From a Door to a Headboard

When I had my son at the end of 2009, I convinced my husband that we needed a new bed. The old one was 10 years old and I wanted to upgrade to a king this time around. The master bedroom in my house is huge, so we definitely had the space. The previous owners put a 500 square foot addition on our ranch that makes up our office and master bedroom. Our queen sleigh bed looked small in the large space.

The new king mattress fit nicely into our space, but my sleigh bed, which was made for a queen, was relegated to the attic to sit in storage. For the next 5 years, our bed was a big mattress set on a metal frame.

Enter my bff, Pinterest, and I figured out how I could pretty up my bed. Here’s a before shot. (When I snapped this photo, I was playing around with the idea of using my bureau as a footboard. I was also doing laundry. Let’s just pretend it’s not there.)

WP_20150208_10_31_59_ProI visited Habitat for Humanity’s Re-store with my friend Denise, and I came home with this door for only $25.

They called it the "Princess door."

The “Princess door.”

The princesses were a bitch to get off. I used nail polish to remove them, but that only took off the color. The dark outline of each princess was still clear as day. So, because I was wanting to move on, I just sanded it down and figured the first coat of paint would cover them up.

After the first coat of paint.

After the first coat of paint.

I chose a light teal color. First, because I liked it, and second, because I had some left over from when we painted the playroom walls the same color. I picked up a 7 foot piece of vinyl molding/trim from Home Depot for $7 and a big bottle of wood glue for $3. Using my husband’s circular saw (I have no idea what it’s proper name is) I cut the trim to the width of the door. I used the wood glue to attach the trim to the top of the door and added a second coat of paint.

Trim and second coat of paint? Check!

Trim and second coat of paint? Check!

Once the paint was dry, I had to figure out how I was going to mount this thing. I didn’t have any other wood to make “legs” to keep the headboard up off the floor, so I decided I would nail it directly to the wall. But the door was too heavy for me to both hold in place and nail to the wall at the same time.

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It just so happens that one of my filing cabinets was the exact height that I wanted the bottom of the headboard to be off the floor! Yay for things working in my favor! My level told me everything was perfect.

Fitting flush underneath the window trim.

Fitting flush underneath the window trim.

This drives me completely crazy!

This drives me completely crazy!

 

Apparently, the builders of my master bedroom didn’t line up the bottom of the two windows exactly. What the heck people?! Aren’t you all anal retentive like me? Why can’t everything line up correctly? This tiny little snag was quite the conundrum for me. Do I hang the headboard according to the level, which makes the right corner cover the bottom corner of the window trim? Or do I move the right side of the headboard down a teeny tiny bit to fit flush underneath the window trim, leaving the headboard slightly tilted to the right? I chose the latter.

Nailed it!

Nailed it!

Side view.

Side view.

Not too bad for $35. Once my headboard was in place, I bought a new duvet cover to spruce things up.

And voila!

My coastal-colored bed. My husband hates the ruffles. I think they make it look romantic.

My coastal-colored bed. My husband hates the ruffles. I think they make it look romantic.

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Restless in Writersland

It’s been months now that I’ve been plagued with restlessness. I still haven’t found something to quiet it. I have all these things I want to get done, yet no desire to actually do the physical work.

I love to cook, but right now I dread cooking.

I love to write, but right now I dread writing. I’m forcing myself to write this blog post because if I was writing every time I was thinking about writing, I’d have written 100 novels by now. I have to start somewhere and all of you get to come along for the ride.

I love to read and yet I haven’t felt the desire to pick up a book. I even stopped reading partway through a book by one of my favorite authors because I just couldn’t get into it. What?! I’d been waiting 4 years for the book to come out, have been reading the series since 2003, and I struggled for 3 weeks to read 160 pages. Then I gave up and returned it to the library.

I bought some new CDs with birthday money I’d been hoarding since October. I think it’s been more than a year since I bought a CD. The only time I’ve listened to them is when I’ve been in the car with the kids.

Art projects are lining themselves up on my craft table (which is just a folding table I’ve set up in my office so I have a surface where I can leave unfinished projects). Scrapbooking, sewing, jewelry. I’ve scribbled some notes about book ideas in my journal. I’ve pulled a bunch of clutter off my bookshelves and started boxing things up with the crazy idea that I’m going to refinish my bedroom furniture, shelves included. I even have plans to build my own bed with some unwanted wood a friend has in her backyard.

Not one project has been finished.

I’m contemplating ripping out the carpeting in my living room and attempting to lay down laminate wood floors. Someone, please talk me out of it!

You Have Problems

My daughter had a friend over last week. They were playing in her room when I heard the friend say, “You have problems.” My daughter responded with an amused, “No, I don’t.” and continued to play. The friend repeated it a few more times. “You have problems.”

“No, I don’t have problems.”

“Yes you do have problems. My mom told me you have problems.”

I was sitting in the living room listening to this exchange with my gut slowly shriveling up inside me with hurt and dread and guilt. What do you say in that kind of situation? I called the friend into the living room and politely asked her to stop saying that to my daughter and that if she continued to say it, I would send her home. The friend meekly complied. For about 2 minutes. Then I heard some furious whispering and my daughter burst out of her room crying, ran down the hall and out the door. I ran after her, worried and upset for her. She told me she didn’t want to play with her friend anymore because she was being mean. I wasn’t sure what to say to her, so I thought about what I would do if someone was being mean to me in my own house.

“If your friend continues to be mean and you don’t want to play with her anymore, you can ask her to go home. You don’t have to play with friends who are mean to you.” I wasn’t sure if she’d do it. My daughter’s self-esteem is low and she is so social and loving that she puts up with a lot from other kids for the chance to play with them.

I sat back down in the living room. Playing commenced. About 2 minutes went by when the friend whispered something else and my daughter said, in a clear and loud voice, “You’re being mean and I want you to go home.”

The friend left the house crying and I called her mom to let her know she was walking home (a few houses down) and why she was crying. I can describe the conversation with one word: awkward. When I hung up with the mom, I was still upset. Not at the friend, or even at the mom who told her daughter that my kid had problems, but just generally upset that this was probably just the tip of the iceberg to come. Being hurt by your friends sucks. Watching your child get hurt by her friends sucks about a thousand times more.

That night while I was making dinner, my daughter sat down at the table and asked me if she had problems.

“Do you think you have problems?” I countered.

“No.”

“Then you don’t have any problems.” And I meant it. Because, who doesn’t have problems? If you feel good about yourself and you are functioning well in society, you’re doing just fine. And if anyone tells you otherwise, just tell them to go home.

The Ride is Over

rollercoasters in cities venice frozen over nois7 surreal photos images manipulations RThe roller coaster goes up. And then it comes down.

I hit my emotional limit last month dealing with my child’s mental health issues. Five weeks later and I feel like I’m sitting on the bench watching the rides from a distance. With a correct diagnosis, we have received more help and support from the “system” than I even knew existed. We started a mood stabilizer that has changed the lives of everyone in my house. We are receiving In Home Support from 2 Master’s Level LCSWs who call themselves Behavior Health Professionals, or BHPs, 10 hours per week.

I have a Case Manager who has been educating me on all of the programs and resources available to our family. She does all the research and paperwork and we are reaping the benefits. My daughter got a scholarship to take Therapeutic Horseback Riding lessons at a local farm. We are looking into other social activities for her as well. Although, I must say, one activity at a time is all we’re taking on at the moment.

On one hand, I have been super busy implementing all the treatment plans we have been given, juggling appointments and blocks of time the BHPs are here. We still have day camp, trips to the beach, trips to the lake, bike riding, hiking, and spending time with friends. (My kids, not me, unfortunately.) On the other hand, my life hasn’t been this calm in a long time. I’ll take calm and busy any day of the week and twice on Sundays.

The biggest miracle that has occurred from all this? My daughter is SLEEPING THROUGH THE NIGHT!!!! Ever since we started the mood stabilizer, everyone in the house is getting continuous sleep at night. It may not sound like much when compared to the other improvements in behavior and mood, but let me tell you, I am a better person and a better parent after 5 weeks of being able to sleep through the night. This is the first time in six and a half years that I have felt rested.

Only three more weeks until school starts! This mama, as calm as she is, is really ready for the fall.

Mommy’s Little Boo-Boo

I just deleted my last post. My husband was pretty upset with me for posting my daughter’s personal business on my blog. So, even though I can’t take it back, I deleted it and hope that my little boo-boo doesn’t come back to bite me in the butt.

My argument for writing the blog was twofold. One, I’m writing a blog about my life and that life, as a stay at home mom, is completely consumed with my child’s issues right now. I was at my emotional limit. I needed to vent. Two, I grew up thinking that mental illness was something shameful that should be kept a secret. And that didn’t feel good. I don’t want my kids to ever feel shame for things that are beyond their control. I’m done with secrets. I want them to be able to be open about themselves, to be vulnerable in a way I never could be, and accept that they are okay just the way they are. No matter what anyone else thinks of them.

My husband’s argument was that it should be our daughter’s decision to share her personal business with the world. I hadn’t thought about it from that angle before I had written and published my blog post and I felt pretty guilty about sharing something she may want to keep to herself. So I’m going to ask, for those of you who know my family personally, to keep the info I shared to yourselves. I hoping, when she’s old enough to understand, that she will share it and be supported by her friends and family.

I’m not sure how I’m going to continue this blog without really discussing what’s going on in my life, but we’ll see!

Remember Veruca Salt?

I’m not talking about the band, either. The all time classic movie from my childhood is Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. If you are anywhere near my age, or if you have just seen the original movie (I won’t even comment on the creepiness of the Johnny Depp remake), you will remember Veruca Salt.

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Oh yeah. There she is as we best remember her – demanding something that she wants. Of all the children’s characters in that movie, Veruca Salt stands out. Why? Because she has personality. Yes, she’s a spoiled brat. Yes, she is pretty unlikable and we feel sorry for her father in the movie, being saddled with such a termagant for a kid. But maybe Veruca is misunderstood. She’s a little girl begging for attention from her parents, who are too busy for her and instead indulge her every whim so that they don’t have to deal with any confrontation.

Look at that sweet face. All she wanted was a golden egg! Geez!

 

You’re thinking, What’s the point of all this, Tamara? The point, my dears, is that we remember Veruca because of her distinct personality. Actually, she’s my favorite character in the movie because she completely cracks me up. That girl knows how to get what she wants.

I keep this thought in my head when I’m dealing with the little quirks of my own children’s personalities. This morning, I dropped my son off for his last day of nursery school. He was wearing his favorite Spiderman t-shirt and matching shorts. He was also wearing his Spiderman winter cap and red gloves. He refused to take them off before we left because he said that wearing them makes him Spiderman. So Spiderman/Chase went to school in a winter hat and gloves because I figure, hey, that’s just his personality. Who cares if it looks a little ridiculous; it’s pretty cute if you ask me.

And when my daughter wears her bathing suit to school under her clothes and removes said clothes on the bus in the morning? Okay, okay, I think. It’s just a Veruca Salt. She’s just being who she is, my quirky little firecracker who thinks she looks pretty in her bathing suit.

I grew up with a strong personality. I, too, know how to get what I want. So when my kids are testing my limits with all those personality quirks that make them who they are, I tell myself that they’ll turn out all right. Because I was quirky too and look how great I turned out.

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An Introvert’s Guide to Parenting

Hi, my name is Tamara and I’m an introvert. One of the many, many things that I didn’t know about parenting when I was newly wedded and dreaming of babies is that your entire social sphere is altered irreparably by the appearance of a mini-you.

When you become a parent:

Strangers Will Feel Urged to Talk to You. It’s like some invisible door has been opened and people feel comfortable stepping on through to chat. If you are outside of the house and are toting a kid (or two), people feel some sort of common bond with you. Which means they will strike up a conversation. Anywhere you go. You’re standing in the grocery store staring at the wall of spaghetti sauces and trying to decide which one you want while simultaneously remembering something stupid you said 15 years ago and (on the other side of your brain) trying to debunk Sartre’s Existentialist Philosophy. A stranger will roll on up into your peripheral vision and smile and make some benign comment about your kids. Or about children in general. Or (my favorite) ask you a stupid question. Like, “Oh my God, they are so cute! Are they twins?” when, really, your kids are different genders and 2 years apart in age.

This stranger-speaking phenomenon will begin the moment you are obviously pregnant. During your pregnancy, the stranger speaking to you may also touch you. You will, most assuredly, hear at least one terrifying birth/parenting story that will haunt you for the next three months.

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Kids will invite your kids to birthday parties. Hello personal nightmare. No matter the venue, it’s loud, it’s crowded, it’s overwhelmingly visually stimulating and you will need to try to keep track of where your child is at all moments while mingling with complete strangers. These parties can last for hours. And you can’t leave whenever you want because a) they haven’t sung Happy Birthday yet, b) you don’t want to offend the parents of your kid’s friend or c) you’re parked in and would have to ask 5+ strangers to move their cars. Did I mention that it’s loud? And crowded?

You have to go places you would never had visited before. There are baby clothes stores, baby furniture stores, photography studios, school functions, school field trips, your neighbors’ houses, ER visits, pediatricians, pediatric eye doctors, any number of specialists if your pediatrician thinks something is wrong with your child’s development. You will visit water parks, amusement parks, local parks and playgrounds packed with other parents who will want to chat because they haven’t spoken to another adult all day long. You will, at least once, set foot in a kid-centric restaurant/playland for birthday parties. See above.

Eventually, your kids will want to leave the house. This will bother you since you can’t think of anything more fun than hanging out at home. In elastic waistband pants. Your kids, on the other hand, will be able to think of numerous places outside of the house and yard that they would like you to take them. See above.

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You will dread drop-off/pick-up and/or the wait at the bus stop. The drive-by drop-off is always preferred by the introvert, but sometimes that’s not an option. You will be mingling with the other parents while you drop off and pick up. You will have to stand at the bus stop with a group of other parents from your neighborhood and make *shudder* small talk. (This introvert will say that once you get to know the parents, this won’t bother you anymore. You will look forward to chatting with the one or two parents that you know.)

You will have to do all these things without letting your kids know they bother you, because you don’t want to inadvertently teach them to be uncomfortable in the same circumstances.

Can my other introverted parents out there think of anything I missed?