Posted: September 9th, 2015 | Author: Erin Clotfelter | Filed under: Living in the City, Parenting, Stream of Consciousness, Stuff I Like | Tags: Kitten | No Comments »
We told the boys they could have a kitten.
This doesn’t seem like a huge deal, except I have been saying for the past year that I am in no uncertain terms, done with pets. D.O.N.E. And then a friend with a pregnant cat offers up kittens, and half jokingly I asked Yogi Dad if we should get a kitten, only to be met with a very enthusiastic- Yes!
So, we are getting a kitten.
“Because all kids should have the experience of raising a pet.”
To prepare for this kitten, who is expected to come earthside sometime in late September/early October, we need to get the last of the carpet out of our house. I can’t have cats and carpet. More specifically, I can’t have Henry-Simon, and a new kitten, and carpet. I can barely have Henry-Simon and carpet as it is. He’s kind of a passive aggressive asshole that way. I’m anticipating some angst-y days after our little furball friend joins us. I have visions of him just giving up the cat box altogether to show his displeasure at the situation.
That said, I’m hoping Henry-Simon enjoys this new addition. He seems lonely without Audrey and Stanley. He needs someone to bum around with. He needs someone to get him up and moving instead of hiding under the bed all day long. He needs someone to boss around. Someone that isn’t me.
The major conversation around our house lately revolves around what to name this kitten. We get first choice of the girls, so I’ve been rallying for Gertie. I think it fits well with Audrey/Henry-Simon/Stanley. So far I’ve only convinced Lincoln that *this* is the name for our kitten. Wyatt and Judah have settled on Gnocchi, like the cat on Curious George.
It’s been almost 14 years since we’ve adopted a new pet. Where will she sleep? How will we contain her? What if she gets out and is eaten by the neighborhood fox or one of those gigantic blackbirds that are everywhere?! So many things going through my mind. I need new cat bowls, and a collar, and something to scratch on, and heaps of catnip to keep Henry-Simon content.
I’m excited for the boys to meet this new addition. I don’t know what I was thinking saying I was done with pets. As if that could ever be good.
Posted: May 31st, 2015 | Author: Erin Clotfelter | Filed under: Autism, Early Intervention, Living in the City, Minneapolis Schools, Parenting | Tags: acceleration 2020, ASP Program, Burroughs, Citywide autism program, Minneapolis Public Schools, Sheridan | 1 Comment »
If you are going to make big sweeping changes to how something is done, you need to communicate early (and often!) to the people those changes will be affecting. This seems like a simple rule, but it’s not always put into practice.
Over the past few months our district has been talking about upcoming changes to the autism program. I have zero issues with the current program, it’s been fabulous for the boys, and they are thriving. We are very happy in Minneapolis Public Schools. At the Monthly SEAC meetings I’ve attended, any discussion about the changes have made sense to me, and I have been comfortable with what is being rolled out. There has been very little push-back to the changes at the meetings I’ve been to.
If the changes are implemented well, this could be a great way of getting kids back into their classrooms, back into their community schools (vs being segregated into cluster schools), and more aligned with the federal settings.
I am not so naive as to believe there will not be stumbling blocks, or that the changes will be right for every single child, but I think the reasons for the changes are sound, and I think the changes are overall good, and I think this could really work.
I seem to be very alone in my opinions, at least I haven’t found many other parents who agree (or are willing to speak up on the matter). I am starting to think this is because the vast majority of parents do not know about the changes yet, and those who do are being informed by a very vocal group of parents who are absolutely outraged (Call the media! This is Criminal! This is detrimental to our kids!) vs by the people who should be sharing the information: the people who came up with the plan- the Special Education department.
You can not imagine how much this has made me question my sanity or intelligence. How can I, an educated mother of two autistic sons entering 1st grade, be so daft as to think these changes are OK, when everyone else is screaming for every advocate in the sate to take up the cause of putting an end to these changes? I’ve asked nearly everyone I know who has seen and heard the same information if I am missing something, and I have been assured I am not.
Am I just more level-headed? Maybe I can see past the knee-jerk reaction to freak out whenever something will affect the boys, and give it a chance? Maybe I am more trusting in my boy’s abilities? Maybe I am too trusting of the boy’s educators to want the best for them? Maybe I can see the good the changes will bring? Maybe I am right and they are wrong? Maybe we are both right?
What I want to know is this- what would the motivation be for a district to set up kids for such failure? Because that is what these parents are saying these changes amount to- nothing but detrimental, criminal level failure of our children, who will be no doubt ostracized in the process, and left on their own to fumble through. Apparently in this world, IEPs don’t exist, and neither do federal settings.
So far all I’m hearing is the token “it’s all about the budget”, but I hate to break it to you, in a school district EVERYTHING is about the budget.
There has to be more. I don’t think the district would do something to cause this much blowback, if they didn’t think the changes were good, and important, and that kids would be supported.
At this point I want to completely remove myself from the conversation. Those who are talking the loudest do not want to hear dissent. They are only interested in finding people who agree, or those who haven’t heard any information yet, because they can be easily swayed. And really, what could I possibly say? I have nothing to back myself up- there is nowhere to direct people to get information at this point.
Do you see what I mean about communicating early and often? The district has already lost on this, because they are letting a group of unhappy parents write the script. As we go into the last week of the school year, with the last SEAC meeting this Thursday, I just want to skip ahead to August, and have the changes in place.
Let’s get some information out there MPS. Stop letting this conversation be based on fear and negative propaganda.
Posted: May 6th, 2014 | Author: Erin Clotfelter | Filed under: Parenting | Tags: Behavior, Judah, Three | No Comments »
I’ve been saying it for a long time. Judah is by far, our hardest kid. He meets his milestones. He has conversations at a level far above that at which he should. He is polite. He is helpful. He is a loving cuddle bug who wants to be with me all. the. time.
I asked for a Mama’s Boy, and I got one.
But, 5% of the time (maybe 10% on a really bad week), he is so difficult, it makes both of us rethink this parenting gig altogether. The thing that works to put the kibosh on his particularly bad behaviors (shouting the F word at John for the duration of his well-visit comes to mind) is just not giving the behavior any attention.
Not a raised eyebrow. Not a dirty look. Certainly not a verbal acknowledgement, time-out or other punishment. The second he knows he’s raised your blood pressure, even just a little bit, it’s like gas on the fire, and he’s going to keep going and going and going, and the bad behaviors start to snowball.
It’s really really HARD to ignore him when he gets into one of these cycles. It took us a long time to figure this out, it was hard to stick to long enough to see results, but it’s what works for him.
With the birth of El Blanco Pequito, the past two months have brought extra help to our house, an extra set of eyes on him, and probably most problematic as it pertains to this: an extra set of eyes on us and our skills as parents. I won’t lie, it’s harder to stick to your guns when grandma is right there expecting some sort of punishment to be doled out.
So, we’ve had a few really difficult weeks, some really terrible behaviors that have reared their ugly head that we thought were long since buried. We’ve snapped on multiple occasions, and the bad behavior fire is roaring. We completely abandoned our policy of ignorance, in an attempt to look like we were “doing something”.
Acknowledging the bad behaviors got us probably the most stressful 2 weeks of parenting so far, culminating in the above mentioned well-visit.
So, after many tears, lots of yelling, and talking to multiple professionals, we are back to our original plan.
Aside from a few attempts at getting us to waiver (“Mom? What does…MUCK mean?”), things have been pretty calm the past few days.
This is far from the last parenting hurdle we will ever face, but it has taught us one thing- we know our kids. We know what makes them tick, we need to have faith in ourselves and our decisions, and not change tactics because we happen to have an audience.
Posted: April 29th, 2014 | Author: Erin Clotfelter | Filed under: Birth, C-Section | Tags: Birth, Family, Kids, Mom stuff, Silas | 1 Comment »
(Let’s pretend I didn’t just completely neglect this space for the better part of the past year and jump right into the here and now, shall we?)
This kid joined our family:
7 pounds, 11 ounces
At first he looked like this:
All nice and pink*, and
perfectly happy not impressed to be on the outside.
I got to keep him with me in the OR:
Is it bad that the only thing I could think of when I finally got to hold him was that his crying was probably distracting the doctors from doing their jobs and they were probably going to kick him out if he didn’t quiet down? Yeah, those were my loving thoughts in the moments after he was born.
Also: he looks like a blonde Wyatt!
I finally felt like a human being:
Those really crappy months of hyperemesis with the constant nausea, and the vomiting, and the IV poles, and the drugs?
Let’s cuddle cute fat baby!
And order dinner.**
And this is you now:
Well, three weeks ago this was you. You have fatter cheeks now.
And this is what a house with 4 boys looks like:
We are so happy you joined us.
*And bloated from the copious amounts of fluids they pumped into me to keep my blood pressure from tanking during my c-section.
**I will have one of everything and I will inhale it.
Posted: November 5th, 2013 | Author: Erin Clotfelter | Filed under: Parenting, Pregnancy, Stream of Consciousness | Tags: Baby 4, Boy Mom, Hyperemesis, Hyperemesis Gravidarum | 1 Comment »
This is going to ramble a bit…
Way back in July (August?) we decided we were just going to go ahead and announce this pregnancy so I could freely talk about it here. Of course that pretty much meant I would have all of the energy (and will) sapped from my body immediately and I would go months between posts because all I did was sit in bed and try not to be sick for weeks on end. I go weeks without sitting down at an actual computer. Blogging…HA!
I eventually ended up in the ER, and a few days later I started OB Home Care. Lactated ringers and a zofran pump became my lifeline.
After 3-4 weeks of IVs, I was able to stop them, and have been IV free for just over three weeks. They are extremely helpful when needed, but with three wild boys running around they were getting to be difficult to deal with. My veins have always been a bit tricky, and getting a good stick to begin with was not always easy. Getting them to last more than a day or two was even harder. Now that I’m to the point where I can eat (mostly) and drink (sometimes) we are working on keeping me from backtracking, and possibly weaning from the zofran pump.
Looking back, this is definitely the earliest we have had my hyperemesis under any sort of control. I will take it!
We are starting to talk about things like nursery decor. Something so simple, so obvious to someone who is having a “fluffy” pregnancy. But all those fun things you look forward to, they get lost in the shuffle when you are just managing an illness, trying to survive the day.
But we are there now.
I’m not 100%. I don’t know that I’m 75% or even 50%, but every day is not all bad. A corner has been turned.
And we just made it to the halfway mark!
Which brings me to our 20 week ultrasound. The BIG one. The one everyone looks forward to. Well, at least people who are wanting to find out if they are having a boy or a girl.
Having a house full of boys, I definitely wanted to know if I was going to be adding ruffles and dresses to our laundry pile.
I wore the same pink striped socks that I had worn to both of our previous 20 week scans. The tech joked that if I was looking for a girl I probably should have worn blue socks, they didn’t seem to be working any magic. The thing is, I kind of wanted another boy. A girl would have been welcomed and celebrated, obviously, but I just don’t see myself as a mom to girls. Lincoln was our lone hold out- if you asked him, he would tell you the baby in my belly was a girl. He would tell you her name was Hansel. He never wavered on his prediction. Everyone else said it was a boy, even if they were hoping deep down for a girl.
Even though I was silently rooting for a boy, I kind of loved the thought of Lincoln having some intuition and being the only one right on this. Lord knows *I* never feel any intuition when it comes to whether it’s a boy or a girl. I just guess based on what we have, and what I can eat (spicy, Mexican) compared to what I could eat in past pregnancies (spicy, Mexican).
Alas, it’s a boy.
I was almost relieved.
We all laughed when she moved the wand over his lower half and he spread his legs for a split second, just long enough for me to confirm that yes, he was definitely all boy.
Before I ever became a mom, I wished for boys.
I wished for Lincoln and Wyatt to be cute. I know. That was really the only wish I had? But they are definitely cute, for better or worse. I think they get away with more than they should because they can charm the socks off their teachers and therapists.
I wished for Judah to be a Mama’s boy. And I got that, again for better or worse. He was a completely different experience from his brothers, and I am grateful for that, although a few moments of downtime would have been very welcomed in the early weeks.
For this, our last baby, and the youngest boy, I am wishing for him to be calm. So far he seems pretty chill, I just hope he remains that way. We need a little bit of calm in this family.
So, kind of by default, and none of my own doing, I remain queen of my castle.
A rowdy, messy, noisy, castle.
A Boy Mom.
Oh, and Lincoln? He’s cool with another brother. He’s pretty sure his name will be Hazel.
Posted: July 28th, 2013 | Author: Erin Clotfelter | Filed under: Parenting, Pregnancy | Tags: HG, Hyperemesis, Hyperemesis Gravidarum | 2 Comments »
On Friday, I had the earliest ultrasound I have ever had. My due date was moved back two days, I got to see our teeny tiny, and hear a little heartbeat. It was awesome.
I’ve been sinking into that constant nausea that slowly takes over and envelopes every movement, every breath, every second of the day. I have that tell-tale sickly sweet taste in my mouth that I can’t get rid of, and I’m starting to lose interest in eating and drinking.
I hate this part.
It’s coming, I know it is. I just want it to get here and not be sitting in endless nausealand. As much as Hyperemesis sucks, vomiting brings temporary relief. I’m going to ask for my prescription for Zofran tomorrow, but that doesn’t touch the nausea, so I know it won’t make a difference at this point.
Yesterday we decided, at the drop of a hat, to take the boys Up North to take our annual photo of the boys walking down the road to the lake. I’ve taken this photo every year, and I wasn’t going to miss this year. We usually stop and take pics with the Walleye in Garrison, but the breakwater is undergoing some construction and the Big Fish was moved to across the road and had a big plastic sign tied to it. We skipped that photo op this year.
After we got home from our whirlwind roadtrip, I pretty much went right to bed. And I stayed there all night, and most of today. Thank God Yogi Dad is as awesome as he is. I feel terribly guilty for taking the time to rest and be horizontal, but I may as well do it when I have the chance.
The fact of the matter is, Hyperemesis is the one thing that has held us back from adding another kid to this family until now. It’s pure hell, and I would be lying if I said I had any clue how we are going to get through this. The first time, we had no other obligations other than work. I could lay on the couch all day and it didn’t matter. The second time, we had a nanny. The boys hadn’t yet been diagnosed (hell, there wasn’t even an inkling that anything was going on) so there was no school or rehab or Day Treatment. There was always an extra pair of hands to help. This time around, we have a full schedule of places to be, every day. No extra hands.
But, we’ve been through it before. We can do it again. I’m not quite sure how it will work if I need to go in for IV fluids, but we will figure that out as it comes. I might have to *ask* friends for help! I’m not good at doing that. Again, I will cross that bridge when we come to it.
Bottom line- we are having a baby, and we are excited as hell!
Posted: July 20th, 2013 | Author: Erin Clotfelter | Filed under: Parenting, Pregnancy | 9 Comments »
35 is tricky. At least it seems to be for me.
On one hand, we are finally in a house, feeling settled.
On the other hand, my body is starting to rev up for the big change. Or so I thought.
Apparently the ladies in my family all have biological clocks that expire in the early to mid thirties. I know this because when I was 29 and just starting to contemplate having a kid, my mom warned me I might not have as much time as I imagined.
So, although I was shocked and saddened to find Shark Week popping up every 21 days out of nowhere, I wasn’t surprised. I hoped it was caused by the stress of moving, but my brain was just screaming “YOU ARE 35! THIS IS IT!”. It felt like a big, red, flashing, light over my head, and Google was never very helpful at easing my fears. (Is Google EVER helpful at easing fears?”) I pretty much cried my eyes out for an entire weekend.
I made an appointment for my yearly exam, and I noted that I was having some big irregularities with my period, and they allotted for extra time to discuss that and run tests with my midwife. And then I waited. And then my appointment got cancelled because she was at a birth (first time ever in 9 years, so I can’t complain). And then I waited some more.
While I waited, I promptly freaked out. Big time.
Our original plan was to start trying to conceive in September, and all of a sudden it felt like my uterus was abandoning me. Closing up shop. Right when things were just as they should be. What a cruel twist of fate this was.
Never being one to sit around and let nature take it’s course, I switched gears. What was 2 months in the grand scheme of things?
In my mind, it was a done deal. My chance was gone. The sand had emptied from the proverbial hourglass.
No more babies.
So really, what did we have to lose?
Throw the plan out the window. Make a new plan!
We pulled the goalie.
And then I calmed down a little bit. Whatever happens, happens. What will be, will be.
I started testing on July 4th. That would have been the first day to get a positive test if my cycle was still in fact, short.
I tested on the 7th.
On the 11th I was playing around with my phone, adding apps, and I clicked on the My Days app and it suggested I might be pregnant. With no sign of my interloping aunt showing up, I went downstairs and took the last test.
Fast forward to yesterday, and me explaining to my midwife that the Peri-menopause discussion was off the table for the time being. In fact, I needed a pregnancy test.
You guys! I just jumped off the deep end.
Posted: May 1st, 2013 | Author: Erin Clotfelter | Filed under: Living in the City, Parenting | Tags: Cleaning, Moving, Terrible Twos, Toddlers | 2 Comments »
Right now I am sitting at my dining room table, trying to figure out how in the world I am going to get this house packed up. I can’t get the dishes done without Judah running out the backdoor, let alone do work where I need to be sorting and organizing and getting rid of things I don’t want or need to take to our new house. He makes the smallest task next to impossible.
On Monday I was in the kitchen, doing dishes (which are endless when you don’t have a dishwasher) and he went outside to the backyard. I had him leave the back door open so I could hear him, but not 5 minutes later, he was nowhere to be found. John and I both kind of freaked out. Our yard is fenced, but it backs up to an alley- could someone have taken him from the alley? The worst things go through your mind.
After about 10 minutes of running around like crazy people (our neighbor across the street helped too), we found him. He was in the garage, which we both thought was locked. I had my phone in my hand, ready to call 911. It was scary shit.
I cannot take my eyes off this kid for a second. Which means I get absolutely nothing done until after the boys go to bed, and by then I am completely exhausted and ready to put my feet up and drink a beer and cruise Facebook.
It’s frustrating to live like this.
We move in a month, so adding extra locks and alarms to our doors is silly. Telling him “no” is useless. Putting him on time out is laughable. We have taken away toys and privileges and everything we can think of, it doesn’t stop the naughtiness. And honestly, I can deal with all of those things as long as I am not having to worry about his safety. Within 30 minutes of getting up in the morning, he has escaped to the backyard. I don’t have time to deal with that when I am trying to get the boys out the door to school.
So back to packing- I have no idea how this is going to get done. I feel like we need a few kid free weekends where we can get the majority of it done, because staying up until midnight, packing by myself doesn’t sound like a good time!
The countdown has started- we close on the 31st!
I’ll be in the corner, distracting myself with paint chips and Pinterest, trying to forget that I have a laundry list of things to do.
Posted: March 12th, 2013 | Author: Erin Clotfelter | Filed under: Parenting | Tags: parenting | 4 Comments »
There are few things that irk me more than when a pregnant woman complains of morning sickness and someone tells her to eat a Saltine before she gets out of bed in the morning.
Is there anyone in the world that does not know this trick? If you have read a book, seen a movie, or watched television with a
sick pregnant woman in it, you would know that the number one piece of advice given to pregnant women to stave off morning sickness, is a cracker.
Seriously- everyone knows about the damn crackers (not to mention the ginger, the ginger ale, and possibly the Seabands). Let’s stop with the obvious advice- this is 2013, this is advanced parenting here people- we have the internet!
Sorry, I had to get that off my chest.
Wanna know what sparked it?
I was on Pinterest the other day and I saw a pin for “How to have a Napping House”. Sounds good to me- I want to know! What is the secret? I have a 2-year old who is refusing to nap, and I am in hell. I want a Napping House!
It must be something REALLY good.
Tranquilizers in sippy cups?
But seriously- what is the secret? How do I make my two-year-old maniac take a nap? He obviously *needs* a nap. I know *I* need a nap (or at least I want one). At least I want time by myself with no kids to tend to- at least for an hour, more if possible.
So, what is the secret to having a napping house?
You heard me.
Like, put your kids in their rooms and tell them they don’t have to sleep, they just have to play quietly…because it’s “quiet time”.
Are you effing kidding me?
That’s the secret?
I never thought of that. Actually, yes, yes I DID think of that. And so did every parent, ever, in the whole world.
How to have a Napping House my ass.
Anyone have a different way to approach this? Because seriously, momming a two-year old who doesn’t take naps suuucks.
What is the piece of advice you roll your eyes at because it’s so obvious?
* Tell your kids no; tell your kids yes; kids will eat when they are hungry; put healthy snacks out for them to choose from; play outside; play inside, etc. etc. etc…
Posted: March 8th, 2013 | Author: Erin Clotfelter | Filed under: Breastfeeding, Reviews and Giveaways | 9 Comments »
I used to host the Breastfeeding Blog Hop and every Thursday was my night to sit down and dish about the ups and downs of nursing. I handed the reigns over to the lovely ladies at Sisters n’ Cloth and Life of Wife, Mummy, and Nurse this past summer but I still get a hefty amount of traffic regarding breastfeeding on a daily basis.
I was recently asked to review a new line of nursing covers and being a one-time connoisseur of nursing covers, I figured it would be fun to go back in time and revisit all of the things I learned while nursing my boys.
Read the rest of this entry »