Wednesday, May 13, 2009
As is always the case Cohen hopped on board and went about making this experience with her one to remember. Cohen was kind enough to participate in the following reinactment to document why you should never play Pick Up Sticks with a toddler... for you dumbasses (like me) who have to be told.
Thursday, April 30, 2009
Today, I was flipping through some pictures we have taken with the new camera and I found this one of Cohen. We stayed at Grammy's last weekend and I took Cohen out to run an errand with me. In the car on the way home she told me that Grammy had promised her an ice cream cone. I drover he through the McDonald's and asked for a child's cone - which of course big fat McDonald's cannot comprehend. As I handed her the large cone piled high with chocolate goodness I knew it would lead to the christening of her new car seat.
On the brighter side, she was so happy and I think this photo encompasses the only good feeling a hot day could ever bring me.
So it begins. I remember for years the only activity in which I could bond with my annoying little brother was the sacred art of watching "toons". Look at their little mesmorized faces. I will look at this picture years from now and want for a time when he wasn't so jealous of her friends he pees on their things when they sleep over (Yeah, my brother did that). I will want for the time when they could be together peacefully without bitching about what shit parents Dan and I are because they have united in their desire for Pay Per View Cable or the right to drive our cars. These are the days.
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Things are looking up. Yesterday I saw the naturopath and psychiatrist. These were two bold steps forward, and by facing this depression instead of letting it defeat me - even when every bone in my body was saying "Just stay down" - I feel better. Way better.
I took a single dose of Sepia 30C - and talked honestly with some professionals. The naturopath spent two hours with me. Every time I would expel my frustration or self loathing over something to the point where I had nothing left to complain about she would look at me and say, "What else?" She asked that so many times over the course of two hours that I felt completely and utterly expressed when our time was through.
I had my mom watch Coco for me and just brought Merrick. What trouble could the baby cause as long as I fed and nursed and changed him right? Seriously, can you believe I still make these mistakes?
Merrick began cutting his first tooth during this meeting. You're joking, Lawton. Surely you exaggerate. Not 45 minutes into the meeting he has woken up, nursed from both breasts, shit his pants so ferociously that it blew through his pants onto my pants, and screamed for 15 minutes until he passed out with his head on my shoulder. The good thing was that I felt his behavior only helped my case as I was seeing this woman for a remedy for being completely exhausted and overworked. This doctor keeps her office very warm, which is like torture for me. The only thing worse for me that a hot day is being stuck in a small hot room. It just makes me want to barf out everything that is bothering me as quickly as possible so I can get my sweaty little palms on my remedy and get the hell out of there. Maybe that's her goal. It worked for me.
From what I understand about homeopathic remedies, if they are going to work for you they work immediately. Sometimes they can make your original symptoms worse before they get better, but this is a quick cycle. A friend of mine jokes that every time she sees her naturopath and gets a remedy she calls her doc the next day and says, "Help, I feel like shit!" and the doc replies, "Good, that means we got the right one!" Within a day or two the remedy does what it is supposed to and she ends up feeling great.
I have yet to feel a down swing, possibly why my doctor only gave me one dose, but I am feeling better today. I know that all of the talking yesterday and the general pride in having faced this depression are making me feel better too, but I just wanted to get it out there - I am feeling better.
I do stand by seeing your own naturopath or doing your own research. I would hate for someone to have ended up on my site looking for help or support and have my remedy fail them. Do not just try what I have stated worked for me. I am only writing about the remedy to disclose what worked for me. Each person is different. In the same way that my blush makes me look like I just woke up, refreshed after a night of mind blowing orgasms but if you try it on with your complexion it might make you look like a whore. Or is not how I just described the way it looks on me? Whatever, you get the point.
Friday, April 24, 2009
Thursday, April 23, 2009
During my postpartum depression with Cohen I entered into therapy when she was 6 months old. Looking back at my blog it looks like I was trying to keep it funny. I didn't blog honestly about the depression and in retrospect I know why.
I didn't understand that it was the postpartum depression making life so hard then. I thought I was crazy. I blogged about my zany stories and tried to make light of a dark and secretive time. Back then Dan could still come out the hero and I would blog about his stepping in and saving me from myself in some funny way. Readers assured me that I wasn't crazy. That, in fact, I seemed like a great mom. My blog was a great source of comfort when Cohen was born. What I heard from my readers was, "You are not crazy." One reader even said I "didn't sound fat." With some therapy and a great sigh of relief I eventually began to feel normal.
I knew before I had Merrick that I would have to face my postpartum demons again. However, this time I would be prepared. I knew what to expect because I had felt it before. I would recognize it as postpartum depression instead of questioning my constitution as a sane person. I still had a loving husband and in addition to that I had a daughter for whom I needed to keep it together.
Unfortunately, all my understanding and preparation, all my love for my husband and son and daughter went the way of all the king's horses and all the king's men... ultimately these things alone could not restore me to my pre-pregnancy state. In the same way that my pregnancy symptoms varied in my subsequent pregnancy so has the severity of my postpartum depression.
For now, in an attempt at sweeping honesty I will disclose the following;
Recently a friend of mine had one of her children bring home head lice. After delousing the house, canceling weekend plans, and picking nits for two days straight she ended up having to do it all again a week later because some nits were left behind and the infestation started all over again.
In the first week my friend had planned to tell the parents of a few of the neighborhood children - just as a precaution. As in, "Hey, I know our kids play together all the time, just want you to know we found lice on our kid, you might want to check yours - just to be safe." Courtesy. Except my friend's husband let the kid out to play and my friend found her kid at play with another neighborhood kid. The information she had planned to share as a courtesy could quickly become the source of her admonition. So she kept it to herself. Never told the other parents. Canceled plans for made up reasons. Holed up in the house until every nit was dead.
I tell this story because it is a lot like how I have been dealing with my postpartum depression. In retrospect it will seem manageable. One day laughable. Perhaps in the passing of just one more week I will be able to turn and say, "Wow, wasn't that awful." But this depression is alive for me now. It is active. I can be honest enough to say that it is shameful, difficult and sad. It has been scary this week, but as of tonight, this week has passed. Still, to be honest, I have no idea what next week will bring. I could be writing about Cohen's birthday or Erin's visit or all of the amazing-ness that is baby Merrick but I can't. I am frozen most days. I use every ounce of my energy to make each day the best I can for my kids, and I still fail some days. Today Cohen and I baked sugar cookies. Earlier this week we went to the water park. But last Monday I laid on the couch with Merrick on my breast all morning unable to move, to get up, to start my day and Cohen just flickered around me like a moth to her flame. Opening and closing her singing Shrek birthday card in my face. Watching cartoons and rambling to me about Scooby Doo and birthdays as I drifted in and out of sleep. Looking back it is no different than how a mother gets through the flu. There is no one to help everyday. Some days you get sick and you just do the best you can. Until you get better.
I am seeing a psychiatrist and my naturopath next week. The psychiatrist for the depression and the naturopath to aid in my treatment since I equate giving up breastfeeding completely with pushing my kid off a bridge (yeah, I think it is that important to breastfeed - call me crazy if you haven't already). I feel it is important that I have a back up plan when I go to see a psychiatrist who I cannot imagine will say anything other than - "I'll trade you your baby for a handful of pills. Seriously crazy, hand over that baby."
I am going to list the remedies that my good friend B. found for me. It was after reading these remedy descriptions that I considered seeing the naturopath at all. Before B. shared this with me I was in state of panic that the only way out of this depression would be through abandoning breastfeeding. Devastation. Never a good mix with depression.
So on my worst day I turned to my friend B. who gave me some light. Some hope. Some sense. With no judgement. Then I turned to Dan. Who cannot save me this time. But who stands by me knowing that, and sees me through this depression. I told him the truth about everything I was feeling. And I cried. He listened. Even though I could not hear him at the time, days later I remembered what he said and knew it had helped. He told me I was strong. That inside of me I had the strength to see my way through this even when it felt as if I had nothing. That I choose how I live my life. I choose.
This morning I was on the phone with B. We were laughing and that is particularly wonderful because before having Merrick we had not been in touch as often as either of us would have liked. But she visited when I had him and we rekindled our friendship in a great way. So mid laugh this morning, I had to take another call. I told her I would probably talk to her soon. It's what we always say. She said she would talk to me tomorrow. Great, I said. And if not tomorrow I'd be sure to call this weekend. Then, in the warmest voice without an ounce of condescension she said, "I'll be calling you tomorrow," and I knew that she was going to call everyday until I see that doctor. You're a good friend B.
I hope that every woman that struggles with postpartum depression has someone that loves them like those that love me and I hope they recognize it like I do. As a resource for anyone working with postpartum depression or if you know anyone this would help - reading about these remedies is a good jumping off point towards a treatment plan.
Thursday, April 16, 2009
Dexter is 15 months old. He is a great pup - great with my two kids, other dogs. House broken and crate trained. We have had him for about 8 months. We also have a dominant male bulldog. Recently the male bulldog has gotten aggressive towards the pup and we need to rehome the pup. It breaks my heart to let him go, so only the most loving home will be considered. He is a people pleaser and you will not find a better behaved dog. Hopefully someone with kids. Email with any questions.
He is a big dog - still a lanky puppy but filling out more everyday. He stands about 28 in. high and weighs about 85lbs. so far. Will fill out more. Probably get to be over 100 lbs. so you must have a yard. No apartments. He will need lots of exercise. Likes frisbee and is working on fetch.
Also answers to Dexyloo. Loves scrambled eggs and peanut butter. Does well with other dogs. Defends himself with bulldog. Actually he has really put a beating on the bulldog. Ripped up both of his ears. Left a huge knot on the top of his head. Jumps. A lot. Likes babies.
He loves going for walks so you will need to walk him daily. Likes to sleep with his face on your chest when allowed in the house. Will eat furniture, clothing, power wire, cable wire and tires (bike and motorcycle - has yet to develop a taste for tricycle tires).
I don't know. Maybe I should keep him. He already loves us. He may not even like you. Might eat your baby. I don't know. He's beaten the shit out of our bulldog, God knows what he could do to your baby. I mean, we live in walking distance to the dog park - where do you live?
This dog is ugly. I know it and you know it. Can you see past his looks? Really? Are you going to be wiling to trim the facial dingle berries he gets in his dragon beard? Even when you can't tell if its mud or shit on him? Even after I tell you there have been times it hasn't been mud? Yeah. He's a turd eater. We have had to buy a special outdoor trash can to keep shitty diapers in because Dexter will tear them open and eat the shit out of them like a fat kid tearing into an individually wrapped Tootsie Roll.
He's a genius. And he's mine. He learns tricks super fast. Chases birds. Barks at passing trucks. Responds well to neglect. Is resilient. Forgiving. Only a year old, he probably won't remember this time where I have to keep him in the kitchen or backyard all the time because of the new baby. And the toddler. And the bulldog. And my general inability to pick up clothes and toys from the floor. Seriously, get your own dog. Don't you have better things to do than to harass a new mother about giving away her perfectly good dog?
- Location: Phoenix
Would I throw a dog up on craigslist because of my hormones? Yes. If you think I suck for that I can direct you to at many places in this blog where I have done worse. When Dan busted me for posting the ad this week and argued his love for the dog was reason enough to keep it I explained why I posted the ad.
I am maxed out in my marriage. Maxed out with my children. At my limit with my school work. Exhausted from lack of sleep. And I am riddled with guilt about the fucking dogs. Someone has to go. Something has to give. I asked Dan to look at my list of complaints and tell me what he would cut. Nothing gives.
There is no resolution here. I took a few phone calls from people interested in the dog and no one was good enough. I simply could not imagine my future without this stupid dog in it. So here I am. Stressed. Exhausted. Bitchy. Covered in dog hair. And loved. I bust my ass for these kids, these dogs, this man in my life and what do they give me but a messy house and a love that often feels like a firework going off in my chest. I can make that work for now. I can make this work.
Saturday, April 11, 2009
Grandma had to take her to drama last week because Dan and I were working, and when she brought her home she said she had talked to Grandpa about what Cohen does at drama and he decided he wanted to come see her recital.
Drama was a closed class. I dropped Cohen off and sat in the hallway for 45 minutes with the other parents every Saturday for the past few months. No windows. No intermission. Just coffee and adults.
I was so desperate to be liked when we arrived that first week. I have no local mommy friends and the parents there seemed fun and funny. My kind of moms. But like a big chicken shit I brought a book and cooed over the new baby - who was only 2 weeks old at the time. I thought for sure he would be an icebreaker but nil. Just a "He's cute, blah blah blah," as you were.
By the second week I left the book at home and "put myself out there" a little more, reminding myself that while these other parents seemed like capable people they were not mind readers. They could not hear me thinking witty retorts to their jokes and comments. And what do you know, at the end of week two, with some out loud participation on my part, some friendships were sprouting.
Two weeks before her final performance I handed out the invitations to her 3rd birthday party. It is amazing the childhood insecurities that resurface when handouts or invitations are involved. Will anyone RSVP? Will anyone come? Will I buy a bunch of puppy party favors and drain my soul into hand crafted home made cupcakes only to end up with another year of watching her grandparents give her all the things her father and I can't afford? That blows.
I spent the past two months harvesting relationships with the other parents in the hall, staying after class to play and share snacks so that Cohen could have the chance to have a real party. Just because I can't manage to make friends locally and can only bond with anyone via Verizon Wireless does not doom Cohen to the same fate. My goal was to see children playing at her party. To hear what a kid in this family sounds like when their friends show up.
I didn't have that when I was kid. I moved a lot because of my dad's job. Often times I didn't know anyone at my school. When we did stay in one town long enough my parents' reputation did not take long to precede my party invitations. My parents were alcoholics with a zest for life that could not be contained. Not when I was having a friend sleep over. Not when I ran out of friends that would come for sleep overs anymore.
My best friend in the fifth grade was Becky Rice. Her mom worked at the Christian Church in town. My dad would stand in the back of the kitchen, blaze up a dooby and slam back schlitz with my mom late into the night. Until someone would say something and a fight would break out. He punched through a window on the front of the house that night. I remember when Becky told me she couldn't come over anymore because she had told her parents what had happened. I remember not understanding why she would have told them. Didn't she know they would never let her come back? Only at 31 did I realize - yeah... maybe she did. She was scared. She didn't want to come back, and who could blame her.
The level of anger, alcoholism and drugs that had become a hum in the background to my childhood was a deafening blast in hers. And while I consider myself a predominantly functional person these memories circle me like sharks when I pass out invitations to this day.
But I did what I do when I face adversity. I overcame my fear, got past myself, and lightened the fuck up. gave myself the pep talk, "It's a 3 year old's birthday party not a remake of Carrie, get over yourself."
So I handed out the invitations and right off the bat got enough responses that when I walked into her class this morning to watch her recital the traveling song from the opening of Madagascar ran through my head. "My peoples, my peoples, take me to my peoples!" But the song wasn't playing for me, it played for Cohen.
The other little girls in Cohen's class are so much like her. As much as I love the uniqueness that is my daughter and as much as I enjoy the compliments we get regarding her uncanny ability to bring virtually anyone to their knees with her candid nature I am overjoyed to see her in the company of other like herself. Every kids deserves that at some point, no matter how long it ends up lasting.
My parents had called and said they would be running late. I'd be a better person if I were the type to lie and say I felt no anxiety about my father coming into this part of my world. After a life of hard living my father is 4 years and 2 months into a 5 year life expectancy. He is in end stage renal failure, a diabetic with a heart full of stents, missing most of his small intestine and colon. His veins are so fragile, so small, he has to be checked into the hospital to have anything administered intravenously. In a freakish combination of the terrible pain he lives with daily and a lifetime of addiction he consumes between 120-160mg of Oxycodone a day. He drives an electric wheelchair and frequently passes out with his hand still on the lever keeping the cart in motion.
So while I am sitting at the recital enjoying Cohen's performance and thankful for Merrick's quiet attentiveness... while I am counting my RSVP "eggs" -so to speak- "before they hatch" I am also wondering how it will go when my father enters the room. Will he be on his motorized scooter? Will he unapologetically run over a child's foot? Will he have talked my mother into extra pills for the special occasion (something he does often) and have that weird wandering eye thing going on where he takes too much pain medication and the eye he is blind in roves the room half open while his good eyes stares without shame?
When the door opens, fifteen minutes into the recital, I can see my mother is pushing my father in his regular wheelchair and I am prematurely relieved.
They cross the length of the room and I am glad he has come. I appreciate that he feels he missed my recitals and wants to be here for Cohen's. I try to remind myself as he talks too loudly that he is old and unique. I try to value his child like nature as he interrupts the children to try to talk to them as they put on their performance. I fake a smile when I see that as I am across the room taking pictures my mother has chosen this moment to have my father hold Merrick for the first time. I go about what I was doing until the moment is broken as Dan and I meet eyes, both wondering what the source of some horrific sound is. It's a low groan. I can only describe it as the sound you might hear listening through the door while a grown man labors out a huge shit. A drunk face down in his own barf growling a feeble protest to accusations he has had to much to drink. Perhaps the sound is not verbal - originating from some other orifice all together. No. The sound is my father growling at my baby in his arms.
I am mortified as I look over at a wall filled with parents holding video cameras trying to tape what is probably also their daughter's first recital. I imagine them playing their video for friends, for the kids when they are older, for anyone ever and I imagine my new friends having to answer the question, "Oh my God? What is that weird sound? Was a dog dying next to you? Were there 15 bobcats in heat in unison behind your camera?"
The growling is meant to soothe the baby, I assume, but instead scares him. Merrick begins to cry and with no regard for the performance my father again raises his voice and waves his free hand at me to say, "Er, Lawton, do you have a... a... (searching for the word) a nipple?" My embarrassed mother exclaims sharply, thereby making it worse, "A pacifier Brandon, not a nipple!"
Dan catches my eye just in time to make funny what, without him in my life, would be just another horrendous afternoon at the fate of my parents.
Another funny thing happened then... life went on.
I was the girl with the weird dad again, only instead of getting high in front of my Christian school mates he donned a pain medication induced lazy bug eye and made inappropriate remarks throughout my daughter's first recital. And I was still me. Nothing was lost.
Dan and I took my parents and the kids to IHOP after the show and my dad dined like a king. Demanding more butter for his pancakes, asking for the "god damned ketchup", and holding his cup up for the waiter to refill his coffee. He joked about how Merrick could only think of food as I put on my nursing cover to breastfeed. He almost stood leaning back in his wheel chair to get the waiter's attention when I needed syrup and no one was paying attention to me.
In his element, when I visit him at his house and he is just Grandpa in the wheelchair he is always getting in trouble for running into walls and tables in his electric scooter, for passing out with full cups off coffee in hand. Out of his element he could do something for me by getting the waiter to bring me syrup, and he almost fell out of his wheel chair trying.
He couldn't pay for the meal. My mom handles the money. He couldn't offer to let Cohen ride from the recital to the restaurant, I had the car seat. And he couldn't sit quietly through a recital because he was unable to contain his excitement at seeing children run and play while he got hold a baby!
Wow. It took writing this out to get that.
Life is deep right now and I am wading. Focusing more on not falling than journal-ing my route right now. I am adjusting to being a mother of two. I have a lot of issues resurfacing as my father's health continues on the roller coaster of "I could pack the next 5 years of your life with embarrassing or frightful moments or I could just die tomorrow." Postpartum has never come easy to me.
Thanks for killing those tulips Cori - it was just what I needed.
Thursday, March 19, 2009
Candy got stuck on Versace, but I came through...
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Dan video tapes babies. It is the most boring thing I have ever seen and we have hours of video when someone (namely Dan) should have just taken a few pictures and walked away. Usually his need to videotape the kids is horrifying for me because I can hear my voice in the background complaining or saying something stupid. However, in the following video taken the day after Merrick was born Dan is sitting on one side of the plastic bassinet and I am on the other. I am eating a caramel and reading. When I first saw the video I forgot that I had been reading something at that time and just thought, "Wow, I was really feeling that pain medication". Go ahead... it's funnier if you forget I said I was reading.
Anyway, do yourself a favor and turn down the volume on the video, it's just static and I couldn't figure out how to get rid of it.
At my own expense... enjoy.
turn down volume right up here.
Monday, March 16, 2009
Woke up at 6:40 a.m.
drove Dan to work.
fed and dressed kids.
took Merrick to doctor's office.
watched Cohen say to kid with down syndrome at the doctors office that she also had an owie on her brain.
watched horrified mother.
watched Cohen ask how he got that scratch on his face and realized she was comparing her scar to his scratch and nothing more profound.
Merrick got an oral vaccination and 4 shots. Unlike Cohen who held it together until the fourth shot Merrick immediately lost his shit but settled down with no trouble.
I noticed a cold sore on Cohen's lip and called the doctor back in to examine - felt devastated that after trying so hard last week to not pass herpes onto my daughter I had failed.
Was not herpes on Cohen's lip, was piece of cracker.
Considered wearing my glasses more.
Went to grocery store.
Gave Merrick Tylenol and wished him happy travels.
Took pictures documenting Merrick's shots.
Fed kids again.
Got Merrick to down for nap.
Put away groceries.
Realized we are out of pull ups.
Began preparing dinner.
Rescheduled chiropractor appointment.
Put padding down on bed in case Cohen has accident during nap.
Played ponies with Cohen.
Got Cohen down for a nap.
Started a load of laundry.
Broke up a dog fight.
Put Cohen back on the pad after she rolled off.
Worked on tonight's homework, but stopped when baby cried.
Baby stopped crying but my train of thought was interrupted so...
Looked at facebook.
Saw old picture of friends in college and felt really happy.
Came to blogger.
Posted photos and went back to preparing dinner for tonight.
I miss you blogger.
Maybe I'll be back more someday soon.
Thursday, February 26, 2009
Once upon a time there were 3 little pigs who lived at home with their mom and their dad and their Aunt Jeanette. One day the mom and dad took the 3 little pigs aside for a talk.
Look little pigs, you've got to get out of our house and get lives of your own. You are in your 30's and it is time to take your savings get out on your own. You can't live with your parents forever, YOU KNOW.
The first little pig took the bulk of his savings and bought a sports car. With the little bit he had left he filled the tank with premium fuel, and with the tiny bit he had left after that he bought hay and built himself a house made from straw.
The second little pig was only a tad more conservative. He bought himself an extravagant entertainment center complete with HD TV and surround sound. With the money he had left over he bought random pieces of scrap wood and tree branches and built himself a house of sticks.
The third little pig was smart. He took all of his money and bought brick and stone with which to build his home. And it was gorgeous.
One day, when the first little pig was out driving his sports car, it ran out of gas. On his walk, with his gas can in tow, who did he see but the big bad wolf.
The little pig gasped and ran as fast as he could all the way home, but the big bad wolf was fast behind him.
The little pig got through the front door just in time to lock it and the big bad wolf pounded and yelled... "Little pig little pig, let me in, or I will huff and I will puff and I will blow your house in!"
The little pig (raised right despite his frivolous purchases) replied, "Not by the hair of my chinny chin chin!"
So the wolf huffed... and puffed... and he blew the house in.
The little pig ran as fast as he could to his brothers house made of sticks. Once inside he hid away but there was the wolf pounding at the door.
"Little pigs little pigs, let me in, or I will huff and I will puff and I will blow your house in!"
The little pigs replied, "Not by the hair of our chinny chin chins!"
So the wolf huffed... and puffed... and he blew the house in.
The pigs ran. Fast. All the way to the good neighborhood where pigs who save their money for their homes can afford to build. They reached their brother's home, ran inside and locked the door behind them. By now they were terrified. The two brothers stood trembling at the door as the wolf approached, hollering...
"Little pigs little pigs, let me in, or I will huff and I will puff and I will blow your house in!"
But the third little pig sat relaxed in his chair. He read the paper.
He replied to the wolf, "Not by the hair of our chinny chin chins!"
So the big bad wolf huffed... and he puffed... and he blew...
But the house did not move.
This made the wolf very angry. He began again.
He HUFFED... and he PUFFED.. and he BLEW!!!
Still the house did not move.
By now all of the little pigs had relaxed. The third little pig went to kitchen to get crackers and juice for his brothers.
The big bad wolf had all but walked away when as he turned something caught his eye. There, on the roof of the house, was a chimney. The big bad wolf had an idea.
Surely no pig would expect him to slither down the chimney, at which point he could jump out into the room and eat all those little pigs. But just as the wolf scaled the side of the house one of the piggies caught sight of the wolf's tail as it swished past the window.
"Quick," called the pig to his brothers, "Light the fire and throw a pot on the flame!"
The little pigs stood, waiting at the fire. When the big bad wolf slid down the chimney he landed right int the pot and the pigs slammed down the lid.
That night three little pigs ate that big bad wolf for dinner and as they ate they sang this song...
"Who's afraid of the big bad wolf, the big bad wolf, the big bad wolf... we're not afraid of the big bad wolf anymore."
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
The hormones involved in pregnancy and nursing have taken my depression to a new level. Before children my depression would weigh on me like a wet wool blanket and beneath it I could do nothing but wait for it to dry so that I could move again. The hormones make depression more like someone sneaking up behind me with a blanket, throwing it over my head, spinning me, dousing me, and then making sure that I know this is my fault as it never would have happened had I not left that blanket and a near by bucket of water lying around.
I don't care to share these things. Not because you are reading it but because it is hard to write down.
I don't know what I expected from motherhood the second time around. I don't know why I thought I knew what I was doing when all I really mastered was going through the motions. I know how to breastfeed, to nurture, to cook a square meal and get a toddler down for a nap. I know how to get to the library, the good parks. I not only know which equipment my kid can play on without getting hurt but I know how to get her to want to only play on that stuff. I know how to stay calm at 2 a.m. when I haven't had a good night's sleep in 6 weeks. I know how to go through the motions so that I am a loving wife who empathizes with my husband even on the days I really feel completely alone and isolated. I am skilled.
I told Dan last night that the longer I am home the more I feel my confidence slipping away. Having these children has set back my "plan" by exactly 5 years. I remember thinking that I would be okay with being old in law school because I wouldn't be done until I was 30. Now I am 31 and a year out from starting grad school. But I am skilled. My children and my husband did not just happen to me. I needed them, sought them out and brought them each into my life. Now I struggle to identify myself by no fault of theirs.
My aunt told me while we went for a walk last week, "It took me a long time to realize I was more than just the things I did. I was more than a mother, I was more than a job, and it has taken me a long time to see that."
All the struggling we have had to go through with money because I decided to stay home and raise the children. All the weight that Dan has carried to care for our family when he knows as well as I do that I could return to work and double our income. Still he has never said a word. We talked about this last night, about how "having children" means different things to different people. To me it meant being home, being the one that wakes them, feeds them, soothes them. I do all of these things. I am skilled at this.
But being a mother is only a compartment to a woman. Time is cruel to a mother. It runs out and your children leave you and you have no skills, no babies, and nothing but stories to tell about who you were before you were a mother. I am transitioning. Preparing for school, a career, looking to get back to work earlier with Merrick than I did with Cohen.
I am struggling to identify with something I prefer. This part of motherhood, the part with a newborn is like falling down a rabbit hole. I know there is another side and I know I am going to come out on it, possibly even land on my feet, but I am falling none the less. The trick seems to be to let go, to relax, to have enough faith in myself to know that where ever I end up I will be fine.
I just don't have words for what this is. I can't write today and yet I try to keep this blog for my record and for my readers. I try to be honest so that if any of you ever feel this way you can see you are not alone. Because right now the alone part is the worst. I just need a success story. I just need to pull through to the other side. I just need to remember that the sleep will come back and I will be able to take my test and I will pass and I will be a student again. In the world again. Valued for something other than breast milk and story time again. Because being a mother to my children is forever demanding more of me. While now they need stories and diaper changes, soon it will be cell phones and clothes not from Wal Mart, cars and college. And I will provide those things. That is my job. That is my gift to give.
All of this I struggle with, this is my drug. My choices have led me to my options and despite what frustrates me I know that I am lucky to feel safe and loved while I press on. Thanks for that.
Monday, February 16, 2009
I worried about the women he would date, and the woman he might marry. I obsessed over whether or not there was any way to avoid becoming the type of mother who seems to secretly wish she could marry her own son.
Thursday, February 12, 2009
Me: Cohen, get out from behind the table and stop putting VISINE on the dog's butt. I...AM...SERIOUS!
Coco: I have to hide here (From under the table).
Me: I hope you never have the occasion to speak to a social services worker because what we have going here could go down hill...quick.
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Readers, does it occur to you that perhaps I have unfulfilled desires too. I am selfish, I admit. In the two hours (broken up throughout the day) that the new kid allows me the freedom to do anything without him attached to one of my massively engorged breasts do I blog? No, I do not. I go to the bathroom, or shower, or eat. Obviously this can only reinforce that I am a selfish beast who has never really cared for any of you.
To make it up to you readers I will now write a blog while the new kid sits at my side and screams bloody neglected murder. Who feels selfish now?
I have noticed how my nursing bras - when seen through the neck line of whatever shirt I am wearing at the time of bending over to pick up something - look like bondage gear. I wondered if this was an intentional design to give allure to a woman whom, at this phase of mothering, has had every bit of her hotness extinguished by rouge baby pee and leaking breastmilk.
With the bondage style nursing bra, when I do venture out into the grocery store at 10 p.m. with my hair a mess and my legs unshaven - inevitably dropping something due to exhaustion - passers by can think I am some secret bondage freak instead of the boring truth of being a new mother coated in baby vomit and milk.
Yes, fellow aisle 6 patron, I had to use the safe word to get my husband to unchain me so that I could run to the store for some whole milk because all we have is nonfat milk and if I use nonfat he will spank and gag me so that I will be forced to go another 2 days satisfying his sexual demands instead of showering. That is exactly what is going on here.
Friday, February 06, 2009
I had forgotten how crazy I get about my breast milk. The only thing harder than sitting still to nurse a newborn when you have things you need to get done is sitting down to attach yourself to a whining breast pump. A breast pump has all of the function with none of the sentiment, and honestly, at this point I am composed of 90% sentiment. So when I sit down for 20 minutes and let this whiny machine tug 3 hard earned ounces out of me and give that bottle to Dan I expect that every ounce will be savored by that baby. I expect that every second of feeding him will be utter bonding bliss for my husband. Most importantly, I expect that bottle to be sucked bone dry at the end of that feeding.
Dan refers to my breast milk as liquid gold. Would you believe that he calls it this because it is the amazing life source for our beautiful new child? If you would, you need to go back to day one of this blog and get to know us a little better. Dan calls it liquid gold because I go absolutely ape shit if I find a drop of it anywhere. The first bottle he gave to baby Merrick he left over an ounce in the bottle. This was only two weeks after Merrick was born. Do you have any idea how hard it is to negotiate 3 ounces of breast milk out of my body via pump on week 2?!
It's like negotiating a fucking hostage situation.
The immediate area in which I am pumping should be evacuated. The first time I tried to involve Cohen in the pumping process she had a Spinal Tap moment, reached over and turned the suction on my breast pump up to 11. Also, forget about Merrick being in the room. If the new kid smells me eating he has to eat, if he smells my breast milk and is not simultaneously sucking down every last drop of it he will proceed to melt his face off with the heat of his own blood curdling screams. Evacuation is mandatory.
Cover all points of entry/exit.The nipple must be completely surrounded. This will define the difference between a slightly uncomfortable task and torture by way of pin pricks to the nipple and tiny fires being ignited on the areola.
Demands must be assessed and met. If the milk is going to come out the pump placement must be perfect. Otherwise perfectly good and valuable milk cannot be expressed. Adjust and reassess. Repeat. The pumper cannot be thirsty. I must remember to have water with me when pumping. To have to detach at this point and pour a glass of water is not an option.
When the milk is fully expressed it must then be transported from the bottle to the freezer bag. If a drop spills negotiations have been for naught. Lives lost. Doom. Minutes of my free time wasted. So you can imagine that I don't spill often. The milk is then frozen. At this point I have been successful and negotiations resolve in peace. Pick up the megaphone. The milk has been released from the breast folks, you can all go home!
So you can imagine my reaction when I get home from class and ask how Merrick ate. "Great, he ate it all," Dan says. Then I find Merrick's bottle sitting with a full ounce of milk left over. Left overs? Merrick doesn't leave leftovers. Dan asks what the big deal is and I recount for him my hostage situation analogy.
Only I am not making it funny for him. For him I am crying. For him I will bring up that ounce of left over milk two days later. I will be using that ounce of left over milk as concrete proof that Dan does not value what I do as a mother. I will convince myself that if he could waste something I worked so hard to produce he could not possibly love me or value me as a person. At this point it might be fair to say that Dan has entered a hostage negotiation of his own. "Crazy lady, can you please release my wife - I know she's in there and I am going to need some proof of life!"
Monday, January 26, 2009
I should have clarified in my comment that I meant your photo looked like American Apparel pre-porn, when all the girls looked tiny and boyish (two traits that have always attracted me to women) but still had pretty faces.
Now look what they've become. This girl is one big belly away from an American Apparel Home birth. That wouldn't seem complimentary at all, would it?
Still you have to give this one to me. Give it to me... I am pretty sure that's the translation of the words across this girl's frontal region. Love you guys. Cole you're hot - that's all I was saying!
Yeah, I might have fallen for that guilt trip on baby number one (putting baby into rocker with binky) but on kid number two (shut up Dexter) your judgement means nothing to me (replace binky). Who am I kidding though, I am a blog read mostly by my loving friends and/or fellow parents who would only judge me out of ear shot (replace binky) and I know that asking for anything more is impossible. (Binky hits floor and crying must be tolerated) I start a new class tonight where I will actually have to enter a class room again. The instructor did not post the syllabus until the day before class and now I have today to write another 1400 word paper. Lame. I am eating a mushy banana. I am weaning off of any type of pain medication but unfortunately the blog is still subject to the aftershocks of bad humor, no humor and rampant crying jags. Mine and the new kid's.
What can I tell you guys, I am swamped and really looking forward to the visitors I still have coming over the next 4-6 weeks. Merrick is my co-pilot. He is on the breast, at the helm, as my one free hand alternates between this soggy banana, a cold cup of coffee (that's right, I went back to the black! The second I was approved for a liquid diet after surgery I sent for an Americano) and the keyboard.
I am engorged in every sense of the word. I am forever embracing every distraction as the reality of two children is so truly overwhelming. Already I can see how times goes faster with two. I am the pong ball, bouncing between Cohen having taught herself to ride her tricycle and Merrick's belly button rot falling off. It was hard enough to keep up with all of Cohen's changes, but now I look left look right look left and all of a sudden my baby is my toddler, my fat belly became my baby, and my body is this slow deflating emotional time bomb that I am kidgloving so that it won't detinate before it is restored to it's previous condition.
On the upside, my birthday is Wednesday. I got myself another DVR. I tried to quit cable cold turkey in my ninth month of pregnancy. What kind of psychotic hormonal bullshit that was. Here's a thought... how about right before I come home from major surgery I cancel my cable. That way I can stare at a fucking wall while I wait to lose my baby weight. What would be better than waking at all hours of the night to feed the new kid, who refuses to stay latched in when I am in the laying down position? Watching local cable at 3 a.m. That isn't Gunsmoke folks, we are talking religious propaganda and infomercials.
I will be 31 years old and I am happy. I have gotten all of my breeding out of the way and it feels really satisfying to close a chapter. Like getting married closed the dating chapter of my life, a huge sigh of relief occurs and is followed by a sense of completion and satisfaction. I can only compare this to catching a great wave. The catch is, you can't sit and relish in it too long because another wave is forming and is on its way to send you crashing into the next part of your future. So I am here, trying to keep my pace up, nursing the new kid, letting the dogs out, taking advantage of Dan the best I can while I still have him at home and (who would have guessed it?) actually getting a blog in. Thanks you guys... for giving me someone to talk to other than Dan who has to listen because he is under contract.
And because the belly button rot has fallen off the new kid got his first bath last night. This is one of the only things I have seen him do off of the boob that does not entail screaming in dissatisfaction.
Thursday, January 22, 2009
Tonight, he proved himself an asset. I asked him to prepare an orange for me before he took the dog for a walk and this is what I got...
Dan maintains that this was not a cruel joke at my caloric expense rather his romantic response to my stating earlier this afternoon that I might be ready for some physical relations soon, relatively soon, like maybe next month.
L: Even though we still have another month before we can go "all the way" maybe we could get the kids to sleep in their own beds this weekend.
D: So we can go half way?
L: I was thinking maybe a quarter of the way. Just for starters.
D: A quarter of the way sounds good. Oh yeah. We are totally going a quarter of the way.
Coco: Once upon a time, when I was a little girl I traveled and traveled between these dots and the I got runned over by a car. The end.
Dan: That was... very good Cohen. Now can you tell a story with a happy ending?
Coco: Once upon a time there was the end. And I loved. Oh and I had a frog on my head.
Dan: Much better.
Monday, January 19, 2009
As a woman who may never be able to have a biological child of her own (my husband has brain cancer and the chemo has relegated his little swimmers to the eternal wading pool), the opportunity to witness the birth of Merrick was immeasurable. I arrived on Sunday evening and we went out for a grown up dinner before the baby arrived. As I sat at dinner, I couldn’t help but stare at Lawton’s belly and try to wrap my head around the fact that indeed there was a baby in there and that he would be here in just 11 short hours. She and Dan were so calm and collected as we talked about our how we tortured our own siblings and tried to imagine what Cohen would have in store for her little brother. Cohen is so smart and creative already that I can only hope that she uses her powers for good rather than evil. When we went home, I couldn’t sleep and before I knew it the alarm rang and it was time.
I loved watching Dan and Lawton together as we made our way to the hospital. They joked all the way there despite the obvious anticipation in the air. In the hospital room, they started poking and prodding Lawton with various needles. Everything in me wanted to jump up and hold her hand and make sure that nothing hurt too badly. But, Dan had it covered and I knew that I needed to stay back and let them share in this important moment together. Minutes felt like hours. Finally, the nurses arrived to take us to the operating room. Lawton went in by herself while Dan and I waited out in the hall until she was prepped. I have to say that I have liked Dan from the moment I met him. But, standing in that hallway with him while we waiting for his wife to be ready to give birth to his son, I loved him.
We laughed and joked, trying to make time move more quickly but the fear and anticipation in his eyes was evident. It was truly wonderful to be able to actually feel how much he loved Lawton and his son that had not yet even been born. This is a picture of Dan and I in the hall waiting to go into surgery.
I heard the doctor say “starting the incision” and my brain automatically switched to safety mode. It is a completely surreal feeling as if what I am seeing is actually on a very large, all encompassing television screen. The only thing that I can compare it to is when I jumped out of a plane for the first time and I was staring at the ground coming closer and closer. Your brain just doesn’t allow you to really experience what is happening. Lawton said it best later when she said that it is truly impossible to live in that moment. Then, they lifted him up and I saw him for the first time and my eyes welled with tears. “There he is”, I said, “he is so beautiful.” I loved him. With his first breath, I loved him. I looked at Lawton and she had this look in her eyes that I will never forget. It was one of those looks that can never be captured in words or in a photograph. It was true and utter joy. I watched Dan admiring his new son and he too had that look. If I wasn’t trying so hard to keep it all together I would have fallen to the ground and wept. I would have wept for the love I felt for this new baby and for Lawton and Dan and the absolute appreciation that I felt for being allowed to share in this moment. But, despite my happiness, I also would have wept for the deep sense of loss that I felt at the realization that I may never be able to experience this joy with my own husband. As Merrick was being handed to Dan so that Lawton could see him, I shook this thought out of my head and reveled in the moment. Watching Dan and Lawton hold their son for the first time, I felt a true sense of peace.
Unfortunately, we would later find out that Cohen was sick and that she could not visit her mother and brother in the hospital anymore for fear that he would catch her bug. While this was sad in many ways, I must admit that I was happy to have some one-on-one time with Cohen. We watched movies, played flashlight tag, read books, made pancakes, played pretend, and cuddled when she was feeling sick. We went to the “book train” and created our own little world of imagination with all of the stuffed animals. I truly enjoyed our special time together. Despite our efforts at making her well, Cohen was still sick when it was time for her mother and the baby to come home. Lawton was heart-broken but knew that it was best for Cohen to stay with her dad at grandma’s house until she was better. I can’t even imagine how hard it was for Lawton and Merrick to be separated from Dan and Cohen for those first couple of days. But, they prevailed and made the most of a rough situation. I tried my best to take Dan’s place and rushed at the chance to satisfy Lawton’s every whim. She was a trooper, all laughs and smiles (with just a little hormonal crying). We ate frozen yogurt and watched the L-Word for two straight days, truly decadent. I got in all the baby cuddles that I could because I knew that I would be leaving soon.
The day I left, was inexplicably sad for me. I was going to miss all of them so much. I got in some final cuddles with Merrick, told him that I loved him, and that I would be back soon.
Lawton and Dan, thank you so much for letting me share in this experience with you. Both of you are such strong parents and the love in your family is unmistakable. You are like family to me and I love you both very much.
Cohen and Merrick, I promise that I will always do what I can to be the best Auntie Erin that I can be. I will be there for you no matter how far of a distance there is between us. I will do my best to teach you and guide you when you are unsure and praise you for your individual accomplishments. I will love you without limits and I will always let you know how special you are to me.
Thursday, January 15, 2009
Friday, January 09, 2009
Today was our last day with me as your mother and you my only child - when I see you next you will be one of my children. My hormones are having a hay-day with this. To split the love, to acknowledge love for someone new... my knowing it will be possible doesn't make it hurt less. It's not like the days before you were born when my life was my own. Since that day my life has been yours too and now another little person is going to be dependent upon me.
The mother who popped you in the mouth in the middle of a restaurant last week for biting me. The mother who has begged you these past few weeks to just stop whatever torturous thing you were doing in a desperate attempt to get some of my attention. I'm so sorry for all of the sickness and sleepiness that comes with pregnancy and how it has shortened my temper. I am hoping it will be better in a matter of days.
Very soon I will be able to run after you again, play chase, and crawl on the floor and not complain every time you poop in your pants because that means I have to get down on the floor to change you. I can't wait for you to be able to climb all over me again. To go for long walks and play at the park. And then there's the little matter of the new kid.
I don't know what to expect from your little brother, and so I expect nothing and just wait. I cannot imagine him. I tried to imagine you before you came and it was nothing compared to who you came to be so with your brother I can only wait. Anticipate. I can imagine you with him. Just when I panic, thinking I am still learning to be a good mother to you and I have brought another person into this world that will also be totally dependent; I imagine you looking at your brother and I remember why your father and I decided to have another baby.
We wanted you to have a sibling, like Daddy has Uncle Jeff and I have Uncle Clarke. We wanted you to have someone to turn to and say, "Wow, Mom and Dad are idiots." We wanted to give you another kind of love and when we see you at the end of this weekend we will be giving you that gift.
I will just look to you, as I do in so many other situations. I will follow your lead. I cannot wait to watch you wrap your head around the idea that the fat belly I have been lugging around morphed into a crying baby over just one weekend away at Grammy's.
Mostly I am scared at how big you are going to look when you come walking through that door and I am holding this tiny new baby. How big you seemed tonight walking out the door wearing your tight little jeans and carrying your My Little Pony Purse. You are my baby, and I have just not figured out yet how it's going to feel to hold a new baby. To love a new baby. To go through it all again for someone new. Sometimes looking back it seems I barely survived you.
As a tribute to Cohen the big sister, the girl who is forever asking me to tell her a story about when I was a little girl I am going to close with a few stories from this week with you... my little girl.
Monday you fell at Grandma's while I was in the office and bonked your head on the coffee table. It took me almost a full minute of consoling you and checking your mouth to make sure you didn't bite through your bottom lip before I brushed the hair back from your forehead and discovered the head wound gushing blood down your hair line and dripping onto the shoulder of your baby blue pajamas. Your first real wound. I scooped you up and took you into the bathroom. Sat you on the counter while I wet a washcloth to put on your forehead and I remembered one of your favorite stories.
When Uncle Clarke was a little boy he had such blonde hair it looked white. One day he and I were playing in the store and he came running around the corner and slipped. He hit his forehead on the sharp corner of a shelf and when my mom picked him up he had a bright red streak of blood running through his white hair. But when Grandma cleaned him up it turned out to be just a little cut. It had seemed so scary at the time because his hair was so white but he was fine.
With this story (that I now realize was innappropriate to have ever told you) in mind I sat you on the counted and said, "Look, you're just like Uncle Clarke!".
You looked at yourself and as the blood drained from your face you screamed, "My blood! Why am I bleeding my blood?!"
By the time I found an urgent care you had calmed down and were mostly annoyed at how poorly I was handling this whole incident. Once you stopped crying you never cried again and you were such a pro at the urgent care that I saw a strength in you I don't recall having and knew that must be from your father.
Incidentally, while we sat in the room waiting to hear if it would be skin glue and butterfly stitched or a needle and thread your Grandma told me the rest of that story about Uncle Clarke. Evidently, it was a terrible cut and he had to go to emergency room where they tethered him to a body board, strapping down all of his appendages so that they could inject the wound site with the needle that would numb the many stitches he ended up getting. While you agreed to take a needle to the face in exchange for a chocolate bar they were too chicken shit to believe a little kid like you could be so tough and you pranced out of there resilient with 4 butterfly stitches and a free pass for chocolate before lunch.
Tuesday you and I were walking through the Dillard's at the mall and on the way over to kid's shoes you wanted to stop and touch every single piece of costume jewelry within your reach. Finally I walked over and took you by the hand - which you hate - and rushed you along. You dropped your feet out from beneath yourself and turned into dead weight because you know for a fact I can no longer lift you. I pull on your arm and whisper in my meanest mommy whisper "Cohen Beatrix, you had better get up right now," to which you seethed in a whisper all your own, "Don't under-est-i-mate me, Mommy." I asked you what you said and you repeated it perfectly, less for my entertainment and more to make your point, "Don't under-est-i-mate me, Mommy." A smile slid across my face and then onto yours. Technically you had won. We laughed at your way with words and walked together through the store... not holding hands anymore.
Wednesday night you followed me into the bathroom on one of my many night time trips to pee. You brought it to my attention that I was beginning to lose my mucus plug by looking down at my underwear and saying, "Mommy, is that gum on your undies, or pee?" You slay me.
I love you little girl, you are an amazing daughter and you are going to be an amazing big sister. I know it.
Tuesday, January 06, 2009
However - To make it all up to you for tuning in, I want to share with you Dan's latest idea about what kind of work I should be looking for after having the baby.
Until my regular programming returns thank you and enjoy...
She's Got Alotta Heart