Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Sometimes it sucks to be a mom

Brian Jensen was a punk. He worked at the pizza place a lot of my friends worked at and he thought he was the baddest, best looking, most envied guy around. No one liked him, but he couldn't see that. He attended the local community college (and flunked every class) and drove a five year old Grand Am with a $5000 paint job and lived in his parents' basement. When he would return from a delivery an hour late, or twenty dollars short, or when he'd hang up after taking an order with no address or phone number, he'd shrug and say "I have ADD." It was his answer to everything, because it had always worked. He'd been medicated since first grade and had never learned to do so much as tie both of his shoes in a row. He played video games and read comic books and admitted that they were the only things that could hold his attention because the explosions and fights "changed things up every couple of seconds".
When my daughter was 8 and the doctor suggested ADD as a possible cause of her falling grades, Brian Jensen was the face that popped into my mind. I agreed to have her tested, and gave the questionnaires to her teachers, and filled out the parent portion myself, but the whole time I was thinking, "She can read a Harry Potter book in one day! How can she have trouble focusing?" It wasn't until the doctor told me that it was ADD that it was explained to me. Everyone can focus on stuff they like; kids with ADD just can't focus on anything they don't. It's not by choice, just an inability to buckle down. But still, did I want my kid to be Brian Jensen or worse, whatever Brian Jensen would become if unable to get his pills? If Ryan did have ADD, I told myself, it was a mild case and she could learn to focus despite the obstacle. And then if she found herself without insurance, or in a new town with a new doctor unwilling to write the prescription, she wouldn't find herself incapable of keeping or finding a job.
That was 4 years ago. There's a boarding school Ryan wants to go to, an actual goal she has, that depends in large part of grades. And in the past year I've gotten phone calls about forgotten homework assignments (including ones she was looking forward to), papers left on her desk at home over and over again, and even once when she hit a kid without even realizing she was doing it. Classic ADD behavior. So I finally broke down and asked for a prescription, and it costs $150.00.
It sucks to finally come to terms with the fact that your kid needs a crutch, only to find out you can't even give it to them. And Tom tells me that a kid who can read a whole book in one day can't have ADD anyway, and that she needs to just buckle down when she doesn't like something. It feels like there's no one to talk to about this, no one who will understand how hard it is to try to walk the line between denying your kid help she needs and not letting her stand on her own two feet. And every day that I spend wobbling on that tightrope is another day she doesn't have the help.
I can't help but wonder; if the pills were free, would Tom have such an objection to them?

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Stupid name trends

  1. Sticking y's in names for no reason, just to seem edgy. Robyn, Suzyn, Eryn, Kymberly, Jaymie. It's stupid and unnecessary and dooms your kid to a lifetime of misspellings. It's almost as bad as
  2. Sticking i's in names for no reason, just to seem edgy. Kimmi, Candi, Jacki, Jenni. Names are assumed to carry with them some sort of dignity and replacing the Y with an I, or just eliminating half of the IE erases that dignity, and it also makes the name sort of porny.
  3. Stripper names. Certain names don't have Ks in them. Crystal, Candy, Carla, all normal with a C. But Krystal, Kandy, and Karla are all stripper names. Stick a Lynn at the end and they go straight from the pole to the screen. (What jobs are there for a Krystal Lynn other than porn actress or Dairy Queen clerk?)
  4. Giving kid names to babies who will hopefully survive into adulthood. Don't name your son Billy or Timmy or Danny. Name him William or Timothy or Daniel. Or at least go with Bill, Tim, or Dan. No adult man wants to hear "Do you, Timmy, take Suzyn to be your wife?"
  5. Horribly dated names. Don't name your kid Hermione, or Renesmee, or Miley, or Chandler, or any other name that no one ever thought of before the movie/TV show/album came out. How stupid would it be for some 50 year old guy to be walking around named Howdy Doody? About as dumb as the 35 year old soccer moms named Madonna seem. And as much as you love the idea of naming your princess after a half vampire baby who killed her own mother, it's tacky.
  6. Adjectives as names. Nothing sounds good after Harry, or Dusty, or Rusty. There are plenty of very good names you can choose for your kid wihtout it sounding like a bad description.
more to come....

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Americans eat stupid.

I don't understand how most Americans eat. I mean it. We have to have MSG in everything. Or sugar, or salt, or high fructose corn syrup, because we've over-stimulated our taste buds to the point where anything natural is bland and subtle flavors are undetectable. I grew up on pasteurized processed cheese food and the first time I tasted Meunster cheese, it tasted like air to me. It took 3 cubes of cheese before I could detect any flavor at all! And yet, despite that, we seek out the bland in everything! White bread, white rice, pre-steamed rolled oatmeal (which we then add sugar to. Go figure.). A study was published this week detailing the correlation between brown rice consumption and lower diabetes rates. The thing is, all the articles I read were very clear in stating that no one knows why this correlation exists but that there is a very good chance that people who pick brown rice over its bleached counterpart are more likely to lead healthier lives in general. In other words, yoga instructors and vegans eat brown rice, not couch potatoes and the morbidly obese. (A gross generalization but not one without merits.) I try to eat healthy, and simply, but I fail sometimes just like everyone else. But I think my days of white rice are over, in part because of my predisposition to diabetes. Two bouts of genstational diabetes have scared me enough to eat chewier rice.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Totally cool stuff about my son

  1. When he spills things he MAKES me get him either a towel or the vacuum hose, and will not abide waiting.
  2. He compulsively counts his toys, yet only can remember one number. I hear "two two two!" when he plays with his cars.
  3. He sits in his crib and plays by himself for half an hour or more in the morning, giving me time to brush my teeth.
  4. He can't function in the morning without his "coffee", an instant breakfast shake. He follows me around chanting "Cah" until he has it.
  5. He points at the computer, shaking his sock monkey, until I play the song from the Kia sock monkey commercial for him.
.....to be continued

Totally cool stuff about my daughter

  1. She's a geek and would get way more excited about meeting a Mythbuster than a Jonas Brother.
  2. She has actually used the phrase "tubas are awesome" in casual conversation.
  3. She hates Justin Bieber both in theory and in practice.
  4. She still sometimes holds my hand while we shop.
  5. Of all the women on TV, Kardashians and Britneys and Gagas, she wants to be Kari Byron.
  6. She understands when I call the weeds Hemingway's Cat.
...to be continued

Friday, June 04, 2010

The real facts behind the McDonald's coffee case

While at my obstetric appointment, being told I needed an ultrasound for no reason other than that I'm pregnant, the infamous McDonald's Coffee Case came up. The point was that people will sue for anything and scanning all fetuses regardless of need or cause or even the mother's wishes is just what doctors have to do in this litigious society.
A couple weeks later I had a friend tell me that tort reform is more important to keeping medical costs down than insurance reform because, after all, people sue when their coffee is too hot.
Today a friend of mine posted on facebook a link to an article about a woman who googled directions for a walk, wandered down the middle of a road, got hit by a car, and is now suing google. My friends comment: And coffee is hot, too.

All this crap pisses me off. It's very easy to hear some radio DJ mock a lady for suing McDonald's because her coffee burned her, but do they realize that McDonald's knowingly set their holding temp for coffee to 185`, hot enough to cause third degree burns to the lips, mouth, and throat at the very first sip? Do they know that the woman who sued tried to settle in the beginning but McDonald's told her they had more lawyers and could afford to wait her out? Or that the coffee didn't just burn her lap but actually melted her genital and anal regions, requiring 8 days of skin grafting? Nah, all they know is that some lady spilled her coffee, got burned, and sued McDonald's. After all, what point does fact have in a hyperbolic example anyway?

Clean your plate, or not. No big deal either way.

I was always a picky eater, and I never cleaned my plate. Because of this, I've never made my kid clean her plate. If she dishes the food onto it and she decides how much to get, then I do try to get her to finish it, but if she doesn't then she doesn't. Same with Tommy, although he's too young still for this to really apply to him. But I have seen parents force-feed the last of the baby food jar, or the last couple ounces of a bottle, to a kid so I guess it could.
People say they're opposed to "wasting" food, so they make their kids eat it. I've never understood that concept. Whether you feed it to the dog, the garbage disposal, the trash can, or a crying child, it's still wasted. The money has already been spent on it (it's not like you get a refund or rebate if it all gets eaten) and a certain amount of food has already been prepared. Throwing some down a trash chute or the throat of a kid who isn't hungry makes no difference, either way it cost the same and that money is gone. You can learn from it and not serve your kid as much in the future, or not, but the theory that food uneaten is wasted but food swallowed against someone's will isn't baffles me. I've heard parents use the "some kids don't have food" line to justify this. Do they really think those kids are somehow happier if excess food gets shoveled into someone who is already full than if it got thrown away? Does it make the starving kid less hungry if my kid gets made sick by it? And none of this even touches on the part where teaching kids NOT to stop eating when they get full contributes to obesity later, how linking uneaten food and guilt in a person's mind can lead to food issues later on. I'm just talking about the part where somehow it's wasteful to put food in the trash but not to put food in an unwilling child.