Please take a moment to say a quiet prayer of gratitude in your heart for those who gave their lives in the name of freedom. To all those who mourn on this holiday my deepest respect and sympathy for your loss.
My son got out of school last Wednesday and on Thursday we hit the beach. We camped on Coronado Island at Fiddler’s Cove (part of a Navy facility). I think the pictures are better than words so here is a summary of our first (of two) summer trips.
Turns out my misery problem was a simple case of PMS that totally caught me off guard. Since the onset of “I am seriously going into menopause symptoms”, my period has become very irregular in timing and duration. This means I have no idea how I am going to feel physically or emotionally on any given day. Fun Stuff!
Part of the problem is everytime I get any sort of period I think, “this is it! my last one!” and imagine a great summer of swimming and traveling without any surprise emotional meltdowns or um, need for feminine products. The disheartening truth is I have months of uncertainty ahead of me.
So I am not off to Canada but I am off to Coronado Island (near San Diego, Ca) for a few days. Long walks on the beach, a visit to the USS Midway, roasting hot dogs over a fire on our own little strip of sand at our campsite. Hard to be miserable under those circumstances. I just hope my hormones agree.
The last few days I have been miserably unhappy. The “I want to move to Canada and live in a one room cabin with my books and needlepoint, grow a garden and raise chickens and never see another living soul again” type of unhappy.
So last night I watched “The Hours” so I could spend some time with others who felt miserable and then I considered my situation. What exactly was the problem? Food reactions? Hormonal? Thyroid? Motherhood burnout? Some combination thereof? A quadruple whammy would explain my recent spate of extreme overreactions. Here’s a somewhat vague summary of what has been going on:
- I feel grumpy, bored, frustrated and angry all at the same time. Motherhood seemed the stupidest thing I had ever done closely followed by living in the desert. I have zero patience for any type of stupidity. Quite the problem with a small male child in the house.
- My seasonal allergies which were improving are once again worsening. My insomnia has returned and being awake at 0400 is so not a good thing.
- I am convinced my 8 year old is trying to drive me crazy. After say, ten days walking past his shoes on the stairs he cannot believe it when I have a meltdown about the damn shoes. And seriously how many years does one have to remind a person to brush their teeth before they get it? In my mind five years is enough. The list goes on and on and on.
- Plus my check engine light kept going off and on and I needed to get my emissions test done.
So I did what every person does when they fear they are losing their mind: I trolled the internet for information and ideas. Here is what I learned.
1/2. My post Whole30 reintroduction plan came to a screeching halt on Mother’s Day. Plus I was really only concerned with grains, possible just wheat. I learned I need to see if dairy is making me crazy, angry, unhappy, depressed and generally miserable too. I am not going to do the Whole30 again but for the next week I am going to avoid all grains and dairy. If there is a problem I should feel better after a few days. Then I will have to slowly and painstakingly rule out (or in) foods one at a time. The good news is I can make fruit juice popsicles and eat potato chips. I thought I could eat dark chocolate too but all the stuff I have on hand has the potential to have some sort of milk product in it. This could be a real problem.
As for living in the desert I am no longer going to be the martyr trying to save money by keeping the a/c set at 78°. So right now the a/c is set at a very comfortable, (almost chilly!) 72°. The electric bill be damned! I also bought new curtains for my south facing bedroom and added a dark blue liner to really block the sun. (Actually it was a little too dark during the day so I took the liner off one of the panels this morning and I will see how I like that tonight and tomorrow morning.)
3. Turns out lots of eight year olds are driving their parents crazy. Many have no interest in hygiene. This phase typically lasts four to six years. Okay. So this means I have years ahead of me saying every single day “brush your teeth, use soap, wash your hair.” See, this is what makes Canada look good. But apparently it also drives most parents crazy so I am not alone, not that this knowledge is particularly helpful. But it is good to know my reaction is normal.
Also seems around this age boys get a little hormone spurt of testosterone that makes them stupid. It is utterly useless to expect any type of common sense to prevail. They have zero awareness of pretty much everything right now. But this too will pass and at some point they become caring, reasonable human beings again, complete with an awareness of their surroundings. Since I know my son has a good heart and an acceptable level of intelligence I will l just have to wait out this phase as best I can.
To help with the waiting I got some tips from Zen Habits on patience and letting go of expectations. I wrote them down on a piece of paper and I keep it with me at all times. When I sense I am turning into the Nagging Ogre (think Incredible Hulk!) I pull the list out and read it. If nothing else it gives my son a chance to escape.
4. I bought a new gas cap. My car passed emissions and the check engine light has not come back on (yet). Hopefully if it does come back on it will be after I have a grip on my reactions once again.
Seriously, I could write a book about everything going on in my head and heart right now, as well as probable causes and solutions. I feel like I am entering a survival mode parenting period. And that is okay. Everybody has them, they don’t last forever, and everyone will survive. Letting him watch more tv, play more video games and eat an apple for dinner is not the end of the world. I actual think it will do us both good if I become less responsible for a while, take a break from being such a strict grown up. Summer is coming and it is time to ease up and enjoy life. Even if I can’t enjoy ice cream:(
But just in case, if you don’t see an update next week you will know I am living in Canada chasing chickens and doing needlepoint by the fire. Wish me luck with the dairy and grain purge. I really hope it brings some relief.
A really cool saguaro at Catalina State park.
This is the last full week of school for my son! I know, I can’t believe it either.
The last few summers I have been all about hibernating to avoid the heat. We left the house only to get in the pool, go grocery shopping or a quick trip to the library. But I have to admit that last summer both my son and I got kind of bored after awhile. We never developed a good rhythm to our days like in previous summers. With my getting older by the minute son he wasn’t as content to stay in with mom playing games and doing craft projects. I know I need a different plan for this summer. I know I am going to have to leave the house, oh the horror!
Taking into account the hot weather I have thought of both indoor and outdoor ideas. A key factor is how many times do you have to get in and out of the car? Climbing into the oven like car is the worst part so I have tried to find places where we can park once and go to two or three places in the same shopping center.
Neither my son nor I are morning people but we may have to bite the bullet and set the alarm a few days this summer and set out before the heat sets in. I liked to think we could take an afternoon nap those days but who ever heard of an eight year old boy doing that? (Unless they were sick.)
So here are my ideas:
- Take a picnic and hike up at Mt. Lemmon which is like 10,000′. It will still be warm but with some shade bearable.
- Get up early and go to McDonald park and then eat brunch at Viv’s Cafe. We can also browse around Goodwill if so inclined.
- Visit Bookman’s used book store and have lunch at Beyond Bread. Also browse around Annabell’s Attic if we wish.
- Arizona Zipline adventure. (my favorite idea!)
- Early morning breakfast hike at Sabino Canyon. (Right next door we don’t even have to get in the car!)
- Check into stargazing opportunities.
- Early morning or night visit to the Reid Park Zoo.
- Visit the playground store. I drove by American Play Systems and they have many different setups for the kids to try out.
- Paint at Ben’s Bells.
I am guessing we won’t get to all these things but it feels good to have a plan to keep things interesting. What fun things can you do in your town this summer?