Friday, October 23, 2009

A Letter

Before you read this letter that I am just writing to an imaginary lady, I want to first let you know that I do not mean to offend anyone.  I know that different opportunities are available to different people.  I just need to vent because I am tired of getting one of "those looks".

Dear 38 year old mother of one,
  I wanted to thank you, so much, for the wonderful comment you made today about the fact that I have so many children.  I really appreciated the follow up with the eye roll and the huge sigh.  That really made me feel as though you were trying to help me.  I just wanted to let you know, that despite what you may believe, I am not crazy and I do not need help. 
  Let me ask you this;  how many times did your child poop today?  What was that?  3?  Congratulations!  You should get the award for mom of the year.  Huh?  How many times did my child poop today?  Which child?  Oh, the baby?  Ummm. . . well. . . do babies poop?  I am sure that they do, but I have no clue.  I didn't change all of his diapers today.  Who did?  Well, I am sure that my husband changed a few, and I KNOW that my 9 year old pitched in and help change one.  Yep, you heard right.  My NINE year old changed a diaper.  You think that's terrible?  Did I mention that she can do the dishes and make a simple dinner too?
  Yeah, I know that you think that my children should be taken away because they have to help out.  I know that you think that I am a terrible wife because my husband helps out with EVERYTHING.  Did you know, that if anything were to happen to me that my family could still function?  My Caroline has been able to make a caesar salad since she was 3.  It is her favorite thing to do.
  Believe me, I KNOW that children are expensive.  I have to pay for school fees x 4.  I shell out over $300/month just to have 3 of them in music lessons.  I'll bet I would surprise you though with the amount that I spend on groceries. . . . I'll bet its not much more than you do.  It just takes planning.  I KNOW that children are a lot of work.  I have 5 of them!  Every day, I get to read and sign 4 agendas.  I  get to do laundry for 7 people.  I get to cook for 7 people.  I get to make everyone help me clean up for 7 people.  What's that?  Yes, my children have to clean.  No, I am not a slave driver, but neither am I their slave.  I am the mother and that makes it my responsibility to teach my children how to be responsible for themselves.  Yes, my kitchen cupboards would be more organized if I always put away the dishes, my beds would always be made and have hospital corners in the sheets, my windows and walls would be fingerprint free, and I would never have piles of laundry in my laundry room, but I would be a basket case and miss out on so many fun times with my children if I spent all of my time cleaning up after ALL of them  ALL of the time!
  Please stop judging me because I have so many children at such a young age.  I DO know what caused it, and no, I am NOT having any more.  Why?  Because I feel as though all of my children are here.  I know that all of the outfits that my children wear are not designer outfits.  I know that at least 80% of what they wear are hand-me-downs.  I know that you see my life as crazy and hectic and you think I am insane for having this many children.  I know that you see me as irresponsible for having this many children. 
  Let me ask YOU something.  Which one should I give away???  Should I give away my Abby?  She can be bossy, but she is my rock!  She LOVES to help out whenever she can and she is generally a good kid and very easy to get along with.  Should I give away my Anne?  She can be so materialistic, but she has a heart of gold.  She is sensative and she goes out of her way to make sure that everyone is included in everything.  What's that?  Caroline???  You mean my monkey???  Nope!  Even with all of the struggles we have with her disability and her stubbornness, no one and I mean NO ONE makes me laugh more than this cheeky kid!!!  You won't get me to give up Dustin with his incredible brain and his crazy sense of curiosity.  And Lee, my baby is mine forever.  His kisses are worth more than gold to me.
  So, lady, when you see me walking down the street with my children, please don't feel sorry for me.  Don't tell me how crazy I must be to have so many children.  NONE of them were accidents.  You get excited when your child has a mildstone.  You called all your friends when your baby first smiled, laughed, cut their first tooth, sat up by themselves, crawled, walked, went to preschool, started kindergarten etc.  I get to experience that 5 times.  I get to be excited and relive each milestone 5 times.  I get to attend more school concerts, piano and cello recitals, basketball games, and church activities than you will get to.  So maybe instead of thinking "poor girl" a better thing to think would be "lucky girl".  I am not sad about the life I have CHOSEN.  I am very happy with it.  The only thing that would be the icing on the cake would be if you could not stare at me with sympathy in your eyes.
Thanks again for your advice and help,

Saturday, October 17, 2009

A Little Story

I know that I haven't posted in awhile, and it isn't because I have had a lack of happenings around here. . . just the opposite, in fact.  However, I wanted to tell you this little story because I have only told very few people this story, but it concerns something that I feel strongly about.  So, have a good read, and feel free to post your comments after you have read this post.  I think that this is a great topic for discussion.
This story is true and it takes place about 5 1/2 years ago.  Being the mother of 3 beautiful girls, I felt as though I had faced quite a few trials.  The biggest trial being the birth of my third daugher, Caroline.  I feel as though I went through Hell and back just trying to bring this beautiful blond hair, blue eyed little girl into the world.  I knew from the moment that I saw her that she would be my trial.  I still don't know why I thought that at the time, but I still believe that my sweet Caroline was chosen to be my daughter to keep me humble.
Anyways, 5 1/2 years ago, my Caroline got sick and had flu-like symptoms and a high fever.  Being the young, protective mother that I was, I held my little girl night and day and I made sure that she was getting her fluids and was nice and bundled up.  She was, after all, only about 6 months old and that was all that I knew to do.  Because I didn't want to bother the doctor, I didn't make an appointment for her to see him, and I figured that this fever, like all of the other ones my girls had previously experienced, would also pass without any incidents.
Boy was I wrong!
After about 3 days, I felt really strongly that I needed to take her to the Children's Hospital.  I was very worried about her, and she must have showed some signs that she was getting more sick because I am not a big fan of visitng the hospital and I felt as though I was there at least once a year (and I was!!!).  But, ultimately my concern for my little girl overpowered my stubborness and I packed myself an overnight bag and drove to the Children's Hospital for what I knew would be a long wait followed by more long waits.
Once we got to the hospital, we stood in the line and waited for the triage nurse to do a preliminary check-up on her and direct us as to where we needed to go.  I remember this night as though is was yesterday (which is interesting because I can barely remember yesterday, much less 5 1/2 years ago. . . that shows how much this affected me.).  The triage nurse directed us into a triage room where there were 5 other sick children in beds divided by curtains.  Caroline was acting thirsty and so I got her a bit of apple juice as directed by the triage nurse.  And then all of a sudden I was looking at Caroline and it felt like my soul was saying good-bye to her.  I don't know why I started doing that, but it seemed as though I was watching her die.  To anyone else, it would have looked as though she was sleeping, but I knew that something was wrong.  Luckily for me, the triage nurse just happened to be walking up to our bed at that time and she grabbed the doctor as Caroline started to have a ceasure.  I was quickly pushed out of the way as they grabbed her and took her into the emergency room and started pumping her chest and sticking tubes in all sorts of places, and giving her needles and doing all of these crazy things to her.  No one said a word to me.  Every eye was on Caroline and my heart was beating as fast as her little heart was.  I knew that something had gone terribly wrong, I just didn't know what it was because all I could see were people in scrubs, tubes, monitors and blood.
Finally things seemed to settle down and people started to leave the room.  I think that's when someone remembered that I was standing there in the corner, white as a sheet and very scared.  A doctor, a resident and a nurse all came over to me and started asking me a ton of questions.  They then explained to me that they had no idea what was wrong with Caroline, but that her fever was so high that it had caused her body to start shutting down and that was why she had siezed.  They didn't know if or what the long term effects would be, but they knew that it was definitely the fever that had caused the ceasure.  The doctor, nurse and resident all then proceeded to explain to me that when a baby has a fever, you shouldn't keep them warm and bundled up, you should do whatever you can to cool them down.  Who knew?  I certainly didn't.  I certainly didn't realize that something as common as a fever could cause me to almost lose my little girl.  I felt as though I had failed her.  I felt as though I had caused it.  And I vowed that I would never feel like that again.  I would do whatever it took to keep my children safe, even if it meant researching something as mundane as a fever.
The reason I am sharing this story with you is because of this. . . when I made that vow to myself, I soon realized that even though I couldn't have prevented the fever from starting, I could have learned how to control it.  There were people out there who knew what I needed to do and they had information for me to be able to help my child.  I just needed to reach out and do something about it.  What's my point?  It is this. . . I am a very strong believer in vaccinations.  I believe that the medical professionals have been researching diseases and their causes and effects for a very long time.  I truly believe that when they strongly recommend that children should get vaccinated at certain ages that there is a reason.  I don't believe that one doctor decides on a whim that a certain age is appropriate for a certain vaccination and because everyone else likes the idea it becomes accepted.  I believe that there are certain laws and practices in place to prevent that from happening.
That being said, I also believe that there can be reactions to certain vaccinations.  I also believe that those reactions are the exception and not the rule.  I have also come to believe that sometimes people can overreact when one of these exceptions occur and then try and convince the major population that the vaccinations are not a good idea.  I personally have seen the devasting effects that some of the diseases that my children are vaccinated against have done to those who have had the strength to survive the diseases.  The long-term, lasting effects of these diseases is something that cripples these survivors for the rest of their lives.  As a mother, I do not want anything like that to happen to my child . . . especially if the answer to preventing these terrible effects is as simple as a free vaccination that is readily available to my child.  I could never live with myself if my son or daughter died from something that could have easily been prevented if I had taken the time to get them vaccinated.
The vaccines that are given to us, and especially children have gone through extensive testing and retesting and have had to pass through a series of approvals before they can be available to be used as a form of preventative medicine. 
I never thought I could lose a child because of a fever, but I almost did.  I truly believe that Caroline's disorders that she is now living with are a direct effect from that fever and ceasure that she endured that night in the hospital.  I could never live with myself if she had died from something that I could have prevented.  She is a constant reminder to me of how important it is to make sure I know all of the facts about something, even if it seems to be something that I see every day.  You just never know what could happen.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

A Little Bit of Room

I haven't posted anything in a while because I have run out of things to say.  There is nothing extremely exciting happening in my life right now and everything is running pretty smoothly.  I know I need to post something, so I turned to the trusty old journal starters and I found this question:
What is your favourite room in your home and why?
My favorite room???  I would have to say my Great Room on the main floor.  This includes my Family Room, Kitchen and Eating Nook.  When Otto and I were building our house we saw the upgraded main floor plan which cost an arm and a leg more than the original floorplan.  It added about 100 extra square feet to our main floor and doubled the size of the kitchen and eating nook.  So, Otto gave his arm and I donated my leg and we upgraded the main floor.  We have never looked back.  It was the best investment we could have ever made.  Since we have moved here our kitchen has been filled with different dishes created by obscure recipes that we have come to love.  Our Eating Nook has been the host of several buffets and special dinners.  Our Family Room has held many friends and family at various parties and get togethers.  We have loved having our house filled with loved ones who can come over and share our food, friendship and laughter with us.  We even had hidden speakers put into our ceiling that have been the source of many a musical background. . . especially at Christmas time!  So, my favorite room is my Great Room. . . . there is a reason that it is so great!  It's not exactly the room itself (though I think it looks pretty great) its the fact that our Great Room is the perfect gathering place for the people we love, and that's why its my favorite room!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Family Fun

My sisters are all coming home this weekend and I am thrilled beyond thrilled!  I miss my sisters, so much, when they are at school and I can't wait to see my neice and nephew tonight!  We are going to spend tonight at our family's favorite restaurant, "Leo Fu's" and then we are going to play games (sans kids).  Tomorrow will be an early Thanksgiving dinner, followed by family pictures.  Then my parents and brother and his wife will head out to a wedding reception and we will send the other men off to a church meeting and have a girls night/chocolate fondue with all of my sisters and my kiddies!  Sunday will be spent watching a church broadcast in our pj's at my parent's house and then hanging out until the afternoon and wrapping up the day with a dinner with my Bennion cousins.
So. . . bring on the weekend!  I am ready to have some family fun!