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.

Christmas 2015

Christmas 2015

How is Christmas come and gone already?! I had intended to post something before it happened, but… that didn’t happen. Parenting a toddler is crazy, way crazier than trying to manage a newborn. She’s constantly moving and into everything. Onto Christmas…

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We celebrated Christmas with the in-laws the weekend before Christmas itself. It was just easier, as we were leaving for Pennsylvania that Wednesday. They came over with gifts, we all exchanged presents, and they watched Evangeline open hers. It was all good fun and it ended with us all going out for Chinese.

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Evangeline made out like a bandit. We got her a Paw Patrol chair, blanket, large Chase plush, some books, and other odds and ends for her stocking. The in-laws bought her a big green dog named Scout that reads and responds to your touch. The Paw Patrol overload was mostly due to the fact that she squeals with delight anytime she sees it, and in particular, Chase. Very cute.

The husband got a very nice 27″ BENQ monitor because he was in dire need of a new monitor to go with his fancy graphic card he got for free (yay gift cards!) and a Samus Aran Figma. I also got him a little Amiibo display thing that’s the end level of Mario flag. It was cute and on sale at Toys’r’Us. I ended up getting some N7 gear (always appreciated) and a green chroma key backdrop for my photo studio. I told the husband no big gifts, as I’m saving up for a super expensive camera upgrade. He also got me Yoshi’s Wooly World, which I love!

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Going home to Pennsylvania was a mixed bag. I loved spending time with my family, but I also hate being thrown back into that ‘headspace.’ There’s just such a negative connotation with everything there. I feel forced into becoming who I was and I’m not that person anymore. It’s difficult. I see all the places I once knew and loved and how much they’ve changed. And then I realize how much Ive changed. It’s crazy. I struggle with it a lot and it causes a lot of undue stress and anxiety. The bad parts of my head rear their ugly head and it can take me a bit to get away from it.

Nevertheless, it was nice to see my family and more importantly, awesome for them to see Evangeline. Even if I don’t feel the same way about my home anymore, I still want Evangeline to have every opportunity to know her family and a part of where she comes from. She got absolutely spoiled!

IMG_2595 She received so many toys that we were almost afraid they wouldn’t all make it back with us. We opened presents with my mother’s side of the family on Christmas Eve, which was nice. My grandma got a bunch of clothes she asked for, my grandpa got a Kindle Fire HD, and my mother got an awesome sweater and some smelly stuff she can’t get where they live.

We got money, which I am thrilled with, as I told everyone I was saving for my camera upgrade!

Christmas day was busy. First up, we spend the morning and afternoon with my mum’s family. They cooked a small dinner, which involved some drama, and then we had some drama after dinner, as well. It just wouldn’t be dinner with that side of the family without any.

Evangeline refused to eat during dinner and was being a bit of a bear. I’m almost certain she’s teething, though we have yet to see anymore teeth! She’s still just got the bottom two. I keep trying not to worry, but if she’d just get more teeth she’d be able to eat everything that she’s dying to have. This girl wants to eat but can’t!

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The rest of Christmas was spent with my dad, his wife, their children, and my grandma on that side. Again, more drama, though not directed towards us. My grandma on that side is quite cantankerous and if things aren’t perfectly her way, she throws one hell of a fit. Even so, the dinner was amazing, and Evangeline was again ridiculously spoiled! She now has TWO activity tables. We haven’t even unpacked most of what she’s received, as there’s just too much. Our downstairs and living are overwhelmed as it is!

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The day after Christmas, we visited my aunt’s and saw my cousin and her three children. My other cousin was there, as well, with his daughter. I loved getting to be around them and to have Evangeline hang out with her cousins. The kids all played very nicely together and everyone was fussing over Eva. There were many ‘dog piles’ on my lap of kids, but the husband only caught the smallest one, with me, my cousin’s daughter, and Eva. Too cute!

Unfortunately, the day was punctuated with terrible service, which made us late to my cousin’s, which in turn, made us late to hang out with dad, which pissed mum off, which caused all sorts of a mess. It all fixed itself in the end, but still. For those few hours, it was a nightmare and I was ready to pack up and head home that night!

Going home is seriously difficult for me anymore, but I still love inscribing all the places into my memory–especially my grandparents house. I just stand and stare at the rooms, committing them to memory. I want to remember everything, the way it looked, and smelled. It’s so weird, but my grandparents house has always smelled the same…

Even though it was fraught with tension and anxiety, I’m glad we managed to get up there for Christmas with Evangeline this year. It was worth it.

Quick Trip to PA

Quick Trip to PA

We made a quick trip to Pennsylvania this past weekend. My grandma lost sight in her left eye due to a blood clot or plaque buildup (they’re not sure which yet) and so I thought it was paramount we visit her and lift her spirits a bit. All in all, she’s doing fairly well, but the news is scary. We did something we’ve never done before and left for our trip after work on Friday! We arrived there after 10pm. The trip went all right, though Evangeline had a meltdown or two because she wanted to be in her bed, not sleeping in a car.

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I was anxious about the visit, at first. It was a fairly quick trip, with us arriving very late Friday and leaving Monday. We had Monday off as Columbus Day is a state recognized holiday. I’m glad we went, though. Everything turned out well and my grandma was really happy to see us! We stopped in for a quick visit with my dad, too, since he can’t seem to muster up the energy to visit… sigh.

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The visit itself was fairly uneventful–there was no drama for once and everything went well. We saw my Grammy Naylor Saturday afternoon for a short visit and then dad cooked us dinner that evening. The rest of the time was spent with my grandparents. On Sunday, we went to mum’s work and then out to eat with my grandparents. Evangeline did really well, she napped and she slept, for the most part, at night. I was shocked. I figured her schedule would be shot!

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I was definitely glad to have the opportunity to visit with my family before the holidays. We’re planning on going up for Christmas, but if the weather is anything like it was last year… there’s a chance that might now happen. Mum has said from day one that she intended to visit for Evangeline’s birthday, but I’m hoping my grandparents will come with her. They keep saying no, that it would be too much to have them all here at once, but I’d deal with it in a heartbeat if it meant good memories for Eva to look back on when she’s older.

We have two weeks and one weekend before we leave for Key West. I’m trying not to freak out or get anxious, but it’s hard. Everything is so much more complicated with a baby in the mix. I’m not even sure how I’m going to begin to pack. When we visited my family in Pennsylvania, the car was loaded up with stuff… and it was all hers!

While I’m looking forward to this weekend, I have a feeling it’s going to be extremely busy and anything but relaxing… there’s just so much to do, and so little time to do any of it! Time is speeding by. It’s hard to keep up. Sigh. It’s so hard to believe that soon, Evangeline will be one year old. I don’t like to think about it. I’m going to be a sobbing mess. We’re not doing anything big or grand, but we had planned on doing a small party so she can have fun pictures to look back on. I want to get her a little cake to destroy, too.

Sick Baby

Sick Baby

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Mum was visiting this past weekend. It went well, despite some hiccups. It could have gone a whole lot worse. What really made the weekend was that Evangeline was just so happy to have her and her boyfriend there. She really enjoyed spending time with them. Mum also got her two really cool toys, so she enjoyed that, too. She even got a Sophie–finally! She’s obsessed with the books and when she made noises at it and then pet the box when we handed it to her at Toys’r’Us… it was pretty much decided.

She was a little “off” all weekend, though. Uncharacteristically clingy and fussy. She’s always got a bit of an ‘attitude’ about things… but this was just unlike her at all. She was warm on and off, but never spiked a fever. Little did I know…

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I’m proud of myself for handling things as well as I did. My nerves are still a bit frayed at the ends, but it’s nowhere near as bad as the last visit. It really did help just seeing Eva so happy. Mum would say or do something ridiculous and then I’d see Eva’s face and anything I felt just evaporated. That didn’t mean the weekend went without conflict, it just means I didn’t feed into it as much as I would normally.

The mother-in-law’s birthday was yesterday, so we dropped in and visited with her a little. Evangeline and I took her out for dinner tonight and we gave her some gifts I picked out. The gifts would have been a lot better if my printer was working…

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Mum and her boyfriend left this morning and I dropped Evangeline off at daycare. I warned the ladies there that she was a little snotty and warm, but not feverish. I got a call around 11 that she was running a low grade fever. I immediately booked an appointment at the doctor, as I’d noticed a barking cough the past night or so. It wasn’t frequent, but it was enough to worry me. Turns out that Evangeline has croup and an ear infection! How in the hell?!

She’s such a trooper. I think she’s going to be like me. I mean, I knew she was “off”, but she never once acted that sick! She was playing, laughing, active, etc. I picked her up at daycare with the mother-in-law and she was just sort of out of it. She was working through her fever. She’d since been active and fun again, but with periods of inactivity and fussiness. The coughing is back, too. She’s broken around four fevers so far. I’m worried, but trying not to freak out too badly. This is the sickest she’s ever been… and the husband isn’t here. She’s been sleeping with me all weekend due to being clingy and she’ll definitely be with me tonight. That cough! It’s so worrisome.

I slipped her some more prednisone because it seems to only last around 4 hours. She didn’t even wake up. I’m hoping it helps her sleep so her body and the antibiotics can kick in. I’m going to give it very sparingly after this… she’s had it twice today and that’s twice too many for me! She hasn’t been coughing that much until tonight, where it’s been several bouts.

Single parents need medals. Going through this alone sucks.

Another aside about my mum, that I told my mother-in-law about tonight: I realize why I am the way I am. I mean that in the specific “lone wolf” sense. I’ve since gotten a lot better, but not too long ago, I absolutely balked at the idea of help. I wouldn’t let people help me, I didn’t accept or rely on others, and I absolutely refused to depend on or trust anyone, including the husband. When my mum was visiting, her selfishness reared its ugly head. My mum isn’t a bad person, but just like everyone does, she has negative personality traits–one such thing is selfishness. She doesn’t really think about or consider others. Case in point: every single time we went somewhere or even here, she didn’t really help me at all. She’d walk ahead, leaving me to get the baby, the bag, and everything else. She didn’t once offer to help or even seem to acknowledge that help would be nice. Her boyfriend, thankfully, is the total opposite. He always waited for me and offered to help, which I appreciated.

To me, it’s just so bizarre how people can operate like that. Then I realize, I was raised in a family filled with it. Almost my entire family is that way. How did I even deal? How did I end up being the person that I am now? I’m not one to toot my own horn, but I am usually very considerate and am always offering to help others. I pay attention and am very mindful of the people around me. How did I come from such selfish stock?! It’s really amazing.

Oh well. As long as Evangeline grows up and learns to be kind, empathetic, etc… that’s all that matters.

Back to Work

Back to Work

This is my final week of maternity leave. It seems like forever ago that I left work, still pregnant, just waiting for Evangeline to arrive. My husband made me stop working due to swelling and my having issues with discomfort/etc. I was off for almost a week before Eva turned up. I wish I’d worked until my induction day, so I’d have had that extra week with her instead.

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I’m not cut out to be a stay-at-home mum, but that doesn’t mean I don’t feel awful about leaving her with strangers; about missing all the little moments; about being away from those big grins and smiles she does in the mornings. I won’t get to lazily play with her hands as she drifts off to sleep next to me on the bed for her afternoon nap. I’ll miss seeing her figure out her motor skills even more than she has already–gripping, grasping, holding something tight. She’s only just begun to try to laugh and I’m going to miss her mastering it.

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It hurts. I hate it. But not working isn’t an option–I’d go insane, my career would effectively be over, and money would be beyond tight. It just isn’t worth it, in the long run. I can provide for her better at work and I’ll be a better mother if I’m not engulfed by the role.

I keep worrying that the daycare isn’t going to be good enough. That they’ll ignore her or mess something up. That they won’t know how to feed her or care of her… or even worse, that they’ll just let her “cry it out.” She’s in that fussy stage of her development, but the thought of her being left to cry hurts my heart.

I’m sure all working mums go through this. It’ll get better. The worst part is knowing I’ll get a max of 3-4 hours a day with her. That sucks.

Next week, at this time, I’ll be at work. A very sobering thought. Maternity leave felt like it was going to go on forever back in those early newborn days… now, just, I don’t know. I think I’m done thinking about it for right now.

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Husband’s surgery went well, but it was a lot more intense than I anticipated. Seeing him in the hospital gown and on the gurney–ugh… I’m glad his dad was able to stay there with him. We waited at the in-laws until it was time to pick him up. He looked so pitiful sitting there… still in his gown. The recovery period took longer because they were having issues with his blood pressure being too high. I had to help him get dressed. He was really out of it. I really didn’t expect it.

The first few days were rough and exhausting, bouncing between taking care of him and Eva. I just felt so bad for him! I even had to feed him. Then, we went for his post-op and got stuck in traffic for four hours! A major accident had shut down the interstate, sigh. We had to take a long way home. I ended up driving for nearly six hours!

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Having him home was nice, though. We got into a routine, he started feeling better… and then it was over. He’s back at work today, after a week and a half off. We took some three month pictures of Eva yesterday, even though it’s a little late. They turned out well, but she refused to smile or grin! All she wanted to do was try and blow raspberries at us. That’s her new favorite thing. The husband also got Eva to fall asleep on him for the first time ever, so he was pretty thrilled.

We went to our weight check during the horrible winter storm (where we got a foot of snow, which I drove in like a champ) and got the “all clear”! Evangeline’s back to where she needs to be, and she’s one looong baby! 96th percentile–yikes.

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I keep trying not to dwell on the bad and instead focus on the positive, which has always been difficult for me. That and not measuring time. I get obsessive about time, it’s downright ridiculous. I’ve even taken to counting down the minutes in a day. Maddening! Eva is going to grow so fast and I don’t want to miss any of it… but providing the best for her is the most important thing. And there’s weekends, and holidays. I have a state job, so I get every bloody holiday off!

Once I go back to work, that’s it, it’s over–this time is over. She’s not a newborn anymore and I’ll never get that time with her back. I’ve taken to treasuring every moment, even the ones where she’s screaming or inconsolable… because once it’s over, it’s over. That’s it. Next thing I know, she’s in Kindergarten, she’s graduating High School, and then she’s just… gone–her own life, her own things… it’s baffling.

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People weren’t lying when they said you have no real concept of time until you have a child.

Same for not realizing how much you can love something. There are no words.

We’ll find a rhythm, a way. Everything will work out.

I’ll make sure it does.