My Blogging Resume: I Probably Shouldn’t Waste Money on Fancy Paper

My good pal over at Sammiches and Psych Meds signed up to attend her first blogging conference at Blog U this summer and she’s trying to get me to go with her.  Apparently things get way more formal than one might assume and bloggers bring business cards and writing resumes, hoping to make connections and sell themselves. The thing is she’s actually a real blogger and writer and I’m more of the fake kind. So, while her writing resume is actually like … a resume. Mine looks more like this:

Bloggy Resume 1

Lack of credentials aside, I might go anyway. I’m intrigued. And she’s fun to drink with.

Anyone been to a blogging conference and have any info to share with us newbies? Anyone going to Blog U?

The Two Phrases That Keep Me Moving In The Right Direction

Yoga is a place for me to get a little therapy, in a bit of an incognito way.  A good yoga instructor doesn’t just teach the physical postures, the asanas, but also garnishes insights and poses questions that inspire reflection on important principles of healthy being.  It is hard to focus when our brains are abuzz with anxieties, and to-do lists constantly swirl around in our heads.  The asanas exist to wring out the body and clear the mind, so we are able to focus on what is important.  There are two simple ideas that are consistently returned to by the yogis at the studio, that have really stuck with me, off the mat.

Be Compassionate.

How do I apply it? I try to ask myself questions, or think of statements like these, especially when I find myself feeling frustrated or annoyed:

Are they doing okay?
What’s the root of the behavior I’m so annoyed with?
Are they acting that way because they are stressed or tired?
Are they having an off day/week/month/year?
Am I focusing only on the negative?
Do they need some help?
Do they need a smile? A hug?
Do they need me to back off?
What can I do to help?
Nobody is perfect.  Not even me.  And that’s okay.
Everyone has their “thing”.  Even me.  And that’s okay.
Everyone does what they can, at the time.  Sometimes it’s a lot, sometimes it’s very little.
Are you recognizing all the good they do?  Am I recognizing all the good I am doing?
Are you beating them up because they aren’t doing everything perfectly?  Are you beating yourself up?
Are you being gentle with them?  With yourself?

There are millions of questions that all boil down to the same thing.  Am I being compassionate with myself and others?  Being compassionate doesn’t mean needing to set yourself on fire to keep others warm, which is why, for me, compassion is balanced with honesty.

Be Honest.

How do I apply it? I ask myself questions like these:

Am I working hard enough?
Am I doing what I can?
Do I need a break?
Do they need a break?
Am I giving him/her a chance?
Am I being too harsh?
Am I being too lenient?
Have I done all I can?
Am I taking things too personally?
Do I have enough information to make any kind of judgment?
Am I reading too much between the lines?
Am I giving enough attention to those around me? Am I giving enough attention to me?
Can I keep jogging another mile or am I too tired?  Do I need to slow down? Can I speed up?
Do I really want to eat that donut?

There are millions of questions that all ask the same thing, Am I being honest?

It’s a funny thing how being truthful helps balance out the never-ending-giving that compassion warrants, however it also usually results in more compassion in the end.

I am by no means empathetic and honest at all times, especially right in the heat of the moment. But I won’t beat myself up about it.  I’ll just keep working to be better and these two little phrases will help get me there.

This post is part of 1000 Voices for Compassion – A thousand (plus!) bloggers have decided to clog the newsfeeds with COMPASSION today to help counter the doom and gloom we so often scroll through.  There’s a lot of good out there, people.  Click on the image below to read the post from Finding Ninee, (one of my fave bloggers and one of the hosts of this blogging event) as well as links to many other uplifting posts.

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Search #1000speak on Twitter for more uplifting posts!

Highly Sensitive: Not A New Year’s Resolution Resolution

Today I went to the dentist. I almost didn’t, but I knew I had to.  For several months I could feel impending dental doom.  With my tongue, I traced and retraced the already sensitive space between the top of my tooth and my gum line, feeling a widening gap that felt more zingy and twingy and oh-my-god-don’t-touch-me-y.  Lately my hot coffees and cold beers have been two necessary evils.  Pleasure mixed with pain.  I went in to the appointment worried that at this rate by the time I hit my sixties or seventies my teeth would be like those of a neglected pet guinea pig who has been unable to wear down their dentition, only my teeth would appear to be extending upwards, due to excessive gum erosion, instead of uninterrupted downward growth. As it turns out, I have a bit of recession, but nothing too out of the ordinary, and the real culprit is just that I’m highly sensitive.

Story of my life.

As I sat reclined on the chair, my hands were clenched and my glasses fogged up, and beams of light from the fluorescent bulb created little rainbows as they passed through beads of sweat that had collected on the dentist-appointed specs.  Even though the sensitivity paste had been slathered on and the numbing gel applied carefully on top of that, I still couldn’t help but anticipate the horrific scraping and zinging of impending nerve pain. As she was cleaning the wine and coffee stains from my soon-to-be pearly whites, Corrine, my favorite dental hygienist (and the only person on this planet I will let near my teeth) sensed my  non-verbal cues and asked me,

“Can you feel anything?”

“Nope. I just need to relax”.

Story of my life.

My anxieties are always high and I’m perpetually taking everything more personally than I probably should. The problem is that for many of us sensitive folks it probably looks like we don’t care. We get hurt and try to hide it and then at a certain point we feel we keep get beaten down and then we lash out. Act like an asshole. Leave the ones who inadvertently hurt us feeling a sting of their own.  They are confused and feel we’re being unreasonable and the cycle continues.

I used to be like this with my teeth. I avoided the dentist for a couple of years (horrible idea, I absolutely do not recommend this plan of action to anyone) because of my sensitivity pain and when I finally went back in I immediately demanded Novocaine, probably at a much higher volume, and octave, than was considered appropriate for speaking indoors. Thankfully, Corrine saw my pain through my assholery and as it turned out she came up with some much better alternatives than shots in the gums. But, most people aren’t as perceptive as Corrine.  It would be easy to misunderstand why I avoided going back, some might think I was a lazy schlob who didn’t give a shit about hygiene at all, or they might think I was a hypochondriac who just wants all the medical attention on me, or they might think I’m just an ass who likes to yell at people and make them feel bad. But that’s not the case.  I was just in pain and afraid of more pain and neither of those feelings tend to result in our best behavior.

So, while I’m not one for resolutions, I am one for continuously trying to improve oneself.  I’m resolving to work on my sensitivities.  As in, not avoiding them until the problem compounds, and not acting like an asshole because of them.

Today I got a special varnish application on my teeth to help with the dental sensitivity issue.  Wish me luck in dealing with my heightened reactivity in the other areas of my life.

teeth

Highly Sensitive: Not A New Year's Resolution Resolution

Today I went to the dentist. I almost didn’t, but I knew I had to.  For several months I could feel impending dental doom.  With my tongue, I traced and retraced the already sensitive space between the top of my tooth and my gum line, feeling a widening gap that felt more zingy and twingy and oh-my-god-don’t-touch-me-y.  Lately my hot coffees and cold beers have been two necessary evils.  Pleasure mixed with pain.  I went in to the appointment worried that at this rate by the time I hit my sixties or seventies my teeth would be like those of a neglected pet guinea pig who has been unable to wear down their dentition, only my teeth would appear to be extending upwards, due to excessive gum erosion, instead of uninterrupted downward growth. As it turns out, I have a bit of recession, but nothing too out of the ordinary, and the real culprit is just that I’m highly sensitive.

Story of my life.

As I sat reclined on the chair, my hands were clenched and my glasses fogged up, and beams of light from the fluorescent bulb created little rainbows as they passed through beads of sweat that had collected on the dentist-appointed specs.  Even though the sensitivity paste had been slathered on and the numbing gel applied carefully on top of that, I still couldn’t help but anticipate the horrific scraping and zinging of impending nerve pain. As she was cleaning the wine and coffee stains from my soon-to-be pearly whites, Corrine, my favorite dental hygienist (and the only person on this planet I will let near my teeth) sensed my  non-verbal cues and asked me,

“Can you feel anything?”

“Nope. I just need to relax”.

Story of my life.

My anxieties are always high and I’m perpetually taking everything more personally than I probably should. The problem is that for many of us sensitive folks it probably looks like we don’t care. We get hurt and try to hide it and then at a certain point we feel we keep get beaten down and then we lash out. Act like an asshole. Leave the ones who inadvertently hurt us feeling a sting of their own.  They are confused and feel we’re being unreasonable and the cycle continues.

I used to be like this with my teeth. I avoided the dentist for a couple of years (horrible idea, I absolutely do not recommend this plan of action to anyone) because of my sensitivity pain and when I finally went back in I immediately demanded Novocaine, probably at a much higher volume, and octave, than was considered appropriate for speaking indoors. Thankfully, Corrine saw my pain through my assholery and as it turned out she came up with some much better alternatives than shots in the gums. But, most people aren’t as perceptive as Corrine.  It would be easy to misunderstand why I avoided going back, some might think I was a lazy schlob who didn’t give a shit about hygiene at all, or they might think I was a hypochondriac who just wants all the medical attention on me, or they might think I’m just an ass who likes to yell at people and make them feel bad. But that’s not the case.  I was just in pain and afraid of more pain and neither of those feelings tend to result in our best behavior.

So, while I’m not one for resolutions, I am one for continuously trying to improve oneself.  I’m resolving to work on my sensitivities.  As in, not avoiding them until the problem compounds, and not acting like an asshole because of them.

Today I got a special varnish application on my teeth to help with the dental sensitivity issue.  Wish me luck in dealing with my heightened reactivity in the other areas of my life.

teeth

Dream #17: Growing and Trafficking Miniscule Humans

DREAM:

A group of us were involved in a human trafficking scheme, but not your typical ABC news report kind – Miniature Human trafficking.  As in, people who were about three inches tall, perfectly sized to be placed on top of a Rubix Cube on a desk, or to be used as live coffee table art.  And, that’s basically what these mini-humans were for – but they weren’t intended as pets or creatures to be cared for and nurtured. They were throwaways.  Used for entertainment, recreating battles where the mini-humans destroyed one another in Gladiator fashion or as slave labor for very teeny-tiny tasks, and then discarded.  Disposable, since they weren’t real people.

New batches were constantly needed and I was one of the people involved in the growing process.  Our Miniature Humans started out as miniscule seeds, and in this respect they were like plants, they needed nourishment, a bit of attention and the right conditions.  The seeds needed to be hidden in “nutrient balls”, which in many cases meant scoops of tuna fish and mayo.  My crew and I would hide the balls of food, stuffed with human seeds, in the produce department of grocery stores, in open-ended bags of romaine, our secret cultures tucked beneath the leaves.

One day I was hiding the stash and I had just placed the last orb behind a lettuce leaf and was getting ready to leave when one of my partners came up and grabbed a pile of papers I had set down in the produce area while I was working.  The papers had my name on them and my partner was very concerned that I might have accidentally left them behind. If our illegal mini-humans were discovered, along with these papers, they might connect the illegal activity to us.

 

ANALYSIS:

 

TUNAFISH: DreamMoods tells me that seeing tuna in my dream symbolizes stamina and agility and that I will build character and become stronger. I have been working to regain my strength and stamina after giving birth to Baby Grouch six months ago. Running is one of the metrics I’m using to gauge my post baby progress. My long run distance is up to 17 miles and I have a personal goal jogging a 20-miler to reach. Should be there in a couple of weeks. Running keeps me sane(ish) and helps always tired me to feel (more) alert, but one of the biggest reasons I run is how delicious my bacon, eggs and coffee (spiked with kahlua) tastes when I’m done. Soooo much better than usual. It’s addictive. Chomp. Sip. Smile.

SEEDS: Dreamforth says that to dream of seeds represents productivity, tradition, and endless possibilities while Dream Moods informs me that seeing seeds symbolizes fertility, heritage, potential, and continuity of life. Now is the time to start a new venture. I feel like my psyche is just telling me to get involved in a human trafficking scheme. I am always wondering where my next career path will lead, perhaps I have subconsciously discovered an exciting new line of work ahead of me? Regular sized humans seem like they would be much more of a pain in the ass.

HUMAN TRAFFICKING:  This was definitely not in the dream dictionary, however DreamForth tells me that being cruel “may be pointing to the necessity of recognizing your dark side such as negative feelings, intentions, and emotions”. Not sure how much more I can recognize and embrace my bad side. I’ve written about my depression and other mental health issues, as well as our infertility struggles. I’ve got a whole blog named after my exhaustion. What else do I need to do for my dark passenger? Do I need to have a party for it? Give it a trophy? Put it on a pedestal and bow to my bitchiness within? Pretty sure Mr. Grouch would not be throwing confetti in the air or sipping a champagne toast to any of that.

As always, dream interpretation and analysis seems pointless. Yet I push on.

The Day We Caught Our Kids Looking At Their Butt Holes – A Guest Post by Clint Edwards

Today we are honored and privileged to have the distinguished Clint Edwards, author of No Idea What I’m Doing:  A Daddy Blog, sharing one of his gems with us.  I hope you enjoy hearing about his struggles dealing with the crazy-ass (pun intended) scenarios, that are an inevitable part of parenting, as much as I did.

clint

THE DAY WE CAUGHT OUR KIDS LOOKING AT THEIR BUTT HOLES

My wife, Mel, approached me in the kitchen and said, “I just caught the kids looking at their butt holes. We should talk to them about that.”

Mel was in jeans, and wearing a pink and white maternity top. In her right arm was our new baby, Aspen. It was Mel’s 32nd birthday, and it was a Friday evening. I’d just placed candles in Mel’s cake and was washing my hands at the sink.

It took me a moment to figure out what the hell she just said. I played a scene out in my head where Tristan (age 7) and Norah (age 4) were naked, bending over, and giggling. In my mind, it seemed innocent enough, but the more I thought about it, the stranger it became.

One of my duties as a father was to get the kids ready for bed, which really was a collection of other duties, one of them being herding the kids into the bath. Moments earlier, I’d started filling up the tub in the kids’ bathroom, and started the shower in the parents’ bathroom, and then stepped into the kitchen while Tristan and Norah got undressed. Somehow in the few moments it took me to walk down the hall to the kitchen, our children had decided to explore their butts.

Shit like this was the main reason they were bathing separately. About six months ago both kids were in the tub. Mel caught Tristan and Norah play fighting. Tristan was wielding his penis like a weapon, while Norah was holding a rubber ducky like a sword. The rest of the details are sketchy, but from what I understand the weapons collided. There were giggles. Then Mel made Tristan move into the other bathroom. When Mel broke up this ducky penis fight, Tristan and Norah acted like she was the strange one. Like she was the one who needed decency education.

It was then that Mel and I decided they were getting too old to bathe together.

I have to assume that actions like this are a natural part of childhood curiosity, but at the same time, I feel an obligation as a parent to help my kids understand social decency. It’s probably nothing to worry about. But then again, it’s down right strange, and I want it to stop. I don’t want to be the parent of that dude in Central Park showing strangers his penis. Nor do I want to get an email down the road from someone telling me that my daughter has been spotted on Girls Gone Wild showing strangers (the world) her butt hole. I’m all for unconditional love, but right now, at this moment, I like the idea of my kids growing up to be responsible adults who dress modestly. Adults with families, carriers, and a complete and well-worn wardrobe. Call me old-fashioned, but the last thing I’m going to do is encourage genital to bath toy play fights, or the examination of family butts.

Mel and I were both standing in the kitchen now.

“Hold on…” I said. “Say that again.”

Mel let out a breath, like what she was saying was an everyday thing, and easy to understand, and the fact that I asked her to repeat it made me the fool.

“I was in Norah’s room getting some PJ’s for Aspen when I overheard Norah say, ‘What’s that hole in your butt?’ Then Tristan said, ‘It’s my butt hole. Want to look at it?’ I heard laughter. Once I came into the bathroom, things had obviously progressed because Tristan was now looking at Norah’s butt hole.”

She paused for a moment. Then she said, “We should have a talk with them.”

Usually when Mel says, “we should talk with them” she means, “You should talk with them.” Normally I fight this assumption, but I did consider that fact that it was Mel’s birthday. I thought about how I’d like to spend my birthday, and I knew that it wasn’t handling some strange moment like the one we were discussing.

“How exactly do you suggest I handle this?” I said.

I honestly didn’t know how to approach this subject. What were the ramifications of it all? What were my kids experimenting with? Was this something that needed to be handled? I never examined any of my siblings’ butts. I thought about asking Mel if she ever examined any of hers’, but then decided I’d rather not know.

If they weren’t brother and sister, that would be one thing. But they were, and that was just strange. I assumed that both were too young for this to be a sexual thing, but at the same time, I didn’t really know. It felt like we were moving into some strange new territory as parents, a land filled with brothers and sisters looking at each other’s butts. A community I’d rather not be a part of.

“Just go tell them that it’s not appropriate, and that they shouldn’t do it anymore.”

Her explanation sounded simple enough, but I knew that it wouldn’t be that easy. I wondered if I should speak to them together, or separately. I knew that I needed to chat with them tonight, or they would forget about the whole thing. I wondered if I should chat with them while they were bathing, if I should wait until we were all at the table eating birthday cake. I imagined it. Mel blowing out her candles after we sang the happy birthday song. Then we’d all sit around the table, and as we munched on cake, I’d bring up an awkward conversation about butt holes.

For the sake of Mel, I decided to talk to them individually as they bathed.

Tristan was in the shower. I thought for a moment before I approached him. I ran a few heart-felt parenting speeches through my head. Ones that I thought would be appropriate to handle such a strange subject. All of them seemed to start with “When a young boy becomes a man…” or “When I was a boy…”, but nothing I could think of really fit the complicated subject matter that I was dealing with.

Once I got to my son, all of those long-winded, Tim Taylor style, life changing dad speeches went out the window.

“Hey,” I said. “Don’t look at your sister’s butt hole.”

“Why not?” Tristan said.  He was naked, in the shower. Water was running down his chest, his mouth in a half frown, hands clenched in fists at his sides. He looked offended, like he was a teenager and I’d told him not to smoke pot, or hang out with a group of troublemakers.

Then he started laughing.

Tristan is a complex little guy. When faced with a situation he doesn’t like, or doesn’t understand, he will get angry at first, and then try to make a joke to lighten the situation. I did the same thing when I was young, so I understand his logic. But what I didn’t understand as a boy was how infuriating it is to try to talk to someone about a serious subject, and have the person laugh in your face, or make jokes the whole time.

“It’s weird,” I said. “Do you ever see me or mom looking at our butt holes?”

Tristan thought about this for a moment, and then he laughed. “I don’t know, but that would be really funny if you did.”

My question obviously didn’t help with his defense mechanism of laughter and joke making.

Rather than linger on what was obviously a bad comparison, I kept talking.

“Do you have friends that do that? Please tell me that you don’t have friends that look at your butt hole.”

“No. I don’t,” he said.

Then he started laughing harder, and I got worried that I’d just given him an idea. Suddenly I imaged getting a call home from school on this subject, and realized that, right then, I was failing as a father.

We went back and forth for a while. I explained to him that what he was doing was inappropriate and strange, and I didn’t want him to do it anymore.

“Fine,” he said while rolling his eyes. “I won’t look at Norah’s butt hole anymore.”

I wasn’t sure if I could believe him, so I said, “Do you promise?”

Tristan let out a long breath, “Yes! Dad!”

I didn’t push it any further.

“Thank you,” I said.

I approached Norah on the subject. She was stretched out in the tub, her head half underwater.

I asked her if she’d looked at Tristan’s butt hole, and she giggled.

Then she loudly cried, “Yup!” in her four-year-old chipper little voice.

I’m not sure if I laughed because of her response, or because the conversation was absurd, but what I do know is that I had to step from the room and regain my composure. I stood in the hallway for a while, listening to her giggle. I was a mix of silly laughter and anxiety, trying to understand if I was handling this situation appropriately.

It is in moments like these that I fully realize what people mean why they say there is no instruction manual on raising children. Would there be a chapter titled, “How to Approach Your Children About Not Looking At Their Sibling’s Butt,  And Turn It Into A Rewarding Moment”? No! I don’t think so.  How on earth could someone come up with a text complex enough to tackle the unexpected situations that can arise when raising a family?

Once I came back, I told Norah, in my best serious voice, that what she did was inappropriate and strange, and I asked her to never do it again.

“Ok,” she said. “I won’t ever ever look at Tristan’s butt hole ever again.”

I didn’t believe her. Norah is at that age where she will say, “Ok” to just about anything she is confronted with. If I tell her not to steal cookies from the pantry, she will say, “Ok.” Then I know that there is a 75% chance that I will find her 20 minutes later trying to steal cookies from the pantry. But much like when I discussed this situation with Tristan, I just wanted it to be over.

“Thank you,” I said.

Once both kids were bathed and in bed, I sat in the living room and thought about what it meant to be a parent. I wondered if I’d handled this situation well, or I’d just made things worse. I hoped that something like this would never happen again, but I knew that it would.

I never had an awkward talk with a parent. I didn’t really know my father that well, and my grandmother half raised me. I was shuffled between homes a lot, and so I missed out on a lot of those Hallmark, cliché moments, like the birds and the bees talk. But I’d heard a lot from friends talk about their parents approaching them about awkward subjects like the one I faced. My friends always said how it felt like the whole situation was so awkward for them, like all they wanted was for the conversation to just end. But what I never realized was that those conversations are just as awkward for the parents.

Maybe even more so. Especially when I consider how I feel that my children are a reflection of myself.

There was no way I was going to get out of parenthood without having more awkward conversations with my kids. I just hoped that, with time, I’d get better at it.

 

 

 

Clint Edwards is the author of No Idea What I’m Doing: A Daddy Blog. He lives in Oregon. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

 

10 Disgusting Truths About Postpartum Recovery

Women who are pregnant for the first time are hungry for information about pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum recovery.  They’re relentless scavengers of information, devouring books, posts, and pins, their appetite for knowledge as strong as the craving for human flesh by the man-eating lions of Tsavo.  Unfortunately, most information available is generic, repetitive, or far too sugar-coated to be worth a damn, revealing none of the open and honest nitty-gritty they are craving. Lucky for those on the information hunt, I’m a tell-it-like-it-is kind of girl and I don’t hold back on the good stuff.  If you stumbled across this on accident, it is possible that this kind of post may give you anxiety and fear and an intense desire to never have children (especially if you don’t read all the way to the end). Either way, I’m a believer that honesty is the best policy when it comes to postpartum preparedness.  So, here we go, researching beasts, this post is for you.

Photo Credit:  Wikipedia
10 Disgusting Truths About Postpartum Recovery Photo Credit: Wikipedia

1.  You will sweat (a lot) from weird places.  No matter how much weight you gain during your pregnancy, some of that weight is water weight. After delivery, that water starts to seep out of you, and it could seep from anywhere.  Your eyelids, your hands, your kneecaps. After the birth of my first child, I lost approximately five pounds of water during a brisk walk around the grocery store, solely through the bottoms of my feet. You will feel the water draining out of you in the most disconcerting way, picture more of a roaring waterfall opposed to dewdrops glistening on delicate leaves.

2.  You will be able to see and feel logs of shit through your paper-thin abs.  After my first child I remember doing a bit of yoga, bridge pose to be exact, and thinking, “What the hell is going on with my stomach?  Do I have some sort of hernia? Hemorrhage?  Did some part of my body get out of place?” But, no.  It was just a hunk of shit moving through my bowels, and I could SEE IT through my non-existent ab muscles. Horrifying.

Photo Credit:  Adrian Valenzuela via Flicker
This is Bridge Pose. Photo Credit: Adrian Valenzuela via Flicker

3.  You will be so excited to take a crap (after that first scary one).  Okay, so as appalling as it may be to basically see your bowel movements before you can feel any indication that you need to expel them, after nine months of constipation, the ability to take a normal crap will make you ECSTATIC.  For months after birth, you will give yourself a little mental high-five after sitting on the throne and taking a shit.  The bigger the better, again, after first scary one, but just go ahead and get that one out of the way and then ahhhhhhhh.  Heaven is the absence of digestive distress.

4.  You will discover that your fat has stretched out.  And fat doesn’t exactly bounce back like your abs eventually do.  If you’re like me, someone with an overall healthy lifestyle, full of exercise and fitness, but also full of friends and fun (both of which often involve NACHOS and WINE) and no desire to go to extreme lengths to become the most fit mom on the planet, you will find that you have developed a poochy stretched out bit on your lower belly. I found this to be true after my first, and found it to be OH-SO-MUCH-MORE-THE-TRUTH after my second.

5.  Your vagina might feel like it is collapsing in on itself and/or falling out.  Yes, it is possible to feel like your vagina is going to fall out of your vagina. This informational gem is strategically placed in the middle of the list, kind of like how FIVE, GOLDEN RINGS! is situated in the middle of The Twelve Days of Christmas.  It’s the highlight, clearly the important one, and it is iterated with a distinctively different tone than the rest of the song.  You will have no idea what this means or how it could possibly be true unless you have birthed a child (okay, full disclosure – you may feel this way just solely from being pregnant with a child).  I remember hearing from a few sources how they “couldn’t wear tampons” after they had given birth.  Naive me said, “Huh?” and scratched my head.  Wiser, post-childbirth me said, “Ooooh” and nodded in understanding (whilst doing kegels).

6.  You will develop pancake boobs.  Your breasts get larger during pregnancy and afterwards that boob fat makes good on the promise I gave in number four.  It doesn’t matter if you breastfeed or formula feed, pregnancy itself makes your boobs less perky. You’ll want to invest in a bra with some lift.

7.  You might not be able to have sex or sit on a bicycle for longer than you think.  At your six-week postpartum visit, when your doctor tells you how great you’re healing up, and gives you the go-ahead for sex and exercise, know that a lot of what they are examining is your vaginal muscle tissue. However, you may continue to have pain in your pelvic/public/tail bone area(s) long after any tearing or stretching has mostly healed up. Wowza. The pelvic bones are kind of important and hard to ignore. It took me a full year after baby number one was born to be able to go for a jog without experiencing any pelvic pain for the twenty-four hours immediately following the workout.

8.  You will not care about getting shit on, getting pissed or getting puked on. What used to seem disgusting when it happened to other people suddenly becomes no big deal.  Your kid shits all over his or her crib and you are covered in feces after cleaning it up?  You will not care.  Your child spits up all over your hair and sweater three seconds before you are supposed to walk out the door to go to work? You will not care (and you won’t change, you’ll just rub it in).  Your kid pees on you?  Of all the substances, that one is the most benign.  It’s basically just baby flavored water!  You really will not care.  You will care only that your child is clean and taken care of. I’m not being sarcastic here.

9.  You will pee on yourself at least once.  When you sneeze.  When you cough. When you wait to long to go because you’re taking care of the baby.  You may have experienced some of this during pregnancy, but it is important to be aware that it does not go away just because your child is no longer punching or head-butting your bladder. I’ll be honest, this is much more disgusting than the baby pee you didn’t care about.

10.  There will be something more disgusting than what I mentioned here.  What it is will depend on your body, and your birth story, and your comfort level when it comes to disgusting things.  Maybe you will shit the bed the day after giving birth, maybe you will wake up soaked in your own breast milk night after night, maybe your breasts will be so uncomfortably engorged you will stuff chilled cabbage leaves in your bra to reduce the swelling.  You will very likely be embarrassed and feel like you are the ONLY ONE who had to deal with whatever this disgusting thing is, but I assure you, you are NOT ALONE.

Are you still here?  Those who got scared and didn’t finish reading miss out on the best part, and that is:  Don’t worry, ladies. Our bodies are amazingly resilient and things go back to how they were before. Ish.  For most of us, any small changes that remain with us forever are really no big deal. You tend to not give a damn about your husk, when your heart and soul have doubled in size and made you happier than you ever thought possible. Disgusting realities be damned, it really is true when people say that it is all worth it in the end.  Some of the anti-saps reading this may find THIS truth to be the most disgusting part of the whole post.

If you liked this post you may also like A Comprehensive Pre-Pregnancy To-Do List and 10 Things Pregnant Women Do Not Want to Hear Coming Out of Your Mouth

10 Disgusting Truths About Postpartum Recovery
10 Disgusting Truths About Postpartum Recovery

How Vaccinations Are Like Wool Blankets

All of this nonsense about diseases that have effectively been eradicated starting to pop back in the picture due, at least in large part, to people choosing not to vaccinate is getting ridiculous. Unfortunately many are uninformed, misinformed, or have developed some crackpot conspiracy theory, which is wreaking havoc on such a simple and effective method of preventing the spread of infection. Let’s look at an analogy involving a wool blanket and a bitterly cold day. The wool blanket will represent the vaccine and the bitter cold will represent the infectious pathogen.

Wool blankets keep people warm.  Just like vaccines prevent disease.  There isn’t a question about this, this is fact.  Wool blankets aren’t magic suits that can protect against temperatures hovering just above absolute zero, or exposure to blizzard-like conditions for decades at a time, just like vaccines have their own limitations.  People aren’t given a one-shot deal at birth, becoming magically protected from communicable disease from day one.  Vaccines often given in a series and take time to kick in.  Vaccines don’t guarantee a 100% protection rate and they may not last a lifetime. Even though they aren’t magic, there is still no question that wool blankets keep people warm, just like there is no question that vaccines prevent disease.  My father-in-law says that wool from goat hair makes the warmest blankets and the entire scientific community says that vaccines are the most effective method we have to prevent certain diseases, as of now.  Scientists are continuously tweaking and changing and adjusting as more information is gathered, and over time the evidence has remained the same – vaccines prevent disease.  It would be dangerous to purposefully sit outside in a blizzard and refuse a wool blanket, just as it is dangerous for most people to refuse vaccination for themselves or their children.

Large wool blankets keep people warm, and when many people crawl underneath the blanket together, the collective body heat keeps everyone even warmer.  It’s hard to freeze to death when it’s not just your own body heat being trapped underneath, but you have your entire community’s body heat surrounding you as well.  Vaccines are most effective when everyone is vaccinated – everyone is safer when they are surrounded by others who are also protected.  It’s hard to get measles when your fellow neighbor isn’t breathing measle germs onto the grocery cart handle you touch, the rolled silverware you pick up at the restaurant or on the desk you sit down at when you go to parent-teacher conferences.  The whole group is protected by all (or most) of the group being protected. This is called herd immunity. When you separate yourself from the herd, you’re effectively ripping off the warm blanket while you jump out, and taking your precious body heat with you.  Even if others are still under the blanket, you’ve put them at greater risk.  The more people who leave, the greater the risk.  This is why your neighbors want to stab you in the eye when you tell them you aren’t vaccinating your children. Assuming you aren’t quarantining yourself in some anti-vaxx compound, you’re putting them at risk.

Some people are more susceptible to damage from the cold than others.  Like, say, newborns, the elderly or someone who is otherwise immunocompromised.  For many, individuals being exposed to bitter temperatures might be an inconvenience or an experience that causes no more than temporary discomfort.  For some of the population, however, exposure is more dangerous and is potentially lethal.  Let’s take measles, for example, for many of us, getting the measles might be an inconvenience, but for some it can result in lung infection, seizures and swelling of the brain.  Even if the odds of serious or fatal damage are low without the protection of the wool blanket, they are so much higher than they would otherwise be if the damn wool blanket were there, just in case.

Wool blankets make some people itchy.  And vaccinations may have side effects. For the most part, the side effects are not severe.  A sore arm.  Tiredness.  A fever. But there are potential side-effects that can be devastating, and very rarely, even life-threatening (remember, vaccines are not magic potions).  However, the overall risk of not vaccinating FAR OUTWEIGHS the overall risk of vaccinating.  There is zero scientific evidence that suggests otherwise. For the world community as a whole, wool blankets are a warm, fuzzy, comfy, protective layer.  If you think you’re rolling the dice by vaccinating, it’s important to look at the big picture and recognize that the odds are overwhelmingly in your favor when you choose to wrap up you and yours in the wool blanket. By not vaccinating, you’re absolutely putting yourself in a situation of greater risk, standing in the cold shivering, and exposing those around you to elements they would otherwise be protected from.

Wool blankets aren’t the only protection from the cold.  However in this mediocre analogy, they are the best defense we have.  We have heating packs and shelters we can build, but in our little hypothetical here, the wool blanket is the only tool everyone has access to, and is the one that has proven to be the most effective. Good nutrition and hygiene, and other preventative health measures are all crucial, of course, but alone they are not enough, proven both by pre-vaccine rates of infection, and by the fact that we simply can’t make everyone else take care of themselves like they should, or make them stay home and away from everyone else during their times of illness.

Vaccines aren’t given to newborns on the day they are born, they may not last a lifetime, and some people have legitimate medical reasons why they cannot receive them. These individuals have no way to wrap the wool blanket around themselves, and really depend on the rest of us around them to tuck them in.  I’m not trying to pull the wool over your eyes here.  It really is this simple.

How Vaccinations are Like Wool Blankets.  Protect yourself and your community - wrap up!
How Vaccinations are Like Wool Blankets. Protect yourself and your community – wrap up!

Cute Now, Creepy Later

As all mothers are, I’m obsessed with my own kiddo, Baby Grouch.  I am soaking up every experience and not trying not to take any moment for granted, since I know I am lucky, lucky, lucky to have my beautiful, smart, strong-willed, happy, goofy little Peanut and she will only be this age once.  As I’m relishing every bit of motherhood, there are a few habits I have that are cute now, but at a certain point, if I kept doing them, would be considered incredibly creepy later.  Here we go:

1.  I creep into her room when she is sleeping, and I sit in the rocking chair watching her sleep, hearing her breathe.  It calms me.  A beautiful moment, now, but I imagine myself doing this, when she is too old for it, and in my head I look like a creepy clown from a horror movie, with a deranged smile and unidentified red stain on my lips.

2.  I kiss her on the neck, face, mouth, belly.  All the time.  I can’t stop kissing her.  At some point, this will totally gross her out, and probably be very awkward.

3.  I spy on her with the monitor.  I listen to her when she plays in her crib and talks to herself, reads herself a book, and when she cries for 30 seconds or so right before she falls asleep.  I like that I can know what she’s doing without even being in the room.  At a certain age, I know that this will be a huge infringement of privacy, so for now I’ll enjoy the fact that I can explain it as conscientious parenting.

4.  I stare at her.  While she plays.  While she sleeps.  While she eats.  While she’s playing by herself.  While she’s in someone else’s arms.  While she’s discovering something new.  While she’s pissed off and tantruming.  While she’s making silly faces at me (ok, then I’m usually making them back).   I will ever stop staring, I do not care if I am creepy-peepy, I just love watching her.  I love watching her be.  I will be the eerie eyeballing mother forever.

5.  I call her my baby.  That was actually her first word – baby.  I didn’t realize how much we called her that until she started saying it, so well, and so often.  Good morning my baby!  Is my baby tired?  I think it might stem from the fact that while pregnant, Mr. Grouch kept saying, “we’re having a BABY!” because we couldn’t believe our good fortune after trying so long. For quite awhile after she was born he’d say, “We have a baby!” because we still couldn’t believe our little human windfall, who is so marvelous, and all our own.  

6.  I bite off pieces of food with my teeth and give them to her.  I know……it’s just that sometimes it’s easier than using a knife. Bonus: I can simultaneously make sure the morsel isn’t too hot.  Still, I have no true excuse for this one.  I would like it to be noted that I do NOT chew it up.  I’m no mama bird.

7.  I analyze her poop.  And don’t think too much about getting it on my hands or clothes. And I talk about it with other parents.  Runny?  Hard?  Brown?  Orange? Coming up out of the back of her diaper coating her scapula?   It’s not gross, it’s just the process of how the body functions (and how sometimes diapers don’t).  I am happy to wipe her dirty little bum, so she’s clean and dry.  I want her to be taken care of – even if this sometimes requires a direct plunking into a tub full of suds.

8.  I stick my fingers in her mouth.  Do you have a tooth coming in?  OMG did you put a chunk of grass in your mouth?  OMG did you reach in and pick out a chunk of foam from your car seat liner and shove it in your mouth? OMG are you chewing on cat hair/a bobby pin that fell out of my pocket/an eight-day old Cheerio?  Most of these don’t sound cute, even now.

9.  I’m a stalker.  I want to know everything what she’s doing and how she’s doing it, no matter how trivial the activity may be.  Playing at daycare?  With who?  Does she share? Is she a leader? An observer?  A follower?  Is she having fun?  Is she happy?  How does her behavior change day-to-day? What did she eat?  How was her poop?  I am quite sure that I will still want to know most of the seemingly monotonous details later in her life (maybe not the poop one), even if she asks me, “Why do you care, Mom?  It’s my life, not yours”.  But, when she asks me these things, I know it’s because she just doesn’t get it. She is my life, too.

I know these habits are totally normal for the mother of a one year old, but at what point do these become absolutely creepy?  What are your cute/creepy habits?

What we do as parents is cute now, but would most definitely be considered creepy, later.
What we do as parents is cute now, but would most definitely be considered creepy, later.

4 Reasons Why New Year’s Resolutions Are a Load of Crap

January 1st is an arbitrary date, just like your birthdate or anniversary date or Tax Day or the date of this upcoming Wednesday.  So, why do so many people cling to this date and feel the need to set goals that are often forgotten about within the month?  To top it off, these goals are often massive in scope and/or impractical, making it even more improbable that they will be carried through.

1.  Resolutions that involve a “never” or an “always” are just dumb.  Just like the cardinal rule for communicating with others, it’s not generally wise to use those terms when it comes to resolution-making. You’re bound to be wrong and/or piss someone off.

Exhibit 1a)  “I won’t eat one bite of fast food EVER AGAIN”. Stop making resolutions like that.  I will concede that most fast good is just fatty, salt-filled, processed crap, but really let’s all calm down about those trans-fats, high glycemic index values and figuring out whatever the hell is in those processed “meats”. Indulging, in moderation, is ok. Really.  Just like the word “hate”, the word “never” is a strong word, and sometimes mowing down a Junior Bacon Cheeseburger can make living life worthwhile. There’s no point to having slippery smooth, cavernous arteries if you’re just going to be a self-righteous, miserable, wretch your whole (long?) life.

Exhibit 1b)  “I will go to the gym every day”.  No, you won’t. You’re just setting yourself up for failure with this one.  If you work outside the home, have a family, like to spend time with friends, enjoy any other hobbies or activities, or ever let yourself rest when you need to, you might have time for a number of workouts each week, but you will still not be at the gym every day.  Unless maybe you intend to go daily for the sole purpose of roasting in the sauna or soaking in the hot tub.

2.  Any resolution regarding the lessened intake of alcoholic beverages doesn’t make you a better person*.  It just makes you a more boring one. We drinkers need drinking buddies to imbibe with, and to overall enjoy life with. Don’t be so selfish.

*Okay, exceptions can be made for those who have a little TOO much fun with the drinky drink, if you know what I mean.  I believe in moderation in everything, folks, not just in regards to chomping on the trans-fats and horsemeat found in fast food.

3.  Resolutions are typically vague and abstract.  The easier to avoid accountability with, I suppose.  The opposite problem seen in numbers 1.  “I will be nicer to my asshole brother this year” or “I will complain less about the way my spouse’s farts smell” leave a lot of room for interpretation. Chances are this isn’t even a real goal, you’re just regurgitating a list of random things your mother told you, in her passive aggressive way, that you should change about yourself.

4.  If you really wanted to change something about yourself, you’d have started already.  Even if it’s just starting to formulate a plan for improvement.  People make resolutions all the time – they work to lower their blood sugar, to increase their muscle mass, to become better spouses, parents, people.  If you’re not already making your own resolutions, and tweaking them on more regular basis than once per year, you’re doing life wrong.

So, how about it?  Agree with me, or do you have a whole list of resolutions just waiting for you around the corner?

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New Year’s Resolutions Are A Load Of Crap

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