So, today was my day to host playdate!
I was SOOOOO excited to have the kids over, handle whatever mayhem might happen and then give them back to their mom this afternoon. We were keeping them extra long because that means my kids can gtfo of my house one day next week for that same amount of time. Like, I had brownies baking in the oven for the little girl's birthday, I made her her own clay turtle, etc etc. I was ON POINT.
Fast forward 20 minutes.
I shooed all of the kids outside (the 4 year olds and the 11 year old) minus Baby Danger. I stepped out and had everyone line up for their sunscreen application (because I am on top of things, RIGHT?!) and I sprayed them all down. High-fived the last kid I did and turned around to grab the doorknob and go back inside.
IT. WAS. LOCKED. THE OVEN WAS ON.
WTF DANGER BABY WHY?!!! JUST WHYYYYYYYYY?!!!
One second of panic. Literally, just one. Then emotion shut off and my logical brain stepped in. I ran down to the shed to get the ladder. I climbed up to EVERY SINGLE WINDOW on the 1st floor to see if we had left one unlocked and I could climb through it. There were no unlocked windows. THE OVEN TIMER WENT OFF. No unlocked windows, oven timer going off, 3 kids starting to realize that this is actually a bad situation and the baby INSIDE the house had managed to not only get INTO the bathroom, but then shut the door to the bathroom and she couldn't get out. So she was screaming her ever loving head off. OMG, PEOPLE.
Click. Beth's super brain clicked on. Me: "Hey kids, can you just walk over there by the treehouse for a second? Just a second. I just have to do something up here and I want you to be a little far away from me, okay?" *big mom smile, reassuring grin, etc. The kids walked down to the tree house. I sprinted to the shed and grabbed our loppers. I think they are loppers? The giant scissors that cut branches down from our trees. I digress.... I counted to 3 in my head and then I WHALED on that window, man. Like, it was like a scene from a movie with glass going everywhere. I reached my hand in, unlocked the stupid door, walked over the broken glass (*crunch crunch crunch*) and rescued my Danger Baby from the bathroom, where she had thankfully NOT stuck her hands in the toilet. Silver linings, people. - B
That wonderful time of year when the stars align, the sun comes out, the cage breaks open and I am FREE!!!!
(Bipolar (hypo)mania, for those of you who are totally lost right now.)
I have been blessed with a wonderful little blip in my genes that makes the chemicals in my brain go a little wonky. MOST of the time, the effects of this cause me to be stuck on a couch, not wanting to talk to anyone, not having any energy to do anything, and basically just wanting to dig a hole and hibernate for the rest of forever.
Along with that minor problem that completely devastates much of my wintertime life, I get a small prize. It really is small. I imagine it as the best thing in world, wrapped tightly in a tiny, sparkly box with a big bow that I can fit on my hand. Light peeks out of the corners if you look close enough. Once a year, at a completely random time that my brain and the universe decide on, I get approximately 3 days of absolute bliss.
I'm not sure I will be able to do justice to the level of this happiness, but this is the first time I will try to put it into words while I am actually in that state of mind.
The world. It GLOWS. Every single color seems like it has been amplified just to make everything look pretty for ME. People seem nicer. I, myself, start many short conversations with the sole goal of making another random human smile for a bit. The energy level is so high my skin buzzes. I can do anything. ANYTHING. It feels as though I have been in a coma for eternity, and suddenly I have been told that I will get 72 hours to just DO WHAT MAKES ME HAPPY. And I do. I do every single thing that I can think of that makes me happy. I take my children on random trips to the beach, I do yoga on the back porch and watch the kids happily splash away in their plastic pool. I laugh and I joke and I am so witty they really should put me on my own TV show. I'm not kidding. I am very fun to be around when I am in this state of mind. Do you remember the part of the Harry Potter books where he drinks the liquid luck? THIS IS PROBABLY EXACTLY WHAT HE FELT LIKE. I am not exaggerating, I am not just writing to make it sound fantastic so that you will want to read this. I am living in a world where everything sparkles like it's been dipped in glitter and crystals and there is literally sunshine and sparkles and fun and peace and OH MY GOD I WANT TO SHARE THIS WORLD WITH YOU ALL.
It will eventually stop. Like a festival that lasts only a weekend, the vendors will pack up their shops and their little trinkets and balloons and hot dogs and rides, and all that will be left is a vacant field with a bunch of smashed cigarettes and random trash blowing around.
It is my very own small bit of magic.
I make sure to take it all in, roll with it, and fly (safely) once every year. It is what makes the hundreds and hundreds of dreadful days spent wanting to crawl out of my own skin, hide under a rock, scream into the void, and sleep for eternity completely and utterly worth it.
I wouldn't give it up for the world.
It is my own crazy secret (that is really not secret, but other people feel it should be.)
I will try to sprinkle some of my glitter as far and wide as I can over the next few days.
And now, I am off to ride this awesome wave for as far as it will take me.
Thank you for that little genetic blip, universe.
This morning, I had an epiphany.
I woke up, went into Baby Danger's room and grabbed her from her crib, brought her downstairs and set her on the couch, made her a bottle while putting the dog's collar on, hooked the dog out front for his morning business, went inside to see that my 1 couch child had multiplied into 2, finished making Danger's bottle, concocted a cup of chocolate milk, let the dog back inside before his barks woke the neighbors, delivered the beverage orders to the children, washed the coffee pot, stacked the dishes we managed to accumulate after I had cleaned every dish last night, put new grinds into the coffee maker, searched the fridge for the coffee creamer I KNOW I bought the other day but WHERE THE HELL DID IT GO????, changed Danger's diaper, put big brother's pacifier up on the shelf for the day, poured myself a cup of coffee, called to check in with child #1 at her place of residence this week, added 2 things to my calendar app for today, and passed out cheerios for everyone to eat.
AND THEN I had the epiphany!
I was sitting on the back porch totally not smoking my morning cigarette (of course I was smoking my morning cigarette because HOW DOES ANYBODY EXPECT ME TO QUIT WHEN I HAVE ALL OF THIS GOING ON!!!) and staring out into the woods behind our yard. I looked at the new "enclosure" I had made for Baby Danger over the last 2 days. I looked at the toys strewn about the lawn all around it. I looked at the hose connected to the silly flower sprinkler that makes the water shoot out in 8 different ways. I looked at the water table with my son's matchbox cars all lined up on the ramp. I looked at the kiddie pool with the magnetic fishing game that broke 2 seconds after we brought it home, but that the kids still play with regardless. I looked at the sign screwed to the outside of the gate that says, "BEWARE DANGER BABY!" And I listened to my son laughing inside as he and his little sister chased the dog around the living room.
I'm a good mom.
I don't even know where the voice in my head came from. It startled me.
I'M A GOOD MOM.
So much of the time, I belittle myself. I question each decision I make, every time my kids are crying because they are sad or angry or frustrated. I tell myself I am doing a bad job. I am not trying hard enough. I am lazy. I should clean more. I should sign them up for more sports and after school clubs. They should have more friends. I should play barbies with them more often. We should go for more walks. We should do art together. I should let them "help" me cook. I should let them stay up later. I should make them breakfast from scratch instead of just pouring cereal into a snack cup. I should make them lunch instead of letting them buy from the school cafeteria. I should, I should, I should......
I never stop to acknowledge any of the good things I do.
I buy them special donuts at DD when we go to pick up my necessary large iced macchiato every other day. I rock them to sleep every night, sometimes for an hour or more - standing up, sitting in the rocker, sitting on the ground....whatever is necessary to get them to doze. I make them special clay creatures to add to their imaginary games. I build baby-safe fences so that even the most adventurous baby can explore the outside world without getting herself stuck up a tree. I sing and dance when we wait in the checkout line at the grocery store so that it isn't so boring. I teach them to smile and say "hi" to make someone's day a little brighter. I calm them when they freak out. I give them pep talks when they are down. I buy them books that I know they will someday love. I draw them pictures of their favorite Disney characters on demand. I buy them random ice cream treats on hot days when we are heading home from running errands. I put suntan lotion on them and completely forget to put it on myself and then end up burnt to a crisp that night. I spray them with the hose to make them laugh. I hug them and kiss them and love them fiercely.
I AM A VERY, VERY GOOD MOM.
Stop wasting time listing all of your downfalls when you can get lost in the ridiculous amount of things you do right.
You're such a good mom.
What is life?
You guys. There are BUDS on the TREES and the SNOW is GONE (pretty much) and there is a LIGHT AT THE END OF THE EFFINGG TUNNELLLLLL!!!!!!!! It's that final scene where the hero shows up and everyone gets rescued and nobody ended up dying.
WINTER. IS. OVER.
I am literally sitting here doing a dance in my chair right now that would surely embarrass the crap out of my kids. This winter was like every winter where it started off seeming like it wasn't going to be so bad and ended up being like a rotten tooth that hurts so much that you've got your crafting pliers in your mouth and you're just going to yank that sh*t yourself.
PS: It is looking like there may be some bad language throughout this blog. I don't know how much, as I am just typing stuff as it comes, but so far it isn't looking good - sorry, Mom.
I know a bunch of you have already seen it, but my noggin took a completely crazy turn this year and started producing super weird art. Like the kind of stuff where you see and and are like, "what the F*CK IS that?!!!" I promise you I haven't been holed up in my living room in backwoods New England doing 'shrooms with my toddlers as the snow and sleet piled higher and higher. That's just my brain. It really is that warped.
Here are some examples of my random products that started in my head as "cute little fuzzy creatures".....
There you have it.
This winter clearly had some substantial influence over my creative juices. I am so happy that it is over. I would like to just skip back to 2 months ago when I was writhing on the floor like some dying larvae in despair and say, "I TOLD YOU IT WAS GOING TO BE OKAY, DIDN'T I???"
Everyone go download the latest Kenny Chesney/David Lee Murphy song "Everything's Gonna Be Alright", buy a #DunkinDonuts iced coffee with extra extra, roll your windows down and start sucking up that sunshine.
Sidenote: if you live anywhere near Manchester, NH and are curious about glass fusion art go check out Monte Verde Art Glass Studio - the guys that own it are hands down the most wonderful people I have come into contact with this year. They will teach you fabulous things about glass work and make you feel comfortable with it even if you have ZERO experience with using art as a medium (like me) before you sign up for a class. They are in the process of moving studio spaces, but I am confident they will find something very soon (get on it, Moishe!!!) and will be happy to hear from any of you happy people.
All right. Time's up. I've got to put my mom pants on and get back to scraping snot off of faces and breaking up fights over who gets to play with the bacon chew toy next.
WHAT. IS. LIFE.!?!
We made it. Good job!! Go inhale some vitamin D.
For the love of.....WHEN WILL THIS END????
Mood-wise, I really thought that this winter was going better than many others I've had. There were rough times, but I managed. Easy peasy. We got this.
My brain then malfunctioned and it's been a constant chemical shitstorm for the past few weeks. I feel like I am on the verge of tears all the time. I don't actually cry, I just want to. ALL. THE. TIME.
By early afternoon, I can most likely be found under a pile of blankets on the couch just staring at the clock and willing the minute hand to go by faster so that my husband can come home to relieve me for a minute.
Everything is hard.
Breathing is hard. Literally, I wish I could take a break from breathing because I feel like it wears me out. Thinking is basically not even a thing right now. I drag myself through the days, just willing myself to do what my kids need to have done. I fake-smile at their silliness, and applaud their achievements. I try to converse with them when they have things to share with me. I get them ready and bring them to their appointments. They are bathed, and hugged, and tended to.
The entire time I am doing all of these things, I feel like I am drowning. I'm furiously treading water, waiting for this storm to pass and hoping to be able to rest soon. I don't know when or if this will let up. I went into this knowing that motherhood and depression are a really tough mix, but shit, this is really hard.
Sending all my love and hope and tenacity to all of the parents out there undergoing the same struggle.
You are not alone.
You are not invisible.
You can do this.
Hang tight, my friends.
Sunshine is coming soon.
You guys, I'm tired.
Not just my normal #momtired - a whole new level above that. ED sucks. However, I have been so tired that I don't even have the energy to engage in my fights with the compulsions to use behaviors...so I guess that's good? (I haven't been using behaviors.) My nerve situation is terrible at the moment. Even typing this is difficult, because my fingers and hands feel like they fell asleep and it is hard to make them do what I want them to do. They're just stiff and uncooperative and it's frustrating. My legs have begun to go through periods where they feel as though they are made of jelly. Sometimes walking up my stairs turns in to crawling the last few steps. My limbs sometimes randomly hum like someone has attached a tuning fork to them. My exhaustion level is through the roof. My anger towards whatever the hell is wrong with my brain is beyond measure.
I am taking a break.
My neurologist called me this morning to let me know that my MRI report came back with no lesions. So, yay! Not MS! My blood tests are all within normal ranges. Yay for good blood work! Nothing to explain what is causing this or how to fix it. The only options we have are to try to alleviate some of the symptoms by adding more meds. MORE MEDS.
I said no, thank you.
She really is a wonderful doctor. One of the best neurologists in Boston. She understands why I am not at a point where I would like to repeat the EMG just to see exactly how much more my nerve function has declined. The test hurts, it won't tell us what is causing this, and it won't help us to fix it. It will just track the destruction. I'm just not up for it.
I told my therapist I need a break.
There are so many things going on right now that I needed to give myself room to breathe. I need those 2.5 hours of travel and appointment time to allow myself to sit still and recharge so that I can make it through the week without completely falling apart.
I'm just going to take a minute to step back, relax, and reassess my priorities.
I'd really like a nap right now.
I hope you all made it through the Thanksgiving holiday unscathed, and that you are looking forward to the upcoming holidays. Basking under some Christmas lights might make up for the lack of warmth this time of year.
Stay well, friends.
It's that f*ing time of year again.
Seasonal depression. Who's with me?? This is so incredibly insane. I do not understand why this has to happen. I was doing pretty good a few weeks ago. Coasting along, working on some issues, hanging in there. Then it happened.
SNOW. F*ING F F F F*ING SNOWWWWWW!!!!!
I'm not sure if it was merely the fact that I was not aware that we were even supposed to get snow that day, or what it was, but about 1 hour after the snow started to fall (and began to stick around), my anxiety and depression ratcheted up 50 notches. My brain was literally freaking out and trying to scream at the universe that it is WAY TOO EARLY FOR SNOW AND WE ARE NOT READY YET THANKYOUVERYMUCH!!!!
And the universe is all, "Um. You live in New Hampshire. Suck it up."
No, YOU suck it up, Universe!
I am seriously losing my sanity more and more as the minutes tick by....
Did I mention we don't sleep anymore here? And by "we", I mean myself and our almost-one year-old. She has been going through the teething gauntlet for the past few weeks, and is trying to grow 6 teeth all at once. She has managed to perfect a scream that makes my ears actually hurt, and therefore she does this every 5 seconds. Not even joking. The shrieking never stops. It would totally work for torturing enemies, if the government was looking for new suggestions. I'm tired, my meds aren't working, my ED is a super big struggle right now, and I pretty much just hate the entire world.
Good thing I stored up as many good memories as I could this summer....? One would think that once the old meds are out of my system, and the new meds are in....things should calm down some, no? Of course, stopping a med where I am on the max dose is probably going to screw up my brain even more. Then, I am starting a new med that is in the family of meds that I always have those pesky side effects with for the first few weeks where I want to tear all of my skin off and scream at the top of my lungs because everything. just. feels. so. bad. Theoretically, it will all be worth it if this med actually works properly in the end. Theoretically.
Mental health issues suck so, so much.
Everything is bad and I need a nap.
Be nice to everyone you encounter. They may be quietly going crazy, too.
A few weeks ago, I went to visit my relatives down in Florida. I got to see a whole slew of people that I love beyond measure, and I am eternally grateful to my husband for taking on our 3 children so that I could travel alone.
It had been a few years since my last trek south, but as soon as my plane hit the tarmac in Tallahassee I felt like I was returning home from some long and exhausting vacation. It even smelled like home. The humidity and the ridiculous amount of green leafy things they have down there. The spanish moss hanging from the trees. The chameleons. Their weird little neighborhoods that look like something off of a movie set. Boiled peanuts. Back country roads. Family.
See, I have never actually lived in Florida for any extended period of time. It is just such a constant in my memories over so much of my lifetime.
Happy. That is another word that comes to mind. No matter what phase of life I was going through (depressed and surly teenager, falling-apart young adult, falling-apart not-so-young adult, etc...) this was always a place where I could go and find peace. My family is there. The heart of my family is there. The people who matter the most to me are rooted to that spot so firmly that they are a part of its very lifeblood. My memories are of huge family gatherings where someone would drive home with a truck full of dead birds (doves, I came to find out on this last trip down). My Granddaddy shooting an armadillo in his backyard. Being chased by a gator when out on the Wakulla river in a tiny boat. Trying my first oyster when I was probably about 8 years old, and promptly spitting it directly back into the hand that fed it to me. Sand and trees and sun. Grown ups that smelled of sunscreen and beer. Giant grasshoppers and even more giant spiders (banana spiders, I was informed.)
I have so many vivid memories of this place that it feels as though a piece of me is also permanently rooted there. Like it never left, and is still wandering my grandparents' old river property on a hot summer day, just waiting for one of the adults to walk us to the pool down the road.
When I go down there now, I still see Florida through the eyes of the small child I once was. In 30 some-odd years, my grandparents have never grown any older when I've seen them. Time stands still in the south. I want it to always be that way.
For so many of my 3 decades, my brain has worked hard to reject any memories. There is very little that I am able to quickly recall (or recall at all) for a lot of my life. It wasn't that it was a terrible childhood - that was just my body's go-to defense mechanism. Without so much as asking me, many of the experiences I had were tossed straight out of my brain shortly after they occurred like an old piece of gum out the car window. Since moving up to New Hampshire, I have been able to let my defenses down for the first time in forever and have been able to pull up a bunch of old files that were packed away in some deep, dark corner of my perpetually-overloaded brain. I am wasting less of my energy worrying about holding myself together, so I guess that means I am now able to handle looking back on things I had long forgotten. I find my mind wandering a lot these days. Seeing my 12 year-old daughter experience 7th grade is surreal. When she comes home and talks about her day, its as though I am back wandering the halls of my old school (WMS). Smelling chalk (CHALK, people!!), hearing the locker doors slam, remembering how it felt to spend so much of my time hiding at one of those cubby-like desks in the tiny library. Smells seem to be a thing. I can recall smells better than I can recall how I felt or how something sounded, and certainly better than how it looked. (Apparently I don't take much stock in visuals when it comes to my long-term filing system.)
My point behind all of this rambling is this: If I can still feel like I am there, and hear and smell and see the things I once saw years and years ago, isn't that the same as being there? Because for that moment of remembrance, I am certainly not taking in my current surroundings. I am 100% 10 years old again, just in a 33 year-old body.
Age doesn't make a difference. You are who you have always been and will always be. Time and circumstances may tweak your outward appearances a bit, but your essence is exactly the same it was when you were 4 and searching for tadpoles in the pond at the playground. It is still the same as when you were 12 and packed into the middle school cafeteria for a Friday night dance, trying to see through the dozens of classmates to that one boy you had been obsessing about for the past 6 months. It is the same as the super-excited and sad and nervous person you were on your high school graduation day when you weren't sure if you would ever lay eyes on all of those familiar faces again. The same as the day you met your future spouse. The day you had your first child. The day your first CHILD entered middle school. Your first grandchild, great-grandchild, etc.
Everything is a part of the same piece of thread that is your life.
Don't waste time worrying about getting older or wishing for that wrinkle-free skin or work-free lifestyle. You still have all of it. Just sit still, relax and breathe.
You'll be back there in the blink of an eye.
I just realized it has been over 2 months since I last wrote...I totally blame the fact that I have 3 kids. I find myself using that excuse at LEAST twice a day, every day. We are never on time for appointments anymore....I have 3 kids! Okay, we totally forgot we even HAD an appointment today....It was because of the 3 kids! I said I'd call you back 7 months ago? .....I don't even have time to explain myself, I have 3 kids trying to burn the house down. See?
Speaking of my kids trying to kill me...
When we had our second child, we thought we were brilliant for the way that we spaced the first 2 so far apart. Having a 9 year old to help with a baby was fantastic! Not old enough to babysit, yet old enough to sit with the lump of tiny human on her lap and keep a bottle in his mouth while I changed out of my pajamas (occasionally). The 3rd child was a bit of an anomaly. She wasn't exactly planned, and I understood from the start that having her and my son in diapers at the same time was going to royally suck. Funny thing - I didn't even think to factor in the fact that we were going to have a child enduring the special hell that is middle school and teenager-hood at the exact same time that we would have a toddler who felt the need to be ornery all day everyday and a baby whose world collapsed any time she got a little snot in her nose.
The days have run together since the moment #3 was born. Every morning when I get up and take my AM meds, I literally hear that sound effect from Requiem For A Dream where the mom keeps popping her pills. It feels like the time is going warp speed ahead and I am just trying to hold on to this insane, out of control life lest I fall off and plummet to my death. (Not that I haven't thought about just letting go and jumping on purpose quite frequently...)
I am having trouble keeping a train of thought in my head for longer than 10 seconds - can you tell??
Last night, I was standing in my bathroom after brushing my teeth for the night. Everyone was asleep but me, and the house seemed unnaturally calm. I must have been staring at the wall near the floor by the door for a good 15 seconds before I even noticed I was doing it. When I caught myself, I then realized that this was the ONLY time in MANY days that I had had the luxury of doing something as mundane as staring at a wall....so I let myself do it for a little bit longer. AND I ENJOYED EVERY DAMN SECOND.
Dear lord, what is this life?? I never, EVER, could have pictured it turning into this. This being the most gut-wrenching, unpredictable, exhausting and boring and exciting roller coaster ride I have ever put myself on. Good thing the military taught me the whole "hurry up and wait" concept....
One day, I might spend HOURS sitting on the floor and reading terribly written children's books, scooping nasty baby food into #3's mouth, arguing with #1's teenage-attitude and having a standoff with #2 about not being able to wear his fleece footie pajamas that are 2 sizes too small to Walmart on the hottest day of summer so far.
The next day we might be calling 911 at 10pm because #3 decided to aspirate her own vomit and was turning purple, despite my attempts to suck all of the crap out of her airway.
Having kids sucks. But, it is also the best thing that I have ever done with my life - hands down. I wouldn't give it up for anything in the entire world. I might leave them on the side of the road one of these days if they don't stop screaming at each other while I am trying to drive, though.
Parenthood: Don't do it. (But actually do it right now.)
I need sleep. So bad.
Be nice to everyone you meet. You never know who has a bunch of lunatics waiting for them back at home.
When my husband and I found out we were pregnant with our 3rd child, we were surprised. We had not been planning on having anymore kids after the birth of our son a few years prior. Once we got over the initial shock, we settled in for the inevitable difficult first year that comes with having a newborn.
Here’s what we didn’t realize:
When our son was born, his sister was almost 9 years old. Only one kid was in diapers, only one kid was shoving small objects into their mouth, nose or ears at any given time, and only one kid would be screaming their head off for longer than 2 minutes.
Oh, to go back to those easy days.
Don’t get me wrong - it was definitely a big adjustment to go from one child to two. We had to learn to juggle the needs of both children at the same time. Definitely more complicated than just having one child.
When I was pregnant with #3, we really thought we had this whole “parenting” thing down. It was only 3 years before that we had done the newborn stage with our son, and everything was still fresh in our minds. We weren’t as worried about her getting sick, or getting enough sleep, or as obsessive about writing her bottle times down. We trusted our instincts with the 3rd. We assumed that after 2 kids already, we were pretty much pros.
Dear lord, were we ever wrong.
Okay, so here’s my take: being the parents of 2 kids KIND OF sets up the framework to be able to handle adding more to your brood. HOWEVER, it’s not in the way you think. Or at least not in the way I was thinking…
Bear with me here as I try to pull a coherent thought out of my head with only one cup of coffee in me and 6,000 other thoughts floating around my overloaded brain. Maybe if I make a list that will simplify things?
2. Your kid has a crisis.
3. Throwing a birthday party.
There are SO MANY other things to add to that list, but the infant just started crying, the toddler is waking up for the day, and the older child is calling saying they need you to do something for them immediately. Your lucky partner is off at work, conversing with adults and driving around in their car with the radio on and no screaming in the background. They get a lunch break. You get the half of a granola bar that your child thankfully did not finish eating the day before and you didn’t have enough hands to bring it inside and throw it in the trash.
Don’t get me wrong - I LOVE my 3 kids. They are my world. Literally. My entire world. I wouldn’t change it for anything, but it seriously is crazy. Like bat-sh*t, I couldn’t even make this sh*t up, crazy.
Don’t forget to take your pill!
Mother and wife by day, psych RN by night. So many different ways to view life. I try to take everything in and be very slow to judge.