Thursday, October 29, 2009

Shame on Me

 This morning I did the ultimate worst thing, proof that I am the worst mama ever.  I forgot to send Kaio to daycare with his Halloween costume for their Halloween parade and celebration.  I leave for work earlier than Mari and Kaio do and I should have left the costume by the door so that Mari could have taken it with him.  But I forgot, even though I reminded myself a million times before falling asleep.  Kaio must have felt so left out when the other kids came dressed with their parents.  Luckily the daycare lady had an extra dress up spider man costume that he could wear.  But still, I feel so inept.  This is a repeat offence because last Wednesday I forgot to send him to daycare with an item for show and tell too.  I just don't know how the other parents do it, and I feel so lame.  He is supposed to be the most important thing in my life but I can't seem to keep on top of my responsibilities.  This weekend is his birthday party and I would be very excited, but I'm a little overwhelmed because I was hoping to go to a Halloween party too and I'm not sure how I'm going to have time to make food for that and Kaio's party.  Well, I guess that's not something I can really complain about because life can't be too bad when you've got parties to attend, that's for sure!

Entering the world of Culinary eXtreme Sports

I threw all the stragglers, I mean everything, in to the blender and hit grate: eggplant from the garden, a green tomato, leftover pasta sauce, a brussel sprout, a quarter block of cheddar cheese, even a lonely hamburger (why not?)  everything in the blender and it formed a orange mush.  Perfect color, but the taste was really weird.  I then made a box of Lightning McQueen pasta and mixed the mush in, and presto: Mac and Cheese!  Mariano said it tasted bad so I added a butt load of sea salt.  Then it tasted good.  Kaio devoured it and that means SUCCESS, another successful attempt to sneak vegetables into his diet.  We all liked it, I even gave some of the unsalted portion to the baby.  This marked our first meal beginning my new food and diet endeavor.
For the next six months I will be, the best as is humanly possible while living in the city, eating an peasant diet. With the book, "Curing Tooth Decay" as my guide, I will test out this strange form of eating that goes completely against my conception of nutrition for the last 10 years.  Tofu is out, liver is in (gross).  Steak is out, bone marrow is in (gross).  Olive oil is out, tablespoons of butter is in (gross).  Rice milk is out, raw milk is in.  I mean, I was vegan for 7 years and now I love meat but I'm still not so into fish heads and raw eggs.
Culinary extreme sports it is.  But, it is worth a shot.  Last month I had a really bad tooth ache after getting a cracked amalgam filling replaced with a ceramic crown and onlay.  I had to visit an endontist to see if I need a root canal: result inconclusive, "Oh you might need one now, or maybe in a month, or maybe in two years, or maybe never."  I got a second opinion from a holistic dentist and that was the same answer.  They just don't know what the tooth might do.  So, I'm ignoring the pain and fighting it.  We'll see if this new Weston A Price style diet helps.  We had bone marrow soup last night and I made liver tonight.  Ewe- it was way nasty.  I also finally got accepted into the Real Milk circuit, which was about as elusive and arduous a task as becoming a Master Mason!  But that makes it all the more exhilarating that in a couple weeks we will be getting our first gallon of natural milk, yogurt, goat kefir, fermented cod liver oil, chicken hearts, and some other crazy country foods that hopefully will lead to better dental health.  Maybe after that I will get the courage to try a raw egg.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Processed Foods Suck and I've been feeling jealous of those SAHMs

I have been reading more research from Weston A. Price and starting to become more of a believer in the  detriments of processed foods, even organic processed foods.  We do a pretty good job of staying away from those items at home, and it helps that we can't afford them.  But, I am finding that the rest of the world functions very differently than our humble crib.  This is starting to tear me apart.  I don't want my kids putting refined, processed, poisonous foods in their bodies.  But at day care, that is totally normal and what all the kids eat.  So then i feel like a bad mom for putting Kaio in daycare at all, instead of being at home with him.  But even if i was at home with him, regulating his every intake, would I be able to provide him all the social development that he gets from daycare?  I don't know.  When I get on this thought train, I just feel incapable of everything.
And so, unintentionally I have been sucked into the modern debate between working moms and stay at home moms.  Only the debate is going on in my head!  I never cared before, and totally understood that each family should have the right to their own decision, and none is better or worse.  But now I'm multiple personality disorder in my head.  I just wish that we could afford to have me stay home.  and I have never said this out loud before because I don't want to put any pressure on him, but "I wish that my man made more money."  or "I wish that we had not bought a house that we need two incomes to pay for."
I do like my job now, and things are so much better than earlier this year.  But this week I have found myself getting extremely jealous of the moms who chose to stay at home, caring for and homeschooling their kids.  oh boy.  When I was on maternity leave, taking care of both of them: I really took to the task and enjoyed it.
But that is not the path I am on right now, and I need to accept that and stand behind my choices.  I need to remember that the grass is always greener on the other side.  Even if i was a stay at home mom, I would probably have all kinds of insecurities about providing the proper social and educational developmental environment for my kids.  I would probably be very overwhelmed with keeping up with them, and with the worry that I was a bad mom (I mean I'm already always worried about that).  I would probably be worried that we were not saving enough for their college.  And we would probably not be able to afford to travel to visit mariano's family in Brazil every couple years.  I need to remember these things, but as someone who over thinks everything, sometimes it is hard.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Learning that a little bit of lavender oil is better than threats and repression

Fight at bedtime with the three year old.  He is so strong willed and stubborn.  Just like I was - that little bugger.  Tonight was a fight reminiscent of a year ago when, for months on end, Kaio would not stay in his bed at night.  He would get out of bed repeatedly for over an hour before finally staying there and falling asleep.  I tried everything from staying in his room until he fell asleep, to picking him up and putting him back in bed every time he left, to just finally locking his door shut.  Finally, one day he actually stayed in there when I gave him the choice of having the door open or closed.  He chose open, and I said that if he got out of bed then I would close the door.  Well, I still don't know if that was the trick or if he just finally got over the phase he was in.   But it worked for a whole year, until tonight he did it again! ugh.  Here is how it went down:
Act 1
-Kaio exits bed for third time
- "Kaio if you get out of bed again I am going to take away Thomas"  (he sleeps with his Thomas the Tank engine)
- I return down stairs and gobble a big bite of my mac and cheese dinner
- foot steps heard leaving the room
- I run up stairs and take Thomas away
- Kaio cries
- I return down stairs and stuff another big bite of mac and cheese in the trap

Act 2
- Kaio exits room
- "Kaio if you get out of bed again I am going to close the door"
- I return down stairs and gobble another big bite of my mac and cheese dinner
- foot steps heard leaving the room
- I run up stairs and without a word, shut the door
- Kaio cries
- I return downstairs and atempt to finish my bowl of mac and cheese

Act 3
- Kaio exits room
- "Kaio if you get out of bed again I am going to close the door and I am going to lock it!  Voce nao pode sair da cama, si voce saia mais uma vez, eu vou troncar a porta!"
- I sit on the stairs waiting to see if he leaves the bed
- Kaio waits about 30 second before standing up in bed and trying to scale the window sill
- I go and shut the door and lock it
- Kaio cries, and the cries get worse when he tries to open the door and can't
- I sit on the stair, head down.  why did it come to this?  I told myself never to lock the door again.

Act 4
- Deep breaths. I will part with the hope of finishing my dinner for now.
- What would my sisters in HMN do?
- one more deep breath, put the leftover mac and cheese in the fridge
- pick up the bottle of lavender oil.
- I return up stairs and into kaio's room, where he is sitting up in bed all teary faced.  I cover my hands in lavender oil, lay him down, and start massaging his neck and chest.  He says, "thank you.  thank you mamae." I silently massage his whole body and then tuck him in again.  He's jabbering about something, "I want Percy for my birthday... baby is sleeping... I want to go downstairs... I want water..."  I massage his face and pet his hair.  I went threw the list of the people who love him, and then I reminded him of what we were going to do tomorrow.
- He turned to the side like he was getting ready to sleep.
- Then I said good night and left.  He looked to make sure that I didn't close the door.

Man, i think that worked, and I finally got to finish dinner.  The End

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Was Previously 'Restlessly settled in forested suburbia'

Until a few hours ago, my blog title used to read: I can sum it up real easy.  Living in a town house in the suburbs just a few minutes from where I grew up working in a job i don't enjoy cause i sold out with two kids and an lovely man from another world.  its not that complicated really.  but everything feels complicated because i've landed myself on the wrong track.  this blog will now log my journey to regain my soul from the corporate jungle that tamed me.

It was time to take that down. Last night Mari even said, "isn't it time to update your blog profile?" So he has noticed the change. I've been at my new job for over a month now and I am serine. I mean, I know that Buddha says 'happiness should come from within' and I should not let external circumstances dictate my satisfaction with life. But, honestly, being in this new job has made me realize how bad a match I was for the last place. And yes, new job is still in the IT corporate world, which I never really intended on getting into, I MEAN: I majored in Psychology, did my senior internship at a naturopathic college, and did my thesis on the role of EFAs and Trans Fatty Acids in ADHD! I wanted to do research, I wanted to work with kids, I wanted to do pretty much anything but get all dressed up in a suit, sit in a room with a bunch of stiffs, and talk about military software all day. That's what I have been doing for the last two years at my last job. The problem was not just the stifling dress code, the stoic managers, or that I am not into being a war profiteer/ 'on white collar welfare' as they called it. Because I did feel a sense of pride in an importance for being associated with software that would help save lives. But, it was that my job as a whole was just really tough and not in the build a suspension bridge on top of a canyon way or in the working with disadvantaged kids way. I was in charge of monitoring quality on the projects, and I was an auditor. That immediately made people fear and avoid me. After two years, I had really made strides in gaining rapport with the teams and the project managers, but one of them was still always very nasty to me, no matter how nice I was to her. Following my audits, many times my suggestions for improvements were completely ignored. I was not privy to much and constantly kept out of the loop. I felt like a token employee stuffed in an isolated hole in the shelf, and I felt like a drain on tax payer money. I felt like I was missing precious time with my baby and kid...for nothing that I could look back on fondly.  Near the end, I even spit out a couple times that I HATED my job. and bro, you know, I ain't no hater. 

I'm really happy to have started this blog, because I think in a way it pushed me to be more proactive in my quest to regain my soul from the corporate jungle that tamed me. And I do feel like now I am well on track with my life. My new job is so much better. I am in a cube by a window that overlooks a playground. I work on a team of really nice and fun people. The work I'm given is challenging, interesting, and important. And the company is open and genuinely grateful for my contributions and feedback. I find myself really being present and engaged in what I'm working on, and that happened only once in a blue moon at my last job.

I'm also still intent on studying acupuncture, and this new job actually seems like a good stepping stone to that transition. We will have to move to another city that has an acupuncture college. The one in Maryland is not a good fit for me because they do not have any research presence and that is uber-important. If I'm going to pay 50K for grad school then I want to do research dammit! So in a couple years, we'll move to Boston, or Seattle, or Portland, or California and I'm pretty sure that I will be able to work remotely part time while I'm in school. The company has tone of employees who do that and they already gave me a laptop with a webcam and soft phone. So things are going well and I feel confidant that I'm being a good mommy to my kids and setting a good example by going after what I want out of life instead of sulking and wilting.

I have also felt a change in the wind in my perspective on parenting. For the past couple years I was feeling a little overwhelmed and bit alienated. Like, I didn't have any peers with children to talk to and get advice from, and I missed going out and partying with my friends. But this year I finally found a group of moms that I relate to and click with, and also admire. I joined the Holistic Moms Network and damn do I wish I had joined when I was pregnant with Kaio, because I have been flushed with a wealth of information and guidance on parenting the all natural and non-consumerist way. The group has been key for me and I am so grateful. Then also, recently two of my close friends (geographically too) have had babies! So I don't feel like such a freak anymore!

On New Years Eve last year I wrote myself a letter, to be opened on New Years Eve of this year. It was intended to capture goals and dreams for this year's accomplishments. I remember the most important one: Have a plan on how to realize my dreams and get out of the mess that is my boring job. Well, score one. I hope this wave continues, and that my spirit remains elevated. I hope I make good choices for Kaio and Nala. Next steps are to get Mari's family here to visit, to get our bodies healthy by going to the gym and chiropractor, to start back up with yoga and reading books on acupuncture and herbalism. And use my energy to be more supportive to all my friends and family.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Goodbye 20's

I have been really tripping about getting older lately. And the greatest reminder of all is my impending 29th birthday. This is it, the end of my heyday. And it feels like time is slipping away, like there isn't enough room in my head for all the memories I want to keep. I'm afraid of the treasured memories spilling over and out of mind. The external hard drive is full of photos, the bottom shelf of the bookshelf is stocked with journals, and the storage room holds a couple bags of items intended for scrap books. Flashes of good times and mistakes periodically sprinkle the day. Fuzzy images, time lines, and nostalgia are always about. Then I catch it, a moment with Nala or Kaio, I'm just looking at them and thinking, i have to remember this, this is so cute. No camera, just me being present with the kids.
Goodbye to feeling invincible. Goodbye to not having to think about the future. The future is here, and I've got to be serious. ugh. This is my last year to be 20 something. What should I do?

Pumpkin Partying

'Don't dwell, throw a party' says my favorite book of the month: How to Love like a Hot Chick. A book my mom was reading that I serendipitously stumbled upon and dug so much that I have bought three copies already for girl friends of mine. If you throw it, they will come. I threw a birthday party for two girl friends. And what a great thing to do. Why did I think that just because I have kids I can't be social with kidless friends? Us parents want an excuse to get out and... talk about our kids. We ended up with three babies crawling around. Play groups ARE more fun with vodka, pear cider, and pumpkin beer. We should do this every year.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Bathtime and the Joys of Two Kids

When Nalini was only a couple months old, and we were venturing out to Trader Joes on a grocery trip, I was wearing her in a Moby Wrap. Some nice guy made a comment about how cute they were and how wonderful it is to have kids. That was at a time that I was feeling like adjusting to the extra work was really tough. I asked him if it was going to get any easier and he said that it would because they would start playing together. Well tonights bath time was glimpse into that future. When Kaio started splashing Nala got a huge smile on her face, started giggling and tried splashing too, this totally cracked her up even more. It was super cute, and lucky for me there were no poopy accidents this time :)

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Just another dysfunctional family

Being a parent has brought out fear in me. A fear of pretty much everything really; plastic bags, pencils, and window shades, lead residue on ipods, sad faces, and driving fast. I'm always finding myself having this thought in the back of my head, "is that dangerous? isn't that dangerous?" I'm also, disturbingly, finding myself asking, "is this normal? is that normal?" all the time. I thought I was impervious to societal conformist pressure. But, with my kids, I just want to know that I'm not screwing them up too much and that they're not ill.
I think that in the beginning with Kaio I was too strict about making him sleep in his bed by himself. I thought I would be putting him at some kind of developmental disadvantage if I acquiesced to his desires to sleep in our bed so long. Maybe I've learned that I should treasure each day with the love and closeness of my children, or maybe I'm just too exhausted to fight anymore; but I'm not going to battle with Nala about sleeping in our bed right now. Really we just need a bigger bed.
Kaio has been saying that he's 'cold' and 'tired' for a few months now. Daycare and the doctor believe that it is an attention getting tactic. But, I worry. What if I'm neglecting the signs of some grave physiological ailment?
It's so hard to know if I'm doing things right for them. I don't feel like I have a strong support group of successful families to lean on for advice. It seems like most of my peers come from crazy and flawed home situations. Or maybe everyone has a dysfunctional family once you get to know them?!


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