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Post Traumatic Toddler Disorder

Almost everyday, between the ages of one and two, I had to keep a constant ear out for my daughter’s distress call when she left my sight. I’d barrel forward in my day trying to  accomplish my housework or do anything creative but I was always listening. At any moment I might have to drop my task for that tell-tale scream that meant she’d fallen over and hit her head and I had to run, not walk, to see if she was bleeding out from her head. On one occasion she actually was bleeding from her mouth. The one time you choose not to go and see is that one time you’ll regret it.

Injury is imminent every moment of the day from age one through two. You can not hover and yet you are on alert constantly. And I earned such a good case of post traumatic stress disorder that the twitch has come and gone and returned in my top left eyelid in the past couple months. That feeling of the imminence of the other shoe dropping has made Mommy-hood feel like trench warfare.toddler tantrum

What’s worse is that I’ve got a girl who’s prone to drama. She knows how to lay it on a little thicker to hedge her bets. Good for her. She’s a survivor. Bad for me, twitch, twitch, twitch. Throw in a good fevered sickness which has me waking up several times at night doing the pogo Mommy reminiscent of the good old “trench” days of the newborn’s first three months and I’m beyond exhausted.

I get to feeling a little hopeless. Like this will always be the way it’s gonna be. And I don’t know how I’m gonna do it. Twitch, twitch, twitch goes the eyelid. And then stuff starts to calm down. I get the nap schedule back into place by sitting in her room in the chair until she stops crying at me and passes out. I take a day or two to go out with my friends to chat and do mindless girl things. I get my toes done finally. And I feel a little better. more toddler tantrum

And that’s just enough so that when she starts screaming at 5:30 in the morning, I’m not resentful and know she’s at least safe in the crib. And when she’s begun to cry in the other room with her brother, I wait a beat longer to respond because I know they have to work it out. And when she says Elmo Pooh Elmo Pooh Princess constantly at me to watch a movie, she may need to take a nap or Cookies Candy Cake Cookies Candy Cake at me over and over, you know she may be hungry.

And sometimes the best way to deal with her is just to ignore her however I can. Because it’s a little scary for a toddler to be at the control wheel all the time. Children may become overwhelmed because they have gotten everything they want and will continue to meltdown looking for restraints to make them feel safe. Sometimes she needs her keys taken away. And sometimes she needs to be given a lollipop and plugged into Elmo.

I Have To Diddle With Her Diddle

(Be forewarned, there’s a doctor visit with a slightly graphic female parts description coming up .)

At Fiona’s recent Doctor’s office check-up, the doctor’s last bodily inventory check was her diddle, or as I call it, her twinkle. And then he checked it again. And he explains to me that her inner lips around her urethra had partially joined back together. Meaning that the smaller exit area for her pee can be of concern for future cause for infection. And of course I’m knowing, this was all my fault and here’s why.

First everything that befalls our children is somehow our fault. And this I knew had happened because I hadn’t been diligent enough in cleaning her diddle. Surely better wiping would have prevented this. He said it was a common problem. This is my excuse.

Fiona and her broom on Shalavee.com

While I changed her diaper when she was a tiny baby, I would have visions I couldn’t unsee. Adults wielding incredible power and her meekness. She was so tiny and vulnerable it was painful to think about all the wee people across the globe experiencing atrocities I never wanted to know about. Female circumcisions and rapes and monstrous crimes against their little persons and bodies. Something in my Mom mind just kept recognizing the vulnerability of this baby.

When my son was a baby, I had read up on keeping him clean and from what I read, uric acid is a sterile acid and doesn’t cause infection. I’d wipe really well after she pooped but her body would also keep the poop from going where it shouldn’t. I’d check to make sure but wouldn’t work too hard at cleaning it out. I always put soap in the tub and give her a good swipe through her butt area when I gave her a bath. All good then. Fiona and Grammy's garden statues on shalavee.com

The doctor did not disagree or admonish me for any of this. He has prescribed me some estrogen cream to apply daily to her inner labia to help the skin thin and separate. And there I am doing the thing that I’d tried to avoid, diddling with her diddle. She doesn’t like it. She says “Ow” when you go to apply the cream. Because I think it’s instinctual for children to know what’s private on their body as it is to want to poop in private. I go back in a week to find out if were good to go. If my intrusive diddling can end.

1 yr old Fiona and Mr Crackers in the window on Shalavee.com

I’m doing what the doctor told me. I’ve got my game face and all business-mode down but I’d like to stop now. I know that I’ll have to teach my daughter how to wipe herself when we actually get to the potty training. It’s a fine balance between showing her how to take care of her body, taking care of her body, and going too far in taking care of her body. To teach her to respect her body and say no to bad touch when I am walking a fine line in the touching department. Such is the mortar of parenthood’s bricks.

Girls are higher maintenance folks.

Anything else you need to warn me about in your experience?

Fiona’s Second Birthday Party

So we made it to and through Fiona’s second birthday. And the party was a smashing success despite conceiving of it only a little more than a month beforehand. All of our efforts and plans payed off as 20 something of our closest friends and family came to celebrate with us.guests arriving for Fiona's party on Shalavee.com

For me the party planning consists of theme planning, food planning, and project completion. Because duh, you partly have the party  to complete that project you’d be ashamed of not having completed since the last time they were here. In this case, the project was Fiona’s bedroom which I’d struggled with for some time. But the week before the party, I was hustling to finish up all the little details and photographing the room during a snow storm. See the room redecoration post here. Fiona's room styled on Shalavee.com

Mark and I made the lasagna together. His request was not my forte. So I fussed over the meat sauce for two days. He said he was looking for that taste of hot Italian sausage. So I said you can go get some but you need to put the lasagne together.Making the lasagne on Shalavee.com

We were a sight in the kitchen fussing over proportions of this and that. But let me tell you, it was scrumptious lasagna. And we used the no boil noodles much to everyone’s surprise. Because they boil in the sauce so why wouldn’t you. Yum me.

eggrolls on Shalavee.com

Also made the homemade egg rolls because they’re just easy. And vegetarian.

Fiona for the card profile on Shalavee.com

The invitations were made from a blown up ¾ profile picture of Fiona which I then used clear frosted acetate to simply trace over the basic lines of her face. Then I scanned it on the copier and put it through a Photoshop type program so that I could have it colorized.

Fiona's caricature for the invitations on Shalavee.com

Then I put it back through a photo program and printed it on photo paper. I really love the simplicity and sweetness of it.

Fiona's caricature on the invitations on Shalavee.com

As for the decorations, I wanted to keep it simple.

So I used the same picture and took it to a copy place and for $4, I had it blown up to maybe 20” x 30”.

Decorations for Fiona's second Birthday Party on Shalavee.com

And continuing the theme of pops of hot pink from the bedroom, I made little tissue cheerleading pom poms.

Decorations for Fiona's second Birthday Party on Shalavee.com

They were supposed to be tassels but they were fuller than I’d thought they’d be. Tutorial coming soon.

Flowers for Fiona's second Birthday Party on Shalavee.com

The birthday party flowers are an annual treat I give to myself. I was rather stunned this year when Patty, the owner of Patty’s Petals here in downtown Denton, Maryland where I order my flowers from, charged me their wholesale price. She knows I’ve worked with flowers and said she wanted to see what I’d do with them.

Flowers for  Fiona's second Birthday Party on Shalavee.com

I got dark pink ranunculus, light pink spray roses, white Shasta daisies, pink freesia, purple stock,

and yellow Solidago plus some tree-fern and a tiny handful of pussy willow.

Flowers for  Fiona's second Birthday Party on Shalavee.com

And the cake. Oh the cake was stupendous.

Courtesy of my new neighbor Steve Konapelski the accomplished pastry chef ,

I asked for plain with pink, he laughed at me, and he got that vintage vibe going which is so lovely.

The birthday cake for Fiona's Second Birthday party on shalavee.com

He lent me the hobnail milk glass cake stand and I had the sweet vintage table-cloth. Perfect.

Present table clubhouse at Fiona's Second Birthday Party on Shalavee.com

And that Birthday girl, she loved her a birthday party.

It was warm outside for the first time since forever so I let her run around in her bare feet as she prefers. She was so sweet in the Minnie Mouse dress. She never napped but took a time out on the couch with Elmo and then kept going.

cake and singing for Fina's birthday on Shalavee.com

Me and Fiona at her second birthday party on Shalavee.com

Eating her cake on Fiona's second Birthday Party on Shalavee.com

Eating her cake on Fiona's second Birthday Party on Shalavee.com

She loved being sung to and she loved the cake’s decorations most of all.

ute as a buttom cousin Emma at Fiona's Second Birthday Party on Shalavee.com

Her cousin Emma was the best guest.

help opening the presents from Cousin Emma at Fiona's Second Birthday Party on Shalavee.com

She was right in there opening presents…

ute as a buttom cousin Emma at Fiona's Second Birthday Party on Shalavee.com

…and blowing out the candles…and running around with the balloons. They were so very sweet together.

They are our miracle girls with the same middle names.

 Fiona's second Birthday Party on Shalavee.com

It was a lovely day for a lovely little girl. And I remarked to my husband that really, all those people were here because they love us and our children. That is kinda humbling and I’m happy to be part of a community that shows up for my kids. And for me through my kids. Love to all of you.

Fiona’s Room Reveal Starts

There’s been much ado about Fiona’s room. It was a laborious process to finish the painting and the curtains and to finally load in the room. Mostly the drama is based on the fact that it’s hard to work on her room when she’s in the house. Ironic but true. And since she’s pretty much been sitting on my head since she was born, and I have a blog and a house and another kid to run, this hasn’t always been prioritized.

Panoramic view of Eamon's room revealed on Shalavee.com

When I did however prioritize Eamon’s room remodel before she was born, that worked out really well. So little by little, I’ve made progress on her room. To celebrate Fiona’s Second birthday this coming Thursday, March, 5th, I’m doing a week’s worth of Fiona’s room posts. Five days in a row including all the cute little projects in between, culminating in a total room reveal.

Should we start by remembering what it looked like prior to the two-year remodel? The first coat of pink paint went on September of 2013. Check out the beginning of the remodel in the Fiona’s Womb Room post. Fiona's room before the remodel  on Shalavee.com

It went from the yellow and green combo (yes, but it was way better than the dark blue woodwork that was there when we moved in) to…

Toasted Oat wall color in Fiona's room on Shalavee.com

the wonderful Toasted Oat color I belabored over.

Then there was the issue of the curtains. Sigh. I had my knickers in a not about the sewing. I watched helplessly as my baby slept nap after nap in a room with bald windows because I couldn’t face my sewing machine. But I changed that story because I hated retelling it. In the post Fiona’s Room Redesign Take Two last November, I finally conquered the sewing phobia and my machine. Turns out I needed to read some directions. It’s a funny read.

Contemplating the sewing project in the craft room on Shalavee.com

So starting tomorrow, I’ll be posting daily to reveal her room bit by bit. Because it’s time to move on and celebrate Fiona’s birthday!!

Hump Day

A quick check in to say these few things. 

Fiona got the flu. I jinxed myself by saying we’d never had her throw up because she did that all over me and the couch cover this morning. Nurse says this flu bugs going around but it’s the fever that is the hardest to watch. She’s clingy and listless, sleep patterns are all messed up.

 Humpday on Shalavee.com

Good news is that I took advantage of her droopy state yesterday and finally got out my newsletter! Applause please.

If you didn’t get one and would like to in the future, sign up in the box over on the right side of the blog there. It was a nice catch-you-up kinda thing if you don’t check in here on the blog as often as you’d like.

 Humpday on Shalavee.com

School was cancelled today due to icy roads. I found myself biting my lip trying to write and ended up with my brain tied in knots and a baby wanting to be my hat. However, Eamon made chocolate chip cookies from scratch all by himself. I only stood there, asked if he really needed a tablespoon of salt or did it say teaspoon, and helped with a little of the mixing when his arm got tired. But he did the rest. And I so hope that kind of pride leads to other household tasks that benefit my belly in the future.

 Humpday on Shalavee.com

Laundry’s about done, children are making Valentine’s Day cards upstairs and Mark will be home from his appointments soon for burger night. My life is really good and mundane. And I think I like Hump Day kinda unhumpy right like that.

Ps You know don’t you that two hours later I discovered we were completely out of gas for our stove when the burners went dead on the stovetop.. I ended up cooking our burger night burgers on the grill out in the cold. Thankfully our oven is electric so fries were cooked and the stove top stayed clean. Yay. But by 7:30, Fiona had cried at me so much, my post traumatic stress disorder was rising again. The eye twitch is all gone and I do not hope for its return. Laundry still done. No more throwing up and fever seems abated. Wait, is that my stomach feeling upset? Do I feel hot to you?

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