Wednesday, May 30, 2007

A tantrum test

I started to write that I think I am a fairly patient mommy, but I'm really not so sure. I guess I am fairly patient when it comes to certain things and at certain times. Lord knows other moms have seen me snap N up into my arms and carry her off to the side for a quiet "chat" when I am at my rope's nearly frazzled end.

Partly I don't believe in telling or asking a kid the same thing 4 million times only to be ignored every time. I saw a dad at the pool the other day who must have said 15 times to his about 2-year-old son, "Now stop running. What did I tell you about running? I'm going to give you time out if you keep running." Maybe because my brain is so repetitive I notice repetition easily, but I thought to myself, "Why don't you pick him up and tell him if he runs 1 more time you will 1. make him sit on your lap for 10 minutes or 2. take his butt home."

Yes, neither of these options would be fun for dad but he either needs to give a real consequence or shut the heck up because his kid (and I) know he is totally bluffing. Little boy continues running around the pool because he knows dad either isn't going to really do anything about it or if he does it is going to be about the 34th time, not the 1st time. (And why waste 33 good laps around the baby pool???)

So anyway, this is kinda what I do with N. I don't always succeed as much as I'd like, but I try to only give 1 warning and then follow through. Once I think she has heard me say what behavior I expect, consequence comes immediately after warnings. I don't know if this is right or the best way, but it seems to me a lot of life doesn't give you 34 warnings. I don't pay my bills late because I don't want to know how many warnings I may or may not get before my electricity is turned off. I don't drive like a crazy person because a police officer may not just let me go with a warning.

But yesterday tested me. We had gone to the library and then headed to Wal-Mart. Prior to going to the store, I told N that if she was well-behaved and let mommy get what I needed (which was like 5 things), then she could look around the toy department. This is our usual procedure, so I didn't expect anything to go haywire.

We got to the floor cleaning products, and I picked up some Pine-Sol. N said, "Mommy, we have to get the man," meaning Mr. Clean. I didn't have any coupons for these items, and Pine-Sol was cheaper so I explained this to her and said I might get the man next time, but this time I was getting something different. Maybe there was an open bottle of ammonia around that fried her little brain but she started hitting me on the forearms and yelling at me that we forgot to get the man. And she continued to do this as I walked down this aisle and onto another aisle, in a futile attempt to get the last 3 things I needed.

One thing I cannot tolerate is being hit by my kid. At home, she gets put in her room for a time-out instantaneously, but I didn't have that option in the middle of Wal-Mart. I told her she had obviously lost out on seeing the toys, which only made her head spin around even faster. I grabbed her arms and told her to stop hitting, which of course she didn't do. So I quickly paid for my items and left. But the rest of the day I didn't like that little shit one bit---(and felt guilty about not being able to let my anger go.)

I hate experiences like that....when she is out of control and makes me feel out of control, even though I imagine I handled it in as best a way I could given where we were. And I hate it when well-meaning Wal-Mart workers come over and give my crying child stickers to make them stop crying. Butt the heck out, PLEASE! My child should be crying because she has lost the privilege of looking through the toys and is being forced to leave the store and knows she is NOT on mommy's good side right now. I don't care if her crying makes you uncomfortable. I don't like it myself but she is being disciplined, thank you very much.

Anyway, it was just one of those "I really don't know what I'm doing as a parent" days, which then morphed into, "Given that I don't know what I'm doing with 1 child, why am I having another child?" days. I have never wanted a mixed drink so badly in my life.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Different operating systems

So I think I understand women....not all women but the general makeup of the female psyche. Having never been anything other than female, it is all I know. This is why I sometimes have my moments of doubt whether this mothering a son is gonna work for me (or him).

I'm sure lots of women have experienced this and then go on to adjust perfectly fine, but little questions keep popping up into my head.

After thinking about it, I'm not worried about the plumbing part. That is just a physical thing. It is how I address the male psychology as a woman that confounds me.

My latest concern is whether or not to keep journals for this boy. So far N has 3 journals--one I kept while pregnant with her, another I kept in her early babyhood, and the one I'm in now where I just jot down occasionally things she says or does. I know that as a female I would love it had my mom kept journals about me, but I don't know whether a son would give a crap.

I mentioned this dilemma to an acquaintance who has a young son and she said that it would be the wife of the son who would love it. But then that got me thinking about how men, in a lot of cases, don't maintain much contact with their parents once they are married, which makes me sad. One of my great hopes as N's mom is that she and I, after hopefully surviving her teen years without killing each other, will go on to have a close adult friendship of sorts as she grows into a mature woman. But what will I have with a son????

Now I am a good daughter-in-law and make it a priority for D and N to have close ties with my MIL, just as I make it a priority for D and N to have close ties with my family. But not all women are like that. Alot of women cling to their own families, and the husband's family (my son's family of origin) gets short-shrift.

Chances are none of this will even be an issue because humans will nuke ourselves off the planet or global warming will lead to the end of days, but these worries are still floating around in my head.

Break---N is losing her mind over something upstairs so I have to investigate.

Ok, maybe having a rational, not-so-emotional, potentially distant boy is not such a bad thing since I need someone to balance out the fact that I have a very emotional, very sensitive, very clingy-to-mommy girl.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Why I love (and hate) volunteering

My general feeling about volunteering is that if I am donating my time, I get to choose how uptight or overwrought I will get about whatever it is I'm doing. So if I feel like blowing things off a bit....oh well, no one can say poop to me because I'm not getting paid. I owe nothing other than a head's up if I decide to no longer volunteer (and only this because it is common courtesy, not because I actually owe it).

This is what I love about volunteering. Well this and that it makes me feel useful and productive....that I am using my brain for something other than trying to apply logic to a 3-year-old's daily life, which we all know is an effort in futility.

But that is all I love about volunteering. My list of gripes about it are monumental.

The bad things about volunteering are as follows:

1. Guilt---
Maybe I am the only person who feels guilt related to volunteering if I decide to no longer volunteer or slack off. This feeling may not be associated with volunteering so much as it is associated with me.

Anyway, this guilt is usually assuaged with a little positive self-talk and knowing that I completed my volunteering "stint" and didn't quit before my time was over.

2. ANGER--
Although listed as second, this is actually my first issue with volunteering. The problem with volunteering is that it is hard to find other volunteers because it is something one does for no money. And no one really wants to put a whole lot of effort into something for which there is no financial reward. (Despite all the talk about how volunteering makes one "feel wonderful," I think this is really only true if you are nursing terminally ill patients or premature crack babies). I may be overly callous but I just really don't think people get that much altruistic ecstasy from counting money for a church or planning a school fundraiser. I know for a fact that one can get plenty of headaches from these sorts of ventures.

Plus, everyone thinks they are busier than everyone else, which is a joke because you only know your own life in think you have a clue about other people's lives but you totally don't.

So why am I launching this tome on volunteering? Because no one wants to take on my position in the moms club I'm in, so I am left to stew.

Originally, I had said I would be president in name only just so we could keep operating. Then I got to thinking about it and realized that everyone in the chapter is in the same boat I'm in---young kid(s), pregnant or trying to get pregnant, trying to keep a household, etc, etc. So given that I kind of enjoy the role and the benefits the chapter affords me, why not stay on as long as I get help from someone else in a co-presidency role? Of course, as usual, the people I hear back from are people who are already volunteering in the chapter in one form or another.

And that pisses me off---not at those people, of course. They are conscientious and thoughtful. I am pissed at the people who come to playgroups and activities and don't volunteer to do anything...not even babysit at a monthly meeting or do a craft for Halloween or take a meal to someone who just had a baby. Come on already!!!!

Of course, I have to think about my earlier statement about not knowing what other people's lives are really like and then I settle down a bit.

I guess it is easier for me to get angry with those who don't volunteer than feel shitty if I refuse to volunteer alone and the chapter has to shut down. I would feel like I had let everyone down if this happened, even though I know the weight of the world and this chapter do not rest on my shoulders.

After volunteering in a neighborhood association I swore off those forever (as far as any type of big board position). I do piddly little things in our current location, but nothing that requires a big time or energy or guilt commitment. I imagine I will before too long swear off any form of mom organization. Then it will be PTA time, and I'll eventually swear that off too. At least I kinda know what the future holds.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Thoughts on Disney vacation

Now I like to keep busy while on vacation. When we go to the beach, I don't like to just lay there like a dead whale all day in the sun. I walk the beach numerous times a day. I like to visit nearby outlet malls or the little kooky shops that are always in beachfront areas.

But Disney World was a little too much busyness even for me. It reminded me of our trip to Rome and Greece, except that trip didn't make me nearly as tired (of course, I was neither pregnant nor had a 3-year-old in tow, so I'm sure that makes a big difference.)

I hope N enjoyed herself. I think she did, but she is sometimes hard to read. Maybe it was nervousness....she sometimes clammed up around the princesses when she had the opportunity to talk to them. And she did this on rides too, until she had ridden them once and then she was all about doing it over and over.

Overall I had a great time. Fortunately I travel best in larger groups because I have enough distraction so that not any 1 person drives me up a wall (which happened all the time when it was just me and D vacationing together--by day 3, I was ready to kill him or maim him, at the very least).

My mom drove me a little batty at times only because she has this habit of asking me a million questions about where we are going or what we are doing in places that I have never been either (and therefore have no clue where we are going or what we are doing). And when she wasn't asking me questions, she was talking to other people like she knew what she was doing, which was never the case.

I did get frustrated by MANY of the other people who were visiting the parks while we were there. I don't think they meant to be mean, I think they were just clueless. Like the----
  • 2 dads who on Friday at the Transportation Center did NOT close down their strollers to get on the monorail, which meant I had to squeeze my pregnant belly between my folded-up stroller and their unfolded strollers just to sit down. Did they not notice the half a million people waiting to get on the monorail? How large did they think those little cabins were?

  • The teenage girl (with her parents) sitting on the Main Street USA curb before the parade who decided to STAND UP once it started and block the view of my preschooler. HELLO Beeatch! You are like 15 years old---3-year-olds get fucking first dibs on the curb. My mother started mouthing off behind her back, but I like to at least ask nicely before I bring out the big guns. The girl moved down so N could sit on my lap on the curb. Of course then this girl's equally dumb younger teenage sister decided to stand in the street to see better, thereby blocking our view as well as the people next to us. Once again, I had to tap them on the legs and politely ask them to move their asses so the rest of the row could see something besides their cellulite.

  • The people who would insist on getting onto the tram after the driver had said at least 3 times to not get on. It's not like they were gonna have to wait 2 days before another tram would come. I hate to say it but my dad was one of these guys. I don't think you ever outgrow your parents embarrassing you.

  • Basically, anyone who decided to make their own rules, like on cutting in a waiting line or eating where they shouldn't have been eating. I try not to be anal, but there is a certain amount of common courtesy that I think one should extend to others for everyone's benefit. All I can say is thank god we went during non-peak season because I might have gotten into a couple fights had I had to contend with more crowded conditions with often unthinking folks.
I was very pleased with the kinds of food at WDW. I expected nothing but hot dogs and hamburgers, but I had grilled salmon for lunch one day in Tusker House in Animal Kingdom. Another day was a veggie sandwich with this great black bean side salad. And the kids meals rocked---because of the side items--carrots, grapes, applesauce. N didn't get constipated at all, which I totally expected, so I was pretty happy about that (isn't it sad and yet totally a parent thing when a large portion of your happiness in life revolves around what your child's anus is doing or not doing???)

Anyway, I am glad we did it and glad it's now done. I am ready to spend the summer at the pool now, just sitting around.

Monday, May 21, 2007

WDW--Days 5-9

Ok, I left off at...


Visited Animal Kingdom. It was humid, which was appropriate given how tropical this park is. N was sleepy and a little out of sorts from the moment we got there. She was just so excited having her grandparents in our condo that she stayed up late and then rose at the crack of dawn.

D set off immediately to ride the Everest Expedition after being told in no uncertain terms that he better do some of the things he wanted to do. D wanted to see N experience everything, but he was also itching to get some adult-fun in. I knew that he would go back to work and lament that he never got a chance to do anything he wanted to do if I didn't point blank tell him he better just do it. I've been married to the man long enough to know exactly how his passive-aggressive nature operates.

After he rode that, the gang sans me did the Kilimanjaro Safari (too bumpy for preggo gals). While waiting to see the Festival of the Lion King, which was the best show we saw the entire time, we took the Wildlife Express Train. By the time we got to the Lion King show, N was on her way out. She somehow managed to fall asleep at the end of it, which is amazing given how loud it was. D and my dad rode the Kali River Rapids while N napped in her stroller. My mom, mother-in-law and I drank frozen lemonades, shared a hot pretzel, and sat on our duffs (now this is how I like to enjoy amusement parks!!!!).

N woke up after an hour or so, and we were able to visit Minnie Mouse and see Pocahontas & Her Forest Friends show. We headed back to the condo for the night.


We spent Thursday at MGM Studios. Once again, the plan was for D to go off and ride some of his "big dude" rides and then hook up with us, so he took in The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror before meeting us to watch the Voyage of the Little Mermaid. Amazingly, as soon as we left the auditorium we managed to get in to see Playhouse Disney--Live on Stage! within 3 minutes time.

By this time, baby boy was hungry so we headed over to Hollywood Blvd to eat. Afterwards we took N to the Honey, I Shrunk the Kids Movie Set Adventure while D rode the Rock n Roller Coaster. Our plan was to see Beauty and the Beast--Live on Stage, but we were momentarily sidelined by JoJo & Goliath. We still managed to see the show, which N enjoyed, although she did not like it when Gaston and the other villagers were beating the crud out of the Beast. She was very concerned about his boo-boos.

We headed, once again, back to the condo for rest. Our intent was to visit Magic Kingdom that night to see the Spectromagic Parade, but it rained which was just as well because I don't think any of us had the energy to attempt any movement other than grabbing our drinks from the living room end tables. We all watched Shrek 2.


Last day at WDW (thank goodness!). Although I had had a really good time, I was just about Disneyied out. We were going to get in everything we hadn't managed to do that we thought N would enjoy on this day, including staying for the afternoon parade.

D went to EPCOT to ride another couple rides he wanted to get in before leaving, and my dad was having some issues with his colitis, so it was me and my mother-in-law with N. We managed to arrive early at Magic Kingdom and walk right onto Snow White's Scary Adventure. I had read that it was kinda scary for preschoolers, but I thought we'd give it a try. During the ride, N said, "Mommy, I'm a little scared," but as soon as we got off she said, "Let's do that again." Since there was no wait, we did. She wanted to ride it a 3rd time, but I knew we'd better head over to Ariel's Grotto if she wanted to meet her and get an autograph.

N didn't seem at all excited to meet Ariel until she had met her, taken a picture with her and was walking out of the grotto, at which point she jumped around yelling, "I met Ariel! I met Ariel!" Delayed enthusiasm.

N, mamaw and I rode Peter Pan's Flight and then hooked up with nana and pa (my folks) and daddy to ride It's a Small World. Once again, my hunger dictated that we find something to nosh. Afterwards, D rode Peter Pan's Flight with N and then we all saw Country Bear Jamboree. Most of the rest of the afternoon was just noodling around the park, wasting time until the parade started. N did get to ride The Magic Carpets of Aladdin in Adventureland 2 times before we headed back over to Main Street USA.

She loved the parade, especially seeing the princesses. We were all so excited when one of the Cinderella mice came up and shook N's hand. After it was over, she gave her grandparents a play-by-play of whom she saw, even though they were standing directly behind her and saw the whole thing themselves.

We finished up our day by eating ice cream, getting some pictures in front of Cinderella's Castle, and taking the ferryboat back to the parking lot.

SATURDAY, MAY 19th -- Drove, and drove, and drove, and once again only got as far as Marietta, GA.

SUNDAY, MAY 20th -- Home again. Next time we vacation it will be a relaxing time at the beach.

WDW Timeline--Days 1-4

So here is how it all went down:

Saturday, May 12th-- Drove a million miles, only ended up just past Atlanta, GA.
Sunday, May 13th -- Drove a million more miles, finally arrived in Orlando, FL. Yeah!


Went to EPCOT. Visited The Seas with Nemo & Friends and Turtle Talk with Crush. N didn't seem to like Turtle Talk at all while we were there but spent the rest of the week calling us all "Dudes." We were biding our time until 12:50 when we had a reservation at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall to dine with the princesses. N became enamored of a Viking helmet with blonde pigtails and a plastic sword in a Norway shop, plus she colored a mask in the KidCot station there.

We put her in her pink gown for our lunch. Upon entering, the kids got to have their pics taken with Belle. N was delighted beyond belief. Our hostess sat us right by the door where the princesses would enter the room to begin making their rounds. They had a appetizer bar with smoked salmon and other Norwegian delights, so I was pretty jazzed, but no sooner had I sat down that Sleeping Beauty came into the room. Needless to say, I had N on one side of me with her head on a swivel trying to see SB and the other princesses who kept arriving. The kid on the inside of me was begging for food, so I would click the camera, shove some food in my mouth, hand N her autograph book, snap another pic and dive in for another mouthful.

So SB was followed by Snow White, who was followed by Princess Jasmine, who was followed by Alice (or as N says Allison....Wonderland is her surname). Now I was kinda glad that the princess parade was over because I was hungry. N was not interested in her food---she wanted more princesses. And we had all forgotten just how literal 3-year-olds are because we had said we were going to have lunch with the princesses, which is technically not what we did. We ate lunch and the princesses visited us for a few minutes at our table, but they did not, in fact, break bread. N kept saying, "When are they gonna eat with us?" Ooops.

We ran into Donald Duck on our way out, but N was asleep in her stroller by the time we left EPCOT at 2:00 p.m.

After naps, we came back. D wanted to ride some big boy rides, so the grandparents and I took N into the Journey into Imagination with Figment ride and putzed around in the Kodak station. N covered her ears for most of the fireworks display, as she did in all restrooms and whenever any type of moving vehicle would pass by.


Headed to the Magic Kingdom. N was jazzed by the monorail, but nothing could top her squealing, "There's Cinderella's Castle" at the top of her lungs in a packed monorail cab. The excitement on her face was totally worth the 50-odd bucks we spent for that day's entrance fee.

N saw characters within the first 3 minutes of entering the park so we were pretty well trapped in the initial courtyard for a good 45 minutes getting pictures and autographs.

She kept saying she wanted to see Cinderella (and then she said she wanted a balloon, and then she threw a tantrum). Fortunately, we arrived at Cinderella's Castle just in time to see a show that featured Mickey, Minnie, Donald Duck, Goofy and PRINCESSES (Cinderella, Snow White and Sleeping Beauty). There is a god!!!! N was thrilled and we never heard her say that she wanted to see Cinderella again.

We tackled Mickey's Philharmagic, Dumbo The Flying Elephant, Cinderella's Golden Carousel and It's a Small World, but then we had to beg off. Everyone was cooked.

That evening we returned and visited Mickey and Minnie's Country Cottage. N rode Mad Hatter's Tea Party with daddy and mamaw, and then the race cars in Tomorrowland Indy Speedway with her daddy and pa. 2 days down.... 3 left to survive.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

I SURVIVED DisneyWorld and lived to tell my tale

Yeah! We visited DisneyWorld!!
Yeah! We are home from DisneyWorld!

It was a tremendous success. Only 1 or 2 tantrums from N the entire week; D and I only bickered slightly about my driving (I am so excellent in every other way he can only take issue with some of my behind-the-wheel behaviors); and the weather was pretty darn near perfect.

N got to meet, hug and get autographs from a ton of Disney characters, including Belle, Sleeping Beauty, Princess Jasmine, Ariel, Snow White, and Minnie Mouse.

Best of all, N had 2 grandmas and her grandpa with her so they spoiled her, and D and I will not have to get a 2nd mortgage to pay for her souvenirs.

More to come when I am not so exhausted.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

The 3-legged wonder

It is a boy. What appears from ultrasound to be a well-formed, normal male.

I don't quite know what to think. I mean I knew there was a 50-50 shot, and I am certainly not disappointed. I guess mothering a boy will put me in slightly more unfamiliar territory than mothering another girl (although I realize another girl would not mean another N). Regardless of gender, it is an entirely different human from the one I'm used to mothering, and maybe just knowing the gender makes it more real to me. Less a nebulous possibility and more a closer-to-reality certainty.

There is the name issue that will be a challenge, and the not-as-cute-as-girl-clothes issue, but these are annoyances that I can handle.

I gave my doctor my informed consent document. She kind of looked it over, said, "Ok, great," and thanked me for it. Of course then she said, "Now what about breastfeeding? We don't like women to breastfeed on Lexapro." I guess I'm getting used to this Danger Will Robinson speech because I just told her I hadn't even thought that far ahead, and I would have to discuss it with my psychiatrist and my daughter's pediatrician.

Now the truth is that I'm not going to switch medication unless someone tells me it is going to cause unimaginable, unresolvable medical trauma and pain to my son and there is like at least 50% certainty of that. And no one is going to tell me that unless something really wild happens in the next few months. I suppose when the time comes I will hand her another informed consent document stating that I will breastfeed while on Lexapro and I understand the risks and benefits associated with doing so. Geez.

So now I don't go back again for 5 weeks (yeah), but when I do go back I have to take the gestational diabetes test (boo). I have gained 6 lbs for the pregnancy so far and told my doctor repeatedly I will not starve myself, lose weight or exercise myself into oblivion during this pregnancy. If I have to give myself insulin be it. With N's pregnancy, I wanted a "pure" pregnancy---no meds or interventions of any kind whatsoever. This time around I just want to survive in one mental and physical piece and have a healthy kid.

I'd like to think that I've mellowed over time and so am able to say this, but this is just further proof that my meds and therapy have helped me. The high-strung emotional basketcase I was for 30 years hasn't changed its spots in 4 without some medical miracles.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

I want an Oompa Loompa. I want you to get me an Oompa Loompa right away.

It happened suddenly. Veruca Salt moved into my home. A child who physically looks like N is still around, but in attitude and spirit she is totally Veruca. Her favorite phrase is, "I want it NOW!" And this statement is never just uttered once. It is a barrage that grates on every last nerve cell in my body.

There is a lot of kid stuff I can tolerate. Noisemakers don't phase me. N running around our house squealing has no effect on me. But being told ad nauseum, "I want to go to L's house NOW!" really pushes my frickin' buttons.

I understand she wants what she wants. I want what I want. And I don't have a heck of a lot more patience than my kid, so I appreciate the challenges of being patient. But damn, I hate the snide little snotty tone that goes with what she says.

And I know she is just pushing the boundaries, discovering how far she can push me before I nip it in the bud (which ain't too far). There are some behaviors I accept, some I can tolerate, and some that will make me go ape-shit on her ass. My basic premise is if it hurts N or it is hurtful to others (that whole Golden Rule thing), then we are not having any part of it. Being demanding and disrespectful to others, namely me, (and making herself look like a spoiled brat in the process) falls into the "violates the Golden Rule" category.

I am, fortunately, a really stubborn person, but it is often hard to not just give into her demands. Today we were getting ready to go with our neighborhood playgroup to see a theatre performance. N was dressed and ready to go. I was packing up the car and brought in some Ariel clothes my friend is letting N borrow and set them on the table.

Of course, N instantly noticed and started whining, "I want to try the Ariel dress on NOW!" Over and over and over. Now I probably had enough time I could have stripped her down and let her try it on, but I knew if I put it on her I'd never get it off. And the bottom line is I didn't want to mess with it 10 minutes before leaving the house. So I told her that she could try it on as soon as we returned home.

Well, that clearly didn't jive with N's plans, so her volume and snotty tone increased. A good minute of that and I said, "I'm giving the clothes back to L since you won't stop asking me to try it on. I said you can try it on when we return home, but since you are not listening and not being patient, you don't get to keep them. " And I put the clothes in the front seat of the car with every intention of giving them back. Well, she quieted down and said, "I'm cooperating."

And so I didn't give them back to L, which in a way makes me feel like I caved, although really I guess it was a truce because N stopped whining and being disrespectful (my win) and she gets to still borrow the clothes (her win).

I know if I make a threat I have to be willing to enforce it. If I threaten to toss the jelly beans in the trash if she gets one without asking, I have to be willing to throw them out. And I am. But no parent likes to see his/her kid upset. It is far easier to give in than to tolerate the crying and moaning and other not-fun behaviors.

But I don't want my kid acting like this at 15 or 20 or 40 years of age. I don't want N to treat me like a doormat. I want her to understand that my love is abundant and overflowing, but my respect and trust are earned (as they are with others). I want her to know that we might have differences, but we will be civilized to each other...well, as much as a 3-year-0ld can be civilized.

And I have to remind myself that this is an ongoing process. There will be different versions of this testing and pushing for years to come. I only hope I can hold out that long.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Pre-Emptive Anxiety

I daresay my pre-emptive anxiety is about as fruitful as the pre-emptive strike strategy in Iraq.

The ultrasound is Thursday. While I am excited, I am a little worried too. Maybe all women feel this way, I don't know. I just remember with N's ultrasound, I was only focused on gender. It didn't even occur to me that something could be wrong or worrisome. I just didn't know a darn thing about "obstetric liability avoidance" and all the things docs will tell you to cover their asses (and I say this in a tone of sadness that obs have to do this--I suspect there is no joy in having to behave in such a manner).

As it turned out, nothing was amiss, only a little suspicious, but damn did that blow the "joy of pregnancy" bubble. I was already experiencing anxiety about even being pregnant so the "possible Down Syndrome" talk really started the anxiety snowball rolling.

Anyway, the good angel (logical thought) has been having some early arguments with the bad angel (anxiety). The bad angel is just really foul and stupid, saying things like, Maybe it will only have half a brain. The good angel pretty easily smacks him down, but with the u/s looming, I suspect the battle will worsen at least a little bit.

Plus, I have to address the whole staying on my antidepressant issue with my ob, which is stress-inducing. I have written up an informed consent document stating that I have been told of the risks by my ob, I understand those risks, but after consultation with my psychiatrist, I am going to continue my meds. I guess the worse she can do is send me to a maternal-fetal medicine doctor. It's not like I'm going to be stuck in the wilds of Siberia delivering this baby on my own.

I guess my biggest fear is that something will show up wrong with the baby AND my doctor will refuse to treat me, although I guess if something is wrong enough with the baby she would have to send me elsewhere anyway. I know that worrying about it doesn't change it, so I am trying to focus on leaving for Disney. Of course, then I worry that we'll find out something is wrong, she'll can me as her patient, and then I'll have all this shit hanging over my head on vacation.

So I guess if things do go to hell, I hope Walt Disney's magic will work it's wonders on me.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

A true range of emotions

In a perfect world, I would have no need for my antidepressant. I wouldn't have OCD or GAD or the depression that sneaks along with them when they get bad. But there is no perfect world, so I take my antidepressant and apply my skills from therapy to help me get through my anxious moments and crazy moods. There are very few times when I wonder whether my AD is a good thing for me, but sometimes I have a momentary doubt as I did yesterday. (And then I regain my senses, fortunately.)

N wouldn't take a nap. Lord knows she needed one and I needed some quiet time, but I guess we missed the window of opportunity by taking too long at Target. When she refuses to nap it always puts me in an irritable mood. Before my staying at home, I remember how long work days felt when I didn't get a lunch break in, but this is worse because at least in an outside-the-house job, I knew it was over at 5:00 or when the school bell rang. The mommy job doesn't have such a neat fixed daily timeline.

Now when I have had my quiet time and she has rested, I am able to withstand her saying, "Mommy watch this" 200 times without breaking a sweat. And I just move around her if she is under my feet. However, on a no-nap, no-break day, I am far less patient with her...much more snippy or critical, I guess.

And this is where it comes in.... THE GUILT. Yes, stupid guilt over feeling an emotion that is not all light and roses because I worry what N seeing me have that negative emotion is going to do to her. As if it is healthy for her to see her mother NEVER get tired or frustrated or irritable. Hell, did 2 years of therapy teach me nothing????? How is she ever going to learn that her emotions are normal and acceptable if I never allow mine to appear in their full range and have N see how I cope or struggle to cope. Isn't this a wonderful teachable moment for both of us???

Of course, this guilt is 2-faced because then I think, "Maybe it is bad for me to take my AD because N doesn't get to see a fuller range of moods because the AD keeps me more stable than the yo-yo I would be otherwise?" Wait a minute!!! Didn't the guilt just try to make me feel badly about having a negative emotion, but now it suggests I should go off my AD and let N experience lots of my bad emotions??? What the fuck???

And then I decide that I need to take control of this situation in my head because my brain has gotten way too out of sorts. I have to talk myself down. Geez, it is a lot of work being in my head. OK, you stupid brain...listen up!

Everybody needs a break in a workday, especially stay-at-home moms. That quiet time is golden and it fucks my routine when I don't get it (and it is ok to be pissed that N won't nap), and it is ok to feel irritable and snippy with her. Doesn't she get irritable and snippy with me when she is tired and needs a break? She will survive me being a little irritable with her, and she will forgive me, just as I forgive her when she is being a turd and it is directed towards me.

The worst thing I could do is go off myAD and slide back into obsessive intrusive thoughts and overwhelming anxiety and depression because N would know I was struggling and she would know that I was trying to fake happiness and amusement and lightness. And it wouldn't be fair to me to lose the enjoyment I have. Remember those 8 months of being under-medicated when the time each day drug by so slowly and I just felt constantly low? Remember feeling like I had to force a smile for my 15-month-old daughter and "pretend" to be a happy mom? Remember how something as simple as having N's birthday party threw off my sleep for weeks? Remember how I developed new symptoms after going so long without what I needed?

So, as usual, I give myself a good talking to once and then must repeat it over and over again for many days until it sinks in good and deep. I guess anyone with OCD knows a big part of their life is "Repeat as necessary."

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Name game and blame

Ok, so D does not want to discuss baby names until we have the ultrasound.

I, on the other hand, have been married to D for nearly a decade now and know that he will need at least a 6 full months to stew over any possible names we discuss (in the same way that he usually requires 6 full months to stew over any purchases involving technology). So I have been making my own D list of names because throwing a baby name book at the man is sheer folly.

Last night, D's cousin asked me about names so we were discussing them last night at D's papaw's house. The one name for a boy I really like is Hugh. My parents have already said they don't like it, and my MIL said last night it reminds her of some crazy guy from Pikeville she knew when she was growing up. But I LIKE IT!! It is short, to the point, sounds good with D's last name, and is uncommon enough but certainly well-known enough that people know it is a boy's name.

D, of course, doesn't like it, although I don't know whether he doesn't like it for a legitimate reason (like he himself personally had an unpleasant run-in with either Hugh Grant or Hugh Hefner and therefore has bad associations) or for a dumb reason (because other people have stated that they don't like it).

I generally revel in things that other people don't like and usually hate things that other people do like. I have never watched Survivor or American Idol or Lost or any of those "popular" shows. I have never read a Wally Lamb or Janet Evanovich book (or Nora Roberts or Maeve Binchy or anyone else that most people have actually heard of). The books and music I tend to like are those that wouldn't necessarily be considered "mainstream." Jeff Buckley and Wayne Coyne are my musical heroes. Yep, not 2 guys over which the masses faun.

I don't avoid "mainstream" popular stuff (except for Paris Hilton and Britney Spears). If something caught my interest I would certainly listen to it or read it or watch it. I loved Seinfeld, after all. I guess my tastes just tend to lean more towards the obscure (but not that obscure because I know lots of people who consider me mainstream compared to the things in which they are interested).

Anyway, so with picking baby names I want names that are known but not popular, not common. Names that can't easily be shortened. Names that sound good with Dean's surname. And Hugh happens to be one of those names. D--you read my blog, so be warned, I'm gunning for this name (although now that I'm on the warpath of sorts I am certain this imp is a girl). Of course, there is also Graeme and Rhys, but I just really prefer Hugh.

And then for girls, I am stuck on Eve. Again, simple, short, good with surname (although I also like Tess and Maeve).
Part of my problem is that if people (including my better half) don't like the names, that makes me hellbound to use them. I'm destined to be contrary.

I guess I'll have to come up with some really good names for D, which will make Hugh sparkle like a diamond....maybe Bocephus, Mortimer and Fernando?

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

G-D, I'm tired!

I am so not used to this level of tiredness. Today, Nana, N and I went to the fairgrounds to preview the floats and balloons for the upcoming parade. We then picked up Subway and went to the park. We walked around the park a bit in this goofy 85 degree weather (why can't it stay 70 for a full week?), which left me worn and ragged. I'm huffing and puffing and can't get to my couch fast enough, and the whole time I'm thinking, "What is wrong with me? Why can't I handle this? It's not like I'm walking that much."

So then I try to think rationally about this. Ok, when I was pregnant with N I was teaching middle schoolers, which while certainly tiring in it's own way is not the same as having a 3-year-old with you 14 hours a day. I was also 4 years younger and not getting poochy at the hottest time of the year for our part of the country. And I was just probably in better shape, although this statement suggests that I've ever really been in shape at all (being thin doesn't mean being in shape--there are plenty of people bigger than me who are in much better physical health).

My body is totally pregnant, but my brain hasn't quite caught up. Another case in point:

At Subway, as I was getting our drinks, a man asked me when I was due. Now this is the second time someone I don't know has asked me this out in public, and it is the 2nd time I have stood there stupidly thinking, "Is this person talking to me?" There is a brief pause on my part, and then I respond, "Uh... yeah.... Um..... October."

I'm really not a dumb-ass (although I can find a world of people who would strongly disagree). I wonder on some level if this is a form of denial with me, although far less obvious and ridiculous as saying, "It's a hairball," which was my usual response whenever people asked me questions when I was pregnant with N.

I have always had a poor imagination. As a child I never had an imaginary friend, although I did pretend Nick Rhodes of Duran Duran was my husband (which I guess in truth only serves to illustrate my poor taste, not poor imagination). Anyway, I guess I can't wrap my brain around stuff until it happens, even when I know what to expect (or at least somewhat what to expect).

N will talk about the baby, and it makes me feel weird when she does this. This morning she was jumping on our bed and said to me, "Lift your shirt so I can see the baby." I did and she said, "Baby, I hope you like me." I don't encourage discussion of the baby, although I don't put the kibosh on her when she talks about the baby. I know it's my anxiety waiting for the shit to fly...for the bad new bear to come along and fubar my pregnancy. I don't know when other women start to let this fear drop, but it seems to follow me the entire pregnancy (and then morph into something altogether worse after the kid comes---at least that is what happened in the past). Ah ha! Another reason why I don't think much about October.

Can't wait til bedtime when my body and conscious mind cannot trouble me for a bit.