Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Reflecting on hard times, thankful for the good ones

We are back from Thanksgiving. It was a far better visit than last time. The schedule was respected. Michael did get a little spoiled and that probably hasn't helped his behavior problems, but it was a trade off. Getting a break from constantly watching your kid is something to be thankful for. I can deal with the spoiling later.

During the visit I got to have a few conversations with relatives about Michael. I've been thinking about how much Michael has changed over time... it's like I have a completely different child these days... in a good way.

Michael really was a difficult baby. I'm always thankful that Michael has been healthy (as in not seriously sick) so I hate sounding gripey about him being a difficult baby, but he was. Oh, my, he really, really was. I seriously wouldn't wish a child as difficult as Michael on my worst enemy. I feel like I barely survived that first year. When I think back on his first month and how I didn't sleep for the entire month (yeah, really) it makes me cry just to think of it. I don't ever think I will forget that kind of tired. (People tell you that 'you don't know what tired is until you have a kid' are right.)

I've decided from that experience that I didn't let others help me enough. This is partially my fault. I am a glutton for punishment. But I really wish someone else (like my husband) would have stepped in and said, "You're exhausted. You need help. I'm getting you some." Because at some point in there I was too tired to help myself and I needed someone to do it for me.

And another huge component of the difficulties with Michael was breastfeeding. I love breastfeeding him, but I think I can say that breastfeeding Michael has been the hardest job I have ever had, and I've had some very hard, demanding, shitty, stressful, painful jobs. That said, I have done my job EXTREMELY WELL. I did that job at the expense of many other parts of my life. I still haven't decided if I regret that or not. Was it worth it to achieve success in exclusively breastfeeding my kid to run myself so ragged for so long? I think the answer is yes and no. Breastfeeding him was worth it but I needed to cut myself a break somewhere else sooner and take more off my plate (I'm such a glutton for punishment).

I think it's common to think while your are TTCing that your desire for a child will smooth out the difficulties you face when the child comes along, but it doesn't. It just lops an extra serving of guilt on when you are already feeling down.

But these factors and others together really left me bitter and resentful of Michael in a way. I definitely had a grudge against my child. I didn't hate him, but I just was so worn out that I didn't enjoy him and I was constantly fearful of loosing what ever foothold I had in my life. I was constantly waiting for the other shoe to drop and send me back to the bottom again. That first year was very difficult.

Then the second year. This year has been a year of transition. Working mom to SAHM. Infant to toddler. Trying to make an emotional recovery from my former job which is inextricably tied to Michael's first year of life.

Somewhere along this year Michael went from being a child I wouldn't wish on my enemy to the most wonderful toddler ever.

It took a long time. I had to make myself realize that the past was over and that I wasn't facing the same challenges I did that first year. I had to learn to stop holding that grudge against Michael for all the sleepless nights, and burning nipples, and muscle pain, and missed work, and etc. I had to learn to trust that it does get better (because I didn't believe that it got better for a long time... I believed it got different, not better).

And I got some help via therapy and drugs. I always wonder how much of the way I feel today has to do with zoloft... I think it's still doing a lot of work for me, but lately, more and more, I think I'm truly getting healthier as well.

And I got better at this parenting thing. Parenting is hard. Doing it well takes a lot of work. I wish I did it better still.

And lately when I've been around other peoples kids, or had conversations with other parents I've had to comment on what a change Michael's made from last year to this year. And I just find myself thankful and proud of my little guy. He's just a great little toddler. Sure, he misbehaves. He hits and kicks and makes messes. But he's exactly how he should be. He's happy and good and cute as a button. During that first year, he wasn't happy. He was angry. mad. pissed off. He wanted (a lot) more of me than I could give and it made me angry, mad, pissed off. Today we are on the same page and it's made such a huge difference. It makes me sad to think about that first year because it should have been so much better than it was. I think I find myself wanting another child just to try to redo that first year. I'm adamantly determined that things will be different if we have another child. It will still be hard, but it's going to be better.

So today I got part of the pay off that I've been waiting for. I was putting things up in Michael's room and he came in, running at me, acting like he was going to attack me, and he comes up and wraps his arms around me as I brace for impact. I asked him what he wanted, but to my surprise he said back, "Love you," finished hugging me and went to play with a stuffed animal. Perfect.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Safe travels and good times.

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And I just had to share a great idea I saw. If you have a little one and are wanting to do an Advent calendar, MADE posted a great idea that she's doing with her kids to wrap up 25 Christmas books and open one each day. I don't have a great collection of Christmas books, but I gathered all our up and Grandma gave me a stack and I think I almost have 25 together. I think it would make a great tradition for us and maybe we can add a new book or two in there every year. And Michael LOVES books and reading, so this is really perfect for him/us.

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I might go shopping tomorrow... heaven help me.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

PAT


Michael, a very studious child, brushing up on the history of tractors.

We had our first Parents As Teachers visit today.

I feel bad that I didn't sign us up from the start, but with the slashing of the PAT budget, our high incomes, and (what we thought to be a good) daycare, we decided it probably wasn't worth our time. My therapist really encouraged me to sign up, so I finally got the form in awhile ago and we've been waiting.

The assumptions I made were wrong. Apparently your income level doesn't matter. I know that you can qualify for extra visits for certain reasons, but our PAT instructor said that she has to do so many visits per month and that she has more availability during the day, so usually those parents get more visits just for that reason. In fact we have another visit set up for a month from now.

And signing up took all of 10 minutes, the visits are in home... so even if I don't feel like the program is doing that much for us, I'd still say it's worth the small amount of time and effort to sign up.

So our visit wasn't anything too exceptional today. She spent a lot of time talking about the program and some of the introductory stuff. I wouldn't say I got too many great ideas from it, but Michael loves visitors and turned on the charm, so it was fun to see him interacting with her.

One thing we talked about was behavioral problems. Michael is definitely getting into the "terrible twos". He is hitting and kicking quite a bit lately (and consequently visiting the naughty chair just as often). I don't feel it's out of control or anything, but it does really bother me when he hits/kicks the cats (which happens a lot). She gave a pretty reasonable explanation for it... The cats are smaller than him and it's something that he can have power over and it's kind of bullying. I think she might be right. I don't want to say that my one year old is a bully, but he's definitely experimenting with expressing himself. And he loves the kitties most of the time (and they love him even more) so I'm not worried, but that was kinda helpful.

Our PAT center also has "Stop in and Play" during the day which is appealing and might give us another activity for the cold, winter days ahead.

Next week we will go and have his screening done. This interests me and I'm curious to see what is involved there.

The only one that did not enjoy the visit was Bliss. She tried to rub up against the instructors leg, but the instructor was allergic, so I had to take her away. Poor Bliss, I don't think that cat has ever been rejected in her whole life. Don't worry Bliss, you're still cute, I'm sure she wanted to pick you up and squeeze you just like me.


No one can resist the Bliss. 

Friday, November 11, 2011

No desire to post

I don't know exactly what my issue is, but I have pretty much no desire to post lately. But I'm still here, still ticking along... slowly. I've been super tired lately... I don't know if it was the time change or my widening ass, but my ideal day would be spent in bed with the cats right now.

And, I'm just going to throw this out there, but I think almost everyone is pregnant right now. Not that that's a bad thing, but wow! The number of surprise BFPs lately is amazing. I'm so happy for the girls that have been blessed lately, and say a hopeful prayer for those that are still waiting.

And although I maintain that I'm not interested in having another baby right now, I have wondered if I'm being honest with myself. However, I was enjoying some freetime during Michael's nap and realizing that if I had another baby I would not be spending that time selfishly enjoying myself, so yeah, one is good for now.

But I am hoping to bring home a new bundle of joy next week. One that has an automatic presser foot lift and 9mm wide decorative stitches.

And just FYI, this post is being composed in a dry monotone in my head that demonstrates that lack of enthusiasm for anything in my life right now.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Halloween

Halloween '11 Recap

Michael went as Max from Where the Wild Things Are.


Let the wild rumpus start!

I was so excited when I saw pictures on Running With Scissors of Jessica's little boy in a Max costume. I knew I wanted to make Michael one for Halloween but didn't really want to figure how to make it. Then, like she was reading my mind, Jessica made a very affordable pattern and problem solved. I think it turned out really well. The problem was that almost no one knew what he was. A lot of people thought he was a bunny (really?) and some thought a kitty or fox (that's a little better). It is a very famous children's book that's been around for quite a while and was recently made into a movie so I was hoping the recognition would be a little higher. I was extremely disappointed in my neighbor that teaches 1st grade missing it. About half way through the night I realized that it was just easier to tell everyone what he was upfront rather than leave them guessing with that puzzled look. I guess that's the price I pay for not just dressing him up as a pumpkin or Thomas the Train.


I took this pic of him the other day messing with the stuff on my dresser. I think he looks kinda like a little squirrel. A naughty little squirrel

He really got into it this year. We tried to get him to say "Trick or Treat" but he'd only give us the "Trick or" part. But he did a really good job saying it until about half way through the the night and then it just became about the candy. As soon as someone came to the door, he couldn't take his eyes off the candy and if they dropped it in the bag without him seeing, he wanted more just to be sure he wasn't being jipped. He was very good about saying thank you at every house, but he stopped and saying it and started signing it by the end of the night.


Give me some candy!

He got a little freaked out by the end of the night and was afraid to take candy from a couple of teenagers with scary masks. But mostly, he just had a blast going to all the houses. We did the "trunk or treat" at my church then did 80% of the neighborhood and he was excited and happy through all of it. (Well, all of it except when we made him get out of the fire truck. He could have spent the whole night behind the well of that thing pretending to drive.


Ok, never mind about the candy, just let me play with this cool truck all night. You can pry me out of here when I fall asleep. 

He got a huge haul. I deemed most of it inappropriate for him to eat.


Sweet! And kudos to the person that gave out pumpkins. Michael loves pumpkins. 

Mom and Dad will see that the inappropriate candy is properly disposed.


We are trying to keep him in the dark about the wonders of candy a little longer (i.e., no chocolate yet).

Oh, and I made him his little candy bag as well. I totally forgot about needing one and used some of the leftover burlap from his birthday and the some craft felt that I had. My husband was disappointed that the bag was so small. I was a little perturbed by that. I reminded him that it was plenty big for ONE year old.


Free and fun. 

He was confused last night when we put him to bed. He wanted to go out again and kept saying "Tick or". Nope, sorry kid, you have to wait a whole year.


I kinda hate that we have to wait a whole more year too.