Monthly Archives: April 2013

The Last Nursing of My Last Baby

(Sappy Post Alert! I usually try to keep things light-hearted and fun, but not this evening. Sorry)

This evening, I nursed my baby boy for the final time.

I’ve thought about it long and hard, and it is time. I love nursing, and he loves nursing, but it is time. For the past few months, we’ve been weaning slowly: three times a day….morning and bedtime….then just bedtime. He no longer needs it for nourishment, or even comfort. We could keep going, because it’s nice, but my intuition tells me that now is the time.

Nevertheless, I am saddened. In my arms, quietly nursing, he’s still my brand-new little baby boy – the one we waited so long for, the one we thought would never come. Jim was content to move forward as a family of three, but I knew. I knew he was there, waiting. I dreamt of him in my sleep and missed him in my waking hours. I loved my little family, but I knew. When he finally joined us on that peacefully snowy December night, with the most beautiful birth I could have hoped for, we nursed for the first time and he was already familiar to me.DSC_0858

He will not remember nursing. He will not remember the countless hours we’ve spent together in the dark and quiet, bonding in one of the most natural ways possible. He will not know how much I treasured the closeness, the stillness.

But I will.

I will remember the peacefulness on his face, and the way he relaxed and fell asleep in my arms. I will remember his smell and his little hands resting on my side. I will remember the way he began to wrap around my body as he grew bigger and hungrier. I will remember carefully releasing his tiny mouth, lifting him gently and carrying him to bed. DSC_0366

Every day, I watch him blossom and grow. He loves me with all of his little heart. I am eternally grateful for the gift it is to be his mother and to have nursed him for the past year-and-a-half. As he grows to be a man, in my heart he will still be that little boy in my arms.

Stop Staring At Me! (My Demon Eye)

I have no idea what happened. Saturday morning (as I was lounging on the couch playing Candy Crush level 79 for the 14-millionth time) 6yo came over and told me, “Mommy, your eye is really red.” Figuring I had rubbed it when I woke up about 30 minutes earlier, I wasn’t concerned.

Later, when Jim came home for work, he immediately asked me, “Did you throw up last night?!”

“Why?” I asked.

“Because your eye is all bloody!”

Finally, looking in the mirror, I saw something that looked kind of like this, although more blotchy:eyeball

Since then, the blood has been floating through the whites of my eye on a journey to wherever it is that blood goes when it bursts forth from its vessels. In the meantime, I have been experiencing reactions ranging from disgust to concern.

All day on Monday my students were all, “Oh my god! Like, what happened to your eye? It’s so gross!”

Middle -schoolers are too savvy to believe you when you tell them your husband poked you in the eyeball with a fork. However, they were also skeptical when I said I didn’t have any idea how it happened. It was as though they figured I was doing something unseemly over the weekend and didn’t want to tell them. While that would make the whole thing a lot cooler, I don’t even have a good story to share with my grown-up friends.

Since I take everyone in my family to the doctor except myself, I turned to the internet for a diagnosis. As it turns out, I have a subconjuncitval hemorrhage. I think. Apparently, if there is no pain or oozing (of which there is none, I swear) it should go away in a week or so.

If I’m wrong, expect a post in a week or two about how I went blind because I depend on the internet to diagnose giant bloody hemorrhages in my eyeball.

P.S.- Why on earth is Hemorrhage spelled with only one m, but it needs two rs and an extra h? The h I can handle, but the extra r seems excessive.

Because we hate people…..

Well, of course we don’t hate you.

I guess I should clarify. We hate people in movie theaters. Actually, just I hate people in movie theaters – Jim is amenable to sharing his movie watching experience with others. I, on the other hand, am an overly sensitive, easily offended, eye rolling, passive-aggressive pain in the ass in public. I sit and stew over how the person behind me is ruining the movie for me. I complain to Jim, thus ruining his movie watching experience. Meanwhile, the oblivious rude person behind us is having a wonderful time.

Here are some examples of behaviors that really get my panties in a wad at the movies:

  • Yelling at the screen
  • Open-mouthed popcorn chewing
  • Bringing children who are obviously too young to sit through a two hour movie, then spending the entire time trying to keep them occupied, therefore missing the entire movie anyway.
  • Kicking my seat.
  • Insisting on sitting in the middle of the row, then getting up several times during the movie.

 

Honestly, this is just the tip of the iceberg. I know this is my own issue and I’m the one who is actually ruining my evening most of the time. Only twice have I really been so offended that I either confronted the person or spoke to a theater staff person. Usually, the behavior is only merely annoying and I should really just try to ignore it.

But I’m that person, so I can’t.

Jim and I both love movies and we don’t want to give them up. So to guarantee us pleasant movie watching Jim did something ridiculous: he built us a movie theater in our basement.

The TV looks small, but it's really just far away.

The TV looks small, but it’s really just far away.

That’s right. When we could have been investing in our retirement, donating to the poor, or saving for our kids’ educations, we chose instead to create a room in our house that was completely unnecessary merely to avoid having to watch movies with anyone we haven’t hand-selected. (Also, so we can watch them in our pajamas, without paying a babysitter, and stop whenever we want to pee). He even built a platform so we could have two rows of seating. Fortunately, we already owned several of the components (furniture, most of the electronics, etc.) and paint, moulding, and a couple 2 x 4s don’t cost that much.

Some people love the experience of going to the theater, but I just want to get lost in the movie without distractions. Since I’m in education, and I’m merely adapting for my weaknesses (lack of patience, lack of tolerance, etc.), I prefer to call it “differentiated media ingestion.”

Next, maybe we’ll turn our dining room into a recital hall so we can avoid rude people at concerts.

 

 

 

Eww! Is This Really a Thing?

In our local paper, there is a section devoted to anonymous people calling in or emailing and complaining about whatever has their pants in a twist that day.  This morning, I read the following entry from a local woman:PB

I’m totally disgusted by people who when they grocery shop, feel the need to open bottles and jars of food products, sniff the contents, close it back up and put it back on the shelf for some poor innocent to buy. I recently opened what should have been a new jar of peanut butter, only to find that the inside seal had been opened and the peanut butter was turning green. These people must have been raised in a barn, to not know that by opening these containers you are allowing contaminants to enter, thus allowing anyone who might eat them to become very sick or even die. I once saw a woman in a local supermarket going through each different brand of spaghetti sauce, opening, sniffing and placing it back on the shelf. This is stealing, you are ruining the product and not paying for it. This is one reason food prices continue to increase. This is a form of shoplifting and anyone who sees someone doing this should report them to the store manager. If not to catch the person, to at least remove the product from the shelves so that someone doesn’t end up sick. 

Do people really do this?!?!?!?!??!!                     That’s craaaazzzyy!

I have seen people eating things in grocery stores, then not paying for them.  I have found items in the wrong place, left there by someone too lazy to just hand it to the cashier.  But I’ve never come across someone smelling the food, then closing it back up.

Also, In defense of people who grew up in barns, I think they would be the most likely to consider the rate of decay of perishable items, since most barns do not contain refrigerators.

 

To those in Boston….

I wanted to blog about something funny tonight, but I just can’t.  My heart isn’t in it.

So, instead, I would like to offer my support, thoughts and prayers to those injured in today’s explosions in Boston.

One of the casualties was an 8-year-old boy.  Several of the wounded were runners who had just finished their race only to have their legs injured to the point of needing amputation hours later.

Sometimes life just doesn’t make sense.  Sometimes, you just can’t think about the awful parts of living or you’ll break.

Prayers for everyone who has broken today.

Selfies, Candids, and Zombies

After waiting months for one nice day here in NEPA, we’ve finally been blessed with a few days in the 70s.  Because of the particularly long wait, people have been desperate to get outside, and it shows.  I live in a university town, so there has been the annual parade of short shorts with tank-tops (still April, people). Gusty winds have been blowing frat boys’ shirts off all week.  The poor guys have been forced to play Frisbee in the park with only their shorts on (bummer, I know).  Zombies must also be on the increase, because people are running everywhere.  Really.  Every time I drive somewhere, I have to dodge several potential future zombies.  I’m pretty sure I could out-walk a zombie without breaking too much of a sweat (unless it’s one of those Resident Evil zombies who can run), but people are probably just trying to get a good head start so they can stop and pick up some extra pick axes at the hardware store.

As I was driving past the park yesterday, I spotted a young man and woman near a bench.  The young woman was looking wistfully to her right.  At least, I’m assuming she was wistful.  She was wearing sunglasses, so it’s hard to be sure.  The young man was taking her picture with his phone.  I’m guessing her intentions were to get a picture of herself enjoying the nice weather at the park for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or whatever because they were both being still for longer than a candid photo reasonably would have taken.  There was definite thought going into this picture.  The fact that she was posing as though she wasn’t posing didn’t struck me as unusual, but seeing it from my car did cause me to think about how odd it is that people do that.

I tend to think of non-professional photos as images captured from real life: someone blowing out a birthday cake, a child running to first base, a baby trying to eat his feet.  Group pictures, although intentionally set up, are meant to look that way so that you can see a picture of yourself with your cousins years from now. With the advent of social media, however, it seems that more and more people (myself included) are almost creating a second life with our pictures – one of images we wish had happened naturally.  Our social media lives are becoming an embellishment of the ones we actually live.  There is a difference between a boyfriend snapping a picture of his girlfriend gazing at the river and a girl posing like she’s gazing at the river for a picture.  She didn’t live that moment, they created it.  How much of what we put out there for others to see is not our real lives, but our lives as we’ve created them in photo?   Furthermore, what does it say about us that we don’t think pictures of our real lives are interesting enough to be shared with others?

I often read or hear (and sometimes espouse) annoyance at the birth of the “selfie” – shots people take of themselves with their phones to post on social media.  At least, with a selfie, people are being upfront: “this is me, taking a picture of myself, so you can look at it.”  candid4There seems to be something sadder about a picture that says: “I’m posing like this so that you think this is how I spend my time naturally, even though I’ve been looking around this tree trunk at nothing for thirty seconds and I’m sucking in my stomach.  Also, I live in Sepiaworld.”

To prove my point, here are some shots of me that are totally candid and NOT AT ALL set up.  This is my real life, baby:

Me, writing a check

Me, writing a check

Me, taking out the trash

Me, taking out the trash

Me, brushing my teeth

Me, brushing my teeth

 

Some Stories Just Need to be Told: Groundhog Edition

The opportunity to tell my story about bludgeoning a groundhog doesn’t always present itself.  Fortunately, now that I have a blog I don’t need an invitation.  If you’re a good friend of mine, you’ve most likely heard this story.  You may even be able to tell it yourself.  Perhaps you already have…….

To really appreciate this story, there are a few things you must know about me:

1. During the summers while I was a college student, I worked third-shift at a potato chip factory.

2. I grew up on a farm, but I’m really one generation removed from actually being a farmer. I didn’t actually have to do any farm work, but I did grow up around farm work being done. As a child, I hung out in the barn while the cows were being milked.  I rode on the tractors, but I didn’t drive them.  I can shoot, but I don’t hunt.

One summer morning, after getting home from a shift at the potato chip factory, I decided to take a shower.  I say that like it took some consideration, but really I had to shower every morning before I could stand to do anything else.  After 8 hours of putting bags into boxes, with potato chips vibrating on belts all around me, I was always covered in a layer of grease that smelled like old French fries.  If you felt my hair, you would think I was responsible for frying every single chip myself with one of those fry baskets they use at McDonald’s, but no – it was merely residual grease.

This particular morning, as I was getting out of the shower, I heard our dog (really my brother’s dog) barking outside.  Brandi, a beagle mix, was not the brightest of dogs.  She was always super happy to see anyone or anything.  She loved people so much that whenever she got loose she would come to the front door to tell you all about it with a look on her doggy face that said, “Hey there people!  I can go anywhere now, so I thought I’d come tell you because I’m so excited!” Although she was part beagle, she didn’t howl very much – in fact, she hardly barked.  So, it was surprising when I turned off the shower and heard her barking frantically.  I wrapped a towel around myself and looked out the window.  There, in our garden, was Brandi standing snout to snout with a groundhog.  It was a stand-off between two small furry creatures.  I watched to see if Brandi would snap at the groundhog. Both of them just stood there looking ready to pounce, not actually making a move.        645px-Doggroundhog

If you’re not that familiar with groundhogs, you may think they are cute.  I guess they can be when they sit up on their hind legs and act like they have people-hands.  When it comes to farming, however, groundhogs are right up there with coyotes on any farmer’s most wanted list.  Not only do they regularly destroy small gardens, but they can dig large tunnel systems beneath fields that can collapse beneath the weight of a tractor and swallow it into the ground.  In my family, groundhogs were considered to be large, troublesome rats that should be eliminated whenever possible.

Chances are this particular groundhog had decided to burrow somewhere in or near our garden, possibly even laying a litter of cubs.  Still, this groundhog was in an area that was specifically designated for the dog – an area that should have reeked of dog in her little groundhog nose.  I started to worry that the groundhog was rabid.  Why else would she be so brazen?  I called my father at work to see what I should do.

“Dad,” I said.  “There’s a groundhog about to attack the dog.  Should I shoot it?”

“No, you’ll wake up your Uncle.”

At the time, my mom’s brother was visiting.  He was working a swing shift, so he was also on a nocturnal schedule.  While all this was going on, he was sleeping – right through the incessant barking.  Looking back, I’m thinking that my Dad didn’t really care if I woke up my Uncle.  He probably just didn’t trust me to not shoot the dog by accident.

“Go out in the garage and get a shovel and hit it on the head,” my dad instructed.  “Oh, and put on some boots, just in case the groundhog tries to bite you.”

Um….ok.

I was worried that the dog would be bitten by a rabid groundhog at any second, so I didn’t want to take the time to pick out an outfit and get fully dressed.  Instead, I threw on my red bathrobe.  My hair was dripping and I’d hardly had a chance to dry off my body.  Furthermore, it was summer, so the only boots I could find were some fuzzy snow boots my mom kept in the back of the coat closet.  They weren’t exactly hunting boots, but I didn’t think a groundhog could bite through them. I slipped them on and quickly headed to the garage.

Once I got outside, I could really hear the fierceness with which our gentle dog was barking and growling.  Inside the garage, where my dad kept several shovels, I found one that seemed light enough to swing quickly, but heavy enough to do the job.  I grabbed it and headed to the garden.  The groundhog and the dog were standing four feet from each other.  Now that I was closer, I could hear the groundhog clicking her teeth in warning to the dog.  I didn’t see any foam around her mouth, but that didn’t mean she wasn’t dangerous.

Had I been a real farmer, I would have clobbered the groundhog right there.  Unfortunately, although I grew up on a farm, I didn’t really have in me what it takes to handle situations like this. If anyone else had been home (and awake) I would have let them handle it.  I hesitated.  I wanted to shoo away the groundhog, but I was afraid it would run at me instead.  I stood there in my bathrobe and snow boots, hair dripping, gripping my rusty shovel and hoping one of them would eventually get tired and walk away.

Suddenly, the groundhog leaped forward and snapped the dog on the nose.  The dog yelped in pain and, without thinking, I screamed and slammed down the shovel – right on the groundhog’s head.  She shook for a moment, and then slumped, immediately lifeless.  One blow was all it had taken. My heart was beating in my ears and adrenaline was making my hands shake.  Of course, that was the moment the dog decided to get brave.

She scooped the groundhog up in her mouth and took off.  Not knowing if the groundhog had been diseased, I couldn’t let the dog chew it apart.  I spent the next five minutes chasing the dog around the yard, trying to get her to drop the dead animal.  Finally, she dropped it to get a better grip and I pushed her away with the shovel.  I scooped up the groundhog and carried it far into the neighboring field.  I probably should have buried it, but that was certainly not happening.  I was tired from working all night.  I was sweaty from chasing the dog – despite having just taken a shower.  Not to mention, I was one belt slip away from standing naked in a field with a dead groundhog.  So, I left the carcass in the weeds and went back in the house.

I supposed I should have felt some remorse for bludgeoning the groundhog, but I didn’t.  Despite my reservations as I stood there waiting for the stand-off to end, I hadn’t had to think twice about it when the time came. With a clear conscience, I went back in the house, put on a T-shirt and shorts, and crawled into bed.  Perhaps I had more farmer in me than I knew.

What Kind of Person Blogs about Herself?

A little over two months ago, I started this blog.  I missed writing, was tired of journaling, and was looking for a chance for some introspection.  Blogging seemed the way to go.  As it turns out, blogging has become very therapeutic, as well as good exercise for working on my writing skills.  I look forward to blogging whenever I can get a little quiet time (so, not as often as I would like).photo (14)

Still, the idea of blogging makes me a little uncomfortable.

I cannot help but worry: What kind of person am I to think other people (outside of my immediate family) would care at all to read stuff I wrote about myself and my family. If I had chosen a more specific topic on which I am an expert (um….I’ve got nothing) I could tell myself I am using my blog to help others.  But, instead, I am writing about being a working mom, wife, and teacher – things millions of other women can say.

I didn’t even share my blog with anyone for several weeks.  It was only just recently that I posted a link to one of my blog posts on my personal facebook page to see if anyone would even bother to read it.  Thanks to the long holiday weekend, I had some time recently to sit down and try to expand my readership through the use of Facebook and other social media sites.  Still, I am too embarrassed to really put my blog out there.  I haven’t even sent out invitations to my email contacts or facebook friends.

So, why am I blogging at all?  I decided to blog for the reasons I listed above.  I’m deciding to KEEP blogging for the following reason:  I LOVE to read blogs from other women.  I love to see how they handled a family or work situation that I have most certainly stumbled upon myself.  I find great comfort in knowing that I am not alone in the trials and tribulations of womanhood, marriage, and motherhood.  Their blogs have made me laugh, cry, and get angry – and I’ve loved it.

So, I’ve decided to add my voice to the throng of other women bloggers who have something to say.  Maybe there will be women who can find comfort, humor, and solace in my writing as I have in the writing of others.