Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Baby Blues

It has been over a year since I experienced the baby blues after the birth of my Mad Man.  Of course, I had heard about postpartum depression, but I was of the impression that it would never affect me because I love having babies and being a mommy.  I was wrong.

Right after I had Mad Man I felt pretty great.  I did get stressed when my T Bear came to visit at the hospital, but part of that had to do with the fact that I could tell she was not adjusting very well.  Also, there was drama over who was going to stay with me: Hubby or my sister?  Where should T sleep: our house or the grandparents?   It was a lot to be trying to deal with from a hospital bed with morphine still coursing through my veins, plus I thought I had arranged all of this before the c-section.  There was also an instance when T started to have a little fit and accidentally elbowed me in the stomach.  Ouch, does not even begin to cover it.  When it was peaceful at the hospital I felt great.  I was recovering so much faster than my first c-section and nursing was going very well.  My milk came in fairly quickly and Mad Man was a sweet, content, little man.

On the day we were set to go home the pediatrician was concerned because Mad Man hadn't gained back his birth weight.  So, they scheduled us for a follow-up appointment the next day.  I had flashbacks to dealing with T Bear's size, but I was confident because he was nursing so well and so often.  The next day he still hadn't gained it back.  So, another follow-up was scheduled, this time with our actual pediatrician.  When we saw her, she was concerned about his weight and instructed me to feed him every one and a half to two hours and basically nurse on demand (which is what I was already doing).  She also made a comment that some women just don't produce good milk and referred to it as "skim" milk.  Really?  Well, this comment stayed with me and not in a good way.  It made my heart sink because it made me feel like it was solely my fault that he was not gaining enough weight.  After all, I was solely responsible for his nutrition.  I was adamant that I didn't want to go the formula route.  And so the baby blues began.

It really just hit me and I couldn't control my emotions.  I would cry over nothing and literally could not control it.  I just felt sad or emotional and felt almost overwhelming emotion.  I am lucky in that I did not want to harm myself or my baby (which I have heard can go along with postpartum).  I remember just bursting into tears at random times.  Normally I am not someone who cries easily, but it didn't take much to bring on the water works.  We had a newborn photo shoot at my mother-in-law's house about two weeks after I had my Mad Man.  I woke up feeling not quite right, but I pulled it together for the shoot.  When it was over, my MIL complemented me and I burst into tears.  Another day, Hubby dropped the kiddos and I off at my parents house, while he went off to do something, and I lost it as soon as I walked through the door.  I don't think T had ever seen me cry prior to this and I recall her asking me why I was crying.  Poor thing; it had to be overwhelming for her too.

Some of the crazy thoughts I had revolved around having another baby.  I mean what rational person is worried about another pregnancy after just giving birth??  I still don't know if we are going to have more children (I want to have at least one more and Hubby feels set with two), but my thoughts were consumed with the fact that I may never be pregnant again.  I was also sad that I wouldn't see my OB/GYN anymore.  I missed the nurses and I didn't feel like I had done enough to thank them.  These thoughts weighed heavy on my mind and definitely felt like too much.

I was also angry that I was feeling this way when I just wanted to be enjoying my new motherhood once again.  I felt like these precious moments were being robbed from me.  I certainly didn't feel comfortable talking about my emotions.  Those who knew what was going on were very supportive, but I definitely didn't open up much.  Hubby tried to understand and be supportive.  He also talked to as many people as he could that he thought would have some insight.  Most said it had to run its course.

Within a few weeks it subsided, thank God.

High:  The blues only lasted a few weeks.
Low:  Having to endure emotions that I could not control or even understand when I just wanted to enjoy my new baby.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Mommy Wonder: Sibling Love

Children are truly amazing.  There are so many things that they do on a daily basis that are truly remarkable and if you aren't paying attention you might miss the beauty and wonder that raising children brings.  In fact, I get so caught up in all of the things that I "have" to do that sometimes it is easy to overlook the small wonders before me.  In an attempt to cherish these moments I am going to write mini-posts highlighting the amazement I feel at witnessing my kiddos grow.  This reminds me of my senior quote in the yearbook, "Don't miss the beautiful colors of the rainbow searching for the pot of gold."  I'm not sure where I found this quote or who said it, but it still holds true for me today!

I didn't realize that National Siblings Day occurs this week, but it is pretty cool since I started writing this post before I knew about it!!  I will say that it was not the smoothest transition for T Bear when we introduced little Mad Man to her world, but she is developing into an awesome big sister.  Of course, he gets on her nerves sometimes, especially when he is going after her toys, but overall she is wonderful with him. She helps keep an eye on him if I am cooking or showering.  She also plays with him, on her terms of course.  She gives him hugs and kisses too.  Now I should say that she has her moments of screaming at him and the normal sibling stuff (or so I hope) of pushing and hitting too.  Still, I can tell that she does really like having him around.  What I really love is when she is protective of him when other people are around.  She really looks out for him and even grabs him if she thinks he is getting into something that he shouldn't or if he is getting too close to someone that she deems as dangerous.  Very sweet.

Mad Man is obsessed with T.  She is definitely his favorite person in the world.  He gets so excited whenever he sees her.  I can't wait to hear him say her name (or his version of it!).  He loves to make her laugh and he is so proud of himself whenever she gives him positive feedback.  If he wakes up in the morning before she does he will stand at the gate at the bottom of the stairs and point up yelling for her.  It is so sweet.

The sweetest thing happened in the middle of the night last night.  Mad Man was sleeping with me (of course!), and was very fitful.  He woke up screaming and just could not fall back asleep.  This woke up T Bear so she came to my bed as well.  She tried rubbing his back to help him calm down.  He finally quieted, and I noticed that he had snuggled up to her and they were staring at each other, with their little noses touching.  Those are the moments I live for.

At the moment T has created a "picnic" on the living room floor for them with her play food.  She set up a blanket and quite a spread for them.  He is loving it!

I feel so honored to witness the loving interactions between these two precious babies.  I have an amazing relationship with my sister and couldn't imagine my life without her, so I am extra thankful that I get to see T and Mad Man develop this sibling bond.


I would like to take this opportunity to thank my followers!  I am super excited to now have ten followers!  It is heartwarming to have any followers, so I am beyond happy to now have ten!  Thank you for the support.  I love the comments from everyone!  Thank you, thank you, thank you!

To those of you who aren't following me...what are you waiting for??!!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Mommy Guilt: Losing Patience

I know I am human, but lately it seems that my patience is ridiculously thin.  Maybe it is from lack of sleep (Mad Man still doesn't sleep the night...he barely sleeps at all!!), maybe from the fact that I never have a break (no nap time for T and again Mad Man doesn't sleep...and if he does it is usually with me!), maybe this is all normal...who knows and really it doesn't matter what the excuse is my patience is thin.  Super thin.  I have been raising my voice more than I ever imagined I would.  Mad Man is in to everything.  I mean everything (I know this is normal toddler behavior, but I never had this with T because she was just learning to crawl at his age, since she had been in a cast...so cut me some slack!!).  He puts things in the toilet.  He constantly pushes the water cooler levers and creates puddles on he floor.  He tries climbing everything.  He pours milk out everywhere!  He is a handful.  A wonderful little handful, but a handful none the less!  Add to that little miss T and her dramatic antics and it is a recipe for my insanity.  T seems to have a VERY difficult time listening, mostly because her mouth is always going and she is trying to argue with me before she even hears what I have to say.  I'm sure that someday I will admire her independent spirit, but at the moment I need compliance!

My latest breaking point came when we were trying to make it to a new play group.  (Another mommy guilt I have is that my children are "missing out" on socialization because they are not in day care, since the majority of kiddos we know are).  So, the play group start time was 9:30, my kiddos don't wake up until 8:00 or 8:30.  On this particular day Mad Man woke up around 8:00, so I was able to feed him breakfast and take a shower before T woke up.  When she woke up, she was excited about play group, so she ate breakfast fairly easily and cooperated getting dressed.  Then she must have met her limit for cooperation because everything else became a battle.  She didn't want to go potty, but she finally did, but then refused to wipe herself.  So, as I finished wiping her and flushed the toilet Mad Man put two little toys in the toilet.  Ugh.  I admittedly was losing it at this point. T Bear's reaction was way over the top.  She started screaming and carrying on that the toys were gone forever (mind you she had not played with these little key ring toys in like a year!).  I still held it together and finished getting Mad Man ready to go while T Bear was supposed to gather her toys.  Once Mad Man was ready I told T it was time to go.  She carried on that she didn't have all of her toys ready.  Now, she consistently has to bring an entourage of toys wherever we go and they are never the same ones so there is no real predictability!  I told her she had one minute to gather her toys.  She argued with me and questioned me and then carried on about not being able to find exactly what she wanted to bring.  By this point I knew that the play group had already started (which I attempted to explain to T - not that she has any sense of time!).  When she argued again, I had had enough.  I put Mad Man down and went outside on the deck.  I truly needed to cool down.  I stood on the deck for a few minutes just breathing in the crisp cold air.  Who knows what the kiddos were doing inside!  When I came back inside all zen like (well almost!) I took off my jacket, then Mad Man's and sat down on the couch.  T questioned me and apologized and I explained that we were too late for play group and we could try again the following week. She was heart broken and clearly could not link the things that had just occurred with why we couldn't go. After several attempts to explain the situation I couldn't take the genuinely devastated look on her face and said we could try.  Lo and behold she was super helpful and pleasant the whole way there and we made it to play group (even if we were about forty minutes late).

As an FYI when we returned home later I fished out the two little toys from the toilet - DISGUSTING!! Freakishly the kitty's eyes were glowing red in the bottom of the toilet (they are only supposed to do that when the button is being pushed)!!  Creepy.

After this little episode I made a vow to myself to not be one of those mom's who yells.  So far so good, my yelling is way down - not completely diminished, but I don't find myself yelling nearly as often.  I make myself breath and count most of the time.  There are, of course, those moments when yelling is necessary - like when T is about to do harm to Mad Man.  No one is perfect...

Monday, April 8, 2013

My Naughty Ballerina: The Saga

Saturdays suck.  I dread them now.  Why?  Because it is dance day for my T Bear.  You would think this would be a run of the mill fun thing for a four year old, but oh no, my T has been making it into a horrific spectacle of tantrums, fear, and tears.  I don't think I have made it through a Saturday in the past few months without crying (except the week there was no class.  Thank God for spring break!).

Since my last post regarding my naughty ballerina I have ensued three more heart wrenching, patience testing, Saturdays.  Here is the rundown.

T was excited to go to class.  She had a play date with one of the other girls in class and we had Miss S over for dinner (no we are not THOSE parents - we have been friends with Miss S and her husband for years!). T was fine getting ready to go to class, but threw a fit when we arrived.  Miss S took her in and the hysterical screams continued.  She worked herself up so much that she was borderline hyperventilating.  I was listening with Mad Man and some other mommies in the waiting room.  Thankfully one of the other mothers was very supportive and understanding, otherwise I probably would have broken down right then.  Then the door opened and I was anticipating Miss S saying that T had calmed down and everything was okay.  Boy was I wrong.  She said that she had told T that I could come in and watch just this once.  So, I gathered Mad Man and sheepishly walked in.  T needed some comfort and told me she felt like she was going to get sick - she had cried and carried on so much that she was almost to the point of vomiting.  Why am I doing this to my little girl?  I have to wonder.  She sat near me and participated in class.  I had to chase Mad Man in and out of the dressing room.  I was able to witness the joy on T's face during the various exercises.  She really enjoys going across the floor.  I know I am biased, but she seems to have some natural talent as well.  I was also able to witness first hand the positive energy in the studio.  Miss S is wonderful with the little ones.  She has so much patience and understanding with them - I mean dealing with the various shades of preschool behavior is quite an undertaking!  T was so proud of herself for making it through class.  She was almost too excited at the end if class.  It was evident that she felt a huge sense of accomplishment.  Again, naively, I thought we had turned a corner.

Throughout the next week she mentioned again not liking class and not wanting to go.  So, I brought reinforcement in the form of my mother, aka Mima.  There are times that Mima can get T to cooperate when she won't for me.  They also have a very special bond.  T was excited that Mima was going with us.  Mima even told her that she would peak on her under the door.  Once it was time for T to go in things fell apart quickly.  T freaked out screaming, crying, and throwing a big fit.  Mima tried to encourage her and guide her to the door, to no avail.  I tried.  We both tried.  Miss S tried.  I gave up.  I tried again.  I had Miss S shut the door and she told T Bear that if she wanted to come in she could.  I tried just having her sit there and listen to class; she continued on and off having fits.  Mima tried, the fit continued and escalated.  Did I mention there were several other mothers as witnesses?  Oh yeah.  Good times.  I lost my patience and told her we were leaving to which she threw an even bigger fit.  By fit I mean screaming as loud as she can, pulling on her little lip, tears flowing, and her begging to stay.  A grandmother of another little ballerina tried to intervene in such a nice calm way, which helped to calm the fit, but she still refused to go in.  We must have opened the door three or four times when T said she would go in, only to have the fit start again.  Finally (I'm not sure how) she decided to go in and sit by the door.  Aah.  She then joined in class and did a great job.  I was mortified.  Not only by T's behavior, but also by the insane display of parenting that went on.  None of this feels like my finest moments as a parent.

Then we had a week off.  Thank God!!  T was excited all week about not only missing class, but returning to class.  She assured me that she was going to go right in and say "Mommy I'll miss you, but I'm going to have fun".  To my utter dismay that did not happen.  She wanted to wait until all of the girls went in then she would go.  We made it to the door, Miss S greeted her and tried to talk to her and the tears began.  She said she was scared.  Miss S let her put her new Minnie Mouse doll on the shelf so she could "watch".  That still wasn't enough.  The discussion went on for a few minutes.  Then Miss S scooped her up and I shut the door. I could hear her screaming; it was heart wrenching.  Of course, there was a waiting rooms of moms there so I could not break down into hysterics.  I'm sure some of them are wondering what is the point of bringing this child to class week after week.  They do not know the back story.  They do not realize that I am starting to fear preschool in the fall.  They don't know how sad T was last year at the dance show wondering when she would be on stage.  Maybe they are just thankful that their daughters are not doing what T is doing.  Either way it is an uncomfortable feeling, probably for all involved (even as witnesses!).  After the door closed I could hear her screaming and shouting "I just need to tell Mommy something!"  It was heart breaking.  At one point I heard her try to open the door.  Then after a few minutes I couldn't hear anymore screaming, so I peaked under the door to see my poor little T sitting on the floor by the door participating in class - just not as a part of the circle of ballerinas.  She made it through class.  When the door opened she was the first out.  I spoke to Miss S and she said that T had a huge tantrum, which involved screaming, crying, throwing her Minnie Mouse doll TWICE, and finally with a warning of a time out if she didn't start behaving.  Then class was fine the rest of the time.  Ugh.  All I know is that I was saturated with sweat from all of the torture that dance class has become!

There are only five classes left until the recital.  God willing this will get better and she will make it through.  She keeps talking about being on stage and she is extremely excited.  We shall see...

I have to add that Mad Man's reaction to all of this is priceless.  He usually just stares at T when she is screaming.  This last time he was trying to help push her through the door.  Mostly he is quite unaffected...lucky little guy.

High:  Saturday only comes once a week!
Low:  Listening to the screaming and really not being able to comfort T or fix the problem!