Thursday, October 25, 2012

In Which 9 yr old Boys Irritate the Snot Out Of Me

Can we talk for a moment about how irritating 9 year old boys are?  It's MY blog, so of course we can!  :)  9 yr old boys are THE WORST. 
I first discovered this when my brother turned 9.  His teeth grew fuzz. He smelled horrible.  A mixture of boy-child wet puppy smell and adult body odor.  He wore stupid stuff trying to look cool,  like parachute pants and calculator watches.  Everything about him made me kind of want to throw up.  I was only 3 years older, so it wasn't like I was an adult or anything, but even I could see this weird changing time from boy to adolescent, and it wasn't pretty.  About the time he hit 13 or 14, he suddenly became very likable and not so gross, so I guess it was that weird age range of pre-teen. 
Next was my cousin, who we'll call "Z" to protect the guilty. You wanna talk about some fuzzy teeth?!  Z had the fuzziest teeth ever.  You know how 9 year olds have those GIANT front teeth that are way too big for their heads?  Why is it that God made it so that right when their teeth are THAT HUGE is the same time they decide there's no need to brush?  Once again, after a few more years, he became fun to be around again, and grew into his teeth, and started to brush them. 
After I was an adult, another cousin and HIS cousin, both of whom I was around a lot, turned 9 at the same time.  I kinda remembered that it was a gross age from my previous experience, but these two made it perfectly clear to me that it was something about this particular age....  We'll call them "G" and "J."  J's mom brought him over for me to babysit.  I liked kids, and thought this would be fine.  I had a metronome, those little "tick-tock" devices that one uses to count off beats when you're playing music.  Well J found it, almost immediately, and had to play with it.  It wasn't a toy, and it was kind of expensive.  But I let him anyway, cuz it kept him quiet.  So this is what I heard "Tick----tock-----tick------tock------tick---"  He had it set on a slow time.  Then he messed with the weight that made it change speeds "Ticktockticktockticktockticktock" on and on and on and on and on until I couldn't stand it anymore.  "J, do not play with that anymore.  Turn it off."  I said.  He looked at me, and grinned a sly devil grin, showing his giant fuzzy teeth.  "J, I said DO NOT DO IT AGAIN."  He flicked it, "TICKTOCK!"  and laughed.  He just HAD to do it one more time, to show me who was boss. 
G would argue incessantly with his Mama, because he was 9 and therefore knew everything.  We were outside, and a baby in the family threw up or something and got stuff everywhere.  "G, run to the car please and get me the baby wipes." said his mother.  "Why?" said G.  "Because the baby threw up and we need it!  GO!"  "Uh!  Why do I have to go get it?!" 
Another time, we were at his house, my mom and I, while his mother was gone.  He was skateboarding across his kitchen, and I am not making this up, on his knees.  Whamming into the cabinets, scraping up the floor, falling off and rolling around.  My  mom said to him "G, please stop doing that, you're gonna get hurt."  "But WHY?!  I'm not gonna get hurt, I'm fine!  I'm just...."  I couldn't take it anymore "GET OFF THE SKATEBOARD BECAUSE SHE SAID TO DO IT AND SHE'S OLDER THAN YOU AND IF SHE SAYS NOT TO, DON'T DO IT!!!"  "Whatever!" he said, and then he was sad cuz I had yelled at him, and I felt horrible because I had yelled at him.  I had loved this kid to pieces and held him and played with him since he was a tiny baby, and now he was getting on my last nerve.  And do you know why?  BECAUSE HE WAS NINE! 
Nine year old boys (and I'm sure it's true of girls as well, but for some reason they don't bother me quite as badly) start getting hormones.  They have a weird smell, and then they don't want to bathe.  They think they know EVERYTHING, and there is no reasoning with them.  They feel grown-up, so they get all "You're stupid and I know more than you" and "I look cool in my navy blue tie with my black suit, and don't tell me what to do!"  You could LITERALLY tell a 9 year old boy the sky was blue and they would argue "Actually it's kind of a periwinkle" or whatever, trying to show off their advanced knowledge.  Their teeth are too big for their heads, but they don't want to brush them.  They talk back to their moms, because they're growing up and they're testing their boundaries.  They're too big for toys, so instead they want to hang around and hear all the adult conversation.  But they hang around DIRECTLY UNDERNEATH YOUR BUTT-CHEEKS and they overhear everything you don't want them to hear, and then quote it at inopportune times.  "My mom told my dad they can't make the mortgage payment this month, so we may have to move." or other stuff like that.  You say "Stop!" and they keep on going, you say "STOP" in a more forceful way, and they continue doing what they're doing, at least one more time, just so you know you don't really have control over them, because, after all, you're an idiot and they are all-knowing.  Then, when you completely lose your mind and yell and get really, really angry....they cry their eye-balls out and ask why you don't love them anymore  and want to hug you, because they're really just 9 years old, and they're still (despite what their hormones are telling them) just a little kid, and they don't really MEAN to be bad.  And then you try to comfort them by giving them the hug they so desperately need, but dadgummit their breath smells like something died in their esophagus and their body odor is so puppy-doggish and pungent, and it's everything you can do to not gag. 
So, this is all my way of telling you that right now, I have a very-close-to-nine-year-old boy.  He is reminding me very much of my brother and cousins lately.  He has been the light of my life, and I find him brilliant and amazing and funny, and when I'm not desperately trying to pay attention to my 1 yr old twins, I love to hear all the weird things he has to say.  But he is a nine year old boy, and he is making me tired.  And right now I can't wait for another few years to pass when he becomes your garden-variety teenager, and I can enjoy being around him more fully.  (notice the careful wording!) So if you're the mother of a nine year old boy, or have ever had one, and you have experienced any of these things as well, feel free to comment, so I don't feel like I am all alone in my traumatic 9-yr-old experiences. 

Monday, October 22, 2012

In Which I Fret Over Vaccinations

Tomorrow is vaccine day, the twins get the infamous MMR shot that all the controversy swirls around.  I tried to do a little research, to see if I had reason to worry or to try to fight it.  Apparently, the Moms of a lot of kids with autism swear that the symptoms coincided with their child getting this shot.  While Dr.s swear it has nothing to do with it, and have done a bunch of studies and found nothing to prove it.  Meanwhile, even in countries such as Japan where they've changed the protocol and now give the vaccine in several doses, autism rates continue to rise. 
So If I allow the shots to be given, are my children going to suddenly develop autism, leading me to spend the rest of my days hating myself for my mistake?  Or if I refuse the shots, are my children going to get measels, mumps, or rubella, possibly die from these diseases, or cause someone else to get sick? 
Feeling very caught between the proverbial rock and hard place and like I'll be a bad mother no matter what I do.  NOT LIKING THIS.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

In Which I Hate Math

Got an email from Dalton's teacher tonight saying that he's been having trouble with word problems in math, and she thinks I oughtta practice them with him at home.
Those of you who really know me know just how funny that is.  That's like if she asked Charles to work with him on doing things faster.  It's like if she asked Steven Hawking to work with him on his jogging skills.  Math is not just something I hate, it's something I simply cannot do.
I have had this problem since I was a little kid.  I guess nobody noticed it till I got older.  The first big clue was when I in 7th grade math class, and we were learning geometry, and the teacher talked for  a week about parallel planes.  After about the 3rd day, I was wondering why we kept discussing this subject, I thought it was just the same word problem that we'd been going over for days, and, stupidly, I raised my hand.  "Ms. Packard, I just don't get it.  We've been talking about parallel planes for 3 days now, and I mean, really, just how often is it an issue that 2 planes are flying side by side?  Why do we keep talking about this?"  There was a loooonnnng pause and a lot of confused faces as people tried to figure out if I was serious.  Then there was BOOMING laughter, and that was just from the teacher.  I was looking around at everyone as they rolled around in their chairs laughing going "What?  WHAT??!!" mad that they were laughing at me and not understanding why.  Ms. Packard told it in the teacher's lounge, and it became the stuff of legend.  Teachers I barely knew made jokes about it to me.  Sigh.
A few years later, I'm an older teenager, I forget how old, 17 or so, and I'm in the store with my mother. There's something I'm considering buying, and the sign said "5 for a dollar."  I'm staring at it going, "Ok, I know that 4 quarters is a dollar, and each quarter is 25 cents, but if they are 5 for a dollar, how much is one?"  I stood there thinking, trying to picture the math problem in my head, trying to divide....Mom saw the look on my face (gears turning) and said "What?" and I said it, out loud.  Worst mistake EVER.  "Well, these are 5 for a dollar, but I only want one, so how much would one be?"  She's like "Shelly, come ON.  If they're 5 for a dollar, one would be.....???..." and stared at me like it should just "bing" into my head any second.  It didn't.  She finally had to tell me.  I know how much one would be now, but frankly, only because she told that story so many times, the answer got drilled into my brain.  I can't just figure it out like a normal person.
I also can't tell time on a regular clock.  It's related, apparently it's all on the same side of your brain.  Whereas a normal person might see 12:42, for example, I see 3 minutes till 15 minutes till 1.  It's not that I don't KNOW what time it is, it's just that I can't say it.  Unless it's on the quarter hour, in which case I can verbalize it ok.  Otherwise people will ask me "Could you tell me what time it is?"  And I have to stare at my watch going "Ummmm...."  While I figure out how to say 4:26 instead of 4 minutes till 30 minutes after 4. 
There is also my issue with left and right.  And by issue, I mean, I can't tell them apart.  I have to envision myself  "writing" with my "right" hand.  Or hold them up to see which one makes an L for "left."  I'm 41, it's humiliating.
 When I was 19, I stopped to get gas one day.  My family can stop reading now, cuz they've all heard AND told this one a million times!  Anyway, I pulled my car up to the gas pump, and got out.  But when I got out I realized my tank was on the other side.  I got back in my car, started it up, and drove around to the next pump.  I got out, looked for the tank, and realized it was still on the other side.  I got back in my car, started it BACK up, pulled around a couple pumps down and hopped out was STILL on the wrong side!  I was late to get somewhere and I was getting very frustrated!  So I tried AGAIN.  Suffice it to say, this went on for a good solid 3 minutes until finally I was sobbing in frustration and embarrassment, and the gas station attendant came out of the station, crying himself (from laughter, and I am not making this up) and said, through his giggles and tears, while wiping his eyes, "Maam, if you get back in your car, I will direct you around to the pump where the tank will be on the correct side, I promise!"  and he did.  That remains one of my top 5 most embarrassing moments in all of my 41 years of life, and I've done a lot of embarrassing things, so that's really saying something. 
It's just irritating to me, because I think I'm a relatively smart girl, but this math stuff that everyone else can do just fine, my brain just shuts down and CANNOT and WILL NOT do it.  Thank goodness for calculators, is all I can say.
So, anyway, I don't think I'm gonna be helping Dalton with word problems any time soon.  Particularly not if it's a word problem about those pesky parallel flying airplanes! 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

In Which the Twins Turn One

Tommorow morning, the twins will be one year old.  Last year at this time, I was trying my best to prepare to go the hospital in the morning to have my twins cut out of my belly.  My sister was here, and Brenna, Betsy and I stayed up late laughing and joking, and making videos of us being silly for the babies.  I was scared to death, but also ridiculously excited. 
For months, I had barely been able to walk, as my stomach was so huge and heavy, and my hips felt like they were coming apart at the seams.  My feet were hugely swollen, not that I would know, cuz I hadn't seen them in forever.  Everything on me hurt.  My back and hips, my stomach itself, my swollen ankles, everything.  I could barely eat because there was no room in my insides for anything but babies.  What I DID eat had to be carefully measured and carefully chosen, because I had gestational diabetes.  I had horrible heartburn, even with meds.  When I would try to lay down, it took me forever just to get up on the bed.  Then I would try laying flat, but there was so much weight and pressure on my internal organs, I'd have to change position.  Then I'd try turning on my side, which is what they generally tell pregnant women to do.  But when I did, my enormous belly would flop over onto the bed, and I could FEEL the babies, lying on the other side of my skin.  There was no position that didn't hurt.
I got up that morning and went on autopilot, getting everything packed and ready and into the car.  I was trying not to think too much, because I was so afraid inside that something would go wrong...that I'd bleed to death, or something would be wrong with the babies.  I couldn't even process all my emotions.  At that point, I just wanted it OVER. 
It didn't take long once we got to the hospital for things to start happening.  They start hooking up tubes and wires and getting everything ready, and then they led me down the hall, you have to walk yourself to the c-section room while your husband stays behind and puts on his little outfit and waits for everything to get started before they let him into the OR.  I had seen this all on tv, I knew how it would go, and I just did whatever I was told, trying to ignore my nerves.  The anesthesiologist came in and started the epidural, and then they strapped me down to the operating table.  I was so nervous about the surgery, but at the time, all I could think of was how good it felt.  It felt like hot liquid pouring down my back and into my legs, and then suddenly, NOTHING HURT.  It was the first time I had felt no pain in SOOOO LOONNNNG!  The Dr. kept asking "Are you ok? You're so quiet and that's not like you!"  I'm like "I'm just enjoying the lack of feeling!  This is GREAT!  I feel wonderful!"  He was chatting with me and joking around and I felt what I thought was him running his finger across the underside of my belly.  He was cutting me open.
They finally brought Charles in and I was so relieved to have him near me.  It's an odd, very helpless sensation when you can't move your body, and you couldn't run if you wanted to, but you're wide awake.  I was anxious to see the babies, but also semi-out of it from the anesthesia.  Almost like I was watching it happen to someone else.  Then I felt a "POP!"  and a huge "WHOOSH!"  Even with all the numbing and the lack of pain, just having him pull the first baby out felt AMAZING.  Like popping the biggest zit EVER.  A total release of pressure.  They held him up over the little curtain and he dripped on me, I knew it was "him" because 1) I knew it was baby "A" and that would be Weston and 2) His testicles were dangling inches from my face.  I heard him cry and felt another surge of relief.  Seconds later, another "POP!" and then they were holding up Aila over the curtain, also dripping.  Charles rushed around to see the babies better as they dried them off and checked them out.  The Dr. kept chatting with me as he was doing all the rest of his work.  I just kept thanking him and saying how good it felt to get them out!  He said he'd never had anyone tell him how great it felt in the middle of a c-section before. 
Soon, Charles was bringing them over to show me.  I couldn't use my arms yet or hold them, but he held them up close to my face so I could see them.  There were BEAUTIFUL.  I saw lots of hair, and I noticed that Weston had big juicy lips.  When they got me all put back together again, they laid both babies on my chest and wheeled me down the hallway to recovery, Charles walking alongside the bed.  That feeling when they laid both of my babies on me, I will never, ever forget that!  People passed us in the hall and looked at us and smiled, and I felt like I was holding millions of dollars or something.  As my sister put it, "Having twins feels like an embarrassment of riches!" 
They still had to check my stats as I came out of anesthesia, and check vitals on the babies, etc... so for the time being, no one was allowed back to see us.  It was just the nurses, Charles and I, and our twins.  After the babies had been thoroughly checked out, they handed one to me, and one to Charles.  I remember I had Weston... and they gave us little bottles of formula to feed them.  We were holding the bottles in their tiny little mouths and we looked up at each other, and I said to Charles "Can you believe this?  Can you even believe this is happening right now?"  About that time, I noticed Weston was making funny little grunting sounds.  The nurses heard it too, and called the NICU.  He was having trouble breathing.  They came and took him, for what I assumed would be a few hours in the NICU, and it ended up being five days.  I was ok when they took him, cuz I thought for sure he'd be right back. 
Over the next few days, I got to know Aila like the back of my hand.  The smell of her, her cry, her schedule, how she liked to be held, everything.  I gave her little spongebaths in our room and checked her out all over, from head to toe.  I counted all her fingers and toes and made sure everything was as it should be.  But baby Weston was two floors down and down a long hallway, through a door you had to get buzzed into.  I had just had a c-section, and couldn't just run down there to see him.  I had to wait till people were there so that someone could watch Aila, cuz she couldn't leave our room, and then get someone else to wheel me down to the NICU so I could see Weston.  The nurses were not particularly friendly, with the exception of one, and it was very difficult to hold him and spend time with him.  He was hooked up to so many things and I had to ask to have them unhook him so that I could even hold him, and sometimes they just told me "No."  I would just stare at him in his little bassinette, struggling to breathe, and I was DYING to hold my baby!  Furthermore, I had spent all these months fighting to grow TWO babies, and they had not spent more than a few minutes together from the time they came out of me.  I wondered if Aila missed him, and if he missed her, and if they knew that the other was missing.  I wondered if she would sleep better once she had her brother next to her.  I was feeding her and holding her like you would any singleton baby, but I had been reading up on and practicing how to feed and hold and care for TWO, and it just felt so wrong, having them separated. 
Finally, after 5 days, they released all of us to go home.  We got them all dressed and in their little car seats and strapped everybody in, and I was beside myself with excitement, but also filled with trepidation, cuz I was taking home a baby that I felt like I didn't even KNOW.  And so far, I'd had no practice with TWO. 
We got home, and I got out the boppy pillow, and put them in it together, side by side.  As soon as Aila felt his skin touch her face, she turned to him and started sucking on his ear.  They cuddled up tight to each other, and I knew they were happy now that they had each-other near, and the happy tears started streaming down my face.  THIS was how it was supposed to be! 
Over the past year, I've gotten to know Weston, my little baby boy who I didn't know at all the day I brought him home.  He is demanding, bossy, funny, hungry all the time, LOVES animals, and grins just like his daddy.  I've gotten to know Aila so much better than I did.  How she's prissy, sweet, quieter than her brother, a bit more skittish, and loves to be snuggled.  They play together, fight together, refuse to take their naps together, and insist on having whatever the other one has, be it food, toys, or attention.  They are the hardest thing I've ever done and by far the most rewarding! 
I meet people all the time who tell me "I was a twin, the other one died during childbirth."  Or "My son was a twin, but the other one didn't make it."  It seems like EVERYONE has a story of twins where one of them died, or they both died, or they were born but faced horrible medical problems, etc...  People tried to tell me these stories while I was pregnant, but I couldn't bear to hear them.  Now, I listen to them, and remind myself, most people are not as fortunate as I am.  Many, many people want twins and never get pregnant with them, or get pregnant with them and then something awful happens.  Most people's twin stories do not have as happy of an ending as mine.  I never take for  granted my happy ending, and my two beautiful babies. 

Monday, October 15, 2012

In Which People Can Take Their Advice and Snarky Comments And Shove It

Hmmmm,  in a foul mood and probably should not be writing when I'm like this.  But here goes, and btw this is NOT aimed at anyone who might even possibly be reading this, so if you are reading this, please don't think I mean you! 
What is on my mind today is people, especially jerky ones, who do not have children or have not had children in 50 years or so, who want to give me advice about how to raise mine.  I do not like this.  They may shove it.  I shall let them chose where.
Children are annoying, this is just a fact of life.  Anyone who has had children knows this.  There's no way to escape it.  Grown people are annoying too, and have bad days, and get tired and cranky.  The only difference is, children do not have the self-control that grown-ups should have by now developed, and yet, grown-ups (mostly the ones who are cranky and annoying themselves!)  seem to think that when a small child is tired and cranky, their parents should somehow beat it out of them. 
Before I had children, I had all kinds of therories myself.  I was gonna discipline my children this way or that way and they were gonna be perfect and respectful and sweet and behave and sit still like little happy robots.  Then I had my first one, and Brenna made it quite clear to me that I, as her mother, had NO control over her mood, her thoughts, her feelings, and for a long time, her behavior. 
It seems that the most judgement comes from people at my place of woship, and this can be very distressing to me.  No one outside of my immediate family knows exactly what I go through to get there twice a week.  The hours of preparation, trying to schedule feedings and naps and baths and getting dressed so that everyone arrives there on time, relatively clean, and if all goes well, not starving and not exhausted.  By the time we get there, I always feel as if I have just run a mini-marathon.  I'm tired, my back is KILLING me, (I've had bad back problems for years, and believe me, they're exacerbated by carrying around giant babies!)  Most of the time it's a complete fight for me to make myself get there and have everyone in my family ready and dressed.  Thank goodness for all the kindhearted people there who say things like "I don't know how you do it!" "You're my hero!"  "You don't know how encouraging it is for me to see you here, when I'm tired and don't feel like coming, I tell myself I have to because if you can do it with twins, I have no excuse."  People who say things like that make me fight even harder to be there.  There are also the people who take the babies for me and help me with them, so that I can pay attention while I'm there for at least a few minutes.  To all these people, I say a huge thank you!
However, once I get there and sit down, I usually have about 20 to 30 minutes of good behavior out of the twins, on a good day.  That is about their limit for sitting still and quietly.  They are not quite a year old, and being able to sit quietly for 30 minutes is pretty good for that age, if you ask me, and this is my third and fourth child, so I do have a little experience with such things.  Now after about the 30 minute mark, they're growing restless.  They want to have a snack, or get down and crawl/walk, or they're desperate to go to sleep, and they won't sleep with someone holding them.  This is where things start to get dicey. 
The whining starts, and the fussing.  I hand them a baby book or something to try to keep them quiet, and they throw it or scream out.  I give them the scary mommy face and tell them to hush, they scream again.  Now that they're almost a year old, I take them into the back sometimes and pop their behind, telling them very sternly to hush, and be quiet, and as soon as the crying stops, I go back to my seat.  But invariably, when my butt hits the chair, they begin crying again.  At this point, what exactly am I supposed to do?  I can't keep sitting there, because they are disturbing everyone with their crying.  But when I get up to take them out, they are happy they're getting to get up, which is exactly what they wanted, and they immediately get quiet. 
I try taking them out where no one can hear them crying and making them sit still on my lap, but they wriggle and fight and throw themselves backwards off my lap.  They are not quite one, for goodness sake, they want to be moving around.  And I'm 41 and have a bad back, and by the time all this is going on, I'm exhausted, sweating, and my back muscles feel like they're on fire.  When I can't physically do it anymore, I put them down.  Then they're happy.  They babble and they walk/crawl, and they drink their milk and have a little snack, and then (usually) they're happy.  I KNOW that it's not optimal for them to be having fun in the back, because now they'll always request to go back there instead of sitting still.  I'm AWARE of this.  But dadgummit, what am I supposed to do when I've got no fight left in me? 
Then I have to hear the comments.  "They really have got you trained, don't they?"  "Have you noticed that as soon as you get up to take them out, they get quiet?" 
YES, I HAVE NOTICED.  AND YES, I AM EMBARRASSED BY IT.  But what exactly would you recommend that I do?  I try the popping and returning to the seat, so far, since they are still BABIES, it hasn't worked.  So should I just continue to sit there and let them cry at the seat?  Do the people complaining not mind if I just sit there while the babies cry in their ear?  Should I not put them down in the back and let them toddle around?  Well, that sounds great, but my spine is about to snap in half, so that's not quite physically possible for me.  Should I not feed them a snack or give them milk?  They are not quite one, have tiny tummies, and need to eat many times a day.  They are BABIES, not tiny adults.  And if I make them stay hungry, trust me, they will NOT be any quieter.  As an experienced mother, I know that this is a phase.  Brenna and Dalton put me through the same thing, but they no longer cry to get up and go to the back or ask for snacks during the meeting.  This does not last forever, it's a thing that happens with babies, and one has to find a way to get through it.
Funny thing is, it's almost always the people who have no children, or had their children long, loooonnnnggg ago who have all the criticism.  I would actually not mind advice from say, a person who also raised 4 children, or a person who raised their kids later in life and knows what it's like to be older and trying to do this parenting stuff with a body that's falling apart.  Or a person who had twins and knows how it feels to be outnumbered by babies, and the battle that goes on just to be able to GET there, much less keep them quiet.  But it's never those people.  Those are the people who pat my back and say "good job, I don't know how you do it." 
So to the others, the ones with the smug looks and the whispers and the snide remarks and the criticism:  I love you as my brother or sister, and yet, you can feel free to shove it.  I'll let you decide where.  Have a great afternoon!  :)

Friday, October 12, 2012

In Which I Think About Sibling Rivalry

Watching the twins deal with each-other, and of course watching my older kids, I've been thinking a lot about sibling rivalry.  Weston and Aila just crack me up...he wants ALL THE MILK and she knows that as of right now, she can walk and he cannot (although he's really starting to now!)  So Aila will hold her sippy cup over her head where he can't reach it and run like crazy to get away from him.  When she realizes he's GOING to get her and there's nothing she can do to stop it, she'll drop what he wants and go in the other direction.  She'll scream at him for taking whatever it is, but she's already learned she'd rather let him have it than have him attack her for it.  When I'm holding Aila, Weston can't stand it and will walk over to the couch and start saying "Mamamamamamam" over and over and over again until he gets picked up.  It's ALWAYS a competition with those two, for food, for attention, everything. 
Then there's Dalton, who is suddenly stuck being a middle child (I know how that stinks!) and he's jealous of both Brenna (for being older and having more priveleges) and also the twins (for being tiny and getting lots of attention.)  He is in a pretty much constant state of jealousness right now, and he can't decide whether he wants to be grown and get to go places and do things like his big sister, or sit on my lap and be snuggled like the babies. 
Watching them all go through this, I keep flashing back to my own childhood and episodes of sibling rivalry.  Betsy was *ahem!* EIGHT years older than me (and today's her birthday, not that I would harrass her about her age or anything!) and she always got to do all the cool stuff.  Betsy got to stay up till ten watching Masterpiece Theater with Mom and Dad.  I was SO JEALOUS of this, because Mom and Dad and Bets all acted like Masterpiece Theater was the best thing EVER.  I begged for years to be able to watch it with them.  Finally, when I was, I dunno, maybe eleven or so, they let me watch it with them and stay up late.  I remember it was "Disraeli."  I didn't understand a dadgummed thing that was going on, I was bored to death, and I was so confused as to why this was supposed to be so great.  But I watched it, and I was proud as punch that I got to while David had to go to bed!  I told all my friends about watching "Disraeli" and tried to act like I completely got it and it was so awesome. 
Betsy also went through a phase of drinking iced tea, it was that instant stuff what you mix up with a spoon.  No one would let me drink it.  I WANTED ICED TEA.  Finally one day, they let me have some.  Let me tell you, that right there was some nasty crap!  Little brown specks floating around in my drink cuz I didn't stir it up enough, fake lemon taste...EW!  But I can remember how I held my glass and how important and cool I thought I was cuz I was drinking it, because BETSY drank that stuff. 
Meanwhile, I learned later on, Betsy is looking at me and hating me cuz Mom and Dad pay me all the attention, buy me all the clothes, call me "pretty" when Betsy always gets called "smart," etc... I was busy wanting to BE her and she was busy wanting to muzzle me and put me in a closet. 
When I was in my late teens, I went for a visit to Betsy's, who was now married, had kids, and lived in Georgia.  Her husband at the time, whom I shall here refer to as "Lucifer," wanted to take us to dinner at a nice Japanese restaurant.  He told us to "look nice."  Well, I didn't have anything with me to wear but either jeans and tee-shirts, or a dress.  So I put on a dress.  Betsy meanwhile put on normal eating out clothes, a nicer top with jeans, if I remember correctly.  But then when she saw me in the dress, she went and switched to a dress.  I can't remember now exactly how it went, but I DO remember that we both ended up changing clothes about 5 times apiece, and we were laughing hysterically about it, but it was clear that there was STILL some sibling rivalry going on. 
David and I, on the other hand, were just three years apart in age, and so we had a relationship more similar to what the twins have now.  He was the absolute bane of my existence.  I hated the way he chewed his Cap'n Crunch.  I hated the way he breathed.  I hated the way when he got hot, the only place he got sweaty was on the tip of his nose, and there were always about 8 little sweat beads right there.  I hated the way he told on me for EVERYTHING I ever did, and half the time he made the stuff up.  He fell into the pond?  I THREW him in.  He didn't like the way we were playing a game?  He told Mom I cheated and she made us both come inside.  I let him know how much I hated him by pounding on him every chance I got.  He was smaller and younger and the only way he could fight back was to throw himself down on the ground or couch or wherever and put his feet up and kick me. 
All the sudden, one day, he was bigger than me.  I remember being 16 and having my first car, and I wanted to wash it on the carport, but David wanted to play basketball on the carport, and he didn't want it wet.  I went out and got all my stuff ready and turned on the hose.  But the jolly white giant went out and held the hose so it was kinked, so I couldn't use it.  I screamed, I fought, I tried to pry it out of his hands, but there was no getting that hose.  I was NOT gonna wash my car, and there was no way around it.  Dad had warned me that one day he was gonna be bigger than me, and the day had come.  It was so FRUSTRATING!
Never had too much sibling rivalry with Gabe, cuz he was so much younger than the rest of us.  He just annoyed us to pieces.  He's closer in age to David, so I think they had more of the rivalry.  He used to drive us crazy because he was so stinking weirdly smart, so David especially would take great pleasure in messing with his head.  On the way to the District Convention, 4 year old Gabe was reading all the signs, which was just obnoxious cuz 4 yr olds aren't supposed to be able to read like that.  We saw a "Coliseum" sign, and he was like "'Coliseum!' We're almost there!"  David said "It's not pronounced 'coliseum,' Gabe.  It's 'co-LIS-ee-um.'  Taken from the Latin 'co-LIS,' meaning 'to gather together' and 'ee-um,' meaning 'Jehovah's Witnesses.'"  "Oooooh," Gabe said, "co-LIS-ee-um!" 
We all fought like cats and dogs, tried to make each-other look bad, etc... but then again, if I needed a giant bug killed in my room, David would do it.  When he wasn't being the bane of my existence, he was my partner in crime, and my best bud.  He helped me dig up worms for bait when my parents went fishing, helped me build forts, we made "money" together by cutting out paper, coloring it green, crumpling it up and getting it wet, and laying it sopping wet over his lamp to dry to give it the right texture.  He went with me on all my walks to the "Cheek-o-mart" after school to buy junk food.  He was my sicko partner when we found the frozen squirrel and threw it and skipped it across the frozen creek.  Betsy let me borrow her clothes, took me on hikes where we played our Chariots of Fire game that we made up ourselves, took me to Perkins library to do my homework, let me tag along as chaperone on all her dates, and gave me all the really important advice I needed as I grew up, cuz she had just gone through everything a few years ahead of me.  So I hope that's how it'll work out for my kids, and I tell them that all the time.  When Brenna and Dalton fight, I remind them of how much I used to think I hated their Uncle David, and now I don't get to see him near enough and miss him so badly, and one day they're gonna realize that underneath all that hatred, they're really best friends.  And if Weston and Aila survive through their toddlerhood and stop pulling each-other's hair and knocking each-other down, I hope one day they'll realize that too.

Monday, October 8, 2012

In Which I Have A Case Of The Itchies

Just got off the phone with someone who lives far away who was telling me about some children who, months ago, had lice.  Now my head is suddenly itching as if it's totally infested with bugs!  The power of suggestion!  It's such a weird thing! 
Why is it that someone can talk about lice, and your head itches?  Or you can read a news article about someone finding an alligator in their toilet, and be terrified of the potty for weeks? 
Once, I saw a special on tv about how Sydney, Australia, is built on a huge spider nest.  They're called the "Sydney Funnel-Web Spider" and they are poisonous and they JUMP.  It showed them jumping at people, they hide in mailboxes and shoes and stuff and then JUMP towards you when they see you coming!  And they love swimming pools and they get all around people's swimming pools and stuff.  Argh, I had nightmares for weeks and was afraid to even stomp on a spider if I saw one, for fear it was gonna jump at me and bite me. 
Speaking of spiders, one year, in October (this is the WORST month for spiders, after all!)  I had just come home and was walking up to my house, in the dark, and saw a GIANT spider on the sidewalk, lit up by the porchlight.  Normally, I would just let a spider go when it was outside, but this thing was ENORMOUS and right there near my door, so I stomped it.  As soon as I did, little babies went running EVERYWHERE, it felt like they were going up my legs, they scattered in all directions.  Apparently, the mother spider had a gazillion-quadtuple baby spiders riding around on her giant body. (Which, now that I think about it, is kinda how I feel when I'm carrying around the twins.)  I screamed bloody murder and did this crazed "get-em-off-me!" dance right there on the sidewalk.  Just then, a friend of mine happened to drive by, and she almost ran off the road cuz I scared her so bad.  "Are you ok?!  Are you ok?!" she screamed out her car window.  I had to calm down enough to try to tell her what had happened, the babies still running everywhere.  I felt them all over me for days, and writing about them, I feel them on me now!
At my sister's house, deep in the woods, there are ticks.  A couple months ago I went for a visit, and stood out on the deck for awhile on the phone.  That was the only time I was outside!  Before I left her house, I found a teeny-tiny tick on my stomach, attached and eating away.  I got it off, killed it, disinfected.  Then,  2 days later, when I was at home, I found ANOTHER one attached to the backside of my knee.  I felt ticks everywhere after that, I was searching my clothes over and over again, running my hands through my hair and over my body, and every little mole or skin tag I was freaking out over and making my husband look, "Is this a tick?"  "No, a mole."  "Are you SURE it's not a tick?  Is THIS a tick?" 
It doesn't even have to be about buggies or something...ever notice how when someone else throws up suddenly you feel like you're gonna puke?  To quote "Wayne's World," "Don't hurl man, cuz then I'll spew!" "Don't spew, cuz then I'll blow chunks!" 
Ah, well.  The power of suggestion.  I think I'm gonna go take a bath, search for ticks, check my head for lice, and check my shoes for spiders.  And I may just blow chunks for good measure. 

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

In Which I "Like" on Facebook a Woman I've Never Met

Today, I read a bunch of news online, as I do every day, and one particular story really, really grabbed my attention.  It was the one about Jennifer Livingston, a news anchor in Wisconsin, who went on a four minute tirade about an email she received from some guy, basically telling her she should not be on tv because she's obese and it's a bad role model for little kids who are watching.  She called him a bully, ripped him a new anus, kept her composure and did not cry, and just all around let him have it.  I, however, was watching it on video and applauding her with tears running down my face.  I went straightaway to facebook, found her page and "liked" it, and left her a note saying she was beautiful inside and out, to which some numskull dude replied "Really got a crush, eh?"  PEOPLE ARE SO STUPID!!!! 
Anyway, all afternoon I kept seeing things about it on the news shows and elsewhere, and there was all this debate about is what the email said really bullying and was she being overly sensitive. 
The jerk didn't say that he was concerned about her health and wished she would take better care of herself, he essentially told her she should quit her job because her body wasn't good enough!  And then even on her facebook page, where people are telling her how inspiring her words were, etc... there are people making comments like "She's not a role model, but she's a 'roll' model!"  It just makes me hate the human race.
I used to be skinny, a long, long time ago.  I can remember thinking I would never, EVER let myself get out of shape and that I was always gonna look just as I did when I was 16.  I thought being fat was gross, and it certainly was never my intention to turn out this way.  I never threw up my hands and said "I don't care."  It just sort of happened.  I hit 19, and gained weight.  I got thyroid disease and started having it treated, and gained more weight.  I started having babies, and not only gained weight, but also got all the weird things that happen to your body when you have babies, things drooping where they ought not be drooping, fat redistributing where there used to be none, etc... 
There was a time when I thought I should just lay down and die because my life was over, because of my weight.  I was fat now, so why bother living?  There was a party where I spent my time in a bedroom curled up in the fetal position sobbing my eyes out, because I felt I couldn't enjoy myself because I was fat.  A wise and chubby relative of mine had to talk me out of my funk just to pry me out of that bedroom and back to where all the people were. I look back now at pictures from that time period, and I wasn't even really fat!  Compared to where I am NOW,  I was stinking SKINNY!  And I let my worries ruin a perfectly good party.  I have spent countless hours worrying about going places or doing things, feeling not good enough, crying about how I look, having ACTUAL NIGHTMARES where I'm doing something I love and then realize I look stupid cuz I'm fat... it's a waste of life to spend all that time that way!  YES, it's good to be thin, and YES, it's very unhealthy to be obese.  I'm still fighting to whip it to this day, and I will continue to fight.  I'm not at all saying that we should all just quit trying to be healthy and eat a bunch of chocolate cake.  But I'll tell you this, as an experienced fat person:  I've tried diets, I've been a total workout freak, I've tried diet pills, I've seen doctors about it, and I've had varied degrees of success, up and down and back and forth.  It's a neverending battle.   But it doesn't do ANYONE any good if I refuse to do anything fun until I'm at my perfect weight.  If I never put on a bathing suit, or dance at a party, or buy a nice dress, or ride a ride at the fair, etc... until I look a way I'm happy with, then I'm gonna waste my life waiting.  And if I were fortunate enough to have found a job I love, reporting the news on TV, and some jerk wrote that I should stop doing my job because my fatness might be contagious to people watching, I can only HOPE I'd have the wherewithall  to rant for four solid minutes on television about what a jerk he was and where he should shove it.  I'm sure my first impulse would be to think "He's right, I'm not good enough, I should quit."  and to curl up in the fetal position and bawl my eyes out.  But Jennifer Livingston didn't.  She stood there with poise and said what she needed to say, and for that reason, she's my new role model.  And not my "roll" model, Mr. Poopforbrains!