Mommy and Me

Mommy and Me
Sharing life with you is fullfilling

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Prodomal Labor sucks

If you have never experienced labor that doesn't do much of anything, let me tell you it isn't that fun.

This is my fifth full term pregnancy, I past my due date a few days ago, I don't have any experience with having a late baby without prodomal labor, so I can't say much for the mental state of a woman with labor that is clearly defined at the time of her babies arrival but no labor leading up to it...
What I can say is that having several different days where you feel like 'this could be it' but then second guessing EVERYTHING isn't really that great for your mental state.
Before you ask, I'm ok.  I'm not happy about it, but I'm ok.  Two days ago I had some contractions that seemed to be getting stronger for awhile, and then they went away after about 6 hours or so, I'm really not counting the time, I just know it was long enough to make you take notice ok.... I know that within 12 hours of waking up everything that had progressively gotten stronger was then gone, but that is a whole lot of progress and change in between that I'm not going to get into the details of, so we'll just stick with 6 hours. 
After six hours I took a nap and it all went away, even the back pain I was experiencing went away.. so that was nice.  However, facing ANYONE after all that labor is just not fun.  People look at you with a sad sympathetic look on their faces and repeat over and over how it could be 'any time now' and or they ask you how you are doing... to which you really have no answer.  Do you really want to be in labor?  Do you want to acknowledge the child inside of you who refuses to come out?  Do you feel good on the inside and miserable on the outside, or vise-versa...? 
I don't even know how I feel, let alone to express that feeling... who really knows how they feel at 40 weeks plus a bit?  ready?  Not ready at all? 
Today is 40 weeks and 5 days.  Esmarie was my longest pregnancy so far, at 41 weeks 1 day, I'm not really looking forward to passing that date, but it seems that's the way this is headed... all the prodomal labor hasn't really gotten me too far... at least not that I know of since I'm not checking nor is anyone else checking my cervix. 
I will say it is Saturday, and that gives me a little hope... I know that is ridiculous, but Caeden was born Sunday morning after a Saturday labor, Micah was born Sunday morning after a Saturday labor, and Esmarie was born on a Saturday morning after a very short labor.  Sapphira was born on a Friday morning after a forced labor on a Thursday and a c-section early Friday morning, not sure that counts though.
Yesterday I was a mess, I felt depressed and lonely yet didn't want to be around anyone... I crocheted the whole day.  The little flower baby thing I made turned out cute, still have to give it some eyes, but it's finished otherwise.  And the kids cleaned up the living room and dinning room... so it wasn't a completely wasted day, even if I did just sit on the couch the majority of it. 
Today I feel a bit more optimistic, and no not just because it is Saturday, more so because I just can't stay mad at the baby inside of me who refuses to come out of my womb and into my arms... though I have not seen her yet, I know she is going to be adorable (the proof is in the pudding, two good looking parents and four other adorable kids... you can't get ugly from that!).  I know she is going to come at God's perfect time for her!  When....?  I don't know that... and that bothers me, but God spoke to my heart a few weeks back, he said he was "doing this for me"... I don't know what that means, but it can't be to harm me.. I'm sure of that.  He is a good God.  I trust him fully to figure out the perfect time and way for this baby to be born.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Mother's Day

Patrick works an odd schedule, nights for 6 days, days for 6 days, and then off for 6 days.  This week he is working nights, which is a bummer because he misses some of the things that are typically important... Mother's Day, and my birthday... which also happen to fall on the same day this year.
I was gearing up to just forget the day as much as possible.. I mean I'm turning 34, and my oldest child is only 9, so it is either celebrate yourself and feel silly, or forget about it because your kids are not old enough to do the planning for you.  I can't say it didn't bother me, it really did, but I felt foolish for being bothered by it.  So I just didn't talk to anyone about it much.
When people asked (and only a few did so it worked out alright) I would just say bluntly, honestly and without much emotion that I had no plans and that we'd probably just do church, which I was serving in the nursery for, and then eat something on the way home and just chill out there for the rest of the day.  Nothing too exciting.
BUT yesterday my husband surprised me.  He asked me if I wanted to celebrate my birthday on Wednesday since he would be off that night in preparation for switching to his day shift, and it honestly melted my heart that he had even thought about it at all.  This may not be a big deal really, and it isn't, but to me it meant a lot.  Patrick does not plan things.  As an example we decided a few years ago to switch off whose family we would see each year, last year was my family, so this year it is his family... BUT I keep asking him when he wants to go and he doesn't answer, he doesn't really switch the subject, but he never answers.. I think he is incapable, I say, you say the month and I'll make all the arrangements and he says "ok" and then we never get anywhere on the issue... So when my husband had picked a day, suggested a plan (eating at a restaurant) and asked me my opinion it was kind of shocking, and a lot appreciated. I was prepared (and happy) to let that be the plan and go with it, still forgetting as much as possible about the whole mother's day/birthday on Sunday thing.
I was riding on cloud nine just thinking about how he'd remembered my birthday at all... and I told him how much it meant to me, talked to my mom and a few other people about how I was so impressed and happy about the situation, just in general felt GOOD to be remembered.  And then this morning he came home and didn't come straight to the bedroom, I figured he was greeting the kids or something, I'm not normally awake when he comes in on his night shift (I don't sleep well when he isn't here, and the kids all know how to get their morning chores done and make their own breakfast so it doesn't really matter if i'm up at 7:30am or 8:00am. But I was actually up, and half dressed because Esmarie had taken her diaper off and was walking around diaperless at 7:20.  I spotted a pair of Micah's pants that were nice and thought he might need them for church so I called him over to give him the pants.  When he came he looked excited (still wasn't thinking much about Patrick not coming straight to the bedroom like he usually does) Micah starts stammering about 'we got' or 'there's something' and it hits me that Patrick has done something for me, though I still don't know what... and I don't want to foil his surprise, so when Sapphira walks up to Micah and says "Don't Tell Micah", I simply tell him to go take care of the pants, no longer caring that they are nicer than the ones he's wearing, but just trying to get him to not say what he's trying to say and move on.  I walk away closing the bedroom door behind me and thinking about the fact that I'm half dressed, and need to finish getting dressed, but any moment I can expect my children to walk in with my husband and whatever they have planned....
Quickly I grab the rest of my clothes and go to the bathroom to put them on so that they don't walk in and find me in my underwear or worse...After changing I come into the bedroom and there, holding a chocolate cake is my husband, still in his work uniform, my daughter holding some beautiful blue dyed Orchids, and my two boys, Esmarie is somewhere behind them getting into things and oblivious to whats happening, but still present.  They sing happy birthday to me and  I cried. 
Church was ok, I held a crying toddler for the whole service, she eventually fell asleep, I think she finally trusted me enough to relax. Then we got our picture taken at the photo booth they had set up, someone asked where Patrick was and I had to explain that he was working nights this week so he wasn't there.  Two people found out it was my birthday, and everyone wished me a happy mother's day... it was generally a good time.. but not many people even knew it was my birthday and it always feels so weird to explain that mother's day isn't JUST mother's day for me, so I didn't tell them.
We went out to get lunch at a family restaurant, and then came home... I generally just decided not to do anything responsible, cause it's my birthday, and just enjoyed being lazy, took a nap, and made dinner and avoided anything else that might have been done.
But I'm still riding the waves of joy from the beautiful thoughtfulness of my husband... who as I said, is not a planner, and went above and beyond anything I expected.  Oh and he also got me chocolate... so my candy jar is full again.. Even the boring birthdays are great birthdays when you are not forgotten.
But this has all made me think more about how I feel about mother's day. 
In general I love the holiday, the idea of celebrating moms for the work they do, it is absolutely amazing.  I'm glad we have a holiday for that.  There are mother's who have birthed babies, mother's who have adopted babies, mother's who have carried and lost babies before ever meeting them, the walk is different for all of us, and sometimes you come across a childless woman who whether by choice or circumstance never had a child, but she is the most motherly person you'll ever meet (we've got one at our church), and all of them need to be celebrated.  Mothering is a tough job!  I do not include all women in this holiday, because before becoming a mother I do not think I needed to be celebrated on mother's day for being a woman capable of having children, it is not even remotely the same as being a mother. 
But I have ALWAYS had a rivalry for mother's day.  First I was born on Mother's Day, the actual day.  My mom always said she had missed getting a rose on her first mother's day so when she was pregnant with me she was excited to go to the church service where she knew she would be given a rose... and instead she ended up in labor with me, a sunnyside up giant baby, and no one from the church thought to bring her the rose she had wanted so badly... so I guess it started the year I was born. 
As I grew up my mom and her sister and my grandma started to plan mushroom hunting trips in the spring, it became a regular and traditional trip, however the mushrooms in Michigan are always in their peak season the weekend of Mother's Day... which was always the weekend of my birthday celebration... which meant that mom was often gone around my birthday, sometimes on my birthday, and I never felt forgotten, I think mom always made a point to make sure she was there for my actual birthday, but I do remember one year she actually asked me how I felt about her leaving because my birthday was actually during the time they had planned the trip.  She did a great job of making me feel special... but the world didn't.  No one knows it is your birthday when Mother's Day comes around.  No one cares or thinks about birthdays when Mother's Day is around.  Every mother that walks into a restaurant, or public place is greeted with a smile and a "Happy Mother's Day", but the little girl celebrating her birthday is just a weird aside from the real special day...
And so my weird issue with mother's day just grew... I don't hate it, I love it, but I don't like my birthday to be so close to it.
Now I thought I'd dealt with that as a mom, but this is only the second mother's day I've had as a mother that actually shared my birthday... the last one was in 2012.  So I guess I realized today that I feel weird still about this odd holiday. 
I don't call anyone but my own mother for Mother's Day... I don't text anyone either, especially when it is the same day as my birthday.  If anyone texts/calls/leaves me a Facebook message with a 'happy birthday' I reply "happy mother's day to you!  But I don't think I've ever, until this year, publicly said Happy Mother's Day on social media.. maybe I have, but I don't remember.  It just feels weird, on your birthday to wish everyone else a happy day.... it shouldn't because it is actually a beautiful thing... but it does.
But this year I thought about all the moms I've served as a doula, all the moms that I've learned from, all the moms that I've walked this road with, all the moms that I've observed from afar, all the moms that pour their hearts out every day, in happiness, sadness, weariness, bittersweet moments, harsh realities, and every other situation... and I'm truly blessed... so VERY BLESSED to know so many women who mother so well... and who are not afraid to be real about it.  Motherhood is a hard journey... and I shouldn't feel weird sharing this day with so many amazing women... yeah it takes some of my spot light (not that I am prone to asking for a spot light) but it also is just amazing to know that these women should be celebrated too... regardless of what day their holiday falls on.

Friday, March 9, 2018

Why I choose Motherhood

I just finished reading an article that has me dumbfounded, and I just couldn't help but reply to it... so here you go, my opposing position for the article titled More Women are Choosing Not to Have Children and Here's Why
The article starts out by stating a fact that on it's surface is probably just plain ole fact, but when you really consider it has a FRIGHTENING implication...
In 2014 47.6% of women between the ages of 15 and 44 did not have children.  I've taken the liberty to look up the birth rate for the United States, according to this article there are 59.6 births for every 1000 women, a woman must have 2.1 babies in her lifetime to maintain the population at it's current level, accounting for each of it's parents, plus some deaths along the way (it's sad, but not all children will grow to become reproducing adults).  The United States of America falls just above 2 births per woman, which means we will maintain our current population... however not all women are out having babies, and that is what the article "More Women are Choosing Not the Have Children and Here's Why" is talking about.  Why would we choose not to have children, knowing that our country, our species depends on us raising children?
Well according to the author women are choosing not to have children for several reasons, and each of the reasons were given directly from women who choose not to have children themselves.
Reason 1?
Not even sure this is really a reason to be honest, but terminology.  Women are saying they are 'child-free' instead of childless... implying that they didn't fall into the cracks, they choose instead to be there.  I don't even remotely understand that, no judgement in that, I just honestly don't understand, my whole life I wanted to be a mom, and when I finally got pregnant with my first child I was anxious to tell the whole world.  I remember grocery shopping at a local store and wanting to tell the cashier about my pregnancy.. any excuse to announce my happiness to ANYONE who would listen!  I was bummed when it took FOREVER for someone to finally ask me 'are you pregnant?'  I wanted nothing more than for the radiance I felt from becoming a mother to be evident to EVERYONE who I came across.  So to say I don't relate is and understatement.
Reason 2?
Three is a crowd.
The main reason to remain childless is because they can... because they can?  Is this power?  I am of the opinion that when I live my life it touches others... and that touch creates my legacy... I want to leave a legacy, and in our social media era I think it is safe to say most everyone wants to leave a legacy, they want as many 'likes' and 'comments' on their quirky lives as possible, they want attention, and they want to leave a lasting impact on the world... opinions are flying rampant all over Facebook and Twitter and all the other places people tend to leave them... and we all want attention, it is natural, even good I would venture to say, that we want to leave an impact on the world around us.
How are we going to leave the biggest impact?  Personally, I think that if I can reach 100 people in my life, give them a taste for who I am and all that, then that is pretty good, but probably only 30 of them will be around when I die and able to come to the funeral... BUT what if I created some people who i infused not only with my DNA but also with my ideas, my thoughts, my world view, and was a part of their every day lives, the nitty-gritty parts for more than 18 years, and then after that even I held some kind of responsibility and vested interest in their lives and they in mine... how many more people would I reach?  If each one reaches 100 people themselves, then for each of those people I raised to be as much like me as possible (not the goal, just a thought to ponder) then for each child that I raise I get 100 more 'followers'... yeah, so I currently have 4 children and one more on the way, for each of them I get 100 people (all figurative, I have no idea how many people I will have impacted in my life) that means my meager 100 then turns into 500 people simply because I have deeply involved myself in the lives of those I raised for 18+ years.  My impact just got a lot bigger people!
So why wouldn't I as a selfish human want to impact a larger crowd simply by raising some of that crowd myself?
The article says that we've wrested this important life altering choice out of the hands of the patriarchy... OH MY BULL! 
No one told me I had to have kids, and my husband certainly holds a part of this responsibility in his hands... capable hands I might add... hands that provide for our financial needs and serve as a guidepost for the direction of our family... We are a TEAM, no patriarchy here.. just a well oiled machine with kinks and road bumps along the way, but all in all a good team.  We decided most everything together, no one forced anyone in this household to bear children, or to financially support said children.
Sara Tenenbein is quoted saying " Just the two of us is awesome, maybe we don't need to add more humans to the equation."  The only thing I have to say to this is, yes you do... if you don't... you in the figurative sense but also in the very real sense of human survival, don't 'add more humans to the equation' eventually the human race DIES... so yes, someone has to make the TERRIBLE (sarcasm) sacrifice of having children to further the human population of the world... or we won't exist anymore.. and as more and more people choose not to have kids, or to wait until their fertility is at a minimum and they may not be able to have children at all, the population suffers from it.  Not only in the sense that we eventually have no more humans to inhabit the planet, but also that the few children our generations will produce will have to support you as a senior citizen, and the less their are to pay for your lifestyle, the more restricted your lifestyle will be, you NEED to prepare for your OWN future, and one of the best ways to do that is to have small people in your life now so that someone loves you enough to pay your bills when you are old and you don't end up eating cat food in a dark one room apartment with no electricity in the middle of the winter.   
Reason 3?
 Babies are Gross.
First, I disagree, PEOPLE ARE GROSS.  The fact that you can wipe your own butt and do not rely on someone else to do so does not mean that you are never in contact with human feces... we all poop.  We all vomit on occasion too, and while you are a grown up, when you get sick and miss the toilet or the bowl you keep by your bedside to puke into, who cleans it up?  If you are lucky enough to have a spouse who will not puke at the sight of someones vomit then you may not have to clean it yourself, but chances are, if you're spouse is the type to clean up after you, then you may at some point have to clean up after them... it is a fact of life, people poop, and people puke, and sometimes they do both at the same time... Babies are tiny people... so naturally they do that which all people do.  Is it gross?  sure, but no more disgusting than you are, and in some ways, size based, a baby is much less disgusting than you.
Also, though hard to explain there is a great satisfaction in knowing that you are capable of caring for a small person who is entirely dependent on you for survival.  Not to mention the ADORABLE expressions that randomly play on a sleeping baby's face... they are enough to make you melt.
 Married couple and researchers from Kansas State University, Gary and Sandra Brase, have been looking into the reasons some people don't have babies and they determined that people who were exposed primarily to the negative side of babies, crying, diapers, and what-not, have less desire to procreate than those who are exposed to cuddles, smiles and generally happy parts of infancy and childhood.  Is it any wonder really that if you focus solely on the negative of anything you will most likely not want to be a part of it?  Where as if you see the positive then you'll want to experience it for yourself. 
Recently I was talking to a friend about transitions, when my husband and I got out of the military we went to live temporarily with my parents and they had a giant bedroom that they gave to our family, it actually wasn't too uncomfortable for my husband and I with our two children to live in this one bedroom together.  of course there were the sneaky intimacy moments, and the frustrations of kids waking in the middle of the night and or choosing not to go to sleep because they had each other to entertain themselves.  But overall my memory of us all sharing that space isn't too bad.  My friend however said she was 'glad not to have children sometimes'.  This struck me a little off.  This same woman has wanted to have children and has not yet been able to carry a pregnancy to term, and so I know her intent wasn't that she just plain didn't desire children, but rather that she saw them in this situation to be a hindrance... whereas I did feel that things were hindering me, but it was never my children, it was our situation, my husband being unemployed after serving in the US Navy for 8 years, moving back into my parents house after having established my own routines and expectations for my family for several years... things like that, not the kids.
Culture around the world, in many countries would like us to believe that children are a burden, but really they are such a blessing, and while difficult to raise, they are amazing to watch grow.  So sure, they might be 'gross' just the same as you and I, but they are also incredible and imaginative, and intuitive.  If you focus on the negative you'll only have negative feelings toward them, but if you look for the good (and it really isn't that hard) then you'll understand that while life with children is different, and difficult, it is also far more rewarding and fulfilling.
Reason 4?
Women have Jobs.
I have much to say about this.  So much that I have to reign myself in a little.  I have been unemployed for the past 10 years.  And if I look into the future and count all the worries I could have it is quite terrifying to think that if anything happened to my husband I would be the breadwinner of my household and I've got little work experience to put on my resume.  I have plenty of skills, just none that would translate well without misleading people onto a resume.  HOWEVER, it is ENTIRELY possible to live a GOOD fulfilled, and  pleasantly comfortable life, without having two working adults in the home.  So whether women are choosing to have jobs, or they are financially dependent on their jobs, I'm not entirely sure, but the article suggests that because women have jobs they choose those jobs over the idea of having children. 
What do you value?  Coffee at and overpriced and overrated cafe?  well perhaps you should keep that job... but if you don't care about that, but instead care about deep relationships with people who will help you to become a better human, then perhaps your job isn't what will make that possible, you can find that in many places, including in your children... shocking I know.
This portion of the article blames the united states government for not providing sufficient pay and leave for those who choose to have children, but I disagree... you can have an amazing life without coffee houses, and deadlines, boardrooms, and all that... I know because I have that.  And it wasn't dependent on my house, my car, or the places I ate out.  I've lived in my parents house (my lowest point), a 5th wheel with 3 children (an adventure of necessity), rental houses, my own 1070 sqft house, and now my dream house.... all these places didn't really change my happiness level at all.. I was perfectly happy with my family no matter where we were because; and I say this with all honesty, we were together.
Reason 5?
Selfish isn't all bad.
Selfish is selfish is selfish... who you live for is indicative of your personal health and well being. People who live only for themselves have less friendships, and people with less friendships will have less people to lean on in troubled times.  And for mental health it can be beneficial to have a more selfless approach to life.  Here is an article that talks about that. Some even believe that men who are involved in family life will live longer than those who are alone, whether by choice or circumstances, but specifically those who choose to be alone... because they are in their nature behaving more selfishly, whereas those who are alone by some other design than their personal choice might be more likely to volunteer and spend time with extended family to get that same sense of selflessness.
One quoted woman (Mayer) in the article even says that if  "freedom" equals "selfishness" then bring it on... I can't imagine a more sad view of raising children. 
As a home school mother, I find that I have ultimate freedom over my life.  Sure I have to come up with a babysitter to be able to do the things I once didn't have to think twice about doing, but that really hasn't been an issue because for the most part I really don't want to do those once sought after things anymore.  I'd rather spend an evening making pizza and popcorn and watching a movie with my family than going out to a club to dance, or a concert to listen to music, or even a theater to watch a movie, most every weekend.  On occasion I do still enjoy those things, but for the most part I don't need them, I have more satisfying things to do with my children, right here in my home.
Reason 6?
This one shocked, me, not because it was listed, but rather because it wasn't the first thing listed...
Children Cost a lot.
When I was pregnant for my first child my husband and I talked about money and the idea of me working to help pay for the cost of raising a child... at the time the most money a job had ever paid me to work for them was $9.50 per hour, and I wasn't working there any more.  One Child in daycare for a woman who works 37 hours (never worked 40 because the boss didn't want to risk paying overtime)
Putting our infant in daycare would have cost us around $7,000 a year (this is an estimate based on the area we live in and doesn't represent the entire country as the cost varies depending on location).  My total income would have been around $18,000 before taxes, and we planned to have three children, so while I might make a bit of money while we had only one child in care, and I might even get a raise at my work place or find a job that would pay me more, I could expect that I'd probably max out at about $20,000 a year because I am not the main breadwinner in my family but only an added income and my dedication to family and current level of education (then and now) wouldn't really allow for me to make the big bucks... so once we put three children in daycare my income would still be pretty low considering the added cost of things like gas to bring kids to daycare and myself to work each day.  For simplicity sake I just multiplied the cost of daycare by three (we wanted them close in age so I'd probably be paying for all of them at the same time at one point) and that means that I'd be paying more in daycare cost than I made in a year of working.  At the time and even now this makes ZERO sense, so we opted that I become a stay at home mother.  Now the entire cost of our family rested solely on my husband's shoulders, but the things our children would learn would come from our family alone... and that was worth the trade off.  I wanted very much to be the one to raise my children, not a daycare, not a teacher, or a babysitter, but me.  I felt God had entrusted them to me and I shouldn't take that lightly, and wouldn't allow someone else to fulfill my purpose in their lives.  Not to mention the fact that little did I know it at the time but I don't respond well to a breast pump and would not have been able to maintain an exclusively breastfeeding relationship with my infant if I had to drop them off at a daycare every day, thereby increasing our cost to add formula for feeding said baby.
So do babies cost money?  Sure they do, but you don't have to buy a new stroller, you get a nice used one for very little money, I did.  You also don't have to get a new pack'n'play for baby, you don't even HAVE to have one in the first place but if you decide it is necessary it is easy to find a nice quality one that doesn't cost the price of new, from just about anyone.  I got mine for $35 and have been using it for 9 years, and it is still in great shape and works just as well as when I got it.  You also don't need a traditional changing table, just a caddy with diapers and wipes on my bedroom floor is all I use now, but at one point I had a changing pad on a dresser, and it worked wonderfully.  We bought our crib used as well, still in great condition and it has been used for four children, and was a great $90 find, and will be used for the 5th baby as well.  Not buying new things has great benefits.  You can get affordable new clothes from Good will and thrift shops as well, though I personally steer clear of some of the baby resale shops because they cost nearly as much as the new clothes at wal-mart and target.   Having a child doesn't have to cost a lot. 
I recently talked to a mom who is expecting her 2nd girl, and she was expressing the need to decorate the 'nursery' and update her other daughter to a 'toddler room'. All I could think about was how much things change when all the bedrooms are filled and you have another baby on the way... no more decorating the bedrooms. It is fun for the first baby or two, but beyond that, there is no need, and no room, so the cost actually goes down with each additional child you add to your family.  Now that we are on child number 5, the only additional expense this one will cost us is diapers, and wipes, things I'm already buying, but now for at least a short time I'll be buying them for two at once, and that is it.  Clothes are all handed down, one child to the next, and furniture and baby items will either be gifted to us or reused from the other children.  There are those that are of the opinion that children can't wear used clothing, but if money is an object, there is no reason to follow that rule.  In fact I noticed a decreasing need for pajamas for my third and fourth babies, they just wore their day time oh so comfortable sleepers or onsies to bed, no need to change them if you don't have to, save on laundry, as they get older they will actually need pajamas, but not when they are little.. not really.
so cost really isn't that big of a deal for people with a brain in their heads and a head on their shoulders.
Reason 7?
Stay at Home Dad's are still the exception
If a mom makes more money than the dad, sure consider the dad for staying home with the kids, if Dad has a disability keeping him from being able to work, sure consider him for staying home with the kids.. for a number of other reasons there may be a reason to consider dad for staying home, but I'd venture to say that  woman is more equipped to deal with the needs and demands of a child at home, particularly an infant.  From a purely physical standpoint a mom is the better choice because it is her body that has and will continue to provide for an infant.  A dad doesn't typically lactate, so if breastfeeding is something important to a family (and if you want to save money on food and healthcare it really should be) then it should be obvious that mom would stay home.  Also, hormonal changes in mom's are designed to help their children in so many physical ways that men can do, but just not as well.  Oxytocin is shared between a breastfeeding mom and her child, promoting a healthy brain, and development in the child.  Skin to skin contact with either parent will help a baby to regulate their body temperature, but seems to work best with mom.  A baby can learn to regulate their heart rate also by being skin to skin with his/her mother.  Here is another great article to explain the need a child and mother have for each other. 
So while I don't think it is bad to have dad instead of mom, I fully believe it is more beneficial for an infant, toddler and young child to have mom, and then as they get older to then learn from and connect to their father more and more throughout their older childhood and teen years, depending on his wisdom and guidance to develop important life skills.  It just makes sense that mothers and babies be together in those early years, with all the benefits that a mother's body can have on her child and it's development.
Kohler, a participant in the article was quoted saying "Raising a kid before s/he begins school is more than a full-time job.  It's 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with no time off for good behavior. I'm not fit to be around adult human beings when sleep-deprived, let alone a child dependent on me for Every. Little. Thing." However this is the kind of thinking that someone without children would have... and even some with children who have no support systems or who have chosen to focus on how hard things are rather than taking the approach of thankfulness, or at least looking for the benefits of parenting. 
The chemical and hormonal communication between a mother and her child is amazingly complex, one of the things our bodies were designed to do was actually to wake as our baby is waking to feed them quickly and then both mother and baby go happily back to sleep... our culture however teaches us to keep our infants in a separate room from us, making it impossible for our bodies to read the chemical make up of our child as they start to wake (even before they have moved or stirred from their sleeping) to be fed, so by the time we are awake and aware of our infants growing need for nourishment, or even comfort, they are already crying for us, and wide awake, which means that we must then fully wake up to calm them before feeding them and putting them back to bed, a much longer process than God intended it to be.  A mother who keeps her infant far from her while resting will have less rest than one who sleeps with her infant at most an arms length away from her.  At some point this does change and sleep is easier for both when they have their own space, but that I leave up to each individual. 
My point is that you don't have to be sleep deprived to be a parent... yes you will have times when you are sleep deprived, but not as many as people make it seem, and if not as many, then certainly not as long as they make it sound. 
Parenthood is a gift.  And the article I've been addressing doesn't take into account that about 40% of american women approaching the end of their childbearing days will say they did not have as many children as they wished they would have... and that is sad, but also telling.  Selfishness is not a long term reward for a life well lived, and children are a blessing that can not be contained in a short article that claims women who have children are under patriarchy control.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Money

I'm seeing a lot of money talk right now as military members face the fact that their pay has been frozen, and regardless of how long it takes for them to get paid, regardless of any of that... (this post has little to nothing to do with that situation, just the money thing) I have to say, saving money is NOT hard. What does it take to save money? Planning. Budgeting. Being mindful of your future instead of what is currently your situation. How can I say that?
I'm 33 years old, I've been married 10.5 years, my husband is AMAZING when it comes to saving money... I however am NOT... but I'm learning and our partnership has been amazing in this area.
Did I learn to save money from my parents? No, they have always been in a tight spot, and it has a lot to do with planning.. they are not planners, and they run into situations before adequately planning for them. (This is not to say my family has ever been in need and not able to provide, they just don't 'save money' well.) So no I didn't learn it from my mom or dad.
Did my husband learn it from his mother and father? No, he didn't know his dad, and his mom was a single mother putting herself through college during his growing up years. He was not in need of anything she couldn't provide either, but she wasn't able to put away for the future either.
Maybe this left us both prone to want to provide what our parents couldn't... maybe. But we taught ourselves to save... he more than I.
When we got married Patrick was in the military, he received a sign up bonus, did he immediately spend it? NO. This incredible guy knew one day he was going to have a family and dreamed that in his 30's he would own his house free and clear and have a boat. Neither of those things is currently true and yes we are in our 30's, but what is true is that he actually has money in his savings account.
I feel it is stupid to write numbers on the internet about how much money people have, so I'm not sharing that. Instead I want to tell you what I was doing during that time when my husband started saving his money.
I was babysitting, taking odd jobs where I could find them, dressed as the Easter Bunny at the Mall, and a photo taking elf who also managed the booth for your children to sit on Santa's lap. I also worked part time at a daycare where I was on-call for the people who got sick or for other reasons couldn't come to work. I was paid so little with all these jobs combined that when my best friend moved from Michigan to Oklahoma I packed myself up and moved too. I found an apartment, a job with steady hours and someone to co-sign a loan on my apartment so that I could achieve this. I HATE debt, so instead of saving money I put EVERYTHING I had into paying off that loan so my co-signer and myself wouldn't have to worry about me screwing up anyone's credit. I was young, ambitious and determined. I lived off from take out mostly bought by my now husband when he took me out to eat, and simple foods I could afford and cook in my apartment that was by the way furnished with a twin sized mattress on the floor, a plastic table someone was getting rid of, and some chairs also pulled out of that person's garage. A sewing machine someone bought for me so that I could make bean bags, ONE bean bag that I filled with packing peanuts because they were cheaper than bean bag filling, and dishes and pots and pans that I found at garage sales. I had NOTHING special. my future mother in law actually bought me a futon when she visited and saw I only had a single chair for my living room and a beanbag.
I was not uncomfortable, or embarrassed to invite people over, I actually had lots of people over, as often as possible, I was proud of my little mismatched space and what I had done to make it my own and comfortable with the little bit of money I had.
I had no savings, I was barely paying my bills, BUT then once that loan was paid off I started saving, my account started looking better and better, I learned to stay cheap, not to buy the couch I really wanted, or even the pictures or curtains I would have liked to have had, but to put money in the bank and not buy until I had no choice but to do that.
Then I got married and I quit my job to be a stay at home wife. We had some medical bills to pay off and saving was put on hold again, we simply couldn't afford to save, but Patrick had his money already sitting in an account he hadn't touched... so we did have a savings, and it was earning interest. Slowly I learned how to pay things off and budget for the next week. It doesn't take much to spend less than you make. even if it is only $1 at a time... you CAN do it! don't go over on your grocery budget, put something back if you must.
Saying you are not able to save money and then going on to buy Starbucks coffee or hot chocolate is lying. Regardless of the fact that the person you are lying to most is yourself, you are lying if you say you can't afford to save money, but you can afford that coffee. I'm guilty of it, I don't want you all to think I'm picking on anyone in particular, I just think it is ridiculous we American's get into this mood where we say "whoa is me, I can't save money, I'll never get ahead!" and we live in this state of fear where we can't get ahead, and we can't be happy where we are... that is CRAP.
check yourself. Create a budget, and don't go over it. saving money is SO POSSIBLE!
There was a time when my husband was so into saving money that he would cut my generosity and constantly tell me 'no, we can't afford that'... but then he'd go buy the kids stupid $5 toys that would be broken in a week, and it was his way of telling them he loved them and I love that he loves them, but when I pointed this out to him, that he could show love through his money but he wasn't allowing me to do the same, things suddenly changed.
We now have TWO, not just one, but TWO kids that we sponsor through Compassion International, not because I wanted to, but because HE wanted to, and he asked me to find the children we should sponsor, he didn't even know the name of the companies that do this at the time.
And here is the kicker! We went through a period of 7 months, that is more than half the year y'all, that he was laid off... NOT GETTING PAID to work... during that time, here is what happened.
1. we DID receive Patrick's monthly allotment for disability granted from the military
2. we DID receive WIC
3. we DID receive benefits from Patrick's G.I. Bill
4. we rented out our 5th wheel to some transitioning friends for a few of these months (this is NOT a recreational vehicle for us, but was our home for 6 months, check back in my old posts you'll see how we lived. We actually are trying to sell this now so that we don't have the cost of it over our heads anymore, but the purchase wasn't just for fun, but rather necessity)
5. we found a local food bank to cut our grocery costs.
In the end we spent about $2000 in SEVEN months that we had previously saved for a rainy day. That's pretty incredible, because of a small amount of diligence we lived for seven months on an income that was less than desirable, and were able to pay for everything we needed, and we really were not living any differently than we had been before he was laid off. Had we really cut ourselves back, we could have made it without spending ANY of his savings.
Ok, you might be thinking 'yea but most people don't have disability payments and G.I. Bills to benefit from...' and YES that is true, but my point is that we live so much more luxuriously than we have to, as Americans in general. I do want to note here that people without savings might actually stand to receive more aid than those with a savings account, because while we could qualify for WIC we could not qualify for food stamps, or housing assistance.
What can you give up to save a few dollars a week?
Let's do a little math. say you save $10 a week for a year... that is $520 a year that you saved. I'm not even going to add in interest at this point because it is too meager to think about, however you'll notice that it quickly adds up the more money you get into that savings account. now at only $10 a week you'll have over a thousand dollars in two years.. and that is what most people are saying they can not maintain in their bank accounts. This is simply to ridiculous not to point out here.. but as you get better at saving money, stay with a job longer (i.e.get raises) or switch to a higher paying job with your gained experience you'll be bringing in more money and therefore should be SAVING more money.
When I began saving money it was only in $5 increments, but it was something. Then as our pay got better we began saving $20 at a time, then as things got even better instead of limiting ourselves on how much we could save we switched to limiting the amount we spent. Now as his pay increases so does our savings because we don't act richer, even if we are. We eat out the same number of times, pay for the same house, buy things used, (ESPECIALLY CARS!!!) take loans extremely cautiously, and keep our grocery and shopping budgets where they always have been. Just because his pay went up $5 an hour from the last job to this one doesn't mean i suddenly go from shopping at Wal-mart to shopping at American Eagle or wherever the cool kids get their clothes. (point in case I don't even know where to get cool clothes). My family is 'middle class', and someday I hope that we live 'middle class' with an upper class bank account... because that is all we need.... to be where we are, we don't need more, we don't need better, we can have what we have, make it last as long as possible and stop spending what we could be saving.
I'm not at home, but if I were I'd post some pictures of my couch along with this... I'm not preaching to anyone more than I am preaching to myself... my couch is seriously a MESS. It is a sectional that is over 30 years old, we got it used smelling of curry and slightly dated, I made it look more current by removing the skirt from the bottom, and making covers for the throw pillows that matched our decor a bit better, I also might have attacked it with a spray bottle of Febreeze. Perfect... until my husband sat down one day and busted out the bottom of the couch... ugh. we need a new couch right? nope. He fixed it, and then of course he had to fix it again, and when it was beyond fixing we put half (the broken half) in the kid's playroom and pretended the couch was a single normal couch instead of a sectional, even though one end has a high 'arm' and the other has a normal 'arm'. So things were going pretty well until one day the arm ripped, I mean beyond repair tore through wore down, I can't with all my magical sewing skills fix the dang thing, tore..... We need a new couch, right? Well yes, but Patrick just went back to work, we need to build up our funds before going out and spending them all, so instead we folded a blanket over the end to protect it from the children pulling all the stuffing out, then I sewed three large UGLY brown pieces of material someone had given us, together and made a make shift couch cover.
We are close to affording that new couch... but we also need a lawn mower, a necessity once the lawn starts to grow again this spring... so what will we spend the money on? I don't know... but in the mean time, we use a push mower (on almost 3 acres of rough and bumpy land), and make the couch work until it completely falls apart, and I suck up my pride as I invite people to come and share life with us while sitting on my incredibly UGLY breaking couch.
Saving is NOT impossible. Expenses will come, but saving is important and should be regarded as such. After all, that is your children's inheritance, if you spend it all while they are children I doubt they will care much for all the wonderful things you provided for them as much as they will love having a little nest egg of their own when you pass away and leave them a little something you worked hard to save for them.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Update on my new years resolution

I feel as if day one is always full of motivation, and lots of things get done, and it goes relatively smoothly.  I got a lot accomplished with the help of my children.  And I'm pleased with how it went.

BUT now it is day two.

Let's just say I woke up with a prayer on my lips "Lord help  me to do it all again today and not slack off"  and so far so good, but lets just say the world...perhaps Satan is against me today.

I was half way through my morning bible study when a knock came to the door and Caeden announced "Esmarie has a REALLY poopy diaper".  This actually isn't anything new but it had traveled up her back and onto her sheets and clothing, so there was a bit of extra clean up to be done.

After dressing Esmarie and getting her some breakfast I spoke to Sapphira about our new morning challenge "who can do their chores the fastest"  started purely because this girl will take an hour and a half to do the simplest things.  So now we compete to see if she or I get our stuff done in the morning first.  She was off, but I still had to finish my bible study... which I did.
And then while I'm getting dressed I got a phone call from a friend who needed a minute of my time to freak out about her own life, which meant Sapphira TOTALLY beat me getting ready, and she did so in record time... I'm so proud of her!
THEN... my day turned sour.
Caeden knocked on the door while I was still on the phone, and he was having a very hard time getting his words out and tears were forming in his eyes, and I realized that we'd lost a chicken... this has happened before so I knew that is what had happened, but getting the facts and not the long version of the story was not happening so I got off the phone with my friend and forced the important facts out of my son, and then proceeded to send him to his room to recover while I went to take care of the chicken chores.
On my way out to care for the chickens I stopped in the laundry room to retrieve a pair of my socks and found that the dog had for the second night in a row pooped on the floor!  YAY me... dead chicken and dog poop first thing in the morning!
Once I got out to the coop I realized that though Caeden thought we had lost two chickens we actually only lost one.  AND he hadn't been gathering eggs in days!  Like ever since the cold front hit, and we had 9 eggs in the coop, only one of which wasn't frozen solid and cracked open.  Because I just LOVE feeding chickens and paying for new ones when the neighbors dog eats them, I'm super thrilled to see that my son has not been collecting the eggs. 
Caeden lost his job for the next week or perhaps longer, I will be taking my chickens back, he will no longer be selling eggs when we have an abundance, and I'm not sure when he will ever (if he ever does) get this privilege back.  I honestly never wanted to let him sell the eggs for himself anyway, but my husband thought it was a great way for him to earn his own money and be proud of a job he had.  Well that isn't working out so well. 
The chicken that died this last time wasn't anyone's fault but my sons... which is hard to say since I'd like to take it easy on him, he's beating himself up enough.  However, he intentionally left the door unlatched because his fingers were too cold to latch it and instead of telling me this so I could take care of it (because lets be honest, it has been bitter cold and I totally would have helped him with that if he would have said he couldn't do it), he choose not to latch the bottom half (the more important half) of the coop door, and the neighbor's dog came over for a chicken dinner... We know, we all know, that the coop has to be constantly secured, and that it CANNOT be left any other way because we've lost enough chickens to that dog... but he left it open and we are down one chicken now.  That is natural consequences for you... so no big deal.. however when you combine that with the fact that we lost 8 eggs to freezing temperatures and for three days my son had told me that there were no eggs to be gathered it makes me one upset mama.  And that is why he is no longer caring for the chickens.
After my morning fiasco though we've managed to get the dishwasher loaded, the laundry going, and school nearly completed.. a late start means they are on 'lunch break' instead of being done at lunch time... but the process is still moving forward...
Next up, accomplishing all the tasks on the list and also grocery shopping... I've already prepared my list, so as soon as school work is completed and the house work is at least started, we'll be out the door... hopefully today will be as smooth as yesterday. 
If we make it through a whole week with the new task list, then I plan to share it with you, but for now you'll just have to trust that I'm testing it all out before I make a fool of myself and tell everyone how great it is and then fail miserably!
Have a Blessed New Year!

Sunday, December 31, 2017

New Years Resolution/I'm fed up!

Every year something happens in my household.  starting near the end of October (Micah's birthday/Halloween time) things begin to get a little crazy around here.  Our daily schedule begins to get off kilter, and slowly throughout the rest of the year it falls apart, only to be picked back up, dusted off and lovingly reinforced in January...
Nothing new this year... except that it started sliding off in August (Esmarie's Birthday) instead of October!  and I'm terrified that in years to come it will begin even earlier now that I've got a baby due in June... so if my year starts declining in June I'm in big trouble... this CANNOT happen!
I heard on the radio that in order to keep your New Years resolutions you need a specific plan.  Like say you want to lose weight (this is the example given on the radio) instead of saying "In 2018 I'm going to loose weight", you might say "I'm going to lose 20lbs by June 1st" and then you'll need to set mini goals, like "by April 1st I will have lost____" and "In order to attain these goals I'm going to eat salads for dinner 5 nights a week".... little attainable goals, with specifics attached to them.
This morning I looked at my home, under critical eyes, as I turned off all the lights before leaving for church.  With no thought about New Years Resolutions I analyzed each bedroom, the playroom, the living room, dinning room, kitchen, and bathrooms, and I came to the conclusion that God is blessing me FAR TOO MUCH.  I have this AMAZING dream home, and I'm FAILING miserably at keeping it looking like the blessing that it is.  I have 4 beautiful children living in this home that are 9, 7, 4, and 1 year old.  I feel like I do a pretty great job at the 1-2 year age range of teaching them the little things like 'take care of your shoes', 'throw away your diaper', and 'put your clothes in the basket'... but then something happens at the age where they start dressing themselves and the laundry basket is neglected, the diapers are gone, but the toilet training is AWFUL! (I know I'm not supposed to envy others, but seriously when you have a child who trains in less than a month and I'm still training mine 3 years in, it's pretty hard not to envy you).  And then they get older and until age 8 they are just stubborn and unmotivated, and I have to press hard to get things done, I have two in this stage right now... BUT if I do press hard I feel like at 8-9 years old (I have one there now) I have an amazing helper, and I'm looking forward to more of those!
Anyway, since Christmas our lives have been turned upside down, Patrick's work schedule is weird and he gets random days off, not the same ones every week, but different ones EVERY WEEK, there is a rhythm to it, but it is hard to follow.  So Christmas Eve I worked hard to get ready for Christmas, attended a party that evening tucked the kids in while demanding that Patrick vacuum the living room, and then went to bed after placing all the gifts under the tree.  Christmas morning I followed my normal tradition of making a giant all you can eat smorgasbord for breakfast, opened presents with the kids, attempted to control the mess of boxes and wrapping paper, took out the majority of said boxes and wrapping paper, made dinner, and then crashed after enjoying the meal.  I'd pretty much been serving my family from 5am-8pm, and I was beat.  The day after Christmas Patrick was working and I was exhausted so I pretty much took a break, and nothing got done, but I'd cleaned up a lot of things Christmas day so I wasn't too worried... what I didn't think about was the next two days.
Patrick works hard and when he has a day off the whole family takes their cues from him.. and that often means we leave sometime around lunch time and don't come home until dinner time.  Which in terms of housekeeping means that as soon as the kids have had a chance to make a mess we are gone, then we come back in time to either get them in bed or feed them dinner (if dinner then you can see the kitchen hasn't had time to be cleaned up, and is a general disaster area to work in).  So for two more days the house continued it's path of destruction.  If you are counting then you know I have only cleaned a little bit on one of the last 4 days.  Then comes Friday.  Patrick is sick, but he goes into work anyway and struggles through, while I dutifully try to recover a portion of the house that I know will last the longest, my bedroom, bathroom, closet area that have been neglected for awhile because of all the birthday parties and holidays that we've hosted this year.... so the rest of the house is STILL a MESS, and getting worse by the minute since I'm not able to keep the kids going on tasks out there and work on my bedroom at the same time.
Now we are on day 5 of minimal cleaning... and day six Patrick says he is feeling better but sounds pretty awful (sore throat from the day before is just making his voice sound cracked) and they send him home from work (for sounding bad, but not feeling bad).  And because both of his vehicles are dead and buried we use this unexpected blessing of time off to go car shopping.  We left at 10am, and got home around 6pm... I made dinner and then tried unsuccessfully to get warm after having been in and out of the car in 19 degree weather all day, and barely got anything done.  Then there is today... when I critically looked at my house and realized I'm WAY over my head right now.
I'm a planner so of course after hearing the advice on New Years resolutions on the radio I began planning.  HOW CAN  I MAKE NEXT YEAR DIFFERENT? 
First off, I'm getting a routine going.  It occurs to me that I CANNOT delegate and manage if 1. I'm doing all the work myself, and 2. I'm not standing over my children to make sure they do the work themselves.... so far it just hasn't worked with 3 out of 4 of my children... the 4th is the oldest so I'm holding onto hope that the others will catch up.
So you can expect very soon to see my new chore chart, and responsibility lists, but until then, here is what I've come up with.
1. I need a MOMMY CHORE CHART.  Yes the kids need charts, but if I have to actively manage them, I need to organize THEIR CHORES to fit MY SCHEDULE.   
2. Each Child will have jobs that they do EVERY DAY for a month, and then we will decide if they keep those jobs or get to switch to new ones. I've read the benefit of both things... and I just don't know which I like better, but I'm leaning toward proficiency and that seems to come from doing something over and over again.
3. There will be MORE on each child's list than ever before.  Not because I'm mean, but because while it is hard for me to train my children to do these things, I eventually would like to be able to just manage my household and not do it all myself.
4. We are going to have to work as a family, so in some ways that is going to mean that Daddy has to take responsibility for things too... although his main responsibility has been and always will be to provide for us financially and mine is, has been and always will be to take care of those provisions in a responsible way, the new portion Daddy will have to play is basically to help me enforce these changes on days he has off... or I won't be able to keep them up because of his constantly changing schedule.

Keep watching for how this goes!  I'm determined to make a plan and to see it through so that this project of CARING FOR OUR BLESSINGS is seen through to a satisfactory ending.
AND maybe even more can be done this way.. maybe!

*note, my children have always had chores, and I have a GREAT schedule for doing my own jobs... but it takes dedication to follow through, and until now the majority of the work has been on my own shoulders, I'm a bit unsure of how this will go, having the kids do my chores with me until they can manage them all themselves, but I'm hopeful that it will mean the work is seen more as family work than just what mommy needs 'help' with.

Friday, December 22, 2017

My journey with Homeopathy

Almost two years ago I saw a post on Facebook asking for people who had children who might benefit from homeopathic treatment to consider volunteering to become clients/patients(?) for a woman who was studying homeopathy and wanted to finish up her course but needed people to work with in order to do so.  I responded and asked if eczema was something she thought she could help us with.
Because I have built a relationship with her and have not asked for her permission to post her name or her business name I will refrain from doing so at this time, but I am going to share my journey with you.
We started seeing her soon after, she came to our house and asked me questions about Sapphira and her skin problems, but also about other things that bothered her, anything that related or not might be troublesome about her.  Then she continued to ask questions like "does she have any aversion to eggs?" and "Does she sweat while she sleeps?"  
Here is a run down of what I remember telling her:
Eczema with ZERO rash (she would just dig at her skin until she bled and then keep going at it).
Bed Wetting
Brain Fog
Comprehension delay (she's been seeing therapists since she was two for this)
Severe Far sightedness
Language processing problems (she would use words like 'soft' instead of 'feel')
Stubbornness (not typical kid stubbornness, but like if she gets it in her head that something does not belong to you she will try to rip it from your hands and CANNOT stop herself even when she hears me telling her to come to me, look at me, or stop doing what she is doing, I often had to physically touch her and pull her attention away from the item before she could even recognize that I was there).

Our Homeopath was quick to take notes, and in a few weeks we received our first remedy, it seems Sapphira was a bit of a hard case to crack and she needed to confer with her teacher before making a recommendation.

The first remedy did not do anything.

We were told to expect that we might need to try a few before finding the right one, and she was right.  We were also told that when we did find the right remedy we would see her symptoms (whichever ones that remedy touched on) flare up, as in get worse, and then her body would respond and she would have a time period where things would look better than they had before the remedy, and then after a time the symptoms would return.  We were told to expect this pattern to happen possibly many times before we saw symptoms completely disappear.

I can not remember if we had another kind of remedy before getting on the one we have now, but I do remember that at some point Silica was suggested and didn't do much of anything for us, so now we have a different one.  I'm not going to give the name of the one we are on now because I truly believe that to get good results you should see a homeopath and have them make a suggestion instead of groping in the dark to find an answer.

Once we started on a good remedy Sapphira went from her minimal but constant scratching to digging holes that I simply couldn't stop her from digging, in her skin.  The torture that I felt we were putting her through was hard, however there is nothing you can do at that point, except wait for the second part, the part where her body stops it and she clears up.... and it did come!

Sapphira slowly stopped itching as much, and then one day she woke up dry.  This has been our biggest clue as to when the flare-up will end up until now.  She went from wetting the bed 5-6 days a week, to being dry for 12 days straight.  During this time with dry nights and not having to wash sheets every day she stopped itching, I mean not completely but enough that her skin began to heal, and you could see she wasn't as uncomfortable as she had been at least during the flare-up if not before it.  Though because of other things I'd been doing to keep her itching down before the flare-up it was hard to tell whether it was better or relatively the same.

Now because our homeopath is new she is still working at the organization of running a business and because I am new at watching symptoms the process of getting remedies after the old one wears off has been difficult and the process I feel until now has been slower than it could have been.  BUT I can see it working so well that I'm not giving up.

The second dose that we gave Sapphira was even better, she went 16 nights without wetting the bed.  and I can attest that in between remedies (because they were taking so long to get) she was wetting the bed 3-5 nights a week, sometimes as much as 7 nights a week.  So the line up of giving the does and a week of eczema flare up and then dry nights has been a consistent pattern and I can say honestly I've done nothing different with her, and there is no other explanation, nor is it a coincidence because it only happened exactly a week after taking the dose sent to us by our homeopath.

Then one day after giving the dose things were different. Sapphira had 5 dry nights, not the weeks that we'd gotten used to, but only 5 nights, and it was so devastating to us, not because she was wetting the bed so much more, but because of the itching.  Because as I mentioned the bed wetting was the first sign I could really notice, but the itching followed shortly after and she would experience days and days (not quite the same length of time that she had dry nights, but still much more time than we had seen before) that she wouldn't be itching at all.  

That short lived remedy resulted in her having a flare-up that was normal, but the time period of not itching was so short that she literally dug a hole in her ankle that I couldn't get her any relief from.  I had to actually resort for the first time in years to using a low dose over the counter steroid creme to get it to heal well enough that I could leave it uncovered for any period of time.  She couldn't wear shoes comfortably, couldn't wear her dance shoes at all, and couldn't leave it alone.... but two things had changed.

Sapphira started getting rashes, for the first time EVER since she was only 2 months old when all of this started she had a rash before she started itching... I could see these rashes on her skin as the flare ups started each time.  This was incredibly exciting, because knowing what I know about the skin her body was actually purging something!  And purging meant there might be an end to this someday, because she was getting it out, and perhaps, and hopefully, she wasn't consistently getting more of whatever it is in her body and eventually we'd get all of it out.

The other thing I noticed with these rashes is that Sapphira NEVER ever complained that it hurt when she made herself bleed.  She would ask for a bandage, or tell me about it bleeding, but she never cried about it, never seemed to care that she was 'hurt'.  And as these rashes came up, and the flare-ups happened she started to FEEL it.  I mean she felt itchy before, but it was relief to itch, now she was actually feeling what she was doing, she was beginning to know she was hurting herself when she dug holes in her skin.  I know this isn't an age thing, or an issue with nerve endings because if she was hurt in any other way she FELT it... just not when she itched herself bloody.

So when Sapphira had that short lived remedy and she made such a mark on her ankle and couldn't wear shoes or socks or her dance shoes without hurting I felt this was actually a turning point and told our homeopath about it, she agreed and sent us another stronger dose of the remedy... unfortunately she didn't have said dose in stock and the pharmacy she orders from experienced a back up in shipping and it took a long time to get it again... BUT we got it, I gave her the first one, and I watched as she flared up, though this time seemed to be less dramatic in the itching or bed wetting, and more in her brain fog.  In fact I found myself literally pulling my hair out because her morning chores which normally take 30 minutes (and this is a ridiculous amount of time for what she needs to accomplish) were now taking an hour and a half... the rule of our house is that you don't eat breakfast until your chores are done (brush teeth, make bed, get dressed, feed the dog, and brush your hair in Sapphira's case), and often by the time she finished her chores it was snack time, and long past breakfast time.  I was beside myself frustrated at her inability to focus on the task in front of her.  But I didn't see a connection just yet to the time her remedy was given and how she was acting.

Our next dose came after the bed wetting began again, and again Sapphira was a space cadet and finally while texting our homeopath about her I realized the correlation between when a remedy was given and how frustratingly long it took her to move in the mornings. And then I saw the improvement.  First the itching slowed, though not by much, then the bed wetting stopped, then the brain fog lifted, and then the itching would almost completely stop.  A pattern!  I like patterns.

And the opposite was almost always true for when a new dose needed to be given... first the itching started back up, then the bed wetting, and then the brain fog (although not as bad as when she was 'flaring up').  BUT this last time the bed wetting didn't happen.  She didn't start wetting the bed.  She was itching, but no bed wetting.  The brain fog was getting stronger but no bed wetting.. PRAISE THE LORD!  I gave her a new dose one week ago, and she still has not wet the bed, this totals about 5 weeks and only one bed wetting accident... the longest that she's ever gone!  to say I'm proud of her is an understatement, she has been trying so hard at this for years... and it just seemed hopeless, but it isn't.

Her skin is still dry and scaly from the spot where she itched so badly I had to use a creme to heal it enough to move forward, and there is a small scab still working to heal, but to see her actually healing and not just having a 'tiny' break from it to heal partially has been GREAT.

I suspect we still have a long way to go, especially since I still see huge flares in her brain fog and time it takes to do chores in the morning, but I'm so happy to have been on this journey, and I can't say enough good things about it.

To answer some questions about the hockey pokey homeopath thing...I'm a skeptic.  still.  I don't understand how you can take a substance, douse it in water, shake it to oblivion and make it completely untraceable (not to mention the smaller the amount the stronger the reaction???WHAT?) and then put a dissolvable tab on your tongue and experience what my daughter and I have experienced, but I am also a believer because we did experience it.

I've read about placebo effect, I did a bunch of research before letting this lady put anything in my child... but then after the research I asked only that she not tell Sapphira what we were doing until after we saw results, if we saw them.  Because as one study showed, cows were healed with homeopathy, and cows can't experience placebo effect.. they don't know what it is.... so if Sapphira didn't know, then I could expect there wouldn't be a placebo either.... and it worked.  After I saw the first difference in my daughter we went ahead and told her... 

And call it what you will, my daughter is not only less itchy, but she also doesn't wet the bed anymore... and I'm a satisfied mama.