Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Oh, the places

I’m still in my funk, I can’t write to save my life, so I won’t be tedious. I just wanted to share a quote, with which I’m sure you are already familiar. It's been rolling around in my mind almost obsessively the last few days. I have no idea why. Possibly because I’m in a Dr. Seuss phase in my life and his writing is so catchy, the cadence so rhythmic, the words so relatable...

Words are important to me and I can’t make sense of the words in my own head so I’m borrowing from others in the hope that sooner or later I’ll make sense of my life and the words trapped in my head will find their way somewhere coherent.

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You're on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who'll decide where to go...”

Now, where to go…?

Friday, February 24, 2012

Sometimes the problem is you

I’ve been off lately. I’m not sure how to describe it, I’m not even sure how long lately is. Last summer I was in a pretty bad place, my emotions were all over the place and I couldn’t get it under control, I figured I may need meds or something to help me through it but I went the therapy route first cause I’m wary of drugs in general. I figure the stress of the past two years had finally gotten to me and I was overloading, therapy helped, I’m no longer a victim of my emotions, so yay for therapy, I guess.

And yet, I’m still off for some reason. I’m walking through my life in a kind of haze right now, I’m doing all the things I need to do, or rather most of the things I need to do. We’re taking steps forward as a family, we may be buying a house soon, the husband is well, everything is peachy. But I’m so unhappy. I don’t understand it. I look at my life and think I have everything I wanted, it’s not perfect, but it’s good. I look at my husband and I remember how much I loved him and still I’m so unhappy. I love my children so much, so much, that I’m not sure I want them to grow up with me, not like this. I don’t know where I am anymore, I don’t know how to fix it.

I try to fix it, I try and I try and I try, but I’m like a fly banging on the window over and over again, unable to get out. It makes no sense. I alternate between being determined, almost pig-headed, about making it better, and hopeless that it will ever get better.
I keep thinking it’ll be better once this or that happens, like it’ll be better once we buy the house, or it would be better if I could move back to Houston, or I would be better off divorced or whatever other fix it scheme I come up with at any given time, but rationally I know that the problem isn’t the place or the people, the problem is me.

I just don’t know how to fix me. I can change the world around me, I’m strong enough, determined enough and calculating enough to do that, but I don’t know how to change myself. I don’t even know what the problem is. Maybe if I could figure that out I could fix it, but I don’t know how. And yet I have to figure it out, the idea that unhappiness is just part and parcel of the human condition terrifies me. Baseless, uncontrollable unhappiness. How does one live like that? And what on earth am I teaching my children? Because I can act cheerful all I want, I can play with them and laugh with them but the undercurrent of sadness is always there and I don’t want them to grow up thinking that it’s normal. I hate writing these posts, it’s like I’m admitting to defeat but invariably I feel better after, like it’s not such a terrible secret if I can share it here. 

And yet, even as I write these words I’m thinking, what have I to be so unhappy about? I have my family, I have my health, I have love, I have stability, so what on earth is the matter with me? And that, my friends, is the million dollar question.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Some things just boggle my mind

I just had to write this really quick post today, because OH MY GOD, people!

My brother in law and his girlfriend are expecting a baby (YAY!!). So today she and I were talking about baby and pregnancy things and she mentioned she wasn’t sure what to do about a crib or cradle for the baby. I try not to talk to much, because, well, we all know how annoying too much advice is when we’re pregnant and also I epitomize the American consumerism ideal and had both a cradle and a crib for my kids, as well as a wicker basket for when we were downstairs, and I do, in fact, realize how completely ridiculous that is.

So anyway, I told her about the co-sleeper, because they don’t exist in Italy and when I saw it in the US I wished I didn’t already have more sleeping implements for babies than actual babies in the house. And, I told her, if you plan on breastfeeding, or if you’re a basket case like I was, checking to see if the baby was breathing every half an hour (on a side note, why do they have to terrorize new mothers with statistics on sids?) a co-sleeper is a really good idea, you can check on the baby and latch it on whilst practically still asleep. Optimizing sleep, when you have a newborn is really all you want to do anyway.

So I told her I’d send her some sites to check out and I went a-internet-searching, as one does nowadays, and I landed on this site: arms reach please go visit the site and come back, because you have to see this for yourself.

Now, I like animals, I’ve always had pets but for the love of all that is holy I cannot, for the life of me, fathom how you can put co-sleeper beds for babies on the same site as co-sleeper beds for pets. Seriously. What happened to your pooch sleeping on the rug near your bed? And also, I cannot, I simply CANNOT imagine buying a bed for a newborn with the image of practically the same identical bed for a dog. It blows my mind. And I thought the pet stroller was ridiculous enough all on its own.

What, I ask you, is the world coming to?

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Big Boy Blues

You’re four years old today. Halfway through your party you had a mini meltdown, the excitement was too much for you, your batteries were probably running a little low, so we headed to your room to hang out on the bed for a minute, just the two of us. You just wanted me to hold you, and you looked up at me, tears in your eyes, and said Mama, I’m still little. I guess hearing how you’re such a big boy now all day long must have scared you a little bit. You have no idea how much it scares me. If I could fold you up and turn you back into that black-haired baby, screaming at me in the OR four years ago, I would. In a New York minute.

When grown ups have babies they spend a fair amount of their time wishing for their babies to just grow up already, to sleep, to crawl, to walk, to eat independently… I never did, and I still don’t. There must be something wrong with me, but when you walked I was so proud of you, and yet I felt like you were taking your first steps away from me, even though you walked toward me. I don’t want you to grow up. But you will, you are, and all I can do for you is cheer you along and teach you some things and then stand on the sidelines, bated breath, and hope and pray that you grow up well, and that you’re happy and healthy.

It’s so frustrating and sad and joyous and exciting, this growing up think that you’re doing. So I said to you today, you’re still little, and you’ll always be my baby, even when you’re all grown up, but you’re also a big boy. You’re exactly right, right now, and I will love you all the way.

Happy Birthday darling boy, your smile lights up my life, you make my heart sing.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Tales from the bedside

As I seem to have mentioned at least a few times we were all sick last week. And when children are sick, as you well know, it means getting up 1,253 times a night despite how the parents are feeling. 
So a few nights ago, at 2.30am the Boy calls to me for water and I head off on one of my many treks to the kids’ room. He guzzles his water, and I realize he has a temperature of 39.8°C (103.6°F) which explains his delirium. As I’m giving him a fever reducer he turns to me, eyes still closed, asleep, one would presume, and says to me: “Mama, I’m a bird, you know? A big, strong bird. Like that famous eagle.”

A few weeks ago, in Houston, we went to the Zoo. And we saw a rather large bald eagle.

As I showed the bird to the boy, I explained that that bird was pretty special because it was on the seal of the President of the United States of America. (I'm trying to teach give him some sense of american-ness without boring him into hating it.)

So there you have it, he really does listen to me when I talk. My Boy, the Eagle.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Virtual Coffee {33}

Hello dear friends, welcome to coffee.

I’m finally, slowly, starting to get back in the swing of things… kind of. Although I still can’t get my mind to wrap around the idea of all that snow out there. And yes, I know it started snowing late this year, and I avoided most of winter due to my month and a half long vacation in Houston, and I also shouldn’t complain since I just wrote the words “month and a half” and “vacation” in the same sentence, but seriously, enough with the snow. I’m pretty sure my friend Bridget, who lives in Alaska and can be found writing an extremely funny blog under several feet of snow for at least five months out of the year, definitely thinks I’m a wimp. But I have had enough. Enough.

This whole weather antagonism I’m feeling right now is likely due to the fact that our entire household was felled by the flu this weekend. The kids started it (don’t they always?!) with vomit-fest 2012  last Tuesday, then inexplicably high temperatures, an ear infection, then the nanny and the husband started feeling ill and by Friday I threw in the hatchet and declared our house officially a plague zone.
Of course the kids are feeling better now, and have recovered all of their energy, which means they will no longer sit quietly in front of the tv all day whilst I nurse my sinus infection and fever so my wonderful mother in law came down from Milan yesterday and has officially taken over child entertainment and general care duties. This warrants a big round of applause for mother in laws. Thank you.

So, if we were really having coffee today… well luckily we’re having it over the internet so I’m not spreading any germs.

Oh, and Happy Valentine’s day! I’m not feeling very Valentine-y myself today, though I did get some nice red roses from the Husband. He got some Ugg slipper/shoe type moccasins. And that’s as far as we’re going in the “celebration of our love” today since we’d just be sneezing all over each other and generally spreading cooties otherwise. Though we do have tentative plans to go out to dinner this weekend sans kids, cause that’s what Valentine’s day is really all about for parents, just a good excuse to have a quiet meal with no children in the vicinity.

Valentine’s day also means that the Boy’s birthday is right around the corner… and this means that I have to figure out what to do about it. We have tentative plans for a small party on Saturday, which will probably be a costume party as carnival time is here and it’s a pretty big deal in Italy. In fact tomorrow there’s the carnival party at their preschool and daycare but they’re both going to miss them due to the plague that has befallen us. Although the Boy’s been wearing his Spiderman costume non-stop for the past week, so he’s fully in the carnival spirit already.

That’s all the news from here, I’m going to go play dead in bed for a bit now cause I just poured all the meager energy reserves I had left in this sorry excuse for a coffee post. Thanks for stopping by, and for ignoring the tissues strewn all over the place!

And don’t forget to stop by and visit our hostess Amy