Monthly Archives: January 2015

Quick snapshots of our new normal

Sam was woken at 5.45 by George’s meows… normally we would leave him to yell it out, but he heard Wes going downstairs, and that’s (quite reasonably) ball game for sleep for Sam, so I took him into our bed. Then ensued 40 minutes of me trying to sleep, while Sam told me everything on his mind: “Mummy has hair…. Oh, Mummy hair nice…. Nice Mummy….” [rubs hair] “Georgus crying… Georgus cry…”

“No Sam, George was meowing…”

“Meow? Meow!” [cue several minutes mewing like a cat. “Thomas! Thomas got stuck on the bridge…. Bridge shake, shake… Percy came, Oh Percy…. OH PERCY” and so on, plus of course, several requests for milk.

But it was nice, he did snuggle well, and I enjoyed having him close. Then up, and dressed at the speed of light, and out into the pre-packed car:

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Ugh, the totally over packed car:

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Then off to school, except I am about 2 hours earlier than usual which means:

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TRAFFIC. School traffic. UGH. But after 30 mins we get to the Y and Sam is:

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Well, it is alright for some, eh? Luckily he wakes up quickly and is excited to get his backpack on:

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We enter daycare, and I tell Sam he has to go to his classroom. He barrels off, ahead of me and the Director (how does he know where to go??):

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Finds the classroom, and immediately joins in circle time. He sits down, sees what the other kiddos are doing and copies them, building quite a fine lego tower:

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Since things are going so well, I hastily depart and make my way to the office and enjoy a new treat:

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Our teeny tiny car instead of our big huge truck, in the teeny tiny work garage. No more 20 million point turns! Woo hoo! I make my way to my desk. It is 8 am, I haven’t usually left the house by now… I’m not impressed:

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But hey, I make  myself a big breakfast (OK reheat my premade breakfast) of my old standby: pumpkin oatmeal:

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I am sure the novelty will wear off, but it was not a bad start! Long may it continue.

On the brink of change

New horizons for the Frazier-Woods

New horizons for the Frazier-Woods

I never wrote part 3 of my letter to my pediatrician… It was hard; parts 1 and 2 involved accusation and anger and explaining the thoughts I had worked through with friends. Part 3, the aftermath, was something that until last Friday I was still working through in my mind. So maybe now I can write it, but in  the meantime, the aftermath of my idiot pediatrician is that tomorrow, Wes goes back to work after 31 months at home, and  Sam will start daycare at our local YMCA.

Doing his job for the last 31 months - looking after us (in this case, repaiting my fish tank)

Doing his job for the last 31 months – looking after us (in this case, repairing my fish tank)

I have so many thoughts rattling around my head about this, and even some that are probably conflicting. I can’t seem to find a coherent answer for how I am feeling about this (which doesn’t really matter as it is happening anyway) but here are my thoughts, in no particular order:

(1) Wow. Maybe we won’t be broke. Maybe we will be able to buy actual furniture, and get rid of our freeniture (that’s furniture found at the side of the road, folks). That will be glorious.

(2) Maybe, just maybe, I will also be able to afford decent-ish wine. My one true love: wine. Also potentially glorious.

(3) This is going to be a big change. I loathe, fear and detest change. I deal with it by smiling and being energetic and super positive… but then I have some huge meltdown after a few months. Not looking forward to that.

(4) I so also thrive on challenges, which usually involve change. When life has got too stagnant I tend to do stuff life totally change my career, or train for bodybuilding competitions. I hate change, but in 2009 I moved continent; 2010 met my hubby on line, and got 2 cats; 2011 got engaged, got married, moved in with hubby; decided to change jobs and acquired 3 turtles, a dog and 14 fish; 2012 I got pregnant, changed jobs, bought a house, moved State and become a mum; 2013 was quiet! I As was 2014, in fact, it’s been dead since 2013 (aside of changing job again)! I’ve stagnated and I think that is part of my unhappiness. Maybe I hate change, but I need it. Yes, for me this might be a good thing.

(5) I’m sad Wes can’t spend all that time with Sam. It is such a rare and beautiful gift to have time with your children, and it breaks my heart to take that away from him.

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(6) But Sam so needs interaction with other children – and he needs to get out. And he needs to be stretched (cognitively, not physically – he’s still crazily tall). I can’t forget that I was unhappy with his day-to-day life: very rare park trips, no play dates, no crafts, very little structure, no sense of time, few life skills (no chores, no cooking). When I was around Sam LOVED to be engaged in sensory activities… his life needs more than that.  His days were fine, but they weren’t exceptional and I admit, it bothered me (I am a terrible person. Look at this cute picture of Sam engaging in an activity and forget about how terrible I am:

Toddler baking

Toddler baking

)

(7) But he was so happy. Rarely would you meet a happier toddler than Sam. And he follows rules, rarely tantrums, is loving, sweet and still just a bundle of joy. Is it worth to risk that happiness so that he can eat at set times, and sit in a circle? Is it the humdrum of every day life, and the impersonality of this crazy capitalist world that sucks the joy out of us? Ultimately, all I have ever wanted is for Sam to be happy. Will he lose that innocent happy that comes with only ever being around people who love you more than anything in the world? Who think you are the best thing since sliced bread and delight in everything you do? Why does he have to learn that now, at 2? He has years to be a face in the crowd, and to fitted in to someone else’s goals, and to be taught he is a problem…. why can’t he just have these extra few years of innocence?

Happy monkey

Happy monkey

(8) Oh my God when he is hungry who will feed him, and when he cries who will hold him???

(9) Holy crap.  Families with two working parents work hard. So hard!! Today I made dinner, prepped for the week, packed Sam’s school bag, packed the car with my work stuff, made our lunches and did a little bit of tidying (Wes did most of the cleaning) – all the while of course being Thomas / chasing a scary monster / singing ‘heads shoulders knees and toes – and I am EXHAUSTED. Like, feet fizzing, brain melting, eye droppingly exhausted. At 9 pm Wes went to bed… how do families do this??

(10) Mind you, Wes and I have actually started to appreciate each other (maybe even life each other? No… no  too far) now that we don’t have time to actually see each other…

(11) My career is going to suffer even more. I don’t even know how I am going to get tenure and have my husband at work. It will probably never happen. I’ll lose my job. I’ll never find another job in America. This is a disaster.

(12) I’ve had it so easy. I like it easy!! Why can’t it be easy??

(13) Families all over the Western world do this all the time. They are fine. Their kids are fine. Their kids are HAPPY. Their kids are well-adjusted. Sam will be happy. Wes will be happy. We’ll find a new normal and we’ll make it work.

(14) Dang, you are going to sleep so well now. Speaking of which….

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Things that made me happy in 2014

Looking back, I think that 2014 was one of my toughest years yet. Simply because I was very unhappy for much of it. Which it feels churlish to say, since I landed an awesome job and watched my beautiful infant grow into a loving, happy, toddler from within a my large detached house and throughout all this neither I nor my family suffered from any major illnesses (somewhat of a first…). Clearly my blessings were manifold. Which goes to show you that happiness really cannot be bought, and is more complex to achieve than we think.

How could this little thing not make me happy?

How could this little thing not make me happy?

I hate being unhappy because I hate the person it makes me. I become negative and distant and difficult to be around. I complain. A lot. I am mean about the people I love to the people who love them. I consume the conversation around me with minor worries that can’t be solved. It’s boring. I am not there for my friends when they need me, because I am so consumed with my own problems. I lash out inappropriately and insensitively. I drain those around me.

So, when I got to thinking about 2015 and New Years Resolutions, all I could think was ‘I just want to be happy’. But where to start? Then I read this post by Caitlin at Healthy Tipping Point in which she lists the ‘Things [she] did to make [her] life better in 2014′. And that seemed like a  great place to start – if I can list the things that made me happy in 2014, I can strive to do more of them in 2014. So here we go:

Things I did that Made Me Happy In 2014:

1. Got Early NIghts

For some reason I had it in my head that I couldn’t go to bed before 10.30, and generally I would kill time until about 11 pm. Then on Christmas Eve, Wes and I watched Downton Abbey and it finished at 9.30. We couldn’t think of anything else to watch and so Wes said “Shall we just go to bed?”.

“No!” I exclaimed in horror, although I did admit that I was tired, and I proceeded to fail to think of a single thing I did want to do. So grudgingly I went up to bed, and lay down. Within minutes I was asleep, and got possibly the best nights’ sleep I have had in ages. Even better, instead of being roused from the depths of a dreamless sleep by the raw of an angry dwarf, I woke slowly and peacefully and gazed at the window quietly until I came to. When the dwarf did yell, I felt more than happy to go and grab him.

I have had 9.30 bedtimes twice since. It has been glorious. I may have discovered it late in the year, but so far just going to bed super early has been one of the things that has made me feel the best.

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Early snuggles

 

2. Cleaned up my Facebook feed

I am a feminist (so are you too, probably, you just might not know it), and I am politically liberal, and these stances mean a lot to me. I want to fight for gender equality and gender acceptance and women’s rights and universal healthcare. But Facebook is probably not the place for me to do that (too much). While those issues are very dear to my heart and I have no intention on being silent about them, getting into Facebook scraps and reading what the latest idiot teabagger was doing actually brought me a lot of stress. Much as I enjoyed Slate and some other online magazines, NOT reading about why I should be angry made me… well… a lot less angry.

I also ‘unfollowed’ some friends who frequently speak about being anti marriage-equality, or write things I feel are racist, the vocal anti-vaxxers, and some “friends” whose news feed I was checking only to have mean thoughts about them (come on, I was not the only one who did this, right?). I still follow people who challenge my views, but not those who anger them.

3. Sorted out my skin care

Ahh…. I discovered Kiehls. This is the first brand to moisturize my very dry skin, without making it dull or breakout, and the first brand to make a noticeable difference to my wrinkles. It’s an indulgence, but it is not crazy expensive.

4. Drank more water

I was plagued with headaches and migraines for months, and in the middle of a bunch of investigations, 2 doctors said to me “You might have diabetes insipidus – you should see an endocrinologist”. Diabetes Insipidus (DI) is basically a condition were you pee too much / don’t absorb enough water and when I looked up DI treatment for milk cases it was basically ‘drink a lot of water’. So… I have started doing that. Like 120 fl oz / day on top of my daily decaf coffees and other fluids. Boom – headaches gone and for the first time in my life EVER I have nice nails (oh wait, second time, the first time was pregnancy). Gone are the dry, brittle, flaky things I had and in their places are quite reasonable talons!

Water it is…

5. Ate Salads

I always feel good after eating a salad. I never wish I had chosen something else. Enough said.

6. Played hooky

A great day to sneak off work

A great day to sneak off work

Just occasionally 🙂

7. Cleaned

I hate to admit it, but I never regret getting down and really cleaning out a section of the house, and I ALWAYS feel great afterwards. I just have to bite the bullet and do it. I must be getting old….

8. Spent time intentionally

This would make anyone happy

This would make anyone happy

This was one of the things that made me most happy, but one of the hardest to do. When I had free time, it would often be in snatches and I found it hard to sit down and focus in on anything, so I spent a lot of time just reading Facebook and surfing the internet. That definitely did not make me happy. At all. But every time I sat down and did a project, no matter how big or small, I felt so much better after.

I was so delighted when I did a ‘craft swap’ with my friend Mandy at the end of the year – I was challenged to make a batch of Christmas cards for her, and so I was ‘forced’ to sit and create. Often sitting down was the hardest part, but once I started the time flew and I felt great afterwards (somewhat like going to the gym… but that is another story).

Loved making all these

Loved making all these cards

9. Spent time with my boy

It sounds obvious, right? You have a kid, you want to spend time with him. However, funnily enough, people often suggest the opposite. But when I was unhappy, or tired, or stressed, people usually said “Take some time for yourself! Get a manicure! Go shopping! Get your hair done!”. I can see that for many that is great advice, but for me: Sam is my happiness. Sam is my fun, he is my comfort, he is my worry and my bliss and wild side and my rest. I am never as happy as when he and I have done an activity together that we have both engaged in – I love to read books with him, bake with him, romp in the park with him.

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This. This is what makes me happy.

I hope that being conscious of these things will being them more fully into my life. I am aware of all the friends who have stuck by me when I have done almost nothing but moan this year – I am truly blessed to know you and you will always have my heartfelt gratitude.

Here is to changing in 2015 and being ‘me’ again.