A Lot Has Been Going On

And I mean A LOT.

I wasn’t trying to be neglectful towards writing. But a bunch of stuff all happened at once.

  • I acted in a 24-hour play festival that is 100% for charity. I have been part of this group for years and love getting to participate in these. My group had a play that was a “period piece musical”. Our playwright wrote a parody of Grease called “Greek is the Word” that was all in ancient Greece. I played Sandromeda and was in love with Danny Zeus-O. It was hysterical. The audience votes on awards and we won two: Cast That Looked Like They Had the Most Fun and the coveted Best in Show! And we raised over $2000 for the food bank! All in all, amazing.
  • I had a dermatology appointment. I am very pale and burn like nobody’s business. I have had two moles removed in the past. I had noticed a new mole and went in. I had to have it sampled because it looked suspicious. Thankfully, no melanoma. But I have developed melasma (a skin discoloration issue that puts me more at risk) and not have to put some expensive serum on my face every morning as part of my skin care regimen. And I need to step up my skin care to Level: Negative Sun So Use Even More Sunscreen Then I Already Do.
  • We went on vacation. This was our first vacation since our honeymoon and definitely the first one with a tiny person as part of our family. Our toddler loves Sesame Street and animals. She is fascinated with aquariums. So, we went to Sea World. They do a cool thing where teachers can get a free pass if they sign up at a specific time? We always sign up and hope we will use them, but normally don’t. This time we used them!
    The drive there was about 4 hours. She napped for the first half and woke up for the last chunk, so I sat in the back with her and we did art on her Kids’ Fire tablet.
    She surprisingly slept amazing in the hotel. On the last night, she didn’t fall asleep until 9, but if that was our only sleep issue? Haha, fine!
    She loved the dolphins so much. She was clapping and cheering during the show, which was really cute. She somehow knew when to applaud. And the way her eyes would light up at them. It was so sweet.
    She was really stunned to see all of her Sesame friends. Especially since Cookie Monster came up to her and danced with her. Afterwards, we did pictures with them and she insisted on showing Cookie her little Cookie Monster car.
    We were going to try to go back to the hotel for naptime, but she typically dozed off in her stroller while we were walking to a show and woke up right before the show. So she was getting small 30 minute cat naps. But no meltdowns! She did great!
    All in all, this was an amazing first family vacation! There were definitely things I’d like to try differently next time. I’d really love to look into a cruise, but apparently they charge full price for a toddler? So, that will be happening never.
    One of the big things I wish I had been better about was sunscreen. I applied it to me and my mini religiously. She stayed nice and pale. I apparently wasn’t doing a great coverage job on myself, though, and sunburned my shoulders/cleavage/neck. And right after that doctor’s appointment when I was even more hyper-aware of my skin. Tsk Tsk, me.
  • We returned home and I began rehearsals for the show that I am in. For the most part, it is going alright. One day, I was trying on costumes so the costumer and director could adjust them and some of the cast made me feel incredibly self-conscious. They decided it was “helpful” to talk about how “frumpy” and “big” I looked, knowing that I had a baby last year. Yes. I am aware that I haven’t lost the baby weight. Yes. I am not tiny. Yes. I know all of this and feel awful about it. So thank you for pointing it out for your own entertainment with me standing right there. Thank you for talking about me like an object and not considering how much you hurt my feelings.
    Obviously that was a great day.
  • I started my new job! There was a week of “New Teacher Orientation” meetings for teachers who were new to this school district to learn how this district does things. Everything has been pretty great so far, until I got to see my classroom.
    It has the potential  to be amazing. Too bad the teacher before me left SO MUCH JUNK. It is overwhelming. Every file cabinet and shelf is jammed full of papers that are of no use to me. I have boxes of stuff that I cannot unpack yet because I simply do not have anywhere to put them. I was given about 30 keys and so far have only found two that actually unlock anything. Meanwhile, I have found quite a few locks that I do not have keys for but need keys for.
    I keep trying to remind myself that this will (hopefully) be dealt with before students arrive.
  • I got a call the other night from my dad. My grandma passed away. She had been battling brain cancer, so it was not entirely unexpected. Thankfully, she had recently decided that the risk with her treatments were outweighing the slim chance of success, so she had recently been transferred to “comfort care”. She was not in any pain and went quickly. I hate saying “thankfully” for this, but I am grateful that she did not suffer in pain. That the transition from “comfort care” to her passing was actually relatively quick so her family was actually with her while she was still lucid. I don’t really know how else to explain it. I don’t mean it in a callous way at all. When my grandpa (her husband) died of lung cancer when I was much younger, it was a very long, arduous fight. He was in so much pain and it was a very lengthy battle.
    I spoke to her awhile back, when the brain cancer was first found and she just wanted to talk about my daughter. I am really sad that she never got to meet her.
  • Speaking of my dad, I am trying again to extend an olive branch. I mentioned to him in joking way “When are you going to come see your granddaughter?” and he told me I had never invited him! I reminded him of the two times I have definitely extended specific invitations (the summer after she was first born and her first Christmas). He swears up and down I never did. He says he is looking into it, but if he forgot about the other times, I am worried he will forget about this time too. I can’t keep getting my hopes up on this. I keep trying, but there have been no results so far. So while I am hopeful (I would love for him to be part of her life), I am trying to keep my expectations realistic.
  • We put an offer in on a house! And the offer was accepted! The timing is not ideal, due to school starting back up, but we are just so sick of renting. We want our own place. We love the house we are renting, but our landlords have made it very clear that they aren’t interested in ever selling, or even letting us lease to buy. We had started looking with a realtor, just for her to get some feel of our styles. Our hope was too maybe move during the winter? Our lease ends mid-January. We ended up really loving one house, so we decided to jump on it.
  • Which leads to today. We had the house inspection this morning. It did not go well. There are many problems that were masked really well. We are very discouraged. Our realtor is going to look into making an addendum to suggest to us regarding “fix it or charge less” for the sellers. But those don’t always work, so we may be back to square one. We shall see.

This is my attempt at a severely abridged version of the past month. Plenty of smaller things have happened too (my cousin got engaged, my friend had her baby, I had to help the new teachers for the old school that wanted me gone, etc.), but these were the major bullet points.

Hopefully things get a bit calmer, but who knows?

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My Toddler Climbs Stuff

Apparently I am raising a mini dare devil.

Yesterday morning, I was washing my face and suddenly………

THUD.

Silence.

“Wahhhhhhhhhh!”

I sprinted into her nursery, and there was my baby sprawled out on the floor.

She had tried to climb out of her crib. And succeeded. She just didn’t stick the landing.

After being cuddled and kissed and checked over a million times, she was fine. We are planning on dropping the crib to the lowest level today. I was nervous about it not being done yesterday, but we just didn’t have time. Thankfully, she did not attempt any overnight climbs.

Later that morning, she decided it was important to try to climb up onto her play kitchen when she was playing with her daddy. My toddler is very small, but the kitchen was not built to hold 20 pounds of toddler.

It tipped.

She fell.

She conked her head on the corner of the play refrigerator.

I was in the office and heard a loud wail from the living room. I went running in and there was already a huge goose egg forming on her head. The swelling subsided within an hour, but there is still a bruise.

That afternoon, she decided to try to climb up onto my exercise bike. She fell and scratched her face twice right on each side of her nose. No bleeding, but two big scratches.

The scratches and the cuts make her look like she got into a fight this weekend. I can only imagine what her daycare thinks, her coming in all banged up.

You would think that all of these accidents in one day would maybe teach her to stop climbing so recklessly.

You would be wrong. She scales things with abandon.

You might also think that we are doing a terrible job of supervising her.

You would also be wrong. I was literally sitting on the floor with her in my lap and within 3 seconds she had climbed onto the exercise bike pedal. Despite me reaching over to grab her, she managed to climb it and fall from it that quickly.

Girl is fearless.

Apparently, girl is also clumsy.

I Need to Learn My Lines

I got cast in a play!

I actually thought the audition went pretty well, but I figured I would only get considered for a supporting part due to my age. So imagine my surprise when I was offered the early 20s lead!

I am very excited. But also incredibly nervous.

It has been more than 2 years since I have been in a full length play. It has been more than 4 years since I have been the lead in a full length play.

I have directed many plays in that time (and therefore ended up learning all of the lines). I have played supporting parts in a few.

I was highlighting my lines and (obviously) there are a lot.

And my character runs the gamut of an emotional roller coaster during the show. After all, she gets possessed by the evil spirits in a house!

We start rehearsal next week. And then I miss the entire second week of rehearsal since we will be on vacation.

I don’t want to

  • look like a diva who doesn’t care about the rest of the cast
  • make the entire show fall behind
  • put myself at risk of failure

Hence, I am trying to start on my lines now. That way, once we start the rehearsals, the rest of the cast won’t be nervous about me being gone for a week. They will see that I take the show seriously.

(Plus, it lets me try to make sure I won’t look like a fool)

I just haven’t done this in so long! I know that I can perform the role – acting is one of the few areas where I am actually decently confident in my abilities. But learning a part this quickly (granted, by my own pressure), is new and tricky. And as mentioned, I am rusty.

But this is the perfect show for me to make my acting “re-debut”. It is a small theatre I have never done anything at. Plus, the rehearsal schedule is only 3 days a week. This was amazing news, because that means I can ease myself into motherhood full time/working full time/theatre for my personal hobby part time.

I am excited!

Nervous, but excited.

 

Another Work Conference

But not me. My husband.

He left this morning. He will be gone throughout the week.

We FaceTimed him just before bedtime and I could see that he was getting some idea of what I went through a few weeks back.

You don’t think it will be hard. It’s only a few days, after all. But she is growing up SO FAST. She is a full-fledged toddler now. She is just obsessed with running all over the house and trying to climb everything, all while chattering away.

Meanwhile, I will see pictures of her on “this day last year” and she was SOOOOO TINY.

So yes, it sucks to be away from her for even a handful of days since you don’t know how much she will have changed.

We are starting to teach her to swim, too. She loves being in the pool. I also am looking into some form of gymnastics class for her for fall.

I just want to make sure she has everything she needs. To be able to grow up knowing that she is capable of anything.

Uh oh. She just started crying. So for now I will make sure she knows that she can always snuggle with me when she has a bad dream.

I Suck at Making Friends

Most people who know me assume that I am an extrovert.

  • I do a ton of Theatre, which therefore must mean I like attention
  • I teach, so I must love to talk
  • I am very good at improvisation, obviously I can converse
  • I love being around people

Except, I am totally not.

  • Many people who do Theatre are actually doing it to as socialize; having lines written out for your socialization does make it easier to have someone else speak with you
  • While teaching is a form of interaction (not socialization), I teach a subject that actually lets them do most of the talking
  • When I perform in improv scenes, I consider that a character based on the audience energy/I don’t feel it is actually me; furthermore, I do not do that as frequently because my past improv troupes were people I had known for years and I no longer have a troupe
  • I love being around people… THAT I KNOW

That being said, I am not a complete introvert. I love time to read and cozy nights in, but I hate being alone with just me too much. I get stir crazy with only myself.

When I am around extroverts, I am always the quietest. I get overwhelmed. I feel like I have to put on a show just to appear slightly interesting. It is exhausting to constantly be trying to be the shiniest version of yourself.

When I am around other introverts, I am always the most talkative. I start conversations. I feel like it is my job to get to know all of these interesting people before they realize what a fraud I am. It is exhausting to try to be the ring leader.

I am an omnivert. I have traits from both sides, but do not lean more to one side or the other. I guess it depends on my mood. Was I extremely introverted and shut in this past week? I probably am craving being at a restaurant for some people-watching. Closing weekend of a big show with lots of parties? Time to recharge with a binge movie staycation at home.

This makes me horrible at making friends, though. I don’t have the initiative to “latch onto” a group going out that I don’t know and I don’t like the feeling that I am pulling teeth by “making” someone spend time with me.

At my conference a few weeks ago, I thought it would be easy to meet people. After all, I was staying in a dorm. Surely, I would get to know the other three people staying with me!

Nope.

I think I saw one of my dorm mates once on the first night as she was arriving? Another I spoke with for about 5 minutes each morning as we were each getting ready. I never even saw the third. They each already had a group of friends that they went off and did fun things with. I was too shy to ask if I could come along, so I holed it up in my room and watched movies on my DVR with my laptop. There must have been other people doing the same as me, but I wouldn’t know. So I wasn’t able to try to at least talk to them.

One night, there was a group playing Cards Against Humanity in the lobby. I really love games as a way to get to know people. And this game is all about reading people. I am great at reading people to figure out what I can say that keeps them talking to me. I really wanted to be part of their game. I didn’t know a single person who was playing, but they were in the dorm lobby and not out drinking. I wanted in.

But I had no idea how to get in. I couldn’t simply ask “Hey, can I play? I love CAH!” I didn’t know (even vaguely) anyone in the group. I came up with a lot of small things I “needed” to do in the lobby that, hopefully, would lead to them asking if I wanted to join.

They did not.

I eventually gave up. They were having fun, they never even noticed me. I forlornly went back to my room and curled up to watch a movie.

In high school and college, I had a ton of friends. I still talk with quite a few of them. But moving across the country doesn’t make it easy to keep hanging out with them.

I was treating myself to a pedicure this morning and a group of three girls in their mid-twenties came in to get mani/pedis. They all sat together and talked and laughed and helped each other figure out which dress they should wear to some beach wedding party thing they were all talking about.

I don’t have anyone to do that with.

And I want to change that.

Now that I will be teaching at a whole new school, I really need to make it a point to get to know the other teachers.

Now that my daughter is a toddler and about to start doing more activities, I really need to make it a point to get to know other parents.

I want friends.

But I am so bad at making them. It scares me even just thinking about it. But I need to do it.

Cooking is Important to Me, But Not to Him

He doesn’t mean to, but my husband occasionally makes me feel really terrible about myself.

Or maybe he does mean to.

Who knows, who cares.

I really love to cook. I blame it on my Italian heritage. My grandma always relished in cooking for her family and meals became more like parties. Good food, good conversation, good times. I was so looking forward to having a family that I could cook for myself.

Before I got married, I wasn’t too big on cooking on the daily. And I mean COOKING. Like, from scratch stuff. I don’t mean I never ate. In the sense that, I loved to cook but I never really saw myself as being enough of a reason to cook. So I would make super basic, super easy meals. Whenever given the chance, I would cook up a big meal for friends, like Friendsgiving. Cakes and cookies for birthday or celebrations. But when it was just me? Not worth it.

When my now husband and I got engaged and moved in together, I began cooking dinner for us. He had been living the bachelor life for so long that he stored stuff in his oven. I enjoyed getting to cook for him, for us.

Once we got married and I started teaching, time became scarcer. I still cooked for us, but I found a nice “menu” of 15-ish meals that I could rotate through on weeknights when time was harder to come by. I could try out new recipes on the weekend and see if I was able to add them into the rotation.

For the record, my husband hates almost all vegetables. I’d try to incorporate them in different ways, but most of the time, it was all for naught. Since he would often throw them out, it seemed a waste to buy zucchini just for me. (Yes, there is that thought again.) The rotation was healthy-ish but not as healthy as it could be, without additional veggies.

Our daughter is 15 months and eats what we eat. She is an excellent eater. She will try everything. I make it a point of her seeing that we are eating the same things as her and we all eat together. I want her to be healthy, so I have been replacing many of the old “stand-bys” with meals that have protein, starch/carbs, vegetables. We have fruit for dessert.

I have read so much about how important it is for her to be given a wide array of foods early. For her to see us also eating these healthy foods. To not see disordered eating. As someone who has battles eating disorders, this is a big deal to me.

My mom is incredibly skinny. Like uncomfortably thin. The large reason for that now is due to medications she is on, but she was skinny when I was a kid, too. She didn’t think she was. She would make dinner for my brothers and me, and she might have a small salad. Or cottage cheese. I grew up seeing her do a plethora of diets. She always was trying to lose weight. I became a teenager and my body changed. I was not a skinny mini like my mother. I was curvy. Yet I had spent my whole childhood hearing that she wasn’t skinny. Oh God. I must have been a cow.

I stopped eating. I developed anorexia. There were times I would pass out. I got into trouble for this. So when I felt like I was bout to pass out, I gorged to curb it. Then I would feel guilty and throw up later. I developed bulimia.

I ended up hospitalized for a short while. I am constantly aware of this still, in the sense that I will make myself eat something (even just a protein pack) if it has been too long since I have eaten. By keeping myself on a pretty regimented schedule, I don’t let myself fall back to these old patterns.

But this is not the point. So I will get back on track.

I do not want my daughter to see this. So we all eat the same thing at dinner. When I make us breakfast on the weekends, we all eat the same thing. She will see that it is alright to eat healthy!

I give my husband the smallest portion of vegetables out of the three of us and he still doesn’t finish them most of the time. Eye rolls for days, but still not the point today.

I have mentioned to him several times that the honest highlight of my day is our dinner time together. I love to cook for my family and eat with my family. Cooking is my love language to them.

My husband made an off hand comment tonight about how dinner was prepared. I told him what it was because I was just trying to engage in conversation and be a part of something. He went off on me saying that meant I was trying to correct him all the time because all I ever do is correct him and who cares, it’s just food anyways.

Oh.

It didn’t occur to him that this felt like he was essentially saying that I am wasting my time cooking for them. That food is such a small, insignificant thing. That my loving contribution amounts to nothing. It would be just as fine for me to throw together something in 30 seconds and yell out “Slop’s on!”

It hurt. It also made me feel really lonely.

Old me would have just stopped cooking. Let him figure out what he wants for dinner himself. But it isn’t like I can just NOT cook tomorrow. My daughter needs to eat.

I felt really underappreciated for something that I thought I was doing as a sign of love.

This House Elf will just go back to the dirty corner I sleep in, hoping that someday Master will recognize me as an equal.

 

Father’s Day is Hard

I made it through my conference. It was hard and it reaffirmed that I am officially the worst at making friends. But I will tackle that issue another day. Maybe tomorrow? Anyway, today I want to talk about my dad.

My dad and I have a weird relationship. We have a weird history to go with it.

  • My parents divorced when I was about 8.
  • They had a nasty divorce with a long, drawn out custody battle for my brothers and I.
  • When I was about 9, I found my dad doing something that I do not want to go into, but just know that even as a 9-year-old I knew it was wrong.
  • We ended up with a custody split about 60/40 mom/dad.
  • As a teenager I still didn’t have complete trust in my father.
  • I also was going through a rather rebellious phase as a teen.
  • My father and I got into a lot of arguments about my choices. One finally became too much.
  • He threw me out. I was 15.
  • I did not return to stay with my father from then on. I stayed with my mother full time.
  • My father and I did not speak again until I was about 21. I was moving out of state because I was transferring colleges. I had e-mailed him to let him know.
  • We slowly tried to repair our relationship.
  • Things were actually at an all-time high when I was in college. We communicated via phone and e-mail. I never saw him. But we were on good terms. I had grown up and so had he.
  • I got engaged and asked him to walk me down the aisle.
  • Moment of truth: I did not think he would say yes.
  • He did and I am very glad he did.
  • He walked me down the aisle and instead of a father/daughter dance, he played me a song on his guitar. It was the Iz rendition of “What a Wonderful World/Somewhere Over the Rainbow”. It was absolutely beautiful.
  • I (after a several-years-long battle) became pregnant.
  • While I was pregnant, we got into a heated conversation on the phone due to my father and my difference in religion.
  • We did not speak for awhile.
  • I called him after I gave birth to let him know he was a grandpa. His response? “Oh, yeah, your brothers told me.” I had called my mom and then him. My mom had informed my brothers. It wasn’t like I was calling him so much later. He quickly excused himself, without so much as a congratulations.
  • This pattern continued for awhile. I would try to call to tell him about his granddaughter. He would avoid the subject at all costs. When I had spent years saying I never wanted children (karma is awful, right?), he would always say that time would tell/I’d be a good mom/he couldn’t wait to be a grandpa. Now he was and he didn’t care.
  • It finally reached a breaking point when I texted him some pictures of my daughter. His response? “Got em”.
  • I cut off all contact at that point. I was sick of making myself upset over him. He knew my number if he wanted to reach me.
  • He called me one day, almost a year after my daughter was born. He wished me happy birthday. I let him know that it was my brothers’ birthday. We chatted about very superficial, topical things for about 10 minutes.
  • I have heard from him once more since. Another random 5 minute phone call.
  • He has never inquired about his granddaughter. He has made no show of interest in meeting her.

So I am having to relearn about Father’s Day. I need to wipe my slate clean of all the negative connotations the day has so I can celebrate it with my husband. He is an amazing father to our daughter. He deserves it.

And naturally I was not actually home on Father’s Day this year due to the conference. I clearly need to get better at this.

But I am trying.

We celebrated on Thursday. I made breakfast. We went out for lunch. I got specially made matching shirts/onesies for them.

I do want to keep improving, though. I need to let go of my issues with that day and make it about my daughter and her daddy.