Monday, October 17, 2016

My Kid's a Medical Marvel

I read somewhere on the world wide internets that certain people are cut out to parent certain types of kids.  I’ve always said I think I was meant to be a boy mommy.  I just don’t think I was cut out to have girls.  I love girls; I have nieces whom I adore.  But for the day-to-day, I don’t see myself guiding a young girl into womanhood.  Granted, I’ve never actually BEEN a pre-pubescent boy and I know that there are all kinds of “surprises” in store for me within the next few years of my boys being in middle school, but I still think I’ll be better at boys than I would have been at girls. 

I was, however, a very awkward pre-pubescent girl once, and it weren’t pretty.  For some reason, I cut my hair short so that I looked like a middle-aged soccer mom trapped in a 13-year-old’s body, like I should be balancing a Virginia Slims cigarette precariously on my lower lip while spilling red wine everywhere and yelling at my peers to get off my lawn.  My pants legs were always too short approximately one week after we purchased them, but in the name of frugality, there was no way my mom was going to buy me a new pair of jeans.  To top it off, in 1987, suspenders were “in.”  Remember?  No?  Just me?  Anyway . . .  How does one wear suspenders when she is an awkward pre-teen with brand new boobs?  Do the suspenders go inside the boobs, so that they look like a giant hourglass?  Or do they go outside the boobs, so they look like giant parentheses?  I’m awkward from sheered head (BOOBS) to Bass Weejuns!  To top it off, I’m pretty sure I had a raging case of PMS for the entirety of the years 1986 and 1987. 

I think that my middle school years were a practice run.  God watched it all and thought: boys.  We’ll just go with boys.  So in 2003, he gave me one.

Apparently I’m not so great at raising boys either. Even though my mother-in-law periodically reminds me that none of her three boys every broke a bone, I cannot say the same.   
At age 7, Large had a well-fed 2nd grader fall on top of him during a game of tackle and he broke his collarbone.  He’s also had a run-in with a wayward swing (it’s complicated) and he had a freak just-walking-down-the-hallway-at-school accident.  Kid’s got his mama’s natural grace.  Medium’s non-existent ninja skills at a mall play area earned him a cast when he pretended to be running his own parkour course.  Turns out he’s not very good at it.  The only one I had left was Small.

A few weeks ago, Small and Medium were actually getting along, for once.  Naturally this caused the earth to fall off its axis in preparation for the imminent apocalypse, and Small broke his finger trying to catch a football.  He came inside, showed it to me, and told me it really, really hurt.  I took one look at it and my powerful mother’s intuition told me that a pinky is not supposed to be turned in that direction.  Off we went to Patient First, and I literally chuckled when the receptionist asked me if we had ever been there before.  (My monogrammed parking spot out front shoulda been her first clue.)  After three weeks in the cast, we went to get it removed, but Small’s finger hadn’t yet healed completely, so he had to wear another one for 2 weeks. 

Keep in mind that at six years old, he’s still pretty active.  Some might even use the word “rambunctious.”

Small’s pinky and ring finger were both inside the cast - the ring finger serving as a sort of splint for the pinky.  He complained a bit last week that his finger was hurting.  I figured he scraped it or that perhaps the cast was rubbing and irritating his skin, and I reassured him that it could not be broken, because it was already inside a cast.  Go home Mommy, you’re drunk.

When we had the cast removed, I immediately noticed that while his pinky looks as good as new, his ring finger was swollen and purple, and he couldn’t bend it into a fist.  When the xray technician took him back to look at the pinky, I asked real sweet-like if they could maybe just sneak a peek at that ring finger too.

Yep, broken.

Small actually broke a finger that was already inside a cast.  The doctor was very sweet but admitted that she had never seen anything like this happen before.  Look at that – he’s a medical marvel.  This must be what the first kid to ever get Polio felt like. 

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Thinking about Keith Morrison.

The intellectual bank of BoyMommy is overdrawn.

Like many of you, I look at other women and think, “I don’t know how she gets it all done.”  I have friends and neighbors who always seem to have their sh*t together, and I feel like I’m one microwave meal away from a room with padded walls. 

I’m busy.  I’m the president of the elementary school PTA, I’m on the board of the local Little League, I’m working on my Master’s Degree, and then I have this little gig called parenting.  I love all of these things and don’t want to give any of them up.  I love being in the school, I love being involved in an activity that my entire family holds dear, and I love that I’m finally doing something for myself by thinking of my own future.  Of course, all this is secondary to my day job, which primarily consists of keeping three boys alive while feeding them nothing but grilled cheese and chicken nuggets.  It’s not like I’m spending my days going all Martha here at home.

I get in bed every night, exhausted, but my brain is all swirly.  I lay there and think of inane topics until I finally shut down about an hour later.  It’s like there’s no twilight for me; it’s all fluorescent lights and then darkness, and somewhere in there I’m supposed to relax enough to sleep. 

So last night I wrote some stuff down.  Obviously these are extremely important items that my brain thinks I MUST consider before shutting down:

1.  I wonder what Bill Murray’s favorite movie is.

2.  Does Dolly Parton sleep on her back, or on her side?  I’m gonna go with side.  Otherwise . . . gravity.

3.  What’s Puerto Rico like?

4.  Welcome to my house, play that music too loud, show me what you do now, we don’t like to go out . . .

5.  I need to make a decision about kitchen paint color.

6.  Does Keith Morrison sound like that in real life?  I wanted coffee . . . with sugar . . . but what about the creamer?  

7.  Is it Nels Faptha, or Fels Naptha?

8.  My neighbor looks a little like Newt Gingrich.

9.  Was Ione Skye in any other movies besides Say Anything?  I’m gonna have to google.

10.  I wonder if birds know how stupid they are.

I know you feel me, moms.  What stupid stuff is taking up residence in your brain where knowledge used to be?

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Snowzilla & the Self-Righteous Mom

We had a little weather event here in Virginia this past week.  It snowed.  A lot. 

I dutifully made three trips to Target last week and stocked up on bread and milk.  I considered buying new $50 Lego sets for each of my boys, but then I realized that that would only buy me a few hours of quiet time and then I’d have even MORE Legos in my house.

Lots of people are posting their cute sledding photos on Facebook.  It’s fun to see all the kids who look like Ralphie's little brother Randy from A Christmas Story . . . “I can’t put my arms down!”  Everyone was so excited last weekend, enjoying each others’ company and tiring themselves out in the snow.  But it’s been 7 days now.  We’re done.

Except for that one mom.  You know the one.  Moms are posting all over Facebook about how ready they are for the kids to go back to school on Monday, but not THAT mom.  That Mom is NOT ready.  She’s enjoying every moment with her precious offspring, and she is treasuring this time with them.  What a blessing to have had these wondrous snow-filled days with them.

Well I call bullsh*t. 

I love my boys, and I have thoroughly enjoyed little snippets of our time together.  The first few days were fun.  We slept late, stayed in our pajamas, played in the snow, watched movies, did a puzzle, drank hot chocolate, made chili, and read books.  And then the next day happened, with the laundry and the neighbor kids and the stepping-on-melted-snow-with-socked-feet and the “wrestling” and staying up way too late. 

We’ve been bowling.  We’ve been to the jumpy place.   We’ve gone to the Rec Center.  We’ve gone out for lunch . . . and dinner . . . and breakfast.  I’ve let them play Nerf guns in the house.  I’ve let them slide down the basement stairs on their sleds, I pretended not to know that they jumped off the neighbor’s deck into the snow, and I guarantee there’s been a lot of unsupervised sugar consumption. 

I’m tired now.  By the time they go back, they will have been home for 10 straight days.  Hubby went back to work on Monday, so I’ve been in the trenches alone.  When they’re home over the summer, they can ride bikes, play ball, and go to the pool – there are lots of ways for them to get their boy energy out.  I’m living in a pressure cooker of dirty hair, sweaty socks, and a marathon of Impractical Jokers. 

So, That Mom . . . please don’t shame the rest of us with your self-righteous snow-posts.  I’m truly glad you enjoy your children.  I’m sure you’ll enjoy mine as well.  They’ll be right over.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Teaching Integrity

The quality I most admire about my father is his integrity.  He’s just a good guy, and he always seems to do the right thing.  I try to live a life of integrity, but sometimes it’s hard.  I lose my patience.  I clench my teeth.  I think hateful thoughts about inadequate drivers.  How do I teach my boys to be young men of integrity when the very definition is doing the right thing even when no one is watching?

Years ago, before the advent of self-checkout lanes—a lane where I don't have to make small talk about why I’m buying Diet Coke and package of 12 Entenmann’s donuts?  Sign me up!—I was in the express lane at Giant.  A few customers in front of me was a woman who had several items to purchase when suddenly she looked at the next customer’s items on the belt and  realized she’d forgotten to pick up bread.  She made a panicked comment under her breath about how she’d need to go back and get bread when the customer behind her said, “here, take mine.  I’m not in a hurry.  I’ll go back and get bread.”  He grabbed his items off the belt, got out of line, and headed toward the bread aisle.  As luck would have it, he got back to the line before she left the store, and in order to repay the kindness, she paid for all of his items. 

            Every once in a while you witness one of those rare moments that restore your faith in humanity in some small way.  It wasn’t a grand gesture.  It was a simple act of kindness that manifested into something else, because not only did the woman not have to get back in line or the gentleman have to pay for his items, but the rest of us in line witnessed something that made me, at least, pause and think about how little effort it takes to be kind.  There’s a difference between being nice and being kind, and I try to teach my children that they should be kind to everyone, even those who don’t seem to deserve it. 

            My father tells a story (and there are a lot of stories.  A lot.) about a man on a train whose children were wreaking havoc.  Trapped in a steel tube with unruly children is unpleasant, no doubt, and other patrons began snickering and whispering about the children’s behavior and apparent lack of discipline.  Finally someone spoke up and asked the man to control his children.  He seemed to be zoning out as he apologized and explained that he had just received some devastating news and he didn’t know what he was going to tell the children. 

            You never know what someone else’s story is, and as we approach the time of year when we get bombarded with the notion of Christmas cheer and the Spirit of the Holidays, perhaps we need to remember that everyone has a story.  I get stressed out over the holidays--the shopping, the baking, the crowds, the wrapping, the parties, the excitement, the travel—it’s so  . . . . much.  I find myself getting snippy and annoyed when I, apparently, should be feeling cheerful and jolly.  This year I’m going to make more of an effort to act with integrity and to be kind even when I’m feeling cranky and overwhelmed.  (Otherwise known as every day in December.)  I want to be able to show my children that I can take a deep breath and act with kindness even when those around me seem undeserving.  I can’t control how others act, but I can set a good example for my own family; because even when I feel like no one is watching, my kids are.