Holiday blues…

Since I was seven years old, the holidays have never been easy on me or my family. Those who know me intimately know that since 1997 I have spent most holidays with friends or just sitting around watching movies with my family.

Don’t get me wrong, I have fond memories of spending Christmases and New Years’ with my middle school “squad” or spending it on the couch watching TV with my mom and sister–my dad worked all the holidays–but once we had PJ I realized that we would have to bring the magic back to Christmas.

This year was especially hard because we spent Thanksgiving with Carlos’ family in the States. Apart from the expected family drama, it was pleasant trip. PJ got to spend a lot of time with her cousins. They have the sweetest relationship which made it really hard for us to want to leave. Every day since we’ve been back she has asked for her cousins and every day we have to break it to her that they live very far away and we can’t just get in the car and go to their house.

Since we’ve been in Uruguay, Christmas doesn’t really feel like Christmas. We don’t have extended family to celebrate with and since it’s just us we don’t see a point to dressing up or setting up an elaborate table.

This year we ate Christmas dinner in our pajamas and Skyped in my sister while PJ opened her Christmas gifts. Then we Skyped with Carlos’ side of the family so the kids could show off their gifts to each other, which made me cry because duh my kid kept looking at me asking to go to their house. It was rough to see her want nothing more than to be playing with them. But it gives me hope that she’ll get along with her little sister come February–surprise! We’re having another baby! But that’s a post for a different day.

All I can say is that I hope one day Christmas will go back to feeling magical and bright, that we can make new traditions even though we’re not with all of our family and friends…

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Grumpy baby, grumpy momma.

The past few days have been rough on our little family.

Sunday morning the family decided to head to la Feria Tristan Narvaja in Montevideo to look at some antiques while my aunt is in town. We had fun, walked around, saw some cool stuff, but decided to head home after about an hour. Paloma was being fussy and I could tell she just wanted to be home.

When I sat her in the car I noticed she had some green eye boogers but thought nothing of it, she must be tired. But when we stopped at the grocery store on my way home I noticed that there were more boogers than when I put her in. My aunt made comment that Carlos had spent the drive home wiping off the liquid and that I should take her to the emergency room to get it checked out.

PJ had been increasingly fussy and scratching at her eyes, so I decided it would be a good idea. We took her to the emergency room in town and the doctor diagnosed her with conjunctivitis, aka pink eye. He prescribed some antibiotic drops and told us we caught it in time. Seeing how it was Sunday there was only one pharmacy in town open.

The pharmacist spent about fifteen minutes looking for the drops but said they ran out and wouldn’t get anything in until Wednesday and to come back then. I know I must’ve given the man the look of death when he said, “Or go somewhere else.” I knew what this meant. I had to go to Montevideo, have PJ seen by an emergency room doctor at our hospital to get the same prescription and then head home. It was 6:30pm at this point so I went home, fed PJ, gave her a bath and changed her into comfortable clothes.

As always, our emergency room wait time was short. I’m pretty sure we were only there for half an hour. Much different than anything I’ve experienced in the States. The doctor did a quick exam, saw the pus-like liquid, checked PJs lungs, and gave us the prescription for the eye drops. Carlos ran to the pharmacy to grab the prescription and off we went. Two drops in each eye every six hours until tonight. Then it’s one drop in each eye every eight hours until Sunday. Wipe the eye with gauze and chamomile tea in between each dose. No big deal, right?

I didn’t realize how HARD it would be to get my kid to be okay with me touching her eyelids. Then there’s the part of dropping liquid, that may or may not burn, onto her eyeball. It’s been tough to say the least. But she has shown a bunch of progress. The eye cleared up almost immediately, she still scratches at it every now and then but at least it’s not leaking.

Today was awful. She has been exceptionally cranky, screaming and yelling at me. Wanting nothing but to be in front of the TV and eating crackers. She’s been punching and biting me for no reason. And I know this comes with the territory of motherhood. I know that toddlers are cranky little humans with lots of attitude. But somedays I’m just not up for it. I love her with every fiber of my being but today was one of those days where I wanted to be anything but her mom.

My parents ended up taking care of her for dinner and noticed that she kept tugging at her ears (and now is when we cue the mom guilt). I started touching her ears and noticed she would wince every time I even put my hands near that side of her head. I gave her some Tylenol before going to sleep and plan on taking her back to the emergency room in the morning to get her ears looked at.

These are the moments I have to wrangle every bit of strength and patience I can muster to not lose my cool. And really it has nothing to do with Paloma. She’s a baby; she cries and she’s in pain and she’s allowed to express however she feels. What bothers me is when people, and really I mean my husband, thinks that comforting our child is mom territory and he is exempt from helping. Or when he just lacks total common sense when it comes to PJ being sick. I know that this is a ‘man’ thing, or so I’ve been told, but I just really hate when all of the parenting and nurturing falls on me. I love him but right now I could strangle him.

I’m just having a bad day. Throwing myself a not-so-tiny pity party. I’ll be better tomorrow. I have to be better for PJ.

Going green: Camino Verde

Oh Uruguay! When it rains, it pours. We are on hour 13 of nonstop rain. Parts of the country are completely flooded, it’s cold and the idea of going outside is unappealing.

It’s been like this on and off for the past few weeks but this past weekend we were blessed with a break from the wet weather. Our not-so-wet weekend just so happened to coincide with the Camino Verde fair in Montevideo. What’s that? Well, there’s two different parts to Camino Verde. The organization itself serves as a platform to connect merchants and consumers interested in environment friendly products. They also promote healthy living through affordable cooking classes, events for children, and a blog full of clean eating/living information. For my Spanish speaking and reading friends you can find more information here.

The organization puts on fairs every so often to easily connect buyers and sellers. We hadn’t had the opportunity to attend one of the fairs before so I was really excited when Carlos agreed to go. It was a muggy day but overall no rain was to be expected. We packed the car and Paloma with us and headed for Montevideo.

La Molienda food stand. Very friendly and very delicious! Photo courtesy of Camino Verde Facebook page.
La Molienda food stand. Very friendly and very delicious! Photo courtesy of Camino Verde Facebook page.

I wasn’t really sure what to expect when we arrived but was very pleased to be greeted by lots of green. As you can imagine the majority of the stands were dedicated to food: organic fruits and vegetables, vegan baked goods, chocolates, organic condiments, and amazing food stands. They also had stands dedicated to urban farming like vertical planters, repurposing furniture for planting and stands dedicated to composting.

PJ devouring a blueberry and pumpkin seed muffin.
PJ devouring a blueberry and pumpkin seed muffin.

We only stayed for about an hour but it was definitely worth the trip. I bought some organic coconut oil–normally very difficult to find outside of Montevideo–and some goat cheese. I’ve already had a lot of fun experimenting with the coconut oil. My favorite so far has been putting a teaspoon of coconut oil along with two or three drops of lavender oil in PJs bath water. She comes out silky smooth and smells so good afterwards.

I wish I would’ve taken pictures but I forgot when I stained my favorite jeans with synthetic paint. We sat down to eat on some chairs they had in the dining area and I guess whoever put them out didn’t realize they were still tacky and when I got up the paint was stuck to my thighs. It. was. awful.

Overall we had a nice afternoon as a family and got to learn more about organic and eco-friendly options here in Uruguay. I’m really excited to see how fast the movement is growing here. Can’t wait for us to start farming!

Flyer for event. Photo courtesy of Camino Verde Facebook page.
Flyer for event. Photo courtesy of Camino Verde Facebook page.

i’ve got the blues

I haven’t written in a couple of weeks due to some personal issues. I’ve debated writing on the subject, afraid of being too honest in such a public forum. 

I’ve been going through an inexplicable wave of depression for the past few weeks. All I’ve wanted to do is stay in bed, watch Supernatural, and sleep. 

At first I thought it was due to the impending arrival of Aunt Flo, but after her usual visit I’m still feeling blue. Then I figured it might be due to the wet weather we’ve been having but on sunny days I feel just as down. 

I suffered from depression as a teenager. I went to several therapists, was put on multiple mood altering medications, suffered from the effects of said drugs, and eventually quit it all. I blocked a lot of that time in my life from my memory. I couldn’t tell you why I started going to therapy to begin with even if I wanted to, but I can tell you that it wasn’t something I had to deal with often after I graduated from high school. 

It wasn’t until recently that I started feeling it weigh on me. There hasn’t been a major catalyst in these feelings. Carlos and I haven’t been arguing. Things with my parents are normal. Vanessa and I are good even with the distance. Paloma has just been her usual vivacious and loud self. But somehow I can’t find a way to get through this period.

I keep getting asked, “Are you okay? You don’t seem okay.” Those are the questions that make my skin tingle, my blood boil, and the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. It’s a ridiculous reason to get upset. They mean well. They’re my family and they love me. However when I’m in this dense fog of depression it’s difficult to see their good intentions. 

The worst part of feeling this way is how I feel when I’m around Paloma. My patience is thin and my temper is roaring. The more frustrated I get, the clingier and more emotional she is, causing me to get even more frustrated than before. I’m beyond blessed to be in a situation that I can leave her with my parents of her dad for a few hours so I can take time to collect myself. It breaks my heart every time I walk away, hearing her cry and reach out to me. But I know that I need to take a few moments to myself so I can be the best mom I can be to her. 

Even knowing that those few moments are what’s best for BOTH of us, I still get hit with mom guilt if I’m not with her 24 hours a day. I feel inadequate as a mom. I see these YouTube vloggers or other bloggers sharing their stories of their life with their littles and I feel like being depressed is something that just doesn’t happen to them. I feel as  if they’re constantly smiling, doing cute activities with their littles and their lives are peachy. I know, logically, that it isn’t true. Logically, all kids throw tantrums. Logically, all moms lose their cool. Logically, not everyone has everything together. Again…logically. 

Depression isn’t logical though. It has no rhyme or reason other than a chemical imbalance. I’ve been debating going to a therapist but finding one that speaks English is going to be difficult. I could attempt to see one but I feel like most of the sessions would be spent trying to make our way through my nervous and broken Spanish. 

I often wonder if this is what postpartum depression feels like. Drowning in a glass of water, feeling completely alone and misunderstood. The more you try to explain the more people look at you with concerning eyes that are secretly saying, “Bless her heart. She has everything she could ever want and she’s here complaining.” Fearful of the backlash of sharing this very real crisis.

These are things that I FEEL. Having them, let alone sharing them, doesn’t make me dysfunctional. It doesn’t make me spoiled or flawed. I am many things: a mom, a wife, a daughter, a friend, but most of all I am human. Like most things in life, my emotions go through hills and valleys. I just so happen to be going through a valley right now. I look forward to the day when I’m back on the hill. I’ll be okay if it’s not today or tomorrow because I know that one day I’ll feel like myself again.