Wednesday, May 22, 2013

How I let go of my son's hand

The forest where my son killed dinos and deer
People are always eager to give advice. For example, "you should feed your child food at 6 months" or "your child should be potty trained by 3 years." You can find advice on every corner, especially in Holland, where it takes a village, the village next door and the village next to that to raise a child.

But there are things that people don't tell you. Important things, like when should you let up on the reins and give your child to the world. The moment you set them free and trust that they come back and in one piece. You know, like letting them walk around the block by themselves or trusting them to play outside alone.

I might sound like an over-protective mama, but this has been very difficult for me to do. You see, when my son was four years old we lost him at the beach for two hours. It was the worst two hours of my life. After the first hour that he was missing, I was already starting to mourn him. His short life was flashing before my eyes. When I finally collapsed in tears onto the sand, I got a call that he had come back to the where we had last seen him.

Ever since, I have kept the leash short, but now he is 5 1/2 years old and I can see him turning into a little boy more and more each day. I can feel the world drawing him into its pull and begging him to come explore. 

Its scary. I'm scared to death. I wanna keep my baby boy safe and hold him close. I know how bad it is out there. I know the world is filled with bad people who would hurt my sweet, sweet boy. I also know, what the world has given me: the adventures, the fun, the memories. Of course, I have crossed paths with bad things and bad people, but I thank god my parents instilled in me the feeling to not be drawn into it. They gave me a safe environment so that I had the confidence to believe in my intuition about people.

But I am not my mom, she knew what to do. Sometimes I have to reassure myself I am a mother of not only one but two human beings on this planet. I still feel like I am seven and these two little ones are just over grown Cabbage Patch dolls that poop and pee and talk.

Yet, this weekend I was forced to face this dilemma. I had to make a choice: do I let go of his hand or do I hold on tight and deprive him of an experience of a lifetime?

I let go. I let him roam the camp ground with a new friend he made while camping on a farm this past weekend. We were with a group of about 30/40 people and tons of kids. Kids running wild, in the big dark forest, in the overgrown pastures, around the old haphazard farm. I could see danger everywhere and I could see strangers everywhere. But I saw my son. I saw the look on his face when he asked if he could roam the fields with his new friend. I saw my baby turning into a boy and I knew it was time to let go. 

I have to admit, the first of the three days I spent wandering around every hour checking to see if he was ok. And every time, I had a heart attack. I wasn't able to find him right away and I visualized the Amber Alert on Facebook. I started listing what he had on that day and where I last saw him. 

The second day I spent half the time worrying and by the third day I had only sent out the Amber Alert maybe 3 times. We were in the car on the way home after the camping weekend and my son started telling me all about his adventures "deer hunting" in the fields and about the "dinosaurs he killed with his spear in the forest". He went on for an hour telling me all about his new friend and the places they discovered, things I would have never known. But most importantly, experiences he would have never had if I hadn't let go of his hand.

I could feel the tears rolling down my cheeks as I remembered holding him in my arms just after he was born and telling him I would never let go. But these weren't sad tears, these were proud tears, not only proud of him but proud of myself. I let go of my baby's hand and he grabbed it back as a little boy.

Friday, May 17, 2013

My 9 advantages to having a preventative mastectomy

I have to admit, my doctor has been asking me for years to please consider the BRCA1 mutant gene testing. You know,  the test Angelina Jolie took to find out she was at high risk for breast and ovarian cancer which led to her preventive mastectomy.

I have given him every excuse why I should not to do it and as a compromise I agreed to go to the "booby doctor" every six months for a check. But of course, between the potty training, sleepless nights, and just trying to survive as a mom thousands of miles away from my family, I have neglected to go every six months. And, matter of fact, after getting stuck in the Mammography machine last time, I have even avoided the yearly breast squeeze this year.

Terrible. Irresponsible. Selfish. Yes, I know. Plus, I have two small kids, why would I be so stupid?

To be honest, like everything else that has anything to do with ME, it’s always on the back burner. So when Angie came out that she got rid of her girls and got a newer and safer model, I decided to really think about making the appointment.

But what was holding me back? I think my biggest reason for avoiding the test is the what "if's".  I forced myself to face the issue: What action would I take if the test was positive? Well, I would do whatever it would take to make sure my babies have a mama to raise them.

To help psyche myself up, I came up with 9 advantages if I am a mutant and decide to follow in Angelina's footsteps and get the preventative chop-chop!

1. A new rack - After two kids and breastfeeding for what felt like 10 years, the girls have decided to migrate south. And when they aren't south around my knees, at night they travel so far east and west I can hardly sleep. So a new rack would be awesome! I could pick my size, they would always be perky!  Of course, I would miss Trusty and Lucy, but at least I would be healthy.

2. No more bra's -Along with a new rack comes no more over-the-shoulder-boulder-holders! I could wear backless shirts and enter wet T-shirt contests during Spring Break! And get on Girls Gone Wild!!

3. Run Baywatch Babe, Run- I could run up and down the beach Baywatch style and not worry about getting a black eye.

4. No more Mammograms - This is probably not true, but how would they squish my new plastic triple D's in that horrible machine. They would burst right? Anyway, a girl who has actually had a boob stuck in pancake mode during a mammography can dream!

5. No more feeling myself up- This is also probably wishful thinking. But I love the thought of not having to worry to remember to check myself. I’m the mama who forgets to brush her hair most days and my kids names on a good day.

6. No more sore breasts - I know the surgery would be hell and the reconstruction even worse but once I’m healed that’s hopefully it. No more monthly soreness. Shit! Would have to think of new excuse to keep Baby Daddy off!

7. Bikini top for humans - I will be able to finally wear a bikini top that doesn’t have enough metal to build a life-size robot. Plus, I could wear tops in normal shapes like little triangles instead of an oversized watermelon.

8. I will be in control – For the first time since my bosom blossomed and the fear of me of inheriting the breast cancer that took my great grandmother, has attacked my grandmother several times, has threatened my cousin who fought and won and my aunt who is on her way to winning now was instilled in me, I will be able to control my fear of that dreaded diagnosis. Of course there would still be a small chance, but the relief of not ever knowing would be gone.

9. I will be around for my kids - This is the most important. Even if I’m not able to get a pair of “new girls” and reap these benefits, I would do anything for my kids. People often say they would give their right arm for this or that. Well I would give my right breast or left or both for my kids. Besides, who would embarrass them the way I would running across the playground Baywatch style in my triangle top string bikini to pick them up after school.

Ok, I’m making the call now.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Baby Daddy finally gets it!

For five years, Baby Daddy has been coming home from work or wherever to share his life changing conversations about parenting he has had with other parents. And every time, he comes home with this "brilliant" advice from these way-better-parents-than -we-are highlighting how much we have failed with our own offspring. Each time, I count to 10, breath deeply and patiently listen.

Then I respond in my very annoyed, somewhat defensive voice, "But honey, every child is different and it's just a phase."

You see, as women are more perceptive than men, I learned this awful truth some time ago and have been free ever since. The only problem was I could never convince Baby Daddy that these people were full of shit and their kids would probably end up in Juevy by age nine.

Now don't get me wrong, our kids are far from perfect. My son has inherited his Dad's laziness (He shits in the tub at 5) and my daughter can be as bitchy as her mother (she has no friends at daycare). But in general, they are sweet kids who go through all the same phases as any other child.

Yet, according to the "expert parents" that Baby Daddy comes in contact with, our children are little terrorists and we are in desperate need of a Super Nanny intervention.

However, last night Baby Daddy came home after a work "drink" and gave me a shock of a lifetime.
He sat down beside me like he normally does when he wants to regurgitate something he has learned from Holland's Best Parent. I began to sweat, nervous and somehow knew this was going to be some serious business.

He sighed and leaned over and said, "Baby, parents lie about their kids". 

WTF? Did he really say this I wondered. I pinched myself on the leg. Ouch, yes he really said it.

I was getting excited at his revelation, but I could feel the disappointment in his voice. He began to shake his head and seemed to be replaying all those conversations we had about the best advice that never worked with our own kids. 

Then he lifted his head and I could see the relief in his eyes when he realized he wasn't a failure after all.

Finally, Baby Daddy got it! Amen! My suffering was over! He was free!

"Lies, it was all lies. Their kids have problems, too."

"Yes, sweetie, all kids have issues, it's all part of learning."

"Why," he asked me, "why do they lie about their kids?"

So I gave him a big hug and looked into his eyes and said, "Because Sweety, they didn't have amazing parents like us to teach them that every time they tell a lie, a blue strip appears on their forehead."

Thursday, May 2, 2013

My last Queen's Day before I die

Ok, maybe I might make it 30 more years when King W hands over his crown to Amalia, but I will be too busy travelling on my yacht around the world after retirement to worry about Queen's Day! Anyway, it was my 10th and quietest...all the peasants were home watching the crowning except me who sold homemade sandwiches in Vondelpark. Im on my Momcation right now in Spain and internet sucks so I can't caption pics until I return to reality next week!! So till then, Long Live the King!

The new King and Queen were even honored on cookie tins

Here you have some orange sprinkled royal mystery meat

Here is the Dutch diet staple: Royal potatos

The royal Coke Colas!

Even the balony grew in the shape of a royal crown

Here are my Dutchlings shopping in Vondelpark

This family danced and belly danced for their coins in Vondelpark

I gave these future break dancers 2 euros for their show. Amazing talent!

Unfortunate for us, this prodigy was just across from our sandwich stand

Here is Babby Daddy making homemade sanwiches and selling one to the King

Here are the Dutchlings trying to sell in Vondel park