Born Angry

Can a human be born angry?

This is the question I’m asking a lot these days.

Our son is having quite a tough transition lately from his private school to his public school. From his single mother household to his newly married mom and step-dad. And issues we’ve dealt with in the past with his anger and tantrums are raising their ugly head.

I remember the doctor’s appointment in which I confided with his pediatrician that his tantrums were more than I could handle. That he had been removed from a daycare due to his rage over taking a nap. And at the time he was only 20 months old.

Through his doctor and a program called Help Me Grow, I gained access to early intervention programs to help me with my son. We did a developmental screening where we found he had a slight delay in his fine motor skills. But in all other areas we were fine. Until we discussed his behavior and the tantrums.

It was in this area that the most red flags began to fly. Jake was an angry little boy. He’d tantrum violently and I often found myself at the mercy of his little fists and kicking feet. And though I had a background in education and child development, I was finding myself flying by the seat of my pants when it came to disciplining him. I had no clue what to do and I was doing most of it on my own.

We went through some therapy and got a little help. A term was tossed around, a possibly key: ODD or oppositional defiance disorder. I laughed at first thinking it was just another multi-lettered acronym for the pharmaceutical companies to push more drugs. But as Jake aged and his temper ebbed and flowed, I wondered if, for him, it may be true.

Now we’re back to square one. He’s defiantly resisting most everything at home and many weekends are spent dealing with his anger and frustration. When good things are planned and outings are scheduled for fun, they often are cancelled due to a time-out or a day long grounding because of his anger issues.

And I find myself a tired, sad mommy again.

It’s hard not to feel helpless when your child seems to butt against anything you say or do, even the positive stuff. When you tell him today will be a good day and he responses with a “No it won’t”, it’s hard to keep your spirits up. When you want to do fun things together as a family but in the back of your mind you prepare to cancel your plans because you never know if something will trigger his¬†anger before you even get to the car.

And I’m balancing a brand new marriage to boot. Not only am I dealing with the frustrations of parenting a particularly explosive child but I’m also trying to find a place for my new husband in all this parenting stuff. The two seemed so fine together and loving before the wedding but now it seems to be a war of wills to vie for my attention. And I’m exhausted.

So exhausted the tears are burning the backs of my eyes just tying these truths.

I want to roll up in bed and never get up. I just want to sleep, read, and sleep again.

That is my selfish side speaking. And apart of that voice is another little tidbit that’s niggling at me. I don’t want to be one of those activists moms speaking up for their child and how to accommodate them better in life. I don’t want to have a child with special emotional needs. I just want…normal. I want to love my son and have him love me back. I want to be a newly wed planning to make a new baby, too.

I want a family that isn’t torn in half by rough nights, big fights, and have me standing in the middle.

I feel very unprepared for this and I’m starting to unravel at the edges. They say the first year of marriage is the toughest and I can’t agree. The marriage is actually going fine. It’s the parenting in the 7th year that’s been toughest. And we have 11 more years of closely parenting a child that fights like a cat caught in a bag, flinging and screaming, when all we want is for him to do a chore. To clean his room. To find his soccer gear.

Can a human be born angry?

I’ll lean towards yes…

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Are We There Yet?

I feel like the kid at the back of the bus on the way to a field trip that everyone has been looking forward to for some time, just repeatedly saying “Are we there yet? When will we be there? How much longer?”

Planning for this wedding has been pretty smooth. Things have come up but due to my way over planning, I’ve been ahead of the game and available to tackle any issues.

All the while I’m just aching for it to be done. I want it to be Sunday morning after the wedding. I want to roll over and see The Guy and be able to say “Good morning my husband.” And to hear him respond “Good morning my wife.”

That’s it! That’s all I care about! I’m done and ready to be married. I’m ready to be a wife and to have a husband. No more cake tastings and menu picking. No more listening to songs for the DJ to play and no more list making!

I could care less about my flowers and bridesmaid dresses. If I have to cut one more check this month, I may just pass out.

Sigh… I want all the pieces to finally come together and be one big cohesive event that will start and finish in 8 hours. 8 hours and it’ll all be done after 8 months of planning.

Anywho…

We attempted some bridesmaid dress shopping last night. Ha! I thought I was making it easier by picking black dresses with the intention of keeping it cheaper and something the girl could wear long after the wedding. I mean, a little black dress is a necessity!

I guess the fashion world doesn’t agree we found after canvassing a whole mall up till it closed and found only one possibility. Sigh…

Luckily for my sister and friend I’m not mean because I did find this peacock inspired dress, full with a multitude of colors and layers and feathers.

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It was worthy of a picture, I can tell you that much. I totally would wear this, too!

Speaking of pieces coming together, the rest of my invite/card pieces have all made it safely to the condo. I had to return our original RSVP cards and USPS or Zazzle lost them. This delayed my credit on my account which  made me look into what happened. When I was told the package was not received yet and it had been almost 2 weeks, I was upset. That was a good amount of money in paper items lost. But Zazzle came through and refunded me so I could reorder my RSVP cards.

I was super impressed with their customer service and will remember to leave some positive reviews for them once this is done.

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I was able to make our thank notes using a picture from our engagement photo-shoot with Dana Grant from Dana Grant Photography. We had so many great pictures to choose from it was hard to pick one for our cards. But I’m really happy with the outcome and can’t wait to use them.

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Are we there yet?

Dreaming Away

Each night it’s something new. Marriage. Lust. Jealousy. Flying.

Dreams.

Playing pool in a dingy, seedy bar.

Running and running but never getting far enough away to feel safe.

His face over and over again.

I wake sometimes with a headache, feeling lethargic and drained. Other times I wake suddenly, a film of sweat covering my limbs and clinging to the back of my neck, my hair curling from the moisture.

I’ve yet to wake up feeling completely and utterly peaceful, happy with the visions roaming my mind as I close my eyes to rest. Instead I toss and turn, fighting with some inner conflict that isn’t being resolved during my waking hours.

My heart is at war with my mind and my sleep is suffering from it.

Maybe my heart is working through what my mind already understands. Maybe my mind is trying to convince my heart of what is best. Or maybe the bonds and love built between two people can pierce through those sleeping minds, showing them what they had and what they really want.

I need clarity and peace.

I need a night of rest without anymore dreams.

I need sleep.

On My Own

The air was cool and a breeze from out side floated in, ruffling the still curtains against the window. A sliver of moon light pierced the shadows, drawing a line across the beige carpet beneath the window, creeping along as the curtains billowed out and returned against the windowsill. Jasmine and orange blossoms danced lightly through the moon streak and scented the air with my childhood memories.

I stared into the darkness watching the performance before my eyes, breathing in the delicate scent of the flowers surrounding my window and watching the miniscule particles of dust and light play in the silvery moon beam peaking through the trees.

It was the second night in a row that I was unable to find peace enough to sleep. The house was silent and settling after a long day in the heat. Creaking wood and shifting nails echoed dully through the halls and rooms. My son’s gentle breathing and dreaming body rolled slightly under the oppressive darkness of his room.

And there I was, lying in the cool emptiness of night waiting for my turn. For my body to settle down and fall asleep.

Tight skin and muscles, bones and flushing blood, my body was humming slightly, unable to quiet down for the night. Picking up the slightest noise from outside my window, my ears piqued and listened intently to the solid footsteps of someone trying to sneak by without disturbing anyone. They tried in vain to step lightly through the street, making their way toward the community dumpster. My high strung senses followed each step, each turn.

The minutes ticked by and sleep evaded me still. I rolled and situated my long form in the coldest spots on the bed, soaking in the cool air and soft sheets against my too hot skin. Not long after, the spot I was in warmed to my body temperature and it was time to seek out a cooler place. Navigating the large bed and the tangle bed covers, I squirmed and moved about till I found my body in the shadows, cool and comfortable.

My eyes closed and I hoped for sleep. I let my mind settle into its nest, waiting for that shift in thought, when things stopped making sense and I drifted away into a world of disjointed thoughts and feelings. Beckoning the dreams and cloudy numbness of sleep, my limbs began to sink into the pillow top and my eyes drooped heavier.

I yawned, silently and smoothly stretching beneath the blankets and heavy exhaustion, feeling the night drain me of my energy. I was tired and only hoping for sleep. Opening my eyes just slightly, I strained to see into the dark, to feel out for a presence with me there. But I was alone. Cool and still against my bed, I was on my own.

No one was there to comfort me and help ease me into sleep. No warm limbs or body to press against. My bed, my life, was my own.

I was alone.

Closing my eyes again, I settled into the arms of the darkness and rested. My brain turned over and my thoughts dulled. Sounds around me faded into the background and I felt sleep nestle over me, soothing me.

And I slept.

Dominoes

I’ve made a realization today.

A big one.

In the past 6 months alone, I’ve made some really big decisions.

In the last 24 weeks, I’ve had to think ahead, consider options, ask questions and research for a number of really tough, very big decisions.

This realization made me both proud, awestruck and close to tears in the same breath.

I am but one person and I’ve had to make more big, weighty decisions for two in the past 6 weeks than I have in the past 6 years of becoming a single parent.

In July of 2005 I learned of my pregnancy, unplanned and uncertain. I chose to become a mom because, after considering my other options, I knew I wanted to meet my first born. So I did.

Since then I’ve been the main decision maker in our little family. The decision of when to start solid foods was mine. I researched the daycare options and my job options when the time came to change. And it was me that kicked around the idea of private pre-school over public pre-school.

Each decision, researched and made with care and concern for the impact they would have on our little family, didn’t seem that big of a deal at the time. They were necessary and simple, a yes or a no.

Times have changed.

Sitting today wondering why I was feeling so sensitive and why I was feeling so low and drained of my emotional and mental energy, not to mention the physical exhaustion I was combating, I started to catalog all of the decisions and their weight on our lives for the past 6 months.

First there is the decision of housing. Should we stay and sign for another year? Or is it worth the stress to move to another location? Could I find another place that would be worth moving to? Signing another lease for? Or could I afford to buy? I really didn’t want to move unless I was to become an owner because the idea of uprooting us again just to rent was not ideal.

Then the decision of school. Can I do another year like this? Do I have the ability to commute back and forth, paying the price both physically and financially to continue at this academy? Is the relief for me worth the risk of putting my son into a public school? If I change where will his before and after care come from? Can I afford that change? Will the move to a school closer to home in the end pay off in stress relief for me without risking my son’s well being?

Money decisions are always tough because in this economy, income is so fleeting. Having a steady paying job is hard to find and even in our industry, we’ve seen a change over the years. So I questioned what to do with the money I had? Did I have enough to make these big drastic changes or would there be some negative financial impact that I couldn’t foresee? If I left it where it was, was I doing the best with what I had? Could there be another option that we could benefit from with little risk?

Then smaller things came into the equation like making the jump for a bigger car, whether used or new. Could I manage a new car payment? I haven’t had one for years and it’s spoiled me. But my son’s long lean soccer legs and all the goodies at he comes with have begun to crowd our little backseat. With the age of my current set of wheels, I’m risking extra costs to maintain it. Might as well put that money towards a bigger space, right?

And the always present questions about relationships and friendships. My social life in general has big decisions littered in between all the small ones. Who can I speak to when things get rough? Am I ready to begin something so important and something so big? Can I trust again? Are these friends in my life real and honest with me?

Looking back, I see the last 6 months have been a game of dominoes. Lining up my research and the choices and the outcomes and the impact of it all, I pick my path ready to push the blocks. Down they’ll fall cascading into each other, bumping and pushing each other into the ground to mark a road to take. If there is a hitch, then the pieces don’t line up and the path is broken. Something goes wrong. A hole opens up in my plan.

So here I sit, rows and rows of dominoes waiting to be touched, waiting to be picked. Waiting to be selected. But I’m hesitant. I’m worried that I’ve missed something, somewhere. That a block is out of place, that a domino isn’t in the right spot.

There is no real way to tell if all your dominoes are lined up perfectly. If all your Ts are crossed and if all of your Is are dotted.

You can only close your eyes and pray.

Hoping to all your dominoes are in a row as you reach out and put them into motion.

Where do we go from here?

Playing A Game

Lately, I’ve been playing at a very dangerous game. I’m caught in a serious game of chicken. A game to see who falters first.

Currently, I’m winning.

You see, there are many things in my day I’d like to accomplish. From work to parenting to cleaning to crafts and chores and organizing my home and exercising, these are all things that I both want and need to do. Since the hours we currently have in a day (24 of them if you weren’t counting) aren’t enough, I’ve had to make some arrangements to lengthen my day.

Otherwise, I’m not getting a lot of sleep. Well, not as much as I need. I could sleep 10 hours and also have a nap just to feel rested.

It seems to me that I’m playing a game to see who wins: Me or my body. And I know how dangerous this can get. I’m at risk of running on empty and will suffer the consequences but…it feels so good to be able to pick up Jake from school, take him to karate/soccer/swimming then home for a home-cooked meal and homework. Then some family time playing games and reading stories.

And after his bed time? That’s when the battle really begins. My bed will call and I’ll lay down for a second, a split second and start to feel the draw of slumber. My energy will slowly begin to funnel down, through the springs and stuffing, through the wooden box strings and onto the floor, puddling beneath me. I become a motionless lake pooling between my sheets.

Comfortable…silent. Still…

Out of nowhere, I feel a tug behind my belly button. The slightest feeling of motion as I slowly start to give in to the call of slumber. It begins to tug harder, pulling at me, reminding me of all the things I have yet to accomplish. The quilting and the laundry and the dishes and the trash that needs to be dumped.

Somewhere in the back of my mind, I remember the game. This game of chicken and seeing who will give in first. And I don’t like to lose. So I push my lifeless body up from the comfort of my pillow top mattress and stumble to the sewing machine.

Click, the light turns on and I plug in my iron. While it all warms up, I start my movie and skip down to the dryer in the garage while the opening credits roll.

Hours pass and my movie is done, the clothes are folded, I have accomplished some creative work in my sewing area and now I’m exhausted.

But I’m won another round. While my body could have taken me down and lulled me to sleep, I stood my ground and stayed awake to work, to create and to complete a task or two.

The question remains, how long can I trudge on like this? How long can my body withstand the insane need for more sleep while my mind drags me up from the edge of dreamland to get more done? To fit more in?

As I sit here yawning, I begin to wonder if I need to concede and let my body win one round.

But only this one.

The One In Which I Do Nothing But Complain

Today is one of those days that I woke up under nothing but grey clouds and I can’t seem to shake the chill of negativity. This is a running ledger of those nasty ol’ negative thoughts because it’s better for them to be out here than stuck inside my head where they circle round my mind, bringing me further down.

For starters, I’m tired. Both physically and emotionally.

So tired I can’t seem to find the energy to finish what I’ve started or to keep up the routines I enjoy. It’s sad that when push comes to shove, responsibilities come before the things I love, and not the other way around.

It’s also sad that I have responsibilities that instead of being something I enjoy or something I can find some happiness in, these responsibilities just drain me further. I guess if life were fair, we’d all be doing something we love and something we are passionate about while we take care of what needs to be taken care of. But that’s not reality now is it?

I’m also drained. I feel I have nothing left. Nothing left to give, to share or to have for myself. I’m starting to fear I’ve sacrificed too much and now I’m running on empty and would have to start from scratch to find myself.

And if that’s the case, then I’m no good to anyone. I’m nothing but a dead weight bringing anyone around me down. Why would anyone want to have that weight around their neck? I wouldn’t.

I’m not sure if I should cross my fingers and hope that when this passes, those who care for me are still there, or if I should preemptively cut ties to save everyone from my darkness. Why hurt those around you when you know you can prevent it, right? That’s love, isn’t it?

I feel like a 5 year old kicking the ground after losing a board game yelling “IT’S NOT FAIR!” Because…it’s not fair. None of it is. Life, being an adult, having responsibilities. I guess I just need to accept I’ve lost this round of the game and I just need to move on and try to win the next. Even though I’ll still complain that it’s just not fair.

Emotional exhaustion can do weird thing to your mental state. It makes you say and do things that normally would go against your beliefs and your convictions. It’s like you are so tired your mind starts to panic and then it allows for you to consider options you normally would be completely against. And instead of making it look like you are being open minded, it raises eye brows of those who know you and makes them question your motives.

And being questioned only makes you feel shittier. Makes you want to back track and violently unring the bell. To beat the shit out of the bell. Then panic sets in as your logic surfaces and you realize what you’ve said and how it probably looks. Damn it….that unringing of the bell isn’t working. Your words are out there and you are stuck having said all that you have.

Sigh…. I need more sleep.

And a new brain. Oh…how about a whole new body?

That would be sweet.

(This post is brought to you by PMDD. Don’t leave home without it because if you do, it’ll track you down, find you and kick your ass.)