Stung

I got stung by a bee the other day. That hasn’t happened since I was a little kid, running around tempting those little buggers with drippy Popsicles and pink cotton candy. This one was just hopping around the pavement surrounding the baby pool and I stepped right on it. It hurt like a b___! (everyone has a different b word for that expression, pick your favorite or use all of them in a row because it really friggin hurt). I’m glad it was me though, and not one of my girls or my niece or my mom who were all there.
My tolerance for pain is pretty high (first daughter’s epidural didn’t kick in until after she was born – where’s my medal?). So when I felt the sting, I hopped around a little, yanked the stinger out and dunked my foot in the pool. Problem solved.
Like every parent, I’m hoping that my girls inherit some things from me and not others. Nose, no thanks. Love of ballet, yes. BRCA gene, hells no. High tolerance for pain, yes please. And I’m hoping that that is proven tomorrow.
My big girl is having tubes implanted in her ears and possibly her adenoids out. I’ve mentioned how anxious I am about it, but now the guilt is setting in. When we saw the doctor, it wasn’t black and white in the sense that she absolutely needed them. He said she was “a good candidate and if we don’t do them now, I’m pretty sure you’ll be back in my office soon”. I have repeated justifications to myself over and over like a mantra. When she gets these chronic ear infections she is so miserable. She’s building up immunities to vital medications from repeat exposure. And what if she ends up with hearing loss from all of these infections and that impacts her ability to learn? How could I not do this? Right?
Of course, this was a joint decision with my husband, but he’s a man and he’s not Jewish or Catholic, so the guilt doesn’t register with him (trust me, I’ve tried it as a persuasion tactic for many years). Luckily, he’s more focused on how we will get through the day. I hope she handles the pain well and her recovery is smooth. I hope we look back on this and say it was one of the best things we’ve done for her. I hope she can stop covering her ears every time she hears a loud truck go by or the flush of a public toilet (yeah, I know that’s a weird wish but it’s tough to convince her “if it’s yellow, let it mellow” doesn’t fly in public restrooms). Here’s hoping.

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Walking Tall

My little one is on the move. It’s yet another thing that makes my kids unique and so unlike each other, even at their young ages. My big girl never really crawled. She wanted to walk while holding hands in the most back-breaking bent over position for about five months. She walked on her own just before she was 14 months. Not so for the baby. She started officially crawling when we returned from our first weekend away.
Fast forward a mere three weeks, she’s pulling herself up to stand in her crib and her playpen and all over the person sitting closest to her. She’s even started inching along the rails of her crib. Hooray for Little One!
Except that was one of two main criteria for holding off on my surgery until late September. I wanted to wait until she was walking and until the big one had started school and got acclimated to her new environment.
So now that I see one check being marked off very soon, I begin to get cold feet. Yes, of course, I’m going to have the double mastectomy as planned, but isn’t it normal for me to have second thoughts and maybe fantasies about chickening out? However, especially during bathing suit season, I’m also fantasizing about my beach bod for next summer. A new perky pair with cute bikini tops. And then I just run away with myself and imagine my plastic surgeon whisking me onto an operating table with an intense expression in his eyes as he says, “I’m going to do a little lipo on your thighs, too”. Yes! A girl can dream.

Evolution

Again, my husband has control of the remote. He’s flipping between Mountain Men on the history channel and some program in human aquatic evolution on animal planet. I believe it’s leading up to “proof” of mermaids. This is only mildly interesting to me, but he’s totally engrossed in both shows.
The narrator is showing links that prove humans could have evolved into sea creatures. The slight webbing between our fingers and toes was not on the apes from which we descended. Nor was the flexible spine. Some humans can still hunt by walking along the bottom of the ocean. Others can adjust the dilation of their eyes to see as clearly underwater as they do above. They showed a clip of that. It is now burned into my retinas and freaking me the f out. (expecting some nightmares tonight).
It’s interesting if you think about Darwin and the ability of species to adapt themselves over generations to prolong life or become stronger somehow. As a human species, are we really doing that? In some instances, yes. In others, no.
We’ve developed systems, machines, technologies that seem to contribute to the demise or destruction of our planet. We are all well aware of the effects we are having on our environment. But we are still living longer, thanks in part to prophylactic measures.
My plan to live longer and to remove the part of my body that poses the biggest threat is essentially Darwinism. Is it evolution though? How will that happen for my future generations? If all the women affected by the BRCA gene have prophylactic surgery, will that change our DNA? I don’t really think so, but maybe there’s hope for future generations. Only time (and lots of it) will tell.

Chatty Kathy

One of the things I like about myself is that I’m outgoing. One of the things I dislike about myself is that I’m outgoing. Sometimes I leave a party, a lunch, a playgroup and say to myself, “could you have just shut up for a minute?”. I’m sure it’s as annoying to everyone else as it is to me. Most of the time, I’m trying to relate someone else’s experience to one that I’ve had in order to connect or make someone feel at ease. My intent is never to one-up (like Luann, ugh, enough already Countess, the Princess has you beat, in every instance).
Speaking of the Real Housewives of New York, a running theme this season is Ramona’s irritation with Heather’s constant jabber. Hi Pot, this is Kettle calling. Ramona is always yammering on and on with her crazy eyes and Pinot Grigio buzz. I’d like to go on record and rescind an earlier comment I made about liking the new broads on this season’s show. I’m fairly disenchanted with all of them (except Carole, at this point). Each one of these verbose women have their own agendas to promote. Whether it’s a business, a platform, a tv show in the works, a self image they hold with too much importance; it’s always something.
Am I really so different from my new NYC BFFs? (and by BFFs, I mean Bitchy Fake Friends). Sometimes, I feel like the self appointed advocate for BRCA genetic testing. I want to spread awareness. I want to hopefully save someone’s life by encouraging them to find out their own risks. I try not to push it on people, but I know I do. I hope I don’t go too far and become a bore to be around. I hope people feel they can get a word in edgewise and that we can still talk about other things. Otherwise, when friends see me, they’ll just see a boob (or a new pair of them, at least).

Anesthesia

Visiting a hospital evokes strong emotions for some. I’ve been to see new babies, old people, and those in between. I’ve watched the circle of life unfold many times. Today was a most joyous visit!
My newest little nephew was born this morning after a speedy early morning (think 3am) delivery. He is adorable. Already all boy and totally chill. His glowing mommy told me the doctor called him a “Mack truck”. Weighing in at 8lb 1oz, he was born without the aide of an epidural. Oh man!
His mother and I had talked earlier this week about epidurals and how much we love them. My older daughter’s delivery wasn’t the smoothest as my epidural didn’t kick in until after she was born, but my younger one’s delivery was easy breezy beautiful. (ugh, covergirl marketing is way too good).
Anesthesia is a blessing, but often scary too. I’m really not worried about having anesthesia for my surgery this fall, but my oldest is getting tubes in her ears and probably her adenoids removed in a few weeks. It is freaking me out. I’m trying to tell myself that it’s very routine and they do it all the time. We’ve chosen to have her do her procedure at a surgery center that her doctor works out of. He has hand picked the anesthesiologists there and trusts them implicitly. That’s not always the case with who is put into his rotation at the nationally lauded hospital where he also operates out of.
You really have to choose your doctors carefully, research them and trust them. But they’re people too, they have bad days; they get off their game sometimes. I always say that one of the reasons I fear flying is because I’m an engineer and people like me built the planes. I wasn’t always 100% precise (then again, if my code wasn’t totally right, no one had to risk their lives over it). But what if Joe Schmo Plane Engineer also mucked up occasionally? And what if Dr. Stick a Tube in Her Throat isn’t having a good day!? The thought of it makes me sick.
I just have to trust that she/he knows what they’re doing, has done it a million times and everything will go well; and my little girl won’t hold her ears in fear of pain every time a big truck passes. She will hear better and therefore learn better. She will not get sick as much and therefore not build up a resistance to important medication. And there’s a slim chance it will help her sleep and don’t we all know how I’d feel about that. I can’t wait for this to be behind us.

Pink in Bulk

No, Costco hasn’t started selling cotton candy (but yes, please). The title could, however, describe the big girl’s birthday party last Saturday complete with princess plates, napkins, and cups. When I got the shipment of Disney princess accoutrement from Oriental Trading, there was a catalogue for breast cancer bulk items as well. Really? You think the person who just ordered a plate with Belle, Cinderella and Ariel on it needs 50 pink ribbon key chains for the goody bags?
Yeah ok, maybe I will someday. It’s good to know where I can get them, but hey, Oriental Trading, you’re killing my princess buzz! Must I be reminded of what’s to come at every turn? Is the massive amount of pink swag actually benefitting breast cancer? Or is this company simply profiting off of the pink culture?
I read an article on NPR’s website that illustrated the dichotomy of the pink movement. It has absolutely raised awareness; undoubtedly a positive. But do people profit because others will buy things simply because they’re pink, not realizing where these monies are truly going? Will I buy something just because it has a pink ribbon it? Not necessarily, but if there’s an option between the pink for breast cancer or a generic option, then you better believe it. Then again, if there’s an option for a purple item for prostate or pancreatic cancer, I’d get that too over a generic white.
Yes, I love color, but I also love supporting a good cause. Is it so bad that in October, America glows breast cancer pink? I don’t think so. But the article had a valid argument of which I am totally guilty. It quoted one woman who urged people to “go deeper”. (that’s what she said). Find out exactly where your money is going. What are your donations actually funding? Make sure that you can be proud of pimping your pink.

Crying It Out

Whenever new parents ask me for baby tips, I always tell them that I’m happy to share my experiences but never ask me for sleep advice. Neither of my kids sleep through the night. Sure, the big one does occasionally, but more often than not, she’s up. It’s a miracle and a testament to our love for our kids that my husband and I have continued to get up with them for all of this time. When we were in college, my mom called us “marathon sleepers”. We could sleep forever. Yeah, we had been up partying a lot but even if we stayed in, we are night owls and daytime snoozers. Boy, how times have changed.
I can count on one hand the number of full nights of uninterrupted sleep that I’ve had in the past three years. I long for one of those luscious Tylenol PM-ish slumbers. This is one thing about having surgery that I’m actually looking forward to (well, that and the perky new boobs). I do feel, though, that I have to get my kids sleeping better before then. I know my husband can’t do it on his own and I don’t want anyone who will be helping us to have to wake up with them. If you don’t have that parental, unconditional love, a few middle of the night wakings will get really old, really fast.
For the past few nights, I’ve started to mildly sleep train the baby. She’s so good and happy during the day that I haven’t wanted to rock the boat, but it’s time. So far, she is doing well and I can see that she’s sleeping longer between the times when she wakes up and demands a bottle. My goal is to have her sleeping through the night by her first birthday (yes, I know that’s ridiculous. My goal should have been by three months old, but I’m slow). I haven’t yet had to make her cry longer than a few minutes. I hope she continues to be as easy going during this transition as she always is.
***In the spirit of complete honesty, before I got a chance to hit publish, she woke, had a bottle, cried and I caved. She fell back to sleep cuddling in my arms. My resolve dissolves when I hear the cry. Let’s see if I can be strong next time. As always, I’m forever hopeful I will find my inner strength.