Thursday, October 16, 2014

Mom M.D.


There is no hell like pediatrician waiting room hell. I have a friend who might argue 6th grade homework hell is worse, but I don't have that to compare other hells to quite yet.

Yesterday I took my kids for their check-ups. These check-ups were embarrassingly overdue. We had quite a run of wellness and I feel like every time we step foot in the door of the doctor's office we get sicker. (Or, my kids are magically healed of whatever I took them in for) So, I didn't take them in for a while.

Our streak came to an end last month when Drew started getting these weird bumps on his skin. The short version of that story is that I thought he had scabies. If you don't know what scabies is, I recommend you NOT google it. Suffice to say I was planning to just go ahead and burn the house down. The good news is, I'm not prone to extremes.

Turns out it was good old run of the mill poison ivy. I have never been so happy about poison ivy in all my life!! That was on Friday.

On Saturday night, just before Drew went to bed, his cheek looked a little swollen. He had been complaining about his cheek hurting. I assumed it had something to do with a cavity and planned to take him in to the dentist. The next morning he woke me up early. He was in a lot of pain and his cheek was huge. I'm still thinking it's a tooth. And I thought a tooth causing that much pain and swelling needed attention. Naturally, it was Sunday, so we headed to the ER. Because I thought we were going to get a tooth pulled I let Emily come along and left Big Dan to enjoy sleeping in. This was a gross miscalculation.

After multiple examinations, it was determined that Drew did not have a tooth problem. Instead, he had a soft tissue infection of some sort. Because it was unclear where this came from, he then got to have his very first IV and a CT scan. Did I mention I'm the only adult in the room? Did I mention I thought it was a tooth problem? I was mildly freaking out. No matter the situation, I think it is probably always unsettling to watch your child get a CT scan. And also leave your other child down the hall with the nurse.

The good news is that it was just in the soft tissue of his cheek. The bad news is no one knows how or why it got there. Our saving grace is that he wasn't running a fever so we did not have the honor of staying for IV antibiotics. Drew was glad. He had one thing on his mind. Making it to his flag football game. Only a super subpar mother would let their son play football with a vaguely diagnosed soft tissue infection.

I did. He was fine. #world'sOKestmom

So, we were right back in the doctor's office the next week. We had not been (besides check-ups) for TWO YEARS. Now we were there twice in one week. If you're going to break the streak you might as well do it up right.

Which brings us to yesterday. Yesterday we were in the waiting room for FIFTY MINUTES. 50. Do you know how long that is to wait with kids who have nothing to do?? I have never waited that long at our pediatrician before. I honestly thought they forgot about us. I still think they maybe did but just didn't admit it. This does not include the time we spent in the tiny room waiting. Where there is even less to do and more things to break. Like computers.

This sums up why I don't take my children to the doctor.

By the time their check-ups were done, I answered a million questions, they both sniffed live flu virus up their noses, and Emily got 4 shots? Done. I was sweating buckets and on the verge of a low blood sugar flip out. My kids were long gone over the edge of sanity. I kept saying to them, "Just get to the car. We'll talk about all the things if you will just walk quickly and quietly"

I feel that any and all of our medical needs have been sufficiently met. Except for maybe the stroke level blood pressure I incurred as a result of yesterday's visit.

Too bad about it. Deep breathing will have to do.

Monday, October 13, 2014

The Boxes of Shame

Before I get to the real topic at hand, which are actual boxes in my closet and not a metaphor, I'd like to let you in on what's happening in the world of my kid's elementary school right now.

For the last 6 school days they have been on Fall Break. I guess a full week of no school was not quite enough so they had to tack on one extra day, just to really sucker punch those parents who work. So. 10 days out of school. 10 days of not seeing friends. And THEN. Tomorrow is the first day back to school and it is the start of spirit week. And just in case all of us are not yet driven to our knees? The the first day of spirit week? "Matchy Matchy Twin Day".  That title is in quotes because it is the actual title that came out in the email. On top of having to come up with something different for my child to wear I also have to COORDINATE with another parent to make sure my kid has a spirit week twin?? Oh. I have so many words to say about this. But, I figure by the end of the week, there will be at least a whole post's worth of stuff about spirit week to say. Stay tuned.

So. My boxes.

Last year, we got Christmas taken care of just in the nick of time (get it? Nick? St. Nick?) By the time all the things were purchased, hidden, assembled and opened it was time for my Day After Christmas Nap. And we all know that nap lasts all day. In my rush to get things done, I crammed a bunch of boxes behind a chair in my room. These boxes contained things that "Santa" brought the children. So the boxes needed to be hidden. I thought I would sneak them out with the rest of the Christmas trash the next day. But then the aforementioned DAC nap occurred and I promptly forgot about the boxes. As I do. A few times over the last TEN months, I've noticed them and thought about taking them out. But then I didn't.

Skip to about a month ago. Drew had been in my room having some alone time. Later that night I went in the room and noticed the towel that had been covering the boxes was no longer covering the boxes. GASP! I haven't had the heart to ask him about it!! (Worst mom ever...) Then, Big Dan and I did some major cleaning out in our room. I came in one evening and Big Dan had moved the chair around and the boxes were just there in the corner for God and everyone to see! I hyperventilated and threw the boxes in my closet. They have been there for the better part of five days, mocking me.

Tonight though? I end my battle with the boxes of shame. There may be a tornado warning, but dangit those boxes are going in to the trash. The trash that runs tomorrow.

My bad Santa habits will be hauled off with the garbage.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Parenting, Like Whoa

Just now I was sitting on the couch. I am currently in the midst of a church sabbatical. Which is a dressed up way of saying I'm not going. There are many issues here. We'll wait and explore those another day. Get excited.

Anyway, Emily was playing outside and came in with her stroller. She said, "I was just pretending that my little girl had a bad attitude at the park." Interesting... So, I said, "Oh, I'm sorry to hear that. Did you give her a consequence?" She cut her eyes at me and said, "NO!" To which I replied, "Well, how is she going to learn her lesson?" To which she answered, "I decided to show her grace." Then she burst out laughing.

This is where parenting finds me most days.

Every stage of parenting is so different. In some ways, when you enter a new phase, it's like traveling to a foreign country. And you are stuck trying to figure out the language and the customs all over again. For someone like me, who is pro status-quo, I never handle these transitions well. In fact, we are usually halfway through a phase before I even realize what's happening.

We are in a new stage around here. And, let me say right up front, that I really, really like it! Y'all know the baby/toddler days were super hard for me. I feel like I'm in my wheelhouse right here. Soon, my oldest will be an adolescent and I will be left flailing again. But, for now? Big Dan and I are both REALLY enjoying hanging out with our kids.

The challenges though, are many. And mostly, it's because I feel like the real work of pointing my kids towards Christ begins now. As I work through my own issues with performance and works (see note about church drop-out above) I am aware of all the times I emphasize "good behavior" to my kids. And this is the rub. Because, make no mistake. I absolutely expect my kids to behave at school. To follow the rules, to be respectful, and to be kind to their friends. I struggle with people who think rules for kids are too confining. The thing is, we are not alone here on planet earth. Our actions and choices ALWAYS effect those around us. When my behavior negatively effects those around me FOR ANY REASON, it should give me pause.

When my kids are annoying each other in the backseat of the car it goes something like this: Kid 1 is singing or making weird noises. Kid 2 comes unglued over the noises. Kid 2 asks Kid 1 to stop. Kid 1 does not. Kid 2 tattles. (If I were reading this on someone else's blog and I knew their kids, I'd be dying to figure out who was who. Please note: it goes either way all.the.time.) When I reprimand Kid 1 there is usually an answer of "But I'm only singing/humming/popping my cheek/reciting stats/etc. ad nauseum. And really, they are right. It's probably not a big deal. But, the thing I keep coming back to is, if it is bothering the other person, think of them. Think of how you feel when you are the one being annoyed. Then, maybe, consider putting their needs ahead of your own. (As if noise making is a need...)

So, yes to the thinking of others and following the rules.


I have two performing, rule-following kids. And I know that I have taught them by my actions that they are more acceptable to me when they are "good". And this makes me so sad. In case you were hoping that I give you the magic formula for walking this line, I'm not gonna. Because I have no idea. I want my kids to know that messing up and making mistakes (sometimes big ones) is a part of life. I want them to know that "being good" is not the goal. But man, this is hard to teach when, at my core, I am still struggling to believe it.

I keep asking God to show me when I blow it. And mostly, what He has led me to do in these moments is apologize. Name what I think has happened between us. This happened just the other day. I shut down a sad moment for one of my children because I didn't want them to make a scene. By that evening, I knew I had really messed up. So, I called both kids to me and told them that I thought there were probably times when I made them feel like it wasn't ok to be sad. I told them I was sorry about making them feel that way. Then, we talked specifics. With the child who was sad, I explained that just expressing all the sadness didn't always work in the moment. What could we do instead?

After that conversation the "flow" between both kids and I was so much better. It was like something that had clogged the lines between us had been cleared. Don't we all just want to know that someone gets it?

There are going to be days when my interactions with my kids look nothing like this. This was a pure act of God. In my flesh, I am a task master.

I think Emily might have been sending me a message today!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Why I Haven't Been Writing

Well, well.

Look who's back. (Back again)

Can I just start by saying I have some of the greatest people in my life? Those of you who have mentioned you've missed the blog have made me feel so good. You have filled my bucket as we say in preschool circles.

I have taken a long, on-purpose hiatus from writing here. I'll try to explain as best as I can, fully knowing that any of you who read here know my level of crazy is SKY HIGH. You'll be comforted in knowing that has not changed.

Reason # 1:

The internet is on my last nerve. I mean, LAST. I sort of feel like all the things that could ever possibly be said, have been said. Three times. I've whittled my blog reading down to about two blogs and I only keep reading those because they make me cackle.

I'm kind of over big, serious, hard issues being tackled from behind computer screens, you know? People, I think, sometimes take on the air of an expert, when really they are just a regular old person.  I know this is kind of mean to say. And, I'm no expert. I'm just saying I'm a bit worn down by it all.

Don't even get me started on my love/hate with social media.

Reason #2

My emotional bandwidth has been completely full. Some writer type people say things like, "If I don't write I have no emotional peace. I must write. It's like breathing to me." I've thought a lot about this and decided I am not one of these people. In order for me to write anything, I have to have a big ol' bunch of free brain space. This is sort of a snapshot of my life. I just need more space, more breathing room, than most to function like a normal human. I don't love this about myself, yet, but I'm on the path to accepting it.

My current life does not leave any room for contemplating anything! And even if I'm just jumping on to tell a funny story, somehow I need margin to make that happen.

Reason #3

I can't decide what I think this space should be. Is this like my Doogie Howser-esque journal situation with a blue screen and a blinking white cursor? Is this a big thought puking ground where I come to rant about all the things that are currently on my nerves? (See Reason #1) Is this just a place where I rat out my kids and tell about how naughty they are (albeit funny)?

I just don't know for sure. When I started this blog I was a stay-at-home mom with a toddler. I am in a vastly different stage of life. I feel like we're at the point that I need to ask my kids' permission before I post funny stories about them. (Don't worry. They will likely say yes. When I ask Drew to post a picture on social media he says things like, "Sure. Just tell me how many 'likes' I get." Jesus take the wheel...)

In all these months of being away from here, I've thought a lot about the things I like, and therefore what I might like to write about. Here is my current list:

Funny stuff
Friends (both my real ones and the show. Duh)
God stuff

I also super value good community with people that I love. So, if you feel so inclined, comment on my posts. Not because I'm keeping count or trying to be a "blogger". We all know three blog posts a year is not going to get you anywhere. But, just because I really like a conversation better than I like my own blabbing. (I know. This doesn't seem like it can be true.)

I don't know how much of my "real life" will show up here. But, I promise not to paint a picture like my life is all books and episodes of Friends (oh, but were it true!) If times are hard, I'll tell you. But I'll tell you in that way that leaves out things that probably shouldn't hang out on the internet. Like, say for instance, I had a son who has reached a really challenging phase. I may say, "This week, parenting is going to be the death of someone. It's still up in the air who it's going to be." But I probably won't tell you the exact details of what this hypothetical child is doing. Because that's not fair to him. I mean, you know, if he were real.

So. Here's to ye olde blog. Kicking off the start to many random, unrelated, seemingly pointless posts!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Just a Turn of Luck

Have I mentioned it's Spring Break?

It is still Spring Break.

Yesterday Drew and I had a day all to ourselves. I've missed some other days with him this week because I've been subbing. We talked about spending some time together and what exactly the budget would allow. Which, let's be honest, is not much. Please see: underemployed.

Luckily, my kids are easily entertained, pretty grateful with small gestures, and I'm real good at stretching a dollar, y'all.

I mean, like, really good.

I don't like to brag, but making do with what I have is a skill I have long held. I can do it with clothes, food, crafts. Whatever the situation calls for. This has worked well for me in my life. I have spent many seasons of my 37 years needing to stretch the dollar.

So. We put a plan together. We would go to our very favorite store: McKay Used Books. Like I had to even say it. I'm so thrilled my kids have developed a deep love for the store I love. Which, side note? My boy kid has fallen in love with reading!!!!!!!! I can't even describe my elation! I hold it close because if I were to even hint at the thrill I have seeing him lay on his bed and read, he'd quit in a hot minute. He is devouring chapter books and will sometimes choose to read over locking his eyes on a screen of some sort.

Back to the plan. We gathered up some books and headed to McKay's to see what we could get for our haul. This would determine our plan for the remainder of the day. We were hoping for big money, no whammies.


This is when our luck started to go sour. The system at McKay's was down and they were not able to process any orders. I'm sorry, what? I have been going to McKay's for 20 years, since it was a tiny hole in the wall, slightly shady establishment on Kingston Pike. Never, in all my years of going there, have I heard of this happening. Drew and I just looked at each other. What were we doing to do now?

Drew had a gift card to Sweet CeCe's burning a hole in his pocket and determined that fro yo for breakfast sounded like a great idea. (He also said, "Mom, I'm just going to get one topping so I can buy something for you, too." This boy. You have no idea) We pulled up to Sweet CeCe's and it was closed. Apparently, not enough folks want fro yo for breakfast. Now what??

We decided to go next door to TJ Maxx where I tortured Drew by looking at purses and shoes. Then I decided this was turning into the very worst mom/kid day ever for him. He asked if we could go to Game Stop. While I would rather gouge out my eye, I told him of course we could. We decided to walk, which was one of the best decisions of the day. Crossing the very busy road at a dead sprint hand in hand turned out to be the most exciting event of the day! (As the day went on our crossing got more and more treacherous each time he told the story. No idea where he gets it)

After I almost fell asleep standing up in Game Stop we headed home to have some lunch and bide our time before the yogurt shop opened. We had grilled cheese sandwiches and watched sports. It was the least I could do.

We finally ate that fro yo and his pride at buying me a treat was just about more than this mom heart could take.

We only had a little time left before we had to pick up Emily from school so we headed to a playground that is sort of on the way. We swung on swings side by side. And then we decided to get out his baseball gear and toss the ball around a little. Only, his baseball bag was not in the car for the first time in about 3 weeks. Seriously. We were not having the best luck. And how there was not a random ball in the back of my car is beyond me. Had we needed most anything else, we could've found it. The back of my car is home to a wide assortment of stuff on a regular basis.

In a last ditch effort at fun, we ran across the parking lot to a new store where everything is less than five dollars and bought a ball. We invented a game and spent the next hour smacking a little foam ball around a big field. It was awesome.

I know for sure my kids will not remember most of the stuff I buy them. I do hope they remember some of the fun things we did together. I'm serious about making memories. And while we cursed our luck yesterday, I think in the long run the day will seem pretty lucky after all.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

It Wiggles!!

We are in the midst of a two week Spring Break. TWO WEEKS. Here's the thing. I am not bummed out about spending extra time with my kiddos. The problem is, two weeks is too short to establish a new routine, but it's too long to just languish in the relaxing. You know? We are, without a doubt, routine people. I guess my kids are probably that way because I'm that way and they've spent most of their waking lives under my direction. Whatever the reason-nature or nurture-we all run better with a plan in place.

Last week I hosted Spring Break Camp for my friends and neighbors who perhaps needed just a tiny break from all the quality time. But even that didn't go as planned. I had a stomach issue (I say issue because I'm still not clear on what it was...) and had to cancel one day. Add to that the WEATHER (snow and freezing temps) and it has made for a less than stellar situation all the way around.

I've been trying to embrace the haphazardness of it all and just go with it.

Yesterday, I got a text from my brother (did I mention he's back in NASHVILLE?? He is. I'm totally pumped. I've already seen him more in a two week span that I did in the six months previous. Holla!) asking if we could meet up for an extension cord drop. Emily had dance class in the neck of the woods where he works, so we planned to meet after her class.

We met Uncle Sam at McDonald's. The kids had a beverage and then headed to the indoor playground. This was a great plan. They could do what they do best-run and make mayhem. Sam and I could do what we do best-sit and flap our jaws. All was well until Drew came running out of the playground fish tank letting me know that Emily was crying.

I should let you know that this is not an unusual occurrence. I did not run in panic to find her because if I did that every time Drew reported she was crying I'd have a torn ACL. But, there was another Mom in there, so I felt Mom shame and went to check on her.

Y'all. She was having a full blown panic attack. When you're a mom you know the difference between your child's cries. Emily has quite the repertoire. This was her whole-body-shaking like she'd just seen a mascot cry and it does not bode well for anyone involved in the situation.

She was waaaaaaay up in the play structure. Like at the tippy top. When I finally got her to calm down enough to talk to me, I asked her what the problem was. She wailed like an ambulance siren, "IT WIGGLES!!!!!!!!!" Say what now?

It took me a solid two minutes to figure out what in the world she was talking about. Finally, she moved a little and I could see that the "pod" she was in sort of tilted a little when you crawled through it. Sort of like a teeter-totter. I have no idea why. To add to the thrill? Anyway.

I thought for sure if I sent Drew to rescue her she would pull it together. Nothing doing. It was me going to get her, or she's living in the wiggly pod.

Never have I been more thankful for my leggings, which is saying something because I love them like a part of my body. If by some weird chance I had managed to put real clothes on that day, there's a good chance I'd be going to visit Emily at the Green Hills McDonalds!

I'm going to be brutally honest. Those are some snug spaces in that play structure. I was nervous. Of course the other Mom was watching all of this unfold. I know what she was thinking. I know because it's exactly what I would be thinking if the leggings were on the other person. "Whew. Thank goodness that's not me."

I finally made the climb to Emily after one wrong turn, and found her shaking and stuck to the spot she was in. I basically had to reach in and lift her out of the pod, which is no small feat when you're sitting down.

About that time my brother walked into the play area. He was due back at work and brought my stuff to me. He had a look on his face that can best be described as, "What in the actual heck is happening here?" I wish I could say I've never seen this look on him before. However, his nieces and nephews pull shenanigans that blow his mind on a regular basis.

I retrieved Emily and made the announcement that we were leaving. My children acted indignant. Are you serious? Did they miss the fact that I just shimmied my way through the play structure. Emily insisted that she would be brave if she could traverse the structure on Drew's lap. And bless his heart, he let her. He would basically rip off his right arm and give it to her if it meant she wouldn't throw a fit. We're working on that.

So, the moral of this story is, if you plan to hang out with me and my children, prepare yourself for absolutely anything.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Yoo Hoo!

It's the world's worst blogger, checking in to say I'm alive and breathing.

My last post was two days before Mom's birthday. Last year I walked into my season of grief with a plan. This year I wanted to pretend it wasn't happening.

Two years. It's been two years since my Mom left earth. I somehow thought I'd be "farther along" the grief trail by now. Maybe I didn't need a plan because I had already been through all the "firsts".

I case you're wondering, grief is not a trail. It's like a weird fog that creeps in without you really noticing. You only notice it once it's totally clouded your view. It can come any time. There is no time limit.

I know. I know no one really wants to hear about the grief. It's uncomfortable. Even though I have experienced deep grief, sometimes the grief of others makes me uncomfortable. I feel like one of my gifts is encouragement. I want to use my words to help others feel better. When my words fall short, I get uncomfortable.

So, I get it.

But, all I can do is pretend it didn't happen or tell you about it. Lucky for you, I'm telling you about it. The good news is, you don't have to look me in the eye. :) You can read and feel uncomfortable all by yourself!

The pattern of grief for me begins in December. December is when my mom got her diagnosis, and really, it was that day, not the day of her death, when everything changed. The weirdest part is, my BODY remembers. Even when my conscious mind is not paying attention, my physical body begins to grieve. Are you weirded out yet?? And, it seems that each time it's going to take me at least a week to figure out what's going on.

By the way, December is a really unfortunate time to be struggling. Around here it is brutally busy and there is no time to be under grief's fog. As Anne Lamott says, "Sometimes grief can look a lot like narcolepsy." (I could hear some of you getting heart palpitations at my mention of Lamott. Relax. I have not subscribed to her beliefs. I just like people who tell the brutal truth.)

The good news is, I have these two amazing kids who make it impossible for me to stay in bed for three months. I have these two kids who are seriously awesome. And hilarious. And tender-hearted. Someday when they're old enough not to be weirded out, I'll thank them for bringing me through times like this.

Outwardly, I kept going for those three months. My conscious continued to try and ignore the situation. My body continued to let none of us forget.

Y'all. Missing her does not get one tiny bit easier.

I don't like to admit that I still really struggle with every tiny bit of it. My poor sisters have to rehash the same doubt filled conversation with me about once every six months. But, it's where I am.

Some of you are racing to your prescription pad to write me a prescription for some nerve pills! Believe me, I'm keeping close tabs on the medication needed line!

Last week, God and I had a moment of grace and the fog lifted for now. I'm looking forward to a time out in the light!