Wednesday, October 1, 2014

That Which We Don't Understand

I was looking in my draft folder of my blog and randomly found this. Originally written in 2010 and yet all still very applicable. So...POSTING!

Things I don't understand about Husband:
  • Why he considers loading the dishes into the dishwasher and only that to be "doing the dishes" (i.e there will still be dishes leftover to be washed. Handwash dishes? WHA?)
  • Why he would prefer unwaxed dental floss - THE SQUEAKING
  • How he can possibly leave dessert/candy untouched...for days
  • Why the effort of putting his socks in the laundry basket is simply too much
  • Why he loves me as much as he does
Things Husband doesn't understand about me:
  • Why I leave the lights on when I leave the room
  • Why I don't follow the budget closely during the month
  • Why I eat all of my share of dessert in two seconds...and then want some of his
  • Why the effort of putting my used tissues or crumpled up papers directly into the bedroom trash can is simply too much
  • Why I love him as much as I do
(And 2014 Laura will add a picture. Here it comes.)
Oddly cropped 2005 photo. Aw.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Things, Varied and Random and Run-On-ny

  • Lilypad, my darling sweet Lilypad, has not given me more than a 2 or 3-hour stretch of sleep in the past two months. I am now FEELING it. Since I have experienced varying levels of sleep deprivation over the years (and by experienced, I mean obsessed over it), I still feel like this qualifies more as "Hard Times LITE" versus the truly challenging time after Oliver was born, but DAMN. It's at the point where I have a nonstop feeling of being hungover/have a sense that I'm forgetting important things/feel so overwhelmed even though I technically shouldn't be/just have a vague sense of grey-cloud-Eeyore-ness most days. Eh, this could probably start to qualify me for PPD/PPA, but I'm pretty sure that some solid 5-hour stretches would have me bouncing back right quick. So I'll be sure to do that! Boom! Problem solved!
  • Okay, so it's not really an easy fix, but I'm thinking it wouldn't be SO hard to figure out or at least improve upon. I could try being in bed by 7:30 pm and sleeping by 8 pm for a week. I am also inching towards doing some Ferbering for her because things are really getting way off track at this point given her 5-ish wake ups each night. Why do my babies go so off the rails once their 4-month sleep regression hits? I'm sure there is a me-factor at play, but whatevs. These things are not forever (pretending like Bella is a solid sleeper now LALALALALA). I do think Lily is the type of baby who will take to gentle sleep training quickly and well and the fact that she slept decently until 4 months seems like a good sign that she could return to it.
  • Why not just go to a hotel or have Raj take over for a night? Well, little g-fri exclusively breastfeeds. Like EXCLUSIVELY. Yeah - the bottle thing fizzled out shortly after it started and since I don't have to be away and it was way more work to continue to push it, I have just left it for now. We will push sippy cups for getting her breastmilk while I'm away and start solids and that problem should take care of itself. In the meantime I have not been able to be more than 2 miles from my baby since she was born. I can't think about that too much or I get panicky about my short leash. Woof, woof.
  • I'm excited to start the process of feeding a baby solids again. I plan to make most of her baby food since I think it's fun and I'm already planning all the foods we can introduce her to. I will also do some pre-packaged organic stuff because LE DUH. We shall start with sweet potatos.
  • The older kids started swimming lessons today and Oliver cried out for me pretty much the entire 30 minutes and it was excruciating. I had to fight the urge to go "rescue" my baby boy the whole class even though the teacher was doing great with him. The lesson is just for Bella and Oliver and the teacher was obviously very capable and swimming lessons are important (really, we should have done this way sooner but after a hassle-filled baby swimming class with B in 2010 I have let it fall right off the to-do list) but oh, it is awful to listen to your child cry your name again and again and look at you with this, "WHY HAVE YOU DONE THIS TO ME?" sad face. We talked it over with the teacher after class and next week we will drop the kids and then get out of sight for the class and hopefully that does the trick. I would have done it this week but I wasn't sure if we were supposed to stay in the pool area. Still so many newbie parenting moments all the time! I'm hoping I can report back with talk of Oliver loving swim lessons in just another week or two. Bella is doing great and I think that will help Oliver adjust more quickly, too.
  • We have been doing more family fun swimming, too, and I never got around to getting Lily a baby swimsuit yet so I have been putting her in a tiny blue swim diaper like a wee baby Speedo and then we call her Baby Leo. Baby Leo loves the pool so much. It's awesome.
  • Speaking of reporting back: Bella is loving the bus and all is well. I'm a little disappointed that I can't have the option to walk her home from school on nice days (I obviously do have the option but I don't want to start confusing her, her teacher, etc just because of my own whims about enjoying fall weather) but it has been much easier to meet her at the bus versus traveling to the school and going inside. Yay!
  • I had a sushi and fro-yo date with my sister this weekend and it was awesome. 
  • Love fall so so SO much. I have decided that I don't have seasonal depression issues after all since I never feel bummed as the light decreases nor do I feel better as daylight gets longer in the spring. It's winter I hate. I have winter issues. Cold issues. I read some article about how Minnesota might get 5, 10, or even 50 times the average snowfall this year. I'm pre-dead over this situation. 
  • I can't decide what to do about our gym membership. On one hand I'm so not crazy about exposing ourselves to an additional and formidable source of germs. Every time one of the kids gets sick it means we can't go and if it's a slow moving doozy of a bug that might mean I can only go a few times in one month (see July and August).  Gym memberships are a splurge. But when I do get there I am pretty much on Cloud 9 and the happiest person ever because being able to exercise sans kids in the middle of the day is huge for me. So not sure what our plan will be. In the meantime I put our membership on hold, but since that won't start until the end of the month AFTER you ask for the hold (tricky, tricky, gym!) we have through the end of October to make the final decision. I can't say why this decision feels so monumental. Probably directly related to bullet point one and my functioning is sad sack right now.
  • In postpartum updates I have dropped another bit of weight and I'm now 10-ish pounds or so above where most of my clothes will fit reasonably-ish-ly well (the muffin-top look, if you will). 15 more pounds and things will fit properly. I will not try on my pre-baby pants in the mean time because I learned that lesson the hard way. Twice. However, I did get these high rise black jeggings from Express when they were half off back in August and they are a nice denim bandaid in the meantime. I also picked up a flattering-enough dressy tank from Express and a dress at Old Navy and that's pretty much it for my dress-up-and-go-places wardrobe.
    The other days? Oy, I am feeling fug. Lots of leggings, tanks, Raj's old black fleece jacket, glasses and ponytails. Time to put a little effort back into even the most minor of primping just to boost my self-esteem and energy. Or so the theory goes.
  • I've been doing a ton of cooking since my freezer meals ran out a couple months ago and I do believe I have stumbled upon the major source of my GI/IBS issues. Problem, thy name is FODMAPS. It's...intense (like I'm not supposed to eat much of things like wheat, lactose-containing dairy, onions, garlic, certain fruits & veggies, beans....) and I need to cook most things from scratch and I'm on a steep learning curve with how to manage things and I also have additional intolerances to contend with (nuts, all dairy - maybe?) and depending on the day/my mood I like to pretend I don't have IBS and just eat a turkey sub at Jimmy Johns (um, lunch today) but mostly it has been very promising and it does feel fantastic to be un-bloated after years of accepting that perma beach-ball feeling. And since sushi and small amounts of wine and sugar and potatoes and fruits and lots of other things are still perfectly fine I find it to be quite manageable. Lots of moderation ends up being the key. WHO KNEW!? Ha. Full post about this once I sleep more/figure out the full deal.
  • Remember when my blog header looked like this?
    Aw, olden DIY days. Speaking of headers - does my rotating header cause problems for any of you? I was recently clued into the fact that it might be slowing things way down for some and if that's the case I will switch over to a stationary one so that I'm not buggy. It needs an update anyway since my littlest baby is not included. Hm...I probably should update that About Me page, too. And various profile pictures for Blogger and such. I will quickly get on that in 2017, whoa-k?
  • Bullet point of the other things I was going to say but didn't type a reminder in my phone to remember them so my sieve brain let them leak right on out.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Taming My Helicopter

I grew up with a VERY overprotective mother. My dad wasn't really involved in parenting decisions (we saw him daily, but he was/is a workaholic) so it was all up to her. As I get deeper into this parenting gig myself, I can see how extremely hard that must have been on her. All three kids to take care of, plus a part time job as a physician (later started her own business), plus the upkeep of the house and our huge 3 acre yard. So much for one person. I think part of how she handled that was by keeping rules tight and strict and by keeping very short leashes on all of us. Things sort of operated as though we would absolutely get into terrible situations if we were out of her sight, so we mostly weren't let out of her sight. Or if we were allowed to go somewhere, we had very early curfews compared to our peers.

So whether it is justified or not (probably not), I lied a lot as a kid and especially as a teenager. I was still a very good kid - we all were - and I never chose to drink or canoodle beneath bleachers or anything (as in, drugs were so far off the radar that I didn't even think to initially list that in this sentence) but I lied through my teeth day in and day out. Lied about who was picking us up, whether a parent would be somewhere, who I was with, where we were going. Lies on top of lies. I sort of created what I thought were my own reasonable rules and operated within that context and lied just enough to make that work. Maybe my mom knew the extent of my lying but probably not.

As I type this, I just remembered one elaborate lie that is kind of funny but kind of sad. So I was dating a 15 year old boy when I was 16. North Dakota is insane and you can get your license at 14 years and 9 months (and your permit at 13 years and 9 months!) It's an old farming rule that makes zero sense when you apply to a decent sized city like Fargo (yes - decent enough - over 100,000 people these days). Anyway, my HS boyfriend got his license at 15. I wanted him to be able to drive us on dates rather than have our parents drop us off at the movies because DUH. So I pretended he was 16 to my mom for the next two months. Then when he actually turned 16 that April, I acted to my mom like I had just found that out and that I was so grossed out and horrified that he had been 15 the whole time! Ew! Gross! I did this knowing my mom would think I was being a shithead to my poor young boyfriend and therefore chose to focus on me being so judgey over age rather than focusing on the fact I had been riding with an inexperienced 15 year old driver. And thus my master plan worked. Lying for the win.

I'm wondering if I'm a sociopath right now...

Eh, teenage brains are crazytown and all teens behave sociopathic to some degree. I would also like to add that I think my mom was justified and smart in having a rule about not being driven around by 15 year olds. That does seem like a common sense safety move. But - and here's the but that the teenager in me still wants to rebel against - my mom was one of the only parents putting up a stink about that and it felt like just one more rule I had that no other kid had. Plus her rule was that a kid had to be 16 PLUS driving for several months before we could ride anywhere with them. Again, still reasonable in the bigger picture but it all just felt like so. many. rules. (And in case you are wondering, the boyfriend got grandfathered in and I was able to continue getting rides from him. Ha! Sorry, mom.)

Which brings me to the present day and to the fact that my life now involves parenting a school-aged child. Suddenly there is a lot about her life that I don't get to watch or be present for first hand anymore, for better or worse. I have always hoped that having a husband who grew up under a (perhaps inappropriately) very free-range style of parenting would help to counter my own overprotected upbringing. I hope that we can meet in the middle and keep each other from (1) overcompensating for our youths and (2) wanting to fall back to how we were raised. Like it seems like we will have a good set of checks and balances when it comes to parenting decisions. We won't provide alcohol to teens but we also won't say no to parties.

But some of this came to a head on a mini level once school started. I was down with Bella going to school but the bus? Nuh uh. Too scary. Too unknown. I wasn't going to be there with her. NOPE. She's too little. Plus the bus ride to school is over 30 minutes in the morning - way too long when I could drop her off in 10 minutes. And she is the only kid on our street to be elementary aged - that doesn't seem good to have her be the only one getting on the bus even if I am waiting at the stop with her. Plus, let us not forget the biggest reason of all - every summer there are people waving signs on street corners that say "Bus drivers needed! No experience necessary!" I DO NOT FEEL GOOD ABOUT THAT. I will do all pick-ups and drop-offs and that's that.

Two weeks in and I realize I was being an idiot. I'm juggling a lot of kids these days and I think there is a reason that I'm not seeing anyone else with two kids show up to drop-off and pick-up at the school. Plus I have a time conflict with Oliver's preschool on Fridays and unless I include the bus in the equation, Oliver was going to be late every single Friday. And so I had to go into the school office yesterday with my tail between my legs and ask them to show me where the kids get dropped off in the morning so I could show Bella how to get to her classroom. Had I just sent her on the bus to begin with she would have gotten PLENTY of practice with that (her teacher was meeting the bus kids each morning for the first several days) but nope. Mama messed up. Ooh, I hate feeling dumb and embarrassed but it seemed better just to admit my mistake right now.

So Bella took the bus this morning. Here is how she felt about that:

Once she was on the bus and I watched it drive away I felt fine, although a thought of "my baby is on that bus" hit my brain 10 minutes later and tears came to my eyes because I don't know. I love her? I don't sleep much these days? Letting go is hard? That bus driver dude is a random stranger and had no experience necessary and holy crap?

But of course I have been underestimating Bella's ability to handle something like riding the bus - even taking away from her by not letting her experience the fun of the bus - and I hated that my mom consistently underestimated my own abilities to function in the real world. I wasn't allowed to go to parties because alcohol might have been involved (unlikely seeing as I hung with the theater kids and dance kids for the most part). And if there had been alcohol, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have partaken (at least in high school). Kids need practice at life situations before they are adults. Parents need to let their kids practice even though it takes them out of their protective bubbles.

Kids growing up means that we are forced as parents to change and grow up some more ourselves. The constant re-molding and re-shaping and re-configuring of myself as a parent and as a person surprises me. Like I'm being forced to work towards self-actualization at a time when I don't have time for trying to be a better person! I have diapers to change and lunches to make and all the rest. But no matter, right now is about me learning to let go and learning how to relax my brain when it seems hard.

So I think the new plan is for her to ride the bus 1-3 mornings a week (I'm not crazy about her spending all that extra time in the morning just riding but if she likes it then that's fine) and I will drop her the other days on the way to preschool. Then I think I will have her ride the bus home every day since she will be one of the very first to be dropped off (so she will be home at the same time as if I were picking her up myself) and it means I'm not schlepping 2 little ones into and out of the school through the winter.

Look at me go! Look at her go! The whirr of the helicopter blades are a little less loud, for today at least.

And now two super super cute stories from the week.

  • Bella got hurt on the playground. She bumped her head after one too many twirls around a bar so the recess teacher wanted her to visit the nurse's office. Somehow it was decided that she would be walked to the office by two of her new friends  - Justin and Preston. The idea of Bella being walked by two little kindergarten boys to the nurses office is almost too adorable to handle. (And she then loooooved the attention from the nurse and laid on the cot for 20 minutes with an ice pack until no red mark remained.)
  • Oliver had a poo-on-the-potty success yesterday and he was so happy and proud that he shouted it to Bella at pick-up. So we are standing in a crowd of people and Oliver is yelling "Bella! I pooped on the potty!" and Bella, knowing how hard we have been working at that, says "Oh Bubba! I'm so proud of you! That's great! Give me a hug!" and they embraced and I was giggling-snorting all by myself. Oh kids. They are awesome.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Can't Forget the Bubster

Oliver started his first day of REAL preschool today. He's so cute and so little and actually so big. Like his head is way bigger than Bella's and now his feet are a little bigger than her feet. So I guess I can buy them shoes to share? Or Oliver can be the original owner of a pair of Crocs and then B gets the hand-me-downs? This seems crazy to me.


I still have not had a chance to make Oliver's birthday video from his third year or write out a wee love letter to him, which makes me sad *BUT* there are riches of time heading my way between Bella in school, Oliver in preschool a few mornings a week, and a babysitter morning each week. I AM GIDDY!

Also noteable: we have entered into the awkward smile stage with Oliver. Hahaha.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

And Off She Goes

Feeling calmer after yesterday's post. I'm so glad Bella escaped the strep and was able to go to her first day. She was so excited and was up and dressed by 7 AM. We walked her to school as a family (poor sick Oliver rode in the stroller) and she was happy to join her classmates. The other kids were a bit shy but Bella was her usual bold self and initiated conversations. I would have liked to have a Bella march up to me on my first days to help me feel less scared! I only had one minute of near-sobs after walking away but then I was okay.


Whew.

Big day for all. I'm doing quite well with it - probably because I've been so distracted by my sick boy. The house is so quiet without Bella home. It will be an adjustment to not have a 13-hour long conversation each day ;)

I'm excited for this new chapter in life. So is she.


Monday, September 1, 2014

Triggers

From looking at the past several years, and really, from looking at the entirety of my life, I can see that my biggest triggers for my anxiety and depression flaring up are:
  • Lack of quality sleep
  • Illness - like those of the lingering cold/sinus problems/thrush/pinkeye ilk
  • Lack of time to myself to catch up a bit - i.e. 4 hours of babysitter time each week
Things are starting to get a little iffy for my mental health because
  • I have a lack of quality sleep. 3+ wake-ups by Miss Lilypants for over 5 weeks now which is not bad at all compared to her siblings at the same age, but it's still a lot of wake-ups for me.
  • We continue to get sick - strep throat this time! Oliver was just diagnosed this morning because we like to get sick on holidays. I just...cannot. I know I am doing a reasonable and yet not over-the-top level of prevention (ranging from tons of hand washing to occasional sterilizing of things to giving the kids elderberry syrup and probiotics each day and all the rest of what one might do if their family had been ill for a solid two months) but it's just the season of life right now. Oliver is a thumb sucker. We go a lot of places that have young children. Ergo, germs. Our immune systems haven't gotten a break and so we continue to catch it all. At least it's not thrush? Or pinkeye? Or puking? Or obviously any really terrible illness?
  • There has been a major lack of time to myself. I intended to set this summer up so that I could have the sitter come twice each week for 4 hours a shot. A little indulgent, but again, I know what I need to do to stay a happy and healthy person and I know I am a way better mom when I have some space. Unfortunately, with all the contagious illness we have had to cancel so many of those day time sessions. Just bad timing and my sitter needs to avoid exposure to these highly contagious bugs as she works with a vulnerable population as her other job. (Plus it's not like I'm working and must have a sitter - she would probably still be coming if I had a job.) Anyway, we have ended up only being able to have the sitter come a handful of times in July and August and a lot of those have been date nights. Don't get me wrong, date nights are great, but right now I am more desperate to answer some emails or go through piles of papers from Bella's school or grocery shop with just Lily than I am to have a drink on a balcony. Like I just feel really off balance and scattered. (Ugh, reading this over and I sound like an asshole. Maybe I am an asshole or maybe I'm just feeling ragged. Allow me an asshole moment, maybe?)
Anyway, no real point to listing this all out except to unload my brain during this window of time while Raj and Bella are getting checked for strep themselves and Lily is napping and Oliver is watching My Little Pony. I've been in this place before (the tougher-than-usual days, I mean) and we will get out of it, but I'm also realistic that that might not really happen for another few months.  We might continue to get hit by bug after bug since Bella will be in school (oh please no, but...yeah. Probably). Or we might get lucky and have another easy school year without any doctor visits. Last year was a really awesome break from the seemingly endless string of kid illness. The previous two years...holy hell. No thank you to a repeat of that.

As someone at very high risk of developing PPD/PPA I'm getting worried all this will push me in the wrong direction. I'm glad I have that daily small dose of medication to help keep me afloat during times I can't rely on my other usual sanity savers but I don't like this feeling that is creeping up on me.

Hoping the addition of kindergarten (tomorrow!) and preschool plus my weekly 4 hours of glorious sitter time (though it is cancelled for tomorrow, because OF COURSE) into our lives will be more than enough to get me heading happily in the right direction with my mood.

Ok, posting this one without cleaning it up or making it fancy or spending enough time questioning if I should even share it...