Oh Vulnerable One

Do you ever have moments where you have SO MUCH TO SAY and then you sit down to write and nothing comes out? That’s how I’ve been feeling lately. It’s almost like a physical manifestation of anxiety…where I’m anxious about nothing in particular, but it feels like everything, and I can’t articulate what’s exactly going on inside my head.

But I have been writing…a lot more, but it’s been by hand. I’m now 6 days into my 6 week Zen Pen Course, and I am LOVING it! If you were interested in signing up, but hadn’t gotten around to it, she’s going to offer another session starting September 30th…it’s so neat to begin this process. For example, this week I wrote a letter to my abs from my low back. Whoa! So much wisdom when I get out of my head 🙂

Bikram yoga and therapy is helping me relinquish some of the family roles that I’ve been playing into for a long time. The “Angry One” has been able to be the “vulnerable one,” in spurts, which has been able to communicate some needs in a way that is heard differently. Same message, different method, providing different satisfaction. I’ll be interested to see where this goes…

I leave you with this. King of the Naked Chair Sitting…

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Courage to Confession

Sorry I'm a Grumpy Bitch

“It takes a lot of courage, but right now, courage is my only option.”-TLC bride with ovarian cancer

There’s been a lot of dog tail-pulling in the past week. While Potamus has traditionally been really gently with Scrummy, it has become an issue and I am worried that Scrummy might lose his patience and bite Sir Potamus, because, how much tail hair pulling can one little feisty dog take? Apparently, much more than Mama Monk-Monk can, because, while Scrummy was again, VERY patient when Potamus started grabbing his tail hair (and ripping it), I reached over and…hit him.

Just writing that makes my stomach churn. In fact, I wasn’t actually angry with Potamus (a good thing), but the quick hard tap on the shoulder (think pat on the back in a sports team) was startling to BOTH of us, caused Potamus to cry, and made me think “holy shit, I really need to get ahold of myself. I can’t be physically man-handling my child, out of anger or not. This is not the lesson I want him to learn.”

His tears subsided when I pulled him in my lap to snuggle. But, two minutes later, he hit the dog on the head. While I won’t lie and say that he’s never done that before, it felt like it was a chain of events action…boss gets mad and takes it out on you, you go home and scream at your kids, the kid kicks the dog, scenario. Classic. My mouth has said “we don’t hit the dog,” but my body has given a very different message about hitting. My heart is broken and I’m trying to not beat myself up about it, but move forward. What was scary is it happened in a quick instant of reflex, of not thinking, just reacting. Not okay.

I will teach my son the same patterns of relating to the world that I learned if I’m not careful. I need courage to keep working on myself, moving forward, figuring out reasons and gathering a better understanding of my motivations and triggers so that I can avoid situations like this in the future.

How to communicate with family…

Standing on the couch

Verbal communication is hard. I’m much better in the written form, which is why I blog instead of submitting videos to Youtbue, I suppose. But I have found that communication with family is especially hard, and only lately have I been struggling to manage it all (probably due to lack of sleep and a helping dose of ‘not-giving-a-damn-the-older-I-get’). Like, my parents have been over eager and insecure in their dealings with Potamus. They make strange statements like, “oh, I’m so glad he remembers us,” (he’s 15 months, who cares if he doesn’t remember you), and the over-repetitive phrase of “such a handsome doood (how my dad pronounces dude).” It’s annoying.

But then so are my in-laws.

Like the constant saying of “no,” by my sister-in-law to Potamus who is in an exploratory phase (see 15 month old comment above). It’s one thing to say “no” and re-direct when he’s trying to grab the butane torch for the fireplace. Telling him “no” repeatedly that he shouldn’t bang his plastic maraca on the table is a bit overdramatic and overbearing to be perfectly honest. But I don’t know what to do. It’s not MY sister, it’s Boof’s. And he doesn’t seem to be as perturbed by it as me.

I just don’t want to have him hear NO all the time. While no is going to be used, I want it to be reserved for dangerous things, and not just used mindlessly. A re-direction is more appropriate. Or an explanation. And saying things like “gentle,” with no context for him to understand what it means. But I’m too deep in the emotion grating across my skull that I can’t rationally say anything because if I open my mouth it is going to be a SCREAM at them. So I bottle it in and don’t say anything and that just makes it worse.

Ugh.

Then, on Friday I was hanging out with Uncle Silly (my adoptive brother) and we got to talking about our sister, and communication within our family and some hurt feelings over her boyfriend not visiting with us, but having the time/energy to drive 3 hours to visit her birth family in Oregon. And I talked about how I try to navigate reunion with our parents and he talked about how he tries to navigate it with them, too. And then, I learn, that my parents were hurt that I invited my birthfamily to my Master’s celebration. I’m glad to know, but also glad that they didn’t tell me themselves at the time because I would have been pissed. The jealousy and insecurity named above is the bedrock of my adoptive family’s communication style and it’s just annoying that I have to deal with it in so many arenas.

If they weren’t helpful to me, I would just take a break from all sorts of things family related and do my own thing. Friendships are much easier to navigate, because I can just tell my friends what I feel without worry. Not sure why I can’t do the same for my families.

Suggestions? How do you deal with overbearing or overanxious or jealous family members? How do you communicate about your parenting styles when it comes to things like discipline.

Blackout Anger Part Two

Thank God for Google, because after I wrote that post yesterday my mind went “eep, I just self-disclosed to the ENTIRE internet (or all 90 of you followers) that I am batshit crazy sometimes and WHAT IF YOU CALL CPS ON ME?” Yeah, a tad melodramatic, but still, my mind wanders in that direction. Plus, what mom do you know shouts “hey, I get crazy angry when I’m sleep deprived,” in normal coffee-conversations?

Apparently, at least according to Google, there are lots of “sleep disorders” and that waking up angry and not remembering it is common in something called a “sleep arousal disorder” (which, in mom speak can be coined as “fucking tired, yo”) and typically happens when someone’s woken up prematurely during the first part of the night (yep!). Whoa, so I’m not the only one who’s had this issue? Yesssss! I came across sleep forums and Y!A questions and personal stories that sounded so similar to me two nights ago.

Phew.

And I guess, the answer is…get more sleep and don’t get woken up suddenly in the first hour of sleep at night (barring any medical emergencies or something like that). Hopefully Boof can be on board with that plan, right?

Blackout Anger

When you drink so much that you blackout, that experience where the events that happen the night before are hazy (at best) or absent altogether, you might have a drinking problem. And there is something you can do about it. But what happens when you have sometimes moments of rage that you can’t remember but vague details the next day? How do you stop THAT from happening?

I used to watch crime shows where some defendant in a murder trial would claim ‘I can’t remember anything,’ from the horrible murder, and the audience (and jury) tend to scoff at such assertions. But, while not on the level of murder, I’ve had instances of anger/rage that I haven’t remembered much the next day, which is scary as fuck.

Like, last night for instance (it always happens at night), where I was exhausted and had been in bed for about 45 minutes before Potamus woke up. And that’s when I have to rely on Boof for the rest of the memory, because I don’t remember much except one encounter with my fist and a wall and yelling ‘Potamus! GO TO SLEEP!” I was asleep, myself, and with earplugs in I couldn’t hear much to begin with. Boof said I was initially very concerned about Potamus crying (Boof was changing him because he had peed through his diaper) and he wouldn’t stop. I guess I was concerned and sweet and then went to pee and punched the wall twice and slammed a few doors. And then there was yelling, but that was 30 minutes later. And then Boof told me to go back to bed, and I woke up at 2am because Potamus was crying, and I found him out on the couch, asleep in Boof’s arms (who was also asleep).

I don’t remember any of that. Except yelling that 1 time. I don’t remember hitting the wall with my hand or cussing Boof out or the fact that it wasn’t a 30 second ‘grumble grumble’ encounter. Becuase I was asleep.

What’s strange is that I had read several articles yesterday on sleep deprivation in moms (or parents) and the importance of communication. When Boof and I debriefed this morning he was shocked to hear my account of the events. He said that I am ‘an amazing mom 99% of the time, but when I see you like that, it’s time for me to step in, to save you from you,’ which I definitely agreed to. Because I don’t even know I’m doing it. Honestly. I was asleep.

Though I do know that my frustration level is not always that great, and I could work on better coping tools for when I am awake and withit and able to make mindful choices. But what do I do about these other times? I get scared that I might do something to hurt myself or my child in moments like that where I am not totally aware, because in my head I say ‘well, that’s never happened when Boof isn’t there,’ but I guess I can’t 100% be sure of that, you know?

A sledgehammer to November

Potamus stuck his snot-nose hands in my mouth last week and gave me his green germy nose bug, including sore throat, stuffy nose when trying to sleep, and runny faucet during the awake hours. I am so fucking tired that I seriously want to punch someone. It doesn’t help that Boof still has little job prospects and I feel like I am tasked with the enormous burden of providing for my family and still having emotional energy leftover for a whiny snot-nosed baby who hasn’t seen me all day.

I didn’t sign up for this.

In fact, it was my worst fear. Because, after all, I don’t really like children all that much. On any given day, about 95% of the time I am in love with Potamus, but the other times I am pissed that I have to, yet again, deal with his needs.

And I can’t imagine NOT co-sleeping, but my sleeping is for shit, and I can’t seem to find the magic sweet-spot that accommodates both of our needs: his to nurse all night because of reverse cycling and mine to sleep more than 1:30 at a time.

Add insult to injury, Scrummy will not stop peeing and shitting all over the house. But not like “accident” puddles, they are full on puddles marking the corner of the chair, the jumparoo, the high chair, the bookshelf we store Potamus’ carseat on, and the kitchen counter. Pooping in strategic shmeary places, too.

My emotions come leaking out in destructive ways, like wanting to take a sledgehammer to Facebook, as it is the month of sappy “gratitude” posts from all my friends whose lives seem full of “snuggly kitties” and “lost 20 dollar bills found in couch cushions,” and “breathmints,” all making their life so fucking wonderful.

And then, my natural tendency toward depression as the light gets less each day, is supposed to be assuaged by the “end of daylight savings,” which really just means “fuck over your circadian rhythm and spend the next week fighting sleep even more.”

Sigh.

So tonight, I’m grateful I don’t actually own a sledgehammer, and that Amazon doesn’t do same day deliveries…

 

Burnout

There’s a clinical term for the rage I fee: secondary trauma…vicarious trauma…burnout. Try to explain that rage, funneled into one angry outburst of angry “stop screaming!” at my teething/growing/over-stimulated baby tonight.

Not my finest mother-moment.

Sure there are many contributing factors to this rage: Boof being out of work due to his own dumbass mistakes and taking this intensive 10 week class while also working for the Mariners when they are at home (currently there tonight, yes, part of my frustration), and a family caregiver who loves Potamus dearly, but hasn’t quite gotten into a very good rythym of watching him due to the up-and-down nature of my job. She’s gotten too comfortable, scheduling hair appointments one day, nail appointments another, and while I’ve been okay for the most part, I am actually getting paid a salary, even if my work is slow, things come up and Potamus needs to be minded, and I can’t be the village raising my child. And as my clients get better, I seem to be getting worse, but then I beat myself up about wanting a new job.

Today I consulted with a dear friend, former colleague, and former classmate. She made me laugh when she said, “oh, you aren’t supposed to be affected by seeing suicidal kids everyday? by seeing the worst of the worst situations?” I do see the seedy underbelly of mental health and family life. I impart wisdom and coping skills and education to my clients, and am losing just a little bit of myself in each of these exchanges. I am having  a hard time stopping the slow leakage and its effecting me deeply.

The look on Potamus’ face when I yelled at him, was heartbreaking. While this isn’t my first time, when he was only a few weeks old, he reacted out of what seemed to be simply instinct. Tonight there was awareness. There was this flitting look on his face that seemed to say (before he broke out in even more tears) “but this is my mom who is yelling, why? why?”

After 30 more minutes of nursing/rocking/stroking of sweet baby hair, he was finally asleep. Will he wake up with forgiveness? Will I?

Oh hello anger

Apparently I have been a little cocky in the PPD realm lately, sorta half-assing in the med department, because overall I feel fucking AMAZING as a new mama.

And then, last night, Boof was working late at the baseball game, and I had worked a full day and had a little less sleep than normal and yeah, Potamus was way over tired somehow and it took almost 2 hours of a screaming-nursing-bouncing/rocking-fallingasleepforfiveminutesbeforewakingupagain cycle. I was dazzled and angry. I might have yelled (okay, I definitely yelled) which made Potamus cry harder (i didn’t yell AT him, just let out a yell of frustration).  I wasn’t in danger of losing it, but I definitely just let him lay swaddled on the bed fussing for a few minutes while I went and got a snack.

And then, like magic, he fell asleep.

Maybe its not PPD, but I definitely am taking my meds today.