Saturday, October 19, 2013

What's Dragging Me Down...

Obviously the Jacob stuff is a big issue right now in our house, but I've noticed a few specific issues that are driving me nuts at the moment and just plain bumming me out:

Unfinished Projects - Everywhere I look in my house, there are things that need to be done.  There are papers to sort through, things to pick up, crumbs on the countertops...and while all of that stuff bugs me (more on that in a second), what's really getting to me are the unfinished projects.  I have an ungodly pile of Jacob's artwork from the beginning of time sitting in our office downstairs.  Co-mingled with it are things that need to be scrapbooked, babybooked, or otherwise put away.  I bought bins for both boys a while back that I intend to use as a spot to save stuff--mementos, artwork, special toys or clothes--but I haven't even started putting stuff in them.  I had intended to take pictures of all of the artwork and toss all but the best, but now I'm realizing that will probably never happen.  I want to still take pictures of the good stuff, keep the very best and ditch the rest, but that all takes time.  A lot of it.  I also have curtains that have been waiting to be hung since I was pregnant, and the spot over my bed (which I swore I'd fill once we got our new quilt) is still empty.  Carter's room needs curtains, too, and I have a "C" decoration I've been meaning to do for months that isn't done.  I have a few pictures that need hanging, I want to move my printer up from my desktop to my laptop, and both baby books need some updating.  Jacob's is pretty much done aside from his 5th birthday and first day of school, but I haven't even started Carter's.  Ugh.  I also have some organizing of my digital music that needs to be done, and I'm a couple seasons behind on printing photos.  Seriously, the list never ends...

Dirty House - Not gonna lie, my house is sort of gross and I worry about how it might be impacting us.  It's been a long time since it got a deep cleaning, and I've only done a handful of moderate cleanings in the meantime, mostly before we have company.  I can't tell you the last time I scrubbed my bathtub or my kitchen floor, though both desperately need it.  It's been a while since everything's been vacuumed, partly because half the floors are usually covered with Legos or other small toys.  I got so annoyed by the state of our living room carpet by the front door that I pulled out my carpet cleaner the other day and did the highest traffic area.  I'm not convinced it did much, though, as it may be too far gone.  Stupid off-white textured berber.  Everything needs a good dusting, and all the nooks and crannies need scrubbing.  I'm simply too tired at the end of the day to do any of it, and any time on the weekends is usually taken up by the kids or errands that need running.  I dream about calling in a professional one of these days to just get me back to zero on it all, which at this point might be worth it, but I don't have any time to take off from work and I just don't trust anyone that much to not be there.  Not to mention that it'd be just plain embarrassing for anyone to see the state of certain parts of the house.  Ugh.  I mean, it's not like we're hoarder-bad or anything, but it's still not good.

Solid Food - Carter is taking baby steps as far as eating solid foods, but I'm currently feeling a little stuck.  We've done relatively well with everything except the rice cereal.  He's not really a fan of the green veggies, but everything else (including meat) has gone over pretty well.  It does cause him some constipation, though, which is sad.  He doesn't seem too impacted by it most of the time, but it's weird to not have him pooping, or to have him grunting with nothing coming out.  But what's really bugging me is that I feel like he's missing out, or that he's not getting enough.  He's actually eating less overall right now than he was a couple months ago.  While we were in Florida we transitioned to 7 oz. bottles every four hours, rather than 6 oz. every three.  That dropped out at least one feeding a day, and usually now he has about four feedings...8:30, 12:30, 4:30, and 8:30, with one solid feeding at dinner time.  I'm planning on sending solids to daycare soon, but I wanted to be sure he could tolerate foods before I sent them in.  We now have a pretty good assortment of what he likes and tolerates, so I can do that soon, but knowing he's not getting the extra bulk of cereal right now, or learning how to eat finger foods like Cheerios or Puffs (which almost all have some sort of grain in them), I worry about whether he's getting enough.  He's so skinny.  Anyway, I feel like we're in a holding pattern until we see the allergist in a few weeks and hopefully get some insight into what we can or cannot give him.  I can't bear the thought of making him sick again, so I'm very hesitant to try new things.

Gluten-Free Cooking - Honestly, I'm doing better with worrying less about gluten-free eating, but there are three elements that are still bugging me: Getting organized, eating out, and special events.  I really need to sit down and list out what we eat now, figure out what can be altered (i.e., gluten-free pasta, different flours, etc.), and what can't.  From there I also want to list out safe foods and try to make some new meals around those (i.e., stirfrys with gluten-free sauces).  I'm annoyed that it will be so much harder to eat out, especially fast food when we need it for convenience purposes, so I need to do more research on Celiac-friendly places around town.  While I'm glad there are a lot of cake mixes and cookie mixes that are safe, and gluten-free flour is pretty easy to come by, I still worry about going to picnics and parties because so much of what's there will be unknown and therefore unsafe.  I'm going to have to plan ahead somehow or just be prepared for the unexpected (do I just keep PB&J and gluten-free crackers in the car or something?).  No idea how to go about any of it, but that's on my mind--but again, most nights I'm too exhausted to think about it.

Working Mom Life - It seems like I routinely go through periods where I'm so annoyed by the working mom life.  There aren't enough hours in the day, and my priorities are never where they should be.  Lately it's been nagging me even more, for a few reasons.  The easy one is that Carter is just so darn cute and I hate being away from him all day.  He's my last baby and he's growing up so fast, and I'm afraid I'm missing out.  But on a more practical level, I just hate how my schedule makes it harder to help Jacob through all he's been dealing with.  It's hard to make up the time at work for all of his appointments, and I wish dearly that I could get myself out of bed earlier to get into work earlier, so I could get home earlier.  It would make it easier for him to get his homework done, easier for me to put a good meal on the table, and give him more time at home to chill, so bedtime doesn't come up so quickly.  But shifting my schedule would mean going to bed earlier, which means less time to get things done without interruption and less time to spend with Craig.  So, I'm not sure that's a solution either.  I just desperately wish I could work three days a week and have two days to cram in doctor's appointments, quality time with the kids, and anything else I need to do.  But the finances never make sense, so it's just not happening.  Not to mention that I'd totally be hanging my co-workers out to dry, which isn't fair to them either.

Babyproofing - I need to take the time to get the baby locks on all of the cabinets, and I need to figure out how we're babyproofing our entire main floor.  This house makes things far more complicated than our old one, and I'm convinced that Carter will have gotten all of the "investigative" genes that Jacob did not.  While Jacob certainly got into things, I never really worried that much about him getting into cabinets or climbing on furniture.  I feel like we got lucky with him, though, and that Carter will be the opposite.  Complicating matters is that we now have two readily accessible stairways to deal with.  While we could just block the stairways and call it a day, part of me is considering getting one of those god-awful baby jails that gives him a play area bigger than a pack-n-play but prevents him from getting to either staircase, the TV, the kitchen, etc.  There's a whole different philosophical discussion I could get into about providing a controlled play area vs. teaching your kid the value of the word "No"...where I used to fall on the latter end but now wonder if we didn't scold Jacob too much and dilute the effectiveness.  Anyway...with two stairways to worry about (and all of Jacob's stuff, for that matter), it may just be easier to fence him in.  We'll see.

Sick Kids - I have this one friend on Facebook who is always liking photos and statuses from every sick kid support page out there.  Seriously.  I know I shouldn't even look when I see those activities come across my feed, but somehow I get sucked in.  On one hand, it makes me so grateful that my kids' issues seem minor in comparison, but on the other it's a reminder of how fragile life is and how tragedy can strike any of us.  The other day there was a page about a baby boy that was born with a disease that makes his skin paper thin and he blisters with the slightest touch.  The poor kid is full of scabs and scars, and he's currently got a tracheotomy.  It looks like a miserable existence, but they soldier on trying to help him.  I don't know what the long term prognosis is, though.  Then I accidentally stumbled upon a blogger who I've read about before but hadn't checked in on for a while.  A couple years ago she miscarried twins, maybe around 20 weeks.  Then she tried to adopt, but that didn't work out for a few reasons.  Well, apparently since I last checked in, she got pregnant again and had a seemingly healthy baby boy.  Shortly after, however, they started to figure out that some of the ventricles of his heart weren't strong enough to pump properly, and while I don't know any of the details, I do know that he passed away after three weeks.  How horrible to lose three babies in the course of a couple years.  Add into that my two friends who each have kids fighting cancer, and let's just say that this hyperawareness of life's unexpected turns makes me simultaneously petrified for my own little world and super-thankful for all we have now.  Perhaps life before the internet was much more blissful because it was harder to stumble upon every rare, bizarre, horrible thing that can befall humankind. 

Differences of Opinion - One of the most important rules of parenting is to be on the same page with your co-parent.  Right now we're not always.  I mean, obviously we want Jacob to get better so we have that as a common goal, but how we get to that goal is a frequent point of contention right now.  Even though Craig has stepped up his game as far as discipline is concerned, I still think he lets him off the hook (or at least comes to the rescue) a little too often.  He thinks I fight too many of the small battles, though in my mind I'm just trying to be consistent. Lately Jacob's been crawling into our bed (on Craig's side) around 4-5am, pretty much every night.  I'm not thrilled with it, partly because it's a bad habit and partly because it infringes on my wifely right to snuggle my husband, but given the current state of Jacob's and my relationship, the last thing I want at 4am is a battle if I try to take him back to his room.  But even though we both agree it needs to stop, Craig lets him do it anyway.  We each have different tolerances for different behaviors, and our tempers can vary from day to day, depending on a lot of factors.  It's easy for one of us to tell the other to stay calm when we're not in the heat of the moment, or make suggestions for handling things, but it just doesn't always go over very well.  I just hate that we can't seem to agree on a lot of that stuff right now, but we're managing.  Still, it just bothers me because I know how bad of an issue that can be.  Our marriage needs to be a priority in all of this, but it's hard when you're tired, stressed, and coming from two different schools of thought. 

I don't want you to think that every waking moment is one big bummer, because in between Jacob outbursts, life is somewhat normal.  But the outbursts are many and there's just a lot to think about these days.  I did have a productive day today, nearly catching up on newspapers (which I have been behind on for months) and sorting through 75% of my clothes and designating quite a few things for donation.  That was huge.  Boy kids now have their Halloween costumes set, and hopefully tomorrow we'll get a pumpkin.  We're blessed and thankful for all the good in our lives.  We just wish for healthy kids and a little more time (or maybe a lot) to get life in order.  But in the meantime, it's hard.


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