Tuesday, November 28, 2006

(Virtually) Violated

Posted by Anonymous.

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My husband and I have been shopping for a new home for some months now. When the time was right we put our own house on the market (it sold after ten days!) and placed a contingency offer on a house we fell in love with months earlier but couldn't afford. Coincidentally the house came down $15,000 in price right around the time we placed our own home on the market, so we were able to make an offer on the home we love. I've been writing about our house-hunting search on my own blog because a) I can, b) I think many people can relate to the ups and downs of it all, and c) I think our experiences can help others down the road when they embark on this journey.

Fast-forward to this week. We just finished the torturous round of inspections on both homes. In the course of having the home we want to purchase inspected, it was discovered that there were some cracks in the bricks, perhaps indicating foundation problems. We had a structural engineer come out and all was discovered to be just fine. Of course I also wrote about my anxieties concerning the discovery of the cracks; my worry that we wouldn't be able to buy the home we want so badly and that we would be left without a place to call home when we close on our current home in two and a half weeks--this was before the engineer came out and pronounced everything fine.

Yesterday we discovered, via our realtor, that the sellers of the house we want to buy found my blog.

Yes, they *found* my blog. Not only did they then read the blog (well, who can blame them) but they are upset about my house-hunting posts for some reason. Our realtor wasn't supposed to know this fact and we're not supposed to know it but we do. I know it is idiotic to feel violated and intruded-upon when you are writing a blog but I do. The couple we're buying the home from have a teenage son and a daughter in college. The daughter attends the same college where my husband teaches. I have been careful in my blog never to talk about my husband's job, or really any personal matters concerning us--it's primarily a blog about my kids, about the challenges of juggling our jobs with parenting, and about my thoughts on any number of issues--political, literary, philosophical. The inspections are done and we've signed off on the repairs the sellers will make. Their reading my blog doesn't seem to have done any harm to this whole process, except that it's harmed *me*. I feel awful about this. I hate knowing they have read the blog. I hate knowing they can still read it. I even hate buying the house I love from them. And most of all I hate the fact that I am now contemplating discontinuing the blog I love so much.

What are my options here? What would others do? Should I proceed blithely on blogging or should I take down that blog and perhaps start another, carefully shrouded one? Do I have the right to feel violated? I am not a blogger to use pseudonyms and perhaps this was unwise. I feel foolish now, as if I were flirting with disaster just by doing what I love--writing about those I love; reaching out and making connections from my world out to the worlds of others.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Hope and Fear

Posted by Anonymous.

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I found out I was pregnant on December 17th, 2005. The next day, my best friend gave birth to her son, my god son. I didn’t tell her I was pregnant when we visited her in the hospital. I wanted that day to be about her and her new son.

Two weeks later, I had a miscarriage.

I went home – to my parents’ house - for Christmas with my husband. On Christmas Eve, I told my parents, brother and sister I was six weeks pregnant. They cried - they were so happy. It would have been my parent’s’ first grandchild. They talked about names for the baby. I tried not to get too involved in those conversations. I thought it was too early. They thought I was being superstitious.

We came back to Toronto on Boxing Day. I went to the bathroom and saw blood in my underwear. We went to a clinic. The doctor said sometimes that happened, but if I had cramping and continued to bleed, I should go to a hospital.

I continued to bleed. We went to the hospital the next day. My husband came in the room with me. We were in there for three hours. They took blood tests. The doctor said I might be having a miscarriage. He told my husband to keep an eye on me overnight because I might hemorrhage. My husband didn’t sleep that night. He woke up every two hours, feeling my temperature.

The entire process lasted about four days. We were both off work. We distracted ourselves by running errands. One night I had really bad cramps, like having a period but worse. My husband asked me if we should go to the hospital, but I just wanted to be at home. I didn’t want to be in a waiting room, or lay on one of those tables, wearing an awful hospital nightgown, waiting for the doctor to come. There was nothing they could do anyway.

I wanted to be at home, in my own bed, with my husband’s arms wrapped around me. Letting my body go through what it was going to go through.

The next morning, I went to the bathroom and it came out of me. It plopped in the toilet. I’ll never forget that sound, that feeling.

I left the bathroom, stood in the hallway and cried out. It was over.

My husband came out of the bedroom and put his arms around me and we both cried.

We weren’t trying to get pregnant. The doctors all asked us if we had been trying. The answer was no, but in those short weeks, we had gotten used to the idea. And besides, what difference would it make if we were trying or not?

I had an ultrasound shortly after the miscarriage, to see if there was anything left and if I’d need a D and C. There was nothing there. But they found something on my ovary.

At first, they thought it was a cyst. And they told me to wait three months, have an ultrasound and see if it went away. I had three ultrasounds before the doctor referred me to a specialist. The specialist said it might be a tumor.

I had a cancer test. I had to pee in a jug for 24 hours. The test was negative.

They referred me to a surgeon. He’s going to remove the tumor in December. He asked if I had any concerns. I said my only concern was being able to get pregnant. He said the tumor was small enough that he’d be able to preserve the ovary.

If not, the other one is working fine.

I can’t help but think I should have had the surgery sooner. We played the wait-and-see game for too long.

I’m 32 years old.

And I can’t help but think the miscarriage was my fault.

Maybe it was the coffee, or the wine. Maybe I should have gone to the doctor more often. Maybe I should have taken better care of myself.

My friends are starting to have kids. Some are pregnant and have morning sickness.

What I’d give to have morning sickness.

I wonder what my life will be like if I can’t have kids. I wonder how I’ll cope if I have another miscarriage. I wonder why no one talks about miscarriages.

I wonder if this is it for me.

I wonder if that was my one chance.

I wonder if there is hope for me.

Sunday, November 19, 2006


Posted by Kate of Because I Said So.

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The longer I have a blog, the more aware I am of my limitations in posting based on my audience. I have to be careful and political about when and how I mention my husband... too many days in a row of bitching makes him cranky and defensive. I go easy on comments about
the sex life, because in my heart of hearts I know that most of my readers are large hairy sweaty men who breathe heavy and salivate a lot (not YOU, of course, but some of those other people...). And I don't talk about one thing that presses on my heart on a daily basis,
because... well, just listen.

My sister Mary is 15. She is smart, and funny, and precious, and I just love her to pieces. We all do. Kids love her, babies love her, dogs love her. She's not sweet in a fake-cute-bubbly sort of way, she's just observant and insightful and witty, and when she is sarcastic it's well-aimed and deserved. She thinks a lot, and is one of those rare people who actually seems to think before she speaks.

She has muscular dystrophy, and at 15 she is, in all likelihood, already past middle-aged.

Her form of the disease, nemaline myopathy, is incredibly rare. Back in 1992, when she was diagnosed (a process which, by itself, took 14 months), she was the hundredth reported case, ever. Worldwide. That's not to say that she's the 100th person to ever have it; most infants born with it die before they can be diagnosed. In fact, we believe that this is why my father's brother died in infancy, but there's no way to verify.

When Mary was born, some idiot in the guise of a doctor told my parents that they should look into supportive housing for her, "Just put her away somewhere. She'll never walk or talk anyway." I'm still impressed that my mother didn't bludgeon him to death with the examining table. She walks now, albeit with braces, and talks, albeit quietly and sort of nasally, and has enriched the lives of so many people.

For several years, I was able to sort of brush aside that nagging awareness that most people with the infantile form, those that survive infancy, have a sort of plateau through most of their childhood. Essentially, what her illness does is create an extra protein throughout all of her muscles, acting a bit like static on a radio station - the muscles still work, but the protein gets in the way. While she's still growing, the healthy muscle tissue can keep up with the proteins, and she's remaining relatively healthy. Prone to pneumonia, prone to broken bones because she falls easily and can't catch herself, but living at home and going to school and going to vacations and fighting with our mother... as normal a life as anyone could ask for.

But someday she will stop growing. Someday her muscles and body will be essentially as formed as they can be, and those damn nemaline rods will start to take over. Most people with this disease are in wheelchairs by the time they're 20. Most have succumbed to pneumonia, because their lungs simply aren't strong enough to clear themselves, by 22.


I don't know how to talk about this. I don't know how to deal with it. She and I have talked before, and she's so well-adjusted that I kind of want to pinch her, sometimes. I asked her once if she ever wishes her disease away, and she said, "Well, not really. This is my life, it's what's normal for me. If I didn't have it, I wouldn't have gone on the trip to Disney World. I wouldn't have the same friends I have. Everything would be different." (The Children's Wish
Foundation - like Make A Wish but for kids with long-term, rather than terminal, illnesses - sent our family on an all-expenses-paid trip to Florida in 1998.)

Her perspective is healthy and good, but you know what? *I* wish it away. I wish it away every day. I want her healthy. I want her to be old. I want her to make all of the stupid college mistakes that I made. I want my children to introduce her to their children.

And I can't post about her on my blog, because she reads my blog every day, and I don't want her to realize the extent to which I think about this. I want her to feel normal and happy, whatever that means, and I don't want to make her self-conscious. Enough common acquaintances read my blog that I would feel I was invading her privacy if I took it there.

I don't need advice on this one. There's nothing I feel like I need to DO. Just needed to vent.


Thursday, November 16, 2006


Posted by Anonymous.

If you'd like to use this space to tell stories/secrets/confessions of your dangerous maternal mind, anonymously or otherwise, send me an e-mail (see sidebar) and you too can enjoy the refuge of the Basement.


I am a new mother to a beautiful nine month old boy. Every time I look at him I am completely in awe of him. Everyday he teaches me what it means to love unconditionally because before him, I think I always held back just a little bit.

You see I grew up in home that was chaotic to say the least. My mom is bi-polar and her illness ruled our lives in ways that would likely shock you. But my brother and I survived and we have both moved on to become stable adults in loving relationships.

That being said there is a small part of that mourns that I do not have a mother to turn to for support. When I speak with her everything is about her and how hard her life is. When I told her I was pregnant (I waited until I was five months along in case we miscarried) she said "well, make sure you don't fall down the stairs and kill the baby." I can hear you gasping but yes this was her response. [She lost twins before I was born and is convinced it was due to a fall.]

When I asked her what I was like as a baby she said "How can I remember that - it was over thirty years ago." And a little part of me wept because I'll never know when I got my first tooth or if I loved to giggle like my son does. I mourn because I want that so much. I want a mother who is loving and supportive and does not make me feel like I am never good enough. The
reality is that I will never have that, and I'm trying to accept it but for now I just hold my son and whisper in his ear that I will always love him no matter what.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

No Balls

Posted by Mamacita.

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I'm embarrassed about what I'm going to tell you today. I don't feel good about it and I want to change. I'm hoping that writing about it will help. So bear with me through the background.

We have some neighbors who have become good friends since my pregnancy and the birth of Garcon. She is a respiratory therapist in the neonatal infant care unit (NICU) at a local hospital, and he's a former nurse. In the very very beginning, roughly weeks 1-6, we struggled with Garcon crying uncontrollably during the witching hour. She gave me some suggestions from her experience in working with many, many infants that really made a difference for him in the 5-9pm period. For that, I'm grateful. Now, we see them about once a week and occasionally, they'll babysit for Garcon- or supervise their 12 year old daughter babysitting for him. They genuinely enjoy him and are nice people.

The trouble is this: Because we relied and appreciated their advice in the beginning, they have begun to take small liberties that make me uncomfortable.

Case 1: Once, when Garcon was very young, less than two months, we were chatting with them in the driveway. Neighborman offered to hold Garcon, and before I knew what was happening, had dug out some eye schmutz that had accumulated in the corner of Garcon's eye and on his lashes. He handed him back and said, look - I was able to get that goop off his eye.

HUH!? Wait - you touched my baby's eye? Without clean hands? After working in the yard for a couple of hours? EXCUSE ME? I should tell you, dear reader, that when I need to clean Garcon's eye, I wet a cotton ball with warm water and rub gently. He had a clogged tear duct in the beginning, and would get the schmutz pretty offten, and so I was used to cleaning his eye in a very clean manner.

I was a bit ticked that he'd even think to do that. I didn't say anything at the time, and as I thought about it later, began to be really pissed off.

Case 2: Another time, when Garcon was about four months (and I was still home part time), DH came home and told me he'd backed the car into a post. Well, at the time, we had one nice car and one older, reliable but less snazzy, slightly dinged-up car. He'd backed the nice car into a post. Damaging the bumper. Of the first new car I'd ever owned. I was ticked! And a little post-partum, I confess. I really got mad at him about that - and also vented that Garcon had been a challenge all day. Well, DH went outside and looked at the car, and probably looked stressed. Neighborwoman yelled hello across the street, he said hello back. She decided he looked worked up, and volunteered to come over and help me with Garcon. I was still sitting in the house, ticked about the car when she walked in the house. Now, I was ticked at DH that he went for reinforcements on Garcon - when I was really mad about the car, not baby. But we have her in the house, and now look! Neighborman came over to see his little buddy - and all I want to do is be left alone with my DH and son. Then, they offer to take him away to give us time! I continued to protest, saying everything was fine. They asked about feeding, they asked about sleeping. It took several more protests than necessary for them to actually get the hint and leave. I didn't want to say in front of them and DH, that I was pissed at DH about the car. Shouldn't be necessary to get them to leave.

It was here that I began to have the sense that they felt they knew more about this than we do. Despite our lack of experience, we definitely know what's best for our family and our Garcon. More time passed and I forgot about my annoyance.

Case 3: Then, last week, we asked them to watch Garcon while we went to an event in the city. We provided plenty of formula and Stage 1 food, and everything seemed to be fine. When I picked him up, Neighborwoman mentioned that she'd given him Multi-Grain Cheerios and he liked them. WHAT? You gave my son new food without asking me? There's several things wrong with this. We're only on Stage One foods, Multi-Grain Cheerios have a ton of sugar and tons of additives/preservatives beyond what's he's been exposed to, AND MOST IMPORTANTLY: we have a gluten intolerance on my side of the family (My dad) and are NOT GOING TO INTRODUCE GLUTEN FOR ANOTHER 5 MONTHS, when Garcon is one. I confess I was shocked. Am I so naive that I assume other people won't feed him things without asking me? That they assume they know more than me and feed him whatever they want? I'm sure that when her kids were in the high chair, she'd throw a handful of Cheerios on the tray while getting the rest of the food ready. I know I'll do that, eventually (hopefully). For a second, I thought maybe I was being silly - but then I clammed up and muttered something about having to go, and NEVER ACTUALLY ADDRESSED IT WITH HER. I'm using a lot of caps, because aside from being annoyed with her, I'm more mad at myself.

Where are my stones? Where is my god-given mother-will-kill-for-young instinct? And why the hell can't I speak up the minute these things happen? I'm pissed at myself. I've stood up to other people on lots of other things related to Garcon, but just haven't got it together about these two people. Is it because on some subconscious level I think of them as authority figures? Is it because they're friends and I don't want to damage it? Is it because I am too nice and want to be liked? Ok, I get that from my mother. In the last case, I have a very good, very legitimate reason to not introduce foods, and I didn't say anything. I'm obviously making the situation worse for myself for not being more assertive each time. Next time something happens, as I'm sure it will, I need to respond appropriately and assertively, but do so in a way that does not reflect my latent anger about the first three cases. Help.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Looking For A Happy Ending

Posted by Joanne of Insane Mom.

If you'd like to use this space to tell stories/secrets/confessions of your dangerous maternal mind, anonymously or otherwise, send me an e-mail and you too can enjoy the refuge of the Basement.


So, help a girl out, will ya?

I don’t know how to explain my situation without giving you half my life story…I apologize in advance for the length of this post. And, I really hope I don’t bore you to death.

I am an (almost) thirty year old single mom. I have three beautiful, amazing, intelligent and challenging kids.

I have been dating someone since June of last year. He’s incredible. I care about him like you wouldn’t believe. He cares about me that much, too. It’s awesome. And it’s not.

He is a 32 year old single guy who has never been married and has no kids. You could say he is picky or you could say he is smart. He’s been waiting for a girl who can make him “all the way” happy. I don’t think he expected it to be someone like me. You know - the separated, three kids kinda thing. Part of his life’s dream has been to meet that girl that makes him feel good, marry her and have a family. I crossed marriage and kids off my to-do list years ago.

In itself this is not a huge issue. I could get married again (after I get a divorce, I suppose). I could (with a little bit of surgery) even have more kids. The issue is that blending our lives together is altogether challenging. It’s not working. We know it’s not working. But, we can’t seem to let go either.

A relationship between him and my kids just does not come naturally – for him or for them. My kids are 11, 9 and 6. They think he’s cool and he does cool stuff, but mostly he’s just the guy mom spends her time with when she’s not hanging out with us. For him, the chaos of my life is just too much. It’s one thing to get accustomed to life with kids over time, gradually – have a baby, adjust; have another baby, adjust and so on… But to walk into an established family with three strong-willed (loud) kids and try to become part of that is not so easy. It’s culture shock. And, it’s not getting any easier. We both feel it should be by now.

We have tried to end our relationship several times. But, instantly we both regret it…and neither of us have the willpower to go through with it. It’s like quitting smoking or sticking to a diet…the temptation is just too great. When we break up, we both feel lost. For the day or two that we actually stay broken up, we still talk constantly and we end up convincing ourselves that we should keep trying. Or, if we don’t talk I go crazy wondering what he’s doing and whether he’s really over me this time. He does the same thing. So, we get back together, more out of desperation than logic. We are both logical thinkers most of the time, but when it comes to this relationship we’re definitely not.

Ok, here’s where I get into my life story. I just want everyone to understand where I’m coming from. I had my first child a week after my 18th birthday. My husband and I got married when I was just 20 and baby number two came along shortly after. Baby number three came when I was 23. I was married with three kids at age 23. Wow. Can you believe that?

Anyway, my husband was not very nice. He was the first boy with whom I had a ‘real’ relationship and things were bad from the start. I was young and I thought if I tried hard enough, I could make him happy. In my mind, his happiness meant success and his unhappiness meant failure.

We struggled financially. We were both in our early twenties working minimum wage jobs trying to pay the bills. I thought if I could make more money I could make him happy. So, I went back to college while working full time at McDonalds and raising my two year old son and infant daughter.

I thought if I could get a better job and make more money for him to spend, he would be happy with me. I thought he would respect me. I thought he would stop hurting me. When I graduated from college I got a great job right away. I thought this was the answer to my prayers. But instead of getting better, things got worse. He was a dangerous man, my husband. I knew this but I ignored it. Foolishly, I thought if I could just do better, if I could be a better wife and a better mother, things would be better. Two years ago, things got so bad that my then seven-year-old daughter had to flee to our neighbour’s house to call the police. I’m so ashamed of that. The police came and took him away and my kids and I picked up the pieces. We’re better for it now. That much I know.

The brief summary of my married life above is because I want you to understand my full dilemma now. I am with someone who cares about me. He is gentle and sweet. And, even though I know in my heart that it can’t work, the thought of walking away from that is unthinkable. I’m so afraid that I will never find that again.

I realize I’ve blurred the issue here. My dilemma is in finding the strength to let go of something that really I want to hang onto. I love this man. But I know he is not right for me, he is not right for my life and I am not right for his. I want to know how long it will take to get over him. I want to know that I won’t always feel like I’m crumbling inside. I am a logical person. I know I will get over the end of this relationship once we decide to end it. But it’s so much easier to say than do.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Dear Friend

Posted by Sarah of Sarah and the Goon Squad.

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Dear "Friend,"

I called you this morning and you whined "I was beginning to wonder if you'd ever call."

I just want you to know that this is the exact reason I don't call more often. I can't stand the bullshit guilt trip you try to lay on me. I realize that you cannot understand that you are not the center of the universe but I have my own life.

In fact, I have two children, a husband, two cats, a home, a job that is freelance that I have to do in between the kids freaking out and changing diapers and a social life all about 1200 miles away from you.

So if you were wondering why I don't call you anymore it is because you are too high maintenance. I don't call because I don't want to have to hear about my never calling. I don't visit because I don't want to hear about me never visiting. You stopped being a friend to
me when you became a burden. Why can't you just say "Hi. How have you been?" like all of the other people I talk to once or twice a year?

Talking to you is never a pleasure. It is draining.

You can't maintain friendships by bullying people into them.

I am done with you. I don't need the hassle.