket-case-ness. In fact, I'm pretty sure the kids wouldn't even fit in with my side of the family if they didn't have any predisposition to tears.... (See? I CAN find something to bond with my children over!) Some people laugh until they cry.... but not this Mama. I plan to cry until I laugh. And I will be laughing soon. Promise.

Monday, October 15, 2012

The Mommy-Monster Inside

     When I said that I was going to blog about "Parenting: the good, the bad, and the ugly", well, this is an ugly day. It has nothing to do with missing socks, dirty rooms, or even temper tantrums (well, just mine maybe). But this has everything to do with the fact that I, as a person, fail. And today, I failed. I failed over and over and over again. And do you want to know the worst part? It's not that I let my humanness replace my mommyness. It's that I recognized my failures and got angry at myself instead of fixing them. I sulked, cried, and was belligerent. My entire family watched me be grumpy, irritable, non-responsive, and purely unaffectionate. I am a horrible human being, a terrible mother, and a worthless woman. How's that for brutal honesty, eh?
     Maybe this truly IS a bipolar moment, but there are times when one of the kids raises their arms for me to pick them up, or they hang all over me and I simply want to push them away and say, "Get out of my space! For 5 minutes, let me breathe! You're suffocating me!! Can't you see that I'm impatient and crabby? Stop pawing at me!!!" (No, I won't be winning any mother-of-the-year awards, of this much I'm positive.) And  there are also days when I come home and I want to park my car down the street for 10-20 minutes instead of pulling into the driveway (and if I'm being truly honest, I have). I just want to sit there, in peace, and not be touched, talked to, asked a trillion questions, or have to immediately start in on a chore after 8 hours of work. And then there are the worst kind of days....those are the ones that no matter what the kids do or say, it will simply irk me. No one wins on those days, not even me. Those are the days that I retreat to my room to get in a good cry and prayer so that I can try to make it through the day without losing my mind. And even then, there are no guarantees.
     So, I'm literally repulsed by my own intolerance and I disgust myself on every level. (Self-loathing.... ahh, good for the soul.) I sometimes wonder if this is because they are not my own children. But my biggest fear is that I'm simply a bad mother. What if I'm not cut out to do this for a lifetime? What if I feel like this much of a failure again tomorrow? (And what if I feel it again the day after that....) I know, I know... every mom experiences at least a portion of this from time to time. But at the end of the day, you good Mommies look at your sleeping child and think, "Wow, I am so blessed." If I'm being truly transparent, I can honestly say that sometimes I look in on them after they've drifted off and I think, "Wow.... I still feel so indifferent."
     Do I love my kids? Yes, I do. But there are days when I am going through the motions of what a mother is "supposed to do" and yet I still feel as disconnected from them as the moment they walked into our home. We are 7 days away from adopting Taylor. SEVEN. And this child still feels like someone else's.... and I still live in the shadow of  "the other woman" (or two, as the case may be). Adoption is like signing a life-time contract to babysit another mother's child twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, on weekends, holidays, and an extra day every 4 years in February. I'm with her everyday.... but she still belongs to someone else. Am I fooling myself to think that a piece of legal parchment paper is going to change that? A name-change isn't going to magically bind us together anymore than a net can bind water.
     Even as I sit here, pouring out the raw, disgusting comments that are weighing on my heart this evening, I know that tomorrow morning, in the light of a new day, I will feel a sense of regret for letting the world see the Mommy-Monster that's inside of me. Maybe it's my bronchitis medicine, maybe it's PMS, or maybe it's just me sucking at life. Whatever the case may be, it's real. I feel the need to re-state that I do love these children (is this for my benefit or for yours....?), and I am excited to make us an "official family" next Tuesday. But I'll be honest, I need the support of my other Mommies out there. I gotta know if I'm truly messed up or if anyone has felt like this before. Are there any adoptive or foster Mommies out there that are struggling with attachment issues as well? If I'm way off-base, selfish, and utterly rotten, please feel free to tell me I'm just a bad person. I won't hold it against you (although don't expect a Christmas card.... and you thought that being grumpy meant I didn't have my sense of humor, didn't you?). Remember that I'm new at this Mommyhood thing and that I need your help and support, even if it's tough to hear. I love you all, so much, and I love your vested interest in me and my family. So, with all that said, let me hear your voices, Mommies!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Cowboy Boot Debacle

     After spending several hours at Urgent Care this morning, I decided to brave Walmart. I simply couldn't pass up the opportunity to spread bronchial cheer to the rest of the costume shoppers. (I see a movie in my future...."The Grinch Who Coughed Up A Lung All Over Halloween"; it's wordy, but I really think I'm on to something.) Anyways, It just so happens that Walmart is in the same plaza as Urgent Care. So, despite feeling loopy and having the need to spit like a baseball player every few minutes, I tackled the craziest store in the planet.... on a SATURDAY. It's not that I'm a glutton for punishment or anything like that, it's just that I completely despise wasting gas money. Therefore, if I'm near a store that I've been needing to get to for a few weeks, I go (bronchitis or not)!
     I was in the desperate search for children's cowboy boots to complete Cameron's Halloween costume. However, about 4,000 rows stood between the front door of the store and the shoe section. So, as you can imagine, I ended up with a shopping cart full of useless crap that I have all intentions of returning whenever I can work up the courage to re-enter the store again. Apart from the millions of people in Walmart today (and everyday), the temperature in that place felt like we were situated about 3 feet away from the surface of the sun. There were 3 holidays worth of decorations in every direction, children running wild, and people who didn't look so handicapped blocking entire isles with their Walmart riding buggies. And all I needed was a pair of cowboy boots!!!! Well, and a car charger. And some astringent.... and apparently snow pants for the kids, with matching gloves. And then there were these really cute knee socks for Taylor that had hearts on them, you know, for a good stocking-stuffer 3 holidays from now. Oh, and Cameron needed that new belt AND church shoes to match his recent growth spurt. Plus, the nightlight lighbulbs that we ran out of weeks ago....
     When I emerged from the store, tired-- hungry-- cranky, I literally felt like my mind was in a cloud. Stunned by the sensory overload that is department store shopping, I firmly decided that Walmart is not wise for me even on my best day, let alone when I'm sick as a dog. So, disgusted with myself, I drove home in shame. I left my bags in the trunk and plan to relive my absurd purchases in the light of a new day. This sick Mama is far too tired to deal with the regrets of impulse-shopping right now. But at least Cameron will have his cowboy boots.... did I mention they have camouflage on them? (Because living on a farm in Western PA and being obsessed with tractors isn't hick enough.) Goodnight, fellow mommies.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Beginners' Prayers

     After 6 months of parent-led bedtime prayers, the children finally felt ready to say their own this evening. This completely warmed my heart because I've been explaining to them since they came to us that it's really easy to pray... you just talk to Jesus the way that you would talk to anyone else. And remember to thank him for the things he's done for you, ask him to help you with something you need help with, and then tell him that you love him. Here's how our beginners' prayer went....

     Tay: "Dear God, thank you for this day.... your turn, Cameron."
     Me: "Taylor, why don't you say something else to Jesus."
     Tay: "Dear God, thank you for this day. Thank you for giving me lots of money to buy pictures and curtains."
     Cam: "What are curtains?"
     Me: "They're drapes.... don't interrupt your sister, please."
     Tay: "Dear God, thank you for this day. Thank you for yummy food and new clothes that aren't from the dollar store, and for pencils.... and nail polish."
     Me: "That's very specific. Thank you.... now, Tay, do you want to ask Jesus to help you with anything?"
     Tay: "Dear God, thank you for this day...."
     Me: "Taylor, you don't have to start over each time you add something to your prayer."
     Tay: "Um... Help me to have fun."
     Me: "Ok, good job. Cameron, do you want to take a turn?"
     Cam: "Dear God, thank you for this day.... um, what do I say now?"
     Me: "Why don't you tell God what you're thankful for?"
     Cam: "Thanks for my stuff... Now what?"
     Me: "How very NON-specific of you. Would you like to ask Jesus anything?"
     Cam: "Can I have a tractor, God?"
     Me: "Cameron, this is NOT a letter to Santa Claus."
     Cam: "OK! Dear God, help me to be good at school tomorrow and...."
     Tay: "Help me at school, too, God!"
     Cam: "TAYLOR!!! STOP!!!"
     Cam: "Be with my family and help me to have good dreams.... what else do I say?"
     Me: "I have an idea. I'll start this sentence and you finish it.... Jesus, help me to be brave when...."
     Tay: "...I'm under water."
     Cam: "TAYLOR!!!!"
     Me: "Ok, guys, enough! Taylor, stop interrupting your brother. Go ahead, Cam."
     Cam: " Help me to be brave under water, too, God. And help Pappy and Shivonne not to argue about the tablecloth."
     Tay: "And help Shivonne not to smack Pappy's bottom anymore when he makes a mess..." (said through peeking eyes and a mischievous smile.)
     Me: "Alright, alright. Now remember to tell Jesus how much you love him."
     Tay: "Dear God, please love me."
     Me: "He loves you even when you don't ask him too. Pretty cool, huh?"
     Cam: "Yup. Can I have a tractor though, for real?"
     Me: "No, go to bed."
     (Whiny, tired cry inserted here.)
     Me: "Taylor, why are you crying??"
     Tay: "Because I forgot to thank Jesus for strawberriiieeesss!!"
     Me: "Honey, then thank him for the strawberries already!"
     Tay: "Dear God, thank you for this day." (oh my word.) "And thank you for strawberries. Amen."

     It really could've gone worse. Let's just hope Christ finds what was lost in translation...

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Sleeping Revolution

     I was reading an article over the weekend about children and their sleeping habits. I found it particularly interesting because Cameron, on the one hand, will sleep like a log for 12 straight hours, whereas Taylor will sleep lightly for 8 or 9 (if we're really, really lucky). It also seems that no matter what time we put her to bed, bright and early she awakens. Astonished by this for 6 months, we tried all sorts of bedtimes, ranging from 8pm to 10pm, but always the same thing... the pitter patter of feet begin by 6am without fail. Ugh!
    This leads me back to the article. The writer boasted that pre-school age children through 2nd graders should be getting an average of 13-14 hours of sleep per night. (GASP! That's about what I get in a week!!) THIS new mama was completely baffled, because those hours seem more like periods of hibernation than anything to me. I mean, do the kids have to wake up somewhere in the middle to stock up on food, drink, and to take a potty break? Or, at the very least, run a few laps to make sure their muscles don't start to atrophy?? But just then, my mind began to wander as it made mental lists of all the glorious things that I could accomplish in a day if the children slept for 14 hours.... I didn't even want to breathe for fear of jinxing the data. But, lo and behold, researcher after researcher reported the same thing on other articles that I checked out as well (ya know, just to see if this is really too good to be true).
     So, my question was, How in the world to you make them sleep that long? Clubbing them with a bat is obviously out (obviously), as is giving them Benedryll every night (but maybe some nights....?), and tying them down just seems like way too much work. But the writer KNEW this mama was gonna ask the tough questions and she was prepared. Her answer? Put the children to bed earlier. (Oh yeah, 'cause THAT'S gonna work.... she's never met Taylor, the world's most ridiculous sleeper.) However, the writer insisted that this was the way to go. She explained that when children don't get their 13-14 hours each night, they become sleep deprived. And when sleep deprivation sets in, not only are they crabby (duh), but they sleep restlessly, further adding to the sleeplessness. Hmmmm.... interesting.
     Ok, my curiousity was piqued. I wanted in! I wanted it so much I could almost taste it!! So, that night, we sent the kids to bed at 7:15 instead of their usual 8pm bedtime.... lucky for us, Cameron still refuses to learn how to tell time (there's a natural consequence for ya, buddy... refuse to learn? Go to bed 45 minutes earlier. Sweet satisfaction.) The next morning, both kids awoke at their normal times. Hazah! (Well, if it worked at 7:15.....)
     The next night we moved bedtime to 7:00 pm. (Just to see what would happen... this is purely for scientific purposes... it has nothing to do with the fact that there's a magazine on my nightstand that I'm dying to flip through.) Miracle of miracles, the kids slept a little bit later the following morning! If it weren't for chronic back pain (and shear inability) I would've done a back flip. Now, there may or may not have been an evening where it was 6:50 pm and we were lying in bed reading our nightly story (come on, don't judge! It was already dark out... and rainy AND cold.... and, heck, even I could've fallen asleep in those conditions!). Wouldn't you know it, those little squirts didn't wake up till quarter after 7 in the morning??? Sure, Taylor peed the bed, but the fact of the matter is, she slept! Thank you, sweet research team, for your revolutionary results that have made one mommy very happy (even if my husband DID create a plan for us to eat dinner on our way up the driveway from the school bus stop so that bedtime can be at 5 pm tomorrow.... in the name of research, of course.... Yes. Of course.).

Saturday, October 6, 2012

One Sick Mama

     As I sit here at my husband's computer, typing away with Vix-greased hands, I'm reminded by my whimsical post just two days prior, boasting of how wonderfully productive, serene, and happy I was. Oh, those were the days! Little did I know that a mere 36 hours later, my once clean home would look like a pig's pen, my serenity would be interrupted by phlegm-inducing hacks, and my second "glorious" day home alone would be spent under my covers wearing mismatched pajamas, sipping cough suppressants, and spooning with my nasal spray. But I have my faithful 3 companions, pups Molly, Milo, and Freida, hogging the bed and keeping me company as I try to write notes for work as I sip my honey tea, courtesy of my fella. Meanwhile, Hubby is on kid-duty for the day, as I cannot speak above a whisper to dish out the much-needed hollering that's sure to ensue at some point in the day. I feel for him, really I do.... afterall, he's trying to keep the little one occupied at the bigger one's soccer match. Little One can't seem to understand why she can't play with the other kids on the field, no matter how many times we explain that she's not actually IN soccer. So, I'm sure there will be tears (both hers and the Bigger One's.... he really doesn't seem to enjoy this whole "sports thing"), tantrums, and the usual 45-million-question-car-ride to follow as they travel to the movie theater following the game. Since our last movie experience was such a success (sarcasm, ahoy!), I'm looking forward to the tales of woe that will be making their way to me via text message as soon as the opening credits begin. My only hope is that the novelty of actually finding Nemo in 3-D will be enough to keep their antsy bodies settled. (I tried to convince him to take the benedryll, but he's just a better person than I am.)
     So, to all of you other sick Mommy's out there, I hope that you are able to pass your children off to husbands, relatives, neighbors, or a mostly agreeable-looking stranger long enough for you to take time to rest up and heal. And when all else fails, find yourself a good pair of ear plugs and move the dresser in front of your bedroom door. I promise, they'll only scream until they get bored and unless your kids have super-hero strength, they probably won't come through the wall. (Probably....)

Signing off,

One Sick Mama

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Today's Serenity

     Today marks a momentous occasion. This was the first day in 6 months that I have been alone in my own home. ALONE. Absurd, you say. There's no way you haven't been alone in your own home for half of a year. Now, of course there were the occasional 30-45 minute gaps that presented themselves, usually right after work while I'm unloading my car, relieving myself after holding it for the past 8 hours, and frantically trying to get dinner together, all the while responding to phone calls and texts. Sounds relaxing, right? Just what the doctor ordered, to be sure! But today was different. I had the entire day off, the kids were at school, my husband swore he'd go to the office and not return home till at least 2pm (good man, I tell ya, good man), and I didn't get a single phone call. Productivity was the goal and serenity was the result. It's amazing how being busy for the right reasons can give you such a feeling of peace and calm. (Now THAT'S what the doctor ordered!)
     First, my husband and I went to a meeting with Cameron's teacher at the school (nothing like having to get up at 6:30 on your day off!) and then I cleaned the entire house from top to bottom (which I haven't done in months... and I put more elbow grease into that bathtub than a magic lamp... I don't even remember the last time it was scrubbed.... I know. I'm a sick, sick human being). I also vacuumed out my car, organized the kids' rooms (complete with re-folding all clothes), picked and typed up worship songs for church on Sunday, did laundry, remade beds with fresh sheets, cooked a kick-butt dinner, and attended to my dogs' flea, tick, and heart worm needs. We then met with our caseworker, followed by our adoption specialist. (AND I'm battling what I'm pretty sure is bronchitis... and STILL rocked it out!) After accomplishing more today than I have in months, I can honestly say this was one of the best days of my adult life. (Emotionally, my wedding day trumps this.... but only emotionally....)
     Perhaps the greatest thing about today was that I didn't feel stupid. Not even once. All I felt was serene. There were no ding-bat moments, forgetful times, or feeling out-of-control with my day. I made my own schedule, completed my schedule with time to spare, and actually felt happy when the kids arrived home from school because my life was in order. I forgot what it was like to feel normal and It. Was. Beautiful!!! That frazzled, half-crazed woman that's been inhabiting my body for the last month finally feels healthy, happy, and relaxed. What a concept! So, my biggest prayer in life right now is that God helps me find a way to feel "normal" on a more consistent basis. (Sure, there are always those days of feeling like a total nut case... but I'd like that to NOT be my baseline!)
     In honor of my peace-filled day, I feel compelled to end this post with the serenity prayer. "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change (cleaning my bathtub- yikes!, the need for a paycheck, parental responsibilities- including all 3 hours of homework given to my kid EVERY NIGHT, church commitments.... and should the need for sleep come into this category??); courage to change the things I can (Ooooo, what to change, Lord, what to change!); and wisdom to know the difference." Amen. 

Monday, October 1, 2012

Goodbye and Goodnight

     This evening was the final visit Taylor had with her biological mother. She was given one last visit to say her final good-byes before we complete the adoption process. We expected great fall-out. We expected tears, tantrums, misbehavior, or, at the very least, a rift between siblings (as Cameron is still required to have visits for the time being). However, what we DIDN'T expect was calmness. But, hey, I decided to roll with it (naturally) because I couldn't see the point in ruining a good thing by attacking it with questions! And then, she dropped the bomb..... Taylor was in the middle of talking about her visit when she referred to her biological mother, not as "Mommy" as she always has, but as "Mama". This is the name that we've been using for myself, since she already has several "Mommy"s in her life and we wanted me to have a special name that was unattached to the other women.
     "Mama." One word. One broken heart. It was like a sucker punch that you're not prepared for. The one that takes the wind out of you and your brain struggles to wrap around. The one that comes from a best friend and offers a feeling of betrayal followed by bitter tears. It actually took me several seconds to realize  she was asking me a question and that I needed to respond. So I had her repeat herself and I quickly answered, moving on to something to keep me busy and keep the tears at bay. Puzzles.... yes, that would do the trick! Let's do an alphabet puzzle. That way, even if my kids never attach to me, at least they won't be stupid.
     So, we spent the next hour doing alphabet puzzles, number puzzles, and color puzzles. They learned, they had fun, and then they got ready for bed. We read our story, did our prayers, and had a tuck in. I spent a few extra minutes with Taylor, since Cam had pooped out on us halfway through the story and started sawing logs. It was in those last few moments before bed that I did those embarrassing things that people do with their kids that they would never do if they knew a non-family member were watching. Afterall, it's ok to look crazy in front of your kids, but not in front of, say, your co-workers or the neighbors. For instance, if I pretended  to bite my boss' nose off, I doubt she would belly-laugh the same way my daughter did. And if I bounced random grocery store attendees up and down until they couldn't breathe, I'd be looking at a lawsuit instead of a beaming child. After I was done looking insane, I gave her one last tuck in, complete with hug and kiss, and I told her goodnight.
     I ducked into my room and was just slipping into my pajamas, allowing myself a moment to process the earlier string of emotions that threatened to spill over. This is when another unexpected event happened. I heard her tiny, little, Minnie Mouse voice call from the next room, "You're my bestest.... I love you as much as the sky."
     Silent smile joined by silent tears.
     "And I love YOU as much as the ocean," I said back.
     "I love your ocean, too."
     "Goodnight, Tay."
     "Goodnight, Mama."