Where I Was…

This won’t be long.

I was only 12 years-old. I was still in foster care. I sat on the floor of my bedroom looking up at my T.V., tears streaming down my face. I hated this place, the system, the government. I could understand why someone would go into a social services building and blow it up: they facilitated child abuse. In fact, I prayed for it daily. So when I saw an real act of terrorism, I couldn’t understand. These were children, mothers and fathers, husbands and wives. These were innocent bystanders. These were fire-fighters, soldiers, police officers. These were people who were in love. And I was a little girl at home, hundreds of miles away, feeling like the rubble was crushing my body. Feeling like it was me that I saw jumping out of the windows. I don’t remember the news channel I was watching. I don’t remember the name of the family I was with. But I remember sitting on my heels in front of the dresser that held my T.V. I remember wishing I could hug my mother, because she would have never let me see this, or know about this until I was older. I remember the overwhelming feeling. I didn’t know anyone from that horrible day. But I know that a girl that died could have been my best friend, one of the boys might have been my husband, one of the women could have been my mother in law, one of those fire-fighters might have fathered my future daughters in law. That’s what I thought. I felt like part of my life was being stolen from me and so many others before we ever knew it was ours. My heart goes out to those who lost someone. To those who lost many. I know my husband puts his uniform on everyday so that this never happens to us again. I know I was a little girl that day, with no connection to anything, but know that day, and today, I was with you; I am with you.

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All Mine!

Just because he is sexy and I love him.

Do You Have Your Kids On a Tight Leash?

The other day, Jesse and I were driving home and I saw this:

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That’s right- a lady with her kid on a leash.

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Just yesterday in church, a family that I really like walked in the same way. I obviously couldn’t snap an incognito photo of my friends son with a monkey backpack/kid-leash on, but my mind was taking all the judgment-y pics it needed.

I know, I shouldn’t judge. Sometimes I think my children are animals that need to be restrained, too. But a leash. Really?

I have a friend who warned me ahead of time that she would be putting her future kids on leashes, and I haven’t told her, but I will be setting her poor children free often. Sorry, Lauren.

Am I wrong? Is there some untold joy/benefit in parents leashing their kids that I don’t know about. Besides getting random strangers to take pics and write blogs about you?

Spanking vs. Beating: Where is the line?

Most people my age and older came from a household where spanking was allowed. For me, the two-and-a-half years in foster care and the subsequent butt-kickings from boyfriends have me completely “pro-peace.” I am almost incapable of spanking. Don’t get me wrong. I’ve tried it out on Jermahl. When I was raising him with his pothead father (who Jermahl was named for so we’ll call him ‘Druggie’ from now on), Druggie said you’re supposed to beat your kids. How else are you going to teach them? Mind you I was 15 when I got pregnant, and I thought, perhaps, there might be a difference from what I experienced and what he was talking about.

So if Jermahl was acting bad, I would pop him on the hand or the butt. Just once. But Druggie would slap him in the face or kick him. And God forbid I protested, I would get the same in kind. Well, one day, I was out with a friend going to the market. Jermahl just broke out into a tantrum in front the Food Lion market it was sooo embarrassing and I was getting mad. I kept telling him to be quiet and he wouldn’t so I popped his mouth. But he fell over and he bust his lip. I bawled in front of that store telling my baby how sorry I was. I probably looked like a crazy person, hugging him and crying.  I will never know if my anger made that ‘pop’ a ‘slap’ or if he just didn’t have the balance (my friend tried to convince me it was the latter), but I refused to spank or pop him for a long time after that.

When he was about 3, Chris (sperm donor #2) and I moved to Houston together. Jermahl was out of control because he had been living with Druggie who doesn’t believe in teaching, just beating. So we tried to just show him love whenever he was acting out. Eventually, it got to be too much, and we decided maybe spanking should be part of his discipline. So we sat him down one evening and told him what would constitute a spanking (screaming, hitting, not listening for the umpteenth time, things like that). Well, Chris’ father used a belt, so he thought we should, too, and I figured, as long we didn’t hit him hard, or directly on his skin, just the idea of it would be effective. The belt terrified Jermahl, though, and it wasn’t teaching him anything but to be afraid of his parents. So we used it about three times and retired it.
I had to come up with more creative ways to punish him. We made him stand in the corner, took away his favorite toys until he earned them back. It all depended on the offense. We found something appropriate for his age that he would understand. But I never spanked him again. Recently, he’s been having trouble with lying. So every time he lies, we have him hold a phonebook up for a few minutes. Depending on the severity of the lie, and how many people he could have potentially hurt, determined the size of the phonebook he was holding up. And I explained to him the reason he was holding the phonebook up instead of being spanked, is that spanking doesn’t teach you anything, it just hurts; but, even though holding up the phonebook hurts, it also builds up his muscles and makes him stronger.

At his house, his dad just gets angry and beats him, punches him, hits with random objects (don’t wory, I’m working on getting him out of there). At school, the kids tell Jermahl he’s a weakling because he doesn’t like to fight. So I told Jermahl, and I truly apologize to anyone this offends, anyone who needs to hit or use violence to get their point across is stunted and stupid, and no one taught them how to use their brain to express themselves, so instead they have to use a fist or a belt or mean words.

Jermahl, who is now seven, remembers the 3 times I used a belt when he was three years old.

I choose to discipline with love and until recently, I’ve been under the firm impression that hitting your child is not love. However, a lot of my close friends use spanking as a punishment for their kids.

One of my girlfriends said, “The corner is all fine and dandy, but my kids will stand in the corner and make fun of me because the punishment means nothing to them. Spanking actually resonates with them and they realize they’ve actually done something wrong.”

Another friend said, “You don’t just start off beating the crap out of them. For my son, when he started crawling around 7 months, that’s when I took 2 fingers to pop his hands when he touched something he shouldn’t. Now that’s he’s almost 2, I pop his butt a few times when he does something he actually knows he shouldn’t. When he’s a teenager, I’m going to punch him the chest. I’m not going to actually punch him the chest, but the sight of my fist coming towards him is  going to hurt way more than when I actually touch him.”

My sister-in-law says that with her 1.5 year-old nephew (whom she’s raising for now), when he touches something he shouldn’t, she says no, pops his hand and moves him. And she does this over and over until he gets the idea.

So what do you do? How do you discipline your children? When do you start? If you spank, how do you know you’re spanking them to discipline and not just because you are angry? Obviously, a punishment needs to happen immediately for a child, but if you are angry at the same time, is the discipline as  effective? And how do you show your child you still love them after a punishment?

I’d REALLY like to hear everyone’s opinions on this this. What is the difference TO YOU between spanking and beating? And should it happen at all?

The Days After

Last Saturday, I announced I started my journey to quitting smoking. It has been interesting to say the least. I also did not stop smoking. I would make it to the end of the day, and then I would have a cigarette because…it was just too much. Jesse would get off work and come home all hot and irritated. I’d be irritated because I just spent the day with a crazy baby who likes to seize on people, so I’m watching him like a hawk. I’m stressed the heck out don’t judge me for smoking at the end of the day!! Sorry. It’s the lack of nicotine. It makes me cranky. Well, yesterday, I just knew that I was not completing my goal and it had almost been a week and I was still smoking. What to do…What to do…I know. I went to the store to pick up some things for Jess, but I lost the car keys, had a panic attack in the PX (I decided to forgo my Klonopin like a genius), and almost wound up walking home in 100 degree weather. Luckily, I found the keys. New plan: Occupy myself with the neighbors. My friend Emily has 3 adorable kids and she rocks so I figure I’d hang out with her all day. Well, her kids came over and played Kinect.

I don’t have permission to post pics of her yet.

 

She is a professional hair dresser, so she gave me a rocking new ‘do.

and my rocking ‘do

Unfortunately, Jesse didn’t like the new ‘do. So, if anyone would like to donate some baseball caps…let me know.

This is my unhappy face.

Anyway, he and I got in a huge argument, and some precious things were destroyed, my simmering self-esteem just one of the casualties. And I skipped the Klonopin that day, so there was no hippie to calm me down. Somehow, though, I managed to not smoke. Unfortunately, that sent me into some serious crying fits. Crying is not something I do. It was Thursday. It was also something I do Fridays, too.

I wasn’t really crying in this pic. I was just being dramatic. circa, like, 2 years ago.

Well, Friday, I took my meds. I managed to go the whole day without smoking, but I got really tired of crying, so I smoked a half a cigarette, stopped crying, and went about my day. Seriously, though, who knew quitting turned you into a cry baby. Today, I have a horrible migraine but Jesse has the day off, so I’ll be occupying myself with family time, if I can get him to wake up.

he’s still hot.

Happy Saturday, everyone!!!

Dang You, Day 1!!!

So I’ve been telling my friends and family for a while now that I’m going to quit smoking. The main reason I haven’t quit and stuck to it (because I’ve quit), is because of the AWFUL side effects of quitting smoking. Seriously, it feels like a lose-lose situation. On the one hand, I can continue to smoke, have zero stamina, and all will be right with the world. Every one will be alive. I just will never go on a jog without keeling over and I’ll continue to be a bad influence on my kids and other kids–because this smoker does NOT condone smoking (hypocrite much?)

On the other hand, I can quit. Quitting gradually has not helped because even when the dependency is gone, the addiction still exists. So while my body may not care, my mind is like, you would SMOKE in this situation. DO IT. I don’t wanna. :/ Quitting cold turkey turns me into Katie Kaboom.

I know you remember her…

On the other hand, I could—oh wait! I only have 2 hands. That’s half my problem. The problem with announcing you’re going to do something is that everyone expects you to be perfect at it. I can only quit for myself. Not everyone else. I can’t quit and be your poster-girl. I can’t quit and talk to your exasperating kids about why you should never start in the first place. I’m not going to the cancer ward to remind myself of what smoking does to my body and read old folks stories simultaneously. That will make me go through a whole pack in 5 minutes. I only have the minute I’m in to decide whether or not I’m going to smoke. I also have Klonopin.

Klonopin is an anti-anxiety medication which should help when I’m feeling especially murderous and need a cigarette. Unfortunately, it seems like Klonopin intensifies the side effects of quitting, but in a calm way. Confused? Let me help you.

When you quit smoking, you are exhausted.  It’s like your body goes into overdrive trying to find any semblance of nicotine it can, and in order to do that, you should probably be asleep. So I passed out all yesterday. Not to mention, Klonopin makes you sleepy the first couple of weeks you take it. So I was a zombie yesterday. It’s not good to be a zombie with a 5 month old.

You sweat. You sweat profusely. Normally, I’d just be lying in bed, drenched in my stinky sweat, praying it’s not time for him to nurse again. The Klonopin told my body in a proverbial hippie voice, “hey, maaan. You’re way too cool to sweat. Just hang out at the pores, and be like, metaphorical, you know?”  So my stupid sweat listened. Have you ever had that feeling? The feeling of sweat wanting to break through, but not being able to. It’ itchy, painful, annoying. It makes me want to smoke.

Then, there’s the mucus. All day long, you walk around with dry mouth and a throat full of curdled milk. Obviously, not really a throat full of curdled milk, but it feels like it. When it gets hocked up into a loogie, you try to spit it out, but this loogie is so voluminous that it doesn’t fly into the tissue or on the sidewalk. It lands on your chin. Or the part of your hand that isn’t covered by the tissue. And while this instance alone is enough to make me rage out, Klonopin is sitting on my shoulder, whispering in my ear, “Hey maaaan. I know that pisses you off. And it should. But looook at it. It’s gross but kinda coool. Take a picture of it.” 
So those are the side effects so far. Sorry for the rambling. It’s just been that kind of day.

**Does anyone know of any helpful tips to make quitting easier?? Leave a comment!**

I Like My Scotch Stiff, Not My Babies

I don’t actually drink scotch. I still don’t like my babies stiff. Which is why I am writing this blog. The last few days have been completely mortifying. Wednesday, Judas and I were watching YouTube videos together. He was being my usual super-sweet baby.

 

Giving me Kisses

 

Judas stopped breathing. He may or may not have just held his breath on purpose, but he began turning blue. I have been taking care of babies since I was 4 and I have NEVER seen a baby turn blue. Ever. Unless, you know, they were dying. Apparently, though, there is a new brand of baby terrorist, and they go around holding their breath and scaring the crap out of their parents. Okay…That’s fine. After I took Judas to the E.R., and they put him on an oximeter, gave him some oxygen, and did a chest x-ray, I would have been able to accept that as an answer. Reluctantly, but I would have been able to.

 

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Unfortunately, the very next day. Judas had a seizure. He started coughing, foaming at the mouth, and his eyes were very unfocused. Then he stopped breathing and got extremely stiff. I could feel my own body get weak, because I was terrified. I thought, oh, God. My baby is dying in my arms. DO SOMETHING, MIRANDA! So, I called 911. I started patting him on the back. I was afraid to do chest compressions because CPR on a baby lives on the very thin line of helpful and harmful. The dispatcher wasn’t even a dispatcher for my post, so she had to transfer me and I had to repeat my address to the new dispatcher three times. It took 6 minutes from the time I called to the time the rescuers got to my home. by then I had done 4 rescue breaths and got Jude breathing within 1 or 2 minutes.

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He was very upset his arm was stinted for the IV

My poor baby was so tired and lethargic. But he was breathing. I had to tell countless people over and over what happened. We went to the Weeds Army Clinic. They drew blood, ran an I.V., did a CT scan, even gave him a sterile urinalysis. I felt like a horrible person when they did that. Watching your baby boy get a catheter is not a pleasant experience for you or him. His dad and I just kept looking at each other the whole day, procedure after procedure, like…what next? Eventually, the doctor said they didn’t have the equipment to run further tests, so we were transferred to Loma Linda Children’s Hospital (120 miles away from home).

Another EKG and 4 hours later, we were ‘admitted’ to the Pediatric ward. They put us in a room with 2 other families. I guess they were saving money that way…There were more tests. They took his temperature so many times, I lost count. They took even more blood. They flushed his IV every 8 hours until finally they gave him fluids. They did another EKG and an EEG. He was miserable and probably feeling violated and scared. Their stupid cribs looked like baby jails.

 

 

Finally around 5pm on Friday, they told us they his baseline was so normal and healthy, they couldn’t find anything wrong with him and didn’t want to be more invasive unless absolutely necessary and discharged us. As we took him out of his crib and put him in his car-seat. He was SO happy all of a sudden. It’s like he knew we were leaving that place. 3 hours later, we were happy to be home, albeit a little miffed that they didn’t find the cause of the seizure. We follow up with the doctor next week. I just hope he stays healthy.

Before Bed

 

 

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