Monday, September 21, 2009

Flu-cinations and boredom

I've got the flu. Not the swine flu, thank goodness, but the normal flu, the one I take a shot to avoid every year. Only nobody offers a shot for the flu in September because people don't usually GET the flu in September.

So here I sit, on bedrest through tomorrow, bored out of my brain, insanely tired but not sleepy. Having the flu isn't something I recall dealing with since I was a kid, before the flu shot was available. And I'm bored--did I mention that already? I've done everything I can think of doing from my bed. I've googled all sorts of stuff I've wondered about and thought of more stuff to google than ever before. I've watched more tv than I ever dreamed possible, and most of it was inane, insane crap! I've tried to wash clothes and keep up with stuff around the house, but it's practically impossible when you're dizzy and people are following you around, spraying the hallway with Lysol.

Well, here are some of the things I've learned since having the flu.

First, I never knew anyone could be as self-absorbed at an adult age as the women on The Real Housewives of Atlanta. I only watched five minutes of it before I began to feel nauseous (now I honestly don't know if it was the show or the flu that caused that). Either way, it's quite impressive that Bravo was able to find not just one but five or six adult women in one city who are so self-centered and ridiculous. I guess really it's more a sad commentary on our times, but in a weird way I have to give props to Bravo. Somebody had serious self-confidence to even propose such a show.

Next, I didn't realize so many people wrote weird sex stories about pretend characters from TV shows. All of my googling has led me to learn about all sorts of story sites regarding different shows, one of my favorites being Criminal Intent. Being curious, of course, and in my flu-cination state, I had to read a few. That got me wondering about what people really think about the characters. I mean, who REALLY believes that if Goren and Eames were real people they would be doing it? Like really? That she's looking at his butt and he's looking at...well, you get the point. It makes me wonder if I've been asleep all these years, because the only thing I've ever seen Goren salivate over is the idea of interrogation. And I have to believe that Eames would not make it through one date without slapping him. But again, if it's fiction, I guess anything goes.

Here's another thing I've learned. My dog sleeps a lot. Like, maybe eighteen hours a day. She's only two years old, for God's sake. Is that normal? I guess I should google that.

Okay, one more. How is it possible to have sixty some odd channels on your television and not one single thing is on that you can bear to watch? Even my favorites are getting on my nerves. If I have to see that Criminal Minds episode with the couple on death row one more time, I'm going to hurl from something other than this flu!!!

Hopefully I'll be back to work in another day or so. Anything that gets me away from this prison is worth it! Don't get me wrong--I'm thankful the doctor caught it quickly, that I haven't infected people, that I'm on tamiflu and it's a relatively benign illness at this point, and that I'm well off enough to have a comfy bed, a tv to watch, my dog and the fam to keep me company, and internet access.

Oh look...another episode of Criminal Minds...and it's not the couple on death row...

Monday, September 14, 2009

Beauty and the Bella

My ten-year old is sick. She has been sick for two weeks now, with some sort of mild sore-throat viral thing that the doctor initially thought might be mono. Well, now we know it's not mono but that doesn't make me feel any better because I don't know how to make her feel better.

I adore my son. For all of the challenges we face together, he is an amazing child and we are determined to guide and nurture him. But my daughter? My relationship with her is so different than with him. She is truly the Yin to my Yang, the Beavis to my Butthead. What I work so hard to have with my son comes so naturally with my daughter.

When she first arrived, she was not quite two, a tornadic ball of energy who was angry and scared. By the time she reached two and a half, with the help of a wonderful play therapist, she was my little girl. And she and I have been peaches and cream ever since. The best part of sending her to preschool as a little girl was picking her up. She would run to me, arms out, laughing and calling, "Mama!" If you've never experienced it, that is the perfect ending to a day.

Now she's ten, her last year in elementary school. She's smart and funny, tall and beautiful. My nickname for her is "Bella"--the italian word for beauty--and it sums her up pretty well. She is also curious, precocious, challenging, questioning, and at times smart-alecky. But when I look at her and I think about who she was, who she is, and who she will be, all I see is Beauty.

I do worry about chasing boys off. I worry about keeping her focused on a good path, guiding her through the next several years, and maintaining the close relationship we have right now. But I know that she is a great kid. She has a lot of love. She gives a lot of love. When I look at her, I often think how amazing she is. And that....bella.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Criminal Minds and Intents

Today is Labor Day, and in honor of all the labor that we do every day of the year, I am un-laboring. A&E is having a Criminal Minds marathon and I'm watching it, snug in my pj's, curled up with my dog and a piece of DiGiorno pizza, listening to my ten-year old chat on the phone.

Criminal Minds has got to be one of the sickest shows on network TV. It never ceases to amaze me how far this show will push the envelope regarding what it airs. Certainly there are criminals out there with far more horrible ideas and minds (and crimes!) than this show airs, but I still recoil in horror when I see some of the things they show. For this very reason, it's one of only two shows on tv I don't allow my children to watch--the other show being Rock of Love (or any form of it--call it guilty pleasure but it really blows my mind to see that people actually live that way!).

So why am I spending labor day watching this show? Because I can! And because it intrigues me. My absolute favorite show on the planet, until recently, was Law and Order Criminal Intent. I have a thing for Vincent D'Onofrio. Especially in earlier episodes, when he was extremely physical in his acting and could convey a mood or a thought with his body language. He also has the largest and most well-groomed hands I have ever seen on a man. The fact that his character is somewhat of a genius while being a little bit dorky (and not giving a damn about it) makes him fantastic. What a guy. My husband thinks my crush is hysterical and never wastes the opportunity to make fun of the "man with the broken neck" (as they so lovingly refer to him in one episode). Well, laugh away, my dear husband...I still have my Bobby Goren!

Since A&E has been showing Criminal Minds the last several weeks, I've been weirdly fascinated by it all. The characters are so interesting, the storylines unbelievable but intriguing. It makes me wonder what it would be like to be a detective. In real life I'm a teacher, and I not only love my job, but I rock it. I'm extremely good at what I do. But if I got the chance to trade places with one of those detectives for a day in fantasyland, I'd do it in a heartbeat...just guarantee me that my heart would still be beating when I came back!

Sunday, September 6, 2009


I've always loved to write. I guess I'm a big rambler too, so a blog seems like a perfect place to post my thoughts. As I begin this process, I'm imagining nobody will ever read this, which is fine with me, but in case someone does, that will be okay too.

My insides are churning regarding my life. Decisions surround every facet of what I do, every day, and I often worry that I make the wrong ones. Some decisions--like choosing appropriate preschool snacks or how much time I let my youngest spend watching TV today--are relatively minor in consequence and worry. Yet the big decisions--what will happen to my oldest as he faces dealing with an incredibly challenging disability, what will happen with my job as I reinterview for a new position, what will happen with our family as we receive the results of my husband's bar exam--seem overwhelming. Quite frequently on my mind is my twelve-year old. His struggles with emotional turmoil and physical/mental limitations are enormous at times and overwhelming. His list of diagnoses are never-ending, depending on the doctor and the day. He has been my most difficult challenge in life, and has made me rethink everything from my career to my living situation to motherhood. And yet, he is in so many ways my hero. Despite his struggles and his illness, his labels and his prognoses, he pushes through each day and continues to believe in me as his mother. That despite his internal doubts about himself and me, that I will always love him. That he belongs with me and my husband and his sister in our home.

Reactive attachment disorder was a label I first heard of eight and a half years ago when I brought this sweet child home. Of course this was a possible problem for him; he had spent the first three years of his life bouncing around in different situations. But his desire to be with me was so strong, and he was so sweetly loving in those first few years, I didn't believe the label fit. However, there were things that were incredibly offputting; the need to be with me nonstop; his inability to play in any organized fashion; his lack of attachment to other adults who cared for him. Even then there were emotional outbursts that made him emotionally needy--he needed me to help him and be with him and never leave him without thorough explanations of where I would be going and when I would be back. And the tears that followed every time I left...over the years would fill a river. And the guilt and frustration I felt in leaving him that never left me. Over and over we would dance the dance, yet we never got better at it.

Now I look at this pubescent child on the cusp of adolescence and I worry what the future will hold for him. Will I be able to continue to do my job as his mother? Will I have the strength and fortitude to insist that he receive the treatment that he needs even if it means a hospitalization for up to a year three hours from our home? Can they guarantee me this child will have a better chance at life if we do make these sacrifices?

You see, in the end I don't care if he has a great job, a nice house, even a good partner. I don't even worry so much that he feels happy instead of sad. What I worry most about is that he can feel contentment. Never in his life has he felt content. And that is what I want for him more than anything else...contentment.

In the meantime, we will continue to plod along and do what we can to form an attached, functional family unit despite the limitations and restrictions of this disorder. We will love and we will laugh and we will have faith in God and His love and healing. And when my child feels weak, he will remember how much I believe in him, and hopefully give it another try. And when I have nights like this one, I will remember his belief in me. And I'll try to live up to what my little hero expects.