Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Please Airlines, Charge Fees.....

I’m not a regular traveler, but my husband and I have been known to decide to go across the country “just because we can” a week before we leave.  So, airlines have become our go-to transportation.  Since we now have young children (4 and 5) we have yet to take them on a “real” vacation.  But, as they get older, I wonder, where we will go and how will they like being on an airplane. 

Turns out, I may never know, or at least, not right away.  Why?  I’m so glad you asked.  A few weeks ago, the news let us know that the airlines are now starting to charge a “sit together” fee.  So basically this means you will buy tickets, get to the gate and pray that your kids’ big puppy dog eyes will make the disgruntled attendant put you all together.   Without an additional fee.

Many people have complained, of course, because first, the news is an instigator and makes people more upset than necessary.  Second, who wouldn’t want to sit next to their family on the plane?  I am raising my hand, in case you don’t see it.  Look, the customer is always right.  It may take a few customers to get a business to realize this, but, trust me, I have a plan and I guarantee it will work.  So listen closely.

The next time you go on a plane with your children, tell the attendant you most certainly do not want to sit with your children. Especially, if they are under six.  Follow me on this.  Imagine this, I have my little Jack and little Jill.  I am in row 8, my husband might be in row 21, somewhere in between are Jack and Jill.  Now, they are hysterical that they are sitting next to complete strangers.  Well, maybe. 

My “Jack” is little Mr. Personality and he will talk you to sleep, wake you back up, and then talk you back to sleep again.  He doesn’t know how to turn his motor off.  So, he’ll be sitting next to Mr. Grumpy and Ms. I-hate-kids, and telling them all our business, where we’re going, the name of the hotel—whatever.  Then he will start asking them personal questions: What’s your name?  Do you have kids? Why are you wearing that? Do you watch The Octonauts?  Do you watch Wipeout? Can I have a mint?  Can I have two mints?  I don’t like those mints, I want some gum.  Can I have some juice?

Meanwhile, I’m in row 8, sitting by the window, listening to my MP3 player, with a People magazine.  The plane hasn’t moved yet, but I’m pretty sure my husband is sleeping.  I can’t confirm this because he’s not next to me.  Oh, Jill…. She’s probably going to get a stomach ache, freak out when the plane starts to move, and cry for me.  What to do, what to do?  Well, I can’t do much because I couldn’t pay the “sit together” fee.  And, furthermore, the captain just put on the “fasten seat belt” light, so naturally I don’t want the U.S. Marshall to grab me and tackle me to the ground.  So, I’ll just mind my business and read my magazine.

Once the plane starts rolling, Jack will decide he has to go to the bathroom.  I told him before I found my seat to use it, but he said he was good.  But, I know a secret:  He’s going to pee on himself in about twenty minutes.  I can imagine Jack and Mr. Grumpy having this interaction:

 “Well, Jack,” Mr. Grumpy begins, “Maybe you should’ve used the bathroom when your mommy told you to.  Because see that light?  That means you can’t get up.  So, you have to hold it, until the light goes off, Buddy.”

  “I have to go!  I’m going to pee on myself.  I have to go.  I have to!” Both my children are a tad bit dramatic.

 Ms. I-hate-kids will butt in, “Jack, you better not pee.  Hold it in! Be a big boy.  Gosh! Why aren’t you sitting with your parents?”

   Jill, still screaming, is inconsolable by now.  The flight attendant is begging her to quiet down, trying to soothe her, trying to gain some control over the 5 year old screamer.  I can hear a faint commotion in the back, but with my music selection so wonderfully picked, I am wrapped up in the soothing music.  I have a couple of juice boxes, but since there are no kids in my aisle, I drink one.

 You get where this headed.  You understand what will happen if parents decided against paying this fee.  All the other passengers are going to boycott the airlines, then either the fee is waived, or we get the plane to ourselves.  Either way, we win.  Except for the fact, that now I have to put down the magazine, put away my MP3 player, and be a mother. 

Oh, and now I have to give up the juice boxes…

Saturday, September 8, 2012


When I was a young lad, I really didn’t seem to care about things concerning life.  I mean, I was raised in a strong Christian household, so I knew why we were made, what God’s purpose for us, and things like that.  But the “simple” things weren’t really important to me.  Like why the sky is blue, where babies come from, or, let’s say.... Why women have to bleed a week out of every month for an eternity.

Due to my lack of concern, I never talked to my mother about what exactly a period, or menstruation, was.  Heard of it, had an idea of what was going to happen, didn’t really care.  So, when I was twelve, and I woke up one morning to get ready for school, it caught me off guard, to say the least, to see that I was bleeding.  I felt my pulse.  It was normal.  I didn’t have a fever, none of my body parts were detached, so I figured something went horribly wrong, but I had to catch the bus.  So, I took a shower and hand-washed my underwear.  

At school, after gym class, I had to use the powder room.  Blood, again.  What in the world was going on?  You would think that I would panic or react, but, I just got some toilet paper and neatly slapped it (yes, I slapped it) on my underwear and went on to my next class.  It would work itself out sooner or later.

This steady bleeding pattern went on for about a week.  Did I tell my mother?  Nope.  Did I confide in my older sister who was 20 years old? Nope.  Did I even tell one of my close girlfriends at school?  Nope.  I don’t like to worry or draw attention to myself, so I thought I’d keep this weird phenomenon to myself.  After all, it did stop.

About 28 days later, I’m in the bathroom, getting ready for school, and to my surprise, this situation had reared its ugly head again.  (You got to be kidding me!?)  I look back and think of how many underwear I washed by hand during that time.  I mean, I would wash more than one a day sometimes.  I could not, for the life of me, understand what was going on, but I stayed strong and thought a little.  I started recalling something about the “turning into a woman” jazz, and put two and two together, and figured that I had reached that point in my life.  Yipee!  After cleaning some underwear and putting some tissue on my new ones, I went to my mother and told her in a matter-of-fact-type way that I had “a menstruation.” I didn’t even know the right jargon for it. I’m pretty sure, I rolled my eyes, too, since that is my trademark expression.  

Her eyeballs dropped to the floor and she got all excited.  Then she had to call my older sister to the room and announce that ALI HAS HER MENSTRUATION!  Why this was some sort of celebration, I did not know.  I was not pleased.  

I did know that I was annoyed of  losing blood on some sort of “schedule” and, furthermore I was tired of washing underwear.   So my mother introduced me to the sanitary napkin and gave me instructions.  Now, that was the good news.  I found toilet paper to be rather flimsy and not necessarily the best thing for these occasions. So, there was some good news, if there is a need for a bright side.

* * *

I am reflecting on this story because a few months ago, my younger sister asked me if I remembered how old she was when she got her menstruation.  I was thinking why would I know?  We don’t communicate about mess like that.  Then she told me her story.  

She had a digestive tract problem and when she was around 11 or 12, it was really bad.  She was bleeding all the time and had to have surgery.  Well, dealing with all this blood was a common place for her, but then she discovered additional blood from a different source. (Neighbors though.)  

She didn’t feel the need to burden my mother with any more bad news, because my mother was on the verge of a nervous breakdown also referred to as an “Academy Award for Best Dramatic Performance.”  If she were a paid actress, she’d be up there with Meryl Streep with the most nominations. (Things like “My baby gonna die!  I’m gonna lose my baby!” were common sayings in the household, even when the baby was up and about and within an ear shot of the grim declarations.)  

So, my sister decided to tell me her "initiation into womanhood" story.  (Mind you, I didn’t remember any of this.)    As a pre-teen, she came into my room and said she had something to show me.  I didn’t like being interrupted when my door was closed, but I reluctantly followed her to the bathroom.  As she reflected on this story, she hadn’t told me what she showed me in the bathroom.  But whatever it was, I knew.  I knew she had stepped on the womanhood platform.  So, I went to the linen closet, threw a bag of sanitary napkins at her and told her to read the directions then went back to my room to do whatever it was she interrupted.

This has got me thinking:  What is wrong with my family and communication?  It’s like no one wants to talk about the subjects that involve bodily functions and things sticking out of things they weren’t meant to.  This is how I lived my childhood.  Don’t get me wrong, we were a very close family, and still are, but some things were best kept inside our own heads.

Now, today, I am a mother of a daughter.  I already told the five year old when she starts this process in the late future, she can have the talk with Daddy, because, I still don’t know why it happens.  And for some reason, my husband does.  All I know is my husband and I used to celebrate Period Parties, because it meant no babies.  Other than that, I was never told, never cared and maybe should consider sitting in on my daughter’s health classes when she gets to that point in school.  I suppose I need to understand for once and for all.  

Hey, there is a reason that “they” say “better late than never”.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Ain’t No Mother Like the One You Got (No One Can Know You Better)

Before I start typing this, I must take a deep breath.  Okay.  Now, we’ll began.

In my younger years, as a child, I never wanted to play house or play with baby dolls. I was never a tomboy, but I didn’t like committing to a husband and children at such a young age.  When I hit my twenties, I still was in the non-commitment box, but with children.  I was happily married months before I turned 22.

Now twelve years later, after two children and a maternal detachment due to my psychotic attack and depression, I have come to a realization.  No one can take care of my children as well as I can.  No, I’m not saying there are no other people who can handle them.  Obviously that is not the case.  I mean we have the grandparents, uncles, aunts…. My husband

But I, being a stay-at-home mother, know their quirks, their dramatic interludes, their ups, downs, highs and lows.  I know when they need a “kick in the pants” or a tender hug.  I know when they will eat what I made; I know when they will spit it in a napkin while my back is turned.  I know them.  I get them.  I can build them up just as fast as I can shut ‘em down.

I know everyone is familiar with the phrase: “If you can’t do it right, I’ll do it myself.”  I hate that this phrase is true.  But, it is oh so very true.  So many people think they can fix things and help things and understand.  And I just sit back laughing in my head (sometimes out loud) knowing that my child, or both of them, is playing this person and I can see through the mess.

I can usually maneuver things nicely throughout the day and have no hectic-ness.  But other people come over and see tears and want to baby them or try to assist. And for the most part, I may let them, but I know I‘m going to have to make some adjustments once they leave.

Please know that I appreciate the help I get.  From the bottom of my heart, I really do.  But, I know my kids.   I know them.  And they can be some scheming sneaky little people.  They can also be some darling little blessings.  But, the only one who knows for sure is the Mama….and that would be me.  I’m sure all you mothers out there can relate to this.

Remember this blog is about real stuff.  No sugar-coating, no preservatives, no additives.  I am 100% organic in my words and I speak truth. 

Monday, September 3, 2012

Kids Don't Care

I was checking the news on my favorite online source, and noticed a story about a Twit-pic that was mistakenly posted.  A celebrity husband took a picture of his son, I suppose in the parent’s bedroom.  Unbeknownst to him, in the background you could see a glimpse of his wife lying on the bed with her breasts uncovered.  The comments from people were so illogical.

 Who are you (the irate protestors) and why are you not using your brain? Let me relay some pertinent information to you, my dear protesters: Kids don’t care.  And when I say kids, in this blog, I am referring to the little precious dear ones that are under the age of 5, sometimes 6!

The comments were basically saying that a mother should not allow her children to be around her when she is disrobed.  And truth be told, that is probably a true statement.  But there are some ignored boundaries that need to be understood.

I don’t know if the comments were from people who didn’t have children, or people that just raised a perfect little nobody.  But, as stated above, kids don’t care.  Privacy is a foreign word to young ones.  

But, first, before I let you in on the unspoken horrors behind the scenes, here’s the background of the celebrity with the uncovered breasts.  At the time, she was a mother of three, her oldest being four years old.  (She has since given birth to another child.)  Her youngest was an infant at the time of the tweet, so most likely, she’s breastfeeding.  Whipping out a breast for the purposes of sustenance is probably a common occurrence in this house.  So, with that information, I shall begin.

Upon entering the delivery room to have my first child, I realized that I will never have privacy again.  At first with the endless adults, whether family or hospital staff, everybody was “up in my business.”  Now that I am a mother of two young children, I really don’t have privacy.  That is until around ten at night, when they are fast asleep, assuming they don’t get up again and again to let me know things they feel (but I can assure are not) important.

My son comes into my bathroom one day, as I am finishing up a shower.  He tells me, “Mommy, I don’t like you naked.”  Well, maybe if you weren’t busting in the door to tell me Tom and Jerry just went off, you wouldn’t see my naked body.  

My daughter and son come into the bathroom, as I am sitting on the toilet bowl, asking me what I am doing.  They have been potty trained for some time, so they very well know what I am doing.  I just look at them, and politely ask them to leave.  They just stand there giggling.  I ask them about two more times, until I am forced to shout: Please leave so I handle my business.  I mean, I have to go there.  They come in any time they want, they go in my stuff, and they are everywhere.  They ask personal questions, too.  

On the other hand, my dear husband gets exclusive bathroom rights.  He can go in the bathroom and they see him walk in fully clothed, then they see him coming out, fully clothed.  They probably think his skin is an ever changing wardrobe.  But when it’s my turn, I can’t lock the door.  Usually my husband is at work, and I have to keep the door unlocked, in case they need to come in and tell me something i-m-p-o-r-t-a-n-t.  You know, the house is on fire, the Mothership has landed, whatever may be necessary information at the time. Unfortunately, they think when a show I DVRed goes off, it’s a big cause for concern, and I must be interrupted at all costs, even if they must see my horrible naked body.

So, to all those absurd comments about a mother allowing her child to be in her presence while she wasn’t fully covered, you need to calm down and recognize that kids these days just don’t care.  And they will remain all up in your business.  

I mean, it wasn’t like her son was rubbing Lanolin on her bosom.  That would most likely be a reason for concern.

Friday, August 31, 2012

The Unusual Suspects

I love reading a popular New York online newspaper.  They always have National stories that don’t quite make it to the news in my spot in the world.  I especially like when they put the spotlight on criminals.  Crime doesn’t pay, but as I read these articles, I can’t help but think some schooling and common sense could pay.  I am not trying to give criminals helpful hints, but if you want to go to jail, it might be easier to walk in and ask to be put in a cell.  Instead, some like to make an elaborate plan that makes them look like buffoons. Not only do they get caught, but the give the precinct something to tearfully crack up about as they eat their morning donuts.

Exhibit A:  One person decided to go to a local Wal-Mart and steal some video games and accessories.  Being that this store is equipped with video cameras, it was noticed that he was shoplifting.  So, what did the staff do?  They called the police.  However, they didn’t have to dial 911.  All they had to do was go up to one of the fifty cops in the store that day, because it was “Shop with a Cop Day”.  So the cops were all over the store for some charity.  The criminal was apprehended within seconds.

Exhibit B:  A guy wants to rob another who was minding his business, sitting in his car.  So he goes up to this “victim” and demands his wallet.  The victim completely cooperates and gives his wallet to the suspect.  Well, apparently the suspect gets a rush of adrenaline and maybe he thought if this was easy, he could intimidate the victim, just for fun.  That’s when things went sour for him.  The suspect, holding his gun, tells the guy to get out of his car. The “victim”, a well-known UFC Champion, gets out his car and attacks the suspect.  The suspect was so disoriented, he shoots himself in the foot with his own gun!  If you look at his mug shot, his eye bruises were strategically placed like he had a beat down by a pro, which is what happened.

Exhibit C: This one is not necessarily a “stupid” criminal, but you’ll get the point as you read on.  A former NYPD killed his wife by stabbing her.  But, how it happened is the interesting part.  When he was picked up by police he kept saying “She didn’t deserve that.” Then when he had to go over the timeline with the officers, he mentions it was a romantic night gone bad.  Bad?  What makes you think the fact that a woman stabbed to death by her husband is a night gone bad?  Isn’t that kind of an unspoken truth?  Talk about stating the obvious!  It apparently started with candles and back rubs and ended in a murder.  Apparently someone snapped.

Exhibit C:  A crazy guy breaks into an empty house and for some reason ended up in the shower.  I don’t know if he was taking a shower, or hiding, but he has the nerve to call 911 when the owner showed up.  He tells the dispatcher that he broke into a house and is afraid that owner may have a gun.... What was his plan to begin with?  Poor planning on his part.  What’s funny is the woman who lived there called 911 also and was told that the suspect was on the other line... What on earth happened here?

Exhibit D:  A man breaks into a house.  But before he did, he parks his car in the driveway, leaves the car running and leaves his wallet.  I wonder if the cops will ever be able to find out who he is.  Let’s review.  They have his car, which includes the license plate, the keys, and his wallet, which most likely includes identification.  Sounds like case solved.  But, if that isn’t enough, he leaves when he realizes the owner arrived, going out the back door into some sort of body of water behind the home.  Then he breaks into another house.  But what does he leave there?  Not only some wet clothes, but he used their computer to check his Facebook page and doesn’t log out!  Like I said earlier, if you want to go to jail, just walk into one and asked to be locked away.  Why go through all of this to look like a fool.  Have some dignity.

My final exhibit is really a desperate and elaborate plan; this guy should go to Hollywood and make a movie, or at least a reality show.

Exhibit E:  A guy is so desperate to take off some days from work, he fakes his mother’s death.  How does he do this?  Did he get her permission?  Well, he decided to go to the local newspaper and get an obituary written.  So the newspaper, in good faith, assumed that his mother was really dead.  It wasn’t until it went into print and family members called the paper complaining that this poor woman was alive and well, that the paper got suspicious.  The breathing mother had to go to the paper and show that she was alive.  She also probably had to show that her son was a complete and utter excuse of a human to pretend his own mother was dead so he wouldn’t have to go to work!  What kind of love is that?  And, by the way, he was charged with disorderly conduct.

There are many more stories that I have read, but I think I will save those for another edition of the Unusual Suspects.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

To Pee or Not to Pee, That is my Dead-Serious Question

I remember those good old days when I had a little infant daughter, and she would make a little mustard yellow poop that smelled like artificial butter.  That was a good thing.  My husband and I looked at her poop, examined it, made sure it was the right color, the right consistency, even the right smell.  This is what we did.  And we were proud of it.  We meticulously made sure that she had the right amount of poop versus pee diapers and were convinced life was grand.

All of a sudden, the mustard became like some sort of olive condiment, which I wasn’t feeling. The smell changed, the consistency changed, and needless to say, we changed.  (No pun intended.)  I could not imagine how many diapers one person could go through in one 24 hour day.  A person who only had milk and eventually different types of pureed produce.  I was over zealous to get the potty going.  But, then I had a surprise.  I was "with child" again, and now I would be changing diapers for more than one person.  I matured from mother to machine.  I tried to get my 13 month old baby to sit on the potty, but she rather get up and run around, as my newborn cried and pooped, and I was, in the midst of all of this, unknowingly drifting into a mental breakdown.

Skipping the insanity that I went through (that's better left for another day), I found myself yearning for some potty guidance.  I needed the potty whisperer to come in and take all my cares away because I couldn't handle diapers galore, and not to mention, I was heavily doped up on several anti-this and anti-thats.

It took some time and some effort from others, but eventually, both kids were in the disposable underwear for toddlers.  That was my slow start to getting them to fight the urge of pooping and peeing upon their little persons, and instead, sit on a toilet bowl.  They started getting the idea.  First the girl, then the boy.  The potty became their friend and their confidant.  They began to trust the bowl, instead of fight it.

As I look back, while waiting in a handicapped stall at Target holding up my daughter over the bowl, so not to get any germs, all the while my son is dancing around the stall as he tries to prevent himself from having an accident, I wish I had a diaper.  I mean, after stopping at every store bathroom, in the middle of grocery shopping, at the library (upstairs and downstairs), three times during their first cinema experience, an occasional stop along the interstate (we really had no other choice) I began to wish for the days I could just get a baby wipe and slap a new diaper on.  I can't stand going to the bathroom with my kids.  I can't stand it.  They are too short to reach the sink, so I have to hold them up, they want to get like 16 ounces of soap for one hand wash and they rather use the obnoxious dryers instead of paper towels.  People in the parking lots of these places can hear these ridiculously loud dryers.  They always pick the creepiest places to have to use the bathroom.  And there's two of them!! So everything I do for her, I have to do for him.  Then, of course, I have to answer the call of nature myself from time to time, so instead of shopping for an hour or two, I spend my afternoons learning where every bathroom in the state is!

I am so thrilled that my kids are "potty-trained.”

Saturday, February 11, 2012

In the beginning ...

Dear Friends and Family:

Some of you know, the majority of you do not.  In July 2008, three months after the birth of my second (and youngest) child, Jaison, I was admitted to a Psychiatric Center for Postpartum Psychosis.  That is a severe postpartum mood disorders and, truth be told, it is very scary and very lonely.  I lost my sanity, my mind was filled with false beliefs of reality and I was hearing negative voices telling me horrible things.  I was scared of people at any given time, for any given reason.  I was unsure of who to trust.  I was in and out of sanity and to “lose your mental capabilities” is very difficult to explain and to endure.

Since then, I have been getting better, though I suffered from panic attacks, severe depression and a lack of maternal instinct.  Four years later, I have completely changed, I am better.  I am no longer depressed.  A panic attack is possible, but I haven’t had any in some time.  I love my children dearly.  I love my husband immensely.  My family supported me every step of the way and without them and my spiritual brothers and sisters, I would probably be dead—by suicide.

This is something I can talk about now.  It took a while to accept that I had a mental illness.  I took a while to get the courage to tell others.  And it took a while for me to understand what happened.  I share my story because I want other women who are having children to be aware of this.  Be on the lookout for this.  I want their husbands and supporting cast to be aware of this.  I do not want this to happen to anyone else, though, it will.  But at least I can do my part, and let my friends know, so you can be proactive for someone you know or for yourself.

I decided to start a blog because of this.  But, this isn’t going to be a sad, gloomy, “woe is me” blog.  The focal point will not be me and my problems.  It will focus on motherhood, marriage, and much more.  I do want to strengthen new mothers and fathers and just let my story be known, so others can take something from it and help another person.  Not just women with postpartum issues, but anyone who suffers a mental illness, or any illness, for that matter.  And also to strengthen those that will care for them and those that love them.

Along with blogging on my illness and recovery, I (being the person I am) will also talk about whatever may come to mind, which literally can be anything.  I want to be a writer, I want to share life stories and open up about the things that go on in my head.  That can be a good thing, or bad….

If you have any questions, or comments, I will love to hear them and respond.