Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Deja Vu

Things I'm NOT going to do:
1) Get down on myself 
2) Be disgusted with my body
3) Injest food that provides no nutritional benefit
4) Feel sorry for myself
5) Apologize for where I'm at
6) Stop fighting

Things I AM going to do:
1) Be patient with myself
2) Be proud of all my body is capable of
3) Drink water like its going out of style
4) Move my body
5) Eat purposefully and nutritiously
6) Trust the process
7) Keep fighting

Nearly six years ago, I remember having this crippling pain in my side.  At times it would take my breath away.  I just toughed it out for a few days.  I didn't know what else to do.  Eventually I freaked myself out enough to make a doctor's appointment and get it checked out.  I went into the doctor's office and told him I had this mysterious pain on my left side for the past 5 days, and didn't know what it was.  I got a full battery of questions, tests, pokes, prods, etc.  Still nothing.  Well, let's do a CT Scan and see if its kidney stones, or what.  For some reason, a CT Scan seemed so serious- was that really necessary?  So into the weird tube I went.  I had convinced myself I was dying by this point.  CT Scan came back with nothing.  Not even a kidney stone.  Verdict?  Diverticulitis.  Treatment?  Take some Advil and rest.  Awesome.  Five days of pain and $900 later, I take some Advil and rest.  

I suppose this was a turning point of sorts for me though, I remember when they weighed me at the beginning of the appointment, seeing a number I had never seen before.  This little "scare" pushed me to start taking better care of myself, and about 2 weeks later I started this blog.  

Fast forward to this weekend.  On Saturday I started coming down with a headache.  I didn't think too much of it, took some Advil, and went on with my day.  By middle of the night, and into Sunday, it was unbearable.  I couldn't sleep, I couldn't open my eyes, I just wanted a new head.  Soon the nausea kicked in, and I couldn't even keep water down.  Of course I had myself convinced I had a brain tumor or worms eating my brain, and I had days left on the planet.  All I wanted was to cuddle with my son, but all he wanted to do was shriek in my face and bounce on my stomach.  By the end of the day, convinced things were just not right, I had the hubs take me to Urgent Care.  Some anti-nausea meds, a shot in the butt, and a script for Imitrex, I was good to go.  Until the middle of the night and my headache returned with a vengeance.  I decided a trip the to ER was in order- something just wasn't right.  Blood work, morphine IV, and CT scan- another CT scan?  Really?  This time only my head went into the ring but I was pretty out of it.  I couldn't keep my eyes open.  Verdict?  Everything looked fine.  Treatment?  Rx for some fancy Aleve, rest, and water.  Awesome.  Worst headache ever, $1000? later, I take some Aleve and drink water.  

This is another turning point for me.  I wanted nothing more than to feel normal when my head was about to explode.  I kept thinking it all had something to do with how I've been treating my body the last year, and how if I were at a more normal weight, I wouldn't be dealing with this.  I never want to feel like that again.  With that pain fresh in my mind, I've been making good decisions.  I want to continue to make good decisions, for me, for my body, so I can live the longest life possible and enjoy every shriek and stomach bounce thrown my way.  There is nothing greater in my life than absorbing the energy of my 2 year old, and feeling my best to accept it.  

Monday, August 17, 2015

First-Time Mom Fails- 3 Day Potty Training

I've been meaning to get back to this space for some time, but I don't know where the time keeps going.  I wake up each morning, and its a new month.  Part of my hesitation is deciding what I want to discuss here.  Initially I used this blog for accountability with my quest to be the healthiest me I could be- I am still on that quest, I use Instagram more for that now since that's about all I have time for (@imissmycollarbone).  I've also shared other life anecdotes as I saw fit.  I got married, had a baby, and moved half way across the country, all shared on this blog- but I don't want this to turn into a mommy blog, or working mom blog, or mom getting fit blog.  I think I'll just come here when I have something to say.  This weekend was a big learning leap for me.  

Up until a few weeks ago, potty training was not even on my radar, despite near constant reminders from my mom that I was potty trained at 16 months, and my sister at 15 months.  But then I started seeing friends around me with kids similar ages posting stuff on Facebook about potties and successful potty incidents.  I began to panic, thinking I was behind the curve (first time mom rule #1 broken- comparing my kid/parenting to others).  Around that same time, a friend of mine clued me into a 3-day plan she would be trying when the time was right for her.  

I read through this popular 3-day method guidance, and was intrigued!  It sounded legit.  I wanted to get on board with this method, and be done with diapers!  First time mom rule #2 broken- unrealistic expectations.  Even though reading through the book gave me some serious side-eye at times, I thought, "hey? What do I have to lose?"  The book claimed that 22 months is the ideal age to potty train any child, boy or girl.  They don't even have to show signs, or even know the words for potty yet.  This was the first side-eye moment for me. The next was where it said throw out all the diapers in your house.  I had at least $60 of diapers.  I was not going to throw them away.  Hide them, sure, donate them, sure.  Toss them?  No.  Deep down, I knew my kid was not ready for this.  I bought two potties- one for the upstairs bathroom, and one for the downstairs bathroom.  I looked at the calendar, and I saw that in August, the daycare had 2 mandatory shut-down days for end of year maintenance.  The squirt would be nearly 23 months!  I decided that is when we would go for the 3 days.  I would take Friday off work, and we would have a potty staycation, and on Monday our son would be going to daycare in underwear.  

For the month leading up to the staycation, after the potties showed up, our son successfully used them here and there, when we could tell he had to go.  There was no pressure- just getting him used to the idea.  A few days before the 3-day training, our son was in the habit of stopping at the potty on the way to bed, peeing, and then I would put his diaper and PJ's on.  Oh, he's soooo ready I thought.  First time mom rule #3 broken- overconfidence in your/your child's abilities.  The Thursday night before I planned to start, I went to Target and bought 19 pairs of little boxer briefs.  The hubs was on board with the program, but he had to work all day on Friday, so I would be alone.  I made sure to have easy to eat snack on hand, and mentally prepared to be cleaning up accidents, frequent underwear changes (for son) and tons of laundry. 

Friday- Day 1.  I decided to keep a diary of potty events for the day.  Verbatim, this is what I had:
8:10a- diaper off, had (sons name) ceremoniously throw in trash, underwear on.
10:27a- peed on kitchen floor when I went to the bathroom (4 feet away with door open)
11:37a- peed in high chair during lunch
12:19p- pooped outside- seems to fear potty
12:27p- peed outside, carried him to potty
12:40p- put down for nap (no diaper/pull-up)
3:25p-   woke up, had peed at least twice, soaked head to toe.
4:48p-   peed by his toy hot dog cart in living room.
6:35p-   bath
7:00p-   put him in a pull-up, and put to bed.

Not mentioned above is the number of times I said "tell mom when you need to go potty."  Or asked him "are your underwear dry?" (I estimate both were in the 100's)  Both received no response, no reaction.  The guidance assured me that was normal- it was sinking in even if child wasn't acknowledging.  First time mom rule #4 broken- taking parenting advice from someone that has never met you/your child.  After the kiddo was asleep, and I was doing laundry for the next day, I thought "that wasn't so bad."  First time mom rule #5 broken- never assume you've seen the worst.  If so, you WILL see the worst.  Sure, it was exhausting doing nothing but watching my son all day, never leaving the house, and following him everywhere, BUT there were only 6 underwear changes all day.  And, the next day I'd have my hubby home to help with the watching.

Day 2 went NOTHING like Day 1:
6:18a- woke up, took off pull-up, had him sit on potty- nothing
7:20a- started to pee in kitchen, brought him to potty.  Done by the time we got there.
7:35a- pooped in undies in the sunroom.  He gave me a heads up, but then refused to go to the potty.
7:50a- peed in the kitchen after sitting on the potty for a few seconds with dad.
8:00a- peed a little on couch- walked himself to bathroom, underwear change
8:10a- peed a little- changed underwear in bathroom
8:16a- peed in front of window waving bye to dad- changed underwear in front of window
8:50a- peed on bathroom floor- wouldn't sit on potty for more than 2 seconds
9:16a- peed on couch, brought him to potty.  Changed underwear
9:18a- peed on kitchen floor- residual holding from few minutes prior?
9:40a- peed on kitchen floor while I was switching laundry- dad was in kitchen "watching" him

And then I stopped documenting.  12 underwear changes before 10am, and I just didn't have the patience to keep a diary on my phone.  We kept up with the protocol- watching him to catch him in the act, taking him to the bathroom, telling him wet underwear were not where it was at, quizzing him on having dry underwear, reminding him to tell us when he had to potty.  It was exhausting.  But I was keeping my eye on the prize.  First time mom fail #6- realizing something is not working and stubbornly continuing.  We somehow made it through the rest of the day...nap time was in a pull-up, and we went swimming for 2 hours in the afternoon- the only out of the house activity we could do where peeing himself wouldn't ruin for all of us.  Two days of following the protocol to a "T" and we had zero pee in the potty.  I had a much better record not doing anything at all.  

On Day 3, I went rogue.  I stopped following the stupid guidelines in the book and kept my kid on the potty till he finally went pee.  I celebrated like crazy.  I let him "wash" (he's obsessed with washing his hands).  It was fun, he was happy (during and after the celebration, NOT while on the potty).  I kept this up throughout the day, and he peed a whole bunch in the potty.  I could clearly see that he wasn't making the connection though between any feelings he had, and what ended up in the potty.  He liked the celebrating, but had no idea why we were celebrating.  He went to sleep in a diaper, I made the hubs go out and get ice cream.

I was mad at myself.  Not for trying this out, but for abandoning everything I already learned in my first 6 months as a mom.  I learned quick that what works for one kid may not work for another.  I learned that everyone approaches things differently, and that is ok.  I also learned, most importantly, that kids do things on their own time, when they are ready, and more often than not, it is easiest to just let them guide the way.  I know all these things.  Knowing all these things has kept me relaxed as a parent, and my kid super happy (for the most part).  Luckily, another thing I have learned is that kids are super resilient, and this will all be water under the bridge.  

Who is teaching who here?  :)     

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Grandma and her Gardenia

"How many buds are on the gardenia plant now, Fred?"  My 92 year old grandma asks my uncle in her southern-now-east coast accent.  "The same, Ma" my uncle responds back.  This was a frequent exchange, daily.  In addition, any new eyes that came to the house were asked to do a check for buds on the gardenia.  My grandma was obsessed with this plant ever since last year, when it had over 30 blooms on it at one time.  It was her prize plant, and she wanted frequent daily updates as to whether or not the buds were blooming since was unable to look for herself.  For weeks, the plant held green buds, but none of them had opened.  She was concerned the green buds were just going to fall off, and wanted multiple counts, daily.   

Half of my mom's side of the family is Italian (her father/my grandpa).  Although it feels like all of the relatives in the small Connecticut town are Italian because my grandma was a lone wolf when she met my grandfather.  My grandfathers family was dominant in numbers, dominant in opinions.  My grandfather had two siblings, a sister and a brother, both of which married and produced a few cousins for my mom and her 5 (now 4) siblings.  Of course those cousins had little ones, which became third cousins for me, my sister, and our first cousins.  The majority of this family still resides in the dilapidated coastal town that saw its heyday in the WWII era.  Just as is traditional with Italian families, everyone lives close together (real close), eats a lot, and needs to have their voice heard.  

My mom fled the small town when she was 18 to join the Army.  After the Army, marriage, college, and starting a family, she moved back to Connecticut, but to a neighboring town.  After I was born, my mom, dad, sister, and I moved to a different, but still east coast state- Massachusetts.  We lived there for a bit before moving to the West Coast, where we pretty much remained.  I think my mom got a lot of flack for moving across the country, but she and my dad had their reasons, and personally, I'm happy they made the choice they did.  I would have a very different life if we had remained on the East Coast living so close to all the family, and all the drama.  We made frequent trips to Connecticut, I'd say at least once a year.  

I remember when my grandfather died in 2003, I became aware that my family and trips to Connecticut as I knew them would not be the same.  Since we would visit once a year, everything was always the same- we would see the same people, do the same things.  It's just how it was there.  And it was comforting.  My grandfathers funeral was low-key and well attended.  It was like a mini-family reunion, albeit sad circumstances.  My grandpa's sister Londie was the last remaining pure Italian relative from that side of the family.  My great-aunt Londie was very close to my mom and my mom's siblings.  They enjoyed her company immensely, and even more so after the passing of their father.

Early in January of this year, my mom took a trip to Connecticut to be with her mom.  My uncle lives upstairs in the house the family grew up in, my grandma has the bottom floor.  One of my aunts lives in a house across the street built on land my grandfather owned.  One of my other aunts used to live next door in a house built on the same land, but now her son (my cousin) lives there, and she lives a few blocks away.  Like I said, everyone is close.  My grandma started having a more difficult time caring for herself, so up until my mom arrived, my uncle and aunts were doing the majority of the care taking, along with some weekly home visits from hospice.  My mom spent a good 3 weeks getting bossed around by my grandma, feeding her, bathing her, and counting the gardenia blossoms. Throughout January, my mom would send me updates on my grandma, and when my mom cancelled her return flight to California at the end of January, I knew things were taking a different turn.  

Early Sunday morning, 2/1, my mom informed me great aunt Londie had passed.  Monday morning, 2/2, my mom informed me my grandmother had passed.  Just like I had in 2003, I contacted my sister to try and coordinate flights arriving into town around the same time to minimize people making airport trips.  Well, 12 years had passed since the last time we had to do this, and so much had changed.  I was in Kansas City (actually on my way to the airport headed to Texas for a meeting) not in Seattle, and my sister was in Portland.  Coordinating was just too difficult, so I let my boss know I'd be leaving the staff meeting early to fly to Connecticut.  

When I arrived in Connecticut late on a Thursday night, I walked into my grandma's house, and it was filled with relatives.  Even the full house couldn't compensate for the emptiness that was hanging in the air.  My grandma was a fierce red-head and her presence was always felt.  Friday morning was the funeral for Londie.  Saturday was the funeral for my grandma.  I had a long couple of days in front of me.    

Grandma's funeral was almost identical to my grandfathers, but with more people making their way through the funeral home to say good-bye.  I thought my grandma looked amazing, and so at peace.  In her hands she held two perfect, white, fragrant gardenias.  I learned at dinner after the funeral that my uncle went over to water the gardenia on Sunday, the day Londie died, and there was one bloom that had opened up overnight.  My uncle went into the room where my grandma was still alive, but in and out of consciousness to let her know.  The next morning, when my mom found my grandma had passed, another gardenia blossom had opened.  Sometimes, it is so hard to be present in times of grief, but stopping to think about how amazing it is that my grandma got to take those two perfect gardenia blossoms with her forever makes it just a little more bearable.  

RIP Madeline.  

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Ad Astra Per Aspera

...where we left off, our heroine was packing up the family and moving some 1,900 miles east.  

I wanted to come here to write many times immediately after our epic eastbound journey, to document the various cathartic moments along the way, but the longer I delayed writing them, the more I wanted to keep them to myself.  The best I can say now is that the trip provided closure on so many different levels.  It was unexpected, and utterly grand.  I was able to set foot in this new place to call home with 100% confidence I was doing the right thing,

We have been here 3 months now, nearly to the day. It has been an adjustment, but for the most part, things have gone relatively smooth.  After an initial 2 weeks in a extended-stay hotel, we signed a short apartment lease to give us time to house hunt.  The hubs has been a stellar SAHD, taking care of the millions of annoying things that crop up during the day when relocating to a new area.  Had we both had new jobs here right away, I don't think our transition would have been as smooth.  He was able to tour apartments while I was at work.  He was able to receive the moving truck of our belongings while I was at work.  He was able to update the dogs rabies and licenses so we could sign the lease while I was at work.  He was able to unpack our belongings, do all the grocery shopping, make meals, take care of the kid, ON and ON and ON...while I was at work.  

For the first time in the history of our relationship, we've had weekends off together, and have been making the most of those by exploring our new surroundings.  But now we are settled.  The rental apartment walls seem closer everyday.  The hubs is desperately missing adult conversation.  The kid is going stir crazy and is need of stimulation only early childhood educators can provide.  So, after 15 months of the kid being watched by either myself or the hubs, we enrolled him in part time day care.  Now the hubs has 2 kid free days a week to play Xbox (or look for a job).  Once Dave gains employment and knows his schedule, we can plan for more serious daycare, and buy a house.  I know these things take time.  I know in a few months it will seem like an eternity since we moved here and were living in a hotel (although, those first 2 weeks seemed really loooong).  I know soon we will have a house, and friends, and routine.  I'm working on enjoying the process, and trying not to rush things.  

The past 6 months have been all about the new job, and the move.  I've had my moments of getting my crap together eating/exercising wise, but nothing that I could hang on to for very long.  I'm not going to beat myself up about it, I'm done doing that.  What I am going to do is forgive myself, and start focusing on taking better care of me.  Through trial and error the past few months, I've realized the only time I can consistently get my workout in is in the morning.  So, 5am it is.  Through trial and error over the past 30 years, I've realized what foods work for me, and what foods don't.  I will be adopting a more "flexible eating" approach, tracking my protein, fat, and carbs to match specific targets each day.  Yes, it means tracking, weighing my food, and math.  But, it doesn't mean restriction, regret, or refusal of any food.  To me?  That sounds healthy.