Just a mom writing about the randomness of life and how being mom is full of laughter, tears, fears and happiness. Living it out one gray hair at a time.

Have You Ever Seen a Hamster Fly?

This is Shadow, the new member of our family. He does not like me, but I can’t blame him. I did almost kill him only after his second day in this house.

My oldest daughter has been begging my husband and I for a hamster for about a year. Our answer has always been no. Mostly because I figured I would be the one who inevitably would be its caregiver, just like our 2 cats. I have enough to clean up after and feed around here. Recently, my daughter has been going through some mental/emotional issues, so when she asked again if she could get a hamster, I caved and said yes.

Her and I went to the pet store, dawning our masks because…Corona, and checked out the furry little creatures. Now, it’s not like I DON’T like hamsters, they are cute to look at, but there is something about those razor sharp teeth that freak me out. I have the same fear of birds for the same reason, only they don’t have teeth, but they do have a pointy beak. As, we look at the fur-ball, pain inflicting creatures, one little guy catches her eye. Immediately she had a name for him. I knew in an instant that this thing was coming home with us. With the help of the lovely PetSmart assistant, we gathered all the necessities and $57 later we are back in the car driving home while our new friend freaks out in his little cardboard box carrier, sounding like he is trying to bite a hole to freedom. We set up his new little home, while the 2 year old screams in excitement that she has a new friend to torment and then just leave him to rest and acclimate to his new environment.

The next day, my daughter says that Shadow kept her up most of the night because of his workout routine on the wheel. I warned her before that they are nocturnal animals, so it was something she was going to have to get use to. I offered to place him in another room at night, but that idea was a no go. She spent the day talking to him, trying to bribe him with sunflower seeds and giving him sticks to chew on. Afternoon came around and I decided to move his cage to another room because it was near 90 outside and my daughter’s room gets really stuffy and warm (considering we have to shut the door so the cats don’t try to get a new snack), so I put him on the dresser of my youngest’s room. Now, here is where all mistakes were made.

I had the bright idea of taking the top of the cage off to see if I could bribe him with a seed so I could try to pet him. I give him a seed, which he rips out of my fingers and I attempt to pet him. So far so good. Maybe I could get use to this little guy, I thought. I put my finger down just so he could sniff me and the little aggressive fur-ball bites me. I instinctively pull my finger out of the cage, because it hurt, but what I didn’t notice was that the little shit never let go of my finger. So there I am, watching in slow motion, as this demon spawn hamster flies through the air, across the room. I froze. What the hell just happened? HOW did that even happen? Then came the…OMG, I had to have killed it! Thankfully, he landed on something soft. It took me a second for my brain to remember how to breathe and walk. When I finally bent over to him, he was alive. Pissed, but alive. Did you know that hamsters can hiss? I didn’t until that day. I tried to pick him up, but he jumped down and started running around the room. I screamed for my husband to come help me. My husband attempted to grab him and Shadow bit him too. Finally, we got him back to his cage.

After, I went to my room and cried for about an hour. I felt horrible. I for sure thought that I killed him, but when he was still alive, I was pretty sure that he wouldn’t be by morning. What am I going to tell my kid? She is going to HATE me! I didn’t mean for this to happen. It was an accident. I love animals (probably more than I love most humans), I would NEVER try to hurt them. So the thought that I potentially harmed this little guy absolutely tore me up inside. I told my kid that I dropped him. Technically, that is true…only he literally fell from the sky.

It’s been 3 weeks, and Shadow is still with us. Angry as hell, but with us. He is getting use to my daughter. He’ll poke his head out when she says his name and she can give him some quick pets while he is eating or running on his wheel. She’s getting better at picking him up, with gloves. He’ll box her fingers and bite the gloves first before she is able to get him, but it’s progress. I have vowed not to pick this thing up. Honestly, I don’t want to put my fingers anywhere near him. That image of him flying has been burned into my brain and the guilt is still pretty strong. He despises me, but I don’t blame him. I probably would too.

This one is constantly in my daughter’s room and hasn’t paid any bit of attention to our new household member. Actually, the other day, when my daughter was cleaning out Shadow’s cage and he was in a container running around, was the first time Buddy even noticed Shadow. Buddy really isn’t the brightest cat, so I’m not completely shocked that he had no clue. Even when he did notice this snack sized fur-ball, he could have cared less. Buddy is a sensitive little boy, so most likely his feelings were hurt that something new has been placed into this house and he would rather mope and ignore it that try to kill it.

This was the one I was worried about. Alice is my little bug hunter. She stocks any flying insect or spider and eats them. I thought for sure she would try to get at Shadow when an opportunity arose, but surprisingly she doesn’t care. She knows there is something in the cage and she glanced at him while he’s in the container while his cage is being cleaned, but apparently he is not worth her time.

I hope that Shadow can learn to trust my daughter to the point where she can handle him without gloves, but only time will tell. All I know is that I will continue to bribe and make nice with him until he is able to forgive me. I still won’t pick him up or touch him though. I think that is the safest for both of us.

The Need for Change

Well, let’s just start off by saying the year 2020 has been the absolute worst! A virus has taken over the world. We are all in SIP for who knows how long. Most children ended up spending the last quarter of their school year in distance learning. Proms and Graduations were non-existent. Depression and anxiety is at an all time high. Jupiter is literally throwing asteroids at us and we can’t seem to get our act together to be kind and treat everyone as equals. There is so much fear and unrest in the world right now that my heart literally hurts. These past few weeks, especially, has brought me to tears.

Above is all the names of unarmed black individuals that were murdered by police since 1999. I know that these are not all the names, but these were the ones I could find in my research.
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

It’s difficult for me to comprehend the brutality of police towards the black race. It’s hard for me to understand how some people think they are superior to someone else because of the color of their skin. It’s hard for me to grasp that the lives of black people are cut short day after day because of racism. It’s frustrating to me that the “leader” of our nation has done absolutely NOTHING to combat all this violence. It sickens me to see so many videos posted online of police in riot gear abusing their role as officers of the peace by tear gassing protesters, shooting rubber bullets into crowds, pushing over the elderly and macing children.

Now, I am a middle aged (wow, I think that’s the first time I’ve actually called myself “middle aged”) white woman. I grew up in a racist household. My grandparents and parents grew up in a time where saying racist things was part of the culture or norm. There were often times where I would ask my mom, “Are you sure I wasn’t adopted?” because I did not think like them. I refused to say certain words that they would say. In fact, there was one word in particular that when it was said it would literally make every muscle in my body tense up and I could feel anger rising. To most of my family I could politely say, “Please don’t say that word. It is a horrible word,” and they would refrain from saying it. Every time it flew out of their mouth I would remind them. There is one person in my family that I can’t say anything to, and if you know me you know who that person is. The other person, who didn’t care, he would tell me to shut up.

From growing up in a racist household, there were times when I was younger, that I would feel fear of someone of color. That fear was fueled by stereotypes and the fact that 90% of my community at the time was primarily white. By the time I was in 4th or 5th grade, that fear slowly began to disappear. I don’t remember what caused that fear to change. Maybe it was just that gut feeling inside telling me my feelings were wrong. I feel it’s important to address this because it’s proof that change can happen. Racism is taught, but just like a bad habit, you can also break it.

Image by Iván Tamás from Pixabay

Breaking a vicious cycle begins with you. It begins by recognizing your own faults, fears and non-understanding. It begins by educating yourself. It begins by teaching your children to be kind. That there is no color. We are all the same. We all have experienced the same feelings. We all have dreams and aspirations. We all have something we believe in. We all have the capability to treat others with kindness and respect. We all have the capability to learn from one another.

I had a really great conversation with my 10 year old daughter this past weekend. It was just her and I in the car, driving to the next town over, to pick up a pet hamster. (I’m sure there will be a post about this later.) I asked her if she knew what was going on in the world right now. She nodded her head yes. I then asked her how she felt about it. She said she didn’t understand why people are acting the way they are acting. I talked about America’s history, a little bit, and how some people still have those same types of feelings and views today. She shook her head and said it made her sad and angry. She said, “When I see people, I don’t see color. A person is a person. Their skin color doesn’t determine if they are bad people or not.” Preach, my child! I told her that issues like racism are difficult to eliminate. It’s not entirely impossible, but it will take a lot of hard work and people uniting for it to happen. I told her that I didn’t see much change coming from my generation, but I DO see a lot of change coming from her generation. These kids are smart. These kids are caring. These kids are passionate. These kids speak up when it matters. Our nation better buckle up because I really think these kids are going to move mountains.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

I asked my daughter if she knew how this kind of change can happen. She had a slight idea, but I expanded on it. I told her that change begins with the adults of the children. It is my job to make sure I educate my children about racism. It’s my job to make sure that my kids know that there is no superior color of skin. That we are all the same. That we take care of one another. That we speak up for those that are being bullied and knocked down. It’s also my job to teach them the importance of voting, not just voting for the President. It’s my job to make sure they learn to do research on candidates that will be representing their voice. I’m guilty of looking at the names on a ballot, not knowing who they are or what they represent, and blindly marking one. Believe me, this will change. It’s important that my children know what they can about the senators, congress people, mayors and governors that represent them. By the time my child is able to vote, she will be voting for some of those high school students and college students that took a stand and peacefully protested for black lives. It’s her generation that will be putting those students in higher positions to be able to pass legislature that WILL make a change. I told her that she has a very big and important job ahead of her, but I know her generation will vote for the right people. I have faith that her generation can make the biggest change in our history.

I, for one, cannot wait to see all the brilliant changes they will create.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Below, I wanted to leave some information on being an ally for black lives. Besides protesting, there are a lot of petitions to sign for justice of those individuals who were killed. There are places you can donate to, if you have the funds to do so. You can also show support by buying from companies that are ran by black individuals. Show your support any way you can.

COVID-19 and High Functioning Anxiety

Image by Miroslava Chrienova from Pixabay

Well, 2020 hasn’t started off to be the greatest year, has it? And I thought turning 40 was enough to send my brain into a spiral of concern, uncertainty, and depression. The universe single-handedly took credit for that one. Like most of us, my mind is locked constantly on this out of control virus. What’s going to happen? Will my family be safe? What about my parents? How long will this shelter in place take? Why can’t people just stay the f- home?!?

Every day, there is a new briefing from our “president”, while Dr. Fauci stands behind him shaking his head and rubbing his face in annoyance. (Can someone get this man a bottle of vodka or rum so he can’t take shots while the other guy is talking?) Every day the local news keeps a tally of the number of cases rapidly growing in and around the counties where I live. Every day my anxiety gets a little more difficult to manage because “keeping it together” is more painful than just letting it out. I’ve been crying a lot more (in the privacy of my bathroom) just to release some of that fear that is plaguing me inside.

For someone who has struggled with heightened general anxiety and panic attacks for 20 years now, this pandemic is more than just a fear. It’s something that consumes a majority of my thoughts throughout the day. It consumes all my energy to hold it “together” for my children’s sake because the LAST thing I want to do is create any kind of fear or instability to them. My oldest, who is 10, is doing distance learning right now (and will be for the remainder of the school year) and the absolute worst thing I could do to her now is to create more stress for her.

What does heightened general anxiety look like?

Image by Peggy und Marco Lachmann-Anke from Pixabay

It’s different for everyone. For me, it’s an overwhelming sense of fear that comes out of nowhere. We all have the fight or flight instinct in us. Now, imagine that instinct kicking in when there is no “real” danger for your body to react to. That surge of adrenaline causes me to feel as if something horrible is about to happen at any moment and there is no way for me to control any of it. My brain wants to tell my body to either prepare for an ultimate battle, like defeating some mega boss in a video game or run for my life, like I’m running from Jason.

The physical attributes mimic many symptoms of other life-threatening alignments, like a heart attack or even some of the symptoms from the COVID-19 virus. The thing with me is that my symptoms aren’t always the same. Because of this, I can’t always distinguish that I am having a panic attack. It is extremely frustrating. How can my body betray me that way? Isn’t my brain smart enough to differentiate between what is an actual emergency and what is just a panic attack? The mental and emotional toll it takes is absolutely draining. By the end of the day (or by the time I force myself to go to sleep) I am exhausted.

Oh, did I mention it also gives me insomnia? Fun, right? I’ve tried melatonin, tea, and essential oils and none of it works for me. Most nights I’m lucky if I get 4 hours of solid sleep. Lately, when I do sleep, every dream I have is some sort of nightmare or something that is just upsetting to me. So my sleep isn’t exactly pleasant and restful.

How can you manage panic attacks and symptoms of anxiety when it feels like the world is completely out of control?

Image by Gordon Johnson from Pixabay

Managing is a difficult thing to do. Like I said before, everybody is different. What works for some, may not work for others. For instance, my brain is in overdrive 90% of the time, so meditation techniques don’t work for me. It would be GREAT if my brain would shut its trap for 2 seconds, but it never does. Currently, medication is helping me somewhat manage my symptoms. It is definitely NOT a cure. I still have panic attacks and feelings of fear, but if I wasn’t on any medication, my attacks would be more severe. With all the added fear of this COVID-19, my doctor has prescribed another medication to go along with my regular medication to take as needed. Trust me, I hate taking pills and I would NEVER over abuse the medication. In fact, I probably wait a little too long to take it when things are getting “out of control”. When I do take it, however, it has helped those symptoms subside just enough to where I feel I can function normally. Since I am watching my 2-year-old all day long, it’s important that I feel as normal as possible to provide the best care and environment for her.

When I feel as if things are getting to the point where I can feel an attacking coming, I will try to get away for some time to myself. I’ll either go for a drive, where I can focus on something else other than my panic attacks or I’ll find something else to distract myself. Now, this only works when I have someone around who can watch my toddler. With my husband working from home right now and not being able to have my mom come over to watch my child, alone time hasn’t been in my regular mix. The only alone time I get is when everyone is to bed. This is usually around 10-11 every night. Most nights I have to weigh the option of sleep or me time. Lately, sleep wins, although I can’t really call it sleep or winning.

How has COVID-19 changed anxiety?

Image 2 by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

I think now more than ever, people who normally wouldn’t feel panic and anxiety, are experiencing it for the first time. It may not be the same sort of panic that I endure on an almost daily basis, but there is that fear there. This virus is something none of us have witnessed before. In my 40 years on this planet, I have never been in a shelter-in-place situation, going out either puts you at risk or you are putting others at risk. It’s not something that’s just centered on one specific part of the world, it is global. Millions of people around the world are dying and absolutely everyone is at risk. If this doesn’t strike fear into every single person, I don’t know what will. That fear of contracting this virus and wondering if you did contract it, would you live or die, is mentally exhausting. For me, there is that fear, along with the fear of my children contracting it. My eldest has reactive airways and with my other daughter being only 2, there is no way to tell what would happen. These fears are constantly running through my brain. That fear is what should be driving people to stay home.

Now, I know some people can’t. They are either essential workers (who are the unsung heroes of this pandemic) or running a business that they are trying to keep alive. There are also some that don’t really seem to care. They think that the government has no right to tell them what to do with their body and these shelter-in-place initiatives are infringing upon their “rights”. To those people, let me ask this. If it was your spouse, your parents, your child, that contracting this horrible virus and sadly died from complications, would you have wished they stayed at home where it was safer? Would you wish you stayed at home because it could be a possibility that you were a carrier? Or would you still feel that your “rights” are more important? It’s a legitimate question.

To the unsung heroes…

Image by Queven from Pixabay

There are so many individuals out there risking their own health and potentially lives, so that the rest of us can stay safe. From the teachers who are learning distant learning for our children, to the food delivery drivers, to mail carriers, to grocery clerics, to nurses/doctors and all the ones in between, it is because of you that we are still moving forward. You are sacrificing so much for so many and I don’t think we could ever do or say enough to thank you. May this all be over soon and may we ALL come out of this a little wiser and kinder.

Stay healthy and safe out there.

 

My 10 Year Old, the Theatre Star

Image by Andreas Glöckner from Pixabay

Image by Andreas Glöckner from Pixabay 

My eldest daughter is a million times braver than I am and I’ve come to the conclusion that I want to be just like her when I “grow-up”.

This girl has more determination and drive than I did when I was her age. She is creative, funny, artistic, smart and outgoing (although she calls herself “shy”). She is also very mature for her age, which can be both good and bad.

Recently, she signed up to be in her school’s play, The Aristocats. Only 35 students (2nd-5th graders) are allowed to sign up. It is a free program for students, although there is A LOT of fundraising involved to keep this program alive. In our county, drama (and to be honest, most arts) are no longer available to any student that is not in high school. When budget cuts for the schools appear, art is always the first thing that suffers. It’s really quite sad because the arts really can have a strong impact on our children. It helps boost their creativity, helps grow their confidence, creates team building and friendships and it helps them academically. I really wish that these types of programs weren’t the “go-to” choice for school districts when budget cuts come around, but that is the reality of the situation.

My daughter has always been a little ham. I remember watching her in her preschool Christmas program. They were all little angels. They wore light blue cloths draped over them and little tinsel halos on their head, which in reality was a horrible idea because 5 minutes into the program, half the children were itching their heads like crazy. Halos were falling sideways and kids’ faces were covered up by their now frazzled manes. It was cute and hilarious to watch. As soon as we walked into the church and took our seats, Em spotted us and began waving to us frantically with a huge smile on her face. She remembered all the songs in the performance and all the little hand movements that went along with it. There was no lack of enthusiasm or shyness. This kid stood out and shined as brightly as she could. It was then that we realized that maybe we should put her into dance.

She was 3 when she started dance classes.  At first, it was great! She loved being with the other girls her age in the class (the social butterfly that she is) and she loved wearing the little dance outfits. Everyone found her silly because she was a little bit of a clown and liked the attention. It wasn’t long, however, before she started getting bored. You see, she is very much like her dad in the fact that she doesn’t like being told what to do. Dance class is ALL about being told what to do. She couldn’t understand why she wasn’t allowed to just spin and dance however she wanted and began to quickly lose interest.

She did make it to the dress rehearsal recital portion of the class. This girl was all about getting dressed up and putting lipstick on (yes, they had to wear red lipstick which I was against, but couldn’t really protest it). When she walked up on that stage in full costume, I knew right then that she belonged up there. Her confidence soared and she loved the fact that all eyes were on her. I remember laughing with my husband as we watched her spin and showoff on stage before her music began. You could tell she was completely comfortable. Unfortunately, she got croup a few days before the actual performance and wasn’t able to attend. She remained in dance class for a few months after that but decided she no longer wanted to dance. It made me a little sad because I danced from age 8 to about 14. I was hoping to have that mutual connection to something we both loved doing, but you can’t force your child to continue something that they no longer like or feel passionate about.

After that, the only other performance she has done is her school’s talent show last year with her friends. They wrote a little skit and performed it in front of the school. Just like before, she showed no nervousness and went up there and performed like the champion she is. This year, when they announced that they would be putting on a play, she jumped at the chance. She was chosen to play Mad Cat, one of the Alley Cats in the Aristocats. She has quite a few lines for being a side character and has a small duet with a friend in one of the songs.

For months, I have been waiting in anticipation to see my, not so little, baby girl perform. She won’t sing or practice in front of my husband or me. We make her nervous for some reason, which I don’t completely understand because she knows there is no way we would ever judge her, but she has no perceivable issue performing in front of a ton of people she doesn’t know or her friends.

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OPENING NIGHT

I cannot even begin to describe how excited I was to see my baby perform in her first musical! When I drove her to the local high school’s art center for tech/dress rehearsal, she was calm as could be. If I hadn’t asked her if she was nervous, honestly, I would have never known. She walked into that theater with confidence and grace. A few hours went by and my husband and I left home to head to the theater. We were early, of course, so I decided to walk around the back of the theater to see if I could see my daughter. Parents weren’t allowed in any part of the theater, at all, until show time. That wasn’t going to stop me from trying to get a peek at my child. (Yes, I’m THAT mom.) I could hear the kids talking and laughing. In the back of the theater there is a room where the kids were waiting to get into their costumes. The window had its blinds pulled, but there was a little section at the bottom to where I could see in. There my daughter was, surrounded by her peers, laughing and goofing around. Not a shred of nervousness to her. She didn’t know that I saw her, but I can tell you, in that small fraction of a moment, I could tell that she had found her niche. She was comfortable and that made me happy. It can take a long time to find what you like, what you are comfortable with, what you feel is an extension of YOU and at 10 years old, I think my daughter found it.

Feeling better about seeing how happy and comfortable my kid was, we walked back to the entrance of the theater. As more and more people started to line up, I noticed that quite a few friends of Emily’s had come to support her. My in-laws, brother in-law and his wife and my best friend were all there to cheer on my little budding actress. (My parents came to the second performance that weekend because they were watching my 2 year old, who also came to cheer on her big sis at the second performance.) 

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For a kid’s performance, the house was pretty full. The lights went down. The music started. The curtain went up and there was my girl, walking onto the stage in her cat costume. My eyes were on her the entire performance. She spoke loud and sang with confidence. She didn’t miss a line or a dance step. My heart was full of pride. Emily did absolutely amazing! All the kids did amazing! For 35 kids to learn songs, dances and lines in 8 weeks (basically 8, 2hr rehearsals) they absolutely crushed it! They worked so hard and the payoff for it was totally worth it.

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After her debut, we waited in the lobby. You could tell she was proud of herself. She had a beaming smile. I gave her a big hug, presented her with a rose and told her how incredibly proud I was of her. It takes a lot of courage to get up on stage, let alone getting up on stage in front of so many of your peers. I can tell you, there is no way I would ever be able to do that. I would be the kid forgetting all of the lines and then getting so nervous that I run off the stage and vomit into the nearest trash can. To Emily, however, it was easy and fun and she couldn’t wait to do it all over again on Saturday.

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Saturday’s performance was just as amazing AND we were able to get a picture of her in full costume after. She had more friends come out to support her for the Saturday performance and her little sister was there to cheer her on. Actually, I think Emily inspired Madison to be a performer as well. Madison has been trying to sing “Everybody Wants to be a Cat” since she saw her sister perform it.

All I can say is that I am so incredibly proud of my girl. She never ceases to surprise me at what she is able to accomplish. She is definitely one amazing kid and I feel so lucky to be her mother.

 

 

 

Not a New Year’s Resolution

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Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay 

First of all, let me begin by wishing you all a very Happy New Year! 

It’s definitely hard to believe that we are already in a new year AND a new decade! It feels like the older I get the quicker time seems to move. In some ways, that is an absolutely terrifying thought. Don’t you wish you could just grab the universe by its ropes and pull it to a stop sometimes? Or at least get it to slow it’s turning for just a bit.

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Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay 

With a new year comes those nagging resolutions. Most people make them and then break them a few months into the year. I read that most gym memberships are bought in January and then abandoned in February. If I bought a gym membership I can pretty much 100% guarantee you that it would be useless to me 2 weeks in. (I’m giving myself the benefit of the doubt that I would ACTUALLY go at all.) I’m more of a turn on YouTube and follow some videos, type of gal. That’s probably just because of the introvert in me. I was, however, pondering last night about what changes I would want to make in my life. I don’t call these resolutions. To me, the word “resolution” is a word asking to be broken. Instead, I call it “work in progress”. What are some things I would like to work on this year to better myself? There are 2 things that entered my mind right away.

 

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Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay 

This is a BIG thing for me because it is something I haven’t done in a long while. I have 2 children, 10 years old and 2 years old. Since they were born, my life revolves around them. They are the first thing on my mind when I wake in the morning and the last thing on my mind when I close my eyes at night. They say that you shouldn’t have your children as the center of your universe, but honestly, I don’t care. It was a difficult journey to conceive both of my children. The time and money spent just to make my long-time dream of being a mom come true was emotionally and physically exhausting. So when I did finally become pregnant, there was this overwhelming sense of needing and wanting to make them first in my life that that is exactly what I did. I don’t regret any of it and honestly, I would do it every single time. My girls are my absolute world. By doing this, however, I’ve learned that I no longer do anything for myself.

Over the past few years, I’ve noticed that mentally and emotionally I am no longer as stable as I was. I’ve dealt with generalized anxiety for the past 20 years (I will be writing a post about all of this soon, but it’s a difficult and very personal thing to put out there and I want to make sure I write it just right), but only within the past few years has it become an almost daily battle. Most days I do pretty well at hiding it. I’ve learned to cope with the effects and go about my day as I normally do. Sometimes I need to give myself a minute to “hide” somewhere to breathe and work on calming those nerves or find something to distract me so my brain isn’t focused on the physicalities of the panic attacks. Overall, handling it from day to day has become a norm in my everyday life. It’s exhausting most days, but I have a family to take care of, so you just do what you have to do.

This year, however, I would like to try to take some of my “me” time back to relax my constant racing thoughts. I’m currently a Stay at Home Parent, so time to myself with a 10 and 2-year-old are few and far between. To be honest, the only time I get to myself is after everyone goes to bed. I should really be going to bed as well and some nights I struggle with the options of going to bed around 9:30-10:00 and get those few extra hours of sleep that my body needs or do I stay up until my eyes can no longer stay open to get that quiet time (which is currently what I am doing). Lately, I have been choosing sleep only because my eyes just won’t stay open, but for a while, I was staying up until midnight doing things that I found relaxed me. I realize that I need to carve out some time during the day to do these things so that I can actually relax AND get the sleep that I need. I shouldn’t have to choose between the two. This year I am going to work on choosing relaxation AND sleep. I know it will take some time and a whole lot of effort, but as long as I try, that is more progress than I have done in the past few years.

 

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Image by dougandpetegardening from Pixabay

I am a true Pisces through and through. In fact, they should have my picture next to the definition in the dictionary. (Does anyone actually use those anymore?) Dreaming is what I do. My dreams have become a little bit smaller on the scale than they use to be. In high school and in my early 20’s I wanted to be a movie director. That dream has since passed, and I have found that I am much more confident and comfortable in writing. I have written a few screenplays and a children’s book that I wrote for my now 10-year-old daughter who was 4 at the time. A few very kind and wonderful friends bought copies of the book, but that’s about as far as I went with it. My problem is that I have very “thin” skin. In the industry that I oh so wanted to be a part of, it requires you to have skin like armor. You should be able to deflect all the rejection and negative comments and just keep pushing through until you find that one person that gives you the golden stamp of approval. In my early 20’s I sent my script to the Writer’s Guild of America where I actually got a certificate for it so that no one could “steal” my idea if I shopped it around. I did send it to a few dozen places. Some sent me a nicely worded letter telling me that it wasn’t what they were looking for, while others just never responded. (Pretty sure those ended up in a shredder somewhere in L.A.) Either way, my then 20-something self felt defeated.

When I write, it is a personal extension of myself. If you want to get to know me, read what I write. A lot of myself and my personality is in there. In-person, I am very quiet and reserved…until I get to know you well enough where I feel there is mutual trust. So when something I write is criticized and rejected, I take it very personally. Even if it’s just a fictional script or children’s book, there is still a part of me in there. If you don’t like or respect that, then I feel personally attacked in a weird way because it’s saying you don’t like me. Now, I know that in reality that isn’t necessarily the case, but my writing, to me anyway, is an extension of my soul. I feel connected to it.

So, what do I do? I have to learn to put myself out there. I have to learn that what I send out into the universe, whether it be a script or a manuscript for a book, that it may just not be what the industry is looking for at that time. That it’s in no way a reflection of my personal self. Yes, my heart is put into all that I write, but these people out there don’t know me as a person. I have to learn that if I’m confident in my skills, then someday someone out there will be too. I just have to keep the faith. Easier said than done, I know, but I will try this year to revise that script for the umpteenth time and send it out on its journey. Fingers crossed that it is a fruitful one.

 

So, those are my main “works in progress” for this year. What are yours?

If you liked this post, please feel free to like it, comment or even share with a friend. I’d love to see this small community grow.

Wishing you all a very happy and wonderful 2020!

8 Reminders of Having a Toddler

Image by Alexas_Fotos from Pixabay (7)

Image by Alexas_Fotos from Pixabay

It’s been a long while since I’ve had a toddler in this house. My oldest turned 10 in October, so that makes it 8 years. A lot can be forgotten in that time span. Heck, I can barely remember what I ate yesterday let alone what my child was like 8 years ago. Of course, I remember the major milestones like walking, talking, calling mommy “fat” after discovering there was no baby in her belly. (Yes, that really happened and yes, I remember it vividly) I think our brains play horrible tricks on us. All the cute, adorable instances stay tucked away, neatly labeled and stored in a highly organized filing cabinet for easy recall access. Other memories, however, are thrown all over the floor like a huge wind storm came tearing through, destroying everything in its path making it nearly impossible to find anything. Thanks to this, I pretty much forgot what it was like to have a toddler. It’s been like a huge smack in the face. Was my first kid like this? Did I just completely block it out of memory? Most likely, the answer to both of these questions is a resounding YES.

So, here are 8 reminders of what it is like to have a toddler in your home.

1. Drastic Mood Swings

Image by Alexas_Fotos from Pixabay (10)

Image by Alexas_Fotos from Pixabay

I’m sorry, but do I have a raging hormonal teenager in the house? One minute she is super sweet, cuddling with you and playing in her silly way. The next she is slapping you in the face and demanding you give her her milk. The mood swings are constant! She just started the whole temper tantrum thing where, apparently, they lose all control over their limbs and limply fall to the ground, only to miraculous gain control of said limbs and begin to pound the ground like an angry ape. Oh, and smacking the back of her head on the wall, chair, bookshelf…really anything that is hard and makes mom instantly panic that her child is going to knock herself out…is the absolute rage these days. Some days, there is not enough coffee or alcohol in this world to deal with the emotions of a toddler.

2. Destruction is Their Middle Name

Image by Vinson Tan ( 楊 祖 武 ) from Pixabay

Image by Vinson Tan ( 楊 祖 武 ) from Pixabay

So, I know my eldest had her destructive moments. I remember at one point she had taken a crayon to all of her dolls and drew on them like an amateur tattoo artist. This kid, however, cannot stand to have anything in order. If you play blocks with her, she will smash it like the Incredible Hulk. If you play with her Little People and line them up, she will come crashing through like Godzilla. Any toy that requires you to piece things together, forget it, she has it disassembled within seconds. A nice, quiet activity like coloring turns into her ripping the pages out of the book. This also goes for reading a story. I truly think she has something against books, coloring books or magazines. Also, she can’t stand the living room when all of her toys are put away. She will let me clean up the mess, but the second I am done it’s like a category 10 hurricane hits. Books are thrown from the shelf. Little toys are immediately dumped out of the bucket. Her middle name should have been Captain Destruction.

3. They Have No Fear

Image by Peggy und Marco Lachmann-Anke from Pixabay

Image by Peggy und Marco Lachmann-Anke from Pixabay

My firstborn was the cautious one. Never one to climb high on things or jump off of objects. She was always very timid and observant. Enter the second born. I think I have gained more gray hairs with this child within the past year than I have the previous nine years of my first child’s existence. My eyes have to be constantly on her. Look away for one second and she is standing on the arm of the couch reaching for anything she can throw off the mantel. I’m with her by myself a majority of the day and I’ve quickly learned that making her lunch has become a timed activity. I have exactly 30 seconds to cut up her strawberries before I have to run and retrieve her from a chair she is trying to climb in the dining room, only to give myself another 30 seconds to make something else in her lunch before she is trying to tip over the garbage can, which is really just a distraction to get to somewhere else in the home. Oh, just put her behind the gate or the pack-and-play, you might be saying. Leave her behind the gate and she is climbing in the chair, shoving herself through the shelf to get to the computer. The pack-and-play? Ha…nothing can contain this child. She’s my mini Knievel. Always keeping me on my toes and on the brink of an anxiety attack.

4. Intentionally Inflict Pain

Image by Michael Gaida from Pixabay

Image by Michael Gaida from Pixabay

You want to know what hurts more than stepping on a Lego? Getting hit in the face with a hard, plastic toy that is the size of your fist. In fact, a month or so ago, she was playing on the floor with my husband when she picked up a large play phone (the old school ones that have the rotary dial) and smashed it down onto his hand. He yelled in pain and she sat there and waved to him with a knowing grin on her face. This time I wasn’t the victim, so of course, I covered my mouth and quietly laughed. She’s been doing this a lot lately. She locks on to an unexpecting victim and either hurdles the hardest toy she can find at said target or blatantly walks right to you and hits you with something. I’m not sure if this all comes from toddler frustration or she just thinks that other people’s pain is hilarious. I do know that I have gained more bruises within a span of a month than I have had in the past year.

Now, like always, with the bad, there is always some good.

5. They are Silly

Image by Alexas_Fotos from Pixabay (8)

Image by Alexas_Fotos from Pixabay

My daughter is a complete goofball and she knows it. She does silly dances around the house, roars like a lion to try and “scare” you and sings Moana songs into her little toy microphone, ensuring she hits those high notes. My favorite thing she does, right now, is that she tries to tickle you. Trust me, she makes a big production out of it. She’ll be at the other end of the room, suddenly turn to you and then slowly creep her way towards you with her fingers in a pinching position, whispering “tickle tickle”. It can take a while for her to actually get to you, but it’s all about presentation.

6. Constant Joy of New Discovers

Image by Dangel099 from Pixabay

Image by Dangel099 from Pixabay

There’s nothing like looking at the world through a child’s eyes. Everything is bright, shiny and new. They are in constant awe of how anything works. The smallest bug crawling along the ground can have them captivated for minutes. (Yes, just minutes. In toddler time that counts for at least an hour.) They always have such excitement in their voice when they find something that absolutely fascinates them. You can’t understand half of what they are trying to tell you in their very animated conversation, but whatever it is truly impressed them. I wish I could still find excitement and joy in things like my little girl does.

7. They Have the Best Belly Giggles

Image by Vinson Tan ( 楊 祖 武 ) from Pixabay (2)

Image by Vinson Tan ( 楊 祖 武 ) from Pixabay

When my little girl gets the uncontrollable giggles, I swear it is the absolute, most amazing sound in the entire world. The amount of joy that comes from one belly laugh can fill you with so much warmth and happiness. I swear if they can find a way to bottle that feeling there would be no need for any other type of medicine in the world. With toddlers, the number of tantrums and the number of big giggles are about even throughout the day. It’s pretty nice when things can just even themselves out.

8. Unconditional Love

Image by Alexas_Fotos from Pixabay (13)

Image by Alexas_Fotos from Pixabay

Their love has no limits. When you are having a horrible day, one hug can make everything feel so much better. Even though they throw toys at your face, they are equally as caring about the situation after they realize that it MAY have injured you. My girl suffocates our 2 cats with so much affection, that it still shocks me how much they will actually tolerate from her. Don’t you wish that all of us still had that same affection and mindset as a toddler?  What would our world look like with that much acceptance? I think it would be pretty amazing. Yeah, there would be random, throw yourself on the ground tantrums, but don’t we already have some people in high positions in life that do that on a regular basis anyway? The only difference is that toddlers are over it within 5 to 10 minutes. Toddlers also don’t have a Twitter account they can rant on.

This little girl is my last baby and I am going to absolutely miss ALL of these little quirks. The good, the bad and the ugly.

 

I Swear…I Have Content! Just the Timing Sucks Right Now

If anyone still reads my blogs, first of all, thank you! Second of all, I do have some ideas to blog about and have 1 post almost completed, but right now, things are a little rough. I’ve been going through some issues and now my mother has some concerning issues that need to be taken care of. Too early to tell what exactly is going on, but minds are restless and anxiety has most definitely set in. When I’m in a much better headspace I will pick up where I left off and hopefully (fingers crossed) get into some kind of routine. I do enjoy writing. It’s a great release for me, but it’s hard to focus on any one thing right now and I don’t want to write just for the sake of writing.

Good vibes are definitely appreciated right now and hopefully, I will have good news soon and will be able to get that creativity flowing again.

 

arts and crafts cardboard close up design

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

A Letter to My Daughter on her 2nd Birthday

 

 

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Time goes by so incredibly fast. It feels like I just brought you home yesterday. I have to admit, it feels like time has moved much quicker with you than it did with your sister which, for a mother, is a terrifying realization. The universe spins faster and faster each day and I’m out here desperately hanging on to anything I can in hopes to make it slow, just a little bit.

It took us three long years to have you. Try after try. Fertility treatment after fertility treatment. It was mentally and emotionally exhausting. I had just about given up hope, then you arrived. It’s like your sister said, years before you became a reality, God was just waiting for the right one.

I wish I could say that I enjoyed my pregnancy, but I had so much mentally going on that it was difficult to embrace every moment. My fears and anxiety seemed to plague me from the second trimester until the day you were born. I pray that you don’t have to go through the things I have (and still do).

On the eve of your birth, I remember the nurse calling me to let me know what time we had to be at the hospital (you were a planned c-section). The surgery was meant to happen around noon on August 2nd. I became very quiet when the nurse asked me if I had any questions and she could hear in my voice that I was scared. I wish I could remember her name because she was the nicest person I could have asked to talk to at that moment. She did what she could to calm me down and to let me know that you and I would be just fine.

I went to bed that night around 10pm. I couldn’t sleep. I laid in bed staring at the ceiling. You’re sister slept in the bed with me, your dad slept in your sister’s room. I drifted off to sleep around 11 or 11:30. Around midnight I woke up to a pain I had never experienced before. It wasn’t a horrible pain, yet, and I had never gone into labor with your sister, so I had no idea what a contraction felt like. I chalked it up to my building anxiety and tried to go back to sleep. A half-hour later, however, the pain was back. I got up and went to the kitchen to get some water. Ten minutes later, the pain returned. Worried, I called labor and delivery. The nurse said that I was most likely dehydrated and to just drink a glass of water and see how I do. So, I drank a glass of water, turned on the TV and watched Anne of Green Gables. The pains were now 6-7 minutes apart. I woke up your dad and called labor and delivery again. The same nurse, now telling me that I may be having contractions and I should head to the hospital to be safe. Everything became real quicker than I was planning. You weren’t supposed to arrive until after 12 o’clock noon and now it’s 3am and I’m heading to the hospital. I realized then that no one tells you what to do. I had another strong-willed girl on my hands.

Time seemed to move quickly, although I was there for 5 hours before they took me into the operating room. At 9:57am, you made your entrance into this world and boy were you angry. I remember every moment with you. The screaming you were doing for the nurses, who laughed and commented as to how loud you were, to the moment they laid you on my chest. I wasn’t allowed to have that immediate bond with your sister, but rules changed by the time you were born and I couldn’t be more thankful for that.

You are an amazing little girl. You have this incredibly silly sense of humor that I pray you never lose. You are loving and caring. You ADORE animals, you get that from me. You look up to your sister and love her so very much (which I knew when you were in the womb). You also have this sass that lets people know you take nothing from no one (I have a feeling I will be getting phone calls when you start school). I can’t wait to continue to watch you grow, learn and come into your own.

You are my last baby and sometimes that is a difficult realization. Don’t be surprised if I hug you a little longer, tell you I love you more than you want to hear or have a tougher time letting you grow up. It’s not easy being the last baby, for you or your mama, but I promise I will do my best to loosen the reigns here and there. Most of all, I promise that I will always love you and always be there for you.

Happy 2nd birthday, my little booger butt. I love you more than you could ever possibly imagine.

 

  • Love Mama

Pre-tween Hormone Blues

When I was 9 the internet was slowly being invented and wasn’t available to the public. No YouTube, no social media, no wasting hours a day scrolling through endless memes/Facebook/Twitter/Instagram. How did we survive, right? How was I not completely bored out of my mind? What did we do for fun? Play with sticks? At least those would be some of the questions my 9-year-old would be asking me.

Now a days, I feel kids are way too dependent on being entertained via the internet. They forget there is this whole world beyond the TV or phone screen called outdoors. I also feel that technology, the internet and social media have caused kids to grow up too fast. At least that seems to be what I am experiencing right now with my 9-year-old who seems to be going on 16.

funny kids 6

She knows more “adult” things than I did at 9. I ask her how she knows what certain things are and her answer, “I dunno.” Mind you, she is a really smart kid. Both brains smart and sass smart. She knows how to mold situations into what can benefit her best. I swear I have a future politician on my hands. She picks up on words and situations fairly easily and if she doesn’t know it at first, her little brain works quickly to figure it out.

She is monitored on what she is allowed to watch, but even the “kid friendly” channels aren’t always as “kid friendly” as you think and sometimes will slip content in that is more geared towards teenagers. For instance, she watches a YouTuber called Yammy XOX.

yammy

Now, most of Yammy’s content is child friendly. She plays Minecraft and other games, but for the past 6 months she has been playing an app game called Episodes.

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This app game IS NOT for kids Em’s age. I’d say it’s more for teenagers. Once I saw that Em was watching these videos I immediately told her that it was not appropriate for her and she wasn’t allowed to watch videos like that anymore. Of course I got the sass and the never-ending question of “why” and a few times of sneaking it in only to be caught, but it has stopped. That doesn’t mean, however, that other “kid friendly” gaming channels aren’t sneaking in content that isn’t as “kid friendly” as it should be. A few years back I was able to let Em watch some videos and freely leave the room for a few moments without any worry, but now I feel I almost have to watch every single video with her.

Then we have the issue of friends…

ben-white-178537-unsplash                                                              Ben White – Unsplash

Ever notice that your child adopts the attitude of whomever they are hanging out with at the time? My daughter is a social butterfly. She gets along with most people and she doesn’t have a set group of friends she plays with everyday. She sort of flutters around from group to group. In most cases, I can tell what group of friends she has hung around at school that day by the attitude she comes home with. If she’s with the boys, she’s a little more mellow and respectful when she comes home. She a little more cooperative and her hearing is a little more in tuned to parental speak. If she is hanging out with a certain group of girls, however, it’s like an explosion of sass. We get the eye rolling, the “I don’t give a crap” attitude and a lot of back talk. Oh how I dread those girl days. Maybe I’ve blocked a lot of the “mean girl” situations out of my brain from when I was Em’s age, but I almost feel it has gotten worse. In past posts I talked about how my daughter was bullied at 4. It’s not so much bullying now, but more so the “I can do this and this and this, you need to talk to your parents so you can be like me”. Or “we all NEED to like the same things otherwise you aren’t one of us”. I’m out of my comfort zone in these situations. I was never really good with the “popular” groups or girl groups in general growing up. You can also only say, “because I told you so” so many times to your child before you want to shove your head into a pillow and scream. A lot of our arguments stem from the above situations. Her girl friends parents are a lot more lenient with them than I am with Em. I try to give her more fun opportunities than I got as a kid, but I am a little strict (although in some situations I think my husband can be stricter than me) and there are reasons for that. She hasn’t fully understood the concept of give and take, or more like respect/listening and reward. It’s an ongoing struggle where a lot of attitude and yelling take center stage.

Lastly, we have this…

inside-out

Have you seen Inside Out? I feel like I am living this movie right now. I frequently interact with Disgust and Anger. Joy makes an appearance every so often, but one false move and Anger throws her against the skull, knocking her out. Oh Anger, you overly aggressive punk! At Em’s last checkup, the doctor stated that she will be starting puberty sooner than most girls. (Oh joy!) She’ll most like be the first of her friends to be going through it all, which will make her a great source of knowledge for when her friends start the dreaded “change”. So because of this, her hormones are going bonkers right now. In case you forgot what all this was like, think of it as your brain being a 3-year-old child and you have the brilliant idea of feeding that 3 year old two packages of FunDip right before nap time. The result? Complete chaos. That “chaos” is your hormones you can’t control. Because of this, I try not to fall in to the arguments that get started, but sometimes all the deep breathing in the world can’t stop the frustration. You can only say and do things so many times before you are past your limit of counting to 10 or taking deep breaths until you feel light-headed.

So, what do you do?

lets-talk

My husband and I have tried to sit her down and talk about how she feels and why she  feels she has to lash out like she does. The only response she gives us is that she “can’t control it”. I’ve written her doctor who referred me to the Mental Health department. Unfortunately, Em is unwilling to go and I feel forcing her could cause an even bigger issue. She says she doesn’t want to be labeled as the “Weird Kid” and begins to cry anytime it is brought up. As a parent, you try to do everything you can for your child, but if your child is unwilling to talk about anything, what do you do? This is currently where I am at.

I’m afraid of our relationship suffering because of all this. She’s a lot tougher on me than she is with my husband. Maybe it’s because she feels more comfortable with me and she feels she can say whatever mean things she wants to say to me because I am mom and I will always be there. Or maybe she has anger towards me because of her little sister and a lot of my time is spent caring towards her needs.

I’m hoping that this is just a phase and at some point we can have a day where eyes aren’t rolled or mean things aren’t said, but until then all I can do is just be there if she needs me.

Hello…It’s Me…

It’s been over 2 years since I have written on this blog. Heck, I don’t even know if anyone even reads this anymore, but hey, if you’re still here, how’s it going? I have a lot to talk about.

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photo credit: Vladislav Klapin via Unsplash

So, the last few years have been a little hectic. For starters, I gave birth to a beautiful little girl in August of 2017. It’s been over 8 years since the birth of my first daughter and in an odd way, it kind of feels like starting as a brand new parent. My memory is horrible as it is, thanks to kid number one, so trying to remember everything you did with your first child is close to non-existent. You definitely forget what those first few weeks are like with a newborn. Being 8-9  years older assists in the exhaustion. I know the true meaning of “I’m not as young as I use to be”.

 

Another new thing for me is being a SAHM. I worked full-time 8 weeks after Emily was born and continued to do so until I was laid off when Emily was about 3. After that, I worked part-time. This time around, things are different. My mom can no longer watch a baby full time, not only did I age, but so did she. Childcare is out of the question. Why work full time when my whole paycheck would go to the daycare or person hired to take care of my children. I understand that some families do this and that’s great for them. I’m not judging in any way, shape or form. Everyone’s situations are different. Every family is different. You do what is best for you. Me not working is what fits best for us.

 

Another thing I have been dealing with for almost 2 years now is anxiety. Now this isn’t something new to me. I have dealt with anxiety and panic attacks since I was 20. It’s just that after becoming pregnant with my second child, anxiety decided that it no longer wanted to take a back seat to my life. It wanted to be front and center (the greedy punk). It was a very long and difficult pregnancy mentally for me and the panic attacks didn’t stop after my daughter was born.

 

I’ve also learned in these past 2 years, that family doesn’t always mean forever and that sometimes you have to let go of people who no longer care about you or your own growing family. I’ve gone through anger, sadness and eventually letting go with my one and only brother. It’s one thing to hurt me, but to cause pain to my children…that’s a whole other ball game.

 

So, yeah, I have some stuff to write about and in a way writing is my therapy. Here’s hoping that there are still some people who check in on this blog because I will FINALLY be writing some new content.

white paper with yeah signage

Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com


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