Sunday, April 21, 2013

What the hell have you been doing?


So what the hell happened the past year?


Husband and I struggled financially as we attempted to find jobs. Or a job. Any job that kept us afloat. It was bad. It made me panic to the point where I was completely frozen; afraid to move, afraid to breath, afraid to leave my home.

I got some medication, to use only when I needed it. I used it, without shame, because it worked. And having it work was better than the immobilizing fear that trapped me in my own mind, in my own home. I thought once we moved my need for it would disappear. To my surprise, I continue to use it. Turns out moving from Wisconsin to Oklahoma is a tough transition, even when it’s for all the right reasons.

Husband got a job. A real job with a salary and benefits and a retirement plan. 

I also got a job. I do some actual paid writing, writing for legal blogs. So I guess that law degree wasn’t a big mistake after all. To be frank, the writing is very part time and very from the home. It has allowed me to experience the best of my children, while still bringing in a little extra income several times a month. It has fulfilled a dream I’ve had since I was old enough to write. A dream that one day I’d be paid to write. It satiated my need to write for someone, anyone, even if only in my little corner of the blogging universe.  I’m not sure why that’s changed.

We moved across the country for Husband’s job. Moving itself was a bizarre and ridiculous experience for all involved. People felt my wrath. I didn’t know I could wrath until that move. 

My children, my two little loves. I don’t think I can describe them by their age anymore. I have one in preschool and the other in 4K. It’s two confusing. We’ll just call them FW and CW. I hope that’s enough to prevent confusion while still respecting their privacy. FW is older, and currently in 4K. CW is younger, and currently in preschool. FW can read, and it fills my heart with joy. My entire world changed when I learned I could read. I hope her’s does too. CW marches to the beat of a different drummer. I did too. It made me brave. I hope it does the same for her.

And I no longer feel sadness that my fertility seems to be at an end. I have a beautiful little family and it is more than enough.

Where’s the funny?

Well, I’m pretty sure half a sleeping pill is lodged in my throat. 

Why return now?

Who knows. Part of me simply wants to chronicle my life experience, so that when my children and their children are grown, they can look back on all this and hopefully feel a little better about themselves. I’m not sure that makes sense. Then again, since when have I made sense? Let’s not rock the boat on this one. I’m sure it will all turn out in the end. It usually does.

It usually does.

So, hi.


It’s been nearly a year.

I’m not the same person. I had no idea I grew so much in a year. It must have happened while I was sleeping, or something. That’s when the best ideas come to my head. Except on evenings when I have terrible insomnia, evenings not unlike tonight. So basically I get ideas when I’m sleeping and also when I’m not sleeping. I’m kind of complicated like that.

This blog used to serve a purpose.

It was to help me let go of all the stupid things I did as a child.

It’s done that. I no longer look down on myself with utter embarrassment.

It was to come to terms with my bipolar depression.

It’s done that. Not only do I now accept my condition, but I’m comfortable telling just about anyone about it. Especially those close to me who had absolutely no idea, no idea because I lived far away, and in my emails and phone calls I masked. I was happy, happy, happy. Yes, I’m doing fine (turn the tables before they realize I’m drowning in my own mind), how are you? 

It was to discuss my parenting mistakes, whether serious or hilarious.

It’s done that. Or perhaps it’s doing that. I haven’t decided yet. Nevertheless, my children seem to be thriving. I haven’t done them in yet, so I guess I can continue on the current trajectory with all its ups and downs.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Great Orange Crayon Meltdown Of 2012

Husband is out-of-town, so for the next three days it's just me and my girls.  We're going to stay up late watching chick-flicks and eating ice cream out of the container. We might also give each other make-overs and talk about boys we like.  I haven't worked out all the details yet.

And I really feel like I need this quality time with my kids.  I've been focusing so much on my studying lately, that I haven't been engaging with them one-on-one as much as I used to.  I have to push them aside to continue pouring over old notes and textbooks.  In a very small way, I already feel like I'm back at work.

All of this is probably what led up to the great orange crayon meltdown of 2012.

You see, around 8:30 last Friday morning I called out to my girls "Let's get our socks and shoes on! It's time to go to school!"  Preschooler bounds to the steps and eagerly jams her shoes on her feet.  Toddler is dawdling by some pictures they were drawing in crayon.

"Orange crayon," she says.

"Ok," I say, "Finish drawing with your orange crayon.  It's time to go."

She makes some marks with the crayon, and then says a little louder, "ORANGE CRAYON."

"Yes," I reason, "You've drawn with your orange crayon.  Now it's time to go."  She pitter-patters up to me and starts to wail, "Ooorrrange crayyyyyooonn."

"Come on, sweetie, we have to go."  I start putting her socks on, and she runs away screeching, "NO! NO! ORANGE CRAYON! ORANGE CRAYON!"

And as her wails reach a crescendo in my ears, I hear a second voice chime in, "NO! NO! STOP IT! AAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!"

Poor Preschooler is especially sensitive to her sister's feelings, and hearing so much angst emitting from her sibling's mouth was enough to send Preschooler into utter hysterics.

For five straight minutes, while I wrestled socks and shoes and coats on them, my girls screamed until they were both red in the face. The amount of unnecessary noise was staggering, and I would've cried too if the whole thing hadn't been so ludicrous.

Later that day, I did talk to Preschooler about some other coping strategies she has when Toddler cries. We talked about how she can cover her ears, or she can go to her room where it's nice and quiet.  I wasn't sure whether any of that would stick, but she seemed to take it to heart.  A couple days later, when Toddler started pitching a fit about something, Preschooler announced, "I HAVE TO GO TO MY ROOM!!!!"  She scampered upstairs and about 5 minutes later she came back down with a smile on her face.  "I feel better!" she said. "That's great!" I announced.  "See!  When Toddler cried you were able to go up to your room where it was nice and quiet." "Or the toy room!" she agreed.

So maybe there is a silver lining after all.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Mentally Barred

As I mentioned before, I may be going back to work full time.

So, in an effort to open up as many doors as possible, I've decided to take the bar exam here in Wisconsin.   For those not in the know, the bar exam is an exam the state requires a lawyer to pass before they can legally practice law in that state.  It's a tough (and expensive) exam, spanning two full days, and covering every area of law imaginable.

So even though the exam isn't until the end of July, I've already started studying.  And my brain is fried.  Not that I've burned out or can't learn anything more.  Just fried in the sense that all my mental energy is focused on re-learning difficult concepts that I haven't utilized for as many as five years or so. All of which leaves me with little mental energy for blogging.

So forgive me if my posts are infrequent for a while. I'm still here.  I'm still going to read and comment on other blogs.  It's a nice distraction from studying.

But until I have all my brain cells back, I may not be posting more than a few times a month or so, when my mood and energy levels allow me to.

I love you all, and am still around.  But for a while, I'll be studying as I've never studied before. And coming from this overachiever, that's saying something.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Lesson Learned? Do Not Talk On The Phone While Driving. You'll Just Do Something Stupid.

As I headed home from the gym, I saw some one in the parking lot whose car battery had died.  The poor soul finagled around with some jumper cables with a mixture of confusion, dread, and anger on his face.  This reminded me of something I found out a couple years ago when I still lived in Ohio.

Your car battery can't die if you leave your keys in the car and the car running.  All night long.

Oh yes I did.

You see, I was on my way home from work when I got a call on my cell phone from an old friend I hadn't talked to in ages.  I was so excited to hear from her that I broke several safety rules by talking on my cell phone while driving.  I continued talking on the phone as I pulled into the parking lot. I got out of my car, and closed the door, still talking. Once I was in the house, I talked some more.  I think I talked for two hours, total.

What I didn't do?  Turn off my car and take the keys out of the ignition.

Yes, my car sat there running in my parking lot all night long.

So imagine Husband's surprise when he wakes up at the butt-crack of dawn (he had an hour-and-a-half commute back in those days), and hears a car running.  Who the hell else is up this early?  Huh, that sound is right by our apartment.  Wait a minute?  That's OUR car running!

Needless to say I never heard the end of this.  Which is fair.

Because it happened again.

Yes, not once, but twice, I have forgotten to take the keys out of the ignition and have left my car running in the parking lot all night long.  The second time (we were still living in Ohio), I was talking to my mom.  Who I talk to practically every day.

No excuses there.

So now I'm hyper-vigilant about making sure I turn the car off before leaving.  I've even turned it off, turned it on again and then turned it off again, just to make sure.

This is blurring into OCD territory, and I have enough neurosis, thank you very much.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Moms Always Know

It started when she was 18 months old.  She just had her 18-month-well-visit and was lagging behind a bit in her speech development.

Hmmmm........

Then she got an ear infection.  And then another. And then another

By twenty-one months she hadn’t gained any new words since that 18-month-well-visit.  Not one.

“Husband,” I said, “I think there’s something wrong with her hearing.”

“No there’s not, watch,” he said. “Toddler!  Come here!”

And Toddler toddled towards him.

“See? No problem.”

Hmmmm........

Three more months and three more ear infections, and Toddler and I find ourselves at the audiologist and ENT (ear, nose, and throat doctor.)  The audiology test shows she is at the line between normal hearing and hearing loss.  The ENT notices she has had a series of reoccurring ear infections.  I notice that her speech is delayed enough that she now qualifies for speech-therapy, and explain it’s because she’s not hearing properly.  But, the test says she’s technically normal.

“Let’s wait on it,” recommends the ENT.  “Lots of times the ear infections die down during the spring and summer months.  Then, if she doesn’t get more of them in the fall, we may be in the clear.”

Hmmmm........

Fall comes, and following that, winter.  Toddler continues with speech-therapy, and while she progresses, she still struggles with beginning and ending sounds of words.  I have her in to the doctor’s office at least six times, suspecting ear infections.  Two were ear infections.  The others?  “Wow, there’s a lot of fluid behind her ears!” the doctor would exclaim. “But it’s not infected.”

Hmmmm........

Speech-therapy continues. About a month ago, the therapist asks, “Have you had her hearing tested?”

“Yeah, like a year ago.” I replied.

“Maybe you should have her retested,” she replies.  I set up an appointment.

Finally, I bring her back the pediatrician a couple weeks ago with yet another suspected ear infection.  And this time we see a different pediatrician.  “Woah!” she says. “There’s A LOT of fluid behind her ear.”  The pediatrician flips through her chart, noting she’s in speech therapy.  “There’s no way she is hearing properly,” the pediatrician said.  “She needs her hearing tested.” 

Good thing I have that appointment set up.

A week ago I take her back to the audiologist.  Again, she tests on the border line of normal hearing and hearing loss.  But the tests for a toddler are limited.  She responded to her name, and to white noise, but there’s no way to test what speech sounds she’s hearing and what she’s not.  You might test an older child or an adult by asking them to repeat what you say.  “Chair” you say, and then maybe they say “hair” or “where” if they’re not hearing the “ch” sound properly.  But you can’t perform such a test on a two-year-old.

I talk to the ENT.  “Woah!” he says.  “There’s A LOT of fluid back there!”

So I’ve heard.

So we start to talk about ear tubes.  We agree that, infection or no infection, she needs tubes in her ears to drain all that fluid.  It will probably help with her hearing, and hopefully her speech.

And then, almost as an afterthought, he adds, “What about her adenoids? I noticed she’s very congested.”

“Yes,” I reply, “She always has a stuffy nose, always has a bunch of dried-up boogers up there.”

“Does she snore?”

“Yup!  That’s how we know she’s really asleep, and not just up in bed biding her time.”

“I think we should take her adenoids out too, while we do the ear tubes.”

Apparently adenoids can also get in the way of ear fluid draining properly.  Or so I’m told. 

So we set up the procedure for today.  We’re to arrive at the hospital at 9:00 am for ear tubes and an adenoidectomy.  That means that when she wakes up there’s no sippy cup of milk.  And no breakfast.  And that means that the first hour of her day was one epic temper tantrum.  After that first hour, she seemed to be resigned to the fact that we weren’t feeding her this morning, but she was still pissed.

But once we got to the hospital, SHE. WAS. A. CHAMP.

She played with the toys in the waiting room.  When we were sent back to an exam room, she accepted the trade of her monkey jammies for the astronaut-themed hospital gown with no compunctions whatsoever.

She spent the next 45 minutes, while we waited for the anesthesiologist, playing peek-a-boo with the room’s curtain and generally entertaining herself.

She lets the nurses take her vital signs without blinking an eye.

The only time we had tears?  When we parted ways as they wheeled her towards the operating room and we went to the waiting room.  But were those her tears, or mine?  I’m still not sure.  Even though getting ear tubes put in is one of the most common surgical procedures in the country, no one likes to see their baby have surgery.

And what did we hear from the doctor when all was said and done?  “She had A LOT of fluid drain from both ears.  And her adenoids were HUGE.  She’ll definitely start hearing better after this.”

She wasn’t hearing properly?  WHO KNEW?

Lesson learned?  Trust your instincts. Moms always know.

Good job, my little trouper! Hope you’ll be talking up an (understandable) storm, soon!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

30 Million Day Blog Challenge #10: Some One or Something You're Proud Of

I don't write about him often, although he has given me explicit permission to write whatever I want about him, good or bad.

I'm going with good.

We were friends before we were a couple, and I admired him so much.  He was so easy-going, able to make friends with pretty much any one, outgoing, all things I was not.  I felt honored just to be able to tag along with him.

And then one day he felt rather honored just to be a part of my life.  And we started dating.

And for the first time in my life, I had a boyfriend who was respectful, who accepted me exactly as I was, who didn't abuse me.  He was nothing but wonderful.

And then one day, we got married.

He supported me through my grueling law school experience, never complaining when I had to ignore him while committing to my studies and giving me a shoulder to cry on when things just got too hard.

He nursed me after the birth of my first child, through a failed breastfeeding experience, a recovery that took weeks, mastitis, and postpartum depression.

In fact, he supported me through all my crazy, my bipolar depression, my anxiety, never once questioning a diagnosis, or my need for medication.  He was nothing but understanding and loving, and he was always there during my darkest days.

From the very beginning of our relationship I knew he'd be a wonderful father, and that proved to be true. He takes a fully equal role in raising our kids, and I couldn't ask for a better father to my children.

He worked his tail off to earn a PhD, something few people do.  And then he worked his tail off at his first job, so that I may stay at home with my kids, at least for a little while.

So this one's for you, Husband.  I love you with all my heart.