Friday, March 23, 2012

Judgy Playground Moms Can Lick My Scrotum. Yes. Scrotum.

My parenting was judged by a complete stranger.

I know. You've all been there too. No pity party for Jaclyn today. Let me start with what happened earlier in the week:

Rodolfo and I needed a new mattress. We've been putting it off... oh, let's say 3 years, and so when we saw Sears was having a sale, we decided to finally suck it up and spend the money so we could stop waking up with backaches every morning.

We were in the store, setting up delivery for our new bed when Caitlyn just full-on melted down. I've said it before, she has her asshole moments, but nothing like this. This wasn't a minute or two of whining over a toy or because I wouldn't let her ride the escalator for the 10th time or because I made her wear shoes; this was a full-blown, middle of a store where we were in the middle of a large transaction and therefore javascript:void(0)could not just walk out, hissy fit.

The funniest part is that there was no real catalyst for it. I think she may be getting another set of molars, because she hasn't been eating or sleeping much, so I can only attribute it to that. She simply decided after 20 minutes or so of wandering around, riding the escalator and carrying around the Dora purse I was planning to buy her, that she was done with Sears. DONE. She melted first into sobs, then angry, irrational rage when I tried to pick her up off the floor (because obviously you don't stand up for a meltdown. You must be face down on the floor).

I tried, you guys. I tried to calm her down, to distract her. I went so far as to try to get her to jump on the beds because she loves to do that at home. No. A resounding and resentful no (followed by another dramatic, face-down flop onto the ground). When she reached for the last trick in her bag, full-blown screaming, I told Rodolfo I'd wait for him in the mall. At least then people would only be passing by as they gave me dirty looks.

To my utter relief, as I walked out of Sears, I noticed the mall had installed one of those indoor, toddler playgrounds right at the Sears entrance. Yes. I could sit, she could play and shut the fuck up and stop screaming in my face. Except, of course, it didn't quite go down like that.

Caitlyn was still mad. I coaxed her onto the slide once, and then she gave up. She collapsed onto the rug of the play area and sobbed for no reason in particular. And you know what? I let her. A few times I made the obligatory amount of effort by asking if she was ready to play yet. She scowled and answered NO each time. So I let her cry it out for the next 15 minutes or so.

You are probably thinking this is where the judgment happened, but actually the other moms and dads were fucking fantastic. This particular play area was very clearly intended for toddlers, so I'm sure they all felt my pain. And not a single one of them gave me the "control your asshole kid" glare that I was expecting. In fact, they joked around with me about Caitlyn's tantrum. Commiserated.

A funny thing happened after that. Caitlyn realized that I wasn't responding to her shitty attitude. It took a while, but eventually she picked herself up off the floor, ran over and gave me a hug. Then she started playing with another little girl until Rodolfo showed up. She started to melt down again when it was time to leave, which only got worse when we refused to reward her bad behavior and walked right past the carousel that she loves and rides every time we visit the mall. Still, I felt like I won that night.

In any case, it's kind of funny how that worked out. I was completely expecting judgment and dirty looks because my kid was flat-out acting like a dick, but I got nothing but sympathy. I guess I was feeling a certain solidarity with other moms this week because of it, so it definitely threw me off when I was told about the random stranger who judged me to my babysitter today at the park.

My babysitter has a 3 year old son and when she took our kids to the park, another mom asked her if they were both her children. She clarified that the boy was hers, but that she is Caitlyn's babysitter.

The other, random stranger mom who has never even met me, decided that I was a shitty mom right then and there. "Oh", she said "How sad. You have her all day?". Then she went on to ask if I "really have to work" and said that "people should plan if they want to have kids". Plan to marry a rich man, apparently.

My babysitter, being the fantastic badass that she is, responded with something along the lines of "you're right. Only rich people should be allowed to have kids, so they can stay home and let their nannies raise them". The woman went on to say that her husband doesn't let her work, to which my new hero very effectively ended the conversation by saying she had "to go to work. And besides, you probably have to go home and wash your husband's feet or something".

Have I mentioned how much I love this woman? She told me she thinks the woman was trying to pay her some sort of backwards compliment for being a stay-at-home mom, without having even a drop of actual information about her life and circumstances. Which led to a whole other conversation about the assumptions people make.

You see, my babysitter is biracial. It's something I immediately loved about her because our family is also biracial and so I knew there were certain things she would get about us right away. The conflicts of culture when raising a child by parents of different races can be really annoying. With Rodolfo and I in particular, we are both extremely stubborn. Extremely. So, while we usually do just fine sorting out the little stuff, when we have a major conflict of ideals about an aspect of child-rearing, neither of us is particularly inclined to fold.

Our babysitter gets this. She realizes that sometimes I'm going to tell her one thing and Rodolfo is going to tell her the complete opposite. She knows how to find the right balance, to respect both of our wishes and find a middle ground. Come to think of it, should we ever need the services of a marriage counselor, we might do well to ask her opinion first.

In any case, when we were talking about the fact that this random, judgy bitch at the park felt like she had some sort of solidarity with her because they were both at home with their children, it made me think of something else. White people.

I'm curious if it's just me. You see, it's happened to me on MANY occasions. It would seem that some of the other white people, the ones who don't particularly like blacks and Hispanics, seem to think we are on the same team in that respect (or lack thereof). They think they can whisper in my ear about "all the blacks" or how "no one in this store speaks English- they should go back to their country!", simply because we are both white.

My favorite response is always to mention the fact that English isn't my husband's first language, that some of his family members living in this country don't speak English at all (before you get all annoyed about that one, I'd like to point out that they live in a primarily Hispanic community and get along just fine without it. I suppose though, you could also react the way my dad does and point out that "we" are "catering to them" and that "the Italians had to learn English!". I know I've mentioned that he's an asshole. Let me just reiterate that now.) and that our daughter, despite appearing to be white, is both biracial and bilingual.

Does this happen to you other white people? Can we get the word out that not all of us (despite our frequent inappropriate jokes on our blog) are racist?

Anyway, that was all very off-topic. In any case, my babysitter is the fucking shit and defended me to some random, bitchy stranger and put her in her place. It's always frustrating to think someone is judging you because you have to go to work. I don't think it's quite the "mommy wars" situation it can get made out to be. I just think some people are assholes.

In any case, its nice to know the person watching my kid has my back, understands why I'm leaving my kid with her and respects that choice and expects anyone who thinks they are allowed to assert their opinion on it respects it too. If ever I questioned my choice to go back to work after Caitlyn was born, this made me sure I made the right choice. Because I'm not the only one teaching Caitlyn to be a super awesome badass who stands up for herself.

Monday, March 19, 2012

The Worst Day of My Life

Exactly 3 years ago today, I had the very worst day of my entire life. Tomorrow it will be 3 years since we said goodbye to Nicholas.

You would think tomorrow would have been the worst day, but it wasn't. 3 years ago tomorrow, I woke up in far too much pain from being in labor all night to really think about what was happening. And yes, having my son fall out of my body onto the floor was undoubtedly the worst moment of my life. But as much as it hurt, as hard as it was to say goodbye to him, I can't say it was the worst day. Because I got to hold him and kiss him and say goodbye. I got to see his face for the one and only time. And I'll never get the chance to do any of those things again.

So tomorrow will suck. It will be sad and quiet and I won't quite know what to do to feel like I've acknowledged it in the right way. But I'll remember his face too, and that makes it a little bit easier. Tomorrow is a mix of emotions. I never know what to call it. His birthday? That seems to imply cake and balloons and presents. Anniversary isn't right either. It still has a connotation of celebration to it, and that is not what I plan to do. I do not celebrate that day. And then there is the way I've seen a lot of people refer to it- angelversary. God, I fucking hate that so much too. So I don't know. I don't know what to call it or how to deal with it. I just know it makes me sad.

Today though. Three years ago today, I had an early appointment for my 24 week check-up. Rodolfo had worked late the night before and wasn't even going to come with me, but right at the last minute he threw on some clothes and decided to join me. I can't even imagine how I would have survived that appointment if he had just stayed home.

I remember being annoyed about my 20 week ultrasound. The tech was kind of a bitch and just as she started my much-anticipated ultrasound, she told me to be quiet and not ask any questions because she was very busy performing the detailed exam. She printed me some great pictures, but I never got to see the screen. I never got to see my little boy squirming around. So when I walked into my appointment that day 3 years ago, I remember hoping that Nicholas would be in an awkward position where they wouldn't be able to find his heartbeat with the doppler, so I could get another ultrasound. When his heartbeat wasn't found right away, I smiled a little to myself. Listening to his mother already.

My OB assured me that this wasn't anything to worry about. "I think I picked it up for a second, but let's do an ultrasound just to be sure everything is okay". She sent me back to the bitchy ultrasound tech and I waited in the room with the butterflies on the ceiling to see my baby boy again. I expected to immediately recognize the sound of my son's heartbeat, but it wasn't there. I held it together for a few minutes while the tech silently checked without so much as a word to us about what was happening. Finally, I asked what was going on. She said she needed to get the doctor.

This is when I started to panic. I started to cry and asked Rodolfo if he heard the implication in her tone. "Why didn't she say he was okay? I have to go get the doctor? She might as well have said "your baby is dead"." Rodolfo assured me that everything would be fine, but the tears would not stop rolling down my face. I had to be overreacting. It was something else, something they missed at my 20 week ultrasound. Maybe he had a birth defect. That would suck, but we would figure it out. We would love him no matter what. Then the doctor stepped in and the life I knew, the life I anticipated, the life I carried inside of me, it was all gone in a moment.

After giving us 10 or so minutes of privacy to sob and hyperventilate and call our families, my doctor came back in and told me I needed to calm down so she could explain what came next. Calm down? Really? My baby was dead. How the fuck was I supposed to calm down? Somehow, I managed to stifle my sobs for the next few minutes.

My first option was to have labor induced. No. That was my immediate reaction. I couldn't bear it. I was already terrified of labor, and without the prize at the end of it, I just didn't think I was strong enough to do it.

Option number two was a D&E. What the fuck a D&E even was, I had no idea. I just knew I would go to sleep and have surgery and no longer be pregnant when I woke up. It was not explained to me until after we had made that choice, after I was given medication to dilate my cervix, that a D&E meant I would never see my son. In fact, I don't know that it would have even come up at all, if it weren't for the fact that I was asking why this happened. "Well", my doctor explained "We can run some tests, but with the D&E there is only tissue to test, so we may not get a clear answer". Oh. So she was going to rip my baby out of me in pieces. Thanks for the heads-up, cunt.

Oh, and did I mention she called me fat during all of this? Yes, when I told her that I could not bear to labor with my stillborn son, she told me it might be my only option. She told me that because of my weight, there might not be enough... room?... in my cervix to do a D&E. Then she actually bothered to look at my cervix and remarked "oh, well that's not bad". Again, thanks, cunt.

At that point, layers of my cervix were stripped and medicated sponges were placed next to it. Then I left. I left the doctor's office and went home and sat on my couch and stared into space for several hours. I didn't cry. My mom showed up, visibly upset, offering hugs and comforting words but I barely registered them. I was numb. I was in denial. I was a few steps away from being catatonic.

Soon it was time to go to the hospital for pre-admission testing. This is when all the horror of the day shook loose again. I remember sobbing in the waiting room and while they drew my blood. I was suffocated by the realization that my baby was gone. Devastated.

I went back home and started to freak out. I had made the wrong choice. I realized it then. It pisses me off, looking back, to know how little information I was given. Because I spent hours researching cribs and swings and strollers, but did not give a moment's thought to what I wanted to do if my baby didn't make it. And I don't think anyone does.

Why didn't anyone give me more than just the most basic medical information? If I'd have known what a D&E actually was, I never would have chosen to have one. If I'd heard of Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep, I would have asked them to come take pictures of my son. If I'd have known that you can find funeral homes that will do cremations for free, maybe I wouldn't have spent months after Nicholas' death imagining his remains ending up in a dumpster full of medical waste. I can't tell you how many nights I was kept up by that thought. And you know what else? Maybe have a fucking pamphlet for a grief counselor or something on hand.

Anyway. So I was freaking out. I had realized I didn't want a D&E but for some reason I didn't think I was allowed to change my mind. So I decided that I would need to put myself into labor and maybe I'd have Nicholas before the next day. So Rodolfo and I walked a mile away to an ice cream store near our house, had an ice cream cone and walked home. We were 3/4 of the way back when the contractions started to become really obvious.

I spent the rest of the night in pain. When I finally tried to go to bed I was woken up every 3 minutes or so with another contraction. All I wanted was to be unconscious, to avoid the mental and physical pain, but I was not that lucky, because the worst day of your life takes forever to end. It gives you no break. And you replay it over and over again every year for the rest of your life.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Rodolfo and the Art of Vagina Maintenance

When Caitlyn first started taking off her diaper, about half the time there would be pee in the diaper and half the time she would take it off explicitly for the purpose of pissing on my floor. Then, for a long time she was taking off mostly wet diapers. And she was really on top of that. She would drop a diaper and the pee would still be hot. Then, in the last few days she has gone back to pissing on my floor again.

None of that is particularly relevant. The point is that usually when Caitlyn takes off a diaper, it is because of pee. I find it funny, how offensive she seems to find the idea of sitting in pee for even a minute, yet she will sit in a shitty diaper for as long as it takes me to notice. I mean, in all honestly that isn't usually very long. Because her shits smell like a dump truck filled with decomposing bodies. Still, when it's time to change poop, Caitlyn always tries to run away. She is one with her shitty diaper. Usually.

The other day though, she decided to take off her shitty diaper. Bare-assed Caitlyn isn't an unusual sight, so I didn't react immediately. Then the smell hit me and I realized she was walking around my living room, brushing up against my furniture and sitting on my rug all while her ass was covered in shit.

Naturally, I called for reinforcements. Rodolfo quickly grabbed her so she couldn't run away while I found the wipes. She was still in the air, squirming her way out of her dad's arms, and it was my responsibility to clean her ass. I went straight for the problem area, obviously. Because it wasn't her vagina that had shit on it.

This is when Rodolfo stopped me. He wanted to know what I was doing. "You're supposed to wipe her front to back!", he exclaimed. Wow. I very nearly screwed that one right up! It isn't as though I've always had a vagina or anything. It's a good thing I had him there to offer his expertise on vagina maintenance. Summer's Eve ass motherfucker.

I'm a lady. And I do not do the whole "front-to-back" bullshit. It seems to me this is something we tell little girls so as to delicately explain the concept that they should not smear shit into their vaginas. So I understand why my husband might think that's actually how ladies wipe. But I've got to say, in practice, I just do not have the coordination. I find myself clearing the back end first, then switching up my TP and cleaning up the front. It is just me? Am I the only fucking weirdo on the planet who doesn't do the whole front-to-back thing? Because I'm pretty sure it's a myth perpetuated by douche companies to make you feel dirty.

Divide and conquer. That's what I say.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Sharing is Caring

As previously mentioned, sometimes my kid is an asshole. I'm doing my best to combat that by teaching her the basic principles of being a human being that the other human beings want to be around.

In particular, I've been trying hard to convey the fact that the world does not revolve around her. She is not happy about this most of the time. Because, really, she wants an ice pop NOW. She wants to watch Dora NOW. She wants to play with my phone NOW. Caitlyn is struggling with the idea that sometimes, maybe, something besides her whims are my priority.

That being said, she is a socialized kid. Despite being an only child, she has cousins very close to her age and she's been with a babysitter since she was 8 weeks old. She's always been around other kids and she mostly does well with not being the center of the universe when they are around.

This brings us to sharing. Or, more specifically, that despite her blatant narcissism, Caitlyn is getting pretty good at it.

The problem with sharing, though, is that once a kid starts to really understand the concept, you have to accept all of their attempts at sharing, even when they are fucking disgusting.

The other night, Caitlyn was eating an ice pop. She has a little game she plays with the dog, where he chases her around trying to snatch her food and she runs away squealing and giggling, holding it over her head. Caitlyn is in the lowest percentile for height and weight. The dog is a fat cocker spaniel. Guess who usually wins that game.

Anyway, she's never upset when the dog takes her food. In fact, if he doesn't chase after her, she will stick her food in his face until she has his complete attention. This is what happened with the ice pop. She was sitting on my lap, alternating licks with Joey (yes, it is disgusting, but it's not going to hurt her so I don't give a shit), a virtual master at sharing (because, you guys, she fucking LOVES ice pops).

And then she realized that it wasn't enough. She realized she needed to take it one step further. She realized that it simply wasn't fair to only share with the dog. And she shoved her dog/toddler covered slime pop into my mouth. Shoved. Like the male lead in a 70s porno. After multiple attempts at dodging it, telling her "thank you, baby, but mommy doesn't want any", I became the dog in her mind. She was going to get me to play her game. She spent 10 minutes going back and forth between cramming it in my mouth, despite my many (MANY) protests and attempts to dodge it, then letting the dog lick it a few times. Then licking it herself a few times. My god, this sounds more and more like I'm describing a three-way scene in a porn the more I explain it.

Anyway, so sharing. It is infinitely more disgusting with toddlers, much like, well, absolutely everything else. But hey, my kid is slightly less of an asshole now!

Finally, I should note that there are some things that Caitlyn refuses to share. Apparently my less-than-2 year old nearly got into a smack-down at the playground yesterday. Why, you ask? Because some 4 year old was following around her man (our babysitter's son). I can't even get mad at her for that. Bitches be crazy if they think they can just roll up on her boyfriend like that.

Friday, March 2, 2012

The Sickest Man Ever

You know how sometimes you get a cold and feel shitty for a few days but, despite your stuffed up nose and sinus headache, you realize you are not, in fact, dying?

If you are a man, and you just read that, I'm pretty sure your first thought was "on the contrary, Jaclyn. In fact I did nearly die". But lets be real here. Very few dudes read my blog, so lets talk some shit about what a bunch of pussies they are.

I'll start at the beginning. I picked up a cold from my mom last weekend. It started with some body aches, but within a day or two, it was mostly just in my head. I had a sinus headache and a runny nose and was sneezing every 8 seconds or so. Which was annoying, but I certainly did not claim to be on the brink of death. To make matters worse, Caitlyn picked up a stomach virus at the same time. On the bright side, at least I couldn't smell her diarrhea and vomit.

Rodolfo was unsympathetic. In fact, I got an attitude when I told him that no, I could not give him a blow job while unable to breathe through my nose. It was the first tragedy to befall him this week. The second was when he caught my cold.

Last night I started to feel better. My sinuses were clearing up and Caitlyn's orifices stopped exploding. We were both getting back to normal. Then it happened. Rodolfo announced that he was officially sick.

His top concern when I am sick is when he will catch it, so he usually spends most of that time asking me not to cough near him, refusing to kiss me and dramatically announcing that he thinks he is getting sick at least twice a day. Then the tide will turn, as it did last night, and he will start listing his symptoms. Are you wondering what they are? Let me break it down for you:

1. He is so cold. SO COLD. Am I sure it isn't like, 60 degrees in the house? Because he's really fucking cold. So cold, in fact, that it reminds me of that scene in the movie "Point Break" when the one guy got shot and Keanu Reeves is all "You're cold because all the blood is draining from your body. You're going to be dead soon. I hope it was worth it". And it makes me wonder if Rodolfo thinks our marriage was worth it, worth this painful and tragic end he is facing. I suspect not. In any case, he throws on a hoodie, wraps himself in a blanket and reminds me every 3 minutes that he is still extremely cold.

2. He thinks he is going to vomit. I'd like to point out that he never actually does. "I think I'm going to vomit" is a progress report, in case you are wondering. It starts with "my stomach hurts" then progresses to "my stomach really hurts" and "my god my stomach is really bothering me" and "seriously, Jaclyn, I'm so sick. My stomach is killing me" and finally culminates in "I think I'm going to vomit". Thanks for the constant updates on your intestines!

3. Body aches. Also known as "owww... my legs. Why do my legs hurt so much?". When you imagine him saying it, it needs to be in the same tone he would say something like "God, WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN ME???". His legs hurt all night. I know this because when I'm awoken repeatedly by his desperate whimpering, he reiterates his awful pain.

4. Oh yeah, he's sneezing and shit too. It isn't necessarily relevant to this particular post, but I had to teach him sneezing manners. Because he has this disgusting habit of just turning his head and sneezing (and he's a multiple sneezer) into the air without covering his mouth. I would constantly tell him how fucking nasty and rude that is and it finally stuck.

The most aggravating thing about him being sick though, is that, while he reminds me repeatedly how it's my fault he got sick, he is also adamant that I don't understand how shitty he feels. "YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND, JACLYN. I'M REALLY SICK". I can't tell you how often he says that. Probably at least as often as I tell him he's being a pussy. But really, the idea that I got him sick, yet have no idea how sick he is... well, it's kind of contradictory, don't you think? He doesn't get that. He has it worse. I got the easy version of whatever he has. Oh, and he never EVER has a cold. It's always the flu. Even if the symptoms are 100% quarantined to his sinuses. Nope. Still not a cold. It's sinus flu death for Rodolfo.

And then I have to compare. Because it wasn't just us. Caitlyn was sick too. She had her moments of being whiny when her tummy was hurting and she certainly wasn't 100% herself, but she complained less than her dad. Caitlyn, who vomitted a half a dozen times and had explosive diarrhea for 3 days straight. Caitlyn who is not yet 2 years old, smiled through it when she wasn't actively spewing fluids, as opposed to her 38 year old father who thought he was going to die on the couch because he was SUPER cold.

It makes me wonder what boy toddlers do when they are sick. My only theory is that they crawl back into your uterus and refuse to come out until they can be reborn into a world without germs. And you know what? I bet his mom would complain less about rebirthing a toddler than Rodolfo did about his cold.