Tuesday, December 29, 2009

More With the Sad

A couple of posts ago, I wrote about Ron's friend who has terminal cancer. Ron and a group of his friends went to visit this friend this past weekend. All the guys were pretty nervous about it, because none would it, but this was essentially a visit to say goodbye while Bob was still well enough to be at home and have a beer.

The situation with Bob has clearly gotten to Ron. I mean, he's avoided it. Avoided talking about it. Avoided dealing with it. So, I was really proud of him for going to visit Bob because I wasn't sure he would. Although, I was sure he'd regret NOT visiting him. Just like he regrets not checking in on Battle, even though he didn't actually know Battle was dying.

As part of Ron's job, he deals with death all the time (okay, maybe not all the time, but often enough to be pretty much unphased by it), but as one might imagine, it's different when the person dying is someone you know. Someone who used to be your drinking buddy. Someone your age.

Bob had a frank, sidebar conversation with Ron, presumably because he thought Ron could handle--more so than the other friends--the topic of death. Ron said he seems at peace with all but two things: that his nearly-three year old son will forget him and that his wife (who is younger than me) will allow this to define the rest of her life and won't pursue new happiness.

I just can't imagine.

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Monday, December 28, 2009

Made It

One of my fears was going into labor right before Christmas. Because I didn't want to be stuck in the hospital and miss the little dude opening all his gifts. Now that Christmas is over, I suppose anytime is good enough to go into labor, but I'd still prefer to go around my due date, January 12th.

Rolo didn't really start talking about the baby until the last few days. I would mention it, but he never brought it up on his own. But yesterday, we talked about the "new baby" (I'm trying to get out of the habit of saying that--"new baby"--it sounds like a replacement) and then he woke up from his nap later in the day, it was ALL he could talk about. He must have dreamed about the baby because I was getting some story about how the baby gave him a blue animal blanket.

Speaking of which, I have a decide on a present to give Rolo from the baby. Originally, it was going to be this. It's something I still want to get him eventually, but looking around my post-Christmas apartment, I honestly don't know where we'd put it. One of the Christmas presents Ron was most excited to give Rolo was a basketball hoop, which is amazingly large. Like, the box was deceivingly small. Pieces kept on coming out and by the time it was assembled, it took over half the apartment. That combined with a railroad track, an art easel and new desk, and I don't think a mini piano is in the cards right now.

So what to get....

Rolo, however, has a very firm idea about what HE wants to get the baby. He's really into giraffes right now, and saw a "Sophie the Giraffe" on a parenting magazine cover and was all about it. I explained that particular giraffe was a baby toy and then, on a whim, mentioned that we could go to the store one day and he could buy that for the baby. WELL. Since then, every time we go to a store, even the grocery store, he's been about finding the giraffe. Which I haven't found only because I haven't looked very hard. I'd love to think it's super-sweet that Rolo wants so desperately to find this toy for his little brother or sister, but in reality, I think he's using the baby as a cover to buy something HE wants. He ain't no fool.

Rolo, by the way, LOVED Christmas--what kid doesn't? And it's amazing what a bunch of new toys will do to distract one from the TV. Which is wonderful. So we've spent many hours cooking things up in his new tabletop kitchen, working on the alphabet on his new (toddler) computer), drawing Christmas trees on his easel and of course, playing basketball and trains. It's a wonderful time of year.

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Tuesday, December 22, 2009


I can tell you this about this Christmas season: I've realized that nothing may be quite so fun as your kid "getting" Christmas for the first time. Rolo is basking in the glory of all that is holiday-related. His awe and enthusiasm is contagious. Just a couple of months ago, when I spoke of Christmas, he looked at me like I had 3 heads. But now that he sees it--the decorations, nativities--Santa, he gets it.

When he and Ron went to pick out a tree a couple of weeks ago, you would have thought we had won the lottery. There was a Christmas tree. IN HIS HOUSE. To a two year old, that's as good as it gets. Several days later, I put a wreath on the front door in the middle of the afternoon. I had forgotten I had done it until I brought Rolo home from daycare and he about jumped out of his stroller, yelling "LOOK! Mommy, Christmas on our door!"

His head is totally going to explode Christmas morning.

It's charming. I love Christmas time. But, as cliche as this sounds, seeing it through the eyes of a child getting it for the first time is...amazing. People complain about the "terrible two's" and, certainly, two year olds have their moments when you want to chuck them out the window. But honestly, they are so fascinated by everything around them, so open to learning about new things, that two might be my favorite age yet.

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Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Other Things I Can't Imagine

One of Ron's friends is dying. Of cancer. After battling it with some success over the last few years, it's now spread to the point where even experimental treatments aren't worth trying. I can't imagine that. I can't imagine getting to the point where doctors tell you there aren't any options left.

I can't decide if knowing that you're going to die young is more or less cruel than if you were to die suddenly. On one hand you get to plan, say the long goodbye, do the things you want to do. On the other hand, I'm not sure how you resist the urge to curl up into a ball and just give up.

This particular friend spent some years married to a woman none of the other friends like, mostly because she didn't "allow" him to see his friends. And so, for nearly a decade , Ron lost touch with him. Then he divorced, found someone new and decided to remarry. The new wife encouraged him to resume contact with all his friends. Ron was in his wedding. They seem perfectly happy and his wife seems very nice. They had a son some months before we had Rolo.

Then came the cancer diagnosis.

I can't help but think about his wife. She's younger than I and faced with the certainty of becoming a widow soon. How do you deal with that? The burden of having to remain strong for your son's sake? How do you plan for the last Christmas you'll spend as a family?

This is the second of Ron's friends who will pass away in as many years. Not from suicide or drug overdoses, but from actual medical conditions. Ron is, as much as Ron will allow for such things, heavy-hearted these days. Ron is only 6 years older than myself. I didn't expect we'd start losing people this soon.

So I worry about Ron in a way I didn't several years ago: what he's eating, whether he's exercising, whether his blood pressure is high. He's becoming the stereotypical (and ironic) cardiologist: the overweight guy who eats cheese steaks. He is not old--he might be the youngest 40 year old I've ever known. But he's not young either and we can't pretend that lifestyle choices won't impact his health. And mine.

I know that we need to take better care of ourselves, because it's not just about us anymore. And I know when I getting all stressed out about money, or work, or another baby...I need to remind myself of Ron's friend and his wife. There are people who would trade places with me in a hot minute.

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Friday, December 04, 2009

About Last Night

Rolo was impossible to put to bed last night. In the crib, 45 minutes of screaming, out of the crib. Calm, back in the crib, more screaming, out of the crib. Unusual for him. Nothing seemed to be bothering him, although with Rolo it's hard to tell. He's so laid back about things bothering him. His only explanation was "I not ready yet." Okay.

10 p.m., a full 2 hours past his usual bedtime he finally passes out on the couch. His father carries him to his room. Total dead weight. We head to bed too.

2 a.m., our baby monitor is on the fritz and the sound has cut out entirely, but I awaken anyway to the distant sound of Rolo screaming in his room below ours. I look at the video monitor, without sound, and see him rocking and boy, is he really screaming. Not calling for me, like might normally happen. Completely hysterical and I worry something's actually wrong. Ron wakes up too. I look at the clock. "This is going to be a disaster" I say. Ron tells me to bring him to bed with us. He says this because he's tired and he knows I'm tired and it will appease Rolo. I frown, because, that's not a trend I'm willing to start.

I go to Rolo's room and he calms down immediately. He does not know why he woke up. He asks for his diaper to be changed, which he usually never does, and I worry he thinks it's time to wake up for the day. While changing him, I ask if he wants a drink of milk. He does. And a bagel too. But he seems to have an awareness that it's the middle of the night and that he'll have to go back to bed. So I go along with this little game, bring him milk and a mini-bagel, and let him sit on the couch in the living room, with only a nightlight on. He does not suggest turning on the TV, or reading a book, or playing with toys, or any other thing to stall for time. Instead he slowly drinks his milk and eats his bagel.

After he's done, he cuddles up against me. He takes my face in his hands, looking at me, and then puts his cheek against mine. He stays that way for several minutes while I rub his back. "I cuddle with Mommy," he says.

I could be annoyed that I'm awake at 2 o'clock in the morning, when I'm hugely pregnant and not sleeping so well to begin with. I could be annoyed that my son, who does not seem to be sick, or getting molars, or having any other type of issue, is awake. But Rolo is so calm, so cuddly and being so reasonable, I'm not annoyed at all. Somehow I sense, as only a mother can, that what he needed was just to be still and be held. So we both sit, on the couch in the dark, with me stroking his hair and he patting my leg. He gives me a hug. "I ready now," he says and back to his crib he goes without protest. When I get back upstairs, it's after 3 a.m., and Ron asks "What was his problem?"

No problem at all. These middle-of-the-night wake ups are rare. And in time, he won't need me like he does now. 'Tis an amazing thing to be all that another person needs.

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Thursday, December 03, 2009


Lately, I've been all about making lists of beauty products I need to purchase in the coming weeks. Why? Well, I suppose I assume I'll be looking like a train wreck post-baby, and what better way to cheer oneself up than with new, shiny beauty products, right?

I need to get Moroccan Oil from my hair stylist next week. So pricey and I only use it once every couple of weeks, instead of every day like my stylist would prefer, but man, my hair loves the stuff.

I seem to have run out of all three of my fragrances simultaneously: Romance, Coco, and No. 5. I wonder if I should try something new? Or just replace some of my old ones?

Makeup products. From Clinque I need concealer, a brow pencil, lip pencil, lipstick (actually, I don't need this per se, but a new shade always perks me up), eye shadow (Colour Surge Soft Shimmer in Desert Sun--my all time fave) and "All About the Eyes" cream (this isn't actually makeup, but whatever). Who knew I used so much makeup? That's not even the half of it. So I'll be spending a ton of cash on beauty products. Thank God Douglas is having a 20% off sale next week.

Also, I might hit Duross and Langel for one of their eye creams, because HEY, when you're in your mid-30s with two (2!) kids, you can NEVER have enough eye cream.

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