Another Day, Another Migraine

I know it's time to get up in the morning when I hear Miss I-haven't-pooped-in-three-days-and-need-to-poop-right-now is hollering and Mr. I'm-so-quiet-you-just-know-I'm-into-something isn't making a peep.

As soon as I open my bedroom door, Mr. I'm-so-quiet comes skipping down the hall and darts quickly into his room. He looks both elated and guilty and then confirms that he's been up to something by shouting out before I can even ask, "I didn't do it!"

Realizing that I am awake, Ms. I-haven't-pooped belts out her request in an ear-piercing wail that makes the skin on my skull wither away. And so begins another day in the Barker household.

It doesn't take a genius to determine that the last of the plastic Easter eggs have been looted for candy. Little scraps of tin foil litter the floor and there are smooshed peanut butter cups on the kitchen table along with some sticky, wet rejected jellybeans.

Of course this is when Miss I-haven't-pooped DOES and greets me for the day with a diaper blowout. Joy.

As soon as I am up to my elbows in that mess Mr. I'm-so-quiet sneaks out of his room to get himself a glass of water. This means that when I return to the kitchen the refrigerator door will have been left open and the cats will be browsing the leftovers and there will be a large slippery puddle on the floor. The dilemma? To determine whether it's a puddle of water or the result of a lazy pet.

Finally, I send Mr. I'm-so-quiet to the corner so I can catch up on the catastrophes. He starts wailing and Miss I-haven't-pooped giggles and coos. There is a cosmic law that states that no household shall exist without one crying child per hour, so naturally the kids take turns being miserable to make sure they cover every hour of every day.

At last I have it under control. Even though I won't be getting a shower until the evening when my dear husband returns home there is some semblance of order.

Now it's time for the rest of the children to return home. "Can I have a snack?" "She got more than I did!" "Get out of my room!" "Do I have to do my homework now?" "Sign my reading sheet, Mom." "The dog just ate my eraser!"

It's enough to make a mom run stark raving mad out of the house and down the street. But I am a woman of considerable restraint. Not.

I assume the position. Slack jaw, drool on my chin, hair frizzed and wild, eyeballs slowly rotating in different directions…so that when my husband walks in the door he'll say the magic words: Pizza night!

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  • Guest

    I only have two sons – but the younger one was adopted at the age of 5 yrs and has attachment disorder – and a few other diagnoses, too. He is supposed to stay in his room until I rise, but…. he hasn't much of a conscience unless Mom is aware of his actions. Talk about being I'm so quiet! The older son, I trust him with my life. The younger son isn't allowed to pour milk without an adult present. He also has to stay on the same floor as an adult. Sometimes he still has to be in the same room and within my range of vision. Sigh! However, now that he is seven, he is sometimes able to be out of the room when I am on the phone.


    I do literally have migraines and severe ones cause my brain to enter a sleep state and I really haven't much choice. If I try to stay awake – it is like I am intoxicated or on some illegal drug. So, I call my husband first – sometimes he can work from home! There is a God. Sometimes he can't and my mother, bless her heart, will drop everything and come take over for me.

    The days when the head pain isn't overwhelming – my boys are trained to do quiet activities – read, color, build with Legos on a different floor of the house than I am on, etc. I may lay on the couch, my Jack Russell terrorist, Rory, makes sure that my legs won't float up uncontrolled. She puts her 12 body on those legs and hold court. She will growl if a child tries to touch me without speaking first. Good dog!


    However, on normal days, when one of the two boys isn't seeking attention – the dog does! She tells me that she waits patiently for her turn to need my attention. She doesn't mind coming into the bathroom with me – she thinks it is downtime for me and that she can offer tricks and hope for treats – now this is the dog whose kibble canister is behind a childproof latch – one that she hasn't been able to figure out…yet. I don't know if she thinks my pockets are always stuffed with doggie treats, but I guess I just smell like dog food. Isn't that a special thought? 

    I did start bringing the clicker that I train her with into the bathroom and now I click new behaviors that might work into a decent trick some day.


    I don't know if I could take more than the two boys and a JRT, but I figure that Holy Mother Church taught us about redemptive suffering for a reason. That is my best way through most days – I pray for the Holy Souls in Purgatory as if I were their best friend. Perhaps some day they will return the favor.


  • Guest

    Dear Denise: I've been in your shoes (we adopted two of the three that we fostered). There is a special reward in heaven for mothers of these special children!

    Get thee to a doctor, my friend. I've been on a daily migraine medication for two years now (low dose of Nortriptaline, but there are other kinds too), and it has worked miracles. When I get migraines now, they go away in an hour if I take my Maxalt/Excedrin Migraine and lay down for an hour (let the kids watch a video on the bed next to you, if necessary).

    Self-care is essential, both for your sake and theirs. Learn the food triggers (for me it was citrus fruit, red wine, shellfish, and aged cheese). Before I learned about these I had all four in one day and wound up in the emergency room.

    Track your symptoms so you can figure out other triggers: Low pressure/high pressure (rain storms do it for me), stress (of course, but what kinds?), lack of exercise, etc.

    Drink lots and lots of water during the day. Pay attention to your body (my forehead has a verticle wrinkle that pops out just before the migraine hits). And above all, be gentle and patient with yourself. Yes, there is a time and place for redemptive suffering … and a time and a place for medical intervention!

    Finally, acknowledge that you need to be spelled regularly. Yes, other moms manage without a regular babysitter, but not all moms have to contend with around-the-clock vigilence. One evening a week Bible study, one morning a week that your husband gets up with the kids, whatever it takes … You need to take care of yourself so you can be there for your family.

    God bless you!

    Heidi Hess Saxton Editor, "Canticle" Magazine Blogroll

  • Guest

    I have to agree with Heidi: there is "redemptive" suffering, and then there's "I'm-too-busy/sick-to-go-to-the-doctor" suffering.  I firmly believe that God accepts ALL our sufferings that we offer up, but I don't think He appreciates our "shooting ourselves in the foot". 

    See Lisa go!  Go to the doctor, Lisa.  Go, Lisa, go.  Laughing

  • Guest

    Oh, the joy of Maxalt!  The migraine eraser! Please tell your doctor about your headaches. I had major headaches for years and years, but because I didn't 1) get an aura, or 2) throw up, I didn't know they were migraines. I finally told my doctor about these "annoying, one-sided headaches" and she said, "migraine."