Wednesday, March 13, 2013


wow I am right back where i started a week ago, contemplating calling my doctor to get some antidepressants so I don't feel like this anymore. What this is, is ungrateful, crabby, anxious, angry, jealous, competitive, numb then not-numb but the aforementioned emotions all again and all at once, covetous, ugly, slothful, then abused and why is there so much to do and why do I have to do all of it. And what is my life about? What kind of positive change am I working toward in the world, shining stupid sinks and wiping baby butts (albeit adorable baby butts)? Am I wasting my life? What will I be when I grow up?

And underlying it all, tired. so tired. I try to focus on the present moment, and I feel a surge of hope and joy in my son's smile, or attempt to crawl up the stairs, or a spontaneous hug...and then I lose it. I lose the moment, I open up the laptop, I gaze at the beautiful pictures on someone's blog, coveting coveting coveting. White cabinets, a kitchen island, wait a minute I need to take out this wall and move this here and blow open this room or blow up this house because it is unliveable unliveable I cannot bear to live here ANYMORE. The kitchen is dark dark dark and I am always stuck in it. I stick myself in it. I am hiding in the kitchen I hate.

I start getting angry at my husband. He works all the time. He is never here. I can't ask him to do more than he's doing because he works literally ALL THE TIME. So the trash in the garage never gets cleaned up, he leaves me with overflowing kitchen trash to take out to add to the dump in the garage. When he is here he is always always always on his phone, always. youtubing music, facebooking, text messaging. His kids do NOT know what his face looks like unless it is facing down, gazing at the almighty ever present IPHONE. And I AM NO BETTER WITH THIS COMPUTER.

The ridiculous thing is, and those of you who know my husband know this, he is a gem. He is an absolute prince. He makes my life possible. He has some quirks that drive me nuts, but, hey, that's living with anyone. Marriage is work, our marriage is work, but on a normal day our partnership flows evenly and seamlessly I think because we choose to pay attention when the work needs doing. Truthfully, he only hides on his phone when he's tired and stressed. Truthfully, I only hide on my computer when I am tired and stressed.

The above paragraphs were written after three nights of not-great (okay non-existent) sleep. Peter is teething, Benjamin has night terrors, Greg didn't wake up the first of the three nights so I had to, and the last two nights he's been at work. Last night I gave Peter ibuprofen and opened the door wide and left the hall light on so Benjamin could find his way downstairs on his own. And I turned the monitor off. I left my door open, woke up briefly when Peter woke up, but went right back to sleep. Benjamin made his way downstairs at some point, I barely remember helping him up into bed. I discovered this morning at 8am that B had politely closed his bedroom door behind him, which may explain why Peter slept until 8 when I walked he cried awhile this morning (probably around 5am) before he gave up...oh well...

I say oh well because I can either get up and soothe and comfort and help back to sleep, or I can be present and laugh easily and play and stay on top of all the thousands of daily tasks that keep their world bright and clean and beautiful, but I can't do both anymore. Its been over 2 years since I had a regular sleep cycle. I am officially worn down.

I have been doing a lot of mulling over what I want to remember about this time in my life. What do I want to put emphasis on? I notice the memories I have taken away from different stages in my life are those that I put particular emphasis and importance on. Also, painful, I mean physically painful, memories are seared in my noggin with pretty detailed pictures and senses. Some otherwise painful memories, too. I understand that is a tool my brain has to ensure I remember the cause of the pain so I NEVER DO THAT AGAIN! Frankly, a lot of those memories make me laugh now. At any rate, other memories not associated with pain are always a little blurred. But I remember them because either they brought great joy or change to my life, or I chose at the time to put emphasis on them. What do I want to emphasize about this time in my life? I tell you what. Its not the depression.

I refuse to let depression be the main focus of my babies' first years. I want to remember the way they sound, the way they laugh, what makes them laugh, what they love to do, what surprised and delighted and inspired them. I want to remember the way they wrap themselves around my neck and middle and hold on with their soft little bodies. The way they smell. The awakening of their relationship with each other as Benjamin realizes Peter is a person and likes to play, too. How if Benjamin hears Peter he says 'oh! Peter awake!' and heads for the bedroom with me to get him. Or if we're on the way out the door, Benjamin will say 'Peter, c'mon! Bye Bye!' The way Peter looks at everyone he knows and loves, with open adoration and joy, that almost toothless grin flashing to get the attention of the person its directed at, saying I am here, too! I want to play and laugh, too! Petezilla, demolishing all train tracks and roadways in his path because he's 9.5 months old and that's how he rolls.

I actually didn't know this picture was going to be this good- I really thought I was just getting a sweet snuggle bunny photo. Benjamin always delivers.

We are having a preview of spring this week here in Albuquerque, with sunshine and mild breezes and perfect, perfect temperatures. We aren't done with winter yet, but I am humming 'Here comes the sun do do do do, here comes the sun and I say It's All Right'. I feel like I am waking up after a yucky dream to my amazing, beautiful life. Keep on rejecting the depression, embrace sleep, and focus on the small, infinite, fleeting gorgeousness that are the details of childhood.

I can answer some of those big questions about myself later. Right now I am going to take a nap.
Picture number 954 of Benjamin and I posed and smiling exactly like this.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Adventures in Sleep

So I am completely BUMMED OUT because the coffee addiction seems to have been a huge factor in all the sleepless nights.  First of all, I was drinking it all day, into the late afternoon sometimes, so it made getting to sleep at bedtime difficult. But worst of all (and I officially let go of the guilt about this NOW) it was making it hard for Peter to sucks when your mom is right all the time...

I am now engaging in new adventures in SLEEP. Bedtime prep for momma begins right after the boys go down. Sometimes I skip the night chores altogether.  Greg and I are taking shifts at night when he's home so that each of us gets at least six hours uninterrupted. Peter is finally sleeping in longer stretches, and no more nursing at night. No more nursing during the day, either, come to that. Just morning when he wakes up (and its actually morning, not still the middle of the night) and at bedtime.

 My house is a little messier, but my eyes look brighter. I haven't been able to get a post out this last week because I've been focusing on my health, and I am enjoying my kids on a level that I haven't since last summer. One week ago I was begging my doctor for anti-depressants. Today I don't think I need them, and its because I have been getting some real sleep.

I learned over the last two weeks that applying perfectionism to motherhood is dangerous and destructive.  That I have to serve myself before I can serve others. Being sleep deprived caused me to do some wacky things- like lose the boys' antibiotics for 24 hours that they were taking for ear infections. I literally LOST THE BOTTLES. What killed me was I knew I had deliberately put them somewhere 'convenient' so that I would remember to give it to them in the morning. GAH!  Finally found them in the dirty laundry basket. sheesh.

Some of the things I noticed about my kids these last two weeks....

Benjamin is now deliberately doing things to see where his boundaries are. He also deliberately does things to engage me in his playtime. Like repeatedly pushing his matchbox cars under the carseat of the baby we take care of a few days a week, while the baby is in it and sleeping peacefully. The cars would get stuck and Ben would scream because he couldn't get them, therefore getting my immediate attention as I did NOT want the little thing to wake up! He loves it when I get down on the floor with him and even if I just watch him play, he's happy. He's making this new face when he gets excited, an almost inhibited expression of joy that he seems reluctant to let others see. Its strange to me that he feels the need to hide. 

Peter loves to play with wires. That's not really new, but now instead of just coming across them and being excited to shake them in his baby hands, he sees them from across the room and makes a beeline. He is now playing with the plug to the nebulizer we have for Mr. B. And I am letting him. Please don't call social services. 

I also noticed that my relationship with Peter is so different than my relationship with Benjamin. I am profoundly in love with both boys, but its so interesting the way you love a second child-the way you love them just as much as your first baby, and a little different, too, because its a love especially designed between the two of you, like no other love in the world. There isn't one-size-fits-all love here.

ps. and by the way. We started putting on Cars 2 in Espanol to assuage guilt that Ben's watching it twice a day. Just another parenting tip from yours truly.