Thursday, June 29, 2006


What? a yoga mat – in particular, a black yoga mat

Where? Last seen during a yoga practice which was taking place on said mat.

May have fallen out of owner’s car, but really, the thing weighs 6.5 pounds, I probably would have noticed that. OR May have been left at the studio – in which case, there is a thieving yogi that I’m now out for.

When? Probably on Tuesday of last week since I don’t remember having it after that. Saturday, when I showed up for practice, it was gone. Some of you dedicated yogis or other similarly obsessed exercisers might be doing the mental math right now and realizing that this means that I hadn’t practiced for THREE DAYS STRAIGHT, but you’re probably one of those mat-stealing types, so me and my flabby thighs are not concerned with your judgment. (Well, the flabby thighs might be a little concerned, but my intellect and a peanut buster parfait will soon overrule them).

How? That’s what I really can’t figure out. How could I misplace or mislay a big, black, bulky mat – one that won’t fit in a typical yoga bag or roll up neatly due to its gargantuan size? I have carried that stupid mat with me for five years. Is my mama brain now so fried that I’d just forget where I put it? I mean, I’ve had that mat longer than I’ve had my child. The implications for my parenting aren’t good on this one.

So, if you have any ideas where I could have put my mat – or any yogis you’d like to accuse of theft - drop me a comment. Or if you just want to commiserate and let me know the dumbest thing you’ve ever lost, I’d take that, too.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Unintentional Benefits

I know that there are all sorts of debates in the media, on blogs, and in chat rooms about the perils and evils of daycare for children. I, myself, rarely read such articles and arguments, mostly because I figure that I’m doing the best I can. My friends are doing the best they can, most mamas are doing the best they can, and it’s all just a smokescreen to keep us all from discussing the fact that almost ½ million kids in Ohio are hungry or at-risk for hunger every day. (I swear, this fact is just really bothering me today. Babies being hungry - I really don’t know what to do with that. I mean besides give money and food to the local food pantries. That I can do).

So the point of this particular post is not to convince anyone that childcare is either good or bad. Rather, I wanted to share a particularly pleasant unintended consequence of having Zane in childcare.

As I’ve never mentioned Zane’s caregivers before, I should probably give a little information about them. Not the identify-them-so-you-could -figure-out-where-my-child-spends-his-Tuesdays- Wednesdays-and-Thursdays type of information, but just a brief introduction. For the three days a week that I work, Zane stays with friends of our family. They are a retired couple who will never have grandchildren – much to their chagrin, and we’ve known them for almost 20 years. Zane calls them “grandpa” and “grandma” and practically sprints out of the car in the mornings to get into their arms.

They don’t watch any other kids, so Zane is the focus of all of their attention and affection for three days straight. Sometimes I’m surprised he’s willing to come home with SRH when he picks him up. In fact, I’m sure he’s only willing to come back to our house because of the train table.

So back to the unintentional, but very wonderful, outcome of my child being in someone else’s care for 24 hours per week: I have a very polite child. And it’s not my doing. Oh sure, we say "Please" and "Thank You" on a regular basis, but my kid is really polite. He’s as polite as those dear folks who watch him for us.

Zane’s been saying "Please" on a regular basis since he was 18 months old. This might not sound like a remarkable achievement, but Zane only spoke about 15 words at 18 months old. (Zane is unofficially a “late talker” – a fact that freaked out my mom for months, but I’ve never been too concerned about).

And Zane never says, "Thank You". Oh, no. "Thank You" is for those impolite clods who do not know how to express proper appreciation for the good deeds of others. Zane says, Thank you sooooo much. People, especially waiters and waitresses, invariably respond with You’re welcome soooo much and then dote on him and bring him extra goodies.

I’m thinking about Zane’s particular brand of politeness today because the following happened at the dinner table this evening:

Zane spilled some juice. Well, okay, he spit some juice on the table.

Me: Zaney, you need to wipe that juice up. It’s not okay to spit your juice on the table. We keep juice in our mouth.

Zane: (Still deciding whether he’s going to keep on spitting out the remaining juice and risk the wrath of mama, grudgingly says)

Okay, mama.

(Zane takes the paper towel and starts wiping up the juice).

Me: Thank you, buddy. That’s a very good boy cleaning up the mess he made. Thanks so much.

(Because now he has me thinking that thanking someone “so much” is the only way to adequately express gratitude).

Zane: You’re quite welcome.

I am “quite welcome”? Where did he get that? Not at our house, I can tell you. SRH and I looked at each other and just marveled at our polite little toddler who didn’t learn those fancy, mannered words at our house.

The world's most polite child!

Turns out, having your kid in childcare can be a little like having someone else raise your child – if you’re lucky. We’re going to get grandma and grandpa to tackle potty training next.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Victory Will Be Mine

Lest I begin to forget that I parent a child with multiple health issues, something always happens to bring me back to reality. Before I can say, Summer is Zane’s best season, we have another trip to the ER (see Chicago Trip 3 weeks ago) or a birthday party that I forgot to make allergen-free cupcakes for. (Cripes, you’d think that I’d just make another batch and freeze them like I did for the first 8 birthday parties, but somehow I’ve neglected to do this).

Not to complain. Summer is Zane’s best season. We haven’t needed to use any rescue asthma medications for him since we returned from Chicago. That means that we’ve only had to do the two “pulmicort-foradil cocktail” breathing treatments a day with two oral medications for a chaser. We’ve been down to using just four different medicines a day for weeks now.

And, really, the food allergy stuff is now a way of life for the most part for us. We do most of our adjustments without thinking. Somehow, though, this relatively hassle-free life has lulled me into forgetting just a little bit that our child is not “typical”.

Two things have happened this week to remind me that, hey, I better get my lackadaisical stuff together and step up to the parenting plate.

  1. I attended a meeting for parents of children with food allergies.
  2. The rash on Zane's face continues unabated, and I'm starting to feel like it's looking at me accusingly.

First, THE MEETING. This group was started about five months ago by a mama whose child has a life-threatening peanut allergy. I went to the first meeting, got freaked out, and didn’t return until this month. At the initial meeting, there were about 23 parents in the room who talked about their kids’ anaphylactic reactions. Well, at our house we were in full asthma season at that time (September through April when I live in a constant state of anxiety and hypervigilance), and I just couldn’t handle any new worst-case scenario images in my head. Also, most of the discussion focused on one allergen (peanuts), and Zane’s got four allergies (including peanuts), three sensitivities, and severe asthma. It was all just a little overwhelming.

But I went back this week, and it was a very pleasant experience. It didn’t feel like a life-or-death-if-you-don’t-have-the-right-information kind of meeting. Zane’s list of allergies was still longer than most other folks in the room, but I got some good information – i.e. Benadryl Fast-Melts in cherry flavor have soy protein in them. (As an aside: How can a medication which is the #1 medication used to treat allergic reactions contain one of the eight major allergens? It just seems to make no sense to me).

Anyway, hearing what other mamas are doing just reminded me that I need to keep up with all the precautions we take.

And then, should I still forget, there’s THE RASH. Zane has had an eczema-type rash on his face around his mouth for the past several weeks. Let me just confess, I completely know what started the rash - dairy. In the space of 24 hours, I let him eat McDonald’s Satan Fries and some popcorn – which I knew had butter on it - at a friend’s house. This is where the whole “lulled into a false sense of security” comes back to bite the junk in my trunk.

As for the Satan Fries, we hadn’t had them in a really long time, and I just thought, Well, he can have them today. He does so love them. I’ll give him benadryl later and make sure he doesn’t have any more in the near future. Which might have been okay. But then the next day we went to a friend’s house, and I let him have the popcorn. Again, I just thought, Oh my gosh. He just wants to eat what the other kids are having. He always has to have a separate snack. I just want him to be normal. And I let him eat the popcorn.

Well, wanting my kid to be normal led to diarrhea 20 minutes later and difficulty sleeping for the next two days, and – oh yeah – a wicked face rash.

So the dairy exposure started the face rash, but the question for me now is: What is making it continue?

Could it just a particularly recalcitrant eczema episode? Could it be exposure to another allergen? But that would mean either he’s been exposed to something I don’t know about or he’s developed a new sensitivity/allergy. Okay, both of the last two scenarios freak me out.

Could it be an environmental allergy or a virus in his system that is triggering eczema? Could it be a yeast infection on his face (caused by the breathing treatments) that I am mistaking for eczema? Could it be a reaction to the sunscreen we’ve been using?

So basically, after about three weeks off the vigilance, I am back to it full-tilt.

It’s me against THE RASH, and I swear I will be victorious.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Zany Mama Hypothesis 1: Me = Not Cool

Last night, Zinger Zapper and I went to an Ani DiFranco concert. It was, of course, phenomenally fabulous and energizing. It was also a confirmation of my lack of coolness, my uncoolability, if you will. If cool were on a scale of 1-10 with 10 being Ms. DiFranco herself and 1 being seriously uncool, let’s just say that I’m moving below a 5.

Case in point, I seriously considered not attending the concert that I paid $40 bucks for, not because we are so flush with money, but because it was raining. Okay, it wasn’t just raining. There was a severe thunderstorm warning with a chance of hail and high wind speeds. So, some might argue that my reluctance was understandable and rational. My point is this: at age 20, I would have been all about the concert – whether it was raining, snowing, hailing, sleeting, or a tornado had been spotted in the area.

Once we finally got there – after waiting in our car until the line started to move, because apparently we aren’t fans enough to brave the weather for 20 minutes longer than we had to – we ran into some folks we knew who had spots in the “pit” area right in front of the stage. They invited us to join them, which we did, but I soon found myself thinking, Man, I am just too short for this. Being eight people back from the stage sounds great in theory, but if even one of those people tops 5’5” – which several did – it’s going to be a concert spent on tiptoe with a crick in my neck as I try to see what’s going on.

Again, these are not the thoughts of a hip person. One baby ago, I probably would have found the cutest bystander and made them put me on their shoulders. Instead Zinger Zapper – who on a good day reaches 5’ 2 ¾”, typically because her shoe has a little heel - and I stood looking at the backs of peoples’ necks for about 15 minutes before deciding that we’d had enough. We decided to watch from the decidedly less-cool lawn where we had a clear view.

And this is where I confess what is, perhaps, my uncoolest thought all night. I looked at my watch at 9pm - still waiting for Ani to come onstage, and I thought, Oh my gosh, if I went home now, the baby would be asleep and I could just relax for a little bit and then get to bed at a decent hour.

Now, I love Ani DiFranco. Have attended her past 5 concerts in the area. Listen to her on an almost-daily basis. Think her live shows can be life-changing experiences, and there I was, thinking about going home and going to bed.

Zinger Zapper and I finally found a great spot on the lawn, where we could people watch until the concert started. I had to laugh at myself as I looked at the trendy clothes and all the butt-cracks which were exposed due to super low-rise jeans. Needless to say, when I looked down at my yoga pants and t-shirt, I thought, You know, I should probably go shopping a little more often.

From time to time, I had to sit down to rest my back and hips. Which, of course, was due to injuries sustained during Zane's birth, but really, again with the not cool.

And while I had a great time once Ani came out, I did have fleetingly un-hip thoughts like, Oh Geez Louise, does that lady have to smoke right beside my face. - and - Stop talking – I’m trying to hear the music!

So, I’m not cool. That’s okay by me. I am also not cute – right now I’m working the geek chic angle. I can also tend toward the neurotic at times – especially when my house is on the market.

Perhaps the best thing about being in my 30’s is that I can totally embrace “not cool” and all the other labels that I might have shied away from in my 20’s. There are some real benefits to getting older.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Birthday Wishes

Today is SRH’s 32nd birthday. Birthdays are typically times of celebration, but at our house, it’s a wee bit more complicated than that. But really, it’s not my story so I won’t tell it here, but if you are interested, you can read it here – from the horse’s mouth, so to speak.

So, instead of wishing SRH a happy birthday – which I know he won’t really have anyway – I thought I’d just share some of my wishes for him in the upcoming year.

(Drum roll please)


(Which is actually his 33rd year since ages 0-1 do count as a year, but you see where I’m going with this.)

I wish for you…

  • Creativity and fulfillment in all that you do
  • A happy and healthy son – since this is a long shot, I mean who would be happy with us as parents and his health being what it is, how about I wish you 1/3 less hospital visits for Zane in the upcoming year? That just may be doable.
  • A good night’s sleep
  • Friendships with other guys who like soccer (not that you don’t count, ACW)
  • A healthy set of teeth - because who wants to make extra trips to the dentist and plus, those trips are expensive
  • Knowledge of your genetic history and the ability to blackmail your parents with this information
  • Occasions to wear your kilt – besides at your next wedding
  • A new house – oh please, oh please, let our house sell
  • A trip to someplace beautiful
  • Wealth, Cash, Moola – It’s just a wish. It doesn’t have to be realistic.
  • Much love and affection – Zane and I are already on this one, but we’re only two small people. Oh sure, there’s my mom and your family, but I want even more for you.

And just so we’re clear on this day when you came into the world, I adore you. For me there is You. Only You. Always You.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Bad Mood

Some days you just wake up in a bad mood. Today was one of those days for me. I knew it as soon as I woke up. First off, I just could not get up. I’d had enough sleep. I’d even slept fairly well, but I was wholly unwilling to move from my position on the bed. Zane was crawling all over me (Yes, yes, we co-sleep. Feel free to judge me). He was grabbing my face, kicking me in my soft, soft tummy, and demanding kisses on his pacifier (Yes, yes, he still uses a pacifier at night. Please, judge me again).

Anyway, I eventually got my lazy self downstairs, and I finally figured out I was in a bad mood and not just tired, when I got irritated because Zane wanted a second piece of toast. What? You think you should have more than one measly piece of toast for breakfast. Kid, you are entitled.

Yep, that’s when I knew we were on for a bad mood kind of day.

For a while, I tried to figure out why I was in the bad mood. The answer I came up with: No reason. None at all. Yesterday, Father’s Day, had been nice. We went for a hike in the morning and my mom made one of Scott’s favorite dinners in the evening. Of course, we did have an Open House again yesterday and two showings on Saturday, but I think that has made me weary, not moody.

So, I gave up trying to figure out why I was irritable and just decided to go with it. A bad mood day is not the worse thing to happen to someone. Surprisingly, I think I was pretty much able to keep it from affecting my interactions with Zane. (I mean, I did get him the second piece of toast!), but I decided it was probably best not to inflict my mood upon others.

Therefore, to take care of myself and to protect others, I decided on the following actions today:

  • See or speak to no one except for Zane, SRH, and my mom – all of these folks are pretty much integral to my day, so there’s no getting away from that.
  • Do not go to my work email account. I may say something I regret to someone important (i.e. someone who can affect my paycheck).
  • Let Zane watch as many train videos as he wanted today. It makes him happy. That makes me happy. We can get over the limited TV rule today.
  • Make myself some cookies.

So there I was, all hunkered in my house happily grouching the day away, when who should call but Zinger Zapper? I decided to answer the phone because I’d just gotten an irritating email (That’s probably an unfair characterization of the email. It’s probably fairer to say that I, in my craptastic mood, received an email, which, unsurprisingly, irritated me.), and I knew she’d commiserate.

So after hearing me gripe for about 15 minutes, Zinger Zapper worked her make-me-feel-better magic (This mainly consisted of, You are so right, Zany Mama. You are a great person. You are a goddess. I’m so glad we’re friends.). I did actually start to feel better. No one was more surprised than me.

Then, my friend Tonia came over for a late lunch. And after hearing me complain for about an hour, she worked her make-me-feel-even-better magic. (Which unsurprisingly consisted of, You are so right, Zany Mama. You are a great person. You are a goddess. I’m so glad we’re friends.) Doggone it, but I was feeling down right good at this point!

I made some cookies while Tonia was over, we both a bunch of them, and I was a new woman by the time that Zane woke up from his nap.

So I guess the moral of my day is that wonderful, supportive women friends and some cookies can make even the grouchiest day better.

Thank you Zinger Zapper, Tonia, and all of my other fabulous female friends. I probably don’t tell you often enough how much you mean to me.

Oh, and thanks to Martha Stewart for the fabulous apricot-almond oatmeal cookie recipe.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Nagging Will Get You Nowhere

One of my old bosses told me that once Zane got to be around three years old, SRH and I would start wanting to have another baby. She said it never fails, when the first born hits three, the uterus starts aching. Interestingly enough, she had only one child, and she was completely wrong about my uterus. Apparently, it’s Zane’s uterus – although I wasn’t aware that little boys had one - that is longing for a baby at our house.

A few weeks ago, Zane became fascinated with Baby Sophie on Playhouse Disney’s “Go Baby.” I know. I know. “Go Baby” is singularly annoying and a little creepy, but, really, we’re just so thrilled that the main character is a Black child, that we’ll watch it as many times as Zane wants to. And my boy wants to watch it – A LOT - especially since they have added the character of Baby Sophie.

Baby Sophie comes on the screen and – oh sure, she’s cute and all, but – our child is glued to the set and starts to croon , Baby Sophie. Baby Sophie. Baby Sophie. Over and over and over again. Usually he has to say goodbye to Baby Sophie when the show ends. Sometimes he talks to Baby Sophie as he leaves the television and goes to play trains. Bye, bye Baby Sophie. Zane go play trains now. Bye Sophie. See you later Sophie… You get my drift.

In addition, Zane points out every baby every where we go. He talks about the fact that there is a baby, what the baby is doing, and what the baby is feeling. He’s like a sports commentator giving a play by play, Mama, baby crying. Mama, baby laughing. Mama, baby running. Mama, baby swinging.

And then yesterday Playhouse Disney dealt us a double-whammy. Go Baby was on followed by back to back episodes of HigglyTown Heroes, featuring guest star Baby Pookie. All of which is fine, sure, except that Zane insisted that I watch both episodes without doing anything else – and really, I did need to get to work. Uncaring about my plight, Zane insisted on commenting non-stop about the baby, and then talked about the sad/laughing/walking/screaming baby all the way to childcare. And, of course, he needed validation from me each and every time he mentioned the baby.

At some point, his commenting on all things baby has started to sound (in my head at least) like an imperative – a demand, if you will, Mama, give me a baby. Mama, Zane want a baby. Mama, baby, baby, baby.

And here’s the response in my head, which I have not given out loud (as yet), Okay, okay Zane. I know you like babies. We all like babies. I heard you. Your papa heard you. The whole neighborhood is probably, right now, wondering why we don’t give you a baby to love. I know you’d probably thrive with another little child in our house, but you know what? Just because you want something, doesn’t mean it’s going to happen, and anyway, You are not the boss of me!

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

The Right Answer

I have recently started practicing at a new yoga studio – which is a long, yucky story, which I’m sure I’ll share at some point – and as I’m getting to know folks there, I am often asked the question, “So, how long have you been doing yoga?”

I think this is a reasonable question, but I tend to have a terrible time answering it. I think it’s because people want “the short answer”, and I am fairly reluctant to give it. But okay, here it is:

The Short Answer: 6 ½ years.

The Not-So-Short Answer: I’ve been practicing for over six years, but I took a long break when I had my son, so I’ve really been back to practicing for about 6 months.

The-Not-Short-At-All-Answer: Well, I started practicing about 6 ½ years ago, and for about three years, I practiced regularly. Then, I went through yoga teacher training and really developed a consistent, six-day-a-week practice. I was feeling great about my body and my practice, and then I got knocked up.

So during my first trimester, I didn’t practice at all. In fact, I could barely walk across a room without needing a nap. But I practiced during my second trimester…and then not so much in my third. You know how it goes, no one wants to bend and twist with 35 extra pounds hanging out around the midriff.

Well, then my labor was horrific – which, again, is a story for another day – and I couldn’t walk for a while. No really, I couldn’t walk. Came-home-with-a-walker, not-allowed-to-be-alone-with-my-baby-in-
case-there-was-a-fire-because-I-wouldn’t-be-able-to-get-us-out couldn’t walk. So it took some time to heal from that - about 2 ½ years.

Then, I finally got some relief for the chronic back and hip pain caused by the labor and delivery, although I do still have the arthritis, but there doesn’t seem to be anything much to be done about the separation in my pubic symphysis – another labor injury.

To explain, the pubic symphysis is the joint between the pubic bones in the front of the pelvis. (For a visual, and a strange comparison to rat anatomy, click here). Apparently, my particular symphysis was stretched all out of whack resulting in the bones separating from each other on a more permanent basis.

From ivillage, “Pubic symphysis separation is a
recognized complication of pregnancy with incidence
estimates ranging from one in 300 to one in 30,000
(lucky me)
. Characteristic symptoms of symphyseal
separation include suprapubic pain and tenderness
with radiation to the back of legs (it hurts), difficulty
ambulating (can’t move much) and, occasionally,
bladder dysfunction (incontinence).

Well, check, check, and check for me on those – especially during the first few weeks postpartum. The incontinence thing has, fortunately, resolved.

So, what that means now is that where my pelvic bones come together in the front of my body – my crotch – is structurally unstable and a wee bit hurty. You might guess that this can be quite distressing during a yoga class where many times the goal is to stretch your legs as far apart as possible. But really, it’s the poses that require that you shift your hips from facing forward to opening up to the side (shifting from Warrior A to Warrior B, for example) that make me want to scream, Cheese and Rice, Can We Stop This Torture Now?

But it’s getting better every day, I suppose. I think perhaps the worst part is that when something on one’s body hurts and feels loose or unstable, one’s natural inclination is to hold it – both to stop the pain and to “shore it up” so to speak. Unfortunately, folks tend to look at me funny when I grab my crotch in public, no matter how fervently I explain it’s a legitimate injury.

Oh…sorry…right…you just wanted to know how long I’ve been practicing, and here I’ve been talking all about my hoo-ha and my need to hold it in public.

So, anyway, the short answer is 6 ½ years.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Odds and Ends

It’s pretty low key around Casa de RH today as we are all exhausted and unwilling to leave the house because we were barely able to be at our house this weekend as we had six showings on Saturday and an Open House and another showing on Sunday. Apparently we all like the house that we are trying to sell – SRH slept in late and drug his feet this morning before finally going to work, Zane and I joined SRH in sleeping in late and didn’t change out of our pajamas until late morning, and it doesn’t look like we’re leaving this place for the rest of the day.

That’s great for me, but doesn’t give rise to much blog fodder. So today, I’ll just chat about “bits and pieces”.

The Art of Positive Parenting

Because I believe that parenting is a careful balance between exerting enough control and influence that your children don’t grow up to be sub-functioning people who eat cheese and wear boots on their heads and letting them be the natural little heathens that they are, I am constantly asking myself whether my rules are arbitrary (i.e. good for me) or rational (i.e. good for Zane and me). As you might guess, the pendulum swings back and forth on this one, and I’m never quite sure that I have it right.

My friend B.Q. teaches parenting and is raising a “spirited” child, and she gave me a tip once. (Actually she’s given me a million tips. She is one of those mamas who is always prepared. It makes one feel a little inadequate sometimes, but then, you’re just glad she’s around to help your sorry behind out or you’d really mess up this parenting thing.)

Anyway, B.Q. sometimes let’s her little girl be the “boss” for a while. It is fun for her daughter and gives her back a little control so that when B.Q. does set limits, her daughter is more likely to listen. (As an aside, I’m completely sure that toddlers feel like their lives are ruled by crazy, conformity-at-all-costs big people who are just trying to kill their buzz.)

So this morning, Zane got to set the rules at tooth brushing time. This was his vision: His entire family (SRH, me, and Zane) sitting on the edge of a bathtub in a row and brushing our teeth while singing the “Brush, Brush, Bree” song by Bear and the Big Blue House.

I had some trouble getting the vision at first, so Zane had to bodily push me onto the rim of the tub while saying “mama chair” and then had to stop mid-singing because Papa wasn’t bopping his head with the music in the right way. It ended with much giggling and smiling by Z and since we were alone in the house, no real lasting damage to our dignity, so I guess we struck a balance this morning.

Preschool is My Nemesis

I found out last week that Zane probably wouldn’t get into the preschool of our choice – the university-sponsored preschool where I work – and I panicked. Really, I am not one to obsess about curricula or philosophy, I was just counting on that particular preschool because, being publicly funded, they are unable to turn down my child for admittance based on his health issues. With his multiple food allergies and severe asthma, he’s not an ideal child to take responsibility for, and I have heard many horror stories about kids being kicked out or denied entrance to childcare because of similar concerns. So, because I was mortally afraid that someone would turn down my perfect angel, I chose the path of avoidance and only applied to one other school in our area because I heard that they are good with food allergic kids.

Lucky for us, the school called this morning, and Zane has been admitted. Yea! I talked with the director briefly, and she seemed totally fine with what I have planned to address his health needs. Double yea! I swear, I almost cried when she told me that he’d been admitted.

Fighting the Mormons

Okay, this is a story from one of my friends, but I just had to link to it, because it cracks me up (here). I think every mama has had a day when they are so “over it”, and then to be accosted by teenage evangelizers…, I had more to say today than I thought.

Friday, June 09, 2006


I’ve been thinking about relationships lately. I mean intimate relationships, not the relationship with my mother, or my friends, or the postman (which is NOT intimate, no matter what lies he spreads) or even the one I have with my child.

I’m talking about those relationships that show you the best – and worst – of who you are. The relationship with your beloved. Call them your partner, spouse, ball and chain, significant other, life mate, or your love monkey. Whatever you call them, the person with whom you wake up every morning and have no plans of ever being away from.

In my world, I call that person my soul mate. I know this term is a bit over-the-top and romantically idealistic, but it’s a term that I do use when I think about my relationship with SRH. To be clear, I do not mean soul mate in the way of “kismet souls who are yearning for each other and are only complete when they are finally, inevitably in a sacred union”. I tend to be a little more pragmatic than that.

No, when I talk about soul mates, I tend to think of folks who have shown each other their very souls – the good, bad, and ugly – and have accepted that other soul and decided to love it in all it’s complexity – both the obvious and the hidden aspects. I think that SRH and I have that with each other.

I routinely admit to him my most base, unattractive attitudes and thoughts (i.e. I do NOT think that all babies are cute. Sometimes I think that they are so ugly that I shudder inside and feel a little bad for their parents), and he tends to just take it stride. SRH also attended to me at my physically weakest – incontinent and unable to walk after my labor with Zane – and never batted an eye. Perhaps, he gets the willies on the inside, but he never outwardly tells me what a freak I am.

In turn, I do not hold it against him that I have never been able to touch the bottom of his belly button – it’s scary down there! – or the fact that he has the social consciousness of a flea. (Which isn’t actually true anymore, but it was an accurate description when I met him at 20 years old).

Anyway, we love and accept each other’s souls – physically, psychologically, emotionally, and spiritually. Blah, blah, blah. But what we do not agree on is the way of talking about our relationship.

For example, SRH would never in a million years call me his soul mate. He does not believe that we are destined to be together or that any force of the universe brought us together. In his eyes, we’re two compatible people who work very hard to make our relationship work.

While the latter is, indeed, true, I still use the term soul mate. I don’t know that I think that Destiny brought us together, but I don’t want to piss her off by denying the possibility. I agree that hard work and commitment keep us together, but I think it’s pretty fortuitous that we found each other in the first place.

So imagine my surprise a few weeks ago, when SRH and I had the following conversation:

SRH: Well, I mean, we were meant to be together.

(There’s a pause here as I close my mouth which is gaping open and formulate my next, very careful response. I don’t want to scare him off here.)

ME: Huh? You think we’re meant to be together?

(Graceful, Zany Mama. SRH looks a little startled but then quickly regains his equilibrium).

SRH: Well, yeah. I mean, as much as I believe any of that happy horseshit.

Ah, love.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

All is Vanity

I know that I said I was going to blog more about conversations we should have had pre-Chicago (see last blog), but, really, thinking of what a craptastic time we had there is just a bit depressing. Perhaps it’s because the lesson of our trip may be that we should never go anyplace at anytime. Plus, SRH is blogging about it all week, so you can get his take on it here.

As an aside, I find it really quite interesting that one could read my blog and SRH’s blog and never guess that we have been together for 11 years, own a home together, and are attempting to raise a child together. I mean, we really do see each other every day and share the same existence, but for the most part, our blogs could be written by complete strangers. This week, however, the blogs felt a little duplicatory (Did I make up a word there?)… so I’m moving on.

So I’m going to let you in on my latest obsessive/neurotic issue. It’s a small one, but I’ll try to be as honest and forthright in my weirdness as I possibly can be. I will not, however, be “naked blogging” – where I share my every thought, feeling, and insight as if I was writing in a private journal. I have a journal, and SRH has agreed to burn it should something happen to me. Plus, I’ve read some of those naked blogs, and far be it from me to criticize, but I’m just not comfortable listening in on someone’s innermost thoughts and feelings – reason #92 why being a therapist was not such a good career for me.

Anyway, I decided that I wanted to put a picture of Zane and me on the blog. As with many ideas that I get in my head, I wouldn’t leave SRH alone until he made it happen. I made him sift through all the Chicago pictures until we found 3 that I didn’t HATE. (I do tend to really hate pics of myself as I am extremely un-photogenic. It’s true. I tend to look way better in real life than in pics. Ani DiFranco says she doesn’t take good pictures because she has the kind of beauty that moves. Indeed. I’d like to believe the same is true for me, but really it’s just that I do not photograph well. I figure that this is better than the opposite where you are very photogenic but skank it up in real life).

So here are the three pics I was deciding between, accompanied by the inane mind chatter that I was experiencing as I was trying to decide which one to post. Remember, I’m trying to be honest here. The inner dialogue ain’t pretty.

Photo 1

Well, this one’s okay. We both look happy. (Me - because he’s finally stopped yelling TRAIN! TRAIN! Zane - because, well, there’s a train). I look relatively thin, but I so hate the way my eyes squint up when I smile. Whoa, Zane’s hair is a little wonky. My hair’s okay, though. We might keep that one.

Photo 2

Okay, I like how I look in this one, but Zane not being in the pic might be problematic. I really look like my dad in this one, I think. He’s an attractive man, but not so much as a woman. Also, Zane really should be in the picture – never mind that .5 seconds before the picture was taken he was standing there with me. Then, well, train came by, and he was off like a shot. So now I just kind of look like a crazy, hunched over mama who is hiding behind a planter from the police. Maybe not this one.

Photo 3

Okay, Z and I are together in this one. Metaphorically, what mama doesn’t feel like they are carrying their children with them at all times– good symbolism. Okay, so the sunlight on my nose does make it rather prominent, but hey, sometimes you just have to admit that you roll a little large in the proboscis. Smiling – good. This could be it.

Perhaps you have noticed that I don’t mention much how Zane looks. It’s all about my appearance. Perhaps this is because I think he looks amazing at all times – even with wonky hair. Or maybe I’m just incredibly narcissistic and shallow.

Either way, I picked photo 1, but after all my obsessing and self-criticism, photo 1 didn’t look very good as an itty bitty “about me” picture. So we put up photo 3, but I’m going to call it a work in progress. I’m now on a quest to find a decently flattering picture of me with my child. This could take a while.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Back from Chicago

There are a few conversations SRH and I could have had before Chicago that might have made the trip much better for all involved. To be clear, these are conversations that we could have had, not conversations that we actually did have. More’s the pity.

Imaginary Pre-Chicago Conversation A

SRH: You know, everyone’s talking about what a great city Chicago is and what a great time we’re going to have there, but I think Columbus is really great, too.

Me: Yeah, I do really like Columbus, but won’t it be nice to go to a new city and see new stuff?

SRH: Yeah, but I mean, Columbus is good, too, right? After all, our Children’s Hospital’s Emergency Room was voted 2nd in the nation – can Chicago beat that? I don’t think so.

Me: Probably not, but - hey, are you trying to start a competition between Columbus and Chicago’s Children’s Hospitals? Because that’s just weird.

SRH: I’m just saying – we may be in a position to judge their relative merits. We’ve visited the Columbus hospital at least 15 times in the past two years, and if Zane’s breathing doesn’t get better…we may get to check out the competition in Chi-Town.

Me: Chi-Town? Huh? No, I refuse to view Zane’s breathing difficulties as anything other than a medical issue. If we do have to go to the ER, I’m sure that Chicago’s Children’s Hospital will handle it just fine. It’s asthma for goodness sake. It’s a fairly common condition.

SRH: What are you defending Chicago for? I’m just saying that they probably can’t bring the top quality medical care that we’re used to. If they can, then they should just bring it.

Me: Are you humming West Side Story?

While this competitive mindset feels alien to my nature, it may have helped me cope with the asthma-induced madness which characterized the first two days of our trip. It might have helped when we had to stop at a mall during our drive to give Zane a breathing treatment - oh why, oh why, didn’t I buy that $150 mobile nebulizer when I had the chance? Or it might have helped me not have a major conniption in the car when we were stuck in incredibly heavy traffic on a TOLL road when his breathing difficulties started escalating again.

A competitive attitude might have been able to turn my thoughts to something like, Columbus Children’s ER wouldn’t blink an eye at this retraction, go ahead Zane, keep getting worse. We want to see what Chicago’s docs are made of.

A competitive outlook might have helped when we had to give him breathing treatments every 2-3 hours the next day. Or it might have helped when we actually got to Chicago’s Children’s ER at the end of that day.

All I’m saying is that a little competitive spirit might have saved me much anguish. As it was, I was a basket case when we finally rolled into the hospital. Zane, however, took the opportunity to finally breathe a little easier – the best he’d been breathing in over 48 hours – and we didn’t even have to see the doctor. It appears that the mere threat of seeing a doctor was enough to make his little lungs act right and start moving air properly.

His breathing was relatively problem-free for the remainder of the week. I don’t think I relaxed about it until at least Friday.

Tomorrow: Imaginary Pre-Chicago Conversation B.