Sunday, December 24, 2006

Choices

So, my best friend is getting a divorce. She's only a year older than I, and has been married a year longer. Her daughter is between the two of mine in age. It's scary to think that people *my age* are old enough to start getting divorced. It was odd to think that we were old enough to get married, much less old enough to have chilren. Husband and I were among the very first in our set of friends to get married, and the very first to have children. And now we're old enough to start getting divorced. That's just beyond strange to me, and sad, too.

But her husband was a total jackass, and I never figured out why she married him in the first place. She's well shed of him, in my opinion. That's not the choice that is on my mind right now.

My friend has a daughter. She stays at home with her. She quit her job on purpose to stay at home with her. And that's great. Some people are cut out to spend their days at home, and some are not. She loves being with her daughter all day, and her husband makes enough money to support all three of them. Everyone is happy - everyone wins.

Now that she's leaving her husband, she's going to have to go back to work. She is absolutely distraught right now - not about leaving her husband, not about being a single mom - about having to put her daughter in daycare. And the thing is, she's not even putting her in regular daycare. She's taking her to the home of a friend for babysitting. We were talking about this on the phone last night, and she came right out and said that she could not, in good conscience, put her daughter in daycare.

And that made me furious.

I totally respect her right to make whatever arrangements she feels are best for her family. Everyone gets to do that. But she implied that daycare is going to somehow *harm* her daughter - that daycare is somehow going to turn her daughter into a mutant freak. I had to finally point out that the Bear has been in daycare consistenly since she was 6 weeks old, and that she is a *very* intelligent and well-adjusted child, and that she had intellectual and social capacities when she was younger that my friend's daughter does not have now, at the same age. And even now, she is consistently ahead of other children her age in all kinds of ways. I'm not saying that my child is *better*, because them's fightin' words, but at that age she was able to put herself to sleep, sleep through the night, entertain herself with toys and games, speak in simple but clear sentences, and not constantly whine and need to be held my mommy all day and night long. And I can't say that about my friend's daughter.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not claiming that daycare turned my child into the genius that she is, or that staying at home has somehow made my friend's daughter slow. What I am saying is that, despite all the daycare, my child turned out just fine, thankyouverymuch. It has not harmed her in the least. She is very sociable, very adaptable, and very loving. Daycare has not killed her spirit. And, perhaps best of all, daycare has enabled me to make enough money to keep buying that pesky food she seems to want all the time.

I felt that she was somehow impugning my decision (one made out of financial necessity) to keep my kids in daycare instead of staying home with them. Like I was somehow an inferior mother because it didn't break my heart to leave my kids with someone else for the day. Like I didn't have the same kind of love for my kids that she has for hers, because I can contemplate daycare with a dry eye and a rational mind.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

What do you do while you're cooking?

It's such mindless work sometimes, I stand there in the kitchen and have way too much time to think. I will confess to composing impromptu situational haiku in my head while I'm working. Tonight:

Oh, the tedium,
Peeling, chopping potatoes -
Make your own damn soup.

And then, later:

Your recipe for
Coffeecake has too much crumb.
Why so dry, Martha?

What do you do while you're cooking?

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Conspiracy

5:15 - Husband's first alarm goes off. I wake instantly; he takes a little longer.* I wake him; he shuts it off.
5:27 - Husband's second alarm goes off. I'm still awake. I wake him; he shuts it off.
5:45 - Still awake. Husband is leaving for work. Mouse starts babbling in her crib.
5:46 - Fine. I get the baby and traipse off downstairs for a diaper and a bottle, in the hopes that she'll go back to sleep.
5:58 - Bottle finished. Mouse looks at me as if to say, "Playtime?"
5:59 - When it becomes apparent that she's not going back to sleep in her crib, I bring her in bed with me. She proceeds to climb me like a jungle gym, jabbering on about something or other.
6:00 - Maybe I can fall back asleep while she hangs out.
6:07 - Apparently not.
6:08 - The Bear is awakened by Mouse's shrieks of glee. Bear is disoriented and groggy, but wakes instantly when she finds out it's party time in Mommy's bed.
6:10 - All three girls ensconced in covers. The Bear covers Mouse with hugs and kisses. They talk. They roll. They flop. I roll over and try to go back to sleep.
6:11 - Downstairs, from the playroom, the cat is yowling. Loudly.
6:12 - That damn cat will *not* shut up.
6:15-6:30. I fruitlessly try to convince both girls that since it is still pitch black outside and technically the middle of the night, they should both go back to sleep and wake up at 8.
6:30 - Ha! They mock me derisively.
6:31 - Fine, whatever. We are up.

It is now just after 7 and we are all dressed and breakfasted. I have no idea what we're going to do until it's time to go to the babysitter's. I am... tired.


*The man can sleep through anything. Seriously. Anything.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Diagnosis: Teething

Let me preface this post by saying that all known doctors, authorities, and most other people concur that getting good, regular sleep is paramount in the management of bipolar disorder. As in, go to bed at the same time every night, get up at the same time every day, don't nap in between, get at least 8 uninterrupted hours if you don't want to have a bad episode, good sleep.

Let me also say that the particular meds that I am on are known to interact with BC pills, and I have noticed a marked increase in my, ahem, irritability during the week I have my period.

Be it known, then, that I am, in fact, you know... menstruating.

That being said, Mouse is not sleeping. The child, she is completely uninterested in getting a good night's sleep. On average, she will wake up 5-7 times a night. Sometimes, she only goes for twenty minutes or so after being settled back down before crying again. She will. not. sleep. At all. It is driving me up the GDMF* wall. Every time I hear the sniffle that precedes the whimper that precedes the wail, I tense. My blood pressure goes up. Way up. I curse. I think of people I could sell my baby to for money.** I will admit it: I HATE getting up in the night with my kids.

I feel none of that "motherly compassion" stuff. I have no desire to nurture or comfort after 10 p.m. I don't want to feed/change/soothe/etc. I want my freaking sleep. I don't care how selfish that sounds. I have no maternal instincts after dark. I (selfish me!) just want to get some damn sleep so that I don't turn into a homicidal maniac.

So, when Mouse started pulling on her ears the other day, I was thrilled. She has an ear infection! No wonder she can't sleep! We'll go to the doctor, get the drops, feel better, sleep better, end of story.

Today I took her in. The kindly Nurse Practitioner was very friendly, but practically laughed me out of the office. She said, and I quote, "That's the healthiest baby I've ever seen!"

I could have killed her. Cheerfully, even.

So, yeah, no ear infection. No *anything* wrong with her. And, as an added bonus, she lost a whole pound (she hasn't been eating to her usual standards, either), bringing her back into the "reasonable" range, back from the "holy crap, look at that baby" range. Silver lining, I suppose. I looked at the sheet they give you, and under "Diagnosis" she had written "teething."

I felt like a moron.

And the bitch of it all is that there's nothing to be done, because there's nothing wrong with her except that it takes her three weeks to cut a single tooth. At this rate, she may have her first molars by kindergarten, but I'm not holding my breath. At nine and a half months, she has three teeth and one big lump under her front gums. That's it. That's bizarre, right? The Bear had 10 teeth at 10 months. We're not exactly there yet.

The upshot of all this, I suppose, is that she hasn't been sleeping, which means I haven't been sleeping, which means Husband hasn't been sleeping. Even the Bear wakes up occasionally to get in on all the late-night action. Guess who is the grouchiest out of all four?

ETA: As of Tuesday morning, we now have four teeth. Maybe tonight will be a turning point. Or not.


*That's an abbreviation coined by one of my students, when reporting what another student said to get himself suspended. You figure it out.

**$500 OBO. Call me.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Things I have learned about myself

Thing the first: I have a very quick temper.

Thing the second: I get very strong feelings of rage when things happen that I don't like.

Thing the third: I shouldn't always let my anger have control of my actions.

Thing the fourth: I need to learn to calm myself down before I say or do something I regret.

Thing the fifth: It takes way more energy to be calm than angry.

Thing the sixth: I need to learn to relax and let go when things don't go according to plan.

Thing the seventh: *Nothing* makes me want a glass of wine more than a crying baby.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Oh, for the love of Pete

I'm still here, nobody's dead/killed/maimed/incarcerated. We're working through some issues, namely:

1) How did I get so fucked up?, and
2) Will these children ever sleep again?

More soon. Sorry for the irregularity.

Monday, November 20, 2006

That's it

If I have to spend one more minute in this house with these fucking children, someone's going to get it.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Blacklisted!

Today has been a very conflicting day. I didn't go to my group therapy like I was supposed to. When I showed up today, I was told that I had been discharged without my knowledge because I had missed two days of therapy. I was irate, not so much because of their policy, which is fairly reasonable, but because out of the three phone calls I received from the hospital yesterday, not one person mentioned the policy to me. So I told them I would be back today, and they said, "See you then" - nothing about automatic discharge. I got up this morning and hauled my ass to the hospital - an hour away - intent on getting to group on tme and working on my issues. So when I was unceremoniously kicked out of the hospital's program, I was really upset. It just seems to me that when someone is making a goof faith effort to improve her situation, it's hurtful to deny her that treatment. It seems like a direct violation of the "first do no harm" principle. But I managed to handle it really well - I didn't cry, I didn't yell, I didn't have an anxiety attack or anything. I was really pleased with my coping. I was a little... disoriented for a while. I wandered around Target for two hours, up and down every aisle. I kept putting things in my cart and then taking them back out. I finally ended up with a new winter coat. And scarf. And hat. And gloves. All of which I totally needed anyway, so no loss. I managed to talk through things with my husband, and I felt pretty good about it. We're trying to make some major life decisions right now - whether I want to make a career change (probably), when I would want to do that (now? end of the year?), whether we want to move (definitely), whether we can afford to move (of course not), where we would even move to (who knows where?), and what we can do to simplify our life for the sake of my mental health and wellbeing.

My kids are at my parents' house right now, and it's just killing me. I miss talking to the Bear. She's at a stage right now where she really gets into conversation. She asks a million questions, which is totally annoying, but really cute. She's amazingly bright, and it's so neat to watch her figure things out on her own. She's such a person now. Not a baby or a toddler. She's a little girl. And all I want to do is hold her and tell her I love her. She knows that Mommy is sick, that Mommy goes to the doctor, and that Mommy takes medicines to hep her feel better. It kills me that, at two, she knows all this already. I only hope that when (if) her turn comes, we'll be able to talk about it and get help if she needs it. There's such a strong marker for this in my family, I want her to be aware of it as she gets older. And I never want to hide my illness from her. And Mouse, I just want to squish her baby fatness, and watch her chase the cat, and hear her laugh, and see her clap her hands, and kiss her all over her face. She's such a big baby now, and after her bath, when she's just in her diaper, she's so wide and soft and smooth. It's killing me inside not to be with her. And yet, my house is remarkably peaceful right now. And maybe that's what I need to help work things out right now.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Musings

Rather than more blathering about my mental state, today I leave you with a poem (well, a fragment thereof, really) that has spoken to me in the past few days.


Oh build a special city
for everyone who wishes

to die, where
they might help one another out

and never feel ashamed
maybe make a friend,

etc.
You

who created the stars and the sea
come down, come down

in spirit, fashion
a new heart

in me, create
me again -


from "Fathers" by Franz Wright

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Darkness

Today was a bad day.

I'm staring at the pills I managed to find - my husband tried to hide them, bless him, but he's not real thorough.

My coworkers have forgotten me, I have no close friends, and my family is stressful beyond compare. The new meds make me stoned all the time.

I spent the majority of my day in bed. I cried. I slept. I stared at the ceiling fan.

I can't imagine living like this for much longer. Is this all there is to look forward to?

On the other hand, I did shower and go out to vote - I'm not so far gone that I can't do my part to help the Democrats take the Senate. Maybe there is hope left for me.

Still. A bad day.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Navel-gazing

Today's goal: Deal with my anxiety without meds.*

Today is my first day of outpatient therapy. We come every day to continue the work we becan during our hospital stay. I was a little reluctant to come - I wasn't sure how much it would really help me. Everyone seems really nice and welcoming - a lot less crazy than the inpatient program. We'll see how it works out.

I called my boss and took a leave of absence from work. I told her I was going to take my 12 weeks of FMLA, but in reality I'm going to reevaluate at Christmas break. Maybe I'll go back - maybe I'll make a career change.

Today's self-reflection exercise goes like this:

1. One thing I would like others to know about me is that sometimes I put up a tough facade to cover the fact that my feelings are very easily hurt.

2. Ways my future will be different than my past - I will not direct my anger at my children, or at other innocent people. I will try to express anger at *situations* instead, and try to deal with it in a healthy, productive way.

3. My definition of morality is to act in the way that is most beneficial and least desructive to myself and others.

4. The best decision I ever made was to marry my husband.

5. My greatest fear is that nobody likes me.

6. A time in my life when I felt safe was when I lived alone in Chicago.

7. My definition of resilience is coming out of a situation stronger than when you went in.

8. A part of my past I want to put to rest is my compulsive lying from childhood, and my feelings of being an outsider after my move.

9. I am worthy of love because I try to be caring toward others.

10. Ways others are wrong about me: they think I don't care about others or about what they think of me.

11. I am not "damaged goods" because I am not a disease - I am a *person* who has a disease.

12. An alternative to self-blame and shame is learning to release negative thoughts and feelings.

13. My life isn't over yet because I need to raise my daughters to be strong, intelligent, independent women.

14. The forms of my creativity are very limited - I express them mostly through writing or baking.

15. My goals for the next 6 months to 1 year are to find satisfaction at work and to focus more on myself and making myself whole again.

16. I am not my mother; I am someone who admits my troubles, who seeks help for them, and who doesn't repress my emotions.

17. What defines who I am: I am a wife, mother, friend, avid reader, and queen of all trivial knowledge.

18. Compared to one year ago, my life is more unstable, but is on a positive trend instead of a negative trend.

19. It is my choice whether or not to forgive myself for hurting myself and my family.

20. The past does not control me because I can choose how I act and react in situations.

21. The next step after surviving is thriving.

22. I am addicted to routine.

23. One person who seems to understand me is my husband.

24. At this moment in my life, I want to learn to like myself.

25. I am allowed to make mistakes because I'm only human.

We talked a lot about false self vs. true self today, false self being the face we show to the world, and the true self being who we truly are. I made a poster contrasting the two, but I truly can't tell anymore which traits are really me and which are the ones I show to the world. I don't know who I am anymore, and that's sad to me. I wish I knew, or knew how to find out.


*Yeah. Not today. Vaunting ambition and all that, but, yeah. No.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Home

So, I thought I was ready to come home. Now that I'm here, I'm wishing I could go back to the hospital. It's much more stressful than I anticipated it would be. It's very overwhelming, and there's so much to deal with at once that I'm really getting anxious. I stood on the front porch for ten minutes before I could come inside. Every few hours, I have to run upstairs and cry. I'm having more and more anxiety today.

I cut off my hair. I was out, and I just walked in and said, "cut it off." It looks kind of good.

I left my job. I'm taking FMLA leave for 12 weeks - I'll think about going back then. I just can't do it right now. The thought of going back to work gave me an anxiety attack today. A bad one.

Things are bleak here, but with glimmers of hope. I posted the entries I wrote while I was in the hospital and post-dated them to the dates they were written. Sorry if they're a little incoherent.

I know this barely counts as an entry for today - oh well. I haven't cried in two hours. That's a big step for today - we'll see what happens tomorrow.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Day Three

Today I go home. I spent just over 48 hours locked away in here, but I feel very different than when I came in. I have identified some of my problems, my shortcomings, things that trigger my emotional troubles, and the causes of some of my actions. I'm working on setting some goals for myself. Every day in group we set goals for the day, and at the end of the day we talk about how or whether we met our goals. My goal for today was to set some long-term goals for myself to work on "on the outside." I succeeded fairly well. My goals are to create a support network for myself - friends and family whom I can talk to about what's going on, and whom I can ask for help if I need it. Another goal is to accept help when it is offered. Also, I will spend more time helping myself, so that I can be a better mom, wife, and teacher. I never spend any time focusing on me. I'm going to start doing that more often. Finally, I'm going to work on finding ways to cope when things *don't* go as planned. What those are, I have no idea, though.

Right now, when things aren't going as planned, and I start feeling angry or anxious or overwhelmed, I'm trying to remain calm by maintaining even breathing patterns, and by distracting myself until I'm calm enough to take stock of the situation. I've been feeling a little more anxious than usual, and when I get anxious lately I cry, so I've been doing more of that than usual, too. Which is okay. It's actually kind of nice for a change. The meds I have been on made it impossible for me to cry, and crying can be a really good way to release tension. Now that I'm able to do it again, it feels kind of good. Still, it's not always a really effective way to deal with stress and mood triggers. What will I do when I go back to work? I need to find a way to cope with my emotions when I'm not at home. Must work on this.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Day Two

Had a small anxiety attack this morning, triggered by being here. I was afraid they had lost my birth control pills, and I like to take them at the same time every morning. They lost my bag; it's not that far a stretch to imagine they'd lose my pills, too. I managed to control it through breathing and trying to block out the whining coming from the alcoholic behind me. I did break down and cry when I went to sit in my psychiatrist's office, mostly because I miss my husband.

He has really been supportive and caring (for the most part), since I got sick. He is changing his work schedule to be at home at night with the kids and me, which I've been angling for for years now. He is affectionate, too. We spent my last morning at home cuddling and snuggling in bed. He held me so close, and was so loving, I just wanted to stay in bed forever, never leaving, never even moving. I cry when I think about missing him - I really feel like we might be turning over a new leaf in our relationship. Getting married and having two kids in two years has really put a strain on our relationship. It would do the same to anyone, I assume. Some couples just manage to cope better than others, it seems. I had a breakdown instead.

They tell me I have obsessive compulsive tendencies. Not full-on OCD, just those personality traits that make you act that way. I feel those tendencies coming out more here. It seems like it's the environment here, or maybe the stress of being here, or the need to fit in with all the crazies. Whatever the reason, it's starting to make me twitch. When things happen that are out of my control, I get angry. In that respect, I think that my obsessive-compulsive tendencies are tied into my bipolar disorder. Those mood swings are linked to control - when I have total control, mood goes up. When I'm not in control, mood takes a nosedive. Or, conversely, maybe when my mood is up I'm better able to maintain control, and when it goes south I'm not as able to hold on to that control. I think the first scenario is the most likely, though. It just seems to click to me.

Mr. T thinks I'm pretty. Today in our goal-setting group we somehow got around to talking about my pervasive need to get approval from others. I always have to be perfectly made up, hair done, looking my best, even when I'm just going to the Wal-Mart or the post office. I spend hours getting ready to go to the vet or the grocery store - my need for approval is so strong that it hinders me from doing the things I really want to do sometimes.

Tonight I played volleyball for the first time since 8th grade. The last time I played volleyball, I sucked at it. I suck at all sports. I always have. I am uncoordinated, inhibited, and I have no depth perception. I'm scared to look dumb, and I'm scared to try for fear of failure. But here, who cares if I look stupid? Teams were made of fifty-year-old alcoholics, shaking so badly they couldn't even hit the ball, thirty-something men with anger management issues, and teenage girls with no self-esteem. I fit right in. I wasn't the worst person out there. I actually scored like seven points for my team. I tried. I joked. I had fun. I got hit in the face - twice. And I was able to laugh it off. I had a great time, playing in a volleyball game that looked more like a Saturday Night Live skit than a sporting event. I haven't had this much fun in years. That worries me. Is this how I really am? Is this me without depression? Is this how normal people feel? Or are the new meds making me manic?

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Day One

This place smells funny. Like industrial-strength cleaner, which is funny because it doesn't look like it's been cleaned any time recently. It's vaguely dingy, and the fluorescent lighting isn't doing anyone any favors.

Checking yourself into a mental hospital is an odd experience. You keep eyeing everyone around you, wondering who is crazy and who is sane. I look like one of the sane ones. The real crazies are easily distinguishable, but it's the sleepers that you never know about. They could swing at any second. Some of them look totally normal, until they open their mouths. The shit these people say...

There's a little woman who looks like my husband's abuelita. I listened to her talk for twenty minutes about how she can't come when she masturbates, and how sexual incompatibility was the only problem she had with her husband. And that even though she was bathing regularly, he still didn't want to do her. Her mumbling was so bad, I almost couldn't understand her.

The smell of stale coffee permeates the air here. It's like the bottom dregs of a diner coffeepot, the kind that no one ever drinks, and no one ever cleans. For some reason, though, the nurses' station smells like urine. Not terribly strong, just strong enough to be recognizable.

Putting twenty women in a locked ward is never a good idea. The bitchfights, the tension, the general cattiness of it all is unreal. There have been two fights since I got here. One about a radio, one about a noise someone made with her nose. Both had to be broken up by staff in scrubs. I don't fit in with these women. Sure, I have anger issues, but I would never assault another woman over something so trivial. There's a whole other world down here. It's scary.

A bipolar woman shuffles down the hallway, scuffing her feet into the commercial carpeting. Three minutes later, she scuffs back the way she came. The other ladies call this the "Seroquel shuffle." This chick is so stoned she said hello to me four times before she remembered she'd already met me. She writes random Bible quotes on our dry erase board, and I caught her singing hymns into the phone earlier. She's here because she pulled a knife on her (also bipolar) husband.

I don't really know how I got here. Last Monday at work I hit the wall. I went to the office after school and took a personal day for Tuesday. Tuesday night I had a breakdown - something trivial with the kids set me off, kicking things across the room, throwing anything I could get my hands on, screaming at the girls. I called my husband at work - no answer. I called him 17 times - no answer. Frantic, I called my mother in tears. I was barely coherent as I told her what was going on. She promised to come the next morning - the next day I called the hospital. I kept thinking how much simpler it would be if I wasn't here anymore, if I didn't have to do this anymore. I finally realized that I don't want to live like this anymore. It's not that I don't want to live, it's that I don't want to live *like this*. But somehow, in conversations with my husband and the doctors, the fact came out that I had *contemplated* suicide. Not planned. Not attempted. Just thought about it. And apparently, that's a federal offense, because here I am under lock and key, on "15 mintue watch," whatever that means, and unable to get out. If I try to check myself out before I see the doctor, they put me on a 96-hour hold - standard liability practice for people with "suicidal ideation." I want to go home. These bitches are *crazy*. I'm not like that. Am I?

Vacation

Hey kids - I'm going to be gone for a few days. I will write an entry every day while I'm gone and post-date them when I get back. I know it's technically against the rules, but they're pretty strict in the mental hospital. What's a girl to do?

Stay tuned.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

100 things about Jane


It's November now, and I'm going to try to post every day. Just to see if I can. Call it what you will...

This is my 100th post here, and so, in honor of Julie, I'm going to attempt 100 things about Jane. Here goes nothing.

1. My name is not Jane.
2. It is, however, part of the name of one of my family members.
3. I am twenty-six.
4. I look about eighteen.
5. I frequently lie about my age to make myself sound older.
6. I'm sure, when I'm 30, that will change.
7. I always wanted to be older than I was.
8. I still do.
9. I have two daughters.
10. They are 18 months apart.
11. We didn't plan it that way.
12. In fact, we never wanted children at all.
13. The Bear was a total accident.
14. I was on the pill when she was conceived.
15. It was two weeks before our wedding.
16. We found out I was pregnant two weeks after the wedding.
17. I was devastated.
18. I wanted to have an abortion.
19. Husband wouldn't let me.
20. I'm glad I didn't.
21. My pregnancy with the Bear was one of the worst times of my life.
22. I hated being pregnant.
23. I was suffered from major depression the entire time.
24. I had a natural birth with both of my daughters.
25. After the Bear was born, things seemed to get a little better.
26. In fact, they were better enough that when Husband suggested we try for another one, I agreed with him.
27. We tried for three cycles and got pregnant on the third.
28. That pregnancy lasted 7 weeks, 2 days.
29. The Bear was 6 1/2 months old when I lost the baby.
30. Looking back, I'm kind of relieved.
31. I still get the strongest feeling that the baby was a boy.
32. I named him Scott.
33. I've never told anyone that.
34. Mouse was born one year and 11 days after that miscarriage.
35. We didn't plan her conception, either.
36. We were actually *not* trying to get pregnant at the time.
37. I was more excited about this one, though.
38. I was convinced I was going to lose her, too.
39. She was actually a twin.
40. We lost her twin around 8 weeks.
41. I was, again, kind of relieved.
42. Husband and I are freakishly fertile.
43. He had a vasectomy at 27.
44. We are *never* doing this again.
45. Instead, we got a cat.
46. We can't get the damn thing to pee in the litter box.
47. It's driving me up the damn wall.
48. That's ok, though - everything drives me up the wall.
49. That's because I'm crazy.
50. My therapist thinks I'm bipolar (II, not I), with a side helping of OCD.
51. My psychiatrist thinks I have major depressive disorder.
52. And also generalized anxiety disorder.
53. And some anger management issues.
54. I think my life just sucks.
55. And that makes me angry. And sad.
56. I alternate between sad and angry on a fairly regular basis.
57. When I'm sad, I can't do anything.
58. I don't shower.
59. I don't cook.
60. I don't do anything except sit on the couch.
61. When I'm angry, though, I yell.
62. I yell at my kids.
63. It used to make them cry.
64. Now, they just pat me on the back and say, "I love you, Mommy."
65. I yell at my husband.
66. He doesn't always take it well.
67. I don't mean to do it.
68. It's like I have no control over what I do.
69. That's kind of scary to me.
70. When I get in a "mood," I do things I wouldn't ordinarily do.
71. I'm not a very nice person to be around.
72. I've had problems with depression and mood since I hit puberty.
73. They come, and they go, and they always come back again.
74. I never told Husband about these problems before we got married.
75. I still regret that.
76. I was afraid he wouldn't want me.
77. I still worry that he'll leave me.
78. He was the most popular boy I knew in college.
79. I still can't believe he picked me over all of the other girls he knew.
80. I am an emotional eater.
81. I overeat when I'm sad.
82. I used to have an eating disorder.
83. At fifteen, I weighed 103 pounds.
84. I was 5'5".
85. Now, I weigh 140.
86. I feel fat every day.
87. I used to be a liar.
88. I thought it would make people like me.
89. It didn't.
90. Now, I find it easier to tell the truth, even when it's unpleasant.
91. It's probably because I don't give a shit about anything these days.
92. None of my friends or co-workers know I'm depressed.
93. I'm too worried about what they would think.
94. I can't go to the post office without a full face of makeup because I'm too worried about what people think.
95. I don't want them to think I'm ugly.
96. I'm not really sure why I care.
97. I've had the same hairstyle since I was 12.
98. I'm too scared to change it.
99. I'm too scared to do a lot of things.
100. I wish that I wasn't.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Friday, September 15, 2006

Rope, frayed

Well, I've officially hit the end of my rope. In fact, I've passed it and now have nothing to cling to whatsoever. I'm still going through the motions, but I feel like at any moment I could decide that it's totally pointless and quit even bothering to play.

I can only think of a few moments in the past few weeks that have been possible compensation for all of this shit. When the Bear says, "You're a good mommy, Mommy," it's nice, and it makes me think that perhaps all the other crap is secondary. When Mouse lights up all over her face when I get home after work, it's ok. I like to see that.

But the rest of the time, I'm so frazzled by the mere thought of all the shit that needs doing that I can't even function. The house is filthy. Not just cluttered, but filthy. I would be ashamed for anyone to see it right now. The dishes haven't been done in days - we're all out of bottles and sippy cups. The sink is full, but the cabinets are empty. Money is t-i-g-h-t, and just the thought of that makes my chest constrict and my breathing difficult. Hello, panic attack. I've been so bogged down with meetings, etc. at work that I'm running on a class-by-class mode, just trying to make copies, get grading done, and stay one step ahead of disaster. I spend so much time sitting in meetings and pushing paper around, I hardly feel like I'm getting any teaching done. I hate that feeling - I love the hands-on work of education, but not the paper-pushing crap. I'm so behind in everything that I feel like I'll never catch up, and the levels of anxiety that's causing are really scary.

Most days I alternate between ultimate freak-out about all of the 943857345 things that have to be done and total apathy. I just don't care enough to do them. When the girls get in bed (finally) and I have my ONE HOUR out of the day to myself, I can't bring myself to do the dishes or pick up the toys or fold the laundry or sweep the floors or take out the trash or dust the furniture or throw away the piles of random junk that accumulate throughout the day in the house. So I sit for that precious hour and stare at the television, then go to bed too late, get up too early, never feel rested or refreshed, never see my husband, always feel cranky and anxious and grouchy, and would just generally like to take the world's longest vacation from all this shit. Tonight was the end of the rope. I'm not sure I can see the point in keeping all this up. Something here has got to give.

Monday, September 11, 2006

I'm ready for my Mother Of The Year award now

Things my children managed to accomplish while unattended this weekend:

1. Stripping naked and smearing self with vaseline (Bear)
2. Eating crayons - yes, more than one crayon! (Mouse)
3. Playing with plastic bags from the grocery (both)*
4. Using 52 baby wipes to "wipe my bottom" while allegedly taking a nap (Bear)
5. Sleeping through the night! (Mouse)

I rock this parenting gig. *Your* children should be so lucky.

*Shut up. It keeps them occupied while I unload the groceries.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Telling it like it is

Saw this and thought - hey, I could do that. It's easier than pretending things are great.

1. I compare my kids. When I do, one or the other always comes up short.

2. I never finish a cup of coffee. Ever. I try and try, but something else always gets in the way, and it's cold before I get to the end.

3. Students with learning disabilities scare me. I don't know how to talk to them - I've never been able to figure out how to explain things so that they can understand them. It makes me realize I'm not as good at my job as I think.

4. I am downright mean to my husband sometimes, and generally bitchy to him the rest of the time. I do it because I really wish he paid more attention to me and my needs, but instead of talking about it, it's easier to push him away.

5. When I think about school, I think I did well because people always told me I was smart. I'm terrified to go back and discover that I'm really as dumb as I feel most days. I feel like a fraud.

6. I haven't managed daily showers since I got married. At best, maybe three times a week. It's just impossible around here.

7. I call my mother almost every day. It's not that I want to talk to her that badly - it's that I have no one else to call.

8. I love my kids, but I love them more when they're sleeping.

9. I'm afraid to talk to doctors.

10. Nine days out of ten, I feel like my life has no purpose, and I'm just going through the motions.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Back to normal...

Whatever that is.

School is back on. Work is going full swing. I have been busy as can be.

More importantly, at least to me, is the fact that my meds have not been working the way that they should. I had another really bad breakdown about two weeks ago, and have been slowly working my way back to the surface since then. I'm still feeling pretty numb most of the time, which is why I have absolutely nothing to say.

Except that my persistently plugged duct (that's been bothering me since March) finally turned into a full-on case of mastitis, complete with angry red streaks, flaming hot and rock hard breast, and such bad flu-like symptoms that I had to call in sick for a day. It's been more painful than my kidney stone, and that's really saying something.

So, I may be taking a small hiatus, just until I'm feeling more like myself and less like the worst possible version of me. We'll see what happens.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

this is just to say...

this is just to say
I am back
from vacation
with the kids
and my mom


and though
you were probably
not
that concerned


Forgive me
it has been hectic
so rushed
and so tumultuous

(humblest apologies to WCW. More soon.)

Friday, July 28, 2006

Boggled

So it's naptime at our house, and I'm watching Bringing Home Baby and all the other crap that TLC shows in the afternoons. I usually keep it on in the background, etc.

Anyway, this mom has just brought her newborn* home from the hospital, and the baby was having a hard time latching on. This mom seemed like breastfeeding was something she really wanted to do, and there were no bottles around, etc. So when the baby was fussy and not eating well, she called the lactation consultant. And in my head, I'm thinking, "Good for you! Way to seek help and not just quit! Yay!" So this poor sleep-deprived new mom calls the lactation consultant, and they're showing the conversation on TV. She says, you know, the baby isn't latching well, not really sucking, etc., hasn't pooped since yesterday, what should I do?

The lactation consultant told her that she should give the baby a bottle of formula. Which she did.

Um, way to undermine a woman who was trying to do what was best for her baby in favor of taking the easy way out. What is up with that?

I was pissed on her behalf. I mean, the Bear was formula fed after three months, and she is obviously a genius, so I'm not opposed to bottles as such. But if someone really *wants* to breastfeed, and the person whose job it is to make that easier doesn't even attempt to help? That's awful.



*Who, incidentally, has the same name as Mouse! What is up with people stealing my babynames? Stop it! Right now!

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Rockabye, baby, just go to sleep...

So, the Bear has started doing this great new thing wherein she will wake up at night to go "pee-pee in the potty," which I am all about, since she has had three mornings of dry diapers now, but when she wakes up, she decides to stay awake. For hours. And hours. Now she's decided that she doesn't want to go to bed. At all. Ever. And I am horrible for making her go. She's really starting to get a little manipulative about it - drinks, trips to the potty, stories, claims of nightmares... Witness tonight:

Bear is sleepy. Oh, so sleepy. Wants to get in the bathtub at 7:00.

I make her stay up a little later, because I know it's not her falling-asleep-time yet.

She whines. And gripes. And cries. And makes herself generally unpleasant until 7:30, when I finally agree to put them in the bathtub.

Bath, jammies, story, into the bed. All at her request. We kiss goodnight. I head downstairs. It is 8:15.

8:16 - ::sound of feet padding down the hallway:: ::floor creaking:: I sense the Bear hovering at the top of the stairs. She creeps down. Has to pee. Fine. We pee. Back to bed. "Now I'm wakey! I don't wanna take a nap!"

I am very kind, understanding, gentle, and loving. The sun has gone to bed and so must you, etc. We'll eat the bread we baked tonight for breakfast tomorrow, etc. Tuck her back in and leave. I head back downstairs.

Scarcely have I sat upon the couch before I hear

::sound of feet padding down the hallway:: ::floor creaking::

I wait to see if she will say anything. She doesn't move. She can't see me. "Go back to your bed, Bear."

Oh, the calamity. The wailing, the tears. "I had a bad dream, Mama." Yeah, right. You didn't even lay down, and you haven't been to sleep yet. You can't have had a bad dream.

But I am willing to give her the benefit of the doubt. I kiss. I cuddle. I give endless reminders of how Mom will never let anything happen to her girls, always very safe at home, blah blah blah. Wipe nose. Wipe eyes. Wipe mouth. Suggest bed? "I have to poop now." Fine. We go to the bathroom. No poop - but she's willing to sit on the pot and talk my ear off for ten minutes.

Back to bed. Much protesting and crying to be had. This time, I tell her that if she needs to go to the bathroom, she can call out to me, but she needs. to. stay. in. bed. Get in bed, stay in bed. No wanderings. She cries.

Mouse is up.

Feed Mouse, burp Mouse, put her back down. Remind the Bear to Stay In The Bed And Sleep Already. I head back downstairs.

Lather, rinse, repeat. Three times. Each time I get a little less patient, a little more irritated. It is now 10:30. We started this process at 7:30. I am displeased. Finally, I put them in their respective beds, pat each on the butt, and say, not the least bit nicely, "Just go to sleep already! Don't get up again!"

And it worked. So, to recap: falling for the ploys=no sleep. Firm & slightly grumpy=sleeping babies. Whatever it takes, I suppose.

I am so fried. I know the Bear will be up at some ungodly hour of the night, and have to be taken into the guest bed to go back to sleep with one of us. Ugh. I am so Not It tonight. I need a vacation from my summer vacation.

In other random news, we are leaving to visit family for a week. Most of them have never met either of the girls, some of them I haven't even seen since my wedding day. It will be nice to see everyone, but 400+ miles in the car with my kids? Not so exciting to me. I just know Mouse will use that opportunity to cut a tooth. Speaking of which, she has the tiniest corner of a tooth poking out today. Poor kid - she looks miserable. My family will probably think she's HellBaby because of all the toothiness, when she's normally the most laid-back, sweetest kid ever. Oh, well. I know better, if nobody else does.

Also? I think Johnny Depp is the greatest. I saw him on Letterman and he's just... so... you know. Intriguing. I watched an episode of that actor show when he was a guest, and he is really very intelligent. And he was talking about watching his wife give birth to their daughter, and how much respect he had for her, and how much he loved her, and how amazing it was, blah blah blah, and you just know there's nothing sexier than a man who can not only watch but enjoy watching his wife give birth. Plus he looks hot in eyeliner.

I made bread tonight. It smells all nice and yeasty in my house. So yummy, and so easy - easier than wrangling both girls into carseats and hauling them to the store and back home again. And the Bear got to help, which she totally enjoys.

Two years ago tonight, I was in labor with the Bear. I was sick and scared and in pain and pretty much just freaked out. Had I known what a cool kid she would turn into, I probably would have been a lot less freaked (although I'm pretty damn sure it wouldn't have done a thing for the pain). She rocks.

Monday, July 24, 2006

A badly paragraphed post

I realized the other day that I haven't done much updating about the girls lately, what they're up to, etc. This is a week of birthdays around here - Mouse just hit five months and the Bear will be two. And so, I thought that this was prime time for reflection - more for myself than for The Internet, although I always read updates about other people's children with relish - I'm always secretly comparing them to my children, trying to see whether my kids are ahead of the curve, behind, average, or something entirely different. I know that comparing is Not Good, every child is different, blah blah blah, but I can't help it. I even compare my own kids, which I *totally* have to stop doing.* (You know you do it too. Stop looking so self-righteous.) Anyway, here's what the kids are up to these days.**

Mouse at five months:

She is turning into such a fun baby. Husband and the Bear can get her to laugh, although I can't. She is very generous with her smiles, though - strangers are always commenting on what a smiley baby she is.

She's right around 18 pounds - enormous! Much bigger than her sister was at that age. Still nursing exclusively, although I'm having a hard time figuring out what to do when I go back to work in a few weeks. I usually pump one bottle a day and give it to her just so she stays used to taking one - she wouldn't for so long, I don't want her to backslide. I can't decide whether to try to keep pumping (*not* easy in a school setting!) or to wean her onto formula. I'm just torn.

She rolls all over the place now - for a while it was mainly front to back, but now she's doing back to front, too. She scoots on her tummy to get to things, and she spins around on her back like the hands on a clock. It's funny to watch.

I'm trying to get her to sleep only in her crib now. For the last month she's been going to sleep in her crib at bedtime, then coming to our bed after her 3 or 4 am feeding and keeping me awake with kicks and flops. I hit a sleep-deprivation wall this weekend, so last night I forced myself to put her back in her bed after her 4 am feeding, and lo and behold, she slept soundly until 7:30, ate again, and went back to sleep again! Yay!

I think I feel the beginnings of a tooth - there's something rough on her gum. I expect it to break through in the next few days (probably while we're in the car for 7 hours to go visit great-grandmother). She's very happy (when she's not teething) and very laid-back. Definitely a low-maintenance girl. Sometimes I think she *knows* that she's a second child and can't afford to be as demanding because we just don't have the time. But that's probably just crazy talk.

She's finally over her many months of awful diaper rash, probably because she's gotten out of the habit of pooping ten times a day. I'm looking forward to starting her on some food in a month or so. I keep wanting to give her tastes of new things, and she is all about the food. She will pull your plate if she sits on your lap. She wants to try things so badly!

The Bear at Two:

Oh, my. Nobody knows how to push your buttons like your own children. Conversely, nobody can make you as completely happy. She is a pill at times, but at others she is the most joyful little girl in the world. She is still on the light side for her age, just barely 25 pounds at 2'9". Her hair is filling in, but pigtails are still a long way off, I think.

She has been talking for - well, it seems like forever now. She uses complete sentences, although her grammar is sometimes suspect. She has quite the vocabulary, too, for someone so young. She has this habit of repeating the exact same sentence over and over and over again until you just want to stuff a pickle in her mouth to shut her up. She lisps a bit, and sometimes it's tough to understand a word. If you guess wrong, she'll repeat herself, loudly, until you figure it out. She has a great sense of humor, and she makes jokes sometimes that crack me up.

She wants to be treated like a baby sometimes, which is the only sign of jealousy she has displayed since her sister arrived. I humor her when she asks, and we tease about it, because babies can't walk and talk and play like she does, silly girl.

She has nightmares sometimes, which are just heartbreaking to me. She gets all choked up and sniffles with these big gulping breaths. You never want your child to be scared, and when there's nothing you can do, it makes you feel so helpless. It helps that she can tell me what scared her, but she can't quite explain *why* yet, and that sucks.

She's doing great with potty training. She can stay in her big-girl underwear all day, and she will tell you nine times out of ten when she needs to use the potty. Sometimes if she gets caught up in playing, she forgets and has an accident. I try to remember to ask her if she hasn't been in a while, but sometimes I forget, too. She usually wakes up dry from her naps, unless they're longer than normal. We've had two or three short outings (less than an hour) and she's been able to stay dry for those, too. When we go out she wears the "plastic pants" to cover her underwear, and she asks to wear them at home, but I don't let her because she gets a little sweaty in them - ick. It was surprisingly easy to get her to do it - after a few false starts, she just got it one day. It's been pretty easy since, and she enjoys it, oddly enough. Very fascinating to her.

She loves to eat fruits, and some vegetables, anything with carbs, and now - peanut butter! I tried it on her for the first time a few weeks ago, and she loves it.

When we put her in her big-girl bed, she spent the first month calling to us when she wanted to get out. It was kind of nice. And then, one day, she realized she could Get Out When She Wanted To. And now, she does. After her naps, she tries to sneak down the stairs to surprise me. I usually sneak up to surprise her, and it's very funny and cute. We meet on the landing and hug. Not so funny in the middle of the night, though. She will occasionally wake up at some ungodly hour of the night and wander into my room. I found her standing by my side of the bed the other night at 3 am, just staring at me. It was kind of creepy, truth be told. She was all, "Hi! I'm wakey!" So not cool.

She's very wary of things and people at first, and it takes her some time to get comfortable in a new situation. She gets scared easily, and is shy around strangers. After about half an hour, though, she warms up and her true personality comes out - very outgoing and curious, although still cautious. Tonight she played on her own at the park, and I sat on the sidelines with Mouse. It was a big breakthrough for her. She had a great time once I convinced her it was supposed to be fun.***

She can count - to two. She knows other numbers after that, but to get her to put them in order, like for counting, is not really on her agenda. Likewise the alphabet. She likes the letters A, H, O, and C. Other letters are passe. All colors are pink. There are no other colors. I think she does this just to piss me off, because every now and then she slips and says "blue car" or "brown crayon" and I know she can tell the difference. Maybe just a weird toddler quirk.

They really are great kids - very loving, very sweet, very fun. I enjoy them, most of the time. I get frustrated and tired and cranky and impatient, but I wouldn't trade them for a ton of monkeys.****


*I don't do the "one is better, one is worse" type of comparison. It's more like "oh, crap, I can't remember what your sister was doing at this age, is this normal?"

**I went back and broke this into paragraphs (kinda) after I wrote it, and, wow, that didn't work out so well. Excuse the unreadability.

***Incidentally, the Bear has a fairly uncommon name. I wanted distinctive, classy, out-of-the-common-way names for my girls, so that they wouldn't be the 18th girl in class with the same exact name and have to use initials or other identifying features. I wanted her to be the only girl in class with her name (although I didn't go so far as the making it up, because I think that's crazy. If she wants to have a high-profile job some day, I don't want people making fun of her name.) But tonight? At the park? Guess who we met? Another Bear. Only four months older, which will put them in the same class in school, assuming we're still living here. Same. Damn. Name. I was a little miffed. Not like I have a monopoly on my children's names, but I like their uniqueness. Having that taken away a little was frustrating to me.

****Besides, what would I do with a ton of monkeys anyway?

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Greatest. Game. Ever.

So, Bear and Mouse just invented the greatest game of all time. You know how babies do that super-annoying "I'm going to throw my toys on the ground every five seconds and make you pick them up" thing? ALL THE TIME? Well, guess who loves to run around picking things up?

Toddlers! Mouse throws her teething ring on the floor every two seconds, and Bear runs to pick it up and give it back to her. It's a win-win situation!*

*If by "win" you mean put something that's been here in your mouth. Which, I confess, I let Mouse do. Don't even start with me.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Reality

Tonight, as we were watching the news, the Bear pointed at the TV and said, "Fireworks, Mama! Fireworks on the TV!"

It was a report from Haifa. The fireworks were explosions.

How do you explain war to a two-year-old? Can you? Should you?

Monday, July 17, 2006

There but for the grace of God...

What an awful night. Cranky cranky girls, lots of crying, multiple attempts at bedtime, nightmares (birdies and choo-choo trains, this time), extra drinks, extra trips to the potty, extra stories, extra songs, extra snacks*, one killer headache, one case of mastitis (I think - ouch! is all I can say), and way too much time in the rocking chair. I am fried. Ugh. Those dishes are *so* not getting put away this evening.

Then I sat down to watch TV after I put Mouse to bed, and I tuned into this show, and I realized how easy I have it, by comparison, and how much worse it could be. Eight kids under the age of 5? Ugh.

Also, the mom, who had sextuplets, showed her belly to the camera. I thought that was really brave of her, and really cool. It must be something in the air - everybody's doing it. I'm pretty lucky, all things considered. I only have a few faded stretch marks around my belly button, and just a little more pooch than I used to have. Everything sags a bit, but the thing that kills me is the "mom butt." You know how so many moms have the flat looking butt? I looked in the mirror the other day, and my butt was definitely flatter than it used to be. I wonder what sort of exercise I could do to make my rear end rounder? I'm sure that just sitting on it all the time isn't really helping...

I got out my school work that I've been wanting to work on all summer and I finally got some work done. It's about time... I got about two good hours of work done during naptime. I felt so productive, for once. And then everything went to suck. Oh, well... tomorrow is another day. ::does best Scarlett O'Hara imitation, then goes to make dress from curtains::

*A high point: Bear claiming she was "all done" with her peanut butter toast, which I then threw in the trash. As soon as she was wiped clean, she asked for her toast again. I finally told her that if she wanted to eat the toast, she would have to fish it out of the trash to do so. Which she promptly did. And ate it. And I didn't even care.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Ick. Just ick.


To you, O Internet, I bare my soul. And my carpets. Cleaning the house in preparation for Grandma's arrival (and thereby passing on my neuroses to the next generation - Mom must always think we live a perfect life, and must never see a dirty house), I give you - one week's worth of crap on my carpet.

I'm not a total slob, I promise. I am, however, both busy and lazy, and that's a pretty bad combination.

Feel free to go obsessively scrub your own floors now. I sure am.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Breakthroughs

So, it seems as though we've had a few breakthoughs around here this week. Like the other night, when Mouse, after staying up until MIDNIGHT! slept until 6:30 the next morning. It totally rocked! Although, tonight she went down for a "nap" at 7:30 and is still. sleeping. I keep checking to make sure she's still breathing. Watch - now she'll wake up at midnight and want to play.

Also, the Bear turned a potty-training corner today. After her nap, I took off her diaper and let her run around nekkid. After a while, she said, "I have to pee in the potty now." So I took her and sat her on the potty, and lo! There was pee! All afternoon, we were on and off the pot, in and out of the bathroom. It was not the cleanest of days - she tried to poop on the potty but got up before she was done and left a trail of poop on the floor, and I caught her using one of her "special" wipes that she only gets to use when she goes on the potty to clean the floor. After she had spent twenty minutes wiping her butt with it. She's very big on doing it herself - the trick was that I switched from her little potty on the floor to a seat on the big potty with steps. She can get on and off by herself, and that's what hooked her. She is All About The Potty right now. Of the 73 times we sat on the potty between nap and bedtime (all of which were her idea, several of which were patent ploys to get another wipe), she peed at least 7 times and pooped once. All in the potty. I left her diaper off until bedtime and there was - get this - no pee on my floor. It was amazing to see her mind work. She could totally tell when her bladder was getting full, and she knew she should go to the potty to fix that. I think our next step might be some big-girl underwear. I don't think she'll be content to wear her diaper around the house after this, although she'll still need one when we go anywhere. We're not there yet, but we're getting there. I have hope.

Hmm... in other news, Stouffer's does not put enough sauce on their french bread pizzas, and Weight Watchers (maybe? red box) makes a much better marinara sauce than Healthy Choice. I'm noticing a sauce-related theme here. Hmmm. I am a picky sauce-eater, I suppose. I have been eating relatively healthily (with the exception of the frozen dinners, obviously) for over a week now, in a pathetic attempt to get rid of some of the excess poundage that I've been carrying since I had Mouse (ten extra pounds, if you *must* know) without having to truly diet or exercise. Lame, yes, but somehow that's about all I can manage right now. I'd like to exercise, but I just can't get out of the house without being made to feel somehow guilty about leaving the kids with Husband. He *says* it's ok, but his eyes and his body language tell a different story. So I don't go to work out on my own, and I really don't have the stroller or the sidewalks to take the girls with me. Our sidewalks are an insult to the good name of pavement, and our stroller is not really the walking/jogging type. It's better suited to a quick saunter more than anything else. Double strollers are so bulky! So, yeah, no exercise, and I don't want to really diet at the risk of cutting too many calories and compromising my milk supply. Eating "reasonably" is my sad effort to control the spread of my ass, a plan instituted when the doctor's scale revealed that I had actually *gained* a pound despite exclusively nursing a baby in the 100th percentile for weight and chasing a toddler all day. Really, I just don't want to stand up in front of a room full of teenagers next month and worry that they're whispering about my muffin top. I'd much rather have them complaining that I'm too strict. I'm very sensitive about my looks, I guess. While I'm definitely no Angelina Jolie, neither am I totally an Ugly Betty. We'll see how this goes. A haircut would go miles toward fixing what's wrong with me, also.

What a random collection of nonsense thoughts. I'm going to quit while I'm ahead.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Confessions of a frozen-entree connoisseur

Have I mentioned that Husband is back to working in the evenings? I find it ridiculous to cook dinner for myself and a toddler, and Husband patently refuses to eat leftovers, or any meals on a regular schedule, really. But biology dictates that we must eat something, and so it is that I have taken to eating frozen dinners.

Truth be told, most frozen dinners are pretty gross. Objectively, I can totally see that. But for some reason, I still enjoy eating them. It's like watching an accident - you don't want to do it, but you can't *not* do it, either. As an exercise in contemplation, I thought I'd write a little reflection on each night's dinner after I've eaten it. Maybe, on reflection, they won't seem so great after all...

So, tonight's dinner was four-cheese manicotti with a side of broccoli. Tiny manicotti - I thought I remembered they used to be bigger?! The four cheeses weren't a bad combo, but the marinara was more like tomato juice, thin and red and overly tomatoey. Somehow, I always manage to burn my tongue on the first bite, but by the time I get to the last bite, it's tepid at best. How does that happen? Still, I polished it off in record time, in between slicing pieces of cheese for the Bear. The broccoli that came on the side? I couldn't quite manage that. I love broccoli - the taste, the crunch, the color, the cancer-fighting properties, you name it. But there are a few things you need to know about broccoli, which apparently the good folk at Healthy Choice have forgotten: namely, you eat the crowns (you know, the tiny flowery bits on the top?), not the stalks (the tough, woody, stringy stems). Also, you only need to steam them for a little bit to get them to the right level of doneness. If you overcook them, they will turn gray and mushy and be totally disgusting. So, the tiny cup of "broccoli" was all stems and no florets at all, and by the time I had cooked the manicotti long enough to be done, the broccoli was overdone - blech. Even liberal seasoning was not enough to redeem *that* particular culinary misstep. All in all, it was par for the course.

On to other equally uninteresting things - I've been trying to figure out the Mouse's schedule. She's starting to put herself on one, and the Bear had a very strict schedule that she totally loved. She's still a creature of habit, although not so rigid as she was at 9 months or so. So, I figured that I might as well see if it would work for Mouse, too. I made a chart, divided up into half hours, and labeled each with what she was doing at the time - awake, asleep, eating. Then, I labeled her moods - happy, fussy, gassy, content, etc. Here's what we came up with for today:

midnight - 3:40 - sleeping
3:40 - 3:55 - feeding, sleepy
3:55 - 4:20 - sleepy but gassy, awake in crib but not fussing
4:20 - 5:00 - awake, drowsy but chatty
5:00-7:30 - sleeping restlessly
7:30-7:45 - feeding restlessly
7:45-9:30 - awake
9:30-9:45 - feeding, awake
9:45-11:00 - sleeping
11:00-11:20 - feeding, awake
11:20-12:30 - awake, getting fussy
12:30-2:00 - sleeping
2:00-2:15 - feeding, awake
2:15-3:45 - awake, content
3:45-4:00 - feeding, fussy
4:00-5:30 - sleeping
5:30-5:50 - feeding, drowsy
5:50-7:30 - awake, happy, fussy toward end
7:30-7:45 - feeding, sleepy
7:45-8:30 - sleeping
8:30-9:20 - awake, restless
9:20-9:30 - feeding, drowsy
9:30-10:30 - sleeping
10:30-present - awake but drowsy, content

So, what can we glean from this chart? Several things, I think:

a) I am anal.
b) Mouse naps a lot. Cat naps. Maybe she should be a Cat and not a Mouse?
c) She eats, also a lot. I'll probably feed her once more before she goes down for the night, bringing us to 11 feedings today. No wonder she weighed in at 17 pounds, 7 ounces at her 4 month checkup. Not a Cat or a Mouse but a Piglet, I think!
d) I am anal.
e) Is she sleeping too much? Not enough? I tried to add up the time, but got confused and quit.
f) I am bad at math.

Well, I think that's about enough crap from me - off to ponder the meanings of Mouse's sleep habits, and what I might want for dinner tomorrow night. Our options include macaroni and cheese, baked ziti, french bread pizza, and... oh, some other noodle/sauce variation, I think? What should I eat?

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Preaching to the choir

So, we're all a little cranky in my house these days. Who knows why? The Bear is terrible-two-ing all over the place, what with all the "no" and the repeating of the same sentence over and over and over again until she gets what she wants, and the kind-of-sort-of potty training (five days in a row she has gone in the potty), and the nightmares! She has nightmares! About dogs! and birds! and flowers!

Mouse is teething, and not really happy unless she has a finger in her mouth to chew on, drool pooling on her chin. The teething gives her this really nasty liquid diarrhea (TMI, sorry) that goes *everywhere* and stains *everything*. I've taken to only dressing her in onesies that already have orange stains up the back, so as not to ruin even more clothes. So gross. Plus, now that we're putting her in her crib at night, she's waking every 2-3 hours, instead of once a night. I'm really hoping that evens out soon.

Husband is back to shift work, which means he leaves after lunch and gets home at midnight, effectively skipping dinnertime, bathtime, and bedtime, the three most difficult things to accomplish with two kids under two. Plus, we don't get to spend our evenings together after the kids go to bed like we would if he were home, so we get grouchy at each other.

And I am just plain tired. The cumulative effects of almost three years without a full night's sleep are starting to tell. I feel like a moron most of the time, I can't even think straight, I'm grouchy and short-tempered, I rarely get a shower, and... ugh. Every single morning when I wake up, the very first thing I think to myself is, "oh, shit. not again."

Pleasant, right?

At any rate, this morning we were all somehow sitting together relatively peacefully at church, and the text for the sermon was from Romans 5. In part, it says that suffering leads to endurance, that endurance in turn leads to character, that character leads to hope, and that hope will not disappoint us. It just struck me as being singularly appropriate for where I am in my life right now. I think that anyone out there who has two children under the age of two would characterize their lives as "suffering"!* And I thought to myself, I can just barely see the glimmering of endurance on the horizon. I'm not there yet, but I can see that we will get there eventually, and that I will be able to "endure" a lot more of the daily crap that goes on around here, and the guilt and stress that come from holding down a full-time job and being a full-time mom, too. Hopefully I will be able to endure it with a better attitude than I have had lately. It would be nice! And as for character - I'm going to have character out the wazoo (if I make it though this alive)!

It's just a little eerie (but kind of cool, too) when the text for the day seems to be picked out just for you. Perhaps its a message...

Also? Today, for the first time, I made it though an entire service without exposing my chest! Talk about your milestones...


*Sure, in comparison to real, actual suffering, this may seem like a cake walk. There are millions of people in the world who live in active suffering every day, and I'm not trying to trivialize their lives. But I think that the stress and depression that I'm going through right now, and their effects on my family, can accurately be described as suffering, too.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Righteous anger

Things that make me mad (in no particular order):

*people who don't know what they're talking about
*people who twist the facts to suit their own purposes
*people who are scared of other people just because they're "different"

That being said, did you know that there are bunches of wackos out there? People who distort facts to fit them into their skewed version of reality? People who flaunt their ignorance and intolerance in public? in front of people?

So, the NEA (National Education Association, for all you non-teachers), at their annual meeting, approved a resolution to the effect that race, gender, sexual orientation, gender identification, disability, ethnicity, immigration status, occupation, and religion ''should not affect the legal rights and obligations of the partners in a legally recognized domestic partnership, civil union, or marriage in regard to matters involving the other partner.'' How very open minded and tolerant of them, to acknowledge the fact that different people lead different lives with different lifestyles. How munificent of them, to refrain from passing judgment on these people just for leading said different lifestyles.*

In what is surely a logical response to this resolution, the AFA (American Family Association) sent out a panicked mass email to, well, everyone they could think of, apparently. In this email, the AFA claims that the NEA is "endorsing" gay marriage.

Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but there's a pretty big difference between *tolerating* something and *endorsing* it. For example: bratwurst. I will tolerate bratwurst if others around me are eating it. I don't particularly like it for myself, but I have no problem with you eating it. *You* can eat all the bratwurst you want. *I* will probably not partake, thanks. So, I tolerate the bratwurst. I do not deny you the pleasure of eating it. That would be silly and impractical. Neither, however, will I slather it with mustard and cram it in your face for you. That you have to do for yourself.

So, then, the AFA's claim that the NEA is "endorsing" gay marriage is a logical fallacy. Onward. They further twist the intent of the NEA's resolution by positing that the "new NEA proposal essentially says schools should support and actively promote homosexual marriage and other forms of marriage (two men and one woman, three women, two women and three men, etc.) in their local schools."

Actively promote? Actively promote homosexual marriage? And other types of marriage? To actively promote something in the school system, you need to provide information on it to the students. You need to instruct them to think a certain way about something. The AFA is trying to make us believe that gay marriage is going to be a part of the curriculum in public schools. Sure. Right after we teach them to read and do long division, we're going to marry them off. To partners of the same sex! *Heterosexual* marriage isn't even in the curriculum! Know why? Because marriage is a personal matter, one that is unique in every situation. You just can't get that in a textbook.

Again, the AFA is putting words into the NEA's mouth, twisting their intent to scare those who are afraid of The Gays.

According to them, this new resolution in favor of respecting the rights of all our citizens, not just the straight, WASPy ones, "means the NEA will promote homosexual marriage in every avenue they have available, including textbooks, to all children at all age levels and without the permission or knowledge of parents. Their plans will include every public school in America." Again with the promoting. That's just like endorsing, right? I just can't figure out what makes these people think that we are going to go out and buy textbooks exclusively promoting gay marriage. I can't even get enough money for textbooks in my subject area (which is non-matrimonial). How are we possibly going to revamp every textbook in every classroom in America so as to thoroughly indoctrinate our students on the benefits to be derived from gay marriage?** That's just ridiculous. And? By enrolling your child in a public school, you are giving that school permission to teach its curriculum to your child. Also? If you want knowledge of what your kid is learning in school, ask!

Gah.

Here's my big problem - I think that marriage is a private matter, not something that should be decided by the government. If the authorities governing a particular religion want to forbid the right of gay marriage to their members, that's perfectly within their rights as a private organization. They can preach whatever they want to their members. If, for example, the Catholic Church wants to forbid their members to get abortions, more power to them. That's their right as a private institution. But for the state to deny a fundamental right to a percentage of their citizens on purely moral grounds? That can't, in good conscience, be done. Because we live in a country that claims to believe in the separation of the Church and the State. That means that the State cannot impose moral values on its citizens. And the only objections I've ever heard to gay marriage have been moral objections, based on traditional Judeo-Christian moral (religious) principles. Teaching moral (religious) values to the next generation is the job of the child's parents, not the schools. Who are we to say that everyone in America has to subscribe to traditional Judeo-Christian morals, when not everyone follows that belief system? There we go, cramming the bratwurst down people's throats, without even bothering to check if they like it first. If I wanted to live in a theocracy, I would move to Iran.

This is kind of disjointed, as most of my ranting tends to be, but my point is this - I don't think that the government should be allowed to dictate who can or can't get married. That's a matter for religious organizations to decide on an individual basis. Beyond that, I don't think that the government should legislate morals. I think that our schools should teach understanding and acceptance of others, regardless of the differences between us. If the parents want to teach a different school of thought (one that adheres to a specific religion's viewpoint, for example), then they should teach that to their own children in their own home. But I don't want the values of any one particular religion mandated in any school funded by *my* tax dollars or attended by my children. And I sure as hell wouldn't work for such a school. But that's just me.

On a related note - more wackos!


*No, these guys are not the wackos I was referring to.
**Which I'm assuming are the same as the benefits to be derived from heterosexual marriage - health insurance, joint decision-making power, and someone to put your cold feet on in the winter.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Home again, home again (jiggety-jig)

Okay, so my dad always used to say that when we pulled up in the driveway after a trip when I was a little girl. I thought it was funny.

So, we're back from vacation. The girls and I went to visit my parents, and Husband went to visit his. Everyone was pleased. He did not have to take care of the children, and I did not have to go to my in-laws' house, which is just massively inconvenient. Also? They positively slobber over the girls. Literally. Grown adults making drooling idiots of themselves over children. I mean, I love my kids, but I'm not really down with the baby talk and the spoiling and the, you know, constant worship. Anyway, it was a nice trip, complete with visits to the pool (and a newfound fear! of water! for the Bear) and to the zoo (boy, do we like animals. but not crowds! oh, no.) and concerts and fireworks. Quite satisfactory. And the best part? This year, I'm not pregnant!

Seems like everyone else in the world is vacationing, too. Happy wanderings!

Coming soon: word-twisting, soul-sucking theocrats and why they annoy me.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Guilty pleasures

Oh, wait, is that the bandwagon?

Nah. Screw it. I'd rather jump on the back of the ice cream truck, myself.

So, in casa de Jane, we've been all about the World Cup lately. We've been following pretty closely, and I'm sure our TV hasn't seen this much ESPN since we got it. It's so bad, we've actually considered TiVo. Oh, the horrors!

Never before in my life have I been remotely interested in organized sports. Mostly, I assume, because I am supremely unathletic, and also kind of nerdy. I was always one of those smugly superior academics who thought that athletics were just for the big hulking meatheads who couldn't tell their ass from their elbow off the field. Like, if you were too stupid to do *anything* in life, you could always play games instead.

(I'll just pause here to say that Husband played soccer in college. Division I. On scholarship. He's pretty good, if I do say so myself. But not a meathead. Also fairly intelligent. Go figure.)

And then, the other day, while enjoying half an hour of overlapping naptime (the Bear regularly sleeps for two hours in the afternoon, but Mouse can only be counted on for about half an hour on average. Then, the other day, she napped for like three hours. It was ridiculous. I haven't been able to replicate that experiment, though, much to my dismay.) I was channel surfing and I came across a World Cup match. (Sweden and Trinidad and Tobago, if you must know) and I was hooked. This is one game I can appreciate. I can figure out what they're trying to accomplish. (Unlike football, where you never know what the hell they're up to.) I can appreciate the athleticism and good sports-person-ship. I love analyzing the geopolitical ramifications of the matches. Husband came home from work and caught me watching, and he was thrilled. This is his game, after all. He's been explaining rules to me as we go, and we've been taking this time while he's recovering from his manhood-ectomy to watch the matches together. I've really been enjoying it. It's something we can share an enthusiasm for, and it's a whole new area of interest for me, one I've never taken the time to explore. It's pretty great, relationship- and entertainment-wise.

However, my girls are turning into soccer orphans. We haven't watched TV this consistently in their whole lives, I don't think. We get so focused on the match that we don't play as much as the Bear would like, and so she acts out when she gets frustrated. I try to keep both of them from watching TV, but it's always on in the background. Bear walks around saying things like, "I'm staring at the TV!" and "Boys on TV kick the soccer ball. I love you, boys on TV!" Gah. And Mouse, no matter where you hold her or lay her, will always crane her head to try and see the big glowing box. She loves it already. And here I sit, stewing in Mother Guilt, because everybody knows that too much TV is bad for your kids. And yet, deep down inside, part of me just wants them to amuse themselves for 90 minutes so I can watch the match.

On top of that, our eating habits have gone to crap. Literally, all we have been eating is fast food and junk food. I am tired, sluggish, headachey, and generally lacking in energy, and I attribute lots of that to eating crap. I just feel better when I eat better. Not to mention, Mouse is probably getting more salt, fat, and preservatives than any ten babies should have. And Husband! He let the Bear eat french fries! I'd rather feed her sand, or grass, or something equally devoid of any redeeming nutritional value. But fries? Surely this can only be the first step down a road of nutritional degeneration. She will be unhealthy, overweight, and undereducated all because she ate a few fries, right? Just heap on the guilt. Maybe just one more scoop. Okay, that should be enough for today.

Ugh. My family is going to hell in a handbasket, and I blame it all on the football (not *that* kind of football, silly)!

In other, non-related news, I trimmed the Bear's bangs for the first time yesterday. They were getting so scraggly and all in her eyes. She looks like such a big girl now. It makes me kind of sad.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Oh frabjous day!

Callooh! Callay!

This morning, I put the Mouse on her tummy in my bed, because that's how she sleeps. (Don't say it. I see you thinking it.) She gave a little kick, and rolled right over on her back! I thought it might have been an accident, so I rolled her back over on her tummy again, and she rolled right back over onto her back!

Then, downstairs, I put her on her back in her little baby gym thing. She twisted and turned and rolled almost completely over on her tummy. Her arm gets stuck, which is a fairly common hangup at first, but she rolled! Both ways!

Just now, I fed her, and she was fussing afterwards because it's her naptime. So I took her and laid her down in her crib and covered her up and walked away. She cooed and kicked for a few minutes, and then... nothing. I laid her down AWAKE and she went to sleep on her own. At three months! Now *that* is a milestone I can get behind.

Both kids sleeping. At the same time. I'm going to go swiffer my floors! (Or "swifter" them, as my MIL says).

Also, I called an acquaintance of ours (she's seven months pregnant and bored as hell) and invited her out with me and the girls on Friday. Adult interaction!

And tonight? For dinner? I'm making fajitas! And rice! And beans! Because I am really ambitious! And I love my husband! Or, because I feel guilty for making him go get his manly bits sliced up tomorrow!

Yay! We will no longer be a threat to overpopulation!

I am burbling in my joy.

I hope that's not just the drugs talking...

Monday, June 12, 2006

Revived

So, things here are much better. Or, at least, they are getting much better. I have been talking to Husband more and working out some of our issues, Mouse has been sleeping longer chunks at night - 7 hours on one memorable occasion - and the Bear is growing up every day. She's gotten to be lots of fun lately. You can carry on a conversation with her, and she loves doing stuff - anything, really, so long as it's fun for her.

The potty training has hit a snag. We had several days of success early on, and then one day she woke up and decided that she didn't want to potty. She refused to go when we sat her on there, and never suggested going herself, and was treating her training pants like another diaper. So, this morning, we started Project Pantsless. She's been running around in only an undershirt all day, and it's working. She hates getting messy, and so every time she starts to feel herself pee on her leg, she freaks out and wants to go sit on the potty. Once she's there, she still doesn't really want to go, but I've talked her down from the ledge and she's been very proud the three times she's gone so far today. Once she stops crying, that is. I can't quite figure out what happened, but I think it might have something to do with my mom. She was here for a while, and her methods are slightly different than mine. So, I've had to break out the disinfectant several times this morning, but it's all for a worthy cause, so I don't really care. I'm waiting to see what happens when she needs to poop...

I'm home all day now with just the girls, and it seems to be going ok. I still think I would probably lose my mind if I was a SAHM, but it is kind of nice to spend some quality time with the girls. Hectic, but nice.

Naptime's over - more later.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Umm...

Just not coming up with a title for this one. Sorry 'bout that.

So, hey. I've been gone for a few weeks. Did you notice? (Yes, you in Denver!) Anyway, things have been rough around here. Without going into excruciating detail, let me just say that in the past month I have become intimately familiar with the ins and outs of postpartum depression, and have been doing lots of crying/sleeping/eating/yelling, etc. Two weeks ago today I had a massive breakdown IN CHURCH which I will not get into except to say that it was not in any way a religious experience. I just happened to be in a church when the thread finally snapped. So, anyway, long talks, awkward silences, visits to the doctor, referrals to nice friendly strangers to talk to, and a prescription which may or may not help things clear up. I was pleased that my doctor recommended that I look into some fish oil, as she has read studies which suggest that the omega-3 fatty acids are helpful in combating PPD. Also that she gave me the names of both religious and mainstream counselors. And that she tested my thyroid (family history of hypothyroidism, a contributing factor for PPD). So, that being said, hopefully things will be looking up around here. Because, and not like I get into large amounts of detail here, I was seriously losing my shit. And not in a good way.

In other news, I have set some summer goals. Here they are! I feel like if I post them on here, I may or may not be more likely to follow through on them. In no particular order, we have:

1. lose 12 pounds (to get back to pre-Mouse weight and size 6 pants hanging unused in closet) via no more fast food and daily walks, etc.
2. potty train the Bear
3. teach alphabet to Bear
4. make curtains for master bedroom and guest bedroom (already in possession of a lovely cream-colored tone-on-tone striped material)
5. start a Saturday-morning moms-drinking-coffee-playgroup-thing with some friends (note to self: get more friends)

So, that's what's on my docket. Along with staying sane and alive, of course. On a more solemn note, the husband of a friend passed away today from cancer. I appreciate anew how blessed I am to have a healthy husband and children. Please hug your families and tell them how much you love them. Even when you think your life is crap, there are blessings to appreciate if you look hard enough.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

My baby can kick your baby's @$$

Just kidding. We are all pacifist-y around here. But I will tell you this, if only to make myself feel better, since the first two helpings of cheesecake couldn't accomplish it:

The Bear speaks. She's been in hyper-verbal mode since about 15 months, but in just the last two months, she's begun speaking in complete sentences. I mean, subject, verb, object, pronouns, prepositional phrases, you name it. I don't know why I didn't run shrieking to the computer to post about it back then, but I've been a little distracted.

So, yeah. My 21 month old baby can say things like, "I want more crackers, please, Mommy," and "I'm poopy. Change Bear's diaper now!"

On the one hand, it's nice because I always know exactly what's bugging her, because she tells me about it. On the other hand, ohmygodpleaseshutupnow! Every time she says something to you, you have to repeat it back to her for confirmation. Otherwise, she will scream the same sentence at you over and over until you finally get it. Ergo, most of our conversations sound like this:

Bear: Bear goes home now. Bye-bye, (other baby). Bye-bye, (teacher). Bear goes home now.
Me: Bear, is it time to go home now?
Bear: Yeah! Bear goes home now. See Mouse. See Daddy. Mommy, carry the Bear please.
Me: (talking to the teacher, distracted by something)
Bear: Mommy carry the Bear! Mommy carry the Bear! Mommy carry the Bear! MOMMY CARRY THE BEAR!
Me: Bear, would you like Mommy to carry you to the car? You know Mommy has to carry Mouse.
Bear: (light dawning) Bear carry Mouse to the car! Let's go, Mommy! Open the door! Open the door! Open the door now! Open the door now!

You get the picture. She's a broken record.

Anyway, somehow knowing that my not-yet-two-year-old can make herself understood makes me feel like less of a bad parent. I may have screwed her up in other ways, but at least she seems smart. Cold comfort, these days.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Heaven and hell

Have I mentioned yet that Husband works nights? He leaves for work around one and gets home around midnight, provided he's not working overtime.

I mention it now because it's become a major issue in our house, and a *huge* contributing factor to my not-really-sure-that's-even-what-it-is depression.

I go to work around 6:30 or so, sneaking down the stairs like I've been shacking somewhere I'm not supposed to. I get off around three. I go to bed about ten. If you look closely at those schedules, you'll notice what I've been noticing. There is no point in time where we are both awake in the same place at the same time.

The upshot of this is that the girls get lots of single parenting - dad in the mornings, mom in the evenings. As soon as I get off work, which is about the time when I want to collapse in a heap on my floor, I am solely responsible for both girls all night. Night is the complicated time - end of the day, everyone is grouchy, dinner, bathtime, bedtime. Not to mention nearly constant nursing to compensate for the daily hunger strike.

I am stressed. I am tired. I don't particularly like either of my children at the moment.

They can be so sweet and happy and good sometimes. We go for walks everyday, and we eat at the table, and we don't watch tv. It's a nice orderly routine we have, for the most part.

But then there are times, like yesterday and today, where I can see the frayed end of my rope looming ever larger in front of me.

Yesterday, I got home from work, sat on the couch, and cried. The girls were fussy, and I just felt lost. I had no one to talk to. I just felt so all alone and totally incapable of tending to their needs. Who will tend to my needs? I just wanted to give up. In desperation, I called Husband at work, which I Never do. He came home and rescued me, by which I mean he gave the Bear her bath and put her to bed while I nursed Mouse. He tried to convince me that I should wean the Mouse, because I'm so tired and moody and hormonal. He badgered me to go "talk to someone" about my feelings, which I interpreted to mean that he wants me to avail myself of our insurance's mental health coverage so he doesn't have to be the one to listen to me cry anymore. I refused both. We fought. We fight a lot these days. I went to bed without saying goodnight. I left this morning without saying goodbye.

Tonight, Friday, was our weekly teacher relaxation session after school, held at our local watering hole. I always bail early to go be with the girls. Tonight, two friends came over to hang out afterward. They played with the girls. We talked. The girls were relatively sweet. I felt the crushing loneliness lifting a bit. It was a nice sensation. Then, after everyone had gone home to their husbands and I sat eating my tasteless frozen entree in front of the computer, holding a fussing Mouse in one arm, the Bear awoke screaming. Since she was wailing, and Mouse was only fussing, I went to check on her. As soon as I set Mouse down, she started screaming as though someone was skewering her. I went to the Bear. Wanted a teething ring. Couldn't find the teething ring anywhere in the house. Mouse still screaming, gasping, coughing in anger. Bear still wailing. Me, wandering frantically about the house, cursing everything I see. Just that quickly, the old feelings of helplessness and frustration came rolling back. I found the Bear's teething ring, put her back to bed, explaining why we couldn't rock in the chair. Came back to Mouse and sat down to feed her, taking a bite of my now-cold frozen entree.

There are days when I just want to quit. I don't feel like doing this anymore.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Oscar the grouch

I have managed to gain two pounds. I'm eating like I'm still pregnant. Tonight's dinner - corn chips and marshmallows with Hawaiian Punch.

A good friend just had a miscarriage, and while I feel bad for her, I was not as sorry as I felt I should be.

My kids have not learned one. damn. thing. since I got back. We're all just killing time til vacation.

I told Husband that I hated him. I don't. Resent deeply? Sure. Hate? No.

My mother irritates me to no end. I pretend like it doesn't bother me.

I don't update enough. Surely that must sadden you determined lurkers. Hi there in Germany!

I don't have the energy to shower - or the time.

I have several very strange symptoms, many of which correlate to the disease my mother has. Husband keeps pestering me to go to the doctor. I keep refusing.

An infertile coworker (and friend) recently hinted that she wanted to ask me to be a surrogate for her and her husband. I can't decide how I feel about this.

I make derogatory comments about my children to other people (never to the girls, though - like that makes it ok).

The baby blues, they continue to linger. Or perhaps this is something else. Nursing hormones? PPD? I'm a downright bitch to pretty much everyone these days...

Perhaps I should go live in a garbage can.

ETA: I'm having a hard time posting this. Maybe the universe is trying to tell me something...

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Parroting

I've been teaching the Bear some fun alternatives to "no" to use in case she ever wants to say anything else. As if that would ever happen. Among her new words - possibly, maybe, perhaps, mayhap, and perchance. I'm an English teacher - stop laughing.

Today, as I was following her up the stairs, I caught a whiff of something. I said, "Bear, do you have a poopy diaper?" To which she impishly replied... "perchance!"

This kid has potential!

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Lightning never strikes...

in the same place twice.

Unless you're me.

Today, I melted my second breast pump. Once again, I put it on to boil for just a minute. Once again, I wandered off and forgot what the hell I was doing. The caveat? This pump - it wasn't mine. No, it was the electric loaner from a friend.

That's ok, though. The Mouse has conveniently altered her feeding schedule. I nurse her before I leave for work at 6:30, once when I come home at noon for lunch, and again after work at 3 or 3:30. She will take one ounce from a bottle in the morning, and one ounce from the bottle in the afternoon. (God bless you, slow-flow nuk nipples!) And then she will nurse. all. night. long.

However, I've been pumping twice a day, just to keep up supply, etc. It's kind of silly - I pump one breast in the morning, get maybe four ounce, and make four one-ounce bottles, which is enough for two days. I pump the other one in the afternoon, same story. I can make four days' worth of bottles in one day. I know she's not eating enough while I'm gone, but she's perfectly content, according to Husband. I haven't seen her fuss once since I went back to work. She's just conveniently decided to take in all her calories at night. From 7-10 she grazes like a wild billygoat, the silly thing.

So, tomorrow will be a no-pump day. I can't wait to see how gigantic and sore my boobs are by the end of the day. You know those lumpy, rock-hard, day-old scones you see at St@rbucks? That will be me! (Minus the blueberries.)

Friday, April 28, 2006

Seen and heard

Things seen in my house this morning:

one (1) Avent bottle, filled with formula, uneaten;
one (1) Evenflo bottle, filled with freshly squeezed breastmilk, uneaten;
one (1) Playtex bottle with big brown rubber nipple, filled with purified water, uneaten;

one very disdainful Mouse, contentedly eating away at the only decent restaurant in town - me.*

Also seen:

me, at the Bear's school, blithely chatting with the teachers, wearing no makeup, hair and teeth unbrushed, oblivious to the fact that my fly is open, in a milk-stained sweatshirt that they have already seen me in twice this week.

Things heard in my house this morning:

Q: Why did she spit up so much?
A: I think she gagged on my nipple.**

Husband: Have a nice day with the kids.
Me: Have you ever *spent* an entire day with your kids?
Husband: No...
Me: You should try it sometime, you know, if you're in the mood for something to make you rip your eyes out and throw them at people.

Husband: I love you. You're so hot.*** (yes, he said this. yes, I did kick him in the shins.)
Me: Shut up. Bring me a Big Mac. Now.

These hormones are killing me...

*This kid will *not* take a bottle. Any kind of bottle. Filled with anything. From anyone. I go back to work on Monday.
Thoughts?
**Kid has the. most. sensitive. gag. reflex. Ever.
***Said while looking *directly at me* in the aforementioned unkempt state. The men, they are not picky.