Vocabulary Vixen

March 3, 2015

Ah, Parenting.

Filed under: Diapers,humor,Parenting,Reflections — VocabularyV @ 11:44 PM
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Parenting is a wonderful journey. At times it is mind-numbingly infuriating, but overall it’s pretty great. It’s a learning process, this parenthood business. While the child is learning how to live and function, the parent is also learning along with the child. What works for one week may completely backfire the next week. It is an ever-evolving process. We must be quick on our feet, for the instant we think that we have fallen into any sort of ‘routine’, the little one will be happy to throw a gigantic monkey wrench into it. My child LOVED to have her diaper changed in the beginning. She COULD NOT STAND even one drop of pee on her diaper and was incredibly vocal about it. I thought: “How wonderful! Potty training will be a breeze with this one!” She was great until about 11 months old.

One day, my daughter decided that she didn’t like getting her diaper changed anymore, and woe to the person who thought that they could change her diaper with ease. She cried, twisted, and writhed during her diaper changes. This once mundane, easy, routine task became a dreaded chore, and quickly. I would grit my teeth and get ready to hold her down with one leg while I quickly changed her diaper. Or tried to. More than once, she would escape and leave a gross little poop trail in her wake, or kick her leg into the poopy diaper before I could get it out of the danger zone. This has led to much anger and frustration on my part, as all I want to do is prevent her from sitting in her own mess and getting a gnarly diaper rash. Yes, this happened too. She has refused to mention that her diaper was poopy until it had worn into the skin and caused an awful rash.

In the aftermath of a few aforementioned horrible rashes, I had to step my game up as a parent. I had to evolve with my child. What used to work wonderfully now made her cross. What used to make her cross still made her cross. I was at a crossroads, and I, too was incredibly cross by all of this. By the end of any given day, I was tired, frustrated, and just plain wanted a drink once I got her to bed. While an occasional drink is great, feeling this way every single day is about the easiest way to begin the descent into alcoholism. This isn’t something that I wanted to do. I was exhausted, and something had to change. I considered calling her pediatrician to see if this was within the realm of normal infant behavior, or something worth exploring further (like an ear infection). A quick Google search later, I realized that this was a phase and that I would need to adjust my approach to her (and now my) vehement distaste for diaper changes.

I started with the basic suggestions to give her a toy to play with while changing her diaper (that worked for approximately one second), doing silly voices (two seconds), putting the diaper on my head first (it was a suggestion, and I was desperate. It distracted her for two and a half seconds), etc. My success was pretty spotty at best, but it was something. For over a month, I endured DiaperGate 2015. What eventually worked was a combination of things. It really depends on the day. No, not the day, the moment. Sometimes, she’s completely chill during the diaper removal, then totally spazzes out when I put the new diaper on. Others, it’s the opposite.

I came to realize a few things:

First and foremost, the most effective approach to this situation is to stay calm. At the time of the Google search, I realized that I needed to chill the heck out – my frustration only escalated her frustration.

I quickly learned that I needed to be proactive about her diaper status. Gone were the easy, lazy days of my daughter telling me that her diaper was wet or dirty. I had to step up my game in a serious way. I had to learn to stay keen and vigilant and activate my DDD (Dirty Diaper Detector – my nose).

I realized that in a way, she was still communicating with me about her diaper, just doing it differently. I noticed that she had started grabbing her diaper when it was wet, and if she had stopped what she was doing to grunt for a little bit, that usually meant that she had pooped. I started asking her if she needed her diaper changed before I checked her. This seemed to help the situation.

After checking her diaper status and finding that it did indeed need changing, I started telling her that it was time to change her diaper, then grabbed a diaper and the zinc ointment. (I used to use coconut oil for her sensitive skin, but since DiaperGate 2015, I’ve had to up my game.) Then I’d lay her down while talking to her, and start.

Overall, instead of getting frustrated with her and mourning the loss of my easy-diaper baby, I adapted and accepted the fact that parenthood is an ever-changing process. Our babies grow, and we grow along with them. Whether it’s learning patience, or learning which foods to feed, it’s constantly evolving and as infuriating as it can be at times, I love it. This week, my daughter is one year and one week old. The thing that I noticed? She’s suddenly not minding her diaper changes NEARLY as much as she was a week and a half ago.

June 22, 2014

Today is that day…

Filed under: Mental Health,Parenting,Reflections — VocabularyV @ 12:24 AM

What’s the use of a blog if I don’t post on it with some kind of frequency? Two days in a row? Too good to be true!

Today has been THAT kind of day. THAT kind of day where you just want to lay face down in bed; the kind where you just want to curl into a teeny little ball and find the darkest corner of your closet and cry. When The Child has been screaming on and off for 5 hours straight and you can’t put her down for more than 2 seconds without her screaming, there’s a problem. There is a problem when you can’t figure out what The Child needs. You’ve changed her diaper. She’s fed. You’ve tried to (god help you) put her down for a nap. She napped for 20 minutes twice (typical), and now she NEEDS SOMETHING. What, she is unable to tell you. At this point, you are unable to figure it out. You try everything. You walk with her, rock her, shush her, play music for her, attempt to nurse her (she won’t nurse, only scream). Finally you text your significant other (who is wise and ever-wonderful) with the following: “I am losing my shit.”

Yep. That’s been my day.

Fortunately for me, I’ve got a wonderful and supportive partner that will do everything in his power to come to my aid when I need it. Tonight, I needed it. He came home from work to help soothe The Child. Of course, she settled down almost immediately and started having a good old time now that Daddy was home! I am thankful for the blessings that I have in my life, do not get me wrong. When The Child Who Has Been Screaming All Night For Some Unknown Reason suddenly chills the fuck out in her daddy’s presence, that kind of makes Mommy feel like a complete and utter loser. Yep. I feel like complete shit because I don’t know how to calm my child the way he does. I do wonder if every mom or parent feels this way at some point.

There’s this new-ish term that I’ve heard floating around: “Ugly crying.” It makes perfect sense. Why didn’t we have a term for this before recently? I don’t know. What I DO know is that some “ugly crying” has definitely taken place tonight and my face is puffy, and, well, ugly at the moment. I try very hard to keep in mind that she’s just a baby and not to take it personally. I’ll be the first to admit that it’s hard not to take things personally, especially after she’s been wearing you down the entire night. By the time M got home, I was sobbing uncontrollably with her inconsolably screaming in my arms. I guess that’s ugly crying. The part where you’re making hiccuping sobs and can’t see straight.

How am I ever going to raise this child? I guess I’m gonna do it one step at a time, one foot in front of the other, like I’ve done just about everything else in my life. I hope I can raise this child whilst keeping some shred of sanity¬†dignity¬†something.

June 21, 2014

It’s been Awhile!

Blog Re-Boot. Here we go.

Yes, it’s been like 4 years. A lot has happened since then. Here’s the gist: Abusive relationship, left abusive relationship, new guy, new life, new job, my dad died, and recently, a new child! All quite succinct given my previous blog posts. I will probably eventually elaborate on all of these topics, but if I were to start that tonight, I wouldn’t finish for many, many days – even typing 80 wpm or so. So for tonight, I will just lament on what’s been rolling around in my head recently.

I recently got laid off due to budget cuts. (Hence, the time to re-boot my blog!) There were certain factors at play behind the layoffs, but long story short, budget cuts. So, I’ve had a lot of time on my hands lately. Well, as much time as a now 4-month old will allow. Said 4-month old is currently sleeping very lightly on my bed. I am waiting for her to go into a deeper sleep so that I may very gently extricate her from the bed and put her in the crib. The pregnancy and birth of my daughter will also be elaborated upon at some point in the near future.

I LOVE my daughter more than life itself. There is no question about it. I came into this parenthood thing knowing that it would be difficult and trying. Or, at the very least, keeping that in mind without actually having a clue a to what the fuck I was actually in for! Fortunately, she has been “an easy baby”, and I am quite thankful. However, this child is NOT ALWAYS “an easy baby”. HATS OFF to the parents of “difficult” babies. I would have lost my shit ten times over.

With my child, there are days and times where I am TRYING to do OTHER things besides be with my child 24/7. Like the dishes, or EATING FOOD. I try to explain to my dearest little daughter that ‘Mommy needs food. Mommy needs to eat so you can eat.” To no avail. Even so, she will fuss for whatever reason. Yes, I’ll get it out of the way: “How DARE I do something ELSE besides blow raspberries at my daughter!!” For that, I’m a terrible mother. Ha.

Raising children is stressful. I’m not saying anything that hasn’t already been said somewhere out there. This is not new news. I’m here to say: “I get it.” I get the post-partum depression thing (which kicked my ass by the way). The thing that I am about to say might set the internet on fire, but I will be the first to admit that I get exactly why shaken baby syndrome is a thing. It’s a horrible thing. I would never, never, NEVER shake my baby. But, I see why it’s a thing. When the baby is screaming, crying her eyes out for no apparent reason; or even when you’ve got a million other things to do, you’ll be like: “WHAT DO YOU WANT?!!!” And then you’ll feel terrible for being slightly exasperated with an innocent child whose only means of communication is crying. I have had many moments like this. Each and every time, I have had to put my child down for a second and go collect myself in the other room.

Parenthood teaches patience. And keeping your cool when you are frustrated. (NOT just keeping cool to avoid getting the shit beat out of you, but that’s another story for another day). I’m slowly figuring out how to be patient with my screaming child. I look at how I was raised, and though I love my mother dearly, there are some things that were kind of in this “gray area” of “not quite perfect”. (Again, another post for another day). There are certain behaviors that I would like to discontinue in raising my daughter. Boy, that is going to be far easier said than done. Mom, I totally get it. Hopefully, she will have the right mix of not being a total pansy like me and recognize early on that it’s not personal. Hopefully I can keep my goddamned cool. I have not had a great track record of keeping my cool thus far. (M might beg to differ – or not. It’s up to him.) I feel like awareness of my attitudes and behaviors is key – so long as I am conscientious (did I actually spell that one right??) of my feelings and actions.

Writing helps me sort it all out. I’ve written in diaries since I was 12. I still keep a diary to help sort this shit out. I find that when I write, my head is clearer, and I can get all of my thoughts out somewhere so that they are not just bouncing around in my brain, creating this “mental clutter”. (I hate clutter in any form! Another post, though…) Writing is like my pensieve. And I will continue to use it as such.

January 23, 2010

Yeah, it’s kinda like “Monk”

I’ve resigned myself to the fact that I am one of those inconsistent bloggers. The bloggers that people seem to like, and really have a lot of potential, but probably won’t ever reach the Superstar Status of Heather Armstrong over at Dooce.com, or Rachel Robinson at The-F-Word.org. I do, however, still carry with me this relentless compulsion to write, write, write, about what is going on, and that has recently taken the form of pelting my friends, family, and workplace with e-mails. Yes, I type very quickly. 80+ wpm, and I can get a LOT of thinking out in a very short period of time. It was recently brought to my attention that this is a problem in The Workplace. I didn’t realize how big of a problem it was until I got gobsmacked in the face with the startling realization that: “THAT COUNTS, TOO?!?!!!!” As in, that ALSO counts as an obsessive-compulsive act?

And so, I realized that this OCD monster has gotten way out of hand. So far out of hand that it has literally affected EVERYTHING I do, and every single facet of my life. Now that I am aware of the issue, that is helpful. What isn’t helpful is that honestly, sometimes Ignorance is Bliss. I was HAPPY knowing that I could just send a quick 5-page e-mail to my boss and let her know every single key that was awry at the coffee shop. Problem solved. I felt that it was completely justifiable to send this, because I’m sort of the one that’s out “on the front lines”, and if I don’t tell them, then they just plain may not be aware of the problem. And I would then feel horrible if something awful happened and I had this knowledge that could have prevented disaster all along. So, I’d send the e-mail, and then I’d feel better knowing that I’d passed along that knowledge. The intent was good. The actual execution, and the reason behind that intent, I’ve come to realize: ***BUZZZZZZZ*** WRONG! NOT SO GOOD!

If anybody out there is familiar with the torment that this disease causes, well, you know that it’s tough. If you’re not familiar, it is Hell on Earth. There are so many obsessions, compulsions, and rituals that we go through on a daily basis that the majority of the world out there isn’t even aware of that it’s ridiculous. The problem and realization that I’ve been facing this week is confronting HOW BAD IT’S GOTTEN. And then, further, HOW BAD IT’S GOTTEN WITHOUT MY REALIZATION!!! I go from Thought => Compulsion almost instantaneously, and I don’t even think about it. Yes, I’ve been vaguely aware of “Yeah, I’ve got OCD. It’s not THAT bad… anymore… Now that I’m working through some issues, it’s abated a little. Cool.” What I hadn’t realized was that I’ve gotten so efficient at dealing with it that I just DO these things without even THINKING about the anxiety and dread that I will feel WHEN I DON’T do them…

The catalyst for all of this? I went bowling last Monday night. At the time, I didn’t even think about how disturbing it was to me that I had to wash my hands between EVERY. SINGLE. FRAME. of bowling. And that when I went to grab some snacks, I specifically used my LEFT hand to eat, because I knew that my right hand would be “infected” by whatever greasy grimy things living inside that awful, dreaded bowling ball. Um. Yeah. I didn’t realize that this was really that much of an issue until the next day in therapy. And then it hit me: “Oh.” Oh. Crap. Double Crap. I don’t even FEEL anxiety anymore because things are so automatic. I don’t really feel anxious about my hands tingling because I take care of it right away by washing them. And that, the obsessions and compulsions change on a regular basis. I can recognize some of the more disturbing ones: cockroaches, bugs, etc… but there is a lot going on in the background that I’m just not aware of. And that there are a lot of things that I’ve been doing that ALSO qualify as obsessions and compulsions… And that it’s THE SAME DAMN THINKING PATTERNS, just different shit for my brain to latch on to.

My reaction? “Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck.” And I’ve done a lot of crying since then. I’ve come to realize that I’ve lost a LOT due to this horrendous, horrible DISEASE. I’ve been mourning that loss. I’ve been mourning the fact that I never really went to spend time with my grandmother, who passed away nearly two years ago, because of my DISEASE. I’ve mourned the fact that I don’t go home much to see my parents BECAUSE OF MY DISEASE. I’ve mourned the fact that I’ve not lived life even CLOSE to my potential because of this bastard.

I felt like a character at the end of a movie or TV show that suddenly realizes that THEY are the ones that are insane, dead, or hallucinating. That THEY are the one that’s been living in a delusion, and were perfectly happy living that delusion until the end. I felt like House at the end of the last season… That episode where he realizes that he completely hallucinated his tryst with Cuddy. It’s a horrendous feeling. The character that looks back at ALL of their actions pertaining to that particular delusion, and then finally sees everything clearly.

Truth be told, I was a little happier being ignorant to the severity of my problem. The door has been opened, though, and now I’ve got to face it. I could keep kidding myself into thinking that I can handle it, and then I would get locked up into more obsessive thinking and resulting compulsions.

The thing is, that when I tell people this, people don’t know how to react. The normal reaction is: “Well, everybody’s a little OCD. We’ve all got our quirks.” Do your quirks take up every waking moment of your life? Do you find that you HAVE to do these things, and that if you don’t, you will feel sick? Do you feel a tingling sensation 7 minutes after the last time you washed your hands, and do you know that in order to relieve that tingling sensation, you must wash your hands again? Are your hands then constantly cracked and bleeding in the winter? Or, another reaction is: “Oh, kind of like Monk, right?” Yeah, I guess so. I’ve never watched that particular show, namely because there are certain things and ideas that I shouldn’t expose myself to. Or, the actor has never really tripped my trigger, and watching things about OCD people makes me uncomfortable. So, yeah, to answer the question: “It’s kinda like Monk.”

Needless to say, I’ve been a little bit pissed off to realize that my disease has literally taken over my life. And even MORE pissed off to realize that it’s done so without me even realizing it. Why? Because that’s the way it is. Will I ever be “normal”? Uh, I don’t know. I know what normal sort of feels like, and I know that I want to go back to that feeling of feeling good… I may need more intensive therapy than I’d ever even realized, though, and THIS is something that I’m NOT happy about.

Must I resign my life to a constant awareness, a consistent, and relentless vigilance about this monster? I hope not. Now that I’ve had a TASTE of something better, I want more. I crave more. I’m addicted to being normal. I’m addicted to higher brain function. I’m addicted to being smart, talented, and witty. It FEELS GOOD to NOT be chained down by these monsters. I’ve had brief moments of this, and like the drug addict, I’m hungry for more. I hope that these moments of happiness haven’t been due to me completely and utterly deluding myself into thinking that I was okay. Therein lies the trick to all of this.

How do I go about fixing all of this? I don’t know. I don’t know the first thing about it, apparently. I do know that if I get rid of one obsession, there is always another ready to take its place. It is wily and deceiving to the largest degree, and now I have to be aware of that, too. There’s already enough shit that I have to take care of, WHY THIS?! They say that knowledge is power. Sometimes, I disagree with that. When the OCD is running out of control, I think of all the articles I’ve read, all of the 20/20-like exposes on “How germy IS your world, really?” That’s bullshit.

I think that overall, our society has become TOO sterilized, and TOO phobic, and that does not help individuals like myself. I can turn anywhere and see: “Antibacterial THIS! Get rid of your germs HERE! Germs are Evil! They will Contaminate you and YOU WILL DIE!” Rationally, I’ve also read enough to know that germs are a healthy part of us, and that we’ve put WAAAAAY too much stock into this War on Germs. I also know that we survived for thousands of years BECAUSE of the symbiotic relationship we have with germs. I know this. Rationally. I find comfort in knowing things rationally and logically. Finding a rational and logical solution for something is what keeps me sane. Knowing that the OCD is NOT rational, or logical by ANY stretch of the imagination and that I will have to exhibit PATIENCE with myself as I poke this beast and get rid of it, or manage it effectively, does not make me feel sane.

I want the OCD to not be a part of my life. I’d rather just ignore it and hope that it will go away. Now that I’ve opened that box, though, I can’t. I’ve got to full-on FACE this thing, and learn how to deal with it so that I can live my life fully. Because what I’ve been doing? Functioning? Mere function ISN’T GOOD ENOUGH. Ignoring the problem? NOT GOOD ENOUGH. I want to be FREE OF IT. Or, at least, as FREE AS I CAN BE. I want to go to the store without having to come home and wash my hands of all of the other people that have touched my groceries before me. I want to drive my car without needing to wash my hands when I get home. I want to go more than 7 minutes without feeling the urge to wash my hands. I want to quit fucking worrying about whether or not people have gotten things taken care of. I want to just not have to deal with this.

I want to be free. There’s too much life to be lived without this shit.

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