As a part of Braden’s bedtime routine, we cuddle him in his rocking chair for about 15 minutes while a lullabye CD plays.
For the past week, he has taken to removing his Paci (aka The Evil One) and flinging it across the room during that cuddle time. This is a significant pain in the ass, because it requires us to forage for the damn thing in the dark and give it back to him. Another fine trick he enjoys is throwing it across the room from his crib after he has been put to bed and then screaming for it. It’s like Parental Unit Remote Control.
On Wednesday night, after having been told several times not to do that, he executed the Paci Throw during cuddle time again. I said, “No more Paci! Bye-bye, Paci!” and made the decision that I was going to take his hint, and leave the Paci on the floor. I figured, this would be the beginning of the all important Paci Wean… or at least teach him a hard lesson for one night. (When Momma says don’t do something? Don’t do it, ya little Punk!)
He fidgeted a lot, and made lots of sucking sounds. He cried when I put him in his crib and left the room. I braced myself for Armaggedon. He complained a little bit and then he went to sleep. SCORE.
He woke up in the middle of the night, crying. I feared the worst. I envisioned hours of consolation and finally succumbing to Paci Return. I entered the room, turned on his lullabyes, and patted his back. He went back to sleep. DOUBLE SCORE.
Thursday afternoon… successful nap without Paci! OMG, WE’RE DOING IT!
Then Thursday evening… upstairs AC died. Just below 90 degrees upstairs. All hell broke loose. He was hot, he was crying, he could.not.sleep. Long story short? The Evil One had to be administered.
Friday afternoon – nap without Paci attempted. OH, THE TRIBULATION. After holding him for over 30 minutes and trying to soothe him while he cried so hard that he made snot bubbles and started choking, I gave the damn thing to him again. He fell right asleep. I spoke curses unto all Pacis everywhere.
As I write this, he is trying to fall asleep on Friday night without the Paci.
He has been crying for almost an hour. I have distinctly heard, “Mammaaa” amidst the wails more than once. Can you hear that tearing sound? That’s my heart ripping in two.
He is beginning to sound frantic.
And I am torn. Do I let him get past this hump and fall asleep, enduring the pain of separation and anxiety that he is clearly feeling? Or do I go in there right now and end his suffering by giving him his beloved comfort item?
I am pretty darn tough about a lot of things, but I am not made of stone, people.
That child finds the maleable part of my heart without effort and bends it to his will.
Now I’m going in there. I’m either going to give him his Paci, comfort him to sleep, or fling him out the window. I am really not sure which.
I held out for 15 more minutes, b/c his wails were decreasing in intensity.
*strips naked and runs around the room laughing, madly… but QUIETLY*
LOTUS: 4, PACI: 2
- Crayons are stored in a closeable box, and said box is kept out of child’s reach.
- Child may have crayons and drawing paper if it is requested.
- Child may draw only on paper with crayons.
- Child with crayons must be supervised at all times.
- I repeat: When child has crayons, you must stay in the room and supervise crayon use.
- At no time may child be allowed to wander away from paper while still holding crayon.
- If child has crayon(s) in hand, child must stay in room with you.
- Seriously. CHILD MAY NOT LEAVE ROOM OR YOUR SUPERVISION WHEN IN POSSESSION OF CRAYON(S).
- When child becomes bored with drawing, crayons are placed in box, box is closed and placed out of reach.
What it means to have a Daddy who doesn’t understand
what it means to be a Crayon Nazi, by Braden Carroll:
Yup. John let Braden wander out of supervision with a green crayon.
The only thing John had going for him was that this happened when he left the room to do laundry.
For future reference – You can do almost no wrong if you are doing laundry for me.
Besides, I should really be touched that, of all the things he could have drawn on the kitchen wall, Braden chose to do a rendering of me and my glorious rack. Look at the photo of his scribbles again and see if you can isolate the stick figure with the nice bust. He’s talented.
HEY! Speaking of Racks! Don’t forget to send me a photo of your BEWBS or your PECS to enter the contest to be the next stop for The Travelling T-Shirt! Read THIS POST to find out about how you can join the fun and win a chance at a cash jackpot.
Because every time something reminds me of the time when I lived there, my chest aches.
I miss you, Austin.
I miss the friends I made there. I miss the guy for whom all food is Mexican. I miss the redhead with the unruly toddler who asked me, “did you smell my toot?” I miss the die-hard bargain shopper who loves all things lemon and tea. I miss the guy who showed me “too many colors!” I miss the kitchen ninja who made my hair become strands of many hues. I miss that lovely blonde girl who autographed my boobie. I miss the unruly, late-night-TC-eating, prankster. I miss she of the ripped skirt. I miss them all.
I miss hating, loving, and being challenged by my job. I miss my bosses, my employees, and my customers. (I also kind of don’t miss my bosses or my customers. There were moments, okay?) I miss late night floor changes that made me want to rip my face off, followed by late night drinking with co-workers, where I generally laughed what was left of my face off. I miss being late to work, because it meant I had a schedule. I miss being a part of the outside world.
I miss Pastor Jeff and his Hawaiian shirts. I miss how he looks kind of like Phil Jackson, but in a cuddly, teddy bear way. I miss being a greeter at church and holding the door for people. I miss the feeling of being in the place where I was baptised.
I miss our large dog in the backyard who used to chew pieces of our house off when he got bored. I miss the way he was over 100lbs, but The Mexican, at 5lbs, was in charge of him. Because he was a gentle giant. I miss how when we first got them both as puppies, they drove me crazy until I thought I would rip all my hair from my head. I miss the way they used to play together and bring me endless joy.
I miss giggling like a school girl, but then kind of throwing up in my mouth a little, as we passed by Hippie Hollow on our way to other spots along Lake Travis. I miss playing at the lake all day and then sipping a margarita on the deck of The Oasis. I miss feeling sun drunk and heady, sitting on that deck, set into the side of the cliff, as I stared into John’s eyes while the sun set over the water right below us. I miss the way they used to ring the bell right at the moment the sun slipped below the horizon, and how everyone in the whole place clapped.
I miss celebrating the sunset with strangers.
I miss living in the house we owned together… young, careless, stupid. I miss late-night partying and reckless behavior. I miss deciding to sleep until noon, just because it felt so cuddly in his embrace. I miss going out just for doughnuts at 2am if we felt like it. I miss taking my youth for granted. I miss being carefree.
I miss my garden. I miss being able to dig up whatever part of the yard I damn well pleased and plant anything my heart desired there. I miss the lime tree I planted just so that I’d never have a Corona in my hands that lacked a lime. I miss living where a lime tree would actually thrive.
I miss Taco Cabana. Whataburger. Kerbey Lane. CHUYS. (I would kill a man with my bare hands right now for that creamy jalapeno dip.)
I miss this guy quite a lot:
I miss bare-foot weather 361 days of the year and more blue skies with puffy clouds than you can dream.
I miss the way you look, the way you feel, and who I was when I was with you, Austin.
I could go on, but what’s the point, really?
I miss you, Austin.
I wonder if you miss me.
Several nights ago I was sitting in the dark of Braden’s room; he was cradled in my arms, breathing quietly. As we slowly swayed back and forth in the rocking chair together, lullabyes playing peacefully on the CD player, my mind jumped back and forth. It climbed mountains torturously, then lept off of the summits and plummited into the valleys below. My face was slack, but my thoughts rumbled and tumbled below the surface while I felt the warm, soft life in my embrace cuddle deeper into sleep.
Suddenly, I burst out crying. Crying for the tiny life that I wasn’t able to hold onto in this way. I sobbed – quietly, so as not to disturb Braden – for a few long moments. Then I placed him in his crib and left the room. As suddenly as it had come upon me, the weeping was gone.
It’s been like that for weeks now. Since the miscarriage.
The extreme dichotomy of my feelings and thoughts lately has been a confusion at times, to me. At others, it has made no less than perfect sense. See what I mean?
I was pregnant one day. Then, suddenly, I wasn’t.
Riding the rollercoasters at this Carnival From Hell that no woman wants to go to, but that is packed full of people, nonetheless, has been strange.
Some days, hearing about how many others have gone through this, multiple times, even, is a great comfort. I am actually incredibly buoyed by the scores of other women who feel somewhat betrayed by their bodies, or maybe even by God. By women who have experienced this same thing and are floating alongside me in this sea of uncertainty.
It means that I am not really standing out in the middle of a barren wasteland, alone, while a relentless wind tears and rips at my exposure ravaged limbs, muffling my cries and carrying them silently away into the vast nothingness surrounding me, where they will mean nothing and no one will ever respond to them.
Instead, at every bend, there are arms ready to pull me close, hugging me and imparting comfort and understanding; a place to cry and grieve and heal.
But on those other days, the “bad” ones, if this has happened to you? I want to pretend like you don’t exist. I don’t want to hear about what you’ve gone through. I especially don’t want to know that it has happened to you 2, 4, or 7 times. I don’t want to think about how sad it is that this happens all the time, multiple times to some women. And I really don’t want to think about how this could so easily happen to me again.
Then, the very next day, I probably want to run to you and make you hold me again.
(Please, if you shared these things with me, don’t be offended, and please don’t stop sharing. Please. This is the nature of the beast – while I sometimes want to pretend you don’t exist – I still find I need you! Just read the first part I wrote about it up there^! I just have a need to be really honest with myself and others about the dichotomy of my feelings right now, and this is part of it. If you have been through this, you will likely understand.)
The split, this back and forth, doesn’t end there, though. Ohhh, no. There is so much more.
Some days, I look forward to trying to have another child at some point. I think about a sibling for my son, a tiny baby to love and coo over, another dimension to our family. I think about the joy of being pregnant, meeting a new life, and discovering how another personality will fit into our home.
Other days, I am terrified at ever being pregnant again. I shrink away from thoughts of what it will be like to have another positive pregnancy test. Instead of bursting at the seams with Joy and Bliss like I did the past two times, I imagine that I will feel incredibly Anxious and Fearful.
I mourn the death of the joy that should accompany that positive test, and I imagine the fear and sorrow that will replace it – as well as the paranoia. I imagine it, and I feel a great sense of avoidance.
I picture a future pregnant me waiting to see blood every.time.I.urinate. And I can’t imagine being able to shoulder the endless stress that will inevitably invoke.
Some days, I feel strong and whole. Some days I actually feel more alive than before. I feel more passionate about living and doing and being. I feel more grateful and in awe of the life that courses through my veins, and that resonates through the bodies of my son and my husband.
Other days, I feel more vulnerable and fragile than ever. I feel more fearful and worried about the delicate nature of life – not just early life, either – any life. I feel guarded and over-protective about my son on those days. I feel anxious and worried about my husband. I feel scared. Terrified, even.
Some days, I take comfort in knowing that my baby is in Heaven. God wanted one of ours next to Him. I feel the complete peace that is, as a lovely friend of mine so eloquently said, knowing my baby will live for eternity never having to experience sadness.
But most days, I just want my baby back. And I feel selfish. (But it doesn’t stop me from wanting that.)
In fact, some days I want my baby back so bad that it really doesn’t matter to me one way or the other that I can probably have another child eventually. Hearing that does not really comfort, on those days. Because I don’t want another one. As John can tell you, because I’ve said it to him multiple times already, I just want back the baby I already had. I was feeling this so strongly one night that I just cried into my pillow, feeling guilty and selfish and immature. And whenever someone has said that to me… that I can have more… I have secretly been angry. Because you would never say that to me if Braden died. And this baby was no less my child than is he!
Then I read that I’m not the only one who feels this very way.
And it must have been a good day, because I felt a bit vindicated, and took comfort in that.
Proof that I need to hear all these things that you all have to say.
I’ve never wanted to get off a Carnival Ride so badly. I’m just ready to fall asleep in the car on the way home, you know?
And more than anything, I hate knowing that while I’m riding, the damn contraption is going to keep stopping over and over again to let, no, force new passengers on.
All I can hope for is that I’ll have something to say that will comfort them.
On the not so bad days, of course.
First, this happened.
Fast-forward two and a half years… quite a lot happened during that time, and I’m sure I’ll find the time to tell many stories about those two and a half years, but today I’m telling you about the day I said, “I Do.” So just insert lots of courting, romance, too much drinking, and just enough laughter and silliness.
I’ve never wanted a big ring, a big dress, or a big wedding. It’s fine if those were/are your dreams – we are all different, and that’s what makes life interesting. For me, all of those things were just never part of my fantasy about what would make me happy.
In fact, the idea of a big wedding really just made me want to throw up in my mouth a little. No, scratch that… it made me want to Monster Hurl.
As it happened, I was not to be disappointed, and the match between John and myself extended to the lack of desire for pomp and circumstance.
We looked around in our area for awhile, and decided on a lovely park, which was described as one of the most isolated and untouched parks in Travis County, and it did not disappoint. With 2 miles of shoreline along beautiful Lake Travis, we knew when we saw it the first time that it was where we’d come the day we wanted to unite.
How laid back was our wedding? Just to give you an idea… my dress, purchased from Goodwill, was $7.99 plus tax. The dress shoes John wore that day cost more than my wedding dress. 😉 The bouquet? I made it the morning of our wedding from some flowers I picked up at the HEB grocery store right by our house, tied with some craft ribbon I had. I matched it to the flowers on my dress.
We told our pastor to please dress casually – he did not disappoint, and wore one of his signature Hawaiian shirts for the occasion (I could not love him more for that). We told him, and our two witnesses (Elaine, a woman who helped me prepare for my baptism the previous year, and Joan, our pre-marital counselor) to meet us at the entrance to the park on Sunday, March 28, 2004.
When everyone was present, we all loaded up into John’s truck and headed in. At $8 per vehicle, it was a pretty cheap rate for our Wedding Site. 😉
Once inside, we made our way to the spot we had previously chosen, right along the banks of Lake Travis.
One problem. The forecast was for rain, and it was clouding and graying up rather nicely. The clouds above us were ugly and threatening, and we were anxious and nervous.
Our Pastor took his place, and, with our witnesses behind us, we stepped up to him.
He began the service.
Suddenly, like some crazy fairy-tale, the clouds directly above us shifted and opened up, revealing a section of blue sky and the sun, which shone down upon us, pushing against the clouds still bordering.
As that light and warmth hit us, I knew again that my heart had found the right place to live.
I will never forget that day and the promises I made. The way I felt and how hard it was for both of us just to speak our vows without crying like blubbering idiots.
Or how badly my highlights had grown out and that my hair was only a little bit longer than John’s.
Or how beautiful the man at my side was, inside and out.
And how, even when the sun isn’t shining on us, he is still where I want my heart to live.
Today, Saturday, marks the one week point. It’s been one week since the bleeding of miscarriage began. One week since I sat on the toilet, with Braden happily splashing in the tub to my left, looking down at the blood in disbelief. Just one week since I began crying hysterically as more blood came. One week since I fumbled the phone, almost dropping it into the toilet, to give my husband the worst news I have ever delivered to anyone.
One week since I laid my face on the floor next to the bathtub crying, begging out loud that this not be what I thought it was. One week since I sobbed uncontrollably there, and Braden giggled in response because he thought I was laughing.
Last Friday night, I took this photo.
I was tired and emotional after watching a movie and thinking of an old hurt.
I attributed much of my emotional response then to pregnancy hormones. You know how they are.
Almost exactly 24 hours after I took this photo, I started bleeding; miscarrying.
Twenty-four hours after that, I was waiting with high anxiety and nervous trepidation to visit my doctor the next morning for blood tests.
Twenty-four hours later yet, I was standing in my kitchen, having not received the test results yet, speaking to my (empty) uterus with fractured, clinging hope.
“Are you still in there? Is it possible? I love you. Please fight; please hold on, little baby.”
That night, I fell asleep while I repeated the same thing over and over again in my head.
“God, please let my baby live. God, please let my baby live. God, please….”
The photo is sad irony.
It is a perfect portrait of how I feel right now.
All I can hope for is for each new 24 hour passage to take me closer to whole again.
As I write this post, it is Tuesday morning.
John and I have waited since Saturday night for news about our baby.
I started bleeding on Saturday night.
The experience continued through the weekend and into Monday. I won’t describe it in detail.
I had blood tests on Monday. The results we got this morning confirmed the worst.
It was a miscarriage.
The baby I had already begun to love is gone.
I feel rather empty, in more ways than one.
I need to go hold my son very tightly and be held very tightly by my husband.
I may not post for awhile – not sure. I appreciate your patience and understanding while I carefully fold another Swan.