Wednesday, February 28, 2007

What's Another Word For Nothing Left To Lose, 7 Letters?

And in the category of That's Why They Pay You The Big Bucks?, the Oscar goes to...
Mona, Clinical Assistant to Dr. [Name Withheld]!

This round of dealings with Fetus Manufacturing, Incorporated (FMI) has been, oh, just a smidgeon slightly under satisfactory. If my generous health insurance company were not picking up the tab, I might be playing the part of Credit Line-Wielding Harpie. Then again, probably not in view of my incredibly shrinking self-respect when staring into the gaping maw of authority.

As all female-flavored homo sapiens know, any and all medical undertakings seem to cling for dear life to the ever-important first day of your last period. This is certainly even more the case at FMI for reasons obvious to those who stayed awake during 10th grade Biology class. In fact, patients are instructed to phone on the fated first day to relate the happy news. Let me tell you, friends, it is one of the world's most humbling experiences to leave on someone's voicemail a message something like this: "Ah, um, yeah hi. My, ah, period started. OK! Call me!"

Little does one expect to hear upon the return phone call that, despite all evidence to the contrary, one's period may not actually have officially started. Officially. Because FMI isn't interested in when it actually made it's initial appearance but, rather, the infinitely more important yet mysterious start of "full flow". Now, I don't know about you all, but I do not make it a habit of observing flowing things for their fullness. At least not that particular flowing thing. If we were talking about leaking heating oil from the drum in my basement or glacial meltwater in a beautiful mountain stream, perhaps the adjective "full" might be used to describe a certain crucial and fascinating point in the flowing goings-on. I am of the opinion that it is actually impossible to declare something at "full" flow until after full has passed. Is it full yet? How 'bout now? Now? Oh wait, looks like things are slowing down. Guess that was full back then after all.

As if someone would do that in these particular circumstances.

In response to my 1PM um, voicemail message, Mona's winning Clinical Assistant performance at approximately 3 PM went something like this:
Mona: Is it full flow?
Coach: Um, sure, I guess. I don't know.
M: When did it start?
C: Today.
M: So it's probably not full flow. Call back tomorrow morning or today before 4:30 PM if it's full flow before then.
C: Um, yeah. OK.

Isn't modern technology amazing? Mona the Clinical Assistant can tell by telephone more about my body than I can myself, hence the big bucks she makes and the power she wields.

So, upon my follow-up phone call, I was instructed to begin taking some medication which, after 6 days, has made me increasingly dizzy, headachy and nauseous to the point that the world is swimming like I'm peeping into its Beacon Hill living room through a pane of its wavy pre-Revolutionary window glass. Driving ain't fun, friends. And food holds little appeal, even if it would stop moving around the plate long enough for a person to stab it with a fork. Bleh.

So I phoned Mona again. Slow on the uptake, your Coach is. That's why she's qualified to coach the Sit Squad. Mona's helpful advice for the headache: "drink lots of water and take some Tylenol." Let me translate that into Coach for you: "drink lots of water and take some air." That's how effective Tylenol is for me.

Mona informed me that they won't adjust dosage of the evil Migrainiol because that would apparently require them to scrap this cycle and I would have to wait until I could repeat again from "Ah, um, yeah hi..." even though they don't know what the current dosing level is doing to me (other than giving me migraines) until they perform some tests on March 10th at which point they could, based on testing results, cancel the cycle. So let me do this math for you.
  • Keep dosage same + perform test on 3/10 = possible cancel
  • Change dosage = Do not perform test on 3/10 + definite cancel
  • Change dosage CANNOT = Go ahead with test on 3/10 anyway + possible cancel
I can't do the proof on that last one. Guess that's why I don't get Big Bucks to field "Ah, um yeah hi..." phone calls with "Sorry, there's nothing we can do for you" replies. So, with nothing left to lose, I am swimming ahead through the watery world in which I currently live to see this little escapade through to its prompt conclusion. To amuse myself, I am contemplating having the following printed on a beige t-shirt for my March 10th appointment:

My embryos went to FMI and all I got was this lousy headache.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

So Excited My Brain Is Going To Explode

It's Tuesday. I brought my lunch to the office (because Englishman packed it) but I still have to go out at lunchtime to buy flouride-free toothpaste for Jujube. After work tonight, I will pick her up from day care and drive home in the Pontiac Stateship listening to Laurie Berkner's "I Really Love To Dance" on infinite loop. Then I will make dinner, fight with the Jujube about eating it, give up and let her eat another pink yogurt. While she eats, I will sort the day's junk mail into shredding and recycling piles. When Englishman gets home, we will drink tea, reheat leftovers, then get Jujube ready for bed. She'll be conked out before 9 tonight because she doesn't nap at day care. After that, the day's all mine! Woohoo!!

Then I'll get up and do it all over again on Wednesday.

I feel so energetic. So inspired. So creative. So full of LIFE! Seriously you guys, I can hardly take another minute of this thrill ride.

Even my knitting project is beige.

Monday, February 26, 2007

It's Monday

And this is your Coach. (Click on Play for full effect.)


Before I could copyedit the post I wrote on Saturday during naptime, the phone rang. It was my sister with whom I have not spoken in a month. Life being as it is for W2 Mothers, this workday lunch hour is my first opportunity to return to my post.

And so with Much Ado About Nothing, I bring you...

Saturday, February 24, 2007

31 In The Shade

It's one of those northern late winter days when the sun is warm enough to melt snow and ice on rooftops and driveways but the air is cold enough to freeze the puddles once the shade moves in. These are the treacherous days; the ones when the ice sneaks up on you and surprises you because you've become so blasé about winter. You've accepted it. You're taking it in stride. You're strutting about, all cocksure in your Vibram lug soles when all of a sudden before you're aware it's happening, your heels are flying through the air next to your ears and you have to utter a quick prayer that you come down on your Valentine chocolate-enhanced rump instead of your spine or your tailbone or an elbow or some other rare-to-find-these-days bony protrusion.

The thermometer and wind chill may say it's still winter but there's an entire flock of robins in our backyard begging to differ. I've never seen them congregate. I always thought robins were solitary souls. It's a little freaky in a Hitchcock Birds kind of way. The chunks of ice breaking off the roof and dropping onto the deck make me jump because I keep thinking it's a bird flying into the house so it can peck our eyes out. Yes, I suffer from the sort of hubritis (inflammation of the ego) that has me believing a flock of literal bird brains has it in for me.

It's naptime. The Jujube is flying free today. No, she's not going commando or even wearing her Dora underpants. She's still in diapers. What I mean is, she's actually taking her first nap alone in her Big Girl Bed. I neglected to move the monitor from cribside to bedside so I can't tell whether she's being well behaved and contained by the bedrails.

We are wallowing in cabin fever lethargy, certain there must be thousands of household tasks which require our immediate attention, but completely stumped as to what they might be. I don't really know why I look forward to the weekend so much. I always wind up bored and restless. Good old fashioned Catholic Upbringing guilt prevents me from kicking back and relaxing with a book or some knitting or an audiobook AND some knitting. Or maybe it's good old fashioned Virgoan (both parents) Upbringing guilt standing in my way. Let me decipher that for the Astrological neophytes among us: Virgo = Workaholic. If you've got someone in your life who is constitutionally incapable of sitting down and completely mystified by your participation in our sedentary team sport, that person was either born between August 23 and September 22, has Virgo rising, or has a cluster of planets all lined up in the Virgo part of their natal chart. Either way, there's a clutching, nagging, bastard of a conscience in my gut harping on about how an adult person's waking daylight hours are supposed to be filled with loathsome, mucky, sweaty, tedious, repetitive chores. The little fucker. I thought by quitting The Church I could successfully evict the internal tyrannical dictator. How long does it take for Head and Gut to follow Heart?

The Englishman reports that Jujube is fast asleep half-in-half-out of the covers of her Big Girl Bed. Today, quiet boring Saturday, has just morphed into Day Of Major Triumph. This calls for a celebration of the Lion Brand Wool-Ease and audiobook variety.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Weekend Pastimes

Or, Being Reminded I Volunteered For This Parenting Gig Is In No Way Helpful And Should Probably Never Be Uttered Again In My Presence

In this post we will explore the various ways to entertain a preschooler on a long holiday weekend when one resides many days' drive away from a Disney (C) theme park. Throughout this post, I will be using the feminine personal pronoun. This in no way is meant to imply that the following activities are exclusive to female members of huwomanity. This is an editorial decision simply meant to compensate for centuries of male-centric literary bias so non-female readers should not get their briefs in a bunch about "exclusive language".

1. Take your preschooler grocery shopping. This will be an entertaining and educational occupation unless you have at any time in the past succumbed to the temptation to keep your preschooler quiet by opening a box of Triscuits (TM) that you fully intend to pay for on your way out but forget is actually lodged between her and the six stuffed animals and dollies who have accompanied her on the shopping expedition and are crowded into the child seat of the shopping cart. If at any time in the past you caved into this temptation, while understandable, you must accept that you have irretrievably sullied the grocery expedition as pleasant weekend filling activity until your child is a teenager planning her first post-prom party to be hosted in your basement rec room. In this case, leave your preschooler at home with your spouse and find your moments of Zen after you take ticket number 12 at the deli counter above which the lighted sign reads "Now Serving 71".

2. Drive your preschooler's minivan through the ride-through car wash. Yes, your preschooler's minivan. You wouldn't be driving the damned thing without a preschooler in your possession would you? You would? Oh, well, never mind. Afterward your spouse can spend many nerve frazzling, blood pressure raising minutes trying to wrench open frozen doors hoping foolishly that she may still get to an appointment or workplace meeting on time.

3. While she sleeps, rearrange your preschooler's toys in their designated storage unit. This will provide her hours of quiet solitary play as she enjoys discovering where her favorite items now reside.

4. Art projects. Preschoolers love to paint. Make sure you have a supply of washable tempera paints, a roll of art paper, an ample supply of paper cups to hold the paint, several brushes, a roll or two of paper towel, an art smock, and a ready supply of water. The kitchen is a great place to paint since most kitchens have surfaces that will survive the onslaught of gooey substances that must be washed immediately or otherwise endured permanently. Make sure to line up the preschooler's stuffed animals and dollies in all the kitchen chairs and remove them a fair distance from the painting surface to ensure they remain unadorned. Have your video camera handy because this will be fun! Tie your preschooler's hair up, cover her with the art smock, roll up her sleeve, hand her two brushes and two paper cups with 1/4 inch of paint in the bottom. Now get that camera rolling. Begin to encourage your preschooler by suggesting she try painting certain shapes (circle, square, etc.). When your preschooler wanders away from the painting area, remind her gently but firmly that paint is to stay in the kitchen area. When your preschooler ignores you, begin screeching shrilly to correct her deviant behavior, ensuring your nightmarish parenting skills are captured in digital A/V not only for your child's future therapy sessions but also for your Supernanny or Nanny 911 application videos. Spend the next three weeks wondering how dollies and stuffed animals that were safely secluded all the way across the room happen to be covered in tempera paints that are now not washable.

5. Admit defeat and turn on Noggin.

6. Retreat to the kitchen to bake a loaf of bread. Remind your preschooler that if she doesn't go play in the family room and leave you alone for half an hour, she will starve this week at preschool because there will be nothing to eat for lunch.

7. After your fifth consecutive viewing of On Demand Dora Saves The Prince, shake off your parental guilt anxiety attack, switch off the Sanity Box and crack out the tea party set. Line up all the dollies and stuffed animals in their pretty, brand new, one of a kind, handpainted afternoon apparel. Pour imaginary tea. Serve imaginary scones generously dolloped with imaginary clotted cream and imaginary strawbaby preserves. Let your preschooler remind you just how charming and sweet a child she is. Lull yourself into an inflated sense of your parenting genius.

8. Suggest an excursion to the ryebaby to check out that copy of Madeline Joins The Flea Circus you so admired last time you were there. Bundle your preschooler into her Polartec (TM) fleece and her parka. Stuff her double-socked feet into her beginning to be too small but too late in season to replace winter boots. Hoist her into her car seat in the back of her minivan. Stretch the seat straps over her well padded little self and curse under your breath until you successfully stuff the latch into its clasp. Pause to wipe the sweat from your brow. Now drive to the library, spring your preschooler from her carseat and shuffle her up to the front door. Tug on the door handle. Tug again. Notice the goldenrod sheet tacked to the door stating "Closed for Presidents' Day". Curse again, this time not under your breath. Listen to your preschooler repeat the new word she learned as you shuffle her back to her seat in her minivan. Trips to the ryebaby should always be educational. Accept with grace the horrified glances of the little old ladies who were nowhere to be seen a few minutes ago but are now within earshot of your dear one's new curse word. Vow never to read another Madeline adventure so long as you both shall live.

9. Play the special Mommy hide-and-seek game. Start by being in the same room with your preschooler. Now leave the room. Listen to her shout for you, “Mommy!” Reply with, “I’m here.” The game will proceed as follows:

Preschooler: Mommy!
You: I’m right here!
P: Mommy!
U: I said I’m here!
P: Mommy!
U: I’m in the bathroom!
P: Momma!
U: I’m on the toilet!
P: Momma! Momma! Mommy!
U: WHAT!?!?!
P: Mommy!
P: Mommy!
P: Mummy!
P: Momma!

You can sustain this game as long as you wish. You must, however, be the one who terminates it, as your preschooler is preordained never to quit this one.

10. Put her down for a nap and crack open the 2006 Little Penguin Cabernet-Shiraz blend you've been saving for just such a special occasion. Ignore the fact that you can hear her chattering on the baby monitor. For an hour and a half.

I hope you have found one or more of these suggestions to be helpful. We will return to this subject again in the spring when a whole new set of outdoor entertainments will make themselves available for the enjoyment of you and your preschooler.

Happy Presidents' Day!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

I Have Found My Peeps!

Well, besides you all, blessed Sit Team.

Rae, you cracks me up, you really do! "how to fill the weekends, when the daycare is actually closed (how dare they??)" Sounds like good matériel for another post.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Razzafrazzin Frazzarazzin

I have been all over Kingdom Come and northeastern Massachusetts looking for DoraSplora party hats. Can I find any? Can I? Huh?

What do you think?

You know, there's a reason the Universe makes it difficult for some people to conceive children. People like, oh, let's say, me since I actually believe it's perfectly appropriate to plan a child's at-school birthday celebration the weekend before her birthday.

Apparently it's not. Apparently I should have signed up for the DoraSplora birthday party goods back before 2 Year Old was but a glint on her Reproductive Endocrinologist's catheter. As it is, she will simply have to make do with Dora napkins and Dora cake plates. It's all I can manage. There will be no party hats, no favor bags, no cheap Chinese plastic tchotchkes or teensy weensy bottles of bubbles, no balloons. In fact, there will be no birthday party to speak of for 2 Year Old. Chuck E. Cheese will have to squirt his purple frosting Happy Birthday message on the cakes of some other lucky preschoolers whose mothers are actually members of the secret Society for the Management of Modern Childhood Experiences.

Here's another complete shock to my system. People sign up toddlers for swimming lessons. Toddlers! Swimming lessons!!! What gives? Since when did learning to swim migrate from the domain of upper elementary grades to the swim diaper set?

Can somebody tell me where I can buy the map that shows how to get from here to Clued-In Parentland? I guess I was in the potty during that part of Prepared Childbirth class.

Since 2 Year Old will no longer be 2 years old as of 1:47 tomorrow afternoon, I am hereby changing her blog name to Jujube.

How Does It Know?

Your Linguistic Profile:
55% General American English
30% Yankee
10% Upper Midwestern
0% Dixie
0% Midwestern

Friday, February 09, 2007

Murderous Thoughts

I fully understand the compulsion to harm a child. I felt it yesterday. Not my own child, mind you. Someone else's. Another person's great big fat hyperactive troublemaking monster boyshit whose idea of a good time is to run up behind all the little girls in his class at the Little Gym and give them a shove. Need I mention 2 Year Old was among the girls who received his attentions? It disturbed me on so many levels but not, of course, on the first real revelation that I am fully capable of intentionally harming another human being -- a child, no less -- and feeling nothing but glee about it.

No, what disturbed me was that the child got away with it. He managed this in the 37.6 milliseconds that all three instructors were otherwise engaged. Falling prey to the playground dictum that tattling is a worse offense than the behavior reported, not a single one of the half dozen mothers seated on the sidelines who witnessed the boyshit's behavior actually reported it to an authority in attendance, including Yours Truly.

Further disturbance to my psyche was caused by the complete lack of attention paid by boyshit's parental unit who was, at the time, seated in the lobby behind the picture window that separates it from the gymnasium. This activity did not occur in some hidden corner of the room but on the giant red floor mat directly in front of the window. The fact the woman didn't burst through the door and drag boyshit out of class might be explained by a different parenting style than mine. The lack of attention to boyshit's behavior once class was over may have been due to the mother's wish to address it in private. Perhaps she did not actually witness his shittiness. Or, heaven forbid, perhaps in boyshit's household, male on female violence is perfectly acceptable, in which case, the mother is not to be despised but, rather, pitied.

Most disturbing on an ongoing basis was the realization, upon seeing her slowly and gracefully dissolve into tears, that my baby has already, but five mere days from her third birthday, been ushered into the phase of life when my ability to protect her is being terminated. I began to think of all the boyshits that will shove her into coathooks in the hallway at school and push her down on the playground and whack her lunch tray out of her hand scattering her food hither-thither and leaving her hungry for the rest of the schoolday. I can't begin to bring myself to imagine what the girlshits will do to her. There is wickedness and cruelty a mother simply cannot bring to her mind while she contemplates her darling's future.

It is my job to teach her to protect herself within the bounds of what is reasonable, ethical, and fits within the dictates of the values we wish to instill in her. The trouble is, how does one reconcile that one's own values differ from the cultural norm to the extent that it will actually put one's own child in harm's way? Because, let's face it, if I teach 2 Year Old to stand up for herself, every bully with a whiff of narcissism or an ambition of meglomania will be able to smell her defiant determination to live as though civilization were fact rather than theory. In the moment, as I cuddled my stunned girl, I told her it was totally OK to go right up to the bully and say, "I don't like that. What you did wasn't nice. Don't do it again." Now, you know and I know I might as well have told her, "If someone hurts you, make sure they know exactly who you are and how badly you'll react to it so they will be sure to do it again and often."

I've been the sweet, innocent little blonde girl on the playground who thinks if she minds her own business the boyshits will leave her alone and the girlshits will want to be her friend. I'm living proof it doesn't work. After reading
Amy Lane's experiences with students and parents and watching hockey Dads beat each other to death and witnessing repeatedly how the world really works, how do I instruct my daughter to deal with this shit? The thing is, I honestly don't know because I haven't yet figured out how to deal with this shit. It makes me homicidally angry at best and suicidally depressed at the other end of the spectrum.

Monday, February 05, 2007


While knitting away on the V-neck pullover last evening in front of the telly and avoiding the Stupor Bore, Englishman and I happened upon a film by the same title as this blog entry starring a surprising ensemble cast that included Emma Thompson being impossibly twitty, Bernadette Peters and Mandy Patinkin being implausibly European, Julian Sands being infallibly wooden, and Hugh Grant being impeccably delicate and effete. The role of Frédéric Chopin was perfect for him. He starred opposite Judy Davis who played George Sand with all the grace of a rutting buck. It was a strange car crash of a film. We couldn't tear our eyes away. The casting director should have been severely reprimanded and probably only escaped being run off the Continent to Hollywood because of the absolute stroke of genius that stuck Hugh Grant in the role of his life. He really was too too tutu. I've never seen him in a better role. In fact, I've never seen him act before. He's usually cast as Hugh Grant. Do try to catch it sometime. It's one of the oddest things I have ever seen, although it did inspire me to run to the library during my lunch break today and pick up a recording of Chopin Impromptus. Or maybe it was Etudes.

Of course, I picked up a couple books and a few more CDs too. Looks like I've got a lot of sitting to do, team. You know where to find me.

Speaking of Chopin Impromptutus,
Needle Tart has offered to give me piano lessons. Isn't that nice of her? I agreed, naturally, since the piano can be played while sitting down. We have yet to work out the distance learning arrangements nor have I offered anything in exchange for her services. Details, delightful details.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Groundhog Day Silent Poetry Reading

Inspired by Roots Down by way of A Yarning To Write this is my favorite poem. I've always wanted to stencil the last two lines around the perimeter of my bedroom walls. Maybe one day I'll get up off the sofa and do it.

Choose Something Like a Star
by Robert Frost - 1947

O Star (the fairest one in sight),
We grant your loftiness the right
To some obscurity of cloud --
It will not do to say of night,
Since dark is what brings out your light.
Some mystery becomes the proud.
But to be wholly taciturn
In your reserve is not allowed.

Say something to us we can learn
By heart and when alone repeat.
Say something! And it says "I burn."
But say with what degree of heat.
Talk Fahrenheit, talk Centigrade.
Use language we can comprehend.
Tell us what elements you blend.

It gives us strangely little aid,
But does tell something in the end.
And steadfast as Keats' Eremite,
Not even stooping from its sphere,
It asks a little of us here.
It asks of us a certain height,
So when at times the mob is swayed
To carry praise or blame too far,
We may choose something like a star
To stay our minds on and be staid.