5 and 1

LS turned 1 year old in March and BG turned 5 years old a few days later. O. M. G. How time has flown!

When I started this blog almost 7 years ago, I knew one day I would be a Mom. I wasn’t sure how motherhood would manifest, because I was sick, having miscarriages, and then couldn’t get pregnant for about a year. But in my mind, I saw myself as a mother of a 5yr old.

And now, I’m really a mother to a 5yr old! Wow. Wow. Wow.

And bonus, also the mother to a 1yr old! We made it past the scary first year, where you’re just trying to keep them alive (and the world criticizes every decision you make).

I had not one, but TWO parties planned for the girls. One was Frozen II themed (because obviously BG is “Elsa” and LS is “Anna”). It was going to be at a Playground World, and it was for BG’s preschool classmates. I had a special table with balloons, pizza, and cupcakes planned. I bought the girls custom Elsa/Anna embroidered shirts with their names and ages on Etsy. It was going to be so cute! It was scheduled for a Monday afternoon after preschool. But the order for schools to shut down came that Friday before, and I had to make a choice about whether to have the party or postpone it–some people would have attended while others would have been more cautious. I decided to postpone the party, because it just didn’t feel right to have it.

The second party I had planned was a MUCH bigger deal. It was a mermaid themed party–a pool party–with a REAL mermaid! I could have bought a Louis Vuitton handbag for what I was spending on this party (FTR I don’t own designer handbags or apparel) because I just wanted it to be perfect! And I love event planning! I had matching mermaid swimsuits and cover-ups for the girls, 2 custom cakes, custom cake pops, custom cookies, and lots of candy for the dessert table. An etsy background full of glitter and sequins, a sequined table cloth, bejeweled cake and cookie displays, and a balloon arch. I had centerpieces for the tables, chargers and plates for place settings, and every table would have a full length tablecloth. It was going to be an event to remember. I mean, it still will be because I plan on hosting this party when it’s safe to do so…I just don’t know when that will be.

So naturally I was mometarily devastated when quarantine happened and my party plans were ruined. BG took it in stride and I was impressed.

Instead I made the party at home. I whipped out my sequin tablecloth and bejeweled cake stand. Blew up the balloon arch. And made the most extraordinary cake I’ve ever made. I wrapped all the presents and had everything set up so BG could be surprised when she woke up on her birthday. It turned out really nice and she LOVED it! We had a great day. I made sure she could talk to some of her friends over video chat. I let her eat whatever she wanted. We played dress up, we played outside (rode her new bike!) we blew bubbles, we decorated cupcakes, we ate WAY too much frosting, we sang happy birthday and opened her gifts. In retrospect, I was so busy planning the parties that I neglected to plan anything special on the actual days of the girls’ birthdays. It’s actually great that we got to celebrate at our house with just our family. From now on I’m going to plan a family celebration outside of the birthday party.

For LS’s birthday the week before we had made banana muffins and stuck a candle in one and sang happy birthday–she loves muffins and I don’t think it’s cute to give babies a bunch of sugar on their first birthday. She tried to grab the candle so I didn’t get any good pictures! I figured I would have more photo ops at the birthday parties. I had no idea at the time that quarantine would prevent our celebrations, because if I had known then I would have planned a more elaborate celebration at home. I feel kind of cheated about LS’s birthday. I want to make it up to her by throwing a big half birthday, if quarantine is letting up by then.

So as for the girls…

LS has grown so much! You’d never know that she had trouble gaining weight as a little baby, because she is now delightfully fleshy and robust! She’s still breastfeeding and drinking hypoallergenic formula, but she tolerates dairy now. She can eat a bit of cheese and milk and it doesn’t hurt her tummy or give her eczema and diaper rash. What a relief! She loves my homemade soups (chicken soup, beef stew) and Dr. Praeger’s littles. And oatmeal and muffins. She can drink out of any cup but she likes cups with soft straws. She can eat a squeeze pack by herself and feed herself bite sizes pieces. She waves, high fives, kisses, points when she wants something, sings, babbles, and tries to immitate things like putting on clothes or stirring a bowl. Her favorite person is her big sister ❤ She also loves our labrador and God bless Koa because he lets her “love” on him. We added a baby swing to our swingset and she enjoys that. Also enjoys walks in the stroller. Still loves being carried in the baby carrier too. But guys, she’s *almost* walking! She just needs to hold on to my finger. I looked at her waddling around the house today and realized…I have a toddler! She loves her stuffed animal lamb (lamby) that my sister gave her. In fact she loves to cuddle stuffed animals and it is sooooo pweshious. She likes: playing peek-a-boo, dancing, chasing her sister, cheesy puffs (mostly vegan ones), swinging, falling asleep on Daddy’s shoulder, our dog, balloons, bubbles, being carried, and most of all…she is *obsessed* with the tv remote. Dislikes: poopy diapers, being put down in her crib (she still mostly cosleeps with me), getting in the carseat, and *hates* having her hands and face wiped. She’s a curious and tenacious little kid, who likes to chew on cords and climb things. She has an incredible temper. But generally she’s pretty easygoing and very social. We all adore her! I can’t wait to learn more about her ❤

BG… well she’s growing up. Literally–this year she was the youngest kid in her class *but also* the tallest kid in her class, even taller than the boys. She’s beautiful, built like a ballet dancer with long blonde hair and blue eyes, an almond shaped face and a cleft chin. We compliment her but since we do not talk about how people look (we never say the words fat or skinny or ugly, or critique ourselves or anyone else) so she has no concept of how blessed she is in the looks department. She lost 3 bottom teeth when she was 4 (almost 5)! And she’s about to lose some top teeth. The tooth fairy was good to her, bringing her $2 bills, $1 gold coins, and 50 cent pieces. She likes running and I just bought her first official pair of running shoes. She likes playing soccer and we were gearing up for spring season, but covid-19 has halted that. She’s definitely athletic, which is something we have in-common.

But BG is her own person now. She loves color and glitter and sparkle and dresses and jewelry–she notices details. She has a WILD imagination! She has 2 imaginary dragons. She has a fairy door and fairy garden so her fairy can visit. She made us build a leprachan trap for St. Patricks day (spoiler: we didn’t catch one, whomp whomp). She’s at a very magical age and her head is “in the clouds” a lot (she takes after me). But she also surprises me with things she knows. Yesterday we were walking in the evening while it was still sunny outside, and she pointed and asked why the moon was out during the day. She writes her name, recognizes letters and numbers, knows some sight words, and she does addition and subtraction using her fingers (any math skills she posesses are compliments of Mr. MLACS). The other day she told me “I’m going to be a mommy AND a doctor” and I was like “YES! Do that!”. Guess I’d better start saving for medical school 😉 BG is a really great kid, but she has been difficult lately. Lots of tantrums, whining, pouting, arguing, begging, demanding, and general boundary pushing. I’d love to tell you that I keep my cool all the time but y’all know me and you know I’ll spin my head around and look at her with crazy eyes and hiss “WHAT did you just say to me?? You don’t talk to ME like that young lady!” I do intimidate her sometimes. And I know that is not the best way. I am trying to cultivate a child who has the self confidence to hold her own with even the biggest assh*le, while also teaching her not to test me because I am *the boss*. Her father is teaching her the art of sarcasm; she surprises me with her wit sometimes and makes me laugh. She is silly and goofy and loves to laugh! She’s really sweet and kind and thoughtful, with a heart of gold ❤ BG loves to make artwork for us and her friends. She’s very helpful with LS, plays with her and is never mean (though she does complain when she wants her space and I don’t blame her). She feeds the dog, puts dishes in the sink, puts clothes in the hamper, and throws away trash. She has a little broom and dust pan and she likes to help me sweep or wipe down tables.

BG LOOOOOVES BOOKS! Her favorite place is Barnes and Nobles, which I adore. We read books before bed and she will point out words she knows. This week she’s into the “Bunnicula” early reader books. BG also likes to “write”, and most especially she likes to make lists (scribbly lines) and check things off–she’s been doing that for years. BG also likes to talk, which is great but not ALL the time (I need a break). She’s been working on her speech/articulation this past year and it has dramatically improved, but she still has a long way to go. She gets frustrated easily and I dislike practicing with her–God bless her speech therapists. Kids who don’t know her often don’t understand her, and she looks 2 years older than she is–older girls have been especially mean to her and that enrages me. But I’ve taught her to ditch kids that are no fun to play with, and I encourage her to dismiss them. I hate mean girls.

BG is *obsessed* with stuffed animals and falls in love with each new one she acquires–doesn’t matter if it’s a build-a-bear or a dollar bin cheapie. She lets LS play with her stuffed animals and I’m quite impressed given how posessive she is–stuffed animals are her love language. BG also likes Frozen II (she has the castle and dolls), Barbie, and magnetic blocks–to name a few. But honestly, she enjoys chasing balloons, balls and bubbles more than playing with her toys. She also likes playing games on her tablet. And her guilty pleasure is watching cartoons on her tablet while she’s in the bathtub. She’s cuddly and would love to be cuddled next to me 24/7. She is perfection in my eyes. I really don’t know what I did to deserve BG, and I thank God that she’s mine ❤❤❤

In fact, I feel immeasureably blessed to be the mother of BG and LS. They are God’s gifts.

XOXO,

MLACS

Baby

LS is 10 months.

She’s pulling up on everything! We have this round wrought iron and glass pottery barn coffee table and we’ve covered the edges in pool noodles so as to prevent her from hitting her mouth or head on the hard edge. Now of course, she pulls them off at her leisure. She hasn’t learned how to sit down yet though, so when she gets tired of standing she’ll squeak for me to come get her. We placed a gate at the bottom of the main stairs–we didn’t have stairs when BG was little so this is new. We have a basement door that I have to watch like a hawk because the playroom is downstairs and BG sometimes (rarely) forgets to close the door. LS is a FAST little crawler! And she has a funny crawl she employs on the hardwood–I call it her “stanky leg” crawl. She is also super fast in her walker (I call it her “toodler”). I put her bouncer away because it takes up a fair amount of space and she wasn’t really into it. But we still have the swing up and it still saves my life sometimes when LS is impossible to deal with–it soothes her. She is loving her linkamals toys (interactive toys) and sings and claps along with them, or any music, really. If she’s standing and there’s music she’ll shake her tushy! She is now at an age where she can play with her sister and BG will engage her so she’ll chase BG from room-to-room. They really love each other and it’s really precious to see them forging a relationship independent of me.

LS is is eating solids now, but still mostly purees. Just this week I fed her more table food, including rice, guacamole, oatmeal, banana, egg and homemade chicken soup. I even got this wavy cutting tool and a new steamer so I can cut veggies and fruits and steam them to sort of try the BLW method…but I cut and steamed some pears and she *hated* them, so that was discouraging. I love the wavy cutting tool though and used it to cut veggies for my chicken soup.

LS is wiggly (moreso than BG ever was) but she is also very cuddly. We still breastfeed and sometimes I can tell she needs the cuddles more than the milk. It’s harder to give a second baby quality time, because BG’s school and activities rule our weekday schedule. And I started taking her to the gym, so that’s an hour of time away that we used to spend one-on-one. I have mom-guilt thinking I should soak up every second with her, but she does well in the gym daycare and it helps us both to have it as part of our routine.

Plus, I need the exercise. I’m in much better shape health-wise but my hormones have been shifting and my weight is not going down. It’s demoralizing, since I had lost some prior to Christmas and then gained it back over the holidays and now I’m “stuck” even though I’ve been working out 3-4 days per week. I haven’t restricted calories but I did drop refined sugar so you’d think I’d have seen some results. Nope. Ass still flabby and scale is not budging. I can tell it’s hormones–they’ve been so wacky that I have taken 3 pregnancy tests due to phantom pregnancy symptoms (side note, there is a vasectomy in Mr. MLACS’s future). I haven’t had a period since June 2018 so I have no idea WTF is going on here. But circling back to my weight, I think it has everything to do with the fact that I’m taking Domperidone to breastfeed. Everyone says it packs weight on them. I gained 10lbs–a lot of women report gaining 30+. A lot of women quit taking dom and breastfeeding because they feel awful about the weight gain. I mean, I hate it too but I am willing to deal with it in order to breastfeed LS until she’s at least a year old–so 2 more months. I would be ecstatic to breastfeed her longer but I have no idea if I’ll keep some supply or dry up as I wean off the dom. With BG, I was on half the dose I’m on now, and kept a decent supply after weaning–enough for a toddler who wouldn’t drink cows milk (BG never liked it. She only eats yogurt now, nothing else dairy). Nowadays I can *finally* eat cows milk and my breastmilk doesnt seem to hurt LS’s tummy (except occasionally) but I wouldn’t dare give her cows milk–and her formula is $$$.

My supply has already dwindled some recently, I think due to hormones, me trying to wean down by 1 pill, and not using the haakaa on my left boob. It saddens me, because I’m not ready to quit nursing. I’m not ready to stop cosleeping. LS is my last baby! I want time to stand still so I can soak up every cuddle, smile, giggle…her little face lights up when I tell her good morning in bed…watching her pull up on that coffee table and turn to me with a huge grin, delighted when I clap for her. Her little head nuzzled in my neck when she’s sleepy or when she missed me.

I’m planning a huge party for the girls as their birthdays are just a few days apart. I cannot believe BG is turning 5 years old! It seems only yesterday she was LS’s age. And holy crap I cannot believe LS is nearly 1 year old! This year flew by, with all the moving and transitioning to BG going to school and both our 40th birthdays, etc.

To be honest, I’m having a hard time. My anxiety is kicking and I feel like I need more time…more time to cuddle, more time to create the baby books I have been wanting to create, to finally choose which pictures to frame and actually hang them in this house with bare walls…to savor my babies and our precious family memories.

God, I love them SO much.

And who would have thought I’d have that second baby I dared to hope for…

XOXO,

MLACS

Happy Holidays

Hey guys! I hope everyone is enjoying the holiday season–but it’s totally ok if you’re not enjoying it, and hugs to you if you need ’em.

For me, it has been…what is the word I’m looking for…?

Intense.

I started my Christmas shopping for the girls way back in October. In fact, the bulk of my shopping was finished before Thanksgiving. I also planned events, such as The Polar Express train and The Nutcracker ballet well in advance–you have to plan in order to get good seats. I bought them matching Christmas jammies and matching Christmas dresses. I planned a “Christmas mini” photoshoot in jammies and pictures with Santa in the dresses. I took advantage of every photo and video op throughout the season–baking cookies, seeing Christmas lights, decorating the Christmas tree, opening presents, singing Jingle Bells–you name it, I got it. Our Christmas cards were outstanding this year. I take this all very seriously, because I want my girls to have memories of magical Christmases. I feel SO MUCH PRESSURE that I can hardly breathe sometimes (I literally hold my breath).

Why do I feel so much pressure? I think every Mom does. And then moreso for me because my kids don’t have much family–my sister is literally their only extended family because everyone else is either dead or defective. So I think I do a lot of this stuff to distract them…and myself…so they don’t notice or feel cheated that we have no extended family.

And so far so good–I’ve pulled off 4 magical Christmases for BG and one for LS.

This year was especially wonderful, because BG is at a “magical age” where she absolutely ADORES Santa and looks forward to visiting him and talks about him all season. You should have heard her scream when Santa made a surprise visit to her preschool–like a fan girl of a boy band! Besides Santa, BG really enjoys all the things we do during the holidays. She loves to help me bake, decorate the tree, etc. And this year I had her help me pick out toys to give to kids whose Mommies and Daddies didn’t have money to buy them for whatever reason, and she helped me wrap them too–giving away toys isn’t her favorite part of Christmas but I’m glad she understands that it’s the right thing to do–she’s such a sweet kid ❤

It was also wonderful holiday season because BG and LS have each other. I have had the privilege of watching their relationship grow and blossom now that LS is old enough (9 months) to interact with BG. They are so funny! BG plays hide & seek with LS, who gleefully crawls or toodles after BG in her walker. I love that they are interacting without my facilitating it–I just sit back and watch and listen and enjoy their banter. They are so blessed and fortunate to have one another, which I’ll always emphasize that to them.

One of the perks of being a SAHM is that I am able to attend all the events and parties at BG’s preschool. So far this year I did the Halloween party, the “Momsgiving Feast” (which I helped cook the day before), the Gingerbread and PJ’s day (we helped them roll/cut out/decorate cookies), and the Christmas Party–for which I even whipped out a hot glue gun and made a “jingle bell toss” game. I’m also on the school’s board and attend meetings once per month, so had to squeeze all that into the holidays as well. LS is like our class mascot because I have to bring her to every event. I just wear her facing outward in the Ergo360 baby carrier and she loves it–hardly makes a peep!

As stressed and overwhelmed as I’ve felt at times during the holidays, I enjoyed them. I got a great deal of satisfaction from completing each task, great and small. The sweetest reward is making the holiday season special for my kids–I love seeing Christmas through my childrens’ eyes–bright with wonderment.

On Christmas Eve BG hopped around in anticipation. She’s dramatic (noooo idea where she gets that from 😉) and she was fretting, saying “What if Santa doesn’t come?!” And I did my best to reassure her that she is an excellent kid–nobody is perfect–and reminded her that she and Santa had already talked so it’s basically a done deal. I think she really believed Santa was coming but she just enjoyed the suspense. She carefully laid out the cookies we made for him, the milk, the reindeer food, and a card she made–she was very serious about carrying out her vision in her quest to please Santa. She had a hard time getting to sleep that night, and I was worried that she’d wake up and catch us setting up her giant Frozen castle in the playroom. Luckily she didn’t wake up–we had also warned her that Santa ONLY comes if you’re asleep, so she had extra incentive to stay in bed.

A highlight of the season was when I took BG to see Frozen II. I bought her a new “Elsa” dress and we hyped it and counted down for weeks beforehand. The movie was actually not that great (way too bizarre for young kids IMO). But it was fun to look forward to. Another special thing was I found a Disney advent calendar (at Wal.mart of all places) that was a giant book that opened and contained 24 pockets, each with a mini book of a Disney movie. BG loved waking up each morning to open her book! And I think it was way cooler than opening a piece of chocolate. The calendar was a steal too–on sale for $5!

Santa brought the girls matching gifts–a large Frozen castle for BG and sleigh with character dolls, and a little people Frozen castle and sleigh for LS. It tickled me to see the matching Big girl/Little girl presents side-by-side! We gifted them all sorts of things–BG hasn’t even played with half of it yet. Props to Tar.get for carrying extended sizes in their Christmas jammies this year–I found a 4XLT for Mr. MLACS so we were all able to wear matching family pajamas on Christmas morning!

Mind you, I had intended for us to wear these jammies on The Polar Express train, but we didn’t get to go because…Mr. MLACS was shocked 2x by his defibrillator as he was leaving work on the night before we were supposed to go. He was instructed by his Cardiologist to go to the ER, so a coworker took him while I tried to stay calm and pretend like everything was ok at home. Mr. MLACS was stuck in the ER for almost 24hrs–it was a nightmare and he wasn’t fed, had to fight to get his meds, didn’t have his CPAP machine to get proper rest, and he couldn’t leave because the ER doc wouldn’t discharge him and there were no beds for him to be admitted so he was basically held prisoner in the ER. The Cardiologist apologized when he saw him the next day, because that was never his intent when he sent him to the ER–he just wanted to get bloodwork and a once-over. After that fiasco, Mr. MLACS needed to rest, I needed to calm my nerves and was in no shape to drive 2hrs to an unknown place to take this train ride, so I told BG that the train broke down and we couldn’t go. She was not pleased, but it didn’t ruin her Christmas. For the record, we still don’t know *why* Mr. MLACS has these dangerous arrhythmias and it’s terrifying every time he gets shocked and basically cheats death. His heartrate shot up to 400 bpm. I didn’t even know that was possible. Each time this happens I spiral into a depression worrying about Mr. MLACS dying, and it lasts about a week and then I yank up my bootstraps and claw my way out of it. But it sucks this had to happen 2 weeks before Christmas and…

Three days before my 40th birthday party. Yep. I turned 40. I’m definitely having some tremors of midlife crisis, but nothing full-blown. I had wanted to take our family to Europe, because it’s #1 on my bucket list, but it was just too much. LS would have had to get her MMR vaccination early and then they would want her to take it *again* just 4 months later at her 1yr visit and I’m all for vaccines but I was not comfortable double-dosing her. Plus I spent the last several months having a baby and I moved 2x so I did not have any time to plan a trip of this magnitude. Instead I made myself a party. I ordered flowers and charger plates, candles, cakes, etc. and it was a vision! I hosted (and paid for) a ladies brunch with the mom-friends I’ve made in our new home. It was a lot of time and money and I generally don’t make a fuss over my birthday, but it was my *40th* and I knew I would regret it if I didn’t mark the occassion. I really wished more of my oldest and dearest friends could have been there, but I get that asking people to do things during the holidays is a crapshoot. The newer friends who did join me were quality and I appreciated their company. And one of my girlfriends–my younger “hanai” sister from Hawaii–did fly out and spend the weekend with my family, which was lovely.

So you see… I am filled with gratitude that my kids–my family–had a magical holiday season. That we are all happy and (mostly) healthy. Gratitude that we are so blessed to be able to give our kids everything we want for them to have, and still have enough to be able to give to other families in need.

I’m wishing all of you a Happy New Year! Here’s hoping that 2020 fulfills all of it’s potential.

XOXO,

MLACS

It’s Been Awhile

Hey guys, I’m still here.

I just haven’t known what to say and I’ve been busy, of course, with the new house and 2 kids.

BG started preschool again in September, so that has been an adjustment as she now goes 5 mornings per week. She also has speech therapy 1-2 times per week–she has worked on P, T, and now F sounds. It drives me nuts that BG also says “her” instead of “she” as in “Her went to the park”. But ya know, at least she takes direction now whereas at first she would shut down when anybody tried to work with her. She’s trying her best and I’m proud of her–we’ll get there, but it’s going to take time and effort.

As far as school goes, it’s been a challenge. There are only 4 girls in her class and they paired off from the first day. The girl BG paired with is bossy and mean, but she can also be very sweet–sort of Jekyll and Hyde–she’s very moody. BG was having a hard time dealing with this girl and it was making her unhappy about school, so I talked to the teacher. I was relieved that the teacher is aware of the unhealthy dynamic and has addressed it by seating BG and this girl apart, and encouraging all 4 girls to play together. I just want to protect my baby, but the teacher made a valid point–she is learning to stand up for herself and assert her boundaries and that is an important skill. I just didnt think she’d have to learn it at 4 years old. And this girl isn’t the only moody and hot/cold little girlfriend BG has, there’s another one whose mother I adore–this mom always includes BG in playtime plans and says her daughter is “SO excited to see BG!” But then BG will come home and tell me the girl wouldn’t play with her, and indeed, I have seen this kid’s ‘ice queen’ act. There’s one other girl whose Mom I adore but her daughter was SO horrendous that now BG always checks with me to make sure this girl isn’t invited to any future playdates or outings.

I’m shocked at how rude a lot of the kids here are–in the South kids would be called by all 3 of their middle names and threatened with consequences for misbehaving. But here in the Northeast (and we live in a privileged area so *entitlement*) parents do not make their kids say please and thank you, they do not have to answer when they are spoken to by an adult, and they have bad attitudes–they are rude. It’s baffling to me because their parents don’t seem rude or disingenuous, but the kids are assh*les–where do they get it from???

I’ve been trying to make Mom friends, and it’s not easy. I took for granted the socialization I had with the dance moms when BG took ballet and tap last winter. She was not that into it because her teacher was no fun and I haven’t found her a new studio to try. I definitely feel a void without our Thursday ballet class, where I socialized with the moms–I liked them. I’ve kept in touch with my favorites but we are all running different directions with our kids and they all have their own groups of friends because they are established here, whereas I am not.

I joined a group of new moms with infants LS’s age, but I am too OLD for their group! They basically live to dress up themselves and their babies and go to trendy places and come up with witty hashtags for the photos they take. They are all emotionally unstable and slightly narcissistic. Apparently, these are the cliché millennial types that the boomers are b*itching about–and I get it because they seriously lack integrity. They mean well though. But we mutually ‘unfollowed’ each other across social media platforms so *I think* that means we’re going our separate ways. Whatever.

Despite the fact that we are not hashtagging our days away, LS is doing very well! She’s got her 2 bottom teeth and is working on the top 2 now. She started baby food (purees) and loves it–we have not done any kind of grains or meat yet, just fruits and veggies. She’s still breastfeeding, I pump a few ounces a day and she gets a few ounces of hypoallergenic formula. She still has CMPA (cows milk protein allergy) which means I can’t eat dairy, except she tolerates when I eat butter. LS is learning to crawl, she babbles and claps her hands and bounces to music (loves The Itsy Bitsy Spider), she’ll give sloppy drooly kisses, loves to pet our dog and most of all she is crazy about her big sister ❤ She’s really a happy little baby, though she does not like to be put down for long. Oh! And as for her growth she has gone from the 3rd percentile in weight to now the 50th! She is 96th percentile for height. Once I figured out she has CMPA (no thanks to the ignorant pediatrician I fired) and found the right hypoallergenic formula, her growth exploded and she has been gaining well for the past few months. A year ago I couldn’t imagine loving another baby as much as I love BG, and now I cant imagine our family without LS–she is so precious.

I had joined this really nice gym when LS was all of 7 weeks old, thinking I was going to get back in shape and make friends and leave my 2 month old infant in gym daycare. I *must* have been high on some postpartum hormones because that was *totally* unrealistic and did not happen. Instead I wasted $300/month on a gym membership we hardly used and I never took LS there, I left her with Mr. MLACS. Then in the beginning of August I sprained my f*ing ankle SO bad I could barely walk for weeks and now I’m seeing a doc and having an MRI because it hasn’t healed properly. Now that BG is 8 months old, my ankle is “do-able” and I’m approaching my 40th birthday, I felt ready to return to the gym and I started back 2 weeks ago. LS has not loved gym daycare, but she did have 1 good day. Then both my kids got sick (a virus Mr. MLACS brought home–I got it too and was miserable) and I only went 1 day last week. So frustrating! But I’m not giving up–I need to take care of myself and all I’m asking for is 3 hours per week!

Mr. MLACS’s work is having a very swanky holiday party at an NFL stadium and I have been waiting for an occasion to get dressed up, so I decided to have one of the postpartum doulas that helped care for BG come and babysit the girls so we can go to this event. I’m nervous because the event is a 30min drive from our house in the burbs, but I do trust that this sitter can handle both kids and calm and entertain the baby for at least 3 hours while we try to do an adult thing. Just yesterday I went shopping and found a beautiful floor-length dress embellished with sequins, and shoes to match. I wouldnt let the fact that I’m chubby and out-of-shape ruin my shopping experience–I dutifully shimmied into my full body spanx in the dressing room and tried on my *actual size* (US 14) and did not waste any time trying on the size I wish I was (US 10). I will do my best to make it to the gym (as long as LS cooperates) and to eat sensibly but whether or not I lose 10lbs I am going to feel good about myself.

For my 40th birthday I’m planning a ladies brunch. It’s been a real PIA because all venues are booked around Christmas and plenty dont even want to entertain a private party. Also trying to get busy moms to take part of a pre-holiday weekend to drive 30min to the city to celebrate my birthday is kind of asking a lot–I dont even know them that well. I am paying for everything but I’m not sure they understand that brunch is on me and how pathetic would it be for me to say “Pleeeease come because I’m buying your brunch!” A couple of my old girlfriends are talking about coming for the weekend but one cant make it to the brunch and would have to come later. So it will be nice but stressful as I’m trying to get people to RSVP and have to order the decor, floral arrangements and cake. I had hoped that Mr. MLACS would do something grand for my 40th birthday, but at this point I’m not expecting much and I am disappointed in him. I organized and paid for an awesome party for his 40th! I even surprised him and had a friend fly in! In fact I’ve given him several great Birthday parties. He can barely come up with a card and cake for me. And this year, I’m mad about it. He’s not even paying for the party–I am.

In fact I’m super over Mr. MLACS’s BS lately. He’s been an egotistical jerk and Im sick of his attitude. I finally told him the other night that Im ready to move back to my hometown once this project is over and he can go on to the next one by himself–and I meant it. He doesnt appreciate how hard it is to start over in a new place and how much WORK this move has been for me. I’m legit over this lifestyle and him being a dick is making it real easy for me to jump ship. I wouldn’t divorce him, but I’d happily take a break from his punk ass and let him remember what life is like when I’m not around. Moving home would provide stability for myself and my kids in a place where I have lots of people I love and trust. A place where I know some nice kids for my kids to play with who aren’t mean entitled little assh*les.

There’s so much I want to do with my life, but since we move so much I am always scrambling to make a life and I dont have time or headspace to write books or plan that trip to Europe. I want peace and calm. I want to set my intentions for these next 40+ years I may have left on this earth. I want to be passionate about life! I’m trying to light my own fire. It’s hard to be passionate when you are exhausted and scrambling to take care of everyone and everything. Case-in-point, I have managed to plan *yet another* magical Christmas. BG’s big gift will be the Frozen 2 castle, and I got LS the Little People version of the castle, which I think it is adorable that they get matching castles! BG is super into fairies–in fact I got her a fairy door and mailbox and she wants to write to her fairy *every day* but her fairy (me) cannot keep up and is only able to respond 1-2x per week. So she’s getting fairy gardens/houses. LS is getting some of those fisher price linkamals, the ‘smart toys’ that communicate–we already have the llama. I bought our entire family matching Christmas jammies (thanks to target for carrying sizes in mens big & tall) and I’ve booked us premium seats on the Polar Express train. As per usual, we’re going to see The Nutcracker ballet, and I’ve bought the girls special Christmas outfits. I’m also planning a Frozen 2 playdate before Christmas and I have already purchased tickets to take BG on a mommy/daughter date to see the movie next weekend. So you see, I’ve been busy doing this crazy mom-hustle–this is just the tip of the iceberg–there are preschool board meetings, doctors and dentist appointments, playdates, soccer practices, field trips, grocery trips, and everything in between…I love it, truly I do…but that doesnt make it easier–it just makes it worth it ❤

XOXO,

MLACS

Summer’s End

I didn’t get into a swimsuit one single time this summer, and I’m kind of counting that as a “win” because my postpartum body is droopy from pregnancy and also fluffy from taking domperidone to breastfeed. I’m sore and tired and I do not feel like my usual sporty/athletic self. The weather in the northeastern United States is another reason I never donned a swimsuit–the water wasn’t warm enough to swim until mid-June and even then it was frigid. It rained all through July. And now it’s the end of August and temperatures have dropped considerably to low-70’s during the day and mid-50’s at night. I like the weather, but this is new to me. I’ve lived in the midwest, the deep south, the the southwest–all way warmer during the summer.

We just took a “vacation” to my hometown in the midwest. It was mainly for my sister’s wedding–which I was apprehensive about because of all the drama between us–but it was lovely! The girls were both flower girls and they wore matching dresses (thanks etsy) and looked absolutely precious! BG walked down the aisle tossing rose petals alongside the ring bearer, while Mr. MLACS walked behind them carrying LS. It was funny because BG and LS had matching flower crowns but LS was not having it–so Mr. MLACS wore her flower crown! Lol. We totally asked my sister (the bride) if she wanted him to wear the crown and she laughed and agreed it was a cute/funny idea. I walked her down the aisle, since both our parents are deceased. I didn’t think much about it…about our parents not being there. I assume that is because it’s too overwhelming and sad to think of how things used to be and how they might have been, if only they were still alive. Everyone else cried though.

BG LOVED being a flower girl and had a ball dancing the night away with the other little girls who attended as guests–she loved every minute of it and didn’t even sit down to eat cake! BG also adores my sister and followed her around like a lost puppy, crying when my sister had to ditch her to go take pictures and smoke cigarettes outside. I hate that she smokes like a chimney and that her smoking keeps her from bonding with my girls. And because I know I’m going to lose my only sister–my only sibling–to cancer or lung disease. She has been chain smoking since she was 12 and she is turning 38 years old today. I try not to think about her dying because it breaks my heart. I was happy to celebrate her wedding…and to know that she has someone to love and care for her if/when she becomes terminally ill…of course I will be by her side but I have kids and my own problems so it’s best that she has someone devoted only to her. I WISH she would quit smoking! She could quit and turn her life around! But I don’t think she will. It is so hard for me to accept, but I try. And I love her no matter what.

The rest of vacation was spent visiting friends and dealing with my inherited rental properties/property manager (this was a business trip, dontchaknow). I have spent, hell, probably $50k on these freaking POS houses this year. Finally they are all rented and with better quality tenants than the ones who defected, but they still need work! I’m so OVER it and have considered selling them, but apparently low income rental properties are THE thing right now so I suppose I’ll hold onto them unless/until I figure out a better way to invest my money.

BG will be off to pre-K next week! It’s starting to hit me how fast she is growing up and how few “magical” years I have left with her. LS is nearly 6 months old! It’s been a tough year with all the moving–it was this time last year that things went sideways with Mr. MLACS’s job in the deep south and we were working on striking a deal with his current employer. I was freaking out wondering if all this stress was going to kill him. This time last year I was just barely out of the first trimester, during which I was super sick. I did NOT want to move away from our gorgeous house and good friends.

A year ago I couldn’t even imagine how much things would change–moving twice–selling a house in one state, buying a house in another, and in-between houses I gave birth and brought my baby home to a rental house!

I’m still sad and conflicted about laying Kitty to rest–a year ago I did not imagine he would be gone *pause for tears of grief*. BG talks about him all the time now and I feel horribly guilty and sad every time I think of him.

A year ago I was still living in the deep south and taking BG to the pool and splash pads, not knowing if or when we were moving. I had a gut feeling that everything was about to change, and I was panicked.

I wish I could go back in time and tell myself to take it all in stride, that things were going to be ok and that I should stay present in the moment instead of worrying about the future. I feel like I have lost precious time with BG because of all the stressing and worrying I’ve done this past year. But bless her, she is still a happy, healthy, precious little kid despite my neurosis. And LS seems no worse for the wear, either.

Now summer is over. We are moved. My baby is laying next to me nursing. My BG is watching cartoons and playing quietly downstairs. Maybe I can just relax and live in the moment for awhile…? Not reliving Mr. MLACS’s cardiac arrest. Not planning my sister’s funeral. Just, breathe and soak in the goodness of all the little things, most especially, my babies.

I may be wearing full-body spanx and LS is swathed in tulle but regardless, I nurse on-demand anytime and anywhere!

XOXO,

MLACS

Love and Loss and The Space In-Between

Kitty had been my constant companion for 10 years. And yesterday he died, cradled in my arms as I told him I loved him, that he was important, and that I’m so very, very sorry.

He died with my consent. And I hate myself for it. Because I didn’t do it because it was best for him. I did it because I am overwhelmed and felt incapable of dealing with his inappropriate urination. I did it because I am “touched out” by having constant human contact with my young children and when I have 5 minutes to myself I didn’t want to be touched, but he would insist, and instead of feeling loved I felt used. I did it because we had grown apart–I have a family now–but he wanted things to stay the way they were when there was no husband, no dog, no preschooler and no baby. He was stressed and unhappy, so he pee’d on my family’s belongings. I was physically and mentally incapable of giving him the love and attention he received when it was *just us* and I grew to resent him.

It was me, not him. My fault. Not his. My inadequacy. My postpartum mood disorder. My heart that was not big enough.

The inappropriate urination started over a year ago. He was pee’ing on the dog bed. We thought it was the dog and crated our poor innocent labrador. Until one evening Kitty did it in front of Mr. MLACS–he was furious. I was angry but stuck up for Kitty. Took him to be examined by the vet and he did have a UTI, which we treated. He was still pee’ing on the dog bed, but less. I took him to be re-examined, and the infection was gone. It was then that the vet informed me that stress can cause UTI’s in cats. She gave me “kitty prozac” (Amitriptyline), which we tried but it made him seem drugged so I stopped using it. I didn’t know what had stressed him out as no particular event had happened. I also wasn’t sure why he was targeting the dog bed, but it seemed mean and unfair to our dog.

Then I became pregnant with LS, and I was very sick and he was very on-top of me, which felt suffocating to me. I was stressed because Mr. MLACS’s job was toxic and we needed to find a better situation. Then when Mr. MLACS found a new job and it required us to move, I had the stress of orchestrating the move while pregnant, while my husband was working several states away, while his crazy toxic boss lived across the street, while trying to stay calm for my preschooler, while trying to make a magical Christmas for her amidst the chaos. Then there was this cat, clawing up my front door when I needed to sell this house, eating my flowers so I had to keep them in a place I couldn’t see them, pee’ing on the dog bed (creating tension with my spouse) and meowing waking my kid up when he wanted to eat. I was so sick of his sh*t. Couldn’t he see how hard I was trying? He didn’t care.

Kitty wasn’t really interested in anyone else but me. He and Mr. MLACS got along ok until he started pee’ing, but Mr. MLACS was angry and Kitty took to avoiding him. Kitty never really bonded with BG and that is my fault, because I had very bad PPA/PPD and kept Kitty (and everyone) at arms length for the first year. So it was just me that he wanted. Only me.

Things hit the fan when we moved from the deep south to the far north this past winter. I was in my third trimester and struggling to settle the new place–a rental that did not feel like home–while also trying to settle my preschooler and find her school/activities/friends so she didn’t feel so lost (and she was highly emotional). I was sick All. Winter. Long. And on top of all that, Kitty was pee’ing inappropriately and hiding. I felt such contempt for him. We started giving him prozac every day, and he calmed down. But things were never the same. Mr. MLACS hated him and blamed me as well. I was tired of the tension in my household. I was just so f*cking tired. Exhausted mentally, physically and emotionally. My toddler insisted on sleeping with me, my 9 month pregnant body hurt and I was getting up to pee and/or vomit several times per night. Kitty tried to sleep next to me and when I would try to move him away he would fight me. That made me SO angry–I needed just a shred of personal space, and he didn’t care.

Then I had my baby, and closed the bedroom door. I was bed sharing and didn’t trust Kitty not to lay on her and smother her because she was in “his spot” next to me. I hated keeping the door closed because it made me feel closed off from the rest of my family. BG was used to bed sharing with me and she was very upset that things changed when the baby came, and I wanted to keep my door open for her, but couldn’t. Kitty was obnoxious. He would howl outside the door and wake us up. The moment I opened the door he would run under the bed and hide there all day until Mr. MLACS chased him out at bedtime. I had to keep bedroom doors, closet doors, all doors shut for fear of Kitty pee’ing. Kitty was skiddish and would only make himself known to yowl at me if his breakfast was late. It was not a good situation for any of us. But I kept hoping things would get better somehow.

They didn’t.

We bought a new house and we moved, and Kitty escalated.

So I talked to our new vet here. She said Kitty was not happy and would probably be better off not living with us. I started writing to pet rescues and shelters. He’s a beautiful cat! Very loving! Playful! Just has his teeth deep cleaned to the tune of several hundred dollars! He just…pee’s inappropriately because he needs an owner to be mutually obsessed with him and I’m not that person anymore…

I didn’t hear back from anyone. I didn’t have time or energy to follow up because *moving* for the 2nd time in 6 months with a small child and infant was more than I could handle. Plus my milk supply tanked from the stress so I had to worry about feeding my baby. And BG has had summer camp daily and speech therapy 2x per week. I have been feeling like I am drowning. Not showering, not taking care of myself. Kitty was so far down on my list.

For his part, Mr. MLACS had been banging around and yelling about throwing the cat outside or even shooting him, but when I told him I was looking into shelters he backpedaled and said “But he’s family, we couldn’t do that”. Which felt very unfair to me–so we should keep him on principal and you’ll continue being a dick to me and the cat when things go wrong?? But then Mr. MLACS also stepped up and has been feeding kitty 2x per day and crushing up the prozac and mixing it into his dinner food and scooping the litterbox.

However, with the last incident Mr. MLACS locked him up in the basement bathroom. And I just said “Ok”. I didn’t fight. Normally my stomach is in knots when Mr. MLACS informs me of Kitty’s bad behavior and consequences. But this time I just felt…nothing. He stayed there for a week and I never visited him (Mr. MLACS continued to care for him). I don’t know what was wrong with me but my emotion for him was just shut down. I know it is at least partially postpartum mood disorder on top of moving and struggling to parent 2 small kids 24/7. My nerves were just shot. Mr. MLACS was shocked and I believe disturbed that I didn’t take up for Kitty the way I always had. Completely out of character for me. I am fiercely loyal. But apparently, I have limits and Kitty had reached them. I spoke to the vet pleading for a solution and she offered humane euthanasia.

I broached the topic of humane euthanasia with Mr. MLACS and he said absolutely not! He went out and bought Kitty a new cat tree, came home and let him out of the bathroom. And Kitty ran to me. Meowing. Rubbing all over me. I just wanted nothing to do with him. I petted him out of obligation.

That was Friday. The next day I saw Kitty basking in the warmth of the sun, looking content, and I felt happy for him. I saw a glimmer of hope.

On Sunday I woke up and Mr. MLACS said “He did it again”. He had pee’d on BG’s teepee again.

And that’s when I knew he had to go. I couldn’t live with him anymore.

I thought “This must be what it feels like to fall out of love and want a divorce”. I never understood how a person could betray someone who loved them and was loyal to them. But here I was, feeling trapped in a life with this cat. I wanted to see him happy with someone else. Not me.

I tried to re-home him with people I know. Shelters didn’t answer their phones. But then I had an epiphany…he would never be happy at a shelter anyway. Would I want him to live like that? No. Could I put him outside? No. We live next to a busy street. I would never want him to die alone and in pain by being hit by a car.

I didn’t want to euthanize him, but I felt I had no other option.

I thought “I feel trapped and powerless in this situation, even though I have a choice. This must be how abused women feel in their relationships”. I had always judged and never understood.

It appeared that I had a choice–to love and accept him as he was, or to euthanize him. But it was not that simple–I have a family. My family deserves to live in a peaceful house. The tension of waiting for Kitty’s next episode and the inevitable fallout was hurting us all–especially Kitty.

I had the vet over and she assured me euthanasia was the right thing to do to spare Kitty undue stress and a potentially cruel end to his life. She also validated that I had put forth a sufficient amount of effort and suffered enough myself on Kitty’s behalf. She could see how much I’m struggling in this season of life–with my decision– and she had compassion for me.

I did not want to be make this decision. I felt guilty and ashamed. Yet, I knew that things couldn’t go on this way, with my entire household suffering.

I had to put an end to to it. And it seemed my only choice was to end Kitty’s life, in the most gentle and dignified way.

I scheduled Kitty’s euthanasia for the next day. I spent the rest of the day feeling like I was in the twilight zone…How had it come to this? Was I really doing this? How could I?

Each night after the kids are asleep I sneak downstairs to pump milk for LS and do chores such as washing bottles/pump parts, dishes, and laundry. I thought I should go be with Kitty, but couldn’t bring myself to do it–to stir up both our emotions. Instead, I clung to my routine. I was alone with my thoughts for the first time that day, and suddenly I was overwhelmed with grief. Sobbing over my sink.

I didn’t sleep much that night.

I begrudgingly awoke and stumbled through the day feeling anxious and tense. I needed mental and physical space but got none, because I was laboring to calm and soothe a cranky teething baby and to service a demanding preschooler. I was also sleep-deprived and in pain, hobbling around on a sprained ankle while struggling to run my household.

The vet couldn’t come while BG was at summer camp in the morning, so I had asked Mr. MLACS to leave work early and take both girls out of the house. Late in the afternoon it suddenly occurred to me that I might want to prepare…what would I wear? I would probably never want to look at those clothes again afterwards. I was going to wear some old sweats, but then I saw my pink fuzzy bathrobe and I knew that was it–I would cuddle myself and also cuddle Kitty in my fluffy robe. I wasn’t hungry but I made myself eat an early dinner of leftover thai food (my go-to comfort food) because I’m breastfeeding and mourning cannot include skipping meals. I had sort of hoped Mr. MLACS would come home early enough that I could go spend time with Kitty before the vet arrived, but he came home just in time to load the girls and leave. We didn’t tell BG what was going on. I didn’t see any good coming from that.

The vet arrived and I cried as I handed her my debit card to cover the expense of Kitty’s euthanasia and cremation. I find dealing with money for services when someone dies feels unnatural, especially in this case–I was paying her to end my cat’s life.

I decided there needed to be music, and fumbled with our tv until I found a soft jazz station. Then when there was no more time to waste, I shoved a bunch of Kleenex in the pockets of my fuzzy pink bathrobe and led the vet downstairs to the bathroom. I opened the door and he meowed from under the sink. He loves women so he immediately started rubbing on the vet’s leg. She petted him, and I kept hoping she’d say she would keep him and that we didn’t have to do this.

Instead, she gave Kitty a shot of sedative. When he seemed woozy I scooped him into my arms and cradled him like a baby, stroking him and kissing him like old times. My tears fell like rain onto his fur. We moved into the playroom. I had to sign a waiver and then I nodded that the doc could begin. She quickly shaved a spot of the fur on his paw, inserted and IV, and gave him the injection.

I sat on the couch, rocking him. Through sobs I said to him that I loved him, that he was a good cat, that he was important, that I would never forget him, that I was sorry I had not loved him better–the way he deserved. I said to the vet “If only I could just hold him like this all the time, maybe he wouldn’t act the way he does”, and she gently said “But you can’t”.

She asked me if I wanted to keep a tuft of his fur, and my genuine reply was “I’ve lost so many people–both my parents and all of my grandparents–and physical things don’t matter. All we really have are our memories.” She nodded.

She placed Kitty in a blanket, offered her condolences and left.

I collapsed on the couch and aching sobs arose from my soul.

I hadn’t cried this hard about either of my parents. But this was different…

Kitty loved only me. He was my first baby–my son. He came at a time when I needed him most, just after my Mom died. He was a gift from God.

And then it dawned on me…

Jesus was a gift from God–his only son. He gave only love, and yet he was treated poorly and killed. Now I know my cat is not Jesus, but when I drew this parallel I felt closer to God.

I realize how flawed I am as a human being–that I couldn’t make room in my heart and my household to love Kitty better and that I ended his life. That when tested, I have limits.

I realize how many times I’ve judged people, but this experience has humbled me.

I know I had to do this. It was part of God’s plan for me to bear this burden, learn and grow from it. Kitty’s life and death was not in vain.

But when Mr. MLACS says “It was the right thing to do”, I beg to differ. It wasn’t “right”.

I have to ask God and Kitty for forgiveness and seek redemption.

RIP Kitty Mow. I love you. I’m sorry.

XOXO,

MLACS

#momlife

I just checked and saw my last post was May 7th, so I’m way overdue for an update. Life has been crazy though so bullet points:

1. BG’s preschool ended their year on May 20th–not sure why they stopped so early and I certainly wasn’t prepared for that! Summer camps didn’t even start until June so she was home with me and LS, bored out of her mind and acting obnoxious. About the time we found some semblance of a new routine, summer camps started. Uhg.

2. BG’s preschool “graduates” each class, so BG had a full-on graduation with cap and gown, performances, speeches, etc. It was adorable but IMHO *a bit much* considering she’ll be returning to preschool for pre-k in the fall. However, when they announced what each kid wanted to be when they grow up, all the girls said “veterinarian” or “ballerina”. But BG said she wants to “Be a Mommy and do all the things that Mommies do and have just one baby named LS”. And I was absolutely stunned. I feel completely unworthy of her admiration and in that moment I realized my self esteem is pretty low right now because of how much I’ve been struggling with being a mother of 2 and all the chaos in my life (my business, moving, etc.) But it’s humbling and precious that my BG thinks so highly of me ❤

3. I threw Mr. MLACS a wonderful 40th birthday party at a restaurant and it went off without a hitch! I even managed to keep the secret that a friend of his/ours was flying in for the occassion! The colors were black and gold and the theme was “Cheers and Beers to 40 Years!” I had custom cookies made and this giant cake that must’ve weighed 40lbs (gluten-free so I could eat some too). I’m obviously very proud of myself for pulling this off (pats self on back). *pic of cake*

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4. I had to quit eating dairy as every time I would eat cheese/ice cream/etc. and nurse LS she would be writhing in pain. It worked and she stopped needing gas drops/zantac/etc. But *good grief* quitting dairy is SO difficult! For me quitting dairy has been far more difficult than being gluten-free. I also was making/expressing more milk and stopped supplementing with similac sensitive since it’s dairy-based. I hoped it would help LS gain more weight.

5. But NOPE. LS fell a little behind again ftom 2 months to 3 months (a couple ounces short of a pound in a months time–9.4lbs to 10.2lbs). I *dread* going to the pediatrician’s office since they hospitalized her for “failure to thrive” and this time they told me to quit supplementing with my milk and give LS Alimentum formula instead. This is BAD advice and I knew it would ruin my breastfeeding if I did that. The doc even suggested I might want to give up breastfeeding in favor of formula. The Alimentum turned out to have a disgusting odor and LS gagged on it, plus the ingredients are horrific. So I finally made an appointment with a lactation consultant that is affiliated witha different pediatric practice and am happy to report they helped me, I felt comfortable/understood/supported there and we are officially switching to this new breastfeeding-friendly peds office. I also discovered a hypoallergenic formula from Germany called HIPP HA and am happy to report that LS tolerates it well–she only needs 2-4oz per day and I have continued to supplement 6-8oz of my milk (I collect my letdowns on my left breast with the haakaa pump–she hates to nurse that side). When I fed her off my right breast she took in 2.5oz in maybe 10min so I’m making enough milk. She’s a hardgainer, as was BG. But despite difficulty gaining weight, LS is healthy and growing/meeting milestones. She poops 5x or more each day and pee’s a lot. I really feel that this is her “normal”, but feeding her/her weight gain is a constant stressor for me regardless.

6. BG had her first dance recital at the beginning of June! She did a tap number and a ballet number (so two expensive costumes to buy but they were adorable). I have waited my entire life for this (seeing my child in a dance recital) and it didn’t disappoint. *However* I was put out because the school demanded the girls rehearse for 2+ hours a day the week prior to the recital. It was WAY too much for 3-5yr olds and also for the parents and siblings who had to attend (myself and LS included). It totally messed up our schedule and it was *pointless* because the girls still didn’t know their tap routine (the other class with the other teacher knew theirs so…) and their ballet number was basically being props for the older kids and had no actual ballet moves. It was a crock of sh*t. I don’t think we’ll bother with this dance school for next season. Also BG is doing soccer and has expressed an interest in karate so we’ll focus on those for now. *pic of darling little ballerinas lining up for stage*

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7. We closed on our new house the end of May and I’ve been orchestrating renovations–people kept telling me how nuts I am for adding renovations to our plate when we already have so much going on and I shrugged because how hard can it be? I’m hiring people to do 90% of it and the 10% left is hanging new light fixturesb painting furniture, etc. Well…they were right. I am nuts. This sh*t is hard–dealing with the contractors has been tedious. And expensive. I’m really done writing checks for awhile. But it is looking fabulous! Moving day is this Friday! I’m not even packing. It’s literally getting tossed on the moving truck and moved 5min away. Screw it. *Pic of new chandelier in my foyer that I love*

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8. I’m *trying* to take care of myself. You know that swanky gym membership I mentioned? I haven’t been in 3 weeks. Too busy & not ready to take the baby to daycare–she screams even when Mr. MLACS hold her lately–wants *me* all the time. I love holding her but I cannot get anything done. I’m skipping showers. But I did step away to get waxed and have my hair done, which made me feel better. I can’t lose weight because of the herbs/drugs (domperidone) I’m taking for breastfeeding and that is VERY frustrating. I want to feel like myself again, and put together not sloppy. I just don’t have the time or headspace for “self care” right now.

9. BG has started speech therapy 2x week because of “articulation”–she leaves off/mumbles/substitutes the sound at the beginning/ending of words. She doesn’t do b/c/d/f/g/j/k/p/t/w and maybe some others. I’m supposed to work with her on it and that is a chore because she haaaates practicing. It’s a fight. But she needs this–she is 4yrs old and she is so tall that she looks 6 or 7 but her speech makes her sound 3yrs old. I had speech for 6 years so I get it–I wasn’t as bad off as her though, I had a lateral lisp and struggles with s/sh/ch/j sounds.

Ok that’s all for now, gotta pop LS off the boob and go pick BG up from camp.

XOXO,

MLACS

 

Wife, Mom, Boss

That’s what the coffee cup says that Mr. MLACS bought for me in the hospital gift shop when…

My baby LS was admitted to the hospital for “failure to thrive”.

It’s been a tough couple of months. But I’ve survived to tell the tale.

Lets rewind.

To begin, LS was diagnosed with a tongue-tie straight away, and we saw a pediatric ENT when she was 4 days old to have her frenulotomy. I was a *basket case* because they were going to have to hurt my baby and it sent my anxiety and emotions into hyperdrive. But I know we have no choice but to fix it for her sake as well as mine–my poor nipples were already severely injured from her inability to latch properly. I had an undiagnosed tongue tie and my mother had to quit breastfeeding me after a severe case of mastitis and I was in speech therapy for 6 f*ing years for a lateral lisp. My tongue tie was only discovered at age 18 when I went to have my tonsils removed. I knew I had to fix it for LS now and spare her what I went through. BG had her frenulotomy  at 10 weeks old (hers went undiagnosed even under the weekly care of a lactation consultant) after my nipples were in ruins and my supply was dwindling so I knew it was only going to get worse. But every fiber of my being felt dread and guilt at the thought of my poor tiny baby being mutilated.

And it was truly awful.

I stayed in the exam room with BG and sent Mr. MLACS to be with LS during the procedure because I couldn’t stomach it. Then afterwards they were to bring her straight to me to breastfeed her. They brought her in…

Blood was streaming out of her mouth

I was shocked and petrified. I started to have a panic attack but snapped out of it. I yelled at Mr. MLACS to remove BG from the exam room because I did not want her to see LS or myself like this. I had the nurse wipe away the blood and stuck my boob in her mouth. And I just sat there shaking and nursing her until I was sure she was ok.

This really messed me up.

But it was the right decision because my nipples quickly healed and my suplly was WAY better than it was with BG–I would put a towel in my bra at night and soak it by morning! I was so pleased.

And then we went to LS’s one month appointment and she was still 5oz below her birth weight.

Mind you, since we just moved I dont really know this pediatrician, and she doesnt know what I went through with BG. But BG was *the exact same*. Failed to gain weight between weeks 3-4 and docs freaked out. Both are loooong skinny babies and hardgainers. So the pediatrician flipped out and sent us to the hospital. On the 1% chance there was some underlying health issue. I had to scramble for childcare for BG–we have no family here and I hardly know anyone so I paid our “sibling doula” $25/hr for 11 hours which is $275 while Mr. MLACS took me and LS to the childrens hospital *45min away*. I had to take my tiny infant through the ER (GERMS). She was poked and prodded, and too exhausted to eat. My milk supply tanked from exhaustion and stress. Completely counter-productive for weight gain and downright dangerous to expose her to hospital germs and all for NOTHING because she was FINE she just needed more calories. Which is bizarre since I had so much milk and she was constantly on my boobs.

I’m still breastfeeding but I started pumping and giving her my milk plus 2-4oz of formula per day and now she’s gaining the “normal” anount of weight. I could have just fed her formula at home and skipped the hospital and *believe me* I let the other pediatrician know my thoughts about her colleague’s poor decision to send us to the hospital.

Luckily LS is not picky and is happy to nurse, drink my milk from a bottle and also drink formula from a bottle.

I started taking my Domperidone to boost my supply/help my let down reflex and I am very sure I make plenty of milk but LS likes “free milk” (that’s what I call bottles because she doesn’t have to “work” for that milk) and I’m not trying to stress myself out to pump all 8oz per day that she gets so I supplement with 2-4oz of formula and so far, so good.

But then I got ANOTHER double ear infection. My right eardrum burst at home alone with both kids and it was awful. I lost hearing in both ears for over a week–couldn’t hear LS crying/BG talking/the bathroom fan/the tv/radio/etc. I just finished 10 days of Amoxicillin and my left ear still f*ing hurts and I have to see the ENT *again* tomorrow. I think I need more antibiotics which sucks b/c they’re upsetting LS’s tummy and she has a yeast diaper rash and I have a vaginal yeast infection.

So during these first 8 weeks of LS’s life I’ve fought 2 double ear infections, mastitis, anxiety, exhaustion…I’ve really struggled physically and mentally since LS was born.

I’ve also had my good days and I’m moving and shaking despite it all.

We’re buying a house! Closing in a couple weeks!

I’ve planned a fantastic 40th birthday party for Mr. MLACS this week and I’m extremely proud of my efforts.

I just joined a new gym today that has excellent childcare with the goal that I’ll get the mental break I need and the exercise to help me feel my best, Mr. MLACS can continue his health/wellness quest, BG can play with other kids, and LS will have a safe place to (hopefully) nap while I take a class.

I’m trying my best here.

Motherhood is difficult for me right now, but I’m so grateful for my girls. I’m so grateful to spend Mother’s day with my babies in my arms ❤

XOXO,

MLACS

Birth Story Part 2

…When we left off I was getting ready to get my epidural…

My contractions had gotten stronger and sitting upright on my pink exercise ball was causing more pressure and thusly, more pain–during contractions I’d say it was a strong 4 or 4.5 (on a scale of 1-10 with 5 being “I want drugs” and 10 being “I’m bloodcurdling screams and blacking out”). But I was enjoying bobbing lightly on my ball in between contractions. And my nurse, Jennifer, had wrapped me in warm blankets so I felt comfy and cared for. I actually don’t mind this part of labor, where the pain is intense but manageable, contractions are far enough apart that you can relax a bit in between them, and I naturally get into “the zone” and ride the contractions like waves. It’s actually really cool.

However, Jennifer suggested the epidural would allow her to push the pitocin and kick my labor into gear, or I could just sit there in pain bobbing on my ball for hours with mediocre results. So I took her up on the epidural. My sibling doula had cautioned me to request that the attending do my epidural (not a resident)–I didn’t ask her why. So when this perky young blonde came to see me about the epidural, I told her I’d like the attending to do it and she looked frustrated and asked if I’d had a bad experience. To which I replied with a smile, “No, I’ve had good experiences–and I want to keep it that way.” The attending came in (a mature woman) and asked me the same question–she looked amused and clearly didn’t GAF that the resident was butt-hurt. A couple pokes later and I was comfortably numb, but still able to move my lower limbs.

LS kept falling off the monitor and Jennifer plus a whole team of nurses had a helluva time finding her–she was faced toward my spine (they even brought in the ultrasound machine to find her). Every time they’d get her on the monitor and go to leave the room, she’d get lost again. If I was them I’d have lost my mind. But they patiently macgyvered my monitor over and over again until my belly was a ball of slime from all the gel. Finally LS stayed put and I tried to sleep–which totally was not happening–but I rested. I watched Mr. MLACS sleep and was slightly jealous, but glad because I worry about him so I wanted him to get some rest. I also had vintage black and white movies/musicals on tv–I never watch tv anymore (like it will be on but I tune it out) so that was kind of cool. And my L&D room was huge and had a wall of windows facing city lights, so I kept the shades open and enjoyed looking out at the cityscape.

I had to pee and empty my ostomy bag a couple times, which was difficult as I had an IV in my right arm and a pole holding my bags of saline and pitocin. But I got it done without any help. I had forewarned Jennifer that I puked exorcist-style during labor with BG, but naturally after I made a big deal about it I didn’t puke at all.

So I was in a daze during the twilight hours and didn’t realize how much time was passing as I drifted in-and-out of consciousness, but eventually it was time for shift change and I had to say goodbye to my buddy Nurse Jennifer and welcome her relief, Nurse Christy. Also the OBGYN from my practice who ordered my induction, Dr. H, had been with me overnight. But I had to say goodbye to her and welcome Dr. S–luckily I had met and liked Dr. S so I was fine with it.

I was close to 10cm dilated at this point, and I was having breakthrough pain–nothing terrible–but I took full advantage of *the button* I could push every 10min or so that gave me more epidural. Which may be why I was in a dream-like state and also why I began to feel very nauseous…

Before I knew it, Dr. S and two residents strode through the door, checked me, and decided the time was NOW. It felt surreal as I watched everyone scurry around the room, pulling lights down from the ceiling, putting on scrubsvand face masks, wheeling in trays of instruments and a “baby warmer”, and finally, placing my feet in the stirrups.

I had asked Nurse Christy to apply gentle countrr-pressure to my ostomy, in hopes of preventing a peristomal hernia. On my right was Christy. On my left was Mr. MLACS.

The docs told me to get ready to push…I told them to wait a minute because…

I was going to puke.

Mr. MLACS held a large beaker cup and I turned my head and vomited a cup of stomach bile into the beaker.

Then pushed.

Then puked.

Then pushed.

And without warning, this purple ball of screaming flesh was placed on my chest, as I was still heaving and wiping my mouth. I was in shock and disbelief, trying to process.

Mr. MLACS looked about as stunned as I was, but after what was probably 20 seconds that felt like 20 minutes, I placed my hands on our baby, looked at Mr. MLACS, and said “Well, we did it!”

Baby LS was 7lb 8oz, and 21 inches long. She was not as pristine as BG was when she was born, but it is now clear that she was bloated and now that a couple weeks have passed her features are sharper and resemble BG’s. She’s absolutely beautiful ❤

And of course, BG is very proud to be a big sister! She wants to help with everything–bringing me diapers/wipes/hand sanitizer, etc.

It has not been easy though.

BG is having a hard time adjusting. So are we. There have been bumps in the road, and I’ll write about those later.

For now, I want to say how grateful I am that LS is here and healthy. She is a dream come true! I am bedsharing with both my girls and it is pure bliss to wake up in between them ❤

XOXO,

MLACS

Birth Story Part I

So LS is here! Everybody loves a good birth story, right?!

It’s been a humbling month or so, starting with BG getting conjunctivitis and sharing it with myself and Mr. MLACS, then I had Flu A, then some other flu-like virus BG brought home, which culminated in a double ear infection for me and I lost most of my hearing in both ears.

I was practically deaf.

I went into urgent care a couple Saturdays ago because my right ear was causing agonizing pain, and walked out with Augmentin and ear drops, which helped me to feel better but did not help my hearing loss.

Mr. MLACS took me to see my OB on my due date, thinking maybe they could help me by giving me a referral to see an ENT (our insurance is PPO but a referral would expedite my appointment). They put me on the monitor and LS was good, but chillin’. So I drank some apple juice to wake her up. And she started hopping, but I noticed some decells–her baseline heartrate was about 150bpm, and she would hop up to 180bpm, but then fall to 110-120 bpm. I wondered if that was just her falling off the monitor, but I didn’t think so.

Sure enough, my OBGYN came in and said baby was not in distress but she didn’t like the decells and would rather play it safe and induce me, since I was officially 40 weeks. I wholeheartedly agreed.

It felt surreal, because I had resigned myself that I would probably carry to 41 weeks and that LS would be born on BG’s 4th birthday.

We called the sibling doula and the back-up sibling doula that we had hired to come stay with BG and the pets while Mr. MLACS and I went to the hospital to deliver LS. Our primary doula was available and set to be on her way. I had already written several emails with detailed instructions for the doulas. We nervously drove from the clinic to our house. My hospital bag still wasn’t fully packed, the house was a mess and I had cleaners coming the next day, and I needed a shower. I could hardly focus on the tasks at hand and BG was following me around asking 20 questions. I was relieved when the doula showed up and realized I needed some privacy to complete my tasks and process the overwhelming fact that I was going to have a baby–MY baby–in a matter of hours. BG adored her and they ran off to play.

Noteworthy items I packed in my hospital bag were:

1. SOMA intimates pajamas–the softest jersey material, like butter on your skin. Button down is a must for breastfeeding and they make you feel comfy and elegant in the hospital. Not cheap, but worth it.

2. An exercise ball for labor–I bought a pink one from amazon. A lot of hospitals say they have them but you never know if one will be available when you need it and also it’s a safe bet that A LOT of other peoples’ bodily fluids have christened the ones at the hospital.

3. Baby gowns instead of footie pajamas, because they have to wear an ankle bracelet and also for easy access to change diapers.

4. Swaddles–I prefer velcro swaddles in soft fabrics rather than wrapping baby up in hospital blankets.

5. I brought my own diapers. I use honest diapers and unscented wipes. The nurses were annoyed because my diapers dont have the pee strip, but oh well not their call. The diapers in the hospital are scented, and I want to smell my baby, not aromantic pampers.

6. A phone charger with a long cord (like solid 6ft) so you can plug it in the wall and still have it next to you in bed.

7. Obviously for me–ostomy supplies. I packed plenty of supplies–more than what I thought I might need, just to be safe.

8. My medications. Hospital is supposed to have a list of current meds and provide them for you, but just bring them anyway.

So I tidied the house (i.e. stuffed sh*t in closets), showered/did my hair, finished packing and off Mr. MLACS and I went. It was hard saying goodbye to BG, knowing everything was about to change.

It was a solid 40min drive to our hospital–a perk of being induced is that I didn’t have to do this drive while in active labor. We arrived and they had a L&D room waiting for me–another perk of being induced is I didn’t have to go through triage (while in active labor) before being admitted.

It was about 6:30pm–we got there right as they were changing shifts and there was a flurry of activity. Even still, I was quickly attended to.

Everybody in L&D speaks in hushed and soothing tones, like Bob Ross.

The moment they walked in the room and opened their mouths I had to stop them and say “I have a double ear infection and I can’t hear you unless you SPEAK UP.” This was not ideal, but everyone obliged so it could have been worse. My ear pain in my right ear rivaled the pain of my contractions, so that was fun. They gave me Tylenol and offered me Nubain, but I was not trying to be high on Nubain since I’d had Staydol during my (incredibly painful) labor with BG and it made me psychotic.

My induction started with the foley bulb (sp?) which involves the nurse threading a balloon attached to a catheter through my 1cm dilated cervix and then inflating the balloon with water so that it causes my cervix to dilate to 3-4cm, then the balloon falls out.

I also had an IV and pitocin drip started as well. My nurse Jennifer (whom I liked) started the pitocin “low and slow”, at like a 2 or 3. By the time the foley bulb fell out my pitocin was up to a 7. Jennifer offered me the epidural (which I knew I wanted) but at first I refused, with the idea in mind that it could slow my progression and cause me to need a c-section. But Jennifer said that actually the epidural would allow her to push my pitocin and that would help my labor progress more than anything. She asked if there was any other reason to delay the epidural and I said emphatically *No* because I had ALL the pain during my 37hr labor with BG and then also with my Crohn’s disease so I have nothing left to prove–bring on the epidural!

….to be continued…

XOXO,

MLACS