Tag Archives: life

mURPHY’S lAW mONDAY

16 May

Things happen in my life on a near-daily basis that prove Murphy’s Law as truth. Each Monday is dedicated to showcasing my life’s crazy moments.

I don’t get to shower every day.  There.  I said it.  I try to shower every day but it’s not always feasible.  The shower is PRIME real estate in my house.  It seems as though every time I get a few minutes to wet myself down and run a bar of soap over my skin, Grady is immediately in need of a marathon feeding session.  I never deny him milk so I usually sit down with him, clean and flowery smelling, and nurse him until his stomach is completely full.  Maybe even over-full.  Because as luck would have it, (or as Murphy’s Law would have it) his stomach runneth over.  EVERY time I get out of the shower and feed him, he pukes all over me.  In my clean (dried and straightened) hair, all over my clean and lotioned body, all over my brand new clean clothes.   This past week, he puked all over me then proceeded to fill his diaper to the point of explosion so that I was not only covered in vomit, but bright orange buttered-popcorn smelling poop.  Awesome.

I’ve come to the conclusion that Grady prefers me dirty.

If it can happen, it will happen.

My Mother’s Day Presents

8 May

Mother’s Day doesn’t look the same for all of us. As a Stay at Home Mom, I am with my kids all day, every day. My ideal Mother’s Day would be me, alone, sitting in a comfortable chair on a beach somewhere with a good book in my hand and a jug of water with lime slices in it. Alone. It would then be followed up with a pedicure. Alone. I would then go home to my family, completely refreshed and thankful for the “mommy time” and we would eat their favorite meal to avoid any dinner-time complications. Together.

But that’s not what Mother’s Day looks like for me. Mother’s Day, for me, looks like any other day. My dear, hardworking husband is a restaurant manager in a swanky restaurant in a posh hotel, and is therefore required to work all of the big, busy holiday-days. So for me, Mother’s Day looks a little like any other day. Yet still, I have already received three very different gifts from my three very different children.

Styles.

1. Styles: He woke up around 8:30, came into my room and asked if he could watch TV. I happily obliged so that I could have a few more uninterrupted minutes of sleep. He came back in at 9:15 and told me that he wanted waffles for breakfast. I laid in bed a few more minutes, finally drug myself out of the warm covers, and made him some waffles and a glass of orange juice. While he ate we talked and when he was done, he gave me a hug and told me “Happy Mother’s Day”. His gift to me was speech. And a hug. He is old enough to know that the day is significant and celebrates his mom who loves him unconditionally. His age makes him sensitive to the fact that today is my day but it is because of HIM that I am even able to celebrate this day. His gift of speech drives me nuts sometimes but it enables my job as a mother to be a little bit easier because I rarely have to guess at what he wants. Except for when he mumbles. Which is kind of a lot. I wish he’d stop doing that….

Grady.

2. Grady: He woke up at 5:30 this morning and nursed for a phenomenally long time then went back to sleep after a few burps and farts. He then slept until 9:45 which enabled me to spend time with Styles. Once he woke up, he was all smiles and coos. His gifts to me were time and talks. Last night was the first time that Grady had ever cooed at me. Well, it wasn’t really at me, it was at the writing on my t-shirt but nonetheless, I was wearing the t-shirt so by default, he was talking to me. But this morning. THIS morning was different. He looked into my eyes and smiled FIRST. He spoke FIRST. Without any prompting or making ridiculous faces at him first. I have been told that the first 6 months of having 2 under 2 is really difficult and sleep-deprived. I am so blessed that Grady is the easiest baby I could have possibly asked for. He has very distinct whines (not even cries, just whines) for his needs. He is easier to read than a picture book and the past two months have been some of the most fulfilling, wonderful, and easy months for me. Although if you were to ask my husband he’d tell you that these two months have been horrible because he comes home to a tornado of toys, laundry, pots, and pans all over the house. I digress….

Madilyn.

Madilyn: Slept until 11:40 this morning. NO. LIE. Her gifts to me today were time and laughs. Before she woke, I was able to take a shower. A good, quality shower where my hair got washed and my legs were shaved. It was absolutely glorious. When she woke up, Styles was on his computer and Grady was taking a nap. So Madilyn and I sat outside while she ate breakfast/lunch and I drank my coffee. She is becoming so animated and I love how excited she gets over the simplest of things. She is now on my phone having a very intense conversation with the person on the other end.

So though my husband may be at work, and I am literally stuck at home (his car got a flat so he had to take my van to work today), I am thankful for my three kids. I am grateful that despite being told that I’d never have any more kids on my own after Styles, that I had two more children. I am blessed to be able to be home with them every day, even on Mother’s Day. The littlest two might not know what today is about, but I do so today I am going to relish them a little more than I normally do.

What did you get for Mother’s Day? What did you do for Mother’s Day? Tell me about you, your family, and what Mother’s Day looks like for you.

How Does Racial Sensitivity Affect Equality?

1 May

This blog post from The Stir has me REALLY stirred up.  It is entitled “Racial Sensitivity Courses Should be Mandatory for Adoptive Parents”.  Um…WHA?  The article asserts that adoptive parents should have to learn about the culture and community that corresponds with whatever race of child they choose to adopt.  The writer says that by the parents not knowing about the culture from which these adopted children come from, makes them less “who they are” and that they won’t know their “personal history”.   The author also goes on to say that no matter how badly we all want an “ethically ambiguous utopia where we are all raceless faces appreciating one another for the people we are inside”, that it’s not going to happen.

Courtesy Dreamstime.com

This makes me incredibly hot because in this country we are bombarded by people screaming for equality.  I personally don’t see color.  A person’s skin tone means less to me than the color of their hair.  Saying that White America (let’s be honest; that’s who this article was written about), will never not see race is like saying that blondes and brunettes in Germany would never live in harmony after the Holocaust, which certainly isn’t the case.

Furthermore, the children being adopted from other countries by parents of different races are being given a new “personal history”.  When a child moves here with an American family, no matter what their race is, they are now AMERICAN.  Their personal history, despite the color of their skin, involves the landing of The Mayflower, the pillaging of Indians, the purchase of slaves from Africa, the use of indentured servants from Europe, the Civil War, Prohibition, the industrial age, the segregation and then desegregation of schools, the KKK, the landing on the moon, and everything else that involves US History.  These children’s new personal histories include Baseball games, Basketball, American Football, 4th of July Celebrations, Memorial Day, Labor Day and all of the other US holidays in between.  Their personal history means that they are now American, no matter the shape of their eyes, the color of their skin, or the coarseness of their hair.  These children do not have to live in bondage to their original places of birth, their original financial situation, or their original demographic.  These children are given new beginnings to their lives and I don’t see what a racial sensitivity course would do for these children and their parents but help to divide the races even further.

Why can’t we live in a world where skin color is just as insignificant as the color of someone’s eyes or hair?  Why does the fact that my great-great grandparents owned black slaves or the fact that my great-great-great-great grandparents were indentured servants have to mold who I am today?  Why does the fact that my mom went to a segregated school have to have ANYTHING to do with me?

I’m not at all saying that we should ignore history.  Many horrible things have happened in this world that are noteworthy, but we are where we are today because of the strength of a few people including but not limited to: George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Rosa Parks, Booker T. Nelson, Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela, Susan B. Anthony, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton.  These people suffered, pressed on, and stood up for their personal beliefs bringing forth the life of a new country, the death of slavery, the beginning of desegregation, the birth of racial equality, and the commencement of women’s rights.  These people endured hateful oppression and stood up to their oppressors so that we wouldn’t have to have ‘Racial Sensitivity Courses’ when we adopted children from different countries or ethnicities.  Correct me if I’m wrong but Martin Luther King Junior’s dream was that his “four children would be able to live in a nation where they would not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”  And that one day “on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners would be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood.”  How does requiring a white adoptive parent to take “Racial Sensitivity Courses” do anything to further this dream?  Are we supposed to teach Japanese American adoptees that their Grandparents bombed Pearl Harbor in December of 1941 and that they will be looked at differently than white or black people whose grandparents helped to initiate revenge?  Do we need to teach American Indian adoptees to hate white people because they raped their grandparents’ way of life and pillaged their land?

Courtesy of DoSomething.org

It is my experience as a white woman who was raised in southeastern Alaska that my history involves American Indians as much as it involves European settlers as much as it involves African American slaves.  The color of my skin should not dictate the way that I speak, dress, or eat.  It should not affect the way I view my place in society, my education, or the success of my career.  As a northern-raised woman who went to college in the South, I can also attest to my experiences with racism.  I’ve been called horrible names by African-American women because I was hanging out with “their men”.  I’ve heard Caucasian men kick a beautiful half African-American woman out of a party because of the pigment of her skin.  Racism is not unilateral.  Where does it end and how can it end if you, yourself, aren’t willing to part with the past? (And by you, I mean YOU reading this, whatever your heritage may be).

I believe that until we, as individuals view ourselves as equal, our world will continue to be a place filled with bigotry and ignorance.  You are no different than me due to the amount of melanin in your skin, the shape of your eyes, or the language spoken by your birth parents.  We are equal in my eyes and it saddens me to think that you, whomever you may be, may feel differently.

I have a dream that my three little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin or the shape of their eyes, but by the content of character.  And it is my job as their mother, to help mold their characters to be worthy of judgement.

-Written while my eldest “little child” plays outside with two little Asian boys, one African American boy, and one Caucasian boy in complete harmony, no one aware of the fact that they all have very different skin tones.

My Letter to Mamom

6 Mar

I wrote this tonight for my grandmother’s memorial service which will take place on Tuesday while I am in the hospital.  I intended to write tonight about why my husband and I made the VERY difficult decision to be induced tomorrow morning.  A decision that we did not take lightly, as I am vastly opposed to induction for anything other than serious medical reasons.  But instead, I wrote for the woman who insisted that I had a talent.  A talent with words.  A talent that I didn’t believe existed until recently.  And a talent that I am now more determined to not let go to waste.

Please enjoy this.  It was written with a lot of love, over many tears, and with a very runny nose.  I’ll get back to my own life after my baby is born.

***************

I am devastated I cannot be with you all to remember the life and mourn the death of Martha Northcutt today.  Instead, I am sitting in a hospital, 4 hours away holding her just-born 6th Great-Grandchild, a  child whose due date was originally her birthday: March 18th.

Martha was different things to each of us; friend, wife, mother.  But to me, she was Mamom, and that’s how I will address her today.

“In one of the stars, I shall be living.
In one of them, I shall be laughing.
And so it will be as if all the stars were laughing when you look at the sky at night.”
– An excerpt from “The Little Prince”, a book that Mamom shared with me many, many years ago.  Many fond memories that I have of my time with her revolve around either reading or writing.  I was always a bookworm and she seemed to understand my love of literature, fostering it from a very young age.  I have a collection of vintage books that she gave me a few years ago; they are some of my most treasured possessions and they mean even more to me today than they did a week ago.  I would not be the woman I am today if it weren’t for her influences in my life.  We did not have the good fortune to spend lots of time together as I was growing up but I did cherish every moment that we spent together and I have many fond memories of those times.  I’d like to share a few of those with you today.

When I was young, Mamom taught me which utensil to use while eating, the proper way to use a spoon, where (and where not) to place my hands while dining, and to chew with my mouth closed.  I may not use those skills on a daily basis but I’ve certainly wowed a couple of dates at fancy restaurants and some prospective in-laws.  Because of her taking the time to teach me these things, I feel comfortable in good company, swanky restaurants, and with the upper echelon.   She taught me the true meaning of poise and because of her; I learned to walk with good posture, something that aided in my years as a dancer and something that I am complimented on often.  I never fail to think of Mamom’s constant reminders to stand up straight and hold my head up high when I was a young girl when people notice my stance.  It makes me proud that she took the time to help me learn to carry myself like a young woman should.  Thank you, Mamom for teaching me poise.

Every Christmas I think about how when I was old enough, she took me to the theater see “The Nutcracker”.  We always dressed in fancy dresses with pretty jewelry.  I felt like a high-society belle each time we went and my love of theater blossomed.  She shared “The Phantom of the Opera” with me and I was drawn in.  I don’t believe I would have ever danced had it not been for my early days enjoying the theater with her.  When we moved to Alaska when I was young, our trips to the theater were one of the things that I missed every single year, and still do.  Thank you, Mamom for introducing me to art.

We shared a love of all things avian.  It might have been boring to some, but sitting at the window waiting patiently for birds to descend upon her feeders excited us.  It was something that we shared every time we were together.  The last time I saw a Cardinal was at her kitchen feeder, until this past weekend when I saw one in my neighborhood.  I don’t think it was a coincidence.  Thank you, Mamom for teaching me to love nature, and to be patient for its presence.

We spent lots of time at a marble-topped table with yellow chairs playing “Parcheesi” where I was taught good sportsmanship, how to win graciously, and how to lose gracefully, rarely without a good case of the boo-hoo-hee-hee’s.  Thank you, Mamom for teaching me grace and perseverance in life.

Over the course of my adult life, we have forged a friendship.  I looked forward to our phone calls a couple of times a month, and we emailed on a regular basis.  She has always applauded what she thought was my talent; writing.  Until recently, I doubted the existence of any talents but she was always there offering to help me become published, or telling me to finish my degree in writing, reminding me what I am good at.  I recently began writing again, mostly due to her encouragement.  I also doubted that I was ready to welcome a third child into my very hectic life.  Being a Stay-at-home-mom is the most difficult thing I’ve ever done.  I asked her recently how she did it with 3 children so close in age.  Her advice to me was not taken lightly.  And she shared that like me, she had lots of help from a very patient husband who “shuffled a path through the toys” when he got home.  It has changed my life for the better and has emboldened me, just in the past couple of months.  She told me that I was ready and that my feelings were normal.  I can doubt myself no longer.  Thank you, Mamom for believing in me and helping me see that I can be good at the things I love.

I’m certain each of Mamom’s grandchildren can share the following sentiment:  She made THE.  BEST.  Scrambled eggs and Oatmeal.  I’ve tried my entire adult life to duplicate each, even after her instructions were emailed to me, and I’ve failed miserably.  It saddens me that those are now mere memories.  It pains me that I couldn’t be closer in distance, but over the years and through the miles we have been close at heart and I have tried to keep both Mamom and Papa abreast of my life, and the lives of my children.

I could go on for pages but instead I’ll keep the rest and leave you with this:

“Perhaps they are not stars in the sky, but rather openings where our loved ones shine down to let us know they are happy.”  Thank you, Mamom for your love.

Child Safety – Not Your Basics

16 Feb

I’d like to believe that most parents know the basics of child safety.  If not, here are a good top 10 for you to review:

  1. Never leave your baby unattended on/in a bed (no, those pillows stacked around him are not going to prevent his falling off of the bed AND they’re a smother hazard), bath tub, counter top, changing table, closed toilet lid, appliance, or car top.
  2. Invest in outlet covers for every single outlet in your home before baby is born (unless you’re lucky enough to have a brand new house with outlets protected from the inside).  Your child WILL learn to crawl and find the one uncovered outlet in your house.  Mark my words.
  3. Place a baby gate at the top and bottom of stairs.
  4. No blankets, bumpers, or pillows in baby’s crib.
  5. Keep guns, knives, tazers, drugs (prescription or otherwise), alcohol, snakes, forks, scissors, cleaning products, boiling water, shards of glass, your childhood toys with small plastic eyes,  and lighters out of the reach of baby.  WAY out of reach.
  6. Never leave older siblings or household pets in charge of a newborn.  Well meaning children have been known to accidentally harm their younger siblings.
  7. Never give your baby food, drink, or medication that has not been previously approved by your (competent) physician.
  8. Use the safety belts on your bouncers, swings, and high chairs.  They’re there for a reason.
  9. Upgrade your window blinds and curtain cords to be self-containing or at the very least, ensure that they are never at a level where a child can reach.
  10. Never, never, never, never shake a baby.

OK.  So now that we have those straight, I’d like to tell you a little story that kind of goes along with #5 on the list above.

My entire household is ill.  I’ve been sick for almost 6 weeks, Madilyn has been sick for about 5 weeks, Styles got sick on Sunday, and Kyle came down with the plague Tuesday.  I despise taking medication.  I am all about the natural remedies and Elderberry is my FAVORITE.  It was recently showcased on The Dr. Oz Show in his “Natural Cures for the Common Cold” segment.  I’ve been using it on myself and Styles since he was 2 and I can honestly say that when I’m out of it and one of us gets sick, we are sick for much longer, and with much more intensity, than when we do have it.  There are lots of other natural remedies that I love but for brevity’s sake, I’ll get on with my story.

I’ve heard that you shouldn’t use Elderberry while pregnant for this reason or that, and in my pregnant-ill state, my synapses are not firing properly.  I have therefore forgotten to ask my doctor about her opinion on its use.  I did, however; remember to tell her that I am entirely sick of coughing my brains out, feeling as though I am going to have an aneurysm, and peeing all over myself with each hack.  She told me that in my 3rd trimester, I can take Mucinex so I got some this past weekend (I’m sorry, Elderberry).  I gave Kyle a

Image courtesy pharmer.org

600mg Mucinex at the first hint of a cough and congestion, in an effort to keep him healthier than I have been (again, Elderberry, please forgive me).  I thought he had most certainly taken the pill upon my handing it to him and I went on my merry way.  At lunch time, he pulled the pill out and acted surprised that it was there.  I immediately told him how dangerous it is to put pills in your pockets when you have children.  It could have easily fallen out of his pocket without his knowledge and our very curious 17 month old daughter could (and would) have put it into her mouth, either choking on it (it’s not a small pill), or ingesting it without our knowledge.  He looked at me like I had 3 heads and said he’d take it.  OH – and don’t complain about not feeling well if you don’t take the magical pill that I gave you that will make you feel better!

We resumed lunch and I just ASSumed that he had taken the pill after my short tirade.  As the day wore on, we went through our normal motions.  We ate dinner, bathed the baby, watched “Wonder Pets” before bed, tucked the kids in, and watched “Parenthood” before retiring for the night.

As I was washing my face (oh how I love Origins), Kyle pulled said Mucinex out of his pocket.  AGAIN.  Not.  Kidding.  I went ape.  Calmly ape.  But ape.  Do I really have to tell you how dangerous that is, AGAIN?  What IF Madilyn had gotten a hold of the pill?  I was exasperated.  I couldn’t believe that A. he hadn’t taken it in the first place (this man is about as far from natural and green as you can get) and B. that after I pointed out the danger, he STILL put the pill back into his pocket instead of IN HIS MOUTH, DOWN HIS THROAT, AND INTO HIS BLOOD STREAM!

So of course, I’m the bad guy because I don’t know how to “say” things when I say them.  I’m sorry, but after I’ve already told you once in one day (one year for that matter), to not put pills in your pocket and walk around with them like they’re a cell phone, I have little patience for your blatant disregard of our children’s health and wellbeing.  What if it had been one of his Adderall?  NOT OK.

Looks like brevity is out the proverbial window.  All that to say, our little medication incident yesterday really got me thinking about the hidden dangers in our homes, our cars, and in our actions that we encounter every single day that could harm our children in some way.

Putting medication or other choking hazards in your pockets and then forgetting about them is #1. Even if you don’t have children, this is probably a horrible idea.  Your pets could ingest them, your elderly grandparents, someone else’s children.

Toothpaste can be Toxic! My 17 month old daughter is OBSESSED with brushing her teeth.  I cleaned out an old toothpaste container that she walks around with sucking on but the novelty is slowly wearing off and she prefers going to our bathroom drawer and sucking on the full tube of toothpaste.  OK, first of all – disgusting.  2nd of all, DANGEROUS!  I have emptied everything out of our top drawer and it now resides on our counter top where she cannot reach.  Ugly?  Yes.  Safe?  Yep.  I suppose I could invest in a small basket or something but I’m just not there yet.

Secure all furniture to walls, no matter how heavy, how full, or how big your children are. A good friend of mine thought that because her chest of drawers was so heavy, she wouldn’t have to mount it to the walls.  Her daughter, who had just begun to walk, learned to pull the bottom drawer out and stand in it.  One fateful day, she stood in the drawer and tried to pull herself up onto the chest.  The chest fell over, causing the TV to fall onto her child’s head.  She survived with minor bruises, but my friend nearly suffered a heart attack.  Who knows what would have happened had my friend not been in the same room when the incident happened.

Don’t leave chapstick or other make-up with small lids lying where little hands can reach. Madilyn is obsessed with my make-up, especially my Burt’s Bees chapstick.  I try to be diligent about keeping it of reach but she is getting older, taller, and more agile.  Last week, I found her after my shower, with my chapstick in hand, cap in mouth.  It’s just the perfect size to get lodged in her throat.  Nice.

Don’t let your children walk around with Popsicles, Lollipops, toothbrushes, skewers, or other utensils. Maybe it’s just my kids but we deal with tripping on a constant basis.  This includes my 9 year old.  We’re klutzy, what can I say?  I constantly have visions of Popsicle sticks going through the back of someone’s throat and I’m always baffled when I see a small child at a park playing on a jungle gym with a lollipop.  Might seem like a good idea at the time, but for the sake of trying to keep our children safe, it’s probably not.  This is not really a “tidal wave” situation.  This can, and does happen.

Keep baby oil and baby powder behind locked doors. Most baby oil comes with child proof caps nowadays but NOTHING is truly child proof (See my series on mURPHY’S lAW mONDAYS).  Baby oil and powder have been known to cause death upon aspiration.  As a mother of a 9 yr old elementary school-aged child, a 17 month old, another baby due in less than a month, I can say that it is impossible to keep constant tabs on my kids.  I do the best I can but if you have a toddler, you know how quickly they move.  While I’m relieving my pregnant bladder, my daughter is in the other bathroom snorting whatever she can get her hands on.  Do what you can to keep things locked up.

Put a lock on your pantry. Aside from the fact that the lock on our pantry has saved my sanity due to less clean up, I now have one less choking hazard to worry about.  Madilyn can no longer get into my pantry to snort flour, inhale raisins, or cause the 10lb bag of sugar sitting on the second shelf to avalanche onto her, burying her in a sticky mess.  You can pick one of these bad boys up at any major retailer.

Door Handle Lock for Lever Handles

OK so there are many, many others but this is all I can think of at this very second.  We do the best that we can for our kids and I know that.  But you can’t tell me that you have tabs on your kids for every split second of every day.  It’s impossible.  Between chores, laundry, bathroom breaks, meals, and attending to multiple children – we are only human.  So let’s use the most common sense that we can muster, and learn from other people’s mistakes.  I’m not saying that we need to be paranoid, just prepared.  It’s little things like Rx pills falling out pockets that could really put our children in harm’s way.

If you can think of anything else to add to this list, PLEASE message me or comment on this blog.  I’d be happy to add to it as time goes on.

Dancing with PPD

13 Feb

I’ve tip-toed dangerously close to the edge of the depression pool for years, dipping my toes in from time to time.   I somehow managed to never fall in, despite having risk factors such as family history, family dysfunction, family history of alcoholism, being a woman, and self-esteem issues. I always wore emotional make-up to hide the way I was really feeling.  Each new layer of make-up that was applied caused me to dance closer and closer to the edge of the dark cesspool that is depression.

What finally set me over the edge was being on bed rest with my daughter in 2009.  It was a lonely time for me and each day that passed caused me to slip deeper and deeper into the dark recesses of the pool I had danced around for so long.  During each visit with my doctor when the time came for me to tell her that I was sad, emotional, and uninterested in…anything, I just couldn’t do it.  I have always had a tendency to minimize my feelings and health issues and this was no exception.  The truth is that I was unable to do anything but sit on my sofa and cry.  I couldn’t work effectively (I was working from home at the time), I couldn’t complete my college courses (I went from having a 3.86 cumulative GPA to literally failing out of all of my classes), I couldn’t eek out a smile or even pretend to laugh.  I thought it would all go away once Madilyn was born.

Boy was I wrong.

After she was born, the depression stuck around.  I didn’t see it right away but I did know that I wasn’t myself.  I couldn’t find joy in anything, being around anyone but myself made me feel like I was being rubbed up against a cheese grater, I couldn’t finish even the most simple of tasks, I didn’t have the drive or desire to do ANYTHING.  Even my most favorite activities sounded absolutely dreadful.  I had to wind myself up in the morning just to get dressed, let alone leave my house.  We had recently moved and I honestly didn’t enjoy the women that I had met.  It wasn’t personal I’m sure, but I am/was not the same person that I used to be.  I didn’t know who I was.  I didn’t know how to be myself so how could I very well meet people and be authentic with them, or enjoy their company?  Heck, I hadn’t enjoyed ANYTHING in so long that I didn’t even know if the word “enjoy” was still in my vocabulary.

The lightbulb went off in November of 2010, 14 months after Madilyn was born.  I was also about 5 months pregnant.  It took me nearly a month to talk to my doctor about what was going on.  I felt like a hypochondriac.  Surely this just had to be some nasty side-effect of pregnancy, right?  When I realized that I wasn’t reacting to my husband the same and that I hadn’t laughed, truly laughed in over a year, I knew that something was seriously wrong.  When I did talk to my doctor, she suggested counseling.

Image Courtesy Google Images

As such, I have begun the journey out of the dark waters of depression.  I know that it will be a long road.  I wish I hadn’t waited so long to face my problems.  I wish I had been honest with myself,  my husband, and my doctor about what I was feeling.  When you haven’t been honest with anyone in years, it takes a long time to face the truth.  Every day is a learning experience, complete with new choreography.  Every day I feel a little more strengthened and am ready to make my way to the edge of the pool where hopefully I will someday dance, far away from the edge.

In the meantime, I expect to face obstacles.  I expect to meet people who are like sandpaper, or who are incapable of standing by me as I become the person I was meant to be.  I don’t expect to never cry again, or to pretend anymore that my life was ever, or will ever be perfect.  What is “perfect” anyways?  I don’t hope for overnight transformation, but for a slow evolution of myself.  Once a seed has been planted, it takes years for a tree to blossom and grow steadily where the seed once lay.  I know that I’ll get there.  And I appreciate everyone who has been by my side, or who will be by my side on this journey.

I am going to talk much more about my dance with PPD in the weeks and months to come.  I expect to hurt some people on the way but my truth, my life, my past is full of hurt and it has to come out.  Not only for me, but for other women struggling with the same problems.  You are not alone, WE are not alone.  And we can do this together.  Living with PPD, or any form of depression for that matter is real.  And it is absolutely not shameful.  So hold my hand, and together we’ll begin taking off the emotional make-up that we’ve worn for so long.

 

mURPHY’S lAW mONDAY

7 Feb

Things happen in my life on a near-daily basis that prove Murphy’s Law as truth. Each Monday is now dedicated to showcasing my life’s crazy moments.

If it can happen, it will happen.

I was preparing to jump in the shower when I realized that I needed to switch the laundry over from the washing machine to the dryer. My sweet son Styles was outside playing with his two friends from across the street and Madilyn was busying herself with my hair dryer (unplugged, of course). Being that I am extremely forgetful these days, I decided to go ahead and take care of the laundry before jumping in the shower. Because Styles was outside, I figured it was safe for me to take care of the laundry in the buff. As I was moving clothing from the dryer to the sofa, I laughed to myself about how funny it would be if 3 little boys suddenly burst through the front door to find me doing laundry while nude.

I wish that thought had never entered my mind.

While toting the last armful of laundry through the living room, 3 little boys suddenly burst through the front door to find me doing laundry in the nude. True Story.

if it can happen, it will happen.

Spoken like a True Parent

2 Feb

My son, Styles is from a previous relationship. He’s 9. I won’t tell you how old my husband was when he was born because I’m pretty sure you’d never talk to me again. All you need to know is that my husband is younger than me. As of July, I’ll officially be a “Puma”. Anyways, back to Styles. He’s mine. Kyle has really stepped up to the plate and plays the daddy role well. He disciplines, he loves, he provides, he entertains. And he disciplines. I keep telling him that when he has his own kids, he’ll understand the whole “choose your battles” concept. His response to that is usually, “Styles IS my son, I DO understand!” No. He doesn’t. Or DIDN’T until very recently.

Due to the restrictions I’m experiencing with this pregnancy, Kyle has been giving Madilyn her nightly bath for the past couple of months. Like most kids, Kyle loves routine. (did I just say that out loud?) I meant Madilyn loves routine. So together, they have developed a really good bath time routine. I love to listen to them playing in the bathroom from the living room. Kyle had me absolutely convinced that Madilyn picks up her own toys while in the tub. *hold the phone* WHA?! She doesn’t do anything remotely similar for me, in or out of the bathroom. I’ve given her a few baths in the past couple of months and not once has she picked her toys up for ME! *pout*

We ran a little late on dinner tonight and Kyle offered to do the dishes if I’d give our little princess a bath. I was more than a little happy to trade dishes for my bathing beauty. After a nice, long bath, I told Madilyn that it was time to get out and asked her to pick up her toys. I even sang the jacked-up version of the Barney Clean-Up song that Kyle sings to Madilyn every night. She laughed at me. No lie, she looked at me and laughed. Then farted. I yelled at Kyle to please divulge his toy-picking-princess secrets. He came in the bathroom and said:

“Yeah, she doesn’t do that. I gave up on that a while ago.”

Spoken like a true parent.

They Hate me Because I Wear Make-Up

31 Jan

It’s true. They seriously hate me because I wear make-up.  I’m not talking about the shellac on your face, eyeliner, rouge, and mascara kind of make-up.  No, I’m talking about the emotional make-up that has almost always made me up. I was one of the teenagers you hear about who has the perfect life, or at least they pretend to have the perfect life. I was rarely seen NOT smiling. My laugh could be heard from one end of the school to the other. I’ll never forget painting my self portrait in school without a smile. I was told that it didn’t look like me because no teeth were showing (NO, I’m not buck-toothed). I painted over my mouth and started from scratch, this time including a big smile with large, white teeth shining through. I don’t know what happened to that painting. I thought it was hideous and flat. I couldn’t seem to make my eyes smile quite as much as my mouth did. But that was my reality. That painting truly captured what I felt inside, not the Summer that I was so keen at portraying.

I was the lead actress in my own life. I began hiding my feelings and wearing emotional make-up when I was still in elementary school. I went through a lot during my childhood but I’ll discuss that at a later date. The fact is that I felt like I had to put on a smiley face for everyone. I wanted my dad to think I was immensely happy at my mom’s house and I didn’t want my mom to know that I was either happy or unhappy at my dad’s house – I wanted her to think I was neutral. I learned quickly how to hide my tears; not an easy thing for a fair skinned blonde girl to do. I look like an albino leopard when I cry. I eventually learned how to hold my tears in and I believe it was at that point that my heart began to harden. Each tear that I refused to release became a brick inside my heart.

It didn’t take long for me to be dubbed “The Ice Princess” by my family. No feeling, no sympathy, no emotion. That wasn’t and ISN’T the case. I feel deeply. Too deeply. I’m passionate but I sometimes feel as though I have to hide it under a bushel basket. I care more about what people think is going on in my life or who I am than being me. The real, authentic me. So I put this make-up on to be who I think people want me to be. I have been guilty of pretending to have the same interests as other people to appease them. I’ve done it with men and I’ve done it with women. And it’s done nothing but cause me heartache, pain, rejection, and loss.  It’s caused me to daily apply another layer of make-up.

Sometimes I’m unable to keep the make-up on and my frustrations become very real. I am incapable of being fake with people. If I have something bad to say about or to someone, I don’t usually want to ever be in their company. Why would I talk about someone behind their back and then pretend to their face that I like them? I can’t do it. That make-up melts off in an instant and my painted-on smile resembles the sneer of Chuckie. When I know that I’ve been talked about and am on the receiving end of the gossip, I have a tendency to be downright ugly. I don’t handle gossip or fake people well. But wait…isn’t this entire post about how fake I am?

Dangit. You got me. But here’s the rub: I’m not fake about my passions or my intentions. I’m not fake about whose time I want to share my own with. I’m not fake about my dislikes. My facade is there to protect me. To make people think that I’m happy and that everything is wonderful. It’s the face of a mime that has been painted on since childhood. I find that with each passing year the foundation begins to crack. A little here: Crow’s feet.   A little there: Laugh lines. Since my pregnancy with Madilyn, chunks have begun to fall off of my face. The make-up is stale and I can’t fight it anymore. I chose to ignore the degradation of my mask for nearly 16 months. But one day I woke up, looked in the mirror, and didn’t recognize the eyes that stared back at me. They used to be blue but they’re grey now. They had no life left in them. The same eyes who used to look upon an empty canvas with loaded paintbrush in hand with excitement; now dull and slate grey. The same eyes who found an honest joy in life in general; now unexcited by anything. Smile lines had faded and a downcast shadow lie where enlightened crow’s feet once danced.   Large chunks of foundation had calved from my face and it wasn’t mine anymore, not that it ever was.

That was 6 weeks ago.

I have since begun the removal of my make-up. I am daily applying make-up remover with a soft cotton ball to eradicate years of daily application. Each day a little more surface area wipes clean. Each day I’m a little more honest with myself and with the people around me.  Each day I try to write about something that I’m genuinely passionate about, hoping that with each typed word, a little more of my true self can be revealed.  Some days I rub a spot raw and those are the painful days. Then there are days where I work lightly on a new area, softly scrubbing away at the shellac that has become my face.

I appreciate those who have been on this journey with me for years, and those who are just jumping on the roller coaster. I cherish the people who love me unconditionally, even when I say or do something that hits a nerve because they know my heart and know that I am never, ever coming from a bad place.

I can be nothing but honest now. Because the more make-up I choose to put on, the more ugly I become. So I’m stripping down – take me or leave me. What I need now is maturity, honesty, authenticity, and strong people by my side. What I don’t need are more fake people surrounding me, liars, weak minds, and lack of understanding. I am using the people around me to help me grow, no matter what role they play. Instead of applying more make-up when someone lets me down or stabs a knife through my back, I will pull the knife out and use it to aid me in the removal of years of artificial happiness. So again, thank you for being on this journey with me. Thank you for supplying the make-up remover, the soft cotton balls, and the knives.  Without each of these tools, I could not continue to purge.

And a huge thanks to Gwen Stefani and No Doubt for writing a song about my life:

Women. Are. Disgusting.

25 Jan

If you have a vagina, I’m talking to you.   You’re disgusting.  Don’t look at me that way!  You are!  We all know that men are animals, right? Well, I’ve come to the conclusion that women are animals too. The worst sort of animals, actually. Downright disgusting, gnarly, poo-flinging, insect eating animals who are able to wrap themselves in pretty little packages to ensconce just how nasty they really are.

This isn’t really a new revelation but I guess maybe I’m getting to the age where it’s really beginning to bother me. I’ve lived with women (names and relation shall remain anonymous), who left bloody pads in their underwear, on the floor, for days at a time. I’ve lived with women who left smeared blood drying on the toilet seat – front and back. I’ve even been known to forget to flush a used tampon from time to time.  But the worst sort of crimes happen in public bathrooms.  I try to stay away from them but I’ve been either pregnant or nursing for the past 2 years which means that I’ve either had a baby chillin’ on my bladder all day long, or had a full bladder from pumping myself with fluids so that I could maintain my title of “milk factory”.  Thus, I have visited more public restrooms in the past 2 years than ever in my life.  One thing remains a constant: no matter where I am, what sort of swanky restaurant or new movie theater I attend, the women’s restroom is a bordello of nastiness.

I’ll never forget being at a bar in downtown Orlando several years back and having to use the restroom.  I was the DD that night so I’m sure I had OD’d on H2O.  My friend and I made our way back to the restroom so that she could use it but I refused.  I was going to hold out until the very end.  Well, the end came 30 minutes later and I just couldn’t hold it anymore.  So we went back to the restroom and lo and behold, there was a freaking turd on the toilet seat.  ON the toilet seat.  Not IN the toilet, but ON the toilet seat.  Needless to say, I didn’t relieve my bladder there.  I did, however; take a picture and it was my profile photo on MySpace for months on end.  Ask my friends.

My husband manages a cafe that is adjacent to a public park.  There are often events there and because the building is city-owned, he has to let people who are not patrons of the cafe use the restrooms.  Unfortunately, the city doesn’t provide cleaning services, my husband and his staff do.  I can’t tell you how many days he comes home complaining about how disgusting the women’s restrooms are.  Tampons, pads IN toilets (REALLY?!), feces that is either too large to flush, or feces that someone just didn’t flush, pee on the floor, wet hand prints on the walls, poop-filled diapers lying on sinks and counters instead of disposed of properly, I could go on and on.  Today I was at the cafe, and true to pregnant form, I had to pee.  I left my dear daughter with her dad so I could pee without wrangling her and worrying about her touching some nasty particle on the floor.  Naturally, the first two toilets had pee ALL over them.  The second of which, had more toilet paper than one single urination should EVER call for.  This woman had obviously wrapped her hands in toilet paper before wiping, afraid to touch her own pee, and then used half of a roll on top of that to wipe her urethra, all the while spraying bio-hazardous waste all over the restroom stall.  The third stall had wet toilet paper on the floor but it was the cleanest of the 3 and I didn’t really feel like using the handicapped stall because the toilet is just too tall for me to hover over, being that I’m 8 months pregnant.  FORGET that whole not hovering thing.

While hovering, I got a little urine on the toilet and after wiping myself clean, I wiped down the toilet seat too.  Like I feel ANY decent person would have done.  But apparently decent women just don’t wipe up after themselves.  Is it REALLY that difficult to wipe up your own piss?  Would you rather wipe your own up, or someone else’s?  I know that a dry toilet seat doesn’t mean a clean toilet seat but good Lord, seriously!?  We can’t even wipe our own pee off of a toilet seat?  We have to leave it for someone else to do?   Wouldn’t using a public restroom be a much more pleasant experience if we could rely on the person who went before us to clean up after themselves (like I do)?

This is a call to action.  Wipe your pee off of the toilet seat when you use it.  We yell at and nag our men for leaving the seat up, but we women can’t even wipe up after ourselves when we know damn well someone else is going to use the toilet after we do.  I would personally be extremely embarrassed if someone watched me walk out of a stall before they went in it, only to discover that I had left little bits of myself all over the seat.  Clean up after yourself.  Give men the “Dirty Animal” label back.  I don’t want it anymore.  And God forbid, wrap your blood-soaked pad up in toilet paper and put it in the receptacle.  Flush your tampon.  And if you absolutely MUST poop in a public restroom, don’t leave the stall until your turd is good and flushed.  IF you have trouble with it, contact someone who can clean it up so the rest of us don’t have to wait in a long line, crossing our legs and doing the potty dance to get into the ONE clean, working stall.

Thank-you.

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