Tag Archives: parenting

One Time, I Freaked Out.

16 Jun

Lazarus almost choked on a penny.  I don’t even know if that’s a fair description, really.  It was more like he gagged on a penny for a second before expelling it from his mouth.  But I flipped out.  I mean:  FLIPPED OUT.  Allow me to paint a picture:

He was lying on the ground (probably in a dress or naked, his usual uniform) talking to me, and I noticed there was something in his mouth and knew that we hadn’t eaten recently.  So I asked what was in his mouth?  And as he was saying it, I was realizing with some dismay that it was a penny.  I told him to spit it out!  Now!  As he moved the penny from the pocket of his cheek to his tongue, I could feel what was going to happen vibrate through me:  that penny was going to slide down into his throat and he was going to choke and he was probably going to die because Lord knows I do not know what to do in emergency situations.  I yanked him up (by his head, if I remember right) as he started to gag and saw a look of, albeit brief, panic.  I started to spin him so his back was facing me and was starting to reach around him with my hands to find the spot to start giving him the Heimlich, when the penny popped out of his mouth onto the couch in an aura of spit.  You could’ve choked!  You could’ve died!  Why do you do things like this?!  I demanded of him, my voice quivering.  His face rumpled into it’s pre-crying visage, but so did mine.  I couldn’t stand it– this could have been the day he died.  This could’ve been the story I told for years to come.  This moment– so short; so uneventful, really; a moment of almost-but-not-quite disaster– was too much for me to handle.  I began sobbing, shuddering with fear and anxiety and premature grief.

Why doesn’t he listen to me?  Why doesn’t he stop putting small things in his mouth at this age?  Why is he always getting hurt?  Why is this so scary to me?

As I sat on the couch sobbing into my hands wondering all these things, the kids would wander in and out, near and far.  They suggested I go upstairs to scream.  Maybe I could leave the room or something?  Here.  This animal will help you feel better, Mommy.  These little people are kind to me when I’m obviously upset.

I called Joe and sobbed to him for about 15 minutes; he tried his best to calm me down.  But there’s not much you can do to calm down a person in a completely irrational panic.  Yeah, it was scary for the nanosecond it was happening.  But it was over, and no one was hurt.  (Well, I was hurting, I guess, but that’s not what I mean.)  I know that I have emotional responses that are past what would be expected sometimes; and I know that I can become really scared of something that could possibly maybe potentially happen without actually experiencing the “thing”.  And that’s part of why I was so upset.

But I was also beside myself because of this:  As soon as I was able to calm down enough to stop crying, it was back to business with the kids.  And that’s exactly what happened.  As soon as I was done letting my chest heave and my breath run short, Laz wanted me to make the tent that I said I’d make and Zoe wanted to eat.  My whole world was being held together, loosely, with delicate threads of silk, and they wanted food and a tent.  They wanted me back to normal.  They wanted life to go on.  And I wanted to stop.  I wanted to lie in bed and cry for hours and fall asleep.  I wanted to lose control and sob and scream and be exactly what I felt in that moment.  But I couldn’t.  I mean, okay, I did tell Lazarus to shut up (NOT MY PROUDEST MOMENT, TELLING A 3-YEAR-OLD TO SHUT UP, MIND YOU) at some point during the wailing when he asked for his tent to be made.  So I did indulge in my despair some.  But I couldn’t sit in it like I wanted to, like I sometimes need to.  I had to calm myself down as quickly as possible and get over it for then.  I didn’t like it.  I don’t like it.  Sometimes, I hate being a mom because you always have to take care of the kids.  Always.  Having a panic attack?  Kids still want lunch.  Sobbing so hard you might faint?  Kids still need to go to bed.  Just generally freaking out?  Kids are still going to hit you, hug you, lick you, ignore you.

Sometimes I feel so trapped in motherhood.  And it is scary as f**k.  Seriously.  Sometimes I feel so scared of loving them because, hey, maybe they’ll choke on pennies suddenly and die because I couldn’t protect them and care for them like I’m supposed to.  I love them and hate them sometimes for making me step outside of myself.  These little people– so needy, so want-y, so sweet and lovely and caring and callous all at the same time– are my people, my family, my children and what does it even mean?

It means sometimes I freak out but have to come right out of it; that I cannot be as selfish as depression and anxiety tend to make me; that sometimes I keep moving solely because I have to in order to keep 3 other people alive.  Kids, for me, have been both trigger and cure.  It is kind of horrifying (man, do I love to exaggerate and use hyperbole…) to feel such conflicting things about someone you made in your body.


Depressive Episode

9 Jun

I had family in town this past weekend, and I seem to always lose a bit of self-control whenever a visit is over.  I love getting to see my family enjoy my kids and play with them and my kids put on a show for everyone.  It’s overwhelming but delightful to see my kids love other people.

But, like for so many others, family for me is painful, too.  Family are the people who don’t understand me and might not ever try.  Family are the people I put on a mask for.  The ones I turn much more introverted for.  Become less opinionated around.  Speak up for myself less.  I shrink any part of me that might become offensive because I’m not sure anyone’s love is unconditional.

The other day, I read this confession from an adult adoptee and realized I related to so, so much of what she wrote.  Obviously, my life has not been the same as an adoptee; please don’t think I’m saying that.  But my life isn’t like yours with both biological parents around, either.  I often feel like I’m in some weird other place, and it’s hard to find voices saying familiar things.  Adoption is the closest scenario to mine, I guess, and so I’m finding a lot in common when reading the stories of adoptees.

I also wanted to read more about ambiguous grief that I’d heard mentioned in talk about adoption.  So, I did what any Millennial would do:  I Googled it.  And this is what I read.  And, all of a sudden, I felt like I could forgive myself.  All this jumble of feelings; all these times of feeling sad and confused around holidays and, as I’ve gotten older, my birthday; all the faulty coping I’ve engineered for myself— all of this has a reason behind it.  I mean, I guess I knew that; but I’ve never been exposed to the idea of ambiguous grief before very recently, and the ability to name something is so very powerful.

Because, even though I know that I’m not the only one to feel sad at Christmas because I don’t know my bio dad/my family of origin doesn’t really know me/whatever else is in the mix , it can feel that way.  It can feel like an impossible hurdle to overcome, this being different thing.  But I’m not so different; I fall into a whole lot of categories.  And while the teenaged rebel in me still hopes thinks I am undefinable, I feel a lot calmer and merciful with myself when I figure out that I’m not so outside these distinct, knowable boxes.

I’ve been reading a lot about “peaceful/gentle/positive parenting” stuff (see herehere, or here for what I’ve been reading), and something that gets brought up frequently is knowing your own stuff– your deep wounds, your painful associations, your traumas and triggers and tipping points– so that you can parent well.  And I feel like I’m digging deep into myself and dragging out all kinds of sad, mangled feelings; things that I’d rather not think about or deal with.  But my daughter reminds me of myself as a child, and I have to let things go so I don’t go on being jealous of her.  Of a 4-almost-5-year-old.  Yes, my heart is an ugly place at times; but I am more than the sum of my past hurts, and I can be different.  I can try to love myself so that I can love my kids better than how I was treated.


Here’s to breaking the cycle.

To making a family where we can know each other even if we are not alike.

To loving fully and totally and painfully.

To having a vulnerable heart even though it can be more easily bruised.

To being who I am even though it’s scary.

What makes you a blogger?

22 Jan

I’d really like to write more.  But what is the point?  There are probably about (and this is just a ballpark) one billion bloggers.  And, out of those, approximately 990 million of those bloggers are moms of some kind and that’s what they write about.  And within that figure are a bunch of subgenres to the Mommy Blog:  crunchy, angry, funny, draw-y, feminist-y, Christian-y, Atheist-y, yoga-y.

But what am I?  What is my niche?  I’m a mom, but I don’t have any parenting advice.  I would never use the word “crunchy” without being ironic.  I’m pretty angry, but that doesn’t seem like something to write about all the time.  (Why did I make angry a subcategory to begin with?  Who in the heck is an Angry Mommy Blogger?)  I’m funny, but I don’t know that I find much funny about my life all the time.  And so forth and so on…

So, I guess what it comes down to is this:  I don’t feel like my voice has much to offer in hurricane of blogs already swirling around on the web.  (Also, web?  Who says that anymore?  Me, apparently.)  And my usual plan when I start feeling like my worth in an area is negligible, is to just quit and not even try.  But I want to figure myself out.  I want to embrace my Myers-Briggs type (ISFP, you know, if you’re into that kind of thing) and integrate that information into my understanding of myself.  I want to learn to play my ukulele, and work on the art project in my mind, and exercise, and read so many books.

And part of learning about myself is writing.  And so I guess I’ll just keep doing it.  Why not?  There’re a billion others doing the same thing, so I guess one more won’t hurt.


A day.

26 Aug

I want to say that today was bad.  That it was harder than usual.  That tomorrow will be not as bad.  To be optimistic.  

But it’s not going to happen.  Today was how the last couple months have been:  draining, daunting, and seemingly endless.  Full of me losing my temper, lots of crying (not from me… today), and just everything I deem horrible right now:  messes, sticky hands, constant question asking, fighting, dry kidney beans all over the floor.  I’m  having a hard time finding the positives in life right now.

Zoe is having a hard time adjusting to Boaz, and I’m having a hard time adjusting to her adjustment period.  She’s regressed in just about every area– including, within the last couple weeks, potty training!  Hurray!  What I thought would be the last straw for me is just another hay bale strapped to my back.  No big deal.  I don’t know how to connect with her; and, when I try to read different ideas or gather ones from friends/wiser folks and implement them, I just want to jump off our roof.  Part of the problem is me:  I have a hard time keeping a stiff upper lip and try, try again-ing.  Part of it is nothing seems to work.  But, after reading this, I started trying to hold her when she’s upset instead of sending her away from me.  That doesn’t seem to “work” (like, stop the screaming), but I’m willing to try that to help her feel like I don’t hate her when she cries.  So I count that as the only positive thing I’ve learned.  (But if you have advice, consider this as solicitation.  I accept any and all advice at this time.)

Right now is a hard time.  I’m not convinced it’ll ever end, though, which is starting to take it’s emotional wear.  I’ve now started my smart coping technique of picking fights with Joe.  Genius, I know.  But heaven forbid I start crying because of how scared and sad I feel right now because of my flipping 4 year old.  UGH.  

I have so much more to say about this, but I’m too tired.  Please figure out a solution for me, and then come in my home and make it work.  KTHXBIEEEE.

Three kids

21 Aug

If you know me, you know I have 3 kids.  You may also know that I’m 26.  Every once in a while, these two things blow me away.  This is not how I imagined life at 26.  Actually, I don’t think I ever had any idea what I’d be doing past 19.  And that was when I was 19.

I’m a fatalist, friends.  What does that mean?  It means, for me, I don’t see very far into the future.  Sometimes I try to have a great, positive (Christian?) outlook  for the years to come… but I can’t do it.  It’s all fog and haze and maybe I need new glasses?  So, when I was 19 and tried to look forward, I didn’t imagine much for 26.  Maybe I thought I’d be married?  But I don’t remember caring much about getting married.  I definitely didn’t think about kids ever.  I seriously used to be scared of babies.  They just freaked me out.  They’re tiny!  and fragile!  with a soft spot!  DO NOT TOUCH BABIES.

But, here I am.  I’m onto my 3rd baby, and I’m not very scared of doing much with him.  (I mean as far as dropping him goes.  After you see one baby fall off the couch, you’re slightly more and less afraid at the same time.)  I know how to take care of an infant; how to help a toddler up the stairs; how to help a preschooler scribble and color.  I’ve changed diapers ad nauseum; offered countless turned down dinner plates; cleaned a million sticky fingers.  And I still don’t feel like a mom.

I mean:  I am a mom.  Or mommy.  Or mama.  I am one of those.  I do the things moms do and have children to call my own; but I can’t seem to figure out what I’m supposed to feel.  How do you feel like a mom?

I think part of my problem is that this mothering thing is pretty hard for me.  It takes a lot of patience and care and gentleness and enthusiasm and listening.  Some of those I can do somewhat easily; others are less natural for me.  It takes a lot of control for me to, say, not roll my eyes at my 4 year old when she spills her entire plate because she was engrossed in something other than walking; or to answer the same question over and over and over and over from my 2 year old without telling him to shut up.  Yeah, I’m not a natural-born mother.

Then again, I am.  Right?  I mean, here I am:  Mother.  It sort of feels like a shirt that’s a bit too snug; maybe if I lost something it’d fit better.  But I’m still holding on to being what I once could easily be:  selfish and petty and ugly and mean and controlling and flippant and lazy.  Why should I give those up for my little blessings?  Why can’t I just be the way that comes easily to me?

This stuff– this letting go type stuff– is hard.  It’s hard to see a constant furrow on your face and not wonder what it does to your kids.  So I’m trying to let go.  To give my kids a kind, gentle, loving, patient, soft mother even if I don’t always want to be her.  And maybe I’ll keep trying to be her, and, one day, wake up and find I actually am her.   Fake it ’til you make it, right?  RIGHT?!