Thursday, March 12, 2015

Ramblings on the day

Rachel took the bus this morning because Miriam, Rachel, and I all had to be somewhere at 9:00 AM. Andrew's been driving Rachel to school this week since he's "on spring break" and no one wanted to get up early enough to put her on the bus. But apparently she doesn't hate riding the bus to school because when we told her she was going to be a bus rider in the morning she said, "Finally! I haven't taken the bus once this week!"

"I thought you didn't like taking the bus," I said.

"I like it in the morning," she said. "I don't like it in the afternoons. I think people are too tired in the mornings to misbehave so they all just sit quietly and I like that."

The afternoons can get a little wild. She rides home with our neighbour to avoid the chaos. I suppose she could ride to school with our neighbour as well but she enjoys taking the bus and is worried about being late (sometimes our neighbours run a little behind schedule in the morning).

After she was on the bus we finished getting everyone else ready to head out the door. I got dropped off at the doctor first.

"Have fun, Mommy!" Benjamin told me.

"Oh, I will," I said, and then Andrew drove off to drop Miriam at preschool.

I suppose I did kind of have fun. I had my blood drawn. And then I sat and crocheted. And then I got my 17P shot. And then I sat and crocheted. And then I had my blood drawn. And then I sat and crocheted. And then I had my blood drawn. And then I sat and crocheted. And then I had my blood drawn. And then it was time to go.

I've finished 75 flowers for Zoë's blanket, so I only need approximately 125 more.

I'm trying to do as much as I can before I have to start pricking my fingers.

I don't have the results of the test back but I'm 100% positive that I failed with flying colours because my fingers and toes were tingling, which is just not a good sign. Who even comes up with these tests? I realize that the answer to that question is "pretty smart people," but the pregnant lady that I am wants to answer "twisted sadistic people."

Fasting over night isn't terrible and in fact is rather normal, except for the whole no water thing. What is that about? Then they poke you. And then they make you guzzle 100 grams of sugar and tell you to just keep not drinking anything else for the next three hours and to just sit in the office because physical activity can throw off the results of the test. Then they poke you a few more times and laugh to themselves as you leave their office in a lightheaded stupor.

Does anyone respond well to that sort of treatment?

Andrew arrived to pick me up with a grocery bag filled with protein-heavy snacks.

"You're awesome!" Miriam said when I opened the door.

"No! Mom's not awesome!" Benjamin yelled. "Mimi—you're awesome!"

"Did you hear what he said?" Miriam gushed. "He said I'm awesome!"

Somehow she's trained him to believe that she's awesome. She'll say, "Hey, Benjamin, you're awesome!" and then he'll say, "No—you're awesome!" and then she'll gush about how he just called her awesome. It happens frequently enough to not be a fluke.

I'd like to know how she managed to pull that one off. I really do.


On the way home I told the kids we could go to the Museum of Life and Science after we had some lunch. My friend Emily texted me to say she was on her way there with her daughter and I haven't seen her in months (her husband finished up a rotation in Ashville not long ago so they've just moved back to Durham) so I said we'd come by. I was so tired but Benjamin needed some time out of the house. Andrew admitted to "plugging him in" all morning so he could get some work done, which is fine, but it meant that I couldn't do the same thing in order to get a nap. A nice walk outside would help me feel more alive. Probably.

By the time we made it to the butterfly house Benjamin had developed a blister on his foot from his crocs and collapsed on the floor, defeated by his maimed foot.

"Let's put a bandaid on it," I suggested.

"No, don't!" he wailed. "It hurts so bad!"

"Right," I explained. "And if we put a bandaid on it will feel better because your shoe won't rub it anymore."

"No! Not a bandaid! Don't! It hurts so bad!"

"Look—you can choose a regular bandaid or a blue bandaid!" I said, pulling an array of bandaids from my wallet (What—you keep money in your wallet? Weirdo).

"Me want a blue bandaid," he said calming down a little until I started to open it. "Don't put it on me! It hurts so bad, Mom! It hurts so bad!"

I finally managed to keep his foot still long enough to slap a bandaid on it and we made it through the butterfly house, even if Benjamin was hobbling along the whole time. That bandaid lasted until the dinosaur dig.

"Mom! My bandaid fell off! I can't walk! Mom! It hurts so bad!" he cried.

"Come here," I said.

"I can't! I hurts so bad! I can't walk!"

"You have to come here," I said. "I'm not going to carry you."

He finally made his way over to me and I pulled him onto my lap. I pulled out another bandaid, this time a cloth bandaid, since those withstand sweaty feet a little better than the plasticky kind.

"Don't! Don't! Don't!" Benjamin wailed, swatting my hands and sticking his legs out straight so I couldn't reach his feet over the combination of my belly and his body. "It hurts so bad, Mom! Don't put it on me! Don't put it on!"

"It will help," I said. "Let me put it on so you can walk."

Eventually I managed to get it on him but he refused to play. Instead he just snuggled next to me while Emily and I chatted and Miriam and K. played. His bandaid lasted all the way until we got home. He took a two-minute nap in the car and woke up to Miriam asking if she could play with the girls across the street because they were out with their bikes.

"Me, too!" Benjamin said, snapping wide awake.

"You, too, what?" I asked. "Do you even know what's going on?"

"Playing!" he said, but then he refused to walk to the house because his foot hurt "so bad."

I held his hand while he limped to the door and then left him so I could get our things from the van. By the time I came back inside he had scooted—on his bum—almost all the way to our bedroom, where Andrew was working on some graphs with Rachel. He was crying, "Daddy! Daddy, help me! Me can't walk!"

He hadn't even taken his shoes off. Tears were streaming down his face.

It's like he'd never experienced pain before. Or like he's giving up naps.

I kicked Rachel and Andrew out of the bedroom so I could take a nap, which Rachel was happy about because she wanted to play outside but Andrew told her that he had time to help her now so she had to accept his help then or never. Once they were kicked out, though, Andrew told her she could play. The science fair is on Monday—she's almost there!

Andrew made the kids macaroni and cheese for dinner while I napped. He and I ate leftovers. Then I left for a Relief Society board meeting. He's hardly been home at all this week, but thank goodness it was spring break so he could play Mr. Mom today. I was hardly home all day!

I'm starting to wrap my head around the whole gestational diabetes thing again. I know I really wanted this baby and I think I've mentioned before how silly I feel that this pregnancy has been so awful when getting pregnant in the first place was so difficult. I should just be happy to be pregnant, right?

But, you know what? I think sometimes that's how things are. A lot of good things are hard. It's okay for good things to be hard. Going through the hard stuff is part of what makes it a good thing in the end. If good things were easy they'd hardly be worth it.

Some good things are easy, I'm sure. But a lot of good things are hard.

So, so many good things are hard.

I'm working on not whining too much. But you try being pregnant without ice cream or cookies or chips or crackers or fruit or...anything one might possibly crave while pregnant. I realize I can have these things "in moderation". But if I eat one cookie then snack time is over so I'd rather eat, like, an entire block of cheese because please tell me the name of the person who can stave off hunger with one cookie?! It's not me!

So while I'm trying not to whine, I might still tear up a little while I explain to a room full of women that, no, I can't have the ice cream provided at the meeting...because I'm now diabetic...but thanks for offering.

I don't look diabetic. Thanks. I think. Is there a look to diabetics? But you're right. I have no risk factors for gestational diabetes, other than having had it during a previous pregnancy. Like, none. (So far a genetic link has not been established but if you want to take the blame for this, Mom, go for it).

My grandpa was diabetic, but I don't think he was diagnosed until he was...old. He was tall, thin, and active...until he had a stroke (at age 62—in 1978). I don't know when he was diagnosed with diabetes though I think it was after his stroke. That would probably be a good thing to find out (Mom?).

Actually, my grandpa is someone who I think embodies the idea of handling life's difficulties with grace. Part of the reason is because although he wasn't like this when I knew him, he was apparently quite bitter about his lot in life for quite a long time. He was angry about his stroke, that it left him unable to work his farm, that it left him unable to speak, that it had happened at all.

By the time I came into the picture, he'd grown into his trials. He'd regained his sense of humor and although I could tell that his deteriorating health still bothered him at times, he at least could laugh about it. Specifically, this incident comes to mind:  my grandma was once walking him down the hall; it was quite the ordeal. He'd push his walker in front of him and my grandma would walk behind him, supporting his waist. She called it the "grandpa train." Anyway, he fell at the worst possible time and tumbled down the stairs.

My grandma was in a frenzy because that's just how she was.

"Oh! Oh, dear! Oh, dear!" she said, shaking her head and wringing her hands. "Oh, dear!"

Grandpa was not in a frenzy because that's just how he was.

He pointed up at her from the entry way and slurred out, "She pushed me!"

This riled Grandma from a frenzy to a tizzy! Of all the outlandish accusations! And in front of the whole family! She was mortified! Grandpa just laughed and laughed while the family worked to set him on his feet and help him up the stairs.

My grandpa was hilarious—after you got over your initial fear of him (because the slurring, the drooling, the shaking was all a little intimidating, to everyone but my sister Josie (she was best friends with Grandpa since he was the only other person in the family with no hair, no teeth, and a frustrating inability to walk (Josie has hair, teeth, and the ability to walk now...for the record, but she loved Grandpa from day one; he died when she was six))). He could beat anyone at crokinole, and would even join us in the basement for a rousing round of Pit!

And he once shot an apple off my dad's head. With a bow and arrow. You guys!

You'd think that with how much he shook his aim would have suffered. But he released that arrow straight and true, thank goodness, piercing the apple and not my dad's skull, all while sitting in a wheelchair.

He died in the year 2000, twenty two years after his stroke.

I love those twenty two years. I love that my grandma stuck by his side and cared for him day in and day out. But even more than that I love that he hated his new life in the beginning. He was bitter and angry and no fun to be around (from what I've heard; I wasn't actually there) but he worked through all those feelings so well that if I didn't know any better I might say that "he never complained."

I'm so glad that I know better...because not complaining can be hard.

So often in the Book of Mormon we compare Nephi to Laman and Lemuel. Nephi was courageous and faithful and never complained. Laman and Lemuel were frivolous and full of murmurings—such whiners they were!

Everyone wants to be a Nephi. No one wants to be a Laman or Lemuel. And understandably so.

But what about other characters. What about Sam, who kind of had to be talked around to things? What about Lehi and Sariah, who each took their turns complaining against the Lord?

What's the difference between Laman and...Sariah? They both complained, so I don't think complaining was necessarily what made Laman and Lemuel such antagonists. Obviously not, because no one thinks of Sariah as an antagonist, at least not that I'm aware of, and she complained quite a bit as well.

It's got to be something different. I think it's what they did in the end that counted. Not how they responded when things got hard but how they let those hard things change their lives. Did they seek after good things, hard things, perhaps while simultaneously complaining a little? Or did they seek after the easy things...while simultaneously complaining?

Because eventually hard things are made easy. Eventually what seemed like an impossible thing seems possible—because you've been made stronger—and a magic thing happens. You stop complaining. Or you die.

That was one of my grandpa's favourite things to say: Life is hard and then you die.

But really....

I don't think it's always Nephi we should be striving to be. Perfection is difficult to attain and Nephi, frankly, wrote a rather charming account of himself, which is fine. I'm just also fairly positive he had flaws because...he was a human being, after all.

I think it's alright to wrestle with things for a time before accepting them and becoming a bigger person. Things can be hard and going through those hard things makes us better people.

I just went through and reread Sister Stevens' talk from the October 2014 General Women's Session of Conference and I'm so glad I did because I've been remembering it wrong. For some reason when I initially heard it, I felt like she was saying that her mother "never complained" about her trials, which were plentiful. But she didn't! She said that "her life on this earth reflected her love for the Savior and her desire to follow Him" (emphasis mine). She said that "while it certainly wasn’t an easy way...it proved to be an ideal way..."

I'm so happy she didn't ever use the phrase "never complained" and I don't know why that phrase was sticking out in my mind (maybe because I need to work on not being such a whiner) but it's not there. Instead there is this beautiful idea that what is ideal certainly isn't easy.

So I'll probably complain a bit more about my condition—like when I see ice cream, want ice cream, know I can't have ice cream, but still have twenty people offer to get some for me if I won't go get some myself—but I'll work through it and I'll learn a lot and hopefully I'll be able to keep me and the baby healthy without any drug intervention.

I hear they even offer nutrition classes here...so...there's a bonus. With Benjamin my doctor was like, "Trial and error! Have fun!" It wasn't fun. Being given a foundation of knowledge from the get-go will probably be beneficial.

Want to hear another good thing?

Last week Andrew uncovered a bag of Dove white chocolate truffles that had been hiding since Christmas. I don't know where they came from. But I ate them all last week before I knew about the whole diabetes thing. So now they're not sitting out taunting me. And they were so good. I don't know what I would have done if he had found them after I knew I was diabetic again. I would have probably cried. But I don't have to because I already ate them.

So, onwards and upwards.

3 comments:

  1. I'm glad you got all those chocolates before this week :)

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  2. That was a lovely post. My Grandma Conrad had type 2 diabetes and so did Dad and so does Colleen, i think. Do you remember when I was pregnant with Patrick? Probably not. Canada is so awesome but also a bit annoying in all the services that you MUST take advantage of...it wasn't like the nutritionist was a CHOICE. I HAD to go to SO MANY APPOINTMENTS! Well, most of them were during school so you kids were not bothered by them, but seriously, the last trimester I went to the doctor practically every day. When I was pregnant with Josie I so did not want to do that!!!

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    1. I do remember watching you test your blood sugar with Patrick. I'm pretty sure I was still home when you were expecting Patrick. He was born in Burnaby and I didn't start school until the following fall after we moved to PoCo. I think.

      And I didn't know Auntie Colleen has diabetes.

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