Tuesday, November 30, 2010

cleaning up shop - archives

I changed my blog roll around taking off the craft blogs and adding some CF ones. Now it is mostly all Cfers of there, so take a peek.

Also, I am going to copy some of my blogs from my mommy blog, "Cool Wool Baby" to this one and then delete that one. I never post on it, but I have a hard time letting go of stuff, thus, the merge. So I will savea bunch of those posts by just archiving them into one post here. Read if you care (or dare) or just pass it on by, just for my own records, mostly. :)

go down easy baby, go down slow

Miss M did not nurse last night. I guess she just forgot, or was too tired, or just thought it wasn't worth her time. I feel like my boobs hurt today, but of course they don't. I had a hard time not wanting to remind her to have her bubbies last night - but this way is better, this sort of mother-led child-led combo. I know I edged her here, but she was the one who chose not to nurse last night and that makes me feel better, really the only tears we had in this entire journey over nursing were the three bad nights when i took away the night nursing, besides that, this kid has pretty much had all the bubbie she's wanted. She never really fussed as I reduced the other feeding which always told me that she didn't really "need" them. We'll see what happens tonight. I can't believe we could really be close to being done?!

I'm just so proud of us. Especially in the second year when society got harder on us, family tsked tsked and made light of my choices (She'll never stop nursing! You'll get baboon breasts! so on and so forth), and I even had a bit more trouble with not sleeping and feeling tied down when I was wanting to be free. But really - 28 months is not a very long amount of time - shorter than most car leases and look what she has gained: a very secure sense of her place with me, wonderful immunties that I have seen get her out of some nasty little colds and just the good ole thwarting of social norms that I love to evoke.

So, she might want to nurse tonight, she might not - maybe next week. I'll let her. I know now we are at the end of the line here. I say a sad, fond farewell to my super powers and my centerfold breasts and magical womanly ability. What a sad and liberating thing, for both of us.

you put your right foor in you put your right foot out

My son has a little boy on his football team who has no feet. He wears prosthesis (prostheses?)that attach to his shins and go into his shoes. Because of this, he isn't very fast and really isn't that great of a football player - understandably. When the kids have to run, he is always the last one.

Often, a few boys will go back for him and run in with him - and when he finishes, the team - and some of the parents - will clap. I remember this from when I was a swimmer as well. If some poor girl...perhaps she was handicapped in some way, sometimes she was just a reeeaaaly slow swimmer...if that girl was very far behind in a race, the spectators would clap her into her finish and cheer like mad when she touched the wall. I always used to give thanks that I was never that girl. And I wondered how this boy felt about the attention.

As a person who thwarted all CF-related attention, I actually felt sorry for him for that, not for his loss of feet, but for the fact that maybe, just maybe, he'd like people to forget he hasn't any feet. To just be treated like a normal, albeit slow, boy. So I didn't clap. I relaize that I can't project my own fears and desires as a Cf patient onto a little Indian boy with no feet, maybe he soaks up the attention and will go on to become a spokesman for the footless, but I do think I can empathize in a way that maybe not all of the clappers can.

Natural birth in a hospital?

I don't think I've ever posted our daughter's birth story - but a comment from my last post (about "The Business of Being Born")made me think I should. Kimberly poses the question - is it possible to have a completely natural birth in a hospital. My answer is a guarded yes. Yes, I did it. How? My delivering my baby 13 minutes after I walked in the door. If you're crowning in the triage room, there is no time for monitors and IVs and the like.

So here is the story of Marlee Sol:

I started losing my plug on Wednesday and Thursday. I wasn't too concerned, as I knew that could happen a while before labor begins. Thursday evening I started getting some cramping and told my husband to keep his phone on when he went to class. I had dinner with my mother and drank a tiny cosmopolitain, thinking that the vodka might ease the cramping and deter labor. It seemed to work, as I went home feeling not much of anything and slept through the night.

Friday October 6, 2006

6:45: My husband's alarm went off and I woke up thinking that I had cramps again. More mucous plug came out. Again I told hubby to keep his phone nearby. He went off to work and I waited for my mom to bring my son home - he spent Thursday night with her. I thought maybe my water broke, as I had some trickles coming down my legs, but I wasn't sure. I called dh (dear husband) back and told him I thought maybe today was the day.

7:20: my mom and ds (dear son) showed up. I told my mom to be on alert that she might have to pick up ds from school, but I didn't tell him anything because I did not want him to be worried all day at school. My cramping was getting worse, but I was still unsure whether I was truly in labor.

8:05: drove ds to school. Now I was sure I was in labor. I almost felt like I needed to pull over as it was really hard to concentrate on driving. I called dh and told him he better come home.

8:30-9:00: in the shower. contractions were getting bad enough that I had to sit down. Dh got home and started loading the car. I didn't want to go. I was forced to hands and knees with each contraction. They were 3 min apart and I could no longer think while having them. It took dh forever to get me to the car. I couldn't walk during the contractions and I was exhausted between them. Dh was getting panciky.

9:10 - driving. I was silent and ocntracting hard. Bumps pissed me off.

9:20 parking lot of ER - I couldn't walk from car. I wanted to get on hands and knees in parking lot - dh wouldn't let me. A stranger brought me a wheel chair but I couldn't sit.

9:32 - walked into L&D - fell to hands and knees in reception area. Nurses came to get me. I barley made it to triage. They wanted to check me for dilation but I couldn't get off my hands and knees. Finally said, "If you want to check, do it like this." I remember thinking that if I wasn't dilated at least to 8 I was going to have to have an epidural, natural birth begone! - I was in that moment that the Bradley Method calls "self doubt" - but she checked and said the head was right there.

9:40 - wheeled in bed from triage to delivery room while still on hnads and knees. I was asked to crawl from one bed to the other but before I could, I had to most animal instinct to push. I started gorwling and pushing. Some one told me not to push. I remember thinking that was an idiotic thing to say, as I HAD to push - and I did. Gave a push in triage bed, crawled to the delivery bed and continued pushing. The head was there (oh, ring of fire, how you burned my body!) and there was the cord around her neck. I was told to turn over so the doc could cut the cord before delivery - I refused and was forced by a nurse to my back. This was the only "unnatural" part of the entire thing, as it made no sense to me to push my baby out on my back. Dh reports me saying, "This is stupid, it doesn't make sense." I also heared a nurse ask the doctor if she wanted to do an episiotomy, to which I remember replying, "Just let it rip." Three more pushes - no tears or ripping.(hooray - just some mild labial abrasions) and...

9:48 baby is out - and it's a GIRL!!!

Mr. Angrypants learns to hustle

My boy is playing football. What a testosterone driven sport. As I watch his practices, the air trills with whistles and deep, booming voices making quips like, "You run like a girl!" or "Maybe you need to go home and take some Geritol," or my personal favorite and all-time standby, "HUSTLE!"

The boy, however, seems to just blossom under all this muscle. He runs as hard as he can the entire time, always trying to be the best. In any other sports he's participated in, this always seemed a little embarrassing to me - in football, it's required.

Though I often feel a bit out of place, I also realize that I was raised by a dad who had a bit of the football mentality and so I do get sort of caught up in the "discipline" and competition of it all. Though more often than not, I still have to remind my little fullback to pay attention to his coaches. For a boy who doesn't always follow directions very well, this should be a challenge as the coaches try to stake out plays with the boys.

Meanwhile, we are practicing right next door to one of the angriest men I have ever seen. His fence borders our playing field and is clearly defined with a sign that reads PLEASE STAY OFF FENCE. No problem as far as I am concerned, though small boys need to be reminded of this a few times - or Mr. Angrypants can come out with his Mr.Angry-pants German Shepherd and yell at them. And while I admit, between young boys hanging all over your fence every week and having to listen to "HUSTLE" being called out every few minutes as 500 POP Warnder football players inavde the field next to your home every week, one might become a bit irate. But the scene I witnessed when this man noticed that a parent's car was covering a bit of his driveway was unbelievable. The man got into his own car and within millimeters was going to back into this other person's car, all the while laying on his horn. After the infringing car had been moved, he got out of his car and proceeded to stare at all the parents who had turned to watch this fiasco. As a teacher and a mom, I know when someone wants attention for bad behavior and that is EXACTLY what Mr. Angrypants wanted - hey look at me, I am a big, bad, mean man with a mean dog and I'll eat you up. I turned away. He then got on his lean mean Harley machine and rolled out amid very loud revving pipes. oy. What a nerd.

The thing I don't get, is, with a field full of football dads - at what point is this guy just going to get his ass kicked? I mean come on, you're risking a lot acting like such a meathead when you are suppounded by other meatheads. Le sigh. We shall see what happens. I really want to study this guy though, but not until I bring my husband with me to practice, being a bit of a hothead himself.

stream of consciousness

I took my son to his first La Leche League meeting today. He was great. I love that he didn't bat an eye at any of the breastfeeding moms and at one point whispered to me, "Mom, do they solve problemes here?" Not to mention that another kid showed up with a mohawk - purple, no less - and so my boy knew he was amongst friends.

The baby is getting her top teeth. She is getting so big. I could almost be tempted to have another one. Almost, I said, but not quite. I am still mourning my loss of freedom a bit. Most of the time I am resigned to the fact that I never go anywhere without at least one, though often 3 children, though every now and then I really, really want to just be alone. And then when I am alone I just want to go home to check on the kids. It is a viscious cycle. I miss going out with my girlfriends as well. My husband doesn't seem to mind my never ending presence at home though...or maybe that's because half the time he isn't even here?

Enough complaining.

Obviously I have no one thing to comment upon today. I think the recent heat has melted part of my brain.

We are going to my husband's grandparents' 70th wedding anniversary celebration this weekend. Seventy years together. I need an array of adjectives to desbribe what I think of that! If we celebrate our 70th anniversary it will happen when my husband is 100 years old. Not likely. Imagine 70 years with someone - anyone - many people aren't even with their own children for that long. Seventy years. I can't even wrap my mind around that.

Hair! Long flowing Hair!

My son has a mohawk. He has been bugging me to let him have one for over a year now. I was hesitant to let him have one last year simply because Angelina Jolie's kid had one and so it seemed all the trendy moms were letting their kids have one too, and I prefer to be a bit ahead (who am I fooling? usually behind) on the trends rather than I sheep in the midst of them....so I said no. But he persisted and I figured what the hell, and took his dad's beard trimmer to his head. We reshaped it with proper hair clippers a few days later, and I think he looks pretty cute. Everyone has an opinion about it though.

I know when I was a kid my parents weren't very adventurous with allowing me to have my own look (sorry mom, it's true) and everytime I tried something new it was met with such huge, often negative, reactions that it wasn't worth the embarrassment. So, more often than not, I chose not to inform my parents of my choices in appearance until after they were done (or not at all): double piercing my own ears in 6th grade; shaving the side of my hair off and dying it brown in 7th grade; wearing the see-through Madonna tank top to the roller rink in 8th grade; red hair in 10th, tattoo in 11th. I want my child to be open with me about what he likes and what he wants to look like. I think it is a good indicator of who he is, and I like sharing in his metamorphisis with him.

I find it fascinating that he wanted a mohawk for all that mohawks socially seem to represent: rebellion, anarchy, punk rock, redneck neonazis (yikes!). But I wonder what it represents to him? I know that it was after visiting Spencer's in the mall where the clerk was a young man with a huge green spiked mohawk that my boy really started bugging me for his own hawk, and I wonder what entranced him about that boy? Probably something in the same way Madonna fascinated me at his age (and my poor father trying to explain whay he didn't like it when I sang "Like a Virgin" as I ran around the house). There is something in the rebellion, the representation of something "older" and "cooler" that is so alluring. I feel a sense of pride in his bravery as well for all the things I was too afraid to do myself.

This same boy wanted his ear pierced and I said no. I guess I do have some limits. I am not against having his ear pierced, but I think that it should be something he should be older to do. Of course, at some point, he may come haome after having done it himslef with a sewing needle and a potato in someone's garage, and if he does, I vow to compliment him on his work rather than frantically googling webMD for information about tetanus or making him take it out.

I promise to weather the embarrassment of his new looks well, and try to never make him feel foolish for his choices. I hope this encourages his independence and leadership skills and allows him to develop his tastes fully.

And what can I say? It isn't so bad being the mom of the coolest looking Mohican on the block.

Meanwhile, this is what the baby is working on:

Jonah and the Whale

My husband and I have a heated and ongoing debate about the theory of evolution versus creationism. He believes, verbatim, what the bible says - that God created Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden and they were the first people. I sway a bit more scientifically towards the theory of evolution. He gets very angry and insists he did not stem from a monkey. We go around and around about this.

Yesterday our boys were watching a documentary about cavemen (Neanderthals, to be precise). One boy told the other that those were his ancestors - I chimed in that cave men were both of their ancestors (critics: yes, I know that homo sapiens did not evolve from Neanderthals). In walked hubby, saying, "They might be your ancestors, but they aren't mine." Now, it seems to me, that even if you believe in creationism and the whole Adam and Eve dealy-o, wouldn't they have technically been cave people as well? I mean I don't think the bible reports God created Adam a McDonald's and a Lamborghini. I think I recall something about leaves covering nakedness and hunting for food - but, heathen that I am, I may be wrong.

So the conversation then evolved (pun intended) about the "truth" of the bible. My husband was angry that I was trying to disprove the bible in front of the boys. I argued I was only proving that the bible is not always meant to be taken literally. The bible provides lessons that we are to learn from. I equated it to my son with the story of the boy who cried wolf. We learn a lesson from that story while knowing that it is indeed just a story.

So I asked the kids and the husband about the story of Noah and the Ark. How could Noah have taken all the animals two by two onto the ark? Wouldn’t the lions have eaten the antelope and the coyotes the bunnies? Why didn't Noah get asphyxiated by a boa constrictor? How did they all fit - was the Ark that big? Both boys seemed to contemplate this. My husband asked me whether it says in the bible that Noah actually took ALL the animals. Which led me to another point - either Noah had to have taken all the animals that are alive today, or, some species must have EVOLVED into other species? Nevertheless, I took it upon myself to look up this particular passage in el bibulo (Genesis 6-8) and happened to read that Noah did all this when he was 600 years old (critics: I know that you can interpret 600 years-old many ways, but bear with me here). This revelation only added fuel to the fire: an already ludicris story made even more so by the geriatricness of its hero.

It seems to me that in allowing my children a chance to think, logically, about religion does them no harm. While I know it can be a hairy subject, and that most of my family does not agree with the way that I perceive and go about teaching religion to my children, I think I do a disservice if I offer up religion without thought.

Adam and Eve is a creation story. Many cultures have them. The ancient Maya thought the world was created on the back of a crocodile. The theory of evolution is also a creation story, though one with a bit more data behind it. Should my children only be subjected to the Christian creation myth as truth? Or should they be allowed to peruse many creation myths to compare and contrast and rally against as they develop their own thought patterns?

Apparently however, according to my husband (and various others, I am sure), if you don't believe in Noah, you are going to HELL. That's a nice concept to teach kids, isn't it? Billy, if you don't eat all your peas, you could go to hell. Sarah, did you lie about making your bed this morning? Hell is awaiting you, young lady. What is hell anyway? Oh wait, I know, a burning hot sulphuric place where a guy in a red suit dances around with a pitchfork. Yes, this is definitely a good thing to teach kids. We won't let them watch Cartoon Network, but we will teach them about hell.

For the record, I don't believe in hell, and though my husband thinks that's where I might end up, I have to disagree. I don't believe that God (you know, when HE sent the pages of the bible floating down from heaven a few years back) intended THE BIBLE to be the last word. It's more of a guide - as is the Koran, Torah, Bhagavad-Gita. We take what we need, we live life in the "right" way (do unto others is repeated in most religions - karma, reincarnation, etc), and we are thankful for what we have everyday. If living by these rules and teaching them to my kids is wrong, well then, I guess I am doomed from the start.

Finally, I end with some words from Marx. While I don't agree with Marx fully, I do think there is some food for thought here:

Man makes religion, religion does not make man. Religion is indeed man's self-consciousness and self-awareness so long as he has not found himself or has already lost himself again. But, man is no abstract being squatting outside the world. Man is the world of man -- state, society. This state and this society produce religion, which is an inverted consciousness of the world, because they are an inverted world. Religion is the general theory of this world, its encyclopaedic compendium, its logic in popular form, its spiritual point d'honneur, it enthusiasm, its moral sanction, its solemn complement, and its universal basis of consolation and justification. It is the fantastic realization of the human essence since the human essence has not acquired any true reality. The struggle against religion is, therefore, indirectly the struggle against that world whose spiritual aroma is religion.

Religious suffering is, at one and the same time, the expression of real suffering and a protest against real suffering. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.

You can't chase the ice cream man during summer school

Recently my son was concerned that he was going to have to go to summer school. Though a teacher by trade, I don't particularly believe in summer school. While it may have its time and place, and for some students may be the difference between success and failure, I think overall, summer school just sets children up for school burnout. So I told my son, that while I was pretty sure he wouldn't qualify to go to summer school anyway, if he did, he wasn't going to go.

He immediately went back to school to report to his teacher that his mom said he didn't have to go to summer school. na na na na boo boo.

The teacher questioned me about this at his parent-teacher conference. She said that he didn't qualify for summer school (which we already knew), but that if he had, he would "have to go." I politely smiled and said no, in fact, he would not have had to go. I went on to explain that I don't really think summer school is a good idea. Summer is a time to catch up on other activities - activities in my mind that are very bit as important as scholastics: getting dirty, playing in the rain, Little League games and swim meets, chasing down the ice cream man, performing first aid on a bike-accident-scraped-knee, staying up late and sleeping in, pick-up games of basketball with the neighbor kids, sleep-overs, beach picnics, catching fireflies, counting mosquito bites, sleeping in tents in the backyard and roasting marshmallows. Summer is for enjoying being a kid without worrying about homework and tests and bastardized - oops, I mean STANDARDIZED TESTING.

I realized as my son listened to my short diatribe against summer school that he was getting another lesson here as well. He was getting a lesson in non-compliance. When do we do what we are told and when do we buck the system? This is a hard call. It's much easier to teach our children to go with the flow and not make waves. They stay out of trouble this way (usually), and tend to be labeled "well-behaved." But how do we teach our children to stand up for themselves, stand up for what is right and make judgments about what is important? I have to thank my father for teaching me that you don’t always have to do what “the system” tells you to do. It has enabled me to stand up for myself many times. I want my son to learn this as well, but it is a sensitive lesson to learn.

I want my son to grasp that I think learning is important, but that we can learn in many different ways. What I won’t yet tell him, but believe to be true, is that schooling isn’t necessarily the only (or the best) way for learning to occur. I just don't necessarily think sitting in a desk seven hours a day and regurgitating information is all that helpful. I feel that our school system is based more than not on this model. Somewhere we aren't teaching children to think for themselves. Yes, I think school teaches children to think - but not independently of the system. We just teach kids how to go with the grains.

I don't want my son to learn that you can defy all authority or always fight the system, but I do want him to realize that we have to take many factors into account when we make decisions, and sometimes making a stir is for the greater good of the cause. Summer school would not bode well for any of us in this family, and I highly doubt I will ever send him. At least not unless I feel it is for his greater good or if it is his choice to go rather than a bureaucratic mandate.

I know this same little boy wished his mother would have stepped in when he got sent to detention the other day at school for talking too much in class. Where was his mother’s system bucking then? Wasn’t she supposed to come down to school and give his teacher the what-for for sending her little cub to the wolves den? His lesson in non-compliance was extended: if the bureaucratic mandate makes sense, mother bear stays in her den.

I think my boy knows that I will step up and fight for him no matter the consequences when fighting is the right thing to do. I hope he is learning by example how to pick battles and when to stay quiet. Staying quiet isn't a feat I have completely mastered, but I'm working on it.

now I lay me down to sleep

Where is the time to write? There is none now that we have a mobile baby. She rolls, she flips, she scooches. The house is no longer safe from baby. Our bed is no longer safe for her either.

I co-slept (or shared-sleep, as the new term seems to be)with both of my kids, much to many family members tsk tsks: "It's not safe." "You'll never get them out of your bed." So on and so forth. None of which are true, of course. I find it very hard to understand how a mom can carry her baby in her body for 9 months and then put that child in another room to sleep?! It seems to backward. Definitely not my thing. In fact, even at seven, I still sleep with my bedroom door open and my son's as well so that I can feel more "aware" of what goes on in the night. I also still check to make sure he is breathing each night before I go to bed. Old habits die hard I suppose.

So our darling babe has quite a nest within the confines of our king sized bed. We sleep smooshed right up next to one another and save an occasional krick in the neck, it's working out quite well. That is, it was, until she became so...active.

I deemed the seven-year-old unsafe to be in my bed when he was older than his sister. I think he was closer to 9 or 10 months when he transitioned to a crib. He was also drinking bottles at that time, so there was less need for mom in the night. The baby is only five months, so to a crib she'll not go - there is no way I am getting out of bed the two or three (or four or five or six) times a night that she wants to nurse. But we are at a loss of how to keep her safe in the bed if we aren't in it. As yet, I don't think she quite has it in her to roll over one of us in the night without us knowing.

Summer is approaching, and I yearn for the ability to put the baby to sleep and then sit outside with a cocktail and enjoy an hour or two of a warm summer's eve. ALONE. So we may make a transition to napping in a crib and maybe laying down to sleep in a crib, and then being brought into mom and dad's bed later. Maybe. I am not looking forward to this. I remember all to well my son's big, round, confused eyes the first time I layed him to sleep in his crib. Though I stayed with him until he fell asleep, I could sense his confusion. I don't think it was fear, but definite anxiety. Sometimes thinking about it feels more than I can bear to go through again.

So maybe baby will never leave our bed and all those familial soothsayers will have the last word on the cosleeping debate afterall. Somehow I doubt it though. When we're both ready, we'll make the transition to crib and then "big girl" bed like most every other child we know. Until then, I go to bed when baby goes to bed. And that's okay with me.

New Light

I have to grocery shop at least once a week. There must be food here for my husband and son to pack for their lunches. If there isn't, my husband must eat fast food, and, even worse, my son must eat SCHOOL LUNCH. Since we don't want either of these atrocities to occur, the baby and I must foray into our friendly neighborhood supermarket.

Most of the time, I strap the baby into our mei tei Asian style baby carrier for our shopping trip. The reason for this is two fold: first, it allows us to snuggle. Tummy to tummy is such a pleasing way to carry the baby. It keeps her very content while we are in the store and more often than not even lulls her to sleep. The second reason is that I am a bit fo a germ-a-phobe, and I have found that if the baby is in the mei tei, people are far less to try to touch her. It is interesting how most people don't mind intruding on a baby's personal space, but are far less apt to intrude on the mother's. Oh, mother bear.

That being said, during out last shopping extravaganza, I left the baby in the baby bucket. It was biting cold outside and she was bundled up warmly. She had also fallen asleep. And, I felt lazy. So I hauled the carseat from the car and plopped it into the shopping cart. The movement of the shopping cart rocked the car seat gently and the baby stayed asleep for a bit.

Our first stop was the delicatessin. Deli meat is a necessity in our lunch-packing home. The woman behind the counter cooed and sighed over the baby as she cut our meats and cheeses. Once she had completed my order, she came out from the counter, and, grasping the baby by the hand, began baby-talking to her. At first I was taken aback. I could just see the listeria oozing from her gloved hand. But she was so happy when the baby smiled at her, I just had to laugh. "We've got to show Jean!" she exclaimed, rolling my cart off towards the bakery. Having no choice, I followed behind. "Je-ean," she called to the young woman behind the counter. "She has all boys, " she then whispered to me knowingly. Jean came around and kissy faced the baby a few times, before gently admonishing her friend to go back to work and leave the customers alone.

No sooner did we hit the cereal aisle then I noticed an older man nudge his wife our direction. They beamed as we walked past. Two more women approached the cart to have a look at my baby. "I've been eyeing that baby for a while!" one of them exclaimed as she peered over her glasses and made goofy faces and kisses at my daughter. Both were simply filled with joy at seeing a baby. And, kind soul that she is, my babe obliged each of her courters with smiles and babbles. Every person who walked up to visit with my little one left beaming. She'd made them each feel so special, as if they were the only one in the world that she'd bestowed such a delightful smile upon. What a wonderful feeling it was.

That shopping trip took much longer than our usual jaunts, but as I left the store, I felt warm. I had brought a tiny little ray of sunshine to a few people just by allowing my baby to greet the world. Babies make people so happy.

A few days later I took her to see her first production of the Vagina Monologues. Again we were greeted with delight. "Thank you for bringing a baby!" one woman cried.

It is so affirming to see that there is still beauty in this world, and it is found in even the smallest creatures. That joy can be created in the strangest ways and oddest places. Who would have thought that a quick trip to the supermarket or the theater would result in creating moments of happiness for so many people?

I can only hope that this child of mine continues to inspire such joy in those around her. She has brought a whole new light into our lives, one that I will strive to continue to share.

the nonattached parent

Buddhism tells us that attachment causes suffering - the cure for which is nonattachment. Undoubtedly, this is easier said than done. How on earth can one practice nonattachment as a mother?

I have thought long and hard about this. Each and everytime my children have been hurt, physically or emotionally, I think to myself, "Now see, this wouldn't be so bad if I wasn't so attached to them."

Ironically, the method of parenting that I seem to align myself with the most calls itself Attachment Parenting, so there is a definite conflict of interest here. While I am not a Buddhist, I am certainly interested in the philospohies that Buddhism teaches, and I think the fact of the matter is, attachment does cause suffering.

Recently the father of a friend of ours died. I debated long and hard about taking my son to the wake. I believe that death is a part of the cycle of life, and I don't think that children should be sheltered from understanding that. Though my son does not know death first hand, he knows that he is missing and aunt, an uncle, a cousin, and a grandma because of it. He asks a lot of questions about death, many of which I just cannot answer. I worried that if I took him to the wake and could not answer his questions, I might be doing more harm than good. While I would love to tell him, "you die and go up to heaven and see everyone you love and it's just great," I don't believe that. I'm not quite sure what I believe about death or what comes after that, but I know that sugar coating it for children seems wrong. Death is raw and it hurts. Over the summer, my son said these words: the angry smell of death. I told him to be a writer. But it's true...death is not pretty.

What do you think happens when you die?" I asked him.
"God will raise you up," he replied.
"Where do you go?" I continued.
"Um, to heaven - that's what it's called where you go."
"What do you do there?"
"I don't know, I have never been to heaven." I had to smile at his answer.
"Do you think it's a place?" I persisted.
"No, that's impossible," was his answer. "And you don't wear shirts there!" he added as he ambled out of the room to finish eating his pretzels.

Death has not been kind to our family. We have lost a lot of young people in serious accidents: boating, cars, and a fire. We have also lost to cancer. If my son is confused about death, he probably got it from me. I know that I get a bit neurotic thinking, and worrying, about death. I am not afraid of dying. I am afraid of living after someone I love dies. And I am morbidly afraid of losing one of my children. I used to imagine that if anything happened to my son, I would simply crawl into bed and stay there for the rest of my life. Now that I also have a daughter, I realize that probably, life would go on. It would have to.

It makes me wonder how do these Buddhists do it? Are those who achieve enlightenment the childless ones? How on earth can one form a relationship based on nonattachment with their children? Truly, it would make the cycle of life easier to bear, but what would it do in the mean time?

I pray each day for the safety and health of my babies. And I admit, I worry far too much about their safety. While I don't keep them in a bubble, I certainly wish from time to time that I could. I cannot practice nonattachment, even in it's sketchiest forms, when it comes to my kids. I am completely enamored with them and losing them is a crippling and unbearable thought.

Though I have started to realize that each day, I do become a bit unattached. Every day, they grow away from me and into themselves. Even the baby, who needs me to do nearly everything for her, has begun to be able to pick up her own toys. If I rethink my original quandry, I debate: maybe this is what nonattachment parenting is...letting go. It doesn't mean not loving, not forming strong bonds of attachment, but only being able to break those bonds little by little. It means setting free.

It also probably means I should stop pestering the kids into letting me go with them when they leave for college.

Come Back Little Boy

I have lost my little boy to the world of men.

For so many years, he was just my little guy. "My best boy." I would pick him up from daycare and he would barrel toward me yelling "Mommeeeee!" and throw himself into my arms with gusto. I was allowed to cover his face with kisses and hold his hand all the way to the car. We were the best of pals. He liked what I liked, ate what I ate, listened to what I listened to. Two peas in a pod.

I like to blame the change on first grade. Or his dad. But somewhere along the way, he started to develop his own interests. It started with kissing me in public. The first time he shied away from me, I chased his face around with puckered lips, not realizing that the shun was purposeful. I blamed it on the baby. After 7 years iof being an only child, I was now pregnant with his little sister. He must be angry with me - that's why he won't hug or kiss me or hold my hand in public. Yet when the baby came, he loved her almost as much as I did, but still he didn't want to kiss me if anyone else could see.

Then he started listening to Johnny Cash. I can't say I didn't help fuel this interest - what mother isn't proud of her little alternason listening to the man in black? But through the music I realized he was starting to define his identity and he was aligning with men! Johnny Cash was a man's man - man music. Goodbye Raffi. Suddenly he was running around the house singing, "My name is Sue. How do you do? Now you're gonna die!"

The worst was yet to come. For his birthday I bought him a nerf football. Sure, he had had many footballs before: people love to buy little boys balls of some sort or another, but this orange and gray ball seemed to fit into his hands with ease. We discovered, he had "an arm." He could throw at least as far, if not farther, than his eleven year old step brother. And, the real clincher: he's a leftie. More than one man has watched in awe as my little boy lobbed one off with his left hand.

I may never pinpoint the exact moment it happened - this loss of my boy into the murky, dangerous world of men, but one particular day comes to mind. Many months pregnant, I decided to nap on the couch while the boy watched "Yu Gi Oh!" And during that half hour snooze, a man wand must have waved over our house, as when I awoke, he was switching back in forth from a Bears game to a Vikings game mumbling to himself, "I can't believe they interceptioned it! Did you see him juke that guy?" I rubbed my eyes in disbelief. "Where is my son?" I asked. "I'm right here, mom....oh man, they need to run the freaking ball!" he cried placing his hands over his eyes. It was then, I began to feel that he was lost.

He was torn during the Superbowl. Dad is an avid Bears fan, Grandpa (Pa Pa) a Colts fan. "I still like the Bears first, Colts second, Patriots third and Chargers fourth" he announced to me last night after the Colt's victory. He and Dad then sadly commiserated in his bedroom for a few moments over the Bears defeat.

This morning, a day off of school due to arctic temperatures, I awake to the sounds of his NFL game on the PlayStation.

"You have thrity minutes of time to play that," I announce groggily. Glancing down at him I take in how his new large front teeth give him such an impish look, and the librarian chain I made him start wearing on his glasses (he loses them all the time!) is all askew. I smile at how oblivious he is to it's dorkiness. I know my little boy is still in there, but I also see the man he will become wrestling within as he tries to align himself with the men in his life and imitate their ways.

"Yo, Mom! Get me a beer, will ya?" he calls out, then burtsts into a fit of giggles at his own hilarity.

Come back, come back, little boy, I think. Then I remember how he made me sit right next to him during the game last night, pulled blankets around the both of us, and even saved my spot for me, though no one else was here.

A Mother's Guilt

Thoughts on motherhood?

Alas, where to begin? Motherhood is such an all encompassing endeavor...but I think I can easily start with guilt. A mother's guilt. What mother doesn't feel riddled from guilt from time to time - or all the time, as the case may be? As I type this, I can list a multitude of things that could cause me to feel crippled with guilt right now. My baby is lying on the floor under her flashing lights mobile instead of strapped to me in her mei tei. Guilt. She is fussing and I keep saying, "Just a minute, honey!" Guilt. My son is at his grandfather's house watching god-only -knows on television instead of here with me, sticking to his new Feingold diet. Guilt. It never ends, this guilt. I can have a perfectly wonderful day with my children - I can do everything that I believe is "right," and still feel bad.

For example. My son has been grounded for the last few days because, in a flash of anger, he threw his pop tart at the wall during breaskfast. "I just overreacted!" he pleaded. Nevertheless, I decided to hit him where it hurts and denied him the privelage of spending the night with his Nana. But, of course, I felt guilty about this, so I took him to dinner that night. We went to a great cafe with yummy vegetarian sandwiches, because he likes the bean sprouts on them. We sat and ate and chatted. I breastfed the baby while we played a round of Crazy Eights, and then we came home, bathed, did homework, and read a few books before bed. What a wonderful evening.

But then. Then I decided to check on him before going to tucking myself into bed with the baby and my husband. This is a mistake I have made over and over and over during the seven years I have been his mother. Looking at your sleeping child is the epitome of guilt inducing actions.

I pull the blankets back up around him, his legs sprawled out, the fine blonde hairs laying flat against his slightly damp skin, wet from ferverent dreams I suppose. A few hours earlier as I had tucked him in, I pulled these same blankets up, promising they would protect him from whatever lurks in the night. "This blanket was handmade by Grandma with love, so nothing bad can penetrate it. And this blanket was Dad's when he was a boy, so it has had years of protection under its belt." I smooth back his hair, wipe his brow and stare with wonder that this huge boy was once the same size as his four moth old baby sister in the ther room. I feel guilty for every cross word, for every time I was irritable...for not being a perfect mother all the time.

"I love you little boy," I whisper each and every night into his ear, with hopes that these words and that feeling will become so ingrained in his subconscious that never a day will he doubt how I feel about him. So that even in my moments of anger, when I cuss and grit my teeth and say things I don't mean, he will know deep inside that he is the love of my life.

I switch off the hall light and climb into bed, taking the baby from my husband, smiling down as her bright eyes stare back at me. I sigh and roll to my side hoping tonight she might nurse to sleep, so that I don't have to feel guilty when I don't want to walk her up and down the hall until she drifts off...though knowing that inevitbaly, anything these children want and need from me I will give them, all the while always worrying that it wasn't enough.

Whew. If you actually read that, you are crazy and I owe you a drink. ;)

after copying all that I see I could have exported it to my hard dive. sigh. oh well.

Friday, November 26, 2010

if you haven't got a penny, a hay-penny will do, if you haven't got a hay-penny then God bless you

Thanksgiving is probably the most laid back holiday we celebrate. Most holidays (esp. the religious ones) we spend with my dad and that side of the family. My dad's side is pretty religious and so Christmas and Easter are very important to them. As well, my dad has a pool and a large house on a lot of land with lots of space to have parties on holidays like the 4th of July, so we often end up there.

Celebrations at my dad's are always very formal (well not the 4th of July pool parites, but my dad is a little uptight and a lot OCD, so even laid back pool parties haev a lot of 'rules') - real silver dinnerware, dining at the dining room table, wine in goblets. This is very nice and I appreciate that my children get to grow up being exposed to that sort of stuff. I have no fear that they would not be able to assimilate into even the posh-est of parites as adults. But sometimes it's just too much. I want cheap beer and paper plates, throw-away napkins and plastic cups. I want the TV on while I eat.

At home, for every day purposes, we're an amalgam of both the above scenarios. We eat dinner together every night (try to anyway), we eat off of my very cool Goodwill plates, and we do use cloth napkins (cuz I'm green like that). We only have the TV on for special occasions (my kids think it the best treat of all to eat dinner in the living room and watch TV!). I want them to grow up knowing that mealtime as a family is a time to be together, not to zone out to the TV and devour your food without a thought in the world, to be aware of the food and company themselves. I want them to have good table manners, but I also want them to value the fact that spending time together as a family, no matter the setting, is more important than always knowing which plate is your bread plate, that the purpose of the holidays isn't just a show of cooking skills and dinnerware, but that even the quaintest of settings can equal the most meaningful and wonderful times of togetherness. That's what it's all about, after all, just being together for no other purpose than being together.

So Thanksgiving with my brother-in-law and his family is a nice, laid back affair. We eat off paper plates and watch football. We drink beer. The food is a mix of good ole homemade and store bought. It's so enjoyable. The kids get to run around. My BIL has some goats, ducks and a horse, so the kids get to play with the animals and no one frets about them getting dirty before (or after dinner). We just chill out, relax, maybe play a board game. It makes me so happy that my kids get to see both sides of how a holiday can be spent. While I appreciate the stringent adherence to tradition and etiquette that we find at my father's, all the pomp and glitter, I really love the laid back, no shoes, cold beer relaxation of the other side too.

and, because every blog is more amusing with pictures:

Saturday, November 20, 2010

'til the shadows and the lights were one

For your amusement, now that I can actually sort of laugh about the fiasco of my hospital encounter, I present to you before and after:

I took this after my first shot of dilaudid. It was IM in the buttocks - not so fun, but it worked quickly and i felt better. I thought, "oh ho ho, pain meds are working, won't it be fun to document this hospital stay in photos parce que c'est la vie cystique, n'est pas?" (sorry for my francophone friends if my French is bad. it's been une longue temps) However, I was pretty much incapiaitated with pain 45 minutes after this as the pain increased and the meds did less and less to help (or perhaps they would have helped if I wasn't waiting for hours between doses.) Here is a little secret: when something depresses my CNS, my left eye gets slightly smaller than the right. I have tons of pictures that show this and even brought it up to my eye doc who wanted me to see a neurologist. I declined, but now, every pic of me you see, you'll know if I was secretly hitting the hooch or taking granny's pain killers.

I took this about 6 hours later, after I was admitted and had my wonderful PCA pump. It was set on continuous dosing, which is why you see the button wrapped up. it only occurred to me after they took it away that I might have been able to hit that button for a little extra oomph. Oh well, it did it's job.

And that, mes amies, is a set of the ugliest pics of me you may ever see. I envy those of you who take such cute hospital pictures. I hope my next stay is planned so I can at least have a little lip gloss on hand, rather than the sweaty, dying cowboy took I was sporting.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

better out than in, I always say

magnesium citrate. yuk.

and thus has been my first overnight, non childbirth related hospital stay.

a hot mess.

Most of my faithful readers will have seen on cf2 that I came in with severe abdominal pain. Honestly, the worst pain I have ever felt in my life. I ended up in the ER because I was unable to walk into my clinic (that's how bad, I could't walk).

ERs are definitely really efficient places. I liked how they gave me a shot of dilaudid which wore off after 45 minutes but left me writhing in pain for 2 hours. that was fun. I honestly thought I was going to die yesterday - either from the pain, or that they'd decide to do exploratory surgery and kill me, or my stomach would crack open and spill all the contents out into my body cavity.

I survived. Now today, I feel pretty good (might be the pain meds talking). My clinic NP came down and talked to the nurse who then put a call into my doc for me. Finally. I have asked every person in this place to consul twith the CF people. Hopefully, (fingers crossed) I will be out of here ASAP. Well, after I drink this nasty shit and then shit it all back out. I was going to decline this last test, but I figure I need to get the crap (pun intended) taken care of so that the admitting will release me.

I have had no treatmetns in 48 hours now, so I am a coughing, junky mess. I want to go home. I miss my kids. I miss my real doctor...bah.

so that's my fun story. Wanderlosts hospital vacation. I'm not sure i could do this for weeks like some of us have to. well, I could, if I had my doc who could write orders such as NO LABS at 4 AM and such as that. I feel this is practice for when my time comes that I do have to be admitted for an exacerbation and I need ot get my mind around coping with that.

Yesterday I was in so much pain I would have agreed to anything (almost agreed to an NG tube - that's how bad I felt!). Today, feeling much perkier, I want nothing more than to go home. I'm just not that great of a patient. i don't like being told to do things without a reason or consult (with me). Maybe I need to learn to let things go more, but for now I am on a mission to go home. So with that, I head to the potty to learn to let go!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

come over to the window my little darling, I'd like to try to read your palm

I'm feeling verbose today.

I find blogging so much easier than writing my thesis, which is now going on one year. Some of that is my fault. Well, most of it. 6 months was spent waiting for my director to read my proposal and set up a meeting with my committee, but since May, when that meeting was, has been my own apathy. I've set a new goal: my completed first draft will be done by December. I have about 40 pages written and in many ways it could be finished, I just need some serious editing.

My point is, everytime I sit down to work on writing it, I freeze up. I keep expecting to pour out honed essays, works of great insight and beauty! I rarely work on a blog for more than the time it takes me to write it and reread it (and as you can see by my many typos, even that doesn't always happen). Yet when I read back in my blog I find I really like some of the things I've written. So I keep stealing them for my thesis.

I've realized here in CF-land that since we all read one another's blogs, there are often concurrent themes and events that need addressing. I was wondering if, because we know that we are reading one another's journaling, we don't feel the obligation to make some sort of commentary on said events. I hope that doesn't come across the wrong, I don't mean it in a keeping-up-with-the-Joneses kind of way, just that this community is tight enough that when something of significance occurs, it touches us each deeply and blogging is one of the ways we reach out to one another to talk about it. And, let's be real, because we all want to release our own thoughts and conceptions into the blogophere. This has both positive and negative ramifications, of course.

Sometimes I write something like what I wrote above and I think it had great insight. Then I reread and it and think WELL, NO DUH.

Anyway, I had this great little note written out about blogging and the internet. I can't fnd it of course - one of those cocktail napkin epiphanies that all writers seem to be able to lose rather than use. It was something along the lines of how our blogs have become another outlet for our self-narrative (and in our case, for our illness narratives...hello thesis!). In a way, our self-narratives were written for us at conception as far as CF goes. Because of that commanility, we now have to carve out an identity separate from our disease and from one another within that disease as a means of self preservation - hence our blogs. Most our blogs have the overlying theme of life with CF, but they are all tinged with our individual reflections of self undefined by CF.


I am going to watch "Sex in the City 2."