On Being A Girl

Lately there have been a lot of issues coming up involving women.  Some women marched a few months back, if anyone remembers, but there were women on the other side of that march who were flabbergasted that any woman in this country would have the audacity to march in a country where they had nothing to worry about, ever.  They failed to see how a woman making less than a man for the same job was troublesome, they failed to see how woman being assaulted was anything but the woman’s fault for “not being more careful,” or “wearing the wrong thing.”  They even defended when a woman was fired for being pregnant.  I seriously read a comment from a woman who said “a woman could not possibly do two jobs well at once.  She should just focus on the job of growing a healthy baby.”

This is the country we live in today.  It’s August 26th, 2017, and there are woman who still think that there is something inherently submissive about a woman.  “Women ARE different,” they say, “we are more frail, more emotional, more weak.”  They usually throw in a Bible quote somewhere too, proving that even God thinks women are there to make babies and sandwiches.

So, it’s not surprising the have my own mother in law say words like “you know E, she’s just overly emotional because she’s a girl.” or “she falls down a lot like me, plus she’s a girl, so she’s got two things working against her.”  She says these things with honesty. She believes them.  She says them often because my father in law finds my daughter’s emotions to be… annoying?  Icky?  Uncomfortable?  I’m not sure.  Usually it seems to make him a bit ragey.  Probably because he is incredibly repressed emotionally, and easy to anger.  So my mother in law thinks she’d defending E, and calming the father-in-law beast, by spouting off excuses for E’s emotions, justifying it by her also having a vagina, therefore making her an expert on all things woman.

I find it infuriating.  My daughter is four.  If she falls, if she is uncomfortable, if she’s sad, if she’s tired, if she’s confused or frustrated, she cries. Why isn’t that okay?  Why is it something that has to have an excuse?  My son cries ALL THE TIME, but that’s never because he’s a boy, no one even mentions it.  (Although my father in law will say “oh, cut that out, you’re a boy,” which also makes me want to throat punch).

I’m at a point in life where I don’t really know how to handle this situation anymore.  We live in their neighborhood and see them often.  They are not bad people, but their words are being heard, not just by me, but by my kids.  The last thing I want is for either my daughter or my son to feel like they shouldn’t be able to cry, for any reason they feel necessary.  That was the kind of house I grew up in.  I was ridiculed by every member of my family any time I cried.  It got to the point where I’d lock myself in the bathroom when I needed to cry, just so I couldn’t hear their taunts.  They called me “Katie Kaboom”  A cartoon character known for her sudden emotional outbursts.

I’m still an emotional person, but only to my immediate family.  My husband and kids see me cry, but I will hold every ounce of feeling back when I’m around my parents or sister. To them, they think I’m an uncaring robot.  Interesting, right?  If a woman cries, it’s because we possess a vagina.  If we don’t cry, there is something wrong with us.  Is there a way to win this gender war we are having?  Is there a way to be a strong woman who cries and wants equal rights in the world, or do we have to give up something about ourselves?  Can a man still be a man if they cry too?

Why are so many people trying to get rid of emotions in both genders?  Isn’t that the last thing this planet needs right now?  We need more compassion and love and empathy. That is what I am going to teach my kids.  That is what I am going to tell my in-laws, even though I know it won’t work. I will have to work extra hard to try and repair the damage they inflict.  That might sound harsh, but I know first hand what it feels like to hear that my emotions are wrong, and it does damage that will stay with you forever if you don’t have a voice that is even louder shouting “you can cry and I will hold you until you feel better.”

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Who’s Life Is This?

A few days ago I was standing in my kitchen.  S was propped up on my hip (as is his usual position, even though he’s 13 months old and weighs 22.5lbs), and E was screaming at me to fetch her some milk (as is her usual go-to thing to scream at me about), and suddenly I had this odd sensation that I was in someone else’s life.  It was almost like someone had transported my 20 year old conscious into my now 33 year old body, and I had no clue what was happening.  I felt like I was a stranger, that I had no idea who these kids were.  I didn’t recognize the kitchen, or the way my body felt.  I was thrown into a panic.

It was quick, maybe half a second, but I felt all of those thoughts and sensations.  Then I was back to normal.  It’s been an incredibly stressful week.  My hormones are flaring because my period is on the way, my son is teething and has become some sort of horrible beast monster, and my daughter is needy beyond reason because she sees how much attention I’m having to give my son.  I am stretched thin.  I’m tired, and angry, and sad.  I guess I’m also hallucinating, or experiencing some kind of out of body experience? Is this what four straight years of stress can do to a person?  Yikes.  I need a break.

Can You “Do It All?”

I don’t want to know if it’s possible to “have it all.”  That honestly sounds pretty silly to me.  First of all, who wants that much shit?  Second of all, there is a never ending line of things being made, invented, and dreamed up every second of every day.  So, what does “having it all” really mean?  No, my question is something different entirely.  Can you actually do it all?

Can you actually have time to take care of kids, spend time with your husband, clean the house (dishes, toys, vacuum), do the laundry, go to the grocery store, make all of the meals, shower, bathe the kids, change diapers, take the kid to preschool, pick the kid up from preschool, play with the kids, do something you love (crafting, painting, reading), sleep, and still be a happy person?  If so, how?

I feel like a good first step for me is to sit back and really consider being a minimalist. Now, I already consider myself to be a semi-minimalist.  I don’t buy anything extra, but I have relatives who believe that if they don’t buy me and the kids things, all the time, that it means they don’t love us.  I’m not sure where this type of thinking comes into play.  I like giving gifts so very much, but even I don’t think you need ten gifts for every special occasion, and two on Tuesdays.

My mother in law is the worst.  It’s actually an addiction for her.  She’s completely addicted to shopping.  She will spend $400 on clothes for the kids a month, and the same amount on toys.  I’ve begged her to stop.  My husband has begged her.  My father in law has given her an endless amount of crap for it, but yet she persists.  She will visit, randomly, on a Friday and bring my daughter three new toys and my son one.  Even though our house is overflowing with things they don’t play with.  You cannot walk two inches without stepping on a toy.  Yet my kids are bored, or over stimulated, or something.  They hate it as much as I do, but I keep putting things out.  Why?  So I don’t offend her.  She shows her love through giving…. but what the kids really need her to give it time.

The biggest problem I’ve had since moving into the neighborhood with my in-laws is that their relationship with my kids is not the same relationship I had with my grandparents.  I was always with my grandparents (my grandmother mostly), or they were always with me.  They wanted to spend time with us, and even though my grandmother is a world class shopper, she almost never bought us toys.  She’d buy us clothes (ugh, boooring), and then send us outside to climb trees or play basketball, then we’d come in for dinner.  She was always there for us, and we’d spend hours everyday sitting on the porch, talking and swinging in the big porch swing.  These are my fondest memories.  I can name one thing she bought for me when I was younger, and that’s because it’s sitting in my bedroom right now, 25 years later.  It’s a wooden trunk, and it now holds books for my kids.  That’s it.

This is the kind of relationship I want my kids to have with their grandparents.  I want them to remember wagon rides around the neighborhood, and playing softball in the back yard.  I want them to remember dinners, and snuggles, and laughing.  I don’t want them to think of their grandparents as the gift givers.   Although my daughter now says “I’m going to ask grandma to get that for me” every time she sees a commercial for a new toy.  And you know what… if grandma is around when she sees that commercial, she will have that toy within the next two days.

So, what do I do?  How do I unburden myself from this weight?  How do I take the biggest problem, the biggest collection of junk strewn about my house, and make it disappear?  How do I get this one thing off of my plate so that I can take clean up time and put it towards family time?  What can I do besides offend someone who thinks this is how you show love?  Is there a fix for this that won’t hurt her feelings?  Or hurt our relationship?  Something has to give, and it has to be soon.

The TV Has Been Dead Nine Days Now….

Well, I’d like to say we made it 100% in nine days, but alas, we had a really bad day with a sick mommy, and an E who fell down a step and hurt her foot.  Add the fact that she refused a nap (for the first time in… I can’t even remember), we decided it might be nice to curl up on the couch and watch The Lorax.  It was nice.  She was exhausted, and mommy felt awful.  We snuggled, danced, laughed, and sang (why does this word always sound awkward? Singed..?).  When it was over?  She walked over to the TV and asked me to turn it off.  Unheard of!

Other than that?  Nothing. Not once has the TV been turned on, and after day four, she completely stopped asking for it.  This is actually huge.  We used to have the TV on all day and night.  More for background noise than anything, but always at the request of E, who chose what we were allowed to watch.  Although we did sneak in Modern Family and Big Bang in the evening before bedtime.  That’s a mommy and daddy type of need, especially when mommy had been watching Muppets and cartoons all day.

So, here are the results.

  •  E is more attentive to whatever she is playing with.  Blocks, letters, books, puzzles.  She takes time to look at what she’s doing, and although she still gets easily frustrated, I’m starting to believe that’s just part of her personality, or part of being two…. hopefully the two part.
  • E enjoys everything more.  She now randomly breaks into dances, she drums on tables and her tunnel.  She pretends more.
  • She no longer breaks down into hysterics when she needs something.  I mean, good god guys, it was the most traumatic experience in the world for her to run out of milk and need more.  Before asking “mommy, more milk, please” she would just immediately start whining and throwing her cup at me. “E NEED MILK!!”  I cannot tell you how much I’m enjoying this.  Not to say all the hysterics are completely gone (I’m not sure that is a possibility with a two year old?), but we are down to maybe 2 episodes a day instead of 20.  Awesome sauce.
  • Now I can tell if she’s been watching TV.  Her grandparents are, well, grandparents.  They think that what mom and dad says is poo-poo and they can do whatever they want (they won’t even anchor dressers to the wall, which is a completely separate fight).  I get it, my grandma was notorious for not doing what my mom wanted, and my mom hated it.  I guess you forget that when you become a grandparent though.  My in-laws have the TV on all the time.  The tantrums she has thrown at their house the three times we’ve been there in the past nine days…. wow.  That’s all I’ve got.  They are either 10 times worse than before, or she’s just become so calm in the past nine days I had forgotten how bad it truly was.  I feel like this is a battle I can’t win though.  So I put up with it, and put up with the 24 hour grandparents house detox it takes for her to calm down and get back to normal.  It’s a long 24 hours….

So, this is the evidence I have that “breaking” your TV is the best decision for your toddler.  It might not be the easiest at first, because it will require a lot more of your time to keep them amused, but I am now finding that she will go into her playroom, or out onto the porch all by herself and play, and pretend, and come back in to tell me what she’s been doing.  Then, when she understands that I’m done doing whatever I was doing (cleaning, peeing, eating), she will ask that I come play with her, and I do, as I am no longer distracted by the TV either.  I’ve even been able to crochet in the same room as her while she plays.  It’s really been life altering, and I’m so glad I tried it.

…although I do occasionally miss The Lorax and The Muppets, I’m so glad I traded them for my little E.

The Day The TV Broke ——- *Wink*

Today the TV was broken all day.  Well, as far as my daughter knew it was.  I told her as soon as we got up that the TV was broken and would not turn on today.  I was expecting a total breakdown, but I was surprised because she said “okay. E want milk.”  Phew, crisis averted.  (Also, my daughter still speaks in third person… we are working on it).

What did we do instead?  We played with her stacking cups, we painted, we colored with chalk, we tried not to pass out from heat exhaustion (why are there so many hots outside right now?  I can’t handle all the hots!), and we went to the doctor because she has a little infection around her belly button.  Then we came home, had lunch, and took a nap (both of us — score).  After nap the TV was still broken *wink wink wink*, and she was still fine. She actually played upstairs with her daddy for an hour while I went to pick up her prescriptions and some dinner.  After dinner we played outside on the porch, then we played with puzzles before bedtime.

What was the point, you say?  Well, I’m tired of the TV.  I’m sick of all the background noise.  I want silence, or at least just my daughter saying the word “mommy” 45,000 times in a day.  That’s enough noise for me for the day.  So, what was the outcome?  Was today any different than any other day?  Yes, it was actually.  Do we always play? Yes.  Do we always play with cups and puzzles and paint?  Yes.  The difference was her attention span and her attitude.  She was so much more interested in what she was doing.  She was focused.  And she had almost no breakdowns the entire day.  She usually has a couple an hour.  Not tantrums, per-say, but just little fits about things like… wanting to have a pickle for breakfast, or wanting to go into the bathroom just so she can close the door, or needing to sit on the side of the couch that I am sitting on.  Today we had none of that.  It was marvelous.

I suggest you all try breaking your TV for just a day.  See how your little one(s) handle it. You never know, it may be the best day you’ve had in a while.  I know mine was.

Perhaps the TV will stay broken just a bit longer…

You Must Be Patient

This is something I repeat over and over again to my two year old during the day.  I’m not sure if it’s all two year olds, but she has negative amounts of patience.  If she decides she needs something, it must happen IMMEDIATELY, or the wrath of E will be upon you!  It’s kind of intense most of the time, so we try to get her to calm down and tell us in a non-whiny, non-screeching voice, exactly what it is she needs.  Sometimes it works, sometimes she gets even whinier, screechier, and then some tears get thrown in.  It has to be hard to be a two year old, but I think it’s even harder to be an adult sometimes.

I’ve also been having to practice patience with myself.  I find myself constantly getting worked up because I am frustrated with my impatient two year old.  I find myself thinking “why can’t she just play with the puzzle by herself for two minutes while I crochet?  Why is it all about what SHE wants?!”  Then I have to shut my eyes, breath, and remember that she is two and I am 31, and if either of us should be acting like a two year old, it should be the two year old.  I am the mommy.  I made the decision to be a mommy, and with that comes certain responsibilities, like entertaining her, teaching her to be patient, and helping her understand that you shouldn’t bring your food into the bathroom to share with mommy while she’s on the toilet.

I understand that one day she will want less to do with me than… well, probably anything, and it hurts my heart already to know that that day will come, but there are days where I could take a bit of the cold shoulder and be okay, and I don’t think that makes me a terrible mother.  I think that makes me human.  I sometimes day dream of the pre-baby days, where I could sit on the couch and eat a snack without a toddler running off with the bag.  Where I could watch Ellen in the afternoon instead of Super Why.  Where I could get up and go to the store, or two stores, or three stores, without someone telling me they want to do something else, or that they need the balloon with Elmo, or that they want to sit in a different part of the cart.

Did things used to be easier?  Oh, yes.  Yep.  Uh-huh.  No doubt about it.  Would I change anything now?  Nope. No.  Not even a little.  I just need to learn to be patient.

You must be patient.

It’s Been A Long Time

You know, it’s been a while since I’ve blogged.  I thought I’d update everyone who is still using my blog as a place to learn about a girl with PCOS who went through the ringer to get what she wanted.  It’s only fair that I update on what life is like after you get what you want!

To be honest, it’s amazing.  I don’t mean it in a “i’m blogging and I’m putting on my happy face” way either.  It really is amazing… although that doesn’t mean it’s not also tough.  I have a tiny little person who thinks I’m the greatest thing in the whole world.  (I’m not tooting my own horn either, she just spends A LOT of time with me and has become attached).  I’m not complaining…. at this moment.  Sometimes having a 1.5 year old want nothing but mommy 24/7 is hard, no doubt about it.  It’s exhausting, and you WILL consider running away and hiding in the closet.  Then you’ll realize that she can walk now, and she followed you and is actually sitting beside you in the closet.  She’s also saying the word “tiger” over and over again, but you didn’t notice all of that because that is pretty much ten full hours of your day anyway.  Then you laugh and realize this little person is hilarious, and really loves you, and REALLY loves tiger.

The days go on, and they feel the same, but every few days I look at her and she is a different person.  She doesn’t just look different, she knows more.  She is more kid than baby now.  She has a lot of hair (although still a bit lacking on top), her belly is thinning out, her legs are getting longer and stronger, and her face shows expressions of amusement, confusion, boredom, surprise, and anger.  She knows how to tell me what she wants and needs.  She thinks things, and then she says them.  I mean…. come on! What makes a person more of a person than the ability to express thoughts and desires?

I enjoy my days, even though I do call in backup from grandparents, or a little change of scenery with a play date.  On the weekends I have daddy get up and do the breakfast deal, because feeding her is the most frustrating part of my days.  I have no shame.  Mommies need time to themselves, so if I can get it, I’m gonna get it.  You should too, especially if you are a stay at home mom.  You don’t want to get burnt out from your job, there is no quitting this one!

My life is so different.  I feel so happy and so emotional most days.  Some days I feel trapped and frustrated.  Some days I wish the day had ten more hours.  Some days I am done after 30 minutes of getting out of bed.  Would I change anything though?  No…. I wouldn’t.  I get to watch this little human, who is half me, grow and learn and love.  I get to see her face light up when her grandpa walks into the room.  I get to see her dance when a song that catches her ear fills her with her own funky groove.  I get hugs and kisses.

She loves me and I love her, and we are happy and healthy.  Life keeps changing, and I’m going to try to keep you more updated!