Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The Big Bad Word

Hello there great big blog world!

Its been a while.  I know.  It wasn't you, it was me.  It is just so busy around this house. 

This is the second semester of homeschooling. 

And Mercy is just as busy as ever.  She rolls all over the living room floor, or the classroom or the playroom or any other place you want to lay her down.  Its more a of side to side scoot then anything else.

Melodee is in the second grade.  All attitude and sassiness.  She actually is beginning to like homeschooling so that is good.   However, she is crafty in ways to try to get out of her work.  As we all are I suppose.

Malachi is still just four, even though at times he seems at least ten because of his size.  His attention span would rival that of a goldfish in its shortness.  So letters aren't quite coming along but he likes numbers so we go with that. 

The best lesson that I learned lately is that one word can ruin a whole day.  For instance, I spend an hour the night before, getting school ready and a bit in the morning.  We have a great day.  We do flag salute, say our little house poem, get in math and then BAM, here it comes, the bad, bad word.  Melodee pretends she doesn't know the word "the."  Now, we both know she knows this word.  And I look at her and say:


That is the bad word.  It's not the word itself, because if i said it sweetly, then its all good.  But I said it angry, because I would like to get on with our day too.  And you can see it in her face.  She's frustrated and I'm frustrated and Malachi decides to destroy something and there goes the day I set up to love on my children. 

Because, in my frustration, what I am really saying is:

I care more about my feelings than yours.

I care more about getting on to the rest of the day's tasks then doing this with you

And mostly:

I love ME more than I love YOU right now.

So it leads me to the one word we hate to use the most.  Because it means we have to admit we did wrong.  And it goes like this:


It can't erase the bad word, but we can start over.  When I ask her if she knows the word she says yes but she wanted me to read it.  This is okay.  If I can reign in my temper and get through these silly times, we will both be better for it.  So this homeschooling isn't always about teaching them, but also teaching me.  First on my schedule for learning?  Patience. 

Friday, May 27, 2011

Let's hurry up and wait.

So I have been trying to ask people about getting some therapy for Mercy for a while now.  My peditrician, who, God bless him, is WAY overworked.  Has said he would do something but nothing has happened yet.  We finally contacted Central Valley Regional Center, which she would be able to get help from, but not until July 13th. 

We also have started with the "who is going to pay?"  Private insurance VS Medi-Cal VS CCS VS the program at CVRC.  I know I am new, but I really want to know why it is so much work to get this going?  IT is obvious to everyone that she needs it.  Why can't I call and just get someone out here tomorrow to teach me what to do.  It seems like I could go to train at a school to become a therapist in the time it is taking to get someone to check her out! 

All that aside, I know that therapy will help, but she is going well.  I know that she is hitting her toys on purpose.  It looks like it isn't but she smiles every time she touches one and when she stops hitting them, she gets mad.  She hears my voice and looks for me.  When I walk into her room and she doesn't get picked up right away she crys.  So she must be able to see me. 

Her hearing isnt good, but we can't have the test until July 25th that would get her help right away.

It's frustrating to have to wait and wait. 

I want to feel like I am doing the best that I can for her, but I think I am slacking.   I hope this starts to turn soon because I am not one of those people who call and complain and bug, and I feel like I might have to learn how to do that very soon.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

My big girl.

Mercy is 4.65 kilos as of today.  She is 58 cm.  She isn't as big as the doctor would like, but she is doing ok.  She just got prescribed an acid reducer, so hopefully she will not be barfing like she was.  The doc wants her to grow 15 grams a day and right now she is at 9 per day. 

She likes to roll from side to side and on a flat surface, she will spin around in circles.  She can hold up her head for a few minutes at a time before she gets tired and it bounces all around. 

Her hips are finally settled just right and she is going to be having her cleft surgery at the end of next month.  She will also, along with the nose job, have more plastic surgery done on her eye, which will make it close a lot better while she sleeps. 

She is not making a ton of sounds, just crying, but she has a big hearing test coming up so we are hoping to resolve the issue of hearing soon. 

Her eyes, so far, are doing well.  She is tracking, so she can see a little bit.  She loves to watch lights, but hates the sun. 

Everything else is going ok.  Nothing super huge is going wrong so we are happy with where we are right now. 

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Don't let me hurt your feelings.

I am having a hard time figuring out what to say to people.  Sometimes they just don't understand what they are saying and I am trying not to dash THEIR illusions.  Today a gal at the pharmacy asked how old Mercy was.  So when I told her six and half months she asked the usual. 


No, she has a genetic condition and she's missing some genes. 

Oh, she replies.  She'll catch up soon. 

Well, no she wont, but for some reason I don't want to tell her this, because she thinks she is cheering me up my assuring me that my kiddo will be normal soon.  So maybe its a nice thing to let them think they are making me feel better. 

I really do feel guilty if someone asks about her and I tell them.  Of course they asked, but they really don't want to know ALL of the details.  But how else can I explain why she is tiny and wasn't born a preemie.  Someone even asked me if her genes would grow back. 

Now I don't expect everyone to understand what is going on medically.  I had to research a ton to try to grasp what was going on in my situation.  But it is so strange to me how people try to assure me that it is going to be ok, and they don't even know me.  They have no idea what is going on in Mercy's tiny body.  Why do we do that?  What is so wrong with a baby who is different?  

I am trying to talk to Melodee about baby Mercy and let her know that she is "special" but I just say different from you and your brother.  She wants to know how she is different, because Melodee knows she is special, but isn't sure what I am getting at yet. 

"Baby Mercy is almost sitting up mom!  She is getting so big.  Look she is holding me!" 

She isn't almost sitting up but she does roll from side to side pretty well and she can hold up her head for a few minutes at a time before tiring out.  She especially likes to wiggle down to the end of the crib.  But to explain why she isn't crawling I tell her that our bodies are all like a big puzzle.  There are lots of pieces that go into every bit of us.  Baby Mercy is missing some pieces in her puzzle, that is why it is taking longer for her to get bigger and do big girl things.  At five and a half, this means nothing to Melodee.  But she wants to know when sister will eat ice cream with us and when she will get to go to school.  I want to be truthful so I tell her we will just have to wait and see what baby Mercy will do and when she will do it.  

I am not sure when the other two will realize that there is something different about baby Mercy.  PRobably not until we have another child and they start to do things Mercy cannot.  But I am trying to let them know that it is OK to not be doing what everyone else is doing.  And they don't need to assure me that she is going to catch up, because they love her just the way she is now.  

Now if only everyone else didn't want to assure me it is going to be ok.  Because I am learning that when things are not just how you expect, you can grow and learn and teach others about what really matters.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Tell Me About It!

Almost every day I have to fight this urge to tell people they have no idea what I am going through.  I feel like I have to go through so much more than them every day and they just cannot compare to my life at all.  And I know this is a true statement.  Not even my WHS friends go through exactly what I do.  But this does not give me a right to think of myself more highly than I ought to.

I usually have to work really hard to not feel something like superiority over the people who complain about their children.  Because even when their kids are throwing up or misbehaving or just not sleeping, they will never have to go through what we do.  I feel like that makes me some kind of "special" as well.   And that is just not true.  I am just like anyone, I have no idea what it is like to be them or what they do day to day.

When someone tells me they remember having to wake up every three hours, I think, not for five months.  Not when you have to spend a few minutes putting the nipple on and in and around your babies mouth to "desensitize" so she wont gag repeatedly.  Not when you have to pay attention for every second you are squeezing the bottle so she doesn't aspirate.  Not when you have to hold her until she burps so she doesn't just throw it all right back up.  And sometimes, even when she burps and you aren't jostling her, she still throws it all up and you have to start all over.  Not when on top of all this, you have to clean out bottles and pumping supplies and pump every three hours. 

Its not just like my other two.  I am exhasted, mentally and physically.  I am usually drained emotionally also.  It is so hard to not be able to just enjoy feeding my baby.  There is no bonding time, no loving stares, just hard hard work.  Most of the time she refuses my feeding her after a few minutes.  And when she starts fighting me, she throws up.  Luckily she eats very well for Mark.  But it is still frustrating and hard to accept that I can't make her do what she needs. 

Every doctors appointment we go to its there in big black letters "FAILURE TO THRIVE"  And that feels terrible.  I feel like we aren't able to do anything for her, especially that I can't do anything right.  And the doctor says, I bet you will be happy to get that cleft fixed so people will stop asking questions.  No, not really, she is still tiny.  They will still ask.  And I don't even have a problem with that.  Mostly I love to talk about how much she is "missing" and how well she is doing.  Its the look after I start talking I can't stand.  Either pity or something like horror.  And sometimes even "You didnt catch it in time?" 

Its hard to see regular babies.  I don't envy others, but when I see them, it reminds me that she won't be like them.  I can accept this in my head, but my heart doesn't always follow.  Truly, I feel like she is just another baby until I see a four month old holding their body upright staring lovingly at their daddy and giggling.  She can do none of those things.   

My mom will tell me that I am doing so much work for her.  That there aren't a lot of mom's who would spend that time pumping like I do.  That there aren't a lot of couples who would even still be together.  That there aren't a lot of people who would choose life for her over an abortion of convenience.  But I told her this: I don't work harder for her than the other two.  I just provide what she needs.  Isn't the saying find something you love to do and you will never work another day in your life.  We love our babies. I would think it would be harder to be a mother of a person who grows up to be a murderer than for our baby Mercy.  And this tiring thing we have to do, it isn't work.  Its just like doing homework with Melodee or kicking a ball with Malachi.  Its just what needs to be done so we do it. 

Of course I am tired.  But I was tired before.  When I had my two kids who are "regular"  We chose this life of parenting and we are sticking to it.  It totally makes me crazy when people who have children want that life they had before.  The "fun" of partying and drinking, going out, having fun and who knows what else.  How is that more fun that snuggling at bedtime making up stories?  When did your children become something to tolerate until you can do something more "fun."  Of course, I love to go out with just Mark every now and then, but isn't the point of having a family, being a family?   It seems to me like most people just want kids because they "need" them and just put them up in daycare until the weekend or parties where they can dress them up.  Parenting isn't glamorous or even fun most of the time.  Its hard work.  Loving your children means teaching them right from wrong and having to work consistantly to bring them up.  If raising your kids is just trying to grow them up and get them out, just to say you had them, you are sorely missing out. 

Most days I am so drained I feel like a failure.  The house is never cleaned properly, there is always laundry to be done, and most of the time I am even very grouchy.  I feel like I can't parent my kids.  I lost my temper so easily.  I get depressed and wish I could stay in bed all day.  I am trying to be better, trying to do more things that are fun.  Now that it is warmer we can play outside, which is good for everyone.  I always start to get wary because sometimes I feel like I just want to get to the end of the day, which is so not what being a family is about.  It is not just tolerating life until Mark gets home.   So I am trying to enjoy what I have.  Trying to help my kids have more fun and not be so worried about the things that don't really matter.  Luckily, I know that I don't have to fix this all tomorrow, just so long as I am trying to day by day.  Because being messed up isn't bad as long as you are working on getting better.  Right?

Monday, April 4, 2011


Being a woman is tough.  However, I would think that being married to a woman is even harder.  I know that I ask questions that have no right answers.  I can be unreasonably moody and just plain unreasonable.  But something that I have started to think about it why I demand to know why my husband loves me.  I don't know if you ask this question, even if it is not out loud, but it is something I did not know I struggled with until I watched MercyMe in concert.  The lead singer asked a question that totally changed my perspective.  He asked "Why do you love God"  He said that most people would say "Because he saved me"  "Salvation"  It is something like what came to my mind right away.  Then he gave an example:

I ask my five year old son, "why do you love your mom"  He says things like, because she makes me peanut butter sandwiches and tucks me in at night.  That is an immature kind of love.  That is love that depends on actions.  What I hope for my son when he is 25, is that when he is asked that question his answer is "because shes my mom"  (here is added that he hoped she still wasn't making his sandwiches and tucking him in)  The correct response to why we love God should be, because he is God!  Yes, the things He has done is awesome, but we should love Him for who He is.  Worshipping the gifts from the Creator instead of the Creator is a sin.

This goes along with something my friend just posted. 

"Reading the Bible to extract it's "life lessons" puts much of the focus on the reader...but the real about the Author"

Sometimes we forget that what the Bible is, is a glimpse of who God is.  And He is amazing.  Sometimes we set up a lesson and search the Bible to confirm what we want to learn about.  But He just wants us to get to know Him.  Even the creation shows who He is. 

Having a baby like Mercy shows me this in a new way.  Of course I love my children, but sometimes I wish that they would just be perfect and not drive me crazy.  AS if they are purposely trying to ruin my day by misbehaving.  When I think about Mercy, I know she will never be able to do anything to "make" me love her.  She isn't going to get perfect grades, or a good job, or have children.  She isn't going to write poetry or keep her room clean (if she can, I assure you I will make her though)  I love her for her.  I love her for who she is going to be, even though the world says it is not "quality" life. 

I am trying to just love my children, even though sometimes they make me crazy.  I am trying to speak love to my children, even when they break my favorite knick knack.  I am trying to show love to my children, even when I have too many other things to do, because I do love them.  The good things that they do are just a bonus and a blessing instead of some kind of marker for how much I love them that day.  I am trying to not demand to know why my husband loves me.  It is enough when he says "because you are you"  I don't need to be loved because I keep the house clean (which I don't do so well anyway) or because I cook for him or even because I stay home with the kids.  He loves me because I am McKenzie, I am his wife.  Just I love him because he is Mark.  Everything he does is just icing on the cake.  I am making sure that is enough for me. 

Death and Life

When I was with my husband in the hospital when his grandpa was dying, I guess it did not occur to me that I would be seeing death itself.  Death is something that no one ever wants to talk about.  I had struggled with it when I would think about it before.  But I learned something that night. 

It wasn't this awful scary thing.  It was actually something quite beautiful.  Surrounded by his loving family, whispering love and acceptance and telling stories of all of the good memories as the time crept closer and closer.  When they "pulled the plug" it was just like a very tired machine slowly stopping.  I thought this was going to give me nightmares.  But it did not.  I thought it was going to break my emotions and leave me a mess.  It did not.  It was sad, yes.  But it was also amazing to see what death looks like.  Its a legacy.  Its knowing what you leave behind matters and love is there for you until the end.  When I think about dying now, its not as scary.  Because I have seen it.

We thought that Mercy was not going to make it when I went in to surgery to pull her out.  Honestly, we thought that her body was going to be so messed up inside she would not function and we would have had to watch her take her last breaths. This is what was presented to us when they told us of her deletion.  Constant suffering and pain and her body would never work correctly.   Of course, my little miss came out wailing and fighting those doctors.  Nevermind that she was just under five pounds, she was letting us no she did not like what was happening.  I thought that we had prepared for that outcome.  And some part of me even thought that she would not have to suffer in this life, and if she had to go, it would be best to go right away.  Thinking about a loved one dying is never something that you want to even think about thinking. 

Thinking back now, you could never be ready for that.  A life not even begun cannot end.  But a good life, full of love and laughter and of course mistakes, feels just as painful to lose.  But watching grandpa slip from life into death did not destroy me like I thought it ought to.  It did make me feel sorrowful.  But I know he doesnt suffer now.  I know he can walk and run and do all of the things that frustrated him here on earth.  And I have a new great respect for life now that I have personally seen the end of it. 

It makes me want to live mine own to the best it can be, to create that legacy that leaves behind sorrowful family, but also so blessed and happy to have been part of this life.  It makes me treasure the lives I have been given in my children.  Even when the world (doctors mostly) would have me to kill Mercy, we chose for her to have this life.  And if she does suffer something that is painful or even results in her death, I know that we gave her the opportunity to show her love and to become part of our legacy.  Mercy and Melodee and Malachi (and whoever else may come along) will be loved.  And they love each other.  Nothing means more than that.  And when my life is done I know I will be leaving behind children (grandchildren maybe) who love people for who they are and not for what they can give.  Death does not scare me at all anymore.