Thursday, March 31, 2011


I am in love with toddlerhood.   I was not terribly fond of the newborn stage.

I love that Miles has become so interactive.  I love that he will run up to me for a hug.  That he tickles me and grins about it.  That he can ask for things that he wants.  That he has his own wonderful personality that shines through more and more everyday.  That he dances like crazy anytime he hears music or a beat.  Or sometimes, just because he's happy.

I love that he has become so independent.  That he can carry his own toys and food.  That he learns to do new things for himself every single day.  That he can walk to the car and climb in on his own.  That he feeds himself, and drinks out of cups, and snuggles with me, depending on what he wants and needs.

I love everything about this stage.*  And I love that I get to be with him all the time, to enjoy every little minute of it.

Hooray for toddlerhood. :)

*Except, maybe, the tantrums.  I could do without those. :)

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Work + Toddler = Hilarity and Mess

If you didn't know this already, I am a working mom, who takes my son to work.

Yesterday, that combination was amusingly difficult.  As you can imagine, it can be that way, from time to time, what with having a toddler in an office environment.  But hey, I like a challenge.

Honestly, Miles was perfectly well behaved for most of the day.  He played quietly.  He helped me carry papers to and from the copier.  He doodled on scratch paper.  He crashed his trucks together, and danced to the music in his head, and generally was just a completely delightful child.

Until he decided he wanted to play with my computer.  While I was across the room.  The next thing I knew, he had deleted half of the audition appointments I have spent two weeks making.  I'm not even sure how.  But he did.  And they appear to be irrecoverable.  Ugh.

It was funny, though, because he was utterly proud of himself for figuring out how to get to the computer in the first place.  He sat there, proud as a peacock, grinning from ear to ear.  All I could do was sigh.

In true dramatic Miles fashion, he replied by throwing his head back and sighing.  Thanks, kid. :)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Good Day

I had one.  Yesterday.

I woke up, and felt . . . calm.  No hint of the panic that has lurked at the edges of my consciousness for so long.

I kept my cool as I managed to clean house and do laundry, with Miles helping, or playing beside me.

I played with Miles, relishing the joy of simply being present in the moment.

I fought off a panic attack that threatened to ruin my day.  I stepped outside, and took a deep breath, steadying myself, struggling for control.  And I won.

I ate dinner with friends, and enjoyed their company.  Not once did I feel the overwhelming urge to flee from the room that I have felt so often in the past year and a half.

I know that I am not out of the woods, yet.  That there will most certainly be bad days in the future.  For all I know, today could be a return to panic.

But yesterday was good.  And that's a good place to start.

Sunday, March 27, 2011


In the past few days, I've had several people call to offer support, as each one hears about my diagnosis.  They always ask questions.  They always want to talk about it.  And I'm not very good at providing answers.  So, here, in a nutshell, is what has been going on.

After Miles was born, I began having panic attacks.  At first, they were relatively mild, and usually as a reaction to some real possible danger.  I was terrified of taking him anywhere, but staying at home made me restless and anxious.  I was certain that he had stopped breathing, or was too quiet, or would never stop screaming.  That he was sick and I didn't know.  Or that any number of other things were wrong.  I figured it was normal new mom stuff, and would fade away once he got a little bigger.  So, when people asked how I was doing, I told them I was fine.  Stressed, a little overwhelmed, but fine.

Before long, the newborn stage had passed.  Miles could hold his head up on his own, and smiled and cooed.  I could now put him down for minutes at a time to play quietly on the floor.  I had gotten good at taking him places, and did so often.  I accepted the fact that I would make too many trips to the doctor over something that turned out to be nothing.  And yet, the panic attacks continued, and actually got a little worse.  I figured it was the lack of sleep I was getting.  Surely, once I started getting a decent amount of sleep on a regular basis, I would feel better.  So, when people asked how I was doing, I told them I was fine.  Tired, and still a little overwhelmed, but fine.

Eventually, after months of anguish and fighting, Miles finally began sleeping through the night.  After so many months of sleeplessness, I was finally getting eight hours of sleep, almost every night.  And yet, the panic attacks continued, and actually got a little worse.  I figured it was the stress of work combined with the fact that he still didn't nap very well.  In fact, every nap was a struggle that left me exhausted both mentally and physically, leaving me unable to do much besides stare at the wall, enjoying a few moments of peace.  Surely, once his naps got better, when I wasn't fighting him, then the panic attacks would stop.  So, when people asked how I was doing, I told them I was fine.  Weary of fighting him, and still overwhelmed, but fine.

And then, he started napping well.  And I got a guaranteed hour (minimum) of time to myself  And I was getting time out of the house by myself, too.  And yet, the panic attacks continued.  And got worse.  Much worse.

One night, about a month ago, I laid in bed, trying to sleep, and yet entirely incapable of doing so.  Panic held me paralyzed in its grip.  My chest was so tight, I could barely get a breath.  Every muscle in my body was tense, preparing for fight or flight.  The force of the panic was tangible, a very real weight on my chest, rendering me incapable of moving even an inch.  I could not even find my voice to call for help.

There was no reason for the panic.  It attacked, from nowhere, and for no reason I can name.  To this day, I cannot tell you what caused that attack to begin.  But, it did, and it was awful.

I laid there for what seemed like hours, though in reality it was probably only a minute or two, searching out any sign of comfort.  From the corner of my eye, I managed to catch a glimpse of the moon, behind a tree.  The curtain had gotten caught, and a tiny sliver of nature shone in.  Its effect on me was immediate.  My muscles began to loosen.  My breathing began to regulate, and the weight began to lift from my chest.  I rolled over, pulling my knees to my chest, and squeezed my pillow tight, sobbing with relief.

The next night, I told Patrick about my panic attacks.  I had finally admitted that what I had faced for almost 18 months was not normal new mom stuff.  It was an illness.  One I had tried to ignore, and had tried to get past, but one that persisted.  I had avoided the diagnosis like the plague, not wanting to be sick.  Not wanting to admit that I was sick.

I have postpartum anxiety.

If you have any other questions about this, please leave them in the comment section below.  I have a really hard time talking about this aloud.  Writing about it, however, is therapeutic.  So, ask away.  And I will try to answer.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Battles & Blessings

  • Week one of Zoloft = dizziness, lightheadedness, nausea, and fatigue.  Week one of Zoloft =/= any real relief, yet.  Blargh.
  • Also, the seventh day of Zoloft, the last one before you double the dosage, kinda sucks.  As in, it doesn't really help at all.  Welcome back, panic attacks.
  • The weather is crazy - warm, cold, warm, cold.  It's doing a number on my allergies, my stress levels, and my sanity.
  • A week of things not turning out the way I planned.  I hate that.
  • Insatiable hunger.  May or may not be a side effect of the meds.  Either way, it sucks.
  • Long days.  Patrick has an important project to finish, and has been working later than normal.
  • Because of my already-high anxiety levels on Friday, I took a bit of e-judging a little more personally than I normally would have.  I wound up hiding my head under a blanket, trying to breathe normally, while Patrick made dinner.  Not one of my shining moments.
  • Week one of Zoloft is done.  Which means that I should find some relief soon.  My wait for relief is that much shorter now.
  • Even with the crazy weather, I can tell that Spring is here.  It is only a matter of time before warmth graces us again.
  • Hidden blessing that would have remained hidden if everything had gone as planned.
  • For every tiny piece of e-judging I have received, I have also received great big loads of e-support.  It is awesome that I can count on these people to lift me up after a bad day.
  • A son who lights up every room he enters.
  • A husband who takes care of me, and shows me nothing but compassion and love.  Even when I am annoying. :)
  • Work.  Because it keeps my mind off things.  And because I love my job.  And because it rarely feels like work.
  • Play dates.
  • Thin Mints.  Mmmm.
  • A good book.
Life is good.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Friday Photos!

Being silly at the park.
Looking so much like a big boy.  Where did my baby go?

Getting a closer look at the lake.
Running down the hill behind our home.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Entertainer

Yesterday morning, we went to toddler story time at a local library.  Since it's designed for toddlers, the format included lots of music and finger plays, with two short stories.  It's supposed to encourage the kids to get up and move a little.

So, I was floored to see the almost perfect circle of almost perfectly behaved toddlers, sitting quietly in their moms' laps the entire time.  Seriously, these kids, none of whom was more than two years old, sat quietly, just enjoying the show.

Meanwhile, my adorable son stood up right away, and decided that the center of the circle was a stage.  He danced.  He jumped.  He spun in circles.  In short, he performed for the other kids and their moms.  Occasionally, he would run around the perimeter, trying to get the other kids to join him, but to no avail.  It didn't seem to worry Miles, though.  He just went back to performing, completely comfortable with having the spotlight all to himself.  And at the end of each song, all of the toddlers would clap.

And Miles would toss both arms in the air for a moment, as if to say, "Ta da!"


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


I started my new medication Friday night.

Saturday, I woke up feeling dizzy, and nauseous, and disconnected.  All expected side effects, but still not very pleasant.  While Patrick and Miles prepared for their day, I made myself a nest on the couch and settled in for a day of television.  Truth be told, I felt pretty awful.  I didn't want to move.  In fact, all I wanted to do was curl up and cry.  As though the panic attacks weren't bad enough, the medications made me feel horrible.  It just wasn't fair.

And then, Miles crawled up on the couch with me.  He sat down against me, and held my hand, stroking my fingernails, and occasionally squeezing my hand.  He stayed there for half an hour, barely moving, just holding my hand quietly.  As though he knew exactly what Mommy needed.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Bad Mommy Mondays

  1. Miles has a dog.  Dogs are carriers of all sorts of terrible things.  Plus, they can bite.  And they're unsanitary.  Dogs and small children don't belong together.  Meh.  Dominic and Miles are best friends.
  2. Miles allows Dominic to lick his hands, face, and everywhere else.  I do nothing to stop it.  Apparently, "that's just gross".
  3. I don't wash my kid's hands every five minutes.  I'm sure that means he has eaten dirt or dog hair or something equally disgusting, but he gets that from eating off the floor, too, so I figure it all works out.
  4. I choose my battles.  Because I have enough to do without fighting him over every.single.thing.
  5. I do not feed my kid milk of any kind.  Apparently, milk is a must because it is the only food that has calcium and fatty acids for brain development.  Ummm, yeah.  That's just dumb.  Besides, my kid gets nasty rashes and diarrhea every time he has even an ounce of milk.  Too bad he can't get those nutrients anywhere else.  Oh, wait. . .
  6. I do not discourage my son from talking to strangers.  Yet.  Someday, we'll get there.  For now, he is always with an adult he knows, and I think it's okay for a kid to say hello to someone without every other parent in the place freaking out.
  7. Miles has worn short sleeve shirts for most of the winter.  It took until a relatively nice, 40 degree day for someone to notice.  Apparently, he is going to freeze to death like that.  Never mind the fact that he always wears a coat outdoors, and sweats the second we go inside.
  8. My poor,  poor child has been forced to eat *gasp* fast food.  Actually, he quite enjoys Chik-Fil-A.  Which is awesome, because I do, too.*  :)
  9. Oh, and he may or may not have snuck a taste of my root beer while we were there. . .
  10. I don't make my son ride in the cart at the grocery store, anymore.  Because I'd rather he didn't brain himself when he MacGuyver's out of the strap and dives for the floor.  Yet another example of me allowing my child to "walk all over" me.  Meh.
*Interesting fact: I had never eaten Chik-Fil-A before last Wednesday.  Why in the hell did no one tell me that they make their chicken sandwiches plain with pickles?  Oh, yummy, yummy goodness.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Mmmm. Spring.

Playing outside, in the warm sunshine.  Running down hillsides, laughing.  Chasing the dog.  Walking with Daddy.  And climbing trees.

Light jackets.  Cool breezes.  Green grass.  Budding plants.  Warmth.

Welcome, Spring.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Battles & Blessings

  • Finally admitting to my anxiety, so I can begin getting help.  It's hard.  I am so afraid of being the crazy one in the room.  Of being told to just suck it up.  Of people wanting to talk about it at length.  Or, alternately, people ignoring it altogether.
  • Thursday just kinda sucked.  We tried to go to the park, but it was a complete disaster.  Miles only napped for 40 minutes.  He was whiny and clingy all afternoon.  Then, he fell asleep in the car, making it impossible for me to help our friends with moving.  It's like Tuesday decided to bide its time and show up two days late.
  • Dealing with Dominic's separation anxiety.  It's so hard to know how to deal with it.  
  • Allergy season has begun.  Blargh.  And Miles seems to be having issues this year.  Double blargh.
  • Being tied down to Miles' sleep schedule has been particularly difficult this week.  I have missed out on several things I really wanted to do because it interfered with nap time.  Usually, it doesn't bother me much, but this week it has.
  • Teething.  Seriously?  Are these damn things ever going to come in?  Or are they simply going to sit there, just below the surface (or barely through) for eternity?  Miles is hurting.  Come on teeth, give the kid a break.
  • I have a plan for getting rid of my panic attacks.  This is a good thing.
  • Patrick has been ridiculously supportive, as always.  
  • Waking up to daisies (my favorite) on the kitchen table, because my hubby likes to surprise me. :)
  • In spite of teething and everything else, Miles has been really sweet this week.  He has spent a lot of time sitting with me, just cuddling.  Pure mommy bliss.
  • Beautiful weather.  Mmmm, it feels good to be outside again.
  • Dominic has apparently officially decided that Miles is his boy.  Every time Miles leaves, the dog sits and worries until he returns.  Even if it's only for a few minutes, and someone else stays here with the dog.  And the way Miles giggles when Dominic plays with him is so wonderful.
  • Friends, family, and complete internet strangers that offer their support when I need it most.  You all rock.

Friday, March 18, 2011


For eighteen months, normal has been being completely overwhelmed, all the time.

Normal has been always worrying, over everything.

Normal has been feeling like everyone is judging me, all the time.

Normal has been feeling like everyone was right to judge me.

Normal has been panic attacks that have become more and more frequent, and more and more unbearable.

Not anymore.  This afternoon, I finally talked to my doctor about this.  All of those things I thought were a normal part of motherhood?  Are not.  They are the symptoms and the results of Postpartum Anxiety.

I am on my way toward a new normal.  One that does not include panic attacks, or constant insecurity.  But one that does include medications, and a diagnosis I was afraid to get.  Because it means I am not normal.

Regardless, it is my new normal.  And I am tired of hiding it.  Tired of pretending everything is normal.  It's not.  And there is nothing wrong with admitting that.

Friday Photos!

Playing with trucks.

Playing in his tunnel.

Stacking blocks.
Watching television.  On the laundry basket.  Why not? :)
Happy weekend, all! :)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Goodwill Ambassador

I have to say, Miles has restored my faith in humanity.

You see, I'm from a small community.  The kind where people say hello to one another.  Or hold the door for the person behind them.  The kind of place where people kept an eye on other people's kids, whether they were asked to or not.  In short, I grew up in Small Town, America.*

Then, one scary day, I moved to the Big Bad City.**  People don't open doors for each other.  When you start to help someone else's kid on the slide, you're told to "Back off."  People don't say hello to strangers.  Heck, they hardly look you in the eye, if they can help it.  Honestly, it's depressing.

But that was before Miles.

Miles is a miniature goodwill ambassador.  He walks into a room, and people smile.  He waves hello to everyone.  A select few are graced with a high five, and a jibberish conversation.  If he's in a good mood, he dances.  If he's more mellow, he clings to Mommy and gives a shy smile.  Regardless, though, people respond to him.  They are nice to him.  I have seen cranky old men become children again, in his presence.  I have watched awkward, or sassy, teenagers become a sensitive and intent audience.  I have watched Miles do this, everyday, for almost 18 months, and I am always amazed at how much happiness he brings to people.  Even random strangers.

The Big Bad City doesn't seem so big and bad with Miles around. :)

*Apparently, in the 50's.  Geez, it was like Leave it to Beaver. :)

**Which, given its location in the midwest, is not really all that big.  Or so I'm told.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Brown Bear Project

I normally don't post about the projects I do with and for Miles, but this one was so fun and easy that I can't help it.

One of Miles' favorite books is Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See?  He loves the pictures, the animals, and the repetition.  But, mostly, he loves the animals.  So, I decided to make him a set of magnets with each of the animals.

I started by Googling line drawings of each animal, and then printed them out.  I put about 6 on a page, so each one is about 3"x5".  I then delighted my inner child by coloring them all by hand.  With crayons.*

I labeled each with the words from the book (Brown Bear, Red Bird, etc.), then glued them all onto cereal-box cardboard, and cut them out.

From here on out, Miles was able to help with the project.  I got some adhesive magnetic strips (kinda like these) out, and cut them to the appropriate sizes.  Then, Miles helped peel the backing:

and stuck the magnet to the back of the animals.  Then, we took the entire set out to the kitchen, where he arranged them on the refrigerator.

He loves playing with them.  And I love that they were so simple.

*I read somewhere that the scent of crayons is one of the most highly recognizable to people from all different backgrounds.  When you get down to it, everyone loves crayons.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Shameless Plug

So, I don't know if any of you have ever heard of Modern Bird Studios, but if not, you should follow that link right.this.instant.  They are creators of some of the most original and lovely art pieces I have ever seen.  Basically, they take any photograph you like, and they turn it into a unique piece of modern art.  Seriously, I have been coveting these since I discovered them on The Heir to Blair, several months ago.*

And now, I have the chance to win one of their art pieces.  Albeit, a small chance.  Here's how it works: my photo, along with all of the other entries, will be posted on Modern Bird's Facebook page.  Go there.  Like their page.  Then, sort through the photos, and vote for Miles.  Just for reference, here's the photo you're looking for:

Please, please, please go vote for us.  Because I would love for that little grin to be immortalized as art.

I could steal a page from Dana over at Dillightful Musings, and offer to mail you a Popsicle . . .**

*Wow, I've plugged two people in the one paragraph.  I never do that.  It's because these people are awesome.  Seriously.

**I figured, as long as I'm handing out free advertising, Dana deserves a bit, too. :)

Monday, March 14, 2011


I remember, as a kid, building forts with my sister, and our cousin.  The three of us spent every spare moment we had at our grandparents' house.  We would race around outside.  Or try to think up ways to make money - our best idea was holding mini-carnival games and charging Grandpa a quarter to play each one.  Or we would climb trees.*  Or play with the neighbor kids.  

But mostly, we would build blanket forts.  Usually, outside, because Grandma would have had a fit if we had messed up her house with one.  For that matter, she probably would have had a fit if she knew we were using  her good sheets outdoors to build forts.  Grandpa was our secret ally in all of this, as he was in everything, sneaking sheets out to us, and then helping us to build the fort in a place where Grandma was least likely to glance out the window at us.

We would sit out there, shaded, but with soft breezes finding their way in, and talk.  Occasionally, we would play cards, or some other game.  But mostly, it was a secret place to talk.  I learned so much about my sister, my cousin, and myself in those forts.  Of all the things I miss from my childhood, the chats we had in those forts comes in toward the top of the list.

And last week, I passed on the tradition to Miles.

This one is pretty small, mainly because it was done on the spur of the moment, and without the proper supplies.  But, Miles found it to be adequate for eating in.  Dominic guarded the doorway.  I couldn't fit inside with them, so I sat on the floor nearby, and we talked and laughed all afternoon.

*Well, one tree.  It was the only one big enough to climb.  We called it the Cousin's Tree.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Time Changes Suck

For me, at least.  Miles had a short afternoon nap, then went to bed at the new 8:30 without a fuss.

I, on the other hand, can barely keep my eyes open.  I will write more in the morning.  Assuming I have time.

For now, good night, world.  I'm off to reset my internal clock.

Book Club

When I first moved to the city, after a lifetime in small towns, I was desperately lonely.  Never had I lived in a place where I knew so few people.  Sure, we had a few friends here, but they lived (still live) 45 minutes away.  I felt isolated, alone in a city where I felt overwhelmed by the sheer number of people, and yet had so little meaningful contact with any of them.  Knowing I needed something, I went searching, and after a bit of effort, I found a book club.  And I loved it.

We would meet once a month at a house not far from me.  From my first visit, I felt welcomed, and accepted.  I was surrounded by intelligent, witty people, and each had a very unique perspective to offer.  There was the Jewish couple who hosted, each quite well-versed not only in their own religion, but in several others as well.  There was the skeptic, an atheist who sat in the corner, and politely and compassionately argued his reasons for disagreeing with religion in general.  There was the girl who studied (and was quite good at) astrology.  The disillusioned Catholic.  The agnostic.  And me, the relatively new Catholic.

We discussed the books, certainly - classics, every one - but inevitably, that would be left behind, in favor of new topics.  Current events.  Random philosophy.  The merits of living in one place over another.  Cats.  Dogs.  Gardening.  Coffee.  Food.  More philosophy.  And, invariably, religion.  Given our sundry backgrounds, and the open-mindedness of the group as a whole, our religious discussions were my favorite part.  I gained invaluable  insights into aspects of religion that I had never considered before.  Sometimes, we talked specifically about Catholicism, or Protestantism, Hinduism, Judaism, Agnosticism, Atheism.  Other times, we merely discussed the need for the human soul to explore the realm of spirituality, and the interesting ways that people chose to do so.  Our discussions spanned centuries, the entire extent of human existence.  Or only the moment at hand.

Unfortunately, all groups have a way of dissolving sooner or later.  For our book club, that time came all to soon.  It fell apart because we all, each separately, managed to stretch ourselves too thin.  Until one day, we found that we had lost the time to read the books.  Then, we ran out of time to attend the meetings.  The hosts  ran out of time to host them.  Before long, the book club we had all enjoyed so thoroughly was gone.

But I shall never forget.  Because that group was the first place I felt I belonged in this crazy city.  And for that, I am eternally grateful for those moments in time, however fleeting they may have been.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Routine - 17 months old

Again, I am putting this here more as a reference than for anything else.  I apologize if it's boring.  I'll write something interesting tomorrow. :)

6:30 am - My alarm goes off.  I usually get one snooze.  I get up, brush my teeth, get my cup of coffee, and read or play online until I hear Miles on the monitor.

7:00/7:30 am - Miles wakes up.  Get him up, changed.  Read with him in the chair for a few moments, before going downstairs.

7:50 am - Stacey and Patrick leave for work.  Miles helps me fill his cup, and prep his breakfast, which he then eats while watching Maisy.  Depending on the day, I either use this time to eat, to clean, or to simply sit in my chair, trying desperately to pry my eyes open.

8:30/8:45 am - Take Miles upstairs after he has eaten.  Get him dressed for the day.  Get me dressed for the day.  Brush his teeth, and finish all other prep for the day.

9:00 am - Usually, leave to go somewhere: open gym, the mall, work, etc.  If we stay home, we play on the living room floor.

11:00/11:30 am - Lunch.

12:00/12:30 pm - Miles goes down for his only nap.  I clean, eat lunch, work on projects/work/etc, or simply read.

Somewhere between 2:00 and 3:00 pm - Miles wakes up.  Snack.  Play in living room (or in the office, if at work).

4:30 pm - If home, start dinner prep (including cleaning kitchen).  If at work, head home for the day, then start dinner prep.  Miles plays with pots and pans while I cook.  Or, you know, tries to climb the cabinets in an effort to find where I hide the really sharp knives.

5:15ish pm - Stacey and Patrick get home.

5:30 pm - Most nights, we have dinner at this time.  Wednesdays, I go to rehearsal.  If people are coming over, dinner waits until 6:00.

Post-dinner - Play with Miles, watch TV, do all of those little family things.

8:00ish pm - Bath time (if needed).

8:30 pm - Bed time for Miles.  We read 3-4 books, sing 2 songs, then put him down for the night.

Post-8:30 - Quiet time in the living room for the adults.  Projects, computer time, television, reading, whatever.  Just time to be grown-ups.

10:30/11:00ish pm - I go to bed.  I usually read for at least half an hour before going to sleep.

Battles & Blessings

  • A migraine headache that lasted two full days, and made it incredibly difficult to move, much less take care of my kid.  The TV was on waaaaay more than I wanted it to be.
  • Missing out on my nephew, Jaxon's, first birthday party this afternoon, due to a prior commitment. :(
  • Motivation.  As in, I have none.  I have managed to force myself to do stuff, but it's been a battle.
  • I only had three battles this week.  
  • Date night with my hubby last night.  It was only dinner and driving around aimlessly, but it was nice.
  • Ninell, for insisting we take a date night so she could spend time with her great-nephew.
  • A relatively relaxed day at work on Friday, that was, nonetheless very productive.
  • A fun play-date on Tuesday.
  • Time to read again.  I'm on my second book of the week.  Since the new year, I have already doubled the number of books I've read since Miles was born.
  • Sleep schedules that are now at least somewhat predictable.  It's taken us a year and a half (nearly), but here we are.  I have never appreciated sleep so much.
  • Beautiful weather.  I am so ready for spring.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Friday Photos!

Looking just like Daddy. :)

Professor Miles
Playing with a car Grandad 'enhanced' for Daddy
when he was little.

Chillin' in front of the TV

Thursday, March 10, 2011


So, yesterday, Miles and I went to Target to pick out a birthday present for Daddy from Miles.  Given Miles' complete hatred of most shopping excursions, I have to admit that I was expecting the worst.  I had no idea what I was in for.

We were without a cart.  For some reason, Miles has decided that the primary use of a shopping cart is to dive out of it.  Several times, I have managed to somehow catch my son mere seconds before he crashes into the floor.  Somehow, motherhood has turned me into some sort of disaster-sensing ninja with lightning-fast reflexes.  Highly useful, considering my child seems determined to bash his head on . . . well, any and every hard surface in sight.  In any case, I've found that, as long as we're not in a hurry to get anywhere particular, it's highly preferable to just allow Miles to walk.

There we were, meandering through the store, just the two of us: Miles darting off to look at the wall of TV's or display robot in the toy section, Mommy trying desperately to keep him from pulling all of the nicely-folded polos off of the racks.  Still, for the most part, it was a far calmer excursion than most.

Eventually, we had our items, and began making our way toward the checkout.  Halfway to the front of the store, Miles suddenly veered off into the women's clothing.  As soon as his feet touched carpet, though, he carefully laid down, then rolled over.  He flung a hand dramatically over his head, and said,

"I tuck."

For a moment, all I could do was stare at him with an open mouth, thinking,  "Wha. . .?!?!?"  Laughter bubbled up and out, before I could stop it.  After a few seconds, I managed to ask, "You're what?"

"I tuuuuck," he repeated, drawing it out for maximum theatrical effect.

"You're stuck?" I guessed.

"Ess. I tuuuuuuuuuuuck."

I leaned over, and tried to pick him up.  Toddlers have this neat trick where they turn into really heavy, but really limp spaghetti; he did that, all the while pointing down, shaking his head, saying, "Uh uh! Uh uh!"  I put him back down.  He carefully, but dramatically, threw himself back to the floor.

"I tuck."

Not knowing what else to do, I walked a few steps away, out of his eyesight, but where I could still see his shoes.  Sure enough, he caught up to me a few seconds later, chattering on as though nothing had happened.  Twenty steps later, he fell to the floor again, this time in the middle of the main aisle.

"I tuck."

It took half an hour to travel the fifty feet or so to the registers.  I couldn't help but laugh.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Little Friends

I'm really beginning to enjoy our playdates.  Miles and Elliot get a chance to play.  I get to talk with Eliot's Mommy.  It's a nice, relaxing time for all of us.  And, occasionally, milestones are reached.

Yesterday, we saw the sparks of a friendship beginning.  For the first time, Miles and Elliot began to play together.  Not side by side, but in an interactive way.  They played peek-a-boo in Elliot's playhouse.  They played trains together.  They chased each other back and forth across the playroom.  In a very simple, and yet very profound way, they played.  Together.

And, I must say that I am proud of my son - and of his new friend.  We were at Elliot's house, which meant that the boys were both playing with - and this is very important - Elliot's toys.  Given that he's a two-year-old, Elliot would sometimes become jealous, and come to take one of his toys away from Miles.  Not in a mean-spirited or even hasty way, but in a rather gentle (but firm) way that expressed his ownership, and his discomfort.  For his part, Miles never once tried to pull a toy back, never complained, or whined.  Instead, he simply looked at Elliot, understanding, in his toddler way, that it was best not to argue this, and handed over the toy.  A few minutes later, he would pick up a different toy and begin playing with it.  And once or twice, I would swear I caught him glancing at Elliot, as if to ensure that this one was okay.  After two or three of these encounters, they seemed to reach some silent toddler agreement, and played peacefully for the remainder of the afternoon.

And I realized, in that moment, that these two boys had managed to solve one of life's most persistent problems - jealousy.  And they did it all on their own.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Me Time

In the evenings, after the rush of bath time and bedtime, a hush falls over the house.  Patrick plays on his computer, or putts around the house, finishing up the odds and ends that come with daily life.  Stacey works on her sewing, or checks her e-mail, or reads quietly on the couch.

This is my second-favorite time of day.*  It's so . . . calm.  And quiet.  Sometimes, the TV is on, but the volume is low, and there is no other noise to compete with it.  Other times, there is no noise, other than the shufflings and breathing of other adults.  It is the sigh of relaxation after a hard day's work.

I spend my time, here, on the computer, tapping out my frustrations, my hopes, my love for my Boy.  Or getting advice from my mommy forums.  Or reading random things that somehow managed to pique my interest.  Most of the time, though, this essential bit of me-time is spent here, in the comforting glow of my little Daphne.

Lately, however, I have opted to shorten this nightly routine as I have rediscovered the unrivaled joy of reading.  It doesn't matter what it is.  It could be a light fiction written for teenagers, or a thick tome of Dickens' classics.  The only thing that matters is reading the words from the page, feeling the heft of the book in my hands, the smell of paper and glue that is so utterly comforting in every way.  The world as we know it fades away.  And I am whisked away.  Again.

*The hours between dinner and bed time are my favorite.

In case you're curious, I am currently reading the latest Terry Pratchett - I Shall Wear Midnight.  If you don't know who Terry Pratchett is, or what the Discworld is, I suggest you fix that post-haste.  Otherwise, I will be forced to . . . to . . . I dunno.  Something horrible, I'm sure. :)

Monday, March 7, 2011

Bad Mommy Mondays

  1. I occasionally refer to Miles as "my kid".  Apparently, it is just rude.  Also, I should no longer call him "The Boy".  His real name, "my son", "my child", or "my darling son" are all acceptable terms, however.
  2. I have swatted 'my kid' on his bum on occasion already.  Sometimes, Miles repeatedly does something that could result in serious harm (i.e. climbing on tables, pulling out the socket covers*, etc.), and nothing I can say or do will distract him.  However, a light tap on his hiney usually stops him.  Apparently, this makes me a horrible, illogical mother who is going to psychologically scar my child for life.  Never mind the fact that his continued disobedience would result in real harm to him.  Obviously random internet-strangers know more about how to discipline my kid than I do.
  3. As a corollary to #2, however, I did not begin spanking my child "hard, on the ass" at the age of six months.  Apparently, my reluctance to spank a child who is too young to really understand discipline can only end in him drinking chemicals or popping pills.  I'm not even sure how these things are related, but a neighbor told me this not once, not twice, but every.single.time  I saw her.  In fact, I'm pretty sure she would watch for me to come outside so she could tell me this again.
  4. I use sign-language with my son (who has normal hearing).  Apparently (despite all research to the contrary), this will result in a child who is reluctant to speak verbally.  The lovely lady who said this also stated that she would never use sign language with her kids because she found it, "annoying" and "creepy".
  5. I listen to my own music rather than always listening to stuff that has been deemed "kid-friendly" by whoever decides these things.  That being said, one of my current favorite songs is "Philadelphia Chickens".
  6. My toddler throws temper tantrums from time to time.  Occasionally, this happens in public.  It doesn't mean that I 'need to deal with my kid'.  It means he's a toddler, and these things happen.  If you're that concerned, you could offer to help.  Otherwise, you can stop staring and move to another aisle.  And if I overhear your comment, and respond to it, at least have the decency to call me something more original than 'bitch'.
  7. I have a potty mouth.  Oops.
  8. I brag about my son.  A lot.  Apparently, this is annoying. (Not sure if that makes me a bad mommy, or just a bad human being.  Meh.)  Unfortunately for you, I happen to have birthed the most amazing human ever, so it's impossible to stop bragging.  Deal.
  9. I may or may not have sprayed my son with water in an attempt to discourage him from climbing the television.  I learned that the water squirter only works on the dog.  Yet another form of discipline that did not dissuade Miles from climbing the television. (I should note that no one called me a bad mother for this one - yet.)
  10. I cater to my child's "idiosyncrasies".  Apparently, I am only making them worse.  Unfortunately, the term "idiosyncrasies" was never qualified beyond that, so I'm not actually certain what I'm making worse.  I would like to point out, however, that I did not punch this person in the face (or anywhere else) for saying such things in a derogatory tone about my kid.  In retrospect, I wish I had . . .
*Yep, he does this.  Scary, no?

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Epic Shower Fail

Did you ever have an idea that sounded like a good idea at the time, but turned out to be an absolutely horrific idea?  One of those that, when you thought about it later, made you question your sanity for even considering it in the first place?

Yeah, I had one of those moments on Thursday.

Up until recently, I have always showered during Miles' first nap of the day - somewhere between 10:00 and 11:00 in the morning.*  It worked out nicely, because I was usually able to shower, and then prep lunch before Miles woke up.  Then, Miles became a one-nap-a-day kid.  If I wait until his nap?  It will be 12:30 in the afternoon before I shower.  And that's a little too sluggish, even for me.  I cannot shower first thing in the morning, because that's when Stacey showers.  And showering at night means I have this massively ugly afro in the morning.

So, in a moment of insanity brought on by 'my hair feels icky', I had a brilliant thought.  I am forever hearing stories from other moms about how their kids play quietly in the bathroom while they shower.  Now, this is where I should have scoffed at the idea.  Because Miles?  Has never 'played quietly' while I'm doing anything short of watching his every move.**  Still in my ick-induced delirium, I set Miles up with a box of Duplos on the bathroom floor, and rushed to jump in the shower.

I began to see the flaw in my plan the minute the water was turned on.  Miles appeared at the side of the tub, peeking around the shower curtain, begging to be allowed in.  I quickly soaped my hair, while he hung from the side of the tub, and said, "Just a minute, Sweetie, Mommy will be right out."  Miles took that as permission to try crawling into the tub fully clothed.

Seeing wet, slobbering concussions in my near future, I quickly stripped him out of his clothes, and put him on the far end of the tub, with his bath toys.  Meanwhile, I went back to the warm confines of the shower stream to rinse my hair.

And realized that it was far too hot for Miles.  See, my approach to cleaning is that if the water is hot enough, it will strip the dirt right off of anything.  This includes me.  Plus, I am completely incapable of retaining even the least little bit of body heat, so the heat helps keep me from developing hypothermia in my own house.^  So, the water in the shower was somewhere just short of boiling as it came from the shower head.  I quickly adjusted it down to a level that was cool enough for Miles.  Which meant that I was instantly freezing.

Meanwhile, Miles had realized that the tub was not filling up with water, and that instead, water was spraying down from somewhere up high.  He was displeased with this arrangement, and decided to let it be known.  By sitting between my feet and screaming for all he was worth.  His screams seemed to echo, "Mommy, why is there water coming from the sky?"

To which I replied, "Okay, Sweetie, scoot back here, Mommy will rinse her hair, and then we'll turn off the evil water."

Screaming, obviously translating to, "But, Mommy!  There's water!  Coming from the sky!  I need to be between your feet for safety!"

"Move back here, please!"

"I can't!  There's water!  Coming from the sky!!!  It's so awful I'm going to look up at you while I scream!" <Miles gets a face-full of water> "Water!!! Coming from the sky!!!"

"Move back!  Mommy will fix it!  But I have to rinse the soap from my hair!"  After all, it's only been there for ten minutes, now!

". . . But there's water coming from the sky!!!  It's dreadful!  Save me."


I picked him up, wrapped him in a towel and deposited him on the outside of the tub, so I could make the desperate attempt to rinse my damned hair.  Apparently, being outside the tub made Miles forget everything that had happened in the last ten minutes, because two seconds later, he was trying to climb back into the tub.

And that's how I ended up standing naked outside the shower, bent over backward, rinsing my hair with one hand in the freezing cold water, while trying to keep my naked toddler from crawling into the tub with my opposite leg.

*Yes, that means I sit around in my pajamas until then.  I am a lazy slug.  But I like it, so :p

**Seriously, the kid seems to think he is incapable of play unless someone is watching.

^I should note that we keep the temperature in our home between 68 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit, which would be plenty warm enough for anyone whose body can retain any heat at all.  My body has apparently decided that standing upright is enough of an accomplishment for it.  Retaining heat would just be overkill.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Battles & Blessings

What a week it's been . . .


  • Teething.  Yeah, these eye-teeth/canines/fangs are awful.  
  • Exploding engine.  Yeah, that sucked.*
  • Being without a vehicle all week.  Because my engine exploded.
  • Stressful work day on Wednesday.  It's a loooooong story, and I can't really get into it, but it was not a fun day.  And Miles screamed all day.
  • Epic Shower Fail.  Details tomorrow.
  • Serious lack of motivation.
  • Feeling completely overwhelmed already.  And we haven't even really started the season, yet.

  • Patrick, who has helped with the house, fielded Miles, made me laugh, and held me close when I needed it.
  • Cuddles from Miles.  I know it's because he's uncomfortable and in pain, but I'm glad that he has chosen to cuddle with me for comfort.  I wonder if he knows how good it is for both of us.
  • Stacey.  Without the use of our car, this week would have been much more difficult, and Patrick would not have been able to go purchase:
  • A new (to us) van.  As of Thursday evening, we are the proud owners of a . . . I forget the details.  A new minivan.  Hooray!!!
  • My kids' group.  After a horrifically terrible day at work on Wednesday, my kiddos were an absolute joy.  I am impressed at how much my returning kids remember, and at how quickly the new ones are learning.
  • Festival reunion party, last night.  It was so wonderful to see everyone again.  And an awesome reminder of why I work my tail off to keep my job.  I really do enjoy it.
  • My mommy forums.  Once again, they provided me with the support I needed, instantaneously.  I am so lucky to have such a great group of moms to lean on.
  • This blog.  It is so nice to have an outlet for all of my rantings.  Plus, the fact that others read it encourages me to look at everything with humor.  Because if I just ranted, it would be boring.  But, if I can make people laugh, while still venting, then I feel all accomplished and stuff.

*Okay, it didn't explode.  It had a "sprung piston", whatever the hell that means.  It still means the engine is shot.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Friday Photos!

Miles is shocked!

Mommy's Little Rock Star

My Diminutive Dude in his Dapper Duds.

Taking a break from playing hard in the sunshine.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Focusing on the Positive

In a week that has been filled with such joys as a broken engine, a teething toddler, and a Highly Stressful Work Environment, it would be easy to whine today.  In fact, part of me wants nothing more than to do just that.  But, whining solves nothing, so instead, I'm going to try making a list of the cute things Miles has done lately.  Those usually cheer me up. :)

  • "Reading".  Miles will sit in the recliner in his room (where we usually read to him), and pull books off the shelf.  He will turn the pages and point to pictures, and occasionally, 'read' it aloud.  I am thrilled beyond belief at his obvious love of books.
  • Blowing kisses.  It's his way of saying, "I love you," and it melts my heart every.single.time, even if I'm not on the receiving end.
  • Playing his toy guitar.  For Christmas, Miles got an toy electric guitar that plays five or six classic rock songs.  In our recent toy cycling, the guitar came out (and the annoying piano thing got put away - yay!).  Miles has been carrying his guitar around, playing it, and then dancing to the music.
  • 'Helping' me at work.  Miles likes to sit on the corner of my desk and rearrange the papers and other items in my paper trays.  Luckily, at this point in the season, they're relatively empty.  :)
  • He also enjoys taking dictation.  I will hand him some paper and a crayon or pencil, and he will scribble on the paper while I talk.  If I stop talking, he stops writing, and looks at me, as if to say, "Is that all?"
  • High fives.  Last night, we had our first audition workshop for the kids' group that I direct.  Miles came and hung out with Daddy for most of the night, but he would occasionally grace us with his presence long enough to do a little dance, blow a little fire, and run around giving absolutely everyone a high five. The girls in my group were positively smitten with him.
  • Pretending to drink out of empty cups.  He will tip them all the way back, as though he is sucking out the last drops, and then puts the cup down, smacks his lips, and says "Ahhhh!"
  • Actually drinking out of open-top cups.  If you put a tiny bit of water into the bottom of a cup, he will drink it.  Only about half ends up on the floor.  "Ahhhh!" is still an important part of the process.
  • Swimming in the bathtub.  He loves to lay on his belly and kick his feet, and swim with his arms.  No idea how he knows the proper arm movements for swimming, but he does.  I can't wait to get this kid back in the pool this summer. :)
  • Helping with absolutely everything.  Taking trash to the trash can.  Wiping up spilled milk off the table.  Choosing his own clothes (out of two options).  The juice ritual.  Vacuuming.  Putting toys away.  Turning the television on.  Putting the dog in the kennel when we leave.
  • Knowing when I need a cuddle.  This week has been rough.  Miles knows that, and is trying to help me by crawling into my lap for a much-needed cuddle that sometimes stretches into twenty minutes or more.  Part of it is his own discomfort, I know, but it sure is nice to have those cuddles on a bad day.
  • Chasing the dog with a giant green balloon.  I don't know why, but he's decided this is fun.  Luckily, the dog agrees, and they play this game with wild abandon back and forth across the living room.  It's all I can do to just sit and giggle the entire time.
  • Watching the "Cucks!" [trucks].  Whether it's the garbage truck, or a delivery truck, or an 18-wheeler, this kid loves his trucks.  He gets so excited to see them.
  • Having conversations.  When I'm working in the kitchen, he will come in, and lean on the doorway or wall and talk to me.  Just like Bethany and Stacey do when I am cooking dinner.  This usually ends when he gets distracted by trying to help me.
  • Pointing at all sorts of things.  If a regular point doesn't elicit the correct response, he will turn his hand sideways, upside down, and all sorts of random angles in an attempt to more accurately point at whatever it is.
  • Clearly saying all sorts of new words, complete with ending sounds.  Some favorites include: hat, hot, T<raspberry> [TV], up, cup, pease [please], shuce [shoes], cat, light, taytu [thank you], owsi [outside], dat [that], esh [yes], and essue [bless you].

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Revenge of Tuesday

If you've read this blog for at least the last two weeks, you know all about my arch-nemesis, Tuesday.  It returned this week, with a vengeance.

It all started with a crazy-wild toddler, in a hurry to get out the door.  In such a hurry, in fact, that he couldn't be bothered to get dressed.  Or eat.  Or do any of the other hundred little things you have to do to get out of the door in the morning.  All he wanted to do was go bye-bye.  After a hundred major temper tantrums, and a few minor miracles, I managed to get him out the door, and into the van.

When I turned the key, though, it began knocking like crazy - something it has never done before.  So, I drove by Patrick's office and had him listen to it. He told me to drive it as little as possible, and we dropped it off at the mechanic's during his lunch break.

Three hours later, in the midst of another screaming fit, Patrick called with the diagnosis: the van needs a new engine.

Blargh. Tuesday wins this round, I guess.

[Disclaimer: We are figuring it out.  We will manage, and I will update you on our new vehicle in the near future, hopefully.  I just needed to vent a little.]

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Tunnel

For Christmas, Miles got this amazing play tent with an attachable, collapsible tunnel.  We've gotten the tent out a few times, but unfortunately it just takes up waaaaaay too much room to leave it up all the time (which is a shame, since he loves it).  The tunnel, on the other hand, collapses easily, so it stays accessible.  Lately, Miles has been obsessed with the tunnel.

Yesterday, he brought me the flat tunnel, shoved it at me, and signed, "help, please!" while jumping up and down.  So, I opened it up and threw it down in the middle of the floor, expecting him to run away and ignore me for the next twenty minutes.

Instead, he moved the tunnel around until it was where he wanted it, then came over, closed my laptop, put my feet on the ground, and grabbed my hand like he was going to pull me out of the chair if he had to.  All the while, he was saying, "Mere! 'Mere!" [trans: Come Here!]

I followed him, excited to be involved in his play for once.  He led me to one end of the tunnel, and indicated that he wanted me to sit down.  Then, he pointed at the end of the tunnel, ran around to the other side, then crawled about halfway in, yelling, "Mere! Mere!"

I sighed, laid down flat on the floor, and wiggled my torso into the tunnel.  When I couldn't go any further, Miles crawled up until he was inches from my face, grinned really big, then laid down on his back, and started talking to me.  We stayed there, chatting, for the next twenty minutes.

My heart threatened to bust with the sheer joy of sharing secrets with my son.