Friday, September 30, 2011

Increase the Peace

It breaks my heart to read in the news that another child committed suicide due to excessive bullying. Parents, teachers and other school officials need to actively get involved if they see or hear of a student being bullied. We need to communicate and give the victims support and understanding. And it needs to be taken seriously.

I was bullied in school and so was my husband. But back in those days we dealt with it ourselves. We either kept quiet or fought back against the bully. However, it seems that bullying has gotten worse through the years and gone beyond name-calling.

My son was bullied in kindergarten when we lived in NJ. Yes, kindergarten. The bully would take his things, pushed him in the stairwell and would take his lunch. When the husband and I found out we asked for a meeting with his teacher. The teacher knew immediately why we were there. She told me steps had been taken to separate the Little Man and the bully in the classroom and during lunch. We also told the Little Man to speak up against the bully. The taunting ended. At least for my son.

The bully however, probably still has victims because his father is a loudmouth jerkface so his son thinks that behavior is acceptable. I hope that little boy gets help.

I still routinely ask my son if someone at school is picking on him. He knows that he can talk to anyone in his family or a teacher if there is a problem. I also told him to speak up on behalf of another victim if he sees them getting bullied.

We need to watch our behavior because it directly influences our children. We need to speak up for those who can't. We need to increase the peace.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Help! I can't stop pinning!

I have a new addiction. It's called, Pinterest. When I'm not reading, writing, taking care of my son, being a wife, surfing the net, or watching TV, I'm on this site. At first I started out with one board on which to place pins called, Stuff that speaks to me. I'd post places I wanted to visit someday, quotes I liked, foods and drinks I wanted to try.

Then I started a second board called Notable Quotables, and I post quotes, sayings and witty, sarcastic comments on that one. Some of these are sentimental or thought-provoking and others are damn funny.

I now have 3 boards. My third one is called Delish dishes and it features all the yummy foods and drinks I want to try and/or make. These often make me drool but I catch myself before a line of spittle falls onto my keyboard thus making it sticky and possibly short-circuiting the thing. It could happen.

Everyday I go through and see what other people have "pinned" and then "repin" what I like onto one of my boards. And before it sounds like I'm totally goofing off here let me just say that I have learned a few things from this site. So it's been an educational time-waster. I also get to add my own description, thus utilizing my creativity, even if it's only one word like, "Yum!" to describe cream cheese filled brownies.

Maybe one day I'll get bored and stop pinning and move on to my next obsession. Until then, I'm thinking of starting another board dedicated to holiday decorating. Or maybe one just for those places I want to visit. Wait, that would be TWO new boards!!! Yay!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Reading: The Preferred Method of Torture For Moms Everywhere

I love to read and always have ever since I was little. In Elementary School my parents enrolled me in a 'Book of the Month' Club. When a new book arrived I sat down and immediately started to read. Even now when I get a new book I sit down and start reading as soon as I get home. I can lose myself and hours at a time with a good read.

Since I am a lover of books, it stands to reason that my son would follow in my footsteps.  I sit on the sofa reading my novel and he sits next to me with his book. Every once in a while we glance at one another and smile. It's a beautiful moment between us.

Cue's homework time and my son has to read for 10 minutes. In a row. He makes a face and whines. I insist.  And it's on, the reading tug-of-war.

Little Man: Do I have to?
Me: Yes, it's part of your homework.
Little Man: Can I do it later?
Me: No.

He sets a timer because he wants it to be an exact 10 minutes and not a moment longer.We take a book and go sit down. He starts to read in a half-assed, I'm-only-doing-this-because-you're-making-me way. After a couple of sentences we enter the bargaining phase.

Little Man: How about if we take turns? You read a paragraph and I read a paragraph?
Me: No.
Little Man: How about if I read a page and you read a page?
Me: No. You have to do all the reading.

More eye-rolling and frustrated sighs. He reads some more and before long the timer goes off. Ding! It doesn't matter if we're in mid-sentence, the minute the timer sounds it signals the end of this torture session.

I'm not sure where this distaste for books came from. When he was a baby I would read to him before bedtime. Like all other babies and toddlers, he loved Goodnight Moon and other nursery rhymes. Now I try to find books that fit his interests. Still, nothing. He'd rather play with the Jedi heroes than read about them.

My mom says that most boys don't like to read. It's a "quiet activity" and they like to do things. I think we're just opposites. I read and write well. He's good at math. My math leaves a lot to be desired. If he were the parent and I were the child and doing math problems was the homework assignment, I'm sure I would be the one whining and bargaining my way through it. In fact, I'm pretty sure I did just that at his age.

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Friday, September 16, 2011

Dealing with Diabetes

I don't always like to be so serious. I'd much rather laugh and joke around and poke fun at people. But I thought writing about this might help me to deal. So, please bear with me as I get a little deep and do away with the humor for this post.

My son has diabetes, Type 1, formerly known as Juvenile Diabetes. The name may have changed but the disease is the same. What this means is that Christopher’s pancreas doesn’t work and his body can’t make insulin on its own. He was diagnosed at the end of June, just as Summer was getting into full swing. In the blink of an eye he went from being a healthy 7-year old boy who has never been seriously sick, aside from having colds and the usual pre-school runny nose, to having an auto-immune disease. He has never missed a day of school and I have the Academic Achievement certificates to prove that. I’m hoping diabetes won’t keep him from earning more Perfect Attendance certificates.

I remember when the doctor called to give me the news. She told me the blood test results had come back and Chris tested positive for diabetes. After that the conversation became like white noise to me because my mind kept repeating one word…diabetes. What started out as a possible bladder or urinary infection had turned into the worst-case scenario. I called my husband at work and told him to come home, that we needed to take Chris to the hospital. Then I went and hugged my son and told him the news. He said nothing at first but then it was like something clicked and he realized what was happening was bad. He cried while I held him and tried to be reassuring. Afterward he seemed better, almost unaffected by the news. It’s amazing how children have that ability to bounce back. I wish I could have that. When I told my parents, I cried a bit with my mom. Then I pulled myself together.

We all went to the hospital where I filled out forms and answered questions and tried to keep my son’s spirits up. The staff was friendly and kind to us. I held Chris’s hand as they inserted the IV into his arm and I spent the night in the hospital with him. I barely slept between the comings and goings of the nurses and worrying about my kid not to mention dealing with his diagnosis. Over the next two days we were educated on how to manage this disease. There were books and pamphlets to read and of course we had to learn how to check his blood glucose levels and how to administer his insulin shots. I took notes, paid attention and began my role as my son’s caregiver. I was on autopilot.

That night I went home to get some sleep and left Chris and his dad to spend the night in the hospital. Once at home, I allowed myself to fall apart. I cried. I raged. I wanted to know how and why this had happened. I still do.

The next day we were able to take him home along with our newly learned instructions for keeping him healthy and a backpack filled with supplies and literature. I was happy to have him home and determined to get back to some sense of normalcy. But normal is gone. It’s been replaced by needles, meters, test strips and carb counting. Before each meal Chris has to prick a fingertip and test his blood. Then he can eat. After his meal he gets an insulin injection.

I’m horrible at math. In school I barely passed. Yet, here I am, running numbers according to formulas for the sake of my son’s health. It’s ironic. It’s ridiculous. It’s necessary. I add up all the carbs he eats during a meal and divide that by the insulin-to-carbohydrate ratio (pre-determined by the doctor), which gives me A. I then take his blood glucose number and follow the formula, which gives me B. A + B = C and C is the amount of insulin he needs. I have a calculator next to his diabetes supplies.

This goes on every day. I watch as he pricks his little fingers to draw blood for testing. I pierce his smooth skin with a needle to give him his insulin. He counts to 3 and I insert. Most of the time it’s over and done. Sometimes he winces and sometimes he tells me it hurts. Each time it rips my heart apart and I find myself cursing silently that he must go through this. If he had to get diabetes why couldn’t he have Type 2 and just take medication? No, he has to endure needles, and pin pricks, and test strips, and if his numbers run too high he has to pee on another test strip. In the rawest of terms, this disease sucks.

In the beginning following his diagnosis, I bounced between two emotions: sadness and anger. I was sad that my son has this horrible disease and will have it for the rest of his life. And I was angry for the same reasons. I still carry them inside me and have yet to make peace with it all.

Chris has come to accept it. He understands what he has and what he must do to maintain his health but he doesn’t let it hinder him. As long as he can keep riding his bike, playing baseball, swimming and playing his video games, he’s happy. Of course there are times when he hates diabetes and doesn’t want to prick his finger and I understand that. It’s an inconvenience. But then I tell him that unfortunately, he has to do this. We’ve always tried to teach him about choices and this disease is in direct conflict with that.  

It’s especially hard when he tells me it’s unfair and he wishes he didn’t have diabetes. At those times I hug him and tell him I agree. He has the right to feel however he wants because this is his disease and his life. And while I try to put a positive spin on it and keep the smiles coming, I hide my true emotions, which make me want to lash out at someone or something. I want to hold someone accountable. I want someone to blame. I want to hit someone hard and transfer my anger and frustration onto them. But, I can’t.

I joined a support group at my local chapter of Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, which meets once a month. It helps to go there and share my feelings. I’ve met other parents who have gone through or are going through the same as me. I learn new information about the disease and bring home new reading material. It helps to keep me focused on what’s really important: my son’s health.

Our next goal is to get Chris on an insulin pump, which will do away with the injections he gets. It should make life easier and more comfortable for him. Ultimately we hope for a cure. Chris is optimistic that they will find one in his lifetime. I pray they do.

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Monday, September 12, 2011

Funny Email Stuff

Someone sent me this in an email. Sarcasm, I love it! If any of these offend you, don't blame me. I didn't write them, I'm just the messenger.

 Dear Noah,
We could have sworn you said the ark wasn't leaving till 5.

Dear Twilight fans,
Please realize that because vampires are dead and have no blood
pumping through them, they can never get an erection. Enjoy
fantasizing about that.

Dear Icebergs,
Sorry to hear about the global warming. Karma's a bitch.
The Titanic

Dear America ,
You produced Miley Cyrus. Bieber is your punishment.

Dear Yahoo,
I've never heard anyone say, "I don't know, let's Yahoo! it..."
Just saying...

Dear 2010,
So I hear the best rapper is white and the president is black? WTF

Dear girls who have been dumped,
There are plenty of fish in the sea... Just kidding! They're all

Dear Skin-Colored Band Aids,
Please make one for every skin color.
Black people

Dear Scissors,
I feel your one wants to run with me either.
Sarah Palin

Dear Customers,
Yes, we ARE making fun of you in Vietnamese.
Nail Salon Ladies

Dear Ugly People,
You're welcome.

Dear World,
Please stop freaking out about 2012. Our calendars end there
because some Spanish d-bags invaded our country and we got a little
busy, ok?
The Mayans

Dear White People,
Don't you just hate immigrants?
Native Americans

Dear iPhone,
Please stop spell checking all of my rude words into nice words.
You piece of shut.
Every iPhone User

Dear Trash,
At least you get picked up...
The Girls of Jersey Shore

Dear Man,
It's cute, but can you pick up peanuts with it?

Thursday, September 8, 2011

I'm Not Laughing At You

Laughing and cracking jokes is one of my defense mechanisms. It may be inappropriate and rude but I can't help it, that's how I cope sometimes when things are a bit rough or uncomfortable. Don't get me wrong, it's not like I crack up at funerals (well, there was that one time but I couldn't help it, and in my defense, the husband and my mom were also holding in hysterics). But I'm getting off track here.

Regarding the recent floods in the northeast and the subsequent rain that NY and NJ have been getting the last couple of days, a recent weather report said the Susquehanna River would be rising and causing floods and evacuations.

I turned to my dad and asked, "What river?" with a slight grin on my face. He knew where I was going with this and said, "Susquehanna." Then we launched into the Abbott & Costello bit about the Susquehanna Hat Company and laughed.

So I was thinking, am I the only one who thought this during that report? Just like, whenever I hear about the goings-on in Libya, I immediately think about that scene in Back To the Future where the van of Libyans come after Doc Brown and he yells, "The Libyans!".

In both cases, I feel bad for the innocents involved but I can't help how my mind works and the comedy it produces, even in the face of bad stuff happening in the world.

Abbott & Costello Bit

The Libyans!

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Monday, September 5, 2011

Happy Labor Day!

Today is Labor Day. For those lucky enough to be employed, especially in this horrible economy, we celebrate you. Hopefully you have the day off to enjoy as you choose whether you barbecue, go swimming or just do nothing. I have plans to just hang out and relax with the Little Man.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

What's In A Name?

My son has a famous classmate. Ok, not really, but the boy does have a famous name. I won't mention it here (in the interest of his privacy) but apparently he was named after a famous Hollywood Western movie star. No, not John Wayne. Not Clint Eastwood, either. Just give up because I'm not telling. Unless you offer money. Or Kit Kat bars. Then I might consider spilling the beans.

Anyway, whenever there was a school awards ceremony he would no doubt get an award. The teacher would say, "For Whatever Academic Achievement " followed by his name and my mom and me always giggled. Not a lot of people got the joke. You had to be a fan of old spaghetti westerns or at least growing up in that time period to get it.

So, two weeks ago we were in my son's classroom, attending his third grade orientation. I walked around the desks and read the name place cards to see if I recognized any of Little Man's school mates, and there it was...the Western Movie Star. I giggled. I quietly called my mom over to show her. She smiled and giggled. Then, the Western Movie Star looked up at us like who are these weirdos and why are they standing at my desk and giggling?

I hope we didn't give him a complex. That he didn't go home that day and say, "Mom I like my teacher and the kids are cool but at orientation these two women came over to my desk and giggled."

Listen Western Movie Star, I know how you feel. I, too, was named after someone famous. Worse yet, my name and subsequent nickname were both immortalized in song in a famous movie. If I had a nickel every time someone broke into song when I introduced myself I'd have the mother crap load of nickels. So, I'm sorry if we made you feel uncomfortable that day. But, I can't promise that I won't still giggle when I hear your name.