Trying to Go With the Flow

We’re into week 3 of distance learning, and I think we’ve hit a good rhythm.

The Bug is very independent, and gets himself connected on his own in the morning. He only really needs supervision towards the end of class period and for keeping an eye on the time.

Disjointed Feeling

Though he’s independent, as everyone knows who’s navigating distance learning at home, it requires at least part of your attention at all times.

This makes it very hard to sit down and focus on something.

(I’ve had three interruptions just since starting this article.)

Fighting It

At first, I resented this. I worried that I wouldn’t be able to get anything done.

In October, I’m sitting the Praxis exam to qualify to teach English as a second language in public schools. So far, I have been able to do very little studying.

(You may well ask why I’m taking the time to write instead of studying, and that’s a fair point! It’s just that it’s easier for me to leave off and get interrupted from writing than from studying. Whereas I can write in short bursts, to study, I really need to focus.)

I resented feeling tethered to the room next door to my kindergartener, and feeling limited to only being able to get things done in the short stretches he’s doing face-to-face schooling.

(I can’t even imagine what it’s like for those who are doing this AND working from home. AND being single parents. You’re heroes.)

Pros Starting to Outweigh the Cons

Sure, I may fail my Praxis exam. But there’s always another chance to sit it, and even if I fail the exam, it’s good practice.

But over the last couple of weeks, I’ve gradually come to appreciate some advantages this situation offers.

He’s the priority

First off, because I’m having to dedicate my time to my son’s learning, this has become the priority. That means that I am giving myself permission to set aside other things that I thought were priorities.

Watching him learn

Also, it’s such a pleasure and a privilege to see how much he loves to learn. Being this involved is very special–I would never know this much about his activities and his days if he were at school.

I have had the opportunity to see how he learns, what he enjoys most and what he doesn’t like so much. It’s a joy to see his curiosity and his desire to learn grow.

Quality time together

Another benefit is that I get to spend more time with him. And the time we spend alone together during the day is centered around his learning.

It’s something that the two of us are sharing, and since I do not have the stress of having to prepare the materials or teach them myself, I can participate in the fun of discovery and practice. In fact, I’m getting to enjoy story time almost as much as the Bug does!

Shameless indulgence

When I’m not able to study, I am giving myself permission to simply do something that I enjoy while I listen in on the Bug’s classes.

I’ll pick up my book, which I can easily set aside when I need to be paying attention. I’ll write these articles, or do some knitting. And I won’t feel guilty about it because what else am I gonna do??

Go With the Flow

This is how I’m feeling right now. It might change tomorrow. I could feel differently next week.

But for now, I’m trying to enjoy this magical time and just go with the flow.

It helps that the weather is changing, there’s an autumnal nip in the air, and the Bug and I have shared some pretty charmed moments in these last few days.

A Precious Moment

Earlier today, after taking a bounce break on our trampoline, we lay on our backs, looking up at the sky. Our heads were next to each other, and I could feel his hair tickling my cheek. He was telling me about hammerhead sharks (he really likes sharks) and how octopuses are the most intelligent animals without a skeleton.

Though there are many things I feel like I should be doing (studying, job hunting, figuring out what to do with my life), I didn’t want to be anywhere else in that moment.

This is such a short time, and it will pass. Perhaps too quickly, after all.

Why I’m Going to Wear My Mask Outside, Too

Yesterday I wrote about how important it is for us all to get our flu shots.

I also slipped in a little additional bonus messaging about wearing a mask.

And that got me thinking.

I’m Being Hypocritical.

I wear a mask when I go into a public building. If someone has to come into my house for some reason, I ask them to wear a mask and I wear one, too.

We have expanded our bubble to include family members who live nearby, and with them we don’t wear masks, but we still maintain distance.

However, the place I have not been wearing a mask is outside on the playground.

“Nobody Else Is!”

This is what I tell myself when I feel a bit guilty and start looking around at the playground.

No other parents are wearing masks.

Everyone is standing apart, no one is getting too close, but no one is wearing a mask.

We figure we’re all outside, and we’re far enough apart.

Not So!

The CDC makes it very clear that wearing a mask in ANY public setting is important to help stem the spread of the coronavirus. They do not distinguish between indoors or outdoors.

This article from a hospital network in New Jersey addresses the question of wearing masks outside.

Here’s when you should wear a mask outside:

  • When it is difficult to maintain the recommended 6-foot social distancing from others (such as going to the grocery store or pharmacy or walking on a busy street or in a crowded neighborhood).
  • If required to by law. Many areas now have mandatory masking regulations when in public.

Here’s when you don’t need to wear a mask outside:

  • You’re in your backyard or on personal property and it is very unlikely that you’ll end up within 6 feet of someone else.
  • You are in any other secluded location where the likelihood of running into someone else is very low.
  • You are in either of the previously mentioned environments with someone you’ve been quarantined with.
  • You are under two years old or have a condition where wearing a mask would inhibit your health.
  • You are engaging in “high intensity aerobic or anaerobic activities” or when in the water.
  • You are eating or drinking outdoors.

Source: Dr. Frank Elliot, “Should You Wear a Mask Outside”, https://www.hackensackmeridianhealth.org, updated 07/09/2020, accessed 09/19/2020, https://www.hackensackmeridianhealth.org/HealthU/2020/04/20/should-you-wear-a-mask-outside/.

The Playground is Unpredictable

Unless you’re refusing to set foot on the playground and you’re sitting off to the side, far away from others, it is VERY difficult to keep six feet away from everyone else.

Kids are running all over the place, and their parents are chasing after them.

There’s no telling when suddenly, albeit briefly, you may be within inches of another person’s face.

I’m not going to risk it. I’m going to wear a mask. And by so doing, I’ll be protecting myself, those other kids and their parents, too.

The Question Is Now…

Do I make my children wear them?

Or simply keep them off the playgrounds?

Get Your Flu Shots

Today’s message is short and sweet:

GET YOUR FLU SHOTS!!!

Why? Because you don’t want to get the flu. You don’t want the people around you to get the flu.

The flu SUCKS. It kills people every year. Our Bear had it when he was nine months old, and it was SCARY. He had to have an inhaler for a year after because it had inflamed his bronchial tubes.

You don’t want your kid on an inhaler.

GET YOUR FLU SHOTS.

Because of the Pandemic: Get Your Flu Shots

This year especially, you’ll want to get a flu shot.

Assuming they get the mix right and it’s an effective vaccine this year, you want to make sure you’re protected from influenza.

The coronavirus is still out there. People are still dying of it.

It’s bad enough that we have a pandemic, we don’t want to also be dealing with a flu epidemic. If you get symptoms of fever, headache, etc., you don’t want to ask yourself whether you’re dealing with flu or coronavirus.

Eliminate the possibility that it’s the flu.

Get your flu shots.

Show How Much You Care

Do you care about your neighbors? Your family? The people in your local grocery store?

Do you care about your elderly relatives? Your small children? Your nieces and nephews?

Then WEAR A MASK.

Oh psych! You thought I was going to say get a flu shot! What the hell!

DO BOTH!

WEAR A MASK. GET YOUR FLU SHOT.

You don’t live in a bubble. Your choices (or refusal to make a choice, which in itself is a choice) have an effect on the people around you.

Don’t be that person. Don’t give grandma the flu OR the coronavirus.

Do what’s right.

Wear a mask. Get a flu shot.

Teachers Are People, Too

I don’t participate in a lot of groups on Facebook.

I think I may still be a member of a couple of Facebook parenting groups, but those are holdovers from when the Bug was younger.

So I’ve missed a lot of the crazy s**t that’s apparently been going down on some of these groups.

Attacking Schools

Earlier in the summer, when our county was offering the choice between hybrid and 100% distance learning options, some parents were unhappy.

There were angry outbursts from all quarters. Those who thought all kids should go back to school.

Those who thought sending children back to school was tantamount to reckless endangerment.

Attacking Teachers

But the ugliest comments that surfaced were directed at teachers themselves.

In the midst of a pandemic, a lot of teachers were (understandably) concerned for their personal safety, and the safety of their students, and by extension their families.

Some teachers wanted to get back into the classroom, while others with preexisting conditions or family members with underlying health issues wanted to stay home.

Cue the outrage.

A Sense of Entitlement

Apparently, some of these parents felt entitled to have their children in school because they pay their taxes.

Others attacked teachers, calling them lazy and saying their unions were too strong and that they were just out to protect themselves.

(Well, yeah, because no one else is, apparently.)

The vitriol these people spewed was ugly and hurtful, and a lot of it just plain wrong.

How Do Teachers Feel?

I can’t speak to my son’s teacher, but I know how my neighbor feels.

One of our neighbors is a teaching assistant for special needs children in the public schools. The challenges she and her colleagues face are enormous.

Yesterday, she expressed to me just how hurtful and saddening many of the comments she saw hurled at her and her colleagues were.

She told me that all these teachers who are now teaching remotely are doing so with limited support and resources.

Also, due to budget cuts, they are not getting any pay raise, not even the normal adjustment for inflation and cost of living.

So the people who are responsible for our children’s education are working under circumstances that many of us would deem unacceptable and intolerable.

Give the Teachers In Your Life Some Love

So let’s counteract the hate! Let’s push back against the vitriol!

But instead of engaging in a shouting match over social media with the entitled, angry parents, let’s give things a positive spin.

Write to your kid’s teachers and tell them what you think they’re doing well. Give them a pat on the back, and thank them.

Our son’s teacher is not only teaching kindergarteners online (a huge challenge already), but she also has her own elementary school-aged kids at home!

In my books, this woman is as saintly as they come.

Encourage A Teacher Day!

Since it can’t be “Hug a Teacher” day, let’s have it be “Encourage a Teacher” day.

And not just teachers! School counsellors! Administrators! Your school’s IT person could probably use a virtual pat on the back right now.

Let’s give them some extra love and appreciation! Because as hard as it is for us parents, it’s gotta be just as hard for the teachers (and harder for teachers who also happen to be parents).

God bless them, every one.

Goes a Long Way

I’m about to sound like I’m tooting my own horn. So feel free to leave if that annoys you.

Oh, you’re still here? Great!

It’s no big deal. But it felt good, so I thought maybe you’d enjoy reading about it.

Rainy Day

On a rainy day a couple of months back, the boys and I were venturing out. We were ready to sprint from our front door to the car, when we spotted some boxes sitting outside our neighbor’s door.

The Bug said, “Mama! Maxine’s packages are getting ruined!” So we quickly picked them up and put them in the covered passageway across from our door.

I rang her doorbell a couple of times, but when she didn’t answer, we just left the boxes where they would be safe from the rain.

By the time we got back from our outing, the boxes were gone and I had forgotten about it.

Fast Forward a Couple Days

My neighbor was on her balcony, smoking a cigarette, as I pulled up.

I got out of the car and she called down to me: “Jane? Was that you who took my packages out of the rain the other day?”

I said yes, it had been me.

She seemed momentarily overcome with emotion. Then she nodded her head and said, “Yes, I thought that was you. It seemed like something you’d do.

“You don’t know how much that meant to me. What you saved… It would have been ruined! But you saved it. I can’t thank you enough…”

I assured her it was no problem and I’d be happy to do it any time. She repeated her thanks yet again, and I was struck by how touched she seemed.

Fast Forward Some More

As I said, this was weeks, if not months, ago. On a couple of occasions since then, my neighbor has thanked me again for saving her boxes.

Then yesterday, the doorbell rang.

I opened it to find a beautiful gift bag sitting on the doorstep. My neighbor was waving to me from her door. She smiled and said, “I’ve been meaning to give you something to thank you, but I didn’t find what I wanted until today.”

At first, I was baffled. I wasn’t thinking about the packages in the rain incident. Then she said, “What you did, it meant a lot. What you saved would have been completely ruined in the rain. I cannot thank you enough.”

I assured her it was nothing, that I was happy to have been of help. She smiled, shook her head in what seemed like wonder, and wished me good night.

Inside, I opened the gift bag to find a little thank-you note and an adorable apron wrapped in tissue paper. I’m a sucker for a cute apron!

Something So Small

In Germany, any of our neighbors would have thought nothing of something like this. We did that kind of thing for each other all the time.

But here, it really strikes me how my neighbor seems to view this little act as extraordinary.

I don’t know if it’s cultural or not. Is that something people just don’t do?

To me, it’s part of being a good neighbor. Looking out for each other.

Being, well, you know… Neighborly.

A Little Kindness

It really does go a long way.

And it felt really good to be able to do such a small thing, and yet make what seems like such a large impact on someone’s life.

You’d Think, Wouldn’t You?

You’d think that staying home with my kids would be enough.

Neglecting my own career, letting myself fall into complaisance and inaction on that front (Praxis exam in one month? Studying? Nope.)…

You’d think that would be enough, wouldn’t you?

You might even think that spending each weekday with my kindergartener, facilitating his distance learning, helping him out and participating in ways previously unplanned would be enough.

What about meal planning? Making sure the fridge is stocked and we know what we’re going to eat?

Managing doctors appointments, dentist visits, haircuts, new clothes as needed…?

Shouldn’t that be enough?

Apparently Not.

No, evidently I am somehow not doing enough.

How do I know?

Because when I want to take the time to blow dry my hair… Or sit down and read a book… Or study for my Praxis exam… Or get on my exercise bike…

Or even (for Pete’s sake!) go to the gynecologist!

What do I feel?

Guilt.

This morning, for instance, I had a follow-up appointment with the gynecologist. (I still don’t have my genetic test results yet, by the way.)

When I got home, the first words out of my mouth as I walked in the door were, “I’m home, I’m sorry!”

I’m sorry.

Why was I sorry? Sorry because the appointment had taken longer than expected. Because I was away from the house long enough for it to potentially be inconvenient for my husband and son.

At This Point I Should Say…

That this supposed inconvenience does not exist.

This is all in my head.

My husband was quietly getting work done in the next room, while listening in on our son’s class.

He was not in any way inconvenienced, and his first concern when I got home was to know what the doctor had said and how my appointment had gone. He hadn’t even noticed the time.

Even on Sunday evening, after a nice weekend, when I had a headache and just wanted to sit in my chair, drink water and read my book, I felt a stab of guilt when I asked my husband to make dinner.

He had already seen I wasn’t feeling well. He was already on it. I didn’t need to ask. Much less feel guilty.

So, Why?

Why does the thought of taking time for myself make me feel such guilt?

Back when I used to meet up with people, why did I feel the need to apologize for wanting to spend an evening away from my family?

Most of all: Why do I feel like all that I do, is not enough? That it’s nothing special? That it’s not worthy of praise or being valued?

And I’m Not The Only One

A girlfriend recently told me she felt guilty for planning a weekend away to visit a friend.

When she asked her husband which weekend would be best for him, he literally responded with, “Whenever you want to go. I don’t care.”

Such nonchalance! Such unconcern!

How can we get that? How do we kick this guilt?

It Needs To Be Kicked

I feel like it’s important for me to kick this guilty feeling. It eats away at my mental health. It makes me feel like no matter what I do, it’s not good enough.

How can I possibly live up to these impossible standards I’ve set for myself?

I can’t. Because they’re not standards. They’re demands.

Unreasonable ones, at that.

First Week Roundup

We survived our first week of distance learning! Now on to our second!

Our Bug is still alive and well. I’m still alive and well and (relatively) sane. Chico is alive and well and still has a job. The Bear is also alive and well, though I have to admit that I nearly forgot to go pick him up from preschool a couple of times. (Don’t judge me, I was in the middle of facilitating online learning for the Bug!)

Here Are a Few Thoughts:

It’s a lot of screen time.

The Bug logs on at 8:00 and has 30 minutes of synchronous morning meeting.

They all get a 15 minute break, and then they’re back on, doing different subjects and activities.

Their teacher gives them plenty of breaks in between activities, so they’re not sitting in front of the screen the whole time. But they’re connected on and off from 8am to 10:30, and then again from 11:30 until 1pm.

This second week, they’ll have to be on even longer. It may get more difficult to keep him interested and focused.

Our Bug has incredible focus.

The kiddo listens, pays attention, and participates. He also is very independent and can get the materials, folders and pages he needs (as long as he knows where they are).

This is a great relief to his parents, so that while we still have to be listening in with one ear, we can be working in the next room and only checking in when needed.

Facilitating is NOT the same as home schooling.

Several families I know have withdrawn their kindergarteners from the public schools to do home schooling instead.

I can totally understand this choice: this much screen time is NOT ideal, and for kids with less capacity for focus and paying attention, it is not sustainable.

Also, children with attention deficit problems or those who simply aren’t used to screens will not enjoy this format.

However, as long as our Bug is managing and we can help to keep him engaged, we’ll stick with it, for two reasons:

  1. His teacher is AMAZING. Have I sung her praises loudly enough? Because she’s awesome.
  2. The fact that someone else is preparing all the materials and I am simply facilitating is A HUGE HELP.

Though I am a teacher, I have only ever taught English to adults. That is NOT the same as teaching kindergarten.

I am no expert in developing age-appropriate content, and it is not what I enjoy or am good at.

I’m good at reading with our Bug, which has already proved helpful in those break times. But preparing or designing activities in math, motor skills, etc., is simply not my forte.

Despite being connected, it’s still a bit isolating.

While the teachers are doing a lot of presenting, and they make an effort to engage the kids, there is no interaction between the students.

Though the Bug can see his classmates, and he’s getting familiar with their faces, the children are not getting to know each other at all.

So Far, So Good

Hopefully this is temporary, but as long as it goes pretty much as well as the first week, we’ll be alright.

I know the novelty will wear off for the Bug and we may struggle to get him engaged, but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.

For any other parents facilitating distance learning out there, we’re in this together! We’re doing great, and we will get past this.

Have a good second week!

Change of Plans

We’re on Day 3 of distance learning of kindergarten, and I have realized several things:

  1. Our son has incredible focus and does amazingly well participating in class over the computer.
  2. We are EXTREMELY LUCKY that this is the case, because man! This is not easy.
  3. Despite his patience and being engaged, an out-of-home distance learning program is NOT for us.

Now Don’t be Judging

Yes, we had originally planned to put the Bug into a distance learning program.

He and the Bear have actually been back at their preschool since July. We decided that after months of being at home, that they were simply too miserable.

They’ve been going half days, and it’s been like night and day. They are so happy, energized and glad to be surrounded by their peers.

Their groups have been small, and their teachers are all masked. We’ve been very happy with their school’s policies and its cleanliness.

Seeing how happy they were to be with peers, we thought it would be best to enrol the Bug in a distance learning program.

That way, while he was doing school online, at least he would be surrounded by peers and would be able to interact with other kids.

Turns out that’s not really how distance learning support programs work.

Why They’re a Life Saver

First off I should say that these distance learning programs offered by community centers, daycare centers, churches and sports centers are definitely a life saver for working parents.

We know many households of two working parents, and the expectations for distance learning, even for kindergarteners, are quite high.

For kids to be in a place where they are safe, taken care of, and monitors are helping them is very important.

However, we found some issues with the out-of-home distance learning program we tried.

Why It Wasn’t For Us

The Bug was to go to our local sports center, which is part of our homeowner’s association. He knows the place, though the people were new to him.

I had every confidence that the director and monitors would do their very best. Their normal job is to run after school programs, so while facilitating distance learning is new for them, they’re seasoned professionals when it comes to working with kids.

The main issue we encountered was one that I don’t know any distance learning program could solve.

There were eleven children of all elementary school ages in the program. Our Bug was one of only two kindergarteners. The other kindergartener is doing DL from a different school. So while their schedules were similar, they were not the same.

Each kid was plugged into their computer with headphones, joining into their DL classes. I think there were only two kids who were in the same DL class.

The issue is, that even though the monitors and facilitators have the kids’ schedules, within the class periods on their schedule, the teachers have the kids take short breaks.

Especially for kindergarten kids, they’re only doing face-to-face blocks of about 15-20 minutes. Then they get a 15 or 20 minute break before coming back. But if the kids are on their headphones, how are the monitors to know it’s break time? How are they to know what instructions the teachers have given the kids?

Our Bug is a smart cookie, but he couldn’t always remember exactly what his teacher said about what he had to do next.

The result was that he ended up spending most of the day sitting in front of his screen with his headphones on. When he did have an official break in his schedule, he looked around to find that he was the only kid on break right then.

So essentially, while surrounded by other people and kids, he was still alone. It was very isolating for him.

(I should note that had we decided to keep him there, he would have been just fine. But my gut told me that he wouldn’t thrive.)

And So We’re Home

I’m set up in the next room, writing or studying, and I have one ear trained on what’s going on in the Bug’s class.

Whenever it’s break time, he knows how to turn off his camera and either plays happily in his room, or comes to find me and we have a break together.

Because I’ve heard his teacher’s instructions, I know when to get him settled and ready to start class again.

It’s going to be hard. I’m going to feel like I can’t get anything done, and there will be ups and downs.

We may also have to find another outlet for him to interact with other kids. Perhaps soccer, tennis, or something like that.

For now, though, we’ll take one day at a time.

As For the Other One…

The Bear is still going to preschool every week day. He’s completely mad for his teacher and doesn’t want to leave school when I go pick him up.

As I said, we’re taking one day at a time, and if for any reason we don’t feel comfortable, we’ll keep both boys at home and somehow make it work.

For all those who are at home with their kids and are juggling work, my hat is off to you. You are superheroes. Remember:

This, too, shall pass.

Won’t it?

What to Expect From My First Mammogram

Oh hey I got my first mammogram today!

At age 35, I was actually long overdue for my first mammogram, considering my family history of breast cancer (maternal grandmother, mother, maternal aunt…).

But today, I finally picked up my skirt, grabbed my balls, and got myself to the radiology lab.

How to Prepare for a Mammogram

If you’ve been ordered to have a mammogram by your doctor, you’ll call and make an appointment wherever your doctor refers you (or, if you have strong feelings, to the radiology center of your choice).

The radiology center will schedule your appointment, and give you one key piece of information:

Do not apply lotion, powder, or deodorant before your mammogram.

This point was driven home to me several times.

Also, it’s a good idea to wear an outfit comprised of a separate top and bottom. No dresses, jumpsuits or overalls. Wear jeans and a t-shirt (or if you must, a blouse).

I was also asked to bring the doctor’s order for the mammogram with me. I forgot, but you shouldn’t. Bring the referral/order from your doctor’s office!

When You Get There

After doing the usual rigamarole of checking in, filling out forms, and (in this time of Covid) having your temperature taken, you’ll be asked to wait.

When you’re called in, the radiology technician will ask you to undress from the waist up and put on a robe that opens in the front.

It’s always super awkward to walk around wearing a garment that’s liable to flap open and expose you to strangers, so try to keep your sense of humor. Heck, have a little laugh and flash someone in the hallway!

(I’m just kidding; don’t.)

The radiology center I went to specializes in mammograms, and was staffed exclusively by women. This made me feel a lot more comfortable. If this is a concern of yours, call ahead and ask if you’ll be seeing a male or female technician.

The Mammogram Itself

The technician called me into the room. She had already introduced herself to me, and she was a very calming, reassuring presence.

She was clearly a seasoned professional and knew that this could be a frightening and emotional time for her patients. She did a good job making me feel as comfortable as possible.

The technician put a lead apron around my waist, and when directed, I was to remove one arm from the robe and approach the machine.

The mammogram machine reminded me a bit of old dental x-ray machines. It’s a vertical machine with a kind of tray sticking out of it.

On this tray, the technician places your breast. She asks you to stand just so, so that the maximum amount of breast tissue is on the tray.

There’s a lot of pulling and prodding at this point, and your breasts will be manhandled (or, in my case, womanhandled). It’s uncomfortable, but it’s normal. The technician then smooshes the breast down with another tray lowered from above the first.

It is not comfortable. Your boob is squooshed like a pancake between these two plastic trays, and you have to stand, holding your breath, while the technician takes the image.

Then, she has to take the vertical image. That’s the worst. The whole tray part of the machine rotates to about a 45 degree angle and your breast is then compressed somewhat vertically.

This one was especially uncomfortable for me, and the pressure caused such pain that I gasped and had trouble holding my breath for the duration of the imaging.

Luckily, the whole process is quick, and as I said, the technicians are professionals who (hopefully) are good at setting people at ease.

The Ultrasound

Then, the doctor came by and said that as this was my first mammogram and because I have dense breast tissue, she wanted to be extra sure all was well and do an ultrasound.

The ultrasound was very much like the ones I got while I was pregnant, just higher up on my torso!

(And the ultrasound gel they squeeze on was kept in a warmer–a very nice touch!)

The doctor followed the same pattern as I do when I do my home breast exam: she moved from out to in on the breast, going around in a circle to check the whole surface.

The Results of the Mammogram

You’ll get your results before you leave the radiology center.

If you’ve been told you have cystic tissue or dense tissue, you may want to make sure you’ve gotten a 3D mammogram. These will ensure lesions or tumors aren’t lost in the dense tissue.

In my case, the technician came back and said she had to get one more image from my left side, but after that the doctor took a look and was satisfied that all was well.

I was sent home relieved and happy, with an order to come back in one year’s time.

What To Do At Home

In the meantime, I need to be a lot better about doing my home breast exams after each period.

How can I remind myself to do them?

Any ideas?

Day One Done

WHEW.

Well that’s done! I cannot describe my feelings of relief. I was so anxious about today, about how it would go…

I should have had a bit more faith in our Bug. He was amazing.

Laser Focused

He was so intent on his teacher, on the class, on the materials… He was 100% into it.

He told me three times today how much he likes school, and although I was in the next room and heard everything that happened in class, he happily told me all that they had done together.

He was so enthusiastic. He loved every minute of it.

And now I’m paralyzed with anxiety, wondering if he will continue to be so happy.

One day at a time, Jane.

In Other News…

Having a kindergartener who knows how to read can be damned inconvenient.

Here’s today’s paper:

Below the fold in the Washington Post

The Bug looked at the paper, sitting on the dining room table. He read the headline and the subtitle, turned to me and said,

“Mama, why wouldn’t he expect to meet his children? What’s a sperm donor? And why aren’t they wearing masks?”

The last question I answered by saying, “They’re all family, so they don’t have to wear masks together.”

The other two I glossed over by saying awkwardly, “Well, he helped 19 people have children but he didn’t think he’d ever meet them. HEY! I have an idea! Let’s finish the last couple chapters of The Last Battle!”

Thankfully, the Bug is sufficiently into The Chronicles of Narnia that my distraction tactic worked.

I silently wiped the sweat from my brow, congratulating myself for narrowly escaping having to explain sperm, sperm donation, how babies are made, genetic testing, geneology and so much more.

Not a conversation I’m ready to have with our five-year-old.