My “Weight”

I’ve been a little tense lately.  I haven’t felt much like myself.  I’ve been feeling, heavy, in a way.  Like I’m carrying around a lot of stress, a lot of emotional weight.  At first I figured part of the problem was a lack of sleep and the general frustrations that come with having 2 young children.  I started thinking, “Things will get better when A goes back to school in September.”  But the truth is, I’m dealing with a lot more than having my kid home during the summer.

I feel there is a lot being asked of me right now.  In addition to a pregnancy/new baby…the whole thing was highly charged, emotionally, since it was right on the heels of losing the twins.  I still haven’t had a chance to come down from the emotional high I was on for the duration of my pregnancy.  Less than 2 weeks after C was born, there was a shitstorm with Hubs’ job and so began the process of him quitting and starting his own company.  It wasn’t as simple as turning in a resignation.  There were many things to manage, many things to consider…one of the biggest issues being my medical needs relating to my skin cancer diagnosis.  I find myself stuck at home a lot yet I still feel my house is a disaster.  I can’t seem to get anything cleaned during the day.  I don’t manage to get out of the house much…it’s not easy.  Plus, I’ve cut my spending dramatically in order to preserve our savings as long as possible.  I rarely get “me” time.  The Hubs and I haven’t had a date in I don’t know how long…hell, most nights we don’t even really talk.  Strangely enough, even though he’s not traveling and is working from home, we seem to have much less time together than before.  He works all the time and after the girls are asleep (a whole ‘nother problem) I just want some alone/quiet time to surf the web, catch up on my blogs/message boards and spend some time without someone needing or wanting something from me.  Or touching me.  Bedtime in this house is a disaster.  If A doesn’t nap…she’s a bear.  If she does nap, she won’t go to sleep at night.  C goes down pretty easily, but is awake within 30 minutes needing to be rocked back to sleep.  She’s still up at least twice a night to eat and about 50% of the time, she won’t settle down and go back to sleep.  For example…she was up at 4:45 this morning.  Bedtime just adds to my frustration that has mounded up during the day and by about 8pm, I’m ready to run out of the house screaming.  It’s like the straw that breaks the camels back every.single.day.

But I signed up for all of this and I own it.

Nothing on my list of complaints is surprising to me and I’ve taken it all on voluntarily.  I can’t even fix the sleep issues because I’m too big of a wuss to let C cry and I flat-out don’t have the time or desire to read one of the several sleep books available.  But my list of “issues” isn’t even what really bothers me.  My problem is the guilt I feel for being frustrated about any of it.  The guilt that comes from knowing I should be thankful everyday, for every moment I get with my husband and my kids but finding myself, at the end of each day, wondering if I’m actually looking forward to getting up the next morning and doing it all over again.  I wanted my kids.  I pined for them.  I prayed for them.  And they are both more precious to me than anything else I’ve ever known and I would do just about anything to see them happy.  I’ve known the heartbreak of loss and I know what it’s like to wonder what my life would look like if I hadn’t lost the twins.  I know what it’s like to long for a moment with them, no matter the circumstances, to be able to touch them, to hold them, to tell them I love them…to know them…if only for a moment.  I know what it’s like to beg for a glimpse into what life could have been like if things had gone differently.

I feel awful…so damn guilty for complaining about any part of my current life.  And I feel like a horrible mother and a horrible person for not being able to be joyful in every moment in every day…especially where C is concerned since I was so fearful of her not getting her at all.  I sometimes find myself fearful that something else tragic is going to happen…wondering if I didn’t learn my lesson wholly the first time around.  I desperately need something to lighten my mood…something to relieve some of the tension I constantly feel.  Someone or something to take some of this weight off my shoulders.  I took A and C to the mall yesterday to play on the indoor playground.  On the way out, I passed a double stroller with 2 matching carseats (black and white damask with hot pink trim) each holding a teeny-tiny, sleeping baby girl.  It was as close to tears that I’ve come in quite some time and my heart still hurts thinking about it.  I’ve managed to avoid seeing a brand-new set of twin girls for over a year and my first encounter just came at the wrong time.

What a great day.

Gosh, I had a truly wonderful day today.  While nothing extraordinary happened, I thought it would be nice to blog about a lazy, uninspired day that was really great.  Being a mother is awesome, and I rarely find something to complain about with regards to being a mother; but parenting is hard folks.  Anyone who tells you otherwise is either lying or not doing it correctly.  So talking about the good times, as a parent, seems like a good idea.

Hubs had a 7am flight to catch, meaning he left the house at 5am, meaning he was up at 4am, which also means I was up at 4am.  I used to be able to sleep right through his getting ready in the mornings, not real sure what’s going on right now.  Anyways, after he left around 5am, I went back to sleep until 8:30!  Between 7 and 7:30 is the normal wake-up time around here.  I had asked him to put Goose in her kennel so she wouldn’t wake us up and it worked!  Both A and I snoozed until 8:30.  I needed it and so did she thanks to 2 late nights in a row.  We got up, had breakfast and to top it all off, it’s been a relatively successful potty training day around here!  She got enough stickers on her chart to get a new Beanie Baby (thanks to a large stash I had from high-school when it was all the rage to collect them) and went all day without an accident.  I’m admittedly kind of half-assing the whole potty training thing, but she keeps waking up dry in the mornings and holding it for long periods of time so I don’t feel like I can completely ignore this opportunity.  She still fights me to sit on the potty and always whines and, occasionally, screams and cries, but she’s just so proud of herself after she’s done and she’s so excited to put a sticker on her chart.  The Beanie Babies help too…she gets one after she gets 5 stickers…even though the LAST thing we need in this house is more stuffed animals of any kind.  Oh well.  I decided to give her Cheerios for breakfast.  In a bowl, with milk.  She loved it and did really well with her spoon.  After breakfast we watched tv.  We laid in bed for a while watching cartoons and I would occasionally get up and do something productive.  After a few shows we sang some songs and did some puzzles.  It was about time for lunch where she proceeded to eat all of her peanut butter sandwich (hold the jelly), all her pretzels and her entire cup of applesauce.  Mealtimes are normally a battle in our house so I was really pleased with both breakfast and lunch!  I was able to easily put her down for a nap and had some nice down time to eat my own lunch, take a shower and re-install her car seat in my car since I’d taken it out to wash the liner over the weekend.  I ended up waking her up after 2 1/2 hours because if I let her go these days, she’ll snooze for 3-4 hours.  That doesn’t bode very well for bed time.  After her nap we got dressed and ran a quick errand.  I needed to return something at the mall and while I was there decided to let her play at their indoor playground.  And oh by the way, how cool would it be to be so fascinated with something as simple as an escalator?  It’s like we were at an amusement park…We came home, watched a little more tv, ate dinner, took a bath then off to bed.

So you see, nothing spectacular happened, but there’s been very little crying and drama today and I’m functioning on enough sleep so I know my attitude is better which I think is KEY.  This week has the potential of being really rough as Hubs left this morning and won’t be back until Friday evening.  I don’t think he’s ever been gone that long.  I’m really glad our week started out so pleasantly and I’m thrilled to finally have a day where I feel I succeeded as a parent instead of failing.  My hormones are completely wonky these days, which is to be expected, but it’s still stressful.  And frankly, a 3-year-old is hard.  I needed a little reassurance that I’m not totally failing as her mother as things around here have been a little tense as of late.

I’ll know more after my appointment next week, but as of my last appointment it seems that Baby C may have flipped into the correct position all on her own.  My doc will begin internal exams next week (she thinks I’m a riot since I told her thanks for the warning and I’d be sure to “tidy up” for her, only I’m much more crass than that and so is she) and will be able to confirm her position at that time.  I haven’t totally ruled out the possibility of a c-section, but I did manage to scour up the motivation to finish up my Hypnobirthing book just in case.  The only complaints I have are feeling tired and a little achy and my ridiculous acid reflux.  I’m thankful to be at home and have the opportunity to rest whenever I feel the need.  My acid reflux is another story.  I doesn’t seem to matter what I eat, drink, don’t eat or don’t drink.  It’s horrible all day long and wakes me up at least once a night.  I take meds morning and night and chew Tums all day long.  Oh well, I just need to hold on for a few more weeks.  I’ve been told apple cider vinegar works wonders…I’m seriously thinking of trying it.

Since I’m feeling happy and thrilled about my girl today, I thought I’d be brave and post a recent picture of her.  It will most likely end up being taken down soon once I think about all the crazies surfing the Internet, but for now, here’s my little girl.  🙂  And for the record, she’s ridiculously tall with dirty blonde hair and big, icy blue eyes.  Her daddy has his work cut out for him.

A

Oy.

This day.  Oh, this day.  Ugh.  It has just been a rotten day.  First of all, it’s been cloudy/rainy here for the better part of a week.  I’ve seen the sun once in the past several days.  It’s starting to take its toll on me.  My morning started out with A calling for me on the monitor.  When I wake up in the mornings, I try to judge the time based on the light outside.  I turn the light on my clock off (it tends to give me a headache if I sleep with the light on…high-maintenence, I know) so unless I groggily reach for my phone, the light coming in from the windows is my best gauge.  This morning, it was still fairly dark so I though A just needed to be tucked in and told it wasn’t time to get up yet.  So I pulled my butt out of bed and stumbled into her room only to discover it was past 7.  Clouds.  Rain.  You see where this is going.  “I’m hungry” a whiny voice says to me.  “Ok, fine” I sigh.  “Get up and we’ll go get some breakfast.”  My day started out 90 to nothing.  She was hungry, but wouldn’t eat.  Sigh.  Life with a toddler.  She wanted to play, we had somewhere to be.  She kept asking me to play with her and not only did I not want to, but I had to get ready.  Dance classes are on Wednesday mornings and we leave at 9:30.  This week was “Watch Me Week” which means they set up chairs and invite all the parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, distant cousins, family black sheep and all the random strangers they can find to sit on the perimeter of the room and watch class.  Sigh.  This has never gone well.  I warned my husband and mother-in-law that while they were more than welcome to attend, she would most likely spend the entire class in my lap.  Both of them disagreed with me, I still don’t know why.  It’s not like I haven’t done this before.  To complicate things further, I had to take Hubs to pick up his rental car this morning which threw my whole schedule off.  By the time we left the house for dance class I was frazzled, and my back hurt.  I HATE to be that way in front of my husband.  I don’t like for him to think I can’t handle it when he’s out of town.

Dance class went exactly as I expected it would, she curled up in my lap and whined the whole time.  I was close to tears by the end, ok middle…seriously close to losing it right then and there.  I was so frustrated with my mother-in-law trying to convince her to participate (like I hadn’t already said these things to her and I won’t answer the same question over and over again.  It just gives her the attention she wants so I just wanted my mother-in-law to STOP TALKING TO HER), I was frustrated that once again, I’ve got the only kid in class that won’t participate, I was frustrated that my husband was being overly nice to A when I wanted to pound her, I was frustrated that she wouldn’t sit still and wouldn’t be quiet and kept disrupting the class (“I’m hungry!” “I want to go home!”  “I want my blankie and bottle!”  over and over and over again) and I was beyond embarrassed because once again, I’m convinced everyone is looking at me thinking, “Geez, she can’t control the one she’s got, how does she think she’s going to manage an infant too?”  Sidebar: I’ve learned not to judge other parents too harshly, you just never know what’s ACTUALLY going on in their life.  A kept asking to go home, and I said no.  At one point I took her out of the class to have a talk with her about sitting still and not talking during class.  Told her that all her friends were performing for their family and if she didn’t want to participate, she had to sit still and be quiet.  It didn’t do much good, but I don’t believe in discipline without explanation…even with a 2 year old.  Anyways, I felt it was important for her to sit through the class, that by leaving she would have got what she wanted, so we stayed.  I’ve decided I’m not going next time…it’s just not worth it.  We’ll skip that week.  And the 100+ bucks we’re going to have to spend for her Spring recital?  I might as well wipe my ass with it and flush it down the toilet.  So Hubs was headed out of town right after her class, but we thought we’d stop at Starbucks for a quick cup of coffee before he left.  That went terrible too.  She whined and squirmed the whole time.  She kept complaining she was hungry so I offered her some of my croissant, but she kept demanding green apples.  I still don’t know where that came from, we don’t eat green apples around here.  Red ones, yes, tons of them, but no green.  Whatever, I grabbed my latte that I never even had time to taste and headed home.

I get home, cut her up an apple and make her a cheese quesadilla (she’s starving, remember?) that she proceeds to eat a tiny bit of and declares she’s done.  Fine, kid, whatever.  You’ve got 30 minutes with the tv then we’re both taking a nap.  Only, 30 good minutes was too much to ask for.  Because my doctor’s office called to tell me I failed my 1 hour glucose test yesterday and I needed to come in for the 3 hour test ASAP.  Oh, and I’m also low on iron, so I’ll need to start taking a supplement.  Now, neither of these things surprised me (based on my pregnancy with A), but it was just too much before noon.  I called my husband bawling.  I just felt like a parenting failure all the way around.  From my morning with A right down to not being able to stay healthy while I’m pregnant.  Also, I’m peeved at the nurse that called…I know most of the nurses at my doctor’s office but I don’t know this one that called.  She was so insistent I come in right away I finally had to be kind of rude and tell her flat out that I have a young child, a husband that travels and frankly, carving 4-5 hours out of my day to come to your office to do a 3-hour glucose test is not something I can do without some planning.  So calm the eff down, lady, I’ll take a look at my schedule and get back to you.  Geez.  Also, did you look at my file?  AT ALL?  I’ve done this before you know…

So my nap was pretty good.  But my afternoon hasn’t been much better.  My child is just in a mood today and while I think consistency is the best way to shape behavior, I frankly just don’t always have it in me.  You didn’t say please?  Fine, whatever, I’ll just get you what you want.  No, we’re not reading a book right now but since you’ve asked me for the zillionth time, fine, I’ll give in.  I know it’s bad.  But I’m just so beat-down today.  To top it all off, I get a text while I’m giving A a bath tonight from an old friend.  She had a really random question, which was no big deal, but proceeded to ask me how I was and if I’d had to twins yet.  I thought most people in my life (past and present) had gotten this memo.  I was left to explain, via text, that we lost them in March, stillborn at 19 weeks, blah, blah, blah.  She felt terrible, of course, but that got me thinking more in-depth about the girls than I really wanted to today and now I can’t shake it.  This day has just been too much.

A is still awake in her bed.  She’s been calling for me, I keep ignoring her.  Also, the dogs are going a bit stir-crazy thanks to the rain which means I’m about to blow-off my to-do list and lock myself in my bedroom.  For the record, non-pregnant B would have a glorious dirty gin martini right now.  Then probably another one with an Advil chaser.  So if there’s anyone out there that would like to have one on my behalf, please, enjoy 1 (or 2) for me.

Guilt

It’s something I have plenty of.  And something I’ve been really struggling with over the past few days.  If anyone is in need of an extra dose, I’d be happy to share.

I’ve always been a guilty-feeling person.  I guess it’s part of my nature.  It’s also a sign of a lack of confidence, but that’s a different topic.  I don’t struggle as much with guilt as I once did, but it’s still there.  The guilt I deal with now seems more important than earlier in my life.  I feel guilty about my lack of attention to my role as a wife.  I feel guilty about my lack of attention to my role as a house wife/mom.  I really kind of suck at it.  It’s a lot of work maintaining this house with 2 adults, 1 toddler and 3 out-of-control dogs.  We don’t live in squalor, but I’m just not real good about the day to day stuff…and I regularly feel guilty about it.  I feel most guilty about my parenting.  Most days I go to bed feeling as though A didn’t get my 100% all day and I feel bad about it.  I hate the nights when I watch the clock and just wait for bedtime.  I know it happens to everyone, and it doesn’t make me a bad mom per say, but to spend your evenings reflecting upon your day and not liking the conclusion is a tough pill to swallow.

I’m struggling most with my feelings of guilt about this new baby.  My head understands that I cannot expect the same kind of attention, conversation and thoughts be given to this baby since we have another child to care for.  However, it seems like Baby C is only real to me and the Hubs.  And if I’m being honest, I think sometimes she’s not really real to us either.  We were in College Station last week and had stopped to pick up some new Aggie Swag where A selected a small stuffed Revielle.  We, of course, bought it for her and she carried it around all weekend.  It wasn’t expensive at all ($10) and we had extra money set aside for exactly that.  That was Wednesday.  It took me until Sunday night for a light bulb to go off that it never even occurred to me to pick one up for Baby C.  I’ve been feeling guilty and bummed-out ever since.  I’m still beating myself up about it.  It makes me sad and I can’t help but wonder if there’s some deeper meaning behind the whole scenario.  In addition to the realization, it got me thinking about the behavior of our families.  I was pregnant with A the exact same time of year, which means that I was shocked when A was gifted several things on Christmas of 2008; before she was even born.  Now, I find myself fretting that Baby C will get nothing.  Mostly because our families don’t talk about her at all.  No one asks about her, no one really brings her up.  It’s like she doesn’t exist.  I was talking with a girlfriend the other day and she assures me it’s simply the dreaded second-child syndrome.  That it was the same way with her 2nd daughter.  But I don’t know, when I mentioned it to Hubs he reminded me that I/we don’t really talk about her to other people.  He also reminded me that for 20 weeks, she was pretty much a secret to everyone except our closest friends and immediate family and the whole topic was somewhat taboo amongst them, too.  Also, we aren’t sharing her name and we did so with A as soon as we picked it.  Maybe we should change our decision and share her name…but I’m not convinced that would change anything.  So now I feel like I’ve done this to myself and to her.  It’s my fault no one seems to think she’s real, it’s my fault no one is particularly attached to her.  It’s my fault our families don’t seem at all excited about her.  I don’t know how to fix this either.  Hubs suggested ordering her the stuffed Revielle online, but’s it’s just not the same.  He also suggested we talk about her more…but what is there to say?  We haven’t even really begun to prepare for her at all here at home and I have no idea how to go about “discussing” her.  The whole thing just makes me sad.  And the saddest part of all is that I’m concerned our families view Baby C as “sloppy-seconds” after losing the twins.  She’s soooooo much more than that to us.  She’s our little girl.  She’s another person for us to cuddle, for me to nurse, for us to mold and shape and help grow.  She’ll have her own personality and will cement herself into our lives in her own special way.  She’s the sister to our little girl and I know she’s a missing piece to our puzzle.  She was very much wanted even before she was conceived; I yearned to be pregnant with her without knowing anything about her.  Now I know a lot about her.  She’s a thumb-sucker (I was a thumb-sucker) and has big feet, based on my last sono.  She doesn’t like loud noises or loud music in the car.  She’s quiet and still when I get stressed-out or upset.  She’ll start kicking around the most once I have a glass of ice water…sugar and caffeine don’t seem to do much for her.  She moves the most late at night and into the early mornings and tends to be asleep when I wake up around 7.  She wouldn’t exist at all if it hadn’t been for the tragedy of the twins and that right there makes her very, very special.  Like I said before, I don’t know how to fix it and I’m not even sure how to deal with the whole thing.  I realize I may be pleasantly surprised on Christmas, but I doubt it.  It just doesn’t feel the same as it did with A, and it’s a real bummer.

A Teaching Moment

“Wisdom is not a product of schooling but of the lifelong attempt to acquire it.”
– Albert Einstein

One should never stop learning.  It doesn’t matter how old you are, how much education you have obtained, there is always something new to be learned.  It can be something as simple as following a recipe and creating a dish you’ve never before tried, or it can be a highly complicated lesson in life.

Hubs spent the majority of this past week in San Antonio.  Not only was he gone, but he was busy for about 12 hours each day and unavailable to communicate except the occasional text.  It sucked.  But we made it through and we’re quite enjoying a nice weekend right now.  My mom will often visit when Hubs is out of town; To keep me company and to visit A.  She’ll make her way to my house after work putting her here around 6:30, play with A until she goes to bed, my mom and I will have a wine-induced conversation that always revolves around the same topics, we’ll go to bed and she’ll leave the house around 6:30 the following morning…making it a very early day around here.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I appreciate my mom’s efforts, especially to visit A, but the visit this week left my head spinning.

My mom was born and raised in backwoods Michigan.  Her family is, well, different.  They’re not bad people, just have really different views about life and what is socially acceptable.  My mom in one of 6 siblings and joined the Air Force when she turned 18 just to get the hell outta dodge.  I’m thankful everyday for that decision.  Had she not left, she wouldn’t have met my father and I wouldn’t be here…or at the very least wouldn’t be the person I am today.  My mom made it a point to keep my sister and I away from her family for the most part.  When we were younger, we would visit my grandparents, aunts and uncles once a year, but it was always obvious my sister and I lived a VERY different life than our aunts, uncles and cousins.  I would say we lived a terribly sheltered childhood…but the values and morals we were raised with were much different from those of my relatives up North.  My grandmother passed away when I was in college, on July 4th none the less.  I was with friends drinking beer and shooting off fireworks.  I didn’t go to her funeral.  My grandfather lives several more years, but was ill.  He developed Alzheimer’s and it was especially difficult for my mom.  She was always closer to her dad.  He passed away after I had graduated, and I did attend his funeral.  I haven’t been back since.  While I was there, my mom, sister and I visited my grandparents house and gathered a few mementos to take home with us.  My grandmother sewed, I have a few instructional sewing books that I took from her house…someday I’ll teach myself to sew.  My grandfather was a Veteran, from him I have a shell casing from the 21-gun salute from his funeral.

That’s a very short and rough overview.  But it leads me to this: Growing up, it was always, always, always expected that my sister and I would attend college, graduate, and make more of ourselves than my mother did.  It was her life’s mission to ensure her kids had a better life.  After all, she’s gone through a lot to get us in a different place geographically, made herself the black sheep of the family by living with different morals and values and she married into a family that didn’t immediately love her right away.  For me, it never seemed like an option.  I was to graduate high-school, graduate from college (not just attend) get a job and support myself.  It was never a conversation that was had…it was just understood.  My sister, apparently, didn’t come to the same conclusions I did, but more on that later.
I wanted to attend Texas A&M for as long as I can remember.  I wasn’t an especially great student, mostly because I did just fine on my own and I don’t think my parents pushed me hard enough.  So when it came time to apply, no big shock that I wasn’t accepted.  I managed to convince my parents to let me move to College Station anyways so I could attend the junior college there.  I did great, busted my butt (no easy feat when the professors at the junior college are the same ones at the big university down the street) and got myself into A&M.  I had taken a Psychology class at Blinn and loved it.  I loved everything about it, so when it came time to choose a major, I chose Psychology.  It fascinated me, I understood it and I never wanted to miss a class.  Most of my classes were lectures and I found myself hanging on every word said.  I did really well in all my Psyc classes…except Statistics, but who cares.  I graduated with a BS in Psychology…my diploma still (and ALWAYS) proudly displayed in our home.  The problem with a BS in Psychology is there is very little you can do with it.  Aside from continuing your education and getting a Masters and possibly Phd, you may as well have a degree in General Studies.  Hubs and I graduated in 2003, the job market wasn’t exactly stellar.  I worked the whole time I was in school on a part-time basis but that doesn’t really go over so well once you have this magical piece of paper that’s supposed to land you the job of your dreams.  I had trouble finding a job and ended up in Human Resources for a local Pawn Shop company.  It wasn’t a bad job, but it was full of “difficult to work with” people.  It was a learning experience.  I was miserable and for a short time decided my calling was to sell real estate.  I quit the HR job (after receiving a promotion) and well, didn’t do the real estate thing.  Looking back, I don’t know what the hell we were thinking, we couldn’t survive on Hubs’ income alone at that point.  I wasn’t yet a Dave Ramsey convert.  So I went searching for another job and this time, ended up as an Admin for a staffing agency.  After I few years, I was promoted to Lead Admin and that was the last job I held.

aggie rings

Our Aggie rings...very proud of these babies.


Here’s what I thought happened…I went to high school, never got into trouble.  Went to college, busted my butt to get into the school I wanted to be at.  Picked a major that interested me and graduated…ON TIME.  Got married, found a job, bought a house, got promoted at my job.  Left said job since I was miserable, realized we needed additional income and found another job.  Found said job, did well and got a promotion at THAT job.  All the while we traveled, saved, did fun stuff, participated in life and decided to have a baby.  Once A was here, I was able to quit my job because we had planned for it and now I’m a full time stay-at-home-mom with a husband that travels a good chunk of the time.  We still travel, participate in life, are able to pay all our bills, save, lived to tell the tale about the twins, and decided to have ANOTHER baby.  While I don’t go through life thinking I’m all that, I think I’ve done pretty well.  I’m grateful everyday for my parents’ ability and willingness to pay for my college, but I’ve never asked them for much money-wise.  Hubs and I have been solely self-sufficient for quite sometime.  And we’ve made a nice little life for ourselves and we’re happy.  As happy as we can be with all the challenges we’ve faced.

So here’s the lesson I learned.  My mom started with this statement; “If you would have told me 10 years ago this is what our life would look like…”
She bagan to tell me that she didn’t think Hubs and I would ever have kids.  This is a fair statement…I never wanted kids.  She then proceeded to tell me she thought I would have pursued higher education, gotten my Masters and maybe Phd and would be practicing somewhere…kidless.  She didn’t say this, but the insinuation was “and not just be a stay-at-home-mom”.  She went on to say she thought my sister would have been a vet specializing in equine opthamology (WHAT THE EFF?!?!) and would have met someone at school and would be married by now.  My poor sister.  She wouldn’t have pictured herself leaving her job here and starting all over in a career at 50.  In my head I was like, well, that was your choice to move, but whatevs.

My head was spinning.  My mom has never told me she’s proud of my ability to stay home, she makes comments about how I’m a good mom and such, but she’s never given me the pat-on-the-back about being at home with A and (hopefully) Earl.  “How can she not be proud of me?” is all I could think.  The truth is, my mom was home with us until my sister was 4.  My dad lost his job and she had to go back to work.  She’s always had the guilt that goes along with leaving your kids and I don’t think she’s ever gotten over it.  Maybe she’s worried someday I may face the same issue and she doesn’t want that for me.  The truth is, I know she didn’t mean it the way it came out.  She would be HORRIFIED and DEVASTATED if she knew how I interpreted the conversation.  The thing is, I learned a VERY important lesson on Tuesday night.  It is okay to have expectations of your children.  It is not okay, however, to have very specific expectations of your children.  To have such specific expectations sets your kids up for failure…no matter what they do with their life.  I haven’t quite figured out what I want for A and for Earl, but I learned, very clearly, that my expectations need to be broad.  I’m not mad and I’m not even all that upset about the conversation.  More than anything, I’m thankful for the early lesson…thankful to learn something so profound while my kiddos are still young enough for me to make a change in the way I parent them.

Contrary to popular belief…

I have not fallen off the face of the earth.  I am in fact, alive and (mostly) well.  It’s been a difficult few weeks, I’m not gonna lie.  I’ve been a mess of emotions since I’m still not out of what I’ve deemed the “scary zone.”  I’m feeling Earl move on an almost daily basis…several times a day, but it only pacifies me for a few moments.  I kind of wish I could permanently attach the doppler to my stomach and wear an earpiece constantly.  I just can’t shake the “what-if” feeling of something going horribly wrong…that one day things will be fine and the next day, they’re not.  And I’ll have no clue…there just won’t be a heartbeat one day.  It’s a rough position to be in, and I try not to focus on it too much since the Hubs and little A don’t seem to be suffering from the same emotional strain I am and I don’t want to drag them down.  In addition, I’m still feeling pretty crummy.  In fact, Sunday was particularly rough (threw-up everything I’d eaten that day on Sunday night) and it hasn’t been much fun since then.  I went to bed with a headache last night and woke up with the same headache this morning.  Or perhaps it was a close relative of last night’s headache…who knows.  I’ve had Tylenol and Starbucks this morning and it’s just.not.helping.  I feel queasy and pathetic.  I’m totally useless these days.  Pretty sure Hubs is looking to trade me in for a newer, more highly-functioning model.

In other news, we’re struggling with A.  She was a really difficult baby.  She was just high-maintenance and didn’t sleep through the night for 13 months.  Once she got into the routine of sleeping through the night, she’s been a great sleeper.  Goes to bed well and sleeps soundly until morning; rarely waking up in the middle of the night.  We didn’t even have any issues when we moved her out of her crib and into the toddler bed.  She made the transition seamlessly and that was months ago.  A few weeks ago on a Friday night, she just wouldn’t go to sleep.  It was almost 11 when she finally passed out in my bed.  It’s been on-going since then and in addition to not going to sleep at night she doesn’t want to go to school and wouldn’t go to Sunday School this past Sunday.  We took her into the service and she started quietly crying while her dad was holding her and continued to silently cry while I had her.  It was heartbreaking (imagine tears silently streaming down your child’s face) so I made my way out to the lobby with her where I spent the majority of Sunday’s service.  I guess she was scared by the loud music and all the new faces.  We’ve tried everything at night.  We started with Tylenol thinking maybe a growth spurt or something was causing some muscle aches.  I’ve considered taking her to the doctor just to make sure she’s not sick in some way (although she seems just fine during the day)  We’ve tried explaining to her that mommy and daddy are just in the next room, we’ll be in to check on her after she’s asleep and that we’ll be here in the morning when she gets up.  I’ve tried waking her up from her marathon naps just to make sure it wasn’t an issue of her needing less sleep.  I even got her to tell me she’s afraid of the dark (something about bats and spiders) so we went this past weekend and bought her a nightlight.  Nothing has helped.  Last night was the last straw, I was in her room for the 2nd time since putting her to bed and she had a death grip on my arm.  She still wouldn’t go to sleep so I told her I was leaving and would be back to check on her.  She freaked out and started bawling…and she got out of bed and basically chased after me as I tried to leave her room.  My heart breaks just thinking about it.  Needless to say, I stayed with her until she fell asleep.  I don’t know what else to do except stay with her.  She obviously has some sort of fear about me leaving and healthy or not, I’m just not sure I can listen to her cry from fear.  We I didn’t make her cry it out as an infant, I really don’t think I can do it now.  She’s obviously scared of something…you can see it on her face when we go back into her room.  To make matters worse, she’s more intently fighting preschool these days.  She actually fussed a little bit this morning when I dropped her off.  Thank God the teacher had some animals set up in the room so  she was distracted enough to go play with them.  I’m concerned on a number of levels.  I’m worried that I’m not doing something right and that translates into her not having the confidence she needs to be alone.  I’m worried this issue won’t resolve itself before Earl gets here…and then it’s just going to be 100 times worse.  I’m worried I can’t take much more of her separation anxiety before it breaks me; I’m already a hormonal, emotional mess and I just feel so badly for her.  I’m at a loss and I feel totally helpless.  I have no idea who to ask for advice or answers.  I’m terrified of the next several weeks when Hubs gets back on the road and it’s just me (only functioning at about 40%), a cranky, sleep-deprived toddler suffering from a severe case of separation anxiety (I guess?) and 3 dogs that seem to be determined to see me off to the looney-bin.

Deep breath.

I promise to try and have better news soon.  I wanted to take a belly shot this weekend, but not only do I not seem to be getting much bigger, I couldn’t find anything decent to wear.  Hopefully soon I’ll feel up to it.  I’m working on a plan to announce the gender to our family once we find out in a few weeks.  I really don’t feel like making phone calls from the parking garage this time, so I’ve come up with a few ideas.  We’ll see how it all works out.

I’m having a bad parenting day.  My day started out with promise, but has quickly gone south.  And before I delve into the details, I must note that the hardest part of parenting for me right now is the immediate thought that I have no business having another child if I can’t control the one I already have.  I find myself stunned and almost hysterical when A misbehaves because I have no, and I mean NO experience in handling or disciplining children.  I’m totally and completely learning as I go.  I also find myself embarrassed (seriously, I blush) when it happens in public and I have a noticeable belly.  I feel like I’m being judged by everyone in the store about how I can’t handle 1, how is she going to handle 2?

Up until very recently, I assumed I was doing a good job.  Then, about a month ago, my child morphed into the toddler I’ve always dreaded.  She’s found her own voice and realized she has the ability to say “no” to things she doesn’t want to do.  This is sometimes ok, as I usually give her options, but when it comes to her behavior in public I expect her to do exactly as I say, when I say it.  And I expect her to act on things she’s already learned.  If she has to learn a new behavior, fine, but 99% of the time, she knows exactly what’s expected of her.

We put A in dance classes over the summer, mostly just to give her something to do since she wasn’t in school.  There were 6 classes and while the 1st one had a dim outlook (I spent most of the class sitting on the floor beside her) the rest of the classes went great.  She was excited about class, willingly participated and begged to go back each time class ended.  She was excited about starting classes again today, even picked out a brand new leotard on her own that we went back and purchased for her last night.  I showed up expecting no resistance and a really fun experience for her.  My expectations were totally off.  She didn’t want to go into class without me.  Once there, she wanted to play on the floor, bang on the walls and be a general nuisance to the rest of the class.  About halfway through the first part, she finally showed some interest in participating so I snuck out.  Only to find her bawling a few moments later.  One of the instructors had A in her lap and she calmed down, so I stayed outside the room.  The girls come out halfway through the class to change from ballet shoes to tap shoes.  A ran out smiling, asked for her tap shoes, and ran back into class yelling, “Bye Mommy!”  I thought everything was fine.  About halfway through the tap portion of the class (which she kind of did her own thing instead of following directions) I noticed her wiping her nose.  And of course, a few minutes later, she’s playing with a sticky booger on her fingers.  I wasn’t 100% sure it was a booger since they were doing the Itsy Bitsy Spider song, but I grabbed a tissue in case.  Now, here’s where I *think* I messed up.  I didn’t want to barge into class to clean her nose.  I’d already been in the class once and there are 3 instructors and maybe 9 girls.  More than enough to come ask me to clean her nose/face.  In no way do I expect them to do it, but they’re running the class (I wanted to respect that) and I figured if she truly was playing with a booger, and not trying to do the hand motions to the song, they’d come get me.  As I’m having this internal battle with myself, I see my child push a little girl beside her.  I was stunned.  As if that wasn’t enough, I watched her, twice, scoot next to this same girl and sort of bump her out of the way.  I was horrified.  I was the only parent that had to sit in the class, my kid is the one wiping snot all over her face and playing with a booger and now, she’s the class bully.  I just knew I was getting death stares from all the other moms.  I was frozen.  I wasn’t sure what to do.  My first instinct was to blow through the door and march her little butt right of there and into a corner.  I really didn’t care how much of a scene it caused.  My child has never, that I have witnessed, pushed, shoved or hit another child.  I don’t know if this is a learned behavior and maybe she picked it up at preschool (I plan to ask on Thursday) or the church nursery.  Whenever we’re at a play ground or play area, I always have eyes on her.  I also always tell her to “play nice” and she’s often the one hugging other kids.  She’s not naturally a bully.  And if I witness this behavior again, she will forever fear the wrath of her mother.  I will not stand for pushing, hitting, shoving, biting, not physical aggression of any kind.  Now, again, I was waiting for one of the 3 instructors to step in, but they didn’t.  Looking back, I really doubt they noticed.  And to be honest, I didn’t see what happened leading up to the little shoving incident, the other girl could have very well done something to A.  Not that that makes it ok AT ALL.  About the time I was going to drag her little hiney out of there and put the fear of God into her, one of the instructors came to tell me we needed a tissue.  I pulled her outside and cleaned up her face.  Something was wrong; she immediately said she wanted to watch TV and she wanted her blankie and bottle (she uses an empty bottle as a pacifier…never took a pacifier but picked up an empty bottle about 18 months and hasn’t let go since, sigh).  I was beyond pissed at this point.  I asked her about the shoving and she didn’t really respond…no surprise seeing as how she’s only 2.5.  Just kept insisting she wanted her blankie and bottle and wanted to watch TV.  After I cleaned up her face I tried to get her to go back into class, but that wasn’t happening.  So of course, a small battle ensued when I needed to put her tennis shoes on her and she decided to sprawl out on the floor instead.  Once she was finally changed, I hung my head in shame as we left early.  I’m so embarrassed, I’m beyond pissed and I’m at a complete loss.  We’ll be trying class again next week and hopefully things will be fine.  She whined the whole way home about wanted to watch TV, to which I told her absolutely not.  That led to a meltdown once we made it home, where she ended up in time-out and then got sent to her room screaming and crying about TV.  She finally calmed down, we read some books, she played on her own a bit, we had lunch and I’ve put her down for a nap.  Hopefully the afternoon will be better.

The hardest part of all of this is feeling like a single parent.  I think most stay-at-home-moms feel this way.  You deal day in and day out with the same shiiit.  It’s the same battles, over and over again and there doesn’t seem to be any improvement.  Even if you and your spouse talk regularly about your day, there’s no way to share all the details and all the feelings you accumulate throughout the day; and you hesitate to really tell them everything because you don’t want to add to their stress or give them the impression you’re about to jump off the roof.  Add to that a traveling husband and now you really ARE a single parent.  Aside from having to earn an income, it’s allll you.  There’s no one there at night to help take over.  Even though the Hubs and I generally speak quite a bit when he travels, it’s not the same.  He’s really only half-focused on what’s going on at home, which is fine.  He’s got business to do, meetings to attend, clients to visit.  I want him focused on work – he needs to be successful at his job.  Hell, half the time he’s in a different time zone.  I’m very fortunate to have family that offers help constantly, but I don’t like feeling like my child is away from me more than she’s with me.  In fact, I could have very easily called my mother in law this morning and dropped A off for the remainder of the day.  However, I feel it’s my duty as a parent to ride these kinds of days out.  I’m not playing the martyr, but I need my child to understand that even when there’s discipline involved, she still has a mother that’s going to be there for her.  I feel like it would send the wrong message if every time I was frustrated with her I shipped her off to her grandparents.  Some days I find myself resenting the Hubs and all of his traveling.  I know he says he’d rather be home, but between the nice hotels, dinners out and peaceful evenings I have to admit, the grass does seem greener on his side.  I feel like there is no way he can possibly understand what it’s like to be the main parent.  It sucks sometimes.  I’m the bad guy, I’m the one with the frazzled nerves, I’m the yeller (even though I really don’t want to be a yeller), and I’m not the “fun” one.  I’m the one charged with keeping order around here.  Maybe it’s just that I’m feeling really depleted lately.  Physically feeling like a big, steaming pile of crap for the past few months is starting to take its toll on me.  I’m feeling like a bad mom (because of this sudden shift on behavior), and I’m feeling like a bad wife.  I’m not feeling particularly appreciated in either of those roles.  And seeing as how those 2 things make up the majority of my current purpose in life, it’s really difficult to be feeling inept at both of them.  I’m feeling completely lost when it comes to this whole parenting thing too.  And I think she senses the self-doubt and uses it.  It’s similar to animals sensing fear.  My kid scares me a little bit…especially when I don’t know how to handle her.  It probably doesn’t help that I’m feeling particularly anxious about Earl today, too.  I think I can feel my hormones raging.  I guess it’s time to break out the Doppler.  Damn.  Today started off as such a promising day too.

Antigua

So. In keeping with the theme of Recovery Summer and the intense desire to run away that comes on the heels of the worst situation ever, the Hubs and I booked ourselves a trip to get the hell outta’ dodge. We just returned from 5 glorious days in the Caribbean looking like 2 tanned, smiling, stuffed piggies. The result of over-indulgence in sun, food, adult beverages and, ahem, other adult activites.

What started out as a trip designed to provide some healing turned into a trip that was unknowingly a desperately needed rendezvous between husband and wife. It had been far too long since I had been simply, my husband’s wife. It’s a position in my life that I’m proud of, a position I enjoy. In the daily ins and outs of life it has become almost impossible for me to wind down enough to just be a wife. Being a mother and stay at home mom always seem to fight for space in my thoughts. As a mother, my thoughts float to the twins and to my daughter. I have the normal worries I assume other parents have. Worries that I’m not being the best parent, that I’ve failed her somehow, that she’s not independent enough. I especially worry about the lasting effects on A due to my shattered emotional state after losing the girls. I just haven’t been fully present and I hope I haven’t eternally scarred her. As a stay at home mom, 99% of the household responsibilities fall to me. It’s difficult to spilt household chores when your husband is a road warrior. It’s not meant to be a complaint, just the facts.

So, I say all that to say that the Carribbean sun or maybe the sand, or quite possibly the unlimited adult beverages have magical properties. One, or all of the above gave me whatever I needed to literally let every thing else go and solely focus on my husband. Or maybe it was the upgrade to Penthouse #3. It takes a lot to get me to the point where I literally cannot stop smiling and as we were being shown around our Penthouse, I had the biggest grin plastered on my face that would not go away. It was a wonderful feeling. Or maybe it was the knowledge that as a couple, we could run circles around all those honeymooners that thought they had it all figured out. It was a wonderful experience neither of us will forget. Ever. And it was certainly one of the better ideas we’ve ever had.

I also want to mention a thought I had while on the plane. At 38,000 feet, was I any closer to the girls? I mean, if Heaven is truly in the sky somewhere, then yes, I was physically closer. It was a thought that gave me some comfort and of course, made me cry.