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:this post was started on Saturday, December 26th:

So groaned my husband late last night early this morning.

Christmas was great – both sides of our family significantly downsized the presents aspect, something I’ve craved for years, everyone got along despite the lack of sleep afforded by Christmas Eve, and the juggling between my family and Seth’s was a piece of cake this year – no guilt-inspired tug of war.

And yet, at about 11:30 I fell apart and sobbed on my husband’s lap in front of my in-laws for a good ten minutes.  Exhausted.

****

We sing a song in the children’s programs at church:

The wise man built his house upon The Rock, his house upon The Rock….

The foolish man built his house upon the sand, his house upon the sand….

****

Tuesday night we experienced one of Kelsey’s sensory superfits.  While we saw the beginnings of one over Thanksgiving, we hadn’t seen a big one in a LONG time.  Like long ago enough that sensory integration dysfunction seemed like a distant memory.

Well, Tuesday not only recalled that memory but brought it front and center.

Sleep has been an issue of late for Kelsey.  She’s had trouble with insomnia, and calming her engine enough that she can successfully relax and induce herself to sleep.  Result: chaos for an already disorganized brain.

Add to it that her school was in session Monday and Tuesday, yet really, all bets were off re: attempting  normal schedule.

Mix in one mother, caught up in the holiday hustle and bustle, also deprived of sleep because of one teething infant, whose hypervigilance at waiting for the other sensory shoe to drop has been greatly reduced, and well, I completely missed the triggers.

At bedtime, we had a battle royale about sleep and it escalated such that I had to put her in her room and hold her bedroom door shut for a prolonged period (45 minutes…have I mentioned that the child is stubborn in addition to neuro-atypical?) while she screamed and beat at the door.  It broke my heart to see her like this again.  It made me want to crawl into a hole when she proclaimed that I was the “meanest mama ever,” because when I tried to see things from her eyes I could see how she felt betrayed by me essentially locking her up, BUT I knew it was for her own good, lest I hurt her or she me.

****

It’s Christmas night.  We’ve just returned to Seth’s folks after eating with my folks, exchanging gifts and playing Wii.

It’s late.

I told Kelsey it’s time to get ready for bed and she protested.  She wasn’t one bit tired!  She wanted to read!

This is stubbornness, not a sensory issue, it seemed.

I told her she could read in the entry room but that the adults were playing a game and she didn’t need to be in the same room.

And the melt-down began.

I want to cry and scream and pitch a fit because I am bone tired after Christopher’s weeks of teething have been topped off with traveling sleep, which means none.

But I called upon some reserve somewhere within me.

After Seth had tried to reason with her, and failed, I began to see this was going sensory.  She was hysterical and repeating that she’d never be able to get to sleep, all while having that other worldly look on her face.  Nothing penetrates this look.  Just gotta take the wild wave and ride it.

Manic, she flailed at me, screamed, shook her head and just fell apart as I tried to touch her, hoping that the deep pressure could bring her back to me.  Her eyes held a look of fight or flight, terrified at what was going on inside her.  I almost broke at the helplessness of knowing her neurons were in chaos and firing excessively – lot of good knowing what does when there is no rhyme or reason to alleviating the why of the problem.

Eventually, I got her to a spare bedroom.  There I cradled my biggest baby like when she was a newborn and we rocked while she continued to huff and puff and slow her engine down.

At this point my sister-in-law entered the room, tears streaming down her face.

At first, I interpreted her tears as those of the “I can’t stand her pain, make it stop” variety and felt a twinge of defensiveness raise its ugly head.

“What…can I do…to help? I want to help her….and you.”  Her face crumpled and her tears fell faster.

It was then that I sensed that she’d gotten a glimpse of what it is for me to mother Kelsey, this bittersweet hellish rollercoaster that I ride, along with two other children who need me just as much.  Her words from our morning present-opening (we make a point of having the gift-giver tell their giftee why they love them before each gift is opened) echoed in my mind, “You’re so brave.”

I motioned her over to the bed with us.  And she just sat while I numbly and automatically did joint compressions on Kels to calm her down.  I remember at one point squeezing her hand so hard that my knuckles turned white and Kelsey whispered, “Harder, Mama.”  As I could feel her body quiet, I began to murmur to her that I knew it was beyond her control, that I wasn’t mad and that I just wanted to help her come back.  My sister-in-law asked Kels what would help her, which caused her to stiffen.  She couldn’t have known that in this state an open-ended question is just more chaos for Kelsey’s disorganized brain.  So I intervened.

At home Kelsey and I have a nightly prayer together before bed, but when traveling this nighttime rite is often tossed aside.  Routine and ritual help soothe her.  So I prayed while I held my girl, all gangly limbs curling over my arms, one of the longest, most heartfelt prayer I’ve prayed with her.  It was long after she fell limp in my arms that I closed the prayer, my own eyes moist and damp.

I hefted her 75lb, nearly as tall as me frame, into her bedroom and tucked her in.  Asleep.

Mission Accomplished.

But at what cost?  Would she be mortified in the morning?  And how can I keep this from happening?  What’s she gonna do when she’s at college and noone knows to squeeze her feet, hands and compress her other joints?

These and other racing thoughts plagued my exhausted mind such that I gave voice to them with the hiccuping sobs that I melted into on Seth’s lap.  It was now 11:30.  We’d battled for right at an hour and a half.

****

Sometime after midnight, we settled into bed.  And Christopher awoke.  Inconsolable.

We each took turns trying to soothe him.  But no amount of rocking, nursing, Orajel, Tylenol, or Motrin would help.

Around 3am was when Seth made his statement re: how this day was going to go down in my mind’s history.

It was then that the childish song popped into my mind, and I realized how this incident might have undone someone else, that someone else might have slipped into their own sleep-deprived, incoherent raging.

But that reserve from which I drew?

The rock upon which my faith is built, from which I draw my strength.

****

This week has been hard, as the sleeping has still yet to resume back to N-O-R-M-A-L, whatever that is anyway.  But I have to say that the fact that my husband is an angel, my sister-in-law’s empathic gesture of just BEING with me, and a silly little song have all helped remind me that I’m not alone and I don’t have to do this all by myself.

Seth is not as addicted to observant of the e-mail as I am.

Nor has he ever really read my blogs without first being told to do so.

Which means, he did not look at the Invisible Woman e-mail his mom sent the other day, entitled “FW: Merry Christmas, Please Watch.”

Last night, he sat down and looked at the e-mails in our inbox and he points to it, and asks me, “This any good?”

While it is the kind of e-mail that is easily relegated to the genre of “chick flick,” I told him, “Yeah.  It is.”

Afterward, all he said was, “I see you too, though often it is in hindsight.  Thanks for all you do.”

And so ladies, perhaps that might be a reason to forward the e-mail on to all the men in your life – as they might need a prompt to tell their special lady who feels none so special, invisible even,  something similar.

P.S.  Note he WATCHED the e-mail, which means the video not the text one.  This is important when sending to men!

So, Charlie Brown and I are pretty tech savvy, right?

Yesterday, I had a pretty crappy day. I was so stressed about medical bills vs. income we had coming. Compounding this stress was the fact that my hormones were flying high as I [TMI in aboout 3, 2, 1] was on day 2 of my second period since Lil Guy has been born. [Sidenote: I know you’re thinking it – she’s like what, 3 mos postpartum and she’s had not one but two periods already?!? I KNOW!!!] I’d cried most of the night before and several times yesterday as well. Charlie Brown had called me a few times during the day, all of which I ended up crying during.

Later, I received the following texts from him, right in a row before I had a chance to respond. My thought responses are below, however. Prepare to be entertained

CB – Wanna play tonight? Only 2 conditions…

Indignantly, Uhmhm, I have now I have confirmation that the man never listens to a word I say! I told him that I am “otherwise incapacitated” this week.

CB- [I] know you can do all that, you like a challenge

:chuckles: ok, well, let’s see just what he has up his sleeve, even if it’s all for naught.

CB – 1. hour of 100% positive encouraging words and body language towards everybody on the field, 2. Doing what I tell you if I need to (prolly won’t)

At this point I was stymied and automatically sent a text back to him:

RR – ????? Is this meant for me???

But upon further analysis, I had the following thoughts:

1. I know I’ve been down today, but c’mon don’t you think I can pull myself together for your softball game? It’s kind of sweet though. And 2. What kind of kinky stuff are you thinking about, anyway? Dang, boy!

Right about then, he called me. He says, “Our friend sent those to me, as conditions for subbing on their team tonight. It didn’t show that it was a forwarded msg?”

Nope.

So I told him what had been going through my mind as I’d gotten each text, and he got a good laugh out of it.

© 2009 Ramblings of a Red-Headed Step-Child. All Rights Reserved

Not physically, as in laryngitis, but as in my writing identity. Hence my absence.

And really, I hate to admit this because on thinking about just what my writing voice has been, it has kind of embraced the victim mentality for way longer than I’d care to own up to. Not the woe is me and life sucks victim, but the I’ve been wronged so I’m gonna be an angry advocate former victim voice. For so long my voice was that of THE (as in consummate) red-headed step-child, the outcast, a woman spurned; misunderstood and needs unmet. My writing was my way of seeking validation from others as I so desperately needed to be heeded, attended to, understood and well, HEARD.

But, what I’m finding is that my marriage is meeting more of those needs than it did before. As are my friendships as I now have time to invest in little mid-day rendezvous (I hope my memory of French plurals isn’t failing me, as I REALLY wanted to tack on an es to that word) to cultivate face to face friendships.

I’m not as angry, don’t feel like I have as much to prove as I used to, and also, the fodder in my brain makes me feel like I was turning into just another mommy-blogger. Not that there’s anything wrong with mommy-blogging, but lately it just feels like I don’t have anything new and fresh to add to the mommy-blogosphere.

Finally, there’s also the fact that I’m suffering from severe placenta brain. My [big] words elude me with frustrating frequency.

Example: A month or so ago, Charlie Brown showed me a truck that had been customized with a hand-crafted tailgate, bumper, etc. One of his co-workers had designed and built these parts. A few days later, I met him while visiting Charlie Brown at work. My brilliant conversation with him?

“So you’re the one who does….that…stuff! You know, custom stuff with metal?”

He looked at me with his brows raised and nodded slowly, like he was dealing with a mentally retarded woman.

“Oh, you know, that stuff – what do they call it? You know like on American Chopper?”

Charlie Brown stepped in with the missing word, “I believe you’re thinking about fabrication, right?”

Bingo.

And that’s just one time – it happens with alarming regularity and lends my writing to sounding like a 5th grade book report. Not exactly up to my normal snuff.

In the meantime – here are the things that have been happening at Casa del Meyer in my absence:

-Punkinhead’s Parent/Teacher conference included School OT and a request to have him tested and evaluated as to whether a 504 plan is in need. Primarily they are concerned with his fine motor skills as pertains to handwriting, which is an issue. Punkinhead is very bright with letter recognition, phonics, and actual reading. But translating that knowledge via his hands just doesn’t come easily for him and it does make him frustrated and say things like, “I’m just dumb!” I was all for the testing – until a comment was made about wanting to screen his attention issues too. My kiddo does not have ADHD, lol. He’s a BOY, one of 14 boys out of the 18 total kids in his class, he’s a SOCIAL kiddo, and he’s a July birthday which means he is considerably younger than the rest of his class. His breaks in focus are likely more due to those issues than an organic one. But we’ll see what the testing shows.

-LMNOB turned 8 last Sunday and suddenly the tween switch was flipped, in conjunction with some “OMG!ThebabyiscomingSOOON” anxiety and the results have been less than pretty. Tantrums and discord are back and I am NOT PLEASED with this.

– Charlie Brown continues to be the BEST HUSBAND/BFF ever to this pregnant mama. He has been so supportive and such a rock for me. I totally do not get his sexual attraction for me at this stage, as I am tired and therefore not taking great strides to care for my appearance, and uh, HUGE. But who am I to question it?

-We’ve all had a cruddy cold season. My last post was about kids taking cold medicine, and just 2 wks ago we had another bout of colds and ear infections here.
– As a result, I had protein in my urine 2x last week and the doc was concerned about pre-eclampsia, but happily everything was skewed because of my cold and all is well.
– We are on the countdown for the little dude’s arrival. Only 7-ish (I am 32 wks 5 days) more weeks!
– Oh and the movie Fireproof? Totally worth seeing. The acting starts out a little B-movie quality, but it is the plot that makes the movie, not the acting. I also love the fact that Kirk Cameron’s real wife came in as a double when there was a kissing scene. Charlie Brown and I both cried like babies watching this show.
I think that is a wrap. I’ll try to be on more – it’s just finding this new voice that I need to work on.

© 2008 Ramblings of a Red-Headed Step-Child. All Rights Reserved

On Christmas morning, Charlie Brown gave me a beautiful card with words that touched my very soul with sentiment so rich and meaningful that I cried. Following the card-maker’s verse, in his own scrawl were the following words:

Our best year yet and there is more to come! I love you so much, Heather, and can’t wait to see what the future holds for us.
Love,
Charlie Brown

He’s right, 2008 has been our best year yet and things just continue to look better for us. What a blessing it is to be able to say this!

On the marriage front, we celebrated our 10th anniversary in 2008 – and honestly, it’s like a different world since hitting double digits. We’ve weathered some serious storms in our years together and at times I thought our ship was sunk, but miraculously through prayer and divine intervention, we’ve managed to stay afloat and cling to God and each other. Charlie Brown has experienced tremendous growth this year (emotionally and spiritually that is) and makes me feel like that clichéd woman who’s always asking, “How did I get so lucky?” A stark contrast from just a year ago.

On the family front, LMNOB and Punkinhead became schoolmates this year and what a difference this has made in their sibling relationship. They are now very close and play so well together. On the flip side, they now know how to really push each other’s buttons and do so periodically, but the perks totally outweigh this. Seriously, LMNOB has often been found to say at dinner that her favorite part of the day was “Seeing Punkinhead at recess.” And that just melts my heart.

Another family matter is that of baby #3. We thought we were D-O-N-E, DONE, after Punkinhead, but with my IUD having 10 good years before we needed to do something permanent, Charlie Brown had been in no rush to, ahem, “lose his balls” (as they so delicately put it in Marley and Me). While we were on our 10th anniversary vacay this past summer, we decided that we would start trying for another baby after we returned. And being fertile like we are, he pretty much looked at me and I was pregnant. I’m now on the verge of my 3rd trimester and he’ll be here before we know it (or have a name selected for him to bear). The pregnancy has been harder than the others were, but Charlie Brown and the kids have been so good to me that it all balances out.

On the career front, God led me to make another sharp 180 in my thinking. My last day with the City was December 19th. And now I am a SAHM – you know, that thing I thought I could never sanely be? But I needed to return to this. Juggling FT work, LMNOB’s special needs, a desire to work with them in their schools, my master’s degree program, marriage, housework, and all that other domestic stuff just wasn’t cutting it. I was having more and more difficulty staying sane doing all of that than I ever had while being a SAHM. So it was time to re-prioritize and the health and well-being of my family and me came out on top.

After having made this decision, the opportunity to work with lia sophia came up and I took it. I get to keep fabulous jewelry for myself and make money for my family, in addition to keeping a social outlet – what could be more perfect, right?

On the LMNOB front, her sensory issues are still there, but as she’s matured this past year she has gained more self-awareness and the ensuing ability to recognize her own signals and meet her needs independently, with less and less adult intervention and/or structuring. This is HUGE!!! After the big school transition this year, we cut back on the OT and just last week we saw BT the OT for our discharge session. That was bittersweet, as she has changed our lives so much for the better with regard to parenting LMNOB and better family functioning. But, as she reminded us – we have her e-mail address and LMNOB is welcome to write her anytime, and we can also schedule a drop-in, consult session with her for addressing transitions and/or other issues that may arise at anytime.

As for Punkinhead, he’s quite the character. Full of energy ALL. DAY. LONG. and ALL BOY. He is something of a schemer, prone to drawing outlandish conclusions when he doesn’t get his way (i.e. “Punkinhead, no video games right now,” “You don’t wuv me!”) just to see if he can weasel his way into doing whatever he wanted to do. As frustrating as that sounds, he is my sensitive little guy – first to apologize without prompting, always hugging and loving on us, and lover of the babies in our lives. He’s a charmer on either side of the coin for sure.

It’s been a great 2008, and I’m looking forward to a divine 2009.

:groans: Bad, I know – but I couldn’t resist!

Love to all!

© 2008 Ramblings of a Red-Headed Step-Child. All Rights Reserved

My in-laws, bless their hearts, are of a different political persuasion than I am.

Ok, that’s allowed, right? I certainly think so, even if I don’t really understand the other party’s POV/MO.

What I am SICK to DEATH of, though is the constant bombarding of my in-box for their politically charged BS forwards about my candidate.

Just once, I am waiting for an original, moreover, factually-based commentary of their own, not some insipidly anonymous rumor-mongering e-mail that clings to fear and uber right-wing talking points.

Hey, I was reading on factcheck.org or some other such credible source that your candidate was not totally on base in xyz claim – what are your thoughts on that?

Yeah, that’s not gonna happen. However, being a planning kind of gal I’d best prepare an answer for such a question:

Wow! You mean I don’t have to go to snopes?

© 2008 Ramblings of a Red-Headed Step-Child. All Rights R
reserved




Anyone who knows me knows that I can’t be wordLESS. So my compromise is Less Words Wednesday.

These were snapped up last night while I was reading bedtime stories. My “frown” is because Punkinhead went from wanting to kiss my belly to wanting to do a “belly buster” – they tickle!

The Jury will kindly strike the record: As to yesterday’s quandary – I’m waiting. Things are definitely awkward right now and yesterday I got the ramifications of her own personal stress. Not going to add to it at the moment. See new post.

© 2008 Ramblings of a Red-Headed Step-Child. All Rights Reserved

Part of pregnancy, I know – but man, it’s been awhile.

My kiddos are the greatest – and what’s sad is that they don’t often hear this. But no longer.

Same with Charlie Brown – the things that have come out of his mouth this week are so mature, so loving, and so tender that I can do little but soak it up. I am consciously trying to remember to voice my appreciation for his insights, in part because I should but also to ensure that he keeps this up!

Thanks all for the wonderful words of encouragement yesterday. We are super excited and pleased and just giddy all around.

Now – I leave you with LMNOB’s awesomeness, displayed Friday night at Red Robin.

A Raiders/ Titans game was on and she goes, “Is that team,” [the OAK at the scoreboard] “from Oar-Kansas?” (Pronounced like Arkansas)

Dude, we laughed and laughed, but in the pit of my mind, I was thinking, this is what No Child Left Behind has offered us?

Heaven help us all if we have little GW’s running around in the future because public ed is in the tanks.

© 2008 Ramblings of a Red-Headed Step-Child. All Rights Reserved

I totally get that you have the patent on Poppin’ Fresh, but somehow I think your convenient little pressurized cans of dough has got NUTHIN’ on this:

Photobucket

Ok, so I know you are thinking, “So what, a pregnant woman – they all pop out.”

But what if I told you that that picture was taken tonight, after having gotten a shadow line – read: a total phantom that I dug out of the trash – yesterday, with the first REAL positive being achieved just moments before writing this post?

Photobucket

Yeah, that pop is pretty damned fresh. Pillsbury, you ought to be impressed!

And we are pretty damned excited.

This is the secret I alluded to awhile back – we decided to try for a third whilst on our soul-searching, love reuniting anniversary vacation last month. My IUD was promptly removed upon our return, and voila! God has heard our request.

May we rise to His challenge of faith. He’s already shared glimpses of this promise to us in so many ways.

Baby #3, you are our little love child, and we love you already.

I can’t wait until late April!

© 2008 Ramblings of a Red-Headed Step-Child. All Rights Reserved

Last night after coming home from work, Charlie Brown pulled me onto the bed (fully clothed and not at all in a sexual manner, mind you), and held me close.

He told me, “I don’t know what has happened in these past few months, but I cannot stop thinking about you. All day long, I just want to be with you, to see you, talk with you, touch you. I’ve never been this in love with you before.”

I murmured back that I had the same sentiments.

He added, “I’m the best I’ve ever been, too.”

Puzzled, I asked him what he meant.

“Well you know, in regards to our history. It doesn’t even cross my mind – well, you cross my mind and that gets kind of naughty…”

“But that’s perfectly ok, we’re allowed to think about each other that way!” Turning, I looked into his eyes and said, “Thank you. You didn’t have to tell me all of this, but that you took the time to means a lot to me.”

About that time, Punkinhead and LMNOB crashed the party and we had a group-hug fest on the bed.

My cup overflows….

© 2008 Ramblings of a Red-Headed Step-Child. All Rights Reserved

I'm a 30-something with a bend toward the spunky and unconventional. I like to accent big words and academics with slang and pop culture - makes me a little more well-rounded. My husband and I follow Christ and am training up my 3 precious kiddos to do the same. This means that I'm human and I fail - a LOT, but there is beauty in sharing that with others. Last, but not least, in case you haven't noticed, I'm prone to rambling. It may seem unrelated to you but the little "tangents" I go on are all interconnected in my mind!

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