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Thursday, March 30, 2017

3 Parenting Wins This Week

Oh man, sometimes y'all...sometimes things go RIGHT. I think I forgot.

This week all kinds of things have gone right.

1. I had a morning where the kids were ready with enough time to spare that we took our time walking to the bus. I know, shocking, right? We stomped on ice and then it was snowing so we stopped and caught flakes on our mittens and examined them. It. was. magical.

2. I had an evening where the kids helped. I made a list of the chores we needed done and promised to play trouble with them if we got the list done and we all set to work. They actually helped. I don't mean I stalked their every move while they "helped." I mean, I asked them to do things like "take your boots to the mudroom," and they DID IT. We cleaned the house. Well, sorta. We made it significantly less gross. There are still four of us.

3. The last one has a longer explanation. Here goes.

My son painted his nails with his gramma. Then kids at school told him painting nails was for girls. He has been faking sick a lot and said it was because of this. I suspected there was a little more to it but since that was what I had to go on, I texted the moms of the kids he's friends with who supposedly said this.

I waited nervously. What if this was kids echoing the message they heard at home? I don't know these familie's values super clearly. Maybe they think painting nails IS for girls, I worried. I waited.

But then they started responding. The moms and I chatted back and forth and all of our boys have been faking sick and having trouble with their feelings about disagreements and fall-outs with each other. I contacted the teacher and she set up a friendship group for them with the counselor.

I suspected it was more than just the nails and we talked and handled the bigger piece of learning how to be friends and handle disagreements.

With regard to the fingernails, the moms each talked to their sons. One of the boys has longer hair and he understood how my son felt because kids have told him his hair is for girls in the past. He cried to think he'd caused my son hurt feelings about something he understood so well. He was confused about why my son didn't tell him how upset he was. The other mom talked with her son as well and then texted me a photo of his fingernails painted green last night.

They'll make great friends. I'm so happy for them. I'm also so happy for me that the moms in my community and I can communicate and find solutions and support each other. Finally, I'm glad we live in a digital age where it was easy for me to text my concerns to the teacher so she could respond quickly AND that she did respond quickly. I'm glad my son goes to a school where he has such a great teacher and support network.

Life is hard and worth the effort. Life is good.

P.S. I almost spilled my coffee by elbowing it off my standing desk station but then, I caught it in midair. I can't be stopped! (please don't let this jinx me.)

Monday, March 27, 2017

The real life game of: What's Worse Than ______?

This is like the game (if you're in your 30s or 40s you might remember this) What's Grosser Than Gross?

Except it's What's Worse Than _____

It's spring so... I need a swimsuit. I love to swim and still get in the water and swim with my kids at least once a week and obviously more during summer. I've been avoiding the task of buying a swimsuit for about 4 years now, so I was finally down to 2 mismatched pieces and now I can't find those either. So...hell is here. AKA swimsuit shopping.

Now let's play. What's Worse Than Swimsuit Shopping?

What's worse than swimsuit shopping as a woman?
Swim suit shopping when you've had 2 kids and your body's looks like a parenting battlefield.

What's worse than swimsuit shopping as a woman who has had children and has the giant stretch marks to prove it?
Bringing your children WITH you to shop for said swimsuit.

"Mom, will you buy a bikini?" Mars
"No." Me
"What's a bikini?" Gomez
"It's a swimsuit that looks like a bra and underwear" Me
Through snorts and chortles, "That's silly!" Gomez
He's right, that IS silly!
"That's right, you won't buy a bikini." Mars
"Why" Gomez
"Because of having me. I was a BIG baby." Mars

What's worse than swimsuit shopping as a woman who has children and has the marks to prove it AND has brought her children?
Her children discussing her underwear while trying on swimsuits.

Keep in mind, I'm now at the part of dealing with actually trying on swimsuits which is fucking terrible. We all know, no matter how your body looks, this part is fucking terrible.

Not only is it the kind of shopping where you have to take off almost all of your clothes (not your underpants,) but then you have to see how your body SHOULD look in a bunch of swimsuits. Because inevitably you choose some suits that were meant for a very different body type than the one you possess.

And this problem is further worsened by how they size women's clothing. How do they do it? The answer can only be: randomly. They randomly assign letters to women's clothing.  Like, they must just have a gun that shoots out SMLXL. Some ladies in the Target factory in China get these guns and their lunch hour is getting to set the American sizing. They all giggle and shoot at the clothes.  Some combination of letters hits the clothes and they're just like *giggle, giggle* American Ladies are HUGE!

So you can't actually tell which size you'll be until you either can or can't squeeze in. And then you're panting from not squeezing in and giving up. Smartly going "Fuck that suit. That's not a medium and I can tell at my thighs that shit's going to make me cry or stab someone."

And the kids are along so crying or stabbing are decidedly not options. So you try the next thing and it fits like my skin, all hanging and bones here but fat there and fuck that suit.

"But I liked that one." Mars
"Why do you have your underpants on? I thought you weren't getting a bikini?" Mars.
"I'm not. It's a rule with trying on swimsuits that you leave your underwear on." Me.
"Why" Mars.
Holy fuck, I've never wanted less to answer a question. Because of the vagina drippies is NOT coming out of my mouth. I am NOT having that conversation. Probably ever. I'm good with explaining sex and that it feels good, etc. But about the discharge of a vagina I will not tell. Fuck, fuckity, FUCK that.
"It's the rules." Me
"I want to read the comic on your underwear." Mars
"Me too. Mars, let's read the comic on mom's underwear." Gomez
"Can you hold still so I can read this?" Mars, while approaching my butt.
"No. Let's go." Me

And that's what's worse than swimsuit shopping as a woman who has children and has the marks to prove it AND has brought said-children and those children are discussing her underwear while she tries on swimsuits and announcing that there's a comic strip on them and then yelling at how she should hold still so they can READ her underwear.

And I thought we were done with this game until I typed in "Bad Swimsuit Fit" to try to find a picture for this post. And instead of remotely valid search results, up came every skinny, perfect bitch on who has found her PERFECT fit! If you modify the search and add male, man, and men, it still comes back with mostly women. Fuck, fuck, FUCK YOU, Google!

But you know what? I did get a swimsuit. And I wore it and I liked it. And my nieces complimented me on my swimsuit. You know who I actually want to have fun with and enjoy while swimming? Children. Not men. So that's officially the best demographic to get a compliment from and also I love my nieces.

So there, Google.

So there, ladies with the size gun in the target factory in China.

The photo is of Jenny McCarthy's ex-boyfriend in a swimsuit. It's the one image I found that made me happy. I like him.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Gomez's Kidneys

When Gomez was 4 months old, he spiked a very fever in the middle of the night with no other cause. I called my mom to come over so we didn't have to wake Mars & take him to the ER with us. She came right over and off we went.

Gomez had no other symptoms. Just a high fever. So they sent us home and we followed up in the next day and week with trips to see his doctor and then specialists to find out what was going on.

It would turn out he had a kidney malformation of the ureters that caused a reflux that meant he would have chronic bladder and kidney infections. They put him on daily prophylactic antibiotics and waited to see if it would get better.

It didn't. So at 11 months, he had major kidney surgery.

Now I know many people who have kids with really serious illnesses and this is not that. All along we were fortunate and knew that this was a highly fixable and routine abnormality. I knew he'd be okay in time and with help.

Still, it's a lot to see your baby have his entire abdomen cut open. It's painful to watch your baby try to stand up and walk with 9 tubes coming out of him including an epidural. I'd never even had an epidural. It was terrifying to watch him not eat or drink because of the pain.

For the last 4 years, we've had ultrasounds for Gomez, first at four months to see how bad the reflux was, and again later at 10 months, then surgery, then more ultrasounds since to make sure the surgery was successful and to monitor the amount of scar tissue in his belly.

Every follow up ultrasound has come back with the doctor asking us to follow up in 6 months or a year. He's wanted to keep an eye on it. He's had concerns about the scar tissue.

This was the first one that Rob took Gomez in for. They got up and left the house at 7 this morning to take him to Denver to see how the scar tissue is doing, to be sure the ureters aren't leaking, to be sure he's okay. Meanwhile, Magnus and I had a special breakfast together at our favorite local spot. Then I dropped him at school, and went to work.

20 minutes ago, I got a text from Rob saying that Gomez is cleared. It's finally over. Gomez is fine.
I had no idea how much that little bit of worry existed. I didn't realize how much I worried that he could need to have additional surgery. I knew it was there but didn't think much of it, back there gnawing away at my stability until I read the text.

I literally can't stop crying from gratitude and relief. I think I might be worse at handling good news than bad news because I literally bawled at this news.

I wrote about his surgery in my book but the story wasn't really over until today. It's over. It's over. It's over.

What freakin' awesome news.

Amid my crying and celebrations, I received 2 additional texts from Rob.
#1 was a picture of the upcoming shows at a theater in Denver. We've been having an ongoing disagreement about whether you can refer to "Bone: Thugs in Harmony" as "Bone Thugs" which I argue is not okay and he says is. And they're coming to DENVER! So there was that picture.
#2 Gomez says his birthday is on the Fourth Bewakens.

So let's all celebrate by listening to bad 90s rap and eating cake. THE FOURTH BEWAKENS & I miss my uncle Charles, ya'll...