Mothahhood

life in my hood with 2 teenagers, a toddler and chronic pain

humpty bumpty June 25, 2009

Filed under: 2 teenagers and a toddler,it's all relative — mothahhood @ 5:44 pm
Tags: , ,

I was driving with my big daughter (age 12) and we passed (flew over) 2 bumps in the road, put there for the purpose of slowing people down. One had the word “HUMP” painted on the road in front of it and the other had the word “BUMP” painted on the road in front of it. My daughter asked me, “what’s the difference between “bump” and “hump?”

After a momentary pause, I told her “if you hump you will get a bump.”

She actually thought I was funny.

nufced

 

Why does this not surprise me? June 16, 2009

Teen Outsmarts Doctors In Science ClassSelf-diagnosis impresses docs who’ve missed signs of her disease for years

By EMILY FELDMAN

High school senior Jessica Terry studied her own tissue samples as part of her school’s biomedical course.

When doctors didn’t give a Washington state high school student the answers she wanted, she took matters into her own hands.

Eighteen-year-old Jessica Terry, brought slides of her own intestinal tissue into her AP science class and correctly diagnosed herself with Crohn’s disease.

“It’s weird I had to solve my own medical problem,” Terry told CNN affiliate KOMO. “There were just no answers anywhere … I was always sick.”

For years she went from doctor to doctor complaining of vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss and stomach pains. They said she had irritable bowel syndrome. They said she had colitis. They said the slides of her intestinal tissue were fine, but she knew that wasn’t right.

“Not knowing much about a disease you’re growing up with is not only nerve-wracking, but it’s confusing,” Terry told theSammamish Reporter.

So when local pathologists stopped in to teach students in her Biomedical Problems class how to analyze slides, the high school senior decided to give her own intestines a look.

What she found? A large dark area showing inflammation, otherwise known as a granuloma–a sure sign of the intestinal disease.

To confirm her suspicion, she checked in with her teacher.

“‘Ms. Welch! Ms. Welch! Come over here. I think I’ve got something!” she shouted.

Mary Margaret Welch, who has spent 17 years teaching science at Eastside Catholic School, had a feeling Terry was on to something.

“I snapped a picture of it on the microscope and e-mailed it to the pathologist,” Welch said. “Within 24 hours, he sent back an e-mail saying yes, this is a granuloma.”

The finding impressed doctors.

“Granulomas are oftentimes very hard to find and not always even present at all,” said Dr. Corey Siegel, a bowel disease specialist at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. “I commend Jessica for her meticulous work.”

While Terry’s glad to finally have answers, she now knows she’ll have a tough road ahead.

Crohn’s disease is an incurable, though treatable condition caused by inflammation in the intestines. It can cause malnutrition, ulcers, pain and discomfort.

Still, she looks towards the future with optimism.  She’ll begin nursing school in the fall and hopes to have a kid’s book on Crohn’s disease published.

nufced

 

choosing schooling June 3, 2009

I had just dropped my daughter at preschool-preschool mind you, when I struck up a conversation with the dad of another child. At some point, I mentioned that I had 2 other kids, one in middle school and one in high school. He suddenly became very interested. He wanted to know where my son attends high school. I told him and he became very excited. “Oh, that’s where I want Katie to go, I’ve heard amazing things about it. I’ve heard they have the best test scores in town. I’m just not yet sure how I’m going to get her in there yet.” Yet? Katie is 3 years old. I’m not sure if this is a phenomenon of Los Angeles or if it is prevalent elsewhere as well. When I was pregnant with my son, people asked me if I was on a preschool waiting list yet. I thought they were joking. They weren’t and not only that, they were willing to pay what I paid to go to college for their 3 year old to learn to share and play in the sand. I think I signed my son up for preschool about a month before he started. We couldn’t have been happier with our choice and his best friend is still a boy he met there. When my oldest daughter was of age, we signed her up for preschool about a month before as well and same with the little one. Somehow, despite my failings at working the preschool “system”, our 2 eldest have managed to learn to read, to perform complex algebra equations, and are incredibly well adjusted socially and just happen to be straight A students. My 3 year old just got a certificate from her preschool acknowledging that she can recognize all the letters of the alphabet. Yea! (read that with appropriate, yet not over the top, enthusiasm)

To get back to the conversation I had with the dad-I told him where my 2 big kids went to elementary school. There is another, slightly more prestigious school near our home. I never had any interest in sending my kids there. Most of the kids there are white and come from affluent homes. That is perfectly fine, but explains why they might just have higher test scores than our school. I told him that at our home school, children from many cultures, and all socioeconomic classes are represented.  My kids’ friends look like a contingent from the United Nations. Also, our school has a great visual and performing arts program.  I told him that to me there is more to a school than it’s test scores. As we parted ways, he said “Thank you. I really never thought of that at all. You have definitely given me something to think about.”

I was a teacher for 14 years, but I have been a mother for 15. Schools matter, but not nearly as much as parents.

nufced

 

to our son May 31, 2009

Last year on this date, we celebrated our son’s coming of age.   He put together an amazing ceremony with readings from many cultures and writings from many people throughout the world. They all reflected to him, what it means to become a man in today’s world, to be part of a bigger community, to have a deeper consciousness and to take to take on greater responsibility in this world. I wrote a piece to him. It is what follows.

As most of you probably know, I am a pretty big baseball fan and a crazy Red Sox fan.  I am not, on the other hand a religious person.  When my husband and I began our journey as parents we agreed that we would raise our children to be good people, but that we would not raise them to follow any particular religion and that we would leave that choice to them as they got older. So it was much to my surprise (shock) when our son told us he wanted a bar mitzvah.  How could this have happened I thought? Where did we go wrong? 

Of course, we also have given our children just about everything they have ever wanted and we have certainly supported them in all of their endeavors, so there was no question that if he wanted it, we would make it happen.  Meanwhile though, we wanted to ensure that he was mindful and reflective of this experience and was doing it for the right reasons, not because it was what he thought his grandparents expected or because it was what many of his friends did. We wanted to ensure that he was aware of the meaning behind his words, be they English or Hebrew.  We had many conversations with J (some rather intense) about what it was he really wanted in doing this ceremony and in acknowledging his journey to adulthood.  We encouraged him to explore his feelings and goals and his own belief system–to look at where he sees himself in the world and in his own community.  J, with us, came to an understanding that he really wanted a ceremony to mark his coming into adulthood and he wanted to be surrounded by the important people in his world to share this moment in his journey. 

Somehow (through divine intervention of the baseball gods) we found ourselves able to have this celebration at this amazing house of worship (Dodger Stadium).  It is not, of course, Fenway Park, but the spirituality of the game is definitely here.  What a perfect location for us.  I’ve always joked that if I had to chose a religion, it would be baseball.  The rules of baseball are not unlike the rules in life. They are a guide, a  set of clearly defined directives for playing the game fairly (without instant replay) and allowing everyone equal chance at greatness.  Even the torah is not meant to be read literally but as a set of metaphors and lessons for how to live a just life.    

One day when J was about 8 or 9 he told us he wanted to play baseball.  I was so glad when he chose it as his one and only sport. Baseball combines the best of a team sport and an individual sport. Sometimes you stand alone and strike out and other times you hit one out of the park. Every day, people have outstanding moments in a game but rarely can one person be given sole credit for a win and likewise even though we’ve seen people massively blunder a play (think Billy Buckner), one person can truly never take full blame for a loss. Sometimes you sacrifice for the good of the team, sometimes you get beaned on the head, every once in a while, you have a day-a moment when you pitch an elusive perfect game or, you face challenges that seem insurmountable, but you always have your team around you to lift you up.  Each day and each game bring new opportunities and possibilities.

So too is life.

Each failure or crushing defeat brings with it the optimistic chant, “there’s always next year” and sometimes, sometimes when you keep the faith long enough (86 years) next year actually comes, you can overcome the demons of your history and just like that, curses can end. 

Things can turn on one pitch or when you seem to be down to your last out, one small gesture can turn it all back around-David (Roberts) can look Goliath right in the eye, challenge him head on, steal a base right from under his nose, and know that things have turned around just like that. Empires fall and dynasties end, and the underdog, the little guy can, with the right bunch of idiots around him, do the impossible.   

Every spring, I wait with anticipation for opening day.  Where I come from, the beginning of baseball season, means spring is here.  Here in Los Angeles where temperatures fluctuate by only a few degrees from January to June, the coming of spring may not mean much, but in Connecticut, it means the snow will finally be gone, the crocuses will  pop up and the daffodils will soon follow.  It means a fresh start after the long dormancy of winter.  the start of a new baseball season means a clean slate, a new beginning, a new chance, and eternal hope and optimism.  Such is the start of a new life. When J was born (4 weeks before we expected him, but of course, during spring training) , we could see for the first time as parents, a new life, entrusted to us, a life filled with hope and optimism-a perfect start.  We saw a new person with a very old soul.  This child has not disappointed. Every day he shows us greatness, sometimes he makes an error, but he gets back in the game and continues to play, sometimes he makes an amazing play, a web gem moment.  He is loyal to his friends and family–his team, and he is a team player.  J has and has always had great empathy and compassion. He loves animals and he has a value system that is deep and unwavering. At the same time, such as in the game of baseball, J knows that he can never take things too seriously.  He has a great sense of humor and sees life in all it’s irony and foolishness.  Many nights before going to bed, I find  myself in J’s room laughing my ass off with him over something foolish but hysterical. He is a powerful good friend, a fierce big brother, protective and challenging at the same time.  He is as likely to pick on M (his younger sister) as he is to hang out with her playing a video game, or showing her the latest funny You Tube video.  When J was little, if he got sad or hurt, he only wanted his baby sister M to comfort him.  J delights in his newer baby sister, and told me shortly after her birth, that he finally understands how much we love him.  

Recently, in a game in Baltimore, Manny Ramirez made an amazing catch in left field, ran up the back wall and high-fived a Sox fan, before running back down and throwing the ball to double up the runner on first.  I have never seen anything like it before and that is one of the reasons I love baseball so much.  You never know what is going to happen and you continually see things you have never seen before. that is the beauty of the game of baseball and that is the beauty of the journey of life.  

Mahalo is J’s middle name as most of you know, because we got him when we were on our honeymoon in Hawaii.  Mahalo means thanks you in Hawaiian.  J, as you travel the bases of life, always remember the rules, and always always Keep the faith. Mahalo for being our son.

nufced

 

my favorite teens April 27, 2009

Filed under: 2 teenagers and a toddler,animal, vegetable, mineral — mothahhood @ 5:06 pm
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portraits_00081A while ago there was an email going around telling people what they should do to prepare if they were thinking about having kids (things like set the alarm to get up every 2 hours,  etc.) I wrote this as an addendum for people approaching parenthood in the pre or teen years…

find the thing you love most in the world.  paint on
eyes.  turn it so the eyes are facing a computer
screen.  add ears and glue a cell phone to its ears.
add a voice box and make it grunt in response to any
question you ask.  place it in a room and leave it
there for days on end.  bring it out with you on
occasion to eat dinner and then put it back in its
room.
drive the thing around to many places you dont want to
go in traffic on friday afternoon.  take it to the
emergency room once every 2 years.  spend 6-8 hours
each time.
decorate a beautiful room for your thing.  buy
expensive clothes at places like abercrombie.  throw
those clothes all over the thing’s room. leave them
there.
buy a gamecube, a ps2, and several games for those
systems.  place your thing (with computer and cell
phone) in front of those game systems. go out to run
errands and come back 5 hours later.  your thing will
still be in front of those games.
buy a potbellied pig.  put it in front of your
refrigerator. open your refrigerator.  when it has
eaten everything go to the grocery store for the
fourth time that week. spend $400 at trader joe’s and
have the people behind you in line ask if you have a
teenager at home.
beg the thing to hang out with you.  don’t expect a
response though cuz after all it’s only a thing.
tell your thing to take a shower and clean its room.
again, don’t expect much because after all it’s only a
thing.
buy a horse (doesn’t have to be very large). eat
horseshit.
give your thing a big giant bear hug and don’t let go,
cuz after all it is the thing you love most in the
world.

nufced