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Saturday, June 27, 2015

Just a Friendly Reminder From Your Brutally Honest 2 Year Old: Part II

Some of you may have read a previous blog post I'd written about Karl showering with me when he was two years old.  If you haven't read it or need a refresher, check it out here Just a Friendly Reminder From Your Brutally Honest 2 Year Old.

Well, now Karl is no longer two years old, but his little sister, Hana, is.  Wouldn't you know it, she's just as honest with her astute observations as her older brother.  Tonight, as I was changing out of my day time clothes and into my pajamas, Hanalei walked into my room and watched me slip off my bra.  I had that heavenly euphoric feeling of finally releasing the tension from around my rib cage after having worn the thing non-stop for twelve hours.  You know the feeling, ladies- the rush of relief that gives you full body goosebumps and tingles up your neck.  Peeling the bra off and letting your ladies fall free from confinement.

Hana witnessed the look of bliss on my face and subsequently, my bare chest on full display.  Her little voice, which sounds like Minnie Mouse sucked down a helium balloon, peeped up and asked "Oh, mommy? What are 'dose?" I didn't know what " 'dose" she was referring to so I asked her "What baby? What are what?" She walked up to me and poked me in my right nipple with her tiny index finger.  " 'Dose, mommy. What are 'deese right here?"  She'd never asked me about my chest before but she has most certainly begun to notice that she is different from her daddy and her brother.

Still bare chested, I knelt down to her and said "These are mommy's boobies.  Girls have boobies.  You will have them, too, one day." She heard me and her beautiful little cherubic face, with rose colored soft cheeks twisted up a little. She was processing the thought.  Her eyebrows furrowed a bit and the wisps of her strawberry blonde hair that had wiggled free from her pony tail glinted in my bedroom light.  She  looked at me again, so innocently, so matter-of-fact, and she delivered a perfectly wrapped box-o-honesty.  She asked "Oh, mommy?  You got the small boobies?"

I blinked fast a few times.  I tried desperately to keep myself from breaking into a fit of laughter.  Her response was innocent.  She wasn't being rude.  She doesn't know how to yet.  She is so very curious by nature and I know that her second question was based on her keen observation of my chest and the treasure trove of memories she could find of the size of other women she's seen.  She really and truly was only making an honest observation- a brutally honest observation.

Her assumption, that "mommy's got the small boobies" was entirely correct. She'd seen mommy's boobies now, and compared to what she knows is "big" (not that she's seen anyone else's bare chest, just that she understands the opposites big and small) she knew that my boobies are indeed not big, but rather, pitifully small.  Yes folks, my two year properly assessed my size A cup "mosquito bites."

I'm not upset.  I know I'm flat chested.  That's okay with me.  It is just so amusing to me to know that at the tender age of two and a half, kids are absorbing the world and people around them with an unbiased lens.  They don't know how to be rude or polite about things like stretch marks, the size of one's nose, or if something smells like a big giant fart or not.  They don't know not to announce to the bathroom full of other women, when you're crammed in the pocket sized toilet stall trying to do your business in as much (which is very little) privacy as possible that "Oh, mommy!  You going poop!  You're a big girl!!!" (Not that I've lived that scenario at all...) They don't know not to tell you straight to your face that your boobs are way smaller than 99% of the rest of the female population's boobs.

I did answer my sweet girl.  "Yes, baby.  Mommy has small boobies.  That's okay.  Some boobies are big and some boobies are small.  They are all normal."  She shook her head and that was that on the subject in her book.  I put my baggy T-Shirt on, scooped her up and kissed her.  She hugged me and loved me, flat chested and all.


Wednesday, March 11, 2015

My Lawn Man is Way Better Than My Publix Clerk

Being a mom, and in my case a mom of 2 kids (3 years and 2 years old), follows you everywhere.  No matter if your kids are with you or not. Especially when your body betrays you and shouts to the world "YES!  YES!  I HAVE HAD KIDS"  (see my Jennifer Garner comment below).  Yesterday, I was able to pop into Publix alone! (insert angels singing here) after I got out of work to get some grocery shopping finished up.  I'd had a long, hard day at the school because my students had taken the state writing exam and then I had to cram 2 math lessons in after that so that they'll be on track for the state math exam in a week.  Anyway, I digress. My shopping experience was, in accordance with Publix's slogan, a real "pleasure" because it was done at my leisure, and there weren't two kids in my shopping cart fighting, yelling, reaching, and melting down because his or her cookie from the bakery fell out of his or her hand and crumbled on the floor as he or she was reaching out to pull a box off of the shelf that I'd already warned him or her not to even attempt to do (nope-that hasn't happened ten million times before).  All was delightful, virtually like a Caribbean cruise without the ship or the water or the endless drinks, until I began unloading my loot onto the conveyor belt at check out and the cashier opened his big, dumb mouth.

...Allow me to fill you in on some crucial background details here, dear reader, so that you'll be able to understand why I claim to like my lawn guy much more than my Publix cashier (and it all does come together in the end, I promise)...

About three weeks before Christmas my husband and I finally made the commitment to have two of our largest pine trees in our backyard cut down. Karl had only asked for one single thing from Santa Claus all season long, and that was a swing set for his backyard.  Our lot isn't enormous, but it's spacious enough, although the space goes widely unused due to the fact that we had over twelve pine trees back there that are all 20 to 35 feet tall.  Deciding that Santa Claus would have to have room for the swing set, Bruce and I went ahead and hired our regular lawn guy to cut our two tallest, girthiest pine trees down (side note- he is an experienced tree trimmer and cutter-downer who is also licensed and insured).   On a Friday afternoon around one o'clock, I got a phone call from Bruce.  I was in the middle of teaching my class and he knows not to call me then unless it is an emergency, so I answered my phone fearing the worst, and I was right.  Our lawn guy was cutting down the first tree out back, the one that was about thirty five feet tall, when snap-crackle-pop, the thing snapped in half like a toothpick and fell dead smack on our brand new roof.  Massive hole. Shattered roofing truss, plaster and support beam cracked.  Your run-of-the-mill home improvement nightmare.  It was an honest mistake on my lawn guy's end- he thought he'd cut enough of the tree down for his men to not have to use a rope when it turns out the trunk was much heavier than he'd anticipated and it fell in the wrong direction.  The roof has since been repaired, and our lawn guy was upstanding and responsible about the whole thing, though, if I'm being totally honest, seeing a gaping hole in my roof caused by the giant tree I had cut down did make it a little difficult not to be angry with the man.  Every time I looked at the house wound I had to remind myself that accidents do happen and not to hold it against the guy.  It just so happens that our lawn man lives in our neighborhood right next to the park and our kids always say hello to him and he is a very nice man.  I really worked hard at holding no hard feelings because I see the guy in the neighborhood a lot.

So, there's that.

I've been pretty happy with myself lately, as  it just so happens that I weigh the exact same weight as I did when I got pregnant with Hanalei about 3 years ago.  I owe this to the fact that I had a tonsillectomy a month and a half ago.  The claims we've all heard about how having the surgery as an adult rather than as a child is much more difficult are all true- if you'd like to experience 2 full weeks of total and complete misery, complete with seething pain and torturous hunger, then, by all means, sign yourself up to have those babies yanked out.  It was your run-of-the-mill self improvement nightmare.  For nearly two weeks I ate nothing solid, only ingesting broth, water, and pain medication, and after that for another week a half I was only able to eat very soft foods.  The one upside to the entire atrocity was that I lost 12 pounds and thus far, I've kept it off.  Clothes I haven't worn since before I was pregnant with Hana fit me now.  I've been eating clean and following the 80/20 rule.  I'm gradually getting back into an exercise routine.  I feel better about myself.  Yay me!  At least...until yesterday afternoon in the check out line at Publix. 

It was about three o'clock in the afternoon, so there weren't many people doing heavy shopping, and so the lines were pretty bare.  I pulled into aisle 7 and began unloading my purchases in the same manner I always do- non perishables go on first and together, followed by frozen, followed by chilled, followed by produce.  I'm a little obsessive about it, not gonna lie, and oftentimes I feel like the speckled face teen who is doing my bagging likes to mess with me because, despite the fact that all the cold stuff went on the conveyor belt together, all the cold stuff does not end up in same bag together.  Instead my frozen peas are hanging out with my box of Cheerios, making the cardboard soggy- but again, I digress.

My cashier was a middle aged man who I've seen there countless times.  He'd been my cashier several times before.  He is a petite little man. Thinning, mousy colored spiky hair and wire rimmed glasses.  His personality forces me to imagine him nerdishly pushing those glasses up on the bridge of his nose with his pointer finger while simultaneously mouth breathing.  He always wears white cloth gloves that stop right at the wrist, as if he is a toy nutcracker and not a cashier at Publix and he has a big, brown mole on his right cheek- kind of making him look like John-Boy from The Waltons, except pointier.  I get the impression that his name should be something milquetoast and geeky like Steve, or Doug, or "I'm 45 and I still live with my mom."   You get the picture, he's a real dweeb.  

Anyway, I'm bending over to get out the cans of kidney beans and Rotel tomatoes (non perishables onto the belt together, thank you) when I hear him.  It's pretty quiet in the store.  The Muzac is playing, and we're not speaking.  I can totally and clearly hear him.  "You're expecting, aren't you ma'am?"  Now, I'm not facing him as he asks this question, as he would've seen my eyeballs inflate to 10x's their normal size and seer holes into the can of beans I was holding, so I opted to ignore him, thinking he'd maybe get the hint or realize in a sudden burst of mental clarity that one does not ask a woman that question unless the woman he is asking is, at the time of him asking, actively pushing a baby out of her you-know-where.  I take a deep, soul cleansing breath, turn and place my cans on the belt when he waves at me with his little-man-glove-hands and asks again, this time looking right at my face AND, to add insult to injury (because, you know, I didn't answer the first time so maybe I didn't hear him correctly) he gestures close to his aproned stomach then pulls his arm out to indicate a growing belly, "Ma'am, you're expecting, right?  Because I can have the bag girl unload those groceries for you, it's all part of the service."  Looking him right in the eye, I pull my fist back, the one that is holding the 15oz. can of Rotel tomatoes, and I throw it at his face.   Okay, okay, okay, no I did not really do that, but if I had my own television show, the kind where the character has a Shakespearean moment and is able to talk to the audience or do whatever she wants for a millisecond, I would have.  No, instead, I look right at him, flare my nostrils and very passive-aggressively, because despite the fact that this little nerd man has been incredibly rude to me, I don't want to hurt his little nerd man feelings, and say "No.  No actually, I am not" and then I think to myself "Is being an @$$hole all part of the service, too???"    He replied "Oh.  I guess I stuck my foot in my mouth!" and then I said "Yes, and this is why you're still alone and live at home with your mother."  Again- I'm facing my audience, in monologue.  I tersely punched in my pin number and refused his offer in helping me out with my bags (I mean I'm not pregnant, after all) and I walked my own damn cart to my car and silently plotted my revenge as I unloaded.

Back to the lawn guy...

Today, our lawn guy came by to look at a few more trees we want to have cut down.  The kids were excited to see him, you know, because when you have a 2 and a 3 year old seeing the mail man and the lawn guys are as good as having George Clooney or Elmo come visit your house, so I went out back to say hi.  He hadn't seen me since before my surgery and the first thing he said to me was "WOW!  You look great! You've lost weight!"  and he genuinely seemed impressed.  In retrospect, maybe he was buttering me up because he hadn't seen me since he dropped the tree on my house... but I'd like to believe he really did think I look good.  No where in the conversation did he even hint at questioning the pregnant or non-pregnant state of my body. 

So, to you Mr. Publix-Marching Band Director White Gloves-Nerdly-Moley man, as Jennifer Garner said "Yes. From now on, I do have a baby bump. It's name is Karl and Hana."  And this is why, despite the fact that HE DROPPED A FREAKIN' TREE ON MY HOUSE, I like my lawn guy more than you.

Pppppppppffffffffffffffffffffttttttttttttttt.... How do you feel about that service?  


Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Barf-N-Scream Fest '14

Short, sweet, to the point- I earned my glass of Cabernet this evening.

You want to know what is so much fun when bathing your children?  It is when one of them eliminates some sort of bodily fluid into the communal tub.  Tonight I was treated to this specialty by my daughter Hanalei, who, after a coughing fit from a lingering cold and a couple of shots of bath water sucked down in rapid succession because she knows she's not supposed to drink it, proceeded to barf her guts up into the bath.  Why is it that, as irrational as it is (I have hands with fingers, not buckets, attached to the ends of my arms) that I always lunge towards the vomit like I'm going to magically cradle it in my hands?  I'm like a wide receiver of puke...anyway, I digress.  Despite my very fastidious efforts to catch the projectile barf, it got all over my daughter, my son who was bathing with her, and the kids' bath toys.  Score one: barf  Score none: mom.

I wailed for my hubby to come help and we both plucked the kids out of the now chunky and filmy bath water.  My son really does not deal well with abrupt changes.  One minute he's ambling along pouring water on his sister's head, the next minute she has barfed on him, and immediately following that debacle, he's yanked from his bath.  All that to say- he was screaming his freaking head off that he wanted his toys back and he wanted back in the bath.  When Karl reaches this stage, the T-Rex meltdown point, there's really no reversing it, and so we were in for a doozie of a night.

The next forty five minutes consisted of my son treating us to a fine blend of 2 parts crying, 2 parts sobbing, 4 parts screaming, and 2 parts thrashing about because he wasn't able to finish his bath, play with his toys, didn't want to get his pajamas on, didn't want to read a bedtime story, and basically didn't want to do much of anything except continue to scream, cry, thrash, and sob.  That's when the night really got interesting...

That lingering cough of Hanalei's?  Karl has it, too.  What happens when a crazy 3 year old throws a torrential fit for forty five minutes straight who also has a nasty left-over cough?  You guessed it!  He BARFS!  In the middle of a rant, this time because I was reading to Hanalei and he didn't want me to, Karl started coughing uncontrollably.  I tried to comfort him-calm him, to his extreme resistance (He kept yelling at me "NO MOMMY!  I WILL NOT CALM DOWN!").  The coughing led to choking, which led to gagging, which led to me playing wide receiver again as I dove in front of his deluge of vomit.  It got EVERYWHERE.  All over the towel, all over him, all over Hana's rug in her room, all over me.

I scrubbed the carpet and wiped myself down for the second time this evening while Bruce tossed Karl back into the bath.  Karl was now stunned from the barfing and speaking mildly- no, more like pathetically- saying (in his most pitiful voice)  "Thank you. I just wanted to go back in my bath and you made my feelings hurt when you took me out of the bath and then I barfed."  His rendition of the night was that we decided to remove him from his bath for the heck of it, keep him out of his bath out of our combined desire to make him as miserable as possible, and get him so worked up that he barfed. was all OUR fault.

Now that both of our barfing children are finally asleep in their beds and I have my glass of wine in hand, I wonder to myself how days and nights that are seemingly playing out so normally can go so completely awry.  Then I think, this must be why wine was invented so many thousands of years ago- so the parents of the distant past could relax after their very own ensembles of chaos with their children of the distant past had ended.

Somewhere out there in the great wide world, there is another mom who went through something similar tonight with her brood.  Someone out there has lived through this kind of homegrown crazy before and can relate.
Until next time, I say- this drink is to you!


Thursday, January 2, 2014

I Used to Hate My Alarm Clock...

Since the time when Karl (and then later, when Hana) started sleeping through the night, I've said that waking up because I hear my kids playing or jabbering over the monitor is infinately better than being rudely awakened by the ringing of my alarm....

MOST of the time...

Then there are mornings like this morning when I hear Karl call to me through his monitor, "Mommy!  Mommy!  Get in here fast!  I NEED TO POOP!"  Those lovely words were the first I heard this morning.  Nothing gets one out of bed faster than hearing the word POOP being called  from one's two year old.  Karl is potty trained and does a fantastic job with telling us when he needs to go and also with holding it, but there was an urgency in his voice this morning that sent me rocketing out of a deep peaceful sleep into a full sprint across our house to get to Karl before he pooped his pants.  Now, he's never done anything with his poop (thank the Lord!) if he happened to go in his diaper before I got him out of bed in the morning, but my mom has scared me silly with horror stories of things I did with a poopy diaper as a baby.

Thankfully, I got to Karl in time and we got to the potty together in time but the problem is, my son takes marathon dumps.  I'm not sure if it's a boy thing, or if it's a genetic thing (he must get this from his father) but he likes to sit on the toilet and take his ever-loving sweet and slow as molasses time finishing his business.  I'd blasted out of bed, from a dead sleep, in hopes of avoiding a finger-painting with poop incident, and then I was stuck, sitting on a tiny dinosaur shaped stool, without even having had my morning pee break yet, waiting for him to finish, falling asleep at the wheel.  I'm also not entirely sure that my son requires oxygen for survival like the rest of us do, as he never stops talking to take even the slightest breath.  I got to have a conversation with him about lions, rhinos, how his sister is a baby, the moon being out because it was still dark, and of course, poop (befitting the occasion, I suppose). All that jabbering woke up Hana, who was sleeping soundly in the room adjacent to us, which meant that I was good and stuck being awake now that both kids were up.  The start-gun had fired, my day was up and running whether I felt up to it or not.

Who needs coffee when the urgent call to go poop and a screaming baby are a part of your morning routine? Just another day in the life, folks.  

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Just a Friendly Reminder From Your Brutally Honest 2 Year Old...

In an effort to save water, but really more so in an effort to save time, either Bruce or myself will shower with the kids in the evenings.  Karl is exactly at belly button height on me when he stands up, so my tummy is right at eye level with the kid. Yesterday, when we were both finishing up our showers together, he looked up at me, his pale blue eyes beaming in alarm from behind the hot fog of the shower while water teamed down his nose and around his eyes through his eyebrows, and said "Mommy!  Oh no!  You have LOTS and LOTS of boo-boos!"

Wondering what the heck he meant I asked him where exactly he saw my boo-boos.  He's just getting to the age where he's developing a fantastic imagination, but thus far he's only imagined giant dinosaurs chasing us or eating delicious meals he's created, so I wanted to know what he thought my boo-boos were.  He took his little pointer finger and gingerly traced down a stretch mark on my stomach.  He then proceeded to poke the rest of them, in a chain of "right 'dere, right 'dere, right 'dere, right 'dere's" that seemed like they'd go on forever.  I do have A LOT A LOT A LOT (Karl terminology for a whole bunch) of stretch marks on my stomach.  I've also got a giant Frankenstein sized scar on my stomach from the emergency appendectomy I had when I was 28 weeks pregnant with Hana.  The thing really is monstrous and saggy and baggy because it was unrelentingly stretched to it's max during  the final months of my pregnancy as my belly grew larger and larger and more rotund.

"Yeah, I do have a lot a lot a lot of them" I thought to myself.  With my kids, though, I have made a very conscious effort to model healthy and positive body image.  You know what, stretch marks are a normal part of life for a mom- especially for a mom who had two big kids back to back.  My abdomen literally bulged with life for almost 2 straight years of my life- there's going to be a little wear and tear left on this 'Ol Bessie. My gut reaction when he pointed out the "boo boos" was to feel bummed to be reminded that they exist.  My mommy-instinct got the better of me, though, and so I explained to Karl that they were boo-boos that I got from when I had him and Hana in my belly when they were growing.  I told him that the boo-boos didn't hurt but that they reminded me of when my babies were still in my belly and that when I think about that it makes me happy (happy to think they were once that small, but happy also to remind me that the pregnant stage is over, thank the Lord!).

Karl smiled when I told him that and kind of innocently giggled.  He thinks it's  so funny that a baby could ever be inside someone's tummy but he accepted the answer.  Still, it didn't stop him from kissing me all over my belly and from picking up the wash cloth and laying it over my stomach saying "It's okay, mommy I will put this band-aid on them and they will get ALL BETTER!'  "Oh, kid, if only it were that easy to get rid of them" I thought.  It was so sweet of him to care about me, though, and to try and make my boo-boos better, the way I have for him since the moment he first ever got hurt.

So, he was brutally honest in pointing out EVERY.SINGLE.ONE of my stretch marks BUT he does also tell me all the time that he thinks I am beautiful and that I'm his best friend.  That's got to be him being brutally honest, too- he doesn't really "get" lying yet- he doesn't know how to not say what he feels and believes. It's so truly powerful and deeply touching to hear him be so honest and true with his words.  To me, he is beautiful and he is my best friend, too.  I wouldn't trade his innocent truths, be they pointing out my flaws or pointing out his true feelings, for anything.

I acquired quite a few battle scars from carrying my two children.  They're big and they're always going to be around (I'm talking about my stretch marks here ,not my kids, though, these two characteristics apply to them, too).  So what.  My son tried to kiss my boo-boos and make them all better for me, and that's what really matters.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

I'll Take the Next Flight To The Moon, Please!

I'll openly admit it- I'm about as high strung of a person as they come.  My mind will run away with worst-case-scenarios all day long if I let it and it takes a lot more than a couple of deep breaths to "chill out" after a stressful day (more like a couple of glasses of wine!). I'm positively terrified of flying (I've only done it once, for my honeymoon),  That being said- after the day I've had today- I'd gladly call shotgun tonight if there was a shuttle launching to the moon.  A vacation on the moon is pretty much what this day calls for and for me to willingly volunteer to go to outer space to "get away from it all" is saying something big.

My son (I'm shaking my head as I type this, let me assure you).

For the love of God, why are some days just so challenging?  I thought today I'd be a super good mommy and take Karl and Hana to the library for story time.  We'd been cooped up in the house for over a week, both kids with double ear infections and upper respiratory infections and me with a horrible case of mastitis.  All of us had run our course of antibiotics and were feeling pretty good today. One of Karl's favorite things to do is go to the library so I thought I'd be scoring major brownie points by taking him to story time.  When we arrived all seemed to be well.  Karl was cautiously exploring the taupe carpeted story room of the library, as were several other 2 year olds, all ambling about in that awkward, bouncy, not-really-paying-attention-to-where-they're-going gait.  Then the story teller lady began to play crazy toddler music through some speakers that sounded like it had been slathered in sugar and then coated in jelly beans.  Some kids danced to it, seeming to get a musical sugar rush via osmosis by beginning to bounce and frenetically lilt all over the room while my Karl gazed at them all with a furrowed brow and a skeptical scowl (keep in mind this is the first story time I'd ever taken him to, so his surroundings were quite odd to him).  The lady then got out a box of pastel colored mini maracas for the kids to shake and dance with.  Oh, boy, if that didn't open up Karl's very own Pandora's box full o'crazy.

The kid is a collector- he boarders on toddler hoarding- constantly walking around with about 6 of his most prized (for that particular moment) possessions clutched in his fierce, filthy paws. When she opened the box of maracas and instructed the kids to take two, naturally, that meant that Karl had to grab and hold as many as possible.  Clutching two fist-fulls of maracas, he began running around the room, bolting from wall to wall. The other kids, for the most part (there were the obligatory nose pickers in the crowd that made me feel a little better about my crazed maraca hoarding son cruising around the room) were happily shaking their maracas to the music, giggling and shouting with elation.  Karl began to panic when the music stopped, though, and the story lady told the kids to put their maracas back in the box.  I led him to the box, where his face was visibly overcome with near hysterics, and instructed him to do as the other kids were and put his maracas back.  Like a cornered animal he dropped to the ground, out of my reach and shouted "NO MOMMY! NO! I WON'T PUT 'DA MAWAKAS BACK IN DA BOX! NO!"  Then with the swiftness of a gazelle (Side Note: how come two year old's can be so damn quick and slick when they're up to no good but really awful at mobility when it comes to the basics, like moving from the inside to the outside without hitting the ground?) he dashed between my legs and desperately and feverishly grabbed at least 4 more maracas out of the red box.  Of course, he knew in that very instant that I was going to demand he drop them all, so naturally, like any red-handed thief, he darted! Among all of the other mommies (who, from my jaded and totally embarrassed skewed memory were all those perfect soccer moms with nice tight butts and big boobs, you know, the kind who look like they picked their kids out at a department store instead of actually growing them inside their bodies), I chased my red faced dinosaur (who was still yelling "NO MOMMY! I WON'T PUT DA MAWAKAS BACK IN DA BOX!") around the room. Keep in mind, all the while the poor story lady was trying to read her damn story to the crowd.

I finally strong armed my little dinosaur and stripped him of his contraband.  This only served to heighten the meltdown from the "holy crap, things are about to get ugly in public" level to the "Well, yep, hey folks!  I'm that mom with the insane screaming kid" level.  I plunked him back down in our double seater crimson stroller and pushed him and Hana out of the library.  Kneeling down, so as to be eye-to-eye with my enemy, I threatened Karl in my best "I'm mommy and I mean business voice" - "If you don't cut it out with being sad, bad, and mad in the library we are getting in our truck and going home right now, do you understand me young man?"  I do love that when I whip out this particular tone of mommy-mean, you know the kind, the kind where every word is perfectly accentuated and punctuated with a dialect of don't-you-even-try-me that is universal to all kids, that he usually straightens out.  Taking in giant,sloppy gulps of air and sucking in his plump bottom lip so hard it looked as if he'd swallow it, he replied "Ok, mommy. I will be good and happy."  At this moment I sucked in all of my mommy pride because I knew I'd have to go back into that room and face the silent but annoyed exhalations of all the other moms in the room ("Oh,look, they're back again, yippee...").

All was well upon our return for about one solid minute- until the story lady had to go and pull out another friggin' yellow box, this time, full of bean bags.  Each kid was to get one of those.  Karl dutifully did as instructed this time, having played his hoarding hand already and lost.  He brought his bean bag back to me and began to plead with me to "OPEN IT MOMMY! GET DOSE FINGS OUTTA DERE! OPEN IT UP MOMMY!"  He wanted me to open up the friggin
 bean bag. Needless to say, the friggin' thing doesn't open and there was no way I'd open it up even if it did because of the apocalyptic size mess that would create.  I had to quell that meltdown quick, and by this time I was functioning in survival mode, so I don't even remember what it took to calm him down.  Finally, a storybook movie was just beginning, so he settled into my lap to watch it, when the story lady switched the lights to the room off.

 Oh, sweet Lord, I just could not catch a break.  Karl immediately began to whine "WHAT HAPPENED TO DUH WIGHTS, MOMMY?  I WANT THE WIGHTS ON!  TURN DEM BACK ON! TURN DUH WIGHTS ON MOMMY!"  He then sprung from my lap like a greased pig and ran to the wall and began searching for the light switch. This left me to get up and chase him around the room full of cheap plastic furniture in the dark (as if it were a breeze to do in a fully lit room).  I finally wrangled him in once he'd reached the second wall in his quest to find the light and whispered in his ear "That's it,we are leaving, now!" in a tone so sharp it could have cut his ear lobe.  I marched him hurriedly back to our spot to get him in the stroller, when PING! the lights came back on and just like that, story time was over.

I don't remember what the stories were about but I do know that story time was the catalyst for a particularly challenging day.  For some reason, acting out in public usually unleashes Karl's inner T-Rex, a'la The Incredible Hulk, and he has a difficult time containing himself afterwards.  Lunch time consisted of filling my dining room table's cracks in with tuna salad and painting its varnished top in watermelon juice (these are both crimes for which he has previously been punished).  Nap time consisted of bartering over going to bed and having to go wee-wee on the potty (and I quote) "Just one more time, mommy.  I haf tuh go wee-wee just one more time before my nappy."  To top it all off, his nap was only an hour long and he woke up yelling from his dinosaur sheeted bed that his foot hurt and he had  a bad bad boo-boo.  This was then followed by an HOUR AND A HALF LONG (yes, it really was that long, and yes, I do believe I began to twitch) plea/demand/beg/bribe/sob for Cheerios.  Every time he asked I told him my answer was no because I was making dinner, but still, he managed to ask, every 10 seconds... for an hour and a half (see,there's the twitch!).  I think Karl has a future in interrogation and torture- he's relentless.  Finally, at bed time, he had a coughing fit that rivaled any 60 year old emphysema patient's which then led him to barf all over his daddy and I. Gee, thanks kid- that was the perfect ending to a fully rewarding day.

I'm worn out. I'm exhausted.  Take me out back and beat me like a rug. No,better yet, please, someone, get me on a spaceship to the moon and just let me sit there, in peace and quiet for a bit.  Let the stillness of the void of space settle my brain and allow me to recharge before I have to do this all again tomorrow.

For days and nights like today, I really do try to keep in mind how very thankful I am for bedtime and how, no matter how long and unrelenting the day is, bedtime does always come...well, for the most part (please stay asleep please stay asleep!).

Until next time folks, call me the "mommy on the moon."

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Adventures in Pumping (and breastfeeding in general)

When I first began breastfeeding my son, I could have never imagined I'd have such a hard time with doing something that was so "natural."  If you've never read my blog before, look back at this entry, The Triumphant Tale of my Teeny-Tiny TaTas, and you can see for yourself just how difficult the task was for me at first.  Not only had I never dreamed breastfeeding would be so difficult for me to cope with at first, I also never would have thought that it could be such a comedy of errors.

After the day I've had, I thought to myself that I really should write about all the "mishaps" I've had  so far in my breastfeeding journey.  Trust me, there have been quite a few...

Nothing screamed to the world (and my innocent early 20-something male cashier) "Look at me!  I just had a baby and this is my first time out of the house without her! Oh, and by the way, I breastfeed!!" like being alone in the grocery store, harmlessly standing in the check out line with my "last minute" can of tomatoes and bag of cheddar cheese when I suddenly felt a rushing sensation in my boobs and I realized, "Holy crap. I forgot to put on nursing pads."  The big give away that I was a brand new mom?  Oh, that'd be the 2 matching, gigantic wet spots that bled through my t-shirt, ever so blatantly exactly over top of my boobs.  The poor guy's face when he realized that I was leaking in front of him- he had desperation in his eyes and I could literally see him straining NOT to glance down at my chest or even hint that he'd noticed  I was suddenly and disgustingly covered in breast milk. It felt like the walk of shame, going from the check out line to my car- like I had some profane sign tied around my neck, so that every person I passed gawked, stared, or immediately darted their eyes away from me in embarrassment.  By the time I got home, my shirt was soaked with milk and I had devised a plan for never having to shop at that store again so that no one would recognize my face, or my leaky boobs for that matter, after the total embarrassment of having a very public let-down.   

I'm an elementary school math and science teacher and I'd like to let it be known that I love my job, I love my school, and I love my boss.  My boss, the principal of my school, is a great man whom I respect deeply and from whom I've learned so much.  The man knows his stuff and I look up to him and rely on him for advice and direction.  He hired me six weeks after I had my son and he was thrilled when, just 8 short months later, I came to him to tell him I was pregnant again.  He has become a friend of mine and somewhat of a "father" figure to me, not to mention a real mentor to me in my profession.  All that being said, I never, ever dreamed the man would see my boobs- but, he did- and it was as mortifying as you can probably imagine it was.

I was sitting in my classroom today, alone, during my planning period.  This planning time is really my pumping time now that I'm back to work because it's the only "student free" time I have during the day.  I was sitting at my desk, with my shirt off and my pumping bra off because I had just finished pumping and I was putting my milk away.  I always put my milk away first thing when I finish pumping, before putting my shirt back on, because I'm paranoid I'll knock it over and spill it and  the whole 40 minute nipple pulling session would have been done in vain.  So, I'm at my desk with boobs exposed trying to pack away my milk (I mean, I had literally just finished taking the pump off of my boobs) when I hear the jingle of keys.  I always wear a  lanyard around my neck with my classroom keys attached to it so, distracted and not thinking to throw my shirt on, I glanced down at my neck looking to see if I was still wearing my key and if I was making the noise.  Nope- not me.  So I turned to look at my desk when I suddenly realized that my classroom door was opening and in walked my boss.  I shrieked from the startle of seeing someone in my room and then with the sudden realization that the person in my room was my boss AND I was sitting at my desk with my boobs hanging out, totally exposed for him to see.  He turned a whiter shade of pale and backed out of my room, slamming the door behind him.  In the meantime, me and my boobs sat at my desk, shell shocked and utterly mortified.  Why me? Why me? Why me?  Really, why in the world would he have to waltz in at just that exact moment?  Why not 5 seconds later when I had my shirt on?  It would've still been embarrassing because my milk would have been sitting out, but I could handle that.  I could definitely handle that in comparison to the total embarrassment I felt after him having seen my bare boobs!

I cleaned myself up and put my milk away and decided I'd better just go and face him.  I had sent him an email earlier in the day asking for him to come up to my room to see me, though I had specified in the email that I wanted him to come while my students were there (I needed him to see how dysfunctional my overhead projection system in my classroom is).  I knew that he hadn't realized my students were having their fine arts classes and that I was in my room alone.  My door shade was down and my door was locked, though, after the horrendous tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary, it has become "normal" for teachers to leave their shades down and their doors locked at my school.  He'd become used to having to unlock classroom doors to get in.  I knew it was a total mistake on his part, that he'd walked in at just the exact wrong moment and I knew he had to be just about as embarrassed as I was (although, not quite as much, after all, I'm the one who was sitting there with my boobs hanging out!). When I walked into his office, he was still a sickly shade of green and he immediately and profusely began to apologize.  The poor guy was shaking with nerves and looked like he was going to have a heart attack.  I gave him a hug and let him know it was okay and everyone in the school's office got a big laugh out of it.  Never, ever,though did I think my boss would see my boobs...

Speaking of folks I never thought would see my boobs- 4 unsuspecting students of mine last year caught a glimpse of 'em during my pumping time.  I felt like a freak show exhibition.  I pumped in my classroom last year,which was a different classroom than I have this year.  My room last year adjoined to another classroom through a common set of bathrooms for the kids.  Anyone could walk into my room from the other classroom because the bathroom doors did not lock.  When I would pump, I'd lock my classroom's front door and pull my window shade down, and I'd close the door that joined my classroom to the other teacher's room and put a big "DO NOT DISTURB" sign on it. Several times, I begged and pleaded for the teacher in the other room to remember to lock her classroom door because my students knew that if they forgot something in my room they could always get in through her classroom if my door was locked.  4 times!  4 separate times, with 4 separate kids, I had was stormed in on because they'd forgotten their lunch money, or lunch box, or they wanted to talk to me about something.  Granted, I did not tell my students what I was doing during their lunch time because I didn't want to have to explain to them, or their angry parents for that matter, where milk comes from on a mommy and how my machine worked- I also didn't want my students thinking about my boobs.  I wanted the poor little things to go on oblivious to the thought of me breastfeeding and pumping.  I was mortified to have it happen once but after the fourth time, I bought a door jam so I could block the door to keep the kids out while I pumped.  I'm pretty sure I've had to have shown up in their nightmares, though.  Have you ever seen yourself pump or someone else do it?  It's pretty freaky looking, especially if you're a little kids without a care in the world who unsuspectingly walks in on someone yanking their nipples through a milking machine, hearing the pump make a "woosha- woosha" noise.  It looks and sounds like a torture device!

Breastfeeding, talking about it, tends to make people very uncomfortable. They start to look at you like your boobs will pop out of your shirt at any moment and begin spraying them in the face.  Just saying that I have to go pump to any of my male co-workers sparks fear in their eyes and causes an immediate change of subject.  But then there are those creepy folks who like to ask completely inappropriate questions about nursing and pumping- like a woman I work with who never had children and wanted me to describe how it felt to pump and what the milk looked like. Ummm...gross. Pumping is not a football game and I don't need to give anyone a play by play just so they can vicariously experience it.  I've also encountered several men who find it fascinating and ask me if I've ever tasted my own milk.  What the heck is wrong with them? They make me want to barf.  I am a lactating, working, and overly tired mother of 2 who's body has been wrecked from having two kids in less than 18 months and who has been breastfeeding for a year and a half and I'd like to let the world of the creeps know, there is nothing sexy or attractive about it and no I have no desire what-so-ever to dabble in taste tests of my breast milk. My babies are the only connoisseuers who have ever drank from the tap,so to speak.  My boobs leak, they drip, and they squirt when you squeeze them.  To me,and to any other normal person out there, unless I'm feeding my baby, that's just gross.  Yes, it is totally natural but so is pooping and most people think that's gross, too- so stop asking me if I like the way it tastes!

I've still got another eight months left in my breastfeeding journey this time around.  I'm sure I'll have many more mishaps when it comes to my boobs.  This too shall pass, though, right? I mean, no- I never thought I'd have students see me with my shirt off, or my boss get a free peep show, or whacked strangers ask me if I put my milk in my coffee, but it won't last forever (thank God!). No matter who barges in on me or squirms when they learn I'm breastfeeding, I'm doing what's best for my kids, so if I've got to endure some major public embarrassment, then so-be-it- it's all worth it in the end.