Thursday, September 27, 2007

Do actions speak louder than beliefs?

There is one thing that keeps happening to me which I just don't fully understand. It may seem like a trivial thing, but the fact that it even happens has left me puzzled for quite some time.

What happens is, if I keep thinking on something that I want, it comes true. For example, in the past I've thought of a favorite episode of a TV show or a certain movie I'd like to see again. About 3-7 days later, poof! It was on TV. Either someone would turn on the TV and THERE it was or I'd see it in the TV Guide listings. Another part of this is I'd think "I could really go for some Taco Bell right now" then someone would suggest we go get some Taco Bell. Or, I would think about a book I haven't read for a long time and would like to read again. Sooner or later, that book would appear in some way or another.

The third example just so happened to occur yesterday. I was thinking about the Dr. Seuss book, The Foot Book, and how much my daughter and I enjoyed reading it together. I kept remembering how much I enjoyed reading that book and how I liked it so much because it has a good rhythm to it. (In my defense, it's the kid in me that loves this book.) (Er, not the ACTUAL kid inside of me. LOL) Guess what? This was the VERY book my daughter brought home from school for her reading homework yesterday! (Part of her homework is to read a book from school.) I couldn't believe that happened. I was so surprised. She DOES have this book in her room, but I just never got around to reading it to her because we were reading OTHER books. Namely, books from her school.

I don't understand how or why this happens because I am of the opinion that just THINKING something is not enough to make it come true.

Well, I suppose in some way, I wasn't just thinking about these things. I was remembering how much I enjoyed them or thinking on how something would taste so good right now and believing that I would soon be eating that particular thing again soon. This is just one thing life coaches tell us to do when we think about something we want: Visualize it being a reality. Visualize enjoying those things again. Hear it, see it, breathe it, visualize touching it (like if it's a coveted necklace) and tasting it and feeling it.

But as for me, I REALLY feel that it's just not enough to "think" about something that I want or "believing" that particular thought will become a reality. I believe that we need to be PRODUCTIVE about making our dreams a reality. For example, if we want to write a book, it's not enough to just "think" about one day being an author of a book or visualizing it. We need to get our butt into the chair and WRITE IT! That is the only way to get on the path to becoming an author of a book: Actually writing the book. Working towards that goal. When I wanted to get published in magazines, I spent at least 6 hours of my time EVERY DAY sending out queries, researching markets, brainstorming for ideas and finding interviewees. I didn't just sit there, twiddling my thumbs and thinking, 'Gee, I want to get published in a magazine.' I got busy making that dream a reality. And, I did. The same thing with my nonfiction books: I APPLIED myself to making my desire to author those books a reality.

In some way, this belief reflects being a part of an athletic team. I recently read a book called Soccer Dreams by Leah Lauber, and the players of the team she wrote about were talking about how they were out there every day practicing, practicing, practicing. Constantly playing and applying themselves. And how this was why they were the best. This was why they became champions: They were OUT THERE putting themselves into the game. They didn't just practice when they felt like it or just "believed" they would win and do whatever they wanted. They WORKED towards achieving their goal of being champions.

I bring this up because of a dream I had last night. I dreamed I was a part of a cross country team and the coach was REALLY working us hard to be the best team. (This dream made me so wistful. I miss running! Boo-hoo.) The coach worked us so hard that many of us were sore and tired and just low on energy at day's end. He didn't stop at grilling us on the field, though. He was onto us about watching what we ate, getting enough sleep and keeping a positive attitude about what we were doing. And as time passed, as I saw other girls on my team drop out because it was "too hard" and they were "too sore" to go on, I kept at it and soon saw results. (This actually happened when I ran in cross country at Monta Vista. I started seeing PHYSICAL results all that running was doing for me.) I didn't quit. I didn't give up. I did what the coach told me to do and I became one of the best runners on the team. (*wistful sigh*) This same discipline and unwavering dedication are what it takes to making a dream a reality. Not just "believing" that dream will come true. It takes applying oneself to MAKING that dream come true. Practicing, working, showing up. (Er, that last part is one thing I wasn't too good at when I was in cross country. *ducks*)

All the same, though, there isn't anything wrong with believing something WILL come true, if we WANT it to come true. Even as I am applying myself to making my dream of being a famous author come true, I believe it will happen. Heck, one can believe something has ALREADY happened! I'd be fooling myself if I was thinking right now "I already AM a famous author!" because I haven't exactly reached the level of "fame" which I define it to be. But there ARE benefits to believing that something will come true. It just takes a little bit of time and steadfastness for us to see it ACTUALLY come true in our real life.

And keeping the negative stuff like doubt, fear and uncertainty from our minds!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Sick day

Yesterday, after I picked Jennifer up from school, she seemed to be in a good mood and being her regular self. She was hungry, as usual, and requested pancakes and a bowl of cereal to eat as she watched a Miss Spider's Sunny Patch movie she got from the library. But not too long afterwards, she came up to me as I sat on the couch and said, "I feel different." I had no idea what she meant. She asked me to set up her blanket on the couch so she could wrap herself up in it, because she was cold. She kept putting her arms around herself and pretending to shiver to let me know she was very cold.

She fell asleep for a little while. Earlier in the day, I'd decided we'd have chicken noodle soup for dinner because I was too sick to make anything else but now I figured it was probably best to make some since Jennifer was so cold. It would help warm her up. So when she woke up to go to the bathroom, I started up the soup and I tried to keep her awake so she could eat some. She was still shivering and complaining of not feeling very well. I put on one of her movies, hoping it would keep her awake. It was Alice in Wonderland. She complained that the sound from the movie was hurting her head so, for a while, she watched it with the volume muted. I kept noticing she was sniffing her nose a lot and breathing with her mouth open. When the soup was ready, I tried to get her to eat some of it, even telling her I would feed it to her, but she just wouldn't eat any of it. By now, she was feeling miserable. She had a distant look in her eyes and I noticed her eyes were watery. I kept the lights low because they hurt her eyes.

At one point, hubby felt her forehead and frowned. I asked him if it was warm and he said, "Of course." So I suggested we take her temperature. It was 103!! Hubby got her some Children's Tylenol but she took A LOT of coaxing to take her medicine. She managed to take one but stalled with the other two chewable tablets left to take. At one point, she dropped them and as I searched for them on the couch, my hand brushed against her bare stomach and I gasped. She was BURNING UP!! I told hubby and we helped her to dress down to her underpants. She was on fire all over and not just her stomach. We managed to get her to take the rest of the medicine. She asked for the sound to be turned back on on the TV so she could watch her movie. I guess that was a good sign?

Sometimes, she fell asleep and slept for a while. She was still not eating her soup, though, and I was worried her chills were still bothering her or how she was sleeping on an empty stomach. (I BARELY touched my own soup at this point. I was so worried about her.) She DID drink some Gatorade we had in the fridge. That's about it, though. When she slept, I'd walk around the house, just wracked with worry. I kept praying, "Please, God. Please help my baby."

Eventually, she woke up again to go to the bathroom. When she came out, she was crying. She was feeling SO miserable. Everything hurt. She was complaining about body aches and her head still bothering her. Hubby said if her fever didn't go down in an hour or two, we'd take her to the ER. When her movie was over, I drew her a lukewarm bath. She couldn't walk too comfortably, though, so hubby carried her into the bathroom and helped her undress and get in the bathtub. (She was wobbily when she stood up and still burning with fever.) We took turns sitting with her in the bathroom. As I sat with her, I tried to think what could be causing her to be so sick. Was it something she ate? Did she catch something at school? I asked her if any of the children in her class were sick and she said, "Everybody's sick." (I kinda doubted this. Would EVERY one of those children's parents send them to school sick?...) After some time in the bathtub, she seemed to be a little more animated and coherent. She even asked for warmer water. She said she was feeling hungry now but also sleepy.

After she got out of the tub, we checked her temperature again. It had gone down to 100. I warmed up her soup and sat with her at the table while she ate. She only took a couple of bites, though, before saying she was full. She was really tired and wanted to go back to sleep. She kissed me goodnight then walked back to the couch to go to sleep.

While she slept, I stayed with her, occasionally studying her face. She seemed to be peaceful as she slept. Hubby checked her temperature after an hour had passed and it was now 99 degrees. "What do you want to do?" I asked. It wasn't a normal temp but at least it was lower. He said we'll just keep an eye on her temperature. He'd set the alarm for 3 a.m. then check it again. He carried her to her bed and I got online to send an email to one of my sisters about what was going on. I hated it that I had to let someone in the family know about what was going on this way, but that's what happens when you've got family living in two different other states! Still, I was upset about it. What if something REALLY bad happened to Jennifer?? They'd have no way of knowing unless I got through to them about it. Just that day, one of my sisters had told me how she wished she could be more of a part of Jennifer's life. I wanted that, too. I wanted Jennifer to grow up visiting her grandparents, aunts and uncles more often than just twice a year. I tried to push these thoughts away but the sadness still lingered. If something REALLY bad happened to Jennifer, I just knew they'd feel upset over not having more time with her before it happened. She's just a little kid, too. It's not fair!

After I was done, I went to bed. I checked the time before I lied down. It was 12:30 a.m.

I was awakened 45 minutes later to see Jennifer standing by my bed, with her gown off. "I threw up," she said. I sat up and looked out the bedroom door to see hubby going back and forth in and out of her room, cleaning up the mess on her bed. Since he was taking care of that, I focused my attention on Jennifer. I felt her forehead; it was slightly warm. She was breathing with her mouth open again but she appeared to be cleaned off. I invited her to lie down in my bed with me and while we cuddled up together, I asked her how she was feeling. She said she was feeling okay. She didn't appear too warm but hubby still checked her temp. It was 98. He also brought her a clean nightgown to put on. He helped her back to bed, assuring her he had cleaned it all up. Changed her sheets and everything. He'd even sprayed her room with disinfectant. She slept through the rest of the night without trouble.

Last night I'd decided I was going to keep her home from school today. She looked forward to getting some extra sleep when I told her that. (She knows how important it is to get lots of rest when someone is sick.) I also told hubby that if she was still sick by Saturday, I'd cancel her baptismal scheduled for the following Sunday. With school, I wasn't going to budge. It's just too risky sending a child to school if they are even a little sick. Viruses and germs can spread and get the other children sick. Especially when it comes to children this young (5-6). I told Jennifer she could spend time with me in my bed and I'd read her storybooks and just be with her. She could take naps and color in her coloring book. She liked THAT idea. She loves sleeping in my big bed. Before her dad and I got back together again, she always slept in my bed with me. It was more of a security thing than anything else.

This morning, at 8:20, hubby checked her temperature again. It was 99.8. I frowned; how long before her temp got back down to normal? She seemed to be sleeping okay but I am still going to keep an eye on her. It's a good thing hubby bought us new cell phones last night; we're keeping the phones close in case an emergency comes up. I told him I'd let him know if Jennifer got feverish again today. This time, if her condition gets worse again, I'm not going to wait it out but get her to the ER.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Laying low

I am going to be laying low for a while. I'm just not feeling well. First I had some mild food poisoning to deal with and now a cold. I called my doctor's office about the food poisoning, just to be sure the baby wouldn't be harmed. They said the best thing to do was to let it run its course and they gave me instructions and diet change notes, etc.

I really don't feel up to going anywhere -- not unless I HAVE to. I take Jennifer to school and pick her up like I always do. If I need something from the store, I'll pick it up, but only if it's not too much stuff. And if I can't wait until I'm feeling better to get it...

Part of me doesn't like this arrangement. That part wants to GO OUT, do stuff, run around. Just GET. OUT. THERE! But I'm sneezing my head off, walking around like a zombie and dealing with bad nausea.... and I'd rather deal with all that in the privacy of my home. It's just as well.

I hope I am feeling better soon. I DO have a doctor appointment tomorrow, but anything else will have to wait. I STILL need to go to the bookstore, the bank and to get Jen another birthday gift. But I'll do all that next week. And just do bank stuff over the phone.

By the way, a BIG THANKS to my friend, April, who sent me an email about the last blog post, which I've deleted. Thanks for what you had to say, April! In some way, it helped to know I wasn't the only person going through that. I'll reply to your email ASAP....

Monday, September 17, 2007

Can't wait!

I'm soooo anxious for the baby to get here. I can't wait!

I'm not at that point where I'm ready to scream, "Get this thing OUT of me!" But it's more of anticipation. I really can't wait until I am FINALLY holding my son in my arms. I'm so excited over this prospect, I am counting down the days!

I told Jennifer about this last night. She said, "I can't wait, either." I added, "I bet he'll be a beautiful baby." And she said, with her pride, "I was a beautiful baby." (Well, she WAS. LOL)

I keep looking at some of the baby outfits I've bought for him and keep imagining what he'll look like wearing them. I imagine taking TONS of pictures of the baby with him wearing these cute little outfits.

I KNOW the first few months will be exhausting, but I don't care. I'm EXCITED!! In just two more months, I'll be having a brand new baby!! YAY!!!!!!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

These dreams (and fears)

Well, it finally happened: I had the "baby born early" dream last night. With all that's been going on with this pregnancy, I keep worrying about the baby being born early. Especially with the Braxton-Hicks contractions being so strong sometimes, and the lower abdominal pain being so intense. Last night, I was dealing with such pain, and in between gasping and gritting my teeth, I used deep breathing to help me deal with it. Amazingly, deep breathing did the trick. (I am still so surprised when deep breathing helps alleviate the pain in my stomach or even in my back. I know it's one common method of helping pain, that it's been used for centuries, but I still have never understood how it works.) Anyway, while I was having that pain, I was lying there praying that it wasn't a labor pain.

So, it's not surprising I had the dream I had last night. In my dream, I was in the passenger seat of a car, clutching my stomach and screaming in pain, in the throes of labor. Hubby was driving me to the hospital. A cop tried to pull him over for speeding and he was yelling out the window as he pointed at me, "Hospital!" Hearing this, the cop escorted us to the hospital, but I blacked out before we got there. When I awoke, I was in a hospital bed, and still pregnant. I slowly got out of the bed, despite all the tubes and everything attached to me, and I was walking around the room, confused. Somehow or another, the hospital had stopped labor, but I was still so confused. I didn't know if I was going to be safe, if the baby was going to be safe, if I was even HAVING the baby anymore now, etc.

When I was pregnant with Jennifer, I had A LOT of "worry dreams" about her. I dreamed she was born with one eye (I gave birth to a Cyclops!), that she never cried after she was born (maybe that was a sign she'd never go through colic, which thankfully she never did!), that I'd lost her, that someone kidnapped her from the hospital, etc. I had ALL the worry dreams of pregnancy. I've rarely had any with this one. In fact, this is only the second one! In the first one, I dreamed that I wasn't able to handle the job of caring for 2 kids -- and Jennifer was the one to suffer because of that. (I know the baby will need more attention and care than my little 6-year-old will, but still, that dream was depressing.)

On the other hand, I've had quite a tough go with this pregnancy. Maybe because this one is my last! Heh. So in that way, I have more worries going on on the outside, rather than on the inside. (I had an easy pregnancy with Jennifer. The only bad thing to happen was when I got a tear in the amniotic sac after lifting heavy boxes, but even then it was not a "crisis" because it healed soon enough.)

This whole thing makes me wonder about other "worry dreams" pregnant women have had. I once saw a thread about this on a pregnancy message board online, but that was long ago and I'm curious about it again. Maybe I'll try doing an online search and see what turns up. At least I know it's only my fears causing these dreams. I AM afraid of having the baby early. There's only 2 more months to go, but all the same, it'd be NICE if I can carry this baby to term without any surprises.

Or should I say...any OTHER surprises.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

13 Things we need to do before the baby is born

It's Thursday! The 13th! In honor, here is my "Thursday Thirteen" blog post.

13 Things we need to do before the baby is born

1. Decide on if we REALLY want to name him "Jesse."

2. Get stuff for the crib: Mattress, runner, sheets, blankets.

3. Stock up on diapers.

4. Wash all baby clothes.

5. Clean and disinfect carpet and floors and air out the bedroom.

6. Plan meals for following baby's birth (easy stuff to cook, stuff that can be frozen, etc.)

7. Get a diaper bag, baby book, stroller, baby swing, car seat and miscellaneous baby stuff (teether, rattle, monitor). ... Dang, we still need quite a bit of stuff!

8. Pack a bag for hospital (for hubby and Jennifer, too!)

9. Stock up on digital camera stuff for LOTS of pics and some kind of "album" to put baby's first pictures in.

10. Decide on where to order birth announcements.

11. Get pagers!

12. Make back-up arrangements for caring for Jennifer if staying in hospital for too long.

13. Write up a birth plan.

Unfortunately, this is not a complete list. There's still more things we need to do, not the least of them being preparing Jennifer for the wonderful world of siblinghood. I have no idea how we'll do it, but hopefully it gets done somehow.

Monday, September 10, 2007

The new kid

On Thursday, September 6th, my daughter started her first day of kindergarten. We were both excited about this new big change in her life. No more preschool; she was going to school with the BIG kids now. She was going to a school that had OTHER grades, too, and not just hers.

At the same time, I was worried. I had ALL of these worries hanging over me: What if she gets bullied? What if her teachers are mean? What if she gets lost? Etc., etc. My biggest worry, though, was being able to LEAVE her there for 6 1/2 hours. HOW WAS I GOING TO SURVIVE THAT LONG WITHOUT HER??!!!

Still, I pushed these worries aside and tried to maintain a positive attitude about her big day. We did all of the pre-school stuff, enrollment paperwork and meeting everyone before the big day arrived. We attended the open house and toured her classroom. I, of course, asked every question I could think of during all of it.

Then Thursday came. Jennifer was excited about her big day. She LOVED her new school clothes and said she hoped she'd get some more later (she got her wish on Sunday). But once we got to the school and started walking in that HUGE crowd of children, her excitement faded and she started clinging to me. She was obviously nervous about being around soooo many children, some of them older than her. I stayed by her side as we went into the cafeteria and sat down. The place was PACKED!! There were sooo many children. The teachers came in to collect their students. When Jennifer's teacher called them to the front, she lined them up and gave them all a public welcome to the school. Everybody clapped. Some parents took pictures. Then I followed her to her classroom and made sure she knew what to do: Put her backpack, lunch box and jacket in her cubby. Then I helped her find her name tag, which all of the children in the class had to wear. Then I stayed back and watched as she sat on the carpet with the other children and the teacher talked with them. Soon, the children had to say goodbye to their parents. Jennifer got up to gave me a hug and we signed "I love you" to each other before she walked back to the carpet.

It was NOT easy leaving her there. I sort of stuck around outside of the door to watch for a little bit as she talked with children in the group then with the teacher. Of course, I KNEW I couldn't stay there, and I finally pulled myself away to leave.

Later that day, the parking lot was CHAOS when school let out. If I had thought the inside of the school had been full, then the outside at the end of school was PACKED. I mean, I had to drive VERRRY slowly through the parking lot to where Jennifer was with her teacher and classmates, waiting for the parents. Her teacher walked her to the car and helped her in. Then I had to drive with my foot on the brake just to get out of there. Boy, oh boy, I'd never realized how CRAZY school parking lots were when school was out. And it's not just cars everywhere, but children, too.

The next day, I again walked with her through the cafeteria and to her class. This time, though, I hung back to watch her, just to make sure she knew where to go and what to do. And also make sure she didn't get separated from her group on the way to her class! Unfortunately, she fell behind, but she still walked right to her classroom so I was relieved she at least knew how to get there if she gets separated from the group again. She was also more comfortable being around all of the children and even started conversations with some of them. And, yes, even I was able to pull myself away once again. Heh.

Today she wanted to buy lunch at her school. All jokes about the food I make aside, I decided we should give it a shot and see how it works out. This morning, though, I was too dizzy to drive her to school, so I constantly reminded her to give her teacher her lunch money and tell her that she wanted to buy her lunch. (The children are allowed to give the teacher their lunch money if the parents don't have other arrangements with the school lunch program. One arrangement is for parents to have a tab running and the child is assigned a number and each time they buy lunch, the amount is deducted from the tab.) I had confidence in Jennifer's ability to remember to tell her teacher about her lunch plans and I kept trying to assure myself she would be fine. I had even drilled her on if she knew what to do in the cafeteria -- where to go, etc. -- and she said, "Aw, Mom. I know how to buy lunch." All the same, I caved in and called the office, just to be sure. (Yeah, I know. I think I need help!) I talked to someone in the office about Jen's situation and she assured me not to worry, they have staff in the cafeteria to help the children buying lunch and she would make sure Jennifer would have no trouble buying her lunch. (Yup, I had just managed to single my child out at lunch time. She'll never forgive me for this.)

Her 3rd day at school went well. The more she attends, the more excited she is about it. She told an interpreter at my doctor appointment "I love school!" and she keeps going on and on about it. I think the more we get through each day, the more easier it'll be for me to let her go, too.

...but only for a little while.