Over sharing….all the time

CrossFit, Pregnancy, and some other random thoughts

The Lurking Monster August 14, 2018

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jennie Yundt @ 9:09 am

brady kiss FinleyBLAME. Brady has been one of my greatest treasures, and greatest challenges. He has always been quick to anger and easily frustrated. When he was little we blamed it on his inability to speak. “oh, he’s just frustrated because he’s not talking yet.” And then once he was talking, it was “he’s just frustrated because nobody understands him.” It was always something.

 

 

“He’s cranky because he missed his nap.”

“He’s getting new molars.”

“He didn’t eat much for breakfast.”

“He hasn’t pooped since Wednesday.”

“He has a tough time transitioning from school to home.”

 

IGNORE. I thought I had it all figured out. This past school year we had our struggles, but I didn’t think it was a huge deal…because of course….I had an answer for why he was acting out. But somewhere behind the veil of all day school, a secret monster was growing. I would catch little bursts of his monster on the weekends, or when he came home in the afternoon…but the monster was tame. Small. I could easily defeat it with Pokemon cards.

 

MONSTER. Once summer came I had to face the tough reality – I wasn’t just dealing with a “normal” disobedient boy. Whatever was happening inside my sweet boy’s brain, was driving him to grow a monster inside his belly that would lash out. Instead of a small monster, I was wrangling a demon sent to test every ounce of patience and love that a mother can have.

 

RESCUE. I had to check out from most of my life to try and save my boy from this monster. To bring Brady out of the very deep, very dark hole the monster had dragged him into I had to step away from everything that was keeping me sane. I haven’t touched my tools in months, and my weightlifting has been whittled down to once a week at best. And like the prison break from Shawshank, the monster dug the hole so slowly that I didn’t even notice it was happening until it had swallowed him whole.

 

CANCELLED. The summer I had planned in my head went out the window. I had visions of road trips, water parks and lazy days spent building sandcastles. These visions were quickly swapped with a marathon of discipline, a heaping mountain of patience, and a metric fuck ton of time outs.  And after enduring two months of escalating behavior, we reached the breaking point. It was a trip to Meijer to buy school supplies, and it ended with me getting my lip split open by Brady’s wicked right cross. I left the kids with Bill, and I walked home sobbing.

 

ZERO. I’ll spare you the details of Brady’s behavior. Honestly, it is too emotionally taxing for me to give a play-by-play. But it was on my walk home from Meijer that I realized something was definitely wrong with Brady. His little brain wasn’t firing the same as other kids. His language. His lack of impulse control. His defiance. He wasn’t just “naughty”, he actually appeared to have zero control of how he behaved at home.

 

HELP. Oh, that’s the other thing. He ONLY acts this way at home/with me. His teachers adore him, his playdates at friends houses ended with praise for how sweet he is. I was like, “Um….yeah. Great. So, what did he break while he was here? Nothing?? That’s weird.” My walk home from Meijer led to a lot of soul searching, which brought us to seek out a psychotherapist. We needed professional help.

 

TESTS. We found a doctor here in McHenry, and she put Brady through hours of testing. And while we don’t have all the test interpretations back yet, there is one thing that is certain: Brady has Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD). And there it was. A name for his monster. Something concrete to hang onto. Something to google and read about. Something to reassure me that I am not a complete fraud as a mother. ODD. Brady is the textbook example of the disorder.

 

LIFTED. I wish I could say that his diagnosis lifted some weight off my shoulders, but it really didn’t. It has given me a new perspective on how to handle his behavior, but day in and day out, my life still feels….heavy? Yeah, I guess that’s how to describe it. I feel heavy. “School starts soon, and that will help” is what people keep telling me, and I wish I could believe it. It will help in the sense that I will get a break from Brady. But it also fills me with dread that maybe this year, his ODD will manifest at school as well. Sweet Lord, please don’t let this manifest at school.

 

TREAT. Like other behavioral disorders, there is no magic cure for ODD. It isn’t something that medication can cure. It will all come down to consistency, and alternative behavior therapy. In other words my friends, I am currently on a very long and very shitty journey. So to my friends, family, neighbors, church people, strangers in public….here is my request to you: Please be patient with my journey. There are “good days”, and there are terrible days, but I am hopeful that somewhere down this path, we will find Brady again. We will help him regain control of his brain and his body, and my sweet boy won’t be just a fleeting glimpse, he will be with me all the time. But I can’t do this alone. I need the love and support of ALL my people to make it through this tough journey. My natural tendency is that I am not going to make anyone else suffer with us on this journey – but I promise you I need you. I need your text messages, your phone calls, your emails, and your prayers. So wherever you are, and however we know each other, please don’t let me journey alone.

 

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Bracing for impact January 17, 2018

Filed under: Nonsense — Jennie Yundt @ 1:41 pm

THIS. This is my calm before the storm. This is me, bracing for impact. This is easily the most stressful time of my entire day, when in fact it should be the happiest.

This is me at 4:15PM. 5 minutes before Brady gets home from school. We have been slowly working our way through school year struggles, and this is my last remaining struggle – how to transition him from school to home.

It started the first day of 1st grade. His first day of “all day” school. When it came time for him to get on the bus, he threw himself to the grass and cried hysterically. I drove him to school, and had to physically DRAG HIM into the building. I left him in the capable hands of the school social worker who assured me that everything would be ok, “just go ahead and leave.” As I turned to leave the office, I could hear him struggling to break free from the social worker, and his screams, “MOMMY! PLEASE DON’T LEAVE ME! I JUST NEED ONE MORE KISS! MOMMY!!”

(insert heartbreak here)

Fortunately, a sticker chart solved that issue. With the promise of a Nerf gun for 20 “no tears” mornings, Brady happily gets on the bus and heads to school.

The next school challenge was getting him to eat his lunch. For as long as I can remember he has been a shy eater. Holidays, family functions, birthday parties…we pretty much have to pre-feed him, or risk the hangry monster devouring our souls. With the help of a friend with MANY extra Pokemon cards, I was able to bribe him with one Pokemon card per day for eating his lunch.

Just when I thought I had it all figured out, we now have daily melt downs when he comes home.

So we brace. We quickly organize all the toys just in case someone touched a toy of his. We clean the clutter from the counters. We move the girls to their designated stools at the counter so that nobody is in “his seat”. I double check and triple check that his room looks EXACTLY how he left it that morning (I take pictures), and I hastily throw dinner on the stove so I can give him my FULL attention. Just in case…you know…he has a melt down.

Even after all these precautions, we still get about 35% melt down days. To say we are walking on egg shells is an under statement.

And then I’m faced every day with “parent bullies”. You know these people. We all know them. They sit behind their laptop typing with utmost confidence that they would never “let that fly in my house”, or that they would “show that kid who’s boss!”. My absolute favorite are the parents who proclaim, “if my kids ever behaved that way, I’d put them over my knee!!”

But would you? Would you really? And if you would really spank your child, would it accomplish what you were hoping for? Would it teach your 6 year old how to properly handle the difficult transition between home and school? Would a “swift kick in the ass” teach my 6 year old son how to deal with the frustration of having to share toys with his two younger sister? Would a long time out teach him how to handle his fear of trying new things?

And let’s talk about the logistics of spanking. What age do you start spanking? Newborns? 2 year olds? What age do you STOP spanking?? Lord knows you can’t spank a 19 year old. How many times do you strike your child? 2? 6? And what if, WHAT IF the behavior that got your child in trouble to begin with was hitting. Am I supposed to spank a 6  year old to teach him not to hit his sister?? What are we really hoping for by spanking?? Does it teach a life skill that applies ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD??

Grown Ups at work: “Hey Margaret, you didn’t finish the project that was due today, so I’m sure you understand that now I have to spank you.”

Other Grown Ups at work: “Listen Dave, your quarterly report was a mess. Park yourself in the corner mister, and no iPhone for 20 minutes.” 

You might not understand, but I am trying to teach my son how to properly deal with his emotions. Just like kids aren’t born knowing how to share, kids aren’t born knowing how to handle tough situations. Their initial reaction is going to be to have an outburst. Some kids yell, others throw toys, some hit…and some do all three in rapid succession. These kids aren’t “bad”. They just are in a situation that is above their current capacity to handle. As their parents, it’s our job to teach our kids how to be emotionally ready for the world…and spanking them isn’t going to accomplish that.

So while I have most of my struggles figured out, there is still one huge hurdle to overcome. And I’m working on it. Every day I read, think and pray for a solution to this issue. Every day I try and carve out 5 minutes to myself before he comes home, just so I can ensure I have some reserves in the tank. Because this is a tough time for me too. I’m tired, he’s tired, and I’m just trying to make it out of this alive.

 

When life kicks you in the tits December 1, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jennie Yundt @ 2:03 pm

poolside-florida-croppedThere are only a handful of times in my life when I can remember feeling truly, truly sad. The kind of sad that you can’t shake off. The kind of sad where you sit in the shower and cry. The kind of sad where you just want everyone and everything to go away. The kind of sad that you could call despair.

 

Yesterday was one of those days.

 

My life is full of so many blessings, but it is also riddled with struggle. I do a fairly good job of maintaining a shimmering exterior of smiles and jokes, but it can fade in an instant and all you’re left with is a woman losing control of herself, and her 3 screaming children.

 

There are just some days that are so void of laughter, so void of joy, that it consumes me. The crying, yelling, screeching, bickering, hitting, mess making and general inability to be cool for like one fucking second is sometimes more than I can bear, and it buries me alive.

 

It doesn’t even matter what happened, or what the kids were doing. There is no way I could ever convey the situation properly so that you could understand how I felt completely lost. All that matters is that at 5:15PM I couldn’t tolerate even one more second of my duties as a mother. I left the kids inside with Bill, and without saying a word, I went and sat on the front steps. There was a small part of me that would rather have frozen to death outside than to have to “Mom” for even one more second.

 

Fortunately, without missing a beat, my husband stepped in and took over. He made dinner while I sat alone, crying, because he knew that’s what I needed.  After sitting outside for 30 or 45 minutes, I dragged myself inside and got in a hot shower. I sat on the floor of the shower letting the water hit my face, trying to drown out the terrible feelings I was having. I would have given anything for that water to wash away all the negative thoughts from my brain.

 

“I hate my life.” 

“I have no friends.”

“This is my life for the next 5 years until all the kids are in school.”

“My life doesn’t matter.”

“I am a terrible mother.”

“My kids are so bad sometimes, and it’s my fault.”

 

After the shower, I sat on the floor of the baby’s room, still crying and thinking terrible thoughts. I was willing myself to overcome these negative feelings, but I just didn’t have it in me. I felt like I was a column of ash left standing in place and if someone were to touch me, I would just crumble and blow away. Hollow. Fragile.

 

After an hour of sitting in the baby’s room, I heard a tiny voice in the hallway. “Mommy?” It was Avery. She and Brady had come to find me. Without another word, they both climbed into my lap. They didn’t know why I was crying, and they couldn’t possibly have known the depth of my sorrow, but they knew how to fix me. They just snuggled with me and let me cry all over their pajamas.

 

I’m not depressed, and I don’t suffer from any sort of mood disorder….I’m just a Mom who sometimes gets overwhelmed with her situation. I have always worn my heart on my sleeve. I feel ALL the feelings. I feel so many feelings, that I even feel other people’s feelings. And yesterday was a feelings emergency.

 

The good thing about a feelings emergency, is that they can sometimes resolve themselves. I put my kids to bed, ate green beans for dinner, went to bed early, and started over fresh this morning. I’ve always joked that lifting weights is my therapy, and that was never more true than today. My friend Gina showed up for our lifting session with homemade Christmas ornaments and instantly put a smile on my face.

 

I’m grateful for all the people in my life who have saved my sanity without even knowing it. I’m also grateful for a husband who understands how to let me fall off the rails, and then put me back on again. Because every MomTrain is going to derail. It’s part of life. Sometimes it’s worse to fight the derailment, than to just let it happen.

 

Before You Go July 31, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jennie Yundt @ 12:46 pm

Kate graduation.JPG

TIME. Time is ticking by so fast. My beautiful Katelyn, there just isn’t enough time. In 10 days you’ll hop on that airplane and fly off to Arizona State University to start your college adventure. But sweetie….10 days is too soon.

 

DREAM. I realize you have to go. This is your dream and I would never, EVER stand in your way. Dream big baby girl. Dream big! But before you go, please let me snuggle with you on the couch and watch a movie. Let me share a few quiet moments with you sipping coffee and reminiscing. Let me watch you play with your siblings. Let me cook you breakfast. Let me enjoy your smile and your laugh. Let me believe that no matter how far away you go, we’ll always stay in touch. But most of all….please let me teach you how to properly back squat.

 

SQUAT. You see, in CrossFit, squatting is everything. EVERY.THING. If you ain’t got a good squat, well, you ain’t got squat. In all aspects of your life, you need a solid foundation to build a strong house. Going off to college is so much more than school, it’s about finding who you are as a person and starting to lay down your path in life. And whether you end up a pharmacist, or a street musician, your life needs a solid foundation.

 

RULES. So let’s head out to the garage. We’ll load up the bar and go over the basics. Weight on your heels, knees out, eyes forward, ALWAYS go below parallel. These are the rules you must follow when squatting. Keep track of your workouts, follow the progressions, and listen to your body. If you follow the rules and stay consistent, you will be rewarded. Squatting will reward you with strength. Muscle. Progress. “Body like Beyonce” as you always say.

 

LIFE. Life is no different than squatting. Weight on your heels – stay grounded, and remember you have to start at the bottom and work your way up. Knees out – don’t let life cave in on you. Stay strong, and fight the urge to fold and collapse. Eyes forward – keep pressing ahead to your future, don’t dwell on the past. ALWAYS go below parallel – do everything to your fullest capability. Don’t pull up short. These are the rules you must follow in life. And while squatting will reward you with muscle, life will reward you with success and joy.

 

REACH. Baby girl, work hard, be kind, and ALWAYS be humble. Squat heavy. Call your Mom every day. Love to your fullest. Build your foundation strong, and your tower will one day reach the stars.

 

All my Love Always,

Mom

 

Don’t Get Lost June 8, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jennie Yundt @ 1:33 pm

hectic kids.JPGYOU. Hey, you. I see you. We pass each other in the grocery store once in a while. We don’t know each other….but I definitely know what your life is like. You have 3 small children with you. One is happily skipping along behind you, another is dangling off the side of your cart, and the third is safely tucked in a baby backpack.

 

BUSY. Your days are crazy. Your nights are hectic. You can barely find 15 minutes in your day for a shower, makeup, a meal you get to eat sitting down, or a bathroom break. It might have been 2 days since you looked in the mirror, because you have a unicorn sticker in your hair, and there is a mascara smudge ringing your right eye. You laugh when your friends talk about how they can’t believe it has been FOUR WHOLE WEEKS since their last pedicure. SUCH A TRAGEDY.

 

YOU. Somewhere in the swirl of your daily tasks, you are going to feel lost. You might even forget that you exist outside of your tiny people’s needs. The sticky hands, runny noses, refereeing fights, folding the laundry, feedings, housework, lawn work, more laundry……it can feel never ending. Don’t forget that there is still a you outside of all this.

 

FREE. Maybe you were a runner. Or an artist. Maybe you loved to read. What I want you to know is that you are still that person too. Sure, these tiny people take up most of your time. Once you are a Mother, there is no such thing as “free time”. Ask any Mom out there, and all time is precious and valuable….definitely not “free”. Gone are the days when you get to wake up at 10AM and stroll around in your pajama pants until lunch time. Gone are the days of “running a quick errand”. Hell, it takes me 11 minutes to get all my kids from inside the house, to safely buckled into their car seats.

 

TIME. I’m not going to say something generic like, “make time for yourself”. I have heard/read that advice on numerous occasions. I might have even repeated it once or twice. It dawned on me how silly it is to tell someone to “make time”. If it were that easy, we’d all be doing it, right? Absolutely. I’d make an extra 3 hours in each day to head out to my workshop and build something. Or stand in my garage and sing. Or get in an extra workout. Or maybe just take a shower without anyone dictating how long or short it has to be.

 

SQUASHED. Your kids will only be this little, and this needy once. Be brave. Be strong. Help your children have amazing adventures in your backyard. And above all else, don’t forget about the person who is still inside of you – the person who gets squashed back inside by the sheer amount of time it took to get all 3 of your kids in their shoes and out the door. The person who you would be if you could “make time” for yourself. Because what all those well-meaning advice givers really mean is, “don’t forget to be yourself”.

 

AGAIN. As I’m wrapping up my trip to the grocery store, we pass each other again in the produce department. Your happy group of children has melted into a crying puddle of grocery store dismay. Your oldest has thrown herself on the floor, the baby in the backpack is crying inconsolably, and your middle child is sitting in the basket of your cart, working his way through an open bag of chocolate chips. (I’m assuming you were buying those to make cookies) I won’t insult you by saying something like “you sure got your hands full!”, because that definitely isn’t how you feel.

 

SOUL. You don’t just have full hands, but a full house. A full heart. A full soul. These tiny people take absolutely everything you have, plus 10% more. Every.Single.Day. Instead of pointing out that it looks like you are struggling, I’m just going to put the baby’s pacifier back in his mouth, scoop up the trail of chocolate chips you left near the bananas, and continue on with my day. You and me…we are sisters in this battle to maintain our sanity long enough to get all of our kids safely through each day. Maybe down the road, our paths will cross again at the nail salon, once all our kids are in school full time. Until that time – keep up the good work, Sister. You are not alone.

 

 

To My Daughter June 4, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jennie Yundt @ 9:03 am

kate laugh prom.JPGMORNING. Good Morning, Kate. I know you’re not awake yet, but I am. I couldn’t sleep at all last night. You see, today is the day that you are moving into your first apartment with your boyfriend. I know how excited you are. You have been planning this for weeks, and it’s the first time I’ve seen you truly happy and excited in a long time.

 

ADULT. But my sweet girl, you are unknowingly flinging yourself head first into the world of being an adult. Over night you stop being my 17 year old baby and you become an adult. I know you feel ready for it. But I don’t know if I’m ready for it. I can still remember that scary morning that you came bursting into my life. You were all gray and you were scowling and blinking at me. We looked at each other for a long time. It might have been an hour. And in those moments, I knew I would learn so much from you.

 

TEACH. You taught me how to love. How to care. How to nurture. I learned how to be a better parent, a better person. How to give myself fully to another human being. I held you when you were sick, rocked you back to sleep when you were scared, and helped you pick your outfit for the first day of school. I am truly blessed to be your Mother, because you have grown into an incredible woman.

 

HUMBLE. Our relationship isn’t perfect. For the past 10 months you have lived at your Nana’s house, and it has been the most humbling experience of my life. Watching you pack up and leave made me face the truth that I had failed you in so many ways. There was a gaping hole in my heart knowing that I didn’t give you what you needed.  We fought. We argued. Raising a strong, bright woman is one of the most frustrating and rewarding things I have ever done. And you are strong. SO STRONG. Always remember that. You are capable of so much more than you will ever know.

 

AWAY. And somehow, while you have been away these last 10 months, our hearts have found each other again. The time we spend together these days feels like we are old friends. We sip coffee and sit cross-legged on the couch and share stories about our lives. We talk to each other almost every day. I finally feel like I know you. REALLY know you. Your siblings greet you with applause and cheers of “SISSY!!!” as they watch your car pull into the driveway. And while I’m not jumping up and down cheering with them, my heart is cheering each time I see you.

 

CHANCE. And while I have never said it out loud, I want to say “thank you”. Thank you, Kate, for giving me a second chance. Thank you for being willing to work together and start over. Thank you for letting me back into your heart and trusting me with your feelings. Thank you for everything you have taught me and for everything you WILL teach me about life, love, and parenting.

So as you start your journey into the world of adulting, I have the following wisdom to share:

  1. Admit when you are wrong and apologize
  2. Give more than you take
  3. Pay your bills on time
  4. Don’t complain about housework
  5. Always wear sunblock
  6. Laugh more than you cry
  7. Your family is there for you no matter what
  8. Find people who inspire you
  9. Don’t settle
  10. Call your mom every day

 

With All My Love Always,

Mom

 

Dinner Disaster March 16, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jennie Yundt @ 2:38 pm

IMG_8418 (1).JPGFOOD. I love to cook. LOVE. To. Cook. I find great pleasure in the smells, flavors, and even the messes that come with preparing a truly wonderful meal. Growing up, we always sat down together at the table as a family to eat dinner. I have these visions of sitting down for dinner with my own family…but dinner with my kids makes me want to fall on something pointy.

 

AMEN. Everyone comes to the table happy and eager. They climb into their chairs, fold their little hands, and we pray. But within 2 seconds of “amen”, the craziness starts. It doesn’t even matter what I do. I’ve tried everything. We’re all praying together, we say “amen”, and then this happens:

  • Avery claps her hands and cheers after our prayer is over, and spills her water
  • As I’m cleaning up the water, Avery stuffs the entire end of the salt shaker in her mouth. “No, Avery. No mouth.”
  • Brady is trying very hard to put pepper on his plate so he can dip his meat in it, and he gets pepper IN HIS EYE (WTF!?)
  • I get up to get Brady a cold rag, and Avery stuffs 7 pieces of meat in her mouth at once. “No, Avery. Small bites please.”
  • I get Brady his cold rag
  • I turn back around and Avery has decided she has too much meat in her mouth, so she spits the entire wad of half-chewed meat into my WATER GLASS
  • I fish the meat out of my water glass with my fork, and get Brady sat back down at his chair with the cold rag
  • Just as he sits down, whoops! He realizes he has to poop
  • I get Brady naked so he can do his business
  • I head back to the table, and Avery is banging on my water glass with her fork, and knocks it over
  • While I’m cleaning up water, again, Brady announces he’s ready to be wiped
  • I head into the bathroom to help him out. While I’m washing my hands, Avery takes her ENTIRE dinner plate and puts it on the floor and starts eating her food like she is a dog
  • Brady emerges from the bathroom, sees Avery’s stroke of genius, and copies her
  • Finley is fussing in her bouncey seat, so I grab her real quick
  • I sit down in my chair with Fin on my lap and take my first bite of dinner, while the kids eat from the floor like animals
  • As I’m chewing, Finley yacks up 4oz of breast milk onto MY PLATE.
  • PEACE! I’M OUT BITCHES! DINNER OVER!

 

HOPE. And every night, every SINGLE night, I have this tiny hope of hopes that my kids will sit nicely, eat their food, and my night won’t have to end with that crazy bullshit….but then the sad reality sets in. I go to bed disappointed. I mean, I love these little jerk-faces, and want to share a meal together!! Why do they have to make things so hard!? Why?! WHYYYYY!?

 

STARVE. Things have gotten so bad during dinner time, that I have actually threatened never to feed the kids again. “If you don’t sit nice and eat your dinner, I’m never feeding you again!” Needless to say, the kids called my bluff.

 

PEACE. Since I can’t seem to get my kids on the “manners train”, Bill and I have started having steak-and-ceasar-salad-Saturday. We put our little monsters to bed and stay up together grilling ribeyes, sharing a bottle of wine, and enjoying a non-stressful meal together. It has become the highlight of my week….closely followed in second place by Champagne Friday. In the end, I just had to say “fuck it”. I can’t fight with my kids every single night and expect to maintain my sanity. My kids were all late walkers, late talkers, and late to potty train. Hell, Brady is 2 months from turning 5, and still wants to sleep in his crib. Maybe I’ll be able to teach then table manners by Junior high. High School at the latest.  But no promises.