Tuesday, April 26, 2016

A Trip To China-The Day I Had To Take My Kid To The Gynecologist

When you become a mother all humility pretty much goes out the window. It starts when you’re in labor and from what I can tell it continues until your kids move out of your house. I no longer get privacy when I pee, shower or change. I was considering bolting the door closed but I have the sneaky suspicion that they will find an open window or a way to propel in from the roof. Kids are good at finding you. They really should work for the FBI.

My kids are getting older so we have actually started to lay some ground rules about not walking in on mommy in her granny panties. I mean good grief I don’t need an entire preschool class getting a full on description of my underwear during circle time. I still have nightmares about the time my oldest walked in on me peeing before preschool. He asked why my penis looked funny to which I replied, “Honey mommy doesn’t have a penis. I have a vagina. Now can you please get out so I can finish and we can go?” I remember thinking I handled it perfectly. Crisis averted. Therapy avoided. Then we walked into preschool and he told all the moms in the lobby that his mommy has a penis on the inside. “It’s so weird. You can’t even see it.” He’s almost eight now and I know he doesn’t remember this but I’m fairly certain there are a few mothers from that class that still talk about me at their book club while clutching their pearls.

My oldest is pretty good about boundaries and privacy. I think it is because he is suddenly realizing he too would like some privacy while using the toilet. I’m glad to have him on board. My four year old on the other hand still doesn’t get it. He would gladly greet the mailman in his underwear. He still thinks it’s ok to pee in the backyard even if we have company. I thank potty training during the summer months for that one. Now when I tell him it’s unacceptable I’m often met with, “But the dog does it.” It’s hard to argue with a four year old. Their thoughts make complete and perfect sense to them and trying to argue with them is like banging your head into a brick wall over and over and expecting it to collapse. The wall will still be standing but you will wind up with a massive headache.

I can tell you any advances I was making with teaching my four year old about boundaries were thrown out the window this morning. Today I had to do something that I have never had to do. I had to bring him with me for my annual exam at the gynecologist. Yes. That’s right. He had to come to the lady doctor with me. First off let me just say that in our house we have always referred to body parts by their real names. Despite the fact that the word vagina has been said in our home, the four year old still thinks it’s called a China. I know this because the other day on the way to school he asked me if all girls have a China. I told him yes and he then proceeded to name every single girl and woman we have ever met in our entire lives and repeat, “Fill in 80 names here has a China.  We hit every traffic light that day because of course we would.  

This morning I carefully explained to him that he was going to have to come with me to the doctor.  Ladies you all know how hard it is to get an appointment with the OBGYN especially if you see a group and you want someone specific, so cancelling was just out of the question. I told him he could pick a special snack to have afterwards if he was good. I told him he could bring his iPad. I have never hoped and prayed more that my child would stare at a screen than I did this morning. I told him it would be quick. He agreed to all the bribes and we were on our way. When we arrived there was what seemed like an unusually high amount of pregnant women in the waiting area. Now I know that this is where pregnant women go to get checked, but I’m telling you it seemed like every other chair had a pregnant woman sitting in it. The four year old turned to me and with a lower than normal voice (thank you Jesus) said “Geez mommy why do so many ladies here have babies in their bellies? Is this where you come to get one put in? Are you having a baby put in today?”

“Mrs. Lizza can I have you fill out an updated information sheet for me.”
Again thank you Jesus.
Before I knew it I was being called in for my exam. This is where it gets dicey.
The nurse weighed me (can I at least take my damn shoes off) and then she asked me to give her a urine sample.
 4yo: “What’s urine?” Volume level: 400
 Me: “It’s pee honey. Be quiet and follow me.”
 4yo: “Ewwww. You have to give her your pee???”  Volume level: 850
 Me: “Yes. Come into the bathroom and close the door.”
 4yo: “How are you going to give her your pee? In your hands?”
 Me: “No. In a cup.”
 4yo: “A CUP??? You mean that thing. It’s so big. Do you have to fill the whole thing with your pee?” Volume level: 1,105.
Me: “Honey, please. I can’t pee with you being so loud.”
4yo: “Why not? Is your pee scared of my voice? Because that would be weird.” Volume level: 2,200.
I then proceeded to hand my bucket of fearful pee to the nurse and walk into the exam room.
4yo: *Pointing to foot stirrups* “What on earth are those things?” Volume level: I’m sweating.

The nurse handed me my paper doily to keep me warm (laughable) while wearing my open in the front gown. I didn’t need the paper doily today though because I was sweating from the fear of the future therapy bill for both me and my son. All I kept thinking was oh my God we are going to have to remortgage the house for the therapy bills. We might have to move. Circle time. Oh for the love he has circle time tomorrow.

The nurse then proceeded to ask me what my husband and I were using for birth control and all I could think was THIS. We are using this very day as our birth control. It will work for now and all of eternity. She looked at me and asked if I wanted to speak in code. In code? Is there some secret code language for mothers who have to bring their child with them to this appointment that I don’t know about? Could someone have handed me a pamphlet in the waiting room? I don’t know code. Instead I proceeded to mouth my answers and much to my delight she understood me. God bless her.

She told me the doctor would be in shortly and told my son he could sit in the chair against the wall facing the stirrups. Now I was really sweating. I was considering high tailing it out of there because I was picturing him going into school and me getting phone call after phone call from every mother in the class. As I put the gown on, my four year old was laughing. I looked at him and said,“OK honey. It’s not funny. I have to wear this.”
4yo: “What is it? It has a big hole in the entire thing. It doesn’t even make sense. You won’t let me wear those jeans to school anymore that have a hole in the knee.”
Just as I was about to tell him he could wear them to school every day for the rest of the year, the doctor walked in. She talked to him for a little and then to me. She stood up and looked at me and said OK well what are we going to do with him? Hmm.
“Hey buddy, come with me I bet the nurses have some work you could do at the nurses’ station.”
4yo: “YES!! Awesome!”
Me: “YES!! SO Awesome.”
Her: “Yeah I don’t need to be the reason he needs therapy.” *Wink*
It was like she was in my brain. Oh thank you Jesus. My four year old does not have to witness my annual China exam.

She came back in and we laughed and laughed about being mothers, having boys and dealing with things our husbands simply could never understand. As I walked out my son was sitting with the nurses sorting through stickers for all the kids who come in with their mommies. I told him it was time to go and he stood up with a smile. The woman in front of me was expecting and she was making an appointment for her next ultrasound.

Volume Level 200,000: “So Mommy did you get one of those put in today or what?”  He starts kindergarten in the fall so thankfully he will never have to come with me to the China doctor again

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

The Picture Book

If you have a Facebook account you are well aware of the See Your Memories feature. If you don’t have an account here’s a brief rundown. Facebook gathers your memories from that particular day from a year, two, five or even six years ago and reminds you of exactly what you did that day all those years ago. OK so in the grand scheme of life five years really isn’t all that long ago. Most high schools don’t even host a five year reunion. I mean what would be the point am I right? Five years post-graduation doesn’t allow you to miss people enough to care about asking them a million questions about what they are up to now. Just me?

Unlike the President of your graduating class, Facebook doesn’t want you to miss a memory so they don’t care if it was a mere five years ago. They want you to see your memories and they hope it’s going to make you feel all the feels. Sometimes my memories make me feel nothing because it’s just a whole day of things I shared that I thought were funny, or maybe a recipe I wanted to make or a picture of a bird. Why the heck did I take a picture of a flipping bird? I apologize to all my friends. I digress. Other times Facebook succeeds and makes me feel all the feels. ALL. THE. FEELS.

This tends to happen when I haphazardly pull up Facebook on my phone while my boys are busy getting their backpacks on (also known as wrestling until I lose my mind) and BAM it’s a picture of my seven year old as a newborn. Oh it’s like a kick to the gut. Then wham a video of my almost five year old learning to crawl. OH FOR THE LOVE! I love reminiscing just as much as the next person but I can’t always handle the reminder that my boys have grown and changed faster than I thought.
You see the mornings are crazy, after school is nuts, trying to make dinner is chaotic and bedtime, oh geez I’m tired just thinking about that fiasco. So it’s not always easy to step back and take a breath. It’s not easy to think about how far my boys have come from the days of snuggles and blowout diapers. Yet here we are in a new place of wedgies and fart noises and on the days I think I can’t take one more minute, Facebook shows me a picture of them as toddlers covered in pudding and I laugh and laugh.

Every time Facebook shows me a memory I am immediately thrown back into a time when things were simpler yet somehow hard. I find myself reminded of so much more than the fact that I look older (and oh man do I), or that they look older, or that time has moved. I am reminded that with each stage of parenthood there are new challenges, new things to learn and new little people developing right in front of me. I felt so focused on their development when they were babies because that is what we are taught to do. We are taught to watch for their milestones, make sure they are pooping enough, eating enough, sleeping enough etc. Now that they are older I find myself focusing on making sure everything is done for school. I make sure they make all their activities and have a packed lunch with the appropriate number of snacks.

I stress about making the right amount of events for each of them so they both feel special and loved. I want to make sure they are both reading enough and not getting too much screen time. I want them to play outside and drink plenty of water. I want, I stress, I need and I love over these two human beings that didn’t even exist at one time in my life. I lived thirty three years without knowing them yet here I am unable to imagine living a day without them.

I have learned to love the See Your Memories feature on Facebook but the thing is I don’t need it to know what we were doing five years ago. Sure I might not remember what we were doing this exact day five years ago, but somehow when you become a parent you create a picture book in your mind. It’s an amazing feature. I go to it often. In fact today as I watched my four year old run around with his friends at a preschool sports program I remembered watching his brother do the same while I held him in my arms and fed him his bottle. As my seven year old got off the school bus today I remembered the days I used to see our neighbor’s kids do the same. One of them is a police officer now. Time moves. It moves for everyone.

The beauty of time moving for parents is the ability to see our children grow and change. My parents have a tree in their front yard that was a tiny little thing when I was little. I never noticed it growing but today it stands tall. It stands proud. It was growing all those years right in front of me. That tree grew much like my children do, day after day, year after year right in front of me. It’s the picture book in our minds that allows us to realize just how much they have grown.

I will continue to look at the memories Facebook provides me but I will forever hold onto the memories I am creating in my mind. One day I will be that old lady who tells young moms how fast it goes. Sure I hate when people say it to me, but I think that’s because I know it’s true. Parenthood is hard. Anyone who says otherwise is lying, but I look at it this way, the beginning of a great novel can move slowly. The middle feels steady and interesting. The end always goes way too fast and when you get to that last line you always wish it didn’t have to end. You often find yourself wanting to start the book all over again. I think that’s why people with grown kids always tell those of us who are in the middle of all the chaos with little ones to enjoy it. They got to the end of that great book and they would do anything to read it all over again from the beginning. We are all writing our own story and just like any great novel it will be full of ups and downs but in the end it is our story with the characters we created and just like our Facebook memories, it will be one we will look at over and over again for quite some time.