Friday, April 27, 2012

Hitting Our Stride

I can't lie - this stay-at-home mom gig doesn't come easy to me.  I get bored easily when Miles is playing independently, but if I leave the room to do something productive, it usually ends in disaster.  So, I end up sitting here in my chair goofing on the computer, and keeping half an eye on him.  Which makes me seem unapproachable, and honestly, leads to me being somewhat less. . .involved with my child.

I always pictured my days like a mini-preschool, only cooler.  We'd get up and have breakfast, do some awesome learning stuff all morning, play outside, nap, have snack, do art projects, and generally just be awesome.

In reality, it's more like barely-contained chaos.  We get up, whine through breakfast (me as much as him), and I sit in my chair gulping coffee until I feel human while Miles watches PBS.  We go out.  Or we stay in.  We play.  We work on colors or letters or whatever he's interested in while we play.  Art projects rarely happen, because that would require him to sit still for five minutes.  We kinda do whatever seems like a good idea at the time.  There is little planning-ahead.  Each day, we focus on what we're going to do right now.  We get through the day, and if we're both still happy when Daddy gets home from work, it's a good day.

And finally, finally, I'm realizing that this is better than what I pictured.  Most of the time. :)

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Dear New Mommas,

First off, I am impressed with your ability to find time to read this.  I would have fallen asleep before I finished the first line.  Or, maybe not, considering all those times I had to sit and rock him to keep him asleep.  I found it's difficult for me to sleep sitting up.  Not impossible, though.

Anyhow, that's not the point.

You know those first few days, when you have nurses tending to everything and all you have to do is sleep and feed and cuddle the baby, and catch up on your soaps?  Enjoy them.  Because they're short-lived.  Soon, all too soon, you get home and your entire life begins to revolve around this tiny person who screams at weird times and yet is so incredibly cute that you can't actually go through with tossing them out the window.  And yes, there will be times that you just wish they would sleep, for goodness sake.  And then, you'll get up and feed them and change them and cuddle them.  And wonder if you were crazy for having a child.  I mean, you were so happy before, when sleep was something you took for granted.  Why, oh why, did you decide to go through the nine months of distorting your body for this?

Here's the answer.  Because you wanted a child.  Not a newborn squealing-machine.  A child.  A little person who looks like you (or doesn't) that you can teach about the world.  Someone who you can love completely, no matter what.  Someone cute, and sweet, and smart.  And trust me - it will come.

One day soon, far sooner than you expect, that little person will appear before your eyes, spouting cute little mis-pronounced phrases, and wrapping little arms around your neck to say "I love you."  And you will look back and wonder where the time went and what happened to that tiny squealing newborn.

Though, if you're honest with yourself, you may not want to go back to it.  Because this is so much better.

It gets better.  Promise.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Dear Playground Mamas,

You seem nice.  Really.  And I get that you're lonely.  You've been alone with your little darlings all day, and you just want some adult conversation.  I get it.  My kid is cute as kittens and is so personable that you just have to comment on him.  I appreciate it.  Reall, really.

But please, for the love of all that is holy, leave me be.

If I only respond with two-word phrases, please, please take the hint.  I, too, have been alone with my little darling all day.  But whereas you are seeking out conversation, I really am trying to avoid it.  See, when I come to the park, I can sit and keep half an eye on my kid as he wears himself out.  Meanwhile, I can maybe finish a crossword puzzle, or just stare at the sky.  For twenty minutes, no one needs me.  No one is tugging at my pant leg.  No one is climbing me.  No one is begging me for ice cream, or popsicles, or anything else.  For twenty whole minutes, I can think a complete thought and simply soak up the sunshine.

Maybe tomorrow I'll want to talk.  For now, unless my kid is hurting yours, please, please just leave me alone.

A Mama Searching for Quiet

Thursday, April 19, 2012


These last couple of weeks have been amazingly difficult for Miles.

Last week, I had auditions, callbacks and casting for Festival.  Which meant that I barely saw my son for five days.

This week, Patrick is out of town.

Poor Miles hasn't had both of his parents in the same room for more than a few moments for two weeks.

His sleeping schedule has all but disappeared, because he doesn't want to sleep alone.  And neither he nor Mommy sleep well when he sleeps in my bed.

Still, he is my happy-go-lucky, silly, funny boy.  He sings songs, and plays happily, and gives hugs and kisses, and snuggles.  He uses his manners and says please and thank you.  He laughs, and smiles, and makes it impossible to have a bad day.

My dear, sweet, stressed out boy.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Friday Photos: WonderScope

Our local children's museum, WonderScope, is so amazing that I bought a membership after our very first visit. We went on Tuesday with Bethany and J, and are there again today.  If you live in the KC area, I highly recommend looking it up and attending.  It is completely worth the money.

(Thanks, Mom for taking the pictures!) :)

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Morning Snuggles

About a month ago, Miles learned how to open doors.  And our lives changed dramatically overnight.  No more bathroom privacy.  No more leaving the front door unlocked - ever - unless we particularly feel like chasing a naked toddler down the street.  No more allowing him to roam, knowing that all dangerous things were behind closed doors.  But, most importantly, no more quiet playtime in the mornings.

See, for months now, Miles would wake up in the morning and play quietly in his room until one of us went to get him - this meant an extra 20-30 minutes of sleep most days, and sometimes even time for a cup of coffee.  That all ended with his new skill.

Instead, he now opens his door and comes padding softly across the hall, peeks his head in the room and says, "Mom-mom? Daddy?" in his adorably sleepy voice, and crawls into bed between us.  He snuggles quietly, playing with whatever electronic device Mommy can reach without opening her eyes, and the three of us lay there in peaceful* drowsy bliss for a little while.

I think I can be okay with this.

*Peaceful, so long as you like the sound of Queen's "We Will Rock You" on YouTube first thing in the morning.  Me, I don't mind so much, but then, I'm not having to look at Sweaty McGreasy belting it out with badly-dubbed sound making him look even more ridiculous.  I'm pretty sure that sight at 7:00 am might induce vomiting.  Thank God I only have to listen to it, since, well, I'm only marginally 'awake' for most of it.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

13 Ways to Fight Anxiety and Depression

After meds and therapy, of course. :)

  1. Reinstate old rituals.  They will bring comfort, happiness, and a connection to your past, and will remind you who you are at your core.  For me, it's occasionally getting up extra early and drinking coffee while watching the sunrise, like I used to do on Saturday mornings with my Grandpa.
  2. Take time every day to just "be".  Alone.  I won't lie, God had to practically wollop me over the head with this one.  Within three days, I was given this exact advice by my yoga instructor, and my therapist, and heard it in a sermon at a friend's church.
  3. Explore your spirituality.  I don't care if you are Christian, Buddhist, Hindu, or Pagan, the reminder that you are part of something bigger than yourself is powerful.  And even if you are an Atheist, remember that you are an important piece of the much larger society.  What you do matters.
  4. Put away your electronics.  They fog the mind and take you away from what is happening in the real world.  I'm not saying you should move to an Amish community and get rid of all modern conveniences.  I'm simply saying that by putting them aside for a few hours, you will actually be forced to participate in your own life.  This is good.
  5. Connect with others who are also hurting.  The knowledge that you are not alone will help you remember that you are not broken.  You have a condition that makes things harder for you some days.  But you will beat it, as so many before you have.
  6. Laugh.  Find humor wherever you can, even if you have to create it.  Be silly.  Hang upside down off the couch like you did when you were a kid.  Turn on some music and make up the silliest dance moves you can think of.  You will feel ridiculous, but eventually, you will laugh, and it will help.
  7. Take a walk.  Go to the gym.  Get some exercise.  You can stop and think and process without feeling like you should be doing something else.  Plus, the endorphin rush is fantastic.
  8. Spend time in nature, even if it's just sitting outside on your front porch for five minutes.  Vitamin D is good for your mood, and nature has a calming effect on everyone.
  9. Let go of control.  Allow the world to be what it is without trying to fix it.  This, for me, is the hardest.
  10. Stop judging.  Yourself.  Others.  Just stop.  You don't need the negative energy.  When you find your brain beginning to think nasty things about yourself, force yourself to think of all of the positive things you've done today - even if it's just "I brushed my teeth today, so I wouldn't have bad breath."  When it's others, try to give them the benefit of the doubt and remember that they are doing the best they can.  Just like you.
  11. Journal.  Blogs are great, but a physical record of what you do is even better.  Collect photos.  Put pen to paper.  Record your life as it is, not as you wish it would be.  Ten years from now, you will read it and appreciate your own honesty.
  12. Ask for help, and take it when it's offered.  I know that when my friend Bethany offers to take Miles for a morning, I must need it.  I struggle with this, too, but I can't do it all by myself.  No matter how much I may want to.
  13. Take care of your own needs.  Shower as often as possible.  Sleep as much as you need, or as much as your kid(s) will allow.  Eat.  Pee alone at least once a day.  Occasionally, dress up a little, just for the joy of looking pretty.  These things are most important on days that you really don't want to get out of bed.  Because you are proving to yourself that you can fight your depression.  Because you can.  And you will.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Reasons you haven't heard from me in awhile. . .

The Children's Farm opened:

Our local parks are awesome entertainment during this ridiculously gorgeous weather:

Patrick has been out of town a lot, and we took away Miles' binky.

 Faire season is ramping up, and we've been attending a million events:
Miles is always doing something new and amazing.

All in all, this is the first chance I've had to write in ages.  I'll write again soon.  Promise.