On parenting teens

At this point in time, Soleil is close to becoming a 14 year old. Luna will hit 12 soon. This is a fascinating time to parent children. We have a political mess in the US. Our children see it and are old enough to comprehend what hatred is being spewn from the other side. They see others pushing their ideas on people. They see their friends being pushed down with words and they are not happy.

Things parents need to manage with parenting teens:

  1. Bullying. It has never gone away. Zero tolerance doesn’t work. We push the kids to stand up for others, but goddamn that is hard to do. All kids are bullied and most kids join in on bullying even if you don’t think yours do. Yes. Mine do too.
  2. Sex. What? But Nance, your children are only 14 and 12 (rounding up). How can you talk about sex? We need to because the schools can only give so much information and we have to fill in the gaps. It’s our moral ground. There’s a rumor that a kid in 7th grade (in between my kids) has been caught sexting and she has had sex with several boys. A few boys have bragged about their sexual exploits. THESE THINGS EXIST. I have promised both kids that if they ask for a condom, I will hand one over, no questions asked. I will admit that I will ask if they want to talk about it.
  3. Gender. What is gender? Why do we not only have male and female? What does it mean to be transgender? They already have gay friends. They will meet a transgender person in their lifetime. Time to start building up the laizzez-faire attitude we want them to have. It doesn’t matter. It’s the other person’s life.
  4. Racism. It’s real. Kids don’t always see it. We address it often. We talk about systematic racism and blatant racism. We talk about how our economic system has worked against People of Color. We talk about how there’s little cultural history compared to European families. How does one deal with the entire group of blacks, who are mostly from different cultures 400 years ago, as one group because they have the same skin color? We talk about that.
  5. Rape. I’ve got two girls. They need to know when they can say no and how to keep saying it. They also need to know that yes is okay, but no has to be listened to. It’s scary out there. I know more than a few women who were date raped as teens. I’d prefer my kids not be in that group.
  6. Politics. Teens are starting to learn about politics. Whenever our kids start parroting us, we will suddenly start with the opposite side’s argument. This keeps them on their toes and forces a bit of thinking to happen. Yeah, thinking. We’re evil parents.

What do you discuss with your teens? I have more that we deal with on a daily basis (including Hamilton, the Musical), but these are the important ones.

Baby, it’s cold inside

I had never expected to be a soccer mom. I was not terribly athletic as a child. Okay, let’s be honest here, I sucked. I joined our girls soccer team and one day had to be pulled because the ball smashed my glasses, broke them and cut my nose open. So, let’s just leave it as I was less than stellar on the field.

In 2007, an ice hockey rink opened in our town. The guy who was running it was a former Olympian who had won the Hobey Baker Award. All I could think was that the girls would be invited to ice skating parties, and like their mother, they would cling to the boards for dear life. Maybe, just maybe they would be like Dr. Jay and skate well. He played hockey for several years in college on intramural teams. He even did pickup games on Long Island until he suffered a serious eye injury. So, we signed the girls up for lessons.

Fast forward to 2016. Soleil is now a hockey goalie. She plays for the East Coast Wizards and we hope that she can play for her High School Boys’ team next year. Luna. Oh Luna. She is getting ready to test for her pre-juvenile free-skate test for the US figure skating levels. She’s also working with a coach to test her pre-juv pairs test. Once she has that down, she needs to land her Axel jump before we will search out a skate partner.

I never expected the quick foray into skating lessons would get us here. At least 3 days a week during summer and up to 6 a week from September to April are spent in rinks. I’m a hockey/skater mom. This is bizarre. Every Sunday, Soleil gets up early so one of us can drive her to an hour long goalie clinic with the Boston University’s women’s goalie coach.

One July 1st, Luna and I will be attending the US Figure Skating Association’s National Theatre On Ice competition. She’s on one of 12 Junior level teams competing for the national title.

How did we get here?

The one about parenting children of a different religion

*I know I owe you all a post about work, but there are things that I can’t put out here. Let’s just say I am back at work and there have been some changes implemented, but I am in the same job with the same supervisors*

So it is December. And all of the retail places are kicking our butts with holiday music. Seriously, it started before Thanksgiving this year. If I hear “Simply having a wonderful Christmas time” one more time, I will have to go postal.

December in the Casa de Space means the endless questions of why don’t Jews get even time in the holidays (2% girls! You’re part of the 2%) It is hard for me to really get their concerns because, well, I was raised Christian in a Christian society. I may now be atheist, but growing up, the whole Christmas thing made sense and it was my holiday. Now as a cynical adult, I can split the religion from the secular parts of Christmas and deal. I can tell that my kids can’t.

We don’t do both. We’re not both. We do Hanukkah. Every year, since Soleil was young, we’ve had a Hanukkah party. We make a ton of latkes (traditional fried potato pancakes) put out some other foods and roll with it. Sour cream? Fattening latkes and jelly donuts? Oh yeah, we’re all over that! We even have some drediels out to play that traditional “Let’s teach the kids how to gamble with chocolate”. Seriously, who decided that was a good idea? We don’t do electric lights, we don’t do trees, we just do Hanukkah.

So when Luna found out the competition she was attending in December was canceled, she wanted to do the holiday show for the Learn to Skate club that she works. Of course, she’ll be gone the week of the holiday show and the coaches suggested something for Hanukkah. In 1 hour, this girl got her coach to download the song “Candlelight” by the Maccabeats and she designed a routine to go with it. Amazing.

She’s still upset about Christmas dominating her world. She doesn’t know what to do with it or how to relate with others. I am at a loss. How many people out there parent a child from a different religion or culture? How do you handle these sorts of issues?

The one about shit hitting the fan at work.

Yes, I am swearing. Shut up, my blog.

Okay, I have finally hit that magical point where shit hits the fan. I am in the process of arranging a 6 week medical leave for stress. Before you say “what bullshit, we’re all stressed”, let me explain.
Oh hell, too long, let me bullet point

  1. thyroid out of wack
  2. heartrate high
  3. breathing issues
  4. lack of sleep
  5. tremors and stomach pains on days I come into the office
  6. nightmares the weekend before I go on call

Basically, I have had three different doctors suggest that my physical issues are stress related. They may be. I finally hit a low point last week. I don’t even know what straw landed on the metaphorical camel’s back, but I realized I needed out.

I find my shoulders tense on the ride into work. By the time I sit at my desk, my stomach is in knots. I can’t stand the bull from my officemate. Last week, he couldn’t figure out why we couldn’t get email from account A when the mail server was out. I wanted to slam my head into a wall.

I have arranged an appointment to talk to an independent person to discuss my work situation. I can’t go into all of the detail, but I must say that since my former teammate left, our team has been dysfunctional, painful and stressful. There is no more fun in work.

I am working with my RN for depression. I need her to sign the paperwork so I can take 6 weeks off on medical leave. I will work through these issues with a new person. I need to find out what the right answer for me is. I need to step back. I need a breather, for I am burnt.

And this is fucking scary to do.

* And before you ask, no, there are no internal jobs to transfer to. Yes, I am looking for new jobs, no I am not qualified for some and yes, I am getting depressed about that.

The one about the GOP on abortion.

Every four years, I get very sick of the politics in our country. Last time, it was all about patriotism. Now we are all up in your face about women’s rights, gay rights and the economy.

This post was going to be all about how I hate politics, but in light of yesterday’s announcement from the GOP, I had to change it.

This is now the one about the GOP on abortion. IF you are against abortion, if you follow the GOP stance, please read. I have lots of gray to show you.

This will be long, so get some coffee and sit back. Ready?

First, a story
In 1999, Dr. Jay and I started the simple task of getting pregnant. Pretty easy,right? Some fun too, right? After 6 months of nothing, I was getting very upset. After 8 months, we scheduled an appointment to see my doctor. She was soon not to be my doctor. She was late to the appointment and was pretty flip about everything. She immediately went into the false notion that stress causes infertility. If you follow that link, you’ll find that while there is a link between stress and infertility, it is not clear which causes which.

She sent me to have my fallopian tubes checked (HSG) and I discovered that yes, my tubes were open and yes, I am allergic to contrast dye (never a good thing). It has been documented that the HSG test irritates the cilia in the tubes and can improve the chances of becoming pregnant. I lucked out and we conceived that month of the HSG.

I was excited, thrilled and not the least bit scared. We found an OB and set up an 8 week appointment. Dr. Jay and I went in on a Thursday. We did all of the normal tests and then had the ultrasound. The tech did all of the measurements and I dressed and we waited for the doctor.

I remember that she was a very nice women who explained, by doodling a heart shape on her doctor pad, the ultrasound measured the fetus at 5weeks and there was no heartbeat. She wanted to redo the ultrasound on Monday, just in case the measurements were off. I knew the truth. She was gone. As we left, I called my little one Pathfinder, as she at least proved that I could get pregnant(no, I never knew the gender, but Patherfinder is female).

I had to go to the office alone the next time as Dr. Jay was away on an observing run. The measurements were exactly the same. This time, the doctor explained to me that this was called an “incomplete abortion”. The baby failed to develop, but my body had not recognized this yet. I was still producing the proper hormones for my body to think I was still growing a baby. My options were to wait it out until I fully miscarried (this could take up to 4 more weeks), have a dilation and evacuation (D&E) procedure to remove the baby, or wait another week to check again. I asked how likely was it that there would be a heart beat in another week. She said, at this point, close to 0%, but it was what I wanted. It was my choice.

Dr. Jay was heading home when I sent his phone a call. I had arranged for the D&E to be the next day. He would be home for it.

We went to the hospital together. I could barely talk I was so overcome with grief, but the receptionist was very rude to Dr. Jay and made it clear that she thought he was pushing me into this. I had to finally pull myself together and tell her “the baby is dead. Just give us the information he’s asking for.” Fortunately, the staff in the hospital was much nicer. We had a 2 hour delay as someone had a medical emergency during birth. I did not envy that women at all, even if she was getting her child I was not. I had to sign a parental consent form for the disposal and I was asked if I wanted to have the body saved. I said no.

When I woke up, all was done. I had a wicked headache, an empty stomach and a broken heart. We left after about 30 minutes and went to IHOP where we ate and were just sad.

It wasn’t until after Soleil and Luna were born that I discovered something terrible. As the link I posted states, D&E are abortions. The word abortion, in medical speak, means to end a pregnancy. The condition of the fetus does not matter. I wrote to the CDC and asked “If I had a D&E for a miscarriage, how is that reported to you?” The answer back chilled me. It depended on the hospital. Generally, D&E are counted as abortions. When you see from the CDC the number of abortions in a year?

Yeah, Pathfinder was an abortion.

Doesn’t matter that she would never live.

Doesn’t matter that I carried a dead fetus in me for 3 weeks.

This is one of the reasons I am angry at the GOP. Under their new “personhood” ideas, I would have been forced to carry pathfinder until my body figured it out. That could have taken up to another month.

I have two friends who discovered their child had trisomy-18. Most trisomy-18 children don’t make it to birth. One friend decided to terminate the pregnancy. One didn’t find out until it was past the date of legal termination. He died in utero and was induced at 32 weeks. I photographed his birth. It was devastating to his parents. It was as devastating to this friend as the one who chose to terminate.

I follow Cecily who had to terminate her son to save her own life. His twin had died. She had developed pre-eclampsia. She would have died if she had not delivered the second child.
My cousin developed pre-eclampsia in her 30th week of pregnancy with triplets. In this case, all three survived and are entering 3rd grade. Her choice was deliver and hope for the best, or die.
In Luna’s pregnancy, I developed ante-partum depression. I had to go back on my antidepressants to not commit suicide as the hormones were that strong.

These are real people with real difficult decisions. The GOP would have us believe that women decide one day while walking down the street “Wow, this is too much, I’ll have an abortion” and jump into a clinic. The world is not the black and white. Do women choose to have abortions? yes. Do they choose because it isn’t convenient right now? Some do. Some don’t. Do they choose because they were raped? Does it matter their choice?

Listen, pregnancy is a very unique situation. Two lives in one. A male can never experience the wonder of a pregnancy. Nor can they ever experience the pain of losing a pregnancy. They can never understand what it is like to have to make that choice because no man ever had to.

It was my choice to have the D&E. Others who are not doctors, who do not know my situation want to tell me what to do. I am having signs of perimenaupause. This issue may not be terribly relevant to me soon. But it will matter to me as a person.

It is time for the GOP to step back and stop attacking my rights to make my own decisions. I have two daughters. I am raising them with a strong code of what is right and wrong and pushing YOUR religion on someone else is wrong. Deciding that you know best for everyone in every situation is wrong. Deciding that an unborn child’s life is more important than the living is wrong.

I don’t want my children growing up in a world where men, men who can’t even understand the basics of the female reproductive system, are outlawing how they care for their body.

Abortion is not a black or white. Is it not even stopping a beating heart in all cases. What abortion involves is a large gray mass and the only morals to be invoked in this situation are the ones the woman who is pregnant can handle. This is currently, and should remain a choice for the woman.

The one about Gun Control

“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” 2nd Amendment

Okay- I agree. We need to have the right to bear Arms. I totally agree that we should have this right.

Definition of INFRINGE

transitive verb
1
: to encroach upon in a way that violates law or the rights of another
2
obsolete : defeat, frustrate

So here’s the question: Does putting a registry (as in a well regulated militia) put an infringement on the right to bear arms? Does preventing assault rifles to be stored at home infringe the right to bear arms?

Let’s say our country instituted a nationwide weapon ownership registry. Every time someone purchased a weapon, that information would be stored somewhere. Does this encroach upon the right to bear arms? And let’s say, someone purchases several weapons in a short period of time and the registry notes this. Is this encroaching on the right to bear arms? And let’s suppose that the ATF comes in to ask said person about their purchases. Is THIS encroaching on the right to bear arms?

My answers are no. But what are yours?

Now what about assault rifles? Could someone be required to place assault rifles in a place where they are locked up? I would think that would infringe on the right to bear arms. Does it need to be within the context of a miltia? I don’t know. What is the purpose of an assault rifle? I can imagine some people want it for fun. Go to the target range and blast away with an assault rifle. Sounds like great stress relief! Should we track these guns? Put them somewhere safe? What counts as safe? Who makes sure these are safe?

Thoughts?

Nibbled

“Quack”
I looked around the kitchen, rather surprised to hear a duck while doing the dishes. He stood on the other side of the dishwasher door, his fine green head tilted at me.
Okay, a duck. In my kitchen.
“Quack”
He cocked his head sidewise and stared at me. This was not what I had been thinking about. In fact, I had been thinking about Luna. She’s been ice skating a bit lately and she has an expo this weekend. We forgot about the date and scheduled something else at the same time. Crap.
“Quack, Quack”
What the hell? Now there were two ducks staring at me. Where did the other one come from? Besides, I don’t have time for this! I also have to get Soleil to her hockey practice. She’s really getting it down now, this who hockey goalie stuff. If we could only work on her focus. She has trouble focusing at school too. It’s really becoming a problem.
“Quack””Quack””Quack”
The original drake hopped up on the dishwasher door. Brave bastard. Where did that other duck come from? And the others? There’s 4 ducks standing in my kitchen. The dog is outside. I should go get her. She’ll scare the ducks away, but she is such a scared dog. I am so glad that she did well at the pet hotel this trip. I worry about the next trip. We’ll be gone longer. Does she miss us? Does she think we’ll be leaving her forever?
“QUACK!”
Wow!Simultaneous quack!I didn’t know ducks could do that. Holy hell? They are multiplying faster than I can think and three of them are now perching on the top rack of the dishwasher. Can ducks actually perch? I mean, the webbed feet and all. Damn, I need to actually walk the dog today. Poor thing. And email. I have a bunch of emails to send out for the data analysis project. Too many things!
“QUACK, QUACK, QUACK, QUACK!”
Okay, this is getting surreal. The ducks are taking over my kitchen, they get are getting braver and braver and I can’t get to the broom closet right now to scare them away. Oh, right, I have to sort through the drawers and pull out the extra clothes that the girls don’t fit in anymore. I can’t believe how fast they are grow…OUCH! That damn duck just bit me! Well, more of a nibble than a bite, but STILL! OW!
The room is now filled with ducks all creating a cacophony of quacks. They all move closer and I can see now that every thought of every task I need to complete brings another duck into existence. They advance with those brown and orange beaks nipping, biting, pecking. I am quickly drowning in a sea of water fowl and destroyed by all the things I need to do in my life.
And that is how I was nibbled to death by ducks.

Totally and completely fried

  • It’s not the work. It’s the amount of items that are all #1 priority and I always select the wrong one to attack first
  • It’s not the activities. It’s the time it takes to get the girls ready for them. The girls want to go, they just take their damn sweet time.
  • It’s not school. It’s the homework.
  • It’s not the homework. It’s the fighting and screaming and the "it’s not fair" over the homework assignments.
  • It’s not the housework. It’s the lack of recognizing that putting things away when done makes it so much easier.
  • It’s not the laundry. Oh, wait, yeah, it is the laundry.
  • It’s not the commute. It’s the time spent idling because there are too many people on the roads.
  • It’s not the money. Because I don’t think it’s worth it anymore.

Don’t call me a hockey mom

The activities for this school year:

  • violin, Saturdays 9:30-10:15am
  • ice skating, private lessons, Wednesdays afternoon
  • ice skating, theatre on ice, Wednesday afternoon for 6 weeks
  • hockey, 2 practices a week, 1 game a weekend
  • Girl Scouts. Both girls, and me
  • Hebrew School, Wednesday 3:40-5:30!!! and Sundays 11-1:30(both)
  • 3/4 day of school on Wednesdays.

I have far too many things on my plate to be a hockey mom. Just call me mom.

So tired of being treated like a female.

What is so sad about the title of this post is that "treated like a female" seems to be understood.

Wednesday, Dr. Jay and I celebrated our 14th wedding anniversary. We went out for a nice dinner followed by a wonderful walk through a pre-American graveyard and finally back to our car for a ride. Within 20 seconds of starting the ride, I was going around a rotary, a traffic circle in most parts of the country, when someone failed to yield. I moved too much to the left and hit the curb, blowing my tire. Great. I drove a tad bit further and pulled into the parking lot near the North Bridge in Concord, MA. We got the jack out, placed it in the right spot, someone came over to help, we got 4 out of 5 lugs off. Then we all stared at the 5th. It was a locking lug nut. Fine. We searched the ENTIRE car. No locking lug nut key (It looks like a long nut that has a funny pattern that goes over the locking lug nut). Ended up calling AAA. They sent a flatbed truck that got lost because the AAA call center isn’t local. If you say "I’m in the National Park parking lot, across from the Old North bridge, by the Old Manse", to someone who isn’t local, they get confused. When you tell them 50 Monument street? They tell the dispatcher something else with a 15 in it and certainly not Monument street. My legs got covered with mosquito bites. Dr Jay got 1. Bastard.

Finally, we got the flatbed to where we were, and he asked "Did you check the glove compartment?" Um, no I’ve been sitting out here getting eaten alive, missing the game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals and it never occurred to me to check the glove compartment. OF COURSE we checked. We checked everywhere.  On the way home, the truck stalls, the guy has to pull over because he isn’t sure my car is secured correctly and then tells us about the time he lost a car because he forgot to secure it. OMG.

The next day, I took Dr. Jay’s car to the tire place in town and explained the situation. They asked "Did you check the glove compartment?" UGH! I ended up getting AAA to tow it again to the tire place (it was a back tire and it was BLOWN, not with a low leak). The AAA operator? "Did you look n the glove compartment?" Hello????

The guys did replace the tire and my maintanance plan, which I normally don’t get, did cover half of the tire. All of the locking lug nuts have been removed. However, they called me and suggested that since my battery is 5.5 years old, I should replace it. Um, why? I asked if they checked it out and they did. All was well! Then I was told that BOTH back tires would need to be replaced, but the front ones were newer. I pointed out that THEY had replaced all 4 tires 2 years ago. Amazing that suddenly, only the blown tire was to be replaced.

I do feel that they treat me like this because I am female. That if I were male, they would be a bit more honest. Sigh…