Archive | 10:03 pm

I Choose To Call It “Helpfulness”

1 Mar

“No one is ever quite ready; everyone is always caught off guard. Parenthood chooses you. And you open your eyes, look at what you’ve got, say “Oh, my gosh,” and recognize that of all the balls there ever were, this is the one you should not drop. It’s not a question of choice.”

― Marisa de los Santos, Love Walked In

All I have to say today is: Good thing I started a blog when Oli was born and updated it a few times because I have forgotten half of the things that Oli did between the ages of 1 and 2. Stress induced amnesia? Sleep deprivation?

She started talking around the age of 2. She had about 15-20 words back then. She only said one word at a time except on one occasion where she used two. I guess this happened?.. because I blogged about it. True to my absent minded, fog clogged brain self I didn’t mention in the post what that two word sentence was. I have no idea now. That sucks…

She used to say the beginning or the end of a word. For milk she would say “ka” and later “ilk”. For drink she would say “dri”. She did say mamma all the time. It started as “ma-ma-ma” and later became “mom-mom”. Always strung together.

Maybe she got it from Kekoa? That boy never said my name just once and still doesn’t. It’s always “Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom.” It doesn’t matter if I answer right away or not. Of course I tell him he sounds like a broken record. Apparently I am no longer allowed to use this terminology with children, per the husband. He told me yesterday “People under the age of 25 have no idea what that even means. You can’t say record, tape, VHS…”

I can say it as long as I want. I can even yell it into a phone and then slam down the receiver!

When did I become old?

What was I talking about?….

Oh yeah, Oli. The main character in my story.

She also started learning to walk around this age. Not walk- walk, but Oli walk which started with me holding her up and moving her legs in a walking like motion.

So…basically it was just me, puppeteering her around the room.

I guess now that I think about it, it was ALL me.

I should describe this part instead of Oli learning to walk as Mommy forcing Oli to learn to walk. I was so impatient. Instead of waiting for the poor girl to do things at her own pace and in her own time I would impose my “helpfulness” on her.

I can only imagine what Oli is thinking when I set out to help her learn something new. Walking… talking… perhaps braille reading?

“Really mom? Why don’t you just go ahead and do that by yourself and come on back down to earth when you’re done. I’ll be here waiting in the land of reality when you get back.”

I chose to pretend that I helped her learn to walk.

Okay, really I didn’t. But I tried. I tried for almost 2 years. When Oli was ready to walk she did. When she was 3 and a half. Despite my deceptive attempts to tell people she was learning to when she was 20 months old. Who did I think I was fooling? If you came over to my house and saw me hunched over, carrying my 2yr old with just her feet dragging on the floor, would you have been convinced that she was walking?

“Look World! I am a genius! I give you—-Oli’s first steps! Just pretend you don’t see me here doing everything for her.”

I can’t help but laugh at my faked enthusiasm, my I-rock-at-this-parent-thing attitude and blatant foolery in my old blog posts.

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The Night Was My Enemy

1 Mar

“Sometimes the hardest part isn’t letting go but rather learning to start over.”

― Nicole Sobon, Program 13

I called Oli’s doctor and told her our decision to try Melatonin. She suggested that we start at 3mg and see if it helps. The first night I gave it to her I was so hopeful that she would begin a normal sleep pattern. I crushed up the pill and mixed it in some applesauce at bedtime. As Oli closed her eyes I whispered a little made up song in her ear.

“Sleep sweet Oli. Sleep tonight. Sleep sweet Oli until it’s light.”

It worked!! For the first time in months she slept through the night. I would like to credit my little song and the mystical powers of my voice, but there was a reason I was whispering it to her and not singing it.

Melatonin was now my best friend.

It was wonderful seeing what regular sleep did for her. She had more energy, ate better, and put on some weight. She finally weighed 20lbs at 20 months old.

It helped me tremendously too.

Before we tried Melatonin I would occasionally have anxiety attacks when darkness fell. I worried every night about how many hours of sleep I would get. Was I going to be able to function at work the next day? If I was staying at home the following day I worried that my temper would be short and that I would be too exhausted to do anything productive with the kids.

The night was my enemy. It held all of my fears, inadequacies, demons, unfulfilled dreams and unanswered questions. It made me feel weak and useless. I would hold my playful baby in my arms at 2am and silently cry so she couldn’t hear my anguish. I would turn my head so my tears wouldn’t fall on her face. And I would pray in the dark. I prayed and prayed for peace. I prayed for comfort and then I would wrap her up in her blanket and hold her tightly to my heart. Oli’s link to my heart and the complete love I felt for her was the only tether I had binding me to this life. This place and my role as a mother. I held onto her and gave this tiny person the power to hold me down and keep me from floating away.

Once she started sleeping it lifted some of those anxieties from my shoulders and allowed me to take a much needed deep breath. I actually took deep breath.

I hadn’t done that in a very long time.

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