Friday, October 30, 2009

Top 10 Things About Being A Swino

In my uneducated opinion, I'm about 90% over swine flu. The only real lingering effects are my low energy, which arguably could have been there before swine flu, and a lingering cough or two each day. So, in the art of fondly remembering things that are past, I give to you the top 10 things about having swine flu (in no particular order):

1) I was briefly a part of a national state of emergency. Someone out there in Sheboygan, WI, was worried and I was a part of it. Makes me feel patriotic.

2) Taking a nap during daylight is divine. I can't really remember a time that I could just take a nap during the day. It was incredible.

3) People write funny things on your facebook page like "I hope you survive." It's a unique time in your life when people don't know if you're going to make it. Since I'm mean, I only posted sporadically while I was sick, and let people imaginations run. For the record, I wasn't ever in peril of being hospitalized or anything like that. It got ugly but not THAT ugly.

4) You get to wear those super stylish surgical masks in public. If that doesn't make you feel like a leper, I don't know what will.

5) People call you just to check in. That was really nice, knowing that people are pulling for you. Or that they are morbidly curious. Either way, I liked it.

6) People bring you food. Like really good food. Like food that they would normally not even make for themselves. I'm talking homemade bread with hand ground wheat, and soups as far as the eye can see. It was really beautiful. I have fantastic friends.

7) Your mom comes to visit. And she lives a country away, and she's in real danger of getting a serious respiratory infection if she becomes a swino, but she comes anyway. Because that's what moms do, and my mom rules.

8) You can empathize with sick people again. Honestly, I forgot what having a 103 degree fever felt like. I'm hoping my stint as a swino will help me be more patient when my kids get sick and less frustrated with their inability to suffer quietly. Fevers and coughing is no fun and everyone should know about it. It's only right.

9) Your husband takes time off work, friends, life, fun trips to Las Vegas to take care of you. And though his having to cancel his trip made me cry (he was looking SO forward to it), knowing that he didn't think twice about it, and put my situation ahead of his own wants. I know he wasn't happy about it (who would be?), but duty called and he answered. He did a great job taking care of us all too. A regular Florence Nightingale!

10) A good ole fashion reality check. So much of my day has fake deadlines and unnecessary worry, I talk myself into being the "only one" who can do certain things, ridiculous things. Becoming a swino was interesting in that it was a total loss of control for me, and I had to give up the reins on everything and let other people handle things that had been my responsibility. And they did a great job. The reality check of my own insignificance came as a relief is some ways.

Anyways - those are my thoughts on THE DREADED SWINE FLU. I look forward to the time where we can look back on the time I became a swino and laugh. And laugh. And cough and then laugh again.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Sharks with Freakin' Laser Beams

From the moment I found out the gender of my babies (I found out gender during both pregnancies - I'm not what you would call very patient), I had to find the perfect baby outfit. This outfit wasn't really for the baby, but to help me get through the pregnancy. I felt like it was some kind of insurance policy - that a baby was actually coming. It offered reassurance that all the torturous symptoms of pregnancy would be over eventually and that this baby was actually real, not some psychotic episode or strange pregnancy dream. This outfit would go under my pillow at night, I would cling to it while wanting to vomit, and drape it over my ever-expanding girth throughout those last HUGE months. It was my blanky. This might not make any sense to the non-pregnant person, but man, having an blanky seemed totally obvious to me.

When the Red Baron was due to arrive, I found this supremely cute pink polkadot soft sleeper that fit the bill nicely and it became my constant companion. Then, not long after she was born, we found out about the pending arrival of the Little Man. The first item of business was to find a blanky. But the more I looked at the boys clothes, the more unsatisfied I became. Here's the reason: infant baby boys clothes are absurd. I think the baby boy clothing execs got together and drafted all manly items into 3 categories: ferocious animals, professional sports, and power tools. Then, to decorate every manly item, they would randomly choose one thing from each category and make it into a completely ridiculous montage. Dinosaur playing football while holding a screwdriver - check. Alligator playing basketball next to a power drill - check. Lion playing baseball with a tiger holding a hammer - check. None of these images gave me any comfort. In fact, they're all a little terrifying and a tad bit insulting to my intelligence and the intelligence of my multi-celled fetus. Come on!! Do you really think an animal without opposable thumbs would even really like baseball? Please!

Let me qualify, I am aware that there are many, many child clothing retailers out there, but I do my shopping at Target, Craigslist, and the occasional Costco, and that's what was coming up in those locations. The kind of clothing that did not offer the calming reassurance I was looking for. Where were the unassuming plaids? The quiet stripes? The polite paisleys? Nowhere. Feeling bereft of any retailer support, I caved and picked up some Rottweilers-playing-rugby-while-flying-fighter-jet onesies and gave up the fight. Who am I to take on the infant boy retailers of America? I was just a puky mom who wanted a sweet little reminder that I wouldn't be pregnant forever and that my son would come into this world welcomed by cheer and warmth and not fangs and spark-plugs.

Then the Little Man was born, and some answers were offered in the labyrinth of differences between boys and girls clothes and their inspiration. When the Red Baron learned how to move/crawl/walk she usually did so around the existing furniture/obstructions/obstacles. If an infant can be dainty, she was it. But when the Little Man learned these same things he moved like a tank and usually did so as close to the obstacles as possible, like he needed some kind of challenge. As if simply moving straight and steady for the first time ever wasn't difficult enough, he needed to simultaneously scale the couch or straddle the cat. No obstacle was too great. Especially when it came to chasing his sister. Yes, the Red Baron was (and still is) the Little Man's Everest. She is the perfect moving target, and he's on the clock tower with a sniper rifle. The poor Red Baron, after months of being told to "watch out for the baby," "don't hurt the baby," and "be gentle with the baby," found out that this baby had been studying in utero with his little ninja snapping turtle friends while they dig a moat around a javelin field.

Turns out these retail execs know a thing or two. Little boys, even in their infancy, are so in tune with their primitive primeval selves, they can be strategic in obtaining their goal, as evidenced by their deft maneuvers and sharpened instincts when it comes to the chase. And if that can't be celebrated with a jujitsu sparring rhino in a hard hat, than I don't know anything.

So I'm on the look out for some girls clothes with street-fighting butterflies while building a throwing star factory, just to even the score a bit.

Exhibit A: Little Man's first attempt at a sock monkey half-nelson, 3 months old.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Oink - Public Service Announcement

Ok, so I've got it. My husband has been calling it "THE DREADED SWINE FLU" for effect I think. And I just figured I wanted to share a little bit of info that I learned from the Dr.'s office, which I didn't know and found interesting:

- Swine flu is projected to hit about 40% of the population, with varying degrees of severity. The most severe (a projected 1%) will be hospitalized.

-The hospitalization will be because of respiratory distress. Which is so weird, because when I think of flu I think vomiting and digestive distress (I think I like that word combo). But this flu attacks the chest and you'll think you have a cold or strep, not the flu (at least I did).

-Hospitalizations usually happen within the first 48 hours of onset.

- The under 5 year old crowd (and over 65 year old crowd) tends to avoid the really bad symptoms, which is good and bad in a way. Good because if my kids had gotten as sick as I am, I would have gone completely insane (mental distress). But if they had shown more serious symptoms, other than a run-of-the-mill runny nose, I would have kept them isolated from society in efforts to keep it from spreading, instead of taking them to preschool, church, etc. Where they may have spread it to their other under 5 year old friends and their families. My kids didn't even have fevers, but the doctor is pretty sure I got sick from them.

- I was told under no circumstances to come in contact with anyone prego. So my prego friends, DON'T GET THIS. I've had fevers up to 103 this week, and have only been able to keep them down with high doses of tylenol and advil. I'm just not sure what a prego lady would be able to do in this situation.

-I sound like I smoke a pack-a-day still, which is pretty annoying. The coughing is pretty painful, and last night I woke myself up at 4am coughing to the point of gagging. I know, gross. But I just want people to know, because some cases aren't bad, and that's great. But this has the potential to get really uncomfortable, and I'm there.

-I've heard all kinds of estimations on incubation, and the doctor didn't even really know the period of contagion, etc. But she said that I needed to stay away from people until I could be fever-free for 24 hours without the use of medication, and so far that hasn't happened and I've been sick for 6 days.

-It's being spread by droplets, ie. coughing, sneezing, mucus, etc. and receiving those germs into your eyes, nose, mouth. So try to avoid touching your face at all costs. And wash your hands like crazy.

Anyway - just some info I've been meaning to put on here, but haven't really had a chance to. I'm in good hands and am feeling so loved. People are so good to me, I'm quite undeserving. I'm sure I'll be feeling 100% for the Halloween festivities. I have so much to write about lately - I promise to catch up soon! Until then - OINK!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Alternative Medicine

I don't know what it is, but there's something going around these days, and there are several victims at my house.

My technology is sick. My printer won't print, my scanner won't scan and my computer won't compute. Actually it will compute, but it won't upload pictures, which is extremely annoying. Hence no really recent pictures up lately. Sorry folks. As soon as I can locate a professional to check it's vital signs, I'll have something fun up, I promise.

The kids are sick. Actually, they're ok, but the constant flow of greenish ooze from their noses and poor sleeping habits have me a little concerned. But I'm told the nose residue is the fall accessory of 2009 in the 2 yr.-7 yr. old crowd. If that's the case, my kids belong in Paris and Milan as this season's most fashion forward tots.

And finally, I'm sick. Actually, I'm not that bad, but my throat is on fire, and I sound like a-pack-a-day smoker. It's hard when the person who's supposed to take care of everyone else is not up to par. So the Red Baron is taking charge and is working as my own personal physician. Here is the transcript of my appointment with Dr. R. Baron:

Dr. R. Baron: Are you sick mom?
Me: Yes, I'm not feeling very well.
Dr. R. B.: Well, let's check your heart beat. Oh look, there's a baby in your stomach.
Me: Really? That's weird, I don't remember that being there (suddenly sucking in).
Dr. R. B.: Yeah, there she is. Her name is Mmmini.
Me: Ok, let's talk about my sore throat instead (feeling a little uncomfortable and self-conscious).
Dr. R. B.: Ok. And I need to check your eyes. And your mouth. And your shots.
Me: Where will I need shots?
Dr. R. B.: In the forehead, the heart and the baby.
Me: Ouch. That sounds serious.
Dr. R. B.: Shots only hurt for a minute. Then you can have a candy corn. (Which ironically might the reason why there's a Mmmini in the first place).

She wound up and gave me my shots; turns out stabs and shots are the same thing. What can I say? My Dr. is very thorough. She kissed it better and then started singing a Spanish song, while drumming on her brother's head. Did I mention she has a more homeopathic approach to medicine?

I'm relieved that my prognosis is so good. It turns out that Mmmini and I will be fine. It's nothing a candy corn won't fix. And luckily, I have a decent supply of the medicinal candy corn, so if you need any, you know where to come. I can be your dealer.

If you excuse me, I have to intervene on Dr. R. Baron from performing her first session of acupuncture on the Little Man. Stay well!!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Opposite Day

Remember when you could just declare that it was opposite day? Like if someone said something you didn't approve of, for instance, "wear shoes" "it's time for dinner" "today is Tuesday," all you had to do was decide that it was opposite day and instantly in your mind you could wear sandals, eat dessert and it would be Friday. Am I alone in these elementary school antics? I hope not, because opposite day was the greatest, especially when there was a test to take in the winter while it was raining.

But in the effort to keep opposite day alive and well, let's just pretend that it's opposite day. No wait, let's make it opposite week.

And the Little Man is like this:

The Red Baron feels like this:

And they love each other like this:

But I'm going to level with you. It's been more like this:

Yes, that's the Little Man wearing a winter hat, stuffing Red Baron in the diaper trunk. She's not super happy about it. For a little guy, he's pretty spry. This week has been a little wearing, but I just have to remind myself that someday I'll miss the days where I could just sit back and watch Little Man stuff Red Baron into the diaper trunk. Probably when they're teenagers.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

RIP Rest In Peace

Usually when my kids hit their milestones there's fanfare and parades, facebook postings and phone calls to family, declaring the spectacular news:

"Red Baron used the potty!"
"Little Man just rolled over!"
"Red Baron stopped biting other children!"
"Little Man finally got hair!"

We just passed another milestone, but not the "national-moment-of-silence" kind. No, this isn't a really celebratory milestone. It's the kind that actually makes my quality of life drastically plummet. I approach this milestone with the weight of a person burying a loved one. Yes, it is this day I officially say good bye to my dear friend, the Red Baron's Afternoon Nap (let's call it "Reban").

I have had hard time letting go of this friend. In fact, Reban left several weeks ago. But I've been in denial. Reban needed to get some air and hasn't been back since.

At first, I wasn't alarmed. Reban probably just lost track of time, I thought.
That Reban! I'm sure Reban got distracted in the magazine rack at Safeway. She'll be waltzing through that door any moment now full of apologies, I continued.

But nothing happened. No phone calls, no emails. The silence of the space that Reban left in my home was filled with the screams of over-exhausted toddlers.

That's when I got scared. Phone calls to the pediatricians office and enquiries to the mommy websites didn't turn up any helpful leads. What if Reban was pinned in a ditch, isolated and obscured from the search parties a few meager feet away? No, I had to keep searching; I was Reban's only hope (or rather, Reban was my only hope). So I waited. And waited some more. But nothing. It was like that time I got stood up by a date, minus the hair spray and lipstick. Empty waiting and ticking of clocks. Except I knew Reban would never stand me up. No, Reban and I knew each other. Reban was the one who saved me from sure institutionalization and mental evaluations. No, Reban wouldn't leave me hanging. Not during toddlerhood. Not MY Reban.

After some time passed many said "Reban is gone, it's time to stop waiting and move on with your life. Go to the zoo or something." But I refused. I refused to believe that this thing of beauty, these moments of solitary tranquility and mental breathing were all just the charade of some one-sided relationship. That I didn't mean as much to Reban as Reban meant to me. But that was precisely the situation. And it hurt.

It was during these throws of desperation when I heard a knock at the door. Jilted, I answered it and in walked Parental Guided Quiet Time ("PGQT" doesn't work, so let's call it "Parry"). Parry entered, with a sippy cup full of milk and a bag full of library books and single-handedly filled the gap that was left by Reban. The baby gate closed behind Parry and with these tools of distraction, I was released from duty and alarming quiet blanketed my precious afternoon. And just like that, tranquility was restored once more.

Don't get me wrong, I still miss Reban. But the time has come to say good bye. So good bye dear friend. You're in a better place now. LONG LIVE PARRY (please)!

Red Baron (7 mos.), Monk the Monkey and Reban during happier times.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Nowhere To Hide

Have you ever looked over while getting undressed and seen the totally unimpressed face of your pet?

Yeah, me neither. But I think I'll work out anyway.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Farewell Queen of Awkward

I'm the first to admit it: I am the queen of awkward. I'm the friend that goes in for the hug, when you are going in for the handshake. In fact, I go in for the hug when people aren't even wanting to shake hands. What can I say? I'm a hugger. It's something I'm coming to terms with and learning how to read social cues. I also forget names quickly, which is understandable for lighter associations, but not for people I've known my whole life, extended family members, etc. Yeah, pretty awkward. I've grown pretty attached to my title Queen Awkward. Which is why it is with great surprise I relinquish it, because this week I met three people that I think deserve my crown. And there's nothing more awkward than a three-way tie, am I right?

It all started with the piano tuner. He seemed pretty nice, and played some nice jazzy chop sticks, and I thought "I like this guy." Somehow our discussion rambled toward the two no-no subjects: politics and religion. I normally don't go near these emotionally charged topics, but I figured "Hey, he plays jazzy chop-sticks, how bad can this get?" Famous last words. Turns out he is a conservative southern Baptist and I am a liberal member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. But again, I thought to myself "Pieface, you're both adults, there's no reason for this to be anything but two mature adults discussing their backgrounds." But the discussion reached the point of no return when he said that I "seemed too well-educated to be Mormon" among other awkward accusations. Sure, it was all delivered in the nicest possible way, the way that you would picture a guy who played jazzy chopsticks to say it. But by the time he left, I was mentally exhausted. I'm happy that I stuck to my guns on being respectful versus his more aggressive approach, but HELLO! Are you really attacking my politics and religion, while you tune the piano and PLAY JAZZY CHOP STICKS? In MY house? In front of MY kids? AWKWARD!

Maybe you should just get back to tuning the piano.

Several days later I rode my bike to the grocery store with my kids in the bike trailer. After I packed everyone back into the trailer, I turned to put my cart into the little cart shelter, and in the 7 seconds that I wasn't by my kids' side a woman ran up to them with her hand on her heart, looking quite frantic.

Me: "....Hello....?"
Her: "Did you just go shopping while your kids waited outside in the bike cart?"
Me: "Ummm, no. Didn't you see me? I was just returning my cart," pointing to the cart shelter about 10 feet away from my bike.
Her: "Are you sure?"
Me: (getting on my bike) "Uh ... yup" (riding away).
Her: "Oh, because I was sure that someone had just left these adorable little children on the street, and I just didn't know what to do blah...blah....."

What the? I turn my back for approximately 7 seconds and this stranger is ready to call social services. AWKWARD!!

Fast forward to yesterday. I'm at the playground and this woman I don't know looks at me and asks in astonishment "Wow. You're a young mom. Like a really young mom. How old are you?" I--again--being the mature adult that I am, said "30" and resisted the cheerleader-in-trouble-with-a-married-sugar-daddy-in-the-State-Senate-and-you're-old-like-really-old, how-old-are-you? fictitious reply. Because, remember, I'M MATURE DANG IT!!!

So kudos to you Bible-thumping-piano-tuner, strange-grocery-store-social-services-lady and super-nosy-ageist-mom. You put my awkward hug with what's-his-name older ex-coworker while shopping at Ikea to shame! If you ask me, you all need a good hug!

Turns out the awkward hugging problem is genetic.
* Jazzy Chop Stick mentions: 4

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Something Is Wrong With My Phone

I feel like I owe a lot of people a lot of phone calls lately.

Sorry folks. My phone. It's been really weird lately. I promise to catch up soon.