my writings and thots

Stress

One of the g-pigs is stressed out. What? That’s exactly what I said, too!

We had to take them to the petstore to get their nails clipped and asked the kind ladies there about the one g-pig losing hair. I thought it was a spring-time thing, nothing to be too worried about, but it turns out she’s losing more hair than normal. While it could be a lack of vitamins (I seriously doubt it, she eats fresh stuff like, well, a pig), it’s more likely that it’s stress related.

I had no idea little animals like that could feel stressed. I looked at them all comfy cosy in their cage. It gets cleaned out for them, fresh wood chips and hay for a bed. Cherise is meticulous about making sure it doesn’t smell bad and that they always have a fresh bed. She makes little toys for them, and they have a box to climb in and around. Food is delivered twice a day, including special treats and their favorite snacks. There is always fresh water. I mean, couldn’t be less stressful if you tried; it’s not like they have to work for their food and board, there are no preditors, and they have each other so they’re not lonely.

As ridiculous as it sounds to have stressed animals, I started to think about my life of late. Insomnia is such a part of my life, it’s almost routine. I find myself getting frustrated that I can’t get everything done in the time frame I want it done in. I worry, a lot.

But when I think of it, isn’t it also kind of ridiculous. I mean, I have food, a place to stay, my work, my kids, and wonderful friends all over the world. Of course, it’s important to have dreams, to want to better life in some way, and hope should never die. But maybe I need to rethink if I’m not being like a silly pet who doesn’t understand that everything’s in control. I know God’s in control, it’s something I tell myself all the time; but do I live it?

I think it’s time to step back and just relax a bit.

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about the kids, My favorite quotes, songs and stories

Happy Mother’s Day

I’ve often said I celebrate Mother’s Day differently now that I’m a mother myself. Today, I’m glad I have this amazing piece to feature here, because, let’s face it, intense, constant pain doesn’t go well with writing amazing pieces. At least not for me. So without further ado, here’s a tribute to Mother’s Day from Stephen Larriva:

I was standing in line at the supermarket. Behind me in the line was a mother with her two teenage children: a boy about 13 and a girl maybe 15. The boy was sulking, arguing with his mom about some item that he wanted her to purchase for him. The girl was feverishly texting and at the same time nagging her mother to let her go to a party. Words like a dumb and old-fashioned were being used repeatedly on the poor woman. Everyone who was standing in line became increasingly uncomfortable with the way these two teens were treating their mother. I couldn’t take it anymore. I turned around and looked at them squarely in the eyes and said “This woman (pointing at their mother) at great personal expense,” I paused for affect “Pushed you both out of her vagina. Your arguments are invalid.” There was silence. An elderly gentleman stifled a cough. The cashier cleared his throat. Then laughter started and spontaneous applause. The old man slapped me on the back the tears streaming down his face in laughter. The cashier whispered in awe “Dude, you’re totally like, my hero.”

Then I woke up.

While it is highly unlikely I would ever actually do this in real life. (I admit it is fun to think about) it really got me thinking about how much we take for granted the tricky job of motherhood. Perhaps because women have been doing the difficult job of motherhood for thousands of years with such amazing grace and breathtaking finesse it’s easy to forget how hard it actually is.

For starters, just being a woman difficult – and not just metaphorically or historically, although both of those are very valid point in cases of how difficult it is to be a woman. The just the physical transition that a woman must endure to become a mother is mind bending.

I’m the first to admit that, as a man, I’m about as qualified to discuss this subject as an auto mechanic who has never owned a car. But I have assisted in a few births (and by assisting, I mean watched) and once delivered a baby when the midwife didn’t show up on time. (I’m still extremely proud of myself for not fainting.) I also have attended a Lamaze class as well as having repeatedly viewed all the drawings in the very end of the “144 basic book” during my teen years.

For those of you who may have missed sixth grade Sex Ed – and by missed I am specifically referring all us guys who actually attended the class but at first mention of the word ‘vulva’ started giggling like Japanese school girls in the back of the classroom and never heard another word that the teacher said. You can imagine my shock when I attended my first Lamaze class (which is basically sixth grade Sex Ed while you sit on the floor) where it was all re-explained with the use of flash cards and a video of a birth starring two completely nude and surprisingly hairy individuals. For those of you who may have missed Lamaze class I will do my best to recount what I learned.

First I would like you to take a deep breath, in through the nose and exhaled slowly out your mouth, as we take a moment to talk about the uterus.

The uterus:

The uterus is described in medical textbooks to be the basic size and shape of an inverted pear, a statement that uteruses worldwide resent immensely. In the months that follow conception, this little ball of inter woven muscle will increase its size by about 600%. After nine months the uterus starts to figure that looking like an inverted pear may not be so bad after all. So in a matter of hours it contracts, causing the cervix to dilate and forcibly expelling a fully formed human. Men cannot experience this. And that is a good thing. For if we could, the human race surely would have died out long ago. Here is a link for a video of 2 men who gave it a try. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A44oEcmDn1c . It is interesting to note that these guys simply had electrodes stuck to their stomach muscles so it was the equivalent of a couple hundred sit-ups. Not exactly the same as a disgruntled baby expelling uterus, but I feel they deserve a thumbs up for the noble attempt. While we’re on the subject things that women have that men don’t, let’s take a moment to talk about:

Ovaries:

Ovaries are about the size of your thumb and are considered by the medical community the practical jokesters of the female anatomy. When they are not busy producing copious amounts of estrogen they take turns producing eggs. For reasons that science has yet to explain ovaries somehow have been left with the impression that it is one of their responsibilities to influence the woman’s behavior. For the most part they are fairly well organized. For example, one may take full responsibility for producing the acquiring new shoes hormone, while the other focuses effort on chocolate acquisition. Normally this works fairly well. Until a woman becomes pregnant. This upsets their schedule of egg making and throws the rest of the little ovaries planning totally out the window causing them to rebel and retaliate by making the woman’s feet swell so that she cannot wear shoes and forcing her to crave strange things like Marmite flavored gummy bears or peanut butter and pickle sandwiches.

I could go on and on because as I understand it there is at least a dozen other things that happen in a woman’s body when she becomes pregnant but I can’t remember right now because at some point in the presentation the Lamaze instructor said the word “vulva”.

Here’s the part where it gets really crazy. Pregnancy and birth is the easy part! That’s right the EASY part! Because after you have a baby it becomes your responsibility to actually care for the child.

How mothers do it is a mystery to me. Sleepless nights and poopie diapers, colicky babies and ear aches. Colds and coughs, tummy bugs and projectile vomiting, scraped knees and visits to the emergency room. Potty training and teaching to read. Meals cooked, dishes washed, mountains of laundry folded, of hundreds ouchies bandaged, thousands of tears kissed away…

Sure, there may be a tiny hiccups from time to time. A slip that gives you a glimpse into how difficult her job really is. She may occasionally make the same thing for dinner two nights in a row. Or perhaps skip eating her dinner all together and go straight for a glass of wine. Or for a brief moment forget a child’s name and work through the list of names of all her other children before getting it right. But these inconsistencies are so short and infrequent that if you blink you probably will miss it. And she goes right back to soldiering on, picking right up where she left off in the endless list and duties and responsibilities that she carries so bravely.

To be a mother takes superhuman strength. I have no clue how they do it, but they do. Day in day out with a grace and beauty and elegance that I find impossible to put into words. Watching a mother be a mother I think is kind of like watching a ballet. They make it look so easy, so effortless. And even though in theory we know it must be difficult you never really know for sure unless you actually try it. If you ever curious to give it a try, let me know, I will let you borrow my pink tutu.

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Happy Birthday to my Princess

If there was ever a little girl who deserved the Princess title, it would be Cherise. When I first found the name and looked up the meaning, I found that it meant royal, little princess, and I felt it right for her. Now it’s hard to know what the real meaning is for a lot of names, as different sites will say different things. One meaning I found is Precious One, which I find equally fitting.

Cherise is prim and proper about how things are done and has decided that she is no longer a little girl. This year, she asked that no toys be given on her birthday and instead she got notebooks, art books, a purse, wallet, jewelry, and other “big girl” items. However, she’s got the cutest, childlike giggle that will make me smile every time. She retains her innocence while desperately trying to grow up.

Things need to be done her way and she’s the one to be very vocal in how that’s done. She is capable of talking a mile a minute and is rarely quiet for more than a few minutes at a time. She can be very good at showing empathy, and feeling for someone who is suffering actually hurts her. While she’s sometimes oblivious to her surroundings (she’s a princess, after all), when she does catch on, she’s quick to take action to help.

Here’s to another year of chattering, tender hugs and prayers, and wanting to be “big”.

about the kids, my writings and thots

Enjoying more moments

When my kids were babies, the sage wisdom was told to me often: “enjoy them while they’re little, they grow up too fast.” Many older mothers lamented not having taken enough time to enjoy their children while they were young and coached me in not just tending to the physical day-to-day care of the children, but in taking moments with them whenever I could.

As a young mother, I wanted to do my best to do this with my kids. I reminded myself often that they wouldn’t always be this young, that time would pass and I didn’t want to be one of those mothers that wishes she had been all there when her children were young. Sure, as a stay at home, sometimes working-from-home mom, that meant I was with my kids almost all the time. But really being there, that meant being there in my mind and not just with my presence. I wrote about the moments that count and that launched the beginning of my writing and blogging efforts.

Today, things couldn’t be more different than they were when they were little. I feel like I’ve joined a debating society. Everything is questioned and reasoned and has to be completely understood before embarking on anything. Clothes are changed over and over until the right outfit is found; by the time they leave for school, it looks like they’ve teleported out and left their shoes and clothes behind!

Now I get to buy deodorant and teen bras and Star Wars Lego. There are no more Barbies in the house; instead there’s a skateboard, bicycle helmets, and lip gloss. Life needs to be explained from a more mature point of view, and explanations about what is Playboy and define girlfriend and no, you may not dye your hair purple.

They’ve also become more responsible and capable. They all have things they can cook and like learning new things all the time. The girls have their first job distributing newspapers in order to up their allowance. Less time is spent teaching them how to clean their rooms; more time is now invested in decorating and crafts. They all have their alarm clocks to wake them up in a time frame they feel they need to get ready for school.

It’s a different phase right now and I’m enjoying it as much as I’ve enjoyed every year so far. Things change all the time, and this seems to be a ‘switch’ time from childish to teenager for all of them. I’m enjoying the ride and still enjoy the fact that they do talk to me, I am still able to guide them as much as I can, and I pray every day that they’ll grow up to be responsible, happy adults.