Tuesday, August 31, 2010


I'm realizing more and more that blogging is a form of therapy for me. It helps me to get my feelings on "paper" as it were, to organize my thoughts and share them. Maybe it's a way of lessening my burden, and maybe I even hope that in some way, my hard times might help someone else. Still, I don't want you all to think that it is constant gloom & doom around here. I'm relatively certain that there are more good days than bad. I adore all three of my children and my wonderful husband. And we're all adjusting relatively well to our new normal—in fact, if you were to ask my older children the name of Roo's diagnosis, they couldn't even tell you. I try to talk to them about it, but they are just so caught up in their own worlds loving and accepting of him, that they don't really notice or care that he's "different." That's all good stuff. So I'm sorry if that's not the picture that I tend to paint here.

Apology accepted? OK, because today I'm going to complain, so are we ready to move on? Good.

I'm having the day from hell.

It started at 5:15, which is when Roo decided that he could not wait ONE MINUTE MORE to eat. To be fair, he is a remarkably good sleeper, and started sleeping through the night at 2 months; but for the past few weeks he's been getting up to eat between 5:00 and 6:00. He goes right back to sleep, so it's not the end of the world, except for what happens next…

I feed him, go back to bed, and my weight on the mattress wakes my hubby up juuuuuuuuuuuuust enough to push his snore button. Seriously. Every. single. morning.

This morning, though, I was determined to have a good attitude. So I climbed back out of bed and ran a nice hot bath. I lay in the bathtub, read my Bible, and prayed. It WILL be a good day. It WILL be a good day. It WILL be a good day.

After my bath, I decided to make use of the quiet to make my meal plan for the week. (I like to plan out a week's worth of meals—it makes grocery shopping easier and cooking dinner much more enjoyable for me.) It was about this time that I realized I'm getting my latest dose of crazy. No, it has nothing to do with any kind of monthly cycle. When Monkey was born, I was hit with depression that knocked me off my feet. It's much more manageable now, but it still sneaks up on me. One of my key symptoms is feeling overwhelmed by everyday tasks… like trying to plan a week's worth of dinners. Planning the meals and making my grocery list took me the better part of two hours. (To be fair, my family all got up about 45-minutes into it, so I was also helping the kids, talking to my hubby, etc, etc.) Meanwhile I was haunted by the dishes, laundry, and general straightening up that were supposed to get done yesterday but didn't because I spent most of the afternoon holding a fussy baby. Prioritizing is also difficult for me when the crazy hits. I was completely overwhelmed by this point, and it was only 8 AM. And here is really the problem with the rest of the day—the day itself hasn't been all that terrible, but my emotions have been out of control.

I got dressed and ready for the day, and I realized that these "crazy days" as my husband and I call them are happening more often now. They had almost disappeared when I was pregnant with Roo, and so much has happened with him, it's been hard to differentiate situational depression from… whatever the other kind is that I have. But lately they seem to be coming more and more regularly. Maybe it's time I go back to counseling, I thought. I haven't gone since right after I got pregnant with Roo. Where's the money going to come from? Who's going to watch the kids? What good is really going to come from it? I don't need a counselor, I need a live-in maid. I pushed those thoughts aside and repeated my mantra for the day… It WILL be a good day. It WILL be a good day.

I took Lamb to her kindergarten assessment, and I was left in the hall with my thoughts. Am I the only mom whose "mom guilt" reaches a whole new level when it's time for their kids to start school? Not only am I dealing with the emotions of my baby going off to school, I am suddenly wracked with guilt over the things we never got around to doing while she was little, worrying that my crappy parenting will shine through to my child's teachers and the "room moms", feeling inferior because I can't manage to be in her classroom every single week with the two boys still at home, afraid that other moms will judge me for how she dresses or how she acts or what I do (or don't!) put in her lunchbox or for letting her ride the bus or for NOT letting her ride the bus or… Well, you get the idea. These were the thoughts in my head as I waited for her to finish her assessment. I really wish I would have thought to take a darn book. It WILL be a good day, though, I told myself. It WILL be a good day.

And then while I waited, the preschool class walks by. Our local elementary school has an integrated preschool—with special needs and "develop-normal" kids (as our genetic counselor calls them)—right in the building. Cute little 4-year-olds. And at the end of the line, an absolutely adorable little boy… who has Down syndrome. It was almost more than I could take. Thank goodness there were other parents in the hallway, so I felt the need to hold it together.

Then during a quick trip to Giant Eagle, two of my coupons fell down inside the conveyer belt for the groceries. Then I noticed a bluish tint to one of the roasts we had picked up. Then I asked to redeem our "food perks" (you can earn a discount on grocery purchases) and was told we didn't have any, even though I knew that we had 4% off that was supposed to expire TODAY. By then the people in line behind me were quite through with me. I was so flustered that I didn't realize that I was missing a $2 catalina coupon that I had planned on. It was supposed to come from purchasing 20 Yoplait yogurts. I realized it later, pulled out my receipt, and found that I had managed to purchase 19 Yoplaits. Lovely. It WILL be a good day. It WILL be a good day.

I stopped by my husband's office, where he explained that he had used up our food perks two days ago because he didn't want them to expire. "Well, at least it was only a $3 mistake," he said. True, but I wouldn't have s.q.u.e.e.z.e.d. that trip to Giant Eagle into my already overloaded day if it hadn't been for that extra 4% discount. The food that I needed for dinner tonight was at Acme, where I still needed to go.

So we ran to Acme and then ran back home to get everything put away. But on the way home, I was hit again with exhaustion, impatience, and a hugely overwhelmed feeling. I absolutely could not handle going home and making lunch. We dropped our groceries off at home (putting the refrigerator/freezer items away!) and went to Burger King, where there is a play place. This time I DID grab a book, so I had something to keep me occupied while the kids played. But for some reason, I thought that The Year My Son and I were Born, a story about a mom's first year with her son who has Down syndrome, was a suitable book for me to read in public. I was wrong. I spent the whole time fighting back tears. (It is really good, though, and I highly recommend it for anyone who knows someone with a Down's child—which, ahem, most of you do. ;-) So many of the thoughts and feelings she expresses are word-for-word things that I have said, prayed, or thought.) Then poor Lamb just wanted to play on this ONE PART of the play area, but another little girl absolutely REFUSED to let anyone else come near it. The mom was RIGHT there, and was chatting quite pleasantly with me, but had NO interest whatsoever in asking her daughter to let someone else have a turn. Oh, and while we were in there, Roo pooped… and I had left the diapers in the van. I forgot to change him until we got home, at which point it was all over his belly, back, and clothes too.

So… I give up. It's not a good day. Nothing that has happened today is huge. It's more like… Chinese water torture. Little drops of water on my forehead, one at a time. Drip, drip, drip. And now I'm home, surrounded by laundry and dishes and groceries and kids with attitudes and a million other little drops. And my baby is going to kindergarten. And I am still going to have two little boys at home. And I am ready for Roo to start doing things a 5-month-old should be doing. And I'm not in a good place emotionally. Oh, and a week ago, our pastor preached on narcissism and specifically mentioned blogging, and now I am realizing just how me-centered this blog—and especially this post—really is, and I feel guilty. And it all just sucks. And I just got a very nice complimentary e-mail where someone commented on my "heart for the Lord", so now I'm feeling guilty for saying "hell" in my blog.

Yep, it's a bad day. And to be honest, the bad days seem worse with Down's in our lives. And the good days still don't seem quite as good as they could be. I wish I could tie this all up neatly with an encouragement—for your sake and mine. A silver lining, a pat on the arm to say, "Don't worry, we'll be OK." But I don't have that right now. We will be OK, I just don't feel it.

So I'm going to get my kids up from their naps (something I should have done an hour ago…………….) and just hang out with them a little bit. Maybe we'll read Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. ;-) Thanks for "listening."


erin said...

I'm praying for you, my friend. Love you so much.


ps. and by the way, I have those days, too. And I don't have nearly the "stuff" going on. so what's my excuse? :)

Beth said...

Hey Katy, I don't think you meant for this blog to make people laugh but you made me laugh all the way through on a week that I needed a laugh. I feel like this quite often and it makes me feel a little better knowing that others do too. I took on a foster child last week and I have been overwhelmed to say the least with 4 boys and 2 being 15 months and 5 months. So I have been feeling a little sorry for myself and I needed a good kick in the butt and refreshing REAL blog like yours. Thanks!! :)

Wren said...

Hi Katy,

A friend of mine emailed me a link to your blog! You are an amazing writer and I think you could one day write a book about your experience with Down syndrome. My little boy Sutter is 7.5mo old and also has Ds. We didn't find out until after he was born, needless to say we were just as shocked and surprised as you were.

The part about the bad days being worse and the good days being not a good....you'll get back to those good days soon I promise. One day life will just feel "normal" again. I can't explain it or even tell you when it will happen because it is different for all of us, but one day life will just feel good and the bad days will just come and go like they use to.

Looking forward to following your journey!