Where did March go?

Remember how in February I really got into exercise and made some great progress? Well, then in March I totally fell off the wagon. I haven't exercised at all since then. School and work and everything just got overwhelming and I've been kind of down all month. I know that exercise would probably help with that feeling, and probably fix some of the sleep issues that have been creeping back into my life. I should try again to get back in the habit. Obviously I totally fell off the blogging bandwagon as well.

Looking back over my calendar I don't see anything too out of the ordinary that would make this month feel so stressful. Well, actually I only really ended up with one kid-free weekend instead of my usual two. Out of the past five weekends, only one has been completely without the kids. This weekend they were mostly with Mr. Fob, but my dad came into town on Friday evening to watch S-Boogie's play, so yesterday I picked them up for lunch with their Grandpa and then kept them all afternoon before dropping the younger two back with Mr. Fob so I could take S-Boogie to the women's broadcast. I love the kids and love spending time with them, but also love the chance to get a bit of alone time to refresh myself, take care of school stuff, and run errands without a bunch of extra people. I try not to complain too much because I really have a lot of support and I know plenty of single parents who do things totally alone.

This month I also started working on a group project for one of my classes. Group projects are tricky enough as it is, but trying to work together with people who live all over the country adds an extra layer of crazy. Thankfully everyone in my group (there are 4 of us) is really enthusiastic and cooperative so we'll get things done. It just takes time to do it--we've been meeting weekly using Google Chat so I've had a 90-minute online meeting each week, generally starting at 7 PM which is not a great time for me (one of my group members lives on the east coast and can't meet later than that). I just keep reminding myself that the semester is halfway done, this is a good experience, the class is interesting, and some day I'll have a degree and my life back. This is only temporary.

The kids have also been really busy this past month too, especially S-Boogie. Her school has many great extra-curricular activities and she wants to do all of them. This month she's been on her school's Knowledge Bowl team, participated in a storytelling festival, done Battle of the Books, and this past week and tomorrow is performing in her school's production of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (yes, the school does a full musical with fourth, fifth and sixth graders--we have some very gung-ho parents here). Even if I'm not as directly involved as I would like to be, all the extra things add stress to everybody and S-Boogie spend most of this afternoon and yesterday afternoon on the couch resting and complaining about how tired and yucky she felt (hopefully it's not the strep throat that Little Dude has had). Thankfully next week will be spring break and we can all relax and have some fun.

P.Bibby has also been going through a difficult phase lately. Most of her behavior is pretty normal for a four-year-old, but sometimes by the end of the day on Sunday I am totally spent. Of course, by the time I get to work on Monday I miss her and wish I were home. Preschoolers can be so difficult. This child is sweet and cute most of the time, and so insanely stubborn the rest of the time that it drives me bonkers. She's going through the phase where she can't make up her mind about stuff and will just stubbornly sit and whine instead of doing things like eating her dinner or putting on her shoes, but then if I make a decision for her she totally flips out. Potty training has devolved into total chaos and I feel like everything went wrong and were worse off physically and psychologically than we were before we tried training her. She won't, and can't, poop in the toilet. Going potty in general freaks her out and takes a lot of coaxing and bribing and coercion, and most of the time she is so tense and upset by the time I actually get her on the toilet that nothing will come out at all. I know that holding everything in long-term can seriously mess up your muscles and I know that's part of the problem she's having, but getting her to relax and just go is not happening. Sigh--we need a reset button or maybe I should just put her back in pull-ups for a while. She seems awfully old to do that though and I need her to go to preschool in the fall so she needs to be potty-trained for real. This is an issue I need to think about and consider some more so I can come up with a workable action plan.

Enough with the venting! Here are some of the positive things in March:

I decided to take a very quick trip up to Portland to go to my sister's graduation with a doctorate in nursing practice. The graduation is on a Monday afternoon, so I'm flying up Sunday afternoon and coming back here on Tuesday afternoon. It will be only about 48 hours total because I don't want to use up too much of my vacation time. Thankfully I got a great deal on my plane ticket. I'm already looking forward to the break--it's been way too long since I last traveled.

My other big travel news is that I found a good deal on a beach house rental in Hawaii and booked it for the week of Christmas. Now I just have to try and find a decent price on plane tickets. Normally I don't like traveling for Christmas, but felt like doing something different this year. I have to take the week off to care for the kids anyways so we might as well travel. It's been a few years since we've been over there to see everyone and I'm looking forward to a break. 

Although we have our moments, the kids really do get along together pretty well most of the time. Little Dude has been a great big brother lately and I've made sure to compliment him a lot when he helps P. Bibby. Last week while I was making dinner he patiently explained how to play a game in her coloring book and did it with her. Today during sacrament meeting he spend almost thirty minutes doing Mad Libs with her--he had some pretty clever ways of explaining what kinds of words he needed. Like, if he was asking for an adjective, he'd ask her to think of a thing, then asked her what it looked like (big? soft? small? brown?). I love it when the kids are so sweet with each other--one of my biggest goals as a parent is to encourage my kids to really love and support their siblings.

We did some fun things during the month. For Saint Patrick's Day the kids all wore green and we had green food for dinner--pasta with pesto sauce, green salad, fruit, and mint-chocolate-chip ice cream. One Saturday we went to The Lego Movie and another time we just went to the library to get more books and movies. I love that they are still in the phase where simple things like that are a lot of fun. Today S-Boogie helped me make our Family Home Evening treat and decided to make dirt pudding cups as a surprise treat for Little Dude and P.Bibby. We had a lot of fun 'eating dirt'. Last week P.Bibby helped me make a chocolate cake and still talks about what fun it was to cook together. I don't get as much time with the kids as I used to because I'm working and they spend time with their dad. I have, however, learned to really make my time with them count. I don't know if they seem more fun and easy now that they are getting older (possible) or that I'm becoming more comfortable as a parent (also possible). Either way, we do have a lot of good times mixed in with all the other craziness around here.

So, that was March. In like a lion and out like a lion this year. Kind of like every month in my life lately. Maybe I will produce more than one post in April but I can't promise anything.


Cathryn said…
So, I never comment, but I do love to read your blog and I think you're an amazing person. I'm a friend of Maria Barker's. Anyway, with pooping - I also have a stubborn preschooler. Use Miralax. Every day, scoop out about half the normal adult dose. Put it in a good fruit juice or something she likes to drink. It will soften everything and it will probably slip out on the toilet without her thinking about it. We did it for about two weeks and it took the fear away,then she stopped holding and we're in pooping heaven now. My best friend is a pediatrician and she recommended it.
Gina said…
I had a friend with a child that was having a terrible time with potty training, and after at least a year of trying to figure things out a doctor finally did an xray and her poor daughter was totally constipated to the point that things were all stretched out, etc. Anyway, it made a huge difference and was really easy to diagnose, so I pass that on to anyone who it might be relevant to. Here's a Slate article that goes into it: http://www.slate.com/articles/life/family/2012/03/bed_wetting_the_simple_cause_your_doctor_probably_missed_.html
Ditto Cathryn. You're amazing.
FoxyJ said…
Thanks for the tips guys. I've actually read the article about constipation and even bought the book by the author because my son had issues with constipation. Miralax really helped him out a lot and he even stopped wetting the bed!

I'm a little more stumped with this kid, because she does poop at least twice a day. It's just only ever in her pull-up at naptime and at bedtime. So, I know that she's holding it in to some degree. She also holds pee for hours and hours and often doesn't go to the bathroom until she's had a tiny accident already. So, I think something has gone wrong with her muscles but I'm still not totally sure it's due to constipation.
Gina said…
Sorry it doesn't sound like an easy fix. I've got one left to potty train and I feel pretty terrified about it. This child is a real mystery to me in many ways, and even eating breakfast (of his choice and when he is hungry) is often a multi-hour, drama filled event. It will be an adventure. And he's over 3, so it really is time to bite the bullet, although he seems younger than 3 in many ways. Anyway, good luck. To us both.
cool_guy said…
Just a little perspective on the pooping... Barring profound mental or physical abnormalities everyone learns to poop in the right place relatively quickly, and continues to do so for most of their life... Let go of the fear and worry, relax, and it will happen.. The term "potty training" is not accurate.. I believe it is helpful to think of it as guiding the child to do what the body is ready to do where you want it done - after all you wouldn't attempt to "potty train" a 6 month old, and almost all 5 year old children are "trained". It can be frustrating, but kids eventually get tired of being poopy and stinky - and then the problem goes away.

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