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Sunday, April 15th, 2012
Sorry for the lack of posting these days, you guys. I’m sort of paralyzed at this crossroads in my life. Up until now, I haven’t been able to put it together into anything coherent or remotely interesting for internet “strangers” to read, which makes me feel pretty bummed out about it all.
I mean, if you can’t even manage to construct a blog post about major decisions in your life, how are you ever going to figure them out and actually live them?
I’ve taken the military dentistry thing to the end. I went to MEPS, passed my physical, filled out mountains of paperwork, and am waiting to hear back from the board regarding whether or not I’ve been selected for active duty. I should hear back sometime this week.
Of course, in my own mind I’ve gone back and forth about whether or not this is the best decision for me and for Caroline. Recently, Tyler, who I thought was on board with the whole thing since he’s moving out of state anyway, informed me that he really doesn’t want me to join. I truly can’t decide what his motivation is. I don’t know if he’s afraid about losing time with her (he never takes his full visitation anyway), or if he’s afraid that I’ll be deployed and he will be left solely responsible for her for months on end and he won’t know how to handle that. It is probably a little bit of both.
His opposition is a big deal to me, as you can imagine. I want to be on good terms with him and maintain his relationship with Caroline for everyone’s sake… and, legally, he could put up a fight about me taking her far away. I don’t think he’d have much of a leg to stand on since he is also moving out of state, but to be honest with you, I’m not up for a court battle. The major reason I left him was that I simply do not have it in me to fight with this man anymore.
He says reluctantly that he will let us go, that we will work out visitation, if the Army is what I really want. But in the end it does not matter why he doesn’t want me to go. If he wants to step up and be more of a father, I need to support that. And if it’s just that he’s afraid to be responsible for Caroline all alone, then it’s not in my child’s best interest to risk having to leave her with him for months at a time.
If I don’t join the Army, it’s getting a bit late to be looking for other jobs, which is stressful. After Tyler told me of his objections, I scrambled to line up a few interviews for private practices, because the end of my residency is fast approaching, and I’m a poor resident with a lot of debt and a child to support, and I cannot risk being unemployed for any period of time. And further complicating the issue is a guy I’ve been dating that I actually really, really like. Who lives around here, of course. His situation is too problematic for me to even consider factoring him in to my decision, but realistically, if I leave him, I will miss him…
And yet. I still can’t let go of the Army, because I really want to do it. If I don’t, then I at least want to move away from here, from this state I’ve spent nearly my entire life in, from this dark apartment where my marriage crumbled and fell apart. I need a change. But I can’t even determine if that is a good idea. I was talking to the aforementioned guy about it, and he told me that I am struggling with all of this because I don’t even know what kind of life I want to have. I told him, with my usual tact and subtlety, that he was ridiculous and wrong, that I already know exactly what I want, that I always have.
He said, “The most important thing you have in your life is Caroline, right? So envision the life you want with her, just you and her.”
I said, without hesitation, “I already have it.”
“Then why do you need to change anything?” he asked. ”You may think you’ll be happy somewhere different just because it’s different… but you won’t be. Not unless you actually figure out what you want.”
He’s right, of course. But I’m no closer to a decision than I ever have been, and now my time is running out.
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Caroline, Custody, Dating, Divorce, Military, Money, Moving, Residency, Single Parenting, Tyler, Visitation | Categories:
Caroline, Residency, Single Parenting, Unexpectedly Expecting, Work/Life Balance
Saturday, March 31st, 2012
I would have to say that the most interesting thing about writing this blog is the email I get from my readers.
I guess it comes with the territory of revealing so much of your personal life for so long, putting it online for anyone to read. I had a good friend tell me once that when she read my blog for the first time, a lot of it surprised her, because she had had no idea that I had felt that way (before my divorce). I’m fully aware that this is a ridiculous statement, but for some reason I almost find it easier to talk about things here than with people in real life. I have a lot of people contact me and tell me they feel like they know me after they’ve read the whole thing. I do get so personal here that I guess that in a way, they’re right.
Enough about me. Back to you guys.
I’ve gotten a lot of hate mail, certainly, for my more controversial posts (see here and here and here). I mostly try to ignore that. I’ve had people email me and ask me questions that I can’t possibly pretend to know how to answer, like “should I get divorced?” or “should I have an abortion?” (I have to say that although I’m always glad to offer a listening ear and a sympathetic shoulder, I don’t exactly feel qualified to offer concrete advice.) I’ve had guys email me and ask me out, women email me and ask me for advice on how to go about getting a divorce, people contact me for dental advice or to talk about going to dental school. And of course I always love the encouraging emails, when people contact me just to say that they love reading about my life and Caroline’s, and to keep it up.
But the kind of correspondence that really makes my day is these: the single mothers who tell me that because of things I’ve written here, they feel more inspired to go back to school for their children. The working moms who tell me that they take comfort in knowing that there’s someone else out there going through the same struggles, and feeling like their compromises and sacrifices are worth it.
If anything I write makes even one person out there feel less alone, then hey– I’m happy. If I get just one of those emails for every ten pieces of hate mail, it’s been more than worth it. So, I just wanted to say thank you to everyone who has let me know that putting myself out there on the internet like this has made a small difference in your lives. I can’t express how much it means to me.
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Saturday, March 10th, 2012
It has been brought to my attention that whenever I attempt to date, I turn into a magnet for The Crazy. (See here and here. Oh, and here. One more… here.)
I mean, I can’t really complain too much. I’m moving away this summer, so there is little point in entering into an actual relationship. (Though you’ve got to admit that it does make for entertaining blog material.) But I do find it frustrating that no matter what I do or how I meet these guys, I always manage to end up in Crazytown.
But hold that pity party for just a minute. I was thinking about it the other day and realized that this scenario sounded awfully familiar. In fact, I had a friend in college with the exact same problem. She used to sit me down in the dining hall and go on and on about how every single guy she’s ever dated has been a total nutjob, and I would smile and nod but couldn’t help but think, “obviously not every guy in the world can be crazy, my dear. The one thing all these guys have in common is you. Either you’re the crazy one, or you just pick all the wrong guys, and in either case, the problem is not them. It’s you.”
So, fine. I get it, b*tchy college me. The problem is me. I pick the crazy ones. I can own it.
Based on this philosophy, my best friend decided to take matters into her own hands and scour the internet for the perfect men for me. Whenever she finds a good one, she helpfully emails me a link so I can check out the dude. I thought you guys might enjoy seeing the lineup.
Ready or not, here they are: my future
blog subjects dates.
The more baby mamas, the better… right?
Wait, no, it’s “the more arrests, the better”.
This one loves kids! Or just their money. Potato, potahto.
It’s important to have similar views on parenting and discipline.
If he’s not crazy anymore, I will literally eat my shoe.
What do you guys think? Any of them worth a shot? I mean, all of these guys have to be at least 85% less crazy than some of the ones I’ve already dated, right?
On second thought, maybe I’d better reconsider turning over the reins of my personal life to this particular friend… (Love you, babe.)
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Monday, February 27th, 2012
Remember that time I informed you all that guys without kids are too immature and crazy for a single mom to date? It is with a heavy heart that I now report to you, from the field, that men with kids are just as crazy. If not more.
Is it just me? It’s probably me.
I clearly lied when I said that thing about taking a break from dating. Hi, my name is Julia, and I’m a datingaholic. (Hi, Julia.) What can I say? I get bored. And lonely sometimes. (So, apparently, does my reluctant comrade-in-arms Kate Gosselin. All I can say to that is, DATING TIP: maybe don’t have eight kids and act like a crazy person on national TV for years on end and then try to play it cool like you’re totes normal and dateable. You’re welcome, Kate. I’m here for you.)
Where was I? Oh right. So I went on a date with this single dad, and this is how it went:
We had a relatively normal (if slightly awkward) conversation for about five minutes. Then he heaved a giant sigh, clapped his hands together, closed his eyes, and said, eyes still closed, “Okay. Full disclosure time.”
“Oh… okay. What do you mean?” I asked, full of trepidation. Does he wear complete dentures? Is he wanted for murder? Is he a Republican? What could it be that’s so terrible that it warrants mentioning five minutes into a first date?
“I’m married,” he said. ”Well, separated. I just moved out. I’m living with a friend until I can move into my own place. This is all new to me. But I want a relationship, and a serious one. I’m definitely looking for long-term here. I hope you’re interested in the same.”
“Oh,” I said. “That’s… efficient. Thanks for telling me.” I opened my mouth to tell him that I won’t be in the area for long, but he went off on a long rant about his wife and all the things that were wrong with their relationship and what a terrible nag she was, and admitted he was so miserable since he moved out that he gets drunk every night. I quickly decided it didn’t matter how soon I’d be moving away, because even ten minutes more with this guy was probably going to put me over the edge into alcoholism myself. We had met for breakfast, so I couldn’t even have a drink to take the edge off the terrible awkwardness that this had become. I stared at the grapes on my plate, wishing they were wine.
“So,” he said loudly, snapping me back to attention, “needless to say, I’m now trying to figure out exactly what it is that I’m looking for in my next wife. For example, she needs to be a lady. I mean, I’m a gentleman, you know? I’ve raised my son to open doors. My daughters will actually stand in front of a door and just wait for my son to open it. I hope they expect that from men for the rest of their lives.”
“Wow,” I said, raising an eyebrow. “I can’t say I agree with you on that one. Honestly, I’d prefer that my daughter didn’t ever depend on a man, for a door or anything else.”
He tried to backpedal, but I quickly blocked him with, “So what else is on the list?”
“You really want to know?” he asked with a grin. ”I’ve got it! Here, on my phone.” He grabbed his phone and brought it up while I stared at him, trying to figure out what I had done in a past life to deserve this. He handed it to me and I scanned through his list of “attributes”. ”I must not find her annoying” was one of them, along with “she must be undeniably attracted to me”. ”She must be M.O.” was another.
“What’s M.O.?” I asked him.
“Good question,” he shouted, banging his hand on the table so that the dishes rattled and I jumped. ”The first word is multi. And it has to do with sex. I’ll let you figure out the rest. Get it?”
That was it. I looked pointedly at my wrist (and no, I don’t wear a watch). ”Wow,” I said brightly, pulling out some cash to throw on the table, “look at the time. I’ve got to get to work. It was great meeting you.”
He stood up uncertainly. ”I’ll walk you to your car,” he said. ”So… do you want to get together again sometime? I had a lot of fun. I think this is a good match. Do you think this is a good match?”
I felt bad and smiled at him. ”I’m glad you had fun,” I said. “Good luck with everything.”
(So much for the single dad theory. In case you were wondering, he did not open the door for me on the way out. But then again, I’m pretty sure “gentlemen” don’t talk about multiple orgasms on the first date anyway.)
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Thursday, February 23rd, 2012
Thanks to everyone who joined me at the American Baby Q&A session today on Facebook! For those who missed it or anyone who’s looking for information on kids’ dental care, I thought I’d put together a post of the most commonly asked questions, and a few things I didn’t get to mention. (Note: this post, just like any information on the internet, does not substitute for an exam and regular dental care– see your dentist for any specific concerns.)
When should I schedule my child’s first dental visit?
The official recommendation is by one year of age or the first tooth, whichever comes first. The purpose of the first visit is to establish a dental home for your child, to educate you (the parent) about proper home care and diet, and to start establishing healthy dental habits and introduce the child to the dental office environment.
When should I start brushing, and what kind of toothbrush should I use?
You should start brushing as soon as the first tooth appears. (Some parents like to wipe the gums with a clean finger or washcloth even before teeth start coming in, to get the baby used to the parent cleaning their mouth.) You can use any brand of kid-sized toothbrush. I like the Oral-B Stages brushes because they are appropriately sized for different ages. If you choose an electric toothbrush, be aware that the technique is different. With a manual brush you do the scrubbing motions, angling the bristles toward the gumline. With an electric brush you hold the brush still for several seconds in one area and then move on to the next.
When should I start using regular toothpaste?
As soon as the first tooth appears! The “training” (fluoride-free) toothpaste is actually not necessary. Until your child learns to spit out well (around age 4), you should use a tiny smear the size of a grain of rice, twice a day. It is assumed that the child will swallow it, but such a tiny amount is not considered to be harmful.
What about flossing? When do I need to start, and how can I get my child to let me do it?
When the teeth touch each other (no spaces between them), you can start flossing. Let your child watch you floss first so they know it’s not a bad thing. You can try the mini-flossers that look like a plastic hook with floss threaded through it, and let your child hold one and play with it before you try any actual flossing.
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