Birthday Blog

I’ve made it a tradition to blog on my birthday.

Birthdays make me even more introspective than usual, and I often feel compelled to write around this time of year.  This year is no exception, except…I don’t know what to write about exactly.

(and now I sit here watching the cursor blink for about 5 minutes, give or take)

I just got a massage (another birthday tradition of mine) and now I am sitting in a Starbucks (Tradition #3) feeling my caffeinated blood ooze past my loopy muscles and greased-up skin.  I suspect my brain has been turned to mush as a result.

During my massage, I desperately tried to stay in the moment and focus on how my body felt.  Part of this is because I want to get my money’s worth.  To me, massages are expensive and I usually only get them once a year.  But I also just want to be able to quiet my mind and get my body to freaking relax, or more accurately,  to allow my body to surrender to the relaxation that is happening to it.

Because I spend most of my time with a screaming, whining, giggling toddler, my adult mind is often off in left field having some imaginary conversation with an adult – any adult – I wish were there with me.  It’s hard to stay in the present, and I feel disappointed in myself that I often seem to be wishing away the present and fantasizing about being somewhere else, some time else.  Because I feel bad about this, I try very hard to highlight the times when I wouldn’t rather be anywhere else – when I want to be right here, right now.

One example of me wanting to be here now pops up from my past life as a therapist.  I was with a client I had seen longer than any other and to whom I felt particularly dedicated.  She was chronically depressed and wouldn’t admit to having many strengths.  In my office, this client picked up a broken kids’ toy – I think it was trying to be a toy ukulele or something, but it was missing strings – and she made music with it.  It was incredible.  I remember thinking to myself, This is why I do therapy.  This, right here.

Another example from the recent past: my kid is just starting to say Mama and Dada in context and with meaning.  Oh man, how amazingly wonderful it is to hear my boy call out my name.  Recently, we’ve been playing this game where I ask Dylan what my name is.  It goes like this:

Me:  Hey Dylan, can you say Mama?

D:  …Ma-ma!

Me:  Yay!  Now what’s my name?

D:  DADA!! (we both laugh)

Me:  Noooo, Daddy’s at work!….Can you say Mama?

D:  Mama!

Me:  What’s my name?

D:  DADA!!

We collapse in giggles, and I savor the moment.  I don’t want to be anywhere else.

So, mindfulness.  I had to reel my mind back in several times during today’s massage, and I did my very best to enjoy the time, to enjoy the feeling, and to enjoy my body.

That’s the other thing, is that during the massage I found myself thinking about how in awe of my body I am.  The last time I got a massage, I was about 8 months pregnant with Dylan.  I was hot and sweaty and swollen and in pain and huge.  A lot has changed since then.  My body has morphed.  Transformed.  Been made new.  And so I found myself saying thank you to my body through the massage, as the therapist moved her hands over my body that felt like waves gently lapping on my fleshy shores.  Thank you, thank you, thank you.

My mind wandered again—>  The first time I ever got a massage was after my cancer surgery.  My roommate heard me complain (a lot) about how sore and broken I felt, and she got my friends together and they all gave me a gift certificate for one.  I want to make a joke and say that she got it for me just so she wouldn’t have to hear me bitch about it anymore, but she just wanted me to feel better and I think she knew I’d never go and get one for myself.  Another thank you is in order.

So, on the anniversary of my body becoming my own, here’s to loving my body and thanking it for the places it’s taken me and all it’s given to me.

And here’s to celebrating the here-and-nows that make the time in between well worth it.

 

Glowsticks and Pacifiers

So, for Christmas, Brian and I were given a fabulous sound system for our living room TV setup.  We’re very excited about it.

Picture us with our toddler having our nightly pants-off dance-off in the living room, this time with better quality music.

Begin scene.

Brian: (breathless) Man, it’s so great to have some bass in here!

Me: (equally breathless) …My butt has always been this big.  And you’re welcome.

B: …

M:  (seriously) Yes, I know!  The sound quality is great!  We should share this with the world!

B: You want me to turn it up?

M: No…we should do one better.  We should throw a rave!!!!!!

B: (doing the running man) We totally should!  We have those glowsticks left over from Halloween!

M: (doing the mashed potato) …AND WE HAVE PACIFIERS!!

My kid: (flailing wildly)  YAAAAAA-YAAAAAAAA!!!!!

M:  See?!  Dylan thinks this is a rad idea and will have no trouble sharing his pacis.

B:  But what can we offer our guests in terms of herbal refreshment?

M:  Ummm…I still have a bottle of max-strength ibuprofen left over from delivering Dylan!  Sure to give a medium-sized person some moderate anti-inflammatory action!

B:  (doing the sprinkler) Cat tranquilizers!

M:  (doing the roger rabbit) From our move up here!  YEEEESSSS!  Damn cat wouldn’t eat them, so it’s her loss!!  And speaking of loss, everyone will have to surrender their pants at the door, in keeping with tradition.

B:  We can throw in some Children’s Tylenol for good measure.  I think we have the makings for a great party.

M:  Not great.  THE GREATEST.

Dylan:  (still flailing) YAAAAAAAAAAA!!!

M:  I’ll have my assistant draw up some plans in the morning.


Who wants to come to our rave, y’all?!?!

My 2015: Wading through the shit

My 2015 was tough.

I feel like I’ve been saying that about every year for a while now.  2012 was probably my most recent “comfortable” year, even though that was the year I studied my butt off for the two hardest exams I’ll ever take in my entire life and became a licensed therapist as a result.  I say “comfortable” because I was still in my comfort zone, both professionally and personally.

In 2012 I was cohabitating with my long-term partner.   At that time we’d both been in the same location, same apartment, same jobs for the previous 4 years.  We were growing, just slowly, and it was nice.  We were growing towards making the commitment to get married.  We were both approaching a point at our jobs where we felt competent, yes, but we also increasingly felt like we had outgrown them.

I didn’t know it at the time, but 2012 catapulted me into a whirlwind of change where I’m still feeling the effects.

I got licensed and promoted at work.  Brian and I got engaged, then married, then pregnant.  We quit our jobs and moved out of state for Brian’s dream job (!), bought our first house, had a baby (which was my dream job) and I ended up being a stay at home mom.  Whew.

Scaling back to just the last year: my kid grew from 4 months old to 16 months old and changed every day.  He started sleeping through the night.  Like, 10-12 hours at a time sleeping through the night.  It was glorious!  He started solids, we made the difficult decision to stop breastfeeding.  He sat up, he crawled, he walked.  He fell down.  A lot.  He’s signed over 15 signs to us, and he’s said 3 words.  He’s shown us delicious bits of his glowing, giddy personality and I can’t wait to see more.

As for me, in 2015 I started to feel like a mom.  I started to feel competent, which goes a long way in preserving my day-to-day sanity.  I was able to meet my kid’s needs.  We developed a schedule, and I learned to be flexible with it.  I got us out of the house, even forced us out, when I knew we/I needed it.  We stayed in when I didn’t feel like forcing it.  I fought my mom guilt.  I did projects around the house.  I actually kept an exercise schedule!  I made an effort to make friends – this was huge for me.

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In many ways, I feel like 2015 was a rebirth year for me.  Sure, I gave birth to a human the previous year, but this year I was getting to know a new me as well as my newborn son.  Everything about me felt different, and it was incredibly disorienting.  At the beginning of the year, I was still struggling to find my way out of the fog that is new motherhood.  And make no mistake- that fog is all-encompassing.  Physically, mentally, spiritually.  I didn’t recognize my body.  None of my clothes fit right.  I physically didn’t feel like myself.  The emotional highs were very high and the lows were scary low.  I was moody, frustrated, irritable.  I often felt lost and alone.  I isolated, because that’s easy to do.  And spiritually, I questioned if being a mother was going to feel fulfilling for me and my life.  Everything had changed, my world was rocked, and I was wading through all the shit (literally) as best I could.

So, slowly, slowly I found my way out of this.  And of course I had to mourn the fact that there was no turning back the way I came to reclaim the person I once was and the life I once had.  I had to make a new way.  I had to reinvent myself.  I basically went through a puberty and coming-of-age stage all over again, and I am still getting to know the new me.

I remember, soon after Dylan was born, a neighbor commented to me in passing about how he couldn’t imagine his life without his kids, who were something like 2 and 4.  At that time, I could totally imagine my life without a screaming poop machine.  I wished for that life back on a daily basis!  I rolled my eyes at his cliche and moved on with my day.

So the big deal is that at one point later on this year I remember indulging in my daily wish of going back to our old apartment in California, to our old jobs and our old town where we felt happy and competent and young and free.  And then I realized – we couldn’t do that.  Because I would miss him.  I would miss Dylan!  Everyone talks crap about love at first sight with their babies, and while that may be true for some, I had to get there in my own good time, and this was one moment for me.  I would miss my son too much.  My gooey, giggly, blue-eyed little boyman.

There you have it, my meandering year in review.  It was a tough one, but transformation is rarely easy.

50 Happy Things for 2015: Bloggers Unite in Flood of Gratitude

We are flooding the interwebs with positivity and gratitude today, Psychos!  After reading this, I hope you feel inspired to do the same.

I’m about to start a timer for 10 minutes (with a 2 minute grace period in case I am in the middle of an amazing thought when the first buzzer sounds) to list 50 things I am thankful for.  Let’s see how I do.

Ready, set, GO!

  1. My cute, sweet son.  He brings me joy.
  2. My husband.  He supports me unlike any other.
  3. My health, my health, my health.
  4. That we have a cozy roof over our heads this winter season.
  5. My education.
  6. Cookies.  My mom just sent my favorite kind in the mail!
  7. My mom!
  8. The rest of my family of origin.
  9. Books.  They take me to another place when I feel crappy in the place where I’m at.
  10. Movies, especially gooey Christmas ones at the moment.  Just watched Love Actually…squee!
  11. Socks.  My feet are always cold.
  12. Modern medicine.  Because illness sucks.
  13. My ability to learn new things.
  14. My husband’s patience with me…because being a SAHM is hard, and too often I take my frustrations out on him.
  15. Presents!
  16. String cheese.  Well, all kinds of cheese for that matter.
  17. Friends, especially the kind who tell you that you’re just as messed up as everyone else.
  18. My cat, even though she barfs on the floor.
  19. Jokes and humor and laughing.  Because I’d die otherwise.
  20. Coffee.  Like, good coffee.  Not coffee I make myself.
  21. (shit, I am halfway through my time limit!) Common sense people.  Like, non-cray peeps.
  22. Sunny days!  MY GOD, THE SUN!
  23. Swear words.  They are always funny.  Fuck.
  24. Having the means to travel.  Going to new places renews me.
  25. Cutting down our own Christmas tree, and how it smells.
  26. Ice cream. (How did I not write this yet?!)
  27. Moisturizer.
  28. Chapstick.
  29. Clean water coming out of the tap.
  30. Living in America.
  31. Indoor plumbing.
  32. Cereal!  I eat it everyday.
  33. Orgasms.
  34. The fact that I got through school before the time of social media.
  35. People who go out of their way to be kind.
  36. The Daily Show.
  37. Music that makes me wanna sing and dance – like Bruno Mars.
  38. Having dance parties with my son.
  39. Making my son laugh.
  40. A warm, comfy bed.
  41. (Ok, so my 10 minutes just ran out….time to start the 2 minute grace period.) Farts.  They be funny.
  42. Old people.
  43. Blankets.
  44. Cherry coke.
  45. Brownies.
  46. Vivid dreams.
  47. Peace.
  48. Being privileged enough so I am able to help others.
  49. Grapes.
  50. Frosting.  (Whew!)

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NOW YOU! – What are you thankful for?

If you’d like to join in, here’s how it works: set a timer for 10 minutes; timing this is critical. Once you start the timer, start your list. The goal is to write 50 things that made you happy in 2015, or 50 thing that you feel grateful for. The idea is to not think too hard; write what comes to mind in the time allotted. When the timer’s done, stop writing. If you haven’t written 50 things, that’s ok. If you have more than 50 things and still have time, keep writing; you can’t feel too happy or too grateful! When I finished my list, I took a few extra minutes to add links and photos.
To join the bloggers who have come together for this project: 1) Write your post and publish it (please copy and paste the instructions from this post, into yours) 2) Click on the blue frog at the bottom of this post. 3) That will take you to another window, where you can past the URL to your post. 4) Follow the prompts, and your post will be added to the Blog Party List.
Please note that only blog posts that include a list of 50 (or an attempt to write 50) things that made you feel Happy or 50 things that you are Grateful for, will be included. Please don’t add a link to a post that isn’t part of this exercise.

What My Christmas List Says About Me

This year, I had trouble coming up with things to put on my Christmas list.  This is because I have a one-year-old and I live in a new house that is largely empty, which means I either want crap for my kid that I am too cheap to buy myself, or I want big-ticket items like sofas and wall-to-wall trampolines.

So what did I end up asking for?  I can’t believe I am about to tell you.

  1. Money for a mattress

Yup, I have become that person.  The one who asks for money.  It’s just that we’re trying to save up to furnish our home and saving is hard.  And our current mattress is decidedly not.  I’m tired of waking up with a hurtee back.

What this says about me:  I’m old and cranky.

2. A dustbuster

Oh dear.  I actually cringed when I saw my fingers typing the letters that make up that word.  But…I need something smaller than my hugeass vacuum to suck up the 763728294 messes that my kid and cat and husband make everyday.  I can’t drag out my vacuum because my back hurts from our damn old mattress and I’m lazy.

What this says about me:  I have become my mother.

3. Infinity scarf with pocket

So, I saw these on The View (maybe I should stop typing right there) and I thought they looked cute and practical!

What this says about me:  I am the caricature of a SAHM.

4. An electric toothbrush

I have been meaning to get one of these for myself, because I do the Type A thing where I brush super hard and I need to not do that.  But then I looked, and these things are fucking expensive.  And Christmas is right around the corner!  On the list it goes.

(Fun fact: My family exchanged lists, and I saw that my dad had the exact same item on his list.  And then I swear I could hear my brother roll his eyes all the way in California.)

What this says about me:  I am cheap.  I have also become my father, apparently.


 

And this, my Psychos, is why alcohol flows freely during the most wonderful time of the year, to cover up the shame.

What embarrassing things do you have on your list?!

Let’s Finish This Bitch

Well, this is it. 

I did NaBloPoMo. 

I wish I had had more time, because I actually still have some great ideas for posts, but not enough time in which to flesh them out. Plus, blogging from my phone sucks. 

On the other hand, I wrote some things I’m pretty proud of. I pushed myself in ways I wouldn’t have if I hadn’t committed to blogging every single day for a month. 

At the same time, I’m looking forward to returning to living my daily life for the sake of living it (or for the sake of keeping my kid alive)  instead of for the sake of blogging about it. 

Thank you to my new readers! Thank you to the Nano Poblano team who supported me. I’m so sorry that I wasn’t able to read and comment on more blogs this month.  There’s been a lot going on. 

And now it’s time for me to shave this mustache. That’s what we’ve been doing this whole month, right?

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Throwing Out is Hard to Do

While I’ve been back in my childhood home, I’ve been going through boxes of my old stuff in an effort to reduce clutter in my life. 

One issue is that I am a sentimental person, and even as a kid, I kept everything. Ticket stubs, brochures, every paper I wrote, every exam I took…I saved it all. I wish I could go back and tell my younger self to let go of stuff, because it’s making it harder for me to get rid of it now. 

I go through an inner struggle with many items I come across. Do I need this?  Do I have space for this? Will I miss this? Oh, but it’s evidence of my hard work and/or good times!

Gah. 

Some things are easier to throw out than others. Math exams? Gone. Old birthday cards? Trashed. But some things are just too good to go. 

  

This freaking awesome life-sized cardboard cutout was given to me by my college boyfriend and I can’t let it go. It has nothing to do with who gave it to me, it’s just a really bitchin’ thing to have on hand. 

Legolas was there at my college graduation party, proudly displaying my cap and gown. He’s watched over me sleeping all those years. He valiantly posed for countless drunken selfies with my roommates and me before selfie was even a word. He’s been more loyal than most partners. And damnit, even though he has no real use, he’s not going anywhere. 

  
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Mystery Guest Post

Today, we have a very important guest blogger here at Psychobabble who needs no introduction. 

Yes, it’s NaBloPoMo, but I’m on vacation and I’m tired.  Give me a break. (Who decided to make NBPM during the holiday season, anyway? Someone who hated quality family time, that’s who.)

Without further ado:

Kfsdjkkggxb3567789 bhfdhjjvn&);:?&@&&,..,,…,,??!’c

This post was brought to you by the cutest 15 month old I know. 

You’re welcome, blogosphere. 

 

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Gush

I’m gonna be a braggy, gushy mama for a second. 

It’s so awe inspiring to watch my little man learn and grow. So quickly, too.  And to be able to share that with family in short bursts. 

For instance, on this trip so far, the kid has started enthusiastically signing ‘dog’ for the first time, and just tonight he said his third word in context for the very first time – kitty.  The cutest part– he whispers it, like it’s a smug little secret. 

We’ve counted, and he can produce 14 signs and can follow simple verbal commands!

 

my attempt at capturing his first haircut this week…

 
This is so fun, you guys. 

So proud of my little boy. 

/gush

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