Under the Knife

I am having foot surgery this Friday. I have crazy messed up feet, and both have been operated on once already. The right foot was done in 2009, and has stayed looking and feeling as it should. I call it my pretty foot.

The left one was operated on in 1994, and it did NOT stay how it should, and is getting worse and worse, and it is killing me after a long day on my feet. I call it my ugly foot.

According to my surgeon, the one who did the pretty foot, the doctor who did my left foot didn’t do it properly, and they’re going to have to do some hefty repair work while they are in there. Which means more pain. And more recovery time.

I can’t do my job at the local market for three months. I can’t even walk on the foot for a full 6 weeks, then there’s a “transition period.”

I won’t get the awful type of anesthesia they gave me for my skin excision when I had melanoma, so I won’t feel so sick and dizzy for days after, thank goodness. But, I am still worried about how I’ll do the first few days, pain management and all of that.

Wish me luck. Better yet, wish my husband luck, he’s the one that’s gotta take care of me and all the household duties until I am up to it again. It’s going to be a tough one.

Halloween 2015

I hope you and yours had a great Halloween. Ours was tons of fun. This was the first year Ferris really understood what was going on, and it was really cute. We bought his costume ages ago because he saw it at Costco and fell in love. He talked for months about being a firefighter for Halloween. While we were trick-or-treating, if he forgot to say “trick or treat” at a house, he’d immediately stop and tell us, “Oops I forgot.” Then he’d yell at the top of his lungs, “TRICK OR TREAT!” back at the house he forgot. It was hilarious.

We also had the Last Minute Costume Change with Bowie, who went to school on Friday as a Creeper from Minecraft, and then Halloween night decided he absolutely had to squeeze into the 4T monster costume he’d worn in Halloween past. It worked, but barely. Sorry kid, no monster costume next year.

I know a mom that either doesn’t take her kids trick-or-treating, or she takes them but they give all the candy away. She asked me, “what do you do with all that candy?!” I had to fight the urge to say, “Eat it when they’re not looking. AMIRITE.”

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“Worry is literally betting against yourself.”

Before I even had children, I was worried about how I would pay for their college education.

I’m serious.

I’ve always been a worrier. I worry about pretty much everything. Like, all the time. And, despite helpful tidbits of advice from non-worriers, such as “just stop worrying!” I still do. I can’t help it.

I’ve received a lot of help over the years for my worrying, really my anxiety, but I still tend to worry. A lot.

When I did have my first child, I was told by someone, or I read somewhere, that as a mother, “It’s your job to worry.”

But, I’m here to tell you that’s not true. It’s your job to enjoy their childhood before it’s gone. It’s your job to feed and clothe them, and provide for them. It’s your job to provide them with emotional support. But, it is not your job to worry. If you don’t worry, you’re not being a bad mother (or parent). You’re just a heck of a lot better at dealing with reality than us worriers.

Where did we get it in our heads that it was not only our responsibility to worry, but our job?! As if we were getting paid to be worried. If that were true, I’d be the richest woman on planet earth.

This is where helicopter parenting comes from: worry. Worry that they will fall down and get hurt. Even though when we fell down as children, our parents were like, “Are you bleeding? Don’t get it on the carpet.” Kids get hurt, it just happens. No amount of worrying will prevent it.

And we worry they won’t do well in school. When in reality, all kids do well in some subjects, and not so well in others, and it’s up to us to find the weaknesses and help our children in those areas. Not to accost the teacher and demand that they raise our child’s grades just because. We can help our children, but we cannot learn for them, and no amount of worrying will help us in that area either.

We worry about their health. But this too is pretty pointless. All we can do is take the proper precautionary methods, and the rest is up to the environment. We can try to shield them from germs, inoculate them against diseases, get regular check ups, watch for early signs of trouble. But, they will still get sick, regardless of our worry.

And of course we worry about providing for them. In a world where resources are growing scarce, and money isn’t always there when we need it, we worry that we can’t get what we need. But, there are resources if we really fall into trouble. All we can do is get through one day at a time, making sure we have what we need, and hoping for the best tomorrow.

Me telling someone not to worry is the very definition of the pot calling the kettle black. But I’m going to tell you anyway: stop the madness, stop worrying yourself sick. We can’t sit back and enjoy their babyhood and childhood while it’s here if we’re busy looking at what might or might not happen to them in the future. And we worry ourselves into a tailspin of negative emotions. We get so caught up in fear and worry that we start to be worried for other people’s kids too. And then it’s just too much.

Don’t let fear take over your life, especially not where your kids are concerned. Your job is to love them. That’s it, really.

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Remember Them

October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. A time I like to write a little something, because, if you did not know, I myself suffered a miscarriage in April 2011. Every year when the date passes, or when we reach this month, I am always shocked at how much time has passed yet how sad it still makes me feel.

There’s a saying that there are some things you never, ever get over, you just get past them and find a new normal. And the death of a child, at whatever stage in their life, is certainly one of those things.

I like to write and talk about my miscarriage, not to make people sad or to hold my own pity party, but to bring awareness. When I had my miscarriage, I was so misinformed and ignorant about the whole thing. I wish I had been more aware of the possibility. I wish I had known how very many other women suffered the same thing. I wish I had known how valid my feelings of sadness, loss and anger were. So, I write and I talk, so that other women won’t feel the way that I did.

I encourage you, too, to open up and talk about your experience. You could make a real difference for a woman suffering in silence. And let’s remember our children that are gone, and never forget them, keep them in our hearts always.

Here are some of my posts from the past about my experience:

Loss

One Year

I am the Face

What’s the Haps

Hi all. Now that it’s fall, and the kids are back in school, and everyone is back from whatever fabulous summer adventure they went on, I get asked a lot, “What’s new?” My answer is long and rambly, because there’s a lot of little random new things with me. Thought I’d share it with my bloggy friends too.

1. I got a nose ring. Not really big news. But, new. A modest tiny shiny stone of some sort. Most people don’t even notice it, even people I’ve known for years. When I point it out they say it “just fits your personality.” Which I don’t know how to take, I guess. But, it’s fun, and it’s one of those things I always wanted to do. Actually, when I got my eyebrow pierced 15 years ago (I’ve since taken that one out) I had regrets that I didn’t do the nose instead. So, another one checked off the bucket list. And I love it.

2. I am in school! I’m in an online program with Penn Foster for a vet tech degree. It’s like a nurse but for animals. I’m so excited, and can’t wait to be done and get a fun job. I have always had a love for animals, but it wasn’t until recently that I realized how intensely I love them and I want to work with them. I think it’s a combo of losing my 19 year old kitty recently, and through the magic of the Internet, seeing that there are so many animals that need help. Pets get surrendered at shelters and rescue organizations for the dumbest things, like “he pooped too much.” And all the abused and neglected animals, it just breaks my heart. With my degree I’d like to work with the SPCA or a shelter or rescue organization. It will feel so wonderful to get to work with animals every day, and make a difference in their lives.

3. Speaking of animals, we recently got two pet rats. Their names are Laverne and Shirley, after the show, which was a childhood favorite of mine. (The vet called to confirm “Shirley and Laverne’s check up” and I was like wut. Somebody doesn’t know their 80s TV shows.) They are sweet and gentle and wonderful. I was worried that our cat would torment them and stalk their cage. She has a history. But, she seems like she couldn’t care less. They, of course, are terrified of her, but that’s easily solved. They really are a great pet for kids. Better than a hamster or gerbil because they can be easily handled, and smaller than a bunny or guinea pig for keeping in your house. And I have not been bitten once, not even a nip, they’re very gentle. Two more members of the family.

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4. Ferris turned three! I really should be dedicating an entire post to that, but who has the time? H’s really forming his little personality, and it’s so fun.  He asks for water all the time now. It’s only so he can fake belch, but whatever, he’s drinking water. Favorite phrases: “No.” “I hate it.” “I love it.” “Two minutes.” (As in, I’ll do it in two minutes, a phrase picked up from mommy and daddy.) He absolutely loves miniature people and furniture and animals, so we got him a dollhouse for his birthday. Big hit. And he’s hit the picky eating stage. He used to be my great eater, I bragged about it all the time. No more. In case you were wondering if a kid could survive and grow on milk and white bread, I’m here to tell you yes, it’s possible.

5. Bowie started second grade. His teacher this year is amazing. We are over the moon for her. She was immediately so much more supportive of his classroom needs and tolerant of his issues. I couldn’t be happier. There’s only been one major incident with another child, and even that was mild. This time last year, we’d already had two classroom meetings and a meeting with the principal, and he was back in OT. He’s now not currently in OT and we’ve not had a single call from school. I’m so happy. For me, but so much more for him. He’s figuring it out. I am so glad to see him growing and maturing in this way.

So, there you have it. Lots going on. But life is good. What’s the haps with you?

Silk or Linen

When I look back at myself at 24, I see a naive, doe-eyed, Disney Princess of a child. So sure she had all the answers. So sure adulthood was going to be a breeze. So sure that there were no wrong life choices to be made. And somebody let me get married!

He was just as wide-eyed and princess-like as I was. And in the first few years of our marriage, it was more us clinging to each other for dear life than really embracing each other in holy matrimony. Adulthood came at us fast. And never quit.

Adulthood has changed us so deeply and in so many different ways. And in the past 5 years, our relationship has endured tests that many other couples don’t survive even one of. I don’t even know how we made it through the past year. Except that I do know.

Over the years, the clinging for dear life has turned to you support me now, I’ll support you later. With my husband doing so much of the supporting in recent years, but refusing to keep score. I look back at his patience, kindness and determination to see me happy, healthy and successful, and that’s how I know he really loves me.

Rather than turn and run when things got sad or hard or felt impossible, he stayed. I stayed. We faced it head on. Together. Twelve years doesn’t seem like enough years to house the lifetime we’ve lived together. I love you so much, Brien. Happy anniversary.

 

Kids on a Plane

In a few weeks, we’re going on a family vacation that involves us getting on an airplane. WITH CHILDREN. Not something I’ve thoroughly enjoyed in the past. And after someone with my level of social anxiety having to experience a woman yelling “shut up kid,” at my whiny 15 month old on a 6 a.m. flight bound for home, I had pretty well written off flying with my kids ever again.

But, it’s a short-ish flight, the kids are older, I’ll take my anti-anxiety meds before takeoff, and by golly, LET’S DO THIS.

So in the spirit of this adventure, I thought I’d share my tips for flying with kids, both as a refresher for myself and a PSA for any of you who’ve not yet had the pleasure.

1. Snacks. I mean, TONS of snacks. All their favorite stuff. Snacks they haven’t seen before. Snacks they’ve never even dreamed of. And this is not the time to be quinoa-and-flax-milk mom. No, this is the time for F-it-give-me-artificial-colors-and-all-the-sugar mom. Nothing gets an uppity kid to sit like an angel quite like the phrase, “want some fruit snacks?” For take off and landing, our particular favorite is gummy candy. They’re getting candy and they’re popping their ears. Win-win.

2. Toys. But not just the old standby toys. Bring their absolute favorite toys. And bring new toys that their eyes have not seen yet. You know how they get a new toy and play with it for hours and are so rapt in it that you get to watch an entire episode of a sitcom on Netflix, uninterrupted? That’s what you’re going for here.

3. Electronics. Again, this isn’t the time to be the martyr mom. Sure, it’s not the best thing for them to sit in front of a screen for too long, but trust me on this one. Download some good, entertaining, even educational games. Download some movies. And get those tots some headphones. Even one of your old smartphones you haven’t tossed out yet will get the job done. If you’re completely against this, I hear you. That’s fine. Bring books, lots of good books, preferably new ones they haven’t seen before.

4. Be SUPER nice to the flight attendants. Sickeningly sweet. Have your kids say hi to them with their cutest cherub faces on as you board. Yes of course you want a pair of wings for them to wear. Then, when your little one starts acting up, pretend like, this is the first tantrum little Johnny has ever thrown! He’s usually so quiet! It must be the air pressure on his ears! I don’t know what to do! Then when the people around you start complaining, you’ll have someone in uniform on your side.

5. Do not be fooled when they say families with small children can board first. Do not, I repeat DO NOT, get on that plane early. You want to be the last people on that flight if at all possible. The longer your kids sit in their seat with the plane just sitting there, the more antsy and bored they will get. The window of time between you boarding and the plane taking off should be very small.

6. Trips to the bathroom. Generally speaking, they don’t like it when you let your kids run up and down the aisles, but getting them up and out of their seats to walk around is a great way to kill time with them. Just take a lot of trips to the toilet, and take your time. Take your time walking back there. Pretend you don’t know how the door works. Stretch out that time as much as possible.

7. Drug them. I’M KIDDING. Don’t drug your kids. Because then you’ll just have to carry them. KIDDING! Mostly.

8. Don’t forget to put diapers and wipes in your carry on. This is a complete duh, but I actually forgot once. And it weren’t pretty.

And just don’t forget that haters gonna hate, and keep your sense of humor. Guaranteed, there will be at least one person who rolls their eyes and huffs their best huff when they see you get on board. These kinds of people used to make me feel like such crap about myself. Who am I? How dare I bring my children on a plane? I’m disrupting people’s lives here! But the truth is, those people are snobby, entitled and clearly have no children of their own, so they just flat out don’t get it. And you need to ignore them. No need to pass out goodie bags to your fellow passengers. Kids are humans too, and have as much right to fly on that plane as Very Important Business Man and Rich Lady Going to the Desert Spa.

When a baby starts crying on your flight, and it’s not yours, soak up that moment. It feels magical. Better than any drug out there. Then, of course, help them out if you can.

Safe travels. Drop your favorite tips in the comments section. And wish us luck.

Discard Pile

I’m reading this great book about tidying up your house. Her words seem a little hokey at first, and some of it feels impossible. But, we’ve managed to clear out a whole bunch of stuff already.

In the book, she has a system for the purging. You start with clothes and books, then tackle miscellaneous items, and then move on to the more sentimental stuff.

I’m having trouble getting started with the boys’ room. Because it walks the line between miscellaneous and sentimental. With each little t-shirt and toy I try to toss out, I get stuck in this sort of mom guilt nostalgic state. How can I throw away his very first toy that his Auntie brought to him in the hospital? How can I toss this shirt when he looked so gosh darn cute in it (when it still fit him)?

I know that they are growing, and will keep growing, but I guess I feel like if I keep this stuff around I can somehow delay the process. There are toys that both of them are much too old to play with. Though, those toys do tend to emerge every once in a while as their Toy of Choice for a day. So, then I start to think, will they miss it if it’s gone? Then what do I do? Your baby rattle went to live on a nice big farm with all the other baby rattles that little boys got to big for.

Or an item is tied to a specific event or a special day we had. How can I let go of the dragon stuffie we got on that trip to Portland when he was a baby?

And they have zillions upon zillions of Matchbox cars. I mean, possibly a full ton. I don’t know how to purge that pile. Some of those cars hardly get touched, while some of them remain very popular, and I have to wrestle them apart because a fight will erupt over it. And I don’t know which cars fall into which category.

There’s also a cache of toys I’ve handed down to them. A mish mash pile of old Fisher Price goodies and other such stuff that were still in perfectly good shape, so I handed them over. Those have double sentimental value. I remember fondly playing with those toys as a child, and watching them play with them. A new generation getting enjoyment out of them.

Don’t even get me started on the books. I love buying books for them. I feel like they are a good investment. I want them to enjoy reading. When I’m at a garage sale or thrift store I generally clear the shelf. But, truthfully, they’ve both outgrown some of the titles, and I really should just donate them so someone else can enjoy them. But then all the memories come flooding back of cuddling up and reading those books to them.

I have no qualms about tossing broken toys, or cheap Happy Meal goods, or the little nonsensical items that come in birthday party goodie bags. But, even those I wonder, do they still play with these? Will they miss them?

If you’re an overall tidy type of person, and often toss things out, please tell me how you handle your kids’ items. Is it harder for you? How do you decide what goes and what stays? Am I just being a sentimental weenie about the whole thing?

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