Happy 15 Months Birthday, Cody!

As of January 16, Cody is officially 15 months old. It’s already been a season since he turned one, and he’s definitely becoming more of a toddler and less of a baby every day.

In the past three months, Cody has demonstrated some very silly, cute, and smart behaviors. The list is long, so here we go:

He likes to do “downward dog,” AKA standing with his butt in the air and looking upside down at things between his legs. He can walk backwards, turn in circles, navigate difficult terrain and get around obstacles, and get up and down steps with little help. He loves to play on the couch and can almost climb on and off of it by himself. He likes to walk around the house with his shoes on—he will bring us his shoes so we will put them on him and then walk around with a satisfied smile. He also likes to walk around with adult shoes on, or put our shoes on his hands, or put things in our shoes. He loves to throw his toys and other things he can get his hands on down the stairs through the rails of the baby gate. He loves to push things, and climb things. He loves to snuggle us, the dogs, and sometimes his toys.

One not-so-cute thing he has learned to do is to hit when he’s angry. He also throws small tantrums, which usually involve him sitting down on the floor in protest. He can cry very loudly when he’s unhappy with us. He also fights going to bed now, I suspect because he doesn’t want to miss out on all the fun.

He often plays with his ears or his “anomalies,” (see my post called The Anomaly if you don’t know what I’m talking about.) He is starting to put his finger in his nose—oh, great! He mimics many things we do, including pretending to eat food and cook in his play kitchen, which we got him for Christmas. He tries to brush his hair and his teeth. He tries to snap his fingers when he sees us doing it. He is starting to wave and say “bye bye.” He understands what “watch your step” means. He picks up pieces of trash and brings them to us, or sometimes to the trash can to throw them away. He gives kisses with his mouth closed, and if you say “kiss” he will lean in. He also gives hugs when asked, sometimes. He loves pointing to everything so we will tell him what it is, including our noses, eyes, mouths, eyebrows, and especially things around the house. He calls me and Cory both “mama,” and sometimes other people too. He tries to sign “mama” and “dada” when he sees us doing it.

He has 14 teeth total now, out of 20 baby teeth that he will most likely have in by the time he’s 2 ½ years old. For now, he has all eight incisors, the top two canines and one bottom canine, and three of his first molars. He’s working on his fourth canine and fourth molar, which are close to coming through. There is no sign of any of his second molars yet, which means we might get a nice little break from teething for a while.

He is eating food finally, in small amounts. He doesn’t usually eat much of the fruits and veggies we give him, at least not yet, but he sure loves bread and chocolate—just like mom and dad! 😉

He still nurses a lot, which ensures that he’s getting the proper nutrition despite his picky eating.

His sleep hasn’t improved much, but it’s to the point of an acceptable imperfection most of the time. He nurses about three to four times each night, but the first time is when I go to bed and the last time is when I’m waking up in the morning, so really he only wakes me up twice at night. He goes to bed between 8 and 8:30, and wakes up sometime between 6:30 to 8. He takes one nap during the day, usually around noon, for about an hour and a half to two hours. Occasionally, he still takes a super long three hour nap, which is a nice treat for me!

He weighs about 22 pounds and is about 29 inches tall.

One of the best changes we’re starting to notice as he gets older is that he is finally becoming less clingy and less prone to separation anxiety. He lets many different people hold him now, including people he doesn’t know that well. We can even leave him with trusted people for short periods of time, perhaps up to an hour, without him crying. Progress! We’ve had two date nights in the past three months that have been really refreshing for us. 🙂

That’s it for now! We’re doing well and Cody’s growing into a happy, smart, sweet little boy.



The Dark Side of Motherhood

Mental illness still has a stigma in our society. People who struggle with mental and emotional health problems are seen as crazy, or weak. Their problems may be seen as exaggerated, made up, or “all in your head.” Some people may suggest that these problems, such as depression and anxiety, can be easily solved with a few simple steps. Even the term “mental illness” is loaded. It sounds serious and scary and abnormal.

The reality is that psychological health is not always easy to maintain, and struggling with mental illness doesn’t make a person weak or crazy or strange. It also doesn’t mean that the person needs medication or that they are going to have a mental breakdown and do something extreme, such as harming themselves or others.

I say all of this because I struggle with depression, and I’ve always been uncomfortable sharing that with people. I still am. But I feel that I need to share it, to help other people out there who are struggling, and to make myself feel more normal.

For me, depression and anger have always been related somehow. I didn’t recognize it until recently, but I think I’ve struggled with a come-and-go type of depression for a great deal of my life, and even as a child I had a hard time handling feelings of anger and frustration.

I’ve heard it said that having children can be very cathartic, because it brings to light problems that you haven’t dealt with and forces you to deal with them. For me, this is definitely true. Since Cody was born, my anger problems have been brought to the surface and I have had to really work on learning to manage my anger better. Children can be amazingly aggravating in ways that push you to your very limits, but as a mother, I know that it is my job to act like the adult no matter what my child does. I have to hold myself to a certain standard, and I do not want to be a mom who yells or loses her temper at her children, especially at my baby who doesn’t even know any better.

My depression has also been an increasing problem since Cody’s birth. I read that it can be common for stay-at-home-moms to experience depression, and the reason for this is clear to me; it’s an incredibly difficult job. It is too easy to become isolated, bored, and monotonous. Add that to the likely sleep deprivation that many moms (and sometimes dads) experience, as well as the hormonal changes that come with and after pregnancy and with breastfeeding. Then, throw in a tiny human who can’t communicate properly, refuses to cooperate with naptimes and other necessary activities, throws frequent tantrums, and is constantly demanding things from you. It’s enough to make anybody want to hide under a blanket and drown themselves in a bucket of ice cream.

In my case, I definitely feel the effects of this stressful job, and my depression and anger can be overwhelming at times. I tend to become irritable and snap at the smallest things, I lose my patience with Cody, and I feel trapped and hopeless and just plain sad about life. It’s really the strangest paradox I’ve ever experienced, though, because at the same time that I’m feeling all of that on a regular basis, I also feel the most unbelievable joy over my little boy. I love him in an inexpressible way, and I would never, ever in a billion years want to change the fact that I have him. I also still believe that I was meant to be a mother, and a stay-at-home-mom, and to have several more children after Cody. It’s confusing at times to feel these two seemingly opposite sides of the coin at the same time.

Another interesting part of my mental struggles is that I don’t feel depressed all of the time. I really only feel that way during the work week, when it’s just me and Cody all day. On the weekends when Cory is here to help and we’re all together, I usually feel perfectly content and happy and excited about life. Friday nights usually feel like a huge weight has been lifted off of me. Saturday mornings I get to sleep in and that extra hour or two of sleep does wonders for me. Then of course on Sunday nights, like tonight, I start to dread the week to come.

Even though I feel pretty confident that my feelings of depression are not healthy or normal levels of sadness that should accompany the ups and downs of life, I have never been officially diagnosed with any form of depression. Part of the reason for this is that I have not sought it out. I have seen therapists twice in my adult life, for specific problems that I had at the time, but I haven’t asked to be diagnosed with depression or stayed in therapy long term. Honestly, I didn’t find it very helpful either time, and it was too expensive anyway. Another reason I haven’t been diagnosed is because I feel like I don’t fit into the parameters of what depression and related issues are supposed to look like. For me, it comes and goes on a weekly basis, and I don’t think I usually look depressed. I get out of bed in the morning, go about my day, and even get out of the house on a daily basis. Yet I still feel an overall “down-ness” that is a bit hard to explain.

Right now, I am doing what I can to work out my issues in the best way I can. I have things that I do to help alleviate the difficulties of stay-at-home-mom-hood, and I have tools that I use to handle my anger. I’m finding little things here and there that help me feel better in general, and of course I’m praying for permanent relief from these feelings of depression. I know that ultimately, God is my healer and he can deliver me. Sometimes, he uses medical and professional help to accomplish his healing, and I know that too. It’s something I am open to if it comes to that.

I hope this post is helpful to somebody. I know that I often feel like it has to be a secret, but it really doesn’t. It’s okay to feel the way I feel, and it’s okay to admit that I’m not perfect and that I’m working on it and that more importantly, God’s working on it. He’s always working to heal and improve me. And I know that I’m okay, even if I don’t have it all together.