Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Sex ed

For three years, 4th through 6th grade, I watched the same movie about getting your period. You know the movie I'm talking about. The one all the girls would watch while the boys went out on the playground to play dodgeball. The one where a woman with a soothing voice would speak in clinical terms about "your changing bodies". The one that you would watch while you sat in the dark room and hoped no one would notice you blushing furiously every time the soothing-voiced woman would say "vagina" or "menses".

I'm sure there were a few different versions of The Period Movie but the version I saw for three years in a row started off with a girl looking sad as she walked home from school. The girl looked like she was about 16 and she had bodacious mall hair.

When the girl got home she told her mom that she had gotten her period for the very first time ever that day in school. The mom hugged her daughter and then they went shopping for maxi pads. Cut to them coming back from the grocery store with three giant bags of sanitary napkins. As they unpacked the boxes (marked with labels like "PADS" and "LIGHT FLOW") they both looked happy and secure in the knowledge that they could bleed for weeks and never stain their acid washed jeans.

Towards the end of the film the narrator made an offhand mention of how some girls like to wear tampons so that they could play sports. This was the extent of my sex ed in school.

Now in spite of the fact that I grew breasts in preschool I was, by my estimation, the last person in the word to get my period. I was well into 9th grade when it finally came. I had been waiting for that day ever since 4th grade when I first saw that movie. It may not have taught me much but it did teach me that when I got my period my mom would hug me and go out and buy me a truckload of maxi pads and we would share some sort of age old womanly knowledge. Also I would get mall hair.

The day didn't turn out exactly like I had always pictured it. I was at swim practice changing into my swim suit when I noticed a little blood in my underwear. My big day had come at last! I waited till everyone else had left the locker room then I pulled my coach aside and told her I couldn't practice because I had my period. I felt so grown up. "I've got tampons in my bag" she said. "Take one and get moving!"

Tampons? But... but... tampons? No one ever talked to me about tampons! Where was my giant box of "PADS"? Where was my hug?

Mortified I returned to the locker room and made myself a pad about the thickness of my thigh out of toilet paper. I stuffed it into my underwear and headed out to the parent waiting area to find my mom. She would understand. She would hug me and then I would have mall hair and everything would be all right.

When I found my mom she angrily asked why I wasn't practicing. See, me being on the swim team would seem to indicate that I liked to swim competitively. The fact was that before almost every swim meet I would have a panic attack and then claim I couldn't swim because I was about to faint/throw up/die. I guess my mom thought my freak outs had extended to practicing too.

Through tears I explained that I couldn't practice because I had gotten my period. For the very first time ever. With panic in my voice I explained that my coach wanted me to wear a tampon and swim anyway. My mom softened a little bit but then told me that she had driven my brother and I a half hour to get to practice and very first period or not I was swimming that day.

I spent about 20 minutes in the bathroom stall trying to figure that damned tampon out. It was made all the more difficult by the fact that I was crying about what a massive disappointment the day had turned out to be. The only sex ed I had ever received* turned out to be a lie. No one was happy or excited for me. I just got yelled at for missing swim practice.

Why am I thinking about all this now? Because yesterday Joseph came up to me with his Very Serious Face and said "Mommy, can I talk to you for a few minutes about my privates?"

Now his questions left me struggling not to laugh out loud but I answered them as seriously as I could. I tried to give him all the information he was looking for without overwhelming him. It made me think about how I want to prepare my kids for the reality of puberty and sex and all that uncomfortable to talk about stuff.

I have to be the one to do it because when Joseph asks Jesse a question about sex Jesse turns red and says "Uhhh... um... go to bed."

So it falls on me to be sure my kids aren't left thinking that puberty means kick ass hair and hugs from your family. I don't want their memories of puberty to include crying in a public restroom in Germany for 20 minutes while they fumble with a tampon and then trying to swim with it only inserted halfway. Um. Not that they most likely would but you know what I mean.

Sex ed isn't something I really thought much about when I first had kids but I realize now that I'm going to have to step it up and make sure my kids are informed. Especially Joseph because if they still do sex ed the way they did when I was a kid all he'll get is three extra days of dodgeball.

*Not long after I got my first period ever my mom took me to this presentation at the hospital about AIDS and on the way home she explained to me what a blowjob is**.

**I give my mom props for her openness and honestly and there was a lot more to the talk than that but at the time I was so mortified by the whole experience that I sort of blocked the rest of it out.

One year ago today I had 1000 blog posts but no gall bladder.
Two years ago today people didn't know how to compliment a pregnant woman.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

All I want for Christmas is a small person to walk in front of me and hold up my belly

I guess my all cake diet is paying off at last. I am now five pounds over my pre-pregnancy weight, all of it gained in the last four weeks. Funny, it's only five pounds but I feel HUGE.

Maybe because I am. I am 24 weeks pregnant but measuring at 33 weeks. I'm developing my own gravitational pull. If you value the lives of your smaller children and pets then you'll want to keep them away from me. If they come too close they're likely to be pulled into my orbit. Need photographic evidence? Ok, you asked for it.

Oh, did I mention that being pregnant makes me forget how to put on make up and not look like I've been spending the last 6 years in a root cellar?

Otherwise the pregnancy is going well. My blood pressure is fine and my cervix is long and closed. And you know the old saying: As goes the cervix so goeth the world. Or something like that. Anyway, all is right with the world my cervix.

Now I just have to figure out ow I'm going to get through the rush of the next few days. I still have shopping to do, presents to wrap, a house to clean and food to cook. Honestly, these days I get worn out just climbing out of bed so I'm not exactly sure how I'm going to get it all done this year. Combine my surging hormones and a healthy dose of the Christmas spirit and I spent most of the last five days on the verge of laughter or tears, alternately hating and loving every person on the planet. I'm creating some fun holiday memories for everyone around me.

I doubt I'll be blogging again before Christmas. I hope you all have a wonderful holiday season and that you don't get snowed in. Unless of course you WANT to get snowed in and in that case I hope you get snowed in for days. Or at least until you Christmas cookie supply gives out.

Happy Holidays! (I'm not one of those people who gets all pissy about holiday greetings and demands that everyone enjoy hearing "Merry Christmas" this time of year. What's the point of wishing someone a "Merry" anything if your entire point in doing it is just to shove your personal beliefs down people's throats? What's so wrong with "Happy Holidays"? I mean, I say "Merry Christmas" to people I know celebrate Christmas but otherwise I try to be more sensitive to what other people might be thinking about the whole deal. And apparently parentheses make me ramble on.)

One year ago today Frosty got some.

Friday, December 18, 2009

King Ding

Last night I attended a Rifftrax event with the town's hip crowd. (aka my brother, cousin and uncle) One of the best parts was when they showed a commercial for the classic toy known as Dingalings. You remember Dingalings don't you? No? Well I'm not sure exactly when they came out but I'm guessing they weren't on toy shelves long before someone realized how horribly penis-centric they were and had them yanked*.

I found a version of the commercial on youtube. Watch and enjoy. Be sure to keep an eye out for Fireman Dingaling with pumping action, Spy Dingaling with his amazing crotch camera and King Ding who sucks another Ding up into his... well, just watch and see.


year ago today we got a new couch.
Two years ago today I had birth plans.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Happy Birthday Chris! Or whatever your name is!

Shortly after Jesse and I were married he told me I was a hypocrite for celebrating Christmas even though I don't believe in God*.

He told me I was a hypocrite.

I'll let you think for a second about how well that went over.

After I had let him out of the garage I explained that the reason I celebrate Christmas is that it's a tradition. My family's traditional Christmas never included any religious aspects at all. We never went to Midnight Mass or had a nativity scene or anything like that. I don't think my parents ever even discussed with us the religious significance of Christmas. For us Christmas was a day of food and family and presents and, when we lived in California, sometimes driving up into the mountains to see "snow". Also known as "little slabs of ice that you could sort of slide on if mom and dad remembered to bring plastic bags with for you to sit on".

I recently recounted the story of newlywed Jesse and I to my mother-in-law and without pausing or missing a beat she said "It's true, you are a hypocrite." My mother-in-law reads this blog and I'm sure she'll give her own version of events in the comments (in 3...2...1...) but trust me, I'm telling the real story here.

Now I do not believe that celebrating Christmas even though I don't believe in God or Jesus or virgin births makes me a hypocrite. I believe that Christmas is just as much my holiday as it is the Pope's ... or, I guess my mother-in-law's.

For me Christmas is about good food and time with family and goodwill towards your fellow man and the spirit of giving and some kick-ass day after Christmas sales. Those are the values and meanings of Christmas that I want to pass on to my children. Those are the traditions I hope to give them. I hope that when they have children if they chose to celebrate Christmas (either in the traditional sense or in the "hypocrite" sense) they'll remember things like how Jesse and I let them hang all the ornaments on the tree even though it meant that only the bottom three feet of the tree got decorated. Or how we would buy toys to donate to Toys for Tots each year. Or how we would all pile into the car and drive around and look at Christmas lights and listen to Christmas music and end up with sore cheeks and bellies from laughing so hard at some of the tackier displays.

Joseph recently told me that people celebrate Christmas because it's the day Chris was born. He had no concept of who Chris was he just knew it was "something about God". After clearing up a few facts I explained that was why some people celebrated Christmas but that's not why we did. I told him about the traditions and feelings I associated with Christmas. After a long, thoughtful he said "So Christmas is just a good time to love each other?"

Yeah. Not everyone gets it but my kid does and that's good enough for me.

*He's not even religious. He just likes to be a pain in the ass.

Three years ago Joseph came home from vacation.

Monday, December 14, 2009

A 10 minute shower

"Kids, I'm going to take a quick shower. I need you both to be well behaved and to get along and to not keep coming in the bathroom."
"Mama, Baba turned on the Christmas tree lights."
"Mommy, Elle broke your Santa Claus figurine."
"Mama, are you mad at me?"
"Mommy, she REALLY broke it."
"Mama, do adults get mad at children when they break little Santas on accident?"
"Mommy, Elle is saying 'I told you so!' and using a sassy tone!"
"Mama, Baba is not listening to me and he will not let me use crayons!"
"Mommy, do I have to let Elle use my crayons?"
"Mama, I am making a picture and Baba is not saying it's pretty."
"Mommy, Elle is stealing my purple crayon when I want to use it!"
"Mama, Baba is taking the purple crayon away and using an aggressive voice with me."
"Mommy, Elle said I'm being aggressive and I'm really only being aggreso."
"Mama, Baba is saying "agresso" and that is not a real word."
"Mommy, do you remember that Elle broke your Santa figurine?"
"Mama, Baba says you forgotted that I broke your Santa but you did not forget and Baba doesn't listen to me that adults don't get mad at children for breaking little Santss!"

Ahhhhh, relaxing.

Two years ago today I was ready to quit my job.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Some conservative advice

Every so often a facebook friend or someone who's on my regular blog reading list will surprise me by saying something really, really .... republican. And I don't mean "difference of opinion regarding politics republican". I mean like, "asshole republican".

See, I'm aware that really conservative thinking people exist. I hear them talked about on the Rachael Maddow show. I see them poked fun at on the Colbert Report. I know that they have their own television channel - Fox News - which seems to be some sort of cartoon where privileged white guys yell about how women, minorities and gays are trying to bring them down.

So I know that this stuff is out there. I'm just always surprised when someone that I know turns out to be one of those people. My first reaction is always disbelief. "Really? You're serious about that shit? You mean you really meant it when you said you hope there's never universal health care and that Obama fails and that abortion becomes illegal and that gays are never allowed to marry? That wasn't a parody? Wow."

Then I get angry. People shouldn't pass themselves off as normal people when they're really not. If you think Sean Hannity is awesome you should be required to wear an armband or something so that the rest of society knows to give you a wide berth.

I know that politics are a touchy thing to talk about. I know how passionate I am about my own political beliefs and I know how easy it is to get caught up in catchy slogans and buzz words and all of that stuff. I know that no one wants to come off sounding like a lunatic or a bad guy so I would like to take a moment to office a little advice to all my conservative friends*:

When you start sounding like Stephen Colbert, only you're not being ironic? It's time to pull back on your rhetoric. It's really hard for other people to take you seriously when you've become a joke made at your own expense.

Thank you.

*I don't actually have any conservative friends. Family members? Yes, but we all have our crosses to bear.

One year ago today I had a classy Christmas ornament.
Three years ago today Jesse told everyone about my stomach flu.
Four years ago today Elle was sick and I was boring.

Monday, December 07, 2009

A full set

On Wednesday I had an ob appointment and a level II ultrasound. All is well with the babies. They are measuring exactly on track for their age (21 weeks) and appear to have all the necessary parts.

On the left is a little boy who has had no problem making himself right at home. He's totally stretched out with his head way down low and his feet planted firmly up under my ribs.

Squished way up on the right side is a little girl who was suffering a little bit from her brother's room-hogging ways. She spent most of the ultrasound curled up tightly (with her ankles crossed demurely) and trying to fight for a little wiggle room. Don't worry about her too much though. Of the two she is the one who is far more active and I suspect that sooner or later she'll get her brother in his place.

All is well on my end too. The measurement of the thickness of my cervix impressed everyone. (4.6 centimeters? I guess that's good?) At 21 weeks pregnant I am measuring 30 weeks. I have just now gotten back to my pre-pregnancy weight. Everything I've read said a woman of my height and weight should gain between 30 and 40 pounds when pregnant with twins. I guess that means I get to spend the next 17 weeks or so eating nothing but chocolate cake. (I kid of course. I also plan on eating lots of cream based sauces and pasta.)

The guys were able to come to town for the ultrasound. They're beyond happy. Of course they mainly wanted to hear that they babies were healthy but they were also excited to be getting a boy and a girl. It's kind of nice how it's working out. A whole set in one shot. I'm very happy for them.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to roll myself into the kitchen. There is a package of string cheese calling my name. The dairy addiction I have developed this pregnancy is insane. These kids are going to have bones of steel.

Three years ago I was eloquent.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

And also if a bear is attacking you

On the drive home from school yesterday Elle informed Joseph that a boy in her class "smacked" her. I was already aware of this situation and it's being handled but Joseph was appalled.

"What!?! Why did he do that? Did he hit other kids or just you? What did you ever do to him? He can't be hitting you! If I ever saw that kid I would smack him so he knows how it feels!"

After a minute or two he calmed down.

"You know Mommy, there's really no good reason to hit someone. Unless your a boxer." Long, thoughtful pause. "Or maybe if you're re-enacting a war."

He's my own personal Micheal Scott.