Monday, April 30, 2007

Fun at the Gynecologists' Office!

I had my annual OB/GYN appointment today. It was an interesting experience, to say the least. First of all, I got there an hour early. I thought my appointment was at 1, but it was actually at 2. "Great," I thought, "Now I'll be here forever..." My gynecologist is very popular and always double booked. His appointments usually run a half an hour behind, minimum.

I went back to the waiting area to begin what I feared would be a very long wait. I was pleasantly surprised when I got my name called only a few minutes later, had speedy and painless blood work done, and then got called back quickly by the nurse. "You're the first one here this afternoon, so you get to jump ahead of the line." The nurse said as she walked me towards the ultimate torture device (aka, the scale). "Same as last year!" She remarked cheerfully as she wrote down my weight. I guess I should be happy that it wasn't higher than last year's weight, but I was hoping for a miracle loss of 10 pounds since I stepped on this morning's bathroom scale.

We got back to the exam room and she took my blood pressure. "116/70," She told me. I have no idea what's good or bad for blood pressure, I've just always been told mine is fine, so I feel stupid when they tell me the result and look at me like I'm supposed to know what that means. "Is that ok?" I asked. "That's good!" she replied. That's cool.

She asked me a few more questions, told me to get undressed, and headed towards the door. It wouldn't open. She tried it again. It was stuck. "We've been having problems with this door." She explained. She jiggled the door again. And again. Then she called the nurse's desk and said, "Can someone come let me out of Dr. L's exam room? The door is stuck again." So another nurse came from the outside to let her out. The door wouldn't budge.

Now might be a good time to mention that the nurse was hugely pregnant, due 'any day' according to our small talk at the ultimate torture device earlier. She jokingly said, "You'd better hope I don't go into labor." Um, yeah. I'd bust the freaking door right down if that happened.

We waited for about five minutes while they called maintenance team. The nurses were messing with the door all the while. "Good thing this happened with me, instead of when you're in here with Dr. L while you have your clothes off." The nurse cheerfully quipped. Yeah, I suppose this is better than that would be. Marginally. Dr. L isn't hugely pregnant.

"You don't have to pee do you?" I joked thinking that personal questions about bladder capacity are only allowed when aimed at hugely pregnant ladies in circumstances like this. She assured me that she was good for at least another half an hour in that department.

The nurses finally jimmied open the door and decided that they had to tape the latch shut so that it didn't get stuck again. But with the latch stuck, the door wouldn't stay closed, so the nurse told me she'd stand guard by the door while I disrobed and put the sheet around my nether regions.

Dr. L came into the exam room, fully updated about the door situation. He ripped off the tape so that the door would close, and I eyed the door questioningly. "We'll pop the hinges off if we get stuck again." He said and began with the breast exam. No biggie. Then came the fun part. I scooted down, put my feet in the holders, and was in my very most vulnerable position (lit up by the exam light to boot!) when we heard the maintenance guy outside. He started fumbling with the door. I was mortified. The nurse and the doctor shouted "NO!!" at the same time. The nurse ran to the door and yelled, "We have a patient in here! DON'T OPEN THE DOOR!!" She promised to guard the door for the rest of the appointment. Just in case.

By this time, I was beet red, and ready to get the hell out of there until next year. "We're going to be a real clinic someday." Dr. L joked. "See you next year!" And out he went, having no trouble opening the door.

I got dressed and then tried the door myself. The effing thing was stuck again. I tried it. I tried again. I knocked on the door to see if any nurses, or the maintenance guy, or someone, were standing outside within earshot. No luck. I tried the door a third and fourth time. I went to the phone and found the extension for the nurses station. "This is Joy..." one of them said when she picked up. "Joy, I'm stuck in this room again and can't open the door." I said. "Oh, you poor thing!" She said and came to help. She wiggled the door a bit, and was able to open it up.

I came out of the exam room (Finally!!) and the maintenance man was there waiting to fix the door. I got about ten steps away from the door when he yelled, "Miss! Miss! You left your shirt in the room!" Wha? I looked down making sure that in my haste to get the hell out of Dodge, I didn't actually forget to completely dress myself. My shirt was safely on. The nurse looked in and said to the maintenance guy, "Oh, that's the sheet patients use to cover up."

The look on that poor man's face was enough to make me smile. "Oh, um, sorry." He mumbled. He was clearly miserable about his mistake. I'm guessing that he's not real clear on the protocol for gynecological exams.

I raced out of there and decided that it was a good thing I took the whole afternoon off, instead of just part of it. I needed time to recover. Or at least time to formulate my blog posting. :)

Credit Card Connivery and the Wailing Wal-Mart Woman

I like to give people the benefit of the doubt. Usually I'm pretty good about it. But a few things have happened recently that are making that hard...

I got into work today with an urgent email from our purchasing department telling me that my Corporate Card had a charge on it that was suspected fraud. The fact that I was suspicious of this email indicates how sensitive we are to fraud and scamming these days. Before I opened the attached form on the email, I looked up the sender to make sure he was a legitimate employee of the giant company that I work for. He was. Then I called into the purchasing/fraud hotline and explained that I didn't make that $100 charge to the North Texas Food Bank's website. The phone rep told me that I was the third person today who she'd taken a call about a fraudulent charge with that merchant. It was only 8 a.m. when I called her.

I checked it out, and the Food Bank's website looks legit. I imagine it's a real charity. Which means some bastard is out there with a list of credit card numbers testing them out on the charity's website. Now, I know how websites work. This Food Bank's Website is probably spitting out really positive looking reports on all of the donations coming in from the online store. The people who run the site are likely pumped up by the recent activity they're seeing. But soon they'll see that these cards are declining the purchase (at least mine was declined) and they aren't really getting that money. It's sad... Getting the hopes up of an honorable charity, only to see if a credit card is valid and can be used for other purposes.

Here's another incident where I didn't give someone the benefit of the doubt. I was at Wal-Mart yesterday. Anyone who knows me, understands that I think Wal-Mart is one of the deepest levels of Hell, especially on a Sunday afternoon. I was outside in the gardening area with Bumblebee. We were picking out annuals to plant in our planters. All of a sudden I heard a shriek. I turned around to see a woman sprawled out on the ground in the parking lot. My initial thought was that she was hit by a car, but after I watched the scene a bit, it appeared that she just fell and twisted her ankle. Now, I know it hurts to twist an ankle, and maybe she did more damage than just twisting it. She was a very, very large woman, so I think the possibility of a fracture or something is fairly real. However... She was wailing louder than I did while in transition labor with my kids! She was honestly screaming at the top of her lungs. For several minutes. The woman who had the misfortune of walking by her at the time of her fall kept saying, "Ma'am, MA'AM! What happened? How can we help you?" By this time a crowd of people was hanging around, and someone went in to tell the Wal-Mart employees what happened.

I was standing near the makeshift outdoor register where these two employees were talking to each other. After they were told what happened, their conversation went something like this:

"What should we do?"
"Hell, I don't know."
"Should we call Doug?" (who I'm assuming is the manager)
"He's over helping out electronics."
"Oh. Well, she looks fine."
"Yeah."

She did NOT look fine. She was still writhing on the ground. But her screams were moans now. Moans that could be heard from 100 feet away, but still moans nonetheless. She did have a small crowd attending to her by this time.

Bumblebee watched all of this with intense interest. "She's crying a lot, Mommy. And she's a GROWNUP."

The woman was carrying on like nothing I'd ever seen. If she'd have maintained a lower profile or at least let up on the screaming and moaning, I'd have been more concerned for her welfare. Someone helped her into a car and drove her somewhere, and that's the last I saw of her. But I imagine Wal-Mart will be getting sued for something or other. True, they had ridiculously apathetic employees who didn't help out this customer, but the parking lot was clear, clean, and unobstructed.

The woman did look to be in a great amount of pain. So why did I instantly think that she was out to make a buck? I'm not normally a cynical person, so it sort of depresses me that I jumped to that conclusion. I think it was because she was yelling her fool head off instead of dealing with her pain quietly.

I mean, c'mon... Why would you want to draw more attention to yourself after a fall like that? When I fell down the stairs in our parking garage a few months ago (yeah, I'm clumsy. So what?), I tried to act like I wasn't hurt. Unfortunately, the bleeding head wound I received when my forehead smacked a concrete stair was too conspicuous to allow me to jump up and act like things were peachy. So I quietly sat down and accepted help. I wonder what would have happened if I'd have screamed myself hoarse instead.

So are people just crummy? Or are these two totally random incidents? I prefer to believe that they're random, that people are generally good, and not out to screw someone out of their cash.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Bumblebee's New Daycare and the Crockpot Chicken Recipe

Bumblebee started a new daycare this week. I struggled a lot with the decision to move her because she seemed really happy at her old place, which was a fairly large daycare center. She got her Frazzled But Loving It alias from that place, because she was in the 'Bumblebee' classroom there. The number one reason for moving her was the location. The center is in a town about 8 miles north of our home. I work about 30 miles south of my house, so this added an extra 16 miles each way to my commute. It started getting REALLY old.

But there were other reasons to switch too. She doesn't have the best immune system, apparently. That kid catches EVERY damn cold, virus, bacteria, whatever, that's even close to her. Being in a classroom with 20 kids, and sharing a building with about 100 kids, meant that she was exposed to a lot of germs. The kid was sick at least once a month, if not more than that since we put her in that daycare a year and a half ago. So that was the second reason.

The third reason is icky, and I almost hate to admit it on here, but I will anyway. She could NOT get rid of head lice! Every time I would get those little bastards and their eggs out of her hair (by spending HOURS combing through her hair, yanking and hurting her tender scalp, while listening to her whine incessantly to be done already...) She would go back to school and come home with full grown bugs that jumped to her recently deloused head from some other infested child. I asked the teachers to do head checks and send home kids with 'buggies' in their hair. And maybe they did, but I doubt it, because she just kept getting it again. Yuck.

So I spent last weekend doing a preventative lice treatment and combout because I'd be mortified if I passed headlice to the new daycare center. I'm going to do another treatment this weekend, just in case. The new daycare is an in-home center ran (run?) by The Husband's cousin's wife. It's in a town about 10 miles south of our house, and here's the best part. It's TWO blocks away from Target. I always have to go to Target. Now I can pop in there after picking Bumblebee up from Robyn's and it's right on the way! Way, way cool. Ok, so the proximity to Target isn't the best thing, but it's pretty cool. Robyn (or 'Wobyn' as Bumblebee calls her) has a nice house, with kids the Bee's age, and a few babies too. TH's other cousin also takes his kids there, so five of the kids at this center have the same last name as us. They're all related somehow. Third Cousins? I'm not sure how that works. How is Bumblebee related to The Husband's cousins' kids?

Anyway, so far the transition has been great. Bumblebee seems excited to go there each day, and has had lots of good things to say about it. "Mom, I got to have CHEETOS for lunch!" (She fed her other things too, like salad (with 'wanch') and chicken strips.) I've been able to get to work early enough to leave by 4, which gets me home before 5. I haven't been able to get home by 5 p.m. since we moved up to Tinytown, and I love having that extra half hour of time to get dinner ready or whatever.

Speaking of dinner, I'm excited because my friend Webgal got a great healthy recipe from a Weight Watchers meeting she went to. I'm doing WW too, and decided to try it. I put four potatoes, double wrapped in foil in the bottom of my crock pot. Then I put a whole roaster chicken on top of them and rubbed it with spices. Since I have fresh rosemary, thyme, and oregano on my sink shelf in the kitchen, I used that along with garlic, pepper, coarse kosher salt, and onion powder. I'll cook the chicken all day in the crock pot, and the thought is that the fat from the chicken will fall to the bottom of the crock pot, below the potatoes, and the chicken will stay moist and savory. We'll see if it works. I'm just mostly excited that when I get home my house will smell good and dinner will be almost done! Which is good since we have another baseball game to go to tonight. I hope The Boy does great this game too!

That does it for today. Happy Friday everyone! We're supposed to have sunshine after a week's worth of rain and cold, so I'm pretty excited about it. I'll take the rain during the week if I can have sunshine on the weekend!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

All is Quiet

Wow. It's quiet.

Except for the sound of the wind rustling the trees, the rain hitting the screen on top of the chimney, the hum of the computer fan and my keyboard clicking away, it's totally quiet.

And that's really, really weird. It's only 9:42 p.m.!

I spent tonight cleaning the bathrooms and Bumblebee's room. I threw away two garbage bags of toys, and brought the big dresser/hutch we had in our dining room into her room for clothes and book storage. She has about a gazillion books. I need to go through those and give away about 2/3 of them, but she'd throw a fit. That one certainly is attached to her books.

Hollywood's track meet and The Boy's baseball game were both canceled tonight, because it's been raining steadily all day. This was a blessing, because The Husband had to work in a town 3 hours away and he knew he'd be home late. So I got a reprieve from my taxi schedule for a night and took advantage of it by cleaning toilets, folding laundry, and finding the floor in Bumblebee's room.

Because I got into a cleaning rut, I let the kids fend for themselves for dinner. I thought The Husband would be home after dinnertime, and since I was intent on getting that room totally organized, I let The Boy have two corndogs and some strawberries while Hollywood had two bowls of cereal and Bumblebee had popcorn. Wouldn't you know it? TH came home earlier than I expected. I felt guilty, like I was 'busted' for feeding the kids crap. I wore a sheepish grin as I told him that it's not how I normally feed them when he's gone (it's not, really...) and he laughed.

I've been sticking to my workout schedule for almost three weeks now. I'm really getting into the jogging, and I'm not the best at it yet, but I do have a goal: I want to run the Komen Race For a Cure 5K Run in October. I think I'll have no trouble doing it if I keep up with the workout schedule I've been doing lately. Speaking of workouts, anyone have any good ways to tone arms? I've always been jealous of my mom's sculpted arms (she has Popeye muscles, I swear!). The arms are my problem spot, where I hold onto fat the longest. I'm about as thin as I've been my adult life and still the arms are a problem. So, suggestions, please!

Well, I took advantage of the silence in my house to blog about mostly nothing. It's not as quiet now, though. The ice maker in the freezer is rattling. The dog is walking across the kitchen and her nails are clack-clacking on the floor. The wind is making the windows in the sunroom creak and tap. It's eerie now that I stop to pay attention to it. But, it's time for me to get my clothes, coffee, and lunch ready for tomorrow and then get to bed. Then nobody will be around to hear the ice maker or the tapping sunroom windows. (Does that mean they still make a sound? ha!)

Monday, April 23, 2007

Hollywood and the Important Conversation

Hollywood and I were talking on the way home from her track meet last week and she mentioned that one of her classmates is already sexually active. I had to give myself a second to recover from the shock of this statement before I asked her what she thought of this girl, who I'll call Jane.

"Jane's just stupid. And she has a bad reputation." Hollywood explained.

I took the opportunity to tell her that some girls have sex too early because they are lonely, or unsure of themselves, or trying to get attention from someone. I explained to her that maybe Jane was sexually active, or maybe she was just saying she was to seem cool. We talked about that for a while. Because Hollywood is self confident and happy with who she is, I'm not sure that she understands the point of view of someone like Jane, who might say or do things to gain popularity or attention. I explained that I'm glad that she thinks Jane's actions are stupid, but that treating her like an outcast isn't right either. We continued to talk a bit more about why it's best to wait until you're an adult in a stable, loving relationship to have sex.

The talk taught me two things: 1. Hollywood thinks she's way too young to have sex. (Thank GOD!) and 2. She feels comfortable talking to me about these issues, which are likely very confusing to her. I'm glad I can be there to help her through some of these things.

It makes me remember the time she first kissed a boy. She was almost 10, it was August or September of 2003. We had the whole family over for a party at the house we'd recently moved into. Earlier that day she had been hanging out with the neighbors. When she came inside, she was very quiet, and said she didn't feel well. Throughout the night, she seemed to get worse. After everyone left, as I was tucking her into bed, she told me that she wasn't sick, but that she had done something 'really bad.' A neighbor's cousin, who was Hollywood's age, asked her to kiss him. She said she didn't really think it was right to kiss the boy, but she did it anyway, and it made her feel sick to her stomach all day. She was afraid I'd be angry, and might have been surprised when I wasn't. I tried my best to explain that waiting until you feel totally ready for something makes for a much nicer experience than jumping in without giving it much thought. As crazy as it may seem, I think that experience helped her see the importance of making the right decisions, and I think it will shape the decisions she'll make in the future.

I'm not deluding myself into thinking she'll always tell me everything or that she'll be a virgin on her wedding night. But I'm going to make the best of these kinds of opportunities to have two-way conversations about important topics like sex, drug and alcohol use, etc. She's a smart, head-strong, independent girl, and while that makes for some heated arguments, I think those traits will serve her well when it comes to big time decisions that are coming her way sooner than I'd like to believe.

A Bedtime Poem

Honey hair, silken waves
She wiggles in closer and tells me I smell good
But it is she who smells like clean laundry and baby sweat.

Little hands, patting my shoulder
Getting in another snuggle before sleep brings it to an end
Let's nose-wiggle, she says with a smile.

Defiant frown, pouty lips
Please read me another story, she begs
Though she's already listened to three.

Warm body, tiny backbone
Lay with me just a little bit longer, Mommy
And so I do, while rubbing her back.

Honey hair, silken waves
Spread out on her butterfly pillow
As she makes her way to the land of dreams.

Good night, my baby.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Happy Birthday, Baby Brother Z!

Today is my baby brother's birthday. Ok, since he's 24, I guess he's no longer a baby. Sometimes it's hard to accept that he's all grown up. I remember him as the chubby baby he was with the shock of dark black hair. Or I recall that he couldn't pronounce his 'r' sound when he was 8 and I went to college, but when I came home on a break, he'd mastered it. He was a sweet little brother, the baby of the bunch, even though Brother L was only 16 months older.

Our dad called him "Buzzy" as a kid, and I think he probably still calls him that. He's definitely got the youngest child in a large family charm. He's a great kid. And yes, I'll call him a kid, even though he's 24 and stands close to a foot taller than me. Just as my own kids will always be my babies, he'll always be my baby brother. That's just the way it works.

Well, I'm off to get some yard work done before it rains today. Happy Earth Day, and Happy Birthday, Z!

Saturday, April 21, 2007

The Boy's Great Day

The Boy had a baseball game last night. It was a close one, they ended up winning by one run. His first time up to bat, he stood up there a little stiff, had to be reminded to stick his elbow out a little bit, and he got two strikes. But then it happened: he hit the ball. It wasn't just a hit, it was a GREAT hit that went into close centerfield. It earned him an RBI, and he ended up stealing bases and making it to home plate himself with another hit from a teammate. The look on his face when he got to first base will remain with me for a long time. He sought out The Husband and me and had the biggest grin on his face. Of course we were both cheering like crazy for him, and The Husband was pumping his fist at him in a 'oh yeah!' type gesture. His coaches were telling him what a great hit it was too. I had tears in my eyes, because he was so happy.

Last year, he didn't have a single true hit. On the last game of the season he did connect with the ball and hit it infield, but he got out at first. The Boy was born with my athletic ability, which is to say that he doesn't have much of it. But over the past year he's really grown more comfortable with his body and is becoming more natural while playing ball and other sports. The great thing about The Boy is that even when he wasn't doing so hot, he never got terribly discouraged about it. He didn't mind that he wasn't the best player on the team, and he's great at encouraging others. But last night, when he did perform well, he was on top of the world. At home, he was talking about how great his day was.

"This is the best day of my life!" He gushed to The Husband and me. "I got a great hit into the outfield, I have no homework, it's Friday, and I got to eat cake at school!"

The Husband chuckled and said to me, "Ah, to be 10 again, when cake at school makes your day!"

The boy continued, "It could only be better if today was my birthday!"

Friday, April 20, 2007

Happy Birthday J and Other Disjointed Thoughts

Today is my friend J's birthday! She's old like me now! Happy Birthday, J!

My trip to Phoenix was nice, but Bumblebee got sick while I was out there, so it was kind of hard on The Husband. He got freaked out Tuesday night because she woke up with a 104 degree fever and a bloody nose. Her doctors said she had a virus, and she seems to be mostly back to her normal self today, but it was a rough week for her and TH.

The conference I attended was good - full of good information, techie geek announcements and the best part was the freebies. I won an iPod nano and an iPod shuffle. I'm pretty excited about it... I gave the shuffle (one of the tiny ones with the clip) to TH and kept the nano for myself. The resort I stayed at in Phoenix was a fancy resort with a spa. The spa had a morning 'power walk' on Mondays and Wednesdays, so I decided to go on Wednesday. It was a four mile walk, that took exactly an hour. That doesn't sound so bad, right? Well... it was in the foothills. And let me tell you, some of those hills were DAMN steep. My butt muscles were on fire by the time we got done. The other people on the walk seemed to be in far better physical condition than me, they were talking about hiking and mountain climbing, things I haven't done much of. I felt pleased just to be able to keep up with this group. It was exhilarating and I felt pretty good about getting up early and working out some of the food I ate at the conference.

Last night I went to Hollywood's track meet. Holy moly. Those things are LOOOOONG. I got there at least 45 minutes late, and was still there for four hours! It was freezing outside too. But it was fun to watch Hollywood and her friends run their races. Tonight is The Boy's second baseball game. I get to do concession stand duty, so that will limit my ability to actually watch the game. It's supposed to be warmer, at least, so that's good.

I wanted to comment on the shootings that happened on Monday. I have tried to avoid the media coverage on the Virginia Tech tragedy because that sort of thing really bothers me. If I were to focus on the newscasts and really get into the story, I'd find myself thinking of nothing but the sadness and terror that those students and teachers are/were going through. My friend Webgal had a really interesting comment on her blog about it, though, and I wanted to link to it here.

I'm looking forward to the weekend, it's supposed to be in the 70s tomorrow!! That is awesome. I can't wait to spend some outdoor time with the kids and do some yardwork. The Phoenix sun really gave me a yearning for summer. I know it will come eventually, but I sure wish it were coming now!

Well, that's about it for now. Happy Friday, and again, Happy Birthday J!!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Joseph

It's been six years ago since Joseph was stillborn. It's Thursday today, and it was a Thursday then. I don't feel that out of breath, stricken grief when I think about him anymore, but I do sometimes reflect on thoughts like 'what would he have been like' and 'why did that have to happen to us'. I'm not sad today, just reflective, and very conscious of today's date.

I'm thinking of you, little Joseph. Keep an eye on us from up there, will ya? Love, Mommy.

Monday, April 16, 2007

The Business Trip

I'm leaving for Phoenix today. I'm attending the Net.Finance conference until Wednesday. My flight lands about 11 p.m. Wednesday night, so The Husband will only be flying solo for three days and two nights.

This means my kids will eat pure junk for three days. Bumblebee might not get the proper grooming a 3 year old girl requires, and The Boy will most likely forget to brush his teeth until I return. (He has to be reminded every day and I somehow think The Husband won't remember this.) It'll be stressful for TH, but he has Hollywood to help, and his mom is coming up Tuesday night to help with conflicting schedules. The Boy has a baseball game and Hollywood has a track meet. Both events are on the same night, in different towns. But the stress won't be too bad, and it might give him a sense of appreciation for me. After all, I do this solo thing a lot when his travel schedule is heavy. The kids might not eat the most healthy meals, and they might have ratty hair when I come home, but they'll get a few days of quality time with Dad, and that's good for them all.

I don't have to travel often for my job, and I'm glad. It wouldn't work to travel often, since TH travels so much for his job. I'll admit it, I'm a big wuss about traveling and being away from my kids. I miss them! And, ever since 9/11, I'm kind of nervous about flying. I always do the same ritual when I'm on a plane as it takes off. I stare at the picture of my kids (I always bring one and tuck it into the book I bring on the plane), and I say an Our Father and a Hail Mary. I realize this is totally ridiculous, but it makes me feel more comfortable, like somehow if the plane crashes during takeoff, and I was praying while staring at my kids when it happened, at least I'll go out happy and get a ticket straight to Heaven. Because everyone knows that if you kick it while praying, you don't have to spend time in Hell or Purgatory or anywhere, right? I'm pretty nervous during the first few minutes of the flight. I think of these horrible thoughts, like, what if the plane crashes? Will the kids and The Husband know how much I love them? The flight out is far worse that the flight home. By the time I'm returning from my trip, I'm focused on getting home, and not as worried about the plane crashing. But I still do the ritual.

Once I reach my destination, I do enjoy the freedom. I miss the kids, of course, but I enjoy having my own schedule. I get to get up and work out in the resort's exercise room, get ready in a leisurely schedule, because there are no kids to get ready, and there's not an hour commute looming before me. In the evenings, I can watch tv, and pick whatever I want to watch. I can take a bath, order room service for dinner, or do whatever. Tonight I might lay by the pool and read a book. I'm not a partier when I go out of town on business. Many of my coworkers like to live it up when they travel, but not me. I'd rather relax and enjoy the solitude, since it's something I don't have very often. So, I get tonight and tomorrow night to do things on my own schedule. Then it's back to reality and home to the fam, and a slightly stressed out husband.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Lazy Friday Nights and the Butt Chin

Last night we had one of our lazy Friday nights that I've come to love. I got home from work, The Husband had already picked up Bumblebee from daycare, and he and the kids were in the back yard. He was playing catch with The Boy and Hollywood, and Bumblebee was swinging on the swing set. It was a very nice and relaxing scene to take in as I came into the kitchen with my arms loaded with grocery bags.

Later that evening, The Husband sat on the sofa, while I sprawled on the loveseat. Bumblebee was on the floor coloring pictures, and making it hard to have a conversation. We had our books to read, but didn't get around to reading them because we were just talking. It was nice. I'm so often exhausted by the time Friday rolls around that the last thing I feel like doing is going out and celebrating the week's end. Call me a homebody, but it really suits me to stay in on a Friday evening. Saturday, however, is a different story. Today I have a day full of errands: Bumblebee is meeting her new daycare provider this morning (she starts a week from Monday), The Boy has a Cub Scout fund-raiser to go to (groan...), and I have groceries, and laundry, and if the weather cooperates, yard work to do. But after all that, I have this evening to look forward to. The Husband and I are going out with my BIL and his fiancee in a bar in a very small town. Totally low key, but it'll be lots of fun. We'll likely end up singing Karaoke against our better judgment. But that's tonight. Fridays are different. They're our lazy nights.

At one point last night, Bumblebee jumped up on TH's lap and started playing with his face.

"You didn't shave today." she stated and played with his stubble by running her hands over his cheek. I sat and watched her play with his face and wondered if she'd have memories of this when she's old like me. She scrunched up his chin and giggled to herself.

"This looks like a butt." she said. We laughed. She licked it. "I licked your butt-chin, Daddy!" She was very pleased at this attempt at humor. The Boy said maybe she'd be a comedian when she grew up. She got all serious and said, "No, THE BOY... (enunciating his name very clearly) I'm going to be an animal doctor."

"You mean a vet?" The Boy asked.

"No." she scoffed. "I mean an AN-I-MAL DOC-TOR. Jeez."

And then she went back to giggling about her Daddy's butt-chin.

Well, I'm off to start my errands for the day. I can't believe it's already a quarter to nine and I'm still in my bathrobe. Happy Saturday!!

Friday, April 13, 2007

The Boy's List

Remember a few weeks ago when I did a list about Hollywood? Well now, I'm going to do a list about The Boy. Again, this is a freewriting exercise. I'm creating the list by writing everything that comes to mind and will create a written piece about it later. Someday. Hopefully. Here goes...

The Boy

  • The boy was due the day after my birthday
  • When we got an ultrasound on him, the nurse said we were having a girl. We picked out the name Brooke Cecille and told Hollywood that she was going to have a baby sister. The Husband swore that the baby was a boy. I thought he was crazy because he said he had 'a feeling' about it, and knew the ultrasound was wrong. The Boy was a boy.
  • He was born on March 3rd, five days overdue. The Husband also predicted the date. It was kind of creepy how he predicted the future like that.
  • I was about four months pregnant with The Boy when The Husband and I got married. When we found out we were about to have our second child, we figured that we might as well make it official.
  • The boy was born with super dark, luxuriously soft hair. It grew in blonde. The same strand of hair had about an inch and a half of dark hair on top, and blonde hair underneath. When he got his first haircut he went from being a brunette to a blonde.
  • The Boy's hair was curly and soft as a baby, but it's coarse and straight and very thick now.
  • He was a champion breast feeder. So much so, that he refused a bottle. He never liked bottles - went pretty much from breast to cup. One time my MIL was watching him overnight and he wouldn't take a bottle. She had to feed him milk with a spoon.
  • I remember sitting at the computer with him as an infant. I'd be nursing him with one arm and playing a computer game (Heroes) with another. (I'm a geek.)
  • The boy has gorgeous light blue eyes. One of them has a brown fleck in it.
  • He used to give us 'The Look' to make us laugh when he was little - 1-2 years. The look was a hysterical combination of him making his eyes really big, while sticking his neck out, E.T. fashion. It was the funniest thing to see.
  • We didn't have a name for him when he was born, and when we came up with a name, it turned out to be the most popular boy's name for several years in a row. That's creativity for you.
  • He liked to play in his walker. We'd put him in it out in the cul-de-sac where he lived and he'd play outside for hours.
  • When he was just a little over 2 years old, he ran away. I had gone on an errand and he tried to go after me. The Husband was home, and his cousin's family was visiting, so it got overlooked. I returned and frantically asked where The Boy was. He was nowhere to be found. We searched up and down the neighborhood for twenty minutes, just screaming his name. We called the police, and they told us they'd call us if someone called him in. The call came in at the same time we drove by a house five blocks away. A woman saw us driving by screaming his name, and said, "He's in here, honey." to me. They had seen him walking down the street (just half a block away from a VERY busy intersection in Des Moines) and took him inside, offered him a glass of water and turned on some cartoons for him. They called the police. TH's cousin was at home and took the call, but we'd found them before then. I have never been more relieved in my life. I never learned the names of that nice couple who took care of him, but I did send a plant to their home the next day for being so kind.
  • The Boy is very sensitive. His feelings get hurt easily. He is also very conscious of other people's feelings. He shares both of these traits with me.
  • He's the best big brother in the world. He lets Bumblebee play outside with him, even when he has friends over. He'll push her on the swing set, play with her on the computer, play animals with her in her room, and even let her ride his skateboard. Of course, Bumblebee adores him.
  • He loves putting things together. Legos, Bionicles, models, puzzles. And then he loves playing with the Bionicles and models after they're complete.
  • He struggled in early elementary because he has trouble paying attention and focusing on detail.
  • He's VERY unorganized. His room is a disaster 99% of the time.
  • He tends to be on the clumsy side, which is also a trait I may have passed along to him. Once, when he was five, he had a spell of falling down a lot. It happened so frequently, that I took him into the doctor's office. They ran some tests on him, found that he was anemic, and scheduled more tests. This was frightening, but it turned out that he was fine, just needed more vitamins. The pediatric nurse asked me if this was the first summer I'd bought sandals for him. It was, I told her. She suggested we switch back to tennis shoes and see if that helped. It was a miracle cure. He didn't have a single fall the rest of the summer after we ditched the sandals. That nurse, with her simple explanation, showed me that sometimes it's the small things that can make a huge difference.
  • He forms friendships like I do... He doesn't have a ton of casual friends, instead, he opts for a few very close friends.
  • He is in cub scouts, plays baseball, basketball, and flag football. But he's not all that athletic. One day, he'll grow into his body and that might improve.
  • His grades have done a complete turnaround this year in 4th grade. He went from really struggling to keep up a C average in most things (doing worse than a C in a few courses) to getting all As and Bs. He still has trouble focusing sometimes, but he's improved so much in just one year's time that I'm amazed.
  • He loves to read and is fascinated with Harry Potter books.
  • He likes music. Some of his favorite bands are Def Leppard (and NO, he didn't get this like from either of his parents. A neighbor boy turned him onto it), Rascal Flatts, KISS, and Fall Out Boy. His tastes are diverse, but that's the beauty of the iPod generation.
  • He doesn't have an iPod. His mom doesn't even have a 'real' iPod yet. :)
  • He is the main caretaker for our dog. He feeds her, lets her outside in the morning and at night, and even cleans up her poo. He's usually pretty good at remembering his dog chores.
  • He's got the most sunny, upbeat attitude ever. He's almost always cheerful and well mannered.
  • He has a fabulous vocabulary. When he was younger, teachers would tell me they could tell I read to him as a toddler because of how well he expresses himself. I did read to him as a child, but no more so than the other two kids. He just has a knack for expressing himself with just the right words. I think he definitely has the ability to be a great writer someday.
  • He's creative and loves to make CD covers for his future rock band albums.
  • The Boy loves to play video games on the computer and X-Box.
  • He likes to go fishing with his dad.
  • He doesn't like to go shopping with his mom and sisters. Unless he has a gift card or money that's burning a hole in his pocket.
  • We used to call him 'Bubby' as a baby. I also used to call him my 'Boogly Boogly Boo'. That seems weird looking back, but it was the perfect baby name for him.
  • He's starting to grow up. It's bittersweet watching him go from baby to young man. Because of his sensitive nature, things seem to hurt his feelings more easily than they did for his sister when she was his age. I worry about this, but know it will make him a compassionate and loving adult.
  • He hugs me every day. And he's 10. I figure I'm blessed that he still does that. I'm going to be very sad when the sweetness turns to pre-teen indifference.

Well, of course I could go on with a million other things, but I have to stop at some point. So there's my list for now about The Boy.

Zestfully Itchy

I love the smell of Zest soap. It brings back memories of my grandparents' farm, and taking a bath in the big, deep bathtub at their house. They used Zest while I was growing up. Every once in a while I'll buy Zest just to take a trip down memory lane. Amazing how the sense of smell brings back such vivid, strong memories.

Whenever I buy it, though, I get the stupid jingle from Zest's old commercials in my head: "You're not fully clean, unless you're ZESTFULLY clean!" Argh. That's going to annoy me today.

Anyway, I bought Zest soap this week. But a very sad thing happened when I used it: it gave me a horrible allergic reaction. Last night, after my post-workout soak in the tub, I had playing-card sized raised blotches that itched like crazy on my arms, legs, and stomach. The same thing happened earlier in the week but I thought it was just a fluke. This depresses me, because unless I walk around with the patches of itchiness covered in pink Calamine lotion, I can't use the soap. And the soap always makes me think of these types of things: Jumping from one level of the barn to the other; Easter candy hunts - we did them inside the house and it was fun to see if we could find candy from the previous year's hunt hiding in the bookshelf; kneeling to say the rosary when I really wanted to browse through the giant photo album.

I guess I can keep the soap on hand to just sniff it when I want to take a trip down memory lane...

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Dinner Games

My friend J gave us a game called "Dinner Games" one year for Christmas. It is so much fun! It's a tin of cards which contain family games and activities to play while eating dinner.

Tonight's card was called "Family Star" and the directions were:
  • one person (child or adult) volunteers to be the 'director'.
  • The director selects a cartoon character, movie star, TV star, historic figure, or even a family friend or relative the others are familiar with
  • Everyone around the table takes a turn acting out that character
  • The director chooses the best actor as the winner
Of course we chose family members, because they're the most fun to act out. The first one was Grandma J, who talks with her hands all the time. The Husband did a great imitation of her explaining a shopping trip to the Brass Armadillo. Then we did Uncle K, who was pretty easy to imitate by saying, "Bite please..." or by laughing at The Boy's not-so-funny jokes. Next, we chose to act out Hollywood, and had a load of fun portraying her. And then they picked me. My family wasn't kind.

The Boy imitated my by saying, "Let's do Tae-Bo later!" and then later... "No, I'm too tired tonight"

The Husband said in a really whiny voice, "My back hurts... What are you going to go pick up for dinner?!?"

Hollywood was the least flattering. "I'm wearing heels and cuffed pants" She explained while she proceeded to act out me falling down the stairs.

Is it wrong to ground a kid for pointing out her mom's klutziness?

It's a really fun game, I recommend it to anyone with kids. Even the little kids can play!

Ah, the Comforts of Home

Sigh... home is such a comfort. Here's what's going on around me: The 'chicken stuff' I'm making for dinner is simmering in the skillet, while the dinner rolls are warming in the oven. The Boy is finishing up his latest Harry Potter book on the sofa. Bumblebee is messing with the heat vent. "Stop that!" I say. She puts the metal vent back in the hole in the floor and is off to find more mischief. Hollywood just flushed the toilet. (I'm sure she'd be thrilled to know that I just posted that.) The Husband just brought the garbage can back in from the street, and he took out the trash without being asked. The dog won't stop walking right in front of me while I cook dinner, and the cat is perched between a post in the railing, batting her newly declawed paws at whoever walks down the stairs past her. The living room is a wreck. Bumblebee's dress up princess dress is on the floor, along with her pail and shovel. A pair of The Boy's (clean) underwear is on the floor close to his bedroom door. It must have fallen from a laundry pile being delivered to his room. There are other toys and blankets strewn about. A pair of my earrings are on the side table next to the loveseat. The house is noisy and messy. Not a scene from Better Homes and Gardens, to be sure.

But it's also my haven. I spent the entire day in meetings today. And while the meetings were fairly interesting, and purposeful, they were still meetings. 8 hours of them. I didn't get a chance to return all of my phone calls, let alone the 80 emails I got today. I left the office feeling frazzled, and ready for a stiff drink.

But when I got home, I talked with the kids and The Husband for a while, and I looked around at this place. It may be loud and messy at the moment (hell, it's that way most moments, if I'm being honest) but it's comforting to me. This is my house, with my kids, and my husband, and my mess. It is so much more relaxing than anywhere else I can think of. I'd even miss it after a few days on some sandy beach.

My tea kettle is about to screetch, so I'm off to drink a cup of tea and get dinner on the table. Dinner will bring even louder conversation, but it's one of my favorite parts of the day. I'll get to hear how everyone's day was, and I'll get the chance to moan some more about how sucky mine was. Life is good.

Friday, April 6, 2007

Book Review - Running With Scissors

I just finished the memoir Running With Scissors by Augusten Burroughs. It told the story of the author's terribly dysfunctional childhood: alcoholic father, psychotic mother who gave him to her psychiatrist to raise in his roach infested wreck of a home.

The book is not for the weak stomached. It contains very graphic passages of Augusten's sexual encounters with the 34 year old adopted son of the psychiatrist. The language used to describe being taken advantage of by this adult, 20 years his senior, is sparse and rough. But it paints a clear picture of what he lived through. It made me sad for him, while I thanked my lucky stars for my relatively normal childhood.

What I loved about Running With Scissors is the wry, witty humor. I found myself laughing out loud at some of his self-effacing comments. It's well written, and the story of survival is amazing. The oddest things happen in the house he lived in. The doctor thought God was speaking to him through his bowel movements (a coiled BM in the toilet predicted an upturn in the family's finances), and had his daughter scoop out the shit and put it outside on the picnic table to dry. It was natural to snack on dogfood in the Finch household. Augusten and Natalie (one of the doctor's daughters) hacked a hole in the roof of the house to create a skylight with the Doctor's blessing. The hole was too big, and the kitchen was exposed to the elements without getting fixed.

It was a good read, and again, I really enjoyed Burroughs' sense of humor and the way he chronicled his childhood.

Thumbs up!

Thursday, April 5, 2007

The Hearing Test

Bumblebee had her hearing tested yesterday at daycare. This provided an amusing dinner conversation.

The Husband, to Bumblebee: "Now that we know you passed the hearing test, it means you have to listen to what we say, because we know you can hear us."

Bumblebee: "It was an earring test, Dad."

TH and I looked at each other and chuckled.

Me: "No, honey, it's a HEARING test. It checks to see if you can HEAR ok."

Bumblebee: "No, mom. It's an EARRING test. To see if your EARS work. That's where earrings go, you know."

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Mommy Guilt

Ugh. I feel like a bad mom. I feel like The Boy needs more of my attention. He is such a sweet kid, and he never complains about things like Hollywood does or demands attention like Bumblebee. Instead, he comes up to me several times a day to say "Love you mom." and "You're the greatest mom in the world." and other sweet things.

In fact, he does this so often, I worry about it. Is he doing this to get my attention? Does he want to talk about something important with me? When I ask him something like 'How was your day?', hoping to get him to open up a bit, he usually tells me about a game he and his friends invented at recess, or gives me an update on a project or assignment at school, but nothing serious comes up. He never tells me about anything that might be bothering him.

Tonight I snapped at him. He was being kind of spacey, he dawdled through his homework and chores, and wanted to play the computer all night. Then he ignored me when I told him to get his pj's on and get in bed. 45 minutes later he was in the kitchen getting a drink and I barked, "Why are you still up? I told you to go to bed! You need to listen to me when I tell you to go to bed..." And so on. I was harsher than I should have been. (I'm glad The Husband was already in bed, or he'd have given me a 'look of death' like the one I supposedly gave him last night.)

He started to cry, and I felt like crap. I shouldn't have yelled. My point could have come across without the yelling. What I should have done was to make sure he actually went to bed when I thought he had, which would have prevented the situation. The Boy has a hard time getting up in the mornings, and if he's not in bed by 8:30, he's in for a tough morning. We had one of those this morning, and I'm worried we might be in for one tomorrow too.

The fact that I yelled at him and it made him cry makes me feel awful. He rarely gets yelled at, so maybe that's part of why he reacted by crying. It's late and he was tired, and that could have been a contributing factor as well. Hollywood and Bumblebee get in trouble more often than The Boy, so they'd have taken my scolding in stride. I might have even gotten an insolent eye roll from Hollywood out of it. But The Boy cried.

And then afterwards, when I hugged him and explained that I was just trying to get him to understand that he can't ignore me when I tell him to go to bed, he said he was sorry. Then the dagger pierced my heart. "You're the best mom in the world," he sniffed.

Um, no... That mom would have had a much better way of dealing with this issue. That mom would have more time to spend one on one with all of her kids, especially The Boy who seems to need some extra attention at the moment...

I think I'll take him to a movie on Saturday, just the two of us. And he can order a giant bucket of popcorn and have pop instead of water. Or maybe we'll sneak out and go to a giant bookstore to read for a while while we sip Starbuck's (coffee for me, hot chocolate for him). Maybe that sounds like overcompensating, but a little one on one time with mom never hurt a kid.


I love you too, Little Man. You're the best son in the world.

Headaches

I've had headaches for most of my life. I took allergy shots for years, thinking that might be the culprit. But the shots only gave me a case of asthma and a good excuse for getting out of a traffic ticket. "I'm sorry, officer, {batting eyelashes} I just got my allergy shots and am a bit woozy. I'll pay attention to my speed from now on." I've had my eyes tested to see if they were the cause of my headaches, but my eyes work wonderfully. No problems there.

Sometimes the headaches are minor inconveniences, pesky little irritations that linger in the background, and can mostly be ignored. Sometimes they're nasty monsters that convince me that I'm dying of a stroke or brain aneurysm. I get one of these bad boys about once a year. They suck. At times the headache is totally related to stress. When I have a stress headache, I can usually kill it by either a.) working out, b.) having a glass of wine (but more than one glass, and the headache returns), or c.) taking Excedrin and a hot bath.

And then there are the hormonal headaches, which is what I have today. They're nasty little things, the pain is probably only a 4 on the scale of 1-10, but nothing kills them. Tylenol, Excedrin, Advil, Heroin, nothing! I just get to sit and wait for the damned thing to go away. Ok, readers, time for your help: When you call something a 'damned thing', is it grammatically correct to write 'damned thing' or 'damn thing'? 'Damned' seems to be the true adjective, in my opinon, but don't most people say (or write) 'damn'? Of course I know not to go by what most people say, because most people are dumb. Case in point: when they say 'I could care less'. Argh! It's 'I couldn't care less', you boneheads! As usual, I digress... but I would like to know whether I should call something a 'damned thing' or a 'damn thing'. And somehow I don't think Strunk and White put that into their Elements of Style handbook.

I've tried massage, regular exercise, increasing my water intake, trying to kick my caffeine addiction, meditation, yoga, you name it. I still get headaches. I think I'll probably always get them, which isn't cool. The Boy has recently started to complain of headaches, and this makes me nervous. He gets the flushed skin along with the headache, just like I do. I'm pretty sure he's right at the age I was when I started getting headaches. I feel bad for passing this along to him. The Husband rarely has a headache. Which is really unfair, because I can't imagine life without headaches. Anyway... I can't think of a witty way to segue into a conclusion. I'd even settle for a boring, but logical transition, but nothing's coming to me, so I'll just be abrupt.

I spent an entire post rambling about my headache, and that's sort of pathetic. I'll go find some more coffee to see if it will dull the thudding.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Small Victories

Deep breath in. Deep breath out. Must remain calm.

The Husband is stressed out tonight. He had a bad day at work, and found out that he has to travel this week when he thought he'd be home. I understand the frustration in having a bad day. Been there. A gazillion times. But yowza - is he in a foul mood tonight.

Bumblebee was begging him to read her a book. Of course she picked The Grinch Who Stole Christmas which is very long. He read it to her, and all the while she jumped up and down on him. After he was done, she kept climbing on him. He snapped at her to get off of him. I didn't say a word, but I gave him 'the look'. You know the one, it means 'cool it'. He said I gave him the look of death, but whatever... I didn't say a word. He got mad at me for giving him the look and stormed off in his truck, saying that he'd see us at The Boy's music program at 7.

Before he left, he asked me what my problem was. I didn't have a problem, but I just shrugged. I wanted to yell back and ask him what his problem was, but he needs to cool off, and I know that he'll be fine later tonight.

I could be pissed that he stormed off like that, but I know that's how he is. He's probably circling our neighborhood until it's time to go to the program. I know he just needs time to collect himself and take a breather. Instead of being angry, I'm going to count this as a personal victory, because often times, I will take the bait and get into it over something stupid like this. But not tonight. And.... here's the kicker. I have PMS, and I didn't get into a fight. Victory? I think so.

***update: He was gone for eleven minutes. He's still grouchy and quiet, but we avoided the big one tonight. Good news.

The music concert would have been great if Bumblebee had behaved herself. She was sent to bed early and is wailing in protest right now. I'm such a mean mom.

Counting to Twenty on Your Fingers

Bumblebee is learning to count to twenty. She usually skips 17 and 18, but otherwise she does great. On the way home from daycare today she successfully counted to twenty. She smiled at me triumphantly in the rear view mirror. Then she got serious.

"Mom, you know that you can't count all the way to twenty on your fingers, right?"

"Yeah, I know. Cuz we don't have enough fingers, do we?" I replied.

"Nope. But I know what kind of animal CAN count to twenty on their fingers..."

"Oh yeah? Who can do that?"

Bumblebee rolled her eyes, as if it were obvious. "A spider."

My Best Year

"What was my best year and why?" That’s the topic that a reader suggested, and I like it. Of course I could say I’ve had three best years, those that my kiddos were born. But that would be cliché and the topic is the best year (singular).

This is going to probably get really sappy and sound totally twisted. But I’m going with my first instinct on this, and I’m hoping it will make sense in the end.

The year was 2001. In many ways it was a very bad year. Those of you who are reading this and already know what happened in 2001 might think I’m crazy for picking this year. But it was a year that showed me the true meaning of love, strength, and faith. So, here goes:

******************

My “Best” Year


Assertiveness

The year 2001 was no doubt the most tumultuous of my life. I started the year with happy expectation. The Husband and I were expecting our third baby. I’d had a miscarriage the previous June, and this pregnancy had made it past the dreaded first trimester, so I felt that I’d made it past the ‘scary part’ and began to let my guard down.

By February, I was still wearing my regular jeans, and hadn’t moved into maternity clothes. I hadn’t gained a single pound. I could feel the baby move, but the movements were faint. The initial quickening sensation felt at 16 weeks is what I felt at 5 and 6 months. I knew something was wrong. When I told the doctor who saw me during my February visit that I thought something was wrong because I wasn’t big enough, he said that I was only measuring a bit small, and that since I was a bit chubby to begin with, the fact that I hadn’t gained weight wasn’t a concern of his. (What a great bedside manner!!)

My appointment in March was the same thing, but with a different doctor. I’d gained two pounds between visits, and was still measuring small, but not alarmingly so. I went home, knowing something was wrong, but not having the guts to demand further tests. They didn’t want to give me another ultrasound because of insurance regulations. I’d had one early on, things appeared fine then, so in their eyes there was no need for another.

In early April, I broke down. I called the OB office sobbing. “Something is wrong, and I need you to take a look. I want an ultrasound, because this just isn’t right.” I demanded. The woman who answered the phone told me to come in right away. When I got there, I explained to the doctor that I hadn’t gained any weight, was wearing my regular jeans (on my THIRD kid!), felt only faint movement at 29 weeks, and just felt like things weren’t right. He ordered an immediate ultrasound, which showed that the baby had no kidneys and wouldn't live outside the womb. First positive point of 2001: I discovered the importance of being assertive and sticking up for myself, even when ‘experts’ disagree with me.


Capacity to Withstand Pain

The baby was stillborn two weeks later, at 31 weeks gestation. He was a boy. The Husband and I were devastated. I endured 25 hours of induced labor (with Pitocin) without an epidural to have him. Why was I so crazy, you ask? Because I knew that if I had any kind of serious medication, I’d have to stay in the hospital longer than I wanted to. I wanted to get out of there as fast as I could. Second positive point of 2001: I found out that I have an incredible capacity to withstand pain. So terrorists and CIA agents don’t scare me. I can withstand torture like you wouldn’t believe! (Unless I’m tickled, I'd spill everything if you tickled me, but that’s another story…)


Love, Support, and Understanding

I may have been able to handle the physical pain, but the emotional pain of losing a baby was brutal. The Husband was amazing to me after we lost the baby. There’s a blurry period in my memory where he handled everything from funeral arrangements to Hollywood’s school activities to cleaning the house. I was a blob and didn't move. In a perverse role reversal, my kids tried to comfort me, which just broke my heart even more. I was distraught, and wouldn't have been able to function if it weren't for The Husband. His support was given in so many ways, from handling the daily stuff that I usually did, to listening to me vent maniacally or to watch me dissolve into a puddle of tears. He was hurting too, but he was concerned for me at the same time. We talked and talked about the son we lost. He understood my need to talk about him. We talked about how we held his tiny body in the hospital room after he was born. I can't even begin to sufficiently explain what The Husband's love, support, and understanding did to get me through that time. He carried me through it, because I was unable to walk on my own. Through the years, The Husband and I have had many ups and downs. Most people would consider this a valley instead of a peak, but it was the most amazing display of partnership and support that I've encountered in my fourteen years with The Husband, so the Third positive point of 2001: is that it showed me the depth of understanding, love, and support that my life partner is able to give.

Unexpected Lifelong Friendship

I was on maternity leave for 6 weeks after I lost the baby. During this time, I spent many hours on the Internet bulletin boards. Babycenter.com has message boards dedicated to parents who've experienced loss. It seemed like nobody in the 'real world' understood what it felt like to lose a baby. But on the boards, everyone understood! I met a woman on the boards who lost a full-term son the week after me. She and I went back to work the same week, and posted to the boards about what we called the 'fishbowl syndrome'. We felt like coworkers were watching our every move to see if we'd crack or what we'd do if someone brought a baby into the office. My cyber-friend J and I kept up our friendship through the years. We've even met in person once! This unexpected friendship has often been a comfort to me because she understands what I've been through, and I don't have to explain it all over again to her if I ever bring it up. Plus, she's just a really cool gal who "gets" me. :) Fourth positive point of 2001: My friendship with J.


Children are Treasures

It's not like I didn't appreciate Hollywood and The Boy before we lost the baby. Of course I did. But going through something like that really made me thankful that they were healthy and sweet and adorable and funny and loving and everything else that they are. During the funeral, they got up in front of everyone and said "We miss our brother." Which was so sweet. They cried real tears of loss, because they weren't going to have the baby brother we'd planned for. But they also cried because their parents were hurting, and that made them sad. Everything they did or said, even the tantrums and whining, made me realize that they are gifts and I'm very lucky to have them. Fifth positive point of 2001: I really, really noticed that my children are gifts and treasures.


Friends and Family, and Life Goes On

The baby was supposed to be born in June. My two best friends and my sister-in-law were also pregnant and due in late July. For a while it was rough, seeing their pregnant bellies. We were all so excited to be pregnant at the same time. (My two friends and I were wondering if we should go to our 10 year High School reunion that June with giant pregnant bellies so that we could be just like the 'pregnant bitches' in the movie Romy and Michelle's High School Reunion. Not because we were bitches, but because we were pregnant...) Everywhere I went, there were reminders of the baby we lost. In late July, my nephew N was born, followed by G's son T the next day, and J's son J four days later. In less than a week, three baby boys were born. It was hard, I was supposed to have one of those too, I thought. But it was also good to see those babies, and it's been wonderful watching them grow into the little guys they are today. My friends and family were so good to me back then. I know it was hard for them to watch me go through what I did while they had successful pregnancies that ended in robust, healthy babies. Sixth positive point of 2001: It taught me that life goes on, and family and friends are what help you through tough times.

******************

Whew, well, I'll bet Manic wasn't expecting that kind of novel when she suggested my topic for today. But I love the suggestion, and am happy to look back on what was a terrible time, to see what it did to shape my life. Time is amazing at healing wounds.

Promises

I promise to add a blog post at some point today. (And I mean one other than this post.) I have no idea what I'll write about, but I'll write something.