Sunday, December 24, 2006


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


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.