Caffeine, I missed you so…

Oh god, it’s like porn.

Thank god for coffee. And Red Bull (sugarfree of course). And Diet Coke. And Iced Tea.

I didn’t drug her, I swear!

The Peach actually slept last night.

Like almost the whole night. This was amazing and wonderful but since my sleep bank is still quite overdrawn and I’m in a low swing and I am having trouble falling asleep and once I do fall asleep I wake up frequently because my nose gets all stuffed up (Why have you forsaken me Neti Pot?) I am still TIRED.I got back into bed this morning after getting up with The Peach, looked at my phone and discovered my alarm was going to go off in 3 minutes. I stubbornly stayed in bed for those 3 minutes and then got up and started the morning routine. While I did exhibit all the disgusting “morning person” traits I discussed a few days ago, my brain was in somewhat of a fog. Then I had some coffee.

Oh sweet nectar of the gods.

By the time I left my mom’s house for work, I actually felt human. No wonder I felt like such crap when I was pregnant… I still had 1 small coffee or it’s equivalent a day, but since I currently have 1 large coffee, 1 12oz Red Bull and 1 20oz iced tea every day before 10am, the amount in comparison was practically nothing. The fact that I am in the middle of a down swing mood-wise just solidifies my desperate need for caffination (um… is that a word?) to get me going in the morning.

Caffeine makes my world a little brighter. It makes me a little more alert, a little more cheery, a little more coherent. I’m able to function at work even in the midst of infant induced sleep deprivation and bipolar screwing with me.

So, yay caffeine!

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Oh. Right. Bipolar.

I got a call from my therapist’s assistant yesterday morning canceling my weekly appointment because she was out of the office. This is usually not a big deal, stuff happens and I’m generally doing ok. Yesterday, after I hung up the phone, I got a little bit upset and I realized that the bleh I’ve been feeling this past week is not so much due to stress but more due to me being able to cope with it a little bit less right now. I read through my posts for the past few weeks and I noticed a familiar pattern. A few weeks ago, my overall mood was kinda hyper and overly euthymic. There was also a bit of disjointed writing, like my brain was working faster than I could type. For me, this is classic manic behavior.

That looks about right…

Like I’ve said before, even on medication, I still occasionally cycle through highs and lows although the crests and valleys are definitely not as extreme as they used to be. I’m not exactly sure why I didn’t notice it earlier, over the years I’ve become much more aware of these swings. I’m not depressed right now, just in a low mode. In this realm of the swing, I tend to be somewhat distracted, tired, vaguely grumpy and anti-social. I don’t handle stressors as well as I would normally and things that I would normally shrug off will cause me to yell or cry or both.

So now that I’ve figured it out, I just basically sit back and ride it out. The good thing about bipolar disorder? It’s a cycle and when you’re down, you’ll inevitably be back up again. Being properly medicated, this dip shouldn’t last much longer and hopefully I can get back to baseline.

Losing steam

So, I’ve been back to work for a few weeks now. I hit the ground running and I’m so happy to be back.

And yet…

I’m feeling kinda… bleh. I haven’t been getting a tremendous amount of sleep. The Peach is doing much better at night, she only wakes up twice most nights and goes right back to sleep after a bottle and a diaper change. The problem has more to do with me. I’ve never been a great sleeper and now that I’m back to work, I’m having trouble turning all that off when I get home and actually relaxing. As a result, I’m super tired but I can’t get my brain to quiet down enough to actually sleep. When I finally DO get to sleep, it’s usually about 10-15 minutes before the first time Peach wakes up. Joy. Additionally, my nose is all stuffed up and my stomach has been bothering me a bit more than usual. So I’m tired.

Work is going really well but on Friday I had the somewhat terrifying realization that I’m somewhat of a supervisor now and I am responsible for other people. Not only that, but people are looking to me for guidance and knowledge. Granted, this was the case before I even left on maternity leave, but since I was being a total slacker the last few weeks months before I left, the actual gravty of that didn’t really sink in. Don’t get me wrong, I am enjoying my new responsibilities and I’m flattered that people here have enough faith in me and my experience that they look to me for help. But it’s a tremendous responsibility and it is damned scary. It’s taking some major effort to adapt to the new skill set required for this position. As someone who strives to be the best at everything work-related and is very self-critical, I don’t tolerate much of a learning curve. I want to do the best, be the best and I should be performing at that level right now. Since this is completely new territory for me, I honestly have no clue how I’m doing.  Since I’ve been so tired, I am having frequent brain farts and periods of complete blankness that always seem to occur when someone comes to my office to ask me a question. My answers the past week have included a lot of, “Uhhh…,” “No, Wait that’s not right,” or, “Could you repeat the question?” My supervisor continues to assure me that I’m doing a great job, but again, setting the bar pretty high for myself and not managing to clear it.

And then there’s the whole parenting thing. The Peach is somewhat cranky most of the time. She fights sleep like nothing I’ve ever seen and as a result spends most of her day tired and grumpy. She’s also been diagnosed with reflux. Apparently this isn’t an uncommon thing for little babies since that muscle in the esophagus that keeps the stomach contents where they belong is underdeveloped. So we got a prescription for Zantac which comes in a viscous liquid that we have to give her twice a day. She does not like it. At all. It generally takes two of us about 10 minutes to give her 3/4 of a teaspoon of the evil liquid. This usually results in her screaming, coughing and gagging as The Zen Master and I pray that at least some of it actually makes it into her system and not all over her bib, shirt and us. At least it has reduced the frequency and magnitude of her puking and stomach upset. I knew it wasn’t normal for a baby to spit up large volumes 20 times a day.

or two minutes… or 30 seconds…

Princess Punk is… 12. The contract/reward system is losing it’s novelty and she is slipping back into sullen defiance. Her mood swings have been super-fun this week and last night I caught her with her netbook in bed at 10pm. If it was up to me there’s no way in hell a 12-year-old would have a personal computer with fairly unlimited internet access, but her school got some kind of technology grant and they gave a netbook to every 6th grader for the school year. It actually has helped with the whole homework thing, and they’re able to do some really cool projects, but it is ridiculously difficult to monitor her online activity since she has been instructed by her technology teacher not to give her password to ANYONE. Which apparently includes me.

Two men enter… One man leaves

Seriously? The rule in the house is she isn’t allowed to go on the computer unless an adult is present and the computer is not allowed in her bedroom. EVER. So when I went into her room at 10pm and found her chatting online in her bed, I was… pissed. I am feeling somewhat defeated when it comes to her. It seems like no matter what we do, she just does her own thing and just ignores the boundaries we set for her. I thought this crap wasn’t supposed to happen for another couple of years? It makes me petrified the next 6 or so years will be even worse. I don’t know if I’ll make it.

So yeah… I’m a little stressed. And I’m losing steam. And it’s only Tuesday. This week is not looking good…

Fantastic. One of my coworkers just got yelled at (via email) for something I told them to do.

Crap. Now my head hurts and I have a forehead print on my desk.

Weird…

Somewhere along the line, I have become a morning person.

I’m not exactly sure when this happened… It likely because of a combination of things, having a steady work schedule after years of varying shifts and short term jobs, dating and then marrying a man who wakes up for work at 430am and the right cocktail of psychotropic meds come to mind. In the past few years, my schedule has gradually shifted from staying up until 2am and sleeping until whenever to a steady bedtime around 9pm, waking up no later than 630am, even on the weekend.

I still take a few minutes to wake up and I do hit the snooze button more often than I should but even then I’m out of bed within a half hour and once I’m up, I’m UP. Oh and I’m cheery. Downright chipper some days.

Yup, that’s me at 5am… Downright frightening.

I have become one of those people I used to despise. I’m productive, happy and all around bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.

It’s gross.

Princess Punk actually used to be a morning person. Unfortunately, after many years of my past craptastic parenting skills and completely effed up schedule (or complete lack thereof), by the time she was 8, she was damn near impossible to get out of bed in the morning without some major poking, prodding and yelling.

Dude… Not a pillow.

Currently, The Zen Master and I have a “bathroom rule,” that is to say that Princess Punk is not actually awake and doing what she is supposed to do in the morning (or at least heading in that general direction) until you can hear her peeing in the bathroom. We’ve learned, after several mornings of WHUCK-are-you-doing-back-in-bed??, that her standing up in her bedroom or even walking into the bathroom is not sufficient to determine consciousness. Swear to god I found her sleeping in the bathroom one time… On the toilet…

An average weekday morning (i.e. NOT a Tuesday) now goes something like this;

 4:30am- The Zen Master gets up
4:45am- alarm goes off ~snooze~
4:55am- out of bed
5am-5:15am- turn on the news, bathroom stuff (do you really need details?)
5:15am- wake up Princess Punk
5:15am-5:25am- get dressed, make sure Princess Punk is conscious, checks her blood sugar, brushes her teeth and wears something appropriate, all while making boob juice (ok, I know it sounds gross, but “pumping my breasts” sounded even worse)
5:25am- goodbye kiss from The Zen Master
5:25am-5:35am- Pack lunch for me and the Princess and diaper bag and bottles for The Peach, take Fairy Dog outside and feed him and get The Peach out of her crib and buckled into the car seat. The Princess and I split these tasks up however it gets done the fastest.
5:35am- get out the front door while remembering to shut out the lights, turn off the TV, put my phone in my purse, make sure Princess Punk has insulin and other necessary diabetes supplies, her backpack and her phone and double check to make sure The Princess actually took Fairy Dog outside cuz who wants to come home to poop? Oh yeah, and the baby and all her accoutrements, can’t forget her.
5:35am-5:45am- haul ass to my mom’s house, stopping at Cumby’s on the way to buy my Red Bull (omigod it’s like crack…)
5:45am-6:15am- wake up mom, get The Princess started on breakfast, wake up The Peach (because she has slept through the melee so far), change The Peach’s diaper, enjoy “nekkid baby time” while The Peach lays on the changing table stark naked cooing, kicking and smiling at me, hand The Peach over to my mom, verify which bottle has boob juice in it and which one is just formula, babble at my mom while really just procrastinating because I want to gaze at my baby and gear myself up to get to work.
6:15am- leave for work (finally)
 

And I manage all this with a spring in my step and a smile on my face… And that’s even before the Ritalin kicks in! A few years ago I considered it a good morning if I managed to get dressed before 11am. I swear my mom thinks I’m on meth or something. Princess Punk routinely tells me how weird and crazy I am as she struggles to take in my exuberance with bleary-eyed disdain.  The only one who seems unperturbed by my unnatural effervescence is The Zen Master who has himself been a morning person for as long as I’ve known him.

Ahhhh…

It’s HIS fault.

Sneaky bastard.

Miss me???

Soooo…

Here I sit at work, finally in a lull where I can stop, take a breath and write a post.

I’M SO HAPPY TO BE BACK AT WORK!

Oh yeah… I went there.

Needless to say I’ve been a little bit busy the past week or so. Getting my stuff back in order, meetings, cleaning out my mini-fridge (um… ew), there’s been a lot to get together just to get back into the swing of things. Not to mention that I actually came back to some added responsibilities so fitting all that into my strictly structured workflow (Ha! Try saying THAT five times fast!) has been… interesting. I have said it before and I’ll say it again… I love my job. I feel partially crappy about the fact that I don’t feel crappy about coming back to work and leaving my 2-month old baby with my mom. Soooooo many people kept telling me… “Oh, it’s going to be so hard to go back to work.”

BULLSHIT

Tempting… But probably illegal

It would have been hard staying home. I think if I had to spend another week stuck inside the house with minimal adult contact and no cerebral stimulation I would have lost my ever-loving mind. I can picture The Zen Master coming home to piles of laundry and dirty dishes, The Peach parked in front of the TV with Barney blasting away, Princess Punk strapped to her chair with duct tape and me sitting quietly in the corner, repeatedly banging my head against the wall.

Do not misunderstand, I miss my Peach. I miss her a lot and it takes me 20 minutes to say goodbye to her in the morning (I have yet to make it to work on time). But I have told The Zen Master that if he ever decides he wants a housewife/stay-at-home mom he will have to divorce me and marry someone else because I’m not the one. I’m one of those people who would win the PowerBall and keep working. Seriously.

I love my husband. I love my girls. But I also know that in order to continue to be a good mom and to maintain some moderate level of sanity without killing my family or at the very least, being such a raging “B” that they wish I had, I have to work.

I am not conceited by any means but I know that I am an extremely intelligent person. I don’t always use my brain and I tend to be lacking in certain areas like a sense of direction or financial savvy but I am smart. Add to that a raging case of ADHD and you get a whopping need for significant mental stimulation. If I am not challenged, if I don’t have stuff to not only keep me busy but keep me interested, I. Stop. Functioning. I really didn’t grasp just how vital my job is to me until I was home for 8 weeks. Obviously, I needed time to recuperate and take care of my brand new infant, but once the critical care stuff had passed and my body was back to (somewhat) normal and The Peach didn’t need to be attached to me 24-7, I was B O R E D. Reading some of my recent posts, that seems to be the ever-present theme. So yeah, I’m happy to be back at work.

I love spending time with my baby and watching her grow.  In the past week or so she has discovered that Princess Punk, The Zen Master and I are all separate people and she is fascinated and completely tickled by the sight of each of our faces. She’ll spend extended periods of time laying on her back, cooing and gurgling and grinning at us. She hasn’t quite figured out the mechanics of laughing yet and currently her laugh sounds like a dog that’s about to puke. It’s actually a little disturbing to hear that noise come out of the mouth of a smiling baby, especially given her tendency to barf at the drop of a hat. She is finally sleeping for longer periods at night and life is finally starting to resemble something manageable.

So… Yay!

I am totally doing the happy dance right now…

He’ll get it eventually… Right?

Best bedtime story EVER

I think I may have mentioned once or twice that The Peach doesn’t sleep well at night. The Zen Master does share in the overnight duties despite his early morning schedule. Here’s the thing… Since The Peach wakes up several times during the night and tends to stay up for at least an hour each time, when I get up with her I get her comfortable (generally a diaper change and a bottle) with as little stimulation as possible. I get her before she gets really worked up, keep my voice down, keep the lights off and avoid disturbing her as much as possible. As a result, she will generally stay half asleep and will fall back to sleep fairly easily. The Zen Master? This is what he does…

Peach starts fussing over the monitor. The Zen Master gets out of bed, goes into her room and sticks the binky in her mouth. Climbs back into bed within 90 seconds and falls back to sleep immediately.

Within about 10 minutes, The Peach realizes she’s not actually going to get any formula out of the binky and spits it out. At this point she is fully awake and is now aware that she is not only hungry but is encased in a very smooshy, uncomfortable and wet diaper. She is now pissed off. She bypasses fussing completely and belts out a full blown police-siren-like scream. This gets both The Zen Master and I out of bed at which pint we decide who is more tired and which one of us will go get her. If The Zen Master takes up the task, he goes into the kitchen, pops a bottle in the microwave for 15 seconds and heads down to her room.

Um... No.

He will then turn the light on and proceed to change her diaper while cooing at her and talking the whole time. I know this because I can hear him on the monitor (which BTW does not make it easy for me to go back to sleep). If she calms down, he will tickle her and make goo-goo eyes at her until she starts smiling and shows him just how alert she can be. He’ll give her a bottle and she will spend the next hour or so in her bouncy seat, kicking her legs like she’s having a seizure, cooing and fixating on her monkey (she loves that friggin thing, she’ll bawl if you hide it). Eventually she’ll get tired, take another bottle and take another 20 minutes or so to fall back to sleep. If she doesn’t calm down, she will continue to scream and will work herself up to the point where she won’t even take the bottle. When he finally gets her calm enough to take her bottle, she is so hungry she will drink frantically and swallow a ridiculous amount of air. This of course gives her a bellyache and she will spend the next hour or so intermittently fussing and dozing off. When she is in this state, he can give up on going back to bed at all. Even when she does finally fall asleep, she WILL NOT be put down. If he even tries to put her in her crib she will immediately start crying. Loudly. This was the way things went this morning and I came out of the bedroom at about 5am to find a bleary-eyed Zen Master on the couch with a restless Peach in the cradle on the floor.

“I have to put the binky back in her mouth every time she spits it out or she starts crying again.” This tends to happen between 5 and 10 times an hour.

Maybe if he has a couple more nights like this he’ll get the idea?

Good luck there buddy.

Here I am

Back at work, day 3…

I’m so damn tired.

I haven’t actually made it to work on time yet…

Naturally, I have a lot of catching up to do, answering emails, clearing voice mails, yada, yada and yada. Most of it at this point is just busy work. I have some more people-oriented tasks to do, but I think I’m going to hold off on that for a few days until I feel a little bit more settled in. I have to say, I have been fairly productive and despite my fears, I was able to jump right back into work without any issues (thank you Ritalin). Getting back into the office-wide rhythm is taking a little longer, it’s kind of like jumping in at double dutch, you have to get your timing right and move decisively. As always, social stuff is harder for me and I’m kind of standing back waiting for the right time to jump back in.

This is the smile I get at 4am when I’m not conscious enough to appreciate it.

I miss my Peach. She’s been grumpy in the morning when I leave and in the afternoon when I get home so I feel like I’m missing all the happy baby time. In my screwy brain, this of course confirms my fear that I am NOT bonding properly with my baby and she doesn’t feel the connection with Mommy that she should. I realize this is somewhat irrational but as I’ve mentioned before, my faith in my mothering skills is shaky at best.

She is still not sleeping well at night.

I’m so damn tired.

Unfortunately, with the whole newborn thing, it’s not like I can “catch up” on sleep over the weekend since her sleep schedule is not going to respect the fact that it’s Saturday and Mommy can actually sleep in a little bit. As a result I am functioning in a kind of fog that has switched me into s l o w – m o t i o n mode. The rare times I ammoving at normal speed, the fog seems to cause some sort of mental directional confusion and I will frequently find myself staring around somewhat panicked wondering what in the hell I was supposed to be doing at that particular moment. If not for the Ritalin I would be completely useless at work. The meds at least allow me to have moments of clarity which I take full advantage of to get schmidt done.  Despite the fog and the crummy, inadequate feelings I am having about The Peach, I’m actually in a pretty good mood. My schedule is starting to normalize (with the exception of sleep), I haven’t forgotten how to do my job and people are actually happy that I’m back, I have adult contact and I’m actually remaining sane (as sane as I ever get at least). In addition,

Who are you and what have you done with my daughter??

Princess Punk is cooperating with the new contract and is actually happy about the rewards system we’ve set up for her. She’s finally on Concerta (an extended release version of Ritalin) and she’s a lot more agreeable and as a result she and I are getting along pretty well most of the time. I got home yesterday and she was cleaning the living room (not one of her responsibilities) without being asked. She said “I’m just in a cleaning mood.” I thought I had slipped through a wormhole into an alternate dimension.  She’s also been much better with diabetes compliance and we’ve had 2 full days without missing an insulin bolus or a blood sugar check. This may not seem like much, but for her it’s a small miracle.

Overall, getting back to real life has been going pretty well. I’m just so damn tired…

I had planned to write a post about my political views since it seems to be such a hot news topic at the moment but I’ll be damned if I can remember what I was going to say. I guess I’ll have to wait on that one… Something for y’all to look forward to?

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