Thursday, November 26, 2009


First, here is a message that Riley is adamant MUST reach you, and cannot wait:


zaaa llllloooooooooooooooooonnnmnnnnnjnjjnnnjnkjjnk mnjkQWW111123rt5451`33

(I had to wrestle with him to regain access to my keyboard)

So my second doula client (essentially my first, since my true first client didn't call me when she went into labour) was due last Monday with her first baby. She's still pregnant. It's funny how some women seem to think of the due date as a finish line? An expiry date? Like your primal body knows what date it is?? We've all heard of babies who come two weeks past their due date, and sometimes more. Anyways, she's impatiently waiting. I'm nervous, but trying to remind myself that this woman's labour is not about me, and that it won't be my fault if she has a cesarean or a difficult birth, but it's hard. I'm also nervous because I know I'm going to likely forget something important in my bag, like food for myself or something, and it will be tough. I'm also nervous because the unknown nature of labour makes it difficult for me to leave all my kids at a moment's notice, and not knowing who I will need to call is hard. I like to be prepared and have plans in advance that are set, you know? I have people lined up for daytime and nighttime if Brent is working, but I don't know if or when I will need to call whoever....
Anyways, I'm excited about being present for a birth, and I am pretty sure I'll come out of that experience excited about birth! I might come out inspired to have my OWN baby, that generally happens when I read my birth books, until I put the book down and feel ambivalent again. I'm feeling less ambivalent these days, because Riley is no longer a baby. I can't fool myself anymore, he's definitely a toddler/little boy. :(((((
So now I have to decide if I want another baby--squishy, smooshy, gooshy, lovey dovey smells like heaven but sucks the life outta you for a year baby....

Speaking of little boys, I took Matthew to our doctor because he pees his pants all the time. Here's a short history on Matthew's bladder:
Matthew toilet trained himself when he was two years old.
Matthew has had phases of no accidents for weeks or months at a time, and phases of daily or even multiple daily accidents for weeks or months at a time ever since. Until recently, this was still within the realm of normal. In the summer I talked to my aunt about it, because she has a similarly 'spirited' and passively strong willed child who had toileting issues (this was several years ago; her daughter is now nine). She suggested that it was not, as I had diagnosed, a matter of forgetting or being absorbed in play, but rather a way of exerting control over his body and self in the context of our family. Particularly because by four and a half, it was abundantly clear that we hated the fact that he peed his pants all the time. The control theory seemed to fit, since most of the pants peeing was not an entire bladder's worth, but just a half a cup or so. You know, enough to let off the pressure, but not enough to cause an inconvenient flood that everyone would immediately notice. There would be a suspicious wet circle on the front of his pants, but most of the time no one would notice until some time had passed. [oh yeah, to add to the 'control' theory, he never once peed his pants at preschool because he was afraid of being teased] I was ready to gouge my eyes out, and I didn't want to just put him in pullups because (a) he's a bit old for those, socially, and he might get teased for wearing them, and (b) it's the lazy boy's way to pee. Put him in pullups and suddenly he only sits on the toilet twice a day.
So I backed off the toileting thing. I tried to give him more choices in general, so that he would feel more control over his life and not feel so much need to control the peeing, and I stopped mentioning, noticing, controlling, or commenting on the pee. It made little difference. It was summertime, so I think sometimes it dried or washed off in the pool or water park before I noticed it, but it seemed like at the end of every day there was a wet, stinky pair of underwear at the top of the laundry pile.
When he started school I got worried. If the kids catch wind of his peeing, it will be game over, socially, possibly for all of elementary school. I don't care if my kids are popular, in fact i would be MORE worried if they were in the most popular groups at school, but I don't want to set my kid up for social alienation, either. I remember those kids in school. They were miserable. Peeing your pants daily could put you in the alienation category. Being afraid of the kids teasing him didn't seem to factor this year. He peed his pants every day at school, and every day at home.
Otherwise, he's normal. So, I put him back in pullups a few weeks ago, and called my doctor. I am just so sick of washing pee pants, and the risk of discovery is about equal when wearing pullups or peeing your pants, so I chose the return to pullups option.
Our doctor examined him (and was great about it: she explained what she was going to have to do, and that it was okay because she's a doctor and his mom is right there--he commented that it tickled, and she laughed and said, "It does tickle, doesn't it?" I'm glad he wasn't embarrassed or traumatized. I would've been traumatized as a kid!), and had him pee in a cup which he thought was TOTALLY COOL, and referred him for a kidney ultrasound and to a pediatric urologist at BC Children's Hospital.

This whole topic makes me feel like a total failure. The whole journey. The only part that was good was his initial self training at 2 years old. After that, I felt a mixture of the following:
-anxious and at a loss as to how to teach him not to pee his pants
-worried that I would display my dismay and thus enter the freudian arena of psychologically harming him through toilet training, causing anal retentiveness and anxiety in my kid
-disgusted by the pee
-worried that other parents would look down on me or my kid because he was still peeing his pants at progressively older and older ages
-mad that I couldn't control him
-embarrassed that he was still peeing his pants
-worried about his possible social alienation, particularly when he hit 4 and 5
-worried that he might just have a low IQ and be just plain dumb [this was one of my recurring, deepest, weirdest, most destructive, and most embarrassing thoughts...weird because I don't actually care if my kids are particularly intellectually smart, and don't judge anyone else based on this factor--but for some reason, it worried me with Matthew. And I have never shared that with anyone out loud, so hopefully you'll not judge me harshly!]

It's awful and wrong, but I hope with every ounce of me that he has some sort of physical problem that explains this. Because then I won't be a failure. It won't be my fault. Every day for years I have felt responsible for this behaviour, because obviously if I had been a better parent he wouldn't have this problem. I am particularly scared that it is a psychological problem, because I would blame myself for the incompetent way I handled his transition into our family. Any psychological problem he could or might have would be difficult to attribute to anything else, because my dysfunctional parenting was so awful and it took me so long to fix it. I screwed up, it screwed up my kid, and he's damaged beyond repair because of it. Damaged so bad that he pees his pants in kindergarten.
Oh, my bleeding, grieving heart. This is ridiculous. LIFE happened to my kid, and anything psychological would be more likely attributable to leftover scars from THAT, yet still I string myself out with guilt. KNOWING it's ridiculous doesn't seem to make me STOP being ridiculous.

Blah. Life. Sometimes it's hard, eh?


Louise and Gary Chapman said...

Oh man, thanks for sharing. We aren't doctors/nurses/naturopaths/pschychologists/pschyciatrists/lactation specialists/speech therapists/opthamologists/etc. There is so much to know and be aware of all the time, we can't do it all. Hope they do find something so that you can deal with it and all move on. By the way, I think Matthew is a VERY intelligent child and he has an amazing memory. Not that it matters, but he is:)

Hoping for an awesome doula experience!!!

Dana said...

Both my kids regularly pee their pants in just the same way- a little off the top. Every day, often several times a day. I thought Eva wasn't doing it at school but recently she informed me she does, all the time. The closest I've come to unlocking it is that she just doesn't recognize the signals until it's urgent. With Micah, I think it's Eva's example plus a control thing- he's definitely in that stage.

My plan, which hasn't been well executed to date, is to have her schedule a pee or two during school, like right after recess, and to always pee before going out and after coming home. Additionally, I asked her to take a second to notice how it feels in her bladder and nether regions before she goes so she can learn to recognize how it feels before it's urgent.

Good luck and looking forward to hearing the solution at your end!

tamie said...

Life IS hard. Like, it's really over the top, this life. Sweet, sweet Mel. If only we could all trade the compassion we show others for the cruelty we show ourselves. As someone who is cruel to myself every two minutes, but who is almost always tender and kind toward others, I suggest that you and I trade! How about it?!

You're one of the best mamas I know, Mel. And dude, my friend Ann (now a grandma) told me the other day that whenever her kids would say to her "It's not fair!" she would reply "Perhaps it's not. But the fact is that you did not come with an instruction manual, and sometimes I just don't know what to do."

Love you. You are doing fantastic. It is a fact. Blessings and *peace* to you.

jenna said...

stfu guilt.
you're a great mom!

Jen said...

Sounds like it's that old, ugly familiar accusing voice of Stu rising up again. Remember when you killed him? Don't let him rise up again. That voice is not truth. It is a lie. But like you said, knowing it is ridiculous doesn't necessarily help right away from thinking those ways. So you must combat it. Combat it with truth. Go back and look at previous posts about this as you have written much truth. Bathe yourself in the truth and in the grace and mercy that is new and abundant for us every day in Christ. Remember your recent post about being enough? Not perfect (and this pee thing is not your fault). But you are enough. More than enough. You're a damn good mama and Matthew is a wonderful and NORMAL little boy. You've said so yourself.

I too am waiting to be called for a birth - my first home birth! I am assisting for our pastor's wife's birth. Am just hoping I'm not working when I get called. Thinking of back up plans, too. Who to call, etc... Must be harder with kids to juggle but here's hoping you can get away when the time comes. Looking forward to hearing about it. You're going to be fantastic. Even if you forget something. The top two best tools for labor support (in my opinion) are encouragement and touch. You don't need any supplies for those.