Category Archives: math

The Snapshot

On Sunday evening, Mike and I took the boys to Chili’s to eat dinner and watch USA play Portugal in the World Cup. Upon being seated, we discovered that Chili’s has tablets on each table that can be used to order drinks, pay the bill, and play games. For a mere 99 cents, the kids could play unlimited games while we ate, and I thought it was awesome because it meant we had a fighting chance of lasting more than 30 minutes before the kids expired and/or Riley announced that he had to poop…badly. I was so excited that I posted this snapshot on my social media accounts.

twitter

Later, I received this comment:

“Such a shame when I think that dinner is a good time to talk to your kids and have great conversations.”

Hmm.

Believe it not, I’m relatively new at receiving and responding (or not responding) to negative comments on the blog and/or social media. (Just to clarify, negative comments and rejection are two different things.   I’ve received plenty of the latter.) I’ve been writing as The Runaway Mama for nearly four years, and this was just one of two off-putting comments I’ve ever received about my writing or my social media presence. The other – a doozy – came a few weeks ago about my Mother’s Day post from a person who wrote: “what a self-absorbed bitch.”

Yowza.

Dylan is really funny in that he can watch an explosive, large-scale, and violent scene in super hero movie like “Man of Steel” and be totally and completely fine, but he is forever scarred from watching “The Lion King,” “E.T.,” “Finding Nemo,” and the scene in “Toy Story 3” where Lotso tells the story of how he and Big Baby were lost and replaced by their owner. One is too big and shocking to absorb, and the others tug at where he’s most vulnerable…his heart.

Similarly, the “self-absorbed bitch” comment was so crazy hateful that it meant far less to me than the passive aggressive words of disapproval about my parenting (ouch). The thing about our Sunday night dinner at Chili’s, though, is that so much else happened outside of the snapshot of the boys playing on the tablet.

Mike and I stole some quiet time to talk, reminisce, and laugh without interruption. We felt connected and happy, and that doesn’t happen often enough these days!

We talked about healthy eating with the kids. Mike insisted that the boys try the guacamole because avocados are tasty and full of protein and “good” fat. They refused (of course), which prompted a friendly debate over whether or not an avocado is a fruit or a nut (it’s a fruit, by the way).

We celebrated futball! When USA scored their first goal, Mike and I laughed (again!) because we both missed seeing it live due to intense guacamole negotiations.

We had a sensory victory! Dylan ate a french fry (a french fry!), which made me explode with pride. If you’re more than a first-time or one-time reader, you know that Dylan has a limited diet due to sensory processing disorder, so trying any new food, wherever it falls on the healthy eating spectrum and even if it’s a fatty, greasy french fry, is a very good thing!

We explored concepts in math and money. For every three bites of macaroni & cheese Riley ate, I gave him one dollar. For every one dollar he paid me, I gave him a handful of tortilla chips that were leftover from the guacamole, which he eventually did taste and immediately declared, “I don’t like it.” In then end, he ate a pretty good dinner and went home with two dollars in his pocket.

We had a bathroom adventure (of course). Riley inevitably announced that he had to go to the bathroom. He promised he just had to pee, so we let him and Dylan go together. Mike checked on them a few minutes later and discovered Riley in a stall with the door locked saying he couldn’t get out. Dylan was going to crawl under the door to free him and said to Mike, “Don’t tell Mommy,” because he knew I’d be upset that he touched the floor (my valiant son!). In the end, Mike talked Riley into unlocking the door on his own, and they all returned to the table with a bath in their future and great story to tell.

We experienced the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat (or the draw). Dylan was standing next to me when USA made their second goal. It was amazing! We hugged and cheered and yelled “GOOOOOOAAAALLLL!” along with every other crazy, screaming person in the restaurant, and I’ll never forget that special moment. Soon after, we watched stunned as Portugal scored in the last seconds of the game. Boo.

Chili’s is my new favorite restaurant to take the kids, and the snapshot I shared on social media was just that – a snapshot that was a part of a much larger story about a family sharing a meal together at a local bar and grill.

One of the most important lessons that being a parent has taught me is to resist the urge to misinterpret or judge others (and myself!) because the journey is long, surprises await every turn, and I’m doing the very best I can from one moment to the next all the while hoping they add up to something authentic and honest in the end. I like to think most parents would agree with me on this. Regardless, I still look forward to your comments (gulp).

Advertisements

3 Comments

Filed under bathroom, eating out, food issues, math, movie, parenting, sensory processing disorder, writing

Basal Cell Carcinoma…By The Numbers

13: The date. On Friday the 13th [insert dramatic music], I had Mohs surgery to remove a basal cell carcinoma (i.e. cancer) from my face.

Mohs surgery is a precise surgical technique used to treat skin cancer. During Mohs surgery, layers of cancer-containing skin are progressively removed and examined until only cancer-free tissue remains.

– MayoClinic.com

4:45: The hours and minutes the procedure, including Mohs surgery and plastic surgery, took from start to finish.

2: The number of doctors who treated me.  First, a dermatologist who specialized in Mohs micrographic surgery.  Second, a plastic surgeon who closed the wound.

Infinity: The number of times the right side of my face was poked with a long metal needle filled with local anesthesia. As a point of clarification, the assistant at the dermatologist’s office, Maggie, anesthetized me with a gentle and caring hand. Thank you, dear Maggie. You have the hands of an angel. I adore you. Later on, the arrogant self-confident plastic surgeon robotically stabbed my face over and over again with the gentle hands of an axe murderer.

2: Number of rounds of Mohs surgery before my face was officially cancer free.

50: The percent chance that the cancer would be gone after the first cut. I lost that round, but some people get cut three or four times, so there is gratitude hidden deep in this tale.

$.10: The wound on my face after two rounds of Mohs surgery was approximately the size of a dime.

2: The number of times I cried at the plastic surgeon’s office after Tanya, the assistant, explained what the scar on my face would look like and how it would most likely swell, give me a black eye, and take months to heal.

Here’s the thing about how my anxiety works.  I climb one mountain at a time.

Two hours earlier, I was anxious about how many cuts the Mohs dermatologist would have to make. An hour before that, I was worried about getting the kids dressed, packing their lunches, and dropping them off at school on time. Fourteen hours earlier, I was worried about Dylan getting his 20 minutes of nightly reading done. Forty-eight hours before that, I was worried about PTO bingo night and how many rounds of bingo we would have time to play and if we would have enough prizes for the kids and if I was going to make an ass out of myself at the microphone because I co-chaired the whole thing and had to get up on stage in front of over 200 people to say a bunch of stuff. Four days before that, I was worried about whether or not a kid would crack his head open on the ice at Dylan’s ice skating birthday party. (No one did.) A week earlier, I was worried about whether to make mashed sweet potatoes or baked sweet potato wedges for Thanksgiving. A week before that, I was worried about the ugly bandage on my face when the dermatologist biopsied the little bump on my cheek that I thought was a pimple.

One mountain, one cliff at a time.

I didn’t worry about swelling, scarring, and the months (months!) it would take for my face to heal until that moment in the examination room at the plastic surgeon’s office. I hadn’t really truly thought about any of it – the dime-sized hole on my face, the additional needles that were coming, the stitches, and the thought that I might have to do it all over again someday because once you get one basal cell carcinoma you’re likely to get another one – until right then.

I totally lost it. Tanya gave me a tissue. She was lovely. Like Maggie. Eventually, I stopped crying. Then I lost it again.

7 or 8: The number of stitches on my face.  The arrogant self-confident plastic surgeon didn’t count as he went along.  (Figures.) Despite my description of this guy as an axe murder, he’s highly regarded, and he assured me that my face will heal nicely….unless it doesn’t, in which case there are “things he can do,” which probably involve more face stabbing, so I’m hoping on a wing and a prayer that this works out the first time.

2: The number of weeks until my follow-up appointment with the plastic surgeon.

2: The number of months until my next check-up with my primary dermatologist.

3: The number of months between future dermatologist check-ups for at least one year and probably for the rest of my life.

3: The number of bowls of Skinny Pop I ate when I finally got home.

1: The number of bowls of matzo ball soup (homemade and defrosted from Rosh Hashana) I ate after I finished the Skinny Pop.

1: The number of books I (finally) finished during all of the waiting. (“The Husband’s Secret” by Liane Moriarty, in case you’re wondering.)

4: The number of selfies I took during the ordeal.

face1

After Mohs round one.

face2

After Mohs round two.

face4

After stitches.

face3

You know what they say.  A couple that does basal cell carcinoma together, stays together.

One two more things:

26: The number of children and adults who were shot and killed tragically and violently at Sandy Hook Elementary School one year ago today.

1,000,000: The number of times I’m going to hug my kids today (after the ibuprofen kicks in).

Numbers are fun. Perspective is everything.

5 Comments

Filed under anxiety, basal cell carcinoma, cancer, gratitude, health, math

Awfulness

My neighbor across the street just had a baby.  It’s her second child.  Her second girl.  Over the weekend, I saw her for the first time since the baby was born.  She was sitting in a lawn chair next to a bassinet and watching her four-year-old daughter ride her bike around the driveway.

I walked across the street to congratulate her and asked, “How are you doing?”

Her response was refreshingly candid. “Awful,” she said.

Her c-section incision hurt like hell, she was exhausted, her husband was at work (on the weekend no less), and at 4pm, she had only just showered.  She was just seven days into the madness of having two kids.

Sound familiar?

I’ll never forget the depth of awfulness that engulfed me after I brought my babies home from the hospital.  Of course, there was love and bliss and wonder, but the awfulness was there, and it was thick and sticky.

When Dylan, my first, came home, the awfulness came from perpetually trying not to accidentally kill him during any of the following activities: feeding, bathing, diapering, dressing, undressing, strolling, driving, rocking, singing, or holding.  Did I ever tell you the first diaper I ever changed was Dylan’s?  True story.  Figuring out what all of his noises and cries meant, leaving the house with less than three hours notice, changing his diapers without getting peed or pooped on, learning how to fold and unfold the stroller without bodily harm, trimming his teeny baby nails without cutting off any of his teeny fingers, and surviving one long, dark night after another were daunting experiences.

When Riley came along, it was a lot easier to not accidentally kill him, but new forms of awfulness lurked.

There was sibling rivalry, and a result, guilt.  Oh, the guilt!  There was pain.  Recovering from a c-section, or any form of childbirth, is difficult when you never stop moving.  There was sleep deprivation.  Actually, it was more like sleep zilch.  Sleep zero.  (There was a brief period of time in late 2009 when Riley and Dylan took the same afternoon nap.  It was miraculous and, to this day, is one of my proudest parenting achievements.)  There was juggling. Breastfeeding while simultaneously flipping grilled cheese sandwiches, finding “The Big Red Chicken” episode of “Dora the Explorer” On Demand, doing puzzles, getting the Moby wrap on and off without strangling myself, and folding laundry (oh, the laundry!) was hard.  Really hard.  It was chaos.  Period.

Oh, I remember the awfulness.

My neighbor will find a rhythm.  She’ll discover a new normal.  She’ll learn how to juggle, and she’ll eventually feel rested (or at least not murderous) on three hours of sleep.  But right now she’s isolated, overwhelmed, and tired beyond all belief.  Seeing her gave me an overwhelming urge to go shopping.  (For her, silly, not me.)

First, I hit Barnes & Noble for baby and big sister gifts.

owl3

owl2

owl1

I want another baby just so I can buy more owls.  (Did I just write that?)

I settled on this little guy.

Hoot hoot!

Hoot hoot!

And to keep big sister busy…

playscene

hellokitty

Then I bought a bunch of easy to grab, healthy snacks.

snacks

Last but not least, the cards.

cards

Inside Mama’s card, I offered to watch the baby or have her older daughter over to my house for a play date with the boys so she can nap or shower or pee or scream into a pillow all by herself.  (I didn’t actually write that last part.)

Ready for delivery!

basket

Hopefully she can use the bucket in the nursery or elsewhere in the house.

As our kids get older, school days grow longer, sleep comes easier, sanity returns (sort of), and awfulness recedes, we mustn’t forget the Mamas just getting started on this wild ride or the Mamas preparing to climb the next big hill.  We’ve all been there.  For many of us, we’ve been there more than once, and some of us just might find ourselves there again.

Any New Mamas in your life?

11 Comments

Filed under babies, giving birth, math, New Mama, owls, shopping