Friday, August 29, 2008

Fan Club

It appears I have a new reader. My dad. Seems slightly weird in light of my post yesterday, but whatever. He knows I am female and therefore must visit the gynecologist from time to time. So it shouldn't have been too shocking for him. But still...

When I began blogging, I didn't tell anyone. Except for Erika who had been begging me for years to do something online - MySpace, blog, email - anything, really, to catapult myself into the age of technology. I tried the MySpace thing, and some virus hacked my computer and shut it down. Finally, I caved in to the peer pressure and created my blog. If nothing else, it would be a great way to reconnect with a few old high school friends and give me another excuse to not do housework. So, I didn't tell my husband, my neighbor, my mom - no one. And there are still people around me that don't know about my blog. Scott now knows, but he has no clue what a blog is or what you do with a blog. Nor does he care. I had to tell my neighbor when she created her own blog and coincidentally chose the same format and color scheme I have. Slowly but surely, I have been outed, either by myself or others. Which leads me to the following story...

Last Sunday, while at church, my parents were in conversation with someone who will remain anonymous so as to protect her- I mean, their - identity. She mentioned having read something in my blog about the novel, The Shack. To which my parents responded, "Blog. What blog?" The seal was broken. Enter parents.

It is not that I care that my parents read this blog. I don't say anything that I should be ashamed of or that I wouldn't want them to read. Although, I did write a post about my mom telling me the truth about Santa too soon, so I would like to get that out in the open. (Sorry, mom - it bothers me still that I was so young and you didn't try to keep the dream alive for longer, but I am okay and will only need a few more months of intense therapy to deal with the pain.) I guess I feel some sense of privacy and anonymity while writing here. Like I am back in 1993 writing in my little legal pad about my latest heart ache at the hand of some undeserving boy. This place has become my journal, only I forget that its contents are open for the entire world to read. Not that the world is at all interested, but the possibility is there that anyone with access to the computer can read about yesterday's trip to the gynecologist. Can I possibly find another excuse to type that word?!?

Anyway. I am an open book. Or an open blog, whichever phrase you choose. My life is incredible in so many ways. I am so blessed with a beautiful family and all the things I need and more. But I am incredibly internal and deep, and those thoughts need somewhere to go. So they regurgitate themselves here. And hopefully I don't scare anyone. Hopefully I don't come across too cynical or ungrateful at times. And hopefully I won't gross out my dad too when I talk about the gynecologist.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Gynecologist

I cringe at the very word - gynecologist. Especially since I have been sterilized and know I won't be needing the other side of his practice. And I know he doesn't like to see me coming either, because I am sure he didn't get into his line of work to do pap smears all day long. These men and women love to deliver babies. Not shine a hot lamp where no one should ever have to be and perform weird things. Unnatural things.

I cannot believe that in our modern world doctors have not come up with a way to replace the pap smear. Especially for incredibly boring people like me who have their family established, been married for forever, only have one sexual partner, and have never had an abnormal pap smear before. Couldn't they prick my toe and see if I have any abnormal cells in the lower region of the body? Have they not figured out how to hypnotize people and have their inner soul reveal all their medical ailments (including the possibility of precancerous cells on the cervix)? I mean, I think we ought to have a senate committee meeting every day with the most renowned gynos in the universe working together to find an alternate method. One that does not involve the phrase, "I just need you to relax and slide your bottom down to end of the table."

And why do we even have to talk to the nurse? This applies to all kinds of doctors. The nurse calls you back and weighs you, of course. Then the blood pressure and pulse and date of last period. Then you finally get to see the doctor and he doesn't even look at all the answers the nurse has written down for you. He asks you all the same questions. So I figure, cut out the middle man, and go directly to the doctor. I mean, does the doctor not know how to take vitals? I could just tell one person my life's story and get on with things. That might save a lot of money for the medical practices, and maybe we could pay a little less to go. Wishful thinking, I know.

I was impressed to see that the paper attire is beginning to resemble fabric a little more these days. (It has been two years since my last pap smear, so I have not been in the GYN office in a while.) Well, the little shirt they gave me was a softer, paper-like material. But the paper sheet was still crinkly and weird and huge and inhumane. The nurse might as well say, "Here sweetie. Get naked and cover yourself up with this big sheet of paper and wait for the doctor." This office has a button system on the inside of the room. The nurse told me to press the yellow button when I was ready. So, that was neat, because I normally freak out while undressing thinking that the doctor will just barge in and someone might see me standing there in all my glory. Oh what glory it is, too. That's why I really don't want anyone to see. They might feel insecure about their own body having seen mine. Right.

Anyway. Over and done with. And hopefully I won't have a need to see him again for another year.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Why I keep my toilets clean

I have always been neurotic about my toilets. The top, the lid, the seat, the basin, all around the base and behind. It must all be clean and free of dust, hair, or dried urine. It is my pet peeve. I must admit that I look around the bottom of other people's toilets when I go to their house to see if they have the same feelings about toilets as I do. Most people don't. And it is not that I find them to be gross or dirty. Rather, they are probably a lot less anal about things in general than I am. Anyway.

All this time, I have just thought myself to be neurotic. Compulsive. Problematic. But today, I discovered the truth about my deal with the toilet cleaning. It has nothing to do with being mental at all. Yet it has been for the instance when, as today, I must squeeze my body in that tiny space between the tub and the toilet on the floor to paint behind it. No fear of dust bunnies. No fear of tee tee drips. No fear at all because my toilet is clean. The floor around it is clean. And I have no fear in getting up close in personal with what is so gross to so many people. My toilet.

It may be the only thing in my house that is clean, but at least it is clean.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Sleep Ober

My kids love to have a sleep ober. No. That's not a typo. That's how Madalyn pronounces the word over. In case anyone hasn't noticed, I tend to talk through Madalyn's voice a lot. Even at home and on the phone. It is one very endearing quality she has - the way she sounds. She is this demanding little woman, fully in charge of her world, barking out orders every possible second. Until she is faced with a consonant she cannot pronounce, and then she reverts back into the sweet little pre-schooler she is somewhere deep down inside. And there is no rhyme nor reason to the mispronunciations. Over is ober. Guitar is batar. Today is daday. And so on and so forth. Refrigerator is bafridgerator. Anyway...

Since last summer when David got his cool bunk bed with futon on the bottom, they have been having sleep overs. We let the futon down into a bed, set them up with their pillows and favorite blanket, and they watch tv or a movie together until they fall asleep. During the summer, they do it quite often, but during the school year they can only sleep over on Friday or Saturday night. Since David has started back to school, the sleep overs have become more precious - especially to Madalyn. In fact, I can get Madalyn to brush her teeth and get herself ready for bed in record time when she knows she can sleep over with her budder.

It is so sweet, their little love for each other. Yes, they fight. Yes, they aggravate each other. But they have a love for one another that is so sweet, so deep, so true. And I hope that it carries them through the rest of their lives. Because they will need each other. And I want them to love and trust each other. Especially for those times that they might not feel comfortable confiding in me. It makes me feel good to know that they will always have a friend they can depend on.

Friday, August 22, 2008

This Week, In Highlights

Yet another busy and productive week gone by in the Blair household. Though we have finished our second full week of school, I still find myself thinking every night, "Oh. David has school in the morning." For some reason, I just can't get used to the idea this year. Summer is easier than the school year for so many reasons, the biggest of which would have to be not having to truly function before 7:00 in the morning. But anyway...

Also, another week of football practice complete. I feel like a kid with my little paper chain counting down the days until football is over. I really don't like the overall atmosphere of football (or my son playing it, I should say), but I have to keep on a good face and be positive about it anyway for my child and for the other parents around (seeing as I am one of the team moms and all). But I have to admit, I feel like falling down in the middle of that football field and pitching a fit and declaring that I want to quit. I have seen several of the children do it this season, but not yet a parent. I don't know exactly how the coaches would respond, but I am sure it would be similar to the response the children get: "You must honor your commitments. You signed up to play, and you must fulfill that commitment. Though you have no general understanding of the sport, typically cannot pick your child out in the pack of twenty five other helmets, can't seem to ever follow the ball with your eyes, or name all the coaches on the field, you will show up to practice every day." And so, I will go. But I don't have to like it. And I am not sold that David likes it either. He says he likes it, but when asked if he will play again, he gives a hesitant, "I don't know." What is the opposite of love? Ambivalence.

And mom and Madalyn have made it through another week with all appendages in tact. We have both had a rough go of things since brother has gone back to school. Madalyn because she has no internal clock as of yet and cannot determine the difference between 8:30 am and 2:30 pm. I swear, some mornings we walk him to school and ten minutes later she will ask if it's time to get budder. And then continue to ask me sporadically throughout the day, especially if I tell her we need to go somewhere. I will tell her, "Get dressed. We need to go to the store and..." And she will complete the thought, "And go get budder?" I have had a rough time because I had become quite accustomed to having another set of ears around to absorb some of the sound that comes out of Madalyn's mouth. I didn't realize exactly how much Madalyn enjoys talking until David went back to school and Madalyn had no one else to talk to in the house except me. She has a lot to say. About everything. All day long. Much of which, I must admit, I try to tune out and make myself numb to because I can only hear her talk about makeup and Hannah-de-tannah (she says it just that way - and, no, she is not allowed to watch her yet, but she knows who she is and adores her for some reason) so much, you know.

Madalyn will begin preschool next week, and as horrible as it sounds, I am so excited to have a few hours of peace. No children. Just me. Of course, I will still have fifty thousand things that need to be done. But I can do as little or as much of it in quiet. I want to paint our basement bathroom the same shade of orange David's room is. So that will take some time. And I want to clean out Madalyn's closet and drawers and toys. And I want to steam clean my carpets. And I want to refinish my old baby doll cradle for Madalyn's room. So basically, all the time is already spent before I get it. But that's okay.

I am also reading the much talked about novel The Shack, which my grandmother clearly defines as the writings of satan himself. So let's just don't tell her I am reading it, okay? And I find it to be challenging and refreshing and thought provoking. Kind of what I need right now. My dear friend sent it to me a little over a week ago, and I am nearly finished. And I think, once I am finished, I would really like to read it again. And I don't say that much about any book really.

Okay. That's it. My life as of right now. Boring yet busy. Crazy yet completely normal. Exhausting but great.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Cathy

Though I have never met her, I have a fondness and attachment for her I cannot comprehend nor explain. She was my mother's friend, and she knew things about my mom that I could not understand. They formed a friendship in an unlikely place - the oncology room at UAB. The two of them were on the same schedule for chemo, and they hit it off while talking during the sometimes two hour long sessions of literal poison being dripped into their veins. They knew each others fears and pains without having to say a word. I can hardly imagine the comfort they felt in one another just knowing, with no uncertainty, that there was at least one other person who knew what they were experiencing.

From the very beginning, we knew that Cathy's cancer was different. It continued to grow during chemo, which is rare for breast cancer that typically responds so well to today's treatment. Within months, Cathy learned that not only had the cancer grown but it had spread to her shoulder. Then to her spine. And then her brain. And I can rationalize that it is different from the cancer that my mom had. But it doesn't take away the fear that her disease still lingers somewhere in her body waiting to attack and kill.

Last week, my mom came up for an appointment with her doctors here. Her friend Cathy lives just a few miles from me, so she visited her. Hospice had already been called, and everyone knew it wouldn't be much longer. Cathy told my mom that she could feel things happening in her body. But despite that realization, she was in good spirits. Perhaps she knew she was ready to go. I suppose she was exhausted from the constant fight for the last two years.

Cathy died on Monday night around 11:30. My mom is sad, to say the least. I know she is scared. I know that I am scared as well. I mourn for Cathy's family who has endured the suffering and loss of their loved one. I mourn for anyone has lost someone to this dreadful, awful disease - cancer.

Thank you, Cathy, for being my mom's friend when I didn't know how to be. I hope you are safe and resting in the arms of Jesus.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Exhausted

We are all exhausted around the Blair household. Football is completely wearing us all out. Completely.

I have been waiting on David to hit the wall. This is our first full week of school, which means up and ready and out the door by 7:30. Which wouldn't be so bad if we didn't have practice from 6:00 - 8:00 four days a week for football. Don't get me wrong; I am not complaining about the number of nights. We practiced four or five nights a week for baseball, and then had games on top of that. But generally, we practiced from 5:30 - 7:00, which makes a big difference in getting home, cleaned up, and ready for bed. Football practice is over at 8:00 or a little after, and then we have to rush home and get a quick bath and basically jump in the bed around 9:00 or 9:15. Last year, David always needed one day a week of going to bed at 8:30 to just get that extra little thirty minutes in. It is amazing what just a little extra sleep can do for anyone really. But we don't have it right now. And this morning, he hit the wall of exhaustion.

Scott had offered to take David to school, a rarity around here as he leaves for work around 7:15 or earlier. But David said no for some reason. And a good five minutes after Scott left for work, David started looking for him saying that he had changed his mind and wanted to ride with him after all. When I told him it was too late, he started crying. I hate to see my son cry, especially in the morning before school. And when he cries over something as little as that, I know he is just over tired and needs some rest. Only problem is that we have to be in Pelham tomorrow morning for our weigh-in for football at 7:30. No sleeping in tomorrow. Freaking football. I don't see us playing this sport again.

I feel horrible. I feel like it is all my fault for putting too much on his plate. But he wanted to play - insisted that he play - and I really didn't know how late we would be practicing. I mean, why can't we practice from 5:30 - 7:30? Or from 6:00 - 7:30? Oh well. What's done is done. And we will just have to move through it the best way we can. At least he can sleep in on Sunday morning. It's possible he'll sleep to noon.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Boy, oh boy.

I don't know what is going on around this house lately. I mean, I consider myself to be a good mom. Of course, I make mistakes as we all do. I yell when I should not. I am not always the queen of consistency. But I have tried, form day one, to talk to my children, hug them every day, expect the best from them, teach them empathy and kindness. And today, I feel like every attempt at goodness has failed.

David got in trouble today at school for the third day in a row on the third day of school. Not only is it disappointing, because this is not his typical behavior, but it is embarrassing. Embarrassing because I still feel like my child's actions are a direct reflection of my parenting. I know that I have no control over what he does at school, but I cannot help but think I have failed him in some way. How has he, all of the sudden, lost the ability to control his behavior? It is not like he is doing horrible and wretched things. But these little disregards for authority are no different in my eyes. It is the beginning to something much worse if left ignored.

Why does parenting have to be so difficult? Why can we not have the answers all in front of us and know exactly what to do at all times? The appropriate measures to take for every problem. The correct things to say. The proper ways to teach. Oh well. I guess all I can do is pray and just do this day by day. I just can't believe my David is behaving the way he is lately. I just can't make any sense of it.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Second Grade

I remember second grade. It was my first year at ACA, and the year I met my best friend in the whole world. I remember bits and pieces of things we did - browning pumpkin seeds on an electric skillet, tornado warnings behind the partition, the reading station in my class room, my teacher's National Guard chalk holders, Little Dribblers, having the biggest crush on a boy who is no longer with us. (Wow. I remember a lot more than I realized.) Point being, second grade seems to be a year that sticks with you. Not that the rest don't, but I feel it is an age where your real memories begin.



So, yesterday was David's first day of second grade. And it just seems so weird to me that he is at an age that he will actually remember for years to come. He is doing things now that will shape him forever. He is making friends that could last a lifetime. He is growing up. Right before my eyes.



Enough of the sappy. I was disappointed to learn that his little friend from last year will be in his class again this year. Not a good mix, if you know what I mean. They tend to get in trouble together - not big trouble, mind you, but just talking and playing around when they shouldn't be. And his friend has a troubled family life and is not exactly the kind of kid I want my son to attach himself to. Yesterday, on the very first day of school, he gets a warning from his teacher about goofing off during reading time. On the first day of school. What a great first impression. I came down pretty hard on him yesterday afternoon about it and threatened that if he couldn't handle being in the same class with his friend that I would have him moved into another one. Hopefully that will get through to him. I know he will find mischief from time to time, but I will not tolerate it on a daily basis. He is just too smart to get labeled a disruptive or bad behaved kid at such an early age.



Did I mention he has a male teacher this year? Which I think will be great for David. He is young (it is only his third year teaching) and seems so energetic. His room was impressively organized and clean, and I think, generally speaking, I will like him very much. So hopefully, my child will learn to control himself and we won't have to follow through with any threat. Oh boy!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

First Trophy

Painful. It is the only term I can find to describe the 3 and 4 year old YMCA tee ball season. Since she was two, Madalyn has wanted to do something. She has grown up watching her brother play all kinds of sports. When he played soccer, she told everyone that she did, too. And you couldn't tell her otherwise. "I a soccer player," she would say in this tiny little voice. In the spring, when she was finally old enough to play and it was time to sign up for soccer, I honestly didn't have the money to do it. I had no choice but to sign David up for baseball, which costs a whopping $160 in our fair city. And, of course, that is just to play. You still have to purchase cleats and other incidentals that go along with the sport. Our local YMCA charges $100 now for their sports. And just like anything else, you still have to spend more money for the proper cleats. Needless to say, Madalyn couldn't play soccer during the spring. And I felt guilty about it. She would still talk about soccer and tell people that she was a soccer player.


We received a hefty tax return during the spring, and I promised myself, no matter what, she would play something the next opportunity I had. Anything. I really felt like she just wanted to do anything that looked similar to what she saw her brother doing all the time. And so I found out that the YMCA would be offering a summer tee ball option, and we jumped on it immediately. Madalyn was so excited. Until she realized that it involved activities she didn't really care for: listening, following directions, obeying authority. All the things necessary to being a part of a team. Not quite Madalyn's style. And the practices were painful. And the games were even worse. I spent most of the time fussing with her trying to get her on the field and at least look like she was doing what she was required to do. If I could keep her on the field for an entire practice, I had really accomplished something.


Our last game was Thursday night, and we followed up at Dairy Queen for our little end of the season party. The kids really were quite cute, and some of them will be very good at baseball one day. Madalyn? I don't know. She can hit the ball, but her biggest liability on the field (in all aspects of her little life, really) is the fact that she thinks she knows it all. She does not need to listen to anyone else. She can just do what she wants to do. Anyway... a portion of your astronomical fee to play goes to purchase a little trophy. And to see the look on Madalyn's face when she received her trophy was priceless. It sort of made all the pain of the entire season wash away. Her first trophy.