You are Too Young for a Girlfriend, Mister!

Sometimes while life is passing you by, you don’t notice how much your kids are growing until something happens to remind you of it.

The other day at lunch, Logan and I had the following conversation.

Logan: I want to have a girlfriend.

Me: Oh, really? What is a girlfriend?

Logan: A wife.

Me: (Ah huh, that’s news to me. Where did he get that idea?) So why do you want a girlfriend?

Logan: So I can put my babies in her tummy. That is where babies grow, you know.

Me, trying my best not to laugh: Where did you hear about girlfriends? (And please don’t ask how the babies get out! Or how you put them in!! Dear God, he’s only six!)

Logan: “Lady and the Tramp“. Lady was his girlfriend and wife and then they had puppies.

Me: I see. (Damn you, Disney. I’m not ready for this.)

Logan: I really want a girlfriend.

Me: Oh, well maybe when you’re older you’ll get a girlfriend, okay? Now finish your lunch. (Whew, no more questions. Maybe he should stick to cartoons that don’t show marriage, relationships, dating…gee, that’s pretty much all of them. )

 

Sheesh, sometimes I wish it was as easy for humans as it is for dogs. I’ve got my hands full with preparing him to be a good boyfriend and teaching him how to treat girls right, plus ensuring no babies are put into girlfriends tummies until he is old enough to handle the responsibility. And the girlfriend is in agreement. And he has his own place. And a job. Is 40 too old?

Febrile Seizures – Dangerous? Or Just Scary?

A few weeks ago Logan came down with a fever. He was fine at bedtime, but when I went to take him to the toilet a few hours later, he was burning up. That was the beginning of a very long night.

Logan woke a lot, calling for water, cuddles, blankets, etc. At one point it seemed he had been calling for a while but I was so tired I didn’t hear him. He wet his bed and I had to change him and the bed while he fussed about feeling cold. Just as he was settled, he yelled again and told me, “The castle is rising!” I should have realized then that his temperature was high, but my tired state had fogged my brain and I made him go back to sleep.

At 5:30 a.m. his yelling woke me out of a sound sleep. I dragged myself to his bed again and asked what he needed. It took a minute for me to realize that he was freaking out because he was having a febrile seizure. His body was shaking, his muscles were tense, and he was scared. It wasn’t the first time this had happened, so I was able to keep him calm by talking to him until the seizure stopped.

The commotion in the kids’ room had woken everyone except Scarlett by this time. Lila was asking what was going on and why Logan’s body was shaking like that. After what seemed like a few minutes, but probably wasn’t more than a minute, the seizure stopped. Glad and I got Logan cleaned up (he had wet himself, normal during a seizure) and back into bed. We gave him some paracetamol and put a cool cloth on his forehead to help bring the fever down.

Daddy lay down with Logan while I tried to get Lila to go back to sleep in my bed. Logan was delirious and kept talking nonsense. (Later in the day he told me his bed had been rising off the floor and he thought he had been dreaming while awake.) Once the medicine kicked in and he was cooler, I took his temperature and it was still 103F. I can’t imagine how high it was during the seizure!

This is the second or third time Logan has had a febrile seizure. Had I not read about them shortly before it happened the first time, it would have freaked me out.  Febrile seizures are generally not dangerous to a child’s health. They are usually caused by a rapid rise in the temperature of the fever. They occur in children between the ages of 6 months – 6 years, and are more common in boys than girls.  In most cases, a medical exam afterwards is not necessary, unless you notice that your child doesn’t seem like themselves after an hour or more, or the fever doesn’t go down after you’ve given them something for it, or if the seizure happens again during the same illness.

Some tips to remember if it happens to your child:

1. Breathe and stay calm- it is scary but not dangerous.

2. Make sure they can’t hurt themselves while their body jerks around. Don’t hold them, but stay close until it ends.

3. They may or may not lose consciousness during the seizure (Logan didn’t).

4. A seizure normally lasts between a few second and 5 minutes, but can go as long as 15 minutes.

5. The child may wet or throw up while it is happening. If they throw up, make sure they are lying on their side so they don’t gag on the vomit.

6. Once the seizure is over and your child is cleaned up and calm, you can give them whichever OTC fever-reducing medication you normally use. Make sure to follow the body weight dosage listed on the bottle and measure out carefully. A cool cloth on the forehead helps too.

This is only a rough listing of things to remember. I suggest you read more on febrile seizures so you can be well-informed and prepared should they ever happen to your child.

Medline Plus – Febrile Seizures

MayoClinic.com -this link has a lot of information on them, spread over several pages. Click the link at the bottom of each section to make sure you get all the pages.

Has your child ever had a febrile seizure? What was your experience?

No More T.V. – For a While

Today I did something my kids still can’t believe – I took away their daily t.v. time for an undetermined amount of time. Let me explain why.

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Logan and Lila have been getting more and more familiar with me. Anytime I ask either of them to do anything, they have a reason why they can’t obey, or an excuse, or an outright “no”. I find I’m repeating myself too many times a day, trying to get them to obey.

What’s worse, they will obey daddy wonderfully, will clean up their toys when he asks, come when he calls, etc., well, most of the time. They even told me that they would only obey daddy. That got me mad and on more than one occasion, I had to get Glad to talk to them about needing to obey me too.

We’ve tried many different discipline methods, but the only thing they seem to respond to is loss of privileges, mainly t.v. and movies. We’ve used this many times in the past, mostly to get a lesson to sink in, and it seems to work, at least for a while. During the time when they know they are missing their favorite shows, Logan will ask me why he’s missing it and we talk about what he needs to change to get to see them again.

But after today, I think it will be awhile before they get their shows back.

See, I asked them to do something they have to do every day: tidy up their bedroom. I got the dinner done early, since it is better to go out a little later when it is cooler, and they spent that time playing.  Once I was done, I asked them to pick up the mess so we could go out. No response. I asked again. Told them we needed to go outside. Nothing.

Then it started raining. Not too much, we still could have gone with raincoats, but by now they were both saying they didn’t want to clean up. No, they wouldn’t do it. Logan went as far as to tell me to never ask him to clean up again!! This stinker is not even 6 yet. That is something I expect from a teen, not him.

I’d had it at that point. Not just because they wouldn’t clean up this time, but because of all the times lately that they have not listened to me at all. I just said there would be no more daily t.v. time until they learn to obey me. That did it! The tears! No, we want to obey. Oh, really? I’ve heard that one before.

I held my ground and left the room to wash dishes so as to not yell at them any more. We didn’t go out, they played around a bit, and cried more when they realized I was serious. Then daddy came home. Of course he had to hear the tale and of course he agreed with my decision. I actually heard them talking before he came, hoping he would say something different and change the punishment or drop it. Such stinkers!

In the end, Scarlett cleaned most of the mess, while Logan and Lila did a little. Then they sat for dinner with daddy and he talked to them about obeying me. Before bed, I again had to make it clear that it was up to them how long this t.v. ban would last. I know I’ll have to discuss it again tomorrow. And probably all of next week.

I’m actually curious to see how long it will take for them to get that I mean business. I know there won’t be an overnight change, since they are in the habit of not obeying the first time, ignoring me, arguing about having to obey, etc. It’s going to take me reminding them every time I ask them to do something and they don’t do it right away. I know this is going to be rough for me as well as them, but the hope is that in the end, they will be more obedient.

How do you handle disobedience with your children? Any tips or suggestions are welcome.

 

Update: November 2, 2013 – after one week I tried letting them have t.v. time back. Logan lost it again on the first day when he freaked out over Lila doing some small thing he didn’t like and biting her so hard he almost cut her skin. The girls aren’t into the t.v. as much as he is, so on those days when Logan wasn’t allowed it, I only put it on if they asked. Mostly they would just play and be happy on their own.

After 2 weeks, Logan is doing much better. He is listening to me more, obeying more, and he has yet to bite again. I consider this a success. So yes, they are again allowed to watch their shows. Hopefully they will remember this one for a while.

Who is Really Stressing You Out?

Motherhood and stress – I find those words together a lot. Mothers all over the internet complain about how their children stress them out.

“My children are fighting and the noise is stressing me out.”

“Driving my children anywhere is so stressful.”

“I can’t shop with my children. Their antics stress me out.”

“Anytime I go anywhere with my child I end up stressed.”

We know that children are high-maintenance, and I’d be lying if I said I never feel stressed. But the question is, is it really the children who are stressing you out? Or are you allowing yourself to be stressed?

Yes, I said allowing. We have the power to decide whether or not to allow a situation to stress us out. We can either let the challenges of parenting get to us, or we can learn how to overcome them.

I know it is easier said than done, but for a mother to maintain her sanity, learning to avoid stress is so important.

Here are a few things I do to keep stress at bay.

1. Exercise

We all know that exercise is a stress-buster, but most of us don’t do it, for whatever reason. We allow our own health to sit on the back burner while we tend to those around us. It might seem noble to put yourself last, but it isn’t good for you.

Exercise is one of the best stress-relievers there is. If you can’t get away from your kids for it, do it with them. Dance in the living room, run at the park, go for a walk. Any exercise is better than none at all! So make time in your schedule for exercise.

2. Breathe

When your children’s antics are getting you riled, stop and breathe. Just take a minute to compose yourself by taking a deep breath, closing your eyes, and letting it out slowly. Go ahead. Try it now and see how good it makes you feel. Look out the window at nature, or step outside for a minute and breathe, and tell yourself you can handle whatever is bothering you. I promise you will feel the stress melt away.

3. Take time for yourself

Do something for yourself every day. Nap when your child does, read a book or your favorite blog, take a shower (and don’t feel bad if it takes an extra cartoon or two). Put on some makeup or brush your hair. Get dressed. Do something that will help you feel more like a woman and not just a “mom”.

I like to get up early for exercise, then take a shower and have my coffee before the kids get up. Thankfully my kids love to sleep late so early for me is up by 6. If your child is an early riser (or has to get up for school), see when else you can fit in time for you.

4. Keep a schedule

This will help you fit in numbers 1 and 3. Time for yourself is imperative so scheduling it will make it happen.

5. Be mature

Remember, they are just children. They are still selfish and self-absorbed. Everything is about them. Don’t take personally anything they say or do.

 

Now it’s your turn. What do you do to keep stress out of your life? Tell us about it in the comments.

Mommy Equals Love

They call me mommy, but I am more than that.

This word – mommy – embodies many roles. It refers to one person, and the many she becomes.

To be a mommy, you have to be everything else as well.

 

I cook 3 times a day, plus prepare snacks. I am a chef.

I wash mountains of laundry – mountains that refuse to stay away. I am a washerwoman, and a mountaineer.

I wash never-ending piles of dishes, dishes that magically appear out of nowhere. I am a dish-wash machine come to life.

I pick up messes, messes, and more messes. Where they come from nobody knows.  I am a maid.

I take my children wherever they need to go. I am a chaperon. (I don’t drive or I would be a chauffeur too.)

I bathe my children, wipe their butts, change diapers, brush hair, brush teeth. I am a personal attendant.

I teach my children what they need to know in life. I am a teacher.

I tend to ouchies, cuts, bonks and boo boo’s. I make them take vitamins and medicine. I am both doctor and nurse.

I make sure they eat healthy food. I am a nutritionist.

I buy their clothes, shoes, and toys. I am a personal shopper.

I sort out fights and arguments, and cool hot tempers. I am a diplomat.

I run the house. It is my job to make sure everyone else is where they should be, doing what they should do. I am a boss.

 

But a mommy is so much more than all of those, for she is the one the children cherish, the one they run to when they are sad, in pain, or need comfort. They come to her for advice, for hugs and cuddles, for encouragement. Even though their antics may drive her insane, at the end of the day, it is their sweetness that keeps her going.

For children, mommy equals love.

A Mom’s Mini Emergency Kit

When my kids were small, I had a variety of diaper bags – ranging from small, to medium, to large; colorful to plain; fancy to formal –  with everything I needed for outings with them. I struggled to carry a purse and diaper bag and eventually gave up on the purse altogether. Then I switched to carrying a large purse of some sort that was secretly a diaper bag with a small corner for myself, so that I could look a little more put together.

Having to lug around all the stuff that a baby or toddler requires was no fun. I often had marks on my shoulders from carrying a heavy bag that never got lighter. Sometimes I would remove something I felt wasn’t needed, only to need that exact item later that day (and it was never needed when I had it).

I was so happy that as my kids got older I could carry less stuff. No longer do I need to carry diapers, extra clothes, toys, bottles, blankets, etc. I can take all three of them anywhere with the clothes they are wearing, and perhaps a bottle of water, or something to occupy them with, depending on our destination.

The only permanent item I carry is a small emergency kit.

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I bought a small, transparent toiletry bag that measures 6 1/2″ long x 5″ wide x 3 1/2″ deep, and in it I keep several small items I always need when out with the kids. I chose to put them all in a small bag so that I can transfer it to whichever purse or shoulder bag I’m carrying that day. These are basic items that often end up in your purse anyway, but tend to get lost in the mess and can be hard to grab at a moments notice.

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Here is what I carry (from left to right):

  1. Tissues – always handy.
  2. Disinfectant hand wash – for those times when there is no water but they are hungry and need a snack “right now”.
  3. Antiseptic cream – for minor cuts and scrapes.
  4. Wet wipes – useful for everything from wiping dirty faces and hands to cleaning scrapes, or getting food off of clothes.
  5. Mosquito repellant – needed most of the year, though I usually have the spray instead of the cream.
  6. Bandaids – I use these a lot.
  7. Crocin tablets – for me. If I am able to curb a headache when out, things go much smoother.

There are plenty of other items I could carry, but these 7 are the must-haves that I can’t go without. Outings have been easier since I put this together.

Do you carry something like this? What would you add to it?

Scarlett’s Accident

(This is a backlog post. It should have gone up June 3.)

There comes a time in every child’s life when they experience something that can make a mother’s heart stop.

With Logan, it was his premature birth and 10 day hospitalization. With Lila it was the time she drank turpentine at 2 years, 1 month old. Scarlett had yet to do something to freak me out severely (other than running off in a bookstore and hiding when she was 18 months old), but that changed last week.

I will have to begin with some background.

It was Monday, a rather stressful day for me because it is grocery shopping day. I used to shop alone with Scarlett while the other two were at school, but now with the arrival of summer holidays, I have no choice but to shop with all three kids.

Logan was already fussing when we got to the mall because we were only doing grocery shopping, and he wanted to go to the arcade and toy shop. He has no patience for shopping so he was running around, touching everything – every display, every shelf, every food item. He broke candy bars, crushed bags of chips and grabbed everything he could. Normally he is fairly obedient and can manage a trip to the store without too much wildness, but this day his hyperactive nature had taken over and it was all I could do to not yell at him right there. (He has ADHD.)

He continued to be wild during lunch and rest time, and on into the afternoon. He was mean to the girls and kept making them cry. Any sort of punishment didn’t faze him at all.

I finally decided to take the kids to the playground near our house, hoping that some outdoor play could burn some of his energy and tire him out. Yet he continued to be wild. Several times I had to pull him aside from his play as he was biting and pinching the other children. He even bit his own lip when he fell as he was racing up the slide.

The whole time I was keeping half an eye on the girls as they climbed the jungle gym. They are both quite good at it, so, while I stay near them, I don’t have to be right there. At one point I had to go to Logan again, and I didn’t see Scarlett follow me, nor did I see her climb the straight metal slide (not the ladder but the slide) until she was at the top.

She learned to climb the slide some time ago (barefoot), but I’m always next to her as there are no safety rails and she hasn’t yet figured out how to turn from her climb to sitting without putting her butt over the side. I’m sure you can guess what happened next.

It was almost like seeing something in slow motion. I saw her at the top of the slide. I saw her begin to turn, and then I knew she was going to fall. I was too far away to get there in time to catch her. I left Logan and forgot his naughtiness as I ran to my baby.

The slide was about 6 feet at the highest point and she fell from the top, landing in the sand flat on her chest and tummy, hitting her lips hard on one side. Horror stories that I had heard of kids dying from falling off a slide filled my mind, and I struggled to push them away so I could focus on Scarlett. At first she cried while I carried her to a bench and tried to clean the sand off her face, but then she was quiet, scarily quiet. She just sat on my lap and looked at everything. I kept asking her questions but she wouldn’t answer. I managed to round up Logan and Lila, and we rushed home. All I could think of was getting her home, putting ice on her ever-swelling lips, and helping her recover from the shock she was in.

She wouldn’t let me put ice on her lip, nor did she want me to get the sand out of her mouth, both of which made her cry. I was afraid she had some internal injury since she was so quiet. I called Glad, who was working on the other side of town, and told him what had happened.

He asked some questions and then reassured me that she was probably fine but to keep an eye on her.  I held her close and told her how sorry I was that I hadn’t been close enough to catch her. I couldn’t do anything but rock her. After about 30 minutes (from the time she fell) she began to move around. I put a video on for her and then went to my room to cry. The guilt I felt was massive. How had I not noticed her following me? Why wasn’t I paying more attention? Why hadn’t I been right there to catch her? It was awful.

Finally I realized I had some hungry kids on my hands so I forced myself to get up and cook dinner, even though I wasn’t very hungry and could hardly stand to look at food. Surprisingly, Scarlett ate a good dinner! I thought she might just have some yogurt because she could hardly open her mouth, but she figured a way to slip the food in on the side that wasn’t sore. (Fried chicken liver, French fries, and cucumber slices.)

Afterwards she was perky and climbing around, even jumping! She was fine as I showered everyone and got them ready for bed. I let her lie in my bed and she went to sleep quickly.

Glad kept checking in every hour, and he was sure she didn’t have any internal injury, since she was breathing well, had eaten and didn’t throw up, nor was she complaining of any pains other than her massively swollen lip and a sore chest. I, however, was still freaking out inside.

I kept her in bed with me all night. At one point she scared me by waking up and just sitting there and staring straight ahead. After what seemed like forever, she told me she wanted water and to get up, but it was only about 4 in the morning so I convinced her to go back to sleep.

In the morning her lip looked scary. The top one on the right side was big and puffy, the bottom about half the size. Above, below, and on her lips were all the tiny scratches that had scabbed overnight. Scarlett herself was perky as ever, ate a good breakfast, had a normal bowel movement, and showed every sign of being ok internally. But just to be safe, Glad took her to the hospital for a checkup.

I didn’t feel relief until they got home. The doctor had confirmed that she had no internal injury, and her lip was going to be just fine. The swelling went down rapidly over the next two days, so fast, in fact, that we could see a difference from one hour to the next. Now, exactly one week later, all the scabs are gone and there is no evidence that she had such a bad fall.

Since that day I’ve made sure to stay right next to her at the park whenever she is climbing. She is daring, like Lila, and will climb on most anything, so I can’t let her out of my sight. She may be a good climber, but she is still a toddler and doesn’t have as good balance as Lila does.

I shudder every time I think back on that moment when she fell. I’m thankful she fell from the 6’ slide and not the higher spiral one that she so loves. I’m thankful I wasn’t far when she fell, so I could pick her up right away. I’m thankful she wasn’t seriously injured. And I’m most thankful she is still here.

What has your child done to freak you out?

Mommy Fears and Heart-stopping Moments

From the time Logan was small, one of my greatest fears was that someone would grab one of my kids in a public place and run off with them. When Logan learned to walk and could get away from me, I kept my eye on him like a hawk. I remember so clearly how hard it was for me to turn my back for even a second. I literally would have to tell myself it wasn’t awful to glance in another direction for a second.

It got harder when Lila came along and began walking and both wanted to go in different directions at once. I think if it had been possible, I would have turned into some version of Inspector Gadget with extendable arms and a 360 degree rotating head. Ha. Taking them to the park was crazy, and we only survived the mall because of the stroller where one of them would always be confined.

I’ve since learned to watch them closely but I don’t have my eyes glued to them at every second. I spend most of my time anywhere moving my eyes from one to the other to the other and back to the first one again. 🙂 Well, I can sort of trust Logan, and sometimes if the girls want to run to the small lake and Logan wants to be in the adjacent playground where I can see when he is on the top of the slide, it’s okay. Or if in the toy shop he wants to look at books over in the next aisle where I can’s see him while the girls play with the Lego display, it’s okay. I do check on him often and he’s fine. But I can’t trust the girls.

Scarlett loves to run as soon as my back is turned, and has given me more than one fright at the skating rink. Often someone will see me looking wildly for her and will point me in the direction she went. And last week at the rink, Lila decided she didn’t want to finish the exercises with the teacher so came looking for Scarlett and I. I was at a place where I could see them with the teacher, but she managed to sneak out, and then went and asked some lady to help her find me. I was proud that she remembered what color I was wearing but upset that she left, and after I spotted her and called her back,  she got strict instructions to never leave the rink if I wasn’t in sight.

What makes it harder for me is how people here in India are so attracted to them, because of their light skin color. People constantly sneak photos of them, touch them, pinch their cheeks, and want to be near them. The very few who do ask for photos first always get denied. I mean, why do they need pics of my kids? The rest can be glad I don’t go smash their phones. It’s so rude of them to just take their pics but what can I do?

Kidnapping is a very real fear here. At least once a week I read about one in the paper, often with sad results for the child. My kids being white could be targets so I do have to be careful. Even though most people are just being friendly, it’s better safe than sorry.

Just last Friday, while at the skating rink, I saw what I thought at first glance was my nightmare coming true. There is a balloon vendor there every day, and of course Scarlett spends lots of time watching the balloons. I was seated on one end of the rink, further from the balloons than normal, but I could still see her clearly so I let Scarlett walk over. I was watching her the whole time, so I jumped when I saw a man run and grab her real quick. I ran through the rink to where he was standing, but before I could exit the rink, a cow with large horns ran in front of me, with her owner at her heels.

Once realization dawned, I was grateful to this man for having gotten Scarlett out of the way in time and I thanked him, knowing that he wasn’t trying to take her but was saving her from being injured. But those few seconds when I didn’t see the cow and thought he was running off with her were heart-stopping.

What is your biggest fear regarding your child’s safety? How do you deal with it?

No More Naps – And My Schedule

Not long ago, I got frustrated with the schedule my kids were on. They were up at a decent time, but then they would nap and not fall asleep until almost 11 p.m., meaning that, even if I had them in bed by 9, they were still awake and playing around, and I’d still be busy instead of having some time off.

Last year Logan pretty much quit napping. Some days I’d make him nap just so I could have a break in the afternoon, but he didn’t really need it any more. Then Lila began to nap less frequently, so I decided to take them off of naps altogether. They were so happy the day I told them they no longer needed to nap! Of course Scarlett still needs a nap, so I put her down in my room while Logan and Lila play in their own room.

Then the kids began taking the skating lessons. Where we used to go to the playground near our house almost daily and then come home early enough for me to cook dinner, we now have to go to the slightly farther (but still walk-able distance) sports park for the classes.

They skate from 5 to 6 p.m. and then do some exercises with the coach for 30 minutes afterwards. While we don’t always stay for the exercises (how long you stay is up to you), most days the kids want to and Scarlett joins them too, so we only get out of the park by 6:30 or so. While we can walk there in 10 minutes (at Scarlett’s pace), going home can take upwards of 15 minutes since it is peak traffic hour and the area is full of construction and bad sidewalks, and I am dragging three tired kids while carrying a heavy bag full of skating gear and water bottles.

By the time we get home it is almost 7 p.m. Everyone is tired and hungry and can’t wait for me to cook. So from the beginning I switched to cooking dinner in the afternoon so that we can eat just as soon as we get in. It takes more planning for me to make dinner before going, but having food ready to feed starving tummies makes it worthwhile.

While we were happy with the skating lessons, it did take a little longer for them to settle into their new schedule of no naps and making it through the day. The first 2 weeks were tough, since the kids were adjusting to a different sleep schedule and more exercise, but now things are settling down.

Changing the schedule has meant moving dinner and bedtime up but that was the plan – to have them actually fall asleep at bedtime so I could have some time to myself. (Tonight I had them in bed by 8 since Logan had gotten up at 6, and he and Lila were asleep within minutes.)

 

Here is a peek at what my schedule looks like right now.

5:50 a.m.  My alarm goes off and I get up for exercise.

6:05 a.m.  I am out the door to the park for either a run or I do some strength training exercises at home.

7:00 a.m.  I get in just as Glad is heading out to the gym. Kids are (hopefully, usually) still sleeping. I shower and dress, then have my coffee and read the newspaper.

7:45 a.m.  If the kids aren’t awake already, I get them up, feed and dress them, pack their snacks for school, put on a load of laundry, eat my own breakfast, clear the table, stop a fight or two, maybe tidy up a little, and make sure they are ready to go by the time daddy is.

9:15 a.m.  Kids are gone to school with daddy. I find things to keep Scarlett busy as I clean and tidy the house. Once a week we go grocery shopping; once or twice we pick up anything else we need, like fruits and veggies, at the local shops. Sometimes we call off all work and go to the park for an hour or two. I also plan what I will make for dinner and take out meat that needs thawing or soak chickpeas for pressure cooking later.

12:00 a.m.  Prepare lunch.

12:45 a.m.  Glad and the kids are usually home by this time, so we eat right away, since Glad has to run back to work shortly afterwards. This is our family meal since daddy isn’t home for most dinners and he is at the gym while we have breakfast.

1:20 p.m.  Clean up lunch mess. Find a way to keep Lila out of trouble since she no longer naps (Logan plays well on his own so I don’t have to worry about him.) Put Scarlett down for a nap and take a short one myself for 15 – 20 minutes.

2:00 p.m.  Sit with my coffee and try to clear some cobwebs from my brain. I always need more sleep, but if I sleep longer, I can wake assured that Lila is up to no good. Just this past week she played with my glasses and broke them, put a mobile phone in the washer (we had to wait 3 days for the repair man to come get it out, meaning I had to add hand wash to my list of chores), and dumped a whole packet of glitter on the balcony. I lock the kitchen door, but she climbs through the small window between the kitchen and dining room to get into food and such, and sometimes can’t get back out. The other day I woke to the sound of her and Logan heading out the front door. No more long naps for me.

Once the cobwebs are gone, I help them with their homework, if they have any that day.

3:00 p.m.  I wake Scarlett from her nap, and then work on dinner. Meanwhile the kids entertain themselves with play or coloring or teasing each other and making it hard for me to finish quickly. Somewhere in there I give them a snack and that keeps them quiet for a while.

4:20 p.m. Roughly by this time I am done with the cooking, depending on how many times I had to intervene with the kids. I have a snack myself and then we get ready to go for skating class.

4:45 p.m. We leave the house. The sports park is close so we get there quickly. On Wednesdays we skip skating and go instead to the playground.

6:30 p.m. (or so) Head home. Wash up. Heat dinner and serve.

7:15 p.m. Kids are done eating so they have some playtime while I clean up. I also use this time to boil the milk for the next day, make yogurt (as needed), etc.

7:45 p.m. Shower time for the kids. Sometimes this is a happy time and other times they are crying until the moment they are in bed. Get into pj’s, brush teeth, have a story, drink some water, milk every minute they can of being awake. 🙂

8:30 p.m. Kids in bed. Since Logan and Lila no longer nap, they go to sleep quickly. Scarlett takes a little longer, and I often hear her singing to herself, or I catch her looking at books or playing. She is usually asleep by 9.

As soon as the kids are in bed, I jump in the shower, and then head for the computer. That is my only time most days. Sometimes I’d like to go to bed early, but Glad only gets in at 11 p.m., and because of the type of lock on our door, I have to stay up to let him in. We aren’t going to change it now that we are moving. If Glad is home that evening, I will go to bed earlier. Sometimes we will both be in bed by 10, or we relax with a movie together. (If I’m desperately tired, like during PMS, I’ll get into bed early and send Glad an SMS to call me when he gets home. That way I get some extra sleep.)

This is my weekday schedule.

On Saturdays we go to the park for a few hours or maybe the mall, just to spend the morning out of the house. Then I use the afternoon to catch up on stuff I can’t normally fit in.

On Sundays I work for a few hours outside the house, so daddy is in charge. I take full advantage of this “day off” from being mommy. I leave the house at noon, finish work by 3:30, eat lunch, and then take some time for shopping, visiting a mall by myself, or just walking around and enjoying the peace. I am home somewhere between 5:30 and 6:30 p.m. Daddy takes the kids skating this day, so that they can fit in 5 days of lessons a week.

The classes last for 3 months, so after that I’m sure the schedule will change again, as summer will be here and school will be out. And there are more changes to come involving our move to Canada. But I’m not letting them stay up late ever again. 🙂 I love the quiet.

Weight Loss, part 2: How I am Getting Rid of the Weight

In case you missed part one, you can find it here.

After seeing that photo (see previous post) and how much weight I had gained, I had the motivation I needed to begin losing weight. It started with the exciting high that comes with a new plan and I went all out. I exercised every day, for an hour or more first thing in the morning. I pushed myself hard, but at the end of January 2012, all I had to show for my hard work were some inches down. The scale hadn’t moved at all.

I'm always the one behind the camera so I don't have many of myself. This one is from Feb. 2012.

I’m always the one behind the camera so I don’t have many of myself. This one is from Feb. 2012.

Despite that I pushed on, each month striving to actually make the scale move, but it never moved more than a kilo, and that was either one up or down. While I did trim down a bit according to the measuring tape, the fat weight was still there. I fluctuated between 78 and 79 kgs. for the rest of the year.

By April discouragement set in and I began to wonder if I could ever lose the weight. One thing Glad kept telling me was that I was eating too much and needed to cut down, but I couldn’t see how. I was sure I’d be hungry all the time if I did that. Also, Scarlett was still nursing so I used that as an excuse to eat so much, even though I now see it wasn’t needed. (She was 17 months at the time.)

At Lila's third birthday - April 2012

At Lila’s third birthday – April 2012

I spent the rest of the year going up and down. Sometimes I’d work out, other times I’d skip it for a long time ’cause I was so tired in the mornings. The children’s sleep schedule was all over the place, so that made it hard for me to get enough sleep. At one point I got very sick and lost several kilos in a matter of days, but as soon as I was well again, I gained it all back.

I don’t remember exactly when it happened, but sometime around the end of October I saw a post on Facebook from the page Fit Moms for Life. I visited their page and the more I read, the more inspired I got. Everything they post is about how you CAN do it, the “it” being lose weight and get into shape.

I began looking forward to their daily photos and quotes, and those are what inspired me to get back into daily exercise. Those quotes gave me the motivation to just get out there and do what I could. So beginning on the 1st of November 2012, I recommitted to daily exercise. I didn’t yet have a plan of how to lose the weight; I just got out there and got back into the habit of getting the exercise.

I began with brisk walking and slowly got into jogging. I built it up slowly, literally by adding on 15 – 20 more seconds with each lap when I felt I could do more. It was a slow start, but it got me going, and I kept this up throughout November and December.  I usually gain extra weight in December due to all the yummy treats, but this time I didn’t because I was exercising. I also spent this time reading the Fit Mom’s for Life website, and I learned more about interval training and strength training.

Christmas Eve outing - 2012. How I looked after 2 months of consistent exercise but no diet change.

Christmas Eve outing – 2012.
How I looked after 2 months of consistent exercise but no diet change. (I know, bad sweater choice. I shouldn’t wear stripes – but they look great on Lila.)

January 1, 2013 - zoo outing in Mangalore with Glad's mom.

January 1, 2013 – zoo outing in Mangalore with Glad’s mom.

By January I began running instead of jogging, doing interval training 3 days a week and toning exercises on the other 3 days, with one day for rest. To make sure I was getting enough sleep (also important for weight loss) I took a daily nap when the kids did, since I was often only getting 6 hours of sleep at night, and that not solid. I recently made some changes to my and the kids’ schedules, and I am now getting closer to 7 hours of sleep at night and I only take a short (10 – 15 minute) nap on most days.

In February I changed my diet. I realized that I needed to make a solid change in my eating habits in order to really lose weight. So, hard as it was, I began reducing my plate size. I learned to tell when I felt full rather than eating until stuffed. I made my lunches salad and protein meals, and I cut out the excess starch I had been eating. I stopped buying “healthy” carbohydrate-loaded snacks (that only I ate) and replaced them with fruit. Over the past month I’ve been quite strict on myself with the amount of food I allow myself to have, and the results are showing.

I now can only eat smaller amounts at a time. If I overeat, I feel it. I’m uncomfortable once I pass the full stage, so now I don’t go there. I’ve also lost the intense desire for sweets that I used to have. I permit myself a weekly treat and find my body is satisfied with that instead of demanding it daily. I’ve also balanced out my meals/snacks and I make sure to not skip a snack if I feel the need for one. I used to skip snacks, thinking I’d lose more weight if I didn’t eat, but I’ve found out that the opposite is true – eating  small amounts regularly is better for your metabolism and will help you lose weight in the long run, so long as the food is healthy and not junk.

The payoff came when I went for my monthly weigh-in. At the beginning of Feb. I weighed 79.3 kgs. Now at the beginning of March I weigh 77.3 kgs. ! I did a happy dance inside when I saw that. Two whole kilos off in one month of changing my diet! That was the key for  me.

So now I am excited and I want to keep this up. I need support, so along with this post, I am posting a new page called My Fitness Journey where I will track my exercise and weight loss for as long as I need to. I’d love it if you could back me up, so encouraging comments are welcome! 🙂 I’ll also post photos ’cause I want to actually “see” the change as it happens. I don’t have any recent ones of myself so there isn’t anything current to show you, but I’ll get some just as soon as I can.

I just want to add a note here to Dustin and his team from Fit Moms for Life: If any of you are reading this, thank you. Your website and Facebook quotes are helping me in this weight loss journey. Having that kind of support has made all the difference for me. You guys are doing a great job! Readers, if you haven’t yet visited the Fit Moms for Life website, please go now. And don’t think that it isn’t for you just because you aren’t a mom. While Dustin’s focus is mothers, he is helping many others to get fit as well. So check it out if you need some inspiration, motivation, and support.

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