The Problem with Election Years, Dishonesty and Facebook

October 3, 2012 by · 7 Comments
Filed under: Politics, Uncategorized 

When I was a writing major at the University of Pittsburgh, there was much discussion in many of my classes about integrity and honesty in journalism and writing. As a creative nonfiction major, brutal honesty was important.  Since you have the “creative” part though, there was always the question of how creative you could get without losing the integrity of the piece. This commitment to honesty is a big reason why I have yet to write any kind of nonfiction memoir.  People I write about would hate me. I tend to see people for who and what they are. Most people don’t like that kind of honesty.

Often, when I am relaying the events of my day to Mr. BBM, he will say, “You really need to write a book about this.” But I don’t. I don’t even blog about it anymore because everyone I know reads this blog. I’ve offended people by what I’ve written even when I’ve been genuinely complimentary. Simply put, I just can’t win; but regardless, I always stand behind what I write and what I think. Agree with me or not, you always know where I stand.

Which brings me to what I really want to discuss, the lack of integrity and honesty in writing these days. There doesn’t seem to be any fact-checking anymore. Writers can throw together numbers and half-truths to make any story they like. There are no consequences for writing something that’s not truthful, unless you consider a “consequence” being booked on every national TV show to gain more publicity for yourself. It’s for this reason that I absolutely despise election years. Facebook statuses becomes less about “what you are doing” and more about what political statement you can make without really making a statement. Of course, some people are blatant about it. Most of these people have been hidden in my news feed because I need to keep my blood pressure under control;  many are not even respectful about it. For example, my favorite offensive statement of the political season: “Anyone who votes for Romney is stupid and/or racist.”  I’ll be voting for Romney and I’m neither of those things.

Others post links to various biased b.s. and then get upset when you post something contrary that happens to be factual. The other day someone posted a picture of low gas prices that said something to the effect of  “just kidding-these WERE the prices when Obama first took office” on their Facebook feed. A comment quickly followed about gas prices under George W. Bush. I had a feeling it wasn’t an accurate statement so I looked it up out of curiosity and came across several articles, one an article that looked at gas prices for every President since Carter. The article then broke down the percentages that gas prices rose or fell under Carter, Reagan, Clinton, both Bush’s and Obama. I posted it. It happens to be interesting. A person replying after me said that he was a registered Republican and that you have to look at a bunch of different areas and to keep an open mind. He cited the stock market stats. To be honest, I had no idea what any of those numbers meant so I asked Mr. BBM about it and went “hmm, ok.” There was no argument. It was three people stating opinions on a picture of gas prices, a picture that was an obvious political statement. Then what happened was this. . . the person who posted the picture said she didn’t mean to be political (It was a picture of gas prices and had the word “Obama” in it. . . um, ok) and that people should chill. Her father then commented on our thread of articles and told us all to “get a life.” Not a single one of us had said anything even slightly disrespectful to each other or about anyone else. There was no argument. Then another post was started about how wacky people are (me and the other two commenters apparently) and someone said something to the effect of, “Wow, how did that get so out of control?”

Blink. Blink.

Um, have they ever watched a show when Ann Coulter or Alan Colmes happens to be booked? Our posts were wacky? Out of control? No, actually they were  rather pensive and respectful of each other considering that we are only weeks away from an election and obviously don’t agree with each other. And wait a second, didn’t the owner of the page post the picture to begin with? I found myself wishing Facebook had a “Hide this person until after the election” button. Instead I decided it was time to bid this “friend” adieu. When you bait people, and then get ticked that they are having a discussion about it, and then try to back away from the fact that you even posted it when it still lives on your wall, that’s just odd.  How did I even become friends with someone I barely remember from school anyway? It made me gain that much more respect for my friends who allow polite disagreement on their pages; in fact, some people even encourage it. This political season is ripe with controversy right now. And if this doesn’t also prove that I really need to spend some time weeding my FB “friends” and with my heavy bag, I don’t know what will. Things like this probably shouldn’t tick me off as much as this did. Frankly, I’m tired of all the political nonsense.

On the eve of the first debate, I can’t help but think about that  Jim Carrey movie “Liar, Liar.” You know, where he is compelled to tell the truth and only the truth? Wouldn’t it be nice if that happened on debate day with both candidates? If I operate under this same premise, it’s probably wise that I stay off my Facebook news feed tomorrow through the first week of November. In fact, maybe longer.

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Six Months

April 30, 2012 by · 3 Comments
Filed under: Growing Pains, Uncategorized 

Babies develop in phases. Maybe it’s because he’s my third one, maybe because he’s my last one, but the time periods between these phases are entirely too short. Baby Belated is now 6 months old and it feels like he’s doing something new every single day.

He went from being this pleasant little infant, to a very busy and curious little guy who just doesn’t want to stay still. In the past two months, he’s mastered sitting, and easily goes from sitting into a belly crawling position. Speaking of belly crawling, he’s getting quite good at moving around. He can push himself completely up with straight arms and he’s beginning to move those legs into crawling position. Yes, I’m getting scared. If I leave him to go wash my hands, I am now coming back to find him feet away from where I left him. He’s realllly good at moving himself backwards; and if there’s something new to explore, like his sister’s book bag, he finds a way to get there.

He’s decided that diaper changes are super bothersome to his busy schedule. I can’t remember the last time he didn’t try to escape when I changed him. Last week, he started saying “da da.” And although he hasn’t yet mastered “ma ma,” Mr. BBM is pretty sure that he’s calling me “ra ra.” I’ll take it.

I’m also happy to take the giant sloppy kisses he’s now giving. Yes, that’s a hickey on my arm from little man. Yes, that’s likely drool dripping off my cheek after one of his killer sweet kisses. I get these little affections quite often now considering the little guy has discovered we are no longer attached and does not like that at all, not one bit.

Although he just started eating cereal and some fruit last week, he’s pretty much mastered that. He’s already eying up my eggs and bacon in the morning.

At his well visit last week, the doctor reported that he is now 29 inches long (100th percentile and just plain ridiculous) and 18.6 lbs (60th percentile). He’s a lean, sweet, little machine. While our doctor was examining his belly, he started giggling so hard that he was snorting. I’m fairly certain his doctor fell in love with him, because she just kept tickling his belly and telling him how cute he is. Not that I’m biased or anything, but my little man is a looker. He’s the cutest thing EVER.

His personality is developing so rapidly and it’s such a good one. He enjoys making us laugh and has started doing this adorable little face where he scrunches his nose and breaths in and out really fast. The girls crack up and then he does it even more. He loves to laugh and we do lots of it in this house, now that he’s here.

Tonight, Mr. BBM helped him to stand up and he was taking actual steps. I told Mr. BBM to knock that off immediately. I have much more baby proofing to do around here. I’m already freaking out about having a crawler in the house; an early walker? Um, no thanks.

I realize the blog updates have been few and far between. That’s because I am soaking in every single moment with him (and I’m slightly out of practice with writing something good and effective in these short baby-free moments). I know how fast they grow up (says the mom of a now 11-year old), and I’m determined not to miss a thing about this little guy. Not a thing.

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5 Months

March 22, 2012 by · 4 Comments
Filed under: Uncategorized, Woah Baby 

This week, my baby turned five months old. . . already.

How did that happen?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The last month has been full of new things for Baby Belated. He turned his rolling of February into a mastered art in March. He started sitting up by himself and thinks that falling over into my waiting hands is the most hysterical thing ever.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

He discovered that his feet make lovely teethers and when you can fit a hand in there at the same time, it’s even better.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Peek-a-boo has become a new and favorite activity. In fact, he sometimes laughs so hard that he chokes. Diaper changes have become episodes of  “catch me if you can” as he rolls and wiggles away to discover something new.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More stable now, Swim Girl has discovered that she can carry him around; and oh, how the little guy loves his big sisters. Swim Girl finds it a personal challenge to get her little brother laughing at new things each day. Her crazy sounds and faces are quite popular in the repertoire. And of course, Sassy is never far behind in imitating her big sister. If it can make him laugh, it’s the activity of the day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m starting to sound like a broken record, but I can’t help but reiterate how wonderful an addition this little man has been to our family. Now if I could just get him to slow down a bit.

 

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Little Girl Drama

I never know what I’m going to hear when I ask my daughter “how was school?” Most days, I hear about the daily drama. Girls who tell her “I hate you.” Girls who tell her “You’re mean.” She is supposed to write something on the board that she did over the weekend. This week, she wrote that she broke a swimming record after working really hard for it, and that is apparently “mean.”  The day after she got another Junior Olympic qualifying time, she didn’t even mention it, opting instead to talk about how much fun she had at a sleepover. She’s not the type of kid to brag and rub things in. When you tell her she did a good job with a race, most times she smiles and then stares at the floor.  She rarely takes credit for all of her hard work, and she does work hard. After working so hard for months to break that record, she was excited to share it with her class. And what did she get? “You’re mean!” whispered to her across the classroom, then screamed in her face at lunch in front of a table full of girls, and then told via one of her friends through the grapevine too, because the other two methods weren’t enough. Why is the other girl mad? Because she used to beat Swim Girl in that stroke. Not anymore, not even close. I always tell Swim Girl that jealousy and nastiness weigh you down and cause drag, in life and especially in the pool. How right I am.

It’s not just the mean and nasty stuff that bothers me either. Yesterday, my daughter showed me the “status” of some of her friends on Skype. Two of her friends have something that says they are “in a (sic) relashinship.” My question is “how can you be in one if you can’t even spell it?”

I happen to be friends with my daughter on Skype. I don’t allow her to have a cell phone at the very young age of 10. However, she does have an iPod Touch that she saved up for and bought herself. She has Skype on it and uses it primarily to communicate with her grandmother and grandfather who live hours away.  I like being able to text her at swim meets and when she’s at a friend’s house. I am constantly monitoring her communication on Skype, and I often don’t like what I see from some of her “friends.”

Yesterday, she had a friend telling her to change her status to reflect that she is also in a “relashinship.” She happens to have a boy who is a friend that she hangs out with a lot at school. Sometimes he calls her. I monitor those calls too. Mostly, they talk about cannibalism, funny movies they’ve seen and other random, harmless stuff. They don’t talk about their feelings. There’s no “I love you” or not drama. They are just two kids who get along really well and have a lot in common. They remind me a lot of me and my best guy friend in school.They frequently sit together at lunch or talk at recess. They are friends and it is a completely innocent friendship.   I see quite the opposite with some other girls who are her age.

The truth of the matter is that many girls her age like boys; my daughter likes to swim. Swim Girl spends at least five days a week in the pool which amounts to about eight hours minimum each week (not including meets). She practices “up” with the older age groups and she more than holds her own. A couple weeks ago, she heard a couple girls talking about her in the locker room after practice. They were talking about how hard she works and how much she deserves the successes she has had. She has found a really great group of girls at her swim club, a group that supports her accomplishments.  At this past weekend’s meet, one of the 13 year old girls came up to her after her 50 free race and gave her a high five. This 13-year old then turned to me and said, “She had an amazing race! She is only like two seconds off of my time and I’m 13! That was awesome!” I only wish she had more girls like that at school.

There are a few of them. One girl swims with her at her club and is quite good herself. The two times in recent weeks when Swim Girl has been attacked by the very jealous “You’re mean” girl, this friend has stuck up for her. They do exist; I have to keep telling myself that, because otherwise I would want to rip her out of school and just home-school her. I know you can’t protect your kid from nasty people. The truth is they exist and they’re everywhere. At some point, she’s going to have to learn how to deal with them; she actually did a pretty good job of it yesterday. I just wish she had a little more time to be a kid before her dad and I had to start having “insult class” with her at home, to teach her how to hold her own when girls are nasty. I wish I had a little more time before I had to be lying in bed at night thinking about how to insulate her from this crap.

While  many parents dread the day when their daughter moves on to middle school, I can’t wait. Diluting the nastiness is exactly what needs to happen; and I’m hoping that she will expand on the few good friends she has at school now and form a solid group that insulates her from all the drama. When  my daughter hears about someone else doing well with swimming, she congratulates them and she truly means it. She shakes hands with the girls who beat her at swim meets and the ones she beats too. I have raised a good little athlete, but I have also raised a good sport. Shame on the parents who haven’t.

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Finally. . .

October 29, 2011 by · 13 Comments
Filed under: Uncategorized, Woah Baby 

When I celebrated successfully passing my black belt test, I had a cake made for the party. It had one word on it. . . finally. Once again, life has shown me that good things are definitely worth the wait.

On Thursday, October 20th, Mr. BBM and I arrived at the hospital. After waiting it out until 42 weeks, there was no sign that the baby was coming on his own. After an appointment on Wednesday revealed I was only 3 cm dilated and 50-60% effaced, an induction was the only option. I was encouraged that my midwife said the baby’s head was at 0 station. I was hoping that would speed labor along.

Clearly experienced parents, we arrived with only one bag and a bag of sandwiches for after the delivery. We were quickly escorted to our labor and delivery room and I was less than thrilled. The walls were this pale awful green and the bathroom had a big shower, but no tub. A water birth, this would not be.

I changed into the hospital gown I was given and they started the monitors. I was told that the induction would begin around 6 p.m., but nothing in the hospital is ever on time. Mr. BBM watched the contraction monitor and it was showing contractions every 7 to 10 minutes. It was nice to know that the many weeks of contractions I had been feeling were not just in my head.

Finally, my midwife arrived. She had been monitoring me from the desk. If my contractions had been any closer together, she would not have been able to induce me with “miso.” Pitocin would have been the drug of choice. I was so thankful they weren’t any closer together. Pitocin. . .been there, done that and never had a plan to revisit that. My midwife placed the miso behind my cervix. I was 3 cm dilated and about 50-60% effaced. I had a feeling it was going to be a long night.

It wasn’t long after the miso was put in place that I started having some serious contractions that were pretty close together, as in 2-4 minutes apart. I had to remain on the monitors for an hour and I spent that time trying to close my eyes and rest.  At one point, a  nurse came in and told me they could give me something to help me sleep. I asked what the options were and when she got to injected dilaudid, I got annoyed. They were all told I wanted to do things naturally. That would have made me unconscious and the baby groggy after birth. That’s the drug they gave to Mr. BBM after emergency abdominal surgery. I told her “no thanks.” After an hour or so I was finally able to get up and walk.

Mr. BBM and I started the first of many laps around the labor and delivery floor. Just like with Sassy’s birth, I was the only one doing laps. After a couple hours of laps, the contractions were getting wicked enough that walking was becoming really difficult. Still though, the breaks between contractions were nice and every once in a while I would get a 4 minute break. This, although a nice reprieve, also had me scared. I kept asking Mr. BBM to keep track of the contractions. I was afraid at several points, that they were slowing down and would just stop. Clearly, the weeks of contractions that went nowhere had me traumatized. Still though, there was much laughing as we did our laps. When I was in labor with Sassy, during a particularly wicked contraction, I had actually drooled/spit on the floor at one point. Mr. BBM was waiting for a repeat.

During one of our laps, a med student approached me and introduced herself. She asked if she could be present at the birth and I agreed. She was giddy with joy when I said, “yes.” During one of the many laps I walked, I heard my midwife talking to her about natural child birth. I’m sure some of those nurses thought I was a freak for going without the drugs; to others, I was a rockstar, same with Sassy.

For 15 minutes out of every hour, I had to be on the monitors and they showed a strong labor pattern almost from the start. I used those 15 minutes to refuel and ate lemon ice, jello and drank tons of water and juice. I knew I needed to do it early, because when things get rough, you don’t feel like doing anything except surviving.

My midwife suggested I get in the shower and try to relax. The nurses set it up for me and I spent a lot of time in the shower with the hot water focused on my back. Eventually I was feeling water-logged and like I just needed to sit down for a bit so I got out and was busy telling Mr. BBM how good it felt to just rinse off and feel nice and clean.

It was around midnight now and my midwife came in to check my progress. I was happy to hear that I was 80-90% effaced, but only being 5 cm was a huge disappointment. My midwife was encouraging, telling me that being that effaced would mean faster progress. I wasn’t buying it. She brought in a birthing ball and recommended I contort myself around the ball. It was tough. There I was on my bed, with my left knee on the bed, my body bent over the birthing ball and my right leg up around the right side of the ball. The baby needed to move into position with his back against the front of my belly and he wasn’t rotated there yet. During the rough contorted contractions, Mr. BBM rubbed my lower back and my midwife massaged my shoulders.

My midwife decided she would get everything ready for the baby’s arrival. She said she had a feeling that when it was time, it was going to be time quickly. She wanted to be ready. At the time, I was thinking that I hoped she was right but I wasn’t convinced myself.

After spending so much time in the shower and feeling all nice and clean, I weathered about two contractions leaning on the birthing ball before we all heard a pop and my water broke. I couldn’t help but feel a little happy that even though I was being induced, my water had broken on its own. I immediately asked if the fluid was clear or not. When you’re carrying around a 42 week gestation baby, you worry about meconium a lot. There wasn’t even a trace of it and the relief I felt was huge. Soon after my water broke, I began to feel kicks in different areas. My midwife confirmed that the baby had moved into position. I wanted to keep him there so I went back in the shower and spent the beginning of transition in there weathering the contractions with help from the wall hand rails. It felt good to rinse off again.

I came out after quite some time in the shower, and planted myself on the birthing ball. Mr. BBM moved the pillows to the edge of the bed for me and between nasty contractions, I rested my head and tried to sleep.  The shower and birthing ball were quickly becoming my best friends. My midwife had also shown Mr. BBM a wonderful little trick to do while I weathered contractions. Using the heel of his palm, he pushed it hard into my lower back/hip area and simultaneously pulled the knee on the same side back towards the pressure. It took the edge off the contractions. Between that, my breathing, and visualizing myself sitting on a warm beach, I was surviving. I just hoped it wasn’t going to be much longer.

I knew I was going to feel worse laying down in my bed, but I needed a break from being upright. I got into bed and settled in on my left side. I told Mr. BBM I was feeling nauseated. I was also starting to shake a lot. I knew this was a sign of transition; I had been shaking since I was in the shower, but I was still in denial about it.  I closed my eyes and tried to take each contraction, one at a time. I couldn’t allow myself to think about the next one before I could get through the one I was riding out. I heard Mr. BBM say, “well, we’re not going to have a 1 a.m. baby” (like our other two). I felt like I was getting close but I still had the 5 cm in the back of my head. I hoped it would be over soon. It was now 2 a.m.

At about 2:05 a.m., I had a wicked contraction and as it peaked, I felt the baby begin his journey out. It took me by surprise because with the other two, I had always felt such an urge to push. This baby just decided he was coming. I immediately started telling Mr. BBM that something had changed. They needed to come check me immediately. I hit the nurse call button and told them I was having a lot of pressure and that I needed to be checked now. I must have sounded pretty serious because my midwife and a bunch of nurses came running in seconds later.

My midwife arrived with her team of nurses and the med student. I could hear her telling everyone that she was glad she readied all the gowns and things she would need a couple hours earlier. In my head, I kept thinking, “why is she gowning up before checking to see if this is really it?” I guess I was still in denial. I heard her say something about pushing the lip of my cervix back and then she was telling me to push when I felt like it. I couldn’t believe I was already pushing. The next contraction came and I pushed as hard as I could. It felt different than with the girls. I felt like I was pushing out a boulder. I made a decision then and there, that I was getting this baby out as fast as possible. I couldn’t stand the pain anymore. With each push, I started throwing up too. They weren’t prepared for that so my midwife told me to just spit it out. A minute later, someone brought me a cup.  I was really glad I had been on my left side. If I had been on my back that would have been even nastier.

All my showers had been for nothing. I was turning into the girl from “The Exorcist.” After about five contractions, my midwife told me to reach down and feel my baby. I felt his head, which was finally out and knew the next contraction and push was going to be brutal. I pulled back on my legs, with help from the nurse and Mr. BBM and decided he was coming out with this contraction. Enough was enough. The shoulders were brutal, but after a lot of yelling, groaning, and some throwing up, he was out. I had pushed for only 8 minutes.

I sat up a little and grabbed my baby son and pulled him up onto my chest. I heard my midwife say something like “see, he’s about 7.5-8 lbs. He’s not too big.” His body was pink but his face was purple and he wasn’t making a lot of noise and didn’t seem to be breathing like he should. I kept asking if he was ok. My midwife assured me he was fine and allowed the cord to continue to pulse.  As they continued suctioning his mouth out, and as I rubbed his back, he started to pink up. He seemed to know right where to look and we spent the next 10 minutes or so just staring at each other and studying each other’s faces. He was so calm and adorable. His skin, completely free of vernix after cooking those extra 15 days, felt warm and like velvet. Within minutes, he was trying to nurse right through my hospital gown.

After delivering the placenta, they decided to weigh and measure him and get him swaddled. When they put him on the scale, everyone was shocked. 8 lbs. 15 oz. My midwife didn’t see that one coming. Neither did I. The nurse said something about needing to check his blood sugar since he was so big. If I hadn’t been so exhausted from the previous two hours, I would have told them to use common sense. He cooked for an extra two weeks; he’s fine. And of course, I was right. The baby’s temperature was also a bit elevated; but the midwife told them to hold off and wait a little while. I had spent an awful lot of time in the hot shower. His temperature came back to normal in no time.

Swaddled and content, they handed him back to me and I spent the next two hours just staring at him, nursing him and getting to know my son, the third baby that I had wanted but didn’t think was possible, the third baby that started as an “oops” had turned into a “meant to be.”

My son was born on the 50th anniversary of his grandmother’s death. My Dad lost his Mom when he was only 10 years old. This little man may have arrived “late” to me, but to my extended family, he arrived right on time. . . right in time to replace a bad memory with one so amazing, so very good.

I brought him home from the hospital one week ago today and we are already so completely in love with him. This is just the beginning of all the wonderful memories we’ll all be making together.

Welcome to the world, my baby meant-to-be.

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