Parenting Mistake Number 2...

Saturday, July 30, 2011
When Ethan was a baby, I always made is food from scratch. I cooked for him purees and mashed food from the time he was on solid food and then when he started with finger foods, I continued with my healthy meal plans. I never offered cookies or sweets, I gave him only wheat bread (no white) and fresh fruit and veg. He was such a good eater. I swore I'd never be a parent that made separate meals for my child. Then, he turned 2 and his food world turned upside-down. He started refusing more and more food. He became a child of plain pasta (with only butter, salt, pepper & Parmesan cheese), no sauces of any kind, no meat except for chicken, He likes fish but only if it's breaded and he alternates with being picky about his fruit or veg. He always eats it, but is has random refusals of things he used to like. He still only eats wheat bread, but won't drink milk so I have to give him 3 yogurts a day to make up for the lack of milk. For breakfast he'll eat toast, french toast (made with wheat bread and tiny bit of syrup, and on occasion, a honey raisin bran. He is a fussy eater with a limited diet despite all my cooking and hard work I put in when he was a baby or toddler.
Instead of buying frozen processed things the only thing I can do for now is keep cooking his meals. I make homemade chicken nuggets with the best ingredients that I freeze myself, I buy the best fish sticks I can that are made with whole fish fillets and make him fresh fruits, veg and sandwiches. I admit with shame, that every night I make a separate meal for my son.
We've started a star chart for foods as well as his sleeping chart. He was doing really well for a few weeks. He has added wraps, eggs, spaghetti with tomato sauce, pancakes and salad to his limited menu but has given up on trying new foods. I try not to make a big deal out of it and to keep meal times stress free, but must admit that every time he refuses to eat something, internally I want to dump it over his head and scream. I don't though. All of the books say to relax and just keep offering up the same foods. In time it will work it's self out. How many adults do you know that won't eat much more than chicken pasta and yogurt? I'm just hoping it works out sooner than later.

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Parenting Mistake Number 1...

Friday, July 29, 2011
Before I had Ethan, I was one of those childless people who said things like: 'When I have kids, I'll never let them into my bed', 'I'll never make two separate meals - if they don't like what I make then they won't eat' and 'I'd never put up with THAT sort of behavior (when a child had a meltdown in a supermarket)!' Yes, I was the childless person that parents probably wanted to smack if I said anything even close to those things in their presents.
I thought being a mom a bit later in life would be a good thing. I thought I could benefit from other parents mistakes and know exactly what not to do. The thing was that I wasn't a parent and had no idea about the unbelievable love you can have for your child. Now that I am a parent, I have had to go through all the trials and hardships that go with making my own mistakes all for the love of my child.
When Ethan was about a year and a half old, we went though a scare where doctors said words like 'Lymph nodes', 'surgery' and 'Biopsy' all in the same sentence. It was an awful couple of months. During that time, Ethan came down with the flu. I was terrified to leave him and took him into our bed (my old self would be shaking her head in disapproval) and that's where he stayed for a long time to come.
We've always been able to get him to go to bed on his own in his room, but at some point of the night, he'd almost always end up in bed with us. Once you make that mistake, it's difficult to undo. In the following year and a half we tried giving him a big boy bed, an even bigger big boy bed and then I even slept with him in his room for a while hoping he'd get used to sleeping in his room again (my old self would have been appalled by sleeping separate from my husband for any amount of time).
In the end, a star chart did the trick. He started sleeping through the night with the intensive of a toy after 2 weeks. Once he got that toy though, he slowly started waking up every night around 3AM. Exhausted, for the last couple of weeks I almost always ended up back with him. We're on star chart number two now and he's now slept through the night without me for 3 nights running (ahh, glorious, uninterrupted sleep). This time we've pointed out that if he doesn't continue sleeping through the night his reward will be taken away! This parenting never gets easier.

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Baby Talk

Thursday, July 28, 2011
I'm not the sort of person that get's all warm and fuzzy around babies. I don't offer to hold them or feel all nostalgic for the days of tiny babies. What has done that to me lately has been watching my son play and enjoy himself. Recently, I actually cried while taking a ride on Thomas the Tank Engine with him and watched him bop along to the Thomas music they played. HE makes me want to have another baby. It's when he says 'Mommy, I love you SO much, says the word Ferrari (which is the cutest thing I've ever heard) or when he has a look of pride on his face when he does something he was afraid to do. It's when he climbs on me to cuddle close for a what he calls a 'face hug'(which is a hug with his cheek up against mine) or when I listen to him have a conversation with his Dad. It's all these things that make me want to have another baby and go through it all over again.
It started a couple of months ago when my husband and I were sitting on a park bench watching Ethan run and play. I watched Ethan run with the biggest smile on his face and I said to my husband (much to my surprise), 'Crap, I want another baby' the reason I said it like that was because we were pretty sure we weren't going to have any more babies. Ethan is 3 years old and I just lost a ton of weight. I thought we were pretty much done and were actually talking of a vasectomy. Now, that's all changed. Now, we're talking about trying again in the next few months.
Ethan has been asking for a baby for a while. He says he wants a baby brother named Frank or a baby sister named Ester. Which is comical and God knows where he gets this stuff from. We don't know anyone with those names. Maybe in his last life he was an elderly Jewish man.
I spoke to my doctor and need to go off my meds for a full month before we start trying. It will mean a lot of pain before I get pregnant, but the doctor says not to let my illness get in the way. I'll feel better during pregnancy and probably wouldn't feel the need for the meds anyway. So, in the next couple of months, we'll hopefully on our way to a two child family.

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A Suprising Turn of Events

Wednesday, July 27, 2011
When the chips are down it's sometimes surprising what you can end up needing. You can end up needing people you thought you outgrew the need for. Recently, while in crisis mode, I found out that there are some people we never outgrow the need for (you just don't know it until faced with something that triggers it). I've been lucky enough to find comfort and support from someone completely unexpected and I am so grateful for it. Years pass and people come and go. Some leave their mark, some fade as if they were never there and some leave more than just their mark and they stay with you long after they've moved on from your life.
You would think approaching someone with a problem after not even hearing their voice in almost a decade, would be awkward, but it wasn't. They could have responded with 'This is unexpected, isn't there someone else you can go to with this?' or simply, 'Why me?' but it wasn't like that. The first response was 'What's up?' as if we just spoke yesterday. What followed was the exchange of two very long emails and peace of mind. They talked me down and gave me insight to the situation that I never would have found without them. It wasn't a magic cure to the situation, but it was a place to start and I am so grateful for the guidance and support from such an unexpected source.

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Family Matters

Tuesday, July 26, 2011
It's been a while. When I go through difficult times, I tend to go quiet until it passes. I don't blog about highly personal matters and it's hard to find the inspiration to write about the small stuff when other things seems so substantial.
We got back from my in-laws last night. It took a grueling 5.5 hours to get back. Without traffic, it takes 3.5 which is tough enough. Ethan was a doll sitting still in traffic for over an hour in an oven of a car. He's always good when it comes to that sort of thing.
The trip to my in-law's was different than most. I spent the weekend playing family counselor. It started with my sister-in-law (the same one who was talking about me the last time I saw them). I walked outside to have a cigarette and found her crying with her boyfriend. I went to leave and she said to stay. She told me she was upset because her brother (who she hasn't been on good terms with for 5 years now) refused to come to come because she was there. She has been battling with his wife for years and he has taken his wife's side. I'll say this - his wife is one of the most awful people I have ever come across. I hate being anywhere near her. She is a toxic bitch. Anyway, I digress - We were there to celebrate her son's 18th birthday and her brother's refusal to show up really upset her. I listened, but didn't have too many pearls of wisdom to offer except that she should try to approach him away from his wife & try to carry out some sort of separate relationship (but this was nothing her boyfriend hadn't already suggested).
A while later, Wayne was inside talking to his nephew (the birthday boy) and when I came in, he said, 'Ask Erren what she thinks'. He explained he was thinking of dropping out of college to get a full time job. He's fed up with never having any money or freedom. I could see he was about to burst into tears so I took him by the hand and took him outside. I tried to talk him out of dropping out. I told him I did the same thing at his age and ended up stuck in a dead end job for years until I put myself through school much later in life. I assured him that if he missed this opportunity he'd be sorry later. I know my advise made no difference. his mind was already made up.
The following day, Wayne's brother came to visit with his bitch wife (sorry I just can't help it). Tensions were high over what happened the day before. Wayne's Mom (or mum) was ready to snap. I mentioned I wanted a Pepsi and she jumped to her feet and said, 'I'll walk to the shops with you' I knew at that moment there would be another discussion with a family member that needed to be heard. My mother in law told me how her blood was boiling over what was happening between her son & daughter. She wanted to give him a piece of her mind and if she didn't leave right then and there she just may have right in front of everyone including his bitch wife who would be sure to hold her grandchildren hostage over it. I listened and tried to validate her feeling with little to add. I am no expert in resolving family disputes. If I was, my father would be speaking to me instead of missing his grandson grow up.
I should point out that this has not been a roll I play in this family. They are not a family of talkers. Although, I do talk to my nephew about things every time we're together and I've always been aware of the tension with mt brother & sister in-law but have never had them talk to me about it. I avoided my brother-in-law every chance I got. I didn't want to get involved. If he breached the subject with me, I would have been in danger of telling him I thought he was an ass...
By the end of the visit, my mother-in-law cornered her son and told him how upset everyone was. She asked him to call his sister and he did. They formed a truce and with any luck, it will all work out.
I left feeling a part of the family. Although I'm close with my mother-in-law, I have never felt like a part of the family. As odd as it was to be such a big part of things this weekend, I'm glad it happened and I'm glad I was able to help in some small way.

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Case Histories By Kate Atkinson

Friday, July 15, 2011
I have spent the last week falling in love with Jackson Brodie, the main character in Kate Atkinson's Case Histories series. I have read all four books by auido book walking around for days with Jason Isaacs sexy voice telling me the stories. Jason Isaacs also plays Jackson Brodie in the BBC series based on the books. I watched the first episode and quickly switched to the books (which I already owned in book form). I chose the auido books not because of Jason Isaacs, but because sometimes when the narrator of a book is Britsh, I have a difficult time finding their voice (for lack of a better word) while reading and I struggle with the story. I tried reading it in book form several times and then looked for the Audio version. I was pleasantly surprised to find out the star of the show would be telling me the stories. I did 4 books in five days and now that I have fallen for Mr Brodie, I look very forward to the next edition (I really hope there are plans for one).
Kate Atkinson is a great storyteller. This was the first detective series I have ever read. Crime novels are usually not my thing, but these books are so well written and the charters are are so well formed, you can't help but get sucked in. I liked each book as much as the last. She has a gift for linking the characters together and I was not able to solve any of the mysteries before they unraveled - usually I see them coming a mile away, but I enjoyed the stories so much, I didn't bother trying to think ahead. I just enjoyed going along for the ride. Jackson Brodie is a perfect hero who I'm sure is loved by woman and admired by men. These books are fantastic and I highly recommend them.
Book 1 - Case Histories (click the book to find it on Amazon.com or below for UK)
Book 2 - One Good Turn
Book 3 - When Will There Be Good News
Book 4 - Started Early Took My Dog



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What I wanted to tell you...

Friday, July 1, 2011
Here is what I want to tell you - I turned out OK. I am happily married - really happy.  Most people are not.  I know maybe two couples that are happily married, but most I know don't even like the person they wake up next to every day.  It's sad but true.  We are happy and we are in love.  It's been nearly ten years and I see no change in our behavior or our relationship than when we first started out.  He takes good care of me so you don't have to worry about that.
I am a mother. I am finally a mother and I am a good one at that.  This morning I heard him singing in his bed before he got up.  What a wonderful sound!  I went to his door and peeked in.  His head came up to look, I opened the door wider so he could see it was me and his face lit up as he smiled (that kid smiles with his whole face), he jumped up and ran to me with arms wide open.  I got to him just as he reached the edge of the bed and we started the day with the biggest hug ever.  If I ever have doubts about the kind of mother I am, he always finds a way to let me know what a good job I am doing.  He is a great kid.  He's funny and dare I say it, he's sensitive and sweet.  I didn't want him to be like me in that way.  I want to protect him from that and give him a thick skin so he doesn’t get his heart broken so easily, but it's there already.  He is sensitive, emotional, and so loving.  I really didn't want him to take on those traits, but I love who he is and can't wait to see who he'll become (although I don't want it to happen too quickly).
You are right about what you said - how the bad times of our past casting such a long shadow.  They do cast a long shadow, but please don't look at it like that.  I carried you with me and what we had, gave me the insight I needed to not settle for anything less.  If not for what we had, I would not be here in a happy marriage with this great kid.  If not for what we had, I would have settled for an ordinary life with a man I wasn't in love with and I would never have been happy.
You gave me so much so don't look back at the shadows that are cast.  Don't be so hard on yourself.  The good out weighs the bad.  We were lucky to have had our time. I'll always carry it with me.  It not for you, I wouldn't be the person I am today.
I hid this entry because I wrote it for you not for the world to see, but I also wanted to give you an option to not read it if you didn't want to.  With email, it’s hard to not scroll down and once you do, it’s just too late. 




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