Growing Pains

Growing Pains

I keep telling myself that I’m going to be more consistent, that I’m going to do a better job at keeping up with this… and then I fail miserably. It sucks, because this is just such a perfect way to encapsulate everything that’s going on in a moment or a period of time–my thoughts, feelings, and experiences. Sigh. At least I try.

Evangeline is nearly 19 months old and I’m left wondering where time went.

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She is an absolute chatterbox now with new words almost every day. She says “umbrella” alongside silly things like “dog-dog” instead of just plain old dog. It’s fun getting to know the little habits and ticks she’s developing as we watch her personality grow and come into its own.

She’s quick-tempered, stubborn, and willful; yet also compassionate, passionate, curious, and deeply observant. We struggle sometimes with bad behaviors she picks up from daycare, but at her core, she is a fantastic little girl. Watching her grow up is going to be like watching a storm build and gather all of its might. Much like a storm unleashing its will upon the world, so will Evangeline when she is finally cut loose.

IMG_3673 I feel like this time we have with her is desperately fleeting, that she is a force to be reckoned with and that this fierce independence she already has will only grow and blossom as time moves forward. She will leave, most assuredly, and she will endeavor in whatever it is she decides to do.

It’s an emotional thing and I’m fiercely protective of her because of it. Like any flame, it can be snuffed out or diverted, turned from a triumphant, glorious bonfire in the night to a burning inferno swallowing everything in its path. She will face her own hardships and some of those will come from within her, but they will not be the same ones that I faced, this is promise both her and myself.

It’s hard to be a parent, but it’s significantly more difficult when you struggle with your “own stuff”… and I mean that in that your brain isn’t wired correctly or you’ve suffered traumas that make it difficult for you to pretend that you’re normal. I try and try, but I know that it’s a lie and that someday, she will see through the facade. I just hope that when she does, she’s prepared for it.

Even though my family is toxic, we’ve been trying to ensure that she is aware of most–if not all–of her family members. My mother, of course, is currently excluded because she is untrustworthy and exceptionally manipulative in that way that narcissists tend to be… but the rest, they are safe enough… for now.

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Before we visited them on Memorial Day, we went to the Relay for Life. It was a small affair this time, as they decided to schedule it much earlier than the usual June date. It was in May and in a small auditorium because of rain. That’s what happens when you move the date. The event itself was a bit of a mess, but our baby girl got to walk with her daddy, who is a thirty year survivor of leukemia and that’s honestly all that mattered. She also danced with her grandpa. She had a lot of fun… before coming down with Hand, Foot, and Mouth disease.

That was an event. Poor thing was so sick! But she recovered quickly and though my sick time at work suffered, she’s much better now.

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We’re all excited for summer and for everything that it entails–backyard shenanigans, swimming, grilling out… but it’s a slow process. The weather is pretty crazy right now and Evangeline’s suddenly not so sure about water that’s not warm like a bath tub!

It kind of sucked that we were away during Memorial Day weekend, as it was beautiful and perfect here… but we stayed with my dad and his wife this time and that was a lot of fun. Certainly a lot less stressful. He’s on his antibiotic IV for his assumed osteomyelitis so that wasn’t great but it certainly brought a smile to his face to spend time with Evangeline!

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We grilled out, he spent mornings playing with her while I got to sleep in, and everything on that end went perfectly. We had a lot of fun there and I look forward to staying with them again. They even bought Evangeline a swing set, which she absolutely adored! Her favorite part was the seesaw.

Unfortunately, the other side of my family was bitter and accusatory. We surprised my grandparents because we didn’t want them to know we were coming and tell my mother. We were not there five seconds and they were jumping on me about my mum and saying some pretty hurtful and mean things… all in front of their great-granddaughter. She was mostly ignored while they read me the riot act in how I was ‘treating’ my mother. I felt trapped and annoyed, but I stuck to it. My husband saw my grandmother’s ability to be downright hateful for the first time. We only stayed about an hour before leaving.

When we visited the next day, my mum ‘unexpectedly’ came in and walked over and hugged me. I did not hug her back. I barely spoke to her. My grandparents nodded and smiled, convinced everything was back to normal while my husband boiled with anger on the opposite side of the room. We dealt with my mother, who was convinced the same as my grandparents. She even had the nerve to corner me and say that ‘this’ wasn’t helping her and some other bullshit I blocked out. We got out of there and did not go back, not even to say goodbye.

I’m honestly not sure if I’ll ever go back. Kind of a bleak thought. I might never see my grandparents house again until they’re dead.

It’s a difficult time for me right now. I’ll write happier things later.

Never Enough Time…

Never Enough Time...

It really sucks. I feel like I’m constantly out of time! Weeks fly by now. Having a toddler is like putting your world into permanent fast-forward. I need time to slow down, just a little. It’s like getting swept up into a whirlwind and you can’t escape. I’m running out of breath!

IMG_3558Evangeline is into everything and her attitude lately is abysmal. I’m sure it’s just a mental leap she’s going through, but the transition at daycare hasn’t been going great, either. Her primary care teacher retired and left before she moved to the next room… filled with much older kids. So, she’s been stuck with people who know nothing about her and in a place where biting is normal. She’s bit, scratched, and been bitten. It’s been kind of awful. She’s usually quite cranky and difficult to deal with. I hate it, it makes me so sad.

On the rare chance that she’s in a good mood, she’s chattering away. She says tons of words now and loves trying to repeat what we say. She’s learned to blow bubbles and absolutely loves being outside. It’s so fun watching her discover the world, I just wish she were in a better mood 80% of the time…

IMG_3606I’m trying to be patient, but it’s hard. I’m going through hell right now. I’m doing it so it won’t hurt Evangeline in the long run, but I’m running into the issue of it possibly messing with her now. There’s nothing to be done for it, though. My family sucks, plain and simple. I won’t have their toxicity touching my daughter. I’ll light the damn world on fire before one single thing that I was forced to endure at too young an age gets thrust carelessly upon her. She will have her own demons to battle, I’m sure, but they’ll not be any I faced if I can help it.

I know that I need to take care of myself and I’m trying. We’re working out again, I went to a doctor, I’m trying to sort of not stress out so bad… but it’s difficult. My situation is not enviable. How do you cut off a metaphorical limb? It’s hard. Most of the time I just want to curl up and cry. I’m tired of everything being so damned hard.

Evangeline fell asleep on me tonight after crying for almost an hour. She refused to eat dinner and was terribly fussy. I had to stop eating and hold her. I forced her into a bath so that I could scrub the sunscreen off of her. She cried and cried. I dried her off, dressed her, and then held her. She quieted and fell asleep on me. It’s the first time she’s fallen asleep on me in ages. I held her for quite awhile before putting her in her crib.

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This sweet little thing deserves so much better. She deserves more patience, understanding, nurturing… all things I’m trying desperately to give, but I know I’m failing. I’m falling short. That realization alone enrages me. I’d be able to give so much more if the people in my life weren’t such ignorant sacks of useless crap. My family does not nurture, it destroys. They don’t care about anyone but themselves. I’m sick of it. I’m done with it.

Seeing my daughter’s beautiful face juxtaposed with the reality that perhaps Christmas was the last time I will ever see my grandparents alive is difficult. All of this because one person cannot stop making stupid decisions. I’m tired of my world revolving around the whims of an alcoholic. Done.

It will get better. Evangeline’s difficult period is a necessary part of her development and I’m not upset or angry about it… I’m just sad. Sad because I can’t be the parent she needs because I’m trying to protect her future. What is truly right in this situation? To be present 100% and allow her to be tainted, or to pull back and protect her from what will undoubtedly affect her forever? I’d like to think the bigger picture is more important… at least I know where that road leads.

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So many decisions, so many possibilities… whatever it takes, she’ll be okay.

First Trip to Tampa!

First Trip to Tampa!

The trip was not an easy one at first. It all started off simple enough. We were early for our flight, settled into the tiny gate area (this airport only has two very small gates) and we were ready to go! Unfortunately, when the plane arrived, it was not. Not only was it a little behind schedule, it had a maintenance issue. There was an emergency slide that had its electronics detached. It was a simple, ten minute fix that took five hours. They had someone drive from a city around four hours away to sign off on it.

We were stuck, in an airport, with an already agitated toddler… for five hours. Did I mention there wasn’t even any food? And this would span the length of lunch time? Yeah. Luckily, the airline had pizza brought in but even that took a few hours. All in all, it was exhausting, but we made it through. Evangeline was a trooper. I’m still impressed with her. The people waiting on the flight were all very nice and helpful, too.

We had an incident where Evangeline was desperate for boob and screamed, “BOOBIE! BOOBIE!” in the middle of the very crowded gate. Sigh. I did end up breastfeeding her openly. It’s so funny how you just stop caring after awhile. I made sure my shirt covered me, though. I’m not a fan of folks seeing my boobs. We finally got on our plane to Tampa around 5 or so in the evening.

We arrived at Tampa around seven and were greeted by my Aunt. She took us to my grandfather’s ridiculously huge house. Seriously, our time there was like getting a glimpse at the good life. Their house had wings, we stayed in the upper floor of one of them! Everyone was so very nice and welcoming. What was originally very awkward soon become very comfortable and warm. We really enjoyed our time there.

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Our first day, we hung around the house and chatted on the lanai while eating a Cuban breakfast. Then my aunt took us to my first ever outlet trip, which was amazing! When we came back, it was dinner at this awesome Greek restaurant! The husband got up and danced with the belly dancer, which was hilarious. Evangeline loved it, especially the part where they threw napkins. We went to bed late and even got to sleep in, as Eva wasn’t waking up until past eight… which she has never done before!

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Our second day was spent around the house, meeting with extended family. I got to see one of two of my cousins on my dad’s side of the family for the first time in a decade and a half… which was pretty cool! We had lunch at a local Cuban place and then grilled burgers at home for dinner. It was a really awesome day. Evangeline and I napped while the husband went grocery shopping with my aunt for dinner. It was very relaxing and chill. Again, Eva slept in. She slept in the entire trip!

IMG_3268The third day, we went to the Zoo with my grandfather. We had a blast. Evangeline was obsessed with the flamingos, just like in Key West. She threw a fit when we tried to leave them. She also kept saying “maowww!” at the clouded leopard. It was adorable. We left there and then met my grandfather’s wife and my aunt at this really fancy Cuban restaurant. Our food took forever, but it was just so much fun. We got home super late that night and stayed up talking to my grandfather’s wife and her mother. Thankfully, Eva slept in again!

IMG_3363On our fourth and final day there, we just bummed around and hung out. We went to this really cool local market and got lunch. We then went to my aunt’s favorite beach, where it was super windy. Poor Evangeline was not a fan! We had no idea at the time, but she was coming down with the flu. She spent the entire time against me, wrapped in a towel. We went to a restaurant and then finally got home around 10. We packed and stayed up talking again until around 1. Our flight boarded at 6:45 am, so we had to be up early. We barely got any sleep. Evangeline refused to wake up. We said our goodbyes, rushed into my aunt’s car, and made it to the airport.

We were home well before noon and I called the doctor immediately to have Evangeline looked at. She was shaking, which is something I do when I have a high fever. They did a test and said that she had a flu, poor thing! So I stayed home the rest of the week caring for her and then trying to get better myself, as I came down with it. That’s what happens when you have to share everything with your toddler.

I’m just now recovering and I’m writing this like, three weeks later (but back-dating it.) Even so, it was worth it. We can’t wait to go again! I really did not expect to have so much fun or to be welcomed so warmly! The husband and I both agree that it was like getting swept up into a world where there are no stresses or worries.

I hadn’t even thought about all the things usually troubling me until the first weekend we returned. Sigh. It was so nice to forget about everything for awhile… and awesome to see a part of my family be so open and loving to Evangeline.

16 Months

16 Months

Toddlers are hard. Like, seriously… it’s rough. Evangeline is mobile now. She’s been walking like a pro for awhile now and she’s into everything. Her curiosity is boundless and as fascinating as it is to watch her dissect the world around her, it’s incredibly tiring trying to keep up with her! She’s just unstoppable and that temper, whoa! She definitely gets that from me. She melts down over everything and anything. I’m exhausted!

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She’s slowed down considerably on nursing. We’re now on a pretty reliable schedule of when she wakes up, when I pick her up from daycare (4pm-ish), and sometimes before bed, but never for very long. Rarely she’ll want a snack here and there, but usually, she’s just fine without it. It’s a little heartbreaking but I’m so glad she’s moving forward with this milestone without me having to force it upon her.

Words are suddenly tumbling from her mouth in a sudden wave. She’s always said some variation of “mama” and “daddy” but now we’re hearing new ones like “bye,” “hi,” “uh-oh,” “whoa!” and “wow.” She says “kitty” pretty well now, too, and we’ve caught her trying to say “Paw Patrol” but in her words it’s “paw-paw!” So cute.

As much as I love watching her grow and learn, I honestly never thought that I’d miss her being a baby. I do. I miss baby snuggles and how she loved to lie next to me. Now she’s a barely contained ball of endless energy. Her little coos and sighs are replaced by distinguishable words and exclamations. Her legs and feet have grown and extended rapidly in the past month. She’s wearing eighteen month old clothing now… my baby is long gone. She’s a toddler now, fully and truly.

As if to accentuate this fact, she graduates from her ‘younger’ one-year-old room next week. The move from the infant room was quite heartbreaking but this one is especially so, as the teacher that was moving with her this past year is now retiring. Her last day is April 15th. I’m concerned about the future, but I’m trying to remain hopeful. So far, we’ve been lucky. Evangeline hasn’t really had any serious issues at daycare… yet.

We did have a scare last month where her breathing was shallow. She was teething and kids in her class were getting sick, so we didn’t think anything of it. We kept a close eye on her, but assumed it was just a cold. We were leaving for Tampa on Sunday and this all happened on Thursday. When she was breathing really shallow Saturday morning, I made the executive decision to take her to the doctor. The doctor freaked out and had us go to the emergency room. She wanted her admitted. It was terrifying. Thankfully, everything turned out okay and Evangeline was cleared to leave. She was better within two days. They thought it was RSV, but the tests came back negative and the nose swab they did revealed only the common cold.

She’s since sprouted like, ten teeth. So I’m pretty sure we know the culprit. Poor thing has been in agony for over a month now. We had to reschedule our trip and we’re leaving Friday. It’s exciting and a little scary all the same. I’m excited for her to meet more of my family, though. Even I’ve never had the opportunity to visit them before!

I really need to make it a point to update this more frequently. She’s growing so fast, it’s important to catalog it all. I’ve since finished her baby book (aside from the first hair cut page, which she hasn’t had yet) and I’ve also just finished the photo album for her first year of life. I’m proud of myself! I’m so happy she’ll have all these memories to look back on.

Victor’s Memorial Dinner

Victor's Memorial Dinner

My husband’s maternal grandpa passed away last month and his family declined to have a viewing or a funeral. Instead, they gathered for a dinner in his honor at one of his favorite restaurants. It was really awesome to see everyone all together in one room. Husband’s grandma did not attend because she’s a bit odd and refuses to leave her house.

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It worked out, because she would have just caused trouble. My husband’s estranged cousin was there with her partner. I was happy to finally meet her, as she was one of the few people my husband was close with in his family. He still speaks of her highly. She was awesome, as was her girlfriend. We’re hoping to make a trip up to Columbus to see them at some point!

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Evangeline loved it. She got passed around and fussed over for the hours that we spent there. Husband made a slideshow that everyone loved. All in all, it was a good little event. I loved seeing Eva with hub’s cousins! It’s so nice to have family around. I really miss the closeness of my own family, but certainly not their dysfunction. His family is just so… disjointed and separated. Everyone is like their own little solar system. Very rarely do they come together.

It cracks me up that Evangeline loves Chris’ cousin-in-law. She will reach for him just like she does grandpa. This was only her second time meeting him, too. If she wasn’t with grandpa, she was with him!

We stopped by husband’s grandma’s house before leaving. I ended up falling down her stairs while holding Evangeline, but thankfully there were no injuries. I threw myself backwards to protect her from hitting the railing since as my foot caught the carpeted edge of the step and slipped, my ankle twisted and sent me there. Husband did not come check on us, which I’m still quite pissed about, but I’ve already talked to him about that.

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I did get a sweet photo of Evangeline playing on his grandma’s mother’s piano, though. She loved it!

Evangeline will be 15 months on the 12th. It’s hard to believe. She’s walking more now, saying words, and just being very exploratory! It’s so fun to watch her learn and discover new things. We’ve definitely found out that she’s not a fan of snow. We bought her a snow suit last week and put her in the snow, where she cried and flailed until we removed her.

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I really hope it grows on her. I love playing in the snow. I even tried to build her a tiny snowman, but she was having none of it!

She’s started waving hi and bye, as well as saying them. She mimics sounds when we do them. She points at things and wants to know what they are. She’s very curious. I taught her how to high-five, so she loves doing that, haha. She’s still nursing, though significantly less than ever. I think about four times a day on typical week days? She’s only on one bottle at daycare now. I’ll be done pumping very soon… and after that, bye bye breastfeeding. I’m going to try and let her naturally wean, but if she’s two and still at it, I’ll be taking steps to end it.

My period is back. I’ve been bleeding for weeks now. It’s getting quite annoying. My anemia returned after giving birth, so all this bleeding makes me weak. I’m over it.

We leave for Tampa on the 14th! I can hardly believe it. I’m really not looking forward to packing…