Hiding in Closets: Life with a Threenager

Even the sweetest of faces have tough days. My threenager ignoring me.

Even the sweetest of faces has tough days. My threenager ignoring me.

Every morning she pads across my kitchen, plops down in the chair and demands a Pop Tart. I get a barrage of no’s and I don’t wannu  (thanks to Caillou she says it with a Canadian accent) as I try and bargain with her to go potty first. She brushes her ringlets out of her face and asks to watch Spongebob while eating her breakfast. Defeated, I oblige,  then run back to my room to hide in the closet. I generally wouldn’t like this type of arrangement but right now I’ve got a “threenager” – and I’m scared to death of her.

People tell you about the terrible twos. They don’t warn you about the traumatic for every frickin body threes.  She is a wonderful child. But her independence is wearing me out. I knew one day she would “rage against the machine” and totally do the opposite of anything I asked. I thought that would be more like 9 years from now but it seems I was wrong. She’s as sassy, sarcastic, and sneaky as any fourteen year old I know. I think it is more a phase than her true personality. And sometimes I think, it just MUST be me.

I never thought I’d be the type of person to hide from my kids. After all, I’m the parent. I’m in control. What I am learning is that – I’m not in control. She has become her own little person and I have to share in that control, giving up more of it little by little, each and every day. Some things SHOULD be up for discussion with her. Some things she SHOULD have a say in. I was not really brought up on that school of thought so it is foreign to me.  But no two children are the same. What worked for me might not work for her so I have to try something different.  If I involve her in the decision making she will be more likely to make the right ones.

I also have to make a huge apology to the parents I’ve looked at with my nose turned up and thought, “Why can’t you control your kids?” After several rounds of prying fingers from candy shelves and hauling out screaming children instead of my groceries, I do get it. And I’m so so sorry. But maybe if we try something different, our little ones will too.


May was Cray


It just takes time to sort it all out... I'm hoping.

It just takes time to sort it all out… I’m hoping.

My month of May started in an unusual way – I was taken off the Zoloft and in what would have been that ONE week, I crashed and burned. My family was extremely worried so they took me in to be evaluated. Apparently, besides just a terrible withdrawal from the medicine I had also been misdiagnosed. This happens in mental health a lot so I wasn’t angry – just relieved to know what was finally going on. I’ve been on a new pill with its own set of issues (namely weight gain *sadface*) but if it helps to make me feel better, I’m down.

As I was starting this new journey, I learned my uncle had become gravely ill again. He was losing his battle with cancer and there wasn’t anything any of us could do about it. Even though we knew the end was coming, we thought we had more time. We didn’t. It was an important lesson for me. Don’t wait. Never wait to tell someone you love them. Never hold off loving someone because of anger or shame or jealousy even. I’m glad my uncle had made amends with the world. He was quite an amazing man and I believe we sent him off in the way he would have wanted – much laughter between the tears.

Finally, since I had a new diagnosis and a strong will to learn to cope, I went to a daily therapy class at my hospital. I was really skeptical initially. How on earth can bouncing a balloon make me happy? How can breathing make me happy? It can’t honestly. Nothing can really make us happy or unhappy. But many of the things I learned will help me weather the happy and the unhappy. I think that is all any of us really want. I’ve got a long way to go still but I’m seeking out progress instead of perfection. Yes… yes I’ll definitely accept progress.

For the record, let me say it was incredibly difficult to write this. There is a stigma on those who struggle with their mental health and I have gone back and forth about whether or not to share it. I know this could impact me adversely, but the truth is I don’t share my stories for my benefit. I try to share them in some way for you. I hope that you can glean something from my posts even if you can’t relate.

Thanks for coming back by. I’ve missed you.


So the Holidays Are Over… Now What?

The pies are gone, the tree is dry, and several toys are already broken. Christmas is officially over. As happy as I am for the return to normalcy, I can’t help but be a little saddened at the idea that there will be no more twinkly lights or cinnamon candles for another year. I can live without carols for awhile but the rest I will miss.

Santa was kind… not too kind. You’ll see why.

I do have some warm memories of this year’s Christmas celebration. The children spent time with their Aunt Tiffany who traveled all the way from Atlanta to see them. 
Aunt Tiff and The Lils enjoy daddy’s steak dinner. 

On Christmas morning they woke up as their Mimi and Aunt Jeannie arrived and came in to find Santa had visited! They opened their presents and played with their family most of the morning (demanding batteries and yanking the toy back at the first sign of life). 

Aunt Jeannie demonstrates the proper way to use a tunnel.

Later we headed up to visit with Grandpa and Nana’s family in San Jose. Addy and Pressy really loved getting to hang out with their extended family and cousins…and open MORE presents. Mom and Dad enjoyed getting a moment to breathe and laugh as one of Addy’s uncles whooshed by with her on his shoulders. She loves them. It was a day full of fun and games and laughter for everyone. It was what Christmas was meant to be.

Addy munches an empanada while Grandpa and Pressy look on.
Addy, Nana, and Uncle Ramon play a game.

The day after Christmas we headed over to Grandmas for a bit to open yet MORE presents… More food and more fun. This holiday keeps on giving.
Sean thanks Mama for his present.
Addy loves jewelry. Future suitors take note. 

Finally we ended our celebration with Mimi and Uncle Tim in Novato at Aunt Jeannie’s house for an amazing meal. Her house was decorated beautifully. The best part for the babies? You don’t say! MORE presents! I am sad to report that I was ill and didn’t get to eat her DELICIOUS chicken marbella but I did have some the next day. I did, however, get to gnosh a bit on the appetizers she’d made. This stuff y’all. Oh my. 

A tree to eat.
A tree to love/

So, I guess it’s safe to say Christmas is over and it was a smashing success. Now what? Addy’s birthday party. Like this week. For real. We’re keeping it low key and low stress and I’m actually pretty excited. Maybe next week I can breathe again… but I won’t bet on it 😉

Me and my big girl… and Teddy, of course.


In Memoriam — Gwendolyn Kay Wallace

This past Friday, our family was shaken by the news that a very special person passed away in a house fire in Memphis, Tennessee. She was one of my sister’s godsisters thus, often times by default she would babysit me as well — and though I didn’t have the fortune of spending the same amount of time with her as my sister, she never made me feel anything but welcomed and wanted. I always got such a warm feeling when I was with their family… and it was that much warmer when Kay was around.

There were and are no words to express how extremely heartbroken we all are.

I wish I could thoroughly explain how wonderful and fun and lively she was, but any of these things would be an understatement because she was so much more. She was a loving daughter, sister, wife, mother, aunt and friend. She was a reflection of them and they of her — a purely golden family full of love and strength.

You will be so very missed, Kay. It’s been years since we last spoke, but I will never forget your smile, and energy, and sass. I am so very glad that I was fortunate enough to know you and although you may not have known it, you touched my life.

Family, please know you are in my prayers — I pray for your strength today, tomorrow, in the coming weeks, and year. I pray that you find hope and comfort in each other, even though understanding or answers may never come. I pray that God wraps you in his loving grace and shields you from the pain and frustration that losses like these bring. I pray that one day, your hurt will be healed and all the thoughts and memories you have will bring you peace. I pray… I pray… I pray.