Sunday, May 30, 2010

Mommy Brain

I think I might be losing my mind. Literally. I used to be able to sit down to write my feelings and have the words flow out of me.  Now it seems like I struggle with what I am feeling and finding the words to describe it.  I just started reading the book, "what mothers do: especially when it looks like nothing" by Naomi Stadlen and I have to say that I am only a few pages in and I have already connected to what she (and the mothers she interviewed) have to say.  Stadlen quotes the author, Susan Griffin, who talks about feeling inarticulate and worrying that people thought she was stupid.  I have always had some trouble recalling particular words in academic conversations, but now it seems to have transferred to my everyday conversations and I feel like a moron.  I end up using circumlocution to get the person I am talking with to help me come up with the word (and yes, I actually use the word circumlocution in my daily life as an ESL teacher...okay I used to use the word, but now I am a SAHM who is losing her academic vocabulary quickly). 

At some point during my pregnancy someone mentioned "mommy brain" to me as I struggled with a word during a conversation.  They promised that it would get better after the pregnancy...that once the baby was out, I wouldn't need to share those brain cells.  I thought that the woman telling me this was way off a bit off on the explanation for why I was feeling lost for words, but I definitely bought into the idea that being pregnant meant forgetfulness.  As time went on more and more moms told me about their "mommy brains" and that it, in fact,did not usually go away with the birth of their child. I guess it makes sense, new moms are sleep deprived and have little time to engage their brain in an academic way.  I was hoping I would be different... (silly, silly me)

So here I am with a blog that was intended to be a vehicle for me to share my thoughts on motherhood and life in general and it takes me flipping forever to write one post.  I sit down to write the post during my son's morning nap, but my brain isn't working right. I don't know what to say or how to describe what I am feeling and I end up typing and deleting, typing and deleting, typing and deleting. Now S is up and I get to be (actively engaged, computer away) Mom!  A couple hours later S is back down for another nap and I open my computer and start typing again.  I reread what I wrote earlier that day and end up editing or deleting much of it...second guessing my word choice, phrasing, and any attempt at humor.  At this point I start beating myself up for even thinking I should have a blog and that clearly I do not have the gift for writing nor have anything all that important or different to say.  I try to remind myself that I am writing this for me, not anyone else, and that the point is to get the emotion on the "paper" and out of my head.  At this point S is up and it is time to be Mom again.  I am so grateful that he is up because it means I get to have "permission" to not write. I usually don't return to my writing until after S is in bed for the night.  I am pretty clear on what I want to say at this point, despite some concerns that I am not nearly funny enough nor interesting enough to be a blogger, so I get the post finished and hit publish. 

So why do I put myself through this?  I do it because I really want to be a blogger...not to make money writing kind of blogger, but the kind that shares her heart with the world and connects with other people who feel the same way.  At the same time I want this blog to be a way for me to look back at my time as a mom and remember all the things I did with S and the emotions that came with them.  But deep down, I also want this blog because it is a mental challenge right now.  It is forcing me to use this brain of mine in a way that teaching did for me.  I am learning a new set of vocabulary.  I am forced to recall words that I would have used normally on a daily while teaching, but don't get used since I am spending most of my day talking with a 5 month old.  I am growing. 

So yes, I am losing my brain, but through this blog I will be gaining it back.

Mommy C

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Favorite Moments

I'm BACK!  The last several weeks have been a bit crazy with our trip to California, getting ready for my surgery, and having my mom visit.  Now things are settling down and I am looking forward to getting back into our usual routine.

So here are the main things that have happened in the last 3 weeks.

S and I at MontevinaWe flew down to California for our friend's wedding and had a few adventures while we were down there.  My favorite moment was going to Montevina Winery where we got married. (Yes, I realize I said I was going to do a post about my wedding...don't worry I am working on it.)  We brought food from the restaurant that catered our reception and after doing some tastings, we went out to the patio and ate our lunch.  It is still as peaceful and relaxing as I remember it.  Another favorite moment was all the aspects related to the wedding we were there for.  We got to visit with our friends, seeing a few that we hadn't seen in several years, and pretend that we still lived in town.  A sign of good friendship is the ability to get together, after months or years apart, and feel like it was just last weekend.  I am grateful that we have such great friends.

After we returned from California and I had a whole week to think about my upcoming surgery.  A whole week to obsess over anything is dangerous for me.  Needless to say, I ended up with what I thought was a stomach bug, but looking back was probably just my nerves.  Poor S had to deal with a mom that could barely pick him up because I thought I was going to hurl.  We spent a lot of playtime laying down together.

We brought S to the Farmer's Market for the first time.  He seemed to like staring at all the people, but overall I don't think he was too impressed...I kept telling him that he had no idea what he was going to get to enjoy as he gets older and starts eating real food.  There were crepes, enchiladas, pulled pork, samples of every kind of cheese or bread you could imagine...well you get the idea.  Hubby and I did get some food, but we were pushing naptime so after we got our weekly veggies, we had to hurry home so we could put S down for a nap. 

Sunday night (or early Monday morning) my mom flew in from North Carolina.  The surgery was scheduled for Monday morning and she was here to take care of S while I was in surgery and recovering.  So the next morning Hubby and I went to the hospital for my surgery and despite my usual bad luck health wise, the doctor discovered that the injury she was going to fix had healed on it's own!  So rather than needing my mom to help with daily activities around the house, we got to go on a bunch of adventures!  Tuesday we went to the zoo, Wednesday we spent the afternoon at Powell's Books, and Thursday we headed for the beach and to Tillamook for ice cream and cheese.  S came along (obviously) on our adventures, although he still isn't aware enough of the world around him to truly appreciate the animals at the zoo or the ocean.  My mom was supposed to leave today, but her plane was delayed so much that she would have missed her connection so I get to keep her for one more night!!

So what is new with S?  He seems to be growing a lot and he is now wearing mostly 6 month clothing even if they are a little bit big.  His two bottom teeth are still working their way in and he seems to be needing to chew with the sides of his mouth a lot more.  It seems that S and our dog, Clyde, have discovered each other.  Clyde is very patient with him and will sit and let S "pet" him.  S even grabbed a bunch of hair and he just stayed put and let him do it.   He loves to babble...even his crying includes his attempt to babble about one thing or another. I have a very hard time not laughing or smiling with him when he does it if it is time for bed.  He still hasn't learned to roll over on a regular basis...although he does seem to be trying. 


Mommy C

Friday, May 21, 2010

Will all the worrywarts please stand up?

I am a worrier. I worry about things I can control. I worry about things I can't control. I worry about what other people think (when I don't know them and even more when I do).  I worry about what might happen.  I worry about what might not happen.

The good news? I am also a problem solver and normally this counter balances all my worry and life is pretty good.  Sometimes though...the worry takes over and I end up physical symptoms of my worry.  I get heartburn, rib pain (doctors call it costochondritis), and an assortment of "stomach issues".

After 3.5 days of what I thought was a mild stomach virus I am beginning to think that it is in fact stress induced because really my only symptom after the first day has been extreme nausea.  Why am I worried? (thanks for asking by the way)  Well, since I am also a list maker, let's put the worries into a list:
  • I am having surgery on Monday to repair "damage" done during the birth of my son. 
  • My mom is flying across the country, leaving her partner who depends on her help to get through the day, to help me because I won't be able to lift S for a week.  
  • S is a teething 4.5 month old that seems to have fits of fussiness that are really hard to handle and I feel guilty about making my mom deal with it.
  • This surgery means that I have another 4-6 weeks of recovery before I can exercise again and I miss exercising.
  • I am going back to NY for the first time in 4 years and all I keep thinking about is how the "fat" me is going back there, not the "real" me.   
  • I started this blog as a creative outlet for myself, but I spend way too much time editing what I write because I fear what people will think...the whole time worrying about how people perceive me.
If I really wanted to get carried away I could add a bunch of "on-going worries" to the list.  You know, the ones about never getting enough housework done and "earning" my keep or even better, the worry that I am not doing something for S that I should be, therefore delaying his development in some way.

Creating a list about all my worries makes me feel really whiny and contrite when there are women that have far worse problems than I do.  Should I add "Guilt Ridden" to the list of worries?

I would like to blame all this worrying on being a mom, but the truth is I have always been and always will be a worrier.  In fact, the worry is like an old friend that keeps my mind busy and my body moving. Sure I would love to have less physical side effects from it, but I don't think I would be me without it all together.

The Queen of the Worrywarts,

Mommy C

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

My Engagement Story

Way back in April Rebekah, at Mom-In-A-Million, shared her engagement story with all of us via a vlog.  It was a brilliant idea and I decided needed to steal it.  You can check out her story here.
So here is my story (don't mind the cold sore and my overly pale face- it's been a rough week).

Now it is your turn to share your engagement story.  If you have a blog that you will be posting it to, please be sure to let me know!

-Mommy C

Monday, May 17, 2010

My Rings

I have been thinking about being married a lot recently.  It began because my husband's former roommate got married this past weekend and we made the pilgrimage down to California to be a part of it.  Actually we first traveled there about a month ago for the wedding shower (for her) and the bachelor party (for him) I guess that really started it all.  Or maybe it started when I gave birth to my son 4 months ago.  Or maybe I have been thinking about it for a year because for the last 12 months I have not worn my wedding ring, despite giving birth 4 months ago (isn't the swelling supposed to go down at some point?).  I have missed my ring so much that at some point I made a mental note to stop thinking about it (and as with most things that I tell myself not to think about...I just thought about it more and beat myself up in the process).  At one point I did try buying a cheapo replacement, but I bought it big (because I thought that I might continue to swell, which thankfully didn't happen) so it was uncomfortable to wear.  My husband, being the kind man that he is, only pestered me about not wearing the ring until he listened to the Adam Carola podcast where Teresa Strasser talked about having to get her ring cut off her finger because of the swelling (because me telling him that I was afraid of needing it to be cut off wasn't enough for him to believe that it could happen).

At any rate, I have been wanting to get the ring resized, but we got them when we lived in California and the store doesn't exist in Oregon...and since we sprang for the warranty I wasn't about to pay out of pocket for it to be resized.  Therefore our extended trip down to California this past weekend was a great opportunity for me to get it done.  I was so excited that I was going to have my ring back that I made my husband drive straight to the jeweler from the airport.  Then a short 36 hours later I went back and picked it up.  O...M....G I honestly can't explain to you how beautiful my rings looked.  They looked brand new and of course, the best part was that they fit!!!!  Do you remember when you first had your rings on your hand (you know, it was right after that ceremony thing where you got to wear a pretty dress and hold pretty flowers)?  Remember how you kept looking at your hand to keep checking to make sure the rings were there OR to remind yourself that you are in fact married OR because they were so darn beautiful you couldn't believe they were on your hand?  That was me this week.  I mean...look at this ring... wouldn't you want to stare at it all day long too?

So last night I was trying to figure out what I should write about this week.  I am trying to keep myself distracted from the fact that I have to have surgery a week from today (to repair some damage that happened during the birth of my son) and the pain that is going to come with healing once again.  So, focusing on one of the happiest times in my life seems like a suitable topic.  As promised to Rebekah at Mom-In-A-Million,I will post a vlog with my engagement story and then of course, I will write about the actual wedding itself.  So stay tuned....there will be pictures!

Friday, May 07, 2010

Favorite Moments Friday

I really need a new name for this post.  One that reflects the purpose of the post as it is versus what I thought it would be.  I thought it would chronicle good or great moments that I would not want to forget.  Turns out that I want to remember all the moments, not just the good ones.  You see, I want to remember that this week S has begun to get his bottom two teeth and likes to suck on ice in the mesh food feeder and we went to the zoo for the first time (sure he slept through most of it and had more fun looking at the kids than the animals, but I had fun).  He also had his four month appointment and it went great!  He is meeting or exceeding all the milestones, he is gaining weight again (although he has dropped about 20 percentile points since 2 months due to the period he wasn't gaining weight fast enough).  While we were there S showed off some mad skills pushing himself up on his hands higher and for much longer than he has ever done at home.  And to top it all off, we were told that it was time to start rice cereal.  See this is the other part that I want to remember because rice cereal did not go well, but I want to remember the experience.  Here is what happened...

Rice cereal didn't just go badly, it was almost the death of me this week. But let me rewind first.  Tuesday night hubby and I introduced S to rice cereal and it went over pretty well.  He spit a lot of it out at first, but then he got the hang of it.  Eventually he decided he was done and so we went on with our normal bedtime routine.  Around 1am he woke up and was up for about 2 hours.  He was clearly uncomfortable so I massaged his belly and bicycled his legs and eventually he fell asleep.  I didn't really connect the discomfort with the rice cereal because it isn't completely abnormal for S to have some gas issues.  So the next night we decide to break out the high chair and we feed S rice cereal again.  This time he eats the whole prepared bowl (1 tablespoon rice cereal and 3.5 oz of breastmilk).  He seemed to really enjoy it and did a great job keeping it in.  Shortly after we put him down for bed though, the screaming began.  At first it seemed like he was just screaming with my husband.  I thought maybe S just needed to have his mommy and so I sat with him...and then the screaming started with me.  We were able to get him to calm down for bits here and there, but he cried a majority of the evening.  About 3-4 hours after it all began, hubby was tired, I was tired, and I knew that S was extra tired (you know with all the crying he was doing).  So I sent hubby to bed and S and I laid down on the bed in the guest room.  Ever so often he would start to cry again and we would cuddle or nurse, but that is how I spent the rest of the night.

So that morning (yesterday) I call the doctor and spoke with the advice nurse.  At this point we suspected that he was constipated so she told me to get some prune or apple juice to help "loosen" him up.  She also told me to try the BabyLax, although I wasn't sure we had reached that point yet.  At any rate, I gave him some apple juice in the afternoon and hoped that it worked.  So last night we decide to try the rice cereal again.  The nurse had said that it sometimes takes a few days for babies to get used to the cereal, but each night should get better.  HA!  Last night S had such terrible stomach pains that it caused him to scream out like I have never heard him scream.  We figured out if we put him high on our shoulder so his belly had lots of pressure on it, he seemed to feel better.  However, spending the entire night like that was not going to happen.  We debated giving him more apple juice but since we suspected that constipation was not really the issue, we decided against it.  Eventually I decided that maybe we could try gripe water...of course we didn't have any so hubby went off to the Walgreens (I had actually gone first but the one near our house had already closed).  While he was gone I nursed S and he seemed to calm a little bit.  Then we tried the gripe water...and I kid you not, 10 minutes later the kid was passed out on me and didn't wake again till 3:30am when he was hungry again.  I don't know if it was a coincidence or if it was the gripe water, but I was very, very grateful that the screaming had stopped.

So at this point hubby and I have no desire to keep trying the rice cereal.  I have put a call into the advice nurse again, but I don't know what they would tell me to change my mind.


On a side note, I am heading out of town next week and will not be able to post.
I hope everyone has a fantastic week!

Mommy C

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Thursdays with Trixie

I think I have the plague. I’m a hacking, coughing, sniffling, sneezing, miserable, plague-infested mommy. I feel awful.

It happened in the usual way. My darling Monkey came home from preschool one day, and woke up the next with a fever. On a Tuesday. Why is it always early in the week that he gets sick? Never on a Friday, or the weekend, so that he can recover while we are already at home. Nope, each time, it’s early on in the week so that my husband, Egg, and I can do the “who needs to be at work more” dance as many days as possible.

Me: So.... Monkey’s got a pretty good fever. Should probably stay home today.
Egg: Huh. I think I have a meeting this morning.
Me: Oh, yeah? I think I have two meetings. And I have no leave left over after my maternity leave ended.
Egg: I have a meeting, and a court appearance. Justice dies if I’m not at work today.
Me: I gave you two children....
Egg: One of whom is sick right now, so not so good on that. Besides, he likes you better.
Me: Oh, fine. Fine. I’ll take the morning. You be home by lunch time. And he does like me better.

And so we stayed home. If your toddler is anything like my toddler then you know there are two truths about toddler sickness: (1) they get a fever with everything, all the time, for no good reason; and (2) fevers and wild horses could not slow them down. It takes a full-on 104.5 fever to get the Monkey to sit still for a while. Anything less, and it’s just something to keep him warm while he’s outside playing soccer.

Now that I have two kids, I like to try to prevent the cold from passing from one to the other. Similarly, I like to keep rain from falling, and to keep dogs from licking themselves. Can’t be done. In the beginning, I was a hand-washing crazy person. If a cold was suspected, I enforced an anti-virus martial law involving strict border controls, hand-washing, and baths of hand sanitizer. I made everyone wash everything several times over, until we were all very, very, very clean. And now rashy, from the dry skin. Do you know what difference it made? None. The cold would still pass from one kid to the next in a matter of days Every. Single. Time. Seriously. Now both kids were clean, rashy, AND sick. Great.

So, now I don’t try as hard. The cold is going to pass through sooner or later; I might as well not stress about it. And in fact, this time, a few days after we had patched up the Monkey, LambChop got a fever of her own, along with the cutest hacking cough. Poor thing. She also added in the baby special: double ear infections. She’s a trooper, though, just like her brother. And, just like her brother, it is now clear to me that her mission in life is to make sure that Mommy gets the cold, too (which, as an aside, is not exactly in her best self-interest, as she must be realizing now that every night, just as she is falling asleep gently, gently, gently as she nurses, I start uncontrollably coughing and hacking in a manner fit to wake the dead. Not good.). But if it’s a lost cause to stop the cold from going from one kid to the other, it is SERIOUSLY a lost cause to prevent me from getting it. And here’s what I don’t get. I get that Monkey and LambChop have clean slates in terms of the amount of immunity that they have built up to colds. I get that they will catch lots of germies at the day care. But what I can’t fathom is why I have ABSOLUTELY no immunity to any dang virus out there. I’m not a toddler. I’ve had colds before. I’ve been around the cold block a time or two. How is it that there is apparently not a single cold out there to which I have already become immune? Is there a lot of brand new viruses out there? Are the colds I caught from adults a few short years ago the flimsy half-breed cousins of these colds? Why must I catch everything they bring home? With gusto?

And, more importantly, how is it that Egg lives in his own little bubble of healthiness? How did he get so immune? Every time they bring something home, as night follows day, I catch the cold, and he does not. I find this remarkably unfair. It’s not like he eats healthily, or that he exercises, or takes care of himself in ANY recognizable way (“but honey, I NEEDED that egg mcmuffin....”). And he was very resistant to my hand sanitizer martial law, I must say. I don’t even think he really put it on. So why doesn’t he get sick? I have no idea. Frankly, even when he does get sick, it’s still not very satisfying because he just takes medicine and feels all better. Which is crap, because as a nursing mommy (for at least a little while longer), there is very little that I can take that really makes me feel better. I’m stuck with the humidifier, some tylenol, and a couple throat lozenges. Grr...

Egg: Man, that cold was awful.
Me: I know, I feel terrible. I can’t breathe. I didn’t sleep at all last night. You?
Egg: oh, I slept fine. I took some nyquil, and man, out like a light. Breathing good, too. Taking some daytime stuff now that’s dried me all up. Did the baby even wake up last night for a feeding?
Me: (mumbling to self: murder is wrong. Murder is wrong. Murder is wrong. )

Now, a few days later, Monkey is all better. LambChop is on the mend. Egg has narrowly escaped death once again, and is, as always, cold-free. And I am sitting here, sucking on a damn lozenge, blowing my nose, and wishing for the plague to end. My best bet: it will, approximately 3 days before Monkey brings home the next virus.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Setting myself free...

When I started this blog I did so thinking that it would be a fun way to explore my new role as "mom" and document the journey with my family.  I thought that I would surely have time to write every day and my goal was to have something posted daily Monday through Friday.  The reality?  I barely have time to go pee by myself, let alone write.  Many people, especially those who don't blog, are probably wondering why not blogging every day is an issue.  I came across several conversations when I first got started where people were discussing the unwritten code about about writing everyday.  That you have to post something everyday if you are a "real blogger".  I want to be a "real blogger", but the reality is, as I already mentioned, blogging every day is just not going to happen.

I would like to be able to just say that I will do what I can and if people have a problem with it, they can all shove it. ;)  But instead, I get anxious about it.  Will I lose followers? Will I lose credibility? Will I lose my mind trying to be perfect in the eyes of those who don't even know me?  Yup, that thought right there is what made me snap out of it and write this post.  I love all you and think it is amazing that I have met some amazing women through this blog, but I am not perfect and most of you talk about not being perfect on your own blogs, so why am I holding myself to a different standard?  

So I am freeing myself from the guilt of not posting every day (because really, being a mommy comes with enough guilt as it is) and will post 2-5 times a week (including Thursdays with Trixie).  Come to think of it, I am probably doing all of you a favor.  If you are like me and follow a bazillion and one blogs, keeping up with them is tough.  I just decreased the amount of reading you have to do and hopefully, I will become the delicious treat that you look forward to whenever it may happen to show up. :)

Do any of you struggle with finding time to blog?  How do you make it work?

Mommy C