Saturday, November 24, 2012

Does That Make Me a Grandma?

Okay, off the bat, no. This has nothing to do with Corey. This is all about one Fynnie Fynn.

Do you remember her traumatic poop incident? Happened in early July, took 'til September to recover. And many dietary changes. And put potty training, which I was so sure was going to be a breeze, on hold.

By mid-October things were really looking up.

Two weeks ago the signs were clearly present, she was ready to potty train again, right before my week off at Thanksgiving. Only we weren't staying home for Thanksgiving. 

A seven hour drive just really doesn't mesh well with potty training.

Fynnie is such a sensitive child. I don't think this is such a bad thing, generally. It has caused me to stretch and grow (okay, yes, and groan).

Unlike her traumatic poop incident, this time I do not know what happened.

I think maybe she connects using the potty with the stress, pain and strain of this summer. But she was the one asking to use the potty recently.

Whatever it was, she quit pooping again. For four to five days at a time.

She went on Monday and then nothing all week during our little vacation up in the Bay Area.

The vacation? 

Unfortunately, the girls didn't often get the two things they need when they needed them. You know, food and sleep.

On the up side, it was better than this summer's trip to Boston in that I only spent about half the time in a darkened room with the girls. Plus, this room's curtains still let a little light in. Said room had a very nice seating area reasonably separate from where the girls were sleeping, too.  And my new phone kept me connected to the rest of the world longer than five minutes at a time.

But unlike Boston, where I attended a wedding and had a brief walking tour of downtown, this time my excursions included a girls' night out with my friend who lives nearby (thank you!), two walks in a shopping center, one of which was during normal business hours. One happy trip to the park (that ended with Madelyn having a meltdown). One very tense trip to the same park (that ended with Madelyn having a major meltdown) after I declined taking the girls to a different park about 35 miles away when no one else could get themselves ready to go for the day until it was the girls' lunchtime.

Did you know lunchtime comes right before nap time? No? Then, like the rest of Tom's family you are either the parents of adults, the parents of your first infant or childless. For the record, I do not expect any of them to automatically understand our girls' needs. However, both of their parents should know this. And the one who is actually related should grow a pair feel comfortable speaking up. It's not even remotely like Tom's family is a pack of wolves. They would understand if they knew. *ohm*

Oh, and we also had a lovely meal on Thanksgiving at Matt and Sarah's, after which everyone but Fynnie and I went for a three hour walk. Why stay back? Because the girls hadn't napped yet, since the meal was scheduled to start at 2:00. True to form for Tom's family, it actually started about 90 minutes later, which means they could have slept.

That tense trip to the park? That was yesterday. It was awesome. Between Mad's meltdown, Fynnie's obvious discomfort and Tom and I searching different parts of the sky for the answers to life's persistent questions... well, I'm glad it was yesterday. After the park, we went back and put the girls down for their nap. Tom and I worked on a little 160 piece puzzle together, solving it almost silently in record time.

Last night we joined the family at this fabulous vegetarian/vegan restaurant. They were very nice and didn't seem at all put off about our party having two littles and a wee bebe. The servers engaged Madelyn and talked with Baby Zoe. They would have included Fynnie but she was only up for being held by Mama.

Dinner was amazing. Seriously, if I could get vegan food like this regularly, I would give up meat in a heartbeat.

The restaurant? Tiny, but very hip.

Since they have do have one highchair, there's a sense that the occasional kidlet does come into the joint.

You know what they probably don't usually get?

A toddler, no longer able to delay the inevitable, using vocalizations... LOUD grunts and gasps while clawing at my shoulders and crying... as she pushed out something unholy that made the back side of her heinie seem to grow by three or four inches.

The upside? Fynnie usually declares, "I'm pooping!" This time? No. But in case people had any doubts about what had just transpired, she did announce, "I want you cwean ma diapah!"

Oh, and me? Yeah, I was the one cheering her on the whole time. Rubbing her back, kissing her sweaty head, giving a big thumbs up and goofy grin to the rest of my table mates. And in case that wasn't clear enough for them? I added, "Successs!"

The single restroom in the joint was occupied (I have my doubts we'd find a changing table anyway), so I carried Fynnie out to my car and changed her in the cargo area.

Right in front of the little Prius that was parked just a few feet behind us.

With a couple that, only moments before, could not keep their hands off one another.

I'm pretty sure they were parked close enough that they couldn't see around me. But I know they quit hanging around and left right after I double-bagged that diaper.

This morning all of Tom's family gathered in the hotel lobby where we stayed and hung out before heading off in separate directions.

Fynnie ate more than she had the entire trip.

About 90 minutes into our drive home she started fussing about having "booboo for you booboo," which is our rather long pet name for nursing. It was almost lunchtime, so Tom pulled off at the next stop. I brought Fynnie into the front seat with me while Tom took Mad in to get lunch.

Not long into it, I realized that Fynnie was acting very similar to last night. I sat her up and held her with her bottom hanging between my legs.

Again I cheered and rubbed and smooched while she sweated and grunted and pushed. Again, her diaper grew by several inches. When I went to change her, however, I found that things had stopped coming out simply because there was no more room. Using the diaper, I pulled while she finished pushing. Seriously, it was like performing a poopectomy.

As I was about to close up her new diaper, I realized that we hadn't gotten everything. So, with her half-naked body not quite fitting across the front passenger seat of my car, I again cheered her onto victory.

It was like delivering twins.

In other news, I am looking forward to having a vacation that feels like a vacation. Some day.

Sunday, November 18, 2012


Here's a little secret about me: I always want to ask everyone at our table what they are thankful for, but I never do.

After three days of cooking, I am always exhausted by the time the Thanksgiving dinner is on the table. Throw in the emotions that come with gratitude and I can pretty well guarantee that it would come out like this:

*Deep breath*

*Quivery smile*

*Tears forming in my eyes, but coming out my nose (WHY?!)*

"So, um, I was hoping we could all *gasp for air* say something we're, um, *wiping tears off my upper lip* you know *deep breath*"

And then, without finishing my sentence I'd break into the ugly cry.

Oh, and? I have a feeling my mom would offer up something that is maybe meant to be a good thing, but is at best a backhanded compliment.

This Thanksgiving we'll be spending time with my in-laws. I won't be cooking that day (we'll host our own in a couple weeks). I don't know if they will go around the table talking about what makes us thankful or not. If they do, you can trust that Madelyn will respond in dog language, which will bring out Fynnie's inner kitty. I will probably say something genius, like, "I'm happy for time together with the family."

Let's be honest, it's been rough lately. On top of everything with Corey, which should be enough, I have a list of other things that I recently described as "just too fucking much."

But still, there is good.

I am thankful.

For a husband who works ridiculously hard, but who still laughed uncontrollably as I read him this at 1:30 in the morning: The Hater's Guide To The Williams-Sonoma Catalog

For Madelyn, who grows more beautiful and smart and, yes, challenging every day. All the same, she is the one I feel I know best. The one who is most like me and yet nothing like me at all. When Mad is being her best Big Sister, she is enchanting. I look forward to watching her go through this life.

For Fynnie, the one I understand the least, who doesn't always think I'm funny, but who wants always to be close, to "shwuggle in yo bey-ed." It's nice to always be wanted, no matter what. As we (hopefully) wrap up this weekend's bout with the flu, I am also grateful that she is still nursing. I can't believe that 28 months later she can survive on what I have to offer.

For Corey and all the calls and texts I've received since he moved away. I'm thankful he put me in the very short list of numbers he can contact without getting charged.

For my mom, who didn't get what I went through with Corey, but now does because she took him in for 22 months. That she didn't actually kick him out, but let him make the choice to get a job or not, and that she stuck with the decision. No matter how things go with him, I know she did the best she could. And that it was a lot more than most people would have done.

For the people who have taken my son in, both here in California and there in North Carolina. I can imagine what life would be like without them, but I'm glad I don't have to right now.

For my real life friends. The decades-long friends and the ones made over my young children. These people are soul soothing.

For my local mommy group. Okay, no, most of them are not "my people" (which is turning into a running gag), but it doesn't take all 500 women in the group to make me feel sane. There are a good dozen or so who I truly like. I feel like they get me. If MNO could happen every week with these women, I'd want to be there.

For my blogging buddies. With all the love and support I've received, it's a wonder I am not blogging all the time. Plus, it's people like Molly over at Crazed in the Kitchen, who turn me onto things like that Williams-Sonoma post (parts of which were very hard to read out loud without hyperventilating). And Cara at Twinthusiasm, who reminded me that it's good to say why we're thankful, even if it doesn't happen 'round the table.

For my birth board buddies, both on the board and in the spin-off groups on Facebook. Having a place to go where everyone understands the entertainment value of kids in pajamas with Christmas lights and duct tape? Hilarious!

Last, but not least, I am thankful that one (not so) little Miss Olivia has made her way into this world safely. I'll probably never meet her or her family, but they have been ingrained in my heart since the birth and death of her older brother, Mini Cooper. Olivia's mama worked incredibly hard to be able to meet her third child face to face. To have her be full-term and healthy is almost more than the heart can bear.

What are you thankful for?

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Crazy Is Hard

These past few weeks have really been interesting where Corey is concerned. The people who took him in allowed him to stay until yesterday afternoon. In the meantime, he had to do yard work and stay off the computer and phone most of the time. In exchange, they bought him a one way bus ticket to the continental US destination of his choice.

They would have provided a ticket to Vancouver, but those pesky immigration laws and the fees associated with minimal documentation made that a nonstarter. No more than 11 hours later Corey had selected a new location, North Carolina.

I know, I know, you have questions and I have answers.

A girl.

Her name is Audrey, but she goes by Audie.


WalMart, and she might be able to get him a job there, too.

They've been together for a while now.

Oh, in Vancouver? That was just a friend.

Audie lives with her parents who, while apparently relieved to be in on the plans are not participating in them any more than we are. So, no. Corey will not be living with them. I mean, she has been thinking about getting her own place. In the meantime, she has provided Corey with a list of shelters where he can stay at night.

Taking the I should be on serious meds to be able to see the bright side like this positive outlook, I am trying to view this as an adventure. It could be awesome.

Tom and I met online. It was one of the best things to ever happen in my life. No reason to believe Corey can't have that same good luck.

Yes, yes, the games I play with myself. I know.

I spent about an hour with Corey this afternoon. We picked up his ticket and went to lunch. He was feeling the weight of his decision and remarked a couple times that it was crazy.

Yes, it is. But if I had to choose between having one of my children making the choice between moving across the country for a chance to start fresh or stagnating at home, I would choose crazy every time.

On the other hand...

He just exchanged couch hopping in southern California for shelters in North Carolina.

He does not have Audie's address, just her phone number. What good is the address if he can't stay there and she lives outside of town anyway, right?

I wonder if the people Corey is about to encounter will ever understand him. My kid packed almost all of his belongings into two bags, a backpack and a satchel.

Yeah, a satchel.

And the almost? Well, he left a knife with me that he's asked me to ship to him when he gets settled. Corey practically taught a class as he talked about the details of the knife that he "bought with his own money." (There were so many questions I could have asked about the source of his own money, but he has already admitted to my mom that he stole repeatedly from her.)

When he arrives in Audie's hometown, will she answer her phone? Will she really come and pick him up? And take him where?

Today I hugged my son three times.

I told him I love him and he said the same.

He said, "I'm going to be alright, Mom. But you have to be alright, too."

And I said I will.

And I will.

I just have to get past the part where the thought, I may never see my son again, makes me wince with an unidentifiable soreness as my eyes flood with tears and my throat tightens so much it hurts and I have to open my mouth to get air.

And I have to figure out a way to explain to Madelyn that Corey has moved away. That he would did not come to tell her goodbye, and that she won't be seeing him. Some day Fynnie will understand this, too. She might now. I guess we'll be finding out.

Just not tonight.
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