Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Acquie-essence of Love

               Why am I so easy going? I really and truly need a backbone. Yesterday while out watching the shuttle do a flyby of the Washington D.C. area I turned to get my camera and felt… no heard, something snap inside my calf. Ever the dedicated teacher, I continued teaching my next block from my wheelie chair before I was spotted by admin. The next thing I knew I was carted away in a wheelchair to my car with orders to go straight to the doctor.
                I did, and of course they did what they do best. They told me a few possibilities based on my description, wrapped it in an ace bandage and gave me a prescription for 800 mg Motrin.  Treat the symptoms and sent me on my way. He said if it didn’t get better they would take an MRI. Why can’t they do that to begin with to see if there is any damage?  I know, I know, it is too costly. But maybe if they did use it more frequently then based on the basic laws of economics, the price would come down and we could find out right away if there was any major damage.  At any rate the answer was to stay off of my leg and get plenty of rest. Obviously they do not know my husband.
               “It’s 6:45, I guess we need to get him up for school,” was my wake up call.  I, out of habit jumped upright trying to figure out who my husband was talking about. As the fog lifted it hit me, it was my son. I had not set the alarm. But wait a minute, I had taken off per my doctor’s orders, so I should not have had to wake up at all, I told myself. Then I told my husband, “Yes, it was time for him to get up.” I, then, as politely as possible, rolled over, pulled the cover over my head and fell back to sleep. (When he is off, like he is this week, I do not wake him up at all. Life is just not fair.)  Well, they continued in their early morning banter and included me in all of their conversations. I was never so thrilled to hear the BEEP, BEEP, BEEP of the door as they left.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     
               Now, unfortunately awake, I lay there playing on my Ipad waiting for his return. Actually I was excited. We had not been alone for a whole day in so long, that leg or no leg, I wanted to take advantage and snuggle. I jumped up, took a shower and put on fresh nice Pajamas and waited for his return, as I dreamed of the type of breakfast he would be bringing me. After all, he had to know I was awake, he woke me up!
              Well, I heard the Beep, Beep, Beep of his return. Dishes began to rattle in the Kitchen. Soon I heard footsteps on the stairs. It had to be cereal because it did not take long. Finally I saw the bowl before I saw him. Then it happened. Much to my dismay he kept right on passed our room and headed to his office. Seconds later, I heard chomping noises; he was eating what should have been MY cereal. Whatever happened to “Honey just come on home and I will care for you?” I was dumbfounded. Then I heard him sneeze. And through gritted teeth I yelled out, “Bless you!” I had to let him know I was truly awake and sure enough he was surprised and immediately joined me in the bedroom. I felt so much better knowing that he thought I was sleep, however, that was short lived.
             “Hey, did you feed Daisy?“ he asked innocently enough. Now mind you because of my leg, I was staying away from the stairs. So I just looked at him with knitted brow and said how I was not doing stairs yet,  I added how I had thought he would be bringing me breakfast instead. He sort of laughed at his own silly expectations and promptly acquiesced leaving his own cereal to sog and went back downstairs to feed us both. Poor Daisy. Now I know why I am her favorite. If I don’t feed her no one would. As for my simple breakfast, I swear I had two cups of cereal and one half cup of milk. Really? 
                I have to give it to him though, he stayed by my side … but complained the whole time about not doing anything. Finally, for the third time, he said, “That’s it! We are going downstairs to pack some boxes.” this time, tired of hearing him complain, I acquiesced.
                The rest of the day went pretty much the same. We packed seven boxes before he eventually asked me to give him a haircut and I acquiesced. Finally, he kept teasing that I didn’t care about him because I did not cook dinner. At first I thought he was joking. Hmm, in the end I still thought he was joking, then it hit me, he was not! Why didn’t he order take-out, and why would he expect me to stand  up and cook when I am supposed to have my leg propped up? I don’t understand. But, I acquiesced.
               Acquiescence is when you give in reluctantly and do something you do not want to do. So why do I live my life in reluctance? I do not know. But what I do know is that I love my husband and I believe the feeling is mutual. So maybe that is why I spend my "doctor’s orders" day off packing moving boxes, cutting hair, and cooking dinner. Besides the reality is that I cannot sit still anyway and would have gotten up eventually, so why complain about it? As frustrating as it can be, I would still be up trying to do all of those things anyway. no matter how ridiculous it seems because anyone who knows me will tell you that my family comes first. No matter how reluctant I am to do it, I will usually acquiesce... and complain (or write) about it later. 

Friday, April 13, 2012

Gluten Be Gone!

A couple of posts ago, I complained about my incessant and embarrassing bloating and a dear friend tried to talk me into taking the Gluten Free Challenge by going Gluten free for a week. Now, while I thought it was not  far-fetched concept, this french baguette and olive tapenade loving woman had no desire to give up one of the few passions I still had left in life. But then Spring break happened. I flew and I munched and I blew...up that is. One night my own husband threw his arm around me in the spoon position and awoke thirty minutes later saying that "we" need to get back into the gym, and then nodded back off. I couldn't believe it, he felt it in his sleep! 

So I contacted Dr. Peg and she promptly sent me a "do not touch" list and then volunteered to take me grocery shopping. I don't know if it is because she is an angel, or if misery loves company and she was glad to have a friend suffer with her. At any rate, she was a godsend. She made me realize that there is life after Gluten Free. There are crackers, breads and pastas that are not only allowable, they are supposedly pretty good. That was my biggest fear to say the least. I had visions of me chomping into bread that was hard enough to yank my teeth out. I figured that it would mean I would opt for going bread-less, or maybe even accepting the bloat over the diet. But I bought the bread and bagels and crackers. I began reading my labels. And I prepared to start my challenge.

Well, this was day one of my attempt, and I must say I was pleasantly surprised. First of all i started my day with the over-priced little loaf of Gluten Free bread that she claimed was pretty good. And Dr. Peg was right on the money. It was really good -- extremely light and had a crisp crust. By the end of the day i was psyched.  The number one most obvious thing I have noticed at the end of the day is the fact that I have not bloated at all. In fact my weight this morning was 161.2 and I just got off of the scale this evening at 161.8. That in itself is remarkable. I will admit, even though I am not bloated, I am still experiencing a lot of gas. I had one bowl of gluten free Chex in 2% Lactose Free milk and I was still burping with in 15 minutes of finishing it. I will have to keep watching to see what foods elicit this response. That being said, I am ready for day two. Bring it on!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

A Hard Head (used to) Make a Soft Behind!

My six year old is feeling quite full of himself these days.  I used to smile and say he is filled with such determination; I was sure he would go far in life with that "his way or no way" attitude. Yet, in the back of my mind I know that was just my way of covering up for my true feelings which were that he was quite hard-headed, as my mother used to say -- right before she would add that a hard-head makes a soft behind.

Now, maybe I have been brainwashed, but I have since been taught that we should not undermine a child’s spirit. You do not want to instill negative thoughts. Always speak in the positive. Well, I don’t know about you, but my mother beat the positive out of us and we turned out just fine. In fact, she is 82 years old and I still will not talk back … too much. If I do argue back, this 5’ 2” (used to be 5’4”) women looks at me with so much venom that I feel guilty for the next two months.  She does not have to beat us, we learned our lessons well early on.

So, how do I, an old school-trained mother, raise my son in the ways of the new? Well, I can tell you right now, it is not easy. Take for example today, he asked for a chocolate chip cookie and I said sure. Then my quickly fading memory kicked in and I grabbed the Oreos instead.  Now most children would have said, "Oh well", and would have taken the other cookie. But my head strong – determined to have it his way – child, looked at me with anger in his eyes and had the audacity to face off. He squinted his eyes, folded his arms and spit out, “I said chocolate chip! That’s not chocolate chip. Why didn’t you bring me chocolate chip! Didn’t you hear what I said!”

I have never had so many things go through my head at one time. I envisioned my mother’s old school response and could actually see his head fly back from the power of the closed-fisted bop, slamming the  back of his head into the brick pillar. Then I saw my father grab the entire bike (he was a grabber of things nearby), lift it over his head and hurl it with the power of a Greek god into the small inconsequential child who had not even enough time to close his mouth let alone duck. Lastly I saw me wanting to offend him verbally, to hurt him maybe physically and mentally, and to teach him a lesson,  but unable to let the true wrath leave my tensely pulsating body.

“What did you just say!” was my first mode of attack. Then came the reiteration, “did you just raise your voice at me? Did you just yell at me because I brought the wrong cookie!” And he had the audacity to shake his head yes! I did not know what to do or say. I could feel the heat slowly rising in side and knew that I could not turn to my parents' teachings. If I had said what he said to me, I would not be alive today to write these words.

Where did I go wrong? He is full of determination alright. Determined to have it his way or no way! So I pretended to think I was in control of the situation and yelled for him to get in the back seat. Then I headed off to piano practice knowing that I was concerned that if I were too hard, he would have a bad day at his lesson. Oh if my mother knew that those were my thoughts, she would have my head on a platter and would revoke my mother card. But the longer I sat stewing behind the wheel, the more I determined I became. I would come up with the appropriate response and let him know who was really in charge of this situation. 

Then it hit me, I had long felt that spankings were not always the answer, particularly with a child  who thought they were always right. I needed to rationalize with him and make him understand.  But I had to be creative in my speech because I had to work his emotions. So I pulled to the side and slammed on the brakes. Then in a calm voice, I began by saying how disappointed I was. I talked about all the wonderful things that I do for him, and how I try to give him the world whenever he asks. I laid it on thick. I read that extra book. I let him have cereal for dinner. I feed his dog and change his hamster cage. I understand the importance of buying that perfect Beyblade. I hug him every morning.  I put bandaids on his boo-boos. Yet, the one day I made a mistake, one tiny little mistake of grabbing the wrong cookie, he was so disrespectful and flippant that I was stunned. It really and truly hurt my feelings.  He made me want to cry. (Not really, but it added that perfect edge. 

And then a miraculous thing happened as I sat there looking injured.  In the rear view mirror I could see that my words were truly having an effect. Everyone knows how close boys are to their mothers, so I pulled the mama card and it worked. Wow! My determined, offensive child, was actually now a warm and caring human being who felt horrible for the way he disrespected his mother. Yeah! Sorry Mom, but just like the pen is mightier than the sword, I found that words could be mightier than any belt, .... in this case anyway. And I am quite certain that I will have plenty more opportunities to test this theory against all of the  other options between now and his adulthood... if he makes it that far!

But for now, I love you, too, James