Monday, May 23, 2011

Bieber, bacon and bullies





First cook six lb. of bacon, slice some cucumbers and put some juice boxes on ice. Give twenty 3, 4 and 5 year olds 36" inflatable light sabers. Watch a frenzied, testosterone-laced mosh pit of Star Wars-induced brawling for as long as you can handle it. To calm things down, give them a bat so they can whack away and an impenetrable Justin Bieber pinata hanging precariously from a ceiling fan. To the pinata candy, churning in their tummies, throw in a Darth Vader cake mortared together with 3 pounds of butter cream frosting dyed black. Watch clothing, tongues and teeth turn black. (Apparently you're supposed to start with chocolate icing when you're trying to make a black cake.) During all of this try to have conversations with traumatized parents while drinking 3 cases of beer and attempting to control your unbelievably aggressive 18 month old...

Now that's a PARTY!

None of this was supposed to happen in my house, but of course it rained on Jack Peter's 5th birthday. It was astonishing how smoothly it went. The only tears involved Steel and the girl with 2 moms who's not allowed to play with Barbies over some Barbie clothes. Catherine, the 3-year-old girl who Toby mercilessly assaulted didn't let it get to her. She knows what to expect of the McDonald ladies; Steel bit her when she was 6 months old. Toby, the subtle one, chose to stick out her chest and bulldoze Catherine into a wall, while looking at me and chanting, "TOBY NO PUSHING!"

Is it not pushing if arms aren't involved? Toby and Jack Peter are always looking for the loop holes. Steel is more into flagrant defiance. How do we cope with a bully? Last week, I returned from a relaxing swim at the Y to retrieve my children from the Child Watch. Miss Kim, the monitor, was shaking her head and muttering, "She's just so FAST!"

I had wondered why I saw a little Toby flash by the windows of the pool as I was swimming. She'd been banished from the child watch room for bashing an infant on the head with a xylophone 10 seconds after she'd been chastised for pushing her down.

I've been looking back at photos of Toby, and I should have seen it coming. Our Christmas card showed her true nature. She comes from a long line of tough women, but she's particularly relentless. My niece was called "FANG" at her daycare; she was a biter. It was one of those day cares that writes up incidents. Both the aggressor's and victim's parents have to sheepishly retrieve and unfold the tell-tale pink slips sticking out of their kids' cubby. The Gillian bit someone notes were such a daily occurrence that my brother made a scene when he finally received a victim notice. He whooped out loud and high-5'ed the kid who'd stood up to Gillian.

I'm sure the daycare staff weren't sad to see my brother and his posse graduate. It's in northern Florida where there are a lot of religious people. He'd picked the day care because they had assured him that the kids would not be practicing any sort of religion. One evening, Gillian started to say grace at dinner time, and Curt lost it. He stomped into the day care the next day shouting, "I WILL NOT BE HAVING MY CHILDREN BEGGING FOR THEIR FOOD! I get them their damn food, so if they want to thank someone for it, they can thank ME!!!!"

Tim and I had to clean the entire house after the party. Our threshold for stepping on wads of play dough and omelets is high, but marble cake, hummus, bacon and black butter cream were more than we could stand. As I scrubbed I had the thought, "I'm going to treat myself." I knelt down under the sink, dug around the 200 plastic bags and pulled out a brand new sponge...

Didn't a treat used to be a pedicure or a massage?
Who would pick on a ceramic angel eating a cupcake? Toby at 1 was screaming gleefully while hitting her on the head and throwing dirt at her. ( The angel is the grave marker I made for my sister in law's grave.)

in vitro?


1. Steel in Henry's shirt. It takes her 4 seconds to enter a house, disrobe, and steal an outfit from her host. 2. Jack Peter's bed head 3. Toby, always fashion forward, in black knee high boots and a froggie sleepy suit (photo credit: Jack Peter)

Nothing says "Happy Mother's Day!" like a trip to the gynecologist.

I was madly cycling down 2nd street late for my annual gynecological appointment as my friend, Heather, was breezing down 2nd street in her Lexus to pick up her son from Catholic school. She took the opportunity to heckle me for 6 blocks. "Off the bike seat and onto a speculum! Nothing like showing up for your pelvic exam late and sweaty!!!"

I was on time. I should have gone to check out Catholic school with Heather as an escort; I waited for 50 minutes. I inevitably get asked if an intern can practice on me. I always say yes; it's not the best policy. The intern went for one of the specula, and the doctor said, "No, get the other one; when they've had a few children things inside are a little more...collapsed; you need that one, OOPS...try not to fold her labia in the metal; it might pinch."
Might? Collapsed?
Just because I'm lying here with my legs spread doesn't mean I can't HEAR you.

The doctor told me that perhaps the time has come for me to get more aggressive about pregnancy. Bewildered in my peach cover-up, I stared, wondering if Tim had contacted her about his "sex every day till positive test" plan. She proceeded to tell me that I should get in vitro fertilization because I can shoot myself up with something 6 times a day that will cause me to go into egg-producing hyper-drive, then they'll extract and fertilize the eggs, test them for chromosomal diseases (because clearly that's what's been my problem) and then pick the best 2 fertilized eggs to implant into my artificially-readied uterus.

My response of: "You know I already have 3 children." did not show the enthusiasm she was anticipating, so she countered, "If you want to do it, you need to do it now because you turn 42 this year, and we won't be able to use your eggs anymore. No one does in vitro with 42-year-old eggs!!!" I shakily replied that I'd discuss it with my husband but that my gut was telling me that we'd probably just stick to the old-fashioned way. "Why spend $10,000 when you can spend $10 on a bottle of wine?" was my friend, Karen's question.

After taking another look at my "collapsed" self, the doctor asked me if I have trouble with "involuntary urination." I said, "Once, when I was bent over the sink washing my face, my son made me laugh, and I sneezed at the same time. I peed a little, but I don't think I need Depends just yet." Was this a new tack in her in vitro plans? Making me feel like I'm 80 did lower my confidence in my fertility.

She gave me a sheet of paper with a number to call and a passcode to get my pelvic exam results. "Call in 3 weeks; don't assume that no news is good news." What? I hurriedly put a reminder in my cell phone.

I was then berated for a second time in 30 minutes for not having had a mammogram. I explained (again) that I've been either pregnant or breast-feeding since I turned 40. The doctor proceeded to make a big deal about my making a mammogram appointment and then canceling it if I turn out to be pregnant this month.
"I'll just go and write your mammogram prescription; you can get dressed."
"Aren't you going to check my breasts?"
"Oh right....I get off my schedule when I have an intern...there's really no point in breast self-exams. They've found that only a professional exam or a mammogram really works."

I guess all of those little things hanging on shower heads telling one how to examine ones breasts have been for naught.

Finally, I was dressing and wondering about this "don't ask...don't tell" policy on lab results. I went to her for the mammogram prescription and said, "I need to get this straight. You're waiting for people to call to tell them they have an STD? Don't you know there are a whole bunch of teenagers coming to you to get put on birth control pills, specifically to have unsafe sex. You're expecting them to remember to call you in 3 weeks to tell them they have chlamydia????"

"Well, no, we call if something is abnormal..."
"So the "No news isn't good news isn't the case?"
"I'm just saying, don't assume that no news is good news; you need to call to get your results."
"Are you telling me that your "no news isn't good news" policy is based on human error?"
"I'm just saying call for your results."
"ARE YOU TELLING ME THAT THERE IS A HIGH LEVEL OF INCOMPETENCY HERE?????"
"I'm just telling you that NO NEWS IS NOT NECESSARILY GOOD NEWS!!!"

At least the nurse's assistant, Shane, slid me a free pregnancy test. I felt like I was looking a gift horse in the mouth when I told her you can get them online for less than a dollar. (testsforless.com) She brightened when I added, "It's one of my favorite wedding gifts: 10 pregnancy tests fanned out in the shape of a flower..."

I really wish I'd asked the doctor, "Lady, do you get a trip to Bermuda if you sell 50 people on in vitro fertilization?" or perhaps, "Is immaculate conception still on the table?"
hmmm....
Was that whole story created to protect the reputations of both Mary and Joseph? Have Christians been worshipping a slut?

Maybe Catholic school isn't an option for our kids.

I've written a country song about my desire to have another kid. My thought was to make tim play guitar and make it sound really good, but honestly, who's got the time?

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