"She refused to be bored, chiefly because she wasn't boring." Zelda Fitzgerald

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Spotlight on Dee!

Time to slow down for a minute, in the middle of all the baseball and spring holidays and gorgeous weather and garden days and just look at this second son of mine. Its all too easy to get revving right up like crazy and just survive parenthood. (we all do it, its necessary) Every once in a while we need to take little ordained appointments with ourselves to notice our lives. This is my "Notice Dee" pause button session. Time to take a deep breath and be present with who he is.

Suddenly, I feel like this boy is stretching out and getting all long-legged. I can tell his face is changing too and he's relaxing into his big boy role now. Its cool to see him learning to deal more amiably with pressure and anxiety and figure out how to confidently set boundaries for himself and make choices that can allow him to feel emotionally safe. For instance, he still occasionally has migraine type headaches from junk food but he now refuses proffered foods that he knows will make him feel like crap or limits how much he eats and voluntarily puts the rest away for later or just pitches it. Its great to learn that kind of confidence. So much else emerging for him right now too...

Dee Loves

1. Shadow play. This is one of his latest obsessions....the high bleachers at baseball practices are one of his favorite stages for shadow casting. His favorite thing to do is to make his own shadow into things just but changing his body position or holding things that can change the shape of the shadow he throws. He's pretty brilliant at it. He can make himself look like a weight lifter, a roman column and Darth Vader using nothing but a spare sweatshirt and his own body.

2. Scootering in the backyard. We have a pair of little Razor scooters for the boys to share and Dee loves to ride one or BOTH of them. He works on tricks a lot lately which kind of new for him. Usually Ru or Nib are hot dogging all over. Its a mind game for him though, he is less of the crash and burn type and more about clever engineering mixed with whimiscal jokes. My favorite at the moment is when he rides two scooters at once!

3. Wearing his pajama top in the daytime. He thinks its a very clever joke on his Mommy and the height of efficiency to go chance just his pajama pants when told to get dressed in the morning. Its amazing what a mother won't notice when her boy shows up to the table dressed in jeans and tennis shoes, with his teeth all brushed and his bed made. Keep your eyes open...I bet you catch him doing it.

4.What-If questions. He loves to ask me which kind of imaginary vehicle would go faster, what would happen if a volcano blew up on the moon and what I think would be the hardest thing to get in through a keyhole. Lots of these kinds of questions while we are driving places in the car. Love hearing that little mind a whirling.

5. Braiding. He asked me one day how I braid my hair and so I showed him on three strands of grass. Now its a frequent activity....sometimes he braids my hair and sometimes he braids other things: ribbons, plant stems, cords or even seaweed.

6. Pokemon. He and Ru play Pokemon pretend games and battles almost perpetually around the house and he is the master at sound effects, always making all the sounds for each character in an astounding variety of sound registers and voices. He is also the walking encyclopedia of Pokemon factoids. Ru always consults him to answer questions like "What color is Digalit?" "Tell me one the strongest attacks that Slo-King has?" He has an incredible memory for a the data and is very pleased to be consulted like a kind of personal reference librarian.

Dee Loathes

1. Doing Things Without Mastery. He has the hardest time being an early learner at any subject and really feels frustrated and easily like he is being made a fool of, simply because he isn't demonstrating high skill at any given task. He prefers to say he "doesn't know how" so that he can fly under the radar while he practices, only admitting that he can when he feels really confident and smooth. This is tricky in school.

2.Taking a bath. Never much for bathing, he still hates it. He doesn't scream through bathtime like he did when he was a baby but he sure does grumble and gripe about the suggestion that he take one. Once in the tub he loathes the soap getting in his eyes and the being chilly when you come out of the bath, having water in his ears and countless other little physical irritations and inconveniences about the whole process. So many reasons to never get clean.

3. Mushrooms. I don't know where he gets it. Mushrooms are one of God's best inventions, if you ask me...but my boy isn't of the same opinion. Even if I mince them and mix them into a mixture and cook them, he'll often discover they are there and make sure I know that he doesn't approve.

4. Math homework. I don't know if its the fact that A (who teaches math at our house) keeps a strict progress schedule and makes it clear when his students are "behind" and insists that they get no weekends off in such a status, or if its just the subject matter itself that get Dee's goat. Whatever it is, almost nothing gets under his skin and makes him melt down more spectacularly. Its very tough for me because I see so much of myself in him. I have a hard time listening and watching and remember, "This is NOT my emergency, its his." because I was so frustrated by math for so much of my young learning years. Weird how empathy can be a stumbling block sometimes.

5. Being ordered along on hikes. Dee hates most forms of being ordered around, he's the independent sorts (fits right in at our house...we are a house of clashingly independent thinkers and strong wills) and he doesn't hate hikes themselves or the outdoors which is one of his favorite retreats and play spaces. But he really does hate being told that he'll be going hiking with the family at such and such a time in so and so many minutes though. "Go get your shoes on, we're going for a walk soon and yes, you have to come." is pretty much always certain to put him in a bad mood. No choices, forced forward walking, ordered time in nature with a strict schedule....all his buttons.

6. Being asked about his eye. Remember this post?  This doesn't embarrass or infuriate him like it used to but does annoy him. He gets asked all the time if he's okay and "What happened to his eye??" and told that his eye looks funny and it gets old. Its hard for a kid who lives with some little visual difference to understand why its so broken-record-fascinating to everyone around him. He feels like, "Big deal! My eye! Who cares! I don't wanna explain again." If you're a new California friend who wonders why his eyes looks different, ask me for the story on the side, out of ear shot.


Thursday, March 10, 2016

Flying Solo

A is away for the first time since we've moved. I forgot this feeling: going to bed alone at night, trying to conjure up motivation to make meals without another adult in the house, locking the doors at night (A's job) and feeling slightly nervous, sleeping all wacky because he isn't here with his strong opinions on bedtimes and rising. Its hard to be the one behind, but its especially hard at certain times of the month. Heh.

Remember this post? Yeah, that issue is still with me. But PMS is better, I have found with a few tricks that bring some sanity.
  1. Trick 1: Track my cycle. Knowing why I feel totally hopeless helps. I know I'm on drugs which means that I know a lot of this is high reactivity and not actual massive dysfunction. 
  2. Trick 2: Skullcap tea helps me tremendously. If I start to feel blue or ragey or kind of hopeless sobbish, I make myself a mug and then a thermos and just nurse it for a few days. This is the one I buy. 
  3. Trick 3: The third thing that helps is wearing the tracker I talked about here. Monitoring my heart rate and breathing means that it can vibrate to remind me if I'm getting too worked up which is surprisingly effective. I listen when an objective device tells me that I'm getting too wound up and maybe I should take a break. 
So, anyhow...its that time and I'm trying my tricks and they help...but its still a dark week with a lot of low energy. I don't really know how to get to the place where I understand and appreciate my cycle and hormones. They are so disruptive to me. Frustrating.
Today was beautiful, the rain took a break and the boys were fooling around in the yard, fussing about on the edges of the vegetable garden "weeding things" to help it all along. The radishes are starting to show their second leaves and we can see little arugula and bachelor's buttons too. Its an amazing thought that we can have a garden now. I could have had one before now if I had jumped on things and just begun as soon as the rain came. Next year I will know a little bit about the rhythm of things here. Everything is so topsy-turvy in my mind. The rhododendron are blooming and the peach trees but the plum trees finished a while ago and so did the cherries. Everything seems like a muddle. Its beautiful and its so fresh and I'm utterly grateful in this alien place, but it is alien. 

I had a couple of really filling connections with girlfriends right before A left town and that is carrying me. I may be stressed out and tired but I am not alone and I am loved.  I am also glad that it is only 4 days. Bit sized business trips help. But why, why, why do the kids always get sick when he leaves? Stress? Heartbreak? Sheesh. So frustrating. 

We are going to meet him downstate in Bakersfield and then drive over and see the incredible, historic superbloom happening on the desert floor in Death Valley. Never been there, and stoked to see botanical history. Botanical history + My Man = Life Saved.


Saturday, March 5, 2016

Delicious Detox

This is how it feels to live in California in the winter after so many years in Michigan and Connecticut. I feel like I am detoxing a lifetime of ice in my veins and Seasonal Affective Disorder in strata so deep that the bottom is kind of unknown. Delicious detox. 


Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Long Hair Journeys

I miss my long hair.
Super-long, last year....long enough to sit on. 

I mean, to normal people, I look like I have long hair. It is long. Its just not as long as it has been in the past....for me, its pretty short at the moment, barely sweeping waist length.
Super-long and braided...last year.

I've talked about my long hair before. I've always had it long. Always. Once, while I was in college I cut to a scandalous short bra-strap length but, that's about as short as my hair has ever been since I was a toddler. Its kind of been a love/hate thing. My mom has always been kind of vicarious about my long hair....okay, my dad too....  They both love it and now my husband loves it, and that has made me (at some stages of my life) kind of agressively question whether I actually loved it myself or if I was just scared of not being pleasing.
Last summer....after I trimmed the ends a little.

I have really thought about cutting it several times but there is something that just stops me. I know that growing out your hair takes time and nutrition and in many people its something much easier when you're young. I know that people it off and then mean to grow it out and again and never have the patience. I also know that there's a romance to having my hair long that is very personal. I love the connection to myth and history, the combination of wild woman and elegant damsel. I love the feel of it falling over my shoulders and the way it feels to swim underwater with long hair (total mermaid fantasy!), riding horses with long hair is also pretty idyllic. It "grew on me" and even though I have contemplated cutting it all off at some point, it has become one of my symbols and part of who I am. I no longer consider chopping it all but instead plan to have long silver and then white hair. One of the tricks with bleaching my hair (I do bleach) is that I have to do a lot of extra conditioning and pay attention to my ends, especially when it gets quite long.
This past Sunday

This last year I finally got my hair to a goal of hip-length and it was so much fun...but it also got totally abused and dried out and my ends were all damaged. I did a rejuvenating cut which took it way up to mid-back and back to healthy, strong strands...but it also makes me bite my lip when I look in the mirror. It takes so long to grow it back out! I'm trying Viviscal for a while to see if it makes a noticeable difference and brings back the length and fullness I am missing. I think its helping! This is my hair right now and its finally hitting waist length again.