Saturday, August 25, 2007


WARNING: I say penis in the following post. And Frued. Also foreskin and retract. Just so you know.

Here's the thing about parenting: You can toss and turn and weigh advantages and disadvantages about every decision, but you can never know for sure how things are going to work out. I guess that is true about life in general, but it just seems more pronounced with your kids. We feel like we have to make The Right Decision about everything, and we fool ourselves into thinking that there is one right decision to make. At least I do.

And now I'm going to write about one series of decisions that I thought was right, but perhaps wasn't right. And I'm going to have to delete this all when Luke turns about ten. Or eight. Or whatever age a kid these days could accidentally stumble upon a blog that his mama wrote.

We are enlightened, well educated people, my husband and I. We did not--absolutely not!--have our boys circumcised. What medical evidence is there to support such a decision? Of course this was The Right Decision.

But now Luke has had a few problems--we'll just leave it at that--and the big C word is being thrown around. And let me tell you, DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES go and research circumcision on the internet unless you want to be persuaded that it is a very, very bad idea. At least don't go looking for pictures.

Which is what I did a few nights ago, because, enlightened mom that I am, I made another great decision. I told Luke--in anticipation of him hearing the doctors discuss "retraction" in regards to his health--that some day, the little opening where the pee comes out will get bigger and his inside penis will be able to come out of the outer skin and then go back in. Luke turned all pale and stammering on me, and started laughing and then crying.

"But what will it look like? I don't know what it will look like! Is it like my insides coming out? Does it happen to girls? I don't want it to come out! What will it look like?"

We tried to clarify, but it just wasn't working. So I asked him if he wanted to see pictures. And after much looking and stumbling upon pictures that I did not want to see, including pictures of older males being circumcised, I found a black and white drawing illustrating what I thought Luke needed to know. I called Luke to the computer.

Luke took one look at the pictures and went, shrieking, out of the room. Later, he fell asleep mumbling, "But what will it look like?"

The next morning I said, "Good morning Luke."

His reply? "I don't know what it will look like!"

Have we made the right decisions? I have no idea. I'm worried that I've mucked it all up, and that the messing about by doctors, the rubbing with ointments, the scary images in his head and the not-helpful pictures on the computer are giving him some sort of complex. I don't know. I'm fumbling around here, trying to make the right decisions, and I know in the grand scheme of things this is not a Huge Deal.

It is just that everything feels so monumental sometimes. And yes, Freud could have a heyday with all this.

Thursday, August 23, 2007


Luke starts Kindergarten in three days, and I'm preemptively beginning to mourn the peer pressure that I know he will feel. He will be going to a small, reputable public elementary school--a good school. I don't think he's going to be pressured into smoking weed after school or chugging a beer behind the playground equipment. But I did get a glimpse, just a few days ago, of the way he will begin to feel some pressures to conform.

In swimwear, Luke does not stand out from his cohort of five-year-old boys. We were at a local park with a "splash pad" a few days ago, and Luke was wearing his spiderman swim trunks. He fit in. But, when we emerged from the changing room, Luke had on his homemade batik, bug print cotton pants, his swirly blue crocs, and no shirt, since we were about to climb into our "project" car that doesn't have an air conditioner. A little boy who had been splashing with Luke asked, with a bit of a smirk on his face, "Are you wearing your pajamas?"

"No," Luke replied.

"Why aren't you wearing a shirt?" the boy continued.

I felt my breath quicken. What was this little boy implying? That Luke isn't cool? That Luke's clothes aren't sports- or superhero-centric enough? My Luke, who, other than his love of superhero T-shirts, couldn't care less about what he wears. Who likes bright colors, fun patterns, and who has worn his homemade Peter Pan costume to school (including green tights) on more than one occasion.

I calmed myself down and casually yet brightly (read: with an undertone of hysteria) replied, "These are his pants that his friend's mom made! Aren't they cool? And Luke doesn't have a shirt on because we are about to ride in our hot car without air conditioning!"

Of course, I probably don't have anything to worry about. Luke will likely be able to stand up for himself, even in public elementary school. When I looked over at Luke, to see if his feelings were hurt, I saw him place his hands over his ears and squeeze his eyes shut.

Then he shouted, for the whole park to hear, "I don't want to hear another word out of your mouth!"

I know he'll have to leave Neverland eventually. But I don't want him to yet.

First Crush

We went out to ice cream the other day, and while we were eating, Henry looked over at the line to the counter.

"Look, mama! That guwul!" he said.

"Yes, Henry," I replied.

"That guwul is bootiful!"

The girl looked like any other girl, I thought. Blond hair, cute enough, wearing an orange shirt and a brown skirt.

Then Henry added, with a smile on his face, "I want to go cuddle she!"

Saturday, August 11, 2007

My Henry, Turning Over a New Leaf

Remember all of those things I wrote about Henry being my sweet natured fellow? A people pleaser? Focused on others? Emotionally sensitive? Well, we seem to have entered a new era with Henry. We have entered the dreaded Terrible Two's. And really, this is just a cute way of saying this: the Angel Baby has become the Demon Child. Okay, okay, just indulge me in this hyperbole. He did, after all, take my icons off the shelf yesterday and place them, face down, under the table.

With Luke, I didn't buy the whole "terrible two's" thing. Luke was actually getting easier by the time he turned two. I thought that Luke from age two until age Henry Was Born was pretty fun. In fact, come to think of it, we decided to try to conceive again when Luke was about two. Let me tell you, that ain't gonna happen again anytime soon.

Because every ounce of our energy is spent dealing with these kids. Luke has always taken a good deal of energy, but we could sort of coast with Henry. Maybe that is part of the trouble: we have always expected him to go with the flow, and now he is putting his foot down. He has to make a ruckus so that he can make his opinion known.

Henry has to do everything for himself. Luke was, and still is, a child that prefers to be done unto. He likes us to dress him still. He actually told me that he does not want to learn to wipe his own bottom. But Henry. Oh, Henry. He must do everything himself. If we walk out the door together, he insists, insists, on going back in and doing it himself. And don't even think about pushing on the door one little bit with one finger. If this much help is given, Henry must start all over. If said door opening results in Henry, oh, say, falling out the door onto his face, as it did yesterday, the whole process must begin again.

And the nights. I'm not sure if these are the dreaded "night terrors," but every few nights Henry wakes up once or twice screaming for nursies, screaming to get up, screaming for his mommy, who he then does not permit to touch him. He lurches around the room like a half baby, half big boy swamp monster. He is permanently hoarse from these screaming sessions.

I suppose it only makes sense that it would be harder for a people pleaser to claim his own independence. And I'm glad he is standing up for himself and his desires. Only, it is just so exhausting. And his timing really isn't good, what with the move and all.

But at least I'll have more stories for my blog.

Friday, August 03, 2007

A Move in Progress

I haven't posted in so long because, for the last several weeks, we have been moving. I mean, there was an actual move date, but the whole process has been going on for a while. We are only getting just a little bit settled right now.

And let me tell you, it is all I can do some days to keep the panic and utter mania at bay.

The problem is, every other time we have moved I have been able to actually unpack. The last time we moved Luke was one year old, and he took a long afternoon nap, during which time I would unpack as furiously as possible until I collapsed on the bed beside Luke for a quick snooze before he woke up. This sounds heavenly now. Almost up there with sleeping in, eating chocolate for breakfast, and having a pedicure while reading a book. Seriously.

Because now, this is what a day is like: wake up at 5 am, read books to the kids for two hours so they won't tear up the tenuous order we have begun to establish in the house, feed them breakfast, wake Craig so he can work, take the kids out of the house so they won't tear up the house and/or bug power-tool-wielding Craig, come home, feed them lunch, try to get Henry down for a nap, make some dinner and do some dishes and laundry. Okay, you get the picture. There is not a lot of unpacking going on, at least on my end.

This is all made much, much worse by Henry's recent development from Happy People Pleaser into Psycho Independent Man. This really deserves its own post, which it shall receive, but suffice it to say that our nights have been less than peaceful, what with Henry waking every few hours and lurching around the house screaming at the top of his lungs for whatever thing he has decided he needs at 2 am. I mean, nursies, cheese and books in those early, pre-dawn hours all sound reasonable to you, right?

I should have known that it would not be a peaceful move when we wound up leaving our car in Chicago on the day of the move. Who leaves their car behind? Oh, yes, and the vomiting on the airplane. Me. Vomiting for much of the flight while trying to take care of Luke and Henry by myself.

And now, the nightmares. A few nights ago I dreamed that we got in trouble for having such a long lawn, and so, since we don't have a lawnmower yet, Craig mowed it with a weed trimmer. The next night, I dreamed I was in Jenny's kitchen shredding chicken with my new suburban friends, who started lecturing me about Luke's behavior. We don't even really live in the suburbs, it is just that Worthington, Ohio is so very suburban compared to Chicago.

Every day I alternate, several dozen times, between giddy elation and despair. We are living in a house for goodness sake! With a yard! This in opposition to a small, two bedroom apartment in a dorm, where we were responsible for 78 undergraduates. There is parking at all of the stores, where the workers are friendly! There are lots of beautiful trees and parks. But, alternately, these parks are empty. Everyone must be hanging out in their own large backyards. And so, I stand out even more, the lone mom sitting on top of the playground equipment nursing my toddler, getting ready to return to my long-lawned house full of boxes.

But we are making progress.