Thursday, December 18, 2008

You Better Not Shout. You Better Not Cry.

The annual preschool holiday pageant is coming up and I'm torn whether to go or not. She's torn? What an awful mom! Who wouldn't want to see their kids dressed up like reindeer?! Let me explain. I'm dying to go. I went the first year, when my son was two. I sent him to school dressed in a white sweatshirt and black pants as instructed. When I came back later to watch the production I spied him grinning and wearing a top hat with giant black buttons on his belly. My little Frosty the Snowman. I should have taken the shot right then. But no, instead I waved, "Hi sweetie!" That was it. He started bawling. The show is starting and all of the other two year-olds are marching on stage singing Frosty the Snowman (or at least standing there, holding hands and swaying.) My son is shrieking like a mermaid. I scoop him up. So much for the pageant picture. Maybe next year.

Last year we avoided the agony altogether by taking a vacation. We left before winter break started so I missed the opportunity to watch my son prance around like Rudolph. Or rather sob and throw a tantrum the minute he saw me.

So this year, I'm in a quandary. Should I go? He's been singing Santa Claus is Coming to Town for the last month and waving his finger around. (Sing it with me now: you better not shout, you better not cry…) If only that was a sure thing—no shouting and no crying. Maybe now that he's four he'll be able to hold his ground in front of the parent paparazzi. I don't blame him. We're like a sea of smiling, nodding, best-intentioned crazy people. I'm sure it's intimidating. All I want is for him to enjoy himself. Who am I kidding? All I want is for him not to be that kid. There's always one in the lot. The one that's not singing. The one that's crying or sitting down or has fingers up both nostrils. It's usually my kid. Well, que sera sera. All I can do is send him in his red shirt and hope for the best.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Perfect Storm

And I'm not weathering it well. In fact, I am having a major come-apart. So if you read about our Thanksgiving weekend you know that we were hit from behind by a drunk driver which turned into a serious pain in the neck. Literally. Two days later I found myself at a chiropractor's office. Then the next day I had a previously scheduled minor surgery to remove what was left of a mole on my upper abdomen, determined by my dermatologist to contain some funky cells. This visit would require stitches. So she cuts everything out and sews me up with six stitches.

Now when I go back to the chiropractor there's not a ton they can do since it's painful for me to lay on my belly. Meanwhile my neck pain has subsided because my belly is so sore. That's good right? But then I've been so careful not to further tweak my neck or pull out any stitches on my abdomen, I throw out my lower back. Now my belly is hurting less, but I can hardly walk. Maybe I should feel lucky that my pain receptors can only focus on one thing at a time.

This happened once before (throwing out my back). It was ten years ago. So what did I do? I called in sick. I stayed home for three days. I slept and read all day with a cozy hot water bottle relaxing my back muscles. It was delightful. What am I doing this time around? Let's see. I'm lifting 60 pounds of children into my car and wrenching over to secure their seatbelts. I'm sitting at my desk all day typing. I'm putting my two year old in and out of her high chair. I'm making dinner, doing the dishes, folding laundry, straightening the house and watching The Berenstain Bears with my kids (that part's actually nice - although I can barely get out of the couch once I'm in there). Indeed my husband is doing more than his share, but there's just so much. It's enough for three people.

So how is my back, four days later? Worse. And how does that make me feel? Grumpy and resentful. That is why this morning when I was trying to get my squirrely kids out of the house I snapped at them—even my daughter who shines sunlight from her ass most of the time. I was all bent over and twisted trying to get her diaper on and his pants on and they were whining and crying so I just barked at them which made them cry more. It was awful. I'm just in so much pain and everything I have to do for them causes more pain. And all of it together—the accident, the neck, the surgery, the stitches, the back, not to mention the stress of figuring out which elementary school to send my son next year or if even to send him at all—has me coming apart at the seams. Specifically my newest seam, the one three inches above my belly button. Stitches come out Friday.

Thursday, December 4, 2008


Even though Thanksgiving is last week's news I wanted to update everyone on the "what I'm thankful for" placemat that my son created in preschool this year. You may remember, though I doubt it, that last year he wrote on his placemat that he's thankful for his black car. The other kids wrote that they were thankful for their mommies and daddies and other, slightly more meaningful entities. Not wanting to relive the humiliation I coached him all year so that when Thanksgiving came around again he would write on his placemat (and these things are laminated so there's no making any changes) that he was mostly thankful for mommy and aba. Well I didn't actually coach him—but I clearly should have. This year he wrote that he was thankful for…drum roll…chicken nuggets and dumplings. What am I doing wrong here? At least I feed him, albeit processed food.

But then, it all came full circle when, on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, we were driving home from a little lake by our house. We stopped at a red light and a drunk woman in a Prius plowed into our car at 30 miles an hour. We're all fine, though somewhat shaken by the experience. Apparently my son had it right all along. You bet your ass I'm thankful for my black car too. The Prius was totaled and our Passat wagon had a measly dent in the back. Thanksgiving took on new meaning this year.