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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Random

More proof that my assertion that eventually IT people will be taking over the world...my laptop recently took an elephant-sized shit and I have been freaking out more than a drug dealer on bath salts robbing a liquor store.  Seriously, if I had the opportunity to trade some sex for a fixed laptop...well, let's just say pass me the Cuervo and let's get.it.on.

Charlie is possibly the most devious child I know.  You try to put lotion on her and she acts as though you are dipping her in a vat of acid after rubbing her skin raw with sandpaper.  She has recently been having a particularly nasty flare-up of eczema.  She has prescription cream to put on it and I really think that she would rather be beaten with extension cords than have to experience the agony of having someone rub this on her person.  So Charles was giving her a bath tonight and told her when he got her out, "We need to put your cream on you."  She promptly began to giggle and squeal at her Daddy.  Guess who forgot the cream?  Score:  Charlie, 1; Parents: 0.

We may have started a new family tradition this year.  My sisters found lamb jammies for us to wear on Christmas Eve.  Me likey.  Nothing says Merry Christmas like having my gin-soaked ass being all comfy in some new warm jammies while simultaneously posing with my equally gin-soaked sisters in front of a life sized Santa doll (don't ask...)

I think that Twitter is my rock and roll.  Meaning that parents in the 50's didn't understand Elvis's gyrating pelvis; I am at a loss as to how expressing oneself in 140 characters became so popular.  Tweeting sounds like something that would occur in a really bad Disney after-school special.

Which probably just ages me even more...I don't think they have those anymore.  Fuck. When did 31 become old?

Maybe I can have a midlife crisis and go tweet about it...
 











Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Relief

So my computer got a virus-y/Trojan thing tonight.  I called some tech support people and mortgaged my future children to Rumpelstiltskin or something to get it fixed (HA!  Joke's on you mothafuckers...I'M NOT HAVING ANY FUTURE CHILDREN!  AW, SNAP!)

While I was on the phone with them, Deogie got slightly (ahem) excited.  Alexis saw this and asked, "What is that pink thing there?  It's gross?"  To which I replied, "It is his penis, Alexis."

She then promptly said, "EW!  THAT'S GROSS!  I HATE PENISES!"  FIVE INCHES FROM THE PHONE.

I lost it.  Just lost it.  Poor Rumpelstiltskin on the phone probably thought I was totally insane.  I wanted to tell him, "Well, I did used to sell sex toys..." but wisely refrained as he did have remote control over my computer at that point...

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Texting

Actual texting between Elizabeth and me:

E:  What time are you coming to get me?

Me:  What time they kicking yo ass out?

E:  What?

Me:  What time they kicking yo ass out?  In other words, when does Janel want you gone?

E:  She said whenever.

Me:  How about I send Charles when he is done burning?   (Clarification:  he was burning garbage, not in hell or like he was on fire or anything...)

E:  What time will that be?

Me:  I will inquire forthwith.

E:  Your (sic) messed up today lol

Me:  And I  have not even been drinking.  Charles says noonish.

E:  OK, so does that mean you have been drinking?

Me:  No, that would be irresponsible.  And vaguely alcoholic like.  But only if you attend meetings.  If not then you are just a drunk.

E:  Only vaguely?

Me:  Well it all hinges on the meeting attendance.  But I am not drinking so it is a moot point I think.

E:  Well alright then

Now THAT is some fantastic parenting there.  Where is my fucking award?

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Logic

We took Charlie to Build A Bear last weekend. ("We" is my sister, Elizabeth, Alexis, and myself.)  My sister did this for Alexis for her first birthday, and for Elizabeth for several of hers when she was older.  And before you get all butt hurt for Elizabeth, that was because it did not exist in Ohio for her first birthday, plus she was a poor college student back then and she had to spend what little money she had on necessities like cheap vodka, Pabst Blue Ribbon, Ramen noodles, and condoms. 

It was fun to watch Charlie pick out the bear (actually, a doggie, that we oh so creatively named Doggie for her.  We are a very inventive bunch, fo shure...)  She had a very scientific method here that involved staring down the various animal skins (which really resembled bear skin rugs.  I had a barely contained desire to spread them out in front of the various displays of BAB furniture that were around the store.  I am sure that all of the parents that were there with their sweet innocent children would TOTALLY appreciate the humor in that...).  She then would attempt to remove their eyeballs and pick their noses; if they passed this test then came the final exam of chewing on the ear.  Only Doggie got that far, so I am assuming that there was some pretty stringent requirements that the various animals had to meet that only Doggie met.  Picking out the outfit was easy though...much to my delight, she went right for the Tinkerbell outfit (I call her Princess Tinkerbell, which came from Princess Tink, which evolved from Princess Stinker, which came from Stinker, which came from her being completely uncooperative as a fetus during her non stress tests and ultrasounds.  She definitely earned that nick name then.)

However, she now hates that outfit during bedtime.  In fact, we had to remove it.  Doggie is now naked.  (As a side note, so is Alexis's Beary (notice the originality in naming?).  I am not sure if this is something I should be concerned about with my children, but hey...look who their mother is.  I used to sell sex toys, for God's sake.)

Isn't it funny about what kids get into their minds?  I remember when I was younger someone talking about losing their temper.  I vividly remember walking around our front yard, looking for what I thought was a snake-like creature.  Elizabeth, when she was younger, once asked me why heaven had a gate around it.  Turns out that all the times I pointed out the cemetery where my grandmother, her namesake was buried, and then told her later that she was in heaven, she thought that the cemetery was heaven.  Alexis's first sentence was at the corner store, with Elizabeth and her best friend Jewel.  We were having ice cream and Alexis turned to me and said, "I a big kid".  I was confused, then asked her if she was a big kid because she was having ice cream.  She grinned from ear to ear and nodded.  So it totally follows that Charlie would be OK with her Doggie wearing its clothes during the day only.  In some brand of kiddie logic, it makes sense. 

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Wind

As I was leaving work this evening, a cold wind blew through the trees. I caught myself thinking, "That wind smells like cold".  Huh?  WTF?  Does that sentence even remotely make sense taken out of context?  Or even in context, for that matter.  What the fuck does cold smell like?

It smelled like the wind tonight, I will tell you that much.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Thanksgiving

I really feel as though Thanksgiving totally got forgotten.  I totally feel for it, as my family regularly forgets to tell me important things.  Like hey, by the way, your mother has moved out of your childhood home into a condo in another city and no one mentioned it to you...that kind of forgotten.  But hey, don't worry Thanksgiving, that kind of neglect really only adds months onto your future therapy needs!  In relation to the decades you will require, really, just a drop in the hat!

I guess I am as guilty as the next person of forgetting about Thanksgiving in the rush to get Black Friday deals.  My sister even contemplated camping out in the Best Buy parking lot and deep frying the turkey out there.  Then we realized that we might run of out alcohol that way and there was no way in hell my family was going to try to tolerate each other without it (even with the added sleepy effects of the turkey...) so that idea got nixed pretty quickly.  I must say though, that it really seemed as though Christmas overshadows Thanksgiving in a big way this year.

I guess if you compare the holidays, it is pretty much a no brainer.  What to emphasize; the birth of Christ or the beginnings of the systematic oppression and cruelty towards an entire race of people as well as the beginnings of pillaging the land for its natural resources to the extent that we change the climate of an entire fucking planet?  I would buy that if a.) Christians weren't responsible mainly for the latter, and b.) Christmas is really not about the birth of Jesus anymore anyways.

I do go shopping on Black Friday.  This year we skipped Walmart in favor of the $15 jeans at Old Navy.  I have lost a lot of weight (thank you, Dukan diet!) and was down 3 jeans sizes, so that was a no brainer.  Then we went to the mall and for some reason stood in line forever to buy shit at Express.  Only reason why I went for this was because I have my nephew's name for Christmas and he wanted a fucking $60 hoodie that was on sale for $38.  His damn fleece pullover cost more than two pairs of my jeans.  Whatevs, it was what he wanted.  Then we went to Perkins and had really crappy food with even crappier service and waited till 5 AM for Kmart to open to complete my shopping.

I am providing these details because I want to clearly emphasize the next point:  I was tired the rest of that day.  No duh, right?  So I did not go grocery shopping until later that night.  And when I went, I kinda got the feeling I was witnessing the aftermath of...something.  Like an overly dramatic teenager just flipped out on her parents because they tried to show her how to fold a shirt and OMG I am not a baby and you just need to LET GO  and you are RUINING MY LIFE BY BREATHING THE SAME AIR AS ME!!!! and now the parents are left reeling and staggering around with a massive headache, strong desire to drink, and a vague sense of impending doom.  That kind of aftermath.

This is what unfettered materialism does to people.  Capitalism is not bad.  I am all as "Yay Capitalism!" as the next person...but really, America, the workers of retail establishments are people too.  And they don't need to have that look the day after Thanksgiving.  It should be the OMFG I ate too much turkey and now my pants don't fit look.

And for the record, I did today support a small business on Small Business Saturday :) Yay Capitalism!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Bottles

I have been slowly weaning Charlie off her bottles. By slowly, I mean that I have been thinking about how the hell I am going to do this.  That child loves her ba-bas like Katy Perry fans adore her music...with a fiery passion that only they understand (I mean, really?  Have you ever tasted formula?  Or actually listened to Katy Perry's voice?)

I attempted to give her some formula in a cup with her lunch today.  The look she gave me clearly indicated where she thought my intelligence quotient was for that exact moment, and I can tell you that it was NOT in the upper percentiles.  It was probably not even in the low average percentiles.  She barely drinks juice out of a cup; I don't know why I was kidding myself that it was going to be that easy.  She then proceeded to take the cup, look me directly in the eye, and drop it on the floor.  She then resumed shoving her cheese into her mouth.

The doctors recommended that we cut out her nighttime bottle after this last (her 6th...) ear infection.  She is supposed to get tubes on Monday.  Clearly there is some medical necessity here as she is only 10.5 months old...I think they think that we are propping her bottles up for her and allowing her to fall asleep with them, hence the recommendation.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  We have that poor child sitting up so straight while drinking them that it almost looks uncomfortable.  Or maybe they are trying to hint to me that I should start doing more than just thinking about weaning.

I could say that my reluctance to wean is because I want to keep her a baby.  But then I would be lying, and liars go to hell (it's in the Bible somewhere, I am sure...).  I have been actually really enjoying the past few months of watching her bloom and grow.  Sure, it is a bit sad that my baby girl is going to be a year old soon.  But...I never really got to enjoy either Elizabeth's or Alexis's baby-hood the way I am Charlie's.  I was too busy trying to just survive (for different reasons for both, but it was survival nonetheless.)  With Charlie, I have been able to marvel and enjoy every last milestone.  I can watch in amazement as she learns to climb, to blow kisses, to talk.  I don't have all of that other stuff to distract me from the miracle that she is.  I find myself eagerly anticipating her next move in a way I did not with the other two because I AM thoroughly able to enjoy the present now.

I just don't want the fight of it is all.  I am still holding out hope that she will be like Alexis and wean herself (and transition herself to a big girl bed, and potty train herself....hey, a girl can dream right?)  However, unless in the next three weeks she drastically reduces her desire for a bottle, she is NOT on track for this.  I will have to do this the old-fashioned way, I guess.

Now, time to google what the old-fashioned way is.  Guess I am still thinking about it :p

Monday, November 7, 2011

Necklace

I have a necklace that I had made for Gabe (from www.belkaidesigns.com, the footprint necklace if you are interested).  I have worn it daily since the day that I got it.

Last week, I was at the office and it slipped off of the chain it was on.  I noticed it in my cleavage and re-attached it to my necklace, with the vague thought of having Charles take a pair of pliers and tighten the loop up when I got home.  Needless to say, when I took Charlie to her apppointment at the ENT (tubes it is!  I guess 5 ear infections in only 10 months of life raises a red flag...) I lost it again.

I had tried to call security at the hospital...nope.  No one had turned it in.  I had resigned myself to having to buy another one because I was sure that it had gotten run over by a car and crushed, when I got a voice mail from a stranger saying, "I think I have something that belongs to you".

I assumed that it was security, and I was STOKED.  I called, described the charm, and sure enough...it was it.  She asked how she could get it back to me, and I mentioned that I would be back at the hospital again soon.  She agreed to leave it with security.

Then she said, "I found that necklace, and you know, I never usually pick stuff up off the ground.  Something told me to grab this, though.  I am so glad I did...if it had been me I would have wanted it back.  I ended up googling the name, found the obit, then your blog...I am so very sorry for your loss."

I was speechless.  This woman (she did give me her name, but I don't have her permission to publish it so I am not going to...) went through all of that time and effort to return a trinket that was worthless to everyone else but me?  I was moved beyond words.  Her simple gesture of trying to return my necklace to me made my freaking year.

This woman unknowingly re-affirmed for me the basic goodness of human beings.  I see so much crap, so much awfulness, that one basic act of kindness reminds me of why I do what I do.  People ARE good.  People do care.

Thank you.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Halloween

It is that time of year again where it is socially acceptable to dress up as the un-dead and frighten small children while simultaneously freely contributing to the growing "obesity crisis" by handing out tons of diabetes-inducing, teeth-rotting, conveniently packaged sweets.  AKA, Halloween.

I keep hearing that Americans are increasingly spending more and more time, money, and effort on Halloween.  That it may soon one day surpass Christmas as the "BIG" holiday.  That Halloween is FUN!  And EXCITING!

Yeah, I don't get into it.  Big shocker there, right?  I have never followed what the rest of the general public does.  Not on purpose; it just kinda always ends up being like that.  I would take pride in this fact, except for it makes my life a PITA sometimes.

I tried to figure out why I am not so much into Halloween.  I briefly considered the idea that as a child, dressing up and pretending to be something scary was just as bad as my own fucked-up reality...so I did not need the escape the way others might.  That was too depressing to contemplate, so maybe it was the fact that I have never been into scary stuff.  I much prefer to see a comedy or even a drama than a horror flick.  But Halloween does not necessarily have to be scary (though it often is...) so I discarded that idea as well.

I finally just decided it was not my thing.  I take my kids out to trick or treat; we decorate (though that is mostly by Elizabeth's insistence); I go to a friend's annual Halloween party.  I am just kinda "eh" about it. 

Maybe some day I will come around.  Happy Halloween anyways!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Conversations VI

At the doctor's office, with Elizabeth in that little paper gown:

E:  Look Mom!  I am a transformer!

Me:  What, are you going to turn into a car now?

E:  (Rolls eyes) No Mom.  You have to turn into something that is, like, the same species!  Like a fawn!  Or a rabbit!

Me:  WTF?  (Yes, I probably actually said WTF.  Parent of the year I am not.)  A fawn?  Out of all of the animals that you could have chosen...you say fawn?

E:  Well, they are kinda the same color as we are...light tan-ish.  If we were talking about Charlie or my dad, it would have to be something really white.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Conversations V

Talking about Charlie:
Me: Unfortunately, Charlie has my T-rex arms and Charles's thighs.

Charles:  Well, she has my strength though...

Me:  Yeah, I have no upper body strength...

Elizabeth:  Yeah, she is gonna be like a cobra (takes her hand and arm, bends it to look like a snake head, then makes it "strike").


Elizabeth, reading what I just wrote:

E:  You have a blog?

Me: Yes, I have a blog.  There is a link on my Facebook page...I write about you a lot.

E:  Is it because I am hilarious?

Me:  Suuuuuuuuure......

Friday, October 14, 2011

Multi-tasking

So as I sit here tonight typing this there are no less than 4 additional tabs open on my web browser.  Grand total: 5.

I have never been able to just sit and watch TV.  I am usually sitting and crocheting, sitting and folding laundry, sitting and catching up on paperwork from work, etc., etc..

I tried this morning, while brushing my teeth, to weigh myself.  I got really pissed when the scale gave me an error message because I was wiggling too much while brushing.  Apparently I put a bit of booty into my brushing...

I frequently eat my lunch while driving.  I am embarrassed to admit this, but I am really good at eating yogurt and going 65+ on the highway.  I don't do this during rush hour though (like that makes it any better...)

I have been known to read mail and cook dinner at the same time.

Springing off my last post here I guess.  Is it any wonder I constantly feel like life is a race that I can't win?  Like I am always second best somehow because I can't do as many things at once as I want to?    What the hell am I afraid is going to happen if I just slow down and RELAX for a minute?

I have always made things hard for myself.  My chosen career, my political beliefs, my religious beliefs, my style of parenting...all at one point or another in my life have come under fire in a major way.  Perhaps my need to prove to people that I am not worthless, my conditioned by society response to prove to the privileged class that I can pull myself up by the bootstraps (which ironically is never good enough for them...) is the driving force behind my inability to just do one thing at a time.

Or maybe my meds need adjusted. 

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Sandwiches

There are two tasks that I truly dislike.  One is folding laundry, as evidenced by the current mounds that occupy a good portion of my basement (and most likely my dryer as well.  I could happily live forever out of my laundry baskets.  Folding laundry just seems to me to be an exercise in futility.  I seriously feel like that hamster running frantically on its wheel.  You never get anywhere, you know...)

The other is making sandwiches for lunches.  Elizabeth is old enough that and apparently cool enough that I dare not taint her lunch with my unholy, un-cool hands.  She packs her own shit.  I am also a bad wife and make Charles pack his.  This leaves Charlie and Alexis. 

Charlie is still young enough that she pretty much has no say in what she eats.  She gets sent to daycare with leftovers.  Alexis, however, has been corrupted by that oh so powerful force known as children her age and long ago dug her heels in on the leftover thing.  She now demands a sandwich for lunch.  The nerve, I tell you...I think I need to remind her of the hell that was her labor and delivery...

I really don't know why I dislike this task so.  I could possibly blame it on her wanting a PB&J, the most labor intensive of the sandwiches.  You have to get the correct ratio of the PB to the J, then spreading out the jelly...and those little fucking globs that JUST WON'T SPREAD....then there is the whole don't taint the PB with the J or vice versa; so really you HAVE to use two utensils to make it.  Is there any greater sandwich snobbery than having  to use TWO utensils?  I think not.  Then you have to use the nifty little cutter thingy that I have that removes the crusts (BECAUSE GOD FORBID THERE BE DARK BROWN CRAP AROUND THE EDGES, MOTHER!!!) and cuts it diagonally for you...bringing the total utensil usage up to THREE.  It gets very stressful.  Though I do admit that sometimes I exploit my child's distaste for dark brown crap and buy multi-grain bread.  Whatcha gonna do now, huh?  That entire bitch is dark brown!

At any rate, it is not her desire for the childhood classic as I hated it when she wanted bologna, when she wanted salami, when she wanted turkey.  I just hate making sandwiches.  Maybe it's because I don't eat them really myself.  Maybe it is somehow related to how often my mother did or did not hug me as a child.  I really don't fucking know, or care.  I am sure there is some grand symbolic meaning behind my reluctance to engage in all activities sandwich-making, but the internets haz funny videos made by funny peeps, so...

I delegated for a while.  I asked Charles to make it for me.  Not sure he really understood why, but he lives with me and usually does not pretend to fully understand me, so he went with it.  Then it just got to the point where I just started to do it.

Herein lies the problem. I think every working mother struggles with this very thing.  I just make all of the lunches at once, and if Charles is not readily available I just do it instead of waiting.  I am just too busy in my mind to wait.  Hell, I try thinking of ways to multi-task while brushing my teeth.  I am at the point to where I would try to pay bills during sex if I thought my husband would let me.

When did I get to the point where slowing down and waiting a minute became a sin?  What am I running from?  And how does this interrelate with some of what is going on  in my life now?  All very worthy questions I need to ask myself.

So much for not analyzing.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Remembering

I vividly remember September 11, 2001.
No doy, right?  I was always a bit skeptical when I would hear those "I always will remember exactly where I was and what I was doing when JFK was shot" stories as a child....but now I know how vividly such acts of violence can completely transform a person, a community, a nation.

I was driving in the car with Elizabeth on the way to the daycare when I heard on the radio something about a plane flying into the WTC.  Something was mentioned about "possible terrorist attack" and I vividly remember rolling my eyes.  That could NEVER happen.  This was the US of freaking A...I always hated the media's overreacting.

How I wish it was the media overreacting that day.

I dropped Elizabeth off at the center and returned home to get my stuff for my first class.  Acting for Non-Majors, Tuesdays and Thursdays, taught by Neil.  My roommate informed me that a second plane had hit the second tower and that the "Pentagon was on fire".  It still seemed surreal.  I got my stuff and headed to class.

Once I got there, people had found a radio and were listening intently to the news.  Neil walked in and spoke words that I will never ever forget: "Today is the day that America lost her innocence.  Class is cancelled.  Go do what you have to do."

Those words still bring tears to my eyes.

So do all of the memories of everything that happened after:  The firemen with the boots.  Trying to explain all of this to a not quite 4 year old.  Frantically calling a guy I was in a relationship with to make sure he was OK.  Watching those towers collapse.

Things changed after that day.  Ten years later, the effects of that day are still felt.  And the pain is still as real.

Tomorrow we are having Alexis's birthday party.  Ten years later, on a day that horrific, unspeakable acts of violence occurred, we are still able to celebrate a child's birthday.  Innocence and laughter will be in my house that day, juxtaposed against all of the solemn remembrances.  Elizabeth asked me if it was irreverent to  have the party that day.

No, was my reply.  They did not win.  We will stop to remember; of course...but we will not allow them to bring us to our knees with their hate and their violence.  We will remember and honor all the fallen that day the best way we can...by being Americans; doing American things; celebrating the birth of a child.

This is the US of freaking A, after all.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Insurance

I had a raging sinus infection (and double ear infections...) last week.
What else is new, right?  Welcome to life lived with Sjogren's Syndrome.  The meds I am on stop my body from fighting infections as efficiently as it used to in order to keep that same body from attacking itself.  Lovely, right?  So I am pretty much SOL when it comes to keeping a cold from moving into my sinuses or my chest and turning bacterial. 

What is new to me is the experience of having the insurance companies dictate what medications I can and cannot take, as well as where I can get my medications.

I guess I am fairly lucky that this is the first time I have run into this.  Though now that I think about it, I did have my daughter's ped look up to see what cough medicine he could prescribe, and my insurance company did dictate where I could get my heparin from while preggers with Charlie...but I have never had the experience of insurance denying a claim for a med that my doctor prescribed. 

I mean really, WTF does that doctor know?  I come into his office, fucking miserable from yet another sinus infection that I put off too long getting looked at (in the vain hopes that I could avoid having to pay that 20% coinsurance as well as the copay...), and he sees that I  have a shit ton of swelling in my sinuses and my earsies.  He prescribes a corticosteroid nasal spray and an antibiotic.

The insurance apparently knows better than he does and says, "Nope.  Not that one.  This one".  And in the meantime, it is almost a week before I get my meds while they play their games.  Because insurance companies don't work on the weekends, or the holidays.  Didn't these germs get the memos?  Didn't my body learn to NOT get sick because that costs them money?  God, so selfish!

Yet nationalized medicine will make this worse....how?  How is care not being rationed now?  How is this being effective?  Perhaps I would not have needed these meds if I had gone sooner.  Wait, that is my fault for expecting insurance, which is bought to cover these situations, to pay for medications.  Had I just gone sooner, I would not be in this dilemma.  Had I not been SO SELFISH and not worried about the cost, or saved more money to cover this situation while paying upwards of $3.65/gallon for gas and not getting pay increases because of the economy yet seeing insurance premiums almost double as well as the grocery bill skyrocket, along with gas and electric....

Or maybe if I had insurance that did not break the bank, if I knew that going to the doctor would not potentially lead to costly procedures that will bankrupt me....if I knew that going to the doctor when it was needed will not lead to the company being forced to go to a really crappy insurance like my work had to due to people ACTUALLY USING THE INSURANCE FOR WHAT IT IS FOR....maybe then this will not have happened.

Or maybe the insurance could just cover my meds so I feel better.

What do I pay them for again?

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Shattered

It is funny how quickly things can change.

My last post reads so smug, so sure.  I should know better.  Nothing is ever sure.  Nothing is ever static.  Things ALWAYS change; not always for the better.

I will be all right though.  Maybe because of some of those very things I wrote about; maybe because I have no choice because I have children; maybe because it is really not as bad as I originally thought.  But I will grow and learn and be better. 

Perhaps we have to shatter so the pieces can be put back together in a new and more functional way.  I am reminded of the Tinkerbell movie (I  have girls, OF COURSE I have seen it 8, 987, 634 times).  She breaks the crystal, and in doing so finds a way to make it even better.

There is a lesson to be learned from that movie.  Going through it sucks, but a lesson nonetheless.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Kindergarden

Anyone else remember this taunt?
Kindergarden baby,
Stick your head in gravy,
Wrap it up in bubblegum and send it to the Navy.

My thoughts and feelings have been consumed by all things Kindergarden for the past few days.  Alexis started today.  Rode the bus to school like a big girl and everything.  Not one single tear.

She was just so goddamned BRAVE.  Charles wrote out for her on a piece of paper last night, "Mommy, Daddy, Elizabeth, and Charlie LOVE you!!!" for her to take with her.  I did a version of the kissing hand where I kissed her hand lots and lots so she could have them for when she felt scared.  And despite her begging me yesterday to allow her to take Beary to school, she did not even ask for him as we were walking out the door.

I barely held it together for her.

As I am wont to do, I was able to distract myself with seemingly unimportant details.  I could not find my camera, so all I have for pictures of this morning are on my phone.  That was enough to get me through.  Where the fucking camera is is still driving me nuts.  I used it yesterday to take a picture of Elizabeth (much to her irritation...see post on my compulsive picture-taking...)  A part of me wonders if she hid it from me today...

I cannot believe that she is this big.  I cannot believe that she did so well.  Not that I wanted her to cry...I am not THAT kind of parent.  She just continually amazes me with her ability to overcome her fears.  I truly admire her for that.  She is going to be a force to be reckoned with some day...

No one will be able to taunt her.  That was my fear.  And it is unfounded.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Romance

I recently read about a study that states that most married couples kiss less than once a week and that this kiss lasts less than 5 seconds.  To me, that is crazy.
Now my husband and I are not the most romantic people by any stretch of the imagination.  Our first anniversary was spent buying a new stove or dryer (can't remember which one, that is how memorable it was...) because we had just moved into our house.  We tend to be practical in the extreme.  We generally don't spend money on gifts for Valentine's Day or Sweetest's Day (an American Greetings Holiday here in Ohio, designed to pick up lagging card sales in October for those who aren't familiar with it...) because I generally refuse to participate in a holiday that exploits the very relationships that are supposed to be most important to people all to perpetuate a materialistic ideology that is so pervasive throughout our society today.  (Read:  We're too cheap.)  Hell, on our honeymoon our truck broke down and we ended up having to spend money from the wedding cards to have it towed and repaired.  That was an interesting start to married life...but I digress.

I am disclosing the above to illustrate the fact that while we are very much NOT traditionally romantic people, I simply could not fathom NOT kissing my husband every day.  We kiss at least twice a day.  He kisses me ever morning before he leaves for work (and I debated whether to include this kiss because technically I am not fully functioning and sometimes not even aware of it...though I will say that he does have my full consent to do this).  We also kiss every night before we go to sleep.  That is our minimum for a day, and usually only if we don't see each other all day.  We kiss every time one of us leaves the house.  We will kiss when we pass each other in the living room or kitchen.

Same thing goes for telling each other "I love you".  Every phone call ends this way.  Every morning my husband tells me this (again, debatable if it counts because of my non-conscious state...).  Every night before we fall asleep this is the last thing I hear from him.  And countless times in between.

Some will say that by kissing so often and by saying those three words so often, we are rendering them meaningless.  I would disagree.  Physical affection is important to a marriage.  If I am going to have to have sex with the same person for the rest of my life (though there are those who say you don't have to do this, I am not going there...), you better believe that I am going to have lots of it as well as lots of physical touching.  If I am going to have to be with a man that I will see at both his very best and his very worst, I am damned sure going to affirm every single fucking day that I love him.  It is a reminder for me and for him as much as it is meaningful.

So do we do roses and candlelight and satin sheets?  Nope.  Do we kiss and fuck and laugh and encourage each other a lot more than most people I know?  Yep.  You better believe that I am going to brag about this.  After all that we have gone through together in our short 7 years of being married...from the truck on the honeymoon, to my dad dying, to our son, to me going through school....we survived it.  And if we did this by not being traditionally romantic...I will take it.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Guilt

School is starting soon.

Alexis will be in Kindergarden this year.  She will likely be the youngest in her class.

I want to say that making the decision to send her was hard, but it was not.  It was a combination of finances (won't have to pay daycare and preschool for her anymore...), her academic progress (which has been GREAT over the past year.  She would be bored in a third year of preschool.), and the advice of her teachers (who I most definitely leave the educating to.  I make a lousy teacher...I subbed for a year and that is a year of my life I will never get back.)

Despite the fact that I am solid on this being the right decision, I feel guilty.  As though I am taking my very very anxious child and throwing her to the wolves (appropriate for a blog called "Sheep Among the Wolves, I guess).  I feel as though I am forcing her to grow up faster than for which she is ready.  I feel as though by sentencing her to be the youngest in her class, I am sentencing her to a life of always playing catch-up.  That she will somehow be even more disadvantaged in life.

I have been feeling this more and more lately.  I even mentioned to some friends how I sometimes feel guilty because we can't afford all kinds of private lessons and whatnot for our kids.  Hell, at this point we can barely afford our bills because my hours have drastically reduced at work.  I always, constantly feel as though I am somehow shortchanging my kids.

It appears to me, though, that a lot of mothers feel this way.  It is damned if you do, damned if you don't.  Put your kids in activities?  You are overscheduling.  Don't put them in?  You are going to turn them into obese couch potatoes who just sit and vegetate in front of video games all day.  Start your child in kindergarden?  You are damning them  to a life of constant catch-up.  Hold them back?  You are giving them an unfair advantage and making them be bored for the next year.

When will it ever be good enough?  When will we ever be able to accept that parents do the best job they can?

Friday, July 29, 2011

Retarded

I was reading back through some of my old posts the other day, chuckling at the antics of my children and imagining them in therapy griping about how their mother posted ALL of their humiliating moments on TEH INTERNETS, when I was startled to find that in not one, but two posts I had used the word retarded.

Some people would say that that is not a big deal. Some people would say that is just a word.

But...words hurt.

I have been, at various points in my life and by various people that I love and that I thought loved me, been called all of the following:  Stupid, worthless, a slut, a bitch, a whore, a fucking bitch (distinct from just a bitch, mind you), cold hearted, evil, soulless, selfish, lazy, unmotivated, white trash, fat, and dumb.  And those are just the ones I can think of off the top of my head. Harmful words, sometimes spoken with the intent to hurt; sometimes just carelessly tossed around.

Words hurt.  I should know.

That is why I am ashamed that I used that word, to imply something that is less than.  Something stupid, not worth my time, not normal.  I should know better.

I want really badly to go back and erase the evidence that I did that.  I have chosen, however, to leave it as is.  To remind myself of my growth as a human being; to show myself that yes, I have made progress.  I can always be more compassionate.  My awareness can always go up.

I like to call myself a feminist.  Feminist issues ARE everyone's issues.  The mistreatment of a person with limited capabilities is no less discriminatory than the mistreatment of a woman.  Words hurt and matter just as much in either situation.  It is not being hysterical or overly sensitive or not being able to take a joke.  It is being aware that we are not isolated islands.  As hokey as it sounds, we are all interconnected.

Everyone has the right to dignity and equality.  Words do matter, and I need to start being more careful with mine.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Big

It happened overnight, I swear it.

Alexis is a big kid.  She has magically started to have the characteristics and mannerisms of a school kid and not a preschooler.  It was really the little things that I noticed....things like her asking me, "Mommy, do you realize that I have TWO glasses of milk in the fridge?"  (Do I realize...WTF?  Who taught her to talk like that?); things like her earnestly explaning to her father what was going on during Spongebob so he would be up to speed; things like her not needing her potty seat to poop anymore and wanting to wash her own body in the bathtub.

She still drives me nuts.  Out of my three girls, she is very definitely the most challenging.  She tests me at every turn; she does not perform up to what I think she should sometimes; she constantly turns over on their head all of my expectations and dreams that I have for her.  Yet, I also have had the easiest time in other matters with her.   She will avoid new experiences like Michelle Bachmann avoids acknowledging that conversion therapy is crap, yet she was so easy to potty train.  She has constant, sometimes debilitating anxiety about social situations and change, yet I never really had to baby proof the house because she never got into things she was not supposed to.  She constantly challenges my rules and the lines I try to draw for her (when I tell her we are going to clean the toys up then go outside, she ALWAYS says, "How about we go outside first and then clean?"  Always...) yet she desperately wants to please me and her father.  She is a bundle of contradictions and always will be...but before she did it in a way that was so young.

Now she possesses a maturity that sometimes astounds me.  She tries so hard to overcome her fears.  She tries so hard to be a helper and loves her baby sister with a ferocity that astounds me.  The things  that come out of her mouth...I had someone recently tell me that they love my Facebook updates because of the shit I put on there that she says.  Everyone who meets her adores her and says she is so cute and funny.  And all of this happened overnight.

I swear.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Document

I have in my possession a piece of paper that no parent should ever possess.
A death certificate for my son.
I looked at it tonight. It is so stark, to see it all written out there in black and white. Name: Gabriel Leslie Wheeler. Cause of death: Extreme prematurity. (Yet later on down, it states that he died before labor even started. When I first noticed this, I was a bit concerned that it might cause me problems. About what, IDK...I even asked my doctor about it. Then I realized that no one would really care.)
I have the card that I need should my husband and I ever decide to bury his ashes, or for the day when one of us dies and we bury him with whoever goes first then. Right now his ashes are sitting on a shelf in my living room. Most, if not all, who walk into our house do not notice them unless they know to look. The urn is not like they show on TV, easily opened and breakable. It is a very small, plain wooden box that is sealed quite securely.
This is the stuff that I now know about. I know what it takes to get a doctor to sign a death certificate for a dead child. Usually, it takes a lot. Dr. Gingo, the man to whom I will be eternally grateful for doing this, did not dick around with it and signed the death certificate that day. This meant we could have the funeral home pick him up and had his ashes home with us in days....no small feat considering it was over a holiday weekend. I know that the use of "passed away" is frowned upon by newspapers due to the stupid Norwalk Reflector changing the wording of my son's obituary without our permission. I know that the funeral director will help you write that obituary. I know that that room in the hospital, the one they told us was for mothers who's babies had to stay during the tour I took while pregnant with Alexis? Yeah, it is for women who have to deliver a dead child because it is far away from all the other rooms. Unfortunately it is still within earshot of all the living babies crying; you also have to pass by the viewing window of the nursery to leave.
I know what it is like to have to tell your daughter that her brother is dead. I know what it is like to have to plan a memorial service for a child I never even heard cry or felt move in the womb.
All of this I could have gone my whole life without knowing.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Hips

So, for a variety of reasons, I decided to go on the Dukan diet. This was after a lot of careful thought and research and whatnot, so it was not something that I did on a whim. I needed to lose some weight, and this diet appealed to me. So far, it is working too, which is a bonus.
My husband was talking to me about my weight loss. He commented on where it is most noticeable, specifically around my stomach area. I noted that while that was in fact where I had lost most of my weight, my hips remained stubbornly wide. No diet in the world is gonna fix this. I for sure have child-bearing hips, which is a cruel joke considering the hell I have to go through to get my children as well as the horror that tends to be my labors and deliveries. Even when I was at my skinniest, I had definite hips.
My husband's response was very simple, yet had such a huge impact. "I like your hips."
This (shocking, I know) got me thinking. That statement meant more to me than he will probably ever know. It is not a traditional compliment, sure. But the fact that my husband continually and unconditionally accepts me and loves me exactly how I am right this very second means the world to me. He loves me now, not how I was 9 years ago when we met, not how I was when we first got married. Now. Present tense. As is. No warranty, either implied or otherwise.
I am a very lucky woman.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Daddies

Happy Father's Day to all the daddies out there, both here on earth and in heaven.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Toothbrush

There is an empty spot in our toothbrush holder. Again.
Elizabeth has left to go visit her father out of state for the summer, as she has for every summer since 2006. It never gets easier, to put her on that plane all by herself, to be gone from her for that long. A big hole gets ripped in my heart for 6-8 weeks every year.
It is only because I firmly believe in the fundamental right of every child to know their parents that this happens. I believed this even before I began studying and working as a family therapist and saw the damage that happened when a child had a parent bad mouth their other parent. I have never ever said anything to Elizabeth about her father that could be construed as negative. There is a lot about our relationship that I have not and will not tell her. He is half of her, like it or not.
Not to say that there has not been conflicts...God knows, there has been. I have said some things to him that I now regret, and I like to think he feels the same way. We get along a lot better now that we don't live in the same state. I have come to accept him for what he does do for Elizabeth, not try to make him to live up to what I think should be done for her. It has at least made my life a lot easier.
But, every night, when I see that empty spot, I think about what could have been. The past will never be changed...but I do think about how very different my life would have been had I made some very different choices. Do I regret Elizabeth? Absolutely 100% beyond a shadow of a doubt not. She was the best thing that ever happened to me. She came at a time when I desperately needed her, though I did not know it at the time. She was what drove me to be who and what I am today. I stopped trying to get approval from where it was not ever going to come from and started to live for what was best for her...and by doing that, I learned how to take care of me.
So when I look at that empty spot, I think of two things: First of all, pretty soon we will need a bigger holder for when Charlie gets teeth (bad mommy does not brush her gums, as supposedly you are supposed to...). Second of all, tough as it is to let her go, to see that hole in that holder, she needs this time with that part of her family. Sometimes letting go is the only way you can show someone how much you love them.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Anniversary

Seven years ago today, at about this time, I was driving to the hairdressers to get my hair done for my wedding. Elizabeth and I stopped at McDonald's before getting there. We walked into the hair salon to be greeted by entire wedding parties getting ready. It was just the two of us, though, in our last few moments together as just Mommy and Elizabeth. Soon it would be Mommy and Elizabeth and Charles.
She went off with her hair stylist and the woman doing my hair got to work. We chatted about how my hair was shorter...thanks to my mother-in-law who gave me a "trim" that took off over an inch of hair. (Needless to say, that was the last time she cut my hair. I started paying for my haircuts after that.) We discussed her mother-in-law, and how to put my veil in, and her adopted son. Elizabeth came out with a huge grin on her face, her hair all ready. The curls in it would end up falling out by the time we got to my aunt's house to get ready.
I arrived at my Aunt JoAnne's. I had spent a couple of nights over there as a child, and I adored her deceased husband, my Uncle Fred. She had this whole spread for us, bless her heart...appetizers and a champagne punch. It would be that punch that would help me to walk down that aisle. As the day went on, I became increasingly convinced that I was not doing the right thing...that Charles deserved someone better; someone easier to deal with; someone without a child. I ended up drinking most of the punch myself, and obviously did walk down the aisle. I never regretted the decision, even when we were at our low spots.
You see, I never really wanted to get married or have children. I never thought that I would find someone to make me want to forsake all others and whatnot. Back then, I did not know about domestic partnerships or open relationships and things like that. Would that have changed things now if I did? I don't know. I did know, though, that trying to imagine a life without Charles in it was worse than having to get married. So I gradually became acquainted with the idea that yes, I could make a marriage work. I did try to convince him to just let us live together for the rest of our lives, but that was a no go. And while I still think that the whole concept of marriage is totally unfair (especially to women, who are expected to take on a new name, and to gays and transgendered folks, who aren't even ALLOWED to get married in most places), I must admit that it has its benefits.
My husband has made me grow in a hundred different ways that I don't even know if he is aware of. With him by my side, I have more confidence. Not because I feel that I am less than without him or "he completes me", but because I KNOW I will have support. Even when I am wrong, he is on my side. I can truly say that unlike most partnerships I know of, we are equals. We both have our strong suits that we bring into this marriage and we make it work. Is it perfect? Hell no. Is it ours? Absolutely. And I can say honestly that I would not change a minute of it. Even all the heartache we have gone through (and we have had more than our fair share, that's fo shure...), even after all my doubts....
Happy Anniversary, Baby. I love you more than I ever thought possible.
.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Coupons

The new TV show, Extreme Couponing, has taken the world by storm (I have always wanted to say that, so bear with me in the cheesiness, m'kay?) I have happened to catch a few episodes, and one thing has struck me about this show.
These people are hoarders.
Sure, their hoarding is celebrated by our society's appreciation of "do-it-yourselfness" as well as a sometimes not verbalized desire to stick it to "the man" (or in this case, major corporations...). But a theme that I have heard over and over again on this show is that these people started their stockpiles during times of stress...losing jobs, loss of income, etc. It is almost their drug. Arguably a better drug than, oh, most other pharmaceuticals legal and otherwise...but still.
There was a woman who's stockpile was taking over her house. She had stuff in her kids' closets and the bathroom shower. Just because it is organized neatly, how is this any different than the people who's stuff is all over the place? It is still a way of dealing with anxiety. Would they be able to function without the couponing? What if they were unable to coupon? What would that do to them? Would they be OK, or would they end up in the corner in the fetal position, frantically clinging to the last edition of the Smart Source insert?
I am all for saving money. I am the first to head to the clearance racks, to check the shelves for cuts of meat that have a sell by date of today that have been marked down that I can freeze, to buy the day old bread. But honestly, by the time you use 1,000 tubes of toothpaste, surely some of them will have expired! I even saw an episode where a woman bought medicine that her family did not use because it was on sale and she got it for pennies (if not free). How is that helpful to have it sitting on your shelf? HOW IS THAT NOT HOARDING???

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Rapture

I figured since the world is gonna end and all I should probably write one final post or whatever. Not that I have anything really profound to say at this point. I am not really sure how I feel about the whole organized religion thing anyways. I tend to identify as a "Recovering Catholic", though that makes me feel as though I should be attending meetings and making amends for past hurts and whatnot. Maybe if this rapture thing does not work out, I have found a new niche for me as a counselor...
Anyways, things are scheduled to start at 6 PM it would appear. I am assuming that Jesus functions on EST or I would have already been hearing about the wailing and gnashing of teeth from different time zones. I really was hoping that it would start a bit sooner, as I kinda have a busy day and if Jesus is going to come back and all, by God, why can't he come back and make my life a little easier? Right, I forgot it is the AFTERLIFE that is supposed to be easy.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Slumber

I hold Charlie, with her head resting against my breast. Through heavy eyes, she looks around and focuses on my fingers. She sleepily reaches up and latches onto my index finger, pulling it close to her cheek as her eyes slowly drift downwards. Her other had works over the curly fur of Pink Puppy as she vigorously sucks on her pacifier. She snuggles in even closer to me as the sucking slows down and she drifts off to sleep.
She is completely trusting of me. It never even would occur to her to think that I might not be there to meet her every need. I can't mess up, as long as I give her her bottles when she demands them, smile and talk to her, cuddle her, change her diapers. She is so innocent, and I am entrusted with the care of this perfect human being. What did I ever do to deserve the love and the admiration that my children give me?
Even as they grow older, as they reach the preschool years like Alexis and the teenager years like Elizabeth; even as my flaws do become apparent to my children...they still love me. I am still their mother; I am still one of the most important people in their lives. The role that a mother figure plays in a child's life is huge, whether that be the person who gave birth or the person who raised them. The trust that a child has for this person is one that does not get replicated in any other relationship. It is truly unique.
My hopes for my children, as I sit and hold Charlie a little longer than was probably necessary to get her to fall asleep, are that they know that their mother will always be there for them and that they are able to take the love that I have given them and multiply it in their own lives. I want my children to remain forever innocent like the slumbering babe that I held in my arms, but I know that this will not happen. They will grow up, learn about all of the evil in the world, be hurt and devastated, and yes, even eventually get to the point where they think they might hate me. But the one constant that I can offer them as they navigate through this crazy thing called life is my love and support. I hope they can take that and multiply it in their own lives.
Happy Mother's Day!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Conversations IV

Elizabeth: So the plural of cactus is cacti, right?
Me: Uh, yeah???....
Elizabeth: So if Christians teach that Jesus is three people in one (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) why don't we call him Jesi?
Alexis: Mommy, I wish I had a really long tongue. Like a frog. Or a horse...
Me: Why, so you can eat flies?
Alexis: No, so I can lick my nose.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Photographs

Apparently I take an obscene amount of pictures. At least this is what Elizabeth tells me on a regular basis. Every time that I reach for the camera to capture a moment, she rolls her eyes and I get the typical "Moooooooooooom! Do you HAVE to DO THAT?" Sometimes she tries to hide from me and sometimes she will make a face in an attempt to "ruin" the picture. However, like all teens, she has sorely underestimated the complete lack of coolness that her mother possesses and has yet to realize that protests such as these only serve to strengthen my resolve to capture the moment. Hence, the picture taking continues and I continue to obsessively (in her world, that is) document every waking moment of their lives. Her friends actually commented on it too. Just this last weekend, it started to hail outside. Like pretty good sized hail, enough of it that it would cover the grass and was bouncing around on the ground like little Mexican jumping beans. I, naturally, reached for the camera to take a picture of it. Her one friend said, in amazement, "I guess your mom really does take pictures of everything!" It baffles me. I truly did not think that I was bad about this. I guess I am known for being the one who pulls the camera out at family gatherings to take pictures of us pretending like we are a functional unit for short distinct periods of time. I also document the times when the facade falls and we show our true colors. Like the one time when my brother in law was dressed as a keg for Halloween and we took a picture of my then 8 year old daughter doing a keg stand (pretend, of course...she has enough time to get her technique down when she is in college. Parents shouldn't teach their children EVERYTHING, ya know...) I take pictures of my kids playing. I take pictures of us dyeing eggs for Easter, unwrapping presents at Christmas, having a fire in the yard during the summer, jumping in leaves in the fall. I do know this though...that in the future, there will be plenty of photos for my girls to go back and to look at. Even if it is only to talk about how insane their mother was with that damn camera.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Dealing

I am going to be without a vehicle soon. Hopefully, the situation is temporary. I am selling my Liberty to my brother and looking for a new ride. If the situation were different, I would totally go for some pimped out Hybrid cause that's how I roll (kinda crunchy, but with consumeristic tastes). Alas, our crushing mountain of debt prevents this, so I will be looking for a vehicle that we can pay cash for. If I don't find something by the end of the weekend that I like that is in my price range, I will have to use my in-laws' Ford Freestyle. This is a bit akin to Faust's deal with the devil. Past experiences have shown me that allowing them to do, well, ANYTHING for us gives them, in their book at least, a free ride to attempt to control every other aspect of our lives. Since I do not live according to that book, the story lines often don't mesh and you are left with a plot similar to that found in The Beast of the Yucca Flats (one hint as to who is the mutated monster in this analogy...it ain't me, that's fo shure...) So this means that we will have to wheel and deal our very best tomorrow. Ugh. I hate doing this. There is a reason that I am in the social sciences and not sales...I have a too soft heart. Hell, the salesman could probably tell me some sob story about his crippled child needing a major surgery that this commission will pay for and I would buy it. OK, maybe not really as I do desire to get out of debt and I am not that naive...but you get the drift. This is why I am so glad that we are not on the barter system anymore. I would totally get fucked regularly. And not in the good way, unfortunately...

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Clarity

Who knew? You can wake up in the morning and feel rested. You can smile back at your baby...and mean it You can want to have sex again. You can see things just a little bit sharper. You can have clarity. Why didn't I do this a long time ago? I will have to live with Sjogren's for the rest of my life. I will have to live with Antiphospholipid Antibody Syndrome for the rest of my life. I will always be on blood thinners, have dry eyes, be prone to sinus infections and pneumonia and yeast infections. I will not have to feel like I am slogging through quicksand. I will be able to get 8 hours of sleep and not feel like I have to get about 8 more. Pills don't teach skills, this is true. But...pills do make you feel normal. And it is so easy to forget normal when you have not been normal for so long.

Friday, March 18, 2011

PPD

Today I finally acknowledged something that has been going on. My mood is not right. I think I have Postpartum Depression.

It is very hard for me to acknowledge this. As a mental health professional, I know all of the causes and the treatments. I know that the people who come into my office often struggle to just make it through the day. I know that this is not weakness on their parts, that this is not how they would live if they had a choice. I know I have no choice in this...and yet...

The depression is steadily growing worse. It is not particularly disabling yet in that I am still able to function. I feel nothing though. I see my kids laugh, I play with them, I talk and laugh with my husband....all the while I feel dead on the inside. I have no motivation to clean my house, to exercise, to make sure my family is taken care of and eating their veggies, etc. Just tonight my husband and daughter went outside to practice hurdles for track and I had no desire to join them or watch. I even told Elizabeth that I did not want to go outside with them. I could happily sleep for hours on end and still be tired. I feel listless, overwhelmed, and yet so very very ice cold all at once.

I must be very good at hiding this because Charles almost fell over when I told him. He asked why I had not mentioned this before. I say it is because I thought it would go away. And I truly did, she who should know better. I thought that it was due to sleep deprivation. But wait...Charlie basically sleeps through the night. I thought I was being over dramatic. Then why is it getting worse? I still laugh, right? I still get out of bed and get the kids to school, go to work, maintain my hygiene. Why do I need to FEEL? I am certainly not ACTING depressed. But inside is a different story.

Inside I am screaming. I know there is something wrong. Just a few weeks ago, I was ok. I did not even get the baby blues too terribly badly this time around. I thought I was out of the woods. Not so much. Inside there is ice surrounding what used to be the warmest parts of my heart. I still love my family and I am NOT having thoughts of hurting them or myself...I know enough to make sure that this never ever goes that far. But what kills me is that I feel nothing now, and while I intellectually know that this should bug me...really, it does not. And that is not fair to my children, my husband, or me. I refuse to live my life like this when a few short weeks ago Elizabeth's accomplishments at school made me burst with pride; Alexis's antics made me laugh; Charlie's smile made me into a pile of mush, and Charles's touch never failed to turn me on. Now, I lack even the motivation to pursue the things that I know used to bring me joy.

That is not life. I saw how good things could be, and I am not going to let my brain's screwed up biochemistry take that from me. So I will get over myself and drag my ass to the doctor's. I will go on antidepressants. I will go to therapy if needed. I will not do that to my children or my husband. I WILL live life.

This will not beat me.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Commands

So the bad part about going PRN for my job is that I am now in the office more often than I was when I was doing home-based therapy. Much less stress, because I don't have people calling me saying, "My son is holding a knife to my throat, WTF do I do?" Too bad I am always professional, because I usually really want to say, "WTF do you mean, 'WTF do I do?' Why the hell are you on the phone with me? CALL THE COPS!!!"

Anywho, being in the office more is not bad because I particularly dislike it there or any of the people that are usually at the office. It is bad because of the abundance of chocolate that is there. Specifically, Dove Dark chocolate. One of my colleagues has it on her desk, just free for the taking. I think I want to have her babies...but again, I digress. And I can usually do pretty well with avoiding it, but I have had my monthly free pass for chocolate (AKA my period) coming up, so I indulged. If you can call "indulging" being the same thing as "you have eaten enough of this chocolate that you might need to enter a 12 step program for chocolate addiction ".

I slowed down enough in my frantic shoveling in of the chocolate to notice that there were little sayings printed on the inside of the wrappers. Things like, "Enjoy a sunset!" or "Hug someone!" Just little sayings, giving you commands on how to improve your life. And of course, this got me thinking about how sometimes I feel that there are so many vague entities in my life who are giving me commands. "Look this way!" "Be this thin!" "No, be thinner!" "You need to do XYZ or you are a horrible parent!" "You need to do XYZ to be a good wife!" "Oh, and don't forget to make time for yourself...but you are horrible if you do!" Etc., Etc. These invisible forces, sometimes a creation of my own socialization/mind, sometimes overt messages, sometimes covert messages...I often feel as though I am bombarded by these commands that I can never obey. Or that if I do obey this command, I will be bombarded with commands from the invisible entity on the other side.

Perfect example...I really wanted to nurse Charlie. I nursed Alexis like I was born to do it (which some will argue I was!) It was easy with her. Charlie, not so much...but I was lucky that I knew I had 8 weeks to take off work, so I had time to work through the issues. And we did. Then I found out that I had to stop after I stopped taking my heparin because of the medicines I would take that replaced the heparin. Holy guilt.

The commands were telling me that my baby was going to be slow, unhealthy, get cancer, and die a horrible death if I did not nurse. They were also telling me that a good mom sacrifices EVERYTHING for her child. Then I had the ones on the other side...that being formula fed was not a death sentence (Elizabeth was formula fed, and she is just fine), that I had to take care of myself to take care of my baby...the war was on. Ultimately, I stopped nursing because I am pretty fond of this thing called life, and my medications have saved my life. But the commands keep coming, usually unleashed by an unwitting source...the ads for "Breast is best", a coworker who innocently assumes that I am still nursing...

So those little labels on the inside of the chocolate? Innocent, yes. However, I really wish that I had not seen them as they just remind me of all the things I "should" be doing. When did society make women HAVE to be superwomen? When will I learn to ignore the commands so I can just enjoy my PMS relief?

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Lucky

I have been thinking about my son a lot lately. I am not really sure of the reason why. It has always kind of been like this for me....while I do think of him each and every day, there are periods of time when I seem to be more consumed by it. (Side note here...I never thought that it was possible to think of someone who was deceased every day when I was a child. I remember reading something about a woman who had miscarried and how she did this and distinctly remember thinking, "Yeah right. Surely there are SOME days she does not think of that." Boy, was I wrong...) Sure, there are the obvious ones...the day he was born, my due date, etc. But the end of February/beginning of March has no obvious correlation to anything to do with Gabe, really. It seems to come and go with out rhyme or reason; sometimes triggered by a song or a movie or an innocent comment. Sometimes triggered by nothing at all. This is one of those times.

As I was driving to work yesterday, I heard on the radio Carrie Underwood's "This is Just a Dream". While the song actually appears to be about a woman who loses her husband to a war, it has always resonated to me with regards to Gabe. It did and still does feel like a dream. I still can't believe the events that have sprung from losing him. I lost so much more after I lost him. A child; most definitely...but also my innocence when it comes to pregnancy, my beliefs that I do in fact have my health, and lastly, my sisters-in-law on my husband's side.

Honestly, that last one is mostly not that big a loss to me. I never had much use for my husband's sisters. I tried, truly I did. We are just cut from very different cloth. So I kinda went along with having a semi-good relationship with them until they both made the decision to not come to Gabe's funeral. I have no use for them now. People tell me to forgive and move on, but I lose no sleep over losing these relationships. I actually have significantly LESS stress than I did before. In a way, cutting them off also enabled me to take a look at other relationships in my life and evaluate what I was getting out of them. This may seem cold, but I learned a valuable lesson here...you DON'T have to stay around people that are sucking you dry. Conversely, I learned that you can't expect perfection out of people. You do, however, have the choice to weigh whether the good outweighs the bad. In this case, the answer was that it did not.

I am speaking of this because tonight my husband told me that his one sister wants to see Charlie. My first reaction is why the hell should I allow them to see her? Fair weather family is what that is...only wanting to be a part of our lives when things are all good. I am sure for people around me that it is hard to acknowledge my son. I even wrote about having to forever apologize to people for his existence in past posts. But IMHO, a TRUE family member won't try to brush the uncomfortable under the rug. My husband's family has a habit of doing this. I won't allow it when it comes to my son. He existed, and it hurt the hell out of us. So sorry if that is not convenient for you. Life SUCKS sometimes.

My second reaction was that it is always like this with her. She has moved out of state, and every time she comes back she expects everyone to fall all over themselves to run out and see her. It was like this even before Gabe, and quite frankly, it annoys the shit out of me.

My third reaction was one of concern for my husband. I know that if he takes Charlie over there, his mother will have thought that she has "won" and that he will magically forgive his sisters and all will be all better and she can pretend that nothing is wrong. While there may come a day when he decides to attempt a relationship with them again, it is not now and nor will it be because his mother demanded it. As irritating as her thinking that is, my main concern is that he will get hurt, again, because of the selfishness of his sisters. That they will demand from him now what he is not willing to give yet. I asked him to not let Charlie be alone with them if they do go. He has agreed; this shows me yet again how much this man truly loves me. He is willing to stay in a room with someone that hurt him deeply (and mind you, he was closer to this sister as well...) so that I don't have to go through that discomfort and pain again.

That is the final thing I learned from Gabe. How very lucky I am.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Expectations

I went to the doctor today because I was dying (or so I thought...) Turns out that I have a raging sinus infection. When the doctor was getting ready to write a prescription for me, he asked if I was breastfeeding or not (I had Charlie with me).

My first instinct was to respond, "I was, but I had to stop because my rheumatologist wants me on a baby aspirin and Charlie's pediatrician won't let me take aspirin and breastfeed because of the risk of Reye's". WTF? Why did I feel the need to justify my parenting choices to a physician? Why wasn't my first instinct to simply respond, "No"?

Society seems to have this expectation that mothers sacrifice all for their children. You must breastfeed, you must have the best car seats on the market, and GOD FORBID if your baby accidentally catches a glimpse of TV. On days when a SAHM is feeling crappy because of, say, a sinus infection, and her 4 year old watches a little too much TV, she also feels guilty because of the rotting of the brain that is going on. When our 13 year old wants a cell phone, we are made to feel horrible if we don't get the best one on the market...but then when we do get them a phone, we are made to feel horrible because OMG, you are giving your child BRAIN CANCER!!! (On a side note, it is really probably the 13 year old trying to make you feel like crap for not having the best phone...but that is besides the point.)

Never, ever, in a million years, would any of these actions be judged horrible and awful if they were performed by a man. Men, you see, have this reputation of being clueless, and therefore just the fact that they were aware that the child was a.) in the house, and b.) watching TV/having a cell phone/eating crappy food/etc. means that they deserve the superhero awesome totally cool that he is so involved title for the ENTIRE YEAR.

No one ever stops to think of the disservice that we are doing to each other with this kind of thinking. All that people who judge your parenting are thinking of is the guilt that they carry, and how looking down on someone makes them feel better. Women are expected to be consumed by their children, and men are expected to not be involved. Neither option is very good, both for the child and the parent involved. Yet we continually perpetuate these as the only choices for each as we bemoan the fact that things are like this. What has got to give? The answer to that is probably a lot more complex than people realize. It goes way deeper than a simple "we must support each other". It lies in the notion that you must be strong and independent and pull yourself up by your bootstraps. It lies in the notion that there are biological differences in the sexes that make it impossible for men to be nurturing and women to be independent (though when women ARE independent and assert themselves thusly, there is something incredibly wrong. Same for men who are nurturing...) It lies in the notion that despite all kinds of lip service to family values and supporting families, children and those who raise them are still very much at the bottom of the totem pole.

So did I try to justify myself to that doctor? Nope. I caught myself and simply responded "No". I highly doubt that he realizes that like so many other things in life, my "No" was the very simplified answer to a highly charged question. I also highly doubt that he cared about the back story to why I was not breastfeeding. His main concern at that moment was that I was sick and he needed to know the proper medications to prescribe to get me better. Why wasn't that my focus? Right. Maybe I need to read my own posts...

Monday, February 7, 2011

Hostage

Dear Rhinovirus,
I must say, I do not appreciate being taken hostage by your wily and unanticipated infection of my sinuses and throat. I do not appreciate the violation of my body. As someone who fully supports the right to bodily autonomy by ALL human beings, I must say that your hostile attempts to override my immune system is all the evidence I need to tell you that you are a hater. I hereby order you to vacate the premises and never to return.

Sincerely,
Management

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Useless

Have you ever stopped to think about how many truly useless products we have in the US? Take, for example, the Chia Pet.

Who the fuck ever thought that it would be a good idea to take a ceramic sculpture and to spread some wet seeds that look like tar all over the top of it to grow into "fur" or "hair" or whatever? What purpose, besides being a colossal waste of money, does a Chia Pet have? And furthermore, what chance does a person like me have of ever actually being able to grow one of those things successfully? I mean, I am the woman who has actually been able to kill a hosta....without trying to kill it! Roses look at me and commit suicide. I have never ever been able to nurture a houseplant long enough for it to be decorative, let alone bloom or to have my cat eat it. (Annuals in my garden, however, are another story. I can grow the shit out of an annual. Anything that requires a longer term commitment, definitely a no go. Not quite sure what that says about me, but whatev.)

Another example: Those pads that you put on your feet to pull out the toxins. Really? Cause honestly, my feet are so callused that I highly doubt that a little sticky pad is going to pull sweat out of them, let alone heavy metals. Give me an invention that will stop my husband's feet from being the next weapon of mass destruction. Then we can talk.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Rituals

I realized the other day that I always wash my body in the shower in the exact same order. I realized this when, for some reason, I mindlessly started to wash my right thigh instead of my left arm first. This threw my ENTIRE shower into a downward spiral of catastrophe; it very quickly disintegrated into an almost comical farce of what a shower should be. I am lucky I got clean that day. (And I wish that I was being facetious here...)

My husband has a quirk like this as well. That man has to have all of his day to day essentials (his wallet, his leatherman, his chapstick, his keys, and his pistol...hey, I did say that he was my polar opposite in a lot of ways. I was not joking...maybe it is our similarity in our idiosyncrasies that keeps us together...) in exactly the same spot. He gets up in the morning and does the exact same thing every.single.day. To deviate just the slightest bit from his morning ritual is akin to starting one of those nuclear war drills that they used to do in the 60's, then realizing that OMFG, IT'S NOT A DRILL!!! There would seriously be THAT much chaos, weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth. I could also see him trying to get some sexual favors from me out of the deal similar to guys back then, but that is for a different post...

It makes me wonder how much of our beliefs are part of a ritual of thought. We get so used to believing that, for instance, abortion is wrong, or that people who are on unemployment are not looking hard enough for a job and should just get a job at Walmart for Chrissakes, that it is almost earth shattering when those beliefs that are ritualistic for us are challenged. Do you try to get back to the status quo when challenged? Do you look for things to support your original belief with a desperation that makes Sarah Palin's attempts to remain relevant appear like they should be taken seriously? Or do you allow yourself to grow, to maybe entertain the possibility that yes, you CAN wash your left thigh first and the whole shower will not end in a disaster that rivals anything sung by Ke$ha? I am not saying here that you need to change your mind. God knows that my family has tried to cure me of my liberal leanings the way that most fundamentalists try to cure someone of homosexuality. Both propositions are an exercise in futility, by the way...but do you ever try to entertain an understanding of the other viewpoint? I know I am guilty of automatically dismissing views that are different from mine. However, is there something to be said from trying to learn from the other side, even if you don't agree? I struggle with this sometimes, because I firmly believe that the other side in my case is a side steeped in unearned privilege, racism, ethnocentrism, and hate, all finely gilded with a thin layer of promise of a better time like before even though it never existed (similar to a lead charm coated with a thin layer to platinum). In my case, I don't know that I would seek to understand the viewpoint to simply understand it as much as I would seek to understand it to know how to OVERCOME it. Would the other side be saying the same thing as well? And really, how does that make me different or better?

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Things...

...I wonder about.

1.) I read all of the time that breastfeeding is HARD, but I wonder why I never read anything in all the info available about how to fix it about how HARD it is to fix it.

2.) I wonder how it is that these so-called tea partiers cannot see the hatred, bigotry, and vitriol that they spread. Is it that they truly are fucking blind, or that they truly believe what they preach? Either way is way scary...

3.) I wonder how some people can live with another human being that they pledged to love and honor, and never ever say please or thank you to them.

4.) I wonder how different my life would be if I had not decided to go into the social services field.

5.) Ditto if I had not married a very country, blue-collar man.