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Sunday, May 12th, 2013
On Friday I was thinking that sitting in a corner taking Xanax might be the perfect Mother’s Day for me. This, after Emmett peed on my leg like I was a fire hydrant (he was naked as I was about to put him in the bath). Then giggled.
The day only got better.
I had to take Wayne to the vet. And Emmett. And Fia. As I was being told Wayne once again is obese, and no longer my Biggest Loser, Emmett took a pack of crayons and threw them at the cat. Of course this spooked Wayne and fur went flying. Once again, Em laughs. Fia starts screaming “Emmett, don’t do that.” The vet looked at me and said, “Let me get the receptionist to start working on your bill so we can get you out of here quickly.” Clearly I’m their favorite client. I bribed Fia with a lolipop and Em with his pacifier to just sit the f-ck still.
When we got home I gave Wayne a treat in his bowl. I turned my back for a second. Emmett came running out of the room with the ceramic bowl, threw it across the room where it shattered, then began laughing. He may actually be insane. But insanely happy too. This all happened before 11 a.m.
Do I deserve Xanax? Yes. Maybe 5.
Regardless of how I celebrate my day, I figured posting pictures would help calm me down. And it does. So here goes. I’m taking the rest of the weekend off.
Happy Mother’s Day, Everyone!
Okay, so maybe he looks a little like a barking seal in this picture. After all, we were at the zoo. But I just love how happy he looks. Man, did I get a good one (except that he is WILD)! Pure joy, this boy.
Emmett’s first carousel ride. Clearly he hates it.
Fia on her favorite giraffe!
Both of my babies.
At friend Lazlo’s birthday party
Alone on the high beam–and giving me a heart attack!
I know I’ve posted this before, but I can’t help but do it again: my beautiful boy!
Categories: Fearless Feisty Mama, Fia Friday, Mom Situations, Mom Tricks and Tips | Tags: carousel, happy baby, hyperactive toddler, mom stress, Mother's Day, stress, vet, Wayne, Xanax, zoo
Thursday, March 28th, 2013
I wrote my post this week about having this nagging sense of guilt whenever I leave my kids. I had some great comments from moms who validated how I feel. Whether right or wrong, it’s nice to know you’re not the only insane one.
Then this morning I think I figured out how to NOT feel guilty: Push yourself to the absolute limit of supermom. Then your psyche won’t f–k with you and throw guilt your way. Instead, it will tell you to flee as soon as the sitter arrives. Don’t look back. Go! Which I did.
Now I am sitting here having my haircut and colored. The gray is out of control. The back looks like a mullet. After this, I am going to get my hooves–the thing most people call feet–pedicured. My hands will get a much-needed manicure. Then my husband and I are going out to dinner and to our favorite massage place. I don’t feel badly at all. The reason? Because when you spend almost all week with your kids, culminating in today’s cluster-f–k you are so ready for a break all guilt goes out the window.
We started the morning off as usual: Up at 6:30. I made eggs for them; Emmett splattered his on the floor. Fia started coloring and Emmett tried to take her crayons. He pulled her hair (his latest thing). She started wailing. This is in addition to the usual 7 head bumps he has from knocking against our table, the face plant that inevitably leads to a bloody lip at least 3 times a week and the screams of agony from them both for taunting the cat to the point of getting scratched.
Around 10, I needed to get out. We live right near Griffith Park that has just about everything. I figured the little train and pony ride would be easier than the massive zoo. We loaded up and drove down the hill.
A lot of it was great. Emmett had his first horse ride. I walked beside him, stepping in horseshit with my flip-flops.
Then we went to ride the train. The ticket line was a mile long. We waited. And waited. We were getting close when Fia said, “Mama I have to go to the bathroom. I can’t hold it.” Crap. We left the line and ran across the parking lot so she could go pee. I dangled Emmett in one arm so he wouldn’t lick the bathroom floor. The kid is a menace. A cute one, but good god he never stops. He is into everything. This is what it means to have a boy. I had no idea.
After the bathroom Fia decided she wanted something to eat before the train ride. We stood in the longest, most inefficient line run by the Parks and Rec department. We finally got our turn. All she wanted was cheese fries. While they were apparently growing and cutting up the spuds to fry, Fia took off running and did a face plant right on the concrete. Shit. She starts bawling. My sciatica has been acting up. But being supermom, I had no choice. I picked them both up and walked back across the parking lot to the car. I grabbed the stroller and plopped Fia in. Though Em is the one I really need to chain down.
Throughout this I remained calm. Even chipper. I deserve an Emmy.
We went back to get our food. I sat down and took a bite. The cheese fries were spicy. WTF? The sign didn’t say “spicy cheese fries.” But they are. You know, that fake nacho kind? Maybe they won’t notice. Wrong. “Mama, it’s too spicy!” Fia screamed. Emmett just threw his glob on the sidewalk where it won’t disintegrate for a century (did you know Velveeta can survive a nuclear attack? And that when they make it in the factory it’s a big gray gelatinous rectangle? In case you weren’t sure, the yellow color is fake.)
I’ve been trying to do this Mediterranean diet to keep healthy. Gloppy, goopy fake cheese is definitely not on the list. But what can I do? I sit there slowly licking blobs of cheese off, handing them the fries. It may have been the best part of my day.
Time for the trains, then home. The ticket line is gone. Thank god. We go up to the window. “Closed for lunch.” Cue the wailing. I drag my now overtired, still hungry, hot, injured daughter and son to the car. I sit down as pain shoots through my lower back. I text my sitter. “Can you come tomorrow morning?”
Oh, I broke down and also got an ice cream sandwich. Emmett’s first. What a milestone!
Categories: Fearless Feisty Mama, Fia Friday, Milestone Monday, Mom Situations, Mom Tricks and Tips | Tags: babysitter, exhaustion, guilt, hyperactive, mom guilt, nanny, playdate, potty training, stress, toddler boys, zoo
Wednesday, April 25th, 2012
I am seeing a hypnotherapist. I found him on Yelp. Really.
I know how “LA” I sound, but I must say; this guy–Peter Bedard– is extraordinary. I decided to go this route versus traditional therapy to help me deal with my obsessions. I figured getting hypnotized would be a quick fix. However, as Peter puts it: it’s not about cleaning up a corner in your room. It’s about cleaning the whole house. Apropos considering I have a major cleaning obsession.
Ever since Emmett was born I have become increasingly uptight about our house. I literally cannot walk past a crumb on the floor without stopping to pick it up. My mind never stops racing about all I have to do. Having our gaggle of guests week, after week, after week, only made matters worse. My anxiety level reached an all time high while my milk supply went low. In short, living in my brain became exhausting.
I went to Peter hoping for a miracle. In him, I found a healer.
While I like to keep a clean house, I knew my obsession was largely about control. He took it a step further by pointing out that our bad behaviors “benefit” us in some way. In my case, the “benefit” was my license to be angry, to be a martyr. I would storm around pissed off that Phil forgot to scoop the cat liter or take out the garbage (I have to do everything myself); I found myself angry at our friends who wanted to come visit (why are they here when I have a newborn? They should at least be getting up in the night); and ultimately angry with myself for not coping better (you suck at this).
I was reeling.
When I explained it all he said, “How’s it working out for you?” I nearly burst into tears. “Not so good,” I replied in misery. We talked at length. He threw out the old adage, “Would you rather be right or happy?” And more importantly: “Would you rather be right…or be a mom? Because your kids are going to f-ck up a lot, and if you are wound this tight, you’re going to have some f-cked up kids.”
Cue the sirens in my head: Time to avert disaster.
Through a series of visualizations, he had me fire my “critical self”–that voice inside that keeps you spinning. Then he had me “rehire” it, but as my personal assistant. After all, it is a part of me. But I was back in charge.
Rather than controlling my environment and the people in it, he told me to visualize governing–graciously. I pictured myself in a white flowing outfit, looking out onto our beautiful garden. My arms are outstretched and my children are playing. It is a picture of happiness. Of serenity. And ultimately, of surrender.
I have had 4 sessions thus far and each time I feel like I’m making great strides. We are now working on “pattern interrupts.” Like at this moment I am wearing a purple rubber band around my wrist. When I start to spin, I snap it–hard–to jolt my brain back. The goal is to keep that personal assistant in his place (I decided it was a man). The breath of fire is another technique. The other day I was playing with Fia when I found my mind racing. I immediately went into the breathing and boom–pattern interrupt. Fia’s giggling at her strange mama didn’t hurt either.
At the end of each session we do about 15 minutes of the hypnosis. It’s really just a deep meditation. If I had to think of it as hypnosis, then the whole time I’d be obsessing and my brain would go like this: “Am I hypnotized yet? I don’t know. How about now? Now? Not sure…” and so on. But a deep meditation I can relax into and absorb his words.
It all comes down to training your brain to stay positive. As an example, I asked him how I could go into something with positive intention if I dread it, like paying bills. Without skipping a beat he said, “Be grateful you have the money.” The next day I sat down with that intention and those old thoughts of– why am I always the one to do this?– stayed away.
It’s a simplistic example, but sometimes that’s what resonates most.
In my September 11th piece I said that parenthood is a privilege. So is life. I only get one. But I gave life to two. I don’t want to waste this time controlling them. Or the crumbs.
Meditation Picture via Shutterstock
Wednesday, April 18th, 2012
A Rare Moment of Quiet
I got up a few nights ago to pump (Phil does the late night feed). Nothing came out. I was alarmed. I can typically get 5 oz in a matter of minutes. But I knew deep down what was happening. My body was giving me an ultimatum. Slow down or else…
For weeks I’ve been running myself ragged. Actually, ever since before Emmett was born. I’ve been catering to company and overbooking everything from play dates to mom dates.
I woke up today and realized Emmett is almost three months old. He’s my last baby. I want to enjoy him, to soak in and savor his existence.
I’ve been so concerned with Fia not feeling my attention shift and so overwhelmed by the constant stream of guests, that I haven’t been taking proper care of myself–mentally, emotionally, or physically. Or him. I have missed feeds (he is given a bottle if I’m not around) and it doesn’t help that I hate pumping–partially due to my boob wound. It tends to open back up if I’m on the pump too long.
What it comes down to is this: I have basically blown off the most basic needs of my newborn and put everyone else–including myself–ahead of him. I’m not proud.
It’s tricky because on the one hand, you love your friends and family. I want them to meet the babes and I want to spend quality time with them. But let’s face it, even if people are here to “help,” there is a level of “entertaining” involved: cooking meals, cleaning up, showing the sights, etc. I want to be a gracious host. But at what expense? With a new baby, I can barely pull off a routine as it is.
I know a lot of life is running errands, grocery shopping, and yes, having loved ones visit. But when our last round of visitors left, I exhaled for the first time in ages. Company=work. No matter who it is. Inevitably any semblance of a schedule goes out the window.
Tell me I’m not alone in this quandary.
Looking back at the past 6 months, I also realize how exhausted I am from moving our family across the country when hugely pregnant and setting up a life for us in LA– also when hugely pregnant. Then…I had a baby. Yes, a baby! That small, earth-shattering event that rocks your world.
Oh, and it was a C-section, with some recovery involved–but I blew that off too. I was dust-busting my floors two days out of the hospital because I couldn’t take the mess. As a result, I kept bleeding. A friend finally gave me a similar ultimatum that my boobs did: if you don’t stay off your feet, you will not heal. It’s that simple. I finally listened.
Now I’m listening again. And luckily, the body forgives.
For the past two days I have relaxed, meditated and breathed. I have been drinking Mother’s Milk tea constantly. I’ve gotten our feedings back on track and have spent some serene, quiet moments with my sweet son. I have kissed, smelled and nuzzled him like a mama cat.
As I type, he is sleeping next to me. He peeps and coos and smiles as he dreams. He is joy.
Forgive me baby boy. I’m back now. And our “Inn” on Ames Street is CLOSED until further notice.
Categories: Fearless Feisty Mama, Mom Situations, Must Read, Newborn Care | Tags: anxiety, breastmilk, company, infant, letdown, newborn, nursing, pregnancy, pregnant, stress, supply, toddler, vacancy, visitors
Friday, October 28th, 2011
Fun Bun on the Run
A Note To Myself:
Well, we’ve arrived. We’re Californians. At least for now. Leaving my mom squad sucked, but for the time being, I’m so distracted and overwhelmed, I don’t have time to be sad. That will come in a few weeks.
The good stuff:
Our new house is amazing. The owner had the frig stocked as a moving in gift for us.
Fia loves the yard. She ran wild and free. Despite all the obstacles one encounters in a move, I feel in my heart of hearts this was the best decision for our family. I think we’re really going to be happy here.
Our movers delivered all our stuff today. We are living amid of sea of boxes with Fia and Wayne on the loose. I don’t know where to begin. I’ve also never lived in a house. At least as an adult. For the past 20 years it’s always been apartments. I have no clue how to organize a kitchen. I feel inept. Help is on the horizon though, as my in-laws fly here tomorrow. I’ll have hands on help with baby and boxes.
I have no routine right now. For me, that’s a stressor. Especially while pregnant. I have so many little things to do, but I’m also limited in how much I push myself. And I do feel like I’m overdoing it a bit. I know the worst thing that could happen is preterm labor, so I have to force myself to let things go…. to know it will all fall into place.
Besides cable, phone and all that jazz, I need to find a pediatrician, a new OB, a nursery school or part time nanny, a vet, an allergist, etc. I have leads on all these things, but I’m a “to-do” list person. I will only feel better when I can check these things off my list. Especially since I can’t drink. Or take xanax. That would be so helpful.
Okay, that’s it for now. More soon.