1.17.2017

tales from a (sort of) reluctant hermit



I've got the January Blues so bad. It has been dark and raining for weeks now. I usually live for this kind of weather, but it's warm and rainy. The warmth without the ability to go outside is a cruel sort of tease. I love having the windows open, but if it's warm I want to be able to go outside. If it's dreary, I demand cold and snow. My eyebrows are usually freezing off this time of year, but I've barely needed my coat lately. Regardless, the rain and thunderstorms have kept us inside as much as if it were -15 outside. Being cooped up all day with a toddler is a form of torture reserved for terrorists. But not just any toddler--a toddler who has stopped sleeping.

I don't even know what sanity is anymore. She's taking hours to go to sleep at night and she hasn't napped in days. I'm sure it's some sort of developmental spurt that will sort itself out soon, but I'm drowning in the meantime. Literally and figuratively, because it has rained a lot. 

Also, I have stopped sleeping too. I've had only a small handful of nights I've slept well in the past several weeks. I've been walking around in a cranky, delirious stupor and trying to not let Winnie the Pooh raise my child. I know so many moms don't let their kids watch tv, and while Gracie's tv time is very limited, if Pooh buys me 5 minutes to close my eyes, it's worth hearing the songs in my (very limited) sleep and feeling the scorn of all the better moms.

And yes, I am eating a cannoli as I type this. I don't think that needs any explanation based off what you've already read, but we'll get to the cannoli later.

Anyway, I haven't had a moment of silence in days. Not a moment. She talks nonstop, 100% of the day. She wants me to read to her or interact with her all day long. I love her, I love that she's talking so much and so well, and I love spending my days with her, but I've started fantasizing about my old cubicle and having adult conversations in the break room. I have no desire to go back to work, so that's how I know I'm really starting to lose it.

To top it off, James has had to work more than ever the last few weeks. He's home maybe 3 evenings a week, so I'm doing the solo mom thing from morning till bedtime with not a moment's rest. It probably goes without saying, but I have been starving for adult interaction. Last week at church I saw my friend dropping her daughter off in the nursery when I was, and since we're both in the same boat, we wound up sitting in the middle of the nursery and talking through the entire church service. It was the most adult interaction we'd had in weeks, and it was like basking in warm sunshine after a long winter. And this is coming from the most introverted introvert of all time.

My attempts to socialize lately have been a comedy of errors. I was determined to get us to story time last week, but every morning I decided to go we woke up to inclement weather, and then Gracie wasn't feeling well. I've had to more or less give up on Mops for the time being due to conflicts with James' work schedule, and the Women's Bible Study at my church decided to start meeting at a house 45 minutes away, after Gracie's bedtime, on a day when James is usually working late instead of the usual morning meetings nearby.

I think I just need to accept that this is not a season of life for getting involved and being social. There will be other times, but clearly not right now.

There's a store nearby called The Anderson's. If you don't know what I'm talking about, it's basically a fancy grocery store combined with a Lowe's and a Bed, Bath, and Beyond. You can grind your own coffee beans, buy meat from the butcher shop inside, peruse the Fiestaware, pick out new kitchen cabinets and buy lumber, grab a coffee at the coffee shop (yes, there's a coffee shop), and buy some clothes or Melissa and Doug toys. Literally everything you could ever want or need under one roof. They announced yesterday that they're closing their stores. For obvious reasons, I was devastated even though I've only been once to buy firewood with my dad. It takes half a day to walk around the entire store, and since the rain had stopped and it's practically in our backyard, we went. Gracie put on her red hat that she wears 24/7, and we wandered every aisle, including the bakery where I left with the aforementioned cannoli and snickerdoodles.

I hate to admit it, but I think this was the most exciting thing to happen to me all year. I was rummaging through the sample-sized bags of flavored coffee looking for more exotic flavors to try (Michigan Maple! Chocolate Marshmallow!) when a man stopped me, mistaking me for an employee. I'm not sure if it was the toddler in my shopping cart or the giant mom bag I was carrying that tipped him off to the fact that I'm a grocery store employee, but he was not pleased to hear that I had no idea where the stainless steel cleaner is. I had to laugh when a minute later, in a neighboring aisle, I heard: "I'm sorry, sir, I'm not an employee here." "Oh, sorry, I thought you were."

Not long after that, what sounded like an air raid siren went off through the store. It was deafening and people were running around aimlessly trying to figure out what to do. An old lady shouted "It's an air raid!" and with Gracie's retro hat on, I felt a little bit like I was living in one of those WWII novels I'm so fond of. After several minutes the siren stopped, but I have no idea what it was about. I was just happy something exciting happened and I was out of the house to witness it.

Other than exciting grocery store adventures, I've been spending my evenings solo watching The Bachelor and Sherlock while knitting. One is a train wreck, one an adrenaline rush, but both make me cringe and hide behind a pillow. On the rare evenings James is home, I've been going to the gym to blast good music and run. It's been the perfect outlet for my winter/toddler mom angst and helps make up for the amount of chocolate I've been stress eating in the pantry. I have a thousand cleaning and organizing goals, but with that nasty case of the January Blues that I can't shake, I haven't been able to quite do much about it yet. The motivation has vanished, and a general sense of malaise and laziness have set in. Instead, I've been reduced to fantasizing about an organized pantry while Gracie shoves a plastic pickle in my mouth and tells me to eat it with a spoon.

Speaking of Gracie, I think she finally fell asleep for her nap. She spent an hour talking to her stuffed animals about her red hat before finally going to sleep. I should use this opportunity to clean or get started on dinner, but there's a snickerdoodle waiting for me on the kitchen counter, and I think we all know which one is more important right now.

19 comments:

  1. My sister-in-law lives in Dublin and posted on FB about how she's upset Andersons is closing. I've never been there, but it sounds like a cool store.
    I have the winter blues, too, which is weird for me. I think you might be on to something with the rain+warm weather theory. I love it when it's cold, but this middle-of-the-road 50 degree crap is draining me. Hope you guys get out soon!!

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  2. Add in potty training, and an infant, and we are living the same life right now! i dragged us to Trader Joe's even though we didn't need anything, just to get out of the house yesterday. We also went to the library today for open gym and books and even though she had an accident, it was a highlight of the week haha.

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    1. You are true hero. I don't know how you're doing it.

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  3. I'm sure it's really hard to have to be inside all day, and then to not have James to take some of the load off must be even more stressful. I hope you have an opportunity to get some social interaction soon :) Even introverts need it.

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  4. Take out the toddler, and you know I can empathize with the constant rain and missing husband situations! I don't know what I'm going to do with this kid 10 months out of the year. I might just have to bundle up, buy a rain cover for the stroller and bust out my umbrella. You're kind of in the same boat except if it's not warm rain, it's 100 degrees and humid.

    I haven't had a cannoli in AGES and I'm pretty sure I've only had one, period...I remember it being delicious, though. Pike Place...I miss that market.

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  5. Oh my goodness, I've had the blues so bad too! This rain and lack of beautiful (but safe, because lets make it ideal) snow is making January pass in a creeping crawl. Also, when it's warm like today, my department can't properly ventilate and it's been 83 effing degrees for most of the day!
    Anyways, I feel your restless attitude and need for change. I hope you get proper sleep soon! That's so rough.

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    1. I keep thinking it's almost spring, and then I have to remind myself it's only mid-January. What the heck! I would die in that kind of heat all day. I was not made to sweat and be happy at the same time.

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  6. I think we can team up- I'm sure the moms who are side-eyeing you for letting your child watch tv are the ones side-eyeing me for sending my kid to preschool two mornings a week when I'm a stay at home mom. Whatever. She and I are MUCH better people for spending two hours apart for allllll of the reasons you listed above. I can only eat fake food and read books aloud for so many consecutive hours before I start sneaking pieces of my Christmas toblerone in the kitchen. This PNW-located introvert with a husband who works a zillion hours too is sending lots of love and all of the sympathies for the lack of sleep/too much rain/not enough alone time/not enough adult time happening in your house.

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    1. I love you for this. Thank you! This SAHM life is awesome but so lonely.

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  7. Replace Winnie the Pooh with Daniel Tiger and this is my life. I'd write a lot German comment, but I have a toddler climbing on me demanding a hug and socks.

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  8. Solidarity with the non-sleeper! My 7 month old reliably took a 2-3 hour nap every day for the first 5 months of his life, and it was glorious. But, right around the time that he turned 6 months, decided that he no longer needs to sleep during the day, and instead wants to constantly be in my lap taking tiny occasional power naps, nursing, or playing with me. It's tough, and I can't imagine how much harder that kind of thing must be with a toddler! You can do this!

    That air raid things sounds so fascinating and thrilling! It reminds me of the time when I was spending a week with a bunch of nuns in Pennsylvania, and one night while in bed, I heard a piercing siren that sounded just like a tornado siren (I'm from Kansas, used to hearing those things). Well, I was petrified that a tornado was coming, and afraid that the nuns would forget about me, so I huddled in bed and prayed that I wouldn't die. The next day, I found out that this very tiny town had a volunteer fire department, and the siren was actually just a "call to arms" for the firefighters to come to the station. I was sure glad that there hadn't been a tornado ripping through town, but it would have been nice to know that a siren was used for firefighters!

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  9. Oh man insomnia and a baby who's decided sleep is the enemy! I'll be praying for you guys.

    I'm sorry about your MOPS group changing everything. That's a big bummer, I never want to go anywhere after my kids are in bed or give up give time with my husband. Do you think they changed it just so working moms could come?

    We've been stuck in the house a lot this January, mostly due to sickness and also a bit the weather. I'm holding out that February will be better.

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    1. Oh and don't feel bad about Gracie watching TV! I'm sure she watches far less than my kids.

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  10. COME TO UTAH!! We've had record breaking snowfall and another storm rolls in tomorrow and is expected to stay until the middle of next week. I've got a cozy little guest bedroom in my mountain home and a coffee shop a block away both with your name ALL OVER IT.

    Also, I laughed out loud when I pictured the alarms and the old lady yelling about an air raid. That's incredible (only because it wasn't actually an air raid).

    I've also been on Bachelor watch with Landon. Except he's really only listening because he has to put a blanket over his head when it gets cringe-y. Which as of late is 72% of the episodes.

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  11. If only we were neighbors!! I hate being holed up inside too, this weather is dreary and doesn't help anything. Enjoy that snickerdoodle!! ;)

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  12. I have been fighting the inner battle of "To Daniel Tiger" or "Not to Daniel Tiger" and I nearly always end up going with definitely turning on Daniel Tiger even after my pediatrician just told me not to. I'm sorry, but some days and weeks it is just necessary. I'm sorry about the January funk. I was just missing the Christmas season this morning and wondering how it could already have come and gone. I knew you would understand.

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  13. I haven't been very social either lately, and I figure there's a time and a season for everything. Maybe you can't schedule meaningful interaction with friends, but you can take Gracie to the library and chat up a random mom you see near the train table. It'll probably make you feel less crazy, anyway. Works for me!

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  14. What is it with kids and books these days? Parker is back on the book loving train and I can quote half his books by heart, just from the last week alone. I'm glad he's into books, but I kind of wish it was stuffed animals. No one fears for their life and limb when a stuffed bunny gets thrown at their head.

    There is no shame in using the television for sanity. We're not there yet, but I know the time will come. I'm still hoping I can keep getting away with Gilmore Girls and The Office instead of kid shows. I don't think I'll ever be ready.

    This season, too, shall pass. In the meantime, I'm jealous of your knitting and Sherlock time. In a few weeks I'm hoping to finally get into Sherlock. I just started knitting again a couple days ago (amazing how two weeks off can feel like eternity). I read something that said knitting is really good for your mental health. K2, P2 and call me in the morning.

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