Due to Extenuating Circumstances

Adventures in Unplanned Parenthood

Archive for the month “February, 2016”

A blanket apology to my elders

Every young person has done it at least once in his or her life: looked at someone who is getting older and thought “Haven’t you been communicating since your 3rd birthday? Just how hard is it to tell walk into the room and tell me you’re looking for TV remote?” Or your keys. Or flamethrower. I don’t know how you live your life.

But now, as karma is wont to do, I have been unquestionably castigated for my arrogant ways. My brain has been accelerated by about 20 years and I will never, ever laugh at somebody’s senior moment again so help me deity.

Regular readers (I love each and very one of you! You don’t know how important you are to me. On a scale of “I’d spit on you to put out a fire” and “I’d donate a kidney to you” you are so much closer to kidney than you’ll ever know). Anyway. You know I have some mobility issues that have increased considerably since Baby came home. My back and front finally formed a union and they have made sure everything goes on strike. A recent MRI showed enough significant damage to my lumbar region and a disc that I’m looking at one surgery this spring, if not two.If the one in back doesn’t solve the issue they’re going through the front to monkey around some more. As I’m sure you can imagine, this has made things like picking up a squirmy little bundle of cheeks and giggles more painful for me than I can really tolerate without help. I’m now on a prescription painkiller designed to be used for long term “management of moderate to severe pain.” So! Great news! My new specialist is trying to do right by me and relieve the pain that has been genuinely impeding every facet of my life. Now here’s the bad news.

One of this drug’s primary side effects is short term memory difficulty, particularly with words. Let me get rid of medical jargon and boil this down: I CANNOT FUCKING TALK. I’ll be in the middle of a story and I need a name, or the place, or the damned punchline but poof! It has vanished like a wisp of smoke.How does somebody who teaches and writes for a living forget the word “communication?” I looked right at Mac and told him I was having such terrible, uh, uh, AAAARRRRG. I made a motion where I pointed between the two of us really fast. He says “communicate?” YES DAMMIT. I’m having real troubling communicating with my doctor about this surgery. Lest you think I’m  cherry picking a single time, here is a list of ways this has happened to me in the last week:

  • I needed help feeding the baby. You know, with the’small shovel we put in his face.”
  • I’m currently trying my hand at writing fiction for fun. This had been enjoyable until I had to press “Ctrl F” to use the search function to remember my main character’s first name. It simply would not get from my brain onto the keyboard.
  • I was remembering the day a Jewish friend invited us for Shabbat dinner. She served delicious…delicious…Google “Noodle meal for Jewish people.”
  • My son couldn’t find his– damn. Damn. Mac, where is the car with a big mouth to lift dirt? Right. The bulldozer.
  • I forgot the name of a man my husband worked with for 8 years. “Head of the Department” came out as “the chief of professors.”

It’s mostly limited to words, but other great stuff happens too. I really need to take my pills. Oh good, here they are. Wait. Are they there because I knew I needed them now, or because I just took one on autopilot? Looking up “overdose of painkiller XXX” revealed we are super sure I don’t want to be guessing on that one. Pill box, stat. I wash clothes, put them in a basket and ask Mac to carry it upstairs. I forget to hang it up right away. Next day…good morning! I should do something that will be useful around here today. So I do the dishes, vacuum if my back will let me, and take the basket of our dirty stuff sitting in our room and promptly wash it. I bet I have underwear I have washed 3 times in a row. Mac has had to explain plots of TV shows we saw just last week.

Three days ago I needed some water to take one of pills. I needed water, then to get in bed, takes meds, and rest or I was going to be in very bad shape in the upcoming hours. This is a real picture, not staged, of how I handled that.



I don’t have a clue which glass of water I made first or why I went back into the kitchen then got another one. None. At all.

The funny thing is, I don’t think any of this is serious. Everybody in the Borden household is eating, we have tons of help with Baby, and I’m very aware of my med schedule to be there for him when he needs it. I’m not a Roy Lichtenstein incident. I’ve never said “Oh my God! I left the baby on the bus!” If you don’t know that painting you should. It’s wonderful.  Although we don’t ride a bus.

Do we?

So, in conclusion, I apologize to everyone I have ever mocked for not getting your brain in gear when it really should have been. I now know it’s a little wiring glitch, is all.

I owe you. I hope you don’t expect to be greeted by name.


Standing Orders

Baby has decided he simply will not crawl. This is a thing he politely declines, thank you all the same. However he’s pretty interested in standing, which of course will lead to walking. He understands the essential mechanisms required; he can put his right foot under his butt, use his arms to creep up the couch, then heave himself up so he can support himself on the cushions of the couch. The problem, as far as I can tell, is his left foot. It keeps rolling inwards.

I thought it would help if I gently pushed his left foot onto the ground and gave him something fun to reach for as an incentive. First I tried a cute song where I sing as I softly push his precious little toesies into place. Failure. He has a big yellow truck he likes to push around so I set it on the couch and we try standing again. Right foot planted, hands balanced on the couch and… nope. Left foot caves and he falls on his butt. Try again just the same and…no good. Maybe the truck isn’t a good enough incentive? I put the remote up there. Like all humans born male, he feels an instinctive gravitational pull to anything that will control a TV. 75% of the way there…damn. Complete mission failure due to insufficient support on the left. By now he’s frustrated and I figure the last thing he needs is pressure. So we abandon the game and I run to answer the phone.

When I come back, he’s crying. Oh my goodness, what’s wrong? Did I push him too far? Is he frustrated? Is his left ankle too weak? So I try to comfort him and move on with our play session. This is weird though. He really is crying and now he looks like he means it. So, crying cessation checklist please. Hungry? No. Teeth hurting? No. Nose running? No. Diaper wet? No. Well, wait. That’s weird. His diaper is dry, but he’s stopped crying. “Are you hot? Does that feel better, if we have a little Naked Baby Time?”

Sure enough. I peel off his pants and onesie and set him back in his play area on the floor. But. Malaise. Not crying, but not happy. I press his favorite buttons on the yellow truck. Meh. I put the fuzzy red football in the truck and make it vroom around. Meh. Let’s put on Daniel Tiger! You LOVE the opening song! Meh.

Good Lord, kid, you have got to work it out yourself because I really need the bathroom. In the 37 seconds I’m gone I hear him make some babbling sounds, then a giggle, then hysterical laughter. What’s this ridiculous magic? What have you found that Mommy couldn’t provide in the last 45 minutes?

I come out of the bathroom, drying my hands on my hair because (let’s face it) that’s where my recent beauty regimen is peaking at the moment, and I see the source of my son’s delight. He is in his diaper, with the nearest trashcan completely upended, and he is eating dirty Kleenex. There are bits of soggy tissue on the carpet, in his hair, around his mouth, up his nose, on the cat, and strewn around the couch cushions.

My son, whom I am lovingly guiding towards a fulfilling future of reaching milestones at appropriate times without undue pressure, will not stand for a fun song, a truck or a TV remote. But he will stand to take bits of snotty Kleenex out of his mouth and grind it into the couch cushions.

I’ll say this for myself: I did replace the tissue he was eating with an unused one. My child might be naked, knocking over trashcans and eating garbage while I watch Daniel Tiger and drink Jameson’s Irish Whiskey straight from the bottle, BUT. By God, my son will be eating a CLEAN Kleenex before he grinds it into my couch cushions, thank you very much.


Master Borden’s Terrible, Horrible…

Master Borden’s Terrible, Horrible, No-Good, Very Bad Cold

I was right in the middle of pondering major life decisions, like should we actually go out to that French restaurant we like for Valentine’s Day? Should I buy a new fender? Do I need to start worrying about calcium?When–eeeeeeeeew. What the hell was that?

Whoa. Baby has had the sniffles before. He’s even had colds before. But not like this, this one is…how to explain? This cold evokes many of the most disgusting and graphic words our language has to offer, including mucilaginous, a gooey, secretion-like drippy oozing that sounds exactly like what it means. I’d also including honking, wheeze-snoting, nasally bulbous seepage, and whine-sputum.

What bothers me the most is that this cold is just like taking the car in for repair. When I actively seek to help a symptom, it immediately goes away. If I stick his old nemesis the snotsucker into his nose, NOTHING comes out. Why? It’s up there? I can hear it rattling around in there. If his head were clear, you could see the shifting tides of mucus in his poor little sinuses. But no. I remove nothing. The only upside is that it tickles his nose, so when I put the bulb down, he can sneeze a great big watery goop all over my hands, face, and (if he’s really lucky) dinner. Then of course he remembers “dinner! We were eating!”

I don’t have to tell you what he reaches for next. I tell myself it’s no worse than the French eating snails and try to move on with my life. My gross, gross life.

In terms of pathos, by far the time I feel the most sorry for him is when he wakes up from a nap. He’s so congested, and fussy, and has stuff dribbling out of so many more holes than he’s used to. This makes him cry. And it’s a sad, little snuffly cry like “why don’t you make it better? Mommy?Whhhy?” Not a big shouty “why?”, a tiny “what have I done to deserve this? w-w-why” that would melt the heart of anybody, including horrible world leaders. I’m thinking of recording this cry in several languages and deploying it against war-mongering despots.

I’d write more about this, but Baby’s eating Cheerios, and unless General Mills recently came out with a Jelled Cheerios, Premoistened for Your Convenience! I need to find the snotsucker. It’s the only thing that makes him sneeze, which makes him feel better, which makes me feel better, and also reminds me not to book a French restaurant for Valentine’s Day.

The Molar Express

It’s 2:45 Saturday morning. I’m attempting to calm down to go to bed after another one of the Imes Borden’s favorite nighttime activities; a visit from the Tooth Bastard. The Tooth Bastard is the ugly, paunchy, beer-gutted uncle nobody likes to have over from the Tooth Fairy family. The Tooth Bastard comes at 2 am and sticks a dental backhoe in your kid’s mouth, excavates a nice big hole, then uses a pair of rusted ice tongs (pictured) to pull the tooth out by bracing the molar and pulling it through the recently broken gum surface.tongs

This is the most plausible explanation for the noises I heard at 2 am, when Baby started screaming in a way I haven’t witnessed since I scarred him for life with that Oscar the Grouch washcloth.

I can completely believe that the pioneers kept alcohol in the house for “medicinal purposes.” You didn’t hear Baby screaming. Trust me; rubbing his gums with whiskey, followed by a shot (just one ounce, we’re not lushes) would be the most humane thing I could do for my child right now. Also, his diaper was absolutely sodden, which to my mind is further proof the Tooth Bastard exists. If you saw the Tooth Bastard in your bedroom with a back hoe and ice tongs wouldn’t you wet yourself?

At dinner tonight I had noticed Baby has his first back tooth coming in. You don’t appreciate precisely how big a back tooth is until you sit down and have a good think about how one of those icebergs has to shove itself through your gums and take its place inside your mouth. It must make the baby so damn mad at me. Think about it– to the baby, we’re nothing short of deities. We make light appear when it’s dark, we make food appear when there’s hunger, we punch one series of magic buttons to hear Grandma out of a rectangle machine and another series of buttons to make Daniel Tiger pop onto the TV. It must seem pretty mean that we refuse to fix the teething thing. After all the pictures he’s tolerated being in and all the new outfits he’s posed in, the fact we won’t kick the Tooth Bastard in the nuts must seem lackadaisical at best.

So folks, we’re going to make this one interactive. In the comments below, please leave your best suggestions to help a teething baby! We’re going to draw the line at shots of whiskey for the baby. But not for us, so keep those label recommendations coming.

The Bitch is Back

Coming from our “nobody’s perfect” corner of the Internet, I have to talk about the  woman I’m a constant bitch to. Come to think of it, I hope she’s only the one, but I know I must have my blindspots like anybody else. The thing is, my mother raised me with all of the usual cornerstones of good friendship: the Golden Rule, If You Can’t Say Something Nice…, If You’d Enjoy Receiving It It’s a Good Gift to Give, and Those Who Live in Glass Houses etc. It isn’t that my mom failed. It’s not my mom’s fault. It’s completely my own. I look down on this one particular mommy and I am ruthless.

Her kid can look a little worse for wear. Oatmeal crusted on his face, crud gluing his hair together, boogers. All my other friends, I’m willing to chalk it up to a bad morning, in a rush, woke up late, whole family has a cold. It’s bitchy to hold some people to a higher standard but I admit I do it. It bothers me when her kid looks gross.

Going to her house is not a nice experience for me a lot of the time. I know it’s not fair to compare BC and AC (Before Child and After Child). You’d think that as I watch my own baby smearing rice cereal into the rug or throwing Cheerios at the cat it would remind me that houses are for living in, not showcasing. Nope; inner bitch could not care less. “When was the last time a vacuum appeared on this floor? Is anything coming out of that kitchen sanitary? Nice bathroom, Typhoid Mary.”

The worst though, is my SAHM (stay at home mothering) scale. If you aren’t going to return to the workplace, then taking care of your house and child IS YOUR FULL TIME JOB. This is the one I can’t keep to myself. There are plenty of people in the world who have legitimate reasons for needing daycare or help with housework. This woman IS NOT ONE OF THEM. Not only is she failing to bring in money, she’s actually costing twice what she should: the loss of her income PLUS the money to pay daycare three days a week. If your major achievement for the day was making dinner (in a gross kitchen) then eating it on TV trays (kitchen table is filled with useless crap) you are probably not a good bargain for your spouse or your kid(s).  The coup de grace is her husband having to do things for the baby that she said she would do. He works all day then plays Superdad nights and weekends. On my SAHM scale, there aren’t enough excuses in the book for this one. Either you’re pulling your own weight or you’re being pulled. She’s dead weight.

So, in an effort to quit being quite such a mega-bitch, I asked a friend why this woman bothers me so much. She broke it down into three main categories.

  1. Children don’t look like ads for Baby Gap all the time. If I can have compassion towards people with actual problems, can’t I lighten up a little on things like a toddler having peanut butter on his pants?
  2. The house. When I go to visit Robin or AJ, do I care if their house is messy? Of course not. I’m there for good company, not the damn Parade of Homes. They have children who might be charitably described as compact tropical storms: they’re high impact, loud, and leave a trail of devastation everywhere they make landfall. If I can enjoy their company and their children, can’t I do that for everyone?
  3. Finally, the SAHM scale. I have a friend in Atlanta named Lindy. Lindy makes gorgeous food, has three kids who look like a catalog cover, lives in a Better Homes and Gardens house, and she’s even nice to boot. But Lindy still has problems. She still has serious stuff to get through. If I pay attention to her whole life, rather what I see on Facebook, I know there’s no such thing as the perfect SAHM. If I found out tomorrow Lindy had a terrible misfortune, would I quit being her friend because she wasn’t doing homemade gourmet food every evening? If, god forbid, her husband got sick or she got seriously injured, would she be a different person if the kids went to daycare for awhile so she could be at the hospital? Hell, no. I’d stand by her and offer to help, not make bitchy and snide comments about the need to jettison some dead weight so everybody else can be happier.

So, time to cut the cattiness. Yes, her kid can be a mess, her house can be gross and I need to have more compassion for why her son is in daycare. She’s not a bad mom, she’s a mom facing serious challenges and my support would get everybody so much further than assuming she’s a bum who won’t take responsibility for her own kid. If Robin, AJ and Lindy wouldn’t get cut down, then she shouldn’t either. Excuse me, I have an apology to go make.

Let me find a mirror.

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