I Am Pathetic

Over the past two months, I have had increasing problems with tension headaches, sleeplessness, and neck mobility. (I hesitate to call any sleeplessness “insomnia” largely because when I go to bed, I do fall asleep; and if I wake up due to one of my children *cough*Bun*cough*, it’s more a matter of being kicked in the kidneys keeping me up, although I do have the occasional racing thoughts at 4 a.m.)

I took the opportunity over the weekend to see if my sister, whom I will now be referring to as Dr. Sis, could help me out with the neck thing. Using a combination of massage therapy and chiropractic, she worked on my neck for upwards of an hour Saturday and Sunday. I’m a tough patient, it turns out.

She adjusted my hips and back as well, which she thinks will help with my neck, too. But she was pretty honest: I have muscular and skeletal issues that are going to need care. She thinks there is some degeneration going on, as well. She prescribed daily heat and stretching. I should probably find a chiropractor, too, huh? My free adjustments will cease — or become far in between times — when she moves to Wilmington, NC.

She also warned me: “You’re going to be pretty sore.”

Boy, she wasn’t kidding. Between the ride back to Pittsburgh with two over-tired children who would not just pass out already and those adjustments, I was in considerable pain when I finally pulled into my driveway. DearDR was supposed to take over as POD (and I was supposed to go to a blogging event on the South Side), but his high-school friend who is living in Arizona was visiting, so that didn’t happen. Fortunately, my MIL once more rode to the rescue by serving dinner to everyone (Earthmom and her family were on the compound as well), and my SIL and BIL-IL took all the kids for a nature walk, so I took to my bed for about an hour with a heating pad and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (yeah, I know, I’m behind).

The major issue (it seems to me) is that when I have stress/anxiety issues, I tend to “store” them in the muscles of my neck and shoulders. In thinking about this more in depth, I keep coming up against: WTF do I have to be stressed out about, really?

Yes, we had repeated bouts of strep throat this summer — as a matter of fact, summing up my summer at my Aunt M’s 70th birthday party a couple of weeks ago went like this: a month of two rounds with strep, and a week in Cape Cod. Then lots and lots of other travel and activities coming up — a spa weekend for me, trips to Seven Springs a couple of different weekends, sundry summer stuff — into August. Plus the usual stressors: full-time work, paying bills, raising children — my wonderful, adorable, challenging children — maintaining a relationship with my equally overworked husband.

This is normal life, I tell myself. Why am I such a basket case? None of us (and I’m counting my parents and my ILs here) are dealing with life-threatening health issues (knock on wood); my children are not special needs children, or even particularly high needs; my husband and I are employed and have health insurance; we have a roof over our heads. Heck, we get to do things like take road trips to Erie, Seven Springs, and Cape Cod. I have good friends with whom I enjoy spending time; I have good family, ditto. Yeah, we still have debt issues, but they are resolving and not getting worse.

What is wrong with me that I find the relentlessness of my children so very exhausting sometimes? And their screaming — oh my gosh, the screaming has to stop. Even when it is in fun, it makes me crazy. They are so bloody shrill, my girls. The drama, too, simply escalates. I tell Monkey I can’t talk to her right now, and she wails about how no one ever is going to talk to her ever again. When things aren’t going Bun’s way, she stomps off in a pout and says, “I’m not playing with you guys.” Which, adorable, but so not to be encouraged.

At one point in Erie, I was on the back porch of my parents’ house with my mom and Dr. Sis. The girls were in the back yard. I was yelling down to them: “Bun, where are your shoes? Monkey, don’t climb that tree. It’s too little! Stop feeding the dog berries from that bush!” (Monkey’s response to that last one, “I’m just giving him the berries to play with.”)

My mom chuckled. “That’s your life, pretty much, isn’t it?” she asked me.

Yeah, it is my life. A constant barrage of guiding and asking and telling and saying no and re-direction (when I remember). And in response, pouts and yelling and reasoning that isn’t reasonable and (occasionally) “okay, mama”. (On the nail-biting thing with Monkey: “Monkey, stop biting your nails.” “I like them really short.” “Well, I’ll cut them, then. Just tell me when you want me to.” “Well, this is how I cut them.” “Monkey, that’s a bad habit. It doesn’t look nice.” “I like my nails to be really short.” *headpalm*)

Each Monday finds me more tired and feeling the need for more catch up — on laundry, on husband time, on sleep, on cleaning, on me time. At this point, I’m thinking of just throwing it all in until they are in college. Maybe I can start playing catch up then.

Count down to Spa Day (standing in for Girlie Weekend this year): Five days.

Also, this “news” article from CNN.com makes me want to go kick some ass. Full-time parenting is a grind? Really? [Insert swear words of choice here.] My heart bleeds. With apologies to the full-time dads I know out there. Who get it, and don’t need a news article to point out what moms have been saying for centuries.

Random News & Notes: Progress

What the girls are up to:

Bun says new words every day. Her first sentence? “I want that.” Rendered phonetically: “Eyeontdat.” Picture the little pudgy hand reaching out in a grasping motion as well.

Cute — adorable, actually — but probably spells trouble for the future.

DearDR asserts that she hasn’t actually said a sentence because she doesn’t yet understand conjugation: She wants that; you want that. I understand his point, but I’m still calling it her first sentence.

Monkey’s first sentence was a question: “What is that?” Phonetically: “Wot dat?”

Bun doesn’t seem to care, she just wants “dat”. Especially if her sister has it, of course.

Holy cow, I did not realize the “must do everything older sibling is doing” phase would start at 17 months.

And who knew girls wrestled?? I’ll try to post video. As long as I don’t have to intervene to keep someone from suffocating her sister. And that can go either way.

Monkey is dressing herself. She usually does a good job, although she occasionally puts things on backwards. She has not yet insisted on picking out her own clothing. Once in a while, she will insist on wearing her rain boots, but she seems content to leave sartorial decisions to me. For now.

We went to the pediatrician and he proclaimed all ears are clear of fluid and infection. This is a relief, but I wonder how long it will last.

We have an appointment with an ENT doctor at the end of the month.

The chiropractor suggested going dairy free. I am dubious, and my pediatrician was downright nonplussed. I give him credit for not blurting out, “What crazy person told you that??” Because I saw it flit across his face before he became composed and simply said, “I have never heard of dairy affecting ear infections.”

The chiropractic literature is full of the suggestion that dairy allergies lead to ear infections. I have doubts. The pediatric literature doesn’t mention it. So… yeah.

I would like to avoid tubes for the girls as I know they will outgrow this problem. (Thanks for the comments, everyone — online and off.) At the same time, I would like to stop treating them with antibiotics, because I think we may be creating a problem down the line. I have my doubts about going non-dairy because the girls don’t really seem to have a problem with dairy — no lactose intolerance, no runny noses, etc. Plus, they usually get organic dairy, and their exposure to cow’s milk (as a beverage) is minimal. They drink fortified soy or rice “milk”.

Also, quite frankly, going completely dairy-free is next to impossible. I am a label-reader because of the vegetarian thing anyway. I challenge you to find food without some kind of dairy (casein, whey, non-fat milk, you name it). Fresh fruits and veggies are about it. And very expensive organic cookies. But even “Veggie Slices” is loaded with dairy; it just doesn’t contain lactose, which is the most common culprit of gastric distress in those who can’t tolerate dairy.

In short: lots going on, as per usual. We probably will not go dairy-free — I just don’t think it’s a good idea. I feel pretty good that despite the ear infections Bun’s language development is moving right along. No doubt her next sentence will be, “I’m going to scream if I don’t get that.” Oh, wait. She doesn’t really need language per se for that, huh?

At least she is signing “please”.