Saturday, April 19, 2008

. . . just like Clifford!


Last Thursday, we went on a ferry ride from Coronado to downtown and back with Eliza's field trip group. We were late, and Eliza bawled about losing her shoe on the pier (we found it upon returning), but overall she enjoyed the novelty. She was disappointed that there were no fairies on the ferry though.

That evening, she drew a picture of a boat, naming the figures she'd scribbled: "Ben and Hannah and Noah and Olivet." I think that is the first time she has drawn a person outside our little family.

On the drive home, she was rattling on excitedly about the park, her friends, the ferry, and the pier.

E: It was just like Clifford!
me: Eh?
E: Just like Clifford! Emily Elizabeth and Clifford met friends on the pier. Just like me!

That reminded me of a comment she made a month ago. We were reading Robert Sabuda's pop-up Alice in Wonderland, which has one spread showing Alice growing so large she bursts out of the house.

"That's just like Clifford! He got so big then they moved to the island. Alice goes to the island, too?"

Indeed.

I laughed, surprised and delighted that she would make such a connection, but also a bit mortified that it was to a TV show. Her viewing is now down to a maximum half hour a day with a movie once or twice a month with me - usually a classic musical because that's the only thing we both find interesting.

Clang clang clang went the trolley,
Ding ding ding went the bell,
Zing zing zing went my heart strings,
From the moment I saw him I fell!

(Yes, I really do burst out into song at home.)

On a completely unrelated note, gut yontif to those who celebrate Pesach this week. Hell hath no fury like a bread-deprived vegan. :)

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

four months

Two months ago, I was shaken but slightly hopeful. Today marks four months to the day since I've been existing in pain, anxiety, and despair. Overnight it happened. I look back on cheerful e-mails or posts in the days before the revelation and desperately wish I could go back to blissful ignorance.

For three months, I held in the pain whenever Eliza was around and broke down sobbing each day once she was peacefully napping. I grew weak under the strain and eventually broke down one day about a month ago. In all my 30-odd years, I have never cried as much as I did that Friday. I sobbed for literally hours as Eliza watched TV in the other room. I truly feared losing my mind. By late morning, I had enough sense for a few minutes to page my husband, begging him to come home from work for the first time in 10+ years, knowing that I was incapable of caring for our daughter that day. Five and a half hours later, he finally came through the door.

How I prayed. I was tempted to ask G-d to end my pain, but I feared it would be answered where all others had failed.

I can't quite say what changed in the week after that, but my deep sadness was partially displaced by anger. I don't find it "empowering" - it's eating me alive. But I realized yesterday that it had been weeks since I'd last shed a tear. For two hours last night I expressed my pain and bitterness, which was met with silence. I was able to sleep no more than an hour last night, and just when I thought I was outwardly coping well with the day, I broke down as soon as Eliza was asleep and couldn't stop sobbing for an hour.

I'm trying to take care of Eliza and myself to the best of my ability each day, but some days that just isn't good enough.

Exercise has fallen by the wayside (and my weight loss has stalled) since Eliza decided she was only going to nap a couple days a week at most. I've been struggling to keep up with housework. My first priority this month has been to keep sane, to keep from drowning, and sometimes there just aren't enough hours in the day for everything.

I've been seeing a therapist for a couple months. She wants me to ask myself how I can take care of my needs (short- and long-term) every day. Right now, I only feel capable of surviving each day; I feel incapable of looking much farther ahead than next week.

Books have been a small comfort to me and are often the only way I can concentrate on anything other than my broken life. I've read over 60 books since the New Year - a clip I haven't matched since my daughter was born.

Last Friday I met with an herbalist to address my anxiety, (frequent) headaches, depression, and insomnia. The tincture she made me contains St. John's wort, Siberian ginseng, wild oats, licorice, vitex, skullcap, and California poppy. The medicinal tea has nettles, skullcap, passionflower, lemon balm, and I forget what else. I was told to continue with my couple capsules of valerian before bedtime. (It does help on the nights when I'm less plagued by emotional demons.) It may take weeks to see an effect. Once I'm on steadier ground months from now halevai, she wants me to do a 28-day cleanse again.

I'm spinning out of control, and it's frightening.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

tag, I'm it

I keep meaning to post, but my mind is in a very dark, scary place, and I'm a wreck. Erika at Married with Children.... tagged me. I probably can't come up with 5 interesting things, but if I hesitate, I'll never respond.

* * * * *

Rules: Link to your tagger and post these rules. Share 5 facts about yourself. Tag 5 people at the end of your post and list their names (linking to them). Let them know they've been tagged by leaving a comment at their blogs.

1. I'm a 30-something woman who hasn't been on a first date since age 19.

2. My best friend died when we were 8 years old (her drunk parents picked her up from the babysitter and overturned the car into a marsh); I wasn't allowed to attend the funeral.

3. As a kid, I thought I should be a Republican because I had a puppy crush on Alex P. Keaton (Michael J. Fox's character on Family Ties).

4. As a teen, I had (dyed) black hair and wrote bad poetry about death and insanity.

5. [OK, I guess I should avoid another 'downer' for #5.] I've lost 36 pounds since last fall.

Alright, I guess I need to tag now.

ETA: I tagged The Skolniks, wilson silverleaf family, Adventures of Plenty, Wildwood Cottage, and Homeschooling in the Garden State. That's 5. If anyone else wants to play, consider yourself tagged.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

two months

[written 1/18]

So much has happened that it's hard to know where to begin or how much to reveal here.

Seven weeks ago, I got the shock of my life. My world shattered. I've been grieving and struggling. I don't know what my life will resemble six months from now or even where I'll be living, but it's likely I won't be able to homeschool Eliza in the future, which kills me more than anyone realizes. I haven't been able to be the mother she deserves for the last couple months, which is cruelly ironic considering she's all I have.

* * * * *

[written 2/6]

I wrote the above a couple weeks ago but couldn't make myself post it. I got another shocking revelation last week, from which I'm still reeling, but I'm also more hopeful and stable than I was last month. I still don't know what the future holds, but I've been doing my best to get Eliza out of the house more often.

On a more positive (albeit far less life-altering) note, my house has never been cleaner, I've done a major workout every single weekday for 2 months straight (and have lost quite a bit of weight), and my credit card debt is shrinking. All that is my feeble attempt to change what little I have control over. The other week, I came across the following in Rosemary Remembered by Susan Wittig Albert, and it hit home:

"Have you noticed how often it's the little things - cooking eggs, weeding the garden, changing the oil - that keep us going, keep us sane? It's ordinary life that steadies us when we suddenly bump into something unfathomably dark and huge, hidden like an iceberg under black water."

whose car?

Eliza: This is your car, Daddy. And that's my car!

Daddy: Don't you mean Mommy's car?

Eliza: No, that's my car! Mommy just drives it.

For twelve years, we've made do with one car. We always chose to live close to where one of us worked or studied in order to make it work. I don't care for my neighborhood, but it was the only location we could afford within a 6-mile radius of my husband's office. He has commuted by bike almost every day in the almost 4 years since we bought the house. It worked out well for me to have the car available for Eliza's sake. We could deal with the occasional inconvenience of having to chauffeur my husband to and from work when it rains (SoCal being a generally sunny place).

That changed a month ago when my husband's division was moved across town to a different office building. Despite his commute being doubled, he has been continuing to bike some days, but he has been having more aches and pains - not to mention the fact that this time of year is what we two call "monsoon season" (most of the year is extremely dry, but in the late winter, it rains hard and frequently). So he finally broke down and bought a second car (a used Corolla).

It's a good thing I have Eliza to set me straight on whose car the Civic is just in case I forget my place.

Friday, November 30, 2007

singin' in the rain

That little girl makes my heart sing. It has been raining since early morning, and I've had a ho-hum rainy day at home catching up on housework. I was just coming down the stairs after moving over the laundry when I heard her voice:

"I'm singin' in the wain, jus' singin' in the wain. I'm singin' and dancin' in the wain."

There she was out on the wet patio barefoot and dancing. I guess I've been singing that song around the house more than I realized (I saw the movie a few days ago for the hundredth time). Knowing the camera was in the car Chris took to work, I raced to get my camcorder only to see the memory stick was missing. So I just leaned against the doorpost with a grin on my face, and when she urged me to join her, who was I to argue?

Thursday, November 29, 2007

silly me

I just got a pair of socks made of bamboo that have separated toes. Eliza laughed so hard tears squeezed out. Once she could finally speak she said, "Mommy, that's silly! You have gloves on the feet!" then laughed more. I felt like the silly turkey from Blue Hat, Green Hat who kept putting clothes on the wrong body parts, but I don't care - the socks are cozy.

Monday, November 26, 2007

learning notes: November 12-25

outings

week 1
Tu: library story time + nature walk + play date
W: dance class
Th: fire station field trip + park + IKEA
F: music class + library (again)

The photo on the right is from the short nature walk we do around the pond area each week after our library visit. I love that little wooden bridge.

Music class is on break until 2008 now. Her teacher sure deserves time off from her 20-odd weekly classes.

Dance class went unusually well. Eliza had so much fun and she was more cooperative than she's ever been. There was no class Thanksgiving week, but they'll do another 4 weeks before breaking for 2 then finishing up the final 4 weeks of the quarter in January. The new quarter starts February 1st, and I hope Eliza will be bumped up to the class for 3¼-5-year-olds (no parent participation). Frankly, I'd rather spend the 50 minutes reading than having to participate in pre-ballet, but if they think she'd benefit from another quarter of Mommy & Me, that's what we'll do.

video

The fire station tour was the monthly field trip for E's home-preschool group. We were about 20 minutes late because of my confusion over the parking and where to enter, so we missed the inside of the fire station because of my incompetence, unfortunately. Eliza was really looking forward to this, but after driving all that way, we only caught the last 8 minutes or so. At least she had a good time at a park afterward. I took a very short video of the fire engine with my new camera, which captures sound as well as video (unlike my stolen camera), but even though I could hear the nice man clearly, it seems my camera couldn't.

week 2
M: Birch Aquarium
Tu: Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit + Natural History Museum + Mingei International Museum
F: Bee Movie

For week 2, we had visitors to entertain. Besides the above, we also went out to eat several times (Chinese, Greek, etc.), which is one of Eliza's favorite things to do.

The big event on Tuesday morning was the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit. (I forgot my camera that day, but I couldn't take photos inside the exhibit anyhow, but see Brit's October post for great Balboa Park photos.) It was a bit chaotic in there, so the six adults got separated, and my husband ended up with Eliza. Afterward, the three of us (the first out) found each other and spent a half hour in the rest of the Natural History Museum (we only had a short time, but we visit fairly often).

Our next stop was to the Mingei (folk art museum) where it was Free Tuesday. We hadn't been in almost a year, and Eliza really appreciated it this time. Her favorite room was the white computer room (with a chair sculpture that said no sitting - what torture for a little kid), but she was entranced by the fairy doll house made entirely from materials from nature. Other favorites were the rocks found twisted by nature into what coincidentally resembled various landscapes - they said "please touch" - it was such a pleasant surprise for her after so much "just look, don't touch."

On Friday, Eliza had her first-ever visit to the cinema (and my first in exactly 2 years) where we saw Bee Movie. She was such an angel and has talked about the experience frequently in the days since.

learning at home

I have no notes. When we weren't out of the house week one, I spent an absurd amount of hours cleaning the house (which apparently still wasn't good enough), so Eliza even more time than usual self-entertaining. From her point of view, the most interesting thing she did at home all week was to help me assemble DVD cases. I'm not handy in the slightest, but the one thing I can do well is assemble bookshelves and the like. Eliza picked up quite a few new words in the process. She was so proud of herself and excitedly told her father all about it when he got home.

For week two, she spent so many hours helping/observing in the real kitchen and also playing with her kitchen- and tea-themed toys. There was a lot of block and Lego play, too, and lots and lots of tickling. "Pwease tickow me!" she repeatedly begged whomever was nearby. She is one silly goose.

coming soon . . .

This week we're getting back to normal. We had to skip playgroup this morning because I'm ridiculously far behind on laundry, but we plan to do our usual trips to the library, dance class, etc. I'll close with a preview of Eliza's art exploration from this morning - "Tilting Prints" from Preschool Art - that she did with a baking pan and chiming Chinese meditation balls (I didn't have marbles):