Monday, August 31, 2009

Laying it on the line

I like to think I am pretty honest with myself, but sometimes I can wrap a suit of denial around myself pretty tightly and lumber along as if everything is alright. For awhile.

But then I just get to the point where I know what I'm feeling inside isn't jiving with what I'm telling myself or others.

So here is the truth.

1. Even though I am glad to be a stay-at-home mom and wouldn't have it any other way, there are just some parts I absolutely, positively hate with a raging passion. And one of those parts is staying home with a sick kid or kids. I simply cannot handle the cooped-up-ness of it all. It's like how I used to feel on Christmas Day when I was a kid. I had no choice but to stay home because everyone else was celebrating with their families, and nothing was open (like the mall or school). I simply get depressed very quickly when I have a day or days like this. Suffice it to say, if there is ever a quarantine associated with the swine flu or any other communicable disease near me, I ain't gonna handle it well at all.

2. Even though I bitched to high heaven about taking my two graduate courses between January and August, it is a damn good thing I had them to occupy me because the truth is I am totally fucking scared outta my mind to have this third child. Especially when I have a day like today with N home sick(ish) (sorta). What am I gonna do over the winter break from school having 3 kids at home all day long? I have been able to push thoughts like this aside for a long time, but reality is starting to hit home.

3. Even though I felt I wanted 3 kids, I have to admit that being pregnant now, after having gotten a little bite of the freedom that comes with having a kid in school all. day. long., makes me feel more than a little out of sorts. I am starting all over again with the postpartum junk and the nursing and the sleeplessness. I hate to say this because no one wants to admit their negative feelings about being pregnant or having children. But it is the truth for me right now. I feel alot of guilt admitting it because it makes me "sound like" I don't want this baby. And I do want this baby. I just don't want all the work and headache and responsibility that comes with having a baby.

That is the thing about parenthood that poses another big challenge for me: how I can feel two or even three totally different emotions at the exact same time. Like those moments when I think, "I love my kids to the point I would die for them, but I can't stand being around them."

So there's my ugly truth. It's not pretty, but it's what I'm feeling.

Sunday, August 30, 2009


N has diarrhea. Riveting news, I know, but it has sent me into the doldrums because she will have to stay home from school tomorrow. She doesn't have a fever and isn't acting sick...she has just had a couple episodes of the runs today, and I don't want that happening at school. I don't want it happening at home either, but I'm her mom so this is what I signed up for (this particularly un-fun part of mothering was noted in the small print, apparently).

So having her home tomorrow totally messes up my weekday schedule, and my panties get into such a twist when my routine is messed with. Hence the reason I hate, hate, hate the weekends.
Since having children, the weekends have become the bane of my existence. Because, and I know I have blogged about this before, I never get a weekend. I don't get to sleep in. I don't get to "not work my regular job." I still have to clean up messes, deal with children, run errands, etc, etc. And it just plain sucks ass.

Being extremely pregnant certainly doesn't help either.

Maybe this is part of the reason I have, since becoming a mom, extended my
birthday celebration of Sep 13th into my birthmonth celebration. Next weekend, I am going for a haircut and color, and maybe a pedicure as the cherry on top of the day. I am scheduling my pregnancy massage for nearer my birthday. I will celebrate with my parents and with my kids/hubby with some sort of meal/dessert thingy around mid-month. I'm going to take advantage of turning 36 by doing some of the things I want to do.....because I rarely get to do them.

I spend so much of my time looking after everyone else's needs that I ignore my own. Lord knows I know I have them....they just get pushed back, pushed back, ignored, denied.

With feeling so darn tired and out of sorts, I have been having a wee little pity party for myself, but I read N some stories about families living during the pioneer days, and I know I am such a complete wuss. Pioneer women baked meals from scratch every day and had to hoe the garden even when they were very pregnant, and their husbands forced them to travel in a wagon cross-country to have a bigger yard. They didn't have automatic washers and dryers and Kroger stores nearby. Or Lexapro to get them through the doldrums.

But this too shall pass. N will be over her GI issues and back at school, and my week will fall back into place, and eventually I will not feel and look like a beached whale.

Friday, August 28, 2009


And life just keeps moving on.....

It has been an incredibly busy two weeks since N started kindergarten.
Here are the highlights.

Waiting for the bus. So fracking exciting!
(Well, at least the first day was for mom....not so much since.)

N's first time being on a school bus.

She is totally loving school, and I am totally loving her being in school because 1. she is learning and having fun and being happily occupied. Secondly, I get a break from having two kids and feeling pathetically under-equipped to keep them sufficiently happy and non-bored. It is astounding how much easier it is to keep a 2-year-old interested than a 5-year-old. Toddlers have very low expectations. Seeing a caterpillar is super fun and means multiple minutes of time-passing. Virtually anything is interesting to a toddler.

Visited our local and much-loved My Gym when Elmo was there.
N is to the stage where she asked, "Is that really Elmo?"
G knew it was Elmo, and when we returned to class on Monday, he said, "Elmo, My Gym," to which I replied, "No, Elmo had to go back to Sesame Street."
And for the rest of the day, G talked about Elmo being back on Sesame Street.

Last night, while brushing N's teeth, I brushed out her top left tooth. Surprised both of us. She is doing her punk rock face here.

And today was the State Fair with Pa and Nana. G got to see cows, horses, sheep, pigs and all the tractors a young boy could dream of seeing (unless he was at a John Deere showroom). He also got to get on a TARC bus and a firetruck. Hot damn it was a good day!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Moan, whimper

That's it. I have reached "that point." That place in late pregnancy when one is really, truly tired of feeling like part of the cast of Alien....specifically, the man who has the alien burst out of his abdominal cavity.

Last night while attempting to read in bed, baby #3 decided to do some power aerobics or something. I have never seen my belly move like that. I guess my uterus is good and stretched out now that it's on its third go round. As much as feeling fetal movement is amazing and cool, I am about tired of it because now it really hurts. I keep thinking the baby is lying transverse because I keep feeling long, deep pokes waaaay over on my right side. But who knows? I've had one head-down, one head-up, so this one might as well do something original.

And those of you who have been pregnant before know that weird feeling like the baby is tickling the backside of your cervix? Yep, that's happening too. Like a hand or foot is just gonna pop out any moment.

D and my MIL are constantly asking, "Are you ok?" because every movement I make is usually accompanied by heavy breathing and/or sighing and often some grunting. I have turned into a troll.

And the funniest thing is that even though I know I have felt like this twice before, I totally don't remember any of it or if I do the memories are fuzzy and nebulous. Mother Nature can be a raving bitch, but she is also a fucking genius.

Here's to 6.5 more weeks of being my own science experiment.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Marking stuff off my list

Today I filed paperwork that had been sitting in the office for....well, I don't really know how long. I also attempted to do some scrapbooking, but I ran out of tape after the first picture. Clearly, I wasn't meant to do that today.

Next weekend, D is going to put up the crib in our bedroom, and N said she would help me put the baby linens on it.

Still on my to-do list or my "nag hubby until he does it" list:

1. Buy newborn diapers
2. Finish scrapbooking all pics from April-current
3. Sand & paint wall behind bookshelf in basement --this is D's job. I just gotta harass.
4. Try to repair the VCR -- another job for D. I get to improve my badgering skills.
5. If VCR can't be fixed, take to electronics recycling center along with shredder that no longer works.
6. Put down more lava rock in front flower beds.
7. Buy G's birthday invites, plates, napkins, etc.
8. Schedule a pregnancy massage.

There is more that needs to be done, but I haven't thought of it yet.

Nesting mode has hit. D and I broke down old speaker boxes that had been sitting in our basement for 7 years. I feel the need to purge the closets for Goodwill donations.

Nothing like knowing that for the next 2 years or so, you will have virtually no free time and so I better do alot of shit now.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

"Slight" baby fever

Last night my niece was baptized. While the priest was holding her up after pouring the water on her head, I couldn't help but feel a little buzz of excitement over the idea of having a new baby. Now that my class is over, I am starting to realize that in 7 short weeks I will be a new mom again.

I have never been a big fan of the newborn "wormy" stage, when all they do is eat, sleep and poop. It is only a small step away from pregnancy parasitism----still sucking the life out of you but in a way that makes them far more difficult to carry around. But I suspect because this is my last child, I will relish the newborn period in a way I never have before (well, in a 3 seconds a day I might have to actually relish anything).

Increasingly, I am wondering what gender the baby is and what he/she will look like. Will he/she pop out with reddish hair like the other two....soon to be followed by blonde? Will he/she have blue eyes that stay blue? Will he/she be lefties like the other two? Or will D and I finally have a child who actually resembles us in some obvious way?

More and more, friends and acquaintances have been asking if I have any sense of what gender the baby is, and I absolutely do not. This pregnancy has been kinda in the middle of the other two. My hope is that this doesn't equal hermaphroditism.

In a way, I hope it is a girl for two reasons: 1. I love to buy girl clothes, and 2. If N and I do not develop a close adult relationship like what my mom and I have, I at least have a chance with another daughter. However, with the age difference between N and this baby, they might not develop a friendship quite as readily as G and this baby would if it is a boy.

Logistically, it would be so much easier if this baby is a boy. Dump him and G in the same room---space issues totally resolved. But good grief, the idea of having two boys two years apart in age is freaking scary.

So that's where I'm standing right now in terms of excitement about this baby. Not shouting to the moon with joy, but a calm sense of knowing I better cherish what is left of my pregnancy and the newborn period of my last baby.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Bargain hunter

I have a male FB friend who occasionally mentions that for some reason or another he may need to surrender his "man card." It just recently occurred to me that on some level I should probably have to surrender my woman card, and the primary reason is I really hate to shop.

My parents are extremely frugal people, and from them I learned the following fiscal habits:

1. Money goes into the bank to die (that is, once you put money in you never take it out...for any reason).

2. Live on a budget.

3. Don't go into debt for anything other than a house if you can in any way possibly help it.

4. Just don't buy shit because if you do you will feel an extreme amount of guilt that will make the purchasing of items a complete emotional misery.

So you see I am not a shopaholic. I more or less abhor shopping for anything other than books, and even when I buy books I either go to Half-Price Books or buy them used online.

In addition to being freaky frugal, I have also become increasingly insistent on doing the reduce, reuse, recycle thing.

What got me thinking about my shopping habits or lack of shopping habits is my utter love of children's consignment sales. I don't like to shop, but if I have to do it, I do get some nice jollies from saving money.

A friend of mine, who is preparing to sell some of her children's items in a local consignment sale, let me "shop" at her house today. I picked up a crib, mattress, Thomas the Train ride-on, 4 pairs of pants, 3 shirts, 2 coats, 6 pairs of pajamas, a sweater and a Reebok warm-up suit (all for G except the crib/mattress). The clothes set me back a whopping $36. And the Thomas ride-on I'm selling to my mother so she can give it to G for his birthday.

Next week, I will be hitting the consignment sale to find N a new winter coat and buy some neutral newborn sleepers for mystery baby.

I love to browse in boutiques but I just laugh whenever I see the prices because the idea of me spending $25 on a shirt for my kid is downright absurd (even if I'm going to pass it along to every child I have). And by this, I don't mean that I wouldn't love to sometimes do this because dagonit, those boutique clothes are super cute.

But spending that much money on an item of clothing for my child violates some deep family code of frugality; basically, I'd have to go to Catholic confession and sever an arm in penance to make up for any such purchase.

I must confess that I do tend to buy N "new" clothes, but they are always at crazy low prices. When we were in Gulf Shores, AL in May I bought her a bunch of fall stuff from The Children's Place Outlet and Gymboree Outlet....none of which cost over $4.99. And I've picked up some long-sleeve shirts from Old Navy and The Disney Store for $3.00. I figure everything I buy for N gets passed down to my 3-year-old niece, and then will either get passed down to my newborn niece and/or my baby if it is a girl. G gets hand-me-downs from my nephews when available or gets consignment stuff.

Usually I buy my own clothes new, but on sale. I discovered though, during that brief period of time when I had lost my pregnancy weight from carrying G but wasn't yet pregnant with this baby, that I will forever buy my jeans at Plato's Closet. I am uber -picky about jeans, and I quickly learned that consigned jeans are ALREADY FRICKIN BROKEN IN. They feel like jeans that have been worn a zillion times because they are jeans that have been worn a zillion times.....just the way I like for them to feel. And I don't have to do that crazy pulling-at-my-crotch stretch dance every time I put them on after washing.

I remember one night at bunco a friend showed us some dresses she had purchased from a number of stores in the Mall, including White House, Black Market and Ann Taylor Loft, for a wedding she was going to attend. God, they were fabulous. I wished that I could buy something like that.

But what I do whenever someone is going to be married. I think to myself, "No one is gonna be paying a lick of attention to what I'm wearing, and I don't want to spend money on a dress I'm gonna wear like 1 or 2 times." Because I am the most "come as you are" dresser on the planet. Especially now when only 1 pair of pants I own actually feels halfway decent around my midsection. I have cleaned up nice 3 times in my life--my own wedding, my brother's wedding, and a friend's wedding when I was a bridesmaid. I live for comfort. I wear my clothes enough days in a row that they can walk themselves to the hamper.

So there's just no point in me spending more than a buck fifty on anything....

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Now what?

This afternoon I turned in my final assignments for my graduate class. My two courses are finito, so all I need to do is get a transcript, mail them to the teaching standards board and pay my $50. My certification should be good for another 5 years.

Of course, now this leaves me with time to fill. And I am so not good with filling time. I never have been. I like to be out doing, seeing, being around people, so the "free time" I have in the middle of the day while G is napping is much-needed, but it also makes me a little antsy. Like what do I do?

I am not a tv-watcher. I tried to watch a little bit of Across the Universe streamed from Netflix and got bored 30 minutes in. And I only like to read books in bed at night.

I do have all sorts of projects I need to start and finish before October rolls around. Like getting some pictures in scrapbooks, cleaning my dining room, making a photo thing on canvas of G (as I did of N when she was his age).

But the rub is that while I dislike tv and get antsy if I just sit around and do nothing, I don't really have the desire or energy to tackle any of these little projects. I will get them done if for no other reason than that I have written them down in my day-planner, and my OCD will simply not allow them to sit there undone until the ends of time. They must eventually be marked out.

I know I need to indulge myself in this time because in 8 weeks I won't have free time anymore. I will back in the newborn saddle again. But it does make me start to think what I will do with myself when all of my kids are in school full-time.

Life is just chock full of little stupid dilemmas.

Monday, August 17, 2009

And the med saga continues-----

When the medical assistant finally returned my call, she told me everything was fine and they had Rx'd Zoloft for me. My jaw nearly hit the floor. This ain't like substituting grape juice for apple juice, people. I had horrendous side effects from taking Zoloft the few short weeks I took it in 2005. So I told her under no circumstances can I take Zoloft. She said she'd have my ob call.

Late this afternoon I got a call from the medical assistant. They were gonna call the pharmacy and ok the Lexapro 20 mg, but asked that I make sure it is ok to take with my new psychiatrist. I told them that the only reason I was even filling it is because my former psychiatrist left me in the lurch. Once I get an Rx from my new psychiatrist later this week, I'll be golden.

Of course, she told me that Dr. H. said the Lexapro is safe to take, which I FUCKING ALREADY KNOW since I have already gone through a pregnancy while taking it. This came off as if I'm the one making a big honking deal about being prescribed Lexapro.

And so I have decided to do the following:

1. Write up and give my ob a brand spanking new informed consent about taking Lexapro during this pregnancy (since I'm going for my 32 week visit tomorrow).

2. File a grievance with the KY Medical Licensure Board on my former psychiatrist. Even if it comes to nothing, it will make me feel better because not informing patients was completely unprofessional and negligent when it leaves patients in a medication lurch, as in my case.

3. Pray that my new psychiatrist doesn't give me a shitload of grief about Lexapro.

What about MY RIGHTS?

I bitched on FB about a dilemma that began in July and clearly isn't going to end until, perhaps, later this week. While I think it will all work out fine in the end, it has provided me a considerable amount of anxiety, something I don't need given the fact that I can create my own anxiety out of nothing.

I have been seeing a psychiatrist since 2005, when it became apparent the 50 mg of Zoloft I was taking was not cutting it. I was very depressed and began having intrusive thoughts about harm coming to N, and by this I mean thoughts of stabbing her or watching her wrap a plastic bag around her head and suffocating. And these weren't just occasional thoughts. My mind was bombarded with these horrendous thoughts constantly. They would not stop.

And so I was diagnosed with OCD and GAD. I was told that people with OCD require much higher doses of antidepressants than other people, like 4 times as much. And so I began taking 20 mg of Lexapro, and have been feeling more or less well ever since.

The last time I saw my psychiatrist was in April. Cut to last month, July, when I called for an August appointment. I was informed that my psychiatrist had left the practice. Unfortunately, none of the other psychiatrists in this practice accept my insurance so I had to scramble for a new psychiatrist. I was able to get an appointment for this Wednesday; my medication runs out this Thursday. I'm sorry, but that is cutting it way too close.... ya know, given my anxiety and all. I need to know I've got a reasonable supply in case something happens, like my car breaks down or the new psychiatrist has to cancel for some reason.

Three weeks ago, when I saw my ob for my 29 week appointment, I told her I had been struggling more with my anxiety, due to the class I'm taking, N starting preschool, having been sick, and the whole "left in the lurch by my psychiatrist" thing. Dr. H, clearly seeing how freaked out I was, gave me an Rx for Lexapro 20mg to get me through the remainder of the pregnancy.

This morning, I took this Rx to my local Sam's Club Pharmacy. A few hours later, I get a call from the pharmacist who has to read to me about the "risks associated with taking this medication in the final 3 months of pregnancy." I told him I was aware of the risks, and accepted the risks, and had given my ob an informed consent regarding taking this medication. He said he still had to wait to get approval from my ob....even though my ob was the one who prescribed the Lexapro. I'm sorry but if that is not the most stupid thing I have ever heard of I don't know what is.

And so I called my ob and left a message saying that I need my fricking Lexapro otherwise they are gonna have a very mentally ill person on their hands for the next 8 weeks. I doubt it will come to that, but apparently no one besides me realizes the anxiety that goes along with thinking you might go cold-turkey on your meds. While still taking a class. While raising 2 children. While being 32 weeks pregnant. None of these makes a healthy combo.

So here we have, at least in my opinion, one of those delightful "momma's good versus the good of the fetus." And until I get an approval for my Lexapro, the good of the fetus is outweighing my good as a mentally healthy, happy and non-stressed momma. Because it is REALLY healthy for the baby to have a mom who winds up in the hospital due to lack of sleep and failure to eat due to overwhelming anxiety. I have been there before, and I have no doubt that I can end up back there terribly quickly.

Believe me, I will be asking if this is a Sam's Club policy or do they do this for every antidepressant Rx for pregnant women not prescribed by a psychiatrist. I never had this problem while pregnant with G.....but a psychiatrist Rx'd it then.

Somebody is clearly itching for a fight with an almost 160-lb, 8 months pregnant woman. They have no fucking clue who they are dealing with.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

5 years gone by

Can I sail thru the changing ocean tides?
Can I handle the seasons of my life?

Well, I've been afraid of changing
cause I've built my life around you.
But time makes you bolder,
Children get older,
I'm getting older too.

--Stevie Nicks, Landslide

Love you N!
Happy 1st Day of Kindergarten

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Lovely way to awaken

N called the kids who did this "Ass People," and I firmly agree.
When she called her nana to tell her about the mess,
I heard her ask, "Did you do this?"

Everyone's a suspect until proven otherwise.

Painted belly shots--week 31

N did the artwork and most of the photography.

Is this baby a Maeve?
(I deserve Mom of the Day award for giving
her an opportunity to work on her spelling.)

If so, below is what N thinks she will look like....

Another Goldilocks like her big sis.

Is this a Miles?

Who will, according to his big sis, have lots of spiky red hair....

A shout out to 31 weeks of pregnancy.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Am I in mourning or is it morning?

Today I took N for our last Kindergarten Countdown activity--to see a play of Grimm's fairytales. Afterwards we got a frozen custard and stopped at a toy store, where I bought her a new paper doll book. A stellar day by 5-year-old standards, I think.

On the drive home, I began thinking about this post and it's title, a way to sum up my feelings as she begins kindergarten in less than a week.

A part of me feels a bit of sadness for the years that have passed. There was a time when I couldn't remotely imagine being away from her for 6 hours at a time. She was 4 before she ever stayed the night with any of her grandparents. Next week, she will leave the house at 8:25 a.m. and return sometime between 4:00-4:30 p.m. Even though I know I am not losing her, our family dynamic, my relationship with her, will change. So I am mourning the unknowns of change. I am mourning the time that has gone by. I am mourning her young childhood.

And at the same time, there is such excitement, such wonder, such adventure for her and for me. Which made me think of the morning, the brightness and surprise that await every day, especially for a child. I was telling her about how she will start to learn science and math and social studies, and take art, gym, music and Spanish. So many new things for her to experience as she makes her first venture into elementary school, which will bring plenty of things for me to hear about and learn as I see her develop into an ever-more mature girl.

This change, as with so many experiences of parenting, is bittersweet. On the one hand I am sad to know she is taking flight, and at the same time, I am ready to see her leave the nest a bit because I know it is what both she and I need. Mommy simply doesn't hold the appeal she once did. I cannot provide for all her needs. And not being able to meet all her needs makes me feel a bit useless, especially at this stage of pregnancy when I am too tired and frazzled to put oodles of energy into entertaining her all hours of the day. Suffice it to say, this summer has been a bit of a challenge for the two of us.

One benefit of her going off into the world of true formal education is it will allow me to spend some time alone with G....a whole 20 minutes before this third child enters the picture and relegates him to middle child status and syndrome.

The times they are a'changing.

Monday, August 3, 2009

No burning bridges or tying tubes

I have made the decision NOT to have my tubes tied when the baby is born in October, and I feel much relieved about my choice.

And, believe me, this is not because I want to have a 4th child. I will be totally and completely good with 3. Until I got pregnant with this baby, I have never felt any desire to move with life onto the next stages of my children's lives. I have wanted to cling to the here and now with every fiber of my being because, even though it is exhausting, young children are just full of love and curiosity and amazement. They give hugs freely, tell you they love you, and meet so many wonderful milestones. While the newborn, wormy stage isn't my favorite, there are so many things I adore about babyhood and toddlerhood and preschoolhood.

But this pregnancy has been tiring, and I can see that when this youngest child gets to be 5 or 6 years old, it will be nice to do "older kid" things with the entire family. Playing board games together or going on vacations to somewhere other than the beach.

Still, for me, I cannot commit to permanent sterility. I know, given my anxiety, that the entire time I'm on the table following the birth, I would be thinking, "Dear god, what if something happens to this baby?," rather than feeling the joy of having just given birth. I know how my brain works, and I don't want to sacrifice those feelings to worry. That worry, I'm afraid, would only worsen once baby and I returned home and settled into a routine. I have a hard enough time sleeping, I don't need to be up checking on breathing every 20 minutes.

So D will take care of the permanence after baby #3 is 6-9 months old. I figure my whoo-haa and other girly parts have had enough poking, prodding and torquing these past 6 years. They will simply never be the same. At least if hubby is snipped, he can be condom free forever. Well, forever as long as he is with me. And I won't have to be on the pill, which makes my libido die a slow painful death for as long as I choke down the tablets.

Assuming either of us ever has the energy to have sex again with 3 kids, it will be kinda weird to have unprotected sex without the worry of pregnancy. I can only go by my friends who say it is pretty great.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Memory v. Truth--elementary school version

I shudder to think of my childhood experiences at St. R from grades 1-8. Not that it was all bad, but there are certain highly unpleasant incidents that really stick out. These unhappy moments are part of the reason I am like a nazi when it comes to kids (particularly my kid) treating another kid in a mean-spirited way.

Here is a timeline of my memories from grade school:

1st and 2nd grade-- I played Star Wars on the playground with M.M. and G.H. I was Princess Leia, M.M. was Luke Skywalker, and G.H. was....well, I can't actually remember if he was Han Solo or Chewbaca, or maybe he played both roles as needed. M.M. was my "boyfriend" those two years. He eventually moved to another school, but he did invite me to a birthday party at his home and even had a nameplate at the far end of the table for me, as if he were the king and I were the queen.

3rd grade-- No outstanding memories here.

4th grade-- I wore these suede, mocassin-like boots to school and was made fun of by the "popular kids" for wearing what they lovingly called combat boots. Began to notice a difference between the "cool" kids and the dorks, nerds, and geeks, a category to which I and most of the other kids fell into.

5th grade-- Got into a fist fight of sorts with B.A., a girl with whom I had a very strange relationship. We had "on" years and "off" years. Fifth grade was an "off" year. During one of our "on" years, we made up romance stories for each other. She was in love with a basketball player, and I was in love with Nick Rhodes from Duran Duran (and only god knows why I selected him).

6th grade-- One of the moms who often worked in the cafeteria was walking out to her car one day while my class had recess. She had long, pretty red fingernails. She and my mom were friendly, so I ran over to her and commenced to ooooh and ahhhh over her nails. A couple of the popular girls, one named S.H., proceeded to ask me if I was gay. A short time later, S.H. had to leave St. R's because she was pregnant by an 18-year-old. I thought there was some divine justice in this.

7th grade-- The Year That Doth Sucked Ass.
I was never popular by any stretch of the imagination. I performed in the yearly talent shows, virtually always dancing to Duran Duran music, and some kids apparently hated me for this. Maybe I was a show-off? I just liked to dance, so my goal in dancing was never to piss anyone off but just because I really loved to dance. But the viewpoint of a child can be weird and certainly egocentric.

As in the case of this next memory. I remember being on the playground in 7th grade and being surrounded by what seemed like every kid in the 7th and 8th grade classes....or at least every popular, cliquish, bully-type kid. I remember one girl saying to me, "You're a bitch," to which I just replied, "Yeah, I know." Because what am I gonna say when I have all these kids hovering around me, eager to pounce on my ass if given the slightest opening? I don't remember there being any teachers around. And maybe it wasn't as many kids as it seemed. But I felt like a cornered animal. I have never, ever, ever gotten over that.

8th grade-- Perhaps as a result of this 7th grade incident, my goal in life became to "show them up," all the kids who made fun of me, made fun of my shoes, and generally made my life hell in 7th grade. I proceeded to get straight As, become a cheerleader (not the A team, but a cheerleader nonetheless), and win the Principal's Award, the highest honor at the school. I felt vindicated. It was the only way I knew to say a giant "FUCK YOU" to the mean girls.

There is one memory that plagues me, and it was my behavior that was the problem. There was a girl named P.M., a short, kinda chunky girl with curly hair, who was simply one of the nicest, sweetest kids you could ever meet. I didn't play with her afterschool or on weekends, but she was always nice to me and we hung out with some other girls on the playground.

I don't know what age I was when I said this, but at one point, I was very mean to her and distinctly remember saying, "I don't want to hang out with you." Given the treatment that I had experienced, you'd think I wouldn't have been such as asshole, but I remember it to this day. I doubt P.M. does, or if she does, she realized what a jerk I was being and didn't let it bother her for longer than 5 seconds.

Recently, I saw one of the mean girls from my childhood. She was the bane of my St. R. existence. K.K. made fun of my shoes on a regular basis, whether it was the "combat boots" or the "buddies" I wore (my parents didn't buy me name brand shoes as her parents did). Her daughter and mine were in the same recital.

I saw her and just had to say something, if for no other reason than to show myself that I have gotten "over it." She was friendly, or about as friendly as I expected her to be, and introduced me to her kids. Her oldest child is in a wheelchair, apparently as a result of a pretty severe birth injury.

My feelings were mixed upon seeing her. We didn't talk for longer than 3 minutes because, really, we have nothing to say to each other. No common shared anything...other than dislike. I have to admit I wondered a lot about karma after seeing her, though, in light of her son's condition. And by this, I don't suggest that she got her "just desserts." I see children with disabilities as having their own special unique gifts and blessings that they bring to families. But I couldn't help find it odd that a child who made such fun of others for being different has such a different child of her own.

And so this is why I try to be vigilant about talking to N (and G later on) about children who are different from them, whether from Down Syndrome or race or whatever, and making them aware that they are to 1. treat them with respect and kindness, and 2. remember that all children just want to make friends and have fun. And bringing my kids down a notch with a tongue lashing if I ever hear them bragging about what they have and poo-poohing other kids who don't.