Friday, November 23, 2012

A Different Kind of Lesson

Lately I've been toying with the idea of having the kid take some kind of music lesson. There are several reasons for this. Though a few not to, of course.

To start, the kid loves music and has quite an affinity for it as well. He was singing (with excellent pitch, I might add) when he was younger than baby E is now. He has great rhythm. Also, music seems to - as it does with many of us - help him focus and be still for awhile. Which is a huge plus in my book.

Much research exists that extols the benefits of music for children and learning. There are links between music involvement/instrument playing and increased academic performance, testing scores and skills in science and math, also reading. While I could care less about test scores, the rest of that is good in my book.

And, to top out the list of pros, I played the violin for I don't remember how many years (13?) and loved my orchestra experience.

The negatives of involving him in something else boil down to this - I am struggling with deciding how to strike a good balance between scheduled activities and free time. I know, I know, this is a common problem. However, I feel very strongly that free time is so, so very important for kids of all ages. Play is the work of children (quick, who knows who that quote can be attributed to?) and when we schedule too much for them, we don't allow them to have the unstructured time they need to explore their world on their own terms.

Kids spend all day while they're at school being told what to do and when. It disallows them the opportunity to decide for themselves what to do and when (which is one of the reasons why I so love Montessori - because it offers greater freedom for children in this, but that's a post for another day). He's already involved in gymnastics (something I don't think we'll be stopping any time soon), so adding in one more thing may be too much for him. Heck, for us all.

So, what to do, what to do...

I *think* what we'll do is wait til after the holidays and try lessons then. If he seems overwhelmed by it, then we'll stop. No big deal.

I've discovered that my orchestra teacher from elementary and middle school is now teaching private lessons. I loved her way back in the day, so it seems like a good place to start. Oh, and I think we're going to go with cello. Because the kid got all excited when I played recordings of cello music. Also, if he happens to be good at it, college scholarships are more easily accessible with cello than many other instruments. What?? A momma can dream.

Today's Lesson: Music tames the wild beast. Or so the saying goes. I'm hoping the creation of music works even better to soothe said beast than simply the listening to it. Because that only works sometimes.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Itchy, itchy, Scratchy, Scratchy

So here's some irony for you. Monday I posted about how baby E had the funk and his first ever round of antibiotics. I'd written that post a few days before it actually ran. So, Sunday morning, when the kid woke up feeling miserable, I suspected we knew what was coming. I was right. Sort of.

He was complaining of his throat and mouth hurting. And a fever that ibuprofen didn't touch. And a most pitiful attitude. Also, a lack of moment, you know, stillness. So I knew something was bad wrong with him. I emailed the boys' pediatrician (who typically replies within a couple of hours), telling her I suspected strep, as I assume that's what baby E had less than 2 weeks ago. I was hoping she'd call in a script for an antibiotic (I know, the irony, right?!). Well, she didn't reply for about 10hrs and - responsibly - said we'd need to bring him in.

Well, by that time Sunday evening, he'd also developed a slight sandpaper-y rash on his face, neck, and trunk that was mildly itchy. Also, his face was WAY swollen and his cheeks were super rosy.

By Monday morning, well, the rash was crazy. His entire body - and I mean from top of his curly head to the tips of his funky toes - was covered in a fiery red and seriously itchy rash. In addition to the sore mouth and throat, fever, glazed eyes, and general miserableness.

So, back to the pediatrician I went. This time with both boys in tow. Baby E burst out in tears the moment we walked in the door. I have no idea why. He clung to me like a trembling little spider monkey the whole time. The kid saw some toys and slumped to the floor, playing halfheartedly with them. Also, did I mention he really wasn't talking? And I mean, that is not my kid.

I told the nurse the kid's symptoms and my guess at his diagnosis. He did a strep test. And whadaya know, it came back positive. My baby boy has strep. And our household got a 2nd prescription for Omn.icef in as many weeks. Oh the irony.

After I get home and, of course, posted on FB that my kiddo has strep with this horrible rash (what - isn't that what you all do, you know, before feeding them lunch or anything?!), a friend says "oh, poor kid, he's got Scarlet fever!". And then I of course consult Dr and realize that the kid does, in fact, have Scarlet Fever.

And who the hell knew that anyone still gets Scarlet Fever (which apparently is a strain of strep - think strep + horrible, want-to-peel-your-own-skin-off-because-it-itches-so-bad rash)?! Well, that one friend did, but who else???!!!

And then we all had one of the worst nights ever. It was awesome. And I will be complaining, eh, blogging, about that soon.

The kid's doped up on so many medications now I had to make a list for hubby of what to give him when. Again, the irony could kill me on this one. But, he is feeling much better. And, thankyousweetbabyjesus he did sleep well last night.

Today's Lesson: Our childrens' job is to constantly remind us that it doesn't really matter what we think, we don't really know anything. Also, drugs are good. And also (because every once in awhile, we all need 3 lessons), some days irony wins.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Run, kid, run!

Today's NHBPM prompt is to write about a health moment I regret.
Last month, we participated for the 2nd time as a family in a 5k. This one was put on by the PTA of our school district. The kid and hubby ran it. It was the kid's 4th or 5th 5k. Hubby has run a couple of half marathons and a full one, so it was no big deal for him (and this was certainly not a good time for him, you know, because he was running with a 6yo and all). But that's a pretty good distance for a 1st grader.
I'm so proud of my boy. He finished in about 36 minutes, and 5th overall in his age group (50+ kids). Mostly, though, I'm proud of him for doing it. And for improving on his own personal best from the last couple of races. I think we may have a cross country runner on our hands.
(Also, his face in this picture really cracks me up. And I love the look his Poppa is giving him.)

And at this point, if you paid any attention to the prompt from the very beginning of this post, you're wondering where I'm going with this whole thing. Here's the tie in. You'll notice I mentioned hubby and the kid. I haven't mentioned myself (or baby E). Baby E and I walked the race. To be more accurate, I walked it, and wore baby E in our Boba carrier (truly, I need to do a toddler-wearing post one of these days).
I could use that to excuse my sad time (48min-ish, 2nd to last in my age group). I mean, I was carrying a 27ish lb toddler. And the only participant - of several hundred - to babywear, I might add. So, really, shouldn't take off at least several minutes?! (The correct answer here is yes.) However, the truth is, I've gotten fat and I've gotten slow. Not that I've ever been speedy mind you, but really, this was bad.  
I weigh more now than I have, well, ever. And I'm more out of shape than I've been, well, ever. I know I've bemoaned this several times here over the last year or so. And the truth is I've done nothing about it, outside of the bemoaning that is.
It really isn't about the weight, but it is about how I feel. Which is tired, and lethargic, and pudgy, and flat out uncomfortable in my own skin. Because there's too much of it, you know.
So, what's the health moment I regret? It's the one when I realized that even if I hadn't been wearing baby E (thus not able to run for safety reasons), there is no way my body would have been able to do it anyway. And that sucks.
I hope that one of these years, all 4 of us will be able to run a 5k together.
Today's Lesson: Until we make a decision to change, to move, we remain stagnant. Simply bemoaning things does us no good. It does nothing to activate the movement. Perhaps it even makes us more entrenched and less likely to move. Thus, we need to stop moaning and start moving. Then change can happen.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Red dye 40-free Antibiotics

Baby E battled some kind of funk the last 3 weeks. We had 5 - oh yes, 5 - vomiting episodes in that time frame, snot galore, a decreased appetite, intermittent low-grade fevers, coughing. Lots and lots of coughing. And did I mention the 5 episodes of vomiting? I did?

Suffice to say, baby boy was not feeling well. And clearly his immune system was not taking care of this particular bug. So off to the pediatrician we went.

You should know that we're not big proponents of antibiotics (meds in general). I completely believe that early and repeated antibiotic use causes all kinds of problems, both for individuals and society as a whole (increases in asthma, increases in drug-resistant bugs, etc...). Also, our state was recently rated as being at the top of the list (nation-wide) for overuse of antibiotics. As in, we use tons more than most other states. Yay for us.

In the past when we've gone to the pediatrician with sick boys, she's often tried to get us to give the boys antibiotics, usually because of ear infections. Research I've read suggests that 90+% of ear infections resolve on their own without antibiotics (i.e. it's viral not bacterial thus antibiotics are ineffective). So, we've always politely refused the antibiotic, come back 5-7 days later and shown her the miraculous results of our child being  ear infection free. And, since the 2nd time that happened, she's backed off on the whole pushing antibiotics thing.

After examining baby E, the pediatrician still wasn't sure what was wrong. It didn't appear that he had an ear infection. She threw out that she'd like to treat it like a sinus infection. Which meant antibiotics.

Poor baby E had been miserable for so long, and showed no signs at all of even starting to feel better. So, I decided fill the script and actually give it to him. On the condition that she prescribe one that doesn't have Red 40 in it. Because, you know, it makes the kid crazy. And I'm pretty confident that it's just not something I want in either of my boys' systems. Yes, Dr Pediatrician, even if it doesn't affect baby E in quite that way.

The pediatrician, again, acted like she didn't know which meds don't have Red 40 in them. So I had to tell her. And I'm not sure how I feel about having to tell the MD what to prescribe my child. A bit unnerved that she didn't know. A bit empowered that I did.

At any rate, baby E finished his 10 day course of antibiotics last night. And I am beyond thrilled to tell you that he's back to his happy-and-into-everything-literally-climbing-up-the-walls self. Sometimes, just sometimes, the antibiotics are the right thing.

Today's Lesson:
One of my posts that often gets found through searches is this one in which I talk about how we hate Red dye 40 at my house. Often, people seem to be searching specifically for antibiotics in relation to red dye (based on their search terms). My assumption is that you're looking, like we were, for an antibiotic that doesn't have red 40 in it. I may be totally wrong about that of course, but it's the assumption I'm going off.

There are apparently only 2 antibiotics on the market approved for children (to take orally) that don't have Red dye 40 in them.  They are Omni.cef and Aug.mentin. And, apparently, they can make your child's poop red. Am I the only one who sees the irony of that?

Saturday, November 17, 2012

The Moments of Struggle

Today's NHBPM prompt is to write about my strengths and weaknesses. This is my take on it.

I never know when IF will hit me.

I continue to struggle with the kid's behavior. Yes, still. And I *know* it's still related to his asthma, which we still haven't gotten completely under control. So he's still not sleeping great. It's gotten a bit better. But still.

I also know some of it is related to school. As in public school in general and the crappy habits, attitudes, words he's picked up there (thankfully, not another teacher issue. At least I don't think it is). Some of it's probably developmental as well. He's being sneaky, and disrespectful, and I'm feeling very pissy about it all.

Also, hubby's not handling it well either; he's yelling a lot. Which just further sets off the kid. Tons of fun, I tell ya. It's all incredibly frustrating. (And have I mentioned that we're now on vomit incident #5 in the last 3 weeks? Yeah. We are. ThankyoubabyE.)

But none of that is really what this post is about.

It's interesting, but these struggles bring up some the the IF crap. Leaving me with feelings of guilt for sucking as a parent right now. And the "shoulds" take over.

I *should* be able to deal with the behavior. I *shouldn't* lose my patience, or my temper. I *should* be able to figure out how to help the kid's behavior improve. I *should* know how to talk to hubby to help him handle it better, too.

Clearly I'm not good enough. Those old feelings of doubt creeping back in. Maybe I'm not cut out to be a parent. Feelings of not being worthy to raise this child his birthparents entrusted to me.

Rationally, I *know* that's all crap. I *know* we all struggle sometimes. I *know* it's ridiculous to expect all of this from myself. I *know*.

And yet, I still feel it.

More often than not the rational wins out. Really, it does. But there are those moments, thankfully fleeting, but they're there. Moments when IF wins.

Today's Lesson: Guilt is a bitchy, mean thing. It has to power to override the rational. It insinuates itself deep down and pops out when you least expect it. And, apparently, it is bff's with IF. I hate them both.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Open Adoption Interview Project - Natalie from Old Georgia House

This is the post that was supposed to run on Wednesday, but it didn't. So you get it today.
Meet Natalie @ Old Georgia House. She and I were matched by Heather @ Production, Not Reproduction as part of her 2012 Adoption Blogger Interview Project. Natalie has the cutest kids (one whom she gave birth to, the other joined their family through open adoption. And she's so crafty and talented. And, oh, that house - it's amazing. Here are her answers to the questions I asked her. You can read my answers to her questions here.

* In what ways is blogging important to you? Do you use it as a way to keep in contact with family (including your son's biological family, and your family as a whole)? Or is it more of an online journal?
Blogging used to be SO important to me--I've been blogging in one way or another since the beginning of 2004, but since Moseby's birth, well, it's taken a back burner. And it's not because I don't have the time--I've always made time for it before--but because I don't know, I guess I value privacy--his privacy--so much more now. Also, I've never told his birth family about my blog--I don't hide it, but definitely don't scream it either, you know--and I value their privacy and I want them to trust that I would never say anything about them too revealing or too negative or anything. All that being said, I miss my blog and I hope I get over this "slump" soon. My blog has always been a virtual diary and I miss reading back through the tidbits of our days.
* How do you think your experience with infertility has shaped your parenting?
We experienced infertility before we got pregnant with Mary Margaret so I honestly don't know what it's like to parent with anything but a history of infertility. I think I treasure (aka SPOIL them rotten!) them more, but I don't have any way of comparing it to, say, fertile person parenting, you know?
* How has your experience of being adopted shaped your relationships with your son's birth family?
Everything I do in life is seen through "adoptee glasses", just like the way I parent is seen through "infertility survivor glasses", so it's hard to separate the two. I definitely think being adopted has a HUGE (gigantic, enormous!) impact on why I work so hard to have a relationship with my son's birth family. I want to give him everything I did not have growing up as part of a closed adoption. I will say that the time in the hospital we shared with him and his birth mom was very hard on me because all I could think about was J. (my birth mom) and the pain she described after she placed me. It was almost like my absolute joy was twinged with guilt because I knew Moseby's birth mom, M., was hurting and I felt like I was the cause of the pain. Oh, that adoptee guilt--I sure can rock it!
I have also tried to establish a relationship with Moseby's birth father. At first we didn't think he would want any contact, but have been pleasantly surprised that we've become Facebook friends and he'll email me pictures of himself as a little boy (and boy, those two guys sure favor!). While I have reunited with my birth mother, I don't know who my birth father is so I think it's wonderful that Moseby will know his. What a gift!
* What does adoption look like in your family? Do you have contact with your son's birth parents, or your own birth family? And how does that work?
Adoption is such a part of our family I cannot discern which parts don't have a trace of adoption in them. We talk about it often--I swear, sometimes I think we do daily!--and my three year old (biological) daughter's biggest question is why she doesn't have a "Mama _________" (we call my birth mom "Mama J." and Moseby's birth mom "Mama M.") and she can't figure out why she didn't get to grow in someone else's tummy. I think she's a tad jealous! HA
* How do you address those (inappropriate) adoption questions we tend to all get asked (i.e. why did his parents "give him up"?, where's he from?, etc...)?
I think it's easier that's he's a baby--he doesn't understand what I'm saying in response to people's questions, you know? Of course, I'm VERY aware of my daughter because she has very big ears and is always listening.
I think it all depends on the way a question is asked. I had someone I know ask, 'What is it?' when he was born. I answered, 'A baby', and walked off. They are lucky I didn't say more! Then there are those people that have a heart for adoption--three of my friends have actually started the adoption process since we adopted Moseby--and I will talk to them all day long about it. Now, if random people start asking nosy questions I will say, 'And I'm adopted too!'...and then it takes the focus off him and the won't ask me the same nosy questions about my adoption situation. I'm not sure why this is, but it works every time.
* What about adoption do you find most challenging?
The most challenging part? I want to raise Moseby proud of his two cultures/roots. As a white woman I'm "out of the loop" on how to raise an African American-Native American man who is proud and knowledgeable of his roots. Since before he arrived I've been reading books, going to multicultural events, expanding our friendship circles, etc. Our family is constantly evolving in this area and it's something we're constantly striving to do better--but it's certainly the most challenging.
* I'm always trying to find new easy recipes for my family, so what's your favorite, go-to meal for your family?
Favorite meal that all of will eat? Man, that's tricky! We have salmon, rice pilaf, and broccoli (Mary Margaret is going through an anti-broccoli phase right now though) at least once a week. We're also fans of homemade pizza and breakfast for dinner.
Today's Lesson: Adoption looks so many different ways. Also, I still don't eat fish but pizza is awesome.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Oh, so that's why they're doing that Family Tree Project

So, remember the whole Family Tree Project thing? I never did get an answer from her (email, note, phone call as promised - not a one). So I figured the old Parent-Teacher Conference would be a great opportunity to address that. Seems reasonable, right? I thought so. Well, let me just tell you I walked away with about the same amount of information/direction as I walked in with. Which was, well, pretty much nothing.

I repeatedly tried to get her to explain her reasons for doing this project. But she didn't seem to really want to talk about it. I admitted that I was having a difficult time knowing where to start and that we needed some direction. I pointed out the obvious (that the kid was adopted) and that this presented different dynamics in regards to this project. She said - wait for it - that she didn't want any secrets exposed through this project.

I seriously sat there staring at her for what had to of been 30seconds, trying to process what she'd just said and form an appropriate response.  I calmly (pat self on back) explained that we have an open adoption with the kid's birth family but that even if we didn't, there would certainly be no secrets.

She then said - oh, yes, it does get better - that she didn't want him to share "all that stuff". I calmly (again, pat self on back) told her that the kid would be deciding who he wanted to include on his family tree. We are perfectly happy with whatever he decides. Though, truthfully, we'd love him to include his birth family. But that is totally and completely up to him.

She then pulled out a previous student's project and showed it to us. It was the same one she'd shown at that first parents' meeting. She kept saying that student was from Japan, as if that was, like, the same thing as the kid having been adopted.

I'm pretty sure we were speaking different languages. Or something.

Know what I think? I think it's a project she's done for years. She likes it for whatever reason, and that's why she keeps doing it. I asked her a couple of different ways to explain her desired learning objectives/what she wants the kids to learn from it/what she's hoping to see. But I never got an answer. Hubby even tried asking her in his own way. Still there was never a concrete answer. Heck, there was never even a hint of an answer.

You know, I'd so been hoping that she would be able to offer a good explanation, but there was none.

So, here's what we're going to do. My idea is to make a big tree with lots of leaves. The kid can put whatever family members he wants on those leaves. And, to me, family is whoever he decides it is. If he wants to put Mr Frank, our cranky old neighbor who mows his yard at least 2x/week, on there, then that's fine with me. If he wants to only include himself, hubby, me and baby E, I'm also fine with that.

We are going to use it as an opportunity to talk about all the different ways families look. We are going to give him free license to be creative. And that's it.

Today's Lesson: Busy work starts early, when we're still little people. And it's equally as irritating as busy work is when we're big people.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Not what I was supposed to post today

Today's post was supposed to be the Open Adoption Blogger Interview Project post, but my partner and I both seem to have struggled with the dates and didn't get our interviews to each other on time. really, please come back later this week and I'll post it - promise!

Also, it should seem quite obvious that I've kind of given up on NHBPM, too. I wasn't overall crazy about the prompts and with everything else going on, I totally couldn't motivate myself to keep up.  I still have a few that I'm planning to do (in other words, that I've already written and scheduled to post), but otherwise, I may be slacking some. But that's pretty normal for me, at least of late.

I do, however, have a post for you today. I was so excited to be asked to do a guest post for HerKentucky yesterday in honor of National Adoption Month (they're running a series about adoption this month - check them all out). Now, it totally outs us all (names, where we live, etc...), so I'm not sure how long I'll leave the link up here. I've considered outing us anyway, but for the meantime, please avoid using our names, location, etc... here. Thanks! Anyway, here it is Her Kentucky Adoption Series Post.

Today's Lesson: I suck at keeping up with what day it is when my work schedule is all crazy. Like, seriously suck. Even when I have email and facebook reminders.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Explain it to me

Today's NHBPM prompt is to write about something taboo. I believe this fits the bill.

I am writing this with full knowledge that this is a highly sensitive and often polarizing topic for many parents (and people in general). I have no desire to offend anyone. But I, truly, do not understand.

Why is it okay to hit our children? Explain it to me.

Why are a a tap or a pop or quick slap on the bottom acceptable? Why are these locations okay, but no where else? Where is the line that differentiates between spanking and hitting? Or is it just semantics? Explain it to me.

Why is it okay to use your body (or an implement) to attempt to change a child's behavior? And where is the line between what's acceptable to use, and what crosses some imaginary line? Is, as the old law said, anything smaller in diameter than your thumb okay? So, then, is it alright for my husband to use something bigger than what I'm allowed to use, you know, because his hands are bigger? Explain it to me.

What is it about the relationship we have with our children that gives us permission to hit them? Is it okay to do so with a spouse? Is okay with your subordinate at work? Is it okay for a police officer? Is it okay with someone else's child? Explain it to me.

Where is the line between spanking and abuse? In my state, line between legal and illegal is leaving a mark. But what constitutes a mark? Is it a mark if it turns red for a moment but is gone a minute later...15 minutes later...2 hours later...a day later? Does it cross the line when the same exact action that causes a mark on your child, leaves no visible one on my brown-skinned boys? Explain it to me.

Does it really matter if you spank your child in anger or when you're calm? It is scarier for a child to be hit by a parent who loses her cool and does so out of anger, or by a perfectly calm and seemingly rational adult who knows exactly what she's doing? Explain it to me.

Why is it that you having been spanked growing up and now being a healthy, functioning adult justifies spanking? There are many things that happen to us as children (parental substance use, death of parents, molestation, etc...) that we don't say are "okay" just because we survived them. And we certainly would never say that it would be okay to perpetuate those patterns with our children. Why is spanking different? Explain it to me.

There are many things in life I don't understand. But our societal belief that it is acceptable, and at times expected that we hit our children is at the absolute top of my list. Explain it to me.

Today's Lesson: In my professional and personal experience and opinion, corporal punishment teaches children that it is permissible and acceptable for bigger people to exert control over smaller people, and that using our bodies in a violent way is an acceptable way to get others to do what we want them to do. Physical discipline does not help activate a child's internal locus of control. It instead teaches a child to be  behave only when the parent is watching. Spanking does not teach a child to respect his parents. It teaches her to fear them. And the two are not at all the same thing. One is necessary (respect). The other is not (fear).

Saturday, November 10, 2012

The Cubicle Chronicles: Chapter Five

Read previous chapters of the Cubicle Chronicles here, here, here, and here. I keep thinking, any time now people will stop saying stupid things. But I must be wrong. So wrong. So we continue...

Also, today's NHBPM prompt is to write about something funny. This will, hopefully, suffice.

Nurse: What's your reason for coming in [to the Emergency Department] today? Patient: I have acne. Nurse: (waiting...) Um, okay, acne, and what else is going on? Patient: I have acne. Nurse: Okay, so what brought you in today? Patient: Did you hear me? I have acne. Nurse: So...oh. Okay then. Acne.

Lady: Hello, Rebecca? Me: Me? Becky. I mean, can I help you? Lady: Do you know how to french braid? Me: Um... yes? Lady: Great. My hair's kind of damp and I can go get it a little wetter. Can you try to braid my hair? Me: Um, huh? Lady: My son has a show tonight and I want my hair to have the nice wavy thing going on and I never learned how to french braid. So, do you care to do it? Me (looks at her and determines that she appears clean): Um. Ok... (And then I actually did it. Yup, I sure did. But hell, I didn't have anything else to do. Which she could clearly see. And, yes, it was a particular kind of awkward. Not a good call on my part. At all.)

Lady 1: What the hell is that??!!! Lady 2: Oh my...!! L1: Is that really happening??! L2: Apparently it is. L1: No, really? It can't be. L2: It is. Lady 3: Is that...??!!! L1: It is. L3: You're telling me that tow truck, just pulled that ambulance here. With a patient in it?? L2: Apparently yes. L3: So, the tow truck was pulling the ambulance that had a patient in the back. L1: Yeah. Patient care at its best. L3: Well, I'll be damned. (That echos my thoughts exactly. I mean, can you imagine. You're in an ambulance. Because, you know, you, like, need to be in an ambulance to get to the hospital. And then it breaks down. But, instead of, you know, calling a new one, they call a tow truck. And, that is how you get to the hospital. I wonder how insurance will read the bill on that one...)

Lady1: What you doin'? Lady 2: I was doin' nothin'. L1: Don't you lie to me! Was you tryin' to take my cigarettes? (switched to the creepiest, most threatening, yet baby-ish voice) Don't you steal my ciggies. I will kill you. I will cut you. Into tiny, little pieces. I will take you out. Don't you touch them. L2:Um, I didn't go near them. L2 (in a completely normal - for her - voice): Okay, will you go get me a drink from the cafeteria now?  (Dude, I can not adequately describe the creepiness of that voice. And then it went all sickly sweet. I am fairly certain she's crazy. Like, totally, off her rocker, effin' crazy. One of us needs meds - her to be less crazy, or me to continue to listen to her non-medicated crazy.)

Today's Lesson: Always look busy at work. Otherwise you could get stuck braiding a stranger's hair. Which is total awkwardness. And makes you feel the need to repeatedly wash your hands.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Dear Infertility...

Today's NHBPM prompt is to write a letter to your health. Here's what I came up with.

Dear Infertility,
My initial thought is to just tell you "you suck" and "I hate you" and leave it at that. Since, you know, those things are true. So, so very true. I mean, you suck in oh, so many ways. I could go into a whole "let me count the ways" kind of rant. And it would be long. But I'll abstain. Because, well, that would just piss me off further.

And, really, I do have something more important to say to you.

Infertility, I am daily reminded that without you, I wouldn't have my boys. I hate you a lot (and I do mean a lot), but I have my kid and my baby E because of you. You serve as a reminder to me to try to see the possibilities that arise from the heartache. You remind me that good things come from the bad. That there are always opportunities for healing.

Now, I will never go so far as to thank you for, well, being you, and well, attaching yourself to me. But I can acknowledge a gratefulness. Because you are a tangible reminder to me that out of the pain can come good, once we are in a place to see and accept it. And when we are able to make some sort of peace with the crap we're thrown, we make room for good to come in.

And, for that, Infertility, I have to give you a little bit less hate.

That's the best I can do. Today at least.

The Infertile Social Worker come Momma

Today's Lesson: I believe we are presented with opportunities to learn lessons throughout our lives. Not to say that bad things happen to teach us a lesson, mind you. But that things happen, and things can be learned from those. God speaks in whispers, getting progressively louder, sometimes yelling at us to learn the damn lesson already.

Infertility, for me, was certainly a yelling. And, lord knows, it was a lesson it took me a long time to hear. But it's now a lesson I've learned. From the bad, the awful, the horrible things that happen to us, we can learn something. And, I don't know about you, but it gives me some peace. To know that something good can, will come of it all.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Changing a Vote

Today's NHBPM prompt is to write about how I stay mindful. Here's my take.

Yesterday, when we went to vote, hubby and I canceled out each other's votes. I find this irritating (big surprise), but it's not actually the point of this post. Nor is a discussion of politics specifically. I'm sure it wouldn't be hard to guess where my allegiances lie. But again, that's not the point today.

After we left the voting prescient yesterday, we were discussing the whole thing. The kid (unprompted) said, "Momma, don't worry. I changed Poppa's vote for that silly Romney guy to Barack Obama, when he wasn't looking". We all cracked up about this and then baby E started yelling out "Barack Obama, Barack Obama" over and over. I have smart boys, but again, not the point today.

So, I posted this exchange later on FB and a friend posted a comment that made me think, and inspired this post. Here's the FB conversation that ensued.

Friend - On a more serious, non-political note, it must be so cool for them (especially the kid) to see a black man in charge of the nation. Now we just need a women for all the little girls.
Me - You know, I don't think he's really connected to that as of yet. I await the day he does. And - for all of us "little girls" - a day when there's a women for us to look up to, too.
F - That's true; it's just his 'normal' since this is really the only President he's ever known. But having that sense of normal is really good.
M - I agree completely. 4 years ago I had that same thought and hope. As we were leaving today, Hubby said, "Kid, do you know that a long time ago only men were allowed to vote?". The kid looked at him like he was crazy. I pointed out that only people with skin color like mine and hubby's were also allowed to vote. He thought it preposterous. I love that a "brown" (as he says) president is also his normal.

In no way would I advocate for voting for (or against, of course) someone because of his or her race - or ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, etc... But, it means a great deal to me that for my black sons, having a president of their color will be normal to them.

Because here's the thing - politicians should resemble the people they represent. We should all have politicians who look like us as well as represent the beliefs we hold.

Why is that important? Well, for a plethora of reasons. But, right now, it's important to me because I want my children to know that anyone truly can become the president of the United States. I want my children to know that not only white men have the ability to "run" our country. I want them to have people who look like them to look up to, particularly in the most powerful position in our country.

Then again, the more cynical side of me thinks that our current politicians do, in fact, mirror the population of people they actually represent (white, upper class men). But I'm trying to not be so cynical, at least for today.

Also, I, too, await the day when the "little girl" in me has a women Commander in Chief to look up to.

Today's Lesson: Lots of people who are more eloquent than me have addressed this same issue. I appreciate living in a place where I can still say it. Even if it's unpopular. Even if I bumble over it and don't make a whole lot of sense.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

A Super Lame Blog Post

This is the lamest blog post ever. I thought I had a post scheduled for today. I was wrong. And I just now (at 4:30pm) realized it. In my defense, I did have a productive day. Hubby, the boys and I voted, then we went for a good walk at the park, then I did some laundry, and now I'm at work. Which is why I can't write a related post, because my list of the prompts is at home. And I'm not.

The fact that I've had a fairly productive day makes me feel a little less lame. A little. And I realize that I could skip a day of this whole NHBPM thing. Um, but I can't. So you get this lame post instead. You're ever so welcome.

Hope you all voted, too!

Today's Lesson: Well, I was going to say that if you don't vote today, then you don't get to complain about the results. However, I then realized that the beauty of living in the US is that even if you don't exercise your right and responsibility to vote, you still have the right to complain. I mean, it does mean you're also not contributing to a solution (which means your complaints hold a little less weight, at least to my ears). But you do still have the right.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Faster than a Speeding Bumblebee

Today's NHBPM prompt is to get on your Health Activist Soapbox. But, well, I have too many of those. And frankly am on them often enough. So, instead, you get pics of my cute kids. Really, you're winning here.
I realize most people posted their Halloween pictures a few days ago. But I already had posts set for those days and - somehow - forgot that Halloween should be in there somewhere. Plus, I figure you saw so many cute kids in costumes that mine would be overlooked. This way they're the only ones you'll see. Thus allowing you to more fully appreciate their adorableness. Or something.
Anyway, presenting my bumblebee and Superman. 
Baby E's got a lot of stripes goin' on. The socks at least were covered up with the shoes on. Also, he has no idea what a bee says. But he's freaking cute all the same.
Remind me to tell you one of these days about how the kid was *almost* creepy Superman. Which would have been funny as hell right now. But not so much when he's 13.
This was about it for pics of the kid. He zoomed around, fast as Superman all night, collecting candy. This made pictures hard to get, you know, when you're faster than a speeding bullet and all.

E held tight to my hand all night. He was not at all sure about this whole going up to strangers' houses and talking to them gig. (Smart boy) However, when he saw this blow up pumpkin in a yard, he got really excited! He walked up to it cautiously, and then ran away, laughing hysterically. I've no idea what was so funny about it. But his running made me laugh.
And then, there was a Halloween rainbow. What, don't you get those every year? Yeah, well, neither do we. Which is why it had to be documented.

Home again. With a sucker. His first, well as far as I know. He was in heaven. Until it dropped on the bathroom floor and we threw it away. Then he was one pissed off bumble bee.
Today's Lesson: If your mom is with you, and she always has her camera, this motivates you even less to ever worry about downloading your own photos. So, it's not that you're taking advantage of her photography skills, it's that she's enabling you to continue slacking. I'm sure all that is true and not BS. Pretty sure at least.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

What's in a Bag?

Today's NHBPM prompt is to write about what's in my bag/purse every day. Love this prompt!

It's funny the things that sometimes signify a change in our lives. Before my boys, I carried as small a purse a possible. I needed my wallet (credit card, a bit of cash, and driver's license, that's it), my cell phone, ad.vil, keys, and chapstck. That's about it. Anything else I'd need - i.e. kleenex, hand sanitizer (I was doing home visits), my calendar, writing utensils, etc... - I kept in my car, at home, or in my office.

If you look at my purse now, though, well, it's a whole different story.

First of all, it's huge. As in, I could fit 4 of my old purses in it. Not that there's room for them, though, because of all the other crap, uh, necessities. Stuff that apparently is necessary and vital. Junk I can't live without. My shoulder protests, I tell ya. And yet, I still have it all.

Here's what in there now:
  • My wallet is still in there. But now it's full of all kinds of crap (insurance cards, baby pictures, pennies for the mechanical pony @ the grocery). 
  • Hand sanitizer because, seriously, you never know when you're gonna need that with 2 boys who like to touch any and everything. 
  • An assortment of little toys. Dinos, cars, board books. They're all in there, ready to be pulled out whenever the need arises for them to be quiet or keep their hands still.
  • Kleenex, because there are always noses running, or fingers with boogers on them.
  • Snacks - those are also effective at keeping them momentarily quiet and in one place.
  • Now, instead of a couple of ad.vil, there is a big bottle. Because I seem to get headaches more often.
  • The last few dom.peridone because for some reason even though I stopped taking it more than 9mon ago, I can't seem to get rid of those last few pills.
  • Paper and crayons because, again, it's all about keeping the kids busy. Also - total honesty - my memory is waaaaay worse than it used to be. So I need to be able to write myself notes. Now, if only there was a way to not lose those in the depths of the purse...
  • Wet wipes are also a necessity. The boys get sticky hands all. the. time. And I don't know from where. It probably has something to do with that whole, touching everything thing.
  • Garbage. Yes, there is garbage in my purse now. Snack wrappers, broken bits of unusable crayon, possibly used tissues (what?! They might just be crumpled up! You don't know!), etc...
  • I don't know what the heck else. Honestly, I don't. Because, you see, it's so big! It's like the grand canyon. Or Alaska. You just don't know what lurking, or hiding in the recesses.
I think I'll go clean out my purse now. But tell me, what's in your purse?

Today's Lesson: It's so interesting  to see and make note of the unexpected things that reflect the changes that happen in our lives.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

The Filppant Doctor

Today's NHBPM prompt is to write ab out a conversation with your doctor. I have the perfect one.

After learning that breastfeeding a child you were adopting was possible, I made what seemed to me to be the next reasonable step. I scheduled a doctor appointment to talk about inducing lactation options. Unfortunately, the midwife I had been seeing for several years was out on her own maternity leave. I asked to see another female provider in the practice.

It just so happened that the kid was born the day before my appointment. So, I left the hospital, after having nursed him several times with the SNS, to make the snowy trek over to the MD's office. I was all excited, thinking she'd have great ideas and be so supportive. Well, I was a bit wrong on that one.

While I explained to her what I wanted to do, she sat there, passive face, hard for me to read. Once I finished my spiel, she flippantly said, "I don't understand what the big deal with breastfeeding is. I mean, your baby will love you no matter what. And then you wouldn't have to go through all this. I mean, I don't understand why anyone thinks breastfeeding is such a big deal. I was a formula baby and I'm just fine. He'll survive just fine no matter what".

And my jaw dropped.

I mean, really?! This - very young/just out of med school - doctor was really telling me that breastfeeding wasn't important. That formula was really "the same thing" (honestly, those words came out of her mouth) as breastmilk. And that there were no benefits of breastfeeding my baby, to either of us.

She offered me a 2 week prescription of Reglan (which is typically used in the US to increase milk production, but has potentially awful side effects and really isn't particularly that effective). She refused to give it to me any longer, even if I came back in a week or 10 days to assure none of the side effects had manifested. "If it's gonna work it will. If it's not, then it's no big deal and just give him a bottle of formula."

That doctor never took the time to ask me why breastfeeding my son was important to me. She hadn't treated me through my infertility and treatments. But surely she should, at a minimum, have looked at my chart.

If she had, I could have explained that breastfeeding, even more so than actually being pregnant, was something I'd grieved. And that learning it was indeed possible, was helping me heal. I can only assume that (in addition to being completely ignorant about breastfeeding, breastmilk, and the inferiority of formula) that she was in some misguided way trying to let me know that it would be okay if I wasn't successful. However, that wasn't the kind of support I needed.

What I did need was someone to listen to me. Someone to validate my choice to try to induce and nurse my first child. Someone to offer non-judgemental support. Someone to encourage me in my efforts. Someone who was willing to believe that the decision I was making was well-thought out, educated, and loving.

Not a flippant dismissal.

Today's Lesson: Just because someone has earned the title of MD, it does not mean she knows everything. It also does not mean she knows anything about good patient care. That appears to be something quite lacking in medical school. As does good, accurate information about breastfeeding.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Some of My Favorite Blogs

Today's NHBPM prompt is to write about the weirdest thing about my health. But I couldn't really think of anything. So I decided to do one of the alternate prompts, which is about my favorite blogs. So, what you're getting today is a random, quick list of a few of my favorite blogs. Hope you'll take a minute to peruse enjoy them as much as I do!

  • Family Rocks: The Life of Peg - Peg is amazingly brave, honest and thoughtful in her writing. I so appreciate her willingness to share her life via blogland.
  • The Bloggess - She is hilarious. I mean, make me cry, tears running down my face, laughing so hard my face hurts kind of funny.
  • So This is Love... - Jen is a fellow social worker. She is so insightful. Also, I love how intentional she is in her writing. I think that's how she is in her life, and it translates to her posts.
There it is. I'd love to know what some of your favorite blogs are? Really, please share!

Today's Lesson: When I write everyday, I have less to say in each individual post. Also, blogging about health everyday is hard. And even though today's only the 2nd day of the month, this is actually the 5th post I've written just today for this month. So I get to be a little done with the topic for today.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Why I blog about health issues

Today's NHBPM prompt is to write about why I blog about health. So, I wrote a similar post back in April. And if I was feeling super lazy, I'd just copy and paste that one here. Or, even better, direct you to that post. I'm not gonna lie, I considered that. But it seemed really lame, especially considering that this is the 1st day of the month and all.

Thus - today at least - I'm choosing not to be quite that lazy. Instead I'm going to give you a list of the reasons why I continue to blog about breastfeeding my toddler, and adoptive breastfeeding in particular.
  • I didn't know it was possible to nurse a non-biological child until someone told me (outside of wet nursing, of course). I hope that I, too, can shine a light for someone. Or at least be an encouraging resource.
  • Breastfeeding has a limitless # of benefits for mamas and babies. And, I think, even more so for the mama-baby dyad formed through adoption. I like sharing those benefits with others!
  • Unless we talk about breastfeeding in general - and breastfeeding toddlers - breastfeeding will never resume being the societal norm.
  • If we are embarrassed, or just not willing to open ourselves up to possible uninformed criticism by others, we don't provide the support and knowledge that other mamas need.
  • Um, why not?

Today's Lesson: Sometimes, while a particular blog post may not be profound, we should all just be grateful that it does not focus on vomit. Be grateful for the little things, people.