Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Now, if you're a longtime stalker reader of this blog, then you know I come from what used to be a big family before I moved to KC and started hanging out with mini-mega-families. I mean, I am one of 5 kids, and then there are 1000* more kids that have sprung from our loins and our paperwork, and various family members we added over the years who may or may not have any biological connection.

And they are the Yablonskis, them who raised me. Yablonski is a fictional surname my parents made up, probably in a sickly-sweet smelling smoky room with Jimi carrying on in the background. By the time I came around, the only smoke was Mama exploding the green bean pan, and the soundtrack was Michael Card and Twila Paris. I'm glad they got saved, but I think I might have gotten the musical short end of the stick. Anyway, Yablonskis. That's us, the ever-expanding family, with the same joie de vivre passing down the generational lines.

Now I live 700 miles away from them, and for the last 2 years I haven't been "home" for Thanksgiving. So I gather my little crew and friends and neighbors and I try to cook and capture that feeling of belonging, of being known. And it does feel like a holiday, like a celebration, but it's not the same. Sometimes it seems like I am only completely me when surrounded by my mom and my siblings. 

Adulthood. On one hand I am thrilled to be able to drive my own car and have my own family and do all the grownup stuff, but part of me will never stop wanting to be Mouse, the littlest one, watching the big kids and Daddy beat each other over the head with wrapping paper tubes. The littlest one, when the big kids went home and out with friends, the littlest one sitting in between Mama and Daddy, eating popcorn and listening to them talk about their plans to fix up the place.

But life changes, and growing up is inevitable, unless you choose to be a perpetual child, which is a whole 'nother topic. So I will wake up early and I will cook the ham and the pies, and I will be thankful that God has given me children, and time. And I will miss my roots, even as I put down roots for my little ones. And I will be thankful.

*not exact number

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

I'm not a medical type. I can hold my own when I need to talk to doctors about my kids, but besides that, I tend to steer clear of medical discussions, unlike my attractive and single friend Liz. She likes to talk about things, and sometimes she makes me faint or puke, while telling an amusing anecdote about a guy's face coming off, or what have you.

Still, the fact is, my life has been kind of a continual Medical Update lately, and so I feel the need to talk about that-time-I-almost-died-yesterday. The only problem is, it is all involving kidneys and other kidney-related functions, and I'm not really wanting to take you all to the virtual bathroom with me, even if you're just talking to me from the other part of the room while fixing your mascara in the mirror. Quandary.

Well. The thing is, I had this minor infection, which I self-diagnosed using the Google (who needs doctors, right?) and so I had started home-remedying myself with cranberry pills and cranberry juice and massive amounts of water and little martyr sighs and such, and then I woke up yesterday with a New Pain. It was kind of like somebody was bludgeoning me in the back and the side with a Nerf Bat, and really using their strength. I consulted Dr. Google and he told me I might have a kidney infection, or possibly a terrible fatal 24 hour disease, something like that. And then it started getting worse, the New Pain. So the MOG and I were off to Urgent Care, and they agreed with my self-diagnosis and sent me home with a prescription for antibiotics.

By this point the Nerf-welders had stepped it up and were practicing easy swings with a real bat. I got in the car but walking was getting kind of challenging, and then it got bad. I started getting nauseated, like all the way this-is-going-to-happen nauseated, and the pain in my side was swelling up, and then the nausea and the pain started increasing and swirling together like some macabre symphony of chaos and then I started thinking I might die. My arms and legs went tingly and then it spread all the way up into my ribs. I couldn't breathe and I started thinking, "Is this what it's like to die? Will I be aware that I'm dying, all the way out?" I was really, really scared. REALLY. In the mixture was an awareness that my spirit was all right, and I was heaven bound and all that, but I was terrified to not be able to breathe or feel my body, or to make complete sentences.

While all this was happening, the MOG was asking many questions, and I was mostly just gasping and praying out loud and saying, "I don't know, I don't know, I'm dying." So he drove me to the ER. Note: even if your whole body is numb, the touchscreen on iPhones still work. So I was googling my symptoms while I was pretty sure it was the end. Not sure what that says about me.

At the ER, feeling finally started coming back and then I realized I was in a lot of pain. I had self-diagnosed at that point and told them maybe my appendix had ruptured, but they weren't terribly concerned. "Tell them you have a high pain tolerance! Tell them you're not a hypochondriac!" says the MOG, while the bedraggled man next to us twitches and waits for pain meds. Our friend Randy came up and chatted with me while I waited, and by then, I was feeling much better and thinking about making a run for it, but I was kind of nervous about the whole thing happening again. Randy says I can't really write a near-death experience book about this, but I'm not so sure.

This is already long. Hours and hours at the ER. CT scan and an IV and telling my story over and over, but by this point I am no longer in significant pain. The doctor tells me it was probably a kidney stone, and I probably hyperventilated because of pain, and it's gone now, and the other infection should be fine with antibiotics. Google backs her up.

I'm glad to be alive, even if I maybe was never dying. Still glad.

Friday, November 18, 2011

You know those friends of yours who are shacking up, and they keep saying they're going to get married, but they have to do this insurance thing first, or renew their lease, or get divorced or whatever, and they're all like, we really want to be married, but, you know... (disclaimer: I don't know anybody in this exact situation right now, and this is definitely not aimed at you and your shack-up hunny. it's just a general example. But you should get married)
That's kind of how it's been with our house. We started trying to buy it last year, I think. It seems like a long time ago. We've been living here for 2.5 years, and we like it, plus we don't want to move, so when it went up for sale with us in it, we decided to try to buy it. Maybe you're all like "Do... or do not, there is no try." Back off, Yoda, it's our first home purchase.

So we were all like, "Okay, house. You're 'the one' and we're ready to commit to massive debt and one city and sure, you need a little nip and tuck, but okay. Let's do this." And then the ladies at Bank of America, Les Incompetents Department, were all like, "OMG my coworker is such a COW and she lost your paperwork and I need you to write it 50 more times and did you see what she was wearing? BTW, your loan will be denied in 24 hours because you didn't sign that document I never sent you LOL." After a few months of that, we fired them and went with another company, and they got it done, so now we're here at the altar, ready to change our Facebook stati to "Homeowned", and I'm a little nervous.

Yesterday was the long-awaited closing date, and we rolled up to Chicago Title in our minivan full of short people and sticky Sonic cups. We took turns, one going in and signing stuff while the other one stayed in the van and made vague threats about "inside voices" and "loss of life".

And I did it, I signed the papers, and now we're waiting for a phone call, because they still have to send your documents around so everyone can laugh at your "salary" and draw mustaches on your driver's license. After it makes the rounds, they call and say "Congratulations! You are now 6 figures in debt and contractually obligated to live in this house until you are dead!"

So, homeowners. Homebuyers. Next time my garbage disposal shocks me, I'm going to look it right in the exposed wire and say sternly, "Knock that off. I OWN you."

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

There's these lines, in blogging, and marriage, and blogging about marriage. I aim to be good at mocking my husband without dishonoring him, and talking about the work of being married without making a big deal about how hard it can be.

Like, when you're married a long time, and you have the same fights over and over again. One of those fights, for us, is about the word "fight". To me, that means we disagreed, and may or may not have raised our voices, and it took a few or more circular rounds of logic and emotion to resolve it. To him, the word means fisticuffs and grenades, blood and guts and police helicopters. Let me clarify for you: when I say we had a fight, I mean, we had an argument. If you had been here, your discomfort level at being in the middle of a conflict would have been: low to moderate. So.

Anyway, that was today. Marital Communication 102: Male and Female Mental Patterns. I say (a) he hears (b), and vice versa. And the plot thickens, as we try to muddle through a) what we're saying b) what we mean and c) what we're not saying, while small people poke their heads through the door to announce successful bathroom exploits or helpful trivia about obscure US Presidents. It's like therapy with the Muppets.

So the war rages on, in quiet tones over the peanut butter and jelly- construction, in short sentences during the Lego-storing, and eventually is resolved. Then it's like, what was the big deal, anyway? Oh yeah, because you totally said (a).

Monday, November 14, 2011

My joy-baby is 1. We're having his birthday party later this week, but his real birthday was yesterday. I've been reliving the days around his birth, and thinking about his birthfamily a lot.

Tristan is such a part of me, I've started forgetting he was adopted. He is thoroughly weaved into the fabric of this family, and he adds so much. We are so grateful for him.

Click here to read the post from his birthdate: we meet: Day 1.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Just quit reading this post now, it's disgusting. Who writes about this stuff, anyway? But this is my life, and what my life is revolving around right now is feces. And that is not metaphorical. Actually, I think I prefer real feces life complications to metaphorical feces. If you catch my drift. Or maybe not. Toss-up.

I've had R2 home from school all week, because of his increasingly frequent violent tantrums, and I feel like I've aged 5 years. Yesterday was the worst. He woke up before 6, screaming like he was dying and then repeated that, plus beating himself up, again, in a literal sense, every 15-20 minutes for the rest of the day. We just spent the day in the ER Monday, and nobody saw anything that should be causing him pain. His pedi thought it was constipation, so I'd been treating that, but things were just getting worse. I called the pediatrician yesterday, panicking like a n00b mom, and when I explained that very little was happening, despite my efforts, she sent us back to the ER.

Now, look. I'm a preemie mom. I'm a micropreemie mom, and I am unmoved by fevers and vomiting and giant goose-eggs on foreheads and sickness in general. I don't take my kids in for easy stuff, and I'm almost never wrong when I think there is something that has to be treated. So taking a child to the emergency room for poop seemed... embarrassing. And of course, once I get there, he sits very still and quiet, like maybe no one will notice him and poke him with needles, so the report probably says, "Mom claims he's screaming, but he's not, so maybe mom is nuts. See: Munchausen." And I always get the once-over, anyway, because he looks like he's been thrown down a flight of stairs, after these fits.

But eventually, many, many hours later, they show me the X-ray from earlier, and basically, he is just full of it. In a literal sense. Like, I didn't even know poop could go that high. They said he's probably in severe pain, which makes sense, with the screaming that only I can hear. So they move us to a different freezing room and many years later, when I am old, they come and do a thing with the liquid and the tubes and they get things moving, eventually. He is fascinated. MALE.

Finally, they send us home with instructions on how to finish the job. It will take 3 days. I'm not looking forward to it, but he slept till 7:30 and has only had one two screaming fit(s) today, so I'm hopeful that maybe we'll get happy R2 back. But first, I need a hazmat suit. And a vacation.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

I spent yesterday in the emergency room with R2. I can think of no better way to spend an afternoon, except maybe slamming my hand in the car door, over and over again. I'm not going to write a whole post about it, because I tire of being angsty. It was 7 hours of scans and tests, with R2 alternating between perfect calm and total panic. In the end, we left with no answers. The good news, there's nothing wrong with his shunt.

So that puts me in a spot, saying, okay, then, if there's no way to "fix" him, then I have to figure out how to live with the new behaviors. Today, I suggested that he scream it out before we got out of the van to go in the store. He took me up on it, and alarmed a number of construction workers getting in their trucks. Why were there a large number of construction workers at the Dollar Tree at 9:30 in the morning? I can't answer that. It would not surprise me to find that there are useful construction-related items at TDT, because they have everything. Anyway, he screamed and then he was fine, inside the store. In fact, he was giddy in the store, because it's November 8th and so naturally, every inch of the place was covered in tinsel and stockings. He's all about Christmas, this one. I don't know what to make of this, the "tantrum-on-demand" option, but it worked one time. I guess.

So I'm fairly stressed and emotional and overwhelmed, so I decided to make a craft project. You can tell I was fairly near the breaking point by how involved I got. I'll tell you: I found the hot glue gun, that's how stressed. I scraped most of the Cheerios* off the tablecloth and hot glued $4 worth of orangey fall related items to a wreath. My posse stood around, keeping the conversation hopping, as to why there is hot glue, and how it works, and what if they touched it NOW, and what if they touched it NOW, and if pine cones are nuts and what do I think drawings of cat-men who look like musclebound vampires. That last part was not really related to the wreath.

It worked, to some degree. I now have a happy little wreath on my door that looks like I hot glued items from the dollar store on to a dollar store wreath, but whatever. It makes me happy. Also, it makes me want some ham and sweet potatoes. Come at me Thanksgiving, I dare you.

It's raining now and I'm in my warm house with all my babies, even the screamy one. I'm blessed, and it's a good day.

*Honey Nut Scooters

Thursday, November 3, 2011

They called from the school a few days ago. "Richy's not feeling great," they said, as he screeched uncontrollably in the background. "He's had a few... episodes." So I went up and got him from school, and have kept him home for 3 days because it's obvious he's a little sick. We all have a little cold, but for R2, it sets off this signal in his brain to outscream the sickness, or whatever. He's nonverbal, so it's all silence until it's earsplitting screaming and self-injury. And it's unpredictable, what sets it off, so I decided to just stay home, and not risk the whole lugging-4-kids-out-of-McDonald's-while-people-stare-in-horror, and just let him vent at home.

Today, though, I decided to risk it and we went to Sonic (safe choice) and the library (risky), and he did great, and I was pretty hover-parenty, peering in his face and asking cheerfully if he was happy and good. Then we went to gymnastics and I put chairs by the door, just in case, but he was okay. So we went grocery shopping. Maybe I got cocky, I don't know.

We don't move quickly, the herd. Especially because Toby smuggled a book in and sat down every time I stopped the cart. Still, we were all right, with me being all "Yummy food, Richy! Isn't it great?" And we made it. At the register, a lady said "You've got your hands full!" which is what people say to me every time I go anywhere, ever. And I said, "It's great to have my hands full." and then I was bragging on how good they are. As we finished ringing up, a tiny alarm started ringing on a nearby register, and something snapped. R2 started his whole routine, and I collected kids and groceries and hightailed it for the doors while the entire population of Lee's Summit stopped, like I was in a music video, and stared. It's a horrible, isolating feeling when you know people don't understand.

I drove on, groceries falling off the top and sides while he screamed and pummeled his head with his fist. Toby followed 10 feet behind, engrossed in his Batman book. We sat on the bench in the sunshine while he finished his fit, and people brought us our forsaken bags, and the lady I had been bragging to came out and asked if she could help. It meant something, those kindnesses. It meant a lot.

I'm wiped out, from what was overall a good, peaceful day, overshadowed by the chaos of 3 minutes.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

When I write a post like yesterday's, I'm usually in the middle of regretting it as I click publish. Because I know it's lightweight, and I know the topic deserves so much more attention. On the other hand, I hesitate to be ├╝ber serious, because who wants to read Bummer Blog? Not me.

So now, I feel the need to say more. I don't think marriage is easy. Falling in love is easy. Even having a wedding is easy, compared to actually having a marriage, and staying married. I was practically a child bride, and still, the decentralization of self process was painful, and surprising. Every day, you are choosing to defer, or to "fight for your right" (stop singing).

The MOG and I have been through a lot, considering we are still in our low 30's. Nowhere near mid-30's, we. And we are best friends, and we often thank God that He put us together and didn't make us marry somebody totally lame. But still, it's hard, sometimes. We are very different people, and we have different goals for the hour, or the day, although they're similar for the long run.

I'm independent. I was raised to believe I could accomplish anything, and I still believe that, except maybe Olympic sports, or any sports of any kind, ever. I could accomplish almost anything. So even as a 17 year old, adding a husband to the mix was a luxury, not a need. And I fought for that independence for years, while Richy was trying to figure out how to be a man and a husband. Poor guy, married to a teenage feminist. So we battled for control, and simultaneously had a blast being lovey and making money working for a big corporation. Then we had R2 and life exploded into pain, real, deep pain and we grew up a lot.

7/2004, 3 weeks after the twins
A few years later I had the twins, and they died, and I was at the end of myself and learned how to lean on my husband, to let him be a man and a protector, and everything changed for the better, even in the valley of the shadow of death. Over the years, we've faced obstacle after obstacle, death, sick babies, my battles with feelings of depression, his emotional journeys through ministry and friendship and we've learned how to fight on the same side. We're in this together.

I guess I say all that to say what I tried to say somewhat flippantly yesterday. If you get married, expect bliss. But also, expect to fight for it. Nothing easy is worth it. Who do you want to be married to? Be the other half of that.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

One thing I've learned from being a wife for half my life is how to rhyme, right on time. That's not actually where I was going, but I was totally sidetracked by that wife/life juxtaposition. Unavoidable.

When I think about giving generic marriage advice, I feel all sketchy, because I know that I still have a heck of a lot to learn, like I need to hide the cookies, because then I will avoid exploding in a very minor and short-lived rage upon finding that the one my soul loves has inhaled $3 worth of Oreos in a day. (exaggerations) Hide your snacks, ladies.

But there are some things we've learned and improved, over time. One of the keys to a happy marriage, in our opinion, is to accept the fact that you married a member of the opposite gender, and as such, they will be opposite to you, in many regards. Say what you want, but men and women are different.

So sometime, when your husband is totally not getting the point, and saying things like, "But that's not what I said," take a step back, and remind yourself, he is a man, and his brain is different, and he will very likely never understand that when he said maybe you should go for a jog sometime, he was not saying that you are in fact, disgusting. Even as I type it, it sounds like bull. What else could he be trying to say? Bad example, and not from my real life, exactly.

Or men, when your wife is being totally illogical and not making any sense at all, back up and remember that she is not (stereotypically) wired to operate in a linear fashion. Thank God for her emotions, because if she didn't have them, she never would have been emotionally compromised enough to fall in love with you.

And another thing: there are some things that you will never change. My husband eats cereal in bed. He eats it there because he loves cereal and he loves me, and here we are, all together at last. The fact that I have explained cereal-sounds make me want to puncture my eardrums with a spoon is insignificant to him, so I have learned to put my earbuds in and rock out while he slurps away. Compromise. He has learned that there will be massive teetering piles of books all over our room at all times, and when it gets to him, he makes neater piles, in what he has designated to be book-worthy regions of the room. Whatever.

There are days you won't like each other very much. They will pass. Find a way around the little stuff, and talk through the big stuff. Marriage is worth the work.

There's like a million more things to say, but this is just a blog, not a book, and besides, I'm not really a candidate for Wife of the Year, even though I like my husband a whole lot. Questions? Want some specific advice? Comment, yo.
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