ARGH! SCHOOL!

1) Today in my Gender Studies class we are going to be discussing “Sexuality, Reproductive Rights, Contraception, and Abortion”. Oh lookie there, hot topics for me! Lets hope I can keep my yap shut. So far this class hasn’t gotten heated and everyone has been respectful but hot damn, reproductive rights, contraception, and abortion are all REALLY big soap box areas for me.

2) Have I mentioned I can’t get a grip on this semester to save my soul? Because I can’t. Everything feels like it’s piling up. For example: I have a mid-term today that I am not prepared for. I have a tabling event for my Service Learning on campus on Friday, and a card writing on Saturday (both of which I am taking The Boy to). I have a 6-8 page paper due next Monday that I haven’t even started on. I have my second psych exam that day between classes. I have a paper due next Thursday with my group for psychology…and I loathe one of the members so much that I don’t even want to do the work.

3) I think I mentioned that The Boy had ear surgery on the 22nd. The surgery went fine, although recovery was a bitch. I sobbed so hard that Aaron asked if I needed to leave the room! And all was fine…except that his left ear was leaking a LOT A LOT. Enough so that I had to call the doc and first they said it was fine, and a few days later they decided that no, it was not fine and now we have to put drops in his ears because apparently they suspect an ear infection. I think he has an appt this week to confirm but sonofabitch, I suspect that the patch failed. *sigh*

4) I am loving these microblog things. I realize this is probably longer than intended, but it’s getting me back here periodically…which can be nothing but good for me!

I’m not dead yet!

1) Mel is doing Microblog Mondays, so I’m hoping this will get me back into writing.
2) Cole is having a surgical procedure on his ears today because the holes from his tubes being taken out are not healing after 5 months. Please send us happy thoughts.
3) I’ve started drinking again. I know, I know. Not heavy, but when you start at zero, there’s only one way to go. Not that I’m stressed or anything…
4) I am in my final semester at school – YAY! I am taking 4 classes, two of which have service learning that is going to total 25 hours, and an internship at Cole’s preschool where I have to work for 45 hours.
5) One of my classes says that writing helps relieve stress. I know this is the case because I look back at how often I used to post when I was trying to get pregnant and going to school the first time and hot damn was I an angry mess. That’s part of why I don’t write anymore – I feel like all I do is bitch about things. I’ve even stepped away from 3/4 of my social media over the summer. Just can’t handle it.
6) If you’re reading this, thank you for sticking around. Thank you for checking in on me still or leaving me on your reader. I appreciate it!

Want to see who else is posting in Microblog Monday? Look here for today’s!

Is he or isn’t he?

A friend on FB posted this morning that her son, who is 7, got an ear infection last night and his eardrum ruptured. A few comment in, she posted “Pray for no permanent hearing loss” and I…well, I nearly became “that parent”. The one who says “You know, that’s not the worst that can happen. Permanent hearing loss is not a huge thing, in the scheme of things. Your kid is 7. His speech is fairly established. Getting a hearing aid is a fairly easy process and kids don’t mind them nearly as much as adults do.” Except I didn’t, because that would be callous of me and completely unfair.

It does, however, make me feel like I’m in a weird camp. Should The Boy’s hearing loss be a bigger deal than it is right now? Sure, it’s come with its fair share of struggles, like learning to talk and eating. It’s put him a bit behind the curve in some spots but he’s way ahead in others. Aaron says I panicked a lot in the initial diagnoses, but that’s sorta what I do – I panic, I fall apart, and then I pull myself together and figure out what we’re going to do about it. So no, it’s by far not the worst. There’s hearing loss but he’s not profoundly deaf…and if he was, well, we’d sort that out too. I took ASL classes the semester after we found out and he got his hearing aid, because I thought it might be needed. At that point he was becoming more verbal but he still wasn’t clear enough that others could understand him and he was so young that expressing himself was an issue too. Hell, he’s 3(!) now and we’re still working on articulation and how to express oneself.

So is The Boy a special needs kid or not? I have services for him – Idaho Educational Services for the Deaf and Blind, for starters, plus he’s in a language pre-school run by his speech therapist. He gets 30 minutes of dedicated, one-on-one speech therapy twice a week at the school, working on articulation. He’s also 10 months behind on average, according to the assessment I do about every 6 months with IESDB. He was 37 months at the last one and his age score for language comprehension is 27 months. He’s been 10 months behind the entire time. Granted, the number of areas in which he is behind have shrunk but he’s STILL behind by nearly a year. So special needs? Except that you can’t tell by looking at him, unless you can see his ear, that there’s anything different about him at all. I could probably not use IESDB at all, but I prefer to have them just in case. During the summer it lets him be exposed to other kids that are just like him…which puts us back in the first camp.

I am in no way upset that he might be – it’s just a label, after all – but it is yet another identity struggle for me. Do I try to jump into the special needs kids community? I can’t really identify with most of the parents other than “yeah it’s a struggle” but in all honesty, beyond that I have no experience and would only succeed in making an ass out of myself. Do I insist that he is not a special needs kid? That just makes me look like a judgmental ass. Where do we fit?

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Eventful times

The other day, I noticed water under the mat at my computer desk. I thought “that’s an odd place for water, just under my mat. How did it get THERE?” Aaron checked it before we went to bed Tuesday night because…yeah, odd. I didn’t see any water AROUND the desk, my water glass hadn’t tipped over, there was no water ON the mat…but there was enough under it to soak right through a towel and it STUNK. He discovered that the water went back, back under the desk, all the way to the wall. Dad came up on Wednesday for a test and he investigated too and…yup. There was none in the crawl space, the floorboards under the house weren’t wet, but the carpet was SOAKED.

We called up our insurance agent, who happens to be one of our really good friends (and if anyone needs an agent, even one non-local, let me know!) and said “um, dude, water and we don’t know where from or what to do and HALP!!” That was around 11:30 on Wednesday. Around 11:45, he called us back and said “call this guy – he’s who I’ve worked with in the past on stuff like this and he can tell you where it’s coming from and what we do”. We did, left a message, and he called around 1:00, came over at 2:30, and discovered that the drain pipe that goes from the sink down under the house had broken in the wall. All that water that had been going down the drain from the sink and the dishwasher, with all the food and pardon me while I GAG!, had been going into the floor and THAT’S where the water in the carpet was coming from. One side of the computer desk was molded and so is one edge of the entertainment center. We’re damn lucky it didn’t fry out the electrical equipment or the wall outlet that sits RIGHT THERE. Anyways, he called our agent back, who called the adjuster, who called US at 7:00 last night. He apparently trusts the restoration guy wholeheartedly and said if Brandon said to move on it, go ahead and they would cover it. Brandon called us at 7:15 and said “Do you want me to start tonight?” I mean seriously, that’s fast work! We had them come this morning because we still needed to move the furniture and stuff. Apparently if WE move it, we get money off our deductible. We won’t know yet what they’re going to do with the furniture because the adjuster has to come look at it and he’s in Colorado for a meeting.

Anyways, the guys came this morning to get started on it. They showed up around 9:30 and left around 4:30. They tried to pull up the carpet but ended up having to cut it to get it up, so we get new carpet. Yay, because light colored carpet + toddler do NOT mix. We put it in, but we didn’t have a child at that point and didn’t think we were going to get to have one, so it didn’t matter. New carpet, the wall has been torn out between back room and kitchen – it was paneling and rotten/molded, so we get to have drywall put up and have it painted. The kitchen cabinets had to be removed, along with the sink and the countertop. Those all came out fine, so they aren’t being replaced (drat! sorta). My dad is coming up on Monday to replace the drain line (he’s a plumber by trade, or was before we moved) but we’ll replace the stuff under the sink ourselves once the sink and everything is back into place.

At this point, we are probably looking at a few weeks to get everything put back into place. Hopefully. Maybe sooner but probably not. School? Oh yes, school. THAT starts on Tuesday. My kitchen has had 4 weeks to do this and it’s doing it the week before classes start. I hate this house sometimes. I’ll post pictures later, if I get a chance. I’m working off my laptop right now because my main computer isn’t hooked up, and my laptop doesn’t have dropbox installed on it (I don’t think – too tired to check). I haven’t slept well in a month and shit is hitting the fan and…yeah. The Boy flipped out for a good 30 minutes yesterday because we moved all his toys to the front room and as close as we can figure he thought we were taking them away – he’s not allowed free access to the front room. Only he will be now, because our plans for the summer got stepped up and he’ll be spending his time up here now. Still haven’t figured out what we’re going to do with everything else, but one step at a time. I think. I don’t know. My head hurts. I’m going to bed.

A call for advice

Last semester, the Boy was in daycare four days a week and my MIL watched him one day a week – it was a busy semester, with classes five days a week. Nearing the end of the semester, the Boy did not want to be left at daycare. It was after Thanksgiving break, so that may have played into it, but it was heartbreaking. The last day I left him there I ended up rocking him in a chair for 20 minutes while he clung to my coat with a death grip and sobbed. He would NOT let me put him down, even in a chair at the table while I sat beside him. He actually turned away from Christine, our provider, for the first time EVER. It broke both of our hearts.

There IS a little boy there who has some issues. He and his siblings are foster children and if you know *anything* about the foster system, you know it can be hard on kids. We’ve no idea why they were taken away, not really, and while that doesn’t really matter, it sorta does. It’s hard to deal with issues when you don’t know the root cause. I understand that his issues are not his fault – he’s only 3! – but they play into his behavior towards my son and that’s not good. He hits, he pushes, he screams and cries. The Boy isn’t a fan of loud noises or people up in his face, and that little boy can be really intense. He’s not a bad kid – he’s actually pretty good and I really like him – but he’s attention starved and it shows. The problem is that because he and the Boy are so close in age, the Boy gets the brunt of things, I think. Christine watches closely, and stops the little boy when he is getting intense or out of control, but she can’t watch everything at once, not with 9 kids there. She has an assistant but…well, I don’t really like her or trust her. There were some mishaps last semester that just turned me off of her.

Anyways, all that is background to the current thing: what to do this semester. I plan on taking the Boy back to daycare and hope that it was just end-of-semester stuff and being DONE. I was done, why shouldn’t he be too? No one wants to go back to anything after having a week off! He’s currently slated to go back four days a week, Monday through Thursday. No classes on Fridays – huzzah! (Fridays are bad for the little boy, because Thursdays are the nights he sees his mom. Fridays are just…disastrous.) Husband seems to think that I should have his mom come watch the Boy on Mondays, like I did last semester. It would make her happy and it would save us about $240 for the semester and who can’t use more money? But having his mom watch the Boy is stressful for me. Like really stressful. She has issues with getting up in the morning (it would help if she went to bed at a reasonable time, but she goes to bed at like 4AM). This means that she periodically forgets to set her alarm, or sleeps through it, or is otherwise running late. It stresses me out if I don’t hear from her that she’s on her way by the time it’s 45 minutes before she should be here. (I know that sentence is awkward but my words don’t work again so…yeah.) In other words, if she is supposed to be here at 10:30, I want to hear from her before 9:45 or I start to really stress. If she’s not going to show, I need to get my ass in gear and get the Boy over to daycare with enough time to then drive down to campus and find parking and catch the shuttle and stuff. If it’s not something I was planning on doing it can get REALLY hectic!

And then there’s money. More money for us is good, but our daycare lady also needs to be able to stay in business. Economics! She counts on the money she makes from her daycare to keep her house (where the daycare is located). While it’s not my responsibility to make sure that she can do that, it’s nice to be able to help. I should make my decision soon, so she knows how much she’ll be getting from us. We pay in one lump sum so the money doesn’t get spent, so that’s always nice too. But thinking you’re going to get nearly $900 when you’re only going to be getting $650 or so is not cool. The choice is between MIL and my stress level or daycare and possibly a different stress level. What think y’all? What would you do – have MIL watch him one day a week and hope she shows up every time or just say forget it and put him in daycare and spend an extra $240?

2013 in review

Looks like I’d better do better next year. I know, I’ve sucked. This is the longest I’ve ever been silent. Too much going on and yet not enough.

 

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,100 times in 2013. If it were a cable car, it would take about 18 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

I remember

I was awake half the night with the thoughts for this post running around in my head. I sorta know what triggered it, but I am not sure WHY. So…you get a blog post. Lucky you!

Late last year I started getting random pain in my lower left/center abdomen area. I can’t really pinpoint which organs, since knowing exactly where my organs are is not a strong point for me. Ovaries? Intestines? Stomach? *shrug* Anyways, this pain is a “knock you out of your chair and make you cry” kind of thing. My first thought was cysts bursting…except that I’ve been on BCP for over a year now and I don’t HAVE any cysts because of it. After it struck while I was in philosophy class last year, I went to the doc. I mean, I was white knuckling my desk (I sat in the front row!) and trying not to make a sound. I couldn’t have gotten up and left the room because I couldn’t walk. I was trying to gasp for breath very quietly. Talk about embarrassing! A friend thought it might be diverticulitis, and the doc sent me to get a CT scan of my abdomen to see what they could find. The result was “inflamed lymph nodes around the intestines”. Nothing to be done for it but ride them out, and no idea what’s causing it. I assume it’s the fibro, except that THAT isn’t supposed to cause inflammation. I do, however, have inflammation of some sort running rampant through my body.

Last night it struck again. I haven’t been able to figure out what triggers it. In philosophy class, I think I shifted in my seat. Other times I haven’t even moved when it’s struck. Last night I was laying on the couch, trying to get my back to behave (it’s been spasming for a week now…). I took my hair out of its ponytail…and the pain struck. I laid there, trying very hard to breathe very carefully while pressing down on my abdomen area to try and soothe the spasms. You can visibly SEE the muscles rolling and freaking out – kind of weird to watch, even weirder to feel.

As I lay in bed last night, I got to thinking about the day mom had to go to the ER. It was the day they discovered that she had a tumor, what would be diagnosed a few days later as ovarian cancer. I remember. I remember her getting up from breakfast and going to lay down on her bed. I remember getting up a few minutes later and going in to her, to find her quietly crying on the bed and unable to talk from the pain. I remember directing my father and my grandmother to call 911, gather up all her medications so they’d know what she was taking, while soothing mom and holding her hand. I remember waiting for what seemed like an eternity for the Quick Response Unit to arrive at the house…although it was probably more like 5-10 minutes because it’s a small town and some of the QRU responders lived just down the street from my parents. I don’t remember the ride in, but I remember being there at the hospital. Three days later we were in SLC, having the tumor removed, and found out it was indeed cancerous. I had sent my husband home because he had to work but I didn’t. I spent almost a week in the hospital in SLC with her, before they let her go home. My dad had had to go back home because his mother was visiting from MA and refused to come to SLC. I may never forgive her for that – for putting my father in the position of having to decide between her and his wife. I don’t know what the outcome would have been if I hadn’t been there, but I hate to think my mom would have been in the hospital all by herself. I might never have forgiven HIM if he’d done that.

But the pain – I remember her pain. I remember where her tumor was and it was on the same side my pain is. I know there was nothing there but inflammation 6-8 months ago, but…what if things have changed? I know my risks of getting cancer are fairly high – my mother, her mother, and we think HER mother all had breast cancer. Things just weren’t talked about back then like they are now. My maternal grandmother waited a long time before going to her doc about the lump, and she died 6 weeks after removal because it had spread to her brain. My mother was smarter than that, but she still ended up dying because of cancer. FUCK CANCER! I know my chances are high, but there’s not a whole lot I can do. I get all my checkups annually, just like I should. I watch for abnormalities in my body, but…well, I’ve always had lumpy breasts because of the fibrous tissue. It’s better now that I’ve had the Boy, but they are still there. There’s no way to distinguish between my normal lumps and a cancerous lump – even the doc says so. This ab pain is supposedly inflamed tissue…but what if it’s not? It’s the what if’s that kept me awake. Mom had some abnormal bleeding (she was postmenopausal but having breakthrough bleeding) but nothing else until that Sunday. My cycles started going wonky about a year and a half ago, which is the other reason I was put on BCP. They started going wonky around the time the pain started. Coincidence? Apparently so, since I just have “inflamed lymph nodes”. I don’t know. I don’t want to run to the doc and get a scan every time this strikes, but I don’t want to ignore it either. *sigh*

Displaced

When we were first trying to get pregnant, I suffered what I now know to be a chemical pregnancy. I suspected that I was pregnant because of a few signs (take pity, it was early on before I knew anything!) but the next day there was cramping, worse than normal, and tissue. (TMI, I know, but…just keep reading. It’s not all like this I promise. ) When we got back home from my parents’ house, I jumped online to do some research about miscarriages…which is how I found out about chemical pregnancies. At any rate, during the course of my research, I found the boards at WebMD. These boards would become my home for a year and a half, and I met a lot of friends through there…people that I am STILL in contact with, 7 years later. These are people who understand my worries and fears.

And yet? And yet, I left those boards. I was on the JSO (just starting out) boards for almost a year, helping other people and passing on the information I had learned. By the time a year had rolled around I could no longer stand the “OMG we’ve been trying for 2 months and I’m never going to get pregnant!” and “we’ve been trying for 2 weeks and nothing!” people. I just…couldn’t. Their shiny made me want to slap them. I left and I moved over to the “6 months, still trying” boards. These were women who had been trying longer than I had and who had tons of knowledge. They also had tons of bitterness, which I can understand. Some were doing treatments, some weren’t. I was the latter, because I was refusing to go see an RE. Then I started treatments, and I relied on them for information on that front. We were given a 13% chance of success…and we failed. Meanwhile someone else on the boards who had been given a 3% chance had succeeded…and I couldn’t handle it. I just couldn’t. I left, because I wasn’t going to be doing more treatments and I couldn’t handle all the bitterness and successes.

I actually started this blog while I was on the 6 month boards. It seems so long ago…and it was, really. We’re talking April 2006…and we’d been trying for a year at that point. And by trying, I mean unprotected sex. It wasn’t until I started on the boards that I started tracking information. Here’s the thing, though: I feel as if I never really fit in on any of the boards, or the blogging community, or as a parent. On the JSO boards, I became the person other people turned to for information…which was great, because I like being helpful, but it made me feel really old. I didn’t fit in on the 6+ board because I wasn’t doing treatments and I didn’t have as much information as the other people and I wanted to slap the really really bitter people. Mind not that I am one of the jaded people now, this was then! And then…then I left the boards, because so many of my friends did due to drama, and I lost touch with some of the others, and my blog became my home. It has always been my one safe place – the place no family knows about, the place my RL friends don’t know about, the place where I could just be me. And for the longest time, I was me. I was blogging all the time…and it gradually slowed…and got slower when I wasn’t getting comments, because while I was writing this to get things out of my head, I needed to be heard and if I wasn’t being heard, what was the point in talking? I didn’t fit in in the blogosphere – I wasn’t pregnant, I wasn’t parenting, I wasn’t doing treatments, I wasn’t “technically” infertile because I am fine on paper. When the only person who commented for the longest time was doing so because she was assigned by Mel to my category on the blogroll…I didn’t feel like I fit. Like I was an impostor.

Then, miracle of miracles, we got pregnant somehow. I still blame my mother, but happily. We were an anomaly, one of those infertile couples who got pregnant naturally. Once again, I didn’t fit into the blogosphere. I was an anomaly. I was one of those that infertile/childless-but-not-by-choice couples alternately hate and love. I spent my time talking on FB, to mixed comments. Supportive from my IF friends, “you worry too much” from those who are blissfully unaware of all the things that can and do go wrong. That includes my RL friends, mind you, who have known me for at least a decade at this point, people who should have known better. I’ve never been quiet about my reproductive status or things I’ve learned, people I’ve met who have experienced things gone wrong. So now I got moved into a different area of the blogosphere, but I still didn’t feel like I fit.

When the Boy was born, he was taken to the NICU. His blood sugars were way way down and he wouldn’t (couldn’t!) eat and they took him to find out why. I knew why, I told them, but it was hours before they figured it out. So now, AHA!, I can identify with NICU parents, yeah? I saw the children in the NICU, children born 4 1/2 months too early, with tubes and wires going every which way. Children in isolettes, whose parents are only able to reach through the arm holes to touch them. This was not my child, this was not my world. We were able to hold the Boy, feed him, touch him. I can see how terrifying it must be to have a child in the NICU. I mean, you know that your child is in good, capable hands that will do what is necessary for your child (hopefully, because I know they don’t always)…but then, your child is in the NICU, which means something is WRONG and that’s scary. Even when it was something small, like the Boy, it’s scary. Recently one of our own in the bloggy world gave birth early. Watching the story unfold made me realize that no, I do not belong in the world that is “NICU parenting”. I’m an impostor in that world too.

Ah, but then! Then we have speech problems, hearing problems, eating problems. I could probably classify as a mild special needs parent, but I don’t WANT to. Admitting that my child needs help is like admitting that I needed help, that I was broken and probably couldn’t do it on my own. Yes, I am getting him help…but just how far do I want to delve into that world? Every time I have a meeting with the lady from the School for the Deaf & Blind, I feel guilty. We’re having a meeting on Tuesday with a sign language mentor and I feel slightly guilty, like I’m trying to take resources away from someone who REALLY needs them. My kid has a hearing aid, but I don’t feel like I belong in the deaf world. My kid is in speech therapy so he can learn how to talk, because he’s not going to do it on his own…but I feel like I’m wasting her time, because he WILL learn eventually (or so I tell myself). I don’t belong, but it’s where I’ve been placed. I’m trying to convince myself that all of this is good for the Boy – IESDB, speech therapy, sign language (which isn’t a given yet) – that I need to do these things because they are best for him…but are they? Would he be better off if I just let him be and let him develop on his own? He learns speech from hearing it around him. He mimics us, the TV, words in a book…but is it because of speech therapy or in spite of it? The hearing aids are a godsend. Those I KNOW work, because his speech has increased quite a bit since he got them. Will learning sign hinder him? I know it doesn’t usually in a “normal” kid, but I’ve a kid who doesn’t talk much – will sign cause him to fall back on that and get lazy with his speech? Will immersing him in the “deaf and hard of hearing” world and introducing him to other kids who are on the hearing/lack of hearing spectrum cause him to feel different? Part of me wants to call off speech therapy…but then I fear that I will be holding him back or will get him taken away for refusing to comply and helping him. That, I think, is one of my biggest fears – that someone will decide I’m not doing ENOUGH and take him away.

As far as eating goes, I’ve several friends (you know who you are!) who have had my back the entire time we’ve been struggling with this child, who have given me idea after idea and listened to me panic without telling me I worry too much or to shut the hell up. Thank you. The eating part has been a lot easier, knowing that there ARE people in my life who understand this and can help. It’s the one area where I don’t feel adrift.

I wish I knew the answers. I feel lost sometimes. Okay, a lot of the time. I feel like I’m spinning. And when I spin, I turn here, to try and get my thoughts down…even if I do ramble.

Smoking

Mel over at Stirrup Queens wrong a PSA on smoking this morning. I started writing a comment but it turned into a novel, so I decided I’d write a post instead.

The PSA is about a guy she was near at Starbucks who was proud of the fact that he’s hid his smoking from his kids. She is sitting a few feet away and can smell the smoke, which means that his kids can definitely smell it. I was writing about my dad and my MIL, and my comment got away from me. This is what I started writing.

I always knew my dad smoked – he smoked in the house and never tried to hide it. Once I learned the dangers in school, I started pestering him to quit. I found pamphlets at doc offices and put them on the table by his chair. I made posters in school that I brought home. I pointed out anti-smoking ads on TV. I begged him to stop.

And he did…when I was 18 and out of the house. He ended up in the hospital for something unrelated, but he couldn’t get out of bed to walk down the hall and go outside to smoke (this was almost 2 decades ago, when you could smoke on hospital grounds). He was there for a week…and when he got out, my mom said “You’ve gone a week without a smoke. I wonder how long you can go?” My dad smoked from age 13 until he was 48. He is now 66 and hasn’t picked the habit back up.

My MIL, on the other hand…she has stopped and started repeatedly. She stopped for about 4 years…until we moved in with them, at their request. I asked her to smoke outside, as I didn’t want to be exposed to it with my asthma. And she did…most of the time. She would tell me ALL of the time, but I could smell it in the air when she tried to be sneaky. Do you know, I couldn’t get pregnant the entire time they lived here? Smoke does the same thing to the cilia on your ovaries as it does to the cilia in your nose. Do you know that 2 years after they moved out I got pregnant with the Boy, completely on “accident”? (We all know that infertility means you are simultaneously trying and not trying after you give up.) Gee, I wonder why that happened? Could it be that all the exposure made it so that the eggs couldn’t actually travel down the tubes, thus preventing me from being able to give her the grandchild she so desperately wanted? And yes, I DID point that out to her while she was here, that her smoking (and that of my FIL, lest you think she was alone in her habit) was damaging both my fallopian tubes AND Aaron’s sperm. That was the only thing that got her outside.

If I’d had my way, I’d have been able to hold to my threat to her…that so long as she smoked, she would never see her grandchild because I don’t want him exposed to smoke. I needed her, though, to help me with the Boy because I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t be alone very much as he got older. I wasn’t prepared, I was crazy, I was sleep deprived, and I didn’t know what I was doing. Then school started and I didn’t want to put him in daycare much, and being with the Boy was good for her, so she babysat once a week in both Fall and Spring semesters. She would go outside to smoke, yes, but that meant she was leaving the Boy inside and unattended, which did NOT make me happy. Even if he was napping, which is not the point. At any rate, I haven’t been able to hold to that threat.

She did quit (again…) just before he was born. Her dad died a few days later and she picked it back up again because of stress. It is totally her crutch. She quit again about a year ago, for a few months. Then FIL got worse and she started back up. He was on oxygen and they were BOTH smoking…volatile to say the least. At Christmas we got them both the e-cigs because we didn’t want them blowing up the house. They were too strong for FIL and MIL said it wasn’t the same, but she was trying. In February or so, FIL managed to set himself on fire because he was smoking in bed and hot ash or something dropped onto the oxygen tube and melted it into his face, burned the sheets and his hand and face. He quit smoking shortly thereafter, only to die in April. MIL had quit but…you guessed it…started back up again. She promised it was only short term (we’ve heard that so many times I’ve lost count) but I highly doubt it. I know she knows the risks, but she seems to not care all that much. She wants to spend all this time with the Boy, but she’s shortening her life with every smoke she takes. She bemoans the fact that the Boy will never get to know FIL…but she’s willing to kill herself slowly and make it so he doesn’t get to spend another 20-30 years with her. It angers me so much I could scream, but I can’t do a damn thing about it.

So people, if you smoke, be honest about it. Don’t hide it. Don’t lie and claim you’re quitting when you aren’t. If you quit, don’t start back up. If you need a crutch (and we all do, in one form or another), pick up something else that is less damaging both to you AND to the people around you. Let you family have you for as long as you can, because when you die it leaves a giant hole that nothing can fill.

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