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.



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. ūüėČ

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.

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.

Date Night

Shelby and I have had very few date nights since Hannah was born. And we haven’t really had the most traditional dating life anyway. OK, let me back up and tell you about a time BB (Before Baby).

When Shelby and I first started dating, we did the traditional thing. He’d pick me up, we’d go for food, take a walk around campus (college town though very thoroughly not college people), go dancing, go to the zoo…It did not take long before we were just completely comfortable sitting around a house watching TV or playing games or hosting parties where others had to come to us.

And then we got married and were both heavily into theatre. We spent most of the time at separate rehearsals and then would meet up at the bar afterwards. Or we’d get home as fast as we could to sink into the couch and melt each other’s stress away. Our “dates” were primarily theatre based; go to see the other’s show, go to a show together…we’d still take day trips to the beach and maybe try to find a hotel to stay in if we were too tired to drive home.

And then I got pregnant. We were both still into theatre, but it is a lot less fun hanging at the bar when you can’t drink and you’re tired and either no one knows you’re preggers yet and you feel ginormously fat or you’re about 2 months from your due date and are actually ginormously fat. And we were trying to buy a house. And our cat was sick. And it just made more sense or maybe it was nesting but I would just come home from work, pop some netflix on the iPad and pack boxes.

Enter baby.

Hannah was born November 4, 2015. The first time Shelby and I left the house at the same time, together, without Hannah was March 17, 2016. I think the second time was September 17, 2016 when I went to watch Shelby perform and then rushed home right after. I’m not really sure if there has been a third time. So that would make tonight the third time.

It’s no big thing. Some friends invited us over for game night. It will be casual. We won’t be too far. Beth is a fantastic babysitter. Last time (I mean apart from the time she rescued us when we had the flu), Hannah had such fun and then fell asleep and slept all night which was rare at that time. This is a good thing. And I am trying to convince myself here, this is a good thing. Social adult time together as husband and wife. Blah.

Zoo 2.0

We joined the Zoological Society. I don’t know if I mentioned that before but it seemed logical given our child’s deep devotion to all things animal. The membership basically rocked our socks the first time we used it because one of the perks is your own fancy pants entrance. We foolishly went on a Saturday and the line to get into the park was almost to the parking lot. But not for us, we strolled right on up and right on in.

This zoo is broken into two regions; Africa and North America. That first time, we started in Africa. But there are two loops, one for the big game animals and one for the little guys. We kinda did it wrong and ended up going through the monkeys and bugs a couple of times before linking up to North America. It got late and the park was getting ready to close so we tore through North America kinda hurriedly. We also missed some of the animals that had already been put away for dinner or whatever they do behind the scenes when the tourists are all gone. Still, we walked back to Africa and got to glimpse the giraffes and elephants which are my favorite animals by far.

This time, we started in North America. It was hot. Most of the animals were asleep far away in the shade but we did get to see a lot of the aquatic exhibits that we missed the last time. The sea lions were out and being very photogenically compliant in their swimming around in front of all the windows (I mean for those who are halfway decent at photography unlike yours truly). There were lots of fish of course. We saw the otters being silly. But once again, the polar bears were not available. They haven’t been available the last several times I’ve been to the zoo. Methinks they may no longer be residing in the zoo at all, and the teams are just buying time until a new pair arrives, but that is mere speculation. We may just have fantastically bad timing.

sea lion

They also have several kid zones throughout the park. Animals are cool n all, but all that walking gets kinda boring. Let’s SLIDE! I let Hannah loose in one while Shelby rejuvenated with some french fries and shade. I’m fairly certain we could have just stayed there all day and she would have been pleased as punch. Instead, after about 20 minutes of playing I lathered her in sunblock and strapped her back in the stroller to continue our trek toward Africa.

And that’s when it all started to go horribly wrong.

It was hot. And though the paths offer a lot of shade, they also offer a lot of hillish type walking. Particularly up to the exhibits. Oh yeah, did I mention that Hannah had one of her UP UP UP nights the night before and didn’t let us go to sleep until 5:00am? So everyone was already kinda edgy and raw from being up all night. Hannah was tired of being in her stroller but could not be counted on to stay on the path. Shelby was hot, tired, and soooo not interested in chasing Hannah and the subsequent hysterics when we tried to wrangle her back into the general direction we were attempting to walk. I was hot, tired, and trying to balance humoring Hannah and appeasing Shelby.

And then Hannah started sweating sunblock into her eyes. Which she tried to rub out with her slippery sweaty sunblocky hands. And she would only eat a bite of one snack before getting upset and requesting something else. And Shelby ran out of ice cold Diet Coke. And then Hannah just had a complete meltdown about shoes and heat and stinging eyeballs and WHAT ARE YOU EVEN TALKING ABOUT PARENTS? ALL I SEE IS A SLIGHTLY DIFFERENT COLORED ROCK BECAUSE THERE IS NO WAY MY BRAIN CAN CHANGE THAT INTO A SLEEPING GRIZZLY BEAR.

It was nap time but I couldn’t stroll Hannah fast enough to get her relaxed and sleeping. (She falls asleep in the stroller often, but really only if she has consistent movement at an up pace. Not super fast, but also not general meandering.) We never made it to Africa. We got as far as the center junction before we finally decided to call it quits and catch the tram back to the North America entrance. I took Hannah to the restroom while Shelby started the car and got the AC blasting. Hannah found contentment sitting in the sink and turning the water on, completely dousing her shoes and legs but thankfully not her outfit as I had stupidly not packed her a spare. A quick and loudly protested diaper change later, we buckled her up in the nicely cooled backseat. Within seconds, she was napping peacefully and stayed that way the whole drive home and then some.

I’m glad we paid for the membership. I would have been frustrated and harbored resentment if we had driven the almost 2 hours to the zoo and paid full price for about an hour and a half inside only to then drive 2 hours back home. But as it was, we recorded some valuable lessons about what to pack, how to manage time and expectations, and what times to shoot for given the kid’s temperament. I look forward to further exploring presentations and feeding times to increase our likelihood of a) seeing active animals at all and b) showing Hannah something super cool. (I mean, this trip she seemed to be the most fascinated by a large bird that sat fairly closed to the exhibit viewing area cleaning it’s wings. So sleeping lions and tigers and bears lose out to something that actually moves. Imagine how cool it would be if we actually saw lions tigers and bears moving! [I don’t think this zoo even has tigers.])

We’re also planning a quick trip out to the coast this summer as our Zoo membership includes access to several aquariums as well. I think that will be a more successful trip what with the indoorness and air conditioning and water. But then again, she may just have a meltdown because we won’t let her in the tank with the fishes.

Toddlers. It’s a darn good thing they’re cute.zoo


C’Mon Kid

Just when I thought we had everything sorted, she goes and does THIS again…

Tuesday she went to both the dentist and the doctor. She was given high praise at both appointments for her above normal perfection, her plaqueless teeth and her positive demeanor. She was poked, prodded, stabbed and made generally uncomfortable. Her nap schedule was all off. I was worried about how she would sleep that night, but she slept like a dream.

The next two nights however…

There are so many things. Things that are likely contributing but not solely responsible for the disruption. Individually they would not be cause for alarm, but together they make for an unholy amount of¬†garbage for a toddler to deal with and I don’t know how to fix it.

She’s 18 months old and gaining her independence, but still so very much a daddy’s girl. She shushes when he’s sleeping, but can’t help herself from running to the bedside screaming “DA!”. If momma tells her no, she runs to Da for comfort. If Da tells her no, she runs to Da for comfort. The mention of his name makes her smile. She is happy to stop whatever amazingly fun (read inappropriate toddler activity) she is engaged in to see where daddy is, or bring daddy something, or say bye-bye, or blow kisses. Shelby has a show that opened last night and has been at rehearsal most nights when she goes down. She looks for him when I take her up. She blows kisses to the couch and then frowns at me. She is restless without him.

She has 4 new teeth coming in. Like whoa. 4! Overachiever. They don’t seem to be causing her much pain or anything. She’s not overly chewy or cranky. I didn’t even notice them until we went to the dentist. But maybe they are bothering her more than I realize?

She also shot up 4 inches in the last three months. So there are definite changes happening fast and loose with her body. Who knows what other havok is ravaging her body and mind, immeasurable by stethoscopes and a twenty minute observation session.

The temperature in our house (and let’s be fair, the weather in general) is so all over the place right now. Her room is either a super sauna or an ice box. I can’t seem to dress her right to account for either scenario though both are¬†likely to happen ALL IN THE SAME NIGHT EFF U NC. And the vent in her room blows directly over her crib. But she sleeps with a quilt now. It used to hang over her window to make it darker in her room until she pulled it off the wall. Then, I just hung it over the side of the crib to help block her face at least from the intrusive sunlight during naptime. It didn’t take long for her to start pulling it into the crib before I even got out of the room, so now we just leave it on the mattress for her to do with as she sees fit. She still hates having blankets cover her legs though. Often she wakes up with freezing feet and a sweaty head. Pull it together toddler. Pull it together.

And then there’s the nap schedule. We’ve toyed with pulling her to one nap a day. We’ve been inconsistent lately and I know that is screwing her up. She is the kinda kid that sleeps better at night when she sleeps well during the day so her nap schedule being all wonky could be contributing to her overnight schedule. Her previous sleep schedule:

7:30 – 9:00 AM – wake up.

10:30 – 11:00 AM – first nap in which she sleeps for about 30 minutes to an hour.

2:30 – 3:30 PM – down for second nap in which she sleeps for 3 hours.

8:30 PM – bedtime routine starts including bathtime, bedroom prep, and “chapter book” which is usually watching 15 – 20 minutes of a movie with Da!

9:00 PM – bed

With her tendency to not sleep at all for one or the other of her naps, we started looking at the probability of reducing her to one nap per day. But as I say, we’ve been inconsistent. With some of her appointments scheduled based on her previous schedule and our own fatigue and attempts at getting the house in some sort of functional state, we just throw her at the crib when she gets cranky. Sometimes she sleeps, sometimes she has quiet time, sometimes she lays there talking to herself louder and louder until she finally works herself up enough to yell for Da! So we don’t have a consistent schedule anymore, and I think we just need to pull the trigger and set a one nap a day schedule and get her used to it, but dang it’s hard to even deal with right now.

Tuesday she had her appointments. Tuesday night, she slept all night and was still out cold when I left for work Wednesday morning. I am told she did not nap well on Wednesday though. That night, she got cranky early and I had spent the day googling the transition to one nap a day and blah blah so I put her down a little early, like 8:45. She slept for a few hours, her typical second nap duration, and then she was up. Up Up Up. Talking, playing, trying to engage us in chasing and tickling. Begging for shoes. Like, dude, it is 2:30AM, we are simply not going outside! Wednesday night she woke wide up and wouldn’t go back to sleep until 4:30AM. She still only slept until 8:30 Thursday morning. Unsure of how to handle a night of no sleep and the wishy-washy ness of one nap or two, Shelby put her down at about 11:00 AM Thursday morning. She slept for about an hour and a half. And then she was up. She played hard, inside and outside. I thought groovy, maybe we’ll get her so tired that the whole second wind will even be exhausted by bedtime,¬†but her dad suggested we put her down at 3:45 (and she was a SUPER crank right about then) so we did. And she did not sleep. She talked to herself for an hour before finally screaming to be released from this boring prison. Once again, because of Dr. Google, I pushed her bedtime routine a little early and had her in the crib by 8:30PM Thursday night. She slept until ten minutes to 1, at which point she woke up shrieking. We both let it go and she soon settled down but then spent the next hour tossing and turning and groaning but never crying for more than 30 seconds. Until 2, when she was once again up uP UP and in no way interested in sleeping.

Since I had to come into the office today, Shelby was in charge of staying up with her. He took her downstairs and I fell asleep after about 20 minutes of convincing myself he had it taken care of and the best thing for me to do was sleep. About 30 minutes later, she was at my bedside saying “Shh Shh Shh. Momma!” The explosion in my heart blew my eyes wide open. But it was short lived as she then punched me in the face. (It seemed accidental, but also looked pretty darn purposeful if you ask me.) Once it was apparent she just wanted to play in the bed and wasn’t going to lay quietly and go to sleep, Shelby took her back downstairs. That was at 4:00AM. I didn’t hear much activity after that and fell asleep again pretty hard, so I’m hoping they did too.

6:30 my alarm went off. 6:45, I heard rustling and the unmistakable timbre of toddler garble downstairs and figured I’d better get my shower started in case there was some significant momming that had to happen before I could leave for the office. By the time I got downstairs, she was once again asleep in the crook of Shelby’s legs.




The weather is supposed to turn quite beautiful this weekend.

I’m acting in a show that opens Thursday.

Work is going well, for the most part.

Hannah is beautiful, happy, healthy, if a little sassy and ornery.

And yet, somehow, I’m harumphing.

Heard it from a friend who heard it from a friend…women handle emotion like balloons on a clothesline. As long as all the balloons are in some sort of balance, everything is ok. But if one balloon drags you down, the rest plummet to the newly created valley of the clothesline.

I’m disappointed in my house. My lack of ability to sustain and finance all the work that goes into running it. We are the trashy ¬†family on the block who doesn’t have the time or energy to deal with the leaves. Hasn’t fixed the front walkway. Has the breaking apart asphalt where the cracked driveway meets the road. The waggly mailbox that someone hit. The rotting fascia. Hopefully, if the weather does indeed turn ideal for outdoor activity, I can drag Hannah outside and have her help me clean up the yard. She loves being outside. The only problem is, we need to clean the front yard, and without a fence, that baby goes straight for the street. What a weirdo.

She likes to help me gather and burn sticks. She likes to explore. She likes to pick up rocks and carry them around with her. She is suuuuuuuuuuuper interested in the magic and mystery of the shed. But she’s also just as graceful as her mother (read falls down a lot). And just as interesting to the mosquitos and spiders. And sun. And in this balloon valley, I feel inadequate at protecting her.


Hope your Friday is billions betters.