Zoloft and gin

Note to self: Zoloft and gin cocktail, bad mix. Looking back over a course of weeks, I have distinguished a pattern. The days following my consumption of more than one glass of wine (etc.) it is as though I hadn’t taken the medication at all. A sort of cancellation comes into play, and I have deduced (just now) that the pleasure of that extra drink (or two) is nullified by my inability to be a loving human being the next day. As if being a loving human being isn’t hard enough.

I’ve written before about why I’m on medication for PMDD. I become deeply melancholic. Then I become reactive and mean. I isolate myself; I push people away with my words. Subsequently, I am filled with regret for what I’ve done, and I cry myself out. Not a regenerative experience.

Yesterday being Christmas, I imbibed freely, prompting my most recent episode and the subsequent revelation that my meds don’t work when I do. As I entered into the stomping off/slamming doors/isolating myself phase of things, Jonah came into my twisted, dark world.

“Mom, can I help you?”

No response.

“Mom, I love you.”

I walked into the bathroom and slammed the door. (It pains me to say I really did that.) When I emerged, Jonah—who had been waiting in his room—came right back, being the persistent kind of miracle that he is. He stood in the doorway and watched me cry.

“Why are you sad?”

“Because I was mean,” I half whispered, half squeaked.

“Yes. You were.”

That’s all he said; then he very intently rolled off a square of toilet paper.

“One of your tears fell on the floor. I am wiping it up.”

He watched me cry awhile longer.

“Can I help you?” he asked again.

I took him by the shoulder and walked to my room. I curled up on the bed. He lay down next to me, took one of my arms and  wrapped it around himself. From time to time he would ask,

“Can I wipe that spot off your face?”

Gabriel eventually wandered in playing his favorite Snail Bob game on the iPad and situated himself on the bed too. We three lay there for at least ten minutes. I still felt sad, but also blessed and cared for.

I told Jonah he would make a good boyfriend when he grew up.

“Yes. I will do that,” he returned.

When I recounted these events to John, he answered, “It is impossible to be mad at Jonah. He is good.” Which is true. There is a goodness in him that approaches transcendence. An earnest love, free of guile.

Which is why I take the medication, so I don’t screw him up with my neurosis. Which is why I’m back to a small glass of a little something instead of my fill—which, in my very particular chemical equation, surpasses excess.

By the way, “my Jonah” (as G would say) is autistic. And ain’t nobody gonna tell me he is lacking in the least. Empathetically or otherwise.

goofy car grin




A small recovery

I just spent two solid beautiful hours alone in my room. It was luxurious. I crawled into bed fully clothed; I read three short stories by Alice Munro, each of them pleasantly disturbing. I watched the light change across the rounded ceiling of the room through the window facing south. I half-listened to the rousing game of hide-and-seek the boys played with The Girls (the reason I’d fled to my room in the first place), to Gabriel teaching John the ins and outs of a game on the iPad in which the objective is to get a snail from here to there without being scorched or impaled or falling off a cliff. For short spells I slept.

It felt like recovery.

Not quite lost in translation

Gabriel has named his snowman “Bun In the Oven”.
This is a product of too much time spent with the movie Ice Age.
G and BIO
It took us awhile to translate. What he really says is “bodily oven”—which in itself is kind of hilarious, considering the meaning of the phrase.

He loves Bun and was disturbed to see his leaning condition (it snowed, then rained); he wanted me to make him straight. I assured him that until it warmed up, Bun would stand. I did my best to pound his smile and eyes back in. As you can see, G is right pleased.

While G and I worked on Bun, J threw himself, quite literally, into the making of a giant snowball, which was to become a snowman, which sort of did, until the crashing game ensued. No matter; he was happy with it. Happy with the game of rolling off and smashing into it. Just plain happy. (Isn’t our neighbor’s house lovely? I love how they decorate for Christmas—classy and understated, completely suited to the design of the house.)

js snowball

In other exciting news, J’s reading is really starting to take off. When he sounds out a word, he is able to more easily pull it together. Something clicks that wasn’t clicking before (which matches up with his newest fascination: cameras). I’m guessing this is due to a developmental leap, coupled with the reading program his wonderful intervention specialist is doing with him.

And while I might bemoan the preponderance of Ice Age references, I never thought I’d be so grateful for a movie-spinoff reader. Knowing the story makes a monumental difference when it comes to deciphering new words. He wants to read.

reading hands

As does G, who has a thing for song lyrics, particularly Gram Parson’s “Return of the Grievous Angel” covered by The Counting Crows. He pulls out the booklet from the library-borrowed case and “reads” the liner notes, which comes across as a garbled rendition of the song lyrics as he understands them (yes, it’s hilariously cute). His words pretty much run together in a long stream of barely distinguishable syllables until the phrase, “out with the truckers and the kickers and the cowboy angels / and a good saloon in every town” which he pronounces with a sweet twang all his own.

Quick and Dirty

We were in and out of the Christmas tree farm in less than thirty minutes, including the five seconds it took our bumbling tree guy to break the perfect point off the top of the tree as he tied it up to Ye ‘Ol Suburu. New record.

Granted, the sun was on its way down, and it was darn cold, which sped us on our way. I don’t think G felt we had sufficiently considered his opinion—or that we had given him any time at all to form an opinion—but once John put saw to trunk, he was satisfactorily convinced.

tree chopPredictably, it’s of the Charlie Brown sort. What does that make this? Charlie Brown 10.0? charlie brown treeg in lights

Gabriel is about all things Christmas. His delight in the tree (and its ornaments) is quite electric. He visits his guitar on a regular basis, and checks in with the various Santa ornaments. Once a day he opens the tree in the shape of a pear and laughs at the naked partridge therein.

This year we have been particularly considering just what to make of Christmas. We celebrated the real St. Nicholas on December 6th by attending a Vespers service the evening before, during which time J donned his altar robes and did his best not to fidget (“I had to pee the whole time mom!”). He also kept smelling his hands and wiping them on his robes (“My hands got all sweaty mom!):

altar j

The boys put out their boots on the eve of the feast. Predictably, Gabriel awoke around 4 a.m. to look and see what the Great Nick had put in his boot. I wrestled him in my bed for a good forty-five minutes to no avail; he’d caught a glimpse. It was all “Count Dooku” this (he got a Lego keychain) and “My own microphone!” that (walkie talkies). J awoke not much later, and the rest of the morning was spent trying to keep them asleep for a reasonable amount of time.

G is in a state of confusion about the multiple manifestations of Santa Claus. J is riding the fence as to whether he exists at all. And then there’s the question of gifts, of consumerism, of waste. And of course, money. It’s so fun to get; I’m as delighted as the next person to receive something I’ve really wanted or admired. That said, I have taken at least five trips to the used kids’ shop in the past year, selling back unused, forgotten toys and outgrown clothes.  

Yet Christmas is my favorite and my best. My name day (Ruth) comes right before (Sunday of the Genealogy). The familiar refrain of “God with us” resets me; the cold weather and skeleton trees invigorate and make the contemplative girl in me wake up.

But the way to “do” Christmas remains a question we test and wrestle with every year. Especially far from family and the established traditions we grew up with.

In weather-related news, today is crystalline cold. We bundle up periodically to get outside and get our crazies out, not that that works. Someone at church remarked to me Sunday, “At least they’ll conk out at night.” Not necessarily.

j unreal cold!