Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Holiday Analysis: Abridged Version

This holiday season kicked my ass! I could give you a play-by-play on how my holiday went, but chances are most of you lived some version of it, and probably don’t want to relive it again. To sum it up in one word, my holiday was arduous. Which then made me feel bitter because after all this hard work, I would like to at least enjoy Christmas with my family. Let me explain. . . .

First of all, like most moms I know, I was the head producer of the holiday season. I made that sure that there were set designs, wardrobe changes and music for the different scenes, food and beverage for the craft services table, props to open, scheduling hair and makeup, and photo documentation. Harrington was a good assistant producer, don’t get me wrong, but you know, it’s not the same. If you are wondering why it sounds so much like a production, it’s because Christmas is a production when there is a set of divorced parents, my parents, guests from out of town, and close extended family in addition to the four of us under this roof. So in 3 days, we had 5 events. I felt so confident that I planned everything so it wouldn’t be too exhausting, but as my Dad always says, “Six to one, half-dozen the other.” Either way, 5 events in 3 days is exhausting, and from what I can remember, there were some good times and some not-so-good times.

Merry Christmas!
Baby Jesus delivered several Christmas miracles this season, number one being that I lost all but a few pounds of baby weight in less than a year! A close second would be a certain family member finally taking responsibility for a big mistake, not only with words, but with actions and followed through to create a very nice holiday memory for me and the Babes. I also think it should be noted that actually surviving 5 events in 3 days (with Thomas recovering from his 2 month long ear infection) should be considered a miracle as well.

Let’s just say that when given the opportunity to rise to the occasion, some people continue to be the lowest common denominator. Not only continue, but seem content with their chosen lot in life. And although I find this frustrating, at least I can say they are consistent; therefore, I can act accordingly. Instead of getting all mad and confrontational, I just smile, finish my lines for that scene, and remember that I don’t have to be a bitch because Lady Karma already is!

Random Christmas Program Note
I think it’s funny how some people are shocked that Marie, as smart as she is, does not drive her 3 year old self to the store to pick up the materials for her holiday crafts that she makes as gifts and does not have her own Snapfish account or own credit card to create and order her gifts. And shockingly enough, Harrington is not the one who scurries home from work, gobbles down his dinner, and tries to fit in craft time with his daughter before bath time. I know it’s going to come as a shocker, but it’s ME! *GASP* Who would have ever thought that?!?! Anyway-

Happy New Year, Everyone!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

My Favorite Christmas Music

Christmas music is one of the most essential ingredients for my holiday season. I remember listening to Christmas music with my Mom when we decorated the tree and baked Christmas cookies. I remember the skip in her Johnny Mathis album on the O Holy Night! song. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the feeling I get when I listen to Christmas music. And I LOVE how Marie gets just as excited as I do so now at least I have a partner in crime. However, I am very particular about what kind and who sings what song. So without any further ado, my favorite Christmas music list, condensed version:

There’s No Place Like Home for the Holidays sung Perry Como
This song is great because I get all gushy for that going-home-to-my-parents-house feeling . . . even though I see them a lot and they live fifteen minutes away.

It’s the Most Wonderful Time o f Year sung by Andy WilliamsI think this song is loaded with irony. Like when Andy croons, “Everyone telling you be a good cheer!” Yes, be a good cheer when you feel like you are going insane with the Christmas Craziness!! But my all time favorite line in that song is, “They’ll be scary ghost stories and tales of the glories of Christmases long, long ago.” Yes, scary ghost stories like the time Santa didn’t get to Christmas Eve until 9 p.m. and Marie, who was 8 months old at the time, had a SUPER meltdown (and I told her to be a good cheer, but that didn’t seem to cheer her up, ironically). And I know the lyrics say “glories of Christmases long, long ago,” but I like to think it really says “gories of Christmases long, long ago.” There are too many gories of Christmas past to share, but more recently (and on the tamer side) it would be someone saying something to the effect that I (when I was six months pregnant last Christmas) was big enough to wear a supersize garbage bag and maybe fit in the trunk of her car. Nice.

Hark! The Herald Angels Sing sung by Nat King Cole
The women’s voices that sing right before it cuts out to Nat’s voice gives me chills! This song reminds me of my all time favorite movie It’s a Wonderful Life. The whole angel theme just makes me all warm and fuzzy inside.

O! Holy Night! sung by Johnny Mathis
His voice is like butt-ah! I love it! Actually, I love this whole album. Plus it reminds me of my childhood; my Mom and I used to listen to this album when we baked Christmas cookies. And childhood and Christmas are enough to make anyone all teary-eyed! (And if someone else like Chris Groban tries to sing it, I get all mad because Johnny is the ONLY person who can sing it)!
Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas sung by Judy Garland
This song is so sad and beautiful. Judy’s voice sounds melancholy when she talks about being light and troubles out of sight. This is another song when I get all upset when someone else tries to sing Judy’s Christmas song!

Winter Wonderland
Living in the Midwest, I am no stranger to snow storms. I love that this song makes snow storms sound like fun. Johnny Mathis or Harry Connick, Jr. both do this song justice!

Baby, It’s Cold Outside! sung by Al Hirt and Ann Margret
Speaking of songs that make snow storms sound like fun . . . I imagine in the old days when people used to listen to records and know how to make drinks like Tom Collins and Old Fashioneds.

Bing Crosby and the Andrew Sisters
I love all Christmas songs sung by Bing Crosby and the Andrew Sisters including the following:
Santa Claus is Coming to Town
Mele Kalikimaka
Here Comes Santa Claus
Jingle Bells
Poppa Santa Claus
Jing-a-ling, Jing-a-ling

To be honest, the stress of the holidays is enough to kill any joy and merriment that can be so magical during this season. These songs help me find that place of happiness when all I want to do is cancel Christmas. It’s just like Buddy says in Elf, “The best way to spread Christmas Cheer is singing loud for all to hear!”

What are your favorite Christmas songs? What kind of memories do they bring up?

Friday, December 4, 2009

Christmas Shopping, the Holy Grail, and the Patron Saint of Mothers Shopping Alone with Two Babes

“Wow!” That’s pretty much all I can say. It’s like I pushed the fast forward button on warp speed after Thanksgiving, and next thing I knew, a whole week went by in a blink of an eye! So what have I been up to, you may (or may not) be wondering? SHOPPING!! And not the fun kind where I browse, and think, “Oh so-and-so would like that. I think I’ll get it.” After paying in cash for my item, I think to myself, “I think I’ll have a Starbucks. I’ll have a large 2% crème Brule latte with whip and the crunchy things on top, since there are no calories in it.” (This is MY fantasy shopping trip)!

No, my shopping this week started with scouring the Internet for deals on princess castles on AND after Thanksgiving, and then again on Cyber Monday. Then I went on Price Grabber a gagillion times to see if I could pay anything less than $50 for a princess castle. And then there it was, The Disney Special Moments Cinderella Castle, the Holy Grail of Princess Castles (according to Marie . . . I would have preferred the one from Imaginarium . . . if it was not like $100+). I found the Holy Grail at Wal-Mart with free shipping for $44. I felt like I made a deal with the devil on many different levels. But whatever, it’s Christmas, and I knew it was a toy she would play with for hours and hours and hours.

Then there were the two super rushed shopping trips to actual brick and mortar stores. Harrington took a half a day, and we scurried around town with coupons galore gripped in our sweaty, deal-hungry hands! We begged and pleaded with the lady at Kohls to take our coupon a day early so we wouldn’t have to go back. We ran in and out of Target so fast, I am sure the child-like security guard thought we had lifted some merch’.

And then I had the insane idea of shopping alone with my babes. I ran to 3 stores with my double side-by-side stroller. I was feeling pretty good about myself as I gracefully navigated through dressing rooms and areas with breakable glass. I felt even better when I went to the Disney Store and shopped for Marie unbeknownst to her. (I took a sales person and literally spelled out what I needed to put in my bag, had her hold it behind the counter while Marie picked out a decoy purchase for her and Thomas. I never knew how fast I spelled when the lady looked at me and said that she only heard the "l-y" from j-e-w-l-r-y). I was feeling all heady from the buy-one-get-one sale, pulling my sneaky shopping trip off without one of my shopping companions being any wiser, AND that I hadn’t lost either babe in the store, we decided to celebrate at the food court. She wanted a hot dog, and my bourbon chicken was on the opposite side. So being the good mother that I am, I bought her from hot dog first and then attempted to push my big-ass stroller in one hand and hold her tray with RED fruit punch in the other. I got so close to my bourbon chicken stand and then I bumped into a table and SPLASH went the RED fruit punch all over Marie, the stroller, my new shoes, and Thomas’s pants. The Patron Saint of Mothers Shopping Alone with Two Babes must have been looking down on me because the custodial service workers were right there to clean EVERYTHING (even the stroller) for me. And when I told the bourbon chicken guy I foolishly tried that crazy maneuver all for the bourbon chicken, he gave me an extra scoop. Thanks Patron Saint of Mothers Shopping Alone with Two Babes! So even though that was a disaster, the babes were great. I also reveled in the fact that (despite The Fruit Punch Incident) I am getting better at taking the both babes out all by myself!

How’s your shopping coming along? Any good stories from this year (or those from Christmas past)?

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

A Very Special Thanksgiving Edition: My Words are Just as Tasty as Thanksgiving Dinner

There is a lot to be thankful for this year. I am thankful my husband has a job (no easy feat in Michigan). I am thankful for my two great babes and their periods of good health and always thankful it’s not been too serious. I am thankful for Sex Rehab with Dr. Drew. (I absolutely LOVE that show! My favorite cast member is Phil Varone. I love how he said he had a normal childhood and then during art therapy, we learn his mom made him do coke. I KNEW there was more to the story). Ah, but I digress.

I have something new to be grateful. I am thankful for the better relationship I have with my mother-in-law. For awhile it was a tumultuous relationship, to say the least. Before I became engaged, it seemed like a non-issue. But shortly after our engagement, she served her ex with his walking papers. Things got a little weird. She was in this new place of working through a divorce and having her son leave the nest. I was trying to plan a wedding under stressful circumstances and figure out married life. (Major life transitions were never my strong suite back then). So things got really ugly for awhile. When Marie was born, it got even worse because she wanted to be a part of her life, but wasn’t taking the steps to mend the relationship with Harrington and me. I could go on and on and on how horrible it was (like thinking to myself that I will NEVER get along with her), but I feel that none of that matters now. We both have worked hard to make things not only bearable, but likable. I mean this woman who was rumored to say some pretty horrible things about me now invites me and Marie to ride the train at Greenfield Village and has had made me dinner. And this other woman who was acted very reactively, has lightened up a bit and doesn’t get all hot and bothered when she does something that is a bit flakey (because it has taken me a LOOONNNGGG time to realize that it wasn’t coming from a hurtful place). Don’t get me wrong, things are not perfect as no relationship ever is. But I feel that she respects my boundaries and because of that I feel that I can let some of those self-preservation walls down.

The funny thing is, neither one of us has mentioned how things are so much better. But I guess some things can just go without saying because my mouth is too full of my delicious words. . .

Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Baby Clothes and the Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

I’m going to cut right to the chase since I am challenging myself to write this in 30 minutes or less (or until nap time ends, whichever comes first). Plainly said, I hate baby clothes with silly or stupid sayings on them. I think it speaks volumes about the parents since the poor babe who is forced to wear such monstrosities has no say. And yes, I guess I am being judgmental. Perhaps it’s my English teacher mind always analyzing the meaning of the text. Whatever. Here’s my arsenal of offenders:

I received this as a “gift” when I found out I was pregnant with my first. Maybe this is where the hate affair began. I think this is tacky since my take is that it is implying that having a child results in money. Last time I checked, the $500ish that we received for having a baby barely covered diaper/food expenses let alone doctor visits. I just think it’s annoying.

When I was expecting Marie, I was bothered by all the diva and princess shit out there. I felt like it was priming girls to be like Paris Hilton. Why put that out there? And when I was expecting Thomas, it was even worse. There were all these shirts about Mommy’s Lil’ Monster. Maybe I was extra sensitive about it because everyone said having a boy would be hard and frustrating and not at all like having a sweet, little girl (who apparently could be trained to be a diva). If parents are buying into this, then is it not only setting them up to act like that, but also accepting bad behavior later on in life? If the girl is demanding, it’s justifiable because isn’t she just a cute, lil’ diva . . . at 13 years of age? Or if that boy is a bully in school, it’s ok because he’s mommy’s lil’ monster? I know that’s making a big jump, but I saw a lot of bad behavior when I was teaching junior high, and the parents were so blasé about it. They just accepted it because well, they’re just kids. (Kids that probably wore stupid onsies because parents thought it was cool and had no awareness about the under currents of their parenting philosophy).

The first time I saw this saying on a shirt was when I was shopping for Thomas before he was born. I found this adorable collection of brown and blue onsies and on one of them said, “Property of Mom’s Forever.” Yikes! Yes, let’s make sure your son feels so loved (I mean suffocated) that he either can’t make a decision for himself because you are too much in his face or he hates you for not giving him his space. People- as- property is never a good idea. Connection, moms, not enmeshment!

This shirt is ridiculous. I hope the $12.50 was worth it because the therapy bill for the lesser of the siblings is going to need about 150 times more than that.

The Grandma onsies bother me because they are just cheesy. Seriously, if anyone is calling Grandma, it’s me because I need a break.

I know someone who received this t-shirt as a gift because the father was always telling his baby to calm down. Everyone (except me) thought it was funny because “isn’t it funny that daddy is always telling you to calm down, but your shirt tells him to calm down. Don’t you get it? Isn’t it funny and ironic?” Yes, so ironic I don’t know why Alanis Morrisett didn’t add as a lyric to her song “Isn’t That Ironic?”

The first time I saw this one, I was at story time with my daughter. I thought that was by far the tackiest shirt on someone less than 4 feet tall. Ironically enough, this mother had two boys. And furthermore, he couldn’t sit through story time or share the trains at the train table to save his life. So yes, I guess we’ll see who does get locked up.

The next few I believe need no explanation.

If you crave more stupid baby/toddler clothing stories, check out LuLu and Moxley’s Mom. She wrote two compelling commentaries, one about southern male toddlers and another involving jeans and cowboy boots. She is also writing for WEBSITE. She’s amazing and always makes me laugh.

Happy Friday!

Friday, November 13, 2009

This Chick Gets Me

OK, so I was all wondering what I should blog about. I could have totally talked about the mass amounts of stress I have been experiencing. I could have written about the physical and mental toll my sick babes have had on me since August. I could have written about my internal dilemma of the H1N1 vaccine, and after debating it, finally decided yes, only to wait two hours in line to get it. I could have written about my in-law drama. But seriously, I live that stuff all the time, and I needed a break from all that stressness swirling in my head.

So then I was going to blog about my favorite TV shows. I was going to tell you how much I love Modern Family. I was going to discuss the awesome programming that is Sex Rehab with Dr. Drew. I wanted to analyze the conflict between Gretchen and Tamara from Real Housewives of Orange County.

But then I got this in the mail:

My cousin Ashleigh sent this to me with a super sweet message inside about my blog. Isn’t she awesome!! I love this girl! There are a few years between us, but we were close growing up. We lived far away from each other, and we used to spend the night at each other’s houses. We would have a blast watching movies and listening to music. She would later be one of my bridesmaids. Our lives took different paths. She brushed off the dust of her hometown and went to live in an exciting city. And well me, you know what’s going on with me. We don’t get to see each other all that often, usually just holidays. We don’t talk all the time either, but I think about her a lot and wonder how she is. (And sometimes a bit envious that she lives in a cool city and actually gets paid to write. But in a so-proud-of-you, kind of way, not a mean-I-am-jealous-hate-you kind of way)!

Sometimes it’s easy to lose sight of family bonds when in the trenches of raising kids. It’s also easy to feel alone and no connection to myself when deep in the business of taking care of babies. Then I get a card in the mail and remember that I am part of a bigger tribe, and some of those tribe members totally get me. That’s the cool thing about extended family. Once that bond is there, I feel like it is there for life. We may be traveling on different paths, but I will always feel connected to her. It helps that she is one awesome person with a great taste and a wickedly funny sense of humor. I wish we lived closer so we could go get coffee or a drink sometime. Ah, geography can be a bitch!

Ashleigh, I don’t say it enough, but I love you! You are awesome. I miss you!! I am super glad that I have a cousin like you.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

The “L” Trifecta

I find a lot of things annoying: people who don’t use their turn signals, people who can’t text “OK,” just “K,” people who think “alot” is one word. I know those are all petty things, and I think they are annoying like Jon and Kate that just WILL NOT GO AWAY.

The “L” Trifecta is much deeper than some jerk that chooses not to signal his merging into my lane of traffic. The “L” Trifecta is a compilation of the three things that drive me so insane because they are the total opposite of what I value in life, my anti-values if you will. (They all start with the letter L, consequently).

I like to think that lying comes in shades, usually in the best interest not to hurt someone’s feelings. Example: Of course those peg-legged, acid wash jeans make your hips and butt look SMALLER! I also think there are different ways to lie, as well.

The Bold-Faced Lie – This is the lie that is the direct opposite of the truth. Example: “Hey, I heard you had a big St. Patrick’s Day party the other day. Why wasn’t I invited?” “Well, it wasn’t so much a big St. Patrick’s Day party as it was a small-ish gathering of friends. That everyone wore green. And drank green beer. So no, it definitely was not a St. Patrick’s Day party at all.”

Omission of the Truth – This is a lie because the person willingly chooses not to share pertinent information by just “accidently” leaving it out. I consider this very sneaky and therefore a lie. Example: “Well, I forgot to tell you this (even though we have seen each other very often), but we got married . . . two months ago. We didn’t tell you because we thought you’d be upset. Even though we have seen you many, many times during these eight weeks, we thought not telling you would be best (this is a double word score since this was a bold-faced lie they told themselves).

Subtle Lies/False Advertising – This is a lie in the fact that people are displaying one thing, but you know a very different thing is happening behind closed-doors. Example: The happy couple that splashes their shiny, happy faces and happy, doting comments to each other all over their social networking sites (so everyone can see) when you have inside information that there is something very much to the contrary happening when their fingers are bleeding from all their HAPPY updates. I find that these people also like to send out lengthy Annual Holiday Update Letters about how HAPPY and FABULOUS their year has been. As if. . . it were true.

I am not talking about the kind of laziness where you just can’t bring yourself to dust your house or decide to buy lunchmeat for week’s worth of lunches AND dinner. (The deli guy, who must have only been 18 years old, commented on how much lunchmeat I was buying. When I told him it was for both lunches AND dinner, he said that everyone deserves a break. Nice). There are lots of ways to be lazy than a negligent housewife.

Laziness vs. Knowledge - I hate when people make a giant mistake and the recourse is so severe, instead of accepting responsibility, they claim “no one told me.” Example: “I didn’t know hives, mucus-y bowl movements, a rash, and projective vomit indicated an allergy. No one told me.” “I didn’t know giving my child Sprite on a regular basis was not healthy. No one told me.”
It’s like this vast sea of common knowledge was not only kept secret from them, but it was not their responsibility to discover it. Just ask them; they’ll tell you they didn’t know because no one told them.

Laziness in a Relationship - This one is a personal favorite. After carrying the full weight of a relationship, I stopped making calls. The person who was dishing the load complained about the stopped phone calls in which I reminded them that the phone works both ways. The comment was met with an awkward silence, in which I would’ve liked to have added a follow-up question, “Are your fingers broken, set in tiny little casts, which would inhibit your ability to dial my phone number?” (If you are curious to read more about this subject, read this).

Laziness and the Crowd – This is the kind of laziness where a person just goes with the flow because it’s easy, not necessarily a good thing. Example: There is a situation in which the crowd is doing one thing, and it is generally accepted as wrong and hurtful to someone innocent. Because it is easier, this person chooses not to say anything because a confrontation would require more effort and that is far less important that an innocent person’s feelings (especially if it is a young, optimistic child). That is a perfect segway into the third L in the trifecta . . .

Large-Scale Narcissism
I believe everyone has some degree of narcissism. I’m not talking about accidently turning a conversation about you because you have a similar experience that legitimately contributes to the discussion. I’m talking about making huge leaps and bounds to make a connection to the subject matter so that person can talk about his/herself. Example: Comparing a child’s visit to the pediatrician to talk about his developmental delays to a story about runaway teens you watched on Dr. Phil. Example: A little boy tells his aunt that he wants a dog. The aunt says sure. Even though the mom says no, the aunt brings the dog to the little boy’s home. And that dog that had no clearance to join the family lived for fourteen years! Ouch!

But it’s more complicated than just unwarranted gifts or infuriating conversations. It’s the kind of narcissism that skews reality so badly that the person cannot comprehend the concept of personal boundaries. This self-entitlement leads to controlling others, and they only care about making themselves feel good. It seems these types of people think others are an extension of themselves (which serves babies well, but somehow not as tolerable in adults). To these people I say, “Get a clue! It’s not all about you!”

So I would rather be called a bitch than a liar, lazy, or a large-scale narcissist. What are your anti-values? (And I want to hear all the juicy examples)!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

And the Golden Pillow Award for a Full Night’s Rest Goes to . . . Mommy on the Spot

*Cue award acceptance music and applause*

Oh my goodness! There are so many people to thank (caressing my Golden Pillow Award)! First of all I want to thank God (because doesn’t everyone thank God first)? I’d like to thank Madam Curie for creating penicillin along with the makers of Children’s Motrin and Benadryl. If it wasn’t for all of you talented and intelligent doctors and drug companies, my three year old daughter would still be crying in her bed and then tossing and turning all night in mine. And just in case you though I was cheating by giving her Benadryl to make her sleepy, unfortunately it doesn’t have that effect on her.

Thank you, Dr. Weissbluth, for writing Healthy Sleep Habits, Healthy Child. The information in that book was incredibly helpful as well as insightful. Although our success didn’t happen overnight, he’s finally sleeping more consistently. So thank you, Mom and Dad, for instilling a strong sense of perseverance to do what I think is the right thing, even though it may not be easy. Thank you, Thomas for you months of practice. I always knew you could sleep through the night! Your hard work is finally paying off!

*Cueing the wrap it up music*
(Holding the Golden Pillow Award above my head in triumph)

Thank you again, modern medicine! Wait, wait, wait! I completely forgot to thank the buyer from Costco who made the decision to carry Dunkin’ Donut coffee! Thank you for helping me power through those mornings when I wasn’t getting enough sleep, and thank you for giving me that cheerful boost when I’ve had enough sleep! Thank you, Thomas! Mommy now has had enough sleep which has given her energy to do her job in a genuinely good mood. Here’s to many more restful nights!

*And the crowd goes wild!*

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Eve of My 32nd Year

Tonight is the eve of my 32nd birthday. I love birthdays, even mine! I like the idea of aging and gaining wisdom. I also enjoy looking how far I’ve come and where I am heading. This particular year, I’ve been doing some thinking about relationships. I have come to the conclusion that because a relationship typically involves another party, it is a ludicrous expectation for me to do all the work in order for the relationship to exist.

So this birthday, I am giving myself permission to live this year with a new set of rules. I will only care my share’s worth in a relationship* and not care the other person’s amount. I will not compromise myself or my kids or what I deem as healthy boundaries so the other person is not inconvenienced. I am not going to take on all the responsibility so there is a relationship because then it really isn’t one, just the illusion of one. It was a sad day when I realized that some people just aren’t that into me and my kids, or just more into themselves, but either way . . . I can leave the door open, the windows propped up, and give you the code to my garage door, but I can’t make you walk in and want to be a part of my life.

So here’s to my 32nd birthday! Cheers!

*I understand relationships are not always 50/50, sometimes they are 80/20. 60/40, but they should never always be 90/10, 100/0.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

I Thought You Might Want to Know

I am on a scrapbooking league (I’m sorry if you thought I was cooler than I really am, but please do not stop reading here) with Ann, a friend I’ve had for twenty years and Joy, a friend I met in my daughter’s playgroup that I have known for 3 ½ years. As we were looking at some old pictures, we started talking about our lives before kids. Now, Ann pretty much knows everything there is to know about me. So it was kind of weird to have someone who I feel I know, but really knows nothing about me and my pre-mommy days. Ann was shocked that some of this stuff never has come up in the 3 ½ years that we have been getting together for play dates. What can I say? Mommies really like to talk about their kids. It’s safe, it’s relevant. I feel like we kind of jumped in to our friendship while we were redefining ourselves as mommies. And don’t get me wrong, being a stay-at-home-mom is pretty defining. However, I do feel there are things that I did before kids that are pretty interesting. So here are some of them. Maybe the next time we get together, let’s use this as a spring board to get to know each other a little more.

1. I went to U of M my freshman year of college and HATED it! I was wait-listed for a year and set up everything at a smaller state college. Then I received a letter asking if I wanted to remain waiting listed. I said no. My Mom sent in the letter (unbeknownst to me), and I was accepted. So I went because I was afraid to be so far from home and my high school boyfriend (even though we broke up during my first semester). I cried almost every day during second semester. I wanted to come home, and my parents said no. I thought everyone was too competitive, and after being defined by being a high school honor student I wanted a break and have some fun. After that year, I transferred to my original school and had a much better experience.

2. I worked a lot in the food service industry, but I was never a waitress because I can’t do math in my head.

3. I also worked as a secretary at a pet crematorium. That was interesting.

4. After living with an assortment of wierdos during my first two years at college, I lived alone pretty much until I got married.

5. I LOVE the Beastie Boys (I think Paul’s Boutique is genius), Weezer (Pinkerton is the best), Jay-Z, Kid Rock (I’ve seen him live 4 times), and No Doubt (I’ve seen them live 2 times).

6. I can speak Spanish OK, but get a few drinks in my, and I become magically more fluent. I also taught myself enough French and Italian to get by.

7. I once had dyed pink streaks in my hair.

8. I took a train from Michigan to California with my family and grandfather when I was 12 years old.

9. I used to love Tequila. I also used to drink Stoli and tonics with lime (soda if I was watching my weight).

10. I had a pimp and hoes party for my 27th birthday complete with costumes and Mickey’s Iced 40s in paper bags (a nod to my malt liquor drinking days).

11. I went to the bar in the New York Meatpacking District that Coyote Ugly was based on (but I didn’t take my top off).

12. I went to Europe three times by the time I was 27. My first time was a class trip to Spain. My second time was with my boyfriend after I graduated from high school to visit his dad that lived in Germany. My third time was when I went with my husband and, and we went to France and Italy.

13. I can’t tell you how many times I saw Pulp Fiction. It is one of my favorite movies of all time!

So there you go. There are some things about me that have NOTHING to do with having kids. (Ann, am I missing anything? Remember my Mom reads this)!

Now you spill it! Tell me something about you that is common knowledge, but maybe your mommy friends (or work friends) don’t know about you.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

The Pediatrician vs. The OB

Tomorrow is September 28th, and I thought this day would never come. Thomas will be six months old, and that alone brings up bittersweet feelings. However, tomorrow is also the day of his circumcision. Why is he getting it done now at six months and not six months ago? Good question. My pediatrician said he was able to get it done. However, when the OB looked at it, he decided not to do it. He told us, after he numbed Thomas leaving an ugly bruise, that he had a wandering raffe (a crooked line, not a crooked pee-pee). This could be indicative of hypospadias, a more serious condition. When I told the pediatrician what the OB said, she disagreed but said that since the OB is the one performing the surgery, it was ultimately his call. So then to end any chance of us having the circumcision done before we left the hospital, the OB called in the Urologist (and by Urologist, I mean an Urologist Resident student). He said there may or may not be something wrong with him and that we would know more in six months. WTF?? I was petrified. Not to mention this Almost Urologist had a super thick Eastern European accent that I needed subtitles to understand him (which come to think of it, I was on so many meds for my C-section, I don’t think I could’ve read that fast, but anyway . . .) And to make it worse, the OB flat out said that he doesn’t like doing circumcisions and didn’t want to take any chances. I interpreted that comment as there probably wasn’t anything wrong, but because he hates this part of his job, he saw an out and took it.

At Thomas’s newborn check-up, the Pediatrician explained that there is some political game between the Pediatrician and OB. One time she hounded down an OB when he refused to perform a circumcision and told him there was nothing wrong and needed to do it. The nationally known Urologist that will be performing Thomas’s surgery said he thinks there is little chance of hypospadias, too.

I feel we were caught in the cross fires of this Pediatrician and OB. Now my little baby boy needs to go under anesthesia, and have more complicated post -surgery care since he is older and more mobile. To put it plainly, this sucks!

Have you ever been an innocent victim of political bullshit?

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Be Careful for What You Wish For and Other Reflections from My Sick Bed

Well, I finally got a break from my babes . . . in the form of pneumonia! I was shocked when Dr. S (whom I love and adore) told me I had pneumonia. And it was not just a touch of pneumonia. It was the kind that I couldn’t catch my breath. At 2am, I thought my nose was just stuffy until I tried breathing from my mouth and couldn’t take a deep breath. I was very scared when my inhaler wasn’t working longer than 20 minutes. What healthy, young-ish person gets pneumonia?!?! It sound so 19th century. Oh, I know! A mom of a preschooler and demanding baby who wore herself down, that’s who! All those times I would silently (and sometimes not-so-silently) pray for a break, and I finally got one. I decided to take this as a little nudge from the universe to take some time to reassess how my life was going. These were the reflections from my sick bed:

- I will never underestimate what I do again. Ever. I turned the lives of three people (five if you count the babes) because one, little person couldn’t do her job. Harrington was running the babes to my parents’ house before and after work. He was taking Marie to preschool during his lunch. My parents (when they weren’t running Marie around to preschool) turned their house into a daycare facility for Marie and Thomas. I knew I did a lot, but to see how it took three people to fill in for me on my sick days really put things into perspective. (And it really did feel like I was calling in sick. I was sitting on the couch watching movies and the clock wondering if they day was running smoothly and according to plan, much like I did when I called in sick as a teacher).

- My babes actually do miss me. I thought they viewed me as that cranky lady who killed all the fun in the house. When Marie said she wanted to be just like me, I thought she might have Stockholm syndrome since I am always nagging her to wipe her nose with a Kleenex rather than the back of her hand or put her toys away. Nathan probably thought I was a jail warden for all the time he spent in his crib not sleeping. When I saw how needy and clingy they were after a two-day absence, I was surprised. Maybe I’m not the fun police that I often feel like I am.

- Along that same theme, I thought Marie was going to love preschool. She loved it the first week, however, there was a change of heart when I couldn’t bring. She cried because she wanted me to take her. She also cried the week after when I could take her, but perhaps that was from an undisclosed ear infection. I understand that mommies are important, but sometimes it’s easy to take that for granted when I am always there.

- So during my sick days, I was able to watch Ellen in peace. DAMN! She looks awesome! I hope I get better looking with age (especially since my birthday is in a few weeks)!

So I felt with all the stress of Marie being sick and Thomas’s sleep issues, I was starting to feel upset ; upset because I was not present and enjoying them. After not being able to take care of them and seeing that what I do really matters, I’ll think twice before letting my frustration get too overwhelming. Which brings up another matter. I am really upset that I let myself get this rundown. I think if I was just grownup enough to say, “I need a break.” And by break I don’t mean a Target run for diapers. I mean a real break away so I can rest and recharge. So I am going to have to carve out a plan and put a premium on it so catching 19th century illnesses doesn’t become a regular occurrence.

Do you ask for help when you need it? How do you recharge your batteries?

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Suck it, Marge!

Dear Marge:

This is Marie’s Mom, and if you don’t remember, she was a former patient of yours. She was diagnosed with macrocephaly at birth. When I was told that that was a big, fancy word for a big head, I didn’t think it was a big deal. The implications of that, along with a low tone diagnosis at 4months were when I realized that this was a big deal. That and the pediatrician recommended that she see a neurosurgeon for regular visits were a clue that something was not right. We discovered that she extra fluid around her brain (hydrocephaly) and was not sure if she would need a stint to drain it. We were not sure if she would have cerebral palsy because of her low tone. It was a very stressful time. At 9 months of age, she qualified for services. And that’s when you entered the picture as her first physical therapist.

She used to cry whenever you came over to work with her. You seemed to lack that gentleness that is helpful, if not necessary, to work with babies. It was hard for you to accomplish anything with her because she had a hard time not crying with you. You also asked me to leave the room since you attributed her crying to my presence, not your roughness and general crabby demeanor. Being a new mom, I stood in the kitchen peaking around the corner, watching my poor baby girl crying while you tried to execute your exercises. I endured that and a lot more because I was desperate for her to get better. However, what was most memorable about you is when you told me she would be destined to be a leaner because she would never have enough strength to always stand straight and that I would be lucky if she walked without braces and by the age of two.

Well, Marge, that little baby is now three years old. As she RAN into her classroom the first day of preschool, many things came to mind. Most were the normal things a mom of a “regular” kid would be thinking: I was so proud of her for being independent and brave. She looked so cute and happy. But then another thought ran across my mind, and it was, “Suck it, Marge!” I say suck it because here was this baby who you said wouldn’t walk until she was two and possibly with braces and she RAN into that room. And you know what? She RUNS everywhere, and she CLIMBES up the ladder to go down the slide. Oh, and she JUMPS, too! So, Marge, be careful what you say to new moms because it could wind up biting you in the ass. I understand you needed to be honest about Marie’s condition, but perhaps you could take some professional development classes on bedside manner because your ambivalence about her condition was heart wrenching to hear. And if I could, I would forward my therapy bill to you because you did a lot of damage with those comments and telling me to leave the room because my baby was crying because of me. She was crying because of you and your negative energy.

So, Marge, suck it! My baby girl is in preschool and doing great! No thanks to you, of course.

Yours truly,
Marie’s Mom

P.S. Tell Noelle her note about Marie’s “anti-social” behavior is coming soon!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Green Milk and the Bad Break Up

I am nearing the end of a really bad and painful break up. No, my marriage is still intact. It is with nursing. Thomas just wasn’t that into it. At first, he nursed like a champ. He was done really quickly, no fussing so I was feeling really good about it. And then there was the first nursing strike. Three weeks later there was another one. When he came back from his strike, he would bob on and off like he was bobbing for apples. I was so confused. But during those nursing strikes, he would shriek and cry like he was in pain. So I gave him a bottle and that calmed him down. I was confused because he hadn’t had a lot of bottles at that point. After much sleuthing, I figured I had really fast let down and coupled with his acid reflux/colic, he could enjoy eating more from the bottle. Emotionally, that was really hard to accept since I nursed Marie for 11 months. Wasn’t I supposed to make things equal and fair for both kids? Not to mention the pressure to breast feed is enormous! I felt so guilty! (And still do). But breast feeding wasn’t working for him. When I gave him the bottle, he ate so peacefully. When he would nurse, it would have to be in a quiet, dark room so he wouldn’t get distracted. Marie was having issues with me always mysteriously missing. Thomas would cry after eating, and I wouldn’t know if he had had enough or what was wrong. When I say crying, that is an understatement. It was the most painful, horrible crying I had ever heard. When I would try to put him back on, he would arch and cry even more. I should also mention that I wasn’t a breast feeding so much for the emotional connection because I felt that I was able to achieve that through other ways. I mainly breast fed for the nutritive values. I felt that I was robbing him by give him *gasp* formula! Here was my question: Do I push for breast feeding at the cost of his enjoyment of eating and the stress it was putting on my family or do I what would make him most comfortable? I chose not to push my agenda and go with what would make him happy. So now Thomas is an official bottle-fed baby. He seems much less fussy, and although I don’t think the bottle was the only factor, but it definitely helped.

So I thought that would be the end of it. I would slowly wean my production with the pump and be done with it. My body did not want to accept the fact that Thomas just wasn’t that into me. After I was down to one pumping session a day, my milk turned green. It was similar in color to a McDonald’s shamrock shake. I eventually called the doctor, and they wanted to see me. When I showed Nurse Practitioner S the color, she was not too shocked by that, but by the amount I was still producing. I could still produce up to 8 ounces! (Seriously, I would have been the village wet nurse). To my shock and horror, they tested me for “irregular cells” (read: cancer) and bacteria. Thankfully they turned out negative. So Nurse S tested for blood. None. She was still shocked that after a week of not pumping, I still was super engorged. So I had to choose between two courses of action: a ductogram, which is really invasive procedure with needles and radioactive dye or wait for my milk to dry up and go for an exam. I choose the second one since she didn’t think the ductogram would be really helpful or necessary.

So here I am, still waiting for my body to accept the fact it is just not needed in that way anymore. I am sad (and concerned), but I feel isn’t that what having kids is all about: letting go of my expectations and doing what is best for them? I guess it would be easier to move on if my body cooperated. Anyway –

Has anyone out there ever had to adjust their expectations in order to do right by their kids? And have you ever heard of anyone having green milk that was not related to diet?

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

I *heart* Jeff Lewis

As much as I would LOVE to talk about how Thomas will eat and not spit up (but won’t sleep) or how I feel my engorged milk ducts feel like they are going to explode, I need a break from all this reality to talk about an alternative reality; the reality of Jeff Lewis.

For those who don’t know who Jeff Lewis is, he is the main character of Bravo TV’s reality show Flipping Out. He is so neurotic, bossy, and over the top interior designer who used to flip houses. I LOVE him! He’s the kind of person who needs all his cupboards organized in alphabetical order while being aesthetically pleasing. He hires these assistants that he can boss around. Sidebar: When I see these assistants, and those of Kathy Griffin on My Life on the D-List, I think, “Damn, I missed my calling. I would be such a good assistant. At least if I was an assistant, it would be clear where I would be on the food chain of commands, unlike when I was a teacher.” But I digress.

What I love about Jeff is that he is unapologetic for being himself. He acts like his crazy way to order a drink for lunch (12% Sprite, 73% lemonade, and 15% ice tea or something neurotic like that) is totally justified. Being on the receiving end of that would be totally annoying, but being Jeff would totally rock!

This past episode he commented on his personal growth. Jenni, his assistant who is now dating after a horrible divorce, was suppose to go on a blind date later to only find out that he was in a relationship ready to be engaged. Jeff said that maybe he saw Jenny’s picture and wasn’t interested. He said he had grown because he would never say that to her face as he may have done in the past. Way to go, Jeff!

Here are a few examples when I could have been a bit more Jeff Lewis:
When Harrington was running late bringing home the chicken to the christening party because his Dad’s wife made them go all the way home to let the dog out I could have said, “I need the chicken here now, Harrington’s Dad. There is a house full of people, and we need to eat our 53% breast, 41% thigh, 12% drumstick, and 2% wing order NOW DAMN IT!”

When Marie wants to watch her 10th hour of Imagination Movers and screeches, “I don’t wanna turn off the TV! I could say, “It’s a great day at Mommy on the Spot’s office, and we can’t have this negative attitude. Please turn it around or go home.”

When Thomas doesn’t want to nap longer than 20 minutes, I could say, “I have you scheduled for an hour and a half nap. I need you to go back to sleep, and I’ll have my assistant come pick you up when you are done.”

Not to mention what I wouldn’t do for Zoila, his housekeeper! Please, Zoila, if you are looking for another house to clean and organize, consider me!! And Jenni, if you are looking for a new friend, I love you and how you can put up with Jeff’s shit with a smile! Please teach me!

Well, enough day dreaming (actually night dreaming, but since I’m not sleeping, it’s still day dreaming). Now off to pour myself a nice glass of wine, put some fresh cabbage leaves in my sports bra, and read Healthy Sleep Habit, Healthy Child.

Good night!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Death by Fire or Water: Thoughts of a Worried Mom in the New Children’s Wing of Beaumont Hospital

Last Wednesday, I headed out to the new Emergency Room Children’s Wing of Beaumont Hospital. Right before “the incident” happened, I was just telling someone how well everything was going with Thomas. Then it was nap time, and he was a bit fussy, understandably. So I laid him in his crib because sometimes he just cries for five minutes and falls asleep. I was listening to the monitor, and all of a sudden I heard nothing. Then I heard thrashing and gasping. I ran in there and saw that he had vomit, not a little bit of spit up, but a whole tummy full of vomit all over. It was in his nose and mouth and he was pale as a ghost. Once he caught his breath, started to cry and then stopped crying, he was lifeless, despondent, and had a rattle in his chest. My doctor told me to go the ER since he may have aspirated on his vomit. I think my exact words after I hung up the phone were, “Holy fukc! I can’t believe it!” In my mind, I thought we had really turned a corner with the Dr. Brown’s bottles, the change back to Similac Early Advance Shield, and Mylocin gas drops. (And if any reps from these products would like to donate their products for free advertising, I would happily accept).

Thomas’s pulse oxygen levels were good, and he was eating fine. The doctor did not think he suffered a seizure (which freaked me out even more because that was not radar of things to worry about). As Harrington and I waited for his chest x-ray results, I cried. Not because I didn’t think Thomas wouldn’t be OK because my gut was saying he was going to be fine. But I cried because I felt sad that nothing about either one of my babe’s infancy has been easy. It has been death by water or fire.

Marie had been death by water. Because of her big head and low tone, we didn’t know if she was going to have cerebral palsy. We didn’t know if she would need leg braces and a walker. We didn’t know if she would need a shunt in her head for hydrocephaly. There were all these unknowns, and they weighed on me like someone had fit me for a pair of cement shoes and thrown me in a river. It was horrible and sickening and robbed me of almost any happiness that a baby brings. In the back of my mind, I couldn’t help but think I did something to cause this and she was going to suffer for the rest of her life because of me. It was hard to push through and take care of her and her special needs. I literally felt like I was drowning.

When Thomas was born, I knew how important it is to live in the moment since I lost a lot of happy times with Marie worrying about her. When he was born, I was sooo in love with him the moment I saw him. When he nursed successfully right way, I thought we were out of the woods with any feeding issues. At six weeks, he had his first nursing strike. It was so scary because he would not stop screaming for over an hour and refused to eat. Every few weeks things, he would go on these nursing strikes. Then when he would eat, he would bob on and off. He wouldn’t get enough to eat or take in too much air, and then he would cry for 2 hour stints. This went on for all of July and most of August. So we tried a bunch of different things to see if they would work. Sometimes they did, and sometimes they didn’t. But the crying felt like I was dying by fire; this was an immediate problem that needed to be fixed NOW! Not a let’s-see-how-things-progress sort of manner, but a fix-this-now-DAMN IT! kind of manner. Not to mention Marie was starting to get really annoyed with all this crying and attention he was getting.

I cried because it’s not fair that I haven’t had an easy time. I know, I know; life is not fair. I was just hoping for a break. I think I need to adjust the way I look at things. Life, especially one with babies, is all about moments. There were a lot of moments in waiting to see if my baby girl was going to be physically handicapped and there were a lot of moments in a two hour block of crying. But they are all moments, and they all passed. And somewhere amongst all those heart-stopping, gut-wrenching moments, there were some happy ones in there too. If I really looked hard through my tired and puffy eyes.
When that moment of crying in the ER passed, I had some other random thoughts:

-Wow, this new wing is very nice. It is definitely not the same ER I took Marie to when she wouldn’t stop vomiting. The underwater theme is very soothing.

- Shit, I forgot to order the chicken for the Thomas’s christening party!
Since that ER visit, Nathan has been doing better. I have not yet exhaled, though, because I am trying very hard to keep these good moments going. I ordered the chicken for the party which was three days after the ER visit. I don’t know how I did it, but the christening and the party with 25 of our closest relatives were a success. Go team!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Don’t You Know Who I Am?!?!

I love how celebrities use that line when they want something and think the person is just going to give them whatever they want because of who they are. They say it with such clout and fierce sense of self-entitlement. It’s so pompous and asinine. That’s why I think it’s funny, when Thomas had been crying for his second straight hour in the middle of the night, and I had the urge to yell over his screams, “Don’t you know who I am?!?!” Like he should care!

Let me back up first. Thomas created a nice, little schedule for himself when he was first born. He ate every three hours (which I thought was great for a breast-fed baby), and he slept through the night (11-5) around two months. And then he turned three months, and it’s like he said, “Yeah, this isn’t working for me anymore. I’m not getting enough face time around the hours of midnight and 5 am. So see you guys then.” Actually it’s a bit more complicated than that. He would go on these nursing strikes and arch his back and cry. My fast letdown was causing too much air intake. This would cause him not to eat enough, which would cause him not sleep, which would cause some pretty horrible crying fits. So I pumped and gave him a bottle, which turned into half breast milk and half Similac Advance, which turned into all formula. (The guilt I felt from that broke my heart on top of all this other drama, guilt that would be best shared in another post). And when that didn’t work, the doctor said he probably had acid reflux and put him on Prevacid and Mylanta Supreme. The Mylanta Supreme didn’t work, so the doctor said I had a fussy baby. I agree, but I don’t think he’s fussy because he likes to cry; I think there is a reason. So I changed to Dr. Brown’s bottles, Nestle Good Start Formula, and Mylocin drops. That day went so well! He didn’t cry when he ate, he napped pretty well, and smiled a lot. I thought I finally figured out all the pieces to his very complicated puzzle. Until 1:30am last night. He woke up cooing which quickly turned to crying. For two hours. I didn’t think he was hungry since he ate at 10:30 pm, but after two hours of trying everything, he ended up eating 3 ounces, fell asleep, and then was up again at 4:30 am for another fifteen minutes. But during that two hour jag, I felt like screaming, “Don’t you know who I am?!?! I used to be someone! I was a teacher, the head of the English Department! I have a Masters in the Art of Teaching! I have traveled the world! I am good at what I do!” However if you uncover all the layers of misdirected anger, it would really read, “What am I doing wrong? I want you to be happy! I don’t want you to be a miserable boy who ends up acting out, and then people say, that’s a boy for you. I want you to be understood and happy. I am usually successful at the things I do. I am trying so hard. I feel like I am failing you. And that makes me feel so guilty!” But at 3:00am, things come out a little angrier due to lack of sleep.

And I know I am somebody. I’m a Mom (although I don’t like to be painted solely with that brush because I like to think I have an identity aside from that, but taking care of an infant and a three year old there is little time for anything else), and that’s a really important job. I have worked long enough as a junior high school teacher to see the products of horrible parenting. So maybe I’m projecting some of my fears, but hey, I haven’t slept a whole night on a consistent basis in almost a year. Sleep deprivation can do some crazy things to my perspective. I just want to be a good mom to my babes; and right now, that is the last thing I am feeling.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Put a Dress on and Show Up

Last Sunday, my DH and I celebrated our six year anniversary. I thought about the day of our wedding. I remember how much fun it was getting ready and how beautiful I felt, and six years and two kids later, how opposite I feel like that now. Tired eyes from no sleep and nursing boobs have a way of impacting my self image in a negative way, go figure. Anyway, all nostalgia aside, this was definitely a “for worse” year. As my Mom says, years like this build our history together as couple.

- Right before our five year anniversary, we found out I was pregnant with NT. We were so excited!! And then my Friday sickness kicked in, which is a lot like morning sickness, but way worse than the morning sickness I had all week. Literally, I was sick every Friday. And once I was really lucky to end up going to the hospital due to dehydration. (Hmm, that sounds so Hollywood, but it was actually really gross). The ER is no place for a sick pregnant lady, that’s for sure. But I survived, and DH came up with a great way to cheer me up: Take me to see Kathy Griffin for my birthday . . . yeaaa! (As you will see, this was one of the few high points).

- In attempt to make more room in our 1500 square foot house and convert our office into NT’s bedroom, we decided to finish the basement. Ourselves. And by ourselves, I mean my DH and my Dad with the occasional help from my FIL and BIL. My DH promised it would be done by January. But as everyone knows (even me who’s father seemed was always remodeling something while I growing up), it always takes twice as long and costs twice as much. It is just about done. . . . seven months later. It was sheer hell waiting for the basement to be done. I had some serious nesting urges that could not be squelched because the office stuff was in the soon-to-be nursery and could not be moved until the basement was done enough. *shudder* All I can say was that there were some primal screams from both parties. It should also be said no one should mess with a pregnant lady and her natural instincts. I felt like the declawed cat from Meet the Parents. He had the urge to pee, but couldn’t since he was potty trained, so he dug throughout all the house plants. I hope you get the picture.

- DH started a new job last summer under the pretense that he would be working from home. Then he got a new boss who wanted him to work at the office that was over an hour away. So now instead of having him home all the time, which was no good, he was never home, which was no good either. And when he was home, he was the crabbiest I had ever seen him. Ever. That was until he lost his job.

- DH lost his job six weeks after NT was born. I was dying inside thinking of no money, no health insurance. Losing a job in Michigan is NOT a good thing. We have friends that have been out of work for at least six months. NT has a surgery scheduled in September. GM is starting preschool in the fall. We were freaking out. He felt like he let us down as a provider. I felt like I could not be super supportive because I was only six weeks out of having a baby by C-section and an emotional wreck. This was a very dark time in our relationship with the basement being a very close second.

- Another upswing is that DH did end up getting three job offers and accepted a job super close to home. We also have awesome health care along with a huge cut back in his pay check. But he got a job, and I was damn proud of him!

- NT has been difficult since month three. I feel like I am loosing my mind, and my DH doesn’t always understand how tough it can be. Which is why I’m sure he decided to go away for four days on a golf outing with his friends. In the midst of trying to figure out why NT has trouble eating and sleeping, DH goes five hours away without his own car and no cell phone reception to play golf and drink with his college buddies. I almost begged him to come home if I wasn’t so mad I could barely look at him.

So that was our year. On our anniversary, I put on a dress, and we went out for dinner, and had dessert at our old Dairy Queen. To be honest, I was too exhausted to go out, but I just had to push through and show up. But marriage is like that. I have to forge ahead believing there will be “for better” years, too. I also believe that if I show up, it’s got to get better. And looking at the past few days, it has. So here’s to a “for better” year.

Monday, July 27, 2009

How I barely* survived the annual golf outing.

*by barely I mean on almost no sleep, momentarily breaking down and crying all while sending my DH subtle texts to come early

Every year my DH has an annual golf outing with his college buddies in some remote area with limited cell phone reception. And without fail, every year, something happens in which results in a trip to the pharmacy and/or doctor. This time was no different except it was doubly hard since it was the first time with two kids. It all started out innocently enough with NT’s blood shot eye. I didn’t worry about it too much until it was there after his 2nd nap. Sure enough, when I looked, I saw a fingernail moon scratch. The doctor called in some medicine, and I had to see her the next day. So I had to pack up two kids for a 10 minute errand to get eye drops. This resulted in a NT’s first meltdown of the weekend which altered bedtime for the worse. Both kids like their one-on-one time at bedtime, except there was only one adult to go around.

The next day, I was super nervous about going to the doctor with both of them because I knew the test for the eye scratch would be intense, NT has a hard time eating when he’s upset and in a different place, and I promised GM we would go the water fountains at the outdoor mall. So after a full morning of packing lunches, bottles, bathing suites, and whatever else we would need for an afternoon outing, we arrived at the doctor’s office only 2 minutes late. As I predicted, he had a fit with the eye test, a fit when she looked in his ears to see if that was the reason for his fussiness, and he refused to eat. And the doctor confirmed that he had a scratch in his eye and that I had to come back in a week to make sure it was gone. Yeaa, I could hardly wait to repeat this horrific experience all over again except with all the anticipation of what to expect. All this was enough to make me sick to my stomach, so I packed the kids up and ran to the bathroom. This experience was made complete with Gwyn verbalizing what was happening so anyone within a foot of the bathroom was receiving a blow-by-blow account of my sensitive stomach. Once I got myself together, I tried to get out of there as soon as possible. Ah, but that was not in the cards either. Now we have been seeing this pediatrician since GM was born and never before had she been afraid of the undersea mural in the vestibule. If there was any day to be have a terrific meltdown, it was that day. She was hanging by the toys, and I thought she wanted to stay and play at the doctor’s office. So being impatient, I told her I’d call Nana and say not to meet us at the fountains. She scurried to the door, shrieked at the top of her lungs, and shook uncontrollably. At this point, with sweat dripping down my back, I think how am I going to get her and NT in the infant carrier out of here? I swoop up GM and put her on the sidewalk and quickly grab NT. I ask GM, whose eyes are totally dry, why she was upset and she serenely answers, “The undersea mural is scary.” Hmm. I had no idea.

So next, we met my mom at the outdoor mall for some fun. By fun I mean watching my 3 year old daughter try not to avoid any head-on collisions with the older, rougher crowd at the fountains and try not to break a limb (which would happen since DH was out of town) on the play structure. After two hours, she stopped what she was doing and yelled at the top of lungs with a look of despair in her eyes. That was my cue to leave. The man next to me said, “Wow! She sure can get her point across.” Yes, she sure can. Because I wanted some adult interaction, I had a crowd over for pizza. GM was all tuned up to be with her “people” or “Nana’s friends” as they are sometimes called (my aunt, brother, and his girlfriend). After dinner, I was exhausted, and I thought so were my babes. But not so much since NT woke up twice that night since his eating and sleeping was all off due to his traumatic time at the doctor’s office. And because NT woke up, so did GM which she usually doesn’t but I am guessing since Daddy was out of town, it was destined to be.

And here is where the real fun began. Since NT’s schedule was off, the whole day unraveled before my weary, tired, bloodshot eyes. I tried to make the weekend fun for us since DH was away. We planned on going to all of GM’s favorite spots like Barnes and Noble and the mall to go to the Disney Store and the merry-go-round. I planned on leaving right after lunch. But NT cried on and off for 2 ½ hours which enabled us from going anywhere on time. When he woke up from his nap (or passing out from crying too much) and didn’t eat, I lost it. I felt so disconnected with his needs, I felt like I was letting GM down, and I felt like I was a big damper on my parents. When I burst into tears, my Mom said in her self-proclaimed “stern voice” (which is considered “softly” yelling by most) that I had to stop crying, get myself together, and call my DH to get him home (the D at this point is not dear, more like damn). Now I am yelling at my mom to go home because I can handle this (which really was just a cry for help). GM is now yelling and getting me her favorite books to cheer me up. My mom also pointed out nicely that I was causing all this. I felt like a horrible mom. I still do. It was not my finest moment. In the end, I got it together and dragged us all over to have our fun adventure day as I told GM we would. I felt like Clark Griswold when he was determined to push through and have a merry Christmas: “We’ll have the hap, hap, happiest Christmas since Bing Crosby tap danced with Danny F-ing Kay!” And by the end of the day, we all made up because that’s how my family rolls.

The next day was like the ultimate redo, for the most part. NT slept well, GM and I had some quality time, and even had some time for a play date with the neighbor. However, that does not take away the traumatic three days before. After the babes went to bed, I told my DH as nicely as I could that I thought his timing sucked. He should not have left with NT being so unpredictable, especially without his own car. I thought he was being cheap by not wanting to eat the cost of his golf weekend when he saw how things were going with NT. I also thought he was being cheap by not wanting to pay for gas. And thankfully, DH got a sliver of a glimpse of what I went through those three days. I left for a 2 ½ hours to get away after he returned, and NT cried for half that time. How do I know? Because DH couldn’t make it without calling me and asking me what to do. Which I don’t fault him for because he did have NT’s best interest at heart.

But what would he have done if I was 5 hours away in a no cell phone reception area without my own car?

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Sleep Deprivation as a Form of Tourture

I read a headline (and only the headline since that’s how my day was going) about how Cheney knew about water boarding. I scoff at water boarding. If the CIA is serious about torture, the agency would use sleep deprivation. It is now no wonder to me why sleep deprivation is used as a form of torture. I feel like I have lost my mind and sanity. (I actually yelled at my DH to stop calling the binkie, a binkus). This insanity is probably why I don’t remember infancy as this difficult. NT is now over three months old, and he is just developing the wandering eye while he is nursing. He keeps bobbing on and off, so I think he’s still hungry which is why he only takes 45 – 50 minute naps. In my mind (which is not a stable a place, mind you), I feel like GM (now three years old) was taking 2 hour naps by now and sleeping through the night. As luck may have it, I kept track of her sleeping and eating habits in a notebook. Although she was a very focused nurser, GM was not sleeping through the night for another two weeks, and her naps were erratic at best. I think I remember it differently for a variety of reasons: 1) I had a touch of postpartum depression, and 2) I was only caring for one. (I was unable to come up with this idea on my own, so thank you RV. You are an awesome friend)! When she napped, I napped. Now when NT naps, I am taking care of my GM the best I can on minimal sleep. It makes for long days. I remember that soon after NT was born, I looked at the clock, and it was 9:00. Then, before I knew it, the time was 9:50. Worst of all, I didn’t accomplish anything in those lost 50 minutes except maybe get GM dressed. Who knows, I don’t remember. I do clearly remember the day I knew my life was never going to be the same when I became a mother of two. I was home for maybe a week; I exhausted, trying to recover from my c-section, and taking care of NT. My Mom was over and was going to occupy GM when NT and I were napping. When I was just about to go down for my nap, GM looked up at me with those baby girl eyes and said, “Are you going to play with me now?” She said it with such desperation that it yanked at my heart strings. I knew right then and there that I would never nap again. Since that moment, I have been running on empty. I try to stay present and enjoy my babes, but it’s hard. And that makes me sad because I want to soak up all the happy, smiley moments with these two, wonderful little people. Yep, sleep deprivation is enough to drive a person to the brink of insanity. The only thing that keeps me from going over that edge is that these babes need their mommy, and that alone is enough for me to push through this.

(By the way, I imagined this first real post to be written while sipping on a coffee, by myself and recharging my batteries. Instead I’m fighting to keep my eyes open, waiting to twilight feed NT before I hurry up and sleep fast. I also thought it would be about something other than complaining about sleep deprivation, but I guess that’s real life for you)!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Who am I?

I am a current SAHM who is a junior high school teacher drop out. I used to teach English, Spanish, and an intro to French, Spanish, German, and Japanese. I always wanted to stay home with my babies, but being unhappy at my job made it easier to drop out. To be honest, I was burnt out from being a teacher. The school is in an upper-middle class area, and the students are filled with a sense of self-entitlement. Who could blame them? Counselors would ask me to change grades for those who were not happy. Administration would ask me to look the other way if parents lied for their child. I was told I had to teach kids responsibility . . . as long as the parents said it was ok. I was frustrated with the hypocrisy. Anyway, more on that for another post.

I now have two beautiful babes: my daughter, GM, is 3, and my son, NT, is 3 months. Although I love staying home now, I found the life style adjustment difficult which took me by surprise. GM gave me a run for my money. At birth, she was diagnosed with macrocephaly (a scary medical term for a big head) and low tone. We weren’t sure if she had hydrocephaly or cerebral palsy. We were told she wouldn’t walk until she was 2 years old. I spent most of her first year in a state of panic. We worked with a physical therapist and an occupational therapist, and she ended up taking her first steps at 15 months. Her neurosurgeon discharged her at 17 months stating that she was fine, but just has a big head. After I knew she was fine, I fell apart. I had suppressed all my emotions in order to focus on GM’s therapy. Thanks to my family and a wonderful therapist, I was able to pull through a very dark time, and all in enough time to start all over again. NT was born, and it has been a totally different experience. I think having some mommy experience has helped me feel more confident.

So having been married to my college sweetheart for almost 6 years and being a SAHM for 3 years, I struggle to modernize my traditional role; I want to be there for my family but stay in touch with myself. I choose the word struggle because it really is a struggle not to go into the downward spiral of not caring about myself and trying to stay in touch with a world outside of the Disney Channel. There have been times when I have been with my mommy friends, and even though I want to talk about our kids, I also want to talk about what is going on in other parts of our lives. Sometimes my attempts end up in blank stares or interruptions by the kids. Mommy on the Spot is the spot where I can talk about all things mommy related and beyond.

So that is enough about me. Check back soon to read some of my Mommy on the Spot observations on life and motherhood.