I’m having a hard time posting here. I want to write and post more about our day-to-day and the projects I’m working on. But, to tell you the honest truth, it’s because I’ve been struggling with some anxiety. I’ve always had anxiety even as a child. I think growing up with a stutter didn’t help my anxiety but I’ve managed to push through all these years, relatively unscathed. These past few weeks have been a bit different though. Maybe because I’m older, maybe because I have another little person to look after and not just myself. My anxiety got so high, I struggled through a couple of panic attacks last week and the week before. I feel weird putting all of this out there, but I didn’t want to hide it and keep on blogging like everything was fine and dandy. I want to be open and not only express and document the positive aspects of my life in this space, but talk about the very personal aspects as well. Make sure to be “keeping it real.” I am feeling better now. After a trip to several doctors, I have a plan in place and plenty of help in family and friends to get me feeling less anxious.I’m eager to move forward and write about the projects I’m working on and what Ellie is up to, but I really felt like I’d be lying if I didn’t post about what’s been at the forefront of my life these days, this anxiety and maybe even a little bit of depression. Anxiety is a tough thing to deal with, maybe the toughest thing I’ve dealt with thus far. But, every day, I remind myself to breathe in and breathe out… and continue on the best I can.
* quietly joining back in with Just Write.
My toddler is starting to play. Just the other day I noticed her take one of her little Ostheimer animals and move it up the little treehouse play-stand I have set up on her table. Then she took the other animals and set them on top of one of her playsilks, all of them lying down as if they were sleeping. She moved several more animals up and down the ladder of the play-stand and made a little sing-song as she worked, dadadaa-dadadaa. She was actually playing. It was a neat thing to watch. My baby was turning into a playful child right before my eyes. Of course she has been “playing” for quite some time,wrapping her Pink Baby in blankets, pushing her stroller around, moving stuffed animals from place to place; but it’s never truly looked like “imaginary play” before this week. I get a little giddy thinking about play. I’ve spent so many of my adult years studying play in young children and watching many children play in many different early childhood settings. I love what play, especially what imaginary play can bring to a child. The joy, the excitement, the drama, the understanding of the world around them. I can vividly remember playing myself, as a child. reenacting stories I read about early settlers or Native Americans. Pretending to be sea lions or dogs or Mothers or witches or horses. Nothing was off-limits and my play would continue on and on throughout the days and evenings.
The importance of play has stuck with me after my own experiences as a child, my experiences as a preschool teacher and my graduate studies in early education. I want Ellie to have a rich childhood full of imaginary play. I want her to have a passion for life and learning and I really think that staying playful and allowing her the chance to really play will keep her excited about learning and the world around her. Seeing the small glimpses of real “play” makes me excited for the fairy tales we will read and the puppet shows we may have, the hundreds of songs that she may make up for her imaginary scenarios and the stories she may tell me when she’s deeply invested in her own playful worlds. I hear Plato’s words ringing in my ears, “Life must be lived as PLAY”. My daughter has just begun her playful journey reminding me to play more in everyday life too.
– Joining Heather for Just Write: an exercise in free writing your ordinary and extraordinary moments.
(and a little side thank you to Jenn at baby by the sea for inspiring me to write a little bit about the joys of play.
Long nights. The pain of new teeth coming in disturb my already very light sleeper. She whimpers and rolls closer to me, sometimes needing Mama’s milk to settle her body again. The days can be a whirlwind of emotions. Happy to paint but only with a paintbrush. Angry when the finger paints go back into the drawer, even though not a finger would touch them two seconds before. She wants to be close to me but bats my hand away when I try to gently brush her bangs out of her face. It’s hard, this dance we do when things get rough. I want so badly to take the uncomfortableness away, to cuddle her up or enjoy our day, but she has fight in her. She wants all of me and to be left alone at the same time. I carry my weepy girl upstairs. She wants her Pink Baby and her Bunny and her Napping Blanket. I get them as she sits on the bed waiting for me in all her sweet toddler glory. She scrunches her jaw and pats her cheek where those molars are breaking through. I give her a gentle glance and she curls up with me, nursing to sleep. An early nap time for this growing girl.
* It’s been awhile but my goodness that felt good. Joining Heather today with JUST WRITE, “an exercise in free writing your ordinary and extraordinary moments”.
Prompt 18/30 seeking solace
She was seeking solace in my shoulder-blade. Burying her head deep down into Mama’s sweater, capturing my familiar scent, to ease her anxieties that the doctor was producing with all of the pokes and prodding.
I talked her through the examination.
“She’s going to look in your ears now. Okay. All done.”
She grabbed onto my body even tighter though when the stethoscope was placed on her bare skin. Her anxieties building and Mama’s embrace no longer keeping her confident. Tears poured from her eyes when the nurse stuck her with the needle and I had to shush in her ear to calm her little body down. I put on my brave mother face for her. Quieted down my own quick heartbeat. Used an even tone. But secretly, I was seeking solace too. Away from these strong maternal emotions I was feeling to protect my little one. Her face beat red from crying. I held her with gentle stability. She held onto me and I held tight back. It’s so difficult to be so young and not understand the what’s and why’s. I brought her home and cuddled her close. Laughing again and smiling again, it was but an experience she hopefully will not hold onto. And another experience in my book of tough moments of motherhood.
– joining in the daily writing with Write Alm’s November Prompts and Heather’s Just Write!
Today I drove past my best friend’s childhood home. I stopped at the stop sign, turned left and then swung a right, right past the blue and white two-story home. The grass in front was well-tended just like it had been when Lauren lived there and that little tree in front was already turning color with autumn approaching.. Memories flooded back in an instant. I can see my mom dropping me off here for a slumber party. I wave her away as Lauren opens the front door smiling, a container of Carnation malt in her hand, ready for making ice cream soda’s. I see Lauren and I sitting in her cool, black Jetta, parked in the driveway of her house, angsty, emotional teenagers listening to Jewel’s Adrienne. Our seats laid back and the moon roof open. I can see us tumbling out the front door, a gaggle of young bodies dressed in Halloween costumes, ready for candy collecting. I see the stretch limo sidled up to the driveway. Girls in gowns and boys in tuxes eager for Prom and the rest of our lives.
It’s funny how a quick drive past a childhood home can conjure up so many memories and feelings. I connected with Lauren today after passing by her home. Texted her. Told her I missed her and the days of our youth. She texted back. I miss you too. It would be nice to go back… maybe for just a quick visit?
-joining Heather for Just Write (“an exercise in free-writing your ordinary and extraordinary moments”).
we snuggle up together, she curls into my body and starts nursing, one hand draped to her side, the other softly caressing my chest. The hum of the fan calms both our bodies. It’s cool lying on the clean, cotton sheets. I have ocean music playing. Tunes to unwind and help little ones sleep. The wind blows the shutters open above our heads and a bright sun-gleam shines onto her face. I stare at my baby girl lovingly. She smiles at me between sucks. Her heavy, sleepy eyes perk open clearly and she pops off, flips over, smirks at me with a twinkle in her eyes and crawls quickly off the bed. A quick, lovely, peaceful moment… but unfortunately, no nap today.
-joining in with Just Write today (I had written this last week but didn’t get a chance to post it. Now that I’m posting, I have a sleeping, sick baby curled up next to me).
I have this tribe of Mama’s who have gotten me through the most trying days and nights with my baby. They support and guide me while I navigate nursing my active twelve month old, they give me advice when I’m anxious, pick me up when I’m feeling low and encourage my healthy living habits. They are the most phenomenal group of women that I have never met. They are writers, artists, engineers, stay-at-home-moms, professionals from all walks of life. We’ve never met and yet I feel like they are my dearest friends, my support group, my sisterhood.
It was a blog that started all of this. I stumbled upon it one sleepy night while nursing Ellie back to sleep. A blog about “waiting it out”. A blog about accepting that some babies just don’t sleep through the night and that was okay. A blog about following the lead and needs of the child. No crying it out, just waiting it out. I loved every word Sarah wrote and I started eagerly following her blog. Post after post resonated with me. The respect and tenderness in each of her posts were so genuine and real. This was the mother I was trying to be to Ellie, this was the way I was parenting as well. The Nurshable blog touched so many sleepy mothers, a Facebook group was created and then sister groups stemming from that. Mothers from all over the globe, coming together to talk about waiting it out with their children. Supporting each other, helping each other, learning from each other, lovingly, with respect and adoration for each other. Months of visiting these groups and I am now a solid part of the community. I talk with these Mothers daily. I have their phone numbers and they have mine. Women I have never met but a camaraderie that grows and grows.
A tribe is so important in this motherhood journey and I am thankful every day for the support I have in these women. We don’t need to meet each other to feel so connected (although it would be lovely to meet many of them). We are connected through our passion to parent gently and we are connected through the support we give to one another every day. They remind me to breathe in and out and smile. And I in turn remind them.
-joining Heather for Just Write!