Misadventures of a 20-Something Mom: October 2012   

Monday, October 29, 2012

The Parental Bullsh*t Translator

There is a lot of bullsh*t muddling the facebook statuses and conversations between parents these days. Sometime its so thick that its hard to even catch the real meaning behind another parent's words. While I am totally guilty of a lot of these, and so are some of my closest friends, I am here to help you maneuver through the B.S. and realize what that seemingly cheery P.T.A. biotch actually just said.

1. "Little Suzie's 15 month check up went really well. Doctor was sooo impressed with how many words she already knows and how fast she is growing."

Translation: Your kid will be scrubbing my kid's toilet some day.
2.  "I'm sorry I havent gotten back to you sooner. We've just been soo busy!"
Translation: I actually make it out of my pajamas each day. You should try it! Also, I don't like  you enough to waste my  precious "me-time" calling you.
3. "I'd love you to come to my housewarming party next week!"
Translation: Let's be real. We both know your big weekend "plans" would have consisted ospooning with a box of moscato while watching Shark Tank. Plus, I want you to come fawn over how much cooler and more spacious my house is, than that shoebox you live in.
4. "Sorry we won't be able to make it, little Johnny came down with _______(croupe, hand,foot,
     and mouth, the Black Plague, etc). We really wanted to come too."
Translation: B*tch Please! Even if Johnny was sick, if we wanted to come we would be there. I'd just feed you some line about how teething makes babies shoot snot like a fire hydrant and/or projectile vomit. Little Johnny is totally fine, I just don't want to take off my pajamas today.
5. "Oh, you're throwing your Halloween party on the same WEEKDAY at the same EXACT time
    as me? I guess Great minds think alike!"
Translation: You mfing TWATWAFFLE! I have been planning this party for months and you know it! I hope you choke on one of your awesome, Halloween themed Pinterest Recipes. God, I'd like to punch you in the taint!
6. "I heard that you're using Shannon as a babysitter now too! How awesome is she, right?"
Translation: You have crossed a line that can never be uncrossed. Go after MY babysitter!!?Have you lost your G.D. mind? We never get to go out as it is. So help me God...if I call Shannon to come watch the baby for a date night and she is busy at your house, I will find you and I will cut you.


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Art of Parenting Together...WITHOUT any Casualties

I am an only child. In short, this means that I have a long history of being terrible at sharing. I never had to duke it out with a sibling over a my little pony, or work tirelessly to try and remain the parental favorite. I was, by default, the favorite.

I never realized that this background in crappy sharing ability and perpetual favoritism would have an affect on my own parenting ability, and yet it has.

My husband and I are both new at this parenting gig, but from the beginning I have always felt like I know best. Biologically speaking, there may be a tad bit of truth to that. I did grow our baby in my womb and all, nourish him at my breast, but I digress. For the sake of parenting together, as a team, my "mother knows better than father" philosophy is a shitty one to adopt.

When the baby was first born, I wouldn't even let my husband take him into another aisle at the supermarket. I would literally pummel him for suggesting it. Who was HE to run off with the baby? The baby might cry, or get hungry, soil himself, or simply realize he was in the inept hands of his father and fear for his life.

As time progressed, this led to my husband feeling alienated and disempowered. He wanted to help, I was exhausted and wanted his help, but months of shouldering the parenting duties by myself meant that he didn't know what to do. Every once in awhile, he would insist on helping and the baby would cry frantically until I came and "rescued" him. As much as I loved my husband, he clearly didn't have the chops. Every instance in which the baby cried in his care, reaffirmed my notion that he could not be an effective...or even a sub par parent. The baby obviously needed me, and could not be entrusted to his dad's care.

I'm not sure if I ever had a dramatic epiphany moment, or if the realization of what I was doing creeped in slowly over time. But at some point, it hit me.
By taking away his opportunities for "hands-on" learning, I had essentially crippled my husband as a father.

My husband needed the experience! By running in to "rescue" the two of them, every time the baby cried, I had deprived them both of the opportunity to learn. To understand one another.To improvise.
Once I started letting go of the reigns a little more, my husband began to navigate the crazy world of parenting with ease. My son became much more attached to his father, and I was even able to sneak away for the occasional bit of "me-time". Basically, everyone benefited from it.

Fourteen months later, my husband can now take the baby out for hours, without any much trepidation on my part. I have stopped trying to mold him into my idea of the "perfect parent;" with the realization that he already is.

His parenting formula is certainly a bit different from mine, but he is still the perfect dad for our child. Dressing the baby means a lot of stripes matched with plaid, and feeding him means more bites of cookies and ice cream than I would ever allow. Play-time entails throwing the baby in the air or wrestling him on the ground. Both of which make my stomach catch in my throat as I watch, but cause our son to erupt in giggles and exude pure, unadulterated  joy.

We parent differently because we are different. Neither way of parenting is superior, and both add value to and compliment our child. We have no parenting manual, and as this is our "starter" baby, we are figuring things out as we go. For now, we trudge on, navigating our way through the crazy, murky waters of parenthood. But this time, we are hand-in hand, against the world.

Monday, October 1, 2012

The Tale of Two Boobies

Ok, I am no Charles Dickens but I promise this post is more than just a snazzy title.

This titillating tale began back in September of 2011. When a doctor sat me down and told me,

"We're worried it might be cancer."

I didn't answer right away. What was there to say? This wasn't candid camera, some sick joke, or even a bad dream. This was my new reality. A life where I might have breast cancer. In an instant I was bombarded with horrific mental images of hospitals, chemotherapy treatments, and even tombstones. I was petrified.

My eyes misted over. I felt the weight of everyone's gaze upon me but I wasn't ready to address the elephant in the room. Instead, I found myself looking down, losing myself in the blue/grey abyss that I knew as my baby's eyes.

The squirming bundle in my arms was blissfully oblivious. My son was only a few weeks old at the time, practically brand new, and here I was contemplating a life for him,without a mommy. It didn't seem fair. As if the emotional roller coaster of new motherhood wasn't difficult enough, I now had to contend with this. I didn't feel strong enough.

After 24 years, I had finally found my calling in life. My joy. My passion. My son.
And it was all crumbling out from under me. I was drowning. Encumbered by the many questions in my head, I could barely catch my breath.  Why me? Why our family?

Had I been too happy? Perhaps not grateful enough?

I prayed silently. Fervently. God, don't take me away from my little boy.

Whether unsympathetic or unaware, the doctor droned on about the medical protocol, while I bargained with my God. She told me that we would start with a core punch needle biopsy and "go from there."

While the gravity of the situation was apparent to me, I still found myself preoccupied with the baby's well being. I only caught snippets of what the doctor was saying, and they put me in a panic. "....and I'd suggest that you discontinue breastfeeding immediately."
Discontinue? But, how will I feed him? How can he nurse?
We had overcome so many obstacles in learning to breastfeed. Now it all seemed for naught.

The following day, we proceeded with the needle biopsy. The four day wait that preceded the results was agonizing. I was weepy and irritable. My nerves were frayed from living in a perpetual state of fear and I found myself lashing out at the ones I loved most

The results were cautiously optimistic. The Pathology report suggested a non-malignant, lactating fibroadenoma. A tumor, but one that didn't necessitate removal, or treatments, or time away from my son. We were thrilled. As a precautionary measure, the doctor insisted that I have the lump ultrasounded every 6 months.

I had long since cast away my fears related to the incident, but I followed through with doctor's orders anyway, and had additional imaging done half a year later. A few weeks passed and I eventually received a certified letter from the imaging center. They "strongly suggested that I follow-up with my physician as abnormalities had been noted in the films." As if no time had passed, I plummeted down the rabbit-hole again. The all too familiar sense of foreboding enveloped me and the haunting images came flooding back.

My once squirming bundle was now a mischievous and adventurous, 7.5 month old ball of wonderment and giggles. The thought of being separated from him, temporarily or indefinitely, hit even harder than it had the first time. I was tired of being terrorized by a clump of cells.

Instead of repeating the needle biopsy procedure, to check for malignancy, we opted for a complete excision of the lump. I found a new surgeon. This doctor was willing to perform the operation while I was still lactating. About three weeks ago, I finally had the tumor removed.

My son is now 14 months old, and I am happy to say, that this mommy is cancer-free. The lump ended up being benign, but that certainly doesn't take away from the roller coaster of emotions this family endured over the past year.

I now have a lifetime of "firsts" to look forward to. His first words, his first steps, his first day of school, and his first love. God willing, I'll be here; happy, and healthy, and HERE. For every single one.
**October is Breast Cancer Awareness month**
 I cannot stress enough how important early detection is in ensuring optimal outcomes. Please, Please, Please perform self-breast exams every month, and do not put off seeing a doctor if you find anything concerning!