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August 2006
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October 2006

Structure… Lots of Structure

I’m starting to get an inkling of what I’m in for down the line.  I mean, I knew given Keen’s and my respective families that it was a distinct probability, and I remember (in the hazy fog of memory) how my brothers were… but it’s really starting to sink in. 

My son has a lot of energy. 

I didn’t really think he had too much more energy than the average child.  They ALL have energy, especially compared to my tired butt.  And it’s not like he’s one of those excessively hyperactive individuals (like, ahem, Keen’s brother or my dad) but I should have paid more attention when other people started making comments.  People like doctors.  For example…

Doctor:  “Give him this medication and he’ll be fine.  Honestly, I’d be a lot more worried if your son wasn’t playing like normal.”

Me: “What? No, no, this is only half-speed. That’s the first thing that told me he wasn’t feeling well.”

Doctor (eyes popping out):  “This is half-speed?!”  Doctor observes Chance for a minute. “Well, you two are in trouble.”

There were also a few random “Wow, he’s fast!” by passersby at the mall, park, etc., which I wouldn’t have taken seriously except they always seemed to be made by adults accompanied by 2 or 3 older children… you know, seasoned parents. 

I should have clued in then.  I should have noticed that where other kids Chance’s age were “toddling”, he was flat-out running.  I should have more clearly remembered the two of my brothers who were diagnosed with ADD.  (Though in 20-20 hindsight I think they were mis-diagnosed – they both could concentrate on, typically, computer stuff for hours – there is a difference between being hyper and not being able to focus.)  But I honestly didn’t really think about Chance’s energy levels compared to other kids’ (and, more importantly, compared to my own).  Partly because, I think, I did come from a family of hyper people.  I mean, when I was a girl the kids I considered really hyperactive were the ones jumping off the roof of houses and setting things on fire. (Ah, the 70s.)  My brothers didn’t do that.  Except for the occasionally torching of the report card.  (Keen, on the other hand… well, remind me to tell you about his fun with M80s and galvanized metal buckets.)

So I’ve just started Chance at Gymboree.  Today was our third session (or maybe fourth, I can’t remember, I just know what time and day to show up).  It’s pretty basic stuff, mainly playtime with a few “group activities” thrown in.  (The hefty sum you pay is for the privilege of playing with equipment with “Gymboree” stamped on the side.)  I know it takes a while for kids, especially at this age, to get comfortable and start to participate, if they participate at all.  But I noticed that the other little kids who refuse to participate simply find a safe spot on the sidelines and play quietly. Chance, on the other hand, runs around the room in big circles shrieking at the top of his lungs.

While they were doing the freeze dance, he ran around in circles. When they rolled balls down a ramp to learn “top” and “bottom” (or “rocking” and “rolling” – everything is multi-purpose at good old Gymboree), he ran around in circles.  When they did parachute time with all the kids underneath it like a bubble… he ran around the outside of the parachute, in circles. 

You get the idea.  I even noticed some parents discussing how good their kids were at paying attention and following instructions.  I might have imagined the elbow nudges and eye rolls in Chance’s direction, but I’m not certain.  About the only thing he truly participates in is bubble time.  Chance loves the bubbles.

At least he’s happy while he’s running around in circles.  Those ear-splitting shrieks are shrieks of glee, though I might be the only one who appreciates his delight. I think my little love bug in a rug even wears on the teacher after a while.  (Clap your hands, damnit! CLAP!)  Technically, sometimes he does “participate”… after the music’s off and everyone else has left the area.  By the end, Chance is completely pooped.  Which is great, because I am too.  I’m basically living for ice cream and a giant mug of hugely-caffeinated tea at that point. (LOVE his three hour naps after Gymboree, btw, love them!)

I’m starting to get an inkling and it kind of scares me.  He’s small enough to handle now, or at least man-handle.  I’m not so sure later. 

I think I’m in need of a plan.  I’m thinking a lot of structure… and no firecrackers.  (That means you, Keen.)            

                   - the weirdgirl

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P.S. Thanks, CJ! It took me a little while, but I didn't forget your suggestions.


Shakespeare’s Mustard (or my favorite academic story)

Of all the rumors, all heated debate   

in reference to his authored state;

his works, his loves, the sordid strife

that make up anecdotes about his life

No one can know, the true tale expired.   

Yet how can you not help admire

that person’s verve to catalyst such storms

four hundred years past the popular norm?

Now dancing in go-go boots angelic

I’m sure he roots our lives pathetic.

I’m sure he chuckles in haloed glee

At all such rampant bardolatry.

In reverent esteem we hold him–

(he who may or may not have penned them,)

but don’t we cherish more juicy reports…

the tales, the gossip, the jealous retorts?

And stuck in my brain, my favorite piece

(seems engraved wherein by telekinesis),

spoofed by Ben, the family motto,

“Not without mustard”… a tale apropos.

- the weirdgirl

Just for the record, I do think Shakespeare wrote his plays.  Thank you, KC, for inspiring this one!  (I especially liked “go-go boots angelic”!)    - wg


Sunday Catch Up

I’m taking a quick break from the suggestion-inspired posts, but I’ll be back to those shortly.  They’ve been a lot of fun (for me at least) and have really helped me get back in the writing game. I’ve got two more (percolating in my head) to go.

On another note, I’ve just updated The Things They Don’t Tell You in Lamaze list, courtesy of a new addition from Keri.  Check it out. 

There has actually been a lot going on in my life that I haven’t posted about.  Some big things, some small.  Even though I haven’t felt overwhelmed in life, sometimes I get that way when I think about writing it down.  Well that, and sometimes I start to write a post and decide it’s the most boring thing ever and completely abandon it.  (Also, somehow I’ve stopped being able to spell – I can’t tell you how much that irks me.) 

So with all that in mind I’ve decided that life is sometimes best handled in bullets: 

  • Regarding my biological dilemma, I’m pleased to announce that I’ve chucked the pill.  My boobs stopped hurting the same day.

  • My computer is still crashing.  I’m awaiting a new motherboard.  (I know I promised to stop talking about this, I’m sorry.)

  • Playgroup is looking for volunteers.  Da da dum!!

  • I’ve been on and off looking at house listings.  Oy vey.  That’s gonna be a post in itself. I’m currently in an “off” mode.

  • At school, three weeks into my one and only class, the course got canceled due to small class size.  I’ve since switched it to independent study along with a few other students.  The cool thing?  We’re meeting way less often! 

  • Work was supposed to start ramping up and instead my projects keep getting cancelled. This translates to lots of research, no deliverables.

What, if anything, does all this mean?  It means that I actually had a lazy Sunday. A lazy Sunday where I could do some writing, finish reading my book, maybe watch some TV. That is until I decided to make three batches of cookies for Keen to take to work. 

Yeah, I don’t know what’s wrong with me either.           – the weirdgirl


Why Playgroup is Occasionally Painful – a not so isolated incident

It was a gentle scene; the soft afternoon light cast a glow on errant dust motes. Children playfully chase cats chasing the dust. The Sam Champion band played softly from speakers, the bootleg mp3 streamed via a network server to an appropriately compatible media center (of course). Laughter and quiet talk fills the air. 

Then a pall… a miasmic cloud creeps around the room, a stench more foul than day-old lap dance puke after a weekend Vegas binger.  It hits the occupants suddenly, violently, without remorse, like a really smelly mugger.  The cats flee.  The dust motes quiver in terror.  Every mother immediately drops to the floor and puts nose to their respective child’s butt.  But I, with sinking gut, knew the perpetrator. Then, to confirm what my gut already knew, the dance begins… a flailing, squirming, twisting gyration, more disturbing than a Michael Jackson sidewalk instructional, as my son frantically tries to escape the noxiousness of his own bottom.  (Just like daddy.)

And I, standing stoic amid the eye-watering fumes, knowing that the other moms can’t possibly have built up the same tolerance that I now have to this excruciating olfactory pain, I still wait a full five minutes before changing his diaper… to make sure it’s ALL OUT!

Bad (playgroup) mommy.                – the weirdgirl

Thanks, CroutonBoy, for the inspirational search terms for this post!


Dominant Lactating Mommies Unite!

On the evening news, the Anchorwoman reports…

A man was assaulted at a local coffee shop earlier today.  Though many details are still unclear, initial reports indicate that an argument broke out between a man and a woman with a baby in the seating area, shortly followed by the assault.  When police arrived on the scene they found a middle-aged man beaten to unconsciousness and dripping wet.  Witnesses had varying stories as to who or what provoked the attack, but they all agreed on one point… the liquid covering the man was breastmilk.   

Cut to witness interview one

Elderly Man:  “It’s a disgrace! Just a crying shame, the world today!  You can’t even go for a bite to eat without seeing something like that?  It makes you afraid to leave your house!” 

                                                                                                         

Witness interview two

Latte-drinking Female: “I don’t know what the man was thinking, messing with that poor woman.  You know, when a baby’s got to eat, a baby’s got to eat.”

Reporter:  “So you’re saying the man provoked the attack?”

Latte-drinking Female: “Hell, YES!  She was just sitting there minding her own business and that man was harassing her.  I’ll tell you one thing… that woman has some mad skills.  You know, she beat that man with the one while she kept the baby feeding from the other one the WHOLE TIME!”

Witness interview three

Reporter: Excuse me, did you see what happened?

Twenty-something Male:  “I don’t know, man, I was standing in line and suddenly I heard someone shout ‘I’ll show you indecent!’ and duuuude… I gotta come here for coffee more often!”

Cut back to Anchorwoman:

The woman apparently fled the scene immediately after the attack. Police are encouraging anyone with information to come forward as they continue to piece together the details of the assault.  Various sketches of the woman in question have proven too graphic for release.  As for the woman’s baby… witnesses say she looked healthy and well-fed.

In other news, a new website has been climbing search engine ranking lists in record time!  The site, dom-to-mom.com, has gained a huge online following…

I had to start with this one.  Great suggestions so far, more to come!         - wg


Contest... buying time... whatever

I realized my last post sounded a bit mafia-esque.  Erm… sorry about that… we’re not mafia… really.  Family matters just make me a little emotional.  And I’m the “level-headed” one!  (Yes, I’m laughing at the absurdity, too.)

I think my computer is back together.  I don’t have email (which, ironically, is the only portion of this whole fiasco that almost made me cry) but I think I’ll get it soon.  (Though I did lose some of the last week’s emails, so if anyone emailed me I apologize for not answering.)  I need to load up a few more programs and drives, but otherwise I haven’t had any crashes.  I’m keeping my fingers crossed.   

I’ve spent so many hours futzing with this thing I’m fried.  I haven’t been able to think of anything to post besides bitching about my computer, and I’m ABSOLUTELY POSITIVE that you’re all as sick of hearing about it as I am.  So I have an idea…

Send me questions, topics, or even random word combinations (for example, “porcupine blazer”) and I’ll write a post (or more) about your suggestion(s).  I may even give out a prize for the most creative suggestion!  (If I can find something suitable.  And if I get any suggestions.  Please don’t make me fake an entry.)    

Sounds good?  Cool!  This will help me get back into the swing of things. A good writing exercise always gets my juices flowing (and no, that’s not a reference to my twat problems).  In the meantime, I’m off to catch up on other people’s blogs.

Missed ya, folks!            - the weirdgirl

P.S. Someone hit my site from the search term “dominant lactating mommies”!  Snort! Guffaw!  Oh, I might have put that in the queue for a post.


Sooner or Later

So my computer is still down. I did a system wipe and reinstall of the OS on Saturday and then realized I didn't have any of the other drivers (to, like, get on the Internet) because this accursed company didn't ship them when they were supposed to. 

Deep breaths... deeeeep breaths. Did I mention that they had also "forgot" to ship the OS disk with the computer? 

I fully acknowledge that I should have been more systematic about what disks were needed.  Except I HAD asked them "Is there anything else I need?"  And they said, "nope".  It seems every time I call, the help desk person is apologizing for something the help desk person before him did or did not do.   

Anyway.  There was a big family emergency this week in any case, so I doubt I would have had much time or presence of mind to write.  Do you know how, for the most part, you can kind of ignore elements of your family that are less than ideal?  Everyone moves away by mutual unspoken agreement and you minimize visits.  When everyone does visit, everyone plays nice as much as possible.  Then something will happen where the screaming dysfunction that is your family suddenly reappears?  And I'm not talking about the quirky, entertaining dysfunction that makes movies and TV families so endearing.  I'm talking about the kind of dysfunction that made you hide  in your room for hours as a teenager and even now, with your own life and family and all, still lives in the back of your head.  Yeah, it's been one of those weeks.  And, as typical with many dysfunctional families, there is always that ONE PERSON who makes everything worse!  Usually, and unfortunately, this person is the "head of the household". 

Deep down I've always known I will have to take over as head of the family at some point.  I've just been enjoying my time away.  I don't think I can ignore it for much longer though.

I'm sorry, Dad, I love you... but someday you will be impeached.

           - wg


A Different Kind of PMS

First of all, I just want to say thanks so much to everyone who has given me health tips, commiserating stories, or just encouragement on my whole hormonal issue.  Seriously, folks, I really appreciate it!  And you've given me some very viable alternatives to look at and some perspective.

On another note, my computer is having serious issues.  I need to do a complete wipe in the next couple of days and a system reinstall.  That will be call number eight to the help desk.  I'm at the point where I've gotten all my latest backups done (just have to do email right before) and I'm just waiting on the OS disk to be FedEx'ed (because of course the computer company didn't include it when they shipped the laptop). If this reinstall doesn't fix it, the help people have admitted that there is probably something wrong with the computer itself.  (You think?)  I would be really happy if this fixes everything, but every time I've called help desk the computer started crashing MORE frequently.  Sue me, I'm cynical.  (Especially after one of the help guys, while looking at my system remotely, said, "Wow, your system is cleaner than mine!"  Yeah, I KNOW!  I've only worked in tech for ten years.  I may not know system admin, but I know what not to load/download on a machine.  I can even run a virus check all by myself!)

AAGGHHH! 

OK, I'm fine now. So, I hope this reinstall will be smooth but if I disappear for a couple of days you know why.  I am TERRIBLY behind on my blog reading, but I have been thinking of all of you.  I haven't meant to neglect everyone. My laptop just keeps crashing on me.   

Alieve anyone?               - the weirdgirl 


Trials with My Twat (Probably TMI)

Something is going on with me and I’m starting to feel like an alien.  It’s been happening a while and I’ve been feeling increasingly frustrated.  It’s also feels a little ridiculous in an absurd way.  I know my blogging has been sketchy lately, and there’s a reason for it.  I’m hoping if I share here perhaps some of you can give me some insight (or I will at least feel better by venting a little).

Before I go too far into this though… to my male readers, WARNING!  This is about female biological health stuff.  If you are at all squeamish about that sort of thing you may not want to read any further.  I will probably be using words like “vagina” and may discuss bodily fluids and menstrual cycles and the like.  OK, I will be talking about all that. Just don’t say you haven’t been warned. 

For the first time in my life I am on the Pill.  A progesterone only pill (POP), to be exact, which is supposed to be not as strong as the regular pill and with fewer side effects.  I am on the pill because, unlike the vast majority of women who have children, my periods did not get better after I had a baby, they got worse.  They got a lot worse.  I’d always had the usual menstrual symptoms: cramping, migraines, nausea, backaches, fatigue.  But before the baby those symptoms usually only lasted the first day of my period.  One crappy day and then I was good.  After I had Chance, those same symptoms last for 4 – 5 days of my period.  Cramping… for DAYS!  I mean, I’m pretty stoic about that sort of thing but still… it’s irritating and incredibly draining.  Not only am I having worse periods in general, I’m also having weird pre-menstrual symptoms the week before.  Some of those symptoms I might have been having before the baby, but now the symptoms are really apparent.  These include acne breakouts, changes to my skin (itchy) and hair (going limp), and what feels/felt like a yeast infection (but wasn’t) trying to start every month.   

And my least favorite symptom (besides what felt like a yeast infection – that just sucks AND was screwing up my sex life)… as soon as my period starts my mental acuity decreases; I suffer from a complete inability to focus.  This drives me nuts.  I am a fairly active person and it feels like my mind and my ability to get things done screeches to a halt each month.  Hence, the sketchy blogging as I can’t focus enough to write.  And just as before, instead of one day feeling fuzzy and out-of-it, after the baby I now feel fuzzy and out-of-it for several days.      

So I put up with this for a few months before going in for an OB-GYN consultation.  Yeah, I know I should have gone in sooner… but you know how that goes; lack of time and you keep thinking that the next month will be better.  I actually went in after I had a menstrual cycle that was only 21 days (I had always been 28 days like clockwork).  I had been taking acidophilus pills and my usual vitamins.  I had started thinking that it was a hormonal imbalance, but I really thought it was reoccurring yeast infections screwing me up.  My OB and I ran through a bunch of tests for yeast, bacterial vaginosis, even STDs that they don’t screen for at pregnancy (which was a minute possibility but still humiliating) just to be sure we covered everything.  We talked about premature menopause, irregular cycles, hormone imbalance, and other more serious issues (of which none seemed likely).  The only test we didn’t do was for hormone levels.  My OB thought the short cycle might be from stress because that was shortly after Chance was in the emergency room and the short cycle had only happened once.  He also said a POP might help with some of my other symptoms if we didn’t find anything from the tests.  To his credit, my OB knew Keen and I are going to try for another child so he mentioned that I might just want “to bear with it for a year” and not take the pill until after we try to get pregnant.  However, he gave me a prescription just in case.

I waited for the test results, and everything came back negative.  Even the yeast test came back normal.  I apparently have a perfectly normal vagina (which is what my OB thought when he said, “Um… everything down there…um, looks…OK.”  I think he’s seen some pretty scary hoo hoos).  It was starting to sound like a hormonal imbalance (it turns out you can have cyclical “vaginal tenderness” with that), so I thought I’d give the pill a try.    

Now just in case any guys are still reading this, “hormone imbalance” does NOT automatically mean mood swings, anger or depression.  You can have a lot of symptoms, like all the ones mentioned above, from a hormone imbalance and not have a single mood swing in the lot.  And I wasn’t/am not having mood swings, depression or anger.  (OK, well, I am now starting to get a little irritated with the whole thing.  I mean, my computer is still having problems too and, frankly, there can only be one of us having PMS in the house at a fucking time. Thank you very much.)

I’m actually not very surprised that it could be a hormonal thing.  My hormones were out of whack when I was pregnant.  Two of the pregnancy hormones were very high, and one was low.  I had hyperemesis gravidarum while pregnant and my thyroid was all screwed up.  My results from the alpha-fetoprotein test (AFP) came back with a high chance for Down syndrome because of my hormone levels and I went in for an amnio and genetic counseling.  So indications that I might be off my hormonal rocker were there.

Now I’m on the pill; I’ve been taking it for two months.  At first, except for a really heinous acne breakout right away, I felt great.  I felt like I had more overall focus and energy.  Best of all I did NOT feel like yeast was trying to hold a rave in my hoo hoo the week before my period started.  Yay!  It didn’t really decrease any of my other symptoms for that first period but I knew that sometimes it takes a few months for the pill to really help. 

Then I started having OTHER symptoms, such as cravings for sweets, some weight gain, bloating, more acne… you know, like all the ones the packaging says rarely occur.  OK, whatever, I can still deal.  Then I had another short menstrual cycle (and again none of my regular menstrual symptoms were any better).  NOW I’m spotting to the point that I thought my period was starting again only two weeks after the last one.  My boobs are bigger and hurt like hell, I’m cramping, gassy, and I feel generally unwell.  It actually reminds me of early pregnancy.   

Seriously, I did not start taking this stuff to feel like crap and have periods every two to three weeks.  My sex life was already suffering from the faux yeast infections I thought I was having.  I’ve heard it might take a few months before everything “levels out”.  I’ve even heard that if one pill doesn’t work, you can try a different type.  But here’s the thing… I’m 35!  I’m going to try to have another child.  I was really hoping, since a POP is not as strong as the regular pill, that this might help just normalize me for a few months before we tried to get pregnant again.  I don’t want to be strung along, offered one pill after another to find one that’s “right” for me.  I’m too old for this.  I wouldn’t be surprised if well within ten years I need to start taking hormones for menopause.  (My mom started early menopause at 37, right after she had my youngest brother.  She then had irregular periods for another 15 years.)

My real beef is this: Even though my OB is a great guy and is trying to help, overall the medical community doesn’t offer any options for dealing with screwed up “female troubles”.  The cure all seems to be “give them the pill”.  When I had the second short period, I asked a nurse what they normally do for women who have short cycles like that.  Her answer was “nothing”.  If you’re having extreme pain or bleeding they’ll consider hysterectomy of other extreme measures.  But that’s about it.  They don’t even start to consider treatments until you’ve had problems for months and months.  I’m sorry, but there is something wrong with a medical system that considers the cure-all the pill, and at the same time we have the FDA who is of the opinion that giving women access to contraceptives will make us all into promiscuous whores.  There’s just something wrong there.  (Yet I’ve never heard that access to condoms will make men into sluts.)  Maybe there really aren’t any options, but it just feels like research in women’s health is sorely lacking and often our concerns with our own health seem brushed under the rug by medical professionals. 

I’m going to try this for another month and see if I feel any better.  If I continue to have short cycles I’m going back to my OB and insist on getting a hormone level test.  I don’t want to find out in five years that I’m at risk for ovarian cancer because my estrogen has been too high.  I’m also going to look into alternatives that might help.  At one point, I was taking extra doses of vitamin E and B6 for PMS but I weaned off of everything when we decided to try to get pregnant.  Maybe I should go back to extra vitamins?

Sorry for the long post.  This has been so frustrating for me and yet I feel ridiculous about it (though the ridiculousness might be ingrained from our medical system’s attitude).  And it’s hard to keep that feminine mystique thing going (hardy har har) when you feel bad and are having none-too-sexy symptoms. 

If any of you have been through this before or know someone who has and have insights I’d love to hear them!  Thanks.
                – the weirdgirl


See You on the Flip Side

"What a distressing contrast there is between the radiant intelligence of the child and feeble mentality of the average adult."   - Sigmund Freud (1856 - 1939)

I find this quote simultaneously amusing and, on some days, very apt!  Especially as I am hip-deep in the "testing one's boundaries" period with Chance.  I can see his little mind working to get around me.  And sometimes he is even so blunt as to simply put his fingers in his ears.  I don't know where he learned that, but it's awfully hard to keep a straight face.  (I know I'll laugh when I bludgeon the person who taught it to him.)  Overall, I think I'm doing OK (I think).  I finished reading "Raising a Happy Unspoiled Child" (see, I told ya I'd get around to it; I'm only partially slacker) and I'm partway through "Touchpoints".  Good discipline tips, people.  Good tips. 

I know I've been a little light on blogging this week, but I'll be back soon.  Though, I'm probably only going to post three times a week for a while.  With school I'm not sure yet what my time will be like, and ironically my work load is picking up right as I go back to school.  (The Universe loves me like that.)  Plus, the less I blog the less chance I will write posts heavily influenced by school... 'cause I'm thinking most people don't come here to hear about genres in American Literature.  (We're starting off with slave narratives, by the way.  Next up, suffragettes and feminism!  But don't worry, guys, this is a "No Man-Bashing" zone.) 

OK, so anyways!  New addition to The Things They Don't Tell You in Lamaze list!  Take a look and I'll be back shortly.  Probably with more explanation than you ever wanted to know.  (Dum dum DUM!  That's called "foreshadowing".  See?  Some education does a slacker good.)             

               - the weirdgirl