Saturday, November 7, 2009

Lifting? Finally?

I have a few happy thoughts to share.

They popped into my head spontaneously (as opposed to cognitive re-framing which is what I had been doing to combat the depressive/negative thoughts) (see below) and were very welcome! Maybe the meds are kicking in.

“I’m a good mom because what other mom could come up with such a funny banana song at 7 AM and dance for her daughter enough to make her giggle while doing her hair?” Yes, I was singing this morning, and Charlie was laughing. I thought perhaps I am the proper fit for her, because when I’m not depressed, I’m actually quite funny. I’m also kind of “out there” as far as behavior inside the privacy of my own home, and obviously Charlie is tickled by that. She could have wound up with a straight-laced uptight non-singing non-face-making boring mom. But no, she got me!

Another spontaneous emotion I had was not necessarily one that folks would associate with happiness, but in a way…. Well, it was sadness actually. Sadness at the thought that little Charlie will inevitably grow up, and all the things she does now that I will miss terribly as she gets older. The way she pats my back when I rub hers. The way she waves good-bye to inanimate objects, like the door, when we leave home. Her little smiling face bursting with joy over some small thing. Her fascination with the mobile over her head, that she always tries to reach but can’t quite touch yet. One day that will no longer be magical. So feeling sadness over this is a good thing, because 1) it’s not feeling numb, which is what I feel when I’m depressed and 2) I’m able to appreciate the moment and 3) I’m bonding to her and loving the things she does.

And the last spontaneous emotion I felt, that I’d like to share, is gratitude. I’m so grateful that Charlie is sooooo ‘GOOD’. She is so well behaved. And I don’t mean that she never tantrums (because she does) or whines (oh boy does she) but that in general she is an ‘EASY’ child. Lord knows I needed an ‘easy’ child, being new at this and being single and being so self-involved up until now…. Let me give an example: Charlie has taught herself to go to bed in her crib, every night around 8PM, without my having to rock her or comfort her in any way. Of course, I still like to do those things, and I’m even sad that she no longer needs me to cuddle her to sleep like we did up until this past week. What happened was one night I laid her down in the crib, and I went to get her bottle. Usually if I did something along those lines, she would cry, I’d come rushing back, and we’d have to rock with the bottle some more out on the couch. This time she just lay there, patiently and quietly waiting. I brought her the bottle and kissed her goodnight and left. Holding my breath. Nothing. Silence. I couldn’t believe it. Up until now, any time she woke up, I’d have to rub her back and then SNEAK OUT QUIETLY on TIP TOE lest she awaken and hold me captive! Sometimes she would open her eyes to check if I was still there. She’s check every minute for a long time! My arm would fall asleep from bending over the crib to rub her back.

When I told my colleague that Charlie was already sleeping through the night in her own crib without drama at bedtime, and wasn’t I soooo lucky? She replied that she thought I was lucky but not to discount that I probably had something to do with that too. I thought Charlie did it all on her own, but my colleague said without realizing it I am reinforcing or not reinforcing everything she does. I could have continued to tip toe out of her room every night, walking on egg shells listening to every little mew, but I tried a new way and it worked. Then I reinforced it nightly. Nice to have colleagues who can boost me up like that!

In summary, I think all those thoughts and feelings are positive signs that the depression is lifting. Or maybe it was just a good week. I’m hoping for the former.


Calmil2 said...

Wow, sounds great!! And yes, next week may not be as great and that's okay because there will be another great week (or minute, or hour) after that :) That is the roller coaster of parenting (and life in general), so good for you for celebrating the good!!

Elizabeth said...

Love it.
Elizabeth, smiling for you and Charlie

Anonymous said...

In case I haven't said so before, I really love that you're taking such risks and posting these feelings. It's great to see the negative scripts turned around. And as others have said as well: they're not just for adoptive parents. It took me a long time to bond with my kids: at least my first. (I thought of it as evolution: like nature wouldn't let me bond until it knew she'd last the first few months). But as they can communicate more, I find that's what sends the bonding into high gear. The first smile, the first goo, the first words....all that. dcuz