Why Having Kids Makes the Brain Damage Worthwhile

Scene: Driving home from an evening at the Philadelphia Art Museum with my friend & fellow students. I drop said friend off on campus and then head back to my apartment. The following conversation with Brennan transpires, who by the way has been talking nonstop about The SuperHero Squad, Sesame Place, and school the. whole. ride. home. Matter of fact it was similar to that scene from Family Guy:

Um. yea. THAT. It was just like that. It’s moments like those that make me think I’m suffering from what Bill Cosby calls “brain damage.” But then this happened:

Brennan: “Mom! Mom! MOMMIE! Mo-“

Me: “YEEES Honey Bunnie!” (new nickname that I just made up-couldn’t think of something else.)

Brennan: “You called me a HONEY BUNNIE! Who’s a HONEY BUNNIE?!” (giggling erupts)

Me: “You, Brennan-you’re my Hunnie Bunnie!”

Brennan: “Me?! (thinks for a few seconds) YEP. That’s right. I’M YOUR HONEY BUNNIE!”

Me: “Yep. You sure are.”

Brennan: “MOM!'”

Me: “WHAT?!!!!”

Brennan: ” You’re my MAMA HONEY BUNNIE!!!!!!!!!”

*stunned silence as my heart melts while sitting at the red light*

Me: ” Yes I am sweetie. I love you Bren Bren.”

Brennan: “I love you too, Mommie HONEY BUNNIE!” (more giggles)

And that, my friends is what makes the brain damage worthwhile. Gets me every time, when I least expect it.

Excuse me while I mop my melted heart from up off the floor…….

My Boy’s Love Gives My Faith a Powerboost

Confession: If you’ve been reading my posts the past month then you know things have been rocky in my little corner over here. So, that means I’ve been crying a lot as a result. Smiling. Laughing. Clenching my jaw and trying to find comfort in the discomfort. But there are times when I just can’t hold back the waters-my levees break and I cry. I’m talking snot filled, hand wringing, fist clenching, wailing into a pillow to muffle the sobs crying.

I have however been making a concentrated and determined effort to hold it together in front of my boys. Things are rocky enough as it is with all the transitioning going on between my ex and I, so I’ve been making sure to shield them from as much of it as possible. I was doing a good job of it too, making sure we’re still finding ways to enjoy our time and summer together inspite of the upheaval.

This morning after breakfast though a wave of emotions hit me, taking me by surprise and nearly knocking me over. I had barely set the boys up with their toys and made it to my bedroom before the tears exploded. As I layed there, face buried in the pillow, hurling my grief, confusion, hurt, fear, rejection, and everything else at God, telling Him how alone and scared I am in this place, I heard a quiet knock on my door.

It was Brennan.

“Mommie can I have some chalk to draw outside (on our balcony) ?” Wiping the snot and wetness from my face, I opened the door. “Sure Bren. What do you want to draw?”

He looked at me, stepped forward and hugged my legs. Then he looked at me again and said, “A heart. I want to draw a heart.”

Grabbing the chalk and walking towards the balcony door I asked him “Why a heart?”

“Because its going to be okay and I want you to see the heart so you’ll feel better,” he replied patting me on the shoulder. And with a kiss on the cheek, off he was, on the balcony, in the OMG sweltering humidity drawing me a heart-two in fact.

The thing about God that just continues to blow my mind is how He knows what we need at the exact moment we need it. My faith, my sanity, needed that boost today. And my heart is grateful for it, for Him, and for my boys. :)

Mood Stabilizing

Confession: When the doctor told me I would find relief within 30 mins of taking my new mood stabilzer, I was like, “yea, ok….that’s what the other doc said about Zoloft….and we now know where that got me.” But he was right-I felt the change within half an hour…hard to describe other than to say “Whoa, so this is what it feels like to be myself again.” I felt…stable. Even with unstable events occurring, I didn’t feel overwhelmed or out of control. I’ve felt a lot of emotions but they aren’t suffocating me like they did before…I feel a lot of things, but sweat isn’t one of ‘em. And the best part? The crying, whining, throwing things, not listening, non stop asking questions, normal Toddler Domination and 4yr old shenanigans has become manageable again. Not perfect, but manageable. Still stressful at times but manageable. So I’m starting to Run with the ball again instead of fumbling it. That light I had begged God for two weeks ago? Its beaming right down to where I am on the ocean floor, lighting my path back to the surface. My thoughts don’t race, my mind doesn’t feel frantic… I’m starting to take this motherhood thing in stride again. And man does it feel amazing. So, I’m happy I’m taking them because its giving me the clear head and heart I need to do what I gotta do….and be in a present state of mind to talk superhero plots with Bren and capture moments like this:

 

Cookies and Dinosaur Storytime

I go to therapy every Wednesday…I’ve been going for the past 6 weeks…looking back at the months of January and February, I can see that I had pretty much hit the bottom of the pit mentally, especially on the mommie front.

I’ve been battling depression off and on for the past two years so I guess its no surprise that I developed some postpartum-related symptoms after I had Alex. I’ll get into the nuts and bolts of my depression/PPD in another post, but for now, just know that about 6-7 weeks ago after my ex and I broke up and I exploded in a fit of rage and tears in front of my boys for the umpteenth time (over something totally trivial and insignificant), I finally took the neccesary steps to get some help….and although it was a little weird at first and uncomfortable, its been a huge relief for me…and I think that coupled with my taking Zoloft again, I’ve been able to cope and manage the stress I’ve been under in a much calmer, smoother manner….

But more on that later…so yea, where was I? Oh yea, going to therapy on Wednesdays. During my session last week after I expressed how disconnected from my kids (especially my youngest) I’ve felt the past 11 months, and how I don’t take time or even know how to enjoy being a mom, my therapist shared some info regarding a study that had just come out. She said that the study found that younger children who spent at least 30 minutes of uninterrupted, on the floor playtime with their parents tended to exhibit more signs of happiness, confidence, and closeness with their parents than children who didn’t.

I mean, I guess that makes sense right? I’m pretty sure you’re thinking to yourself, “well, duh, of course they would,” but hearing this made me think of all the times I’m around my kids but I’m not tuning into them, I’m not really giving them my full attention. I mean, I’m making sure their physical needs are met-fed, clothed, bathed, homework done, etc-but emotionally I’ve been distracted-by thoughts, my own work/homework, my own agenda/schedule, things I have to get done, etc. I may have moments where I play or interact with them, but if I’m honest I can admit that I may be physically engaged, but mentally I’m somewhere else-I let my mind, preoccupied with other concerns, keep me from being “in the moment” and “present” with them. Hence the continuing cycle of feeling disconnected and not enjoying motherhood.

So her (the therapist’s) suggestion to combat/change that was simple(or at least it sounded simple): spend at least 5-30 minutes on the floor, being “present” with my boys. Since starting off with 30 might be too much at first, she suggested I start small and build my way up to 30.

So, for the past 7 days, that’s what I’ve been doing. After I pick the boys up from school, have dinner and give them baths, instead of quickly (maybe) reading a story and putting them to bed so I can knock out whatever’s still on my to-do list, I turn on some lullaby music, sit down on the floor in their room, and just interact with them…watch them…play with them…laugh…focus on each word and every movement they make without letting my mind wander, or letting anxiety over sticking to a schedule or routine rush me through the moments.

The first time I did it I used one of those kitchen timer things, so I wouldn’t get up until it rang hahaha. By the third night I didn’t even need it though-I found myself rushing through dinner and bathtime just so I could lay on the floor and play with them, I was starting to find it relaxing to unwind from the day’s tangles and busyness with them…

And tonight? Well today on my way to therapy I took a detour into Borders and found myself eyeing a giant book on dinosaurs about Alex’s size that I instantly knew would be a perfect way to spend our “winding down” time-and it was on clearance for 5.99-SOLD! I was at the register before you could blink and out the door, happily carrying it under my arm…and they loved it! Especially Brennan, he got a kick out of the pictures. Alex was more focused on perfecting the art of standing up and taking a step or two while holding on to my legs, but he did love the cookies I was sharing with him.

Cookies and dinosaurs before bedtime…this momma’s finally on her way to enjoying motherhood. The light at the end of the tunnel is starting to get brighter-looks like the sun is coming up over the horizon :)

Morning Chaos

My morning so far: Both kiddos wound up in my bed at 5:30…they finally convinced me to get up at 6. Cleaned a little because I’m having company over today (I think), cooked breakfast, changed 2 poopie diapers, fed both kids…and cleaned up the eggtastic mess my 11mo old left all over the living room….jumped on the computer to update my client’s website/social networking pages, ran into some technical issues, so I had to call the designer to figure out the problem-while trying to comfort my 11mo who crawled into my office door and was screaming bloody hell…fought my way through washing faces/noses/brushing hair and teeth, allowed the older kiddo to pick out his own clothing, and fought with the younger one to put his on…. finally cleaned myself up to look presentable for the day and I’m finally ready to drop the older one off to school…running late, but on my way out the door nonetheless. WHEW! What a morning…

Oh and did I mention that all of this occurred while I had about 5 hot flashes?