Friday, May 25, 2012


L started crawling this week, and he couldn't be happier about it. Even before he figured out forward-motion, though, he's been going through a transformation. My cuddle bug has been exploring his independence. No longer content to be held and hugged all day, he perilously lunged out of our arms towards whatever shiny fun thing caught his attention (usually his older brother). So we'd mostly been plopping him on the floor surrounded by toys and while we went about our business we could see & hear him laughing and babbling...until suddenly he got tired or frustrated and shrieked to be picked up. And then lunged out of our arms soon after...rinse repeat. He wants to be free, yet he wants to be held...and he can't really have both so he is torn. He's simultaneously asserting his independence while still needing the safety & comfort of our care. I've been talking to a colleague with a teenage daughter, and its amazingly similar---as much as she thinks she wants to just be free from any parental restrictions, she actually needs those firm boundaries to push & rebel against (or what's the point, right?)

I notice these same contradictions in my own psyche. As much as I love & appreciate caring for and being part of my family sometimes I seriously envy the freedom of my single friends to plan their present and their futures based solely on their own dreams and desires.  From career moves to vacation plans to simply what to watch on TV in the evening, they can make their decisions for themselves and themselves alone. Not only do all my decisions require consideration of multiple other people, these other peoples' moods can affect my own so profoundly. They say a mother is only as happy as her unhappiest child...I'd expand that to say that anyone is only as happy as their unhappiest family member. In other words, in a family unit, everyone's emotions are inexorably tied together, for better or worse. When G is impatient & cranky, I feel it. When I am overwhelmed & anxious, he feels it (and then I feel guilty for making him anxious...and so on and so forth).

Maybe its because I came to marriage & motherhood so late in life, got a little too used to the freedom of being completely on my own, but I really can't help occasionally feeling trapped & constricted. The feeling generally leaves as abruptly as it comes on, and is replaced by overwhelming love & gratitude for my family. Because, coming to it late, I know first-hand the alternative...freedom & independence for me came at the high price of  loneliness. I have no regrets with my choices, nor would I realistically want my life to be any other way. I think I'm just settling into my new roles & responsibilities, and a few years later I won't remember any other way. Is this universal or is it just me?

Friday, May 18, 2012


I feel anxious today. The trigger was a small (MIL-related, of course) thing that kind of grew and became stomach-churning, motivation-destroying and all-consuming.

I don't really have good mechanisms for dealing with acute episodes of anxiety in my life. I've come across ways to feel more grateful, less grumpy, more energetic...but can't seem to find a good method for alleviating anxiety. One trigger can set off a month of sleepless nights and endless worry spirals.

I know there is medication for this kind of thing, but I really don't feel I have a clinical anxiety disorder right now. Much of the time I'm not anxious at all. And even when I am, its not debilitating---doesn't keep me from going through my day & doing what I need to do---it just makes it so much harder. I know people that have crippling clinical anxiety so I do have a comparison.

Everyone has stressors and worries in their life, some more than others. And everyone processes the stress in different ways---some healthier than others. I really believe that I can work towards doing better at this, I just haven't hit upon the solution yet.

So when a lovely walk home on a Friday evening in gorgeous weather didn't lift the feeling, I decided to be proactive. I got home & knocked out some chores for immediate satisfaction. I over-the-top doted on the dog with hugs & petting, took her for a walk, and ran around the park with her until we were out of breath & laughing. I smiled at my fellow dog-walkers and struck up a conversation with my neighbor. Then I sat down to write out my feelings. Accomplishments, exercise, acting loving, and social connection. I'm feeling a bit better already, but the real test will be when I try to sleep!

Any other good methods for coping acutely with anxiety?

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

This. That. The Other

This: The moment I hit publish on my last post, B woke up  from a drastically abbreviated nap...crying, feverish, and red-faced. The redness spread quickly down his body and by bedtime he had a full-body rash and a fever of over 104. The rest of the week...was. We took turns staying home with him...and his cheerful demeanor gave way to the expected crankiness & whining of a very sick boy. Thursday morning I finally took him to the doctor---scarlet fever. Started antibiotics and he was finally back to normal, albeit itchy and peeling all-over by Sunday.

That: To add to the fun, L also came down with a 104+ fever on Tuesday evening. Never got the rash, so likely had something different, and went away on its own, but not without some terrrrriiiibbbbblllleee nights.

The Other: Mother's Day was. It was a nice Sunday---both boys finally healthy, weather warm and sunny...but we did nothing to really mark the day. G had brought me some flowers when he went grocery shopping on Saturday (and they gave me SEVERE allergies so we banished them to the backyard). Other than that, we did our usual Sunday chores, park outings, etc... I didn't ask for or get any special treatment. I just took care of my family & enjoyed them. Isn't that what Mother's Day should be about? Not only to be appreciated, but...appreciating.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Best. Sick day. Ever.

B had a high fever this morning so I am staying home with him. Its weird, he was 103 last night and 102.5 this AM, but no other symptoms and seems mostly fine, just quiet when the fever recurs, and totally normal after meds kick in.  So we've had some fun.

We ate peanut butter & raisins---mine on crackers, his on a spoon. We planted the flowers & seeds G brought home yesterday in pots and window boxes. Well, I planted them, while my OCD little princess squealed about dirt possibly getting on his hands. (I know, I have NO idea where this came from. We have pictures from a year ago where he is digging in same planters and shoveling dirt into his mouth). Then we went to the park, with a detour for ice cream. We finished some long overdue errands while B picked at lunch in the stroller. Now he's napping and I'm hurriedly checking email/putting out fires at work, pumping, eating lunch, and doing laundry (and writing this, duh).

I was planning to take a day off work this week sans kids, to shop, get my nails done, and finish some sewing projects. Its been such a busy & stressful few weeks & I wanted a day all to myself. I figured having a sick kid at home would be just another stressful & exhausting endeavor, but its actually been fun. One on one is SO MUCH EASIER than wrangling the two, and B is...well...practically human these days.  I think I want to do mommy-B days more often, but next time we'll skip the 102 fever.

Friday, May 4, 2012

8 years

G & I met in August of 2001. At a beach party I went to with a guy friend, back when hanging out all day, eating, and drinking in a bikini seemed lack a typical Saturday activity. It was a veritable Cinderella story, in that I lost one of my flip-flops in the dark and left without, and G drove around slowly with the headlights on until he found it, and then called me up and asked me out under the ruse of returning my $5 Target footwear. I wouldn't call it love at first sight...he wasn't exactly my type...a bit on the nerdy side, and some of his jokes & one-liners literally  made me cringe...but they also made me laugh, and slowly but surely his big heart, admirable loyalty, and our ability to talk for hours about everything and nothing won me over.

I know this is a typical pattern of relationships growing and changing with the demands of kids, jobs, and life...but as I've mentioned before, we don't find much time to talk---really TALK---to each other anymore. From the few times I've brought it up, I've gotten the impression that this was only a problem for me...that G was perfectly happy with our status quo.

And then I was blindsided by an impromptu conversation standing in the kitchen last night. As always, I asked G what he wanted to do this evening (though it was close to 9PM by the time we got the kids to bed and cleaned up the kitchen). As always, he said he was going to "try to work" since he hadn't gotten much done this week with his days divided by contractor meetings, vet appointments, pediatrician appointments. Then he sighed, and admitted that he thought something was wrong with him, impeding his ability to concentrate at work. He thinks he may be depressed---he didn't come out and say those words, but in his typical vague & geeky manner mentioned needing more seratonin or dopamine . In my astonishment at this revelation, I went into doctor/fixer mode...urging him to make an appointment with our primary provider right away to see if he needed treatment. He said he wasn't sure medication was necessary or would be helpful, so I then urged him to see a therapist, someone to talk to. Then he said "I'd like to talk to you, but you're just not around".

Hurt & defensive, I jumped into examples of the times I was around (like, always!) and he was busy. And he countered that yes, I was physically around, but I was tired, or just on my way to bed (this is true, I've been exhausted lately & do go to bed early in general) and didn't seem open to talking. I had no arguments left because he's right. I want to be there for G...but I have precious little physical or emotional energy left for dealing with what I'm now realizing are pretty serious issues. Just knowing that he is suffering right now has me anxious, upset, and flustered...and reaching for my typical coping skills of ignore, evade, and deny.

He went into a little bit of what's on his mind...he is bored & unmotivated at work, isolated, lonely and has no friends to talk to about this, he is worried about the future (jobs & living situation), worried and stressed about the house issues (roof leaking, etc...) that have been plaguing us since we moved in, and doesn't have time to pursue the hobbies/interests that could keep him sane. All the predictable stressors that seem manageable on their own, but can pile up and weather down even the strongest rock. And he is a rock. He's my rock. And I am realizing, maybe too late, that I also need to be his.

Eight years ago this week, we went on a trip to NYC. On the last day of the trip, literally hours before we had to catch the shuttle to the airport, G insisted we go back to Central Park because he "loved it so much and wanted to see it one more time". Once there, he spends an inordinate amount of time hunting for the "perfect spot" to hang out in. Finally we find it, no one around, and grassy with flat rocks we sit down on. And he proposed.

We've gone back to NYC multiple times since then and tried to return to that spot. We just can't seem to locate it.  I think we've gotten a bit lost...hoping we can find our way  back.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


Just a quick shout-out to my favorite month. Is there a lovelier month than May? Flowers & sunshine & my birthday, whoo hoo!  Here's hoping it turns out better than the last 30 days. WTF April!? Why so full of snot and vomit and poop and night-time waking up and cold and rain and leaks and general yuck. Already off to a better start with no 4 AM wake-ups by L and no-winter-coat-needing weather (though still rainy enough that I had to skip my run, which was fine because I am STILL congested, headache-y, and coughing).

I haven't done much to celebrate my birthday the past few years what with pregnancies & newborns, so I am going to borrow a tradition from my sister and celebrate "birthday week" at the end of the month (you pick 7 days around & including your birthday and do something fun/special each day, what's not to love?) While I generally try to avoid attention at all costs, I do like a little pampering for my birthday, since I certainly don't get any in my regular life! I think I'll have more fun planning what to do than I'll have actually doing it...I realized that the anticipation is a huge part of enjoyment for me, so I'll maximize the fun by having everything planned out as early as possible.

Anybody else have a favorite month, or have any fun birthday traditions?