Monday, November 28, 2011

On Sharing and Empathy

My Monkey is a sweet one, you know, when he's not being almost three and shouting "No!"  He shared a horrific stomach virus with mommy.  Horrific.  Seriously.  He was vommies for almost 24 hours and then was sicky even after that.  I was praying that the rumbling in my tummy was a foray into hypochondria, but alas, he shared.

As I crouched over the toilet, Monkey kept saying, "You shrow up, Mommy?  You shrow up?"  I grunted an affirmation.  Next I know, he has toddled off and brought back Minnie and Lovie.  "Here go, Mommy.  Minnie make you feel better."  This was the Holy Grail of kindness--anyone spending any time at all with my Monkey knows that these are his most prized possessions.  The boundless sweetness was not lost on my limp, listless body in the throes of nausea.

I was still proud of his sharing, even when 4 minutes later he came and reclaimed Minnie and Lovie.  He needed them.  Mommy had better recover fast.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Making the Switch

So today I'm waxing poetic on exercising my parental rights.  I mean, seriously, aren't we conditioned to think that the words of a doctor are just to the right of God?  Right?  In my world growing up, doctors were pretty fancy, not people who moved in our social circles or went to church with us.  Heck, there wasn't even a doctor in the nearest 4 towns until sometime around the year 2000.

But I'm on a roll, y'all.  Granted, the roll is moving at a snail's pace, but I've moved on from 3 different doctors in less than 3 years since I've been a parent and I feel like a rebel.  (You can laugh, I know I'm not really a rebel.)  I made the call and cut the ties with the third doc today. . . I write that like I marched into his office and gave him what-for and fired him.  Yeah.  That didn't happen.  I just followed my instincts and called another ENT for my Monkey.  Old ENT none-the-wiser, but mama feels a whole lot better.

I guess the point of this post is to say, do it. If something doesn't feel right, don't swallow it and think that maybe you are blowing things out of proportion or are being too sensitive or expecting too much.  What I've forced myself to think?  The doctors once so infallible?  I realize now that they work for us.

The "You Should Switch Doctors IF _____" list 
(in the vein of Jeff Foxworthy's "You might be a redneck if. . .")

  1. You tell the pediatrician that your child might have reflux because there is spit up on every.single.item. in your home.  About 50x per day and the doctor responds, "Oh, that's NOTHING!  My sons were way worse than that!"  Not. Helpful.
  2. You get into the car after an appointment and burst into tears because the doctor made you feel worse instead of better about something.
  3. The doctor is in the examination room for less than 8 minutes while discussing a surgical procedure (albeit small) on your CHILD.
  4. Questions feel like an imposition.  You know, like if you ask questions you are somehow implying they don't know anything when really you just want to make sure every possibility has been explored because, I don't know, it's your CHILD?
  5. Diagnoses don't come with a discussion.  Like when the specialist looks at the notes and says, matter of factly, "Oh, so we have a purple-horned unicorn disease here" with no respect or concern that purple-horned unicorn implies that there is something seriously going on with your child that perhaps you've missed until now.  
  6. Even though you explain that you actually have experience in child development, the answer is "hmm" and then they move on to the next topic.
  7. If you call because the plan suggested by the doctor is leading to a side effect, say stopping up of 'pipes,' suggesting a small explosive to clear the clog might be failing to individualize care.  
  8. Not to say appearances are everything, they aren't, BUT there comes the realization that every doctor is getting the same reimbursement from insurances.  So when you are a factory for small surgical procedures,say, removing purple horns from unicorns, and your office hasn't been updated since 1986, I wonder where the money is going.  I'm guessing it isn't being invested in state-of-the-art equipment. . . or even state-of-the-decade equipment.
  9. The office staff is rude.  If you forget your insurance card, yet everything on file is current and they still threaten to cancel your appointment, then chances are they hate their job.  
  10. You feel rushed.  Last time I checked, doctors are still part of the helping professions.  Helping takes at least two people to be involved.  Every family is different.  Every body is different.  Of all people, a doctor should know that.  Minimizing my child's difficulties because there are kids much worse off doesn't make me feel anything but neurotic and pushed aside.  I am there because I'm worried about my kid and health and well-being, how this will affect them later-- and on and on.  And the thing is?  I want the doctor to be worried about my kid, above all else, in that moment, too.  
I'm confident and brave enough to say that if my needs aren't met, I'm out.  Sionara.  Check ya.  

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Dinner, Anyone?

Monkey is in full-on pretend mode.  I love it.  I know it's closely linked with language development, so the speech pathologist in me is thrilled with his ability.  Tonight while I was getting Little Bit ready for bed and playing a bit, he set up a dinner with his favorite friends:  Puppy Dog, Minnie, Bunny and Olivia.  And take note, just because he pretends well doesn't mean any of it lasts very long.  Ah, the mind of a two-year old.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Asses, Asses

I'm aware that this video is shaky.  I'm also aware that it's hilarity and shows off my (questionable) sense of humor:

Is Being Strong a Weakness?

Back in 2001 scene of my first 'real' job, my first performance review was an unmitigated disaster.  I was blind-sided.  I had thought that I was an asset to the team, outspoken and respected.  Yeah.  Well, the review blindsided me with reflections that I was too outspoken, too passionate, too. . .everything.  I was devastated.  How does there exist such huge problems for a YEAR without telling the employee, who also happens to be a friend?  It was a craptastic day, to be sure.

In the ensuing years, I have received criticism feedback that I have a "strong personality" several times.  Each of those times, I have worked determine what this means.  The truth is I felt all defensive and sad inside because surely this feedback was only meant to be negative.  I also was at a loss for how to censor myself, to turn off what is so offensive about me.  I beat myself up, asking "why can't I be easier?," "why do I say things the wrong way?," "why do I push too hard?" Bleh.  Well-trodden territory, comfortably uncomfortable.  

I was recently turned away from a promotion because I'm "too passionate."  Isn't this saying "strong personality" in different clothing?  I am trying to cling to the cliff, refusing to slip into the valley of self-hate.  In my new-found maturity (?), I am trying to simultaneously accept the truth and maintain my sense of self.  Not so easy a task.  I am trying to feel the defensiveness, observe it, accept it and move on--not to assume that I'm one of the more annoying people on the planet.

I know that I can be too emotional.  I cry when I'm angry--this isn't quite productive in a business situation.  I also know that when I'm told that this can be perceived as "being manipulative," that is more about the other person looking at me through their lenses than it is truth.  I know that I can be pushy when I believe an injustice has been meted out.  I also know that it has more to do with the confidence of the other person that they cannot push back with equal gusto.  I know that "picking my battles" is not my strength and something I seem to only find success with my preschooler.  Heck, I'm still working on that with children with behavior problems in therapy.  I know that the people who (supposedly) said that they can't work with me have never really tried. 

I am strong.  I have personality.  I am passionate.  I cry.  I push.  I resist change, but eventually come around.  I am self-aware.  I am intelligent.  I am a quick study.  I am intuitive.  I am honest, to a fault.  No really, it's a fault.  I have recently realized or accepted that to some people I can be intimidating. . .or at least I'm working on accepting that concept.  The truly irritating thing is that the people who are stuck in their perceptions of me are also mired in their own crippling self-confidence issues.  I am still trying to reconcile the fact that to succeed, I have to modulate me.  I know this is life; I just can't figure out why my strength is a threat, why someone else's weakness must be catered to?  

All of this leads me to this:  my acceptance of this feedback makes it up to me to be successful.  To find a way to still fight for a cause, to retain my passion, but in a way that is more palatable to others.  Now the real work begins.  

Thursday, November 10, 2011


Our house has no privacy.  None.  It's a good thing that my husband still loves me after witnessing me birthing two darling children, because there are horrific moments when he's seen me pee.  On the toilet.  Which makes me think our marriage is doomed just like Janene Garafolo's character proclaims her parents' to be in the ultimate 90s movie, Reality Bites.

All of this is to say that my. . . ahem. . .you know. . .my period is back.  Shh.  This makes me blush like an 8th grader.  I promise that I only share this news for the purpose of humor.  My child is the epitome of curiosity.  For the first time in what I am sure will be a long, long tradition--I stumbled over the answers to his questions.  Stuttered.  Sputtered.

"What dat, Mommy?  What dat?  Dat for me?"

"Uh. . . it's for mommies.  It's just. . .a. . .thing."

"What for, Mommy?"


"What for, Mommy?"

Now I know why my mom used to say things like, "I just want to poop in peace."  No 2 1/2 year old BOY is ready for the truth about tampons.

Friday, November 4, 2011

I'm Courtney. I'm a Geek. An Educated Geek.

I have spent the past two days in 'leadership training,' which might be more accurately entitled 'Personal Relationship Building.'  Often people dread this sort of learning experience, for good reason, right?  Well this was something I had been looking forward to for awhile.  The material was so captivating that i only got drowsy once and checked Facebook one time.  Unheard of.

This kind of personality-analyzing, introspective thinking totally spins my wheels.  Geeks.Me.Out.  The Myers-Briggs Type Inventory has long been my go-to for analyzing myself.  After one particularly stimulating workshop years ago, I even bought the book "Please Understand Me," which is entirely based on the MBTI.  I thought I was well-informed on this front.  Enter our facilitator, who wrote his thesis on the MBTI.  That makes me all hand-flappy and giddy.

I could create volumes on what I learned, personal applications, how I'm going to modify my relating, how to understand the communication of others, how to ask for what I need. . . but i'm fairly sure I'll get tired before I could adequately explain everything AND that most people's attention would wane long before I had reached my conclusion.  I try to assimilate information as I learn, making the most by applying to specific situations--that means I spent a ton of time thinking about my husband, my parents and my office colleagues.

Important notes:
1.  There is a theory called "Falsification of Type."  This means that assuming a different type of relating from your personality leads to depression and anxiety.  I have long-heard that I'm too practical, too literal, too schedule-oriented, not spontaneous, not out-going enough.  I've tried.  I've TRIED, people.  The source of my anxiety and depression?  Me thinks this deserves a closer look.

2.  Shame scripts.  Taking time to observe situations that cause a sense of dismay/shame, feel the emotion and then be aware of my use of the coping strategies on the Compass of Shame.

3.  If I ever feel like I'm winning an argument, I should immediately apologize and start over.  Debating a feeling or situation inherently creates a winner and a loser.

4.  Never lose empathy.  As a leader and a parent, I strive to use Restorative Leadership practices that marry empathy and accountability.

And there I will stop.  Basically, Charles Gaby provided insights and thoughts that will have me chewing on them for weeks, if not months or years to come.

I love to learn.  Seriously.  I'm a HUGE geek when it comes to this stuff.  I'm the kid raising her hand all the time.  Talking to the facilitator on breaks.  Yep.  My over-achieving roots totally show up when in a learning environment that speaks to my natural curiosity.  Whew.  Just the refreshing challenge of thought that I needed.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Obligatory Halloween Cuteness

Halloween was so much fun this year.  As soon as we said Halloween was coming up, Monkey yelled, "Canneeeeee!"  I think he has his dad's sweet tooth.  We squeezed in two Halloween celebrations--Trunk or Treat at a dear friend's church with part of our 'village' and then trick or treating with Glammy on Halloween.  Poppy had to stay home because of some questionable tummy feelings.  We had a great time, ate a (more than) sufficient amount of canneeeee!, Monkey got to hand-out cannneeee! and we made it to bed just a smidge later than normal.  Best news of all?  Little Bit slept all.night.  All. Night.  I awoke with a start at 6:30am disoriented and confused.  I  thought perhaps I had forgotten and had been up with her?  Nope.  Sleep.  Glorious sleep.

On to the cuteness:
 Daddy and the ladybug.

 First time in the big-kid stroller for trick or treating.

With our favorite Ninja Turtle.

The bravest, toughest Mr. T. I've ever seen.  True story.  

More candy please, says Mickey.

Hanging with the original bug lady, LJ.

 Not a fan of the ears.  No matter how mommy tried to bribe and cajole.

I am in love with this pic.  For some reason the color version has a very strong blue tint.  Odd.  

One last shot before bed.  Mommy is practicing taking pics in manual mode.

All in all, Halloween 2011 was a success, despite Monkey declaring pumpkin stinky and refusing to scoop out innards.  Truth be told, I was taking one for the team and carving so he could have that rite of passage. . .turns out that our thoughts on the matter are the same.