survivingmyboyz

tales from a stay-at-home mom of four boys

Archive for the category “Everyday life with four boys”

Looking back, two year later

Two years ago tonight, I layed awake in a hospital bed, hooked up to a multitude of wires. The wires were not only to monitor me and my extremely high blood pressure, but also to monitor my baby and his constantly dipping heart rate. I laid there listening for those dips, praying that they would fix themselves, and that my baby would stay strong enough to make it to the morning, when I was to have a csection to bring my baby boy into the world nine weeks ahead of schedule. It was much too early for my baby to come, but the doctors hoped that they’d be able to better care for him on the outside than inside me. I laid in that bed terrified, knowing that we were in for a long journey that I just hoped my baby would be able to survive.

Our stay in the NICU lasted 77 days, but our journey did not end when we came home. My son left the hospital with a feeding tube and we struggled for two months with feeding schedules, reinserting tubes, doctors visits,  pumping, attempting to breast feed, wheezing, and problems with breathing before we found ourselves back in the hospital. We spent another two weeks in the hospital being told to prepare for multiple hospital stays and surgeries. This child’s life had not started the way we had hoped and it was looking like it wasn’t going to get better anytime soon, but as the saying goes, it is always darkest before dawn. We received miracle news the day of surgery that my son had an easily treatable cyst and that the bleak future we had been preparing for was not going to happen. Two days later, we were back home and my son was eating like a champ, no more feeding tube.

That chapter in our lives feels like it was forever ago. When I look at my son now, it is hard to believe that he is the same kid who went through all of this. Aside from how skinny and small he is, no one would ever look at my son and guess that this was the story of his first six months. My son is turning two tomorrow and he has already been practicing for the part of the troublesome two year old. He is into everything, moving furniture, climbing on chairs, figuring out how to open things he shouldn’t, and making messes faster than I can clean them. I’m pretty sure his thinks his job each day is to mess up as much stuff as he can before he gets put to bed each night. He is very good at his job. As much as he loves to be near his mommy, he is very fiercely independent and insists that he do many things on his own and to be treated like his older brothers. He insists on big boy cups and forks. He wants to sit on the potty when his brothers do. He likes to play whatever his brothers play. In his mind, he is already a big boy. When he doesn’t get his way though, watch out, because he has been practicing his terrible two tantrums, complete with laying on the floor, kicking and screaming, and pushing his body about on his back. Luckily for him he has the cutest smile, the sweetest little curls, the prettiest blue eyes, and a contagious laugh that all allow him to get away with acting like a brat or making a giant mess. One look at him and your heart just melts.

Watching my youngest son sleep, cuddled into my bed with his brothers for his last night as a baby, it seems impossible that just two years ago he was my smallest baby. Just two years ago, that 18 pound ball of trouble was my 2lb 12 oz miracle baby. Two years ago, he was struggle to survive this journey, now I’m struggle to keep up. Happy birthday baby boy.

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Let’s try this again

Okay, so it has been awhile since I’ve posted and I’ve  totaly slacked off, but raising four boys takes a lot of time and effort and the few hours a day that I’m not doing that, I’m usually sleeping (or trying to). A few months ago, my husband gave me a Surface with a little key board and everything and I thought ” I’m totally going to get back to writing my blog and crank it out with this awesome keyboard!” Except, the Surface doesn’t come with the most important thing I needed, child care. So I wasn’t too successful at getting going on my blog again. I’ve missed writing dearly, just like my sanity, so I decided that, since I can’t do anything to get my sanity back, I’m going to try to get back one of the few hobbies I have and love. I’ve made a New Years resolution (for lack of a better term that doesn’t doom me to failure), I’m going to write at least one blog entry every month (baby steps, I want to succeed after all) and I’m starting with this one.

I figured I should reintroduce myself and update my situation. Hi, I’m Survivingmyboyz (barely). I currently live in the Pacific Northwest with my husband who often widows me for long hours at his big name tech company, our 4 rambunctious boys who are aged 8, 6, 4, and almost 2, and a dog who enjoys eating garbage far more than seems health for any animal other than a goat. I live this way because sanity is over rated.

My youngest was born 9 weeks early and spent 77 days in the NICU, followed by other issues that are all resolved now. He started causing trouble before he was born and hasn’t slowed down since. His main goal in life right now is to fuck up as much shit as he can before bedtime and he is definitely suceeding at that goal.

My four year old has finally successfully potty trained without daily accidents as of last month. I’m so happy. It only took him a year and a half to finally get it, but he no longer stands in front of the toilet and craps his pants as I’m handling raw chicken in attempts to get dinner in the oven. Now if only he would work on his aim, I’m sure my floors, walls, and everything else in the general area of the toilet would appreciate it. Baby steps right?

My six year old is in kindergarten and I’m super proud of how hard he is working and how well he is doing in school. He’s such a sweet, wonderful kid, that I might actually agree to his requests to marry him when he is older. Of course, that is dependent on whether or not he is still most proud of being the best farter  and most gassiest because I kind of feel like a husband should have loftier goals that aren’t related to his farting abilities.

My oldest son is a good kid, but a handful. He is the kid of kid that teachers enjoy when they aren’t in their classroom. If I’d known what we were in for with him, he’d probably have been an only child. However, by the time his true colors shined through, we were already into the making of a third kid, so I just doubled down and went for four. Makes sense right? He was diagnosed with SPD (sensory processing disorder) last summer, so we are learning what the means and how to deal with his issues. It is exhausting dealing with it, but I love him (and not just because I have to).

I spend most of my life running kids where they need to be and arriving late, picking up dirty socks to wash but never pair and put away, making meals that no one will eat, cleaning things that immediately become dirty again, losing my mind in constant chaos, and really enjoy it all (ok, not all, but most of it). 

I guess what I’m saying is, this is why I haven’t written in awhile. But here I am, totally confident that, despite life not getting any easier or slowing down, I’m totally going to be better about writing my blog. I mean, I guess I could always just stay up at night to do my writing like I am now. Besides, five hours of sleep a night was starting feel like too much and I’m sure that just like sanity, sleep is overrated.

Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the loyalest of them all?

I have four boys, which means my kids have a lot of brothers. Some times they are very loving of each other, but most times they enjoy pushing each other’s buttons and making each other wish they were an only child. Despite all they put each other through, I know that deep down they love each other. Today, however, I think I came to the conclusion that my Middlest child is the most loving and dedicated of all the brothers.

Today was a beautiful day. It felt like summer, so we went to play at the park. Unfortunately it is not yet summer, so after about an hour, we needed to go home and resume weekday during the school year activities. My oldest wasn’t too keen on this idea so I did what I often do in this situation, I packed up and started to leave. I waved goodbye and told my oldest that I hoped he enjoyed his new life living at the park. As I began to walk my other three to the car my 3 year old began to sob. I thought he was upset because we were going home, but then I heard him call his brother’s name. It turned out, he wasn’t upset we were leaving the park, but that we were leaving his brother behind. I tried to explain to him that we weren’t really going to leave him, that he would eventually come, but when I tried to get him into the car, he began bawling and reaching toward the park for his brother. My Middlest was adomant that we could not leave without his oldest brother. It was so sweet and cute, I couldn’t help but hug him and kiss his tears. My five year old, on the other hand, could care less that we were leaving his old brother at the park. In fact, I’m pretty sure he got a little extra skip in his step at the idea of leaving his older brother at the park and him becoming the oldest sibling now.

Luckily for my 3 year old and not so luckily for my 5 year old, my oldest did eventually join us at the car before we left. So no one got left behind and no one got to move up the hierarchy of brothers, but one did show that he is the most loyal of them all.

Patience is a virtue, but not the norm

Dear Woman waiting for my parking space at Target,

I’m sorry, I didn’t immediately see you there. I was busy loading my multiple bags and children into my car. You seemed to be annoyed that it was taking me so long to vacate my space for you. I get that I’d snagged myself a sweet spot which you wanted. Infact, only two other spots were sweeter than mine and both were currently occupied by cars that didn’t appear to be leaving anytime too soon.  Well, I hate to break it to you, but mine wasn’t either, or at least not as quickly as you’d have  liked me too.

The thing is, I have several small children who need to be buckled in, bags to load, and a carriage to return, these things take time (as does everything with small children). I noticed though that you don’t have any children in your car, so you are able to hop in and out quickly (your shopping trip probably takes a fraction of the time mine does too).  Based upon the impatient looks you were giving me, I would guess that you were in a hurry, so it surprises me that you were choosing to wait for my spot. After all, the lots was half empty and you must have passed at least ten spots before getting to mine. You didn’t  appear to be old, nor did I see a handicapped sticker (otherwise you would have been parking in an even sweeter spot than mine), so I’m guess you probably don’t have a problem walking that would necessated that you wait for a spot up front. Since it was clearly taking me longer than you would have liked and there were so many other open spots just a little further away, I found it curious that  you would continue to wait angerly on my annoyingly large family. Oh sure, I get that the other spots would  require you to walk a few extra steps, but maybe you should ask yourself if avoiding a small exertion of energy is worth the annoyance of waiting for my spot. I guess that, after several minutes of waiting, you finally decided that it wasn’t, since you seemed to find yourself another spot not that much further from mine. Good for you for choosing a small amount of walking over the agony of waiting! From the dirty look you gave me as you walked by while I finally buckled myself in, I’m guessing you were still a little perturbed with me for forcing you to make that decision.

Oh the plight of the privileged and impatient! I’m sure the hungry, homeless, and destitute feel bad  for you and your huge burden of being forced to decide between getting a small amount of exercise or having to wait. I’d have said a small prayer for you that there was no line at Starbucks inside, but I didn’t want another person to have to make the tough choice you just had to make.

Sincerely, 

Someone who has no fucks to give about your first world problems

Just a typical morning of fights, chaos, and vermin

This morning was one of those not so typical mornings that seems to be typical in a household with four kids. It was filled with the chaos of wrangling four children, the fights to get them ready and out the door, and of course, the less typical, vermin.
Our morning started off far too early in the purple darkness of a winter morning creeping closer to spring. The sun no longer waits until we are almost out the door to come up, but it is still kind enough not to rise and wake our children during a time that should still be night (I.e. Anytime before 5am). No one had slept well, as usual, especially myself who was up at two separate intervals with a fussy, gassy, teething baby for more than an hour each time. I was also lucky enough to have enjoyed the double whammy of a toddler in my bed who has a habit of waking up screaming for water several times a night. My memory is foggy, but I’m pretty sure it was my seven year old who woke us, as he does most mornings, by loudly and clumsily stumbling into my room in search of an iPad. The toddler was now awake, so I sent him to wake is dad who was asleep where the toddler should have been, in bed with the five year old. Instead of my husband, a three year old and five year old came back into my room. I got up and woke my husband from his few minutes of restful slumber after a night of listening to the five year old cough in bed next to him. The baby hand off took place and everyone’s day began except for mine as I crawled back into bed for a few minutes of sleep without two children clinging to me.
The next thing I knew, I was being awoken by my seven year old crying that he was hungry as if he’d never been served breakfast.
It is entirely possible that in my husband’s exhausted state he had forgotten to give my son a proper breakfast before school, but that wasn’t the case. Apparently my son had eaten a breakfast sandwich, finished it, played games and the iPad for a bit, and the second my husband told him to go upstairs to brush his teeth, my 7 year old complained that he was still hungry. My husband asked what my son wanted to eat, to which he asked “what do we have?” My husband listed off about ten different things he could eat, but my son seemed uninterested in any and just processed to whine the two alternating phrases of “I’m hungry! ” and “what do we have?” This seems to have become a common place occurrence these days since my 7 year old seems absolutely uninterested in any food offered to him, even his usual favorites, but insists he is hungry (someone please tell me that they have had this problem before and have a solution for me). Eventually my husband had enough and marched my son out the door but couldn’t get him to walk to the bus stop. This is when the real chaos of a typical morning ensues as we race against the clock to get everyone to their separate prospective schools on time ( three different buildings, two different locations, all starting at 9:00am).
My oldest clearly wasn’t going to make the bus this morning, so I brought him back inside, fed him and myself some oatmeal, gave the baby a quick snack then marched everyone upstairs to finish dressing and brush teeth as my husband finished getting ready for work. A plan was hatched, between fights with each child to get upstairs and brush, that I was to take the baby and drop my oldest at school while my husband took the middle two to their school. We needed to be quick so everyone could get to school on time and my husband and I could make it to our appointments on time. The middle two went downstairs (one dragged in my husband’s arms) to get shoes and go off to school. As I finished dressing, I could hear small voices outside long after my husband should have left. I assumed it was the neighbor kids, but found I was wrong when I finally got my youngest, oldest, and myself downstairs at two minutes until 9:00. My middle two were both standing outside my husband’s car as my husband rummages through his it. “What’s going on? Why haven’t you left yet?!” I asked. The response, “there’s a mouse in Dad’s car!” This is the point where our typical morning chaos turns into not so typical chaos. My husband was in the midst of moving offices and had some of his office stuff in his car and apparently a mouse had crawled in with his stuff and taken a ride home with him last night. The mouse made himself at home over the course of the night, chewing up papers and pooping in the cup holders. My husband gave up searching for the mouse and left to take the kids to school. I told the kids to be sure to tell their teachers why they were late, I figured they’d probably never heard the “sorry, I’m late, but there was a mouse in my dad’s car” excuse before.
I still had to take my oldest to school in the next town, so we headed out. I tried talking to my son to try and make his morning a little less miserable than it had started out, but he had no interest in talking and just stared out the window despite my best mouse in the car jokes. When we reached school, I’d planned to just park out front, leave the baby In the car since it was pouring and quickly sign him in so I could run back to the car before the baby even realized the car had stopped. Of course, as I stood at the passenger door in the pouring rain, trying to gather my son’s things and get him out, my son had different plans. Now he had decided that he was tired and didn’t want to go to school. The clock was quickly approaching 9:30 and I had to be somewhere by 10:00. I was sleep deprived, hadn’t had enough coffee, and was standing in the pouring rain; I didn’t have the time or patience for this. Despite my best efforts to encourage, pep talk, and sympathize with my son, he wasn’t moving, so ultimately I had to threaten loss of video games to get him out (this is my go to move when nothing else works, but I hate that it has to come to that point). Finally my son got out of the car and dragged his “tired” body to the front door complaining that he was going to be grumpy all day. I told him to join the club, signed him in, and kissed him goodbye.
I felt bad and worried most of the day about my oldest’s morning and hoped his day wasn’t too bad, but I’m pretty sure he had forgotten all about it the moment he entered his classroom because when I met him at the bus in the afternoon, he came bounding out with all the energy of a typical first grader and full of smiles. My husband and I made it to over appointments with just minutes to spare, though I’m not sure either of us had our whits completely about us or enough coffee to function well. My middle two were about 20-25 minutes late to school, which is less than three hours long to begin with. As for the mouse, he has not been caught, nor have we seen anymore evidence of him residing in my husbands car. We can only hope that he found his way out of the car and has made a lovely new home for himself over at my husband’s new office.
Like I said, this morning was just another typical morning in our household. The thing about having four kids is, something strange and untypical is always happening as part of that typical day, like a mouse in the car, but the chaos is part of what makes a big family so fun.

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