They said what??

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The other day when I was asked for the third time in a week, if my girls were twins… ummm over a year apart… I started to think about all the funny to outright rude things I have been asked in the last couple years when out with my litter (“litter” originally an auto correct, but if the shoe fits).

“Of course, these aren’t all your children, are they?”

“You are a very brave woman”

“Are you a daycare group?”

“You must be busy” … on the daily along with another crowd fav “you have your hands full”

“You should get a TV for your bedroom”

“Your husband is getting a vasectomy right??”

“Please tell me you’re done”

“I would rather die than have kids this close in age”

And the winner “didn’t your husband even let you have a nap after the last one?”

Heard any good ones?

 

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The joyous ones

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When I had my first baby, I had no idea the challenges awaiting me.  One particular time, I just wanted my baby boy to stop crying so I could get a load of laundry into the wash. I tried everything in the little booklet the hospital gave me, to quiet him down. Nothing worked.  I remember feeling my pulse race, my skin getting red and hot, and this new and unexpected anger coming up as my baby cried and cried.

I gently put the screaming baby down.  Walked over to the garbage can.  Kicked it clear across the room. … did it solve anything? …. no. Did I feel better?  A little…. but not much.

I’ve since gotten a lot more comfortable with the unpredictability of newborns. I have also since read about how when you react with anger (or any emotion) consistently, you train your brain to continue to react with anger to similar stimuli.  This is called neuroplasticity.  So the more I practice reacting gracefully to the dumped cup of juice, pulled hair, interrupted nap time, the more naturally a graceful reaction will come.

Around this time, it so happened that in a mother’s group I was attending, we did a book study on the Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. My chapter was “Keeping a contented heart”.  There were 2 parts that impacted me profoundly.  The first, was when the writer tried to play the “glad game”, where she tried to be glad about everything for a whole week.   I love the glad game, because everyone has their moments where they want to kick a trash can across the room.  But, I’ve noticed the kids are much more cheerful when mom is glad.  Since reading this book, I have actually woken the kids up to my singing… (feel free to call children’s services).  Moms really do have an amazing power to make a moment good or bad.  Yesterday, Elise was trying to help me by collecting the cups that are often left everywhere on the main floor.  She unknowingly grabbed my jumbo sized full coffee cup and spilled it everywhere.  She looked up at me, about to burst into tears.  I gave her a big goofy grin and scooped her up.  We grabbed the paper towels and cleaned it all up together.  I thanked her a bunch of times for helping, and now she begs for paper towels to help clean everything (even imaginary messes).

The second part I loved was a prayer to “shield the joyous ones”.  I loved the prayer to shield the joyous, because although you want to treasure every moment with your little circus, there are moments that can potentially take away that pure joy.  For example, when you go to the grocery store, if you have more than one or two little kids following you, people are staring… (and apparently feel strong urges to score your parenting abilities).  It can be a little tough keeping your sunny disposition when one of your kids decides it would be a good time to have a huge fit.  *Cough Caleb *.  But I’ll keep praying that these little bumps along the road don’t change that feeling of amazement that the hospital let me take these little bundles home with me… for keeps!

This post is best read while listening to, Keep on the sunny side by the Whites.

 

Postpartum belly band… worth the investment?

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Have you had a baby or are you about to pop that first baby out?  Have you checked out the post baby belly picture gallery on babycenter.com?  After looking at some wrinkly, stretch marked, pendulous tummies you might be scared. … dare I say it… for good reason. *gasp*

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(but clearly totally worth it!)

You may or may not have heard about this trend of wrapping your belly post partum.  Is it going to undoubtedly get you back into your pre-baby jeans a few weeks later.  I’m going to go with – no.

This pregnancy, facing my third c-section in 3 years I wanted two things.  I wanted people not to innocently ask me “when are you due”, while I am holding my 1 month old baby.  And I wanted less back pain postpartum.  With my first two pregnancies, within a few days of leaving the hospital, I was in tears putting on my underwear, (not just cuz they were that uh-gly) and needed help walking to the bathroom.  … giving birth is so glamorous.

I dove right in to this trend.  I bought the least expensive option though.  It went on as soon as I got home from the hospital.  I noticed right away that it really helped reduce the uterine bulge within days.  So I didn’t look pregnant!!  I felt a lot more confident leaving the house.  Mission accomplished.  I also felt a lot of relief on my back, and had little to no back discomfort.  When I wasn’t wearing it, I really noticed how much support it was providing me.  The long stashed away chiropractor inside me was smiling.

The negatives I found were that it was very weird to wear the band underneath clothes.  There were a lot of strange lumps and bumps.  There were also a few times that I found it irritated my c-section incision.

When I ordered my belly band, I also got a hip binder.  I would not recommend wasting your money on this.  I really really really wanted to love the product, because these hips just keep widening to prepare for natural births that never happen.  These hips DO lie (ack, sorry, couldn’t resist).  I could never get it to stay in place, and it was too annoying to remove every time I had to use the bathroom. … let’s face it, with 2 toddlers and a newborn, this lady does not need any more hassles trying to pee!

Now, at just over 6 weeks postpartum, do I look any different than the other two deliveries? …. Nope. But would I do it again? Definitely. I was a lot more comfortable chasing little people around.

As a disclaimer, I wore the belly band 24 hours a day, from about 3 days postpartum, until I hit 5 weeks postpartum. At 5 weeks, I started to wean myself of the postpartum wrap.  At 6 weeks postpartum, I was happy to completely ditch the belly band.

 

Weight loss 6 weeks post partum

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Any other mamas have a really tough time dropping the baby weight?  It probably doesn’t help that I’ve had really challenging pregnancies, and had to limit my exercise to “activities of daily living”.  Which means in doctor-speak, I can shower and walk around the house a bit.  It also probably doesn’t help too much that I’ve had my 3 kids in 3 years.

I’ve tried a few different weight loss strategies, that have worked well for other moms.  For my first baby, my strategy for losing the baby weight, was having the baby.  …. so that didn’t exactly pan out for me.  After my second baby, I realized that the baby weight won’t just magically disappear on its own because I’m exclusively nursing.  So, I tried eating a strict paleo diet, that worked spectacularly for my dear friend.  But for me, by the end of the month, I had gained 2lbs.  Really??  Really??  I realized then, that when I’m nursing, my body is a very efficient calorie saver.  Which will come in super handy if ever we are in a famine… so there’s that.

Now I’ve just had my third baby about 6 weeks ago, and for the first time, I’ve lost 20lbs (and a .5 if we’re going to be exact).

What was different this time?

This time I did not restrict myself when I was hungry.  I did however stop eating after dinner, except for when Grandma made me the kids her world famous chocolate chip cookies, and coffee cake. mmmm.  I did try to stick to 2 cookies a day, not 24.  I also bulked up most of my meals with veggies and fruit.  And tried reaching for almonds and hard boiled eggs if I was hungry instead of brownies.  Lastly, I also aimed to go for a walk a few times a week.

I have a long way to go before I’ll even come close to pulling up jeans from 5 years ago.

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But I’ll be happy if I even come close!  This body rocks… it helped bring 3 people into my life that I love with all my heart!

Monday September 29th, I’ll be starting a challenge to drop another 5 lbs over 3 weeks.  If you want to join in, comment or e mail me at thecrayoncircus@gmail.com.

Drowning in babies and housework?

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Your kitchen is starting to look like this… and you’re wondering, “do I need some outside help?”

…you might.  I know there have been a bunch of times in the last few years, that there is no way I would have survived without a few extra hands.  For all my pregnancies, I’ve been placed on modified activity, which means “chill out”.  So we’ve tried a whole bunch of different forms of help, here’s the best and worst of each, and when I found each is ideal.

Cleaning company:

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The good: Your house will sparkle when they’re done.  They will get the deep cleaning done, and you won’t get weird foot fungus from your shower.

The bad: 15 minutes after they leave, the kids will probably spill a litre of olive oil on the kitchen floor.  You’ll have to wait another two weeks to get that cleaned up.  Also, you have to leave the house or stay out of the way while they work.  And don’t forget, you still have to pick up every day, and do dishes, laundry, etc.

This is great when for: when you’ve just had a new baby, and you want to spend as much time as possible with your little ones, but don’t have the energy to scrub the floors.  This was ideal for us when I’ve been recovering from c-sections, but still want to invite people over, without them worrying about getting the plague.

Local Babysitter:

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The good:   A local babysitter or mother’s helper is ideal to do specific things, like feed your kids dinner, or take them to the park.  They probably have loads of energy to play hard with your kids, and they’ll probably sleep well that night.

The bad: They are not you… and they are generally inexperienced.  So you have to be specific with what you’re asking them to do, and have realistic expectations of how much they can handle.

This is great for when: you desperately need to catch up on a few minutes of sleep, or run a few errands.

Daycare:

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The good: Licensed daycare will keep your little ones safe for extended periods of time.  They often have great ideas that you can replicate at home for activities and organization.

The bad: They’ll catch lots of colds and infections.  The daycare workers are just that, workers.  As much attention as they give your little one, they do not have the same attachment you and little one share.  You miss out on all the stuff your little one has done all day.  It’s also very expensive if you’re picking a great one.

This is great for when: you are unable to watch your kids for whole days at a time.  When I had a toddler, and was having a challenging pregnancy, daycare was very useful for 2 days a week.  I could schedule doctors appointments when he was at daycare, and catch up on sleep knowing he was safe.

Au Pair:

The good: An Au Pair is usually a student that would like to travel in your country.  These young girls have loads of enthusiasm and energy.  You can specify what you are looking for in your interviewing process, so you’ll probably find someone that is compatible with your needs.

The bad: You need to have an available bedroom for your Au Pair, money to cover their living expenses and their allowance.  You may end up having personality clashes, or other challenges related to someone living with you.

This is great for when: You need help throughout the day, most days.  If your husband travels or works long hours, and overnight backup is helpful.