September 18, 2009

MOOD Rant and Pictures of Trees

I am in a MOOD today and, naturally, we are fresh out of chocolate (Hubby ate all the Pocky, damn him) and (gasp!) coffee.

I was reading your comments on my last post and starting to feel downright defensive over the whole thing... and because of my MOOD I am incapable of keeping my shit to myself.

Yes. Every parent at my boys' school, myself included, is an uncaring, standoffish, cold, evil anti-parent with devil eyes who lets little girls cry alone on big empty playgrounds, thereby ruining their lives for ever and ever.

And if you had only been there, help would have arrived and all the anguish in the world would have been circumvented.

And even though our community is just this side of hell and the cold darkness of the Arctic (at least for crying little girls, it is) we can still boast some very pretty trees.

Here's some pictures of them and other assorted nature to distract you from all my bullshit:


September 16, 2009

Playground Flip Out

So there was a little girl crying on the playground at drop off this morning.

I watched as one of the other moms asked her what was wrong. The mom's daughter, who'd been talking to the crying little girl, explained what the problem was. The mom put her hand on the little girl's head and said something comforting. The little girl flung her arms in the air and ran off screaming and crying.

There's a group of grade 5 or 6 girls at the school who help out in the JK and SK classrooms. They're usually really good with the little kids. I saw them notice the girl and try to comfort her. She flung herself around, waving her arms in the air, slapping anyone close enough to reach and screaming, "No!"

I decided not to involve myself.

The bell rang and I helped Monkey on with his backpack and encouraged him over to where his class lines up to go into the building. He was loudly complaining that he was hungry and wanted to eat his snack, "right now, mommy!"

I was thinking, 'Argh! Stop, kid! People are going to think I didn't give you breakfast,' but I was saying, "If you eat your snack now you won't have anything for snack time. You had a big breakfast, you'll be fine."

While I was convincing Monkey to stop complaining and line up with his class, the grade 5 and 6 girls were still trying to help the little crying girl, who continued to slap and scream, "No!" Finally another mom who obviously knew the little girl approached and asked what was wrong. The girl explained calmly enough and the mom led her over to where her class was lining up. The problem? The girl couldn't find her friends on the playground. She calmed down when approached by someone she knew and she was happy once she was lined up with her friends.

I have two questions:

Where the hell were the teachers (who are supposed to be supervising the playground in the morning and taking responsibility for other people's upset children)?

And would you have stepped in to help?


September 14, 2009

Tire Swing

We discovered a tire swing on Saturday while we were exploring a path along the river.

Sometimes it doesn't take much to turn an outing into an adventure.


September 9, 2009

I Refuse to Panic

On the morning I managed to take control of my panic attacks Hubby and I were waiting in a hallway outside of the administrative offices of the Toronto college where I was studying Travel and Tourism, waiting to hand in my student loan and pay my tuition. The hall was full of other people, also waiting for the same reason. We took a number and sat down on the floor against the wall half way down the hallway.

I was unaware that I had been holding my breath. I held my breath until my chest protested and forced me to start breathing again. I took the feeling as a sure sign that I was going to have a heart attack, right there on the floor while waiting to pay my tuition, in front of all these people. Shame and fear. I tensed up. Pains started shooting through my arms and shoulders. These pains, I told myself, are just another symptom of a heart attack. The fear intensified. My vision tunneled so that it looked like I was seeing through the wrong end of a telescope. I stared up at the person standing waiting next to me. He looked so far away. Everything seemed unreal, like I was watching my life rather than living it. My body turned clammy and my breath was shallow. Panic.

I was going to die. I was sure of it.

I sat in the hallway for awhile, quietly freaking out.

When I couldn't stand it anymore, I turned to Hubby and said, "I'm going to have a heart attack I have to get out of here."

He said, "You're not going to have a heart attack. You're fine. We have to pay your tuition."

"How can you say that? I am not fine! I feel awful. I can't breathe, I have pains in my arms and neck, my chest and heart feel weird. Those are all symptoms of a heart attack. You know that! Don't you care that I'm going to die?"

I put my head down on my knees and took a deep breath. When the air hit my lungs, I realized I hadn't been breathing. I consciously took another deep breath. 'I'm fine,' I told myself. 'I'm fine. The only thing wrong with me is the panic.'

I took third deep breath and relaxed my muscles. The pains in my arms and neck dissipated.

I raised my head and looked around and just let myself breath for awhile, slowly realizing there was nothing actually wrong with me.

I turned back to Hubby and said, "I'm going to be okay."

He sighed. "Exactly," he said.

I haven't had a full-on panic attack since. I monitor myself and manage my stress. I eat better. I exercise. I am now aware that I hold my breath when I'm stressed. As soon as I feel myself start to panic I force myself to breathe. I tell myself I'm okay. I focus on calming myself down, on relaxing my muscles, on just breathing. Just. Breathe. Breathe. You're okay. Deep breath, deeeep breath.

I used to have panic attacks. Then I didn't. Part of it was being aware of my stress levels and trying to just calm down. But a big part of getting past the panic attacks was fixing my vitamin deficiencies.

Prior to that September morning, years ago, when I was able to finally manage my panic, I started taking vitamins to deal with deficiencies my childhood family doctor had discovered over the summer. I'd been dealing with a long list of odd symptoms for months: twitching thumbs and (every once in awhile) eyelids, IBS-like stomach problems, sudden sweats, exhaustion. The Toronto doctors I visited couldn't figure it out. I was advised to avoid dairy and oils, to stick to clear fluids and plain breads. It didn't help. Finally my family doctor, after Hubs and I had moved home for the summer, did some blood tests and discovered I was anemic and also had low B12. So, on that day in September, I'd been taking supplements for about a month and was starting to feel more normal. The thumb twitching had stopped, the stomach problems were mostly gone, I was starting to regain some energy and feel more like myself.

My improved health allowed me to separate the panic from the actual physical symptoms. Without the physical symptoms, I had no reason to panic. I was able to take a step back and realize the worst part of what I was experiencing was psychological. I was able to take control of how I was feeling.

Lately I've had a harder time managing my stress levels. It's been a crazy few months (Hub's job falling through, followed by him searching for and finding another job, moving, waiting to find out if I'd been accepted to school, finding daycare, starting school) and I haven't been taking proper care of myself. Yesterday, for the first time in years, I felt removed from reality. It's a bit like when you're watching a movie and you're relating to the characters so much that you almost feel like you're living their lives along with them, like you're involved personally in the story. Almost. That's how it feels: You feel like you're almost living your life. Almost. But there's still that nagging feeling of unreality, of being a spectator rather than an active participant.

The return, no matter how brief, of that feeling makes me think I should start taking some vitamins, eat better and get more exercise. I'm going to get things back on track because the last thing I need right now is a return of the panic.

Thanks to Heather at Theta Mom for this cute award:

I haven't forgotten your questions. I'll answer them soon! If you have a question you've been burning to ask me, just put it in the comments at Ask the Reluctant Housewife. Mwah!