Thursday, August 28, 2014

Fight or Flight

“I took your advice, Mom, and didn’t do anything to get sent to the principal’s office,” my son announced after his first day of fourth grade.

He smirked then added, “But I can’t promise the same thing tomorrow.”

There was a time I would have rolled my eyes and snorted at such a ridiculous sounding statement. My son? Cause trouble? Puh-leeze.

Mother Teresa was more likely to get sent to the principal’s office. And that’s AFTER she died and was canonized for sainthood.

But now I’m a little nervous. I fear those days of enjoying the life with a well-behaved child are slipping away from me. Those blessed times when he slowly walked up, guilty look upon his face, ready to bare his soul for whatever perceived misdeed he had performed, prepared to face the consequences before he’d even been caught.

I used to joke that the only time the kid was a tattle-tale was on himself.

How sweet.

But those times?
They. Are. Gone.

Just like the days when the “120 pounds” hilariously listed as the weight on my driver’s license was an accurate measurement.

I haven’t updated the info since I was 25. And until the Department of Motor Vehicles threatens me at knifepoint to change it, it’ll stay that way.

But I digress.

I remember those early days of new parenthood.

Bringing home our little bundle of joy with absolutely no idea how to actually care for him.
We’d never changed a diaper.

Never prepared a bottle.

Had no clue how to feed, burp, clothe or bathe him.

We’d had a better chance of discovering cold fusion before learning the in’s and out’s of swaddling.

I’m still amazed we didn’t break him.

But, as all parents do - even the stupid ones like us - we quickly learned about onesies and bottles and binkies and gas.

And teething. And the great advice someone offered, which involved rubbing blackberry-flavored rum on the little guy’s mouth in order to bring a little relief from the pain of tender gums.

And...uh...yeah, we gave our baby rum because you’re desperate to try anything at that point.
Did it work? Not a chance it hell.

So, yes, there were some bumps along the way, but we did OK.

He can walk, talk, read and ride a bike. 

No back talk. No fights. No school suspensions. He hasn’t flunked out of school nor set anything on fire.

He hasn’t even joined a biker gang.

So, yeah, we were feeling pretty darn confident that our young son was on the path to becoming Mr. Model Citizen.

Then the little bugger turned 9.

Not 13.
Not 17.
Not 21.

I wasn’t prepared for the you-know-what to hit the fan at 9.

It was like one day I was speaking English: “Go do your homework.”

And he did. He did his homework.

Then he turned 9, and apparently forgot every English-speaking word known to man. He’s either ignoring me or his Fight or Flight Response has kicked in.

And, for the record, he is VERY partial to the Fight option.

Suddenly anything from “set the table” to “put on your shoes” to “is the sky blue?” involves a full-on discussion worthy of a Geneva Convention.

For instance, his school instituted a new dress code for days the students attend Mass. Nothing too elaborate, just clothing choices that better reflect a church atmosphere.

Geesh. He fought like a rabid coyote that first day he had to wear a polo shirt and a pair of khakis to school.

Kid acted like I told him to wear a tutu with a tiara.

It’s gonna be a loooooong year.

But that’s OK. I still have that bottle of blackberry run around here somewhere.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

That's going on the Christmas card

“It’s like drinking scented liquid soap.”

So the husband was due for a routine colonoscopy.

His very first one.

Poor guy. It’s not until men get older (you know, when body parts start to sag and the inner plumbing gets clogged) that they are introduced to the type of annual fun we females have been partaking in since that very first gynecological exam during our teenage years.

Just the thought of a doctor snapping a rubber glove on his hand followed by the frightening words “bend over” are enough to contemplate undergoing hormone treatments and living out the rest of their lives as Bobbi rather than Bob.

Nope, instead they’ve been allowed to skip-a-doodle through life, undaunted by the thought of stirrups and rubber gloves and breast exams and doctors’ hands going into places that in most countries must be preceded with a marriage proposal. Or, at the very least, an exchange of four sheep and a bag of potatoes. Or a really, really, REALLY big glass of wine.

But such is life.

The time had come for my husband to pull up his big boy pants...just so he could pull ‘em back down at the doctor’s office later.

And that brings us to The Cleanse.

It sounds like the title to a post-apocalyptic summer blockbuster movie featuring horrid, pus-oozing aliens who descend upon the earth like a genocidal plague, wiping out humanity in one strong blow.

In reality, it’s a lot worse than that.

And like labor, everyone who’s been through it has all kinds of advice that - rather than help you - has the opposite effect and scares the holy bejesus out of you instead.

“Toilet paper. Lots and lots of toilet paper. And make sure it’s the good kind. This is one time you don’t wanna be a cheap bastard.”

“One word - Vaseline.”

“One word - vodka. I know they say No Alcohol, but screw that!”

All in all, The Cleanse stage wasn’t as bad as anticipated. Except for the stuff he had to ingest the morning of the procedure.

“It’s like drinking scented liquid soap,” he gagged over the sink, glass in hand and an I’m-gonna-puke look on his face.

Not sure when he ever had the opportunity to drink scented liquid soap.

I guess it’s true - what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.


“Nope, I’m a virgin.”

Let’s just say my husband was a bit apprehensive about the whole process. He even made sure he scheduled it at an office miles away rather than at the hospital in which he works.

“They’re all really nice people,” he commented about his fellow employees. “But there ain’t no way in everlasting hell that this thing’s going down - or up - with all of them watching.”

How sweet. He’s shy.

After being in labor for 24 hours, I quickly lost count of the number of nurses who traipsed in and out of my room to check how far my cervix had dilated.

I barely had time to mutter a how-do-you-do before someone had their hand up my you-know-what to measure.

After the fourth or fifth person, I just stopped caring. Of course, that could have been helped by the nice drugs they gave me.

Apparently my husband was a little less forgiving.

But he passed The Cleanse stage with flying colors. All that was left was The Procedure, and he was feeling rather confident by that point.

The nurse called his name, and he turned to follow her down the hallway. I heard her ask, “Have you had a colonoscopy before, sir?”

The last words I heard him say right before the swinging doors cut off the conversation were, “Nope, I’m a virgin.”

God helps us all.


“They took a picture.”

Thankfully, the routine procedure turned out to be, well, routine. 

The nice doctor arrived and gave us the thumbs up, asked if my husband had passed gas (he had; but apparently it’s a deal breaker if you don’t and you can’t go home for - like - ever) and sent us on our way.

As I drove out of the parking lot and onto the street, my husband flipped through the discharge papers the nurse had handed him before leaving.

“Oh, great,” he muttered. “They took a picture. Like I really needed to see what my a** looks like.”

I smiled and replied, “Awesome! That’s going on the Christmas card this year.”