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Monday, October 15, 2007

You can judge what kind of a week I’ve had based on my blogging habits – or lack thereof. BUSY (I’m working on the house painting project again – doors, trim, hallway)…and CRAZY. So, let me summarize. (Granted a Jenny Summary is never a super brief thing).

Home Sweet Home
The boys were still up when we got home from the airport a week ago. They were, as should be expected, very happy to see us (thankfully, they still remembered who we were and didn’t seem to hold our parent negligence against us too much…initially) and we were, them. Within less than 24 hours though, I was wishing I could get back on a plane. Again, please feel free to judge me, because I thoroughly do.

Matthew decided to deal with his abandonment issues as most any normal four year-old child would – he got even with his behavior. (That’s right. I’m going to make you suffer by being SO bad and crazy that you’ll WISH you could go back to Dallas and therefore you’ll have so much guilt for thinking that, that you’ll….suffer…from the guilt…of thinking that..). Yeah, behavior has been pretty crazy this week. And I’m not talking just about Matthew’s

Zoloft Sweet Zoloft
Several weeks ago now I took my last Zoloft (that I’d been on for a little over a year to ward off the Post Partum Depression Demons that had inhabited my body since shortly after the birth of Zachary). I tapered off the drug VERY slowly and gradually because I was afraid of what the weaning/withdrawal would be like. I had every reason to be afraid – very afraid. I’ve been SCARY and SPOOKY….how fitting for this Halloween season. (“What are you going to be for Halloween this year?” “Oh, thanks so much for asking. I’m going to be a Psycho-Zoloft-Withdrawals-Crazy-Mama. Grim Reaper, Hockey Mask Chainsaw-Murderer, Gory and Blood-Oozing Serial Killer? They ain’t got nothin’ on me. Look out. Stay away. Stay far, far away.

I’m dizzy, I’m light-headed, I’m spacey (at least I have an excuse now), I’m nauseous, and worst of all I’m EVIL. It’s pretty much like PPD all over again. Why, WHY would they make a drug that you take to fix a problem and yet only CAUSES the problem when you finish it? It makes you want to go right back on the juice. I’ve been reassured that this is a temporary situation that usually lasts between one and two weeks. When I called the doctor to see what, if anything, could be done and how long we would all need to suffer and could I maybe be locked away during this process, I was told, “well, if it gets really bad, we can always just put you back on Zoloft.” Yes, so keep me on the happy pill FOREVER ‘cuz I’ll be way too frightened to ever come off again because I’d just have to go through this again. No thank you, I’ll just suffer through now and get this over with (as will the entire Martin clan).

I’m all jokey-jokey about it here and now, but calling this incredibly difficult and frustrating, is a huge understatement. It’s heart-breaking when your sweet four year-old is pleading with you, “Mommy, please don’t be sad. Mommy it makes me sad when you’re sad. May you please not be sad?” He’s even polite about it! “I know; we’ll go play Legos and then you don’t have to be sad anymore, K? Right? Then you won’t be sad? Please may you not cry anymore?” And unfortunately, there’s nothing – nothing – that I can do to ‘snap out of it’. It’s completely out of my control; I can’t just NOT be sad. I have no real reason to be sad, and yet my brain tells me otherwise. It says, “Be sad, be totally and completely without hope (kind of like how the Dementors in Harry Potter make their victims feel)…oh, and while you’re at it, be completely irrational and moody and have a temper that can snap like nobody’s business, for no reason.” So, without meaning to, I’m sad, I’m irrational, I feel lost. I don’t feel like me. I feel like I’m back in that deep, dark depression place that I never wanted to be in ever again; and there’s nothing I can do about it. But wait. Wait. They say it’ll get better. So we wait.

Big sigh. Moving on to some of the other things that popped up in the midst of the crappy of this week.

Yes, I’m one of those
Turns out that I’m one of those obnoxious Moms. Following my orders (from PPD Pal, Patricia), I had to get out of the house with the boys as much as possible – she said that was the only thing that helped her get through the post-Zoloft adjustment phase. So, on Friday after my music classes, we went to McDonald’s for lunch. We had just sat down with our food when a McDonald’s employee approached and inquired as to whether or not I drove a red Honda CRV. “Why, yes I do. Thank you for asking.” Right. They needed me to move my car as the big McD’s delivery truck had arrived and needed to unload tons of fat and oily and greasy food products. “Hmm, no, sorry,” was what I pretty much said. I explained that we had JUST sat down and that I’d have to put my boys into their car seats to move the car or I’d have to leave them in the McD’s unattended to go move my car. I put my foot down. Neither of those things would happen. “Was there a No Parking sign where I parked? Or a truck unloading sign? Because I took the one open spot in the middle of a fully packed row of parked cars….so I certainly wouldn’t have parked there had I known…” Yeah, I wasn’t going to budge. You don’t mess with me on my ppd, non-Zoloft weeks.

In the end, I did have to run out and move the car. I asked an employee if he wanted a stint as a Valet driver and did he want to move my car ‘cuz well, as it turns out, I do care about my children more than the car (besides I figured he wouldn’t take off with my car since we knew who he was…and where he workd). After much discussion, it was determined that one of the McD employees (a father of two, himself, I was informed) stood watch over my children (who were still sitting eating and Zach was strapped into a high chair, so I knew he wouldn’t run away). But what would you have done? Do you judge me for abandoning them in a restaurant with total strangers for 30 seconds? I even played all of the worst case scenarios out in my head: “OK, if someone tries to steal my offspring – based on behavior this week (mine and theirs) – I might let them because maybe they’d be a more fit parent than I. No. I would see them exiting out of one of the doors that I’d be very close too, and I would be able to use my super ppd, Zoloft-withdrawal violence to Kung-Fu chop them down, snag my kidlets and get the heck outta there.” They’d be fine. They were fine. They were still there, happily munching away on McNuggets unaware that I’d even left.

Apparently I was on such a mission not to let anything detract from my McDonald’s dining experience, that I kicked an entire huge pack of unruly young teenage boys off of the McD’s playland equipment. They were too big to be on there (requirement is four feet and under) and they were freaking out the little kiddos. My boys stood frozen just watching the big hooligans rip around. Yes, I’m an old fart, a fuddy-duddy, a stick-in-the-mud, a party pooper. You name it; I’ll admit to being it. My threats of getting the manager to escort them out worked, and they managed to leave with my lame, scary mom threats trailing after them.

John Deeres make things better
When all else fails, John Deeres do provide some cheering up; especially to Matthew. This past Wednesday, we successfully attended Matthew’s first ‘real’ field trip (like leave the property, go far, far away field trip). We went to a pumpkin patch way down in Orting, WA – about a 45 minute drive from our house. Matthew was ready to roll in John Deere hat, construction worker rain coat, and “army man” camouflage rain boots – this kid is ALL boy. The first thing we saw when we pulled in was a HUGE John Deere tractor on display complete with pumpkin head scarecrow in the driver’s seat. Next to the John Deere was a 975 pound pumpkin on display. I informed Matthew that no, sorry, that would not be the one that we took home with us. When we saw Matthew’s preschool teacher, she said, “Matthew! Are you so excited for the pumpkins?” He replied with a confident, “No! I’m excited for the John Deeres!!”

Of course, our trip to the pumpkin patch wouldn’t be complete without pouring down rain. So, all the raincoat clad kids and parents were huddled under a tarp while we sat and listened to a woman talk in a really bad, fake Southern Drawl about how the ‘old days’ were – covered wagons, cooking food on fires, etc. The kids sat there, heads down to keep out the cold, eyes glazed over, not listening to a word that Old Fashioned Lady had to say. She attempted to lead the crowd in the most unmelodic, lack-luster rendition of ‘Old McDonald had a Farm’ that I’ve ever heard. But then, OH, but THEN, she announced that we would go on a covered wagon ride – but a little different than the kind they rode in the old days – and on perfect cue three – THREE – huge tractors pulled up towing long cow-themed-painted wagon/car/tram-type thingies. The first tractor that drove by was red. This was exciting, sure, sure. Matthew sat up to get a better view. But then the next two tractors to appear were – you guessed it – great big, beautiful green John Deeres. Matthew shot straight up off of his hay bale seat and exclaimed, “John Deeres, Mommy! John Deeres!” And wouldn’t you know, that being in the emotional state that I was in, I had to blink hard to not let my tearing up be noticed by anyone. (I could’ve blamed it on the rain, I suppose). He was so ecstatic, it was like Christmas morning; I’ve got a knot in my throat just thinking about it.

We managed to push into the line for one of the John Deere-pulled trams (again, I was not about to let anyone rain on our John Deere parade – yes puns intended as it WAS raining AND a John Deere parade). We rode around the huge corn maze and by the pumpkin fields, passed by the pumpkin-catapulting field (complete with hundreds of small smashed and squashed pumpkins), and eventually came to the small area where pumpkins were neatly lined up in rows, ready for the taking. We stopped to see the goats and miniature horses in the fenced pasture and picked out the two best pumpkins available. (Zachary got one too). After putting the pumpkins in the car, we went through the hay maze in the barn and then had hot apple cider. It doesn’t get any more Harvest-y perfect than that.

On Saturday, we had another fun-filled day. We ended the night at our friends’ Fourth Annual Pumpkin Carving Extravaganza. Mike chose not to stay for the carving process (he would’ve stomped the competition AGAIN), plus we decided that being near all the knives and sharp carving implements was maybe not the best idea for our children. Before the carving extravaganza, we had dinner with some friends from Engaged Encounter. Their kids are 4 and 2 and the boys LOVE them. Matthew walked out into the backyard and stopped dead in his tracks before sprinting off their deck faster than I’ve ever seen that kid move – they had a toy riding John Deere, the kind that every John Deere-loving kid DREAMS of having. He was in HEAVEN. Amy (mother of Tyler and Amanda) had been on backyard duty (making sure no child got seriously harmed or mutilated in any major way) when she came in laughing. She said that Matthew was playing with the John Deere and had said, “This John Deere is mighty perfection.”

Matthew has reached the age of questions. What’s and why’s and how’s fill our days, ALL the live-long day! He and I had been having a very deep conversation about how people are different (i.e. different hair color, sometimes skin color, sometimes people have to be in a wheel chair etc.), but that we’re all the same (i.e. no one is better than someone else because of their skin color, etc.). I had said to Matthew that there are people in the world who, for example, are light-skinned people, but think that people with dark skin are bad. I stressed that THIS is bad, that it’s bad for people to say that someone else is bad because their skin is a different color.

That night, when Mike was putting Matthew to bed Matthew told him, “Hey, Daddy. People with dark skin are bad.” “What????!” Mike said. Mathew casually responded, “Yeah, Mommy said that. That people with dark skin are bad.” Great. So great. Here I’m trying to teach my child all these great lessons in acceptance and to be a loving little being, and it’s going to come back and bite me in the butt. I can only imagine the things that Matthew will be telling his best little buddy, Mason, at school – Mason, who happens to be darker skinned and whose parents we hung out with at the pumpkin patch. I now live in fear of the moment, when Mrs. Mac asks me to stay after class. I’ll be SO busted, by the preschool teacher…for something that I’m SO not guilty of. That would NOT be mighty perfection.

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