From the Mommy Files…

Posts Tagged ‘Women

The next morning I got that message. The one we dread.

Huh?

I called. “Can you come on Tuesday?” I tried to keep it in perspective, since I was warned that I’d likely get the call. “Tuesday’s 3 days from now,” I thought. Perspective. I set the appointment, telling myself I’m OK.

Over the next few days, I’d remind myself repeatedly, that it was a formality; I’m OK. I even tried visualization: The doctor says, “We had to double check, because we don’t have any comparison images. Everything’s fine. See you next year.”

That morning, my husband and I discussed the day’s events. “Last week was the “Panini Treatment.’ Today, ‘The Crusher!’” I said, in my most sinister sounding voice. I thought he’d laugh, but he gave me a bewildered look. “Glad you’re keeping a sense of humor,” he responded. Do I have a choice?

I got the kids off to school and headed downtown. I approached the women’s hospital and thought, “I really hate this place!” This is the same place I went for my D&C, and chemo. I reminded myself that my younger daughter was born there. I walked inside, and remembered waiting with my husband by the front windows for the tour of the then-new hospital. Smile.

Then there was that familiar feeling: “Here I am again on the damned 4th floor!” I gazed to the right—the cancer center—where I’d spent so much time a few years before. I’m OK. I’m OK.

This time it was a left turn. The sign greeted me: “Diagnostic Mammography/Breast Ultrasound.” Couldn’t miss the big sign on the back wall: Lynn Sage Comprehensive Cancer Center. Deep breath. I’m OK. A volunteer greeted me and showed me the changing room. Ahhh, the lovely green ensemble. This one had a different print. How chic! NOT.Imaging Sign

“You brought a book!” the volunteer said. “You’ve been told how things work here.” “No,” I responded. “I spent a lot of time on the other side of this floor. I know how it goes.” She looked puzzled, but then gave me instructions.

I waited with 2 other ladies, all in lovely green gowns with different patterns. No one spoke. We all waited. One lady was called for her test. The other was told she would need an ultrasound for verification. No one made eye contact. Everyone seemed to do their best to keep calm. I opened my book, but then took out my notepad instead. I wrote: We just had to double check, because we don’t have any comparison images. Everything is fine. See you next year for your regular mammogram. I recited the mantra over and over. Everything is fine. It HAS to be.

Then it was my turn. “Microcalcifications,” the tech explained, showing me the original mammogram. “We don’t know why women get them, but usually they’re harmless. Oh, and it has nothing to do with how much calcium you get in your diet.” She also informed me that 1 in 4 women are summoned for further imaging, and of those, 75% are first-timers—meaning it’s the baseline mammogram, and they require additional imaging to see all angles so they have images to compare in the future, and also to get a closer look at anything suspicious. Both breasts were to be imaged, because both had these pesky, tiny “white” calcium spots. Again, I’m one of the “Chosen Few.” I’ve already been one, twice already. Enough.

Disrobe. Approach the torture machine. Be twisted, flattened (even more so than the last time).

I think she took four images on each side. She interchanged different pieces of the machine, then mushed and crushed, and basically put my breasts in a vice. “The Crusher” for sure.

Deep breath, hold it and don’t move. OK. Step back. Now come straight in, hold the other breast away, lean in, sorry I have to make this really tight…

The images would be viewed by the radiologist, and then they’d discuss them with me. I would leave with results! I was escorted back to the waiting room. Woman #1 was back, and was soon called to be told she needed ultrasound. A new woman was in there waiting. Was it the same routine for all?

Twenty minutes later, a new tech came, calling my name. “Come with me. We’re going for ultrasound.” She showed me the images, and told me they needed a closer look at several areas. As I lay on the table, arm behind my head, all I could think of, was “I hope my pits don’t stink too bad!” No deodorant is allowed day, as on the imaging, it can resemble something daunting.

I watched the screen. I was curious. I’d watched all the ultrasounds I had with my pregnancies – even the molar pregnancy. But these images were foreign. She clicked, measured, moved around. I don’t know how to read all the abbreviations on the screen, but it sure added to my anxiety level. At one point, I thought I saw a face, formed by things in the scan. I’ve seen this face before — in the ultrasound where we first suspected the molar pregnancy. I was sure my eyes were playing tricks on me.

“The radiologist is waiting. Just stay here and try to relax. Likely, she’ll want to come and double check.” A few minutes later, the tech and the radiologist entered the room. “The microcalcifications are nothing to be concerned about,” the radiologist said, and gave me the “baseline speech.” Phew! I’m in the clear!

Not so fast!

“This is the area that I wanted another set of eyes,” the tech said, pointing to the right side of my right breast. Using the ultrasound wand, the radiologist scanned. I didn’t know what she was looking for, as she click-clicked to capture images and measure things.

Then the other shoe dropped.

“It may likely be just an unusual convergence of the ducts, but something looks suspicious. I can’t really tell by the ultrasound. You have two options: scan again in 6 months, which I don’t recommend, or biopsy,” the radiologist explained.

Are you kidding me?

“It may be nothing. The only way we’ll know is to check. It’s small. We need to know what’s in there, and we can’t wait. Let’s do a biopsy.”

“Now?!” I murmured, trying not to freak out.

“We can’t do it today. Our scheduler will schedule it for the next few days. Let’s not wait.”

I walked the long hallway back to the changing room. It felt like the last mile. What just happened here? This can’t be happening. Slightly numb and feeling sick to my stomach, I changed and waited for the scheduler.

She wanted me to come back tomorrow. No-can-do. “OK, come back Tuesday at 2 pm. Arrive at 1:45, and plan to stay 2-3 hours. We never run on time.”

I have to wait a week until the biopsy. One week of all kinds of things running through my mind. One week of agonizing over the possibility of throwing my kids’ lives into chaos – again. As I drove home, I prayed. I asked God. “Am I missing something?” “Am I not grateful enough?” “Am I not doing something fast enough, and you’re trying to light a fire under me?” There’s a reason here. I just kept thinking about my kids—I don’t want them to suffer through another malady.

Now, I wonder: For a baseline, why aren’t women brought in for the full gamut of images from the start, instead of scaring the beejeezus out them by summoning them for further imaging? That would make sense, but nothing makes sense in the world of medicine and insurance.

Have you ever been summoned for further testing? Have you ever had to ponder the what-ifs of a life-changing or threatening illness? How did you react? Have you ever had a biopsy that showed everything was fine? Do share in the comments below.

I’m not talking about lunch.

If you’re over 40, you know what I’m talking about.

MAMMOGRAM.

I hadn’t had one yet, even though I’m over 40. With all my health issues, I think my doctors thought I was being monitored closely, and if anything were going on, it would show up in the CT scan and x-rays I had prior to beginning the chemo resulting from the malignancy of the molar pregnancy, and then later the many MRIs and MRAs I’ve had to have over the last 2 years due to the vertebral artery dissection.

In December, I went for my annual check-up. You know, the glorious visit with the gyne, in which you count the seconds until it’s over? My doctor asked, “When was your last mammogram?” “Never,” I reminded him. “Well, you’re overdue!” he said, and wrote the order.

Fast forward to the night before the appointment. As my husband and I discussed the events of the following morning, I informed him that I was going for a mammogram.

“Ah, the old ‘Panini Treatment!’” he joked.mammo

We’ve all heard the stories of having your breasts flattened like a pancake and squeezed like an orange. I couldn’t imagine.

Now, you will survive this, like every other unpleasant exam. And early detection saves lives! It’s pretty quick. You may have red marks from the machine. Some who are very sensitive will actually bruise. But one thing is for sure. It hurts.

I once compared a breast pump to a Chinese torture device. But let me tell ya, the pump’s got nothing on a mammogram machine. Yowsa!

You get one of those fashion-forward green gowns, and are told to undress from the waist up. Then you get to show off your lovely new outfit in the waiting room until your name is called. The tech explains what will happen, even makes small talk to distract you. Then it comes. You must disrobe in front of this stranger, and stand there with your boobs hanging out. Literally. Talk about feeling vulnerable.

So as your breasts are squished and manipulated into this machine, here comes the “pancake maneuver” —  it pushes down to flatten you out. This compression allows for a better picture of the breast. Fortunately, you only have to hold this pose – and your breath – for a few seconds. It feels like an eternity, but then it’s over. But wait! You have to do the other side! And then there’s the side view – both sides! And if your bones are “high up”, the technician will press on them, to move them out of the way.

The things we have to go through!

While I put on the lovely green ensemble and prepare to be dismissed, the tech asked me if I wanted to see the images. So we had a look. Interesting.

Then came the warning: first time screens many times are called in for a follow-up screen. Huh? Apparently, there are some false readings and since this is the baseline and there are no previous images to compare, many women receive a letter or a call (scaring the crap out of them), summoning them for further imaging.

So I likely will have to repeat this little adventure in the next couple of weeks? Ugghh.

That breast pump is looking more fun right now!

And I shudder to think that I will have repeat this experience regularly for the rest of my life.

As I prepared to leave, the tech reminded me that this will be a regular occurrence, and explained that it will get easier. “Right now you have nice, firm breasts. As you get older, they will be less firm, more jiggly, and it won’t hurt so much.” Like that’s supposed to be something to look forward to? Well, at least I have that going for me right now – nice and firm. LOL

And if the men want to poke fun at this humiliating, uncomfortable and often painful experience, I invite them to envision the same type of machine used to scan their body parts for cancer. Then they may change their minds! He he

A hint for the men: do not tease women about these diagnostic checks. We are submitted regularly to basically being violated in the name of health. And there is no dinner or drinks before, or a cigarette after.

Now excuse me while I get the ice pack.

Have you had a mammogram yet? How was your experience?

By no means do I wish to dissuade anyone from the institution of marriage.

I think marriage is a wonderful thing. cake topper

It’s challenging, but it’s worth it.

Sometimes, we do make it harder than it has to be.

While I never expected the fairy tale, I didn’t expect it to be so hard.

I got pregnant very early in our marriage, so there was little time to really explore these new roles of husband and wife, how that affected our lives and who we were as individuals.

Fast track to parenthood –and without any help –led to much stress and strain on our marriage.

Our kids are now 6 and 4.

Has it gotten any easier?

No.

The challenges are different and ever-changing.

So is this a rant or complaint about my husband?

No.

This is a reality check.

As I ponder what has happened during our marriage –good and bad—I realized something very important.

Neither of us was raised with the tools to be a good spouse.

Think about this for a moment.

We are taught to be good people and kind to others, and yes, all that helps.

But, like many of you, we were not taught how to be a good husband or wife.

And that doesn’t mean cooking, sex or making a lot of money.

It’s about relationships.

It’s about respect.

It’s about listening.

It’s about being unselfish.

Putting someone else first, but NOT always putting yourself last.

You know what I’m talking about, Ladies.

That last one really hit home, yes?

We always put ourselves last.

We watched our mothers, aunts and grandmothers do this.

These women did not have the same opportunities that we do, or the same education or motivation to do anything outside the home.

But we all have an inner drive, a wish to accomplish something in our lives, to be a unique individual.

Sometimes, this gets squashed in marriage and parenthood, and it brings about feelings of resentment.

These feelings are not always recognized, but they are there.

What about communication?

This is vital.

I grew up in a house where children were to be “seen and not heard.”

We were supposed to be thankful for what we had, not complain, and just deal.

This did not serve me well in my dating years, and certainly not now in my married years.

It didn’t help me in my career, either.

I was conditioned to not ask for what I wanted or needed, to make do with what we had and to just deal with the way things were, as unhappy as they made me.

I’m still struggling with this as an adult.

Things get overwhelming and you fall back into old patterns.

Think about what is going on in your life, in your marriage.

Are you personally happy? Fulfilled? Motivated? Inspired?

Do you embrace the individual you are and not allow yourself to get lost in the everyday of marriage and parenthood?

Do you take time for yourself to work toward your own goals?

Do you observe couple time? (Not talking about sex, sorry. There will be more of that when you work toward these things!)

Think about how the lack of personal time and couple time affects your parenting.

We all could use a break.

So.

We can break the cycle.

And enrich our own lives.

It’s not a fairy tale. There’s no automatic “Happily Ever After.”

It’s important for us to raise our children to be good spouses.

If they choose not to marry, these skills will also serve them well in their lives.

Think about what traits a “good spouse” has.

Next time, we’ll discuss some things we can do to help raise our kids to be good spouses.

I hope you’ll share your thoughts as well.

Last year, I wrote a piece that appeared on Harlots Sauce Radio, called “You Did Not Just Say That!” about what not to say to someone who recently experienced a miscarriage.

Since then, I have been bombarded with questions – and from people who know better – asking when #3 is coming.

When I tell them that I’m not so young anymore – I’m 42…

Then they respond with examples of 57 women who had kids at the age of 46.

Then I remind them that I lost #3 – it turned out to be a molar pregnancy, with many complications, and required chemotherapy – they still insist that I must have a 3rd child.

These people are really at the height of insensitivity.

Sad thing is that most don’t even realize it.

If you didn’t know me well, and you asked, it wouldn’t be so bad.

If you took my response and left it at that, it would be OK.

But some people just feel like they have to win, and will not give up until you say, “OK! I’m going to go for it! Thanks for showing me the light!”

I’m not a violent person, but sometimes I swear I’d like to give these people a punch too.

I’m hearing from women all over the country who are dealing with this incredible insensitivity as well.

We are not being selfish, vain or even frugal.

All I can say is, DO NOT ASK US WHEN WE WILL HAVE A(NOTHER) BABY!

First of all, it’s none of your business.

Second of all, you have no idea what that person has been through, and what kind of hurt you cause.

You might say, “Well, I didn’t know.” Or “I was just making conversation, etc.”

But seriously, this isn’t good conversation.

I’m 42.

I’d love to have another child.

I’d love to have a boy.

Don’t ask me if I want that, because I do. It’s just not in the cards.

And I have been asked more times than I can tell you.

Are my two girls not good enough? I have to have a boy to be legit?

When the molar pregnancy happened, I felt like God said, “No more kids!”

In my heart, I knew I wanted another, and as soon as it was over, I insisted I was going to try for another.

Complications set in, and it was evident that that wasn’t going to happen.

When I learned I needed chemo, I felt like God tapped me on the shoulder and said,” Excuse me. Did you not get my message? I said, no more kids!”

Well, I got the message. Loud and clear.

It’s taken me a long time to make peace with that.

Actually, I do have a 3rd child – and he IS a boy. He is an Angel Baby in Heaven. So leave me alone!

And stop with the questions!

Really, you don’t know what people have gone through.

I’ve heard from many women going through this. Let me share with you.

What about the woman who, after her molar pregnancy, her husband refused to discuss another child, and then went and got a vasectomy against her wishes?

How about the woman who has had 3 miscarriages in a row, and would give her right hand to have a healthy pregnancy?

It took a good friend of mine 4 years to get pregnant. She wanted kids more than anything, but I guess the timing wasn’t right.

Then there’s the friend who went through 4 failed attempts at Artificial Insemination, then 6 failed attempts at IVF before giving up. Do you think she doesn’t want a baby?

How about the woman whose husband is on extended deployment, or was injured in the line of duty and there is now an issue?

And the young woman who was diagnosed with cancer in her late 20s, who would love to be a mom more than life itself, but is on meds for the next couple of years?

I could keep going.

So…

DO NOT ASK A WOMAN WHY SHE DOESN’T HAVE KIDS OR DOES NOT WANT THEM.

You don’t know what’s been going on in her life.

If you want to think it fine, just don’t say it. You inflict pain on people and cause tremendous upset.

And I know that’s not your intent.

Forget the “Think before you speak.”

Just do not ask.

You might get yourself into serious trouble.

It’s not my fault if you get slugged.

Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

OK, you’re chuckling. Yes. It’s funny. What do they say, out of the mouths of babes? I have to remind myself that my daughter is only 3, and she isn’t trying to be cruel. However, we all pause a moment when we hear that our backside is, well, on the large side.  

One day I was giving my daughter a bath and she started asking questions. She asked why a girl in her preschool class is bigger than her. I told her that the girl is a little bit older, so she’s had more time to grow. She responded, “What if I drink more milk?” I told her to go for it.

The conversation continued. She asked me, did she have a little nose. I said yes. She asked did she have nice eyes, and I said yes. Then she said, “Do I have a little butt?” I said, “Yes, and it’s a cute little butt!” We both had a giggle.

I was rinsing her hair when the truck hit me. “Mommy, why is your butt big?” Huh? “What?” I asked. She said, “Mommy, you have a big butt!”  I was taken aback. I didn’t know what to say. “Thanks a lot!” I said and finished the bath quickly, without saying much. I was speechless. OK, so I am a little self-conscious of my body these days, what mother isn’t? So I didn’t even stop to think, did I have a “nice” big butt a la J.Lo, or was it a just big ole’ butt?

I put her to bed and my husband asked me why I was so quiet. “I don’t know,” was my response. “Don’t be upset with her,” he said. “She’s just a kid. In comparison, your butt is bigger than her butt. She’s not telling you that you’re fat.” OK, so like it does for many of us, the “you’re fat” played over and over in my mind, until the song “Baby Got Back” took over. After sulking for a bit, I went to look in the mirror.

Hmmm….Well, it ain’t what it used to be. I look, from this side, from the other side, from the back. You’ve done it too. It’s not that big. I’m still wearing a size 4, but sometimes they don’t fit as nicely as they used to. How did this happen?

“Baby Got Back” has stopped playing in my head, but “I’m Too Sexy” hasn’t started up yet either. Pregnancy really changes your body. I didn’t have a clue how much. I have to learn to like my post-pregnancy body. It’s never going to be what it was before. I weigh what I did pre-children. Things just aren’t, well, where they were before. It’s like gravity has attacked me. I’d heard of this phenomenon before. I just hoped it wouldn’t happen to me.

The time has come. It’s time to get back on a regular workout routine. I have to make this new body the best it can be, not so my little one doesn’t tell me that my butt is big, but rather so I can feel good about the new me. Hmmm…how long do you think it will take to get a flat stomach again? OK, how about flatter? Give me a couple of weeks, I’ll let you know. I’m going to get in shape. I’m hitting the gym. My hot babe status is about to be reclaimed. LOL. Summer’s coming.  I double dog dare me. And you too.

Girls are supposed to be made of sugar and spice, right? Unfortunately, not all of them are. My 3 year-old began preschool this past January. She loves school. She attends every day in the morning. In fact, she recently asked if she could stay all day. She’s learning a lot and we are pleased.

A girl at school, who is 4, has decided that my daughter is going to be her “pet project.” Well, this girl bullies my daughter so much, that lately she tells me she is afraid to go to school because she doesn’t know what this girl will do.

It started early on. My daughter is very easy going, and she doesn’t tattle. She lets kids bother her and won’t say a word. And, being the new girl, she was an easy target. One day my daughter came home and said “Angela (not the girl’s real name) said she was going to throw me in the garbage can.” I told her not to pay attention to Angela, that Angela wasn’t much bigger than her and couldn’t possibly throw her in the garbage can. I also told her to tell the teacher whenever Angela bothered her. She refuses.

As time has gone on, my daughter has begun to choose her outfits and accessories, based on what is acceptable to “Angela.” She says she can’t wear a bow or headband because Angela will take it, or she’ll keep pulling off her head. WTF? Again, I told my daughter to bring all of this to the teacher’s attention when it occurs. Nope.

For one week, Angela and her sister were sick and not in school. My daughter was so happy. Actually, I think that was the week she requested to stay at school all day. As soon as “Angela” returned, she began to not want to go to school, or would insist that I come at recess time so Angela couldn’t bother her. I sat her down for a little chat. I explained to her, that sometimes people are not nice, and when they are not nice, we should stay away from them. There are plenty of other kids to play with, and I told her that if Angela wanted to play with her, to politely say no and walk away.

Every morning we’d drive to school and my daughter would ask if I was going to be around at school (since I volunteer sometimes), in case Angela was to bother her. When I’d say no, she would get upset.

One day last week, we’d arrived at school a bit early, and the kids gather with all the teachers in another room until it’s time for class to start. In front of her teacher and Angela’s teacher, I tried to get my daughter to say something about what Angela does. Finally she said, “I can’t wear the bow Mommy. Take it home, so Angela doesn’t take it or throw it.” The teacher quickly dismissed it as kids’ play. I thought, for now I’m going to let it go. I love the teacher and the program. In less than 3 months, my daughter has learned more than I ever imagined. I don’t think she’d just blow it off, but if the bullying is not observable to the teacher and the child being bullied doesn’t complain, then what can she do? Since my daughter provides a daily report – and she’s expressing fear of this girl –  I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention it or try to do something about it.

On Fridays, I help prepare hot lunch. This past week, I witnessed Miss Angela in all her glory. I was holding my 13 month-old, and a bunch of the kids came over to see her. I squatted down so they could be at eye level. Angela came over, looked me square in the eye, with more attitude than most people I know, and said to me, “You go stand over there. I’m going to play with the baby!” I looked at her and said “Excuse me?” to which she replied, “That’s what I said.” Well, I thought I was going to lose it. But I blew it off. She’s 4 for pete’s sake. I encouraged the other kids to come closer to play with the baby. Angela was getting visibly upset and started telling the kids to move out of the way – even pushing them – because she wanted to play with the baby and they better move.  When she got near the baby I stood up and told her that we were leaving. She gave me the dirtiest look. It gave me the feeling that no one has ever told her no or not done as she said. I left there thinking, her parents are so nice. Her sister is so sweet. How does this happen?

One day last week, my daughter told me she was afraid to go to school, because Angela would be there. This afternoon when I picked her up, her teacher told me that my daughter was crying a little at lunch time, and a little apprehensive about playing with the kids, but then the teacher asked one of the kids to take her by the hand, and she went to play without any problem. I told her that this morning she didn’t want to go to school, because she’s afraid of Angela. The teacher again dismissed it, and said that the girl was not a problem. I told her that the girl is bossy and I have witnessed it for myself. She insisted that it wasn’t a problem. I don’t agree. I don’t want my daughter to be afraid to go to school. And you can’t exactly approach a parent about their child, because we all feel that our kids are perfect. I don’t know about you, but mine certainly aren’t. They’re kids for crying out loud! They’re trying to figure it all out. They’re learning to be independent, and pushing the boundaries whenever possible. They want to see how much they can get away with, but it’s our job to put them back in reality. And I don’t mean with physical force.

At the same time, I have to figure out how to get her to stand up for herself. How do I get her to not be a bully herself? I guess we’ll have to keep working on this one. There’s no answer. Hey, where’s the instruction manual? I wish it were as easy as saying we won’t play with her, but she goes to the same school. We can’t avoid her. All the other kids this year are nice, but there’s bound to be a bully next year, or in an activity she goes to. It’s inevitable – we all have to deal with bullies.  Someday Angela will get bullied, and she won’t know what hit her. Hopefully, when the time comes, she will do the right thing.

As of Friday, our bully was behaving for most of the week, though this morning my daughter said she couldn’t wear a bow in her hair because Angela will pull it out. Then she told me she might play with her at recess. Come on! I don’t get it. Is she a glutton for punishment?

In yesterday’s Sunday insert in the Chicago Tribune, there was an article on bullying. We read it with enthusiasm. We’ve read the book Purplicious, which is mentioned in the article, but I think the moral of the story is a little lost at this age. I guess all I can do at this point, is to keep telling my daughter to stay away from the bully – do not go by her, do not try to play with her – and if she bothers her to tell the teacher immediately. And hope the bully will grow out of this stage quickly.

I can always remind myself that there are only six more weeks of school left.

Why can’t we all play nice?

OK. I heard you. You’re singing that song from Mel Brooks’ “History of the World.” ha ha ha

I knew it would happen eventually. My 3 year-old daughter has always been the curious sort. She asks questions, and is eager to learn. In the last few days, her questions have taken a new dimension. I can just see you right now. You’re shaking your head. You know where this is going.

This morning, my daughter came racing into the powder room, where I was, well, using the facilities. “Mommy!” she shouted. “I have to go potty!” Well, so did I. That’s why I was in there. I asked her if she could wait a minute, to which she replied no, because the “pee pees were going to come out!” I couldn’t make her run upstairs or downstairs to use another bathroom. So I got up to let her have her turn. Then, it came from out of nowhere: “Mommy, why do you have hair where you go pee pee?” I was so not prepared for that, though I had thought before that the question might come up at some point. “When you get older, you will get some too,” I told her. “Oh,” she said, and went about her business. Whew. I wasn’t ready to get into an in-depth discussion about hormones and puberty and all that.

The other morning, as my husband was getting out of bed, my daughter came into the room. He’d slept in his tighty-whities. Nothing gets passed this girl! The first thing out of her mouth was, “Daddy, why don’t you have any clothes on?” I quickly replied, “Because he was warm, Honey.” Apparently, my explanation wasn’t satisfactory. She followed him into the walk-in closet where he got dressed. Then she repeated the question – in a louder voice – perhaps he hadn’t heard her. “Daddy, why don’t you have any clothes on?” For some reason, since I didn’t hear him respond, I repeated my own retort, matching her volume. She didn’t acknowledge me, but asked him again. Finally, he intoned, “Because I didn’t want to wear my jammies.” Oh boy. I was waiting for her to say she didn’t want to wear her jammies, and even worse – for her to think that Mommy wasn’t telling the truth or something. So far no repercussions from that exchange. Double whew.

She’d asked us recently, “Why is Grandpa Daddy’s daddy?” and why my mother is my mother, etc., to which I replied, “Because that’s who God picked.” She seemed to like that answer. “So did God pick you to be my mommy?” she asked. I nodded. She was content.

Here’s a fun one. “Mommy, why am I married to my little sister?” I said, “Honey, she’s your sister, you can’t be married to her.” She quickly said, “But I am married to you too.” I tried to explain. “I’m not married to you, Sweetie, I’m married to Daddy. You’re my daughter.” She then asked, “I thought you loved me?” Well that one about knocked me over. “Of course I love you,” I told her. “That’s why we’re married! Because we love each other! I’m married to you and Daddy and my little sister!” she responded.  I paused for a moment. Do I try to explain this or just leave it where it is? Then I said, “I’m married to Daddy and you and your sister are our children. You can’t marry your mommy or daddy or your sister or your cousins, even though you love them.” To which she said, “OK” and moved to the next question. This is getting trickier by the question. What in the world is next?

You’ll love this one. “Mommy, was I there when you were a nifi (the Greek word for bride)?” Oh no, I thought. We aren’t getting into the birds and the bees already! So I tried to explain it this way: “No, Honey, you weren’t there.” “Why not?” she asked. “Because we didn’t make you yet!” I said. Uh-oh. Not a good answer, because that could have opened a door I didn’t want to go through. Before I could say anything else, she asked another question. “Was I in Heaven with Christouli (the Greek word for Christ)?” To which I quickly shook my head in the affirmative. I was pleased – and impressed – with her thought process. She’s developing logic. “So did I wait until He picked you to be my mommy?” Smart girl! She’s connecting the dots. It was making sense to her. Then she proceeded to ask about her little sister. “Where was Bebs (her nickname for her sister, which comes from the Greek word for baby girl, “Beba”) when I was a baby?” I explained that she wasn’t born yet. She said, “Oh, so she was waiting in Heaven with Christouli?” I told her yes. Then she went to play. Thank goodness that line of questioning was complete! At least for now.

I know this is only the beginning. Now I’m a little nervous. What question will that imaginative and inquisitive mind come up with next? Is it time to stop changing in front of her? Is it time to lock her out of the bathroom when either of us showers or goes to the toilet? Perish the thought that she may pose some awkward question to her teacher or her grandparents!

I’ve been researching here and there about how to handle these questions. I’ve asked other moms, too. They all reiterate the same advice: keep it simple. Don’t elaborate. Try to anticipate questions while you’re conversing. Try to be a step ahead. Wonderful! Another thing we have to try to be a step ahead on! Wow. This is really challenging my brain. I better learn to be really quick with my responses – and succinct. No need for long explanations. I promised myself a long time ago, that I wouldn’t lie to my kids, or put them off like my mother did. When I was 9, I asked where babies came from. My mother quickly told me to look it up in the encyclopedia. I did, and I read the words but had no idea other than technical terms. At that age, I probably would have been content with a response like, “they are gifts from God.” While I hope I don’t get that question for a long, long (long, long, did I say long?) time, I’ll try to give her an appropriate answer, one which her young mind can process. Wish me luck.


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