Tag Archives: toddler

The more things change…

“Well, spring sprang. We’ve had our state of grace and our little gift of sanctioned madness, courtesy of Mother Nature. Thanks, Gaia. Much obliged. I guess it’s time to get back to that daily routine of living we like to call normal.”–David Assael, Northern Exposure

That’s pretty much how I feel about vacations. They’re nice little “springs” in our year, but after a season, it’s time to get back to normal. To our daily routines.

I’m resistant to change as a general rule. It just makes me all uncomfortable and out-of-sorts and irritable.

When we go out to eat, I have my “usual” at each location. (Bonus! Dan can order for me if I’m in the bathroom!)

I am always behind on almost any given fashion trend because at the time it debuts I think “How hideous!” and then, a year later, I find myself on the hunt for the perfect pair of rain boots or gladiator sandals or shade of nail polish. (Bonus! I find them on sale at T. J. Maxx because they are last season!)

I don’t often try new things.

I need our normal.  Apparently, so does Joshua.

As we were getting ready to leave the mountains on Sunday morning, Joshua started throwing a tantrum. Most of his tantrums are over nearly as soon as they begin. This one lasted for an hour.  At one point, I actually stuck my fingers in my ears in an attempt to drown out his…noise!

WhineCryScreamWhineCryScreamNoiseNoiseNoise.

I just couldn’t do it anymore!

I felt myself on the verge of a meltdown nearly as epic as his was at that moment. And I’m sure my friends wondered why I wasn’t doing anything about the tantrum. (Though, they too have a toddler and are likely as flummoxed as I was when their son goes into Tiny Terrorist mode. Everyone just kind of stands around dumbfounded and drooling like “uhhhh…..”.)

When things like that happen, I KNOW that 97% of the time they are because our routine has been interrupted.

If we have a bad evening, something was likely out-of-sorts that day at daycare. Or we made a detour by the grocery store on the way home. Something not normal happened and our normal shifted.

One of the things that helped me the most in the height of Joshua’s colic and the loneliness of PPD was going back to work the August after he was born. Because it gave me a routine. A normal. I knew what to expect. I’d been home with him for four months at that point and there was little to no routine.

I tried. Believe me. I tried. I used the ItzBeen timer. I looked for cues that he was sleepy or hungry or wanted to play. I tried, tried, tried to get him on a schedule and us into a routine that worked. And it was a futile attempt.

When I woke up from a nap on Sunday afternoon, a nap just like I take almost every Sunday afternoon, I felt instantly more calm than I had just hours before. I felt normal. Or like I was on the way back to normal. By the time we got home from the grocery store that evening, which is part of our Sunday routine, I felt even better. When my alarm clock went off Monday morning and I got dressed for work? I was myself again.

Establishing a routine was one of the most healthy and normal and normal things I did for myself two years ago.

A quick question thrown out to Twitter had three moms in five minutes telling me that routine was incredibly important to their recovery and that they felt great frustration and anxiety when they found themselves out of routine.

Instead of wallowing in the fact that we couldn’t even manage a simple weekend trip away from home without a meltdown (and I did, eventually, melt down once we got in the car—all over Twitter and the #PPDChat mamas!) I am reveling in the fact that routine is a way that I can cope with this illness.

Does this mean that we’ll never veer from our norm? Absolutely not. But it does mean that when there is a need for us to stray from our normal, it’s not the end of the world. Joshua will adjust and so will I and we’ll both be better for having lived and learned through a shared experience.

Though I think I’m the one doing most of the learning right now, and for now, maybe that’s how it should be.

 

Just Talking Tuesday: Redefining Perfect

Parenthood is messy in real life.

Hollywood, media, and advertisers would have you believe differently.

Your house is picture perfect. Hair – perfect. Toddlers perfectly dressed without a drop of food or stains anywhere, well behaved. Everyone smiles and says cheese.

Thing is – it’s all just that – a snapshot of perfection styled with the help of an entire crew for EACH PERSON in the photo, movie, or commercial.

What if you took a snapshot of your own life? Of your house? Yourself? Your toddler or baby?

What would it look like? Is it perfect?

I’m willing to bet it is perfect.

Maybe not by Hollywood’s standards.

But by REALITY’S standards.

Real life, as I said when I started, gets messy.

What matters at the end of the day isn’t that the sink is full of dishes.

It’s not the massive pile of laundry threatening to devour your entire house.

It’s not the food particles permanently affixed to your toddler.

It’s not that you didn’t get a chance to shower or put on make up.

It’s not that you’re still in your pajamas.

What matters at the end of the day is whether or not you connected with your children.

Whether or not, in THAT DAY, your children felt loved and felt a connection with you.

Because that is what they will remember – not the cleaner than clean house – they’ll remember the Mommy who took time for them. Who got down on their level and loved THEM.

That? Is perfect.

Come back at 7am for a link up here. Several of us will be posting pics of our imperfectly perfect houses a long with happy pictures of our toddlers.

Because that?

Is redefining perfect in the rawest form.

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Every little thing

I am beyond thrilled to introduce to you the very first regular contributor to My Postpartum Voice. Miranda and I met via Twitter and #PPDChat. She blogs regularly over at Not Super Just Mom in addition to hanging out on Twitter, teaching, being a Mom and a wife. I hope y’all will enjoy reading Miranda’s voice as much as I have. Welcome aboard, Miranda!

I spent the first year of my diagnosis alone and hurting, partly because I was too stubborn to reach out and partly because I didn’t know there were so many people to whom I could reach out. My only two sources of support were my mom and my husband, and neither had much experience in dealing with postpartum. (By “much experience” I mean “none experience.”)

And then I found Twitter. And Twitter brought me people like Lauren. And Lauren has given me the opportunity to help her help you.

Wow.

So here I am, nearly two years out. And the cool thing about this is that PPD/A isn’t a war I’ve lost. If anything, I’d say I’ve pretty well conquered my main demon—anxiety. I have WAY more good days than bad lately. I find myself rolling through toddler tantrums like a seasoned professional, despite the fact that he’s not two yet and the fun hasn’t really even begun (or so I hear).

But the relative goodness of my life right now doesn’t mean that I’m scott-free and that I never have to worry about anxiety. There are setbacks. I still fight battles. And those battles still frustrate me. And if I’m not careful, that frustration leads to nastiness and anger and guilt and ::insert your negative emotions here::.

As I write this, we’re on our first full day of a long-weekend getaway with friends. No internet. No cell phones. No noise. It’s quiet here. Peaceful. Relaxing. Or at least it should be.

We are WAY outside our normal routine, y’all. Way.

And that’s when things get hairy for me.

Joshua fought me on his nap yesterday. We spent the morning traveling, practically throwing Joshua in the car the minute he woke up. We arrived and he explored our cabin and then it was time for a nap. Dan and his friend were gone to the grocery store to get supplies. My friend was upstairs tending to her toddler. And Joshua and I were downstairs in our bedroom with me quickly spiraling into a case of Mama Fail because he wouldn’t settle down and take a nap, despite the fact that we both knew he needed to sleep.

He cried. I put a pillow over my head. He cried harder. I felt my throat clench up. I got up and patted his butt in the pack-n-play. He settled. My throat unclenched. I turned to go back to the bed. He cried again. My spine stiffened and my mind started racing. SLEEP SLEEP SLEEP! Wash. Rinse. Repeat. For nearly 45 minutes. And there was no one here to help me through it. There was just me and Joshua, figuring this out like we’ve done time and time again.

I can’t stand to let Joshua cry. It’s one of my triggers. Colic and reflux made sure that he spent the early months of his life screaming his little baby lungs out. And the early months of his life were, by far, my worst. When he screams, I go into fight or flight mode just like I did two years ago. I get irrational. And cranky. And angry. And hurt.

Why can’t I fix this!? What is wrong with me!? Why does he hate me!? WHY ME??

Do you see what’s wrong with those questions? 

The questions are completely irrational, folks.

I can’t fix anything about this situation unless I never leave my house again or never break our usual, customary routine.

Nothing is wrong with me. I am not broken.

My son does NOT hate me. He’s too little to even know what hate is. And if I have it my way, he won’t know what hate is. It’s certainly not something I plan to teach him.

There is nothing I’ve done or not done to deserve this. Nothing. This is punishment for any wrongdoing in this or any other life I may have lived.

It’s times like this that I have to remind myself that I am a mother. A mother with postpartum anxiety and depression, yes, but a mother. I am not postpartum depression and anxiety first and a mother second.

Yesterday afternoon, I got a sippy of milk and brought Joshua to bed with me. I got him settled down and he eventually flipped over onto his stomach, head on my shoulder, and I sang to him the song I always sing to him when he’s crying.

“Don’t worry…about a thing. ‘Cause every little thing, is gonna be alright.”

And it was.

We napped together, Mama and son, curled up on the same pillow, for two hours. And when we woke up and he smiled, my soul smiled back.

It is.

I know that I have what it takes to cope with setbacks in my progress. I know that setbacks are going to happen. I never expected to just wake up one morning and POOF! no more postpartum. That’s unrealistic. But I also know that everything? Is pretty alright most of the time. And “most of the time” gives me the strength I need for the times when things aren’t okay.

It will be.

This may have been the past two years of my life. This may be my now from time to time. But postpartum is not my forever. It’s not yours either.

Every little thing is going to be alright.

Miranda is a wife, mother, teacher, daughter, friend, and NOT a super mom. At best, and worst, she’s average. But with a cape and tiara? She could probably save the world. She blogs about life as a mom and wife and PPD/A survivor at the blog Not Super…Just Mom.

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Thankful

Today I am thankful to be here. Yesterday during nap, Charlotte nearly burned the house down.

She wrapped the heater in her sheet and mattress pad. Then she knocked it over with her mattress, leaving the mattress on top. It began to smoke and overheat. I was asleep on the couch in the living room with the dogs. Fortunately Maggie woke up and went crazy when she heard the heater crash onto the floor. I got up and looked out the front door to see if anyone was here because that’s why she usually barks. No one was here so I went back to lay down

Then Charlotte called me to tell me she needed to be cleaned up. I called back and told her I’d be right there, dragged myself off the couch and headed back. I was absolutely livid at what I found. At first I couldn’t tell it was smoking because there was sunlight streaming into their room and it just looked like dust particles. But then I smelled it. And realized I couldn’t see the heater.

I have never moved so fast in my entire life. I have also never yelled so loudly in my life.

Charlotte was in time out the rest of the afternoon and unfortunately has spent the bulk of today in time out as well because she chose to remove her mattress yet again. I have a feeling I’m going to end up custom-making a mattress pad to encompass both the boxspring and mattress for her bed – complete with zippers and locks. I don’t see how else we get her to stop this behavior.

We’re completely baffled. We know she’s exercising her boundaries, testing her limits. Yet here we are. The word “No” has no meaning for her. Endangering the lives of others also means nothing to her. I’m officially scared of what she might do next and I am not comfortable being here.

What happened to my happy cave?

Seriously – where’d the happy cave go?

It’s MIA.

Maybe The Others have obsconded with it and the island it was hidden away on. Maybe Jack and Sayeed need to come rescue me. Ok, so no maybe to the rescue. I definitely need some rescuing.

As you know, Alli’s sick. This morning as I was trying to force her medicine into her (she won’t cooperate, I’ve tried every trick in the book too), she threw up. On me. On the bed. On her hair. Everywhere. Fun.

Charlotte is in this fantastic stage of non-compliance with household rules and lack of reaction to discipline. I have lost count of how many times I’ve had to haul her twin mattress back up onto her bed. This morning, she took her pull-up off even though there was poopy in it. Again, Fun. You know that point you get to when you’re so angry there’s nothing left to do but laugh? Yeah. I’m there. SO there. Where the hell is my Margarita? I WANT MY MARGARITA AND SOME FRIGGIN CALGON PEOPLE!

Cameron? Well, he’s the bright spot. He’s been doing great. We have a blast together. He started clapping the other day. I walked in and he was just laying there, staring at the ceiling and apparently clapping for the Amazing Ceiling Dust Fuzz Acrobatic team. He stopped and when I tried to get him to do it again he smacked his face. Repeatedly, while grinning. Silly baby. Thank HEAVEN for silly billy babies!

As I sit here writing this, I’m listening to the bam and boom of the girls tearing up their room. I will admit I’m still sitting here because I don’t want to go back there – I’m scared of what I might find and how pissed off it might make me. I need to shower for the Meet & Greet tonight. I need to at LEAST get my make-up on because as soon as Chris gets home, I need to be walking out the door and will not have time to shower then. So much for planning on getting anything done during naptime. I hate that the house is a wreck but frankly I get run so ragged by the kids during the day that I don’t have time to straighten up. I’m lucky I can keep up with the basics.

Uh Oh.

They’re yelling now.

Perhaps I should go.

And perhaps you should pray.

And send Calgon.

And Margarita Mix.

And some Jose Cuervo.

Why are you still sitting there????

The Insanity of Sickness & Christmas

Oh how it royally bites to be sick on a holiday. Especially when you’re the one cooking THE MEAL and it’s your first time at the helm for such a big event. I somehow managed to hold it all together and pulled off an awesome Christmas Lunch of (get this) Roast Beef Tenderloin with Beef Mushroom Sauce, Carrot Souffle, Green Bean Bundles, Creamed Corn, and Yorkshire Pudding. I baked a Scripture Cake the night before in honor of the man of the day, Jesus.

Yet once I stopped moving frantically about in the kitchen and sat down, my body realized the rush was over and apparently gave itself permission to implode.

My left hip? Out of alignment for the better part of the afternoon and evening. Only heat and a whopping dose of Tylenol and Ibuprofen cleared that up. And thank goodness it did because I was unable to bear weight on my left side without almost collapsing and crying outloud.

My head and chest? Obscenely Congested. Tylenol Cold did nothing for me. Ended up making a Walgreens run at 10p last night for myself and for Cameron. I got Severe Cold Meds and Nasal Spray. He got a little Flowing Vapors desk thingy by Triaminic. (Have I mentioned Charlotte’s sick too?)

All of this started last Friday when Alli was coughing slightly. The cough got worse and by Sunday evening I was at the ER with her. First thing I did when we got ushered back to a room? Turned on the NY Giants game! (Thank GOD they won!) She had to get a strep swab, flu swab (which is a nasal swab and not an easy thing to watch), take some ibuprofen and tylenol, get some chest x-rays, get said x-rays done again, and finally ended up with a diagnosis of Possible Pneumonia. She was given antibiotics there and we were sent home with a prescription. Half an hour after she took the antibiotics she threw up. Repeated this again in the morning when we tried to give Motrin. Off to the ped’s office with a feverish uncooperative toddler in tow.

Much of this past week has been spent in a headlock with Alli to get her to take her meds and trying to conserve the tissue use because her nose has been running a freakishly long marathon. We’re all coughing (except for Chris) and today has found me in bed for the better part of it – I’ve been awake a couple of times but not very long. I’m due to take some more medicine here shortly (I think – how bad is that!) and am ready to crawl back into bed and rest. I just can’t take being awake anymore. My head is pouding, my voice has apparently bought the last ticket to Clarksville, and this cough and congestion is driving me insane.

And for the record, Chris has been absolutely awesome today. He’s really taken the reigns and let me pass out. I can’t even begin to express how much that has meant to me!

So forgive me if I haven’t posted much the past week or don’t post much for the next few days. I’m taking my own advice and doing some much needed self-care.

Adjustments

Alli started Pre-K last Tuesday so we have officially entered the stage of waking before the sun and going to sleep well after it does in order to get anything done. I am exhausted. So much so that to be completely honest, I forgot about this week’s interview and didn’t email one out as during the past two weeks I’m lucky if I even get to open my laptop before 9pm.

I’m spending quite a bit of time as chauffeur lately. At 730a, I take Alli to Pre-k. Then I return home for a short bit only to pack up Charlotte & Cameron to drive Chris to work. Afterwards, we either come home or go visit with someone. Upon returning home, we typically do snack, bottle & a meal for Cameron, play, lunch, nap, then we pick up Alli at 230-245. Come home, snack, hang out, go pick up Chris from work @ 5p M-Wednesday, 6pm on Thursday, and 730 or so on Friday although typically Friday Chris is going to take the car so we don’t have to get out to pick him up. Tomorrow however, Charlotte has a ped appt.

Today we got the results of Alli’s psych eval. She is ADHD and very very gifted with a very high IQ. No need for further counseling but we do need to keep an eye on her progress in Pre-K to make sure she isn’t falling behind. Medication was discussed but we would like to avoid medicating unless it’s absolutely necessary, espcially at such a young age. So more of a discussing with the Ped about treatment options for now and a re-evaluation when she enters Kindergarten unless things start to worsen between now and then. Hopefully they won’t.

So there you have it. Busy busy busy and exhausted. Oh, and I also have a two hour presentation coming up in October in partnership with the local MHA chapter. I’m excited about this partnership and can’t wait to see where things go with this!

I have to run, gotta try and wake up a bit before I have to be up and running again.

Precious Moments

You know those moments – the ones where one second your little one looks well, like a baby. And in the next nanosecond, they’re suddenly much older and wiser? I had one of those moments with Charlotte today and it (as it always does) caught me so off guard. Do they really HAVE to grow up? I mean, yeah, I want them to but then part of me wants them to stay sweet and innocent forever. But if they did that — I’d never get enough sleep. Ever again.

So yes.

They MUST grow up.

And hopefully they’ll grow up to be the best darn humans they can be! 😉