Christmas… Cookies… & Kings…

This year marked the first ever holiday season for baby Peanut. Being that she is only 4 months old, I was more than reluctant to take her to a family gathering. Holiday season means flu season!

Family gatherings have never been my scene but with Peanut I felt an obligation to comply with a request for attendance to a Christmas Eve gathering. This, however, would not be an appearance without its conditions – I made myself very clear that as a small baby I did not want Peanut to be passed around or held by many of the relatives. And we would only attend for one hour before her bedtime…

Reader, my wishes were in no way respected. My relatives literally ripped Peanut out of my arms repeatedly and would not let me leave. I was livid, disappointed, violated, disrespected… And this all triggered a massive panic attack because of the effect this environment had on Peanut. You see, children sense when there is something wrong and they express themselves when they are unhappy or uncomfortable – even when they can’t speak. Every time someone got in Peanut’s face, she would cry (which was even more alarming given that she rarely cries). The know-better relatives found it funny and kept getting in her face. I did the best I could to stop them while also trying to be polite. I am not ashamed to admit I cried all the way home and the rest of the night.

Despite the way Christmas Eve unfolded, I refused to let anything or anyone ruin my first Christmas with Peanut. The next day Peanut and I made an appearance at two different friends homes; but my friends are respectful and we were places where I felt safe. Peanut and I got home at a decent hour and spent the rest of Christmas snuggling and playing with her feet (her new thing); Christmas lights twinkling in the background, Bobs Burgers on the tv. In that moment, alone in our cozy tiny house, with the dogs sleeping nearby – that’s all I needed for Christmas.

(Not actual cookies mentioned in post, just similar in likeness)

Cookies and treats and foods of all kinds are abundant this time of year. In the family home there was a table covered with many of these items from friends and family, and from all over the place. Some store bought, some home made, but all open and partially eaten – seemingly free game to whoever chooses to partake. SO imagine my surprise when I ate the WRONG cookies! Now, you’re thinking – “what the fuck are the wrong cookies?” Reader, I was confused on that myself! Apparently in a sea of treats and cookies, the three lonely oatmeal cookies in an plain tupperware container were off limits. Now you’re asking, “how did you learn they were off limits?”

Well, it wasn’t until I woke up the next morning to multiple messages that I learned the three lonely oatmeal cookies were off limits. After some confusing messaging (I was real confused because like… who cares?), I was informed that it was the “principle” of the matter. The principle about cookies a friend made (that showed no indication to being special or set apart/saved). The principle regarding the fact that I did not answer my phone (when baby and I were asleep). The principle that I took cookies in a tupperware (which looked identical to others in the house so who would guess it was the long lost twin tupperware that belonged elsewhere?). All this negative energy, assumptions, and accusations over the principle of a simple error… This really made me wonder, how do people choose their battles when they make mountains out of mole hills? What drives a person to say, THIS is the hill I want to die on? Is it nothing better to worry about/no bigger issues in your life? And why is the go-to to assume the worst and self-victimize? Why isn’t the default that it was a simple error? Why the dramatics? Boredom? I’m bored just talking about it…

Baby’s FIRST Sacramento Kings game happened last night! Peanut attended a Sacramento Kings game thanks to her tia Karma – and we got to be in the comfort and privacy of a suite where Peanut was well protected against a sea of strangers and cooties. Peanut was as cool and calm as you would expect from her given what a rockstar she is. She only fussed once when she was hungry, and a second time when she was sleepy – and would you believe it, she straight up took a nap DURING the game! Like, cowbells and cheering be damned! The rest of the time she was all smiles and coos as she cheered on in her ‘Sacramento Kings’ cutest fan’ onesie. Now, the Kings lost but the evening was still a success to us!

(that’s Peanut on the right watching the game)

What I am watching: Rick & Morty season 4! Lets get Rickkety wrecked yall!! This Adult Swim cartoon has a cult following that is more than deserved. It is gross but if you can get past the gross humor, it is also smart and has depth with a wide variety of characters and story lines. Season 1-3 are on Hulu, and season 4 is halfway through on Cartoon Network.

Tech specs: Oddly, nothing to report this time. Still obsessing… I mean… enjoying my replacement Plantronics bluetooth (and may or may not STILL be looking for the lost one… Don’t judge me…

Random: At the Kings game we exited through the stairs with Peanut in my arms I found myself behind a woman also holding a baby who decided to slow down in order to chat with the lady next to her… Naturally, I said out loud: “Less talking more walking, there’s like 100 people trying to get out of here.” The lady then turned around to give me a stern dirty look. People, do you not know me? I doubled down and followed up with, “I don’t take it back! I said what I said. I’m just stating facts!”

Art, Aches, and Apple juice

Lately I’ve been really into designing my own renditions of some famous paintings. I was a graphic designer for over ten years and am still keeping up on my skills in my free time. This latest interest started with my long time desire to make my own rendition of the last supper. Being one of my all time favorite art pieces (I originally studied art in university), I’ve been interested in starting a series of different versions of it. I had already hand drawn it on a white erase board out of pure memory at work, but then lost steam – thanks to my incredibly volatile work environment. So I decided for the holiday season to create my own version as possible Christmas card art, but has since inspired me to recreate a variety of famous artworks instead of just the one.

Madonna and Child
The Last Supper
Nighthawks

Recently I have had a lot more rib cage aches. The horrible thing about having ribs damaged is there’s no quick fix, so instead I will have to do physical therapy for quite a while. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind physical therapy but the 30 minute drive there and back in winter with a baby is really tough and stressful. Just the other day, my most recently scheduled appointment, I rushed there in traffic on a rainy day. I took Peanut out of the car in the freezing cold, got her in the stroller and rushed to the physical therapy clinic. Now, the rule is that you cannot be more than 15 minutes late – I was 17 minutes late to a one hour appointment (meaning we could have still worked on me for 40 minutes). I walked in wet and with a baby in a stroller and explained that I was stuck in terrible traffic in the rain for 45 minutes. The receptionist told me there was no way they could see me. I pleaded my case but she would not budge, she wouldn’t even ask the physical therapist if she would take me. I went back to my car and emailed from my car my disappointment, then drove home another 30 minutes in traffic. Of course later the physical therapist called me to apologize and say that had I called they would have let me see her – so basically it was my fault for not calling them while sitting in traffic in the rain with my baby in the car. I was livid. I cried. I drank apple juice.

Tech Specs: today I am not giving a recommendation, but instead have a tech complaint – what’s the deal with e-readers? I wanted to find one to relieve the strain on my eyes when reading at night, but I am not satisfied with what is out there! The Barnes and Nobles Nook seems to have not so favorable reviews, the Kindles don’t have an expandable memory option on top of the whole ad bullshit – I have to PAY for them to NOT include their bloat/spam/ads?! Wtf… And lots other less known products are just very expensive. Where can I find a decent e-reader with lighting that I can download kids books to read to Peanut??

What I am watching: Recently my anxiety has been a little elevated and the shows that always brighten my mood are Bobs Burgers and Superstore. Bobs Burgers is an adult animated series about a burger restaurant and the family that runs it. The parents’ dynamic is very similar to my parents, so I really get a kick out of watching them. The kids are so hilarious, smart, and unique in their own qualities and quirks that they make you feel like you aren’t the only weirdo in the world. Later I plan on writing an all Bobs Burgers blog – an homage to my love for this show.

Superstore stars America Ferrera who plays Amy, the manager of a Walmart-like store. It sounded like a boring concept at first but the cast of crazy characters creates a comedic gem. I highly recommend it – you will fall in love with each of this quirky employees.

Random: this week I got the opportunity to help a friend’s work serve dinner at a women’s shelter. I truly enjoyed the experience – the women and children were so polite and lovely. It warmed my heart how sweet they were and grateful they were. It was a really wonderful evening. And although I am very grateful every day for my life with baby Peanut, this was a another reminder about how lucky I am. But also, we are all just one mistake, one bad circumstance away from being in a similar situation, so we should all be grateful, helpful, and not judge those down on their luck.

Ghosts, Germs, and Grey skies…

A ghost is now more than an apparition of people from lives past. A ghost in the 21st century is a way to describe someone who disappears on you; they have “ghosted” you. Ghosting has become a social norm with the advent of tech and text messages typically used as the most common means of communication. Honestly, I usually do not care if someone ghosts me. That may sound callous but when it comes to those close to me, I create close connections or cannot carry on. But I have ghosted people, and people have ghosted me.

There is only one person in my life who truly broke my heart when they ghosted me; a friend who was like a brother to me. I wish I could say that I forgot all about it and let it go, but when I invest in a person I do so with my whole heart. And with this friend of mine, I still am hurt, so angry, and sad.

As luck would have it, I saw him while shopping for Christmas decorations. The most sentimental time of the year for many, the holidays, is when I see him; after not seeing him all year. And it seems silly except I used to spend every Thanksgiving and every Christmas Eve with him, so for years he was my family for the holidays.

Of course, I saw him 4 or 5 times throughout the store because that’s how the universe works. And of course, I survived. Duh. But Reader, let me tell you… it still hurt. My heart raced and my anxiety went through the roof. I didn’t want to see him or talk to him because he is the one that left our friendship. He did. I was the injured party. And I didn’t want him to see how much it would upset me to see him. At one point we were about 5 feet from each other at the check out stands, but he didnt even look in my direction. Do you have someone like this in your life? Or I guess, no longer in your life?

So here’s the thing, I’m a bit of a germaphobe. Not all germs; I have three dogs and a baby so I deal with cooties all day. But grime. Grime has this effect on me where I can’t see it, or touch it, or even think about it. I have a complete physiological reaction to it – I cringe, get tension in my hands, knot in my throat, and slight gag/dry heaves. I wish I could explain it. It makes me feel so awful that I tend to bleach everything and still feel like nothing is clean enough. Why am I disclosing this? It has slowly been increasing in severity and I’m tired of being embarrassed about it, so I’ve decided to do something about it.

I have started talking to my therapist about my germaphobia. I’ve had it my whole life, but it was under control for many many years until my hostile work environment went from bad to worse, and after I had a baby I want to protect from all the cooties in the world. Is it a control thing? Trying to control my environment and focus on what I can control? Maybe. But, Reader, I in no way feel under control” when cleaning [sigh]. My hope is that in therapy I will learn tips and tricks on how to overpower this phobia and put it back in check.

On a brighter note – the weather has been gloomy grey skies with random rains and fabulous fog. It is indeed the most wonderful time of the year! Fall and Winter weather in California is like a watered down version of any extreme weather elsewhere. Reader, it is always tshirt weather in California (except for some of my chicken friends who get cold easily lol). It’s been so lovely that even in the worst of days I am happy to look up at the sky and enjoy the weather. Just this week I have gotten to enjoy the crisp feeling of being outside first thing in the morning in 40 degree weather, the rain, fog, and rainbows!

What I am watching: Murder for Hire and 90 Day Fiance are my not so secret trash tv indulgences. Murder for Hire is a program on Oxygen that tells stories of real-life people who are hired to murder someone and turn the information in to the police. It’s an entire story in just one hour, from the plot, to a sting operation, to the take down. Best of all, at the end of the day, a life is saved and the people who put a stop to the scheme are real-life heroes.

Now, 90 Day Fiance is a shit show that cannot be described in a short paragraph. It is about people who come to the United States on 90 day fiance visas and the journey of those 90 days with their partners. Sometimes it is true love, sometimes it is true lust, sometimes it is a green card scam. Essentially, it is international dating russian roulette, aka trash tv GOLD!

Tech Specs: I still can’t get over the loss of my Plantronics Voyager Legend 5220 bluetooth ear piece. Yes, I have other bluetooths, but this one is the holy grail of ear pieces. There is a reason why it has stood the test of time within the tech community for YEARS (which is UNHEARD OF in regards to tech). It is comfortable, long lasting, and the sound is crystal clear HD – it’s like the caller is sitting right next to you! Unfortunately, along with the test of time in tech terms, this little bluetooth has also lasted the test of time in pricing and will run you a cool $80-120. BUT it is worth it if you can swing it (and I just replaced my lost one for a lucky eBay auction at $65).

Random thoughts: In general, I want to give people the benefit of the doubt (though dont mistake my kindness for weakness – I will crush someone who does me wrong without giving it a second thought)… BUT I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately, and I just wish I could understand the people who choose to take the path of most resistance. Those people who have something negative to say about other’s success. Who claim to be your friend but then feel the need to criticize everything you do. Seems like we all have one of those. Or sometimes, we just have one of those around that for one reason or another we can’t get rid of.

Be kind to people. I’m speaking to YOU, the negative nellys of the world! Life can be beautiful or life can be ugly, it’s up to you which path you choose.

the six Ps…

Post partum physical pain and parenting Peanut.

When I became pregnant I had a general idea of the unique obstacles I would face given my medical history. Socially, that’s the part everyone talks about, the stress of being Pregnant; being large, limited, and lugging a little one. What no one discussed with me, and I naively failed to research, was postpartum physical pain while parenting Peanut.

I carried Peanut high, so it was no surprise when I broke and bruised ribs by simply coughing or sneezing. Combine that with a natural child birth, and post partum physical pain was at an all time high. As a single parent with mental health problems, this had to be a very delicate balancing act. I could not let the post partum pain and preexisting problems prevent Peanut’s proper care. I know myself well enough to know what triggers my anxiety and depression, and what can keep it at bay. But when you throw physical pain in the equation along with being a new parent, things get more complicated.

I am not ashamed to admit I enlisted the aid of my primary physician, obgyn, pediatrician, physical therapist, and cognitive therapist to manage this. One thing this experience has reaffirmed for me is: being strong does not mean doing everything on your own, being strong means knowing when you need to ask for help.

Peanut just recently turned 4 months old, and at my most recent doctor’s appointment my doctor pointed out that Peanut was wearing a very color and theme coordinated outfit. As I held Peanut and rocked her back to sleep, my doctor said, earnestly, “you’re a good mom.”

This caught me off guard. She then continued to explain that most people who suffered the trauma I did during pregnancy and especially during my delivery, would have postpartum depression or worse; struggle to bond or connect with their baby. But I seemed connected and comfortable caring for my little cutie.

Now, I know that postpartum depression happens. It is actually pretty common. But it never once occurred to me. Negative thoughts about my Peanut never once crossed my mind. Even though I was certain it would be one of my obstacles.

It seems like there’s something about my preexisting depression and anxiety that helped me. I was so conscious of the possibility of postpartum depression that I made a strong effort to circumvent it in every way possible. I checked in with my doctors, enlisted a therapist for weekly sessions, and adjusted my medications. I was so afraid that it was inevitable, that I made it impossible.

Unfortunately, not everyone is as lucky. And yes, even with all the work I put in, I consider myself lucky. But between the postpartum physical pain and parenting Peanut, I wish I had been told about the recovery problems. The bleeding, the pain, the swelling, the crying… Had I known about the physical pain and recovery as well as I was warned about the postpartum depression, I would have prepared as much as feasibly possible.

So why dont we talk about it? Why dont we openly talk about the bleeding, and the pain, and the tears, and the God damn swelling! We need to be more comfortable and open with discussing the ugly parts of postpartum. Not emotionally ugly, but literally physically disgusting and ugly. We are so bogged down with the stigma of losing our appeal if people see our struggle.

I struggle. I have scars. Emotional and physical scars. I get help. I get depression. I get anxiety. But I get HELP. I’m so tired of the stigma. The taboo of it all. Tell me about your ugly parts. I want to hear it. All of it.

black friday for Peanut

We made it through Thanksgiving! Which was a lot more uneventful than all of my friends and family (and I’m not complaining)…

Now, be honest… did you go black Friday shopping?? Peanut and I definitely did not go to the insane events with middle of the night long lines BUT we did go to the extended weekend sales at Target. Now, usually, this is not something I would do. For as long as I can remember, I have a hard rule: Much like the squirrels and the bears, I stock up supplies for the winter and dont go out from Thanksgiving weekend until January.

This rule is in part because I have legit diagnosed and medicated anxiety. Going to stores means dealing with all the elbow bumping, close standing, coughing, and cooties! But here’s the thing, Reader – a tiny human means big responsibilities!

With my long standing tradition of not black friday shopping also existed a ‘no christmas decoration’ rule. I’ve always been a bit of a Grinch. But another thing that comes out of having a tiny human is growing a bigger heart. And there was absolutely no way my tiny human wasn’t going to get ALL the magic there is to get from Christmas. So the target trip was a mission – I had to purchase all the appropriate decor for Peanut to enjoy Christmas properly.

Reader, I’m happy to report the mission was a success! After the panic and anxiety of the peopling and decorating cleared, the end result was more than worth it. Peanut’s face lit up with wonder staring at the colorful lights and twinkling things. It was as cheesy as it sounds! Cheesy and worth it. Much like being a parent.

What I’m watching: Let’s talk about The Crown on Netflix… We are on season 3 and it is both as boring and interesting and entertaining as the first two seasons. I just have one issue: Why Olivia Coleman?!?!? No tea, no shade, but she really makes the Queen look weathered at that age, which is not entirely accurate. This is basically my polite way to say, using Coleman makes the Queen look old. They did my Queen wrong with an older and slightly heavier portrayal.

The Queen on Netflix: Coleman on the left, Queen Elizabeth on the right

I’m also watching Working Moms also on Netflix. I’m super far behind (only on season 2) but I find the show to be an equally split combination of entertaining and obnoxious. If you can deal with some annoying characters for the sake of humor, then I recommend this show.

Tech Specs: This week I tried out AOMAIS 25W bluetooth light up speaker that looks like a tiny boom box. It’s water resistent and LOUD. The main reason we got it is because it combines two of the things Peanut loves – music and colorful lights. It’s still compact enough that we can put it next to her and can play low enough that it won’t make her go deaf. The colors are fun for her to watch and she even tries to sing along with the music. It’s also heavy so she can’t pick it up and throw it, and rubberized to avoid damage. It got the Peanut stamp of approval (I’ll have to make an official stamp logo for P lol). You can get this sweet little speaker for about $30 online.

AOMAIS 25W bluetooth

Random thought: Do people not have a concept of human development at a small age? I mean, we were all small at some point. I find it bizarre the number of people texting me and asking me if my THREE MONTH OLD baby was going to eat turkey and thanksgiving dinner things. Umm… She’s three months old. She doesn’t have teeth. Or eat solid food. Even people who have kids asked me this – are you new to… life? Bizarre…