Lovely Day

Angelica and I had a great morning. I got some housework done while she played. Then we went on a playdate with some friends to Chik fil A.

Right now she is watching Minions. Soon, we’ll go grocery shopping.

I want to do whatever I can to make the most of the rest of June and then July. She will be starting school before I know it. I can hardly fathom just how much I will miss her. It wells up in my mind sometimes and I have to think of something else or I will cry. These years before a child is school age are absolutely precious.

We were planning to homeschool, as I have written before. But for now we have decided to send her to school. She will love it. I will cry. But I am happy for her. I want her to make friends and build good memories.

Today I was told that there is actually an amusement park around here. There’s one near Colorado Springs that’s a winter-themed one, and then there’s one up in Denver that’s kind of like a Six Flags. If Craig has a weekend day that he wants to take to do that it would probably be a lot of fun for Angelica. I’ve become a boring old lady. A lot of rides make me really sick or give me headaches. Because of that, I don’t really want to take her by myself because at her age there’s probably a lot of rides that she’ll need me for and I’m not much use. When my husband and I were dating he wanted to ride the same rollercoaster repeatedly. There was no line, somehow, so we got to go on Apollo’s Chariot a bunch of times. And then… I threw up all over him. We got off the ride and were walking around the park and I felt queasy. And then I just threw up everywhere. I threw up on him. I threw up on myself and the ground and the restroom building. Everything. I swear that if it was in a 10 Mi radius I threw up on it.

I want to make sure she gets swimming lessons this summer too. I haven’t wanted her to take lessons in the winter because it does get rather cold here and I remember what it’s like to come out of the pool and put your clothes on and go out into the cold air. Maybe I’m sissy but that wasn’t fun to me and I don’t see the necessity of her doing it. We don’t live by the ocean anymore so learning to swim is not as urgent. However, it is still important and I think once she gets past fear so really enjoy it. In future summers I would love to just be able to take her to the pool in the afternoon and let her play. There are lessons on base but from what everyone says, and from what our experience was this past spring, the classes fill up within an hour or two of opening. It’s hard to catch that. There’s another swimming place around here for kids that I’m going to look into. I’m also going to look into private instruction. She really does need to learn and I hope I can get that done in July.

Private School

At Craig’s suggestion, we started to consider giving private school a try. I was on the fence. I love homeschooling. Of course, I followed Craig’s lead and began to call different schools.

When I told Angelica we were going to look at some schools, she started crying. “What about homeschool?” I told her we were just looking at schools to see what there was and that she might like school. She pointed to her collection of science books we do together. I promised we could do her homeschool books together when she got home from school, that we could always learn together.

WE FELL IN LOVE WITH A SCHOOL! It is absolutely wonderful. I took Angelica with me on the tour, and she was beaming as we walked around the school. When we got out to the car she immediately told me she wanted to go to school, and asked if I could please tell Daddy that it was a good school and I liked it I did, Craig took another tour with me, and that was that. We were both sold. We applied. She got in. It is settled. Angelica is going to school this Autumn.

Lovely Day, Free Night

Today has really been a beautiful Friday. Unfortunately Craig has to work a 12-hour day, so I saw him off by 10 in the morning and he won’t be home until it least 10 this evening. I feel bad for him having to work so many hours. But soon after he left Angelica and I went to Target and she got to pick out some new clothes. We grabbed some household items while we were there too.

After that we went to Red Lobster for a mommy daughter date. We talked about all sorts of things, but especially monsters and unicorns. Angelica really educated me. There are monsters that are microscopic, and there’s a unicorn on Pikes Peak.

When we were finished eating we went home and it was time to do some serious housework. Angelica decided to be a buddy helper the whole time. She helped me scoop lavender into a new container to make the kitchen smell nice. She helped put away the towels that I folded. She put the detergent in the laundry machine. She put her clothes away in her drawers. She picked stuff up. Angelica was a busy little bee. Angelica wiped down counters with Lysol wipes as well. She helped me take out the trash and the recycling. And this is just a partial list. My buddy helper has been a very good helper today.

We worked on two collages together. I bought a bunch of white poster board awhile back, and gradually I’ve been putting together a collage. Every day or two I add a couple of more materials, whether it is a sticker or a piece of cloth or something. I even have some curling ribbon on there. She helped to add to that one, and then I started a new one that’s going to be just stickers of different kinds. She gave me a hand adding the stickers where they were supposed to go. It was nice to have my little artist-in-residence help me with my projects. One day she won’t be in residence, and I will really miss her.

Part of the afternoon was spent hanging out on the porch swing in the backyard. Now we are unwinding some more and in a little while the babysitter will be here. My Friday night is free and I get to decide what to do with it.

Artistic Identity

No matter how busy motherhood gets, I can’t imagine giving up my creative activities. I just read an article by a woman who did exactly that. She was a blogger and photographer, and she did no work for two years while she took care of her children. She said that she needed to be more present with them. She’s not the only one I have heard of who has done that. I have friends who have done that as well.

I admire the self-sacrifice and self-control, but I can’t really imagine doing that myself. Maybe it’s good that I have to stop at one child, as much as I wanted to have more. But if I had 10 kids I have a feeling I would still be squeezing in time to write poems or to paint. That maybe I would be in a situation at that point where I shouldn’t be doing those things, but I would do them anyway.

Poetry is such a part of me that I can’t imagine giving it up. I go through spells where I primarily read poetry rather than write it. When I do that I am often soaking up inspiration and gearing up for a period of intense writing. But to simply not have poetry in my life? I can’t even imagine.

Painting and photography have become primal urges for me. I can’t imagine putting my camera down as some of the mother photographers do. I might sometimes get lazy or too busy to take out my expensive camera, but I’ll at the very least be taking photos on my phone.

Perhaps all of this is selfish or self-absorbed, but I’m not so sure about that. Everyone needs their own identity. Everyone needs something that they love to do and an opportunity to do it. Naturally your husband and children have to take priority, but you can’t draw from an empty well. If you want to give them more, then you have to give yourself something. So many women say they’ve lost their identity in motherhood, and I just can’t relate. When I had my daughter I became even more myself. I still had all the artistic aspects of myself, all the general personality traits like introversion, I still liked the same foods and movies, only I was finally fully tapped into my maternal potential. Having a child didn’t sap my sense of identity. It completed it.

Not that I think I am really at risk of this, but I pray that I never put down the pen or the camera or the brush. These things are apart of me. Without them I think I would fall to pieces.

Sudden Drop

I have had so many creative ideas percolating in my mind today. So much physical and digital art I want to start, fiction I want to write, poetry I want to write etc. I dropped Craig off today to go on a work trip for a couple of days and of course that’s always hard. He won’t be gone long but I miss him just the same. Nonetheless I’ve been having a really good day. This evening I went up to take a nice, long hot shower and then relax with a SodaStream soda. The grape one is the best. The grape and the orange.

Anyway I am dried off and settled in now and I just have this feeling of malaise and depression. I hate how suddenly I drop and how I drop without warning. I had so many creative plans for tonight and now I just feel like part of my spirit is missing. I’m really trying to get my verv back. The weather has been lovely and Angelica and I spent some time relaxing in the backyard. I’m considering revamping an old project that used to work on. There’s just so much I want to do and all of a sudden it feels kind of hard to breathe. I had a pretty bad panic attack last night and I’m hoping tonight goes a lot better since of course I don’t have Craig here to help me.

I think I’m going to try to push through with reading a creative magazine and see if it sparks anything in me. And I’m going to take my medication early in the hopes that it will help me. At the very least if it doesn’t help me I want to get it in my system soon enough that I’m able to get up in the morning for Angelica’s rather early occupational therapy evaluation.

This is just part of the struggle with bipolar disorder. This is not even an especially bad night. I’m relaxing. As of right now at least I’m not having a panic attack. I’ve gotten the housework done that I need to get done today. I’ve got laundry in the dryer. I took a shower. This really isn’t a bad night and technically isn’t something to complain about. But yet here I am with free time and energy and so many things I want to accomplish and I feel like a deflated balloon. Not because anything is wrong in my life or anything has happened. Just because my brain doesn’t work. With bipolar you can be brought to heights of joy that other people do not experience. You can touch the sublime. But it can also seal you off from even the simple pleasures that other people around you have. It’s a constant seesaw.

Pure Tiredness

I read Angelica an adorable story called, “Love Monster.” I saw it from across the aisle at Target and knew immediately that we had to have it. We sort of have a monster theme in our family, and this just looks like the cutest book.

Now I am so tired. The pain killer for my jaw is making me tired, and worst of all I am almost out of it. I am still laying that side of my face on a heating pad a lot to dull the pain.

Yesterday, though I was in pain and undoubtedly way too whiny about it, I got to hang out with my friend M and our kids got to play together. It was lovely.

More later. Half asleel.

Poetics and Motherhood

For me, being a mother makes me a better poet – and being a poet makes me a better mother. I am fortunate to be writing with the support of my husband, but were I to be a single mother I think the effect would be the same. Motherhood greatly enriches my life and adds depth to it. Anytime you’re deep in your soul it will show up in your writing.

Writing fashions me into a better mother because I notice things. I stay in touch with the shifting loveliness of the world, and try to keep my daughter attuned to it also.

The creative outlet I get through writing poetry keeps me focused on Angelica when I am with her. I am refreshed from my time creating, and when Angelica and I play or do lessons I can really throw myself into it. I am not drawing from a dry well.

Life Giving Home

This inspiring book by Sally Clarkson renewed the vigor with which I manage my home. I will never be a fantastic housekeeper, but I will try.

Growing up I read that the mother is the thermostat of the home. Her mood and attitude sets the tone for the rest of the household. This book more or less drives that point home. The best thing I can do as a homemaker is be gentle with the people in my home, and try to be cheery. Good homemaking is not just about having floors that are clean enough to eat off (although that’s a good thing to have), but rather it is about creating an environment that people want to dwell in.

This book also gave me a few random ideas for creating a unique, memorable environment for my family. Play music throughout the day. I asked Craig to buy me a speaker for downstairs. He got me a cool little one that changes colors. He also got me an mp3 player and sd card to go with the speaker so I could connect music.

I tried to choose a soundtrack that I thought was interesting and set a tone. I have Gregorian chants, nun choirs, and other Christian music. I also have some favorite instrumental film scores, including some dark ones. I want a house of thinking. of memory, of the surreal. I have a little Evanescence and some Apocalyptica. They make orchestral versions of rock songs.  I have some of the Lord of the Rings soundtrack on there, some a capella, and Adrian von Ziegler.

Maybe that is a little odd, but I think it sets a memorable tone for the house. 

Hitting a Wall and Getting Help

We plugged away at BJU Press for as long as we could, but we just hit a wall. It’s actually a very good video curriculum taught by experienced teachers, and with accompanying review material. The problems we ran into were numerous. Angelica did not grasp phonics at all. They were teaching how to sound out basic words like sin and tin. Nothing worked. Phonics cards didn’t work. The teacher’s lessons didn’t work. Our explanations didn’t work. She wasn’t catching on and would cry with frustration.

Then there was the issue with math. She did finally count to ten by using this curriculum, which was great. But Angelica didn’t always connect numbers to actual objects, and getting higher than ten just wasn’t happening. Lesser and greater were difficult for her. And comparing ordinal and cardinal numbers, forget it. Tallying did not go well either.

We took her to a developmental pediatrician twice and what she determined is that Angelica probably has dyslexia and dyscalculia. She doesn’t handle those disorders though, so we have scheduled a full evaluation and diagnostic session at a literacy center in Denver. They were booked out until January. The Colorado Springs location, where we live, was booked out until April. The center will test for dyscalculia, dyslexia, and pretty much every other learning and developmental disorder. It’s expensive, but we need to do it. Something is clearly wrong, and we can’t seem to overcome it. We need to find out what Angelica has so we can learn how to teach her in a way she will understand. Hopefully we can also find a tutor with experience in whatever disorders she has who can come and do math and language arts lessons with her each week.