Part II

After Poke died, things were rough. I had to change my work schedule because I could no longer work weekends. I lost hours and income, as well as no longer receiving the child support I had fought so hard to get. Squishy’s job was going downhill fast, and he wasn’t going to get hired on. We were running on empty, financially and emotionally.

In late August, Squishy started a new job, hired on immediately, and he loved it. In fact he is still there to this day! Warehouse work isn’t for everyone, but he is really good at what he does.

By December I was incredibly pregnant, and Little Hippie was born just before Christmas. Squishy and I had some relationship issues around the same time, and made some much needed changes.

Found out at the beginning of summer that Squeaks has a milk allergy. It’s been very eye opening as far as products that contain milk but you wouldn’t think they do. Poor kid had to completely change his diet.

Finally, Squishy and I broke up. It was sudden, but not, because he’s been miserable for awhile. The changes we made helped, but couldn’t make it right. My heart is shattered, but I have no choice.

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Eighteen Months Later

As of my last post, things were somewhat in limbo. My, how times have changed since then!

In late April 2017, Squishy and I got our own house. Renting, not buying, but at a great price in a nice neighborhood. A week after we moved in, I found out I was pregnant. It was a surprise, but not because we had an oops! We started trying to get pregnant at the beginning of April and apparently we were really, ie immediately, successful. It was awesome.

At the end of May, Squishy’s son came to live with us. We had specifically chosen this house to accommodate 3-4 kids plus ourselves, and it was a good arrangement. My kids went to daycare while I worked, and KS stayed home playing video games and doing whatever preteens do all day. Unfortunately the Brady Bunch dynamic wasn’t happening for us. I had higher expectations for KS than he was used to, as far as tidiness and courtesy. KS hated living with two little kids and having to “answer” to someone who was not his “real parent”. He’d had similar problems with his mom and stepdad, which is why he came to live with us in the first place.

Within a month, KS had been back to visit his mom and decided he wanted to go back and live with her. Squishy and his ex told him he would stay here for the summer and move back before school started. This would be his final move until age 18, as he had already moved back and forth between them three times. Everyone had had enough. In late August he went home to his mom’s.

As you may recall, Poke and I finally divorced in January of 2017. He was ordered to pay child support, and I spent all of February, March, and April fighting with him and his employer. It got to the point where CSEA was going to take both of them to court, and Poke was facing jail time. That was the final threat, and they began complying.

In June, Poke married some girl who lived in South Carolina. She was the ex of an acquaintance, and Poke and I once witnessed her bashing in the windows of our neighbor’s car at 2am. I guess absolutely insane was what he wanted in a wife. Anyway, I was glad that he was someone else’s responsibility now, and I hoped she’d somehow get him on the right path.

In July, JI turned six. As we were sitting at the Chinese buffet, just the two of us, I got a call from Poke’s brother. He informed me that Poke was in the ICU. Squishy came and got JI, and I ran over to the hospital. Poke was in a coma.

He had been drinking for nearly 18 hours with his ex girlfriend. They went to McDonald’s early in the morning, went back to her house, and fell asleep. At some point she noticed that he wasn’t breathing. The EMTs came, and it took 20 minutes to revive him. By the time I got there, he was on life support, completely, with all sources set to the max. He would not recover. Unfortunately Poke’s brother, mother, and I could not make the decision to remove him from life support; because he was married, we had to wait for a complete stranger to come from South Carolina and make the decision.

Poke coded three times during the night, and died just before 7am on the day after JI’s birthday.

I told JI what happened. He wanted to go see his dad, so I took him to the hospital. JI stroked his hair and touched his arm. The wife had arrived after 8am, and was there with her mother. They left us alone with Poke, and we cried. We cried like people in the movies, and I pounded on Poke’s chest. I was so angry for so many reasons. Angry that he’d not taken care of himself, that he’d left me alone with the boys, that he’d made such terrible decisions. Angry over petty things, like no more child support or health insurance for the kids. Angry that he’d broken his mother’s heart.

Over the next week, my angers retreated for rage. His friends were rallying on Facebook, and Poke became a saint. Everyone was “so shocked” by his death. At the service, folks got up and talked about what a “punch to the gut” it was to hear that he’d died. I wanted to punch them all in their faces. Where the fuck were they when Poke was losing his mind, attempting suicide three times in two months, twice in front of JI? Where were they when he tried a fourth time and his mother and brother had to call the cops to physically restrain him due to violent outbursts after drinking two bottles of whiskey, an assortment of other alcohol, and taking different pills he found? Where were all these people who allegedly loved him so much? Nowhere. They knew nothing of the real Poke. It made me sick to hear them prattle on while those of us who dealt with his demons on a daily basis were the ones who hurt the most.

…to be continued.

A Day in the Life

12am: Feed Squeaks
1am: Fall asleep to an old episode of “CSI” on hulu+
2am: Wake up when JI crawls into our bed
3:45am: Wake up to feed Squeaks
5am: Back to sleep
7:55am: Wake up to get JI ready for school
8:20am: Bus is here!
wpid-collage_20150417104056590_20150417104254875.jpg8:21-11:30am: Doctors’ appointments, grocery shopping, eat breakfast, feed Squeaks, major projects, cuddle with Squeaks.

11:45-11:57am: Bus is here! JI arrives home from school.

12pm-2pm: Lunch for me and Squeaks. JI begins his plea for tablet time. When he gets it and for how long depend on whether he got green, yellow, or red behaviour at school that day. I will try to get him to go outside or do something constructive, but 9/10 he will end up vegging out and watching TV. JI is fairly worthless after school and I think it is because his brain and sensory processing center need to take a break to recharge.

2pm: Poke wakes up. I will debrief him on the events of the day, and hopefully get to take a nap.

4pm-7pm: Poke leaves for work and I’m back on parenting duty. Generally JI will play the tablet for a while, Squeaks will nap, and I will get my chores done. If it is nice, I’ll send JI outside to play. Our backyard is completely fenced in so I just check on him occasionally while I get my work done. If the weather is yucky, this is when I try to get crafts or activities done with JI. He’s not a fan of either, or of games/coloring/etc, so bad weather days can be really challenging. Sometimes I can’t stand the whining and he gets unlimited tablet time.

7-8:30pm: Dinner! I almost always let JI choose, for two reasons: 1) I want him to eat, and if I give him something he’s not tasting for, he won’t, and 2) I honestly don’t care what we have. It’s just the two of us so there’s nothing that’s too difficult to make for two people. Plus it gives him the power of choice and, depending on the dish, the ability to make his own dinner. He can make his own PB&J, get yogurt and fruit from the fridge, or use scissors to open fruit snacks and graham crackers.
After dinner it is brother bathtime, on every alternating day, unless someone is really filthy. JI and Squeaks both love to take baths! It is harder to get JI out than in; Squeaks doesn’t have a choice.wpid-collage_20150417103859324.jpg
Once bathtime is over, we watch a movie or a few episodes of a show on Netflix or Hulu+. JI has recently gotten into “Pocoyo” and I LOVE it! So much better than “Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmas”,  which was the preferred movie from December 2014 to March 2015. Ugh. Usually during this time, I’ll feed Squeaks so that he’ll fall asleep before it is time for me to put JI down.

8:30pm: Bedtime for JI. We’ll read a couple stories, then it is lights out. I love this time of day because it is when JI is finally unwound. We have our special talks at this time, and I learn so much about him and what’s going on in his little mind. We cuddle, and he almost always falls asleep within moments of crawling into my arms.

9:15pm-12am: Aaaaah, mommy time. I will eat a special snack, catch up on TV and social media, and work on the blog and my Pampered Chef business. I actually don’t get a ton of work done during this time, because I have found that if I get my brain going this late at night, I can’t fall asleep.

12am: Feed Squeaks… and the cycle begins again!

Let’s Talk About Squeaks, Baby!

Ah, Squeaks.20150209_140646

He came into our lives on a cold and frosty February morning, nine days earlier than his due date and two days before our scheduled c-section. As a foetus he was lively, causing me very few problems (certainly less than JI!) and generally behaving in a typically perfect foetal way.

Born at The Ohio State University Medical Center, just like his brother before him, Squeaks was 7# 5oz and 19″ at birth. In comparison, JI was 20150226_1749178# 12oz and 20.5″ at birth – quite a difference! Within a few days, poor skinny Squeaks had lost so much weight he was down to 6# 2oz. It was up in the air whether or not we’d go home – and finally he gained six ounces and we were allowed to leave! Now Mr. Squeaks is nine weeks old, and he’s up to 12# 2oz and is 23.5″ long. He has gone from the 24th percentile at one week to being in the 66th percentile at today’s appointment! Yahoo! He just needed that fourth trimester to finish all his growing.

20150403_085049Squeaks is a very happy baby; he was smiling almost immediately – and I don’t mean gassy smiles! He is an excellent sleeper, following the rules most of the time, and a voracious eater… noisy too. People always ask me, “Why do you call him “Squeaks”?” and the answer is clear: once you spend a few minutes with him, you’ll know! He sounds like a20150413_180827 tiny piglet squeaking, even when he’s just lying there doing nothing, and when he’s eating he sounds like a baby pterodactyl!

Squeaks and JI were so different in both pregnancies, and Squeaks is very unlike JI was as a newborn. I am so excited to watch my new son grow and become his own little person! He’s already got a swell personality, and I can only imagine what is in store for us as we watch him get older.

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*Squeak squeak snort snort grunt grunt*