Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Luxuriating in Illness



First, an update: I am already over the disappointment of having a boy. I think that was pretty dumb on the whole. Much like those of my daughter, my reactions to things are huge, over-the-top, and ultimately fleeting.

In addition, I have worse things to deal with. Like a pernicious virus that has swept through this house like the Asian tsunami, kept me out of work 2 weeks, and left nearly lifeless bodies in its wake. Charlotte succumbed first, running temperatures of 105, and worst of all, sleeping fitfully, an hour at a time. Usually her illnesses, once I determine they are not life-threatening, work to my benefit. She practically slips into a coma. On the rare occasions she is awake, I feel completely justified sticking her in front of the TV because that is all she has energy for. All I have to do is check to make sure she is breathing every now and then. Now, she has never had a vomiting illness, those are a different story entirely. I honestly don't even know what you are supposed to do in those cases, it's not like you can instantly rubberize your entire home. But this recent illness was bad enough. It was like having a newborn again, and once again, it was scientifically demonstrated in the laboratory that I can go exactly 2 days on little sleep without basically becoming a mental patient. It was also once again proven that if I were a stay at home mom, both Charlotte and I would become horrible people. I always instruct her that if she is going to get sick, she needs to do so Thursday-Sunday, days which I am home anyway and have no child care. But this time, she chose to get sick Saturday-Wednesday, meaning I missed an entire week of daycare/work and was home with her for 11 days straight. By the end of that time, her mommy addiction had been fed to the point of complete overdose, like she was coming off a massive crack bender or something. I mean, she was a little terror. And so was I, quite frankly. There is something about being locked in a home with a rabid toddler that starts to wear on a person.

So, when I fell ill with the virus that next Saturday, I was more than a little bit relieved. True, I felt like crap, and I was still pregnant, which makes everything worse. I even vomited twice, something that is so traumatic for me, I cry uncontrollably over my certainly impending death every time it happens, which is mercifully rare. As you might imagine, I've never been a binge drinker. On the other hand, I had the perfect excuse--and for a mom, such a rare experience, like meeting a nice French person--to go in my room, shut the door, and expect her other parent to fully take care of Charlotte. Because, unlike Charlotte, I timed my illness perfectly for once. I had Kevin on the weekend--and workaholic though he is, he could not fail to come to the aid of his sick, PREGNANT wife--then daycare Monday-Wednesday. Things do not always work out like this, and I maintain that there are few experiences in life worse than having to take care of a small child while you are deathly ill. Breast feeding while deathly ill, or even while perfectly well, is the only one I can think of. Perhaps being forced to watch an Olsen twins movie.

But if you have someone to take care of your small child, being sick as a mom is kind of like checking into a spa. Other than the vomiting, of course, although I'm sure there are "cleansing" spas in LA where people pay thousands of dollars to be induced to vomit. This is now Day 4 of laying around in my bed, sleeping, watching a bunch of crap on TV (although if I see one more interview with the Twilight stars talking about their kissing scenes, I believe I will vomit voluntarily), and having your husband wait on you hand and foot, when he isn't keeping your child out of your hair. Which you don't even have to wash. And best of all, I lost a bunch of weight, which I shouldn't be happy about, given I am pregnant, but since my doctor is unconcerned, neither am I. That is why women have piles of cellulite anyway, right? So they can feed their babies even when starving to death? Glad it's finally doing more than preventing me from ever wearing shorts again. At this rate, I may actually stay within the recommended weight gain limits according to those stupid books and only be mistaken for a dolphin instead of a whale in the third trimester.

it's pretty sad that a mom has to contract a violent viral infection to catch a break, but no matter, I'll take it.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Oh, the Horror

I had my 12 week ultrasound yesterday (but at 14 weeks because the scheduler apparently cannot do math). Anyway, everything looked pretty good. Except for that penis she saw. Even I could see it. I could hear God taunting me as I gazed at it in horror. Some people will tell you they don't care what they have "as long as it's healthy." I will tell you that I do NOT want to have a boy.

As everyone knows, I don't really like small children, period. A lot of people find that offensive and wonder why I then had children (Ironically, these are the same people who got all worked up 15 years ago when I told people I did not want to have children. I guess some people are never happy.) To me, it's very understandable why I had children, I honestly think it's the same reason anyone has children, so they can one day have GROWN children. Or at least children who do not have a tantrum when you explain to them it is physically impossible for them to sleep in a shoebox.

To me, boys are the distillation of early childhood in its most potent form. Now, I know there are vast differences in individual children, and I have known little boys who are quite civilized and little girls who would put the fear of God into Kim Jong Il. Some people think good parenting makes the difference, but they flatter themselves. I am convinced that nature accounts for at least 75% of the equation, which is terrifying to consider, because it largely turns things into a crap shoot. And I think when one has a little boy, they are more likely to lose out on that crap shoot, at least if they cherish their possessions, their sedentary lifestyle, and their sanity, as I do very deeply. Little boys are the reason why there are products to lock down every object in your home that moves, opens, slides, or electrocutes (none of which I have yet to purchase for my little girl). They are the reason a bottle of Tylenol can't be opened without power tools. They are probably the reason so many lawyers in this country are so rich and why there are disclaimers on things as seemingly harmless as a fitted sheet warning of sure death and destruction if not kept out of the hands of children. In short, they scare the living crap out of me, and I want no part of them.

Unfortunately, I am going to have to get over this, unless I plan to be an even worse mother to this child than I am to Charlotte, which I really can't afford. I mean, when girls go bad, they just tell you they hate you and maybe have a child out of wedlock, which is bad enough, but when boys go bad, they shoot up a school. I have had many helpful friends encourage me by telling me how much they love their little boys and how there are many good things about little boys. Of course, none of these friends are as lazy and pessimistic as I am, but I did find their words heartening. However, to combat my bad attitude, I am going to have to find reasons of my own that are relevant to me and my own life. So, I am going to start now by listing the benefits I might reap from a son.

First of all, and this is a big one, probably the top one--Now that I am having a boy, my cankles are really irrelevant. No one cares if guys have cankles, in fact, it makes them appear more sturdy. My dad has cankles, which he generously gave to both his daughters, and I don't think he has ever agonized over which shoes might make them less noticeable (incidentally, it is a wedge, in case you are wondering). Of course, now my weak jaw, plus autism and psychopathy, are bigger worries than they would be for a girl, but I really don't think anything can trump cankles on a girl.

Secondly, my son may destroy my house, but at least he should leave me alone. I don't think you can simultaneously destroy a house and cling to someone's legs demanding that they hold you like Charlotte does all day, every day. I might even willingly sacrifice some of my Africa Crap for an hour to myself. Of course, this assumes Charlotte eventually grows out of her current preference for living in symbiotic relationship with my lap. My worst nightmare is that she will not, AND I will have a boy destroying everything I own. I can just see myself attempting to run after the boy as he impales himself on a giraffe sculpture while Charlotte desperately affixes herself to my leg. But I think she will have to get over it if she wants to live to see adulthood, which she may not, quite honestly. She gives every impression of wanting to stay an infant forever or to die trying.

In addition, I think I can also use a son to make my husband do more work. For instance, he has never allowed Charlotte to see him in any state of undress, because he thinks it will scar her for life. I think I can make the case that the same is true for a boy child and his mother, which will necessitate Kevin blocking out an hour every day so that I may shower and dress alone in order not to scar our son. Also, it should make him more supportive when I inevitably give up breast feeding. He may actually beg me not to ever breast feed, so when the nazis come after me, I can just blame it on him. That would be pretty awesome.

Next, although having a boy will necessitate I buy a bunch more baby clothes--which will cost money I could have spent on someone really important, myself--I find boy clothes so uninspiring, it's doubtful I will be tempted to buy many of them. It's really the same with men's clothes. Buy three polo shirts in different colors, khakis and a pair of jeans and you should be good for the next 20 years. And even then the only thing that will change is the khakis will probably go back to being pleated instead of flat front. If you saved your pair from the early 1990's, you still won't have to buy anything new, at least until we go all space-age and start wearing Star Trek uniforms.

Choosing a name should also be easier, since there are really like 10 guy names. Put David, Michael, William, Alex, Ryan, Brian, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John in a hat and just draw a name. It's really that simple. And boring, but let's stay focused on the positive side of things.

Lastly, for today anyway, boy decor will probably go better in our spare room, the ceiling of which is slanted and painted blue already for an eventual sky motif. If it was a girl, I was going to have to do something really radical, like combine pink with blue. I am not sure the baby decor world could handle that.

Wow, I'm already feeling better. Not really, but I've got 6 more months to work on it. Worst comes to worst, I'll fly in my former boss, Jerry, who can always be counted on to spout an endless stream of annoying yet mysteriously penetrating optimism.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Woman Uses Toddlers to Treat Phobias

(Note: For the more oblivous among you, this is a satirical "article" in the style of The Onion. It is not true, so please don't become outraged.)

A Springfield, Missouri mother with no academic training in psychology has pioneered the next big therapy revolution, what she calls Toddler Therapy. The technique places adults with phobias in the situations they fear with a toddler under their care. The phobic individuals are so consumed by the unruly behavior of the toddler, the fear of the situation itself pales in comparison. Jane Smith explains that she came up with the idea while traveling on a plane with her two-year-old daughter, Susie. "I used to be a nervous flyer. I would do a Hail Mary at take off and landing just in case the plane went down. But flying with Susie, if I thought about death at all, it just seemed like a relief."

Mike Jones was successfuly treated for a fear of snakes. He was paired with 2-year-old Johnny and placed in a room with several non-poisonous snakes. "Johnny immediately started stepping on the snakes, swinging them around, biting them...I couldn't believe it, but I found myself coming to their rescue. I felt too sorry for them to be afraid." Annette Miller had a similar experience while being treated for agoraphobia. Once in a public place with 2-year-old Joey, she didn't have time to have a panic attack. "He was immediately on the other side of the park, had his diaper off, and was peeing on an elderly woman. What was I supposed to do? I couldn't very well assume the fetal position."

Smith's therapies have aroused plenty of controversy. She has been investigated for child abuse and child labor law violations. But attempts to pursue legal action against her have so far not been successful because she has the permission of all the toddlers' parents. "When I first had the idea, I thought it wouldn't work because where was I going to find parents willing to let an emotionally unstable person babysit their kid? ," she says. "Turns out, there are plenty of parents of toddlers who will do almost anything for free childcare." She explains this is particularly true of very badly behaved toddlers, the ones who work best in her therapies anyway.

Still, she worries her legal troubles may one day catch up with her and is exploring other options, including using celebrity adults instead of toddlers. "I think having to cater to Mariah Carey or Diana Ross could have the same effect as taking care of a toddler," Smith surmises. "In both cases, you would have to deal with outrageous, self-centered behavior." She has been in contact with the Los Angeles Police Department about allowing celebrities sentenced to community service to participate in her program. She says both Naomi Campbell and Lindsay Lohan have expressed interest. "I think either of them would be ideal," she says.