Scary Mommy http://www.scarymommy.com A parenting community for imperfect parents. Wed, 03 Sep 2014 00:41:59 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 Glitter is the Devil (And Other Things Moms of Girls Learn)http://www.scarymommy.com/glitter-is-the-devil/ http://www.scarymommy.com/glitter-is-the-devil/#comments Tue, 02 Sep 2014 23:45:26 +0000 http://www.scarymommy.com/?p=55235 Contrary to popular belief, I was ecstatic when my doctor announced in the delivery room that a third little girl would be joining our family. I grew up with two sisters, and couldn’t wait for my three daughters to experience the same excitement and volatility of being trapped in an emotionally unstable, explosively melodramatic, all-female […]

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Contrary to popular belief, I was ecstatic when my doctor announced in the delivery room that a third little girl would be joining our family. I grew up with two sisters, and couldn’t wait for my three daughters to experience the same excitement and volatility of being trapped in an emotionally unstable, explosively melodramatic, all-female shitshow.

Plus we already had all of the girl stuff, which made things easier because I place an inordinate amount of importance on logistical household efficiencies. Our boy name was Jessica, and Jessica was going to look just precious coming home from the hospital in his little pink gingham Lilly Pulitzer classic shift dress.

But I’m tired of talking about our fake son Jessica. Let me tell you what I know about raising little girls:

1. Be warned – girls can be every bit as gross as boys. Except it is freaking disturbing. When hanging out with my nephews, I am surrounded by a cornucopia of bodily excretions. Farts. Burps. Dropping trou and peeing in the front yard. Poop talk. Boogers flying to and fro. Unidentified matter wiped on my pants. It all seems very organic, normal and expected. Because they are boys. And boys are disgusting.

But there is just something straight up haunting when a little girl with ribbons tied around her pig tails lifts her leg at the dinner table and rips off a seven-second fart like it’s her job. My eldest daughter has even gone so far as to teach herself how to fart on command, once taking it too far. And by too far I mean a change of underwear was involved.

My husband paused his standing ovation long enough to wipe a tear of pride from his eye as she screamed, “Whoopsie!  Guess I gambled and lost!” and ran upstairs.

So sorry if I’m not racing in for a front row seat when my 3-year-old walks penguin-style out of the bathroom with her ruffled bloomers around her ankles and screams, “Hey everybody! Get in here quick and check out my monster turd!”

I just still believe in maintaining a certain level of mystery in our home.

2. Speaking of wardrobe changes, outfitting three little girls every day is like trying to solve the same riddle that has a different answer from minute to minute, all with a clock ticking in your ear.

I have long since abandoned the idea of giving any sort of input on daily clothing selections.  I don’t comment, speak, breathe or make eye contact as they are weighing their options.  My job is to simply make sure everything is covered that needs to be covered and no one smells like urine.

“Listen, sister,”  I’ll say. “YOU picked out this adorable little dress in the store. And I bought it. With money. Because you said you liked it. Now wear it.”

“But it’s so itchy!” She’ll say, poking at the soft, 100% cotton fabric like it’s a vest of thorns.

Once a selection is made I slowly tiptoe down the stairs because I don’t want to upset whatever balance the universe has achieved when they find something they like. And it can be anything.  Really – I don’t care. The cutest little dresses hang lonely in their closet still bearing store tags, but duds like this get worn to the threads:

I waved goodbye to matching bows and ruffled socks long ago.

Of course they usually change again before breakfast, after breakfast, as I am tearfully begging them to put on their shoes and get in the van, after they are in the van, before naps, after naps, before bed and sometimes in the middle of the night if they have a concept they want to test drive for school the next morning.

We are never on time. For anything. Like, ever.

“This shirt raises up when I lift my arms!”

“I guess I just feel more like something in a lighter shade of pink today.”

“I was just kidding when I put on this shirt.”

“But there’s spaghetti sauce all over this dress!”

In their defense on that last one… I am a bit of a slacker when it comes to housework.

*licks mac and cheese off dirty fork and thoughtfully places it back in silverware drawer*

3. Glitter is the devil. Glitter should be treated with the same respect you would give someone standing in your living room with the Ebola virus. It is infectious. If allowed into your home it will multiply exponentially until it defiles every available surface.

make-glitter-snowflake-craft-480X480

It all seems innocent enough. “Oh but this headband is super cute,”  you’ll say, putting it away in the vanity.

Then two days later you catch a glimpse of yourself in the bathroom mirror and realize you’ve just sat through a one-hour PTO meeting with a bedazzled mustache. The more you wipe, the longer and more lush said mustache becomes. Oh look, now you have matching sideburns.

Don’t be a sucker. Any toy, article of clothing or human being who enters your home brandishing glitter should be burned and discarded immediately. The end.         

4. Hair. Prepare yourself to accept failure. Hair is a big deal. It’s super hard to remember to take my Valium in enough time that it kicks in by the post bath de-tangle. And that hour of blood curdling screams is nothing compared to every morning when I have to figure out what to do with it that won’t make them look like rabid wild animals.

I had just mastered the art of the ponytail when one day my so-called “friend” sent me a link to a YouTube channel called Cute Girls Hairstyles.  They have simple little ‘dos any parent could easily bang out in no time:

Screen Shot 2014-09-02 at 7.21.37 PM

Any parent except me, apparently. Unless step #1 was, “Go into the linen closet where we have placed an expert to do it all for you,” this was not going to happen.

And I know this because once I tried to French braid my daughter’s hair. I would have had better luck gluing feathers to my arms and jumping off my roof. Which has crossed my mind more than one time as someone stood before me on the hairstyle stool screaming balls.

It was three minutes of pure hell that ended with her flailing around on her bedroom floor like I had stabbed her in the kidneys and me nursing a case of arthritis. Mid-way through she decided she had enough and took off running down the hall, dragging me behind with my fingers still intertwined in her hair. I had invested too much time and I refused to let go and not finish the job.

And that was a just a simple French braid. There was no way this cascade-flower-knotted-twist extravaganza is happening.  Not now, not while she is conscious. But now, seeing how adorable it was on the other little girls, I know what I have to do.

Chloroform.

5. The future of another woman’s inherently fragile body image rests squarely on your shoulders.  No pressure, though. A few days ago my daughter asked me if I thought, “The kids would think she was beautiful and like her” if she wore a certain dress to a birthday party.

Well crap. We’re here already?  I’d already expertly dodged her image-related questions such as, “Mommy, why do you wear makeup?”, “Why do you put that foamy stuff in your hair?”, and “Why do those underwear make you cry (Spanx)?”

I couldn’t think of a single answer to her dress question that wouldn’t turn me into a flaming hypocrite. So I told her the truth.

“Honey, the people who matter in your life don’t like you based on what you look like or what you wear. They like you if you pull all of the weeds out of the flower beds and scrub the baseboards.”  Then, stroking her hair and giving her a big hug I said,  “So let’s go ahead and get you started.”    

6. Boys let them flop around on the outside, girls keep them tucked away deep, deep inside. Then use them as a weapon when the time is right.

I’m talking about emotions.

When angry with one another, my nephews will punch each other in the head and move on.  (Side note – they will also punch each other when happy, sad, or to indicate that dinner is ready.) But girls tend to be a little more imaginative/sadistic.  “Oh, you stole my favorite outfit and wore it to the party?  No big d… I’ll probably just cut your hair off at the ponytail while you sleep.”

A long time ago my sister and I got into a HUGE fight. I’m not sure exactly what started it or why she was mad, but it may have had something to do with the fact that I smeared a huge handful of whipped cream across her face and into her hair for no reason at all while her back was turned. I knew from the moment she spun around she meant business. Even though she was three years younger she had about twenty pounds on me so I high tailed it to my room and locked the door. A half hour without any action, I timidly peeked my head out only to discover she was back in the kitchen like nothing ever happened.

“Let’s just call a truce, okay?”  She yelled over her shoulder.  “I’m tired of fighting.”

Satisfied she had recognized my position as the dominant female, I sat down to enjoy the piece of banana cream pie I had abandoned on the table when she gave chase. The minute I shoved an enormous mouthful into my face I realized something was very, very wrong. That something was that she had dumped an entire container of salt and garlic powder on said slice of pie. After vomiting in the sink for ten minutes, I truly appreciated the power of the female mind.

A punch in the head – unkind.  Mess with another woman’s pie – well that’s just fucked up.

7. They’re so fancy.  No really… inappropriately so. One night after dinner, the girls informed my husband and me that they wanted to put on a “dance show”.  All three excitedly ran upstairs to change into what we presumed was their dance leotards, tutus, tights and tap shoes while my husband and I turned on some top 40 music and settled in on the couch.

What came downstairs was illegal in 34 states.

They had put on every piece of sequenced clothing and jewelry they could find, smeared lip gloss from their chins to their nostrils and proceeded to own the song Fancy while strutting around the living room in my stilettos.  There was pouty lips and hair tosses and prancing around and at one point my innocent little baby bent over exposing her Pull-Up, grabbed her ankles and instructed us to “smack her booty”.  My husband and I just stared at her open mouthed, too stunned to even say a word.

“What the hell?”  He murmured under his breath.  “Did you teach them how to dance like that?”

“God no!”  I said.

It was not the first time I’d lied to my husband.  I totally taught them how to do that.  In my defense, though, it wasn’t on purpose; I had no idea they ever watched me cook dinner.  I was probably going to have to dial it back a tad.

8. It is really, really fun.  

Girl stuff 2

Because – well – doing girly stuff is awesome. Nails. Facials. Dance recitals. Dresses. Princesses. Building fairy houses. Bring it.

And you may be thinking, “Well, boys can do all that stuff too.”  And you’re exactly right. In fact, I highly encourage everyone to stage a stuffed animal wedding complete with ’80s-themed rehearsal dinner in their playroom immediately. We all come to the reception dressed in our best old prom dress, retired recital tutu, or just butt naked with a big blue wig and drink Ginger Ale out of my Great-Grandma’s depression teacups.

I know the day will come soon enough that they’d rather drink anti-freeze than be seen in public with me. If my calculations are accurate that will be happening by about first grade. Instead of enchanted evenings I’ll get eye rolls, instead of play weddings I’ll get “whatever, Mom” in my face when I make the tyrannic request to please sift the hair out of the shower. Soon they’ll be too busy with their friends and boys other things and in their minds I’ll be relegated to my rightful role of cook, maid, or chauffeur.

A chauffeur with a very good memory who happens to be an excellent storyteller. Especially stories involving pretty young women who used to have an above-average aptitude for sharting their pants at the dinner table.

Because, well, I’m a girl too, after all.

Related post: Your Penis Won’t Fall Off And Other Things Boys Should Know

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Questions I Get About Homeschooling My Kidshttp://www.scarymommy.com/homeschooling-my-kids/ http://www.scarymommy.com/homeschooling-my-kids/#comments Tue, 02 Sep 2014 18:50:44 +0000 http://www.scarymommy.com/?p=53954 As a homeschooler, I get asked a lot of questions about how the whole thing works. Folks tend to have an idea of what they think homeschooling is, and the reality, at least my reality, is far different. Here are some questions I get about homeschooling my kids, along with the truth: 1. “You must be REALLY organized!” […]

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little-girl-doing-homework

As a homeschooler, I get asked a lot of questions about how the whole thing works. Folks tend to have an idea of what they think homeschooling is, and the reality, at least my reality, is far different. Here are some questions I get about homeschooling my kids, along with the truth:

1. “You must be REALLY organized!” Oh dear holy old cheezits, no. Unless I can count not having lost a child in Mount Washmore as being organized. (In fact, I think I will count it, as I need the reassurance to my ego.) Frankly, that’s about the only thing I can think of that I haven’t had to tear the house apart looking for. Hang on, where’s the baby?! Oh, right. Nap time. I’m still good on not having misplaced a child.

2. “Your kids must be so well behaved!” Uh…I have a nine year old son who decided that hiding his math book would mean not having to do math. Ever. And then it took him several days to find it again. He’s currently grounded until sometime after his 21st birthday for that stunt. And catching up on the math he should have been doing.

3. “You must be really patient!” I had someone tell me this once in front of my teen daughter. Her hysterical laughter caused a bit of a scene, and didn’t stop until I threatened her with the thought that she could wet her pants in the middle of the grocery store. Even then, she was still suppressing the giggles. Needless to say, patience is not one of my many virtues. I try, and I think I’ve gotten better with practice. Either that, or I’ve given up on many things, and just stick to my guns on the big stuff. You know, reading, math, writing, not drawing blood on a sibling…

4. “What about socialization?” Honestly, my kids have a better social life than I do. Granted, that’s not really saying much, but they have swimming lessons, skiing lessons, kids in the yard daily, field trips…Being grounded to the house and yard is their worst punishment, not their norm.

5. “Do you ever think about sending them to school?” Only about eleventy billion times a year. Dumping them on the front steps of the local public school for some poor, unsuspecting teacher to deal with is a fantasy on many days. Like, all this week, with the hidden math book fiasco. Any homeschooling parent that claims to NEVER have these thoughts is either a liar, or completely delusional.

6. “Why?” Ah, the real question. Some days, I suspect I’m a glutton for punishment. Other days, I’m protecting the teachers of the world from my kids. I suppose the real answer is that it just works for our family. The kids mostly enjoy being homeschooled, and I (mostly) enjoy homeschooling them. I say ‘mostly’ because, well, they’re kids. Given the choice between school work and doing whatever they want, chances are, school work isn’t going to win out. So, we have our struggles, just the same as we would with regular homework, but for the most part, they’re used to their routine, and things roll along fairly well. Also, for our family, the flexibility is a big part of things. My husband’s busiest season at work is during the Summer. This way, we c an flex our schedule differently than what’s normal for the public schools in our area, so that when he gets down time in the Fall/Winter, the kids can take time off their schooling to take a trip with him, be it over night or a series of day trips.

We didn’t start out to homeschool. But after we started, we discovered it works better for us than we ever would have imagined. So, while I may fantasize about handing them off to someone else to teach, I really can’t imagine not homeschooling my kids. We’re the Weird Homeschoolers, now. And it fits us perfectly.

Related post: Reasons to Homeschool

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How To Get Your Child To Sleep Through The Nighthttp://www.scarymommy.com/get-your-child-to-sleep-through-the-night/ http://www.scarymommy.com/get-your-child-to-sleep-through-the-night/#comments Tue, 02 Sep 2014 16:50:00 +0000 http://www.scarymommy.com/?p=53587 Image via Shutterstock I’m afraid to say it out loud, so I’ll whisper it: My baby is sleeping through the night. It’s been happening for a few months now, but saying it – or even thinking it – could tempt fate, so I’ve told myself it’s just a phase. This morning, I realized that I couldn’t remember […]

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cute-toddler-sleeping Image via Shutterstock

I’m afraid to say it out loud, so I’ll whisper it: My baby is sleeping through the night.

It’s been happening for a few months now, but saying it – or even thinking it – could tempt fate, so I’ve told myself it’s just a phase. This morning, I realized that I couldn’t remember the last time he’d woken during the night, so maybe it’s time to admit it: My baby is sleeping through the night!

And now to help you with your wakeful baby, here’s exactly what I did – just follow my step-by-step guide, and within just two and a half years, your child may sleep through the night, too.

1. At five months old, introduce a dream-feed. Pick up sleepy-baby at 11pm, while a little voice says “are you crazy?” and try to feed him. Wonder how far to go in your attempts to wake him. Go too far. Spend an hour trying to get him back to sleep.

2. Try again the next night – it might have been a once-off.

3. Repeat.

4. At six months old, decide that the snoring of one particular parent is what’s keeping the baby awake, so move him into his own room, sit back, and wait for the first night of blissful sleep.

5. At 3am, stumble blearily across the hallway to pick up the crying baby, cursing yourself for moving him into his own room. Go over and back three times, then bring him into your bed, just like you were doing all along anyway. Try to sleep while being kicked in the face repeatedly.

6. The next evening, decide that last night was a once-off, and let him sleep in his own room again.

7. At 3am, step on Lego and swear in a loud whisper while running to pick him up in the middle of the night, before he wakes his big sisters.

8. Repeat nightly, for a long time, while living in false hope that the snoring was the thing. And anyway, dismantling the cot to move it back seems like a very thorough admission of defeat.

9. After six months of nightly stumbling and swearing, come up with ingenious idea to put a travel cot beside your own bed, so that after the first night-time waking, you can settle the baby in the travel cot.

10. Realize after first five or six hundred attempts that the baby does not like the travel cot, so give up on that idea.

11. Decide the baby’s feet are too hot. Of course! That’s why he’s waking up. Take a scissors, and cut the feet out of all of his sleep-suits.

12. Go to bed, excited about the full night of sleep ahead.

13. At 3am, pick baby up the crying baby and bring him into bed. Feel consoled by the fact that he does look cute in his little cut-off sleep-suits. Try to sleep while being kicked in the face repeatedly.

14. Download Wonder Weeks app. Now you know why he was cranky and wakeful last week! But you still don’t know what’s wrong this week.

15. Suspect that the early morning sun-rise is waking him up, and rush out to buy black-out curtain-lining, ignoring the little voice that’s saying “but the sun doesn’t come up at 3am?”

16. Carefully attach black-out lining to one side of each curtain. Realize you’ve put it on backwards. Curse. Take off lining and start over. Hang curtains, marvel at the darkness, and wait for sleep.

17. Get up at 3am when baby cries. Bang your knee against the cot, because it’s so dark in his room. Persevere with blackout curtains anyway, because some day they will work.

18. He’s now 18 months old and you’re getting desperate. Search sleep forums online and Google “my toddler will not sleep”. Read up on bimodal sleep. Decide that this is what the baby is doing – two periods of sleep punctuated by a period of wakefulness. That’s great! Oh, but there’s nothing you can do about it. Click to next website.

19. Hear from a friend that white noise is great for getting kids back to sleep. Download one of the gazillions of white noise apps that are out there. Charge up your phone and you’re ready to go.

20. At 3am, race into the room, phone in hand. Feel your way through the darkness, fumbling to switch on the app. Put the phone beside the cot, and sit on the nearby chair to watch the white noise in action. It seems to be working! He has stopped crying and is resting peacefully, eyes closed.

21. Gently easy yourself out of the chair, leaving the phone where it is. Put one foot on the floor, heading towards the door. Make absolutely no noise.

22. Sigh heavily when just as you touch the door-handle, the baby-with-superman-hearing starts to cry. Sit back on the chair. This is your new home. Enjoy the white noise.

23. He’s now two years old. Move him from cot to bed. When he wakes at night, get into his bed with him. Notice that the repeated face-kicking has abated. Fall asleep wondering why, and wake none the wiser.

24. Bravely transition to sitting on the floor beside his bed when he wakes, instead of getting in with him. Organize a cushion to sit on, and consider setting up a little drinks fridge and reading light. Do this for however long it takes (even if it’s four months). Eventually, sleep will come.

That’s it! Just follow these simple steps, and at two-and-a-half years old, your child will sleep through the night.*

*Or not – no guarantees.

Related post: Bedtime Stalling 101 (as taught by a two-year-old)

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 6 Ways Toddlerhood and Pregnancy Are Alikehttp://www.scarymommy.com/ways-toddlerhood-and-pregnancy-are-alike/ http://www.scarymommy.com/ways-toddlerhood-and-pregnancy-are-alike/#comments Tue, 02 Sep 2014 07:00:24 +0000 http://www.scarymommy.com/?p=53284 This morning in the car, my three year old was whining. What else is new? As he wailed his reasoning (“I JUST WANT WAFFLES AND TACOS ALL THE TIIIIIME!”), it hit me: At nearly seven months pregnant, I’ve never had more in common with this kid than I do right now. Hear me out: 1. The eating […]

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toddler-on-scale

This morning in the car, my three year old was whining. What else is new? As he wailed his reasoning (“I JUST WANT WAFFLES AND TACOS ALL THE TIIIIIME!”), it hit me: At nearly seven months pregnant, I’ve never had more in common with this kid than I do right now. Hear me out:

1. The eating habits. The penchant for pre-dinner ice cream. Hands with the sticky remnants of an illicit snack shoveled in harried secrecy. Sometimes a Cheerio falls out of his pant leg; sometimes I find a Frito in my bra. Sometimes just the thought of eating a banana makes us gag; other times, nothing short of an entire carton of strawberries will do. We want what we want when we want it, and if anything stands in our way, expect some forks to be thrown.

2. The perpetually ill-fitting clothes on our continuously changing bodies. What? You outgrew your $50 baby shoes three weeks after we bought them? No kidding, I just graduated from the Could-Be-Just-Bloated early pregnancy fat pants to my full blown I’ve-Been-Eating-Pie-For-6-Months third trimester fare. Your head outgrew your hats mid-winter? Over the past three years of pregnancies and nursing, I’ve acquired bras with cups to match the first four (FOUR!) letters of the alphabet. You feel like crying because we have to pack away your favorite Thomas shirt that you’ve chosen to wear almost every day of the week regardless of cleanliness and occasion because it’s now midriff-bearing and partially see-through? Tell that to these skinny jeans I’m hiding in the back of my closet in case my child-bearing hips get a hold of a DeLorean. In this game, the only winner is the mall.

3. Let’s talk about the big wet elephant in the room that is our incapacity to hold our urine. Sometimes we pee our pants (don’t make a big deal). We also seldom make it though the night without having to go. Equipped with humanity’s weakest bladders, excepting of course the elderly and drunk, toddlers and pregos understand that pee happens. Don’t take us to that too-long church service/bumpy roadtrip/ Melissa McCarthy movie without expecting to make a few pit stops.

4. The Gas.  Have you noticed that when a questionable smell erupts into a public forum, all eyes immediately throw repulsed daggers at either the toddler or the visibly pregnant woman in the room? We are both equally offended at your audacious, non-verbal accusation and would thank you to either keep your suspicions to yourself or blame the old guy. IT WAS TOTALLY THE OLD GUY!

5. Remembering things is hard. Mommy, where’s my firetruck? What’s my middle name? Where are we going? So I’m NOT allowed to jump off this table (*mid-air*)? Where are we going? What’s for dinner? Where are we going? Where’s my firetruck? What is your second child’s date of birth? What is the name of your pediatrician? Ma’am, the ER doctors would like to examine your daughter now, so we need the name of her pediatrician. Literally name any pediatrician in the practice, it doesn’t matter. What’s YOUR date of birth? What kind of health insurance do you carry?  Give us a minute or 20. Juice helps.

6. The earth-shattering mood swings. The fury and its unlikely friend, manic laughter. It’s the kind of rage that says, “Don’t you dare fuck with me, Mommy, because I KNOW you didn’t hear me creeping down the steps at naptime to find you watching Real Housewives with an Oreo Blizzard on your belly after you didn’t eat a real lunch and then skipped 6 pages of my bedtime story,” but can be assuaged by a well-timed fart joke and a 45-minute snuggle. It’s the agony of  seething through the experience of having the baby drip milk into your hair from her high chair while you’re picking up 17 sticky half-grapes off the kitchen floor AGAIN, and then laughing until tears flow about their take on boogers after they’ve fallen asleep 10 minutes later. It may not make sense to the outsiders, and it may terrify onlookers at the grocery store, but our feelings are both very real and very big. And for the record, don’t you dare call me hormonal because WE BOTH KNOW you’re just being an asshole.

So, the next time my son stabs my heart with another “I don’t love you and I don’t love your carrots!”,  I like to think I will have a greater understanding of his outburst and be better-equipped to ride the wave of his highly complex emotions. I will be able to step back and appreciate the special bond we now share, if only for a few more weeks. I will sit down with him over a steaming plate of waffles and tacos and tell booger jokes until we pee our ill-fitting pants.

Related post: 5 Ways Toddlers Are Easier Than Teens 

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The Lookhttp://www.scarymommy.com/the-look/ http://www.scarymommy.com/the-look/#comments Tue, 02 Sep 2014 04:12:09 +0000 http://www.scarymommy.com/?p=49471 Image via Shutterstock Recently, I got “the look.” It has been a while and it was spine-tingly, reminding me of when our kids were little and the looks were frequent and plentiful. If you’re a parent, you know the look I’m talking about. It’s that sidelong glance your kids give you when they are doing […]

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kindergarten-graduation Image via Shutterstock

Recently, I got “the look.” It has been a while and it was spine-tingly, reminding me of when our kids were little and the looks were frequent and plentiful. If you’re a parent, you know the look I’m talking about. It’s that sidelong glance your kids give you when they are doing something they’re proud of,  priceless peeks to wherever you’re sitting in the audience to make sure you’re watching. This is the look that has resulted in untold numbers of soccer goals being scored while the goalie was scanning the bleachers for her mommy or daddy. The look that gets little leaguers “doubled off” because they absent-mindedly wander away from the base, or forget to run to the next base, while checking if their parents noticed them get on base in the first place. The look your kids give you while taking a bow after their school play, piano recital, or perfect pirouette. And when they give you the look, it’s key that you be looking back, lest you miss the look and your child panics that you missed the whole reason for giving you the look. Kids know there are no instant replays.

This past spring, we were invited by a dear family friend to their grandson’s kindergarten “graduation” ceremony and looks were flying everywhere. Like every other capped and gowned mini-graduate, our friend’s grandson gave the look to his parents while standing in the queue for his diploma, again while receiving his diploma from the kindergarten teacher (whose hand he forgot to shake because he was too busy giving his parents the look), and yet again on arrival back at his seat. We knew just this one graduate, but as each of his classmates crossed the stage, we only needed to follow his or her laser-focused look to identify the proud parents in the audience.

Ours was a sports-obsessed home, and when our kids were little we anticpated many looks during each game or match. We always sat in the same spot in the bleachers to minimize the distraction of searching for us. As they got older, they tried to stifle the looks, to appear cool and unconcerned with what the family fans were thinking, but we caught them looking anyway. Fleeting checks from the corners of their eyes while bringing the ball down the basketball court or striding across the tennis court after serving an ace. For certain of the looks, I had a trademark response our kids came to expect: I held my right fist over my heart and tapped my chest a couple times, symbolizing…well I’m  not absolutely sure what I was trying to convey. Probably heartfelt pride in their accomplishment.  Or maybe it was a sign of gratitude for having healthy and happy kids, and for being blessed to witness their small triumphs.  Or relief that we could offer a silver lining on the car ride home after an otherwise crushing defeat. Not every two-point basket or single up the middle earned a heart tap. Game winning 3-pointers and walk-off base hits usually did. Sometimes I added a flourish to the chest tap by pointing my finger at my young star, as if to say “this tap is for you.”

Our kids are grown and living away from home, so it’s rare for us to get the look these days. When our daughter was leaving for graduate school a couple years ago, she turned to wave before entering the airport security line and gave us the look. I choked up, and tapped my chest. When our oldest son took the oath for the New York State Bar, he gave us the look, and again I choked up and tapped my chest. A couple years earlier at his wedding he didn’t give us the look – he saved it for his wife. We forgave him.

Earlier this summer, as our youngest son marched in with hundreds of his classmates to receive his college diploma, he turned to us in the audience and gave us the look. This one was a prolonged look, a cumulative look for all the smaller achievements we missed seeing that led to this moment. As he met our eyes, he raised his hands in the air in a celebratory gesture, mouthing “thank you.” I gently tapped my chest, and pointed straight at him.

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Dad Creates Viral Video on How To Change A Toilet Paper Rollhttp://www.scarymommy.com/how-to-change-a-toilet-paper-roll/ http://www.scarymommy.com/how-to-change-a-toilet-paper-roll/#comments Mon, 01 Sep 2014 20:08:06 +0000 http://www.scarymommy.com/?p=55189 With everything our kids can do, why are they unable to change the damn toilet paper roll? One dad sets out to teach his children how in this educational tutorial (also, of course, completely suitable for toilet-roll-phobic husbands.)

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With everything our kids can do, why are they unable to change the damn toilet paper roll? One dad sets out to teach his children how in this educational tutorial (also, of course, completely suitable for toilet-roll-phobic husbands.)

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10 Reasons It’s Awesome Having Twinshttp://www.scarymommy.com/reasons-its-awesome-having-twins/ http://www.scarymommy.com/reasons-its-awesome-having-twins/#comments Mon, 01 Sep 2014 16:14:20 +0000 http://www.scarymommy.com/?p=44551 Image via Shutterstock 1. The 2 for 1 deal. I did not enjoy pregnancy and counted down the days until it was over and I could shed the 75, yes 75 pounds that I gained and feel like I had some control over my body again. Having twins is incredibly hard, but knowing I’m not going to be pregnant […]

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awesome-twins Image via Shutterstock

1. The 2 for 1 deal. I did not enjoy pregnancy and counted down the days until it was over and I could shed the 75, yes 75 pounds that I gained and feel like I had some control over my body again. Having twins is incredibly hard, but knowing I’m not going to be pregnant again (or at least for a very, very long time) is a big plus.

2. The attention. Being pregnant with (and being a mom to) twins, you feel like a celebrity.When they’re babies, everyone you walk by will enthusiastically exclaim, “Is it twiiiiiins?!?!” The answer to this question is so painfully obvious that some could find it annoying, however when you are stuck in the house with twin babies feeling like you have absolutely no idea what you are doing day after day after day, any human interaction feels like a win. Especially one where you play the rock star.

3. Loving your husband even more. A dad of twins is essentially a second mom. At 3AM when you are each semi-awake with the twins and are both covered in equal amounts of milk, poop, drool and probably your own tears, you realize wow, I love this guy even more than the day he was tearing up the dance floor to “Take me Home Tonight” at our wedding.

4. Photos Opps. I mean, hello?

5. Double the milestones. So far raising twins has been hard. Like harder than running a marathon hard (I have run a marathon and trust me this is wayyy harder. Some days I honestly feel like I would enjoy running 26.2 miles over caring for twins). But of course, there are moments that make everything worth it. First smiles, rolls, steps, hugs, words. And the greatest part is, if you miss the chance to catch one of these spectacular moments on camera, you have a second chance with the other kid usually only days away!

6. Best Buds. I have not experienced this one yet (even though people keep telling me they will be “instant playmates!”) since right now they mostly try to grab, bite, knock each other over and cause general harm to one another. But I’m ready and waiting for the day that they play peacefully together while I sit on the couch and watch anything on Bravo while drinking a hot coffee.

7. The Ultimate Excuse. Can’t fit into any of your pre-pregnancy clothes 18 months later? Does your stomach look like road map that a tractor drove over? Haven’t so much as looked at your husband in 3 days? Having take out for dinner 5 nights in a row? Don’t want to go to that wedding shower? Ignore all phone calls? Cancel plans last minute? It’s fine, you have twins!

8. The Twin Bond. My guys just started talking a lot, and in the morning they wake up saying, “Hi brubber!” from crib to crib. Holy cuteness. I mean, come on! I melt.

9. The Kindness of Others. I live in the northeast which is not known for being the friendliest of places. (Hello, did you hear about the winter we just had?!) That being said, it’s humbling how much family, friends, and strangers are willing to help when it comes to twins. And we’ll take it.

10. Endless Entertainment. Twins are Expensive with a capital E. But the good news? There’s no need to pay for expenses like cable TV or movies at theaters. Who can beat this?

 Related Post: The General Public on Twins

 

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Parenting To The Lowest Common Denominatorhttp://www.scarymommy.com/parenting-lowest-common-denominator/ http://www.scarymommy.com/parenting-lowest-common-denominator/#comments Mon, 01 Sep 2014 14:10:43 +0000 http://www.scarymommy.com/?p=53946 My daughter is almost six, though she will correct you immediately that she is “five and three-quarters” if she hears you say that because she is precise, and detail-oriented, and very much her father’s daughter in that way. But she is my daughter, too. A daughter that I was petrified of having, and then elated […]

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My daughter is almost six, though she will correct you immediately that she is “five and three-quarters” if she hears you say that because she is precise, and detail-oriented, and very much her father’s daughter in that way.

But she is my daughter, too.

A daughter that I was petrified of having, and then elated that I was having – all because of a very tumultuous past I have with my own mother.  And becausewhile my experience with my mother may be unique, I realize that anyone who is the daughter of a mother or the mother of a daughter has a bond that is fraught with all the complications that have been written about, talked about, and psychoanalyzed long before Freud ever uttered the words “Electra Complex”.

All of this, while walking that tightrope of parenting that that cautions against becoming one of the many stereotypically “wrong” types of mother. You can’t be a “Helicopter” mom or too much of a “Free-Range” mom, and the “Tiger” mom is too overbearing yet the “Best Friend” mom is too permissive.

I just want to be her mom – yet I feel that I have failed her to a certain extent in successfully figuring out who exactly that is, and how exactly to execute that role successfully.

Because I am also someone else’s mom.

When she was born, I became a mommy. Sixteen months later, when her little brother was born and we found out that he’d had a stroke in utero – eventually resulting in multiple diagnoses that included Cerebral Palsy and Autism  – I became a Special Needs mommy.

The two of us went away together this weekend on a four-day road trip we have both been eagerly looking forward to.  Watching her run free, being able to say “Yes, we can go on that ferryboat” because I’m not worried about her trying to throw herself overboard, or “Yes, we can go down all of those big waterslides” because she is big enough and her brother wasn’t there to get upset that he couldn’t go, or “Yes, we can play Skee Ball and Air Hockey at the arcade” because I wasn’t concerned that she might send those wooden balls or plastic pucks flying into the heads of other unsuspecting game-playing patrons, well, it made me realize something with a jolt that felt very much like a figurative slap in the face.

As she stood on the deck of the very same ferryboat I had sailed on during a childhood field trip, as I watched her take it all in – waving to the people parasailing on the lake, eyes twinkling as she listened to the boat playing cheerful tunes on its calliope, face upturned to the sunshine – it hit me.

“We have been parenting to the lowest common denominator.” I told my husband later that night.

We have held her back when it was unsafe or unwise to push him forward.  I have been unable to let go of the vigilance I need to hold onto as his mother and find a way to let loose and sometimes just be her mommy.  It is an occupational hazard among the medical, sensory, and therapy-heavy day-to-day life we are currently living.  If I loosen my stronghold on control, on looking out, on keeping watch, on making sure and double-checking, there’s no saying what might happen. Temporarily loosening my grip on on small hands turns into darting out into busy parking lots, and running downhill becomes a buckled knee or twisted ankle and a trip to the Emergency Room.  Saying “yes” to her, often means saying “no” to him - or forcing him to watch from the sidelines.  Saying “no” to both seems easier – more fair – though I am now seeing that it is the former rather than the latter.

She is cautious, shy, naturally anxious, sensitive and introverted.  She is fine with her father and I going out at night for the occasional dinner with friends or to work events, but worries about what time we’ll be home.  She is happy to play “school” or “camp” or “house” in her room for hours – often preferring long stretches of time by herself. She simmers in her emotions quietly, trying to push them down, worried that if she allows herself to fully feel them, they will somehow wrench themselves from her control and overpower her.  She is afraid that she will not get them back somehow.

She lashes out, then weeps as she apologizes for it.  Afterwards, she relegates herself to her room, emerging a short time later with a picture she’s drawn of you holding hands with her under a blue sky and a bright yellow sun with the words “I em Sorrie” or “I wul be beddur” written beneath in her preschooler’s scrawl.

It is heartbreaking to watch her inborn tendencies towards empathy clash with the developmentally-appropriate Id of an almost-Kindergartner. Having a brother with a potpourri of Special Needs only complicates things further. I look at her and just know that she is shouldering the self-imposed burden of feeling like she has to hold it all together at all times as she watches her little brother constantly coming apart at the seams. 

A version of a line from one of my favorite songs always reminds me of the two of them and describes them in relation to each other perfectly.

She is a china shop…and he is a bull.

He is hearty and she is delicate. He is impetuous where she is cautious.  She walks the perimeter and observes while he makes a beeline for the center of the room.  He will scream when you introduce yourself as she is hides behind me.  I need to give her permission to fly and I need to reign him in.

So how do I find a way to loosen my grip without letting go entirely? How to I find the switch within that allows me to tell my perpetual inner-lifeguard that it’s alright to go off-duty for a little while? How do I parent two completely different children with two very different sets of needs simultaneously and successfully – and safely?

We have indeed been parenting to the lowest common denominator. And that worked – for a time.  Until it didn’t add up anymore. Until the calculated risks that always seemed too high for him, have morphed into a price she is paying for all of the caution we’ve exercised. Until I saw her this weekend, until my eyes were opened up to the limitations we’ve been putting on her.

And she lost it a few times this weekend. She freaked out, lashed out, cried out. Same as it always is when her fears or insecurities or anxiety overtake her.  But something was different in me.  Instead of clenching up, usually already exhausted from holding on too-tightly to them both, my shoulders were down and I wore an expression of calm.  I crouched down, held her hand, and looked her in the eye.

“Hey, it’s okay to be mad, or sad, or frustrated,” I told her. “You can let it out. I’ll still be here when it’s over. There’s nothing you can say or do that will make me love you any less. I’m not going anywhere.”

And it did pass. And she looked up at me and smiled her shy smile and I squeezed her hand.  And we didn’t talk about it because we didn’t have to. And I had the energy and the time and the patience to wait it out this weekend, to really see her.  And now that my eyes have been opened, I know I can’t go back.  I owe her that.

There will be no more parenting to the lowest common denominator.

She is one quarter of this family.  She is one half of our children.  She is a whole person.

And she counts.

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Motherhood: The Big Fat Fuck Youhttp://www.scarymommy.com/the-big-fat-fuck-you/ http://www.scarymommy.com/the-big-fat-fuck-you/#comments Mon, 01 Sep 2014 00:31:41 +0000 http://www.scarymommy.com/?p=32867 kid-middle-finger

I lost it this morning. Really lost it.

After the kids were all dressed for school, breakfast eaten, teeth brushed, backpacks packed, I turned on the TV. I have a rule that the kids can only watch certain channels. There is so much crap on TV – shows geared towards teens and preteens, shows that showcase kids calling other people “idiot” and “stupid” and generally behaving obnoxiously – and in all seriousness, I have a hard enough time keeping my kids under control without exposing them to those kinds of influences and role models. So the rule is, Mom sets the channel, and you don’t change it without permission. Annabelle never, ever, ever sticks to this rule. The moment I walk out of the room, she’s got the remote in her hand, channel-surfing, looking for some obnoxious show featuring smart-ass teenagers. It happened this morning. Within thirty seconds of my turning the TV on to Nick Jr. – really for Finn – Annabelle is changing the channel. “Leave the TV alone, Annabelle,” I said. I left the room. A few minutes later, on my way to the kitchen, I saw her there, remote in hand, channel surfing again. And I lost it.

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kid-middle-finger

I lost it this morning.  Really lost it. After the kids were all dressed for school, breakfast eaten, teeth brushed, backpacks packed, I turned on the TV.  I have a rule that the kids can only watch certain channels.  There is so much crap on TV – shows geared towards teens and preteens, shows that showcase kids calling other people “idiot” and “stupid” and generally behaving obnoxiously – and in all seriousness, I have a hard enough time keeping my kids under control without exposing them to those kinds of influences and role models.  So the rule is, Mom sets the channel, and you don’t change it without permission.  Annabelle never, ever, ever sticks to this rule.  The moment I walk out of the room, she’s got the remote in her hand, channel-surfing, looking for some obnoxious show featuring smart-ass teenagers.  It happened this morning.  Within thirty seconds of my turning the TV on to Nick Jr. – really for Finn – Annabelle is changing the channel.  “Leave the TV alone, Annabelle,” I said.  I left the room.  A few minutes later, on my way to the kitchen, I saw her there, remote in hand, channel surfing again.  And I lost it. Screaming and yelling ensued.  Swearing.  “I’VE TOLD YOU A THOUSAND TIMES TO LEAVE THE TV ALONE!!” I shouted.  “GO TO YOUR ROOM!  GO SIT IN YOUR ROOM UNTIL IT’S TIME TO LEAVE FOR SCHOOL.  NOW!!!”  She just stood there staring at me, not moving a muscle.  “GO!!”  I yelled.  All the kids froze in their tracks while I chased – literally chased – Annabelle into her room.  She beat me by a half a second and locked the door against me.  Locked the door!  “I’m going to kill her!”  I muttered.  “MOM!  Are you really going to kill Annabelle?  Did you really just say that?!”  Daisy shrieked.  “OPEN THIS GODDAMN DOOR!”  I yelled.  Annabelle unlocked the door.  “Don’t you ever lock the door against me again!  Do you hear me?!” I yelled at her. Michael’s trying to calm me.  “Leave me alone!”  I yelled at him.  “I do EVERYTHING for you people – including YOU! – and you all treat me like shit!  Every last one of you!” I know.  All this over an eight-year old changing the channel on the TV.  But really, of course it’s not just about that.  That was just the straw that broke the camel’s back this morning.  It was my eight-year old changing the channel after I told her not to – again.  It was dealing with Finn tantruming his way through breakfast – again.  It was Joey throwing a dramatic tantrum and copping a major attitude last night when I said no, he could not have an Instagram account (he’s ten, for crying out loud!).  It’s the bickering and tattling all the time.  It’s the “I want, I want, I want” all the time, and the lack of willingness to do much of anything I ask.  Ask somebody to set the table for dinner?  Tell them to clean up their room?  Oh myGOD!  You would think I’m asking them to pull their own fingernails out!  It’s my husband being gone so much of the time and me feeling utterly alone, like I’m dealing with all of this single handedly. I’m not excusing my losing it this morning.  I’m ashamed.  I wish I held it together better, I really, really do.  And lest I start to sound like my own mother who seemed to believe that her kids were responsible for her happiness/unhappiness but she, the adult, was not responsible for theirs, let me just say that I know kids are kids, they don’t actually mean anything personal by their behavior – I know that, I really do. Sometimes motherhood just feels like a big, fat Fuck You, though.  This is why people say that motherhood is a hard job.  Not because it’s especially intellectually challenging or physically demanding – I mean it is those things, but there are certainly other pursuits that require for far more intellectual and/or physical output than motherhood.  Not because it requires a great deal of bravery – of course, it does call for that, too, but certainly not as much as being a soldier or a police officer, for instance.  No, it’s not those things.  It’s because it’s so fucking emotionally taxing.  It’s because it’s so incredibly thankless so much of the time.  It’s because I feel like I’ve sacrificed so much of myself for them, and they don’t appreciate it.  It’s because I do and do and do for them, constantly, and it often seems like all I get in return is complaining that it’s not enough – or just outright ignored.  I’m not looking for accolades or awards or fanfare.  I’m not even looking for “thank you.”  It would just be nice to get a little cooperation.  A little respect for the rules – rules which aren’t onerous or unreasonable for crap’s sake! And, you know, it’s hard to admit these things.  Everyone wants to talk about how great motherhood is, how fulfilling it is.  Sometimes it is.  And often, it’s not.  I’m not even sure why I’m writing about it this morning – opening myself up to criticism and judgment, exposing the flaws in the pretty picture.  I don’t want to feel alone, I guess. After I got back from dropping the kids off at school this morning, I discovered that Annabelle had left her lunch at home.  Who do you think packed the baby and Finn back into the truck to drive her lunch to school? Because that’s what moms do. Related post: To the Unwashed Masses of Mothers

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An Apology to My Friends And Familyhttp://www.scarymommy.com/an-apology-to-my-friends-and-family/ http://www.scarymommy.com/an-apology-to-my-friends-and-family/#comments Sun, 31 Aug 2014 17:40:00 +0000 http://www.scarymommy.com/?p=52546 Image via Shutterstock I’m sorry. To the man I fell in love with in the days when I had no worries, to my two beautiful darlings who make everything brighter, to my family who keep everything going with their endless support, and to my friends who I’ve been rubbish to for too long: I’m sorry. […]

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sorry-mother Image via Shutterstock

I’m sorry.

To the man I fell in love with in the days when I had no worries, to my two beautiful darlings who make everything brighter, to my family who keep everything going with their endless support, and to my friends who I’ve been rubbish to for too long: I’m sorry.

I’m sorry for shouting.

I’m sorry for snapping.

I’m sorry for being grumpy.

I’m sorry for not being much fun these days.

I’m sorry for crying.

I’m sorry for not seeing the brighter side.

I’m sorry for rarely laughing.

Sometimes, after changing that millionth diaper and being up all night worried sick about a child; sometimes, after running out of Tylenol and forgetting a doctor’s appointment; sometimes, after not being able to convince your toddler to eat anything or your baby to stop crying, sometimes, after answering the why question 1700 times in a day while you still have a headache – sometimes it’s hard to see the funny side and it’s hard to see things rationally.

I don’t want to make excuses for all of this. Milin is two, Jasmin is nine months today – I’m probably not even a ‘new mum’ anymore. But I am a mum of two very young children who still has no idea what she is doing. I’m still learning this thing that is motherhood. I’m still navigating the maze of parenting. I’m still getting it really wrong, all the time.

I don’t want to make excuses. But along with my apology, I want you to know that this sleep-deprived, distracted, forgetful, impatient and snappy woman you now see before you isn’t the woman I thought I would be.

I wish I was still that woman who made you smile because she tried to be entertaining. I wish I was still that woman who didn’t care about the consequences – fun came first. I wish I was still that woman who you laughed with like nothing else in the world mattered but your silly joke. I wish I was still that woman who had the confidence to believe in herself and simply accept that everything would work out. I wish I was still that woman who had the energy and patience and creativity to make life more fun.

Maybe, one day, I’ll find her again.

But right now, she’s lost. She’s lost to the mum who is tired and worried. She is lost to the mum who just wants a break some days. She is lost to the mum who is still messing stuff up when it matters.

Please, bear with me, smile at me, still try to make me laugh. I don’t know if I deserve that, but just stay with me a while.

That other woman will be back.

Related post: Lost in The Parking Lot of Parenting

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7 Reasons Sex Hurts After Having a Babyhttp://www.scarymommy.com/sex-hurts-after-having-a-baby/ http://www.scarymommy.com/sex-hurts-after-having-a-baby/#comments Sun, 31 Aug 2014 11:00:38 +0000 http://www.scarymommy.com/?p=55089 Image via Shutterstock They typically say you can have sex about six weeks after delivering a baby. That doesn’t mean you want to have sex, it just means your body will not explode if you have sex at this point. Let’s cut to the chase – sex can suck after having a baby. It’s not just […]

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couple-not-having-sex Image via Shutterstock

They typically say you can have sex about six weeks after delivering a baby. That doesn’t mean you want to have sex, it just means your body will not explode if you have sex at this point. Let’s cut to the chase – sex can suck after having a baby. It’s not just that you still look pregnant, your nipples are leaking and you’re freakin’ tired, it’s that sex can actually hurt.

Oh, let me count the ways. Really. I’m counting the reasons sex hurts after having a baby and I can think of seven of them:

1. The extra stitch. If you had a vaginal birth and tore naturally or the doctor cut the perineum (the space between the vagina and the anus) and you needed stitches and you have a really, really old-fashioned doctor…it’s very possible you got “the Husband Stitch”.  This is an extra, unnecessary stitch at the perineum that is supposed to make your vaginal opening smaller.  Sometimes women ask for this, most of the time they don’t.  The doctors take it upon themselves to do this because they think they are doing you a favor – for your sex life.  How thoughtful, right?  Some women don’t even know they got this, all they know is that their vagina feels smaller and they have “no idea why”.  This can cause pain with sex. It’s not that the stitch doesn’t heal correctly, it’s that your vagina is smaller. This opens up a whole can of worms that this post isn’t going into.

2. No extra stitches. Just the ones you needed.  So, if you needed stitches and had an ethical physician, then you got exactly what you needed. These stitches will heal well, but sometimes they can leave you with scar tissue at the perineum.  This can be really problematic with sex because scar tissue makes everything tighter and more sensitive. It can make your muscles in your vagina way too tense when they are supposed to be relaxing.

3. Natural tearing. Same thing as #2. Even with natural tearing you are going to have some scar tissue. If you don’t work through this scar tissue and massage it and knead it (yes, like bread) then it can create painful sex.

4. Breastfeeding and dryness and low libido. Breastfeeding can lower your natural hormone levels inside and outside the vagina making sex dry and lowering your sex drive.  This is a snowball problem. No, not that kind of snowball problem  (you are nasty!).  But, if you don’t have sex drive, your vagina will not get wet.  When your vagina doesn’t get wet enough, there is friction and this feels like sandpaper and tearing. You must, must, must use some sort of lubricant.  I think that the most gentle lubricants for painful sex are coconut oil and olive oil or something water-based like Slippery Stuff.  I really hate KY and Astroglide. They do great marketing, but they’re really not made for the sensitive vagina.

5. Having sex and worrying about the baby waking or being in the room. So, the really cool thing about the pelvic floor (the support muscles in the pelvis that keep up all your organs and span from all around your vagina and clitoris to all around your anus and from one hip to the other, basically)  is that they respond to what we’re thinking. They are mind readers. Your pelvic floor is a mind reader. That is amazing, right?  When you are scared, nervous, anxious or uncomfortable, your pelvic floor muscles will automatically respond and tense up. This makes your vagina and your anus smaller – in that moment.  It’s a really primitive response. It’s your body’s old-fashioned way of trying to protect your reproductive parts so that you will survive and continue to make more humans. It’s fascinating! I really stress that if you have pain with sex, you really have to have sex when the timing is right for your mind. When your brain is more relaxed, your vagina is more relaxed.

6. C-section. Just like the stitch scenario, c-sections leave scars. If you don’t work this scar, the scar tissue will grown down into the layers beneath it and really create problems. This can cause bladder problems, bowel problems and…painful sex. No one really enforces how important it is to work that scar. And if you’ve had repeat c-sections – holy moly cannoli! – work the scar! You might not have problems now, but if you don’t work that scar, you will have problems later.

7.  Attempted vaginal delivery and a c-section. You’re fucked. No, not really, I just thought that was funny. But, it’s not really funny because both your pelvic floor and abdomen have been through Hell and back. You might have perineal tearing and a c-section scar. You’ve got a lot of reasons why sex could hurt, so work the scars in both places to minimize and eliminate the problem.

So, if you’ve found yourself with any of the Seven Unsexy Sins, there is good help available. Pelvic floor physical therapy is a specialty of physical therapy that is completely devoted to pelvic issues – whether it’s pain or incontinence or constipation or something quite scandalous. In many countries (the United States not included) pelvic floor physical therapy is a standard aspect of care after delivering a child.

Pelvic floor physical therapy is intimate and it’s invasive, but it’s really not as uncomfortable as people expect it to be. A pelvic floor physical therapist will do an exam on your pelvic floor muscles, determine what your exact reason for painful sex is, then they will teach you things that you can do at home and they will do “hands on” work inside the vagina and outside the vagina.  If you have an unsexy sin, checking out a Pelvic floor physical therapist is worth a shot. You deserve to be sexy again.

Related post: 10 Reasons Postpartum Sex Isn’t Happening 

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6 Things I Wish I’d Known About Having a C-Sectionhttp://www.scarymommy.com/things-to-know-about-having-a-c-section/ http://www.scarymommy.com/things-to-know-about-having-a-c-section/#comments Sat, 30 Aug 2014 04:01:48 +0000 http://www.scarymommy.com/?p=25001 c-section

My first son was delivered via c-section at 35 weeks after an ultrasound revealed he ceased growing due to placenta previa.  I knew early on in my pregnancy that it was a possibility I wouldn't be able to deliver vaginally, but being in denial, I never bothered to ask what the recovery process was life if I did indeed go under the knife.

I figured, by comparison to pushing a baby out and getting ripped from the rooter to the tooter, a c-section would be a cake walk.

Sitting in my OB's office, hearing that I was heading over to surgery and would have a baby by happy hour, I was scared and ill-prepared.  I didn't know what I was in for, exactly.  I just figured they'd wheel me in, I'd lay there like a corpse, and then hours later I'd be sitting up in bed, holding a baby, looking glowing and happy in an adorable robe like Rachel in Friends.

Sucker.

The post 6 Things I Wish I’d Known About Having a C-Section appeared first on Scary Mommy.

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c-section

My first son was delivered via c-section at 35 weeks after an ultrasound revealed he ceased growing due to placenta previa. I knew early on in my pregnancy that it was a possibility I wouldn’t be able to deliver vaginally, but being in denial, I never bothered to ask what the recovery process was life if I did indeed go under the knife.

I figured, by comparison to pushing a baby out and getting ripped from the rooter to the tooter, a c-section would be a cake walk.

Sitting in my OB’s office, hearing that I was heading over to surgery and would have a baby by happy hour, I was scared and ill-prepared.  I didn’t know what I was in for, exactly. I just figured they’d wheel me in, I’d lay there like a corpse, and then hours later I’d be sitting up in bed, holding a baby, looking glowing and happy in an adorable robe like Rachel in Friends.

Sucker.

This is, after all, major surgery. I mean, my husband saw my intestines being pulled out, for crying out loud. If that doesn’t buy you a night out by yourself when the baby is older, I don’t know what will.

If you’re thinking that a c-section is a possibility for your next birth, perhaps my ignorance can spare you a few headaches and worry. Here are some things I learned:

1. The operating room is as cold as the polar ice caps and the stuff they put in your IV only makes it worse. With my first c-section I was shaking so much I was convinced the anesthesiologist would miss his target with the spinal block and I’d come out of surgery a paraplegic. I had absolutely no idea my body was capable of shimming that fast. Watch out, Shakira, those hips don’t lie. They’re scared shitless.

2. Think you won’t feel a thing? Think again. While you won’t feel them cutting or feel pain, no one told me I’d feel all this tremendous pulling as they pried my son out of my body cavity. My OB warned me “Okay, you might feel some slight pressure.” Slight? This is not a flu shot, people. I don’t call the sensation of someone yanking a bowling ball out of my loins a slight sensation.

3. Don’t say no to drugs. They get you pretty doped up in surgery and at first I willingly took the hard core pain meds they give me. But at around 28 hrs post surgery I felt pretty good and though “Nah, I’ll skip meds this shift.” Bad idea.  Worst idea I’ve ever had. You’re not only dealing with the pain of getting your insides ripped open and sewn back together, but you’ve also being visited post-delivery cramping because the baby isn’t paying rent anymore. They tell you to stay one step ahead of the pain. I prefer to be a football field ahead.

4. Your ability to laugh like a normal human being will be put on hold. Ditto for sneezing, pooping and coughing.  The advice is to hold a pillow over your incision if you need to perform any of these actions, and though it may help a tiny bit, you’ll still find yourself making modifications. Your sneezes will become the tiny, restrained kind that only Disney Princesses can attain. While in the hospital with my son, my husband cracked a hilarious remark that caused my body to produce such a high-pitched hyena snicker that the nurses went running to call the psych ward.

5. Think your intestinal tract was screwed up when you were pregnant? You ain’t seen nothin’ yet. With my son, I didn’t take a dump for seven days. SEVEN. POOPLESS. DAYS. Mass quantities of fiber didn’t get things moving along. Five days after delivery I finally got the urge and 50 sweaty minutes later, I came up empty. It was as if the kids climbed up the ladder of the high dive, tip-toed out to the edge of the board, took one look down and said “No way in hell, lady” then made the slow, shameful climb back down. Arm yourself with some goodies like apricot nectar and prune juice.  Think “retirement home beverages”.

6. The area around your scar will never, ever, ever get feelings back. The skin around my incisions still has very few nerve endings, four years after my last c-section. That area will still get itches that I can’t scratch, but I power on, digging at it like a meth addict. I have high hopes I might regain sensation, but at this point, I have as much chance as Lindsay Lohan staying out of jail.

Yet, despite knowing all this, after my first born, I still had another baby via cesarean. Being prepared for what was to come definitely helped ease my jitters. That, and sneaking a case of prune juice in my overnight bag.

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