Friday, November 9, 2007

Happy to Wake Up

My goodness, THAT was a doozy, that wave of depression that, thank God, lifted when I woke this morning.  I won't go on too much about it--I'm guessing most of you reading this know what it feels like--except to say that I could feel my thoughts speeding up the way they used to all the time, before I started to heal a few years back, and I felt sad and heavy, and easily forgot that it would pass, that I wasn't stuck back where I used to be.  Scary.  But I'm okay now.  Thanks to everyone who sent kind words, reminding me I am connected, caught in a web of friendship and love.

I'm thinking about how it must be for Eric and the girls when that happens to me, not in any sort of guilt-inducing way, but just to reflect and be aware.  Addie's been having accidents again the last few weeks, usually one a day, but a couple of times she's had three or four in a row.  Mostly I try to be patient, remembering how my anxiety during potty training only made things worse.

But then I got pulled into that depressive cycle, and my patience got thin, and I slipped into some ugly self-righteousness ("Why am I the one doing sixteen loads of laundry a week?  This can't go on!").  In short, I started getting a little huffy with Addie, asking her to please listen to her body when she needs to go potty, and insisting that I wanted no more accidents this week, or else.

I hated how I sounded when I said it, and I knew it wasn't the right way to go, but I wasn't in my right mind enough to know how to fix it, either.  Until.

Until I walked in on Addie in the bathroom one day last week, sopping pee up off the floor with a hand towel.  She jumped, literally jumped, when she saw me.  I got it instantly.  She was scared.  Of me.  Scared what I would say, scared I'd be mad at her, scared I'd shame her.  This little tinykins, my baby, was scared of me.

So, no more.  I just released in that moment all of my anger and judgment and righteousness, and hugged her.  I also instituted a new policy wherein every night, before bed, I tell Addie three things I liked about her that day, whether it was the way she laughed first thing in the morning, or helped her sister with a puzzle, or made a beautiful picture.  Two little adjustments--letting go of judgment, and reminding Addie how special she is in three concrete ways every night--have made a huge difference for us.  She hugs me and sometimes cries when I tell her the special things at night, which tells me she really needed to hear them.  And I don't have to hold anybody (not myself, not her) to ridiculous standards about things that don't really matter.  Phew.

It would be nice if I didn't have to keep learning these lessons over and over again, but apparently that's not the way I'm built.  It would seem I need the two-by-four to the head a few times before I get it.  But that's okay.  I'm learning.


  1. 1. What a SWEET SWEET picture on this post.
    2. I know how it goes to have those "down" days where the weight is almost unbearable and being a mommy makes it impossible to just curl up and feel sorry for yourself for that amount of time necessary to get over it and get on.
    3. Ember decided to be potty trained in July and was accident free for what seemed like ages. And then she started having one to several accidents a day (which she still has.) I've had that same experience walking in the bathroom to her trying to clean up and being nervous of my reaction. And, as always, I appreciate your insight into the whole matter and like your three positive things evening routine. I think I might even steal it! -Cassandra

  2. Helena went through this too. She was potty trained and then a few months later she started having accidents again. It's more frustrating the second time around. I think it lasted around 6 weeks and then she was back on track. I remember wondering if there was something emotional about it, and maybe there was. Or maybe they just get too busy. I had the same kind of experience- I remember seeing the big blue eyes brimming with tears as I complained about about yet another ruined pair of Curious George panties and realizing that there was no way it was deliberate. Every night my kids and I do

  3. I think it's about damn time Addie started cleaning up after herself. Don't forget to remind her "no wire hangers"- and aren't we all afraid of you? :)
    Staying awake sweet Jen, staying awake!