Thursday, September 29, 2011

It's Back

For awhile now I've been enjoying the best part of depression:  the not-being-depressed part.

It's been fun.  I've cleaned my house from top to bottom, I've started (and finished) some lovely new projects, I've gone out on wonderful adventures, and most of all I've enjoyed falling in love with my daughter all over again.  Life was pretty good.

Then about a week ago I started to lose interest in things.  It started with food and cooking, then cleaning, then showers, then yesterday I totally lost interest in getting out of bed.  I just don't see the point.  I did it anyway.  I did it all anyway.  But all it got me was to the middle of the stairs.  Where I sat down with my daughter and burst into tears.

This is the crappy part of depression:  the having-depression part.

Being in between recovery and relapse I can look at this phase and clearly see what is going on.  It's malaise.  I can see the forest, but it's like I'm wearing dirty glasses.  Everything would be lovely if it wasn't so dingy.  Everything would be fun if I wasn't so tired.  Everything would taste good, if only I were hungry.  It's the malaise that meant there was a four hour gap between when Emily and I were ready to leave the house and when we actually did.

But since I am in recovery I actually did leave the house.  But I don't really see the point.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Yarn Along 4

Linking up with Ginny at small things again

Same project, new book.  I gave up on the Shakespeare book for awhile because Emily is in a particularly whinny/clingy phase that does not allow me to pay attention to books easily.  Unless they are children's books.  In fact I have book group tomorrow and haven't even acquired the book yet.  I started reading "A Tree Grows In Brooklyn" though and last night Emily ran around me over and over while I read chapter two out loud.  It seemed to work well.  So we'll read that book for awhile.

Project wise I'm humming along nicely.  The back bodice piece is now showing the pattern (sets of yarn-over holes in a V pattern).  I'm loving the dark blue color.  The black looks dull compared to it, but I hope once all the banding is on it'll tie the piece together.  I also love the puckering the pattern is creating.  In the pattern photo it didn't look puckered.  So maybe I'm doing it wrong but it is awfully pretty. I also started the ribbing for the front bodice piece.  Mostly because once I finish the back I'll want to continue working in pattern for the front rather than doing more ribbing. This sweater is tight around the waist, which is why the bottom ribbing is so long, and it's a bit annoying doing so much of it in teeny-tiny stitches.  

I also finished the red sweater.  I gave it a bath before installing the zipper and it's still drying so I can't put it on or lay it out for pictures.  But it is finished!  

Monday, September 26, 2011

Toddler Love

This weekend I've been trying to decide on a good blog post.  Emily is hitting a very difficult stage right now and I'm coming up on a new mama-phase myself.  I thought maybe I'd vent some over the new toddler challenges.  Or confess over the old mama-failings.  

But then this morning I took Emily out to the park and when I picked her up out of the car she rested her head on my shoulder and nuzzled.  Earlier that morning she crawled up my chest and planted a big 'ole smacker on my nose.  Yesterday, she ran up in the middle of the Discovery Center where she was surrounded by toys and games, gave me a hug, then ran away.  

In between all these little sweet moments she's had tantrums and fits and other unpleasantness.  I don't care though, because she likes to hug and snuggle now too.

Toddler love is fleeting, but oh so sweet.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Parenting Hours

So I read this article last week or sometime about how mothers spend over 1100 more hours parenting than fathers do.  However, the survey was for working mothers and fathers who average 7.5 and 4.5 hours each day respectively.  It doesn't really apply to me because I average 22-24 hours a day.  Yes, I count sleeping time as parenting time because often sleeping time means attempting to doze while balancing a baby on my chest.  She's been having some rough nights lately...

I also had a problem with the fact that the article was basically an ad for VTech toys.  Instead of buying another toy why not get Dad to change a diaper once in awhile?  Or pick up a toy?  Or clean her g-d hands!

I've been harboring some resentment.  Last weekend Emily had a bad night when we got home from the AF Ball.  I was already tired and spent, but she needed extra love.  I get it.  We were away for a long time (about 9 hours, the longest time we've been separated yet).  The next morning Emily wanted out of bed at 6am.  Guess who got up with her?  Me.  At around 10am I thought she wanted a nap and I brought her back to bed (where my husband had been sleeping) and tried to nap with her.  She didn't want a nap.  She got up at 10:15am.  Guess who got up with her?  Me.

At around 1pm my husband got out of bed and offered to take her while I took a nap.  They went downstairs and he had some breakfast.  I curled up in bed and drifted off to sleep.  At 1:25pm my husband came back to bed, with Emily, and told me they were going to take a nap.  Emily was not ready for a nap.  Guess who got up with her?  Me.  After a 25 minute nap.  Guess who went bad to sleep?  Him. After sleeping a full 12+ hours.

I have hated him just a little bit all week.  More so each time I got up with Emily every night.  And day.

But then there was today.  We had another rough night and she got up at 5:30am.  I played with her till 10:30am and then I broke.  No sleep, no naps, no break, and a headache made Mommy mad.  I carried her upstairs and dumped her on the bed.  He got 5 extra hours of sleep, he could watch the baby for 20 minutes.  Then I went to take a shower and I locked the door.

To his credit D watched her while I showered and changed.  Then he watched her while I went to Wal-Mart and got my contacts and glasses ordered.  And shopped.  When I got home he held her off from nursing so I could finish a row of knitting.

So, yes, in our house fathers don't spend as many hours as mothers.  And sometimes that makes me mad.  But those few hours I do get without Emily are so precious and so welcome that I am more grateful.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Other People

I posted to someone else's blog that hell is other people.  I think I'm gonna amend that.  Hell is other people's kids.

Emily met her first bully this week.  At McDonald's Play Place.  She took it in stride, but I've talked about this all week and it still bothers me.  Emily, I'm sure, has already forgotten.

There were only a few children at the playground when we went and they were all toddlers.  Emily was probably the second youngest and the second smallest kid there.  The oldest boy there had to be about two, maybe slightly older.  His mother and her friend spent a good portion of the time calling out that he needed to calm down.  He did need too, but it wasn't that bad.

In the toddler area they had some soft toys that looked like turtles and ladybugs.  Emily loved these, but they were slightly bigger than she was ready for so she was taking her time inspecting how to climb up and ride them.  Once she figured it out and went to try the older boy came over, shoved her off, and jumped on.  This is where I'm proud of Emily - she just went onto the other.  Again, the older boy ran over, shoved her off, and jumped on.  They did this for a few rounds before Emily finally ran over to me with the most confused look on her face.  After some assurance Emily was off again.  And the same thing happened, over and over.  First with the turtles, then the slide, the steps, the little houses, the toys, everything.  The older boy even felt the need to shut the door to the toddler area and not let anyone in or out despite much pulling and screaming.  Emily never got to whining or crying, but the other children did.  The last straw was when Emily was playing in a house and the boy ran over, knocked her on the ground, then kicked - kicked - her by her stomach out of the house and onto the play mat.  Emily ran over (still not crying) and I scooped her up and whisked her away.  We left right after that.  Emily might not have been bothered, but Mommy was freaked.

The thing that really bothered me was the complete lack of reaction by this boy's mother.  Part of me wants to vent and holler that she didn't do anything.  The other part of me wants to not be a judgmental bitch and try to acknowledge that she was probably tired, has to take care of a very active (possibly overactive) child all the time, and maybe this wasn't really bad behavior for him.  Maybe she needed to pick her battles.  I only saw him for an hour I can't judge what was the best thing to do for him.

I can judge what was best for Emily though and that made me want to make a big deal of pushing and hitting and kicking.  I wanted to holler and tsk and be very upset so that Emily would get the idea that behavior like that is totally unacceptable.  Because in my little world it is.  But it wasn't my little world and it wasn't my little kid.  So I resorted to the typical Hawaii-style commentary and pointedly looked at his mother while I said to Emily "That boy plays too rough, what a meany-head."  She, in typical Hawaii-style, rolled her eyes.  Auwe!

The real bad part about this run in with a bully is that I'm totally worried Emily is going to emulate him.  Now, when she plays, I am always watching for some sign of bullishness that I need to nip in the bud quick.  Instead of seeing my sweet girl going to play with another kid in the totally unaware-of-personal-space way toddlers play I see her drop-kicking her new friend into the parking lot.  That sucks. It's not fair to Emily.  It's not fair she had to leave cause someone else was too aggressive and it's not fair that her mother is now certain she's gonna try these new play tactics soon.  She deserves the benefit of the doubt.  And a safe playground.  

And I blame all this on other people - and their kids! (And, okay, maybe some of my own neurosis.)

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Yarn Along 3

Yarn Along with Ginny again

My Goal
 Once again this week I'm working on the new 1930's sweater.  I got the pattern from a knitting magazine I bought when Borders was going out of business.  I like the pattern as a whole, but it's been a whole week of knitting (including a Monday night with the Aloha Knitters) and I'm still not past the bottom of the ribbing on the back yet.  I have 1.5 centimeters to go.  (Oh yeah, it's a british pattern too so there might be extra math for me later on.)

My Distraction

Still reading "Contested Will" this week.  Haven't got far.  I like James Shapiro, but he is super academic.  I have a pretty big vocabulary and I'm running across new words in this book.  Also, it's the kind of book where you need to follow the little details to get the full gist of the hoaxes and conspiracies - in other words you need to pay attention.  I can't even get through one row of ribbing without getting distracted (see the cute kid running away with the wool and a knitting needle) so getting through this book is going to take some doing.  Or some serious nap time.

I am also this close to finishing the red sweater.  I did a lot of construction stitching this past week which 1) kept me from ribbing and 2) did not get me to finished.  I have about 4 more inches of the last zipper flap to sew up.  The flap isn't long enough though, so I really have 4 more inches of ribbing to do on that first.  Then sew.  Then weave more ends (there are a lot of ends).  Then sew the zipper in.

Didn't I say I was almost finished?

Monday, September 19, 2011

64th Air Force Ball

On Friday my husband and I attended the 64th Air Force Ball here in Hawaii.  It was the first time either of us had attended an actual Ball and I'm glad we got to do it together.

Highlights include:
Penguins!  This actually has nothing to do with the ball.  It was held at the Hilton Hawaiian Village in Waikiki.  My favorite thing about this hotel are the african penguins and turtles that live there.  Before the ball even started we took a walk down to see the birds nuzzle down for bedtime.  I love penguins.

Uniforms!  The evening was a tribute to heroes.  To highlight the history of the Air Force they dressed in period uniforms from WWI through to the conflicts of today.  Being a history and costume buff I was thrilled.  They did a wonderful job.

Dresses!  As I get more and more into clothes construction and fashion I find myself constantly looking and evaluating the clothes around me.  Needless to say the ball was a wonderful place to see al the pretty dresses.  Also...I got to wear a pretty dress.  Unfortunately, the pictures we took do not showcase the beading that was on the waist of my dress.  None of them show the beads!  Typical.

Food!  It was yummy.  We had prime rib.  I swear our table alone was a served a whole cow.  I ate two pieces of the chocolate ganache cake (thanks to my husband handing over most of his).

Company!  The people at our table were wonderful and I enjoyed talking with them.  I loved the conversation and the camaraderie.  But most of all I enjoyed the time with my husband.  It was special to just be on his arm all night.  The hardest part was not reaching over to kiss him all the time (no kissing in mess dress).  It was a pretty fabulous night.

Then we left during the dancing and snuggled up our little girl.  Good night.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Yarn Along 2

I haven't finished my red sweater from the last yarn along yet.  I still have some construction sewing to do on it.  However, since my Mother was here last week I got excited to start a new project before the other was done.  (I spent about an hour showing her my stash and patterns.)

So this new project will someday be a sweater from a vintage (1930's) pattern.  I found the yarn at Savers for cheap and am rather excited about the project.  The yarn is wool and a darn bit scratchier than I originally thought.  So much so that by the time I finished casting on I was ready to stop because I disliked it so much.  Now after two rows I am falling slightly more in love with it again.  I intend for the ribbing to be black (the color in the picture) and blue for the body.  I like the blue better than the black - it's far more vibrant - but am unsure I have enough blue to finish it all. 

For my book I'm reading Contested Will by James Shapiro.  It does say "Who Wrote Shakespeare?" on the cover but the book is more about why people want to believe someone else wrote Shakespeare and when they started.  That is a question I often ask myself too.  I believe that William Shakespeare wrote the Shakespeare plays.  I believe it not just because I have only see credible evidence of this but because believing that a man from a small town who had no formal training, travel, or access to the uppercrust of society can still write something amazing is believing that anyone can do anything.  It's a belief in the human spirit.  The spirit and amazement of genius.  It also speaks to my inherent Americanness - it doesn't matter who your father was or what circumstances you were born only what you do with it.  That's a simplified view of it I know.  Even in the most democratic of places it still matters how you grew up, but I still believe in the ideal that people can rise above and that upstart crows can be read for millennia.

I only just started this book and I like it.  My Dad read it cover to cover when he came to visit  and he enjoyed it too.  I usually take his advice on books because he is a writer as well.  Here is his book review on his blog he writes for The Maui News.  

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


This past week my parents came over from Maui to visit.  They came for Emily's birthday, but honestly it was a gift to me.  For the first time in months I was able to do things without Emily.  I went to the eye doctor, I got my hair done, I went dress shopping and actually got to try something on.  Most of all I got a ton of time at home to not chase the baby around.  My parents chased her around instead.

In addition to all this mommy-time I am heading back to full-time parenting with a brand-new baby.  This past week Emily has leaped from charming baby to full-blown toddler with new words, expressions, games, skills and personality.  This always happens when we visit with my parents - I call it the "Grandma Effect."  I don't know what it is, but Emily always saves all her new skills for when my parents are around.  I often say "Oh, she doesn't know how to do that yet" and then, right then, she'll do it.

Part of me worries this is a reflection on my mothering skills.  Maybe my parents are better.  I know that I often don't talk as much as my mother does.  I want to, I try to, but then the exhaustion sets in and I find myself changing a diaper silently.  Emily doesn't seem to mind, I still smile and interact with her, but the words disappear.  I also may not push her as hard.  Since noticing how she reacted to other family members pressing her to crawl I made up my mind to let her lead the way when it comes to milestones.  But that also means sometimes I forget to put the crayon in her hand.  Grandma does it all the time.

Grandma and Grandpa also let her do lots of things Mama does not.  Like play with their phones and computers and glasses.  I try not to use "no" a lot with Emily - only for certain things that could get her killed or break something really valuable - but for some reason when Grandma and Grandpa say "no" she listens much more than she does to me.

In general, Emily loves her grandparents.  They left yesterday and this morning she ran into their room over and over looking for them.  If she hadn't decided to get her hug from me instead I might have gotten really jealous.

The rational part of me knows that the new people and interaction is what spurs Emily to grow, not anything lacking in me.  My brother has even said his children do the same thing.  But it's hard not to watch my Mom and think she does everything better than me.  I'm lucky I have a wonderful mother who knows so much.  I want to be just like her and am never sure if I will.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Now we are one

Emily turned One a few days ago.  To celebrate my parents flew over from Maui and are spending the week here.  We've had a lot of fun.

A few things about this day:
Emily had an angel food cake with fresh berries on top.  She loved the berries.
Emily got three dolls for her birthday.  One from Mama (me), one from Grandma, and one from Auntie Karlen.
Emily got some clothes - all three sizes too big for her.  She has some growing to do.  (She got a onesie that was size 24 month and said "My 1st Birthday" which seems...not right.)

A few things about Toddler Emily:
She started walking months ago and now can run.
She loves to dance.
She wears 12-18 month clothes.
She wears a shoe size 4.
She needs a haircut, but I'm not going to give her one.
She likes to eat fruit, cheese, cheerios, yogurt, eggs, carrots, and lettuce.  Like a true hawaii baby she likes spam.  But she'll try anything.
She can say: Mama, Daddy, Kitty cat, Meow, Hi, Bye, Tree, Blue, Fish, Books, Bird, among hundreds of other words.
She will read her books to herself.
She loves cars and trucks.  (I got her some dump trucks for her birthday too.)
She has six teeth officially.
She is a super happy, super easy, super fun child.  She is my best friend and I love being with her.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Last Year, Last Night

Last night Emily woke up, as her usual, at 11pm, 1am, 3:30am, 4:30am, and finally 6am.  She doesn't do these exact times every night and sometimes the intervals are less or longer, but generally she needs attention at night.  Cuddles, soothing, milk.  Normally we both do this in a haze of half-sleep.

Last night though was different.  Last night I woke up around 1am and stayed that way.  Lying in bed, being very still and quiet.  I didn't know why I was so wide awake.  Now with the morning I remember: last year at around this same time I started labor.  I spent the wee hours of the morning walking around my house, playing with the (then) kittens and finally taking a long, warm shower.  That's when my husband woke up and realized what was going on.

That's the start of a 96+ hour journey that ended in a pretty little baby girl.  It is not really a journey I look on fondly and the memory actually makes me feel ill.  I am so happy to have my daughter.  I am so happy to be her mother.  Yet, the labor, and the days/weeks/months following it are not memories I want to keep.  I have so many feelings of hopelessness and abandonment tied up with them that all I can think about is how badly I needed to be held then and how being held or hugged didn't do a thing to cut the loneliness.  Similarly, that's how I feel today.  I want someone to come and hug me and remind me that it is over and I know that even if I did get that I'd still feel sick to my stomach.

The really hard part is that I want to be happy.  I actually feel great joy.  Emily had a wonderful time playing this morning.  Bath time was splendid (a rare thing with Emily) and right now she is napping against my chest as I type.  There is no end to the joy I feel with Emily here, close to me, literally warming my heart.  It's the kind of happy that makes me want to sing with wild abandon.  But my hands are shaking and my throat is tight.  I can taste bile under my tongue.  Tears are picking my eyes and I can't manage to cry.  I can't cry.  I'm too happy and I'm too petrified.

If this is PPD recovery it sucks just as bad as PPD.