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Monday, November 7th, 2011
Last week, one of my single friends was worried that she might be pregnant. She texted me in a panic, asking if I got cramps with my morning sickness, and I yelled at her to take a test, and she yelled back that she couldn’t in the middle of the week because she would be a mess at work if she was indeed pregnant.
Eventually, she finally got up the nerve to take the test. Here are the texts we exchanged throughout her ordeal:
Her: Okay, I took a test. It’s blank.
Me: Blank? What do you mean, blank? There’s no control line?
Her: Nope. Blank. I think the test is too old.
Me: Don’t those things take like 10 years to expire? Exactly how long have you been taking pregnancy tests?
Her: Don’t judge. Anyway, I just wanted to let you know that according to this test I’m not pregnant yet.
Me: I don’t think you understand what a pregnancy test does.
Her: Of course I do. You pee on the stick and then you may or may not get pregnant.
Me: Oh. See, this is why I have a kid. I don’t know how this s–t works.
Her: Exactly. If I had been around a few years ago, you might not have gotten knocked up.
Me: Look, would you just pee on another stick already?
(pause for about an hour)
Her: Okay, I got another test.
Her: Only test I’ve ever been happy to fail.
Me: Well, that’s a relief. This calls for a drink!!
Her: Yeah. After that first one was blank I was sure I was pregnant. Probably with a ghost baby. I didn’t remember having sex with a ghost, but then again I bet no one would, right?
Me: …I see you’ve started drinking without me.
Her: Yup. Cheers.
Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011
I have a confession to make.
My name is Julia, and my daughter will be three in February, and she still uses a pacifier. And I’m a dentist.
I always hated seeing other people’s toddlers walking around in public with plugs in their mouths. I’m not really sure how it happened that my daughter still has one. I wanted to have her off it by age 1, but she didn’t seem ready. Then her father and I split up when she was 18 months, and she was so attached to it that it didn’t feel right to take it away. Then it just continued like that, because she is constantly bounced between my place and my parents’ place (while I’m on call) and, lately, Tyler’s place. I couldn’t bring myself to take away her one constant source of comfort when her sense of security seemed to be so undermined by jumping around from home to home.
I had always figured that eventually I’d just take it from her, ready or not… but it turns out that I’m just not that mom. Whether this is a good thing or a bad thing, I don’t know. I really am not sure if I’m doing the right thing by being sensitive to her cues, or just being lazy and letting her keep it because it’s easier than trying to wean her off it.
You know? Whether it’s that you’re half an hour late for work and your toddler just will.not.cooperate, or that you haven’t slept in days and your toddler just will.not.sleep, sometimes it is a heck of a lot easier to reach for that little piece of plastic and rubber, especially when you are a single parent and have no help.
(Now she’s just making excuses, you think. Woman up and get the kid off that thing before she starts packing the Nuks in a suitcase for college.)
Well, if you’re thinking that, you’re right. I’m gonna do it! Bouncing between houses is always going to be a way of life for her, because her parents are divorced, and a pacifier isn’t going to change that. If she needs security she can sleep with her Pooh Bear that she brings everywhere. I think it’s time to boot the binky.
Only problem is… I have no idea how to do it in a loving but firm way. Hey, I’m not perfect. My kid still has a pacifier. I haven’t folded laundry in at least three weeks. I almost never change the oil in my car. Sometimes I even post annoying Facebook statuses. So I’m turning to you, internet, to please help me: tell me, how did you get your kid off their pacifier?
Wednesday, October 26th, 2011
We’ve all rolled our eyes at them. We’ve all pointedly avoided “liking” them. And let’s face it, we’ve all been guilty, at one time or another, of accidentally posting them ourselves. That’s right! Tonight’s topic is annoying parent Facebook statuses.
I’m fully prepared to admit that I’m a bit easily irritated by this sort of thing. As a mom, I can only imagine how infinitely more annoying these statuses are to people who don’t have children. And what about those people who would like to have children but, for whatever reason, cannot? These statuses must make them want to hurl their laptop through the nearest plate glass window and then run outside to stomp on it and make sure it’s thoroughly destroyed.
I’ve selected some choice examples from my own news feed, at great personal risk of public humiliation and/or defriending. Only because I love you guys that much. Let’s begin. (While I keep one eye on my rapidly-declining friend count.)
Example 1: The “my-child-is-a-genius-no-really” status. These statuses usually end in at least seventeen exclamation points and involve an 8 month old being halfway to potty-trained or an 11 month old speaking in complete sentences. In Mandarin Chinese. Let’s face it, people. You gave it your best shot, but we all know you’re making it up. (And on the off chance you’re not, this is obnoxious bragging to the most serious degree.)
Example 2: The “no one cares about this s–t but me” status. Such as, “waiting for little Jimmy to wake up from his nap before going to the store!” Really, how are you supposed to reply to something like this? Why would you waste the energy to comment or even finish reading once you get to word#5? It’s not even worth the half of a calorie I might burn by lifting my finger to click “like”.
Example 3: The super not-cute photo of their kid, usually with a face covered in semi-identifiable pureed food, that becomes incredibly awkward when everyone fails to acknowledge it. This becomes infinitely more cringeworthy with the inevitable single comment that eventually appears beneath it that when you click it, it’s from the parent, saying “what, really?! No one else thinks this is the cuuuuutest thing everrrrrrr?!?!” (Also followed by more silence, which, if you’re extra lucky, is rounded off nicely by a snippy “hmph” from the original poster and then a conspicuous absence from Facebook for the next five days.)
Example 4: The photo albums full of like 75 nearly-identical pictures of the same kid. While we’re on the topic of photos, let’s address these. You know the albums I mean. Drooling baby doing tummy time. Drooling baby doing tummy time with one eye slightly closed. Drooling baby doing tummy time with maybe a hint of a smile. Drooling baby doing tummy time– wait, did they post this exact photo twice? I think they posted this one twice. Why am I even still looking at this? GAHHH!!! What is happening to my life?!?!
Example 5: Pretty much anything from a pregnant woman with no children about how overwhelmed she is or how nothing is ever about her, because let’s face it, honey, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.
Example 6: The overly dramatic request for prayers. I’m so sorry, but even if I were a praying person, which I’m not, I would never trouble the Good Man Upstairs with demands for your toddler to take a good nap before your dinner party or for your baby to have an ear infection in just one ear instead of two.
Example 7: The super-gross status about their child’s bodily functions. I can’t even discuss the specific details of these without wanting to vom all over my keyboard. Let’s just say I usually am eating while I browse Facebook and I’d prefer that you didn’t ruin my lunch with diaper details. And for the love of God, please don’t elaborate with a photo.
I know there are more of these that I can’t think of at the moment. Tell me, which parent Facebook statuses do you find most annoying?
Saturday, September 3rd, 2011
Do you remember what you thought having kids would be like, before you had kids?
I have a friend who is really excited to have kids. Eventually. Or tomorrow. To slightly reduce the chances of her hating me forever after I publish this post, we’ll go with “eventually”.
She knows that she isn’t in a position to have a child anytime soon, so I always try to convince her that while she is waiting, she should enjoy this time that her life is still all about her. She does admit that her idea of motherhood is probably glorified and unrealistic. Yesterday, we were sitting outside in the courtyard of the hospital, eating lunch, dangling our legs over the high wall and waiting for public safety to come by as they usually do and yell at us to sit at a table like normal people unless we want to fall and break our necks. ”Here’s how I always picture it, Jules,” she said. ”Going for a walk at the reservoir park, hand-in-hand, pushing one kid in a stroller with another one walking next to it, and all these birds singing and rainbows and puffy clouds in the background.” She sighed. ”It’s just perfect!”
I stared at her. ”Yeah,” I said. ”Sure. Actually it’s just like that. For thirty seconds. And then the baby poops in their diaper and it leaks up the back of their shirt, so you have to change them in the grass and they’re crying because they hate the grass, and ohmygod there’s bees everywhere and what if they sting the baby? What if the baby is allergic to bees?? And you didn’t bring an extra shirt because why would you need an extra shirt for a walk in the park? And why isn’t your husband changing this baby, I mean why do you always have to be the one to change the gross poops? Then the other kid starts crying because she’s hungry, but she doesn’t want any of the 45 different snacks you brought, so you give up on the outing and try to pack everyone into the car, but the stroller won’t fold up for some reason and then you catch your toe in it when it finally does collapse, and then–”
“JULES!” she yelled, laughing so hard she was almost crying. ”Stop it! You are such a little ray of sunshine. Leave me to my fantasies. Besides, my kids will be perfect, and they will definitely never poop.”
I had to laugh at her. ”Okay,” I said, shaking my head, “but don’t say I didn’t warn you.”
Later that afternoon, I texted her a picture of Caroline playing with her doll. ”Looks like rainbows and butterflies to me,” she said. ”Sure she’s cute,” I texted back, “but 30 seconds later she started screaming at the top of her lungs and didn’t quit until I managed to get her dinner ready. Just sayin’.” ”In my world she def didn’t do that,” said my friend. ”She danced cutely on a cloud.” I had to laugh. ”In your world, she’s potty trained and sleeps till 9:30 and then brings me breakfast in bed.”
I love being a mom more than anything, but I’ve got to say it’s tougher on a day-to-day basis than I had imagined before I actually had a child. What about you? Is parenthood different from how you imagined it would be?
Wednesday, August 24th, 2011
It’s Caroline’s favorite word. Anyone who has a toddler will know exactly what I’m talking about. “Ready to go to daycare?” “No!” “Let’s change your diaper.” “No!” “Please eat just one bite of broccoli.” “No!” “Do you know any words other than ‘no’?” “No!”
She’ll say it all day long to anyone and everyone, without a second of hesitation. It drives me nuts, but I’ve been thinking that I really need to follow her example when it comes to some things. And I think a lot of moms have the same problem. I know I’m not the only one who has way too much on my plate, yet says “yes” to any request that comes my way. I’ve said “yes” to taking on cases at work that I know I can’t handle alone, getting out of bed to pick up a friend after midnight, seeing emergency patients when I should be racing out of the building to get to daycare on time, taking the on-call beeper early, and the list goes on.
Why is it so hard for us moms to say “no”? Think about all the things we can do, and yet we can’t say that one little word…
We don’t have to do everything for everyone, although I know firsthand that’s easier said than done. We already juggle work and kids and relationships and “me time”. Why are we so quick to say “yes” when we know we’ve already got more going on than we can handle?
Personally, I think it’s the mom guilt that is the problem. I know that I feel mom guilt for everything, from feeding my kid the occasional Happy Meal to working too many long hours to divorcing her father. I’m too susceptible to it, I guess, so it transfers over to every aspect of my life. For example, a coresident asks me, “would you want this surgical case? I’d rather not take it on.” I think to myself, me either, this should probably go to a specialist, plus I hate surgery and actually this is the last thing I want to deal with right now, or EVER, and then I smile and take the chart and say “sure, I’ll take care of it.”
And then I want to bang my head against the wall. Just say no, I tell myself. Take a cue from your daughter. (And the War on Drugs.) Just say NO.
Moms, I know I’m not alone on this. How do you keep from letting requests from other people overload your already spread-too-thin selves? Are you able to give people the toddler “no” when you know you’ve got too much going on?