Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Why isn't "menopause" called "womenopause"?

Today I was thinking that it's pretty odd that something that is clearly a significant female issue has such a masculine title -- "menopause." Shouldn't it be "womenopause"? I mean, it has nothing whatsoever to do with men. A man doesn't suddenly find himself boiling hot and dripping sweat in the middle of a staff meeting (unless there's noticeable female cleavage in the room, that is), or having a tears-running-down-the-face, snot-streaming-from-the-nose, chest-hitching, giant ugly sobfest in the middle of the grocery store aisle because he is already in line and forgot to pick up the Hamburger Helper for dinner, or having a sex drive that's red hot one minute and completely, totally, irretrievably vanishes the next, or dealing with night after night after night of not being able to stay asleep, even after two Benadryls and half a bottle of Boon-A-Roo Merlot! Now, supposedly, there's something known as "Male Menopause." I'm just not buying it. Sounds to me like something men invented, so we'd feel sorry for them and cut them some slack. Sorry, guys. We have to deal with breasts, periods, (for that matter, shouldn't it be "womenstruation" as well?), pregnancy, childbirth, and menopause, on top of constant media messages about needing to be thin, wrinkle-free, sexual maniacs, who can bring in a paycheck, whip up a gourmet meal, raise the kids, clean the house, and still give our man a backrub at the end of the day. We don't feel sorry for you. Not. Gonna. Happen. Ever.

I asked my husband this question today, and he has a male perspective on the issue. He says that the term "menopause" has to have been invented by men to "warn" other men about insane hormonal women. Men, watch out! Pause, before you do or say anything that might set off the crazy, unpredictable, hormonal, She-Devil walking this way. Could be. Sounds like something a man would do...

A final note: While I am in favor of changing "menopause" to "womenopause", and "menstruation" to "womenstruation", I am NOT in favor of changing "mental breakdown" to "womental breakdown." Why? Because, let's face it, most of the breakdowns we have are directly related to the men in our lives. They can keep that one!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Don't tell ME ketchup doesn't count as a vegetable!

Somebody asked me today why the name of my blog is "ChickenNuggetMama." Well, I had a conversation (translation: meltdown) with some other moms when my boys were almost 2 and 3 that led me to give this particular title to my blog. (Yeah, my guys are 12 months, 18 days apart. SIGH. That partly explains the meltdown...) Anyway, from the moment I first became a Mom, I was bombarded with messages about the importance of giving my kids a well-balanced diet, teaching them early to love fruits and vegetables, exposing them to a variety of foods at an early age so they won't be picky, staying away from anything processed, avoiding salt and sugar, blah, blah, blah.....Now, I have two little boys who have been incredibly picky eaters from the time they were born. Anyone who has kids who are "good eaters" absolutely cannot relate to the medieval torture chamber that is the dinner table at meal times with picky children. I dread most meals even now, and it was waaaaaay worse back then. "C'mon, sweetie, just take a little taste...Yes, you can dip it in ketchup...No, don't spit it out...No, sweetie, just chew it up...C'mon, just one little taste...No, don't spit it at your brother...I said don't spit it at your brother....Do NOT feed it to the dog!...It does not taste like poop...Please just take a little bite...It will make you big and strong like Daddy......I know it's the same color as a booger, but it really tastes yummy....You can have a cookie if you eat one bite....." At least now my boys will eat peas, carrots, corn, and a wide variety of fruit. (They will also eat broccoli now, because I told them super heroes love broccoli and that eating it might give them super powers too. If they ask why their super powers haven't shown up yet, I figure I'll just keep telling them that they don't have enough broccoli built up in their bodies to give them actual super powers yet. Eventually, they'll figure out the truth for themselves, but by then I'm hoping they'll love broccoli. I know, I know, I'm a terrible mother!) Back then the only food they would eat was some shade of yellow, brown, or beige...dipped in ketchup. Which brings me right back to chicken nuggets. So there I was in the kitchen, surrounded by some of the other mothers I know, wracked with guilt over my own maternal failures, exhausted from 2 1/2 solid years of sleep deprivation, a little sloshed from the wine we were drinking, and somebody starts talking about how they only feed their children organic food. Now, I was all prepared to give a little chuckle at the chances of that really being true, when one of the other moms piped in with, "Oh yes, me too. In fact, I have always made all of my own baby food from organic fruits and vegetables. You know, it is so important to take charge of your child's nutrition." Wouldn't you think it would end there? But, no. It went on and on with these incredible, unbelievable, "super-moms" talking about making all of their bread from scratch using whole wheat flour, never cooking anything that comes out of a box, and their miracle children who eat asparagus and mushrooms and eggplant (Yes, eggplant. Are you kidding me?!!). I remember distinctly looking around the kitchen at these miraculous women who all seemed so much more capable, calm, and responsible than me, downing my wine in about 3 gulps, and blurting out, "I am a CHICKEN NUGGET MOMMY! My kids live on chicken nuggets, instant mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese from a box , milk, and apple juice. That's all they'll eat. Oh, and hot dogs too. And they dip everything in ketchup. Ketchup is a vegetable in my house!" (I know, tomatoes are technically a fruit. Whatever. That's just never seemed right to me.) Then I dissolved into that maniacal laughter that bursts out when you're really, really, really on the edge of hysteria. There was a pause which seemed to last forever, during which they looked at me -- disheveled, exhausted, buzzed, and clearly verging on the precipice of a major mental breakdown, looked at each other, and then (and this is why I love my female friends so much) somebody said, "Oh, you poor thing. You must have picky eaters." At which point I found myself enveloped in hugs, surrounded by warmth, love, sympathy, and helpful suggestions. More importantly, one of these lovely women immediately refilled my wine glass. Yes, I am a Chicken Nugget Mama.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

A Toast!

I was lucky enough to spend the last day in the company of some of the most amazingly strong, competent, intelligent, creative, sassy ladies I know. On the drive back, I just kept thinking about how fortunate I am to know these women, and others like them. So, I vowed to write a toast to them when I returned home. However, after being away from my husband and sons for almost 24 hours, the reality was that I first had to reverse the damage done by the tornado that apparently blew threw my house during my time away, leaving clothes, toys, couch pillows, dirty dishes, grass, sticks and rocks (???), blankets, and shoes strewn all over the place. Those damn tornadoes -- How is it that they always blow through when I'm on one of my exceedingly rare trips away from the house? It's a mystery!

But, I digress.....So now, a toast!

To women, near and far away
Who wake and bravely meet each day
Of challenges -- Small and immense
With courage, humor, common sense.
Too many bills, a lousy boss,
Aging parents, grievous loss,
Marriage struggles, cellulite,
Teaching children wrong from right,
Menstruation, menopause,
Pressure to fix all the "flaws",
Relationships fragile as glass,
Kicking cancer in the ass!
Here's to every one of you,
For all you are, for all you do.

Friday, April 17, 2009

It's your turn to clean up the vomit, honey!

Ahhhhh, the joys of parenthood. Hugs, kisses, cute little drawings hanging on the refrigerator, tickle fights, snuggles, chalk art on the sidewalk......Makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside, doesn't it? And then there's the other stuff. I'm talking specifically about boogers here. Boogers and other bodily fluids. Nobody warns you about the seemingly unlimited quantities and varieties of nasty goop that come out of small children. From all bodily orifices and usually showing up at the most inconvenient time and place (like dripping over the shoulder of your favorite black blouse that you JUST took out of the dryer and put on for work). The sheer quantity of the stuff constantly amazes me. How is it even physically possible for that much mucous/vomit/diarrhea/pick-your-bodily-fluid to come out of one little boy? And, why oh why, am I writing about such a disgusting topic, anyway? Because that's my life. And because today was one of those exceedingly rare occasions when it wasn't MY job to clean it up. Heh, heh. I had a work meeting that just couldn't be postponed this morning, so my darling husband, love of my life, had to stay home to take care of the sickies. Now, in defense of my own mothering instinct (and to make sure that nobody thinks I am a heartless wench for being callous about my husband having to deal with the fluid issue), I was the sole caregiver for the last two full days of runny noses, hacking coughs, high fevers, diarrhea, and the really, really bad behavior that accompanies two little guys who both feel genuinely crummy and are competing for every second of Mommy's time and attention. So, I have good reason to get a little chuckle out of it being somebody else's turn for a change. And, as I walked out the front door (running late, as usual), hearing my littlest boy starting to make that retching sound that comes right before an explosion of vomit, I cheerily called out, "Honey, the oxy-clean is on the shelf above the washing machine. Love you!" And, I am slightly ashamed to admit, it kind've brightened my day.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Everything in my house is sticky.

Everything in my house is sticky. Seriously. Two little boys, two big dogs, and a husband who is a lovely person but who seems to have never even thought of picking up a sponge and wiping down a counter (let alone bending down to pick up his stinky socks and putting them inside -- yes, actually inside -- a hamper), all packed into 1100 square feet. Oh yes. Sticky. It's not that I am a horrible housekeeper living in some sort of unhygienic pigsty. In fact, I have learned to clean constantly. I clean the toilet while the boys are in the bath. (Why not? I'm already down on my knees in the bathroom. May as well...) I vacuum almost every day to combat the combined effects of hairy black dogs who shed constantly and small boys who leave a trail of crumbs, juice droplets, used kleenex, and lots and lots of dirt wherever they go. Since this is the only regularly scheduled exercise I get, I just consider it my "workout". I never walk through a room without wiping something off, picking something up, kicking something into a closet, or just putting something into a pile, so it at least looks like it belongs there. I'm not a slob. I really, really, really try to keep up with it, but it's a never-ending battle in a house full of boys. (I am including my beloved husband under the category of "boys" in this particular situation.) So inevitably, I grab a chair to move it -- and my fingers stick to some sort of leftover food, beverage, playdoh, paint, dog saliva, or mystery particle that is stubbornly attached to the back. I reach across the counter to grab my cup of coffee (which I can never seem to get to until it's already turned cold -- what is that all about? A blog for another time, perhaps...), and my sleeve sticks to the smear of grape jelly left behind by the aforementioned husband when he made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for himself and the little guys the night before. I move around the living room, attempting to control the endless chaos by throwing cars, trucks, books, zoo animals, etc., into any nearby basket/container/box/crate/drawer that seems to have room, and everything I touch seems to have a slight stickiness which causes it to cling briefly to my palm before it sails off to a temporary new spot with a bairly discernible "plop" sound as it separates from my skin. Finally, I find a moment that is not taken up by entertaining, refereeing, cleaning, organizing, disciplining, bill-paying, or laundry, and I sink into a kitchen chair, rest my chin in my cupped hand for a moment of peace.....and my elbow sticks to the table. SIGH.