Yesterday was not a good day. All of my character defects came out to play and they meant business.
I know something is up with me. All my telltale signs of a depression flare are there: heavy ache in chest, extreme irritability, zero patience, short temper. Since it isn’t hormones and I’ve been keeping up with my medication, it probably means I have some work to do. But since one of my character defects is procrastination, I’ve been trying to find other ways to fix these feelings. I tried exercise – worked temporarily. I tried vegging out – no help. Yesterday, I tried extreme distraction. Colt woke me up way too early (0500 is not my friend) and I knew bad feelings + overtired mama = no bueno. I decided a day out of the room was what we needed, so I packed us up and headed off to Boonshoft Museum of Discovery. Colt could run around and have fun and I could just follow him around – double win for letting off toddler energy and reducing mama stress.
Boonshoft is one of those museums where kids can run around and touch, play, experiment, explore – perfect for my little scientist.
The morning went pretty well – he had fun and I started to feel my symptoms fade away. I love watching him interact with the world, and letting him do something fun makes me happy. He was way into one of those swirly coin things:
Of course, a big hit was the water table. This boy loves playing with water, but isn’t too stoked when it gets on him. As my husband says, he’s more of a hindsight kind of guy.
My budding paleontologist put his considerable Dinosaur Train experience to work in the excavation pit.
Things started to fall apart at lunch time. He threw a giant fit when I had to go to the bathroom (“You not wanna go to the baffroom Mama!” Uh, yes I do kid because thanks to you, Mama doesn’t have a very strong pelvic floor!). We had to physically leave the museum to go get lunch and the world about ended (one thing he inherited from me is that his coping skills are directly proportionate to his blood sugar levels). This is when I realized the good feelings from before were a sham – I still had no patience and the heavy chest ache came racing back. Still, the thought of being trapped in a hotel room with a cranky toddler made me shudder, so I determined to soldier on.
We made it to lunch, he ate a little and I let him play in the toddler funhouse. I felt a little calmer with food and water in my tummy…then he threw the requisite fit when it was time to change his diaper and go. Ok, I thought. Maybe he’ll fall asleep on the way back to the museum. He did, so I sat in the parking lot while he napped. It only lasted about 25 minutes, but a power nap is better than nothing. Back to the fun.
We tried to spot birds in the treehouse:
We spent way. too. long. in the recycling room. He loved that “garbage truck” because he got to drive it, put things in the slots, make them fall out the back and make a ton of noise. I had to almost pry him off of it!
He pretended to be an astronaut, climbing in and out of the rocket and tinkering with the controls (which I was NOT allowed to touch):
I ended the day with a movie in the planetarium-type theater. It was a Big Bird movie about space – perfect. He was into it for about 15 minutes, then kept demanding to go. When we got outside and he realized that go meant actually go home, he was pissed. So, our day at the museum ended with him conking me on the head with his dinosaur toy, losing said dinosaur toy and crying all the way out to the car. Pretty fitting.
This day could have been considered a disaster. In some ways, it was. I took my problems out on my toddler in that I didn’t give him the patience he deserved. So many times I was short with him and yelled (which isn’t something I want to do as a parent). I broke down and sobbed to my husband that night because I started to feel like a total failure. I couldn’t get a handle on my depression, which scared and frustrated me. I HATED being a jerk to my son, because he shouldn’t bear the brunt of my issues. This could have easily started a stew spiral.
Instead, after my tears subsided, I saw the good in the day. Even though his partner wasn’t in top form, Colt had fun at the museum. Although I am avoiding dealing with the underlying issues causing the depression, I’m using healthy distractions rather than the self-destructive habits I used to have. Baby steps. I asked my husband for help, I wrote my sponsor, I “attended” my online 12 Step meeting. Progress, not perfection. Colt cuddled up to me on the couch after bath and snuggled with me before bed as he always does. Love. I’ll work on what’s causing this pain, but for now I’m going to just bask in the love of my family.