I've made no secret that our family has been going through a stressful time lately. And, when stressed, I usually deal in one of three ways: cook, clean, or write. Today I did all three, if that tells you anything.
Just another day in my life where I found myself begging, cajoling, bribing, and yes, even threatening, my daughter in an effort to get her to school. She met each of my tactics with faking sick, crying, trying to make herself vomit, and passive resisistance. We did finally get her off to school, only to have the teachers call us later to come pick her up before the day was over because she couldn't fully calm down and was (big surprise) refusing to participate in anything.
Anyhow, tomorrow is another day, and this post has a different point. While taking a Mommy Timeout in my room, I stumbled across an old blog I had written about my Irie Girl during the GODFORSAKEN toddler years. It was a great reminder for me that even at the lowest point, that point when you're sure you can't carry on, or that moment when you wonder if its too late to leave your child on the steps of the local fire station (just kidding, I'd never do that. We've had so many field trips to the Wailea Fire Station I'm pretty sure they'd recognize her and make me come back for her), all is not lost. It will get better, and you might even find some humor in it all some day.
So, here's a brief look into a day in our life as Mommy and Toddler Irie Girl, circa 2009:
I was always an anxious child. A perfectionist bordering on obsessive, rigid and unyielding. The clothing in my closet was, and still is, organized by style (i.e. dresses, skirts, pants), further subcategorized by sleeve length, and finally broken down by color. My idea of playing with Barbie was to set them up in elaborate scenes for display. A fun day for me often included rearranging my bedroom furniture and refolding the clothing in the dresser drawers. No need for spankings or groundings as a punishment for any rare misbehavior. Simply tell me you're disappointed and send me to my room to mentally berate myself for a few hours, and relive every mistake I've ever made. (I'm still upset with myself for the time I pulled a chair out from under Carrie Strehlau in the fifth grade, causing her to fall on the floor. Sorry, Carrie.)
TL;DR: I'm a typical Virgo. In the days of my childhood, however, anxiety, depression, and suicide weren't openly discussed. They were words whispered behind closed doors; family secrets hidden away. This compulsive need I have to organize, clean, and arrive at least 15 minutes early everywhere in life were just some of the ways I learned to deal with and cover for my anxiety and depression.
Both anxiety and depression run amok in my family. So it really shouldn't have come as a surprise when my daughter began displaying symptoms as well. I just never expected it to show up so severely at such an early age.
Well, I did it. I finally broke down and chose this past month as the moment to initiate my nine-year-old daughter into the world of slumber parties.
I feel like most kids get introduced to the concept of sleepovers by spending the night with Grandma and Grandpa, or maybe with cousins. But our family is on the other side of the country, so this wasn't an option for us. Coupled with my borderline helicopter parenting and memories of a certain sibling who was notorious for calling our Mom for middle-of-the-night rescue missions, I elected to delay the inevitable as long as possible.
We started small last year by choosing one friend to sleep over at our house first. I pulled out all the stops, going overboard as I am prone to do. Tent in the backyard, pizza, cookies, smores. Nothing but the best for my Princess and her BFF.
Strike one- BFF informed me that she does not like Pepperoni Pizza. Oops.
I shook it off and went into recovery mode. Bedtime was fast approaching. I know at sleepovers that it is customary for little munchkins to stay up as late as possible, but my munchkin goes to bed at 7:30 most nights, maybe 8:30 if she's really feeling wild.
Strike two- BFF is apparently a night owl. So I tossed and turned all night, attempting to fall asleep, listening to BFF talk to my sleeping daughter while watching the tablet and shining her flashlight in our bedroom window every few minutes. I was determined to stay awake as long as she was. I still don't know who fell asleep first, but it was around 2 a.m. the last time I peeked at the clock. (I should note here that I am exceedingly cranky when I don't get enough sleep. Therefore I took a perverse amount of pleasure in waking both girls at 3:30 a.m. so that we could drive up the mountain to behold the beauty that is sunrise on Haleakala. BFF actually laid down on some rocks and fell asleep while we were up there. She was a trooper.)
For those of you who don't know, I live on a smallish island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. I am not telling you this to brag (although it is mostly amazing), but so that you understand where I'm coming from.
You see, one of the issues with this island is that I love food and I love to shop. Okay, those are probably more of a character flaw than an issue with the beautiful island of Maui. We have beautiful beaches, waterfalls, friendly people, and warm weather year round. We do not have Olive Garden, Chic-Fil-A, or decent Chinese food. But, and I have yet to decide if this is a good thing or a bad thing, we do have a Target.
I don't consider myself to be a "Basic Bitch." I've never owned Uggs or a velour jumpsuit with the word Juicy across my nonexistent ass. I just tried a Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte for the first time last week, and I hated it! (Is it supposed to taste so chemically artificial?) I was never part of a sorority in college. I don't post gym selfies (because I rarely go to the gym.) But, I do have an incredible Resting Bitch Face, and I love Target.
Target is my downfall. As soon as I walk through the doors its as if I go into some sort of trance. Seriously, even if I think I'm only going in for Toilet Paper and Cat Litter, I still grab the big shopping cart and roll up and down almost every aisle in the store. Except the baby aisle. Let's face it, I don't need that kind of karma in my life.
So, here's my last shopping trip as an example.
Every Target shopping Spree starts with the Bulleseye Dollar Bins. I know I'm on a budget, but it's a dollar (or three, or five.) You never know what goodies you'll find, assuming you can squeeze past the hoarders emptying bins into their own carts. Lately I've been really into BuJo's, and I have found some really great stickers and notepads in this section. Bullet Journaling is amazing, but that's a conversation for another time. So then I decide to head to the craft section for some new pens and washi tape. Conveniently enough, I am also grabbing a birthday present for one of Irie's friends from this aisle. Must get back on track before I get distracted by all the pretty journals and notebooks.
So I swing through the clothing section, and nothing goes into the cart. Yay, me! I'm saving up for my next Stitch Fix shipment. Browse the toys on the lookout for any good sales, because it's never too early to shop for Christmas. I prefer the adrenaline rush of last minute Christmas shopping so I keep on cruising.
Ooh, Halloween clearance. Candy, candy, candy! Pumpkin spice Oreos (gross.) Nestle pumpkin spice morsels, pretty sure I can work with those. Caramels (for candy apples). An idea is starting to form. What did I come in here for anyways? Where's my grocery list? Shoots, left it at home.
Time to browse home goods. Eh, I have like 10 pillows on my bed already. Seriously. New candles?...no. Stay strong. Ooh, cute mason jars. And they're on sale. Into the basket. Towels? No, Hubby always brings some home from work.
Groceries. Wish I had my list. Let's see. Chips. Pasta. Pasta sauce. Bread. Beer. Candy. Wait, already got candy. More candy. Granola bars. Coffee pods for the Keurig. Lunch meat. Yogurt. Cheese. Ground beef. Chicken. Bacon. Apples, grapes, berries. Better throw in some veggies, too. Milk. Okay, stick to the budget. Check Cartwheel for deals. Hmm, toothpaste. I can always use new mascara. Almost out of conditioner. Plenty of shampoo. Why do we always run out of conditioner first?
Okay, losing focus. Gotta get out of here. Check out. Shoots. Forgot to bring my bags in. Yes, I'll buy five more reusable bags. Yes, I'm using my Target card. Throw in some gum and a soda.
Make it out in one piece. Load everything into Annie's trunk (what, your car doesn't have a name?!) Return cart. Get in car and maneuver out of parking lot. Fog is beginning to lift.
Crap!! I forgot the toilet paper and cat litter.
Shrug it off. I'll can always come back tomorrow.