Tag: drama

The Facebook of Judges, Mommy Chapter

Photo: KK climbs to the top!

Confession: I can’t kick Facebook.

Even though I generally have more fun with Twitter,  even though FB can be fraught with drama, I can’t give it up. I have a great time wishing people Happy Birthday even if I haven’t seen them since junior high, I like looking at pictures of people’s kids and vacations and proms, I am seriously happy to have reconnected with teachers I’ve had and friends from Saukview School and people we only see occasionally on the road and to keep up with  friends who live far away.

But I hate, hate, HATE FB drama. I hate when people use their status bar as a weapon or a way to vaguely suggest something BIG is going on so everyone will ask WHAT? These things are the sure ways for me to hit that ‘delete’ button.

There’s another button I’ve been using  lot lately, though, and it’s the HIDE. Because I can’t believe some of the things people write… people whom I am certain would not say such things in Real Life. And I am not talking about the ‘drunk’ FBers, the bitter victims of break ups, or the chronic vulgarity-users. I’m talking about The Mommies, including the Good Christian Mommies, who seem to have the market cornered on what is good for EVERYone’s children.

I have always been a firm believer that everyone who seems to have it All Together likely doesn’t. I’ve told people before: I struggle with new mommies who have perfect figures, because mine is far from the less-than-perfect (but looking back  4 years and 25 pounds ago, pretty hot) one that I had pre-pregnancy. I admit, I have not made my shape a priority, though my appearance pretty much grieves me. I’m a hair and make-up girl, I take pride in looking nice, even if I’m going to just be home all day, but if one more person mistakes my Leftovers for another baby on the way, I might be performing lyposuction on myself. I have made many vows to go running, to stop eating junk, blahblahblah, but I haven’t stuck with anything. It’ MY problem, and when I see Beautiful New Mom of Infant who looks like she belongs in Maxim, it’s hard for me not to hate her a little.Furthermore, being around the skinnies makes me feel inferior.There. I said it.

OK. That was a tangent, and not the real issue here. the one I see running rampant among my 700 or so peeps on FB is the judge-y-ness of other people raise their kids. And it irks me to the bone.

When Rod & I got married 7 years ago, I returned to school to finish my teaching degree. It was a grueling process of a few years: I gave up a great job with great benefits, I was gone 4 nights a week for classes, and then there was the 15-week exercise in torture called Student Teaching (all while going through fertility testing, his dad’s long convalescence with Alzheimer’s, and other fun, blended family stuff). I was fortunate to score an immediate full time position… and then 4 months later, my miracle pregnancy stole the spotlight of my new career.

I had always assumed I would be a ‘working mom,’ but pretty much the moment that test shouted YES, I was in tears telling Rod I had no desire to leave my baby with someone else for 8-9 hours a day. I KNOW many moms don’t have a choice in the matter, and I respect that to the utmost, but I was blessed to have a choice. I had Miranda in November 2006, less than one year after earning my hard-won degree…and the way things are going, I’m fairly certain I won’t return to conventional teaching, at least not in the foreseeable future.

Of course I second guessed that decision, particularly in the first months as I still kept in touch with colleagues, as I missed my Career Clothes, as I longed  for  ‘something else’ to do. I tried a number of avenues (& I apologize for my brief MLM craze & thank all those who had parties for me). I never dreamed that by the time Miranda was 2 (& Kaity was still an infant), that I would have a work-at-home business with my husband, equal to a full time job in its hours, but less predictable than any job I’d ever had.

Working at home – and now both of Randa & KK’s parents do – brings with it a different set of boundaries and issues and decisions. Like every other parent, we are never really ‘off,’ but sometimes, we need to work while the kids are awake and there is no sitter. Sometimes I am giving an interview while they are screaming over a toy. Sometimes I am talking to my boss while helping someone potty, and many times while cooking dinner. Sometimes, God help us all, I plant my kids in front of the TV for a movie or two so I can ‘get some stuff done.’ This is often a source of guilt for me, but sometimes there is not a better option, and my Friends, a word I am using more and more carefully, understand.

Because there is a flip side to the chaos that is our work from home/work from the bus life. My kids have traveled extensively in their short lives. They have seen countless concerts, been to many kinds of churches, and made friends of all ages from people in many different regions. They can sing and have a sincere interest in music. They know how to recognize a time of prayer. They know how to adjust their schedules…on the road, they are often up past midnight and sleeping until 10am…and they are in great health.

Our “chaos,” our lack of convention, flexible schedule, incessant movie watching means that we get to be with our kids most of the time. It means we get to take them to work with us. It means we get to do fun things in different places because when we travel for work, we can often build in some fun time. It means, praise God, that after the madness of May & June, we can take most of July off, and likely December too… So the kids are pretty forgiving that during May & June, I don’t bake the bread, the pizza is out of the freezer instead of  from scratch, and a playdate is 60 minutes at the park with a box of crackers instead of 3 hours at our house with a catered-style lunch.

Our “chaos” also means that things like potty training or craft time or a sugarless diet or whatever 21st century American mommies are supposed to do a certain way… doesn’t get done a certain way. And seriously, until you’ve tried keeping a 2 year old dry while schlepping her through the mountains on a 40 foot piece of steel or taking her in and out of 6 meetings in a day, you really can’t know. What I can tell you is that she will be potty trained…we’re not worried. Nor are we worried about the long-term affects on her health if she eats a cookie before lunch or a piece of taffy during a church service to keep her calm/content.

Photo: Randa thrives in spite of processed cheese.

I am not responding to any specific criticisms I’ve received. My mommy friends mostly have lives completely  different than mine, but are fully supportive of each other. We play off one another’s strengths and support each other in our shortcomings. I could not ask for better people to navigate this road alongside me.

And truly, I think much of these FB JUDGMENTS of which I speak are not meant to be so stinking critical. I just wish women would consider how their statements might sound to others. That kid wigging out in the store while your precious one is sitting perfectly still might have a tummy ache, might be a much-tossed-about foster kid, might have been in court that morning, might have a developmental difference, or might, you know, just be having a bad day like everyone else is entitled to do. That mom letting her child eat a TREAT instead of a meal? Perhaps they just came from dropping Daddy at the airport for a long trip, or the dog just went away on a permanent trip. And that kid who has a bottle, a sippy, mom’s milk, a diaper, a paccy, a blankie, co-sleeps, blahblah whatever longer than yours did? Ask yourself: why do you care?

I know there are some less-than-great moms out there and some kids who are just plain unruly. But how could we possibly tell the difference from a brief encounter? How can we possibly know what their lives are like? And really, are Pull-ups or processed American cheese or the occasional popscicle for lunch going to cause our children to drop out of school and develop into societal menaces? Is it going to make us better moms or our children better people if we are measuring our own successes by the “shortcomings” of others?

All we can do is the best we can do… and I think part of that best is choosing to support other moms and kids trying to figure this out instead of letting them know how to do it better/just like we would. Before you hit that ‘submit’ button, consider what others might post in response to seeing one of your challenging mommy moments.

Super KK

Something happened yesterday that rarely happens anymore. Our KK – usually the human equivalent of a superball – was lethargic. When Josh took Miranda on a movie date, Kaity fell asleep on me.

This was a treat, as I am having serious I-miss-having-a-little-snuggly-infant-why-do-they-grow-up-so-quickly-please-can-we-have-just-one-more issues right now. However, by the time she was on her 3rd or 4th snooze, I noticed she was breathing way more rapidly than usual. Also, she wasn’t drinking, and she usually drinks a lot. So, though my children are not allowed to get sick on Tuesdays (when Dr. C is out of the office), I waited until Paige got home from school and off we went to see Dr. K.

KK slept in the waiting room rather than made me chase her. She was given an immediate breathing treatment and rather than outrage her, it put her to sleep. Soon, the doctor returned and gave me That Look, which I was already expecting. She suggested I take Kaity to the ER. Her oxygen level was down and her heart rate was up.

Now seriously, this was the part when I should have wigged. Rod is out of town, for one. Miranda was almost to the week this exact age when she had to go into the hospital for dehydration. And, seriously? (Selfishness alert): I had a fun Wednesday planned.. a day ALONE in the house, BY MYSELF, to work. ALONE in the house.. followed by my BFF’s sister’s (got that?) bachelorette party in the city.. nothing wild, but at the Signature Room. The girls were going to stay the night with Mom & Dad. It was going to be so grand. Especially.. being ALONE in my house.

Anyway, I didn’t wig. I was the picture of calm as I twittered & FB’s to let the world at large know what was happening (AFTER I called Rod & the kids). My phone was so flooded with responses that my battery started to die (fail). By the time I got to the hospital, Mom & Dad were on their way to join me and my brother Jerry & sis-in-law Gina were on their way to the house.

KK was tended to pretty speedily. She felt good enough to totally flirt with Dr. O. (It took me awhile to place him, but he’s the same handsome doc who tended to me during my post-Bahamas throat infection nearly 4 years ago. It required a shot in my then skinny rear and he prescribed Vicodin. I am a fan of Dr. O). ANYway, after he looked her over, she was given a chest X-ray (we pretended it was a photo shoot, complete with the smile-inducing, “Saaaaay, ‘Mickey Mouse!'”). Then she was given a throat culture and two nose cultures (this is when she started to get pi$$ed). Then she started another 45 minute breathing treatment, which was interrupted several times so it probably took 2 hours instead.

Some time in there Dr. B told me that the X-ray showed pneumonia. What?! That is something great-grandmas get, not babies.. They still wanted to test for flu, RSV, UTI, and such and such.

THEN, she had to have an IV put it to administer something-or-other. UGH. I stayed with her for that (when Miranda had to have one last year, they ‘encouraged’ me to let her go with them. Never again. I am a Slayer. I will always stay with them when they need me and deal with whatever fallout occurs).

She recovered from that pretty quickly and started demanding things. She ate part of some crackers before smashing them. She ate part of a sandwich before flinging the mayo package all about. She finally started drinking, but not quickly enough for Nurse Rock (’twas his real name). They wanted to collect urine, and I kept telling them she had not drunk ALL DAY nor had she had a wet diaper – totally alarming for the Princess of the Pee. Right after she FINALLY had a wet diaper, naturally, they fit her with a U-bag, which is basically a baggy that gets taped to her nether parts. Very mean. She hated that, but as with the previous procedures, said a teary and queenly ” ‘HAANK YOU” when it was over.

At this point, Mom and Dad had gone to get Miranda and take her to their house. Jerry & Gina, who bless-her-heart had a migraine, joined me. So unfortunately, they were there when Dr. B (who was great except for this) sent Nurse Rock with the unfortunate news that they needed to catheterize her in order to get a urine test.

I think this picture was before :) That procedure was the worst, absolutely, compounded by the tape having to be removed from her nethers to remove the bag AND it took 2 or 3 tries. Poor, poor baby. Auntie & Uncle took it almost as hard as she did. She still, though  her tears of protest, agreed to accept a coloring book as at least a partial token of reconciliation from Nurse Rock and Other Nurse Guy.

She spent the next 30 minutes coloring, jumping on the bed, and mouthing off. We were then told it was ‘just’ the pneumonia, all the other tests were clear, and she was given a perscription, told to drink and rest, and sent home.

She charmed everyone in the ER she hadn’t yet met on the way out.

Upon arrival at home, she played with a toy she and Miranda had been fighting over earlier in the day. AND, she asked for a movie (denied).

She went to bed and slept all night, in spite of noisy wind.

Today, she is rambunctious, temperamental, recounting her various ‘owies,’ (the IV spot is saaaad), and more amazing to me than ever.

My dad and I took her and Miranda in to see Dr. C, follow up for KK and preventative for Miranda, who has been coughing.

**Dr. C, I must add, is the best ped in the whole wide world. He even cleaned up the floor after the great Capri Sun Explosion of 2009. (see below: they threw themselves a picnic in the exam room..)

Clearly, they are both fine. Other than the excessiveness of the cath, the doctor whom I know and trust was pleased with KK’s treatment and agreed with the diagnosis. Says I should just keep an eye on Miranda.

Sigh. That means I have to keep my eyes open. I’m starting to feel a little weary.

Rod will be back tomorrow and though we have a few engagements this weekend, we’re home.

Yay for home. (And health insurance).

happier & higher (that should catch your attention)

“…a constant commerical for happiness.”

That’s me. My friend Renee says it, and she knows. She has known me for (ahem) 27 years, through innocent, shameful, wonderful pieces of my life.

Because of friends like her, I know it’s ok to be happy, that I don’t have to look over my shoulder all the time wondering who resents my happiness, who slanders it, who would like to take it away.

Last week will probably stick out as a bit legendary in the timeline of my life. I mean, it’s not all the time one falls all the way down in the Walgreens parking lot… um… and all. In my reflective/obsessive way, I have turned it over and over in my mind and heart and dreams, and I need to be done.

There were some good times back then, there are some great ones ahead. A few people left me, but many have stayed and more have come.

I laughed out loud when we sang this in church yesterday; I can’t remember the last time I even heard it. I was thinking all last week how the high road, frankly, sucks sometimes. And even that childish, indulgent thought was heard by God… and He sent me this response:

I’m pressing on the upward way,
New heights I’m gaining every day;
Still praying as I’m onward bound,
“Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.”

My heart has no desire to stay
Where doubts arise and fears dismay;

Though some may dwell where those abound,
My prayer, my aim, is higher ground.

I want to live above the world,
Though Satan’s darts at me are hurled;
For faith has caught the joyful sound,
The song of saints on higher ground.

I want to scale the utmost height
And catch a gleam of glory bright;
But still I’ll pray till heav’n I’ve found,
“Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.”

Lord, lift me up and let me stand,
By faith, on Heaven’s tableland,
A higher plane than I have found;
Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.
– Words by Johnson Oatman, Jr.

High hopes

‘In a manner of speaking, Sir,  it was the kite that ran away, not the children.’

– the driver(?) in Mary Poppins
I don’t know why this quote struck me… maybe because I think it’s ok to make excuses for kids sometimes, but maybe not so much for everyone else!

9:53 am

I am holding both the babies. Kaity threw up all yesterday evening and all this morning, but thankfully slept through the night. Miranda is much better but not quite herself. It’s almost the end of Sleeping Beauty and my true favorite moment of the film: the first time ‘grown-up Aurora’ hugs her mother. So precious. Naturally, that and the fact that in seven minutes my Papa’s funeral will be started and I am not there nor welcome there is weighing heavily on me. I am grateful when Miranda rises from the couch in her frilly nightgown to dance for me to ‘Once Upon a Dream.’ I am also grateful that Kaity is extra snuggly, although it’s for a nasty reason.

I had such high hopes. There were high hopes for this week after being gone… ‘getting things done,’ catching up with people. There were high hopes for this weekend… an anniversary date tonight, a fun ‘just the 6 of us’ date tomorrow night. It’s the flu that has zapped those hopes, but I don’t know how much of a mood I am in for dates anyway.

Three years ago I had really high hopes, too. I had hopes that the grandparents who came to my brother’s wedding and were kind to me and my husband would finally allow the walls between us to come down. It was clear pretty quickly that the guardians around those walls would not allow it.

But, thanks again Lord, because that’s also the time my 6zillionth hopes of being pregnant started, and they were so, so met…

Anyway, now we’re on to Mary Poppins. She (well, Ms. Julie Andrews) really is so pretty; I don’t just say that to agree with Miranda. She also has one of my favorite voices. It’s so clear and soothing. It makes having to see the movie more often than I’d like more tolerable…  It’s really too bad about the whole 3rd act, also too bad about date night, overnight, playdate, store, bagels, cleaning, flyer order,  stop at Central, working out, phone calls, wash, those poor people in Lousiana losing their homes again, sick grandparents, sick babies, broken plans. Maybe I’m supposed to be using this time for reflection,but I’d rather keep some thoughts far.

My later in the day thoughts are a little brighter.  That doesn’t mean I didn’t include in some ‘but VENGEANCE should be MINE’ kind of moments, or cry a little more to Faith Hill’s “You’re Still Here” (‘I can see you in my baby’s eyes, and I laugh and cry).. But I took Kaykay to the doctor, and she was fine (in manner of not being dehydrated and no longer vomiting; still feverish and lethargic, but we can deal with that). While we were gone, Rod took Miranda to fly her kite for the first time. Then I ate some Burger King comfort food (note: two tacos, 6-piece cheesy tots, and if Randy happens to read this, yes, that’s ‘all I do’ and hence why I still have 20 ‘baby pounds’ to lose) and brought Randa to my parents’ house for the night… partly because that was the ‘plan’ and partly because there is no better symbol of hope than a child, and Mom needs some.

So many things have happened lately to deeply and kind of drastically change my perspective. I don’t mean to be blunt, but isn’t it better that old people die than young? Isn’t it better for my kids to have the flu than to have cancer or be in some awful accident? No, I am not being Pollyanna looking for fake silver linings, but seriously… since things can be worse, I am just pausing to be grateful that they are not.

Kaity is better, sleeping. After she goes to bed for the night, Paige will stay will her and Rod & I will enjoy a very modified version of our date. On a rainy Friday six years ago, we were married in a small office with just Josh, Paige, my parents, and Renee & Matt present. We ate at Aurelio’s, Josh had a friend over, we watched Lilo and Stitch with Paige, and the next day I went scrapbooking. Why should the random 6th anniversary be any less chaotic or any more traditional? But August 8th – the anniversay of our wedding – is coming, so I’ll hold out some high hopes for that.

And on one last note, Deuteronomy 32:35, because if not, I’m going to sin. Big.