Archive | October, 2010

Everybody Toots: Part 1

29 Oct

I cannot promise the laughter of yesterday or the same level of ickiness. But I can assure you that by the end of this post, my husband will be embarrassed. Sorry babe.

Day Two of parent/teacher conferences I show up to the school right around 4pm. Today it’s just Tricia (Amanda’s mom) who was there to witness what happened. Thankfully Tricia also has an almost 4 yo little girl, Amanda, and gets that kids say, well, whatever is on their mind. So we’re standing there chatting and Ava farts.

On a side note…when your kid farts in public, which is often, it’s embarrassing. I know it’s a normal bodily function but still they don’t do the silent ones…they are loud and command attention. So she farts and starts laughing hysterically and says, “I farted!”

Me: Ava, what do you say?
Ava: Excuse me.
Me: Thank you.
Ava: (to Tricia) My daddy likes to fart. He farts alot. He farts in my bed!
Me: Ummm….well, he doesn’t really fart in your bed Ava. He just says it when you’re taking too long to get into bed so you’ll hurry up.
Amanda: My daddy likes to fart too!

Thankfully at this point Tricia is laughing. I’m embarrassed…what kind of parents tell their kid they are going to fart in their bed if they don’t hurry up and get into it? So now, not only does my kid play with her poop, invite friends to play with her poop, but she also has parents who threaten to fart in her bed as a motivation. If anyone is giving out parent of the year awards, I’ll be the mom who’s hiding her face in her hands giggling…because….well…frankly…in our house the majority rules that farting is funny.

(And for all you gasping about it being funny…it is…but it’s also something we try to teach her she should excuse herself for…we do believe in manners most days)

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Everybody Poops: Part 2

28 Oct

Last Thursday and Friday were parent/teacher conferences at Ava’s school. This means the school closes at 4pm on both days. Since Mike was on jury duty I was on pickup duty. Thursday afternoon I show up to her school at 3:55. I walk in the class and Ava is in the restroom. So I wait…all the other parents are waiting too. And I wait some more. Finally I ask her teacher, is she going #2? The teacher says she is and that she’s been in there awhile. Shortly after that I hear some giggles coming from the bathroom. I should note that there are 2 toilets in restroom but no individual stalls. The giggles were cause for concern. I peek in the restroom and see Ava and Myoko washing their hands and laughing hysterically. So…..

Me: What’s so funny girls?
Ava: We were playing with my poop! (giggles uncontrollably from both girls)
Me: Huh? What do you mean you were playing with your poop?
Ava: It was floating in the potty so we picked it up and it broke in half. (more uncontrollable giggles)
Me: Ava, please tell me you aren’t serious!!!! Please tell me you’re joking. What did you do???? (frantically)
Ava: I took half of it and she took half of it and we squished it between our fingers! (more uncontrollable giggles)
Me: Oh my God. Oh my God! OH MY GOD!

I grab her teacher and tell her what happened as all the other parents look on. They are kind of laughing. I’m just really grossed out. We scrub both girls hands, change their shirts (just in case), pour some more hand sanitizer on their hands…wash them again. I’m mortified at this point. This is just awesome. I’m sure the other parents will forever describe me as the mom of the kid who plays with her own shit. I really wish this story ended there.

So we’re walking out the door and Ava is still laughing so hard. I’m telling her it’s not funny…that playing with poop is gross. And then…the bomb:  

Ava: And then we ate it Mom! (fit of giggles)
Me: YOU WHAT?????? Please tell me you’re lying!!!!!
Ava: What’s lying?
Me: AVA….DID YOU REALLY EAT YOUR POOP???? (shocked I’m even asking this question)
Ava: Yes!!!!
Me: OMG…OMG….OMG…what do I do? OMG.

So I call the one person who will find this hilarious…Auntie Heather. And I’m right…now she’s on the phone in a fit of giggles. I tell her, “SHE ATE HER POOP!!! Is that even safe? Should I take her to the ER?” Ava’s in the backseat hysterically laughing…Heather is on the other end of the phone hysterically laughing….then I’m hysterically laughing. Heather says, “Ask her what it tasted like.” At first I’m like, “Huh…why would I do that?” And then it hits me…duh…because she’s probably lying.

Me: Ava, what did your poop taste like (I cannot believe I have asked my child this question)
Ava: It tasted like chocolate!

Whew! She finally admitted that she didn’t eat it. But man…I was dying you guys. What the hell? Has anyone else’s kid ever purposely played with their own poop? I’m a little mortified.

Tomorrow I will give you the story of how pickup went on Friday. My child…I just don’t know about that kid sometimes.

It Gets Better

21 Oct

All of these teens recently committing suicide over bullying just breaks my heart. It really does. We teach kids not to be violent, but I wonder are we also teaching them not to stand up for themselves? I don’t know…I just can’t wrap my head around kids believing that the only way for things to get better is by taking their own life instead of confronting their bullies or seeking help from someone…anyone. I don’t believe in violence…I don’t believe in teaching violence but I recieved some great advice from a preschool teacher.

Ava goes to preschool and there was a period where she was getting hit by other children. It happens. I know this. They are young and not quite skilled in expressing emotions. I once saw her get hit by another child…she sat there and took it. And the child hit her again. She took it again. This bothered me. In my head I was saying, “Hit her back…don’t let her beat on you and bully you.” This incident did not happen at school. So the  next day at school I asked her teacher, “How do I teach her that it’s not okay to hit, but that she shouldn’t allow herself to be hit. What do I teach her to do when she is being hit.” Her teacher said, “I teach the children that they have every right to defend themselves. That if another child comes into their personal space with intent to hurt that they should protect their space and push the child away.” I thought this was good advice. Of course I don’t want Ava to be violent, but I also don’t want her to be afraid to stand up for herself. She has every right to protect and defend herself and I hope as she grows older she practices that more than she does now.

But back to what I was saying…there’s this campaign going on about “It Gets Better” and it does. I think that as you get out of high school and college you realize that this is a big world and there are plenty of people out there who can relate to you…to your individuality and who will accept you exactly as you are. But in life, there are bullies, whether you’re a teenager or adult. There are people out there who just aren’t kind…who find joy in being narrow-minded and judgemental. And it really is sad. So the advice I have for teens is that it does get better…not so much because people change, but because you change. You become okay with who you are…you accept yourself…you love yourself and you worry less about people who have too much time on their hands and too much hatred in their hearts.

I Tri!

19 Oct

I’m a triathlete. Yup…that’s right…I did it! I’m sure some of you remember my Vineman post about my friend, JP, who inspired me to sign up for my first triathlon. He also was my coach and a damn good coach at that. He spent alot of time correcting my swim technique and trying to get me over my fear of swimming in the ocean. I’m terrified of sharks and the fact that I was going to look exactly like a seal in the ocean, well yeah, that didn’t help calm my nerves. I’d just like to share my experience and hope that I can inspire just one person to maybe give it a try.

The day started at 4:30 a.m. Up to get dressed, eat and get over to transition to get everything set up. It was cold and rainy. I get into transition and got an excellent spot to rack my bike and set up. Little did I know that when I’d return from my swim, some lady would have decided she liked my spot too and made it hers…literally. She moved all my stuff, including my bike over so she could have my spot. Pretty shitty in the world of triathlons. I did have the urge to move her bike to a completely different area just to mess with her, but didn’t. Here’s a shot of transition.

After leaving transition, Heather and I slipped into our wetsuits. Okay…slipped may be an exaggeration. It really should be illegal for me to attempt to get into a wetsuit in public. I’m dead serious when I say JP had to, literally, put my butt into the wetsuit. And people were watching. A bit humiliating. Once we are all wetsuited up we went over to the water and got in for a minute. Here we are coming out of the water.

Now it’s time to get with our wave group. I was doing fine until this point. They started playing the Star Spangled Banner and I got all emotional. It hit me that I could get injured doing this. Things could go wrong. I started to feel a little anxious about the water. And then I’m standing with a bunch of people I don’t know and Heather finds me again…instantly comforted. I almost started crying with relief. I felt a little alone for a moment and just seeing her, Annette and Liz made me feel so much better. And then it was time for high-fives and good-byes. It was RACE TIME! Here I am (far right, still standing) getting in the water. Orange is definitely my color. No?

The first four minutes of my swim I panicked like kid who just saw Jaws for the first time and was thrown in the ocean. It was the only time during the whole race that I actually considered quitting. I was that scared. It started okay and then I saw the kelp on the ocean floor. Not cool. It was dark, rainy, dreary and I’m in the ocean with kelp where bad things MUST live. I alternated between swimming and flipping over on my back to collect myself and calm down. Finally I gave myself a little pep talk. I said, “Damnit Janice…you didn’t train this hard to wimp out in the water…flip over and just count.” And so I did. I rocked the rest of that 1/2 mile swim and was so happy to get out of the water!

Transition 1 went smoothly and I was out on the bike. I was on a hybrid bike which is essentially a different version of a mountain bike. It was heavy. I was working my butt off and getting passed by all these people. I got frustrated because I knew how hard I was working and I just felt like the tortoise. Super slow and heavy. We did two loops around Fiesta Island. I was so done at about mile 10 where I gave myself another pep talk out loud. I even cursed at myself. I’m crazy good at kicking myself into shape. And then I hear “On your left” and I’m thinking, “That’s awesome. They just heard me go nuts on myself.”

I jumped off the bike, racked it and headed out for my run. Ahhhh running…my favorite part!!!! Until I get the dreaded side stitch which about killed me during Surf Cities Half Marathon. Of course…not even a mile in I get it. Not much to do but keep running. Which I did. I kept reminding myself, it’s only 3 miles…you can run 3 miles. This is a short run. Coming around the last turn I find some extra energy and pick up the pace for that last 1/2 mile or so.

Crossing that finish line felt super sweet. It was a really great experience being out there with so many women…some of them cancer patients and cancer survivors. I really loved the competitiveness of the women out there and the encouragement along the way. Another really awesome thing was Mike and JP were at every part along the way. When I got out of the water, when I got on the bike, off the bike starting the run, finishing the run…it’s amazing how hearing your name and knowing people are watching will give you that extra boost of energy. And I just want to say if you are ever a spectator of any race, we racers love hearing the cheers…whether they are for us or not. It’s nice to hear people cheering. It changes the vibe and energy of the race.  

I cannot express my gratitude to JP for the hours he spent whipping me into shape physically and mentally. He was there every step of the way and he believed in me. He believed that I wouldn’t wimp out in the water and I didn’t. And to Heather who inspired me a few years back to run that Skirt Chaser 5k and then a 10k and then a half marathon and then a triathlon. What will she encourage me to do next? And my wonderful, super awesome husband who has been there every step of the way. The man who cooked dinner so I could train longer. The man woke up at 4 in the morning to drive 2 hours to see me race. The man who didn’t bitch about my alarm going off on a Saturday morning to go biking. He’s been nothing but supportive and encouraging.

I have to say, I was overwhelmed with all the support that was shown to me throughout my training and up to race day…from my parents watching Ava to all of the wonderful Facebook posts, messages and comments. Seriously…I feel humbled and extremely blessed. I’m reminded again how lucky I am to have the people I have in my life.

DISTANCES: 1/2 Mile Swim, 20k Bike, 5k Run
OFFICIAL TIME: 1 hour, 42 minutes, 24 seconds

How Could You?

13 Oct

This homicide investigation of Zahra Baker has gotten me wound up tight. If you haven’t read the story it’s disturbing and sad. She was a 10-year-old little girl who had already been through so much. Bone cancer took her leg and her hearing. And now, it’s believed her stepmother took her life. Sick, crazy people are nothing new. I don’t understand them as I’m not mentally at their level. I can’t comprehend hurting a child but I also am of sound mind and healthy.

I’ve pulled a piece of an interview with a relative of Zahra…

Brittany Bentley, a relative of Zahra’s, said Tuesday the girl “was beat almost every time I was over there for just the smallest things” by her stepmother.

“Elisa would get mad, she would take it out on Zahra, things the kid didn’t deserve,” Bentley said on CBS’ “Early Show.” “She just had a horrible home life.”

Bentley, who is married to Elisa Baker’s nephew, said Zahra was locked in her room most of the day and only allowed out for five minutes to eat.

“I just think this was something for a long time that we knew was going to happen, everybody that was close to the family,” Bentley said, apparently referring to Zahra’s disappearance.

Now…here is where I have a huge problem. Her relative, Brittany, said the little girl was beat almost “every time I was there” and the stepmom would do “things the kid didn’t deserve.” And goes on to say, “I just think this was something for a long time that we knew was going to happen.” What is wrong with this girl? How could you let this happen? How could any of you, who have stepped up for your 5 minutes of fame, let this happen to this child? Shame on all of you. You could have prevented her death by speaking up for her, by calling the right people and fighting for her to have a better life. Not only did this little girl not deserve what her stepmom did, she didn’t deserve to not have anyone give enough of a shit about her to stop it. Brittany publicly admits to knowing this little girl’s life would probably end but yet didn’t stop it.

My point is this…if any of you feel that a child might be being abused sexually, physically or emotionally, help them. Please. These children have no idea how to stop it or help themselves. Reporting child abuse is completely anonymous if you want it to be. Nobody will ever know you did it and you just might save a life. Speak up and stop the cycle of abuse.

Conversations With Ava: Part 3,972

12 Oct

Conversation #1 – I’m on the phone
Me: That is so stupid!
Ava: Oh Mom…you said a bad word.
Me: I know. I’m sorry. Mommy shouldn’t have said that word.
Ava: It’s okay Mom. Santa’s in the North Pole, he didn’t hear you.

Conversation #2 – Practicing baseball with Ava. She keeps missing the ball.
Me: Ava, you need to try to keep your eye on the ball honey.
(She swings and misses a few more times and then…)
Ava: You need to try to keep your eye on the bat mommy.

Conversation #3 – Bathtime
Ava: Mom, will you get in the bath with me.
Me: I don’t really feel like taking a bath.
Ava: But it’s nice and cozy in here momma.
Me: Okay…fine. (I get into the bath)
Ava: Don’t worry, I just peed in my spot mom, not in your spot, okay?

My Best Friend is a Triathlete and Also a Breast Cancer Survivor

11 Oct

In honor of breast cancer awareness month, I’d like to share my best friend’s story because:

A) She’s amazing
B) She kicked cancer’s ass
C) She was only 31 when she discovered the lump and
D) She started a super awesome company for all cancer survivors

Ladies, I can’t say it enough…check yourself before you wreck yourself. And now…it’s time for you to meet Heather, founder of Also A Survivor.

Heather’s Story

I never thought of myself as an athlete, but I was always active.  I was never into any sports.  I was in dance from age 2 until age 16, but that was it. I worked in gyms in college. I was in to any kind of aerobic class I could get in to, sometimes 2 to 3 a day.  At age 31, I had a great life. Happily married, good job, just bought my first house; I was enjoying life in everyway.  Like many women, I found my lump in the shower.  It was on the upper inside of my chest so I wasn’t concerned, although it was quite large and seemed to appear overnight.  A week later I had my annual well women’s exam. I had no risk factors but my doctor still ordered a mammogram and ultrasound; both were inconclusive.  Still wanting a diagnosis, it was decided that I should have either a needle biopsy or a lumpectomy.  Given its size, I choose the lumpectomy.  I remember sitting in his office the day the lab results came back.  The doctor came in and said with the most amazingly straight face, “it is cancer.”  He quickly moved from chemotherapy, to radiation, to a mastectomy.   I was numb.  The doctor paused for a second and the tears started, and the conversation was over.  I was not prepared for this discussion let alone the decisions I was being asked to consider.  As one wades through all of the information on-line, learning about the disease the possible courses of action are more than overwhelming.   When I was ready to move forward, I found a wonderful oncology group: great surgeons, specialists, and support; truly a great place. I felt they were honestly concerned with my life.  I had a second lumpectomy to clear the tumor margins.  I also had a sentinel node dissection to determine if the cancer had spread to my lymph nodes (which it had not), and to have a port inserted in my chest for chemotherapy.  I had great results from these procedures.

I would not say that I am “girly,” but like most women, I have always been concerned with how I look, and I now had one breast that was smaller than the other and was about to start chemo treatments that were guaranteed to make all of my hair fall out; I was dreading this.  My husband is very athletic, and he thought that I should do some “pre-game” before chemo.  He thought that I should beat it to the punch and shave my head.  Although I did not buy in to this idea at first, it became my first opportunity to show this disease that I was in charge and I was not going down without a fight.  It was a great evening, our friends came over, my husband got out his clippers (he shaves his head), and did the honors.  I remember feeling empowered and ready to take on Cancer.  All of my girlfriends were crying and I was smiling.

I went through 8 rounds of chemotherapy and 8 weeks of radiation.  I was lucky with chemo.  I had some nausea two to three days after treatment and then I was just tired.  As the rounds went on, things got worse, but never terrible.  Through all of the treatment, I tried to keep my life as normal as possible; aerobics classes and working with a personal trainer.  I missed a few days, but made it to more than I missed.  I spent the first two years after treatment getting my strength and stamina back. This is also the time when “survivorship” begins.  During this time, I considered what my role in the “fight” against cancer was. I began to think about not just showing the world that I was beating this disease, but seeing what I was actually physically capable of.  A year and a half after my first surgery and treatments, I put on my best pink gear and with the support of two of my dearest friends, walked a half marathon. This was an amazing experience: the achievement, the camaraderie, and the joy.  Later that year, I found a new lump.  It turned out to be a fibroid cyst, but the scare was more than I could take.  I spent a lot of time thinking about “what if?” So, I decided to have some genetic testing done to try and ease my mind; fat chance.  I tested positive for the BRACA 1 gene.  This basically meant that I had a 60% chance that either the breast cancer would return and I could eventually get ovarian cancer.  Again, I had choices. Do I wait to see what fate would bring, or do I take an aggressive approach to beating this disease. Do I want to have children? This was that moment.  My husband and I had discussed children before, and prior to my initial diagnosis we were actually considering the possibility. After much discussion in a very short period of time we choose for me to have a double mastectomy with TRAM Flap reconstruction for the breast cancer, a complete hysterectomy and oopherectomy for the ovarian cancer.  It was a 13-hour procedure and 6 week recovery period just to be able to walk around pain free.  It was nearly two years before I was back to my “new” self, and I wasted no time.  I walked two half marathons that year. I also decided to start competing in triathlons. My husband, although skeptical at first, was very supportive of me and helped me through the simple stuff; you know how to ride a bike, run efficiently, stuff like that. I completed my first triathlon that same year. The following year I ran the entire 13.1 miles of a half marathon and have since competed in 9 triathlons.  I am also happy to say that after helping me through my first triathlon experiences, my husband has also taken up the sport.  He competed in his first Ironman distance race in July 2010; I could not be prouder.

With this new level of fitness and good nutrition, I feel better than I ever have.  The commitment that it takes to train and participate in these events has definitely had a positive affect on my life.  I cannot say that I have become competitive; I still do not try and “beat” anyone, but I do strive to improve upon what I have already achieved.  Get a little faster from race to race and encourage even more women to achieve all that they can.  In October of 2009, I had one of my knees scoped so that I can continue to be out there racing.  I have 4 tri’s and 2 half marathons scheduled for 2010.  With the support of all of my friends and family – I can never say it enough – I could not have done or continue to do any of this without all of you, I look forward to seeing you all out there.

Also A Survivor,                                          

Heather Pawinski