It’s Okay (Not to Be Okay)

I wasn’t expecting this.  I mean, I knew it would be tough, but I really wasn’t prepared for just how much would be expected of me.

My dad had his surgery, two weeks ago actually, and was discharged last week.  Everything went great, his sobriety this time around really helped speed up the healing and his hospital stay.  Since he’s been home, though, it’s pretty much constant texting between the two of us; he’s giving me all of these names and numbers, I have to do all of his phone calls, I have to schedule all of his appointments, record all of those appointments, familiarize myself with his care team..as much as I can at least since I’m 600 miles away.  He was supposed to have a lawyer come to the hospital to finalize the power of attorney stuff so it’d be easier for me and the lawyer never came so every single phone call I make is a series of hoops I have to jump through to prove who I am.

Between having a daycare and basically being a FT personal assistant it’s really so tricky.  I am so overwhelmed.  It’s really making my anxiety flare up because now my daughter, the super-sensitive four-year-old, has been extra needy and between her and my father I get less “me” time than I did before (and I barely had any before!).

I haven’t felt so isolated in a long time.  Nobody really understands about my dad, they’ll listen but the most I get is an, “I’m sorry,” or “That sucks,” but that’s it.  It does suck.  He’s an old 59 and because of his alcoholism he has brain damage so learning sign language is pointless, especially since we have no way of seeing each other, plus I have no time or money to learn it.  Our only option is the texting and right now, I hate to say it, but every single time my phone chirps my heart sinks a little.  I know he needs me, though, so I feel so selfish for even admitting that.  And to the world, no less.

I had a really good cry the day before his surgery.  I sat all alone in the living room after everybody went to bed and I just let myself release every single emotion I’ve had inside about all of this.  I do that every so often, a purging of my heart, so to speak, and it helps.  I don’t need to do it often because I feel like I’m pretty good about handling stress and emotion, but right now I feel like I’m overflowing already.  I’m filled to the brim and the slightest movement will create a waterfall.

I cried today already.  I had a moment alone where the kids were playing nicely and not arguing and it just happened, very unexpectedly, I just started crying.  I didn’t realize it at first but I just felt the hot water running down my cheeks and when I felt the tears with my fingers it was like the rest of my body caught up and I just started hyperventilating.

My grandparents, my dad’s parents, want me to keep them informed of the goings on with him and all of his medical stuff, which I get, they’re his parents, but for some reason only my grandmother talks to me and she has a failing memory so she doesn’t remember that I’ve told her all of these things so she just goes on to think I’m just not telling them at all.  Their prodigal child, my dad’s brother, lives near to them so they include him in all of this (even though my dad doesn’t want that) so he’ll go and try to make all of the same phone calls I do just to get his own info and then tell my grandparents and they seem to think he’s the one doing all of the dirty work when, really, he’s just getting the simplified 10 second answer that I put 40 minutes of work into.

And I’m here overwhelmed, stressed, and shrugged off.

And so now I’m using my blog as an outlet for my frustrations because holy hell I just need to let off some steam sometimes.

 

“Cat got your tongue” seems a little too crude, even for me…

Hi again.  So life has been a whirlwind of adulting these past few months.  Let me tell ya, I want to go back to being a Toys R Us kid where I don’t have to grow up.  Throw in Discovery Zone and life would be much easier.

For starters, we have a pest control company who comes out and treats our property.  It’s a good system and we’re on a quarterly plan so they come treat every quarter and if I see an increase in bugs between treatments they come and take care of it for no extra cost.  Which is great because sometimes there’s a huge spider and my husband isn’t home, so I can call them.  That hasn’t happened yet but, I kid you not, I did ask about that.  Anyway, the most recent time they were here they were working in the garage (spraying the perimeter and the crawl space) and guess what they found?

That’s right.  Freaking TERMITES.  The past two years we have had a horrible flying ant problem and since they look so much like termites I really took to the study of them and know much more about flying ants than I would like to.  With that said, I also learned to look for termite trails and all that good stuff.  I thought our coast was clear.  In the garage, though, my husband is restoring a vintage truck so it has its own bay.  On the cinder block base of our garage, on the other side of that truck, were a couple termite trials.  So I blame him for not seeing them (but in reality I don’t actually blame him).  So they’re coming to do an extensive, all-day termite treatment and since they only take cash that’s $2,000 cash that we need to come up with.

Then.  My husband and I have been looking at newer vehicles for our family and the daycare for a few months, we had a timeline of when we were going to buy the vehicle because money would be different then, that time frame had pushed back a tad because of the termites.  Then my car, ol’ reliable, failed inspection baaaaaad.  It needed thousands in repairs just to pass inspection, thousands we didn’t have especially since we didn’t plan on keeping it for more than six months.  So a couple weeks ago we upgraded, bringing back those dreaded car payments a few months earlier than we were expecting.

So in one month we went from being comfortable to suddenly an additional $20k in debt.  Fun right?!

On top of all of this there’s my dad.  Clearly I have daddy issues (which I actually expand on) because he seems to be a common theme in my posts.  Anyway, his jaw had been hurting him for a while and his doctor kept shrugging him off, which was a very unwise move since my dad had cancer in his jaw eight years ago.  Long story short, the cancer is back and it spread.  So after many consultations and scans and poking and prodding, my dad was given two options:
1. Do not have surgery, but you will die in six months.  Painfully.
2. Have the surgery, we remove all of the cancer, but we also have to remove your                  tongue and larynx so you won’t be able to eat for months, we’ll rebuild a partial                  tongue out of chest muscle, you’ll go to PT to learn how to eat again, aaaaand                        you’ll never talk again.
Great choices, huh?  Spoiler alert!  He chose option two.

Now, my whole life I’ve known my dad as a drunk man.  I’d begrudgingly accepted it, went to therapy, came to terms with the fact that his disease was so far advanced that I had greater odds of winning the lottery than I did seeing my dad sober.  It is what it is and I accepted it.

For anybody with an understanding of alcoholism, his addiction turned into a disease many years ago, probably some 20+ years ago.  He literally needed alcohol to survive.  Due to some hospital stays and forced sobriety (after a ridiculously high ethanol drip at the hospital) his brain kind of did this “turn it off and turn it back on” kind of thing, advancing something known as Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome, on the street that’s called “wet brain,” and it’s something that commonly affects drunks.  Ultimately, the alcohol caused irreversible brain damage to the part of his brain that handles memories.

Despite my understanding of alcoholism, there was always a small part of me (albeit jaded part) that held out hope that my dad would one day wake up and decide he didn’t need the alcohol.  I always felt like I came second to his drug, like I was never worthy.  Speaking of worthiness, since he is an addict he has a tendency to lie to people, he doesn’t do it to be malicious, but to hide his addiction.  He would tell me these things, mean things, about my grandparents, my uncles, and he’d go and tell them mean things about me.  I realized what he was doing when he was in the hospital back in 2009 so I started working on repairing relationships.

It has been hell.

My grandparents, his parents, have had a very hard time coming to terms with the fact that he is an alcoholic.  Truthfully they didn’t believe me when I first told them eight years ago.  It has been a really bumpy road, one that I’ve been traveling mostly alone, and still, despite doing so much for my dad, they don’t believe that I’m not some selfish, crazy teenager.  A selfish, crazy teenager that they “know” only because that’s what my father told them.

So my dad’s addiction damaged relationships with most of my family, damage that I fear is beyond repair, but I keep trying.  I’m having a really hard time coming to terms with not having a stable dad, not having a relationship with my grandparents, one of my uncles seems to think I’m just there, I can’t help but think he views me as just his brother’s bastard.  It’s been hard, and I see people, my husband included, who have these great relationships with their extended family.  It makes me envious.

Back to current day, though.  Want to hear something amazing?  My dad, the alcoholic, was so scared by his diagnosis that was scared sober.  I mean it.  He had his g-tube put in a couple weeks ago and had a 0.00 BAC.  The hospital has come to know him and this habit of having a heightened BAC so they have him come in a day before the surgery so they can actually detox and monitor him a bit so he’s at a safe level for anesthesia.  He was ready to go, though.

I spoke with one of his social workers yesterday and even she said there is no sign of alcohol usage.  His home is relatively clean (another amazing factoid), he’s gained weight (huge news!), he’s sober, though.  I should’ve played the lottery.

So where I stand currently with all of this information is here: my whole life I’ve wanted a real relationship with my dad, I’ve never even had a real conversation with him where he wasn’t intoxicated or under the influence of hospital meds.  Now, though, there is this little window where he is sober and it’s been used to discuss the hospital plan and discharge instructions, his will, lawyers, me being is PoA…just business, nothing that might work towards mending our relationship.  I wish he had this sort of realization years ago so that we had more time to actually speak with each other.

I feel selfish for being upset because I know my dad is dealing with way more than I’d want to, but I can’t help it.  That small little part of me that I mentioned just swelled at the thought of hope, but it was like a tease.  Like the sobriety was dangling there just out of reach for so long and now that it’s there it comes with a really horrible price.

He will not learn sign language, I’ve had dozens of people suggest that but he won’t do it, plus we have no use for it since, ya know, 700 miles separate us and he doesn’t have a webcam.  I don’t have time or money to learn ASL either.  Our relationship is going from talking every single day to a text relationship.  I’ve had a hard time coming to terms with that, too, since he’s like the only person I talk to.  I talk to him about everything.  You know the saying, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks”?  That’s like my dad.  He’s almost 60 with memory-related brain damage, trying to get him to grasp everything a texting device can do is so hard.  It’s just a struggle.

I’m ending this here, it was just easier to type it all in one spot because not only is it cathartic to me, but people have been asking what’s going on so now I can direct them to this post.

Thanks for reading ❤

Holy Moly!

I feel like such a neglectful blogger!  I’ve thought so much about things I could write about but when I found the time to sit down and just chill there was no blogging happening…only Netflix binging.  For that, I’m sorry.  My apologies are going to fall on deaf ears here soon (or would it be blind eyes?) because I apologize so often for my lapse in posting!

Anyway, I was doing great with my weight loss, I hit 30 pounds down!  Then winter came and I couldn’t walk after work because it was dark out and I’ve plateaued so with spring coming I’m excited to get back on my kick!

Work is something to post about – in September (see?  Shortly after my last post..I got busy!) I officially opened up my own business!  I now own a legal daycare and man, it’s more than I expected.  I’ve always been a very hands-on caregiver, but now there’s tons of paperwork that comes along with the legal part of it and I just feel like I have no me time anymore, you know?

I’m in the process of filing my taxes (yeah, fun times!) and I had to find an actual accountant for this journey because in-home daycares have so many different write-offs and formulas for the percentage of the house used, etc. that it’s just impossible for me to do this myself (sucking at math doesn’t help me either) and I can use part of my car repairs as a write off since I do use my car for the business.  Well I had some major work done in July and I needed a copy of that receipt for my accountant, but the dealership couldn’t email it to me!  They could fax it to me but I don’t have a fax, so they suggested me driving over…yeah…with three toddlers in the pouring rain, 40 minutes one way just to unload all of them in that pouring rain for a piece of paper.  No thank you.  So instead I called my mom (who is in NY…I’m in VA) to see if they could fax it to her at work and then she could scan it and email it to me (all of this because I don’t want to drive over lol) so I could send it to my accountant.  So mom is on board, I call the dealership to give them the fax, and they figured out how to email it to me.  Insert blank stare.  You have no idea how frazzled I was about getting this invoice by a certain time.  So long (probably boring) story short, I got it, it’s uploaded for my accountant, and I didn’t have to brave the rain with three tots in tow.  I call that a win in my book.

What is not a win, though, is sick toddlers.  Seriously.  If your child has a cold and doesn’t feel well I can assure you they do NOT want to play with their friends, they want to be with their mom/dad because that’s where they feel the safest and most loved.  Plus, when you insist that they’re fine then their germs are spread to all of the other kids that they’re around and those kids get sick.  It’s a vicious cycle.

I may or may not be feeling some sort of way about this right now.

You know what else I’m having feelings about?  Friends.

I have two people I talk to on a regular basis, just two, and the closest one is two hours away.  Still no friends here locally because any time I chat somebody up and think we might be chummy, they find out I do daycare and I just become a babysitter to them (btw…daycare vs. babysitter is very different!), or they find out I’m atheist and suddenly they think I’m going to sacrifice their child so they avoid me.  Ooorrrr the worst one, they try to sell me things!

What happened to just being friends?  Why do I have to buy your wraps or leggings or shakes or lip stick or nail stickers?  Can’t we just drink coffee (Maxwell House is fine) in our sweat pants (the $5 ones from Walmart) and talk about life?  I miss those days.

I’m ending on that note because my child just fell asleep, a very rare thing in the middle of the day, and I’m going to watch TV and fold laundry!

Till next time my neglected readers ❤

 

I’ve Got the Eye of the Tiger, the Fire

Hello again!  I’m stoked to say that I’m officially down 7.4 lbs as of yesterday’s weigh-in!  I’m also down a whole shirt size and half of a pant size (I didn’t record my starting inches but I wish I had so I’ll be recording those from now on)!

On this journey I’ve decided to try some meal replacement shakes for the days that I’m too busy to eat a good meal which, let’s be honest, happens more than I’d like doing daycare.  I have a friend who sells Shakeology so I decided to look into that; she was kind enough to give me a sample and I will say it was pretty tasty (I made a chocolate pouch with one cup of 1% milk and a few ice cubes) – it was filling and not chalky at all.  Actually, here’s my review:

My Shakeology Review (opens in a new tab)

Ultimately what it came down to is that it’s too expensive.  It works superbly for her and her husband but I just can’t afford it off of a daycare income.  Sooo I started looking at other options and was suggested FitMiss Delight that I could buy on Amazon.  I know a few personal friends who use it and swear by it so that’s what I bought.  With Prime it cost $31 for a 36-serving container, it got here about 18 hours after I ordered it, and I just made my first shake this morning.  Here’s that review:

FitMiss Delight Review (opens in a new tab)

Ultimately, this stuff was AMAZING.  I made it with a scoop of powder, 2/3 c. of 1% milk and 2/3 c. of black coffee (Wegmans brand 100% Arabica Ground Coffee, Traditional, Medium Roast) and hoooo my gosssshhhh it was SO YUMMY!!!

I wasn’t going to do a review but it was just so good that I had to lol.  I also thought that I’d share a current photo of me because you can really see it in my face and that makes me feel good.

13329215_988106894570515_253604361_n

Both pictures are taken without face makeup (I have mascara on a little eyebrow tint in the right picture) and you can see just how clearer my face looks, my jaw line is more pronounced, my cheeks are going down…this is all so exciting!!

I’m probably going to post again soon because I’m doing a very important walk in a week that has a fundraiser and everything so I’ll post either later today or tomorrow.  We’re puppy sitting this weekend so maybe I’ll post tomorrow because three boxers is a tad exhausting lol.

Till then…toodaloo! ❤

The Journey of a Thousand Miles…

I HAVE DONE IT!!!!

Not only am I blogging again so quickly, but I’ve decided that now is the time to lose weight.  I have always been chubbier than others but could never lose weight despite exercise, diets, medicine.  It’s incredibly frustrating!  After I had my daughter it was discovered that I have PCOS which stands for Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome.  For those who don’t know, it’s basically a hormonal disorder that causes a woman to get facial hair, acne, weight gain, and ovarian cysts.  It’s none too fun.

Anyway, I’m jumping on the “lose weight” bandwagon because it’s necessary.  I’m not happy.  Even if I don’t lose weight, at least I’ll be healthier in my diet and exercise.  I will also be talking to my doctor because we have talked about a second child and it’s going to be ridiculously hard to pregnant with PCOS.  From what I was told by a specialist after our daughter was born, my birth control that I was on masked many of my symptoms and since it regulated my hormones that’s how I was able to get pregnant (yes, I got pregnant with my daughter while taking oral contraceptives).  I want my doctor to know, though, that I’m not playing around.  I don’t want a magic pill to help me, but I do want to be healthier.  Especially as my daughter grows up, I don’t want her to be the girl with the fat mom.

So yesterday started my big steps – I did yoga and even danced…I HATE DANCING! lol  But I did it.  I do a dance party with my daycare kids each day and usually I sit back and watch, I take pictures, but I never get involved.  Yesterday I did and I even worked up a sweat!  The yoga was really enjoyable so I’m excited to do that again and I think after a little while I’m going to go from just crazy dancing to pop songs to actually doing Zumba but I need to work up to that.

I don’t have access to a gym (and the closest one is 40 minutes away…can’t do that…it’s a no) so I need things I can do at home, that’s why I chose these activities.  I’m big on drinking water already so that’s not hard, but I’m going to be doing a weekly weigh-in on Fridays, so maybe that’ll prompt me more to post (along with the post-in in my day planner).

I’m hesitant to post on my personal facebook about this because I have people who sell things like Shakeology and It Works! and they’ve already approached me about buying there stuff, I don’t want this to be what gives them more motivation to approach me.  It kind of stinks that I am scared to post there, but oh well.  I can tell you guys.

Just this week I’m down 1.2 lbs!

Why Can’t We be Friends?!

why can't we be friends

I really suck at this whole keeping my blog updated thing.  Again, my apologies for that.  I actually put a sticky note in my day planner so that I am faced with a reminder the same time each week!  I was reading a thread in one of my facebook groups about moms who have no friends and that’s what inspired this post.  As a matter of fact, this is the meme that was shared with that particular thread:

pathetic mom

What do you think of it?  The meme itself made me giggle because I actually know a few people like this, but also because I don’t have this option.  I moved to Virginia five years ago leaving my family a few states north and had trouble making friends because of the whole introvert thing, but then when I became a mom it got even tricker.  Suddenly people didn’t just judge me on my personality alone, they judged me on my parenting style, too.  Then, to really kick it up a notch we moved to a small, traditional, southern baptist town where everybody already knows each other (but the safety rating is awesome and the schools are unparalleled).  So now I’m known not only as the outsider, but as “that alternative mom.”  That’s fine, I am confident in my parenting style and life choices, but it’s damn lonely.

If you surf google for a bit about how to make friends as a mom you’ll find some pretty common suggestions:
– Put yourself out there (I do that!)
– Make the first move (I smile and say “hi” to everybody)
– Get contact info (Hard to do when I don’t get a smile or “hi” back)
– Plan the first playdate (Again, hard to do when I haven’t gotten the previous two steps)
– Be yourself (Ehh…that seems to be what people don’t like)
– Don’t gossip (in this town, I’m the source of the gossip so that’s fun)
– Talk about something other than your kids (which isn’t as easy as it sounds)
– Don’t shy away from moms who don’t parent like you (I’ll be blunt, if we witness you hitting your kid or talking down to them we don’t want to be friends with you anyway, but other than that this isn’t a big deal for me)

You’re getting the gist, right?

Whenever there is something kid-related or family-friendly going on in the area I try to make sure our calendar is open so that we can attend; not only do I want to meet people but I want my daughter to make friends, too.  One of our favorite activities is the library each week; they do a weekly story time so I get to talk to other adults and my daughter (and daycare kids) can play, listen to stories, sing songs, and do a craft.  It’s great for their growing minds and socialization.  Well.  For the first few months nobody spoke to me except for the women who were bringing their grandchildren, which I’m okay with but it’s not like they were jumping to be friends with me, you know?  There was one mom in particular there who was always cold towards me and I never understood why until I found out that she’s the other in-home daycare in town.  So basically I’m the competition and she has big pull here, so other moms weren’t talking to me for fear of betraying her.  On the days she wasn’t there, though, people spoke to me.  Mature, right?

I created a facebook group for the moms in our town hoping that it’d break the ice, we could chat about common things amongst the group and then we could add each other and get to know each other better, you know.  Well the group is doing fair, but once people find out that we do gentle/attachment parenting and we don’t go to church you’d think we were personally here from the bowels of hell just to sacrifice their children.

I have no problem keeping my religious preferences hush hush, I’m quite used to it actually since I’m the black sheep in my catholic family, but because of my daughter’s age (she’s three) it comes up pretty quickly.  I’m often asked if I’m sending her to preschool and “the absolute best preschool in town!” happens to be a catholic-based program.  I mean heavy catholic.  I’m okay with religion and I teach different ones at home, but I’m not going to pay (what I think is a high amount) for my daughter to go to a program that doesn’t teach much outside of the ABCs of the bible.  So I try to graciously explain that it’s just not for us and I’m often met with rebuttals ranging from “There’s a scholarship option if money is tight” to “Ohhh, do you go to a different church?”  I usually respond with, “That’s fantastic, it’s just not something we’re going to do, we really enjoy learning at home and while we’re out and about.”  My answer is apparently a big red flag because I have had two different moms completely stop talking to me because of that.

Another thing that is apparently taboo in motherhood?  Not drinking wine.  I don’t drink at all, but I don’t see why wine needs to be a part of a playdate?  I love coffee.  I worship coffee.  I pray to the java gods every morning.  Coffee is a much more suitable beverage when surrounded by kids (and trust me, I’d know).  I had a mom once ask me, “Should I bring a red or a white?” when I asked her and her sons over for a late-morning play date.  What?!  I can understand a glass or two after the kids have gone to bed, but after breakfast?  No.

You know what else seems crazy to many moms?  Enjoying being with your child.  I schedule activities that I know my daughter would enjoy because I love seeing her have fun.  I love seeing her learn and enjoy herself, it makes me happy.  So when I’m not going to leave my daughter with a sitter on a Saturday to go lay out on the beach with you (one, I don’t even know a babysitter and two, I freaking HATE the beach) that doesn’t make me a shitty person, it makes a happy mom.

I like to use my weekends for family time since that’s the only time my husband has off (as long as it’s not an overtime weekend).  Apparently that’s bizarre, too, because I’ve often been asked to just leave my daughter with daddy so I can go do things with other people.  That’s fine, my husband would be supportive of it, but I wouldn’t enjoy myself because I’d constantly be wondering what my daughter is doing and if she’s okay.  Plus, the only things anybody invites me to are those stupid MLM parties (Scentsy, Pure Romance, LulaRoe, ItWorks!, etc) or to those Painting with a Twist parties.  Those aren’t really my style.

I think my biggest problem is that I don’t like doing things that many others enjoy; for example, I prefer coffee shops to bars, museums to clubs, I’d much rather stay home in my jammies to watch a movie than go to a theater.  I like being home, I like doing things that are free, I absolutely hate being surrounded by tons of people, I definitely don’t want to have to buy things from you for us to have a friendship.

It would just be so nice to have a friend come over for coffee or something that understood the restrictions that come with having a kid, it’d be awesome if they had a kid so all of the kids could play together.  A friend who I could text with about the silly things in life and one I could meet up with after lunch to bring the kids to the park.  We could talk about everything from the kids to the weather to politics to husbands, everything.  I was told once that “in order to have friends you have to be a friend.”  I think that’s kind of a messed up statement.  In order for me to have friends I have to do things they like and enjoy, but nobody wants to do that with me.  Instead I’m mocked for my likes and dislikes, mocked for my lifestyle and choices, but I’m kept around because it’s convenient for them.  No.  That’s not how this works.

I digress.

Morning frustrations have put a sour taste in my mouth so I’m going to wrap this up before I sound too jaded lol.  I hope y’all have a great day!

I’m a Gentle Parent…Not a Passive One

gentle parenting not passive parenting

I never planned on having kids so, like many non-parent adults, I had views on parenting that I was certain would work best.  Those views were very traditional, strict parenting: spanking, time-outs, yelling, like hell the kid would sleep in my bed, etc.

Then I became a mom.  A mom who suffered from postpartum anxiety and OCD (my post about PPA/PPOCD)) and man, did my views change.  In helping heal my PPA I found that taking a gentle approach to my life truly helped me; I started meditating, I stopped stressing about things I couldn’t control,  I would practice my breathing and control my emotions before I responded to a situation and I found that it worked!  While I still have general anxiety, I’ve learned to regulate it without medication and, for somebody who has been struggling with it for almost 20 years, that’s a big accomplishment.

My daughter was very attached in her infancy; I had to babywear if I didn’t want to listen to her scream because if she wasn’t near me then she was just miserable!  I found that I loved babywearing, though, so it turned out to be a win for both of us.  As she got older and more mobile it became harder to wear her while trying to do things around the apartment so she’d just follow me and scream, out of frustration I’d yell at her to leave me along for five minutes, if she touched things she wasn’t supposed to I’d smack her hand.  Every time I did something like this the look on her face would break my heart but it’s the only thing I ever knew in regards to “discipline” and teaching.  She was a very high-needs baby, but also very sensitive, and that has carried on with her now that she’s a preschooler.

One day we were getting in the car at the mall after a play group and after telling her to wait by the car while I loaded in the little boy I watched my daughter darted into the road and a car had to swerve to miss her!  She thought it was funny and giggled as she ran, but out of complete fear I raised my hand and I spanked her butt.  I hit my child.  I was angry and so scared, more scared than I had ever been in my life, but I hit her.  I buckled her into her seat and I sat outside my car and I cried.  Man did I cry so hard.

While most people will read that and think, “Good, she deserved a pop for that!” I am still feeling guilt because of it.  It broke me.  I was spanked as a child and I grew to fear those spanked me.  I never felt respect for them, I never felt that I learned anything, I grew to be cautious of them; if I stepped out of line or said the wrong thing I could get hit.  I never wanted that for my child but there I was, hitting her in a parking lot.

Something needed to change after that.  I started applying my “gentle life” techniques to my parenting and it was like an instant change in our daughter.  She started listening more, she was more curious about life and was much more excited to show me things that she found in her world, we were interacting on a different level and it was incredible, I don’t even really know how to describe it.

I’ve shared that I’m a SAHM/childcare provider, my husband works long hours and, as a result, isn’t around much so it took a long time for our daughter to get used to him.  For the first year and a half of her life he was active duty but then after he got out of the USMC he took another government job with equally as long hours, often getting OT on the weekends.  Charlotte wouldn’t go to him much, she was wary of him because he has a strong presence; a stone face, doesn’t show much emotion, strong voice, and loud when worked up about something.  He was raised in that traditional, strict home as well and then joined the Marine Corps. where emotion was pretty much banned, so, in a nutshell, the man is far from Mr. Rogers lol.

I’ll never forget the day that he and I reached our breaking point in parenting.  While I had started to filter gentleness into my style, he remained the strict one.  We were packing our apartment to move to our first house and our stress levels were much higher than usual; Charlotte happened to touch something that my husband didn’t want her to and instead of saying, “Lets not touch that, we could get hurt,” he shouted, “NO!!” and smacked her hand and snatched up the case she had touched.  Instantly she came screaming to me, red, puffy cheeks and eyes, shouting, “Daddy scare me!”  He heard it.  As I hugged her and calmly said, “Daddy didn’t want you to get hurt,” she just cried and wailed, “No, daddy scare me!”  He acted preoccupied but I could see that her words were hurting him.

yelling silences message

That moment caused a fight between my husband and I (and in our five years together I can count our fights on one hand).  I described his actions as listening to a TV when the volume is too high: you can hear the noise but the words aren’t clear.  That’s what was happening with our toddler, a tiny human who was still learning how things work – she was exploring and instead of learning why not to do something, she was basically told to fear it because she couldn’t understand the message.

Since that day I’ve noticed an incredible change in my husband.  He is so much more patient with our daughter, he takes the time to show her how things work and explain why we do things.  He even invites her into the garage (his personal sanctuary) so they can work on his project truck together.  We had snow a few months ago and he went outside and built a snowman with her.  He encouraged her walk along side him while he put some chemicals on the lawn last weekend.  She gets so excited when she wakes up and realizes that he’s still in bed and not at work, because it means she gets to hang out with him.

I know that it made him sad that our daughter was scared of him for so long, his family would comment on it, he even made a remark to a friend of ours at a Fourth of July BBQ that our daughter would never want him to play with her the way our friend’s son was playing with her husband.  I’m so glad to say that in under a year that has changed all because of his new gentle approach to parenting.

We are often criticized for our choice to not spank or yell, because we choose not to isolate our daughter in time-out, that we still hug her when she’s sad or hurt or scared, but to those people I say, “Oh well.”  We are raising a child who is confident in her choices, who knows that it’s okay to be wrong from time to time, a child who isn’t afraid of an accident.

be it to teach it

I found this quote recently and I quite like it:

“When a child hits a child, we call it aggression.
When a child hits an adult, we call it hostility.
When an adult hits an adult, we call it assault.
When an adult hits a child, we call it discipline.”
– Haim G. Ginott

I would love to hear your thoughts on this subject.  Were you spanked as a child?  How do you feel about it?  Do you spank as a parent?  Have you asked your child what they think about being hit?  I hope y’all have a great weekend!  ❤

“After all, to the well-organized mind, death is but the next great adventure.”

I started reading Harry Potter 17 years ago, at the same age Harry was when he and his peers started Hogwarts. I remember exactly where I was when I started reading it (in the car on the way to an amusement park), who I was with (my best friend at the time, Lisa), and how I felt (annoyed at first because I forgot a book for our hour drive but I was sucked in quickly). I grew up with the characters in those books.  I was picked on so often growing so I had such a connection to Harry, Ron, and Hermione because they were picked on, too.  I adored them, their talents and quirks, their friendship.

I remember where I was when I learned about Professor Severus Snape’s true identity (on the way to a camping trip in the Thousand Islands), who I was with (my boyfriend and some mutual friends), and how I felt (I was sobbing uncontrollably!). I had already graduated high school at this point and my car full of friends was teasing me about crying over “kid books” but Harry Potter, Hogwarts, was always my happy place. As Dumbledore said, I entered a place that was entirely my own.  They offered me the magic that my life lacked.  

Reading the news yesterday morning and seeing that Alan Rickman passed away just broke my heart, there is no other way to describe it.  It was like a piece of my childhood was gone.  It’s kind of poetic, in a way, that he passed after a battle with cancer.  You’re probably wondering, “Poetic?!  What the hell is lady thinking?!” but let me explain.

Voldermort was the death of the series and Snape worked with him as long as he could, he manipulated his odds against the monster, he shaped lives in the process, mine included, and he taught lessons that many will pass on.  In the end, though, the monster may have taken his life but Snape won, he was the bravest man we knew.  Alan Rickman made such an impact in the world that many generations are feeling the impact of his passing.

I was telling my dad about how sad I am about Rickman’s passing and he asked, “You still like that stuff?!” It was the perfect time to give the best answer…

Always ❤

RIP Alan Rickman

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Skin Tag….You’re It!!

I’m not sure if it’s common to write as often as I am, especially since this is my second post just today, but it’s my blog so I suppose I can do what I want.  Plus, if things are funny or interesting you’re bound to come back and read more, right?

Well here’s a funny thing that my daughter does.  I have this little pink skin tag that’s been on my chest for as long as I can remember.  It’s over near my left arm below my pit but before my boob – kind of where the point of a bra sits.  Well, C is so mesmerized by it!  When she’s flustered or upset she searches for it and will just flick it around, when she’s tired she’ll pull my shirt away from that spot and lay on it lol.  The other day I was watching my friend’s daughter (who just shy of one) and man was C jealous that baby M was near my skin tag lol.  I had to switch arms so that C could access my tag and baby M wasn’t near it 😛

I have another small skin tag on the back of my neck and she has no interest in that.  However, as I’m typing this I remember one that my biological father has on his back; his skin tag is about the same size, shape, color…it’s just smack dab in the middle of his back on his spine.  I remember being younger and flicking it around when he was shirtless (and if you met my father you’d know that was quite often…I should write about him…man that’d be cathartic!).  I always looked at it as something that made my dad HIM.  I wonder if that’s how C looks at me and my little skin tag.

Honestly, growing up, it always made me self-conscious because I didn’t want people thinking I had a third nipple (like Chandler and his nubbin…anybody?  Friends? haha) but now that I am a mom, this little quirk really drives home that my daughter loves all of me, even the little things I think are flaws.

Awww the warm fuzzies 🙂

Anywho…enjoy your nights!

Happy Trails 😉

Trapped in a Car

Hey all. So I’m trapped in the car right now because C and R fell asleep after playgroup and it’s pouring outside! So while they nap I am hanging out in the driver’s seat eating my McDonald’s french fries while  they’re still hot!  Talk about awesome.

I was going to stop at Starbucks on my way to playgroup (hear me out) because Dunkin has just been letting me down lately with messing up my coffee order. However, I got there and there were 14 cars in line.

14!!!!!  With two antsy toddlers in the car that’s not about to happen.

No.

Ahhh C is awake. I’m free!

27 minutes later – I’m inside, the kids are eating lunch, so I thought I’d add more 🙂 

Okay whew!  That was a tumultuous 27 minutes.  Have you ever had a still-tired, really hungry two-year-old around you?  Whoa baby.  It’s like a zombie that cries.

Anyway, I took a personality test today (here: http://www.spring.org.uk/test/one-minute-personality-test-introvert-extrovert) and it was really accurate!  I know I’m an introvert, there’s no hiding that, but I get really sick of hearing people tell me that I’m just shy, or I’m weird, or I need to come out of my shell, or I need a drink to lighten the mood (I don’t drink).  They all bug me to no end and really just lead me to start disliking a person because of it.  But here are my results:

Results
High introvert

You are more introverted than at least 70% of people — even more than that if you scored lower than a 12.

Your exact score is shown at the bottom of the page. It’s a number out of 40.
The average score is 20 and most people (40%) score around this number.
That makes them ‘ambiverts’, which means they swing both ways.
You, on the other hand, are an out-and-out introvert.
That doesn’t mean you don’t have a few louder moments, just that your tendency is strongly towards introversion.

What is an introvert?

Being highly introverted means you’re more likely than most others to be reflective and reserved.
You probably prefer a relatively low degree of external stimulation.
You are generally at home with your own thoughts.
Likely, you have a few close friends but parties, business meetings and large social gatherings are where you generally feel least comfortable.
Others may mistake your introversion for shyness — introverts may be shy, but many do not fear social encounters, they just get less out of them than more extroverted people.
Typically enjoyable activities for introverts include reading, writing, hiking, fishing and using computers.
Studies have suggested introverts tend to wear less decorative clothing, listen to less upbeat music and discourage interactions with others more regularly.
Being introverted has been linked to higher intelligence and less delinquent behaviour.

Extroversion/Introversion

7 out of 40
Extroversion and introversion run along a continuum like all personality traits.
That means it’s possible to be a little introverted/extroverted or a lot, or in the middle.
The closer your score is to 40, the more extroverted you are.
The closer your score is to 0, the more introverted you are.
The average score is 20 and most people (40%) score around this number.
While I know this is just an internet quiz (written by Dr. Jeremy Dean) it’s still interesting to read, hopefully doubters of my introversion will find it just as interesting 😛
I think I’ll keep it at this for now.  As I’m typing I’m coming up with ideas for more posts (literally just stopped typing to write down ideas) so hopefully I’ve piqued your interest and you come back for more 😉
Happy trails!