Seizures

7.31.2011

For the past day, my Moms body has been rocked, contorted, and shaken by seizure after seizure. They are coming every 20-30 minutes round the clock. Last night she developed a 102 temperature. My sisters and I stayed up watching, waiting. The nurse said that death had to be immenent because her poor body just cannot handle the stress of these seizures. Its almost noon te next day. She is still having seizures at least every half hour. The medications are not slowing them down. Her temperature isn't going down. They cant run an IV because she doesn't have big enough veins but they think that her body is not absorbing the liquid medication that is being placed in her mouth. The hospice nursing staff cannot believe that she is still alive. She shouldn't be. She hasn't had food or liquid since last Thursday (its Sunday). Thats 10 days. She bit her tongue and lips fairly severely during her seizures this morning so now we have to hold a stick in her mouth.

It is so unfair. She should not be suffering like this. She is suffering. Suffacating. I can hardly handle the torment of watching her suffer any longer. To try to begin to explain the horror or watching her suffer is futile. It is just so unjust.

Happier times

7.30.2011

We had brand new babies, an upcoming wedding and a mom who wasnt dying.
What I would give to go back to this day.
One year ago. July 2010 

Prayer

Dear God,
I am not asking that you take my Moms brain tumor away. I am not even asking for more "good" time with her or upset that we got 7 really unhealthy months from diagnosis instead of the average 6 normal, healthy months with 7 progressively sicker months following. Or that I got mere weeks from the time I found out she had cancer until the time she had most of her brain removed and damaged by strokes and I never got to talk to "my mom" again.

I am not asking for a miracle or a special favor.

I just don't understand why you are making my Mom suffer. She hasn't eaten or drank in over a week. Her body is being ravaged by seizures, bed sores that are probably down to the bone, intracranial pressure from the tumor that equates to a level of pain that is incomprehensible and near suffocation from the fluid build up in her lungs that she is not usually even strong enough to even attempt to cough up. She is turning into a skeleton with dark black circles where her once vibrant, joyous blue eyes sat, her stomach grumbles, and her lungs rattle.

My Dad's post traumatic stress from watching her try to pass yesterday, is so intense that he no longer wants to be there when she passes. My Grandma is so devastated by watching her daughter disintegrate, she is literally breaking down before our eyes. Give us a break already.

Let her go. Let my family begin to grieve. Let my mom be free of her pain. You certainly aren't answering my prayers but for my Moms sake, please just let her go.

7.29.2011

Peaceful sleeping broken up by strong, contorting seizures. Much more peace today. Family members atarting to pick at each other. Too much junk food. Staring at my mom. Lots of people reading kindles. All waiting for this event to unfold... And she just sleeps. Quiet and peaceful today. No blood pressure can be detected by the hospice nurse. Bed sores developing in spite of her 24 hour loving care.

My dad asked me to go pick my moms grave today. The jerks didn't have time to drive me around the property but I drove myself and found the perfect little area. It is in the back and shaded by huge, mature trees. It is quiet and peaceful. My mom would have liked the serenity of it.

She made it through the night

She is still alive. She is stubborn. She has unfinished business. She is waiting for something or someone. Whatever all those things that people say in situations like this. At least she doesn't seem to be in pain this morning. She isn't choking or suffocating or moaning or any of the other horrible signs of dying. She is just sleeping.

We are all tired. I feel like a zombie. We are dropping Eva off at her other grandparents house today. My ability to mother her right now is pretty much non existent at this point.

She doesn't want to go

7.28.2011

I've watched my mom die and then come back three times today. She does not want to go. Watching someone die is more horrible than I could have ever imagined. One time though, she opened her eyes for the first time in 5 days and scanned each one of us girls faces. Then she decided she didn't want to go (again). Now we are waiting. Watching her sleep, breathing these short, shallow breaths. She is surrounded by her whole family, her favorite songs, silence, pleading that it is ok to pass, crying, and even a light, cheery atmosphere. We've tried every ambiance and she just doesn't want to go. I don't think she feels finished being our mom and my dad's wife.

Thursday?!

My mom is still breathing. Barely. She is slightly worse than yesterday but still alive. To say I am surprised is an understatement. Following along the same lines as how she lived the rest of her life, she is not following the status quo or doing things the way she "should". She is doing things her way. She is strong willed and stubborn and apparently, not ready to

Between my surgery limitations (not being able to pick her up) and feeling emotionally crippled by the situation with my mom, Brian is still playing Mr Mom 100%. He likes to think that he would enjoy being a stay at home dad. Although he hasn't said it, I imagine he thinks it's easier than going to work everyday. He has made it 4 days. 4 days. He got an explosive diaper along with a "woke up on the wrong side of the crib" baby this morning and, I think he has had it with the dreams of being a stay at home dad.

Trying to be thankful

7.27.2011

There are lots of things for me to be upset/ angry about right now.  Here are the things that are currently bringing sunshine to my soul.
1. Brian is here spending time with his daughter.  She follows him around, chooses him over everybody else, and is learning that she can lean on him in hard times.  He is learning how to be a day to day, hands on Dad.
2.  My family is all here, getting along, and working together.  We are all bound together by my Mom.  We are all here, together, because of her; our mutual love, admiration, and respect for her.
3. My boobies are pretty.  They are too high and need some time to settle but they are installed and things are going the way that they should.
4. My older, 36 week pregnant sister is surprisingly healthy right now.  No health scares.  With her pregnancy history, this is both surprising and lucky.
5. These two loud, rambunctious little girls that are tearing through the house, unaware of the impending death of their Grandma.  They are happy, healthy and loved.  All they know right now is that they are enough just as they are and that they are surrounded by love.

Photo taken Mother's Day 2011

Its already Wednesday

Mom is still taking short, quick breathes followed by long periods of no breathing. Sometimes she sounds like she's drowning. She doesn't usually seem to be in any pain but the almost constant administration of morphine prevents that. This is not life. She wouldn't want this. Her body is proving to be as stubborn as her mind was.

Waiting

7.26.2011

Waiting for her last breath. Planning the memorial. Family members everywhere. Everyone starting to get sick. Anxiety. Heartache. People flying in from a far. Hospice nurses. Quiet in the house. Memories. Old pictures. Annoying each other. Dreading the loss of of this amazing woman.

Almost there 7/25

7.25.2011

She has just a day plus or minus a few hours left. We just sit and watch her breathe wishing this wasnt happening. Wishing this was just a horrible nightmare. Knowing our lives will never be the same. Knowing nothing will ever fill the void. The emptiness. The pain.

Quick recap

7.24.2011

1. Getting boobies done = pain to the max. Dr said, "in my entire practice, I've never said this before but you work out too much. Your muscles are so tight. You're going to hurt a lot"
2. My mom is "actively dying". The whole family is here. We are watching every breath to see if it is the last one.
3. Brian flew in to support me. It will set him back in his program but he surprised me none-the-less. Xoxo
4. Eva is so bitter and upset wih me for not being able to pick her up, she wont go near me.

Today= total fail. I wish I could just skip the next month.

Stages of Death and Dying

7.23.2011

We wee losing my Mom much sooner than we had anticipated. I wrote this post months ago but it seems very appropriate in this minute.

In 1969 American psychologist, Elizabeth Kubler-Ross published the 5 stages of grief and dying in her book, On Death and Dying. Her concrete stages of coping with death are still considered the foremost in thought for handling death and grief.

The 5 stages are:
1. Denial ("This cannot be happening to me")
2. Anger ("Why me? This is not fair!")
3. Bargaining ("I'll do anything as long as I can.. see granddaughter be born, son graduate, etc")
4. Depression- this is the stage where the person begins to disconnect from family and friends because the emotional pain is too great to bear.
5. Acceptance- ("I know I only have about a year so I am going to do everything that I can to prepare"). In this last stage, the person is able to come to terms with their impending death and can connect back with family and friends.

I think my mom was stuck in the depression stage when we "lost" her to the brain surgery/removal/strokes. She spent a lot of time alone with her headaches before the surgery. None of us (including her) were prepared for her brain biopsy to go so wrong that she would never be able to talk to us again or do anything else to prepare for her impending death. She did not get her affairs in order. She didn't write us letters. I have nothing from her that says I love you and I am proud of you and you will be ok. She would have wanted to do that. I know it.

Off I go!

7.22.2011

It's "B" Day

Feeling: Stressed, worried, anxious about my surgery this morning

Goals: Finished reading "1984" on Tuesday, July 19.  I ran 6.25 miles on Sunday in 59 minutes but my running has really suffered this week due to external stressors.  Boobie goal is getting completed today.

Thinking about: My baby, my family, my husband.  Being scared about complications from surgery even though  I know it is totally normal to be worried. 

Watching: Eva dance with reckless abandon to Christina Aguilera on Pandora. She stops only long enough to run over for kisses and a quick cuddle.

Wearing: Victorias Secret pink striped flannel PJ's that Brian bought for me.

Mom: Out of the blue, she started having seizures and they keep coming and seem to be gaining intensity.  Scary and upsetting.

Looking forward to: Having a miraculously short, and relatively pain less recovery surgery.  Buying new tops and dresses.  Getting a hug and cuddle from Brian.
Picture taking during this mornigs cuddle session

Stress Management

7.21.2011


Tonight I am teaching my class about stress management.  A certain amount of stress is normal.  According to the American Psychological Assoc., 1/3 of Americans feel “extreme” stress.  Extreme stress is not normal but some times cannot be avoided.  There are both good and bad forms of stress and both good and bad ways of dealing with stress. 

Consequences of bad stress:
-Physical sickness
-Feeling frazzled/ overwhelmed

Consequences of good stress:
-Help us improve performance

How to manage stress

Identify your stress: What stresses you out? (work, money, family, health, etc)
Learn your stress signals: How to you experience stress ? (headaches, muscle tension, anger, irritability, lack of energy)
How do you deal with stress: Do you use healthy or unhealthy means to deal with your stress?
Take care of yourself: Eat well, sleep enough, drink water, exercise. Make time for yourself (read a book, listen to music)
Reach out for support: If you are overwhelmed by stress, talk to someone. 

Healthy ways to lower stress:
-Exercise
-Yoga/ breathing/ medication (try this- Close your eyes or gaze at your hands on your lap and inhale while you count silently to four. Take a little pause and then exhale, counting down from four. Do this at least 10 times.)
-Talk to other people (get support)

Unhealthy ways to lower stress:
-Drinking/ drugs
-Smoking
-Over/under eating



http://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2007/10/stress-tips.aspx

Shine on me

7.20.2011

Pieces of art or light fixtures?  You decide. 






Official Family Update 7/20

Here is the official update that my sister sends out to extended family and close family friends.

Good morning friends,

I wanted to send a brief update on my Mom (Kim).  Mom is home with us and we are enjoying her time with her as much as her illness allows.  The nature of her brain tumor is that it is very aggressive and not able to be treated, so this month we have seen her illness progress pretty rapidly. 

Mom is no longer able to join us on shopping errands or able to get out of the house much for any activity. She has lost much of the balance that she regained after her strokes, so she is not able to use her walker anymore.  She has also lost some hand/eye coordination and the speech that she had regained.  This is all a normal progression of her illness.

Her appetite is dwindling significantly but we still are finding things that Mom continues to enjoy, like ice cream.  At this point Mom sleeps through much of the day, but we are still able to enjoy some smiles with her.  And she still enjoys holding the babies, Eva and Juliet, in her lap. 

We are counting every day with Mom as a true blessing, and grateful for all of the small things. We continue to appreciate your thoughts and prayers for Mom, and visitors remain welcome at any time.  I have attached a few photos from Christy's 23rd birthday party; Mom was able to join us and get a warm foot bath in the jacuzzi.

While this has been a very difficult year for our family, I know that God is holding Mom close and carrying all of us through this journey.

Warmly,

Jennifer


Cuddles

7.19.2011

The dichotomy between the pure, unadulterated joy that I have with my daughter and the pain in dealing with my Mom's ever looming, quickly approaching death is overwhelming some times.

TSA groping

7.18.2011

TSA is out of control.  The rules are vague and can be interpreted any number of ways.  Like I mentioned in a previous post, I fly with Eva a lot.  Half of the time that I go through LAX, I can wear Eva in the Ergo without a problem, and the other half of the time, I have to request the manager/ supervisor to help me, threaten to file a complaint, and demand they re-read the most current rules. 

I do not mind being groped by the TSA.  With every carress of my breast and swipe of my rear, I try to remind myself that they are checking everyone else as well.  I am OK with being groped for the safety of EVERYONE in the airport.  My first priotity is my daughter and my safety.  But really, do you need to feel inside the lining of my bra?

Going through LAX 2 times ago (May 2011), the "supervisor" promised that the TSA had changed the baby wearing rules as of "5 days ago".  I believed them after they told me that they would have me removed from the airport with my things and that I would miss my flight if I didn't comply and remove the baby.  I apologized and said that I hadn't re-checked the rules in the past 5 days.  They would not allow me to check or show them on my iPad or iPhone to re-check the TSA website to confirm the rule change because it had already gone through the scanner and once it goes through security, you are not allowed to touch it until you are successfully screened.  After I sheepishly (for being wrong and/ or also for being pretty sure in the back of my mind that I was caving to their bull s&*^)  gave in to their requests to completely remove the baby and remove the carrier, I re-checked the rules on the "safe" side of security only to see that they lied to me.  Completely.  There was no rule change.  At all.  They just wanted to "win" and be right and not deal with my annoyance.  They completely fabricated a story about a rule change. I confirmed that fact with the TSA supervisor in Florida when I returned to LA.
 
This weekend in Phoenix, a lady from Colorado grabbed a TSA agent's boobie.  While I certainly do not promote violence and do not believe that the agent deserved to be sexually harrassed no matter the circumstances, I can understand the woman's frustration at feeling victimized while going through security.

PS- Now I go to the TSA website before I fly every month, print the rules and keep it in my pocket and when they try to give me a hard time, tell them that I called and confirmed with TSA on the 866 number yesterday. 

I also just want to be right.  And win.

Dream(ing of a) House

7.16.2011

I have been looking at interior design blogs lately trying to be inspired.  I have been dreaming about having a home of my own again with my little family all in one place again.  Of course in my dreams, my house is huge, paid off and in San Diego but moving on.  I like the interior of this house.  I like that it is contemporary but still looks like a family home.  I am drawn to white and sparkly with pops of color but it is not practical with the baby and the boxer. 



Impractical but lovely white interiors





Goal Setting

7.15.2011

Last night I taught my class on "Goal Setting" so it is still on my mind.  Goal setting is important because it helps you achieve more, improve your performance, increase personal motivation, increase pride in yourself, and increase your self- confidence.  When setting goals, be precise (use specific time, length, amount), write your goals down, keep goals small, progressive, and achievable, and prioritize goals if you have more than one so you do not get overwhelmed.  There are two types of goals: life- time goals and personal goals.  Life- time goals need to be broken down into small, achievable personal goals.  Goals can focus on career, finances, education, family, artistic side, attitude, physical self, pleasures, and/ or public service. 

Use SMART to make your goals achievable
S - specific
M - measurable
A - attainable
R - relevant
T- trackable

When you achieve a goal, celebrate!  Then begin to plan your next goal so you can continue moving forward.  If you fail at a goal, ask yourself why.  Was it unrealistic?  Is it less important to you than you had originally thought?  Did you lose sight of the goal for a particular reason?  Don't beat yourself up.  Reassess and then move on.

Below is my current Goal List

What are your goals?

Mommy thoughts

7.14.2011


I found this post online many months ago and already sent it to my mommy friends but I just saw it in my email and thought it was worth posting again.  As moms (and Dads) we put so much pressure on ourselves.   All we can do is the best that we can do each day.  All of our babies are perfectly perfect.  Let's take a breather and just be happy that we are doing our best for OUR family, in THIS moment.
_________________________________________________Shortly after Mateo started school last month, I had a tiny little revelation about parenting small children, and here it is: nobody cares. That's right. I said it. Nobody cares.
Nobody cares whether my 5 year old was breastfed or bottlefed as an infant. What really matters was that he was fed well and often.

Nobody cares whether he wore disposable or cloth diapers. What really matters is that he was kept clean and more importantly, that he is not wearing any kind of diaper anymore.
Nobody cares whether he slept in a crib or a playpen or a bassinet or in bed with me or some combination of all of those. What really matters is that he had a safe place to sleep and was tended to at night when needed.

Nobody cares whether we used redirection, time outs or a swat on the bum when he threw a tantrum or engaged in some other behavior requiring some form of discipline. What really matters is that we disciplined him in a way that was loving, consistent and maintained respect for him as a "tiny human" (as Arizona would say on Grey's).

Nobody cares when he started walking. Really. Nobody. I know it seems like THE biggest thing ever when the kid is taking those first steps, but honestly, when that kid is 5 years old nobody is going to care. At all. Especially if they walked early. Then nobody wants to hear it. Or they don't believe you.

Nobody really cares when he started to talk either. Well, the school kind of cares, in that if the kid is still having issues with speech they do need to know about it so they can help accordingly. But in general, other parents and most definitely the other kids...ya, they totally do not care.

Nobody cares about his bowel movements either. Not the color, consistency or frequency. I never would have believed it myself until my babies stopped being babies and nobody cared anymore about their poop. Mindblowing. I know. Kind of makes me wonder if anyone EVER cared about their poop...

Nobody cares how many colds he had in his first year. Or second year. Or beyond. Kids are germy. They get sick, especially when they play with other kids. Nobody is really worried about it.

Nobody cares if he is circumcised or not. And if they did, I'd wonder if they had some kind of sick, perverted tendancy to be so concerned with the state of my son's penis.

Nobody cares if he did baby sign language. I swear on my dead mother-in-law's grave. I know by now some of you must think I'm a heretic but I promise it's true. The only thing that matters about what he's doing with his hands is that they aren't being used to hit or otherwise harm people. Sign language? Please. Nobody cares.

Nobody really cares if he's vaccinated or on what schedule those vaccinations happened. I mean, yah, the school prefers it but nobody asks. Nobody cares. It was our choice and we made it in confidence rather than fear.

Nobody cares if he watched tv before the age of 2. Or 3. Or 4. Seriously. What really matters is that watching tv was only one of a very many things he did and that however much he watched, it didn't interfere with his development in any way. (It didn't).

The adults may care about this one, but the kids don't care if he is a super-genius or dumb as a post. They care if he's kind, helpful, plays nicely and shares. What a freaking concept

Nobody cares whether his mom worked or stayed home. What mattered most was that he was in an atmosphere of love and respect every day, and that he was provided for adequately.
When I make choices for Olivier now, or simply as I watch him progress naturally and in his own way, through the various milestones, I am not nearly as pre-occupied with the things I was with Mateo. It's a nice feeling not to second guess all the time. So mommies of babies and toddlers, here is what I have to say to you.

Is your child well fed, kept clean and given a safe place to sleep? Is he loved and respected? Is she growing and learning new things every day? Is he read to, played with and taken outside regularly, even if he does watch a little tv sometimes? Is he learning to share, be kind and given a chance to socialize with other kids in a positive way? Is your child healthy? Do you take care of him or her when they do happen to get sick? Do you make the best choices you can for your individual child regardless of what the peanut gallery has to say?Do you take care of your babies, and provide them with a safe, loving, consistent, stable and nurturing home? Do you love your baby boys and baby girls? Yes? Well then, I say good job. You are an excellent mother. You are worth your weight in gold. Don't listen to the critics or the negative people who will never have anything good to say about anyone's parenting choices except their own. Stand tall and be proud of your kids every day.

On the flipside of that. Do you occupy yourself with how other people raise their kids? Do you feel the need to tell them or others what they are doing wrong or why your own choices (or intended choices) are so much more superior? Get a life. Find a hobby. Clean your dirty, nasty house - because if you have small children there is a good chance that something is dirty or nasty in your house. Take a class. Have another baby and keep yourself busy with him/her, rather than the babies of your friends, family or strangers. Shut your mouth or back away from the keyboard when the urge to judge choices you don't understand overwhelms you. That kid throwing a fit in the restaurant? You know, the one you think needs a swift kick in the you know where? That kid has autism, or sensory issues, or ADHD or some other sensitive issue that you don't understand. Her mom? The one you think isn't doing anything or enough about it? She is tired, she deals with this every day. Every. Day. Your judgement isn't helping. Oh, oh - that mom in the mall? The one bottle-feeding her infant while you look in disgust because surely she must not have tried hard enough to breastfeed. That mom has post-partum depression. She's in the mall because it's the only hour out of her day she gets to be around grown ups. Her baby cries a lot. She is tired and maybe her husband isn't able or willing to help out much at night. And yah, she's not breastfeeding. Switching to formula *literally* saved her sanity so wipe that smug look off your face and tell her how cute her baby is and how great she looks for just having given birth.

I have crazy love for my kids. I'd bury you and nobody would ever find your body if you hurt one of my boys. But I will lose respect for you if you think you know better than I do about what's good for my kids. You don't. That's why you're not their mother.

There are so many things we drive ourselves mental over when our kids are babies. All the grief mothers give each other, both silently and not so silently, over who made the best choice, is such a tremendous waste of time. I'm guilty of it too. Not sure why we are so pushy and judgemental sometimes - maybe we are just insecure. Only someone who is not truly secure in their own choices would waste their time judging someone else's. At least I think that's how it works.

Move on



Wednesday is the magic day?

7.13.2011

According to this article published on Yahoo Finance, Wednesday is the magical day to get a deal on pretty much everything.  It claims that on Wednesday shows a 40% drop in price in online clothing sale prices, it is the cheapest day for buying gas (especially early in the morning), and that most grocery stores start their weekly sales on Wednesday (so the sale items should all be stocked up since it is the first day of the sale week).  Most interestingly to me, the article states that Wednesday is the cheapest day to buy plane tickets.  It says that 1:00am on Wednesday mornings is when plane ticket prices are the cheapest for the week.  I will be checking this out for myself when I go to purchase my ticket back to Florida to visit Brian next month. I will let you know what I find.

Boobies

7.12.2011

Here it goes... I am getting my bubbies done on July 22 (10 days!). I am getting a fairly small implant. I am hoping that they will be a small C cup. I am going to a very experienced, reputable, local doctor. I don't know if Brian and I are going to have more kids but yes, I am getting them done now, possibly before we are done. Yes, I know that I will look "heavier" with bigger boobs. Yes, I know I look great just he way I am and I don't "need" them.

I have all of the normal worries. I am worried that they are not going to look good (too round and fake looking), too spread apart, ugly scar, too hard, too low, etc. I am worried that they are going to end up looking too big. I am worried that they are going to look too small. I am worried about the minute possibility that I don't wake up.

All of that being said, I am so excited. I would do them today if I could. I have wanted bigger boobs every day since I was 12 years old. I regret not doing them 10 years ago. I regret not following through and doing them before my wedding. I am not worried at all that I am going to regret having bigger boobs at any point in my life.

My biggest concern is how I am going to explain to Eva that she is beautiful and perfect just how she is when she is 12 and wants bigger bubbies. I have decided that I will just explain to her that when she is a grown up (when she graduates college and is paying for herself NOT when she turns 18- this will be the topic of another post), if she still wants bigger bubbies, she is welcome to get them. She is not welcome to get them when she is still in college because it is an adult decision but I will support her decision if she wants them when she is an adult. I don't think there is anything wrong with explaining that many things in life are "adult" things that she will have to wait for. Also, some things in life aren't fair. Some people have big bubbies and other people have small bubbies. She will probably throw this decision back in my face some day. I am OK with that.

I have thought all of this through and I am still getting them done. And I am still soooo excited :)

It is hard to be in the now

7.11.2011

This picture was taken in the middle of May at a family friend's wedding.  My mom wasn't doing that well this day and I remember being upset that she was already so "sick:".  She smiled for this picture with me before dinner at the reception.  During the dinner, she became nauseous and vommitted on her dinner plate.  It was upsetting for all of us because it was such an undeniable reminder about how sick she already was.

Now I look at this picture and I wish she was as "sick" as she was when this picture was taken.  She could smile.  She had the cognitive ability to know to smile for the picture.  She looks healthy.  She almost looks normal.

Tantrums- Wait, are you two yet because you're sure acting terrible

7.10.2011

Eva has a mind of her own. A very strong mind of her own. She comes from a long line of strong willed women. On both sides of her lineage, actually. So, it should come as no surprise to me that she has strong opinions already about pretty much everything. I am quite sure that it is only going to get worse as the years go on.

Strong opinions express themselves as temper tantrums for children between the ages of 0-4 because the child is not old enough to effectively communicate their wants and needs due to their limited verbal skills. Eva's temper tantrums currently consist of shaking her head no, throwing herself on the ground, screaming, arching her back and waving her arms, and any combination of the before mentioned behaviors. She has not started hitting, biting, holding her breath, or trying to hurt herself (hitting head on wall, etc)... yet.

There are two types of tantrums. Frustration tantrums and tantrums they throw to get their own way. According to Dr Sears, frustration tantrums require empathy from the parent. These tantrums derive from the baby not being able to verbally express their emotions. Picking the child up and acknowledging their frustration builds the trusting relationship that you are building with your child. Assisting the child with solving the problem that they are facing stops the tantrum, shows your authority, and shows the child that you are empathetic to their feelings. Simply showing empathy by saying, "Oh, I'm sorry, I know you're upset. I want a cookie too but right now is not cookie time. We'll have one after dinner though".

The other tantrums, frustration tantrums, are more difficult; for me at least. According to Dr Sears, the most effective approach is to use an authoritative stance and voice to explain that the tantrum is not acceptable and then ignore it and/or walk away. If you are in public, in a place that is inappropriate to allow the child to continue screaming, remove the child from the area, take them to a safe place, and let them finish their tantrum. The Mayo Clinic recommends ignoring the tantrum as much as possible, even in public. It recommends ignoring the tantrum in public if possible and if not, take the child home and put them in time out when you get home. This is only appropriate for a much older child than Eva, obviously. The National Institute for Health also recommends ignoring the tantrums as much as possible.

I think it is going to be a long 20 years! Any advice?

Dr. Sears http://www.askdrsears.com/topics/discipline-behavior/bothersome-behaviors/temper-tantrums/taming-toddler-tantrums
National Institute for Health http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001922.htm
Parenting Magazine http://www.parenting.com/article/temper-tantrums?page=0,1

Daily giggle- David Beckham

7.07.2011

David Beckham is arguably one of the most attractive people on the entire planet but... The man has a tramp stamp!! Giggle.

Picking up an old hobby- 1984

One thing that has gone by the wayside over the last half decade in the midst of my Master's program, full- time employment, being a mom, being a wife, enjoying a couple glasses of wine at night, and my obsession with reality television is reading. I have always enjoyed reading but have done almost no leisure reading in the past 6 years.

Now that I am no longer doing hours of required reading for school, I am going to pick up leisure reading again. I am going to start with 1984 by George Orwell. I read it in high school and also in college but it has probably been over 10 years. I hardly remember the book anymore but I remember that I really enjoyed it. I can't read when I am flying because Eva is far too needy but I am going to try to cut one show tv show/ day and read a portion each day. Who knows how long it will take to finish but I will get started as soon as I get back to California and over to the library. My goal is to finish in at least a month.

I am going to start reading books off of Time Magazine's Top 100 novels from 1923- present
http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages/completelist/0,29569,1951793,00.html  

Running


I run. A lot. I used to run a mile or two 5 or so times/ week. Since I moved back to California, I have worked my way up to running 5.5 miles at a time. I go to the gym early in the morning. The gym has babysitting available so it is a nice break from Eva. I get home in time to still make breakfast for my Mom. The upside to working out so much is that I can eat whatever I want and still be small. Also, I genuinely look forward to working out in the morning and I feel yucky when I don't get to go. I wanted to train for a half marathon in the fall but my running friend is flakey (hi, if you're reading this), so I am just going to make this public commitment... I commit to being able to run 8 miles in less than 85 minutes by the end of September.

Side note: it is annoying when people tell me, "you're so lucky that you are so small/ skinny". Here is a hint. You too can be "lucky" if you work out (hard) 5 times a week.

Running Facts
*Running 5 miles= Burns 400-500 calories depending on your weight
*Running burns at least twice as many calories than walking (even walking fast) http://www.runnersworld.com/article/0,7120,s6-242-304-311-8402-0,00.html
*Running assists in stress relief by releasing mood enhancing endorphins, giving a socially acceptable release or outlet for anger and frustration, and a temporary escape from the pressing issues and stressors in life.

I am an addict

7.06.2011

My name is Jamie and I am addicted to garbage reality television.

1. Real housewives of Orange County, Beverly Hills, New York, New Jersey, Atlanta (in that order)
2. Everything else on Bravo (Flipping Out, Millionaire Matchmaker, etc)
3. 16 and Pregnant/ Teen Mom
4. Mob Wives
5. Kardashians
6. Celebrity Rehab
7. Intervention
8. Basketball Wives

I know that watching all of these shows is ridiculous and a total waste of my life. The problem is that I love them. I genuinely enjoy watching them. They are on after Eva goes to sleep. Blah. Thinking about how many hours a week I spend in front of my televisions (one in every room of Brian and my house), is really disgusting. Maybe when I move back in with Brian, I will cut it down by 50%. I am not making a formal commitment yet but I am committing to thinking about cutting back soon.

Religion

7.05.2011

When I do good, I feel good; when I do bad, I feel bad, and that is my religion.
-Abraham Lincoln

Eva is lucky

7.04.2011

Eva has a really good Daddy. He is hand- on. He isn't afraid or embarrassed to LOVE her. He will KNOW her as she grows up. He hugs her, holds her, and kisses her. She trusts him unconditionally. He loves her unconditionally.

Lots of little girls aren't as lucky. I think absent fathers are one of America's most serious social ills today. It is hard to develop into a confident, productive, trusting woman if you didn't feel loved as a child. How can a young woman enter into a healthy, mature, loving relationship with a man when she has never seen a man model a healthy, loving, mature relationship? If you cant trust your father, how could you trust anyone in life?

Eva is a lucky girl.

College is not an option

7.02.2011

After posting my blog yesterday, I was thinking more about how I don't feel like college is an option for Eva; it is a requirement. College didn't feel like it was optional for me when I was growing up either. My parents expected us to attend and finish school. I never considered not graduating. I would have felt embarrassed and ashamed. All four of us girls graduated from Universities. I think that is the greatest testament to the importance my parents placed on education.

My parents also made attending college very easy on us. They paid for everything. They did not expect us to work or take any loans. I, also, plan on paying for Eva's schooling. I don't want her to be burdened with student loans as she enters into the real world for the first time. One thing that I am going to do differently is that I am going to make work to pay her pay half of her rent or something similar. Either work part- time and pay half of her rent or be working in an internship. I think my parents did me a disservice by expecting so little of me financially. I was pretty unprepared to enter the real world after I wore that cap and gown. I had never paid a bill or worked a real job. I took for granted what they were doing for me. I didn't appreciate the gift that they were giving me by paying for my education. After paying for my Master's degree on my own (thanks, Brian), I really appreciate not being burdened with loans from my Bachelors degree. I probably would not have my Master's degree today if I was still paying for my Bachelor's.

Just call me Master

7.01.2011

I finished my Master's degree. It's finally real now that I got my diploma, had a family party, paid off the loan, and started putting it to work by volunteering at a men's transitional home. I am anxious to get back to work. I felt so good after teaching my first class. I felt successful, productive, and competent. More than just the mom of a one year old and caretaker of a sick person. Being able to go back to work is one of the things I am looking forward to when we finally get stationed somewhere.

I hope that by finishing my Master's degree, I will be able to work less and make more. At least have more flexibility with my work. I hope it is an example to Eva that school is important (and expected of her). I hope I will be able to find work that is fulfilling for me and helpful to society. I hope I get a job that allows me to transfer when Brian gets re-stationed. I hope I find a job that allows me to still be able to be my daughter's mother and my husband's wife. First. Before the job. Crossing my fingers.
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