Sunday, November 23, 2014

Athena Luthien's Birth Story - Part One

The only picture I have of me nine months pregnant.  Yep, this is about how I felt, too.

If you do not like to read in detail natural birth stories - then this would be best left unread. But if you do, boy are you in for a treat!

Athena's due date was June 1st.   Elisheva was born in April, and Guinevere in June  - so I just knew that Athena should come in May, and then we'd have a line-up of March (Lydia) to June - where each girl would get her own birthday month. We were moving to Utah for the summer (so Avram could teach a couple of classes at BYU) on the 16th - driving cross country, with a family of seven, no less.  We were coming back at the end of the Summer, so we didn't need to pack our whole house, but it was still a big move for a family of our size. Elisheva came 11 days early, and Enoch I went into labor 5 days early. The latest I had ever had a child was one day after my due date, so I felt pretty great and set for an early baby. Of course, narrative causality tells you that no way was Athena going to arrive like in May - the perfect month for her, and for our family (and her long suffering pregnant Mama!).

 Avram's mom graciously agreed to come out and help with Athena's coming, and with preparing to move.  It ended up that what worked best for her schedule was to come a whole week before the due date.  I was concerned that having help in town so early would somehow jinx her actual arrival, but I also was relieved that she would be there for the last few days of school after Memorial Day, just in case I went into labor during the night and she could still get the girls off to school.  Well, she came, Memorial Day came, the last day of school came - and went.  Nothing happened.  During the last day of school, I had a midwife appointment.  She checked me, and nothing was happening - no effacement, no dilation, nothing.  I know that one can go from nothing to birth in a day, so it's not like this is actually helpful information to know, but my heart has not yet been convinced of this.

Now, I need to take a moment and mention my midwife group.  For Athena's pregnancy, I saw the three same midwives that I had used with Enoch's birth - Emily, Cassandra, and Becky.  They had been out of Westerville and used St. Ann's hospital there when I had Enoch.  I had used a different midwife group previously with Guinevere's birth, whom I did not like at all, and they had delivered at Ohio State Medical Center, which hospital I had not liked for birth at all either.  Well, sometime between having Enoch and Athena they switched over to the OSU medical system, and no only delivered at OSU!  They had also added another midwife to the group, Pat.  So although I was loathe to return to OSU for another birth, I loved these midwives too much not to do so.  I was concerned about delivering at OSU, but after talking to them about my concerns, and how to change Athena's birth experience from what I had gone through with Guinevere (which, if you follow the link to her birth, you will see was nothing major at all - I just felt like we had become a cog in a machine, and did not enjoy my labor and delivery with her because of it).

The last day of school, a few days before my due date, I had an appointment with Pat. I scheduled an induction for June 6th, a Friday, because I wanted to have Athena and be home from the hospital longer than a week before we drove to Utah (which would put it a week and three days before). I have never wanted an induction, I had never asked for one, or had one that I scheduled. But I also wanted to have this baby for I had to drive cross country! I asked her to strip my membranes, just in case it could get things started.  It was incredibly painful (remember - my body was not in fact getting ready for birth yet), and led to a lot of contractions that were stronger than braxton hicks, but not bad at all...and that also went nowhere.

Whelp, the last day of May came and went, along with all my dreams of a perfect birthday line-up. Sunday brought her due date, but no baby.  By now Avram's mom, whom we call Mum, had been there for over a week.  We were all very ready for this baby to just come on out!  On Tuesday I had another midwife appointment.  I decided to move my induction date back to Monday, the 9th, because that would still get me home from the hospital by Tuesday the 10th, which would be six days before the move, which was almost a whole week, and more importantly, added on an extra three days that she could come without any outside prompting as well.  By this appointment it looked like there would be a baby actually showing up sometime, since I was dilated to a 2.5, and mostly effaced as well.  I think because of this it did not hurt at all when they stripped my membranes.

A few hours later, like they promised, the contractions showed up.  The kids were in bed, and we turned on The African Queen. There is nothing like waiting for a baby to show up to make you watch a lot of movies - even for me, and I am not a movie/TV person.  During the movie I timed each contraction - more than I ever have in my entire life.  My labors are quick, intense, breathless.  They do not involve passing the first hours with movies, walking, sleeping, timing.  However, with the membrane stripping, I didn't know what to expect, whether this was slowly moving towards actual labor. So I timed, and in a few places had to look away from Humphrey Bogart and Katherine Hepburn to breath through a few.  Hope rose.  And then the contractions moved further apart, lessened in intensity. The movie ended, and with a few contractions still coming, we went to bed.

And woke up the next morning.  Nothing.

It became a waiting game - every night I would go to bed, and hope against hope that I would wake up before the next morning - that in the middle of the night we would make a silent escape to the hospital while Mum held down the fort.  Every morning I awoke, just as pregnant, as full of baby, as I ever was.  As I told Avram repeatedly, although I was tired of being pregnant, I logically knew that one way or another Athena would come soon. The problem wasn't exactly being overdue, as much as being overdue and on a tight deadline.  It amazed me how I could carry a child so close to me, with her underneath my heart, her bottom firmly planted under my ribs and her head down low, and yet at the same time feel so utterly apart from her. I felt like I was waiting to meet her from a far voyage, that one day her ship would come in and we would meet at last, rather than carrying her around with me constantly, where ever I was, Athena was also.  Just not earthside.

Friday, June 6th I had an ultrasound.  The levels of amniotic fluid were high, but not concernably so, so we were given the all ok to keep waiting.  The ultrasound tech captured a very clear picture of Athena's face, with her hand laying next to it.  She was amazed at how clear it was, being that usually full term babies have their heads so low in the pelvis that you cannot see them. Not Athena!  She had no intentions of coming down, of coming out.  I was grateful that day that I had moved my induction date - because otherwise that would have been the morning of her induction, and clearly she wasn't ready yet.

Also, I was greatful, because Avram had ended up attending Jury Duty that day.  He had received the notice in the mail a few weeks prior, and they gave a set number of reasons for getting out of it - but none matched our situation (can't serve - will be out of state).  Also, we thought at the time that surely Athena would be born by then, so we didn't worry about it.  Well, the day arrived, Avram went down, and was gone all day. They told him that he had to come back on Monday, and give his reason he couldn't serve to the Judge then - that they had no authority to release him.  I hoped even more sincerely that Athena would be born that weekend, because I didn't want Avram to have to call in Monday morning in the middle of an induction and claim emergency issues, risking contempt of court if they were not accepted.

Friday night (Mum has been here for two weeks as of the next day, mind you.  We are all ready, ready, and over ready for this) I went to bed as pregnant as ever. We didn't get to bed until after one, since Avram had role-playing.  I bowed out, since I could think of nothing but having this baby, and so spent the night watching the newer Henry III with Aleatha and Mum across the street.  As our friends left after roleplaying, I joked with them that this would finally be the night that I went into labor, since we had stayed up so far past our usual bedtimes. Around 2:45 in the morning, I woke up, when I felt a gush.  Now, this is where things begin to get graphic, so don't say I didn't warn you.  My water broke first with both Elisheva and Enoch (his was when I walked into the chapel on Sunday - exciting times!), and so I knew what it felt like.  But - it was a small gush, and so I wasn't sure. I hopped (waddled) to the bathroom, where I was pretty sure, but not completely so, that my water was broken, or leaking at the very least.

I went back into the bedroom and changed my clothes. I also slightly woke Avram up, and told him that I thought my water was breaking.  Ever the one to be excited to talk to me when he is half-asleep, he mostly said nothing (but later told me he thought that this was not much to worry about in the moment - after both Elisheva and Enoch it was 11 or 13 hours until I went into labor.  I lay down and tried to relax, but then had three contractions in a row, and by the last one I wanted to control breathe through it.  I woke Avram up again, and announced that I thought this was actually labor too, and not just my water breaking.  By this point it was around 3:00 am.

Now, as I mentioned before, I have quick labors.  My labors from for the previous four were (from very start to finish, not just "active" (ie, four centimeter) labor): six hours, three hours, four and half hours, three and a half hours.  Also, my contractions start out close together and just move in closer - there is no gradual build-up, and I am basically in the final stages of labor - intensity-wise and distance of contractions - my entire labor. Because of this, we do not wait to pass go, collect $200, or stay at home.  We immediately and quickly move towards the hospital, as fast as two people, one of whom has to stop every two minutes for another minute of contracting, possibly can - as in, we quickly move like cold molasses pouring from a jar.

We began to do those timeless things that all couples do when preparing to go to the hospital.  I called the midwive's on call number, they called back, we discussed arriving at the hospital, I put the final few things in the hospital bag, Avram informed Mum of the situation, and we slowly stepped out to the van.

I think that this is a good stopping place - I will get to the second part soonish, I promise.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The Long Dark Night of the Soul

I just checked the Academic Wiki, a place where people can anonymously update job results, and there it was, on the tenure track job Avram had a phone interview for, the little phrase that sunk my soul - Campus visit scheduled. That's it.  While there is still a very small chance that they could call today and give Avram a visit, they almost certainly won't. We lost the job, which was our brightest future. And so far we don't even have another interview scheduled, only a week and a half out from SBL - the main clearinghouse for interviews.  I feel like it's all over. Like we don't have a future.  I am crying, and I am worried how Avram is going to take it.  I worry that we did something wrong, something we could have done better. That maybe I did something wrong - I was too needy during my pregnancies (that I kept getting pregnant....) that we should have a publication accepted.  That somehow they found this blog, and got scared that Avram's wife was crazy.

Of course, I logically know that it's not any of these things.  That there are a lot of qualified candidates, more than can ever get jobs.  That because of the job shortage for tenure track jobs, that there will be so many highly qualified candidates for each position that even if you are good at research, good at teaching, that this does not mean you'll ever find a job in academia.  That it's not about us. But....I still feel it.  I feel like all of our hopes and dreams are crushed, like we will still be here in Columbus in a year in poverty with no hope of the future, no steady income.  We spent the last seven years in grad school - doesn't that mean anything? Don't our years of work and sacrifice mean anything?  The not grieving part of me knows that they do - but sacrifice does not automatically equal a certain type of result - in this case Avram's academic dream job.  Who am I kidding - it was mine as well.  I knew what neighborhoods we would look at to buy a house. The parks we would go to.  The library, the mountains, being near family.

And not it's gone, just gone. Sure, there will be more jobs in another department in the future, but that is assuming that we can get a job in the meanwhile in academia - if not, we really don't have a chance, because there will always be more talent than openings.  It's like being dumped - except for way worse, because there are lots and lots of people, and no soulmates.  But there are only very few jobs.  I know joy comes in the morning - but just right now I feel that I have entered into the long, dark night.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Let's talk about - Hard times and Grace

Recently I was at a Relief Society Saturday get together.  It was great, with good food, good company, and uplifting and thought provoking messages, both in the key note address (about the temple) and in the smaller classes. One of the classes I attended was about Discipleship of Christ, and around half way through the twenty five minute class the teacher asked if anyone had any questions or comments, since it had been kind of quiet.  I had a burning one, that had blazed since the beginning of class - even since I heard of the class title, and although I hadn't planned on asking it necessarily, an open invitation for questions was just too much for me to keep quiet.

Unfortunately in my question I made the mistake of mentioning struggling with balance in motherhood and disciplehood of following Christ, and specifically mentioned as one area of balance keeping a clean house along with parenting, performing religious duties, etc.  I was on the spur trying to come up with specifics so my question wouldn't sound vague, but because I mentioned housekeeping, most of the advice (which the class was very enthusiastic about - all the answers took up almost all the time that was left ) was about housekeeping, motherhood, work/life balance.  Now, there is nothing wrong with a few tips and tricks, a few ideas about priorities, reminders that our children get just wasn't actually the question that I meant to, but failed to ask.

So here I am writing my question down, having had time to think about it, and then I will lay out what I have thought of as answers, upon pondering it.

It seems in my life that the more that I am trying to do to live the Gospel (ie, specifically in my case as I have had more children - which my belief in eternal families, the importance of giving our Heavenly Parent's children physical bodies has directly impacted my family size) I feel like the farther I am away from actually being a disciple in Christ - the less Christlike I feel. When I was in college, I was a master at scripture study - it was one of the things that I impressed Avram with as I was getting to know him.  I used to be a very patient person, and up until I had three kids I felt like being a patient mother was one of my virtues.  I have had nine years since I graduated from college, since I got married.  I have had eight years of being a mother. I feel like I should perhaps be able to look back on the last decade, and see myself slowly, but surely getting better - becoming more Christlike.  I know I keep adding more plates that I need to keep spinning, but it feels like instead of becoming an expert plate spinner, I am slowly regressing backwards until all I have is shards of plates broken on the floor.  Now, keep my previous post in mind, so you know, I am not exactly the most chipper right now, but at it's core - how come my trying to follow Christ in the large in my life has left me feeling like I am further than ever away from him in the details?  Why do I struggle with scripture study now - not just in time, because let's face it, I have time, but in desire, in effort? Shouldn't I feel like I am leveling up in life, and not slowly drowning in muck?  Why do I struggle so much with patience and my children?  Why do I yell so much?  Why can I have the theory down pat - okay, love others, pray to be kind, show love, and yet once I am right in the throes of it not do any of this?

Alright, so my thoughts on this after weeks of pondering this and thinking on this question.

Well, number one, let's not forget that I have spent the last five years  with three pregnancies and three bouts of depression, so you know, I may not have the most perspective on my own life right at this moment, and any time that I feel like I am failing as a person, it may just be my skewed perspective talking and not reality at all. But even so - even if it is a skewed reality I am seeing, it is still my day-to-day reality in the moment.

A point to keep in mind I was reminded of while I was reading  from April's Conference of this year and Elder Neil L. Anderson's talk really stood out to me, specifically this part,

"Not all the whirlwinds in life are of your own making. Some come because of the wrong choices of others, and some come just because this is mortality.

As a young boy, President Boyd K. Packer suffered from the crippling disease of polio. When Elder Dallin H. Oaks was seven years old, his father died suddenly. When Sister Carol F. McConkie of the Young Women general presidency was a teenager, her parents divorced. Challenges will come to you, but as you trust in God, they will strengthen your faith.

In nature, trees that grow up in a windy environment become stronger. As winds whip around a young sapling, forces inside the tree do two things. First, they stimulate the roots to grow faster and spread farther. Second, the forces in the tree start creating cell structures that actually make the trunk and branches thicker and more flexible to the pressure of the wind. These stronger roots and branches protect the tree from winds that are sure to return."

In the second paragraph I could add, "Thora had five kids in eight years, had post partum depression with other health problems three times, all while being married to a student and living on a graduate student's stipend."  It helped me remember that although feel like I am mostly leveling down, and that I am dropping far more plates than spinning, in reality I cannot always see how I am getting stronger.  A tree that is bending over in a hurricane does not look strong - it is being blown to its almost its breaking point, and yet in doing so it is also getting stronger.  So the first thing to remember is that although I feel like I am failing at being a disciple of Christ, I am in the whirlwind of my life, one of the busiest, hardest seasons of it, and if the strength I am spiritually gaining now may seem too little, it is because I am bent over in the hurricane, and as time passes I will be all the stronger and better for it.

Another thing I have been thinking a lot about with this is Grace.  As Athena hit three months, and the ppd started seriously affecting me, I talked to Avram a lot about how much I was struggling.  After one particularly long session, he gently told me that what he thought I needed more of was grace.  Now, at the time I got angry at him, because I felt like he was telling me yet another thing that I should be doing and wasn't, yet another way that I wasn't measuring up and yet another thing that I didn't have - yet another way that I was failing in not just mother hood, but in also in following Christ.  After calming down, and after a later conversation, where I tried to express this and we talked over what he had meant, and then after pondering it for the months following, I have come to have an entirely different view of grace.

Grace is the unearned, freely given enabling power of Christ to help us.  It's not an attribute like patience or an activity like hard work that you can learn and develop through personal accomplishment, it is divine power. I can't fail in having it - because it's not my grace at all - it's His grace that he gives to me.  Grace for me and my life in the here and now is realizing, and perhaps it has taken the grueling day to day job of motherhood in these last several years for me to finally realize this, that I need Christ, that I cannot do it on my own.  I have always known about the atonement for repenting of sins, but I am finally coming to understand the atonement for when we try, we try hard, we try with all we have be better, and it just doesn't make it.  I am an independent person - I like to be able to do things for myself.  I don't like feeling vulnerable in front of others, I don't like being vulnerable with myself.  But my life, my inability to succeed at even the simple goals I have currently (Raise children. Don't go crazy) has forced to realize that I cannot succeed at life, I cannot do it, without Grace.  And with grace, what succeeding means may not be what I want it to mean, and definitely not what the worlds means by success.  For today, it means that I keep praying when I mess up. It means telling my children about love and repentance and Christ's grace, so that when I fail (every day), they too can depend on it to make up the shortcomings in their life.

Tonight we made chocolate chip cookies, and despite using an oft-used, well-loved recipe the cookies spread out into thin, crispy flat-as-a-pancake cookies, and not the loftly crispy-edged, soft interiors that I usually, even with this same recipe, know and love. At the same time as baking the cookies, I was looking through the newest collection of books from the library and read the copy for one called The Prodigal, a ragamuffin story (which despite what I am about to say, am interested to read it - it is by Brennan Manning, and a companion to his The Ragamuffin Gospel, a book about, you guessed it, Grace).  It is a novel about a mega church preacher who has an affair, and loses everything - his wife, child, church, book royalties, and in the bottom of his alcoholic life finally discovers Jesus in his failures, not in his successes.  As I read the copy, I told Avram that what I really need is a novel that talks about someone who doesn't have an affair, or commit any big sin - I am pretty good at not having affairs, or killing people, or general debauchery, and whatnot.  I am generally trying, and always have, to be a good person - I have never stolen, tried never to lie, and have never even illegally downloaded music or somesuch.  And yet, I fail.  A lot.  My life feels like my poor chocolate chip cookies tonight - I feel like I am trying to follow the instructions I have been given, I have tried to be good and to follow Christ my whole life - I have tried to learn and grow and become a disciple of Christ, and yet I feel more like a crispy, hard, yucky chocolate chip cookie than ever.

What about Grace for the good girls who fail?  For people who try and try again, and still feel like they aren't making it?  I cannot speak for others, but for myself, as difficult as these last five years in specific have been, years where I have felt stretched thin like too little butter over too much bread - it is these years where I have been led to ask the hard questions.  Questions of faith, of meaning.  It is these years where I have told God exactly how I feel (which in one memorable moment after Enoch was when I was depressed, lying in bed and crying while praying, and asking, if this is the plan of happiness, then why don't I feel happy!?). It is also these years that I have found the most profound answers to my hard questions. These are the years that I have had my strongest personal revelation ever while doing an endowment session in the temple, where God told me that my sacrifices were sufficient unto him. It is these years where I have learned the most about grace, because I cannot do it on my own any more.  When I felt good enough, I didn't feel lacking.  When I wasn't lacking, I wasn't looking for help - I could not even see my own need.  Now I see my need every day, every hour, and as such, I have at times felt that because I lack, that I cannot come before the mercy seat.  And yet, as I have fully felt that need, I have learned more about mercy, more about grace than I ever did when I was doing better in my life.  Sometimes what I have seen as the greatest failures in my own life, I believe have directly led to my greatest successes in God's eyes - because he doesn't need someone who flawlessly balances housework with scripture study with patience with child care with motherhood.  He needs someone who is accepting His grace. And that, no matter where I am, no matter how many dropped plates I have, I can do.  And in the end, discipleship in Christ is all about accepting grace.

So - discipleship in Christ can be summed up as - it is hard. Life is hard.  Following Christ does not make it easy, but through the whirlwinds of Christ I can be strengthened through his Grace - and that will not lessen the wind, but it will enable me to bend into it and not break. Even though  I feel like I am getting worse and not better as life's trials come, I need to remember that these are the winds that are here, and that bending into them does not mean that I am getting worse as a person, but stronger in the long run. Sometimes the best way we can walk in Christ's footsteps is by crawling on our knees.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Let's talk about hard things - Post Partum Depression

(I am thinking (if I write, which is an open ended question) of starting a series of talking about hard things - hard topics.  This is the first.  If this is a series and not just a one off- just trying to keep you one your toes).

This may not be common knowledge, because I do not advertise it much, and not everyone is a mind reader, but I get post partum depression, and have after my last three children.  It may not technically be depression - I have had post partum thyroiditis after the last three births, from about month 2 1/2 to month seven or nine or so.  This means I am hyperthyroid at first - my thyroid works over time and everything about my metabolism speeds up, which can cause anxiety.  Then after a few months, the thyroid is overworked, and it slumps into hypothyroid, which at least until now has then self resolved after a few more months.  Hypothyroidism can also be a cause of depression - as everything in my body is working slowly and sluggish.  Regardless, the two together, combined with a new baby, feel like post partum depression to me.

On the positive side, I know what is causing it.  I know that in a while it will go away - that I will feel better.  But I cannot lie - when I have been pregnant with the last two I have had moments of dread, when thinking about the period after birth.  Well, anyway, I would like to talk about that more sometime. After all, I think that the uncertainty that comes when you are depressed has contributed a lot to me having a difficult time writing.  I feel self conscious - not because I think I have done something wrong, but because I don't like feeling weak publicly.

But, I have been wanting to talk about it more publicly for a while, because I know that one of the worst parts of post partum depression is feeling alone, broken in the dark, and for myself at least, hearing about others' experiences is very helpful to myself.

Talking to my sister recently, I laid out what has helped me the most with ppd.

They are:

Don't get on the computer until two (ie, stay away from escapism, from distractions, force me to live my life, etc.) Get off before getting the girls from school - more broadly - accomplish things first, and spend a limited time on the computer. This helps me because it is not a big to do list, which between five children, a house to run, food to fix, diapers to change, I cannot guarantee I can even begin, let alone accomplish. But I can guarantee that if I spend the bulk of my day unconnected electronically (I don't have a cell phone, so I have no access to social media, internet, etc, except through a computer), then I will inevitably clean more, spend more time with my children, feel better about what I can get done, and not focus and what I am not, don't have, etc.

Walking them to school and back, every day.  Two miles of walking total in the fresh air.  Gives exercise, fresh air, perspective. Makes me like my house better. I think it's not just the exercise, but being outdoors, even in the cold or rain, that helps.  I love being outdoors, but I find I don't just go outside - I have to have a reason to be there, whether it's exercise, gardening, yardwork, etc.

Reading from the conference issue of the Ensign every day - at breakfast, or in the morning after taking the girls to school. Ideally, I want to work in regular scripture study as well, but I have been struggling with accomplishing that, and so reading words from modern prophets and church leaders helps me to spiritually focus, gives perspective, and "fills the well."  I have something to say about filling wells.  For me, what I mean is doing activities that help me to be more patient, not yell, gives me more reserves to draw on when things are difficult - when the girls are home from school and it's homework time, and I am stressed.  I think doing fun, personal activities are important for everyone, but reading decor blogs, reading novels, and going out with friends, as important and necessary as these are, do not give me a greater measure of patience.  They do not reaffirm me in my vocation.  Now, when I have the time, these things are fun, they are good. And if I never did anything like this, then I would need to prioritize them as well - but I already do these things.  I have no problems prioritizing fun for myself. I am not a martyr. What I do tend to deprioritize are activities which are hard, which take work, which take effort and self discipline, but that I need to do anyway because I need the benefits, like the spiritual help,  or exercise - luckily I now have an outside reason that helps me prioritize that.

Pray.  But not just general prayers.  Not even just desperate pleas to help me just get through the day, and to not give up.  But specific - help me to not yell at the girls when they are taking forever in the morning - this morning.  Help me to find a way to help them get ready patiently. Gratitude for what I have. Actual conversations.  Praying while walking by myself - when I can pray out loud, and no one can hear me, works especially well.

Now, none of these things are going to fix my thyroid, they are not going to make me not struggle, or get rid of my post partum depression.  What they do accomplish, however, is helping survive through this time.  They help me do what I can, and I can guarantee that when I do all of these every day - I am happier.  I do better.  Now, perhaps just because I am human, perhaps because I have ppd, perhaps because of life, I do not always stick to even this small list.  And I seem to have a cycle, where if one week goes pretty well, the next week is harder, and I fall down and do nothing one day, which then makes the rest of the week go yet harder.  And some days, although I know that if I followed this list, I would feel better, but I perversely don't, and then I don't.

Unlike some people who have lifelong depression, I can honestly say that I have only had it these three times post partum.  I am not an expert in depression, post partum depression, or anything else related.  But I do know what has helped me, when I have struggled.  Along with all of the above, I try and remember that this is transient - that I will feel better soon.  That although my life feels more than I can bear, and overwhelming every morning when I wake up, that this time will pass.  So, overall - I try and keep a sense of perspective, and remind myself that I honestly don't feel all right, and that is okay - it's okay to struggle, to have to work hard at things that come more naturally for others.  It's okay that life is hard, that it is not supposed to be easy.  I have not yet succeeded in gaining so much perspective that I wouldn't just wish away the ppd I have had, the compassion I have learned for those who have depression, in favor of a life of positive naivety.  But...maybe I will get there yet.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Lydia as she is

On Saturday, Lydia (8) was dragging her feet about getting dressed, ready for the day, cleaning, etc.  After pulling her up to her room, and giving her an ultimatum about getting ready, she came downstairs having written this poem (spelling, stanzas and grammar has been standardized for comprehension's sake):

Everything Hates Me

Everything hates me
I don't know why
Everything just does
At school, at home, anywhere I go
Computers, especially for the Queen in William Shakespear's time
Math.  How am I ever going to become a physicist if my math hates me.
Writing. Not as much.
Homework. Maybe for others it likes, but not me.
And the most surprising one I cannot believe, but it's true -
Sometimes my own family.
Everything hates me.

I just don't know what to do with a kid that won't wo(Ourrk, but can read for forever - who acts like she's deaf, and never cleans up - but likes to write poetry to express how she feels, and then reads it to us.

She has more poems, too.  Here's another one she wrote, while she was supposed to be writing a different poem (about releasing butterflies) for school.

The Wind

The wind sounds like someone whistling
[whistle not so good]
Rushing through the trees
Sometimes fast like a person in a race wanting to win
Sometimes slower than a perosn can walk
I love the wind!

Here's a sign she made yesterday - she is planning on making lots of duplicates.  Here I have kept her spellings:

Come and See the Walking Fence grils for one doller, cheap. Only one doller per persen.

(our address)

refreshments served           Saterday November 8th
                                             11 oclock, 3 oclock, 6 oclock

On my suggestion, she did change it to free, and added that the refreshments were free too.  She wants as many people to come and see eit (she walks on the supports for a wooden fence, while holding on to the slats).

I wish I knew how to harness her creativity and brain power for things like obedience, chores, and some more obedience.