Don’t forget to take a minute to appreciate little victories;)
Just about everything I come across dealing with SPD, ADHD, or anxiety in kids talks about how important it is to have a support group around you. I honestly can’t help rolling my eyes a bit every time I read it somewhere. Don’t get me wrong, I know my family supports me unequivocally, but none of them live anywhere near us. We don’t know anyone else that we interact with on a normal basis that is dealing with what we are, so the idea of a support group has just felt a little far fetched for me.
Sofia. Loves. Halloween.
It is one of her favorite things. She usually picks five to six months in advance what she wants to be. She has worn a homemade costume every year since she was born. We watch The Nightmare Before Christmas all year round. You get me.
Last night we went to a friend’s Halloween party. Hubs and Stella have been under the weather with allergies so they stayed home. I knew damn well that keeping Sofia up late and going to a party was a surefire way to hit sensory overload. But, like I said, the girl loves Halloween.
After being at the party a couple of hours she had a meltdown. One of our biggest challenges right now is her impulse control. We are working hard on it. I swear we are. We left the party and came home. Both of us were crying.
Back to the support group.
You see, what I didn’t realize is that I ALREADY HAVE ONE.
Trying to avoid making things worse we slipped out the door without saying goodbye. Within an hour I got a text. No judgement. No anger. This morning I woke up to an email. Nothing but love and support.
I realize now that the people around me don’t have to know exactly what we are going through. They have our back anyway. Our friends know that Sofia is an amazing kid trying to navigate things. A support group doesn’t mean meeting somewhere once a week with donuts and stale coffee. It means unconditional love and support, from wherever it happens to come from.
So, to my friends: thank you for being my support group. You truly have no idea how much it means to me. You are golden.
We carry so much with us that nobody else can see.
Shopping with little nuggets can be hard. But, a couple of years ago I was shopping with Sofia and we had an especially good shopping trip. That, in itself, isn’t what makes me remember it though.
That day we were at Sam’s, undoubtedly buying diapers. My method for keeping her less-than-two year old self entertained at the time was to browse the books first, and then let her pick one to look at while we were shopping. Some days my method worked better than others. It worked great that day. We zoomed through the store, got everything we needed, and made it up to the checkout line.
There was a woman in her fifties in front of us, shopping by herself. The associate ended up having to do a price check on one of her items, and we were stuck waiting for a few minutes. No biggie. Sofia was pleasantly entertained while I read to her from her new book.
When we paid for our stuff and headed to the car, the woman from the line approached us and apologized for taking so long. I told her it was no worry. She told me it was wonderful to see me talking to Sofia instead of ignoring her as she saw so many parents doing to their kids. I just took it as a compliment and thanked her. The sweet woman went on to tell me that she had lost her daughter to breast cancer not long before, and to cherish my daughter always.
I’m not sure why, but I was thinking about that woman this morning, and wishing that I had given her a hug that day.
Today I dropped Sofia off at school, and Hubs off at work before heading to Walmart to shop with Stella. At the checkout line I offered to let a woman go ahead of us, and she politely declined. As we waited in line together we started chatting. She eventually told me that a year ago today she lost her son.
I gave her a hug.
We talked, shared stories, and wished each other a good day. As Stella and I walked away she said “thank you”. I managed to keep my shit together until I got to the car. I hope she knows that she made my day special too.
Kindness costs nothing. And, we all carry so many things. You never know when you can lighten someone’s load, even a tiny bit.
Kids hear “no” plenty often.
I didn’t feel like lugging out my sewing machine this morning. Or haggling over scrap material with my four year old. Or looking through drawers for thread.
Ages ago, when Sofia was itty bitty I made her a star pillow. She sleeps with it every night. She’s been wanting a moon to go with it ever since. She was talking about it again this morning.
Sometimes it’s good for kids to hear “yes”.
I made Sofia a “Cheshire Cat” moon. I also found some swank material I bought forever ago and made Stella a little pillow.
I didn’t feel like lugging out my sewing machine this morning, but I’m glad I did. As I left the room to get Stella down for a nap Sofia was saying,”I love my moon. I’m going to keep it forever. Even when I’m a grown up!”
Anxiety is something I have dealt with my entire life. And, depression is something that has reared its ugly head more than once. It is a hard thing to admit. Especially to myself. That is what made it extraordinarily difficult to admit to myself that I needed to see my doctor to talk about postpartum depression.
For the longest time I thought that admitting to issues of depression or anxiety meant that I was weak; not strong enough. In my younger days it translated to not having enough faith. Other people often thought it was an attempt to seek attention. Everyone experiences these things differently. For me, there were some important things for me to get straight with myself.
Feeling depressed in no way, shape, or form diminishes the love I have for my family, or my life.
My husband is my hero. We have been through happy, hard, fantastic, and difficult times over the nearly twelve years we’ve been together. Being depressed doesn’t lessen that.
My daughters fill me to the brim with love. I am absolutely and completely proud of them, and being their mom makes me the luckiest girl in the world. Being depressed doesn’t mean in the slightest that I don’t realize that.
Not a single day goes by that I don’t think of how wonderful my life is, and how lucky I am to have everything that I have.
Depression isn’t taking the good things in your life for granted. For me, depression is not being unhappy. In fact, I am very happy. But, it is like looking out and seeing all of the extraordinary things that make me happy but being unable to escape this annoying shit of a dark cloud hovering over me. It’s like experiencing magical moments, but not living them fully. It’s like wanting to suck all of the marrow out of life, but choking on the bone.
I had to realize: it doesn’t make sense, and it’s not my fault.
I needed to stop beating myself up every time I felt down, or nervous for no reason.
I started having anxiety attacks when I was about seven or eight. Of course, I had no idea what they were at the time. I would just start feeling overwhelmed with fear, and nervousness that I couldn’t shake. I remember as a teenager feeling like I would be sick from the pit in my stomach every day while I was riding the bus to school. I remember feeling like I was going to panic just driving down the road in my hometown. I just aways fought it on my own.
I imagine it’s a hard thing to empathize with for someone who’s never experienced anything like it…
But, when I realized I was waking up every morning just worrying about anything and everything that could possibly go wrong… When I felt like I wasn’t laughing enough, or hugging my family enough… When I realized that I never felt relaxed… When I realized that I always felt mad at myself…
So, right now I’m about two weeks into my medication, and one week into therapy. I can’t help but wonder if I have always had a chemical imbalance. Within just a day or two of being on medicine I started to feel better. I don’t feel as tense. I have more patience. I feel like my brain is quieter; like I can breathe deeper. Even Hubs has told me that I’m laughing more.
And, as for therapy… this is my first experience with it, but I feel incredibly positive.
It seems, for the most part, depression is something that people just want you to keep to yourself. Anxiety is something that you should just get over. Part of me thinks I’m crazy for even writing this.
But, then again, maybe we should stop treating things that way. Maybe mental health shouldn’t be so damn taboo. Maybe we should all just be proud of ourselves for trying to be the best people we can be.
So, that’s what I’m doing. I’m going to be the best person I can be.
I’m going to be the best mom that I can be.
We had a couple of hard days last week. My normally bubbly, non napping, happy and polite three year old was just… off. Hubs and I could tell there was something up. But she didn’t have a fever, she wasn’t throwing up, and she was taking naps. The only thing you can really do when it’s like that is keep an eye on ’em, and wait it out.
On Tuesday I picked her up from school, hoping that the fun had been a good distraction, and that maybe she had perked up. Instead I got our first bad report from her teacher. Damn near broke my heart. She wasn’t listening to instructions. She wasn’t playing nice with her mates.
That night too, it seemed like we were playing a game of opposites. A whole slew of her toys ended up in time out. I called and made an appointment to see her doc the next morning.
I’m so glad that I made that call. In the middle of the night Sofia woke up screaming and crying, saying that she didn’t feel good. The next morning we saw our pediatrician, and we discovered that our nugget had a doozie of an ear infection.
Apparently, it was really quite bad. Our fabulous doctor encouraged us to start her medicine right away, and assured us there was no wonder why she had been acting out!
So, here’s the big fucking deal:
As we inch toward the end of the week, and our Doodlebug is starting to return to her normal, pleasant self, we are driving down the road and I tell that man-o-mine: “Hey, Babe. It’s been a whole week since Sofia’s worn a diaper!”
Potty training has been a long road for us.
Sofia has gotten the logistics of using the potty for over a year now. Knowing she had to go was never really our issue. In fact, she rarely wore a diaper at home. The problem we always ran into was public restrooms.
Now, here I can’t really hold it against her. Public restrooms are often nasty, and give one cause to lose their faith in humanity. My thirty-four year old self would much rather not use one, if I can avoid it.
And on top of the sights and smells one encounters in any public restroom, one is also generally met with incredibly loud mechanical flushes that sear into your ears with such ferocity that you wonder if you are being sucked into a black hole. Then, as soon as your equilibrium returns, it is accosted once again by the violently loud hand dryers, spewing hot air and germs everywhere. This. This is what has been giving my Little Bit such trouble.
Now, I’m sure that there are plenty of people that would say I am a total pushover for not dragging my child, screaming and planking, into whatever restroom, and forcing her to use the potty. But, I didn’t do that.
I swear, what I was witnessing in my child was a genuine fight or flight response. She wasn’t throwing a fit. She was scared shitless.
So, we’ve been doing a potty training dance for some time now. Baby stepping. Trying a public restroom anytime Doodlebug seemed up for it. Pulling our hair out in frustration on plenty of occasions.
When she started school we sent her in pull ups. After a few weeks in, her teacher pulled me aside and said she was ready to wear panties to school. I was thrilled to hear it! I was even more thrilled when I picked her up the next day and she had no potty accidents!!! After that, we graduated to no diapers at all during the day. Only at night. We’ve made it a week and a half.
So, here we are:)
Now, the nugget has a little collection of Totoro toys, and the one Totoro she was missing was the little blue one. Nearly a year ago we made a deal with the Doodlebug that we would buy her that blue Totoro when she started going to the big girl potty all the time. We never imagined it would take so long.
Yesterday morning we went for a hike. While we were out Sofia peed and pooped in the restrooms at a park. You know, the metal toilets that are freezing cold on your ass even in the summer. The ones that you’re always a little bit scared that a spider is gonna jump out at you. She didn’t fuss a bit:)
We piled up in the car and went and got her a blue Totoro. Not only has she gone over a week without a diaper, but she did it while suffering with one hell of an ear infection!
My little badass earned it:)