The mouths of babes

Husband is at a rehearsal for a show next week. A friend’s band is doing a covers night and they asked him to sing a song so I am home alone tonight with three kids.

Bedtime gets started early here. The baby was in his crib at 6pm with his bottle. The older boy was in the bath and the eldest was I her room writing something.

She came in to show me. “How to be good”.  I was very impressed!  She knows the rules!  Too bad she doesn’t actually follow them!

 

Listen. No talking back. Do something the firs time you are asked. Do as you are told. Focus your ears. Do not ignore. And all this information is good.

After bath, I read them a few of daddy’s old Smurfs and Ewoks comic books.  Then it was time to get into bed. I told them a make-up story all about Princess Rose and the good transformer who worked with the Prince to rescue her from the bad transformer.  But that story wasn’t enough, so I had to tell another one with Spiderman and how he became Spider-transformer after Optimus Prime injected him with nano-bots to assist the Autobots in taking down the bad transformer.  (Neither kids has seen the Transformer movies, or the cartoon, but their daddy tells them these make-up stories all the time.  I’m sure mine paled in comparison.)

Bedtime seemed to be going so well until it didn’t.  Suddenly neither of them were settling down and my voice started increasing in tone and pitch, and I may have tapped her on the back a little harder than I had intended in an attempt to get her attention and stop sitting up in bed. I’d gotten hit in the face at least three times by the Spiderman doll and clearly had enough and that’s when the waterworks from the girl started:

“You never spend any time with me.”

“I just don’t know what to say to you.”

“Why do you always have to work?”

“Why can’t you just spend all your time with us?”

Oy.  She’s a master manipulator.  At the age of six!

Needless to say, bedtime took about 3 hours.  It’s a little after 9pm, I haven’t had my dinner and I’m seriously considering opening a bottle of wine.

I swear I have no idea how my husband does this on a daily basis. He’s amazing.

The Kids Are Home!

Day 2 – January Daily Blog Posting Month.

There is nothing like leaving your children with their grandparents for a few days and having a relatively quiet house.  The older two kids spent 3 days at my in-laws this week and despite the fact I still had to wake up with the baby, I slept in every day and felt relatively human again.

No doubt the kids got whatever they wanted – popsicles, freezies, cookies, crackers.  I’m sure there were some healthy choices but let’s face it, what happens at Grandma’s stays at Grandma’s.

So the kids are back today and the reprogramming begins.  Over the past few days, they’ve apparently forgotten how to say “please” and “thank you”. “I want” is back in their vocabulary.  It’s kind of funny, actually.  The same people who, 35 years ago insisted their children have proper manners, have decided its okay that their grandchildren behave like heathens.  Boggles the mind, folks!

Still, time away from parents is a good thing.  I always enjoyed the time I spent with my grandmother precisely because I could do whatever I wanted, eat whatever I wanted and watch as much TV as I wanted.  Good times!

We had planned on taking the kids to the Museum today but it’s bitterly cold out and no one has time for that.  As I write this, the kids are watching Sleeping Beauty for the hundredth time, playing with their Christmas toys.  The house looks like a tornado came through (again!), so I best be signing off for now.

I have some exercising to do!  😉

 

 

Sleep and Weight Loss, or Lack Thereof.

Day 27. National Blog Posting Month.

Sleep deprivation is starting to catch up with me.  When I was at the office the other day after baby J had his vaccinations, I got on the scale.

Big mistake.

Since I last weighed myself (about 1 month postpartum), I gained weight.  Ugh.  And I have no one to blame but myself and the baby.

I blame myself because of the damn sweet tooth that I still have.  Now, granted, I’ve always had a sweet tooth, but in the past it was tempered by the exercise I was getting.  Oh, and Hallowe’en. I blame the Hallowe’en chocolate that’s in my house.  We normally get about a hundred kids at Hallowe’en but this year the weather was cold and rainy and we were left with far too much.  So much, in fact, that I would have 3-5 little chocolates every night after dinner.  Those calories add up, dammit!

Forget the fact that I have also started running.  It’s not doing a god-damn thing.  Don’t get me wrong, I am happy to be doing it and I will not quit, but it’s fucking hard this time around.  [Sorry for the language.]  I am running with about 15-20 lbs of extra weight and my legs feel like two lead pipes.

I need to lose some weight, but that’s going to be hard because of the second reason I listed above.

My adorable little baby boy.

He is exclusively breast-fed and is waking up at minimum of thrice a night.  I know, I know, boo hoo, poor me.  I could easily give him a bottle of formula when I go to bed and that might give me an extra hour or two of sleep.  But, I’m not ready to go there just yet.  I am enjoying our breastfeeding relationship and I don’t want to give it up yet.

But lordy lord, this fragmented sleep is wreaking havoc on my metabolism. Meaning that I have NO metabolism right now.  I can’t burn anything, despite the running.  Instincts tell me that a good night’s sleep is important for weight loss.  The better I sleep, the better I feel, and the healthier I eat.  I can even see it in my husband.  When he sleeps well, he eats sensibly throughout the day (ie. less snacking), exercises more efficiently, and keeps his weight stable. Once his sleep is affected (like it is now), eating habits go out the window and he’s too tired during the day to exercise.

Of course, this is all just conjecture on my part.  Is there any evidence to support my theory?

Why yes, in fact there is!

A quick Google search directed me to this WebMd website, http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/excessive-sleepiness-10/lack-of-sleep-weight-gain.

“It’s not so much that if you sleep, you will lose weight, but if you are sleep-deprived, meaning that you are not getting enough minutes of sleep or good quality sleep, your metabolism will not function properly,” explains Michael Breus, PhD, author of Beauty Sleep and the clinical director of the sleep division for Arrowhead Health in Glendale, Ariz.

On average, we need about 7.5 hours of quality sleep per night, he says. “If you are getting this already, another half hour will not help you lose 10 pounds, but if you are a five-hour sleeper and start to sleep for seven hours a night, you will start dropping weight.”

Exactly how lack of sleep affects our ability to lose weight has a lot to do with our nightly hormones, explains Breus.

The two hormones that are key in this process are ghrelin and leptin. “Ghrelin is the ‘go’ hormone that tells you when to eat, and when you are sleep-deprived, you have more ghrelin,” Breus says. “Leptin is the hormone that tells you to stop eating, and when you are sleep deprived, you have less leptin.”

 More ghrelin plus less leptin equals weight gain.

“You are eating more, plus your metabolism is slower when you are sleep-deprived,” Breus says.

A search of Google Scholar led to some more findings:

  • Investigators looked at the association between self-reported usual sleep duration and subsequent weight gain in the Nurses’ Health Study in 1986 and followed over 60,000 women for 16 years. Women who slept 5 hours or less gained 1.14 kg more than did those sleeping 7 hours over 16 years, and women sleeping 6 hours gained 0.71 kg.
  • A systematic review published in 2012 suggested that short sleep duration was independently associated with weight gain, particularly in younger age groups.
  • The Quebec Family Study looked at sleep duration and weight gain. Duration of sleep was characterized as short (5-6 hours), average (7-8 hours) and long (9-10 hours).  The risk of developing obesity was elevated for short and long-duration sleepers as compared with average-duration sleepers, with 27% and 21% increases in risk, respectively.
  • Another study published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2011 looked at changes in diet and lifestyle and long-term weight gain in a cohort of men and women over a 4 year period.  Not surprisingly, an increased daily consumption of potato chips, sugar-sweetened beverages, unprocessed red meats resulted in an increase in weight while increased daily consumption of vegetables, whole grains, fruits, nuts and yogurt had the opposite effect and resulted in overall weight loss. Interestingly, more weight gain was seen in individuals who slept less than 6 hours and more than 8 hours per night.

So, based on these findings, it would appear that I am NOT going to be successful in losing the pregnancy/baby weight until the little man is sleeping through the night.

Sigh …

Alright then, pass the Chicago Mix.

Five.

Day 22. National Blog Posting Month.

My eldest is going to be 5 years old in a few days.

Five.

Going on fifteen.

In the span of just a few months, she has suddenly developed an attitude.

Me:  “Time for bed.”

Her: “Why?”

Me: “Because I said so!”

Her: “I don’t want to.”

Me: I didn’t ask if you wanted to.”

Her: “You’re not the boss of me.”

From WebMD (The bold is mine):

4- to 5-Year-Old Development: Emotional and Social Development

Your self-centered child is now figuring out that it is not always about him or her. At this age, children are starting to understand about other people’s feelings. Your 4- to 5-year-old should be better able to work through conflicts and control his or her emotions. 

Emotional and social development milestones your child may achieve at this age include:  

  • Enjoys playing with other children and pleasing his or her friends

  • Shares and takes turns, at least most of the time

  • Understands and obeys rules; however, your 4- to 5-year-old will still be demanding and uncooperative at times

  • Being more independent

  • Still confuses make-believe with reality

  • Expresses anger verbally, rather than physically (most of the time)

Lately it seems like she’s demanding and uncooperative all.the.time. I have to ask her more than once to do a task.  She is constantly defiant, doesn’t do as she is asked/told, talks back, doesn’t ask politely for things even though she did 6 months ago… oy, the list goes on.

Yet, she is sharp as a tack, funny as hell, and it’s often very difficult to keep a straight face even when she’s in complete freak out mode (which usually only happens about an hour before bedtime so I know it’s a fatigue issue).

I’ve heard that age 5 is difficult and I’m starting to think all ages are difficult. I know that developmentally she is right on track and I do encourage her independence, I just wish there wasn’t that battle at the same time. I am imagining what she’s going to be like as a hormonal teenager and I just want to run away and hide!

Because, frankly, I remember all too clearly the drama that my teenage years wrought.  I am afraid I am ill-equipped to go through them again as a mother.  I know I have some time before this happens, but if my almost-five year old is any indication, I am going to be needing a lot more wine in my wine cellar.

Happy Birthday, my love!

 

The Biggest Time Waster in Modern History.

NaBloPoMo – Day 11.

What the hell did we do before the Internet? How did one waste time prior to 1994?  I say 1994 because that was the year I got my first email address.  It went downhill from there.

The Internet is a huge time waster.  Or, I should say, using the Internet is a huge time waster. Seriously though, how did we pass the time before we had laptops, iPhones, BlackBerrys, Androids, iPads and tablets?  If I wanted to know who was in such-and-such movie, I’d have to go to the local library and find their copy of Leonard Maltin’s Movie Guide.  If I wanted to talk to a friend, I would have to, [gasp] pick up the telephone!  Who does that anymore?  I know I certainly don’t.  The only people I ever call are usually my parents, ie people who don’t use the Internet. Now if I want to contact a friend, I text her or send an email or write on her FB wall.

Had I had children prior to 1994, how the hell would I have passed the time with a newborn?  God forbid, would I have read a book??  I have lost count of the hours I have spent surfing (where does that expression even come from?) the Internet while the baby nurses.  Be it Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, any number of message boards or blogs, it is how I spend my time these days.  While I do have other hobbies, in particular my cross-stitching, it is difficult to do with a newborn.  (Excuses, right?).

I also wonder where my attention span went to.  It’s no wonder I haven’t been able to finish a novel.  Who can concentrate these days for more than 5-10 minutes at a time when we are constantly “clicking” from one page to the next?  My news updates are one, maybe two sentences long. Sure, I can read an editorial online, but let’s be honest,  I usually skim the first sentence or two of each paragraph.  I have to force myself to concentrate.  It’s sad, really.

Ironic that I am writing about this on a “weblog”, isn’t it?  Back in the day, I’d be writing in a journal that no one, other than me, would read. But now, with the Internet, anyone can read my thoughts and vice versa.  In fact, part of me is happy that others are wasting their time on me.  How is that even remotely healthy?  The Internet isn’t a real thing, it’s a collection of 1s and 0s. You can’t touch it, smell it, really see it, yet it’s probably the first and last thing I go to on a daily basis.  Frightening when you think about it.  Frightening when I think about it.

I need to stop now.

Why the World Needs Superman.

I’m no Lois Lane.  I’m not even sure this post will be coherent.

It’s not even really about the events in Boston this week, though certainly that is on my mind.  I’m thinking about things in broader terms.

Our world needs more heroes, our kids need heroes.

Sometimes I wish I was one of them.

I read a great article this morning describing how and why the Boston hospitals were ready for the shocking turn of events during the Marathon.  Emergency responders didn’t blink; they did their job and they did it remarkably well.  I envy those emergency personnel.  It takes a very special breed of person to face such carnage, put it aside and save the life of another human being.  I would hope that any one of us could do that if faced with the same devastation, but I worry that I would just freeze. Stop. Panic.

This week, my husband bought our daughter a CD player.  I came home one evening and she was listening to the Superman soundtrack.  Upon hearing the swelling orchestral music of John Williams, I was transformed to a little girl with goosebumps, eyes wide open, jaw on the floor, watching Superman (Christopher Reeve) save the day.  She’s too young to see the movie, but I can’t wait to see her face as she watches Superman fly for the first time.  It is the greatest superhero movie of all time (in my opinion) and there are still times now, as an adult, that I wish he were real.

Naive?

You betcha!

I want my kids to stay innocent forever.    They don’t need to know that an 8-year-old boy died this week, or that some crazy person opened fire on a daycare killing 20 children last winter. Hell, I don’t even want to know that this shit happens anymore.

I want to know that there are superheroes in this world. They might be doctors, nurses, moms and dads.  I want to hear more about those people. They deserve the headlines and the accolades, not the cowards.

It’s up to us to make that happen.  I just wish I knew how.

Kindergarten

Back in the Fall, I signed up to be a parent volunteer in my daughter’s JK class.  Then I found out I had to have a police check done.  I explained to the school that I was a physician and had one done via my representative College of Physicians but no, this wasn’t good enough.  So, I filled out the form and waited for official approval.

This was in October.  Week after week went by and week after week, I had to tell my daughter’s teacher that I still couldn’t volunteer until I was cleared.  She understood, obviously, and would always shake her head in that knowing way of “I know it’s B-S bureaucracy.”

I had all but forgotten about the police check when it arrived in the mail last week.  Yay!  I was finally cleared.  <insertsarcasticeyerollhere>

Earlier this week, I entered my daughter’s classroom as a parent volunteer.  Daughter was excited to have me there, wanted me to sit with her on the carpet, kept looking at me and waving.  It was very cute.

It was also an eye-opening experience.  An inside look at the behaviours of 4-5 year old children.  That classroom had some lovely children but wow, did it ever have some challenging ones too.  Maybe my kid was on her best behavior, but she was polite, did what she was told and listened.  Listened!!  She didn’t have to be told three times to put the book away (this is what happens at home).  I was a very proud mama.

The physician in me was partly focused on the “troubled” kids.  The kids that didn’t do as they were told.  The one child who took a 1/2 hour to put his shoes on, wouldn’t sit still during reading time, kept stepping out of line to bother other kids.   The other child who was left in the gym with the teachers because she refused to follow her classmates back to class.  The same child that grumbled a few unintelligible words at me and vehemently spat at me when I told her it was time to put the gym equipment away. She spat at me!  A few times, in fact.  I was dumbfounded. I walked away after that, only to find her following me.  I was really at a loss at what to do.

As terrible as this sounds, I am so grateful to not be that parent who has to deal with that kid.  I can’t imagine how frustrating it must be, embarrassing too, I would imagine.  Behavioral issues are extremely difficult to deal with.  I applaud my daughter’s teacher for her poise in handling these difficult situations.  And I want to give those parents a hug, and offer them a glass (or bottle) of wine.