Category Archives: XBoy

PREGNANCY PALS

I had a Pregnancy Pal when I was pregnant with XBoy. We didn’t start off as friends who had planned pregnancies at the same time. Instead we had met during our late 2nd trimesters at the YMCA where we both were taking the swim class. We even worked for the same company, but had never met since we worked on different campuses.

Pregnancy Pal and I were due within a week of each other in December 2001. We both were going through our first pregnancies. She was in her late-20s. I was in my early-30s. Looking at us as we climbed out of the pool you might have thought she was at least 8 weeks behind me as her bump was just that – a bump – whereas I bulged.

We became good friends.

Her son was born at the end of November. I remember coming to visit her and her baby and holding him and marveling at how small he was. Less than a week later, I delivered XBoy.

During the first couple of years, all four of us spent a lot of time together. We compared milestones in both our babies’ lives and our own. We dressed them similarly for holidays and took pictures. Soon we were talking about having our second children. Early summer 2004, she announced she was pregnant. By the end of August, I told her I was, too. We were again Pregnancy Pals.

I specifically remember how we packed up the now three-year-old boys in my SUV and made a trip to The Metro for a day at the zoo, something we had done the year before together. The boys were in the second row trying to outdo each other in noise levels, silliness, and snack consumption. My friend looked at me and announced, “Next year when we go, our baby girls will be in the second row and the boys will be in the far back!” jokingly said since neither of us knew the sex of our babies, but it was a lovely image to have.

As most of you know, in November 2004, the path my Pregnancy Pal and I had started on violently diverged. I miscarried at 15 weeks. She went on to deliver a healthy baby girl in the spring. Obviously I did not.

A rift was created that November between us. We still got together for play dates with our sons. We got together to discuss flooring options and pour over paint chips as we both were building new homes. But those times weren’t as often as before. Part of it was the constant time demand of dealing with construction decisions, but what went unsaid was the fact that we were no longer Pregnancy Pals.

Compared to her first baby, who I held when he was less than 24 hours, I did not see her daughter until she was almost two weeks old. She was on maternity leave and I was still working full-time so getting together to go for a swim, or lunch or shopping, were moments few and getting further between.

A couple years later, her husband was transferred to another region and they moved away. For the first year, she would call up when they had returned to town to visit family so that our sons could get together (XBoy took his friend’s move pretty hard, and he still talks about him), but even those times came to a stop. I don’t know when exactly the last time I saw her or her children, but I know it was before our donor egg cycle.

The other day I typed in her name on Facebook’s search and I saw her face for the first time in two years. It wasn’t just her I saw, either. Her profile picture was of her and flanking her, in a group hug, was her son and her daughter. They were both wearing back-packs. I assumed the picture was of their first day of school.

As I stared at the postage size picture on my screen, I saw what might have been.

Angrily, I also thought, what SHOULD have been.

I closed her profile screen without sending a friend request. I shut off the light above my computer, kissed my husband goodnight who was watching TV, and went to bed with my heart heavier than it has been in a long, long time.

I lost a baby and a good friend that fall. I really miss them.

NINE

It’s getting late and I’m crazy-ass tired and yet – I am compelled to post. Let’s keep it brief and get to the points I wish to cover, shall we?

1 – My MIL wasn’t able to get around very well this weekend, complaining of pain in her legs. Monday a.m. she was admitted to the hospital. She needs to have her hips that she had replaced 15 plus plus years ago replaced. Mr. DD has spent every evening at the hospital as now she’s been running an unexplained fever. Once she recovers from the fever, she then will spend the next couple of weeks in a nursing home until the scheduled date of her surgery since she can’t go home as the FIL is also recovering from a surgery from a couple months ago. Getting old sucks.

2 – XBoy has brought home work every day from school that he refuses to finish in school. This on top of the regular homework, which includes 20 spelling words, like “autumn” and “September”. Is this normal for 2nd Graders? In the three weeks he’s been in school, we’ve already had the note about pushing another kid as well as the initial note about XBoy’s belligerence in refusing to do his work. How many more weeks before school’s out?

3 – ZGirl received her one year vaccinations including the first half of the flu (regular flu) shot. Mr. DD and I spent that night alternating between holding and comforting an arched-back, screaming hysterically, and feverish baby. Remind me to tell you how the next morning I opened the door on her head. I’m sure it’ll be funny in a week or two.

4 – The next day I stayed home with ZGirl since she was still running a low-grade fever. I was in the middle of getting her lunch in the microwave, running a load of wash, running the dishwasher and we lost electricity in the house. A car accident somewhere down the line. I called and bitched to my husband since he has some sort of magical power to make it come back on again if I get screechy enough with him.

5 – AND THEN tonight Mr. DD announces that we have no propane. Even though our contract with the natural gas company is “keep full” (which means to come in every month and top of the tank). The company has done this not once, but twice before. Instead of calling them tonight and fight with them later over the emergency service charges, he will call and have them deliver during normal business hours. No hot water for a shower or the endless dishes or ZGirl’s or XBoy’s baths.

6- My own post requesting advice on how to get rid of violets garnered less response than a post I didn’t even write. I’m wounded.

7 – Mr. DD and I had a huge fight. Huge. It was about money. Or should I say the lack thereof? Not being able to find a new job is wreaking havoc on our marriage. Is that oversharing?

8 – We received news a couple weeks ago that one of Mr. DD’s nephews and his wife were expecting their first baby. This weekend we heard she miscarried. Now instead of sending the congratulatory card, I need to find a sympathy card.

9 – I’ve caught a cold.

Excuse the multiple updates if you get this through a reader. I blame life right now.

MY HEAD JUST EXPLODED

There are days that I get so angry and worked up, I can barely complete a simple task *.

I am angry that I have to consider a job opportunity 30 miles away. Maybe not a big deal to you city dwellers who are accustomed to a two hour commute one way, but this farm girl with a penchant for instant gratification will find the drive an equivalent of water boarding.

I am angry that the people yelping the most about the healthcare reform are those who HAVE healthcare. A (conservative) friend of mine said that the reform will just make those who don’t have insurance (because they are on Medicaid or don’t have a job) more likely NOT to get a job. It’ll “keep e’m lazy”, she said. Hey, that’s just awesome. Thanks for lumping me in with that group. So reward those who are on Medicaid by letting them KEEP Medicaid and let the few like me who don’t qualify for any healthcare without facing bankruptcy suffer for the many. Perfect answer.

I am angry that the people who proclaim their patriotism the loudest are the ones who love to throw around endearing terms like “King Hussein”. I get the whole “freedom of speech gives me carte blanche to spew my verbal diarrhea”, but don’t preach to me how you think this whole country is going in the shitter because of “King Hussein”. It’s going to the shitter because you’re an ignorant, fear-mongering, vitriol-filled, a-hole that does nothing but BITCH to anyone who will listen instead of educating yourself.

In addition to the previous paragraph, I’m angry about the endless and utterly ridiculous comparison of President Obama to Hitler. See both the Rude Pundit’s and Suz’s posts for a couple of succinct and eloquent summarizations.

I am angry that some ignorant woman believes she’ll carry her twelve fetuses to term and give birth to them NATURALLY and that she’ll get to hug them, and squeeze them and call them George, Jr., George III, George IV, etc., etc.. Actually, I’m sure that the healthcare in Tunisia is quite topnotch, especially since it must be an international hub, squeezed there between Algeria and Libya. Anyone else find it unbelievable that the expectant mother claims to be carrying six boys and six girls? I doubt that she’s even beyond 9 weeks, much less far enough along to make out the sex of each baby. I bet Suelman is pissed to be not just one-upped, but four-upped!

I am angry that while a certain Holy Roller Christian Blogger pleaded for forgiveness for stealing content from another More Famous Blogger under the guise of, “I just read her book and her words were so true!”, no one seems to have noticed that Holy Roller stole the words of another Not As Famous Blogger and since now Holy Roller is moderating her comments, her readers are faithfully continuing to follow her and stroking her poor, sweet, innocent head and telling her how wonderful and God-fearing she is and “of course we forgive you as you certainly meant no harm to More Famous Blogger who is siccing her evil minions upon you”… and I want to fucking choke someone. If she stole from two bloggers, she’s stolen from more and no one seems to care.

I am angry because I care that no one cares and that I shouldn’t care. It’s none of my damned business anyway, right?

I am angry that I’ve procrastinated until the very last evening before school starts to write my son’s name on 64 fucking crayons and sharpen 48 fothermucking pencils (oh, and yes, I have to get his name on them, too) and resist the temptation to just shave XBoy’s head bald tonight while he sleeps since there won’t be any time to get it cut according to the school’s policy before Wednesday morning! Not to mention that the yard hasn’t been mowed in three weeks and I am out of diapers. Well, *I’m* not out of diapers; ZGirl is.

* And dammit! Why the hell can’t I get two goddamned paperclips separated?! It’s not brain surgery!

…and so…

Just WHAT exactly are YOU angry about today?

BABY, LET YOUR HAIR HANG DOWN

Hair 1 Year Ago
Hair 1 Year Ago

Towards the end of this past school year, XBoy announced he wanted to grow his hair long(er). What the hell, we both thought. How long could it really get before he had to go back to school and conform to their appearance requirements of short hair for boys (not covering the ears or past the collar of their uniform)? We agreed with the understanding that once school started, he’d have to get it cut.

Open any catalog or magazine featuring boys XBoy’s age – 6, 7, 8 – and you will most likely see my son’s hairstyle. It’s longish, kind of a skater-dude appearance, and really what I would consider unremarkable in the sense that it doesn’t turn heads. However, he’s had several compliments from his peers on how “cool” his hair is. My kid won’t brush his teeth unless under extreme duress, so to see him take great pride in keeping his hair (relatively) clean and combed is impressive.

I’ll just say it: I like his hair long(er). He stands out amongst the children of Nebraskan conservatives on the playground.

Unfortunately, I find myself thoroughly annoyed with my in-laws, XBoy’s grandparents, who tease and mock him because of his hair. “Sorry to hear your barber died,” he says; “Do you need a little bow ribbon to hold your bangs out of your eyes?” she says.

I’ve told my son to not let their teasing bother him. As his parents, if the hair was a problem, we would let him know. I even told him that he should challenge his grandfather. Tell him that for $100, you’ll go get your hair cut. I tell XBoy that because his grandfather WOULD give him $100 for a stupid haircut, just so he wouldn’t have to be seated across from some hippie child when out in public.

How it must have annoyed my father in-law when in his youth, Mr. DD grew his hair to the middle of his back…

So what’s wrong with a little mild teasing? you might think. Then consider this: how would you feel if you had a little girl XBoy’s age who decided to cut her hair really short and then adults teased her, saying “You need to grow your hair out. You look like a boy!”? That doesn’t happen. Or if it does, it’s because those adults are bigger assholes than I could imagine.

And I can imagine pretty big assholes since the ones I actually know rank right up there.

My hair is short. Currently it’s much shorter than XBoy’s. If someone in my family – including in-laws – implied I should have longer hair so I look like a girl, I would schedule a G.I. Jane cut within 24 hours. I kid you not. I have no emotional attachment to my hair. I’ve never liked it and frankly, whenever I watch What Not to Wear and some chick is sobbing into her locks of freshly cut hair, I want to reach through and smack her. It’s HAIR. If you truly hate the cut, it’ll grow back. Jeezus. Deal with it.

0709vXBoy is developing his own style, and as long as it’s harmless in his experimentation, why shouldn’t we encourage that?

Preemptive Side-note: While someone could construe this post compared to the previous one as hypocritical (getting him to fit in when it comes to his smile, but encouraging his nonconformity when it comes to his hair), it only takes a couple moments of thought to realize that if he really felt uncomfortable with his hair, he could simply change it and the next day he’d be like everyone else. His teeth? Not so much.

THANKFULLY, STILL NO BROKEN ARM *knock on wood*

A year ago in May is when XBoy had the accident at daycare that resulted in all four front baby teeth being pulled. The link to that post actually will just bring up the comments because at some point I cut and paste the post without actually pasting it anywhere. The words have long been lost.

He was riding a little scooter around on the gym’s floor and for whatever reason, he decided to use his face as a brake on the bleachers. After meeting my husband with a bloody-faced child – being such a big-boy in spite of the pain and fear and blood – at the dentist’s office, we were told that we were fortunate in that the damage was limited to the baby teeth.

Ooooh! An illustration!
Ooooh! An illustration!

The x-rays showed his two permanent middle teeth (central incisors) were just about to emerge (the baby teeth were already loose before the accident) and the teeth on either side (lateral incisors) were still quite high and would come down much later. About six months ago, after the two central incisors were fully emerged, I noticed there was a considerable gap between the two. The space that had been meant for four new teeth appeared to be compromised.

I first saw his dentist, who thought I better see an orthodontist. The ortho poked around, but advised us to wait and see and check back later.

Now it is later and while I had hoped that I would get good news, we didn’t. So typical of those dental types, wouldn’t you agree?

XBoy’s poorly spaced descent of the centrals were not the result of the accident, but due to both of his parents passing on a less than perfect labial frenum. Mr. DD’s sister had a substantial gap (diastema) between her teeth. The gap between my teeth was perfect for holding straws (if you goal was to store a couple of straws between your teeth), so about 20 years ago I had my dentist fill it in. God bless those who revel in their gap-toothed smiles. I just didn’t have the confidence to pull it off.

And I don’t think XBoy will, either. Not to make a snap judgment call about physical beauty, but he already struggles with the stigma over the first few months of behavioral issues last fall in school. If I can prevent future teasing, especially when it comes to his appearance, I’ll do it without hesitation.

That brings me to the ortho’s opinion on XBoy’s current situation. With the two central incisors taking over the space that was meant for four, we now must make a decision to either do a) nothing and check again in 6-8 months and see if the lateral incisors are finally descending; or b) pull the baby canines to create room for the lats.

The concerns we have with either choice are based on pure speculation. The wait-and-see certainly seems more appealing. ANYTHING seems more appealing than having two teeth pulled especially when said child is capable of losing his shit over something as innocuous as a hang nail. The problem is that the waiting usually only puts off what’s inevitable. Worse case is that these teeth, denied the ability to descend, start growing their roots up too high and curling around where they shouldn’t be so when we finally do end up pulling the baby teeth (or they fall out on their own), the lats will be even slower to emerge.

Slower as in, y-e-a-r-s. XBoy could be eleven or twelve years old and have only two top teeth in the front to smile with. We’re talking pre-teen here; middle school. Do YOU remember what it was like in middle school? You’re hormonal, checking for hair where you’ve never had hair; actually washing and combing the hair you’ve had; and no longer able to pretend you’re skeeved out by the opposite sex. We all know kids are insatiable when it comes to picking on other kids (a form of deflection, don’t you know), but when they’re ‘tweens, they can be downright evil in their cruelty.

You can understand why I don’t want to have XBoy’s nickname to be “Gopher” or “Bugs”, right? I can assure you personally, Gopher is a shitty nickname.

And as I said, Option B is to just pull them now and get the ball rolling. Yes, it is a bit like robbing Peter to pay Paul since it requires the hole left by two teeth to bring in one and he will probably be playing catch-up when it comes to making room for any upper teeth. This is only the beginning since it’s very probable that he will end up with braces down the road in what the ortho described as a “comprehensive treatment” plan or the ortho’s “down payment on a private jet” plan or our “say goodbye to your university education and heLLOOO to the community college” plan. But I think – I HOPE – it’ll be the right choice for now.

I am just full of angst over the idea of causing XBoy any pain, but I know it’ll be fleeting. He won’t understand until he’s much older that the painful experience of teasing for being different is something he won’t simply outgrow. As his parents, we don’t need to make it easier for the other kids to find something to zero in on. I for one am not part of the camp that believes that kind of bullying builds character.

By the by, why the hell are my posts so long? Really? I want them to be short and sweet but they just get away from me… I was able to boil this all down to my husband via a phone call in like 10 seconds! Sheesh. If I’m going die of boredom, I’m taking y’all with me, Bitches!

ROCKET MAN – I THINK IT’S GONNA BE A LONG, LONG TIME

When XBoy was a newborn, we couldn’t wait to see what every week would bring as far as his developmental milestones go. I kept the book given to us by our pediatrician about what to expect each month next to the crib and would read about the month he was in and what to watch for, and of course the following month in anticipation. I followed the book’s suggestion down to the T. I documented when he rolled over; when he sat upright; when he crawled; when he first walked; his first words; etc., etc.

As for ZGirl? I opened the book a couple of times to remind myself of when I could introduce solids and what kinds, but we didn’t push it. We jumped over the rice mess and went straight to my broccoli chicken tortellini from Pizza Hut, which she loved, at six months. I don’t really recall when she started crawling. A couple of months ago? Five months ago?

I can tell you she started walking, if you call 3 or 4 steps before she collapses into my outstretched arms, walking, a week or so ago. She doesn’t say mama or dada, but the other day while at daycare she pointed to the wall of paper stars and said, “tars”. I have on my phone a video from my husband of where she repeated “uh-oh” with perfect enunciation. That was a month ago and she no longer says it. She looks for XBoy when we say his name. She crawls at break-neck speed to the bathroom when we say it’s time for her bath. She points to interesting, and sometimes not so interesting, objects.

As far as I know, she’s an average baby with average milestones. I do wonder about the talking, but I think I worry since XBoy was an early talker. He was (and still is of course) a very clever toddler. I even have a video of him at about 18 months counting to 20.

I guess it comes down to that while I eagerly anticipated every new development in XBoy, including the thrill of packing away outgrown clothes, I struggle immensely with ZGirl’s changes. I have a digital picture frame in our bedroom that hasn’t been updated since January. All the pictures are of her during the first five months, and as I watch the images of a newborn I barely recognize slide and morph on the screen, I can feel myself sinking into such a funk that I blink back tears.

The first two months after she entered our world were hellish. It seemed as if we never slept, but obviously we did. I would crawl into bed in the middle of the night dreading the fact that in two more hours I would have to be up again to nurse her. On more than one occasion, I remember collapsing into my pillow in tears and saying to Mr. DD, “What have we done? What were we thinking??” and before he could even attempt to sooth me, I had passed out in exhaustion.

That memory is burned indelibly into my heart since of course, we had moved heaven and earth to have her here and at my darkest I had almost wished it not to be so.

It’s now that she sleeps easily from 9 – 7 that it makes that time feel like an eternity and a half ago. Was it really THAT bad? Looking back, no, and if I could – if WE could – I would do it again.

Each day little bits of babyish floats away into the ether. She is rounding the first turn into toddlerhood in her personality, which is both feisty and fearless. She is developing a crush on a couple of stuffed animals. She hides under the blanket awaiting a game of peek-a-boo. She screams in furious indignation when we try to pluck out whatever foreign object she has secreted away into her mouth, and when she’s tired, she seeks us out, lifts her impossibly small arms up to us in a silent plea to be picked up and held, and when we do, she curls up into our arms – only briefly – before pushing back away with those arms to look into our face and smile as if to say, “I soooo have you wrapped around my finger…SUCKAH!”

And she does. She has us ALL wrapped around her finger. It’s ridiculous to imagine the three of us are at her beck and call, but we are. XBoy will even stop playing a video game to attend to her blatant calls of attention.

The relationship those two have is…oh god…it’s so hard to put into words. It’s reciprocal admiration at its finest. He will read books to her even though he HATES to read. She screams in excitement when he enters the room. The other day, she nearly pushed herself out of my arms while in the pool, just to reach out to him. I originally had feared that their age difference would equate INdifference, but I couldn’t be more surprised or elated by how well they have bonded.

I wish you all could meet ZGirl. To meet XBoy. To see how years of bitter disappointments and failures have accumulated into such a sweet, sweet outcome. One that I’m proud of in that we persevered when it seemed we could never clear the hurdles of multiple miscarriages, male factor, poor ovaries, money, time, time, time…

Time. It’s hurtling us all too quickly into the future. It seems recently I’ve been sitting on that rocket of time and while my arms are wrapped firmly and lovingly around both my children, I sometimes stop sniffing the sunshine in their hair to turn and look with melancholy on what is behind me. When I turn to face what’s in front of me again, ZGirl and XBoy are just a little bit bigger and not holding on quite as tightly to my arms.

RACING EBAY VAN TO SPECIALIST FOR ADHD

I’ve been pretty irritated with my husband lately. Actually just on the weekends. He’s been racing* every weekend for the past 4, which goes against what I thought we had agreed to when racing*season started: he’s races* one weekend; I get to do what I want the next weekend. Easy, right?

When I whined to him about it, he told me I “need to get a hobby.” So tonight when I sat down at my laptop, he asked what I was doing. My “hobby”, Mr. Observant.

* as in radio-control electric car racing

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I have been dealing with a nightmare on a simple $15.00 ebay purchase. I found the seller (who won’t respond to my emails or send me my mofo purchase) on another site via google, because some people are stupid and use the same username all over the web. If it wasn’t for the fact I used my husband’s ebay account, I would be all over that bitch like a fly on shit. My husband says that’s harassment. I say it’s internet justice.

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Speaking of crappy service, wait until I tell you about my foray into warranty work on my vehicle. It’s a comedy of errors compounded by two survey phone calls. The last survey caller even had the gall to make up excuses as to why the dealership screwed up not once, not twice, but three goddamn times. I just don’t have the energy to talk about it now.

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More service problems: I took a two hour drive down to The Metro to see a specialist for ZGirl. Long, long, LOOOOONNNGG story short? She’s fine.

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What people who don’t have children with ADHD don’t understand is that a child who suffers from ADHD isn’t just one who is “overly active”. XBoy’s ADHD is not manifested in physical over-activity. It is him being constantly on mental overload. Like having a power plug with every outlet being used plugged into ANOTHER power strip. That’s XBoy’s brain.

For a “normal” child, you can tell them, “It’s bedtime. Please get ready for bed.” and off they go. Fifteen minutes later, you can walk into their room and they’ve changed, completed their nightly toiletry, and might even be in bed.

It doesn’t work that way with XBoy. If I tell him to take a bathroom break, sometimes he’ll get up from the living room couch walk into the hallway and then turn to his bedroom. From the time he heard the request to the time he’s walked to the hallway, he’s forgotten what he’s supposed to do, maybe due to a distraction of a toy laying on his bedroom floor.

To get him ready for bed, it’s simple commands that have to be repeated a couple of times before the task gets completed. The nightly conversation goes a lot like this:

Go take a bathroom break, please (follow him into the bathroom, and lean against door jam).

Lift the ring, please.

Flush, please.

Put the ring down, please.

Wash your hands, please – use soap.

Shut off the water, please.

Dry your hands, please.

Brush your teeth, please.

Put away your brush, please.

Shut off the lights, please.

Go get dressed for bed, please (follow him into the bedroom).

Put your clothes in the hamper, please.

Get into bed, please.

Each command must come separately or else after the first one, you may find him 15 minutes later playing in the bathroom sink with a hairbrush and q-tip and water pooling up not only on the counter but the floor as well.

We are tired of it. He’s certainly tired of it. Unfortunately, we can’t leave him to his own devices. There are times, more often than not, that in the morning, we can tell him to get dressed for the day and we’ll walk into his room ten minutes later and find him standing there buck-naked and playing with his Star Wars action figures. If we ask, “What are you doing?!” he’ll respond, “I’m just playing!” as in “duh! what does it look like I’m doing??”

So yeah. If a friend tells you that their child has ADHD, don’t just think it’s a kid acting like a rabid weasel on meth.

If only it were that easy.

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Feel free to pick a topic, any topic, and advice away. Sorry about the schizo title.

A HIDDEN TALENT

I had another post all lined up until I saw these pictures my son took with my Canon EOS. While it’s a pretty-dummy proof digital (I also have the 35mm version), my son apparently doesn’t need the the help. Maybe it’s because I have a hard time overcoming the innate part of me that thinks everything should be squared off while he just puts the camera to his eye and snaps the picture just as he is, just as the subject is. Of course, anything my son can do that doesn’t involve the mind-numbing Nintendo DS or the Wii is genius.

WEIGHING IN

Some days it hits me like a bolt from the blue that we administer a controlled substance daily to my son. A drug that addicts have killed for – have died for. Methylphenidate, the active ingredient in his patch, produces many of the same effects as cocaine or the amphetamines.1

It was one of many reasons we were reluctant to start XBoy on meds in the first place. The side effects, like most drugs, can be frightening and it amazes me that so many kids are on ADHD and ADD drug therapies. I would think many parents would decide against it for fear of those affects.

It’s easy to forget and to take lightly the fact that we keep a dangerous and addictive drug in our home (yes, it is locked up and away from both kids), especially since it’s kept in such an innocuous form like the patch. It’s not injected. It’s not swallowed. It’s just a matter of peeling off the plastic layer and sticking it to his skin. Bu sometimes we are careless. Sometimes I find a tiny triangle of that plastic on the floor. Just the right size, and oh so tempting piece of shiny for ZGirl to pick up and put in her mouth. I don’t know how much residue is on it, but when your doctor and the drug company specifically warn to wash hands after handling, it’s enough to be measurable.

XBoy experiences many of the common side effects from the patch. When we first started the therapy, he was an emotional wreck. For example, he would cry if there were only 3 pickles instead of 4 on his hamburger. His teacher called us in to meet with her after his first week of treatment to discuss how he teary and sad he’d been recently. It was only then that we told her about starting him on the drug as we didn’t want him to have that stigma – just another kid on Ritalin. Keeping it from his teacher allowed us to find out if there was a change in his behavior without anyone suspecting why.

He has since adjusted to the dosage, and while we still find he overreacts on occasion, he’s better. Now my concern has focused from his emotional response to the physical. Last year at this time I was worried about his sudden weight gain between his 6 year check-up and the first time I took him to the ped to discuss his behavior, which was almost 10lbs in six months. The clothes I had bought for school were too tight even before he wore them once. In August I was scrambling to find him uniform-wear in husky. And by the time he was weighed by the school, he was up 14lbs to the grand total of 64lbs. He peaked at 65lbs, which we discovered when he started wrestling and had to weigh in. It was also when he started his meds. That was January.

It is the beginning of June, which means he’s been on the daily patch for a solid four months. The other day he came to me and complained that he now weighed only 58lbs after using our bathroom scale, and frankly, that scares me.

I knew he was losing weight. Pictures from last summer show a round, full face. He sported a bit of a “pot” belly in his swim trunks. He was squeezing on his favorite pair of sweatpants. Now? The belly is gone. His collar and shoulder bones are prominent. He is not gaunt, but thinned out considerably. He’s still in a normal weight range for boys his age and height, but for how long?

In the morning, when he doesn’t want breakfast – “I’m not hungry!” – it takes all my willpower not to say, “If you don’t want to lose any more weight, you’ll need to eat breakfast!” since I can only imagine that since he’s already suffering from a chemical imbalance that produces ADHD, he would be just that much more susceptible to experiencing an eating disorder of some kind or another. So I say nothing, but encourage him to at least drink a glass of milk. Paranoia is my master in parenting decisions, apparently.

It’s not like his eating habits have drastically changed. He definitely doesn’t eat as much, but the kid could really put it away a year ago and of course then I worried that he was eating too much. But I watch more carefully when he takes his plate to the sink with food still on it. I don’t grouse as much when he asks for a treat (a brownie, chips, candy, etc.) because I welcome the chance for him to put calories – even empty ones – into his body.

I worry to the point of going sleepless about what will happen in a year knowing that he will still be on meds. I worry about the future in five years; ten years from now. Many kids “outgrow” ADHD. Will he? What if he doesn’t? What long-term emotional affects will he have from a decade of stimulant use? What about the physical? I’ve had family and friends wave away my concerns like I’m making a big deal of out nothing. “Lots of kids have ADD/ADHD,” they say dismissively. I always find it funny how the ones who tell me this don’t. 

1 http://www.usdoj.gov/dea/concern/methylphenidate.html

SUBJECT MATTER

For the first time since ZGirl was born last July, I suggested to Mr. DD that we should talk to XBoy about the donor.

Because XBoy is 7 years older, I really feel that it’s important not to wait until ZGirl is two or three before approaching the subject with him. I fear that he may look at the first couple of years with ZGirl with something akin to deception if we wait that long. Maybe in not such a definitive manner, but later when he’s reached teen and adult age, he may use it as an excuse or a way of lashing out.

I also know that his exposure to peers in school will introduce him to the concept of sex before I’m ready to deal with it myself, and I just think it would be more prudent for him to know that sex is more than dirty talk between a group of boys and a way of teasing girls (I didn’t tell you how XBoy came home the other day from school and asked me what “gay” meant. Of course I tried to explain it means happy, but he knew that the way the kids were using it, it was derogatory and clearly they were not calling him “happy”.).

Mr. DD doesn’t think telling XBoy about ZGirl’s conception is a good idea. He worries that XBoy will run his mouth about it to both friends and family. While I don’t care so much about his friends, since who’s going to give much thought to a 6 or 7 year old trying to repeat something another 7 year old told them, especially about “eggs” and “embryos” and “donor gametes”? However, I am concerned about this information becoming family table fodder.

I believe that as long as we don’t make a big deal, (It’s a secret! Don’t tell anyone!!), or that the information is a topic of contraband, and that we keep it very, very simple, XBoy should walk away from the discussion as if we had just told him that we were going to repaint the living room.

For me, that means keeping the birds and bees out of the conversation as much as possible. Instead I thought I would just use the approach that women have eggs that can become babies but sometimes those eggs are bad. In those rare cases, couples can sometimes use the eggs of other women to make babies…and that’s what we did in ZGirl’s case. Is that a too simplistic way of broaching the subject of donor eggs for the first time with a 7 year old? Of course we would welcome the questions as they are asked. I just feel, and maybe I’m wrong about it, that this is something that should be trickled in for assimilation and not dumped.

Other questions for you: Do you think I should wait until ZGirl hears it first? Do you think Mr. DD might be on to something as to XBoy spilling the beans prematurely to family (BTW, I’ve intentionally started planning this to coincide with the summer break)? Am I providing a disservice to my son and taking the chickenshit way out by not talking about intercourse and ovaries and gonads and penises and vaginas and sperm (oh, my!)?

MAY ALL YOUR DAYS BE HAGGY

It was not a weekend where I was served waffles with strawberries and whipcream along with a venti cup of mocha with a splash of raspberry nor did we venture out once refreshed from a 10 hour snooze to a brunch replete with mimosas. Nor did I wake to find that my son had skipped out to the lilac bushes and plucked fragrant blooms to arrange in childish innocence and flair in one of my colorful copper glasses for the table.

Oh, no. Mother’s Day was heralded in when, while sitting at the counter snarfing up my egg and bacon sandwich and noting that my son had already christianed the spot as I stuck my hand in a cold dollop of yellow egg right after I stepped on an errant cheerio, Mr. DD handed over one of these as if he was presenting the crown jewels on a plush velvet pillow:

sawzall

Nothing says “thanks for bearing bearing the fruit of my loins” like a sawzall.

He obviously did not recall the email exchange that turned into this post on how to make a body disappear.

I can also assure you, it wasn’t because we are into experimental sexual adventures (SFW but it will make you wish it wasn’t).

Nope. It’s because I am the resident groundskeeper (I prefer Garden Goddess, thank you), and we live on an acreage where the only “native” trees are either Cedar Weeds Trees or Russian Olives.

Lord, are they ever ugly.

Yep, they pretty much look like this:

olive

So in an attempt to take some eyesores and turn them into landscaping points of interest (rather than yank them out one by one for the rest of our natural lives), I will be attempting to creatively prune them. A chainsaw would be a bit much, both for the branches which are no more than 7″ around and for me, with my puny, yet flappable, wussy-girl arms.

If I happen to accidentally take off any limbs NOT belonging to a tree, you’ll be one of the first to know.

Also, I can’t say my son totally blew me off on Mother’s Day. In fact his class worked on a little book that the teacher provided the first half of a sentence as an impetus to the least imaginative-challenged beings on the face of the earth with such openers as, “My Mom is the prettiest when…” or “I like it when my Mom…”, except my adoring son left all of the pages blank. Not one had a completed sentence, so I was justifiably bummed. However, what I did get a chuckle from was on the cover page, he had written Happy Mother’s Day.

Why did that bring a smile to my face? Well, since XBoy is occasionally reversing his letters, I got this instead:

haggy

Haggy Mother’s Day? A Freudian slip from a seven year old? It very well could be.

WHEN WILL THE DAMAGE BECOME IRREVERSIBLE?

I’ve mentioned before how Mr. DD can be a real asshole when it comes to what I loosely term as “parenting” XBoy. Before I rant about it, I will say that most of the time he’s great. It’s just when he’s not, he’s really not.

This morning? Mr. DD hit one of his low points.

XBoy has a hard time in the mornings. It’s not because he’s still tired or sleepy. He just can’t seem to focus on what’s important, which is to wash up, get dressed in his school uniform, and let Dad know what he wants for breakfast (I’m usually getting ready for work and dealing with ZGirl, but I have to overhear the inevitable arguments). It’s not unusual to find XBoy in is room half-dressed and playing with something instead of taking to task. We understand that he’s 7. We understand that his room is full of tempting toys. We understand ADHD. We understand that it can take up to an hour for his meds to take hold. But it tries our patience to the limit since this is something we have dealt with every.damn.school.day for the last three years. It infuriates Mr. DD. Granted; it pisses me off, too.

On this day, XBoy was looking for some money he was given by Mr. DD’s hobby group members for helping them out at the track. He wanted to bring the money to school and buy something at the book fair. Mr. DD had picked it up off the floor last night after XBoy had went to bed, and was peeved at his carelessness and instead of giving the money back to XBoy when he asked where it was, he simply told him that he might get it later, after XBoy had gotten dressed and had breakfast.

Unfortunately, XBoy got upset. He started to cry. And whine. Two things most hated by Mr. DD. He told XBoy to “dry up” and then he did something I’ve never heard him do to XBoy: he started to mock XBoy by mimicking him. Even when Mr. DD is being a total prick to XBoy, I try not to intervene openly. Instead I’ll glare at him or give him the finger across the throat sign for “That’s enough!” without XBoy’s notice. If crying and whining are the sparks to Mr. DD’s anger, me undermining him in front of XBoy is fuel.

I was in the bedroom during this most recent exchange so I could only listen and feel my own face burn in embarrassment and anger on my son’s behalf. After things settled down, I called Mr. DD into the bedroom under the guise of needing help with something. When he came in, I had him follow me into the master bath where I proceeded to rip him a new one.

“Did your parents mock you like that?!”

“Hell, yes!” he responded as if that an everyday occurrence with him (and knowing his parents like I do, it probably was).

“Then that’s YOUR problem. Don’t make it XBoy’s. He’s already got issues with you as it is (hinting at the comments XBoy made about his dad in counseling). Stop comparing him to his classmates (he was doing this after XBoy’s poor behavior in church, “Soandso was saying the Lord’s Prayer! Soandso was sitting still! Why can’t you? Etc. etc. blah blah blah.”) He’s not Soandso. He’s Xboy! How would you like it if I said, ‘This Boyfriend did this for me,’ or ‘That Boyfriend did that for me,’ when you’re being a total Fuck to me, huh?”

“You mean, why don’t I beat you like That Boyfriend did?” he replied.

*screech!*

Oh, yes. He did.

And yes, I did have a boyfriend who I would have to call abusive. If  I had stayed with him after he slapped me – once – in anger. But when that happened, I packed my shit out of his apartment and was gone before the end of the day. And completely irrelevant to anything but purely a knee JERK (can I say “literally” here or that pretty much implied?) response from him!

After he walked back out, I thought of several things I could have said to make matters worse (like, “Was your Mom sober when she verbally abused you??”), but I bit it all back. Move on, I told myself. But I’m pretty angry about it because we’ve had these kinds of discussions before. XBoy doesn’t take criticism well (who does?) and we are impatient parents to a child that needs infinite patience.

It’s a total sonofabitch to want so badly for your child to mature into a responsible, caring adult if the adults raising the child can be sonsofbitches. It’s a volatile mix.

SICK AND TIRED – LITERALLY

The male residents of my home are both out of commission. Some call it the ‘flu, but because that’s completely erroneous. I call it gastroenteritis.

I’m touchy about it right now because 1) I am fucking exhausted. Up several hours last night holding my son’s head out of bucket and trying to remain caring and strong while freaking out that he was going to puke on the carpet; 2) I mentioned it to my family and I should have known better as soon as the words were out of my mouth as my Dad immediately concluded they both have the swine flu; and finally 3) my hands are so raw from repeated handwashing that I described them in a tweet as feeling as if I could feel each hair follicle pulse from the tightness.

With all the world-wide hype going on, you’d THINK that they would make sure to report that the swine flu does NOT bring on vomiting and diarrhea. Influenza – aka The Flu – is an upper respiratory ailment. Are you hacking up a lung? Are you having difficulty breathing? Are you so congested that when you blow your nose snot comes out of your eyes? Then you probably have the flu, NOT a GI – congratulations.

Are we clear? Good.

You know I’m next, right? And poor ZGirl…it’ll take a miracle for her not to get it as well and since it’s not the 24 hour variety (the gastroenteritis), I see a hospital visit in my near future.