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Monthly Archives: May 2012

Memorial Day weekend lesson learned

This weekend, I learned a valuable lesson about myself. Or rather, I officially recognized what I’d known about myself for a while yet hadn’t necessarily taken seriously.

If I get overheated, I do not function.

It’s not so much that if it’s warm out, I get a little cranky or if I get warm, I get cranky. If I’m overheated (which is exacerbated by the pregnancy, no doubt), my ability to engage with the world in a respectful way decreases until I’m a raging, frustrated puddle of sweat. I am unable to parent in a way that my child deserves. I am unable to interact with others in a way that they deserve. I am unable to care for myself in a way that I deserve (and even writing that sentence is somewhat difficult in that merely acknowledging that I deserve to be taken care of properly brings up feelings of guilt that I’d be taking time or attention away from caring for my family, but that’s a tangent for another post).

It doesn’t matter what the thermostat says. It doesn’t matter what other people are feeling. If I feel as if I’m overheating, I have to take steps to prevent it from getting out of hand. I have to make myself drink ice water. I have to get myself in front of a fan or in a room with air conditioning. I have to be ok with the possibility that our electricity bill will be higher from running our A/C more frequently, especially if that means that I’m able to treat my family the way they deserve and the way I prefer.

Maybe this kind of thing is obvious. Maybe this kind of self-care/self-awareness is normal for most people. Up until the past few days, though, I’ve been thinking of temperature control in terms of others being comfortable, and if I got too warm, well, I just had to suck it up and deal with it (so said my internal monologue, not anyone else). Sucking it up isn’t working anymore. I’m learning to trust myself, learning to recognize my limitations before I reach them (at least for the most part), and learning to speak up or make changes to prevent myself from turning into the Incredible Sweat Puddle Hulk. Because really, no one wants to see that.

 
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Posted by on May 30, 2012 in mama

 

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Just teasing

This incident affected me way more than I thought it did at the time (and possibly way more than it affected Grace, who was the victim/recipient of the actions), so here I go rambling.

Yesterday, the three of us were visiting my in-laws for a bit. At some point, the habit of getting ready to leave followed by Grace getting a couple of marshmallows from my mother-in-law has developed. So yesterday, Grace was getting ready to go, she got her marshmallows in a baggie to take home and was making the rounds to say goodbye to everyone: her mom-mom and pop-pop (my in-laws), GG (her great grandmother), and a friend of my in-laws who’d stopped by to say hi. When she went to say goodbye to the friend (whom she’d been shy around and avoiding for the most part up until now) and he asked her about the marshmallows, she showed them to him and they started talking about them, with the friend quizzing her on what colors they were (which is annoying in itself but harmless so whatever). Then she went to take the bag back so we could leave and he pulled it away so she couldn’t get it. He repeated the offer/pull away routine a few times when Grace became upset and went to run away from him. People reassured her that he wasn’t taking them from her, they said he was just teasing, then they gave her the bag and encouraged her to say bye and give the friend a high five.

Intellectually, I know his intentions were in fun, but it brought up something emotionally for me that I’m feeling even the next day. Watching the scene play out even a mere five feet away, I felt helpless to protect her from what was happening. If a child had acted that way, would the expected response be laughing and understanding that he was “just teasing”? Or would someone have stepped in in defense of Grace and given the bag back to her? I felt helpless to stop this obviously distressing “teasing” and helpless to assist Grace to understand that her reaction was legitimate, since people were quicker than I to step in and tell her how she should feel. (I have minor issues with my in-laws’ use of the phrase “don’t cry” as well, but it’s usually been easier for me to reassure her in those instances.)

Part of my reaction has to do with my own grandmother using the phrase “just teasing” when I was younger. I can’t remember exactly the circumstances, but I remember strong feelings of not being taken seriously when I’d become upset at the teasing, or being told I was taking things too seriously or being too serious. These strong emotions are making it hard for me to understand if I’m reacting appropriately to something that happened to my child, or if I’m overreacting because I see myself in her place and see how hurt I’d feel were it me.

 
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Posted by on May 25, 2012 in mama

 

Nesting or preparing for the apocalypse?

I’ve recently taken to preparing for the birth of our second child, doing all of the normal nesting-type stuff one reads about in pregnancy books or articles on what you need when your baby’s born. I’ve been cleaning, organizing, putting food in the freezer, all of that normal stuff. I’ve also, apparently, been preparing for the apocolypse.

For the past few weeks, I’ve been preparing like those who prepare their homes for the end of days. I’ve stocked up on paper products from Costco, so, for example, we don’t need to buy toilet paper, etc. for the next 6 months. Also, we have enough oatmeal for a similar time period (unless I go crazy and make tons of lactation cookies). I’ve been making lists of foods, both for meals and snacks, that I can stock up on as we get closer to the due date. I’ve been working on all of those little cleaning or organizing tasks that I’ve been thinking about but never actually finding time for. (When I was pregnant with Grace, I gave myself permission to not scrub the tub grout and it taunted me every time I took a shower until I finally had the energy and time to clean it. Yesterday, I vacuumed the back staircase which I’d been meaning to do since 2011. There was no way I’d be walking up and down the stairs with a newborn looking at the same fluff of dust that’d been there for months. I might empty and scrub the flatware drawer.)

For some reason, getting closer to the birth makes me feel like I’m entering some sort of quarantine. I did similar things towards the end of my pregnancy with Grace. Intellectually, I know that the world doesn’t disappear once a baby is born. Target and grocery stores and everywhere else don’t cease to exist because I have a baby. Despite the fact that I might not be up to going out to the store doesn’t mean that someone else can’t go to the store for me. I know this, yet still I’m trying to prepare for what feels like the inevitable, that we’ll need to be prepared for weeks or months of being holed up at home.

I’m sure being as prepared as I can can only help. I’m not really trying to prepare for the apocalypse, either. I mean, I’m not getting us freeze-dried meals or anything, just stocking up on stuff for the freezer and pantry so we only have to think about the perishables for the first weeks post-birth. This frantic preparation also probably is related to my inability to imagine what life will be like once there’s two kids in my family, so at least I’ll be able to go to the kitchen and find some food even as every other aspect of our lives are in disarray. That’s a topic for a different post, though.

Did you prepare for the postpartum period by stocking up like I’m doing? Any tips, advice, words of wisdom for someone going from one kid to two?

 
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Posted by on May 17, 2012 in food