Monday, November 24, 2008

i must be getting sick

I'm easily agitated these days.

It really doesn't take much to get under my skin.

So yesterday morning when I woke up after having just changed all the sheets on the beds in the house the night before, to clean sheets that had poop smears all over them, because one of my children REFUSES to go poop in the potty and instead inspects the content of their bottom and then RUBS their hands all over their sheets, comforter and pillows, I lost it a little bit.

I told my child that if they didn't complete the rest of their pooping in the potty, I was going to give them an enema. And four hours later, that's exactly what I did, despite the worst fit I've ever seen my child throw in their entire life. And I learned a few very important lessons about giving an enema to a child that hasn't had a complete evacuation in probably the last 14 months.

First, even though the box says that the urge to go will be extremely great after a mere five minutes, don't be surprised if you have a head-strong four-year-old that they will hold it for fifty five minutes, which I can only suspect contributes more to the laxative effect.

Second, when that first slug of poop comes out, and you might think that it's over?

It's not over.

Not by a loooong shot.

Third, it's best not to put a child who has just had an enema in your bed to take a nap. Because the chances are quite great that it will look like a poop bomb went off in your pristine bedroom and bathroom. And when you are on your hands and knees scrubbing poop off the floor and poop fingerprints off your cabinets and sink and walls, you will shake your fist at what was probably Karma.

So today, we decided to get rid of our old couch that we've had for the past 12 years. And I'm not sure what really came over me us, but once we moved our old couch out in to the garage and were trying to figure out what we would put in it's place, we were struck with an insatiable desire to shake things up.

The layout of our house was designed so that we could have a living room, dining room, nook and family room. This configuration would work great if only one or two people lived here and you had teeny tiny furniture. Even when there were only two of us, I've never really liked that this house has so many small rooms. And I particularly never liked the six foot by seven foot space that was slated by the builders as a "dining room."

For who?


After five hours of moving furniture and another five hours spent at a furniture store to select a sideboard and media center that will be delivered within the next month (Merry Christmas to us! Our shopping for each other is done!), what was once our family room has now been transformed in to our spacious dining room. And what was once our dining room and living room is now our spacious family room. Suddenly, instead of having four small rooms, we have two HUGE rooms.

I have a new found love for this house which is good because to move right now would be financial suicide. I also have a crick in my neck from exerting myself so completely today and a dent in my wallet from making a few purchases to compliment our new "living space."

So tonight, I come home and I'm checking my e-mail as is often the case at night. And I'm struck with how many comments I've received over the past week that I've let get under my skin. Now I know that when I share my life with the world, I am allowing people in that may be of the extremely lame persuasion, so that's a risk that needs to be weighed before I hit "post."

Still, it bites a nerve when I receive feedback that comes under the guise of friendly, but which I know is judgmental criticism. Usually I just delete these comments, but what with the lack of sleep and pooping all over the house, and stress of trying to figure out what to do with work, relocation, preschool and four-year-olds that challenge just about EVERYTHING I say and do, I'm easily agitated these days.

See. I said it again!

Of course, there was the comment I received last week wherein someone called me ignorant. Then there was a comment I received yesterday wherein someone suggested that I am an excessive spender. And then, there was the comment I received today wherein someone wanted to know how I maintain an alcoholic lifestyle and still breastfeed my baby. Please do tell!!

Well, let's see.

Now please bear with me, because I am a prejudiced halfwit who likes to throw money out the window with one hand while drinking VAST quantities of wine with the other and trying not to fumble my suckling baby who is cradled to my chest with my knees.

With four small children and two part-time jobs, we are extremely careful with our finances. Not that we really need to justify this to anyone, but we save 15% of what we earn in a 401K, 5% (it's actually 10%!!) in a savings account, we use coupons wherever possible and we do our absolute best to use cash or pay off any credit cards each and every month.

I think what might be confusing is that when we do buy things, we buy nice things, quality things that will probably be passed down to our grandchildren. However, we do not spend money in excess.

(Well, except today. But Charlie insisted on the flat screen 52-inch HDTV.)

On average, I will have one glass of wine three or maybe four times a week. The last time I had a glass of wine was when Charlie was out of town. And for those four nights that he was gone, I had a glass of wine every single night. By myself!

I do not pump.

I do not dump.

I do not drink more than a glass of wine per night.

I do not drink a glass of wine every night.

I typically do not drink wine immediately before I breastfeed but guess what?

Sometimes I do.

But if not for a glass of wine a few nights a week, I would probably be in a constant state of agitation. And you know, some might argue that allowing your toddler to sit on a dining room table and watch back-to-back Christmas movies while you rearrange furniture is far more harmful than the risk of alcohol ingestion via breastmilk, from one glass of wine, that isn't fully metabolized.

Now if you have any other inquisitive! inquiries! please leave me your name and telephone number and I'll call you at my earliest opportunity. Although I can't rightly say what I might call you since my mother reads this blog.


  1. Oh my Goodness!
    This is another classic post.

  2. Hi Jen,

    I could blow sunshine up your proverbial, but I won't. You are too smart for platitudes. But, deep down, I want to get you really angry at me just so I can see if your swear word vocabulary matches my own. I need a few words!

    Signed, your child-neglecting, full-time working, wine drinking, too lazy to wean my kid, too spineless to make him sleep in his own bed friend from Australia.


  3. HI Jen
    Just a poop comment- do you think Carolyn is always constipated? Because in my non-internet life I am a GP (family physician? not sure what your USA equivalent is. I think you mostly take children directly to a Paed, but here in Australia the GP sees children mostly and the Paed gets the extra difficult ones ;)
    I wonder if a regular stool softener might help her learn to know when her bowel is full so she can learn to poop in the potty,
    The theory is that a child who is always constipated gets an overstretched colon. Thus the poo just comes out accidentally. The child never really knows when they need to pass a poo, because they don't know "empty" from Full.
    The enema is a good start, but a 6 week course of a stool softener, with the aim of one poo every day would be what was needed to retrain her colon to know what empty is. (And she may need nappies for this time- if you could bear it!)
    I don't know if this is clear, but I wonder if there is a physical cause for her poop problems, not just stubborness or disobedience. Might be worth a trip to the Paed to ask about this? An Xray of the abdomen can show a colon chock full of poo! Was Carolyn one of the two that had surgery on her bowel as a neonate? Could that be causing some of the problem too?
    I love your blog, think you parent well- Ignore detractors! (new mantra for your joggin)
    Rebecca D

  4. Hi from Australia! For what it’s worth – I hope that when I eventually have kids (I’m only 20 so it’s a little way off) I am half as good a mum with one child as you are with four! And as for the judgmental commenters – they really have no right given the amazing privilege they are granted being allowed an insight into your life.
    Thank you so much for the entertainment your blog provides - I am constantly in awe of your amazing writing style!

  5. Jen, for the record, you are a wonderful mother. You are doing a fine job raising 4 small children. The people who leave those sorts of comments are jealous that you are able to do all that you do.

    Congratulations and well done. Please keep up the good work and the wonderful blog posts. They are the highlight of my day.

    I hope that one day I will be able to raise my own children in the way that you are raising yours- with humour, with love and with compassion. You are a wonderful role model.

    Jane from Australia

  6. I love you .... everyone has their prejudices, everyone has their vices ... for those that claim they are perfect, I'd like to know what their Dr prescribed to them to get thru the day ;) You go girl ...

  7. When life is particularly stressful it's hard to let comments just roll off your back but that's what you have to do. we've never met but i think we share similiar lifestyles and sometimes I feel like others think i spend lavishly on items as well. Well we make a little bit more than average people because my husband works his tail off, we save alot!, and we buy things rarely but they happy to be expensive "quality" things. Also in my circle it is not a big deal to have a glass of wine here and there when breastfeeding, I know I did, but if I mentioned that to a few of the playgroup moms I might receive a look of horror. It's all relative and seriously you are an awesome mom or else I woulden't be reading your blog. I don't know how I found it but I've been reading it for a year now and it's under my "favorites" list. Don't let the "haters" (as my husband and I jokingly say) get you down.

  8. Stacey in FL11/24/08, 7:59 AM

    This is exactly why I don't blog. I am terrified of judgement even though I usually think of myself as a person who doesn't care very much about what other people think of me. I know those are two contradicting thoughts. Anyway, even though I don't share 100% of your views on each and every thing (which isn't even worth mentioning except to show that as adults we can agree to disagree without being ugly to each other), I think you are doing a fabulous job of raising your four children. And I do agree with all of the things you wrote about in this post. Not that you need my approval, just thought you might like a little encouragement. I also nurse my youngest and have a few alcoholic beverages a week. And isn't that better than a totally miserable person to be around?
    You are doing amazing and I really admire the inner strength it must take to really put yourself out there. I get so much out of reading about your life. I have two year old triplets and a four month old. I've commented before that sometimes I read about what you are going through and can't deal with the fact that I'm just around the corner from where you are now with your little ones. But often I read and laugh and know that my family will be blessed if I can handle things as well as you do.

  9. (((((((((((((Hugs))))))))))))))

    If your mom didn't read your blog I'd tell you "*uck 'em!"

    But since she reads your blog... I'll just give you a hug, wink, and nod!

  10. Wait. So are you saying you aren't a drunken spend-a-holic? Because I thought we could be friends.

    Okay, I think your mother and I would agree that you spend a lot of money when you DO spend it. I bet you didn't get YOUR furniture at Sam's Club. But I would hazard to guess that you'll have your furniture for 20 years, and I'll be buying another couch at Sam's Club in 2 years.

    Did you get your spending comment after you featured SPATULAS??? I, mean, seriously? I'm laughing so hard right now. How can you afford those spatulas, Jen.

  11. Delurking to say "You poor thing!" I would say "Don't take it to heart", but that probably won't help much right now.

    Just keep doing what you're doing. You've got a lot of people on your side and beautiful children who will grow up to be great contributers to society!!

    Keep up the great (and funny) work!

  12. Jeez, I'm sorry that you feel you have to explain yourself, thats a load of bollox.This is your space to say what you like. Fuck the begrudgers. I hope you feel better soon. Best wishes.

  13. Hey there. I am sorry you have had some negative comments. I have had a few on my blog and it is no fun. Anyway, I wanted to comment on your non-potty trainer. I happen to have a little boy about the same ages as your kids that has had a tough time with potty training. I was (still am) at the end of my rope. Somebody on the web told me about encropresis. I had never heard of it, but it described my son exactly. We didn't have insurance at the time I found out 2-3 months ago... so I couldn't run out to the doctor for tests. He has an appoinment set up for December. I did start him on some laxative and all I can say is that there was a major blockage. If I don't keep him on a laxative, he gets backed up again. He is slowly getting better, but I think we have a long road ahead of us. I don't know if this may be something for you to look into, but I thought it never hurts to mention it. I know I was pretty clueless about it. I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving and try not to let the mean people bug you.

  14. OMG, you poor thing with that pooping. I have one potty trained, one we're working on, I just pray my second one will poop on the potty too. The first one does (yeah!!).

  15. WTF??? People actually write that sh*t to you? Don't respond! They're the ones that are ignorant. To actually comment (or email) someone, a complete stranger as a matter of fact, with comments like that, just shows lack of intelligence on their part. Don't listen to people who have NO idea what they're talking about nor give them the satisfaction of a response!

  16. Dealing with us (your public) can't be easy. No wonder you feel agitated.
    I'm a 56 year old mom/grandma with 2 teenagers left at home. My lifestyle is completely different from yours, yet I love to read your blog (and Michele's from Vegas). I'm always telling stories from 'my triplet-moms' blogs.
    Please forgive us and keep the stories coming!

  17. You are right about the nursing and alcohol, it's perfectly fine. Personally I think that if any namecalling is to be done -- it's the kids who deserve it :). They are the ones who push you to be an "ignorant overspending alcoholic" ;)

    Mommy of breastfeeding twin 2 year-olds and a beautiful 4.5 year-old.


    In general, if you are sober enough to drive, you are sober enough to breastfeed. Less than 2% of the alcohol consumed by the mother reaches her blood and milk. Alcohol peaks in mom's blood and milk approximately 1/2-1 hour after drinking (but there is considerable variation from person to person, depending upon how much food was eaten in the same time period, mom's body weight and percentage of body fat, etc.). Alcohol does not accumulate in breastmilk, but leaves the milk as it leaves the blood; so when your blood alcohol levels are back down, so are your milk alcohol levels.

    Always keep in mind the baby's age when considering the effect of alcohol. A newborn has a very immature liver, so minute amounts of alcohol would be more of a burden. Up until around 3 months of age, infants detoxify alcohol at around half the rate of an adult. An older baby or toddler can metabolize the alcohol more quickly.

  18. i have said this before, and i will say it again:

    you are my hero.

  19. That's awesome that you were able to redo your rooms into two big rooms! And hell, it's your house, so you can do whatever you want with it. :) I'm jealous though, I wish I had more space. :D

    Enjoy yourself, enjoy your life. You are never going to please everybody.

  20. The thing about people who criticize others for being "excessive" with their spending is that they themselves might buy things that we think are excessive. Really, if you are not asking somebody for money to buy your great kitchen gadgets, I don't know what the problem is. Everybody chooses to spend their money differently. And I do think it's funny that somebody thought you had all those that were shown, even though they were just examples of what were available.

    I think I might go to their website and buy a couple spatulas. I've been wanting one I can use for scrambled eggs. Because I like to be extravagant like that.
    I think

  21. Sandy (Ann Arbor)11/24/08, 9:52 AM

    As a mom of just ONE toddler, I am very aware that motherhood is a life devoted to meeting needs. Neverending needs. Preparing healthy lunches. Buying, sorting, and washing clothes. Snuggling and reading to kids. Changing dirty diapers. And then potty training. Bathing. Rocking.

    For the first year of our daughter's life, my husband and I both gave it our ALL. We put ourselves last almost every time. Our daughter had everything she needed and more. Not that we were indulgent. We let her cry it out because what we knew she needed sleep. But in the second year of her life, I'm realizing (a little slow, yes) that there is good sense in meeting your own needs too. Coffee. Dinner out. Exercise. Reading a good book. And I applaud you, Jen, for doing that.

    One glass of wine a few times each week is good for you. You are in this for the long haul, and you are trying to maintain and develop yourself too.

  22. look, i found your blog about a year ago--when you locked yourself in the pantry, i think it was. and i was so thankful i did. thank you for being honest about your life and your joys and your struggles. my triplets are almost 15 months old. i live in a rural area and stay home with them much of the time. your blog gives me lots to think about. it also gives me comfort to know that we are not alone in these great challenges we face raising multiples.

    i don't know why people make comments like those you wrote of. it amazes me that people can be so judgmental, and so bold in their judgments (like your neighbor with the prop 8 sign). i can't decide if people like this are trying to deflect and hide something, or if they really think that they are right and have it all together.

    what i do know though, is that it is these type people who are usually the loudest. so, listen to the majority of your readers, those who think you are great and who appreciate and benefit from your blog. please don't be disheartened. most people are good and loving and accepting, as you are.

    so, thank you for being honest and thank you for being you.

  23. sorry Jen! hope you are having a better day today, and that you got some good rest last night. that always helps :) hang in there. put him/her back in diapers and duck tape them on if they try to take them off. :)

  24. Hi Jen,

    I follow your blog, found it through the online support board that Deana is on, and I have enjoyed reading your posts about your life and family. I am a new mom to two foster to adopt girls. I am learning a lot reading your blog (as well as some laughs along the way)and being a mom to more than one child (I figure if you can do it with 3 triplets and your baby, I can certainly handle it with 2). I don't think you should have to justify your life to anyone. Thanks for blogging and for sharing your life with those of us who read your blog.

    And for the record, you have my sympathies on your child with the poop issues. I think that would be enough to drive me to a glass of wine, too (or maybe more than one!).


  25. What a great use of space. The dining room looks great and it opened up the room. Good job.
    Hope Gracie has finally evacuated.

  26. Who-ever wrote the pump and dump comment is probably bored and spends far too much time leaving "witty" comments on lots of peoples blogs. And did I mention mean, or thoughtless, or spiteful?

    You have had a bit of an emotional rollercoaster of a life in the past month or so, what with the comments that were stirred up by your thoughts on politics; a lot to think about regarding schooling for your children; a child with poop issues and Charlie going away for 5 days and Henry getting ill. No wonder you are frazzled. All that and you blog about it all in a thought provoking and humourous way. I always check in on you every day - I don't have triplets but much of what you experience chimes with my life and I agree with just about everything you think (which is always nice!). So..... My message to you is - have a rest ,either real (haha what am I saying) or from blogging, just for a few days, just until all the hurtful comments have stopped buzzing around your head and you feel like sharing your life again.

    In the meantime, from some-one who has never met you or had any contact with you other than through your blog - a huge hug, a prescription for a glass or wine and supportive thoughts.

  27. Jen,

    I have had the joy of tagging along on many triplet playdates at your home. I wish all of your readers were that lucky. They would feel the love, happiness and fun that flows within.

    You and the other triplet mom's truly amaze me with how you are able to do all that you do for your children.

    To know you is to love you.

    Nanny to J,K and T

  28. I have a nursing question for you and since you mentioned nursing in this post, thought I'd ask it here. But first, let me clarify, this is an ACTUAL question, not an insult disguised as a question :)

    Did you find that nursing a singleton was drastically easier than nursing/pumping for the triplets? I'm planning on having one more and I really want to nurse him/her for at least 7 months, but I HATED nursing/pumping my twins and so I'm dreading doing it again for another baby and since you did multiples first and then a singleton, I'm curious if it's way easier (which I *think* it would be???)

    oh and "Don't let the bastards get you down" :)

  29. Jen have you ever heard of the disorder, encopresis? It's withholding stool until a disorder called "megacolon" occurs, making it very difficult to eliminate.

    If she's been withholding stool for 14 months, it's possible her colon is no longer functioning properly. There are a ton of websites and support groups for this, but I think it's time you take her in to the pediatrician and have a stomach x-ray. I think this could be a medical issue and not an issue of stubborness now.

  30. Ridiculous. If people don't like waht you have to say, screw 'em! This is your blog to voice your opinions about your life. If they hate it so much, why do they keep reading? TO PASS JUDGEMENT TO MAKE THEMSELVES FEEL BETTER. It has nothing to do with you, but everything to do with them.

    Sit down. Have a glass. Enjoy YOUR life!

  31. WHOOO HOO you go girl! Who that hell is anyone to judge you? Your a great mom! And cool on the new house arrangements. And sorry about the poopy!

  32. Oh, and I drink and nurse my 20 month old. I've had up to three beers and still nursed later in the evening. Not everyday, sometimes not even every week, but it happens and my kid is still smart, funny and happy:)

  33. I think you need to take a pregnancy test :)
    I also think (There I go thinking again...) that 100% of your fans are behind you 99.99% of the time. I say poo to those other knuckleheads. I love seeing Henry on the top of the table.
    Whoo hoo you with new furniture!

  34. Just wanted to tell you that I enjoy reading your posts. I love your humor and enjoy reading about your days. I love it when you tell us about your favorite things. I especially love the hats your children have on in the October 28, 2008 post and would love to know where you got them. I would love to get one for my 6 year old. Take care, Beth

  35. Oh geeze.

    Forget the haters, m'dear. Most of us adore you.

    I really don't understand negative comments. If people don't like what they read, why not just not press "comment"? It's a personal blog for cryin' out loud.

    Geeeeze! ;-)

    Love the idea to move the furniture around. My mom has always hated the division of "Living Room/Dining Room/Family Room" chopping up the house. It makes SO much more sense to have a "great room" instead rather than a formal living room that no one uses! :-)

  36. Jen, I sure don't envy you your poop issues. :( My husband refused to poop as a kid, and he has all kinds of problems now as an adult. It's a problem that builds and gets worse . . . :( Wow, sorry to be so inspiring.

    Anyway, I am sure you have thought of this or already done it, but I couldn't resist writing it, just in case. If it were my kid, I'd take her to a doctor, and I'd talk to that doctor before hand and ask him to have a very stern "Dr. Says" conversaton with her concerning that (whatever habits you and (s)he think is appropriate). And then I would invoke, "The Dr. said . . ." like a religion.

    Sorry to offer assvice - sometimes one can't help themselves.


  37. Sooooo... when do we get photos of this remodel? Sounds fantastic!

    Plus I can't work out how someone can say you overspend when you can save that much on two part time salaries PLUS four children. That is pretty darn impressive.

    Good luck with the poop thing. My son is 3.5 and shows NO. DESIRE. AT. ALL. to potty train. This wouldn't be a problem, except that he is the youngest in his school year and will be going to 'proper' school when he has *just* turned 4. No pressure, then.... ;) I feel your pain..

  38. Oh please let me be the first to step up and smack your harassers upside the head! Some people need to learn to mind their own business.

    BTW love the picture of Henry on the dining room table. Can't wait to see pictures of the new arrangements

    hugs to you

  39. Go Mama! There will always be "well meaning advice" that will drive you nuts. Or comments made by family members that don't take your mental state into mind (ie: when our 24 week twins were in the NICU my MIL complained she couldn't bond with the twins since they were too fragile to be handled. WE weren't able to touch them either!) Here is a little tip I received from my lactation consultant in the hospital. Only 10 percent of what you ingest goes through breast milk. That was her comment when I was worried that I had a couple of glasses of wine and couldn't pump. Your kid isnt going to grow a 3rd eye for heavens sake. And my husband and I are also of the persuasion of waiting to buy quality things that will last versus cheap things that are

  40. Hooray for bigger rooms.
    And BOO for a-holes on the internet!
    I just dealt with nasty comment fun and I am always amazed at the things people get mad about and how nasty they are when they let you know.
    You are doing a great job!

  41. Do you know what Jen? You don't need to justify anything to anyone.

    You have every right to do EXACTLY as you please! It's your life and your body/finances/kids/wine etc!! You are good enough to share details of your life with us, and any negative commenters out there should just bog off (do you use the term "bog off" in the US?!)and go and read someone else's blog - or start one of their own and see how they like judgemental idiots!!!

  42. I just want to second Rebecca's poop comments. One of our girls wouldn't poop for a couple of days and then when she did it would be MASSIVE (we'd have to switch out potties because she would fill theentire bowl) and she wouldn't know when to stop so she'd keep trying to go and her colon would prolapse out of her body. Our pedi got an x-ray and she was FULL of poop. We put her back in diapers (she wasn't having accidents so this was a little painful), modified her diet (extremely limited dairy, no bananas, apples and kept with the whole grain starches) and gave her Miralax every day for 6 months. The goal was for her to poop every day and in the beginning we had to give her double the adult dose to get her going. After 6 months she was going regularly and we took her back out of diapers (literally overnight and she was fine). Now we give her a little Miralax every day just to help keep her regular.
    Good luck!

  43. I am LMAO, right now! That was so classic I had to ignore my twins a little longer and comment.

    And my comment is: Amen sister!

    (but as an aside, the poop...the poop...I don't know how you're staying out of an asylum. I think I'd check in to one, just so I could get away from the poop. Oh but then there probably wouldn't be wine. Raising my hand to say fellow multiple mom who has 3 or 4 glasses of wine a week. Oh and I never pumped and dumped either. I mean one glass? Are they kidding? I was even told to drink a beer to help my production at one point!)

  44. Oh, and I would love to see pictures of the rooms. You should know that I decorated my new hearth room with pointers from your old living room post. Right down to the play rug and the play table. Except I added kids La-z-Boys, too, because I'm trying to raise them to be just like me. Off to replay "Frosty the Snowman," again. (aka "Saucy Sewman.")

  45. Did you knock walls down?!!!! How did you do that - so cool. I can just imagine you with a sledge hammer......

  46. A gulp of wine helps the agitation go down, the annoyance go down, the frustration go down, oh another gulp of wine helps the mommy calm down, in the most delightful way. :-) Jm