Surviving in a Male Dominated Household

Snakes and snails and puppy dog tails...

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Going home...

I realized I never posted about Brendan's coming home! I always forget how little they are when they are born. We had to reset our straps on our car seat...Brendan was not a fan.
And, of course, I had the ride down to the car...David pushing the cart o' stuff behind.

We set up the "big brother's" present, which included taking down the Cars items on Liam's wall and replacing it with the "Fat head Woody" I was able to snag on kid's woot a few months back.
They also got a Buzz (Sean) and Woody (Liam) doll and Liam got a Hulk Smash game...also from kid's woot.

When Ma'am and Papa brought the boys home, chaos ensued. My breastpump that I've been using to up my supply/create a stash turned into a garage one night.

And Daddy got the two older boys dressed up for a comic book convention one Saturday.

And, a la Kids in the Hall style, Liam was crushing Brendan's head.
Welcome to the chaos that is the Bowman Household, Brendan. You've already learned how to "play possum" when your brothers (mainly Sean) are around. You learn quick. Pretend to be asleep and they'll leave you alone.

Even if "Spidey sense" says you're awake...right, Spider-Sean?

Friday, July 23, 2010

Sean Launches Cheerios

Being the mother of boys I've already become accustomed to cleaning up messes. But sometimes messes can be fun. I always try to document these, as I know once they get older, I'll cherish these moments.

Sean discovered he could launch his Cheerios. Granted, once he was done eating I had a lot of Cheerios to clean up, but it was fun.

Enjoy the video!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Perfect Summer Dessert--Oreo Pie!!

My husband enjoys looking at my cooking magazines. I'm convinced he likes to find the most difficult recipe and then ask me to make it. I've succeeded on occasion but I've also horribly failed. Horribly. Some recipes have made it into our rotation, some I believe the CDC would have given a half-life before covering in concrete.

While I was in the hospital after delivering Brendan, Dave went to the cafeteria and came back with a HUGE piece of Oreo pie. It was delicious. Yes, you read that right. Hospital food=delicious. At least this was. So I tried to do what my mom is so successful at doing. I tried to "back engineer" (my dad's term) the dessert. And then I googled, found a recipe, tweaked it a bit and voila! The best Oreo pie ever.

Don't believe me? See the pictures below. Maybe if you're lucky I'll bring it as a dish to a barbecue.

And a single serving slice...
YUM!!!  Sean devoured it. Liam passed on the Oreo pie and requested a Go-Gurt. I was glad he chose the healthier option...but really? If your mom offered you this when you were four, would you opt for a yogurt?

Now tell me this doesn't look good....


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Big Brother's Vacation

Before Brendan was born, we decided we wanted the "big boys" to stay with my folks. We didn't want to separate the boys (they are attached at the hip) and they only get to see my folks once every few months so we thought it would be nice for them to have some face time with them. Sean had never slept at my parents house without me there, so we thought Liam needed to be there as well, to have a bit of "common" for Sean. Plus, I do have quite a few rules when it comes to my kids and I knew my mom would abide by those rules. Not only did she follow the rules I set, she exceeded them by getting Sean to fall asleep in the crib (we had been laying down with him then putting him in the crib) AND she succeeded in getting him to sleep in the crib ALL NIGHT. This additional bonus from mom would have been enough of a gift when Brendan was born. BUT, she (being the planner she is) also bought us a double stroller. DOUBLE WIN! Having Sean go to sleep in his own bed and staying there all night has really helped us out. Mom=Awesome.

Liam had ear drops for an infection and had been fighting us with was a battle. Kicking, screaming (he actually kicked me in the stomach while I was still pregnant) and what should have taken 5 minutes would take 30. In just two days at her house, she'd gotten him to lay down and accept the drops as well as lay still for 5 minutes while they worked...with no screaming. Again, my mom is awesome.

The boys had a great time with Ma'am and Papa. They helped Ma'am in her garden, rode with Papa on his tractor, played with Maci and Austin (neighbor kids that are their age) and she even brought them down to Des Moines when I was missing my big boys just to visit again.

But herding a four year old and 15 month old is like herding cats. As you can see in the video David took below. They had come to visit us and mom was trying to get them back to the car.

My parents were even thoughtful enough to send us pictures of the show us what was going on. My mom, being the great mom she is, even wrote down nap times, sleep times and number of diapers and bathroom events for both of the kids so I would know what happened and when. For the third time, mom=awesome.

We need to make it to Glidden more often to visit. Once every three months isn't near often enough. I do believe the saying "Absence makes the heart grow fonder" and the boys are sure fond of Ma'am and Papa. Here are a few pictures of the boys spending time with Ma'am and Papa.

 Sean LOVES Sweet Corn...mmmmm.
Sean and Liam in the IH chairs watching cartoons.
You can see Sean contemplating the fact that he's trapped and Liam is outside of the play pen..."how do I get him back" is written all over his face.

Sean says, "I'm trapped? Well, I've got your nipple."

The boys had a great time with Ma'am and Papa and with the constant updates, the documentation and pictures and videos uploaded in (almost) real time, I never had to worry about my boys. Which, I believe, helped keep my stress level down and assisted in my healing. Thanks Ma'am and Papa!!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Brendan's First Visit from His Brothers

By our third child I have learned a few things. For example, I know every one means well when they want to see a new baby, but there's a reason that tickets to labor and delivery are not sold on ticketmaster. It's a private event. Some people may be into the "takes a village to birth a child" thing. But I'm not. And that's just me.

Our first child, Liam, was the first grandchild on my husband's side. So I understand the excitement. I also wanted my mother in the labor room as she's a nurse, she's been through this before and, well, she's my mommy. Anyone in pain always wants their mom. However, the birth didn't go as planned and after 18 hours of labor and an hour of pushing a c-section was required as he was not tolerating the contractions. When he was born, everyone, except my future father in law, followed the baby down to the nursery. When I woke up in recovery, I was surprised to see my future father in law there. I will always be thankful that he stayed there with me. However, the first time I held my child, there were 5 people (other than me and the baby) in the room. It was a little overwhelming.

Our second child, Sean, came before his scheduled c-section date. I labored for 12 hours (6 at the hospital) while waiting for a c-section. After they wheeled me into recovery, we had called my mom and told her to pick our oldest up at daycare and bring him to the hospital, as we wanted him to be the first family member to see the new baby (his new brother). She brought him in and he did get to hold him, then my mom saw him and left. I didn't get a chance to nurse him before they wheeled me into my "permanent" room where I would spend the next few days healing. My husband had called his family to tell them they could come and they said they were already in the parking lot. So I wasn't able to nurse/bond with him as I would have liked.

We informed our family that with this child we wouldn't be accepting visitors the same day as the birth, however, we still wanted the older brothers to be the first to meet the new baby. As you know from my previous post he too came before his scheduled date and my parents had come down to watch the boys. We went through the surgery but due to fluid being in his lungs, they were unable to bring him to me while I was in recovery. My husband was running between the nursery, taking pictures and video of him, and back to my recovery room to show me our new little boy. A long three hours later they wheeled me into the nursery so I could see him and then into my room. Finally they brought him in so I could hold him. 
  My emotions got the best of me. I told my husband to take a picture and he did. I'm so glad he did.

After I had a chance to bond with and nurse my new little boy, we called my parents to let them know it would be okay to bring our older two to the hospital to meet their new brother. We also called his parents to let them know that visitors would be okay (after 4...this way we wouldn't be overlapping visitors, everyone would get to see him on his birthday and we wouldn't feel so overwhelmed) the same day.

My parents came to the hospital, ushered the older two into the room (as was our wishes) and waited patiently outside my room while the brothers met.

And boy, did they love him. Liam thought his new brother was the greatest thing. After Daddy sanitized the big brother's hands he took baby out of the "drawer bed" (the moving "dresser" unit with the plastic crib on top) as Liam called it and showed him his brother. We hadn't quite settled on a name yet for him, so we asked Liam what he liked best, Gabriel, Brendan or Declan. Liam responded, "I like Brendan." And so he was named.

After Liam and Sean had a few minutes with him, my husband called my parents in to see him and start taking pictures. Sean couldn't get enough of the new baby but was having a hard time understanding "gentle" and "be nice". But Sean is a brute. It took one adult to handle him and one to handle Brendan. Sean kept touching him and playing with his little hospital ankle bracelet. He'd also grab at his little legs and touch his head.

But that's okay. That's what brothers do. And they all love each other. So much.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Adding Brendan to the Boys or How It All Came to Be....

Brendan turned a week old on Tuesday and I realized I haven't updated the blog with "The Story of Brendan". So here goes.

Late November I was feeling very tired. But who wouldn't? I was the mother of a 6 month old, a three (almost four) year old, nursing, pumping and working full time as well as keeping up with the house and extended family events. Just one of those would make anyone tired. And I was doing it all! So when I went in for my 6 month checkup with my OB-Gyn (at 8 months), I told him how tired I was.

He asked, "Could you be pregnant?"
I responded, "No, I'm nursing."
"Could you be pregnant?"
"Could you be pregnant?"
"Well, let's do a test to be sure."

When the nurse returned, she informed me that she put the "sample" on the stick, turned to set the timer and turned back only to see that it had already turned positive.


Seeing as I write EVERYTHING down, I pulled out the Franklin Planner (aka my lower case "bible") and estimated my due date. July 9th. The doctor thought I might be 10 weeks along so we might already be able to hear the heartbeat. I was thankful that I had continued to take my prenatal pills (due to nursing) and took a video of my Doctor trying to find the heart beat. While he was doing so, he congratulated my husband. What a perfect way to tell him the news!

When he got home from work late that night, I told him that the Dr. had a message for him and played the video. He sat there, watched it and smiled. "Another baby," he asked. I said, "Yep." And he gave me a hug.

Weeks turned to months and the never ending Iowa winter of doom finally did end. My pregnancy was flying by (which is what happens when you're 1/3 of the way done before you find out) and we were trying to prepare the boys with the arrival of another sibling.

We all were thinking this might be a girl. All of my symptoms were different than the previous two (although they differed from each other as well) and it would be nice to have some estrogen (other than mine) in our home. Liam wanted "a sister or a puppy." I informed him if I were to have a puppy, we'd better call Discovery Health to do a show on me.

The day of the big ultrasound finally arrived. The tech squirted the goo on my tummy and my husband and I had our first view of "Sweet Pea". Once all the technical stuff was done, she asked if we wanted to know the sex. We informed her we did and she scanned down to the "area". One look was all it took and I said, "Is that what I think it is?" Yep. Another penis. THREE boys. At the ultrasound they changed my due date to July 24th. That did not work with my possible conception dates (I told you, I write everything down) so I let them think the 24th, but as my OB says, "That machine wasn't in the room with mom and dad..."

We told the boys that they'd be having another brother. Liam asked, "Sooo, do I get a puppy now?" We informed him that there would be no puppy. He responded, "I don't want another brother. I already have one." Sorry, Liam. Talk to your dad about that.

Over the next few months we all got excited of the idea of another boy. I mean, would a girl really fit in this household? We've got all of the clothes, I know how to change boy's diapers and my husband was excited about the fact that it was "another wedding he didn't have to pay for!" Plus I could tell you all about Iron Man and Superman but I have no idea what's new in the world of Barbie.

We've always kept the names a secret. Which is good because we usually change it at the last minute. Liam was going to be Conor. At 38 weeks pregnant we changed it to William. Sean was going to be Brendan but the morning he was born, Liam announced "I like the name Sean." And he was a Sean. And with Brendan we were pretty set on Finn. But we believe you have to see the kid before naming him/her. Liam IS a Liam, Sean is a Sean and Brendan is a Brendan. We had picked up Beyond Shannon and Sean: An Enlightened Guide to Irish Baby Naming in order to keep with our theme. We'd kicked around many other names (Cillian, Declan, Gabriel, Bolton, Cavan, Finn and of course, Brendan) but, as Dave puts it, "When they pulled him out, I thought he's not a Finn, he's a Brendan."

As my due date approached I had a feeling it would happen before my scheduled c-section of the 21st, which was fine by me. We believe in letting them cook as long as THEY need to. If I went into labor on my own, great. However, I kept having dreams that I was going into labor on July 5th. The same day Dave and Liam were going to see "Star Wars in Concert." Sure enough, the morning of the 5th arrived and my tailbone was killing me. I could hardly sit down. And mom was right, back labor. We met some friends for lunch and I convinced Dave to go to the show. I'd text him "Baby 911" if I needed him home. Sean and I took a nap while the older boys watched their show and no baby arrived.

The next morning I woke up at 1:15. I was having some very strong contractions and had just had a dream that I was with my mom at the hospital and I had a baby in the waiting room. Baby had a head full of dark hair. I thought the dream was interesting but could not lay down anymore so I got up, starting timing the contractions and called my mom. Thankfully, she trusted my judgement and had taken the week off. She and my dad would be down in a few hours to watch the older boys so Dave and I could go to the hospital.

While waiting for my folks, I packed my bag and the boys bags, just in case. Mom and Dad arrived around 5 and we headed out the door. We got to the hospital, they admitted me and found I had already dialated to two. Even though there were 5 scheduled c-sections for that morning, they bumped me up and got me in.

At 8:06 AM Brendan Andrew was born. 7 pounds, 1 ounce and 18 1/4 inches long. Our journey with three boys has begun.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

He's here!!!

Announcing the arrival of Brendan Andrew Bowman

July 6, 2010 at 8:06 AM 7lbs, 1 oz and 18 1/4 inches long.

Friday, July 2, 2010

A letter to all non-pregnant people....

I received this in my inbox when I was pregnant with is still true with this pregnancy and I had to share. Enjoy! (And heed the warning!!)

Dear Non-Pregnant Person,
I hope you find these guidelines helpful in your interactions with pregnant women as failing to follow them may result in serious physical harm. If you are thinking, surely she doesn't mean me- then you should probably read this twice.

1) The appropriate response to a couple telling you they are having a baby is "Congratulations!" with enthusiasm. Any other response makes you an ass (including, “Did you plan this?”)

2) Through the wonders of science, we now know that babies are made ONLY by the mother and father- not grandparents. Unless the baby is in your uterus or you are the man that helped put it there, you may not ever use the phrase "my baby".

3) On the same note, unless you made the baby as defined in 2, the pregnancy, birth and raising of the child are not about you. You do not have input. No one wants to hear your opinion unless they ask for it. The same goes for the name of the baby.

4) The body of a pregnant woman should be treated the same as any other body. You would not randomly touch someone's stomach if they were not pregnant, nor would you inquire into the condition of their uterus, cervix or how they plan to use their breasts. Pregnancy does not remove all traces of privacy from a woman.

5) Likewise, no woman wants to hear comments on her weight- ever. A pregnant woman does not find it flattering that you think she is about to pop, must be having twins, looks swollen or has gained weight in her face. Telling her she looks too small only makes her worry that she is somehow starving her baby. Making such comments invite her to critique your physical appearance, and you may not act offended. The only acceptable comment on appearance is "You look fabulous!".

6) By the time we are 20-30 years old, most of us have picked up on the fact that the summer is hot. We are hot every summer when we are not pregnant. We don't need you to point out that we will be miserably hot before the baby comes.

7) There is a reason that tickets to L&D are not yet sold on Ticketmaster. Childbirth is actually not a public event. It may sound crazy, but some women really do not relish the idea of their mother, MIL or a host of other family members seeing their bare butt and genitals. Also, some people simply feel like the birth of their child is a private and emotional moment to be shared only by the parents. Like everything else in life, unless you receive an invitation, you are NOT invited. This includes doctor appointments, ultrasounds, labor, delivery, the hospital and the parents home. You do not decide if you will be there for the birth or if you will move in with the new parents to "help out". If your assistance is desired, rest assured that you will be asked for it.

8)If you are asked to help after the birth, this means you should clean up the house, help with cooking meals, and generally stay out of the way. Holding the baby more than the parents, interfering with breastfeeding and sleeping schedules and making a woman who is still leaking fluid from multiple locations lift a finger in housework is not helping.

9) The only people entitled to time with the baby are the parents. Whether they choose to have you at the hospital for the birth or ask for you to wait three weeks to visit, appreciate that you are being given the privilege of seeing their child. Complaining or showing disappointment only encourages the parents to include you less.

I hope this helps- it sure makes us feel better.
All Pregnant Women

He's a climber!

For the last few months, people have been telling me "Oh my! THREE BOYS!?! You're sure going to have your hands full."

Uh, yeah. I kind of know that. Because I already DO have my hands full. From the moment Sean could roll over, he was trying to figure out how to crawl. From the moment he crawled he wanted to walk and there was maybe a day before he figured out how to run. Now? Climbing. He can't quite reach the things big brother can, therefore, he must climb to get them.

And Sean has no fear. What so ever. And he will climb anything. Even if the item he wants to climb isn't climb-able.

See the video below. He climbed the ball toy at my parent's house. It isn't built for a climber...but that doesn't matter to Sean. He's going to climb it. And then dance on it. Because that's what you do...

Yes. Hands. Full. And baby on the way.