Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Warm Light Reminiscing

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Warm Light Reminiscing

I've seen a smattering of Christmas lights around these here parts, and I tell ya, things just aren't the same as they used to be.

My elderly (mid-30s) eyes can't take the searing eyeball-piercing blue LED lights. Squinting in pain does not typically result in Christmas cheer for this ole gal.

Festive?  Yes.  Bright?  Yes.  But not cozy or warm. Kind of eye assaulting, though brownie points for execution.

I miss the old days of not-grounded electrical plugs that could/did shock the shit out of you. The kind that felt mildly like Russian Roulette as you plugged them in near the watery, murky water in your Christmas tree stand.

The kind of strings of lights that were a warm, comforting glow. Especially glowy when they heated up so much they either burned your fingertips off while decorating/stringing, or else melded many-a-fake branch together on the tree.

The kind firefighters lose sleep over in the Christmas months.

I loved the smell of smoldering synthetic pine needles becoming one with the lovely lights draped upon them. It WAS CHRISTMAS, Goddammit.

Okay, I'm not a total asshole. This kind of thing is actually pretty horrific, and has led to real tragedy. I don't miss the danger, just the comforting glow.

Now, I maybe, MAYBE (obviously) can see why there was a shift to those, I dunno, let's call them "safe" and energy efficient lights. I see they may have their place in the world these days. I maybe wouldn't use those old, cozy lights if you paid me a shit ton of money because I don't want harm to come to my loved ones, or to my house. But I still miss 'em.

I miss that warm, rosy glow. I miss REAL white light (that actually glows a soft yellow), and a true red, and a soft blue that doesn't feel like it's sticking it's pretend tongue down my eyeball-throat without asking first.

I've always felt like decorations just don't fill the cold, jaded cockles of my heart any more since the old went out, and the safe came in and replaced it.

And before you start telling me that they make new and improved LED lights that don't suck AS MUCH, I'd just like to say that I don't usually see them after Christmas, when I buy my lights and decorations at 75% off, thankyouverymuch.

Ah well.

At least there's snow. Oh, wait, I live in BC.
At least there's rain? No, that doesn't work.

At least there's Santa? Um... Shit.

Fuck it. Christmas is cancelled here.

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Friday, October 17, 2014

An Actual Conversation

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I recently returned from a short trip home to Ontario.

My father, The Dadda, enjoys a good medium roast coffee. I have come to learn that I prefer my coffee sort of kick me in the balls with flavour and aroma in the morning, and that this can only be achieved by a dark roast.

A really dark roast. Like, pissing blood and shooting venom dark roast. Any other sleep-deprived, coffee-loving Mammas out there probably understand this.

While clearly dependent on the go-juice now, I have also seemingly developed a sensitivity to it. My thyroid was AAAAAAALL sorts of out of whack, which likely worsened my caffeine sensitivity. I have to find the happy balance between just enough coffee to keep me awake and keep my junk bruised, and too much coffee where my heart does a rumba all on its own, and I end up feeling weak and tired from too much of the stuff. Like my adrenaline has spent itself by 10am. (Let's hope I never have to run from a bear at 10:05am).

So I need stronger, and less of it. And I bastardize that shit with Coffeemate and a 1/2 teaspoon of sugar, so I'm not doing my ass any favours with more than 2 cups a day.

Visual approximation of me without coffee

Anyway, I digress.

Once we got home, The Hubs was sitting on the couch with Baby D. (Well, she was reprogramming his computer while he was looking at the TV, albeit momentarily). I said "I realized that I missed my Keurig while we were away".

(I am a HORRIBLE, TERRIBLE, coffee brewer, so my coffee machine has allowed me to like stuff at home again, thank Jebus with Baby D and the cost of Starbucks!).

And "I missed my dark roast".

The Hubs replied, with EXTREME enthusiasm in his voice.

"You missed your dark roast, and you think you missed your period while we were away?!?!"

Me: *sigh*

"No, hon. My Keurig. I missed my Keurig."

The Hubs: *extreme disappointment, almost-visible-floor-drop-of-smile*


Yeah. Have I mentioned I love dark roast coffee? And having only one child?
Just making sure.

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Friday, August 29, 2014

A Sad, Conflicted Mama

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It's nearly 2am and I just got up off my toddler's floor with hot tears running down my face. She's fine, there is nothing wrong with her. Schultz the dog is also fine, too... he had both eyes removed and is recovering beautifully and seems much happier.

Me on the other hand...

I have never in my life felt so conflicted. I love Baby D with every ounce I've got, and then some (though the Hubs would inform me that is not actually possible, much like giving 110%). The days with an extremely active toddler are funny, exhausting, amazing at times, lonely, and also exhausting. Did I mention exhausting? Oh, and sometimes I am also tired. Enough to fall asleep on the toilet once she's gone to bed.

I love her. She comes first. I have pretty severe anxiety, and I can't tolerate her crying. And I KNOW her cries. I KNOW my baby, and I know when she needs me or if things aren't right. I know my family thinks I overreact to this, or go to an extreme, but they don't live in my mind, they can't feel what is in my heart, or the terrible sirens that go off in my head when she is upset.

I need to tend to her when she is sad, because until she has language, that is the ONLY real way for her to clearly and effectively communicate that something is wrong. She is not a little whiny bitch. She hasn't run into a flooring surface that she hasn't enjoyed face-planting into during her regular sprints through the world. She has bonked her head, face, legs, hands on any and all hard surfaces, but she will only cry if it really, really smarts. Or if she is quite tired.

And you know what? If she is that tired, I should have already been on it. I know her schedule, and her general sleep needs. I see the signs when she needs rest. Sometimes my family will suggest that her staying awake is good for her. It isn't. She's a babe, I know how she rolls, I know her. She needs her sleep.

I know people make suggestions with good intent, but when I know how she operates, how she ticks, and what will ultimately make her a sad or angry baby, I'm obviously going to do what I know is best for her. Situations do come up. I know routine can't always be in place. Yes, some flexibility is a good thing... but she is only a toddler. She can't say "Hey, Mom, what the f_ck, I am sooo tired, why aren't you letting me sleep?".  It's only when it becomes "Whhhhhhhhhhaaaaaaaaahhhhh!" that the message is delivered loud and clear if I haven't given her what she needs. I mean, she has no control over that stuff.

Pigtails = Instant Heart Meltification

I feel like my job as a good, conscientious parent is to know her, anticipate her needs, provide her with what she needs BEFORE she gets upset, and put her needs above all else. And I'm okay with that. I don't think a lot of other people are. But they aren't me, they aren't living my life, they don't feel the heart-wrenching anxiety that I do. And so they judge. And it hurts.

I am Mama Bear. Hear me roar. Or growl. (I don't know, what sound does a bear make?) Grunt?

Then, when babe is asleep, and the world is quiet, and I am shocked that we got through the day... when I am sitting on the couch, or trying to just stay awake long enough to get to my own reasonable bed time... I wonder just HOW.THE.F_CK I am going to do it all again tomorrow.

How can I keep her happy? How can I allow her to thrive and grow and learn? How can I foster her amazeball sense of curiosity with gentle parenting and encouragement and try not to flip my fucking lid when she dumps the dog water dish out for the third time that morning? How do I keep my patience and appreciate that she is navigating the world when all the drawer contents in the kitchen are mischievously placed around the main floor, with a reasonable smattering of hidden objects tossed down the stairs or hidden in toy bins? How do I maintain my enthusiasm for that stupid puppy book with the terrible rhyming that she refuses to allow me to actually read completely? Or start reading one of the Winnie the Pooh books with happiness when I know she will walk away after page 2, and try to harvest more items in the pantry to place about the house?

I long for being able to go to stores. And, you know, shop. Not race with a squawk box in the cart until it becomes a game of baby-in-carrier-twisting-interpretive-dance (spoiler alert - the dance can be interpreted as "let me the f_ck out of here, I want to get down, run around, and bash those bottles of olive oil while you chase after me!")

And then, the Hubs comes home. And maybe I sneak away to the store. And I shit you not, I am already missing her before I've travelled three roads from home. Her empty carseat makes my heart hurt. (Yes, I realize she is alive and well at home, but that is how it really is). Any mom I see in the store I feel kindred to (though more than a few have looked at me like I am a lunatic as I smile creepily at them).

I am lost without her. Though I'm sure it is entirely unhealthy, I have no other identity besides BABY D's MAMA. And I am okay with that, but when Baby D isn't there, it leaves a gaping, lonely hole. And it makes me feel even more determined to care for her and fiercely protect her best interests.

So I have some down time on the couch, or I head to the store, and all I want to do is be close to her (spoiler alert: I see enmeshment counselling in her future). I will look up pictures of her on my computer just to see her gorgeous eyes, sweet smile and perky wee pigtails. I want to go into her room, but I don't want to wake her or upset her if I'm just standing there.

My sweet little monkey

Tonight I laid on the floor and looked up at her sweet little feet sticking through the crib rails. And I cried. I feel like I simultaneously love her more than anyone has loved anything in this world, yet I consistently fail her with my fatigue and anxiety, fail in meeting her needs on time, feel like I'm not allowing her to thrive to her fullest potential, and feel like I take her for granted in the day. And others get frustrated with me for trying even harder the next day.

I long to accomplish things, but I truly don't want to be away from her.
Love. Sadness. Ferocity. Amazement. Laughter.
Pride. Joy.

Clearly I need to change my meds.


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