Wednesday, April 23, 2014


Happy Easter!
The Boy is having an existential crisis, I think. We are Presbyterians. One day as we pulled up to church he asked why there was a cloth hanging on the cross. Actually, I think he said "what's dat purple fing up der?" I told him that cloth means that we're getting ready for Easter. He was fine with that, and I assumed he'd forgotten about it.

Then two weeks ago he noticed it again. He asked me, very seriously, if that was the Easter bunny's pants up there. Well, no. I told him. What is it, then? He asked. Hmmm. We went to find our children's minister Mrs. Soup (aka Mrs. Sue) and she explained to him very simply that the cloth is like what Jesus wore and helps us remember Jesus and that he loves us. Why didn't I think of that?  In his defense, it would explain the mystery of why the Easter bunny never has on pants. They're on the cross. So that's solved.

The Boy wanted to go to "the big class" aka worship on Easter Sunday because he wanted to hear the horns. We let him come for the first part and then sent him to his class to play. Our church also does this really cool thing on Easter where all the windows are covered with black fabric, and then the fabric is ceremoniously and symbolically removed during the first part of worship. The Boy asked why they were taking the curtains down, and I told him the only thing I could think of at the moment, that they were letting the light in, just like we let Jesus into our hearts.

 I wasn't comfortable telling my kid that Jesus died, or that he came back to life and that's what Easter is all about. All he knows about death relates to mama squishing a bug, and frankly, I think that's confusing and morbid to associate with Jesus right now. Hell, we're secretly on his third pet beta fish "Scoot" because death is complicated.  

On the way home he asked if our hearts have doors for Jesus to get in. The Husband told him yes. We are obviously not doing a great job of explaining things. 

So yesterday on the way to school, I was talking to The Boy about not picking his nose because there are lots of germs in his body. His only response was "just like Jesus!" Well, yes. And no? I don't even know how to explain that. 

THEN he told me that "Jesus doesn't live in my friends' hearts because they don't go to church." I nearly hit the brakes in the car. I don't know where he got that idea, but it's something I have a real problem with theologically. Have I failed him so far spiritually? I tried hard to stay casual, and I told him that Jesus can live in anyone's heart, and they don't have to go to our church or any church. 

Easter pic

Suddenly I felt a lot of pressure to get this right. I mean, we're in charge of nearly everything he learns right now, everything he thinks about life and self and family and church and Jesus and love come from us. And he's curious, which means he might actually be listening when we answer. What I want him to know is that Jesus loves us, and that we need to love others. Everyone. Period. That's what I'm sure of, but there's a lot I'm not sure of too. What if he asks questions we don't know the answers to? We're already not winning at the basics. Plus, this whole Jesus thing doesn't make a lot of sense. How am I supposed to explain to a two year old that we worship one God, who is also three persons, one of which came to earth, then died, then came back to life, then went to Heaven and now lives in your heart and wants you to love others?

And what about others that think differently than we do? And what about giving him the chance to decide what he thinks for himself? And what about one day when he won't care what we say or think and will make up his own decisions anyway? I was starting to have my own existential crisis. 

In case you haven't noticed, I need to process things a lot. So I texted my friend Jill who just happens to be a minister, and happens to think my kid is cool. She lets him come to her house and pour out all the Legos and pretend to be Harry Potter and do all the things kids love to do. I told her all the things that The Boy had said. I told her I felt like I needed to know all the things about all the things so that I would know how to answer The Boy's questions. This is what she said. 

And there it is. 

And I'm sweetly schooled. Yes. Obviously, obviously it's about being okay with not knowing all the things about all the things, and just trusting. And for now, that means that my kid thinks the Easter bunny's pants are on the cross, and that Jesus is a tiny germ that lives in your heart, which has a door. And for now Easter means hunting eggs and dressing like one fourth of a barbershop quartet. To him, it makes as much sense as the real story and the real reasons. And even if these things don't completely make sense, he's trusting. And asking. 
Which might be more than I can say for myself some days. 
So let's hope he learns a little more along the way, and so do I. 

Thursday, April 10, 2014

A Hearing Problem

I have a little bit of a hearing problem. It's not that I can't hear. It's more that I hear too much. Or too often. Or things that I'm not supposed to hear. The Husband calls it eavesdropping, which IT IS NOT, because I do not do it on purpose, mostly. But sometimes I am overwhelmed with hearing things that other people are saying and I cannot stop. I mean I guess technically I CAN stop if I try really hard, but well, that's hard.

So the other day I took The Boy to school and walked to the coffee shop to do some work on my computer. This is what I love about Athens: there is a coffee shop within walking distance, the kind of place where you can get some work done and do some people watching and see townies and stay at home moms and band guys all mingling in the same space. And the baristas are the perfect mix of charming and uninterested in you, and they talk to each other and tell jokes and stories, which I accidentally overhear.
-"My great-grandfather's name was Scrappy Harrison, and he was a train conductor. Isn't that the best name for a train conductor?"
-"No. That's the best name for ANYTHING."

I smiled to myself, got my chai and sat down to do some work. Boring insurance billing and invoicing and returning emails. I'm chai sipping and email returning, minding my own business when these two guys came in and sat at a table very close to me. Note: there were other tables available that could've given them some more privacy and they chose to sit close to me.

So the one guy looks like he worked very hard to look like he just got out of bed. He has on a Kurt Cobain inspired flannel shirt, opened, on top of a concert t-shirt. He has on jeans and boots. The other guy looks like Steven Tyler, and his hair is shorter but jealousy-inspiring. We made eye contact, did a polite, tight-lipped smile to acknowledge their presence, and I went back to my work.

A few minutes later their words started flooding me, even as I tried to work.
Something was happening.
A breakup.
I wouldn't have pegged them for a couple, but who knows.

Really esoteric. A lot of it is personal pressure.......A mistrust is a problem..... 

I remember one practice with Eric's group......that was real. 

Ah, maybe it was a band breaking up? That would be SO Athens. I am potentially overhearing history here. 

Even if we don't do that, I just want to do something. 
.....Moving forward.....Situation.....Not the right time....I'm not living as I'm capable. Respect that space..... 

Okay, maybe it IS a breakup. Maybe they are dissolving the relationship AND the band they have. Man, I was trying so hard not to listen. I was trying to work. Work, work, work.

You ok?....Just thinking.....Making more room for pursuing other things..... I've been finding myself gradually weaning myself over the past couple weeks..... No, I know what you're saying. 

Whatever is happening, one is clearly the breaker and one is the breakee. The breaker is trying to be sensitive. What raw emotion. Please, whisper....don't make me hear this. I am embarrassed for the breakee that I've heard his heartbreak and I simultaneously want to give him a hug. I want to tell him there are plenty of fish- and bands- in the sea.

I realized.... I'm bound.... Let me finish.... I've hit a roof.... Distance.... The longer I stay.... I could feel his negativity.... Not to get away. To develop. Put these childish things aside. 

Oh no. Now I've heard too much. If I get up they'll know I heard and it was awkward. If I stay, it's awkward. I'm inside their breakup. Oh, the throws of love! The emotion. The passion. The deep and vulnerable esoteric musings about life.

I'm not very well liked by the staff.....No, I understand....the kitchen...It would be hard to stay there.....

WHA? I just overheard a guy quitting his cooking job? With passion and emotion and sensitivity and vulnerability. Oh bless us all. I huff a sigh of relief. I am not in their breakup after all, mostly. And that's another thing I love about this city. People care about stuff. I don't know where they work(ed), but the next time I'm eating downtown I'm going to take a moment to reflect and wonder if as much passion went into my meal as went into conversations about kitchen staff changes....while I try not to overhear what the table next to me is saying. 

Friday, March 28, 2014

FAQs of this pregnancy

-When are you due? 
August. We're halfway there. Woohoo!

-Do you know if it's a boy or a girl?
Yes. The Boy will tell you here:


Part of me was hoping for a girl JUST so their blog names could be The Boy and The Girl. Iknowright? But alas, the little lass is healthy and we are all happy. 

-Have you been feeling okay?
Not really. I've been ultra nauseous this go 'round. I've puked at our new house, at nanny's house, at my niece's 5th birthday party, in a plastic bag in the car, at family Christmas, in the shower, in a church parking lot at a Christmas cantata, and once, with no warning, all over myself as I was driving down the road. One day I realized I was vomitting in the toilet with a Buzz Lightyear in my hand. I'm happy to say I think I'm getting past the  all day  morning sickness and nausea.

The Boy likes to stand outside the bathroom and narrate my vomitting. "Mama! You said 'blarg'......'blech'.....'gurg'" Then the Husband intervenes and says "mama doesn't feel very well. Let's leave her alone for a few minutes." This week The Boy came eagerly in the bathroom and said "I need to spit out a yucky." Then he fake spit and sputtered in the toilet, grinning, and turned to me and said "mama, can you weave me awone?" Gladly. 

-What does The Boy think?
He's excited. He's a little disappointed that the baby doesn't have a tail. He pats my belly and says "hey baby!", and one day looked into my belly button and said he saw a foot. He spontaneously talks about things he'll help the baby do, like play the guitar and walk down the stairs. He doesn't realize the two are related, but he's also excited that he's now allowed to drink "spicy water" aka Sprite, and eat pita chips for breakfast. In my bed. I don't think he knows how his life is going to change... Since the first day we told him he has consistently announced that the baby shall be named BeYoYo.

Me: Well, BeYoYo is a good nickname but me and daddy haven't decided yet what his name will be.
The Boy: But I already decided. BeYoYo.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Pity, Party of One

Warning: graphic pictures of hives ahead. 

We have been sick. Like, sick sick. In August I had mono, which pretty much wiped me out for about 3 months. Then the flu over Thanksgiving. The Boy was on two steroids between Christmas and the end of the year for croup. Then I developed a bad sinus infection, and what I thought was pink eye. Turns out I just had so much mucus in my body it was draining out of my eye. And that infection, along with the flu and mono, left me with a weakened immune system. I got a nasty ulcer in my mouth that made my whole jaw sore and heavy. All the mucus made me nauseous, and when I went to spit it out, my jaw throbbed from bending over. Plus, you know from yesterday's post that I'm pregnant, and I had super pregnancy nausea and was hurling or on the verge of hurling at all times. The Boy said "mama, in de bafroom you say '(insert gagging noises/laughter here)'".

So all of that was starting to clear up, thanks to steroids, nausea meds and an antibiotic, when I started itching. One Sunday night two months ago I got itchy for no reason. We went to see my grandmother, we ran errands, I went to church. Then when we got home my itchiness increased. The Boy was in bed and The Husband was cooking dinner. I started to get a rash on my arm. Then my leg. Then The Husband said "let me see your face. You've got them on your face!" I thought he was kidding. He was not.

It was hives. For the first time in my life I was breaking out in hives, having a reaction to some unknown allergen. Apparently you can develop new allergies when you're pregnant. I started to fix myself an oatmeal bath, and they were popping up so fast I was watching them appear. I looked like a medical textbook, and I was part freaked out and part fascinated. I'd not eaten anything different, not changed detergent or used a new soap. Hives appeared on my arms, my inner legs, my stomach and torso, my neck and face; and boy, were they itchy. I dare you not to feel itchy just looking at them. 

Even my eyes had hives. My skin was writhing, and the oatmeal bath was not helping. I called my midwife at 9:30 on a Sunday night, who told me to take Benadryl and go to bed. Why didn't I think of that? We prepped the spare bedroom just in case we had to go to the ER and call someone to sleep at our house. 

Eye Hives: AKA, I'm An Avatar

The next morning they were a little better, but still covering much of my legs. They'd morphed into one giant hive on my stomach. I went in to the midwife. It's never a good thing when you show your midwife something and her reaction is to gasp. She was unsure what "environmental allergen" had caused it, but prescribed me some predisone to help clear it up. She told me to take more Benadryl and go to bed, and to use some OTC cream.

Over the next two days the hives improved. On Wednesday morning I woke up writhing and covered again. Even my eyes were swollen and red.  I hadn't been exposed to anything new. So bizarre. I went back to the doctor, and got a higher dose of prednisone, a prescription cream, a prescription for itching meds, and a recommendation to take Zantac (yes, Zantac) and Claritin.

Over the next week they cleared up and I haven't had any new outbreaks. I've been to the allergist, who said "huh. You've got hives. We may never know why..." He wouldn't do a scratch test because I'm pregnant. Thanks. Since then we have been back to the doctor with another case of croup, which the petri-dish of a kid passed on to me. Last weekend we moved into our new house while The Boy had a temperature of 103. Where'd we pack the meds? 

While The Boy bounced back quickly, I'm now on day 12 of this snotty-coughing-sore throat virus. The Husband has single handedly moved every thing in the house on his own (including new appliances and a new hot water heater) while The Boy and I lie around watching cartoons. I feel like I have been useless since August. Or at least November. 

On second thought, what have I got to complain about? Maybe it was all worth putting my feet up during the move. And the packing. And the working. And the construction. And the Holidays. Can you say free pass? Cough, cough......

Here's hoping we're on the mend!