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The 24 hour stomach flu has made its rounds in our home starting with Max last Saturday, ending with Hal today.  What a week!

In other but not so new, news…

I am slowly unraveling and falling into a mild state of depression over my inability to really help with Bella’s skin.  I feel like I need to regroup, come up with a plan that I can stick with, and see it through.  My problem is I lack discipline and I’m naturally cynical – huge obstacles to overcome. When I figure out what I need to do and stick to it, I’ll let you know.  I just have to get past this next week of testing and doctor’s appointments (for Bella) before I can take the mental space to think about this.

Well… we have gotten the first round of blood work back and this is what is up…

The list is in order from least allergic (1), to most allergic (4).  We will be getting more tests done when we get to the allergist.  The RAST test isn’t a very reliable one from what we have read, nor does it cover many foods.

#1

rice
lemon
corn

#2

grapefruit
oat
coconut

#3

almond
white bean
potato

#4

egg white
milk
wheat
soy bean
peanut
sesame seed
pea

and #0 means she is not allergic and those few items are:

orange
pecan nut
carrot
lime

See, this test is pretty lame.  I mean, at least we know “for certain” that she has allergies, but damn… I need to know about so many more foods.  This coming week is filled with appointments.

Hal and I keep reminding one another that it could be worse.

I am struggling with the idea that it may be beneficial to Bella for me to give her the formula. I’m scared because I don’t want to make things worse for her but I’m also exhausted and feel it might be good for her and me.  I  eliminated from my diet so many foods.  On one hand, I’ve gotten used to the restrictions, on the other, its a bit depressing – and the restrictions could get greater with the next batch of testing.  I’m working on networking with other moms who have children with eczema like Bella’s.  I need their wisdom and support.
So, this has been what has been going on.  Hal and I are dealing well most days with me having mini-meltdowns once in a while.  Overall, we are still moving forward and keeping focused on all the wonderful parts of our lives – which is many.  And fortunately, Bella is a good natured, happy, and lovely little girl.  She is taking all this way better than her mommy.  I do need to take some steps back and regain a perspective that is healthier for both her and me.  Always easier said than done.  And always so worth the effort.

Mama Rage.

First off…

Happy Winter Solstice! And yay!!! Laura went into labor today!!

Next…

A friend recently mentioned to me in observation, not criticism, that despite what is going on with Bella’s skin (health problem) I seem to be handling it in stride. On some levels, I would agree. That would be on the surface and the level slightly below. On a  level slightly below slightly below the surface, I am racked with guilt and grief.

In the most darkest moments, there are times when I wonder if having a second baby was the best choice for me. I imagine how easy life would be right now if I only had Max to care for and love. I get agitated when I hear Bella scratching because I know there is nothing I can do to make the itch go away. I get angry when awakened in the middle of the night by her fussing because I believe if her skin health wasn’t compromised that both she and I would be sleeping blissfully through the night (something I have not experienced since my third trimester of pregnancy with Max, three years ago). I get so depressed because it feels like I am doing so much for her… and I just wish she would heal already. All this makes me feel guilty. It makes me feel like a horrible person. A self centered woman.

I have to question why I feel so bad for just acknowledging HOW I FEEL. I mean, I not only experience these difficult-to-acknowledge emotions, but I feel an incredibly deep well of love for Bella, a bottomless well. On the deepest of levels, I always feel a magical love for her. It is what motivates and guides me. If this connection wasn’t present, I don’t think I could be doing all that I am for her skin.

Going on a rant because I have been reading, “Gyn/Ecology: The Metaethics Of Radical Feminism,” a book that was recently [timely] given to me…

There is a creepy myth that has been created by men that mothers should always happily be self-sacrificing and loving towards their children. That if we utter any dissatisfaction with our children [if we speak of our real experiences with mothering] that we are dooming/hurting ourselves, and more importantly to the emotive power of the myth – our children. I think the internalization of this myth is self imposed martyrdom, self hatred, and the constant guilt of not living up to the myth. Or worst, isolation from other mothers while feeling that in order to relate we have to have the same parenting philosophies.

The lack of a safe space to speak honestly of our full spectrum of experiences with mothering only tangles us even tighter to the irrationality of the myth by giving us a motive to deceive ourselves and others about our true experiences. It is a vicious cycle of abiding by a standard that wasn’t even created by mothers.

It is important to me to have the space to speak of my true experiences with mothering. I have worked hard to surround myself with powerful women who can hear and speak of the truth. I feel strongly that all women are able to speak their truth if given a safe space to do so. It makes me angry that it is so much work to create these bonds with other women. And yes, I blame patriarchy for this difficulty. I blame men.

About Bella again…

I am not an altruistic person by nature [I don’t believe anyone is] yet doing what I am doing for Bella is an act of altruism. The fact is, NO ONE can do for Bella what I am doing for her. The fact is, I have to do it without hearing her praise and I have to do it alone – the same as I gave birth to her alone. The fact is, I can not do it with a smile on my face.

I drift in and out of resentment towards Bella’s skin (this often mixes with resentment towards Bella). I really need to not waste to much time feeling guilty for this. This resentment I have felt is temporary. When she looks up at me with her big almond-shaped brown eyes, I know her love and my anger is reminded of my love – it happens this way all the time.

Being a mama is such a bag of mixed goodies.

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PS: BaoBao’s skin is improving. Slowly, but still improving.

I’m happy to say… he hasn’t even noticed over half of his toys are missing. Whew.

The Christmas Fairy just left and took with her two bags of Max’s old toys – all of them plastic and made in China. Most of them were dinosaurs. I hope he understands (yeah right). Today is going to be tough but I really want to teach him that he doesn’t need a lot of toys to play and have fun. I want to show him how to use his imagination – something I have only done in small ways up to this point.

This is going to be hard because our entire culture and a few well meaning relatives are against me on this one. I am okay with some plastic toys in the house but come on… two garbage bags full of plastic crap??? I’ve gotta put my foot down somewhere on this issue and today it just went down.

This is probably the last photo that will be taken for a while that shows Max liking his mommy. *Sigh*

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The hill was heading down!

The irony of listening to, Crass – Penis Envy, while doing housework is far from lost on me.

I’m eagerly awaiting the new designed, Fuzzi Bunz, to reach their distributors. Bella has been wearing Max’s FB’s. They are too big and the elastic around the legs is shot. Bella is in serious need of her own cloth nappies.

For a short time this morning I feared that my calm outlook on the daily grind (home with the kids) was already heading downhill and taking a turn for the worst. Bella was crawling after me for about 30 minutes while I attempted to quickly pick up the junk all over the floor. Then, she was itching like crazy and as per usual, protested the ritual of changing her nappy and caring for her skin. This protesting = pain for me because it is my right hand that hurts the worst. My right hand is the one she aims for when kicking.

She was so crabby that I was sure I’d have to spend the rest of my “free-time” (what a joke!) holding her. To people living without chronic pain, this may seem easy and ideal. For me, carrying her is painful.

I feel bad typing this all out but in addition to what I just wrote, I have to admit to myself that I don’t spend nearly as much time one on one with Bella as I was able to do with Max. Nor do I wish too. Don’t get me wrong, the time I spend with her everyday, one on one, just playing is delightful (all 10 minutes of it). I just can’t – and don’t want to – do it as much as I did with Max. I really need to work on carving out “Bella and Me” time. Also, (to continue the grumbling) her skin issues suck the life out of me. I get so depressed at night when she wakes up scratching.

After a freak out period this morning, after calling Hal and crabbing at him for leaving me with a messy house (for a moment there, it was all his fault), I gave Bella a sippy cup of water and she instantly stopped following me around. I immediately called Hal back to let him know that order had been restored.

Whew. The ride downhill was a short one.

Now, I better get back upstairs before Bella’s content in the playpen turns ugly.

Gifts during the year come in many forms. It just seem extra special when they arrive during the month of December. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I’m starting to become very interested in food again. In the beginning, having such an ungawdly restricted diet depressed the hell out of me. Now, I’m feeling pretty f’ing excited about the taste of whole foods (you know, vegetables, grains, beans) and have begun to see my eating habits as more of a part of life than a “restricted diet.” Come to find out, flavor was not as easily available to my buds with the high sugar/preservative/processed foods vegetarian lifestyle I had pre-Bella.

While driving from Max’s preschool to Bella’s acupuncture appointment I missed my turn and happened upon a local produce market. Score! Then, as I’m excitedly telling a friend about said market, she informs me of another market that is local and organic. Double score!

Mind you, knowing about the importance of eating healthfully isn’t new for me. However, wanting to eat healthy and conscientiously is a completely new desire. It’s not that I have been unaware of the two concepts working together. It’s more like I have never really put it on my list of, “This Is Important To Me – Important Enough To Drive Thirty Minutes For It.”

I’m very excited to check out this place, Saturday morning (I love that the site has a crop schedule). All the produce is grown right on the farm that sells it. I think I’ll try to drag my whole family out there!

The gift for me [better than just having the information in my head… if that makes any sense?] came in the form of Awareness. Awareness about Earth and the importance of a community’s connection, just hit a little closer to home.

Backyard privacy is a symptom of suburban living. I sit in the rocking chair as Max plays in the dirt and Bella swings feeling like someone, anyone, could watch me and I wouldn’t know it. It makes me want to plant bushes around the fence so no one can see in. This paranoia is faceless and I’m not sure I like it.

Then I think about it. I am exposed and it must seem delightful to my homebound elderly neighbors to see a woman interact with her children so freely. To look out their window and witness a woman telling her son a story and the excitement on his face as she weaves the words into another world. To see children so content and playful around their mother is a gift. I love watching people who seem happy, too.

So I’m torn and left fantasizing about living on a few acres of land where the only eyes on me is Nature’s.

Backyard privacy is a symptom of suburban living and the cure is to move out into the country.

I think I will have to plant some tall bushes.

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