Calm, Cool and Committed

Three Moms and a Dude

A Few Words on Advice

I’ve finally figured out the deal with advice, and I figured I’d fill you in on the secret… you know, as a little free advice from me to you.

Here’s the deal.

  1. When people give advice, they’re not really giving YOU advice, they’re giving themselves advice.  When they tell you that the only way to get a baby to sleep is by putting the kid in a sling facing left while bopping right, they’re really telling themselves how to get their kid to sleep.  When they tell you the best time to study is in the morning before breakfast, they’re talking about when the best time for them to study is.  They are NOT taking into consideration that you’re not a morning person, or that your baby is allergic to bopping.
  2. Be wary of the people who give the most advice.  They’re usually the worst at what they’re advising about.  That teacher who knows how to control kids’ behavior?  Her class operates an underground drug cartel during 5th period.  That mom who has the best secrets for toddler tantrums?  Her 17 year old is still throwing fits because he can’t get another juice box.
  3. The best way to seek advice is the internet.  That way you can see ALL KINDS of advice (from carrying your baby around by the scruff of his neck to bathing cats in saltwater and vinegar), choose the ones that sound best to you, and avoid the irritating looks that come with in-person advice.
  4. Good advice is usually in the form of solicited advice.  In general, you should just throw out advice that you haven’t asked for.  When your baby is crying and someone says, “Oh, it’s reflux!” act like you didn’t hear them.  However, if you say, “My baby cries every time I set him down in the crib but has no problem in the car seat.  What do you think the problem is?” listen to the person who says, “Have you tried putting the mattress on an incline?  It sounds like reflux.”
  5. When you ask for advice, don’t half-heartedly try it and then complain it doesn’t work.  A few years ago a teacher asked me for advice on a problem he was having.  I observed the problem and immediately saw a way to fix it.  He took ¼ of my advice for about 2 minutes and then went around complaining, “I even tried what she said, and it didn’t work.”  Uh, no, you didn’t try what I said.
  6. Just because someone once asked you for advice doesn’t mean they were asking for the 5-year discount plan.  If I asked you which brand of potato chips to buy in 1995, it doesn’t mean I’m interested in your current thoughts on why I should switch out my Tampax Pearls for OB applicator-free ones (do they still make those?!).

And one final word of advice –

I always pass on good advice. It is the only thing to do with it. It is never of any use to oneself.
Oscar Wilde

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Islands

John Donne once wrote, “No man is an island entire of itself,” but when you’re in the hospital, it sure feels like it.

For those of you who don’t know, Bud is in the hospital right now, because that’s what happens when little guys have reactive airway disease and a virus gets in their respiratory system.

We’ve been here since Wednesday evening.  The three of us are situated in our own little room.  Everything we need is here — toilet, single-rider pull-out chair, crib, iPad.  Food and drink are brought to us and taken away from us.  We never have to leave.  We’re on our own little island.   No one else exists until they enter our door.  When they leave, they cease to be.

Yesterday I was standing near the door, and I heard someone outside say, “We’ll bring up the wheelchair.”  That’s when I  realized the island was just a facade. An illusion.  Somewhere, out beyond Door 5, are other kids.  Other parents.

The last time the three of us were in the hospital, it felt like we were on an island, too.  People just popped in with IVs full of wonderful labor-pain-numbing medicine.  Outside of my labor, and my TV, and my wondering when the dang baby was going to come, nothing else was.  Until we were rushed in the operating room.

Laying there, feeling nothing from the neck down, freaking out over whether Bud was okay, I remember hearing someone say, “The woman in Room 9 is waiting on her epidural.”  The anesthesiologist was with ME.  He was going to be with ME for probably another 30 or so minutes.  I thought, “Oh, man, that woman is probably suffering and cursing the anesthesiologist who is taking his good, old time.”  She lived on her own island, too.  Alone in her pain and her baby and her delivery.  Not knowing — or caring — that in the operating room down the hall a woman was giving verbal consent to an emergency C-section.

What creates these islands?  Is it selfishness or self-preservation?  I’m sure that 10 feet away from where I sit typing this is a kid who’s much, much worse than Bud.  He’s with a mom and dad who are much, much more sleep deprived than Hubby and me.

This morning, as the sun rose over IV drips and teddy bears, I thought about them for a moment.  But then I came back to my island.  That’s where I’ll be the rest of the day.

Sunrise and Teddy

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Two Ways to Ticking Me Off

The Great Universal Media Irkmaster must have pulled my name out of the lottery today.  In my inbox, I found not one (thanks Mea) but TWO (thanks ReallyCrankyDad) really, really, really, REALLY irritating news articles.

I’d like to use this space to rant about them.  I’ll try not to go on too long.  Really, I’ll try.

I'm so angry I could screeeaaammmmmmm!

I’m so angry I could screeeaaammmmm!

Irritating News Story #1

By now you’ve probably heard about the New York Post’s story on rich New Yorkers hiring disabled people to accompany them to Disney World so they can cut lines.  Today a local blogger posted a story about her thoughts on the situation.  The story featured this gem —

“But the upside is the people with special needs who pimp themselves out for these wealthy families are earning an income that they could really probably use that they otherwise wouldn’t earn. They are able to spend a day with other people having fun that they otherwise might not get to enjoy.”

You. Have got.  TO BE. KIDDING ME!

Hey, let’s use disabled people for no other reason than to save time in the lines and justify the absolute immorality of this unethical behavior by saying “Hey, those disabled people can finally earn themselves an honest livin’!”  (Please, not my sarcasm.)

Puh-lease.  This is ridiculous, insulting and despicable.

Oh, you know that single mom who lives down the road?  Well, she lost her job because her company was downsizing and her high school diploma and lack of transferable skills put her at the bottom of the totem pole.  She might as well go be a hooker.  It’s an honest living.  And maybe one of the Johns will be cute.

Irritating News Story #2

I usually don’t mind Pat Robertson, but he really ticked me off this time.  You see, he told a woman seeking advice about her philandering husband that she should think about the good things he does, like put food on the table.  To be fair, the woman was asking for advice on how to forgive her husband, and Robertson’s advice to think about why she married him and his good features is pretty reasonable.

But then Robertson continues.  He says “men have a tendency to wander” and that the world is FULL of temptations, and that it’s on HER shoulders to “make a home so wonderful that he doesn’t want to wander.”

Oh, boy.  Oh boy, oh boy,ohboy,ohboyohboyohboyohboyohboyohboyohboyohboy.

Basically what he’s saying is, “Hey, Mr. Husband, keep on cheating.  You have a doormat waiting at home for you.  She understands you’re assaulted by pornography, low-cut tops and strippers all the time.  If she doesn’t do her best to make the home inviting (cook all your meals; put on lipstick as soon as she wakes up; rub your stinky, fungus-riddled feet), you can’t blame yourself for straying.  Don’t worry, she’ll stick around and take the continual assault on her dignity.”

So what’s next, Interwebz?  What else do you got to tick me off?

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This is for all the dads who’ve lost a baby.

One of the ladies in my Molar pregnancy support group posted this for us, and I thought I’d share it with all of you.  XO for all the angel baby dads out there.  We know you’re grieving, too.

 

He Lost His Baby Too

It must be very difficult
To be a man in grief
Since ‘men dont cry’ and ‘men are strong’
No tears can bring relief

It must be very difficult
To stand up to the test
And field the calls and visitors
So she can get some rest

They always ask if she’s alright
And what she’s going through
But seldom take his hand and ask
‘My friend, but how are you?’

He hears her crying in the night
And thinks his heart will break
He dries her tears and comforts her
But ‘stays strong’ for her sake

It must be very difficult
To start each day anew
And try to be so very brave—
He lost his baby, too.

By Jodie Brolese
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What Pees Might Come

People who don’t have overactive bladder have no idea what it’s like.  I’d like to educate them with this post.

The Jiggly Frenemy of OAB Sufferers Everywhere

The Jiggly Frenemy of OAB Sufferers Everywhere

A Night with Overactive Bladder

11:30 – You pee before going to bed.  You make sure to squeeze out every last drop.

11:30-11:41 – Check your phone for a few minutes.

11:42 – Realize it’s been 12 minutes since you peed, so you go pee again.  If you don’t, you’ll wake up in the middle of the night.

12:00 – You’re almost asleep when you feel a slight pressure on your bladder.  You try to ignore it.

12:02 – You’re still thinking about that pressure.  Surely you don’t have to pee; you just peed 20 minutes ago.  You don’t need to pee.  You don’t.  Think about something else.  It’ll go away.

12:05 – You just can’t stop thinking about needing to pee.  You need to stop thinking about it.  One of the steps to treating overactive bladder is through psychological reconditioning.  You know you need to train yourself not to go to the bathroom whenever you think about it.  You don’t need to pee.  You don’t.  Tell yourself.  You.  Don’t.  Need. To.  Pee.  It’s a false alarm.

12:10 – You should go pee.  If you don’t pee, you’ll wake up in the middle of the night needing to pee – or worse, you’ll have a pee dream.  You know, those dreams where you really, really have to pee, and you keep trying to pee, but you can’t.  Either you can’t find a bathroom or the bathroom is unusable.  It’s a terrible dream because it physically hurts and is panic-inducing.  Go to the bathroom.  Get up.  Go.  You don’t want to have one of those dreams.

12:11 – No.  You’re not going to pee.  You’re going to go to sleep and beat this nonsense.  Don’t let the bladder win!

12:15 – You ought to just get up to pee.  You’re going to get up eventually anyway.  The bladder always wins.  Now you’re just wasting time that could be spent sleeping because all you can think about is needing to pee.

12:17 – You’re so comfortable, though.  If you get up and pee, you’ll never be able to recreate the same awesome pillow positioning you have right now.  Ignore the pee!

12:25 – Son of a #$*@#!  You’re too wound up to sleep because you’re haunted by thoughts of having the pee dream.  You get up and go pee.

12:26 – It was only two tablespoons.  That wasn’t enough to have to get up to pee.  No.  No, two tablespoons is the difference between a 5AM wakeup and a 5:30 wake up.  It was good you peed.

12:30 – Why is this pillow so uncomfortable?!

??:?? – You really have to pee.  You push through the swinging bathroom doors.  The public restroom has oodles of toilets.  Use the first one.  Nope, you can’t.  There’s poop on the seat.  What about the next one?  Ugh.  It’s filthy – and there’s no toilet paper.  Okay, go down to the next open one.  Okay, good.  You go to lock the door.  No lock.  And a group of men just walked in.  There’s another one across the aisle.  This one doesn’t have a door.  But you really have to pee.  The men are walking around laughing.  You can’t pee in front of them.  Oh, man, pee pee pee, what are you going to do, pee pee pee, no good toilets PEE PEE PEE!

5:10 – It was a dream.  Your bladder is about to explode.  No, that’s not what it feels like.  It feels like there’s a 50 pound dumbbell sitting across your abdomen.  And someone’s pressing down on it.

5:11 – Run to the potty and pee.

5:14 – Still peeing.

5:17 – Return to bed.  Ahhh, the sweet relief of an empty bladder.  Now you can finally enjoy some sleep!

5:33 – Alarm.  Time to wake up.  &#($!

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These Little Arguments

Hubby and Me on Our 5 Year Anniversary

Hubby and Me on Our 5 Year Anniversary

My husband and I are pretty compatible. Some of my friends (ahem, Mea) might even say we’re boring because we’re so similar.  Don’t be fooled, people, Hubby and I get in arguments.  To prove that we’re not boring, here is a  small sampling of the arguments we’ve had over the past 6.5 years of marriage.

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Hubby: “Why are all these socks on the floor?  You’re never going to wear them again.”

Me: “Look at the pair I’m wearing right now.  These were on the floor this morning, and now I’m wearing them.”

Hubby: “You know, it’s the simple things like putting socks in the hamper that would make me happy.”

Me: “You mean simple like cleaning the crumbs off the counter?”

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Me: “Why do you always have to talk about serious stuff in the morning?”

Hubby: “I’m sorry that I wanted to talk to you about something that was on my mind.”

Me:  “No, you wanted to make me angry.  You know I don’t like to think in the morning.”

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Me: “I’m not a spendthrift like some other people’s wives.”

Hubby: “You just admitted that you spend a lot of money.”

Me: “No, I said I’m not a spendthrift.”

Hubby: “Yeah, you said you’re NOT thrifty.”

Me: “Spendthrift means you spend a lot of money.”

Hubby: “No it doesn’t. Hence the word thrift.”

Me: “Spendthrift means someone who spends a lot of money.”

Hubby: “How much do you want to bet?”

Me: “I don’t know.  Now you’re making me doubt that I know what that word means.”

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Hubby: “Why do you need another pair of black shoes?  You have three sitting in the study.”

Me: “Those are work shoes, and I need a pair of dress shoes for the wedding.”

Hubby: “You have five pairs of black shoes in the closet.”

Me: “Those are open-toed shoes and I need closed-toed ones because I have to wear tights and you can’t wear tights with open-toed shoes.”

Hubby: “You have two pairs of closed-toed shoes by the radiator.”

Me: “Those are old.”

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Hubby: “These pants have a tear in the pocket, I’m going to throw them away.”

Me: “Don’t throw them away, I can sew them back up.”

Hubby:  “You’ll never sew them.”

Me: “Yes, I will.  Besides, you still have your jumbotron khakis and your 1990 cargo pants.  Why would you throw away these nice, new dress pants?”

11.5 months later…

Hubby: “Are these the pants that have the tear in the pocket?  I’m going to pitch them.”

Me: “Don’t pitch them, we can patch them up.”

Hubby: “That’s what you said months ago and they’re still ripped.”

Me: “That’s because you didn’t remind me.”

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This post will be much better if you read it with THIS playing in the background.

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The Five Compatibilities for a Happy Marriage

Several years ago (pre-hubby), I had a brilliant revelation. I came up with the five things every couple needs to be compatible over to have a successful, happy marriage. Tonight, in a discussion with friends, I mentioned these Compatibilities. I’ve never publicly stated them before, and it’s well past time. So here goes!

Intelligence

If two people aren’t on the same intellectual plane, difficulties will ensue for a variety of reasons. One partner will feel inferior. One will feel superior. One might get bored. One might not be able to keep up. One might feel like the other can’t fit in with their peer group. Discussions will be difficult. Decisions might be difficult.

Sleep Schedule

Go ahead and laugh. But it’s true. If you like to sleep in late and enjoy naps, it will be hard meshing with someone who thrives on 5 hours of sleep and waking up at the crack of dawn. I think the only problem my freshman roommate and I had in getting along was sleep schedule. I wanted to stroll in late while she was sleeping; she wanted to have friends over while I was napping. We all value our sleep/wake hours, and a partner whose own preferences don’t jive might be seen as disrespectful.

Finances

This one might be the most predictable. A spendthrift and a spendaholic just don’t mix. It doesn’t’ matter if you and your spouse have joint accounts or separate, as a married couple your finances WILL intertwine. If a couple is saving up for a new home and one drops $500 on a pair of shoes while the other gave up their text messaging plan, it’ll cause friction.

Politics/Religion

I lumped these two together because they usually go hand and hand. People don’t need to be the same religion or follow the same political dogma per se. Rather they need to hold religion/politics in the same regard. If one person doesn’t care about politics, an activist-minded spouse is not a good fit. Imagine this – you really, really care about marriage equality. You think everyone, no matter gender, should be allowed the right to marry. You want all your friends to support the cause. How ticked are you going to be if your spouse responds to your fervor with this word – “Meh.”

Sexuality

Notice that I said sexuality, not just sex. I think this might be the silent marriage killer. Someone might not mind saying, “Hey, it bothers me that you spend half your paycheck on books,” but they probably aren’t as free saying, “I wish you would change up the position every now and then” or “I wish you’d stop watching online porn.” Sexuality is taboo, so it gets hidden in even some of the most open relationships. And things like this breed contempt. “He’s not meeting my needs.” “She’s too demanding.” You get my point.

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Why Won’t You Get Divorced?

There’s a five to seven year window after college when a girl’s life is filled with weddings. Whole summers are spent hopping from beach to mountain to lake, catching bouquets and walking down aisles.

That window closes for a year or two, and then another one opens. That window is filled with unhappy marriages.

I’m old enough now that my summers aren’t spent shopping for crystal pitchers that will be stored in attics with dusty Christmas decorations. And while a few baby showers have taken the place of bridal ones, not every marriage is turning up baby bonnets and roses.

More than a few of my friends are in relationships where one or both parties isn’t happy. Even though one or two of those couples have divorced, the majority stay married. Which leaves one question: Why?

I’m going to posit an answer to the why question. I believe one of the main reasons people stay in unhappy marriages is because they don’t want to be alone. They’re worried that they’re going to be a divorcee (possibly with kids) who can’t find another relationship. It was hard enough being single and 22. How much harder is divorced at 30+?

I’m not saying this from a high horse. I remember a previous relationship that had me disliking and distrusting my partner. For a while I thought he could change, but when I realized that might never happen, I told my family, “I think I’m going to break up with Stewbie.” And then I stayed with him for seven more months until he broke up with me?

Why did I stay with him?  Because I was now out of college, my dating pool had drastically been cut, I had invested a long time in him, I didn’t want to go to weddings stag…  You might see those reasons as silly or stupid or lacking self-esteem, but in my head they were big, very big reasons.  I was scared that if this relationship didn’t work out, no relationship would come along in its place.

Fear.

Just like I know what it’s like to be afraid of what the end of a relationship means, I also know that it is better to be single than to be unhappy.  And I know that the only thing preventing you from finding a better relationship is the bad one you’re in.

So why won’t you get divorced?

Divorce

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Anti-Abortion Ultrasounds — Let Them See

I’m liberal, and I support the Republican ultra sound bills.

If you’re unfamiliar with these bills, here’s a brief summation – some Republicans want to require women to have transvaginal ultrasounds before they’re allowed to have an abortion.

A transvaginal ultrasound is an ultra sound where a little wand goes into a woman’s hooha.  These kinds of ultrasounds are used in the early stages of pregnancy since they’re better at examining the fetus than transabdominal ones.

Many groups are outraged at these proposed bills.  They say they’re the equivalent of state-sanctioned rape.  Opponents of these bills say they are intended to humiliate women.

But I disagree.  Here’s why.

  1. If you’re going to have an abortion, you’re going to have something inserted in your hooha anyway.  Something even more invasive than that ultrasound wand.
  2. If you had a tumor in your vagina, doctors would perform ultrasounds to check out the tumor.  If a fetus is like a tumor to be removed, it only makes sense that the tumor be examined first.  (Which is actually a good idea as not all pregnancies are normal pregnancies – take, for example, molar ones).  People do not shriek in outrage when biopsies are performed.
  3. If you want to have an abortion and seeing the fetus or hearing the heartbeat makes you uncomfortable, maybe that should tell you something.  If it does not, then what does it matter to you if this is one step you have to go through before terminating the pregnancy?
Bud at 24 weeks, via transabdominal ultrasound

Bud at 24 weeks, via transabdominal ultrasound

Bud at 8 weeks, via transvaginal ultrasound

Bud at 8 weeks, via transvaginal ultrasound

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Giggly Girls and the Glass Ceiling

Hmph

Hmph

I need your help with this one.  I’m not sure I’m thinking about it the right way.

Recently I made a comment to Mea that one of our acquaintances really bothered me because – in a work setting – she’ll act like a 16 year old girl.

You know what I mean by that.  She’ll giggle uncontrollably, she’ll act helpless about little things like using a laptop, she’ll hop (yes, hop) and clap in excitement, she’ll beg for validation about inconsequential things.  At any moment, I expect her to flip her hair off her shoulders, start chipping at the paint on her nails and proclaim, “But I looooooooooove him!  Like totally looooooove him!”

When I was 16, I was like this.  Heck, my college friends would probably say I was like this at 22.  However, it really bothers me in a 40-ish adult businesswoman.

Why?  I think it belittles our gender.  “Oh, hehe, *giggle, giggle* look out how pretty my handouts are!”  Like seriously?  We expect men to take us seriously when we cackle over PowerPoint colors while wearing too-tight pants and showing cleavage?

I should probably take the position that women can act however they want to act.  But I can’t.  Even though we’re making major advancements toward equality – like being allowed to fight on the front lines – this girly girl act rankles me.  When we act like this, we’re inviting men to think we’re stupid and not as good as them.  When’s the last time you saw a man hop up and down because he figured out how to use a laser pointer?  Or grab a coworker’s hair and fluff it in the middle of a conference room?

Are we, as women, partly to blame for the glass ceiling?  Should we put away our 16 year old selves so we can be taken seriously?  Tell me what you think.

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