Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Memorial Day

Memorial Day: a good day to stay in and think about sacrifice, or, you know, go to a BBQ.

Of course, we did both. I would have preferred to lie prone on the couch for the day. A girl can dream. (It's actually a good thing I can't do what I want to do--nothing--because I am not sure I would ever get started again.)

So, the BBQ. We met a cousin of my mom's--Lorna--and Rafael at my parents' house. My dad BBQed and my mom made the mashed potatoes, baked beans (from a can--is there any other way?), salad and corn.

Lorna gave Ella a present, which she actually opened herself.

Ella wasn't willing to keep the headband that matched the dress on for very long, but she did manage a big grin for a moment.

Lorna was a big hit--I'm sure in part because she is so nice, but also because she let Ella play with her glasses.

Rafael was also quite popular; he seems to love music and dancing. Brought in a Yo-Yo Ma CD and did some samba clapping with Ella. Plus, they played the drums with the cake box cover.

Turned out the cake box top also made a good hat. Though I brought a bag full of Ella's toys, the only thing that came out of it was a book that Lorna read to Ella.

And, just so you know, Ella and I wore very coordinated (but not matching! I haven't completely lost it!) dresses.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

I am so freakin' tired

This new medicine is saving me and slaying me at once.

It makes the restless legs and that "Oh my God, how am I going to get [nothing that important] done," feeling go away. It helps me sleep at night, but not so hard that I won't wake up when Ella needs me. It calms the nerves enough to keep me from crying, which isn't something I want to do all the time anyway.

The bummer is, it leaves me constantly feeling as though I have just woken up before I really wanted to.

Last time I took this stuff I got to take naps whenever I felt like it because I was a stay at home wife. Now, I get to play with toys while I lie on the floor and interact with my baby girl because I'm a stay at home mom.

I am so freakin' tired.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Keep on Keeping On

I'm afraid if I stop I won't be able to start again. So, after a very short stint of lying on the couch and feeling lonely (everyone else is napping), I started dusting. Then I cleaned the inside of the windows. Then I wrote Ella's thank you cards (she'll do it herself in a few years...). Now I'm listening to her make her baby sounds as she wakes up and I'm wondering what's next....

Must. Keep. Moving.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Independence Day

Ella came to insist on her independence this week--pretty much all on the same day.

Eating? She has to hold the spoon.

Combing her hair? She takes the comb, examines it and then swipes it down the side of her head (teeth facing her palm) a couple of times before I am allowed to quickly run it through her hair.

Brushing her teeth? She examines the bristles, moves them toward her mouth, lets me help her push the brush around on her teeth.

She might as well get her own apartment.

We've been doling out her birthday gifts slowly, so as not to overwhelm or bore her with so many new toys. Today she got the piano/xylophone. You can imagine the collective thrill ringing through the house.


Thursday, May 26, 2011

Getting Through the Days

I know this feeling.

I know having a task but only being half there to complete it, because my heart feels so heavy and my mind is so runny.

I've done lots of things this way.

Yes, I've taught this way.

But I never thought I'd play with my daughter this way.

Still, I'm pulling it off. I am full of energy. I am dancing. I am crawling after her. I am laughing with her--taking turns, I laugh, she laughs, I laugh. I'm doing the dishes. I'm making dinner. I'm picking up toys. I'm kissing her goodnight and putting her down for a nap.

I am breathing a lot of deep breaths.

If I didn't have this motivation, I would surely be lying down. Anywhere. The couch. The bed. Maybe even the floor.

I don't think people can tell. I went to the grocery store, I made small talk with the cashier. I didn't forget any of the things we needed, and I didn't even have a list. And I didn't buy a bunch of chocolate or chips in a doomed-to-fail attempt to make myself feel better.

I know I can do this. I know this will go away. I know I can't let this get any worse. I know I only have a certain amount of power over that last--I know it grows all by itself. It doesn't even have to be fed. But I'm squelching it with drugs and thoughts and everything I can think to use against it.

I am fierce.

But it's like ants when they invade the kitchen. You use the chemical stuff at the source, maybe just outside. And then, because you don't want the poison on your counter tops, it's Windex or cinnamon or baking soda. Does any of it work? And the next day they're somehow back.

Thank God my girl's favorite thing to do is smile her crinkle-nose smile.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Uh Oh

I don't really want to post this, but I'm more afraid of not posting it.

I'm depressed.

Most people say that and they just mean they're having a bad day or maybe two.

But when a person with depression says it...

I should have realized it when I stopped blogging. Nothing to say, despite my first Mother's Day and Ella's first birthday. Really?

That's right. In the midst of all this joy, on the brink of what is essentially our dream life together, I started "cycling downward," as my doctor said.

I haven't cycled in more than 1 year and nine months--really in more than two years. Not since way before we found out I was pregnant with Ella. I made it through my entire pregnancy, and the year-allotted-for-post-partum-depression without ever feeling depressed. Sure there were some sad days--days when I got bad news, days when I learned people were sick or dying or dead, but there wasn't this feeling.

What is the feeling, you ask?

Sometimes it's like walking wearing clothes that have been drenched by a down pour. That heavy, awkward, difficult to move feeling. Sometimes I just want to lie in my bed. Sometimes it's more like I'm running as fast as I can, being chased, in a race... Wondering where the finish line is, when it will be over. Sometimes it's my legs feeling restless, as though I need to pace or walk and walk and walk without ever stopping. Trouble is, that comes at night when I'm supposed to be falling asleep. In the morning, when I used to walk with Ella, we're sleeping, eating breakfast, staying in our pajamas til noon.

Don't say it.

I know I have nothing to be depressed about. Our money problems will be solved when Justin starts working in July. The stress he is under finishing his residency will end with the end of June. I live in a beautiful house. I have a beautiful, healthy child. I live in the town we wanted to live in... I could go on.

That's what makes depression a disease. It sneaks in when you're least expecting it, starts as a little kernel and then metastasizes into parts of your life you thought were untouchable by depression.

I can't be depressed and have this beautiful child at the same time, can I?


So, Monday, it was back to San Diego to see my therapist and my psychiatrist. These women are geniuses, the ones who got me onto the right combination of meds and cognitive behavioral therapy and mindfulness and kept me stable for so long and saw me through the darkest time.

A little addition to the daily medicinal regime and the wrinkle should be smoothed out soon.

In the meantime, I am thankful for the friend who coincidentally called to chat. She pulled me out of my isolation (I was not even reading blogs, or calling friends or doing anything unnecessary). I'm grateful for my husband who doesn't tell me I have nothing to be depressed about, but hugs me and knows that sometimes I'll have a bad patch but that we'll get through it. I'm grateful for what I have. I'm grateful for the sunny day.

And look at this girl. How can I not smile? She KISSED me this morning. Justin got her out of her crib and changed her diaper when she woke up. I came in with a bottle and waited for them to be ready. He was holding her, when she leaned forward with her rosebud mouth, her tongue sticking out a little and landed on my cheek. It was gross and sloppy and amazing. Justin and I were so thrilled that we celebrated with cheers and congratulations and laughter--and she almost cried because of the commotion.

Saturday, May 07, 2011


Today, Ella and her Aunt Hilary and I were out for a walk. Hil was pushing the stroller and we were at a lull in our chat when I heard, "Ella." In a soft baby voice.

I turned around to face them, "Hilary, did you just say, 'Ella?'"

"No, I thought that was you."

"She just said, 'Ella,' didn't she? Say, 'Ella.' Ella!"

Of course she won't do it on command, but I'm so glad there was a witness.

Her first word was Mama (yes, my heart is full!), then Dada, then hi, then "Geor'" (for George, her favorite stuffed animal monkey), then Ella. All learned within a month.

I love my little girl. Every day is brings a new surprise. (I know I'm sounding sappy now, oh well.)