Thursday, April 26, 2012

Diagnosis

Medical diagnoses are rarely happy occasions – they bring fear of the unknown and anxiety to people formerly unaware of the soul-sucking nature of overwrought nerves, while some diagnoses are pleasant considering your life’s circumstances – “you are pregnant” comes to mind. 

Other diagnoses are just plain comical.

A few weeks ago, I made an appointment with my friend the chiropractor to see what was up with this upper back pain that was making its way down one of my arms and weakening it.

After an x-ray, a posture analysis, and an adjustment, my friend guessed that I had a pinched nerve.  I mentioned that my right hip was higher than my left; that as long as I could remember, my right pant leg was always shorter than the left.  It is an affliction that my mother and grandmother both have.  I remember sharing my dilemma with them of always having uneven pant legs, and they nodded in sympathy.  It was a bond that would never break. 

Anyway, the chiropractor concluded that the pinched nerve was likely caused by a spinal curvature that raised my right hip about a quarter of an inch, and prescribed a regular treatment schedule of two-a-week adjustments that I was excited about mainly because there’s nothing better than getting your back cracked and also because his wife and I are also friends, and who doesn’t love getting to see your friends during the week to crack jokes and make plans for the weekend every couple of days?

It was during the second appointment with the chiropractor that he had a brainstorm about what else could be causing this problem.  He measured each one of my legs, and in awe, proclaimed: “You have an anatomically short leg.”

I burst into laughter as he explained that my left leg was a quarter of an inch shorter than the right, and that over the years, my spine compensated for that deficit in length by squeezing the right side of my spine, pinching the nerves as a result.  At least I think that’s what he said.  I was too overcome in giggles to pay attention.  It’s the weirdest thing I’ve heard in a while.  I didn’t even know that this was a thing in generally healthy individuals without a history of birth defects or disease.

I still can't get over the irony that I’m a woman almost 6 feet tall and I have a short leg.

The chiropractor ordered me a heel lift for my shoe and said that this only happens in about 20% of individuals, which may not be accurate because of course as soon as I left his office, I announced it to everyone who I came into contact with that day, and about half of them told me that they have the same problem.  One woman even stood straight and swung her short leg back and forth without brushing the ground to show how much shorter her leg is than the other. 

I'm still amazed by that.

It got me thinking that having an ASL is something that should be spotlighted in communities across the country.  I figure my next step is to form an organization celebrating the short-legged everywhere.  Those of us with an ASL can band together to build awareness of this affliction.  I’m thinking T-shirts and partnerships with pants designers and lift manufacturers.

In the meantime, me and my ASL will continue to tell our story and hopefully that pesky pinched nerve will heal.


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Confessional Tuesday on Wednesday

Are you familiar with the program below?


This cartoon, burdensomely entitled "My Little Pony Friendship is Magic" is about My Little Ponies and their Friendship, which is Magic.  It is totally sweet and pink and purple and musical and magical and all high-pitched voices and they have weddings where the guests are referred to as "Mares and Gentle-Colts." 

If you would like more details, please.  Ask someone else.

My 8-year-old is in love with this show.

(Inexplicably, so is a sizable portion of the youngish American male population.  They call themselves "Bronies."  You can learn about them on Youtube or Google.  I want to die.)

My daughter DVRs the show.  She DVRs it, and she watches it.  Over and over.  And over.  And over and over and over and over and over and over.  You get the idea.

I have watched the wedding of Twilight Sparkle's brother Shining Armor and Princess Cadence (Twilight Sparkle's old foal-sitter) so many times that I'm starting to think I'm seeing Rainbow Dash flying past my window during the day.  The first airing was this past Saturday.

That's four days ago.

I'm reminded of the time when Adventure Time, though amusing in small doses, took up roughly 83% of our DVR's saving capacity, thus encouraging countless hours of repeated viewings.

I think it's time for the DVR to "clear" itself again.



Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Ain't She Sweet

Yesterday something clicked inside me and I became Mean.  Just inwardly, of course.  And a little bit towards my kids and husband, naturally.  Poor things.

There’s always a point of time each month where my hormones get the best of me – and by the best of me, I mean they bring out the worst in me.  I’m sure I’m the only woman  in the world who, when there’s the perfect storm of hormones and circumstances and the grumpies that are caused by more than one cloudy day in a row, wishes that everyone would just stop being so stupid and freaking ignorant.

Today the mood was set off by cold weather, uncomfortable clothing, errands that take too long, stomach upset, and terrible service at a restaurant.  There was the conversation I overheard that went like this: Everyone at table: “My husband (insert minor infraction).  It drives me crazy.”  One person: “I’m so glad my husband doesn’t do that.” Everyone: “My husband (insert minor infraction).  It drives me crazy.”  One person: “My husband doesn’t do that either.” Everyone: “My husband (insert minor infraction).  It drives me crazy.”  One person: “Nope.  Not my husband.” Normally this kind of stuff doesn’t bother me.  People are entitled to have better behaved husbands.  I bit my tongue to keep the Mean in.  It was a good thing, because I was thinking this:  “If someone said ‘I have cancer’ would you respond with ‘I’m so glad I don’t have cancer?’  No.  You wouldn’t.  Even if your husband is perfect, no one wants to hear about it.  Sip your tea and be smug by yourself.”

That would have been Extra Mean.

Add being late for car pick-up at school, idiot drivers that pull right up on my tail so that I can’t back into a parking space, children who cry for me to do their homework, unplanned children’s sports activities, and a husband who CallsFacetimesSkypesTexts at least ten times between school and dinner time to see if he can turn on his new car from a remote location at the exact moment that everyone else is talking doing homework eating dinner looking for an athletic cup and what is this five dollars for on the desk is it yours can I have it and there are five minutes before you have to be at baseball practice YOU NEED TO HURRY UP AND EAT AND PUT YOUR CUP ON.

It was madness, and I didn’t even have time to drink any wine.

Today has been better, mostly because I have been holed up in my house all day and haven’t been around other people much.  I probably should do the same for the rest of the week and ride out this Mean.

For everyone’s safety, that is. 


Friday, April 20, 2012

Teachable Moments

A great part of parenting is teaching your children skills and information that will enrich their lives.  When kids are small, we teach them how to put on their jackets by laying them upside down on the floor and flipping them over their heads.  We teach them how to hold a spoon and drink from a cup, and how many ice cubes Mommy likes in her Pinot Grigio.

When they are older, we teach about family traditions.  We teach them family history by telling stories about our ancestors and what life was like for us as kids.  We teach holiday traditions: they learn that we celebrate Thanksgiving with a family trip and that they can look forward to a week at the shore in the summertime.  They find out that Santa brings presents and the tooth fairy brings money, and that at Christmastime Grandpa lets them drink from his whiskey glass when Mommy leaves the room.

A more mature age is needed to teach kids about the nuances of human relationships, like how to forgive a friend, or how to encourage each other, or how many days the silent treatment lasts when Daddy complains to Mommy about how long he has to “babysit.”

By far the most entertainment I’ve gotten from teaching my children is through helping them discover and develop their senses of humor.  They are old enough to tell a joke, play a prank, and see humor in everyday situations.  I’ve taught my daughter how to make fart noises into the crook of her elbow, and my son how to rig the kitchen sprayer to soak an unsuspecting victim.

Unfortunately, kids will pick up things that aren’t meant to be taught.  For instance, you may find yourself being asked to define a swear word, or you may even hear your child use one incorrectly, adding another lesson to your repertoire.  They may reveal to strangers private information, like when my daughter told her friend’s mother that I got sick on vacation because I drank too much beer.  Then you have to reinforce rules that certain information isn’t meant for public consumption. (Too be fair, I was sick afterwards.  Incidentally, I drank rum on vacation, not beer.)

Despite my zeal about life education, I worry about the appropriateness of certain lessons.  Are my children old enough to responsibly use the terms “banana hammock” and “over-the-shoulder-boulder-holder?”  Can they find the subtle humor in the poem “Milk, milk, lemonade.  Around the corner, fudge is made?” Can they learn to use it appropriately?

Only time will tell.  That, and possibly a call from school.  Or maybe a friend’s irate parent.



photo credit

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Confessional Tuesday on Wednesday

Today my confession is quick and dirty.

I sat on the couch and ate chocolate instead of going to the gym.

That's an equal trade, right?

I mean, it's kind of a service I provide to my kids.  Someone has to eat all that Easter candy, and they aren't allowed to because of the threat of childhood obesity and diabetes and whatnot.

I had big dreams of throwing away two pieces for every one I eat, but that kind of nonsense is for jerks.

I can quit whenever I want to.

Or when it's gone, whichever comes first.

Yeah.  I'm totally gonna eat them all.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Rant

On a scale of 1 to 10, how terrible is it that I try to ignore my children when they have a question, comment, or even an “I love you, Mom” after I tuck them in?

I’ve had it with their nuanced and not-so-sneaky ways of staying up past the time I’ve deemed their bedtime.  I clock out before I totally lose it and clock them.

My children are wily, beastly beasties.  They stop at nothing to spend one last minute awake and up in my grill before succumbing to the blissful unconsciousness of slumber.  It gets under my skin, and instead of begging, pleading, and getting all Cruella DeVille on their precious behinds about following my simple direction of GOING TO BED FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY AND SACRED, I sit, mute, and silently will them to self-soothe and get it done already.

Five minutes of prayers turns into twenty minutes of unmaking the beds, brushing each tooth methodically, putting away that one toy that they forgot they had, plugging in the gadget to recharge for tomorrow.  Then another five minutes of “Good night Mom” and “Do you want the hall light on?” and “What is the weather going to be like tomorrow?” and “I forgot to do that thing in the place that I forgot to do the other day.”

If you’re strong and possess complete sanity, one night of these never-ending shenanigans is enough to make you blindly grasp at its vestiges.

If you’re not, and you’re me, you stupidly dream about a glass of wine and heavenly silence while your kids say goodnight one more time.

I’m painting a terrible portrait of myself, I guess.  I’ll be sorry one day when my kids come home with an attitude bigger than the one I sported in my own wonder years, where they’ll storm up to their rooms and lock the door behind them, and give me the silent treatment that I probably deserve.

It’s not that far off.  They simultaneously break my heart every day anyway, which they’ve done since the day they came into this world.  I’m still not sure whose idea it was to have these kids, to choose to make something that will alternately lift and sink me a hundred times a day.

I’m joking, of course. 

Maybe. 

But you can be sure of this: one second after they’re quiet in their beds, I tiptoe down the hall to make sure that the lights are off, they’re comfortable, and that they’re sleeping.  A kiss on the forehead and I’m at peace, hoping that I’ve done the best I could today, and that it was enough for them.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Confessional Tuesday on Wednesday

I've been watching Mad Men DVDs for about three weeks now.  I haven't been watching anything else.  It's consumed my life.

If it's not in this picture, I haven't been paying attention.

I didn't even know that there was a forest fire in my area until I went on Facebook and everyone was talking about it.

I didn't know that Rick Santorum dropped out of the running for whatever important political job he was running for.

I didn't even know that nobody likes him.

I watched the last episode of the last Mad Men season the other day, and caught up on all the new ones that have been on since the new season started.

And now I'm bored.

photo credit

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Top Ten Reasons for Having Children

Why do people have kids?  The question has as many answers as there are parents in the world.  Here, I will touch on the top ten most popular reasons:


10.       “We didn’t mean to have them” – Parents who give this reason are living in the moment.  Not seeing the future clearly, they go about their dirty business under the assumption that it won’t happen to them.  And then it does.  Two or three or six “oopsies” later, and Mommy’s sitting on the couch at ten in the morning with a glass of wine in one hand and Junior’s Adderall in the other.


9.         “We planned to have our children by the time we turned forty, with three years between them and a hefty stock portfolio for each by the time they turn twenty-one.  We set up college funds for them as soon as we were married” – These parents end up having high-performing kids whose pictures you see in the paper.  For bank robbery, maybe arson.


8.         “It was the next step” – As if having children was a task that can be ticked off on a list.  College: check.  Career: check.  Marriage: check.  House: check.  Children: check.  Watching your sanity and sense of self slowly slip away into the dark abyss of parenthood:  Check and double check.


7.         “My parents wanted grandchildren” – To me, this is the worst reason to have kids.  Your parents want a grandchild?  Save your money and bribe your siblings to go first.  No siblings?  Move back in with your parents and remind them of your teenage years.  Don’t offer to help out, and leave dirty dishes lying around.   Stay out all night and accuse them of cramping your style when you and your husband have friends over for keg parties.


6.         “All my friends are having kids” – Although it’s nice to have friends who have kids your kids’ ages, there’s no guarantee that your kids will be friends.  What’s worse, you may find that your friends are terrible parents who created monstrous children.


5.         “We have so much love to give” – Don’t we all?  Check back with me later when you’re up at three in the morning with a restless infant for the twelfth night in a row while your husband snores peacefully in bed.  Pretend for a moment that you didn’t consider any of the following: a. Smothering your husband with his pillow, b. Jumping out the window with the baby, c. placing the baby in his or her crib and driving off into the night in your pajamas.


4.         “We wanted to create a legacy” – Now you’re just cheating.  Did you read all the parenting books ahead of time?


3.         “I couldn’t wait to see what the combination of me and my husband would look like” – Vain much?  Hope you get a pretty baby and not one of those ugly ones.  OMG I’m just kidding.  Yep.  Totally.  Kidding.


2.         “We wanted to give the next generation what we didn’t have” – Great if you grew up on the streets and are now a billionaire.  Not so great if your parents were royalty and you joined a rebel militia.


And now, the number one reason why people have kids, and the main reason why my husband and I had them:



1.         “So we’d have someone to do our chores” – Man, having kids is the best.  Ever.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Confessional Tuesday on Wednesday

Can I get financing for these?

Today's confession may not be a shocker because I know everyone does it, but I'm confessing anyway and you should too because it's wrong. 

I take my own food into the movie theater.

Specifically, I take movie box candy into the movie theater.  I can't help it.  I know it's wrong, and I feel guilty about it every time. 

Maybe not as guilty as I feel after consuming said box of movie box candy before the previews are even over, but guilty just the same.

I just can't bring myself to pay more than a buck or so for a box of candy, so I sneak it in to avoid paying over four dollars for something that will make me feel sick and gross.  My kids are appalled at my deceitfulness when I stuff the boxes into the bottom of my purse.  I hate myself for modeling this criminal behavior.

I tell myself that it's not nearly as bad as people who bring their Size Large Big Mac Value Meals inside their coat pockets and stink up the whole theater, but bringing your own food into the theater is clearly not allowed and truthfully I'm just as bad as the rest.

I carefully only take in the candy that the theater doesn't provide, so if I am searched, I have a good alibi.  How can anyone enjoy a movie without Good n Plenty's?

Seriously.  Who decided that Good n Plenty's were out?  Shame on you, movie theater owners.  Shame on you with your outrageous candy prices, and for not even carrying the good kind anyway.

And shame on me for eating every last one after the lights go out.