Goodbye, kids

So I finally took some time to check out my Sitemeter. I’m quite pleased with my following. A sufficient amount of peeps are reading, which really pushes me to pump out material, even as boring and depressing as its been lately. What some of you might not know, however, is that this is the FOURTH blog I have created. I wish this was the original, because then my archives would show that I’ve been blogging for a year and a half, instead of a measly few months. Unfortunately, each time I’ve deleted a blog and created anew is because of a few readers that are closely linked to my personal life. These readers, although I love them dearly, are just not people I want perusing through some very personal material I’ve written here. It’s different with strangers. To someone who doesn’t know me and will never meet me, I don’t have to worry that behind my back you are apalled…that you’re judging me. Because frankly, I don’t really care what you think.

I did my best here to create an anonymous blog. My name isn’t really Estella, and obviously my children aren’t named Einstein, Pigpen, and Animal. And although I’ve got an incredibly cute picture of myself as a child on the top of my page, I really had high hopes for creating a space where I could “let it all out.” Anonymously.

Apparently, I was stupid enough to link to photos in my Photobucket account where my username is my real, true, full legal name. I inadvertantly made myself googleable. Doh.

And so here we are again, with readers that I feel uncomfortable with. Sorry guys. Like I said, I love you, but this has got to stop.

I can’t seem to give up the blogging bug, so I will be moving once again. Please email me at tamingestella at yahoo dot com for my new address.

Thanks for the support,

Rae (Estella)


My fucking uterus

So B convinced me to cancel my appointment to get the blasted IUD removed.

Why did I listen to him?

Five days now into a period and there will certainly be at least 5 more. Probably about 9 more days.


Finding Life

I’ve had a rough 24 hours.

The depression has been growing, filling up the empty spaces in the house like a slow creeping cloud of black.

It takes every bit of my physical strength and mental resolve to drag myself out of bed each morning. It requires equal effort to keep my eyes open for 12 hours. Until the clock strikes 8 and I can bury myself under the down comforter.

Yesterday, after a full day of appointments, Einstein decided to test my limits and bring me to the brink of madness and rage. These episodes with him are becoming more and more frequent. He speaks to me with the most direspectful tone. He sounds like a 13 year old, rather than an 8 year old. He rolls his eyes and looks at me with such a smartass expression that it makes me want to grab his cheeks and squeeze until his lips go numb and his eyes go wide with fear. When the priveleges get taken away for inappropriate behavior, the shit hits the fan. He literally screams his head off, full force, sometimes for an hour or more, only stopping to take a quick breath. He throws things, pounds on the doors and walls. He thrashes, destroying everything in his wake. It’s alarming and out-of-character and invokes anger from me like you wouldn’t believe. My buttons get pushed. I lose myself, I become my rage. I float above my body watching the scene play out, escalating with each word spoken too loud, too harshly. Verbal exchanges are ugly, spiteful…words that should never be spoken between mother and child.

The child is halfway responsible for ruining our family life. He demands so much energy, so much time. I have two other children who are suffering, who sit alone quietly trying to block out the screaming. Children who are missing their parents as their older brother sucks us all dry. I am not exaggerating when I say that B and I have had in-depth conversations about giving custody over to Einstein’s biological father.

I say Einstein is half responsible, because the other half certainly rests of the shoulders of my husband. When I called him last night, hysterical about Einstein’s animalistic behavior, he sucked down two drinks at the ferry and drove home. He walked in the door, tipsy and slurring and angry. He threatened Einstein with his belt. He sat him down and he droned on and on, speaking in circles, glaring and riling himself up and spitting out angry nonsense words. When he was finished, he warmed up the dinner he had missed and went straight to bed. I sat at the dining room table amongst caked on spaghetti plates and homework papers and piles of laundry and I felt myself hit rock bottom.

I can’t take it anymore. I can’t handle the ups and downs, the one step forward, two steps back. There is nothing I own, nothing I care about that means more to me right now than just getting OUT. I need a job and a room and my little boys. I need to find them again, find me again. Find Life.

The ADDled brain

Yesterday I took Pigpen to a new pediatrician. (Practically the only one on our side of the island…EVERYONE sees this guy.) His name is Dr. Bob. Pretty cool guy, I’d say. Really kid-friendly. I talked to him about Pigpen’s incontinence issues and he gave me a few good tips that I hadn’t heard of yet. (I’ll spare you the details.) But he was definitely super-quick to jump on the medication bandwagon. He whipped out that prescription pad for something that would relax my little one’s overactive bladder. I imagine it was pretty surprising to him when I declined. One thing that he did during the appointment, which really turned me off, is when he told Pigpen that “pretty soon the kids at school are going to start making fun of you for peeing your pants because you’ll smell.” Yeah. That’s real appropriate, Mr. Professional.

He also referred us to a “specialist” for the ADD diagnosis. The guy’s card says that he’s a therapist and a “coach.” I can’t help imagining some cheesy, plastic guy in cheap suit talking to us like he’s a car salesman or an annoying motivational speaker. Or even the guy in the cleaning product infommercials who yells very quietly. The coach’s card says “Helping tame the ADDled brain!” Is “addled” even a word? And if so, who uses it? He actually has a trademark next to the phrase, so apparently it’s uniquely his. The whole thing weirds me the fuck out.

The secret weapon

Every once in awhile, someone will ask me this question:

“Is there anything you didn’t know about birth that you wish someone would have told you ahead of time?”

By the time I was 39 weeks pregnant with Animal, I was 100% sure that I knew everything there was to know about labor and birth. I had read everything I could get my hands on–books, articles, research studies, websites, etc. I had talked with countless women who were experienced in natural childbirth. I asked my midwife everything under the sun.

In the last month of pregnancy, I had covered one wall of my bedroom with pictures and descriptions of every position and comfort measure known to woman. I wanted to make sure I could easily reference these during labor. (And I did!) I walked a lot. I leaned on counters, sinks, and on my bed. I sat on the toilet to relieve the pressure of a 9lb baby impatiently pressing down into my pelvis. I sat on the birth ball and rocked. I slow danced with B. I swayed and moaned and hypnotized myself. I found my rhythm, my unique ritual. There were no surprises.

Until a few moments after my baby was born. Until the afterpains came.

I knew that there would be some mild-ish contractions, to expel the placenta. I knew there would be some cramping, as my uterus tightened up. I remembered the aching I felt every time I breastfed my firstborn. But in no way was I prepared for the pain that immediately followed birth. I later learned that afterpains can be more intense as you have more babies. I really had no idea that they even existed, considering I had been completely numbed from the epidural during my first two births. I wonder sometimes if the terrible cramping I experienced was due to the Cytotec my midwife gave me orally immediately following the birth. But what I really wonder is why I did not find these afterpains mentioned in any of the books I had read. Maybe everyone thinks, “Hey, you just went through the pain of childbirth, and now you have this beautiful infant on your chest and you’re so wrapped up in the bliss of Babyland that you just don’t notice too much.”

Well I did. That’s for sure. It hurt so badly that I wanted the baby off of me. In the video we took, you can hear me saying “This is so unfair! My baby has been born and I’m still having CONTRACTIONS!” For me, the contractions were all well and good when there was a baby coming out of the deal. But at that point in time, I really didn’t give a flying fuck what was going on with my uterus. It was terrible.

Somewhere along the line, someone (God bless your soul, whoever you are) brought in a hot rice sock and placed it on my lower abdomen. The relief it brought was amazing.

That rice sock got some serious use. Not only did I use it for the first week or so before EVERY nursing session, I also used it to ease the stiff neck that plagued me from trying to learn how to breastfeed. Later, I would wrap it around my breasts to encourage letdown while I pumped. I utilized it again and again during TWO boughts of mastitis when I came down with influenza and was bedridden for two weeks. The thing was a savior to me.

And so, I want to make sure my clients have the option of a rice sock. Since I don’t have the funds to go buying the fancy schmancy version, I searched the web for tips on how to make my own. Almost everything I read told me to use an old tube sock. Fill it with rice, tie up the end. Voila. Well folks, there is no way I’m pulling out an old sock for my clients to use on their most tender parts.

And so, today, I visited the thrift store and picked out some scraps of material. I came home, lifted the sewing machine that my mother-in-law gifted to me, and took it out of its case. I opened up the instruction manual, carefully following the directions on how to wind the bobbin, thread the machine (wow! complicated!) and sew a straight stitch and a blanket stitch. I cut the material, figuring out how exactly it would work. I sewed. I filled the long rectangular pillow full of rice. I sewed it shut. I SEWED. Amazingly, this thing came out looking really, really nice. I bet you would never guess that I don’t actually know how to sew.

All I can say is that I am totally addicted. And still, the thought of me sewing makes me crack up. Every time. Damn, I’m domesticated. And proud!

The waterfall

Yesterday, I had someone tell me that I am basically too selfish and insensitive to be a true and loyal friend. I do not posess the ability to deeply care for another.

Comments like that are always strange. They cause this waterfall of responses. My first reaction is plain old, blood pumping anger. “What an asshole thing to say!” I think. Grumble grumble grumble, rawr rawr rawr. And then as the clock ticks on, all that anger and annoyance leaks out, like the air you slowly squeak out of a red balloon. It dissapates.

The inhalation comes and I’m on to the next level. I must vehemently deny the accusation and come up with examples that will prove him wrong. Once I have exhausted myself of this, my next response is to wallow for awhile in my shitty little feelings. That doesn’t last long, because in my mind, the accusation is false. It holds no long term meaning to me. It is a blip on the radar. A pause.

The waterfall continues to cascade down, down, down. And this is when I sit with it. When all of the emotion has been filtered out, it doesn’t threaten me. I can analyze it. I can come to conclusions. In many cases, I find that someone’s observations or personal attacks have merit. I have revelations. I uncover the dirty, shameful parts of myself. There is catharsis. I cry it out. I forgive myself. I make amends. But this time, there is none of that. I come to find that everyone holds their own truth based on their perceptions and experiences. He has his truth. I have mine. My friends and family have their own. And it’s all okay.

But just as a precautionary measure, I start calling my friends and I say “I love you” on their voicemails, I write them an email, I squeeze my eyes shut hard and focus all of my energy and I send them every ounce of hope and goodness that I have within me. And I learn that everything, even an attack on my character, is a lesson.

And girls, if you didn’t get your messages…I love you. Big time, hardcore, major league love. If it were in my power, I would do it for you. O, if I could fly to D.C. this moment and sit with you while you birth that beautiful baby boy, I would. I would do it in an instant. Areto, I would drop everything now and drive to you. I would stay a week and we’d laugh and laugh and I’d let you forget about a broken heart for as long as I possibly could. Liz, I would take away the stress, the worry, I would give you the things that you deserve for the amazing dedication and devotion you have shown as a new mother. Jewel, Sarah, Ape, Bein, Tam, Kellie, Kari, Shan…every one of you. I’m here. I’m just a phone call or an email away.

Big family, small house Part I

How we moved from here:

to here:

And how we not only cut our living space in half, but our housing expenses as well.

Our old living room:

Our new living room:

Notice that we are now missing a nice big television (sold!) We owned three televisions and decided that one was enough. And size doesn’t really matter. We also got rid of most of our DVD collection. Since we don’t have cable, we kept some appropriate/favorite chidlren’s movies, and we held on to our very, very favorites. You know, the classics. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. American History X. Fight Club.

We’re also missing a couch. That one wasn’t by choice. It wouldn’t fit through the front door. It was hell on earth just to get the loveseat through. But we’ve found we don’t need it. And yes, that’s my dog lying on the loveseat. Am I sick or what?

One thing I really love about my new living room is the huge front window. I keep the blinds open all day long so I can look at the trees and the occasional sunshine.

Our old dining room:

Our new one:

On to my kitchen..

Yes kids, I have a washer and a dryer in my kitchen. And if anyone has any great ideas of what should be placed in that huge gaping hole where my DISHWASHER SHOULD BE, please let it be known. Honestly, the kitchen needs some work. I’d like to cut the “stuff” in here by 50% again. All the crap that has now been shoved to the tops of the cabinets…it’s gotta find a home.

Here are Rylan’s toys. Now, the child has more toys than shown here. Probably about 3x the amount here. But the remainder of the toys are stashed in a closet somewhere. Invisible clutter. Every month or so, I rotate the toys. This helps to keep him interested in his playthings. I also try to keep only one battery operated toy out at a time. And the blocks and legos…always a staple.

One of the biggest decluttering challenges of all, the bookcase.:

When we moved here, the entire bookshelf was crammed full of books. On top of that, we had at least a dozen boxes full of MORE books. We had books coming out our ears. Decisions had to made. Many of them very hard decisions. But in the end, it went like this: Keep the instruction and reference books that are used often. (Cookbooks, “how to manuals”, etc.) And then, keep a handful of favorites. Anything else can be checked out at the library. The next step in this corner of the room is to eliminate that giant leaning Tower of CD’s. All of the cases will go. The actual CD’s will be placed in a book. Maybe someday we can even get rid of that dinosaur of a boombox we have. How long have we had that thing? 95? God we’re old.