Dining Out

Last night my parents took us out to a very nice restaurant for dinner. Going out to a fast food joint with the boys makes me anxious. So as much as I was looking forward to a really delicious meal, I was a wee bit worried (by which I mean my stomach was clenched in fear) about the behavior of the two young men in my life.

Sometimes those boys surprise me. Ok, so Z took C for a quick walk outside before the meal came, and Z and I tag teamed the two mid-meal trips to the bathroom. But other than that it was smooth sailing. Star Wars stickers worked their magic yet again.

Near the end of the meal a friend of my parent’s walked by the table. She has young grandchildren, so she bent down to chat with T. He is a bit of a rambler when he gets going and dude was on a tear. “Do you know what? Well, tomorrow is going to be me and Charlie’s birthday. But, but, but…tomorrow isn’t really me and Charlie’s birthday. But we get our birthday with Grandma and Grandpa tomorrow. And we are, um, we are, uhhh, we are going to have presents. And a cake. I want a….Star Wars Angry Bird cake. And we are getting presents! I want Star Wars legos. I want a Chewbacca figure. I saw it at the Lego store. The Chewbacca figure, well, it has a slot, not a put on head. Like the Gamorrean guard. They are the only two with a slot, not a put on head. But we already have the Gamorrean guard. And I want a big Star Wars Angry Birds play set. A big one.”

This lovely woman was a total sport. She just let him talk and murmured little hmmms and yeses at all the right places.

T paused for a second, took a deep breath, and looked her square in the face.

“I just farted.”

He is totally my child.

T in the pool

Loving the pool with Daddy. Photo by Ellie Leonardsmith Photography.

popsicle love at floyd fest

T and Z went to Floyd Fest. First music festival for T.

playing at Floyd fest

He had a really good time.

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No, Seriously, We Are Thankful

There is a french door of sorts that closes off the tiny wood paneled vestibule that is the entrance of our home. It was open when I came out of the powder room making it easy to notice that the second pane from the bottom on the right side was cracked. I hollered for Z who hollered for the boys. They were playing by the door in our hallway moments before while Z made the dough for rolls and I decorated gingerbread cookies.

broken glass

Z asked T what happened. T stood on the stairs taking stock of the situation–the cracked glass, the furious parents. “Well.” he started, “Well. You see, it was a squirrel…”

“NO!” Z spluttered. “Do not make up a story! Do not lie to us! TELL. US. WHAT. HAPPENED!” Z noticed I’d turned my back to T, unable to stop the shaking of silent laughter. “Go to the kitchen.” he hissed to me.

I fled, thankful to get out of T’s line of sight. T eventually told his father C’s head made the crack. T pushed him into the door.

I’ve never seen Z so angry at one of the boys. T is up in his room and he’ll be staying there for a very long while. He has lost his bedtime routine-no story, no songs, no cuddles until he goes back to school on Monday. It’s the biggest punishment we have doled out thus far. But dude, (and we did explain this to him) C could have been seriously hurt.

As Z pointed out we do have much to be thankful for–we could have spent the day in the emergency room.

piece of work

What a piece of work this kid is.

Rewind 33 years or so. I was T’s age. It was summertime and the screen door was letting a breeze into our kitchen. My folks had left me alone at the table to finish my meal, perhaps they were putting my sister to bed. The stick of margarine sat in front of me in the butter dish. It looked delicious. Yellow and soft and I just had to try it. I reached out my finger and skimmed it along the top. It was even better than I imagined. Five minutes later and there was an enormous divot in the middle of the stick. I was filled with dread, there was no way to hide what I’d done. Eventually Mom and Dad returned. My Mom, who notices everything, saw the margarine right away. “What happened?”

I panicked. “A bear came through the door and ate the butter. I was really scared.”

My punishment was no treats for a week. Both Mom and Dad were able to hold it together until I’d left the room before they burst out laughing.

Bear. Squirrel. This kid, man this kid is a carbon copy of me. Only vastly improved. I mean, a squirrel is a million times more believable.

thanksgivukkah

Thanksgivukkah cookies.

One more quick story and I’ll stop imposing on your holiday time…We had a Friendsgiving this weekend. More than 20 people at the house. A table made from an old hollow core door and sawhorses joined the beautiful dining table Z made back in grad school. The kids ate on a blanket spread in the living room, picnic style. It was a fucking awesome night. So awesome I didn’t take a single picture.

Everyone had gone home save our closest friends who were packing up their gear. T was holding on to the leg of one of us (I will not sell out which one) and that person let a lovely, loud, and resonating fart rip. We all laughed. T collapsed onto the floor and laid rigid on his stomach with his hands by his sides. “I’m a turd!” he proclaimed. I do believe it was the funniest thing he has ever done and it was definitely the most perfect end to Friendsgiving imaginable.

us

Told Z I needed one more picture for the post. He agreed, but then pulled this shit. Eh, it’s more honest than one of us smiling would have been. Happy Thanksgiving, folks. My wish for you: may none of your children slam their sibling’s head into glass today! Yup, that’s how much I love you.

Oh Shit

***WARNING: GRAPHIC POST AHEAD!***

The fear started when I was a toddler. I remember being terrified that something was coming for me in the dark. I bargained with the fear-if the blanket was tucked completely around me, save a tiny breathing hole, it couldn’t get me. Whatever it was.

Later the fear was tied to action. If I did X properly nothing bad would happen. I had an imaginary friend. Laura Ingalls Wilder. My Mom read the books to us when I was very young and I loved the TV show. Albert (a creation of the show-clearly I wasn’t a purist) and his friend-funny I can’t remember the friend’s name were also imaginary friends, rather they were imaginary nemeses. Laura and I were a team and the guys were a team. They were so real to me that my memories of them are some of the clearest from early childhood. Everything we did was timed. As long as Laura and I won we were safe. I was safe. My family was safe.

After I got my period the Irritable Bowel Syndrome started. The pain of cramps was somehow tied to taking a crap. I started to get diarrhea all the time. Thankfully that was when imodium started being available over the counter. You know that 5th pocket in jeans? The tiny one for coins on the upper part of the right front pocket? All through high school that pocket had two foil wrapped imodium in it. The diarrhea was my biggest shame. Anytime I horsed around with friends I’d be terrified they’d feel something in that little pocket and want to know what it was. I lived in fear that someone would discover my secret.

I’ve had IBS for well over 20 years. The whole time the driving force behind my anxiety was the fear that I’d shit myself in public even though that had never happened. Well, not until today.

Too much information, right? Totally inappropriate and gross that I’m declaring on the internet that I crapped myself today. What the hell am I getting out of writing about this? The old me, back when I was rocking borderline personality disorder, would have done it to punish myself. But I’m not that person anymore. I’m writing about it because it shouldn’t be a big deal. I am horribly upset and embarrassed by it, but I shouldn’t be. I have an anticipatory anxiety disorder. It’s pretty bad. I’ve been in therapy for many years because I’m trying to help myself, but it is a chronic disease that I will have to manage for the rest of my life. I’ve been a wreck for the last week because I’m so scared of this stupid 5K tomorrow morning. As my Mom would say my bowels have been in an uproar. I’m trying to challenge myself, do something good for myself, participate in life. The anxiety is trying to prevent that from happening. So shit happens. Literally and figuratively. I’m tired of being ashamed of my anxiety and what it does to my body.

This morning my stomach was upset, but it was my last chance to go for a jog before the race. Quarter of a mile from my house I thought I had to fart. Turns out I was incorrect. The quarter of a mile run back to my house was just about the longest of my life. Go ahead. You can laugh. I’m laughing as I type. It helps me not cry.

Z came into the bathroom as I was cleaning myself up. Seriously, no boundaries in our marriage. It works for us. He told me I needed to go back out and finish the run. I told him to go fuck himself. He told me if I didn’t do it I might not do the race tomorrow or go back out for a jog ever again. I hated him. Because he was right. Thankfully I now have two pair of running pants so I asked him to get me the other pair.

I took three imodium. I washed out my pants. I cried a little. I went to the bathroom two more times. And then I jogged two miles. Without shitting myself.

Listen, I’m a white hot fucking mess. Have set up residence in crazytown and I’m definitely not moving out until the race is over tomorrow. It’s so bad that I’m wondering if it was a mistake to sign up for the race at all. Why am I putting myself through this nonsense? I don’t know what the right answer is. Where the balance between challenging myself to take part in life and recognizing when something is too much for me to handle is.

But Z was right. If I didn’t go back out and finish the jog I’d let myself quit forever. Who the hell knows what is going to happen tomorrow. I mean, fingers crossed I do not shit myself again. I will definitely be taking way too many imodium. But I’m going to try and do this thing.

I’m tired of feeling ashamed. As I was jogging the second time I thought about if I wanted to write this post. Because if it is out there it is always out there in internet land. Future employers and all that jazz. But then I thought about the fact that this very thing has happened to several of my friends. Yup, my friends text me about their pooping disasters. I sort of love being that person. So if it has happened to my friends it stands to reason it has happened to a bunch of people. I’m writing about it to say that we shouldn’t feel bad. Shit happens, people. Shit. Happens.

The funny thing is this is something I’ve been dreading for more than two decades and it finally happened. You know what? I don’t feel any different. It didn’t change who I am as a human. In fact, it was rather anti-climactic. Yup. Shit happens. It is honest. It is uncomfortable. And I’m choosing to believe it just isn’t that big of a deal.

photo (15)

My boy and some lady who shat herself, cleaned up, and ran for another two miles.

the crew

My wonderful sisters-in-law and niece are in town. A couple of years ago they spent Thanksgiving here and got to know the couple that we are closest to in town. It’s fun when you introduce fantastic people to each other.

t photgraphs

T’s Aunt Ellie is an amazing photographer. She taught T how to take a picture with her super fancy camera.

T Rocks

Ok, ok, got my homework done at a reasonable hour last night so I’m giving myself permission to do a super quick post.

Two T moments in a timespan of less than 12 hours that perfectly define him:

On Sunday night Z got home in time for bath which meant we were able to settle into our regular bedtime routine. After we pulled the boys out of the tub Z whisked C off to his room to get him dressed and I stayed with T in the bathroom. I brushed his teeth then he brushed his teeth. I brushed his hair. He was wiggling with excitement because it was time for me to lift him so he could take a gander at himself in the mirror. I think it is one of the highlights of his existence and we hadn’t done it for three days. He really enjoys what he sees and that delight in himself thrills me.

Mirrors have been my enemy for so long. When I walk down the street I avert my eyes and don’t glance at my reflection in the building windows. I don’t look up in the bathroom mirror much. It is easier to ignore my face instead of sneaking a peak only to spend the next 10 minutes tearing apart my physical appearance in my head. So if my little man digs on his reflection I will hold him up so he can see his freshly brushed hair every damn night.

He sighed with pleasure at the sight of himself. Looked for a moment and with an enormous amount of sass hollered, “I’m BACK!”

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Monday morning C started fussing at 6:30. After silently celebrating the fact that we got to sleep in an extra 30 minutes I stumbled to the bathroom to have a pee before heading into C’s room. A moment later I heard T open his door and head down the hall towards me. T stopped right in front of me, his little legs almost touching my knees, “I have to pee.” Me, “Well you are going to have to hold it because as you can see I am currently peeing.”

We stared at each other for a while. My bladder was really full. And then I let one rip. This fart. It was amazing. Like 5 seconds long (which doesn’t sound like a lot, but really count to 5, that is l-o-n-g for a fart) and amplified by the toilet bowl and really very flappy sounding. It was a thing of beauty. It was a work of art. T burst out laughing. I joined him feeling rather proud of myself. Suddenly he stopped and looked at me with deadly seriousness. “That wasn’t me.”

dark side

Grandma and Grandpa came bearing gifts. Seems the boys have turned to the dark side.

racoon monster

My happy raccoon and suspicious monster.

no stitch

Hey smart friends! You guys rock! Took your advice and ate two bananas, drank a shitload of water, did a bunch of stretches, puffed on my albuterol inhaler and jogged this morning without a stitch. My side felt tender, almost bruised. And I did walk for about .2 of the total 2 miles. During that walk I pinched the hell out of the stitch area and bent over a bit. So I used all of the advice and it really worked. Thank you for your help!