I Thirty-hate Thirty-Eight

I’m another year older. It’s not like 38 is a milestone birthday or some societal harbinger of doom, but I wasn’t looking forward to this birthday. Now that it’s passed… I’m still not too thrilled about it. Every year I think, “Hey, you’re only as old as you feel and half the time I still have to call my dad to ask him how to do something. That makes me young, right?” Right?

This year, I’m feeling my age. Maybe it’s why 38 hasn’t wowed me so far. You would think that the under 40 crowd wouldn’t have arthritis aches and pains, bodily shit getting out of whack if you barely exert yourself beyond your normal limits, or, *gasp* hormonal craziness making you feel like menopause is breathing down your neck. Nothing makes a gal feel like she’s old as much as the thought of menopause on the horizon. I thought I was cool with the reality that my childbearing days are behind me, but today it kind of hit me for some reason. I’m not going to have any more children. Not because I don’t want to, but because I physically can’t. And whether that reason is because of my age or for no logical reason at all, it makes me feel old and even a little unfeminine. It makes no sense; I realize that. I don’t want to start all over again with sleepless nights and diaper changes, but the fact that my body made the choice to stop at two makes me feel defective somehow, like my body is breaking down and everything that makes me a woman is shriveling up and dying.

Thirty-eight is too young for this. I mean, I still have 29 years until I hit retirement age. In my head, I should be pain free and physically perfect. I should be like Michelle Duggar, spitting out kids into my 40s and never raising my voice or complaining about anything. Okay, back up. I lost my mind for a minute there. There’s no way I can go through life without raising my voice. Let me shout it out then, a sort of therapy if you will: I thirty-hate thirty-eight! I’m young dammit!

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The Pain in my Ass

I bet you think I’m talking about a person, don’t you? Nope. I am, literally, talking about a pain in my ass. To be precise: my piriformis muscle. Yeah, I never heard of it either, but it sounds a lot better to be talking about the pain in my piriformis than the pain in my ass.

I can’t remember if I’ve ever blogged about this before, but I’ve been having back pain for a long time. I’d say, oh, 6 years or so. Right after my son was born, almost 4 years ago, I finally went to see my doctor about it. She sent me to an Osteopathic Physician. At the age of 34, I was told, after a series of x-rays, that one of my legs is longer than the other. And that walking and running (thank you, navy) without a lift to equalize the length of my legs had caused my spine to curve in order to compensate, and had pushed the top of my tailbone toward my spine which caused it to press on 3 discs in my lower back. Which are now arthritic. I have also worn out the outsides of my kneecaps because of the awkward gait I’ve had since taking my first steps.

What does this have to do with a pain in my piriformis, you ask? For the last year, I’ve been telling my Osteopath, while she was adjusting my back, that my left hip hurt. The pain has continued and now is so bad that I can’t even sleep on my left side. She believes that a trigger point in my butt is to blame. She thinks I should get a cortisone shot right in the old keister to get the muscles to release. I’m guessing this means I have a tight ass. And not in the complimentary way, either. Too bad. I always wanted a JLo booty.

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The Piriformis Revealed, or Everything you didn’t want to know about my ass. (Note: this is not an actual image of said ass.)

For some reason, the idea of a needle being injected in such a vulnerable place is unsettling. I’m not afraid of needles. I don’t like shots, per se, but I don’t have an irrational fear of them either. This spot, however, is making me have some Navy bootcamp flashbacks and I’m thinking maybe I was slightly traumatized by one little incident there.

In the first few weeks of basic, my division had to go down to the medical facility and we all had to get a massive round of shots. It was pretty standard military medical care. We rushed on over there, waited for a really long time, and then had to line up and walk through what felt like the bottle conveyor belt from the opening theme of Laverne and Shirley. We walked down a line, stopped when told, and a nurse on either side of us would give us a shot in the arms. Then we’d take a few more steps, stop, and two more nurses would give us two more shots in our arms again. I don’t remember how many I got; I wasn’t all that concerned. Then came time for the penicillin shot. They separated the girls from the guys and marched about 20 girls into a room at a time. They must have been coming out a different door because we wouldn’t see them again until we too had bandaids on our butts. When my turn came around, I marched into this big sterile room that had a long table in the center with no chairs. Ten of us lined up facing the table on one side and the other ten on the other side. We stood there looking across at the other girls while we were told to drop our drawers, bend over, place our forearms on the table top and wait for our shot. Once the shot had been administered, we were allowed to pull up our pants and wait until we were all ready to march out of the room. I wasn’t all that nervous, although it’s kind of weird leaning over a table bare-assed with strangers (both male and female nurses) hanging around behind you. But then the girls across the table from us started getting their shots. And we could see each pained expression, every tear escaping every eye and each poignant gasp as the giant (I kid you not, it was gianormous) needle was plunged into their backsides. To make matters even more horrific (yes, it’s possible, wait for it…) one of the girls in my line jumped or twitched or something and the needle snapped off in her ass cheek. Blood and penicillin were spurting, nurses (they were actually nursing students, I later discovered) were scrambling around, shouting commenced and there I was, leaned over a table, cold air on my cheeks, in a horrified eye-lock with the girl across the table. Our telepathic conversation sounded like this:

Are you fucking kidding me? We’re dreaming this right now, right?

No, it’s really happening. This is a goddamn nightmare. Can you believe we actually signed up for this voluntarily?

My ass is so cold right now that I’m shivering.

Don’t do it! I’ll bet that’s what happened with the girl currently sporting a giant needle in her ass. You shiver and that shit’s gonna spurt!

Oh. My. God. I can’t bend over this table another second or I’m going to scream, scream I tell you!

You take out the Petty Officer on the left and I’ll take out the one guarding the exit. Ready, set…

I’m next! Holy sh- Ow! Ouch, ohmygodthat’sagiantneedleinmyass!

Thank God that’s over. Let’s never speak of this again. In fact, I’ve already forgotten your name for all time.

Can you blame me for not wanting a cortisone shot in the keister? I’m scarred for life when it comes to shots in that region. Instead, I went for a trigger point therapeutic massage this morning. It was both relaxing and painful. Now all I have to do is convince my husband that its beneficial to my health to become a member at Massage Envy and get a massage once a month so I can avoid the dreaded butt shot. I’m not so sure my penicillin shot story will move him to part with the money. Maybe if I act it out for him….

A Lesson on Bad Behaviors

Well, I made it through the two hour long appointment with the Behavior Specialist yesterday afternoon. Luckily I took a xanax before I left so I was feeling very calm when Caylie was spinning the doctor’s chair around and lowering her chair while she was typing her notes. And pulling on the doctor’s hair while laughing hysterically and trying to grab the doctor’s feet while Caylie hid behind the doctor’s chair, just out of reach.

Oh the things you learn about when you have children! Like, did you know that there is no such thing as ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) anymore? Nope. Now there is only Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. This didn’t make sense to me until I learned that there are three different classifications of ADHD: Inattention, Hyperactivity – Impulsivity, or both combined.

In addition to these wonderful facts, I learned that for all children diagnosed with ADHD, 2/3 of them are also suffering from another disorder. Like a mood disorder, anxiety disorder, sleep disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, oppositional defiant disorder or other antisocial personality disorders.

After 2 hours, the doctor (should I even use her title initials BS?) told me that while she isn’t ready to officially diagnose Caylie with anything right this moment, Caylie is exhibiting the characteristics of ADHD Inattention with some combined Impulsivity as well as a possible mood disorder. And she hasn’t taken Oppositional Defiant Disorder off the table yet either. I have two very long questionnaires to fill out that are more specific to Caylie’s age and gender. And both her former teacher and her future Kindergarten teacher will have to fill out similar questionnaires.

The thing I found most interesting was all the questions I was asked about Caylie’s birth and her subsequent resuscitation. What were the circumstances surrounding her resuscitation? How long were the nurses performing CPR before she took her first breath? Did they intubate her? How long before I was able to see her? Was she still getting oxygen at that point in time? Mike and I have always wondered if any kind of oxygen loss at birth could have been the cause of all of Caylie’s behavioral issues. Now I feel like maybe our gut instincts have been right all along. Not that it changes anything, but its just one more example of how right on a parent’s instincts can be regarding their child.

I don’t know why, but I feel slightly relieved by what the specialist told me. Maybe because I can understand where some of this behavior is coming from? Because its not my fault? Because there could be a chance to treat the symptoms? I’m leaning toward all three of those reasons. Even though the idea of possibly medicating a 5 year old child bothers me, if it can stop some of the insanity in my house, I say, “Bring it on!”

Insane in the Membrane

Today has been one of those days. Actually, this whole week has been one of those weeks. My daughter is driving me out of my mind. She has been since birth. I’m convinced its her life’s purpose and I’m living out my penance for some long-forgotten wrong-doing.

A month or two ago, my family was hanging at my brother’s house with his family and we were discussing my daughter. My brother was talking about how he felt lucky because his kids were such good babies. Someone made a joke about my daughter and my brother said, “I’m surprised she’s still alive! I’ve never seen a baby like that!” Of course we all laughed because she was, truly, a very difficult, constantly crying, never sleeping baby. And that baby has grown into a very defiant, constantly crying, never sleeping little girl. My brother’s joke, though, made me feel validated. Because sometimes my husband and I can’t believe we made it through the first year of her life.

At the end of May, I saw a headline that caught my eye: Man Arrested For Putting Baby in a Freezer. A sad story, but its not the first of its kind. And the saddest part is that even though I think it was a horrible crime and I would never condone it, I understood what was going on in that man’s head. Maybe just a little. Because parenting a high-needs child can literally drive you mad. Being sleep deprived, grubby from your lack of time to shower, hungry for more than a handful of something out of a box while you walk and rock your baby across the room and then listening to the piercing, shrieking cries of your baby – the never ending, blood pressure-raising cries… it can make you temporarily insane. I know it. I’ve felt it.

I’m still feeling it from time to time. I’m not the only one. My husband came into our room last evening where I was hiding from my children resting and said to me, “can we give her up for adoption?” We weren’t laughing this time. I cried. I can’t cope with my own child and it makes me feel like a failure. I know I’m not a failure, but it still makes me feel like one. On Monday, I am taking Caylie to see a Behavior Specialist. We have been waiting for a year to see this woman. When I approached my pediatrician almost 2 years ago about the behaviors that are making us batty, she sent us to a sleep specialist. (Did I mention my kid still can’t sleep through the night? Yeah, she’ll be 6 this winter.) Then, when that didn’t help, we were referred to a Behavior Specialist who had a year long wait list. I don’t know what this will accomplish, but I pray to God that something changes.

I was reading an article last night about how to teach our defiant children healthy obedience and it just made me depressed. Because everything about parenting requires the parents to be the ones who change all their behaviors in order to get the kind of behaviors they want from their child. I’m exhausted. I just don’t have the energy or even the desire at this point to put my nose to the grindstone and “re-train” my kid in how to behave. Or how to sleep. Or how to control her emotions. Or how to pick up on social cues. Someone save me! Where’s Superman when you need him? I’m going to go dress up like Lois Lane and hang out outside. Hopefully he’ll come fly me away for the weekend. (I’ll take either Henry Cavil or Tom Welling, I’m not that picky.)

My Whole 30 Update

weight loss-1Last Monday, I started the Whole 30 Challenge to try to lose some weight and change my life. Because that’s what the program claims will happen. Well, I’ll give them that. It definitely changed my life. It left me miserable, hungry and feeling bad about myself. I kept a journal, so you can see what I was feeling each day:

Day One:

Black coffee is gross! By 1 p.m. I had a massive headache. I am feeling depressed and more anxious than normal. I had to lie down for a while by 3 p.m. Mike said I was quiet and subdued; he could tell I wasn’t myself. By the end of the night, my hands had tremors.

Day Two:

I’m very sluggish today. My head is still aching, although not quite as bad as yesterday. My muscles are stiff, especially in my neck and upper back and I had a really hard time waking up this morning. I feel like I could have slept all day today. I’m depressed. I couldn’t bring myself to eat the pork tenderloin I made for dinner. The thought of eating it repulsed me.

Day Three:

I’m still tired, but my headache is lessening. I have no interest in doing anything other than reading a book. 2 hours after my dinner, my stomach felt hollow and I was hungry again. Nothing I eat is satisfying.

Day Four:

My headache was gone and I felt like I had some energy this morning. But by dinnertime I had a pounding headache, felt weak and when I tried to eat the dinner I made I almost threw up. The taste of the meat turned my stomach. I could smell the corn tortilla chips I had given to the kids to eat with my mexi-beef dinner and the desire to eat a friggin white-corn tortilla chip was so strong that I had to leave the table. I spent the rest of the night in a funk – depressed because I would rather starve myself than eat the foods I’m allowed to have. The taste of them is unsatisfying and oftentimes unappetizing.

Day Five:

I woke up with a pounding, head-swelling headache. I didn’t have any desire to get out of bed. I was out of spinach for my morning smoothie and the thought of eating eggs made me sick. So I ate oatmeal and spent the rest of the morning feeling guilty for cheating and feeling like a failure. But my headache is gone. The chicken salad I made for lunch turned my stomach and I literally ended up spitting out what I was chewing because it made me sick. Mike came home and told me he couldn’t stand to see me “this way” and announced that we were going out to dinner. I ordered what I was craving, and by the time we were driving home, I was finally feeling more like my old self.

Yep, that’s it. I made it five whole days. Way to go, Tamara, for completing the Whole 5 Challenge! Yay! But really, I learned some things about myself in those five, long, horrible days:

  1. I have a relationship with food in which food brings me comfort. I wasn’t able to get that comfort this week, making me depressed and miserable.
  2. I really, truly dislike black coffee. If I could never have my non-dairy creamer again, I would give up drinking coffee.
  3. Without any kind of sauces or starches on the side, I don’t like meat. Guess I’m a closet vegetarian who hates vegetables. Who knew? I sure didn’t!
  4. I would rather be comfortably overweight and happy than be thinner and miserable.
  5. I need to learn to love myself the way I am.

And there you have it. My Whole 30 update is complete. From here on out, the only thing I will keep doing is avoiding sugar. I’m not going to make myself crazy, but I think I can handle not adding sugar to anything and not eating anything that has corn syrup in it (which I was already doing).

What kind of relationship do you have with food? What do you get out of eating other than nourishment?

The Berserker Tear-Jerker

I think I’m fighting a losing battle with the Whole 30. I’m really hating life right now and I’m only on day five. Twenty-five more days of starvation may help me drop some weight, but I don’t think its worth it. Although, if I give up so soon, I’ll feel like a failure and feel worse about myself. So the million dollar question is: do I feel bad about myself for giving up my super restrictive diet plan, or do I feel bad for the next month because I’m miserable eating food I hate and hungry (because I’d rather not eat than eat food I hate)?

Anyhoo, now that I’m done playing my tiny little violin of pity, let me get back to my Book Blogger Challenge.

Day Five: Recommend a tear-jerker.

I don’t like books that make me cry. I feel like I’ve cried enough in the last two years over things in my own life to last me a long, long time. So I don’t want my escape mechanism of reading to also make me cry. But I have read one whole tear-jerker this year that my book club (when I was still going) was reading. And I would definitely recommend it: “Snow Flower and the Secret Fan” by Lisa See.

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I have a hard time sometimes getting into books about different cultures. Not because I don’t think different cultures are interesting, but because I can’t relate. I get angry when cultural rules or mores abuse people and suppress their natural human rights. I feel thankful that, being a woman, I live in America in the present time.

I didn’t have a hard time getting into Snow Flower and the Secret Fan. Probably because its about women and friendship. I think that topic might just be universal. The book is about two girls from different classes in 19th century China, one lower class, one upper class, who spend their lives building a friendship through the sharing of their emotions and thoughts. They send each other secret communications that they write on a silk fan. They find comfort in each other in a time where being a woman in China (two words: foot binding) had nothing comforting to offer.

The tear-jerker part, other than the misery of their lives, is that the women have a misunderstanding that could potentially destroy their friendship. The woman telling the story is the lower class girl, Lily, and as she is the one who damages this lifelong friendship, you really feel her heartbreak, guilt and regret as well as her love for her friend.

What I got out of it, other than the fierce desire to name a daughter Plum Blossom or Beautiful Moon, is that women need each other. We have these crazy close friendships with other women because they are essential to our emotional well-being. No one will ever truly understand what a woman is going through or has gone through like another woman. No one can prepare you for a life event like a woman who has already experienced it. Women just get what it means to be a woman. And we can support each other emotionally because of that.

Personally, the real tear-jerker part was that Snow Flower, who takes such joy from her children, keeps losing babies. She tries to communicate the anguish and despair, the life-altering sorrow of those losses to Lily, her closest friend, but Lily doesn’t understand. She hasn’t experienced it and she doesn’t know how to comfort Snow Flower. This made me bawl openly. I mean, I was crying tears the way a berserker would fight a battle. I wanted to smack the crap out of Lily because the things she said to Snow Flower to snap her out of this depression were stupid and mean. I wanted to comfort this poor fictional woman who was steeped in despair and self-loathing because I understood what she was feeling. I understand that loss. And it made me relive my own feelings about all of my lost babies. “Cry Me a River” you say, Justin Timberlake? Oh, I did. I most certainly did.

I may just go cry another one.

What’s the last book that made you cry?

A Sugar Withdrawal Coma Killed my Blog Post

Well, I dropped the ball yesterday. This Whole 30 thing is kicking my butt! I’ve spent the last 72 hours going through sugar withdrawal and with the way I felt, I thought for sure I was going to wake up this morning looking like Lindsay Lohan. No luck with that, but that’s cool because I like my botexless lips just the way they are.

Since I missed Day Three of my Book Blogger Challenge yesterday, I’ll do 3 & 4 today.

Day Three: Who are your blogging BFFS?

That would be Mary at Contrary Mom and Levi at LPStribling. Wow, that was too easy to answer. Guess you’re glad I was in a sugar withdrawal coma on my couch yesterday, don’t you? Because now you get to keep reading!

Day Four: What’s the last book you flung across the room?

That would be the final Sookie Stackhouse novel, “Dead Ever After” by Charlaine Harris. Although, I only mentally threw it across the room because I can’t bring myself to damage a book. And it was a library book, so I didn’t want to mess with public property. I did, however, let out an amazingly loud “What?!” and a disgusted snort that echoed throughout my quiet neighborhood (I had the front door open!) before I snapped the book shut and walked away.

I have to warn those of you who still haven’t read the book and plan to that the rest of this blog will be a spoiler alert, so stop now and come back later when you’ve wasted your time finally gotten around to reading it.

This book was the thirteenth book in a series that started in 2001. I had been eagerly awaiting the publishing release date of the last 2 books and would dedicate an entire day on the weekend to just sit down and read the newest book in one sitting. That’s how much I’ve enjoyed them. The twelve book was good, but the story line I was interested in (aka the LOVE stuff) wasn’t too prevalent and I was really hoping that would be what the final book touched on. Instead, what I got was, in my opinion, a half-assed story line that felt forced and rushed so that Ms. Harris could finish out her series and wash her hands of Sookie and her supernatural friends. I’ve spent years and 10, count them, TEN books investing myself in a fictitious romance between two specific characters and instead of getting any kind of closure or happily ever after, what did I get? A wishy-washy, emotionless breakup and a dive right into a new relationship bullshit fest that ended the book with no closure whatsoever. Frankly, the whole thing disgusts me. That book deserved to be thrown across the room! In fact, just reliving the feelings that finishing that book evoked, I feel like I need to go out and check it out of the library again just so I can throw it at a wall.

I may even have to write some fan fiction so I can finish the series the way I wanted it to be finished. The reader is always right, right? Or is that the customer? Either way, if I had actually purchased it, I would be both.