Step Into the Sunshine

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There’s something about a confession that leaves even just the slightest bit of room for a shift. I wrote in my last post, I hate Breastfeeding that the second time around, I am hating the whole breastfeeding process. It felt good to say. And it’s not entirely true, anymore. It was true then. It’s not true today. I’m okay with that.

Maybe it’s the sunshine, or the fact that my nipples are mostly healing, or that it’s week 5 and we’ve settled into a little bit of a routine, but I don’t hate nursing today. I don’t love it. I don’t feel the necessity of it in the way I felt with Potamus. I feel ambiguous about future weaning, but I feel ambiguous about a lot of future events (like him starting daycare at 6 months old). But today I don’t hate breastfeeding, not in the sunshine, in my backyard, with this sweet lil G man.

The Ugly Christmas Sweater

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My parents made a last-minute appearance at our place last weekend. And I didn’t hate it. Who have I become? Seriously, this shit is getting weird. It’s like after the 5 out of 6 weekends of seeing them this summer I developed some sort of weird soft spot for them I should probably go to therapy or something. Because this shit ain’t normal.

What’s worse, is that I called my mom today and asked what they were doing this weekend. Seriously Monk-Monk, get it together, it’s been 4 days since you’ve seen them. I might have had a mason jar full of wine, but had been musing about going to see them long before that. There’s something about Potamus asking for ‘buppa and gammy,’ that warms my heart. There’s also something about the comfortable freak flag ugly christmas sweater that is my own’ family’s dysfunction. It’s warm. It’s known. It’s shiny, with tinsel, and little yarn balls sewn on. And it’s not hidden.

For someone with an almost-arrogant ability to intuit things, I have a real blind spot in areas. There have been several instances over the years where I have felt cosmically duped by people. My ex-boyfriend, who I internally labelled as ‘liberal hippie,’ because he grew up in a geodesic dome and went to an earthy home church, turns out to be a gun-totin’ member of the NRA, who is so far Right he makes Georgie W look liberal. Seriously. Having grown up with a Republican Conservative Christian=business suit wearing dad, I sometimes get duped by people who outwardly appear one thing, but are really something underneath. Like wearing their damn ugly Christmas sweater under a button-up work shirt.

So somehow, after 8 years of being with Boof, I have made the transition to an appreciation of my own family, which wears its Ugly Christmas Sweater on the outside, in a very transparent way. It’s causing me to desire driving 2.5 hours to hickville and see my parents for 1-2 nights this weekend. I surprise myself. I hate the town I went to high school in, but for some reason I have this longing for Potamus to have good memories from there. My parents are neurotic, and I’m going to end up seeing them NEXT weekend again, which makes my whole plan even more borderline insane, but it feels so good I can’t help but pull on that wool sweater and head out of town, sans Boof, for a magical Eastern Washington excursion. Maybe we’ll even see a tractor. And I know my mom will talk in her loud voice, saying “Pawl, Pawl, we need ….” (because that’s how she pronounces my dad’s name. It’s fucking ridiculous. But comfy, like that worn in sweater…

New Year Resolutions?

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For the past few weeks I have been struggling with my motivation for yoga. I initially attributed it to the end of the 30 day challenge, that had taken a lot out of me emotionally, but as I processed with Mari yesterday, I think I’ve come up with some interesting reasons why it’s been hard lately. I mean, really there are probably a million factors, like I’ve been doing it consistently for a year, I’m not seeing any more weightloss or health benefits, some of the initial newbie growth has slowed down, and the premature dark weather has left me wanting to just sit around eating bon bons. But in processing, there were a couple more things that trickled do the surface and seem a little more substantial. Namely, the idea of fitting in to a community, and that reasons/motivations for doing things change.

Fitting in is exhausting.

I’m not sure people think about fitting in as exhausting, but for me it is. I typically self-identify as other in a lot of ways, sorta dancing on the edge of the campfire, rather than really getting in to the fray. I figure there’s a bit of adoption trauma and some personality traits at play here, because this idea of fitting, of being ‘home,’ or comfortable with people puts me on edge. Because if I’m ‘in’ then I could be ‘out’ and it’s easier to be ‘out’ when it’s by choice rather than fucking up and getting kicked out, ya know? It’s easier to be seemingly ‘less predictable,’ because when I do things a certain way for a certain amount of time the routine starts to stick to me in a way that makes deviating from it difficult. Like being the ‘funny one,’ in a group of friends. I am funny (despite what Boof things), but I’m also a really deep thinker. I like playing the fool as an archetype, but I don’t want to live there permanently. So part of my hesitation for even starting a yoga studio was because I knew it would fit me. I knew I would like it. And then what? What do you do when you find your place? Settle in? Get into a rut? That rebel part of me wants to bail before I get too comfortable. I love my yoga studio. I love feeling a part of something. And yet, feeling a part of something is also exhausting.

My other thought was about how much I’ve grown and changed in the past year. I think if I’m to do new year resolutions, or old year reflections, I should honor myself and the rhythm I feel in the academic calendar year. Fall feels like newness. Fall feels like the time to look back and see, who was I this same time last year? And the answer surprised me. Because last year I strongly advocated for myself to have 2-3 nights off for ME time. I went to therapy on Mondays, and Tuesday/Thursday was about yoga. Boof had worked a crazy busy season as an accountant AND THEN worked a second job all summer at the Mariners, and with long home game stretches left me alone with an 18 month old toddler and little sanity. I forcefully took back time for myself and treated my yoga as a body and spouse empowerment exercise. I got sexy in the weightloss department, finally shedding those baby pounds. I felt like an adult and like I mattered in my relationship because I wasn’t just being a doormat martyr whiny wife. It rocked.

But this year? This year feels different. Rather than wanting time away to feel empowered, I crave those connecting quiet moments with Boof and Potamus. And yet the consistent routine getting me out of the house twice a week is actually a good thing for my mental health. Otherwise I’ll want to go to sleep at 5pm when I get home. So I realized that my perspective had to shift in order to enjoy yoga again. That I was clinging too tightly to the old reasons and not allowing it to change to embrace my new reasons. Like introvert time after a long day of teaching. That rather than driven empowerment competition with myself, it was more about relaxation and fun and simply being present in the moment.

The instructor, halfway through the class, as we were lying in our first round of savasana, read a quote about happiness. That happiness needs to be allowed to come in many forms. That it needs to be allowed to grow and change like a child would grow and change. And that seemed to fit and make everything click inside me. It felt right to be in the studio even though it felt different than last year at this time.

So that’s my new academic year resolution. To simply allow happiness, or my yoga practice, to be different and change and grow to meet the present moment. It feels right that way.

Fourth Anniversary

Yesterday Boof and I celebrated our fourth wedding anniversary. It almost got lost in the hullabaloo around Potamus’ first birthday, but my mother-in-law swooped in at the last minute and offered to babysit while we went out to dinner. But THAT plan almost backfired when we called the pediatrician to ask about the late night crying jags and fear that it might turn into an ear-infection as we travel over Snoqualmie Pass this weekend.

The pediatrician had an opening in his schedule at 4pm, so we bundled up and headed out. But, in true doctor fashion, he was running late…by an hour! This waiting and waiting and waiting is SO annoying in the waiting room, but once he is in the exam room with us, and giving us his full undivided attention and never makes us feel rushed, it is worth it…which is why we keep going back. After a thorough exam, it turns out that my previous suspicions were confirmed: Potamus is constipated. The introduction of a little bit of whole milk, paired with his lack of drinking anything else but scarfing down tortellinis, has caused some backup issues. We were prescribed pear juice to help, and wowee, so far it has been doing its job! (but that’s another story for another time).

Boof and I managed to race him back to grandma’s and squeek in to Anthony’s for their “sunset dinner” special (aka, earlybird with the old folks) with two minutes to spare. You can’t go wrong with a $19.95 appetizer/salad/entree/dessert special, ya know? Especially on our tight budget and paying with a gift certificate. The night was lovely, and gave us a chance to really talk and try to get back on the same page. I told him that my massage/growth coaching session by Courtney Putnam of Rising Bird Healing Arts had focused on my intense emotions and my discovery of the 3 parts of myself that are in conflict: Individual, Mother, and Wife. And how wife is the one that gets pushed aside because it is the one that I can ever go back on. I cannot stop being myself and I cannot stop being a mother. Once Potamus was born, I now, forever will be a mom.

We talked about that struggle and trying to do things as a “we” instead of making an individual decision and getting the other person on board with it. There was tough, honest, brave comments and tough, honest, difficult reflections on observations. I think I was hit hardest with the observation that sometimes Potamus seems confused by my struggle between Individual and Mom, in the moments where I seem a little bit cold and don’t attend to his needs, that Boof notices the confusion in his face and posture. That hit me hard. Not that I will be a perfect mother, but that confusion resonated with me, as there were so many moments growing up that I thought I was the problem, when it was really my adoptive mother having difficulty regulating herself. I want to minimize that as much as I can, which means being more mindful that that is happening.

And we’re going to start looking at things as a couple to do, and have already thrown out the idea of a 5k walk/run together sometime in February. We’ll see how “training” goes, but it’s sort of exciting to think about doing something like that together!

December 20 2008

I taught my last lecture on Thursday, and this upcoming week will be filled with watching our students’ final presentations. Should be easy-peasy and then off for the month of December. Looking forward to that with much anticipation. I have play-dates (for both mama AND baby) lined up, a trip across the mountains for Christmas, and plenty of just chill moments with our little family before I go back, and in anticipation of Boof going back (at the end of January).

With all of this joy and happiness coming up, why do I feel so dark? The days are darker. My nights are even darker, though, hallelujah Potamus slept for 4 hours straight last night. My anxiety is high, too, mostly around this whole idea of sending Potamus to daycare 2 days a week. I am freaking out about the drive (which route to commute to cut down on time), and the transition, all of the things that can go wrong while he’s gone from me for 10 hours a day, and knowing that soon Boof will be back to work during the tax busy season and that means only seeing him on Sundays. Which means, me working full-time and parenting full-time, alone…

When I’m in this head-space I begin to freak out. FREAK out. Like eat 3 boxes of Trader Joe’s freak out. And try not to break things freak out. Trying to stop imagining Potamus languishing in a Romanian orphanage instead of the hand-picked daycare that we chose. Trying to remember that who he will be as a 12 month old, or a 13  month old, will be different than right now, and he will be able to handle things differently.

I have been trying the herbal homeopathic way of dealing with this clear depression/anxiety. The 5HTP and St. John’s Wort was working, and then I started to forget to take it and I had another bout of extreme irritability. I am worried that it means I’m going to have to go back in to the doctor and get prescribed anti-depressants. It’s not the medicine that I am worried about, because the meds I use are fabulous and wish I could just keep the prescription re-filled again and again..it’s my doctor. It’s not that she’s bad. She’s just a little…cold? She has really tiny limp cold hands and doesn’t seem very personal, though she’s nice and polite and asks all the right questions. Boof thinks I should change doctors, but I am too overwhelmed to think about forming a new relationship with someone.

And this has been the first day in over 10 that I’ve been able to even form words to describe all the nonsense going on inside me. Instead I’ve been glowering and stomping around and trying not to cry. Boof and I have had some good talks, but then I decompensate and am unable to communicate again. Like writer’s block, except it’s my life. I think that November, and writing about adoption every day, was really hard and triggering for me, and added to my depression. We’ll see if I decide to do that again, or modify it so that I don’t completely fall apart.

On being a non-morning person…

I am determined to not let the brilliance of a 3 day weekend, every week, be overshadowed by the ridiculously early morning and commute to work the other 4 days. As I rise, before the sun, I am comforted by the fact that rest of the city is right along with me…blurry eyed, stumbling to put dress socks on and comb our hair into a reasonably professional look, and waiting (im)patiently at the nearest drive-through coffee stand to get caffeine coursing through our veins. I am NOT a morning person, that is, I do not actually like to get up in the mornings (though my body hasn’t let me sleep past 7:30 for at least 3 months). I wake up at 6 am and am out the door by 7 to make it to the college on time.

While I hate getting up, I do actually find that once I am awake and tasked with things to do, I am very productive. In one of my first jobs, I used to come in early, work until about 2 and THEN take a lunch, because after I’ve eaten, the hours tick by s…l….oooooo….w…..l….y. Like stabbing-myself-in-my-eyes slow. In fact, this tendency to want to escape the afternoon slowness had me “yelled at” on day 5 of my job as I was caught “sneaking out” early. I wasn’t sneaking out, I had arrived 30 minutes early and had worked through lunch, but didn’t have permission (didn’t ask, didn’t think I needed to, the last 3 jobs haven’t required that for flex time), which left me almost in tears…but I handled it professionally and have moved on from there.

One of the hardest parts of mornings, though, is leaving sweet Potamus and Boof in bed slumbering, while I creep about eating my peanut butter toast and digging through a dark closet for something reasonable to wear. They look so sweet together, and while I now these days are limited, as Boof will hopefully get a job soon, it does make me twinge ever-so-slightly with jealousy of the thought of them sleeping in indefinitely and lounging about the house. (In reality, though, Potamus is up by 7 and doesn’t nap until mid-day and Boof has to hold him for 3 hours because he won’t ‘go down’ for a nap, and both are covered in Cheerios and yogurt and all the thing that make less jealous of the whole morning arrangement).

My morning class is overwhelmingly the best, engaged and participatory with amazing insight. My afternoon class, when the caffeine and enthusiasm is wearing off, is…less-so. It is smaller, more masculine, and I’m having a difficult time deciding if I should compare them to the morning class or roll with what they give me and go from there. They just seem so…apathetic, and doing a song & dance to convince them to discuss things isn’t really my style. I’m looking at it as a new challenge.

Four Years Ago? 11 Years ago?

I keep hearing repub-types saying things like “where were you four years ago?” in an assumptive attempt to sway votes toward the Ryan/Romney camp. But it got me thinking, reminiscing, on where I actually WAS four years ago…where I am today…and the implications of my answer might not make those repub-types as happy if it means I’m going to vote for this trend to stay the same.

Now don’t get me wrong, as a privileged white woman of middle class origins, I know that many many people in America have not been as fortunate as me in the last four years. But here is where I was four years ago:

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Boof and I  are three months away from our wedding date. I am taking 10 graduate credits, in full last-minute-wedding-planning mode, and working part-time as a substitue teacher. I lived in a little one bedroom apartment that had been infested with tiny little flies after the basement/crawl-space that had been flooded when a sewage holding tank backed up and overflowed.

In the four years since, I have gotten married, lived in a sweet 2 bedroom apartment (with no fly infestation), gotten a dog, received my Masters of Arts in Education, Community Counseling with a 4.0 GPA and honors, gotten pregnant, bought a house for a good price and in a good neighborhood, had a healthy/happy baby, become a licensed counselor, and had three progressively better paying jobs in my field of interest.

Whoa, that’s a huge list of amazing things that have happened in the past 4 years! And if that’s because Obama has been president, well, then I can’t really complain about his leadership.

And with this being the anniversary of September 11, 2001 it got me thinking. Where were YOU four years ago? But also…where were you ELEVEN years ago? It’s amazing for me to look back on such a tragic day and see how beautiful my life has become.