Saturday, November 8, 2008

DC Play Group - I'm Too Sick!

I'm so so sorry, but I got really sick in the middle of the night. Something I ate did NOT agree with me. We think it was the salad I had last night because I was the only one who ate it. I was throwing up every hour from 12:00 to 7:00. Was that too much information?

Anyway, there is no way I can make the play group today. La Folle Maman has agreed to try and coordinate at the Play Cafe. I'm sad because not only do I feel like crap, but I'm missing meeting up with everyone! I was really looking forward to it.

I hope you all have fun. Please tell me all about it!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Supergenius Knows Her Diaper

The Pumpkin wears Huggies Overnites diapers to bed. These diapers have Mickey Mouse is on the diaper, which she and I have talked about before. (Click here and look at the size 5 diapers to see the picture that we talk about.) So last night, as I'm putting her diaper on, and we have this conversation:

Pumpkin: Mouse!
caramama: Yes, that's Mickey Mouse on your diaper. What's he doing?
Pumpkin: Mouse seeping. (Mouse is sleeping.)
caramama: That's right! And who is with him?
Pumpkin: Teddy bear!
caramama: That's right! You are so smart!

I still can't get over that I can ask her real questions and she can answer. It really just floors me. While she's not ahead of all milestones, she really is quite amazing with her communication skills. In fact, recently a friend mentioned that she keeps thinking that the Pumpkin is older than she really is. I said that it was probably because she is so ahead with talking. Londo looked at me and asked, "Really?" I just nodded and said, "Oh, yeah. Most kids have some words and phrases right now but don't communicate as well as our girl. This is just an area that she happens to be ahead in." (I want to be sure I set his expectations for any future kids, as well as friends and relatives kids.)

I've got a post I'm working on in which I'm going to list a bunch of cute things we taught her to say, some that we didn't teach her, and some that she taught us. I'll probably post that next week.

I also have another post in which I want to note the areas in which the Pumpkin isn't up to or ahead of the milestones (besides sleep and self-soothing), because she has those areas too. Although she is a supergenius!

DC Area Play Date Tomorrow!

I'm so excited about getting together tomorrow! Here are the responses I've received:

-Cara, Londo and the Pumpkin
-Kate and son
-Zaimee and two kids (plus husband?)
-La folle Maman and Monkey
-Dana and Aria (plus goofydaddy?)

-Colleen, Gavin and Cooper
-Justin (of Colleen's family)

I hope the place is big enough and not too crowded! We'll be there as close to 10:00 as possible. Should I make a sign or something so those who don't know the others can find us? Ideas?


Sharina - I feel like we're never going to meet! You simply HAVE to come to the next one!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

DC Area November Play Date

I know that my house won the poll... but... I just can't get it together in time for Saturday. To be perfectly frank, the cat has started peeing on the rug in the basement playroom. The very room I was going to let our kids run around in. We've even stopped letting the Pumpkin play down there. We need to steam clean the rug (and sell the cat to gypsies) before I can have kids playing down there. Once we discovered the issue, I briefly entertained the thought that we could clean it by this Saturday, but it's just not in the cards.

But what about the Play Cafe? I think it looks like so much fun! We could meet at 10:00, let the kids play for a couple hours, then have lunch from the cafe and leave whenever people need to go for naps and such. What do you think?

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Better Living Through Modern Chemistry

What if I said that I was feeling tired all of the time, even when I was getting enough sleep. That my appetite was off. My energy was low. I was having trouble concentrating and unable to be creative. I was also having difficulty remembering things.

I think most people would suggest I get to a doctor because something could be wrong. People would suggest having my thyroid checked and get on medication to regulate that.

What if I added to that list of symptoms that I was feeling depressed or anxious.

I think a lot of people would start to hem and haw a bit. Maybe I should see someone about that. But I believe people would start to get uncomfortable.

What if I rephrased the whole list of physical symptoms and said that I was feeling very depressed/anxious. I wasn't able to eat/eating all of the time. I just couldn't seem to get anything done or want to do anything. I didn't want to think about anything, but just curl up in bed and not come out.

Some people would definitely treat this list very different from the first list. They would suggest I pull myself out of it or eat better and exercise more. While everyone should eat healthy and exercise and certainly a good attitude is helpful with many things in life, many people would hesitate to say that I should take something to help regulate the problem.

Why is it when a health problem is focused above the neck people do not treat it the same as health problems below the neck? Why is "mental health" viewed so differently than "physical health"? Why are people who need to go on medication for depression or anxiety held to a different standard than those who have to go on medication for thyroid issues or diabeties?

The brain is an organ in your body. It has to balance many chemicals in order to function properly. These chemicals sometimes get unbalanced and need to be regulated, just as the thyroid does or the blood sugar levels. There are physical symptoms that aren't nebulous and unclear, even if people sometimes don't describe them in the more "factual" way as I did the in first example.

This is a conversation I've had with quite a few people lately. It is a subject very important to me, and it always has been. I've said before that I have Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), which I have historically treated with light therapy. After a good look at how affective the light therapy has been for me and the time it takes, I decided this fall to go on anti-depressant medication.

This is one of the best decisions I have made in my life.

I have been considering medication for years, but since I would need it for only half of a year, I was hesitant to go on it. However, I am working with a doctor who is comfortable with me trying it for only half the year and see how I feel. She helped me pick a medication that is pretty safe for pregnancy and breastfeeding. Yes, I made this decision when I knew we were going to try to conceive. I carefully weighed my options, and I knew that the only way I could take care of any baby I conceive is if I take care of myself, which in my case requires medication (the light therapy is no longer enough for me). There are worse things than taking medication while pregnant, which one blogger was brave enough to share (I love this woman for writing that post). I am taking the generic for Zoloft, which is working pretty well for me so far.

But my issue is easy compared to others. I have a biological depression (my number one symptom is exhaution, which leads to depression for me) that is environmentally induced. The brain chemical melatonin is supressed by sunlight, and seratonin is increased with sunlight. As best I can figure is that in the winter, with the lack of enough sun, my body produces too much melatonin and not enough seratonin. It's a chemical reaction that is documented. Most people are pretty understanding about it because it because there is an easily explained, scientifically-based, biological explanation. The people I have told that I've gone on medication totally understand that it helps regulate my brain chemicals.

But what about others who deal with depression or anxiety that don't have this biological/environmental explanation? The brain chemicals can also change depending on the pathways our thought patterns create. When those chemicals are so unbalanced that a person is deeply depressed or anxious, they can't just pull themselves out of it or eat right and exercise. They need medication to bring the chemicals back into balance so they can deal with the issues they are facing. So they can find the energy and the will to eat better and exercise. So they can be capable of pulling themselves out of it.

And some people may forever need to be on medication (read Dooce's post about her need to be on medication!). Their brain does not produce the chemicals in a balanced way. Just like a diabetics body does not produce enough insulin or a person with a thyroid imbalance does not produce the right amount of the thyroid hormone. And you know what? That is okay too! People would never ask a diabetic when they were going to get off of their insulin. Why do people ask those who are dealing with an above the neck problem?

The medication is not some "happy pill" that makes you feel euphoric or numb your feelings (well, for most people, although I can't speak to how medication affects everyone). The medication brings people (at least me and those I know) back to feeling normal. No doctor is looking to put people on anti-depressants to make them feel wonderful. It is to make them feel normal. The normal that people with balanced brain chemicals feel. That means the normal highs and lows, the good days and bad days, the regular types of happy and sad. Although I have been on medication for about four weeks, I still have good days and bad. But I am not so tired and depressed that I can't take care of myself, my toddler, my job, my house. And that is a wonderful thing for me in the fall and winter.

The brain is just another organ. It is more complex than other organs because our thoughts and feelings come from there. But that means that medication plus therapy should be a natural conclusion when people are having problems. It does not mean that people should all be "normal" and fine and have no mental health issues. The body is an amazing thing, but it is not perfect.

I'm glad I live in the world today. We've come so far as a society and culture (wooo hooo for Obama!). And yet this stigma remains for people dealing with depression and anxiety. For people who are on medication for neck-up problems. I imagine it's just that people who haven't suffered from serious depression or anxiety just don't get it. The way my dad didn't understand how bad migraines really were until he got one. I don't wish depression or anxiety on anyone. I just hope that those who are lucky enough to have their brain chemicals in balance realize that not everyone does and it is a health issue just like any other and should be treated with medication when needed.

Be Sure to Vote!

For all those who live in the US, be sure you vote today! Even if you don't vote for my candidate, it's important that your voice be heard. Do it for your country!

For all those who live in the DC area and want to get together on November 8th, vote on my poll for where you want to meet up! The poll closes tomorrow at the end of the day, so be sure you vote before then!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Question of the Week - Halloween Costumes

I'm feeling much better. Thanks for all the nice comments. They really did help. Some days, I just wake up on the wrong side of the bed and everything frustrates me.

It didn't help that it was Halloween, my favorite holiday, and we had done almost nothing for it. Since we canceled our party, we just didn't bother to do anything. Londo got out the storage boxes of Halloween decorations and costumes, but those boxes sat untouched in our dining room. I looked at costumes for the Pumpkin, Londo and me, but I didn't buy anything. I borrowed my nieces costume from last year for the Pumpkin. And I think this was the first Halloween EVER that I didn't dress up at all. I wore orange and black at least, but I didn't even pull out any of my old costumes from the box.

But I finished my work on Friday on a high note (which helped me feel adequate again). When I got home from work, we dressed the Pumpkin in her borrowed costume and took a walk around the block to look at the houses that were decorated and see some kids out playing. After dinner, I sat outside with the Pumpkin in her costume and handed out candy to all the cute kids in their costumes. I ended up enjoying my favorite holiday even if we took it easy this year.

As a quick side note before the Question of the Week, a coworker said to me on Friday that it seemed a bit morbid that Halloween was my favorite holiday. So I explained to him: there is candy, dressing up as anything you want, kids dressed up in cute costumes, fun decorations, and neighbors visiting each other while the kids get candy. It's really rather friendly and fun, as holidays go. There is no pressure of having to pick which grandparents' house we are going to, no having to deal with families at all if you don't want, no big meal to worry about cooking and cleaning up from, nothing religious (to me) to have to do, and no presents (other than candy) to have to buy. The religious and family holidays are nice, but they just always seem like a lot of pressure. Halloween is just mostly some of my favorite, pressure-free things. So I'm not nearly as freaky as I sound when I say that Halloween is my favorite holiday.

And now on to the question of the week...

What was your kid for Halloween? And if you dressed up, what were you?

The adorable costume we borrowed for the Pumpkin was a monkey costume! This was really fitting for the Pumpkin, who is a little monkey, so you see I actually gave it some thought when I borrowed it. For once, I didn't dress up, nor did Londo. I didn't even dress up the dog! But last year, the Pumpkin was a unicorn, I was a fairy and Londo was a knight. I do love themes. Although the dog was a cow, which didn't go, but was very cute.

What about you? What was your little one(s)? What were you? Did you all do anything fun?

The Beginnings of a Ski Buddy

After lunch, my daughter and I went back up the "magic carpets" to the top of the bunny slopes. She wanted to keep skiing! With me...