Tuesday, November 29, 2011

I'll Shut Up About This Soon, I Promise

I’ve been somewhat depressed lately.  This isn’t new.  Allie Brosh from Hyperbole and a Half described depression pretty nicely in her recent post “Adventures In Depression”; depression rears its ugly head in an avalanche of self-loathing and depravation.  It makes it especially difficult for me to write, because most of my internal dialogue goes something like this:

My brain: I know! I’ll write about birds.

My depression: Birds are stupid.  You’re stupid.

My brain: Uhhh.... ok.  What about the fact that I’ve abandoned the gym in favor of climbing up and down the steps in my own home?

My depression: Whatever.  You’re fat.  

My brain: Oh.

My brain: I can’t think of anything anymore.  All my ideas have been snuffed-out by the cold, blowing, wind of self-criticism.

My depression: I told you so.

My brain: I could write about being depressed.

My depression: No one wants to listen to that, you whiner. 

My brain: Ok then.... I’ll just go stand in the corner....

It started back this summer when I went to the dentist.  I hadn’t been to the dentist in six or seven years, and was banking on some good stories to come out of my own oral negligence.  

Instead, it was... uneventful.  Apparently I have good (and boring) tooth genes.  I wrote a post about it, but didn’t really like it that much.

And ever since that, I’ve felt flat.  Boring.  Whiny.

Even writing this, I’m hard-pressed to squelch the voice of “why bother?”  Is this a writer thing? A depression thing? Or am I in a pity-party state of mind that I should just get over already?

Yet as wretched and stupid as I feel right now, I do know one thing: It could be so much worse.

Before we figured out that I had specifically bipolar depression, my depressive cycles were so much more devastating.  I ceased being able to work, take care of my children, and function in any sense.  The medication I now take every single day saved my life, continues to save my life.  

And just having written this is cathartic. At least it's better than keeping it secret and silent. I don’t know when, but I know it’s temporary, and I’ll get though it.  

Just as I have before.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

I'm Too Afraid And Guilt-Ridden To Give This Post A Witty, Concise Title.

For a number of reasons, and at times no reason at all, I'm on a depressive cycle.  This next topic is highly personal.  I debated whether to share it at all, but seeing as one reason I started this blog is to be transparent with my feelings, here it goes.

I want more children.  In fact, Husband and I have been trying to have a third child.

For a year, we've been trying to have a third child.

It isn't working.

I never anticipated this.

All Husband had to do was look at me to get me pregnant the first two times.  I was on the pill when I got pregnant with Preschooler.  With Toddler there was just one time.  One night of unprotected sex.  That's it.

I thought I was a fertile-Myrtle.

If everything had gone according to my original plan, I wouldn't have even started having kids until just now. I wanted to establish my career first in my ongoing futile effort to be the MOST SUCCESSFUL PERSON EVER, so I could WIN AT LIFE. I always wondered why God gave me my two kids sooner than my plans.  Now I know.  At least I have two kids, who I love more than life itself.   It would've devistated me to have fertility problems with my first two pregnancies.

And that leads to the guilt.  The guilt I feel because I want more, and I'm very, very sad that it's not working.  As if I don't really have a good reason to be sad, seeing as I already have two kids.  As sad as I am about not having a third, each and every day I thank God for my first two kids.  But it doesn't always take away from the sadness I feel for wanting more, and the subsequent guilt.

I think what it comes down to is that as a woman, I like to think I'm in charge of my fertility.  That I can have as many kids as I want, and then stop having them when I choose.

But I guess that may not be a choice of mine to make.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Flashback... Errrmmm...Uhhh....Tuesday. Now With More Pie.

This Flashback Friday post is either really early or really late.  But since I'll be really busy over the course of the week, I want to reiterate some Thanksgiving wisdom I passed on last year...

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Originally posted Thursday, November 25, 2010

Eat An Extra Piece Of Pie. Really. It's OK.

This post is an exercise in brevity, except now that I've written this sentence, I'm no longer being concise. 


In any case, I wish only two things for you this Thanksgiving:

1) Blood relatives are family. Friends are family. I hope you can find solace in their presence this Thanksgiving. Many are not so lucky.

2) Eat an extra slice of pie. Really. You'll thank yourself the next day. Also, pie is always a breakfast food. Don't forget.

I'll be back by Monday. Happy Thanksgiving to all! And to my Canadian readers, Happy Belated Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Breaking Point

Lately my kids have been pushing me to the breaking point.  

For weeks, Toddler has refused to go to sleep until at least 9:00 pm, yet she still wakes up several times during the night, and by 6:00 am the next morning.

I’m tired.

Preschooler is highly sensitive to her sister’s feelings.  When Toddler cries about something (which is every day, terrible twos and all), Preschooler will start crying and screaming until she is more upset than her sister.  If you try to get her to explain why she’s upset, she’ll just choke out, “I. Don’t. Like. It. When. Toddler. Cries!!!” Then Toddler will cry even more, because her sister is so upset.  It's so incredibly frustrating and difficult to try to calm Preschooler down when she's in one of these fits, not to mention coping with Toddler's initial temper-tantrum, especially when it happens multiple times a day.

We're trying to work with Toddler by not giving in when she has a tantrum, and removing her from the situation when necessary. We’ve also worked with Preschooler on some coping mechanisms.  Everyday I remind her she can cover her ears, she can say “I don’t like this noise,”  she can go sit in her special chair with her favorite blanket, but she can’t scream.  Sometimes this works.  

Sometimes it doesn’t.

Preschooler has also taken to not listening.  Most of our conversations lately go something like this:

Preschooler: Mommy, can I build with blocks?

Me: Of course!

Preschooler: Mommy, can I build with blocks?

Me: Yes!

Preschooler: Mommy, can I build with blocks?



Finally, the other day, I just lost it.  Toddler was only whining a little bit, when Preschooler pitched one of her volume-to-11 screaming fits. She screamed so hard her face turned beet red.  And I lost it.


There are no words to express the amount of guilt I felt the minute those words left my mouth.

Preschooler was still crying, except now?  Now she was crying because I yelled at her.  I could see it in her eyes.  I will never forget the way she looked so afraid and miserable at that moment.

And then I cried.  I cried because I was so frustrated.  I cried because I was so tired.  I cried because I don’t want to squelch Preschooler’s feelings.  There needs to be some balance for her between understanding that it's ok to be sad and being so in tune to the feelings of others, yet not over-reacting about every little thing.  I just don’t know how to  help Preschooler achieve that balance.  

I apologized to Preschooler.  I admitted I got angry and yelled at her, but that wasn’t ok for me to yell like that, and I was sorry.

She forgave me.  And strangely enough, she was pretty chipper the rest of the day.

I’ve been so grouchy with my kids lately.  I hate it about myself.

So I prayed.  I’m not saying this works out for every one, but this time?  It worked out for me.  For the first time in probably weeks, I woke up in a good mood.  Even though Preschooler had a potty accident first thing in the morning, I was in a good mood.  Even though Toddler was up at 5:00 am, I was in a good mood.  Even though I spent my entire shower listening to my kids fight and scream and cry over some Duplo blocks they were playing with, I was in a good mood.

And I am thankful for that.  I am thankful that today, hopefully today, I’ll be able to handle what life throws at me without being so overwhelmed by it all.  

I hope today will be a good day.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

30 MIllion Day Blog Challenge #6: A Picture Of Somewhere I've Been To

I think this is the post where I'm supposed to post a photo of some far-flung destination I went to, maybe on my honeymoon or through study abroad.

I gots nothing.

I've been to lots of places around the U.S.A., but I've never been to the tropics or Europe.  I'm not one to have regrets about anything in my past, but I do regret never studying abroad.  And I got married a weekend smack in the middle of my third year of law school.  The Monday after the wedding, I didn't get on a plane.  I went to class.  Husband and I planned to head off to Europe for a belated honeymoon after graduation, but instead I got pregnant.

Which takes me to the place I'll provide a picture of:

Ohio.  Back when I was in law school and Husband was in grad school, we lived in St. Paul, MN. But mere weeks after our October wedding, Husband's graduate advisor took a new position at The Ohio State University in, you guessed it, Ohio.  We had a mere two months to make all living and school arrangements, pack up, and move.

To top it off, we only lived in Ohio for a couple months when I found out.... surprise! I'm pregnant.  What can I say, when forced to rely on each other as our sole source of companionship, Husband and I found ways of keeping busy.  Also, there was an ice storm.  The delivery room was mighty busy that following October.

Anyhow, although I supported our move to Ohio and all it entailed, I still felt, especially once I graduated, got a job, and had a baby, that I was stuck in Ohio.

So it surprised me to realize that even though I left Ohio over a year ago, that there are some things that I miss.  Of course first and foremost are the friends I left behind in Ohio.  But here's a short list of things I'd recommend, should you find yourself stuck in Ohio.

Bob Evans.  I know.  Everyone who goes to Ohio sees copious amounts of billboards advertising Bob Evans.  And you'll say, "Oh, I'll NEVER eat at Bob Evans."  But then one day you'll find yourself eating at Bob Evans.  It's the ubiquitous breakfast-all-day-long diner in the state, and the first place we dared to bring our new infant out to eat when Preschooler was just a baby.

Tim Hortons.  For those not in the know, it sells coffee, donuts, and a few types  of sandwiches. More importantly, it was open 24/7. I worked crazy late hours while in Ohio, and it was the only place I could get a decent cup of coffee at 8:00 pm.  God bless Tim Hortons.

The Columbus Zoo.  It's one of the most impressive zoos I've been to.  Whenever we had guests over for a long weekend in the spring or summer, we'd take them to the zoo.

German Village neighborhood, in Columbus.  It's a walkable neighborhood with lots of cute shops and restaurants, all very historic with the same cobble-stone streets and buildings as days of yore.  Also, there was a free Shakespeare-in-the-Park show every weekend in the spring and summer.  We only lived in the German Village for eight months before moving to the Dayton area, and I wish it were longer.

So there you have it!  Sometimes being stuck in Ohio isn't so bad after all.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

My Head Exploded, And I'm Now Headless.

Preschooler has a little sore on her upper lip.  “Honey, what happened to your lip?” I asked.  Her prompt reply? “I got it from kissing boys.”


Thank you, Husband, for putting that little bug in her ear.

But it brings up a good point.  We really have to be careful what we say in front of her.  She’s old enough to pick up on phrases, including swearing.  She has already said “damn it” in an appropriate context. 

And I think last week I made a big mistake.

At Preschooler’s first parent-teacher conference, ever, it came out that she sometimes says “I don’t know” when asked something simple that you know she knows.  After the conference, I phoned Husband, my mother, and my sister, each time relaying this information and displaying my usual predisposition towards angst and over-analyzing, by wondering out loud why she did this, how to fix it, and OH MY GOD WHAT IF SHE HAS LOW SELF-ESTEEM AND IT’S ALL MY FAULT??!!

The whole time I did this, I never thought about the fact that Preschooler was within hearing distance of all these conversations. Who knows what she picked up from it, and how that will affect her own sense of self, especially towards school.


At least now, I’m that much more aware of how I relate to her. 

Also, she’s not allowed to kiss boys until she is 30.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

I Turned On The Christmas Music, And I'm Not Ashamed.

Today I played some Christmas music while I did the dishes.  Yes, I’m THAT person.


I love Christmas, and as far as I’m concerned, the season to be jolly can last for the entire months of November and December.  I need something to offset all of that winter seasonal depression, and holiday cheer fits the bill nicely.

Christmas first waved hello to me in Starbucks.  I was there over the weekend to do a little writing, and what did I see?  Red cups!  Peppermint Mochas! 

“Yippee!” I said, while waiting in line.  

The woman in front of me turns around.  Did I say “Yippee?” out loud?

“The Christmas things are here!” I mumbled in a small but gleeful tone.

“Huh,” she said.

Whatever.  I drank my peppermint mocha in one of the cafe’s plushy orange chairs, and mentally planned every single moment of the next 8-10 weeks.   Christmas by nature involves list-making and if there’s one thing I love it’s a good list.  Lists of what presents to buy, when, and where, and to whom.  Lists of what to cook and bake.  Lists of what to pack on the long weekends visiting family.

And seeing as Husband and I have finally done what we always say we’re going to do, and spread our Christmas shopping out over the course of the year, it’s a bit like I’ve been celebrating Christmas ALL YEAR LONG.

Lucky me!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

30 Million Day Blog Challenge #5: 15 Songs That Represent My Life's Soundtrack

Well it's been 50 days since I started the "30 Day Blog Challenge" and I'm up to challenge ... five.

I get a "D-" for effort.

This challenge is to list 15 songs that represent my life's soundtrack.  Click on the links to hear the songs on YouTube!!

1) "Angie" by the Rolling Stones.  My name was inspired by this song, so it's an appropriate way to start the list.

2) "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now" by Starship.  As far as I can remember this was my very first "favorite" song.  After all, all children should have early exposure to Jefferson Starship.

3) "Only In My Dreams" by Debbie Gibson.  My first concert was to see Debbie Gibson.  I think I was seven or eight, so I can probably be forgiven.

4) "This Used To Be My Playground" by Madonna from the movie "A League Of Their Own."  Best Friend and I were obsessed with this movie.  For weeks we'd go see it in the theater, and then went home to play baseball.  The problem was that neither of us could throw nor catch, so really it was just an elaborate game of fetch.

5) "Who Will Save Your Soul" by Jewel.  I kind of took a bypass on the whole "grunge" scene of the early 90's.  I was just too preppy, and, well, oblivious.  This explains a lot about my early teenage years.  It wasn't until Jewel appeared on the scene that I finally became aware of what was considered "cool" and decided to play along.

6) "Can't Stop Dancing" by Captain & Tennille.  I danced for 17 years of my life.  I was a member of a dance company for at least seven of those years, and when we took our show on the road to perform at various festivals, we usually ended the show with that snappy little number by Captain & Tennille, "Can't Stop Dancing."  I know, CLASSY.

7) "Bittersweet Symphony" by The Verve. My favorite song in high school, which adequately sums up all my brooding teenage angst.  No one gets me, man.

8, 9, & 10) "A Sorta Fairytale" by Tori Amos. "Don't Drink The Water" by Dave Matthews Band.  "Pink Moon" by Nick Drake.  All these songs remind me of being in college, of late nights studying in coffee shops, and mostly of the delicious freedom caused by my first taste of independence.

11) "Within A Mile Of Home" by Flogging Molly.  My favorite song from my favorite band, a band that I discovered in my early 20's after many nights hanging out at the local Irish pub.  

12 & 13) "Ohh La La" by the Ditty Bops and "Mushaboom" by Feist.  Light hearted songs I'd play during my hours-long study sessions in law school, in hopes of relieving some of the stress of school.  I'm not sure it worked.

14) "Tiny Dancer" by Elton John.  My "official" wedding song.

15) "Forever" by Dropkick Murphys.  My "unofficial" wedding song, being the last song of the night.

16) "Lullaby" by the Dixie Chicks.  This song reminds me of my two children, and I still can't hear it without crying a little.

17) "Home" by Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros.  This song reminds me of moving back home to Wisconsin after living for several years in Minnesota and then several more years in Ohio.  Our stint here in Wisconsin is temporary, and I'm relishing every minute of it.

Wait a minute! Seventeen songs?  What can I say, I'm an overachiever.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Eau De Baby

She had so much hair, it showed up on her ultrasound, a softly moving halo around her giant alien head.  Even after she was born, her hair never fell out.  It just got thicker and longer.

I loved my first born's hair.  I loved to touch it, but more than that, I loved to smell it.  It was an intoxicating primal connection.  I probably could've identified my baby in a room full of babies based on the smell of her head alone.

As she grew, I always managed to get a good long sniff in whenever I caught her in my arms.  And then one day ... it was gone.  Though she'd always be my baby, her head lost that baby-smell.  But I almost didn't notice the transition because, at the same time, I had another baby.  A new baby with her own new baby smell.

I coveted that smell.  While feeding her, cuddling her, reading to her, I'd take liberal opportunities to breath in the soft scent of her baby hair.  For two years I reveled in it.

But yesterday .... it was gone.  She no longer smells like a baby, with that unique baby-head-smell.  She smells, well, like a little girl.  It's still a wonderful smell, I miss the baby scent.

She runs.  She jumps (sort of.)  She talks, (sort of.)  She's starting to potty-train.  She takes off her own pants and shirt and socks. The last vestiges of babyhood are gone.

I do love when my kids start the next phase in life.  It's exciting, and their own pride when they master a new skill matches my own pride in their accomplishment.

But with my youngest growing up, I do miss my littlest baby.  When you become a mother, everyone tells you to enjoy your children, they grow up too fast.

I guess I just didn't realize just how fast that was.

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Dear readers: I've been feeling a little down lately, so I'm using my blog to sort through the feelings that are bringing me down.  I'll return to my usual snark when I feel like it.  Thank you for understanding.