When You Comin Home Mom?

I went traveling for work over the last few days. There were a lot of things…all the feels.

I had to go for an audit. It was expected, but borne from an unfriendly circumstance. So, I mean, this was an announced audit so I had the time to prepare, but announced because of a crappy situation which is not something you want to have to prepare for. How many other ways can I explain this??? Stressful. Flights, and hotels, and rental cars, and auditors, and boss meetings and and and…I left Hannah. In good hands duh. And not for a long time. But I left her.

I was excited to have some me time. This was the first time since her conception that I have spent a night away from her and I was looking forward to the sleep, the “adulting” and the time to just do what I wanted in the evening not on a schedule…meal time bath time bed time…Not having to be quiet at 9:00. Being able to pull out the cross-stitch without protecting the pattern and securing the scissors. Having a martini, in a martini glass (which totally makes it different than just a glass of vodka with an olive) without having to hold it above my head spilling it everywhere because martini glasses are dumb or hide it on a shelf which Hannah can totally climb up to anyway. And have a full drink of anything without having to pull out a bead or paper clip or barrette before swallowing it. Just to be a person and not a mom.

But shockingly, I’m still a mom.

I know right? Idiot.

I worried about her. Is she sleeping? Is she eating? Is she pooping on schedule? Diaper rash and changing out of pajamas and not getting too much water on her face at bathtime and climbing but not too high and exploring but not too far away and experiencing things but not too overwhelmingly…

I tried to do me things, but I couldn’t even remember what me things are. The audit went really super well, and actually ended early, so I was able to get back to the hotel before 5p. My boss told me to go out and enjoy the city! But hadn’t planned any team outing which I was equal parts relieved about and disappointed by. The old me might have gotten dolled up, scouted out a fancy restaurant (it was on the company after all) or a mall or bar or SOMETHING and spent the time amongst people. Instead, I went to the fitness center with my headphones and said a small whispered “Thank You” to the empty room when I walked in and realized that it was empty and I wouldn’t have to negotiate machines with polite smiles and shamed glances at the total weight amount (or lack thereof). I “worked out” for about an hour and then went back to my room. I turned on the TV and tried to find a room service menu. I couldn’t find anything other than the late night menu so I plugged McDonalds into my GPS but realized when I got down to the car that I had MY car keys rather than the rental car keys. (Insert gigantic eye roll.) So I went into the lobby, found the full gallery menu and ordered a flatbread pizza thing. While I waited for it to cook, I did order a martini in a real martini glass. And then I took my martini and my depressing flatbread pizza back up to my room, turned up the volume on the TV, and sat in my underwear eating pizza and drinking a martini and cross-stitching and fell asleep on the couch at 9:30.

I woke up at midnight…toddled over to the queen bed about 15 feet away, checked my phone and played solitaire for 30 minutes before falling back into a troubled sleep.

Is this what I am now?

I tossed and turned the whole night. I woke up so many times. Too hot. Too cold. Is Hannah asleep? Did Shelby get enough rest? Is there water somewhere (cuz holy smokes that pizza was salty)? Is it time to get up yet? Is it time to get up yet? Is it time to get up yet?

The success I had at the audit was overthrown by the guilt I felt for leaving my family. A feeling punctuated by the purchase of stupid salt water taffy in a bag with the name of the city scrawled across it from one of those stupid airport stores. A tradition being born, a little something from Mommy’s trip.

I left you alone. No help with bathtime. Not there for storybooks and skinned knees. Not there to help with dishes and laundry. But here’s some candy in a tiny bag which should make it all better right? Even though it was no big deal at all. And you got along just fine without me. So maybe I’ll eat this whole bag of gummie bears and drink some wine and smile through the tears while I watch you snuggle each other completely content.

I started seeing someone. A psychoanalyst. A therapist. Or my preferred term, a counselor. After only one session, she communicated that she believes I am still in the miasma of Postpartum Depression. Whether she would clinically diagnose it at this point or not is still undetermined, but the symptoms are undeniable. Everything is not bad. Everything is not horrible. Everything can get better. Hannah was ok because her father and I have raised her to be that way. But her face lit up when she saw me. And she ran to the door to hug me. And she checked in several times that evening to make sure we were both still there. She will be fine without me which I can’t seem to forget; but she is not better off without me, which I also need to remember.

 

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Moana

Holy crap the music in that movie SUCKS!

“Remember the Coconut, remember it’s trees!” “Don’t mess with Maui when he’s on the breakaway.” and a never ending circle of “where you are, where we are, who we are…”

So, having a toddler is totally rad. And watching the same movie over and over is super cool. Particularly this new garbage on the internets. I mean, I am sure that if I go back and look at The Little Mermaid or Beauty and the Beast I would likely roll my eyes just as super hard if I can remove the nostalgia for a minute and just listen to and watch the story. But at least the music was interesting. I mean right? Or am I totally gooping nostalgia over that too? “The seaweed is always better in somebody else’s’ lake…”

We’ve also been watching SING on repeat which is equally irritating because it’s all pop music. Designed to get into your brain. Worm into your ear holes and then get stuck bouncing around in your subconscious underscoring everything you do. But it makes her booty boogie with the beat. Which is so damn adorable. And her face lights up. And apparently, she has recently decided she has a lot of opinions on the story (as she keeps pausing [yes actually pushing the pause button because our freakin genius daughter knows how to do that] the story to postulate complete with hand gestures before unpausing and continuing with the movie).

Anyway. That is really just to say that I am at rehearsal with a loop of “Remember the coconuts…remember the trees!” combined with “Cuz baby you’re a firework!” running underneath the play “Life Sucks” by Aaron Posner which I am definitely sure is not the score the director or sound designer had in mind for this production.

 

The Silence

I got a new computer at work. The new computer has much better big brother protections. I have yet to work out how to not mess up my whole blog format thingie by trying to post from my phone. Technology and I are generally not friends.

Hmmmm. Water and I are also not friends. Water and Technology are not friends. Food for thought.

Anyway, life is pretty much the same steaming pile of garbage it usually is with a delightful young toddler thrown in for extra fun. She continues to climb on everything. I’m not joking y’all. She climbed onto the roof of the van. She has also taken to headhbutting everything very hard. It is just weird and very painful for all of us on so many levels. She slammed her head hard into the glass storm door yesterday morning, hard enough that I worried she might shatter it. I yelled at her to stop and she got sad and slammed her head on the brick entry way. What the crap dude???? Chill out! Slam your head on grass or pillows or I don’t know…STOP SLAMMING YOUR HEAD!

Work is fine but I hate it, So that rocks. Theater is starting to pick up again but that’s a sinking ship. I have a Stage Management gig starting in a few weeks for a company that just announced this is their last season. They’ve been going for 31 years so it’s about time they retired, but still. Sad.

Shelby is working on an exciting new theatre thing so that’s exciting and new.

Ummmm what else.

I have killed a total of 5 snakes in my various yards over the summer. Cuz I’m rad. And have a lawnmower. And lots and lots of rocks for the head smashing. MMMMM delicious.

And on that note!

Hannah on Being 2

This chick has emotions in abundance. And she does not know what to do about it. And it is equal parts adorable and disastrous. She absolutely displays the crazy pants mood swings I associate with the “normal” pregnancy stereotype. I will tell her no. She will look at me and throw something (anger) and then drop her head to the floor and start crying (sadness) but something in the exhalation of her fake tear breaths just tickles her so she starts giggling (happiness) and then looks at me and remembers I told her no so she stops giggling and glares at me again (back to anger) before launching herself at my leg for a big death grip bear hug (love). All day. This happens all day. This full range of emotions takes about 2 minutes to cycle through. There are approximately 10 hours my kid is awake (on a very very very lucky day) and taking an hour out for eating and Blues Clues, we do this about 270 times a DAY! Frustration, anger, sadness, crazy laughter, shame, love, hug, slap.

And you know what? I am no damn help. It just gets worse kid, but then you don’t have mommy’s leg to hug. But they do make this super awesome stuff call wine. 😉

Other than having all of the emotions blow through her tiny little mind constantly, she’s also got language on the brain. She will talk up a storm! It’s mostly nonsense stream of consciousness but there are definitely some very clear trains of thought and explicit instructions going on there. Yesterday, I woke her up and did the morning routine of diaper change, outfit selection, and general bedroom clean-up. (If you don’t get to her immediately after she wakes up, she throws every single thing out of her crib.) She did not stop muttering throughout this entire process. I caught words like “Ba!” (bottle) and “B!” (bellybutton), “Coo Coo” (Blues Clues), “Daddy” (pronounced da die), “sh”, “NO-no-no”. She loves to throw away her own diaper. Weird, but I’ll take it! I let her off the changing table, handed her the diaper to throw away in the hallway, and watched her little finger wag while she continued to provide me a summary of her itinerary for the day? She marched downstairs reminding me to “sh” be quiet because “Da-die” is “honk shoe” (snoring sounds). At the foot of the stairs, she took a left and made sure I was following her before literally running into the kitchen. She threw her bottle into the sink, went to the pantry where all of our shoes are located and grabbed her sneakers. She brought them to me muttering “shoes shoes” the whole time and then sat on the floor and stuck one foot as high in the air as she could, pointing to the shoes and then pointing to her foot. Once I got her shoes on, she grabbed a pair of my flip flops and put them on the floor in front of my feet and then just looked at me to make sure I would put them on. Which I did. And then she ran right to the back door and clear as day shouted “OUTSIDE!” to which I of course had to say, “let’s have some breakfast first. Are you hungry?”. Clearly the worst thing a mother could possibly say. Her face melted, she picked up and threw a cheerio that was on the floor from some other tantrum, squatted down so her tiny lil butt was in the air and put her head on the floor, started fake crying, peeked out to see if I was looking and when she caught my eye, started giggling and then ran over for a hug. Holy hormones batman.

Her vocabulary is picking up. There are definitely words that she is connecting, words that she is using to consistently label, words that are the actual label for the actual thing. Phone is a new one. The Phone is where Coo Coo comes from. I got a gift card to Amazon for my 10 year anniversary at this company, so naturally I spent that on Shelby’s birthday and spoiling Hannah. She now has a fancy dancy kindle fire where Coo Coo can come from.

She has not lost her insatiable curiosity and her absolute love of heights. She plays on the big girl equipment at the park and will only consent to the baby equipment if there is another kid playing over there that looks interesting enough to try and be friends with. She has no time for sloth, she runs everywhere and barely notices or cares if you keep up. In fact, she’d prefer if you didn’t because you’ll just pull her off those giant monkey bars she

really wants to climb and then she’d have to put her head in the dirt for her two minute emotions coaster and that would just be “yuck”.

 

The thing is guys, she’s not even two. We’ve got like 3 more months. So I’m a little scared that this will be life until she’s 20 and stops calling home.

How Does One Do This?

Children. What the crap you guys.

This is me confirming that vacation seriously screwed everyone up and is totally not worth taking most of the time. Blah.

We took a little longer to drive to Shelby’s parents’ house than usual. Hannah was mostly OK, but syncing up bathroom breaks, gas fill-ups, diaper changes, and food requests was surprisingly more difficult than it should have been. I stopped to fill up the car and no one was hungry, so then I’d get on the road and Hannah would almost immediately destroy her diaper. So I’d pull off again and change her, try to pick up a little snack or something. But inevitably, 30 minutes to an hour down the line someone was hungry or had to have an emergency bathroom break. It was just weird. But we got there. Late. Since Hannah napped the last few hours in the car and we had just arrived in a shiny new place with shiny new people, I was pretty sure that trying to put her to bed was going to be an exercise in futility so I let her stay up until about midnight.

When we visit the in-laws in summer, we have to sleep in the same room with our delightful and beautiful young offspring. That first night, I waited until almost 2:00 to go in the room out of fear of waking her and setting our whole vacation off to a horrendous start. But she slept. I mean, only until like 8:00 the next morning, but she slept through my re-entry and bed squeaks and stayed in her portable crib the whole time. It gave me hope. Maybe she was old enough to get this travel vacation holiday thing now and sleeeeeeeeeeep. The second night, she also slept straight through. In her crib. It was amazing. And awesome. And I let my guard down.

And then no matter how worn out we tried to make her throughout the day, she never again slept through the night in her own bed. She napped well. She napped hard. We played in the pool, ran in the yard, took walks, went shopping, went out on the boat, played with toys, watched her favorite TV show, usually accomplishing all of those things once before each nap and once after. She was tired. But she wouldn’t sleep. Sometimes it was her usual brand of “nap time’s over! I’m UP! LET’S PLAY!!!!” Sometimes it was just a constant wriggling and low level whine. Sometimes it was full out screaming. Sometimes it was midnight – 4. Sometimes she just woke up at 5 so I would take her down for MeMe to play with her and she would fall back asleep for an hour or so and then her nap and sleep schedule went all bonkers and then we all suffered.

But we did have fun. At least I did with Hannah. There were certainly moments I wanted to just throw her at another adult and slam pillows over my face and just sleep until the sun went down, but there were a lot of fun moments too. Watching her play in the pool. Seeing her confidence in wandering a speeding boat and sitting right up front. Her excitement at the mud puddles the days it rained. Her delight at the bubble machine and how quickly she put together her new puzzle. Playing with my parents who came out for a quick visit. Accepting my brother in about 12 seconds and not crying when he held her and smooshed his newly bearded face on her cheeks. Offering kisses to literally everyone at the table and running to hug people’s legs. I’m so glad she is such a sweet and happy girl.

But now that we are back home, her sleep is still fairly erratic. She has slept through the night I think twice since we came back. Last night was the hardest. Last night was one of those nights we couldn’t figure out what was wrong. We each tried holding her, rocking her, singing to her and trying all the usual soothing techniques. But her body kept tightening, completely rigid while she shrieked in the highest pitch I’ve heard in awhile. And then she would flop around and try to wriggle out of our grasp and slam part of her body on something hard that would set her off again. She bit her lip playing in her stroller after dinner, and one of her particularly floppy times she slammed her mouth on my collar bone which set off a siren of cries that were definitely pain driven. She was tired. Not particularly interested in playing. Just crying. I wasn’t going to be able to sleep anyway, so I sent Shelby away to rest in case this went on all day. I would rock her, distract her, get her settled. We’d lay down together and I could hear her breathing slow. I could tell she was almost asleep, and then she would shake herself violently, as you or I might if we were falling asleep at the wheel, and then it would start over. Growing pains maybe? Her mouth still hurting? We were both there to tuck her in which is a usual trigger, so I don’t think that was the problem. I just don’t know.

Also, in other scintillating news, we are rapidly approaching the terrible twos. Hannah was informed of this milestone a little early it would seem as she is being a veeeeeery stubborn little thing, and asserts herself at every opportunity. But even THAT she is doing super cutely. As an example, she has taken to helping herself from the pantry. I’ve seen her come out with a bag of her cookies, and bag of chips, a box of crackers, and a tube of oreos. When we catch her, we tell her she needs to ask dada or momma “please?” and then we usually give her a taste of whatever she came out with. But it usually takes a good three minutes of her trying to get into the thing herself complete with whining and flappy arms and refusing to say please before she gives up, says “peet” while handing over the bag/box and then smiling very sweetly and hugging a leg. Sometimes she’ll frown and put her head on the ground BEFORE running over to hug a leg, but she always hugs a leg. Because it is cute. And it works. And she KNOWS it.

Anyway, this has gotten long and boring enough that I should probably stop and get some work done. Or take a nap. Yeah, let’s take a nap.

 

 

 

Status Update

Since I know you were all worried about me and dying to know…

My computer conversion got pushed to the 27th, so I can totes take work on vacation with me! Isn’t that spectacular?

Let’s get real shall we? Family is fun, sure. But family can also be stressful. Married into family…yeah. I love my husband’s parents and they are nothing but the sweetest people. But sometimes, you just want a computer in your face cuz you “have to check on this work thing” so you don’t have to be the one to make the decision on what everyone is having for dinner.

It also helps to relieve that constant low level anxiety. I don’t have to check everyday, but knowing that I can is just amazing. I may not ever pick it up, I may not ever log on. But if it wasn’t there, I would not be able to stop thinking about it. Would neeeeeeeeeed to check. Would neeeeeeeeeed to be in touch. So yeah, I’m already feeling better about that.

Packing on the other hand…Gah this used to be so much easier.

Summer – Bleh

I remember when I was in school, any age really, and summer was the awesomest thing. Summer meant sleeping in. Beach trips. Family vacations. Pool! Camping! (Of course, one year it also meant Algebra summer school but…whatevs.)

We cleaned out desks or lockers. The hallways were always full of trash cans and screaming youths. In college, the packing was usually very last minute, throwing all non-essential items into a giant box and hoping I could fit it in the back of the van with all the TP I intended to confiscate.

I worked as a camp counselor for several summers throughout college. After the first summer, I trained and received my lifeguard certification. I guarded the pool, lake, and canoe trips down the river. I wore a bathing suit every day. I swam every day. And I still got to ride horses and go hiking and sleep under the stars.

And then I grew up. Theoretically. And summers became just like every other day except a lot hotter and a lot more crowded. I work constantly, and don’t really like to vacation during the summer because everyone else does. A Tuesday at the beach in September is near perfection. A Tuesday at the beach in July is damn near hell. Besides, if I can continue working, maybe I can catch-up on some stuff and feel ahead of the game when the client comes back from their Caribbean getaway.

But Hannah. Oh how she loves to be outside. How she enjoys the water so stinkin much. I wish I could give her a pool membership. Or that we lived closer to the beach and I could drive her out there after work everyday. I know she is still too young to retain these memories, but I feel inadequate only being able to offer a sprinkler and bucket o water in the backyard.

And so I am equal parts genuinely excited for her and overly stressed for me that we are heading to my In-Laws’ lake house next week. I bought Hannah a life jacket so she can go out on the boat. They have a lot of land for her to run around and explore. We’ll pick up another little pool for her at Wal-Mart so even if she isn’t on the boat with us, she’ll be having a great time with Meme. And no matter what, Hannah will not go without. If I forget anything, it will be purchased for her. She is going to have a great time.

I on the other hand am going to be anxious. Stressed. I will probably have more grey from this relaxing vacation than I ever have. See, we’re getting new laptops at work, scheduled for the week I am out. Which means I have to leave my current computer in the office so it can be imaged and transferred to the new one. Which means a full week without being able to just check in, delete unnecessary communications, forward pertinent information, or just know what evil horrendous garbage I have left for my back-ups to clean up for me in my absence.

I still feel so out of sorts with this job. I am constantly confused, defensive, and trying to dig out of horrifying and so obvious errors made by the previous owners. Meanwhile, I know I am probably creating some pretty large issues myself, not billing or not following a procedure correctly or not keeping adequate records or not using the correct type of pen which renders the whole study completely useless. And it is stressful to think that someone else will be responsible for a week and catch all of these things and think me an idiot. That is really more hurtful to me than getting lectured, or fired. Someone finding out that after this long, I still don’t know what’s going on.

Summer. Bleh. Go home and give me Autumn with some pumpkin flavored crap and a hoodie.