September 28, 2008

Out of the mouths

While driving in the car tonight (after chasing a hot air balloon, which was really fun!) Mark was making up silly songs using the boys' names. Andrew thought he would get in on the act, but would insert the word "poop" into his songs.

MARK: Andrew, we like to hear you sing but we don't want to hear you use words like that.

ANDREW: Really? (In utter shock.) I was just saying "poop" so that Thomas could hear me and would remember to start pooping in the toilet.



As the boys and I headed upstairs tonight for books, Andrew stopped in the entryway and asked me to turn on the light so I could look at something on his skin. I turned on the light and he was rubbing a place on his ribcage.

ME: Is something wrong with your tummy?

ANDREW: I'm not sure. Rub right here.

ME: (As I touch the same place he was) What is that?

ANDREW: I'm not sure. Is it dry skin or something else?

ME: What else would it be?

ANDREW: Well, I'm thinking nacho cheese from dinner.

September 26, 2008

Some weeks come with reminders

Just in case anyone out there is still not clear on this fact, LIFE ISN'T FAIR and bad things do happen to good people.

I won't bore anyone with all the ways in which this lesson has been reinforced for me this week, because some of them are tragically sad and some are just petty and selfish.

Perhaps sometimes we just need to be reminded a few times in quick succession to make us grateful? Or maybe we need to be reminded to make us get off the starting line? Either way, I hear you loud and clear.

September 24, 2008

That's what you get for asking

A few weeks ago I basically asked a physician to test my cholesterol level. The physician responded by telling me that my blood pressure and pulse were low and that I sure didn't fit the profile of someone with high cholesterol. This same physician had just informed me that in obstetrics speak I'm entering the "advanced maternal age" range, so I informed him that in my advanced age it seemed prudent to just check, because none of my relatives with off-the-charts cholesterol fit the profile either. He agreed and threw in a thyroid screen so something could be his idea.

I got the lab request from him and then promptly waited two weeks before going in for the blood draw. That was a Friday. I spent that whole weekend eating like an idiot because I figured it could be my proverbial last supper. French fries? Yes, please. Donuts? Yes, please. Queso with those chips? Yes, please. And a side of shrimp.

The following Monday afternoon I received a message from the Dr.'s nurse telling me that he "had some concerns about my lipid panel." He had asked her to fax the lab results to my primary care physician and instructed me to make an appointment with them. Apparently baby deliverers don't do cholesterol.

That was 10 days ago. For 10 days I resisted the urge to call and demand that my lab results be faxed to me as well and I just began assuming that all the fun of eating had been stripped from me by my burning desire to be honest about my family history and engage in a little preventative care. For 10 days I've fretted a little over every gram of saturated fat I've eaten and I've spent too much time surfing the American Heart Association's websites on cholesterol. I've purchased oatmeal and walnuts and switched to skim lattes. Cold turkey. The folks at the local coffee shop have tried to help me through it.

Today I went to meet with my primary care physician, who isn't much interested in delivering babies but appears to know a bit about blood. The bottom line is that it's not so bad. My cholesterol is a few (ok, maybe a dozen) points above where it should be and my LDL is not ideal, but not really alarming and my HDL is good. The ratios - who knew there were so many - are good as well. As I sat and listened I became a little unclear about why I was even there. Dr. Primary Care said that Dr. Baby probably just looked at the total number and said, "pass her off."

So, the plan is this: I'm going back to 2% in my lattes but promised to back away from the saturated fats from time to time. I'm really going to miss cleaning up the kids' McDonald's fries but I'm going to moderate. And, I need to get recommitted to more exercise. I'll also be working on adding a few extra hours of daylight to each 24-hour cycle in order to make that happen, I guess.

If you see me in real life eating a fry, let's not totally obsess, but you might just gently keep me honest. "206, Susan. 206."

September 21, 2008

Plan, schman

I attended a bridal shower yesterday honoring a college friend. As is common at these events, the hostess asked each guest to introduce herself and tell how we knew the bride-to-be. I was the last person in the circle to have to answer, giving me plenty of time to carry the one, move the decimal and come to the conclusion that I've known the bride for 17 years. When I said that, I could see the rest of said college friends also carrying the one, moving the decimal and checking my math. They've known me a long time - checking the computation is a good idea, but gosh darn if I wasn't right this time. Whoa.

That later evolved into a discussion of "who could have guessed..." You know, the old, "is this how you thought your life would be?" topic. It's always funny to look back and think about whether you could have predicted that so-and-so would have four kids or that so-and-so would be a butt-kicking business woman or that so-and-so would run through three husbands or that so-and-so would ever choose to get married? And then, to ponder those same questions about yourself.

Is this how you thought your life would be?

My book club had a similar discussion a few months ago which actually provided an interesting contrast for me as we talked yesterday. These girls (women?!) with whom I was talking yesterday are all the same age as me and arguably, we knew/know each other well. Living in close quarters and sharing a bathroom with the same people for three years will do that for you. And, to date, in many ways our life experiences are pretty similar. Maybe that's why no one wanted to admit that where they are today isn't exactly where they might have imagined, back in the fall of 1991. When you're all doing basically the same thing maybe it would be uncomfortable for everyone for someone to say, "Nope, this is NOT what I thought my life would look like right now."

My book club is full of women with whom I have six-ish years of shared history, and our ages range from early-30s to mid-60s. I've never lived with any of these women but I do see them every month and during the two or three hours we're together, by virtue of it being a discussion-based book club, we learn a fair amount about one another. Our histories are vastly different. Some of us have never moved, some of us have done it literally dozens of times. Some of us have multiple graduate degrees, some of us don't have degrees at all. Some of us are married, some not. Some of us work outside of our homes, some of us don't. Some of us have children, some don't. Of those who do, some of us have little kids and some of us have little grandkids. We're NOT all doing the same thing at the same time.

That contrast is perhaps the explanation for how that discussion at book club was so different than the one I was part of yesterday.

My book club friends, almost without exception, said, "Nope, my life right now does not look like I imagined it would. No one's does." For many, that picture wasn't dramatically different, but a little different nonetheless. For a few, it's way different and they said so.

I left the shower yesterday and had 40 minutes in my car to think on this. I'm not sure I ever answered the question at book club because I had arrived late, and no one really answered it yesterday, just because. As I headed west I thought that if I had written out a roadmap in the fall of 1991, it would in many ways look like I hadn't followed it very closely today. I fell off plan. Maybe the wisdom of my book club was right?

Then I drove a little further and thought about what exactly would look off-plan. It's probably just the small stuff in actuality. The big stuff is probably much as I might have written it. It's not like I ever imagined a life without kids or a spouse that involved living in Timbuktu. Maybe my college friends were right?

I suppose the truth is somewhere in the middle - as it usually is - and there's probably a lesson there in focusing on the big things and not the small. I imagined Norman Rockwell, I guess. I don't think I'm living a painting, but my life is probably far closer to that than not - on all but the most trying days.

I'm curious how many years will have to pass before my college friends will be able to admit that even though the plan might not ever exactly pan out, the path is just fine?

September 14, 2008


Thomas is always our early-morning buddy. On weekend mornings, when Andrew can lounge upstairs to his content before venturing down to join the rest of us, Thomas gets a fair amount of time with mommy and daddy to himself.

This morning the three of us were in the basement reading the paper and watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. He was playing contentedly on his own and generally being sweet. I called him over to me and asked for a kiss on my cheek. He complied, but then looked me straight in the eye and said, "Mommy, I a GUY."

Yes, son, I know. There are so many GUYS here.

September 6, 2008

Just doing my job

Today while being reprimanded for doing something dangerous in front of his brother, thereby setting a poor example, Andrew said to me, "Mommy, you never let me do anything fun and you take the fun from everything I do."

I responded by informing him that it's what I'm paid for and that my contract lasts for approximately the next 15 years.

He didn't see the humor in that.