Is this what it feels like?

Depression is not something I have much experience with- other than the blues a few days after a baby is born, I can’t think of a time where I couldn’t just snap myself out of it. Don’t get me wrong, I know depression is real; I’m not one of those quacks who thinks you can take vitamins or yell at someone to pull-themselves-up-by-their-bootstraps-ya-wimp. That’s just wrong.

But I think I might actually be depressed. I say “think” because I am really not sure- it’s not like after a baby is born and you cry while you are doing the dishes or taking a shower… It’s more like a morose, lack of luster, why bother, just let me put the same tent-dress on again, feeling. Reasoning tells me that the icky January whether might be playing a part, the fact that I haven’t been to see my family since August, being stuck inside all day with a two and four year old, and the constant, unending barfing, indigestion, nausea and changing of clothes… Sheesh, that’s making me feel worse!

I can’t stand pants on my belly right now, so I have been wearing dresses lately- dresses I made. Oh, yeah. They are as pretty as you are thinking, too (They don’t leave the house). Today, I threw up three times while trying to do the dishes, and then gave up and covered the entire sink with a bath towel so I wouldn’t have to look at it or (worse) smell them. DFM came home, looked around and started laughing. He is doing the dishes as I type- what a good man. Irritable Mama is making irritable kids, too. My poor guys- I feel so bad for how much they see me sick, and wonder how this is all affecting them.

Because of my doctor’s orders, I can’t carry laundry baskets, I can’t take out the garbage, I can’t move boxes of stuff around to organize, I can’t paint the baby’s room, or set up the crib- all of these things I have to wait for the dear, tired, overworked husband to come home to. Somedays I just feel like Jabba the Hutt, unable to get up or move myself, on a platform that just slides to the bathroom and back to the couch again.

So, is this what it feels like? Because if it is, and they offered me a pill that would make me a happy, smiling, even-keeled rock, I might chew my arm off trying to get them.

New Recorded Lows

A new mothering low was recorded yesterday, when Jeffrey announced to his pre-school class that his mom pee’s her pants because of barfing with a baby in her tummy. Yes, he did.

Why does my four year old know such things? Well, I am asking myself that very question- and wondering why I can’t, just once, go to the bathroom alone. Really, these are two separate issues, because no mom gets to be in the bathroom alone, once her kids are mobile, ever. The kids have discovered the Costco-pack of Always individually wrapped pads, and they have been playing with them- of course I yell for them to leave them alone, of course I keep them in the cupboard, and of course I am sitting on the potty and they don’t listen to me at all. Jeffrey thinks they are little pillows for his Transformers, and Eric wants to play with anything Jeff has. I move them, I hide them, I put them up high- it doesn’t matter. As soon as they hear that bathroom door click, they come running.

Jeffrey has asked me repeatedly what they are, and I just keep telling him they are mamma’s and to leave them alone. Mr Inquisitor can’t just be ok with that, and continues to probe. But WHY mom? He opened one, and more questions ensued. Figuring, foolishly, that honesty might be the best policy, I told him that they were for mom’s who were pregnant and throw up a lot, because sometimes a little pee comes out because the baby takes up all the room in my tummy. WHAT WAS I THINKING??

So, now, the very last shred of dignity I had is gone. I have nothing left, really. The bottom of the motherhood dignity barrel has been achieved, folks. I hope at least someone, somewhere gets a laugh out of my humiliation… Thanks for coming, goodnite.

Rant: Polite Drivers

Warning: Not nice. I hate ‘polite” drivers. Yes, you read that right- there’s little worse to me when I am piloting my mama-mobile around town than a person who stops, dead stops, in the middle of traffic, to let some ding-a-ling through, in or across the road. Don’t get me wrong, I am not a road-rage beastie, and I believe in being courteous to others sharing the road- especially cyclists. But that isn’t what my Rant is about.

The Polite People I am talking about are the ones who, despite heavy traffic and many cars flowing around them, STOP to let someone turn onto the street. They disregard the natural flow of traffic, the law, the 29 cars behind them that are also trying to navigate and make an appointment or get home, and create an unimpeded segue for one (ONE!) vehicle. Nevermind that the people behind them just had to slam on their brakes, almost getting rear-ended in the process, chain-reacting with the 28 other cars behind them… No, PP only care about that intimate, sharing moment that comes when the car they are letting though gives that little abashed ‘wave’ of thanks- and then the PP feel like their good deed is done for the day, completely oblivious to the smoking pile-up of twisted steel in their wake.

Today I almost got out and thrashed a woman for doing exactly this. From the center lane, on a very busy, main arterial here in my town, she slammed on her brakes with no warning, because there was a person standing on the curb. There were FOUR other lanes, plus a turn-lane, that were still briskly moving, but she STOPPED and flagged the person to cross. Oh, and there was no signal or crosswalk where she stopped, either. Should the pedestrian have jumped out, sans crosswalk or right-of-way, into the other lanes, despite the cars racing by? Evidently, because even after the ped waved for her to continue, she waved back, as if having a pissing contest of niceness. Meanwhile, I am directly behind her, and cannot move- cars are peeling out behind me, to pass. I can see people slamming their brakes and fish-tailing, to keep from hitting the unexpectedly stopped person in front on them- ME!

I must have looked like a maniac, yelling silently from behind my rolled-up windows. The girl on the curb was looking at me, and smiling. So, dear PP, next time your ego needs that little wave of gratitude to get through the day, just look in your rear-view: the sight you see, if it’s me, will shrivel up your self-congratulatory ego-bubble faster than a flame to the Hindenburg.

My Uncle Freddy

If you have ever been shopping on Main Street in Disneyland, you have probably seen my Uncle Freddy. There is a clock shop right next to the Emporium on the same side of the street as City Hall, and he sits in the front window of the shop, drawing custom wrist watches for guests. In the interest of full disclosure, his name is not really Freddy, nor is he really my uncle, but sometimes “chosen family” is closer and more beloved than your blood family. Couldn’t be truer with Uncle Freddy- as we call him.

My family first met Freddy over 20 years ago, in Disneyland, on one of countless trips. We are from northern California, over 6 hours from The Park, but before my youngest brother was 2, he had been to Disneyland more than 30 times- really. I don’t even know how many times I have been – the best way to show what a Disneyland nut-case my mom is, is to simply tell you that she has a bronze statue of Walt Disney holding Mickey Mouse’s hand- in her living room. You get the picture?

So we were staked out in one of our favorite parade-watching spots, where you get the best vantages and the least crowds- I can’t tell you where that is or I will be killed- when we met Freddy. My youngest brother was a toddler, and he’s now applying to be a high-school history teacher, so about that long ago. Freddy was working the parade route, wearing the fantastic polyester uniforms that only Disneyland can come up with. He ended up sitting with us and telling us all kinds of behind-the-scenes goodies- which made my mom worship him. We found him on repeat trips, and struck up a friendship… He must have thought we were certifiable- this large gaggle of people from far away, always hunting him down.

Over the years, he has stopped working attractions and landed the plum job of artist in the Clock shop, and has another part-time job that allows him to travel quite a bit. And, over the years, we have each developed our own friendship with Freddy. He maintains contact not only with my mom, my brothers, and myself, but also with my aunt and cousin too. He has been at all of our weddings, come up for special occasions, and shared family times and trials, and allowed us into his life as well.

Since I moved away from my family, I have had assorted visitors and houseguests, and I am always delighted when family shows up, but no one has been as frequent a face in our home as Freddy. My kids adore him, and nothing is funnier than seeing my burly husband singing show-tunes with Freddy as they work on a Lego structure for Jeffrey… Our hearts and minds have been opened by this unexpected and treasured member of our family- And I just wanted you all to know, sometimes “Family” comes in unexpected packages- open them with delight

Ray of Sunshine…

My babies were so good this morning- I just need to give them some some cheers. About 5 a.m. I got up and took an anti-nausea pill; I just couldn’t handle the thought of another morning crouching over my bowl. Problem #1 solved- no throwing up this morning.

But, when my boys woke up around 7, I was knocked out, and deliriously dragged myself to the couch and put PBS on, and promptly fell back into my drug-induced stupor. And do you know what? They were good! No muffins crumpled up on the floor, no fighting. Jeffrey got them juice-boxes from the fridge, American cheese slices and chee-tos. Ok, not the most nutritious breakfast, and I won’t win the mother-of-the-year award, but I’m proud of him just the same. Around 9, Jeffrey woke me by yelling that Eric was on the kitchen counter, and I caught him just as he was opening the sugar canister. Think about how many kinds of fun that would have been!

Some days there is such a huge gap between the kind of mother you want to be, and the one you actually can pull off. Today, that gap was more of a grand canyon, but my kids did alright anyway. And that is my ray of sunshine…

January Sucks

Submerged in grey, with no sign of release, I am sinking. Oh, I know everything will be alright eventually, but right now, in the middle of the January doldrums, the quicksand of boredom is sucking me down, down, down….

If I weren’t pregnant, I would go down to California to hang out with my family and celebrate my nephew’s first birthday and my step-dad’s 50th- but that can’t happen this year because of my pre-term labor blah blah. The weather has been grey and overcast and, for where I live, mild. No snow for January, and I appreciate that, but could the constant drizzle and clouds could stop for just a day or two? One of the nice things about the East side as opposed to the West side of Washington is that while we may be colder, we get a lot more sunlight than Seattle- er, usually.

There are all kinds of things around the house that I want to tackle, but again, I cannot. Since I can’t pick up anything, it really puts a damper on my plans- and leaves me feeling frustrated and prickly. Relying on DFM to help me with all the little chores I have/want to do just irritates the crap out of me- I like being independent, and having to coordinate everything with someone else makes me feel crazy. Especially when the Someone Else is tired and crabby and stressed out, too.

The kids haven’t been able to play outside in weeks, and they are going bananas. The husband has to work late every night and Saturday’s too. Maybe if I could stop throwing-up for a day or two, my attitude would improve? The title of the post should have warned you not to read me today! Happy January.

Why I Love My Fountain Pen

Today I had a meltdown at my computer. It isn’t all that unusual for me to want to kick the cotton-pickin’ thing across the room, but today, it totally clobbered me, and I had to crawl away, feebly waving a white towel covered in my tears.

My computer skill are ok, when I know what I am doing, but the fact is,whether you believe in it or not, I am a right-brainer. Thinking in logic patterns and making a machine do what I want it to is a Herculean effort for me, and requires thinking and acting in ways that are strange and uncomfortable. I’m an artist, for heaven’s sake! Why can’t I just tell it what I want it to do, and have it do it?? (Man, the person who eventually invents that program will be a skazillionaire… Are you listening, Mr. Jobs?)

My step-dad is working on setting up a website for my business. He and my mom have offered to help me with promotions and production, both of which I need help in, because I have no problem creating, it’s the distribution… Anyway, he has been emailing me documents to review and fill out, and requesting photos and logos in electronic form from me. It really shouldn’t be that hard – they are actually in my computer – it’s the getting them out that confounds me. After trying for over 40 minutes to find a document that I had just edited, (where did it go…!?) I called my s-d, and he attempted to walk me through the complex labyrinth that lives inside that little black box. Seriously, the computer fairies just don’t like me…

Problem #1 solved, onto the rest of it, which is where I totally lost it. Compliments of my mom and s-d, I have a very nice and very fast computer- but when you hook it up to your phone line and try and download anything, it is like towing a Lamborghini with a glue nag and a rope. After waiting over 16 minutes for one download, the connection dropped. Uh huh. I logged back on and tried again, and 9 minutes later, it told me there was an error, and the no such document existed. Here is where I started crying, tears of frustration and rage and fury…

Once upon a time, I would have put my foot through the computer ( it has happened before-my cousin Michael is the one who got that call). This time, I wadded up the hand towel I had been crying into and walked away. Just walk away.

When I crawled upstairs, DFM took one look at my red-rimmed, puffy eyes, put his arms around me, and cooed, “poor baby!”, as though I were 3. It felt good. I hate dial-up.

Content Toddler = Good Thing

My kids are binkie kids. I confess it- I love binkies- and the new baby will be offered one as soon as (s)he has a good grip on nursing. The thing is, I am not a human pacifier, and while I subscribed to all the attachment parenting hoo-ha with the first baby, I just can’t handle constant contact anymore. Three of them hanging off of me makes me feel like a mama dog with puppies dangling from her body as she tries to stand up. We don’t do bottles after 1, but I love binkies.

Here’s the thing- Eric is two, and he still has his binkies. We had weaned Jeffrey of them long before now, but with Eric, it just hasn’t been a big deal. He is not allowed to have them outside of his bed, he never leaves the house with it, and he has a passel of them that he counts and holds- he doesn’t have a blankie- he has a personal collection of binkies. Gradually I have been culling them, tossing as they get holes chewed in them or otherwise grubby. Now he is down to just three, and they all have holes in them. When he gets in bed at night, he tries each one, and then gets mad and throws them on the floor, telling me they are broken. My heart aches when he asks for a new bink, but I tell him there aren’t any more, I am sorry.

My goal was having him completely weaned before New Baby arrives, but I don’t think that is going to happen. Today while I was working downstairs, he came prancing in my office, pleased as punch with himself, with a bink in his mouth. But it wasn’t his (he likes Mam)- it was one of Jeffrey’s old Nuk’s, and he didn’t even know it was in upside down. It seems he found the old stash of his brother’s binks I had forgotten about in my dresser- I used to stash them away as I would find them.

“What do you have?” I queried.

Brightly and happily, he chortled “New bink, Mom! NOT broken!”

So, tonite he is tucked into bed, happily clutching his brothers two year old *New Bink*, and the three old Mams are in the trash. Hey, it’s progress- we went from three to one in one day. If having a little piece of plastic to hold while he sleeps makes all well in his world, rock on baby.

A Plea for Help

Should one human woman feel this bad for this long? Is it fair? I am totally going to whine today, so fair warning, check out now if you’re not into it.

Today is going on six months of daily, minute-by-minute, nauseating, sickness. I am exhausted. My entire body is tired, like, bone deep, achey tissue and muscles, tired. My abdomen is achey and sore from heaving, my esophogus is irritated and sore from the stomach acid, I have to take zantac just to make it bearable, my nose and throat are bleeding from the pressure of being sick so much, the enamel on my teeth is almost destroyed, and my back aches, not sure why on that one, but I’m willing to blame it on the barfing.

And I have three months to go. Will it ever stop? I feel like this pregnancy is killing me, and if I were to try and have another (can’t even fathom that now…) I would surely die.

Today I am just sooo tired. Jeffrey has school and I have to carpool, and that mean taking Eric too, and I feel like my body can’t even do that much. Every time I stand up, I am dizzy-probably because I can’t keep anything down and my electrolytes are all whacked.

So, my unanswerable, rhetorical questions are: when is it just too much? When can I rest? When will I feel like a real person again? I know this will all be worth it, but here, in the middle of it all, I can’t see the forest for the trees, and the smell of the woods is making me sick.

Tick-Tock, Tick-Tock

My main post today was at MMW- check it out if you are interested

The quiet yawns before me… Solitude was once something I thought I needed to function as a thinking, reasoning human being, but now it is such a phenomenally rare treat, I don’t know what to do with myself. Maybe I still do need it- Thinking and reasoning are not high on my priorities any more, but maybe because I am NEVER alone! Oh, to be sure I think and reason; about what apple juice is the best buy, how many diapers we need to last between Costco trips, how long can I put off working on my latest commission before it becomes reputationally dangerous- but as far as vast amounts of uninterrupted quiet where I can contemplate the cosmos? Uh, yeah, right.

This morning a friend of mine picked my kids up and took them away (away! away! Hooray!). Now, I have had time out and about, when I have had a sitter, to be alone. But, being alone at home? It has been over two years since I have been all by my lonesome in my own house. The silence is absolutely beautiful. What shall I do with myself? I don’t want to waste the precious hours- I should fold all the laundry from yesterday before the wrinkles are permanent press- I should clean out the kids’ dresser and organize the baby clothes- I should finish my latest commission- I should go through the mountain of paperwork to get ready for the tax man. The time is so precious though-those are all things I can do while the kids are here, or at night after they are asleep- I want something that I can only do when I am alone…

And I can’t remember what to do!