Posts tagged ‘Super mommy’

“Psst… Are You Pregnant Again?”

I just got back from a BIG family vacation to Disney World a few weeks ago.  It was a crazy, awesome time!  But more on that at a later date.

All at Disney - Majic Kingdom

Me and the Crew at Magic Kingdom, Disney World!

 

Yesterday was Sunday.  I would like to take a moment to focus on a little question that was made to me yesterday.  I was volunteering at my church, like I usually do, teaching in the 3-5-year-olds’ class.  It was near the end of the service when an associate of mine approached me and engaged me in a short conversation.  After exchanging pleasantries, we chatted briefly about our children.  As I was returning to my room to finish up, she whispered down the hall, “Psst…Are you Pregnant Again?

How should I feel?  Should I be shocked, dismayed, angry, annoyed, criticized, self-conscious, disgraced, scored and/or maybe embarrassed?  Doesn’t everyone know not to ask that question unless they are absolutely sure that the answer is “yes”?  Am I so big that I look pregnant?

“No, I’m done with all that,” was my simple reply and off I ran, back to my classroom.

Now, just before Christmas, with the approval of my doctor, I had slowly decreased a few of my medications and even cut one out altogether.  I did have some difficulties with the transition, including some moderate depression and fluctuating moods.  One pleasant side-effect (for me anyway) was that I lost a few pounds, without even trying (my dear husband likes me on the bigger side, however, so he wasn’t as thrilled with the change)!  The weight-loss wasn’t significant and my weight tends to fluctuate anyway, so it wasn’t a very big deal.  I really didn’t think anyone even noticed except for me and my husband.

A couple of weeks before we left to go on the vacation, I knew I needed to pull myself together so I’d be stable for what turned out to be a very unstable trip.  So, again, with the doc’s permission, I upped my doses of mood-stabilizers.  And with that increase, I regained some of those previously lost pounds.  “No biggie,” I punned to myself.  After all, I’ve been eating healthy foods, drinking tons of water and getting plenty of exercise.  The only change has been with my meds.  Some medications just have weight gain as a side-effect and it’s really, really hard to beat.

This past week, my sister and her two-year-old son were in town visiting and my now 9-year-old daughter had her birthday party at our house.  We had a great time, but some things were left undone.  For example, in the morning, as I was getting ready for church, I realized that I hadn’t done my laundry in over a week!  Really the only clean, decent thing I had to wear was an extra large tank top or a tiny tube top.  I decided that the tube top might be indecent for church, because for pants, of course, I was going to wear leggings. But then again, the large tank top was so loose that my cleavage would show.  So, I wore both; the tube underneath to cover my boobage and the tank over it to cover the tube’s tightness.   I wasn’t worried about how big the shirt was, it was long enough to cover my bum, plus I was going to wear an accentuating sweater to tie the ensemble together anyway.

My thought process while actually getting ready was really not that sophisticated.  I mean, who am I there to impress?  God loves me no matter what.  And three, four, and five-year-olds don’t care what you wear.  So I went to church and did my service.  While singing and dancing with the kiddies, I got hot, so hot, in fact, that I took my sweater off. The only thing I felt slightly self-conscious about was the large scar I have on my back, part of which was partially exposed because my hair was up.  It was shortly after that, that the comment was made…

Psst…Are you Pregnant Again?”

How should I feel?  Insulted.  I should feel insulted; throw that tank top away, go on a strict diet, starve myself, and quit taking my stupid medications that cause the stupid side-effect!

But the more I thought about it, the less insulted I felt.  I began to have a fresh perspective.  I decided not to accept it as an insult.  And here’s why:

  1. Someone thought I was enough of a Super Mommy to actually handle another kid, (especially another baby).
  2. I’m no spring chicken.  I’m not old but at age 35, the ob-gyn docs start considering you as a “high risk” patient.  I could take the comment as a compliment, even.  I look young enough to want to have more children!
  3. I’ve heard this same woman talk before.  I don’t think she tries to be mean or insulting.  I think she’s just insensitive.  And maybe she doesn’t even realize she’s saying something that others may find offensive.
  4. I really just don’t care that much about what other people think about me anymore.  Why should I let one comment bash my self-esteem when I know I’m trying my best?
  5. I don’t think I look pregnant.  Why should I care if one other person on this planet does?

20170308_Pretty Mommy 2

A very recent picture of my (not-pregnant) self!

 

So after this post, I’m going to “Let It Go;” like water off a duck’s back.

water off donald duck's back

 

Double Talk Quote: (And this is a coincidence…) “Mommy, can you give me some insults?” – Mica, after our first day at Disney World.  She was trying to say “insoles” for her shoes because her feet hurt from walking so much.

Bible Verse: “Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.” 1 Peter 3:9

Word that has Lost its meaning: insulted

Relatable Lyrics:  “Let It Go” – Disney’s Frozen

“Let it go, let it go… I don’t care, what they’re going to say…”

Disney - Epcot - Me Mommy Belle at Epcot with the girls, Bella, Micaela, and Grace; Elsa and Anna

Me and my girls at Epcot

 

 

 

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“Twins are So Much Easier Than a Singleton…”

silly selfie 4 - cute twins mommy belle

Excuse me?  Huh?  What?  Are you serious?  Do my ears deceive me?  How do you figure? Did you really just say that?  The questions raced through my brain.  Unfortunately, our conversation was abruptly interrupted (betcha can’t guess how) and I didn’t get a chance to ask the veteran mom-of-twins any of these questions before we had to leave.

Right after my babes were born, I asked a fellow mom-of-twins, whose boys were nine years old, if she had any wisdom or advice for me.  She bluntly told me that she didn’t remember anything from the first two years due to the stress, lack of sleep, and chaos that having two babies at one time brings.  She was the first of many mom-of-twins to tell me that the first two years are a blur.

I wondered if the veteran mom who made the title comment had contracted the ever-so-prevalent fugue state illness, known as “Mommy Brain.”  Earlier in our conversation, she mentioned that her twins were in kindergarten.  I’ve heard that by this age twins “entertain themselves,” (although moms have to be more vigilant of competitiveness and more attentive to conflict intervention / resolution).  Maybe over the past three years she, too had forgotten the first few years.  Or maybe she just had easy babies.   Or Maybe she’s just a better mom than me.  Or maybe she finds it easier because she doesn’t have Bipolar disorder.  So many maybes…

I’ve been a mom to a “singleton.”  It wasn’t easy.  It wasn’t that she was disobedient or misbehaved, or out of hand.  Being a mom is a lot of work. (You’ve read the Mommy Resume!)  As I’ve written before, “here’s my equation:  Double that (2 year old twins) + 8-year-old daughter + marital challenges + financial difficulties + changing environment (baby Asher leaving, 7-year old Hope becoming like a 4th child to me) + Bipolar disorder & anxiety issues = “’God I need your help’”

So the veteran mom is a SuperMom for sure, as are many of my other friends and acquaintances who have multiples or multiple children.  Just because I’m not as confident or centered doesn’t mean I’m not a SuperMommy too!  And here’s why:

Because God helps me get through day by day, minute by minute.  Regardless of whether they are taking turns napping, throwing food across the table at one another, having meltdowns, or pulling their diapers off and running away from me.  I have the patience to deal with whatever comes my way, simply because God works through me daily and I feel privileged to have the above equation.  

God gave me a lot of responsibilities because he wanted to show himself through me.  He wants to be glorified in me.  If I had had a singleton instead of twins, then maybe I wouldn’t have felt the need to lean on Him so much.  And with this great responsibility comes great joy.

And if anyone ever tells you that “Twins are So Much Easier Than a Singleton,” you have my permission to tell them that it has been scientifically proven that that simply is not true!  (You have the archives of my blog as evidence to back it up.)

Double Talk Quote:  Me to Bella, who was throwing a fit “What’s the big problem here?”  “Dada!”  (I still don’t know the details but he did something to make her raging mad!)

Bible Verse: “…From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” Luke 12:48

Word that had Lost its meaning (there for a minute): confidence

Relatable Lyrics:  My own personal lyrics to DJ Khaled’s “All I Do Is Win”

All I Do is Twin!

All I do is twin twin twin no matter what
Got laundry on my mind I can never get it done
And every time I step up in the buildin’
Everybody hands go up
And they stay there
And they say yeah
And they stay there
Up down, up down, up down
‘Cause all I do is twin twin twin
And if you goin’ in put your hands in the air
Make ’em stay there

I never go no where
But they saying Mommy’s back…
My hands go up and down like babies’ booty’s go…
Y’all better count me in
Got empty bank accounts, accountants count me zip…
Cause all I do, all I, all I, all I
All I do is…Twin!

Money Shot - My Earthquakers - Micaela and twins1

ADHD, Anxiety, and Bipolar Disisum

Mica Homework

Last year, I wrote a 3 part article (see here) about my then 6-year-old daughter, Mica and our trouble getting her diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).  She’d been having difficulties staying focused and getting work completed both at home and in school.  It has taken this long, but we’re at the cusp of seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.  She’s been diagnosed by a Psychologist, medicated by a doctor and her teachers have seen remarkable improvement.  We are just waiting on some paperwork to complete the process of starting an Individualized Education Program (IEP) for her now.

But in first grade, before the official diagnosis, all the school could do was try different intervention techniques.  I insisted on having a conference with the school psychologist (at the urging of Mica’s pediatrician).  I wanted my husband, Amor to attend the meeting as well so we packed up our 8-month-old twins and Mica, and headed off to our meeting.  The babies were wide awake, so we brought lollipops in case they started fussing (a desperate strategy, I know, but a mom’s gotta do what a mom’s gotta do).

I felt a seed of nervousness on our drive to the school.  I had prepared a list of different strategies we had tried.  I felt I would have to prove to the psychologist that there was, indeed, an issue and we had been trying to improve it.  Walking into the classroom, that nervous feeling spouted into full-blown stomach-dropping anxiety:  Not only were the psychologist and teacher there but an entire panel of school teachers, staff, and experts were in attendance as well.

They wasted no time, all talking about my daughter and her “problem,” and all their observations.  No one talked directly to Mica.  No one seemed to acknowledge that she was even in the room.  I could barely focus.  All I could think was how this might be impacting her; her self-esteem, her nerves, her feelings.  A few short minutes into the meeting, I slyly glanced at Amor.  He seemed uncomfortable with Mica being there too.

So…I reached over and swiped the lollipop out of baby Brook’s mouth.  Right on cue, he cried and right on cue Amor swooped all three of the kids up.  “I think I’d better take them outside.” he interrupted, politely.  “Okay, let me gather their things,” I replied.  As I did, I reach in my purse and discreetly slipped myself a Xanax.  After their departure, I was able to articulate to the “team” about the issues we’d been having and our efforts to combat them.  The teacher did the same and we all problem solved for a while.

When we got home from the conference, I took Mica aside.  I gently but candidly asked her how she felt about what had happened earlier.  She nonchalantly shrugged it off.  I pressed on, assuring her that no one thought less of her, and that her brain just works differently than some of her classmates and that in many ways, that was a good thing.  She was cool as a cucumber.  I asked her if she felt nervous when all those people were talking about her.  She calmly said no.  “I just want you to know that it’s okay if you felt a little nervous.  I sure felt nervous,” I said reassuringly.  “That’s because you have ‘Bipolar Disisum,’ Mommy!”

And there it was.  I had almost, inadvertently projected my own befuddled, Bipolar and anxious feelings onto my daughter.

Each morning I pray for blessing, protection, salvation, and supernatural favor for my children.  I pray for the Holy Spirit to guide them and for Angels to protect them.  In this case, Mica was protected.  I’m so grateful to God for that.  She wasn’t the least bit affected by the conference.  Her self-esteem and self-awareness was intact.  Her clarity of judgement and ability to pinpoint my inadequacies was astonishing.

I started laughing, then she starting giggling.  I tickled her until she shrieked!  The girl may be young but she’s wise beyond her years.

Mica eyes

Double Talk Quote: “Bipolar Disisum,” – Mica, age 6

Bible Verse:  Psalm 127:4 “Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth.”

Term has Lost its meaning: a timely fashion (it’s taken over a year for the school system to put a plan into place)

Relatable Lyrics: dedicated to Mica:  “You Make Me Smile” by Uncle Kracker – “…I see the best of me inside your eyes…You make me smile.”

 

(Feb 23, 2016 –  Twins 1 1/2, Mica almost 8)

Now, Who’s Responsible for Gum in Grandma’s Hair?

Mica Bella Grace Brooks electronics box gum - edited

Grandma recently had the unfortunate misfortune of innocently sitting down on the bed and leaning back onto the baby-proof padded foam wall lined with poke-a-dots.  She didn’t notice the wad of chewing gum blending into the background until she sat up and felt the unmistakable, sticky, cinnamon scented goop stuck on a very prominent part of her recently cut and straightened hair.

It was easy enough to remove, using the old peanut butter and fine-tooth comb trick. But Who, but who, would have carelessly and irresponsibly stuck gum to the headboard of a bed?  Let’s examine possible suspects:

  1. Bella:  She knows what gum is, can identify and say the word gum, but is not know to try to chew it.  Culpability Probability?  slim-to-none
  2. Brooks:  He’s been know to slip gum from mommy’s “electronic’s box” (box where she keeps her remote controls, phones, camera, and baby monitor, oh, and also gum – all in one place so she can reach it while holding two squirmy 18 month olds), but Brooks is not know to actually spit the gum out, much less stick it to the wall.  Culpability Probability?  possible, but not likely
  3. Mica:  She’s always getting into mommy’s gum but from a young age has always been responsible; spitting it out when done and putting it in the trash can.  Culpability Probability?  doubtful she’s responsible
  4. Hope:  Totally something she would do.  Only one problem:  Although Hope has no problem chowing down on super-spicy Mexican food, she can’t handle mint or cinnamon flavored anything, the taste being too strong.  And since the gum was not fruity flavored…Culpability Probability?  not completely outside the realm of possibility, but almost.
  5. Amor:  As an adult, you’d think he’d know better.  Well, let’s just say, I’ve had a similar issue on his side of the bed.  Problem is, he hasn’t been near the bed recently.  Therefore, Culpability Probability?  maybe 1% chance it was him
  6. Mommy Belle:  The mom who religiously insists on good oral hygiene, makes sure all kids brush well twice a day, has even written a song and blog post about teeth, but who also has a not-so-healthy habit of sneaking a snack (night medicine triggers huger) after finally getting the twins to sleep but then is too afraid of waking them to actually get up to re-brush teeth, so she chews xylitol-laced gum to ease her conscience but still too worried about waking two sleeping toddlers to throw the chewed gum away, sticks it to an innocuous place until morning when she gets a chance to clean it up, but may have forgotten this time…Culpability Probability?  hummm, you know what, it was probably Mr. Nobody.

Double Talk Quote:  “You’re going to grow up to be an awesome person!” – Me to Mica  “Like you!” – Mica to me (be still my heart!)

Verse: “ Take my instruction instead of silver, and knowledge rather than choice gold, for wisdom is better than jewels, and all that you may desire cannot compare with her.” Proverbs 8:10-11

Term that has Earned its meaning: sticky situation

Relatable Lyrics:  “Weird Al” Yankovic – First World Problems

“Uh, I had to buy something I didn’t even need just
so I could qualify for free shipping on Amazon”

Bella Mica and Brooks with gum

toothbrush ditched for gum

Brooks with gum

I am Super

I am Super - Happy Birthday

My name is Michelle. Daddy nicknamed me Belle as a baby, probably because of The Beatles’ influence in his life (Michelle, ma belle) . As I grew older, he started calling me SuperBelle. Sometimes he would shorten it to “Super”. I can still hear his voice in my head saying, “Hey Super” as I walked in the door. He would always give me bells and Supergirl relics. He also wrote a song about me with lyrics like “She’s so super, yeah, … she’s so special, yeah, she’s a supergirl” and endearingly ended it with the verse, “God’s gift of Love.”

I didn’t feel right about calling myself Super. Even during manic episodes, when I felt super, it seemed prideful. At one point, I did have an email account calling myself SuperBelle. But I eventually went with something more humble. I had low self-esteem, and I always wondered why he thought I was so super. I thought maybe it was just because he was my daddy, and he was bias or it was just lip service. But maybe there was something in me that I couldn’t see.

Daddy died Christmas 2010 from complications of untreated Bipolar Disorder.

During my second pregnancy, just before I found out I was having twins, I was in a bad place. I was depressed. I felt inadequate. And Daddy wasn’t there to see me through it. All my life, he had been such an encouragement to me. After he died, and I didn’t have someone cheering me on, everything just seemed so hard.

Just after the babies were born, I was listening to a lullaby by Twila Paris, one of my daddy’s favorite Christian artists. I heard the lyrics:

“…God was with you long before the day that you were born
And if you don’t have a daddy
He will be your father too
And He will always keep you in His sight
When it gets too dark to stay ahead
And you can’t find your way it will be alright
He will be your guiding light”

I realized – I’m God’s child. So my earthly daddy’s not here anymore. But God is. I am fearfully and wonderfully made. He thinks I’m Super. I am SuperBelle. I am a SuperMommy.

Double Talk Quote: “I think Grandpa asked God to give you twins” – Mica

Verse: Psalm 139:1-18 “15…when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together …. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. How precious toward me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand—when I awake, I am still with you.”

Word that has Lost its meaning: can’t

Relatable Lyrics: Sandi Patty – Masterpiece (dedicated to Mica, Brooks, Bella, & Asher)

written October 5, 2014 (3 months old)

Manic Mom

SuperBella!

I’ve been pretty manic lately and it seems like the creativity just pours out of my mouth or fingertips. Ideas barely have time to form before I get a chance to respond to them. I looked up postpartum mania but I didn’t find much. Most articles are about postpartum depression and/or psychosis. Is mania really that rare? If not, why isn’t anyone talking about it?

Every morning I wake up feeling like supermommy. Every night as I’m drifting off into Ambien-induced oblivion, I feel beat down. The feeling of grandeur replaced by self proclaimed shame and inadequacy. I’m not depressed, however, just irritated; Irritated that I can’t be perfect.

Writing has been therapeutic for me. Sometimes I talk and talk. It’s obvious that people can hear me but they are not listening. Writing, even when it goes unread, has been the only way I’ve found to release that aggravated ecstasy I feel within. Mania feels so good to me. Apparently it doesn’t feel so good to those around me. Also, I’ve been manic enough in the past to know that what goes up must come down. I cannot be depressed with three kids. History has taught me that I can’t even be depressed with one kid and get away with it.

My counselor recommended (and Amor demanded) that I go see my psychiatrist. She put me on a combo of meds that have worked for me in the past. All they did this time, however, was dry up my once-ever-so-abundant milk supply. I stopped taking them. Want to see me depressed? Yeah, take away my ability to feed my children! As the wise old turtle, Ooguay, from Kung Fu Panda says, “One often meets his destiny on the road he takes to avoid it.” Please Lord, destine me for joy, not depression!

Double Talk Quote: “I need to use the restroom. I’m going to the attic.” – Amor

Relatable Lyrics: “I’m no Superman” by Lazlo Bane https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gQjFHxJ9IKs

Verse: “The joy of the Lord is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10

Word that has Lost its meaning
: Coincidence (God ordains everything)

August 25, 2014 (8 weeks old)
SuperKids!

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