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Monday, July 30, 2012


Today Charlie threw a fit.  This in and of itself is hardly news because she is at the age where she throws fits for everything. Stop playing with your toys because you  have to eat dinner?  Throw a fit.  Mama grabs your arm to keep you from running into traffic?  Throw a fit.  Your parents have expectations of you, things like EATING and BREATHING?  Throw a fit.

What was different today was that while she was in the process of running into the living room to overturn the laundry basket of freshly folded clothes in her fit of rage (and if you know me and my abhorrence of folding laundry, that is a big fucking deal in this house...) I grabbed her and on pure instinct just folded her into my arms for a hug.  I just held her for a moment.  She then pulled away and asked me, "Pizza?" in a hopeful tone.

Just like that, the fit was over.  It was almost as if she needed an anchor in that minute, someone to just hold her and make her feel secure.  I don't know if it was a fluke, if it just was novel enough to catch her off guard, or if it was and is truly what she needs when she is that upset.  I do know that some days, there are times when I wish someone would just grab me and hold on because I feel like I am in such a whirlwind.  Like I am flying by the seat of my pants; like I have no right being an adult because I am totally faking it.

I can only imagine what it is like to be that young.  Everything is new.  Everything has the potential to be really cool or really scary.  It is simultaneously exhilarating and horribly frightening.  I need to remember that more often.  Maybe she does really just need a hug when I feel like throwing her across the room.  Maybe she does just need to know that she is safe.

Monday, July 23, 2012


I have a confession to make.

I am not a fan of Elmo.  I was secretly relieved when Elizabeth and Alexis skipped over the whole being in love with Elmo thing.  I could put up with Blue's Clues, watch hours of Phineas and Ferb, and play Miss Clavelle all day long (though really, Elizabeth, a nun?  You had a great imagination...).  I was so glad that they did not get bitten by the whole Sesame Street bug.

Then came Charlie.  One day, the girls were bored and we were looking up videos on you tube because why the hell would I actually want to PLAY with my children.  I decided to go and look up this kinda cute video I had come across once:  a parody of LMFAO's "I'm Sexy and I Know It" called "I'm Elmo and I know It".  This was back before Charlie became obsessed, when the idea of a fuzzy red monster was cute in an arm's length sort of way.  You know, like when someone shows you a baby Tasmanian devil...adorable but definitely not something you want to get involved with long term.

Charlie took one hit off of the crack pipe called Elmo and was hooked.  Had he been a real drug she would be pawning her stuff and trading sippy cups of milk for her fix.  It was that instantaneous.  Now every time I try to ignore my children and go on the computer, she is all "Elmo?  Elmo?".  No, child, how the fuck am I supposed to ignore you if you are sitting on my lap smacking my arm every five seconds during the video that is playing?  Don't you know Mommy has important things to do on the computer?  Like Facebook?

I don't know what it is about Elmo that irritates me so.  He is my favorite color, after all, and at first glance is pretty cute.  Maybe it is his annoying laugh.  Maybe it is his inability to refer to himself in the first person.  Maybe it is the whole Tickle Me Elmo thing, where he looks like he is either epileptic or making inappropriate body movements.

All I know is...Elmo has made it so that I can put Charlie's ear drops in without sporting bruises worthy of a cage fighting match.  For that alone, I am eternally grateful to the little fuzzy bastard.

Friday, July 13, 2012


I guess recently there is a huge uproar about comments that the host of Tosh.0 made towards a female in the audience when she challenged him on rape jokes he was making.  He responded by inviting people to rape her back.

My job exists, in part, because of people who are raped, who are sexually abused, who are victimized.  Survivors are some of the hardest cases for therapists to work with sometimes.  Yet, on a daily basis, I am left helping people pick up the pieces from a rape.  From being molested.  From maybe having had one too many drinks and being taken advantage of.

Very few of these people have had their perpetrators come to justice.  Very few reported it.  An astounding number still have to interact with the person who victimized them...sometimes daily.

Sexual assault is a boundary crossing to the max, amongst other things.  It is a symbol of the misogyny in our culture.  What man regularly has to "be aware" of being in a parking lot at night because someone might jump them?  What man has ever had to leave a room, cross a street, call a friend,  because a stranger was creeping them out?

Rape is not funny.  Extorting someone to commit this violent act is not funny.  Doing so to silence someone who dares to challenge you...isn't that part of what rape is?  Keeping people, mainly women, in their place?  Power and control?  Objectifying?

Pretending rape jokes are humor is no different than pretending that drinking a case of beer daily is normal consumption.  Both reek of denial.  Both take a huge cost...unseen at first, but eventually devastating in what havoc it wreaks.

I admit that I thought Tosh.0 was funny.  Not so much any more.  I can't support someone without basic decency.  I am sure the next outcry will be about how he really is a nice guy.  And so is that rapist sitting in the audience who is taking your jokes about it as normalizing rape.

Monday, July 2, 2012


I realized that I have never ever written out the entirety of my son's birth story (or any of the kids', for that matter).  Seeing how today is the day he was born, I thought I would do so.

His story actually starts on June 30th, the day we were supposed to find out the sex at the "big" ultrasound.  It was a really shitty day, weather wise...pouring down rain, and kinda cold.  I had to go into Fairview Hospital for the ultrasound because Dr. Gingo makes me get Level II ultrasounds because he always disagrees with me on my due dates (and for the record, I am always right...)  Charles and I dropped Alexis off at the daycare, then headed out.

We get to the hospital, and get ourselves checked in.  I had to drink the 12 gallons of water that they make you drink and of course had to pee.  We get called back to the room, and they ask if we can have a student observe.  Sure; why not?  That student sure got a lesson that day, poor girl...

They put the gel on my belly and start.  Here, Charles said that he immediately knew something was wrong.  There was no flickering heartbeat on the screen.  I was just smiling at seeing my baby.  The technician starts to take measurements.  The head is around 15 weeks.  I say, "No, I am about 20 weeks."  I start to get worried.  Is there something wrong with my baby?  They measure the arms.  17 weeks, 3 days.  OK, a little better...maybe I am wrong on my dates.  They they try to get the baby to move so they can get better measurements.  Pushing, poking and prodding on my stomach does nothing.  The baby is just lying there.  They make me go pee because my bladder is about to explode.  Nothing.

The doctor comes in. At this time, I am mildly alarmed because I knew from experience that the doc does not come in till the end.  Dr. Moodley (the specialist I had to see) looks and frowns at the screen.  Then he turns on the fetal heart rate monitor.  Silence.

He turns to me and says, "I am afraid that there is no heartbeat.  The baby is very small and has died.  I am very sorry."

I ask if I will have to deliver.  He says yes.  It seems like torture to me.

Someone called Dr. Gingo's office.  We are told to go immediately there.  I am sobbing at this point.  I had texted everyone who was waiting eagerly to hear the news.  I leave the hospital and get in the car.  I call my mom.  I  make Charles call Matt to tell Elizabeth.

We get to Dr. Gingo's.  They set up an induction for the next day.  At the time, again, it seemed like torture.  What I did not realize at the time, and what I will forever be eternally grateful to Dr. Gingo for, is that waiting that one day put me at 20 weeks exactly.  I got a death certificate for my son becuase of that one day.  Otherwise, his birth could have been considered a miscarriage and it would have been a royal pain to get him cremated.

I called Elizabeth.  Besides from when I had to tell her that her beloved Papa, my father, had died, that was the hardest thing I ever had to do.  She had been so excited, and had just bought him a t-shirt.  In fact, that shirt is currently on the Build-a Bear that my sister had bought for us.  Gabe's death also prompted her to text me for the very first time, and earned him the nickname of "The Gabe".

That night, I got online and started to research.  Part of me is wondering what my son will look like.  If you ever want to torture yourself, look up "macerated fetus".  On second thought, don't.  There are some things people should not have to see.  I stumble across the statute that explains the whole death certificate thing.  I finally go to bed, and I completely lose it. I just remember begging my husband to not let me lose my mind.  I was convinced that I was going to, because at that moment I was out of my mind with grief.

I slept some.  The next morning comes.  I don't want to get out of bed.  I do; we drop Alexis off at the in-laws and go to the hospital.  When we get to the maternity ward, the first thing I hear is an infant crying.  I almost lose it as I check in.  The nurses at the hospital were fantastic.  As soon as they realized who I was, I was immediately whisked into a room.  There were two doors to this room.  I requested to have them both shut.  I did not want to hear those babies when I would never hear my own.

Dr. Gingo popped in and explained that the on call doctor would be monitoring me that day.  I was given another ultrasound.  The doctor explained to me very gently that this was just to "make sure".  I looked right at her and said, "There better not be a heartbeat, cause there is surely something horribly wrong then cause there definitely was not one yesterday."  There is none, and she confirms that the baby is really small.  They start me on the meds, some kind of vaginal suppository to start labor.  The ones that I had always been told to avoid because of the risk of still birth.  Guess it did not matter at this point.  I was told that I could get an epidural whenever I wanted.  I almost asked for it right there, but I wanted to be able to move if I wanted for as long as I could.  Then we waited.

I went into the hospital at 8 AM on July 1, and did not deliver until 2:45 AM on July 2.  I got the epidural at some point.  I had started to have some mild discomfort in my back, and asked for pain meds.  I expected to be given Motrin; they offered the epidural instead.  I sat and read my book, a marital therapy one by John Gottman.  I was still in school for my master's at that point.  We looked at the funeral information that had been discretely provided to us.  We called the first place listed and made arrangements for the cremation.  I got several more shots for my epidural, and then finally a pump.  The epidural made my blood pressure bottom out (got as low as 50/24 at one point).  My sister brought Charles lunch.  I got Jello and ginger ale.  Dinner came and went; my mom brought Charles dinner at some point too. I slept a bit.  During this sleep, I saw my dad with my son and was comforted somewhat.  I told Charles about this; he visibly relaxed too.

At about 2:30 AM, I shifted slightly and felt something between my legs.  I had started to bleed a little bit, so I thought nothing of it.  I sat up at 2:45 and delivered my son.  It was literally that quick.  At the time, I did not know that; I just knew that something had come out.  Charles got the nurse, who got the doc.  She picked the baby up.  He was born in the caul, and I delivered everything at once.  I was lucky...I did not have to have a D&C after.  They allowed me to hold him briefly, then took him away and cleaned him up.  They brought him to me again, on a tiny pillow.  He was wrapped in a blue crocheted blanket and had a tiny cap on.  I can fit three fingers inside that cap, that is how small he was.  I remember his tiny little finger nails, and that the way that his chest meets his arms is exactly the way that Alexis's was as a baby.  He had big cheeks and looked just like Charles.  One of my regrets of that day is that I did not take pictures of him. I was not aware of organizations such as Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep then. I had the camera; I just did not get it out.  We just have a really crappy one the hospital gave us.  It does not do him justice.  He did not look as bad as I feared.  In fact, he was perfect.