Friday, October 17, 2008

Has it really been almost a week??

I have not posted since Monday - most of you must not feel like checking this blog out much. The problem is that I am trying to keep several blogs going and most of this week I really felt awful and I hate to do nothing but blog about how miserable I feel. Great encouragement o have a large family, eh?

But here is the positive side of it, while I am only managing to keep it together in the morning and by 2 or 3 pm have to crawl into my bed to rest and nurse my aching body, be it joints or ligaments or my back or worse all three, my older kids really help keep it going.

Is it always as I would like it? Nope - but things keep going. My 13 year old son the last two weeks has typically come in to my room in the morning to find out what is for breakfast and then has organized it. My other kids each take a turn making supper and they all pretty much know the afternoon drill for afternoon chores. Yes, a few forget now and then, one of them regularly forgets to clean the upstairs bathroom but a gentle reminder and it gets done.

So while the physical part of being pregnant at 46 with my 13th is really, really, really hard - it is doable because all of the kids pitch in and they are each and every one of them excited about a new baby.

I too am excited and even after 12 previous successful pregnancies, I am still enthralled with the feeling of a little life tumbling and stretching within. It hurts more this time around, than in the past. But I am still in awe of it and am often distracted from what I am doing to stop and watch my tummy rumble and roll. The kids can now see their siblings gymnastic feats from across the room and are thrilled by it.

But I do worry - will the baby be healthy? With Gracie's passing, I have worried a lot. This family did not catch anything on the ultrasound in regards to her condition. So it weighs on my mind at times. I worry - will I go into labour by myself? I would like to ask for prayers for that as most of my later babies have been induced - mostly due to my back problems leaving me almost incapacitated. So I worry maybe my body will not do this alone and since I am using a midwife this time - there is no induction with drugs or otherwise lying in wait.

The last baby was delivered by c-section and the first 24 hours was a nightmare with the staff almost rupturing my bladder through lack of proper care, amongst other difficulties. The memories are still difficult. So prayers are begged for!

There is more I can write about but it is late and I better get to bed!

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Monday, October 13, 2008

The elephant in the room.

The elephant in the room is a comment we are hearing often in the media and then they are usually referring to the economy. However in my case I am referring to my pregnancy. I say this because either 1) I feel like the elephant in the room - as I clamber across a room up up the stairs - very focused on not losing my balance - something I am very prone to these days.
And then there is 2) I am trying to ignore the elephant in the room - which is the third trimester looming ahead of me like a huge cavern filled with pits and snakes and I have to navigate it - in the dark.

I am already so uncomfortable that I am flinching daily, sometimes hourly, at the idea of another 86 days till I can start counting the days I am overdue. I have almost always gone early or on time but this time I am expecting to go over as I have typically been induced - either because I was having contractions to no end - with no progress so at about 38+ weeks - the doctor would heed my pleading and the water would be broken with a baby in about 8 - 10 hours. This time, however, we have chosen a midwife for our care and delivery and there will be no breaking of water at 38+ weeks unless there is great medical necessity of it. The certainly of this is like the that of the stone the ten commandments were etched in. Even after Moses hurled it in anger and broke it - it was still stone.

So the tiny flickering light that I am using to get through this yawning cavern of discomfort, and yes even of fear, is focusing on today. Just getting through today as tomorrow might be different. Tomorrow I might have more energy and perhaps less pain. Or it might be worse. But today is all I have and I cannot know what tomorrow brings and no amount of worry will change it. Prayer will help, but worry and fretting will not.
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Tuesday, October 7, 2008


I feel miserable - absolutely miserable and completely sorry for myself. What the heck will I be feeling in 12 more weeks! Better not to think about it.

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Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Totally Cool Experience!

This is my13th pregnancy to progress this far along. Incredibly we are just on the heels of the third trimester. (Only today I called it the third semester! School must be on my mind.) It seems that no matter how many times you are pregnant it is never humdrum. I have been dreading the idea of this baby following in her youngest elder sister's footsteps and transverse baby necessitating a repeat c-section. As I still resent my last one and the terrible after care I received - the very idea of another almost puts me in tears. The past few weeks have been rather difficult for me as I felt as though being so close to the last trimester - I really should be bigger. Mind I looked large, but I felt very small. I felt a lot of space below my ribs and it was very easy to bend over as well as to breath. I was so worried that my baby was not growing at the right rate.

It never occurred to me that it might be her position that was allowing all of this extra room. Not even when I began to suspect another transverse lie did it dawn on me this could be the reason I would have so much space below my ribs as Elsa, you see, turned transverse late in the pregnancy. So she had already been making me uncomfortable with that huge hippopotamus feeling you get as you close in on the last few months. I only began to suspect a transverse lie when I realized how consistently the baby's movements were only being felt on the lower sides of my stomach. Not once had I felt a single punch or kick below the ribs. It was all side to side. So in addition to my worries of the idea that perhaps the baby was not growing, I now had the added worry that she was preparing to be a transverse lie baby.

However, this afternoon I had the most incredible experience. Unlike Nathaniel who, at about eight months, decided to go from head up to bottoms up causing so me so much pain I thought I was in labour - this was a very gentle experience.

So today, after a busy day at co-op and some writing on the computer, I needed to lie down for a spell. While lying on my left side I felt some gentle kicks on my lower right side. I drifted off only to be awakened again by more gentle kicks - a little higher now. I thought 'huh her stretch is getting longer'. Once more I drifted off only to be awakened again by more taping - this time while still on my right it was much higher than I had ever felt her move. Sleepily I wondered if maybe she was correcting her position and then I lazily fell back asleep. At last I was awakened by some thumps just where I should feel them - under my breast bone.

Even though I had at one point wondered if she were flipping into the bottoms up position it had not really sunk in, and when I got up from my rest I wondered why suddenly was I grunting so much when I bent over. Why, bending over this morning to pick bits of this and that off the floor had been dead easy. In fact, just before lying down I had done a quick cleaning of my bed room floor, bending with ease - comparatively speaking of course.

Still rather dense, I sat at my computer to do a little more writing on my latest book review and, wonderingly, huffed and puffed when I bent to pick up a dropped pencil off the floor. It was only as we were quickly getting the younger kids ready to join us in a quick run to Salisbury - did it dawn on my that my tummy was firm - just under my ribs. That empty space had been filled up and my stomach had a more narrow look to it. So this little one of mine and all of her 11 inches and 1.5 lbs is no longer stretching from side to side but is now up and down. The question is - which direction is her head in? But no matter - that is a little problem my chiropractor and I can handle with a small instrument called an activator. Just ask Nathaniel - he can tell you how Dr. John and I convinced him to turn bottoms up. That little popping sound of the activator was just so annoying!

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Friday, September 26, 2008

Oh me oh my....,

I am not posting as often as I would like - WHY? I think largely because I am experiencing that 'pregnant stupidness' I have heard other women talk about. I do not feel very inspired or smart or able to easily convey what I am thinking...

I am tired. I am tired of a lot of things.

I am tired of the back support I am wearing - even though it really does make a difference.
I am tired of it chaffing my sides and wearing on moles that happen to be exactly where the support chaffs.
I am tired of not having hot water.
I am tired of worrying every time it rains that the basement will flood especially when we just paid a contractor to come in a light the pilot lights - only to learn he could only get the furnace lit - which is not yet needed... But the hot water tank - needs first aid from a plumber and will not light.

I am tired of worrying.

Worrying about children and their lack of progress in certain areas and wondering how to help them do better and meet their goals.
Worrying about the tree from which HUGE limbs broke off without an apparent reason and is hanging over my bedroom ceiling... and could lose those limbs at anytime....
Worrying about money and how quickly our retirement fund is disappearing as Hugo studies and works towards his Certification in hopes htat this will help get back into the job market.
Worrying that maybe the certification won't make a difference at all
Worrying I was gaining too much weight because I was stressed and eating lots of chocolate.
Worrying because in reality I only gained .5 lbs last month (because I ate less junk food and more healthy food) that maybe that meant that the baby is not growing as she should.
Worrying about the electricity in this house and how the fuses blow often and sometimes without an apparent reason.
Worrying that I worry too much.

Do you see a pattern here?

I think I need a cup of tea and a little less worry. What do you think?

I need to either learn how to use the feature of read more - again. Or, take the time to find the code and remove it. In the meantime please ignore Read more!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Too funny not to share

Given that this blog is, for now, all about babies I thought you would enjoy this funny story that was sent to me tonight. Thank you Pat.

The Middle Wife

I've been teaching now for about fifteen years. I have two kids myself, but the best birth story I know is the one I saw in my own second grade classroom a few years back.

When I was a kid, I loved show-and-tell. So I always have a few sessions with my students. It helps them get over shyness and usually, show-and-tell is pretty tame. Kids bring in pet turtles, model airplanes, pictures of fish they catch, stuff like that. And I never, ever place any boundaries or limitations on them. If they want to lug it in to school and talk about it, they're welcome.

Well, one day this little girl, Erica, a very bright, very outgoing kid, takes her turn and waddles up to the front of the class with a pillow stuffed under her sweater.

She holds up a snapshot of an infant. 'This is Luke, my baby brother, and I'm going to tell you about his birthday.'

'First, Mom and Dad made him as a symbol of their love, and then Dad put a seed in my Mom's stomach, and Luke grew in there. He ate for nine months through an umbrella cord.'

She's standing there with her hands on the pillow, and I'm trying not to laugh and wishing I had my camcorder with me. The kids are watching her in amazement.

'Then, about two Saturdays ago, my Mom starts saying and going, 'Oh, Oh, Oh, Oh!' Erica puts a hand behind her back and groans. 'She walked around the house for, like an hour, 'Oh, oh, oh!' (Now this kid is doing a hysterical duck walk and groaning.)

'My Dad called the middle wife. She delivers babies, but she doesn't have a sign on the car like the Domino's man. They got my Mom to lie down in bed like this.' (Then Erica lies down with her back against the wall.)

'And then, pop! My Mom had this bag of water she kept in there in case he got thirsty, and it just blew up and spilled all over the bed, like psshhheew!' (This kid has her legs spread with her little hands miming water flowing away. It was too much!)

'Then the middle wife starts saying 'push, push,' and 'breathe, breathe. They started counting, but never even got past ten. Then, all of a sudden, out comes my brother. He was covered in yucky stuff that they all said it was from Mom's play-center, so there must be a lot of toys inside there.'

Then Erica stood up, took a big theatrical bow and returned to her seat. I'm sure I applauded the loudest. Ever since then, when it's show-and-tell day, I bring my camcorder, just in case another 'Middle Wife' comes along.

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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Midwife day...

I can't believe how close I am to the biweekly visits. Too soon those will be upon me! The back roads we drive to get there make me grateful that we rarely have snow. Should I still be in Canada, I think I would be asking Hugo to be putting chains on the back tires!

Which reminds me of a rather colourful story of regular wintery night in Canada oh so many years ago. But I will share that in a different post... later. So be sure to tune in, eh?

But back to baby to be.

Growth is right on target and her heart rate was about 144. It is hard to get a really good reading of her heart rate as she has always runs away from the Doppler. She really does not like to be prodded and poked but when she is born she will need to get used to it as I am sure there will be lots of little hands poking and prodding in an attempt to help with the new baby. We have pictures a plenty of only slightly older siblings trying to help new babies with their soothers - and usually missing the target by, oh say, an eye or nostril.

I ( drum roll please) gained only 1/2 a pound! But I can't brag more than that though as I more than gained my fair share the previous months.

My BP is my typical 108/66. However - I am not doing so well in the drinking of plenty of water as I have slight edema so I need to pick up in that area.

Yesterday I saw the Chiropractor and will see him again tomorrow. I have my support belt on (almost 24/7) and I thinkI am seeing some improvement although I have moments when the pain gets so bad that I feel absolutely terrified at the thought of another 3 - 4 months of this!

Well - it is late and I must toddle off to bed now. Good Night and God Bless!

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Sunday, September 14, 2008

looking for

... a new chiropractor and this and reading these, in hopes of beating this back pain. Requesting prayers and offering apologies for lack of posts and updates. Seeing the midwife this week. I have lost track of how far along I am. I think I am 24 weeks or 6 months.... Guess I need to read my own blog as I know I posted last week how far along I am...

Off to take a peek at last weeks posts to see just where I am.

(Yup - took a peek and I am indeed 6 months.... so this intense pain is only about 6 weeks ahead of itself, I am thinking I will be hitting Babies R Us asap tomorrow. Please pray for me when I call my (midwife's back up) OBGYN in hopes of a prescription for some more pain meds as my purse was stolen - and guess what life line I had in it???) Read more!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


Had a scare a few days ago when my back ache was so bad that I could not distinguish between the back pain and the reflective pain that was spreading around the front of my stomach and felt like contractions. It was a little scary as I have had premature labour before, the first time meant five says in hospital and bed rest, the second was arrested just with bed rest at home. I don't want to repeat either of those scenarios.

On a more positive note - we have entered the stage of 'football', you know when baby to be starts playing football with... your bladder! Sometimes you can just see, or should I say feel her tap dancing in celebration after a goal!

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Monday, September 8, 2008

Baby to be is ...

...twenty three weeks. She weighs a mere 1 lb (tell that to my complaining ligaments) and is about 11 inches long. She enjoys quiet music when we play it to my tummy, and appears to love to dance in between songs. (This photo is from and is not of my baby, but is a good representative of what she currently looks like. ) Read more!

Saturday, September 6, 2008


Just got back from getting the groceries with Hugo. We hit Aldis first and then Wal-mart and you don't want to know the total. Let's just say - even I was dismayed. However we were out of quite a few staples like sugar - just a mere 2.09 a bag at ALDIS!

I also needed to satisfy that craving for a cup dark hot chocolate and so snared a hefty container of cocoa powder and a can of whipped cream. When we got home the kids cheered over the pizza while I clasped the cocoa and whipped cream and headed straight to the stove. I had also purchased a bag of white sour dough bread as my craving would not be satisfied without toast drenched in butter and dipped in the steaming hot chocolate. Yum.

But besides worrying about the total cost of this outing - I am also lamenting that we did not stock up on water. But then we are no longer on a well - so even if we were to lose the power as the tip of the weather front slides over us the next few hours - we will still have water. Hopefully! But then I did not expect to be flooded with the last storm front that passed over us and we are still without hot water from that episode. So who knows what the next 24 hours will bring.

Already I hear the soft patter of rain drops on the roof and the swish of tires on the wet pavement outside our windows. I just hope I am not also treated to the sound of cracking wood and ripping branches, as I was last week.

This will post tomorrow (Saturday) as I have already posted twice today and there is the slight chance of losing the power. In this way - I can assure my readers of something new to read in the morning. And now I must rest my very tired and cranky back that began to complain bitterly in the pasta and gravy mix isle. The muscle spasms were starting just below my tummy and stretching all the way around into my spine. I stood there thinking that icing my back would be such a GOOD idea, but stupidly I did not think to ask Hugo to grab an icepack. Instead, as I hobbled to the nearest bench and Hugo hurried through the isles grabbing the last of our needs off the shelves, I wondered how long it would take to chill my sock of rice. I quickly gave up on that idea though as I figured it would be too hard and bunchy to be of any relief.

Ah well - there is always tomorrow, eh?
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Friday, September 5, 2008

Go figure...

... despite that it is a mere 26.3 Celsius (or 79 f) I am dying for a cup of home made hot chocolate topped with fresh whipping cream. I must be pregnant - that is the only explanation I can come up with in this heat.

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Wednesday, September 3, 2008


... my back is aching so much - that I cried. I am just a little over halfway there and it is such an exciting time for one's pregnancy. The baby is moving so much that you can not but be aware almost 24/7 of its presence.

Sadly for me though from here on in - I can expect the back pain to begin to cramp my style - severely. It is the price I pay for the honour of so many blessings.

Baby to be now weighs close to 1 pound and my back is clearly objecting to this weight. Still - it is thrilling to be where I am and I ask only for prayers for the grace to continue on and if possible some relief from the pain.

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Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Navel Gazing

... takes on a whole new meaning while pregnant. I find myself easily distracted from reading, writing or even watching an exciting movie by the little bumps and kicks coming from within. I have to stop and gaze at my protruding tummy and watch for the slightest ripple or other movement that is visible. And of course, as soon as I fix my eye on my tummy - all movement stops. So I tried a little trick last night. I pretended to keep reading while actually casting my eye below the book - and caught her in action!

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Monday, September 1, 2008

A Benchmark

I was actually able to catch sight of the baby moving and so did Hugo last night. Until now I have only been able to feel her move - not actually see a ripple across my tummy. The little ones are so eager to feel her move. So upon hearing Hugo and I laugh over seeing her movements - Emma and Elsa were by my side in a flash - poking and pushing my tummy calling 'Baby - wake up! Wake up baby!'

I finally had to stop them as I could feel my ligaments threatening to spasm, a trick they love to pull often throughout the day, without rhyme nor reason. Hence I can not predict what will cause it and avoid that behaviour or type of movement, but obviously poking my tummy is a no no!

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Saturday, August 30, 2008

Prayers please

As some may know we suffered some damage and a flooded basement as a result of the torrential rains we experienced as the remnants of Fay hit us over a three day period. This has resulted in the loss of our hot water and this loss may extend well into next week. This has us anxiously watching the two new storms gathering off of the coast. Do we call a private contractor to inspect the tank and furnace or wait to see if the basement is flooded again. Would hate to have to do this twice and pay twice the fees.

Heating water to wash the pots and pans is one thing - showers and baths for eleven people - quite another. Makes one really appreciate the pioneers, no?

Just another little trial to offer up!

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On the near occaision of

...the 88th anniversary of women getting the vote - the Republican's candidate for President chooses a woman to his running mate as VP.

Here is her family in separate photos. The Palin's oldest son is currently in the army and preparing to leave for Iraq this September 11th. A separate photo of Governor Palin and her husband with their newest addition to the family, born in April 08, is also below.

Here are a few articles about Governor Palin and her husband's reaction to the news when Sarah was four months pregnant with Trig and they learned he was possibly a downs syndrome baby.

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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

As if I could forget...

Elsa called to me from her car seat behind me:

"Mummy, did you remember you have a baby in your tummy?"

"What!" I feigned ignorance. "I have a baby in my tummy, are you sure?"

This was met with oodles of giggles.

"Yes, you do silly!"

Yes - I certainly do and these days - my little one is making sure I do not miss her presence as she is a very busy 21 week old baby to be. Read more!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

My first pedicure...

I am only fourty six and just had my first pedicure - complete with a french manicure - on my toes that is. I did not bother with my finger nails. There is no way the polish would survive more than a day or two.

Elsa's reaction to my pretty toes (she is 3 1/2) was typical fairly typical. She is all girl and simply drooled over my nail polish and is dreaming of the day she will be old enough to have it done. Now the sixty million dollar question is will she too be 46 before she experiences her first pedicure and will she share her experience with her pregnant daughter, while also pregnant herself? Read more!

21 weeks - According to the baby calendar

Even though this is my thirteenth baby - I still love following my baby's development online so I have signed up for a weekly email of how where my baby is week by week. Here is this week's progress report. I will post them weekly along with a note as to how accurate it seems to be in relation to how I am feeling.

Hello, Christi!
Your baby now href="">weighs about 3/4 of a pound and is approximately 10 1/2 inches long — the length of a carrot. You may soon feel like she's practicing martial arts as her initial fluttering movements turn into full-fledged kicks and nudges. You may also discover a pattern to her activity as you get to know her better. In other developments, your baby's eyebrows and lids are present now, and if you're having a girl, her vagina has begun to form as well.

How your life's changing:

You're probably feeling pretty comfortable these days. You're not too big yet, and the usual discomforts associated with early pregnancy are, for the most part, gone. If you're feeling good, relax and enjoy it while you can — the third trimester may bring with it a new crop of complaints.That's not to say you won't have some minor glitches to deal with now. (From here on they talked about varicose veins so I didn't bother to add it. Who wants to read about that anyway - I don't!)

So - as to the baby's movements - I am not seeing any routines to them but they are stronger and I love this time of the pregancy. Not too uncompfortable and loving the baby's movements.

Please ignore the Read more!

Monday, August 25, 2008

21 weeks for me...

Fourty one weeks for my daughter and counting the minutes until her daughter is born. Poor Jenny - she is so uncompfortable. How well I remember those days, and how much am I dreading revisiting them in about eighteen weeks. I only just realized that Jenny and I are exactly 20 weeks apart in our pregnancies.

When she called today to tell me her symptoms (that sounded to me like early warnings of transition) I encouraged her to go in and be checked because she has a very high threshold for pain tolerance and it was entirely possible for her to be having contractions and not be feeling them. As it is her first and there is no history - how was she to have any idea of how her labour was to proceed - fast and furious, fast and almost painless (my aunt always described her two labours as bad mentrusal cramps that last a couple of hours.... feel free to hate her! :-) or will her labour be slow and incredibly painful? My first labour lasted almost 36 hours - if I remember correctly and I vomited my way through it until they gave me a shot of gravol. This was eventually followed by a shot of demerol and I went from panicked shrieks of "I'm going to throw up! I am going to throw up!!!" to a chilled "Uh... I think.. I might throw up... now - could I have the bowl please... "

I am, for the most part, always polite through out my labour. Must be my Canadian upbringing - we are a very polite people. Just joking. I am not sure why I do not lose it like I hear so many woman complain of themselves. But ask my poor husband who is never allowed to leave the room for more than a nano second once I hit about 5 centimeters, but to whom I am still very civil and polite with. With the first baby, we did the whole lamaze course thing but when push came to shove (excuse the pun) he not only was not allowed to leave the room, but he had to sit on the stool and it had to be placed near my head. Nor was he allowed to touch me. I could not bear being touched except for a cool cloth on my forehead. Still he was not allowed to sit on the compfy recliner - it had to be the stool - by my head - where I could easily see him.

Hey - I said I was polite - not reasonable.

So anyone who happens to read this... today August 25th 2008 .... say a prayer for my daughter, and her little daughter in waiting, for a safe labour and delivery. Say a prayer for husband and Daddy, John, too. Labours are tough on Dads too - and he is especially compassionate and cannot stand to see Jenny suffer.

Prayer to Saint Gerard
Prayer for a Safe DeliveryO great Saint Gerard, beloved servant of Jesus Christ, perfect imitator of your meek and humble Savior, and devoted child of Mother of God, enkindle within my heart one spark of that heavenly fire of charity which glowed in your heart and made you an angel of love. O glorious Saint Gerard, because when falsely accused of crime, you did bear, like your Divine Master, without murmur or complaint, the calumnies of wicked men, you have been raised up by God as the patron and protector of expectant mothers. Preserve me from danger and from the excessive pains accompanying childbirth, and shield the child which I now carry, that it may see the light of day and receive the purifying and life-giving waters of baptism through Jesus Christ our Lord.
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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

What makes being pregnant real for me...

Even more than the positive pregnancy test or even the ultrasound - it is the first flutters that makes the fact that I am carrying another life around inside me - so real.

But as much as I love those little flutters that eventually become little kicks and elbow nudges, hiccuping drives me crazy and at five months this little one to be - is HICCUPPING!!!!

Oh, I hope she is not a big hiccuper!

Please ignore
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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The half way mark....

So we are at the halfway mark - 21 weeks and a few days into the pregnancy. Today we had the ultrasound and ... it looks like we are having a little girl - number 8. So the girls lead by three now, 8 to 5!

Nathaniel (8) was hoping for a baby brother, but now is really looking forward to meeting his baby sister in January.

Everything looks good, but of course - no one knows for sure until the day we finally meet baby to be. I am excited about looking for some new pink things! I'm just glad to know, but I was kind of hoping for a little boy too. However - once you know - it is just wonderful! And she will have several sisters and a niece who will only be 5 months older than her. I think that is the most fun part - imagining the niece and aunt growing up together. What will it be like to have an aunt younger than YOU???

Baby to be is moving around lots and it was so easy to see it on the ultrasound. Emma, who is five, and Aimee who is her oldest sister (25yo) were both there to see the ultrasound. It was really fun to have them there with their Daddy too. He is also really looking forward to a baby girl - although he thought another little boy would be fun. But there's the rub, eh - they are ALL wonderful fun - boys or girls! We are so blessed to have experienced the raising of both sons and daughters.

Until later

Please ignore Read more!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Teen tantrums VS the terrible twos

As the miles slipped by bringing us closer to our destination, Hanceville Alabama, I listened to the mostly cheerful noises from behind me in our fifteen passenger van. Occasionally the noise was punctuated by the growls of the soon to be three year old who does not enjoy being strapped into her car seat for prolonged periods of time. Lucky us, we only had another five hours to go. As her 17 year old sister tried to entertain her, I began to muse about the difference between dealing with the temper tantrums of the “terrible twos” stage and the emotional difficulties of the teen years. It struck me that the challenges facing the two year old and the teenager were largely the same – that of the struggle to find one’s independence while also dealing with the fear and the unknowns that this very goal brings with it.

I think most parents when asked which they would prefer to deal with – the terrible twos or the rebellious teen years – would resoundingly answer the terrible twos. Perhaps that is mostly because the memories of the teen years are closer in proximity. Yet, I would venture to say that in many cases it is because those rebellious and troubled filled years brought the most tears and gray hairs than did the terrible twos.

However, as I close in on facing my seventh teenager about to join the frays of those change filled years, I am also still dealing with the throes of the ‘terrible twos’ of my youngest. And so I can honestly say I find the teen years with all of its hormones, searching questions and even tears, infinitely easier to live through than the terrible twos. No doubt, upon hearing this, many parents would look at me as if I had two heads or wonder how many milligrams of Prozac I am on.

None the less it is true and I believe the reason for this is that my teens and I have a foundation that supported us through these difficult years.
It was a common foundation and it was, and is, our relationship with God. I am not saying that it was all cozy, warm and fuzzy with all of us simply turning to God in prayer when faced with a confrontation. Rather it was more a matter of my children having an authority even higher than mine to answer to. And this I believe is the true key to not only coming through the teen years, but all the stronger for having gone through them. That, and continued communication. These are what is missing during the phase of the terrible twos.

At that stage not only is the child’s relationship with God just emerging, it is almost impossible to effectively communicate with the frustrated child why he must or must not do something. The child simply can not comprehend why. Nor can she communicate the frustrations she is experiencing beyond screaming and tossing items about. However, teenagers, if communication lines are kept open, can voice concerns, frustrations and even temptations they are experiencing. When at logger heads over an issue most of my children have had spiritual directors to turn to, who in turn directed them back to the Authority over us all. God. What better resource can one have than that?

But this did not emerge over night. My husband and I did not pull God out of a magic top hat on a child’s thirteenth birthday. My husband and I began building this foundation at an early age, with attendance of Sunday Mass, and catechism taught at home. Efforts were made to pray the Rosary on a daily basis as well an attempt to communicate why it was important to pray. We attempted to make it an enjoyable experience. We also made many books of the saints available as examples to strive for. A personal relationship with Jesus and the community of Saints was what we strove for as a family through the frequent reception of the sacraments. It was a continuous, even if sometimes imperfect, effort. Thankfully we did not fall for the secular idea of not introducing our children to God as this was a personal experience, and was not to be inflected on a child. This idea was supported by the professionals who claimed it was better to leave a child to discover a god, or a higher power, of their liking.

I now truly believe it was this faith foundation that helped pull our teens and will continue to pull our current teens through those difficult years when one feels the need to challenge all authority around them, to seek independence and the why for everything. Why listen, why obey, why be different from ones peers. Why dress modestly when all around us don’t? Why be chaste when the message all about us is be hot and sexy? What better answer to these challenges, these whys, than God. What better than to be able to ask; ‘What do you think God wants you to do?’

Because we introduced our children to God at a very early age, we were able to work with Him to guide our teens through these difficult years. With God on our side when we have been faced with these challenging questions of why, my husband and I do not need to be the bad guy. At least, not for long. When we have had to enforce a decision that was not popular, typically it was not long before the teenager saw the sense of it. The teenager was able to see the reasoning because he was able to take it to God, through the sacrament of Confession, through direction from their Spiritual Director, or through his own private prayer life.

My husband and I know we are not perfect parents. I know that as a mother there have been many times when I over corrected, under corrected and just not been as attentive as I needed to be from time to time. However, I am putting my trust in God, that in His infinite mercy, He has blessed my children and us with enough graces to fill in those cracks in my parenting, and it is my continued prayer that He will continue to do so. I pray that He will continue to assist my husband, and I, in building the foundation that will sustain our children though their teens and on into their adult years – the foundation of a personal relationship with Christ. A foundation built through the sacraments offered by our Church.
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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Introducing myself

I am the mother of a rather large brood, though by no means can I compete with the Duggars but currently I am in my 18th or 19th pregnancy and God willing we will give birth to our 13th child in early 2009. This blog, for now, is meant to be a diary of what it is like to be expecting your 13th child, in your later forties and while also waiting on the birth of your first grand daughter who will be five months older than her aunt or uncle.
So this blog will largely be about the joys, miseries and the challenges of being pregnant at this stage of my life, with this large a family around me.

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